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Category: Running

Running with bibrave by the warm beach of South Carolina

I’ve never written about a run within a week of completing it out of fear of not giving the race enough justice. I ponder and ponder about how I can describe the event and the state in words. That’s why I’ve also begun making videos of each race, to bring you along with me. Ideally, you can run each state for yourself to experience the magic. Until then, I will try to recollect my words to give the warm beach of South Carolina due justice.

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Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to review this run 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 was my first in person half marathon as a bibrave pro. I have been anxiously awaiting live races and meeting fellow bibrave ambassadors, (as all of us have). My goal was to try for an under 2 hour half marathon. However, I did not plan or train as I should have. During the months leading up to the race I actually completed my RRCA coaching certificate and now have so much more knowledge to apply to training.

The Run

The race started at 8 am at Jarvis park, which was a pleasant time of day. Many races start so darn early. There are not many uber drivers on the island, so be sure to schedule your ride for the morning the night before. Our Uber driver was filled with knowledge about the island, including Hilton Head has been named best destination island by Conde Nest for 5 years running! I met up with fellow bibrave runner’s from across the country and we toed the start line with 1500 other people. There was not a wave start so the beginning was shuffling and slow like cattle. I was aiming for negative splits so we started at a comfortable 9:45 pace. The first time I looked at my watch we were already past mile 2 and felt strong.

We corralled through Jarvis park and hit the highway, literally. Running along the highway that was partially closed for the event and over a bridge. (Which was the only elevation gain along the whole race). About 6 miles in, we switched back to park trail running with beautiful canopy trees above us. The race had felt so smooth, and Jenn and I were surprised with how easy it felt. Mile 8 came and my right knee started bugging me as always. Luckily my beta endorphins kicked in by mile 9 and dimmed down the pain a bit. By mile 10 I knew there was no chance at an under two hour half marathon for me. So I decided just to enjoy the run with my best friend. The finish line was back in Jarvis park and the crowds cheers were so inspiring to hear. Especially after a two year hiatus of running during covid.

The After party

The park playground was filled with laughing kids enjoying the outdoors. There was grab-and-go pizza and free beer at the finish line, which is always a bonus. We enjoyed our grub watching the alligators swim along slowly. Yup, that’s right, Alligators! Overall, Hilton Head Island was a beautiful course and location. I would recommend wave starts though if I really sought out to accomplish my goal time.

Next up, New Orleans, Louisiana! Where is your next event, (let me know in the comments) I’d love to cheer you on!

Check out your next Race VacationClean Eating recipes and Running tips!

New and upcoming! travel, clean eating and half marathons

Wow! Life has been a whirlwind this fall and I’m sure you can agree. School is back in session, and then school is in quarantine…. and then school is back in session! Between planning and packing school lunches, getting ready for holiday travels and of course, getting my running miles in, it’s been a busy season! I wanted to give you a glance into the Half marathons, clean eating and what’s new and upcoming here on We Run the States.

New and Upcoming: Travel

With the covid vaccine readily available, travel has become a part of our daily lives again. This summer our family traveled to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, which reignited our passion for nature and exploring. This sparked a spur of the moment trip to Zion National park in September for a half marathon through the night. I had never really had Zion on my list of places I wanted to see, but after seeing it’s beauty, I Highly recommend the adventure. Waking up at 3 am to run through the night jumping over boulders gave a definite runner’s high!

October has been spent Triathlon training for a trip to the California coast on Halloween. I highly anticipate that Bay Area swim will be frigid cold, so wish me luck that I don’t freeze! Then just two weeks later we travel to the sunny Hilton Head island of South Carolina. This will be my first in-person half marathon as a Bibrave ambassador, and I am so excited to meet other Bibrave pro’s that I continue to follow on my instagram running community.

The new year is just around the corner and Holidays are coming up fast! I plan to take a short break from running at the end of November and then jump right back into training for Rock N’ Roll New Orleans, LA half marathon in February.

Hilton Head, South Carolina, lighthouse at dusk.

Clean Eating

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this category. Moreso, how can I make Clean Eating easy to prep for school nights and busy lives. I’ve debated recreating recipes like those amazing food blogs online, as I usually tweek most recipes, (just a little) to suit our family needs. But recreating recipes didn’t seem to make much sense as that requires a LOT of time and those amazing food blogs have already put in the work. (I know, much to your surprise, I also have limited time with full time work, kids, running and blogging). So this category will be a guide to Clean eating recipes.

I love creating weekly meal plans and food prep with my kids on Sundays. So here I will share with you all the recipes. Although most of the recipes I make are from cookbooks, I can often find the same recipe in an online version to share. If all else fails, you’ll get a picture screenshot of a clean eating recipe. It’ll be like we’re food prepping together 🙂

healthy recipes for fall
Autumn Meals

New and upcoming: Running

I am super proud to say, I am officially a Road Runner Club of America COACH! (RRCA) I decided to take my running knowledge to the next level and completed a weekend experience to become a coach. I have SO much great information to share with you to improve your race pace and achieve your set goals! The first athlete I’m training is my very own brother-in-law preparing for his first Full marathon in May. We are training for a sub 4 hour marathon and he is ready for the commitment to log miles!

Also new to the Running category is We Run the States, LLC. Yep that’s right, WRS is officially a business! Currently I am working on a really big project to have health insurance pay for you to run all 50 states! I’ll definitely keep you posted.

Yellowstone Half marathon: Beautiful Scenery, epic elevation and bears!

There is so much to learn and explore in this beautiful nation of ours! I’ll admit, national parks hadn’t been on my list of top things to experience, until Vacation Race’s Half Marathons. Their name alone drew me in, as my goal is to run a half marathon in every state, in order to travel and experience America. I had just completed the Grand Teton Half marathon the weekend before, (pushing a double stroller!) so I was amped to run Yellowstone Half marathon with my best friends (and not pushing kids haha).

Before you visit Yellowstone National Park, I highly encourage you to download the audible Gypsy guide. This app felt like we had a personal tour guide as we drove, answering all our questions before we even asked them.

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Yellowstone Half Marathon- The Run

This is a mostly trail run up to a peak of 6,990 feet elevation. There are portions of the run that are over rocky terrain, so watch carefully and protect your ankles! (If you watch the video of Yellowstone above, there’s a very clever tutorial how to run down rocky terrain). Located in Gallatin National Forest, southwest of West Yellowstone, there were a few bear spotting throughout the run as well. Vacation Races put on a wonderful event, as always. If you get the opportunity, run a race with them! They now have events all over the world!

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone half marathon

Things to Do

Yellowstone was America’s very first National Park established March 1, 1872 as a “public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”. It is one of the world’s largest ACTIVE volcanos! Kinda scary to think about standing on an active volcano as you peer into the boiling geysers and mudpots while exploring. Yellowstone is also the only place bison have roamed freely since the prehistoric times. Exploring was very family friendly with many stops and sights along the way. Be aware, there are not many bathrooms along the way or stops with food so I would recommend packing a lunch, (and also maybe a kid potty).

Drive around the Yellowstone Grand Loop hitting iconic landmarks like Old Faithful erupting faithfully every 60-90 minutes in Upper Geyser basin. We lucked out with an early morning parking spot to walk the geyser loop, but be aware, the line of cars was astronomically long, so plan early! Yellowstone also has the largest concentration of mammals and you’re sure to see a bison. If you see a cluster of cars on the side of the road, pull your car out too, they’ve likely spotted a bear or moose. Yellowstone was one of the three national parks we visited this summer. All three had amazing unique features and were well worth the trip. Check out Zion National Park. Next stop, Hilton Head island, South Carolina.

Zion half marathon at night guaranteed to give you an uplifting runner’s high

Is running Zion half marathon at night on your bucket list? It should be. Zion, Utah was a last minute add on for me and Jenn. We had just completed Vacation Race’s Yellowstone half marathon that was epic, and we were so thrilled by our runner’s high we immediately sought out another Vacation Race. Zion half marathon was only three months away and we considered ourselves trained enough to sign up. However the only catch was, we had to run Zion half marathon at night. We had never run a half marathon at night before, so we added it as yet another challenge on our journey to run the states.

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Zion Half Marathon at Night- The Run

Vacation Race’s has been, by far, my favorite series of races. Extraordinarily organized, and very conscientious of the environment; Vacation race’s is also very attentive to social distancing in our current covid prominent world. So for the Zion half marathon at night, you choose a time slot from 7pm to 7am with a wave start every 30 minutes. This allowed smaller waves to maintain social distancing. You had the option to run with the sunset. Through the deepest dark of the night through the desert. Or as we chose, rising with the morning sun.

I had anticipated a very cold start, however the weather forecasted mid 50’s so we dared to run in shorts and a tank top. There was a breeze, but it felt genuinely amazing the whole run. After mile 6 we left the safer dirt trails for what felt like rock climb running through the night. Pink reflective flags helped guide us through the course. There’s something about running and jumping on rocks, with the stars sparkling above for 13.1 miles that gives such a runner’s high.

Jenn and I were actually surprised by how giddy we were. Extraordinarily appreciating the life and day god had given us. Again, we hadn’t even planned on this Zion half marathon at night until a few months before, so we felt beyond blessed. We finished with the sunrise, and although with some very tight calve muscles, we got our jumping high five finish as always.

Zion Half Marathon at night

Zion half marathon
Zion half marathon
Zion half marathon
Zion half marathon

Things to Do

Zion is a rock climber’s dream, with sandstone cliffs ever changing, mostly from flash floods. If you’re lucky you can spot a bighorn sheep, or catch a sunset over the blood red mountains. Zion landmarks can be experienced only by shuttle or walking quite a far distance. Although the shuttle’s stop every 4 minutes, it did take nearly an hour of walking to get to the ‘start line’ as parking was very impacted. (Even during off season).

Plan on a full couple of days exploring. The first day we were able to drive the upper canyon towards Bryce canyon and venture off a bit on our own. The second day we were limited by time in order to make our flights home, so we only got to experience one of the landmarks. If we could repeat our trip, I wish we had been a bit more prepared for sight-seeing, as we missed the opportunity to hike Angel’s Landing.

Emerald pools trail is absolutely stunning 3 mile hike that features a waterfall and leads to three tiers of natural ponds. One tip is Pack your lunch. Jenn and I inevitably got hungry after all our hiking and there is only one concession stand throughout Zion canyon. This tiny cafe took nearly 35 minutes to hand us an already pre-cooked slice of pizza due to the long line of others who forgot to pack their lunches also.

Zion Canyon

Zion half marathon
Zion half marathon
Zion half marathon
Zion half marathon
Zion half marathon

The Food

There aren’t many stops along Zion for food, so again, pack a lunch! But Balcony One was a gem along the way. The tranquil atmospheric ambience was such a relaxing end to our Very long day. You could tell a lot of thought went into the design of the restaurant, and we even had the opportunity to meet the hospitable owner.

Zion Half marathon at night was absolutely epic, and really encouraged our love for running each state. Another run by Vacation Race’s is the Grand Teton half marathon, be sure to check it out. Up next we have Hilton Head island half marathon, South Carolina.

Conquering Grand Teton half marathon pushing a double stroller

OH Wyoming, you’re quite a story! If you’re one of those jump-to-the-cliff-hanger type of readers, I’ll give you the quick and easy. I ran the Vacation Races Grand Teton half marathon at 6395 ft elevation, uphill, pushing a DOUBLE stroller with two big kids! Every other person passing me, (because there were many passing me) called me “badass” or “you’re a beast”, or “you go mama!” which felt really encouraging. But it wasn’t until I started writing this that I discovered, damn! I AM a BADASS! Check out how amazing the Tetons were!

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Grand Teton Half Marathon, The Run

This was my first run with Vacation Races, and I was expecting a great race based on previous reviews. But this run far exceeded all of my expectations. I’ll say it multiple times during this post, if you get the opportunity, Run a race with Vacation races.

The course is primarily paved on a bike trail, with some dirt tracks near the finish line. I had expected to become weary with a 583 ft elevation gain at max 6,383 ft. What I had not anticipated, was my husband having an emergency and being left with our two kids. I, like most situations in life, had two choices. To choose defeat and get my first ‘did not start’ (DNS), or find a way to run. Sometimes life throws us changes that we can’t control. It probably would have been easiest to accept this race was out. But I thought, WHY NOT TRY? So I found an online service that rents baby gear and rented a Bob double stroller and we started.

Two and a half hours later, we were still running. There had only been one 3-year-old melt down, (because Cheetos had fallen on his seat) but we could see the finish line. So again I considered, WHY NOT TRY?

Sadie and Pierce’s first half marathon

We decided to try, and made one of the most fulfilling personal records of my running career. Sadie and Pierce’s first half marathon! The scenery was absolutely mesmerizing, so much so, that it kept my kids entertained for 13.1 miles. For the cherry on top, The finish line had a picturesque photo drop of the Grand Tetons. A carousel of buses transported us back to the start line. But be cautious, if you have a double stroller you may have to wait quite a while for a bus that can fit the stroller too.

Grand Teton half marathon scenery

Things to do

I’ve heard of the wonders of Jackson, WY for over a decade. My husband worked on a wildfire hot shot crew in his twenties, and was captured when the helicopter flew over the Grand Tetons. He’s been pressing on returning since then. I didn’t get the same aerial view that he did, but even from the ground you can enjoy the sheer magnitude of the Tetons. First and foremost, download the gypsy guide. It’s 100% worth the commentary that is informative and entertaining. It’s like having a personal tour guide in your car; then you’re ready to explore this beautiful national park.

Jenny Lake

There is a trifecta of highlights to visit, all of which we were able to do in one busy day. Start at the explorer center for a wilderness badge for the kids and a few souvenirs as well. Then head on over to Jenny Lake. You can either choose to hike the round trip of 7.5 miles or pay $18 for a roundtrip on the boat. On this trail you’ll visit hidden falls and inspiration point. One tip, don’t wait too long to get back to the boat if you don’t plan on hiking home. The boat ride closes at four and we ended up waiting an hour in line. Many people were forced to hike.

Next up on our journey around the Grand Tetons was mormon row. This is known for its photogenic barns that belonged to some of the earliest settlers in Jackson hole. Then to snake river outlook, made famous by Ansel Adam’s 1942 portrait attracting visitors to the Grand Teton national park. There are several other features of the park you can follow with your gypsy app if you have more time available.

Snow King Mountain

We’re always looking for fun family friendly activities while we travel. Snow King mountain definitely filled that role. There’s a scenic chair lift to the top of the mountain, where kids can enjoy a treetop adventure. Then choose to either slide down or ride the cowboy coaster. There’s also a bungee trampoline, mini golf and bike rentals. Check it out in the video above, we liked it so much we went twice!

Jackson Village

Probably the most enjoyable part of our trip was visiting Jackson village. This quaint town had a variety of stores, including the biggest toy store to reward my kids for “patiently running/being pushed for 2.5 hours in a stroller” for their first half marathon. I enjoyed sampling at spirits and spices and the whole family loved eating at Pizzeria Caldera.

Where to stay

Originally I had searched for a camping experience, with showers for after the sweaty run. But If you take one tip from this post, it’s Book early! I made reservations in January for our June half marathon, and nearly everything near Jackson village was already booked! We luckily booked the absolute best Fireside resort, minutes away from the start line. These luxurious rustic cabins are ideal for family and friend settings, perfectly equipped with a kitchenette to make some home cooked meals to enjoy by your own fire. I hope you enjoy Wyoming as much as we did!

How to Become a Mindful Runner

Ironically, to become a mindful runner, you don’t have to be focused on your thoughts while running at all. The development of strong mental health begins off the track, or trail, and in your day-to-day life. There are three easy ways to enhance your mental strength and become a mindful runner for performance improvements. (I say easy in italics because when you read them, you’ll think- ‘I can do those no problem’, but I’ll forewarn you, they can be quite challenging!)

Let’s start with my own self-realization that I needed to improve my mental health in order to see running performance gains. I never actually recognized that I was overweight- as noted in the picture below from last year; that was not my driving factor to improve my health. I actually felt pretty darn physically fit. I had run at least one half marathon every year since 2012,  staying active most of the year and had improved my nutrition to the point of completing a whole 30 days with no sugar, grains, alcohol, or dairy. Yet I was still constantly ‘tired and heavy’. I had the usual medical workup, checking my thyroid and for anemia- all (thankfully) normal. But something was still missing. It wasn’t until I took the time to focus on my mental health that I started to see rapid improvement.

June 2020 and June 2021

2020 brought many challenges with covid. Being in healthcare, I didn’t have much of an option but to enter the hospital with those infected daily. Although I can’t say I was ever scared to go to work, I couldn’t quite get over the fact that I felt forced to be ok with exposing myself to covid daily when I went to round on patient’s in the ICU setting. In retrospect, (and it’s only been a few months since vaccinations have become readily available) my mind was searching for some rest and recovery. 

2021 has brought a profound journey to improve my mental health, and only good things have followed. Here are three easy steps to become a mindful runner, and subsequently improve your running abilities.

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Step One: Make Changes

For my family, we made a BIG change. Justifiably, we had been talking about this change for over a decade. But it still seemed surreal when we moved from our home, our stable jobs and city life as we knew it, to a rural community in the mountains of California. Of course I’m not suggesting to improve your mental health you have to move across states, haha. What I am suggesting, is to really focus on what you need to change in your life? Hint: The first thing that just came to your mind is probably what you need to change. Although it may not be easy, there’s no better time than now. 

“It is never too late to be what you might have been”.

The mental clarity I’ve developed sitting on my porch with my family watching the horses and chickens graze, as well as the reward I feel when watching my garden grow slow and in abundance has given me the rest I was desperately seeking. 

Another, more subtle change, I made this year was addressing my mental addiction to soda. More specifically, Dr. Pepper. Those who truly know me, know I have been dependent on Dr. Pepper my whole life. And although there have been brief times I’ve given up soda to be ‘more healthy’, it wasn’t until I got to the root derivative of my mental addiction that I was able to quit.

If it makes you feel better to know; it’s not your fault (or mine) to be addicted to Dr. Pepper, (or donuts, ice cream, candy, whatever your vice is,…..sugar). Your brain actually releases the neurotransmitter dopamine when you consume this treat and sends a pleasurable reward between neurons in the brain. Imagine taking that soda away by choice, you’ve just taken the dopamine reward pathway away as well. Once I comprehended that Dr. Pepper served no health benefits to my body- with the excessive amount of sugar contributing to my overall inflammation and peak lows after a few hours of drinking soda, I was able to make the conscious choice to quit. 

I choose daily to NOT drink Dr. Pepper, and it’s hard.

But I’ve passed that mental barrier and I reap the benefits of a no-sugar-added diet. 

How has quitting sugar and moving to a new state affected my ability to become a mindful runner? I’ve learned to embrace change. I’ve learned that each of my decisions while running is a conscious choice. When I’m struggling to push faster during my run to get closer to my goal pace, I am choosing to push through the pain. Unsurprisingly, my body is fully capable of this push of pace- all along it’s been my mind telling me I couldn’t do it. 

Step two: Meditate

Ok. Before you skip right over this section, hear me out. I prescribe meditation to my patient’s daily. It may sound ‘too hippy’, but most of the world (besides American’s) meditate routinely for their health.

Here is a quick list of the benefits of meditation and how they can make you become a mindful runner:

Meditation actually changes the structures of your brain. It increases cortical thickness in the hippocampus improving your self-awareness and focus. It physically decreases brain cell volume in the amygdala that subsequently decreases anxiety, depression, chronic pain and offers a coping mechanism for traumatic events. Meditation can lower your blood pressure and help decrease cravings of addiction. With daily meditation- even if just for a few minutes- you’ll become more patient with your spouse, children and those around you. You’ll sleep better. You’ll get rid of facial wrinkles and enhance your sex life. Meditation helps you learn to be present and more comfortable with just sitting still.

There’s just one catch; you have to actually meditate for it to work.

How did meditation lead me to become a mindful runner? Well, did you read the paragraph above? Lol

How you can start meditation: Just sit down and close your eyes. Turn your phone on do not disturb and set a timer. 3 minutes at first is plenty. Focus on your breath, inhale….exhale. Count your breath if it helps. Once you find your mind wandering, (Did I pull the chicken out of the freezer for dinner? How many patient charts do I have to complete from work today? What time should I wake up in the morning to exercise?)

Bring yourself back to meditation, and breathe. That’s a great start.

Step Three: Ask for help

This was a hard one. As a Nurse Practitioner, I recommend health improvements to others on a daily basis. For me it took an outside prospective- my best friend from high school- to open my eyes. She called me, distraught about hardships every mother endures, including child temper tantrums and testing her own patience daily. However she kept saying, ‘I shouldn’t have to feel this bad everyday’. This was a different level of hard. She didn’t feel like the ‘perfect mom’ expectation she had imagined becoming. She told me she planned to talk to her provider about starting an antidepressant medication and asking me, her best friend, if she should feel bad for ‘needing a medication to control the chaotic world of life that she loved being a part of- family, work, health journey, etc.’

Immediately I validated all of her emotions and thanked her for being so brave for talking about it. But because she’s my best friend, our discussion really hit home. 

Depression is something that you have, not something that you are.

I had all the same emotions. Yet I would never talk about them to anybody in fear of ‘not being good enough’. There in front of me, represented the stigma of not feeling good enough if I talked about my feelings. And I spend my whole day at work recognizing the feelings of others! What the heck! 

Her bravery supported me to talk to my own healthcare provider. Many times that’s all we need, a healthy outlet to discuss that our feelings are valid and that there’s many ways to improve the process- journaling, meditation, medication, deep breathing techniques, praying to god, counseling, massage. 

We just have to take the first scary step, and ask for help.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to write about mental health. The key factor I’m sure, is there is still such a strong stigma around mental health in America. So much so, that about 50% of American’s do not seek treatment in fear of being discriminated against. The fact of the matter is, your mindset has just as many physical symptoms as any other illness. (insert the tired and heaviness I described before). Yet any other illnesses such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol is more ‘socially acceptable’ and ‘manageable’.

Making these conscious changes to focus on my mental health has improved my overall well-being more than I could have ever imagined. I also was able to set goals and achieve many of them already within six months, including losing 18 lbs and becoming a stronger, faster and more consistent runner. I hope these steps encourage you to do the same and encourage you to become a mindful runner.

If you notice in the picture from last year to today, the first thing I noticed was significant cellulite in my arms. Cellulite is actually just stored energy used by the liver to produce glucose for energy during long exercise! (I’m kind of an underlying anatomy and physiology nerd geek, haha). Key point is- We CAN get RID of this cellulite! – In one years time! I have many, many things to improve my running performance on still, but this was definitely a good start.

No promotion or sponsorships, I just really like writing and sharing 🙂

As always- Run strong, Travel and Eat. Real. Food. -We Run the States

Turtle Glove Running Mittens to warm the new year

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle Gloves 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!

Winter is here, and all. things. COLD. weather! Although the icy roads have me cautiously watching my step during my runs, the cold weather does not deter me from getting outside! Especially since this year’s cold weather brought a wonderful gift; Turtle Gloves running mittens. With the average morning temperature in the low 20’s here in California, it’s time to dress warmer. So let’s jump right in! I like to be very honest and to the point, Here are the PROS and CONS of Turtle Gloves convertible midweight Running mittens:

Tucker the dog and my “Backyard Run”

Pros and Cons

PROS: I’ve always avoided wearing running gloves. They just seemed a bit cumbersome to carry around after my warmup mile or two, after my hands seemed to get hot and sweaty. Well, I’d have to admit that’s one of the biggest PROS of Turtle Gloves! They’re convertible between mittens and fingerless gloves. This was one of the HUGE distinguishing factors between Turtle Gloves and most other running gloves; your hands can actually breathe when needed.

Secondly, every other pair of ‘midweight running gloves’ I’ve owned have just been cold. These are by far the softest mittens I’ve owned, and I found myself using them for multiple outdoor activities including running, hiking and cold night bonfires 🙂 Finally, Turtle gloves are unique and made in the USA; they’re not a One size fits all. They actually have custom sizes (for my small hands) AND a variety of colors and designs (did you see the Bibrave lion!?)

CONS: The con’s of the Running mittens (or any particular mitten really) is a reflection of me and not Turtle Gloves. Does anybody else seem to misplace all paired items?! I CANNOT seem to keep a pair of gloves (or socks) together LOL! One con of Turtle Gloves convertible running mittens is that they don’t have a clip to keep them as a pair. I ‘misplaced’ one of my gloves for several weeks, and actually ran with one glove to keep warm, haha! Again, a reflection of me and not Turtle gloves.

I’d like to wish ALL of you a very happy new year! Stay safe and warm with Turtle Gloves. Use code TURTLEBIBRAVE at checkout for 15% off!

One of my favorite things to do at the New Year is to write about a ‘NEW YEAR RESOLVED‘! I have many inspiring resolutions for 2021 that I’ll talk about more in the near future. (Anticipate One new homemade Run-Fueling soup and sourdough per week and 3+ half marathons to review!) but not many people reflect back on their previous year accomplishments. There is so much to be thankful for from the year 2020! I joined the Bibrave community of kind, strong runners and got my PR half marathon of 2:02 (SO CLOSE!). My family made a huge leap of faith and moved out to the mountains of California; I completed my first Whole30 and we all fought together against the pandemic of covid19.

Happy New Year and Welcome 2021!

The Great Ferry Race Seattle

From the iconic Pike Place Market to the Space needle tower; from the Great Ferry Race to Bainsbridge island and Ballard lock salmon runs; Seattle is absolutely unforgettable!

The Run

The Great Ferry Race in Seattle, Washington is an unforgettable course! The best part is, I got some video footage throughout the entire run so you can see the terrain change! You board a ferry in the chill of the morning, despite being middle of June; so pack some warm clothes for the ride over, in which you have plenty of time for a warm cup of hot cocoa riding over to Bainbridge Island. The start of the race sounds and a wave of runners exit the ferry onto the course. This race is a blend of road and trails entering the Grand Forest and Battle Point Park.

The Great Ferry race hyper speed

As stunning and unique as this Ferry run is, be forewarned. There are HILLS! I was spending much of my time finicking with my GoPro in order to get great documentation of the course, so I didn’t realize how SLOW I was running, whoops! I wouldn’t attempt a PR on this course, unless you’re one of those savage hill runners, but the experience alone could not be traded. (Notice the mindfully placed “2 Legit 2 Quit” encouragement sign, as many of us walked up this steep hill). Orca running company also has an epic medal with a ferry that actually slides from Seattle to Bainbridge Island!

Running brings many obstacles and personal accomplishments, but I’m repetitively impressed with the ease of making a new friend along the course. After 13.1 miles of running beside somebody you’ve never met, it’s pretty easy to just say, “Hi”. 🙂 Along this course I met a new great friend who met her personal accomplishment of running a half marathon each month this year! (So impressive!) Now to the Yummy part.

The Food and Drinks

I’m a novice at eating Seafood. I enjoy your traditional basic cooked shrimp, but I’ll happily admit, my palate has slowly been expanding through the years. I have NEVER been brave enough to order Cioppino. Enter, the Pink Door restaurant. My husband ordered this dish filled with prawns, rock fish, mussels, clams and calamari in a spicy tomato and white wine broth and I nearly devoured his entire meal! I’ve tried multiple copycat recipes at home of this Cioppino since then, (and although delicious) this restaurant takes the cake. If you’re in Seattle, go to the Pink door.

Ray’s Boathouse dining was a special treat shared with family members we hadn’t seen in years. We were graciously toured around Seattle by my husband’s cousin (who sells real estate, thus knowing the history and BEST places to visit in Seattle); and his ‘special treat’ was Ray’s. And It was just that. A special treat including incredible food, a mean Bloody Mary and you really can’t get any better than waterfront.

Things To Do

Pike Place Market

This next one should be in a category all by itself. I truly wasn’t sure whether to put the infamous Pike Place Market under ‘food’ or ‘things to do’- because it is ALL the above! My husband has been anticipating going to Pike Place Market for over a decade, and it did not disappoint! Let’s go through a day dream together.

You live in a cute downtown home in Seattle. The fog is still hovering over the bay and you take a short walk to the Pike Place market for that morning’s fresh catch off the Pacific Ocean and a strong brew of coffee. There’s actually a mix of fresh and salt water catches to choose from thanks to the ballardlocks. You stroll through the farmers market and pick up some cheese churned in front of you, and of course a bouquet of flowers to brighten your home. You realize you’ve taken up most of the morning tasting local honey, jams, lemonade, nuts and olive oil tastings and it’s now midday. So you stop at the local pub and order a flight of handcrafted brews of character at the Pike Brewing company.

Ok, now wake up. Just kidding, you don’t have to. That scenario is LEGIT what the Pike Place Market has to offer. Go there.


The Ballardlocks were a surprise treat for me, I had never known of their historical significance. The locks serve several purposes to maintain the water level of FRESH water from Lake Washington and Lake Union, to prevent mixing of SEA water from Puget Sound and course to move boats between the two. Our very personal, previously mentioned cousin realtor, opened our eyes to this intellectual way of “changing the tides” so to speak. I couldn’t help but accompany this video by sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the tides roll away. Watching history is inexplicable, go see it.

If you’ve ever seen Grey’s Anatomy, you’ve seen the Seattle space needle. I’m a Nurse Practitioner, bred through the era of medical drama. Unbeknown to me, I was influenced by this picturesque image of Seattle. It signified accomplishment that I didn’t even recognize I was achieving- both in my career and by completing another Half Marathon. Retrospectively, Seattle meant a lot more to me than I realized.

Seattle Space Needle

The Seattle Space needle’s top house sits 520′ above ground and let me tell you, it’s a bit nerve racking! I have no fear of heights, but this testest me just the slightest. Go ahead, lay down on the GLASS rotating sphere. I dare you. Long behold, they serve a few mixology cocktails and brews so your nerves may be calmed.

Little Red Day Spa

I will recommend time and time again, schedule a stretch or massage after your run! It is worth every penny. You’ve already completed weeks of training and Thirteen. point. one. freaking. miles! If you’re like me, you’re sore; knees in particular. I remember there was a physical therapy tent after our Tucson Arizona race offering free stretches; and that intensive stretching made all the difference in the world with muscle soreness the next day. This Seattle local, Little Red Day Spa combined both a stretch massage and romantic getaway that you should not miss.

where to stay

Motif Seattle- a Hyatt Hotel

What do you look for in lodging when booking a half marathon? Me? I look for a safe location closest to my running event. Preferably a hotel that has transport to and from the race. I look for notably clean and welcoming. Motif met almost every single one of my requirements, only excluding transport to the race. (Nobody likes to walk far after running a half marathon haha). I hobbled around after the half but our hotel was so centrally located that despite my short lived bicker and fuss, I was overly impressed with their hotel.

Seattle overview: 1) Washington is SO green, The Pacific Northwest’s beauty is. remarkable. 2) WOW: the things to eat and see- Pike place market, ballardlocks, 3) I am not sponsored by any of these places mentioned, I just enjoy sharing experiences so that you can enjoy yours!

Follow along as We Run the States!

DC Wonder Woman Virtual Run: How to stay active during this pandemic

I believe that all runner’s are Wonder Women at heart. Doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow; if you get out there and put the miles in, you’re a hero in my book. I’ll admit I was very against virtual runs at the beginning of this pandemic. I mean, my goal is to run a half marathon in each state. It feels a bit like cheating running, say a Tennessee half marathon Virtually from California LOL. After much deliberation, I decided to FINALLY sign up for the DC Wonder Woman Virtual Run with the support of the Bibrave community.

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“Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to review this virtual run 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 don’t know about any of you, but I may have gained the “covid 19 pounds”. And as much as I would like this pandemic to pass and resume live running events, it was definitely time to sign up for a run and hold myself accountable for my health. I respect all of those savy, “love to run for the sake of enjoying the run” folk. I am not in that category. I’m in the “love to run because I love to eat more and there’s a balance between eating a lot, running and staying healthy” haha.

CONS of a Virtual Run

As you can imagine, without a live Race event set up, the 10K run can get a little lonely. I appreciate all of the crowds on the sidelines cheering me on at live events, even if they didn’t come there to see me. So this is one of the downfalls of running Virtually.

PROS of Virtual Run

Surprisingly there are more Pro’s than I expected with the DC Wonder Woman Virtual Run. For starters, the swag is LEGIT! Like, I actually felt like a Wonder Woman with that pullover and medal (even if it did just come through the mail). It was extra special having my cute 3 year-old award me with my medal at the end of the race.

Another reason to sign up for a virtual run is everything is on your time! You train at your own pace. There are no time limits, so if it takes you a remarkably long time to complete a 10K race, that’s ok! 6.2 miles at a six-minute-mile is the same amount of completed miles as 6.2 miles at a fifteen-minute-mile, just saying. You also don’t have to worry about traveling for a destination run, or any of the other unforeseeable’s of a live event because you can complete this race out your front door. Personally, I had my golden retriever run the race with me and my friend and kiddos follow along in our side by side for support. It was definitely unique and my little kids made me feel like Wonder Woman as I ran beside them.

The DC Wonder Woman Virtual run gives you the inspiration to get up and be active!

You don’t have to be in the best shape of your life to sign up for a virtual run (I’m not for sure haha)! I still recommend using virtual runs as a tool to keep you motivated as well as a mechanism to train for future live race events. I hope that 2021 will bring more socially distanced live event races to continue our trek across the states, but until then Virtual runs it is!

What are your thoughts on Virtual Runs vs. Live event Races? Comment Below!

Conquer the Desert: Tucson Half Marathon Takes Running to New Heights

‘Runcation’s’ are the best vacations. You train for a half marathon for weeks in anticipation to fly across the states and compete. And then you’re rewarded crossing that finish line! You then get to spend the rest of the weekend tasting all the food and cocktails! And sightsee all the incredible wonder’s that America has to offer. So where else would we pick to visit in snowy December, but warm weather Arizona. The Tucson half marathon offered just that, a nice downhill race with a luxury resort to lounge at after. And that’s exactly what we did!

The Run

The Damascus Bakeries half marathon is a scenic downhill run through Tucson. The host hotel El Conquestador supplies a shuttle from the hotel to the starting line, as the run starts uphill and gives a gentle down slope almost the entire way, (there’s a slight upslope around mile 12 that really upset Katie so be prepared). Dress warm for the shuttle as the start of the race is cold. But we were able to run in tank tops for most of the race once the sun came up. Although the race is mostly scenic, you are running along a highway so be cautious of cars driving by. The race has several wave starts giving you a “gun time” and a “chip time”. But Thanks to the slight down slope, I got my PR at 2:09.


I generally stay at the race’s recommended host lodge for several reasons. First, they often have a prearranged shuttle service to the start line. Second, the hotels are Gorgeous! I mean look at this resort! With that being said, I let you down as I don’t have anything else to share about the surrounding Tucson area because we never left the hotel! I ran this Half marathon when my son was 5 months old; so lounging by the pool and sleeping through the night were the highlight of my trip. Also, although it would have been neat to explore Tucson, having a hand stand contest with my best friends in our hotel room was well worth the laughs to make this weekend getaway memorable.

Wondering which state to run your next Half Marathon? Check out all our recommendations!

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