My Dopey training guide and friggin hip

Yes, I know. Yes, you know. Yes, the world know my hip hurts. I complain constantly. I worry endlessly. Now I’m finally ready to fight back.

The first time I trained for the Dopey Challenge, I felt pretty good. I followed by training plan religiously. I was getting plenty of sleep (as much as I could with an 18 month old), and I kept up with my boot camp classes to get in some extra strength. Right around the training point of about 18 miles, my hip was done. The pain was so great that it was hard to lift my leg to put on pants. I noticed my left hamstring and glute were painfully tight so much so that it felt impossible to stretch it properly. Instead of asking for help, I simply thought this was my cross to bare with training for a marathon. Now that I’m having the pain at such an earlier stage in the game, I’m getting help.

Next week I’m going to Results Physical Therapy to get my running form analyzed and hopefully get some help on what I can be doing to improve my stride and posture. I also have an appointment with a physical therapist to get some answers as well. I’m praying it’s just an issue of being overly tight and needing to add some deep stretching, corrective exercises and some yoga into my routine. I’m making a promise to myself to fit in yoga once a week, stretch nightly and make sure to properly warm up before any run.

With that said, I have some training tips for my fellow Dopey Challengers, or anyone currently training for a marathon.

1. Nutrition
Running means you can eat as much as you want, right? Wrong! In fact, a lot of times people gain weight while marathon training because they over eat to “make up” for the calories burned. You want to be sure you’re getting an adequate amount of carbohydrates, but getting enough protein is equally important. I usually take in 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Now, I’m not a doctor so please remember that when changing your diet, but .08-1.0 gram of protein/body weight is a good healthy range to preserve muscle mass. Post run, I normally try to take in 20-25 grams of protein and about 20 grams of carbohydrates. In my opinion, the perfect combo for me is a smoothie with protein, berries, spinach, and half of a banana (potassium). I also sprinkle in some pink Himalayan sea salt to replace some of the sodium lost while running. Sodium, magnesium and potassium are all very important when thinking about hydration. A big, green smoothie is a great idea for a recovery meal because it’s loaded with micronutrients as well.

Try using an app like Myfitnesspal to track your calories and keep your diet in check. Healthy fats are important for hormone stabilization I just wouldn’t consume them directly after a long run. Quick carbs and proteins are your friend after a training run. A Nuun tablet during a long run (in my opinion, anything over 6 miles) is important in the summer months as you’re likely to sweat a lot more.

2. Get your shoes checked!
Finding a good pair of running shoes is almost as important as signing up for the race itself. If you’re running in the wrong pair, you’ll quickly notice body aches and pains after your training runs. Here in Sacramento, we have Fleet Feet where they will watch you run and advise you on the right type of shoe. It’s always a good thought to keep track of how many miles you’ve been running in your shoes to see when you should buy a new pair. I always notice the bottoms of my feet get a little bit tired or sore when it’s time for a new pair.

3. Know your course!
I’m a visual person and when I train for a big race like the Dopey Challenge, I want to imagine I’m there in order to really get myself motivated. I love to look up vlogs on Youtube of the races I plan on running. A lot of times you can see the course you’ll be running and get a feel for the vibe. I love to see the excitement in people’s faces and the sheer joy at the end of accomplishing something major. It’s so helpful to find training videos along the way to keep you focused and feel like you aren’t alone. I highly recommend watching Joyful Miles on Youtube! Not only do they show you the course for the RunDisney races by videos and pictures, but it’s set to great music to get you excited. All of the girls (and Rob!) who run have adorable outfits and positive attitudes. Course maps are almost always online as well. It’s helpful to get those out so you know where you’ll start, finish, and of course…the bathrooms!



4. Warm up and cool down

Making sure you are properly warmed up and have properly cooled down is just as important as the run itself. You’re preventing injury and making sure your muscles are awake and ready to work. Here is a video I took of some of my favorite warm up techniques.

5. Practice makes perfect
Always always always always use your long training runs as a faux race day. Wake up early enough to fuel yourself exactly how you would race day. I’m pretty easy when it comes to what I eat before a long run. For me, easy on the stomach foods are what I go with. A banana, some peanut butter and a piece of toast is the way to go. I never train with caffeine in fear of any stomach issues so I make sure that my gels and chews are also caffeine free. In fact, while I’m running I often look forward to that big cup of coffee after a nice hot shower. I practice timing my gels and chews as well in order to not BONK on race day. When running Dopey, you’re not just fueling for one run but four. Because of this, you’ll want to fuel even more during the smaller races. Normally I only eat something around mile 6 and 10 of a half marathon but for Dopey, I try to have a little something every 4 miles. Directly after the race I try to have at least 20 grams of protein and carbs (minimal fat) in order to help my muscles recover quickly for the next day.

When packing for Dopey, I will bring some plain oatmeal, peanut butter and bananas to have in the hotel before we leave for the buses. While Kaitlin and I are sitting the dreaded two hour wait in the corrals, I will have some frosted mini wheats and dried cherries (dry food and easy on my stomach). I plan on bringing a premixed protein shake and 1/2 of a bagel in my race bag to check before the race. This way, I can start my recovery immediately on the bus back to the hotel. (And on that note, ALWAYS BRING ZIPLOCKS TO A RACE-CATION!)

Not only is it important to practice nutrition, but it’s really important to practice running in the outfits you’ll be wearing. Costumes are a no brainer when it comes to running at a Disney race. If you plan on running in some crazy big costume, you need to make sure you can actually run in it. Costumes aside, trying out a new pair of pants on race day could end up in saggy butt syndrome and be incredibly annoying during your race. Make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable and you know all the places you’ll need Body Glide to prevent chaffing.


June training:
Strength training 4-5 x week (focusing on legs 2-3 times per week)
ONLY walking until I see the PT
Core 1-2 x week
Yoga 1 x week

Days until:
The Disneyland Half Marathon 19.3 miles – 83
Ragnar Napa – 147
The Dopey challenge 48.6 miles – 208
The Princess Half Marathon 22.4 miles – 257
Tinker Bell Half Marathon 22.4 miles – 335

Remembering Jan

I thought long and hard about when I would write something for Jan. As most of you know, I trained Jan for a few years and I would brag about her constantly. Jan could hold a plank for 5 minutes, a wall squat for 3, she could lunge, she could chest press, and she could do push ups at 80. Jan and I would often workout while listening to Jazz and sometimes I would bring her a coffee just so we could feel a little more energized at 1pm. We would discuss all things Henry the 8th, Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad. Even though she wasn’t too fond of Christmas, we would always have our Christmas session where we would blast the “Charlie Brown Christmas” album, sip Starbucks, and talk about our holiday plans. We always celebrated her birthday with a big vanilla cupcake with sprinkles.

When I met Jan, Emma was still in my belly and she had been with me all the way until I was due with Max. At our last session, she got a little misty eyed saying that she felt it was the last time we’d see each other. I remember looking at her like she was crazy and reminding her that I would be back in 4 very short weeks. Well things happen, as life tends to show us, and one thing after another happened and Jan ended up too sick to come in. Week after week we would check in with each other with kind words and cute pictures of Emma and Max.

A few weeks ago when I got the call that Jan had passed away, I almost didn’t believe it. I don’t understand. She was so beautiful, so full of life, and I would always tell her how jealous of her glowing skin I was. She was funny. She was smart. She was kind.

Her and I told one another just about every dirty little secret we had. Over the years, she was more than a client to me but a friend. I so often looked forward to seeing her just to tell her funny stories and about a new book I knew she just HAD to read. My Tuesdays and Fridays seem a little more dim now that she’s not there. In fact, I keep forgetting. When I remember she’s gone, it’s like a kick to the stomach all over again. I hope she knew just how much I enjoyed being her friend, how I miss her, and how I wish I could see her just once more.

My running top 10 must haves

Running gear, running gear how do I love thee? I watch Youtube videos about you, walk and stare at you countless times at fleet feet, mind stroll through amazon reading reviews and endlessly searching on Instagram for the newest little gadget. Runners are notorious for taking a “cheap” and “easy” sport and turning it into an expensive hobby with some fancy gear but in my opinion certain things are necessary.

10. Sweaty bands. I LOVE headbands. In fact on days when I don’t wear a headband to train my clients say “no headband today?” It’s a bit of an obsession, but I always feel a little bit more put together when I have one, mostly because I spend my days in workout clothes. I love them so much that I always pack them for my RunDisney race-cations to keep my hair out of my face in the parks.

9. Balega socks
I am OBSESSED with Balega socks. I won’t run in anything else. From the cute colors to the cushy bottoms, they are all I will buy. They normally cost 12 dollars a pair, but some I’ve had for years and they have yet to wear thin.

8. Zella running capris
I used to run in really expensive running leggings and I recently found the brand Zella at Nordstrom which has totally changed my workout gear. Most come in a tigh compression, which I prefer over saggy bottoms while running, some have really cute cutouts and colors as well. I, as most runners do, went out and bought every color in the same style in order to not wear mine down. I brought a few pairs to Dopey weekend to wear to the parks as well!

7. Honey stinger waffles, dried cherries, larabars
Ahhhh running snacks. We all have our favorites, right? With that, we runners always think certain flavors or brands make us perform better. Sure some of that might be true, but some of it is also the love of the ritual. Running is all about ritual. What you will and won’t do, eat or won’t eat before a training run or race. The best thing you can do is practice exactly how you’ll eat on race day. If you’re all about chocolate gu, don’t use a race morning as a day to test a new flavor. I personally can only have gels without caffiene and I love going the more natural route like dried fruit and nuts. My favorite combo while waiting for a big race to start (anything longer than a 10k) is to pair dried cherries and frosted mini wheats. When you compete at the Dopey Challenge, you have to sit and wait in the corrals for almost two hours so eating back at the hotel and waiting until the fireworks go off is WAY too long to wait to get some fuel in you. Lucky for me, the full marathon course at WDW will have two banana stops and two clif shot stops so I already know what types of snacks I need to practice my long runs with.

6. Hair bling!
When running, I let my inner child come out for sure! Half the fun is getting into a theme and seeing what others come up with! And hey, if you have to be running miles and miles you might as well feel like a princess!


5. Sparkle Athletic skirts
As mentioned before, running with a theme is 10 times for fun! These little splashes of sparkle are perfect to wear over running capris or shorts. In fact, my Dopey challenge buddy (shout out, Kaitlin!) and I are almost done deciding which colors we will need for our four day race!


4. Nathan Hydration vest
I currently do not have one, but since Ragnar relay races do not provide cups, I’m thinking of finally biting the bullet and purchasing one. They have spaces for water as well as keys and snacks – basically everything you need while running. I love this mint green one so much I texted my husband and mom with a “hint hint” caption. So mom, if you read these – don’t forget my birthday is August 14th.

3. Recovery items
I highly recommend trigger point foam rollers, balls, and the rolling sticks. The balls and sticks are perfect for travel as well and key while training! I love that the rollers come in different colors, because….PINK!

2. Garmin Forerunner 230
This is my second Garmin, and I love it! It’s helpful to see my pace and I love that it records your times so the random runs where you see “personal record!” really keeps you motivated.

1. My shoes! Duh!
I normally run in Asics religously (as seen below). Since I’ve been having so many hip flexor issues I’ve been looking to find any solution to help. A running buddy of mine, Renee (Shout out! Love you, friend!) recommended the Hoka Clifton 3, which I recently purchased. Glad to say so far so good! They are a very neutral shoe and so far, they seem to be helping! I will for sure still run in my first loves, but it’s nice to switch it up every once in a while.

Days until:
Disneyland Half Marathon 19.3 miles – 88
Ragnar Napa – 152
The Dopey Challenge 48.6 miles – 213
The Princess Half Marathon weekend 22.4 miles – 262
The Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend 22.4 miles – 340

Back from vacation meal prep and training – Trader Joe’s haul

We are back from our wonderful 10 day Maui vacation! We had the most wonderful time swimming, hiking, lounging, eating, and walking the beaches at sunset. Both Emma and Max could not have been better on the plane and at our fancy dinners and brunches. Not only did Emma color and play with Max on the plane, we didn’t even bring out the iPad once for her! It was nice to see that old school coloring and playing with dolls can keep her entertained for 5 hours on a flight. Hopefully we aren’t too far away from a possible European vacation. Right, Ryan?

(Ignore Emma’s face, she actually DID have fun!)

One treat we made each day in Hawaii was mixing a protein shake we bought from Costco into either some iced esspresso or some lower calorie orange juice. I’m not huge on juices or artificial sugars but every once in a while is totally fine, especially while sitting out in the hot Hawaiian sun! This was so easy to count on as a mid afternoon snack to save calories for our big breakfasts or dinners.

Now that we are back, we have one problem. A big, empty fridge. The first thing we did was to make a big trip to Trader Joe’s for TONS of veggies, some chicken and we even needed milk for our Kodiak Cakes! The horror!

Here are some crazy easy meals I whipped up in under two hours! I have about 16 premade meals sitting in my fridge and I’m all prepared for the week. The trick to losing weight and getting stronger is not to deprive yourself or run yourself ragged. It’s all about consistency and sticking to the plan as best you can. The wonderful thing about meal prep is that once it’s all done, you can basically eat the same thing every day for a few days and you will always know you’re track with your macros and calories. That’s not to say you can’t mix it up, but if you’re someone who needs to have everything organized for a crazy day, it takes out the thinking.

First up is some stir fry veggies, some sauce from Trader Joe’s, mushrooms and some baked chicken on the side. All of this made four meals and I paired it with 5oz of chicken breast on the side.

Next, I baked some butternut squash with a light spray of coconut oil, steamed some green beans and browned some turkey with garlic salt.

I also picked up some premade chicken breast slices for an easy salad, bags of lettuce and these super yummy salad dressings. All of these dressings have about 40 calories per 2 TBSP serving. I even like putting the cilantro one over some rice, veggies and chicken!

Second to last, and INSANELY easy is this – sauteed turkey bacon with cabbage and onions. I need one meal to be higher protein and lower carb because when I wake up at 4:45am or come home at 8:30pm, I don’t need a super carb heavy meal. I like to save my carbs to surround my workouts to keep my energy high before and after. A lot of people are afraid of sodium, like in this dish, but let me tell you that if you drink a lot of water, and you train hard in the gym, you need sodium. Especially now that we are getting into the hot summer months and I’m marathon training, I especially need to remind myself to have some sodium and potassium in my diet.

Last but not least I bought two frozen mashed cauliflower packets and one frozen packet of spiralized frozen carrots to heat up and pair with the chicken I had baked. See how I said I went for simple, quick, and easy? This meal literally took five minutes to thaw and separate into containers. Some weeks you just need to do what you need to survive and if that means buying a ton of frozen veggies and making it into meals, do it! Trader Joe’s is a wonderful resource with a ton of veggies either frozen or fresh that are easy to make quick meals out of. While completely zoning out to “The Real Housewives of New York” while cooking, I forgot to take a picture so the pictures listed are those from the Trader Joe’s website.

I also picked up some of this super yummy seasoning that was perfect on my chicken. I think I’ll even try it on some cod this weekend! I’m not super adventurous when it comes to fish, I usually stick to salmon but I need to broaden my horizons a bit!

I came home to some super happy runner mail. I purchased new Hokas to test out since I’ve been having so much pain. I’m pretty sure my hip pain is due to arching my back while running, thanks to being pregnant. So as I’m trying to strengthen my glutes, core and legs I figure these shoes can help alleviate some of the problem. My Sparkle Athletic sleeves came for my Minnie Mouse running outfit (Dopey 10k day), my blue sparkle skirt (Goofy outfit for Dopey half marathon day) and a gold skirt as well because…sparkles. There really wasn’t a better reason than that!

Now I’m off to train back and get in a quick HIIT session!

Days until –
The Disneyland Half Marathon 19.3 mile challenge – 93
Ragnar Napa – 157
The Dopey 48.6 mile challenge – 218
The Princess 22.4 mile challenge – 267
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend – 345

What I pack to stay on track

As I’ve posted before, we are taking a family vacation very soon and as we get closer, I’m starting to stock up on some helpful things to help me stay on track while away. Don’t get me wrong, I will be enjoying a few nice meals and a few glasses of champagne to celebrate our trip for our 5 year wedding anniversary, but I don’t want to fall off the wagon entirely. I’m down a whole 11 lbs since Christmas so I want to keep my momentum going! My problem has always been either going all out as far as completely off my diet, or being strict and missing out on a few indulgences. Now that I practice more of a IIFYM (If it fits your macros) lifestyle, I’m more motivated to live my life but make it fit within my goals.

First things first, I ALWAYS bring my Garmin Forerunner 230. I don’t always track my steps for the day, but I’ve found that having it with me makes me more motivated to go on a run. On vacation, I set a smaller goal for workouts for the week. If I can manage to get 2-3 strength sessions and 2-3 runs for the ten days I’m gone, I’ll be happy. This is a time to spend with my family, so if there are days where laying in the sun seems better for my mental health than sneaking off to the gym, that’s ok with me.

Next, we will hit Costco. Here we can stock up on protein shakes, deli turkey, avocado, yogurt, eggs, fruit, veggies, jerky, and a couple other healthy options for snacks. I’m bringing some rice cakes which are perfect for snacking with peanut butter, avocado with turkey, or even just a laughing cow cheese. That said, I’m bringing a pocket scale so I can be sure to keep my peanut butter portions to what they are supposed to be.

I found this on amazon for 13 bucks! It’s about the size of my palm so it easily fits into my purse or diaper bag. I’m so excited because this makes tracking while away from home SO much easier! Even going somewhere like Chiptole makes it a no brainer to keep your macros on track with having this in my with me.

G2G bars are all natural, so delicious, and very filling. They’re higher on the fat side, about 14 grams, but they leave you very satisfied and feeling full for a long time. I used to really love Quest bars, but got so burnt out on the Splenda-y taste. These will spoil which shows you their ingredients are a bit higher quality than other bars on the market. Larabars are also a favorite of mine along with RX bars.

Individual packets of tuna are CRAZY budget and macro friendly to add to salads, crackers, and you can even pack a couple pieces of Ezekiel bread with you if you prefer.

One of the most important things I’m taking is going to be the app, My Fitness Pal. Everything is trackable. Anywhere you go, you can find the item or something similar. With a mini scale, it’s so easy to weigh it out an item if you are unsure. Now let me end this by explaining that everything in balance. Some days I’m going to weigh my portions and track everything to stay within my macros, and then there are days I’m going to enjoy some macadamia nut pancakes. The pancake days will also most likely be my run days…see, balance! And of course, I can’t leave for a sunny vacay without a good book, my new Bauble Bar chunky necklace and some tea for the flight!

Gotta keep runnin – days until:
The Disneyland Half Marathon weekend 19.3 miles – 115
Ragnar Napa – 179
CIM full marathon – 223
The Dopey Challenge 48.6 miles- 240
Princess Half Marathon 22.4 miles – 289
The Tinkerbell Half Marathon 22.4 miles – 367

What makes a food bad or good? And other thoughts…

We are currently less than 50 days out from our family vacation, and I couldn’t need it more! I’ve never been one to freak out over needing to lose weight for a vacation. This is mostly because I try to eat healthy all year and quite honestly, whoever sees me on a beach in a bikini will never see me again so who cares. Seeing as I had Max 5 months ago, I have my mommy tummy going which is 100% ok with me. I do not consider being pregnant as a “before” status. I grew a baby. This world of Instagram that we live in creates unrealistic expectations, and I try to be gentler to myself mentally. THAT BEING SAID – I still want to be as healthy as can be and lately I’ve fallen into a lazier style for food choices. I’ve done a lot of protein powders, bars, and just whatever I can grab because I’m so exhausted. I still manage to squeeze it into my macros, which is the beauty of eating that way, but I’m not getting in as many whole foods as I’d like.

Max staying comfortable in there too long.

My baby and me, 17 weeks old

So until our trip, on Mondays through Saturdays, I’m committing to my old “bro diet” and then relaxing on Sundays. I really don’t mind eating this way; it just takes some mental strength for eating more whole foods and relying on processed protein bars. Meals have been pretty easy, and I’m learning that new combos can be quite delicious like this scramble I had this morning – egg whites, avocado, butternut squash, and lean ground turkey. I’m still sticking to my usual rule for macros for protein – .8-1.0 gram per lean body mass.

The part that is the HARDEST for me are the mornings when I’m up at 4:45am to teach boot camp. I still haven’t found my grove of fasting, having a small snack, or eating a full meal. I’ve tried all three and each choice leaves me equally hungry at 8am. I’ve tried just simply having tea and eating at 7am, I’ve tried eating Ezekiel bread and eggs with coffee, and I’ve tried just a shake. They all come with the same lame results – starving and tired. It’s still such a struggle for me because I’m not sleeping more than 2-3 hours at a time so literally the second I wake up I want SUGAR. Like bags and bags of cereal/bathe me in chocolate syrup type cravings. This is more proof that when you’re not sleeping, you’re not letting your body reset and get ready for the next day. One day I’ll figure out these early mornings, maybe when Emma is in high school! ☺
The purpose of this experiment from now until Hawaii is to see if macros matter more, or if really being diligent about not eating processed foods matter more. Now remember, calories are KING. I could eat 1,000 calories only of Twinkies a day and lose weight. Will I look and feel like crap? Of course I will. Overall, I’m hoping my old vacation clothes fit a little bit better, I have more energy, and I’m able to increase my carbs a bit to fuel some longer runs. While we are there, I have a goal of running 6-8 times out of the 10 days we will be gone. I don’t plan on running as punishment for what we plan to eat; I don’t live my life like that. I am going to eat some coconut shrimp on vacation, and you can bet your butt I will enjoy it. Running is going to be more of a meditation and a commitment to my long training ahead.
I think a lot of times we put food into categories or BAD or GOOD. Right now high protein is GOOD, carbs are BAD, fats are GOOD. What makes a food bad or good? The main breakdown of gaining or losing weight is a calorie surplus or calorie deficit. You could take a person and give them a serving of pasta at every meal, keep them in a calorie range lower than they need, and they would lose pounds. Am I a bad person for eating pasta? Do you hear that question? We are literally giving personalities attached to food. When you live in constant deprivation, you demonize these foods. “OH GOD, WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I EAT A SNICKERS BAR?” I’ll tell you…nothing. You’re a person. You’re a person with a metabolism, a digestive system, and the ability to make the next meal better. Sometimes you just really need a candy bar. Sometimes you are craving it for reasons other than hunger, and those reasons should be addressed, but that’s a post for another day.
My point to this is that you have to live your life. When you go on vacation, let it be that. A mental and physical break from your daily life when you can look around and not stress about what you’re eating, how much you weigh, etc. Truthfully, you’re already there. There’s nothing more you can do about your fitness level when you’re on vacation. So have a damn margarita, enjoy it, and then work your butt off in the gym when you get home. Don’t come home and regret not sharing an ice cream cone with your kid.
Here’s a look at the menu I have going for this week:
Side note – I am a terrible food photographer. Most of the time these are pictures of me dumping my food onto a plate from a container and saying to myself “Shoot! Take a picture!”
Breakfast:
2 whole eggs – I need the fat and Vitamin D for breast milk, 2 slices of Ezekiel bread or oatmeal.
Snack:
6 scrambled egg whites, 4oz of ground turkey, 1 oz. of avocado, 85 grams of roasted butternut squash. I have just recently started this combo, and let me tell you – it’s amazing!
Lunch:
100 grams of rice, 150 grams of broccoli, 5oz of chicken – How BORING, right? Not for me, I love this combo. I always feel so satisfied and full eating a serving of rice and veggies. Truthfully I probably eat WAY more broccoli than listed because – it’s broccoli. I’m not going to kill myself over it.
Pre workout:
100 grams of sweet potato, 100 grams of green beans, 3 chicken skewers (bought pre-made from Costco, all natural and so yummy!)

Post workout/Dinner:
5oz of salmon, 100 grams of asparagus, 100 grams of roasted brussel sprouts, 1 cup of berries.
If I’m still hungry before bed, I have a TBSP of PB to keep me satiated. I also pack a quart size bag of veggies (peppers, snap peas, and cucumbers) and am sure to snack on those while I’m cooking to stop myself from snacking while hungry.

Remember that carbohydrates feed the brain and muscles. If you’re keeping track of calories and serving sizes, carbohydrates are very beneficial when working out and building muscle. Fruits and vegetables also have natural sugar and carbohydrates, but with that they have vitamins and minerals as well as an abundant supply of fiber to help keep you full. Until next time! I’m off to run!

Race countdown:
Disneyland Half Marathon – 154 days
Ragnar Napa – 218 days
Dopey Challenge – 279
Princess Half Marathon – 328
Tinkerbell Half Marathon – 406

The Dopey Challenge – Half Marathon Day!

Day 3 rolled around and I very reluctantly rolled out of bed. It’s not that I wasn’t excited to complete this race but the early wake ups left me more tired than I had ever been. I think because I couldn’t really fall totally asleep out of fear of missing my alarm left me restless and anxious. I was also extremely upset and disappointed with how injured I felt. My hip flexors had been giving me trouble, probably from over training a bit, and each step hurt. Like a sharp twinge each time my knee would come up in my stride so of course I was so fearful that this would either be very painful, or that my legs would just give out.

Today’s corrals were far away from the first two days and as we all walked like “The Walking Dead” all the way there , I started to pep up a bit. There’s nothing quite like hearing the announcers and music to lift your spirits. Hannah and I got there early enough to be in the front of the corral and take a little snooze on our mylar blankets before the race started. Whispers of the humidity had started and so when we checked our phones, it already said 90%. I really noticed it because the announcers kept stressing that we need to take it easy and drink tons of water.

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Corral G crossed the start line about 5:45 and we made our way past the few freeway miles heading to Magic Kingdom. I was SO excited to make it to the entrance of Magic Kingdom to see finally hear “Caution runners, speed bumps ahead.” That’s when it finally hit me, “Oh my gosh, we’re doing this!”
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They did provide some entertainment on the course which we skipped but did see this cool hot air balloon while waiting for the bathroom. As we stood there, being at mile 2, we saw the fist place runner go by! He was already at mile 11! The whole crowd lit up screaming “GO GO GO!!!!” It was so inspiring!
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Running through Main Street either in Florida or California is about as magical as it can get. It’s from this point on I don’t even bother with music and just soak it all in. The crowd couldn’t be more supportive or excited for each runner, and the smiles couldn’t be brighter! To make it even more amazing, the Christmas decorations were still up!


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We ran through Main Street to Tomorrowland and as we turned a corner in Fantasyland, we saw Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff waving to up from the balcony.
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This is usually where a bottleneck starts to happen so I was pretty prepared to slow down and just look at the beautiful lights.
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As you can see, the sky behind the castle looks like a green screen! The air was so thick and dense, I felt like I could chew it.
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Fortunately, we were careful with our electrolytes and water that so far, we felt pretty good. My hip was starting to scream a bit so I made sure to keep my stride small, use my intervals, and try to run slower than normal. We passed through Frontierland, by Splash Mountain to end up looking at a dead end with a dazzling float from the Festival of Fantasy parade.
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When you leave Magic Kingdom, you start to run past the golf course on your right and the Grand Floridan on the left, which is a pretty long stretch but we were happy to see a character stop shortly after.
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Donald had just walked away so we just got Goofy alone, maybe Donald needed a port o potty!

The second half of this course is a bit boring to be honest. I’ve heard a lot of chatter about how Disney World halves are “WAY” better than Disneyland. As someone who has done both, I would say California has them beat, and mostly because since Disneyland is so small, you start there for the first 4-5 miles. It takes a good 3-4 miles to get to Magic Kingdom alone so it’s a bit of a treck. They did have a few army men who spotted us walking while eating our gu and told us to “quit being sissies!”
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At least he didn’t make us do burpies!

The course winds you back to Epcot where we noticed you couldn’t even see the top of the Epcot ball because the air was so thick! We did meet a new friend670caf95-df2e-4c78-bf8f-90404f9fddad though!

We finished this very muggy day proud, tired, and a little nervous for the next day. After a stop at the medical tent for ice, we proudly displayed our medals and went back to the hotel for a full rest day.
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I highly recommend to take this day easy. A nice, slow, active rest is probably the best way to go. We ended up at the hotel, relaxing, walking around, and somehow back at the Kona Cafe for that amazing coffee! My cousin took an ice bath while I totally chickened out. I remember texting a good friend asking her if she does them after running and all I got back was “OH GIRL, NO!!!” Needless to say, I’m not as tough when it comes to that! In bed by 8, clothes laid out, trashy T.V. on, and we were ready for what was to come. 26.2 or bust!

The Dopey Challenge – 10k day!

The 5k seemed to come and go very quickly which left us most of the day to eat brunch at Kona Cafe (HIGHLY recommend the french press Kona coffee mmmm), we then spent the afternoon at Animal Kingdom. We made sure to leave about 4pm after a late lunch so we could get to bed by 8 for our 3am wake up call. That didn’t stop us from having some great pizza, meeting King Louie and Balou, and riding Expedition Everest a few times!

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We got on the bus the next morning around 3:30, another 3am wake up call, and I sat next to a really nice runner who had done a few Dopeys in the past. I told him my worries and he quickly set my mind at ease by saying “We’re all scared, but you just put one foot in front of the other.” He also made me feel confident because I was in the G corral so he said I would have plenty of time to finish.

That morning was rainy so we (fortunately) could sit in the massage tent that happened to be empty that day. TIP: Always keep the mylar blanket they hand out after each race. This was a LIFE SAVER the next morning while standing in the rain for an hour. It wasn’t necessarily cold, but it kept us from being wet and uncomfortable. My cousin, Hannah, and I sat, stretched, closed our eyes, and ate a snack until 5 when we went to go to our corral. The corrals were in the same spot and configuration as the day before so it was really easy to get into B corral and get started. The crowd wasn’t even phased by the rain, everyone was cheering and ready to go!

We ran about 2 miles before entering back into Epcot and finding Mulan in China!

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I just love Epcot in the dark with all the little lights twinkling. It’s just so magical. I especially loved being in my favorite pavilion, Germany while dreaming about the caramels we’d have after marathon day!
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We both didn’t have much more than a banana that morning thinking that we’d be done soon and breakfast would be right around the corner. Boy were we wrong! We should have brought something because when we smelt the croissants being baked in France, we were ready to pounce! The other good thing besides the smell when we got to the France pavilion was that I finally got to meet Remy the rat!
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I have to say the 10k course was my second favorite out of the 4 races that weekend. I’ve never been to the Boardwalk area of Epcot so that was a fun surprise. There were a ton of families out there cheering and giving out high fives. I love being able to run by the different Disney world hotels, in my head a make a wish list on places I want to stay in the future. I have to say, one of the benefits of running any Disney race is all the scenery to distract you in the wee hours of the morning!
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Soaking wet from either sweat or rain, we finished happily and were off to shower and take accidental naps. Oops, sorry to the family that wasn’t running that day! The hardest part of this race so far wasn’t the miles, it was the exhaustion! It’s hard being with people you want to hang out and do things with while trying to focus on a race. I think a lot of times people think that because the race is a Disney event that it’s not as challenging as a “normal” race. I have to say it’s quite the opposite. Local races don’t distract you from your normal routine where as a race-cation tempts you with junk food and late bedtimes!
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My daughter was….less than thrilled about her 100M dash. I figured that my girl who loves to jump and do burpees would totally sit and no nothing when it came time. Of course out of the 10 days we were there this was the one day it POURED. She did love splashing around in the puddles before we started so at least she wasn’t bothered by the rain!

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After we went back to Pop Century, showered and got dry (again), we made our way to Hollywood Studios to shake out any stiffness, have lunch at the Sci Fi Diner, and do some of the big rides. Fortunatley for us, the rain had stopped around noon so we got to enjoy a little sunshine.
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Enjoying turkey sandwiches at the Sci Fi Diner.
Enjoying turkey sandwiches at the Sci Fi Diner.
Such a cool atmosphere!
Such a cool atmosphere!

We ended the day with one of my most favorite things at Hollywood Studios, the Beauty and the Beast show!

Making our way back to the hotel, we wanted to have a quick dinner at the hotel and then be in our jammies by 7pm. We knew the hardest two days were coming up next so we had to get as much rest as possible. Even though I kept telling my body this, it was still very hard to sleep!

Running in memory and keeping a positive road ahead

Today was the 35th anniversary of the Fair Oaks run in Sacramento, CA. My father in law had this marked on his calendar for him and I do together as the last short run before my Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. Since, sadly, he passed away we all decided to go and do it in memory.

Even Emma came along for the ride!
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We took it easy just as something we could do together, nothing competitive. I’m so glad we all decided to do it.

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The best part – you won’t even believe it – Ryan wants to start doing some small races with me! I’m so excited! Maybe on some level, this gave Ryan a small part of his dad’s love for running. Wouldn’t that be amazing that if after all of this, Ryan picked up the running right where his dad left off.
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With my last short run over with, I have some packing to do and some last minute workouts. Since everyone is supposed to be tapering down on their workouts and running, I’m only running two small 3 miles runs on Tuesday and Thursday with a boot camp class in between. Now that the suitcases are pulled out, it’s time to pack away! Along with all of the regular things you need for Disneyland here are my running essentials and tips:

1. Wake up the day or two days prior around the time you will wake up on race day. Not only will this help you reset your clock a bit but by waking early and not napping, you will be SO tired come 8 pm and hopefully it will be easy for you to think happy thoughts and drift off to sleep. Since I have to train people very morning at 6am this week, it’s my goal to be in bed my 8pm. Race time starts at 5 am for the 5k on Friday, and 5:30 am for the 10K and half marathon on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re running the Pixie Dust challenge like me, you’ll be up for both the 10k and half marathon. On race day, I set my alarm for 3:30 am, and that usually gives me enough time to dress up, stretch, sip some coffee and eat half of my breakfast (I eat half around 4am and the other half on the walk over).

2. Pack food! I can not stress this enough – do not, I repeat do NOT eat anything new on race day before, during, or immediately after the race. I’m a bagel and peanut butter girl all the way. There’s no need for me to start with oatmeal randomly the day of my half marathon. I suggest you pack what you normally like or find a grocery store near your hotel the day before. With waking up earlier than normal, you’re body is a little thrown off so it’s best not to try anything new that will upset your stomach. My favorite things to bring with us to any RunDisney race weekend are: apples, bananas, organic chocolate milk (GREAT recovery drink when you get back to the hotel), sprouted grain bagels, natural peanut butter, dried fruit, and Quest protein bars. Obviously I won’t be eating all of that before the race, but if you’re racing multiple days, it’s a good idea to keep your diet healthy until the races are over. Even though I would love to be fueled by churros, it probably isn’t the best choice.

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the run go faster!
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the run go faster!

3. Fuel during your race. Luckily, if you forget yours, Clif supplies some energy gel between miles 8 and 9 just in case you run out. During the 10k, I usually don’t need anything but my phone for music and pictures. The course for the 10k is so lovely and fun, and it’s over so fast which leaves me no time to stop and eat. I will be doing all of that at the Storyteller’s Cafe right after!

4. “Forget the glass slipper, this princess wears running shoes!” For challenge weekends where you are running back to back days, I highly suggest bringing one pair of shoes for each day. I have two pairs in the exact same brand and style, just one for the 10K and one for the half. The reason is, if it rains and your shoes are soaking wet, they probably won’t have time to dry in just one day. I also notice that by changing shoes, the padding isn’t worn down from the day before.
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5. Costumes! This is the best part, right? This was such a fun thing for me to plan, I’m sure I will have a ton of photos of my outfits for the race recap but I’ll let you in on the secret now, for the 10K I am going to be Minnie Mouse and for the half I found the cutest Sleeping Beauty running skirt! I must stress the point that just like fuel, you should never test out new costumes the day of the race. One false move (or thousands of running strides later) you could end up chaffed and tangled! So maybe a few weeks before your race, take it out for a test drive. Run a few miles with that tutu. If you’re like me at the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend last year, you’ll find out your tutu needs a severe hair cut! You don’t want to be messing with that thing for 13.1 miles. I like to pack mine in separate ziploc bags as well. Everything from underwear to socks are all nicely folded in one bag so when 3:30am rolls around, it’s a no brainer as to where you put your leggings!

Don't you just love the peek of the castle behind us?
Don’t you just love the peek of the castle behind us?

6. Sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat. This is probably pretty obvious since the race takes place in Southern California, but you’d be surprised how many times I forgot one of these things. A hat is a good option here because around mile 4, you might be sweating so much you have sunblock dripping in your eyes! I prefer the sunblock (forehead down), sunglasses, and hat option. Or who knows, you could even put a pair of Mickey ears up there to block the sun!

7. Emergen-C – In case of an emergency of course! I always bring a packet for myself and Ryan to have each morning with breakfast. Walking the parks all day and going to bed with too little of sleep always gets your immune system down so I try to be one step ahead.

Well friends, there you have it! My go to packing list for any RunDisney vacation. I know once Dopey rolls around, I might have a few things here and there to add, but for now, this is it! I’m so excited for this race and to bring home THREE new shiny medals!
Our first stop with the Monster's Inc gang!

Crying over brownies

This has been the worst week of my life. I am confident when I say these words. I have suffered great loss before with my father passing away when I was 4, and then as an adult when I lost my great grandmother (someone who promised me never to die!). Yes those loses where terrible but nothing has compared to this week. My father in law passed away unexpectedly a few days ago. Seeing my husband suffer with this pain is something I wish I could take away. When I lost important people in my life, I could control my sadness. I could feel what I felt. I could cry, scream, go numb all at my own choice. Now, with Ryan grieving, all I can do is watch. And it’s horrible.

I don’t know how or why I’m writing this when I originally started to write about paleo brownies. Today I thought, it’s recipe day. I can do that no problem. So I set all of my fun little ingredients from coconut flour to 100% maple syrup. I preheated my oven and started firing up my kitchen aid. Thirty minutes later they were done…and they were…terrible. Awful! Grainy and gooey and just plain gross. That’s when I was crying into a pan of brownies. How had I managed to mess up something so simple? How did I not have control over an easy Pinterest recipe?

My whole week has been like this. I have tried to carry on and be strong especially since my daughter is 1, she is all smiles no matter what happens. It’s when I’m alone on a run and I get choked up at a song on my playlist or when I have a few tears while I’m taking a boot camp class. I joke that it’s because I hate burpees, but I’m pretty sure it’s obvious I’m having a bad day.

I don’t really know where this post is going or if it’s making any sense. It’s certainly NOT inspiring anyone to eat healthy or go do some push ups but it’s life I guess. Putting this out there is a way to tell myself that life will carry on, wounds will heal, there will be another recipe Sunday next week and I’m sure I won’t make nasty brownies anytime soon.

Today is Easter, the day of hope. I hope my family can go forward and heal. I hope that we can all somehow bond together and get stronger.