5 Things to Know Before You Get Married

A few weeks back, I celebrated my fifteen year wedding anniversary to my high school sweetheart, Rick. We were together for eight years before we married so we’re celebrating almost twenty-five years together. We’ve learned a LOT in that time. We’ve watched nearly all of our friends marry, have kids, and divorce. We’re the last ones standing so-to-speak, and since I’m occasionally asked for marriage advice, I thought maybe I’d share a little bit of what I end up telling those who ask. This mindset is what works for me, but I don’t pretend that I’m an expert an any way, but here goes.

  • Make sure you’re in love with the person and the vision of your future together, and not just in love with the idea of a wedding. If only I had a dollar for all the times I’ve heard young women wax on and on about their wedding and then look like a deer in headlights when I ask “what goals do you have after the wedding?” I strongly feel this is a common mistake with young women. We’re groomed from such an early age to dream about being married to our prince charming in the perfect gown and having our special day where we’re the most beautiful girl in the whole world. The reality is that your wedding day zooms by so fast you hardly remember it later and what’s left is a gorgeous gown, some amazing photos, and that person you wake up next to every morning for the rest of forever. That person is the reason to get married, not the gown, the reception, the gifts, or the attention. And not because he/she will give you a family, your own house, or financial security, or because you were told your whole life that you’re supposed to get married and have kids because that’s what grown-ups do, but because you are madly in love with them. Love is the reason to get married, and it’s the only reason because if you don’t have love, you won’t stay married for long. Promise.
  • You don’t get to tell the other what to do. Just because you got married doesn’t mean that you get to tell your husband where he can go with whom and for how long any more than he can tell you what to do, how to dress, and that you can’t have guy friends. To be married, you must trust. You must trust your husband to make the right choices, and when he fails (like we all do), be there to help him through that and recover from his mistakes. That’s the “better or worse” part of your vows. You don’t surrender your free will or agency when you get married. He is his own person and so are you. You each have your own identity. I don’t care where my husband goes or with whom, just as long as I know whether or not he’ll be home in time for dinner or if I should just pour myself some cereal because I’m lazy.
  • Don’t ever make your spouse choose between you and their family. Sometimes loyalty can get tricky. When a situation arises that puts your spouse in a tough spot, don’t make it harder by putting them in the position of having to take sides. No one will win this way. I’m not saying you have to swallow genuine feelings to maintain harmony, but there is a graceful way to let your feelings and expectations be known without making your spouse feel like they’re being pulled in two directions. There are times to let it go, and there are times when you must quietly and firmly stand your ground and say “I am your wife/husband, and I deserve xyz. I need you to back me up this time.” Choose your battles, and choose diplomacy over war every time you can.
  • It’s going to be fucking hard sometimes. Marriage is work. For some, it’s constant work, for others it’s easier. I had a friend tell me once after being married for a short time, “This is too hard, it shouldn’t be so much work. He should just sweep me off my feet all the time.” Um, NOPE. I wish, but no. All these RomComs  and Disney movies have addled our female brains about the nature of true love and commitment. I guarantee you will have to put in effort to make your marriage happy and to make it last. Some days you won’t like your spouse at all. Sometimes, things are said and done that take a long time to heal and be forgiven for. We’re human after all, and sometimes we hurt those we love the most. My advice here is to be present, be accountable, and be compassionate. Own up to your half of the argument. Validate your spouse’s feelings. Listen to them. Support them, and help them grow and change to be a better person. Recognize when YOU need to grow and change to become a better person. We all need those closest to us to call out our bullshit and help us see ourselves for who we really are. The trick is to come out of that process with the love you took into it. Being humble in marriage is key.
  • Never stop talking and sharing. It’s cliché, but love, trust, and communication really are the bedrocks of a happy marriage (in my experience anyway). You need to laugh together and hold space for each other. You need to be emotionally available to your spouse and be comfortable sharing any and all feelings whether good or bad. You need to be able to hash out the hard stuff and appreciate the accomplishments. A strong foundation of love, trust, and communication will help you build a true partnership, and give you comfort in that you have a partner that you can always count on no matter what happens in life. As long as you’re both committed to the marriage and have love, you can work through the tough times and come out stronger and more in love than before. That’s a reward I feel many marriages don’t experience because we are a culture of giving up. I’m certainly not saying you should stay in a relationship that’s abusive in any way, but you must be honest about what marriage is really about. Sometimes it’s painful and uncomfortable, but if you have a core of love, trust, and communication, you can overcome as a team. Together. And believe it or not, your love for your spouse grows even deeper after you weather the trials together.

Then and Now, Prom ’94, and October ’14

What relationship advice has worked for you? Do you have wisdom to share? I always have something to learn, so share your tips in the comments.

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SPARK Crew at Ragnar PA

At the beginning of June, I embarked on an adventure that was a long time coming. RAGNAR, PENNSYLVANIA. 

Since I’ve known Cam, she’s been talking about participating in Ragnar Relays and finally, I was able to join her and 10 of our teammates at Ragnar PA. We’ll be writing about the experience as soon as we get our collective act together, but for now, I need to tell you about Momentum Jewelry’s SPARK Crew.

I’ve been a Momentum Jewelry fan since I first saw their wrap bracelets right around the time we began our blog in 2013. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a brand ambassador.

You will never find me without at least one (usually multiple) pieces of their jewelry somewhere on my person. The company’s mission is to inspire and motivate and encouraging you to “living your passion”; that’s something that the jewelry does for me on a daily basis.

It only stands to reason that when I first heard about Momentum’s SPARK Crew, I knew that it would be a great fit with Ragnar. For those of you who don’t know what a Ragar Relay is, it’s when a team of 12 people (or less, if you’re an ultra runner) do a 200(ish) mile relay from point A to point B. It’s about runner camaraderie and “a free-spirited desire to get out there and experience an outdoor adventure with friends.”

Passion, adventure, friendship? Check, check, and check!

My van mates and I decided that we would morph from Ninjas (our team’s theme) into our SPARK Crew gear just before leg 13 of the race.

It was getting close to dark on the first day and we knew that many people would need an extra boost to make it through the night hours. Our task as the SPARK Crew was simple: to share the SPARK(lets) and encourage our fellow runners.

Donning our bright green shirts, we approached folks left and right, handing out the SPARKlets. At first we all felt a little awkward walking up to people but that quickly dissipated once we saw how well received and excited runners were to get the “you got this” SPARKlets.

We briefly explained our mission and wound up having some great conversations along the way. Some teams even gave us little things in return (not at all what we were expecting!).

Proceeding to the next exchange and we continued to hand out SPARKlets there, along with holding on to a few for when we saw someone struggling or just looking like they needed a boost.

We cheered “you got this” out of our van windows to runners as we drove to our next exchange. It became our van’s mantra as we wound our way from the hills of Lancaster to the hills of the Pocono Mountains. Are you sensing a theme here?

If you thought I was kidding about the hills, Ragnar even shared 50 Photos that Show How Ragnarians Tackled the Hills of #RagnarPA on their site. The picture above makes an appearance! But seriously, look at those hills. Insanity.
I loved having the chance to make an awesome experience even more awesome for others. When we push ourselves to our limits, that’s when great things happen. Thanks to Momentum Jewelry and of course, my ninjas. Cam and I will be back more with Ragnar thoughts ASAP. And remember… you got this!

Wordless Wednesday: June StrideBox

The June StrideBox has arrived! Ever wonder what’s packed into those little boxes of awesome? Wonder no more! (And if you’re interested in grabbing a StrideBox for yourself, there’s a coupon code in honor of Global Running Day down below.)

In honor of Global Running Day, get 50% off the first box today only with coupon code: RunningDay17

New Year’s Resolutions? More Like Life Resolutions.

Now that we’re a month into 2017, those resolutions we made a few short weeks ago might have already fallen to the wayside. Or, you could have been like me and not made any resolutions at all, in which case you might still be trying to figure out what you want to do in 2017 and how you’re going to accomplish it.

We hear so much talk about #newyearnewme that is almost seems like a requirement that we all resolve to be skinnier or stronger or whatever. I have a hard time with that, because 1. The me that I am right now seems pretty okay, and 2. Shouldn’t we focus more on being a better human being and making meaningful changes in our lives than just the superficial?

Similarly, I don’t think the beginning of the year has cornered the market on when we’re allowed to set goals. Who says you can’t make resolutions at the end of January, or in May or in August? No one, that’s who.

Given that, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks really evaluating some *life* things and have made pledges to myself and to others. Some of these pledges are fitness related, others are more broadly applicable in my life. All are aimed at growing into a better person and maybe bettering the word around me, too.

1. Get more sleep.
This is a fitness goal if I’ve ever seen one. Having a history of troubled sleep or simply not getting enough has meant that I haven’t allowed my body the appropriate recovery time. In the last month and a half, Clay and I have prioritized early bedtimes in favor of getting the most sleep possible. Consequently, we’ve been feeling a lot better physically and been more successful in the gym.

2. Read more books.
This seems like a gimme, but it’s ones that I’m really excited about! I used to be voracious reader as a kid, but since graduating college, the time I’ve dedicated to reading has dwindled. However, now that getting to bed early is a reality, so is making time to read a little before falling asleep. My goal is to finish at least 30 books this year – I’m already two in (one of those being Game of Thrones. Go big or go home amirite?)
3. Balance my workouts.
Weightlifting has been front and center for more than a year, but I want to make sure I’m balancing that with cardio as well – I feel better physically when I make time for a run or a Kaza class or two during the week. I want to stick to this, especially while Clay travels for work and my gym partner is gone.

4. Get more involved in my community.
This is a goal that has grown out of the atmosphere of the past few weeks – I feel that to best do my small part to fix what is so broken, I first need to get to know my neighbors and our community. To better understand what challenges we all face and what our priorities are.

5. Adjust my five year plan.
Following the last goal, this one is broader. My new five year plan includes going back to school and getting my law degree, so that I can really make bigger moves in advocacy and political action. But, in order to make that happen, I need to make some other adjustments and allowances. I’m grateful to have a partner who supports and encourages these dreams – and who understands that they may take time to achieve, but they are still possible.

More than new year’s resolutions, these goals aren’t time-stamped, and they certainly don’t have an expiration date. My next steps are just to keep on trucking and make a little bit of progress every day.

How do you set goals for yourself? Do you buy into New Year’s resolutions?

Constant Virtual-ness!

My lucky day came a few weeks ago when I won a race entry! Yes, I won something, an entry for the Mad Eye Moody Virtual 5k, sponsored by Hogwarts Running Club! I was all,

Of course I immediately texted Meridith to share the good news and of course she decided to run it with me. Because friends. And Harry Potter. We get bibs to print out, and we got to list our House and pick our bib number. Being that I only recently read the series, Meri played Sorting Hat for me and to no one’s surprise, I’m in Slitheryn. I was kinda like

Then she reminded me that Draco and Snape turn out okay in the end, and I do have a dark streak. So, yeah, let it be known once again that Meridith was right as usual.

Our favorite thing about this race is that the proceeds go to a fantastically fitting charity, Limbs for Life, which provides free prosthetic legs to those who cannot afford them or who have used up what insurance or their state health agencies can provide. This incredible organization utilizes gently-used prosthetic legs and parts in conjunction with prosthetic clinics and skilled clinicians nationwide to provide freedom and mobility to hundreds of amputees every year.

I would tell you to sign up, but it’s sold out! But never fear, they are sure to have many more virtual races throughout the rest of the year. Their events from last year make me wish I could accio all the medals right to my medal rack, and in 2016 they raised almost half a million dollars for charity.

Half a million, folks. That’s some impressive Muggle magic and dedication!

Meri and I are running this on 2/4, and I’m sure we will be Instagraming and Tweeting our “race”. Our medals should be arriving in the mail any day now, and I can’t wait.

The eye moves in a circle!

This will be my first virtual race and I’m excited to see how I like this format. I kick off half marathon training soon, so using virtual races as a way to earn medals for long training runs might be a way for me to stay motivated. I’ll keep you posted!

 

Do you like virtual races? Why or why not? Share your spells for a successful virtual run in the comments1

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Keeping Busy in the New Year


As with every new year, plans are made, goals are set, and we all strive to make this one be the best one yet!

This year has started off with me doing the Ragnar 30 Day Challenge. And starting Focus T25. And committing to another round of the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. (You’ll notice those last two are two competing companies. See me, caring not.)

Of course, I’m continuing my 2 times a week weight training session and running, too. Running in December sort of fell by the wayside but I need to start stepping it up again.

Because races.

There are SO MANY RACES that I have on my radar. I would love to do them all and I suppose eventually I will; however, these are the ones that have made the schedule for the first half of 2017. There are a couple of newbies along with a few tried and true. February and May are empty as of right now… but there’s always last minute additions (Broad Street?).

january

There aren’t too many races to be found in my area in January, which is why I’m stoked for this one! Local race organizers, Good Day For A Run have two dates for this race, January 29th (I’ll be at that one) and February 11th. I’ve had this race on my radar for a couple of years now for several reasons.

  1. It’s right down the street from my house. (It was right down the street from my old house too!)
  2. It’s a 2 mile chipped event. I’ve never run a 2 mile race before! Have you? The quirky distance definitely has me intrigued.
  3. It starts and ends at one of my favorite restaurants. And after the race? There’s chili and beer!
  4. The swag is unique – a CHILI BOWL.
  5. My buddy, Rachel, is coming down to run with me!

I’ll keep you posted with how it goes!

march

In March is a tried and true race, the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k. This event is hosted by our local South Jersey Running Company which fosters a great sense of community within our local runners. Minus last year, I’ve participated in this race since 2012. This is the only race that my husband looks forward to each year so it basically goes without saying in our house that we are going to register.

We always see a large group of friends at this race and the party that’s held at the Haddonfield Running Company after is a good time. This is one of the few 5ks that I’ve done that have finisher medals (and they’re awesome) as well as Brooks race shirts.

My PR from this race has been my 5k PR since the first year I participated. This year needs to be the year that I finally beat it on March 18th.

Here’s a couple of past race recaps, if you’re interested: 2012, 20142015

april

This is when things start ramping up!

April 1st (which just happens to be my 40th birthday, btw), I’ll be running the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philly for the very first time!

I’ve had my eye on this race since Brandi did a guest post for us in 2015. The swag looks awesome: a medal, hoodie, chocolate mug and goodies at the finish… plus I’m getting a visor because I used the BibRave code: BRPhillyHC.

I’m running with honorary Chick, Christina. Christina is celebrating her 40th birthday just before mine so we’ve declared this a joint birthday celebration!

Side note: Christina will be representing Scoot a Doot at the Disney Marathon this coming weekend! If you want to follow along, swing by the Scoot a Doot Facebook page.

April 23rd marks the 6th time I’ll be running the April Fools Half Marathon. So what keeps me coming back to this race? It’s flat and usually a lot of fun. I do training runs in Atlantic City so it’s familiar territory and through the years they’ve added things like free race photos and an awesome finish line village, complete with free beer.

I’ve run this race since its inauguration and since it switched dates to later in the month, I’m able to do both the Hot Chocolate 15k and this race. Win all around!

Blast from the past?Here’s last year’s recap.

Rounding out April, I’ll be running another Good Day For A Run race, the Heritage Vineyards 5 Miler. I participated in this race last year for the first time and it was absolutely perfect, which is why I’m returning for a repeat! It’s just down the road from my house (in the other direction from the Chili Run) and it’s an easy race for me. Easy packet pickup, easy drinking wine, etc.

The swag isn’t shabby either: a race shirt, free photos (I love free race photos – it should be standard!), a wine tumbler and wine ticket. People bring snacks or buy them from the multitude of food trucks and make a day out of it! If the weather cooperates, that’s my plan!

june

Ah, Ragnar. I don’t want to say that this is the most important race but it’s definitely the one that has been on my bucket list the longest amount of time and also I’m quite sure will be the most physically challenging.

I’ve been talking about participating in a Ragnar since Cam first told me about it back in 2011. She’s blogged about Ragnar many times on Scoot a Doot and each time I sighed longingly because I wanted to run long distances and hang out with smelly people in a van, too!

When Ragnar announced that their Pennsylvania race would be returning in 2017, I knew this was it: the Ragnar that was meant for me! June 2nd-3rd I’ll be running with 11 teammates past horse-drawn buggies and into the Poconos (those are mountains for those who aren’t familiar with the regional).

That’s what on tap for me for the next six months, race wise! Everything from a 2 mile race to a relay with three legs of varying degrees of distances/difficulty. It will be fun, right?

What do you have on your agenda for the first half of 2017? Will I see you at any of these events?