Race Recap: Mushroom Cap Half Marathon Relay

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Mushroom Cap 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!

NAME: Mushroom Cap 1/2 Marathon, Relay and Charity 1 Miler
LOCATION: Kennett Square, PA
YEARS IN EXISTENCE: 4
NUMBER OF RUNNERS IN 2019: 469 individual runners and 107 relay teams

The Mushroom Cap 1/2 Marathon Relay is a race I’m not soon to forget! I love when BibRave partners with local races and being from New Jersey, when I saw the opportunity to run in Kennett Square, PA I was excited to jump on board.

There was no expo for this race but there were two packet pickups earlier in the week. The Sunday before the race was at a running store and the night before the race at the start location.

I think this race and its runners would benefit by offering a morning of the race packet pickup. I know it was a little difficult for some to coordinate with the times. Thankfully I was able to grab a friend’s bib who wasn’t able to make it to either of the times offered by showing a copy of her identification.

The swag was a long-sleeved quarter zip shirt (that has thumb holes and a small key pocket). We had the option of a dark blue or this powder blue above. It’s very comfortable and I like it much more than the standard race shirt.

It was a chilly 31 degrees on race day. I woke up before my 5am alarm, anxious to hop in my car and drive about an hour to Kennett Square.

Arriving with plenty of time to spare (as is my way), I sat in my warm and toasty car as long as possible. On the ride there, I drove part of the course. Hello hills!

I was nervous about the course, but overall I knew that I could trust in my distance training.

Mullet Crew – Party in the Back! Katie, Rachel, and me

Before the race I was able to meet up with friends and there’s always comfort in being with people you know and love. Rachel, Katie, and I questioned our sanity multiple times as we stood together, shivering.

Fellow BibRave Pro, Ken (of KenStandsonThings) joined us as in the race village; the was area set up with tents, tables, and portapotties. We timed it so we wouldn’t have to wait too long in the cold and made sure that Rachel had time to get on the relay shuttle bus and head to the exchange area.

The start and end point of the race was The Creamery. It was previously the Eastern Condensed Milk Company. In 2016 the current owners opened it after revitalization as a pop-up beer garden and community space. Really awesome spot!

Katie and I placed ourselves near the 3:00 pacer. During my training runs I’ve been keeping anywhere from a 11:30-13:30 pace using 1:1 intervals. Most of my training runs are flat though so I wasn’t sure how this I’d fare. I figured as long as I kept the 3:00 pacer in sight, I was doing okay. I wasn’t aiming to be a hero, I just wanted to get to the relay exchange in a decent time.

A few minutes after 8am, we started to run. Immediately Rachel texted and said she wasn’t getting the messages from the tracking app, RaceJoy. Rather than continually have it open on my phone Rachel, Katie (who was running the entire 1/2, bless her legs) and I decided that we’d occasionally text to check in.

Looking back at our text messages is amusing! There was a lot of cursing going on!

Katie and I stuck together for the first two miles. There was a killer hill in mile one and that set the tone for the rest of the race. Rather than getting too much in my head I decided that I’d take it easy on the uphills and cruise the downhills. Thankfully the roads were closed for the entire event and the runners were able to spread out.

Katie peeled off to use a portapotty as we turned into a neighborhood section of the race and instructed that I go on (up a large hill, I’m sure you’re shocked to hear). This portion was an out and back area, full of ups and down.

The aid stations of this race are phenomenal. Hosted by local groups and businesses, they were well stocked. I didn’t take advantage of them because I just wanted to keep moving and get to Rachel.

Around the 4 mile mark I passed the 3:00 hour pacer and according to the app, I was on pace to get to Rachel in 1:26 for 6.6 miles.

This hill had a hill on top of it. Yay.

This hill greeted me in mile 5. Once I hit the gravel, I knew I wasn’t far from the exchange. I was more than ready to be done and when I saw the signs telling the relay runners to stay to the right, I happy obliged.

Rachel was waiting for me in the exchange area and helped me take the timing chip off my ankle and transferred it to hers. Before she left on the second half of her journey I thought I should impart some words of wisdom. But apparently, it came out like this.

Mer grabbed my arm and with terror in her eyes, said something like “The hills. It’s so hard. The hills…..Don’t even try to run them. Just walk the hills and run down…” then she hugged me and yelled “good luck” as I ran away.

Whoops?

I was so busy giving Rachel this amazing pep talk I forgot two very important things:

  1. to shut off my watch
  2. to look at the medal

It wasn’t until I was comfortably seated on the bus that I realized/did both! I chatted with the folks I was seated near and we all lamented the hills.

Once we arrived back at The Creamery I stood near the finish line and cheered for a bit. I was able to meet back up with Ken and see lots of people from my local running group. I even got to meet Instagram friend, Alexis (beer_runner85)!

All the while, I was in contact with Rachel and Katie via text. They informed me that they were the last ones on the course and had a line of police cars following them. Once I knew where they were on the course, Ken and I headed into The Creamery to warm up and grab our complimentary beer. We had the choice of an Ale or IPA and there was a great band entertaining the masses!

We also had the chance to meet the Mushroom Cap Half’s social media director – it’s always fun to meet the face behind the Instagram account!

I heard from Rachel that they were nearing the finish line so I headed back to claim my spot just past the timing mats. Sure enough, I could see them about a quarter mile away, with their police escorts behind them!

I was hooting and hollering and telling everyone at the finish their names so they could cheer as well. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was crazy and they’d be right. I was so happy to see my Mullet Crew!

Party in the back!

Please note that while the course limit was 3:30, they were the last ones to cross at 3:11. We were so PROUD. There’s two ways you can look at being DFL and I think we were all very happy that things shook out the way that they did.

Because we were very last relay team to cross the line, we got a PRIZE. We were awarded mushrooms and a $50 gift card to Sovana Bistro! That was a really nice surprise.

All in all, the race was incredible. Great communication, awesome aid stations, loved being a part of a relay team, and the afterparty was amazing!

The only complaint I have? THOSE HILLS. Again, not in any way, shape, or form a shock. Just very, very difficult!

Thanks to BibRave and Mushroom Cap for the great opportunity to check this one out! If you’re looking for a challenge, be sure to put this on your bucket list.

Next up for me is a local 5k (William T. Nace Tin Man) and the Rothman 8k during Philadelphia Marathon Weekend. What’s on your race agenda?

Race Recap: First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the First Watch Sarasota 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.

When I signed up for this race through BibRave I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I’ve ran a handful of half marathons, was looking for something close to home, and here was this fun coastal race! It helps that it’s sponsored by First Watch, which is my favorite place to brunch after training runs.

I convinced my running buddy to sign up with me and, because she’s such a good friend, she did. There was, of course, the fact that we got to run over a nice sized bridge. Neither one of us are crazy about bridges. We did try to train for this race, and wanted to work in some bridge work, but our best laid plans never really work out. Life got busy and our longest training run was only a 6-miler.

Little did we know that it would all work out just fine.

The night before the race I was prepping to go to bed early. We’d decided to drive up to Sarasota on race morning to save a little cash and not spend too much time away from home. As I was putting the finishes touches on some classwork, Michelle texted me an updated from the race’s official Facebook page saying that the half marathon had been…cancelled.

Well, that put a wrench in our plans!

Some further updates stated that the half marathon and relay had been cancelled, but runners were still welcome to run the 10K, though it was going to end up being a pretty pricey 10K for some.

We decided to just go with our original plan and do the 10K, so I got up at about 3AM and headed to meet Michelle. The drive is a little over and hour and we got there with plenty of time to get our packets and hang out awhile without feeling rushed. There were still a lot of people there and I was grateful that so many still wanted to run! We didn’t get a lot of details about why the half was cancelled, and I know there were people wondering because I was one of them!

I ran into another BibRave Pro at the start and we took a picture and chatted for a bit before the race started. We’d decided to do intervals because that’s what we were comfortable with. It was obviously still dark when we started, but you could definitely tell that the course was going to be a great one. As a native Floridian, I absolutely love the ocean view, even when I’m running a race I can’t help but stop and look at it sometimes.

We started off pretty strong for girls who hadn’t run in a few weeks and were feeling good despite the early morning heat. Once we reached the John Ringling Bridge, things…were still okay? We did a bit of walking up the bridge, but coasted down easily (of course). That was the biggest thing we were worried about and it turned out to be pretty fun! Expect on the way back when our legs were feeling a little like jelly.

As the sun came up, that view started to get to me and I had to stop and snap a few pictures. You can never have too many sunrise-over-the-water pictures, in my opinion.

 

The rest of the race went well, and we even made a few friends on the course. We met another Skirt Sports ambassador and laughed with a few runners about how we didn’t have to run a half marathon and how everyone who signed up for the half and relay got a FULL REFUND!

Once we crossed the finish line we stopped for some pictures on the water and then headed to grab some food. Since First Watch sponsored, I knew there would be some goodness waiting for us and they did not disappoint. We met up with the other pros and took a few more pictures before taking a visit to the beer garden because runners drink beer at 9AM, obviously.

The pizza box is just random. Not ours.

All in all, it was a good race. I know there will still be a lot of speculation about the cancellation, but offering a refund to runners is a big deal. I feel like it was handled very well. I’d love to revisit this race again.

Maybe next time I’ll actually earn that half marathon medal.

Mushroom Cap 1/2 Marathon Relay

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Mushroom Cap 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!

Once upon a time, way back in the cold of February, I registered for the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon in Kennett Square, PA.

My dear friends, Rachel and Katie also registered and we were excited for our (affectionately dubbed) Meatball Road Trip 2019. You might remember Meatball Road Trips from years past!

Bird-in-Hand 2018

We had a late start to spring, summer showed up in a hurry, and before I knew it, it was SeptemberOctober. I’ve been consistent with running and cross-training but not following any particular training plan. More-so, I’ve been doing what’s comfortable mileage wise and pace wise. My focus is feeling good during runs… and I HAVE.

My longer training runs have been landing between 4-6 miles. I have a 10k in Atlantic City next week and I think I’ve been focusing more on that than the 13.1 lurking just a few weeks later.

Can I push through a half marathon? Yes, I know that I can. But I’m trying to run smart and pushing through 13.1 miles isn’t smart.

Earlier this week we received a check-in email from the Mushroom Cap Half race management which said the following:

If you had planned to run the half marathon but life got in the way of training or maybe your running more that you ever imagined and want to tackle the half,  you can transfer your registration between events.

Do you picture me nodding my head at all of this? YES, YES, and more YES!

I knew Rachel wasn’t feeling the half marathon distance either so I ran the idea of switching to the relay option by her. We both jumped on RunSignUp. Rachel created the team and transferred her registration. I transferred mine and now we are officially the Meatball Mullet Crew!

I’ve never done a half marathon relay before so I’m really looking forward to the experience. I feel a lot more confident taking on the shorter distance and while I’m bummed that we won’t be running together, I know Rachel will be waiting for me at the exchange.

Haven’t registered yet? Let’s make sure you save some money when you do – use code “BRMushroom19” for $10 off!

Have you ever done a half marathon relay before? Any tips for me?

First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon, Here I Come!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the First Watch Sarasota 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 am so excited to be running the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon in a couple of weeks! I signed up for the race through BibRave and I can’t wait to check out this new-to-me course through Sarasota.

I’m always looking for races close to me and this one checks all the boxes.  The course is right on the water and, as a native Floridian, I’m a sucker for an ocean view. I’ve been training for the past few weeks with my trusty run buddy, Michelle. We haven’t gotten too high in our mileage but we’ve also been busy during the weekends. On this day last year we were running Chicago, but this year’s training has been kind of slow going. I’m not minding it, though!

This course looks great, despite running over the John Ringling Causeway. There aren’t a lot of places to run over bridges around here so I’m definitely not feeling prepared for that. I know that, no matter what, it’ll be a great race. I haven’t run a half since April, but I’m looking forward to trying something new as my race for this month!

The swag looks great, and I’m also excited that the race is partner with Girls on the Run! As a GOTR coach I’m happy to hear that the race will be giving a portion of their registration fees to Girls on the Run, a great program for young girls.

This race is super easy to sign up for, and you can use the code BRSARASOTA19 for $10 off the half and $5 off the relay. I hope you check it out!

 

Road Tested: AfterShokz Xtrainerz

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Xtrainerz to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own and no further compensation was given.

Mid-September usually has the Northeast sliding into cooler temperatures. However, summer decided to stick around a bit longer this year.

Normally I’d be grumbling about this, after constant hot temps all summer long, I’m more than ready for fall. However, this worked in my advantage because I got the new AfterShokz Xtrainerz (pronounced “cross-trainers”) a few weeks into September and I was revved up to give them a go!

I’m not a stranger to AfterShokz; I’ve been fortunate enough to try both the Titanium and Air through their ongoing partnership with BibRave.

When I heard the buzz about the Xtrainerz, I was intrigued. Unlike the other models that I’ve tried, these have a built-in MP3 player, rather than using Bluetooth connection. With 4GB of storage, that means you can store up to 1,200 songs!

A few friends asked me if it was tricky to put purchases songs onto the Xtrainerz and the answer is a resounding NO. It was super easy to transfer them from my computer files on to the Xtrainerz. I picked all of my “power songs” and made one awesome playlist.

Many people don’t know this about me but I’m part mermaid. No, really, it’s true. I grew up going to the beach and community pool club. I was on the summer swim team for many, many years.

When we purchased our new house 3 years ago, my husband wanted to have a basement and garage.

Me? I wanted a pool. #priorities

I’m not a triathlete but I enjoy cross-training in the pool. Lately I’ve been rotating through more workouts and trying to take advantage of what I have available to me. The AfterShokz Xtrainerz are fully waterproof and help make lap workouts enjoyable. They even stay on during dives and flips!

 

Not only do they rock in the water, they’re fantastic for land too.

I wore the Xtrainerz during a 5 mile run along the bike path last weekend and was able to chat the entire time and not skip a beat! Keeping the ear open is always a good thing, especially when running on the bike path because it’s important to hear the bikers behind me. (They’re so quiet!)

Out on the bike path with Diana and Amy!

I’ll be out on the trail again tomorrow and you can bet that so will my Xtrainerz!

Interested in getting some for yourself? The Xtrainerz retail for $149.95 but you can use the code BRBUNDLE to save $50 off the endurance bundle, exclusively with on link: https://bibrave.aftershokz.com/

Want to see what my fellow Pros think? Swing by their blogs and say hi.

Stephanie
Kelly

Gearing Up for the Allstate Hot Chocolate Tampa 15K

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

I am so excited to be representing BibRave at this year’s Hot Chocolate 15K in Tampa on December 15th! I’ve never ran one of these races before, but I’ve seen so many of my friends on social media and it looks amazing! I’m running the race in Tampa, which is just a couple of hours away from me, so I’m definitely stoked for a little mini-vacation in December!

Recently I’ve started training for the Sarasota Half Marathon at the end of October, so being in training mode will hopefully beneficial! The course for the Tampa race is right on the water and it looks similar to the Gasparilla 15K I’ve done in the past, which is a course I love!

If you haven’t ran a Hot Chocolate race (like me), you are seriously missing out on some swag! I’m seriously excited for some of this stuff!

I cannot wait to snack on this!

Check out this tasty medal!

 

This fleece is adorable!

 

Like I said, I’m really excited about this race and I hope people in the Tampa area are ready to party in December!

Use the code BRHCTAMPA19 a free Hot Chocolate running hat

Road Tested: FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters (Part Two)

Disclaimer: I received a 16 pack of FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Hey, you’re not seeing double! Like Mer said in her post about the yummy FBOMB Nut Butters, I had the pleasure of testing them too. Let me tell you, if you’re looking for something quick and tasty, you need to check this product out.

I’ve been back at work for just over a month now, so that means I’m just really tired and cranky. It also means I’m not really working out or running because of the aforementioned tired and cranky stuff. I got FMBOMB at a perfect time because I’m back to meal prepping and getting back on track with eating at designated times. Summer kind of leaves me to my own devices which is basically crunchy snacks, okay?

The FBOMB came in four flavors, all with the macadamia base. I’ll admit that the coconut one was definitely my favorite, but I adore most things coconut. At first I was trying them with simple things: on fruit and rice cakes. Eventually I branched out and tried a smoothie bowl like Mer, but I’m not big into blending my fruit so it turned out to be more like “FBOMB cereal”. It was still tasty, however. No complaints from me.

I love that this is perfect for on-the-go snacks. It doesn’t have to be a big production. My drive to and from school can sometimes be up to an hour long and a little FBOMB is a great way to keep me satisfied on the long ride. I also showed up to a few meetings at school with a little FBOMB because snacks are almost always needed when I have to sit, be good, and listen.

Lesson planning with a little Macadamia Pecan!

I’ve totally enjoyed grabbing one of this tasty things whenever I’m in need of a pick-me-up or just need a quick snack. No prep required! Like I said, if you’re into something tasty and quick, give FBOMB a try!

*If you’re interested in trying these out, use code BRP10 to save 10% off the 16-count FBOMB Nut Butter Variety Pack on their website.*

Road Tested: FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters

Disclaimer: I received a 16 pack of FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

This summer has been filled with hiking, running, swimming, and more! Over the past month I’ve had the opportunity to try FBOMB and while I was already a nut butter fan, I can categorically say that these are the BOMB.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) when I was a teenager. That comes with a slew of symptoms but a lot of it revolves around eating habits.

Without going into a ton of details on the hows and whys, my body is insulin resistant. I need to make good choices when it comes to fuel.

I try to be mindful with carbohydrates; protein and healthy fats help my body function better.

FBOMB’s motto is “Fat is Smart Fuel” and I’m all about it! With the 4 flavors of Chocolate Macadamia, Macadamia with Coconut, Macadamia with Sea Salt, and Macadamia Pecan with Sea Salt, there is something for everybody. And unsurprisingly, I love them ALL!

Whether it’s during hikes and runs or at home with prepared food, it’s portable and delicious. I love using FBOMB packets on my trail adventures and they’re the perfect amount to add to my smoothie bowls and snacks.

Get ready for a couple of tried and true recipes/ideas from yours truly!

FBOMB BANANA BOWL

  • FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter (I used Salted Chocolate)
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • granola
  • strawberry

Use a blender to blend the FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter with the bananas and Almond Milk. Top with granola and strawberry slices!

I have been paying ridiculous amounts for smoothie bowls but this is such much better for my wallet. (I just have to remember to freeze the bananas ahead of time.)

My darling friend, Sonya, visits each Monday for podcast recordings for our non-profit, The Bullock Garden Project. One of my favorite snacks is Apple Nachos. (Isn’t she a fantastic model?)

There’s not even a recipe for this because it’s THAT easy – just slice an apple, drizzle with FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter (we used the Sea Salt one) and sprinkle a little bit of granola on top. We snacked on these while podcast planning… and maybe definitely when we were recording too.

Something I especially love about FBOMB is the consistency is thin, which makes it easy to pour out of the package. I never feel like I’m missing any yummy goodness! FBOMB, I’m 100% a fan!

Ash also tried FBOMB during the BibRave campaign so be sure to look for her review coming next to Scoot a Doot!

*If you’re interested in trying these out, use code BRP10 to save 10% off the 16-count FBOMB Nut Butter Variety Pack on their website.*

April 2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k, Here I Come!

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!

It’s the end of August, and you know what that means?

People are pushing for it to be FALL. I mean, there are a few of us who are holding on to the last weeks of summer (we’ve still got a month to go, folks) but I’ve seen more and more Facebooks posts/memes calling for Halloween and pumpkin spice.

I get it, I really do. The heat/humidity have been beyond brutal and while I do love summer, I can appreciate slightly cooler temps and the love of fall.

And since we’re pushing things right along on the timeline, can we talk about April 2020? I just registered for my fourth Allstate Hot Chocolate race in Philadelphia!

2019 BibRave crew – Ken, Ryan, Joe, and me

I can’t wait to be there again and I know my BibRave buddies Ken, Becky, Ryan, and Dodie are looking forward to it too!

One of the reasons I love the Allstate Hot Chocolate races is because it’s always a good time. There are always a ton of friends there and it’s always a good time. This race always falls on my birthday weekend so I basically think of it as a huge party for ME!

My friend Ana has been my Hot Chocolate partner in crime for the past couple of years (2018 and 2019) and we can’t wait until 2020. So bring it on, fall. Winter, be kind. And spring? I’ll be waiting for YOU.

If you’re planning on registering for the Philly Allstate Hot Chocolate race, be sure to use code BRHCPHILLY19 and get your free Hot Chocolate running hat with registration. Remember prices go up as time goes along so save yourself moolah if you’re definitely going to be there!

Road Tested: Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo™ Harness

Dog wearing Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Harness

Disclaimer: I received a Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo™ Harness to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Gemma and I have been fortunate enough to try lots of Stunt Puppy gear through BibRave over the past couple of years. From the Stunt Runner leash to the Go Dog Glo collar to the Nano Bowl, we are HUGE fans!

Earlier in 2019, she had surgery on her back leg for a ligament tear so this year has mainly been about recovery and feeling good. We’ve been taking it easy and working our way back up in terms of miles and speed.

Our travels will bring us to Acadia National Park in a few weeks and in preparation for the hikes there, we’ve been attempting to go off the beaten path. Well, there’s definitely a path, but it’s not a paved road. We’ve added more trails to our repertoire.

Since Gemma was a young little pup, she has always worn a harness for walks rather than just the collar (we leave her collar on too because it has her tag). Getting her used to the Stunt Puppy harness was not a difficult transition and she was very comfortable from the get-go.

Gem’s a solid fifty pounds so we chose the medium size Go Dog Glo harness for her. Even at age 6, she’s got a lot of energy. With that extra spunk, the harness makes sense.

The harness is easy to get on, we slide the top loop over her head and then snap the buckles on both sides. The straps are adjustable so after they were set on her body, we don’t have to do too much else. They also don’t rub under her legs (you know, the puppy armpits) and that’s important.

I usually leave a leash directly attached to the D-ring which is on a Martingale style loop, that way I’m able to just slide the harness over her head and go! The Martingale loop tightens when she gets a little bit too far away and helps direct her back into being closer to me and reduces the pull.

The breastplate is soft and lightweight. Plus it’s reflective, which is a bonus when we are out there in the early morning hours.

We’ll have plenty of pictures to share from Acadia and you can bet she’ll be sporting her Stunt Puppy gear there! This is her first family vacation and I know we’re going to have a blast.

Where was your last vacation?

Check out what other BibRavePros/Pups think:

Jessica, Kimberly, Christine, Ken