Cheers to 2020!


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

Hear me out.

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

Anyway, I’m done with that.

Because I KNOW that 2020 is going to be amazing.

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

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

january

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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

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

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

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

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

february

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

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

march

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Yuengling Shamrock 1/2 Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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

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

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

april

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take my money, Atlantic City!

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

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

 

Race Recap: Atlantic City Marathon Series 10k

Two facts you might know about me if you’ve read this blog for awhile:

  1. Summer is my least favorite time to run.
  2. Fall is my absolute favorite time to run.

Of course, it’s hard to sign up for Fall races when you’re not training consistently through the summer. In the past, that didn’t stop me. Oh no, I’d just sign up anyway and then miserably slog through the miles of a race.

It’s only taken 8 years but guess what, I’ve finally learned my lesson!

Not only have I been training consistently over the summer (I KNOW, RIGHT?), but I’ve also signed up for less races. The two are not mutually exclusive. I’ve made better decisions overall with my running and it’s equaling a happier running me!

Plus, and this is a big one, I’ve found the Turtles.

I’ve written about them throughout 2019 but I really feel like they need a huge shout out because this is the local community and support that I’ve needed. These folks are priceless to me, they are the party in the back and we are each others biggest supporters.

The Atlantic City Marathon Series hosts its fall races in mid-October each year. Saturday is the 5k/10k and Sunday is the half/full marathon.

2013 was the first time I ran the race weekend and I’ve returned each year since for the 5k or 10k.

With 3 races offered throughout the year, they sweetened the deal by adding a Triple Threat medal in 2019. It’s probably clear that Atlantic City Marathon Series is one of my all time favorites ever, so it didn’t take much convincing to go for the Triple Threat!

The fall series offers packet pickup at multiple locations throughout the week prior to the races. Originally I chose to do day-of pickup (for an additional fee of $10) but a Turtle friend was able to grab mine earlier in the week and there was no fuss with that, which was much appreciated. Less running around for me the morning of the race!

What I love so much about running in AC is the comfort that comes along with it. These races are a nice size – around 850 runners for both the 5k/10k. With a 9am start time for the shorter races, it’s easy to wake up early and drive down the morning of the race.

The race series also provides a coupon for runners which brings the $25 casino parking fee down to $5.

My race was what I expected, given my training runs. I chose to run solo to see what I was capable of and I was happy with the result!

Best part is air hugs to the Turtles on the out and back!

Running on the boardwalk is always fun for me. It was hard to see the 5k runners peel off, knowing that I still had double the distance to go but I love that it’s an out and back course so I could cheer on friends. My last mile was tough and I was very pleased to see the finish line, right outside of Bally’s Casino.

Once I crossed the line, I received my 10k medal. My bib had a mark on the back for the Triple Threat medal (it might have been easier to spot on the front – other runners had a sticker placed on theirs).

After showing the back of my bib, I received the mother of all medals, the Triple Threat!

After we cheered everyone in across the finish line, my group of friends made our way to the courtyard that held snacks (bagels, water ice, etc.) and drinks. If there’s a post-race beer I’ll usually have a few sips and Saturday was no exception.

We really lucked out with the weather and had a nice morning in Atlantic City. I’ve already got my eye on the 2020 Triple Threat medal and will be registering ASAP.

Tomorrow I’ve got a nice training running planned and then I’ll be headed to Kennett Square, PA for the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon relay. Woohoo! Want to register? There’s still time to save $10, use code brmushroom19.

Race Recap: Atlantic City April Fools 7k

First things first, if you’ve read our blog for any amount of time, you already know that I love the Atlantic City races. (Swing by our Race Recaps, and you’ll find a whole slew of reports about AC.)

I usually opt for the half marathon at the April Fools race but this year I’ve been embracing shorter distances and Saturday races during Healthy Kids Running Series season.

Additionally, my 14 year old son requested to join me this year so I figured the 7k distance would be the best bet. There’s also a 11k option on Saturday. The half marathon runs on Sunday.

Chrissy and me

For an additional $10 per packet, there was race morning packet pickup. To save myself time and travel expenses (it basically evens out), we did morning packet pickup.

Parking was only $5 with a Resorts Casino card, I picked one up a few weeks back when I spent the day in AC. Lucas and I met up with Chrissy and were quickly able to get our bibs and race shirts. Ladies got pink, men got blue.

A huge draw for the Atlantic City races is that without fail, I always see a ton of friends there. It’s a quick hour drive on the expressway from my house, which means that I can spend the night at home and just wake a bit early and hop in the car.

Run856 Turtles – I love this group of local runners!

The weather was rainy but not too cold, so it was actually comfortable to run in. This was the longest distance for my son so we chose to do 1:1 intervals to keep a consistent pace. After the Star Spangled Banner and a countdown, the race started at 9am.

The entire 7k course is on the boardwalk, which is somewhere I always enjoy running. There was a water station on the way out and back around the 2 mile mark (and the same on the return, not exactly sure of the distance). It’s always a really nice run – despite the weather.

Lucas and I rocked our AfterShokz headphones so we were able to jam out to our music and still chat with each other. He’s been running track at school, where the longest distance is a mile, but we also ran a 4 mile training run recently. The 1:1 intervals helped him feel good and confident the entire time and he stuck with me at my pace for 3.35 miles – the last mile I told him to GO and away he went.

Lucas’ main goal was to finish under an hour, which I assured him wouldn’t be an issue. He finished in 51 minutes while I rolled in at the 53 minute mark.

The finish line has lots of snacks and goodies, which Lucas loved every moment of. He went to get snacks and I stayed at the finish to cheer in friends.

What I love about this particular race, more than anything else, is that I got to run with Lucas. I was having a bit of calf pain in the days leading up to the race and there was a brief moment when I thought I might have to sit it out. Thankfully, he took it easy with me and as much as I was asking him how he was feeling and doing, he was doing the same for me.

Yeah, my kid is pretty great.

And so is this race. I’ll be back to Atlantic City in June for the 2nd Bungalow Beach 5 Miler. Will I see any of you there?

Race Recap: Atlantic City 10k… no, make that 5k

Anyone who has been reading Scoot a Doot for awhile knows just how much I love the Atlantic City Race Series races. I usually participate in at least one race during their spring and fall series and I enjoyed doing their inaugural Bungalow Beach Run this year too.

I registered for the Atlantic City 10k back in 2017, right after registration opened. The 10k distance is one that I love and I got my personal best at this race in 2016 so I was looking forward to returning again.

However, in the past 6 months, there’s been a shift in dynamics in my house. My 13 year old son, who once upon a time only ran when “forced” during a Mother’s Day 5k, has come around to enjoying running. As you can imagine, I am shedding proud tears!

Lucas’ cross country season just ended and he’s been asking to run more races. It was a no-brainer to register him for the AC 5k because I’ve run these races many times and I knew he’d be good on the out and back course solo. Since he was going to be there and doing the shorter distance, I decided to switch down to the 5k at morning packet pickup (which we opted for during registration). The process was surprisingly easy and we quickly had our shirts, bags, and bibs.

Usually I run these races with friends and my family opts to stay home. However since Lucas was running the race too, my husband and younger kiddo decided to join us for the morning as our cheerleaders.

Atlantic City races don’t have corrals so lining up beforehand is always a crap-shoot. I looked for people who looked like they’d run around the same pace as Lucas and sent him up ahead. I asked the people I was standing near what pace they expected to keep to find my spot. The 5k and 10k runners start together. After the singing of the National Anthem, we were off.

The out and back was comfortable for me because I’ve done so many training runs along this boardwalk. My time was a consistent 12 minute mile, not my best or worst. A friend from the gym and I were chatting about how I have one speed, no matter it being a 5k or a half marathon. It’s something I need to work on but I wasn’t going into this race thinking that I’d be breaking any personal records so I’m pretty content with what I did.

Lucas looked strong when I saw him while I was on the out and he was on the back but he said that he got a cramp soon after we saw each other. He still finished strong and sprinted to the finish.

We joined the finisher’s party and grabbed the most delicious bagels (holy moly, they were so good!), snacks, goodies from vendors, and beer at 10am.

Well, I grabbed beer at 10am. Lucas got Gatorade.

Next on deck for me is the Rothman 8k in Philly. In December, we are doing the Light Run together (which is a local untimed night event to see the holiday lights). And then while I represent Healthy Kids Running Series, Lucas is going to do the Elf ‘n Cocoa 5k.

This year is flying by. I hope you have a very happy Halloween and I’ll see you in November!

Fall Racing Time!

Okay, okay, I know it’s not technically fall yet. But for goodness sake, can we let people enjoy their fall race planning (and pumpkin spice lattes) in peace? YES, WE CAN!

I’ve got some great races lined up for the fall… and beyond, because HELLO, planner right here! What’s on the agenda? Right this way!

september

The Bird-in-Hand half marathon is this Saturday! I’ll be driving to Lancaster County, PA with Rachel and Katie for this weekend’s race. I expect hills, heat, and beautiful views to make up for the hills and heat. Oh, and check out these medals!

 

Okay, okay, I’m not actually running in any of the Healthy Kids Running Series races but I AM the coordinator for my town’s location! This is my second season as a coordinator and I’m looking forward to encouraging and inspiring children to get outside and find the joy in running.

Being that these races are on Sunday evenings, I COULD run my own local races on Sunday mornings but after last spring I realized that it was a bit too much to handle for one day. Therefore Sundays from September 16th through October 14th are dedicated to HKRS.

october

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Reebok Boston 10k for Women as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

That said, if I WERE to run October 8th, I’d really love to run the Reebok Women’s 10k in Boston, MA. Why? Well, because then I’d be able to visit BEC. Also because I love the 10k distance. I haven’t run a women’s race in awhile but I do love the camaraderie and support that happens during these events.

I don’t have Boston Marathon dreams, but this seems like an attainable race! My race bucket list is growing by the day.


Disclaimer: I received free entries to the Scooby Doo Virtual Series 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 might not be able to travel to many races this fall but I’m stoked to participate with my best 4-legged friend, Gemma in the first ever Scooby-Doo Virtual Series! Doo Good is the September race while the Scoobtober 5k/10k takes place during October. A portion of registrations go toward supporting the Best Friends Animal Society.

Want to join in the fun? Use code BIBRAVE and save 10% on registration.

Remember up above when I said how much I love the 10k distance? I’m returning to my favorite 10k on October 20th, the Atlantic City Race Series.

This is one that I usually participate in every fall and while I haven’t done a training run in Atlantic City in awhile, I can’t wait to return for this event!

The day after the AC 10k, I’ll be heading to north Jersey for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer walk. No, this is not a race in the traditional sense but I’ll do what I can to support finding a cure for breast cancer and support a dear college friend!

november

My first road race in 2011 was the Rothman 8k during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend and I’ll be returning once more on Saturday, November 17th. The 4.97 mile course is fun because it’s a different distance than the norm and there will be a lot of familiar faces there! It’s a great way to get some true fall miles in the weekend before Thanksgiving.

looking ahead

My son has already asked if we’ll be returning to The Light Run in DecemberAs soon as the registration for that opens, we’ll be joining in the fun.

And of course, in 2019 I’ve already got the Hot Chocolate Philly 5k on my race docket, thanks to Bib Rave. If you want to join me for that, register here AND if you use the code BRHCPhilly when you register you’ll receive awesome EXTRA swag, the Hot Chocolate Armband for your phone/tunes.

Will I see you at any of these? What race are you looking forward to?

Race Recap: Atlantic City Bungalow Beach 5 Miler

I think I might have lost my mind.

As a rule, I don’t register for summer races. I just don’t. Occasionally I’ll do a July 4th run, if the urge hits but normally I am not a fan of summer racing.

AND YET… Just over a week ago I was in Atlantic City, running the Inaugural Bungalow Beach 5 Miler.

The Atlantic City Marathon Series hosts spring and fall events and I love participating in them. From my very second half marathon, the Inaugural April Fools Half in 2012 to their fall 10k I’ve done my fair share of Atlantic City races.

The Inaugural Bungalow Beach 5 Miler was the first summer event hosted by the race series and as soon as I heard about it, I knew that I’d be signing up. After all, the first 100 to sign up got this beach towel along with their early registration of $35 and you know I can’t pass up a deal like that!

As soon as the news of this race hit Facebook, I saw that many of my local friends were registered as well (the lure of a beach towel is great with NJ folks).

Along with the beach towel, other race swag included:

  • Custom Finisher Medals
  • Gender Specific Custom Tank for Female Participants and Custom T-Shirt for Male Participants
  • One FREE Beer at Bungalow Beach’s Post Race Party
  • Course Entertainment

There was a packet pickup the day before but also the morning of the race. I opted to do packet pickup race morning, saving myself toll and parking money. I parked in the Tropicana garage (cost $10).

I’m not sure if the tank option was listed when I registered because I ended up with a medium, which is what I usually get for the Atlantic City races but not if it’s a women’s cut. The tank is adorable, however it’s entirely see through and too small which is disappointing. I lost the race shirt lottery this go around.

However, they had shirts and towels for sale after the race. My friend purchased a men’s shirt and since they were priced at one for $15 or two for $20, she got one for me too (thanks Chrissy!).

Despite the recent sunny weather, the forecast for that morning was looking a bit on the dreary side with the potential for thunderstorms. I don’t mind running in the rain, but I didn’t know what they’d do if there was lightning. Thankfully Mother Nature was on our side this time and while it was overcast, that also meant that it wasn’t oppressively hot.

Run856 group picture – I ALWAYS miss these before races so I was excited to actually be in one!

Lifelong friend, Chrissy and I have done our fair share of Atlantic City running together. We do a lot of the races together and meet up to train there as well because it’s about an hour from each of us. We’d both not trained as much as we had planned for this race so we decided to stick together and just have fun.

I met Katie through Instagram originally and then she told me about the Sub-30 Club, we became friend friends (are you following this?) and finally met in person at this race! She said she’d like to stick with us through this race, which was awesome! We set the interval timer at 1:1 and lined up at the start.

Katie, Chrissy, and me – ready to run (we think!)

The course was what I’ve deemed: April Fools Half, lite. It’s actually very similar to what Chrissy and I do when we are running our training runs there, which made it comfortable for us.

I really loved the fundraising mission of this race:

In partnership with FACES 4 Autism, the Milton & Betty Katz JCC in Margate, NJ now offers Adaptive Swim Lessons, a specialized swim program designed to enhance the lives of children on the autism spectrum and to teach children with autism how to survive in the water.

The Adaptive Swim Lesson program includes individualized lessons based on each child’s level of ability with specially trained swim instructors. Additional pool support staff are often needed to help facilitate the lesson. 

Your support of the Bungalow Beach Run 5 will help provide funding for the additional resources needed to enable children on the autism spectrum participation in life – saving swim lessons.

Hollie (FueledbyLOLZ) heading back while we were still in mile 1!

After the singing of the National Anthem, we were off for our 5 mile jaunt. We fell into our 1:1 intervals and took it easy as we headed along the boardwalk. After the hotels and casinos it becomes more residential, with homes on one side and the beach/ocean on the other.

There was one portion of the race that kicked over onto the street (rather than staying on the boardwalk). I’m assuming this was for variety, it happens during the half course too. Thankfully we weren’t on the street too long because I’d rather run on the boards!

There was a radio station at the turns off and on the boardwalk but otherwise it was pretty quiet. The volunteers at each water station were very enthusiastic, as always, and since it’s an out and back they are plentiful.

The finish line was on the beach, making it a true BEACH RUN.

It was not easy. Beach running near the water with packed down sand is not easy. Beach running on wavy sand? Brutal!

When Chrissy, Katie, and I came around the corner a few choice words were said. I couldn’t help but laugh the entire time! Thankfully it was only about 100 yards until we crossed the finish line.

After we crossed the finish and got our medals there were tables set up with water, Gatorade, bananas, water ice, and other goodies. We grabbed a few and headed down near the water to take a few pictures and celebrate our 5 miles.

I absolutely LOVE the medal’s beach-y feel. Isn’t it awesome?

To wrap the race up right, there was a party at Bungalow Beach AC, which is where runners could get their free beer. This area was really cute and we got to cheer for all of race winners as they were announced.

All told, it was a great morning. Registering early helped keep the price low. I’ve used my new towel multiple times in the past week by my pool and I love all the perks that come along with running in Atlantic City. It’s always a race series that does it up right and I’m looking forward to returning for the 10k in October!

No races in July (look at me sticking to the no racing in summer rule…). In August I’ve got Vacation Races Elk Double, City Fit Girls Retreat, and the Philly 10k (just kidding about me sticking to the no racing in summer rule…).

Don’t Look Backwards – You’re Not Going That Way

Somehow, some way, it’s the middle of May.

I’m not sure how this happened. We were just sitting here, watching the snow fall last month (literally, it was just last month). New Jersey managed to skip over spring completely. Oh wait, not completely, because ALLERGIES are here in full force.

But yeah, other than that, it’s basically summer with temps most days in the 80s. Or raining. That’s what we’ve got going on over here. Summer or rain.

Here, for example, we were able to give out awards to our awesome HKRS runners… right before the skies opened up to a lovely downpour. Thanks to Kathleen B Photography for this picture!

At the end of 2017, I shared my race plans for 2018. Due to changes in plans and a few injuries, three of those didn’t happen. Did that stop me for registering for more races? NO! IT DID NOT. And now that the spring Healthy Kids Running Series is complete, I can begin training once more, the way I should prepare for races.

june

The inaugural Bungalow Beach Run is a 5 mile race that takes place in Atlantic City. As soon as I heard about this race, I knew I had to register!

First of all, it’s held by one of my favorites, the Atlantic City Marathon Races Series.

Secondly, the first 100 people to register get a beach towel (and you know I was one of those first 100 people!).

Registration cost was only $35 when the race opened (hello, affordable) and is currently $45. There’s day of packet pickup, medals, beer, entertainment, and THE BEACH. Plus, many of my local friends signed up for this one so I know it’s going to be a good time. I can’t wait!

august

Here’s a destination race for me – Vacation Races Elk Double. I’ll be taking a little trip across the country to join Jenn at her favorite race weekend!

I’m so excited for this for several reasons:

  1. JENN. I get my Jennifer! I haven’t seen her for far too long and I can’t wait! Not only that, but I get to spend 16.2 miles with her.
  2. Colorado. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If you haven’t been there, you should go!
  3. I’m bringing my family along with me! My boys are SO EXCITED for all things travel related but they’re really fixated on going to Colorado. Probably because of number 2.

So yes, I am really pumped for this and while I don’t want to rush time along or anything, I am very much looking forward to August! (And yes, I totally just copied and pasted my blurb from the previous blog. Not even going to pretend otherwise.)

I love a good 10k and I have it on good authority (aka all of my friends RAVE about this race) that The Philly 10k is amazing! This races sells out quickly each year and its piqued my interest mainly because it’s a race that takes place in Philly but not by the Art Museum. For those who live around this area, we know that most races happen on the same course, or at least a good portion of it does.

NOT THE PHILLY 10k! The course goes through South Street and Center City, which is a refreshing change! Sure it’s in August, and sure it may be hotter than the surface of the sun, and sure I might be regretting this in a few months… but for now? I’m stoked.

september

Back in 2013, Vic and Kyle ran the Bird-In-Hand Half Marathon. I believe it was then that I added this race to my bucket list. Five long years later, I have finally registered. Rachel and I needed a destination road trip and when she mentioned Bird-In-Hand, I said SOLD!

Last September we ran the Shenandoah Half together but since it’s not returning this year, we decided to set our sights on a tried and true race. Many runners, including many Team Shenanigans members talk about their love for this one so I’m really excited to experience all the hills it has to offer. Having run Ragnar PA last year also gives me a good idea of what to expect.

HEALTHY KIDS RUNNING SERIES HAPPENS MID-SEPTEMBER TO MID-OCTOBER. I’M BEING SMART (THIS TIME) AND NOT REGISTERING FOR ANY RACES DURING IT. I LEARNED MY LESSON!

october

I’m going back to A.C. and I’ll give you a hint: I won’t be doing the marathon, half marathon, or 5k during this race weekend. That’s right, it’s my favorite race distance, the 10k! I’ve run this race a couple of times in the past, both times were in the rain actually so I’m not really sure how the bodes for this October but I’m hoping for a nice fall day.

And I’m just going to put this out there: Finish Line Beer Garden.

Do with that what you will.

november

My very first road race was the Rothman 8k in 2011 during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. While I was laid up with my broken wrist and in the middle of what I like to refer to as FOREVERWINTER, I decided that I was going to return to the race where it all began for me. After posting about it on Facebook, a good amount of people decided they’d sign up too! (I swear, I didn’t even work at talking anyone into it.)(Okay, maybe a little but they were highly motivated!)

I’m looking forward to this one because I really like this race weekend but I don’t want to do commit to training for a half (or full, for that matter – but that sorta goes without saying) around that time of year. A late November 8k is just right and since the weekend before Thanksgiving it always leaves me with warm fuzzies about running as we go into the holidays.

As always, there could be another race that comes on my radar for 2018 but these are the ones that are set in stone for now! I’m looking forward to all of them. I’ve adjusted my goals for this year, I’m not looking to PR any of these races and with my training thus far, I don’t think it’s very likely. My main goal is to get them done, remain injury free, and have a good time!

Motivation Monday (and Every Day)

Monday’s aren’t always my favorite but this Monday? This Monday is always a favorite of mine!

Why?

Because it’s Marathon Monday a.k.a. Boston Marathon watching day!

I’ve informed my family that if they need me, this is where they can find me the majority of the day.

I know that I’ll never actually run the Boston Marathon but I love spectating (from my computer) each year. I dream of the day that I can spectate in person. All of the emotions are felt and it motivates me with my own running goals and dreams.

I have a few of my favorite races coming up in the next few weeks (Rowan 5k, AC April Fools half, Run the Vineyards 5 Miler) and then a volunteer opportunity and Ragnar.

The summer months are usually less densely populated with races and more about training runs. My goal for this summer is to remain consistent with those training runs because I already have a few fall races lined up!

My buddy Rachel first brought Vacation Races Shenandoah half marathon to my attention. She had a free race entry for herself and a friend and she invited me to join her at the inaugural Virginia race.

After a few snafus with registrations we were both able to get set up so we’ll be traveling there the first weekend of September! The course looks INTENSE, with lots of elevation changes but it also looks beautiful. I know we’ll have a good time together.

Just a few weeks later I’m excited to return to a familiar stomping ground: Philadelphia’s Rock ‘n Roll half marathon on September 17th through BibRave! I participated back in 2012 but timing and other commitments have kept me away the last 4 years.

I’m really looking forward to returning to this series. The race weekend includes a 5k and the brand new, just announced, 10k distance!

The 10k is my favorite distance and I know it’s crazy but I’m considering maybe signing up for that as well. I’ll keep you posted if I decide to take the plunge!

If you’re considering signing up for the half, I have a discount code to share! Woohoo! BIBRAVE15 will get you $15 off the half and is valid until 8/27. Is anyone out there running this one (or another Rock ‘n Roll race)? I’m so excited to return!

Okay, the elite women just started the Boston Marathon so I’m jumping back to that window now! If you need me, I’ll just be over here, being inspired!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll 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! All opinions are my own.

2016 AC Marathon Race Series 10k Recap

Other working title: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours!

If you’ve hung around these parts for awhile, you have probably noticed that there are a few races series that I return to, time and time again. The Atlantic City Marathon Races Series is one of THOSE races. I usually sign up as soon as registration is open and wait with bated breath for race day to arrive.

So why? Why do I love the AC Marathon Race Series like I do?

Mermaids ready to run!

Mermaids ready to run!

My running partner, Chrissy and I have been training there weekly. We know the ins and outs of the boardwalk. We say hello to the same AC ambassadors each week. We know where the boardwalk has the very slightest bit of incline (going into Ventor City, if you’re wondering) and we know landmarks.

When you run a race course over and over again during training runs, it’s comfortable during race day. (Even if it’s raining and windy!)

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For a $15 fee, the race series has morning of packet pick-up, which we both opted for. The drive to Atlantic City is less than an hour for both of us and staying at home is a comfort we both appreciate. I am so grateful that the race director added this option – it cuts down on travel time and expenses.

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The packet pickup was open from 7am-8am and the race called for a 9am start time. As we are overachievers, we arrived at 6:53am, had our packets in hand by 7am and had about 2 hours to mill around. We used the time to make ourselves comfy and snapped usies, while chatting with staff and fellow runners.

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Another thing that’s great about running in AC is that while the conditions might not have been what most would consider ideal, you can wait in the hotel lobbies/casinos until right before the event. After spending over an hour in my Broad Street corral in the pouring rain, this was a significant upgrade. (Have I done something to piss off Mother Nature? Our track record lately isn’t too fantastic!)

Chrissy and I decided we would run our own races for this event. My goal was to hit 1 hour and 10 minutes; I was fairly confident at this point in my training that I could do it.

My previous PR was 1 hour and 11 minutes, which was back in 2013 during the Run the Bridge 10k. It’s been haunting me ever since because I haven’t been able to break it for a few years.

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About 10 minutes before the start of the race, we reluctantly went outside. We wanted to get our bodies used to the colder temperature before we started running. We bounced on our toes while singing along with The Go-Gos song that the DJ was playing and tried to think happy warm thoughts.

The rain pelted us in the face as we sang the Star Spangled Banner and we all exchanged bemused looks with each other as the song came to an end. Were we all really this crazy to go running in the cold rain? Apparently yes, yes we were.

I don’t have any pictures from the course because my phone was safely tucked away in my belt. I held a Gu in my hand to keep it warm and also so I didn’t have to fiddle with my belt mid-race.

I ran the first mile straight and then fell into my 2:1 intervals. My watch was about .08th of a mile off so when I hit their mile marker, I was only at .92 on my watch. Not quite sure how that happened but it worked for my mental game.

I was alone with my thoughts for a majority of the race so I thought about past races and experiences in Atlantic City, which made me smile. Occasionally I chatted with people I was running near and for awhile I hung out with a group of ladies that were listening to Justin Timberlake. Score!

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Our pants were a big hit! $10 on Amazon, holla! When I got to mile 5 I saw that I was under an hour by a couple of minutes and I was feeling great so I decided it was time to push the pace.

And just like that, I had an angel on a bicycle appear to help me with the push. My own personal escort – who knew middle/back of the pack runners got those? He asked me my name, told me he liked my pants (that’s what they all say!), and rode next to me telling me that I was awesome and that I was nearly at the finish. Thanks for the confidence boost, Terrance!

Terrance then pedaled ahead so that he could cheer for me right near the finish line, too. What a guy! This is yet another reason why I love Atlantic City! Everyone, from volunteers, to other race participants, to dudes on bikes, is so encouraging. It’s a small race and everyone feels like a friend.

During mile 6 I jumped back into running straight, sans intervals. My legs felt strong and my mind knew I was capable. That was my fastest mile at 11:15!

Crossing the finish line felt like coming home. I saw the clock and I knew that I was going to hit my 1:10!

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Party like a rock star!

Chrissy rolled in minutes later and I was able to catch her crossing the finish line of her first 10k race! Score!

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We grabbed our bags from gear check and went to check out the beer garden. You read that right: the BEER GARDEN. In the past there’s always been a cup of beer at the finish of the Atlantic City races. This time? We each got a flight!

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We were able to enjoy the band and hear the race winners announced before we decided that it was just too cold to hang outside any longer. We grabbed lunch at Harry’s Oyster Bar and had the best burgers ever! Chrissy and I spend a lot of our training runs talking about food (and burgers in particular) and we both agreed these hit the spot!

The 5k/10k shirt was white but they were out of my size so I got the blue one instead (which is cool by me, I love it!)

The 5k/10k shirt was white but they were out of my size so I got the blue one instead (which is cool by me, I love it!)

So let’s recap, shall we? PR CITY, BABY! Flat course, great fellow runners, fantastic volunteers, random bike escort (can’t promise that to everyone but hey, you never know) and a beer flight. Here I am, baby, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours!

Next up for me is another 10k – Run the Bridge. Think I can hit another PR? It’s a more difficult course, elevation wise, but I’ll be able to take advantage of the downhills on the bridge. And then the Philly half – another tried and true for me but with a different course this year! Will it live up to my expectations?

 

When the Weather Doesn’t Cooperate: 2016 Atlantic City April Fools Half

There’s a new hashtag circulating for Atlantic City: #thisisAC

After this weekend’s race I would like to add an asterisk that reads #thisisAC *but please don’t base your opinion on the weather this weekend.

This weekend marked my 5th April Fools Half Marathon. Forget about 13, apparently 5 is the unlucky number when it comes to the Atlantic City Race Series.

The normal pleasant conditions that I associate with this race were MIA. With steady rain for the 7k/11k and the gale-like winds for the half marathon on Sunday, racers were not dealing with what we would call “ideal weather”.

And to think when we got our hats, we were worried that we might be too hot in them. Not so much.

And to think when we got our hats, we were worried that we might be too hot in them. Not so much.

Chrissy and I had our normal text conversations going the whole week prior, discussing weather, outfits, changes to outfits because of the weather, plans on what to do if one of us blew away, etc. We had a couple of windy training runs in Atlantic City but nothing that quite prepared us for Sunday’s half.

What did help us prepare for the half was doing those weekly training runs in AC. Honestly, I’m so very glad that we were able to do that because it did help us know our way around the casinos, boardwalk, and gave us an overall idea of what to expect.

However… we were not planning on the heavy winds and really, there’s no way TO plan for something like that.

So you can do one of two things:

1. bail
2. run, smile, and keep a positive attitude (as you’re getting sand in your mouth and pushed all over the course like a rag doll)

We went with option number 2, of course.

#finsup

#finsup

It was a little disorganized prior to the start. I’ve grown accustomed to this; the host hotel has changed more than once over the years and packet pickup is always at a different location from year to year. However, it’s still challenging to figure out exactly where to go. Runners rely on runners and we were all following each other around the Resorts Casino, looking for packet pickup.

Close to 8am, we made our way outside to get ourselves acclimated to the colder air. While heading out I overheard a coordinator saying that they were pushing back the start time 10 minutes.

The blow up start line was not out, due to the high winds. The race director also cautioned us to watch for blown over cones on the course.

The blow up start line was not out, due to the high winds. The race director also cautioned us to watch for blown over cones on the course.

I’m not exactly sure why that happened but the extra minutes went by fast. There was a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and then we were off!

I don’t have many pictures from the course because it was pure survival mode out there. Plus, I was afraid my phone might blow away. But a big highlight was seeing Hollie (FueledbyLOLZ) being escorted with a cyclist as first female. What does it even feel like to run that fast? I’ll never know.

I was on the lookout for music on the course so I could break out a little dance solo, as Jenn has done previously. Click the picture to see her little jig.

With the wind, it made things difficult for musicians to be out there. So I was very excited when, at mile 6 or so, I heard the sweet wail of the bagpipes played by Piper Rick. Chrissy grabbed my phone and I geared up to do my very best bagpiping dance moves. Click the pic to see!

Sadly, you will never get to see my bagpiping dance moves. I’m truly sorry for that.

The winds were not hitting us directly from the front, or pushing us along from the back, but rather coming sideways. Which meant that we were getting literally swept off our feet both out and back along the course.

It was… not fun. There was never a point in the race that I thought, “Hey, this isn’t so bad.” It was mostly just gritting our teeth (and the sand in our teeth).

I kept thinking it might get better. Alas, it did not get better. The only better was when we were finally done and we were able to not be in the wind anymore.

But through it all, Chrissy and I stuck together and looked out for each other. The conditions were miserable; we were not happy. But we did it and I’m so glad that we did it together. Once I got home I was ready bed I was looking on Facebook and found that I had shared this image a year ago, to the day.

Thanks Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Via Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

We adjusted our sails yesterday. And while admittedly, it was not perfect, we did it anyway.

Plus, we got some pretty awesome bling.

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It spins!

And also awesome drinks.

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So while yes, #thisisAC, I hope first timers to the race don’t get scared away by the ridiculousness that Mother Nature threw at us this weekend.

Because this is also AC!

This was my first race of 2016 and my thought is when you start with the toughest conditions, it can only get better. Right? Right! A few days later, my body is still hurting although slowly but surely, I’m feeling back to the status quo.

Did you #doAC this weekend? Run another race? I heard Syracuse was brutal (Bonnie had frost on her brows!), and the Philly Hot Chocolate 15k ran out of medals. What races do you have coming up? Next up for me is the Vineyard 5 miler and Broad Street 10 miler!