Thursday, November 28, 2019

Turkey Trotting - Virtually

Disclaimer: I am participating in the NYRR Virtual Turkey Trot as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

I love running races. There's a certain excitement to running with a big group of people, all focused on the same goal of getting to the finish that just cannot be beat. But I will be the first to admit that racing isn't easy. 

Racing is fun, but a bit chaotic
Besides the actual running part of the race, which of course is hard, racing can be difficult for the sheer amount of time involved. You've got to drive to where the race is, find parking, get there early enough to wait in line for the port-a-potties, and be to the start line. Then after you run the race, there is usually the after party, while fun, is even more time outside in the elements, which I don't usually mind unless the weather is bad. For example, last weekend, I had an 8K. The actual running portion of the race only lasted me 40 minutes. But when all was said in done, the race experience lasted almost 4 hours! 

Sometimes, I love it, but some days I've got things to do! One of these days was today, Thanksgiving Day. I really really wanted to do a Turkey Trot, cause, FUN! but I really really needed to get on the road to drive to my brother's house 2 hours away for our big family meal. Solution - Virtual Turkey Trot!

The NYRR, who host all kinds of fun (and usually free) Virtual Races (see here for my blog on the Virtual 13.1 Half I ran in September:, is sponsoring the NYRR Virtual Turkey Trot 5K. All you have to do to participate in this FREE Turkey Trot is to register on the NYRR Virtual Race site ( and accept the Challenge on your Strava account. That's it. All you have to do is run your 5K anytime between the challenge dates (Nov. 23 - Dec. 1) and mark your run as a Race on Strava and you've done it! You'll join over 14,000 other Virtual Turkey Trotters all over the world in Virtual Turkey Trot glory.

So, today, I got up bright and early and bundled up for the chilly Fall morning to put in my Turkey Trot 5K. It was really awesome to just get up, head out, run my 5K and then be done. No fuss, no muss. I was able to get home, get cleaned up and get on the road in time for a yummy Thanksgiving lunch with my family. All bases covered. 

And more good news, you can still compete! You can register for the NYRR Virtual Turkey Trot until December 1st. Just head on over here: and register.

How about you? Did you celebrate Thanksgiving with a Turkey Trot, virtual or otherwise? Maybe you decided to sleep in and focus on the meal instead. Either way, I hope that you have and amazing Thanksgiving. And hopefully, unlike me, your 9 year old won't lick the drumsticks before your meal is served! 

Really, kid!!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Win the Paris Marathon Racecation of Your Dreams with Runderwear

Disclaimer: I received Runderwear products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

Like anyone else, I have big dreams. These dreams involve running around the world, literally. So far I've been lucky enough to run in 4 different countries other than the US (Spain, Italy, China and Hong Kong), however, I've not actually raced in them, just gone for runs. 

One country I've never run in, but always dreamed to, France! Well someone out there is going to be getting this dream opportunity totally FREE thanks to an amazing sweepstakes being hosted by Runderwear.

Runderwear is hosting a Paris Marathon Sweepstakes where 2 lucky runners will get the Paris Marathon trip of their dreams!

The Paris Marathon is one of the most iconic in the world. Here's a bit of what you would get to experience if you are one of the lucky winners. 

The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris is now one of the biggest marathons in the world, as much for the size of its field as the performances of its runners. Each finisher comes home with incredible memories.
Nearly 145 nationalities and 60,000 runners come to tackle the most fabled long-distance discipline in athletics. In April, this race across Paris, taking in the Champs Elysées, the Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne, offers an incomparable backdrop, with spectacular views and landmarks all along the route.
The Salon du Running fair at Porte de Versailles, taking place three days before the marathon, is also an occasion not to be missed, a gathering of over 80,000 visitors with more than 200 professionals from the running world.
The marathon itself combines personal challenge with the chance to discover one of the world's great cities. The athletes will pound the pavements of the French capital's most famous avenues and plazas, from the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, where they take the start, towards the Place de la Concorde. From the Rue de Rivoli they'll then sweep through the Opéra Garnier, the Place de la Bastille. After a glimpse of greenery in the Bois de Vincennes, views of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower point the way home. - from the Paris Marathon website:

And it's not just race entries you receive, the amazing prize package also includes the following :

Read all of the details and ENTER NOW at

To learn more about the sweepstakes sponsor, Runderwear, check out their website here:

And be sure to follow them on social media:
Facebook: RunderwearOfficial
Twitter: Runderwear
IG: teamrunderwear

PS: One last "Unofficial Rule" - If you enter after reading this and win, you totally have to bring me!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

All the Glory With Just Some of the Pain!

Disclaimer: I received a Relay Team entry in the Charlotte Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

This past weekend, I ran my very first Marathon Relay at the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon. Basically how it works is you, and up to 4 of your friends split up the marathon distance and tackle the course together rather than have to put in the full 26.2 miles by yourself. Since doing a Relay is a bit more complicated than doing a straightforward solo race, let me break it down a bit for you. 

The Race - Novant Health Charlotte Marathon

Real quick run down of the race. The Charlotte Marathon was formally known as Thunder Road Marathon from 2005 - 2015. Then it changed names to better reflect the fact that this was Charlotte's hometown race. 

There are 5 races that make up the Charlotte Marathon race day - the Marathon, Marathon Relay, Half Marathon, 5K and Kids 1 Mile. All races are run the same day with a 7:30 am start for the Marathon, Relay and Half, 7:45 start for the 5K and 7:50 for the Kids 1 Mile. So really there is a race distance for everyone. The races start at the Charlotte Knights Stadium and finish at Romare Bearden Park (across the street) and each course winds through Uptown and some of the most iconic parts of Charlotte. Immediately after finishing, a volunteer gave you your medal and there was a backdrop up for finisher photos Further down, the finish line chute had small Publix bags to pack with food (bananas, cereal bars, fruit cups, Gatorade, water and if you finished early enough Chocolate Milk (they had run out by the time our team finished). NoDa Brewing was giving out free craft beer in a roped off area with space heaters (yay), there was a band playing and several vendor tents set up in the park. 

The race website has a ton of excellent information including course maps, elevation maps and extremely detailed information about the races, the schedule, basically anything that you need to know. I consulted it frequently and found everything I needed easily. Check it out here - 

The Team(s)
The teams at one of our pre-race planning sessions

In September, while attending the the Around the Crown 10K Expo, a few of us from my Fleet Feet Fort Mill Running Club started floating the idea of doing the Charlotte Marathon since it was the goal race for the Half Marathon and 5K runners in our club. See, several of us were training for other events, me for my Rock n Roll Savannah sub-2 hour Half and several others for the Kiawah Marathon in December. So the idea come up to run the Relay and split the distance instead of each of us racing a full race on their own. When all was said and done, we had 2 teams worth of runners that wanted in, that is 10 runners ready to tackle the Queen City! After a ton of coordinating and detail planning, we settled on our team roosters and assigned legs. Easy peasy! Registering as a team was super easy, basically one person registers as Team Captain and makes the payment and the other team members follow a provided link to enter their information like shirt sizes and emergency contacts and so on. Each team member receives a shirt and medal at the finish. According to a pre-race Q&A session, there were 200 teams registered for the Marathon Relay.
The Expo
Harman posing with the giant #RUNCLT sign at packet pickup

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Expo because I was working on Friday, but luckily one of our team members worked just down the street and picked up our stuff for us. For the Relay, just one person needed to pick up everything anyway, so it worked out perfect. Relay runners received an envelop with 5 bibs (all the same number), an Velcro armband with the tracker on it that was to be handed off at each leg, and a shirt for each team member. The shirts were short sleeve Recover shirts, navy with green writing for the Relay and really quite nice. They were true to size and I love the way mine fits. I probably won't run in it, but wear for everyday. I had Harman take some pictures for me and he said that everything was very well organized. You could be in and out quickly if you wanted, but there was lots to see and merchandise to browse if you wanted. Plus some cool photo ops like this awesome #RUNCLT sign.

Race Day

Team 1 - Ready to Race (my team)
Our teams met up early and carpooled into the Charlotte together (about a 30 min drive) in order to save on parking fees. There were plenty of places to park with easy access to the Start which was located at the Charlotte Knights Baseball Stadium (BB&T Ballpark). We parked in a parking garage about 2 blocks from the start and made our way over to the surrounding area where lots of groups had tents up. Music was playing and the ball park had their bathrooms open so it was nice to be able to use a real bathroom pre-race. 

Team 2 - Ready to Race
The weather was kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, it didn't rain, which we were all worried about with a 40 - 50% chance during the race times. And at 42 degrees, it wasn't terribly cold. But the WIND! OMG the wind was insane. A really cold wind blew steadily pretty much the whole race with 20-30 mph gusts on occasion. I'm fairly cold-natured and was never really able to warm up too much, but had dressed for it, so I wasn't miserable or anything. Just cold. I think I took my gloves off for about 2 miles, but that was it. The sun peeked out every once in a while, but I was fine without sunglasses. If it were not for the wind, I would say it was near perfect race conditions for most people. 

The start was right on time with the Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay starting at 7:30 am, immediately after the National Anthem. There was also a 5K and a 1 mile race that both started later, 7:45 for the 5K and 7:50 for the 1 Mile. For there 7:30 start, there were pace groups positioned throughout the start chute. I stuck around to cheer on our starting runners and then jogged over a few blocks to hop into our team's car to drop off our runners at their Relay start points (more about this in a bit). 

The Course

Here's a quick heads up to those who have never run in Charlotte before. Charlotte is hilly. Like a lot hillier than you would expect. The 10 miles of the course I ran were challenging, but not what I would consider super hard. As long as you added some hill work into your training, you would be fine. Just don't expect a flat course.

Course elevation

Leg #4 was my official leg, but because some of us are a bit crazy, we actually ran an extra leg to both put in a few more miles and to keep each other company. So I ran legs #3 and #4 which spanned from mile 10 to mile 20. I wasn't the only one on our team that doubled up. Leg #2 runner, Robin, ran with Katie and I for leg #3 and Harman, our final leg runner, joined me for #4. I had asked the Race Director during a Facebook Live event if it was okay if we ran multiple legs and he said that as long as we had a bib and were respectful of other racers, sure, why not. 
Me, super happy at the end of both my legs

So like I said, my 10 miles were hilly, but not unenjoyable. I started off with Katie at Mile 10 in the Dillworth neighborhood. We then made our way back towards uptown Charlotte where the Half Marathon and Marathon routes split with the Half heading in to finish (the Marathoners could see the finish line down a side street to your right, but didn't run through it) and the Half headed out towards the NoDa neighborhood which is always fun and interesting to run through. There were LOTS of spectators throughout the course and it was super nice to get cheered on, especially at the some areas where there were organized cheer stations. Two that were notable during my legs were at Mile 16 where the Around the Crown 10K had set up a cheer station with NoDa Brewing and were giving out high fives (which I took) and beer (which I didn't) and a huge cheer station around Mile 19 that had a big cut out in the road that said Don't Hit the Wall that you could run through (which I did). There were several bands and and DJs blasting music along the course also, but I don't really remember at what intervals. Every 2 miles or so there was an aid station with Water and Gatorade. I also heard there were gels at a few stations, but I didn't pay much attention as I carried my own water and nutrition. 

When you finished your Relay leg you had to pass off the Velcro armband tracker to the next runner who had to run over a timing mat in order to officially start the new leg. Once finished, there was a table at the exchange point where volunteers would give you a bag of goodies that had a water bottle, Gatorade bottle and cereal bar. There were also a couple of portapoties at the exchange points. The first exchange point was a bit chaotic, but I think that was because it was only 4.2 miles in and runners were still pretty bunched up. The others were much less so and everything went smoothly. 

The Logistics 

Post race celebrating - that's our awesome driver Kyle on the far right
The thing that I was most worried about was getting around from exchange point to exchange point. At first I thought that each of us would have to hang out at our starting point until our hand off, and then we'd each have to make our way back to the finish on our own. There was no transportation provided by the race as far as shuttles or anything like that. What we ended up doing was one of our team member's husband gracious drove us around and picked us up at our stations. It was a bit more challenging in that we were trying to coordinate 2 teams that were different paces, but with the help of an extra key and a 2nd car at the 4th exchange point, a GPS and the map/directions provided by the race, we were able to successfully navigate the exterior of the race and drop off and pick up as we needed with no one being late to their start and no one waiting long in the cold. Both teams even were able to meet up near the finish before the chute so we could run in as a team with no problems. It went WAY smoother than I thought it would and only a few wrong turns. Shout out to Kyle for being our chauffeur for the day (and occasional photographer).

Now for the really only complaint I had about the whole race experience, the runner tracking. The race sent out links to a partner company that handles their tracking, RaceJoy. The app was super clunky and not the greatest to use. First off the bat, it kept crashing on me. So much that I uninstalled and reinstalled and had a bit better luck. Secondly, in order to track a runner, you had to have the app running in the background, which drained the battery some. Also, for the Relay, you had to not only have the app running, but had to physically take out your phone and hit a button on the app to start your leg for it to record your leg. So not only did you have to run with your phone (some people don't) you had to have you phone out, app on, start the leg and then store your phone at the start of your leg. Our final leg had so much issue with this that he somehow managed to delete himself from the team on the app while trying to start his leg, which took up valuable time and led to us having issues tracking him. I've run other races with tracking and this one was by far the least user friendly. 

The Epic Finish

All good things must come to an end, and we were are so excited to see the final leg member of our team round the last corner and head towards the finisher chute. The whole team hopped onto the course and ran in with him in one big, beautiful line of orange with an overall finish time of 3:51:11. 

The other team came in the same way, shortly after with a finish time of 3:35:31. After pictures and beer and celebrating at the after party, we made our way back to our cars (just a short walk) and left Uptown Charlotte feeling victorious, ready to do it again next year.

Team 1 Finisher Photo

Team 2 Finisher Photo

And of course, Epic Shot of the BLING

Friday, November 8, 2019

A Rocking Weekend in Savannah - RnR Savannah Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews! 

So let me get this out of the first and foremost... I LOVE THE ROCK N ROLL SAVANNAH RACES! Seriously, this is my favorite race weekend of the year. A big group of my running buddies (27 of us this year!!) all load up and head down to the Hospitality City of the South, Savannah, GA. If you've never been to Savannah before, you should totally put it on your bucket list. It's a beautiful city, very old South, with so many amazing things to do. Heck, I could hang out on River St. for days and days and never get bored (and I practically did). 

I arrived on Friday in order to hit up the Health & Fitness Expo held in the Savannah Convention Center. Since our hotel was on Bay St. we only had to make a short walk down to the river and then take the free ferry across. FREE! Super convenient! The Expo is super well organized. You receive a link to your Bib number a few days before the event so you can walk right over to the correct area to get your bib. Or, there is also an app that you can get your information from. After getting your bib, you head over to get your shirt/shirts. You can switch out sizing if necessary, but mine were true to size. After you get your gear, you then enter the shopping/display section of the Expo. Lots of cool booths and displays to check out and the race merchandise is amazing. You also can get your wrist bands for beer so you don't have to mess around with them on race day and also check in for your VIP experience if you opted for it, or Run Club if you signed up as one like we did. Run the Rock ended up being the 3rd largest club in attendance which scored us some cool perks, extra beer tickets, 2 VIP passes and a free entry into a 2020 race for a member the group - we'll be doing a drawing for it, fingers crossed I score it!!

Saturday morning was race day for the Marathon and the Half Marathon. Since we were able to walk to the start this year, I got to sleep in a bit. Once we made it down the .25 miles to the start, everything was really well organized. The Waves were clearly marked and there was music playing to pump us up. Lots of port-a-potties on site, or several of the hotels had their lobbies open. The national anthem was sung a few minutes before the race start and then we headed into the corrals to take position. 

You may recall, I had a HUGE goal of shaving at least 5 minutes off my last year finishing time to run my first sub-2 Hour Half. The plan was to find the 2 hour pacer and become their BFF. Well, right before the start... PANIC! I couldn't find the pacer! So I made a rash decision to fall in with the 4 Hour Marathon Pace Group, who was clearly visible. BEST DECISION EVER!! They were the Party Pace Group for sure! We had a freaking BLAST. The miles seemed to just disappear with hardly any effort with this group. The pacer, Emmy, was a local and kept us entertained the whole way and right on pace. I met this awesome guy from Russia that we ended up exchanging info later to keep in touch. One guy was running his first marathon. Another was from near me. I'll be honest, I was kind of sad to leave them at the split at 11.5 miles as the marathon turned left and the half kept on to the finish. I ended us sticking around after my finish in order to cheer them as they crossed the finish line. Nothing like running 11.5 miles together to turn strangers into besties! Just one of the reasons I love running. 

Okay, let me back up just a sec to mention the course. It's awesome. You run through some really nice areas of Savannah including the beautiful historic district. The course is super flat with really only 2 hills that I can remember, near the start and finish, but they were super tame compared to what I am used to running. Spectators line the course and every 2 miles or so there is a band to keep you going. There are lots of aid stations with water and Gatorade Endurance and a few have SiS gels even, so if you don't want to carry at all during the race you don't have to. Especially near the end of race, there are spectators that give out beer, water and other beverages to help motivate. For example, my Russian friend had a Tequila shot at mile 11. And one of my friends thought he was grabbing a water and nope, it was Vodka! It was a surprise, but he did hit a new Half PR so...

So, how did I do? Did I meet me goal? YES!!!! I am crazy excited to say that I shaved almost 9 whole minutes off my time for a 1:56:50 finish!!! I was pretty stunned actually when I crossed the finish! Months of hard work had paid off in a big way. It was so amazing. The whole walk down the finisher chute, I just kinda zoned out as people gave me a medal, took my picture and handed me drinks (water, Gatorade, chocolate milk and pineapple juice) and snacks (pretzels, trail mix and fruit cups). By the time I got out of the chute, I snapped back to reality and started looking for my friends to celebrate! 

Since we were a part of a Run Club, we got an extra beer ticket and a tent in an area near the stage to set up plus access to the foam rolling area. It was pretty awesome. We hung out, laughed, drank and stretched. Then I took a quick stroll around Foresyth park, which is so beautiful and headed back to the finisher area to cheer on my Marathon friends. After, it was a short walk back to the hotel (just over a mile) and we stopped for coffee on the way. It was an AMAZING race day. 

Sunday was the 5K, which took place at Daffin Park a bit later in the day, 12:30, which was to get to sleep in. Since it was a bit further from our hotel (3 miles) we had to drive over, but there was plenty of parking. Just like the Saturday races, the event was super well organized. Since it was at a Baseball Stadium (Go, Savannah Bananas), there was plenty of clean bathrooms. Waves were clearly marked and there was an organized stretching session to get everyone ready to race. The course was BEAUTIFUL, the whole thing lined with trees covered in Spanish Moss in a residential neighborhood. Again it was very flat and a fast course, and easy one to PR on, which, I didn't push due to my big PR the day before, but instead ran it with a friend who did PR it! There was a water station around the halfway point and the course was very clearly marked. The finish was in the baseball stadium which was fun to do the final bit on the baseline to the cheering spectators in the stands. Like the Saturday races, there was a band playing at the finish and lots of beverage/snack options in the finisher chute. You also got a beer ticket with your bib. And because we ran both a Saturday and Sunday race, we got a 3rd medal for completing the Remix Challenge!! 

We decided to stick around for an extra day this year in order to not have to rush back and drive in the dark and it was an awesome decision. After grabbing our beer, and cheering on the ones who ran the 5K, we hung out in the stands to cheer on the 1 Miler finishers and also to watch the Kids Rock races that were a part of the weekend of events this year. It was so much fun and a beautiful day. And the kids were so much fun to watch! 

All in all, a truly amazing weekend. I left with a new Half Marathon PR, 3 awesome medals and some AMAZING memories! 

Full disclosure - I have actually already registered for 2 of the races for next year already! 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

ZOOM(A)ing Throughout the Year

Disclaimer:  I received an entry to the Zooma Texas Wine Country Virtual Race to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews! 

So all this year, BibRave has partnered with the amazing Zooma Women's Race Series to help spread the word about their amazingly fun and women-empowering races. I've loved learning about and seeing all the amazing photos from the series throughout the year while anxiously awaiting my turn to run my own Zooma Race, the Inaugural Texas Wine County Half Marathon. 

The series kicked off in March with the Texas Lost Pines weekend where ladies had the chance to race around Downtown Bastrop, TX - the most historic small town in Texafor a Texas Lost Pines Half Marathon, 10K or 5K. Next up were 2 awesome September races, Great Lakes and Cape Cod, both with really cool events in addition to the races, and even cooler swag! Then, in October, was the incredible Amelia Island weekend. My friend Kim got to go and run it and you can see some of her awesome pics here:

Seriously, how cool is this Corkscrew Medal?
Fun and Functional! 
Last up was the Texas Wine Country Race Weekend. This was a new race to the series this year and what a fun one. The medals for the Half Marathon had a built in corkscrew! As soon as I saw them, I immediately knew that I wanted to run this race to earn one. Luckily for me, the Zooma Women's Race Series offers Virtual options for all of their events! Since I live in SC and wasn't able to travel to Texas, I still had the opportunity to register for the race, run my Half Marathon and earn the same swag as the live runners. 

Another great thing about opting for a Virtual Race is that I you can fit the race to meet your schedule as necessary. I was running the Rock n Roll Savannah Half Marathon the same day that the Zooma Texas Wine County Half was racing, so I just put in my Half Marathon a week early. This gave me awesome motivation for one last long training run before Savannah, and I earned some truly cool swag! 

My Virtual Race Day Results

I may have run just a tad more than a Half Marathon distance

Just 1 week after the race date, I received my goodies! This really cool shirt, bag, event specific wine glass and OMG COOL medal. There was also a KT tape sample in the tote bag which, let me tell you, I love! 

Overall, the race series was incredible. All of the pictures from the events I saw posted looked like so much fun. The medals and swag for each event were adorable and really creative. And again, I just love the fact that even if you are unable to travel to the actual event, you can still participate. I plan on participating in another Zooma event next year! 

For more information on Zooma Run events, check out their website here: 

And be sure to follow them on socials to see all the cool pictures from their events and daily motivation they send out to empower women runners!

And, if you think that it is cool that I got to check out these races as a part of being a BibRave Pro? Well, the BibRave team is expanding and we are looking for new Pros to join our ranks. To learn more and apply, visit: