Mushroom Cap 1/2 Marathon Relay

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon 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!

Once upon a time, way back in the cold of February, I registered for the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon in Kennett Square, PA.

My dear friends, Rachel and Katie also registered and we were excited for our (affectionately dubbed) Meatball Road Trip 2019. You might remember Meatball Road Trips from years past!

Bird-in-Hand 2018

We had a late start to spring, summer showed up in a hurry, and before I knew it, it was SeptemberOctober. I’ve been consistent with running and cross-training but not following any particular training plan. More-so, I’ve been doing what’s comfortable mileage wise and pace wise. My focus is feeling good during runs… and I HAVE.

My longer training runs have been landing between 4-6 miles. I have a 10k in Atlantic City next week and I think I’ve been focusing more on that than the 13.1 lurking just a few weeks later.

Can I push through a half marathon? Yes, I know that I can. But I’m trying to run smart and pushing through 13.1 miles isn’t smart.

Earlier this week we received a check-in email from the Mushroom Cap Half race management which said the following:

If you had planned to run the half marathon but life got in the way of training or maybe your running more that you ever imagined and want to tackle the half,  you can transfer your registration between events.

Do you picture me nodding my head at all of this? YES, YES, and more YES!

I knew Rachel wasn’t feeling the half marathon distance either so I ran the idea of switching to the relay option by her. We both jumped on RunSignUp. Rachel created the team and transferred her registration. I transferred mine and now we are officially the Meatball Mullet Crew!

I’ve never done a half marathon relay before so I’m really looking forward to the experience. I feel a lot more confident taking on the shorter distance and while I’m bummed that we won’t be running together, I know Rachel will be waiting for me at the exchange.

Haven’t registered yet? Let’s make sure you save some money when you do – use code “BRMushroom19” for $10 off!

Have you ever done a half marathon relay before? Any tips for me?

Road Tested: AfterShokz Xtrainerz

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Xtrainerz 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 and no further compensation was given.

Mid-September usually has the Northeast sliding into cooler temperatures. However, summer decided to stick around a bit longer this year.

Normally I’d be grumbling about this, after constant hot temps all summer long, I’m more than ready for fall. However, this worked in my advantage because I got the new AfterShokz Xtrainerz (pronounced “cross-trainers”) a few weeks into September and I was revved up to give them a go!

I’m not a stranger to AfterShokz; I’ve been fortunate enough to try both the Titanium and Air through their ongoing partnership with BibRave.

When I heard the buzz about the Xtrainerz, I was intrigued. Unlike the other models that I’ve tried, these have a built-in MP3 player, rather than using Bluetooth connection. With 4GB of storage, that means you can store up to 1,200 songs!

A few friends asked me if it was tricky to put purchases songs onto the Xtrainerz and the answer is a resounding NO. It was super easy to transfer them from my computer files on to the Xtrainerz. I picked all of my “power songs” and made one awesome playlist.

Many people don’t know this about me but I’m part mermaid. No, really, it’s true. I grew up going to the beach and community pool club. I was on the summer swim team for many, many years.

When we purchased our new house 3 years ago, my husband wanted to have a basement and garage.

Me? I wanted a pool. #priorities

I’m not a triathlete but I enjoy cross-training in the pool. Lately I’ve been rotating through more workouts and trying to take advantage of what I have available to me. The AfterShokz Xtrainerz are fully waterproof and help make lap workouts enjoyable. They even stay on during dives and flips!

 

Not only do they rock in the water, they’re fantastic for land too.

I wore the Xtrainerz during a 5 mile run along the bike path last weekend and was able to chat the entire time and not skip a beat! Keeping the ear open is always a good thing, especially when running on the bike path because it’s important to hear the bikers behind me. (They’re so quiet!)

Out on the bike path with Diana and Amy!

I’ll be out on the trail again tomorrow and you can bet that so will my Xtrainerz!

Interested in getting some for yourself? The Xtrainerz retail for $149.95 but you can use the code BRBUNDLE to save $50 off the endurance bundle, exclusively with on link: https://bibrave.aftershokz.com/

Want to see what my fellow Pros think? Swing by their blogs and say hi.

Stephanie
Kelly

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!

Road Tested: FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters

Disclaimer: I received a 16 pack of FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters 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!

This summer has been filled with hiking, running, swimming, and more! Over the past month I’ve had the opportunity to try FBOMB and while I was already a nut butter fan, I can categorically say that these are the BOMB.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) when I was a teenager. That comes with a slew of symptoms but a lot of it revolves around eating habits.

Without going into a ton of details on the hows and whys, my body is insulin resistant. I need to make good choices when it comes to fuel.

I try to be mindful with carbohydrates; protein and healthy fats help my body function better.

FBOMB’s motto is “Fat is Smart Fuel” and I’m all about it! With the 4 flavors of Chocolate Macadamia, Macadamia with Coconut, Macadamia with Sea Salt, and Macadamia Pecan with Sea Salt, there is something for everybody. And unsurprisingly, I love them ALL!

Whether it’s during hikes and runs or at home with prepared food, it’s portable and delicious. I love using FBOMB packets on my trail adventures and they’re the perfect amount to add to my smoothie bowls and snacks.

Get ready for a couple of tried and true recipes/ideas from yours truly!

FBOMB BANANA BOWL

  • FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter (I used Salted Chocolate)
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • granola
  • strawberry

Use a blender to blend the FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter with the bananas and Almond Milk. Top with granola and strawberry slices!

I have been paying ridiculous amounts for smoothie bowls but this is such much better for my wallet. (I just have to remember to freeze the bananas ahead of time.)

My darling friend, Sonya, visits each Monday for podcast recordings for our non-profit, The Bullock Garden Project. One of my favorite snacks is Apple Nachos. (Isn’t she a fantastic model?)

There’s not even a recipe for this because it’s THAT easy – just slice an apple, drizzle with FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter (we used the Sea Salt one) and sprinkle a little bit of granola on top. We snacked on these while podcast planning… and maybe definitely when we were recording too.

Something I especially love about FBOMB is the consistency is thin, which makes it easy to pour out of the package. I never feel like I’m missing any yummy goodness! FBOMB, I’m 100% a fan!

Ash also tried FBOMB during the BibRave campaign so be sure to look for her review coming next to Scoot a Doot!

*If you’re interested in trying these out, use code BRP10 to save 10% off the 16-count FBOMB Nut Butter Variety Pack on their website.*

April 2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k, Here I Come!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k 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!

It’s the end of August, and you know what that means?

People are pushing for it to be FALL. I mean, there are a few of us who are holding on to the last weeks of summer (we’ve still got a month to go, folks) but I’ve seen more and more Facebooks posts/memes calling for Halloween and pumpkin spice.

I get it, I really do. The heat/humidity have been beyond brutal and while I do love summer, I can appreciate slightly cooler temps and the love of fall.

And since we’re pushing things right along on the timeline, can we talk about April 2020? I just registered for my fourth Allstate Hot Chocolate race in Philadelphia!

2019 BibRave crew – Ken, Ryan, Joe, and me

I can’t wait to be there again and I know my BibRave buddies Ken, Becky, Ryan, and Dodie are looking forward to it too!

One of the reasons I love the Allstate Hot Chocolate races is because it’s always a good time. There are always a ton of friends there and it’s always a good time. This race always falls on my birthday weekend so I basically think of it as a huge party for ME!

My friend Ana has been my Hot Chocolate partner in crime for the past couple of years (2018 and 2019) and we can’t wait until 2020. So bring it on, fall. Winter, be kind. And spring? I’ll be waiting for YOU.

If you’re planning on registering for the Philly Allstate Hot Chocolate race, be sure to use code BRHCPHILLY19 and get your free Hot Chocolate running hat with registration. Remember prices go up as time goes along so save yourself moolah if you’re definitely going to be there!

Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues

I have mixed feelings regarding summer. On one hand, I love the ease of it, not HAVING to be anywhere at any particular time.

Summer me: summer hair, no makeup, tank top because it’s hot outside.

Except wait, no. That’s not true at all. My kids weeks are scheduled to the brim. In fact, I think I might actually be more busy carting them from place to place in the summer than I am during the school year.

As a person who thrives on routine, this proves summer time living… not easy. I enjoy the routine of the school year. During these pesky summer months, things fall by the wayside.

Case in point, I’m just now writing this blog post at 10:30pm on Sunday night. For reference, I usually schedule my Monday blogs for early hours on the blog. (And honestly, I’m considering just putting the computer away and finishing it when I wake up.)

This is so not me.

I’m trying so, so hard to get myself into a summer routine and to find myself a way to make these next 8+ weeks productive, not-too-stressful, and hopefully (mostly) fun.

Ashley mentioned in her blog post last week that she spends most of her summer days alone. On the flip side over here, it’s hard for me to be alone in my house in the summer. My kids are here, my parents are here, and lately my husband’s travel schedule for work has been a little last minute.

Yet, I’m feeling surprisingly good for being a week into July. I’ve gotten a lot accomplished these past 7 days in my home life and volunteer life. While I have been going to the gym, I’m lacking balance in my running life (practically nonexistent the last 2 weeks; I’ve also been dealing with a reoccurring injury).

I’m attempting to train my brain to focus on what I’ve been able to accomplish rather than what I’m skimping on. Jenn shared her love of the Clever Fox planner and I got one too. It’s purple, of course. Colored pens, bullet lists, and introspection are my friends.

A few things I’ve been successful at lately:

  • Home ownership
  • Podcasting
  • My kids being more self-sufficient

Home ownership

Ah, the never-ending fun of home ownership. We moved into our current home 3 years ago and it will never be done. It’s a continual work in progress, filled with bathroom renovations, updating light fixtures, lawn care, pool maintenance, and more. There is never NOT a project. Some are bigger than others.

This week’s huge project? Replace the largest window in the house.

Before and After

New light fixture and window.

New light fixture and window.

To be clear, it wasn’t anything physical for me in terms of the replacement, but it was not a cheap venture. It’s crazy that replacing a window can be so exhilarating but here we are. We’ve been marveling at the window for the past week. Adulting.

On a smaller scale, we also finally found a ladder shelf for our bathroom at Home Goods!

There’s so much else to do including another bathroom renovation, painting, organizing, blah blah blah, until forever. But PROGRESS!

Podcasting

Podcasts are my jam. I love listening to them; it helps mundane chores go quicker and I’m always learning something new.

As the Director of Social Media & Communications for The Bullock Garden Project, Inc. non-profit, I’m always trying to think of good ways to share our story and get our message out to our target audience.

The more I spoke with my friend and CEO of BGP, Inc., Sonya Harris, the more the idea of creating a podcast grew. Sonya is so animated and we are both passionate about educating and bringing gardens to every school, the podcasting forum makes sense.

 

Not only have I been working on that but I also had the pleasure of being invited as a guest to my BibRave bro, Corey’s podcast!

Having the opportunity to chat with him about life and all the good things going on was so much fun. (Plus, we both have kids going into HIGH SCHOOL, which is sort of bananas.)

Click on the picture to listen!

Kids

I didn’t take this pictures of my son in Florida.

Nor did I take this one.

Because I sent my 14 year old alone. On a plane. By himself. (To my parents house.)

I suppose this is partially my success but more so, his. Last week it was Florida. This week he’s off at Boy Scout camp. Maybe one day I’ll see him again.

Part of growing up is becoming more independent and I’m glad that he has the confidence to do so. His younger brother is taking great strides too, not relying on me as much.

I’ve seen a meme floating around on Facebook recently about only having 18 summers with your kids. You guys, that’s not true. It’s not. Because hey, my parents are spending the summer with me and I’m 42 years old. #truthbomb #perspective

You grow, you mature, but unless something goes amiss or you choose to cut ties, you don’t stop having a relationship with your child after they become an adult. You just hope that you’re doing right by them and that they’ll want to spend summers with you forever and ever.

PS – Yep, I totally finished this on Monday morning.

Race Recap: 2019 Atlantic City Bungalow Beach 5 Miler

Boardwalk, sunshine, beach, ocean: it all has the makings of a good time. Atlantic City is my preferred place to run – it’s familiar, it’s flat, and it’s an easy drive to and from my house.

Last year was the inaugural Bungalow Beach 5 Miler and I knew then that even though I’m not summer race runner, I’d be adding this to my repertoire. There aren’t a lot of 5 mile races and I enjoy the distance (and can deal with the heat!).

The folks over at the AC races know what speaks to runners: competitive pricing, extra swag, and bling. I registered for this race last fall and it was under $35 with a coupon code. The experience includes the 5 mile race with multiple water stops, a race shirt (tank for the ladies), medal, beer, and photos. I’d say that’s a great value for the price!

The added incentive for 2019 is the Triple Threat medal. For those who run a race during the April Fools weekend, the Bungalow Beach 5 Miler, and a race during their fall weekend, you earn a triple threat medal. You can always find me at an Atlantic City race, so I’m pretty pumped to get this in October.

Atlantic City Marathon Series Triple Threat Medal

Packet pickup was Friday evening and also the morning of prior to the start. I particularly like this race because it’s a Saturday rather than the standard Sunday so it’s a great way to kick off the weekend.

Chrissy and I had decided that we would be sticking together for the race. We parked about a mile down the boardwalk at Resorts because we have frequent player cards there that entitle us to $5 parking. This is where we usually start our runs during training and figured it would be a nice way to warm up before/cool down after.

We arrived in plenty of time for the morning packet pickup, which was a good thing because the line was a bit on the long side. No biggie though, just gave us time to chatted, eat our gels (Science in Sport Apple – review coming in a few weeks!), and see friends.

When Chrissy asked for a bag (there was a pile on the table) the volunteer was a bit on the rude side and asked if she REALLY needed it because they were “running low”. As we weren’t planning on bringing our swag back to the car and didn’t see a bag check anywhere it was, indeed, something she really needed. Thankfully we both got bags and found our friends near the start area for the obligatory pre-race photo.

Run856 Turtles

Given the swell in popularity of this event after just 2 years (there was a social media post the evening before stating that it was 90% full) the race will probably take that into consideration for packet pickup and have more tables in the future. Thankfully, the race started a few minutes after 8 to accommodate those still in line for their bibs/shirts.

From there, it was smooth sailing, errrr, running. The course is basically an out and back with a little dip onto the street for a few blocks at mile 2. The boardwalk is open so you have to be aware of people out for a morning stroll and bicyclists.

It’s always great wearing a local running shirt because you hear a lot of “856” (our area code) and get high fives and encouragement from runners around you.

Chrissy and I kept our 1:1 intervals going the entire time and then soon enough, we were turning onto the beach for the last home stretch.

Last year I mentioned that the sand was wavy and it was difficult to run through the finish line. This year they had mats down. So much better!

We got our medals and delicious snacks – they always have a great spread.

Took pictures by the ocean and then handed our beer tickets off to a few Turtle friends. I was more interested in drinking water at 9:30 in the morning than the beer so we decided to take the trek back to the cars and call it a day.

2/3 races in Atlantic City complete for 2019! I’m looking forward to returning for the 10k in October and getting my Triple Threat medal!

Do Good, Feel Good: World Refugee Day 5k

Disclaimer: I’m taking part in the World Refugee Day 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro in conjunction with our good friends at Soul Focus. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

June 20th is World Refugee Day and I’m joining with a bunch of pals for the virtual World Refugee Day 5k. The funds raised during this effort will support refugees through the American Refugees Committee.

For those who haven’t taken part in a virtual races before, the way it works is pretty simple.

Virtual Run How-To

ONE – Register! Registration for the World Refugee Day 5k has been open since May 20th and will remain open through this Thursday, June 20th. As a little something extra, code BR5 will get you $5 OFF registration.

TWO – Print out your commerative WRD5K race bib!World Refugee Day 5k race bib

THREE – Get social with it! Run the 5k distance. This can be with a group, solo, with your pup, with your cat, whomever wants to go the distance with you and raise awareness and funds for the World Refugee Day 5k.

After you run, share on your social accounts using the hashtags #WorldRefugeeDay5k #WRD5k and tagging @worldrefugeeday_5k on Instagram. I can tell you from experience that they are very interactive with their runners and love seeing what everyone’s experiences!

FOUR – Wear your swag with PRIDE! After Thursday, June 20th, World Refugee Day 5k BOCO Gears hats will be sent to all participants. BOCO Gear are my #1 hats to run in and I can’t wait to get mine!

BOCO Gear World Refugee Day 5k Hat

It’s an amazing way to take part in a global event and be a part of a movement, from home. While I would LOVE to travel to Uganda to be there in person, that’s just not in the cards for me (this year, at least).

However, I will be there in spirit and I’m very pumped to run virtually along side of everyone!

Want to join in the fun? It’s not too late, this virtual run is open for 4 more days. Hop on over to the registration page and get moving! Lots of the BibRave Pros and I will be out there and running our 5ks on June 20th but you don’t have to wait until Thursday – that’s the beauty of a virtual run!

Who else is running?

Becky
Ken
Brenda
Stephanie
Lissa
Kim
Juan

Safety in Numbers on Global Running Day and Beyond

Disclaimer: I received Sabre products 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!

Each year, the first Wednesday in June is Global Running Day. A day to celebrate running and inspire today’s youth to get out and get active. That’s a mission I can get behind, especially as a Healthy Kids Running Series coordinator.

My pup Gemma is my usual running buddy but we’ve been working our way back to running after she recently had CCL surgery. Running is always so much more fun with someone so naturally I reached out to one of my favorite buddies, Ana, and gently and not at all pushy talked her into running with me.

There’s safety in numbers when it comes to running. I never really thought much about carrying pepper gel while running because… well, who’d want to mess with me? However, there’s always the just in case factor. When I heard that BibRave was teaming up with Sabre to bring safety to Global Running Day, the just in case factor jumped to the forefront of my mind.

Sabre not only sent the products above for me but included Pepper Gel and a Personal Alarm with LED Light for a buddy as well. Score for Ana!

We had an hour and a half at dusk to map out our route through a park and nearby town before we needed to return to get our children from band practice.

Global Running Day - Ana and Mer with Sabre Safety products

We went through the empty wooded trail at the local park before hitting the town’s hills. It was mostly quiet, save for our constant talking, because that’s what we do when we’re together.

No need to employ any of the Sabre safety gear but before we hit the road, we checked out the good, noting how easy it was to unlock the Pepper Gel with a flick of the thumb.

While making our way through town, naturally we wondered… just HOW loud is the Personal Alarm? We didn’t want to push the button while on our journey and cause anyone unncessary panic/concern.

Instead we waited until the end of our run and found a spot at the end of a parking lot. Naturally I made a video on Instagram stories, which goes away after 24 hours but YouTube is forever.

Hopefully these are products that I’ll never, ever have to use. But… just in case, they’re good to have. If you’d like to get safety products for yourself or a running loved one, discount code SABRERUN saves 20% at Sabre’s website. 

BOCO Grab Bag of Awesome Giveaway

We’re sharing the love from our BOCO Gear Grab Bags of Awesome with TWO BOCO Gear awesome giveaways! We love this company so much and can’t wait to share the love with two lucky winners who will score two hats each.

Check out the Vlogs and leave a comment here on this post to enter by Friday, May 24, 2019. We’ll notify winners over the weekend so be sure your comment is linked to your email! US residents only.

Giveaway One from Mer’s Grab Bag of Awesome

Giveaway two from Jenn’s GBOA