Friday, November 29, 2013

A Year of Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday yesterday! My family and I spent the past couple of days up in Lawton, Oklahoma so we could be with my brother for his Army BCT graduation. We also were able to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the Army base dining facility with the other soldiers and their families! It was a great time, and I was truly grateful to be able to spend the day with my family.

So, I know that today is the day after Thanksgiving and it would have made sense to do a post like this yesterday, or even on Wednesday. There is, however, a reason why I chose to write this post today. Throughout the year I can have a tendency to allow myself to get caught up in life’s daily stresses, and too easily I forget all of the blessings in my life. Although Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder to be grateful for who we are and what we have, I am challenging myself to feel my gratitude every day this year.

This is not something I will blog about; it is merely a personal way of keeping my mind and heart aligned – to remember at least one thing each day that makes me happy and that I am thankful for with hopes that it can both strengthen the relationships I have, and lessen the temporary stresses that will undoubtedly come my way this year.

If this is something that can help with your own struggles, then I encourage you to try this as well, and I hope that each of you has an amazing year!

QOTD: How did you spend your Thanksgiving holiday?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Race Prep – 2013 Believe! 10K

Before I talk about my upcoming race on Saturday, I want to say that today my brother graduates from Army BCT. Now that he is officially done with basic combat training, he will be heading to San Antonio to begin his individual training to become an Army combat medic. Words cannot describe how proud I am of him! I get to cheer him on at graduation today, and I cannot wait to do it again in San Antonio next April after his medic training!

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As for running, tomorrow will ‘officially’ mark my one year race-versary. On November 28, 2012 I ran my first race – the Believe! 10K. To celebrate, I plan on running this very same race on Saturday, which also happens to land on my 26th birthday!

At last year’s race, I had a goal to finish in under an hour, which I accomplished with a time of 57:47! This year, I have another big goal; in fact, it is a goal I set for myself to accomplish in 2013. I want to run this 10K in under 55 minutes. Back in April, I came close with a time of 55:50 at the Green 6.2 race, and that took place in some serious Houston heat and humidity. I am confident that I can pull off this feat with more ideal weather conditions! The current forecast is fantastic:

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In order to prep for this race, I am not changing my training or diet too much this week to be honest. I am going to get in all my scheduled mileage, and eat only slightly more carbs than usual to help keep up my energy level. I will also, of course, be stretching, foam rolling, and doing yoga.

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I am so excited for this Saturday – bring on those 6.2 miles!!

QOTD: Do you ever set time goals for yourself at races?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekly Recap 11/18 – 11/24

Marathon Training Countdown – 4 Weeks Down, 14 Weeks to Go!

Happy Thanksgiving week, y’all! I have a lot of talk about today – this past week has been amazing and this upcoming week is going to be full of awesome events.

1. I started my yoga regimen last Tuesday. I love it – seriously. I learned a lot; my flexibility and upper body strength are not excellent, but certainly not poor. Most importantly, I learned that although I can mentally let go of any stress that comes my way, it does not leave my body physically. My neck and shoulders carry it all, and yoga has already started helping my body let go of it. I think that yoga, mixed in with a massage every once in awhile, will benefit me so much.

2. Saturday morning I awoke to rain and 42F degree weather. I tried out a new running trail (for you Houstonians, it is Memorial Park) last weekend with Team RWB and loved it so much I decided to run there again on Saturday. Usually the park I go to is a 2 mile loop, but this new one is a 3 mile loop – which helps my mental strength. I had 9 miles scheduled this weekend and I would much rather do 3 loops than 4.5 loops. Anyway, Robert and I drove over there, and on the way we encountered a downpour of rain. Luckily, it slowed to a misty rain by the time we arrived and we each began our own long runs. I encountered a ton of puddles; seriously, I have not had to run through puddles like that since the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon earlier this year, but the weather felt so great I did not mind at all and my 9 miles felt strong. I am usually a cold weather wuss, but when it comes to running, Texas winter weather is so much easier than the summer.

3. Robert and I saw Catching Fire on Saturday. We are HUGE fans of the Hunger Games books, and this movie was everything we hoped it would be – seriously amazing!

4. I entered the lottery for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC. I should find out by December 6th if I got in!

5. Sunday was dedicated to Christmas shopping and decorating! Here are a few pictures:

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This upcoming week is also filled with fun events. My brother graduates from Army BCT on Wednesday, and I get to spend Thanksgiving with him! I cannot believe how fast time has flown by since he left for BCT. I cannot even begin to put into words how proud I am of him!

Thursday is not only Thanksgiving, but also my one-year race anniversary, then Saturday is my next race (the Believe! 10K) and my birthday! I have a shiny new PR in mind, but more on these events Wednesday.

My workouts this week:

Monday: 4 x (800 meters fast pace + 400 meters walk)

800 meters pace = 8:45 min/mile
400 meters pace = comfortable walk

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: 5 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile)

Thursday: 3 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 9:30 min/mile)

Friday: Yoga

Saturday: 9 Mile Long Run (Pace: Unknown)

Sunday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation – no excuses!

QOTD: Do you prefer cold weather or warm weather running?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Marathoner VS Thief

A few weeks ago I read an article that I found very entertaining – a marathoner stopped a thief from stealing merchandise over in the UK! Here is the full article, straight from Runner’s World:

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My favorite part of this story is when the runner said ‘we can do this all day.’ Just goes to show you – never try to outrun a marathoner, especially one doing such a good deed!

QOTD: Do you have any crazy running experiences/stories?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The ‘Jasmine’ Ponytail

Today I want to talk about hair, and how to keep it tamed while running. My own hair is long, thick, and gets tangled very easily when I run; the mixture of sweat and humidity really takes a toll. I think it is a safe bet to say that there are probably many other women out there with the same problem!

I discovered this issue for the very first time at the Disney Princess Half Marathon this past February. I wore my hair in a regular ponytail on that high humidity day, then when I finished the race and headed back to the hotel, I reached back and all I felt was a huge lump of tangled up knots. After washing and conditioning my hair thoroughly, the knot took almost 45 minutes to brush out!

Unfortunately, I accidentally made the same mistake on this past weekend’s 8 mile long run. The humidity was running high and I guess my brain was not working well enough to remember my usual hair technique when I woke up at 6 AM. My hair ended up like this (luckily it was not as bad as after the half marathon, but it still took a good 20-30 minutes to brush out):

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To prevent this from happening again, my mom suggested, after the half marathon, a new way to wear my hair when running; it is, what I like to call, the ‘Jasmine’ ponytail (named after the Disney princess of course)! It works 100% of the time for me – I have never had an issue with tangles when I wear my hair like Jasmine:

Finishing at the Cooper Sprint Tri back in July – no tangles!DSC03159 

If you have problems with easily tangled hair, give this a try and see how it works for you!

QOTD: Have you ever had to deal with overly tangled hair after a run/race?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekly Recap 11/11 – 11/17

Marathon Training Countdown – 3 Weeks Down, 15 Weeks to Go!

This past week has been one of new things. While I did not do strength training on Tuesday, I did buy a beginner’s yoga set yesterday so I definitely will be starting tomorrow – promise!

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Also, recently Robert and I joined a wonderful organization called Team RWB (Red, White, & Blue) – Houston Chapter. This non-profit organization has a mission to enrich the lives of U.S. Military veterans by connecting them through physical and social activities. On Saturday morning, we joined them for a social run and met some wonderful people. I even had company for my entire 8 mile long run; I always run solo so it was so nice to be able to run with others! I cannot wait to get more involved with this team.

Lastly for new items, I discovered some great foodie items. Angie’s Popcorn has a couple fantastic flavors, especially for the holiday season. The White Chocolatier Peppermint is 150 calories for 1 1/2 cups, and the Dark Chocolatier Sea Salt is 130 calories for 1 2/3 cups. I love them because they make for a great snack, or dessert, and it’s not a splurge on extra calories. Just a note, though, definitely measure out your serving size before you start eating so you don’t accidentally eat the whole bag!

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The other foodie item I found was JIF Whips. If you are a peanut butter fanatic like me, then you will love this – it has a lighter consistency than regular peanut butter, tastes delicious, and it’s only 140 calories per 2 tbsp VS the usual 190 calories per 2 tbsp. While I have only tried the regular flavor, they also make two other flavors: peanut butter & chocolate, and peanut butter & chocolate mint.

My workouts this week:

Monday: 4 x (800 meters fast pace + 400 meters walk)

800 meters pace = 8:45 min/mile
400 meters pace = comfortable walk

Tuesday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 4 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile)

Thursday: 3 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 9:30 min/mile)

Friday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Saturday: 8 Mile Long Run (Pace: Unknown)

Sunday: Full body strength training using 8 lb free weights, resistance band, and body weight

Monday Motivation! 

QOTD: Do you enjoy running with friends or solo?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Preventing Blood Clots After a Race-cation

As much fun as local races are, I am absolutely certain that all of us have either done destination races, or have dreams and goals to do some destination races. In any case, there are many races around the world to conquer! And while it may not be the best idea to hop on a plane soon after a long distance race, there are different ways to help prevent the risk of blood clots.

To begin, it is necessary to understand why the risk of blood clots while flying is higher after a race. First, we tend to travel with luggage at our feet, which reduces the amount of room we have to stretch our legs. Second, our dehydration and muscle inflammation post-race combined with the plane’s high altitude creates a less than ideal situation for runners; in a few words, it is a “perfect storm for blood clots.”

Photo from Women’s Running Online

Here are some preventative measures to take to help reduce the risk of blood clots:

Planning & Scheduling
1. Schedule your flight home over 24 hours after your race.
2. Book an aisle seat (or front row seat or emergency aisle seat) for extra leg room.

After the Race
1. Do not sit down – walk around for at least 10 minutes after crossing the finish line.
2. Take a cold bath/shower to help reduce inflammation (click
HERE to see my tips on how to make ice baths more tolerable).
3. Replenish your energy and electrolytes by eating small meals and sipping fluids.
4. Try to avoid alcohol (I know I’ve broken this rule at runDisney races haha!).

Mid-Flight
1. Move around on the plane as much as possible. Every 15 minutes, point and flex your feet 20 times. Get up at least once per hour to walk around and do toe raises and leg extensions. Doing all of this will help to increase blood flow to your lower legs and feet.
2. Do not sit with your legs crossed.
3. Wear comfortable clothing as well as compression sleeves.
4. Stow your bags in the overhead compartment instead of at your feet so you have more more for leg extension.

Zensah Compression Sleeves

If you ever do have a blood clot, make sure to go see your doctor about it – remember, always listen to your body!

The warning signs of a blood clot are:
-Sensation of a muscle cramp that doesn’t let up
-Swelling in one leg
-Bruising or tenderness in lower leg or behind the knee
-Warm feeling in a particular area that may worsen when standing or walking

This post was referenced through a Women’s Running article. To view the full article, click HERE.

QOTD: Have you ever felt at-risk for a blood clot after a destination race?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Guest Post: From ChEAR Squad to Starting Line

My husband, Robert, and I ran the 2013 Tower of Terror 10-Miler last month. You have already read about my own race experience, and now, here is his own recap on his first runDisney event!

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Not only would the Tower of Terror 10-miler be my first Disney run, it would also be the longest distance I have run in my life. As my corral headed to the starting line, all I could think about was how I got to this point. The answer became clearer with every step; earlier this year, my wife participated in the Princess Half Marathon and I was there to cheer her on at the momentous occasion. After seeing the extreme sense of pride and accomplishment in her face after she finished this feat, I was overcome with inspiration and wanted to feel it for myself. In that moment I knew I wanted to run in a Disney race.

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After months of training the time had come and the excitement continued to swell as each second ticked off the clock. Before I knew it I was at the starting line, the MC started his countdown, and BAM – the adventure began. As I ran away from the start I kept reminding myself, ‘pace yourself you have a long road ahead of you.’ I really think this helped me out because in the past I was plagued with a tendency of starting off too quick and allowing it to affect my run as a whole. As I approached the first character spot I was feeling great, the adrenaline was pumping, and part of me wanted to just bypass the photo and continue on. Then I thought about why I chose runDisney for my first big race, so I jumped in line to get my picture taken.

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Once I completed my first photo stop I made my way back onto the road. I found myself in a zone jamming out to the music on my iPod and running at a comfortable pace. Before I knew it I had arrived at the next picture opportunity. As I stood in line waiting to have my picture taken with Jafar the excitement continued to build. Unfortunately, he needed to take a break just before I made it to the front of the line; it was disappointing, but I just went back to running and before I knew it I passed the 5K mark and was feeling great.

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As I reached mile 4, I felt my muscles starting to tighten up a little bit, and in the back of my mind I began worrying if this would slow me down; then like magic (well I was at Disney!) the Medic station was just ahead. I made a quick stop and applied some Biofreeze to the areas that were feeling tight. The Biofreeze began to work right away and I felt like a new man. The relief couldn’t have come at a better time because at this point I entered the part of the course that was a wooded off-road area. I really liked the look and atmosphere of this part of the race, but when it came to my pace it was rough. The trail wasn’t very wide and I often found myself stuck behind large groups of people walking and had to walk more than I would have liked.

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After finishing my trek through the woods I arrived at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex. This part of the race was amazing and I really loved running around the baseball field. It gave me this sense of being a professional baseball player warming up for the game, especially with the cheering of spectators. As I was leaving the sports complex there was a group of spectators cheering us on and one of the signs caught my eye; a lady was holding a sign that said “You might be a stranger but I am proud of you!” If at any point during the race I felt like I couldn’t go anymore, I just thought back to that sign and was instantly uplifted.

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Next thing I knew, the neon lights reading ‘Disney Hollywood Studios’ were burning bright and my journey was coming to an end. As I made my way through the park, the support and motivation from the volunteers and spectators grew and grew. I ran past Toy Story Mania and decided to stop and have my picture taken with Lotso. In what seemed like a blink of an eye I rounded the final turn and could see the finish line in sight. I mustered every ounce of energy I had left in my body and off I went. I did not slow down until I gave Goofy a high-five while crossing the finish line.

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I ended with a chip time of 2:39:42 and couldn’t have been happier. Since this was my first race, I wasn’t focused on time. I just wanted to have fun along the way, take part in all the photo ops I wanted to, and finish the race. The overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment when I crossed the finish line was amazing. After collecting my medal, Gatorade, and snack box I headed off to find my wife and partake in the Disney Villain’s Hollywood Bash!

The Tower of Terror 10-miler may have been my first runDisney race, but it will not be my last! I enjoyed it so much and being able to share the moment with my wife was the icing on the cake. I will now use this sense of pride and accomplishment to drive me in my training for my first ever half marathon. Tink, here I come!

QOTD: How did you feel when you finished your first big race?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekly Recap 11/4 – 11/10

Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you to all who served!

Marathon Training Countdown – 2 Week Down, 16 Weeks to Go!

Ahhh I just love ticking off the weeks of that training countdown. It means another Monday is here and I am one step closer to that 26.2 mile victory! The nervousness I was feeling before is gradually turning to excitement! I think it was because I had a very strong long run on Saturday. I did 7 miles in perfect weather and my mental strength level was at 110%. I only hope for similar conditions once my long runs get in to the double digits over the next few months!

This past week was great overall – my downfall once again was the strength training. I NEED to get a yoga DVD for Tuesdays because, like the week before, I came home from work, laid on the couch, and felt a twinge of guilt every time I looked at my free weights. I just could not get myself up out of pure exhaustion! I think yoga will defeat that exhaustion since it is, in essence, a relaxing and de-stressing workout.

Also, Robert’s birthday was yesterday! He turned the big 3-0! We went to lunch at Pappasito’s on Saturday, and saw Thor (it was amazing!). On Sunday, I made some pumpkin spiced cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting to celebrate(they turned out delicious!).

At Pappasito’s – Robert is rockin’ that sombrero!

Cupcakes! Recipe HEREimage

Finally, a shout out to everyone who did runDisney’s Wine & Dine half marathon and/or the Jingle Jungle 5K this past weekend! I cannot wait to start reading everyone’s recaps!

My workouts this week:

Monday: 4 x (800 meters fast pace + 400 meters walk)

800 meters pace = 8:45 min/mile
400 meters pace = comfortable walk

Tuesday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 4 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile)

Thursday: 3 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 9:30 min/mile)

Friday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Saturday: 7 Mile Long Run (Pace: Unknown)

Sunday: Full body strength training using 10 lb free weights, resistance band, and body weight

Monday Motivation! 

QOTD: Are you a fan of the Avengers movies?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Motivation Redefined

The other day I was scrolling through Facebook, and I came across a very unique and refreshing post by Buzz Feed. It was a compilation of motivational photos; but rather than being ‘over the stars inspirational,’ they were ‘down to earth’ and realistic (and quite funny!). Now don’t get me wrong, I love shooting for goals as high as the sky can go, but even in our pursuit for these desires, everyone has less-than-perfect days, and these motivational tips can help us through those days!

To visit this post on Buzz Feed, Click HERE.

QOTD: Do any of these new motivational posters speak to you?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Info

Saturday night is runDisney’s Wine & Dine half marathon race! Sadly I will not be at this event, but it is definitely on my calendar for next year! For those of you who will be participating, here are a few things you will need:

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Schedule of Events

Disney's Health & Fitness Expo
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 8, 2013
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, 2013

Disney Wine & Dine Pre-Race Taste
Party at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show inside Disney's Hollywood Studios
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8, 2013

Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K
Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
7:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 9, 2013

runDisney Kids Races
ESPN Wide World of Sports Track & Field Complex
10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 9, 2013

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
Start: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Finish: Epcot
10:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, 2013

Finish Line Party
Exclusive After-Hours Party at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
10:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9 – 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 10, 2013

Waivers (you must have this and a photo ID to pick up your race packet)

Race Program (your one-stop-shop for all the specifics during this weekend)

Half Marathon Course Mapclip_image003

Corral Assignments (based on your bib number)clip_image005

Packet Pick-Up Authorization Forms
If you're unable to attend Packet Pick-Up, someone may pick up your packet on your behalf. He/she MUST have their own photo I.D. plus:

1. A copy of the participants Photo ID
2. Packet Pick-Up Authorization Form (available about one month before the event)
3. Event waiver signed by the participant (available about one month before event)

Wine & Dine Half Marathon
Jingle Jungle 5K

runDisney Kid’s Races

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QOTD: Are you running any events at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend?