Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon 2017

Going into the Fort Lauderdale A1A half marathon, I had two goals. Have fun and get it done!

I can say, without a doubt, mission accomplished.

But of course, there’s a story that goes along with every race and this one is no exception.

This race was a last minute add in my established race schedule. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to take a last minute trip to Florida in celebration of my 12 year old’s birthday. He had big fishing plans. I had big relaxing on the beach and by the pool plans.

However… my parents live in Pompano Beach and they have been pushing this race since they watched the marathoners run past their house in years past.

Mer's mom was out cheering for the runners doing the #a1amarathon this morning! Way to go runners!

A post shared by scootadoot (@scootadoot) on

And just like that, I was signed up for the A1A half! Now, I haven’t been actively training for the half marathon distance but I knew that I could go into it with the expectation of just enjoying the run and soaking it all in.

My mom was my personal chauffeur for the weekend and she made sure I got to and from both the expo and race without having to think about logistics. Isn’t that half the battle when it comes to planning for race day? I’m so grateful for her!

We visited the expo on Friday afternoon, right as it opened. My expo experience was quick and easy. It had great embellishments like a wrapped Lexus with all of the runner’s names, as well as a wall from Dick’s Sporting Goods that had the names of the runners.

We were asked to write on the wall why we run.

The bib pickup was at the back of the hall and was arranged by last name. A photo ID was required for pick up and there was a bit of a line but it moved along. The t-shirts were at the next table over – separated by men and women cuts.

I’ll be honest, the shirt sizing feels off, which is a nothing new to me. I was going to inquire about switching up a size but there was a sign that said that shirts could only be switched on race day. I didn’t plan on carrying a shirt with me to the race so, oh well. Sticking with it! Along with the shirts we also got a goody bag filled with lots of things from the race sponsors and coupons.

There was a heat advisory for the day of the race. Race organizers did a great job of keeping everyone informed through email and posts to Facebook. I was surprised that they don’t have more of a presence on Twitter, since that’s something I’m used to with big races. Given that it was going to be so warm, I made sure to hydrate the day before the race and planned to stop at every water station.

The race was schedule to begin at 6am, which meant that I set my alarm for 4am. Super mom was able to drop me about a block from the start line (because she’s awesome). I assumed that she would drive home and then come get me later, after the race. Instead she parked her car nearby and stayed for the entire race. (Again, because she’s awesome!)

At local races I’m usually able to walk around and stumble upon people I know but in Florida I was in a sea of unfamiliar faces. I knew a few of the BibRave Pros were going to be at the race so I shone the bat signal into the sky (aka – I sent a message out on social media) and soon Samantha found me! I can’t even tell you how great it was to see a smiling face in the crowd of people.

@nacole99 and @scootadoot selfie time!

After the Star Spangled Banner was performed on saxophone (that was something different from the norm!), it was time to join the self-seeded corral.

I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to be setting any records, so originally I placed myself near the 2:45 half pacer and figured I would see if I could hang with him for awhile (thanks for being so welcoming, Gary!). We started to run, people waiting to start the Susan G. Komen run were cheering along the chute, and I had a smile on my face.

And then, 2/10 of a mile in, this happened…

What the what?! Dumbfounded. I think that’s the right word to describe exactly how I felt as I just watched more and more and more of the train slowly make its way down the tracks. Should I pause my watch? Keep it going? Is this train ever going to end? 

You could feel the tension in the crowd as we watched the train crawl by.

Unimpressed faces, all around.

Thankfully the race organizers decided to bring everyone that was stopped by the train back to the start and we were able to begin the race again. There was an audible collective sigh of relief when they walked through the crowd to reel us back in.

Walking the wrong way across the start line…

As we started again, they played Quad City Dj’s “C’Mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” and I couldn’t help but laugh. I already had it in my mind that I was just going to have to roll with whatever this race threw at me and this just confirmed it. 13.1 (13.3?) we’re coming for you!

The first couple of miles were along Las Olas Blvd., a cute little shopping district. Since we wound up starting a half hour later than planned the sun was coming up and it was warming considerably.

The first water stop was short on volunteers I wonder if they thought that the runners had all passed through with the first wave of people that made it before the train. The volunteers that were there hustled to make sure that everyone got cups of water. I was very grateful for them!

Just before mile 3, my mom was waiting by a drawbridge and I was so happy to see her along the course! I got a little teary-eyed as I continued along on my way but then reminded myself that I needed to stop so I didn’t dehydrate myself, especially as we turned onto A1A, right along the beach.

The sun was strong and I was looking for some sort of respite. Thankfully, right past mile 4, we turned into Hugh Taylor Birch Street Park and its beautiful canopy of trees. Whew!

2 miles in the shade – YES PLEASE!

We looped through the park and eventually came out around the area we entered.

I was very impressed with throughout the entire race was the flow of things. Even though the runners were on the road, they had some lanes open to cars. There were police and other volunteers stationed at each intersection and I felt safe the entire race.

Around mile 7 I was getting a bit more sluggish and decided to switch from 2:1 intervals to 1:1 intervals. That was a good decision on my part and pushed me through the second half of the race. On the way to the turnaround I saw both Christine and Samantha in their BibRave shirts. Always great to see familiar faces!

I bopped to my music, thanked every volunteer I saw, pressed on multiple signs for a power boost, pet dogs, and oh, stopped at the unofficial beer station!

Sure, I’ll drink your beer random strangers! Please and thank you!

I believe that the beer station was around mile 11 and by this time, I was ready to be done. It was humid and hot and my glasses were fogging.

I knew my mom was ahead and that thought kept me running with my 1:1 intervals. Also, this view!

Annoyingly, even though I used Glide, I knew I was chafing in multiple locations. You know, naturally in all the places that I forgot to apply the Glide.

Around mile 12, I spotted my mom once again and I was so very happy to see her! I handed off my iPod and focused on finishing the last mile.

There were a multitude of photographers on the course and they snagged nearly 20 pictures of me through the race! Even though it wasn’t a fast race for me, I actually purchased the pictures because I look like I’m having a blast in nearly every single one of them. And I was! The double thumbs up was strong this race.

The finish line was a little confusing because there was a Publix inflatable we ran under and then a bit further up the actual finish line. I just kept running until I saw the timing mats and medal racks!

I see the finish line! I think! Maybe?

The medals for this race are completely different each year and I love the beautiful stingray design of this one!

Plus, it opens like a locket to reveal more beauty.

The finish line party was impressive! Tons of vendors giving away lots of drinks and food. I was all about the hydration so after grabbing water, I also chugged a chocolate milk, and then beer with my momma (although even I couldn’t drink it all)!

I’m so grateful I had the chance to run this race! Even though it was hot and I thought I was melting, it reminded me how much fun I can have while running. It was a bucket filler race and I’m so glad that I did it!

Next on my race agenda is the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k back here in good ol’ New Jersey. What is on tap for you?

Road Tested: Stunt Puppy Leash

Disclaimer: I received a Stunt Puppy leash 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.

When looking back at my blog posts on Scoot a Doot, there are common threads that really stand out to me (and most likely you as a reader).

  1. I really enjoy exercising and everything that goes along with it.
  2. I’m obsessed with my dog, Gemma June!

Three years ago this month, when my family was looking into adopting a dog, there were a few things that were given. We wanted to adopt a black dog (they’re notoriously overlooked) and we wanted to get a dog that I could run with. Based on that criteria, we began our search and quickly fell in love with Gemma.

She was approximately 8 months when we adopted her and once we got the okay from the vet, I started running with her. We worked hard on leash running manners and being a good doggy citizen.

Gemma’s been by my side during run streaks and training runs. She’s also stuck right next to me (on the couch) when I’ve been recovering from injuries and personal loss. She’s my ride or die.

You sit? I sit on top of you.

I’m speaking for both of us here when I say we were very excited when the opportunity to try Stunt Puppy through BibRave came along!

Gemma is 50 pounds of muscle and although she’s nearly 4 years old, she has the exuberance of a puppy. She can occasionally forget her own strength.

The right running gear is imperative when it comes to us running together. From the get-go she’s always worn a harness on outings rather than relying solely on a leash hooked to her collar.

The harness is safer; hooking the leash on her collar doesn’t give me enough control of her body. Control is important, especially when we’re running together, because I don’t want her (or me) getting hurt. She has a lot of momentum so clipping it to her collar could hurt her neck.

The Stunt Runner leash is designed to clip to your choice of a harness or collar. It has a bungee-like lead that has a nice amount of give. If she runs a little bit further away or suddenly sees something that interests her (bunnies, squirrels, other dogs), it isn’t a jerking motion.

photo via Stunt Puppy

You’ve got to walk before you can run so Gem and I took a few shorter walks around the neighborhood to get a feel for the leash.

A concern of mine was that the waist belt might shift, especially if she moved in front of my body. She’s trained to stay on my left but I’m also guiding her with my hand if she forgets her leash manners. Thankfully this wasn’t an issue.

While walking there were a few times she pulled ahead of me. The waist belt didn’t budge because I had it fitted to my waist. With verbal cues, she was right back where she belonged, next to me.

We graduated to running with the Stunt Puppy leash and it’s fantastic. When we run together she doesn’t have time to explore the way she does while on walks. We’re both out there, running with a purpose, so there’s no investigating going on.

My older son was eager to try the Stunt Puppy leash with Gemma as well. Adjusting the belt to fit him was easy.

I actually wanted to see how he’d do with her anchored to his waist, rather than his hand since she thinks she can get away with more when she’s paired with one of the little people. (She’s a stinker like that.)

He liked it a lot and he’s actually asked to take her on more walks since because he feels like he’s able to control her. Plus, he doesn’t worry about dropping the leash. Not that I think she’d actually go anywhere… she has it way too good here!

In the past I’ve volunteered at a dog shelter and I think the Stunt Runner would be great for walking the dogs that may or may not have leash manners. Anchoring at the waist gives you more control overall and having both hands free would be a great asset.

Jazz hands!

Stunt Puppy gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me. I can do that because I have both of them free! I’m really happy with how well it works with Gemma and I know it will be the standard to-go from this point on during our outings.

Stunt Puppy #BibChat is happening this coming Tuesday, February 14th at 9pm EST on Twitter. Come join in! Want to save? Use code BIBRAVE217 on the StuntPuppy website for 20% now through 3/15!

Do you run with your pup? What’s the longest distance you’ve done? Gemma and I have gone 5 miles together but around 4 she starts looking tired.

Road Tested: Knuckle Lights

Disclaimer: I received Knuckle Lights 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.

“All deliberate change first comes from denying the logic that most gives you comfort.” – Notes from The Universe

Years ago, I began receiving daily emails from Notes from the Universe. This one came back around on Facebook’s On This Day app and it could not be more timely.

You see, I’m trying, with every fiber of my being, to step outside of my comfort zone when it comes to running.

This means running hills.

This means pushing the treadmill up to 6.2, 6.5, and even 7.0 for the briefest of moments.

And (what I’ve been most resistant to), this means running in the DARK.

Running in the complete dark frightens me for several reasons. I always play the “what if” game.

  1. What if a driver cannot see me? During broad daylight drivers aren’t paying attention the way they should!
  2. What if I trip over something because I can’t see it? I am not the most graceful being on the planet.
  3. What if there’s someone lurking in the bushes? Or behind a tree? Or, or, or…
  4. What if there’s a snake? I’ve seen snakes during daytime runs so it could happen!

I could continue but I won’t. Suffice to say, I could come up with a lot of reasons why I shouldn’t run in the dark.

But there’s a very big reason why I will.

That’s right, I’m running Ragnar in June and at least one of my legs will be during the night. Rather than going into that with blinders on (you see what I did there?), I know that I need to be prepared mentally, physically, and most importantly, with the right gear.

Cue Knuckle Lights!

Knuckle Lights are exactly what this scaredy cat needs while running in the dark. The amount of light that each lamp emits is powerful: 280 lumens (lumens equals brightness, for those not in the lingo know). There are three settings on each: high, low, and blinking.

The Knuckle Lights design helps me feel safe while running in the dark. They have adjustable straps so they a nice and snug across the fingers. The wide and sweeping beams mean that I can see a great distance in front of me, not just what is directly in my path.

I really love that they are rechargeable! I haven’t used Knuckle Lights to the end of a charge (and I’m a little OCD about putting them back on the charger after a run), however according to Knuckle Lights the charge will last 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low, or 14 hours blinking.

They are weatherproof too, which is especially helpful because while I am able to stay inside for a treadmill run, my dog always likes to be walked no matter the weather or the time of day!

Each box comes with two lamps, a charging dock, USB cable, and a power adapter. Additionally, you can also charge by plugging into a computer.

Oh! Have I mentioned that the Knuckle Lights are magnetic? They are automatically drawn together by magnets on the inside of the lamps. That way they stick together when not in use and you’re not searching around for a missing lamp. Brilliant!

There are a few different options when it comes to Knuckle Lights; rechargeable Knuckle Lights retail for $59.99. And SCORE, you can use code “bibravepro” and receive 10% off your order.

If you’re not feeling the basic black, check out what they recently posted on their Instagram.

All the pretty colors!

I’m looking forward to getting a lot more use out of my Knuckle Lights – they are now a standard grab and go item while running in the dark and I know Ragnar is going to be THAT. MUCH. BETTER with them along for the run.

Join us next Tuesday, January 24th for the BibRave Chat on Twitter! I’ll be there with Knuckle Lights on. #bibchat

How do you stay visible during your runs? What makes you a little nervous in regards to running?

Road Tested: The RunnerBox

Disclaimer: I received The RunnerBox 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.

 

Subscription boxes are not a new thing, but they’re a fairly new practice to me. What exactly is TheRunnerBox? Well, for those of you who aren’t up-to-date with the lingo…

RunnerBox has been going strong since 2012 and is the brainchild of athletes Staci Dietzel and Laura Jorgensen.

When BibRave presented the chance to try The RunnerBox, I was more than game! I am always curious to try things before I buy them; subscription boxes are a great way to go about that without spending a ton of money on products that you might not like or use.

Plus, MAIL. Who doesn’t love getting packages in the mail?

Not for you, pup. It’s for ME!

The first thing that stood out to me, was the shaky shake noise it made. I was pretty sure that the good folks over at RunnerBox would probably not provide me with maracas for my run so that was intriguing. My guess was rice. (Spoiler: I was incorrect.)

The box was chock-full of products. I tried to take my time opening it, but I was excited!

Love the Mia Hamm quote!

Look at all of the splendor!

It is amazing how much they were able to fit in that little box. It was like a magician’s hat, more and more things kept popping out. There was no rabbit (thankfully) but I did unearth what was making the noise: Banza’s Chickpea Pasta Mac and Cheese and Chosen Foods Mango Bites with Chia. Both ah-mazing!

Yum! I loved these as a snack after my workout earlier this week. I’m a big fan of chia. I liked the crunchiness of these.

This was one I wasn’t sure I would enjoy, but I did! Mint Chocolate Crisp Oatmega Bar!

I’m still making my way through the products in the RunnerBox but it’s pretty safe to say that most things have been a hit. The HotShot wasn’t my thing because I can’t handle hot/spicy combination but that’s more on me than it is on the product. I have a friend who is a big fan so I plan to pass along the second bottle to her!

Let’s get down to brass tacks here, because I’m sure you’re probably wondering about cost of RunnerBox. There are a few different tiers of pricing, depending on your wants and needs.

6 months: $23 EVERY 2 MONTHS FOR 6 MONTHS
1 year: $22 EVERY 2 MONTHS FOR 12 MONTHS
Standard: $20 EVERY 2 MONTHS 

With the Standard option you are billed automatically until you request them to stop. That seems like it would be a slippery slope to me because who would ever want to stop getting these?! They do offer one-time options too, for birthdays and gifts.

Additionally, they have boxes like The Cyclebox and The Tribox for athletes in those fields. I like that they have specific boxes geared toward specific sports and things aren’t all clumped into one box.

All in all, the RunnerBox is a great way to check out products and find new favorites. I definitely have!

Have you tried any subscription boxes? Which ones? What in particular do you like about them? 

I’m a BibRave Pro!

bibrave-badge-1__1_

Agggh, you guys! I am so stoked! It’s official (there’s my badge!); I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been selected as a BibRave Pro!

BibRave is a great site where runners from all over can post their reviews of races and connect with other runners, both locally or in an area you’re looking to run a race.

I love reading what people have to say about all aspects of a race and I especially like reading what locals have to say if I’m traveling for a race. Their knowledge is invaluable!

Don’t get me wrong, I am a blog reader through and through but it’s cool to have all the information centralized. If you click on the badge above, you can find my profile and then we can be friends over there, too.

Tuesday nights on Twitter at 8 pm CST (9 pm for us east coasters) they host #bibchat. I love Twitter chats because it’s another way to connect with like-minded individuals and get feedback/ideas that I might not have considered. I do my best to stay awake for it but I have definitely fallen asleep mid-chat only to wake up in the morning, cuddling my phone. Waking at 5 am can do that to a gal.

As a BibRave Pro I’ll have opportunities to try out products that are running/fitness related. Which is especially great for readers here because I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Scoot a Doot. Your own personal guinea pig, right here! You also might see BibRave Pros at races – you can spot them in their bright orange apparel.

Good things ahead!

Are you on BibRave? (If not, join me over there, it’s lots of fun!) If you are, share your profile link with me so I can add you!