Girls on the Run is So Much Fun!

At the end of last year I was out on a run (and probably complaining about it on Instagram) when I got a message from a parent from my school. She mentioned that students in her class at the local university were coaching Girls on the Run as part of a class project and thought it would be something I’d like to do at our school.

I had heard about GOTR through social media and a few other things, but hadn’t really thought much about coaching or getting involved. I coached Cross Country at my school last year and that was my first experience with coaching anything, so I was interested to see what GOTR was all about.

We got in touch with the director, met with my principal, and applied for our school to become a site for GOTR over the summer. I also learned that a new teacher we’d hired was previously a coach and would also be interested in coaching…and Girls on the Run was born at my school.

Coach Ashley and Coach Randee in our matching shirts!

There were some logistical things to work out (still are) but we wrapped up our first week on a positive note and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season!

If you’re wondering what Girls on the Run even is, here’s a little information for you about their core values:

  • Recognize our power and responsibility to be intentional in our decision making
  • Embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness
  • Express joy, optimism and gratitude through our words, thoughts and actions
  • Nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual health
  • Lead with an open heart and assume positive intent
  • Stand up for ourselves and others

Now, I’m a second grade teacher and the program is for 3-5 and 6-8 grade girls. I love these values and everything GOTR stands for. I believe it’s something my school tries to instill in all of our students and I’m so glad we got to bring this program in to help empower some of our girls.

I was nervous about whether or not we would have girls sign up, but we actually had so many that we had to bring in another coach and waitlist some girls for next season. A lot of these girls I’ve known since they were either in kindergarten or second grade, and some of them are my former students. I love the fact that some of my girls signed up because I was the coach, but I truly hope that they learn and grow from this program. What we’ve seen so far has been a lot of fun. The girls are eager to learn and participate in the lessons (even if I’m still learning them too!), they are already helping us problem solve (because it rains in Florida every afternoon), and they are learning how to encourage others. They had fun running inside last week when we had to move for rain and made the most of it!

It’s been one week. Two days! I am so looking forward to seeing these girls grow. I know there are some who will only enhance themselves and their own values, but there are also those that struggle. The older girls are getting to points where everyday is a challenge and there’s always something new to discourage them. Some of these girls are doing a lot of activities and are already learning to make choices about what they are good at and what they want to do. Some of them just need to know that someone is there for them to lend them a positive outlook on life.

The program allows girls to set their own running goals each week as they increase their time spent running and build up their stamina. So far our running has been minimal, but the girls are still having fun and setting goals for themselves.

Kyndall kept us (me) entertained while running and exceeded her run goal.

Presley set a goal and exceeded it. She’s a rockstar!

I’m already loving seeing these girls and their passion for running and fitness, and it’s only been one full week. Like I said, I can’t wait to see what these girls can and will do. I feel privileged to be their coach.

Countdown to Chicago

Hey! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve jumped on here to share some nonsense. First off, I’m super thankful for the Scoot Chicks and all the amazing things they’ve been sharing. Since school started I don’t feel like I’ve had much to share or much time/energy to do said sharing. As I type, I’m sitting in my pajamas wondering if it’s too late to make coffee. (It totally is.)

Here’s the thing though: CHICAGO IS IN EIGHTEEN DAYS!

I know, I’m freaking out also. I’ve kind of been documenting my training progress here and on Instagram. This past weekend my running buddy and I ran out longest run of our training we’re officially in taper territory now.

To me, this means a couple of things:

  1. I can reclaim Sundays.
  2. My legs will stop hurting everyday.
  3. It’s time to amp up the anxiety.

I haven’t been looking forward to weekends for a long time. Maybe that sounds crazy to some of you who loooooove running, but I am so ready for a little break! My weekday running has seriously been slacking, so the weekend long runs are always challenging. We had a fun (LOL) 18 miles last weekend and this weekend was our 20 miler.

I usually get up about 3:45 on Sundays. Yes, that’s in the AM. Marathon training in the summer months in South Florida has proven to be brutal. I’m pretty sure we’re ready for anything Chicago has to throw at us.

This Sunday was a bit of a dress rehearsal. I wore my American Heart Association tank and my Skirt Sports Jette Skirt in Holiday Print. I got a new pair of Brooks Ghosts before my 18 mile run and I’ve fallen in love. We’ve both been wearing hydration vests for fueling during long runs.  (Did I mention it’s hot here?) I won’t be running Chicago with it, however.

5AM. Ready-ish to rock.

We’ve been doing intervals of two-minute run and thirty-second walks and pacing pretty steadily. We do get off sometimes, but for training purposes we’re mostly worried about the mileage. Once we get to Chicago the adrenaline is going to be pumping and we’ll be ready. I really think that Michelle and I have learned a lot about ourselves from this training. We know that we’re capable of running a marathon, since we’ve done it already, but this feels kind of different, I guess. We’re running a lot smarter than we have in the past and I’m feeling really good about our progress. And we’re having fun. In the end I think that’s what matters most.

We’ve been using McD’s for their bathrooms…and also their OJ.

This weekend started out strong. The route we’ve been using is a little different than what we started with some shorter runs, just because we know we can get the mileage in with no guessing. There are multiple stops on our way for potty breaks and if we need a little boost. I’ve been experimenting with different fueling and trying to find something that doesn’t make me sick afterwards. Lately I’ve been using Stinger Chews and those seem to working well! I always carry a bottle of water and nuun to keep me hydrated also. I like the new route because it’s a little more lively and there’s a bit more to see. I definitely feel safer than I’d been feeling in the past couple of weeks.

I always snap a pic at my alma mater. #GOEAGLES

Once the sun came up on Sunday all of my strength seemed to leave me. Michelle and I both could only think about how heavy our legs had started to feel at about mile 12. It was brutally hot and we still had so many miles to go. A week before our 18 we bailed out early due to knee problems (her) and stomach issues (ew, me) and it was a smart thing to do. There was no way we were doing it this week, though.

SEE YA REAL SOON, CHICAGO.

After I made Michelle take this pic at a bus stop she told me to, and I quote, “Get your ass up and let’s go.” My biggest motivator!

 

We stopped for sodas at about 17.5 miles and the extra sugar kicked helped a little. It wasn’t as great as it was the week before, but it was still fun running down the road with cups of loud ice. Once we made it to the park where we do our final mile, we’d both shed our vests and shirts. We were literally dripping sweat and praying we didn’t run into any students at the park while we were running in our sports bras.

H E L P

So, we finished the 20 miles. It happened and it’s done. It definitely wasn’t the best but I know it won’t define Chicago for me. I’m excited about the course and everything I’ll get to see up there. My family is planning a mini-vacation with a lot of fun things crammed into a few days before and after the marathon.

I’m nervous but also pretty excited because I truly feel prepared for this race. I haven’t been this prepared since I ran my first half marathon and stuck to my training. It wasn’t easy, but we made it! Stay tuned for the recap and to make sure I survived!

Race Recap: Rampage 5K

When I posted about some upcoming races a few weeks ago I mentioned I might sign up for a 5K or something in the midst of training. Honestly, I love race bling so when my RBF and another Skirt Sister/coworker starting talking about signing up we just went for it. The Rampage 5K was part of a summer series put on by a group that does a lot of races in the South Florida area. Their events are always fun (if not always well-organized) with fun swag and good courses.

I picked up my packet on Friday after school. This group is infamous for running out of shirts and I wanted to make sure I got a good one. I live about forty-five minutes from the race site, so I went to bed fairly early Friday night. Being back to work full-time is kicking my butt so it wasn’t that hard. If you follow me on Instagram you saw my fun Saturday morning video asking “When will I never not run on a weekend?” I’m feeling pretty good with my marathon training but, wow, do I miss sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday!

My friends were already at the race site when I got there at about 6:40. We took a quick trip to the bathroom and then headed to the start line for a picture. I was excited to run a race, but also that it was only for three miles. Most of my weekend runs are in the double digits now so a 5K sounded really great.

Skirt Sisters at the start line!

I’m not normally the type of person to set goals for races. Sometimes I’ll plan a pace I want to stick to but most of the time I just want to finish and not throw up. This was one of those races.

The morning was already muggy, as it as has been for most of the summer. I’m used to starting to my runs before the sun comes up, only this race had a later start. It was definitely steamy and my glasses kept fogging up if I breathed or turned the wrong way.

Once we got going it was a fairly simple run. The course was easy and smooth, with a lot of nice scenery. I’d done two other races at this park before that were ten-milers so I was pretty familiar with it the park. There were a couple of times when we had to veer off the sidewalk due to puddles but then I just ended up stepping in mud. By the time Michelle and I hit our first mile I knew we were making pretty good time. Our first mile came out at about 10:40 and I almost laughed! That’s a pretty fast time for us and I was totally ready to slow down and save some energy. It definitely didn’t happen though! We kept pushing through, enjoying the scenery and the morning. I slowed down to take a few pictures of the nature we were running through. I love living in Florida but I’ve come to realize that you either run through a swamp or on concrete. There also might be critters living…anywhere.

Don’t you want to run by this?

There was one iffy part where we had to run on a boardwalk that I definitely took my time on. I’m clumsy and the boardwalk was definitely slippery. I’ve also been working my butt off for Chicago and wasn’t looking to injure myself five weeks before. After that it was smooth sailing! My legs were feeling great despite the fast-than-usual pace. The only problem was the humidity. Usually I don’t drip sweat into my eyes for at least seven miles!

As Michelle and I came turned into the shoot for the finish line Ali was waiting to take a picture of us, since she’d already finished.

All smiles here!

After we finished we all checked the results, just for fun on my part. I did well enough in the results, but I’m not in it to win it. I race mostly against myself. Once I stopped my Nike Run tracker, however, it told me that I smashed my previous 5K record! I’ve been running for over five years now and it always feels like I’ve gotten slower, so it was exciting to get a 5K PR of under thirty-five minutes.

Skirts and medals! Medals and Skirts!

Once we’d take our final picture, the three of us headed to Skillets for breakfast. I’d only been there once before but I was dreaming about a waffle and bacon and coffee the whole morning.

So worth it.

For a last minute race, it was a nice little surprise. I’m glad we decided to just go for.

And, honestly, it was a nice warm up for Sunday’s fourteen miles.

Chicago, here I come.

A Day in the Life Redo

A few weeks ago I posted my “Day in the Life” as a teacher during summer vacation. It was from random stuff I did on a Saturday and it was a lot of fun!

Now I’m back to work and life is decidedly not as fun. I’ve been back to work for a couple of weeks, but this past Friday was our first official day of school. (I don’t know why.) I figured I would wait to get into the groove to do a new post, but here I am!

I started off strong on Monday with taking pictures and was really looking forward to sharing what an actual day for me looks like. I usually get up around between 5:00-5:30 on weekdays. Sometimes my alarms start going off at 4:45 and that’s just because I like to snooze. I’m not really the type of person who works out that early in the morning an I don’t like running in the dark, so the mornings are usually pretty chill.

On Monday I actually had enough time to make breakfast that wasn’t a protein shake mixed with too much coffee.

Yes, I do drink my coffee out of a Disney Princess mug most days, thankyouverymuch.

I have about a forty minute drive to work everyday, so I try to leave by at least 6:15. I’ve done well so far this year! Okay, fine. It’s only been five days.

Traffic sucks, but sometimes you get the sunrise and the water. *heart eyes emoji*

I like getting to work early because it helps me feel like my life is kind of together before my kiddos show up. We open our classroom doors at 7:45 so a good chunk of my time is prepping what I didn’t do the day before or, like, talking to my friends. I’m very good at procrastinating.

I’m pretty much ON from 7:45 until about 11:25. Our meeting is packed with English/Language Arts, Social Studies, centers, Science, repeated bathroom breaks, me telling students over and over to sit down, me drinking coffee and silently running my hand over my face in frustration…

Well. It’s only been five days, right?

Monday wasn’t really anything spectacular. We go to lunch and recess for an hour. Sometimes I have lunch duty but this week I’ve been outside for recess where it’s 90 degrees but feels like the surface of the sun. Lunchtime is the twenty minutes I get to interact with my teammates while we all try to stuff our faces with food.

 

A quiet moment alone with my coffee. Remember what I said about Disney Princesses?

After we melt our faces off at recess, the afternoon goes by quickly. We have silent reading time, where I catch up on emails and enjoy actual silence, and then math, which I do not enjoy. I know, I’m the teacher. I still don’t like it. At 2:00 my students go to the special area classes. Don’t ask me what class they went to, I don’t even know what day it is. After specials its dismissal (EVERYONE GO HOME) and, yeah, that’s it.

Since the year is still so fresh I’m not involved in any coaching or afterschool tutoring just yet. I know those days will come when I’m not leaving school until late afternoon and I’m fighting traffic, but I’m okay with it. I like to be prepared for the next day and if that means staying a little later, that’s fine with me.

This Monday, however, I had to take a quick trip to my chiropractor. I’ve been going since this summer and I’m liking it a lot. They are helping me “get my head on straight”. *ba dum tss*

My doctors do a supply drive and partner with my school to help students in need.

 

Helloooooo.

I decided to step a little out of my comfort zone and stop at the local park to get in a quick run before I headed home. I haven’t been getting many miles in during the week and my long weekend runs are suffering. My plans were thwarted when I started getting texts about…many things. There are no pictures because I got distracted and upset about things I can’t really control and gave up on my run. I did manage a good 1.5 miles, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Sometimes Mondays are like that and you’ve just got to roll with the punches.

Eventually I made it home for a shower and dinner around 7PM. I did some meal prep on Sunday so that was easy to take care of. Most days I bring work home from school to do while I sit on the couch and watch TV, but I don’t have much to grade at the beginning of the year.

This year is definitely going to be an interesting one. I’m teaching Gifted/Cambridge students for the first time in my teach career. This also means that I have to take five district classes to become certified so, yeah, life is about to get busy.

I’ll still be taking selfies with my coffee cups, though.

Unsalted and Shark Free

About this time last year I got a late night text from a friend showing off a shiny diamond ring. I was so, so excited for my friend and couldn’t wait to hear all of the details. I knew that the wedding would be in Michigan since that’s where she’s from, but I also knew that it would be a small affair. Needless to say I was happy to be invited! I love this girl and couldn’t wait to celebrate her special day.

Fast forward to about a week ago when I was packing a bag and preparing to travel to Michigan. Though my family went on many road trips when I was a kid we never made it to Michigan, so this was a first for me. I got up dark and early on Saturday for a flight to Atlanta and then to Grand Rapids. I’ve traveled alone before so I wasn’t too worried about layovers and flights and things. Once I got to Grand Rapids, however, things got a little hairy. I rented a car for an hour and a half drive to the small town of Pentwater. I get extreme anxiety when driving, though, so I was a little worried.

I did okay, though. I mean, I’m alive and that’s all that matters! Once I got to Pentwater my main priority was a nap. I had been up since 3AM and was in serious need of rest. I love traveling and seeing new places, but it’s totally exhausting sometimes.

Once I was rested up I took a drive into Pentwater and walked up and down the…street. Because there’s only one. It was warmer than I expected. (I’m from Florida. I’m used to melting.) It’s a cute little town that sits on Pentwater Lake and Lake Michigan. I love a good view of the water and Pentwater didn’t disappoint. It also had some adorable shops and touristy places to check out.

Of course I found books.

Also I found some amazing coffee gelato.

After I toured the town myself, I went back a little later with a friend and her husband that arrived a little after me. We had dinner at one of the pizza joints in town (there were a few) and then headed to the state park to mee the bride and her family after the rehearsal dinner for a sunset on Lake Michigan. It was beautiful!

No filter needed.

After the sunset we headed into town for drinks at a basement bar. This was a new experience for me as we do not have basements in Florida. 🙂 I was exhausted after a long day of traveling and was so ready to climb into bed. I guess this is the part where I tell you I took workout clothes and got up early for a run, right? Well, you know I didn’t! I did get up early, but that’s just because of my internal teacher clock. After a quick hotel breakfast I…took a nap. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m in a brand new state and I should be exploring! But I was also on vacation and I’d been feeling a little down lately. Some extra rest was just what I needed.

This was wedding day, so there wasn’t a ton of time to explore. My friend Cristi and her husband Jose were staying at the same hotel so we ventured out together again. We tried a little coffee shop in Pentwater and did some shopping before driving to Hart and finding a cute little brewery for lunch.

Cristi and I enjoying the view in Pentwater.

After our little excursion I had enough time for a power nap before getting ready for the wedding. The bride’s family has an adorable cabin which is where the wedding took place with a gorgeous view of the lake. It was a perfect setting and a beautiful ceremony.

Florida friends with the beautiful bride.

Ice cream themed tables.

Michigan brew with a view.

Monday was my last day in Michigan so I drove an hour south to where my friend Jenn was staying with some old friends. (All of my friends that I spent time with in Michigan are friends I work with in Florida.) Jenn and her family/friends rented a boat in Spring Lake, so I went out with them for that Pure Michigan experience. It included a boat ride, some choppy waves, and a floating trampoline!

I, of course, had to do a little SkirtSports photo shoot.

I jumped off a boat and swam to that. Go me.

Bumpy selfies with Jenn.

After a great day on the lake with friends (and friends of friends) I made the trek back to Pentwater to get ready to leave the next morning. I was flying out of Grand Rapids at 6:45 and had to drop off my rental car, also. This is the part where my anxiety kicks in and I don’t sleep, but at least there was no traffic when I left at 3AM! The drive was smooth, security was a breeze (besides me leaving my license at security), and my flights were on time. My layover was in Detroit where I landed at gate A73 and had to hustle to A9 to my next flight back to Florida.

I loved being away for a weekend and being able to do a little exploring while celebrating a good friend. I didn’t workout while I was away, but technically none of those days were running day so I didn’t feel too guilty about it. Sometimes you need a break from all kinds of stuff (even if you’re on a vacation as it is), even marathon training. I’m getting back in the habit now and also getting into the mindset of going back to work. I’m saving my “Day in the Life” until my day consists of something other than Netflix and large amounts of coffee.

Michigan is a beautiful place and I’d love to go back and visit and see what other trouble I can get into. There doesn’t even have to be a wedding!

The Road to Chicago

Happy Independence Day/Wednesday! I hope you’re all having a nice holiday/week/summer/day/whatever you’re doing. This past weekend my running buddy and I did our longest run yet for our Chicago Marathon training. It was a tough one, but we pushed through with a good, steady pace. (Even if we did get a little lost and almost had an encounter with an alligator.) Marathon training during the summer definitely has some challenges, but it’s going pretty well. You can listen to me ramble about it below.

High of 90? We got this.

 

Sorry for the TMI. Don’t you just love running?

Post run refreshments are a necessity.

It’s Summer and I’m Lazy

I’ve been sitting here for about an hour thinking of what to write about and also what to name this particular post. I remembered multiple times yesterday that I had a post scheduled for today but I kept getting distracted. I even texted Mer this morning to tell her I was working on it. Only I’d just gotten up and had barely made my coffee. It was 10AM.

I just love summer break, y’all.

I’m the type of person who goes all school year round. This year was definitely a busy one for me with coaching cross country for my first time ever, clubs, tutoring, and all other things that just kind of fall under teaching. I’ve only been out of school for a few weeks, but I already know of some changes that are going to happen next year and some really exciting things that I get to do. Yes. It’s June and I’m already planning for August. It’s how a teacher brain works.

So. I’ve been lazy lately. It’s not a difficult as I thought it would be.

I’ve still been keeping up with my training schedule. I mean, mostly. I’ve had some hip pain so I’ve scaled back a little on my running. This is a huge deal for me, as knowing when to take a step back from something is not my strong point. I’ve also been seeing a chiropractor for the first time ever to work on some adjustments that are really needed. It’s been nice just taking it easy and relaxing. Of course, I’ve also been binge watching the early 2000s show One Tree Hill, just for fun. Yesterday I didn’t even get dressed until 5PM and that was only for a quick visit to the Target a mile away from my house.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Well. First of all, I can’t think of anything else to tell you! That’s really about it, sadly.

I can be the queen of go-go-go and doing things until there’s nothing left to do. I know there are a lot of people like that. Maybe I’m telling you to slow down. That if you want to watch TV all day in your pajamas, you can. (Unless you have a job. Go to work.)

Take care of yourself. Take a break if you need to. Last week I wrote about celebrating yourself, which is hard for some of us. I know taking a break and relaxing is hard sometimes, also. We always feel like we have to be doing something. Whether it’s for ourselves or for other people.

The thing is that we don’t.

Lately I’ve been doing nothing for myself. I’m sure, eventually, I’ll get bored of doing it. Eventually I’ll start painting my bathroom or wallpapering the guest room or even (ugh) planning for next school year.

Until then I have six and a half seasons of One Tree Hill to watch.

Do you have any summer plans?

 

Celebrate Yourself

This past Wednesday was my 35th birthday.

Yep. THIRTY-FIVE. I feel weird saying that I’m thirty-five because for most of my life I thought that people in their 30s were…old.

I’m old.

That’s not what this post is about, however. I started running when I turned thirty. I’d previously been on a weight loss journey that didn’t really require any exercise and running a 5K was just a thing I wanted to do. I’d run in high school and it was terrible, so I wanted to kind of prove I could do it. And I did.

Here I am, five years later, training for my second marathon. On Wednesday I got up early to run, spent some time at the chiropractor (because that’s what old people do), had brunch with my bestie, went to the bookstore with another friend, shopped, then had dinner with my sister. Usually my birthday makes me maudlin for no apparent reason except the ones I create in my own brain. I fought that hard on Wednesday. Because it was my birthday, dangit.

For the past few years I’ve started my birthday with a 5K. I just add on however many extra years I am onto it. Wednesday I got up and did a nice 3.5 miles for thirty-five years and it felt great. It was a strong start to my day and really helped keep my emotions high for the most part. Running is obviously a type of therapy for me, and for so many other people.

With social media it’s so easy to get caught up in the thinking that you’re just not good enough. For me, I know that I’m never going to be one of the fast runners. I’m not a person who wants to get out there and go every single day, either. I need rests. I need to sit on the couch with a book or watch television. When I have a good run or if I’m just feeling cute (Skirt Sports for the win), I like posting and sharing. Kind of like this blog post!

Actually, my run on Wednesday was a pretty normal one, though it did feel a lot better than some of my other training runs. My point is that sometimes it’s so hard for us to talk good about ourselves. We know that we sometimes put up a front on social media, and that’s fine. No one has a perfect life. But if we wait for just those perfect/awesome/amazing days we’ll never get to celebrate.

Maybe it’s not just about posted a picture with a funny caption. Make it really is about treating yourself. Not in the sense that you should go out and buy a bunch of junk, but just that you treat yourself well.

I am the queen of self-deprecation, which is ironic because my number one love language is words of affirmation. I mean, really. But by treating yourself well, I just mean to celebrate you. The everyday you. Was it hard to get out of bed today? Did you do it? Awesome! Treat yourself with a cup of coffee. Finish a book? Great! Buy a new one. Did you run? Walk? Workout? You are amazing.

I wish it were that easy, but I know it’s not. We should treat ourselves like everyday is our birthday, right?

We can at least celebrate our little accomplishments. The little things we’re proud of.

A good run.

A workout.

You put on pants one day. (I’m on vacation, okay?)

Leave me some ways you celebrate yourself. I’m going to go celebrate with leftover cake.

Summer Challenge(s)

First off, Happy Global Running Day! I swear it was just National Running Day, but I’m not one to argue with the Important Days Calendar. I hope you are celebrating this day with some movement! I’ll be heading off on my three mile training run soon-ish. Probably.

These days I’m having such a great time not setting an alarm and getting out of bed, that I can’t even be upset that this weekend’s long run ended in a sports bra sunburn and that yesterday’s run was more of a walk. It’s summertime and this teacher is tired!

On to the point of this post, however.

On the last day of school our admin team presented us with a challenge: a summer BINGO challenge. My School is a Leader in Me Lighthouse School meaning we teach the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to our students using kid friendly language. We also strive to live by those habits and set examples for our students. This summer, to me, is all about Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw. We spend all school year working hard and not really focusing on ourselves. Sharpening the saw is doing just that.

Our summer BINGO challenge has some cool stuff on it, and I’m excited to get started. I love participating in any type of activity I can earn prizes with. I just really love prizes. I also love challenges and trying new things…for the most part. Here are a few things that are on our BINGO sheet:

-Try and activity that you’ve never done before.

-Go on a family bike ride.

-Write a positive note and mail it to a friend.

-Eat something you’ve never tried before.

-Turn off all electronics, including TV.

-Create a goal for the summer and track it daily.

-Write a list of your unique gifts and talents.

Some others included setting mission statements, cooking and eating as a family, and celebrating goals.

I love this idea because it encompasses all parts of a person, not just the physical.

So far I haven’t completed too many of these, but I’m definitely going to work on it! I’ve started an online Book Club that’s already grown to almost twenty-five people and my anxiety is doing just fine with that, thankyouverymuch. I’ve only got one trip planned so far, but I’m hoping to visit my favorite Florida parks (Disney and Universal, did you think I meant nature?), do some fun things around my house, and just R-E-L-A-X. Oh, there’s also that pesky marathon training thing I signed up to do. How could I forget that?

Summer is the best time to get back to yourself and to find new things that you love. I’d love to hear from you about your summer plans!

Now, I’m off to celebrate Global Running Day!

What We Do When We’re Not Scooting

It’s hard to believe but Scoot a Doot has been in existence since 2013! When we aren’t Scooting our Doots, we can be found putting our time and effort toward other notable endeavors. Like what, you ask? Well…

A few years ago I got involved with the Bullock Children’s Garden at my younger son’s school. We have since moved to a different school district but remain involved with the Bullock Garden, as it’s something that is near and dear to my heart.

Therefore when my friend and gardening mentor, Sonya Harris started the Bullock Garden Project, Inc., a non-profit that assists in bringing gardens to schools, I was 100% on board. In fact, we just helped the new school my son is in with their Reimagination Garden. I absolutely love being on the board of the BGP and helping with the social media/marketing aspects. It’s not only personally enjoyable, it’s also rewarding to see the kids getting so much from the gardens that they help create.

My children during the recent garden build. At this point they’re just like – what has mom signed us up for now? Ha!

I’ve been asked (by more than one person) if I’m a teacher. Maybe it’s because many of my friends are teachers? Anyway, no, I’m not.

At least, not in the traditional sense. I used to teach Stroller Strides, which was a workout class for moms with kiddos in strollers. These days, I’m the coordinator for the non-profit Healthy Kids Running Series – Mullica Hill/Mantua.

It’s perfect because it combines two things that I love: running and kids. Oh, and being in charge. The Healthy Kids Running Series is something I’d heard about over the years (my location started in 2015 with different coordinators).

When I took over as coordinator for this spring, it became a family affair. It is not a one-person show and I have no delusions that I could do it alone. My support system consists of my family and an awesome group of volunteers and sponsors – and that’s important when you have over 250 kids to manage!

Planning for the fall has already begun and I’m looking forward to introducing more kids to the love of running!

I started a personal blog when I turned thirty. I wrote about life, teaching, books, and my new found running obsession. When I started writing for Scoot, I turned it into a blog about teaching. There’s always plenty to say about the best job ever. My feelings are all over thisgirlashteaches.blospot.com.

I also grew from that blog been writing and rambling about books for about three years. I’ve always loved to read and I also love to talk about books. I could talk about books all day. Of course, not everyone wants to hear me wax poetic about what I’m reading, so I started typing is all up. You can find my randomness at www.thisgirlashreadsstuff.com. As you can see, I’m really serious about it.

For my birthday this month, I decided to fundraise for Planned Parenthood. PP is doing work that so many women (and men) in our country depend on for their overall health. They provide safe access to abortion services as well as birth control, STI/STD screenings, cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, and treatment for a number of other health issues.


The Trump Administration is working hard to take access to this healthcare away from us. With a new gag rule, he and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar are now trying to make it official government policy. The gag rule is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights. Period. The new gag-rule announced this week would block patients from care at Planned Parenthood, and it would prohibit medical providers across the country from being able to refer their patients for safe, legal abortion.Women must be able to have agency over their bodies and be able to control their own health. We don’t live in Gilead… yet. Let’s keep fighting to make sure we never do.
Parkland. Santa Fe. Las Vegas. Newtown. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Thurston. 
This list goes on and on and on. Add these to the growing number of black men and women that have been unlawfully killed by police? It’s evident we have a gun violence problem in our country. I’m ready to change that. Don’t at me. 
For years, my main hobby was showing dogs and educating folks about responsible dog ownership and ethical breeding. It was a fun ride, but as my dogs aged and my hubby and I got sick and tired of the politics of showing, we retired and stepped away from our officer roles with the Rocky Mountain Pug Dog Club. It was time to try new things.

Me and my Archie, CH Palace’s Brocade in Blue, raking in the points!

Honestly, 97% of my time these days is dedicated to finishing my house. The other three percent is reserved for pursuing my dream of becoming a published author, and leading the writing critique group I co-founded, Tall Pines Fiction Writers. We meet every other Wednesday to support, commiserate, and provide feedback on one another’s work. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. I love reading and excelled in English and literature classes in school but never tried to write fiction. My boyfriend (now husband) kept telling me I should write because I love to read. He didn’t really get that the two are not the same thing at all.

In 2009, I decided to write a short story for a contest online. I sent it off, nervous because I knew my technical skills needed a lot of work.  With the help of a great editor who became one of my best friends, I won the canon category of the contest! Yes, it was a Twilight fan fiction story. Judge me all you want, I regret nothing. It sounds silly, but winning that contest changed my life. It taught me that maybe I had what it took to really be a writer. Since then, I’ve published two short stories!

There is nothing quite so special as seeing your name in print in a real book that wasn’t published by your friend’s indie publishing house.

Right now, I’m focused on finishing the first draft of my young adult paranormal sci-fi novel, and trying to learn about the publishing business. I launched a website earlier this year,  Author J.L. Perez, where you can follow along on my crazy writing adventure, and I’m on Twitter at @Author_JLPerez. I’d love to see you over there!
That’s what we’ve got going on these days! We’d love to hear about what you are up to so please, leave links for us in the comments and we’ll swing by.