Race Recap: Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon

Here at Scoot we try to keep to a posting schedule of M/W/F but sometimes people (me) are tired (always) and forget (a lot) and don’t do what they are supposed to do (oops). I’m going to blame it on the 2:45AM runDisney wake-up call and leave it at that.

A few months ago I decided to sign up for the Star Wars race because it’s the only runDisney course I haven’t done yet. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan (shhh…) but I did watch all of the movies last summer just in time for The Last Jedi and all that. I started planning my outfit early on in the game because when it comes to runDisney the outfit is important! I decided on BB8 because he’s cute and sassy, then I paired it with my favorite Skirt Sports skirt, the Jette in Temper Tantrum.

 

My family and I went up Friday after school since it would still give me Saturday to pick up my packet and do some park hopping. Being an Annual Passholder definitely comes in handy during race time! We stayed at All-Star Movies because, while I don’t have a problem driving, I’d rather not be responsible for my own transportation at 3:30 in the morning.

On Saturday I talked my family into getting up early for Extra Magic Hours in Animal Kingdom. I’ve only ridden Pandora’s Flight of Passage once and I was hoping we’d get to do it, but no dice. We did get to ride a few things (including a solo Everest trip because no one else would ride it with me), and then we headed to the expo. After picking up my bib I made my sister take a ton of pictures of me in front of some signs that were basically the same because I need choices of what I want to post. She’s always a good sport, though. After I dropped my stuff off at the hotel we headed to Magic Kingdom for some FastPass+ usage and, obviously, snacks.

I filled up on pasta at the hotel and turned in early that night. Sleep doesn’t come easily the night before a race, not because I have race anxiety, but more because I’m afraid I’m going to miss my alarm and be out a bunch of money. All of the race transportation signs suggested being at the bus by 3:30. I’d even asked the cashier at the dining area if they would be open early for runners and she told me they opened at 6:30, which is not early for runners. Thankfully we had a coffee maker in our room, otherwise the morning would have been difficult. Friday I’d had breakfast delivered to school and ordered an extra bagel and peanut butter because those are race day foods and not normally something I have at home. So I got on the bus with my coffee and bagel at 3:30AM for a run with a few thousand friends.

The start line was in the Magic Kingdom parking lot and the party was already hopping by the time my bus arrived. I love the energy of a runDisney race and this one was no different. I sat and ate my breakfast and watched everyone go by in their outfits and costumes, loving all of it! I am not one who can run in more than a tank and skirt, but I think it’s so cool when people go all out for themed races. Eventually we made our way to our start corrals and, of course, the bathrooms.

My corral was pretty full by the time I got there, so I stretched and started my book I picked for the race. I wanted something I loved to keep me occupied, so a friend hooked me up with The Raven Boys (yes, this is the fourth time I’ve read/listened to it now) on Audible since it wasn’t available at the library and I had my trusty AfterShokz Trekz Airs with me. I’ve never run such a long distance alone and was feeling pretty nervous about it, so I needed to have some friends with me. My friends are the characters in the book, okay? I’m a weirdo, don’t act like you didn’t know that already.

Soon enough, our corral was off and by a half a mile in I was sweating. It was unreasonably warm for an early morning jog, but we all persisted! The course for this race was different than what I’d ran before with Disney, so I was excited to see new things! Since the race is a “Rival Run” there were a few different spots with laser lights and pyrotechnics portraying both the Light and Dark side. I ran with the Light side, which I think I picked, but I just can’t remember.

I didn’t really have a goal for this race other than to finish and not get sick or hurt myself, so when the opportunity came for some fun PhotoPass ops, I definitely took it. One thing I love about being a passholder is the free pictures, and with your race bib you don’t have to worry about having someone take a picture with your sweaty phone! I stopped a few times at the character spots and tried to hit all of the photographers on the course as well.

Once we entered the parks it seemed like everything just kind of sped up. The first park we ran through was Animal Kingdom, and it was amazing! We got to run through Pandora before it was fully light out and everything was beautiful. I love that Disney cast members are out on the course celebrating you, even though I’m sure they have to be there. It’s nice to have spectators when you’re sweating your face off at 7AM.

After Animal Kingdom we headed into the back of Hollywood Studios with a pass by Tower of Terror and up Sunset Boulevard to Hollywood Boulevard, then out of the park. There were already guest in Hollywood Studios, so that was fun! I think a lot of people book vacations not realizing that races are happening and then just happen to see a few thousand people running through the parks. It’s always a good time.

As we headed out of Hollywood Studios and to the boardwalk the course got narrow, so there wasn’t a lot of running going on, but we were all still keeping a decent pace. Not a fast pace, though. Just…decent. Of course, the boardwalk means that race is coming to and end because it takes us straight into the United Kingdom in EPCOT and you know what that means? FINISH LINE!

I tweeted Mer a sweaty selfie with BB8 at Mile 11.

Once we got into EPCOT it felt like life was a breeze! There were a lot of guests already making their way around the park, which is fine by me. I like to think of them as our fans! I also love the PhotoPass pics in EPCOT, especially in front of Spaceship Earth. One of my favorite things to do is to tell my fellow runners to “run and smile” when I see those green tents.

As we rounded the final corner into the finish line there was definitely a crowd waiting and making noise. I was still feeling pretty great because I hadn’t taken it easy, but I also hadn’t pushed myself too hard. The weather was definitely warm, but runDisney does well with keeping us hydrated. I also took some Tylenol at mile ten, so life was pretty great! I also got a decent finish line photo which has NEVER happened for me at a runDisney race and I was really excited to see how it came out.

After I crossed the finish I grabbed my medal, snack box, and “I Did It” picture, then hopped on a bus back to my hotel. I talked to a few people out of the course about Skirt Sports and even gave my discount code (SSA101Ash)  to someone and managed to make a couple of friends on the bus ride there and back. This is a big deal for me as I am a socially awkward turtle and do not like talking to strangers.

Snaaaaaaaacks!

At the hotel I grabbed coffee and some doughnut holes because I was starving, then took a quick shower. My sister and I headed back to Hollywood Studios so I could take some Star Wars themed pictures with my medal, but what really happened was that I bought an alcoholic beverage to drink while standing in line for Star Tours only there was no line so I had to chug it.

When your Disney beer costs $9 you drink all of it.

After Star Tours we stood in line for me to get a picture with the adorable BB8, who was happy to hear I ran for the Light side.

We took a quick trip to EPCOT after that, but it was boiling hot and I had been up since 2:45AM and still had a long drive home to the cats.

My first “Solo” half marathon was fun and not as nerve-wracking as I expected it to be. A lot of that probably has to do with it being a Disney race, however, and not something small or random. I always feel at home at Disney, as cheesy as that sounds! This was a great course and I’m glad I got to try it out. I might even return one day.

Until next time…may the course be with you.

Race Recap: Miami’s 305 Half Marathon, Part Two

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 305 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!

Earlier this year I was looking into races to prep for my season. I say “season” like I separate running into different parts of the year, but I really just like to have a race every month. It’s fun to earn bling each month, don’t you think?

So. I didn’t have anything for March and had my eye on a BibRave race for awhile. I texted Mer to get some ideas on how to sign up, as I’d only done other campaigns with BR, not races and that kind of got the ball rolling for this. Mer said in her post that she didn’t think I was invited her well, jokes on her because it’s fun to talk people into running races with you. Really, though. I was worried about running a half on my own and was super relieved when Mer said she was thinking about joining.

After I signed up (using the super user friendly Athlinks), I started with some light training. As you know, my goal is to love running again so I’d been going out and having some fun on my own without having a goal or something to work for. I did pretty well with training for this race because I ran a 15k the weekend before and just considered it my last training run.

When race weekend came, everything still felt too laid back, if that makes sense. I wasn’t worried about running or PRing or anything. I got up on Saturday morning and went through some of my weekend routine before heading over to the east coast. It’s about a two and a half hour drive for me so I sort of took my time. I was excited to spend some time with Mer because it had been a couple of years since we’d seen each other. I was also excited because we’d be in a condo and not sleeping in a van together.

I got to the other coast in the early afternoon, so Mer and I hung out and then went for dinner and ice cream. Carb-loading is a real thing, okay?

Since we had a drive in the morning, bedtime was an early one. My anxiety usually kicks in the night before a race, so I didn’t get a lot of sleep. When the alarms started going on at 3:30 I tried to deny it. We got dressed quickly and made our way. We still had to pick up our bibs and that turned out to be no problem. There was even a little coffee cart for me to visit because I don’t function well without, to be honest. Soon enough, we had found our place.

I was feeling great when we started. As a native Floridian, this is the type of weather I’m used to. It was nice and cool…and then the sun came up. It definitely got warm, but thankfully the course had a nice breeze and plenty of places with shade. I mean, there were also BRIDGES, but I digress. The race was well organized and a lot of fun, too. I’m used to Florida, but sometimes it’s just really pretty to me. I love the ocean, palm trees, and all kinds of random things you might find along the way. The course was great because it showed some beautiful sights and the little quirks of Miami, too!

Aid stations were at every mile along with porta-potties and everyone stayed well hydrated. There were a few DJs out with music, which was great since Mer and I didn’t run with headphones. The best part, to me, was that even though we are kind of the “back of the pack” runners, there were still police officers at every intersection and they kept the roads closed for runners. I know it probably takes a lot to do that, especially in a city as big as Miami, but it was much appreciated.

It was pretty warm by the time we reached the finish and it felt like we were never going to get there! They even announced our names (though pronounced mine wrong) and said that we were part of BibRave, which was cool. The after party was hopping when we finally made it there. I got some free shaved ice and had a tasty croissant, which hit the spot pretty well.

And then I carb-loaded again.

Free race photos were an absolute plus and I was so stoked that they turned out so well! I feel like I always struggle with pictures that I have no control and these turned out cute! (Very Instagrammable!)

This was a great race and I’m glad I got to share it with Mer. When’s our next one?

 

Race Recap: Miami’s 305 Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 305 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!

Pair the beginning of the year with the craziness of New Jersey winters and it can move someone (aka – me) agree to anything.

I’ve been saying for the past few months that I want to focus on shorter distance races. However… when fellow BibRave Pro/ScootaDoot chick Ashley, mentioned that she was interested in signing up for the 305 Half Marathon in Miami I immediately started looking at flights.

I’m pretty sure she wasn’t suggesting that I join her but hey, this is how I operate.

My parents live about an hour outside of Miami and I knew that a break from the cold New Jersey winter would be just what I needed at the beginning of March. Sure enough, they’re always ready for me to visit.

So let’s review.

  1. Get out of the cold.
  2. Visit my parents.
  3. Get taken care of for a few days. AND NOT TAKE CARE OF ANYONE.
  4. Hang out with Ashley (whom I haven’t seen nearly 3 years – unacceptable).
  5. Run Miami!

Where do I sign up?

Athlinks – that’s where! Registration was quick and easy. Just as easy was claiming my race results after the race. I think it’s funny looking at all my of results on there because you can tell which races I ran for time and which ones I was running for fun. Our plan for this race was to PR in FUN and I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint!

There was no expo but there were a few opportunities for bib pickup prior to the Sunday morning race in Miami Beach and Miami. They also allowed for race morning pickup and since we were driving from a distance, that’s what we opted for. We woke up early allowing us plenty of time.

We found a parking garage a block away from where we needed to be. After turning into the lot we saw that it was a steep $50 for 5 hours. Yikes! Any additional time meant an additional $50! (We actually arrived back right at the 5 hour mark and the machine tried to charge us but thankfully the attendant fixed it.)

Shirt and bib pickup was quick and easy. The start and finish village were right next to each other and there were plenty of portapotties. There was a coffee bar in the start village and just beyond that area was the beach.

Shirt sizing is my nemesis so if you’re like me and have sizing issues too, the shirts are men and women’s cut and they were Sport-Tek brand this year. I ended up getting a shirt that’s too large but oh well, you win some, you lose some! The shirts were a bright turquoise with purple lettering – very Miami!

The course was a big loop through Miami Beach and Miami. The corrals we well marked with the paces and there were pacers placed throughout the corrals as well. They had the music pumping, a fun light up guy on stilts and after a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem (seriously, one of the best I’ve ever heard) we were off and running just after 6:15.

The sun started to rise and it got hot quickly. Thankfully there was a breeze and well spaced aid stations throughout the course. While we were running we realized that some of the 5k runners somehow started running early with the half marathon runners – whoops! They stopped at the aid station near mile 3… not sure how they got back to the start.

For those thinking that this course is entirely at sea-level (like me, I don’t always read the race guides like I should), think again! The causeways over the water are pretty steep on both incline and decline and there were about four of these throughout the race. However the sights were gorgeous and there was actually a rainbow that draped over the entire course for the first 5 miles!

No crowds to speak of but the volunteers and police were supportive. There were also about 4 DJs along the route. Ash and I didn’t bring music but we were jamming to the beats as we went by them. We also ran right near where the cruise ships were docked, it really was a scenic event!

The last few miles my hands were swollen and I was feeling a few blisters on my feet. I’m pretty sure I told Ash that I was ready to be done no less than 10 times. Finally, it was finish line time!

We finished the race with a BibRave shout out from the announcer. There were free pictures from the course and even a video from the finish!

There was a shipping snafu with the medals, which we learned about 2 nights prior to race morning. I appreciate that they kept runners informed of how things transpired. We were given a temporary medal and a Starbucks gift card from UPS. The actual medals are going to be shipped to each runner within the next few weeks. Mistakes happen and I appreciate that they made every effort to make it as close to right as possible.

The finish area had a great assortment of snacks, choice of Bloody Mary or beer, and other fun stuff! Everyone was in good spirits and it was exactly how a Florida race should end! Ashley and I took a few minutes to walk over to the beach, take a few pictures, and then headed out.

My Florida trip was a whirlwind and while I’m sad to be back in New Jersey and ESPECIALLY sad that we are supposed to get snow today, I’m so glad that I had a few days in Florida!

Check back – soon Ashley will be sharing her thoughts about the 305 as well.

Race Recap: Gasparilla 15K

ARRRRGGGGGHH YA READY TO READ ABOUT A FUN RACE?!

Yes? Well! Look no further than right here, okay?

This weekend my friend Michelle and I ran the Gasparilla 15K in Tampa, which is part of a weekend of races, actually! The Publix and Michelob (helloooo food and beer) sponsored race weekend consists of a 5K, 8K, 15K, and half marathon. Michelle and I ran the 15K in 2017 and thought we’d come back this year, too. Last year we ran the runDisney Princess Half Marathon, but my wallet can’t runDisney every year, you know what I mean?

Since we’re only a couple of hours south of Tampa, we left Friday after work. Michelle and I are both teachers and, even though I only worked three days last week, I was pretty tired. Traffic, of course, is horrendous. Seriously, people. Don’t come to Florida, we’re full. Our two hour drive took us about three hours because we wanted to get to the expo for packet pickup and avoid it in the morning.

The expo was still going pretty strong when we got there, so we picked up some fuel and I finally got myself a pair of Oofos that I’d been wanting since Chicago. After we picked up our packets we searched out some food and finally made it to our hotel. A trip with the two of us is always an adventure, because we’re both a little directionally challenged, so there were a few u-turns involved. Traffic in Tampa is scary.

Race morning started out smoothly. I’d decided on a Skirt Sports outfit of shorts and a tank top and it ended up being perfect for the weather. There wasn’t too much traffic and we made it to a parking lot with plenty of time to spare. It’s always my fear that I’m going to be late for a race or oversleep, but it hasn’t happened yet! I mean, fingers crossed.

The streets were already packed when we got to the start line and things were a little confusing. The last time we ran this race we were confused then as well. A lot of runners weren’t sure where to go and ended up in different corrals from what we could see. We ended up in the right one, however. You know, the not fast one?

We started off the race at a fast pace than normal by complete accident. We were actually right in with an 11:00 pace group and, yeah, no. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t easy. The day was supposed to be hot and humid so I knew I wanted to take it easy.

At about mile 2, a band was handing out beads which I happily took, and also ditched a few miles later because running with beads is annoying.

There were water stops as well as sprinklers at every mile, which was a huge plus. The weather was unseasonably warm for February, as it usually is in Florida. It’s just how we do things. We stayed strong though, with a decent pace even when we stopped to take pictures of the sunrise or pirates hanging out on people’s balconies.

The race is a straight shot down Bayshore Avenue with a turn around, so you get the same view both ways. It’s still a great view of the water. You also get the same porta-potties both ways and that’s kind of gross. Toward the end they started handing out Gatorade as well as water to keep runners hydrated. I stuck with water as my stomach always seems to revolt on me when I’m running and drinking things.

The last time we ran, there were some spectators handing out donuts. That didn’t happen this time and it was a little disappointing as I am always hungry. 🙂

I definitely started to slow down around mile 7, but Michelle kept pushing me. It had gotten really hot and we’d both tried to roll up our shirts for any kind of air flow. Seeing that final sign was like winning the lottery, even if we still had a little ways to go.

At the finish they gave everyone a cold towel, bottle of water, and medal, of course. Then we were ushered through the recovery stations which was basically just snacks. Don’t worry, I picked up a lot of them.

Shout out to Skirt Sports for the pockets!

We also realized we PRd the course by a couple of minutes, so we got our picture taken with a Jack Sparrow look-a-like and each of us rang the bell before heading to the after party for free beer and to sit around with some other smelly people.

After a little recovery we went on the adventure of remember where the car was parked in the daylight and made it back to our hotel to shower and change. Originally we were thinking of things to do in Tampa since we were already there, but since temps were practically boiling we just ate brunch and hung out for a few at the mall, like the cool kids do.

Gasparilla is a fun and beautiful course that I definitely recommend. It’s an affordable race and they put on a great party. I hope you check it out one year!

Kindness Counts

Yesterday was National Random Acts of Kindness day and, while it’s nice to have a day devoted to kindness, it’s truly something we should celebrate every day!

I love the thought of a random act of kindness and have been on the giving and receiving end of many of them. My favorite thing about doing them is seeing how happy it makes the other person. Whether it’s a small gift, buying a cup of coffee, or just a simple compliment. I like to do them anonymously, because recognition makes me uncomfortable (helloooo social anxiety), but there are sometimes when you just have to tell the other person!

While it’s nice to perform those random acts for people, either strangers or friends, it’s also so important to be kind to yourself. Last week our Girls on the Run lesson was about overcoming negative self-talk and knowing how to turn those conversations with yourself around. The girls did a great job with listing their own negative phrases, but also with knowing what to say instead of the negativity. It’s really cool to see them work through the process and help each other out to say nice things.

Yesterday I was on a long training run with my running buddy (and GOTR co-coach this season) and we were talking about this very thing. We were at the end of eight miles and it had been a really great run. Our run interval pace was fast and we were doing minimal walking. Both of us have different half marathons coming up, but are training together. Honestly, I would not be getting this runs in if I didn’t have the support.

We were discussing the lesson and how well the girls did and I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of it all because I had just been complaining about something about my body. I’m sure it was how my thighs make it hard to wear pants and jeans or how my legs were feeling very heavy as wear neared our finish. Either way, I was there, a 35-year-old girl, telling myself that negative self-talk.

It’s hard to be kind to ourselves, isn’t it?

There are a lot of different ways to be kind to us, I think. I try my best to eat healthy and workout because when I look good I feel good. I’m sure many people think that’s a superficial thing to say, but it’s just a mentality that I have that’s hard to get away from. It’s not about being the skinniest or most tone. I want to look good for me (this package of Peanut Butter M&Ms sitting next to me are not helping, BTW), and that’s important to me. I struggle with that a lot, and sometimes I have to take a step back and think “Okay. Today wasn’t great. You’ll do better tomorrow”.

That’s where my kindness to myself comes in. I do a lot of different things, too. If work is overwhelming I take a break. If running isn’t working out, I do something different to keep my body moving or I research. Last summer when I was training (and struggling) for Chicago I read some articles and reached out to friends to help me.

A lot of the times I find that when I can’t be kind to myself, others are there to do it for me. I’m grateful for those kind words and those kind people. I try to be one of them, even if it doesn’t always work out.

Hopefully when you do those random acts of kindness you include yourself. I know I’m going to try.

Has anyone ever impacted you with a kind act? 

Scoot a Doot’s 6th Blogaversary (+giveaway!)

We are so pumped to be celebrating 6 years of Scoot!

We’ve got a vlog, we’ve got our four pillars: fitness, food, friends, and fun… AND we’ve got a sweet, sweet giveaway! Watch the video to see what’s in the prize pack for one lucky winner (trust us, you’ll want to win).

After you watch us chat with you, click on the image below to enter! We’ll check to make sure the entry is legit and then announce the winner via social media channels on 2/6/19: Facebook, IG stories, Twitter.

 

 

Race Recap – Run to Home Base 5K

Last Saturday I ran my first race of the year, as I posted in my races for the new year. It was a 5K benefiting the Run to Home Base organization that helps veterans and their families. From what I’ve read about this program, it’s based out of Boston, which is why there is a Florida race – at the Red Sox Spring Training center! JetBlue Park is a fairly new facility (I don’t know, I’m not big on sportsballs) and is kind of surrounded by a school and some office buildings. Not the best scenery to run in, but it was still nice.

My alarm went off on Saturday morning and I was immediately exhausted. I never sleep the night before any race, so this one was no different. I had coffee and oatmeal for breakfast, but took some water for my drive since I was pretty sure hydrating at happy hour the night before wasn’t going to be good enough. I was very right about that.

I got the field early for packet pick-up since I wasn’t able to do so the night before and I live about thirty minutes from the park. It was a cold morning, meaning it was less than 60 degrees. I’d chosen my Skirt Sports Pocketopia Capris and a Captain America tank (because heroes), but I also left the house with two jackets on over my tank because, hello, I’m a born and raised Floridian and I’m cold.

After I picked up my packet I warmed up in the car and listened to one of the books of The Raven Cycle that I had been listening to (hey, read these books). Opening ceremonies were held before the race with different speakers inside the stadium.

 

 

It was truly a beautiful morning, perfect for a little race! The start was late. Well, later than scheduled but I got off to a pretty strong start. I’d ran a couple of races since Chicago but nothing too intense. I felt like starting the year with a race and having a few more planned for the year would help with me wanting to train and run more. I had a solid 11:00 mile for the first mile, which is pretty much my best mileage, haha. I’ve got little legs and they just don’t go very fast sometimes, but I was really happy with that time! Once I hit the mile mark I started to feel a little dehydrated and stopped for water. I took some walk breaks after the first mile, so my time definitely suffered.

Sometimes it is so apparent how your diet plays into your performance. I ate terribly the night before, even though I knew I had a race, and I definitely suffered after my first glorious mile. On my walk breaks I texted with Michelle because she was out on a little training run, too. It had started to warm up and I was absolutely regretting eating ice cream the night before!

This summer when I was training for Chicago and struggling I started listening to books instead of music, so that helped me stay focused on the task at hand. The race was small, but there was never really a lag in the crowd where I wasn’t alone.  The course was nice and shady and by the time we’d looped around to come back to the stadium I didn’t even realize we were almost finished!

Coming into the stadium was fun. As much as I’m not a huge sports fan, I still like to see cool stuff. We came in behind second base and ran up the length to third to the finish line. There were cameras there so I put on my best “I’m not dying, I’m having a great time!” smile and prepared to cross the finish.

 

I love free race photos!

My overall time wasn’t my best 5K, but I was still pretty proud of myself for getting out there on a Saturday after a long week of wrangling children. After we crossed the finish line we had a chance to take a picture running over home plate. It happened quickly and mine turned out pretty cheesy! I’m not even close to home plate in it and I just look silly.

Since I ran alone I asked a random girl to take my picture after and a stranger made a comment about it being a “Facebook/Instagram post” which it, of course, was. That comment kind of put a damper on my whole experience because it felt so negative about sharing your accomplishments. Sure, people don’t have to know every little thing you do, but I had a lot of people text and ask me how my race went. There are so many people that have been part of my “learning to be an athlete” journey and I love to share my wins. I posted it, of course, but then took to Twitter to complain, as one does. We should be proud of every little accomplishment, from marathons to 5Ks to getting out of bed in the morning. Heck, I know I’m always trying to do better with that last one.

Yeah, I posted on Instagram, so what?

Have you done any races to far this year? I’d love to hear about them! 

Chick Chat – Where We Play

Growing up in Alaska taught me a lot. Primarily that being outside is better than being inside about 98% of the time. Like, inside is literally only better when its so cold outside your body parts freeze, but even then… just put on warmer clothes. I don’t know.

Alaska is full of so many cool things.

Consequently, I enjoy being outside for nearly all of my fun activities. Hiking, running, working out – you name it. If I can be outside, I’m a happy camper, in some cases literally. There’s really not a better place to start a conversation about where we play than The Great Land. In Alaska, I was lucky to have a mountain to climb literally out my front door and plenty of other trails to explore just minutes away.

In fact, one of my favorite training runs ever was back home. I did a 20-miler around Eklutna Lake, a glacial-fed body of water not far from my parents’ old home and a frequent recreational area for us. The park has a campground, biking trails, hiking trails, cabins, kayaking… you name it. I did my run in late August (early Fall in Alaska) and the weather was absolutely perfect. Sunny and cool but not cold. My parents rode their bikes alongside me. I put my feet in the icy water when I finished.

20 miles around Eklutna Lake? #AlaskaFTW

In Virginia, I tried to take advantage of our proximity to Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge mountains. Clay and I went hiking as often as we could when we still lived out east.

Having recently moved cross-country to Southern California, I’m finding myself taken by how beautiful this area is. We are maybe 15 minutes from the beach and I can see the coastline from our house. We haven’t been able to get out and hike here at all yet, but we have gotten to workout outside, which is something new!

Lifting barbells and doing burpees outside in the sunshine (when it’s not oppressively hot) is pretty amazing! I’m looking forward to exploring more of what SoCal has to offer in the years to come.

As a born and raised Florida girl there are a ton of places where I love to workout and play in, but also a lot of places I’ve yet to see! Most days I tend to be a homebody. I like the comfort of my couch, books, and cats. When I’m training or need to go for a run, my neighborhood works pretty well. I lived in an apartment for over ten years, but bought my first house almost two years ago. My neighborhood is a quiet little place that’s perfect for late afternoon runs. It’s fun getting to know new routes and waving to all my neighbors. And also meeting new friends.

I love this guy.

I spend a lot of time at school, teaching and coaching, and the rest of the time commuting. I live in Southwest Florida and, well, snowbirds. A lot of the time I get home too late to run so I like to find little parks or areas to pop into for a quick couple of miles. It’s fun and gets the job done. Also, when I’m out in “in the wild” I can’t just walk home. I’ve got to finish what I started.

  

 

Palm trees and sunshine for days.

School is definitely another place I workout and play. I play everyday with my students, but also with my Girls on the Run girls. They keep me young and I get to yell at them and pretend it’s motivation!

My classroom is one of my favorite places.


I try to always be on the lookout for new places in the area to workout or play in. My family frequents Disney and Universal parks, too, though most of the working out there is walking, dodging other park goers, and standing in line. Oh, and eating ice cream. Obviously. (Okay, and posing for silly pics.)

With Grete in Epcot.

I try as hard as I can to take advantage of all the amazing places to play near me. The Intermountain West has SO MUCH TO OFFER that it’s sometimes hard to choose where to go. Whether I’m running or hiking, I’m all about scenery and luckily scenery isn’t a problem here in Colorado. Most recently, I hiked a few miles of the Sourdough Trail with my sister as part of our #52HikeChallenge goal.

It was a perfect day for a hike. The temp was around 42, and the trails were not too snowy, icy, or crowded. Even though I had my microspikes sitting by the door I forgot to grab them, but I was fine with snow shoe poles.

The view from the top.

It is always so quiet and peaceful, and that is what I love about being on the trails. All you can hear is the wind blowing through the tops of the pine trees. It’s incredibly therapeutic. So much so that I forgot to turn on my GPS until we turned around, so double this and reverse it. Technology seems out of place here.

I love playing in the mountains because sometimes you also see cute animal butts and jaw-dropping sunsets.

When we first started discussing this “where we play” post, I was excited! During the warmer months, you’ll find me outside more often than not. I’m a fan of fresh air and the wind in my hair.

In my neck of the woods, New Jersey, I’m really lucky to live in a development that’s surrounded by farmers fields. If you walk out my door and head down the road a quarter of a mile during the warmer months, we have corn, squash, and a variety of other crops.

Not even two miles away is a vineyard. I have yet to run there but that is on my bucket list. (Maybe I’ll Uber home.) Good Day for a Run holds a Run the Vineyards race there each spring and I either run or volunteer each year. With it being so close to home, how could I not?

Last winter and this one, I’ve been hibernate. I actually love running in the cold weather and one of my favorite places to run is the boardwalk. But I’m still a bit of a Nervous Nelly with winter and ice after breaking my arm last January.

So yeah, lately where I play has mainly been inside. I’ve been sticking to treadmill running in my basement and training at the gym. It doesn’t produce nearly as interesting Instagram photos as the great outdoors but it works for me!

Tell us about where you love to run/hang out!

sNOw Problem

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 305 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!

I knew it was too good to be true. Here in New Jersey, our mild winter has shifted right into the cold weather we are used to having this time of year.

Not only did we have snow over the weekend but this coming weekend’s forecast predicts not one but TWO more snowstorms headed our way.

No, thank you.

What’s a girl to do? Oh, that’s right, have a warm weather contingency plan!

As Ash alluded to in her post, it was not very difficult to talk me into coming to Florida to run this race. In fact, I think she just said, “I’m considering the 305 Half Marathon in Miami with BibRave.” That’s all it took; I immediately started looking at travel plans.

My parents live in South Florida so it’s very convenient for me to fly down there and stay with them (And they love having me – even though I’m not bringing my kids along.) (…I think).

I’ll be down there for a long weekend and back in time for family activities up yonder way. I’m hoping that I get the chance to visit with some of my Florida family as well. Even though it’s a short visit, I have a ton of extended family down there.

Registration was quick and easy through Athlinks. I’m automatically added to the start list, which is pretty cool and I’m looking forward to getting my results through them as well. Always nice to have things organized in all one spot.

Of course this means that I probably need to start getting some more long runs in. I’ve been running every day between 1-4 miles. But I’m thinking a couple of longer runs will only help matters when it comes to a half.

Ashley and I are ready to PR in fun with this one and with a generous 16 minute mile pace, I’m more than confident in our abilities.

This was the last time we ran a race together but we didn’t actually run together. It’s been a hot minute!

Want to escape to the warmer weather too? You can use the code BIBRAVE305 and take $10 off the half or $5 off the 5K!

Are you a fan of snow or would you rather be basking in the sunshine on the beach?

Racing Into the New Year

Last week Mer posted some of her favorite races that she’ll be running this year, so I thought I’d shared mine this week! One of my goals for the new year is to enjoy running again so I thought that signing up for a few races would make that happen. Sounds legit, right?

 

My first race of the year is a 5K next weekend through Home Base Southwest Florida.

The mission of this company is simple: “The Southwest Florida arm of Home Base was created to empower local Veterans and Warriors to take control of their physical well-being, provide tools to help manage stress and provide a portal for more complex care for those in need of treatment for the Invisible Wounds.” 

The finish line to this race is at home base at the JetBlue Park at Fenway South, so that’s pretty cool if you’re a Red Sox fan.

 

In February I’m returning to Gasparilla in Tampa after taking a year off to run the runDisney Princess Half this year. Michelle and I ran the 15K in 2017 and liked it so much we’re going back for another one. It’s a fun course and I like the 15K distance. If I remember right, there were also donuts on the course. that’s always a plus!

 

Something NEW that I’m super excited about is the 305 Half Marathon that I’ll be running in March with BibRave. I’ve never run this one before, but I’m really looking forward to it! I haven’t done a half marathon in the Princess Half last February (and I don’t count those long training runs, either). I’ve already started looking up training plans, since the race is kind of close and I’m ready to get back out there! This race looks like a ton of fun as it goes through Miami and has some scenic beach views. I’m also stoked for this because it will the the third race Mer and I will be at together, and the first one we will be running together! It was pretty easy to talk to her into the race, so if you’re looking for a fun, full-Florida experience you should definitely check it out, too! You can use the code BIBRAVE305 and take $10 off the half or $5 off the 5K!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 305 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!

 

In April I’ll be finishing up my second season of Girls on the Run and we’ll end that with a 5K (you’ll hear all about it!). I’m excited about the upcoming season and getting new girls in to learn about themselves and all they can do. This 5K is definitely going to be one of my favorites of the year.

Also in April, and this is a long shot, but I’d love to do the runDisney Star Wars Half. It’s the only race weekend I haven’t participated in yet and I’m kind of dying to. I’m thinking of starting a GoFundMe, just for it. Kidding, but seriously. I love Disney races, but my bank account doesn’t. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

I’m feeling pretty good for the beginning of the year and definitely looking forward to what everything else brings. I usually do some traveling during the summer, so it’s hard to nail down a race I like to do. I hope you’re getting ready for some great races!