Race Registration: Race to Wrigley 5K!

Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Race to Wrigley 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!

Funny story, I’m a huge National Lampoon movie fan, mostly Summer Vacation, European Vacation, as well as the crown jewel Christmas Vacation. I’m such a fan of those movies in general that since I was young I have had an affinity to Chicago sports teams. I should preface this also by saying I’m a horrible sports fan. I couldn’t tell how well (or bad) the teams are doing, I just like them due to their connection to my favorite childhood movies.

Every year for Christmas I don my vintage Chicago Bears hat (to match Chevy Chase’s from Christmas Vacation) along with my custom “Griswold” Blackhawks Jersey. I wear the Clark Griswold uniform with honor.

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wearing Chicago Bears Hat, Image Source: Web

However, I often forget people don’t make the same connection. Over the years when I’m out in public rocking my Chicago Bears hat, I’ll have actual fans of the team give me a thumbs up, or make some comment about the team. To which I nod and agree with what their saying, haven’t having the slightest clue what their talking about.

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wearing Chicago Blackhawks Jersey, Image Source: Web

But. I do love baseball, and every baseball fan knows Wrigley. So how awesome was it for me to find out about the Race to Wrigley 5K? Not only are we talking about the iconic Wrigley Field, but also my connection to my favorite movies based around the misadventures of Clark W. Griswold Jr.!

Sorry to interrupt the story, but did you know that your race registration helps benefit Cubs Charities, which aims to provide health, fitness, and education to those at risk! Make your donations HERE!

What was I saying? Oh yeah! Ever since I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to drive across the country with my parents on a wild adventure to an animal themed theme park. I was especially looking forward to Dad ramping the car off an incomplete exit ramp, crashing our station wagon, and then sharing a beer in my quest to manhood all while wearing a Cubs t-shirt.

I mean c’mon, it’s every boys dream.

Okay, so maybe it’s not the same, and maybe it’s really hard for me to put to words why I like Chicago’s sports teams, but the bottom line is that if you’re a Chicago Sports fan, what’s not to love about the Race to Wrigley?

Sign up: https://www.race-cubs.com/events/register/2020-race-to-wrigley

Check out this year’s awesome swag! Sign up, get your swag and start your next family adventure off!

Pete’s Scratch Pancakes: A Love Story

The best pancakes you’ll ever eat.

Pancakes. A history.

I’m not sure what time of the year it is, but I recall the warmth of the morning sun beaming into our small kitchen. The room just felt inviting, cozy, and safe. I don’t recall what is being said or if there is music playing, it’s all background noise anyway. All I know is there is an aroma in the air of something sweet.

To my delight, a plate of pancakes awaits me, covered in rich syrup. Although, the pancakes are delicious enough without it, the cake is light and fluffy. There is a sweet yet slightly salty taste to the pancake, as it melts into mouth. I’m in love.

Pancakes have always been a part of my life. I recall fond childhood memories of Mom grilling up little “baby” pancakes for me, barely the size of a quarter dollar (feel like I’m showing my age). When’s the last time you’ve seen a quarter dollar?!

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I freakin’ love pancakes. The emotional, sentimental, and family connection is unbreakable: the very definition of comfort food. When I eat pancakes, an imaginary blanket is wrapped around me and my memory is flooded with Saturday morning cartoons, blanket forts, and a happy and carefree youth.

For years the box mixes haven’t been cutting it, the pancakes are too thin, the batter doesn’t taste like my childhood. So I ventured off to find the best homemade recipe I could find to mimic that classic comfort food I adore.

Enter Pete‘s Scratch Pancakes

An internet search for “the best homemade pancakes” yielded many results. All failures. I must have went through several batches before the angels in heaven brought forth: Pete’s Scratch Pancakes.

This recipe is simple, easy to make, easy to tweak, and downright delicious. I’ve committed the ingredients to memory, and have included some of my own that have turned these already awesome flapjacks into something legendary.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (beaten separately)
  • 1/4 cup of butter (melted)
  • 1 3/4 milk (we use almond milk)
  • 1 orange (for as much zest as one can yield)

Mix your dry ingredients, then add your wet ingredients, saving the orange zest for last. The zest is my specially added ingredient that takes these pancakes to the next level! The orange zest gives it a little zing and is like a secret treat for your taste buds.

*For an additional sweet treat, include semi-sweet chocolate chips!*

Serve with a syrup of your choosing (ours is all natural Maple Syrup). You’ll devour as many pancakes as you can, they are that good.

Sorry Puppers, no leftovers this time.

Video Collaboration!

It’s been a fun quarantine, and being ordered to stay at home with my besties is even better. This lockdown has brought our family closer and has provided us all an opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” if you will.

In our downtime, me and the lovely Mrs have joined creative forces and have produced this short video. No talking, just sounds of my beautiful wife in our country kitchen making a delicious meal for our family.

 

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 5k – 15k Cancelled!

Well, this should come as no surprise, in more recent news the COVID-19 virus (known as Coronavirus) has created a stir in the running community as many race organizers announce the cancellation of races throughout the nation.

The Allstate Hot Chocolate series announced yesterday its closure of another HC15K race, this time, Philadelphia was included in the list.

Participants: Please check your emails for important event updates and to find out “what’s next” for the race.

Frustrating?

Frustrating? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

As I mentioned previously (Shamrock Marathon Update), this is a first (at least to my limited knowledge) for most race organizers, as pandemics aren’t common place in our nation. As such proper precautions are being taken to help prevent the spread of the virus for the overall well-being of the community at large.

What can we do?

First thing is first, don’t be a jerk. Seriously.

I understand the frustration of losing money on a race registration, and I understand the frustration of having trained for months (if not an entire year) in hopes of crushing a running goal. I, myself, have been looking forward to the upcoming race season with much anticipation, especially since most of these races involve more than just running but offer a real chance to connect with friends (new and old).

As much as I’m disappointed, it’s important to step back and look at the big picture.

What goes into a race?

I think often times people forget that a race is much more than a one day, or weekend event. A race takes planning and a community to support it. In all the photos of the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate race, what you don’t see is the amount of volunteers needed, along with first-responders standing by. As a semi-former first-responder, I can’t tell you how under appreciated our emergency services are.

The Philadelphia Police department, along with Fire and EMS are at every corner, twist, turn, and intersection of the race. These resources provide a crucial role in the security and safety of all participants.

What you don’t see in the photos is the large Sanitation crew on the day of the event. Since the Boston bombing, the city has increased security in the area tenfold. Large Sanitation Trucks (trash trucks) and barriers are placed at critical intersections surrounding the race to prevent anyone from driving into the race festival area or course.

What you don’t see is the volume of Emergency Medical staff on standby during the event when someone is injured along anywhere in the course. Last year I recall a runner being transported to the hospital after sustaining running related injuries- the Ambulance drove among runners!

Demanding full refunds seems a bit selfish. Most of the participant fees cover not only the swag and general overhead, but there’s a ton of logistics involved and time spent organizing that can’t be refunded. Time is money, and when an event is planned and people invest a lot of time to make it happen, I think it’s only fair we honor those individuals but not requesting a full refund. Also, not to mention the charities involved in conjunction with the race. Demanding a full refund robs those charities of precious dollars.

Point being: take it in stride and accept the outcome.

I know and understand the frustration, after all I’m a participant as well! But I also think we all need to step back and look at the big picture and appreciate how difficult this decision is, and to respect the outcome, after all it’s respect for the community that is most important.

Important Reminders

Another thing to remember, during this pandemic, local community hospitals are going to be inundated with patients. Since this is flu season, anyone that so much as senses a whiff of flu symptoms is most likely going to think “what if” and head to the local hospital or urgent care facility for Coronavirus testing.

Now add the needs of the 1,000’s of people registered and participating in the event all at once… seems like a recipe for disaster. So out of respect for the Philadelphia community, I applaud the event organizers for decided to cancel the event.

Put it this way, had the race not been cancelled, and there was an outbreak of the Coronavirus, what’s the likelihood the city of Philadelphia would be willing to allow future running events? Like I said, don’t be a jerk, let’s preserve our trust and relationship with the communities we run and hope for a better future.

See you next year Philly Hot Chocolate 15k!

Winter Running: Finding Motivation

Getting up early takes practice and discipline, for me, the biggest struggle always occurs during the time change.

The cold mornings, with lack of sun, as I’m snuggled in my cocoon of blankets imprisons me in bed. There are little to no signs of life, other than a faint rhythm of soft in and out breaths through the tiny window I’ve created in the blanket fortress for my face.

At home, I find it’s extremely easy to give in to the creature comforts of my bedroom and hit the snooze repeatedly until my wife and I sit up in sheer panic – just like Kevin’s parents in Home Alone – as we shout, “WE SLEPT IN!”

But there’s work to do.

I’m awake most of the time when my alarm goes off, in fact, most of the time I’m wide awake. So how do I force myself to get up? One trick that I implore is to think of my day ahead. If you’re like me, then you too are familiar with what I’m referring to: most of our days are planned out in advance with work commitments, school commitments, kids’ activities, etc. I think about the day ahead and whether or not I can afford to sleep in.

One example of the first questions I ask myself: If I don’t run this morning, will I have time to run over lunch?

The answer determines whether or not, I hit snooze and nestle into my wife and overbearingly snuggly pooch, or escape the confines of my blanket cocoon and face the day.

These questions are entirely situational, so yours will vary. Another example when I’m traveling for work, I like to think about the day ahead and when I’ll have an opportunity to run. Typically this time is first thing in the morning, as lunch is usually business-related, and the evenings are occupied by more business-related situations and engagements. I have found getting up and just getting it over has been the best way to answer the snooze button at 5 AM.

Dress Accordingly.

I shared my cold weather running insight previously here and on the Holabird blog, check that out for more details, but essentially I lay out all my running clothes ahead of time. This makes the transition relatively painless and quick, which means I’m out the door with little fuss. Faster to get started means the faster I’ll get done and more time for me to come home and warm up after those winter miles!

Find time.

If you have the luxury of an hour break (or more) at your workplace, then I’d recommend using this time to log miles. You get bonus points for getting to sleep in and still get your miles in! Since I’m big into running in a fasted state, practicing intermittent fasting for 3 months now, it’s always either an early morning run or pre-lunch run. Point being, if you NEED to log miles, find some time in your day that you can carve out room for a few minutes of activity.

Make others aware of your intentions!

Letting your spouse, significant other, friends, running buddies, your neighbor, WHOEVER, of your intentions to get up and run will create a level of accountability. Letting down someone you have a close connection with at least offers a level of motivation to get up and get out the door.

While this isn’t the healthiest, it hasn’t failed me. Just a word of caution, this can/may lead to burnout and negative associations with running, so use this sparingly, maybe for a once-a-week run (meeting up with a running club or friend) or monthly for an event or the like.

If you are prone to anxiety, peer pressure may create more harm than good. I would suggest for anyone with anxiety, to meditate on the subject by stating your intentions to the universe. This will take time and practice, but meditation can be an amazing motivator. Take a moment to state your intentions and reflect on what it is you want to accomplish. When you wake up the next morning, focus on your breath and the presence of being, re-iterate your intentions and focus your desire to get up and run. I have found success in this method, as cooky as it sounds, being presently aware can have a profound effect on your actions!

Now it’s your turn!

How do you find the motivation to get up and get moving this time of the year?

Race Registration: Hot Chocolate 5k/15k Philadelphia

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k/5k 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!


It’s that time of the year again! Hot Chocolate season is here and I’m super excited to share that I’m signed up to run the 2020 Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k/5k on April 4th!

Make it Even Sweeter!

Use code BRHCPHILLY19 at check out to receive a free Hot Chocolate running hat! #HCPhillyBR #Bibchat

Make sure you Register HERE

Check out this year’s swag! I can’t wait to run this race again and experience all Philly has to offer! After running this race my family and I usually hit up Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks and stuff our faces with Philly’s finest. How do you celebrate?!

Photos  courtesy of AllState Hot Chocolate 15k/5k

Runderwear Paris Marathon Giveaway!

Disclaimer: I received a Runderwear Kit 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!

Destination races are a big deal, they involve a lot of time and energy planning and preparing for a getaway of fun. A destination race in another country seems like such a daunting task. But what if you didn’t have to worry about the how and when? What if all you had to worry about was just showing up?

Runderwear to the Rescue

That’s what the awesome people at Runderwear have done- they have thought of everything! Hotel, airfare, you name it, Runderwear has you covered.

And to make the deal even sweeter, they are throwing in a Runderwear Kit, plus a TON of other goodies.

Enter to win: https://www.runderwear.com/pages/enter-bibrave

Ambassador Programs: Things to Consider

Many companies offer an ambassador program of some sorts to their social media following. These programs are a great way for companies to gain exposure in their particular industry. Since I’m a runner this will primarily focus on the running community, but I’m sure there is a program for just about every industry you can imagine.

What’s unique about an ambassador program is that it allows a company to utilize its followers on social media as means for low-cost, if not free, advertising. What’s also appealing about these programs is that the advertising is done by its actual users, and comes across as an authentic endorsement.

Again, all of this comes at a minimal cost to the company, when compared to traditional advertising. Most ambassador programs include a 30-50% off discount on products and services. Companies want you to buy and support their brand, so they’re going to entice you with all kinds of special offers and deals. And since this is an exclusive program, it creates quite the buzz on social media.

Some companies go above and beyond and not only offer a sweet discount, but also send its ambassadors care packages that include some of their featured products and or services, and most importantly ambassador exclusive swag. I mean, c’mon, how else will someone identify you as an ambassador without that sweet exclusive branded gear

Being an ambassador can also grant you access to exclusive online communities or groups, and puts you in the loop (so to speak) on new and upcoming products, special releases, etc. And lastly, it can also help boost exposure for everyday athletes like you and me, by way of the company featuring your social profiles on their site, or commenting or tagging you in a post.

So how do you get started? Here are the three key takeaways that I’ve learned: good, bad, indifferent, the following advice is based on my experience with ambassador programs, your mileage may vary.

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Mushroom Cap Half-Marathon: Pre-Race Checklist

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon 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!

Here we are the night before the race, and here I am frantically putting together tomorrow’s kit.

1. Let’s talk tech: My Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones are a MUST! I’m not sure if this is a sign that I’m getting older, but I love listening to podcasts or audiobooks on long runs. I find that conversations help the miles pass and sometimes a good story carries me through the tough parts of a run. Tomorrow I’ve got the BibRave podcast lined up to keep me company (I’m behind purposely by 4-5 episodes). Throw in my trusty Garmin watch and I’m all set!

2. My Ultimate Direction vest to tote my stuff is also at the top of my list. I have been able to reduce my nutrition for a half marathon to a single Hydrapak(R) water bottle filled with Tailwind Nutrition and one or two Stinger Gels. I have found that most race courses provide enough hydration and gels for those who don’t carry their own supplies, but I like to be self-sufficient.

3. It’s going to be COLD tomorrow so as far as clothing: gloves, my orange lightweight windbreaker, shorts and leggings are a must-have. Throw in my trusty BocoGear BibRave hat, BibRave Buff, and of course my BibRave shirt. GO TEAM ORANGE!

4. I’m going to coat myself in BodyGlide, no joke. Actually I’m going to hit a few target areas: collarbone, shoulders, neck, inner thighs, hips, nips, pretty much all areas where friction can and will ruin a day.

5. Not shown are my Feetures Socks and Brooks Ghost Running shoes.

Tomorrow’s race has other things to look forward to as well, like the post-race after party at the Creamery and of course spending some time with my BibRave buddies!

The course sounds like it’s going to be a challenging but good time! The few people I’ve talked to over social media mentioned the hills…. repeatedly, so I guess I’ll know what to expect.

Lately I’ve been leaning into my training and knowing that I can run comfortably at a 10 min/mile pace without feeling uncomfortable or like I’m going to bonk. And I suppose that’s what it’s all about, running a race comfortably and enjoying the course and scenery without focusing on time and “beating” those imaginary demons in my head.

I’m going into tomorrow’s race with an open mind and sticking to my plan of just enjoying the course… and of course having a good time.

Race Recap: Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon

GBG_RECAP

My friend refers to me as the “Mayor of Gettysburg” since we travel to this town a handful of times each month. No joke, my wife and I were married in Gettysburg and it’s a family favorite destination anytime we’re looking for a quick getaway… which happens to be a lot.

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