Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts

Are runDisney Virtual Races Worth the Price? - 2021 Star Wars Virtual Rival Run 10K Recap

Star Wars Virtual Rival Run 10K - www.runningonpixiedust.com


All magic comes with a price, right?  Well, runDisney fans are no stranger to paying good money for some magical miles, but as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of racing in 2020 and into 2021 the question remains - is a runDisney virtual race worth the price?  I ran my first runDisney virtual race in 2021, the Star Wars Rival Run 10K and in this race recap, I'll break down the whole experience.


Registering for runDisney Virtual Races


Star Wars Virtual Rival Run 10K - www.runningonpixiedust.com


runDisney used to use a third party platform to process their race registrations, but now they have their own portal through the runDisney site - but the 6.6% processing fee still exists.  The registration process is quick and easy, and, if you already have a Disney account, it links with that account and some of your core information transfers over.  

NEW Running Experience Alert - What is the Run to Escape Series?



In a year when running races took a virtual turn, things may have started to feel a bit. . .well. . .stale.  Yes, the medals and the swag are cool and the convenience of running races on my time in my neighborhood certainly has some benefits, but I'm always excited to try something new.  With that in mind, I was super excited to try the Run to Escape Series - Mission Mt. Olympus.  The new running experience is unlike anything else and as I'm in the early stages of completing my mission now, I have to say it's an enjoyable change of pace!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Run to Escape Series - Mission Mt. Olympus 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!

What is Run to Escape Series - Mission Mt. Olympus?

The Run to Escape Series is a new running experience created by my friends at BibRave combining two popular activities - running and escape rooms.  Here's how it works!  When you register, you begin receiving emails from Hermes.  He'll give you the rundown of how to connect to RunKeeper and load your first run into the app.  You HAVE to use the RunKeeper app while running as the whole audio experience is powered through that platform.  As you run, a different Greek god will join you on each run and deliver messages, clues, and puzzles.  Once your run is complete, you can use what you've learned to tackle a final puzzle.  Found the answer?  Great!  Go back to the registration for the race and use the answer to "unlock" your next run.  And it starts all over again!  

The Blue Ridge Marathon 2021 - Join the Fun From VIRTUALLY Anywhere!

The Roanoke Star - Image www.runningonpixiedust.com 

My family has spent time traveling to the Roanoke area for years which is part of the reason I was so excited to have the opportunity to run the Blue Ridge Marathon weekend this year with my BibRave friends.  Roanoke is a gorgeous area filled with a small town feel, big city attractions, and gorgeous scenery.  But if running in the Blue Ridge Mountains sounds a bit intimidating, you'll be happy to know that this year runners can sign up for both in person AND virtual race options.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon 10K 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!

Whether you sign up to run in person or virtually, runners will have the option to choose between 10K, 13.1, 26.2, or the Double Marathon.  Yeah - you read that right.  There are people out there crazy enough to run two marathons. . .back-to-back. . .in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Race day is Saturday, April 17th so mark your calendars now!  Regardless of the race distance you choose, you can use my discount code BIBRAVE20 to save 20% off your registration.  

BUFF DryFlx+ Collection Review


If you live around the Mid-Atlantic, you know that our winter weather can shift between 60 degrees and 20 degrees. . .and sometimes that's in the span of just a few hours!  It's always good to be prepared for cold weather which is why I was excited to have the chance to try out the DryFlx+ Collection from BUFF!  

Disclaimer: I received BUFF DryFlx+ Collection pieces 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!

What a snazzy looking product, right?  I really liked the heathered design and it comes in several different color options.  The collection includes a headband, hat, neckwarmer, and more, which, in the year of COVID is extra beneficial because now I have a mask with me whenever I wear it!  From a fit perspective, the headband fit snugly, just as I would expect.  The neckwarmer features an ergonomic fit which is nice as it settles around your nose and down your neck.  They are comfortable, breathable, and easy to run in.  Sometimes as I'm running, I've gotten warm and pulled the neckwarmer off my nose and mouth which also works well!

Top 10 Posts of 2020



2020 was a crazy year - that goes without saying!  But, we had a lot of fun still here at Running on Pixie Dust and I'm excited to take a look back with you at my top 10 posts of the year.  From running to recipes, travel and family, there's a little something for everyone!

10.    Family Guide to Sesame Street Land at SeaWorld Orlando - Before COVID hit, we had the chance to visit Orlando in January and spent two days exploring SeaWorld with the kids.  This was the first time I had been to the park in 25 years and so much had changed.  We loved exploring Sesame Street Land with our boys!


9.    Holiday Gift Guide for Runners - I've been lucky this year to join the BibRave Pro Ambassador family and as such have had the chance to try out some amazing running gear.  I compiled a list of some of my favorites to share with you in a holiday gift guide which became a very popular post in Decemeber!

8.    Hersheypark Seasonal Events 2020 - If you've read my site over the past few years, you'll know that Hershey, PA is one of my favorite places to visit.  I was excited to share with my readers the awesome activities that took place in the fall and winter - Hersheypark in the Dark and Christmas Candylane.  These are annual favorites and we can't wait for next year to hopefully be back to normal so we can enjoy more time in the "Sweetest Place on Earth!"

Allstate Hot Chocolate Tampa 5K Virtual Race Recap - December 2020

Allstate Hot Chocolate Tampa Virtual 5K 2020

I've watched Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K races from the sidelines of social media for years, so when I had the chance to register and run in 2020 as a Bib Rave Pro Ambassador, I jumped at it!  What made it even sweeter was getting to "race" in one of my favorite travel destinations - Tampa.  Now, 2020 meant that in real life racing was limited to say the least so the Allstate Hot Chocolate races series went virtual.  While I wasn't going to be running in Tampa, I was excited to represent an awesome city and celebrate with some amazing swag.  Did the race day live up to my hype though?

You can find my preview of the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Tampa here!


Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Tampa 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!


Ready to run!


The weeks leading up to the race didn't quite go as planned from a training perspective.  I ended up with a toe injury about a month before the race and it sidelined me from just about everything working out related for about 2 weeks.  I wish it was an exciting story, but I simply stubbed my toe something fierce.  It was black, blue, and swollen to about twice it's size for a good couple of days before things started to improve.  I did get back to some light working out leading up to the race, but primarily was focused on my strength training and walking on the treadmill.

Vegan-ish: My Journey to a Plant-Powered Lifestyle

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao-Tzu


Not everything in 2020 has been awful.  This year has meant more time with family and more time for self-reflection.  I've spent time examining a lot in my life this year and making myself and my health a priority.  Probably the biggest change in my life this year has been when it comes to my physical health - specifically where diet is concerned.  As you can tell from the title of this post, I've switched up my diet and am living a Vegan-ish lifestyle.  So what is Vegan-ish and how did I get here?  Well, let me tell you.

The Trigger

I didn't start 2020 with any grand intentions to make a major lifestyle change.  In fact, I started it on a pretty amazing vacation - one week away including 2 days at SeaWorld, 5 days on the Disney Dream cruise ship, and then a final day at Kennedy Space Center.  Coming back from that vacation, I was excited to write about our experiences and share pictures. . .until I saw them.  I found myself drafting posts that hid me from many of the images because (once again) I was unhappy with where I was.  It wasn't the first time I've been in this situation, but I was determined to make it my last.  Right around President's Day I signed up for Weight Watchers and made a commitment to myself and my health that I wasn't going to sign up to lose 20 lbs.  No - I needed to do better this time.  The year was fresh and exciting and with so much promise ahead in 2020, what could stand in my way??

Holiday Season 2020: Best Gifts for Runners!

Holiday Gift Guide for Runners


Got a runner on your holiday shopping list?  Check out some of my favorite running gifts that will be sure to delight any runners this holiday season! 

Disclaimer:  I received most of these items below for free.  Some I won, others I received in exchange for review as a BibRave Pro.  

Virtual Race Entry - What better gift to give a runner than the gift of racing!  Virtual races are the norm right now and there are so many great choices out there.  Over the past few months I ran the Fargo Marathon 10K, DC Wonder Woman 10K, and the DC Batman 5K virtually as a BibRave Pro.  Coming up soon, I have the All-State Hot Chocolate 5K.  The Hot Chocolate races are a great option for runners with both a 15K and a 5K option as well as some pretty amazing swag.  These races are traditionally in person events and you can still support your favorite cities by signing up for that special race location and with race dates well into 2021, you can give your runner a chance to train!  Keep an eye out for some of your favorite in-person races that may also be offering virtual options.  At this time, there are still virtual spots available for runDisney's Marathon weekend events (I'd love to find that underneath my Christmas tree. . .wink, wink!) 

Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery - Product Review

Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery Product Review


Runners know the value of recovery as part of training, but one of the things that is sometimes overlooked is recovery nutrition.  When you're a busy, working mom like me, I want recovery nutrition that is fast, easy, and on-the-go.  I was excited when the opportunity came to review Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery supplement in both chocolate and strawberry flavors.  Does it check all of my boxes for a recovery supplement?

Disclaimer: I received SiS REGO Rapid Recovery 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!

About SiS REGO Rapid Recovery 

Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery is a nutritional supplement that simply dissolves in water and is easy to consume immediately following exercise to refuel your body.  As a vegetarian, I'm cautious about what I put in my body.  This product is vegetarian friendly and contains a blend of carbohydrates, protein, and electrolytes.  Those essential elements plus vitamins and minerals means that your body can get replenished quickly so you are ready for your next workout session.

Post Workout Drink w/ SiS REGO Rapid Recovery


The product comes in a variety of flavors including chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.  You can purchase a larger container and measure out your portion each time or buy ready to mix packets if you're on-the-go like me.  Either way, you can use the Science in Sport shaker bottle (or one that you already own!) to mix the proper amount of water with your rapid recovery mix and. . .voila!  But, now the most important question. . .

How does SiS REGO Rapid Recovery Taste?

I'm happy to report that I really enjoyed both of the flavors I've tried of Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery - the chocolate and strawberry.  I'm always a chocolate girl at heart so I would say that's my preference, but both were very pleasant.  If you find that you are getting some clumping in your drink from the powder, just make sure to give it a few extra shakes and you'll be good to go.  Another tip that I have is to add some ice.  I like my drinks nice and cold after a hard workout and found that this was a nice addition to my mix.

Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery is a great choice to refuel after a hard workout - whether you're running, weightlifting, kickboxing, cycling, or anything in between!  Give your body the nutrition it needs along with great taste!

Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual Run Tampa 15K/5K - Will Run For Chocolate!

Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual 15K/5K - Images from www.hotchocolate15k.com


Y'all know that I love to run for bling, but you also probably won't be surprised to know that I run for chocolate as well!  So when the chance came to run the Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual Run 15K/5K, I couldn't pass it up.  What better than a winter race with swag that is truly SWEET and a chance to connect with one of my favorite travel locations - the Tampa area - even if it's only virtually.  

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Tampa 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!

Why run the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K?

Were the words "hot chocolate" in the race title not enough for you?  OK, OK.  I get it.  It's virtual and you'll have to make your own hot chocolate.  Fair enough.  But there are several things that make this race a great choice for virtual runners.  My virtual race for the city of Tampa is on 12/20/20.  Since I'll be running in Maryland just a few days before Christmas, I'll certainly be embracing the hot chocolate theme as I bundle up to race.  Bundling up just got easier too - did you see the jacket?  With a removable hood, zipper pockets, and soft tech fabric it is certainly a piece of heavenly swag!  Then there's the chocolate.  Did you know you get chocolate in your virtual race kit?  Back in 2017 I ran the Hershey Half-Marathon Relay and remember being so excited about the chocolate stops on the course.  I may need to recreate those in this virtual race - just saying.  Finally, all participants will receive a medal as well.


Don't run alone! Check out my review of ROADiD Sidekick and why all runners - regardless of where you run - should have one!


And why run "in" Tampa?


Running the Tampa area - North Reddington Beach


One of the coolest things about the Hot Chocolate races in my opinion is the fact that you still connect with a city of your choosing - maybe it's the one nearest you where you'd likely be running the race in person or maybe you took a virtual running vacation.  The choice is yours!  You know that a large piece of my heart lives in Florida and the Tampa area has been a travel destination for our family on several occasions.  In the downtown Tampa area, I can close my eyes and imagine running along Tampa Bay - racing not only myself, but the dolphins swimming along the bay.  Then maybe I head over to the Port of Tampa where I can hop on a cruise ship like I did in 2017 when we sailed on the Carnival Paradise to Key West and Cuba.  Prefer beach running?  No worries - Tampa is only a short distance from some fabulous beaches along Florida's Gulf Coast.  We spent some time in Siesta Key Beach which is so laid back you can't help but unwind.  It's the perfect little beach town to enjoy while out for a run.  Our absolute favorite beach spot near Tampa though is North Reddington Beach.  When I run my virtual race in December on what will likely be a chilly Maryland morning, I'll no doubt be closing my eyes and picturing myself running along the Gulf Coast sands and then heading to John's Pass for a celebratory drink following the race!  


A post-race meal Florida style?  A girl can dream during COVID, right?



Ready to join the SWEET fun?

You can find all the details about registering for the Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual 15K/5K - Tampa by clicking here.  Is Tampa not calling to you?  No worries!  There are so many other cities and locations you can pick from when you visit their site and the swag is the same regardless of which race you sign up for.  I hope to see you sipping hot chocolate and rocking your swag in some finish line photos!  Who is ready to join me?

DC Wonder Woman 10K - Virtual Race Recap

DC Wonder Woman Virtual 10K


With virtual racing being the "norm" in 2020, I've really jumped on the bandwagon!  Prior to this year, I really didn't understand the interest in running a virtual race.  What I've come to learn though is that running a virtual race can be really rewarding when you bring the fun and treat the race day like a race day.  With that in mind, I approached my DC Wonder Woman 10K - although things didn't go quite as I thought they were going to go when I wrote my announcement post about this race.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the DC Wonder Woman Run 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!

Getting Ready for Race Day

My original plan for this race was to partner it up with the DC Batman 5K Virtual race and complete the Good v. Good Superhero Challenge in one weekend.  But, things don't alway go as planned.  October has thrown my a couple of curve balls that derailed some of my training and made my evenings and weekends busier than I expected.  Looking at my calendar with fresh eyes, I had to space the two races out to make them work for me. . .see, a great perk of virtual racing - flexibility!  I bumped the Wonder Woman 10K up a week which means my challenge didn't quite come together as I thought it would, but I was still excited to run.

Part of what made this race so much fun to prep for was the theme.  My regular readers know how much I love a good theme and Wonder Woman was fun to prep for.  Even in the swag kit, there were some fun wristbands that I could incorporate into my outfit.  Check out everything that comes in your swag package here!



To complete my look for the race, I lucked into finding a star-spangled tutu as I was walking through Wal-Mart on clearance for $2.50 - how lucky was that?!?  Then, in another stroke of luck, I won a pair of Pro Compression socks on a Twitter chat and decided to order the Americana ones that would go great with the outfit.  How do I look?





DC Wonder Woman 10K Virtual Recap


As I mentioned before, training for the race got a little derailed but I was still able to pull it together on race day.  I'm always a fan of Galloway's run/walk intervals when I run longer distances and this time I put them to work for me on the 10K as well.  I ran the race through the downtown area of my small town.  There are a number of hills that roll throughout town so rather than sticking to times for my intervals, I opted to run down the hills and walk up them.  I have a pre-measured loop around town that equals just about 2.5 miles so I did that twice and then added on an extra loop closer to my house to close the gap.  While I was passing the miles, I enjoyed listening to the latest BibRave podcast.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you can find all the details here





I finished the 10K in just over 1:24, showered up, and then proudly put on my Wonder Woman pullover and added my medal to my display of bling.  Want to learn more about the DC Wonder Woman run?  You can visit their website to join the fun for 2020 and keep an eye on what's to come in 2021!  

ROADiD Sidekick iD Review - Safety Gear for Runners



Mom always told me "safety first!" and my ROADiD Sidekick is a way to follow through on this mantra.  I was really excited when I had the opportunity to test this out and now I can share with you why I consider this a must-have item for runners, hikers, cyclists. . .and many more!

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

Ordering and Unboxing ROADiD Sidekick iD


Before I even laid eyes on my Sidekick, I was impressed with the quality of customer service from ROADiD.  ROADiD has several options on their website - all with the goal of providing safety information to emergency providers when people need it most.  The website was easy to navigate and I could easily figure out what size Sidekick iD to order (there are two sizes depending on the width of your watch band).  In case you don't know, the Sidekick iD attaches directly to your smart watch so you don't have to wear one more thing on your wrist and comes in two sizes to ensure it fits with your particular watch.  Check out my unboxing video below to see just how easy it is to attach - right out of the box!


Besides having a website that was easy to navigate, I received multiple emails from ROADiD confirming my order and updating me on the status of engraving and shipping - that's great customer service! 

ROADiD Sidekick iD Review


So what's it like running with ROADiD Sidekick iD?  It's like it's not even there!  The Sidekick attaches to your watch easily and effortlessly - you won't even realize you have it.  However, if you ever need the Sidekick iD it will be with you.  I included two emergency contacts on my Sidekick and there's additional space to note medical concerns if you have them.  I had an extra row of text available and opted to add a touch of my Disney loving personality by saying - "Running to Disney World!"  



At just $19.99 for the product which features customized engraving, the price is right for piece of mind on your runs.  If you don't own a smart watch or are looking for something a little different, they also have a Wrist iD available which is it's own separate bracelet to wear.  I prefer only wearing my smart watch, but after having experienced the quality and customer service of ROAD iD, I may be back online soon ordering Wrist iDs for my kids to wear when we travel - just in case we get separated.

There are also additional accessories to customize your ROAD iD product.  I purchased two badges - one that says "Believe" and another that says "Shut Up Legs" for a little motivational pop.  And I forgot to mention earlier that all of the platings for their products come in a variety of colors.  I opted for rose gold, but graphite and slate are options as well.  And during special seasons, you can also find additional colors.  For example, to begin October they are featuring pink products and a portion of those sales will go to support the American Cancer Society.

After having my ROAD iD Sidekick for just a few short weeks, I can't believe it took me this long to try it out.  This is a affordable and stylish product that can help runners, cyclists, hikers, and everyone feel safer while enjoying their active lifestyles.

Looking for some fun virtual races to enjoy with your ROAD iD? Check out the DC Wonder Woman Run Series and the DC Batman Run Series!

Purchase a ROAD iD Sidekick and Coupon Code!



Want to grab your own Sidekick iD or other ROAD iD product?  Visit their website at www.roadid.com to see all that they have to offer and be sure to use code SHIP4FREEBRP to score free shipping on your order.

DC Wonder Woman Run - The Good v. Good Superhero Challenge ACCEPTED

DC Wonder Woman Virtual Run Medal - Image from www.dcwonderwomanrun.com


Y'all know me - I'm always up for a good running challenge.  In the past I've conquered the Frederick Running Festival Nut Job Challenge, the Baltimore Running Festival Balti-moron-athon, and the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge just to name a few.  Race challenges typically mean running multiple races in one weekend, but can also mean running several partner races over an extended period - like in the Maryland Double Challenge or the King Crab Challenge.  

A few weeks ago, I signed up to run the DC Batman Virtual 5K and so when the opportunity presented itself for me to run the DC Wonder Woman Virtual Run as well - completing the Good v. Good Challenge - I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the DC Wonder Woman Run 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!

Check out the details about planning for a SUPER race with the DC Batman Virtual Run here!


The DC Virtual Wonder Woman Run has a lot in common with the DC Batman Run making them easy to go hand-in-hand with each other.  First, the superhero theming means that you can plan a fun challenge fit for the bravest of heroes.  Then there's the swag.  We've already established how amazing the Batman swag is and what you get with Wonder Woman is another fantastic race package!  Check it out!


I've decided to set this up like a true challenge event and will be running my DC Batman Virtual 5K and my DC Wonder Woman Virtual 10K on back-to-back days.  2 races, 9.3 miles of fun and heroic adventures!So what are you waiting for?  The clock is ticking to sign up for the this awesome race!  Whether you are running the 5K or the 10K, all runs must be completed by November 1st to download your finisher certificate.  Find all of the details about registering at www.dcwonderwomanrun.com.  Don't forget you can save on both this registration and the DC Batman Virtual Run by signing up for both and completing the Good v. Good Superhero Challenge along with me!

DC Batman VIRTUAL Run - 5 Ways to Have a SUPER Race!

DC Batman Run Swag - Image from www.dcbatmanrun.com


That bat signal in the sky is calling you!  Whether you live in Gotham City or Any Town, U.S.A., there's plenty to attract you to this fun, now virtual, running event.  Here's five ways to spice up your DC Batman Run so that you can have a SUPER time.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to DC Batman Run 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!

How to have a SUPER virtual race event!


1.    Don't forget to train - Virtual events can sometimes be easy to slack on the training when you don't have that in person date staring at you on the calendar.  Bruce Wayne knows that you have to work for your success and training for a virtual run is no different.  I recommend choosing a date and putting on the calendar - just like a real race.  For me, I'm running this event on Halloween morning.  What better way to celebrate the holiday than with a fun event!

2.    Run in costume - If you've followed my running adventures over the years, you know how much I LOVE a good theme race and running in costume.  Virtual runs often provide some super themes and the DC Batman Run is no different.  I mean, Batman has a cool costume, so why shouldn't you. . .right?  I'm working on assembling a costume that will both rep my orange as a BibRave Pro and celebrate the Caped Crusader himself.

Check out an oldie but goodie post on putting together fun running costumes that are still functional!


3.    Run with friends - Everyone knows running is better with friends.  What's Batman without Robin by his side?  In this time of social distancing, we want to be safe of course, but why not sign up for the race with a group of friends and each run your own course that day.  Maybe you can have a costume contest for the best outfit.  Friends make everything better!

4.    Make your own course - Setting up a virtual race means that you're creating your own course.  However, don't just worry about the distance - make it fun!  Create a start line.  Set up a finish tape.  See if friends and family can create some signs to support you.  Create that "real race" feel in a virtual setting!  Don't forget your bib!!

5.    Share the swag - OK, did you see the swag for the DC Batman Run at the top of this post?  Running virtual races doesn't mean you miss out on the sweet swag.  How about posing for some cool finish line photos with your medal?  Or lounging around after a hard race in your shirt?  Whatever you choose, share your photos and tag the race to connect with your fellow runners and community!




Join the Fun!!!


Ready to have a super race along with me?  Sign up now at www.dcbatmanrun.com and begin your training for either a 10K or 5K race.  The race can be completed anytime between 8/31/20 to 12/1/20 and you don't even have to board a plane to Gotham City.  If you're looking to add some additional purpose to your run, St. Jude's Children's Hospital is the official charity of the race and you can add a donation to your registration.  



Biking the GAP Trail with Kids

Cycling the Great Allegheny Passage - Finishing in Cumberland, MD

Cycling has become a big part of our family's lives during this pandemic.  Both of our boys (ages 5 and 8) learned how to ride a bike at the start of COVID and before long we were hitting up trails and racking up the miles.  They even convinced their old mom to get back on a bike for the first time since I was a kid!  We spent weekends cycling the York Heritage Rail Trail in PA, the C&O Canal in Maryland, and some local neighborhood trails.  My 8 year old became especially enamored with the sport and started challenging himself with longer and longer rides.  By July, he was ready to tackle a big challenge - riding all 150 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP Trail) with his dad over 5 days.  Since our vacation plans were cancelled this summer, we pivoted and decided to make it a family road trip.

If you're not familiar with the Great Allegheny Passage, it's a 150 mile trail from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD where it then connects to the C&O Canal.  Planning a trip like this, my husband and I mapped out segments they would ride each day - ranging from 18 to 44 miles depending on the day.  There are long stretches of this trail that do involve up hill grade so you'll want to check out the maps on the GAP Trail website for more details about where to expect those.  Despite the climb, the trail is incredibly well maintained so you won't be spending time or energy fighting poor conditions.

Biking the GAP Trail? See how to make the most of your time in Cumberland, MD!


We opted to stay in two different hotels over the 5 nights we were away.  We spent the first two nights in the Hilton Garden Inn in Uniontown, PA for the northern part of the trail and then moved to the Hampton Inn in Somerset, PA for the remaining three nights.  These locations kept travel reasonable to trail access points.  They also gave us the opportunity to visit some other cool areas in Western PA including Ohiopyle, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, Laurel Hills State Park, Flight 93 National Memorial and Fort Necessity Battlefield.  The day that Brody and Dan rode in Pittsburgh, my youngest and I visited the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.  Needless to say, there were plenty of outdoor activities to do keep us busy when the boys wrapped up their biking each day!  When you end in Cumberland, there is a ton to do including a great little restaurant in The Crabby Pig, a cycling shop, winery, and ice cream. . .all directly at the trail's end.

Staying in a hotel during COVID? Read more about our first COVID travel experience here!


To hear more about biking and the Great Allegheny Passage, check out what my son had to say about the experience!


Want to donate to the C&O Canal as part of Brody's 50 mile ride fundraiser? 



Cycling is a great way to get outside, burn some energy, and stay active - especially during this time of social distancing!  We look forward to highlighting more cycling destinations as we travel and sharing our adventures with you.  Happy riding!

Fargo Marathon - Join the Fun. . .Virtually!!!

Fargo Marathon Logo - Image from Fargo Marathon

Like many other races recently, the Fargo Marathon has made the decision to go virtual for 2020.  While I know COVID has put race directors to the test, one of the benefits of so many races going virtual is that more people have a chance to participate.  Living in Maryland, my participating in the Fargo Marathon would be an unlikely occurrence, but now that I can run virtually from the comfort of my own streets, I'm excited to share that I'll be running it this year!

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Fargo Marathon 10K 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!

So why Fargo when there are so many other races out there?  Well, let's look at a few awesome things about this race:
  • Variety - It's the spice of life, right?  And they have a race distance for everyone - 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon.  The 10K is my favorite race distance and it doesn't get enough love in my opinion so I was thrilled to find 6.2 miles of fun waiting for me on this registration page.
  • The Swag - You can run the Fargo Marathon without compromising any of the awesome swag runners love!  Runners at each distance will receive a finisher's medal and a shirt.  5K runners get a short sleeve tech tee, 10K runners receive a long sleeve tech tee, and half and full runners get a sweatshirt AND jacket.  That's pretty great!
Fargo Marathon Virtual Swag - Image from Fargo Marathon
  • Give Back - In 2010, the Fargo Marathon established it's Shoes for Kids campaign to help get shoes to kids in need.  You can add a donation to your registration to help this important charity.
Ready to sign up?  You can register by visiting their website here.  Don't forget to use the discount code "SAVE5" to take $5 off your registration!




Hope to see you sharing all of your fun on social media.  Drop a comment below if you register so that we can cheer each other on while training and racing.  One of my favorite things about the online running community is the support for each other - let's keep that going!  

A New Adventure Awaits - I'm Officially A BibRave Pro!

Running and fitness activities have been a big part of my life for a long time.  Even with my yo-yo weight loss and gains throughout the past decade, running has been there every step of the way. . .literally.  Over the 6 years I've been here at Running on Pixie Dust, I've written about my races, running products, and training.  I mean, y'all know my love of runDisney, right?!?



So what's BibRave?  I found the BibRave community on Twitter a few years ago and began participating frequently in their Twitter chats to share ideas and swap stories with fellow runners.  I even was lucky enough to win a sweet prize during a Twitter chat in 2019 - a pair of AfterShokz Aeropex headphones!  But BibRave is more than a social media community.  When you visit the BibRave website, you find an amazing wealth of running knowledge in reviewed races, a podcast, gear, and a community of runners.  I mean, the running community at BibRave is strong!  They can help you find answers to just about any running question and with runners all over the country, you can find reviews on some pretty great local races too.  

Like I said, I've been a BibRave fangirl for a while now and I have applied a few times in the past for the BibRave Pro program, so imagine my excitement when the email finally came that I was selected for the program for the second half of 2020!  This means that I'll be able to share even more running and fitness content with you - here on the blog and across my social channels - so make sure you are following along for the journey!  COVID has cancelled a lot of things, but not running.  Races may look a bit different right now with more virtual options opening up as races adapt to this crazy time and place known as The Twilight Zone. . .I mean 2020. . .but we're learning to adapt to that together.  I'll also have the opportunity to share with you reviews of some fitness products - many of which both runners and non-runners will enjoy!  

BibRave Pro Ready - Let's Do This!! 


So, stay tuned for more to come along the BibRave journey.  I couldn't be more pumped to be a part of this team and am excited to share each mile of the adventure with you!  Happy Trails!

Looking for BibRave on social media?  You can follow them @bibrave and be sure to follow the #bibchat and #bibravepro hashtags!

AfterShokz Aeropex Running Headphones Review

Aeropex AfterShokz Headphones

Do you ever feel like you get incredibly lucky from time to time?  Well, one night back in December, I was participating in a Twitter chat and at the end of the chat found out I had won a pair of AfterShokz Aeropex headphones.  I was so excited!  For years, I've heard about the quality and wearability of these popular headphones, but I hadn't had the chance to try them.  When they arrived, I had to celebrate with an unboxing. . .

Castaway Cay 5K - What to know before your run!

We're fresh off our latest Disney Cruise Line vacation in January 2020 and during our sailing on the Disney Dream we made a stop at Disney's Castaway Cay - a private island paradise in the Bahamas!  This island has it all. . .sun, sand, crystal clear water, food, a kids club, and much more.  But running friends will be happy to know that there is a FREE, yes you read that right, FREE 5K run available on every stop at Disney's Castaway Cay.  This was my second time participating in the run, but while many things remained the same, a few have changed and it's important to note what you need to know before you run.

It's a fun run, not a race - If you're a regular reader here, you know my deep love of runDisney races.  Alas, this is not considered a runDisney race.  In fact, it's considered an "onboard activity" for cruise guests.  When you are planning all of your cruise activities on the Disney Cruise Line website you can "register" for the race.  Once on board, stop by guest services and pick up a waiver that will need to be completed before the race.  Or, you can walk up to the race start and get the waiver to fill out.  Trade your completed waiver for a bib and you are good to go.  The start is a simple "1, 2, 3. . .Go!" announcement and there is no chip timing - just a simple clock at the start finish area.  

But you do get a medal! - The other thing you probably know about me is that I care about the bling. . .deeply.  All finishers in this fun run will get a fun rubber medal.  Yes it's only rubber, but it has a cute ribbon and a fun design to commemorate your accomplishment.  I mean, you ran on a cruise vacation while most people on cruises only run to the buffet line!  Wear it proudly and be sure to stop by and see the characters around the island after your run for some pictures showing off your bling.

Getting off the ship - So this was a change from the last time I ran this particular event and the guest services staff told me it started just a few months ago.  In the past, runners would receive a "shore excursion" ticket the night before and meet in a specified lounge around 7:45.  As soon as the ship was cleared, the runners disembarked first together as a group to take the nearly 10 minute walk to the start line.  That's in the past now.  Runners just meet up at the start line which means that you have to join the pack of people exiting the ship when it's cleared at 8:30 and make your way very quickly to the starting point near the bike rentals.  I have to say, I was not a fan of this change. . .even if I got to sleep in an extra 30 minutes!

This run is for everyone - You will find serious runners here who go all out and others who are 100% walkers just looking to stretch their legs with some exercise and take home a unique cruise souvenir.  I know sometimes we all find ourselves being self-conscious with our abilities, but don't be nervous about joining this fun run.  The course is a super simple out and back and the island terrain means you will encounter no elevation change whatsoever.

Speaking of the island - Regardless of what time of year you run, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Even with an 8:50AM start time, you are running on an island. . .in the Bahamas.  It's hot and oftentimes it humid.  The sun is intense most days too.  Even the walkers in this event want to take hydration very seriously.  Think about it in the days leading up and drink plenty of water on board.  Along the course of the fun run, you pass a water aid station 4 times - take advantage of it!  I saw a lot of people stretching out cramps along the way.

The Castaway Cay 5K is truly a family fun event that casual and serious runners will want to check out on your Disney Cruise Line vacation.  Kids as young as 10 may participate.  If you need a space to check-in younger children while you run, Disney has a kids club, Scuttle's Cove, on the island which is open as you make your way to the run.

You may also want to pack some extra money for the race apparel that you'll find at the finish line! There is a cute collection of hats, tanks, tees, and long sleeve shirts along with pins and much, much more to further commemorate your fun run on the island.  I picked up a Castaway Cay 5K hat to bring home as my cruise souvenir and something I can use on cold training days to remind me of the island vibes this run leaves you feeling!  Enjoy the scenery, the fun, and the bling. . .then enjoy the sun, sand, and drinks!


Baltimore Running Festival - Things to Know Before You Go!

I just wrapped up my third Baltimore Running Festival and it was less than a great showing from a performance standpoint.  I went into the weekend undertrained and well aware of that fact so I ran some and walked liberally to my 2nd slowest half-marathon time yet.  But, I finished and still had an amazing time - that's what's important!! So instead of making this the typical race recap post, I'm going to shed a little insight to things you should know about the Baltimore Running Festival in case you decide to run in the future!

Registration - Registration is easy and on the relatively inexpensive side if you do it early enough.  This race is organized by Corrigan Sports Enterprise (CSE), which organizes several other races around Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic.  When you register for the Baltimore Running Festival, you'll also see this race connected with several other.  You can register for the Maryland Double or the King Crab Challenge as well if you're interested in competing in multiple races during the course of the year.  For the Baltimore Running Festival, you can find a race distance regardless of your ability - 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Team Relay, and even the BaltiMORON-a-thon (running both the 5K and Half in the same day).  Thinking about registering?  Keep your eyes open during the holiday season as previous years have seen race discounts as deep as 25% for a 24-hour period during the holiday shopping season!!

Premiums & Bling - Each year the Baltimore Running Festival provides top notch premiums from one of our favorite Baltimore companies, Under Armour.  Runners for the 5K and Team Relay each receive short sleeved tech shirts, while half and full marathon participants get long sleeved tech shirts.  And then, there are the medals!  In recent years, the Baltimore Running Festival has celebrated Maryland's unofficial state symbol, the crab, with their designs.  As the final leg in the Maryland Double and the King Crab Challenge, you'll hear lots of runners walking around with "clanging" medals after the race.

Getting Around - In each of my three Baltimore Running Festivals, I've had different transportation experiences on race day.  My first year, I ran the 5K and was on the road into the city in the early morning hours.  Traffic was backed up and it took a while to get into the city, but there was ample parking at M&T Bank Stadium that was free.  Getting in and out of the city isn't super easy on race day with road closures though so plan with ample time on both sides of the race.  The second time I ran, my husband and I got a hotel room at the Hilton the night before.  This was the year I ran the BaltiMORON-a-thon and was a fabulous option.  We could sleep in a bit on Saturday morning, walk right out of our hotel just a few steps to the 5K start and had a warm place to hang out and relax between the 5K and the half.  This year, I was only doing the half and opted to take the Metro into the city.  This was a super easy and effective option.  If you know me at all, you know I despise city driving so I couldn't have been happier to park in Owings Mills and take the subway in from there.  This may not be a good choice for 5K or full marathon runners though depending on how early you need to get into the city and when the Metro begins it's service that morning - be sure to check the schedule!

The Course - Is it just me or does Baltimore get more hills every time I run there???  You will certainly find your fair share of hills throughout the course.  The fist half of the course trends uphill so be sure to train for them.  On the plus side, what goes up must come down, so the the back half of the course trends down hill.  One of the prettiest parts of the course is the run around Lake Montibello.  This is such a serene half-way mark on the course and features the best aid station - energy gels!  Well, maybe that's the second best aid station.  Who can forget about the munchkin mile presented by Dunkin' Donuts?!?  I usually pass on donuts during the race, but decided to stop and smell the sugar this year with any time goals being nonexistent anyway.

The Best of Baltimore - This may be my favorite part of this race.  Baltimore doesn't always get the best press, but this event brings out the best in the city!  First of all, the support from the police department and other first responders is top notch.  There were countless cops who not only worked to block intersections throughout the city to keep runners safe, but they also joined in on the cheering and the fun.  Neighborhoods came together to throw some of the absolute best block parties - from music screaming from speakers, to costumed dancers, to children giving high fives, and endless cheers and applause, it was certainly a sight to be seen and helped motivate everyone regardless of how fast you were running.

Despite the tough terrain, Baltimore is one of my favorite running events - for all of these reasons and much more!  I hope to see you in Charm City sometime soon!!