Scoot’s Most Popular Posts

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe Scoot A Doot has been going strong for six years. It’s fun to take a look back over all our posts and remember the race destination or recipe that inspired us to share a post with you. It’s also fun to take a look at the stats and see which ones are the most popular over time. Today, I thought I’d share a look at our most popular posts. The top five posts on our blog cover everything from food to costumes to inspiring a positive body image in our kids.

The Color Run vs. The Color Vibe

Far and away our most popular ever post is retired Chick Victoria’s comparison of the Color Run and the Color Vibe races. When theme races were in their heyday, everyone wanted to know which of these two packed the biggest colorful punch.  Vic dishes on her experiences at both, and reading this brought back memories of my own Color Run. We all need a little nostalgia sometimes.

Costume Tutorial – Running Skirt with Pocket Waistband

When Meridith and I ran the BOLDERBoulder together in 2015, we knew we needed special costumes befitting the 3rd largest road race in America. Going with the whole rock theme, we settled on Wilma and Betty from the Flintstones. I decided it was the perfect chance to try making a running skirt with a pocket, and an even better opportunity to document the whole process so you can make one, too.

Ready for a nap. And beer. Maybe beer, then nap.

Product Review: Buff Butter

Retired Chick Bec was a nut butter nut, and got everyone excited to try Buff Butter. The company is  now called Buff Bake, and Bec gushed over three of the four flavors she tried. To quote her, “If you haven’t heard of Buff Bake’s butters, it is a line of high quality nut butters with added whey protein. Depending on the flavor, you’ll also see things like hemp, chia and flax seeds and organic coconut palm sugar. And, it comes in awesome flavors like Snickerdoodle Almond Butter and Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter, just to name a couple.”

 

Road Tested: Sweaty Bands

once upon a time, Meridith had a MAJOR problem with headbands. Her thick goregous hair (trust me, I’ve braided it) could not be contained by just any headband. She gave Sweaty Bands a run way back in 2013 and she was a big fan. I later bought one at a RunDisney expo and loved mine, too.  Skeptical? See for yourself in Mer’s review!

The Most Important Thing About Me

One of my favorite posts is from retired Chick Cam, and some insight she gained into the mind of her then eight year old daughter. If you’re a parent, especially of girls, this post will speak to you. Even if you aren’t a mom, you’ll remember being easily manipulated by society’s expectations of what’s healthy and beautiful. It’s a reminder to jump off that bandwagon.

We are the champions!

 

With nearly one thousand posts on the site, there’s quite the archive to browse through. I hope you find a few more things that speak to you. Be well, friends!

 

Race Recap: Gasparilla 15K

ARRRRGGGGGHH YA READY TO READ ABOUT A FUN RACE?!

Yes? Well! Look no further than right here, okay?

This weekend my friend Michelle and I ran the Gasparilla 15K in Tampa, which is part of a weekend of races, actually! The Publix and Michelob (helloooo food and beer) sponsored race weekend consists of a 5K, 8K, 15K, and half marathon. Michelle and I ran the 15K in 2017 and thought we’d come back this year, too. Last year we ran the runDisney Princess Half Marathon, but my wallet can’t runDisney every year, you know what I mean?

Since we’re only a couple of hours south of Tampa, we left Friday after work. Michelle and I are both teachers and, even though I only worked three days last week, I was pretty tired. Traffic, of course, is horrendous. Seriously, people. Don’t come to Florida, we’re full. Our two hour drive took us about three hours because we wanted to get to the expo for packet pickup and avoid it in the morning.

The expo was still going pretty strong when we got there, so we picked up some fuel and I finally got myself a pair of Oofos that I’d been wanting since Chicago. After we picked up our packets we searched out some food and finally made it to our hotel. A trip with the two of us is always an adventure, because we’re both a little directionally challenged, so there were a few u-turns involved. Traffic in Tampa is scary.

Race morning started out smoothly. I’d decided on a Skirt Sports outfit of shorts and a tank top and it ended up being perfect for the weather. There wasn’t too much traffic and we made it to a parking lot with plenty of time to spare. It’s always my fear that I’m going to be late for a race or oversleep, but it hasn’t happened yet! I mean, fingers crossed.

The streets were already packed when we got to the start line and things were a little confusing. The last time we ran this race we were confused then as well. A lot of runners weren’t sure where to go and ended up in different corrals from what we could see. We ended up in the right one, however. You know, the not fast one?

We started off the race at a fast pace than normal by complete accident. We were actually right in with an 11:00 pace group and, yeah, no. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t easy. The day was supposed to be hot and humid so I knew I wanted to take it easy.

At about mile 2, a band was handing out beads which I happily took, and also ditched a few miles later because running with beads is annoying.

There were water stops as well as sprinklers at every mile, which was a huge plus. The weather was unseasonably warm for February, as it usually is in Florida. It’s just how we do things. We stayed strong though, with a decent pace even when we stopped to take pictures of the sunrise or pirates hanging out on people’s balconies.

The race is a straight shot down Bayshore Avenue with a turn around, so you get the same view both ways. It’s still a great view of the water. You also get the same porta-potties both ways and that’s kind of gross. Toward the end they started handing out Gatorade as well as water to keep runners hydrated. I stuck with water as my stomach always seems to revolt on me when I’m running and drinking things.

The last time we ran, there were some spectators handing out donuts. That didn’t happen this time and it was a little disappointing as I am always hungry. 🙂

I definitely started to slow down around mile 7, but Michelle kept pushing me. It had gotten really hot and we’d both tried to roll up our shirts for any kind of air flow. Seeing that final sign was like winning the lottery, even if we still had a little ways to go.

At the finish they gave everyone a cold towel, bottle of water, and medal, of course. Then we were ushered through the recovery stations which was basically just snacks. Don’t worry, I picked up a lot of them.

Shout out to Skirt Sports for the pockets!

We also realized we PRd the course by a couple of minutes, so we got our picture taken with a Jack Sparrow look-a-like and each of us rang the bell before heading to the after party for free beer and to sit around with some other smelly people.

After a little recovery we went on the adventure of remember where the car was parked in the daylight and made it back to our hotel to shower and change. Originally we were thinking of things to do in Tampa since we were already there, but since temps were practically boiling we just ate brunch and hung out for a few at the mall, like the cool kids do.

Gasparilla is a fun and beautiful course that I definitely recommend. It’s an affordable race and they put on a great party. I hope you check it out one year!

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.

Race Recap: Turtle Trot 5K

This weekend I got to run the Friends of Lovers Key Turtle Trot 5K in beautiful Southwest Florida for the third (or fourth?) year in a row. It’s a beautiful course through the Lovers Key State Park, which is 712 acres spread about Lovers Key and a few other islands. I love this race for a few reasons.

The course is b-e-a-utiful for one. I love living in Florida and, even though the heat can be murder, running it nature can be so relaxing. Sometimes I get caught up in and stop to take pictures. That wasn’t the case for this race, however. I actually had to have my friend send me pics for the purpose of this post. Oops?

The proceeds to this race also go to the Friends of Lovers Key, Inc., which helps to protect and preserve the State Park. Important things.

The first few times I’ve run this race I’ve done so alone. My friends always have other obligations, but I have no problems running the beautiful course by myself. Last year I ran with my sister and two friends, one of which was running her first 5K!

So, when I signed up this year I wasn’t expecting too many people to sign up with me. It’s a busy time of year and it was Mother’s Day weekend, so I knew people had plans. I was happy when my Best Running Friend Michelle and her family signed up, though!

I thought about setting goals for the race because I’d been really struggling on my weekly training runs. Michelle and I talked about it during our run on Thursday and both of us were just kind of confused by our bodies, to be honest. Training has been a struggle and we weren’t sure how Saturday was going to pan out.

One goal I was thinking was to at least run the entire time, with little to no walk breaks. That’s a big one for me, because I’ve been doing intervals when I run alone. I also wanted to keep pace at at least a 13 minute mile. Some of you may scoff at that number, but it’s pretty good for me, considering what my training runs have been like.

I picked up everyone’s packet on Friday before I went to a teachers’ night out even. Already I felt my goals slipping away as I drank wine and painted, but I wasn’t worried. I was scheduled to do a three mile training run, so I figured that’s what the race would be.

Saturday dawned too early (too much wine) and I made the hike out to Lovers Key. I met up with Michelle and her family about thirty minutes before race time and we hung out, checked out the porta potties, and took some pictures. The weather was projected to be rainy all weekend and, while it did sprinkle a little, it stayed nice and overcast the whole time. Lucky for us because, as a I said, running in Florida can be brutal.

Michelle’s husband and son moved to the head of the pack while we stayed kind of in the middle. We aren’t fast, but I know we were both wanting to push ourselves for the race. None of them had run the course before, but it’s a pretty simple one. And, also, it’s pretty.

When we came up on our first mile our pace was 11:47. WHAAAAAA?

All I could say was “We’re going too fast!” and laugh. Michelle and I make a lot of jokes about our pace, but that’s just how we work. We’re both on the short side and our stride just isn’t big. Besides, the only person I need to beat is myself!

At about mile two I was starting to get a little tired, so we slowed down a little. We stopped for water and walked, but not much. Both of us were feeling strong despite our talk on Thursday, so we kept on pushing. Mile two’s pace was a little slower, but not by much. It really felt like things were going by fairly quickly, considering how most of my three mile training runs had been.

A glimpse of the trail.

 

Technically an “after” photo, but check out those turtle socks!  

We were almost to the three miles mark when I got a cramp. It sucked becuase we were so close and doing so well! We walked a bit while it worked itself out and then pushed on. The finish line is just over a little bridge and right on the beach. Another reason I love this race is because it has a great place for after race pics! After we got some water and a snack we definitely took advantage of it. We also checked out race stats and I was pretty stoked about being 10th in my age group…until I realized there were actually only ten women in my age group. It’s fine. I laughed.

Coming in for the finish!

Our official race results were pretty good, since Michelle and I managed to keep a good pace. I tracked with my Nike Running app and was happy with my pace and splits. This race was two minutes faster than last year, according to my app so I’m considering that a PR for me. (Don’t argue with me, okay?)

Living that Skirt Sports Ambassador life.

The Turtle Trot 5K is a great race to start off the summer with and I hope they continue to hold it. The proceeds go to a great cause and it’s a great course. 10/10 will run again.

After the race I ate this delicious pizza. As one does.

 

Race Recap: 2017 Vacation Races Rocky Mountain Elk Double

For the third consecutive year, I ran my favorite race; the Vacation Races Rocky Mountain Half in August. Because I am an ambassador for the race series, I did receive a free entry in exchange for this post, so let me tell you allllllll about it! If you’ve been reading our little blog for a bit, you’ve likely seen my previous recaps of this race here and here. But this year was different for a few reasons, and none of them were easy.

Lake Estes and the glacier topped peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park

Like last year, I completed the Elk Double, which means I did the 5k race on Friday evening and the half marathon on Saturday morning. About a week before the race, I was told my beloved dog, Archie the Pug, had a spleen tumor and might only have thirty days left with us. All my race plans and thoughts went out the window. I almost decided not to run the race at all in favor of spending every minute with Archie. The problem was that after all these years of running, I had inspired some family members to sign up for the 5k too (a post about that is in the works, because it’s the coolest feeling). All of this meant I had an obligation to them to be there, they were counting on me. My husband and I decided that we could maybe include Archie in the race by buying him a bike trailer/pet stroller and we would push him through the 5k and dedicate our race to him.

A few days before the race, we decided to get a second opinion about his tumor because it just wasn’t adding up with what we knew about him and his symptoms. He’s been struggling with some other serious health issues this summer, and we wanted to be positive about his prognosis. Low and behold, he didn’t have a tumor at all, but an enlarged liver! Not a good thing, but certainly not terminal! THERE WAS SO MUCH REJOICING.

At that point, we were all in for the race weekend we had planned months ago with family. I knew this race weekend would be pretty pathetic for me as far as performance was concerned. As you may have heard me say previously, Archie’s health issues require 24-hour care and that means my time for training over the summer vanished when he got sick in June. Although, carrying a 32-pound dead-weight dog to get water, to potty, and to eat does work the core and back muscles.

I had NO expectations for myself other than to finish the races in the allotted time, but a last-minute half marathon course change an unexpected foot issues had other ideas for me, but more on that in a sec. Race weekend arrived and we excitedly departed for a weekend of camping on our property, racing. And of course, looking cute on the course.

Flat me for the weekend, and all in Skirt Sports, of course!

We arrived at the expo and met up with my sisters-in-law and their husbands. After chatting for a few, I headed off to volunteer at the expo. Since all Vacation Races events are cup free, I pitched in at the Hydro Pouch booth to give runners their pouches they’d bought in advance. Showing people how to use the nifty little Hydro Pouch was fun, and I got to encourage lots of runners and welcome them to Colorado and Estes Park. After my stint at the booth finished up, I swung by the merch booth to buy another patch for my Toasty Girl Vest. I can’t wait to add all the Vacation Races patches eventually!

2 down, many more to go!

The 5k followed the same course it has since its inception and took us around Lake Estes’ paved bike path at sunset. One of the things I like about this race, and all Vacation Races, frankly, is the race size. There are usually around three thousand runners give or take, and it makes for the perfect level of comradery between runners and a comfortable race experience. No waiting too long for port-a-potties or being packed in your wave like a runDisney runner.

On the course, Archie was a big hit in his stroller, but my goodness, he HATED being pushed. He actually howled and whined and cried and made other runners laugh, and look at us funny, and some, I’m sure, wondered if we were torturing him. It was pathetic, and funny, and slow going. My husband, who never runs, kept outpacing me with the stroller and at one point was far ahead of me. After playing catch up to him, we kept a brisk walking/running pace, which was a mistake I paid for the next morning. Through it all, Archie looked cute, as he does, and when we finished with a horrible time, we gave him our medals.

Archie’s a finisher! I think he just wants my banana, and Lily (left) just wants a ride.

The half is not only my favorite race, but now it’s also my ‘hometown” race since it’s the biggest race near where I’m building my house. It was so awesome to get up pre-dawn and drive the beautiful drive from my property in Allenspark to the start line Estes Park, a distance of about 20 miles. I saw deer and elk on the drive, and it was so much better than getting up a 3:30 to drive an hour and a half like I had to do in previous years. I’m claiming this race as mine!

My strategy with this race is always the same; run the downhills, walk the uphills, especially the big hill that lasts foreverrrrrrrr. I knew they had changed the course, but the announcement went out the same week as the race and I didn’t have a chance to see what changed.

The start was chilly, it was in the low 50’s, and the music was loud. Coffee, hot cocoa, and bananas were staged at the start for runners and spectators. Warm drinks are always welcome at pre-dawn starts, especially at 7500 feet elevation where there is always an early morning nip in the air. I was feeling good and was ready to walk/run the race. I was having no pain as I waited, and no concerns about my race at all. I expected I’d finish around 3:20. Runners from all over the country come to this race, and their excitement is catching. People posed for photos while they moved around to stay warm.

Finally, my wave started and I was right behind my pacer. Almost immediately, I knew there was a problem. Not even a quarter mile in, the top of my left foot was not having it. I could feel a pinching pain deep in my foot with every footfall. The impact of running was too much. I was in trouble, and started to wonder if I would finish at all. It hurt, and I wasn’t even up the first hill yet.

This is the kind of selfie I take at 5:30 in the morning

About that hill. Remember all the folks from out-of-state who were so excited at the start? Those same folks are walking up the first hill too, angry with themselves that they’re already walking and that the elevation is more of a challenge than they expected. I see it happen every year. This is when I try to engage with them and ask where they’re from. No matter what their reply, I reassure them that the elevation is hard for locals like me, too, because it is. 7500 feet of elevation is no joke, and no amount of training can fully prepare you for it. When you take on challenges like this, be kind to yourself when things don’t go as you hoped or planned.

Just keep smiling!

The half course is all on paved surfaces, and follows the 5k course for the first mile which takes runners on the wide bike path that hugs Lake Estes. The course was the same as previous years for the most part, but in order to avoid having runners cross a major highway, they routed us a little differently. Now, we used a new bike underpass under the highway that took us to the beginning of the dreaded long hill. This course change made the race more safe, but it had a drawback mentally for those of us who’d run this race before. What used to be mile six was now mile two.

I made it to mile three where an ambulance and two EMTs waited to help runners in distress. Unfortch, they didn’t have any Biofreeze for my foot. I stopped for a potty break and to fill my hand-held. Before heading out again, I ran into two of my Skirt Sisters, Deb and Jennifer, who nursed me through the race. Deb was also recovering from an injury so the three of us stuck together the rest of the way. Honestly, without them, I doubt I would have been able to finish. Going it alone and in pain was getting to be totally not fun at all.

We kept trucking along and made our way through the race. Aside from my foot, this was the most mentally tough race for me to date. The reason was the course changes. As we came down a slope that used to lead to mile marker eleven, I could see the aid station next the new mile marker; mile seven. I’ll tell ya, when you’re brain sees scenery it remembers from last time and thinks you’re almost done, but you’re not, it’s a punch in the gut. We trudged on, talked a lot about running injuries and treatment, how much we love the scenery, and of course our devotion and love for all things Skirt Sports. Having friends to race with is always so much better.

Mt. Meeker on the left, Longs Peak next to it.

Fighting through the pain was tough, and after describing my symptoms to Deb and Jennifer, we concluded it sounded like I had pulled a tendon in my foot. Not much I could do but bear it. Luckily, Jennifer did have a packet of Biofreeze that she gave to me. Oh, what a wonderful, cooling miracle that green goop is! It helped me finish for sure.

The new route had us backtracking a bit to get back to the underpass and the lake. Mile eleven was finally in sight! We turned onto the Lake Estes bike path and followed it around the western curve of the lake. For me, this was the longest part of the race. You can see and hear the finish line, and it seems like these last two miles are never going to end. We kept asking (rhetorically) where the heck the finish was. That’s what happens when you take almost four hours to finish, you just want it to be OVER.

Worst race time ever, but worth every moment with great people.

 

Still love Vacation Races medals most!

I was never so happy for a race to be over, and although it was a terrible showing on my part, I’m proud of myself for sticking it out. I’ve been known to quit things, and I didn’t quit. I may have hobbled and grumbled a smidge, but that’s okay. I made it, and had to remind myself that even though this is my “hometown” race and in my backyard, it’s the most challenging course in the Vacation Races circuit in terms of starting elevation and hills. Plus, there’s always next year to chase that PR!

Medal Haul

I’ll do it again next year. The challenges I faced were mine, and part of that is learning how to mentally deal with curve balls like course changes. Even though I didn’t finish like I wanted to (my goal back in February was to beat my PR for the race by ten minutes), I learned some great things about adversity and how to listen to my body. This race was a great experience this year. I always recommend Vacation Races events!

Race Recap: Vacation Races Yellowstone Half

Last weekend, amazing races took place all over the country. Maybe you even participated in one. (If so tell me allllll about it in the comments!) I was lucky enough to be one of those people, and I can’t wait to show you all the pictures from  the Vacation Race Yellowstone 5k and Half Marathon. I had dreamed of doing the Caldera Triple this year, but other obligations (tickets to see Roger Waters) kept me from the mother of all medals. Next year, it’s on!

Disclaimer: while I am a Vacation Races Ambassador, I did pay for my registration for this race and I didn’t receive any compensation for this race review.

I live about ten hours from Yellowstone. Honestly, when the scenery is as beautiful as it was and you’re driving your Mustang, ten hours feels like five.We drove up last Thursday and got into Yellowstone at around seven o’clock in the evening. Along the way, we stopped at an overlook to take in the most beautiful mountain range I’ve ever seen, and keep in mind, Rocky Mountain National Park is my backyard. If you’ve never been to the Grand Tetons, you need to add it to your bucket list.

Jackson Lake and Grand Teton

We came from the south which meant we had to drive through Grand Teton National Park to get to Yellowstone. We decided to buy an annual park pass since we’ll soon be living so close to a national park ourselves. Eighty bucks to support our national treasures was money well spent in our book.

I had signed up for the Bison Double, which meant I was running the 5k Friday night and the half marathon on Saturday morning. My husband and I decided to get up before dawn on Friday to see some of Yellowstone while the light was still good for photography. It was the right choice!

He was the only other guy on the road at 5:30 am. Also, he wasn’t moving for us.

Sadly, the Grand Prismatic Spring was too steamy to see.

Kepler Cascade

Yellowstone Lake and Thermal Vents

A real life postcard.

After a morning of exploring the park, we headed back to the hotel to take a nap and prep for the 5k. The weather forecast at race time was less than dry. I was volunteering at the race expo before the start, so I headed over a little early and met up with the rest of my team at the start. My husband, sisters-in-law, and their husbands all ran the 5k, and exactly none of us were looking forward to running in rainy drizzle and 42 degrees.

There’s some first timers in this pic!

The course was beautiful despite it being wet. I don’t have many pics of this race because the conditions made it hard to snap shots. We started on paved town roads for the first mile then transitioned to gravel trail riddled with puddles and mud for the rest of the race. We had to watch where we stepped so we didn’t slip in the mud. I’m glad I’d packed so much gear, options are so important when the weather is unpredictable. Plus I’d bought an emergency poncho for which I was so grateful! I was slow because of the conditions and I wanted to be sure I was okay to do the half the next morning. My husband and I crossed the finish, then waited for the rest of our team. We were disappointed to learn that the 5k medals had been lost in shipping, but we were assured that they’d be mailed to us once they were located.

The next morning, I woke up to a weather forecast calling for hail and more rain before the half marathon. Yes, hail. Well, tiny little pellets, but still, when they hit your cold cheeks, it hurts! I shook out my disposable poncho and layered up. With some fleece lined leggings, a Lioness skirt from Skirt Sports, and three layers on top, I was as ready as I could be for my first wet, cold trail half.

I knew this race was going to be my hardest one yet going into it. I knew the elevation gain was no joke, and that it was mostly on a trail. I also knew I wasn’t able to train for this race like I wanted to. Since February, I’ve had to focus on selling my house, moving, and finding a new place to live.  Doing all those home improvement projects did get me into better shape than I was in after the holidays, but I was no where near where I wanted to be for this race. Getting a PR wasn’t my goal, not getting hurt was. My strategy was to do walk a brisk pace with some splashes of running until the big hill. Then, I’d walk as briskly as I could up that bish.

Around mile five, it started to get steep. The course was still thick with mud, and I tried to stay on the edge of the trail to keep from getting bogged down. Mile six is where it started to get nasty. Hence my face in the photo below. It was yucky, but at least the sun had come out and the rain/hail stopped! Once I got over that hill, I found one of my Skirt Sports sisters on the course, and I couldn’t have been happier! Kim is the best. We’d run the Skirt Sports 13er together last year and running with her is always so much fun.

After I’d made it over the hill and found a friend, the race took on a new feel. The course turned technical with large rocks as we began to descend in elevation. I took my time through the rocks but still stumbled a few times. The views were completely worth it, though, as the course took us beside the river and through pristine forest.

As I was out there feeling better than I expected to be at mile nine, I took a moment to appreciate my body. I have ridiculous expectations of it. I ask it to do amazing feats of endurance without ever putting in the 100% training I should. As I climbed that hill and listened to those around me struggling to breathe due to the altitude, I sent my body some messages of gratitude and I promised to not ask it to do this again without the proper preparation.

We counted down the miles together, stopped for orange slices at the mile 11 aid station, and were fueled by the thought of our medals waiting for us. Unfortunately, the Bison Double medals and the Caldera Triple medals were lost in shipping along with the 5k medals. But we did get our half marathon medals, so it was great to have that waiting for us at the end along with the always yummy post race fuel box and bananas.

It hurt so much but we did it!

Kim and I hugged goodbye before I took a few family photos with our race team. I think some of them may have caught the race bug! I’m already planning to come back for the Caldera Triple next year, maybe we’ll make it a tradition!

It was a fabulous race in one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been. Aside from the medals being lost, everything went smoothly and we all had a blast. This race may not be an annual one for me due to traveling, but it’s certainly one I’d like to do every few years. Vacation Races didn’t disappoint, they really now how to pick their locations! It was so gorgeous everywhere you looked that I wanted to share a few last photos with you of your Yellowstone National Park.  Enjoy!

Elk buck

At the Grand Prismatic Spring

Bison herd

You could literally reach out your car window and touch them. But DON’T.

Half medal with Old Faithful erupting in the background

 

As a safety reminder, I ask that when you read my recaps of high altitude races to not underestimate the affects of altitude. I’ve lived at over 5000 feet elevation all my life, and soon I’m moving to 8500 feet. My lungs and muscles are acclimated to the elevation despite having asthma. If you do a race at altitude and you aren’t already acclimated, be sure to train appropriately, take precautions against altitude sickness, and be kind to yourself on the course if you don’t hit your pace goals.Save

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Race Recap: Denver Broncos Back to Football 7K

Something weird happened over the last few years. I started wearing more orange. I began paying attention when my husband was watching our local NFL team games. I found myself yelling at the refs for making shit calls against our guys, and screaming for joy when they won. Somehow, I became a football fan. You may have heard of my team, they won the Superbowl last year.

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My new Broncos hat. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to wear!

My family is just as mystified as I am at this development. It’s something I can’t explain or  make sense of myself. But, it’s happened, and so when I found out that the Broncos host a 7k (all hail John Elway) AND that the medal is pretty sweet, I invited a bunch of friends to join my team, the Happy Hoofers!

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We’ve got our bibs!

Waiting in our corral with a ton of other fans in the shadow of the storied Mile High Stadium was definitely a unique experience. We were #UnitedinOrange! It took a while for our corral to go as they were releasing waves every five minutes. We waited over an hour to start and were already pretty hot and thirsty by the time we got going at 9:30-ish. Still, we were excited to be part of the energy.start Collage

When we got the the first water station at mile 1, we were so happy! Until we were so sad. They had run out of cups, and we didn’t have bottles with us. We’d have to wait until mile 3.something for the next aid station. We really hoped they had cups! The course took us through the old Victorian neighborhood that surrounds Sports Authority Field (us natives will always and forever call it Mile High Stadium). I was too thirsty to get pictures. :-p Then we did a half circle along Sloans Lake before turning back toward the stadium to run onto the field!

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Running into the stadium through the Bronco head and being on the jumbotron was awesome but I wish they’d let us snap a few photos before they pushed us through. How often do I get to be on the 50 yard line of my teams home field. NEVER. That’s how often.

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Me and my sister on the JumboTron!

 

My goal with this race was to get some folks who might not ever consider “running” a race to try it out. I think for those who have never been to any kind of running race have preconceived notions about what level of fitness you need to participate, and how far a 5k (or 7k) really is. My friends where surprised that it wasn’t quite what they expected and they had more fun than they thought they would. Once folks realize they can do it at a pace they are comfortable with, they enjoy it. Not everyone has to be fast!

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They’re real!

I’m not sure I’ll do this one again. As much as I love my team, I felt the race organization could be better. The race didn’t start until 8:30 so it was pretty warm and it took quite a while for us to start. Not to mention, the water station ran out of cups before all the runners had left their corrals, and I saw far too many people cutting the course and cheating. It’s 4.3 miles for Pete’s sake, does one really need to cheat???  I call shenanigans!

It was a success, though, because my group tried something out of their comfort zone and they had fun! They are all so proud of their medals and of themselves! My sister-in-law had such a good time, she’s already signed up for a Christmas 5k, and I hope this is the start of a new hobby for her. I couldn’t be more proud of her! Kudos, Toni!! <3

All photos courtesy of my wonderful husband. Thanks, Honey!

 

What Fall races do you have planned? Who’s your team? I want to know below!

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Race Recap – Vacation Races Elk Double at Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park

I want to let you know that this will mostly be a picture post, because this race is just sooooo pretty. Also, I want to formally declare my love for Vacation Races, and this event in particular. VR, I LOVE YOU. If you’re reading this, pleeeeeeeease let me be an ambassador for your race series. Since I live within driving distance of  six out of nine of your events, I would make an excellent representative because I plan to run them all in the near future. But my first love for your race series will always be the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon.

This was the second year I’ve run the #RMHalf. They even added an extra special challenge this year, the Elk Double, which consisted of a 5k on Friday night, followed by the half marathon on Saturday morning. Three medals for two races means I. AM. IN. Many of my fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador Sisters were also running the races, and created a team. Team WTF? Where’s the Finish? I was so stoked to run with a team; I usually run races all by my lonesome.

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Packing for the big weekend and Coach Lily the Pug approves of my outfit selections.

In the interest of transparency, I want to state that in my (limited) half marathon experience, this group puts on the best races with the BEST Medals. Dare I say it, even better than runDisney.

I dared and said it. I retract nothing.

For proof, they had free smores and hammocks at the race expo. They had water, electrolyte drink, and Honey Stinger Gels at EVERY half marathon aid station, and at three of those stations, they also had bananas, orange slices, and porta potties.  VR really takes care of their runners!

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I was excited to try my new Skirt Sports skirt with bib magnets built in for the 5k. I was expecting to have to adjust my bib as I ran, but nope! The magnets kept it perfectly in place and I didn’t have to put safety pin holes in my new skirt. I was winning at life!

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5K Outfit: Skirt Sports Race Magnet Skirt, Electric Tank, Injinji socks, NB Shoes

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At the 5k Start

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Spirit of the Rockies: Anglers, Canadian Geese, and runners share the natural beauty!

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Even the geese were cheering for us!

Here in Colorado, they don’t give out medals for 5ks. They just don’t. Not sure why, but maybe it has something to do with the commonly seen “140” oval stickers on cars. I guess folks here don’t really get behind the 5k distance. So, I’m VERY proud of my first and only 5k medal!

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Ummm, so on a “related to the Rockies” note…my high school BFF lives a half a mile from the start line for the races, which was awesome, because I stayed at her house and walked to the 5k start. What wasn’t as fun was navigating the bear in the tree a few houses down from said friend’s house. I think he was sleeping, and he had the cutest bear butt. As long as that butt stayed in that tree.

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You can see a casually hanging paw and adorable tail.

I found out later that team WTF? finished in FIRST PLACE for the 5k!!!! No thanks to my slow arse which finished in 38 minutes, but yeah! So I got 2, 5k medals and I cannot even. I had to get the gold 1st place medal from my WTF? team mates the next day, but I was stoked!!  Then it was time to rest, fuel, sleep, and get up at 4:30 for the half marathon!

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Flat Me for the Half: Skirt Sports Eclipse top, Cougar (Lioness) skirt in Free Love print, two pairs of socks; Injinji toe and PROcompression.

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I only smile this early in the morning on race days. Trust.

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Mountain valley mist rising as the sun rises in Estes Park

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The weather was perfect, and the course is so gorgeous!

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I saw an Elk whilst doing the Elk Double! Life is complete!

I always love seeing mile marker 6 because it means I’m almost halfway done!

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In the middle of the dreaded looooooong (3.5 miles-ish) low grade hill.

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*heart eyes*

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This view is worth the altitude.

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The course takes you right past the most haunted hotel in America!

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Coming up on the finish

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The cutest!

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Just a few more steps!

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Team WTF? Where's The Finish

Team WTF? Where’s The Finish

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That bling, tho!

Done

This was my big event for the season and there was no doubt in my mind that I’d enjoy the race, but the fact is I came away with a lot more than I expected. My goal was to push myself and I did. I shaved five minutes off my time from last year. But the best part by far was I got to know my Skirt Sisters better, and together, we placed in the race. That’s because #REALwomenmove. Especially together.

What is/was your big race this season? Do you runs with a team at races? Did you visit a National Park this summer? Let’s discuss below!

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Race Recap – Skirt Sports 13er & Ambassador Retreat

Recently, I got to spend some time getting to know my fellow Skirt Sports Ambassadors as we celebrated a weekend of strong women accomplishing amazing things. At the ambassador retreat, I learned more about the Skirt Sports message of supporting all women in their fitness goals and beyond. I want to tell you more about that in a future post because the message is amazing, and goes much deeper than the cute clothes they make.

My current favorite.

My current favorite.

The retreat was hosted by the company’s Community Outreach Manager, Noelle, at her amazing mountain home near Boulder. We ate all the yummy food  like berries and mangoes, Einstein Bagels, Justin’s Nut Butters, Noosa Yogurt, Bhakti chai & teas, and granola bars Two Moms  in the Raw.

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After stuffing our faces, we embarked on a short hike and I made lots of new friends. Inspired by the beauty of our surroundings, we moved though the forest and shared stories of how we came to running and fitness, and why we wanted to be involved with the company. Our colorful prints and pink skirts took over the trail, and the air was filled with our laughter and positivity.

Hike 1

These ladies know how to have all the fun. It was great to put faces to names and learn something form everyone I met. I sometimes have a bit of social anxiety, so putting myself out there like this was a big deal for me. Everyone was so welcoming and genuine.

Hike 2

With views like this, we all wanted to move into Noelle’s basement.

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After the hike, we mingled and ate more carbs and then discussed some super secret ambassador-y type of stuff that I’ll be sharing with you later. At the end day I had new friends and a new perspective of what being a Skirt Sports Ambassador means. These ladies are good people, and I’m so proud to be among them!

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The next day was the Skirt Sports 5k and 13er. One of the highlights of the race is seeing the excitement of the Running Start  runners. It’s a mentorship program that matches a seasoned runner with a new runner for training and motivation The new runners train for the 5k and they run with their mentors. The program had been life changing for lots of women in profound ways that go far beyond running shoes and exercise.

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We didn’t get to see them start their 5k since our half started earlier, but we were an excited bunch at the start!

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Not far in, I found my pace and two new friends! Anne, (@anniem695) who blogs at Out Running the Fork, and Kim (@kimrunsthistown). We had so much fun together and enjoyed the beauty of the course, which wasn’t as hilly as I expected. The weather was PERFECT, it was overcast which kept it cool, and humidity is something we know nothing about in Colorado. And it was SO PRETTY, you guys!

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BoulderPano

They had the best signs out on the course, which was nice, because there weren’t to many folks out on the course cheering with their own funny signs. As we approached the hill, we needed that motivation. However, there were some lovely people out with a tray of gummy worms, which may have to be my fuel of choice going forward.

the hill

We made it to the top of the hill, a.k.a., the bad relationship, and honestly, it wasn’t that bad! I was pretty scared of this hill; it kept me from doing the half last year. It was so gradual that I didn’t notice the incline much at all. (Note: I’m acclimated to the elevation here, always consider the elevation when traveling to a mountain race location.)

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It was a great day and this race is inching to the top of my short list of favorites. With views like this throughout the entire course, who wouldn’t want to run this one? I’ll be there next year with  my Skirt Sisters; and you should add this unique women-only race to your list of destination races. Did I mention there’s amazing gluten-free cake at the finish?

What races have you done recently? What races do you have on the horizon? Do you have a community that builds you up? Tell me all about it below!

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runDisney 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Recap

5K

Last year, after I finished the inaugural Disney Star Wars Half Marathon, I was walking back to the hotel room surrounded by the clanking of medals from Rebel Challenge finishers.  I glanced down at my beautiful, yet lonely, half marathon medal and I vowed that in 2016, I would have all the Star Wars medals.  When the time came to register for these races, I gave all my money to runDisney. I registered for the Rebel Challenge and then signed up for the 5K too.  Because if there’s one race series that I’m going all in on, it’s this one. After all, Star Wars is kind of my thing.

Finally! After all these years…

Finally! After all these years…

The 5K was on Friday morning and I expected the race to be a lot less crowded than previous Disney races.  I’m not sure why, maybe because it was on a weekday at 5:30 in the morning.  Really, I should know by now that Disney races break all the rules.  This race was packed with all kinds of runners!  Especially families.  I was really disappointed I hadn’t signed up my daughter.  I also can’t tell you how excited I was to see so many little girls in their Rey costumes kicking ass in a race whose theme has been marketed as a mainly male franchise.

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Start Line Selfie!

I know this is a big shocker, but I didn’t train as much as I would have liked for these races. I wasn’t too worried about the 5K, but I knew I had those other two, more lengthy races to run in the next few days with Jenn.   I thought of this race as kind of the warm-up.  The course stayed in the two parks and it was exactly what running around Disneyland with a bunch of kids would be like.  I can’t tell you how many times I had dodge tiny Jedi.  I couldn’t stop thinking how amazing this race would be for a kid: getting to dress up like a Jedi and run, literally run, around Disneyland.  It was great to watch these kids finish with their parents and friends.  I can’t wait to force my kids to do it with me next year.

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10K Banner

With the 5K was out of the way, I couldn’t wait to meet up with Jenn to get ready for the first race of our Rebel Challenge.  We eagerly prepared our costumes for Jenn’s first ever trip through Disneyland.  That’s right, my friends, Jenn was a Disneyland virgin! That would explain the virgin alarm…

Perfect costume is perfect!

Perfect costume is perfect!

We weren’t quite sure about choosing a parody costume for this race.  We are both lifelong Star Wars fans; she’s the first person I texted my theories to after watching The Force Awakens!  But we’re also both fans of laughing and when Jenn suggested we dress as the Spaceballs duo of Dot Matrix and Princess Vespa, I just couldn’t get as enthusiastic about anything else.  We weren’t sure if anyone would appreciate the laugh as much as we did, but, man, were we pleasantly surprised.

10K Collage

Jenn’s Dot Matrix was just perfect and all race long we were reminded of our favorite quotes as fellow Spaceballs fans shouted them at us as we passed.  My favorites?  “She doesn’t look druish!” and “How many more dunes?” Unfortunately, we didn’t get to reenact our favorite parasol scene.  We didn’t want to risk it with the new costume rules. Because I will definitely use that parasol for something else someday.

10K Collage 2

The 10K was great fun.  Jenn and I talked Star Wars theories while we ran and we cared not about spoiler alerts, because um, we’re running Star Wars!  We were stopped many times to have our picture taken with other Spaceballs fans.  The cherry on top was meeting Dark Helmet at the finish!  What are the odds?  Also, a DeLorean in the parking lot!  Win, win!

10K collage 3

We hit the park after freshening up. I was so excited to show Jenn around one of my favorite places.  We made lightsabers after Star Tours and rode the wildest ride in the wilderness.  And we shopped, oh, did we shop!  Mickey ears for everyone!

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When I walked to the expo and saw this, the fangirl in me GEEKED OUT.

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Because a long time ago in a decade that has long since passed, I fell in love with this franchise at the age of 4.  So this smile? It’s totally genuine.

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And so is this smile, as I wait with the funnest chick in SoCal, Cam, at the start. Cam’s Chewbacca dress and duct tape bandoleer were a big hit! We strive for adorable, after all.

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The energy was great at the start, and even though this was my first runDisney experience, I assume they always go big. It was easy to forget we were up so early.

All too soon, we were at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The weather was perfect for running, and the pace of the runners was faster than at the 10k. Cam’s costume was getting lots of love on the course, and we even got a compliment from a fashion teacher on our outfits. The seamstress in me was thrilled!

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The World of Color is pretty even in the early morning. The weather was perfect for a race, and so was the company! <3 you, Cam!

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Cam answered the many Wookie calls thrown her way with a throaty GRRRRR as we took our time but were mindful of the balloon ladies. After putting in fourteen miles the day before at the 10k and walking the park, both Cam and I had some tired legs and feet. No matter, though, we were having TONS of fun!

mile 5

I had to dance for Mer. It’s what I do.

There were lots of cheer squads and marching bands from the local high schools out on the course cheering us on. They were so excited to be out there dancing, playing, and high-fiving us, it was great!

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The course support was fantastic during the last 5 miles, too, with some astounding cosplayers cheering us from the sidelines. Seriously, folks, check out these costumes.

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Steampunk Madam Boba Fett & Darth Maul

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper

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The balloon ladies snuck up on us. All of the sudden, there they were. There was some confusion about the pace they were keeping versus what our GPS watches were saying our pace was. We had to put a wiggle in it to get the race done. I sprinted at the end, beyond excited to get my hands on those gorgeous medals!

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We made it! And we’re so happy it’s done! Because OUCH.

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And look how prettttty!

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And then we ordered pizza. and drank beer. And then for dinner, I ate this amazing shrimp po-boy. Because recovery, yo.

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The next race with this girl can’t come soon enough. You’re the best Cam, the best Disney tour guide, the wittiest running partner, and a good friend. Thanks for everything. Until next time, Princess Vespa! <3

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And maybe by then, my sister’s envy of my medals will lure her to the Dark Side. We’re taking on the Kessel Run in 2018.#jointhescootalliance.

What was your first runDisney race? What’s your favorite part of runDisney events? Are you wondering what the heck steampunk is? Tell us about it in the comments!