runDisney 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Recap


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.

2016-01-15 05.03.25

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.


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!


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


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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.


Steampunk Madam Boba Fett & Darth Maul

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper


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!


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

all done

And look how prettttty!


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


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


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!

Race Recap: 2015 Solemates CollaBEERation 5k & Brewfest

Only in Colorado would we combine two of our favorite things, craft beer and running, in one location. Shoes & Brews, half running store half craft brewery, is doing just that. It’s the only place in the nation where you can shop for top-of-the-line running gear AND enjoy a pint of tasty craft beer. It also happens to be a mere 25 minute drive from my house.


Mer and Jenn sampling the brews at Shoes & Brews May

When I found out about the Solemates CollaBEERation 5k & Brewfest hosted by Shoes & Brews and Left Hand Brewing, my husband said he’d run it with me. This made me super excited because my husband doesn’t run; a lifetime of playing hockey makes for uncooperative knees. Instead, he supports me by being my race photographer (because he’s the bestest). So I signed us up, and then we learned were there was unlimited beer samples at the finish!


I picked up our packets and was thrilled with what was inside, and with the lack of what was inside. Included were a sweet, light-weight race hat from Headsweats, a granola packet from Barbara’s Better Granola, a Honey Stinger Energy Gel, and a coupon for a RoadID bracelet. What was missing was excessive flyers and advertisements and other things that normally end up in the garbage or recycle bin. One of my very favorite things about this race is that it was at 10 am not at 6 am. I appreciated the extra blanket snuggling time, specially since it was cold that morning!


Warm clothes for the race!

Warm clothes for the race!

I love small races where the mood is fun and festive and this race is both of those things! The crowd was smiling and eager to get the race started.

At the start

At the start


Pre-race stretching

Pre-race stretching

The course ran along the St. Vrain Greenway in Longmont, CO, and we enjoyed great views of the Front Range and Longs Peak.



We ran intervals because my lungs were not happy and my husband was sore from skating. Our pace was 12:31, which is about average for me and I loved being out there him. We held hands when we walked and cheered each other on as we ran. It was one of my most fun races!


We crossed the finish and smiling volunteers cheered for us, all the volunteers were great! The expo was rocking with live music, and we hurried to get our free beer sample because we were THIRSTY!





The guy in the tutu wins at life right now.

The free samples ended up being free PINTS, so that was awesome!

IMG_1571 We enjoyed our beer and the band, but decided not to have a second cup. We were hungry and went and ate eggs benedict instead. We opted not to take the shuttle limo, hilarious as it was, and chose to walk the 700 meters back to the parking lot.


The shuttle back to the start

This was such a fun race that I think it will be my new favorite local 5k!It had a great vibe and chill atmosphere. It’s a young race so they are working out kinks, (some porta potties at the aid station would be great), but they do a great job and the volunteers were fantastic. I’ll definitely be there next year!


Did you run a race this weekend? Were you at Wine & Dine? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Run Army Strong: Army Ten Miler

As my marathon training winds down (it’s this weekend, guys!), I’ve sort of been struggling to keep my head in the running game.

Life gets busy sometimes, and priorities change. Motivation changes. I made the decision a while back that following the marathon, the next couple of months were going to focus less on racing and more on my other fitness goals. Running just isn’t giving me the same balance that it used to.

So, as I’ve been struggling through this “running is meh” mindset, I’m glad that the “I love running!” version of me decided to sign up for a handful of races as part of my marathon training. It’s definitely been a little bit more motivating to have events to go to and publicly accountable reasons to get my training miles in.

In the last month, I’ve done the Navy/Air Force Half Marathon (which I’ll re-cap soon!) and the Army Ten Miler. This is the cool thing about living in Washington DC: lots of opportunities to run really fun, well-organized races put on by different branches of the military.

Obviously, the big one that everyone recognizes is the Marine Corps Marathon – I haven’t run this one yet, but I have spectated it! It’s on my bucket list… maybe next season? If I feel less meh about running then?

But after MCM, the Army Ten Miler is probably the second most well known. At 35,000 runners, it’s the third largest ten miler in the world.

image2 (1)

Yesterday morning, all 35,000 of us descended upon the Pentagon to get things started. Because there are so many runners, ATM does a wave start, with eight waves that start roughly eight minutes apart. It works pretty seamlessly. Both times I’ve run this race, the start was smooth sailing.

The only downside to yesterday morning? It was CHILLY. Like 44 degrees by the time I got to the Pentagon. I had worn capris and a tank to run in (which was ultimately the best call), and had brought a sweatshirt to throwaway at the start, but because I didn’t want to have to check a bag o’ stuff, I decided not to wear anything else to stay warm.

Consequently, that also meant that because I got there STUPID early (I’m talking 2 hours early, folks. I’m an idiot. Or I just wanted to get there and get it over with.), I was faced with the prospect of standing outside in the cold for far too long. So, I decided to huddle in the Metro station until the security guards threw us out. Ultimately, that ended up being about an hour.

I was warm for an hour. And then I was banished outside to wait for the sun to come up and bless us with her warm, inviting rays.

image3 (1)

This is the face of someone who just wants to be warm.

I went to my corral, found a curb, and proceeded to sit on it with my knees up around my ears until it was time to start.

Fortunately, that happened quickly and as my wave rolled forward, I kind of scooted into the wave in front of me and ended up starting with them. Ultimately, this worked out well for me, because it was clearly the pace group I should have been in.

My race plan was to stick to my marathon training strategy: 5-1 intervals, pacing around 10:30-11:00 min/miles. But then I thought about  it some more. “It’s only ten miles.” “You can run faster than that.” “Why the hell not?”

So, I decided to push this race. I had a time in mind to finish by, one that I haven’t seen in a couple of years and knew I was more than capable of achieving. As we started, I kicked it out a bit, not going too fast, but hanging with the swifter-moving folks in our group. Turns out, I banged out the first two miles (without walking) in 8:20 and 8:14. Not mad about it.

After Mile 2, I decided to implement the intervals again, because I know they work for me. So I did. Stopping to walk for a minute every five definitely affected my pace, but I was surprised to see that I was still moving at a good clip. Miles 3-9 were all between 8:58 and 9:30 min/miles. And then I ran Mile 10 straight through, without intervals, to finish that one in 8:20, and ultimately meet my time goal for this race.

I don’t know what happened, but I was pretty stoked on it.

image1 (1)

Today, however, my legs are a liiiiittle tired. I’ll have to be nice to them this week as we go into marathon day.

Here’s to knocking out that last bit of training and looking forward to 26.2!

Race Recap: Rocky Mountain Half Marathon

On Saturday, I participated in the 2015 Rocky Mountain Half Marathon presented by Vacation Races, who, in case you aren’t familiar, hosts races at various national park locales across the country. I was super excited to register for this one because the Rocky Mountain National Park is celebrating 100 years this year, and as a proud native of Colorado, I really wanted the commemorative medal!

Got my bib and my shirt!

Got my bib and my shirt!

I’ve been to the location of the race, Estes Park (pronounced Estis) many times, but I’d never gotten up at 3:45 on a Saturday morning to get there before. The race started promptly at 6:00 am, and we arrived at about 5:35 with plenty of time to park and walk to the start. My saint of a husband came with me and brought his camera. He’s a keeper for sure!

Not quite awake but I'm ready to run!

Not quite awake but I’m ready to run!

Sunrise over Lake Estes

Sunrise over Lake Estes

The race entry was limited to 1500, and 1329 raced. I felt this was a perfect number of people for the course. There was lots of room to move and maneuver, and I was never alone on the course even though I was running by myself.

Just keep waiting, just keep waiting...

Just keep waiting, just keep waiting…

And I'm off! I'm the one in purple (of course).

And I’m off! I’m the one in purple (of course).

The first hill is in sight.

The first hill is in sight.

People are walking a half a mile into the race. Altitude + hills = no bueno.

People are walking a half a mile into the race. Altitude + hills = no bueno.

I love when the mountains are pink from the sunrise!

I love when the mountains are pink from the sunrise!

I scoped a lot from the course, starting at mile 1. The course took us around the eastern edge of Lake Estes, and the views were pretty grand just like they were every mile of the course! Although the National Parks Service supports these races,  we didn’t run through Rocky Mountain National Park. Instead, the course runs along the paved streets of the town, but the scenery is still spectacular. Nestled in a small valley with the lake and surrounded by Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, and many other peaks, Estes made sure the Rocky Mountain Half lived up to its name!

The weather was perfect for running. It was 54 degrees Fahrenheit when we got to the race, and by mile three, I was stripping off my hoodie and tossing it to my husband as I ran by! They also had a gear check at mile three for you to leave your jacket and they’d bring it to the finish for you. Nifty!

Mile 3 and I'm feeling strong.

Mile 3 and I’m feeling strong.


It’s so pretty!

A bit further along came the first long hill of the course. I ran/walked it and felt good at the top, only I knew what was coming ahead. A slow, gradual 4 mile uphill slog where most of the 490-ish feet of elevation on the course is gained. There was a lot of walking going on in this section, folks. At least it was pretty!



The long, slow climb.

The long, slow climb.

This is about the time that Meri texted me to see how I was doing. I whined to her about the never-ending hill of little oxygen, and she reminded me of something very important.

I love this girl.

I love this girl.

Then I rounded a bend and saw this view. I stopped complaining.


At mile 9, the hill ended! HOORAAYYYY! I stopped for a potty break, grabbed some Honey Stinger energy gels, half a banana, and some Nuun and was off again. I loved that the aid stations had water, Nuun, energy gels, bananas, and orange slices. Way to keep us hydrated and fueled, Vacation Races!


It seems that mile 10 is were my body starts to whine and get annoyed. My hips start to get tight and pinchy, and I’m ready to be done. I put my head down and slogged through the rest of the race. I didn’t take any photos or video.  My husband was down at the finish waiting for me and he got to see the elite runners come in. They were lucky enough to see some elk on the course!

Elk are a common site in Rocky Mountain National Park. That buck has HUGE antlers!


The elk were not cheering for the runners, and moved on to the golf course.

The finish is in site and I CANNOT WAIT.

The finish is in site and I CANNOT WAIT.

Aaaand DONE!!!

Aaaand DONE!!!

I finished with a time of 3:17:47, much slower than my 1st half marathon. It’s okay, the elevation at this course was just under 7500 feet, plus there were lots of hills and no cushy Boardwalk to run on. I expected that my time would be quite a bit slower than at the April Fools Half. All in all, I’m quite pleased with myself!

It's so pretty and special and I love it!

It’s so pretty and special and I love it!

The medal for this race is really fabulous. It’s huge and heavy and bronze plated and I can’t wait to get a medal rack!!



I think I need to get this baby engraved.

I’m so proud that I ran this race and accomplished it. I knew going in that this would be the hardest thing I’d aver asked of my body, and I did it. It was hard and it hurt, but it wasn’t as hard or as painful as I expected it to be. This is something I’m super proud of, and will be for a long time. I conquered the Rocky Mountain Half!


Then it was time for recovery. Pro Compression socks, Mexican food, and vintage Batman. Perfect ending to a prefect day!


If you’re considering a Vacation Race, I would recommend you do it. I have nothing negative to say about the race. It was well organized, well sponsored, and well stocked. They fed us generously, gave us a pretty shirt and a GORGEOUS medal, and we got to run in a spectacular setting. Really, what more can a runner ask for?

What’s next on your race calendar? Have you done a Vacation Race Series race in the past?Do you like Mexican and/or classic sci-fi? Let’s chat in the comments!

*No compensation of any kind was given to me by Vacation Races for this race review/recap.

Race Recap: Skirt Sports 13er

Hi all! Today I’m recapping the Skirt Sports 13er that took place on June 14th at Davidson Mesa in Louisville, Colorado. I know it’s a little late, but trust me when I say the lateness of this post doesn’t mean the race wasn’t fantastic, because it totally was. And not because there was cake at the finish, but that didn’t hurt, either.

Photo Credit: SkirtSports Website

Photo Credit: Skirt Sports Website

I ran the 10k, mostly because I know the area very well, and let’s just say that there was no way I was running the last hill in the half marathon course. No way. It’s classified as a cat 5 climb, but, yeah, my eyes say it’s more like a cat 2. It’s a brutal hill, man, and I knew my butt was not ready for that action. So I skipped the half in favor of the 10k. I swung by the Sport Skirts headquarters to pick up my packet the Friday before the race. One of my favorite things about this race was the bib! I loved how they incorporated the elevation map in the design!

See the "get over bad relationship" hill? Yeah...I'm OUT.

See the “get over bad relationship” hill? Yeah…I’m OUT.

The 10k course suited me just fine, nice and flat after the first long hill, and the views can’t be beat. I’ve run/written about this trail before, and it is one of my favorites along the Front Range. As usual, I ran the race without a partner. No matter! The weather was GORGEOUS, and I was looking forward to getting some sunshine and fresh air.

So much inspiration!

So much inspiration!


I know it says finish, but it’s really the start.

The only real hill on the 10k course is still no joke; it’s long and slow, and most of the 338 feet of elevation on the course is gained on that hill. It was less than fun, but I pushed myself to jog as much of it as I could. I didn’t even put my earbuds in. Instead I focused the birds chirping and the beautiful day.


I ran alone for the first two miles until I stopped to take a photo and a nice lady named Rachel Taylor stopped too, and offered to take a photo of me if I’d return the favor. Runner code, right!? Of course I was down, and she snapped this shot of me with Boulder in the valley behind me.


Rachel and I ran intervals the rest of the race and I told her the names of the mountains in our view as we ran. She was from Texas, and had driven up for the race. We talked about running, races, and how the running culture is so different between Texas and Colorado. The rest of the gravel trail was flat  as we ran along the top of the mesa. Then, we ran through a paved business district to the finish at a local Home Depot. The course was easy and breezy, and Rachel made the race a lot of fun. Before I knew it, we were crossing the finish line! I even PR’d by 6 minutes!


I had completely forgotten about the cake! Luckily Rachel reminded me, and we made our way over to the cake tent. The cakes were all gluten free and there were so many to choose from! Rachel grabbed a slice red velvet, and after hemming and hawing between the carrot cake and the chocolate, the chocolate won out. IT WAS SO GOOD! I never knew gluten free cake could be so divine!

SO delish!

SO delish!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of Rachel, mainly because I suck at remembering to do that kind of stuff, but she is awesome. And so was this race. I am in love, and if they do it again, I’m all over it. There was such a great supportive vibe throughout the entire experience. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll do the half. Let’s face it, there’s CAKE at the end, and half finishers get a cute running skirt! Done and DONE! I highly recommend this one, folks!

Fangirling at the BolderBOULDER

When Meridith was in Colorado visiting me for the BolderBOULDER, we had the chance to attend the race press conference the day before the race. We weren’t told who would be there, only that it was with the elite athletes. We did our research and assumed it would be with the elite runners who were making up the international teams at this year’s event. Excited to hear these pros speak and share their training and racing wisdom, we jetted off to the conference with notepad and very giant, press-like camera in hand.

After arriving and finding the person who could give us our press pass, we stood near the food, feeling in the way and wondering what to do next. That’s when we heard someone speak into the microphone to say that Meb would be coming into speak shortly. Meri and I looked at each other with eyes as big as saucers. Meb?! Meb Keflezighi would be speaking in this tiny room to a handful of people which included us?! Needless to say, we were fangirling hard. But we kept it on the inside and remained calm and professional. I think.


Abdi Abdirahman in yellow, Meb Keflezighi in navy, and Frank Shorter in blue.

Not only did Meb come in to talk to the press, but so did Abdi Abdirahman and the legendary Frank Shorter. They offered some advice on training and achieving goals as well as what makes the BolderBOULDER special. Here, Meb and Abdi comment on how they train for the big races and win, and how the BolderBOULDER has helped them in their careers.

When asked what makes the BolderBOULDER special, Meb remarked on the stadium finish and how it feels similar to an Olympic finish. He noted the race’s rich history and traditions (this was the 37th year of the race). He enjoys how exciting it is to see the elite runners race at the end and how inspiring it is for young runners and said “we’ll see those kids grow up and become the next running stars.”

Abdi reminded us that the race was special because of its Memorial Day significance. For him, it’s about freedom, liberty, and those who sacrificed so that we can have those privileges.

Both athletes are looking forward to the next Olympic trials and hoping to get one of the coveted top three spots. When asked about what time he was hoping for at the trials, Abdi laughed and said it made no difference, as long as it was one of the best three times.  As they said in the first video, age isn’t holding either one of them back.

All three athletes said that it was important to surround yourself with people who love, support, and push you to be your best. Both Meb and Abdi have been with their coaches for many years and feel that their long standing relationship and the familiarity that brings is an advantage for training and racing. Meb commented briefly on his former sponsor and how they dropped him once he reached an age that they felt was too old to be competitive. Meb found a new sponsor in Skechers, who went out of their way to support his goals and give him what he needed. He went on to win Boston. It’s all about who’s on your team and what you want to accomplish.



The last special guest to speak was renowned coach Joe Vigil. He said what made the BolderBOULDER so special was is that the stadium finish makes everyone feel like an athlete, and gives each participant an immense sense of accomplishment, whether you’re a beginner or a life-long runner. No other race makes everyone feel like a star athlete. It was truly an honor to hear his perspective on this event.

Having the opportunity to see these gentleman speak was really fantastic. One of my favorite things about the #BB10K is that it’s for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro or you’ve never run before, this race is for anyone who is a fan of running.  It’s clear that these guys feel the same way!

Race Recap – 2015 BolderBOLDER 10K

This was my second year running the BoulderBOULDER, and it was super extra special because Meridith and I ran it together. I cannot even tell you all how excited I was to have her come visit me and run with her again, especially so soon after our last visit in A.C! That never happens! She handled the altitude like a champ, too, and the hills weren’t too crazy. We had the most fun of anyone on the course, natch, and we have the photos to prove it. Our fun always begins with the perfect outfit, and there was really only one choice for the BolderBOULDER.



This race is huge. Like, not just big, but massive. It attracts around 50k participants and 50k spectators. This uber organized race does quite a bit to make it easy for runners to have a good time, things like advanced packet pickup and race day registration. The crowds are no joke, and it seemed a little more packed than last year which added to the legendary party feel of the race.

Race Day Registration

Race Day Registration

Go CU Buffaloes! The hats make the outfit.

Go CU Buffaloes! The hats make the outfit.


Getting closer to the start!

Getting closer to the start!


So many waves!

So many waves still to run!

Once our wave started and the crowd thinned out a little we were able to jog. The weather had stopped being a jerk for the morning and we were feeling good through the first half mile. Pretty quickly we caught up to a group of Fire Fighters and Police Officers running the race in full gear and carrying a flag. It was inspiring, and made me feel like a schmuck for complaining about being chilled before the race. These folks are tough! They even went through the first of 2 homemade slip-and-slides in their gear.  This race requires a sense of fun from all participants!

Firefighters run

police run

Soon after, we were approaching our first hill up Folsom and into the residential section of the course (the fun part, really). One of the best things about this race is the organizers have bands playing every so often along the course, but the residents of Boulder step up and provide a TON of runner support and entertainment out of the goodness of their hearts. There’s never a moment when you don’t hear live music, whether professionals, garage bands, or belly dancers and drum circles.



Just a homemade Slip and Slide. In some dude's front lawn. For 50k people to run through.

Just a homemade Slip and Slide. In some dude’s front lawn. For 50k people to run through.

And some random dude with his dunk tank.

Through the neighborhoods we went, passing up the Jello and Drambuie shots that were offered to us. We heard there was someone handing out bacon but we sadly didn’t see him. We did a lot of bobbing and weaving, and Mer and I got separated a few times, but only briefly. The lesson here is you want to run this race, like, actually move forward at a pace that is faster than a meander, you need to get in a qualified wave. We registered as “jogging/walking mostly jogging, and there was mostly walking going on around us, which is fine, if the walking occurs on the sides of the street. It really made no difference, though, because we had the most fun of anyone on the course. That’s always the goal!


Run, Betty, run!!!

Run, Betty, run!!!

We came into the last mile of the course and found the Firefighters again. Hearing bagpipes playing Taps, they stopped, and Meri and I had to stop for a moment too. It was a touching Memorial Day tribute.

Just a few more meters to go and we’d be turning into the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field. We picked up our pace as best we could in the crowd and ran into the stadium.



Running into the stadium with all of those people watching and cheering is a rare experience, and something that certainly sets this race apart. The fine folks with the BolderBOULDER fed us, and gave us some excellent seats to watch the International Team runners finish.

The Memorial day celebration at this event is touted to be the largest in the country, and after seeing it myself, I believe that may be true.There was a touching tribute to 4 WWII Veterans, and skydivers carrying the flags of each branch of service, as well as the United States Flag and a POW Flag.


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

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

The folks at the BolderBOULDER have been really great to me this year, and I want to say how grateful I am to have worked with them in 2015. Despite the crowd and the confusion about the shuttles back to the starting line, we made it work and had fun. I grew up with this race in my backyard so I feel a certain pride about its popularity. It’s a legendary race that you should do if you can. The setting and the crowd support is unlike any other race in the country!


10 Things I Learned from the Atlantic City Half Marathon (Well, the first 5 at least)

AC Sign Small

Last Sunday, a few of us Chicks gathered in New Jersey to run Meridith’s birthday race, the 2015 Atlantic City April Fool’s half marathon. You may have noticed that this has become an annual Chick tradition, so please join us next year! I highly recommend the race, and you can’t go wrong with the company, if I do say so myself.

Coincidentally, it was also my first half marathon, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Training hadn’t been as successful as I would have liked, and my hip decided to be a jerkface the week before the race (I heard and felt something snap when I got out of my car one morning, totally random). So I walked into this race really not know what to expect, or what I was doing, for that matter. One thing I did know is that I would be in fantastic hands, i.e. Meridith, Victoria, and Cam’s hands, and I was determined to see how hard I could push myself while making it as fun as possible.

  1. Sewing Costumes can be time intensive (but oh so worth it!)

Ahhhhh…sewing. Let it be known here and now that I love to sew. I really do. From quilts to handbags to costumes to doggy diapers (aka, bitches britches), I’ve done it all. So when Meridith texted Cam, Vic, and I to say we needed Rockford Peach uniforms, I didn’t bat a lash. Of course we needed to needed Rockford Peach uniforms because HOW CUTE IS THAT, OH MY GOODNESS. Cam and I started researching patterns and fabrics and before long, we had a plan and sewing commenced one week before our flight to Philly.

From start to (almost) finish.

From start to (almost) finish.

Soooo, what I learned from this particular sewing project is that I need at least one week to make each costume. I started on Victoria’s costume first and then feverishly worked on mine, which gave me some trouble (stupid buttonholes). And that right there my friends is what you need to remember. In my thirty plus years of sewing experience, I’ve learned that every project will hit a snag (or five) and extra time is needed to deal with such annoying delays. I also wish I had sewn in a zippered pocket at the waist seam to hold that pesky inhaler I am forced to carry everywhere. Run and learn, I suppose! The costume itself, made from 100% cotton, was super comfy and not too hot, which was a relief. Vic supplied the PRO Compression socks to top off our outfits (and keep our legs happy), and Cam purchased the red baseball caps for the finishing touch!

May we present, the Rockford Peaches! (Photo Credit, Ken Shelton Photography)

May we present, the Rockford Peaches! (Photo Credit, Ken Shelton Photography)

Annnnd we're off!

Annnnd we’re off! (Photo Credit, Ken Shelton Photography)

Our costumes were a BIG hit! Everyone loved them and we heard “dirt in the skirt”, and “there’s no crying in baseball” more times than we can count! We always replied with “but there is crying in running”. No one argued with that!  Meridith and I passed an older gentleman who, based on the Navy veteran baseball cap he wore, may have been a WWII vet. When he saw us running toward him in our costumes, his entire face lit up and it was obvious that for a moment, we sparked a memory and made him feel young again. For me, that was definitely a highlight of the weekend!

  1. It is possible to run in full make-up and hair (even false lashes!)
When it comes to costumes, Cam doesn't mess around #allout #falselashes

When it comes to costumes, Cam doesn’t mess around #allout

I’ll be honest, running in foundation and mascara seemed like it would be an exercise in futility. I mean, it’s called sweat, and not even Coco Channel could conquer THAT amount of dewy sheen. But sometimes a girl’s gotta sacrifice for the sake of her…costume. After all, one cannot run as a Rockford Peach and NOT have red lips and victory rolls. So I was charged with hair because I’ve been known to rock some rolls from time to time, but realistically, I worried that my handiwork wouldn’t last through the first two miles of running.

Mer and Vic rockin' some rolls!

Mer and Vic rockin’ some rolls!

We snapped tons of photos before the race (Ken Shelton Photography did an absolutely fantastic job with the race photos), and were SO GRATEFUL that our costumes were judged PRIOR to the start because you and I both know we would be looking a hot mess after the race. Our faces and hair held up so well, I have to give a shout out to our hairspray, TRESemme Mega Firm Hold and lipstick, NARS “Fire Down Below”.

ACRace_Team_2 (800x533)

Ready to play ball! (Photo by Ken Shelton Photography)


  1. Altitude really does make a HUGE impact on one’s ability and endurance.

HOLY WOW. This is how running at sea level felt for me.


Seriously you guys, if I could run at sea level all the time, I would be completely, irrevocably, in love with hitting the pavement for miiiiiiles and miiiiiiles. Now I fully understand why Kara Goucher (and numerous other pro/elite athletes) live and train in Boulder. My lungs felt so strong, and my legs didn’t begin to tire until around mile 9.5. Back home, the longest I had run was a 10k. Lesson here is low-landers beware when running at altitude. It’s no joke.

Feeling so great at the halfway point that I was dancin'!

Feeling so great at the halfway point that I was dancin’!

  1. Names on the Bibs

Attention AC Race Series, the Rockford Peaches would like to formally request that runners’ names be on their bibs. Once I ran as She-Ra, Princess of Power, and it was pretty awesome. If given the option this time, I totally would have listed Marla Hooch for my bib name, then I wouldn’t have had to wear make-up. It’s just one of those fun touches that enables us adults to be goofy and silly and, in my case, really nerdy. I will totally run as Princess Leia of Alderan at the Disney Rebel Challenge if I can.

Cool, but could maybe be a teensy bit cooler.

Cool, but could maybe be a teensy bit cooler.

  1. Runners appreciate when the race is well prepared and stocked with goodies.

After last year’s race, I heard faint grumblings about the snacks being gone before all the racers crossed the finish line. I’ll tell you that the thought of that amazing pretzel and popcorn waiting for me at the finish helped me ignore the uncomfortable fact that my thighs were seizing up on me at mile 12. If they weren’t there waiting for me I would have been soooo sad panda. Thankfully there were PLENTY of snacks when we crossed the finish, so much so that they were giving runners two or three helpings to rejuvenate. They had popcorn and amazing pretzels and bagels and water and Gatorade and stuff! WAY TO GO, AC RACES! We don’t have photos of the pretzels. We ate them.

Thanks for hooking us up, AC Races!

Thanks for hooking us up, AC Races!

Next Tuesday, I’ll be posting part duex; the top five things I learned from the AC (and my first) Half. Until then, here’s a photobomb. Sorry we’re not sorry! Thanks again to Ken Shelton Photography for the amazing race photos!!

Quite a turnout!

Quite a turnout!

We got to see Bonnie S.! What a sweet lady blessed with a beautiful family!

We got to see Bonnie S.! What a sweet lady blessed with a beautiful family!

photo(7) (549x640)

Cam coming around the turn and looking strong!


It takes all kinds to win the race. #NB #Mizuno #Brooks

It takes all kinds to win the race. #NB #Mizuno #Brooks

Vic looking lovely with her shiny new medal!

Vic looking lovely with her shiny new medal!

FYI, If you run this race, a photo with Lucy the Elephant is obligatory.

FYI, If you run this race, a photo with Lucy the Elephant is obligatory.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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?).



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.

The Final Countdown

Yesterday was March 12th. Do you know what happens on April 12th? My first half marathon. YUP. My. First. Half.

I’m getting nervous, you guys, and I need a pep talk. I’m not where I want to be physically, and I’m beginning to wonder if I will ever feel ‘ready’ for a race. I’ve got a few weeks of training left, and I intend to make the most of them, but yeah, the jitters are setting in.

Part of my nervous tummy twitching is definitely excitement over seeing Cam and Mer again, and meeting Vic in person for the first time. The three of us last saw each other in 2012, which is WAY TOO LONG AGO. And I love Vic already, so there’s THAT.


We miss you, Bec!

But I’m also a tad worried that race day will be like when you go skiing with all your awesome friends who are really good at skiing and they have to spend their day helping you down the bunny hill. Yeah, kind of embarrassing.

I’m staying positive, though, focusing on areas where I excel. For example, since I live at 5k feet elevation, running at sea level will be a snap, right? Won’t my oxygenated muscles feel faster than ever before, and my lungs be as strong as steel? I should be able to breathe in so much oxygen that my asthma will be a forgotten memory. Say yes. PLEASE SAY YES.

I *might* be relying too much on my perceived altitude advantage. I also * might* be over-thinking and over-worrying this entire thing.

Usually, I’m calm and cool before a race. Chill, yo. Since I’m not in it to be fast I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just happy to be out there trying. There’s something different about this, though, and I’m pretty sure the difference is the distance. Plus, every time I try to run for longer than 4 miles, my knee pretty much tells me to eff off.

So these next few weeks will see me doing as much running as I can without making the knees hurty, and, since I have one and it’s convenient, a lot of elliptical work. Then strength training. There will be endless strength training. Luckily, I was smart this semester and fulfilled one remaining elective requirement with “Jogging and Walking”. Yes, folks, that right, I’m getting college credit for my training. Thanks to that, I’m getting in more days that look like this



How do you cope when the race jitters have got you? How do you keep from puking weeks in advance?