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!