Guest Post: Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k

Running for Chocolate is the SWEETEST of all victories…

Waking up at 4:30 in the morning to the sound of the wind howling, and rain hitting my house was not how I envisioned race day for running the RAM HOT CHOCOLATE 15k.  Shaking off the bad weather, I headed out at 5:45am to meet my friend and running partner Kate Fontaine at the PATCO station.

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Riding over the Delaware River in a full subway car filled with other runners, I was excited to see how this race would treat me. This would be my longest distance since running The Philadelphia Marathon in November of 2014 and I only got to 6.5 miles while training.

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We were greeted with clearing skies and no rain when we came from underground, but the 40 MPH winds decided to stay behind to be with us during the race.

hotchocolate15k

We made it to Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum in plenty of time to check our gear and arrive to our given running corrals. Everything was organized and the volunteers were very friendly.

hotchocolatecorrals

After saying goodbye to the 5k runners, we lined up to begin our race with our fellow corral J friends.  With the chilly wind hitting our faces, we were off. Running around the Oval, we headed away from the Art Museum and towards Kelly Drive. The wind was blowing towards us for a couple of miles making it a challenge. Before the race I was back and forth about whether I should run my race without stopping or do walk and run intervals. After a powerful gust of wind hit me head on at mile 1.15, I decided to do run/walk intervals in order to conserve energy.

hotchocolaterunning

The course was familiar (Philadelphia Marathon flashbacks) and the scenic course made me forget that the wind was howling at us. There were plenty of water stations for the runners, but I think because of the time of the race (8am) and the weather (windy and cold) the course didn’t have a lot of crowds to cheer us on while on Kelly Drive. However the spirit of the fellow runners, as well as the scenery kept me company. Once we got to the turn around after mile 5, the wind was at our backs and I felt relaxed and ready to get though the next 4.3 miles.

coursemaphotchocolate

In the home stretch, we were greeted by large crowds cheering us to the finish. This made up for the lack of spectators on the course. Even with my last minute decision to run intervals, I was able to finish the race at 1:36 and felt great at the finish line.  I met up with Kate (we separated during the race) who ran an awesome race and finished at 1:23, and we were off to get our chocolate grub on!

chocolatemedal

Our finisher’s mugs were full of edible goodies. We received a hot cup of cocoa, banana, chocolate fondue with things to dip in it such as a Rice Krispy treat, marshmallow, and pretzels.

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As we sat eating our goodies while on the verge of a sugar coma, we talked about what we thought of the race.  We both agreed it was very well organized, a beautiful course,  and we enjoyed the chocolate party afterwards. My favorite thing has to be the medal of a half eaten chocolate bar with the Liberty Bell on it and our warm and comfy hoodie we received (who needs another tech shirt?).

hotchocolatehoodie

hotchocolatemedal

So if you like to run, you love chocolate, this race is perfect for you! Where else can you get runners high and a sugar high all in one?

Brandi B. Dockett, CPT, is an ACE certified personal trainer, AFAA group fitness instructor, Spin instructor, running coach, and Owner of B FIT FITNESS SERVICES, LLC. Brandi loves running, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her friends, husband and 2 daughters! You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

My Husband: The Reluctant Runner

I have to let you all in on a little conspiracy.

I really like tricking my husband into working out and making him think it was his idea. Or, at the very least, making him think that he enjoys it.

Shhhhhh!

"Wasn't that fun? Didn't you love it?" "No."

“Wasn’t that fun? Didn’t you love it?”
“No.”

Dude and I are both pretty chill people so as far as marriage goes, I’d say that generally speaking, ours is one of quiet happiness. Okay, maybe quiet is not the right word… we do have two boys and a dog!

Spicing things up by forcing your reluctant running partner to do races with you definitely gives you something to chat about! I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out with me for an extended amount of time, exerting all energy?

There have been various 5ks over the past few years. Last summer I signed us up for our local 4 miler on the 4th of July. And while he didn’t love it, he didn’t hate it either. (There were a lot of hills.)

So I have to think, what’s the next logical step for this guy? Some might say a 10k. Well, yes, many might say a 10k.

But… BUT!

There’s the Broad Street 10 Mile Run in the amazing city of Philadelphia. And friends, this has all the components of a great race for Dude.

via broadstreetrun.com

via broadstreetrun.com

1. It’s in Philly and the course on Broad Street is entertaining throughout. Philadelphia is truly an enthusiastic city. Whatever it does, it does it loudly!

2. It has a TON of crowd support. Seriously one of the best races in terms of crowds that I’ve run thus far. Feeding off the crowd’s energy can carry you a long way!

3. THE SIGNS. This goes along with number 2. Giggling while running is good for your stride.

broadsigns

4. There’s even a medal at the end! And bananas! And pretzels. Who doesn’t love pretzels? Even our son, who eats maybe five things, loves pretzels.

5. Tailgating with friends after the race. (This is a big one that I’m selling hard. Dude loves his beer.)

I’ve been working hard on talking him into this race. I know that he can do the distance. And this is our trainer’s favorite race of the year; Dude would definitely win some brownie points with him being there.

From now until February 13th, the lottery is going on for the race. A few of my favorite girls are hoping that we are chosen during the lottery and since the time to hesitate is through, I’ve decided that Dude is going to be in our lottery group. Our conversation this morning went a little something like this.

Me: “Have a great day! Oh, by the way, I’m going to register you for the Broad Street lottery. If you don’t want to run it, I’m sure we could transfer the bib to someone at the gym.”

Dude: “I don’t think it make sense to go into it with the intention of doing a transfer.”

Me: “Well, obviously not. My intention is for you to RUN it. Yours should be too.”

Dude: “Oh. Yeah, I guess it’s only $43.”

Me: “Come on, what’s the worst that can happen? It can’t hurt.”

Dude: “Yes. Yes it can.”

I can tell that he is really, truly excited about this and really, a little nudge in the right direction is usually all he needs to get the wheels turning. May the odds be ever in our favor!

Have you entered a race lottery before? What race have you run that has great crowd support? Ever do a 10 mile race? Do you know anyone who doesn’t like pretzels?

Full circle at the Philadelphia Marathon

Four years ago, I decided to run a marathon. One marathon.

After much deliberation,  I picked Philadelphia. My mother was raised there, my sister lived there. It was home. I ran the race and had the time of my life. I reached what I long thought was an unreachable goal.

Last weekend, I returned. And yep, it was well worth the wait.

As always, I stayed with Meri, who decided to run the Philadelphia half marathon after years of cheering and volunteering at the race.

We hit the expo midday Saturday, collected our goodies and connected with Dimity of Another Mother Runner. We even managed to leave without spending too much money. Huge success.

The day’s weekend’s highlight, however, was meeting friends old and new.

At high noon, we met with fellow running bloggers Karla, Jen and Katherine and my longtime friend Claudia at the Reading Terminal Market.

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Katherine (left) Jen, Karla and Meri

We all gabbed like old pals for more than an hour…. and then we met up with broken chick Kyle, who planned to run Philadelphia Marathon with us until she sprained her ankle.

Kyle is thrilled to be in the land of grilled cheese

We three carb-loaded at our beloved Pop Shop in NJ before we all attempted to settle down on marathon eve. A great chat, lots of  laughter and race-morning planning filled our evening.

phlbibReady to go!

Fast forward to marathon morning. The 4 a.m. alarm woke us in time to catch the 5:40 train into Center City. We walked about a mile to the start area, where we dropped our bags and wished one another a great run and headed into our respective corrals.

Somehow, in a mass of 30,000 runners, I connected with my training partners Gary, Traci and Jen in the purple corral. We all planned to start together with the 4:15 pacer, but race our own races. While waiting, Gary met Justin, a man from Allentown who joined our running crew for the day. (More on him later)

With Gary, Traci and Jen (note the art museum behind us!)

Soon enough, we hit the road. The first few miles flew by and pretty soon Gary, Justin and I were all running as a well-oiled 10-minute-mile pacing team. I jabbered along much of the first half, pointing to landmarks and sharing stories. Running through Center City was fantastic, between Independence Hall, several bands and streets lined with cheering fans and volunteers.

The miles clicked by and I felt fantastic. My Garmin watch was acting up, clearly giving me false readings as I ran by skyscrapers, so I went by feel.  It totally paid off. Looking back at my stats, I ran a solid 10-minute-mile pace nearly the whole race. I slipped a bit in those last two miles.

I was feeling it Sunday. I powered up the hills at miles 7 and 9. I flew on the straightaways. I was in the groove.

At the half, I felt invincible. I spotted three cheering friends near the art museum and Boathouse Row. Childhood friend Kelly, who ran the half Sunday morning, waved me down and ran alongside me for a bit. Her words of encouragement carried me for miles.

I pulled ahead with a smile on my face. This was the race I’d been waiting for.

Around mile 20 in Manayunk, running pal Cynthia waved me down as I started to get the inkling that my legs felt heavy. Her smiling face motivated me to keep moving forward. (Thank you!)

I started to struggle around mile 21. Justin ran a bit ahead and I recall thinking how nice it was to see him get a surge of energy. It was that moment I knew he’d reach his own goal, no matter how hard those last few miles were.

Several times he circled back, checking to make sure I was holding my own. Thank you Justin!

We ran into Traci around mile 22-23 and the three of us pushed on together. I walked longer at each water stop, but didn’t throw in the towel, even though I desperately wanted to. My legs were on fire and my breathing was labored. I was doubting my training.

Then we approached the art museum and the  crowds carried us in. With a high five from Mayor Nutter, Traci and I crossed the finish line together at 4:25. We both PRed and were thrilled we were done. Justin waited for us on the other side and also ran his best time. Triple PR!

We each received a beautiful medal, rivaled only by the soft pretzel handed out in the runner food line.

Eventually, we found the rest of our group and started learning about everyone’s races. LOTS of PRs in our running group! I cannot wait to hear all about everyone’s adventures.

With Traci and Meri just after the full

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 From left, I’m with Traci, Brittany, Charlotte, Aileen, Gary and our new pal  Justin

Philly is a tough course, but there really is nothing like it. I loved my first 26.2 in Philly for just that reason – it was my maiden marathon and showed me I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. Five years later, I completed a far different training cycle that included multiple missed runs, illnesses and other demands taking away from my training time. I went into the weekend feeling strong but told myself not to overshoot or stress over a goal time.

So I didn’t. And it paid off. Philly, you’re my city. Running the Philadelphia Marathon the second time is like coming home.

Did you run Philly? I want to hear all about your race! Ever meet a new running pal and run a race together?

I Can… But Then I Think Mmm, Better Not

Wait a minute, that’s not my manta. My mantra is I can and I will. It’s about Meridith power and how much I rock and how I can do anything. Kelly Clarkson sings about me being Stronger! Katy Perry wants to hear me ROAR!

merhair

Except that I’ve been thinking about this full marathon I signed up for and rather than being excited for it and looking forward to the training, I’ve been coming up with the reasons of why I should NOT do it.

The cons are totally outweighing the pros in my mental list and that can’t be a good sign. I’m assuming that in the history of running, I can’t be the only one who ever felt this way. Back in March, I listed reasons why I planned to sign up for the full.

Well, now here are my reasons that I’ve decided that now is not the time.

#1 My foot has actually been feeling GOOD

Confused? Let me explain! I spent a good seven months in pain thanks to plantar fasciitis and this little beauty.

heelspur

Seven months of wincing every time I got up in the morning out of bed. Seven months of hurting during and after every. Single. Run.

Slowly the pain faded away and I don’t think I even realized that it no longer hurt until a month of non-hurt. I was so accustomed to the hurt.

Now, I’m not hurting. And I don’t really want to mess that up.

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#2 Training

Victoria and I have had this discussion more than once: you can’t fake a marathon. I mean, you probably could do it with minimal training (I’m sure that some people choose this option); I know I’d be downright miserable.

WHO WANTS TO BE MISERABLE? Not me! I like feeling good. Bring on the happy!

That’s not to say I haven’t been training. I have the Dumbo Double Dare at the end of this month and I’ve been having some great runs. Additionally I’m signed up for another 19.3 challenge in October (the Atlantic City Marathon series). Bumping up training runs to over 13 miles is where my issue lies.

Piggy-backing on the training point…

#3 I have other things that need to get done

My kiddos start school in September and both will be going full-day for the first time. In my delusional mind, I thought that this meant I’d have all the time in the world.

allthethings

But uh, I already know that’s not going to be the case. Marathon training is an all or nothing type of thing. I don’t think I can give it my all at this point – there are things I need to do (PTO, laundry, food shopping, dog training) and there are things that I want to do (volunteer work, seeing my friends, spending weekends with my family). Which brings me to point 4.

#4 I don’t want to and you can’t make me. But what’s more is that I can’t make me.

To quote High School Musical, “You’ve gotta get’cha head in the game”. To quote myself, “No.”

Zac Efron, you’re adorable but even you can’t talk me into this.

Seriously though, I have the most supportive friends and family. They were all about me signing up in April. Conversely, as soon as I started expressing doubts and concerns, they were just as supportive in the other direction. Mentally, I’m just not at the full marathon level. I might be able to physically push through but I don’t want to.

So fast, they were blurs. Literally.

Just look for me with the Elite runners.

 #5 There’s a half marathon option!

Oh Philly, you can’t get rid of me that easily. You were my first road race, first spectating experience and my first volunteering experiences and I adore you. I have yet to run the half during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend so let’s not cut corners!

Who will I see on November 23rd?

Guest Post: Kimberly and Kyle take on the Philadelphia Chocolate Tour

Scoot a Doot note: Hey gang! Meet Kimberly and Kyle.

kimberlyandkyleKimberly was the winner of our Philadelphia Chocolate Tour giveaway and chose Kyle to join her on the excursion. We asked if they’d like to blog their experience and Kyle jumped on the task. (And now I’m singing Sugarhill Gang.)

Last weekend, before we joined Team Scoot a Doot for Jog ‘n Hog shenanigans, Kimberly and I embarked upon a voyage of gastronomic delight throughout the streets of Philadelphia (quiet, Springsteen). That’s right, folks, we jumped on the chocolate bandwagon!

Kimberly had the good fortune to win the Philadelphia Chocolate Tours giveaway a few months back, and we decided that since we were already planning to head up to Philly for some ice cream-fueled nonsense, we might as well make a weekend of it.

kyle1Things kicked off at the Reading Terminal Market. Our tour guide, Jeffery, lead us inside the Terminal to the Famous 4th Street Cookie Company.

kyle2Of course the first thing we sampled was the classic chocolate chip cookie. What else would you expect? And you know what? It was delightful.

kyle3You simply cannot go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie. It can’t be done.

From the terminal, we hauled our cookies (pun intended) over to Verde, a small boutique that houses Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates.  Literally. In the back of the shop, amongst all of the way-too-cute purses, and jewelry, and dresses, is a small kitchen where the confections are made.

kyle4This shop features a ton of great flavors and uses organic, locally-sourced cream and butter, as well as honey and produce, to create their confections.

kyle5There was even a bacon-flavored truffle. Bacon. Amazing.

kyle7We sampled two kinds of chocolate bark: Pub Crawl (with pretzels, smoked almonds and cashews) and Cherry Ginger. Both were very good, but my penchant for anything ginger made the latter my fave.

It’s a good thing the samples were small, because I’m about 98% sure I could have eaten A LOT more of that noise.

After evading the temptations of the chocolate and the absolutely adorable merchandise throughout the store, we continued on our trek. The next stop? Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland. Yup. That’s right kids. Fancy European chocolate.

kyle8All of the fancy chocolate.

kyle9Our sample? Heaven. Wait. I mean, the Dom Perignon Gold Crème Champagne Truffle.

Yeah, like I said. Heaven.

kyle10Basically, that little ball of chocolate was probably the most decadent thing I’ve had. Ever. In my life. I don’t know what that says about my life… except that it’s pretty awesome.

Leaving Teuscher was tough, because basically, I wanted to eat everything in that store. So much delicious chocolate. But, we had to make our way to the next stop. A stop I was most intrigued by. A stop where we would sample chocolate hummus.

Before you get all weird and freaked out about it, let’s preface this by saying that Kimberly, who has a strong dislike for traditional hummus, loved this stop. It’s fair to say that I did, too.

FreshaPeel Hummus creates a number of sweet and savory hummus flavors, from lemon kale to pumpkin (which legitimately tasted like pumpkin pie). We sampled all of these, but the best, the best, flavor was Chocolate Cherry. The proprietor mentioned that you could enjoy this hummus on a cracker or on fruit… I immediately jumped in and said “also on a spoon.” Because, quite frankly, that’s all I’d need. It was that good. Trust me.

kyle11You could even feel good about pigging out on this particular chocolate treat, because it’s hummus and it’s generally pretty healthy. Or at least that’s how I rationalize it. I have no qualms about this.

Following the hummus magic, we stopped at John & Kira’s, a small, innovative company that combines delicious treats with promoting positive social change. Their French-style chocolates are created with ingredients from family farms and urban gardens. Which I think is pretty cool.

We were fortunate enough to sample quite a few confections at this stop, but my favorite was probably the Mighty Urban Garden Mint bar. Mint and chocolate is always a favorite flavor combination, but this sort of transcended all other mint-chocolate situations. This was aromatic and the mint was really, really fresh. I wanted more of it. That small little chunk was not nearly enough.

kyle12Our last stop was probably the perfect way to end the tour. It was a hot day and we’d been walking a lot, so gelato? Yeah. Perfect.

Capogiro is home to the number 1 gelato in the world. According to some (probably) arbitrary contest, but I digress. Regardless, this gelato is the best I’ve ever had, so the title is relevant.

We sampled four flavors of chocolate gelato: Moka, Cioccolato Scuro (rich, dark and serious), Ciaccolato con Caramello (chocolate with caramel), and Cioccolato.

kyle13Of the four flavors we sampled, my favorite was probably the Cioccolato Scuro, because in my book, the darker, the better.

Basically, there are few things better in life than frozen chocolate treats. Gelato is no exception. Especially not this stuff. Out. Of. Control.

All in all? The tour was a delight. Kimberly and I were so happy to have been afforded the opportunity to indulge in such a tasty treat thanks to the benevolence of our favorite Scoot chicks. We second the motion: if you’re ever in Philadelphia, do a chocolate tour. Do it! You won’t be sorry.

Bring on the Ice Cream! (And beer!)

Things that I love*:

1. ice cream

2. running (right now I’m actually really digging it. I KNOW, right?)

3. my Dude (hopefully he’s not offended that he’s under running and ice cream. Actually, he’s not reading this so to quote Cartman, “WHATEVER! I DO WHAT I WANT”.)

4. my friends, both old and new

5. the Philadelphia Zoo (and more specifically, drinking at the zoo)

6. wooing on Twitter

7. lists and plans

*that are relevant to this weekend. My kids/dog aren’t on the list because they’re going to Camp Grandparents!

Back in March of this year, right after we launched Scoot a Doot, the Jog ‘n Hog folks found me on Twitter.

jnhtweet2It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a HUGE fan of ice cream. If, by some random chance, I could only eat one dessert for the rest of my life… ice cream. Cake, cookies, trifle, cupcakes; I can pass by without so much as a second glance. But when I hear Mister Softee’s alluring song off in the distance? I can and I will push my children out of the way so I can get to that truck first. (Not really.) (Okay, maybe that’s happened on one occasion.)

Furthermore, as listed above, I love when race organizers or companies interact with their potential/current clients via social media. I think it’s brilliant and awesome. I like attention and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Kudos to Jog ‘n Hog for engaging and wooing (it didn’t take much but let’s pretend) with your promises of ice cream and running.

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Found this little piggy at the end of the Broad Street Run in May. Like I said, the Jog ‘n Hog people know how to do it!

We’ve steadily picked up steam, excitement, and team members over the past couple of months. There’s been planning (MY FAVORITE!), tweets, emails, Facebook messages, shirt orders, OH MY!

Team Scoot a Doot has members from PA, NJ, NY, and DC and we’ll all converge at Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA. Finally, FIN-AL-LY, the weekend of the much anticipated Jog ‘n Hog has arrived.

In addition to the Jog ‘n Hog, it’s the Summer Ale Fest at the Philadelphia Zoo on Saturday night. This is a ritual for Dude and myself; we love wandering around the zoo, trying local ales, and seeing the zoo residents in the evening hours.

One of my first pictures on Instagram. I've since embraced the "no filter" rule.

One of my first pictures on Instagram. I’ve since embraced the “no filter” rule. Guess it’s safe to say that I didn’t like that particular beer – I’m sort of picky.

Let’s review, shall we? Drinking beer for dinner on Saturday evening. Eating ice cream (and running) for Sunday morning’s breakfast. Go big or go home!

Months of planning have been leading up to this weekend and I am super duper excited! Like puppy with a new toy excited! Like seeing awesome friends that I haven’t seen (or, ahem, met before) excited!

In April, we introduced you to some of Team Scoot a Doot for the Jog ‘n Hog. Since that post, the team has expanded! With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Kimberly and Kyle. Kimberly was our Philadelphia Chocolate Tours winner back in May and along with their tour, they decided to join us for the Jog ‘n Hog. I can’t wait to finally meet these ladies!

Yes, I have this many containers at work. Or...12 total.

Yes, I have this many containers at work. Or…12 total.

Kimberly – Strategy: leftovers. If leftovers were a way to rule the world, I’d be all over that. So instead of losing my ice cream all over the course, I’ll bring some back for the post-race party. You won’t see me wasting perfectly good ice cream!

kylejnh

Want to touch the hiney…

Kyle – Let’s be honest, I’m too innately competitive not to go hard. I’m gonna run for two miles. Then I’m going to eat as much ice cream as I can. Then I’m going to run back. (Then I’ll finish the ice cream I have left.) I have yet to experience exercise-induced purging. No time like the present to tempt fate!

So, there you go. Some of my favorite things are all happening within one weekend and I say, with much enthusiasm, BRING IT ON. The past couple of weeks have been tough and I’m more than ready for a weekend of friends, indulgences, and Philadelphia.

What are your weekend plans? Have you ever done one of these non-traditional races or gone to a zoo brew/ale fest? Just want to say hi? (I love saying hi back!) Comment away!

Philadelphia Chocolate Tours Giveaway Winner

PhillyChocTourwinner

From the response to our Philly Chocolate Tours Giveaway, it is clear to see that you all love chocolate just as much as we do! White chocolate apparently doesn’t get much love (although a few like it but all say it’s not chocolate!). You all love your dark and milk chocolate just fine, thank you very much.

Ready to meet our winner? Ready to befriend our winner in hopes that they take you along with their companion ticket?

chocolatetourwinnerKimberly is our lucky 87 and the winner of the Philadelphia Chocolate Tours giveaway!

Congratulations, Kimberly! We at Scoot a Doot salute you and hope you enjoy your tour.

And hey, if you need someone to join you… we’ve got a couple of volunteers. Just saying.

Philadelphia Chocolate Tours Giveaway

Back in March, Chicks Vic and Mer treated themselves to a Philadelphia Chocolate Tour after running a 5k.

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Mayhaps you remember reading about the snowy run and the delicious tour in Philly. Despite the weather, we had chocolate and when we have chocolate, we are happy campers!

vicchocolate

Om nom nom!

The good people of the Philadelphia Chocolate Tours thought that our readers would enjoy checking out the sights and tastes of Philly and generously offered up two gift certificates for free walking tours. (See, that’s sort of work out related. Plus, there’s health benefits associated with chocolate!)

Since we know that chocolate is always better with a friend, we’re keeping the pair together.

Who could resist?

Who could resist?

Grab your bestie, grab your significant other, grab a group and split the difference of the remaining tours, grab a stranger (just make sure they’re consenting to all this grabbing) and try your luck at our Scoot a Doot Philadelphia Chocolate Tours giveaway! Encourage them to sign up, too, and increase your chances – woohoo!

This giveaway starts today, May 9th, and goes until midnight on May 14th.

What’s your favorite type of chocolate? And do you consider white chocolate to be chocolate? This is a very pressing matter!

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Click the pic to enter!

This giveaway is for a pair of gift certificates for the Philadelphia Chocolate Tours. You are responsible for getting to and from the event. If awarded the winner, we will require your mailing address so we may send you the gift certificates. You are responsible for contacting Philadelphia Chocolate Tours to set up your tour date, based on availability.

Keep Calm and Hog On: Scoot a Doot’s Jog ‘n Hog winner!

jognhogwinner

We found this little piggy after the Broad Street Run!

You might have noticed from our blog, Facebook, and tweets that we are super excited for the Jog ‘n Hog this summer. When you combine two of our favorite things (running and ice cream), you just know it’s going to be a good time!

Team Scoot a Doot is currently fifteen strong and we’re proud to announce our 16th team member.

jnhlinda

A big congratulations to Linda! She’s the winner of our Jog ‘n Hog giveaway.

Linda, we salute you! Start your training: jog around the neighborhood and then treat yourself to some ice cream!

If you want to join Team Scoot a Doot or create your own, scoot on over to the Jog ‘n Hog registration page.

If Broad Street were easy… it would be called your mom!

In the Cinco de Mayos of years gone by there’s been sombreros, brightly colored flags, margaritas and Mexican beer.

This year? Running! (Followed by margaritas/beer for some. I just wanted food, which probably comes as no surprise.)

Vic as we headed to the subway station.

Vic as we headed to the subway station.

The Blue Cross Broad Street Run takes place in Philadelphia, PA and is a 10 mile race that has been held on the first Sunday of May since 1980. Unlike many other races, it’s a point to point race and most of the run is downhill (but don’t be fooled like I was, there are a couple of uphill points!).

The sports complexes in Philly are all near the end point of the race (the Navy Yard) and were open for parking. We, along with many other of the 40,000 runners, made our way there bright and early, Sunday morning.

Thanks to Brandi for this group shot of us outside of the Septa station.

Just a couple of our friends that ran the race! Thanks to Brandi for this group shot of us outside of the Septa station.

Runners were able to ride the SEPTA, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Broad Street line free of charge the morning of the race. There was someone at the turnstile checking bibs, which was the “ticket” onto the train. She’s got a ticket to ride. Okay, I’ll stop singing now.

It was a bit chilly early on so most of us were wearing throw away gear that would then be donated once we warmed up and discarded them to the side. The guy checking our bibs jokingly said, “I feel like I’m on Runners Gone Wild and you’re all flashing me!”

That’s us: wild and crazy runners! Sidenote: the shirt that I decided to chuck was my swim team shirt. From when I was eleven. Yes, it was time to let that one go.

On our way to the start!

On our way to the start.

The train dropped runners off directly by the corrals, which was quite convenient. Most of our group headed off to a different corrals so my partner in running, Moe, and I said our goodbyes, good lucks, and good races.

Getting there early, we decided to suss out the porta-potty lines and found it to be long. And winding. We decided to skip it and find ones on the course.

Moe and I situated ourselves in the last corral, which was the BEST corral. Because pink is the best color (besides purple and turquoise).

broadpink

Broad Street is a notoriously fast course, with the course record being 45 minutes. My goal was to finish around two hours, which I thought was an achievable and likely goal. This was, by far, the largest race I’d ever participated in and I’m not a huge fan of crowds so I was a bit nervous. The nerves proved to be unnecessary as the corral I was in was comfortable and roomy.

With a field of 40,000 runners, the wait time to get to the start was expansive. In that time I stepped on a discarded GU Chomp (ew!), tripped over people’s throw away clothes, and tried to peer over a sea of people to catch a glimpse of the starting line.

I prayed for a good, safe race for myself and my fellow runners. The Philadelphia police presence was reassuring and visible throughout the entire race.

broadboston

With the events at the Boston Marathon still being so fresh in everyone’s minds, Philadelphia saluted Boston by providing every runner with a heart sticker that said “From Philly to Boston with Love” which all of the runners wore.

The race organizers also encouraged the runners to wear red socks as a loving shout out to our friends to the north, as well. Red socks for the Red Sox. We ordered ours from ProCompression.

broadstreetredsocks

Thanks to Chick Vic for this shot!

Crossing the start line, we all chimed in to “Sweet Caroline”. I was a little teary as we started off (and I wasn’t the only one). Races are always a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me but this one, especially so, as it was my first after the Boston Marathon bombings. Never once did I consider not running but I suppose there will now always be a “what if” that niggles at the back of my mind; that was never there before a couple of weeks ago.

The clock read 49 minutes when we finally crossed the start line. This time I actually remembered to press start on my Garmin and we were off!

Via broadstreetrun.com

Via broadstreetrun.com

When we first looked at this map we thought that instead of water stations, maybe they’d have Dunkin’ Donuts stations. Alas, those were cheering zones.

And not soon after we were off, we were stopping at the first row of porta-potties that we saw. There was a short line, only about five people deep and while we had to wait a couple of minutes, it was worth tacking on the time at the start. Every other stop we saw for porta-potties had a line of at least twenty people (every time we saw that, Moe and I would pat ourselves on the backs).

broadtemplecheerThe crowd support along Broad Street was, in a word, incredible. There were no “quiet” areas; no places that lacked the cheering and enthusiasm of people. It was so motivating. A few people that stood out were the children at Temple University Children’s Medical Center, who were wrapped in blankets and had their nurses outside with them, cheering for the runners. All the emotions! I swear, I cried more on this race than any other.

There were also many children along the route, and can I just say that they were very excellent high fivers. Enthusiastic and hands outstretched, I zigzagged from side to side to make sure I could get as many as possible (while being aware of the runners around me).

broadmoecityhall

Caught this pic of Moe in front of City Hall, mile 5 of the race. This was the YAY CITY HALL moment.

So, let me tell you a little bit about Philadelphia City Hall. It’s right smack in the middle of Broad Street! It marked the halfway point and as you circle around, you then wind up on the other side of Broad Street. This area was thick with people cheering. Can I say it again? Incredible!

I ate my GU as I walked through the water station. I decided that if I was going to be walking at any point during the race, I was going to walk with purpose. Chest out (no problem there), shoulders back, head high, smiling. And fast. I ran much of the time but during those walking breaks, I did so with speed and confidence. It felt great!

broadsigns

Along with the children (and their equally amazing adults), cheer squads, churches, bands – there were people with signs! I love me some race signage. I mean, really. These are incredible! There were also official high five stations, worst parade ever signs, and dudes in sombreros giving motivation (with beers in hand). Oh, and a giant IHOP pancake. I love a race where everyone is out to have a good time, especially the spectators.

By mile 8, I was wishing for another GU. Or a banana. Or fresh legs. Something. But at that point, I knew there was only two miles left. As opposed to the usual 5 I’m used to with half marathons. That thought perked me up and spurred me on.

broadnavyyard

The Navy Yard sign was just ahead and I knew that from there, I had a quarter mile left. I was very grateful that my trainer’s wife, Sarah, let me know that the sign didn’t indicate the end of the race! I did pick up the pace a bit when I saw the sign and from there, steadily increased through the finish line.

Finishing the race with high fives from military made my heart swell and my eyes tear a bit. Again! I received my  medal from a volunteer and then Moe and I were able to track down food. After getting food and water (which was blissfully cold!), we found Vic and my husband, who were waiting at our predetermined meeting point.

broadstreetmedalsVic finished about a half hour earlier and we came in just over two hours, which I was very happy with!

boardstreetfinish

The cost of the Broad Street Run is low and the positive perks make it one of high demand. The most difficult part was exiting the parking lot after the race, which took both patience and perseverance (next year, we’re bringing a picnic along!). 2013 was the first time they did a lottery process for people to take part.

I was thrilled that I was able to run this year, it’s been on my bucket list since I first heard about it. I’m already crossing my fingers that I get to take part in next year’s race.

What’s the largest race you’ve every participated in? What’s number one on your race bucket list?

Edited to add: Here’s a link to Vic’s recap too!