Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Year in Review

Well, we've come to the end of 2014, and it's been a heck of a year!  This blog has been up and running for a full year, and I'm so grateful to all the friends I've met through social media.  It's been awesome to meet people in "real life" that I feel so connected to online.

As we get ready to ring in 2015, everyone is looking back as their own personal ups and downs of this past year.  Sometimes I feel like the year flew by, and other times I can't believe some things were just a year ago.  Here are some of my bests and worsts from 2014:

January: Completing the Dopey Challenge!  That may be the best of the whole year.  I've never been so proud of myself.  I PR'ed the full and cut 26 minutes off my previous PR.  It was seriously one of the coolest things ever.  If you are a pretty serious runner, I highly suggest taking on this challenge.

March:  We took an amazing trip to Hawaii.  It was there I realized how important being healthy and fit was.  I got to enjoy things like hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, and snorkeling with ease because I was in good shape.  It was the first time I looked around and realized how fitness is not only fun, it allows you to have more fun in "real life" too.

May:  Worst day of the year for sure--May 18th when I fell during a routine 8-mile run in my neighborhood.  This incident defined the rest of the year and I'm still struggling with it today.  Ironically enough, I had no idea how bad it was at the time.  I even went shopping all over town before going to the urgent care.

July:  Knee surgery.  It didn't fix anything.  It was an overall cruddy experience. 

August/September: My return to running in the Dumbo Double Dare.  It was such a slow race, but a little sign I posted on my back (and on social media) turned it around.  Runners are the best group in the world, and they pulled be through with each and every encouraging word.  It was the race that brought me back to life.

September:  I made a conscious decision to start pursuing fitness as a full-time career.  I signed up as a Beachbody Coach and registered to become a RCAA running coach (training is in March, 2015).  Making lemonade--and realizing that I have a huge passion for fitness and I'm pretty good at it too.

November: I completed the Wine & Dine half in the rain and the Vegas RnR Half in the freezing cold.  Oh yeah, and I registered for this little race called the Goofy Challenge.

And now, I sit here reflecting back on a year FILLED with blessings.  Even at some dark times, I was able to see that there are positives that can come out of every negative.  So, thank you 2014 for the ups, the down, and everything in between.  Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you had a great 2014 and 2015 promises even better.  Cheers!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I Bet You Can!

It's that time of year; a time for resolutions and getting on some serious diet and exercise overhauls.  SO, because hey, I'm human and I need one too, I organized another Diet Bet!  I did two of these this past year and now have $131 in my Diet Bet bank from money I've won.  Oh, and I was able to lose a few pounds post-surgery.  Not too shabby. 

In case you're not familiar with what Diet Bet is, they are an online company that manages these "bets".  You sign up and bet yourself that you can lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks.  If you win, by losing, you split the pot with all the other winners.  The organizer sets the buy-in price.  Mine is $25.  Some bets can get HUGE, but it's all relative because you still are splitting the pot with the other winners.  You can even bet for charity.

I would love to play with you in my "Get Lean in 2015" Diet Bet.  C'mon--get in on the FUN! 

Here's the link to join: 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Am I making a fatal mistake?

Okay running friends...if you've been following along at home, you know that I registered for the Goofy Challenge just a few weeks ago at the Wine & Dine Half.  EEK!  Not how I should have done it.  Add to it the fact that I got sick after the Vegas RnR Half and was out for almost two weeks and now I'm only two week until race day and looking at a 20-miler.  Am I making a fatal mistake?  I'm running a huge distance almost a full week later than what I'd normally do.  I should be in taper mode.  Instead, I'm squeaking in a 10/20 weekend.  Am I nuts?

I'm trying to balance proper training and smart tapering.  What are your thoughts?  Should I skip the 20-miler?  Should I do anything extra to help speed up recovery?  I'm starting to panic!  #WhatWasIThinking

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12 Days of Fitness

For the past week and a half on my own Facebook page, I've been posting a fun total body workout, day by day, based on the 12 days of Christmas.  It was a little holiday gift to all my friends, and all of you are my friends too! 
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season--and don't slack on those workouts.  When time is tight, go through my 12 Days of Fitness routine to quickly get a total body burn.  You can thank me later :).
And P.S., if we're not friends on FB, go and shoot me a friend request!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy, Healthy Travels

We are spending a lot of time in airports this holiday season.  Between visiting family, vacations, oh, and of course my hubby traveling for work, plus the upcoming runDisney races, the airport is quickly becoming our best friend.  We all know, though, that it's cold and flu season, and there is no place better to get sick than an airplane.  I've consulted with my travel expert (my hubby) and we've come up with our top tips to remain healthy this holiday season while you travel. 
1.  Wash your hands OFTEN.  Like, all the time!  Planes are full of germs, so as soon as you get off the plane, head for the bathroom to wash your hands. 
2.  Drink plenty of water.  Planes are dry, and if you're like me, you have trouble sticking to healthy habits while traveling.  One of those is drinking water.  I like to carry a reusable water bottle with me and refill once going through security.  Yep, I'm cheap like that!  But it also encourages me to drink more than the little cup of water they give you on the plane.   
3.  Not to sound too germ-crazy, but wipe down your tray table with an antibacterial wipe, especially if you plan on eating off the table.  If you're not really going to use it, you can skip this step, but if you're spreading out your dinner, wipe it down. 
4.  Take your vitamins and eat healthy!  I know, I know, this time of year it's hard.  That makes it even more important!  Arm yourself with a healthy immune system so your body can ward off all the colds floating around.  I usually will take some Airborne and I always drink my Shakeology daily. 
5.  Pack healthy snacks.  Airport junk food can be enticing, so come prepared.  Trail mix, meal replacement bars, and fruit all make easy, portable snacks.  Read want to save your calories and cheat meals for mom's home-cooking, not for some overcooked fast food at the airport!
6.  Get plenty of sleep!  If you are like us and you're switching time zones repeatedly, it's easy to get caught up in the fun and not sleep enough.  Especially if you have some red-eye flights, do what you can to make yourself comfy and get some extra ZZZZZZZ. 
7.  Reduce your stress.  Get to the airport early, know it will be busy, and find some quiet time to relax.  Stress is harmful to your body, so do what you can to reduce stress while you travel.
What tips did we miss?  We still have plenty of flying to do in 2015, so we'd love to hear your best healthy travel tips! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Race Report: 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon

I hope I can remember this race!  Yes, it's been way too long and I should have recapped sooner.  I got sucked into the holiday rush and too much work at work.  Here goes nothing!
My Dole Whip Costume...Dry :)
We spent the day at the parks, and returned to our hotel room around 5 to get ready for the race.  We were able to lay down for about half an hour before getting ready, which was great since we planned to shut down the after party.  We, along with everyone else running, were looking at the gloomy forecast with sad eyes.  There was no avoiding it.  It was going to rain.  We got ready, not changing much of our plans for costumes and attire.  We were sure to pack some ponchos for afterwards, and just figured we'd suck it up and have fun.  Even as I write this, I'm still not back to where I was with speed, so it was no big deal to just take it slow.
The last dry pic of the night
We headed out of the hotel around 7:30 and took a cab to Saratoga Springs.  We stayed off property at the Hilton near Downtown Disney, so this seemed like the best option.  Boarding the bus was easy and we were on our way to meet up with the Mickey Milers.  This race is fun to be at early--everyone is awake and buzzing with excitement.  We had ponchos to keep dry before we started.  Of course, us being totally inexperienced with rain, threw them away because it had stopped raining.  UGH!  How dumb are we?  Once the corrals opened, we stopped one last time for the bathrooms and the lines just weren't moving!  It was the worst we'd seen!  And then it started raining.  Cold, wet rain.  A very nice fellow runner managed to get an extra garbage bag and gave it to me.  I love runners!  They are the best strangers! 
We had to rush to the corrals, even missed the National Anthem.  I felt super rushed.  Not sure what the difference was, but I don't remember this last year.  By the way, it was still raining.  I lined up at the back of corral C, knowing I'm slower now than I was when I registered.  I got all my electronics up and running, and soon we were off.  Yep, still raining.  I tossed my garbage bag right before the start.  I guess this was going to be a new experience for me! 
I started and stuck to my intervals of 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking.  And it continued to rain.  Luckily it really wasn't that cold, so my tank and pants were perfect.  Thinking about it, it's probably better to run in less in the rain.  I had no choice but to be cautious running.  I'm already cautious--it's amazing what a huge fall will do to your confidence.  This race, though, was even more cautious than I usually am.  I was very careful about my footing and not running too fast.  Then I saw someone fall and it was all over for me.  I was not going to take the chance of injury.  I kept it slow.
As for the course, we went through Animal Kingdom first, then Hollywood Studios, then Epcot.  I didn't bring my phone or camera with me.  They would have both died had I brought them out in that rain.  I did notice a lack of characters.  Not sure what they could have done with the downpour, but we all knew it was going to rain--they should have planned for it.  I think my favorite part was running through the costume tunnel in Hollywood Studios.  Just for a few minutes, we were dry.  It felt amazing.  Oh, and those Osbourne Lights!!!!!  This year I decided to walk through.  It never gets old.  Just absolutely beautiful!!!!!  The rain really started to come down at the last mile.  I was glad I was almost done and could change into dry clothes.  That last bend before the finish line is great at Wine and Dine--they have lights and blasting music that really captures the party feel.  Round the corner and I was done.  I made it in 2:31, not lightning speed, but with the weather, I thought it was pretty great.  I collected my medal, fuel, and was off to the bag check.
I was one of the lucky ones whose medal did not break (there were many that were broken with the spinner).  I was not, though, lucky when it came to the bag check.  I'm not sure if they were short volunteers or what, but I waited over half an hour in the freezing cold rain after running a half marathon to get my dry clothes.  It was awful!  This was the most unorganized I've ever seen it.  This is my #1 complaint about this race (last year was nothing like this, so I'm going to be optimistic and assume it was a fluke).  Not only was it cold, but as each minute ticked away, it was time ticking away from my party time!  It took over 30 minutes to get my bag.  Once I did, I felt instant relief.  I made my way to a real bathroom and changed.  I know they have tents, but tonight it was just too cold and I was too wet to bother with a sweaty, hot tent.  It felt amazing to be in dry clothes.  I really wished, though, that I had packed flip flops or some other wet-proof shoe.  I had to put my sloshy wet sneakers back on after changing.  Very little time went by and Bill was ready to meet up.  We finished freshening up in front of Epcot, then we were off to the party.
A little rain didn't stop us from partying!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, it was pouring rain there too.  If you remember, my goal was to shut down the after party.  I was not going to miss it again!  We put on ponchos and started drinking! 
Honestly, I can see how this is a favorite race for so many runners.  I loved the after party, even though we were soaking and freezing.  Because of the rain, not as many rides were open and the vibe was a little low-key.  I joked to Bill that this means we have to come back AGAIN next year.  Don't think that will happen, but I'm sure we'll be Wine-ing and Dine-ing again in the future.  Overall, it was a great race with bad weather, and we loved every minute! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Race Report: 2014 Wine & Dine Half Expo

Okay, here it FINALLY is--my recap of the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  I know, I know, you've heard it all already, but here's my take, just for good measure!

This was our first time staying off property for a race weekend--we stayed at the Hilton in Downtown Disney, which left us to fend for ourselves when it came to race event transportation.  We decided taking a cab would be the best option.  Once we got up and got ourselves to the expo, we were met with tons of people!  I was a little surprised because last year it was pretty empty.  I think we just hit it at a bad time.

Busy, but still organized
Packet pickup was long.  I got my packet and noticed my shirt size was off.  I went back and they tried to convince me just to exchange my size at the shirt pickup, but I insisted they look at my waiver to see if I somehow entered the wrong size (though I highly doubt I would put down an XS).  Finally, one of the volunteers made some statement that made me look closer--they had given me the wrong bib!!!  EEK!!!  People--check your bib!!!  It never occurred to me that they gave me the wrong number; I was just worried about the size of the shirt!!!  After getting  the correct bib, we headed to the official merchandise booth by packet pickup.  It was wiped out.  I hoped for better luck at the main expo area, and we left empty handed. 
The correct bibs & swag
 Don't worry, once we hit the expo, I managed to do SERIOUS damage!  We went to the runDisney merchandise first, and left with a new jacket, new shirt, some hair bands, a wine glass, and even a stuffed Mickey.  I picked up new compression sleeves, a new massager, and some body glide, and then I made the lethal mistake of stopping by the runDisney booth.  

Innocent at first, I look at the Star Wars medals and the cute pink Coast to Coast I'll be getting in 2015.  Yep, then it all turned sour... 

I had been following along from home.  I knew there were Goofy bibs available at the NYC Marathon the week before.  I also knew online you could no longer register.  There was a sign...innocent enough... "free gift with registration".  Oh no!  Registration for what?  And what was the gift?  It was inevitable.  I registered for Goofy.  I should have just started training earlier.  I am also now the proud owner of a runDisney backpack.  Might be the most expensive backpack in the world!
So now,  here I am, 6 weeks from the Goofy challenge, totally unprepared and untrained.  (Well, it was 8 weeks at the time, but I've been sick and grumpy, so I lost some time already).  UGH!  I'm hoping for the best.  I'm already pretty solid on 13 miles, and I managed an extra few miles the following week.   Anyone out there have advice (other than "you shouldn't have registered")?  I have 6 weeks to get marathon ready.  Yep, let's all just let that sink in for a bit...
 See you in January!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Where the heck have I been?

Helllloooooooo!?!?!?!  Okay, okay...I may have fallen off the planet for a moment.  I've been totally MIA in so many ways since the Wine & Dine Half.  A week after that race, I ran the Rock N Roll Vegas.  I started that day sick, and it's been downhill since then!  I spent two weeks battling sickness--sore throat, cough, runny nose, exhaustion.  I even ended up staying home one day and skipping out on teaching classes for a week.  Running--what's that?  I haven't laced up my sneakers since then.

To say I've been in a funk is an understatement.  It's time, though, to kick this funk to the curb!  I have a couple... well, more than a couple... races coming up soon, including the Goofy Challenge, and I need to recommit!  So here it is, black and white, my commitment to PERFECT training for the next 3 weeks.  No excuses.  No faltering.  Good nutrition, good training, stretching, strength training.  All. Of. It. 

Any tips for me to get back quickly?  I have 6 weeks until the marathon--EEK!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pre-Race Reality Check

Wine & Dine is over (I promise a race report is coming soon) and now I'm onto the next one: The 2014 Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half.  I'm pretty tired from the fun of the Disney race and weekend.  I definitely did something wrong at that race because my back is killing me.  I also registered for Goofy so I have a ton of training ahead of me. 

As I picked up my bib last night (and realized that I am corralled WAY too far up), I thought back to when I registered for this race. I registered the night before the Disneyland Half Marathon with the thought that I'd "have fun" at Wine and Dine, then turn around and race Vegas.  I had grand ideas of chasing 2 hours again.

Tonight, I sit here and pray just to finish the race under 2:30.  Yep, 2:30.  I'm not even close to where I was before surgery.  It's a huge reality check for me.  I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.  I know I need to get back to a doctor and figure out some next steps.  Surgery clearly didn't provide the relief I was hoping for (in brief, they just removed some floating pieces of cartilage; I still have a huge hole in my cartilage).  Damn.  I was hoping I wouldn't need more procedures.

I'm working on coming up with a new training plan, incorporating more PiYo for stretching and strength.  I know Goofy is going to be really slow.  I thought I'd be racing by Surf City Half, but now I'm not sure about that either.  It's going to be a much longer road than I anticipated.  BooHooooo.  I'm done complaining.  :)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Greetings from Wine and Dine

Well, we're here, and I wanted to give you all some news. Sure, the expo was great, the food and wine festival is delicious, but you all know that. The big news is I registered for Goofy!!!!! I just couldn't resist the runDisney bag or that beautiful spinner medal! See you all in January. Who's coming???

Now, I'm off to run, because I have 8 weeks to train for Goofy--what did I get myself into?!??!?!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 2013 Wine & Dine Half Race Report, The Half Marathon

It's almost here!  Actually, as you read this, we are probably on the plane on our way to Disney World to take on the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon!  I can't wait to party all night.  Why?  Because last year I felt so terrible afterwards that we had to skip out on the after party :(  Boooooooo Hissssssss.  Not this year though!  I learned my lesson!  Here's a recap of my mistakes, and the overall great race.  Enjoy!

Original Post: December 5, 2013

Race Report: Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2013--Part 3: The Half Marathon...

 already since we are now almost 4-weeks post race, but here's my story anyways :)
My hubby flew in that morning; my mom and I did the 5k.  We spent the day at Hollywood Studios, and had a late lunch.  I really, really tried to limit my time on my feet (honestly, I did), and we tried to get in a little nap before the race.  I got a few minutes of sleep, but I was so excited it did no good.  The alarms went off and we were up getting ready around 6:00.

We boarded the buses between 7 & 7:30.  I instantly noticed a difference from the January races; people were awake, chatty, and ready to party!  I was super excited because I was mid-Dopey-training and was going to set my sights on a PR.  I felt great, the weather was good (slightly warm and humid, but almost perfect), and everything seemed to fit for a great run!

Ready to run!
We arrived at the staging area and people were really buzzing.  I stood in a long line for the bathroom then we checked our bags.  I noticed the beefed up security post-Boston, but it didn't bother me much.  We had planned to meet-up with some groups, but the bathroom lines were so long, it was impossible.  I waited one more time in the corral area for the bathroom and then lined up in corral C.
Disney had new corralling for this race; smaller (500 in each for the first few) and more frequent releases at the start.  Corral C is what would have been the back of A in previous years.  Truth be told, I had that moment of "whoa...I'm with the 'real runners'.  I don't belong here!"  I sat for about 15 minutes before the hype started up and we were getting ready to go.  I was feeling a little tired, but figured that would pass as soon as we got started.  Fanfare, A, B, then we were off!

I was really looking forward to this race: 3 parks, nighttime, food & wine at the end.  I coasted out pretty quickly and found the course really was nicely spaced out.  I never ran into the usual Disney overcrowding and there were very few run-walk-run-ers around.  My race plan was to run steady, walk through water stops, grab a clif shot when they were offered, and attempt a PR.  Here is what I remember of the run:
Mile 1: side stitches--ouch!  Just keep running your pace; it will pass (and it did)
Mile 2: WooHoo!  Feeling great, on pace for a sub-2:00 race, not breathing hard
Mile 3: Wow--look at all those people behind me...I'm really toward the front of the pack!  (I think somewhere in there we were close to the Animal Kingdom)
Mile 4: I think I ate too much today; I'm not feeling well; this necklace is making me gag; I think I'm going to throw up; rip this necklace off!
Mile 5: Don't throw up
Mile 6: Don't throw up
Mile 7: Don't throw up
Mile 8: Don't throw up (oh, and don't take that gel either, that will make you throw up)
Mile 9: Don't throw up
Mile 10: Don't throw up
Mile 11: Don't throw up, but maybe drink a little water--Ooooo...Osbourne lights!  They ARE amazing!
Mile 11.29: Yes, I remember looking down at my Garmin at this exact moment and thinking, "You idiot!  You ran a 5k this morning, walked around all day, and now you're running a half marathon at close to midnight.  I want to be done with this race!"
Those thoughts consumed me pretty much until the end.  13.1 miles, built up for years as the runDisney event that is everyone's favorite.  I was miserable.  I finished in 2:13; not the worst race ever, but far from the glory that I was expecting.

I got my medal, my snacks, my drinks, my bag and headed out toward the finish line party.  My plan had been to do a wipe-down in the bathroom to change and wait for my husband, but that didn't happen.  I found some grass and planted myself in the grass.  I was wet and freezing!  This was a bad idea--I should have stuck to my original plan of changing right away.  I tried drinking little sips of PowerAde and water (I didn't even open the wine).  I tried to slowly chew some chips, thinking it was the closest to a saltine cracker to settle my stomach.  I debated over and over whether or not to get up and get to a bathroom.  I was too afraid that the moment I stood up I'd be sick.  I sat in the grass, freezing, soaked in sweat for about 20 minutes before I decided I had to get up and change.  By that time, my hubby had finished, so I stood to the side and waited for him.  He immediately knew I did not feel well; I could barely stand.

We made our way to the Epcot bathrooms, passing many people who looked like they were in rough shape too.  I changed out of my wet clothes and felt slightly better; I wish I had brought warmer clothes.  I definitely underestimated how cold I would be after the race.  Billy changed too, and then we sat outside the bathrooms for about an hour.  I wanted to go into the party so badly, but my stomach wouldn't do it.  We finally decided just to take the buses back to the hotel.  Huge disappointment--I really wanted to go to the after party.  I made Billy promise we could come back and do this race again in the future so we could plan better.  Add insult to injury--I got the prize for the worst wife that night, when I was so consumed with my own misery that I never asked him about his race.  He did really well; no PR but close and he ran the entire time (no run-walk intervals).  I hate that I didn't ask.  He is amazing and so supportive of me all the time; I was a big poo and didn't even acknowledge his victory :(

Now that you know all about my miserable night, I have to say, it is not a fault of the race itself. I loved being able to run through 3 parks.  The smaller corrals worked wonderfully (though to be fair, I was toward the front so I have no idea about people behind me).  I found little to no crowding on the course.  The Osbourne lights were literally breathtaking.  I wish I had more time to see them.  I loved some of the nighttime effects, like the disco-ball costuming area and the laser lights.  There were a few dark spots that slowed me down, but overall, it was a very entertaining course.  As always, the volunteers were awesome, the medals were great, and the organization of the event was spot-on.  The port-o-potty lines were a bit long before the race, so I'm not sure if they just didn't have enough or if I'm just impatient.  In summation: great race, I'm not a night runner, I should have had more fun, and I'll be back!

Finally drank our finish-line wine 5 days later!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Goals for the 2014 Wine & Dine Half

We barely just came back from a Halloween trip to Disneyland, and we are getting ready to head to Walt Disney World for the 5th annual Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  I am definitely NOT ready--I don't have a costume, haven't started packing, still have tons to do!!!  One thing I've been thinking about, though, is my goals.  I'm still not really running fast since surgery, so it's time to focus on other things.  Here you go--my goals for this race:

1.  Finish strong--okay, this one is a little running related.  I always set a goal to finish strong. 

2.  Shut down the after party!  We missed the party last year  because I was feeling terrible after running.  This year--no way!  We are shutting it down!  I will be dragging myself around the park until 4 am.

3.  Meet up with social media friends.  I always get caught up in the race and spending time in the parks.  This year, though, I'm going to all the meet-ups and being sure to put faces with Facebook names.  (If you see me, come say hi too).

4.  Enjoy the expo.  I usually fly through the expo with a specific list and get back to the parks as soon as possible.  This time, I want to really see the booths and enjoy the speakers.  I plan to spend at least half a day at the expo.

5.  Have more fun!  This is my goal for the whole weekend.  I just want to really enjoy running again.  It's been such a trying few months, and I need to restore my love of running. 

What are your goals for your next race?  Who am I seeing at Wine & Dine?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What Runners Do Today

Okay...maybe not every runner, but this is what I DO as a runDisney runner.  It's the day after Halloween, so that means costume sales!!!!  I always try to think ahead to what races are coming up and what I might do for costumes.  Then, I hit those seasonal Halloween stores.  Parts like gloves, tights, even full costumes are on sale.  This is the perfect time to stock up.

What's on your runDisney race calendar?  Think through those costumes and get shopping today!  (BTW, anyone else struggling with costumes for Star Wars weekend?  I think there are TOO MANY options for that one!) 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Five: My 5 Favorite runDisney Medals

I'm departing for one week from my usual link-up (but you should all still check out the DC gals and their Friday Five--they are talking Halloween).  This week, I was inspired by a recent podcast episode from my favorite podcast: Mickey Miles!  Seriously, if you haven't listened and you love runDisney, you are missing out (you can find it on i-Tunes)!  Mike & Michelle have spent many hours with me on many long runs!!!!  A few weeks ago, a listener question arose: "What are you top-5 runDisney medals?"  GOOD QUESTION!!!!  So I got to making my mental list during my run, and here's the official one:

5.  My very first runDisney medal: the 2010 Disneyland Half Marathon (which was also the 5th anniversary of the race).  It was the beginning of this addiction.  My hubby and I have run that race every year since :)

4.  The Dumbo Double Dare medal.  This is/will be my first Legacy race.  For those of you who aren't familiar with legacy runners, these are people who have done every year of the race, and runDisney recognizes them at 5 years.  I can't wait for 2017!

3.  All of the Coast to Coast medals--I've accumulated 3 so far, and next year I'm already registered for the races to get the pink one.  I love the classic Partners statue and the consistency.  I don't think I could ever have too many of these!

2.  The 20th anniversary Marathon medal--this one is pure prettiness.  It spins, has classic Mickey & current Mickey, and has two of my favorite Disney quotes: "I hope we never lose sight of one thing: that it was all started by a mouse" & "All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them"

1.  My Dopey Challenge medal.  I'm not sure if I'll ever run another challenge this huge, but I'm sure glad I did it once!  It was seriously such a huge personal accomplishment, and SERIOUS FUN!

What are your favorites?  Which medal are you earning next?  (Btw, mine is the Wine & Dine Half, in case you were wondering!)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 2013 Wine & Dine Half Race Report, Jingle Jungle 5k

Happy Throwback Thursday!  Last year, I convinced my mom to join me for the Jingle Jungle 5k the morning of the Wine & Dine Half.  Enjoy the race report!

Original Post: December 3, 2013

Race Report: Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2013 Part 2--Jingle Jungle 5k

A blurry Mickey & Minnie at the start
My hubby had to work on Friday, so I conned my mom to run another 5k in Disney with me (well, let's be honest, when Disney is involved, it's not too difficult).  We had indulged at the Food & Wine Festival and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party the day before, so that early morning wake-up call was a little rough.  Add to it the fact that I was using my new phone and didn't set my alarm correctly.  The morning was a little rushed, but we ended up at the start line with plenty of time to spare.

The new magic bands allowed us to not  have to check a bag, so we walked straight into our corral and I quickly sat on the ground to try and save my legs for the half marathon.  It was "snowing" and I loved people watching.  There were some really great fun and festive costumes. I'll admit it; I've kind of been anti-Disney-5k because of the price and the whole "fun run" thing.  This being my second 5k, I will concede and admit it was pretty fun!  I hope runDisney doesn't keep the prices soaring, as they are really pricey.  I'm actually loving adding these into my race weekends.

Overall the race was fun; pretty much mile 2 was in the Animal Kingdom and the rest was outside.  It was nice to run through this park since it's missed in all but the marathon in January.  The characters were very "Animal Kindom-ish".  My mom didn't want to stop for pictures; somehow she was still worried about finishing (she did so much better this time; I wish she would have taken more pictures, but I let her 'run' the show). 

We finished right around 45 minutes.  Believe it or not, in "fun run" spirit, I left my Garmin in the room and didn't worry about pace.  The ending felt a little more "parking lot-ish" than some other races, so after a quick picture, we were on our way back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the parks.  We spent the day at Hollywood Studios and my hubby and I had to gear up for our first night race: The 2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon. 

That's all!  5k done, now onto the real reason we came :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Top Tips for Goofy & Dopey

I love seeing so many of my runDisney friends getting ready for the 2015 WDW Marathon Weekend.  Being a "kind of" veteran of these races--doing Goofy in 2013 & Dopey in 2014--I thought I might share just a little of what I've learned to help you get through the last few weeks of training.

Run all the races!

First, talking training, my #1 tip is to train EXACTLY how you plan to run the race.  I know there are some plans out there that say differently, but my experience is that if you plan to run, run in training.  If you plan to do intervals, do those exact intervals in training.  For the record, I ran some part of all the races.

Next, start to plan your goal pace.  This should always include scaling back on earlier races, especially for Dopey.  Just for reference, this past Dopey, I ran the 5k, ran for 1/2 miles with walk breaks for the 10k, did a 2/1 run/walk for the half, and did a 3/1 run walk for the full.  I saved it all for the full, and ended up with a huge PR.  You can do it!!!!!

One of the most important things for training for the Goofy and Dopey is to train for recovery too!  Do ice baths help?  What about specific recovery food?  Clothing, like compression items?  I did it all and experimented with so much.  I even slept in compression pants.  Also, I highly recommend not spending the day on the couch after a long run when you are training.  Go shopping.  Get up and move around.  This is so important especially if you plan to enjoy the parks. 

I love a good ice bath!
 Like any other race prep, you will want to try everything out before race day.  That includes fuel, costumes, shoes, etc.  With multi-day races, I always bring two pairs of running shoes just for running, and another style (or two) for walking around the parks. 

Compression, new kicks, & a killer look!
My biggest tip is to remember to have FUN!  These races are the perfect storm for slow times, so why not enjoy the course?  Take pictures, meet new friends, and most importantly, finish strong so you can enjoy celebrating your accomplishment!  Good luck runners!  Anyone have any questions?  I'd love to answer :).

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Newest Workout Obsession--PiYo

I realized I'm a little late to the party, and there are many people that have been doing PiYo for years, but hey, better late than never, right?  This is seriously my newest obsession.  Don't worry, I'm still massively obsessed with running and Be Bad Hip Hop and Zumba and BodyPump.  This is just an addition :)

About a month ago, I decided to expand my fitness business to include Beachbody Coaching.  Of course, to be a good coach, you need to know what tools you are using to help people.  I knew I needed to continue to get myself healthy after surgery, so PiYo made sense for me.  Low impact, yet challenging.  Inspired by Yoga and Pilates.  Flexibility and strength training.  Yep, sign me up!  It was all stuff I needed to balance my cardio-heavy life.  I was excited when I got the DVDs and really enjoyed the workouts.  I even sweat--which I didn't expect.  It was way more challenging than I thought.  I was hooked (and getting great results).

No sooner than I was raving about the home workouts did the opportunity to get trained in PiYo Live come right to my doorstep!  Of course, I jumped!  I could better help people doing the workouts at home, AND I could also bring this awesome workout to my clients at the gym.  Yep, sign me up again! 

Yesterday was the training.  Today, I am so sore!!!!  PiYo is no joke!!!!  I absolutely loved it live, too (not that I had any doubts).  I'm not a Yogi...not even close, so I was thrilled when, during introductions, our master trainer said to me "You are exactly who PiYo is geared toward!"  I guess that was something I missed along the way (this program has been around for about 7 years, I was just never interested).  This is a fast-paced workout that focuses on total body strength and flexibility.  I was literally dripping all over my mat! 

So now, I come to you, as one of the newest converts--and a certified PiYo Live instructor!  :)  I seriously can't wait to get my own class and spread the love.  Just like I tweeted yesterday: EVERY runner should be doing this workout! 

Vegas peeps--stay tuned!  I'm planning some fun preview workouts and hope to get a live class soon.  If you're not in Vegas and want to try PiYo, I'd love to help you get started and coach you through the program.  You can contact me here or find me on Facebook (Alyson Stater).  Do you already PiYo?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this program!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 2013 Wine & Dine Half Race Report, Part 1

It's getting close--the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon!!!!  My hubby and I are heading down to the World again to participate for the second time.  We just couldn't resist the anniversary medal!  Since this blog didn't exist last year, I borrowed from myself & my old blog to bring you 3 race reports for the next 3 weeks of Throwback Thursdays!  Enjoy!

Original Post: November 27, 2013

Race Report: Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2013--Part 1: The Expo

 I guess "better late than never"--confession: I actually wrote this on the plane, but never finished the post!

Tired doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.  This was truly an exhausting weekend, but lots of fun!  The race didn't quite go as planned, but more on that later.  Let's start at the beginning: the expo!

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous going into the expo.  After the disaster that was the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo, I just didn't have it in me to fight crowds and be frustrated.  My mom and I lined up early for the bus from Riverside, not really rushing to get on the first bus.  Our bus arrived a little after 10, and I was hoping we missed the initial rush.  I dutifully checked Twitter and Facebook to see if there were any social media warnings about the expo, and I didn't see much.  Phew!  We arrived at the expo somewhere around 10:30, and quickly made our way up to snap a few pictures and pick up packets.

The panic set in just a little and I headed straight for the runDisney official merchandise booth.  I already had my plan: one wine glass and one Sweaty Band.  There was a nice pull-over jacket, but they were already out of my size.  I think it was the runDisney Gods sending me a message: "Save your money for Dopey.  You're going to want everything at that race!"  The line moved quickly and my mom and I were on our way to pick up packets.
Packet Pickup

We split up (she picked up her 5k bib, I headed to half marathon land).  My line went fast; got my bib, runner packet, pin, and I was to wait in line to pick up my husband's stuff.  That line was way longer, but they stationed staff within the line to check your ID before you got to the front.  I'm sure it helped a little, but more-so, I appreciated the attempt to find any little ways to expedite the process.  With two packets in hand, I headed out to pick up my 5k bib & pin.  Yes, my hand were full and I was having trouble juggling everything!

We then quickly made our way over to the expo.  I had a long list of things I wanted to check out, and happily, the crowds weren't too large and I was able to purchase everything I wanted.  We picked up our race shirts as well, then headed to the buses to Epcot for some yummy food.

Overall, this was another successful expo!   I was happy that runDisney had planned this to better accommodate the runners.  I'm looking forward to another smooth expo in January!