Race Recap: 2018 Philly 10k

Anyone who has run a Philly race knows that people from this area do things with their whole heart.

They love their sports teams loudly (and um, might be a bit notorious for being jerks to the opposition).

They have feisty debates over what food is best and whose food is best.

And Philadelphians know how to throw a quality race. The Philly 10k is no exception. The 2018 race was its 5th year in existence and while I’ve always heard amazing things about it, it was my first year running.

The City Fit Girls know how to have a good time! I was at their fit retreat a week prior and saw many of the same faces again at the Philly 10k. I’ll be blogging about the retreat… eventually!

The main reason I haven’t registered during the past 4 years is that it’s always held at the end of August and I know that I’m not the best at running through the summer heat. Couple that with it being through South Philly and being bit outside of where I comfortably know my way around in the city, I’ve always sat this one out.

When registration opened earlier this year, my awesome friend and fellow mullet crew runner, Rachel, encouraged me to sign up. She’s one of my favorite people (to run with and just in general) so naturally, I did. And even when she got hurt and had to drop this race from her race card, she still encouraged me to run AND even found me a fellow City Fit Girl friend to run with.

She may be my meatball but we took our post-race selfie in front of Humpty’s Dumplings.

AND, THERE’S MORE! Since she was volunteering at the pre-race party/packet pickup, she was able to grab my race bag for me so I didn’t have to haul my cookies into the city twice! PLUS! She hosted me the night before the race, carried my stuff around with her, and made sure I was fed and happy the entire time!

Because she’s awesome like that.

The Philly 10k starts and ends on South Street and winds through a part of Philly that others don’t usually touch. Ah, South Street. I spent many of my college evenings there. I got my tongue pierced there. Went there with friends to get tattoos. I digress. Never in a million years when I was in college did I think I’d be running a 10k there, that is for sure.

Hooking up with Brooke, who lives locally, was a godsend. She gave me a running commentary (har har) of all the places we were passing and what was up ahead. Most of the streets were tree lined, which helped keep the sun from directly beating down on us.

The first corral started at 7:30am and it got hot quick. We started with 3:1 intervals until it got uncomfortable and then did whatever we felt like for the rest of the race.

Pat’s or Geno’s? Cheesesteak smells good, even at 8:30 in the morning.

It was warming up significantly as we plodded along. The water stops were run by different Philly running groups, all of whom were very enthusiastic and shouting out our names. Some were reading bibs but then I realized that I actually KNEW people too, which was super exciting.

Philly doesn’t want any runners dying from heatstroke on their watch so there were a few fire hydrants open, which I took advantage of.  Plus, there was a guy handing out water bottles. He wasn’t an official water station but he had a baby with him and looked legit so YOU KNOW I TOOK ONE.

(It was sealed, don’t worry.)

It was cold and wonderful and there was a coupon for Devil’s Den on it. (Which we didn’t go to but I WILL BECAUSE THEY GAVE ME ICE COLD WATER.)

Thank the Lord! Amen!

After a few more turns and a few more friend sightings, we were coming up along the home stretch.

Rachel was there, camera in hand, waiting for us to come down the way!

Oh look, I’m talking. Big shock, I know. photo: Rachel

Brooke warned me at the begin that when we turn onto South Street aka the Finish Line Street, we still a bit to run. Actually, you can hear her telling me that in this video at both the start line and then when we are running that last stretch!

After we crossed the finish, we got towels that had been dipped in ice water, water, and bananas. And you know what that means…

Brooke did not get the message that we were taking a banana phone picture until hers was half eaten. photo: Rachel

Instead of medals, the Philly 10k has a surprise giveaway at the end of the race. In the past it’s been a map of the course (twice), a pennant, and a reusable bag. This year it was a poster. At first I thought it was a map of the course with pictures from the past 5 years. It’s not. But whatever!

So, let’s recap the recap.

Race: hot but awesome
People along the race course: awesome
Rachel and Brooke: hot and awesome
Me: doing this race again in 2019

Have you ever done the Philly 10k? Next year maybe I’ll race it. Maybe I’ll train for it. MAYBE.

2018 Vacation Races Elk Double – 5k Recap

For as long as Jenn has been running, she’s been talking about Vacation Races Elk Double. Taking place in Estes Park, Colorado, the 5k and half marathon races are close to her home and events that she holds near and dear to her heart.

Quite the opposite of Jenn, I live in New Jersey, which means that I run on mostly flat land.

Jenn’s first half was down at sea level at the Atlantic City April Fools Half, with yours truly. Her second? The Vacation Races Rocky Mountain Half.

They’re about as different as two races can be.

Top is the elevation in Atlantic City 1/2. Bottom is the elevation in Rocky Mountain 1/2. Yeahhhhh.

As you can imagine, it’s a bit difficult to train for a race at 7,500 feet when you live in New Jersey. But knowing that I have a base fitness level from going to the gym and the fact that we were doing these races to primarily be together and have fun, I wasn’t too concerned with the elevation.

After visiting Colorado in 2015 for the BolderBoulder and realizing that my family HAD to visit Colorado at some point, I made it my mission to get them there. After a few years of me (not so gently) mentioning it (every chance I got), we planned our week’s vacation there!

We arrived the week before the race which allowed us to get acclimated to the higher elevation. Trust me when I say that this is important! I didn’t really have time to adjust when I was there during BolderBoulder and I didn’t want to repeat that yucky feeling.

The whole week was incredible and to be quite honest, I was looking at houses so I never had to leave. Plus I was reunited with Jenn and her crew, which basically meant life was pretty amazing.

The 5k was on Friday night and some gnarly looking storm clouds were rolling in as we picked our race gear up at the expo. There was supposed to be s’mores but that got shut down early (or maybe they didn’t have them at all?). We did a little shopping and then headed over near the start line which was just a short walk away.

One of the things that I love about Vacation Races is when you do a double, they give you a choice of your additional swag item. I got the t-shirt and also a Elk Double hat, which I absolutely adore! Jenn already had the hat and the long sleeve shirt from previous years, so she opted for a mug this year.

Jenn’s brother in law was running and after seeing a picture of the medal, my older son Lucas decided he’d like to run. He is his mother’s child!

The 5k had numbered waves to begin but I’m not really sure how they were doled out. We ended up in the 3rd wave and knew that we planned to take things easy, especially given as there was a long hill immediately after crossing the start line.

After that hill, the 5k was mostly flat though so we took advantage of that as much as we could. The weather was feisty; a cold wind was blowing through and because of the mountains surrounding you and being near Lake Estes, the noise from the wind was intense. We did intervals as we made our way along the lakefront.

You could hear the finish line festivities as we circled the lake – so close yet so very far! Jenn warned me that it was that way during the half too, which is tough during mile 12 of a race.

With the winds whipping we were getting more worried that we might get caught in driving rains which we were really hoping to avoid. Keeping our heads down we kept trucking along and crossed the finish line before the rain hit.

Hooray!

Got our super awesome medals, race goody boxes, snapped a few pictures, and then we were out of there!

After an awesome Mexican dinner with an equally awesome Pina Colada (yes, that’s right, we did eat Mexican and drink before the half – easy breezy), I went back with my fam to the hotel to get some rest.

I was dealing with chafing, due to missing some spots during 5k prep. Not going to go into too much detail on that but let’s just say it was down yonder. OUCH.

Having a taste of what the course was going to be like the next day had me a slightly nervous. That first hill alone was a beast and I knew that there were only more to come the following day.

However I knew that with Jenn by my side, we’d have a great time, no matter how long it took! I’ll be back with more on the half marathon next time.

I Know What I’m Doing April 6, 2019… Do You?

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hot Chocolate Philadelphia 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! As always, all opinions are my own.

What time is it? It’s Hot Chocolate time! Okay, no. It’s not. But it IS time to start planning for 2019 and I’ve got my first race on the calendar for next year. You know I love planning.

So yes, come April 6th 2019 (that feels weird to type, by the way), I’ll be running the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k again. This year’s race marked Ana’s first ever 5k and I’m 99.9% sure I have her convinced to join me again.

The swag alone is worth it! Check out the jackets for the 2018-2019 series.

And of course, every runner gets these oversized mugs filled to the brim with goodies. YUM!

If you run the 15k, you also get a medal! There’s no medal for the 5k but if you find me, we can run up the steps to the Philly Art Museum together, which is a prize in itself.

Convinced? 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.

Who’s done a Hot Chocolate Run before? I want to hear about it!

Road Tested: Karma Ring Co.

Disclaimer: I received a Karma Ring 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.

I’m not sure if I shared this on the blog but my husband and I just recently celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary in May! To celebrate we went to Disney for the weekend. ALONE.

It’s safe to say that after 21 years together in all, we are still each other’s biggest fan.

Which is why I wear my rings for practically everything. The only times I take my engagement ring and wedding band off are in the shower when I’m washing my hair (because I had an unfortunately earring incident with my hair, it’s a long story and I’m still not over the loss of my earring), or when I’m working out. Weights are rough on hands, not to mention jewelry!

It’s also why I was drawn to trying Karma Rings through the BibRave Pro program. At the risk of sounding cheesy, my solid relationship with Jay gives me comfort and strength and those are two things that I draw from while lifting weights and running.

However, Karma Rings aren’t just for those who are married! There is symbolism that is associated with each finger and on which hand you wear a ring.

I was able to try the Karma Ring Women’s Duo which has a base color of Pearl White and three changeable core colors of Blush Pink, Champagne Mauve, and Lavender.

A few facts from the Karma Ring Co.’s website:

  • Hypoallergenic – Even sensitive skin will love the specially formulated silicone used in every Karma Ring.
  • Non Porous – Doesn’t absorb germs, odors, and chemicals.
  • Ultra Durable – Wears like iron feels like silk
  • Non Conductive/Non Magnetic – Will not affect hand held mobile devices, Bluetooth technology, or magnetic strips on credit cards.

The core colors can be used to focus on goal setting or just whatever your preference is. My favorite color (besides orange) is purple so I usually tend to gravitate toward the Lavender.

Kettlebells and Karma Ring, no problem!

If you’re interested in getting a Karma Ring of your own, use discount code BIBRAVE33 which will save you 33%. Plus a percentage of each purchase goes toward Feed the Children.

This coming Tuesday, 7/31/18 is the Twitter #BibChat with @KarmaRingCo at 9pm EST and we always have a lot of fun! I’ll be traveling to Colorado tomorrow but I’m hoping to jump in for a bit!

A Day in the Life: Meridith

5am, Tuesday morning, my phone alarm sounds. That’s obviously not my phone in the picture but my clock is usually the first thing. It’s GYM DAY!

After a quick shower, teeth brushing, hair in some sort of ponytail or bun, gym clothes thrown on (chosen the night before), and chugging a glass of water/getting my gym bottle ready, I’m out the door by 5:30. Efficient! It’s also a routine I’ve been doing every Tuesday/Thursday morning for the past 5 years so it’s habit at this point.

Great workout at the gym with my workout buddy and trainer. I’m walking on sunshine. And it feels like it because I’m also dripping with sweat. Literally, when I’m doing mountain climbers, plank rows, and whatnot the sweat slides down my nose and onto the floor. So cute! There are no pictures from the gym because it’s not that kind of gym.

I arrived home nearly two hours after I left and by now the entire house is awake. My older son has an obsession with biscuits and gravy since having a dehydrated version on his 63 mile Boy Scout canoeing trip so he’s making “the real thing” with my husband. My parents are flitting around (they live with us in the summer) and my younger son is squirreled away in his room.

Not wanting to give in to the temptation of eating biscuits and gravy after the gym, I take this girl for a walk instead.

When I return I have yogurt and hard boiled eggs. Yay me. And another shower because, ya know, I’m still looking like I jumped in the pool.

From there it’s the Mom Uber for my children. Deep breath. Are you ready for this?

I drive back to the gym with this kid at 9:10. Yes, the same gym I was at just an hour and a half prior. This is how we roll. Thankfully my dad volunteers to pick him up so that’s one less drive on my Mom Uber schedule. 

Gabe has karate twice a week so around 11:20 we leave for that. He’s working toward his blue belt testing, which is happening in a week!

We arrive home around 12:45 to have lunch with my husband, who comes home nearly each day to eat with us (the perks of working close by!). Lucas and my parents went out for lunch so it’s just the three of us until they roll back in and Jay heads out for work. (And leaves his phone on the counter.)

Gabe has his social skills friends group, so Mom Uber heads out the door yet again.

After dropping him off, I swing by to bring my husband his phone. Then I run home to get some work done for Healthy Kids Running Series and a few minutes of transcribing.

Lucas joins me for the trip back to get Gabe and by this time storm clouds are rolling in and the sky is looking ominous. The boys have hair cut appointments at 3:30 so we head straight there.

Thankfully we ride out the majority of the storms while they’re getting the haircuts. Get back home around 4:30. The perfect time for…

Folding laundry and watching The Bachelorette! That’s right, the entire day the washer and dryer have been running. Becca’s face accurately depicts my face regarding laundry.

Jay arrives home and we have DATE NIGHT planned! Honestly with the storms I was a little concerned we’d have to change our plans but he convinced me we’d be fine.

So it was off to the Philadelphia Zoo for their special event!

Jay and I have been to after hours events at the zoo before and we know they’re the best because the animals tend to be more active. With beers in hand we wandered around the exhibits and learned more about the animals. we are Zoo members but gladly paid extra for this opportunity!

Around 9pm (which is my usual bedtime, btw) we headed back to New Jersey and had a late dinner. I’m surprised I didn’t fall asleep in the crab dip. Very proud of myself!

We arrived home a little after 10pm, Jay set his alarm for a 3am conference call with the good folks in Germany, and we both passed out.

The end (of Tuesday, July 17th, 2018).

July StrideBox

Every month I get a box of running goodies from the folks over at StrideBox! Getting mail is one of my favorite things – especially fun mail and not bills.

I love checking out all of the new-to-me things and also the tried and true ones which I know work for me. Here’s what’s in the July StrideBox…

Summer hydration essential – StrideBox water bottle

I have a collection of the stickers, love these!

Evoke Museli – good to mix with yogurt, milk, or cooked in the microwave.

bluerub natural lip balm

sticker from Miles & Pace

amino VITAL drink mix

Pure Clean Performance – Beet’ums sport chew

win – high performance sports detergent

nuun hydration – strawberry melon

The heat wave here has finally broke so I’m ready to get outside and MOVE! Have an awesome Monday!

Road Tested: Gatorade Endurance (NEW flavors!)

Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance Watermelon and Mango Energy Gels 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.

Can we discuss this picture for a moment?

This was after an hour (and a half if you count the warm up) workout with my trainer. I go to the gym at 5:30 in the morning. One might think that you’re able to “beat the heat” by getting out that early in the day but it’s been high temps here in New Jersey so the heat has felt like it’s non-stop recently.

Usually my trainer isn’t one to embrace the use of air conditioning but I guess we all have our limits because the past few times I’ve been there, it’s been on (and to that I say, THANK GOODNESS). However, more times than not we are outside in the parking lot, doing HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Which explains the sweaty shirt/sweatier me up there.

It’s important to fuel well for these sessions, as well as runs. The last thing that I want to do before an early morning workout is eat much of anything. I try to make good dinner choices beforehand but fueling through the workouts is just as important.

Earlier this month I did NOT fuel properly and wound up bonking a little over halfway through my workout. I was not happy and my family got to hear all about it when I got home.

Enter Gatorade Endurance.

I received the Watermelon Gatorade Endurance Thirst Quencher Powder and Mango Energy Gels two weeks ago and I’ve been busy putting them to the test ever since.

Recently reformulated in 2017, I’m impressed that Gatorade listens to the feedback that endurance athletes provide when it comes to wants and needs of a product. Watermelon joins the flavors Lemon-Lime, Orange, and Cherry in the Endurance Formula line up.

The Watermelon flavor is light and fresh and exactly what I’m looking for during my workouts. It’s not the Sports Drink that you’re able to find at your local grocery store, rather it has 2 times the sodium and 3 times the potassium as the Sports Drink Gatorade which aids in distance training.

The Mango Energy Gel has 20G of carbs which is helpful before a race (or training session) to get that extra boost of energy. The Mango joins the established flavors of Vanilla, Apple Pear, and Blackberry.

I was nervous to try this one because mouth feel and texture is a real thing and I’m never exactly sure what will work and what won’t. Thankfully it was not even an issue! Unlike gooey gels or sports blocks, the Gatorade Energy Gel is liquid and easy to take without a water chaser.

I used it before a training session and prior my most recent 5 mile race (more about that later this week!) and it helped carry me through both without any additional fueling.

Hydration and fuel is important any time of the year and I know I’ll be relying on Gatorade especially through the hot summer months!

Check out my fellow BibRave Pros thoughts about Gatorade Endurance by swinging by their blogs:

Lindsey
Karen
Lissa
Katy
Jessica
Kevin
Amy
Jenn
Vanessa
Ang
Joe
Eric
Amy
Mai
Ben
Brenda

What are your favorite ways to hydrate through the summer? 

OOFOS OOlala Recovery Sandals

Disclaimer: I received OOFOS OOlala Sandal – Orange 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!

The official start of summer is tomorrow but I’ve been in summer mode since the weather changed from dismal rain to sunny days.

I’ve always been a big fan of warm weather and summer time activities, but after a tough, long winter/spring filled with injuries and lots of precipitation, I’m loving this summer with all my heart (talk to me in September to see if I feel the same).

OOlala Project Pink Sandal

Late last summer I got my first pair of OOFOS OOlala sandals when BibRave teamed up with OOFOS to promote their Project Pink campaign. I’m happy to report that their initiative to raise money for breast cancer research is still going strong.

OOFOS donates $10 for each specific Project Pink pair sold. Additionally, 3% of all sales on shoes on their website go to Project Pink, breast cancer research.

I love my Project Pink Sandals so much, when the opportunity came through BibRave to try out the new Orange OOlala Sandals, I was quick to volunteer.

OOFOS, which is in its lucky 7th year, was created with recovery in mind. The folks behind OOFOS realized that while there were shoes on the market for exercise, there was also a need for a shoe that could absorb shock after the workout was over. OOFOS was born and through the past 7 years they’ve been rolling out more shoes, more options, and more colors.

Including my favorite… ORANGE!

These shoes are everything. When I’m not sneakers for running/workouts, I’m in OOFOS. After two bouts of plantar fasciitis I’m not willing to take any chances when it comes to my feet.

In fact, a friend at my gym is currently dealing with the dreaded PF, Knowing that pain, I feel incredibly bad for her. Waking up in the morning and dreading that first step. Hobbling around after sitting, especially in the evening. Stretching and massaging and rolling and being in near tears because of the constant pain – it all came back as she was talking about it.

My first question was, “Have you heard of OOFOS?”

And of course, I brought my snazzy orange OOFOS to the gym for her to check out. After oo’ing over them, she said she plans to get a pair.

OOFOS do take a bit of getting used to when you first begin wearing them. While the OOlala look like flip flops, I wouldn’t place them in that category. They cradle your feet, giving them support and absorb 37% more impact than traditional footwear foams. They make your feet and calves work different muscles, that’s something you don’t get with a regular shoe but I also think that’s what helps with recovery.

If I’m not wearing sneakers, you can find me wearing these the majority of the summer. I wear them poolside, walks with my dog, running errands… basically anywhere and everywhere!

Since slipping my feet into OOFOS last year, I haven’t dealt with any sort of foot pain at all. *Knocking on all the wooden surfaces in my house*

If you’d like to hear more of what my fellow BibRave Pros think about Women’s OOlala Orange and Men’s the OOriginal Sport Geo Orange, be sure to swing by their blogs and check them out! I’ll be adding more links as reviews are posted.

Brenda

Bradford

Deanne

Are you on Twitter? Next Tuesday’s Twitter #BibChat will be sponsored by @OOFOS! Never been to a #BibChat before? It’s easy: at 9pm the @BibRave account posts a question (every 10 minutes or so, so there’s ample time to respond and check out other answers/interact). There’s usually a fun giveaway involved from the sponsor too *wink, wink*. I’ll be there on the @scootadoot account so look for me and say hi!

Have to considered joining the BibRave Pro family? The BibRave Pro application process is open now through this Friday so if you’re interested, be sure to swing by and feel free to tell them I sent you. If you have any questions about being a Pro or about my OOFOS, which I’m always down to chat about, leave a comment.

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!

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.