Bodies are Weird and Stress is Dumb

Okay. I’m just going to say it.

In the past four months, I’ve gained 10 pounds.

Those 10 pounds that I worked to lose a year ago.

I’ve gained 10 pounds and my body doesn’t feel like my own anymore.

Do I think that I am worth less as a human because my body has changed? No. Do I feel that others are better than me because their bodies look different? Not really. Am I frustrated that stress has taken over my life and my cortisol levels have spiked and inflammation is normal? Yes. Very much so.

My last post (like, two months ago?) touched a little bit on my headspace in our new home. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but honestly, not much has improved in that capacity. In fact, things got really seriously REAL before they started to slowly improve. I’m gonna vaguebook hard here, because most of the details aren’t truly mine to share, but the redacted version is that we’ve been on a rollercoaster and dealing with some things we totally weren’t expecting or prepared for. Things are getting better, but as with most things, it’s a slow process with slow progress.

Consequently, my routine has been anything but routine. My workout schedule has been all over the place and lower in intensity, I’ve been traveling, and my diet has been… meh. Not bad, but not consistent. The slow march up the scale has been frustrating, disheartening, and really demotivating.

I spent most of last year dialing in my nutrition and training and my body felt amazing. I felt fit and strong and confident – but mostly I felt comfortable in my own skin. Since the cascade of stress started, it’s felt like my body is foreign, which is super uncomfortable and unsettling. My fitness has suffered, my confidence is low, and it’s harder than ever to find motivation to fix any of these problems.

Psychology Today explains the relationship between stress and weight gain pretty well, primarily discussing hormonal changes the body experiences when in a stressful situation:

When your brain detects the presence of a threat, it triggers the release of a cascade of chemicals, including adrenaline, CRH, and cortisol. Your brain and body prepare to handle the threat by making you feel alert, ready for action and able to withstand an injury. In the short-term, adrenaline helps you feel less hungry as your blood flows away from the internal organs and to your large muscles to prepare for “fight or flight.” However, once the effects of adrenaline wear off, cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” hangs around and starts signaling the body to replenish your food supply. Fighting off wild animals, like our ancestors did, used up a lot of energy, so their bodies needed more stores of fat and glucose. Today’s human, who sits on the couch worrying about how to pay the bill or works long hours at the computer to make the deadline, does not work off much energy at all dealing with the stressor! Unfortunately, we are stuck with a neuroendocrine system that didn’t get the update, so your brain is still going to tell you to reach for that plate of cookies anyway.

I’m not necessarily reaching for cookies all the time, but I do let the cortisol rule my rational instincts.

My relationship with my body is complicated (what woman’s isn’t?). Thankfully, my relationship with food is still okay. Even if I’m frustrated with my nutrition, I know that a big part of why my body doesn’t feel great is because I haven’t been consistent with the plan I was following for success. I don’t binge on junk food, but I do skip meals and traveling has definitely funked up my routine a whole lot. I just haven’t felt motivated enough to buckle down and plan for it appropriately. Apathy, man, it’s kind of a bitch.

When most of your energy and focus is spent on someone else, self-care is easy to talk about and hard to do. It’s complicated, too, because there’s an insane amount of latent guilt that goes along with it. I feel guilty about taking time and focus away from my partner when engage in anything related to self-care, and I know my partner feels guilty, too, as he doesn’t want to take me away from things that I love or want to do.

Guilt abounds – and while neither of us should be feeling it, it’s just one of those things for which we have to continue working on and giving each other (and ourselves) grace.

As my 30th birthday is right around the corner, and things on the homefront seem to be (finally) looking up, I’m ready to shake off this funk and get back to being myself. I’m sleeping better, I know what my nutrition should look like (balanced, not restrictive, fuel for my body and my fitness), and I have a gym community that I feel good about. No pity parties for me – I’m ready to address my stress in healthy ways and work on feeling comfortable in my body again.

My body is good and strong and capable. I am not my stress.

I. Am. Not. My. Stress.

Race Recap: Turtle Trot 5K

This past Saturday I got to run one of my favorite races that I’ve probably already told you about here. The Turtle Trot 5K is a perfect race for me because I’m slow AF and turtles are fave. This was my 5th year running this beautiful course and, honestly, it wasn’t my best. I claimed my results on Athlinks and was able to compare my past races, which is a pretty cool thing that Athlinks can do! This race was just a couple of minutes under my slowest, but that’ all on me, y’all.

I haven’t been running or working out lately and I definitely felt it on Saturday. The last time I “ran” was probably sometime early last week and that’s just real bad. The end of the school year is already kicking my butt! I started out strong, staying close to my two friends that also signed up for the race. (Was missing my favorite running buddy, though!) We met up for a few minutes before at the start line because I’d stopped to go to the bathroom before the race started. The three of us went with matching shirts for the race and, yes, it was absolutely appropriate!

My first mile felt good, but too fast. It was humid and hot already, with an 8AM start time. I prefer my races to start earlier, especially if I’m racing in Florida. Which I always am. I finished the first mile in under twelve minutes and was feeling okay until I got to an incline. I run mostly on flat roads so, yes, little hills are hard! It’s also difficult when it’s been over a month since you’d ran, but I digress.

One thing I love about this course is that it really is so, so pretty! I love Florida and, while I’m not always a fan of nature, I do know how beautiful it can be.

It is also hot and full of bugs. Welcome to Florida.

I slowed down significantly on the other two miles. I tried to do intervals, but I was having major stomach cramps. That, on top of the heat, and the lukewarm water from the water stations was not a good mix for me! I decided to take it easy and just enjoy the view. Everyone around me or who passed me was drenched and breathing heavily. As the morning went on the humidity had really only managed to get worse.

As few times I saw some park goers on trail hikes wondering what in the world was going on and that’s always fun. It reminded me of park goers walking through the crowd of runners during the Star Wars half trying to get into Animal Kingdom. That was pretty hilarious. Anywho, like I said, this is one of my favorite races and I’m glad I took it easy and got some great pictures of Lovers Key. The trail is mostly shaded and hidden from the sun, but I’m still sporting a nice burn on my face right now.

 

4

 

Welp.

After I crossed the finish line I met up with my coworkers and we took some pictures in front of the water and grabbed our snacks. The finish line is probably a half a mile from the parking lot, so we still had some walking to do. I was definitely missing my run buddy for this one and I know she would have pushed me for a better time. Plus, we were planning on twinning, and that’s always fun!

They said “do something weird” but I’m already super weird, so there’s that.

Turtle Running Team!

The only thing I dislike about this race is there are no medals. Man, I love bling. BUT – the proceeds of the race go to the park and I can’t complain about that. If you’re in the Southwest Florida area, you should definitely check this race out next year.

What’s a race you always do? 

Race Recap: Girls on the Run 5K – Spring Season

This weekend my second season of Girls on the Run finished off with a fun-filled 5K!

We started our season in February with twelve girls from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade and at least half of them were returning from our fall season! If you don’t know, Girls on the Run is a program for girls between the ages of 8-12 that teaches them about positive body image, friendship, and community service. It’s an amazing program that we were able to bring to our school at the beginning of the year and I’m so glad I get to be a part of it.

We finished up our season with a community impact project, that involved our girls cleaning up during lunch duty for some of our younger grades. They chose to bring our project to school and to help out our custodians during the busy lunch waves. The girls loved taking part in the cleanup of school and even created a video after to thank our custodians. Girls on the Run girls are so amazing!

During our last practice we decorated our 5K shirts. A parent graciously volunteered to put all of girls’ names on their shirts as well as our school logo in beautiful sparkly pink. The girls were thrilled with their upgraded shirts and you could just tell they were excited for our race.

The race started early, as most races in Florida should, because it’s starting to get warmer here. We got to the venue around 7AM with our girls, their families, and their running buddies. Each girl is assigned a running buddy. The buddy is an adult they can choose to run with. It can be a family member, older sibling, teacher, or coach. Each of us three coaches had a buddy to run with and we were also lucky enough to recruit some of our fellow teachers for the race too.

Girls on the Run does an amazing job of basically throwing a party for the girls. There was a hair station, manicure station, as well as crafts, tattoos, and a place to bling out your bib. The girls had a great time pre-race and didn’t seem to have any nerves at all!

 

Blinging our bibs!

 

Everyone and their buddies!

We took our group pictures and got ready to get to the starting line. Our group ended up being closest to the start line (not something I ever do), but the girls were still having a great time. Some of our new girls starting to share their nerves, but our veterans were quick to reassure them that everything was going to be fine!

Once we started the girls and the buddies split up. Each of the girls learned to run at their own pace so they were prepared to not run with each other like they’d been during practices.

The morning was definitely warm and there wasn’t much cover on the first part of the course. My running buddy and I started out strong, but started to slow down after about the first mile. We try to tell the girls to pace themselves, but it doesn’t always work! The heat also didn’t help, but we were able to see all of our teammates on the course and cheer for them as we passed by.

My buddy standing strong at mile one!

We caught up with some teammates after mile two and ran the rest of the way with them. It was slow going, but our girls were having fun with each other and we were having fun cheering for them and embarrassing them like good buddies and coaches do. When the finish line came into view, we could hear everyone cheering and our girls recognized their families, too. At one point my buddy said “I wish my mom would stop yelling!”

Crossing the finish line with the girls was a lot of fun. All of their friends were waiting for the at the finish line and they were thrilled to finally finished. After the finish we took our group pictures, sweaty hugs, and parted ways. It’s so amazing to see how the program brings girls and their families together, as well as giving the girls new friends. They hugged and laughed and took pictures and just had fun. We coaches loved celebrating the girls and their accomplishments. GOTR is such a fun program and I’m so glad I get to be part of it.

Beyond Plogging – Next Level Climate Actions

Earth Day was earlier this week, and I think it’s safe to say that all runners share a love of our planet. If we didn’t like to be outside, we probably wouldn’t be runners. For some of us, running might be the only time we are able to get outside and connect with nature. Doesn’t matter if you’re on the pavement or a dirt trail, being outdoors is medicine for our tired souls.

Plogging has taken off, and we get it. Picking up litter on a run is something easy we can do, and we’re making an impact when we do it. By doing household stuff like reducing consumption, gardening, and decreasing our individual carbon emissions, for example, we collectively make a difference. We need to continue to do all we can to reduce our personal household carbon footprint. But the honest truth is, these actions won’t get us where we need to be.

Facing Facts

It is imperative our government act now with urgency and conviction. Instead, they have failed to craft, or adhere to, climate policies that protect our future. 72% of Americans think climate change is real. 73% say it’s important to them personally. 69% say they are worried about it. And I would guess that nearly 100% of us feel like we can’t make a significant difference in tackling this global crisis.

It’s like these guys are in charge.

But we can. We have to step up our game, though. Nearly three-quarters of us understand this is not a drill, and three-quarters of us is plenty to make a big impact. If we make an individual commitment to do some of the actions I’ve listed below, collectively we will change the conversation on climate change in our government. These next level actions do take effort and research, but if we expect our leaders to act with urgency, we must show them our demand for action is urgent, too, and fueled by fury and perseverance.

Hardcore Climate Actions

  1. Understand your Reps positions on climate issues and policy. If you don’t agree, tell them so.
  2. Let them know your position on climate issues and policy.
  3. Support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018, learn how it works here
  4. Ask your Reps to support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018
  5. Support the Climate Action Now Act
  6. Tell your reps to support the Climate Action Now Act (it’s being reviewed in the House this week or next).
  7. Don’t support candidates who take money from the fossil fuel industry
  8. Instead, support candidates who support science.
  9. Stay informed on your city and county’s environmental planning and policy meetings. Attend if possible, ask questions, tell your officials what you want them to do. Be Vocal.
  10. Stay informed on your state’s environmental planning and policy meetings. Attend if possible, ask questions, tell your officials what you want them to do. Be Vocal.

The talking heads are already predicting that climate change will be an important issue for the next election. Let’s make them understand just how much our votes depend on how well they address this critical issue. Get engaged. Get vocal. Be unladylike if needed. Now is your chance!

 

At my day job, I am a sustainability and corporate social responsibility coordinator with a background in business sustainability management.

When Instagram Doesn’t Let You Say Everything You’re Feeling

It’s still only about 6:30pm on Wednesday as I’m writing this, so technically, I can still get it under the wire for a Wednesday publication date. WHEW. I wasn’t sure where to start with my post for this week, but I wanted to revisit some thoughts I started hashing out on instagram earlier this week. Sometimes, you need more than a caption to articulate the full breadth of what you’re thinking.

I’m in a weird season of life where things to be simultaneously moving very quickly and at once not at all. I feel busy, but then I also feel… bored? (The boredness, I’m certain, comes almost entirely from the fact that I am still struggling to find people here, so I have full on conversations with my cat.) I’m also grappling with a lot of anxiety about what the next few months of life will look like as we continue this transition to life on the West coast.

This past week has been an emotional one for me, in a way that I haven’t quite felt in years. The last time I can remember feeling this “whelmed” by life was maybe after finishing my undergrad, but coming to terms with the fact that my law school dreams weren’t going to come true in the way I’d pictured them. Over the course of about two months, I completely changed my life path: I went from planning my Fall matriculation as an 1L, to moving home, working two jobs, deciding not to shoulder another $120 thousand in student loans, and then moving again to work on a political campaign. 180 degrees from where I thought I’d be, but all the while I managed to stay positive and felt secure in my decisions.

But there’s nothing quite like moving across the country and completely upending your life to give you ample time for reflection. The last time I moved across the country, I was excited and hopeful and looking forward to the opportunities. This time? I tried to find that same sense of optimism. Before we left Virginia, we did a lot of talking about the ways in which our lives would change – the opportunity to learn and grow in a new workplace, the freedom to put our finances in a comfortable place, to build a new community. We talked about the challenges associated with those things, too, but we were confident that we could handle whatever arose.

What we didn’t talk about as much was how we would cope if things weren’t what we had prepared for. What if Clay’s new job wasn’t better than what was left behind? What if opportunities were extraordinarily difficult to come by? What if it just wasn’t at all what we had hoped and this big change felt like a colossal mistake?

Two months in to this adventure has us asking some of these questions and really leaning in to some of the fear and insecurities that were a bit easier to quiet before we left our comfortable bubble. In this moment, I’m experiencing an enormous amount of vulnerability. I feel a lot of fear about things that I can’t really articulate at the moment. There has been a lot of reflecting, along with lots of tears, frustrations, and fears that have been given space to be felt and (hopefully) learned from. I’m grateful to have a partner that values communication and deep thought about the things that challenge us and our relationship.

This move has been harder on me than I expected. I don’t admit to defeat or weakness easily, but it would be disingenuous of me to say anything other than the truth: I’m well outside my comfort zone and adjusting to this new place is more challenging than anticipated. I’m anxious about a lot of things. I’m scared about others.

But. But – after this weekend, though I’m still feeling scared and anxious, and emotionally exhausted – I feel better knowing that we’ve put words to our fears and concerns. We’ve given them names and now we can start to tackle them one by one. It will take time, it will mean being uncomfortable. It will also give us space to grow – like a lobster shedding its shell. Still feeling anxious and fearful, I’m working on releasing the tensions of the weekend and breathing in some resiliency. One step at a time.

Kindness Counts

Yesterday was National Random Acts of Kindness day and, while it’s nice to have a day devoted to kindness, it’s truly something we should celebrate every day!

I love the thought of a random act of kindness and have been on the giving and receiving end of many of them. My favorite thing about doing them is seeing how happy it makes the other person. Whether it’s a small gift, buying a cup of coffee, or just a simple compliment. I like to do them anonymously, because recognition makes me uncomfortable (helloooo social anxiety), but there are sometimes when you just have to tell the other person!

While it’s nice to perform those random acts for people, either strangers or friends, it’s also so important to be kind to yourself. Last week our Girls on the Run lesson was about overcoming negative self-talk and knowing how to turn those conversations with yourself around. The girls did a great job with listing their own negative phrases, but also with knowing what to say instead of the negativity. It’s really cool to see them work through the process and help each other out to say nice things.

Yesterday I was on a long training run with my running buddy (and GOTR co-coach this season) and we were talking about this very thing. We were at the end of eight miles and it had been a really great run. Our run interval pace was fast and we were doing minimal walking. Both of us have different half marathons coming up, but are training together. Honestly, I would not be getting this runs in if I didn’t have the support.

We were discussing the lesson and how well the girls did and I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of it all because I had just been complaining about something about my body. I’m sure it was how my thighs make it hard to wear pants and jeans or how my legs were feeling very heavy as wear neared our finish. Either way, I was there, a 35-year-old girl, telling myself that negative self-talk.

It’s hard to be kind to ourselves, isn’t it?

There are a lot of different ways to be kind to us, I think. I try my best to eat healthy and workout because when I look good I feel good. I’m sure many people think that’s a superficial thing to say, but it’s just a mentality that I have that’s hard to get away from. It’s not about being the skinniest or most tone. I want to look good for me (this package of Peanut Butter M&Ms sitting next to me are not helping, BTW), and that’s important to me. I struggle with that a lot, and sometimes I have to take a step back and think “Okay. Today wasn’t great. You’ll do better tomorrow”.

That’s where my kindness to myself comes in. I do a lot of different things, too. If work is overwhelming I take a break. If running isn’t working out, I do something different to keep my body moving or I research. Last summer when I was training (and struggling) for Chicago I read some articles and reached out to friends to help me.

A lot of the times I find that when I can’t be kind to myself, others are there to do it for me. I’m grateful for those kind words and those kind people. I try to be one of them, even if it doesn’t always work out.

Hopefully when you do those random acts of kindness you include yourself. I know I’m going to try.

Has anyone ever impacted you with a kind act? 

Relocating and Recalibrating

It’s been about a month and a half since we landed in California and, well, it’s been an adventure. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things (life, work, happiness, gratitude) in the time since we left Virginia and some days have been easier than others. It’s been a huge adjustment being out here, which is no surprise – that was known before we even moved. I knew that everything would be different – but I don’t think I quite realized what the magnitude of that difference would feel like.

Before living in Virginia, I had moved almost every year for about three years – from Wisconsin, to Alaska, to Minnesota, to Alaska, back to Minnesota, to DC, and finally Virginia. I could fit my life in my little Ford Escape and because I wasn’t really living in any one place for very long, I didn’t feel so much sadness at leaving it behind. But then I settled in Virginia, fell in love, got married – we made our little space there a home, and made good friends. We established a comfortable routine. It wasn’t “home” in the way that Alaska will always be, but it was a home for us. 

When we first discussed the possibility of PCS-ing, I was a little apprehensive. I knew it would mean big changes for me, and selfishly, I wasn’t sure that I was ready to give up my job and my independence to the Marine Corps. But, I knew that PCS-ing also meant greater opportunities for growth and advancement for Clay, which was something he likely wouldn’t have had if he stayed put. I was also excited about the idea of moving somewhere new, especially if that somewhere new was back to the Western US. California was the most likely place we could end up and in my head, that was probably the best option for me: close to some of my good friends, lots of job opportunities, lots of outdoor activities… it made sense.

I’m thrilled that we’re out here now – but I’d be lying if I said that it has been easy. I miss all of the things that were easy about Virginia. Making friends as an adult is HARD. I’m working from home for now, so I don’t get a ton of interaction with other people. I haven’t found a gym that’s a good fit yet. Things are just *that* much unfamiliar and I don’t have the self-confidence I’m used to feeling. I’m always thinking about the long-term and what that will look like for us and I’m really having to work hard on actively maintaining perspective in all things.

It would be really easy to let my fears and insecurities get really loud and drown out the opportunities. Some days, I just have to buckle down and focus on work (and there is a lot of that going on at the moment). Other days, I need to spend an hour or two in the gym – because in that space and time, I am in control of all of the variables. Which is more than I can say for life outside the gym sometimes.

I find myself leaning on my support system to help keep the anxious monsters quiet. I’m grateful for Clay – and I have to remind myself that he’s experiencing even more newness and unfamiliarity than I am as he settles into his new job and new leadership roles. Like I said, so much of this transition is about maintaining perspective.

I’m looking forward to feeling truly settled in, removing some of the uncertainty of life here, creating more stability, making new friends and connecting with old ones. I know things will even out over time and that I just have to worry about what I can control. It’s a process, but I can only take it one day at a time.

Press Pause

It’s Friday! I know for some people who don’t only work during the weekday or who have kids who are busy, that doesn’t really mean anything. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to relax over the weekend and take some time for yourself. A few weeks ago (I think?) I posted some “self-care” ideas, so I’m going to try not to write the same thing here. Of course, it’s Thursday night and I’m kind of tired, so…

Okay, but really. How often is it that we get to press pause on our everyday, busy lives? Never, right? The school year is always busy and with Girls on the Run and my other school duties, it gets hard. Granted, I don’t have kids, so it’s a little easier for me to take some time during the weekend for myself. There are so many things that can happen during the week to bring us down or set us off, so it’s important to decompress every now and then.

A lot of people have their own ways to celebrate me time. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m an avid reader and any time I’m alone I’m usually reading. Or binge watching TV shows. That’s it. That’s my me time.

Kidding. A little. One thing that I wanted to focus on this year was journaling as a way to jot down ideas and feelings. It is (every year) a goal of mine to read my Bible and journal with it. It’s a goal every year because it’s one I struggle with. This is definitely a way to get in time by myself, but it’s not something I love to do. I know that sounds terrible, but I’m a work in progress.

Sometimes taking that time to yourself might make you feel selfish, and I think that’s okay. Maybe it shows that you care about things more, I don’t know? I know I feel guilty about binge watching television all day if I have papers to grade. BUT – it’s important to separate yourself from your work or whatever stresses you out.

Sometimes fitness helps, when I’m not doing it to train. Before I decided to sign up for marathons I would just come home from work and run. I used to love seeing how fast and far I could go within those first couple of years of running. Often times, though, it’s the fitness or training I need a break from. That’s where the lazing comes into play.

During the summer I like to spend my days at the beach. Oh, who am I kidding, I live in Florida and go to the beach year round. The beach is peaceful for me and I know a lot of people find their peace in nature. Something about the great vastness that helps us escape.

There are so many ways to unwind or decompress and these are a few of mine.

What are some of yours?

PS – Oh, and sleep. I friggin’ love me some sleep.

Back at it Again

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 305 Half Marathon 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!

Look, I’ve been watching fellow athletes killing it on social media this week with their runs in the frozen tundra or wherever they are from and I commend them. Me? I don’t like to run if it’s under 60 degrees because that’s just not Florida weather, y’all. I ran yesterday and my fingers just about froze. Good thing I don’t really need them for running!

I’m slowly trying to get back into the training process (mostly because I’m running a half marathon with Mer and I don’t want it to be bad!) but also because it goes with some of my new year’s goals. It’s been a process, but I’m getting into some workouts and making sure I’m running a few times a week. This weekend my run buddy and I were supposed to do six miles, but there was a 100% percent chance of rain on Sunday so I stayed on the couch and reread some of the The Raven Cycle series. (My buddy did a treadmill run. She’s more awesome than I.)

I don’t have a gym membership, mostly because I waste the money, not because the gym is a waste of money. When I did have a membership I never went, so we have a little setup in our garage that works out well. Also, I don’t feel self-conscious when no one is watching me struggle to do push-ups.

This will be my first time running the 305 Half Marathon and I’m really excited about it! It was also super easy to sign up through Athlinks! The course looks amazing and, being the Floridian I am, I love the beach. The race starts on Ocean Drive and ends on South Beach and is full of Miami flair, so I can imagine it’s going to be like one big, sweaty party.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve done a half marathon and I’m over my Chicago burnout, so I’m ready to do this! Mer said we’re hoping for PRs so, hey, let’s get a PR. (Or maybe just have a lot of fun!)

You can use the code BIBRAVE305 and take $10 off the half or $5 off the 5K!

Where do you like to workout? 

2019, Let’s Do This!

2018 started of with a bang and a whimper. The bang was me hitting the icy ground as I took out the recycling, one January morning. And the whimper was when I quickly realized that my arm really, truly hurt.

My 2018 goal was to focus on shorter distance races and while I did that, I feel like my training was somewhat derailed after the first couple of months were a wash. Simply put, my heart wasn’t really into racing. Yes, I was doing races but my level of of pushing myself was not there.

I was okay with that then.

I’m not now.

I’m ready to train harder and make achievable goals that I can hit. Not every race is going to be a RACE for me, but I know what I’m capable of and 2018 wasn’t it. I suppose my 2019 goal is to try diligently and train better.

I have a (surprise!) run streak going right now. I didn’t start on the first of the year because hey, why be normal? Instead I started on December 28th and for the past 11 days I’ve run at least a mile a day. I have a good feeling about 2019!

So far, here’s what’s on the race calendar. Of course, I have my eye on a few more races so this could/will need to be updated soon.

february

This will be my 3rd year returning to The Chili Run. It’s a hilly two mile race (you read that right, two miles!) and it starts/finishes at a restaurant, Carolina Blue.

Run out a mile, run back the same mile. Chili and beer await at the finish line!

Good Day for a Run is a local NJ race company and they always put on quality events. Last year runners got a hat, the year before the swag was a chili bowl and spoon. This year it’s a medal and shirt.

If you’re near me and considering this race, register soon because the January date is already sold out and February is close to being capped. (And then let me know so I can look for you!)

april

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!

This is yet another race that I’m returning to for a three-peat. What’s not to love about the Hot Chocolate series? You get a run, awesome swag (I can’t wait for this year’s jacket), and at the end of the race, a big ol’ mug filled with treats and hot chocolate! The 15k runners also get a medal!

This race draws new and old runners alike. It’s a big name, the distance options are appealing, and the swag is fantastic. Plus, there’s chocolate on the course. Yeah, that’s right!

If you’re registering for the Philly race, code “BRHCPhilly” will get you a free armband like mine.

Or, if you’re looking at a different Hot Chocolate race, swing by the discount codes page and grab the code for your location.

Next up on April 13th is the Atlantic City April Fools 7k.

Usually I run the half marathon during this event. I skipped 2018 and this year I’m running the 7k for the first time ever. Instant PR! My son, Lucas, is registered for this one too and I have a couple of friends who plan to be there as well.

The 7k and 11k are on Saturday. With my Healthy Kids Running Series program running through April on Sundays, it just makes sense that I opt for Saturday races. I’m looking forward to returning to AC and running a familiar route.

Disclaimer: I also received race entry to the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Intrigued? Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This has been a bucket list race weekend for quite some time! I live in New Jersey but have yet to participate, which just seems silly! Therefore, when the opportunity came through BibRave to sign up for the 5k, I knew this was the time to get it done.

The 5k is on a Saturday, which once again, works really well in my schedule for the spring. I’ve heard good buzz about this race from friends and on Twitter. While the BibRave reviews mostly focus on the marathon and half marathon, it seems like a fun, well organized event.

Want to join in the weekend events? Use code “NJMBIBRAVE19” for $5 off any distance (5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Marathon Relay).

june

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to AC I go! I’m sure no one is surprised that I’ll be returning to Atlantic City for the Bungalow Beach Run!

2018 was the inaugural year and I’m looking forward to getting back and stretching my legs out on the boardwalk. Last year was a bit overcast but I’d much rather that than hot.

The finish is on the beach and I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about that portion. Thankfully it’s a short distance!

Registration for the Bungalow Beach Run is currently $45. Not bad for a 5 mile race that includes a medal, shirt, and beer.

Crazy to think that brings me through the first 6 months of 2019! What else is in store? Only time will tell but I’m ready for whatever comes my way!