Run for Rowan 5k

When I first started running in 2011 I looked for races that would entice me to run because, to be honest, running was not enticement enough. Shirts, medals, runner camaraderie? That’s what I was looking for. That’s what I needed.

Meeting up with friends, traveling, eating, and a side of running. It was more about the first three and the running just gave me the excuse. Mud runs, Disney races in both California and Florida, Color Runs, I was drawn to them all. The further from New Jersey, the better!

I came to enjoy running somewhere along the way and within the past year and a half, I’ve settled into doing races that are more “local” to me. If I can drive or take a train to the start the morning of the race, I don’t deviate too much from my daily routine with my family. Certainly, I still love to travel and race but there’s a comfort that comes along with running on familiar turf.

Pretty sure that 20 years ago Jay piggybacked me across this very spot when my heels got to be too much after a date party.

Which is why when I heard about Rowan University’s 5k (and the early bird rate of $20 per person) I registered myself and my husband, Jay!

When we graduated from school we planted roots not too far from the campus so it was not only convenient but also familiar. We’ve done training runs though the campus and it’s less than 10 minutes from home.

It was gray and rainy on Saturday morning for this 5k and I knew that I would be running the AC April Fools half the following day so I figured Jay and I could run together at his pace. He hasn’t been feeling well nearly the entire month of April so he hasn’t been training much (read: at all) but he was ready to do his best.

We caught up with old friends and then lined up to run. I’d wager a guess there were around 200 participants. It had a later start than most races I do; it began at 10am.

The route for the 5k was through the campus, to the perimeter of the campus, and then back through the campus. Since it’s hosted by the Rowan Alumni Association, they did a good job of highlighting all the newer buildings on the campus. There’s been a lot of changes since I graduated nearly 20 years ago!

It was all sidewalk running so it was a little tight for the first mile as people tried to figure out their pacing and where they landed within the pack of runners.

Although the day was gray and dreary, overall the campus was a lot prettier than I remembered. It seems like there’s been a lot of attention paid to beautification projects and updating sitting areas and gardens. Every time I visit, there is something new!

The engineering building was brand new 20 years ago. Now it’s expanded to a second building with a walkway connecting the two.

This walkway as not quite as extensive when we were students.

We even got to run past the building we met at as Resident Assistants (so romantic!).

At that point we were about a 10th of a mile from the finish so we didn’t get too wrapped up in nostalgia, we just pushed to the finish line. We finished in 37:36, which was what we expected.

Look, it’s the Rowan Prof!

Thanks to Rowan University for hosting its running alumnus. No matter how many changes have been made, returning to campus is like going home.

I’ve decided that I should focus more on the 5k distance. My body and mind are so conditioned to running longer races that when I run shorter distances; I don’t know exactly how to tap into the speed. I think it comes down to training and speed work.

Of course, that’s not exactly what I was trying to do for this race but looking ahead, I would like to sign up for more 5ks and finally break my 2012 PR. It’s time.

Speaking of PRs, I achieved a significant PR the follow day at the AC April Fools half marathon! Recap of that race is coming up on Friday. Woohoo!

Any advice on how I can work on my 5k speed?

Motivation Monday (and Every Day)

Monday’s aren’t always my favorite but this Monday? This Monday is always a favorite of mine!

Why?

Because it’s Marathon Monday a.k.a. Boston Marathon watching day!

I’ve informed my family that if they need me, this is where they can find me the majority of the day.

I know that I’ll never actually run the Boston Marathon but I love spectating (from my computer) each year. I dream of the day that I can spectate in person. All of the emotions are felt and it motivates me with my own running goals and dreams.

I have a few of my favorite races coming up in the next few weeks (Rowan 5k, AC April Fools half, Run the Vineyards 5 Miler) and then a volunteer opportunity and Ragnar.

The summer months are usually less densely populated with races and more about training runs. My goal for this summer is to remain consistent with those training runs because I already have a few fall races lined up!

My buddy Rachel first brought Vacation Races Shenandoah half marathon to my attention. She had a free race entry for herself and a friend and she invited me to join her at the inaugural Virginia race.

After a few snafus with registrations we were both able to get set up so we’ll be traveling there the first weekend of September! The course looks INTENSE, with lots of elevation changes but it also looks beautiful. I know we’ll have a good time together.

Just a few weeks later I’m excited to return to a familiar stomping ground: Philadelphia’s Rock ‘n Roll half marathon on September 17th through BibRave! I participated back in 2012 but timing and other commitments have kept me away the last 4 years.

I’m really looking forward to returning to this series. The race weekend includes a 5k and the brand new, just announced, 10k distance!

The 10k is my favorite distance and I know it’s crazy but I’m considering maybe signing up for that as well. I’ll keep you posted if I decide to take the plunge!

If you’re considering signing up for the half, I have a discount code to share! Woohoo! BIBRAVE15 will get you $15 off the half and is valid until 8/27. Is anyone out there running this one (or another Rock ‘n Roll race)? I’m so excited to return!

Okay, the elite women just started the Boston Marathon so I’m jumping back to that window now! If you need me, I’ll just be over here, being inspired!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Road Tested: Road ID

Disclaimer: I received the Road ID Wrist ID Elite to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Anyone who has followed Scoot a Doot for awhile knows just how much I love Road ID. I’ve been blogging about my love for all who will listen since I got my first Road ID in 2013.

I started with the Wrist ID Sport. Then I picked up the Wrist ID Slim for my children (and myself while I was at it!). While I was at it, I also got the Wrist ID Elite for my husband. Oh yes, we were the safest people in all the land.

Or at least in all of Pitman, our old town.

All of my family members rock their Road IDs.

And then we moved (to the next town over) (but still…) and I realized that I needed to new Road ID to reflect the change of location! Serendipity stepped in when BibRave put out the call for BibRavePros to check out the Wrist ID Elite band.

His and Hers Road IDs. Need to update his to our new town!

Why do I love Road ID so? Let me count the ways.

Numero uno – Safety. I’m big on running safety and feeling secure. I wear my Road ID everywhere – running, the gym, the store, etc.

Numero dos – Peace of mind. All information that someone might need about me is centrally located. I don’t have any allergies or medical issues but members of my family do and a Road ID is able to speak for you even if you cannot. My younger son has autism and when we originally got my sons their Road IDs, he didn’t have the words to express himself. His Road ID provides that information and also the ways to contact us.

It’s a little scary to play the “what if” game but it’s even more scary if you don’t have a good answer to the questions. Road ID is the answer.

Numero tres – Motivation. Along with the pertinent information, I also have my running mantra inscribed on my Road ID. And cute little badges! It’s always helpful to look down at my wrist and remind myself of my reasons, especially when I’m struggling.

I always fill out the back of my bib but I also refer to my Road ID as well.

Need a Road ID of your own? Of course you do! Click here to get a $5 gift card to use for your Road ID purchase. After you sign up, the $5 gift-card will be valid for 2 weeks. I might have my eye on the Slim Rose Gold ID. And when I say “I might” I mean I must have it.

Join in the BibRave Road ID #bibchat on Twitter on April 18th, 9pm est. I’ll be there with my Road ID on! Two participants will win a Road ID Elite.

Check out other BibRave Pros thoughts on Road ID! MattJeannine – Mai – Janelle

What is your running mantra? What would you put on your Road ID?

Road Tested: Brilliant Reflective

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

2017 has been a year of getting out of my comfort zone when it comes to running.

After 6 years of doing the same running routes, the same treadmill routines, the same daytime running, I’ve been changing things up significantly. The same will no longer cut it! Hill running, sprints, and (the most daunting for me) running in the dark are now where it’s at.

With Ragnar PA less than 2 months away, my running in the dark skills have progressed rapidly. I’m feeling more confident in my abilities and also in my gear.

A few months back I shared my thoughts on Knuckle Lights and since then I’ve been using them during my pre-sunrise/post-sunset runs.

Now I’ve been able to add another product to the mix to help with visibility: Brilliant Reflective!

Brilliant Reflective are reflective adhesive strips that are available in either Iron-On or Stick-On. You can place these little strips on different areas of your body that catch light when you’re moving (known as biomotion).

My in the dark running usually takes place at 5:30 in the morning when I arrive at the gym. While driving there I often see runners out. Some wear the proper gear and others I don’t see until I’m next to them! I often times want to stop and giving them reflective gear! (That would be a little forward of me, huh?)

When it’s pitch black and cold, I usually opt for the treadmill however recently with the warmer weather and my quest to conquer running in the dark, I’ve been heading outside to either parking lot of the gym or the nearby side road before the trainer gets to the gym.

As a runner, I want to be as visible as possible. I used the Stick-On strips on the front and back of my favorite capri pants, placing them at the knee, back of the knee, and side of my hip.

Pairing them with my Knuckle Lights (and a bright orange shirt), I felt confident that I was visible to anyone driving in the early morning hours. I also make sure that I’m running against traffic so that I’m able to see the cars coming toward me.

I know this sounds silly but I was a little worried that people at the gym would question why I had what looks like tape all over my clothes. They did not, for the record. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they didn’t even notice the strips as they blended right in with my workout gear.

Since I was happy with the temporary Stick-On, I decided to give the permanent Iron-On Brilliant Reflective a try. You should know that I don’t ever use the iron on regular clothes because well, it seems like a lot of effort! But when it comes to running gear, it’s game on!

The top picture is without the flash and the bottom is with the flash to show you just how much light the reflective tape picks up!

It was simple to iron on the permanent strips to the lapel area, hemline, elbows and wrists of my half-zip shirt. One package is less than $10 and it lasts!

I still have quite a few strips left and I plan to put them on my dog’s leash, the kids helmets, camping gear, and maybe even secretly put one or two on my husband’s clothing. Oh, the possibilities! I chose purple but the strips also come in black, blue, and red. Be sure to be seen with Brilliant Reflective. Code “BIBRAVEPRO25” is good for 25% off your order until Tuesday 11:59pm CT so don’t delay.

Are you on Twitter? Join the Brilliant Reflective #bibchat on Tuesday, April 11th at 9pm est! And be sure to check out what my fellow BibRavePros have to say.

Mai – JephJessicaLindseyJenGina

Birthday Race Recap: Philly Hot Chocolate 15k

Hello from your favorite 40 year old April Fool! I decided to kick off my 40th year at the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philadelphia this year with my beautiful friend, Christina. I’m so glad I did because we had a blast!

Age is just a number!

If you’ve been following Scoot a Doot for awhile, you might remember a few years ago when Brandi ran this race. She recapped what sounded an amazing race experience for us as a guest post. I’ve had my eye on the race since then and timing worked out for the 2017 race.

First things first, the communication from RAM Racing Series’ Hot Chocolate race was above and beyond expectations. They provided a race plan at the beginning of the year with weekly emails updates. They’re quick to respond and engaging on Twitter. Post race they followed up immediately with free pictures (my favorite!) and results. All around great communication!

Sweet swag from a sweet race! You kick off the weekend with a zipper hoodie (with thumbholes). Along with my hoodie and bib, I also got a visor for using the BibRave code!

There’s an option to have your race bib and swag mailed to you for a fee ($15) but since my days are fairly flexible, I decided that I would travel into Center City, Philadelphia and visit the expo at the Convention Center. Unfortunately for me, the day I chose to travel, we got 3 inches of rain. Fortunately for me, I have a good pair of rain boots, an umbrella, and a positive attitude!

That said, next time I might just opt for the packet to be mailed. The expo was nothing fancy. I do like that they are very easy-going about changing out the size of the hoodie. RAM Race Series want their runners to be happy and providing options like that proves it!

It was overcast and gray skies for most of the race, lingering from the previous day’s rain. The sun was trying really hard to come through but it was mostly gloomy and on the cold side. I knew once we started moving we’d be comfortable.

The 5k began at 7:15 and the 15k at 8am. Christina had the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run scheduled for Sunday so our plan was to take it very easy, have fun, and not worry about time. We relaxed before lining up in the corrals, chatted with some friends along the way, and then went to find the 13 minute mile pacer, Larry, who I know through the Sub 30 Club.

I told everyone who would listen it was my birthday (because that’s what you’re supposed to do on your birthday) and I prepared myself for 9.3 miles of awesomeness.

As usual, the first couple of miles flew by. Races in Philadelphia usually include a small stint through the city and then out along the river and back again.

You could tell that this was a first time race for many of the participants and I think that’s because the lure of chocolate is very strong, as are the distances. There are very few 15k races and it seems like a logical step if you’ve done a couple of 5k/10k distances but don’t want to do a half marathon.

Also unique to the Hot Chocolate race are the fun things you find along side of the water/Nuun… like chocolate and marshmallows!

Strawberry marshmallows caught me off guard!

I found the placement of the water stations a little confusing and not where I would expect them. There was one that was a little past mile 2.5 which is a perfect placement but when coming back the other direction, it was right near the end of the race. Personally, I would have benefited from one more along the course, whether it be at the turn around (so that they didn’t have to double up on both sides) or somewhere more centrally located between 7-9.

We had a nice run/walk going for the first 7 miles. Not really timed, more like, “Should we run? Yeah, okay, let’s run.” Around mile 3 we lost our pacer. Whoopsies! We had a four cone rule where we would run four cones before switching into “walking with purpose” mode. We talked the entire time. We selfied.

It was more training run, less race-run but that was a-okay with us!

See, we have cherry blossoms too!

We both had the want to run more but we had to reign ourselves in because we knew that wouldn’t bode well for Christina’s race (which she PRed, btw!). So we remained consistent and finished with smiles on our faces!

*Philadelphia

The finish line was actually a little anti-climatic. There were timing mats on the ground and photographers snapping pictures (again, I say YAY for free race pictures). However, there wasn’t a banner or arch that I guess we are both used to at this point. We did get a shout out from the announcer which was a good cue to be our cutest selves.

We took our medal selfie with the Art Museum behind us and then went in search of our chocolate treats!

Cutest medals AND the black disc is a magnet! Fancy!

The rain made all of the grass areas big messes of mud and that’s where the entertainment stage and tents that held our finisher’s mugs were located. We weren’t going to let mud keep us away from our chocolate so we went traipsing through to get our chocolate and treats.

We might have run the entire time with the little Baileys bottle in our fuel belt just for this very moment.

Finding a good spot to sit and enjoy our treats was difficult because the ground was mushy and it was a little difficult to balance everything. Finally we planted ourselves on a patch of pavement and we dug in to our finisher’s mug. The hot chocolate was delicious and perfect on the cooler day. The dipping chocolate was great but we had to eat it quick because it cooled and hardened. The race planned ahead and provided rolls of plastic bags so we were able to bring everything home with us.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with the finisher’s mug but from start to finish, the swag for this race was pretty impressive! Hoodie, visor, chocolate on the course, medal, finisher’s mug and treats, and free race photos? Just marry me right now!

Hooray for a fun birthday race! Here’s hoping that I will be celebrating with running for years to come!

Have you ever run for chocolate? Or ice cream? Or wine? (Can you tell what my motivation is?) Next race for me is a 5k at my alma mater and then the AC April Fools Half the following day.

Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon 2017

Going into the Fort Lauderdale A1A half marathon, I had two goals. Have fun and get it done!

I can say, without a doubt, mission accomplished.

But of course, there’s a story that goes along with every race and this one is no exception.

This race was a last minute add in my established race schedule. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to take a last minute trip to Florida in celebration of my 12 year old’s birthday. He had big fishing plans. I had big relaxing on the beach and by the pool plans.

However… my parents live in Pompano Beach and they have been pushing this race since they watched the marathoners run past their house in years past.

Mer's mom was out cheering for the runners doing the #a1amarathon this morning! Way to go runners!

A post shared by scootadoot (@scootadoot) on

And just like that, I was signed up for the A1A half! Now, I haven’t been actively training for the half marathon distance but I knew that I could go into it with the expectation of just enjoying the run and soaking it all in.

My mom was my personal chauffeur for the weekend and she made sure I got to and from both the expo and race without having to think about logistics. Isn’t that half the battle when it comes to planning for race day? I’m so grateful for her!

We visited the expo on Friday afternoon, right as it opened. My expo experience was quick and easy. It had great embellishments like a wrapped Lexus with all of the runner’s names, as well as a wall from Dick’s Sporting Goods that had the names of the runners.

We were asked to write on the wall why we run.

The bib pickup was at the back of the hall and was arranged by last name. A photo ID was required for pick up and there was a bit of a line but it moved along. The t-shirts were at the next table over – separated by men and women cuts.

I’ll be honest, the shirt sizing feels off, which is a nothing new to me. I was going to inquire about switching up a size but there was a sign that said that shirts could only be switched on race day. I didn’t plan on carrying a shirt with me to the race so, oh well. Sticking with it! Along with the shirts we also got a goody bag filled with lots of things from the race sponsors and coupons.

There was a heat advisory for the day of the race. Race organizers did a great job of keeping everyone informed through email and posts to Facebook. I was surprised that they don’t have more of a presence on Twitter, since that’s something I’m used to with big races. Given that it was going to be so warm, I made sure to hydrate the day before the race and planned to stop at every water station.

The race was schedule to begin at 6am, which meant that I set my alarm for 4am. Super mom was able to drop me about a block from the start line (because she’s awesome). I assumed that she would drive home and then come get me later, after the race. Instead she parked her car nearby and stayed for the entire race. (Again, because she’s awesome!)

At local races I’m usually able to walk around and stumble upon people I know but in Florida I was in a sea of unfamiliar faces. I knew a few of the BibRave Pros were going to be at the race so I shone the bat signal into the sky (aka – I sent a message out on social media) and soon Samantha found me! I can’t even tell you how great it was to see a smiling face in the crowd of people.

@nacole99 and @scootadoot selfie time!

After the Star Spangled Banner was performed on saxophone (that was something different from the norm!), it was time to join the self-seeded corral.

I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to be setting any records, so originally I placed myself near the 2:45 half pacer and figured I would see if I could hang with him for awhile (thanks for being so welcoming, Gary!). We started to run, people waiting to start the Susan G. Komen run were cheering along the chute, and I had a smile on my face.

And then, 2/10 of a mile in, this happened…

What the what?! Dumbfounded. I think that’s the right word to describe exactly how I felt as I just watched more and more and more of the train slowly make its way down the tracks. Should I pause my watch? Keep it going? Is this train ever going to end? 

You could feel the tension in the crowd as we watched the train crawl by.

Unimpressed faces, all around.

Thankfully the race organizers decided to bring everyone that was stopped by the train back to the start and we were able to begin the race again. There was an audible collective sigh of relief when they walked through the crowd to reel us back in.

Walking the wrong way across the start line…

As we started again, they played Quad City Dj’s “C’Mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” and I couldn’t help but laugh. I already had it in my mind that I was just going to have to roll with whatever this race threw at me and this just confirmed it. 13.1 (13.3?) we’re coming for you!

The first couple of miles were along Las Olas Blvd., a cute little shopping district. Since we wound up starting a half hour later than planned the sun was coming up and it was warming considerably.

The first water stop was short on volunteers I wonder if they thought that the runners had all passed through with the first wave of people that made it before the train. The volunteers that were there hustled to make sure that everyone got cups of water. I was very grateful for them!

Just before mile 3, my mom was waiting by a drawbridge and I was so happy to see her along the course! I got a little teary-eyed as I continued along on my way but then reminded myself that I needed to stop so I didn’t dehydrate myself, especially as we turned onto A1A, right along the beach.

The sun was strong and I was looking for some sort of respite. Thankfully, right past mile 4, we turned into Hugh Taylor Birch Street Park and its beautiful canopy of trees. Whew!

2 miles in the shade – YES PLEASE!

We looped through the park and eventually came out around the area we entered.

I was very impressed with throughout the entire race was the flow of things. Even though the runners were on the road, they had some lanes open to cars. There were police and other volunteers stationed at each intersection and I felt safe the entire race.

Around mile 7 I was getting a bit more sluggish and decided to switch from 2:1 intervals to 1:1 intervals. That was a good decision on my part and pushed me through the second half of the race. On the way to the turnaround I saw both Christine and Samantha in their BibRave shirts. Always great to see familiar faces!

I bopped to my music, thanked every volunteer I saw, pressed on multiple signs for a power boost, pet dogs, and oh, stopped at the unofficial beer station!

Sure, I’ll drink your beer random strangers! Please and thank you!

I believe that the beer station was around mile 11 and by this time, I was ready to be done. It was humid and hot and my glasses were fogging.

I knew my mom was ahead and that thought kept me running with my 1:1 intervals. Also, this view!

Annoyingly, even though I used Glide, I knew I was chafing in multiple locations. You know, naturally in all the places that I forgot to apply the Glide.

Around mile 12, I spotted my mom once again and I was so very happy to see her! I handed off my iPod and focused on finishing the last mile.

There were a multitude of photographers on the course and they snagged nearly 20 pictures of me through the race! Even though it wasn’t a fast race for me, I actually purchased the pictures because I look like I’m having a blast in nearly every single one of them. And I was! The double thumbs up was strong this race.

The finish line was a little confusing because there was a Publix inflatable we ran under and then a bit further up the actual finish line. I just kept running until I saw the timing mats and medal racks!

I see the finish line! I think! Maybe?

The medals for this race are completely different each year and I love the beautiful stingray design of this one!

Plus, it opens like a locket to reveal more beauty.

The finish line party was impressive! Tons of vendors giving away lots of drinks and food. I was all about the hydration so after grabbing water, I also chugged a chocolate milk, and then beer with my momma (although even I couldn’t drink it all)!

I’m so grateful I had the chance to run this race! Even though it was hot and I thought I was melting, it reminded me how much fun I can have while running. It was a bucket filler race and I’m so glad that I did it!

Next on my race agenda is the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k back here in good ol’ New Jersey. What is on tap for you?