It’s Fall Y’all

Actually, if we are being technical, it’s the 5th day of fall.

It doesn’t FEEL like fall here in the Northeast, and I kinda sorta absolutely have been slacking on blogging the majority of summer. Usually I blog about what my family is up to and how training is going and well, I just didn’t do any of that this summer. THEREFORE, it only seems right that I share a quick wrap-up of summer with the Daniels.

First off, there are two non-profits that I throw my everything into and this summer was no exception.

The Bullock Garden Project, Inc.

I am a board member for the Bullock Garden Project, Inc. which is dedicated to promoting and assisting in building school gardens.

Having formed BGP two years ago, it is still in its infancy stages. I’ve been its Director of Social Media and Communication from the get-go. We’re trying to figure out what works (and what doesn’t). At the beginning of the summer, CEO Sonya and I started a podcast at it’s been fantastic, consuming, and a whole lot of fun.

We have big ideas and upcoming projects – it’s been a learning experience all the way around and one that I’m loving!

Healthy Kids Running Series – Mullica Hill/Mantua

This is my 4th season as a coordinator for the Healthy Kids Running Series (HKRS) of my town and the first time that I have a co-coordinator.

Which just makes me wonder… WHY DIDN’T I HAVE A CO-COORDINATOR BEFORE? We bounce ideas off of each other and check in to make sure we’re both on the same page. I’m actually able to breathe during the races!

With nearly 200 runners this fall, it’s important to have that type of environment!  There’s a lot of planning and moving pieces at each of our 5 race events; it’s time-consuming but the reward is so great.

Besides non-profit work, summer is always a great time to spend with friends and family! The City Fit Girls Fit Retreat is held each August and I was excited to be there again for another year.

New favorite tank top: Empowered Women Empower Women! (Yes, yes, yes!)

Thanks to @cityfitgirls @fitretreat #FitRetreatPHL for the photos!

Stretching with my meatball, Rachel! Thanks to @cityfitgirls @fitretreat #FitRetreatPHL for the photos!

I even won a Patagonia wayfarer pack from The Circuit Trails! Thanks to @cityfitgirls @fitretreat #FitRetreatPHL for the photos.

At the end of August we took our family vacation – a road trip to MAINE to visit Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, and family!

Swimming at Sand Beach. The water rarely exceeds 55 degrees but there was some betting involved with the grandpas and the kids and in they went. Anything for $20!

We went on a lobster boat and also got to see adorable seals sunbathing on the rocks. (Yes, I wanted to take all the seals home with us.)

But we have a “land seal” in Gemma so I suppose she’ll do!

We did an amazing family hike around Jordan Pond (including our pup, who came with us) and surprisingly, everyone actually enjoyed experience! Not naming any names but we have done hikes where this is not the case…

We also went up to the peak of Cadillac Mountain, that was a drive, not a hike. Reminder that if you’re riding with someone how has a fear of heights, it might not be the best idea to have them driving.

(Looking at you, dad.) (Totally naming names here.)

After our trip, we started school a week later. To be clear, the boys started back, not me but I feel like it’s a WE type of event. A few weeks later, my parents who live with us for the summer went back home to Florida.

And now…

NOW…

NOW, I’m finally back into my ROUTINE. I enjoy the summer days but oh my word, there’s a lot of things I’m not in control of and that is a struggle for me.

I know and accept this about myself. 

Welcome fall!

Does This Spark Joy?

You can’t go anywhere lately without hearing about Marie Kondo and the KonMari minimalist method.

My husband and I have started applying it to everything in life. We jokingly ask “Does that spark joy?” while holding bills (they don’t, by the way), snuggling our dog (she definitely does), and we literally spark joy in our dry house when we give each other hugs and kisses.

You know what else has been sparking joy for me?

Running.

Team Run856 – photo credit Chad Finley

This is so, so important. I’ve been running for 8 years now and you know, there’s nothing like a new running relationship. 8 years ago, everything was brand-new and exciting.

I talked about running non-stop.

I was overly cautious when registering for races but quickly got over that.

I asked a million questions and looked for my niche in the running community.

I encouraged everyone to join me in running because running brought me such a sense of accomplishment and I wanted them to experience the same. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t/didn’t spark joy in all of those people.)

My first run, the Down n Dirty 5k. While being with friends sparked joy, being muddy did NOT.

But like so many things in life, after a certain amount of time, that brand new feeling wore off. It would have been very, very easy to say thank you, next.

However, lately it’s been good. It’s sparking an incredible amount of joy. My runs have been going well and I’ve been healthy, both mentally and physically. *knock on wood*

This past weekend, I did a 2 mile race known as The Chili Run. I’ve done it for the past three years and while it’s challenging because it’s hilly, it’s also incredible because it’s ONLY 2 MILES.

You guys, I PRed by nearly 2 minutes. It’s amazing what a PR can do for your confidence levels. I’ve been on cloud nine since Saturday.

I’ve had the opportunity to run with one of my favorites, Rachel, for a few longer runs. She’s a friend that works with me, pace wise and connection wise. Being together, running or otherwise, sparks joy!

The long runs help because I’m gearing up for spring races representing Team BibRave:

305 Half in Miami on March 3rd
Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k in Philadelphia on April 6th
NJ Marathon 5k on April 27th

With my buddy, Heather, at the HKRS Conference in January. She received Best New Series and I got the Social Media Presence award!

Furthermore, I’m returning for another season as the Healthy Kids Running Series coordinator for my local series which starts at the end of March. I love this non-profit so much; it’s a great way to motivate children and to be active in the community.

I’m surrounded by so much good and all of that goodness sparks joy! Everything is going according to plan, nice and tidy.

Have a great Wednesday!

Fall Racing Time!

Okay, okay, I know it’s not technically fall yet. But for goodness sake, can we let people enjoy their fall race planning (and pumpkin spice lattes) in peace? YES, WE CAN!

I’ve got some great races lined up for the fall… and beyond, because HELLO, planner right here! What’s on the agenda? Right this way!

september

The Bird-in-Hand half marathon is this Saturday! I’ll be driving to Lancaster County, PA with Rachel and Katie for this weekend’s race. I expect hills, heat, and beautiful views to make up for the hills and heat. Oh, and check out these medals!

 

Okay, okay, I’m not actually running in any of the Healthy Kids Running Series races but I AM the coordinator for my town’s location! This is my second season as a coordinator and I’m looking forward to encouraging and inspiring children to get outside and find the joy in running.

Being that these races are on Sunday evenings, I COULD run my own local races on Sunday mornings but after last spring I realized that it was a bit too much to handle for one day. Therefore Sundays from September 16th through October 14th are dedicated to HKRS.

october

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Reebok Boston 10k for Women as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

That said, if I WERE to run October 8th, I’d really love to run the Reebok Women’s 10k in Boston, MA. Why? Well, because then I’d be able to visit BEC. Also because I love the 10k distance. I haven’t run a women’s race in awhile but I do love the camaraderie and support that happens during these events.

I don’t have Boston Marathon dreams, but this seems like an attainable race! My race bucket list is growing by the day.


Disclaimer: I received free entries to the Scooby Doo Virtual Series as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I might not be able to travel to many races this fall but I’m stoked to participate with my best 4-legged friend, Gemma in the first ever Scooby-Doo Virtual Series! Doo Good is the September race while the Scoobtober 5k/10k takes place during October. A portion of registrations go toward supporting the Best Friends Animal Society.

Want to join in the fun? Use code BIBRAVE and save 10% on registration.

Remember up above when I said how much I love the 10k distance? I’m returning to my favorite 10k on October 20th, the Atlantic City Race Series.

This is one that I usually participate in every fall and while I haven’t done a training run in Atlantic City in awhile, I can’t wait to return for this event!

The day after the AC 10k, I’ll be heading to north Jersey for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer walk. No, this is not a race in the traditional sense but I’ll do what I can to support finding a cure for breast cancer and support a dear college friend!

november

My first road race in 2011 was the Rothman 8k during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend and I’ll be returning once more on Saturday, November 17th. The 4.97 mile course is fun because it’s a different distance than the norm and there will be a lot of familiar faces there! It’s a great way to get some true fall miles in the weekend before Thanksgiving.

looking ahead

My son has already asked if we’ll be returning to The Light Run in DecemberAs soon as the registration for that opens, we’ll be joining in the fun.

And of course, in 2019 I’ve already got the Hot Chocolate Philly 5k on my race docket, thanks to Bib Rave. If you want to join me for that, register here AND if you use the code BRHCPhilly when you register you’ll receive awesome EXTRA swag, the Hot Chocolate Armband for your phone/tunes.

Will I see you at any of these? What race are you looking forward to?

What We Do When We’re Not Scooting

It’s hard to believe but Scoot a Doot has been in existence since 2013! When we aren’t Scooting our Doots, we can be found putting our time and effort toward other notable endeavors. Like what, you ask? Well…

A few years ago I got involved with the Bullock Children’s Garden at my younger son’s school. We have since moved to a different school district but remain involved with the Bullock Garden, as it’s something that is near and dear to my heart.

Therefore when my friend and gardening mentor, Sonya Harris started the Bullock Garden Project, Inc., a non-profit that assists in bringing gardens to schools, I was 100% on board. In fact, we just helped the new school my son is in with their Reimagination Garden. I absolutely love being on the board of the BGP and helping with the social media/marketing aspects. It’s not only personally enjoyable, it’s also rewarding to see the kids getting so much from the gardens that they help create.

My children during the recent garden build. At this point they’re just like – what has mom signed us up for now? Ha!

I’ve been asked (by more than one person) if I’m a teacher. Maybe it’s because many of my friends are teachers? Anyway, no, I’m not.

At least, not in the traditional sense. I used to teach Stroller Strides, which was a workout class for moms with kiddos in strollers. These days, I’m the coordinator for the non-profit Healthy Kids Running Series – Mullica Hill/Mantua.

It’s perfect because it combines two things that I love: running and kids. Oh, and being in charge. The Healthy Kids Running Series is something I’d heard about over the years (my location started in 2015 with different coordinators).

When I took over as coordinator for this spring, it became a family affair. It is not a one-person show and I have no delusions that I could do it alone. My support system consists of my family and an awesome group of volunteers and sponsors – and that’s important when you have over 250 kids to manage!

Planning for the fall has already begun and I’m looking forward to introducing more kids to the love of running!

I started a personal blog when I turned thirty. I wrote about life, teaching, books, and my new found running obsession. When I started writing for Scoot, I turned it into a blog about teaching. There’s always plenty to say about the best job ever. My feelings are all over thisgirlashteaches.blospot.com.

I also grew from that blog been writing and rambling about books for about three years. I’ve always loved to read and I also love to talk about books. I could talk about books all day. Of course, not everyone wants to hear me wax poetic about what I’m reading, so I started typing is all up. You can find my randomness at www.thisgirlashreadsstuff.com. As you can see, I’m really serious about it.

For my birthday this month, I decided to fundraise for Planned Parenthood. PP is doing work that so many women (and men) in our country depend on for their overall health. They provide safe access to abortion services as well as birth control, STI/STD screenings, cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, and treatment for a number of other health issues.


The Trump Administration is working hard to take access to this healthcare away from us. With a new gag rule, he and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar are now trying to make it official government policy. The gag rule is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights. Period. The new gag-rule announced this week would block patients from care at Planned Parenthood, and it would prohibit medical providers across the country from being able to refer their patients for safe, legal abortion.Women must be able to have agency over their bodies and be able to control their own health. We don’t live in Gilead… yet. Let’s keep fighting to make sure we never do.
Parkland. Santa Fe. Las Vegas. Newtown. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Thurston. 
This list goes on and on and on. Add these to the growing number of black men and women that have been unlawfully killed by police? It’s evident we have a gun violence problem in our country. I’m ready to change that. Don’t at me. 
For years, my main hobby was showing dogs and educating folks about responsible dog ownership and ethical breeding. It was a fun ride, but as my dogs aged and my hubby and I got sick and tired of the politics of showing, we retired and stepped away from our officer roles with the Rocky Mountain Pug Dog Club. It was time to try new things.

Me and my Archie, CH Palace’s Brocade in Blue, raking in the points!

Honestly, 97% of my time these days is dedicated to finishing my house. The other three percent is reserved for pursuing my dream of becoming a published author, and leading the writing critique group I co-founded, Tall Pines Fiction Writers. We meet every other Wednesday to support, commiserate, and provide feedback on one another’s work. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. I love reading and excelled in English and literature classes in school but never tried to write fiction. My boyfriend (now husband) kept telling me I should write because I love to read. He didn’t really get that the two are not the same thing at all.

In 2009, I decided to write a short story for a contest online. I sent it off, nervous because I knew my technical skills needed a lot of work.  With the help of a great editor who became one of my best friends, I won the canon category of the contest! Yes, it was a Twilight fan fiction story. Judge me all you want, I regret nothing. It sounds silly, but winning that contest changed my life. It taught me that maybe I had what it took to really be a writer. Since then, I’ve published two short stories!

There is nothing quite so special as seeing your name in print in a real book that wasn’t published by your friend’s indie publishing house.

Right now, I’m focused on finishing the first draft of my young adult paranormal sci-fi novel, and trying to learn about the publishing business. I launched a website earlier this year,  Author J.L. Perez, where you can follow along on my crazy writing adventure, and I’m on Twitter at @Author_JLPerez. I’d love to see you over there!
That’s what we’ve got going on these days! We’d love to hear about what you are up to so please, leave links for us in the comments and we’ll swing by. 

Get Up and Go! Healthy Kids Running Series

My kids really like playing outside with our neighbors.

They also really like their video games.

I can’t fault them for this and I can’t even say “kids these days” as I sit here at my computer, typing this blog entry. We all enjoy technology and when the winter months of the Northeast slowly drag along, the comforts of being inside far outweigh the dreary, frigid days.

However, we’ve been seeing hints of spring over the last week. We had two beautiful days when I wore a t-shirt and capris and got to soak in some much needed vitamin D.

On those days, as soon as homework was done my kids were out the door, running around and playing. I actually felt bad calling them in when we had to go to karate, piano, Scouts, or whatever else was on the agenda.

Which is why I am extremely excited for the Healthy Kids Running Series. And, I’m even more excited because I’m the new coordinator for our location here in New Jersey!

A friend of mine was the coordinator in the fall and thought that I would be a good match for taking over in the Spring… and here I am! Encouraging kids and making running fun is something that I try to do on a daily basis ANYWAY, so it’s a natural fit.

Plus, as I’m sure many of you know, I’m a Type A planner. Being a HKRS coordinator is a planner’s dream. I get to have lists and deadlines! Being that it is a non-profit I get to work with sponsors for the location and meet people within my community. But best of all, I get to spread the love of running to children. While it’s a 5 week race series, the emphasis is on FUN.

The adult running community in our area is a great one, full of inspiration and motivation. Run856 encourages all of its members, the focus isn’t on a pace but rather the community aspect. It took me until adulthood to enjoy running and see its benefits. I’d like the kids to find the fun sooner rather than later!

My goal is to show the kids the running community includes them and that together we can win OUR races. It might not as the first person to cross the finish line but by showing up, bettering ourselves, and cheering for our friends we all excel.

I’m sure I’ll have stories along the way and I can’t wait to experience my first event when I’m actually working with the kids and parents on April 8th. Stay tuned!