Race Recap: Run the Vineyards Old Country 5k

I’ve volunteered quite a few times with Good Day for a Run and every time you do, you are awarded a free race entry for your efforts! While chatting with Rachel a few weeks ago, she mentioned she was going to be at this race with the Cancer to 5k program. I put a couple of my entries to good use and registered my older son, Lucas, and myself for the 5k (there’s a 10k option as well).

There is always packet pickup before the races but doing it at the race is just as easy; that’s what I opted to do. Race management is always very communicative leading up to the race and this was no exception. There was a snafu with the shirts for this event, 2017 was printed on the shirts instead of 2018.

Good Day for a Run was upfront about this immediately and handed out the 2017 shirts while promising that we’d be able to get the 2018 shirts once they were in. I just received an email regarding this today and they will have these shirts available at three different Running Co. locations in the South Jersey area for 14 days. I found that to be a great compromise; they definitely made the best of a tough situation!

Additionally, they offer quite a few options with the shirts: men’s cut, woman’s cut, and woman’s tanks.

I didn’t really have a plan going into this race. I haven’t been training, per se, but I haven’t NOT been training. I’m going to the gym twice a week and I run when the mood strikes, but I haven’t been following a regimented training plan. I’m okay with this. It’s helping me not burn out and it’s working for now. Soon I’ll need to step up my game for races I have later this summer.

Meanwhile, Lucas has been training more regularly with running so I knew that he’d probably want to take off nearly immediately. This is a huge difference from his mentality of last summer.

Rachel drove in from PA; she’s currently dealing with a torn meniscus. No bueno. I got a text from her about 20 minutes before the race saying that she was considering not taking part because she just wasn’t feeling it. She was in her car in the parking lot when she sent this text. That’s really not her style so I put on some pressure and told her to meet me and I’d stick with her throughout the course (I might have used slightly more colorful language!).

Sending my 13 year old son ahead might have made me uneasy at other races but not with Good Day for a Run. I knew the course would be well marked and there would be volunteers at all the turns. Additionally I had a few friends that were volunteering at the race so I asked that they look out for him and make sure he was doing okay.

This race benefited Ainsley’s Angels and a large group of Athlete Riders and Angels took part in this race. They lined up first and off they went. After that group, the 5k racers toed the line, followed by the 10k racers. The first stretch of the race went through grass and vineyards. I was able to see my son ahead as we went through the first mile. Rach and I got a little nervous as we saw the 10k runners coming right up behind us, it was tight quarters for the first quarter mile or so within the vineyard. We hugged the right as much as possible to allow the 10k runners by but it was a little difficult to get everyone to follow suit.

The majority of the course was on the road and once we reached that point, the field spread out and everything was good.

Who rocks? Sean, Diana, and G rock!

There was a water station set up a little before mile 2 and the volunteers were my friends so I was able to get the update on my son. Soon after I got the text alert that he finished. Even though these races are shorter distances, they have runner tracking which is appreciated, especially in this circumstance!

We got our photograph link emailed to us later on that day and this picture captures our experience to a T. Smiling, waving, and moving! Thanks to race photographer, Chad!

The last stretch of the race was through the vineyards again. 3.1 therapeutic miles – it was so good to be with Rachel and help her through this race. When we crossed the finish line we were awarded with our Run the Vineyards wine glasses, bottle of water, and KIND bars. Each bib has a wine ticket so you’re able to enjoy a glass of wine right after the race.

The atmosphere after the races is always party-like. There was a food truck and we had chairs and picnics set up.

When they began to announce the age group awards I was only half listening because, well, let’s be honest – I never win any awards. That’s why we nearly missed when Lucas’ name was called for placing third in the M 14 and under age group! What an awesome surprise! Emphasis on surprise.

That’s my kid!

My next race is the Atlantic City Bungalow Beach 5 Miler in a few weeks. The next couple of weeks I’m focusing on the last days of school for my kids and getting ready for summer but I’m hoping to get a few training runs in before that race. Fingers crossed!

Race Recap: 2018 Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

In 2017 I ran the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k on my 40th birthday. This year I had the opportunity to run the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 5k representing BibRave and I jumped at the opportunity. The swag is incredible and HELLO, there is chocolate. What more could a girl want?

Well, how about a super cool friend to run with? That’s always a bonus and one of the reasons I love running so much – being with friends. Last year I ran the 15k with my dear friend Christina as a celebration for both of us turning 40. This year, novice runner Ana joined me for the 5k run around Philadelphia.

Originally when I signed up for this race, I had visions of 5k PRs danced in my head. However after a rough winter and a broken arm, my training was less than stellar. I settled into the “get it done” mentality and that worked out well because I was able to run with Ana at her first ever road race.

I chose to have my packet sent to me rather than going to the expo for an additional fee. My purple pullover and bib arrived a week and a half prior to the race. It was worth the additional cost for me to save time traveling into the city prior to race day. There was no race day pickup.

The weather this year as brisk but not uncomfortable. As I headed out the door I made a last minute decision to ditch my gloves. I later came to regret that decision but otherwise I was comfortable.

Ana and I took the train into the city from S. Jersey, which is usually my standard when it comes to Philly races. It’s easy, it’s quick, and I don’t have to worry about parking. It was packed with other Hot Chocolate runners. I don’t know the amount of people who run both races but in the 5k there were 3,406 runners. I think that the 15k is the bigger of the two races. Both races get the same pullover and finisher’s mug at the end of the race, but the 15k also gets a finishers medal, which I think is a big draw for many people.

Our quick walk from the train station to the start line served as a warm up and we made it to the Art Museum right around 7am for the 7:15am start. It was perfect timing and we even got to see a few friends before the race!

Representing BibRave with Joe!

We placed ourselves in the G corral = mullet crew, party in the back. Looking to have a good time with this, we set our timer to 1:1 intervals.

The course is similar to others in Philadelphia. Starts at the Art Museum and then winds down along the river and back again. Boathouse Row is always fun to look at, the traffic on the other side: not as much.

We spent the first mile or so bobbing and weaving, as is usually the case with races this size, but we were having fun and enjoying the race and also the people around us.

On the course they handed out chocolate and marshmallows, along with water and Nuun.

This race went by fast! Soon enough we were turning around and headed back to the Art Museum.

Free race photos? YES PLEASE!

There is a small hill right near the finish line that is always there and yet, it always catches me off guard for some reason. We decided to walk up the hill (honestly, it’s not bad at all – just me whining) and then hit the gas for the end. So much fun!

Sure running is fun but let’s talk about chocolate-y goodness, shall we? There are huge tents where you can get your mug filled with all sorts of goodies: hot chocolate, chocolate dipping sauce, pretzels, cookies, banana, and Rice Krispy treat. Last year the ground around that area was muddy and gross due to recent rain. This year there was hay on the ground, which significantly improved that situation and was much appreciated.

The line to get our treats moved quickly and soon enough we were sitting in front of the Art Museum and enjoyed our treats.

And, of course, we ran up the Art Museum steps! How could we not?

Ana is already talking about signing up again next year so I think the running bug has bitten her. (Mwahaha, excellent, everything is going according to plan.)

Race Recap: The Lucky Run 2018

Lucky me – I won the growler playing the spinning wheel at packet pickup!

Back in the day, when I first started working out in earnest, I did Stroller Strides three times a week at Washington Lake Park. With my older son strapped into his stroller I would briskly walk with a gaggle of other moms and babies. We’d stop for exercises like squats, walking lunges, resistance band exercises, and ab work. And when we’d stop, we sang children’s songs to entertain the kids… and probably the rest of the patrons in the park as well.

As time went on I became a certified instructor; I continued to teach through my pregnancy and then with my younger son in the stroller. It feels like a lifetime ago!

May 12, 2013 – a 5k held on Mother’s Day.

Quite simply, the park feels like home. When I found out that The Lucky Run was held there, it went on my bucket list. Through a series of fortunate events, I won a free entry to this year’s race!

In line with the theme, packet pickup was held at two breweries on the days leading up to the race, along with race day packet pickup for added convenience. Communication from Good Day for a Run and Mean Guy Running was stellar, as is their way. I opted to go to the closest brewery to me: Kelly Green Brewing Co. I (sadly) skipped the beer since I knew I’d be partaking in a post race beer or two the following day.

Race day weather was cool but dry. We’ve seen our share of snow and general yuckiness the last couple of weeks so we were all happy that the sun shining on the day of the race.

Thankfully I was wearing my Greecie Girl hat! Review coming soon.

Prior to running we learned a bit about the charity that the race supports, Collette Paying it Forward. We also got the chance to chat with a few of the charity’s volunteers while they were selling 50/50 raffle tickets. I like races that give back to the community.

Before the race began, I was able to meet up with a few local members of Team Shenanigans, Lynn and Erin! Although I’ve been a fan of the Team Shenanigans podcast for awhile, this was my first shenanigans encounter in person… and hopefully not the last – I don’t think I scared them away! We only had a few minutes prior to the race to talk, but we caught up at the after-party at The Village Pub.

After pictures and shenanigans (you see what I did there) we lined up for the start. We fed through the start line and then self-seeded where we thought we should be. I put myself toward the very back of the pack – in hindsight I might have wanted to find a place a bit further up. The park paths are narrow and it’s hard to maneuver in a large crowd. Lesson learned – I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

After the Star Spangled Banner, we were off to the sounds of a bagpiper!

Thanks to race photographer Chad for this picture!

There are a few areas of the park that tend to flood when there’s been a lot of rain. Knowing where to step for that portion definitely helped me out, but I could tell there were a few runners around me that ended up with wet socks.

The course had a double loop so the lead runners met up with the back of the pack around mile 2. No skin off my back but I could see that being a bit of a challenge for them.

The first mile was crowded but once we got past that, it spread out a bit. There was a water station around mile 1.25, which you passed again in the second mile. Neither my running buddy nor I needed to stop but it’s nice that they have the option! We joked that we were holding out for the beer at the after-party.

After the second loop we veered off to go through the flooded area again. This time is was less critical to know where to step because it wasn’t as dense with runners.

We looped by the amphitheater once again and went through what started at the start line and became the finish line. Results were immediately emailed to my phone.

I don’t know if you remember this if you’re not my mom (hi mom) but my goal for running in 2018 was to get faster at the 5k distance. I didn’t achieve that goal for this race but I’m going to cut myself some slack since my broken arm didn’t do me any favors in the training department. At this point, I’m really just happy to be out there and running. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Knowing that we didn’t win any awards, we quickly headed over to the after-party at The Village Pub. Erin and Lynn arrived there a bit ahead of us and grabbed a table, which was absolutely awesome. We were able to chat there while snacking on our complimentary munchies and drinking our beer (also free with ticket on the bib). Then since we were there, we decided to grab more snacks… and more beer! Hey, why not?!

One of the things I love the most about running local is catching up with so many friends! It’s such a good time and this environment only lends to the experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Good Day for a Run and Mean Guy Running know what runners enjoy!

I hope I’m finding my 5k groove because I’ll be at the Haddonfield Adrenaline Run on Saturday and then I’ll be representing BibRave at the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k in Philadelphia in early April so if you’re looking for me, look for the orange! If you haven’t signed up for that one yet, use code ““BRHCPHILLY18” to score a bonus Hot Chocolate cap.

What races do you have coming up? Will I see any of you at the Adrenaline Run or Philly Hot Chocolate? We can share snacks. Just kidding, I won’t share!

Princess Half Recap

Actually, how far I went was a little over 13.1 miles, but I wanted something cute to start off with!

This weekend was Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World and I participated for the second time, running my seventh half marathon. Princess Weekend consists of three races: a 5K, 10K, and a half marathon. Running all three race is on my bucket list, but I’m just not there yet. (I mean, have you every paid for a runDisney race?!)

Since Princess Weekend starts on a Thursday with the expo my friend and I took Friday off from work and drove the three hours to Orlando. We spent the afternoon at the expo in ESPN Wide World of Sports. It’s a lot of fun just kind of walking about and checking out all the great running and fitness stuff that on display, not to mention all of the official runDisney merchandise that, of course, I purchased.

Now, Michelle and I weren’t running until Sunday and were fully aware that we didn’t really need to go up until Saturday for the expo and packet pickup, but we did anyway. Our job is stressful, we’re both annual passholders, and a day at Magic Kingdom is a cure-all. I’m not kidding. We spent most of Saturday at Magic Kingdom riding rides, dodging crowds, and stuffing our faces with delicious food- er, race fuel.

Flat Ash with a Princess Anna/Frozen theme is ready!

Saturday night was an early bedtime, of course. Anyone who has ever done a Disney race knows that while races start at 5:30ish, it’s best to be at the venue at least an hour in advance. My outfit was all set thanks to my Skirt Sports Lioness skirt and my friend JD over at Harpo Graphics. Princess starts at Epcot and since we weren’t staying on Disney property we left our hotel at about 3:30AM. Traffic is also pretty horrendous due to some construction, so we ended up getting to Epcot around 4:00AM. We hung out in the car before trekking into the welcome area. We’d had coffee at the hotel and bagels with peanut butter in the car, which is my go-to race day breakfast. I usually pair it with a banana, too.

We knew the weather was going to be rough. Early that week there was an advisory about heat and humidity. As south Florida is our home and normal running place, we weren’t too worried. I did start hydrating with Nuun on Thursday and made sure to drink plenty of water all weekend. We had plenty of time to take pictures and visit the porta potties and nothing felt rushed at all. I guess that’s a perk of waking up at 2:30 in the morning!

At the start line!

Once we made it to the corral there was a lot of waiting. My friend and I are not fast runners, so we were in one of the last corrals that also happened to be a very large group. There were about 25,000 runners on Sunday morning, so it was packed! If you read my post about training fail then you know I was not at all prepared for this race! I signed up last summer with the intent of training and things just did not work out for me. I won’t make excuses because it was all me, for sure.

The thought of “faking” a half marathon was pretty daunting but we were ready to run, walk, and have a little bit of fun. The weather was nice for the first few miles…until the sun came up. We had a smooth first half and the sun was coming up just as we were entering Magic Kingdom. One of the greatest things about a Disney race is the characters on the course. There are, in true Disney fashion, always long lines. Don’t worry. You can just take selfies.

My Princes await…but so does the finish line.

Now, the sunrise is Disney is great, don’t get me wrong. It’s the heat that comes with the sun at miles 7-10 that were killer! About mile 8 my legs started to get heavy and I was doing more walking than running. Thank goodness Michelle was there to push me (as always). I had a Gingerade GU to try and perk me up as I was starting to feel hungry, too.

Volunteers were handing out sponges to help runners stay cool.

Mile 10 started with a fairly intense cramp that I couldn’t seem to shake. We were making decent time for a not setting an actual pace and doing some walking, so we took it easy for a little while. The crowd was still pretty thick around us and once we hit an overpass you could still see a sea of runners behind us. It sounds mean, but as a “back of the pack” runner I’m always glad when people are behind me! Coming into Epcot means coming up on the finish, so Spaceship Earth was a lovely sight!

Always be on the lookout for Disney photographers for your fun pics!

I love running through the parks and seeing all of the people there. Even if they are actually there cheering for you, they are still cheering! Unless they are just park goers who had no idea there was a race. Then they are just looking at you being all sweaty and weird. Running is such a fun sport because there are so many different levels of it, but everyone is still very encouraging. One of my favorite things about Disney races is seeing everyone’s running outfits and just the joy (really) of running through Disney.

When no one gives you high fives, you smile anyway.

I made sure to high five the choir for Meridith (no pics, sorry) and that is how you know you’re in the home stretch! Rounding the final corner to the finish line is exhilarating and exhausting. I almost tried to stop, but Michelle pulled me through and we finished at a little over three hours. Our goal is to do a sub three one day, but this was not the race for that.

Once we stopped moving I felt a little queasy. It was nothing a runDisney snack box and some ice didn’t fix. The race was as tough as I expected it would be. My legs were screaming at me afterward as we headed to Disney Springs to eat all the food and then head home. It was a great weekend of fun, even the running part of it. I will always recommend a Disney race to people just because it’s such a huge event and it’s always a lot of fun.

Even if you don’t train for it.

Always get the castle pic.

Race Recap: 2018 Chili Run

Last year’s Chili Run was a great one: great weather, great running with my buddy, Rachel. All around GREAT.

This year? 50 degrees and RAIN was in the forecast for the January Chili Run. Additionally, this race had an extra challenge because… I can’t get my arm wet.

It sounds so silly but yep, it’s true. You can learn more about my injury here and here. It’s been 3 weeks since I initially fell. I finally had the MRI last week because the X-Rays didn’t show enough; it’s a fracture of my radius. I’m going back to the doctor later today and we’ll see what they have to say.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, I’m dealing with an injury, it was raining, and my reluctant runner husband, Jay, was signed up to run this race after he agreed to it after drinking a few beers. (If you want to get Jay to agree to something, that’s usually the best time to ask.)

All signs pointed toward a DNS – Did Not Start.

But c’mon. Is that me? No. No, it is not.

That’ll do! I even was able to put my thumb through my jacket’s thumb hole. BONUS!

Before I was injured, my goal was to try to hit the 22:00 minute mark for this two mile race. That would have been fast for me and a course PR. Honestly, even before I was injured, it would have been a bit of a stretch.

But given that I haven’t run for the past 3 weeks and I’ve been babying my arm because it hurts, my main goal was just to RUN. I was nervous going into this so I decided that I would stick with Jay, in case I needed to stop for any reason.

This year’s swag: The Chili Run beanie hat! Additionally you get a bowl of chili and a beer after the run!

The convenience of this race couldn’t be better for us. The start and finish is located at Carolina Blue, a local restaurant that is 2 miles from our home. With a start time of 10am, we rolled out of the house at 9:30am and were there minutes later.

We had friends running and I messaged with a few but we decided rather than going inside, we’d stay warm and dry in our car until the last possible minute.

If he looks less than impressed it’s because he is.

I knew my husband planned to listen to his music rather than chatting with me, so I brought along my AfterShokz and paired them with my phone.

About five minutes before the start of the race, all of the runners came out from the warmth of their cars and the patio to line up for the start. It was steadily raining but thankfully it wasn’t freezing cold.

My outfit consisted of capris, Bib Rave tank, running jacket, Momentum hat, and plastic bag.

There are no pictures from the race but if you’re really curious, feel free to visit last year’s post from the same race. My phone was safely tucked away in a plastic bag!

Something to note is this race doesn’t have a timing mat to cross when you begin. Therefore your time begins as soon as the race starts. Jay and I crossed the finishing timing mat at 24:49. To give you an idea of the speed of some of the runners, the top male finished in 11:13 and the top female was smoking fast at 13:19. Wowza!

After crossing the finish we cheered as a few friends crossed the finish and then we quickly jumped in the chili line. The line snaked outside into the rain so I kept my plastic bag firmly in place! We saw even more friends while waiting in the line and that’s another reason why I love this run so much, it’s got a great community vibe.

I just realized i didn’t have a picture of this year’s chili so last year’s will have to do!

Overall, despite the rain and in spite of my arm, this is always a fun race and well worth the $40 entry fee. A few spots just opened for the February race but I know they’ll go fast!

Have you ever done a 2 mile race? What’s something you look forward to eating/drinking after a run?

Race Plans in 2018

I’ve written it on my heart and I am ready for all that 2018 has to offer.

Thus far I’ve signed up for 9 races for the upcoming year. That’s right – NINE. I have plans, my friends! While my goal for 2016/2017 were PR based, my goal for 2018 is to focus on shorter distances.

january

2017 was the first time I did a Good Day for a Run’s Chili Run, a 2 mile race which is just down the street from my house. I decided to return again this year and when my husband had imbibed in a few beers one night, he agreed that I should sign him up as well.

I love when that happens!

Last year’s swag was a really cute chili bowl and spoon. This year all runners will receive a Chili Run Beanie with an embroidered logo! While the January date is already sold out, there is also a February date that appears to have availability left at this point.

The race ends at Carolina Blue restaurant and each runner gets a hot cup of chili and a beer ticket!

march

You might recall I did The Light Run a few weeks ago. While at the after-party, my friend Beth won an entry for The Lucky Run. She isn’t quite at the “timed event” mark so she graciously offered the entry to me!

I’m very excited for this one because it will be my first 5k of 2018! Unless something else jumps in there ahead of schedule (which is always a possibility). It takes place at the park where I used to teach Stroller Strides so in addition to an awesome event, I’m sure I’ll be a little sentimental too.

In 2017 I was so excited for the annual Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k. My husband was looking forward to it, I was looking forward to it… and then the week of the race I realized that I hadn’t registered us for the sold out event.

*cue the sad trombone*

Yeah, somehow in my excitement for the race, I didn’t remember that we hadn’t signed up. We discussed it and I guess I thought I had. But alas, I did not.

As soon as I saw that registration was open for 2018, I immediately registered for us. Make no mistake, we WILL be there!

This was an impulsive decision. I’ve never run the Philly LOVE RUN before but I feel like I’ve run nearly every other Philly based half and therefore needed to do this one.

Of course, a few weeks after I registered for the half distance, a brand spanking new 5k distance was announced. So now I’m vacillating between wanting to stick with the half or seeing if I can switch to the 5k. Hmmm, what to do, what to do. I’m still mulling it over.

april

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hot Chocolate Philadelphia race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

This past year I celebrated my 40th birthday at the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k. In 2018 I’ll be celebrating my 41st (and 6 day) birthday at the Hot Chocolate 5k!

And, what’s really, really cool is that many of my friends are going to be at this race too! Retired Scoot a Doot Chick, Bec, will be visiting and will be there; Past guest poster, Ana, just signed up as well.

Fellow BibRave Pros Joe, Sara, and Janelle will also be there!

If you want to sign up, use the code BRHCPHILLY18 and you can pick up a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap. You’re welcome! (Also, please comment and let me know so we can find each other!)

I’m returning for my 7th April Fools half marathon in Atlantic City in April as well. I’ve run this race since its inaugural year and I attained my PR this past year on the course!

It’s one of my favorite places to do training runs and races. Being that it’s tried and true, I love this race thoroughly. I can’t wait to return for another year of running!

This is another race that I’m returning to; this will be my 3rd time running the Run the Vineyards Heritage 5 Miler.

Rachel is registered to run it with me and it’s always a great time with her. I’m looking forward to getting out there and stretching my legs on this course. Also, I’m looking forward to chilling and having a glass of wine afterward. It’s all about balance!

And now for the portion in my schedule where I jump from APRIL TO AUGUST. I’m certainly that I’ll be filling up the months in between, I just haven’t yet.

august

Here’s a destination race for me – Vacation Races Elk Double. I’ll be taking a little trip across the country to join Jenn at her favorite race weekend!

I’m so excited for this for several reasons:

  1. JENN. I get my Jennifer! I haven’t seen her for far too long and I can’t wait! Not only that, but I get to spend 16.2 miles with her.
  2. Colorado. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If you haven’t been there, you should go!
  3. I’m bringing my family along with me! My boys are SO EXCITED for all things travel related but they’re really fixated on going to Colorado. Probably because of number 2.

So yes, I am really pumped for this and while I don’t want to rush time along or anything, I am very much looking forward to August!

I can’t wait to report back and let you know how all of these go. Plus, I’m looking forward to seeing what other races I add to the list!

What events are you looking forward to in 2018? Will I see you at any of these?

The Light Run

Back in October I boldly stated that I was done running any sort of race for the year. I think I truly meant it until I heard that the registration for The Light Run was open.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” (name that movie!)

Along with my friend Beth, we registered on the spot!

The Light Run is a fun run co-sponsored by local running pals Good Day for a Run and MEAN GUY Running. The run is not timed and winds through the streets of Pitman, New Jersey. You get an ornament and a really great experience with a fun after-party at nearby Carolina Blue.

The cost for this? A mere $12 and if you’d like to, a donation of a toy at check-in that goes to local charities the Robin’s Nest and The Kids Caring Foundation. I’m pretty sure it sells out every year because who could resist a deal like that?

Since it’s not a closed course they ask that you stay mostly on the sidewalks and follow pedestrian laws. Once we started running we figured out where we should be in the pack and made our way through the fairly quiet streets of Pitman.

Every turn was clearly marked with a sign and cones and there were a few volunteers out on the course to wave runners in the right direction as well.

Most of my runs take place in the morning so it was a little weird for me to be out at 6:30pm, running a 5k, but it was also so much fun!

Beth ordered us Christmas light necklaces and I also wore my Tracer360 light vest, along with my Knuckle Lights. I’m so glad I had the Knuckle Lights on because there were a few areas where the sidewalk was heaved and without them, I’m pretty sure I would have tripped. #klutzstatus

Along with our lights galore, we also wanted to be comfy temperature wise! I actually love running in the winter weather but staying warm beforehand is always something I struggle with. I was fairly comfy in running tights, Pro Compression socks, a long-sleeved running shirt, a sub-zero jacket,  BUFF® hat and headwear, gloves, and um, more gloves.

Yes, I doubled up on the gloves and also added hand warmers in the mix too. I like keeping my hands warm and toasty.

We circled around the streets of Pitman, oohing and ahhing at the houses we saw along the way. There were so many pretty ones!

During the second half of the run, we went to the piece de resistance, the Hagerty Family Christmas Lights, which is in its 32nd year. I wasn’t expecting to see Santa there since it was a Wednesday but I guess there was a bit of magic in the air!

This was Beth’s first non-family 5k and I’m so glad that we got to do it together! It was lovely and as long as The Light Run exists, I’ll be out there in December running it (so remind me of that the next time that I say I’m done with running for the year, okay?).

Are you a fan of checking out holiday decorations and lights? Do you go by car? Walking tour? My family and I love to drive around and look at everyone’s decorations closer to Christmas too – it’s one of the things we always look forward to!

2017 Rewind in Races – part two

And I’m back! July through December were slightly less eventful than the first half of the year – mainly because summer racing isn’t that much of a *thing* around here. Or maybe, more accurately, it’s not much of a *thing* for ME.

July 2017 – Firecracker 5k

Remember in part one of this, I mentioned that my son Lucas occasionally likes to run with me? He decided that this was a good time to run again. Even though he had not run a 5k since… probably February when we last ran together.

This was more about running together with my kiddo than breaking any records. I was happy to be out there with him and he was, well, he was happy when it was over.

September 2017 – Vacation Races Shenandoah Half Marathon

Shenandoah Half Expo - Vacation Races

Oh my gosh, this was such a fun weekend from start to finish. My buddy Rachel and I took a road trip to Virginia for the inaugural Shenandoah half marathon. We knew that it would be a tough course but we also knew that we always have a lot of fun wherever we go, so we decided to just embrace the hills and roll with it.

This experience was exactly what a non-racing half marathon should be! Though we weren’t going particularly fast, the miles just flew by. The scenery was incredible, we chatted the entire way, and waved to the locals watching from their porches.

I’m registered for Vacation Races Elk Double with Jenn next year and I know that if it’s anything like this one, I won’t be disappointed!

Shenandoah Half Marathon finishers medals

We did it!

September 2017 – Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia

This was my first race representing BibRave and I was so excited to meet many of my fellow BibRave Pros before the race began. I knew going in that this race would be more about having fun than anything else and as I started running how was I was feeling just solidified my plan to enjoy the run.

I loved this run because of the crowd during the first half of the race and then runners I met along the course the second half of the race. Philly is always a good place to run and this was no exception!

October 2017 – Run the Vineyards Destination Enoteca 5k

Running through a vineyard. Finishing with wine and music. What could be better? Nothing! This race and all the races that Run the Vineyards offers have been A+.

I ran this one with my friend, Erin, and we had a great time running but an even better time enjoying a cheese plate and wine afterward. Yeah, that’s right. I’m not ashamed to admit it!

October 2017 – Run Inspired 10k

Another BibRave race, another opportunity to meet a BibRave Pro friend, Ryan!

This race took place in the hills of Delaware and benefited Operation Warm, which provides winter coats for children living in poverty. It was a beast of a course but one that was so beautiful, I was happy and grateful for every step I took.

My family came with me to cheer me on and it was a great way to wrap my 2017 races.

I swore that was going to be it and that I’d be focusing on training for the winter months. I skipped the Philadelphia half marathon this year and I’m actually glad that I did because I was having some leg issues for a few weeks after this race.

I’m back in working order now and I had a friend that was interested in signing up for a local, non-timed 5k – The Light Run. It’s a fun run that supports a couple of local non-profits and I’m happy to be taking part!

Ornaments from last year’s run

Here’s to a happy, healthy, injury free 2018!

2017 Rewind in Races – part one

2017 has been a good and busy year for me, as far as races go! I hit a couple PRs, spent a lot of time with great friends, and was able to run my first Ragnar.

Now that we’re in December and I only have one fun run of the year left, happening next week, I’ve gotten nostalgic for the races of 2017. Let’s look back over the first six months, shall we?

January 2017 – The Chili Run

It’s difficult to find races in the colder months here in New Jersey. For the most part the ones, the winter months are used to get base miles in and prepare for the spring.

However, the Chili Run is a 2 mile jaunt through the town next to mine. Highlights of this race include seeing lots of familiar local faces (including running with my friend, Rachel), chili, really cute swag, and oh yes – running, of course!

I’m already signed up for the 2018 event and this year my husband will be joining in the fun!

February 2017 – Mad Eye Moody Virtual 5k

Jenn told me about the Mad Eye Moody Virtual 5k from Hogwarts Running Club and I decided to join her in running this one. After I told my older son, Lucas, about it, he wanted in on the action and decided to run with me for this 3.1 mile run.

Occasionally he gets run-inspired and that was the case this time – I think because it was Superbowl weekend. As always, we took the first mile too quickly and then we toughed out the second and third miles together. Even still, it was nice to have company and I was so proud of him, when we got the medal in the mail soon after, I gave it to him.

February 2017 – Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

This race was a destination race for me – my parents live in Florida and the timing worked out so that I could run the race and have a visit with them.

It sticks out in my mind for several reasons.

  1. There was a train that went through the course about a quarter mile in and we had to turn around and start the race again. (It was a really, really long train.)
  2. Despite the train, I had so much fun running this race. I realized early on that it was going to be super warm. It wasn’t anywhere close to my fastest race but I pet dogs, drank beer on the course, saw my mom multiple times, and just had a really nice time.
  3. After the race, the 2nd place finisher was called out as cutting the course. Even my non-running friends were talking about it and it just goes to show that cheaters never win… especially when social media is involved.

April 2017 – Hot Chocolate 15k

Two 40 year olds!

The Philly Hot Chocolate race was on my 40th birthday and I could think of no better way to celebrate than meeting up with Christina and running 15k (which is 9.3 miles, in case you don’t want to do the math).

We had such a fun race together and of course, after we celebrated with adding Bailey’s to our hot chocolate. Nothing better!

April 2017 – AC April Fools Half Marathon

This was my big PR – I shaved 8 minutes off my half marathon time to come in at 2:40! I was really proud because I put in the effort and the training that I needed to do it, plus I trained consistently on the course.

I’m already registered for the 2018 race and I’m hoping to once again be able to hit my best yet. I’m fairly certain that if I continue with my training and remain injury free (knock on wood), I’ll be able to do it!

April 2017 – Run for Rowan 5k

I was full steam ahead in April – running a race nearly every weekend! This one was at our alma mater, just minutes away from our home. We ran together and got to see all the changes that happened to the campus (that we can’t see from the road).

The weather wasn’t fantastic but it was a nice little 5k and the price couldn’t be beat at $20.

If they have this run again, I’ll be registering for it. Hopefully I can convince Jay to run again too!

April 2017 – Run the Vineyards Heritage 5 Miler

Kate, Brandi, and myself! We’ve been friends since our kids were in strollers.

I was able to hit a PR on this course too! With hills, sand, dirt, and road, I was really hoping that I would be able to come in at under an hour and thankfully, I was able to accomplish that.

The Run the Vineyards folks always put on stellar events, I enjoy running and volunteering with them. I’m already registered for the 2018 race; it will be my 3rd time running this race and again, I’d like to beat my time from this year.

June 2017 – Ragnar Relay PA

There are so, so many things to be said about Ragnar. It was 6 months ago and I’m still trying to process the event! I am so grateful that I was finally able to run a Ragnar and be with my teammates. I honestly don’t think if I’d ever do another one but I’m so glad that I ran this one with these people.

Can you believe that was only the first half of 2017?! I’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the year.

Race Recap: Run Inspired 10k

With fellow BibRave Pro, Ryan (IRUNONBEER)

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Run Inspired 10k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

You know the song from Grease that goes: “I’ve got chills, they’re multiplyin'”?

I’ve decided to change that lyric to “I’ve got hills, they’re multiplyin'” in honor of the Run Inspired 10k!

Eating hills for breakfast, indeed.

The 2nd annual Run Inspired 10k in Winterthur, Delaware was held on October 15, 2017. The race benefits Operation Warm, which provides winter coats for children living in poverty. It’s a great cause and one that I was happy to support.

The start and finish were in the same location, and surrounded by the “race village”, which is where the Finishers Party was held. Bib Pickup could be done on Friday or Saturday at the Delaware Running Company or (as I opted to do) day of at the Registration tent for no additional fee.

At the bib pickup I was given my race bib, a long sleeved poly-blend women’s cut shirt, and a drawstring bag.

Parking was in a field, on a hill, overlooking the race village. There was also premium parking available a bit closer to the race village. The only issue was this year’s weather was rainy prior to the race, leaving the grass wet… which made for wet socks and shoes. Not ideal, but thankfully I prepared ahead of time by slathering my feet with 2 Toms Foot Shield.

There were 747 runners/walkers during this race (the 2016 inaugural race hosted 1,397 participants) and the management encourages both runners and walkers to participate.

Corrals are self-seeded with paces up to 10 minutes and then a “walkers” corral. A suggestion would be to extent the running corrals even further, as I know many (such as myself) employ the run/walk/run technique. The course was a bit tight at the beginning of the race and spreading paces out a bit further might assist with that.

As for the course, it was absolutely gorgeous! Hosted at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, there was beautiful fall foliage and many things to look at along the way. From reading a previous review on BibRave, I knew that the course would be hilly (something that those from the area wouldn’t automatically assume because most of Delaware is flat as a pancake).

It was definitely a challenging course! I took advantage of the flat portions and the downhills as much as possible.

The volunteers stationed along the course and at the water stations were fantastic and encouraging. There were smiling faces everywhere. A portion of the course (1.5 miles) is along the road and it was clearly marked off with police officers directing traffic. I felt very safe.

The last push of the race was, unsurprisingly, uphill. It would have been very easy to be disheartened but my family was waiting for me and I could see them cheering. I usually don’t bring my family along to races because I fear they’ll be bored but with the knowledge of the Finishers Party, I knew there would be activities to keep them busy.

I returned to find my younger son’s face painted and my older son “tattooed”. They also loved winning prizes at the Operation Warm tent and were encouraged to keep playing, which is something I appreciate. And something my husband appreciated even more while trying to keep them entertained!

My older son saw me coming during the last stretch and ran on the grass beside me for the last two tenths of a mile. He was so excited and it was so great to have him there! As I crossed the finish line, I was given very cute medal. This race was not even close to my PR from last fall, but it was such a challenge, I was proud that I got it done.

Took my Eagle Creek Duffel along to carry the family’s stuff! Review to come soon.

There was a long chute in which I was able to grab a bottle of water immediately and get a good amount of snacks! They had popcorn, chips, soft pretzels, cheese curls, lemonade, and iced tea. It was a great spread, especially for a 10k. My kids had their eyes on my snacks immediately (and naturally, I shared with the kiddos).

Each finisher also got a drink ticket on their bib with their choice of either beer or wine. I opted for the Dogfish Head Namaste (and naturally, I shared with my husband).

The Finishers Party had food trucks, a musician, beer garden, vendors, and more. It’s unfortunate that the weather was overcast. Had it not been, I think we would have stayed longer. After sipping my beer and enjoying a few songs from the musician, we decided to pack it up and head back to the car.

Overall, it was a great morning and a race I’d consider returning to in the future. It was most certainly inspiring and Operation Warm is a worthy cause!

Unless another race comes along that really inspires me to sign up, the Run Inspired 10k was my last of 2017. Never say never, of course, but I’m looking forward to maintaining for a few months rather than training.