Want to Know About Being a BibRave Pro? Then this VLOG post is for YOU!

 

I wear my BibRave orange proudly and have done so for the past 2.5 years. The only thing I regret about BibRave? Not getting involved sooner!

Think you might be a good BibRave Pro? Click here for the application.

Then check out a few of my fellow Pros videos as they share what they enjoy about being a BibRave Pro.

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? 

Road Tested Vlog: Win Detergent

Disclaimer: I received a bottle of Win Detergent to review 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!

Oh, laundry. My constant nemisis.

It’s neverending and as long as there is a day that ends with -y, I have laundry to do.

When BibRave said that we were teaming up with Win Detergent, I decided to jump in on the campaign.

My family is an active one and we generate a metric ton laundry.

My husband goes to the gym 3 times a week, my older son is a runner, and my younger son does karate. Oh yes, and I happen to contribute too.

We sweat a lot, and now that it’s warm out, the smell that comes along with that sweat is that much worse.

Regular detergents don’t work as well as Win does because of chemistry. Personally, I’m not as well versed in chemistry as I am in doing laundry so I’m going to let the folks at Win explain.

The fundamental difference between WIN and other detergents is that WIN contains ingredients that separate the oils from the synthetic fibers.  Just like pulling that static electricity balloon off the wall, WIN breaks the bond between the oil and the fibers.

Once the oils have been freed from the fibers, special detergent molecules called Surfactants go to work.  Surfactants are common – all soaps contain surfactants.  WIN has chosen its surfactants specifically to get the oils out of synthetics while leaving your gear functioning and feeling great.  Just like you wouldn’t wash your pots and pans with shampoo or wash your hair with dish soap, we’ve chosen the right surfactants to wash synthetic clothing fibers.

Surfactants are two-sided molecules.  One side is hydrophobic (repels water), so it grabs onto the oils.  The other side is hydrophilic, so it grabs onto the water in the wash.  When the water goes down the drain, so do the oils.  And with them, the bacteria.

Because WIN removes the oils from your apparel, the wicking properties of the fabric are restored to almost brand new.  Not only does your gear smell better, it works better.  And because it works better and smells better, WIN users keep their gear longer.

Join me in my laundry room! Don’t worry, I won’t put you to work.

So the obvious question is: Does it work? In this case it’s a good thing that we DON’T have smell-o-vision because you would NOT want to smell our laundry beforehand.

Thankfully, our duds are fresh-as-a-daisy after washing so the next time you see me, feel free to give a sniff.

Want to try it out yourself? Hop on over to Amazon and use code WIN4RAVE at checkout to get 20% off any WIN Products!

See what my fellow BRPs have to say:

BeckyKen (and his VLOG) – Corey Lisa Thanh – Jonathan

Road Tested: Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl™

Disclaimer: I received the Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl™ to review 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!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m obsessed with my dog, Gemma. She is my ride or die; we spend most of our days together.

In mid-March she had a surgery on her back right leg for a complete ligament tear, similar to a human’s ACL. Since then we’ve been in recovery mode; much to her dismay.

It’s hard to get her to sit down and rest because we’re always on the go together. If anything it’s taught us (okay, me) to relax and take time to enjoy the spring sunshine.

We got the “all clear” about a month ago that we are allowed to add time to our walks in 5 minute increments. We go back to the vet in a few weeks for X-rays and want to ensure everything is a-okay.

While my personal stunt puppy isn’t allowed to do any high flying adventures at the moment we are big fans of the Stunt Puppy brand.

Stunt Puppy makes quality gear for pups and through quite a few BibRave opt ins, I’ve had the opportunity to try the Go Dog Glo Collar and the Stunt Runner Leash. It stands to reason that we needed to give the Nano Bowl™ a try too!

The Nano Bowl™ is a small, lightweight (1 oz.) bowl that folds down to the size of a handkerchief. It’s easy to carry during walks, runs, and hikes. When unfolded it opens to sit unassisted, 5″ wide, 5″ deep, and holds 3.5 cups of water.

Gone are the days of dripping water out of my bottle for Gemma. When she’s panting and looking for water she gets her own bowl for hydration.

I love how small this packs up, it’s easy to throw into my fuel belt or even loop it through the leash. It’s also very easy to clean, it’s machine washable but I usually hand wash it and leave it out to air dry near the sink.

Additionally, it’s good to use for food. We haven’t taken Gemma camping yet but this could work well if we do.

Interested in learning more about Stunt Puppy and connecting with other runners? Join us for the Stunt Puppy Twitter #bibchat on Tuesday, May 7th at 9pm est. It’s always a good time.

Plus, I have a strong feeling we’ll be seeing lots of dog pictures (my favorite!).

Check out more reviews from my fellow BRPs (and their pups):

CoreyKenVirjinia Deanne AmyMattJessicaConnie

Race Recap: The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 5k

Disclaimer: I received free entry to The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 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!

The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon weekend has been on my list of ones to do for awhile. I’m a Jersey girl, born and raised, and I’ve heard great buzz about this race.

While I would have rather run the half marathon, the scheduling worked out better for the 5k so that’s the race I opted for.

Registration through Athlinks was super simple.

The 5k and kids races were on Saturday; the half and full marathon on Sunday. Because I was doing the 5k, I was able to do day-of bib and shirt pickup. Therefore I didn’t see the expo but it helped save travel time all around which was a plus.

My childhood friend, Chrissy, also signed up for the 5k, so we traveled to the race site together and ran the race together as well!

The race management suggested getting there early for parking purposes and we arrived a couple of hours before the 9am start time. We were actually the first ones in the parking lot. It gave us plenty of time to relax, eat our breakfast, and then pick up the bibs and Diadora shirts.

The shirt is cute in the front but has a mesh back that threw me off a bit. I don’t know if I’ll wear it anywhere but at home.

You can see the mesh on the sleeve.

Like I mentioned, we had plenty of time prior to the start of the race so we wandered back to our car (about a half mile away) to put our shirts away and stay shielded from the wind. It was a beautiful, sunny day but the wind was intense which was a bummer because we knew that running was going to be a challenge. This seems to be the case for a lot of races that Chrissy and I run together. We battled the wind a few years back in Atlantic City too.

As the start time drew closer, the parking lot filled and we walked back to the start.

After a young lady sang the Star Spangled Banner, we were off on our 3.1 mile journey. The course was flat and wound along the ocean boardwalk, onto the streets, near a park, through a neighborhood, and back to the boardwalk once again.

There were two water stops along the way. Police presence and volunteers were throughout the course.

Our goal for this race was to get under 40 minutes. We did 1:1 intervals the entire race.

The wind was pretty brutal and by the third mile, we were fighting against it. Thankfully, the finish line was in sight; we finished strong at 39:53. Mission accomplished!

The medals are BEAUTIFUL – record shaped and they even spin, which is so much fun!

I didn’t see photographers along the course and didn’t notice any at the finish line for the 5k. Not sure we’ll get pictures but we took a good amount of our own (yay for blogging!).

In the finish line chute there were water bottles and snacks, which were great. There was also a small race village set up with a few vendors. We spent a few minutes visit booths and then watched the kids run their mile and a half race before heading back to the car.

Great race, maybe next time I’ll do the half!

Next race for me isn’t until late June but who knows… maybe something will come along in May. Anyone have any suggestions in the NJ area?

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.

How to Sew a Patch – Scoot Stitches

Happy Friday, Lovely People! I’m bringing back our Scoot Stiches series today to show you how to sew a sew-on patch. BOCO Gear sent all their 2019 Ambassadors a sew-on patch, and I quickly realized not many folks know this easy-to-learn skill. The great thing about patches is that you can sew them on to just about anything, and today’s video tutorial will show you how in a snap! I’ll be sewing my patch onto my Skirt Sports Toasty Girl Vest (which I love).

 

Check out some of our other tutorials in this series; Make a Running Skirt with a Waist Band Pocket, and Make a Gear Bag from a Race T-Shirt

Race Recap: Atlantic City April Fools 7k

First things first, if you’ve read our blog for any amount of time, you already know that I love the Atlantic City races. (Swing by our Race Recaps, and you’ll find a whole slew of reports about AC.)

I usually opt for the half marathon at the April Fools race but this year I’ve been embracing shorter distances and Saturday races during Healthy Kids Running Series season.

Additionally, my 14 year old son requested to join me this year so I figured the 7k distance would be the best bet. There’s also a 11k option on Saturday. The half marathon runs on Sunday.

Chrissy and me

For an additional $10 per packet, there was race morning packet pickup. To save myself time and travel expenses (it basically evens out), we did morning packet pickup.

Parking was only $5 with a Resorts Casino card, I picked one up a few weeks back when I spent the day in AC. Lucas and I met up with Chrissy and were quickly able to get our bibs and race shirts. Ladies got pink, men got blue.

A huge draw for the Atlantic City races is that without fail, I always see a ton of friends there. It’s a quick hour drive on the expressway from my house, which means that I can spend the night at home and just wake a bit early and hop in the car.

Run856 Turtles – I love this group of local runners!

The weather was rainy but not too cold, so it was actually comfortable to run in. This was the longest distance for my son so we chose to do 1:1 intervals to keep a consistent pace. After the Star Spangled Banner and a countdown, the race started at 9am.

The entire 7k course is on the boardwalk, which is somewhere I always enjoy running. There was a water station on the way out and back around the 2 mile mark (and the same on the return, not exactly sure of the distance). It’s always a really nice run – despite the weather.

Lucas and I rocked our AfterShokz headphones so we were able to jam out to our music and still chat with each other. He’s been running track at school, where the longest distance is a mile, but we also ran a 4 mile training run recently. The 1:1 intervals helped him feel good and confident the entire time and he stuck with me at my pace for 3.35 miles – the last mile I told him to GO and away he went.

Lucas’ main goal was to finish under an hour, which I assured him wouldn’t be an issue. He finished in 51 minutes while I rolled in at the 53 minute mark.

The finish line has lots of snacks and goodies, which Lucas loved every moment of. He went to get snacks and I stayed at the finish to cheer in friends.

What I love about this particular race, more than anything else, is that I got to run with Lucas. I was having a bit of calf pain in the days leading up to the race and there was a brief moment when I thought I might have to sit it out. Thankfully, he took it easy with me and as much as I was asking him how he was feeling and doing, he was doing the same for me.

Yeah, my kid is pretty great.

And so is this race. I’ll be back to Atlantic City in June for the 2nd Bungalow Beach 5 Miler. Will I see any of you there?