Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recap: Nike Women’s Half Marathon Expotique & #RunnersLove Meet-Up

Last Friday Robert and I headed to Washington D.C. for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. On Saturday morning, we woke up and got ready to head to Georgetown for two amazing festivities; the #RunnersLove meet up, and the race Expotique!

Our first stop for the day was Sprinkles Cupcakes for the meet up. I cannot begin to explain how fun this experience was – I finally was able to meet so many amazing women, who I had only known through the internet, in person! All of them were incredible and I can’t wait to see them again! We talked, laughed, ate cupcakes, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company. Thank you so much Meg and Kristy for hosting this meet up!

Arriving to Sprinkles100_1009

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The DELICIOUS cupcakes Robert and I split – we got the Smore’s (my favorite), Peanut Butter Chocolate, Chocolate Marshmallow, and Cinnamon Sugar flavors100_1012

The lovely ladies of #RunnersLove!100_1014

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After the meet up, we headed to the race Expotique. It was so much fun, but not completely what I expected either. Usually at race expos, there are a lot of vendors selling different kinds of products. At this particular expo, Nike had a booth for a run analysis and photo ops, then they had booths for their sponsors only. Nuun was there, which I loved since they are one of my favorite sources of electrolytes, and you got to sample a bunch of flavors (I LOVE the Tri-Berry and Cherry Limeade). Paul Mitchell was also there, and they had stylists braiding all the ladies’ hair, which I thought was such a great idea! With it being a women’s focused race, having Paul Mitchell there I thought was genius – I mean, what girl doesn’t enjoy getting her hair done?!

My favorite photo from the expo

Found my name of the board of runners

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Expotique Tent100_1026

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After visiting the Paul Mitchell booth – kind of a Sound of Music look, huh?!image

While I was getting my hair done, Robert visited the Luna Bar booth to make a spectator sign. Can I just say how awesome my husband is?! I don’t know if I would be half as successful as I am now if it weren’t for him encouraging me to follow through with all the ideas that flow through my head!

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Did you know that ‘Nike’ is the goddess of strength, speed and victory? I did not until I saw this at the expo!image

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There was a big wall where each runner could sign their name and/or write a note – I decided to partake!image

The only complaint I have from this expo is that there were no porta-potties anywhere. The only restroom available was at a Starbucks, and they were really trying to deter people by saying that you HAD to buy a drink before using the restroom. Apparently Nike doesn’t realize there there would be 15,000+ runners hydrating the day before their 13.1 mile race, and that having restrooms nearby is necessary?

After the expotique, we went to Nike Town for some shopping! They had so much awesome race merchandise – I ended up buying a hat, sleeveless running shirt, running capris (with the same design on them as on the Tiffany’s necklace I got at the end of the race), and a running jacket.

My gear from the race goodie bag – shirt, shampoo, hair ties, Luna bars, and Hawaiian Crunch granola

Race gear I bought from Nike Town

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Overall, the experience was an absolute blast, and I left excitedly awaiting the next day’s race! Robert and I headed back to the hotel so I could ice my knee and stretch, then we decided to get a quick and light dinner from Panera. I went to bed early so I could get a good night’s sleep before my early wake-up call the next morning – it was almost time to RUN D.C.!

QOTD: Do you enjoy race expos?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weekly Recap 4/21/14 – 4/28/14

Jump Rope Challenge Count: 9,000/10,000

Sorry for the late recap post this week – I know it isn’t a huge deal, but I enjoy keeping a regular blog schedule. Robert and I got back to Houston from Washington D.C. yesterday and had errands to run so I wasn’t able to get a post written in time for Monday.

We had SO much fun in D.C. Everything from the #RunnersLove meet up at Sprinkles Cupcakes to the Expotique to the Nike Women’s Half Marathon race was just amazing! I can’t wait to recap everything for you all! I’ll leave you with a couple photos from the race before recapping the whole experience.

Starting line – photo from the Run Nike Women Series Facebook Page

After the finish line when I received that little blue box

The Tiffany’s necklace I earned after the race

Knee Update: I have decided that I’m going to take a bit of time off from any intensive training because my knee has not been getting better. My goal is to be back to running races stronger than ever in the Fall, but for now, I need to heal. Yoga, low-intensity strength training, and cross training exercises such as swimming are going to be my friends this summer!

As many of you may know after my post last Friday, my brother has officially graduated from Army Advanced Individual Training (AIT)! Although I was not able to be there in person, my parents took some great photos – here are a few:

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Lastly, after registration opened for the runDisney WDW Marathon Weekend events last Tuesday, I can excitedly say that both Robert and I have gone DOPEY! Yes, we will be tackling the 2015 Dopey Challenge along with a few of our friends! 48.6 miles in four day?! Bring it.

My Workouts This Week:

Monday: Jillian Michael’s Six Week 6-Pack (35 Minutes) + 500 Jump Ropes

Tuesday: 30 Minutes Elliptical (Intervals – Level 1) + 550 Jump Ropes

Wednesday: Yoga + 650 Jump Ropes

Thursday: 30 Minutes Elliptical (Rolling Hills) + 500 Jump Ropes

Friday: 500 Jump Ropes (Travel Day)

Saturday: Walked around Washington D.C.

Sunday: 13.1 Miles at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon

Monday Motivation!

QOTD: Have you ever done a Nike Women’s race event?

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Very Special Day - #ArmyStrong

While Robert and I are headed to Washington D.C. today, an even more exciting and important event is taking place. My younger brother graduates from his final round of training today at the Fort Sam Houston Army Base in San Antonio, Texas. Over the past few months, after his graduation from Basic Combat Training (BCT), he has been in the very intensive Advanced Individual Training (AIT) to become an Army Combat Medic. He has not only done well, but has flourished and truly found his niche. He has consistently performed as one of the top students throughout his training, and all while in Sixty-Eight Whiskey (68W), one of strictest platoons on base.

Brad and I hiking in Hawaii - 2004

Brad and I before a football game for our high school - 2006

I am so proud to call him my brother. Although he can now proudly proclaim himself as a soldier and medical professional, he has always been a protector and a healer in my eyes. I remember when we were very young, if I had a nightmare or needed someone to check underneath my bed for ‘monsters’, my brother came in unafraid with his baseball bat ready to take on anything that threatened me. When I was sick or got hurt, he always helped take care of me. He is, and always will be, my brother and one of my best friends!

Brad and I in Maui after Robert’s and my Wedding - 2012

Although I cannot be at his graduation today, I will absolutely be there in spirit. I will also get to spend a few days with him next week/weekend in Dallas before he heads off for his first year-long deployment in South Korea.

Brad and I in San Antonio a few weeks ago - 2014

I love you Brad, and am so proud of you! ARMY STRONG! #HOOAH #ProudArmySister

QOTD: Do you have family or friends in the military?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thoughts on the Boston Marathon & Nike Women’s Half Marathon Race Prep

Boston Marathon

On Monday morning, about 36,000 people lined up to run the Boston Marathon. Although I did not get to watch the entire race, I caught the highlights, including Meb Keflezighi’s incredible feat of earning first place and a personal best with a time of 2:08:32 (FYI, that is under a 5 min/mile pace for the ENTIRE 26.2 miles). I definitely got teary-eyed watching both and he Rita Jeptoo (first place woman who ran the full in 2:18:57) fly across the finish line! And although Shalane Flanagan wanted that win so badly, the fact that she pushed herself to gain her own personal best is incredible as well! I am so happy for everyone’s accomplishments that day.

The elites aren’t the only ones who were out there, though. Although their intense competition is certainly the main focus, they make up a small portion of the runners who toe the start line. My teary eyes didn’t start when I saw the elites cross the finish, but instead when I saw the massive corrals of runners begin their own races. People often forget what it takes just to GET to that start line. It takes serious dedication to training, and a heck of a lot of sweat getting those Boston Qualifying (BQ) marathon times! So I would like to say GREAT job, and give huge congratulations to all who made it to that start line. You are an inspiration to us who have not reached that point in our running yet, and I don’t know if I can speak for everyone, but I truly hope that one day I am able to make it to that highly esteemed race!

Nike Women’s Half Marathon Race Prep

This upcoming Sunday is the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington D.C. I am so excited to run this race, and to visit Washington D.C. I haven’t been there in years, and I have heard that spring is the perfect time to visit!

Amidst all the excitement of the course, the #RunnersLove meet-up, and the gorgeous Tiffany’s necklace that will be handed to me by a fireman dressed in a tuxedo (don’t worry Robert, I’ll restrain myself! haha), I have to think about my strategy for the race. My knee is still on the mend so of course my first goal is to finish strong, uninjured, and with a smile on my face! If that means I need to do the run/walk method, then that is perfectly fine with me.

I will be taking it easy on my workouts this week leading up to the race as not to irritate my knee any more. I took an ice bath this past Sunday to help refresh my muscles and will do one or two Epsom salt baths this week as well. Consistent and extra-long sessions of stretching and foam rolling are going to be a major key for my race prep as well. As far as nutrition goes, I am eating nothing out of the ordinary and steadily increasing my carb intake throughout the week. This should keep my energy levels up and ready for another half marathon!

My plans are in place, and even though my goal is not glamorous, it is what it needs to be for right now. I am hoping the expo has a KT Tape (or something similar) booth; I think it would be helpful just for this weekend! I don’t want to start to wear it every time I run and end up building a dependency on it.

I can’t wait to see so many of y’all this weekend – I hope everyone’s prep for the race is going well!

QOTD: Did you watch the Boston Marathon?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend Registration

Today at 12 PM EST, registration opens to the public for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events. This race weekend takes place January 7-11, 2015 at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida! There are a lot of events happening this weekend including a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, along with two huge challenges. The first is the Goofy Challenge (2015 will be the 10th anniversary), which is when you run the half marathon then the full the very next day (includes three medals), and the other is the 2nd annual Dopey Challenge, which is running all four races in four days (includes SIX medals)!

With the Goofy Challenge being an anniversary year (and the fact that runDisney revealed the awesome special medal for it), expect it to sell out fast. My guess is that the Dopey Challenge and individual races will sell out very quickly as well. If you want to run any of the races, I highly recommend registering as soon as it opens. Robert and I will both be participating in the 2015 Dopey Challenge, so we’ll see you there! My main goal is going to be to ride Expedition Everest while running the full marathon!

Schedule of Events

Disney Health & Fitness Expo
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
10:00 AM – 8:00 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2015
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM on Thursday, January 8, 2015
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM on Friday, January 9, 2015
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Saturday, January 10, 2015

Family Reunion Breakfast
7:00 AM – 9:00 AM on Thursday, January 8, 2015

7:00 AM – 9:00 AM on Friday, January 9, 2015

Disney Family Fun Run 5K
Epcot
6:15 AM on Thursday, January 8, 2015

runDisney Kids' Races
New Balance Track & Field Complex

11:00 AM on Thursday, January 8, 2015

11:00 AM on Friday, January 9, 2015
11:00 AM on Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mickey Mile
New Balance Track & Field Complex

12:30 PM on Thursday, January 8, 2015

12:30 PM on Friday, January 9, 2015
12:30 PM on Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pasta in the Park Party
Epcot
7:00 PM on Thursday, January 8, 2015
7:00 PM on Friday, January 9, 2015
7:00 PM on Saturday, January 10, 2015

Walt Disney World 10K
Epcot
5:30 AM on Friday, January 9, 2015

Walt Disney World Half Marathon
Start/Finish: Epcot
5:30 AM on Saturday, January 10, 2015

Walt Disney World Marathon
Start/Finish: Epcot
5:30 AM on Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney
Downtown Disney
Sunday, January 11, 2015

Entry Fees & Deadlines

Dopey Challenge
$530 by June 24, 2014
$560 between June 25, 2014 and August 19, 2014
$590 on or after August 20, 2014

Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge
$360 by June 24, 2014
$380 between June 25, 2014 and August 19, 2014
$400 on or after August 20, 2014

Walt Disney World Marathon
$170 by June 24, 2014
$185 between June 25, 2014 and August 19, 2014
$200 on or after August 20, 2014

Walt Disney World Half Marathon
$170 by June 24, 2014
$185 between June 25, 2014 and August 19, 2014
$200 on or after August 20, 2014

Walt Disney World 10K
$105 by June 24, 2014
$120 between June 25, 2014 and August 19, 2014
$135 on or after August 20, 2014

Disney Family Fun Run 5K
$60 per participant by September 23, 2014
$70 on or after September 24, 2014

runDisney Kids Races
$15 per child by September 23, 2014
$20 on or after September 24, 2014

Mickey Mile
$30 per child by September 23, 2014
$35 on or after September 24, 2014

ChEAR Squad: Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge or Dopey Challenge
Bronze Package – No Charge
Sliver Package – $39
Gold Package – $85
Platinum Package – $180

ChEAR Squad: Marathon
Bronze Package – No Charge
Sliver Package – $39
Gold Package – $65
Platinum Package – $120

ChEAR Squad: Half Marathon
Bronze Package – No Charge
Sliver Package – $39
Gold Package – $65
Platinum Package – $120

Race Retreat Packages
$120 Half Marathon Package
$120 Full Marathon Package
$225 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Package
$225 Dopey Challenge

Pasta in the Park Party
$54 Adult
$30 Child

Proof of Time

If you plan to finish Half Marathon in less than 3:15 hours or the Marathon in less than 6:30 hours, proof of time is required. Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge and Dopey Challenge participants should use the Full Marathon proof of time requirements.

A valid proof of time provided at the time of registration must include the following:
Half Marathon - 10K or longer
Full Marathon - 10 Miles or longer

  • Name of Race, Date, & Distance (race must have taken place after January 1, 2013)
  • 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 October 10, 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

  • All race fees 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 for the Marathon to 2016, on or before December 18, 2014. There is a $45 fee if completed by November 20, 2014, and a $70 fee is completed between November 21 and December 18, 2014 (no deferrals for the 5K or Kids’ Races).
  • The deferral link will be available June 1, 2014.

QOTD: Are you running any of the events during the 2015 WDW Marathon weekend?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekly Recap 4/14/14 – 4/20/14

Jump Rope Challenge Count: 6,300/10,000

Hey everyone, and Happy Boston Marathon Monday! Best of luck to everyone running today – I am praying that everybody a SAFE and FUN race experience today!

I hope everyone had a very Happy Easter! Robert and I drove up to Dallas to spend the weekend with my family. We had a wonderful time, and on Easter morning, we did an ‘egg hunt’ for all our pups! Our youngest dog, Malia, and my parents’ youngest dog, Emma, both really got into it, too. We put dog treats in a few eggs, and they broke them open and ate the treats – it was hilarious to watch! Our other dog, Leilani, was more interested in playing with sticks in the yard, and my parents’ other dog, Roxi, was running around as fast as possible. I think she had a bunch of energy!

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My knee pain was really off and on this week. Monday and Tuesday went great – no issues at all. Wednesday it hurt to walk, so I took the day off, then Thursday was a travel day, which then turned into a rest day as well. I did make up for taking two rest days over the weekend though! I also got to run with my dad, which is always fun. I love running with him – it is great father/daughter bonding time! Unfortunately, after about 2 miles, my knee starting feeling irritated. Ugh. I’m hoping all my attempts at recovery work soon. I may just be run/walking the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. next Sunday. No matter, though, because it’ll be fun no matter what!

This past weekend I finally got my first massage of the year. I went to the same guy in Dallas that I went to once last year and, once again,  he did a great job. My muscles felt so good afterwards, and I’m seriously considering going in for another session in a couple weeks (I’ll be back in Dallas to see my amazing brother after his graduation from Army Combat Medic Training, and before his first deployment to South Korea) to have him spend the majority of the time on my legs. I think it would be very good for my running!

Also, I’ll have a full post on the details tomorrow, but just a reminder that registration opens TOMORROW for the race events during the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! Get those credit cards ready because these races are going to sell out fast!

My Workouts This Week:

Monday: Jillian Michael’s Six Week Six-Pack (35 minutes) + 450 Jump Ropes

Tuesday: 30 Minutes Elliptical Hill Training (Level 1) + 450 Jump Ropes

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Rest Day (Travel Day)

Friday: 30 Minutes Elliptical Sports Conditioning Program + 900 Jump Ropes

Saturday: 30 Minutes Elliptical Hill Training (Level 2) + 3.4 Mile Run with Dad + 450 Jump Ropes

Sunday: Yoga + 450 Jump Ropes (Travel Day)

Marathon Monday Motivation! 

QOTD: How did you spend your Easter weekend?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Nike Women’s Half Marathon #RunnersLove Meet-Up

Next weekend is the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington D.C.! To celebrate, my friends Meg and Kristy, who are the founders of the #RunnersLove group, are hosting a blogger meet-up! It is going to take place at Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown at 10:45 AM. If you were unsure before, you can now rest easy knowing that cupcakes are absolutely an acceptable meal for brunch!

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Also, Meg and Kristy are working with Punkee Love Headbands to have official #RunnersLove headbands created! The below photo is the first headband that was just recently released – if you would like to purchase one, they are $15 and you can get in contact with Kristy at her blog HERE!

I am SO excited for next weekend – not only do I get to run an amazing half marathon and earn a Tiffany’s necklace, but I get to finally meet so many people who, even though we only know each other through blogging, I already consider great friends!

QOTD: Have you been to a #RunnersLove Meet-up? Will you be attending next week’s?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Liebster Award – Round Two

Last week Sara at Life Between the Miles nominated me for a Liebster Award (thanks Sara!). I love these because I feel like I get to know my blog-o-sphere friends a little bit better, and I get to share some fun tidbits about myself as well! The first time I was nominated for a Liebster Award was actually almost a whole year ago, so I’m calling this one round two!

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The Liebster Award Rules

1. You must link back to the person who nominated you
2. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award
4. You must create 10 questions for your nominees
5. You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

My Questions from Sara

1. If you could spend the day with one famous person, who would it be and why?
Whitney Houston. I wish I could tell her how much of an inspiration she was to me as a singer. I grew up listening to her music and amazing voice. Even though she is gone now, her music still makes me so happy and brings out the best in my own singing!

2. What is an attribute you admire in others?
Honesty – I believe it’s the only way to have a solid foundation for a great friendship or relationship!

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the 3 things you would take with you?
Boat, Satellite Phone, and a Survival Guide. Practicality, people.

4. If money was no object, what would you choose as your career?
I’ve always had this crazy dream to have my own Travel Channel show. I’d love to be the next Samantha Brown! I’d also really love to work for runDisney!

5. What is YOUR greatest achievement?
Running a full marathon! After that, I’d say getting my Bachelor’s Degree, and also my APICS Certification in Production & Inventory Management. Is it bad that I put my running achievements before my scholarly ones? Haha

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6. Why did you decide to start blogging?
Before I ran my first long-distance race (the 2013 Princess Half Marathon), I scoured the internet constantly for race recaps and information. A couple weeks after the race I decided that I really wanted to help others plan their runDisney races! I also wanted an outlet to document training towards my goals in running! It has become so much more than that, though. I love all the friends I have made through blogging!

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7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I have a lot. A few include lying, weak handshake, lack of eye contact in conversation, and when girls wear perfume and tons of make-up at the gym. If you look cute when you workout, you’re not doing it right!!

8.What is your favorite pizza toppings?
Cheese, cheese, and more cheese. Thanks! Pepperoni works too every once in a while.

9. What is the theme song of your life?
It changes every so often based on what is going on in my life but one of my favorites that never goes out of style is “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey… It’s a classic!

This is actually a photo of me singing “Don’t Stop Believin” on a dinner cruise Robert and I went on last year!image

10. If you had $1,000 that you could spend on anything, what would you spend it on?
A runDisney vacation of course (Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m addicted to Disney. Whew, glad I got that off my chest.)! I’d splurge on one of the really nice resorts on campus!

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 My Nominees for the Liebster Award
(I am going to try and nominate different people from last time)

1. Jess at A Little More Each Day
2. Lauren at Halfway to the Castle
3. Jewell at The Forever Learner
4. Michele at Pace of Balance
5. Denise at Healthy Disney Family
6. Lauren at Running the States
7. Tina at Gotta Run Now
8. Rebecca at Press On & Run
9. Meg at Runaway Royalty
10. Jamie at Cocktails and Carseats

Questions for My Nominees

1. So far, what is your favorite race that you have run and why?
2. What is your favorite childhood memory?
3. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
4. What are you most passionate about?
5. What is your dream job?
6. If a movie were to be made about your life, what celebrity would play you?
7. If you could have played a character from any movie, who would you pick?
8. What is your favorite Disney movie and why?
9. What is the #1 race on your bucket list?
10. If you could choose one food to have zero calories, what would it be?

QOTD: Choose one of the questions for my nominees and answer in the comment section!