Race Recap: First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews.

When I signed up for this race through BibRave I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I’ve ran a handful of half marathons, was looking for something close to home, and here was this fun coastal race! It helps that it’s sponsored by First Watch, which is my favorite place to brunch after training runs.

I convinced my running buddy to sign up with me and, because she’s such a good friend, she did. There was, of course, the fact that we got to run over a nice sized bridge. Neither one of us are crazy about bridges. We did try to train for this race, and wanted to work in some bridge work, but our best laid plans never really work out. Life got busy and our longest training run was only a 6-miler.

Little did we know that it would all work out just fine.

The night before the race I was prepping to go to bed early. We’d decided to drive up to Sarasota on race morning to save a little cash and not spend too much time away from home. As I was putting the finishes touches on some classwork, Michelle texted me an updated from the race’s official Facebook page saying that the half marathon had been…cancelled.

Well, that put a wrench in our plans!

Some further updates stated that the half marathon and relay had been cancelled, but runners were still welcome to run the 10K, though it was going to end up being a pretty pricey 10K for some.

We decided to just go with our original plan and do the 10K, so I got up at about 3AM and headed to meet Michelle. The drive is a little over and hour and we got there with plenty of time to get our packets and hang out awhile without feeling rushed. There were still a lot of people there and I was grateful that so many still wanted to run! We didn’t get a lot of details about why the half was cancelled, and I know there were people wondering because I was one of them!

I ran into another BibRave Pro at the start and we took a picture and chatted for a bit before the race started. We’d decided to do intervals because that’s what we were comfortable with. It was obviously still dark when we started, but you could definitely tell that the course was going to be a great one. As a native Floridian, I absolutely love the ocean view, even when I’m running a race I can’t help but stop and look at it sometimes.

We started off pretty strong for girls who hadn’t run in a few weeks and were feeling good despite the early morning heat. Once we reached the John Ringling Bridge, things…were still okay? We did a bit of walking up the bridge, but coasted down easily (of course). That was the biggest thing we were worried about and it turned out to be pretty fun! Expect on the way back when our legs were feeling a little like jelly.

As the sun came up, that view started to get to me and I had to stop and snap a few pictures. You can never have too many sunrise-over-the-water pictures, in my opinion.

 

The rest of the race went well, and we even made a few friends on the course. We met another Skirt Sports ambassador and laughed with a few runners about how we didn’t have to run a half marathon and how everyone who signed up for the half and relay got a FULL REFUND!

Once we crossed the finish line we stopped for some pictures on the water and then headed to grab some food. Since First Watch sponsored, I knew there would be some goodness waiting for us and they did not disappoint. We met up with the other pros and took a few more pictures before taking a visit to the beer garden because runners drink beer at 9AM, obviously.

The pizza box is just random. Not ours.

All in all, it was a good race. I know there will still be a lot of speculation about the cancellation, but offering a refund to runners is a big deal. I feel like it was handled very well. I’d love to revisit this race again.

Maybe next time I’ll actually earn that half marathon medal.

Make Your Future, Danny

At the beginning of 2015, I heard about the concept of a vision board, and I immediately loved the idea of visually framing your goals for the year in an inspirational and motivating artsy poster type thingy. I like visuals. And colors. And art. So I made one, and I loved it.

Throughout the year, I pulled it out and checked things off. I referred back to it as I set race goals and accomplished other milestones. It made me feel good and helped stay me on track! I was loving it! At first, I was feelin’ like

Early on I knew I’d not be able to accomplish it all. I’d set too many goals for myself and I ended up feeling like a bit of an overwhelmed failure as a result. I have history with this.

NOT THIS TIME, YO. This year, I kept it simple. Flow-y. Stress-free. And colorful, of course. Most people make a collage using magazine clippings and poster board, but because I’m lazy, easily annoyed by glue, and sans magazines in my house, I always draw my board. Meh, it works for me.

 

This idea isn’t new, it was only new to me because I’m not hip. Soooo, I won’t go into the details about how to make a vision board because you probably already know all about it. In case, though, this great blog post by Vanessa R Williams will tell you how to make the best vision board ever!

What I want to tell you is that I think it’s worth your time to do this exercise. Especially if you have a big year ahead full of lots of goals or milestones. A few pro-tips though. One, make sure to include stuff that renews your body, mind, and spirit on there. Don’t forget to refill your cup. Two, be realistic about what you can do. Be fierce, but gentle with yourself. Most of all, make YOUR 2017 happen!

If you made/make a vision board for this year, I’d love to see it! Tweet me your photo. @scootadoot

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Journey 2 a Million Giveaway Winner

If you’ve been hanging out with us here in our little corner of the interweb for a while, then you likely know we are big supporters of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and their annual September event, Journey 2 a Million. The event encourages folks all over the world to track and donate the miles they walk, run and/or bike throughout the month.

To support the event, we always create a team and give away prizes for most miles. This year’s winner is @Jeasmada93who racked up 130 miles for the team. Jenny, you are amazing, and we hope this little prize will show you how much we appreciate you and your miles!

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Tank from Oiselle, Hat from Skirt Sports, and Wrap from Momentum Jewelry

Thanks to those that participated, and a BIG thanks to our prize partners, Momentum Jewelry, Oiselle, and Skirt Sports.

Until next year! <3<3

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!

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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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This One Time, At Space Camp…

I spent the Forth of July weekend at the best camp ever. There was no lake, or horses, or archery, or whatever they do at summer camp. The camp I went to had a Space Shuttle and Astronauts, and I even got to do science on the moon.  I finally got to fulfill my childhood dream of going to Space Camp, and it was WAY better than horseback riding.

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I wore Skirt Sports gear the whole weekend and it didn’t let me down in the Alabama heat! #psychedGGUforthewin

I had to fly to Huntsville, Alabama, the day before camp started, so of course I researched restaurants. It had been a long time since I’d had a po-boy and ettoufe, and I was on a mission. I wasn’t disappointed by the Yelp reviews for the Po-Boy Factory. So yumm!

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The next day, I got to Camp a little early and did some exploring and shopping. The Shuttle in the photo is the Pathfinder, and was an actual Shuttle program test vehicle.

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We got to do a Shuttle mission where we replicated Mission Control and Flight Crew duties. I got the be the “Guidance Systems & Navigational Controls Engineer” for the mission! We spent lots of time pretending we were astronauts, and we got to work in simulators that replicated the Shuttle, the ISS (International Space Station), and a lunar base.

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The second day of camp was jam-packed with activities. We toured the Rocket Center with our private tour guide; a retired NASA engineer who’d been with the rocket program since its inception.  He knew EVERYTHING.

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Saturn V Rocket. You can see tiny humans in the bottom left corner of the photo!

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The *actual* Apollo 16 Capsule. Imagine 3 men in that 6x6x6 foot space for DAYS!

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There were burn marks on the bottom from re-entry to the atmosphere from space. SO COOL.

Then we got to do the REALLY fun stuff, actual astronaut training! The first video shows me in the 1/6 Gravity Chair. It simulates the gravity felt on the moon. It was much harder to get going than you might think!

In this video, I’m in the MAT, Multi-Axis Trainer. This machine simulates a “tumble spin” that pilots can experience with loss of control of their vehicle. I was certain I would throw up. Megan, our team trainer, said she’s put over 700 people on this machine and no one has ever gotten sick. I’m happy to report that I didn’t feel nauseated at all! The chair keeps your tummy at the center of gravity, thereby avoiding nausea. It’s really true!

We built a model rocket and launched it (mine deployed perfectly, thank you very much). We also did a thermal shielding experiment that required me to put my faux engineering skills to the test. We learned TONS about NASA history and the legacy of our space program, I got to meet a real life space-walking astronaut, see an IMAX movie about the construction of the ISS, and learn about the next evolution of exploration with the Orion craft.

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Our team right before graduation

Astrobot helps astronauts on the ISS with tasks and space walks (EVAs)

Astrobot helps astronauts on the ISS with tasks and space walks (EVAs)

The other wonderful thing about my experience is that it brought a variety of people together who likely would not have interacted in their day-to-day lives. We came from all over North America, and we all shared a love of space and science that unified us. Ages ranged from early twenties to retirement, from married couples, to singles, to a mom and her daughter. All backgrounds were represented, too, from chemical engineers to artists. Our team had so much fun together and laughed constantly, so much so that we were made fun of for it at our graduation. I was so touched when a retired teacher from Maryland and a musician from Brooklyn busted out their instruments and improvised together. Camp was such a unifying experience, and I know each of us learned something about diversity during the course of the weekend.

In addition to the kids and adult camps, they have Family Camps, Educator camps for STEM teachers, and an Aviation Challenge for those who are more interested in learning how to fly an F-16 than a Shuttle Orbiter. My only advice if you’re going and you’re an adult, sleep at the Marriott next door. The beds and showers at the Camp facility were kid sized and not very comfy for us larger humans.

Not so comfy when you're 40.

Not so comfy when you’re 40.

I would go back to Space Camp in a less than twelve parsecs, and I REALLY want to stress that this is such a fantastic opportunity for kids. If your child is interested in STEM studies, SEND THEM TO SPACE CAMP. I am not exaggerating when I say that it could be life-defining experience for them, the moment where they decide what they want to be when they grow up. It was that impactful and influential. The environment is so supportive of encouraging each child’s ability and potential. When you’re there, you feel as though you really could be the first person on Mars, or the engineer to solve the complex problem of artificial gravity. This is such a better educational value for your dollar than the typical summer camp, which is great, but will they get to meet an astronaut and ask them questions?

Nope.

Or pilot the Shuttle?

Uh-uh.

Or make slime on the moon?

Ain’t gonna happen.

 

The only place you can do that is at Space Camp.

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I’m front row, second from the right.

Have you been to Space Camp? Is science your boyfriend/girlfriend? Are you sad that the Hubble will crash into the Pacific in 3 years? (FTR, I’m crying in my Cornflakes about it.)

Tell me all about it 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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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