Sunday, June 29, 2014

Road to Recovery: What's It All Mean?

Are you all tired of hearing about my injury yet?  Today marks 6 weeks since I fell.  6 WEEKS!  It's commonly known that 6 weeks is kind of the "healed" point for most tissue repair.  I should be feeling much better at this point, but that's not the case.  Some weird part of me thought I'd bound out of bed this morning and be 100% better.  Nope.  Not the case. 

So... along with perseverating on the options, surgery, therapy, and other injury related things, I've been pondering the meaning of life.  Okay, not quite the meaning of life, but more like the meaning of this injury.  Not to get all "do do do do... do do do do/ Twilight Zone" on you, but I do think that things happen for a reason. 

There must be a reason why this happened (other than my own stupidity for not paying attention to my running).  Here are my two theories:

First, my confession is that I had been considering leaving the world of education for a work-life full time in fitness.  No, not tomorrow, but I was really considering the move post-babies and I hadn't really worked out all the details. 

That being said, here's my first theory: This was God's way of telling me that it would be foolish to leave a stable career which I'm fairly skilled at.  Not to brag, but hey, I did get a job as a central office administrator at the age of 30.  My career has been very successful, thus far.  I have been lucky and am so grateful for the positive experiences I have had.  Am I supposed to really do this forever? 

Or, theory two: Did this injury occur to really show me how passionate I am about fitness and running?  I literally cannot stop thinking about running and how much I want to get back on the road.  I have deeply missed teaching my classes, and I have immersed myself in reading about fitness and running.  In a strange way, my sadness along this journey has made me aware of a true love of sport.  Is it true that if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life?

There they are--two polar opposite theories, and I can't figure out what it all means.  Or is it just a cautionary tale to pay attention before something serious happens when I'm running?  Or is it a sign that I need to have my phone and an ID with me just in case?  Or heck, is it really just me needing to obsess over something and since I can't run to clear my head, all I can do is throw around conspiracy theories?  So... what do you think?  What's it all mean?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Switch It Up Saturday: Personal Training with a Twist!

Personal training has worked really well for me (Joann) over the years.  It has been my go to even when I was slacking at the gym.   I don’t like canceling appointments, so this made me show up!   I need to be pushed and challenged when it comes to workouts.  I find a good personal trainer keeps the workout interesting.  I would train twice a week and try to head to the gym (or outside in nice weather) for the rest of the week.

My form of exercise and strength training took a little twist last year.  I have been training with a personal trainer on and off for years.  She has taken me through 2 meniscus surgeries and an achilles tendon surgery. She has become a close friend over the years. Last year she decided to move to Florida.  

I was concerned I would not keep up my training.  I am a person who knows exactly what to do, but I need to be pushed.   If I set out to do 50 crunches, I stop at 30.   I need to be accountable to someone.   Michele kept saying, “we should train by Skype” and I laughed.   Well, we decided to try it, and I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s so easy to wake up, get dressed and head to the basement for my workout.   I set up my laptop so she can see me working out and we connect by Skype.  I inherited some equipment from Michele when she moved.  She left me a step, medicine ball, and some bands.   I had some weights that Alyson left behind when she moved out.   I’ve since added to my collection.  (TJMaxx always has some really great discounted workout pieces.   You just have to keep visiting and get lucky.  I’ve scored with some weights and a kettle bell.  I found a good deal on a bosu ball on Amazon.)

This winter was one of the coldest and snowiest in years.  Had I been training at the gym, there would have been a lot of cancellations due to weather.  Instead, I just head to the basement!

I don’t have any cardio equipment, but that didn’t stop Michele from doing circuits with me.   In between my squats and weights, she manages to get my heartbeat up with jacks, mountain climbers and other exhausting moves.  I don’t have a very large area, but I’ve made it work.  She can see my form and correct me. There is no doubt that I get just as good a workout at home as I did at the gym.  Anyone else out there have an "out of the box" experience with a trainer?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Five: Five Things About Me!

I had so much fun linking up and reading other's posts on Tuesday, I decided to try another link up!  This time, it's with the ladies from Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up For What, & Mar On The Run.  I love reading running blogs, and hope to meet some fellow bloggers soon at my next race.

So...this week's topic is Five Things About Me.  Only 5?  I could tell you so much more (but whether you'd really want to know is a whole different story...hahahaha...).  Since this is a Disney and running/fitness blog, I'll narrow it down to those categories.  So, here we go!
2010 Disneyland Half Marathon
1.  My first Disney race was the 2010 Disneyland Half Marathon.  That was actually before runDisney was what runDisney is today.  My hubby lost a bet and had to run it with me (but to this day, he says it's one of the best bets he's ever lost).  We only registered a few mont
hs before the race (none of this crazy panic that is registration now) and it was only $90.  Ahhhh...the good ol' days!
2.  My hubby popped the question in Disney World right in front of Cinderella Castle.  It will always be my favorite Disney memory--I can't think of too many things that could top that!

3.  My first marathon, or race of any distance for that matter, was the 2005 Las Vegas Marathon (before it became the fab Rock 'n Roll event it is today).  It was a bucket list thing--I trained and ran, thinking it was a "one and done"!  It took me 5 more years to lace up for another race.

4.  Along with running, I'm a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.  I've been working (part time) in fitness since college.  I currently teach 5 classes a week at 24 Hour Fitness; it's my "just for fun" job!
Teaching Zumba at a huge event on the Las Vegas Strip
5.  I love being active, which is a great thing because I also LOVE to eat.  I refuse to give up pizza, wine, ice cream, or chocolate, no matter what training I'm doing.
Love the wine, but I'm also a goof-ball
So, there you have it!  But wait, isn't this Disney Runs in the FAMILY?  Yes, so if you want to learn more about all of us, check out the Meet the Family page

What about you?  What was your first race?  What foods do you refuse to give up?  Don't forget to check out the Friday Five hosts and other posts on their linkup :) 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Road to Recovery: Week...???

This is my first link up!  Woot woot!  I immediately jumped on the opportunity when the topic announced was injuries!  I'm ALL OVER that topic lately.  So here's how it works: superstar bloggers Patty from My No Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs, and April from Run The Great Wide Somewhere are the hosts.  They pick a topic and bloggers share their own posts on that topic.  Be sure to check out these 3 blogs and the many other bloggers talking injuries this week :)

I thought this was the worst-wrong!
So, for any new readers, let me catch you up:  I fell while running.  Hard.  Sprained my wrist, hit both knees, tore cartilage in my right knee along with an MCL sprain.  I'm actually exactly 5 weeks and one day out from the fall.  On some level I'm still in shock that I hurt myself so badly from a little fall.  I'm still not back to real workouts.  Some days I feel like it's getting better.  Other days I'm still in significant pain.  Ugh!

This past week I had a visit with a PT.  It was actually the best medical visit I've had yet.  He did a thorough assessment, including comparing my left side to my right, injured side, watching me walk all different ways, and listening to my symptoms.  He really put the pieces together (and was the first one to do so!  I had previously seen 3 doctors and did not come up with anything that made sense).  He thinks most of my pain is from a strain in my hamstring tendon, which likely pulled from my overstrides while trying to stop myself from falling.  It was a HUGE a-ha moment!  Yes, that's exactly what I was feeling.  Finally, someone listened to me!  I've been really frustrated because the tear in my cartilage was not where I was feeling the most pain.  It wasn't adding up.  Now, it totally does.  This also was awesome because I got real guidance on what to do/what not to do within my "workouts".  No, I'm not working out really, but just biking and leg lifting with zero resistance.  I cannot tell you how invaluable this visit was!!!  I finally feel like I am really on the right track.

So, that being said, week 5 and nothing too much more has changed.  Well... other than the number on the scale. Booooo. I'm finally encouraged that there is an end in sight and maybe even an end that doesn't include surgery (oh yeah... that was another awesome side effect of PT...he agrees with me on no surgery).  I'm still hoping to be able to run in Disneyland Labor Day weekend for the Dumbo Double Dare.  Obviously my goal of a 10k PR during that race is out the window, but just finishing both races will be  huge accomplishment!

My life on a stationary bike...for now :)
There you have it!  One more week of big limitations, then I should be able to start increasing my workouts and training.  My takeaway for everyone this week is to be sure you are consulting with medical professionals you trust!  Keep asking questions until it makes sense.  Listen to your body and your instincts.  When it all clicks, you'll know.  I am so fortunate that I work in the profession and was able to go to one of the best physical therapists in town.  I am able to pick the brains of PTs all the time and get some awesome advice.

So...anyone ever have an injury like this?  It's kind of a weird one!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Switch It Up Saturday: Be Bad Hip Hop

Yes, we all LOVE to run, but we also all love to be active in other ways too!  We wanted to share with you some of our other passions in fitness, so we started a mini-series "Switch it up Saturday".  Hope you enjoy!

In complete self-promoting and self-serving fashion...hey, I'm always honest, right...I'm starting with my BIGGEST passion right now; a company I stumbled upon and has now become ingrained in both my work, fitness, and personal life: Be Bad Hip Hop. 

Be Bad Hip Hop is a dance fitness format to top radio hits, combining aerobic dance with authentic hip hop moves.  I met the owner/founder, Gwenda Hansen, when she was living in Las Vegas and teaching classes at 24 Hour Fitness (where I also work).  She is one of the most passionate people I have ever met, and just talking to her for 5 minutes about Be Bad Hip Hop had me hooked!  I quickly signed onto her pilot program and began working my butt off for her and the company--all driven by a true belief in the mission statement and the program.

Doesn't that make you wanna join in?  I mean--"empower you to be your BADDEST self"--heck yeah!  I'm ready to "tackle the world!"  Gwenda moved to Oklahoma almost a year ago, and left a few of us in Vegas to spread the "BADnez".  You can now find Be Bad Hip Hop 5 days a week, and it continues to grow.  For you readers in other places, Be Bad Hip Hop is growing fast and furiously.  You can find classes in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and Oklahoma.

But Aly...(actually, my Bad Girl name is "Jersey")...but Jersey, what's so great about THIS workout?  Okay, okay...I'm getting to that.  First, it's all music you hear on the radio (or at least know from the past).  It's the music you probably already listen to when you run!  Second, it's pre-choreographed and easy to learn.  You know exactly what you're getting when you walk into a class so you don't feel like you have two left feet.  In the future, students will have the opportunity to purchase choreography to do at home, so you can even practice before class.  Third, and I'm stepping up on my soapbox here, the instructors are true fitness pros! There is a rigorous process to become and instructor, and as a student, you can have confidence that your instructor truly understands fitness and can deliver a safe and effective workout.  Finally, and this is the most important piece, this is really a family, much like the running community is a family.  The friends I have made through Be Bad Hip Hop have become such an important part of my life.  It is something I have not found anywhere else.  I am connected through this program to people in other places and we all have a special bond through this little workout.  So really, my "personal life" benefits are far more meaningful than even the workout itself. 

Yes, I am biased, but I cannot even put into words how much I'm loving this fitness format!  Check out Be Bad Hip Hop on social media and join in the BADnez!
Facebook (Go over and give it a LIKE)
Twitter (Follow Be Bad Hip Hop)
Instagram (Follow on Instagram)
Check out the website:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Making the Most of My Microwave

Since being injured, I've been really off my game as far as my nutrition.  I've gained quite a few pounds and have definitely let my emotions control my eating.  Working out, whether running or teaching classes at the gym, has been so ingrained in my life that I can usually get by with some extra calories (within reason).  31 days and counting of no exercise and I'm doomed.

In an effort to try and get (even just slightly) back on track, I've been trying to eat in more and "cook".  Yes, I use "cook" in quotes because my idea of cooking is about as basic as it gets!  Last night, I was running low on the groceries and it was getting late.  The perfect combo for a quick trip to eat out, but I resisted.  Instead, I thought I'd put my favorite kitchen appliance, the microwave, to good use.  So... here it is! My healthy microwave meal, in just a little more than 10 minutes!  Now THAT is my kind of cooking!

First, I used Ziploc Zip N' Steam bags to steam up some chicken breasts (yes, I even make enough for leftovers).  5 minutes, and boom... done!  These are awesome for so much in the kitchen, and they even have the cooking times printed right on the bag!

Next, some grains.  Love those 90 second packs.  Just split open the top, 90 seconds in the microwave, and 2 perfect servings of quinoa and brown rice!

Finally, veggies.  Yep, I used a steam bag for those too!  6 minutes for perfectly cooked broccoli.

Okay... it's not the most exciting thing, but it did the trick.  A healthy meal, prepared quickly, and with very few dishes to clean up.  See... easy as pie! Mmmm...pie...

What are you favorite easy meals?  I clearly need some help! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Joann's Top 10 Magical Memories at Disney

      There are so many things I've done at Disney that have made special memories.   Reminiscing about them made me think about a top 10 list.   Some things are recent and some go way back.   Some are personal and some are things anyone can do.  I think the toughest part was putting them in some sort of order.   If I were to look at it again, the order would probably change.  

10)  Riding in the Front of the Monorail
Back in the day, if you got there first and politely asked, you could ride in the front of the monorail with the driver.   I think in all the times we went, we were only lucky enough to ride one time! Sadly, you can no longer enjoy this experience.

9)   Dinner at Victoria and Alberts
This is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere .  I really would like to take Alyson and Bill there for a nice dinner.  Alyson has not been to this restaurant as an adult.  Bill has never dined there and being  a “foodie” , I know he will love it.

8)   Staying at the Grand Floridian with the (no longer available) Grand Plan 
This was the ultimate vacation.  We enjoyed this plan several times.   The Grand Floridian is by far my favorite place to stay at WDW.  We stayed in the main building on a concierge floor. EVERYTHING was included: 3 meals plus 3 snacks a day, all the parks and water parks, even renting watercrafts on the Seven Seas Lagoon.   AND, we were given surprise gifts as part of the package.   My favorite was a framed, numbered print of Beauty and the Beast.

7)  runDisney Race Weekends
My first race weekend was in 2011. I watched my daughter and "son" (in-law) run their first runDisney event, the marathon.  I was at the finish line in the ChEAR squad when I saw a couple carry a woman over the finish line.  The medics put her in a wheel chair and gave her oxygen.   As I saw the couple walk away, I realized they did not know her.  It was at that moment I understood how special the running community is.  The next year, I ran my first 5k.   I just love the atmosphere at these events, whether running or not.   Where better to begin my "running" journey than at a place I love!

6)  Watching my Mom and Husband in Superstar Television
This attraction used to be where the American Idol experience lives.  Before you entered, several lucky people were chosen to participate in the attraction.   They filmed you and inserted you as a character in a television show.   My daughter and I loved seeing her Dad get a pie in the face from one of the Three Stooges.   Then we got to see my Mom get interviewed  by Johnny Carson.  If only they sold copies of the videos!  It was such a precious moment!

5)  Seeing my Daughter Meet Her Favorite Princess
Before it was Cinderella's Royal Table, the restaurant in Cinderella Castle was King Stefan's Banquet Hall (obvious why Disney changed the name - everyone was confused as to why Sleeping Beauty's father would have a restaurant in Cinderella Castle!)  We liked to go there for lunch and often Cinderella would be there greeting people at their tables.  That is where Alyson met Cinderella for the first time!
4)  Dining with an Imagineer
Loved having lunch with a Disney Imagineer. A small group of us gathered for lunch at the Brown Derby.  We asked questions, laughed and came out with a great souvenir.  You can read Aly's post about it HERE

3)  Disney's Keys to the Kingdom Tour
This 5 hour walking tour gives you an insight into the Magic Kingdom.  You learn a lot of interesting facts and get to go into the infamous utilidors.  You can read my post about it HERE

2)  Watching my Daughter Dance at the Magic Kingdom &  Epcot Center (Magic Music Days)
I was beaming with pride as Dance World Academy students got to put on a show at both parks.   Of course, Aly's dance was Disney themed  - Cruella de Vil!

1)  Spending a night in the Castle Suite at Cinderella Castle
Ok, so I've never stayed there, except in my dreams!  I just know if I had the chance, this would make #1 on my top ten list!   

This was my list.  What are your favorite Disney experiences?  Are any of your favorite things no longer available?  Tell us about your favorite memories.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Road to Recovery--Week 2

Week 2 is underway!  To be honest, it started with me feeling a little low.  I actually spoke to another fitness instructor friend who is also a chiropractor and he made a simple but profound statement: “Some of my clients even get depressed.”  That pretty much sums up how I’m feeling.  On one sad drive into work, I came to the conclusion that I use running, dancing, and gym time as my stress release.  Now, I’ve replaced that with eating junk and watching bad TV.  Week 2 is where I change that.

Thursday—didn’t do much of anything.  In all honesty, didn’t feel too bad but it was the last day my employees were at work and I was wiped out from a very long day.

Friday—a whole lotta walking around at work.  This was enough of a workout.

Saturday—Wasn’t feeling great, so took the day off

Sunday—Got my booty to the gym for a BodyPump class.  It felt awesome to workout again, even though I really had to modify a ton and didn’t do any legs. 

That small little tear causing all sorts of issues!
Monday—dun, dun, DAH….met with the orthopedic surgeon.  It was not at all what I was expecting.  I thought he’d recommend a little clean-up and I’d be on my way back in 4 weeks.  Nope.  Not at all.  His recommendation is microfracture.  The one thing everyone advised me against.  The one thing I said absolutely NO WAY to prior to this appointment.  He wants to wait another 4 weeks and see if I can live with this tear.  The size is right on the cusp of “shouldn’t cause too much issue” and “you need to deal with it or else...”  Not at all what I was expecting.  Oh…and I decided to teach my Be Bad Hip Hop class this afternoon too.

Tuesday—Finding that I’m really getting depressed about the options.  I’m starting to obsess a little, trying to look up every possible option.  It’s easy to say “get a second opinion” but really my doctor has given me the same options that I have found online.  Oh…and I decided to teach my Zumba class.  Ouch.  That really hurt.

Wednesday—Holy cow!  Yes, I just said holy cow!  I was in so much pain!!!!  I am really paying for teaching two days in a row.  It’s very interesting, though, because I barely did anything.  I also finally got approved for physical therapy.  My doctor ordered no resistance exercises or any impact.  Eek…not what I was expecting.  I start next Tuesday with one of the best PTs in town.  I’m going to give it the best shot to not go into surgery. 

Well…and since I’m posting this so late, the rest of the week kind of went the same way.  Didn’t do much.  Some pain, some days better than others.  The only silver lining was runDisney released the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend medals.  Yes, I’m in total denial about being injured and the possibility of not running.  So, here they are, straight from runDisney:


Will you be earning any of these medals?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Road to Recovery--Week 1

Injuries happen.  Yes, even to those who are well conditioned and workout all the time.  Since this is my reality, I thought I’d start a weekly post on the road to recovery.  It’s not a “how to”, instead it’s a “this is where I am and where I’m headed”.  Might even be a little selfish and serve as a "keep your head up" for myself.  I WILL be ready for the 2014 Dumbo Double Dare, and I hope it won’t be a terrible day, but rather a celebration of really hard work.  Anyone can train for and run a race, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this road to recovery might be even harder.  So here it is: week one on the way back to running:

Wednesday—started at home physical therapy.  Nothing fancy; just some leg lifts, half squats, range of motion.  After my exercises, I was in a ton of pain!  I couldn’t even walk up the stairs to go to bed.  I was worried.

Thursday—bad day of pain.  I finally put my foot down with the doctors at urgent care and demanded an MRI and a visit with a specialist.  It didn’t take much convincing.  I did my exercises again, this time with a few glasses of wine (we’re being honest here, right).  Yes, for the record, it helped.

Friday—got an MRI.  Won’t get the results for a while.  Pain is much better.

Saturday—went to the gym.  First time on the bike, no resistance.  I made it 12 whole minutes, but I had to stop a few times.  Also did my exercises at the gym.  Also spent a few hours dancing with the Be Bad Hip Hop girls to review choreography.  I barely moved around, but I was in a ton of pain when I was done.  Hope I didn’t overdo it. 

Sunday—went to the gym again.  Much better today.

Monday—I couldn’t find a sub, so I taught my Be Bad Hip Hop class, sort of.  I warned my students via Facebook and my class delivered!  I did it at about 50%, and it was pretty painful.  I also received some bad news with my MRI; I tore cartilage in my knee.  I will have to wait a week to figure out what the next steps are.

Tuesday—I spent the day doing nothing.  Lots of the same as far as pain, but since I know it’s a tear, I don’t want to risk doing more damage until I see the doctor.

Wednesday—ditto! (and that’s kind of my plan for the rest of the week, too).

Well, I started this post thinking I'd be writing a chronology of my own therapy adventures, yet Monday’s results derailed the plan.  My hand (which I also sprained in the fall) feels much better.  I’m going to give it until Saturday, then try to do some weights.  Other than that and maybe a little biking, I’m going to try and be a good patient.  No pushing it, and I’m really just trying to rest.  I hope the rest doesn’t equate to weakness going into treatment. 

Have you ever fallen while running?  Ever needed surgery? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Did you get your "Keys to the Kingdom" at WDW?

Reading Aly’s review of “Dining with an Imagineer” (One of my top 10 Disney experiences)  reminded me that our family always did the Disney “extras”, many of which no longer exist.    When my daughter was 16, the Disney Institute offered fun classes for guests.   Somehow she talked me into taking a hip hop dance class!  Back when she and her cousin were around 12, we sent them on a 6 hour tour  - Show Biz Magic.   No one OVER 16 could go on the tour.  It took them to all 3 parks back then, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center and MGM Studios .  My husband and I had the luxury of enjoying a day at the parks by ourselves (but secretly I was wishing I could go with them on the tour).   The envy peaked when they came back and told us all about the Magic Kingdom being built “up” and how they saw the utilidors underneath.   It’s funny how I can’t find anything online about this tour.   Everything I see says “no one under 16 is allowed in the utilidors”.  That may be the new rule, but my family knows that back in the 90s, it was just the opposite.  We still have the book they received, so we have proof! To my delight, Disney turned it around and now has adult tours where you can enjoy this experience.

Last November, I joined Aly  in running the Jingle Jungle 5k. Bill and Aly were running the Wine and Dine half and going to the after party.  Since we were sharing a room, I knew they would want to sleep in and get a later start the next day.    Planning in advance, I reserved my spot on Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom tour.  I always wanted to do something like this and my opportunity was here. I was so excited as I quietly got up, got ready and put on comfortable walking shoes for my 5 hour tour!

I checked in at the Chamber of Commerce, where we placed our preferences for lunch, met our guide and other members of the tour.  I knew this would be a special experience when I learned that one couple on the tour was doing this for their third time!

The Keys to the Kingdom is a 5 hour tour that is a must if you love Disney.  This tour concentrates on the Magic Kingdom.  You get to stroll through the infamous Utilidors and see where the parade floats are stored.  But there is so much more. You get interesting perspectives of the park and learn a lot of facts from your tour guide.  Being a Disney fan forever, I knew about some of the stories that were shared, but I learned a lot of new ones and came back with a wealth of Disney information. The five hours seemed to fly by.  Lunch at Columbia Harbour House was enjoyable.  We passed the line at the Haunted Mansion, getting some insight both before and after the ride. It is the kind of tour where it can be a different experience each time, personalized by different tour guides.   

We stopped and sat while we listened and chatted at least twice during the 5 hours, so don’t let the time scare you.  You probably walk more than this in your day’s visit to a park.  I’m not going to share any of the interesting tidbits I learned.  Yes, you can probably research them all on the internet, but it is so much more interesting listening to a guide tell you the stories as he points them out on the tour.  You are not allowed to use cameras, videos or cell phones on the tour.  When making your reservations, make sure you find out about discounts.  I got a 20% discount on the tour by having a Disney Visa Card.

I enjoyed this so much that I’m looking forward to taking the tour "Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps" when I am there in August. Have you ever taken a tour at Disney World or Disneyland?  Was it one of your favorite things?  Do you remember or did you participate in the Show Biz Magic Tour back in the day?  

And don't forget to enter our 30 Day Fitness Challenges free app giveaway through June 5 !
Read our review and ENTER HERE