Life can be fricking hard, yo. I don’t have it figured out, but I do know what helps me when things get tough. Today, I’m sharing some thoughts about dealing with life’s struggles. I hope they help you, too, and always be kind to yourself.
Life can be fricking hard, yo. I don’t have it figured out, but I do know what helps me when things get tough. Today, I’m sharing some thoughts about dealing with life’s struggles. I hope they help you, too, and always be kind to yourself.
This past weekend I didn’t run a race.
However, that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t at a race! I always love volunteering at races whenever possible and the series that I love returning to time after time (I hope you’re singing with me) is the Run the Vineyards events, hosted by Good Day For A Run.
This year I’ve volunteered at three of their races and at each one I’m reminded of how much I love our running community. Most recently, Rachel and I were stationed at the mile 6 water stop of the 15k at the Bellview Winery Good Day For A Run 5k/15k Festival.
We brought along a cheering playlist (made especially for the occasion), a speaker, and a lot of sassy spirit!
It was SO MUCH FUN volunteering. Honestly and truly, if you have the opportunity to get out there and help out a race, you should embrace it fully! We danced, served up many, many cups of water, and cheered for the 250 participants.
So what’s up next for me? This coming weekend is the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.
Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n Roll Philly 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!
And I’m really freaking excited! Because of these medals…
And this shirt…
And running in Philadelphia! I haven’t done a race in Philly since the spring so I’m looking forward to returning and having a rocking time. I don’t think that I’ll be PRing this race but that’s not really the goal this time around for me. The goal is to get out there and have FUN!
Music, after party, beer: it’s like they know me.
Online registration is closed but you are still able to register at the Health and Fitness expo prior to the event.
Then in October I’ll be returning to the Run the Vineyards races, this time as a participant!
A 5k through 2 neighboring vineyards, free pictures, a wineglass award (with a glass of wine), long-sleeved tech shirts, and an after-party with music and food. Um, I feel like I should do this every weekend.
I registered for this race with a group of friends and I know that we’ll have fun because it’s always a party when we’re together.
The weekend following that I’ll be heading down to Winterthur, Delaware for the Run Inspired 10k.
Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Run Inspired 10k 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 a new to me race that benefits Operation Warm which distributes coats to local children living in poverty. I’ve heard that this course is hilly but I’m looking forward to my favorite distance and also to the after party. Are you sensing a theme here?
I have friends that will be running this race too and it’s always great to see familiar faces along the route. If you want to be one of them, you can register now with the code BIBRAVE to save 10% on a race entry. (And then let me know so I can look for you!)
Fall racing, it’s your turn to shine! Let’s do this.
Disclaimer: I received a Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Collar 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.
In February my best friend, Gemma, and I were able to test out the Stunt Puppy Leash, which we absolutely love. In fact, we love it so much that we recently gifted one to Jenn as a housewarming present. (I’m all about practical housewarming gifts.)
When I caught wind of another opportunity to try a Stunt Puppy item through BibRave, I was definitely interested. Although, when I saw it was a collar, I wasn’t sure that we’d be the right fit. Gemma needs to be on a harness when she’s walking or running; the harness gives me more control over her and she isn’t able to pull. She’s a small but mighty girl!
Once I was able to confirm that we could test it without hooking the leash directly on it, we were in!
There were quite a few colors I could pick from when it came to the Go Dog Glo Dry Collar but I knew immediately that the Orange Reflective would really stand out on Gemma. And it does! They also have Yellow Reflective, Pink Reflective, Royal Reflective, Ocean Reflective and Red Reflective; there’s a good variety to choose from.
Orange is one of my favorite colors and it really stands out against her dark coat. Her visibility is important because we are often out in our neighborhood in the early morning hours. It has a 3M Reflective Edgeguard trim along the middle that catches the light at any angle. I use Brilliant Reflective on my clothing, it only makes sense that she has prime visibility as well.
Durability wise, she’s been wearing this collar for a little over a month and the reflective trim has started flecking off a bit near the adjustable buckle.
Stunt Puppy designed the Go Dog Glo Dry Collar with flat, quick release buckle collars.
Personally, I’m a fan of buckle collars for dogs because they aren’t able to slip them easily and if for any reason they get caught up on something like a fence or branch, I’m able to quickly and easily open the buckle and release her. It hasn’t happened yet, but better safe than sorry.
The overall feel of the collar is flexible plastic, which is how the collar is stink-proof and waterproof. Miss Gemma has a tendency to roll in disgusting things so this is a great feature for her.
If something smells like death, you can bet that girlfriend is going to drop to the ground and get that death smell all over her. It’s one of her less endearing qualities.
The collar also comes with two D rings. One is for a leash and the other is for tags so they don’t get tangled and reduces jingle noise. You might notice that I have neither on Gemma’s collar at the moment. Her tag’s O ring that I use to attach it to a collar broke and as I mentioned earlier, I don’t use the leash directly on the neck collar. Even still, I’ve been happy with the Go Dog Glo Dry Collar and how it’s worked for Gemma.
Gemma and I are in agreement, the Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Dry Collar gets two thumbs and 4 paws up from us!
The collar retails for $26.00 If you’re interested in getting it, code BIBRAVE917 will save you 20% off your purchase at https://www.stuntpuppy.com/.
Tonight’s Twitter #BibChat is with Brilliant Reflective (doing my best to be a there!). Stunt Puppy’s #BibChat is happening on Tuesday, September 19th at 9pm EST and I can’t wait because I’m sure that there will be many, many dog pictures. You should join us, Gem and I’ll be snuggling and chatting.
Want to hear more about the Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Dry Collar? Swing by BibRavePro’s blogs:
I’ve had my radar focused on Vacation Races for quite some time. Jenn is our resident Vacation Races ambassador and she swoons about their races.
My local pal, Rachel, received a race entry for herself and a friend after a registration mix-up at the 2016 Yellowstone race. She reached out to me in February with a “What do you typically do over Labor Day weekend” message.
I responded with “Not a whole heck of a lot!”
So then she said, “Let’s take a road trip to Virginia, do this half marathon together, and have a blast!” Well, how could I say no to that? I was in!
Except the code they provided didn’t work! Agh, maybe I wasn’t in?
There was about a week of back and forth emails with a few people being looped in along the way. I’ll be honest, it was frustrating and we even questioned if it would be worth the time and effort (this was after a registration snafu for Rachel the first time around, so you can see why we were disappointed). I was given a few different codes to try before finally being manually entered into the system.
THEN I was officially in. Rachel and I were able to breathe easy once more and looked forward to our September trip.
As our trip grew closer, we ironed out travel details and of course, kept our eyes on the weather. Which wasn’t looking great. Rainy. However, the temperature was cooling considerably and I’d much rather run in 55 degrees than 80. We had high hopes that the rain wouldn’t be too bad.
Rachel drove to NJ from PA and our road trip, which we affectionately called “Meatball Road Trip 2k17 (if you watch Big Brother this season, you’ll understand where this originated) officially commenced.
We talked, sang and car danced all the way down through Delaware, Maryland, and into Virginia. The ride was about 4 hours and we went straight to the expo to grab our shirts and bibs.
Of course, it started to rain, which we were less than impressed with… but it was expected.
The shirt reminds me of St. Patrick’s Day, which is probably when I’ll wear it. Sadly, green is not my color.
The expo was small but fun. I think we would have spent more time there had it not been raining but we decided to save up our rain time for the half.
After learning how to turn a t-shirt into a bag (totally going to do this activity with our Cub Scout den), making s’mores, and finding our names on the inaugural Shenandoah design, we took some time to ask a few questions to announcer/race coordinator, Kaelee. She’d run the course in the morning so she was able to give us some pointers and let us know what to look forward to the next day.
We took the time to be tourists and visited Luray Caverns, which was pretty amazing (and of course we commented how cool it would be if we could run through it).
From the get-go we knew we wouldn’t be racing this half. Our mantra was “have fun and get it done.” This was going to be a “mullet crew” experience – as in, a party in the back! No shame! After a delicious dinner we decided to hit the sack, knowing we’d be waking up at 5am.
The race began at 7am and was a point to point race and almost entirely on road, save the first and last 10th of a mile. You could park at either the start or finish and they had school buses to shuttle runners from one point to the other. We decided we’d rather shuttle before the race than after; we parked at the finish and shuttled to the start.
As we made our way from the parking lot to where the shuttles were, it was before sunrise and I found myself wish that I had brought my Knuckle Lights, just to see where we were going. We shuffled to the shuttles and were able to grab the last two seats on the bus heading toward the starting area.
At the start, there was coffee and hot chocolate. They also offered bananas and things like Vaseline and thoughtful touches that runners might find useful.
Just as we got our beverages, huge raindrops started plopping on us. At first, neither of us could comprehend what was happening, our brains weren’t full awake yet! We quickly found shelter nearby and chatted with other runners as we did our best to stay dry. We both had plastic rain ponchos yet neither of us had them on when the rain had started. It caught us all by surprise!
The rain tapered off just in time for the National Anthem and I really loved that this guy got to stand on top of the box truck and hold the flag.
Mother Nature couldn’t decide what she wanted to do – one minute it was drizzling, the next it wasn’t. Rachel and I kept muttering to each other “this is stupid” as we lined up near our pace sign. Seriously, sometimes I question my sanity. My socks were already wet and it was cold! I knew once I started moving I’d be fine, it’s just getting to that point.
There was a guy near the start that was telling us, “It’s just a really long 5k” which made us chuckle.
Sure enough, once we started moving, we were good to go. Actually, really good. Actually, really, really good. As in, we hit the mile marker and were shocked that we were already at a mile.
You guys, this continued for miles 2-8. We would come to a mile marker and be amazed that we got there as quickly as we did. Which, for the record, wasn’t quick; we were having conversational miles. But we were feeling good and powering up the uphills/taking advantage of the downhills.
Virginia was lovely, with lots of local flair that we northerns aren’t accustom to seeing on a daily basis.
We saw llamas (or were they alpaca?), plenty of cows, and were graced with the presence of a kitten in the middle of the road near mile 7. This kitten sat smack in the middle of the road and got attention for each and every single runner that came through. He had life all figured out for such a little guy.
The aid stations were perfectly placed. Vacation Races is a cup free race, so they offer hydropouches or you can bring your own hydration system. I opted to get a pack (I’ve been considering it for awhile and this was the perfect reason) and ended up not needing to fill the bladder of it at all – it was the perfect amount for the half distance. They had Honey Stingers available at every aid station, as well as cut up bananas and orange slices at the later stations.
At the mile 3 aid station they even had a bin where runners could drop clothes that they’d then drive to the finish line of the race! I didn’t need to take advantage of that but they really seemed to think of everything.
The course was quiet, although it was on an open road so cars were allowed to drive along the course. In the early morning, there was not much traffic. We all looked out for each other, calling “CAR!” when there was a car either behind or coming toward us. Some runners had their earbuds in and couldn’t hear the warning until the cars were right behind them and honking. Yikes!
Locals sat on their porches, watching the spectacle. It was an endless parade of over 1,100 people streaming by. We waved to people as we passed.
Mile 10 onward felt like a continuous uphill. I know that there was some downhill too but I don’t really remember much of that. It just felt like we were constantly climbing. Having looked at the elevation map ahead of time, we knew that it was coming but, whew, my hamstrings and glutes acted like they weren’t made aware of the situation!
We turned into Lake Arrowhead Park for the last stretch of the race. The support here was incredible with lots of finishers cheering us. Volunteers pointed us in the right direction since it was along grass and gravel. We turned for the last 10th of a mile and crossed the finish line with huge smiles on our faces!
Immediately after crossing the finish line we were able to get our medals and our snack boxes that were filled with lots of delicious treats.
From start to finish, this getaway was an awesome! Despite some reservations at the beginning with registration, everything else was absolutely flawless. Vacation Races knows about hosting a quality event and they’ve zeroed in on the things that stand out to runners. I’m grateful to Rachel for inviting me to join her and I’m definitely impressed by Vacation Races!
Next race for me is the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia half marathon on September 17th. Then in October I’ll be at Run the Vineyards, Enoteca 5k and Run Inspired 10k in DE (code BibRave saves 10%). Fall racing, you have arrived! What do you have on tap this fall?
Recently we were discussing things that make us happy. Of course there are the classics, the tried and true favorites that we return to continually. And then there are the newer things that we’ve recently stumbled upon that we can’t stop thinking about and make us forget about the craziness of the world for a short while.
We wanted to share our lists with you and would love to hear what you’re loving right now, too!
I honestly don’t know how I would cope right now without cute animal photos and videos on the internet. Here are my current faves:
I’m big on escapism when I have time for it. My husband and I like to watch old sitcoms on Netflix and Hulu. Comfort TV, we call it. I Love Lucy, Wings, and Married With Children all get airtime, and when my husband isn’t home I binge watch the BBC 1995 Pride & Prejudice miniseries.
I’m a fan of video games but since my TV and PS3 are in storage, I had to take a break from Skyrim. Now I’m playing Texas Hold’em poker and Forge of Empires on my phone.
I haven’t had much time for reading lately, but audiobooks have been my jam when I’m driving or in the background at work. Although, Hillbilly Elegy and How the Right Went Wrong aren’t exactly stress-free listening, both were worth my time and aggravation; I recommend them.
One of my goals for 2017 was to read more. I said I wanted to read 30 books… but I’ve gotten through six. Granted, four of those have been Game of Thrones books, and those suckers are long. But still. I just finished Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron and it was really eye-opening. Bergeron is the coach for two elite Crossfit athletes and throughout the book he discusses competitive mindset. Highly recommend. (I’ll be doing a full review of this next week!)
I think I’m subscribed to three or four podcasts that I listen to regularly. Here are my top two:
Girls Gone WOD: Joy and Claire make you feel like you’re one of their best friends. I started listening to this podcast last year, though at the time I wasn’t doing Crossfit. It didn’t matter though, because their subject matter and conversation goes so far beyond the sport of fitness. They talk about fun things, like Mean Girls, and hard things, like body image, and are always working to educate themselves and their listeners along the way. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Pursuing Health with Julie Foucher: This is another Crossfit-related podcast that goes beyond Crossfit. Julie Foucher is a multi-year Crossfit Games athlete, and two-time podium finisher. She is also a recent medical school graduate and a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic. This podcast captures Julie’s passion in taking what she’s learned from Crossfit and in the field of medicine, and using it to empower others to live healthier lives. Her perspective as an athlete and a healthcare profession is unique and really welcome. Two thumbs up.
I’m just gonna give you a list of stuff you need to watch. Stat.
Singin’ In The Rain – recently my son asked if we could watch together. Naturally, I said YES. Then I tried to reenact this scene by myself. It went as well as you might expect.
I’ll leave the dancing to the professionals. Even still, this movie just makes me very happy.
Tying into movies, let’s talk about my current favorite music!
The soundtrack from the movie: Sing! It is so good. My kids love it. My parents love it. My husband (who is a little cranky at times) loves it. And, of course it goes without saying because it’s made my list, I love it.
It’s the perfect music to cook dinner to, to drive to, to run to, it’s a brilliant mixture that fits so many different occasions. Good, good stuff.
I’ve been listening to podcasts mostly when I clean/do the laundry. Those two things don’t make me happy but the podcasts makes the chores bearable. I save a lot of my tedious tasks for Friday because that’s when both are published.
BibRave Podcast – The BibRave podcast has been in existence for just over a year now and while it was at first hosted by BibRave founders, Julia and Tim, it has since expanded to include more hosts (Andy and Jessica). It’s not a secret that I’m a BibRave Pro so one might think I have a vested interest in listening. Honestly, I’d listen no matter what.
They host interesting guests and touch on all aspects of running and cross-training, as well as taking care of yourself and body. Even though I’m not at the running 100 mile race level (and probably never will be) the most recent episode from Tim’s Leadville 100 was relatable and unlike other podcasts I’ve listened to.
Team Shenanigans Podcast – This is hosted by a fun bunch of folks from all over the place. Usually spanning an hour, the Team Shenanigans crew talks a lot about runDisney events (which I haven’t actually run since 2015) but also discusses other races and events. The dynamic between this group is great and they remind me of friends that I’d hang out at a bar(becue because I don’t really hang out at bars much these days).
One of my favorite recent episodes from earlier this summer was when Caryn became a Queen of Connecticut by completing a race in every town of CT (that’s 169 towns, btw).
We’d love to hear some of your favorites! Please share in the comments.
Several months ago now, I ran a half marathon, and Kyle asked if I would be interested in writing something about my training process. I would sit down and type a little bit, only to feel dissatisfied with what I had written, and ultimately, I never responded to her request. I don’t know what prompted this realization, but this weekend I figured out why I was hiding from expressing my thoughts and feelings.Despite training for and completing the half marathon, over the past year I’ve regained 45 pounds of an 80-pound weight loss, and I have felt like a failure. I have been letting a setback eclipse a huge success. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to celebrate my victories, and allow them to motivate me to rise up from my setbacks. From a lot of reflection this past weekend about the mental and emotional aspects of health and fitness, here are a few thoughts I want to hold onto, and want to share with others on the journey:
Every person on a health and fitness journey is qualified to be an encourager. My feelings of unworthiness to speak into someone else’s journey are based on a lie – that I have to “get there” before I can be a true encouragement to someone else. There are people who I find inspirational, who I look to for where I want to be, and then there are people who are or have been where I am now. Those people are just as important – they “get it”. They understand the frustration of having to redefine a relationship with food because it can’t be completely cut out. They understand the mental tightrope of eating to fuel your body vs. forcing yourself to exercise more than necessary so you can eat things in excess. We’re all walking this road together, and the people walking with you are just as qualified to speak into your journey as the people who go before you.
You are full of power. A friend told me this weekend that I engage in really negative self-talk, and that I should be kind to myself more often. Her son, a teenage boy in our church, had just been talking to me about my progress in my quest to learn how to play hockey, and he said to me, “Mrs. Katie…your body looks like you are full of power.” Sometimes I place so much importance on being honest about where I am and what I struggle with that I forget to repeat to myself the positive things that are true: I AM full of power. I am capable of reaching my goals. Fit your mantra to your season – my new season of self-improvement and self-empowerment, each lift and sprint and hockey drill, will be marked with a mantra of kindness to myself; the true and life-giving reminder that I am full of power.
There are success factors in your life already. Give thanks for them, even as you struggle. I tend to get mentally trapped in the rut of what I can’t do and what I wish I could change. I think about how I’m not athletically inclined, not a person who loves yogurt and vegetables and healthy things, etc. But another realization I had this weekend is that in certain and really significant ways, I am set up for success. My husband will eat whatever Skinnytaste recipe I decide to make for dinner without complaining; he never pressures me to cheat on my meal plan; he will agree to make room in our budget for any and all fitness activities that I enjoy and think will help me progress. He never asks me to lose weight and only encourages me to do so for myself, so that I will feel better. He ran some really slow miles on his days off to help me get in my long runs during half marathon training. Whatever is against you – body type, health issues, busyness – remember that there are things that are working FOR you, and to give thanks for them. Gratefulness can combat the feeling of deprivation when you choose not to eat that thing that everyone else is eating. With regard to my half marathon – I ran the Savin Rock Half Marathon and despite the weight gain I’ve seen over the last year, I was able to finish and meet my two goals for the race in the process: to run/jog it all without stopping to walk and to do so in under 3 hours. I finished in 2 hours, 50 minutes and jogged every last insanely steep hill in the fierce spring winds of the Long Island Sound. One mental hurtle cleared, and now…I’m ready to crush my next goal, stick on the ice, head in the game, to be the first woman on my husband’s hockey team of Air Force bros. And I’m GOING to crush it, because I am full of power.
Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones 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.
Can we talk about this picture?
This is a picture from my half marathon this spring, the Atlantic City April Fools half. I achieved a hard fought PR during that race and when I look at this picture, do you know the first thing I think? (Besides that was a great race!)
Why is there a wire coming out of my nether regions?!
Not that it diminishes any positive vibes I feel toward the race or about my PR. However, dude, seriously? Not the cutest.
Therefore, when I had the opportunity to opt in for the wireless AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones I raised both hands in the air… and waved them around like I just didn’t care. And hey, I’m able to do that because there are no wires on my headphones now!
I was curious to see how they would work. As soon as they arrived, I charged them for a couple hours and then they were ready to go.
The AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones easily paired with both my iPod and iPhone. Personally, when I’m running I’d rather have it connected to my iPod so I don’t drain my phone battery, even if it means carrying an extra device. However, I do love that it will hook up to my iPhone because they got rid of the headphone jack on the latest phone.
I’ve been wearing them for all sorts of activities: running (obviously), weeding my flower beds, walking the pooch, vacuuming the pool. Anything and everything. With my old earbuds, I’ve accidentally yanked them from my ear during activities. That doesn’t happen with these!
Conclusion: It is so much easier to maneuver with wireless headphones.
AfterShokz are not only wireless but they are bone conduction headphones. What does this mean? Unlike ear buds or headphones that sit on top of the ear, the earpiece of AfterShokz sit in front of the ear, on the bone. How do they work?
Transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them. – AfterShokz Technology
It’s fantastic to have my ears open so that I can be cognizant of the people, cars, and other things around me. I actually stopped doing a lot of my training runs with music because I wanted to be aware of surrounding noises and now I can be while enjoying music.
Since the earpiece sits outside the ear rather than in/on, I wondered if my music and podcasts would be heard by others when I wore them.
For this test, I asked my husband if he could hear what I was listening to while I stood next to him. When I had the sound low, but still able to hear, he wasn’t able to hear much. As I increased the volume, he was able to slightly hear muffled noise of what I was listening to but he said it wasn’t a distraction.
Occasionally when I move the wrong way (bend over to tie a shoelace, for example) I’ve lost the sound for a moment or two. I’m not sure exactly why, maybe the Bluetooth wasn’t able to connect for a moment? Either way, it’s so minimal that it doesn’t pose much of an issue.
Conclusion: You can be aware of your surrounds while running and stay safe, while enjoying music and podcasts. (And also not be rude to others around you!)
Other AfterShokz Trekz Titanium specifics that I found useful (and you might too):
Interested in getting a pair of your own? If you order now and use the code FREECASE you can score a BONUS portable storage case (as seen in the video below). On the rare occasions I’m not using my headphones/iPod, this is the perfect place for them to be! (And no more wires in odd places!)
Join us for the Twitter AfterShokz Trekz Titanium #bibchat on Tuesday, August 29nd at 9pm est. Never taken part of a Twitter chat before? Use the hashtag #BibChat and follow along with the questions posted by BibRave and share your responses! I’ll be there as scootadoot so be sure to say hello!
Don’t just take my word for it! Please feel free to swing by other BibRavePros and see what they’re saying.