Is there a doctor in the house?

You can’t accomplish anything without the possibility of failure.

~Lazarus Lake – creator of the world’s most difficult ultramarathon

I’ve just spent the last 4 years in the very privileged position as a PhD student in Analytics and Data Science at Kennesaw State University. Today I “defended” my position in the field to earn the title “Dr.” A PhD program is very much like an ultramarathon; there are moments where you feel badass, moments where you have no idea why you’re doing what you’re doing, and many existential crises in between. Just like an ultramarathon, even though you have to put your own feet one in front of the other to get the finish line, the journey is often not possible without incredible support. I’ve had so many amazing family and friends act as my PhD ultramarathon crew over the last few years, I knew it would not be possible to thank them all during the public defense presentation. For that reason I’m including the full text of my dissertation acknowledgements here. Even then, I know I must have missed some folks. Please know, if you’ve patiently remained in my life these last 4 years, or became my friend during that time and actually like me still, then you are so loved and appreciated.

Here is where I get to use my own voice and time to thank the incredible people in my life, hopefully without the band playing me off the stage. That also means I have no excuse if I accidentally leave someone out, but it will probably still happen so apologies in advance. First and foremost, a PhD is not a solo adventure and my husband, Adam, knows that more than anyone. He walked this path with me for the past 4 years, and took the brunt of the highs and lows, stress, mood swings, and every other emotion that comes with self-imposed academic masochism. He took it all like a champ; there is no one else in my world who lifts me up more than he does, and I’m forever grateful for the best partner in an incredible adventure.

My mom and dad, Tim and Sheryl Moore, always joke that they do not know how two ‘C’ students created an ‘A’, but 23 years of cumulative education and too many degrees later, here we are. My parents did not always understand what made me tick, but they are masters at supporting whatever each of their unique kids needed or wanted in life. From putting me on a plane by myself at age 10 to go to Space Camp to traveling all over the country for robotics competitions, they made sure my brother and I never missed an opportunity. When they moved me 1000 miles away from home to Atlanta when I was 18 for college, I did not fully understand the difficulty and sacrifice of that transition at that time. It is an amazing testament to their faith in me and my ability to face challenges (which I had yet to recognize in myself), although I am not sure they realized I would still be here 17 years later. I grew up on Long Island but my parents now live in the great state of New Hampshire. Whenever people ask me where I am from, I almost always respond, “New Hampshire”, because home will always be wherever I find my mommy and daddy.

My “baby” brother, Dan, is one of my biggest supporters even though he also thinks I am a huge nerd. It only took 35 years, but I finally felt cool after I started doing some sports analytics and Dan was finally interested in my nerdiness. I knew I had made it in life when I was able to call my brother for sports stats advice. Now I just need to get a job with the Yankees and I will officially be the best sister ever. I am working on it Dan. 🙂

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Jenn and Brandon, are the family everyone else wishes they could marry into. The time and adventures we get to enjoy together have brought so much joy to my life. Now that I have finally reached the end of this academic journey I really hope there are many more adventures to come, hopefully with me being less of an anxiety-filled mess. Thank you for your enduring love and patience.

I think the two biggest supporters of the Jessica Rudd fanclub will always be my grandparents, Marvin and Sandy Udasin (in blessed memory). Granna and Grandpop always seemed so excited seeing the personal and, particularly, academic achievements of their grandchildren. Granna was an exceptionally happy, caring person who taught me how to make the best matzoh ball soup and latkes. When I was scared during a thunderstorm, she would just tell me it was the sound of god bowling. She was a very talented afghan knitter; whenever I was having a particularly bad day trying to write this beast of a dissertation, I would sit at my desk wrapped in one of her many cozy creations. It was always like getting a hug. She left us last fall but the last time I saw her I was able to tell her that I would be the first doctor in the family very soon. Whenever I hear thunder now, I just think she must be bowling. Granpop used to joke with me when I told him I got 100 on a test, “well, why didn’t you get any extra credit?” He was always very proud to share that he “graduated last at Brooklyn Tech”. He was a Navy veteran and very proud American, and one of his ways of sharing that was to hand out state quarters to all the kids. It was his way of giving back and making sure no one left his house without change in their pocket. I have a roll of Georgia State quarters sitting on my desk that I meant to hand out at my defense as a way of honoring his memory and giving something back to an incredible community who has supported me through this process. I can no longer do that in a virtual defense but will hold on to them for a time when we can all meet in person again. If you are reading this, you definitely deserve a quarter. This whole dissertation is dedicated in honor of Granna and Grandpop, and the many other family members who are no longer with us including grandfather Richard, grandmother Agnes, Uncle Rich, Aunt Jan, and my father-in-law Hollis Rudd.

I am also incredibly grateful to an amazing family of friends, most of whom are from the Atlanta running and cycling community. The Atlanta Track Club community has given me mental and physical strength, much laughter, and a little bit of insanity required to take on literal marathons as well as the metaphorical marathon that is a PhD. In my application letter to the program, I suggested that completing a PhD would be like completing a marathon or ultramarathon. I was not wrong. Very special credit is due to my fun size wonder twin, Tina, who is an incredible cheerleader, and always supported this PhD process in the best possible way; with a never-ending supply of mimosas. Stephanie and Amy round out the Charlie’s Angels girl-gang that every woman deserves. Carol Gsell invited me on the best Boston Marathon weekend of all time and deserves rock star status for editing this entire dissertation on last minute notice in less than 2 days. To Michael and Brad who are always up for a Backstreet Boys concert or a trip to Six Flags. There are really so many other people I am so lucky to have in my life, I would list them all if I didn’t think it would jeopardize my ability to actually graduate this year. If you are my friend from Atlanta Track Club, Bike Ride Across Georgia, or BibRave you are on the list. I owe you all a party like it’s 1999 as soon as quarantine possible.

To the three incredible mentors who wrote my recommendations for entrance into this program. My biostatistics professor from Rollins School of Public Health, Paul Weiss, helped spark my love of statistics and analytics in general. His mantra, “there are people in p-values” perhaps started the obsession that resulted in this dissertation. My team lead in CDC Division of Viral Diseases, Aaron Curns, told me that he hired me to be a “Jane of all trades” and then gave me the space in my career to do just that. Atlanta Track Club coach and 2018 Olympian Amy Begley (the same Amy in the aforementioned Charlie’s Angels girl gang), gave me the confidence to think of myself as an athlete and inspired me through her own perseverance on the road to the Olympics. I am honored to have her as a friend; this PhD is my own Olympics.

Of course, a PhD journey is not possible without an academic family. I am incredibly thankful to have an all-star committee of Dr. Gene Ray, Dr. Jennifer Priestley, and Dr. Lin Li. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Li on a really fun “data for good” project for Bert’s Big Adventure in 2018 and was very happy she was excited to join my dissertation committee. Her unique insight, especially after my proposal presentation, was very helpful for formulating a well-connected research problem.

I am pretty sure that Dr. Ray became my committee chair through a long series of begging and no shortage of tears, but he deserves now a long series of thanks for his invaluable input, time, and constant encouragement. One of the most difficult parts of academic research, in my opinion, is learning how to feel confident in your knowledge and ideas. Dr. Ray through his many roles as professor, adviser, dissertation chair, and a simply friendly ear when I needed it, taught me how to “make it my own” and find my academic voice. I kicked and screamed the whole way but, by the end, I can say I enjoyed it because I ended up part of an awesome academic lineage.

Dr. Jennifer Priestley, Mother of Dragons, is the most influential academic and professional cheerleader I have ever had in my life. I would not be in this program at all had it not been for her belief in my ability to succeed in a program I was, on paper, not qualified to attend. Dr. Priestley works hard to make sure the Analytics and Data Science students have as many academic and professional opportunities as possible, and I benefited from so many of them. She wrote me countless recommendations whenever I asked, and never said no to something I was interested in pursuing. I am most thankful for her determination to make the PhD program full of talented women, as well as her ability to encourage the best work from people. I still don’t think I can beat her at Galaga but, no, I’m not whinging and my heart is definitely not troubled.

There are many other faculty and staff connected with the Analytics and Data Science Institute who have been incredible resources to me over the past 4 years. In particular, Dr. Sherrill Hayes has been my fellow social sciences warrior in the Institute, and provided key encouragement for finding my own way with a dissertation topic I felt very strongly pursuing. His insights helped me articulate and connect my passions for both social science and data science. I am also immensely grateful for the many hours he allowed me to use his office during my moments of existential crises, as well as many discussions of all things nerd-related. Cara Reeve is an indispensable resource for every student and faculty within our program; I am confident we would all be quite useless without her. Dr. DeMaio, Dr. Westlund, Dr. Yang, Dr. Xie, Dr. Moazzez, Dr. Ni, Dr. Ferguson, Dr. Chowdhury, Dr. Laval, and Mr. Michael Frankel have all had incredible influence on my academic and professional development while at KSU and I would not have made it to the finish line without any one of them.

Finally, a PhD is truly not possible without the support and teamwork of awesome classmates. My fellow Cohort 2 classmates Yiyun Zhou, Lili Zhang, Yan Wang, and Shashank Hebbar are perhaps the best team of people with whom I will ever work. My “mei mei” (little sisters) Lili and Yan, are the most brilliant women I know and never had a shortage of kindness or patience whenever I needed it the most. When I entered the program with barely enough mathematics background to survive, Bob Vanderheyden and Bogdan Gadidov provided an endless supply of notes and explanations, and Bob was always the best classroom partner. Lauren Staples is the classmate and friend every female academic deserves. Sanjoosh Akkineni often drove me crazy, but he always knows how to throw a birthday party. To all of the current and future cohorts of students: “The pursuit of a PhD is an enduring daring adventure (Lailah Gifty Akita).” I’m glad we took this adventure together.

Just call me Dr. Fun Size Data Science Unicorn!

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BibRave Product Review: Summer Runnin’ Lovin’ with Buff Pack Run Cap

Disclaimer: I received a Buff Pack Run Cap 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!”

As you may already know I’m obsessed with Buff ® products. I have a dedicated drawer for my many styles of Buff multifunctional headwear, my friends joke that Buff is part of the ‘Jessica Rudd uniform’, and I have 7 previous Buff product reviews on this blog. It’s not surprising then that I was excited to add a new (to me) style Buff product to my drawer.

The Pack Run Cap is described as “Ultralight and ultra smart…built to go the distance.” I normally wear visors or Buff multifunctional headwear when running instead of a full cap but decided this was a good opportunity to give running hats another shot. I was immediately impressed as soon as opening the package to find the hat has a “barely there” weight to it and crushes down to smaller than a palm size. I already knew this would come in handy for travel (whenever we get to travel again), as well as easily stored in a pack during during ultradistance events. From the Buff website, the many amazing features of this small yet mighty product are clear:

  • Exceptionally lightweight, weighs only one ounce
  • Packable design with crushable brim that regains its shape for reliable sun protection
  • 4-way stretch fabric for comfort
  • Upper panel provides UPF 50 protection*
  • Fastwick fabric side panels wicks away moisture and improves breathability
  • Low profile sweatband keeps perspiration out of eyes
  • Adjustable elastic cord at back for a secure fit
  • Reflective tab on back, logo on front add low-light visibility

I have used the hat on several training runs and, most notably, two long distance events with sunny, 90+ degree, high humidity conditions. The super light design keeps the sun out of my eyes without trapping heat on my head. One nice advantage of wearing a hat instead of a visor is the ability to hold ice on my head as well, something that was REALLY NICE while running loops around a track for 6 hours at Merrill’s Mile a couple weekends ago. One of the best features for me, considering I have a ton of hair, is the super simple adjustable elastic cord, which allowed for quick adjustments regardless of whether I have my hair in a bun or ponytail.

Finally, this hat will always have a special place in my heart now because I was wearing it yesterday when I podiumed for the first time ever in a race! 2nd place female, 4th overall at the Run The ATL 20-ish mile adventure race around Atlanta. Bonus points for the fact that it fit easily under my helmet for the bike ride to the start of the race. 😀

If you’re interested in getting the Buff Pack Run Cap, or any other amazing Buff products for that matter, sign up for their newsletter at https://buffusa.com/bibrave for 15% off!

Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say about the Pack Run Cap:

Lisha | Mike | Stephanie | Kim | Kelly | Becky |Michelle | Sarah | Riley |

Posted in Discounts!, Product Reviews | 2 Comments

(Virtual) Runner Woman Wonder Woman

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Atlanta DC Wonder Woman Run (now virtual race) 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!”

So, the last time I was on here was the end of March when we were about 3 weeks into quarantine and I talked about the FitnessBank Des Linden Spring Step Challenge as one of the many virtual challenges that I’m using to keep motivated. Well, we’re now through week 8 so time to chat about part 2 of social distance training, running, virtual challenges, and more.

I’m going to be 100% honest here: what I’m now calling “The Great Pause” has actually been pretty beneficial to me in many ways. My husband and I feel very privileged that we have steady income (I’m actually paid to be a student, which is a privilege in itself, regardless of COVID19), we’ve enjoyed our extra time together (truly!), we’ve spent a ton of time cooking, riding bikes, watching movies, catching up on tv (Yes, we’re finally watching Ozark), we’ve saved money, and I’m pretty sure I’m in the best shape of my life and still going. We don’t have children so, outside of work and our general well-being, we don’t have any other responsibilities. We’re using this time to the best of our abilities, completely realizing how lucky we are and we can’t waste it. I truly believe that the lack of distractions (what else are we gonna do?), has enabled me to nearly finish my dissertation and maintain a running/fitness streak where I’ve run for 55 days in a row and often do 2-3 workouts a day.

When you have a choice between just being a regular roadie or a unicorn, ALWAYS be the unicorn!

That’s not to say that everything is 100% perfect, rainbows and unicorns. I’m about to finish a degree that was supposed to offer me more opportunities (and more compensation), but the offers that I had in the works have been delayed indefinitely or dried up completely. The anxiety of being so close to the end and not knowing where or when I’m going to land has definitely kept me up at night. On that same topic, in the last couple weeks I have realized how close I am to the light at the end of the PhD tunnel. I should be over the moon. Instead, every time I get a little excited, the bittersweet reality of it all sets in and it’s difficult not to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. I had built up the PhD endgame I’ve worked so hard for, so much in my head: visualized the people in the room at my dissertation defense, imagined what it will be like to get my Doctoral hood at graduation from my advisor, planned what I want to do after defense and/or graduation (Porsche track driving experience followed by dinner at Porsche headquarters), thought about the epic party I want to have for all my friends who supported me with open hearts and vast amounts of patience for the past 4 years, and, of course, dreamed about so much more. None of this will be happening. My defense will happen behind a computer screen, no PhD hooding ceremony, no party, no celebration. Yes, it’s 100% all first world problems. Hardly problems at all in the grand scheme of things. However, we’re all entitled to our own experience of the world and I’ve allowed myself just a bit of sadness about all of it. It’s ok to not be ok. Plus, my dear friend Stephanie said the other day, “we’re all experiencing this differently, but we’re all in the same storm.” For me, sometimes bouncing on the waves in a choppy sea is fun; sometimes it makes me want to vomit and crawl in a ball.

Can’t wait to lace up for this next Saturday, whether alone or with a small (socially distant) group.

Where does this bring me back to then? Many of the events and things we were expecting are canceled, postponed, or indefinitely delayed. However, the greatness in this Great Pause, for me, has been found in the joyful things that aren’t canceled. Running isn’t canceled. Races and group runs in person may not happen for a while, but the surge of virtual activities has given me (and many people new to the sport) motivation to find joy in my runs every day. I’ve run a virtual ultra challenge, a virtual team race across the states, a virtual half ironman, currently running a virtual 1000k across TN, a group effort run around the world, and a weekly challenge that’s added variety to my daily runs around the same neighborhood routes (like running a route shaped like a unicorn). Next Saturday, May 16, was supposed to be the Atlanta DC Wonder Woman Run. Nearly every runner I know in Atlanta was planning to be there. It’s obviously been canceled and turned into a virtual race. We received all our awesome race swag last week and some of us our still holding out hope that we may be able to gather and run it together (in a socially distant way) next Saturday on the original race day. I may still be on my own. But, when you think about it, all of these virtual challenges/races/events, etc. mean we’re never truly running alone. Next Saturday, whether in my own neighborhood or with a small group of friends, I’ll still put on my Wonder Woman running gear and know that many others are doing the same. What’s more joyful than that really?

Peace, Love, and Many Miles,

Jessica “Fun Size”

Posted in Race Reports, Training | Leave a comment

Go the Social Distance with Virtual Races and Challenges!

Disclaimer: I received an Amazon gift card 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!

Well, it’s the last day of March and you’ve probably already been in some form of quarantine/social distancing/stay at home order for 2-3 weeks now. Let’s face it folks, the next time you go outside (with friends) …

#SorryNotSorry

Before you start piling pillows up to create a padded room in your home office, know that this challenging time has actually opened up some amazing opportunities for health and fitness challenges (for newbies and veterans alike)! Finding a new normal of wake-up, eat breakfast, work, eat lunch, work, eat dinner, go to bed, repeat has actually resulted in even more consistent workout sessions, a run streak, and more! Here’s how I’m keeping motivated through virtual challenges, training, races, and more…

FitnessBank Des Linden Spring Step Challenge

Fitness Bank (a cool online banking option where your steps gain you competitive savings account interest rates) has teamed up with Des Linden for an awesome step challenge during the months of April and May. Initially, the challenge was meant to be a an opportunity for folks to track their steps along with Des as she trained for the Boston Marathon. While Coronavirus has caused many of us, Des included, to switch training gears due to canceled races (Boston is postponed until Fall), running for our lives has taken on a whole new challenge and meaning. Des herself definitely said it best…

So, grab your garmin/fitbit/phone app/pedometer and start tracking steps around your living room, backyard, around the block, on the treadmill…whatever steps are allowable and socially distant. There’s definitely cool prizes on the line too! P.S. You do not have to sign up for a Fitness Bank account to join in the fun. Here’s how to get started:

  • Enter now through April 30th!⠀
  • Download the Fitness Bank app. It is FREE and you don’t need to open a Fitness Savings Account to join.⠀
  • Sync your tracker. Steps are pulled directly from Fitbit, Garmin, AppleHealth, etc.
  • Join Des’ Running Group on the app, which can be found under FitnessBank Groups on your home screen!
  • Join the Step Challenge on or after April 1st.⠀
  • There will be AWESOME prizes for participants, including posters signed by @des_linden , @brooksrunning shoes and a grand prize of FREE RACING FOR A YEAR. See terms and conditions on the website.

There are 2 different ways to win prizes!

Compete To Win THE KICK A$$ WAY.  Competitive Athletes who top the leaderboard can earn awards:

  • 1st Place Male & Female
    • 1 pair of Brooks Running Shoes
    • 100,000 Bonus Steps
    • Medal
  • 2nd Place Male & Female
    • 1 Pair of Brooks Running Shoes
    • 50,000 Bonus Steps
    • Medal
  • 3rd Place Male & Female
    • 1 Pair of Brooks Running Shoes
    • 25,000 Bonus Steps
    • Medal
  • Top 50 on the Leaderboard
    • Earn a signed poster from Des
    • 1,000 Bonus Steps

Participate To WinTHE KEEP SHOWING UP WAY.  All participants have a chance to win prizes:

  • 5 Participants will win:
    • A signed poster from Des
    • 1 Pair of Brooks Running Shoes
    • 25,000 Bonus Steps
    • Fitness Bank Prize Pack
  • 1 Grand Prize Winner (1 of the 5 participation winners) will win:
    • Free year of racing for 2 (one race a month of 2 people, of any distance, up to $150 max-entry fee) – reimbursed via deposits in your Fitness Savings Account)
    • An additional 50,000 Bonus Steps

Considering ALL the postponed and new races I’m gonna be itching to get done after we finally make it out of quarantine, that GRAND PRIZE is something else!!! if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what else is! In the leadup to this challenge I’ve been easily making my goal of over 10,000 steps per day so I’ve increased my goal to 12,500 steps per day! Let’s do this and Social Distance our way to some epic step goals. Download the Fitness Bank app and virtually join me! Remember, please follow any safety guidelines and/or restrictions for your state or community! No group activities, unless it is with your immediate family that you live with!

Check out some of my fellow BibRave Pros thoughts on the Fitness Bank Des Spring Step Challenge and how they are staying motivated below!

Amy | Samantha | Stephanie | Karen | Mike | Danielle | Sarah | Ken |

What goals are you setting for yourself during social distancing/quarantine/stay at home? What tools/tricks are you using to achieve those goals during this complicated time? Let me know in the comments below or on social! Stay safe out their and may you enjoy many happy, healthy miles ahead!

Much LOVE ~ Jessica ‘Fun Size’

Posted in Training | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BibRave Product Review: Handfuls of Chafe-Free Fun with Handful Closer Sports Bra!

Disclaimer: I received a Handful The Closer bra 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!

Just a bit obsessed…

I first found and fell in love with Handful when the BibRave Pros met the owners and tested the Y-back as part of our trip to The Running Event in December 2018. Check out my previous reviews of the Y-Back bra and Squeeze Play leggings, as well as my first test of the Closer Bra. Both bras are the only ones I’ve ever owned that DON’T CHAFE! Since then I have replaced nearly all of my bras with Handful products, using the Y-back for daily wear and low impact activities (yoga, cycling, a short run here and there), and the Closer Bra for high impact (running, crossfit). I keep ONE traditional underwire bra for dresses and blouses. I also have several pairs of the Squeeze Play leggings now. In fact, I ran in the long leggings this morning, washing them now, and will wear them back out to the Atlanta United home opener because they’re slimming and really cute. All in one awesomeness!

Y-back and squeeze play sexiness!

My favorite aspect of both the Closer and the Y-back is that they both look great; no more crushing down the ta-tas in a uniboob! I get all the comfort and coverage I need, while still looking awesome. This also means that I can transition from work to fitness in the same bras because they look good under everything.

Chasing PRs in the Closer bra!

The Closer Bra has been updated a bit since I had my first one back in 2018. The front zip, high impact sports bra seems to have a lighter, more comfortable mesh backing, and double front hooks instead of just one. The result is a more breathable, comfortable, and tougher/higher quality product that still has an easy-on, easy-off front zip design. The double hooks in front actually allow me to do a quick change in my car without any unfortunate nip-slips for any passer-by.

According to their site, the Closer Bra has:

Zip front styling, high impact support

– Removable Lights Out™ Pads
– Front zip for easy on/off
– Breathable and supportive stretch mesh panels
– Smooth, non-chafing, quick-dry fabric
– Adjustable length straps for custom fit
– Soft, moisture-wicking COOLMAX® lining

Finally, Handful as a company is incredible and goes above and beyond supporting breast cancer survivors. They’re amazing programs include:

  • 12.5% for 12.5% – 12.5% of revenue from our Battle Cry Pink bras year round to YSC® (Young Survival Coalition) in recognition of the 1 in 8 women (12.5%) who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Breast Friends Program – From diagnosis through treatment and beyond, breast cancer survivors are eligible for a lifetime 30% discount on all Handful® bras and activewear.
  • Free pads for life – For any woman who loses a breast to cancer, they provide FREE pad sets that can be stacked and used as prosthetics in any pocketed Handful® bra.

What’s not to like? Grab life by the handful and get yours now using code BIBRAVE20 for 20% off an entire order.

Are you a Handful devotee? Chime in below in the comments. Still debating making the switch? Feel free to post questions in comments or PM on social.

Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say about Handful Bras:

Mai | Vanessa | Stephanie |

Give Handful some social media love here:

Website Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest |

Give BibRave some social media love here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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2020: Say ‘NO!’ to Resolutions and ‘YES!’ to Motivations!

So yeah, I wanted to wait a few weeks into the new year to get my bearings and let everyone else blab about their resolutions before I came out with my 2020 plans and motivations. 2019 was difficult but 2020 is exciting and full of change. Check it out below and here’s just a preview of plans for the year:

  • Finish PhD –> Dr. Rudd, I presume??
  • Start new job –> interviews underway. Where in the world will Jessica Rudd be??
  • Try some new bike events as member of Sorella Cycling race team –> try some Gran Fondos, timed mountain bike races, and more cyclocross in the fall?
  • Yeti 100 –> Second time around with an A goal of sub-24hours
  • NYC Marathon –> It’s the 50th running of the race and I’m planning for an epic NYC weekend!
  • So much more…
Screw resolutions! Say YES to motivations!

What are your 2020 motivations? Comment below or hit me up on social so we can support each other!

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BibRave Race Review: Feeling Ohana at the Honolulu Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

It’s been 2 weeks since an amazing marathon weekend in Honolulu and 1 week since we finished our awesome adventures on the Hawaiian islands, and my brain is still somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The fact that it’s been 40s and raining nearly non-stop since we returned to ATL really doesn’t help much either. I never thought I’d be able to cross a Hawaii marathon off my list so early in the 50 states marathon game but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take this adventure at this time. If you’re thinking about doing this race, or visiting Hawaii in general, then do it! The time and cost involved may seem overwhelming, but I saved money throughout the year using an Acorns account and paid for flights and many of the excursions as I was able. Anything is possible. The marathon itself is the 3rd largest in the US but has a very local community feel to it. If you want all the amenities of a large race but enjoy running through neighborhoods with people camped out in lawn chairs on their lawns, then Honolulu Marathon is certainly worth the journey. For a full, extensive review of the race, check out my review on BibRave. Here’s my Honolulu Marathon Top 10:

  • International feel without needing a passport
  • Over 200 hotels in a 1 mile radius of Waikiki so plenty of housing options near the start shuttles and race finish
  • 5am start time is perfect for those of us still fighting jet lag (it’s 10 am east coast time!)
  • Fireworks! They’re not playing around; 20+ minute firework extravaganza at the start
  • Shuttles to the start are really easy
  • Merrie Mile: get a little shakeout run on Saturday and then enjoy watching elite runners blow away the out and back course along the famed Waikiki Beach Kalakau Ave. (The winner finished in 3 minutes 53 seconds!)
  • Shell necklaces: the medals for all races are quite nice but I was most excited about receiving a long shell necklace at the marathon finish
  • Malasadas! A Portuguese-style fried donut common in Hawaii. They have a whole kitchen setup at the finish making fresh malasadas for all finishers. YUM!
  • Cold showers: seems obvious, but yes, Honolulu is HOT and starting at 5am doesn’t actually improve the situation all that much. Right after you cross the finish line, there’s a bank of shower heads for an amazingly refreshing cool down. Also, the finish line is a 5 minute walk from the beach, so a post-marathon Pacific Ocean dunk is a must-do.
  • Sunrise over Diamond Head: the advantage of starting at 5am means that, depending on your pace, you’ll be climbing around Diamond Head just as the sun rises. There’s not many things in this world better than a Pacific Ocean sunrise.

Finally, thanks so much to the race director for sending this epic pic to Team BibRave.

Always remember to hydrate!

What’s the most epic race-cation you’ve had? What’s on your bucket list?

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BibRave Product Review: Give Good Vibez with Aftershokz Aeropex

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Aeropex 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! All opinions are my own and no further compensation was given.

The Give Good Vibez campaign I took part in with other BibRave Pros was a really awesome way to test out a new product and give back in the process. For the past few years Aftershokz has had a Black Friday BOGO deal. This year the BOGO deal was rolled into the #GiveGoodVibez campaign, where folks were encouraged to give their free pair of Aftershokz to a friend, family member, or community member in need or who they felt deserved a little extra good vibez this holiday season. As BibRave Pros, we received the new Aeropex model to test and a pair of Aftershokz Titanium bone conduction headphones to share with someone. I sent my pair to my friend Drew and her husband Ramon in a care package with some extra little goodies.

The Aeropex themselves are the newest Aftershokz model, with enhanced sound experience. I’ve found them to be the lightest, most comfortable pair of Aftershokz yet and wore them non-stop on a 10 + hour flight to Honolulu without any discomfort. No more uncomfortable ear buds, no pressure on your head and ears after hours of use, and a great battery life that lasted no problem through the long flight, even though they advertise 8 hour battery life and I watched 5 movies over 10 hours of flight time. From the Aftershokz website, the Aeropex have:

  • “the widest dynamic stereo sound that bone conduction can offer. Say hello to deeper base, less vibration, and louder volumes.”
  • IP67 waterproof rating makes them fully sweat and waterproof
  • Bluetooth connectivity up to 33 feet (10m)
  • Moisture detection alert for safe charging – the updated magnetic charging port prevents water ingress

Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say about Aftershokz Aeropex:

Lindsey Vanessa Mark | Corey Ryan | Stephanie |Ken B. |Linda | Samantha T.|

Give Aftershokz some social media love here:

Website Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Give BibRave some social media love here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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BibRave Promo: San Francisco Best of the Bay City Guide!

Disclaimer: I am promoting the Best of the Bay City Guide 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 this awesome Pinterest city guide for the hype-worthy San Francisco Half Marathon!

To all of you west coast readers, or anyone looking for a great west coast race-cation for early 2020, consider the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon on February 20! Check out the guide above for all the great places to stay, eat, shake-out run, post-race party, and more! Register for any of the 5k, 10k, or half marathon on https://www.getfitkpsf.com/race/ and use code KPSFBIBRAVE for $5 off! Can’t wait to hear more about this race from all the running fam out there. After next week’s Honolulu Marathon, I won’t be traveling too far outside the southeast for races until a little thing known as my PhD Dissertation is complete. Until then, living vicariously through this city guide and all y’all!

Check out the Pinterest Board here: https://www.pinterest.com/BibRaveGuides/best-of-the-bay-san-francisco-city-guide/

And interactive Google Maps page here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=12_o5qhAjz0rnBukWKtHFNpXMwAqfoYEJ&ll=37.81170941982896%2C-122.5136152578392&z=11

Happy Miles and Smiles!

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BibRave Promo: Give Good Vibez with Aftershokz

“Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Aeropex to review and a pair of Titaniums to give as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”

It’s that time of year where we all struggle with gift ideas for our partner, parents, siblings, best running friends, dog sitter, etc. 😛 Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be the star gift giver of the season! Aftershokz, the all stars of bone conduction wireless music technology, wants you to brighten someones day this holiday season, and they are once again bringing back their Black Friday Buy 1 Get One. This year the focus of the promo is to #GiveGoodVibez. In order to get exclusive access to the sale, head to https://givegoodvibez.aftershokz.com/ , get your email on the list, and wait for the sale details in your inbox. On Black Friday, use your exclusive sale access to purchase a pair of wireless Aftershokz and you’ll receive 1 pair of open box Aftershokz Titaniums to give to someone else for FREE!

Why have I already converted most of my friends and family to the Aftershokz squad? Aftershokz offers a great family of high quality products but in many ways they’re more than just some snazzy electronic gear. The last few months have been challenging, to say the least, due to pressures of PhD-land, family stress, and personal health issues. It’s definitely hard to stay motivated to keep fit when you’d rather just stay in bed, let alone keep motivated to continue marathon training. At the end of the day, when stress and health have your body craving those extra hours of sleep in the morning, sometimes it’s important to listen. However, finding time to build up some sweat equity is still key to overall health and mental wellness. As you’ve seen in my last few posts, as well as posts in the past, I’ve been an acolyte of Aftershokz bone conduction headphones for a few years now, and have owned several pairs. In the last few months though, Aftershokz have been more than just a cool device; they’ve provided the extra motivation to stay active when motivation was very difficult to come by in my life.

Couldn’t get out of bed in the morning for that early morning run group and now you only have time to fit in a dreaded treadmill workout at the school gym? Listen to pump up tunes ( AC/DC or Led Zeppelin for me!) or an awesome podcast (BibRave Podcast anyone?) on your Aftershokz Titanium. Injury (plantar fasciitis maybe?) and need to take a break from running and do laps in the pool instead? Grab your fully waterproof with 4GB of MP3 storage Aftershokz Xtrainerz to cut the lane line boredom. Just need to talk to your mommy but your only time is on the late night drive home after class? Use your Aftershokz Air for handsfree wireless calls. Yes, I own all 3 products, and yes, I speak from experience.

Programming in a noisy office is a little less stressful when you can distract/focus yourself using some instrumental music. I’m big into classical music while studying/working.

A brand new pair of Aftershokz Aeropex, the newest model, are headed my way and I can’t wait to try them out. The Aeropex have the longest battery life and best sound quality of any Aftershokz yet with the new PremiumPitch 2.0+ technology and angled transducers for optimal placement “allowing for more dynamic bass range, higher volume, and less vibration.” I’m about to get “Thunderstuck” in the best possible way. I’ll write an updated review once I receive them but you can check out reviews from other BibRave Pros below:

Lindsey | Vanessa | Mark | Corey | Ryan |

This isn’t your average Black Friday deal, so don’t forget to head to https://givegoodvibez.aftershokz.com/ before the 27th to get on the exclusive BOGO #GiveGoodVibez list!

As always, don’t forget to give Aftershokz some social media love here:

Website Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Give BibRave some social media love here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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