Volunteering at Run the Vineyards Wagonhouse 10 Miler

This past weekend was the Broad Street Run – a 10 mile race that takes place on Broad Street in Philadelphia.

However, this post isn’t about that 10 mile race!

When I didn’t get into the Broad Street Run via the lottery system, I was bummed for a few days. Then I settled on the fact that it wasn’t meant to be this year and quickly shook off my disappointment.

I decided that if I wasn’t going to be running, I could and should volunteer my time at a local race. Good Day for a Run hosts their Run the Vineyards series at a local vineyard winery and knowing that, I clicked the volunteer form and signed up! The previous weekend I ran their 5 miler and as I am a “professional philanthropist” I was very much looking forward to lending a hand.

The race director, Ken, and his wife, Beth, are great with communication and for me, communication is key. I’m a planner and Type A to the extreme so I want to know everything. About a week prior to the event I heard from Beth with instructions of what time I should be at the site (7:45, the race began at 9am) and where to head once I got there.

Immediately after arriving at 7:45am, I found Beth at the bib pickup table. While last week’s 5 mile event had over 650 runners, this one was capped at 120, due to the space the vineyard had to host the runners at the after party. There was a bib pickup the previous day at the local Running Co. however many opted to get their bibs the morning of the race. I grabbed a spot at the table and jumped right in handing out bibs to runners.

For the next hour there was a steady flow of runners getting their bibs, checking out the course map, and asking general questions. Local races are always good for seeing familiar faces and while I didn’t know anyone personally, I did recognize people from other events.

You know when you enter an established crew of people and you’re never sure if you’ll fit in? The potential for it to be awkward is high. Thankfully that was NOT the case! Beth and the other volunteers (who were seasoned pros!) were so warm and welcoming, I felt like I knew them for years.

Once the race began we knew we’d have at least an hour and change, which is when we set up the tables for post-race which held water, KIND bars, soft pretzels, finisher’s glasses and medals.

The weather was not consistent at all – there were moments of sunshine but it was mostly cloudy and occasionally a brief shower came out of seemingly nowhere so we wanted to make sure that everything was covered (rain and soft pretzels do not go well together). We wanted everything to be just right for the runners when they crossed the finish line.

Once the runners started to come toward the finish area, we all stationed ourselves at different locations.

There was an area where you could very well turn and go to the finish, but there was a last little loop through the vineyards. I stood right at that area and clapped for everyone as I pointed them in the right direction.

I got a lot of smiles, a few people pulled their earbuds out so they could hear me, and I heard a lot of groans, too. “But the finish line is RIGHT THERE!” Oh, do I know that feeling all too well!

I’ve volunteered at a few races during my time as a runner and I have to say that this was far and away the most enjoyable atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. While I might not have gotten to run down Broad Street with 40,000 people, I can honestly say that this is where I was meant to be on Sunday morning. Other than being cold and having to wrap myself in my dog’s WALL-E car blanket, I loved every moment!

Another perk to volunteering for the Run the Vineyards races, besides feeling really good about helping out? I scored an entry to a future race! Now which one should I choose?

You know what I’m going to say here, don’t you? Considering volunteering for a race? DO IT! Haven’t considered volunteering for a race? Well, I hope you are now because it is absolutely worth it!

Next race for me is Ragnar PA! After Ragnar I’ve got a break on my race calendar until September when I return with the Shenandoah half and Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia. Who will I see where?

Mary Poppin Bottles – Run the Vineyards Heritage 5 Miler

You might have noticed that I’m a girl who likes to run for food and drink.

Yes, medals are awesome however throw in a beer, chocolate, chili, ice cream, WINE, and I’m yours. I suppose many runners are like that and the folks at Good Day for a Run know it!

Heritage Vineyards is located 2.4 miles from my house and hosts festivals and other events throughout the year, including the Run the Vineyards 5 Miler. Run the Vineyards is a series put on by Good Day for a Run and has events at over 20 vineyards in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Last year I registered for the race at the coaxing of friends and quickly fell in love with everything about the race. It’s a challenging course but also familiar as it’s right near my home. The packet pickup is at the local Running Co. AND if you pick up your packet there (rather than race morning) you can save 20% on anything in the store. Guess who has a new pair of Mizunos! Moi!

My time from last year was 1:01:48 and I was pretty pleased with that once I saw the course and the terrian. It’s got grass, it’s got sand, it’s got a bit of road, and it’s got tons of rolling hills. The goal for this year was to beat last year’s time and if I managed to get under an hour, even better!

Kate, Brandi, and myself! We’ve been friends since our kids were in strollers.

This event sells out every year so I made sure to register early, back in the fall of 2016. My bro in law and sis in law made the trek down from Central Jersey to watch my younger son while I ran; we planned to picnic and hang out at the race after party, filled with music and fun running themed booths.

The race began at 9am and due to a rough start, my fam rolled into my driveway at 8:48. Normally I would have been freaking out but I knew that we would still get there with time to spare. I jumped out of the car as we arrived (8:52), found my friends (8:55), and was ready to run at 9am. How’s that for timing?!

There was no official corrals, so the 655 runners had to place themselves in the spot where they thought they’d fair best.

It’s difficult because the first stretch of the race is narrow and if you don’t put yourself in the right area, you risk either going out too fast or holding up people around you. I think I did pretty well placing myself this year and tried to be mindful of the people around me.

The first mile. Thanks to Chad at Photo Runner!

Ya’ll know that free race photos rank high up there on my list of things I love to see at races and the Run the Vineyards races not only has them but they’re ready for download the day of the race.

I had my phone tucked into my BibRave Buff on my wrist so I didn’t take many pictures at this race. When there’s a professional out there capturing the day, there’s no need!

My Garmin was a little off from the mile markers, reading about .06 behind. Interestingly, my first two miles were the exact same pace (11:45) but my legs were feeling tired, which didn’t bode well for the next 3 miles. The hills seemed to be non-stop and while the day was perfect in terms of weather (gray skies and 66 degrees), the pollen count must have been high and I was feeling it.

There were three water stops so I grabbed a cup of water at the second and third ones in an attempt to ease my throat (no dice).

Miles 3 and 4, I clocked in at exactly 12:27. Way to be consistent, huh?

The last mile consisted of one last hill, a nice downhill, and then a few more turns around the trail. I heard the announcer say “these runners are going to come in at just under an hour” and that was all it took for me to hit the gas!

Thanks to Chad for making me laugh – “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the wine go down!”

I crossed the line at 59:36, which means that I got a PR of over a minute! Woohoo!

My sister is law is the best, isn’t she?

Immediately after I finished my son gave me a hug, let me know that I was sweaty, and then requested that I buy him pizza.

At 10:00 in the morning.

So I did.

Because if I could drink my free wine from my finishers wine tumbler, he could surely eat pizza. After all, fair is fair.

This coming weekend I’ll be giving back and volunteering at the Run the Vineyards Wagonhouse 10 Miler and I can’t wait!

My next running adventure comes a month from now when I’ll be at my first ever RAGNAR. Holy moly. However I have some fun travel plans lined up for mid-May, too!

Keeping Busy in the New Year


As with every new year, plans are made, goals are set, and we all strive to make this one be the best one yet!

This year has started off with me doing the Ragnar 30 Day Challenge. And starting Focus T25. And committing to another round of the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. (You’ll notice those last two are two competing companies. See me, caring not.)

Of course, I’m continuing my 2 times a week weight training session and running, too. Running in December sort of fell by the wayside but I need to start stepping it up again.

Because races.

There are SO MANY RACES that I have on my radar. I would love to do them all and I suppose eventually I will; however, these are the ones that have made the schedule for the first half of 2017. There are a couple of newbies along with a few tried and true. February and May are empty as of right now… but there’s always last minute additions (Broad Street?).

january

There aren’t too many races to be found in my area in January, which is why I’m stoked for this one! Local race organizers, Good Day For A Run have two dates for this race, January 29th (I’ll be at that one) and February 11th. I’ve had this race on my radar for a couple of years now for several reasons.

  1. It’s right down the street from my house. (It was right down the street from my old house too!)
  2. It’s a 2 mile chipped event. I’ve never run a 2 mile race before! Have you? The quirky distance definitely has me intrigued.
  3. It starts and ends at one of my favorite restaurants. And after the race? There’s chili and beer!
  4. The swag is unique – a CHILI BOWL.
  5. My buddy, Rachel, is coming down to run with me!

I’ll keep you posted with how it goes!

march

In March is a tried and true race, the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k. This event is hosted by our local South Jersey Running Company which fosters a great sense of community within our local runners. Minus last year, I’ve participated in this race since 2012. This is the only race that my husband looks forward to each year so it basically goes without saying in our house that we are going to register.

We always see a large group of friends at this race and the party that’s held at the Haddonfield Running Company after is a good time. This is one of the few 5ks that I’ve done that have finisher medals (and they’re awesome) as well as Brooks race shirts.

My PR from this race has been my 5k PR since the first year I participated. This year needs to be the year that I finally beat it on March 18th.

Here’s a couple of past race recaps, if you’re interested: 2012, 20142015

april

This is when things start ramping up!

April 1st (which just happens to be my 40th birthday, btw), I’ll be running the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philly for the very first time!

I’ve had my eye on this race since Brandi did a guest post for us in 2015. The swag looks awesome: a medal, hoodie, chocolate mug and goodies at the finish… plus I’m getting a visor because I used the BibRave code: BRPhillyHC.

I’m running with honorary Chick, Christina. Christina is celebrating her 40th birthday just before mine so we’ve declared this a joint birthday celebration!

Side note: Christina will be representing Scoot a Doot at the Disney Marathon this coming weekend! If you want to follow along, swing by the Scoot a Doot Facebook page.

April 23rd marks the 6th time I’ll be running the April Fools Half Marathon. So what keeps me coming back to this race? It’s flat and usually a lot of fun. I do training runs in Atlantic City so it’s familiar territory and through the years they’ve added things like free race photos and an awesome finish line village, complete with free beer.

I’ve run this race since its inauguration and since it switched dates to later in the month, I’m able to do both the Hot Chocolate 15k and this race. Win all around!

Blast from the past?Here’s last year’s recap.

Rounding out April, I’ll be running another Good Day For A Run race, the Heritage Vineyards 5 Miler. I participated in this race last year for the first time and it was absolutely perfect, which is why I’m returning for a repeat! It’s just down the road from my house (in the other direction from the Chili Run) and it’s an easy race for me. Easy packet pickup, easy drinking wine, etc.

The swag isn’t shabby either: a race shirt, free photos (I love free race photos – it should be standard!), a wine tumbler and wine ticket. People bring snacks or buy them from the multitude of food trucks and make a day out of it! If the weather cooperates, that’s my plan!

june

Ah, Ragnar. I don’t want to say that this is the most important race but it’s definitely the one that has been on my bucket list the longest amount of time and also I’m quite sure will be the most physically challenging.

I’ve been talking about participating in a Ragnar since Cam first told me about it back in 2011. She’s blogged about Ragnar many times on Scoot a Doot and each time I sighed longingly because I wanted to run long distances and hang out with smelly people in a van, too!

When Ragnar announced that their Pennsylvania race would be returning in 2017, I knew this was it: the Ragnar that was meant for me! June 2nd-3rd I’ll be running with 11 teammates past horse-drawn buggies and into the Poconos (those are mountains for those who aren’t familiar with the regional).

That’s what on tap for me for the next six months, race wise! Everything from a 2 mile race to a relay with three legs of varying degrees of distances/difficulty. It will be fun, right?

What do you have on your agenda for the first half of 2017? Will I see you at any of these events?

Run the Vineyards 5 Miler

runthevineyard1

This is the race that almost wasn’t for me. I signed up on a whim after seeing friends talking about it on Facebook and promptly forgot that I signed up for it.

And then remember.

And then forgot again.

And then got an email about the event and re-remembered.

To say I’ve been a little preoccupied would be an extreme understatement. We’re selling our home. We’re buying a new home. Our entire family was in the best wedding of 2016 (not biased, just saying). And oh yes, I was a chairperson of the Color-A-Thon fundraiser at my kiddo’s elementary school, which was held on Saturday.

Anyway, what was I saying?

Oh yes, Run the Vineyards 5 miler was one that sounded really great when I signed up for it but then with all that’s going on, I was second-guessing my decision.

But… packet pick-up was at my favorite local Running Co.the race was held practically in my backyard at Heritage Vineyard, and some of my favorite local friends were going to be there. Not to mention the best part, WINE AT THE END. Hello. All the second-guessing was for naught. I was in!

IMG_3707

Brandi and Kate LOVE this race and were the ones who suggested I check it out. Thanks girls!

When I heard that it was partially road but mostly trail running, I got a touch of the nerves. Beat the Blerch NJ showed me just how much of a trail runner I am NOT. I really didn’t want a repeat of that experience. Kate and Brandi both reassured me, multiple times, that it wasn’t going to be anything like that which helped calm me down.

The race had about 600 runners, which felt like the perfect amount. I strategically placed myself among what I hoped would be similarly paced folks and hoped for the best. My goal was to run the first mile and then fall into 1:1 intervals, 1 minute walk/1 minute run.

Thankfully, I actually got my corral placement right because within the first mile, there wasn’t much room to do a lot of bobbing and weaving. This area was all dirt/grass trails and the smell of farm animals wafted through the air.

Soon we turned onto paved roads, which lasted for 2-ish miles. I loved this portion of the race because it was right near the house that we are moving into in just a few short weeks!

IMG_3711

It’s really easy to forget just how beautiful New Jersey can be, but runs like this help you to remember.

IMG_3712

FullSizeRender (8)

Soon after we saw the Heritage Vineyards sign, we took a turn off the road and actually through rows and rows of vineyards. There were volunteers placed along this portion of the route to make sure we didn’t take a wrong turn.

Tell me more about this wine you speak of.

Tell me more about this wine you speak of.

As a wine (drinking) expert, it was really neat to see all the different grapes and signs for each.

I ran without music, something I’ve been doing more of recently, and just took in the sights and sounds.

We weaved through more of the vineyard and by this time the field had spread out a bit so there was plenty of room to open up with running.

IMG_3714

And also take pictures without risking myself or others.

Did I mention the fact that I was feeling really good the entire course? Pushing on the run intervals, I was able to keep a pretty consistent pace. I had a goal of finishing in an hour, which would put me at a solid 12 minute mile. It’s not my best but it’s given the terrain, I figured it would be achievable.

I was warned about a hill near the end of the race. I don’t feel like you can get the full grasp of the angle from the picture, it was definitely a bit more intense than the other hills throughout the course.

I kept going with my 1:1 intervals and motored up the hill. Eh, it felt like I was motoring anyway.

IMG_3716

After this there was only about a half mile to go before the race was over and the majority of it was downhill, so I picked up the pace a bit more and crossed the finish line at an hour… and one minute. I missed my time goal by one measly minute. Figures!

Immediately after crossing the finish line, I ran into more friends; another perk of a local race. Friendly faces everywhere!

I got my finisher’s “medal”… a wine tumbler! Of course, I took advantage of my wine ticket.

IMG_3725

Jersey Blue

Busy Bee Brandi had to leave for another engagement but Kate and I planted ourselves on the ground and enjoyed our wine while catching up with one another. It was a Good Day For A Run, for sure, and I can’t wait for another.

IMG_3719

You can find me this Sunday running with 40,000 of my closest friends at Broad Street in Philly. What race do you have next? How’s training going? Have you ever chaired a fundraising event?