Guest Post: Ana Gets a Medal (and Wine)

I’m back and I’m happy to say I no longer sit the bench on Medal Mondays!

In my previous guest blog, I mentioned registering my sister and I for her first 5K. Looking back, I’m not sure why I did that because she probably hates running more than I do. But if you ever want to learn about someone, you bribe them to do something they don’t like with wine and bling. Oh, the fun we had!

I decided Run the Vineyards Bellview 5k/15k hosted by Good Day for a Run in early September was something we would both laugh through. Assuming the weather would be cooler and the vineyards would be loaded with delectable grapes, I envisioned an entertaining time with awesome big sister.

We had the option of picking up our race packet on the morning of but I couldn’t wait. Our pick up was at Running Co. of Mullica Hill. To my surprise (and my husband’s misfortune), the entire store was 20% off on pick up day! Needless to say, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for new inserts and adding to my wish list. The packet consisted of our bibs and a shirt. We both opted for a tank top instead of the t-shirt.

My sister and I decided we were going to jog/walk this race at her pace because this was her first outside run. Because we have never run together and often dispute our paces, we decided to figure out the intervals once we started moving. This worked out well for us as race day was about 20 degrees colder than the previous days and it rained the entire time. She was comfortable and I was cold. I wanted to run faster and get it done and she wanted to run slower and enjoy the rain. (I’m starting to believe all the stories they told me about being found in a box as a baby.)

This is when I have to give Good Day for a Run credit for a job well done! It had rained nonstop for days leading up to the race. I received countless emails with course conditions and an updated map of the new course. GDFAR did everything possible to keep the runners safe and maintain the feel of running the vineyards.

With the said, we did better than expected on the first half of the race which was on the road. At the halfway point, there was a super fun DJ and water station. We slowed down here as the path took us through the vineyards on the soggy grass.  At this point we decided it was safer to walk this part. This is when I learned that my sister loves rain and finds being out in the rain sexy. She started making plans on how to train outdoors, when our next 5k should be, etc. The smile on her face was worth every raindrop!

After we crossed the finish line, we headed straight to the area with the medals and souvenir wine glasses. There, we were graciously offered KIND bars, Skinny Pop Popcorn, Bark Thins Chocolate, and bottled water. Every vendor had a smile on their face regardless of the rain. With snacks in hand, we made our way to the wine.

Can we talk about wine for a minute? Remarkable reds, wonderous whites, and everything in between! With your race bib, you get one ticket allowing you to taste up to 8 wines and another for a glass of wine. We also had the option of skipping the tasting and getting 2 glasses of wine instead. If you are ever at Bellview Winery, I recommend you try their warm wine with spices. It was described as Thanksgiving meets Christmas in your mouth. It did not disappoint! With our wine in hand, we visited one of the food trucks which was phenomenal! They even had a video game truck. If it hadn’t rained, this  would have been a great race for family spectators of all ages!

Despite the weather, my sister and I had a great time and. I think I created a 5k monster… and I don’t regret it.

Ana Soley is an entrepreneur who opened her own business with her husband, Fast Response Plumbing, LLC She’s having a great time raising 2 kids and 2 stepkids while trying to keep her humble abode from imploding. Loves the outdoors, kayaking, archery, walking the dogs, and hiking. She’s a big fan of a good sweat but hates running. But loves medals!

Race Recap: Run the Vineyards Old Country 5k

I’ve volunteered quite a few times with Good Day for a Run and every time you do, you are awarded a free race entry for your efforts! While chatting with Rachel a few weeks ago, she mentioned she was going to be at this race with the Cancer to 5k program. I put a couple of my entries to good use and registered my older son, Lucas, and myself for the 5k (there’s a 10k option as well).

There is always packet pickup before the races but doing it at the race is just as easy; that’s what I opted to do. Race management is always very communicative leading up to the race and this was no exception. There was a snafu with the shirts for this event, 2017 was printed on the shirts instead of 2018.

Good Day for a Run was upfront about this immediately and handed out the 2017 shirts while promising that we’d be able to get the 2018 shirts once they were in. I just received an email regarding this today and they will have these shirts available at three different Running Co. locations in the South Jersey area for 14 days. I found that to be a great compromise; they definitely made the best of a tough situation!

Additionally, they offer quite a few options with the shirts: men’s cut, woman’s cut, and woman’s tanks.

I didn’t really have a plan going into this race. I haven’t been training, per se, but I haven’t NOT been training. I’m going to the gym twice a week and I run when the mood strikes, but I haven’t been following a regimented training plan. I’m okay with this. It’s helping me not burn out and it’s working for now. Soon I’ll need to step up my game for races I have later this summer.

Meanwhile, Lucas has been training more regularly with running so I knew that he’d probably want to take off nearly immediately. This is a huge difference from his mentality of last summer.

Rachel drove in from PA; she’s currently dealing with a torn meniscus. No bueno. I got a text from her about 20 minutes before the race saying that she was considering not taking part because she just wasn’t feeling it. She was in her car in the parking lot when she sent this text. That’s really not her style so I put on some pressure and told her to meet me and I’d stick with her throughout the course (I might have used slightly more colorful language!).

Sending my 13 year old son ahead might have made me uneasy at other races but not with Good Day for a Run. I knew the course would be well marked and there would be volunteers at all the turns. Additionally I had a few friends that were volunteering at the race so I asked that they look out for him and make sure he was doing okay.

This race benefited Ainsley’s Angels and a large group of Athlete Riders and Angels took part in this race. They lined up first and off they went. After that group, the 5k racers toed the line, followed by the 10k racers. The first stretch of the race went through grass and vineyards. I was able to see my son ahead as we went through the first mile. Rach and I got a little nervous as we saw the 10k runners coming right up behind us, it was tight quarters for the first quarter mile or so within the vineyard. We hugged the right as much as possible to allow the 10k runners by but it was a little difficult to get everyone to follow suit.

The majority of the course was on the road and once we reached that point, the field spread out and everything was good.

Who rocks? Sean, Diana, and G rock!

There was a water station set up a little before mile 2 and the volunteers were my friends so I was able to get the update on my son. Soon after I got the text alert that he finished. Even though these races are shorter distances, they have runner tracking which is appreciated, especially in this circumstance!

We got our photograph link emailed to us later on that day and this picture captures our experience to a T. Smiling, waving, and moving! Thanks to race photographer, Chad!

The last stretch of the race was through the vineyards again. 3.1 therapeutic miles – it was so good to be with Rachel and help her through this race. When we crossed the finish line we were awarded with our Run the Vineyards wine glasses, bottle of water, and KIND bars. Each bib has a wine ticket so you’re able to enjoy a glass of wine right after the race.

The atmosphere after the races is always party-like. There was a food truck and we had chairs and picnics set up.

When they began to announce the age group awards I was only half listening because, well, let’s be honest – I never win any awards. That’s why we nearly missed when Lucas’ name was called for placing third in the M 14 and under age group! What an awesome surprise! Emphasis on surprise.

That’s my kid!

My next race is the Atlantic City Bungalow Beach 5 Miler in a few weeks. The next couple of weeks I’m focusing on the last days of school for my kids and getting ready for summer but I’m hoping to get a few training runs in before that race. Fingers crossed!

Race Recap: The Lucky Run 2018

Lucky me – I won the growler playing the spinning wheel at packet pickup!

Back in the day, when I first started working out in earnest, I did Stroller Strides three times a week at Washington Lake Park. With my older son strapped into his stroller I would briskly walk with a gaggle of other moms and babies. We’d stop for exercises like squats, walking lunges, resistance band exercises, and ab work. And when we’d stop, we sang children’s songs to entertain the kids… and probably the rest of the patrons in the park as well.

As time went on I became a certified instructor; I continued to teach through my pregnancy and then with my younger son in the stroller. It feels like a lifetime ago!

May 12, 2013 – a 5k held on Mother’s Day.

Quite simply, the park feels like home. When I found out that The Lucky Run was held there, it went on my bucket list. Through a series of fortunate events, I won a free entry to this year’s race!

In line with the theme, packet pickup was held at two breweries on the days leading up to the race, along with race day packet pickup for added convenience. Communication from Good Day for a Run and Mean Guy Running was stellar, as is their way. I opted to go to the closest brewery to me: Kelly Green Brewing Co. I (sadly) skipped the beer since I knew I’d be partaking in a post race beer or two the following day.

Race day weather was cool but dry. We’ve seen our share of snow and general yuckiness the last couple of weeks so we were all happy that the sun shining on the day of the race.

Thankfully I was wearing my Greecie Girl hat! Review coming soon.

Prior to running we learned a bit about the charity that the race supports, Collette Paying it Forward. We also got the chance to chat with a few of the charity’s volunteers while they were selling 50/50 raffle tickets. I like races that give back to the community.

Before the race began, I was able to meet up with a few local members of Team Shenanigans, Lynn and Erin! Although I’ve been a fan of the Team Shenanigans podcast for awhile, this was my first shenanigans encounter in person… and hopefully not the last – I don’t think I scared them away! We only had a few minutes prior to the race to talk, but we caught up at the after-party at The Village Pub.

After pictures and shenanigans (you see what I did there) we lined up for the start. We fed through the start line and then self-seeded where we thought we should be. I put myself toward the very back of the pack – in hindsight I might have wanted to find a place a bit further up. The park paths are narrow and it’s hard to maneuver in a large crowd. Lesson learned – I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

After the Star Spangled Banner, we were off to the sounds of a bagpiper!

Thanks to race photographer Chad for this picture!

There are a few areas of the park that tend to flood when there’s been a lot of rain. Knowing where to step for that portion definitely helped me out, but I could tell there were a few runners around me that ended up with wet socks.

The course had a double loop so the lead runners met up with the back of the pack around mile 2. No skin off my back but I could see that being a bit of a challenge for them.

The first mile was crowded but once we got past that, it spread out a bit. There was a water station around mile 1.25, which you passed again in the second mile. Neither my running buddy nor I needed to stop but it’s nice that they have the option! We joked that we were holding out for the beer at the after-party.

After the second loop we veered off to go through the flooded area again. This time is was less critical to know where to step because it wasn’t as dense with runners.

We looped by the amphitheater once again and went through what started at the start line and became the finish line. Results were immediately emailed to my phone.

I don’t know if you remember this if you’re not my mom (hi mom) but my goal for running in 2018 was to get faster at the 5k distance. I didn’t achieve that goal for this race but I’m going to cut myself some slack since my broken arm didn’t do me any favors in the training department. At this point, I’m really just happy to be out there and running. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Knowing that we didn’t win any awards, we quickly headed over to the after-party at The Village Pub. Erin and Lynn arrived there a bit ahead of us and grabbed a table, which was absolutely awesome. We were able to chat there while snacking on our complimentary munchies and drinking our beer (also free with ticket on the bib). Then since we were there, we decided to grab more snacks… and more beer! Hey, why not?!

One of the things I love the most about running local is catching up with so many friends! It’s such a good time and this environment only lends to the experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Good Day for a Run and Mean Guy Running know what runners enjoy!

I hope I’m finding my 5k groove because I’ll be at the Haddonfield Adrenaline Run on Saturday and then I’ll be representing BibRave at the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k in Philadelphia in early April so if you’re looking for me, look for the orange! If you haven’t signed up for that one yet, use code ““BRHCPHILLY18” to score a bonus Hot Chocolate cap.

What races do you have coming up? Will I see any of you at the Adrenaline Run or Philly Hot Chocolate? We can share snacks. Just kidding, I won’t share!

The Light Run

Back in October I boldly stated that I was done running any sort of race for the year. I think I truly meant it until I heard that the registration for The Light Run was open.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” (name that movie!)

Along with my friend Beth, we registered on the spot!

The Light Run is a fun run co-sponsored by local running pals Good Day for a Run and MEAN GUY Running. The run is not timed and winds through the streets of Pitman, New Jersey. You get an ornament and a really great experience with a fun after-party at nearby Carolina Blue.

The cost for this? A mere $12 and if you’d like to, a donation of a toy at check-in that goes to local charities the Robin’s Nest and The Kids Caring Foundation. I’m pretty sure it sells out every year because who could resist a deal like that?

Since it’s not a closed course they ask that you stay mostly on the sidewalks and follow pedestrian laws. Once we started running we figured out where we should be in the pack and made our way through the fairly quiet streets of Pitman.

Every turn was clearly marked with a sign and cones and there were a few volunteers out on the course to wave runners in the right direction as well.

Most of my runs take place in the morning so it was a little weird for me to be out at 6:30pm, running a 5k, but it was also so much fun!

Beth ordered us Christmas light necklaces and I also wore my Tracer360 light vest, along with my Knuckle Lights. I’m so glad I had the Knuckle Lights on because there were a few areas where the sidewalk was heaved and without them, I’m pretty sure I would have tripped. #klutzstatus

Along with our lights galore, we also wanted to be comfy temperature wise! I actually love running in the winter weather but staying warm beforehand is always something I struggle with. I was fairly comfy in running tights, Pro Compression socks, a long-sleeved running shirt, a sub-zero jacket,  BUFF® hat and headwear, gloves, and um, more gloves.

Yes, I doubled up on the gloves and also added hand warmers in the mix too. I like keeping my hands warm and toasty.

We circled around the streets of Pitman, oohing and ahhing at the houses we saw along the way. There were so many pretty ones!

During the second half of the run, we went to the piece de resistance, the Hagerty Family Christmas Lights, which is in its 32nd year. I wasn’t expecting to see Santa there since it was a Wednesday but I guess there was a bit of magic in the air!

This was Beth’s first non-family 5k and I’m so glad that we got to do it together! It was lovely and as long as The Light Run exists, I’ll be out there in December running it (so remind me of that the next time that I say I’m done with running for the year, okay?).

Are you a fan of checking out holiday decorations and lights? Do you go by car? Walking tour? My family and I love to drive around and look at everyone’s decorations closer to Christmas too – it’s one of the things we always look forward to!

Race Recap: Run the Vineyards Destination Enoteca

The Run the Vineyards series, put on by a Good Day for a Run, is a favorite of mine. You might have noticed that I talk about them… A LOT. That’s because they are probably the most local to me race company and also, and this is important, because they are awesome.

I often volunteer for their events; it’s a great way to give back to the running community. I’ve also done the Heritage Vineyards 5 miler, twice. After volunteering through the summer and early fall – I decided that it was time to run and the 5k at Auburn Road Vineyards (Enoteca is explained here) worked out well with timing in my schedule.

With over twenty Run the Vineyards events, this race series has their races down to a science when it comes to preparing and having everything covered for their runners.

They keep the races manageable for the locations in terms of field size and parking. Packet pickup is either at the local running store (Mullica Hill Running Company) or race morning. And they always have FREE photos!

The weather wasn’t looking fantastic for race morning and for a brief moment, as I listened to a downpour of rain on the roof of my house, I even considered skipping the event. However, I had a friend that I was meeting up with and I’m not really one to let a little (or a lot of) rain scare me away. While overcast, the rain showers moved out for the actual race.

Thankful for Erin meeting up with me!

This is the third year this race has been run and it begins running through the vineyard (vines on both sides/grass) which leads to a dirt road. From what I understand the course was slightly different than the previous two years. I asked a few people who had run the race before and they liked this course better. We had the opportunity to run through two sections of vineyards, which was neat! There was a water station in the middle of the race, which we passed twice in case more water was necessary.

The t-shirts were long sleeves tech shirts although this series has a variety of options when it comes to shirts. I’ve gotten tech t-shirts, tanks, and long sleeves from them – depending on what race and what season I’m running.

Thanks to photographer Chad for this shot!

As you cross the finish line there’s a bottle of water offered to each runner, a KIND bar, and the Run the Vineyards wineglass. The results are immediately emailed to you, as you cross the finish line.

On each race bib there’s a tear-away ticket for wine from the host vineyard, putting the wineglass to good use right away! I went with the Good Karma red blend from Auburn Road vineyard. Erin and I grabbed seats inside near the musician, ordered a cheese plate, and enjoyed the morning after the run.

Run the Vineyards is always an occasion – it’s never rushed, it’s really easy-going and relaxed, after the running portion, of course. We got to watch the awards given out to overall winners (a bottle of wine and a medal), and age group awards (medals).

Overall, a great time, as usual. I’m already signed up for the 5 miler in the spring and I’m scouting out the races that fit into my schedule to volunteer at!

Tell me about your favorite local races. Have you ever run at a vineyard? What do races offer that make you return time and time again?

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!

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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

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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!

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?