Friday, February 28, 2014

Almost There

With my first marathon tomorrow, I thought I’d share my race theme song and motivational mantra! Tiana from Princess and the Frog said it best – “Trials and tribulations, I’ve had my share. There ain’t nothing gonna stop me now ‘cause I’m almost there.”

Almost There
Princess and the Frog

Mama, I don’t have time for dancin’
That’s just gonna have to wait a while
Ain't got time for messing around
And it's not my style
This old town can slow you down
People taking the easy way
But I know exactly where I'm going
And getting closer and closer, every day

And I'm almost there, I'm almost there
People down here think I'm crazy, but I don't care
Trials and tribulations I've had my share
There ain't nothing gonna stop me now ‘cause I'm almost there

I remember Daddy told me "Fairytales can come true
You gotta make 'em happen, it all depends on you"
So I work real hard each and every day
Now things for sure are going my way
Just doing what I do
Look out, boys, I'm coming through

And I'm almost there, I'm almost there
People gonna come here from everywhere
And I'm almost there, I'm almost there

There's been trials and tribulations
You know I've had my share
But I've climbed the mountain, I've crossed the river
And I'm almost there, I'm almost there
I'm almost there!

QOTD: Are there any songs that have inspired you for a specific race?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Race prep – woodlands marathon

After 18 weeks of training, I will be able to call myself a marathoner in just a few short days! Although my excitement to conquer this race has pretty much been taking over my thoughts lately, I have been trying to turn my focus towards making sure I am properly prepped to run this new distance. I also need to make sure I go into the race with a good strategy to help eliminate any potential problems on the course.

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Current Weather Forecast

A little on the warmer side, but the cloudiness should help with that. I’m definitely not complaining about that weather though – I am just grateful I don’t have to wear my cold weather running gear!

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Nutrition Preparation

Some people carbo-load 1-2 nights before a race. I, however, prefer to increase my carb intake consistently 5-6 days before a race. I do this because it helps to eliminate over-stuffing myself in one day, and therefore reduces the possibility of GI stress on race morning.

Breakfast Monday-Friday: Oatmeal with almond milk and a banana, all topped with cinnamon.
Lunch Monday-Friday: Mashed sweet potatoes topped with goat cheese (I know it sounds like an odd combo, but it is delicious) with veggies on the side.
Snacks: I usually have mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. This week, they will include items such as granola bars, mandarin oranges, and pretzel twists.
Dinner Monday-Friday: Differs each evening, but ranges from breakfast tacos with hash browns to spaghetti with garlic bread.
Hydration: I will be consistently drinking water and water mixed with Nuun throughout the week.

Physical Preparation

Rest: I am going to try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night this week.
Yoga: I will do my yoga sessions Tuesday and Thursday to help with flexibility and relieve any stress build-up.
Exercise: I have easy 3-mile runs on Monday and Wednesday, and a 2-mile walk on Thursday.
Preventative Care: I will be stretching and foam rolling EVERY day this week, as well as doing an ice bath once to help ease any possible soreness and refresh my leg muscles.

Race Strategy

Pre-Race Fuel: I will be eating my usual pre-race breakfast, which includes a Clif Bar and a banana.
Race Fuel: I will alternate between a Honey Stinger energy gel and half a Honey Stinger waffle every 45 minutes (approximately 6 times during the race total).
Hydration: There are water/electrolyte stops every 1.5 miles starting at mile 2. I will only be wearing a fuel belt, not a hydration belt. This will help reduce the amount of weight I carry, as well as reduce possible GI stress. I plan on walking through all the water stops, and alternating between water and electrolytes, to make sure I stay properly hydrated.
Outfit: I will be wearing moisture wicking material of course, Zensah compression sleeves, and my ASICS shoes with Experia Thorlo socks.
Pace: I feel as though I have done a decent job on keeping an even pace during my long-runs over the course of training. My goal is to start slower and gradually gain speed so hopefully I can still have a good amount of energy for the last 10K portion of the race.

Overall Goal

My overall goal for this race is to enjoy the experience, especially since I get to run with one of my best friends! Regarding time, I would really like to finish in less than 5 hours, which I think is very reasonable and realistic for my first marathon!

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QOTD: How do you prepare for a new race distance?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekly Recap 2/17/14 – 2/23/14

Marathon Training Countdown – 17 Weeks Down, 1 Week to Go!
Burpee Challenge Count – 825/1000

Only five days left. FIVE more days until I run 26.2 miles for the first time ever. The only running I have left in my training schedule are a couple of easy 3-milers, and a quick 2-mile walk. I will be doing yoga a couple times this week in addition to stretching and foam rolling. I am SO excited, and I can’t believe that for the last 18 weeks of my life I have been dedicated to training for this marathon. Time has flown by! This past Tuesday, I got my email for race day information, and they just released the race day instructions yesterday. Runner tracking should be up this week, too!

Look at all those X’s on that training schedule – so exciting!image

This week was rather up-and-down regarding my running (I think I’m just ready for the race haha!). Last weekend, Robert and I were in Dallas and we drove back on Monday (it was a holiday for us from work). I had 3 miles of speed work scheduled that day, but my legs just weren’t feeling it after being in the car for so long, so I made it an easy run instead. Wednesday I had 5 miles, and still felt like I didn’t find my stride until about 3 miles into the run. It was a little disheartening, but by Thursday everything felt back to normal and my 3 miles were very strong! I even practiced some negative splits; I ran mile 1 in 10 min, mile 2 in 9:30 min, and the remaining 3.1 miles at a 9 min pace.

My long run on Saturday was 8 miles, and I went to run it at the park I used to go to, which is a 2-mile loop. I definitely prefer the 3-mile loop, but Team RWB was hosting a boot camp with Shaped Bodies Fitness – the group I first started working out with a couple years ago – that morning at 8 AM, and I really wanted to attend. I decided to get my 8 miles done then hang around for another hour and a half to workout with them. I am so glad I did because I had a blast, and I can definitely feel the soreness in my muscles (in a good way of course)!

Saturday’s long-run stats: image

Also, I want to give a HUGE shout out to everyone who ran at Disney for the Princess Half Marathon weekend! Congrats to all the Princesses (and Princes) who were able to complete the race(s) – I’ve been loving all the photo updates on Facebook and Twitter, and can’t wait to read full recaps!

My workouts this week:

Monday: 3 Miles Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile) + Stretching/Foam Rolling

Tuesday: Yoga + 60 Burpees + Stretching/Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 5 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile) + 40 Burpees

Thursday: 3 Mile Negative Split Run (Pace: 9:00 – 10:00 min/mile) + 40 Burpees

Friday: Stretching/Foam Rolling

Saturday: 8 Mile Long Run + 1.5 Hours Boot Camp + 35 Burpees

Sunday: Yoga + 40 Burpees + Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation! 

 QOTD: Are you currently training for a race?

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Blog design

Hi everyone! You may have noticed that my blog looks a little bit different. Well, for a couple months now, I have been mulling over new design and header ideas, and finally decided to make it happen. Jenn over at Healthy Dose of Pixie Dust recently had her blog re-designed, and recommended Tasha Hopson, owner of My Cute Lobster Designs.

Once I took a look at Tasha’s portfolio, I knew she would be the perfect person to put my thoughts to reality. I emailed her with information regarding my blog as well as a huge mess of different ideas jumping around in my head. She took those thoughts and created an absolutely perfect design – I could not be happier! Her pricing is very fair, and she can work with both Blogger and Word Press users.

After I emailed her, it only took a little over a week to get the initial design, and from there I just let her know any other thoughts/final touches since that first visual can spark some new ideas. Honestly though, I barely needed to have her change anything after the initial design! I highly recommend her to anyone who is thinking about getting their website re-designed!

Lauren's Glass Slipper Blog Button

You can visit her website here, and her Etsy shop here.

QOTD: Have you ever thought about re-designing your blog?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Protecting Your Feet from Common Running Problems

With each step in running, the weight and force that is put on your shoes is significant, and can really take a toll on your feet and toes. Being fitted properly for a good pair of running shoes is critical in long-distance running, and if you do not rotate your shoes out when the sole has worn down, you greatly increase the chance of general foot and toe problems.

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Throughout my two years of running, I have been fortunate enough to have had zero complications in my feet. This even includes the most common issues, such as blisters (though I did come close once after running through some serious puddles), bleeding or blackened toenails, toenails falling off, or anything of the sort. I was very surprised by this, especially now that my mileage has really increased while training for a full marathon. I recently started thinking more about as to why I have been so ‘lucky’. Even my husband, who has been running for less than a year, recently had part of a toenail come off. Not that I am complaining in the slightest, but it was out of simple curiosity that I wondered why I seemed to be immune from these issues.

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I attribute my ‘luck’ to finding the perfect shoe/sock combination for my feet. I have always run in ASICS (even before I started getting fit by my local running store for the perfect shoe). I ran in them for general physical fitness, for half marathon training, and also now for marathon training. About two years ago, and a couple months into my ‘running career’ (well before I got into longer distances), my mom found Experia Thorlo socks and bought me a couple pairs to see how I liked them. Turns out they were one of the best things to happen to my feet when it came to running. I tried them once, and never looked back – they have helped keep my feet and toes safe and injury-free for nearly two years now.

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I am not saying that ASICS shoes and Experia Thorlo socks are for everyone. They aren’t. What I am saying, however, is to do a little trial and error and find the best shoe/sock combination for YOUR feet. Once you do find it, I think you will find that it helps keep your feet and toes much safer from the impact of long-distance running.

QOTD: Have you ever fallen victim to any of these common runner foot problems, or have you found your perfect shoe/sock combination?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekly Recap 2/10/14 – 2/16/14

Marathon Training Countdown – 16 Weeks Down, 2 Weeks to Go!
Burpee Challenge Count – 610/1000

Wow, another week gone by, and another week closer to the Woodlands Marathon! Only 2 weeks left, and 1 more Saturday long run until the big race! I know a lot of people are leaving for Disney this week for the Princess Half Marathon as well, and I couldn’t be more excited for everyone who is going! I am so excited to read recaps!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Robert and I drove up to Dallas to visit family for the weekend, so we were actually in the car on Valentine’s Day. He still made it memorable, though – he has a tradition of giving me cute Disney stuffed animals, and this year I got Donald and Daisy Duck (and something new – a Caramel Macchiato-flavored cupcake, which was delicious)! He is the best husband!

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Training this week was fantastic. My mileage is still going down for the taper period, and my long run this week was 9 miles. All I could think on Saturday morning was ‘Yay, only an hour and a half of running today!’ Never thought I would see the day where I was excited to only run 9 miles, haha!

Saturday’s long-run stats:image

My workouts this week:

Monday: 4 X (1200 meters fast pace + 400 meters walk) + 40 Burpees

       1200 meters pace = 8:30 min/mile
       400 meters pace = comfortable walk

Tuesday: Yoga + 40 Burpees + Stretching/Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 6 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile) + 40 Burpees

Thursday: 4 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:00 min/mile) + 40 Burpees

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 9 Mile Long Run + 60 Burpees

Sunday: 60 Burpees + Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation!

 QOTD: What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tips for Running the Princess Half Marathon

The 2013 Princess Half Marathon was my very first long distance race and runDisney event. Being a newbie to racing, and a very type ‘A’ vacation planner, I was thirsty for as much information as I could get before this race weekend last year. I think I exhausted Google looking for race recaps, and any tips to help me plan.

My 2013 Recaps:
Expo/Downtown Disney
Magic Kingdom/Pre-Race
Race Recap/EPCOT

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If you are new to the runDisney world, or are running the Princess Half Marathon for the first time, then this post is for you! Although I cannot provide first-hand information for the 5K or 10K, I have put together a few tips to help make your experience at half marathon a little less stressful.

Before you Leave

Packing
Start creating a packing list a couple of weeks before you leave, and add things to it as you remember. This will ensure that you do not forget anything once you start packing your suitcase(s).

Confirmations
Carry a hard copy of all confirmations, including: airline, hotel, park tickets, and transportation to your resort (whether it is the Magical Express, a rental car, or shuttle service). Also make sure to put your Magical Express tag(s) on any luggage you check under the plane so it is delivered to your hotel room.

If you are using the Magical Express and have not received your booklet or luggage tags, you can call their guest services number at 866-599-0951.

Expo Paperwork
Carry a hard copy of your signed waiver, and Lasting Commemoratives art card voucher (in your iGiftBag, which will be emailed to you).

Food
Make sure to bring your own energy fuel (the race has Clif Shot Gels around mile 8-9), and consider bringing your own pre-race breakfast. Most places will not be open for food the morning of the race, and it could be risky trying to find what you normally eat around the hotel/parks.

When my husband and I went last year, we packed two carry-on suitcases. The one we carried on held everything I needed for my race as well as some clothes for him. The one we checked held all non-necessary items + food (since you cannot carry on food items). In my checked bag, I brought bagels, a few honey packets, energy chews, peanut butter packets, and a few large PowerAde Zero’s (all were packaged in large Ziploc bags). On the way back from Florida, we did not check any bags.

Costume
Make sure your costume for the race is done – if you aren’t wearing a costume, then I highly suggest putting a quick one together. When you get to the pre-race area and see all the fantastic costumes, you will be glad you decided to wear one!

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Expo

When to Arrive
Do not get there right at opening, unless you REALLY want one of the hot selling items (i.e. a Dooney & Burke purse). The crowds won’t be worth it. If you arrive late morning/early afternoon, the crowds will be much better.

FYI – At the Tinker Bell Half Expo last month, I arrived at the expo on the second day in the afternoon and was still able to get a pair of the runDisney Cinderella shoes. Chances are merchandise will not run out by the time you get there.

Packet Pick-Up
Go get your race bib first then use your voucher to go get your race shirt. Exchange the size if you need to (there is usually a table right next to the shirt pick-up for exchanges). Now you should have a big clear bag in which you can put all your purchases and free stuff!

Shop
Check out all the great vendors and merchandise. Although it will be difficult, definitely try to stick to your expo budget. Most of all have FUN! There will be a lot of fun photo opportunities here, too (the Major Domo’s are the best). Don’t miss out on them!

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Before the Race

The Night Before
Lay out ALL your race necessities. This includes your costume/accessories, bib #, Garmin, camera, music, headphones, body glide, race fuel, breakfast, hydration belt, etc. Set multiple wake-up alarms (I always schedule a wake-up call from the front desk as well just in case). Charge ALL your electronics!

Buses
The first bus will get to the host resorts at 3 AM for the half, and I HIGHLY recommend getting on the first or second bus, especially if you are in the first 2-3 corrals. You do not want to risk being late for the race – that is a recipe for high stress levels! Plus, the pre-race entertainment is fantastic, and you will have plenty of time to stretch and get your muscles warmed-up.

Pre-Race Area
Enjoy this time! There will be a DJ to get the crowd dancing, character photo ops, and so many fun costumes to admire. There is also water to help keep you hydrated, and a food truck (extra $).

Note that the porta-potty lines in the pre-race area are MUCH longer than the ones near the corrals. If you can wait, try and use the ones near your corral.

The Walk
Well before the start of the race you will be called by corral to start your 20-min trek from the pre-race area to the start corrals. Do not wait until the last minute to start walking – head out as soon as your corral is summoned. Once you leave, anyone who is there to support you can start making their way to their preferred viewing location(s).

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The Race

Slow and Steady
There will be tons of adrenaline running within you, and there will be exuberant spectators the moment you step over that start line. You will want to sprint, but don’t. Make a conscious effort to stay at a steady, easy pace. You have 13.1 miles to gradually gain speed!

Character Stops
Last year the first couple of photo stops I saw were Jack Sparrow & Captain Barbosa with their pirate ship, followed by the handsome Princes – I also saw both on the last part of the race. Note that the lines were MUCH shorter towards the end of the race, plus it was lighter out as the sun had risen. I stopped for the Princes when I first saw them (REALLY long line), but if I had known last year that I would see them again, I would have waited to get a picture towards the end.

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Also, definitely stop for the villainesses. There will be a long line, but it is 100% worth it. They all play their parts marvelously, plus you rarely get to see them in the parks, so don’t pass up the opportunity!

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Hills at WHAT Mile?!
Around mile 10-11, you will encounter three ‘hills’ aka highway overpasses. Don’t let this intimidate you – you can get past them! It can be tough this late in the race, but keep on going! You’ll know they are coming because you will pass a green Army Man from Toy Story yelling at you to “keep moving soldiers!” It is perfect timing as it makes you smile right before you start climbing the first hill.

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The Finish
You will know that you are about to complete the half marathon when you pass the choir. It is a joyous occasion! You will then make your final turn to give the characters at the finish line a high-five!

After the Race

After the Finish Line
After the race, revel in your accomplishment as you get your medal, snacks, banana, PowerAde, ice, and anything else they are handing out! Find your family/friends at your pre-designated location. The crowds will be thick and slow-moving so definitely have a meet-up plan before you head to your start corral.

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Remainder of the Day
Allow yourself a little bit of time to walk around, stretch, eat, and recover. Afterwards, board the bus back to your resort to get ready for the day. Don’t forget to wear your medal around the parks!

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Spectators – click HERE for my husband’s tips on a stress-free spectator experience.

QOTD: Are you running the 2014 Princess Half Marathon? Is it your first half marathon or runDisney event?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Disney Motivational Mantras

While I am currently tapering for the Woodlands Marathon, I know a lot of you all are currently in your taper time for the upcoming Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend!

2013 Disney Princess Half MarathonSAM_0420

This taper period before a race definitely gives runners some extra free time to research more race information, and also to think about race strategy. Part of this strategy is finding a mantra, a short motivational phrase, which is a fantastic way to give yourself an extra boost during a race if you start to feel like you are hitting a wall. So, here is a list of a few motivational quotes by Disney for some mantra inspiration – perfect for all the Princess Half runners out there, or even runners who just love Disney, like me!

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” -- Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

“Trials and tribulations, I’ve had my share. There ain't nothing gonna stop me now ‘cause I'm almost there.” -- Tiana, Princess and the Frog

“Look inside yourself. You are more than what you have become.” -- Mufasa, The Lion King

“You’re mad, bonkers, off your head! But I’ll tell you a secret: all the best people are.” -- Alice Kingsley, Alice in Wonder Land

“Even miracles take a little time.” -- Fairy Godmother, Cinderella

“I am on my way, I can go the distance. I don’t care how far, somehow I’ll be strong. I know every mile will be worth my while.” -- Hercules, Hercules

“All it takes is faith and trust.” -- Peter Pan, Peter Pan

“Just Keep Swimming…” -- Dory, Finding Nemo

“All our dreams can come true…if we have the courage to pursue them.” -- Walt Disney

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” -- Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” -- Walt Disney

“Giving up is for rookies.” -- Phil, Hercules

Running down Main Street at the 2013 PHMSAM_0416

QOTD: Do you have a favorite motivational quote from Disney?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Tower of Terror 10-Miler Registration

Today at 12 PM EST, registration opens up for the 2014 Tower of Terror 10-Miler. This race weekend takes place on October 3-4, 2014.

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My husband and I ran this race last year, and we both thought it was amazing! I won’t go into a ton of details in this post, but if you would like to read our recaps from 2013, here are the links:

Expo/Pre-Race Recap
Race & Disney Villain’s Hollywood Bash Recap
Robert’s Race Recap

The pre-race party, the race itself, and the Disney Villain’s Hollywood Bash are incredibly well organized and just plain fun! Note that Hollywood Studios is open until 4 AM for the after-party. Entry to the bash is included in the 10-miler race registration, and spectators can purchase a ticket for it separately. The medal is also very cool – it is a glow-in-the-dark miniature version of the Tower of Terror complete with a moving elevator!

Last year’s medal:

Side Note: This is also a great time to visit Disney World because you can attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party as well as the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!

Entry Fees & Deadline Information

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler
$145 by March 25, 2014
$160 between March 26 and May 27, 2014
$175 on or after May 28, 2014

Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run
$55 by July 29, 2014
$65 on or after July 30, 2014

runDisney Kids’ Races
$15 by July 29, 2014
$20 on or after July 30, 2014

runDisney 1-Mile Run
$30 by July 29, 2014
$35 on or after July 30, 2014

Disney Villains Hollywood Bash
$55 by May 28, 2014
$65 between May 29 and September 3, 2014
$75 on or after September 4, 2014

Proof of Time

“If you believe you will finish The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler in less than 2:00, proof of time is required. Proof of time is not required for the 5K or the runDisney Kids races.” – Official runDisney Page

A valid proof of time provided at the time of registration must include the following:

  • Name of Race, Date, & Distance (race must have taken place after July 1, 2012)
  • City, State
  • Finish time

If you do not have a proof of time to submit, list "N/A" at the point of registration. You MUST have a proof of time submitted by July 1, 2014, or you will be put in the last race corral.

Submit all Proof of Times to: disneysports@trackshack.com.

**IMPORTANT**: You cannot bring proof of time to the Race Expo to change your start corral anymore.

Registration Policy & Deferrals

  • Entry fees for the 10-Miler and 5K are non-refundable.
  • You may NOT transfer your registration to another participant.
  • All races are subject to capacity limits and may close at any time.
  • Deferrals: You may defer your registration to the 2015 Tower of Terror 10-Miler subject to availability, on or before September 18, 2014. There is a $45 fee if completed by August 21, 2014, and a $70 fee is completed between August 22 and September 18, 2014 (no deferrals for the 5K or Kids’ Races).
  • The deferral link will be available May 1, 2014.

After the race in 2013image

QOTD: Will you be registering for any of the races during the Tower of Terror 10-Miler weekend?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Weekly Recap 2/3/14 – 2/9/14

Marathon Training Countdown – 15 Weeks Down, 3 Weeks to Go!
Burpee Challenge Count – 330/1000

Guess what? I have officially entered TAPER TIME for the Woodlands Marathon, and I could not be more excited! I know a lot of people get antsy or anxious during the taper period before a big race, but I have been looking forward to it all week. Ever since I finished my 18-miler last weekend, I knew how close my final [really] long run was, and then the next hurdle would be the 26.2 mile race itself! Knowing I only have to 9 miles next Saturday, and 8 the next, is a nice perk, too.

I honestly could not have been happier about how my 20 miles went on Saturday. I think it was my best long run yet, and I only had company for the first 6 miles – the rest was just me and my music. My pace was faster than usual, and I felt great almost the entire time (hit a little wall around mile 17 but just kept on putting one foot in front of the other and broke through it after about a mile) and ended on the greatest runners’ high ever! Finishing that run sparked a little bit of emotion, too. I thought about how far I’ve come since I started what I thought was merely a journey to lose some weight a couple of years ago. Now here I was, running 20 miles, and just a few short weeks away from running a marathon! I am excited for the challenge, and I am ready.

Saturday’s Long Run Statsimage

Oh, and good news – my Garmin decided to work this week! I cleared all my running history, and everything worked as normal.

Here is a photo from right after I finished my 20-miler. Once we left the park, Robert and I went to get some celebratory cupcakes from the I Heart Cupcakes bakery. I got a peanut butter/banana cupcake, and Robert got a strawberry cupcake – 100% delicious!!

I got back to doing my yoga DVD this week – I did it twice, which really helped me recover and feel refreshed for running. I am also keeping up with the 1,000 burpee challenge for February, but not without complaining. It is difficult to get started on them each day (skipped Tuesday’s – oops!) but when I do get started, it is easier to keep going and get them done. I wonder what March’s challenge will be!

My workouts this week:

Monday: 5 X (1200 meters fast pace + 400 meters walk) + 40 Burpees

       1200 meters pace = 8:30 min/mile
       400 meters pace = comfortable walk

Tuesday: Yoga + Stretching/Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 7 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile) + 50 Burpees

Thursday: 5 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:00 min/mile) + 40 Burpees

Friday: Yoga + 40 Burpees + Stretching/Foam Rolling

Saturday: 20 Mile Long Run (longest run to date!) + 40 Burpees

Sunday: 40 Burpees + Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation!There's still time to join Team Life Without Lupus in the 2013 ING New York City Marathon! Join here! http://lupusny.org/events/2013/ing-nyc-marathon

 QOTD: Do you enjoy the taper period before a race?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Biggest Loser Controversy – Running the Numbers

I have been a fan of The Biggest Loser for years. While most reality television bores me, this show (no matter how scripted) actually sparks my interest due to the fact that these people really are changing their lives for the better. After this week, though, my opinions of the show have been completely de-railed…

On Tuesday night, the season 15 finale of ‘The Biggest Loser’ was broadcasted live on NBC with millions of people tuned in to watch. Most of the contestants looked happy and healthy, and had their lives on a much better track after their months-long journey towards health and fitness. Finally, the last contestant to reveal their weight loss, Rachel, walked on stage and well, my heart sank. I think the shocked looks of trainers Bob and Jillian say it all…

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Rachel ended up winning $250,000 as well as the title of ‘Biggest Loser,’ and by now I am sure most people have read numerous accounts of the controversy surrounding this young woman. She started out at 260 pounds when she arrived at the ranch, and weighed in at 105 pounds at the finale. That is a weight loss of 155 pounds (60% of her body weight)! Honestly, I thought she looked incredible (and very healthy) during her last week at the ranch, and I figured she wouldn’t lose much more after that.

What is disconcerting, though, is that she has stated how proud she is of her weight and has reached her maintenance point. She claims that she got there in a healthy way – by doing a lot of cardio, eating 1,600 calories per day, and following the advice and support of The Biggest Loser’s medical team. While I am so happy for her (and every contestant’s) accomplishment, I honestly do not believe that her version of ‘in a healthy way’ is as healthy as she thinks it is.

Rachel (left to right): Starting weight, Makeover Week, Finale

Why do I think that? Well, let’s take a quick look at the science of weight maintenance. According to this ‘daily calories calculator’ from Runner’s World online, Rachel’s current weight of 105 pounds and height of 5’4” is maintained by eating 1,559 calories per day. That’s if she is SEDENTARY, which we know she is not because she has clearly stated that she gets plenty of exercise. With moderate exercise, she needs 2,014 calories per day. Let’s assume that she burns an average of 300 calories per day through exercise. That gives her a net calorie intake of 1,259 – 755 calories UNDER where she should be for moderate exercise, and 300 calories under what she needs if she were completely sedentary!

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I realize that, publically, the show, trainers, and pretty much anyone under contract with ‘The Biggest Loser’ have probably been instructed to handle this situation with extreme political correctness. They are either declining to comment (see below for Bob and Jillian’s tweet) or showing their support for Rachel. I hope that behind the cameras, though, Rachel is getting the help she clearly needs. There are impressionable young women (and men) out there who WILL think that being under weight is what makes you successful and/or beautiful. I truly hope that the future of this show does not head down the path of continuing the already media-tainted view of how a person should look.

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I know there are many opinions regarding this situation, and I in no way am trying to take away the hard work done by Rachel or the other contestants. I wrote this post out of genuine concern. I honestly just think that she crossed a line, and I encourage anyone out there who has a desire to lose weight to do so with a goal towards being fit and healthy, NOT just seeing a low number on the scale.

QOTD: What are you thoughts on Rachel’s weight loss?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Guest Post: Attending the Princess Half Marathon as a Spectator

The 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon was my first long distance race, and my wonderful husband, Robert, came along to cheer me on of course! With this incredible race weekend coming up in just a few short weeks, I asked him to put together his experience and recommendations to help others make the most out of this race as a spectator!

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! May I have the attention of every ‘Prince Charming’ planning to cheer for his ‘Cinderella’ at the 2014 runDisney Princess Half Marathon for the first time. With this proclamation, I present to you some first-hand advice on how to make your spectator experience magical.

Pre-Race AreaDSC02610

Spectators play an integral part in the success of their runners through motivation during training and actually being there to cheer during their race. The runDisney ChEAR Squad offers several packages that provide you with the best opportunities to achieve this. The packages provide a range of options from which to choose; everything from reserved viewing areas to VIP treatment in the Race Retreat. Below you will find a quick overview on what each package has to offer:

Bronze Package - No Charge
E-newsletter detailing the weekend events

Silver Package - $39
Bronze package plus…
Waterproof stadium blanket
Mickey clappers
ChEAR Squad T-shirt

Gold Package- $65
Silver package plus…
Reserved ChEAR Squad Zone viewing along course
Entry to Finish Line ChEAR Zone
  Grandstand seating
  Hot/cold beverages
  Private restrooms

Platinum Package - $120
Gold package plus…
Entry to Race Retreat
  Character greetings
  Brunch with hot/cold beverages
  Temperature controlled tent with lounges
  Internet access to follow live results
  Private restrooms
  Live video feed from finish line
  Kiddie Corner

My Recommendation would be to purchase either the Gold or Platinum package. Both give you access to the reserved ChEAR squad Zones. While there are several areas from which you can see your runner, these zones provide the best opportunities.

View of the runners from the MonorailDSC02661

Heading to the Magic Kingdom ChEAR Squad ZoneDSC02619

With the 2013 Princess Half Marathon being our first runDisney experience, I wanted it to be something we would both remember for a long time. I made the decision to purchase the platinum package so I could experience everything that runDisney could offer me as a spectator.

The Race Retreat was definitely a nice bonus because I was able to get some breakfast after being up in the wee hours of the morning to join my wife at the pre-race area. However, as nice as this opportunity for breakfast and relaxation was, my main focus was finding a great place along the course where I could help motivate and support my wife in her adventure.

After she left to be staged in her corral, I approached the information tent and asked how I could get a better view of the start to take some pictures. The gentleman I spoke with informed me that the starting line was not very easy to get to, and wasn’t even the best place to go (especially since I had the platinum package). He told me that the best place to go was the ChEAR Squad Zone at Magic Kingdom, and he was not wrong. For those of you that purchased the gold and platinum packages, I strongly urge you to make your way to this location as soon as your runner leaves for the corrals.

View from the Magic Kingdom ChEAR Squad ZoneDSC02635

Here are the directions to get to the Magic Kingdom zone:

1. Walk from the Race Retreat to the monorail station at Epcot.

2. Take the monorail to Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).

3. Exit the first monorail and then board the monorail to Magic Kingdom.

4. Once you arrive at Magic Kingdom make you way onto Main Street (there are spectator areas along the sidewalk).

5. Make your way to the ChEAR Squad Zone in front of Cinderella’s Castle.

6. Try and find a spot at the front left-hand side of the zone (you will be able to see your runner exit the castle from here).

7. There is a professional photo-op in front of the castle for the runners. This is your best chance to catch your runner’s attention and give them some motivation (bright colors or a sign is ideal here).

8. Once your runner has passed, make your way back to the monorail or your next desired viewing location (I chose the finish line and headed back to EPCOT to catch her crowning achievement of crossing the finish).

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A few of the other viewing locations along the course are:

  • The starting line
  • TTC (mile 4.2)
  • Along Floridian Way (mile 8.1)

Lastly, Disney has provided a helpful online spectator tool to help gauge where you can see your runner based on their estimated finish time or pace. You can access that tool by clicking HERE.

QOTD: Are you running or cheering at the Princess Half Marathon in a few weeks?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Weekly Recap 1/27/14 – 2/2/14

Marathon Training Countdown – 14 Weeks Down, 4 Weeks to Go!
Burpee Challenge Count – 80/1000

You may have noticed that I added a burpee count in addition to my marathon training countdown – why, you ask? Well, apparently there is an 1,000 burpee challenge for the month of February going around the social media world. I first noticed it over at Rebecca’s blog (Press On and Run). I really hate burpees so, naturally, I decided to commit to this challenge (I really need something that will help get me some good core work done!). Over the course of the month, I will complete 1,000 of these nasty little exercises, which equals out to about 36 per day.

I have also committed to the Team runDisney photo-a-day challenge. This one is just for fun! If you want to follow along, I’ll be posting each challenge photo on my Facebook page and Twitter account.

Training during the week was alright. I know I shouldn’t be allowed to complain about my mid-week training runs since they are now less than half the mileage of my long runs, but I really did not enjoy doing 7 miles on the treadmill on Wednesday. The week before I didn’t mind it as much since there were enjoyable shows on TV to keep me distracted, but apparently the cable world decided not to play anything entertaining this week, so it was a very boring 7 miles.

But now, on to better news! I ran 18 miles on Saturday morning – my longest run to date! I got to the park by 7 AM as usual, and met up with my Team RWB running buddies. Unfortunately, my Garmin (Forerunner 10) decided to crap out on me again. It was been quite some time since I have had issues with it, so I figured all was well, but guess I was wrong. I charged it overnight like I normally do, but after it read my location the battery charge dropped down to nearly dead in less than 2 minutes (I seriously may just need to bite the bullet and buy a better watch).

However, as luck would have it, one of the Team RWBer’s who was out there with us needed to do a long run for his marathon (in Okinawa!) coming up, so he decided to run 18 miles with me, and we used his Garmin for the stats. I was so grateful to have company, especially someone who, as it turns out, is a running coach for the Houston Fit running club. I ended up hitting a wall (my legs were very tired) at mile 16, so the extra motivation helped me get through that quickly and finish the run strong!

Here are my long run stats:image

Lastly, I have a great ‘humor of the day’ story for you all: Back when my long runs started getting into the double digits, I began doing ice baths on a weekly basis to help speed up recovery. So a few weeks ago Robert and I went to Kroger, as per usual, and picked up 5 bags of ice. Well, the lady at the check out counter was like “dang, is somebody gonna be doing an ice bath?” To which I replied in a shocked voice, “actually, yes, I am!” (seriously, who would expect someone’s mind to go to ice bath before a party or something? haha). We have seen this girl every Saturday that we go pick up ice now, and she always asks me how many miles I ran that morning for my marathon training! I just think it is hilarious that we are now friends with this check-out girl at Kroger due to the large amounts of ice that we purchase!

My workouts this week:

Monday: 5 X (1200 meters fast pace + 400 meters walk)

       1200 meters pace = 8:30 min/mile
       400 meters pace = comfortable walk

Tuesday: Rest Day/Stretching & Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 7 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile)

Thursday: 5 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:00 min/mile)

Friday: Rest Day/Stretching & Foam Rolling

Saturday: 18 Mile Long Run + 40 Burpees

Sunday: 40 Burpees + Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation!  

QOTD: Which GPS watch do you run with? Do you have any recommendations?