Back in pre-COVID times – April 2019 – BibRave Pros Ken, Ryan, Joe, and myself
I absolutely LOVE the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate race and have been a repeat customer since 2017. While I was sad about the race cancelation, I also realize now just how grateful I am that it happened. The race directors made a tough decision and the very start of the pandemic and it was a smart one.
If nothing else, 2020 has taught me the importance of being flexible and focusing on what is POSSIBLE.
Which is why I am looking forward to running my own version of the 2021 Philly Hot Chocolate 15k virtually. An in-person race is not in the cards for the Philadelphia location of the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k for the upcoming year, but there’s plenty of opportunities to be a part of the community from a distance.
Everyone knows the swag for the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k races is unparalleled! In fact, it recently won best medal/swag and top virtual experience in The BibRave 100. You won’t miss out on any of the swag while doing the virtual event – all of this is sent directly to you!
Hot Chocolate packets and chocolate candies
The zip up hoodies are so soft and warm!
2021 medal – locket style with a piece of chocolate inside for both race distances
Also convenient when running virtually is the ability to participate at any time. After you finish the distance, you can upload your results on your EnMotive account.
Plus, if you sign up and use the code BRHC20 during your registration, you’ll receive a free Hot Chocolate running hat! Click here to register.
By signing up for virtual runs, I’m ensuring that I remain consistent with training. Is it the same as an in-person race? No, but it’s the next best thing while we wait for life to get back to “normal”.
Crossing the finish line with Ana in 2018.
I plan to check in over the upcoming months while I train and share some favorite memories from past experiences at the Philly Hot Chocolate 5k/15k. I know that when I’m finally about to cross that finish line in the future, it will be that much sweeter!
First, get yourself a small, comfortable group of running friends. If it’s during COVID times, like now, make sure they’re staying home as much as possible, wearing masks when they do go places, and are willing to put up with your early morning shenanigans.
August 2020 running – Amy, Keri, and me
October 2020 running – me, Keri, Amy
Next, you’re going to want to have a training plan. Or, if your friends have a plan and you can insert yourself into their plan, better yet. That’s what I did.
We signed up for the Dirty German 25k virtual race. Our running group is know as the Turtles (I’ll give you exactly one guess why) so we called it the Dirty Turtle. The base rules are listed above; the 15 week plan was one that Keri set in place. Anyone who knows me know that I love a good plan that this one was solid and not overly aggressive.
The longest training run was 10 miles, which I did twice about a month apart. We floated the idea of making the second one a half marathon (13.1 miles) distance but landed on keeping with the 10 miles instead.
Which brings me to my next point: have a backup plan for training. I realized that I wouldn’t be available to run on our scheduled day with Keri and Amy so I invited my son, Lucas, along for the 10 miles. We ran on the same trail that Keri, Amy, and I planned to do the 25k and I was able to familiarize myself with every section of the path.
After conquering our 15 week training plan, it was finally go time! We landed on the date because it was Keri’s birthday. What better way to spend a birthday morning than waking up super early and running all the miles, right?
The weather forecast looked incredible – low 40s to start and ending in the low 60s. We went into the morning stocked with gels, hydration, hand sanitizer, Buffs for when we came across other people, and a solid plan of what we were going to do. Knowing exactly what to expect = comforting.
We parked at the trailhead, which always has a clean portapotty there – something we took into consideration when planning. Our cars served as aid stations so we made sure to throw things in there that we might potentially need.
Once upon a time, the trail we chose to run on was part of the Pennsylvania-Reading Railroad line, so it’s wide and flat. Some sections are a bit gravel-y, others are covered in leaves at this time of year, but generally speaking, it’s considered an easy trail.
The run was broken down into three sections. Two 3 mile out and backs (so that we could swing by our car/aid stations if necessary) and a final couple of loops in the park before returning to the trail for our last mile and change. While training we stuck with 1:1 intervals and we figured that’s what we’d do until someone said differently.
The first 6 miles were pretty amazing, as expected. Not expected was when I fell around 5.5 miles in, although perhaps I should have expected it, knowing my proclivity for such things. One moment we were talking about Dawson’s Creek and Pacey versus Dawson, the next moment, I was on the ground!
For a moment I thought my 15.5 mile journey might be reduced by 10 but thankfully after I made sure my ankles were okay, I was back in the “get it done” mindset. And, since we were close to the car 6 mile mark, I was able to stop and clean myself up before we set out again for miles 6-12.
Our dear friend, Emily, joined us for this portion and it really helped us mentally break up the run. We hit our halfway mark during this section, and as is our way, we did our halfway dance. To Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer.
But you know, copyright and all that. Just sing the chorus.
Once we reached 12 miles, we were all feeling the distance and needed a new game plan for the final 3.5 (which seemed longer than the first two parts, honestly). We decided to switch our intervals to 1 minute of running, 2 minutes walking and to get off the trail for awhile and swing through the paved park a few times.
Officially past 13.1 = our longest distance EVER!
We got a (very) brief second wind at the point we past the half marathon mark. Keri and Amy’s family members arrived to cheer for us so we said hello before making our way BACK to the trail for the final time. My family was at my son’s karate black belt test, but my husband did come out to cheer for us earlier in the morning and I was getting text messages throughout with updates.
After some quick mental math distance calculations which is usually NOT my forte, I figured out just how far we needed to go on the trail (and back) to hit the 15.5 mile mark.
The last two miles were rough. Wait, no, I take that back. The first 1.5 miles of the last two miles were rough. The final half mile we decided to listen to Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now and We Are the Champions. I think we might have been slightly delirious and I know we were singing very, very loudly in this beautiful, tranquil place (thankfully there weren’t too many people around).
Keri and Amy’s family were both there as we crossed the “finish” line. In our cars we had snacks, cake for Keri’s birthday, mimosa makings, the works.
And we celebrated because that’s what you do when you run a 25k for the very first time.
Love, put your medals on!
It’s been a few days since we ran and I’m still on a high from running this distance, still so happy with what we accomplished. I think that says a lot. For all the crap that 2020 has thrown our way, I’m a tiny bit surprised that I feel this happy about doing a virtual 25k. But I am, and it’s a great feeling.
Disclaimer: I received an entry for the America Runs 5k to review 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!
2020 has been the year of the virtual race! Self motivation for training runs during the summer are always a challenge but after a knee injury, I was looking forward to getting back on track with running.
Through the month of August, I worked my way up in distance while being cognizant of how my knee was feeling both during and after a run. The Galloway method (interval running) has always been a go-to for me and I continued to use the one minute run, one minute walk for my training runs.
My son hasn’t been injured and usually leaves me in the dust.
Back in July I wrote about the America Runs 5k Virtual Race and after I slowly worked up my training, I felt confident that I could run the 5k at the beginning of September. I met up with a few of my amazing running group friends at our favorite local bike path and set on the course.
They had 6 miles on their agenda but said that they’d do a couple of out and backs so that I could finish up at 3.1 miles. The majority of the bike path is nice and shady and it was great to have friends to chat with the entire way.
Amy and Keri – two amazing friends in my run group bubble.
This was a great distance to get done and I have a few more longer virtual races on my agenda for this fall so I’ve continued upping my miles and training.
I’ve been waiting to write this until my America Runs swag arrived and yesterday was my lucky day!
Pretty awesome, right?
There wasn’t too much in the way of email communication from the promoters of this race; since it can happen on any day and at any time, there was no big “race day” announcements or getting hyped with a large online community. It’s something that I’m missing from in-person events so that might be something to consider for those hosting future virtual runs.
America Runs benefits local COVID-19 recovery funds and registration is open until the end of September 2020. If you’re looking for some sweet swag, this might be the virtual race for you!
What’s up next for me? Well, I have a whole slew of virtual races that I’m apparently supposed to get done this weekend. That wasn’t the case when I originally signed up for them but um, here we are. I’ve got the Gritty 5k, Broad Street 10 miler, and Atlantic City Bungalow Beach 5 miler. We’ll see how everything shakes out! I’m happy to keep moving any way I can.
Have you done any in-person races? The one that I had on my schedule, I decided to defer until 2021.
I’ve been seriously slacking on posts lately, but in a COVID world…well, I don’t have much to write about. I’ve been back to work for over a month, with students for just over three weeks. Things are going well. They are still stressful and there are still so many unknowns.
Teachers and students mask up everyday from 7:30 – 3:00 with breaks for lunch and recess, times when we can spread out and social distance. It hasn’t been easy.
The Body Helix Ultra Light Face Mask has really come in handy, however! It is, as they say, ultra light. The material is breathable and flexible, making it super comfy. I ended up getting the Small because I wanted it to be fit without having to make any adjustments. At first it was too snug, but I got used to it!
The mask has a removable, disposable filter that covers the holes and an optional nose that can be adjusted. The nose piece helps out a lot and keeps those pesky glasses from fogging up. It’s super easy to change both of these things and can even be done at 6AM when you’re rushing around trying to be on time for work!
Mer’s post has some great product details that I know you’ll love, too! This mask was great to grab while grocery shopping or heading out for a walk on a trail. My only down side was that it muffled my voice a bit, so it was hard to wear to work. (Even though it looked cute with my school uniforms!)
Use code “BR15” for 15% off any order of $40 (subtotal) or more (Expires Oct. 31, 2020).
Masks, they’re not just for Halloween and medical professionals anymore! We are continually looking for ones that are light, breathable, and (most importantly) effective.
Body Helix is a company known for their compression and recovery wear. With the COVID-19 health crisis, mask wearing has become a staple in daily activities and Body Helix developed two reusable face mask products to help prevent the spread.
Through BibRave’s partnership with Body Helix, I received the Body Helix Ultra Light Mask. Check out my first thoughts below in the unboxing video.
It’s been a hot summer here in New Jersey; the air alone can often be stifling. Picking the right mask can make an extremely difference in comfort levels. The Body Helix Ultra Light Mask is the right mask!
I’ve worn the Body Helix mask for errands and gleaning on a farm with the Bullock Garden Project; it’s very light and comfortable when social distancing isn’t an option.
It should go without saying but masks should be designed so that they don’t slip down under your nose and so they completely cover your mouth, under your chin. This one checks the boxes!
The material of the mask is soft and flexible. There are breathable holes in the front of the mask that the filter sits directly under, allowing air-flow. It’s washable and comes with replacement filters and nasal bridge wires.
The filters have a small dot that attaches to the mask to keep them in place. They are specific to this particular mask so replacement filters can be ordered through the Body Helix website.
Thus far, all of my running endeavors have been on wide path or isolated trail without many people around so I haven’t had the opportunity to try running while wearing the mask. However, I do have an in-person race coming up this fall (for now), and I plan to bring along this mask to wear.
The Body Helix Ultra Light Face Mask comes in Cool Blue (seen here) and Black. They retail for $24.99 and $19.99 respectively and the 30 pack of replacement filters and 10 pack of nasal bridge wire strips are $14.99.
Use code “BR15” for 15% off any order of $40 (subtotal) or more (Expires Oct. 31, 2020).
If you’re on Twitter, join in for the #bibchat this evening at 8pm est. I’ll be there and I’m looking forward to connecting with friends!
Disclaimer: I received Knockaround Sport Sunglasses to review 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! All opinions are my own and no further compensation is given.
I have a new surprise obsession.
I say it’s a surprise because as someone who needs to wear prescription glasses to see for distance, I’ve never put much consideration into sunnies.
With the arrival of my Spearmint/Sunset Knockarounds, all that has changed!
BibRave has a great partnership with Knockaround and I’ll admit, the more I saw my fellow BibRave Pros rocking the super cute glasses, the more intrigued I became. Earlier this summer, Ash shared her review. The next opportunity I had to opt-in, I knew I HAD to try them.
Obsessed. I can’t even tell you how much love these sunglasses (but I’ll try). And after you read this, you might be too…
First off, the color. Can you tell it’s a favorite of mine? The spearmint frame, the red sunset polarized lenses. Yes and yes!
Knockaround offers so many different colors and designs, it’s now my mission to have them all.
The polarized lenses are fantastic on cutting down major glare, especially on the water. I wore them while I was on “watch” for my kids on my in-laws’ speed boat.
We spent hours upon hours tubing and water skiing on the river. The sun was high in the sky and I needed to be able to see the kids well, especially because we use hand-signals to speed up or slow down.
The Knockaround sunnies made it a much more comfortable experience; I wasn’t squinting because of the harshness of the glare.
Second plus? Knockaround sunglasses are extremely affordable! The Fast Lane Sport ones I’m donning are $25 and styles range between $20-$35.
My son nearly knocked them off my face while we were on the boat (I’ll leave out which one it was to protect his identity) but even if he did, it would have been OKAY because things are only things and also, I’d be getting another exact pair.
And hey, did I mention that while I was bumping around on the wake of other boats and jet skis, the Knockaround sunnies stayed right in place! Why? Well, they’ve got a rubber nose pad which makes them non-slip. Other than a child-force actively pushing the glasses off my face as I hoisted him over the side of the boat, these sunnies didn’t move. Yet another check for the pro list!
Apparently the Knockaround lure is strong in these parts because soon after mine arrived, both my husband and older son decided that they needed to get them too. They both went with the Black frames. My younger son just keeps taking mine…
Knockaround sunglasses are already super affordable but you can use code BibRaveKnocks5 and save 20% OFF entire order (one use per customer). I’ve got my eye on the Shark Week Knocks! Which would you pick?
First things first, I wanted to check in and let you know that my knee is substantially better since my last post! After a few visits to my doctor, the pain that lasted nearly a month has finally subsided.
What was wrong? Well, apparently the cartilage under my kneecap has worn away. It got irritated from overuse (who me?) which caused there to be fluid. Long story short, I’m taking joint supplements and anti-inflammatory. And as long as things are feeling good, I won’t have to get a shot in my knee.
The thought alone of having a shot in my knee gives me the heebie-jeebies so let’s all keep our fingers crossed that it won’t come to that.
Doc also said that I can get back to low-impact exercise and slowly amp things back up. I’ve done a few short workouts this week and I’m still feeling good, which is promising!
Also promising is that I registered for the America Runs 5k Virtual Race! While I’m not expecting myself to look quite as strong as the ladies up there in their promo picture, I’m hoping that this can be a comeback race for me, as I work my way up to the 5k distance.
The America Runs 5k is hosted by the Gannett Foundation and in partnership with EnMotive, the same folks who host the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k. They’re fantastic at putting on virtual events and are known for quality swag!
What has really caught my attention about this race is the charity it supports:
In partnership with America Runs 5k we are raising money to support statewide COVID-19 recovery efforts. All funds raised will be donated across the United States by state, apportioned based on the number of registrations per state.
Join me in running! Registration is open from now until the end of September. Swag packets will begin shipping the week of August 17th.
If you’d like to learn more about it, check out their social media.
Blogging during COVID-19 has been challenging (as seen by the lack of posts). Actually, life during COVID-19 has been a challenge and blogging has fallen low on the list of priorities but I’ve been giving myself grace because I realize how important that is right now.
I think we can all agree that currently life status is: survival mode.
Snuggling my kids seem to help make me feel better. At least emotionally.
However, I also think that connection is important and I’ve been reminded as I’ve kept a written journal for myself, that blogging is also cathartic. Truthfully, I’m struggling at the moment.
I’m struggling in many of the same ways others are struggling.
There is a litany of wrongs currently in the world and it seems like the list is growing by the day. I’m usually one to find the good in every situation but I probably don’t have to tell you… it’s very difficult right now.
Emotions are high, mentally I’m exhausted.
And on top of all that, I’m physically hurt.
The past few weeks, my knee(cap) has been hurting when I hold my leg a certain way. I’m not usually one to complain and I thought that maybe, just maybe it would go away on its own.
IT HAS NOT.
I’ve finally conceded that I need to go to the doctor and made an appointment for two days from now.
It should to be noted that I have high anxiety about going ANYWHERE. When we received the stay-at-home order here in New Jersey back in March, my family decided that my husband would be the one to do the essential trips. I’m somewhat comfortable going to outside locations but going inside anywhere (let alone a doctor’s office) makes me very nervous.
But something needs to be done. I notice the pain most when I’m sleeping. As an added precautionary measure, I’ve stopped running and cycling for the past few days. Shocking, I know.
Last Peloton ride was last week, Cody’s tribute to Britney Spears. I look happy before but I was hurting after.
Riding and running are two of the ways I stay sane in this truly insane world. Maybe it’s an overuse injury? I can see that being the case, even though it doesn’t actively feel like I’ve been doing a whole heck of a lot of anything.
I’m grumbling about it but I’m trying to listen to my body’s cues and make choices that will help instead of hurt. I hope that all I need to do is rest a bit, see the doctor, and be back on my bike/running by next week. Taking things one day at a time is what we try to teach our kids and what I’m trying really hard to remind myself right now. I’m trying to focus on meditation, gentle yoga, and even more gentle strength training.
So, that’s my life update at the moment. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing too big. Just where I’m at on this day in this crazy year of 2020.
I hope you are all safe and well and hanging in there.
Disclaimer: I received Knockaround sunglasses to review 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!
I will be one of the first to admit that this summer is just weird. Like most of…everyone, I’ve been home since mid-March. We started with an extended Spring Break (cancelling all trips, too) and then I never went back to school. It’s been hard, but now that summer is here I’m trying my best to enjoy it!
My new Knockaround sunnies arrived at the beginning of June and loved them immediately. I chose the Aquamarine/Fuchsia of the Sports line and was super excited to try them out.
I wear glasses on the daily and was pretty committed to my prescription (expensive) sunglasses that I sadly misplaced sometimes in February or March. Thankfully my eyesight isn’t too terrible and I’m able to use my Knockarounds for those every day sunning activities. (Not while driving.)
While I really enjoyed these super cute sunglasses, this campaign has really been a blessing. Knowing that I needed to get outside and take pictures made me actually go outside and take pictures. I spent many days at my local nature preserve that I hadn’t visited in a minute. I cleaned up my backyard and made it a nice spot to hang out and chill in my inflatable pool.
It’s silly to think that something as little as a pair of sunglasses had such a big impact, but this life has been so weird lately! Finding little things to keep me occupied and happy has been a challenge. Having something to look forward to, even just going outside to take pictures, has been a blessing in disguise.
It doesn’t hurt that these sunglasses are stylish and totally functional. You can get your own pair from Knockaround and use the code BibRaveKnocks5 for 20% your entire order. I think I’ll go grab another pair.
Disclaimer: I received the Global Running Day 24 Hour Relay to review 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!
Runners celebrate Global Running Day the first Wednesday of June each year and while 2020 has brought us many challenges, this did not change. The Rochester Running Company chose to host a virtual 24 Hour Relay, complete with a medal and cotton t-shirt.
The relay was broken down into half hour time slots. I signed up for the 9am slot and the race company used a Sign Up Genius page for others to claim their times. A local friend of mine registered for the time slot right before mine and ran at the park before I did, handing off the virtual baton while socially distancing.
For those who aren’t close in location, we had the option to email, text, or call the runner after us. Fellow BibRave Pro, Lissa, was lined up for the 9:30 time slot so I texted her as I finished up my half hour run. I love how the relay was broken down in terms of time rather than by distance. It felt inclusive of all paces and a lot of my friends signed up because of this.
It was hot and muggy on June 3rd but that didn’t stop us. We headed out to the park and did multiple loops within the half hour time frame.
The relay idea was a great one but not all the teams were full. I think if there was a way to improve this virtual run, it might be to consider filling up teams when people sign up rather than having different “locations” as determining factors of the team.
The medal and t-shirt arrived just over a month after the virtual event. The design of the medal is gorgeous! The t-shirt is a uni-sex cotton shirt with the medal design on the front left breast and the hashtag #Global24Relay across the back.
I’ve been particular with the virtual runs I’ve chosen to do because there are so many options and I don’t want to spread myself too thin but I really enjoyed this first ever event. It was a great way to connect with other BibRave Pros and my local running group as well, all while social distancing and making good choices.
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