Run for the Zoo Virtual Race

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Lincoln Park Zoo: Run for the Zoo virtual race 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!

Since we’re all stuck at home these days many of our favorite races have become virtual. This includes the Lincoln Park Zoo’s race in Chicago. As a Floridian who has only been to Chicago once…I’ve also never been to this zoo. It was on our list when I visited with my family in 2018 to run the Chicago Marathon however, the weather was rainy. I’d also just ran a marathon!

We are living in unprecedented times and this is the first time in 42 years that this race will be virtual. This race is one of the things that helps keep the zoo open every day of the year and keeps it free.

While you may not get to run through the zoo this year, there are still a ton of perks to take advantage of. Here are just a few that you can find on the Run for the Zoo website:

  • A 5K and 10K virtual race options to run, walk, or enjoy nature in your community and support the zoo!
  • A virtual Safari Stampede race to encourage kids to express their inner animal
  • Mailed race packets with themed tech shirts (with a brand new logo for 2020!)
  • Commemorative Supporter medals for qualifying participants
  • A special virtual race bag with incredible deals from our partners
  • Weekly motivational communications
  • Digital commemorative participant bib and finishers certificate

Don’t forget, this race if virtual so you can do it whenever and however you want! I know I’ll be looking for a new 5K route to run so it feels like I’m doing something new. (Seriously, I’m tired of seeing the same houses!) It’s also for a great cause. How can you pass that up? Look at this face!

If you’re interested, check out the link above and use the code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off your entry!

Allstate Hot Chocolate Philadelphia Cancellation

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!

If there’s one thing you should know about me, I’m a Type A personality. Schedules and unwavering plans are what I thrive on. Actually, in a community of runners, I think you’ll find that to be true about many of us. We HAVE to be that way if we want to train well and excel during a race.

But life throws you for a loop sometimes and that’s exactly what’s happening now with the COVID-19 virus. Before I get too much further into this post, let me state for the record that I absolutely understand the reasoning and logic behind canceling events. I’m always one to err on the side of caution. Making decisions like these are not easy and I feel for the race directors who need to make the call.

That said, yesterday was a rough day.

In the span of a couple of hours yesterday I got the news that two of the races I’ve been training for have been cancelled: the Yuengling Shamrock 1/2 Marathon (the plan was to PR at that one) and the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k in Philadelphia.

I requested cake and wine for dinner and my husband did not disappoint.

Am I bummed? Yeah, I absolutely am.

But I’m also trying really, really hard to look on the bright side of things. I think what I appreciate most about these races is that even though they can’t happen the way that we intended them to, they’re doing their darnest to make things as right as they can for the runners.

The Allstate Hot Chocolate Race Series recently announced a virtual option for their races. With things currently the way they are, they’ve switched the entirety of the Philadelphia race to being virtual.

I’m no stranger to virtual events, having just wrapped up the virtual 465 Challenge!

I love that the Hot Chocolate Race Series will be mailing out all of the goodies to our homes, especially because their swag is always the best. I still plan on getting outside on April 4th and running my 5k. There’s a perfect spot near the river here in New Jersey and as long as it’s safe for me to do so, that’s where I plan to be.

I’ll just have to wait to see these guys next year in Philly!

If you want to join in virtually, here’s the link to register. Be smart and be safe!

It’s a Wrap: 465 Challenge

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!

The start of this year has been fantastic. I’ve been healthy, happy, and active.

The 465 Challenge helped immensely with that! To refresh, the 465 Virtual Challenge was a 2 month event in which the goal was to complete 53 miles via running, walking, or bike (or swim, but that wasn’t happening over here in the winter!). Those who continued on to do more than that were considered, LOOPERS.

At the end of January, I’d completed 3 loops totaling, 189.54 miles.

My miles increased even more in February. I was consistent on the Peloton bike (which I got in January) and increased speed, miles, and output.

I’ve also been upping my miles since I’ve got the Shamrock Half Marathon coming up in just a few weeks.

As the added cherry on the top, my son has joined me for the last few long training runs. He’s running his first ever 10 mile race in May and he’s already thinking, planning, and training.

I wish I had his drive when I was 15 years old!

By Leap Day, I’d reached 7 loops, totaling over 371 miles!

What was especially great about this virtual race was the community that came along with it. The directors created a Facebook group, just for those participating in the challenge and we were all able to cheer for each other.

The interaction in the group was great and because it was over a 2 month span, I really got a chance to connect with others. I’ve done a few virtual events and this quickly grabbed the number one spot in terms of community, support, and feedback from the race directors.

The shirt, medal, and sticker arrived on Friday, February 28th – just in time for a medal Monday.

Stick a fork in this challenge, it’s done. But I’m not; I’m just getting started!

Have you done a virtual event before? Which one? Why did you choose it?

Road Tested: Built Bar (with 20% discount code)

Disclaimer: I received Built Bar Protein and Energy 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 have done my share of protein/energy bar “investigating” in the past. Back in 2014, my husband and I tried a variety of bars, which naturally we reviewed here.

Then last year while Bec was visiting, she introduced me to Built Bar. The rest, as they say, is history. I have been hooked on Built Bar ever since! I tend to go with what I know so I’ve always ordered a few of my standard favorites in a mixed box – Salted Caramel Chocolate, Coconut Chocolate Creme, and Vanilla Chocolate Creme.

When BibRave teamed up with Built Bar, I knew I had to opt-in to check out their newest flavors and find some new favorites. Seriously, when it comes to flavors, they have MANY!

The low calorie, high protein content is absolutely a draw but that would mean little if they didn’t taste good. Built Bars are extremely tasty! Of course I still love my old standbys, but a few of my new favorites are Mint Brownie Delite, Peanut Butter, Coconut Almond, and Black Cherry Chocolate Creme.

Other than wholesale, Built Bar is primarily an online order business. When they weather is warmer, they take great care to get your bars to you quickly and include a cold pack so they don’t melt.

When you get three boxes of Built Bar, you have to share the wealth! Immediately my older son who works out with me was interested in trying them. I noticed that they were disappearing quickly and soon found out why.

He was not even a little bit sorry about this.

I brought an assortment along with me on a long run to share with my running buddies. I wasn’t surprised at all to hear rave reviews from those who tried them.

One of my friends said that she had a Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery a few years back and has to be very careful about what she eats. She was very excited to read the Built Bar’s ingredients and see that it worked for her!

The outside of each bar is coated with chocolate while the inside is nougat-like. When warm they do tend to get a little sticky. During our Twitter #bibchat it was suggested to try putting a Built Bar into the refrigerator or freezer to cool it down.

The freezer made it a little too difficult for me to bite into but I love keeping them in the fridge and have a stockpile in mine!

Built Bar is constantly evolving and introducing new flavors to their mix. The only bummer is that some of my favorites don’t last for very long. They do retire flavors and have limited releases too. However, there’s always something in the rotation that I love!

Check out more reviews from BRPs:

Renee
Becky
Kelsey
Riley
Amy
Emily

 

Have you tried Built Bar? If so, what’s your favorite flavor? If I had to chose one, I’d go with the Salted Caramel Chocolate. If you haven’t tried them yet, which flavor would you try first? Order with code BUILTNOW and it will save you 20%! 

(Almost) One Month Down with the 465 Challenge

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!

Usually I feel like the memes that are floating around about January.

You know the ones.

And…

But not this year! The first month of 2020 has been flying by for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been NON-STOP.

We are in the last few days of January and I’m proud to say I’ve been moving all the way through. My training for the Shamrock Half Marathon is going runningly (it’s like swimmingly… you get the idea) and I’ve had a really nice mix of miles on the Peloton, trail, treadmill, and Disney Parks. Yes, those count too.

Because of this, I’m now into loop 3 of the 465 Challenge.

IT says Loop 2 because I need to submit my most recent miles!

Taking part of this challenge has been a really refreshing way to start the year. The Facebook accountability group and cheers from all participating, have been extremely motivating.

A loop is 53 miles and currently I’m at 189.54 miles of intention. Some of these miles have been alone but I know that I always go far with friends so I’ve been meeting up with my running group as much as possible.

If you are looking for motivation, it’s not too late to sign up for the 465 Challenge and join in for February! Head on over and use discount code BIBRAVE to save 10%!

Kick off 2020 with the 465 Virtual Challenge!

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 know how I’m starting off my 2020! The Inaugural 465 Challenge, here I come.

Or wait, it’s a virtual race, so I’ll just stay put. And run/hike/walk.

Virtual races are a great way to stay on the motivation train, especially in the cold winter months. I’m not a huge fan of run streaks but working toward a set goal is an awesome push and a great way to start the new year.

I’m aiming for a half marathon PR in the spring of 2020 and I know by dangling the metaphoric carrot in front of me, it will help me stay on course when it comes to training.

There are two tiers of registration, depending on what swag you may or may not be interested in:

  1. PREMIUM – $39.99
    465 Challenger Super Soft Finisher Shirt
    465 Race Car Slider Finisher Medal (for first 1,000 registrants)
    Super Cool Bumper Sticker
    Training Program
    Motivational Emails
    Virtual Bib
    Certificate of Completion
  2. BASIC – $24.99
    Super Cool Bumper Sticker
    Training Program
    Motivational Emails
    Virtual Bib
    Certificate of Completion

And of course, if you use discount code BIBRAVE, you’ll save 10%!

What’s the significance of 53 miles? That’s the distance of the loop around Indianapolis!

Can’t run but still want to get in on the moving? That’s perfectly all right – this challenge includes swimming, biking, somersaulting, and everything in between.

Who’s with me?!

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?

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.*

Race Recap: The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 5k

Disclaimer: I received free entry to The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 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!

The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon weekend has been on my list of ones to do for awhile. I’m a Jersey girl, born and raised, and I’ve heard great buzz about this race.

While I would have rather run the half marathon, the scheduling worked out better for the 5k so that’s the race I opted for.

Registration through Athlinks was super simple.

The 5k and kids races were on Saturday; the half and full marathon on Sunday. Because I was doing the 5k, I was able to do day-of bib and shirt pickup. Therefore I didn’t see the expo but it helped save travel time all around which was a plus.

My childhood friend, Chrissy, also signed up for the 5k, so we traveled to the race site together and ran the race together as well!

The race management suggested getting there early for parking purposes and we arrived a couple of hours before the 9am start time. We were actually the first ones in the parking lot. It gave us plenty of time to relax, eat our breakfast, and then pick up the bibs and Diadora shirts.

The shirt is cute in the front but has a mesh back that threw me off a bit. I don’t know if I’ll wear it anywhere but at home.

You can see the mesh on the sleeve.

Like I mentioned, we had plenty of time prior to the start of the race so we wandered back to our car (about a half mile away) to put our shirts away and stay shielded from the wind. It was a beautiful, sunny day but the wind was intense which was a bummer because we knew that running was going to be a challenge. This seems to be the case for a lot of races that Chrissy and I run together. We battled the wind a few years back in Atlantic City too.

As the start time drew closer, the parking lot filled and we walked back to the start.

After a young lady sang the Star Spangled Banner, we were off on our 3.1 mile journey. The course was flat and wound along the ocean boardwalk, onto the streets, near a park, through a neighborhood, and back to the boardwalk once again.

There were two water stops along the way. Police presence and volunteers were throughout the course.

Our goal for this race was to get under 40 minutes. We did 1:1 intervals the entire race.

The wind was pretty brutal and by the third mile, we were fighting against it. Thankfully, the finish line was in sight; we finished strong at 39:53. Mission accomplished!

The medals are BEAUTIFUL – record shaped and they even spin, which is so much fun!

I didn’t see photographers along the course and didn’t notice any at the finish line for the 5k. Not sure we’ll get pictures but we took a good amount of our own (yay for blogging!).

In the finish line chute there were water bottles and snacks, which were great. There was also a small race village set up with a few vendors. We spent a few minutes visit booths and then watched the kids run their mile and a half race before heading back to the car.

Great race, maybe next time I’ll do the half!

Next race for me isn’t until late June but who knows… maybe something will come along in May. Anyone have any suggestions in the NJ area?