2018 Runners’ Gift Guide

Fa la la la la, la la la la! It’s Gift Guide time again! I’m so excited to add these items to my wish list this year. I have not yet tried most of these items, but I believe in the brands and trust others’ opinions. Grab your ‘nog, and get reading! 

PlowOn Gum

PlowOn Gum has long been my go-to burst of energy. It has a great taste, does the job well, and is now available via monthly subscription! This would make a great stocking stuffer! Use code RUNBECKYRUN for free shipping as well. 

Brooks Women’s Juno Cross Back Adjustable High-Impact Sports Bra | Moving Comfort

This Brooks Juno sports bra looks amazing. It made it onto the Ultimate Crowd-sourced Sports Bra Guide, and Brooks is my go-to shoe, so why shouldn’t it be my go-to bra?! I’m so used to wearing my way-too-old-to-admit sports bras from Target that should have been retired years ago. 

nuun Products

Despite it not being summer anymore, you can’t forget about your hydration! nuun is an amazing product that keeps you hydrated and is amazing served hot. Between the Electrolytes, Vitamins, Immunity, and Performance lines, there’s something for everyone. I personally love the Vitamins Ginger Lemonade served hot. My cold go-to flavor is Cherry Limeade. And to ward off those pesky germs, try the Immunity line. The Blueberry Tangerine is delish! 


My feet would be so toasty and comfortable in these OOFOS boots! The website states: 

We used our OOFOS patented footbed design you know and love to create an unbelievably comfortable boot that enhances the recovery process. Water resistant, highly versatile, and perfectly packable for your next winter excursion, these new OOFOS mean now you can feel the benefits of revolutionary OOfoam technology, 365 days a year.

They look like you could walk on clouds!

AfterShokz Trekz Air

Although I really like the wireless earbuds I have now, I don’t feel the safest while running outdoors in the winter with a hat and earbuds in my ears. I don’t feel like I can hear my surroundings well enough. Enter the AfterShokz Trekz Air! Another Mother Runner is offering $50 off wireless bundles! Wink wink! 

The website says this:

The next generation of bone conduction technology is what’s inside our lightest and most organically designed open ear headphones to date. We cut the bulk and used titanium everywhere possible to ensure they not only fit more securely but sound better too. Trekz Air are inspired by the demands of elite and aspiring athletes motivated by their music and their world.

They come in my fav color!

Goodr Merry Flocking Christmas Sunglasses

I’ve never owned a pair of Goodr running sunglasses before (get out!), but if I did, these would be the ones! I wish they made these in prescription versions, but I’m all for running blind if I’m in style. (Kidding! Or am I?! YES, kidding.) 

North by Scott Jurek 

I love Scott Jurek, and I can’t wait to listen to his latest book with his wife Jenny. According to Amazon: 

From the author of the best seller Eat and Run, a thrilling new memoir about his grueling, exhilarating, and immensely inspiring 46 day run to break the speed record for the Appalachian Trail.

Brooks Women’s Long Sleeve Ugly Christmas Sweater 

Need an ugly Christmas sweater but don’t want to waste money on something you won’t wear again? Voila! Here’s the ticket! 

All the GUs! 

Campfire S’mores, Espresso Love, Lemon Sublime, Birthday Cake, French Toast, oh the list could go on! I take a GU every four miles for longer runs, and they’re something that I personally need but hate to spend money on. Stocking stuffer, perhaps?! 

So what’s on your list this year? There are many more items that I could add, but I’d love to hear from you! 


Race Recap: Ryan’s High Five 5K Run/Walk 2018

I attended the third-annual Ryan’s High Five 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, November 11, 2018 to support my amazing friend during her first 5K walk! I have to be totally truthful here and say that I didn’t have very high expectations of this race. I’d never heard of it before, wasn’t concerned about aid stations or post-race food, and had no idea what the elevation of the course looked like. My only goal was to support my friend, go at a comfortable pace, and get in some great one-on-one time. She is the mom of the Mature Kindergartner’s (MK) BFF, so it was nice to chitchat along the way.

I set my alarm for 7:20 a.m. EST, threw on my clothes, got ready, and was at the door around 7:30 a.m. EST. She picked me up around 7:45 a.m. EST, and we drove about 15–20 minutes to the Magnolia Fire Company where the race began. I laud the fact that she’s early for everything, so we both have the same mindset there. We parked behind the Fire Company in the parking lot, which seemed incredibly small to me. We waited in the warmth of the car, since it was about 45 degrees and a bit windy. I wore three layers, my lined compression tights, a hat, and gloves.

There seemed to be a few others waiting in their cars too, and while I knew it was early, I was beginning to wonder how large this race was. It turns out there were only 70 participants total! There were 50 runners and 20 walkers. If I had been running this race, I could have gotten second in my age group, so I need to remember that for next year! The times that some of these runners threw down were amazing to me. The first-place male ran a 19:24, and he was older than me! Wowza!

I digress. As much as I talk about the numbers, they really don’t mean a ton to me. What really matters to me now is having an awesome time, not being injured, having a smile on my face, and having a great experience in terms of race support along the course, post-race food, and so on. This race definitely delivered in most of those respects!

We went into the Fire Company to pick up our bibs and shirts. I still find that some races give out cotton t-shirts, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was handed a tech t-shirt (albeit a bold mustard-yellow color). We stole back to the car for a bit before the race, and I watched as they put up the finish line arch.

Here’s the finish line!

Before the race they hosted a kids’ fun run (with finishers’ ribbons for all!), and I wished the MK were there. I knew it was on the colder side though, and she’s very iffy about kids’ runs these days for whatever reason.

The race started promptly enough after someone who was presumably a family member thanked everyone for attending, but it was odd that we had to walk from the finish line to the starting line. So we sort of all shuffled over there before the official start of the race. My friend and I positioned ourselves toward the back of the pack, made sure our fitness trackers were readied, and waited for the go. 

We noted that it was interesting that we weren’t sure how Ryan passed or under what circumstances. We gleaned that he was in high school and on the football team, but that was about it. I would’ve liked to know more of the back story! I didn’t find anything on the race website either. 

The walk itself was so much fun! The course was nearly all flat, and the scenery reminded me a lot of the Monster Mash (back roads, corn fields). We kept at what I thought was a comfortable pace to still chat and walk at the same time. (I can’t do this while running haha.) We finished under my friend’s goal time, and I’m so proud of her!

Here we are at the finish line!

The post-race food was better than the Monster Mash (crazy, huh?!) and offered granola bars, bananas, and water. They also held age-group awards and raffle gift basket giveaways. I didn’t think to bring any cash with me, but next year I will for sure. They had different categories of gift baskets for girls, boys, restaurant gift cards, and so on. 

The overall feel of the race was one of an intimate, close community. I really enjoyed the vibe and will definitely attend next year! 

Race Recap: Monster Mash Full Marathon 10/20/18

It’s time for my three-phrase, post-race summation! For the Monster Mash Marathon on Saturday, October 20, 2018, I’d like to use the following—solitary slog, poop (not my own), and lost Gu.

Since hubs had to pick up the Mature Kindergartener (MK) [because really, she’s no longer a toddler, nor angry, and is growing up way too quickly] on Friday from school, my awesome Smyrna Clayton Running Club friend Jenn picked me up to go to packet pick-up around 3:30 p.m. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) Jenn was running her first half marathon, so I was wicked excited to be able to support her.

Like last year, packet pick-up was very simple and quick! This year’s t-shirts for women were pink with white lettering/images, I got a giant-sized Kit Kat, some Hammer gels, and a nifty race magnet. I was so looking forward to the huge Snickers like last year, but maybe others got that! (Jenn, what did you get?!) And I was glad to get another magnet, because my half magnet from last year fell off the car. Grumble.


I thought it was interesting that my last year’s half marathon bib number was 252, and this year’s full was 152. My house number growing up was 252, so I have an affinity for 5s and 2s. (I’m weird. I know.) There was a number on the back of the bib as well. Mine matched my bib number on the front, but Jenn’s didn’t, and others’ didn’t as well. I can’t figure out what that was.

I also received a wrist band that I was told would get me onto the race track on race morning. (Because if you recall, the race starts on the Dover International Speedway, where you run the first mile on the track itself!) I’m not 100% sure why the wrist band was necessary, since no one ever checked it. And I don’t think it was to redeem beer at the end of the race, but who knows?

I went home and laid everything out that I thought I’d need. I pinned my race bib to my black capris, charged my headphones, pinned on my Gus to my Tivuzo running pack, and so on.

During my lunch break earlier, I ran out to get some Gus, because I knew I didn’t have enough for the race. I got six total at Dick’s Sporting Goods at our local mall. I wish I had gotten to a local running store, because Dick’s Gu flavor options weren’t the best. I went with Blueberry Pomegranate (Roctane), Tri-Berry, Chocolate Outrage, and Vanilla Bean. I had a Toasted Marshmallow one as well, but I wasn’t too sure that would sit well with my stomach. My normal routine is to have an Espresso Love Gu first, since I don’t eat or drink anything before the race, so it’s kind of like having my morning cup of coffee. But alas, that wasn’t in the cards this time.

I’ve heard iffy reviews of the water stops/aid stations at this race, and I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough water along the course, so I brought my Orange Mud hand-held water bottle with me. I’ll be honest, I’ve never run long distances with this hand-held. I was sure that I’d hate it, or it would become annoying. However, I knew that I didn’t want to bring my hydration pack with me, so this was my next-best choice.

I also brought throw-away gloves, my Race Advisors #GoSpeedy headband, a visor, and a trash bag (more on that in a sec). Last year I remember it being very sunny, so I figured I’d need the visor. I really need to invest in some Goodr sunglasses!

When I woke up at 5:30 a.m. on race day, the first thing I heard was rain pounding the roof. I had been eyeing the weather forecast all week, but the chance of rain looked fairly low to me. Sigh. I got my stuff together, slathered myself with enough Body Glide to choke a horse, and then grabbed a trash bag to create a makeshift poncho. One of the worst things that can happen to you during a long run is getting wet, which in my mind equals gag-inducing chafing!

Jenn picked me up around 5:45 a.m. (because Tom was supposed to take the MK to a Girl Scout even before coming to meet me at the finish line—thanks hubs, even though the MK didn’t go because she had a cough), and off we went! There was zero traffic along the way, and we had ample parking at the stadium. We sat in the warmth of the car for a little while until we used the bathroom (an actual bathroom, people) and crowded around Miles the Monster before race announcements started. Here I am before the race in front of Miles. I’m trash-bag chic!


You can see my glorious trash bag around my neck, and I’m holding three fingers up. No, I’m not doing a wonky version of the Girl Scout pledge, silly. This was my third full marathon.

Thankfully by that time, the rain had all but stopped. Everyone was herded into the stadium to line up at the starting line, and Jenn and I lined up behind the 2:30 pacer. I wanted to run as much of the race with Jenn as possible. Running on the racetrack wasn’t quite as bad I remembered it to be last year, and it was fun to see a few spectators on the sidelines.

I was glad I brought my visor, layered up, and brought gloves, but it surprisingly wasn’t as cold as I thought it was going to be. I shed the gloves and trash bag after the first mile as we exited the track.

Jenn and I chatted along the way, and it was so nice to have someone to run with! We saw our fearless SCRC leader around Mile 5, which was awesome. We also saw another SCRC member, Kathleen, who made a sign for us that said, “Run, Jenn, Run! Run, Becky, Run!” etc. That made us both beam!

I stayed with Jenn for the first eight miles until the half and the full courses split. After that, I ran primarily by myself for the rest of the race. More often than not, I was completely alone, which was a little spooky. I was armed with plenty of Another Mother Runner, Marathon Training Academy, and Run, Selfie, Repeat podcast episodes plus a music playlist, but it was odd to be completely alone for long stretches of road.

For the most part, you’re running alongside cornfields, rural houses, and farmland. Oh, and trying to dodge horse poop most of the time.

The course was marked with orange arrows (stickers), some cones, and of course used amazing volunteers to help steer you in the right direction.

At one point I saw miniature horses in a field, and I literally said out loud, “Hi, horsies!” I think I was just grateful to see another living thing along the course haha.

There were two areas that were out-and-backs, so during those points I could see runners in front of and behind me. At one point, I saw the 5:00 pacer well ahead of me, and the 5:30 pacer/group were quite a ways behind me, so I knew I was plodding along at an expected pace.

I took one Gu every four miles until Mile 16. I have no clue what happened, but I lost two of my six Gus along the course somehow. Ugh! I knew that some of the aid stations were supposed to have Hammer gels, so I didn’t worry too much. I’ve never used that brand before, but my body seems to react OK to most gels/Gus, so I thought it would be fine.

At the Mile 16 aid station, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the MK’s former preschool teachers, Ms. Susan! I was so happy to see her! That happiness quickly faded, however, when she told me that they had run out of Hammer gels. WHAT?! The volunteers kindly offered me Pop Tarts, granola bars, and other treats, but I wanted a gel, darn it. I begrudgingly grabbed a granola bar, knowing that I’d need something later on.

At the next aid station they didn’t have gels either. Nor did they at any other stop along the course. Thankfully they had water, and even some water pitchers so that it was easier to fill up my hand-held, but having no gels was ridiculous.

As I choked down one of the dry Nature’s Valley granola bar pieces, I wondered how trail runners eat actual food during races! I guess you get used to it, and maybe you’re running slower than for a road race in some spots, but it just seems like a huge feat to me. Kudos to you, trail runners who eat food while running! I had one half at Mile 20 and the other at Mile 24.

Between Miles 20 and 23 seemed like the longest miles of the race. I wasn’t in any pain, but I did take longer walk breaks, and at that point I was getting antsy to finish.

Around Mile 25, I was running behind a mother who was joined by her son for the last bit. It was so heartwarming to see, and I apologized to them for running/walking so closely behind, but I was using them as motivation. They introduced themselves, and we chatted for a few minutes. I turned on “High Hopes” by Panic at the Disco, picked up my tempo, and finished the race strong and with a smile on my face.


I saw Tom and the MK at the finish line, and they had added a few touches to their awesome sign!


It was so good to see them, earn my HUGE medal, and wrap myself in my “cape” a.k.a. the silver thermal blanket.


Although I wasn’t starving, I was looking forward to the post-race food. I didn’t see any bottled water at the end (which you’re normally given), nor did I see any food in sight. I sort of remember this from last year, but it wasn’t as important to me after running the half last time.

This time, all I wanted was a bottle of cold water and a soft pretzel. Nope, that wasn’t going to happen! Instead, they did give Grotto pizza and beer to all finishers. It was a bit underwhelming, and we didn’t stay long because there really wasn’t anything else to do or eat.

Before leaving, we ran into another friend, Jennifer Accord, so we chatted with her for a few minutes. The MK wanted to run around Miles the Monster a few times, etc. but I was ready to go home, take a hot shower, and take a nap!

Overall, I would run this full again. You just have to be prepared with your own nutrition, come armed with music/podcasts, and bring your own post-race food and drinks.


Experience Review: First-Time Yoga

As most runners know, cross-training is key to prevent injuries and keep things fresh. I’ve always been one who knows that but never heeds it. I barely have time to run let alone do something else that I don’t necessarily love as much as running, right?! But when I saw a stellar deal at Tula Yoga & Reiki Professionals, I knew I had to dive in.

I’ve never actually taken a group yoga class before, so I was wicked nervous beforehand. I’ve done some at-home yoga videos and the yoga options on SWORKIT, but nothing in person. I signed up for the one-and-a-half-hour session called the Power Of Yoga *All-Levels Vinyasa on a Thursday evening. Kudos to hubs for tackling dinner and bath duty!

I left about ten minutes early, since the studio is close to our house. I typically use the Google Maps app, so I plugged the address in, and off I went. I have zero sense of direction and am a timid driver, so when I recognized the area I was in, I was relieved. But as I made a left turn where the studio was (supposedly), I realized I was in a residential area, which made no sense to me.

I drove around and crossed a busy highway several times (white-knuckling the steering wheel), until I found a parking lot to stop in. I opened up Waze this time, and voila—I was about two minutes away. I had driven by a large, purple flag that said YOGA right on it, but I didn’t realize that’s where Tula was. Duh! And thank you, Waze. I apologize for all of the times I’ve said, “Oh, I don’t like Waze. I just use Google.” Curse you, Google Maps!

Finally, I pull in to Tula, all shaky and nervous—not exactly the way I wanted to start this journey. For some reason I was expecting a large studio, but Tula is located in a small house, and the room itself where they hold classes is tiny. I put my things in a cubby, and the instructor showed me how to sign in on a tablet. I felt the need to announce right away that this was my first time, hoping that she would give me the lay of the land. I set up my very old Weight Watchers yoga mat (don’t laugh) in the back of the room, and there were only six students total (including myself) attending the session. The guy in front of me jokingly said that I picked one heck of a class to start off with; I thought because of the length of the class perhaps.

We started off with a few simple poses, and I liked the fact that the instructor went around periodically throughout the room and gently corrected people’s poses. She did it very silently, so that (at least to me) no one felt intimidated or like they were doing something incorrectly. I do feel, however, that I definitely need a Yoga 101 type of course, which would help me with basic moves.

For example, I thought I was doing child’s pose correctly, until the instructor sat behind me and gently pushed my backside down way farther than I thought it could ever go! Who knew I should be going so deep into a pose?! I also noticed that when I did a warrior pose, my front foot was apparently not nearly as forward as it should have been.

At one point, the instructor showed me how to move my right hip, and I clearly realized that I have no idea how my body works. How do you move just one body part or part of a body part at a time?! And another time, the instructor massaged my neck, which felt amazing, but all I could think of in my head was, “Oh my GOD I’m so sweaty; please, you really don’t have to touch me!” I felt so bad for her haha.


I took all of it in as a learning experience, and I hope I learn just as much at my second class tonight!

Here are a couple of hilarious observations:

  1. I had no idea how audibly people breathed during yoga!
  2. I sweat like a beast. I literally had to take my glasses off at one point because I couldn’t see. No one else appeared to sweat like I did, and it was NOT hot yoga, so I’m not sure what my problem is. You bet your bippy that I’m wearing a running headband tonight.
  3. During the cool down, people started snoring. The cool, lavender towel over my eyes was amazing, but I couldn’t slow down my thoughts; plus I kept wondering if the instructor would tell us when this part of the session was over or would people just get up and walk out? I was clueless.



Race Recap: Fallen Heroes 5K 2018

I’d like to sum this race up in three words as I’m wont to do: geese, poop, humidity. We’ll get to that in a sec.

I know it’s nearly a month later, so I first want to apologize for not writing a race review for the Fallen Heroes 5K from May 24, 2018 until now! To say that work has been crazy is an understatement, and I kind of lost my mojo there for a bit. Oh, and we were at Walt Disney World for a week. That’ll take the oomph right outta ya.

Anyway, last year’s race seemed very similar to this year’s race. It was hot and humid, with the potential for rain showers. Since this is an evening race, I was rushing to get hubs and myself out the door, pick up the Almost Angry Kinder (AAK), and head about 45 minutes to New Castle, DE, for the race. Despite my nagging to speed walk to the start line, we arrived with plenty of time. For some reason my anxiety was sky-high, so I apologize to hubs for cattle prodding him and the AAK around. We said hi to our Uncle Paul (DJ at American Pie Entertainment) who was announcer/DJ for the race, and I tried to encourage the AAK to do the kids’ fun run, but she seemed too shy. She rocked the Thin Mint 5K kids’ run previously, so I thought she’d be excited for this one. I don’t know why it hurt my heart a little, but obviously I had to let it go, because I don’t want to push her in any direction that she doesn’t want to follow.

I brought my new Orange Mud handheld bottle with me, and I was also nervous about carrying it during my race, since I’ve never used a handheld before. Overall, I love it, but I did have to switch hands periodically because they got too hot/sweaty. Does that happen to anyone else?

It was nice not to have to stop at the water stop though. Normally I don’t really drink water for a 5K, but it was wicked humid out, and I knew my body needed the hydration. I of course drank some nuun during the day on race day as well to stay hydrated.

I’m very familiar with the race course itself, having run the race previously, but also having in-laws who live in New Castle, so I’ve been there many a time. The course brings you from St. Peter Church, down local side streets, through The Strand (a ritzy part of “Old New Castle”), and out to Battery Park and the walking path there. The path is narrow, but it has just enough room to fit two people across. I love looking at the scenery and water there.  The only thing I don’t enjoy is dodging geese poop all along the waterfront. Ew!

The course had one water stop just before the turnaround point, since this was an out-and-back course. I didn’t notice any porta-potties along the course, but I’ve never had a need for one during a 5K.

Here I am on the very left perhaps half a mile from the finish line. New Castle does an excellent job of making sure that runners are safe and not in harm’s way in traffic. The volunteers, police, EMTs, Good Will Fire Company, and so on were all very helpful and pleasant.


It turns out that this race is TINY. It had 220 participants overall. Oh, that may have been why I won an age-group award (second in my age group) for running a 30:19. There were only 13 women in my age group—hah! I was supposed to receive a medal, but they were apparently lost, so I was told I’d receive one in the mail. I just sent a follow-up message today, so we’ll see!


I think this race is run very well, there were plenty of bathroom options before the race, and the post-race food was excellent! They had pizza, wings, sports drink, water, and more. The only thing I did not see were soft pretzels, which made my tummy sad.

Here I am after the race. I of course repped Race Advisors and the Smyrna Clayton Running Club!


April 2018 Miles . . . and Boston?

Goodbye, April! I nailed my mileage goal again this month with 80 miles. I’m so ecstatic! I ran two long-er runs (one on-my-own half marathon and a six-miler), but otherwise I ran slow and steady each day. I think that’s part of the reason why I keep going injury free. I love running, and I listen to my body.


Speaking of listening . . . throughout this month while running, I’ve listened to the Hamilton soundtrack (duh), the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack, the Running Lifestyle Show podcast, the Marathon Training Academy podcast, the Another Mother Runner podcast, the Tanis podcast, and more. I almost exclusively listen to podcasts while running, but while racing I tend to listen to soundtracks more so. What’s your favorite thing to listen to on a run?

I want to again give a huge hunka hunka shout out to my hubs, as well as a sweaty kiss and a hug to the Angry Almost Kinder (AAK). Without their love and support, I would not be doing this running thing. <cute sobs> Here’s the AAK’s preschool graduation picture (sorry for the picture of a picture taken using my dinosaur iPhone):


Anywayyyyy, ever since this year’s Boston Marathon, I’ve been toying with the idea of running Boston for charity, preferably in 2019, because mama a’int gettin’ any younger! I know that charities open in September, which doesn’t seem like a ton of time to fundraise most likely $7.5K in roughly seven or eight months. I have my eye set on one or two charities that are close to my heart, so we’ll see what happens!

If you’ve run  Boston for charity in the past, I’d love to hear how you did it!

Product Review: Oatmega Protein Bars

I was talking to my fraternal twin sis (didn’t see that one coming, eh?) one or two Friday afternoons ago via GChat (I dislike living so far away!), and we were both saying how we needed to find better snack options during the work day.  Whether out of stress, avoidance, or hunger, I find that I’m always searching for something to munch on around 3 p.m. I also find on weekends that I get incredibly hangry if we’re out and about and I haven’t had something to eat in a few hours.

Enter Oatmega bars! When we were at Sam’s Club one Saturday recently, as I was trying to avoid the millionth sample, I spied these bars. Cue the heavenly glow shining down on this large box of goodness.


Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about free samples, but sometimes it’s like a flipped switch in my mind (especially on weekends) to go hog-wild if I indulge. I’m a very black-and-white/all-or-nothing type of person, so it’s best to just abstain.

The box came with two flavors—Chocolate Peanut and Chocolate Brownie. Anything with chocolate in it sings the song of my people, and I wasn’t disappointed! I’ve tried other protein bars that are too flaky, too chewy, or too much like Air Heads for my liking. Oatmega bars have just the right consistency without tasting like a mouthful of vitamins. I prefer the Chocolate Brownie to the Chocolate Peanut, but they’re both great. I now carry one or two in my purse (which is notoriously large for y’know, life) just in case I feel Hangry Becky coming on (much like the Hulk).


I’m dying to try the Lemon Chia flavor and the Blueberry flavor.

Here’s my Amazon affiliate link if you’re interested in purchasing the 18-pack of Chocolate Peanut and Chocolate Brownie!

What’s your favorite?