BibRave + The Running Event = A HECK OF A GOOD TIME

Disclaimer: I received a travel and hotel stipend and swag from The Running Event 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! No further compensation was given and as always, all opinions are my own. If something was given for review purposes, it will be disclosed.

Picture this: You’re traveling solo to the new-to-you city of Austin, Texas. You get off the airplane and your eyes bounce around the airport, in search of the color orange.

The faces you’re looking for are ones you’ve never seen in person (save for a few, whom you’ve met previously at races); You know them from social media posts, Twitter chats, and the occasional conference call. You’ll be spending the next two days with these people and it’s a bit nerve-wracking.

And then there they are, beacons of light in orange, wearing their BibRave hats and shirts and huge smiles.

In that instant, you know that you’ve found your family.

As a BibRave Pro for the past two years, I’ve had so many awesome opportunities. However, I’ve got to say, this opportunity was the granddaddy of them all! A trip to Austin for The Running Event and the chance to meet 20 fellow BibRave Pros and 5 members of Team BibRave, the staff that includes Tim, Jessica, Julia, Andy, and Stephanie.

Once I received word that I’d been selected to go, it was a pinch me, I’m dreaming moment and that sentiment continued throughout the course of two day adventure!

We didn’t have anything “official” on the agenda until the Zwift Welcome Reception that evening but it’s clear to see that you can’t keep Pros apart. After arriving and meeting up with Kim, Chris, Brenda, and Mark, we took an Uber to our hotel. Once getting settled we decided to have lunch at Moonshine.

It started with four of us and after sending out a quick text to let everyone know where we were, we ended with 14!

From there a few of us branched off to take a quick tour of the city. I’d never been to Austin before but from the brief time we took walking around, I know that I must go back!

Don’t Mess with Texas or Casey, Mark, Chris, Gina, me, Tedrick, and Kim!

After our quick walk about town (and visit to Voodoo Doughnut, natch), we headed back to the hotels and got ready for the Zwift Welcome Reception.

Zwift is a virtual game that you use on the treadmill. For those attending the conference, our representation were the “chosen” four!

A run was set up with our other Pro friends and they all “met” up in the game at 5:45 for a 5k run. Cheering them on was so much fun. Give me a pompom and let me loose!

 

I was given a footpod from Zwift (the device that connects you to the virtual game) and we’ll be doing another BibRave virtual run on December 18th so I’ll be able to give you my full review on that in a couple of weeks.

Earlier in the week, Team BibRave announced the winners of The BibRave 100, a comprehensive list of the 100 best races in America, voted on by runners. Benjamin the lion is The BibRave 100 mascot and we were excited to see him in attendance! Of course my roomie, Kim, and I had to take a picture with the lion of the hour!

The welcome reception is also where we received an incredibly generous amount of SWAG from companies at The Running Event.

Holy moly, it was honestly like Hanukkah and Christmas morning all rolled into one. And maybe my birthday too.

My eye doesn’t know where to go first!

Following the reception we went for barbecue dinner and then finished up the evening at the Brooks Party. A good number of us wore the Brooks LSD Jacket that we’d just gotten and soon realized just how reflective it is.

Jessica, Kim, and myself

Can we say awesome? That’s a lot of reflection! Check out the picture above and see if you can spot the same jacket without the flash.

Due to the early morning wake up (3:30 for Kim and myself) we decided to head out early from the party. However, just before we left, we got to meet Des Linden, this year’s winner of the Boston Marathon. What a great way to wrap up day 1!

The following morning we were up before the sun, as we prepared for a 6:30am BibRave group run. It was such an awesome experience running around Austin in a big orange pack. I might sound a little bumpkin-y here but city running is certainly different than running here at home.

Thanks to Larry Castillo Photography for the amazing shots during the group run!

Kim and I even ended up twinning in our Skirt Sports Temper Tantrum print and BibRave shirts!

Team BibRave had a great spread of food set up for us after the run, which was so awesome and appreciated. We grabbed our bagels and ran back to the hotel room to grab a quick shower and get ready for TRE Influencer Day!

TRE Influencer Day was so epic, I covered it in a separate blog post. Click here to hop over!

From Philly to Austin, With Love

Whoa whoa whoa. How is it November 28th already? This month has been filled with running, food, family, running family, more food, and lots and lots of Philadelphia pride.

Over the past 10 days, I’ve spent about half of them in Philadelphia.

It kicked off on Friday, November 16th at the Health and Wellness Expo for the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. I chose to run the Rothman 8k this year so I had to get into the city to grab my race packet.

Time was NOT on my side because I (stupidly) scheduled a doctor’s appointment for my son that afternoon. So rather than enjoying the city and visiting Reading Terminal for lunch, I took a train in, ran over to the Convention Center, grabbed my stuff, and ran back to catch the train out of the city… all within an hour. A new travel PR!

The race was on Saturday and started at 10:45am. I didn’t need to be up before the sun, which was nice but I was also totally thrown off by this turn of events. What train should I take? What should I eat? Who would I meet up with for the 8k?

Thankfully I got into the city with at least an hour to spare, naturally, so I took my time walking to the race village. Then I stationed myself in between the finish of the half marathon and the start of the 8k.

And nearly immediately found people I knew!

Larry and Amy from the Sub-30 Club were also running the 8k. Hooray! Larry is a pacer and offered to help pace me through the miles, which was awesome.

The 8k course is along the river, so it’s a standard Philly race in that respect. The distance makes it special though and it’s a nice way to be involved with the Philly Marathon weekend.

We did 30/30 intervals and he stuck with me through the entire race. I wanted to finish under an hour but with self-seeded corrals and the course being congested nearly the entire time, we finished at an hour and one minute. Ooof. So close, yet so far! There was a finish line for the kids race that faked us out, which was cruel but finally we crossed the actual finish line with smiles on our faces.

I did this race in 2011 and it’s grown up in the last 7 years. 2011 there was 1,460 runners, a cotton t-shirt, standard bib, and the knowledge that you ran the race as the awards for your achievements. This year there was nearly 3,500 runners, a tech t-shirt, personalized bibs, a beautiful medal (and the knowledge that you ran the race).

In between this and my next Philly adventure, it was Thanksgiving! We hosted this year and I think we might finally be seeing the light at the end of the leftover tunnel.

Since we were hosting, there were no Turkey Trots for us this year. Instead my son Lucas and I opted to take part in the #TotheStarbucks run.

I heard about this awesome, free event from Rachel and I was immediately drawn in because… well, just read part of the description of the run.

Join us for a morning fun run, the Saturday after Thanksgiving! We run (or walk! That’s ok too!) we have fun, and then we eat some donuts outta a trunk (oh and there’s Starbucks nearby if that’s your jam!) the route is TBA but always has a short 2.5mi and Long 5min distance. 

A given, am I right?

Through the years of running in Philly and going to City Fit Girls retreats, I’ve met lots of people and many of them were at the #ToTheStarbucks run. My son started out running with us and nearly immediately took off to run ahead. I knew that he was in good hands because these were all good folks and I’d meet him at the Starbucks, of course.

Let’s review. A run, handmade medal, donut, photos, and being cheered on. CAN EVERY DAY BE LIKE THIS?

Not to be outdone by Saturday, on Sunday we went to (you guessed it) PHILLY for the Eagles/Giants game. I grew up in central Jersey so I was mostly surrounded by Giants fans, including my dad.

However being in south Jersey for nearly half my life, I now know the “error” of my ways. My son is an Eagles fan which means that we are all Eagles fans. My first game ever was as insane/fun as I expected it to be. And the Eagles WON (it was looking a little dicey at the beginning).

I’m sure it’s not a surprise that I’ve got more Philadelphia fun on the agenda for 2019. My first scheduled event is the first weekend of April, I’ll be running the Hot Chocolate 5k, representing Team BibRave!

Speaking of BibRave, I’ve got some exciting news to share!

Tomorrow I’m off to Austin, Texas for The Running Event‘s TRE Influencer Day! This is an amazing opportunity that I’ve been given (along with some of my fellow BibRave Pros) as a perk of being a BRP.

I’ve never been to Texas before and this will be a short, jam-packed trip. I can’t even properly articulate how pumped I am. I’ll work on that before tomorrow since I’ll be sharing a lot of information on Instagram Stories and maybe I’ll even try my hand at the live feed (gulp, I’ve never done that before!).

What are you looking forward to in the next day/week/month? Have you been to Austin before? Anything I MUST do? I can’t even promise I’ll have the time to do it but I’ll try!

Big Life Update!

It’s official. We’re moving.

When Clay left for MOS school, we knew that the likelihood of us staying in the DMV was slim – we thought maybe there was a chance he could get assigned to Quantico, but we weren’t counting on it. Truthfully, though, we were excited about the opportunity to go somewhere new.

And now? We’ll be packing up our little home in Virginia and making our way across the country to Camp Pendleton in Southern California just in time to ring in 2019!
We have two months to get all of our things in order before we hit the road and our schedule is already packed. The next couple of months are full of fun and fitness and packing. Lots of packing. And then lots of driving.

The last time I moved cross-country, I had no furniture, one car, Alaska plates, and way less STUFF.

This is the first PCS for both of us, so there’s a pretty steep learning curve involved. I’ve moved myself across the country three times, but never on military orders (and all that goes with them) and never with a pet. Or with actual furniture for that matter. This time is definitely going to be a bit of an adventure.

My life has become focused on getting over one hurdle at a time. This week is work travel and once I get through that, it’s just two more weeks until Clay gets home, and then we’re taking it week by week, going over our lists, making new ones, checking things off.

Until Clay gets home, though, what I’m mostly doing is purging junk from our house and making LOTS of lists. It’s soothing. Keeps my brain from getting cluttered and helps me remember all the little random tasks that cross my mind when I’m trying to fall asleep at night – lists also help keep me out of the Panic Spiral. Most of the time anyways.

All I can say is thank goodness for FaceTime and regular calls with my PIC, because otherwise I’d be going a little nuts.

Boyfriend, husband. Same same.

Here’s to new adventures!!

Washington DC Bucket List

I’ve been living the single life for about a week now and not only has the countdown to Clay’s return started, the other countdown has started too. The countdown to our PCS move. We’ll be leaving the DC-area this winter, and even though I’ve lived here for nearly six years, there are still a lot of things I haven’t done, food I haven’t eaten, and places I haven’t visited. So, in addition to all of the lists I’m making of prep things I need to get done – lots of purging… getting rid of so much extra junk, clothes, shoes, etc. – I’m making a bucket list of sorts. What things do I have to do, see, and eat before I leave?

Here’s what I have so far:

  1. African American History Museum – The newest Smithsonian opened about two years ago and it’s been a hot ticket ever since. Everything I’ve heard about this museum makes it a must-see, especially in our current social climate. It should probably be required viewing for every American. Maybe then people would calm their tits about NFL players kneeling or Black Lives Matter and better understand why there are protests and why people of color are speaking out. Basically, if people took the time to actually educate themselves about an issue, instead of letting someone else tell them what to think, I think we’d be a lot better off. Anyways, I would really love to have a chance to experience the museum myself – since it’s so popular, tickets are timed entry and typically sell out very quickly. It will take some coordination, but I’m optimistic we’ll be able to make it happen.
  2. Milk Bar – Christina Tosi’s dessert palace. I need it in my life. There are two(?) locations in DC now and ever since seeing her episode of Chef’s Table, I’ve been dreaming about Crack Pie and Birthday Cake and Cereal Milk. I told Clay I wanted to go here before he left, and we didn’t make it, so I’m just moving that date to after he gets home. Ahem. Bring me all of the dessert.
  3. The Wharf – One of the newest spots for a good hang is on the Southwest Waterfront. Admittedly, this area is complete gentrification of the neighborhood, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to check it out. There are a ton of exciting restaurants, music venues, and great views of the Potomac River. We’ve talked about making a date day of a trip to The Wharf by taking the water taxi over from Old Town Alexandria and we just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I hope we can make time before we have to leave.
  4. Toki Underground – More food. I’ve never had ramen before – real ramen that is. Toki is regarded at THE place to go in DC for ramen and it’s such a hot spot that you can’t make reservations. It’s show up, and hope your wait isn’t too long. Because you will be waiting. It’s worth it though, or that’s what everyone tells me. I’m in it to win it on the “don’t miss out on DC food” game, so this is a definite “WE HAVE TO GO HERE.”
  5. Kennedy Center – Now, to be fair, we’ve been here a number of times, but in the year or two we haven’t found the time. Clay would really like to catch one more performance here and so would I. It’s such a special venue, with incredible history and has seen some of the world’s most talented grace its stages. Hamilton is currently there… and while I’d love to luck into those tickets, I’m not delusional. Lol. We’ll probably catch another NSO performance before we go and that will be special enough.

 

It’s a short list right now, but as our time gets shorter, I have a feeling that list will grow. I’ll remember more stuff I want to do and places I want to go. It’s been an interesting six years in DC to be sure… and I want to make the most of the time I have left. Cheers to the next few months!

 

How to Take a Vacation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how summer was already halfway over and how much I was looking forward to a few upcoming things on my schedule. One of them was a trip to Virginia Beach to see Dave Matthews Band – a trip that didn’t go as planned (it rained nearly the whole time we had planned to be beachgoing), but was still a good time. Until the air conditioner in Clay’s car died about 10 minutes in to our four hour drive home. Because of course.

The other bit of travel I was looking forward to was a trip to Wisconsin to visit my family and see cousins and aunts and uncles and play at my parent’s lake house. THAT trip went much more to plan and was just what I needed: an extra long weekend, spent mostly outside, with people I love.

Northern Wisconsin is beautiful – and my parents are enjoying calling it their new home. Trading Alaska for this place is a pretty good deal – it’s not The Great Land, but it’s still pretty great.

So, here’s how I take a vacation:

The view from my parent’s yard. I could stay here forever.

My sister and I made up this photo display of our family – earlier in the night we had a memorial table out, too, with photos of Grammie and Grandpa Jennings, my great aunt – AJ, my cousin Amy, and my Uncle Mike and Aunt Terri. We lost all of them but we still wanted them to be present for our day together.

When you have a big party with folks who couldn’t make it to your wedding – you bring your wedding cake to everyone! Round two turned out just as good as the original.

Sisters and cousins – well, two of them anyways. These kids we like my sibling substitutes while I was in college. It’s hard to believe now they are in college!

Mom and I got out for a short paddle on my last day. I can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring!

Momma. <3

The weather cooperated and we were able to play outside quite a bit – the paddleboards were the best!

I’ll be honest – I didn’t think I could do this.

Out on the boat with these goofs. Short fishing excursion – they all got skunked, but I landed a few small ones.

Dad with one of the better catches of the weekend. Not quite long enough to keep, though.

On our last night, Dad took us out for some sunset fishing – I didn’t catch anything, but being out on the lake at dusk was kind of magical.

Guys, my sister is cute.

I was reading in the hammock for about ten minutes… it was great, but there were more exciting things to do!

I’m already counting the days until I can go back and hang out on the lake with my family. There’s never enough time in that place with those great people.

Halfway Through… the Summer

How is July halfway over already?

I’m having a really hard time believing that in just a month and a half, September will be here and cooler temperatures will be on the horizon. There are so many things I want to do before the summer is over and I’m rapidly running out of weeks to do them in. Clay’s work schedule also limits the amount of fun things we get to do together (he’s traveling or working nearly every weekend between now and the end of August). But, instead of lamenting the fact that our time in the sun is dwindling, I’m looking forward to the things we have on the calendar so far.

1. Dave Matthews Band Weekend in Virginia Beach

Since we don’t have many weekends to spend together for the rest of the summer, Clay and I are capitalizing on the Dave Matthews Band being in Virginia Beach and making a small vacation of it. In addition to our second Dave show of the summer, we’ll (hopefully) be dropping in at Crossfit Krypton (Crossfitters may recognize that as Ben Smith’s affiliate!), hitting up the beach (away from the crowds, hopefully), and finding some good eats. It’s been a few years since we’ve made this trip and knowing it’s the last weekend we have together for nearly a month, I’m looking forward to it.

it’s not hawaii, but it’s not half bad.

so. excited. for more Dave.

2. Family Reunion in Wisconsin

I may have been sad when my parents moved from Alaska last year, but one great thing that has come from their move is the fact that they are now much closer to the rest of our family. Their lake house in the north woods is the perfect place to host the aunts and uncles and cousins for a weekend of family time.

this is only a small group of my cousins (and husband, duh), and I’m so excited to see them and many of the rest in just a few weeks!

my mom’s hammock game is on point.

the view out of my parents’ kitchen window. lake life yes please.

3.  Staycation

Clay leaves for two and half months of MOS School (in California) at the beginning of September, which means he will be performing with his unit for the last time in August and then hopefully taking some much-deserved time off before he has to go. I’m hoping to do the same. Hiking? Camping? Gym time? Donuts?  Probably all of the above, if we can swing it.

pool time.

love this guy.

any time we get to scramble around on the rocks outside is a good time.

donuts. duh.

The next few weeks might be crazy and busy, but I’m excited for what we have on the schedule – even if I’m not super excited about the two and a half months we’ll be spending apart. Summer may be waning, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy it!

Ready, Set, Camp!

Last weekend, Clay and I celebrated our one year anniversary (!!) which is really crazy to think that a year has already gone by – time is weird and I don’t understand it. 
Crazy. All of that silliness doesn’t feel like a year ago. Clay and I just really want to throw our wedding again every year in celebration. Maybe we’ll actually do that some day, because it was really just the most fun day ever.

Anyways. To celebrate reaching this milestone, we decided that instead of taking a vacation or staying at some fancy hotel we’d rather go play outside and sleep in the woods. We reserved a camping spot at Westmoreland State Park, about and hour and half south of DC and on the banks of the Potomac River. When we arrived, we set up camp in record time (the upside to a small tent!), and decided that since it was already so hot out (90 degress, natch), we’d check out the trail that went down to the beach, because sitting by the water seemed like a good way to cool down a little. When we got to the beach, we discovered the best little coves, and we had one all to ourselves so we scrambled over the rocks for a while, enjoying the view of the river and the Chesapeake Bay. It was really beautiful and the perfect place to spend some time relaxing.  When we headed back to our campsite, we had to climb back up the bluff – which was a great workout (lololol), but it did make for a great picture.Once we got to the top, we decided to find another trail and keep up the hiking for a little while longer. We wound our way back to a lake where we ended up sitting and listening to bird and frog songs for a good half an hour, while watching for turtles. It was the best way to wind down and really take in the natural world.

Typically when we camp, we like to cook over the fire, but since we’re still in the midst of our adventure with RP, we prepped our food before we left home and just kept it in the cooler. However, we did stray from the RP templates a little with dessert, because we feasted on our wedding cake! It was delicious the first time around and a year later? Just as delicious. It kept really well in the freezer! It was really fun to bring ourselves back to our wedding day with that cake – so many good memories, and more added with the celebration of our anniversary.

I’m really excited for so many more years of camping and hiking and building fires and going on adventures with this dude. He’s really just the best.

Adventuring in Asheville

What do you get when you gather 9 ladies in a new city and a weekend full of bachelorette-ing plans?

A whole lot of fun, is what.

Last weekend, I joined some of my favorite friends (and some new ones) in Asheville, NC to throw a hen do for one of our best girls. Ladies came from Georgia, Colorado, Texas, New York, London and DC and we brought our party pants (and maybe some penis confetti to boot).

Any weekend adventure that starts and ends with a road trip is good in my book and this was no exception. Four of us traveled together from the DC area (about an 8 hour haul), and during the drive made sure to set the tone for the weekend by creating a playlist with some of our favorite 2000s kids throwback jams. Lots of NSync, Britney, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Ginuwine – because what bachelorette party is complete without Pony?

Our first evening in North Carolina was pretty laid back – dinner and drinks and a drum circle (not in our plans, but witnessed in the center of town). The tame evening and relatively early bedtime was necessitated by the jam-packed day ahead.

Saturday morning dawned with promise of Pilates…. accompanied by puppies. The class – which took place at the humane society – was pretty low key, all levels welcome type stuff, but I still managed to get a decent workout in. That is, when I wasn’t trying to cuddle all the puppies in the room. Those little stinkers were so fun and they seemed to love all of the attention. They tolerated being picked up and used as Pilates props, which seemed like a great way to socialize them before they are adopted. It’s lucky that the pups weren’t eligible for adoption while we were there, because I would have 100% gone home with one. No joke.

10/10 would Pilates or yoga with tiny animals again. Few things are better than puppy breath.

After begrudgingly leaving the puppers behind, we went straight down to the French Broad River for some stand up paddleboarding. Somehow, I’d never done SUP before and to be honest I was a little nervous. Mostly about looking stupid. Which is dumb, so I got over it pretty quickly and once we were on the water we had so much fun. Three of us were on individual SUPs and the other six had a party sized SUP. Paddling that thing made you feel like a real life Moana. Yes, I did sing that song, too.

We managed only one casualty toward the end of our float, and most of us stayed pretty dry – except me, when I got a little too cocky when doing a snatch with my paddle, slipping, and nearly falling in. #crossfitproblems

After we expertly guided our party barge to the boat slip, we returned donned our best flannel and headed over to the New Belgium Brewery – now is when I remind you all that in January, Clay and I decided to take a year off of drinking – visiting the brewery was awesome. The tour was great, and the view was spectacular (they are situated along the same river we had floated earlier!) and from what I understand, the beer was pretty good too. We hung around there for a good chunk of the afternoon and into the early evening before heading back to our hotel for dinner, bachelorette games and an evening of frivolity. What happens in Asheville after midnight, stays in Asheville. 

The next morning came too soon, and after a lovely walk around town to find coffee, we were off to brunch and then back on the road home. I would love to visit Asheville again – I’m sure there is so much more to the city that we didn’t see. Until next time!