The Dirty Rocks 10k Race Recap

September 29, 2015

A few weeks back, I mentioned starting to train and sign up for a 10k race in Cleveland, so I could run when I was visiting my sister up there. Well, based on some advice from my doctor, I have been sidelined for a few weeks from the racing scene, so I wasn’t able to start (or finish) the race. I’ll fill ya in a few weeks once I get some resolve from my doctor’s appointments ;).  I did, however, go and watch my sister win 1st in her age group!

The race was at the South Mastick picnic area, which is a beautiful area and perfect spot for a local 10k. We really didn’t know what to expect when we showed up, but did assume the race would be on the smaller side. We were right! There were about 120 people in all, so it was a perfect local race.

Dirty Ricks 10k Start

The neat thing about this race was that it was all on a bridle path through the park, so it was all soft, dirty surface, hence the name, the Dirty Rocks 10k. What made it even more interesting is that rained pretty hard the night before, and was still raining the morning of, so it was a little bit on the muddy side. Once the gun went off for those racing, I went on my own and got in about 45 minutes on the paved trail. Earlier in the week, Brooks was nice enough to send me a new pair of Brooks Ghosts and the new LSD jacket, which were both perfect for the run.

Brooks LSD jacket

The LSD jacket is crazy light, so it wasn’t going to heat me up like crazy. It’s water-resistant and windproof as well, so it couldn’t have been a better option for a rainy Cleveland morning. I didn’t feel bogged down by the jacket, and could easily take it off if it stopped raining. It actually folds up into a pocket, so its super compactable. I really like this jacket and think it will be perfect for our very mild fall and winter here in Florida.

Brooks LSD Jacket

As for the shoes, the Brooks Ghost are ones I have ran in before, and I was really happy with the new modifications with the very breathable upper and the extremely flexible crashpad. Since I usually run in the Glycerins, I noticed the ghosts were a very comparable ride, and I wasn’t diappointed. They are super comfortable and the colors of the shoe are so fun! It’s actually navy, not black, so I am a huge fan! I have been all about the navy lately!

Brooks Ghost 8

I went out on the path for about 22 minutes, then turned around so I could get back for the finish of the 10k! My sister was neck and neck with a fellow competitor right until the end, and did a great job on the course!

Dirty Rocks 10k_1

Like I mentioned before, she earned her very first age group award, and first place at that!

Dirty Rocks 10k_2

I was bummed to have not been able to run in the race, but loved seeing my sister kick major butt! Hopefully I’ll get the all clear so we can run another race again soon!

A big thanks to Brooks for the great LSD jacket and the Ghost shoes. They sent them to me complimentary, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Best Fall Races

September 24, 2015

Fall is one of the best and worst times to race. It’s pretty common to have some really cool temperatures for race day, but to get to those nice temps, you have to train in the dead of summer. I’ve found this to majorly pay off for me, as I thrive in cool weather since the Florida heat is something I deal with on a daily basis. Going from training in 85+ degrees and 75% humidity to racing in 50 degrees and crisp is the absolute best. Here are a few of my favorite fall races that reap the benefits of summer training.

The Chicago Marathon

This one can be a little bit tricky, as it falls in the beginning of October. Some years, its crazy hot (and they actually have to close the course for safety reasons), and other years it is so nice and chilly. I lucked out and had a year where it was in the upper 30’s at the start and in the mid 50’s by the time we finished. It was glorious and the perfect race day.

Chicago Marathon 11

New York City Marathon

Ahhh, New York City. You are pretty much destined to have a chilly race day since you are looking at a November race. The question is, how cold will it be?? I lucked out again with this one and had the most ideal race day. It was definitely crisp – I don’t think it got much past 50 – but what an amazing race! The crowd support and energy was absolutely insane. Given the large amount of entries, it was pretty crowded for a bit, but there is no other experience like running through the Big Apple!

New York Marathon

Marine Corp Marathon

This race is one I have yet to do, but is one I will definitely tackle one of these years. I’ve never heard anything bad about the race. I’ve heard it to be incredibly uplifting and just a wonderful experience. It’s in late October, so it is pretty common to have nice fall weather in Washington D.C. for this race. MCM, I’m coming for ya in the near future!

Florida Beaches Race Series

If you are in the Tampa area, be sure to sign up for one of the Florida Beaches races. They have 3 different ones from October-December, so you are bound to be able to make one of them. They can still be a little warm, depending on the year, but they are managed by an incredible team. The medals are always really fun, and they have a distance for everyone – 5k, 15k, and the half marathon. If you wait until January, you can even run a full marathon or Ultra marathon with this crew! These are races I have done many years in a row, and highly recommend them to anyone looking for a low key, incredibly organized race.

Florida Halfathon

Best Damn Race Cape Coral

I am a little biased with this race, since I achieved a monster PR on this course. It is technically still a fall race, since it lands in the 2nd week of December. It was surprisingly cool on race day, and the course is as flat as can be. I also didn’t get into my really long distance runs until October/November, so training wasn’t nearly as cumbersome as some of the other fall races.

Best Damn Race Cape Coral Medal

The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot

I am a complete sucker for this turkey trot, as I have been doing it for over 10 years, every Thanksgiving morning. I just love starting out the day with a 10k race. It is super affordable ($17!!) as there are no timing chips, medals, or anything fancy. You just get a race number and a shirt, and ya run! It’s the best!

Turkey Trot 2012

What are your favorite races in the Fall?

My Tips for Running With A Stroller

September 9, 2015

A running stroller is one of the best items a new mom (or dad!) can receive, especially if they are active and want to get back into shape after baby. We received a Bob stroller from our group of friends, and I could not be more thankful. I use it every single day, without fail, whether I am walking or running. It rides well, we can store plenty underneath, and it is very comfy for Grant. Here are a few tips to make the most out of running with a stroller with your little one.

Build Up To It

Going for a first stroller run usually happens after you get your clear after your 6 week postpartum checkup. Running solo is tough enough, so adding 15 lbs of baby and stroller is a heck of a workout. Try and get your fitness back to normal before pushing your stroller on every run. Split your runs and go on some of them alone, then take the stroller for the other runs. Pushing a stroller isn’t easy, especially when you are just getting into shape!

Bob Stroller Running

Give Yourself a Break

You just had a baby, and are getting yourself back in shape – don’t be hard on yourself! Just getting out on a run is a huge win, and pushing your little one right in front of you is icing on the cake. You will slowly get your fitness back – it just takes time. Your stroller miles are always going to feel more difficult with the stroller than without. Look at the brightside – the more you run with a stroller, the stronger you will be when running without it. It worked for me!

Consistently Switch Hands.

When you are actually pushing the stroller, switch the hand you use to push the stroller often. Don’t use both hands at the same time – you will end up fighting your normal body movement more than you are helping yourself. You definitely gain strength in the side of the body that you are using to push the stroller, so make sure you even it out. You will find you don’t fatigue as quickly and can actually run for a bit longer.

Bob Stroller Running

Bring Water Along With You

The best part of the stroller is always having hydration, your music, phone, etc. at an arm’s reach. Bring water for you (and your little one when they are older) so you can stay hydrated when you are out. Being able to have something to drink is probably my favorite part of pushing the stroller – other than having Grant with me, of course!

Don’t Put Too Much In The Storage Compartment

While its amazing to be able to pack the stroller with necessities, don’t over do it. I always bring a toy or two for Grant, along with some water for his to drink too. Other than that, I keep everything at the house to not put unnecessary weight in the stroller. It’s really just not needed. The longest I’ve ever consecutively ran with Grant was 90 minutes, and he was perfectly happy the entire time. I think he enjoys being out riding in the stroller as much as I enjoy running with him!

Bob Running Stroller_2


Do you have any other tips for running with a stroller?

Grant: 18 Months

September 2, 2015

It’s been 6 whole months since I’ve done a Grant update, so I figured it was time to check-in :)

Grant is more fun than I could have ever imagined. He is incredibly happy and seems to always have a smile on his beautiful face.

grant lawn mower

At his checkup last week, he was 25 pounds. He is in size 18-24 month clothes, and has been for a while. I have a feeling he will be in the same size for a while, which I don’t mind. I feel like this is the first stage where he has actually gotten a lot of good use out of the clothes he has!

He is a great eater and loves most food we give him. His favorites tend to be avocado, bananas, mac n cheese, blueberries, raisins, green beans, & PB&J. It is quite the list, but I am so thankful he isn’t too picky.

Grant zoo

Grant is on one solid nap a day, usually between 3 to 3.5 hours right after lunch. He sleeps from 7pm to around 6:30, so the little guy definitely enjoys his sleep. He has such a great disposition when he sleeps well, so I am all for it! He is also in school two times a week for the whole day, so he is learning so much each and every day. It is wonderful to see him adapt so well to a new environment.

Grant cheezy smile

He still isn’t really talking much, but he follows directions like a champ. He is feeding the dog every morning and night, and thinks it is the most fun task in the world. Hopefully he continues to love to help out around the house!

Grant Marcus UCF

His favorite things are his lawn mower, the tupperware drawer, and his dump truck. He wakes up each morning and runs straight to one of those 3 things – it is pretty funny to watch.

We’ve had a lot of firsts since his 12 mont check-in. First day of school, first hair cut, and first road trip, to name a few! He did great with everything and just adapted as we went. He is such a great little guy!

Grant first haircut


I’m still in shock that I have an 18 month old. The next big milestone is the 2 year mark, which seems way to big for Grant! I am so blessed to have such an amazing son, and can’t wait for the next upcoming months to watch him grow and grow and grow!


How Hot Is Too Hot?

August 25, 2015

How was everyone’s weekend?! Anyone do anything fun or out of the ordinary? We really didn’t do anything crazy around here. Pretty much just normal house stuff, including Grant’s all time favorite past time these days – mowing the lawn.

Grant watching lawn mower

He will stand there for a solid hour and watch that mower. Then, once the weed whacker comes out, game over – more entertainment for the little guy! Oh to be an 18 month old!

Since Grant is down to taking 1 nap a day (thank goodness) he sleeps over our lunch time and then we get to go out and have fun after. On Sunday, we knew we wanted get out of the house, and we knew it needed to be indoors. It was nothing short of insanely hot out, so a/c was a necessity! We had a couple of options, including the mall, the children’s museum, and the aquarium. Since we have passes to see the fishies, the aquarium it was!

Florida Aquarium

Grant ran around like a mad man the entire time and had an absolute ball. He definitely noticed the fish more in the tanks, but I am pretty sure he was much more interested in all of the other kids around, per the usual. He is such a social little guy and just thrives off of others. It is pretty fun to watch as he continues to grow and comes even more out of his shell each and every day.

Florida Aquarium


I had considered running Sunday before we headed out for our outing, but when I looked at my phone and saw the temperature, I decided to bow out gracefully. I refuse to run in triple digits temps, no matter how much I’d like to get moving.

Florida Summer


Luckily, I did get my 5.5 miles in on Saturday morning, so no day-off guilt was over here! Just a fun little day with the family! Oh how things have changed these days!

How was your weekend? Do you have a cut off temperature as to when you will run outside – hot or cold?