Calling All FitBit-ers – Let’s Feed America!

Do you like helping people? Did you know that being hungry sucks? Do you own a FitBit?

If you answered yes to these life questions like I did, then LEMME TELL YOU A STORY.

Last Thursday, I found out about the FitBit/Feed America challenge to make the calories I burn between today and March 3rd count toward 1.5 million meals for hungry Americans. HELLO, SIGN ME UP!

It’s ridiculously simple. All you need is a FitBit and a few minutes of time.  Here’s the scoop:

fitforfood1. Read more about the project on the FitBit Blog and on Feeding America’s Website.

2. Sign up here.

3. Track your calories on your dashboard.

4. Watch the video because it’s kinda hilarious.

 

I hope you’ll join Mer, Vic, and I in this virtual race to punch hunger in the face! MyFitBit Profile Link

Chick Chat: We are Thankful

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Last year we shared Thanksgiving traditions. This year, we chose to go a different route and share what we are thankful for (hopefully without being too cliché!). So sit back, relax, and read on. In the comments, we’d love to hear something you are thankful for.

Mer

I think that Thanksgiving is a time to focus on what we are grateful for and honestly, it’s hard for me to pinpoint one or two particular things. I suppose that right now, I’m quite thankful for my health. Over the past year I’ve had aches and pains but right now, all things considered, I’m feeling good!

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I’m thankful to have a table to sit at, a bed to sleep in, and to have never wanted for anything that I couldn’t live without. I live in a world filled with love and compassion and I happily share that.

I am surrounded by good people, close both in proximity and in my heart. I’m very lucky.

Vic

I’m thankful for good friends, family, my supportive husband and Meri’s supportive husband, who made me waffles for breakfast.

I also love how social media has brought so many amazing, inspiring people into my life.

And after my weekend marathon- I am beyond thankful for PRO compression socks.

Kyle

I love reflecting on what I’m thankful for and practicing gratitude is something I try to do on a regular basis – my family, my health (well, aside from da boot situation), my people. This year, among a great many other things, I’m thankful for this grilled cheese. Well, mostly I’m thankful for everything that goes with this grilled cheese: friends, fellowship, good conversation, running… the list is exhaustive. I’m grateful for all of it. But really, the grilled cheese, too.

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Jenn

This year, I’m grateful for many things. They are intangible things that all people are grateful for like health and happiness of family, friends and beloved pets. I’m grateful for my job, my home, and my freedom. I’m grateful for the good fortune, security, and progress of my life. And I’m very grateful for being a part of Scoot a Doot!

I’m thankful for the wisdom that comes with age; for being able to recognize how fortunate I am and to appreciate what I have while it lasts. In particular, this year I’m grateful for my marriage and my husband. Like every couple, we’ve faced our challenges over our twenty year history. There were times that I wasn’t sure if we’d make it. Luckily, both of us wanted to do the often-difficult work to make it through the tough times. Although I cannot point to any specific event or moment this year that noticeably changed things, our marriage is stronger than it has ever been. I haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly what it is, but the fact that I’m learning that love can evolve and depend and mature is amazing.

So this year, I’m thankful for the chance to learn more about love with my best friend and high school sweetheart.

Bec

My life is so full of great things, it’s hard sometimes to narrow my focus and pick out individual pieces. I’m thankful to have such problems.

I’m thankful for good health. Even though I’ve been sick for weeks, overall, I am well and my family is well. I have a warm house and full pantry. I know how lucky I am for these things.

But mostly, I’m thankful for people. I have so many wonderful people in my life. Some are next to me on the couch, some are right up the road, and some are too far to see as often as I would like, but they all reside close to my heart. Family, family, framily; I’ve been gifted with an abundance of all three.

I’m truly blessed.

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Jess

It’s not particularly surprising, but as ever, I am thankful for my family, particularly the two main men in my life. Every day I laugh because of them. They are truly the meaning in my life (and, yes, the in-spir-aaaaation).

But I am surrounded by amazing people: family, friends, co-workers. I’ve won the people lottery, and who wouldn’t be thankful for that?

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Cam
This year, I’m extremely thankful for my very patient friends.  This year has be a roller coaster and I wouldn’t have been able to weather the emotional ebb and flow without my friends, who aren’t really bound by any obligation to love me yet do so anyway.  I can’t even express how much these beautiful people mean to me.
this year
And we’re so very thankful for all of you. Wishing a happy holiday to you and yours from us and ours!
Love, The Chicks

Like a Girl?

To start off, if you haven’t already seen this video that’s been circulating the internet the last few days, give it a watch now. I promise, it’s worth the 3 and a half minutes. And then, we’ll tell you what we think it means to do things ‘like a girl.’

 Bec

I’ll admit, this video made me cry. Like a person who cries. Like a girl, but only because I am, in fact, a girl. I also cook like a girl, and dance like a girl and parent my kids like a girl. And yes, I run like a girl.

I think back to my younger years, and I can definitely recall hearing that I ran like a girl. And it was decidedly NOT a compliment. I distinctly remember thinking “but I AM a girl!” And the only thing worse than telling a girl that she ran like a girl, was telling a boy that he ran like a girl. Because girls are what? Slower than boys? Weaker than boys? Less athletic than boys? Men and women are inherently different in a number of ways, but none of those differences means that one is superior and the other inferior. They just means that we have differences.

Confidence is myself as a person has been something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I still struggle with it. And that started in adolescence, as it does for many people, male and female. I see those fears and insecurities in my own children, both in different phases of adolescence. So I’m teaching my son that it’s okay for him to cry, to talk about his feelings and to understand that just because someone is not athletic, doesn’t mean they are in any way lacking (we live in a VERY sports oriented town). I’m teaching my daughter that it’s okay for her to be good at sports, to be tough when the occasion calls for it (soccer field, defense) and to love her body and herself. I’m teaching them both that what determines their worth as people is their character and that they can do anything, and be anything, that they set their minds to. And through teaching them these lessons, I’m learning to love myself, to celebrate my strengths and accept my shortcomings, and to be proud of the GIRL that I am.

Because, you know, I’m pretty freaking fantastic…for a girl person.

Mer

It took me a really long time to find the confidence in myself that I so sorely lacked growing up. Until very recently (we’re talking three years ago) I was of the mindset that I didn’t and couldn’t run… unless I was being chased. And in the event that I was being chased, well, let’s just say it probably wouldn’t end well for me.

That was because I was raised hearing it. I wasn’t athletic. I didn’t do athletic things and I didn’t tap into my athletic side. I was pretty and somewhat smart, although my friends were smarter. In high school I had a friend, Erinn who could do a ridiculous number of pull-ups, like the boys, so naturally she was a tom-boy. Rather than a STRONG girl. Erinn was also the one lapping me and nearly everyone else during the mile, for the record.

Don’t put limitations on our children. And hey, while we’re at it, don’t put limitations on yourself either.

I can and I will! And you can and you will too!

Cam

Once a week I play dodgeball with a primarily male team. And when we pick teams, guess who’s last to be picked?  Me.  Every single time.  I’m constantly finding myself trying to prove that I’m just as good as the boys.  The truth is, I can’t throw as hard as them and my reflexes aren’t as quick. But I hold my own. I can catch pretty well and I play smart.  I make good decisions when it comes to timing and positioning.  So yeah, I play “like a girl” and I’m just as badass as any of those boys.  I think as a woman, I have to realize that I have different physical strengths than men.  But different isn’t bad.  In fact, it’s downright necessary.

This video moved me to tears because I have a young daughter and she is strong and mighty and I don’t ever want her to forget the confidence she has right now. I know the world is going to try to tear her down, boys and girls alike.  I already see her struggling to be a girl who loves karate and rough-housing and who also loves sparkly unicorns and nail polish.  She wants to be a tough badass, but she doesn’t want to lose that femininity.  And why should she have to?  Gender stereotypes are suffocating our society.  Think of the way we’ve hindered the growth of our world by keeping half the population at bay.  What are we afraid of?  Turn us loose. We’ll show you what kicking ass “like a girl” looks like.

Jess

When I stumbled upon the Always commercial the other night (on Tumblr, because I’m obsessed), I watched it three times in a row. With everything that’s going on in this country right now, all of the eyes on women’s rights (or lack thereof), the message felt especially timely to me.

Part of me is so relieved that I have a little boy, because, while there are many lessons I have to teach him about things like equality and feminism and consent, he won’t have to deal with the inherent, built-in issues that come with being a girl. There are so many ways in which society tells girls and women that they are less than. How do you bring up a girl in this world to know that she is enough? Especially when many of us women still struggle with this as adults? It’s a huge task. A daunting one. Such an important one.

That’s why I love this commercial so much – it is a quick, powerful tool to show that the stigma against females is hurtful and untrue and emotionally dangerous. Little girls need to see these positive reinforcements – they need to hear it, too, and believe it. They need to know the sky is the limit. Being female doesn’t dictate what you can and can’t do (beyond a few physiological things, of course).  

I was going to add pictures of us, being awesome girls, but sometimes, the words are more than enough. Tell us what you think about this video. What do the words ‘like a girl’ mean to you?

Seniors Rule!

This time of year, there seem to be graduation related events every weekend. Driving around town, I see all the cars decorated in blue and white proclaiming that “Seniors Rule.” Clearly, the Class of 2K14 is the best ever! Hail the graduates!

We’ve all been there. And we’ve got the pics to prove it! So, Throwback Thursday style, may we present to you the Scoot A Doot Class of 2014!

Bec and her hair were quite a pair!

Name: Rebecca

Nickname: Becci, Speckles

Year of Graduation: 1992. Hair was big,  Bill Clinton ran for President and won, MTV changed the face of television with the introduction of The Real World,  90210 was on every Thursday night and my prom song was the epic “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men.

School Mascot: Pirate. Arrrgh.

Activities: Yearbook, newspaper, Peer Leaders

Sports: Ahahaha. You’re funny. No.

Favorite movie: Wayne’s World. This came out February of my senior year and I lost count of how many times I saw it in the theatre. And Pretty Woman. And Dirty  Dancing. And, as always, The Breakfast Club.

Theme song: Baby Got Back (Oh my God, Becky, look at her butt.)

Favorite subject/class: English, Government, Psychology

Favorite high school memory: Any time spent with my friends. Whether we were taking the train into Boston, making late night runs to Taco Bell, hanging out in my friends’ den watching Breakfast Club or seeing how far we could get the car to coast from my house, I loved my friends  so much.

Senior Superlative: Best Mom? I totally mommed everyone, so probably that. Or Tallest.

Dream job: Writer, Interior Designer, Speech Therapist, ASL Teacher, Hairdresser. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m still not.

Quote:  I had to look mine up, I honestly couldn’t remember. I was going to use the oft used Helen Keller quote about letting things go, but a good friend of mine wanted to use it, so I went with this.  “Only as high as I reach can I grow, Only as far as I seek can I go, Only as deep as I look can I see, Only as much as I dream can I be.”

Post high schools plans: Undecided. (Literally, I left high school with no idea what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to go, knowing only that I wanted to go somewhere and do something. And I did.

 

camseniorYoung Cam has serious curls!

Name: Camille

Nickname: Cam, Camoozle, Mo, Mojo potato, Camel, Cammyzoo (and those are the nice ones.)

Year of Graduation: 1998 – Grunge is God!

School Mascot: The Steeler Man (So lame, I know)

Activities: Drama Club – I participated in every theater production my school had from 1994-1998.  I was also Historian.  My senior year, I had 3 out of 6 classes in the drama room.

Sports: Um, drama club?

Favorite movie: Playing by Heart.  And Good Will Hunting.  And Romeo and Juliet…And like 50 others.  I was really, really into movies.  Also, I was a HUGE SNL fan.

Theme song: Creep by Radiohead

Favorite subject/class: Literature and Set Design

Favorite high school memory: Ditching class to play hide and seek at Target. Also, we would toilet paper houses a lot.  This one time we papered this guy’s house.  Then came back the next night, took the paper out of his outside trash can, and toilet papered his house again. At the time, it was the most hilarious thing I’d ever experienced.

Senior Superlative: Most Dramatic

Dream job: Writer, archaeologist, marine biologist, theater actress, psychologist…I changed my mind daily

Quote: “Try not, do or do not.  There is no try.” – Master Yoda

Post high school plans: Riverside Community College, here I come!  But first, the best summer ever.

Jess isn't really camera shy. We just come from an era before all pictures were digital.

Jess isn’t really camera shy. We just come from an era before all pictures were digital.

 

Name: Jessica

Nickname: Kiki

Year of Graduation: 2001. Boy bands were hot, fashion was questionable, and I drove a yellow Mustang.

School Mascot:Thunder (how is this even a mascot? It’s a sound)

Activities: Hanging with the BFFs, flirting with boys. This took up most of my time.

Sports: HAHAHA.

Favorite movie: Ocean’s Eleven

Theme song: Anything by *NSYNC

Favorite subject/class: English was my jam

Favorite high school memory: really anything involving my best friends. I can’t pick just one! Mainly because those memories are too incriminating.

Senior Superlative: I was voted Best Eyes, but if I’d had my druthers, I’d have been Best Booty.

Dream job: I’m pretty sure it was to be a writer. That’s always been my dream job.

Quote: I don’t think we did these. Mine would’ve been “after the show it’s the after party/and after that it’s the hotel lobby.”

Post high school plans: community college, mainly because I was so scared of germs that I didn’t want to live in a dorm room with someone and contract bacterial meningitis (this is a true story). But it all worked out because I decided to go to fashion school instead!

 

meri seniorMid-90s Meri

Name: Meridith

Nickname: Mer or Meri

Year of Graduation: 1995 (O.J. Simpson case, Forrest Gump won best picture, All Sheryl Crow wanted to do was have some fun.)

School Mascot: Braves

Activities: choir (sang The Star Spangled Banner in four-part harmony at graduation), band (flag squad captain), flute, theater (The King and I… I was a wife in the harem. Yep.)

Sports: um, no.

Favorite movie: Empire Records, open ’til midnight

Theme song: I don’t think I had one… but I just watched this best songs of 1995 video!

Favorite subject/class: Favorite subject was English and favorite class was Peer Counseling

Favorite high school memory: Dancing in car headlights with friends, playing on the playground instead of going to prom, eating lunch in the hallway between the theater and music rooms with people who made my high school experience so much more fun (and not having to go to the cafeteria).

Senior Superlative: Mostly likely to grow by leaps and bounds once she gets to college

Dream job: Broadway performer

Quote: I swear to the Lawd, this was mine. “People of the earth listen to the warning. The prophet he said for soon the cold of night will fall summoned by your own hand.” – Queen

Vic Senior

Vic, looking classy and classic

 

Name: Victoria

Nickname: Toria by my family (this I love) and Vicki by my friends (this I hate.) Seriously, if you call me Vicki, expect retaliation. I loathe this name, but am usually too polite to tell people.

Year of Graduation: I graduated in 1995, when my hometown band Live was dominating the national airwaves and flannel shirts were all the rage. Heck, front-man Ed Kowalczyk even picked out one of my fave flannels at our local mall.

School Mascot: Blue Streaks. Yep, I’m talking about a blue lightning bolt. And our rival school had a mascot that was a Tornado.

Activities: I played the tuba and was in marching band, concert band, orchestra and loved to sing. And (surprise!) I was on the school newspaper staff, literary mag staff and was a photographer for the school yearbook.

Sports: I was a competitive swimmer through high, middle and elementary school (and on two winter teams in high school). I also ran cross-country my senior year.

Favorite subject/class: English, photography, ceramics and sewing. I took four – count them FOUR- English classes my senior year (including two AP-level classes). I loved to read and write and even voluntarily wrote a term paper on school uniforms for a creative writing class my final semester.

Favorite high school memory: There was no feeling like walking across the stage to receive my diploma at graduation. That’s a milestone that remains sharp in my mind. I also fondly remember gathering with friends before school each morning in a random stairwell, literary parties with my favorite high school English teacher and classmates, and running (barefoot and dripping wet) into the snow with some swimming friends after a practice one winter.

Senior Superlative: Klutziest. I kid you not, I trip over air.

Dream job: I didn’t have a dream job but knew I wanted to write, in one form or another.

Quote: “Never cut what can be untied.”

Post High School Plans: Graduate from college, (preferably the biggest college I could find – I wanted to get lost in the crowd.) Also – become a writer, have a family.

We hope you enjoyed this walk down our memory lanes. And we would very much like to encourage your to share your senior pictures with us. Especially if you have really epic hair! 

Chick Chat: Scoot runs DC

For the second time in less than a month, several Scoot a Doot chicks (and honorary chicks) are gathering for a weekend of food, fun and fitness.

That’s right, three short weeks after we ran the boards in Atlantic City, the chicks are headed to our nation’s capital for yet another 13.1-mile jog, the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon.

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So it’s been months since we learned we’d be heading to Washington D.C. to run with about 20,000 fierce women. Brooke, Meri and I will be joined by a slew of amazing friends. (honestly, too many to name but we’re excited to see each and every one of you!)

Anyway, here’s what we three chicks are looking forward to this fine spring weekend:

brookenameplate

I can’t believe this weekend is finally here. When we agreed to try the lottery for this race, my back-up plan if we didn’t get in was to go for the Broad Street 10 miler, and I was already attempting to convince my husband to run it with us- I was that certain that we wouldn’t get in. Needless to say, I am more than a little excited to be heading up to DC in a few days.

My plan for the race is to run at a comfortable pace and enjoy the sights. I’m not feeling any pain during my runs this week, but I’m not up for attempting a PR either (which would be unlikely anyway). It’s a nice flat course with lots to see- I’ll definitely be carrying my camera.

Beyond the race, I’m really looking forward to a weekend away with my husband, doing some shopping and seeing my girlfriends. Oh, and THE FOOD.

 

meridithnameplate

Having lived so close to Washington, D.C. my entire life, you would think that I would have visited there more than a handful of times.

That would be false.

I’ve driven through (on the way to and from Florida) quite a few times but haven’t actually spent much time in our nation’s capital. Therefore, I’m really looking forward checking out the sights while running and hopefully I’ll be able to do a little sightseeing besides the race, too.

The biggest challenge of the weekend won’t have anything to do with the race (I hope!) but rather being able to see everyone I’d like to see. I’m driving down on Friday evening. On Saturday we’ll be heading into the city. Sunday the race begins bright and early, and I’ll be back on the road on Sunday afternoon.

Whirlwind trip, for sure! With a race this big, there are so many friends running and I hope to be able to connect with them all. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to spend time with everyone!

victorianameplateRace plan? You chicks are funny. I just learned yesterday what time the race starts (7 am for you kids following along at home.) I know the course starts and ends in the same spot, that there’s some sort of tunnel and lots of landmarks on a route that friends keep telling me is flat and fast. More than that? I really haven’t thought that far ahead, which is incredibly unlike me as I AM A PLANNER.

As a kid, my family went to DC all the time as my eye doctor was there. (Yes, I’m blind as a bat. Yes, I’ve had five eye surgeries. Yes, there’s so much scar tissue in my eyes that Lasik surgery or contacts are both bad ideas. And yes, we really drove to DC several times each year to see my eye doctor.) But as a result, we spent a lot of time visiting DC landmarks, including all sorts of monuments, museums and of course, The National Zoo.

You may know I was just in DC last month to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA marathon and 1/2 with my friend Traci. We had a blast but spent little time on the sights outside our mileage.

This weekend, I’m sure some sightseeing – and LOTS of eating – will occur and I am itching to wander around the Mall and amidst some cherry blossoms, the weekend will hopefully include lots of quality time with a few of my favorite chicks.

Might we be seeing you in DC? What’s your favorite thing to do in our nation’s capital? What can’t we miss? And good luck to all the runners!

 

Chick Chat: How Do You Hydrate?

With warmer temperatures approaching (for some of us, at least. Ahem.), I decided to round up the chicks to discuss how we stay hydrated- on long runs, during a race and everything in between.

BEC:

I’ve tried different hydration aids when I’m out doing a longer walk or run. The chewy ones (GU Chomps, Clif Shot Blocks, PowerBar Energy Chews) are fine. They sit well in my stomach. I don’t know that I feel more hydrated, but they’re not unpleasant. I assume as I conquer longer times/distances, these will come in handy. However the gels are just not my cup of tea. The taste isn’t always the issue, it’s more the sweetness and texture.

But mostly, I’m a straight up water girl when it comes to hydration. It’s funny, I don’t love water. I know all the benefits, but it’s an effort for me to just sip away while I’m at my desk all day. But once I’m working out, I drink ALL the water.

JESS:

I hydrate with good old H2O before runs and races. Strangely enough, I am obsessed with reusable water bottles and finding the cutest one (I like to accessorize, what can I say?) so I have a few different SIGG bottles that I rotate depending on my mood. And, honestly, my outfit.

MER:

My standard drink when I go out to a restaurant is always water with lime so one could say that I’m a water fan. Therefore, hydrating before a race ain’t no thang for me! I don’t really have to remind myself to chug, chug, chug because it’s something that I do regularly.

I have a handheld water bottle that I’ve used exactly ZERO times while racing. Yeah, that’s right. I purchased it, put it in the drawer and pull it out occasionally for a training run but haven’t actually held it during a race. Instead I rely on the water stations and the good volunteers along my route. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced dehydration during any of the half marathons I’ve done.

However, now that I’ll be running a full in the Fall, I’ve started considering the options for a hydration pack. I’m not sure it’s necessary, given that I’m not running for time and the water stations give me an opportunity to slow down and sip from a cup (which I pinch so I can walk at the same time) but might help the flow of my running if I can keep chugging along!

VIC:

My hydration hinges on a the given season and can vary widely. That’s right, I don’t hydrate the same when I run in the snow and subzero wind chills as I do in sweltering 90-degree heat. Throughout the year I try to hydrate well during the work day, as I guzzle water at my desk. I fail miserably at this task when on assignment without access to a bathroom. What goes in must come out and that’s not happening while covering a murder trial or police standoff.

On my long runs year round, I bust out my FuelBelt. It’s old and cranky and has four little bottles (so I can fill some with Gatorade and fill others with water.) But it works. And if it ain’t broke…. I don’t use it as much in the winter, as I can squeak by with a handheld when its really cold. Plus, it often freezes anyway and is like carrying a block of ice.

On shorter runs (5 miles to 9-10 miles) in the spring, I use my Amphipod handheld water bottle. It carries less water than the belt, but that’s not a bad thing. I don’t really want to strap on the belt for a mid-length run.

I typically drink maybe a ½ bottle to a bottle of water before I head out the door for a run. (And I make sure to hit the restroom before I start running so I’m not incredibly uncomfortable the entire time.)

Once I finish a run, I head straight for the water – or low calorie Gatorade (G2-purple.) Sometimes I drink nuun instead, but I am typically too impatient to wait for the nuun tablet to dissolve before drinking so I reserve my nuun for non-running hydration.

BROOKE:

During long runs, I carry water with me. I’ve gone through a few different water bottles- my amphipod, which I loved, and a Natahn quickdraw, which leaked a lot and was thrown into the recycling bin after the Princess half in February. Since then, I’ve used my son’s Klean Kanteen bottle, which is okay but somewhat annoying to carry and not really big enough since it’s meant for a child and not for running. I’ve been researching water bottles and based on Sara’s recommendation, I have a new one to try- so I’ll let you know how that works out soon.

It’s hot and humid in Florida most of the year, and I’m prone to exercise headaches after long runs (10 miles or more) if I don’t hydrate enough. For races, I drink coconut water the day before and the morning of the race. I alternate with water (that I carry) and whatever electrolyte beverage is given every few aid stations. This has worked well for me during my last two races. I follow the race with a nuun tablet because it’s easy to carry with me. I don’t drink quite as much for regular weekend runs but I follow a similar routine, only I finish with coconut water again instead of a nuun tablet. I like it plain, but the Zico chocolate flavor is a nice treat.

How do you hydrate? Any water bottle favorites? What about electrolytes? It’s time for a Friday chat!

Chick Chat: Game Plans for the Atlantic City April Fools Half

acbeach

It all started last April… Mer ran the Atlantic City April Fool’s Half and mentioned that she planned to register for the 2014 race. From there, Chick after Chick (and honorary Chicks) decided that they wanted to run too!

Race weekend has finally arrived and we’re ready to tackle hug each other and tackle the half marathon distance.

brookenameplateI’m so excited to visit the Garden State this weekend! I hate to be away from my family, but I really am in need of some girlfriend time. When I can combine that with a race? Well, in the words of one of my favorite Jersey girls, “It’s a good thing.”

My plan for this weekend is to have the most fun ever and try not to complain about the cold. Running wise, I am going to treat the race as an easy training run because I have some shin pain and I don’t want to make it worse before the Nike half marathon at the end of the month.

camnameplateMy plan is to try my damnedest to keep up with the coolest gal I know, Miss Meri. I’m going to push myself, something I’m adamantly against. But I want see what I can do. Who knows, I might surprise myself.

meridithnameplate

It’s funny because when I think about this weekend, the half marathon is sort of tacked in. “I have six friends staying at my house. And, OH YEAH, we are running a half marathon on Sunday.” I’m more freaked about cleaning and making sure that everyone is comfortable than running 13.1 miles. That’s insanity right there.

Cam and I are sticking together for this race, which probably has her freaking out a bit because we have a time goal and she’s not one for time goals. Luckily, we’ll be together so we’ll be having fun, no matter what! A race with Cam is always a good time – she ran my first race ever with me and we’ve done many more together throughout the past three years.

Turn around bright eyes!

Turn around bright eyes!

We’ll be running intervals, 3 minutes running, 1 minute walking. Running on the boardwalk is one of my favorite things because it’s so forgiving (and flat, of course). I’m a little nervous about miles 5-9 because that’s when we switch to the street and I always get a little mentally drained at that point. My goal is that we are consistent and feeling good throughout the entire race!

victorianameplateI should have a better laid-out race plan than the one I’m thinking of just now (which is nonexistent) but this weekend isn’t about running a best time for me. It’s all about spending time with my best girls.

It is no secret that I haven’t trained as well as I should have in recent weeks. I’ve been sick with a hacking cough, work has been nutty and I’ve been traveling. And since the course is flat as a pancake, I know it should be the time to push it.

And I might. I might not.

Either way, I plan to run with Brooke (right B?) and to help to set up friend Kate as she aims for a sub-2 half. And I’m going to have an amazing time with the girls and celebrate Meri’s birthday and her pending marathon on the fall!

annenameplate

My plan for the AC half is quite simple… to not die. I’m only half kidding. My training has definitely been about distance, not speed, so my plan is to not panic about how long it is taking me to finish, and keep reminding myself that I can do this.

I have a feeling that miles 7 through 9 are going to be tough. I’m also pretty sure I’m going to ugly cry and embarrass myself at the finish line.

Aside from getting to spend time with my friends, I’m most looking forward to the medal. I’ve never gotten a medal at a race before, and I want that hardware. I’ve had so many cheerleaders and supporters on this path that I’m really excited about having something tangible to show them.

heathernameplateAs some of the Chicks can tell you, I am A Type A Personality. I always have A Plan and when that plan gets derailed…it’s hard. This winter has been the winter of derailed. In November, I ran the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. I had high hopes going in, some pretty solid training…and disaster struck at mile 8. I crested a hill, there was a sharp pain in my hip and it was game over. I limped my way through the next five miles and finished, but between the finish and the week being dragged through the park by non-runner people who just didn’t get it, my hip was in a bad way.

To compound that, my return from Florida came with a horrible cough that two and a half months later when I finally saw a doctor (I’m stubborn too) was diagnosed as a rather nasty case of bronchitis with a side of sinus infection. That was some news I did NOT want to hear going into Disney’s Glass Slipper Challenge in February. I finished the challenge (gory details here and here) but I was in a bad way by the end, emotionally and physically. I felt defeated by being sick and defeated by running. The pictures of me actually moving have it written all over it. I was doing a better job faking it mid race. I mean, castle! In the mist! It was a good moment.

heathercastle

So what do I want for this coming weekend? Redemption. I want to prove to myself that I can still do this and that one rotten winter is not going to get me. I am trying to be realistic about my lack of long distances runs leading up to this race, and the fact that I’m not going to be beating my previous times. Probably not by a long shot. But I want to finish this race feeling strong and not like I need someone to carry me to the car. I want to enjoy breathing in the ocean air and the rhythm of all those feet on the boardwalk. Last time I was feeling down about running, like maybe we weren’t really made to be friends, a run on the beach brought me out of it. I’m not quite in that place this time, but I feel like that ocean air might just be the little piece of magic I need to really get back on track. A cool medal and a weekend with friends doesn’t hurt either.

Chick Chat: Set It Off

You know those foods that it just takes one bite to set off a feeding frenzy? Those hair triggers that mark the fine line between a little indulgence and an all expense paid trip to Chow DownTown?

Healthy eating is a struggle for many of us. Whether you’re an all-day snacker, or a late-night fridge raider or a full out junk food junkie, you do the best you can. Then, that one ‘special’ food wanders into the picture and you’re done. 

I think a lot of you can relate here, yeah? No? NO? If you don’t have one of these impossible-to-resist foods in you’re life, I envy you.

I asked my fellow chicks if they had a particular food that just did them in, and low and behold, I’m not alone here. Keep reading to hear about the foods that make us go Mmmmmmmmmmmm, and the healthy substitutions we’re trying our best to make.

Bec

Two words. Ice cream.

Two more words (and an ampersand). Ben & Jerry’s.

A personal favorite

A personal favorite

My relationship with these boys has been long and torrid. We’ve broken up, many times. But with just a few words, I hook back up with them in a millisecond. “New Flavor” – I’m yours. “Limited Edition” – where do I sign up?

Ice cream is a serious trigger food for me, in the sense that I’m rarely satisfied with a half-cup serving, and can polish off an entire pint without even realizing it. Ice cream on the couch while watching television is mindless eating, in the truest sense of the word. I swear to you, while I can tell you about every flavor nuance and describe to you in vivid detail the level of creaminess, when I’m eating it, it’s as if my brain is completely turned off and then I come to with an empty container in my hand and a vaguely sick feeling in my stomach. 

Frozen yogurt isn’t the same, not even when it’s Pinkberry. A small scoop of gelato is nice, too, but it just doesn’t cut it. This, for me, is one of those ‘go big or go home’ foods. I don’t want a similar substitute. I want it all. Or nothing.

Okay, well not NOTHING. I still want something. But I’ve really been trying to break away from ice cream and frozen treats until I can get it together with that behavior. Instead, if I’m craving something sweet in the evening, I make myself a bowl of fruit and a 1/2 cup of Noosa. If you haven’t had Noosa, I highly recommend you run to Target and get some (that’s the only place I know that carries it). Lemon or Tart Cherry are my personal favorites, but the Mango, Blueberry and Raspberry are darn good too.

Noosa is the new ice cream

Noosa is the new ice cream

Noosa is similar to Greek yogurt in thickness, but it’s even creamier and decidedly less tart. YUM. It’s not B&J extravaganza, but it doesn’t leave me feeling bad, and it helps curb my sweet tooth. So Ben? Jerry? You’re going to have to find yourself a new girl. You know… for now.

Mer 

You know the old nursery rhyme, “When she was good, She was very, very good, But when she was bad, she was horrid”? That adequately describes me when it comes to the food thing. The times that I’m solid? Tracking my food and being “good” – I’m golden. Nothing can stop me.

And then there are the… other times.

However, I’m learning balance. A few years back the go-to comfort food was ice cream. I thought that because we didn’t have it in the house, I was fine. But no, my husband would go out and get it for me whenever I requested. (Which was a lot.)

Ice cream was not an “every once in awhile” treat, it was a “hey, it’s Monday and I’m bummed” treat. It was a “yay, kiddo slept through the night” treat. And it was too much.

So I cut back to none. That’s right, I had to go cold turkey for a bit. And now I’m able to enjoy ice cream for what it is and be present and mindful when I’m eating it. I don’t want it to be emotional eating. Rather than getting a peanut butter cup sundae, I’ll get a scoop of vanilla and caramel. Or I’ll go with frozen yogurt (which I’m sorry, it’s good but it doesn’t NOT taste as good as ice cream). It’s not perfect and neither am I, but I’m far better about it than I once was.

FRO-YO

FRO-YO

Cam

I’m a sugar fiend. White processed sugar mixed with some kind of fat and/or cream is my favorite. Despite my many attempts to give up sweets, I find that eliminating them completely from my diet only makes me want them more. When I break, and I always break, I go hard. So instead of saying no, I say YES… in very small portions. I’ll give up calories at lunch or go without snacking if I know I’m going to want to indulge later (or earlier… cake is totally a breakfast food). I also try to find substitutions that satisfy my need for sweet that are low in calories and high (alright, higher) in nutritional content. And I share! I’ll share with my kids, split with my fella, or my mom, or even snag a taste off my dining partner’s plate. Sometimes all I really want is a bite. I’m a huge supporter of the Bite for a Bite movement.

If I’m craving pie/cake – I’ll have half a banana or a handful of strawberries/blueberries with sugar free vanilla pudding. Sometimes, I’ll crumble up half of a graham cracker or a Nilla wafer and mix it in. It gives the illusion of crust.

If I’m craving ice cream – frozen yogurt fo sho! There’s a Sweet Frog about a mile from my house. I’ll walk there and get the fat-free raspberry/mango sorbet mixed with the cheesecake. And it is divine.

If I’m craving Juice It Up – I stop at this fine establishment if I don’t have time to make my smoothie in the morning. Which happens often. I’m in love with the Evergreen smoothie but it’s a ton of calories. So I ask them to leave out the sherbet and lemonade and use water as a base instead. It’s still fantastic. BTW, Juice It Up will make whatever concoction you want – not just what’s on their menu. Leave out those fake sugars and go all natural!

If I’m craving chocolate – this doesn’t happen often, but if I want chocolate, I’ll usually eat… chocolate. Usually in the salted and/or caramel form. Chocolate isn’t my favorite, so if I’m craving it, I like to make it really special. Sub-par chocolate just isn’t worth the calories.

Brooke

I don’t really limit my diet but there are a few snack food items that I rarely buy because like a potato chip, I can’t eat just one. Or five. Okay, ten. Since we’re all being honest.

I love Oreos but when I open them, I intend to take just two – the serving size – only to look down a few minutes later and realize I’ve eaten a third of the package. One way I avoid this is by not purchasing them, but occasionally the girls will ask for them. Luckily, their favorite flavor is Berry Ice Cream (because they’re pink), and I think those are disgusting.

I have a terrible sweet tooth. My trainer told me I should sit down with one square of dark chocolate and take very small bites. I don’t see that ever happening.

Instead of eating sweets, I try to reach for fruit.

Fruit, anyone?

Fruit, anyone?

Vic

I don’t really have one “trigger food” that leads to the unraveling of my diet. I have an entire TRIGGER SHELF.

The Trigger Shelf

The Trigger Shelf

This shelf is central in my newsroom and is a catchall for all culinary treats. On any given day, it holds chocolate bars, candy and cookies.

AND IT’S DIRECTLY BEHIND MY DESK.

On Election Day, it’s filled with all types of pizza and soda. After Halloween, it’s filled with leftover chocolate. Post-Christmas, bring on the cookies. In the summer, fresh fruit and veggies often collect here. And then there’s doughnut holes. I can’t say no to doughnut holes.

Last week, there was a tool set made of chocolate. Last month, I recall seeing some cotton candy and other hard candy treats.

And sometimes, there are bags of potato chips. They call to me. It’s hard to resist. And I don’t even LIKE potato chips.

Most days, I manage to ignore the food. I tell myself its stale, has been dropped on the floor, or tastes foul. Believe it or not, that actually works. Sometimes I turn to my own lunch, eating my pre-packed health foods at my desk.

Then on days like today, I eat.

Today's temptation

Today’s temptation

I walked back for more tortilla chips at least four times. So yeah, I failed today. I failed badly. Thank goodness there’s always tomorrow.

Jess

My trigger food has been, is, and always will be sweets. Cookies and ice cream, specifically. In fact, I was just in the kitchen foraging for either, but unfortunately we have neither. Or maybe fortunately, since I 100% do not need to eat cookies or ice cream. Or cookies & cream ice cream (mmm).

I’ve yet to come up with a replacement that actually curbs my craving, but when I don’t give in to it, I will grab some kind of sweet fruit to tame my sweet tooth. Those little clementine oranges are great – easy to peel, easy to eat, and cute to boot!

How about you guys? Do you have a food that just sends you careening off the rails? Something you don’t ever have in the house for fear that it will only be there for 10 minutes? Have you found a healthier replacement option? 

A Little More of This, A Little Less of That

Going off of this awesome idea, I (Mer – waves from behind the Scoot a Doot curtain) asked the Chicks what they’d like to hear more and less of in 2014, either from themselves or others.

victorianame

More:

“I’ll do what I can, when I can, with what I’m given.” This is a reminder for work and life. I’m hard on myself when I can’t complete a task on deadline, make a mistake or can’t travel to see a loved one. I need to remember that I can’t do it all.

“I can and I will.” I’ve adopted Meri’s mantra. Fortunately, she likes to share! I repeat it several times a week. But could certainly use it far more. Having a bad day? Need a reminder or an affirmation? It fits the bill all around.

“Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” People don’t say these words enough. Such small words mean so much to so many people.

Less:

“You should have…” Don’t focus on what went wrong, instead focus on what you can do to make a situation better.

“I can’t do it.” You CAN do it. If you believe it, and put on the work, you can do anything. If you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t.

Gangnam style (’nuff said)

meridithname

More:

“I volunteer…” (not as tribute, for what it’s worth) aka “How can I help?” I work with a lot of volunteer based organizations and I can say this with much certainty – we always need MORE help. When people readily volunteer, come to the table with ideas, and make things happen it’s always a welcomed and happy event!

“It’s all good!” Pete the Cat says this in my kiddo’s book and my variation on it is “No worries.” Positive attitudes make things so much more pleasant.

Less:

“I have to do laundry now.” Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be saying this less. But maybe I could get on more of a schedule so it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it all the time, every day.

“I can’t…” after someone has committed that they CAN, the last thing that I want to hear is that they can’t. It’s important to know ones limitations but good planning makes the phrase less said (on my part and on others).

brookename

More:

“What can I do to help?” In my house and in my volunteer commitments – and I’d like to be better about accepting help when it’s offered.

“Let’s play!” My kids are growing up, and with half of kindergarten completed by my oldest, I know we will continue to be busier and busier (and busier). Between school, homework, play dates and our scheduled activities like dance class, I want to take more time for unstructured free play with my littles. Every day.

“No, I can’t do that.” Like Meri, I volunteer for quite a bit. This year, I’d like to learn how to say no. That I don’t have to be in charge of everything, every time.

Less:

Yelling. I pray for more patience every day and hope I’m getting stronger. As a parent, I’m still learning how to stop and take a breath before I react- and I need to keep working on that.

jessicaname

More:

“Here, let me get the door for/do that for/help you.” Any of these combinations is a win. I try to do one nice thing for someone I don’t know per day, whether it’s as simple as holding a door open or buying someone less fortunate a coffee. When we reach out to people like that, we make a connection, however fleeting. That simple gesture might make someone’s day!

“I understand where you’re coming from.” Even if you don’t agree with it, understanding where someone’s coming from goes a long way. Unless that place is somewhere incredibly stupid and close-minded, of course.

“Thank you!” Two words. So simple. Easy to say and extremely valuable.

Less:

People glued to their phones. This includes myself. You miss so much when you’re staring at your screen. Put it down, look around, have a conversation!

Also, no more mention of twerking. Please.

camillename

More:

“You’re right.” Admitting when I’m wrong is one of my non-strengths.  While I’ve gotten marginally better at using the phrase “I’m sorry”, “you’re right” seems to elude my vernacular.

“I can’t.” I know what you’re thinking…shouldn’t this be I CAN?  That’s not a typo.  Sometimes saying no is just as important as saying yes.

“I’ll do it now.” I’m the best at procrastinating and I have a terrible memory. When I put things off, I usually forget about them.

Less:

“I hate.” I need to be a bit more careful in proclaiming my hatred of things, especially things that I don’t actually hate or even really care about.

“I’m starving.”  I’ve never actually been starving a day in my life.  There are people in this world who are without and it’s a huge disrespect to stand in my stocked kitchen and think that I am starving.

“Fatass.” This is my favorite way to slam myself.  Negative self-talk is poison.

“I know.” It’s no secret, I’m a know-it-all.  I don’t mean to be, I just listen to a lot of NPR and watch a lot of documentaries. When someone brings up a topic I have some knowledge in, I want to discuss!  And sometimes in an argumentative style.  While I think a respectful argument can be quite thrilling, sometimes it’s just as thrilling to listen.

rebeccaname

More:
I can/I did.” I may not be able to do everything. I may just NOT do things. But I will focus on what I can do, and what I have done. This is how progress is made.

“You inspire me.” Far to often, the people who inspire us have not idea that they are doing it. A while back, a friend of mine wrote a guest post about how I had inspired her. I was shocked! And touched. So, the people who are my inspirations? Get ready to hear all about it.

“You’re beautiful.” To myself. Because I need to hear it. From me.

Less:

“I can’t/I didn’t” These have been my mantras for far too long. I can’t stick to a diet plan. I didn’t prepare for this race I’m about to run. I can’t be the person I want to be. We have have things we can’t do, things we didn’t do, but these have been my constant state. No more.

“Let’s hang out soon.” This is something I find myself saying a lot, but not acting on nearly often enough. The internet makes it easier to connect with people, even if you don’t see them. But there is a lot to be said for a nice, old-fashioned, sit down conversation. I want more of those. And really, less phone/internet in general is a personal goal for me this year. A favorite author of mine tweeted something a while back. “What if, for my birthday, I gave myself a year off from the internet?” I was both horrified and in love with the idea. So, while NO internet isn’t a reality for me, LESS internet and MORE face to face interaction sounds fabulous. Want to come over?

“Let’s work on being healthier.” This is me, around my house, all the time. Lots of talk about changes to make us healthier as a family. But, it seems to me, the more we talk about it, the less we do about it. It’s time to stop talking about change and start implementing it. I don’t have to say ‘we’re going to have less junk in the house’ to have less junk in the house.

So now it’s your turn! What do you think we should say more of in 2014? Less of?

Chick Chat: Spend a night with the Chicks (and their families!)

You get to see us out and about the town (our towns and other towns) in our race recaps. But we thought we’d take some time to share what we’re doing when we aren’t jet-setting. Which, let’s be honest, is way more often than not!

Cam:

When we’re not scrambling to get baths and make school lunches, we like to play a little non-competitive game!  Yep, we’re a family of gamers, from Candyland to XBOX, the Cam Fam likes to get their game on.

camfam

My kids enjoy games like Kinect adventures or Wii Bowling.  They usually play until they get bored or until one of them loses and blames it on the other one.  I’m more of a First Person Shooter RPG kind of gal, choosing to kick a little zombie ass on Left 4 Dead or taking on dragons in Skyrim.  Once in a while, when we’re feeling classy, we’ll play chess or cribbage.  And we can’t forget Rock Band!  I totally got skills when it comes to playing the fake drums on easy.

Brooke:

I actually can’t remember the last time we had a night “in” as a family! We’re a “work hard, play hard” bunch, so we’re usually out at the local arcade, bowling, at the movies or spending time with friends.

Met some pals at Downtown Disney to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

Met some pals at Downtown Disney to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

The kids love to play board and card games- UNO is a current favorite- but that’s more of a Sunday afternoon activity for us. We also take the cards out to restaurants.

A recent date with J- to celebrate a friend's wedding. Yes, he's working and I'm...happy.

A recent date with J- to celebrate a friend’s wedding. Yes, he’s working and I’m…happy.

On nights that we don’t do family outings, we get those kids in bed early, and Josh and I go out on a date. We love to try new restaurants or visit our favorites; usually a local sushi place or the best Italian restaurant in town (where we’ll be tonight for my birthday!).

Vic:

Hubs and I stay in – a lot. It’s not a bad thing, as our nights in actually save a bunch of dough.

Sure we love a nice meal out, but we both have odd diets and quite honestly, what hubs makes in the kitchen is FAR better than most of what we find in area restaurants. Our typical “Friday night in” scenario involves one or both of us cooking an incredible meal, often using vegetables and herbs from our own garden, paired with Finger Lakes wine for me and some sort of scotch for him. We cook at a leisurely pace on our evenings in, and often, I’ll make a dessert too — banana bread or apple crisp are my favorites. The latest treat was pumpkin bread with chocolate chips… NOM!

Once we have our dinner set to go, we will watch a movie or a DVRed TV show recorded earlier in the week. Who am I kidding, it’s usually Law and Order: SVU.

Mer:

Scouts. Piano lessons. PTO meetings. Late nights at work. It always seems like there’s something to keep us apart, lately. That’s why I love when we actually all get a night in at home together.

There are four in my brood, six if you count our dog and fish. Activities vary but usually include cooking dinner which is most often my task, although my kids love helping in the kitchen. After Jay arrives home (to the sounds of cheers), we eat dinner together and then it’s either “roughhousing” time or games. A lot of that depends on energy levels of the adults!

games

Two of the favorite games of the moment – both are cute and age appropriate for my 4 and 8 year old boys.

We’re a very routine driven family, which helps my kids immensely so once it’s winding down time, they know what to expect:

1. Bath (or shower)

2. Books – These days “books” consists of Little picking out a zillion books and everyone in the family reading to him. And sometimes, he reads to us!

They are obsessed with each other.

They are obsessed with each other. And I can’t get enough of them.

3. Bed

After both boys are in bed, Jay and I usually veg out on the couch with a tv show or movie. We catch up on the afternoon’s events (we’re able to have most lunches together too so we’re really lucky in that respect), chatting as we remember things. And hang out for as long as we can stay awake! 😉

Jess:

Since Bug is still a baby (but not for long, wah!), his bedtime is super early. It’s all we can do to get home, eat dinner, and get him ready for bed. It’s like a sprint to the finish line every night.

Needless to say, when he’s all tucked into his crib, Mister Jess and I sprawl out on our couches and chillax (as the kids call it). We DVR most of our shows, so we’ll catch up on those, watch a movie on OnDemand since our movie theater days are few and far between right now, and just generally bum around.

Once in a blue moon, I’ll go out with friends, but oftentimes I’m tucked into bed by 9:30 PM. That kid of mine is an early riser. We do all our partying at 6 AM!

So there you have it! Bec is off with her fam, spending quality time! What do your nights look like? Who’s family would you fit in with? And we’d like to take a moment to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our October Chicks! Vic’s birthday was last Saturday and Brooke’s is today. Big hugs to you both!