Biggest Loser RunWalk NJ – Giveaway

Fall is upon us and that means FALL RACING. Fall racing is, in my non-expert opinion, the best racing. Or, at the very least, the most comfortable racing! I’ve got the AC 10k/half and Philly, and I was looking for at least one more race to fill in the fall race schedule.

So, let me ‘fess up that there’s a race series I’ve been stalking since it first came into existence a few years ago.

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For those of you who don’t follow my every move (basically everyone other than my mom – HI MOM!), I started my “running career” in 2011. After having my second kiddo it really kicked my fitness into a gear I hadn’t seen in many, many years.

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I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, I don’t always particularly like running. I’ll be the first to admit that the benefits far outweigh the fact that I’m not always thrilled to be training.

However, I do love race day; I love the camaraderie with other like-minded individuals who will drag themselves out of bed before the sun and get out there to push, push, push themselves. I think what speaks to me most is that while we are all at different levels and all at different parts of our journeys… every person out there is putting themselves first and bettering themselves.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been (not so) patiently waiting for this race series to come my way. Last year there was an event in Erie, PA but that’s still a good seven hour drive from my house which isn’t exactly a hop, skip, and a jump away!

This year, the Biggest Loser RunWalk is coming to the Garden State! They’ve teamed up with Six Flags theme parks and will be at Great Adventure on November 2nd. Huzzah!

As soon as I heard the news, I contacted them. Well, wait, no… first I did a happy dance around the living room. Then I reached out to them and as fast as you can say “Bob’s your uncle” (wouldn’t that be the coolest? I love Bob!), I’m doing the 10k! Hello, favorite race distance!

What’s more is that my 9-year-old, Pooks, and I are avid watchers of the Biggest Loser and I was really excited to see that there’s a Kids Fun Run. Pooks will be doing the mile run; he can’t wait another kids race (and get a finishers medal)! He has also requested that he has a starring role on the blog. No one can deny he’s my son.

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The metaphoric cherry on top of the sundae (of course it’s a metaphor – this is the Biggest Loser we are talking about here, there are no sundaes to be had) is that some of my all time favorite Biggest Loser contestants will be there: Dan and Jackie, Pam, Jay, and Jenn! No doubt, I’m going to be on total overload on November 2nd.

I know my Jersey area folks all love a good time and would love to join my family for an awesome experience! Am I right? I’m so right.

The Biggest Loser RunWalk is a non-intimidating race series designed to challenge America to get fit. You’ve been inspired by the hit reality show “The Biggest Loser,” now it’s time to get off the couch and hit the pavement and achieve your fitness goals. This race series will include a challenge for everyone. – The Biggest Loser RunWalk website

There is seriously something for EVERYONE, so no excuses!

Click the pic to enter!

Click the pic to enter!

This giveaway is for one entry to the Biggest Loser RunWalk NJ – winner’s choice of distance. You are responsible for getting to and from the event. Winner will be notified via email and on our Facebook page.

The Biggest Loser Run Walk Race Series has compensated entry for both my son and myself, as well as the giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Oh Kiddo, My Kiddo

Nine years ago tomorrow, at 9:49 in the morning, I became a mom.

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Since then I’ve learned what it is to be a parent and it’s a continual learning process. The role of a parent isn’t the same as mom, which might surprise some, while others might be nodding their head in agreement. I’m always a mom. But I bring out the parent hat in teachable moments, when I need to guide and lead my children.

Recently (and here’s where it gets really cool) Pooks and I have been establishing our friendship. Now, the roles of mom and parent always supersede the role as friend, but we are growing into this new found part of our relationship.

It’s freaking awesome!

Going into our 9th year of being us, there are things that we enjoy doing together that are ours.

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He recently read a book that he loved and then suggested that I read it because he knew I would love it, too. The love of reading is something I shared with my mom and it’s so cool to see this continue on to the next generation.

Furthermore, he’s more in tune with me in an emotional sense. When our dog got sick and my husband was at the vet with him, Pooks was there with me when I got the call from Jay that Jack wasn’t going to be coming home with him. To have him with me in that vulnerable moment, when I couldn’t put on the mom or parent hat, and just needed to have him as my friend was invaluable. He’s starting to see me as a person. For so long, I think it was really easy to only relate to each other as our given roles in a family; now it’s more than that.

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In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, I’ve been decorating my family members doors with hearts and reasons why I love them. There are currently nine Valentine’s on Pooks’ door.

1. I love you because you are musical and want to learn more.

2. I love you because there are so many things you want to do and explore.

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3. I love you because you are Principal of the Day.

4. I love you because you always ask if I am okay if I’ve been sad or upset.

5. I love you because you’re a good big brother.

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6. I love you because you sing in the shower.

7. I love you because you are ridiculous!

8. I love you because you care about animals.

9. I love you because you are a great kid.

Here’s to my son, my friend, my nine year old.

Kids Will Be Kids: Inspiring and Motivating

Pooks is at the stage in his running career when as soon as a race ends, he immediately asks “When is my next race?” Which is awesome because that enthusiasm is beautiful at age 8… and at age 36.

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After this past Sunday’s 5k with Jay, he’s ready for the next race and wants to know what we have on the agenda. He’s actually signed up the runDisney Kids Run next month during Wine and Dine. (We’re surprising the kids with this trip so shhhh, don’t tell!)

Now, I’ll also say this. While he’s runs with gusto, he’s not extremely fast.  He’s not winning any age group awards.

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He’s racing because he enjoys spending time with his parents.

He’s racing because he has that enthusiasm for running that doesn’t come with the love of winning, but with the pure love of moving.

Pooks is one of those kids in constant motion and has been since he was a baby. He might not be the best, he might not be winning any tangible prizes or medals, but he’s doing his best. The Cub Scouts motto is “Do your best” and it’s one that we try to foster within our household. Note that doesn’t say “Be the best”… it says do your best. Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes better.

I’ve said to before but for the people who are new to this blog (or don’t keep track of my every move), I didn’t start running until two years ago. I run for myself but the fact that my kids are watching me certainly motivates me to keep going. These little people that we created are watching our every move. They look to us for guidance in every aspect of their lives at this point and that is priceless.

I want to do right by them.

And while I’m sidelined by my own injury, I still want to encourage their love for motion. I want them to have fun while exercising and it needs to have some glimmer of fun for me, too. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. And they probably wouldn’t either.

What is absolutely fantastic is that when Pooks gets home from a race, Little immediately wants to have a race of his own. Complete with a bib.

This "race" was four laps around the yard. The finish line was my husband and myself holding a ribbon for him to run through.

This “race” was four laps around the yard. The finish line was my husband and myself holding a ribbon for him to run through.

A few months ago, bamagirlruns posted videos on Instagram of her husband doing workouts with her children and what looked like all the kids of their neighborhood as well. Inspired by this, my kids and I took our yard for our own workouts.

Getting planky with it. Notice that Little makes the downward dog modification to his.

Getting planky with it. Notice that Little makes the downward dog modification.

We have stations in the corners of the yard, some at my suggestion and some at theirs and we run from corner to corner. My Little has Autism and is very selective on what foods he will eat (white and orange foods). While I have very little control over that, he’s always down for a good frolic in the yard!

Right now the boys have gym class once a week in school. New Jersey requires physical education throughout all years of schooling but the short amount of time they have at school for active play isn’t enough. So we supplement at home and thankfully my boys are willing participants.

I’m not concerned so much with their form at this point, that will come with time. Right now, they’re out there, they’re having fun, and they’re moving!

Bear crawls and crab walks are among their favorites.

Bear crawls and crab walks are among their favorites.

Fall is always our “busy” season. Actually, so are winter, spring and summer. But fall is when things really seem to get crazy. We’ve got school, homework, after school activities, Cub Scouts, piano lessons, etc etc etc. Setting aside 10-20 minutes a day to getting moving with my boys is something I look forward to because it’s ours and because I love seeing them turn to me with expectant looks on their faces, asking, What’s next?

What are some family activities you do together? How did you find the love of running (or swimming, or cycling)? Any ideas for fun “stations” for the kids? (I saw a friend used a game spinner the other day during her workout and I’m definitely thinking that’s something I’ll have to incorporate.)

Do Good, Feel Good: Out of this World Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Last week, I wrote about our first Alex’s Lemonade Stand. This past weekend we hosted our second annual event.

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The goal this year was to beat last year’s total of $566.

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This kiddo wants in on the action. He wants his name in lights.

Which we did.

lemonade20134By a lot.

lemonade20135Not by a couple of hundred… but by over double.

lemonade20136Despite it being Father’s Day.

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And with the assistance of my bro-in-law, Matt, who said he’d shave his hair and beard to help raise more funds.

No longer looking like he's on Duck Dynasty.

No longer looking like he’s on Duck Dynasty.

We raised $1,292.35 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand!!!

Because when life gives you lemons... you make LEMONADE!

Because when life gives you lemons… you make LEMONADE!

A couple of tips we followed to make our stand a success:

  1. Send fliers home to all the students at school! There are nearly 500 kids in Pook’s elementary school. After getting the “okay” from the higher ups, we made copies and sent them out to each class. Next year Littleberry is getting in on the action and hopefully we’ll be able to expand this to his school as well.lemonade2013fliers
  2. Set up an online donation page through Alex’s Lemonade Stand. This was a key step in our success as many of the donations to our stand came from far and wide. Even if people couldn’t partake in a delicious cup of lemonade, they were able to take part in the giving.
  3. Take advantage of the fundraising kit! Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation sends out kits a couple of weeks before the stands are being held with information, giveaways like lemon shaped silly bands (the kids loved these), papers to fill out names to show participation, bandannas, and balloons.
  4. Post to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter throughout the event. Live updates are especially fun because it makes those people who are far (see number 2) feel like they are part of the action.
  5. Have a really amazing person who is willing to shave off his hair! In other words… Gimmicks! Bells and whistles! Razzle dazzle!
  6. Ask for donations – don’t have a set amount for lemonade. Whatever someone can give is the perfect amount; nothing is too big, or too small.
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  7. Instill the love of helping others within children early on and show them that hard work pays off. This weekend was exhausting, busy and incredibly gratifying.

Mix. Pour. Find a cure!

How have you given back recently?

Do Good, Feel Good: Alex’s Lemonade Stand

My Pooks is a sensitive kid.

This is both a good and difficult quality to possess. He cares too much; he cares with his whole heart. Sometimes it gets him in trouble (when he cares too much about what his classmates think rather than standing on his own two feet)…

And sometimes, most times, it’s absolutely glorious.

No, he will not fix your computer. Which is probably good for everyone involved.

No, he will not fix your computer. Which is probably good for everyone involved.

In March of 2012, Pooks announced that he wanted to hold a lemonade stand.

Now, I don’t know about where you live, however, March in New Jersey isn’t exactly prime lemonade stand weather. It might have still been snowing at the time. When I mentioned this to him, his response was “Well, okay. When can we do it?”

I asked his motivation and naturally, he wanted to make money. I’m all about the American Dream but he is healthy, happy and wants for… not much.

Or rather, he wants a lot, gets some and we say “no” to the ridiculous.

I saw the opportunity to turn his dream of a lemonade stand into something special, something more. So, I told him about Alex’s Lemonade Stand and how he could help other children; children who are sick. We looked at the website together, we watched videos together. We read books together. And, just like that his dream got grander and it was no longer solely about himself.

It was about carrying out Alex’s dream.

It was about helping others.

We registered our very first annual Out of This World Lemonade Stand to benefit pediatric cancer research.

And we got working!

Building

Building

And working.

Publicizing

Publicizing

And working.

Lemonading!

Lemonading!

And working some more!

Best little cup carrier this side of the Mississippi.

Best little cup carrier this side of the Mississippi.

Until finally…

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After all the hard work of preparing our Alex’s Lemonade Stand, we got to work some more! Within two days through the generosity of friends and neighbors, near and far, the Out of this World Lemonade Stand raised $566 for pediatric cancer research.

Let me repeat that because that’s AMAZING. $566!

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Enjoying a cup of lemonade after two hard days of work (don’t worry, he had more than a cup over the two days!).

The thing about kids, especially kids who’ve got eight years of experience behind them and many more in front of them, is they feel with their entire hearts. It’s up to us to steer them in directions where they can use those feelings, those hearts, to accomplish great things.

We’ll be hosting our second Alex’s Lemonade Stand this coming weekend. We’ve been talking about it since we packed up the stand last year and the goal is to reach (and hopefully surpass!) $600.

We can and we will! (I’ll do a follow up post next week.)

What sort of philanthropic endeavors do you take part in? What organizations speak to you; which do you hold near and dear to your heart? How do you volunteer your time and your efforts? I want to hear all about it!

BA5k – Mother’s Day Run with family

Have you ever ran in formation? Because after today’s 8th annual BA5k, I can now say that I have… well, at least for a hot second! I mean, I was next to them so that sort of counts. A little. Pooks, Jay and I were very impressed with the police academy runners.

The BA5k is a local-to-us race to honor the memory of Brian Anderson, a young man who passed at age 21 from an undiagnosed heart arrhythmia on Mother’s Day in 2005. The 5k walk/run started the following year and this year was the 8th annual memorial run.

Last year, Pooks ran a quarter mile race and was looking to “up his distance” (I’m not kidding – that’s the phrasing he used). He was seven at the time and I was thrilled that he was so interested so we chose to participate in this race. It’s always held at the local park that we consider “ours” – it’s where we’ve played since he was born!

2012 Mother's Day 5k

2012 Mother’s Day 5k

This year, we were able to talk Jay into joining us. Maybe talking him into joining us is a bit too liberal of a phrase… I signed us up as a family team and told him that we were going to run it together. You might recall he ran his first 5k in March so he felt fairly confident that he’d be good to go for this race.

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Yes, my eight year old will be taller than me. Probably sooner rather than later.

We’d signed up as a family team but somehow there was a glitch with their system because they only had me listed under participants. After getting bibs and shirts sorted out, we were once again on the way to the start! The race began at 9am; thankfully that time wasn’t hard and fast this morning because the boys both needed to stop at the porta-potties before we lined up.

ba5k3At the start line, they didn’t really have clear markers or anyone with a megaphone directing runners or walkers. The runners logically should’ve started first but that’s not really how it went down. There was a lot of bobbing and weaving for the first minute.

ba5k4But once we got past that, it was smooth sailing and we fell into a nice, comfortable pace. I asked Pooks if he had a plan for this 5k, since he was setting the pace. He told me that he wanted to take it easy the first mile, speed up the second mile, and sprint at the end.

Is that what happened?

I’ll give you one guess…

NOPE!

Right out of the gate, he was hyped up and going too fast. Which I mentioned, but what eight year old wants to hear that? Or thirty-something year old, for that matter? So I tapped into this enthusiasm, knowing eventually he’d simmer down.

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Dude and Pooks – holding strong at almost a mile.

Looking at pictures from last year, I found one of Pooks at nearly the exact same spot.

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BA5k 2012

If I were to guess, I’d say there were about 1,000 runners and walkers present. The course wound through the park so you were able to see other runners and the walkers throughout the race.

Just past the mile mark, Pooks asked for a short walking break so we slowed to a fast walk and continued with intervals through the rest of the course. He was happy to see the water station at the halfway point and more than happy when we made our way to the finish line.

Of course he was an absolute stinker at the end. “Mom, wait for me so we can cross the line together!” Pulls up next to me, asks if I’m ready to sprint, and as I’m answering him he TAKES OFF.

Last year we finished in 49:59. This year? 39:56. The kiddo bested himself by 10:03!

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“Mom, I beat you!” Uh huh. You sure did, kid.

Have you ran with your family before? Did they pull the old “let’s cross the finish line together” and then leave you in the dust?