Over the River, Through the Woods

Did you hear??! Probably not, because it’s just became official, but I’m moving to the mountains! I am the soon-to-be owner of a lovely acre-and-a-half near Rocky Mountain National Park. Here’s a little update via vid. Lemme know if ya have any bear tips.

 

I can’t wait to buy things like snowshoes and cross-country skis. Maybe even a canoe!

Road Tested: Brilliant Reflective

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective 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! All opinions are my own.

2017 has been a year of getting out of my comfort zone when it comes to running.

After 6 years of doing the same running routes, the same treadmill routines, the same daytime running, I’ve been changing things up significantly. The same will no longer cut it! Hill running, sprints, and (the most daunting for me) running in the dark are now where it’s at.

With Ragnar PA less than 2 months away, my running in the dark skills have progressed rapidly. I’m feeling more confident in my abilities and also in my gear.

A few months back I shared my thoughts on Knuckle Lights and since then I’ve been using them during my pre-sunrise/post-sunset runs.

Now I’ve been able to add another product to the mix to help with visibility: Brilliant Reflective!

Brilliant Reflective are reflective adhesive strips that are available in either Iron-On or Stick-On. You can place these little strips on different areas of your body that catch light when you’re moving (known as biomotion).

My in the dark running usually takes place at 5:30 in the morning when I arrive at the gym. While driving there I often see runners out. Some wear the proper gear and others I don’t see until I’m next to them! I often times want to stop and giving them reflective gear! (That would be a little forward of me, huh?)

When it’s pitch black and cold, I usually opt for the treadmill however recently with the warmer weather and my quest to conquer running in the dark, I’ve been heading outside to either parking lot of the gym or the nearby side road before the trainer gets to the gym.

As a runner, I want to be as visible as possible. I used the Stick-On strips on the front and back of my favorite capri pants, placing them at the knee, back of the knee, and side of my hip.

Pairing them with my Knuckle Lights (and a bright orange shirt), I felt confident that I was visible to anyone driving in the early morning hours. I also make sure that I’m running against traffic so that I’m able to see the cars coming toward me.

I know this sounds silly but I was a little worried that people at the gym would question why I had what looks like tape all over my clothes. They did not, for the record. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they didn’t even notice the strips as they blended right in with my workout gear.

Since I was happy with the temporary Stick-On, I decided to give the permanent Iron-On Brilliant Reflective a try. You should know that I don’t ever use the iron on regular clothes because well, it seems like a lot of effort! But when it comes to running gear, it’s game on!

The top picture is without the flash and the bottom is with the flash to show you just how much light the reflective tape picks up!

It was simple to iron on the permanent strips to the lapel area, hemline, elbows and wrists of my half-zip shirt. One package is less than $10 and it lasts!

I still have quite a few strips left and I plan to put them on my dog’s leash, the kids helmets, camping gear, and maybe even secretly put one or two on my husband’s clothing. Oh, the possibilities! I chose purple but the strips also come in black, blue, and red. Be sure to be seen with Brilliant Reflective. Code “BIBRAVEPRO25” is good for 25% off your order until Tuesday 11:59pm CT so don’t delay.

Are you on Twitter? Join the Brilliant Reflective #bibchat on Tuesday, April 11th at 9pm est! And be sure to check out what my fellow BibRavePros have to say.

Mai – JephJessicaLindseyJenGina

Birthday Race Recap: Philly Hot Chocolate 15k

Hello from your favorite 40 year old April Fool! I decided to kick off my 40th year at the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philadelphia this year with my beautiful friend, Christina. I’m so glad I did because we had a blast!

Age is just a number!

If you’ve been following Scoot a Doot for awhile, you might remember a few years ago when Brandi ran this race. She recapped what sounded an amazing race experience for us as a guest post. I’ve had my eye on the race since then and timing worked out for the 2017 race.

First things first, the communication from RAM Racing Series’ Hot Chocolate race was above and beyond expectations. They provided a race plan at the beginning of the year with weekly emails updates. They’re quick to respond and engaging on Twitter. Post race they followed up immediately with free pictures (my favorite!) and results. All around great communication!

Sweet swag from a sweet race! You kick off the weekend with a zipper hoodie (with thumbholes). Along with my hoodie and bib, I also got a visor for using the BibRave code!

There’s an option to have your race bib and swag mailed to you for a fee ($15) but since my days are fairly flexible, I decided that I would travel into Center City, Philadelphia and visit the expo at the Convention Center. Unfortunately for me, the day I chose to travel, we got 3 inches of rain. Fortunately for me, I have a good pair of rain boots, an umbrella, and a positive attitude!

That said, next time I might just opt for the packet to be mailed. The expo was nothing fancy. I do like that they are very easy-going about changing out the size of the hoodie. RAM Race Series want their runners to be happy and providing options like that proves it!

It was overcast and gray skies for most of the race, lingering from the previous day’s rain. The sun was trying really hard to come through but it was mostly gloomy and on the cold side. I knew once we started moving we’d be comfortable.

The 5k began at 7:15 and the 15k at 8am. Christina had the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run scheduled for Sunday so our plan was to take it very easy, have fun, and not worry about time. We relaxed before lining up in the corrals, chatted with some friends along the way, and then went to find the 13 minute mile pacer, Larry, who I know through the Sub 30 Club.

I told everyone who would listen it was my birthday (because that’s what you’re supposed to do on your birthday) and I prepared myself for 9.3 miles of awesomeness.

As usual, the first couple of miles flew by. Races in Philadelphia usually include a small stint through the city and then out along the river and back again.

You could tell that this was a first time race for many of the participants and I think that’s because the lure of chocolate is very strong, as are the distances. There are very few 15k races and it seems like a logical step if you’ve done a couple of 5k/10k distances but don’t want to do a half marathon.

Also unique to the Hot Chocolate race are the fun things you find along side of the water/Nuun… like chocolate and marshmallows!

Strawberry marshmallows caught me off guard!

I found the placement of the water stations a little confusing and not where I would expect them. There was one that was a little past mile 2.5 which is a perfect placement but when coming back the other direction, it was right near the end of the race. Personally, I would have benefited from one more along the course, whether it be at the turn around (so that they didn’t have to double up on both sides) or somewhere more centrally located between 7-9.

We had a nice run/walk going for the first 7 miles. Not really timed, more like, “Should we run? Yeah, okay, let’s run.” Around mile 3 we lost our pacer. Whoopsies! We had a four cone rule where we would run four cones before switching into “walking with purpose” mode. We talked the entire time. We selfied.

It was more training run, less race-run but that was a-okay with us!

See, we have cherry blossoms too!

We both had the want to run more but we had to reign ourselves in because we knew that wouldn’t bode well for Christina’s race (which she PRed, btw!). So we remained consistent and finished with smiles on our faces!

*Philadelphia

The finish line was actually a little anti-climatic. There were timing mats on the ground and photographers snapping pictures (again, I say YAY for free race pictures). However, there wasn’t a banner or arch that I guess we are both used to at this point. We did get a shout out from the announcer which was a good cue to be our cutest selves.

We took our medal selfie with the Art Museum behind us and then went in search of our chocolate treats!

Cutest medals AND the black disc is a magnet! Fancy!

The rain made all of the grass areas big messes of mud and that’s where the entertainment stage and tents that held our finisher’s mugs were located. We weren’t going to let mud keep us away from our chocolate so we went traipsing through to get our chocolate and treats.

We might have run the entire time with the little Baileys bottle in our fuel belt just for this very moment.

Finding a good spot to sit and enjoy our treats was difficult because the ground was mushy and it was a little difficult to balance everything. Finally we planted ourselves on a patch of pavement and we dug in to our finisher’s mug. The hot chocolate was delicious and perfect on the cooler day. The dipping chocolate was great but we had to eat it quick because it cooled and hardened. The race planned ahead and provided rolls of plastic bags so we were able to bring everything home with us.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with the finisher’s mug but from start to finish, the swag for this race was pretty impressive! Hoodie, visor, chocolate on the course, medal, finisher’s mug and treats, and free race photos? Just marry me right now!

Hooray for a fun birthday race! Here’s hoping that I will be celebrating with running for years to come!

Have you ever run for chocolate? Or ice cream? Or wine? (Can you tell what my motivation is?) Next race for me is a 5k at my alma mater and then the AC April Fools Half the following day.

A Case of the Mondays

I don’t know about you all, but March has felt like a million years long and I’m pretty sure I just need a nap.

Between winter finally deciding to show its face and my man being gone for the first half of the month, March has felt really dreary and blah and basically made me want to escape. Which I did last week – my mom, my sisters, and my sister’s friend met up in Arizona for spring break. It was fantastic. 80-degree temperatures, laying by the pool, reading, shopping, visiting with friends… I would like to go back now please and thank you.

I was supposed to write about vacation workouts today. But you know what? I just didn’t work out on vacation. I was gone for a week and maybe truly exercised one day: we went for a short hike/walk and I did an ab circuit. But other than that? I just relaxed. Because it was vacation.

I struggle with this mindset though, I’ll admit. I get it in my head that I need to make time to work out, no matter what I’m doing. I need to stay on top of my workout regimen and my diet so that when I get home I’m not playing catch-up.

All that thinking does, more often than not, is ruin my vacation, because I get a little obsessed with what I’m eating and how much I’m moving, and I forget to relax and just enjoy myself.  I had one morning while in Arizona that I focused on exercise… and then realized that I was there to chill out. And all I really wanted to do was be in the sun, read my book, work on wedding-related things with my mom and sisters, eat good food and drink margaritas. So I did. And you know what? I got home, and felt a little unfit, but a lot more relaxed and even though I’m super tired and not ready for Monday, I do feel a lot more prepared for what we’ve got coming down the pike. A new workout schedule, the Whole30, a wedding.

So, no, I don’t have a post about “Six Super Easy Vacation Workouts!”, but I do have some words of affirmation: You are enough – so enough that you deserve a break. Enjoy it.

Happy Monday.

Keep Calm and Love Our Earth

What are you doing to help our Mother Earth? That’s the question that we’ve been asking ourselves lately and been getting a lot of good ideas from one another. Here’s a compilation of what we are doing to make an impact.

As I’m sitting here typing this, the East Coast is preparing for a late-season snowstorm. A snowstorm in a winter that has been relatively void of snow. Or even cold weather for that matter. Now, weather and climate are not the same thing, as we know, but stronger, more unseasonable storms are certainly an indicator of a changing climate. It’s also hard to imagine that human activity, particularly since the Industrial revolution, hasn’t had an adverse effect on the planet. Between searching for and harvest natural resources, to filling landfills and urban sprawl, humanity has certainly made an impact on the environment that we share with a world’s worth of flora and fauna.
I have a minor in Environmental Studies, and during my time in school, I spent a lot of time studying the interplay between humanity and our planet. During one class, we were asked to keep a daily journal of the small ways in which we were changing our habits to be better stewards of the planet (I went to a Franciscan Catholic university). Some of the habits I developed then, I still practice now. Particularly, taking public transit when available – living near DC, this is pretty easy to accomplish, fortunately. While my commute is no longer on the metro system, any time we venture in to the city, we take the train. And while in the city, we walk everywhere.
An academic at heart, I also make a concerted effort to stay informed about environmental issues. Having grown up in Alaska, I’m very in tune to the important balance that exists to maintain resource sustainability over time. Whether I’m reading about current environmental projects, or engaging in environmental advocacy, I’m always doing my best to better understand the impact I have on the world around me, and how we, as a society, as a people, can practice stewardship over dominance and ensure that we have a healthy planet for generations to come.

Saving the planet is my day job. I spend a good portion of each work day looking for ways to operate our business in a more sustainable and socially responsible way. Today, I organized a latex paint recycling event for 1800 employees. Tomorrow, I’ll be booking speakers to educate my people on how to protect our local watershed. Later this week, I’m meeting with folks to see how we can reduce the amount of carbon emissions our businesses generates. You might say that I’ve leveled up when it comes to being green, and my job has taught me a few things along the way.

Afternoon at the Boulder Flatirons. This is why I’m a Sustainability Coordinator.

If you want to make a big impact and you’re concerned about changes to environmental policy, I strongly urge you to attend your local city council and county planning meetings. Most environmental policy is created at the local level; the EPA only dictates minimum requirements for regulations. Go and tell them you don’t want fracking in your community, or that you expect existing protections to remain in place. Get vocal locally!

Vote for your values with your dollars. If you make it clear that you only support sustainable companies, it teaches other not-so-sustainable companies that they’d better get on board if they want to stay competitive in the marketplace. Easy things like buying locally sourced food, getting your next pair of shoes from Toms, or your new pair of eyeglasses from Warby Parker. You have lots of power here, use it!

And lastly, one of my favorite easy things to do is pick up litter I see when I’m running. It’s easy to help keep the road and trails clean and maintained.

Recently while running a particularly race I couldn’t help but notice how many cups I slogged through at each water stop. There were some runners that had handheld personal water bottles or hydration packs but overall, many took cups and cups of water (me included). Fast forward a few weeks and while signing up for another race, the Shenandoah Half Marathon, I noticed that they have a cup free policy.

Looks cool but creates a lot of waste.

I’m looking to make changes within my home where I can. My kids bring their lunches to school most days and the amount of plastic sandwich bags we were using for snacks (one for the classroom, another for lunch) was ridiculous. It felt wasteful and unnecessary. Instead I picked up a set of Tupperware and I’m sending their snacks in those instead. It was just a small little change but we are reducing the amount of plastic we’re using, which feels great.

On the same train of thought I’ve been focusing on remembering to bring my reusable bags into the grocery store. I know in some states they don’t even have a plastic bag option or there is a charge if you need one. That’s not the case in New Jersey but just because the convenience is there doesn’t mean that I need to take advantage of it. If I buy something at a drug store, rather than getting a bag, I opt to just throw it in my purse. It might be small but imagine if we all do things like that – it can really add up!

We’d love to hear what little (or big!) things you are doing to help our environment! Have any ideas to share with us and Scoot a Doot readers? Please comment below. 

Feed Your Face: Thrive Market and Eating Evolved

Raise your hand if you like food.

*raises hand*

Now, raise your hand if you like food delivered to your door?

*Hand still raised*

Keep that hand up if you like that delivered food to actually save you money AND benefit other people?

*Both hands in the air*

Well, my friends, have I got something for you.

For the past year or so, I have been a member of Thrive Market, an online grocer of sorts, and I’m a little bit in love.

Thrive Market is a membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products to our members at wholesale prices, and to sponsor free memberships for low-income American families.

Thrive is great because it gives me easy access to a lot of the typically more expensive paleo ingredients that I use in a lot of my cooking. AND Thrive not only ensures that the consumer pays less than retail, they also provide healthy food to low-income families. How great is that.

Here’s how their model works:

It’s seriously so great. I place an order probably once every two weeks, stocking up on baking ingredients like coconut flour, maple sugar, almond flour, or condiments like Sir Kensington’s Special Sauce (I’m obsessed with this right now) and snacks that are sometimes harder to find in my local grocery store. I save a few pennies on my purchase (yay for me!) and I feel good about how my dollar is giving back (yay community!).

Which leads me to my next rave this week: I generally follow a flexible dieting plan (not an official program, I just track my macros and food myself in MyFitnessPal). The flexible part of this plan is that I can still treat myself so long as at the end of the day, my macro profile remains balanced. Granted, I don’t take this to mean that I should go balls out on donuts or cookies all the time, but there are definitely days where based on what I’ve prepared and planned to eat, I can have some kind of treat.

A lot of times, I want that treat to be ice cream. But lately, I’ve been treating myself with Eating Evolved chocolate. Eating Evolved explains:

We have a guiding principle that influences every decision we make — Chocolate: It’s Food, Not Candy. When chocolate is done right, it’s a delicious, antioxidant-rich superfood — a far cry from the commoditized, sugar-filled milk chocolate candies that line supermarket shelves. It is this principle that also drives our simple mission, which is to be the go-to chocolate for health conscious consumers. We know what it’s like to have nothing suitable on the market, and we work hard to solve that problem every day.

It’s Food, Not Candy. DUDE. That’s like… probably one of the most profound things ever said about chocolate. Which makes me super happy, because there are few things in this world that I love more than chocolate. Like, maybe two things. Clay and cheese. But even cheese is a toss-up.

All of Eating Evolved’s products are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free and they are paleo and vegan, which is totally rad if you’re looking for a treat that is compliant with some kind of dietary plan.

They have a number of delicious snacks, but my favorite by far are their coconut butter cups. These dark chocolate cups filled with coconut butter are to dieeeee for. My favorite flavor is probably the caramel & sea salt, closely followed by the classic… but mint is right up there, too. I usually get a few packets of these with my Thrive Market order, toss them in my freezer, and bust one out for an after gym snack.

I can’t recommend Thrive or Eating Evolved enough. Big ups to both of these companies for fueling my workouts and my life – deliciously!