Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winner of the RunLove Compression Sock Giveaway is.....

Scream It From The Mountain Tops

I don't know what it is lately, but I want to find a mountain to run and then briefly pause at the summit and scream at the top of my lungs. The stress of graduate school, my cert exams, family sickness, and drama is starting to take a toll. It's been really hard to see a person I deeply love deteriorate. It has also been difficult to deal with family members whose primary motivate is to make me feel bad about myself. To top it off, after 10 years of higher education I just can't seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Lately, being a mommy to a opinionated toddler has become the easiest part of my life.

By the end of today, I found myself deeply wishing I was Forest Gump, where I could drop everything and just run. I LOVE Fleetwood Mac, so I am sure that my running song would still be "Go your own way". The truth is I wouldn't leave MG, so I would have to go on a cross country running excursion pushing a BOB and carrying a diaper bag. We could be the free spirited running Mommy/Toddler duo. A stressed and overwhelmed woman can dream right?

Since I am sure that my husband would protest a 3 year long run, maybe I need to start looking for a different means to de-stress. I came across a Lululemon article about yoga retreats. I have really started thinking that this might be a good idea, even if it is just for a weekend.

Either way, tomorrow I am going for a long run. I need to feel like I am leaving the stress, that engulfs my life, in the dust. And I just need a really good long run.

On a completely different note a friend of mine had a funny running experience today: 
"I went for a run at the local park track. At the end of my first lap, I smelled smoke and saw a short, older man in front of me with a cigar in his hand. I was about to say something (probably rude and possibly with expletives involved) as I passed, but then I realized it was Dustin Hoffman, so I just waved."
I think I would have stopped to get a picture taken; not pausing my Garmin because I would like to see what my heart rate was while talking to DH compared to my fastest pace during my run.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Foodie Friday - Tomato Orzo

Tomato Orzo is my carb loading recipe. I usually eat this the night before a race. I am giving you the recipe for the rice, you can top it with steamed shrimp or grilled chicken. Both taste great.

Tomato Orzo - serves 6
2 cups of orzo rice
32 oz of water
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 small pearled onions
1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1. In a medium size pot bring to boil water, tomato paste, peeled and sliced pearled onions, and one bouillon chicken cube.

2. Once water comes to a boil, pour in orzo and olive oil, then cover.

3. Stir orzo a few times so it doesn't stick. Keep covered until rice begins to become tender.

4. Once orzo is tender remove lid and lower heat to a simmer. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Let the orzo simmer until water is gone.

5. Top with choice of meat and serve!

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Running With The Big Dogs

I am not the kind of person that looks at other people and thinks, "God I want those thighs, or ass, or chiseled arms." My response is more along the lines of "I wonder what I need to do to be in that kind of shape." But today was different.

Today's run was one that just killed me emotional. After a long day of meetings, I grabbed my running shoes and clothes and headed over to the Columbia gym. I usually go during the mid-morning or lunch time when the undergraduate attendance is low because they are still sleeping or in class. Today I went around 4:30 pm. Big mistake. The place was packed with Columbia athletes (track members, crew team, cross country, baseball players, etc); it was the epicenter of fit, fast, and chiseled bodies.

This wouldn't have been a problem if I had a treadmill to stick to. But the way the gym is set up is centered around a track that is located on the third floor. The inside of the track looks down on the bottom floors where you can see into yoga rooms and a basketball court. On the same floor as the track is a rowing room completely enclosed by glass, so you can see in. Along the walls of the track are top to bottom mirrors. Everywhere I looked were perfectly fit and beautiful people, until I would catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The mirrors were straight from the circus, they did an amazing job making me look short and fat. I know I have a skewed idea of what I look like, but this mirror couldn't be my real reflection.

Up until now, I have been pretty happy with my progress. Today crushed me (thankfully it wasn't my first run because I would have probably given up). Running with all of these amazing athletes who have impeccable form, perfect foot strike, and look like models for the cover of Runners World made me start to second guess how good of a runner I am. I probably wouldn't have been as aware if I had remembered my music and had something to distract me. At my fourth lap around the track my watch died. GREAT! Now I am running with no time or music. I started to count my laps and made note of the time on the wall. At my 20th, I threw in the towel. I couldn't handle being passed four times by the same person in just one of my laps. I had to go home. This was the first time I didn't push through and I gave-up. But it was either have a break down in the car or right there on the track. After 7 months I had thought that my progress would be further along, and today made me feel like I had been standing still.

When I got home I took care of my mommy and wife duties; changing dirty diapers, making dinner, giving a bath, and putting MG to bed. Through it all, today's experience sat in the back of my mind festering like a sore. After I put MG to bed, I reluctantly went to my computer and typed into google, "How many laps around the track = a mile".... answer 4. But the Columbia track is half a track, so 8 laps makes a mile. Then I opened up Dailymile and typed in my time 25 minutes and 58 seconds for 22 laps. As I entered in all my data, the average pace was calculated at the top. WHAT THE HECK!?! A 9:26 pace? Could this be right? This was 2 minutes faster compared to my fastest time.

The truth is I sucked it up and I ran with the big dogs. And even though the actual run had killed me emotionally and almost sucked out all motivation for any more runs in the future, in the end it had pushed me to do something I didn't think was possible. I ran fast (well, fast for me). And even though I know I could never be 4 minute man, like the guy who passed me a million times; my 9 minute miles were probably just as rewarding and that is some pretty awesome motivation!

Daily Motivation

I love daily motivation. One of my favorite things are those daily calendars with sayings to inspire or comics to make you laugh. I actually refuse to flip through it, just because I love the feeling of surprise. I even have a background picture on my desktop of a man running through a beautiful forest. It actually has gotten me out of my office to run more than a handful of times. I have a lot to be grateful for, don't get me wrong, but there are days that I just need that boost (in honesty who doesn't and if you don't you are really lucky).

While browsing through pinterest while waiting for a UPS truck to move from the only three parking spots available at the university,  I came across a picture that made me smile and totally motivated me. I had to share it with the rest of the world (even though it's already out there for the world..LOL!).

I think one of my new things will to share what motivates me. It's easy to lose that spark when you are bogged down with work, school, mommyhood, and everything else in life. What motivates you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just one of those days

Today was one of those days that I counted down the minutes for my son to fall asleep. He's been sick for the past week(ish) with a runny nose. Nothing is worse than a toddler that doesn't feel well. Last night he went to bed at 11:00 pm and was up at 4:00 am. To top it off, I had the worse migraine I have had in years. And for some odd reason my toes and fingers were so swollen that I had to take off my wedding ring and elevate my feet.

Today dragged on and as of now, 10:44 pm, I have finally received a moment for myself. No running today, no gym, no in-home workout, no bathroom break without a tiny voice going "pee-pee Mommy?". So instead of reading up on the Zone of Proximal Development and scaffolding for tomorrow's work, I decided to take a moment and blog instead :)

It took me every ounce of my being to stay awake long enough to cook dinner. Between the tantrums, meltdowns, explosive diapers, bruises, and the 27 spoons I have had to wash (MG loves to take spoons out of the silverware drawer then hide them around the house), I managed to find some happy moments that helped me get through this never ending day.

Happy Mother/Runner Moments:
Santa PJ pants and MM tee
#5: Registering for the Historic Half Marathon in DC.
#4: All the awesome giveaways going on right now at several different running blogs
     - Sparkly Soul Headbands @ WorkOutMommy 
     - Race Medal Racks @ AnotherMotherRunner
     - Ultra Immune @ RunningWithSass
     - Running Swag @ RunnersWorld
     - Ink Burn Gear @ RunToTheFinish
     - View Sport Shirt @ MissZippy
     - MyRaceRagz @ RunningTowardsThePrize
#3: Chasing MG through the house while I rode his big wheel (it broke in the end, but it was fun while it lasted).
#2: Figuring out where MG has begun hiding his food (underneath his bottle... the bottom is indented in)
#1: MG reaching the point in his development where he picks out his own clothes (today it was Santa pj pants and a Mickey Mouse T-shirt) and there was no convincing him otherwise.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winner of Disney Swag Giveaway

runDisney T-shirt Winner:
Congratulations to Heather Montgomery, the winner of the runDisney "In Training" Performance Tee giveaway! Please email with your requested size and shipping address.

Runner-up Winner:
Congratulations to Megan from Running Towards the Prize, for being selected runner-up! You won the runDisney ''In Training'' Performance Mickey Mouse Cap! Please email with your shipping address.

Good luck with all your Disney running and thank you for reading Happy Mother Runner!

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Foodie Friday - Clam Saganaki

Greeks have many forms of Saganaki; the flaming cheese (the most popular) and different soups. While in Greece I had a saganaki soup with anchovies. I prefer something a little less fishy when it comes to eating soup, that is why we use clams.

This recipe is one of my favorites, as well as my husbands. But be mindful that it can be a hit or miss. Sometimes it just doesn't turn out because of the taste of the clams or the peppers. And because Greeks don't measure anything (rolls eyes), getting down the amount of each ingredient can be tricky.

Clam Saganaki - serves 6
4 lbs of New England Clams (fresh and shelled)
1 cup of water
Extra virgin olive oil
Diced two green peppers (medium to hot in taste - up to you)
2 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons of mustard
5 cups of water
.25 lbs of Greek feta cheese

1. Wash outside of clams

2. Put 1 cup of water in large pot.  Then put clams into pot, cover with lid, then steam until all clams open. Approx 20 minutes

3. Remove cooked clams and save one cup of water from the pot. 
4. Remove shells and clean out each clam.
That long string right above the tongue is what need to be pulled out.

5. In a new pot, drizzle bottom with extra virgin olive oil. Then fry diced green peppers.

6. Then pour in cleaned clams, reserved water, and mustard; then stir in flour until well blended.

7. Once pot comes to a boil pour in 5 cups of water.
8. Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.
9. Crumble up the feta cheese and add to soup.
10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
11. Let simmer for another ten minutes. Don't cover, or it will bubble over fast.
12. Let cool a little bit then serve with fresh bread. YUMMY!

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Race List

I spent the day hammering out a race list for 2012. My son has been sick with a cold and refuses to let me play with him. So most of my day was spent going back and forth checking on him. But in the shuffle of being a mommy I was able to do some research and figure out a racing schedule.

Here it is:

Sunday, February 26, 2012 - Hyannis Half Marathon (Cape Cod, MA)
Saturday, March 17, 2012 - Rock 'n' Roll USA (Washington, DC)
Sunday, April 1, 2012 - Atlantic City April Fools Half (Atlantic City, NJ)
Sunday, April 15, 2012 - More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Half-Marathon (Central Park, NY)
Sunday, May 20, 2012 -  Marine Corp Historic Half (Washington, DC)
Sunday, June 10, 2012 - Lake Placid Half Marathon (Lake Placid, NY)
Sunday, July 15, 2012 - Presque Isle Half Marathon (Erie, PA)

**Full marathon yet to be determined**

Are any of you running the above mentioned races? Or have you ran these races? If so what did you think? Any good advice?

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

**GIVEAWAY** Wardrobe Wednesday: My Recent Racing Outfits

** SWAG GIVEAWAY ALERT (read until the end for awesome swag)**

In this wardrobe Wednesday, I am highlighting my most recent racing outfit.
What I loved about this outfit is that it is bright and fun! I usually don't wear bright clothes, so I let myself go crazy when it comes to running gear. I find that the moment I put on a HOT/Bright color it motivates me to run stronger.

What I wore:
Shirt: Nike Legend Women's Training Shirt 
Shorts: Adidas Women's Marathon 10 Grete Short (The Adidas shorts are currently on sale for $14)
Socks: RunLove Compression Socks

What I love about the outfit, besides the color coordination and brightness, is that everything stayed in place. As a mommy who is still trying to lose the last bit of baby fat, I find that some running clothes easily ride up. The shirt stays in place nicely, the shorts don't cause chaffing.

 One lucky reader will become a owner of a pair of RunLove socks.
Comment below and tell me how you brighten up your run on such a cold and gloomy day.
That's it! Good luck and one lucky reader will be chosen on 1/28/2012.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Run and Foam Rolling

Today was my first day back after my last race. I wanted to give my body some downtime since I wasn't feeling too great after the race. Apparently, that was the best idea. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill today (the weather was pretty bad). In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't seem like a lot. But it was a strong and solid 3 miles. The greatest part about my run was that I only walked for 20 seconds. 3 miles of full out running. Which, for me, is the first time. Granted my pace is still on the slower side but I am working on improving my strength through cross training. So in a few months we shall see if it has been beneficial.

Treadmill Running Tip: Listen to a running podcast. Treadmill running can be boring, by listening to a podcast it helps the time go by and gives your mind something to focus on directly. Listening to a running podcast motivates you to push just a littler harder.
One of my favorites is Running with the Pack by Allen and Stevie.

After a pretty great workout, I went home and found a package at my door. IT HAD ARRIVED! I haven't been this excited to open a box since Christmas (ok, I know that wasn't that long ago). Say hello to the newest addition to my family, the bright orange foam roller.

Once I got it out of the box, I was on the floor rolling out my Glutes. The noises I made were, by some peoples standards, obnoxious and somewhat misleading. I couldn't help it, I never had such a deep massage. I guess out of shock or panic (probably most confusion) my husband ran into the room to check on me. When he saw me laying on the floor massaging my backside, he was beyond puzzled. I told him that I would teach him how to use it later and that right now it was my turn.

I am still learning the basics of the foam roller since this is a new discovery for me. What I have begun to learn is that it is a method of myofascial release which increases circulation and lymphatic drainage, and relaxes the muscles by focusing on trigger points in the connective tissue layers that surround the muscles. One of the ways to successfully achieve myofascial release (besides a massage) is by using a foam roller. A video that was a great tool in guiding me through my first solo roller attempt can be found below.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Paid to be Healthy?!

A friend sent me a link this morning to webpage titled GymPact. The concept is interesting, the user selects the number of days they want to go to the gym that week. Every time he/she checks into the gym via their iPhone, he/she is rewarded with cash. If they don't make it to the gym on the anticipated days the user is charged. View the video below for a better explanation.

I am sitting on the fence with this one. I am actually pretty torn. The creators say that their pilot was successful and they had amazing results. Which I totally believe. I think this will bring people to the gym and get more people working out.

The problem lies in what happens afterwards. Research conducted beginning in the 1970's looking at placing rewards on actions that are usually completed out of enjoyment had troubling results. Children were asked to paint pictures and then they were rewarded with gold stars or candy. The immediate result was children would paint a lot of pictures and the more pictures the child would complete the poorer the quality of their work. Once the rewards were discontinued the children reported less enjoyment in painting and actually painted less compared to before the study.

Bringing the conversation specifically back to GymPact, what the creators are doing is changing the type of motivation that goes into going to the gym. When we go to the gym for our own personal gratification (becoming healthy, enjoying working out, social gathering for fitness classes) we are experiencing intrinsic motivation. We do it for internal satisfaction. When you go to the gym purely not to lose money or to make money it becomes externally motivating, completing the task for incentives. Successful behavior modification is regulated by plans, goals, an understanding of our actions, and expectations; which is seen with intrinsic motivation (not extrinsic).

My theory is that people who use GymPact will go to the gym more but will enjoy it less. The quality of their workouts won't be as high as those who go through their own "pure" motivation. And the GymPact users will use the gym less after they conclude their time with GymPact.

What do you think?
Is this a positive or negative addition to the healthy living community?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Calling all Disney Lovers - Disney Swag Giveaway!

If you are like me, you love a Disney race. What I love just as much is training for one :)
Car I saw marathon weekend!
If you have read my previous post you know that I just finished marathon weekend at Disney with back to back halves. And I am still celebrating my awesome accomplishment and beautiful medals! I was even accepted into the Half Fanatics this week!
Celebrating with Mickey Mouse
To culminate this joyous occasion, one lucky reader will walk away a winner! I am giving away a Disney in Training T-shirt. If you are training for a Disney race, hope to train for one, just love Disney, or want more running apparel this is your giveaway!

How do you enter to win?
1. Put the following status on your Facebook: "I want to win @Happy Mother Runner Disney Swag Giveaway!"
 2. Tweet (share your tweet url in the comments below) "I want to win Happy Mother Runner's ( Disney Swag Giveaway"

One lucky winner will be randomly selected on January 21, 2012.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Disney World Marathon Relay 2012 Race Report

I had decided to register for two back to back half marathons. The time from race one start to race two finish was only 32 hours. After coming off my first race and feeling horrendous, I knew that my second race was going to be a tough one. The truth is that the second race was my worse time ever (even in training).

The day began with an early start; 3:00 am wake-up call and 3:30 am departure. We were once again off to the same place as the day before; the starting line right outside Epcot. I was heading over to the start with my husband and my brother who were running the marathon. Once I left them so they could head over to the starting line, I met up with a group of runners who I met on an online facebook page (Bling Whores). It was great meeting so many people who I have conversed with regularly. After I met my relay partner face to face, she headed off to the start and I headed to the monorail to be transported to the relay exchange.

When I arrived at the exchange area, I was shocked. It was the complete opposite of the starting line. No water, no food, no shelter, no benches.... NOTHING but porta potties, a DJ, and two medical tents. The second leg runners sat from 5:00 am until their runners reached the 13.1 mark (mine was 8:30 am). It was cold and uncomfortable. This is where Disney dropped the ball. It would have been nice to have a tent (not even heated) and it got to a point where I would have paid to eat some breakfast and drink some water.

Before my partner made it to the transition point, I had decided to go to one of the medical tents and get my ankle wrapped since it was a little sore from the day before. This was a huge mistake, as you will hear about later. Once that was done, I headed over to my corral and waited for Stephanie to arrive.

Once Stephanie reached me, I was off. The starting point for the second relay wasn't actually the start of our time. We had to run almost half a mile before we reached the chip reader and have our time started. Besides the chip start location and the relay exchange accommodations, the race was amazing.

Even though this race had my worse chip time ever, it was the best race mentally. It made me realize exactly what my body was capable of accomplishing. The first few miles went pretty well, I felt well. The atmosphere of the marathon was so different from that of a half marathon. I can't quite describe it, but it has encouraged me to run one by the end of the year.

Back to the race, after the first few miles my ankle started to hurt and throb. It got to a point by my mile 4, marathon mile 17, that my ankle was so swollen that my toes were feeling stiff. I began to hobble. In my mind all I had to do was finish. By mile 18, I had enough. I had to take the bandage off my foot asap or I was going to give up right there. I couldn't feel anything below my ankle and the pain was causing a migraine I had never experienced before. Without a medical center in site, I pulled to the side of the road and sat down removing my shoe and sock. I began to tare away the bandage, but because my leg was so swollen and my bandage was so tight, it was taking everything in my willpower to pull off the tape. I finally asked a bystander for keys... no luck. She hollered to others, no one had anything sharp. A man ran over, seeing my foot said that he was going to call the medics to come and pick me up. "NO!" I shouted. I was not quitting, not until I say so. At that point a young women rushed over. She was a TNT coach. She looked at me and said, "raise your foot" and I did. She proceeded to tare off my tape with her teeth. "Listen, your foot is swollen because this damn thing is too tight and you have too many electrolytes in your body." I looked her in the eyes and with sincere gratitude I said "Thank You." She smiled and responded "No problem. Now finish." I got up and headed off. After that, there was no option but to finish even if it was dead last.

The following miles weren't as bad, as the swelling went down I began to feel better. But I didn't feel awesome and capable of running full out until mile 23ish. By this point, my time was already shot. I text messaged my husband to see how he was doing. He wasn't doing well. I knew I, once again, needed to stop. This time it was to wait for him. He needed me to help him through the remaining miles. So I paused at a medical station until I saw him. He was obviously upset that I had waited and didn't finish. But getting to the finish line and crossing it with him, together, was the most amazing experience.

The spectators of the race were by far the best of any race I had ran. They had amazing signs and one was even handing out Twizzlers (Awesome). Some of my favorite signs during the race included:
Giving away free high-fives (a child holding it)
Chuck Norris counted to infinity but he never ran a marathon
Billy if you are reading this you need to start running
And my #1 favorite sign.....
You trained longer for this moment than Kim Kardashian could keep a husband

Disney had an abudance of characters (Chip and Dale, UP, Woody and friends, Belle and Beast, Pirates, Mickey and gang, Alice, Cinderella, Jiminy Cricket, Incredibles, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Stitch, Pooh and friends, Scrooge, and Monsters Inc), as well as DJs and marching bands. Porta potties were numerous and rarely did I have to stand in a crazy line to get in one. Water stations were plenty, one every two miles. This actually caused me problems because I ended up over hydrating and that took a toll on my body as well. It was after my second race that I realized that I was bloated for the last two days because I had consumed way to many electrolytes. Disney also had two banana stations (highway), one Gu station (highway), and a chocolate and gummy station (Hollywood Studios).

Once again the finish line was a large distance from the transportation center. And after this race we really felt the distance. Bag check, medical, and postrace food were all great. I just would have wished that the race merchandise was more abundant. By the time I got to the tent the shelves were empty. With Disney race merchandise, if you don't buy it at expo or right after the race then you are SOL because Disney doesn't sale it online.

Overall it was an amazing experience which helped me realize that I was capable of an amazing task. I learned that I need to do cross training to become a stronger runner, and I also discovered that I truly love the feeling of running.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Foodie Friday - Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

One of my favorite Greek recipes is the simple lemon chicken and potatoes. It's a great source of carbs during running season, and a great cold weather dish.

The recipe will serve 4 people.

What you need:
One whole organic chicken (3 lbs)
Baby potatoes (I like the tricolor) (24 oz)
6 pearl onions
3 small lemons
1/2 a medium orange
Extra virgin olive oil

1: Cut chicken down the center of the chest so it lays flat in a deep roasting dish. Cut off excessive skin and neck.

2. Wash baby potatoes, then cut in half (do not remove skin, since it provides a great amount of nutrients)

3. Peel pearl onions and cut into fourths

4. Add potatoes around chicken, then place onions over potatoes

5. Then drizzle extra virgin olive oil over chicken and potatoes, then rub olive oil all over the chicken so it doesn't puddle.

6. Juice lemons and orange. Make sure that you don't get any seeds or pulp into the juice. Then pour over chicken and potatoes.

7. Then take two pinches of dried oregano and sprinkle chicken and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

8. Place in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours, uncovered. Oven may vary, check chicken before removing. Once finished serve warm with a delicious tomato salad!

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Training Thursdays - Cross Training Exercises and Foam Rolling

Today's training session was great! We did two different circuits that will help improve my strength in running, then we did stretching, then ended with foam rolling.

Circuit 1 - Repeat 3 Times
First,we started out with the Bosu ball doing squats. With the round side down, you balance with feet spread, then squat into a sitting position while also raising your arms. Ten squats per rep.

Second, we did a modified plank. I went down to plank position, picked up a dumbbell, twisted the top of my body towards the ceiling while pressing the dumbbell up. Then I placed the dumbbell down and did the same thing with the opposite side. Then I walked myself up with my hands into standing, then jumped up raising my hands towards the ceiling. Twenty dumbbell raises (ten on each side) and ten jumps up per rep.

Third, we did some basic weight training. Sitting facing forward on an inclined bench I did 10 reps of dumbbell presses in a "Y" shape above my head. Then 10 reps in a "T" shape at shoulder height. Then we ended with 10 reps of dumbbells in towards the back, working the triceps.
Presses in a T shape (up and down)
Presses behind the back (down and back)
Circuit 2 - Repeat 3 Times
I then continued into some cardio. Jump roping for two minutes, with a break between minute 1.

Second, I did bench squats. Raising one leg, then lowering myself into a sitting position. While keeping one leg raised I continued into the standing position. Ten times per leg.

Third, while kneeling on a ball and having hands placed on a bench, I rolled my knees up over the bench then rolled the ball back until my body was extended into plank. This was done 15 times.

Finally, I did 10 pull ups using a pull up machine in the gym.

**I apologize if I didn't use the proper terminology for each of the exercises. I am learning as I go.

After the circuits were completed, my trainer stretched me out (AMAZING)! Then she taught me some foam rolling exercises. I had Googled foam rolling videos and the one posted below is exactly what we did today.

Foam rollers can be found at and range in prices from $19 - $33 + dollars.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!

Disney World Half Marathon Report 2012

January 7, 2012 - Walt Disney World

We started the morning early, departing the hotel at 3:30 am. We were staying  at a monorail hotel, so we hopped on the monorail and switched trains at the ticketing center then headed off to the Epcot stop. Even though we were "early" everyone was being ushered to their corrals. I quickly checked my bag and then followed the massive group of people to the starting line (27,000 + people). The distance from the prerace party/bag check to the starting line wasn't short. I wish I had tracked the distance, but I would say it was over half a mile. 

When I arrived at my corral, we waited for awhile. Once the first corral was off, there was a buffer of 27 minutes until the last corral started. There were a total of 7 corrals (A-G). The start was exciting with fireworks and Donald, Mickey, and Goofy sending us off. From the start to the first half mile, it was pretty congested making it hard to really get going. At about mile 1.5 running became pretty easy. 

The race started right outside Epcot and went up into the Magic Kingdom, then went back down to Epcot and we ran through the park and ended the race right outside the park in the parking lot.

Miles 2-9 seemed to fly by. It definitely helped that the on-course entertainment was distracting. There were 3 to 4 high school bands and cheerleaders playing throughout the course on the sidelines. Disney also had many character appearances including: Toy story characters (Buzz & Woody), Stitch, Alice in Wonderland (and friends), Chip and Dale, Mickey and gang, Rapunzel, Uncle Scrooge, Darkwing Duck, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Along with the characters and high school bands, there were also DJ's and real bands playing throughout the course.

After mile 9, I started to feel pain in my left side. At this point we were running the highways and the excitement started to calm down. I pushed through and started to look at those around me. I passed many families running together. One was a mother, son, and daughter who hired a coach to help them get through. The children were preteens and were looking pretty good considering we were at mile 10ish. Another person I ran by and briefly chatted with was a girl who was running with a full arm cast. I commented saying, "Wow, that's ambitious!" she responded with a Scottish accent, "Well I had no choice I flew all the way from Scotland." We wished each other well and I sped off. Another group that was pretty awesome was the Jack's 60th Birthday crew. They were a group of 6, all wearing shirts with Jack's picture and description of how they knew Jack (brother of Jack, wife of Jack, son of Jack). Jack's shirt said, it's my 60th birthday and I am running my first race. It was pretty cool to see a group come together like that. 

Disney always puts on great races. Of course there were some minor hiccups. As with all Disney races there were parts of the course that suffered from crazy congestion with a majority of those areas being in the parks. Unfortunately, Disney doesn't directly provide runners etiquette handouts and many times "newer runners" would stop in the middle of traffic with no advance warning causing runners behind them to trip or swerve. Another downside was the long walk back from the finish line to the monorail. After a race it's great to walk, but this was a hike. Maybe Disney could provide transportation like they do in the parking lots for park guests.

Some aspects of the race that were great were the frequency of water/power aide stops, bag check was quick, on course entertainment, the spectators, and the amazing medal at the end.

One main aspect I would like to see changed is that runners receive access to the park (Epcot) after the race concludes. Our race registration fee is so high, that park access would make up for the price.

Overall, amazing race and experience. And now I wait for next years registration to open :)

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!