Race Recap: Key West Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Key West 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!

My initial post about this awesome race was promoting as a destination race, and it was totally on point. As a born and raised Floridian there isn’t much I don’t like about my state. I know there are plenty of things to not like about Florida, but you can’t deny that we’ve got some great scenery.

For this race I asked my mom to come with me for some fun mother-daughter time. She grabbed a hotel, I’m sorry motel for us in Marathon, which was still a drive for us on race morning, but worked out just fine.

We headed down early Saturday morning in hopes that we would have some time to explore Key West. It had been a while since either one of us visited! The drive was nice, though Florida traffic is an entity in itself so it obviously took us longer than expected.

Grabbing my bib was easy (besides a mistake on my part) and we were free to walk around and hang out. Luckily we’d been having some excellent “winter” weather and it wasn’t too hot. We had lunch at a little hole in the wall pub close to packet pick-up, drove around a bit, and then headed back to our motel. Again: traffic in Florida.

Back at our room I prepped my outfit, snacks, and myself. I was sorely under-trained for this race and it definitely showed on race day, but I was determined to make the best of it.

Getting ready to start!

 

A quick BibRave Pro meetup!

We arrived early to the race with plenty of time for coffee and breakfast, plus a couple of trips to the bathroom. The sun was just starting to come up as we began the race so I knew things were going to warm soon. I’d hydrated with Nuun the day before and was feeling pretty up to whatever the humidity might do.

I started off strong enough with some decent intervals. I knew I wasn’t going to push myself and didn’t really set a time goal for the race. I just wanted to not be the last person finished. Seemed like a decent goal right?

The city was beautiful as we ran down the streets and I tried to take in as many sites as possible. The buildings were all so cute and running through the neighborhoods was a great way to see all the chickens hanging out. (I mean it.)

Once we hit the beach the sun was out in full force and I was thankful I’d remembered to put on sunscreen. Water and electrolytes were available at nearly every mile along with Stinger gel for energy. I grabbed a couple, but only ate my Stinger chews while on the run.

This was a super easy and flat course and for that I was thankful. We ran on the road for the most part, but at the turnaround ended up on the sidewalk near the water. Everything seemed super organized and safe. There were a ton of volunteers directing runners and giving out water, too. For the most part I felt okay. I stopped thinking about my pace around mile six and just decided to do what my body could. By mile ten I was walking a lot and definitely struggling to finish.

All the mile marker signs had fun facts on them!

I saw a friend who’d ran the 5K downtown just as I was coming into mile twelve. She’d messaged me and I managed a wave as I struggled by her. I was texting my running buddy, boyfriend, and mom at this point so I had plenty of encouragement. By that time I just ready to finish, though!

My mom was waiting at the finish line (and took a picture of half of me) coming around the corner. I grabbed my medal, a beer, and took a break before we began our touristy things. Since we’d checked out of our hotel at 4AM I found a nice little place for brunch (and to change my clothes in) and we settled in for a little drive around the island (and all other islands before heading home).

 

This was a tough race for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve got into a race completely unprepared and I was definitely disappointed with myself. In March, Michelle and I will be running the New York City Half Marathon, so I know I’ve got to get my butt in gear.

Despite my own mistakes, this was an amazing race. The course was great, the view was perfect. 10/10 would recommend. Okay, the drive kind of sucks, but the rest was amazing.

Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5K Chapter 4… Runner Down

Week 4 has not been great.

I lost a beloved aunt on Sunday.

Even so, I planned to run.

Then the cough started and I lost my voice.

Still planned to run.

Then the fever and aches kicked in.

And like that, I’m fighting a horrible bug that’s moving through the house (perks of having a toddler!)

While I’m still not feeling well I’m really thankful it’s not as bad as it could be. This is one of those moments where I have to listen to my body, rest, & recuperate.

Baby Girl had her shots yesterday so she & I are recuperating, resting, & napping.

So, instead of sharing my (nonexistent) runs this week, I figured I’d share some of my favorite all-natural germ-fighting remedies. I’m not a fan of dosing myself up with chemicals so when I’m under the weather I rely on these to get me better quick.

Probiotics

I take a probiotic every morning but when I’m not feeling my best I will take 2 in the morning & 2 in the evening. Stress & lack of sleep will trigger the gut & brain that the immune system is prone to attack. By increasing the healthy bacteria in the gut I’m giving my body the opportunity to fight back by absorbing additional nutrients & increasing serotonin (the feel-good hormones). My go-to vegan probiotic is from NOW Supplements.

 

 

 

Vitamin C

While Vitamin C does not cure colds & viruses, it does help boost the performance of white blood cells, those strong little fighters in our blood system who attack infections. When my WBC’s are in need of a boost, I cut up an orange, lemon, and lime, bring it to a boil in a saucepan with water & fresh garlic (another immunity-booster & infection fighter) and drink it down warm like tea.  Not only is this soothing to my throat, but gives my system the opportunity to fight.

 

Herbal Tea

When I reach for herbal tea there’s only one brand I grab…  T-We Tea!   T-We Tea has a great selection of delicious teas and tisanes with hilarious names and the perfect herbal/floral blends for whatever ails you.  This particular tisane selection is one of my favorites for cold busting.  Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory to help with the fluish body aches.  Lemongrass also is a pain-fighter, while orange peel helps boost the immune system.  Chamomile blossoms are great for relaxation & sleep (much needed when sick) and carrot chips are filled with vitamins (K1, potassium, A, B6 to name a few) that help fight germs & boost the immune system.

 

Warm Mist Humidifier

I’ve been a lifelong asthmatic, so the humidifier has always been a constant in my home.  When I’m sick, I immediately get the warm mist pumping through the air to keep my lungs open and clear.  Since I’m battling the flu, using warm mist also helps to keep my sinuses clear.  What I love about this Levoit brand is that I can add essential oils on a side slot & pad to add to the healing element.  Currently, I have lemongrass and eucalyptus oil for helping to fight my fever.  At night I use some clove and rosemary to detoxify the air and surfaces around the house.  A much better & healthier option (for me) instead of spraying Lysol or using bleach.

 

 

Water

There’s nothing better than increasing your water intake when fighting the flu.  This is a number one essential for fighting any infections.  Water helps break up congestion and gives your body the energy to fight the nasty bug trying to take you down.  It also feels amazing when fighting that cotton-mouth-feverish duo that strikes.  I fill my bottle with ice cubes & drink it down.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m allowing my body and soul time to rest and heal before pushing it again.  Next week, I’ll get back to smashing my goals, not only because I want to, but because I know my auntie would be incredibly proud of me.

What are your go-to natural remedies?  Runners, how do you get back on track after a bad week?  Please reach out to me on social media @NJGardenTeacher & let me know!  (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat)

Get ready for next Friday’s update!

 

Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5K Chapter 3… Dealing with Quitters

So runners…

Week three has been an interesting one.

Running three days a week has been wonderful. I’m serious. Really wonderful. I am shocked… like, REALLY shocked, that I crave it.  I love those moments when I’m able to be lost in my brain where I’m not only working through the jumble of thoughts in my head but I’m able to take in what’s happening at the moment.

The birds flying from tree to tree…

The Beyoncé playing in my ears…

The sock that has apparently decided to quit its ONE JOB and start creeping under my heel to build one cotton lump in my shoe.

That sock is a quitter.

Now my peaceful run has turned into a race between me & THIS. DAMN. SOCK.  Stop, fix it. Great!  I’m back on track!  Nope!  I’m not even halfway through singing “Come on ladies, now let’s get in formation!”  before this sock is sliding off my heel again.

DONE!

I stopped my run, got in the car, took off the shoe, & drove home without it.  I mean, I paid a lot of money for this pack of name brand socks & I can’t run in them? Why is this?

Fast forward to my conversation with Mer. I sat with her and wanted to know all things runner socks. What’s the best brand? Why is this needed? Where do I get them? And most importantly, why is this information not covered in ANY of the how-to-start-running information I scoured the interwebs for?

Where is all of the information about what essential pieces of clothing (and why they are essential) for beginning runners?  Especially for the Athenas like me… with the tatas that require 3 bras to contain the painful bounce.  And underwear!  Why does nothing tell you to not wear those cute little cotton panties when you’re running because your leg creases will chafe and burn from the friction?

Okay, runners… I know you’re a special group of people.  I consider myself one of you now.  But can a sista get some clothing advice?  I’m not trying to pay $128 for a pair of quality leggings (I wanted to scream when I saw that) but also paying $80 for a running bra (that didn’t work) doesn’t sit well either.  It really makes me feel like this area of the clothing industry has quit on us.  It also makes me feel that the running world is missing out on a group of people who really WANT to join it.  Is it possible that this club has quit on us before ever giving us a fair shot?

Luckily, Mer gave me tons of information and resources, and I won’t let a pair (more like five pairs!) of quitter socks get in my way.

What are your ESSENTIALS for comfort?  Please comment below or message me on social media @NJGardenTeacher.

See you Friday!

 

I Did Peloton Bike For One Week… And Here’s What Happened!

Absolutely NOTHING.

Oh wait, that’s not how those click bait things are supposed to go, are they?

I’m clearly messing this up already.

Let’s try this again. My Peloton Bike arrived a week ago today, January 8th, 2020.

I’ve been dreaming of this for awhile now but the reality set in on Christmas when my husband gifted me the bike. Actually, he gifted me a Peloton hat and water bottle with the promise that the bike would arrive a few weeks later.

A few things to note:

  1. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve gone to a cycling class.
  2. Actually, I might be able to count on one finger the amount of times I went to a class.
  3. I am beyond a newbie when it comes to this.

I’m also an adrenaline junkie and looking to change up my routine. If you don’t keep track of my every move, I lift weights, I run, and within the past year, I took up hiking.

Additionally, I get nervous about new things because I’m crazy clumsy and always factor that in to my decision-making but eventually curiosity gets the best of me.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING DELIVERY

We had a great team arrive with my bike, ready to set it up. They gave us a time window of 4-6 and called around 3:30 asking if we were home to receive the delivery.

People, I love punctuality. And in this case, I was on pins and needles WAITING for this delivery so I was even more excited that it was arriving a few minutes early!

The duo quickly set up my bike in the space we’d chosen for it and then gave me a tutorial on adjusting the height and location of the seat and showed me how to set up my profile (um, I might have already done this on the app because I’m a planner).

They made sure I knew how to get on and off the bike, clip my shoes into the pedals, and answered all the questions that I had regarding maintenance and general care.

NOW WHAT?

Remember, I’m brand spanking new to my brand new bike. I was slightly intimidated. But curious. And since I was already on the bike, there was no time like the present to do my first ride.

There are over 240 classes in the Beginner category and based off friends suggestions, I went with the 20 min Beginner Ride with Cody Rigsby for my first ever Peloton bike experience.

It was a blast! I was talking back to my BFF Cody (it was a recorded class) and getting a feel for what it’s all about. My actual BFF, my husband, stood there shaking his head at me the entire 20 minutes and so he didn’t feel bored I had him get me water. And then a few minutes later, a hat.

Before the bike arrived he said he had no interest in using it but I could tell during that first 20 minutes of riding, he’s already considering it.

My second ride was the next day, another 20 minute Beginner Ride with Olivia Amato. I’ve heard of everyone’s favorite instructors and my friends all have differing opinions of who they love the best, so my goal for the first month is trying them all.

I’m still learning what the metrics are but I’m getting the idea!

A friend and I discussed doing a live class together because we didn’t want to be “alone” during our first go. We landed on a 30 min 80s Ride with Leanne Hainsby which was so much fun. I loved Leanne’s energy and her song choices were so much fun. What can I say, I’m an 80s kid, through and through.

THE PELOTON APP

In addition to the rides on the bike, I’ve been making great use of the Peloton App. With it, I’ve done a couple of Fun Walks on my treadmill (I have an adapter so I’m able to see the videos on my television set up). When they say “Fun”, they mean it!

I needed a rest day on Monday with no cardio whatsoever so I tapped into 10 min Restorative Yoga with Aditi Shah and it was incredible. While I’m checking out all of the instructors for the bike, I’ve been drawn to Aditi for mediation and yoga.

My kiddo and I did her 5 minute Sleep Meditation and Sonya and I took a break from non-profit work to do Zen in Ten.

I believe the app has a month free trial and then run $20 a month. If this is something you’ll use on a daily basis, I highly recommend it!

FINAL FIRST THOUGHTS

It’s only been a week but I’ve been on the bike 6 out of 7 days! There are thousands of workouts to choose from and I have a list a mile long of ones that I want to do so I don’t think that I’ll be getting bored any time soon.

Sweaty selfie, complete with fogged glasses.

It’s challenging but you’re able to listen to your own body too. There are times when the instructors suggest a certain resistance and I try to follow their instructions and quickly regret that decision. So I do what I am feeling but I love that I can always push myself a little bit harder.

The metrics that are on the screen help put a numerical value on what you’re doing AKA a ranking. There’s a competitive aspect to it, if you want there to be. You are able to see others who are riding with you and where you land among them.

That’s not what I’m about though and it’s never has been what I’m about. As we were all saying a few years ago, YOU DO YOU.

It’s convenient. I belong to a gym but that’s mainly for weight training and HIIT. I like not having to think all the time when it comes to exercising. My mind races throughout the rest of the day so it’s always nice when I’m exercising to push myself and just listen to someone else tell me what I’m doing.

My biggest challenge? There are two.

  1. Getting out of the pedals at the end of the ride. For the love of Pete, I wish I were joking about this but I’m not. Remember the aforementioned clumsiness? I was so sure I was alone in this struggle but my Instagram buddies assured me that I’m not and that it will become more second-nature as time goes on. Yesterday I was able to do it and nearly threw myself a party. Then I walked from the carpet to the tiled bathroom and nearly slipped on the floor in the dang shoes. *Puts away party hat.*
  2. My tush hurts. Yeah, I said it. It does. I got a gel seat. I hope it helps.

Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5k Chapter 2… When Your Health Has Other Plans

One year ago today, everything changed.

I had experienced back pain for years.  So many years, I honestly can’t remember not having back pain.  I always chalked it up to the consequence of getting older & all of those gymnastic days/car accidents/falling incidents (yeah..I’m a klutz) of my youth.  Being a teacher, spending long days on my feet on floors with no more than carpeting or tile on top of cement didn’t help. Also, carrying all that extra weight was not helping, and I knew it. However, it was normal to me.

Then I started having trouble standing.

And walking.

And gardening.

And I couldn’t stand and teach a 20-minute lesson without stopping and attempting to stretch out my back.

And I couldn’t walk my students down the hallway without pain that made me want to cry.  

I knew something was truly wrong.

On January 7th, 2019 I had an appointment with a doctor whose specialty is spinal injuries.  She couldn’t even complete her evaluation due to the pain I was in from the tasks she needed me to do.  As the tears were rolling down my cheeks, she told me she was putting me on bed rest until she could review the results of my x-rays and MRI.  

Two weeks later she put me on bed rest for three months & gave me a referral for physical therapy.  She also told me that I had extensive nerve damage along with adult-onset scoliosis and I would most likely end up in a wheelchair within 6-12 months.  

What?!?  

No.

Luckily for me, my Aries personality does not like being told what to do or what will happen to me.  I believe in being the captain of this ship, and no one controls its destiny except me. That prognosis was not going to be my destiny. 

Time for a rewrite.

I did my research.  I went to physical therapy.  I followed (and still follow) every single directive, and then some.  A wheelchair, at this time in my life, was not going to be my destination…

Here I am, January 7th, 2020, and I just ran 1.5 miles on the treadmill, with a 40% incline, at a steady speed of 3.2.  Granted, it took a little over 20 minutes but what a wonderful victory! I am so proud of me and so grateful and thankful to the universe for not only being in this place where I was not supposed to be but for also blessing me with that stubborn, determined personality.  I don’t care if I’m labeled an Athena, or if my pace is slow, or what people may think of me. My story is mine to write and in this story, I am unstoppable.

Here I come 5K…

Click here to see Chapter 1.

You can find Sonya (NJGardenTeacher) on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Girls on the Run (is still) So Much Fun!

The school year feels like it has flown by already, including a season of Girls on the Run! This was my third season with GOTR and it was, as always, so much fun.

For my third season, we ended up with a full team of fifteen girls. Michelle was my co-coach and it is honestly so much fun to coach with your best friend. We are able to throw ideas around pretty easily and we usually tend to agree on most things.

Our girls were a nice mixture of old and younger girls. The program is for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. Since some of our girls aged out last year, we were open to some younger ones. Also, some of them were my students from the previous year and they signed up to be with me. We also had a nice mixture of previous GOTR girls mixed with new ones. It’s always nice when you have a few girls who can help to lead exercises and discussions because they’ve done it all before.

This season was full of lots of laughs, learning about ourselves, and running. The girls were able to work together in a big way and made holiday cards for people in hospitals and veterans as our final community project. They did an amazing job all season, practicing and setting goals. It’s so cool to see young girls set and achieve (or crush!) their running goals. Sometimes it makes me jealous that they are so committed!

Last month we finished out our season with our 5K and, of course, the girls crushed it. It was so much fun to see them out on the course with their buddies knowing that they could do it. Yes, they struggled. Yes, they walked. But in the end, they finished, and it was amazing!

We also have such a great support system with our parents and staff members. Everyone was there to either  run with or cheer on a girl. It was a great ending to a great season!

 

 

Some of our amazing teachers/running buddies

 

Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5K Chapter 1… Not a Resolution. Just the way it’s gotta be.

I’m not exactly the kind of person who does New Year resolutions I feel like setting them just ensures your failure. However, I have set some serious goals for myself for 2020. 

In my younger years (and I’m talking young as in teenager young) I used to run. I was very athletic and loved the freedom that running gave me. After I had my son at age 21, running definitely fell by the wayside and I started picking up a lot of pounds. 

You may call that baby weight. I know I called that baby weight. My baby is 27 now… and I am still carrying that baby weight. 

I’ve decided to commit to discovering what I loved about running again. In the past 6 months, I have lost over 50 pounds in the quest to run again.

Although some people may consider this the easy way (trust me it wasn’t) I had vertical gastric sleeve surgery in February 2019. Because I have been blessed with the wonderful autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and hypothyroidism, the struggle to drop the pounds is real. But, a goal without a plan is just a wish, and one of the main goals I had set for myself after the surgery was to run a 5k. 

Since my weight loss has not been as dramatic as I thought it would be, I had to pick myself up by my sneaker laces and figure out how I was going to achieve this goal. Setting a goal for running is much easier when you have friends who also run. I’m thankful to have such a wonderful friend in Scoot a Doot’s own Mer because she always encourages me and celebrates my small victories with the same (or sometimes bigger) excitement as she does large victories. She knew I wanted to get back to running. I happened to be talking to her about my goals on the phone today and somehow wound up signing up for the Hot Chocolate 5K in Philly on April 4th

Immediately after I messaged her to tell her I signed up, I was really concerned because I haven’t run since October.

Then suddenly it popped in my head… Get out there and run. Now the weather today is not the best. It’s cold. It’s raining. And I have natural hair. If you don’t know, raining does NOT go well with natural hair. (PS – I also hate cold weather!)

However, I got out there in the best running outfit I could put together, drove to my local park, and did the None-to-Run Week 1, Workout 1 interval walk-and-run for 30 minutes. There were times I could run a little more and there were times where I skipped the short-run and opted for the walk. 

Most importantly, I got out there and did it. It was far from pretty or quick, but I said to myself if you can do this on a day that is cold, rainy, and you know you’re going to get soaked, then you can do this no matter what. Guess what I discovered? I can do this, no matter what. 

Wish you could see this soaked Athena in the freezing rain?  Well, your wish has been granted!  See you next Friday!

You can find Sonya (NJGardenTeacher) on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Cheers to 2020!


I have this weird thought that odd years are good and even ones are notoriously bad for me.

Hear me out.

Good things happen in my life in odd years. I could go through a list but I won’t. I started attributing the bad things that were happening in my life to evenness. Which is stupid and totally not a thing until I made it one. It made me loathe even years and let me tell you, a year is a long time to deal with negative thoughts because of a made up problem.

Anyway, I’m done with that.

Because I KNOW that 2020 is going to be amazing.

The momentum that I’ve carried through the last few months of 2019 is going to push me right into 2020, and I am here for it! I feel like I’ve made smart choices in 2019 (including focusing on shorter race distances rather than automatically going for the half marathon) and it’s helped me remain injury free and ready to conquer some new PRs in the new year.

So what races are ahead for the first few months in 2020? Well, pull up a chair and let me tell ya!

january

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge 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!

I’ve spent the month of December streaking, which is something I never, ever thought I’d say again. After streaking through the holidays in 2013 and 2015 I was ready to be done with streaking forever.

But then I started with my 10k steps per day on December 1st and something magical happened… I’ve (mostly) enjoyed it. It’s day 30 and then tomorrow is the last day of this self-imposed challenge.

The reason why this time it’s working so much more is that I’m streaking with steps rather than with running. As an added bonus, I have been running a lot more this month, but I don’t feel like I HAVE to but rather that I GET to.

The 465 Challenge is a virtual event that takes place in January and February. The goal is simple – 53 miles between the two months; walk, run, hike, bike, you name it. Given that I’ve been rocking this December streak, I think that I’m going to carry it into January. Who knows, maybe I’ll even do two loops (53+53= 106 miles).

We don’t have many January races here in New Jersey so this is the perfect way to stay engaged in my training. If you want in, use discount code BIBRAVE to save 10%.

february

This is one of my favorite winter races and I’ll be back again for the February race. It’s a two mile hilly run with great swag and chili and beer and the finish line.

Last year, Rachel and I did this one, I PRed the distance, and then we went on to run 5 miles through the town. I’d like to do that again this year too (the PR and the post-race run).

march

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Yuengling Shamrock 1/2 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!

Remember earlier when I mentioned my training? This is what it’s all about! It’s time to reach for a new 1/2 Marathon PR and I hear that this is the place to do it! I’ll be road-tripping down to Virginia Beach for the weekend of March 21st-22nd.

I have been doing my research by reading reviews on BibRave and talking to people about this race. Every single person that I’ve spoken to about Shamrock is a big fan. I’ve heard NO negatives. Not one. It’s been on my bucket list for awhile now and I’m so looking forward to experiencing it for myself.

I’ll be traveling down with my road-trip buddy, Rachel, and there’s a BRP Summit happening that weekend so I’m might explode from excitement. Brace yourselves.

april

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 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!

Moving right along, April is my birth month and brings more fun races!

I’m returning for my 4th year at the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k in Philly. It’s one of my all time favorite Philly races with terrific swag and fantastic people. I’ll be honest, the course is not my favorite location in the city but since I’ve opted for the 5k distance, I know I’ll be ready to go. This is a race I usually do with Ana and this year she’ll be achieving her legacy status!

Furthermore, they’ve added medals to the 5k distance, which is a fun addition. Everyone in my area is usually at this race, it’s a good “starter” event and for those of us who have been running for awhile, it’s a good time too. I never expect to PR at the Hot Chocolate races in time, but in fun it takes the cake! (Or the chocolate!)

If you’re planning on registering for the Philly Allstate Hot Chocolate race, be sure to use code “BRHCPHILLY20 and get your free Hot Chocolate running hat with registration.

Another tried and true one for me, the Atlantic City Marathon Series puts on fantastic events. I love the ease of these races. It’s a quick hour drive, easy parking, and the run is mainly on the board walk.

I’ll be running the 11k distance on April 25th. When I registered, I signed up for this, the Bungalow Beach 5 mile race in June, and a race during their fall weekend. I’m nothing if not a planner and when I saw the special pricing for the three races, and the extra bling for taking part in each of their race weekends, I was in.

Take my money, Atlantic City!

I’ve got my eye on more races in the second half of 2020 (and a few that I’ve registered for). It’s going to be a great EVEN year and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

What’s on your calendar for the first few months of the year? What are you doing to ring in the 2020? I’m planning on hanging out with my family and maybe staying awake until 10pm. 

 

Race Recap: Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Tampa

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k 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 weekend I had the pleasure of running for chocolate! Now, I usually reward myself after every race I run…just because. To me, there’s nothing better than a post-run brunch with lots of bacon and coffee. This weekend, however, the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K was giving out chocolate at the finish line.

I’ve never done a Hot Chocolate race so I was thrilled when the Tampa came up with BibRave! The race was super easy to sign up for through Athlinks and the rest was history. You’d think, of course, that since I signed up for the race a few months ago that I’d been training for it, right?

Well, it’s like you guys don’t know me at all. I did run a 15.9ish Ragnar Relay the weekend before, however. Does that count as training?

Anywho, I headed up Saturday to pick up my race packet since the race is a big one and they didn’t have race day pickup. I was going to be running the race alone, so my dude made the trip with me. I tried to convince him to run too, but no dice after the week before’s Ragnar. We still had fun walking the Riverwalk Saturday and prepping for the race with pizza and drinks. (My go-to prerace dinner!)

The next morning my dude dropped me off at the Tampa Convention Center for the start of the race. The course and start line were the same as Gasparilla and I knew parking would be difficult. Having a driver for the day worked out nicely. The morning was chilly and I seriously considered taking my sweet Hot Chocolate hoodie with me. I’d opted for my BibRave tee and my SkirtSports Pocketopia in Bonita print, knowing it would warm up once the sun was out.

Before the race started, I did my usual rituals: walk around aimlessly for a few minutes, visit the porta potty, and eat a bagel.

You could tell the crowd was excited and ready to go. (To the bathroom.)

Everything was great at the start line, despite still being cold. It was nothing like the temps for Ragnar, but I was still feeling chilly.

The sun was up once we started and I was excited for a strong beginning, too. I was nervous since I hadn’t run since Ragnar. After the first half mile I started with some intervals, knowing I wouldn’t be able to run the whole 15K without stopping. For intervals I went with a minute long high and a thirty second low. The intervals were perfect and I kept a fairly steady pace for the first part of the race and was happy with how things were going.

There were aid stations every couple of miles with potties and, of course, chocolate!

Chocolate and nuun – a combination you didn’t know you needed.

The course was familiar as I’d run the Gasparilla 15K twice before, so I was used to the road and the scenery. I do love taking those “sun shining over water pictures” though.

I maintained my pace and intervals for the majority of the race, even with stopping at the bathroom twice. Michelle wasn’t there to yell at me for going to the bathroom, so I did what I wanted! My pace was a pleasant surprise because, again, Michelle wasn’t there to yell at me! She’s usually the one motivating me on these long races, so I hope I made her proud. Ha!

There was the usual watching who/where others were around me that helped me know I was keeping a pretty steady pace. I always love to see the same runners throughout the course. It helps me to know that I’m still doing okay, even when I feel like I’m not.

It’s easy to get frustrated or fall behind when you’re running by yourself, but I felt like I did an okay job for this race. I finished strong and my pace was close to the other races I’d run on that course. After I crossed the finish line I headed to grab my chocolate goodies and wait for my driver. I was impressed at how well everything was organized and set up. It seemed much easier to navigate than Gasparilla (which is one of my favorite races).

This is definitely a race I’m going to keep on my watchlist for next year. If you’re into tasty treats after a run, you should too!

I Forgive Myself

Last week I was planning to write about the hikes I’ve done recently.

I didn’t though.

Today’s post was supposed to be about The Light Run.

It isn’t though. Not in the sense I meant it to be.

This time of year is filled with family and winter concerts and get togethers and shopping and wrapping (for both Hanukkah and Christmas) and plans plans plans. And plans that are forgotten until it’s 5:13 on Monday morning and you realize “Oh shit, I was supposed to do xyz for today. And I didn’t.”

I forgive myself.

I forgive myself for the thing that fall by the wayside this December.

I remind myself that there are people who have far greater things to be worried about.

I impress upon myself that not everything has to be perfect and not everything will be perfect. It’s the imperfect that makes me who I am and my family who we are. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s more than okay.

And I hope that as you’re going through your days and maybe struggling a little bit with getting everything done, you are forgiving yourselves too.