Archives for April 2013

Injury Prevention

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I’ve been a competitive athlete all my life. I started playing basketball in the fourth grade and played competitively through two years of junior college before transferring to UW Madison. I thought about attempting to walk-on at the UW, but came to the frank realization that I just wasn’t that good and I should probably concentrate on my studies. I was so competitive during high school that I played my junior and senior years with stress fractures in both feet. I was supposed to sit out 4 to 6 weeks, but just couldn’t mentally handle sitting on the sidelines. I sat out one game and couldn’t handle it; I lied to my coach about being cleared to play, taped up my feet and hit the floor. The pain and frustration of not playing was far worse than any the physical pain. This mindset, this need to be active is common in many competitive athletes. It’s this quality in athletes that drive us to be constantly at our best, it pushes us through the tough times and helps us excel during the good. But this quality will also cause us to abuse our bodies well beyond what we should. This can be seen across the sporting world, but is especially apparent in distance running where overuse injuries are common. During any distance run, every runner comes to a point where they feel discomfort, and have to decide whether to stop or to push through the pain. More often than not we push through the pain.

I’ve learned the hard way how overuse injuries can sideline a competitor for weeks and months at a time. I started running a little over a year ago to train for the Walt Disney World Marathon, and being the competitor that I am, I thought I could do more than I could. I pushed myself too hard, too fast. About six months before the marathon, I pushed myself on the long run and injured my knee. After a couple week of pain that prevented me from any kind of running, I decided to go to the doctor who referred me to a physical therapist, who then referred me to my running evaluator, Scott. Scott was a lifelong runner who showed me the ins and outs of injury prevention while running. He videotaped me running on a treadmill and then we played it back frame by frame showing my form and where it needed improvement. He then gave me techniques and advice on how to improve and we hit the treadmill to practice. If it wasn’t for him I probably never would’ve completed my first marathon. A lot of running stores, physical therapists and sports medicine experts offer this service and I encourage every new runner to have it done. Here is some of what Scott told me, and what I’ve learned along the way to prevent injuries and run pain free.

Start from the ground up – Pay attention to the surface you run on. Always running on the left side of the road facing traffic is good from a safety standpoint, but the constant slant of the pavement where your right foot is always higher than your left will limit the healthy pronation of your left foot and encourage overpronation of your right. Repeating this 180 strides a minute, mile after mile, week after week, can lead to injury. Find a flat trail to run on, especially if you are returning from injury or feel one coming on. Also, it may not be as nice as running outdoors, but treadmills provide a nice flat surface for runners recovering from injury or marathoners trying to increase distance.

Proper shoes – Each foot is going to hit the ground about 90 times per minute, which is over 5000 impacts over a 30 minute run. Your shoes are the only thing cushioning your body you against each blow. Having properly fitted shoes is essential for running injury free. To find the right shoe for you, go to your local specialty running store. They are a treasure trove of information and helpfulness. They will spend the time to measure your feet and then watch and analyze you run to get you fitted with the proper shoe. Many will even let you road test so that you to find out which pair is right for you. In general, you don’t get this kind of service or knowledge at the large chains stores. Once you have the right shoe, how do you know when to replace them? There are a lot of opinions, but as a general rule they should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles.

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Cadence and stride – In essence, cadence is how often your feet touch the ground and stride is the distance of each step. Typically speaking, the slower your cadence, the longer you will be in the air, and the harder you will land with each step, which over time may result in injury. To measure my cadence, I count the number of steps I take with both feet over 30 seconds and then double it. Not only does it keep my feet turning over at a proper rate, it also gives me something to do on the long runs. The magic number for cadence seems to be 180 steps per minute. This should give you a short enough stride so that you are light on your feet while not forcing you to take baby steps. This was one of the keys to getting me to run injury free. I was using too long of a stride and heel striking when my foot hit the ground, which is a big running no-no that I will discuss in the next section. In theory, your stride should end and your foot should land directly below your center of gravity, not too far ahead, this technique allows the runner for greater efficiency while preventing injury.

Foot strike – Foot strike refers to what part of the foot hits the ground first. There’s been a lot of debate whether heel, mid-foot, or forefoot striking is the best approach to endurance running. The mid and forefoot strike allows for greater shock absorption and thus can prevent injury, as compared to the heel strike. When I did my running analysis, I was running with the heel strike. When running with the heel strike each step on the treadmill produced a loud thud as my foot hit the ground. As soon as I was coached to run on my forefoot, there was a noticeable sound difference and I could feel less impact in my knees. It was awkward at first, it felt like I was running on my tip-toes, but I got used to it. To me, this with the single greatest change in my running technique that allows me to run without injury.

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R.I.C.E – RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. These four things are the best immediate treatment for joint pain and muscle aches. Of the four, the most important component is rest. You need to give your body time to mend before taxing it again. You don’t have to be totally inactive, but just take it easy on the affected area until you are pain free. Ice is used to reduce the inflammatory response and pain of an injured area. Typical recommendations are to alternate ice and no ice for 10 to 15 minutes for a 24 to 48 hour period immediately following the injury. Remember, too much ice is a bad thing as it reduces blood flow and prevents the body from flushing toxins from the affected area. Compression is used to reduce swelling that result from the inflammatory process. This is typically done with an Ace bandage wrap. Elevation is also used to control swelling. It is most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart which helps your body return blood. Ice tends to be the best friend of an injured runner but don’t underestimate or forget the other components of RICE.

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Listen to your body – This is probably the simplest and sometimes most difficult piece of advice to follow. On a long run there will typically be some sort of discomfort; choosing which pain you can run through and which is causing harm is a difficult task the master. At the first sign of an atypical pain or a discomfort that worsens throughout your run and forces you to alter your gait, you should begin to take it easy. Give yourself a rest day or two substituting walking for running or alternate with some other form of a cross training. When you get back to running take it easy, start off at a pace slower than your normal training and gradually work yourself back up. For competitors this can be a maddening process, but the price of giving yourself a few rest days is far better than having to sit out a week or a month with a severe injury.

Strength training your core and hips – Over the course of a long run, as you tire, weak core muscles allow for sloppy form which can lead to injuries. You change your gait without realizing by not having the strength to hold good form. When you strengthen your hips and core you increase your leg stability all the way down to the ankle. The goal is not bulging muscles but good solid strength to keep your pelvis and joints in proper position. A 2007 study found that of 284 patient that complained of leg pain, 93% of them had weak hip muscles. After completing a strength program 90% of these people were pain-free within six weeks. For recommendations on a hip work out visit www.runnersworld.com/injury-treatment/all-hips

Build mileage gradually – It is said that you should increase long runs by a maximum of 10%, meaning if your last long run was 10 miles the following should only be increased to 11 miles with adequate rest time in between. Newer runners, or runners coming back from injury, should keep this number closer to 5%. Your body needs time to adapt, typically two to three weeks between long runs. Pushing yourself too far too fast is an easy mistake for any competitor to make.

Limit race and speed workouts – There is a correlation between injuries and the frequency of race efforts while running. For runners trying to improve their time, regular speed training is great, but this kind of training is not recommended for average runners. For typical runners trying to quicken their pace a weekly, or biweekly, speed workout is good, but be wise about it and listen to your body. Give yourself plenty of recovery time. A good general rule is one rest day per each mile at race speeds. So a 3.1 mile run, at race pace, should be followed by three rest days.

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Stretching and warm-up – This is a highly contested issue. You can find arguments for stretching before a run, after, or even not at all. I will give you my thoughts from research and what I’ve been told, but just be aware that there is a lot of differing opinions. Through research I have found stretching before a run will decrease power, force output, and speed (i.e. it’ll actually make you slower). A dynamic warm-up, focusing on muscles you tend to use during your workout, will improve performance and give you the most benefits for your time. A proper warm-up gets the blood flowing and prepares the muscles for the workout ahead. On the flipside, it cool-down is just as important, build in a five minute walk after each run to let the blood return from the legs to your core. As far as stretching, my preference is to do it after a workout while my muscles are still warm, it seems to reduce cramping and keep me flexible.

If you have any questions comments or concerns: please feel free to contact me; my email is [email protected], follow me on twitter @racedisney or visit my webpage www.raceDisney.com. I love hearing from fellow runners and hope to chat with you soon.

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QOTD: What is your best injury prevention tip?

Give Yourself a Break

Hi everyone! I am Kristen and I blog over at The Smith Summary. I am super excited to be guest posting for Heather today while she and her hubby are on a much deserved cruise!

I work full-time as a pharmacist and as a wife and mom of two so I know first-hand how life can get in the way of taking better care of ourselves, and that couldn’t be more important while training for a race. We push ourselves to the limit while we are training but sometimes our bodies need a little break so that we can stay healthy and injury free. I will be the first to admit that I don’t take care of myself as well as I should, and my body told me that the hard way last week when I got sick. Being sick is no fun, and then I felt super guilty about missing my workouts for a few days but I knew this was my body’s way of waving the white flag and that I needed to give myself a break. So I decided to share my tips on how to keep yourself healthy while training for a race (and maybe by putting these on paper, I’ll follow my own advice too!)

1. Drink water.

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Doesn’t everyone though?

The old rule of thumb is to drink at least 64oz of water each day but if you are exercising that day and/or it’s especially hot outside you should consume more than that – and for longer runs, this includes properly hydrating in the days leading up to the run, not just the day of. Try to consume at least 16oz of water about an hour before you exercise (just don’t wait any longer so you don’t have to take potty breaks during your workout) and about 4-6oz for every 20 minutes during your workout. These are basic rules of thumb, of course, since your needs will vary depending on your sweat rate. Also don’t forget to hydrate after your workout as well!

2. Eat healthy.

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I know this probably goes without saying but make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet because they are chock full of antioxidants which boost your immune system and help prevent illness. Also try to limit your intake of saturated fats, since those can decrease your immunity.

3. Wash Your Hands

Nuf said. While you’re at it, if you’re exercising at a gym, take a pack of Lysol wipes to wipe down handles of machines and weights (before AND after use!) because sweat and warmth are a playground for germs!

4. Get your ZZzzzs

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This is my youngest daughter getting hers J

This is definitely an area I need to work on because I KNOW I don’t get enough sleep (caffeine is my friend). Strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs it not only to boost your immune system but also to help your muscles recover from your workouts.

5. Avoid ramping up too soon – AND taper when you have a big race coming

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Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10-15% each week while training for a big race. If you are increasing your mileage then don’t increase your intensity (i.e. add speed training) – just do one at a time. Take at least one rest day a week so your body can recover. Likewise, if you are tapering for a big race you’ll need more rest so that your immune system is ready for race day.

And lastly, as a healthcare provider I feel it necessary to remind you to see your doctor yearly for a physical!!! Health conditions can go unnoticed in your day to day life but your doctor is trained to look for things and you’d hate to find out the hard way that there’s something wrong – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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QOTD: What do you do to keep yourself healthy while training?

A CrossFit Story

This is the story of a chubby 10-year-old girl who was always picked last for the sports teams, even by her best friend.  The girl continued to struggle with weight for the next two decades, transforming from healthy-ish, back to chubby, and around again.  Until finally, she decided to embark on a journey to discover her fittest self.   In order to hold herself accountable while simultaneously inspiring others who might struggle like her, she decided to utilize the internet and put the entire journey out there for anyone to see, on a web series/blog called the FatNoMoSho.

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Hello!  I’m that girl! The journey of a thousand miles, as Lao Tzu said, begins with a single step.  And that first step toward true fitness was to figure out what physical activity I actually enjoyed doing.  I tried all sorts of things, from flying on a trapeze to stand up paddle boarding.  And of course, I tackled running, and have done some fun 5ks.  But nothing quite challenged me like CrossFit.  You may have heard rumors of this quickly growing sport – such things as… it’s a cult, it’s expensive, that you get ripped…I had to find out for myself.   So I set out to shoot an episode of the FatNoMoSho to see what this elusive CrossFit was all about.  And all of those rumors are true, wonderfully true.  But here’s a secret – for the next year after shooting the episode, I kept thinking and talking about joining a CrossFit gym.  But I was afraid, partially because of the aforementioned rumors, but mostly because of the intensity – I wasn’t sure if I could be athletic enough.  But a friend of mine was so inspired by the episode that she joined a CrossFit gym, and to date has lost over 68 pounds, while discovering amazing strengths of her body like never before.  So although I initially inspired her, it took her to full-circle inspire me to really give it a try.  And here’s what happened.

At my first workout, I was the only female.  Surrounded by incredibly athletic, built men, ready to lift some serious weight, and I could barely do a jumping jack without getting winded.  I decided to announce to the group that I was nervous – I didn’t know if I’d finish the workout, or die.  They assured me that they had my back.  And they did.  Here was the WOD (workout of the day):

800 meter run

21 front squats

21 pull ups (modified with a resistance band)

400 meter run

15 front squats

15 pull ups

200 meter run

9 front squats

9 pull ups

During this workout, as I panted and huffed and groaned, face as red as a tomato, these are the thoughts that raced through my head:

I’m gonna puke.  I’m gonna puke.  No, I won’t puke.  What if I have a heart attack.  Yep, definitely going to have a heart attack.  My legs are jelly.  How am I supposed to squat again?  I can’t squat anymore.  Ok fine one more.  I can’t pull up any more.  Am I going to cry?  No, don’t cry.  But my inner fat girl is saying I told you so…look at all these fit people…and you were always put in right outfield because you had no athleticism in your entire body.   Ok I think I can run one more time…

And understandably, all of the ripped super men were done far before me…but they had all converted into full on cheerleaders.  My inner voice was silenced by shouts of exaltation.  You’ve got this!  You can do this!  Come on!  I had somehow completed all but the last 9 pull ups…and they all counted down as I finished each one, ending the workout gasping, high-fiving, and feeling victorious.

The next day, my muscles screamed with every step, reminding me that I gave everything and worked out as hard as I possibly could.  With a small boost of confidence, I went back the next day, and have been going 3-4 times per week for the last two months.  I still have a long way to go, but I can already tell a difference in every part of my body, and with every WOD, I feel stronger, more sure-footed, and I can now cheer on my fellow CrossFitters…from those ripped men to the newer members with the same look on their faces that I had. 

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QOTD: Have you tried CrossFit? Do you like it?

Disney Cruise Line News: Magic Dry Dock

Yesterday morning when I attended the Monstrous Summer press event, The President of Disney Cruise line spoke about some great new things coming to the Disney Magic this fall.

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She will be dry docked and will undergo a major overhaul to get her more up to date with the Dream and the Fantasy. We were shown beautiful renderings of some of the new things that are coming. I took photos of all the slides so you can get a peek at what is to come on the Disney Magic!

The lobby will get a facelift with some enhancements to the atrium.

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Next, is the new restaurant that will be taking the place of Parrot Cay, Cariocas

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Animator’s Palate is  fan favorite, so it will be staying as is except for some updated technology, including the fun animation part that the Disney Fantasy currently has on board. Everyone ready to draw?!?

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The onboard buffet will be changing over to Cabanas like on the Dream and Fantasy.

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The kids areas will all be reimagined, my favorite is this rendering of Andy’s room. The slinky slide looks awesome!

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A lot of boys are excited about the new Avengers academy. Finally some superheroes onboard!

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There will also be 3 adult spaces. Keys, Fathoms, and O’Gills Pub, all a part of “after hours”.

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The deck areas are getting lots of fun too. First, the new twist and spout slide, and  also the newphews play area for the wee ones.

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One new thing I didn’t know about it the new slide, the AquaDUNK will drop you THREE stories! Wow!

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Here is a cute video about how this new slide will work.

 

As you can see, a lot of amazing and fun upgrades are coming very soon, so keep these in mind when looking to plan your next Disney vacation! I would love to help you if you have any questions!

QOTD: What is your favorite new feature of the reimagined ship?

runDisney Princess Half Marathon News

runDisney has done it again! More surprises, more races, and more BLING is in store for the 2014 Princess half marathon weekend. I was just given info from runDisney about some new components for runners, so here’s the scoop:

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On the heels of a very successful Dumbo Double Dare challenge sign up and Dopey challenge announcement, there will be an ALL NEW challenge fit for a princess, and I can’t wait! At this year’s event there will be a new 10k race option, as well as the opportunity to earn another medal for completing both the 10k and the half for a total of 19.3 miles… The Disney Glass Slipper Challenge medal.

The race will be held the weekend of February 20-23 2014, with the chance to earn a 5k medal, 10k medal, half marathon medal, and glass slipper challenge medal. Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more girly bling, another new component is being added. If you run both the Tinkerbell half marathon AND the Princess half marathon in the same year, you will get a special coast to coast medal with a pink overlay and lanyard. Too cute! If you plan on running both races, you can sign up for them at the same time on www.rundisney.com when Princess registration opens on June 11. However, if you plan to only register for the Tinkerbell half, registration for that event will not open until July 9th.

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Nearly 7,500 runners ran the inaugural Princess half in 2009, and the women’s focused race has grown by leaps and bounds since then with more than 26,000 registered for the 2013 event. There will also be kids races and a health and fitness expo during both race weekends. I was hoping a 10k and challenge would be announced after how well Dumbo was received, and I just hope I will be able to participate! I had a blast running this year’s Princess half marathon and Royal Family 5k. It is my favorite runDisney race weekend, and I love that they are doing even more to allow runners of all abilities to join in the fun. So, who is with me? Glass Slipper Challenge 2014? What about the coast to coast? I would LOVE to run Tinkerbell one year!

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QOTD: Thoughts on this challenge? Will you be participating in the weekend events?

Monstrous Summer All-Nighter

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend some fun press event activities. I will tell you more about them later, but I did want to talk to you about a new announcement that was made at the end of the night. All the media were brought to the front of the park after our Illuminations dessert party where there was a stage with some Monstrous Summer signage.

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Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis took the stage at 10:00 along with Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. and Monsters University projected up onto the 180 foot tall Spaceship Earth.

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Together they announced that to kick off the “Monstrous Summer” events, there would be an all-nighter. Three parks (Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Park and California Adventure park) would be open for 24 hours on the 24th of May from 6:00 am until 6:00 am on the 25th of May. There will be fun events taking place all day long for the all-nighter. At the Magic Kingdom, Mike and Sulley will be the grand Marshalls of the afternoon parade, there will be characters in pajamas in Town Square, and you may even see a few dance parties. In California, There will be a pajama party in Toontown as well as a live band, dancing, character photo opportunities. 

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There will also be limited edition merchandise available for purchase, food and beverage offerings, as well as a few other surprises. Don’t forget, the new Monsters University movie comes to theaters June 21st.

It was really amazing to see Mike projected onto Spaceship Earth in person, talking to the crowd. Pictures really don’t do it justice. There was a lot of excitement in the crowd with so much fun coming to the Disney parks this summer! Here is a video I shot of the announcement.

 

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You can use hashtag #Disney24 when talking about the event or looking for info on Twitter.

QOTD: What are your thoughts on this announcement? What do you think of Mike being projected onto Spaceship Earth?

Top 5 Smart Accessories

Good morning! I am hopping on a 7:15 flight this morning and heading to Orlando! I will check into the Grand Floridian, and then the press event will begin after lunch. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, instagram, and Facebook via the social media icons on my right sidebar of my blog. I will be live tweeting/etc. the event Thursday and Friday and you won’t want to miss the new information I will be posting! Also don’t worry, while I am gone I have some great guest posters who will be taking over my blog (I will also be popping in on a couple of days to post about press event info I learn). Be sure to show them some love!

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I recently spoke about getting the new Blackberry Z10 smart phone. There was a bit of a learning curve, but I have enjoyed getting to know my phone. Now that I have used it a good bit, it’s time to think about accessories! here are five accessories that I found that I would love to try out for various reasons:

Nokia JBL Power Up Speaker– This is a wireless charging speaker with Legendary JBL® sound in a compact design. You can wirelessly charge your device simply by placing it on top of the speaker. It is also compatible with any Bluetooth®-enabled device.

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LG wireless charging Bluetooth headset- This accessory features a solid, durable look and feel built into a compact and lightweight design. The geometric mesh surface is the contact point for Wireless Charging. The Power/Call button and Volume buttons are placed well for easy access while wearing the device.

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Fitbit one- I have the FitBit zipp, but would love to try this one! During the day, it tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. At night, it measures your sleep cycle to help you see how to sleep better; and it can even wake you in the morning without waking other in your home. Your stats upload wirelessly to your computer and select mobile phones.  You can set goals, and track progress while competing with your friends.

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Lifeproof armband- I already have a lifeproof case, so this armband would be great to have so I could wear it while I run instead of holding my phone. Made from breathable spandex, the wide strap and non-slip silicone dots keep it stable and comfortable as you move. The Velcro strap adjusts to fit most, and it’s also lightweight. Reflective markings make you more visible when training after dark.

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Tagg pet tracker- This is a purpose-built tracking device that helps pet owners find and track their pet. The pet owner tells the Tagg system where they want their pet to be, and  if the pet ever leaves the Tagg zone, the owner receives text and email alerts. Tagg’s innovative technology quickly pinpoints the pet’s location using a mobile device or computer. The Tagg master kit includes three months of service. After the first three months, service costs $7.95/month and includes unlimited alert notifications

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*Do any of these accessories look interesting to you? You can now save 25% on these and many more Verizon accessories by texting heatherslg to 22699. You will then get a barcode to use in store, or you can use the code online when you shop Verizon.

QOTD: What accessory looks the most interesting to you?

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”  #VZWA #VZWVoices

Disney Sports Made Easy

When I visited the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World back in February, I got to sit down with some folks who work for Disney sports and talk about the complex, and also more specifically about springs training, youth sports, and how they help you from the beginning of your fundraising all the way through your stay so your trip is as easy as possible. I never had the opportunity to play sports there as a kid, but I hope one day my future kids have the opportunity to participate because well, per usual, Disney does it right!

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A lot of youth sports teams come from all over the place to participate in tournaments and spring training programs. Teams have a lot of opportunities to travel to many different states and events, but the logistics can be difficult. It may seem a bit overwhelming as a coach or a parents trying to figure out where to start, but at Disney they take care of all the details for you and makes everything so simple. First let’s start with who can participate. As far as spring training goes, high school college teams may participate. (Generally in March and April). However, there are plenty of other tournaments and events geared toward club teams ages 8-18. When it comes to spring training, teams can get a leg up on the competition and take advantage of the warm Florida climate to get the team ready for their season.

For some teams travel costs can be an issue. However, there are plenty of great fundraising ideas to help you get to Florida. Disney will even give your team a Walt Disney World vacation to raffle off in order to help you earn money. There is also an ESPN magazine sales program you can take advantage of. Not to mention your team will receive a checklist about 90 and 60 days out from your arrival, making sure you are ready to go. Upon arrival, you can get information and help for your group on site at the Wide World of Sports Complex Welcome Center. They can even booking dining reservations for you. What a great way to congratulate the team on a job well done…breakfast with Mickey and the gang!

Not only are these events exciting for the athlete participating, but the whole family can get involved. In addition to all inclusive packages with discounted hotel stays and park tickets, there are also activities for siblings to take advantage of during games. (Think bean bag toss, hula hoops, etc.) Games are scheduled in such a way that teams are generally off the field by 4:00 in the afternoon so there is plenty of time to hang out with your family and explore all the other experiences Disney has to offer.

There is so much attention to detail with these events. For instance, there are professional photographers that take photos during games forpurchase. Boxed lunches or pizza can be pre ordered for the team and are brought straight to the field. There is even a convenient equipment drop off at the front of the complex, and gear will then be transported to the field. Just a few ways that Disney makes teams feel comfortable, and makes the trip an easy one.

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Teams love working with the ESPN brand. Some games are even featured on ESPN3.com (where they are shown live so family members and friends around the world can watch), YouTube channels, and even Disney hotel room TV’s. Some highlights from games have even made it onto Sportscenter!

Disney is a great first traveling tournament for teams with it’s fun but competitive nature, as well as learning experiences on and off the field. Good communication is offered, and awards are given for the top teams in each division. There is typically a consolation bracket, so players have the opportunity to participate in multiple games against teams from all over (30% of teams come from outside of the United States!)

Not to mention, with summer coming up more and more youth will be participating in sports and tournaments, so teams can use this summer as an opportunity to play in central Florida. Planning for a tournament or camp doesn’t have to be stressful and an impossible task. In today’s world where everyone has a full plate efficiency and ease of planning are important. Sitting down with these wonderful Disney folks I learned that there are so many options available to cater to your teams needs and to make magical memories for athletes of all ages. I can’t wait to experience it for myself.

If you would like more information on attending a tournament or event with your child or team, please visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports Contact Page.

QOTD: What is your favorite part about the way Disney runs these tournaments and trainings that you learned in my post? Or, what sport would you most like to watch at the complex?

Cleaning Your Computer and Mobile Devices

It’s spring cleaning time! While sprucing up your yard and house are great things that need to be done, what about cleaning your computer/cell phone/tablet? If you are anything like me, you use your phone and computer a lot. While this is great for my job and my blog, it’s not so great when it comes to wear, tear and well…germs.

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I am guilty as charged to a lot of things that contribute to a dirty computer/phone. I eat at my computer, I get makeup on my phone, I get smudges on my laptop screen, and dirt on my mouse and I use an extra large gaming mousepad, meaning I have to defend a much larger area from dirty invaders. I also run with my phone so I get sweat all over it. Sometimes the dust and grime is hard to see, but trust me it’s there. These un-cleaned devices can be contributing factors to sickness and germy messes, so be sure to clean regularly with these easy tips:

1.) Buy some canned air.

This will help you get dust, food particles, and other dirt out from underneath the keys of your keyboard. Be sure to bring the laptop or desktop keyboard outside to clean, and power off your equipment. I turn my laptop on it’s side and use the canned air. Aim for once every other week, or whenever you do your regular dusting of your home.

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2.) Buy an electronics cleaning cloth

I wouldn’t use anything other than a cloth made specifically for cleaning electronics, but some people use old t-shirts to clean with as well. Power off the computer and dip cloth in a tiny bit of water (distilled works best) and wipe down the computer and screen (or other device). Be especially careful with the pressure you put on the screen, and do not spray water directly onto the screen of a computer or phone from a squirt bottle.

3.) Get a screen protector for tablets and cell phones

My iPhone is in a life proof case, and my tablet has a film/screen on it for protection, so for cleaning I just wipe down the cover/screen and don’t have to worry about the actual screen itself getting dirty or damaged. Worth it in my option! If you still have dirt or grime on certain spots of your phone or computer use a toothpick to get into small spaces. Since I do have a waterproof life proof case, I feel safe wiping my phone down with an antibacterial wipe.

4.) Wash your hands before you get on the computer

This will cut down on the amount of dirt that gets on your keys and under them, as well as on the mouse/mouse pad. This can also save you from getting sick!

5.) Clean your mouse and mouse pad

Your mouse is constantly rolling over the mouse pad, so whenever dust and dirt get on the mouse pad it can cake up on the bottom of your mouse. If you have a ball on your mouse take it out and clean it. Also be sure your hands are clean when using the mouse so you don’t cake up dirt on the buttons on top.

So, take this post as your reminder and motivation to clean your devices!

*Don’t ever spray harsh chemicals onto your screen. You can use wipes to clean the keyboard but not the scree itself.

QOTD: How often do you clean your computer or cell phone?

Top 5 Disney Restaurants in the Parks

Last week I wrote a post on my favorite restaurants at the Disney resorts. Now it’s time for my favorites in the parks!

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This was a tough decision, and I tried to spread them out amongst the parks as best I could so there was at least one place per park (all sit down restaurants). Just know there are a lot more great places to eat other than these, but the ones below are some of my favorites!

1.) Coral Reef: Enjoy your meal while sitting next to a gigantic fish tank! You are even given a fish guide so you know which ones you are looking at. Bobby gets fish, I get steak, but we both get warm chocolate lava cake! This is a more fancy place for a park, but kids stay entertained watching the fish. Ask for a seat next to the tank if you can. You may have to wait a little longer but it’s worth it.

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2.) Liberty Tree Tavern I love Liberty Tree for lunch in particular. Why? Four words: Ooey gooey toffee cake. This my friends is the best dessert on Disney property. I also order the pilgrims feast (turkey, dressing, potatoes, green beans) it’s a nice break from fried fried fried that I eat at a lot of other Disney meals. It’s a nice sunny restaurant, very well themed, and of course it’s right in the Magic Kingdom.

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3.) Be Our Guest: I ate here for the first time in February and think Disney did a fabulous job with the theming. We sat in the West Wing and I was bummed at first but ended up loving it. It was much more quaint and quiet than the main ballroom. I love that you can take a picture with the Beast after dinner, and the menu is very nice for a park restaurant.

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4.) Yak and Yeti: This is in Animal Kingdom, and has great theming. It is Asian inspired, so again a nice break from what a lot of the other restaurants offer. I usually get sweet and sour chicken with rice and Bobby gets some kind of shrimp which he really enjoys. We typically do lunch here, and love sitting in the room that has giant windows overlooking the park. People watching at it’s finest!

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5.) Sci Fi Dine In: Best atmosphere of the park hands down. Who doesn’t want to eat in a car at a drive in movie theater? With that being said, the menu is limited, and I honestly don’t ever order anything but a cheeseburger and fires and a cookies n cream milkshake, which is to die for. If you are looking for a fancy culinary experience, this is not the place. However if you are wanting a unique experience don’t miss this one!

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Others I love but couldn’t choose them all:

Le Cellier (Epcot)

Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)

Splitsville (Downtown Disney)

QOTD: Did your favorite make the cut? What am I forgetting?

*Remember I can book your trip for you at no additional cost to you! [email protected]