Archives for January 2014

Cartwheel App Review and $1000 Gift Card Giveaway

When I found out my beloved Target store had a new phone app that could save you money, I quickly downloaded it and learned the ropes so I could get to saving!

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I have always tried really hard to be good with coupons, but I usually end up clipping them, then never using them and letting them expire, or I forget to bring them to the store with me. Since this app is on my phone (which is ALWAYS with me) I never have to worry about forgetting again. Cartwheel can also be used on your desktop or table and is compatible with iPhone and Droid phones. Cartwheel can only be used on in-store purchases, but you have over 700 coupons to choose from! Ok, so how does it work

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You can use your Facebook login information to sign up free with Cartwheel. By doing this you can see what offers your friends have on their lists in the app. (There is also an option to hide your information from people). If you have a target.com login, you can use that as well. Once you login, you are given ten spots to put offers. You get  more spots by earning badges. (They are awarded for reaching savings milestones ($10, $25, $50, etc.), interacting with Cartwheel (example: adding an offer from a collection to your list), and via social sharing (an invited friend who joins Cartwheel). For each badge that is earned, a new spot on your Cartwheel list is opened). You search the app for the discounts that you would like to use, and create your list. (go to browse).

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For example, I went to “grocery items” and “breakfast and cereal” and can chose which of these, if any, that I want in one of my ten slots.

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You can click on an individual item to see more information about it, like it’s expiration date and any offer exclusions. unnamed

Once you have your slots filled, you simply have to scan your barcode at checkout to redeem your discounts. Each barcode generated by Cartwheel is unique to the guest and holds all of the offers on their Cartwheel list. You can also stack Cartwheel discounts with any other Target discounts or coupons, as well as manufacturers coupons and your Target REDcard discount! You can use the offers as many times as you want before they expire, with the following exceptions: limit of 4 items per offer, per transaction; limit of 6 Cartwheel scans per day. So, if there was an offer for 10% off 20 ounce bottles of Diet Coke, a guest could purchase 4 bottles of Diet Coke in one transaction and the offer discount would be applied to all 4 bottles of Diet Coke. That same guest could do this up to 6 times in one day, for a total of 24 bottles of Diet Coke. Target

This is a REALLY cool feature: Using either the iPhone or Droid native apps, guests can scan any barcode in store to see if that item has a Cartwheel offer on it. So instead of having to search and scan all 700 discounts, just pick up an item and scan it yourself to see if it applies, then add that offer on your app in one of your discount slots. This app is really easy to use and the savings can add up especially if you are using other discounts, or coupons (also, if you bring reusable bags you get five cents off per bag!) It’s a great way to help your household save money, and well, it’s kind of fun to use, too!

***Would you like to win a $1,000 Target GiftCard® so you can use Cartwheel as you shop at the store? See below for details:*** Simply leave a comment answering the question: What is your favorite thing about shopping at Target? Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the [email protected] email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/30 – 2/28.

Be sure to visit the Target Cartwheel brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

 

Dopey Challenge 2014: Half Marathon Recap

My alarm went off….again…at 2:45. I was beginning to feel a bit like Groundhog Day! I put on my Dopey costume, ate a banana and a clif bar, and we were ready to go tackle the runDisney half marathon.

half marathon recap

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Note: I originally was going to wear this outfit for the full but switched when I found out today, for the half, it was going to be the warmer of the two days, and since my other costume had arm and leg sleeves, I wanted to wear it on the cooler day.

Bobby loved his new Under Armor shirt!

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We hopped on a bus right at 4:00, and headed to EPCOT. It was nice not being freezing cold walking to the corrals like I have done before, but that also meant it would be a warmer race. We made it into corral K and waited. We sat down because we knew we wouldn’t start until about 35 minutes after the gun went off and I wanted to save my legs.

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it was finally our turn!

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The beginning of the race, if I am being perfectly honest…was a nightmare. Because they placed Dopey runners in corrals based on their MARATHON time then tacked time onto that, everyone was pushed back that did Dopey. I am a much faster half runner than full runner, so for the half I was in a corral with people who had never even run a half marathon before. Again, I am NOT trying to sound like I should have been in front, no way, but based on my half finish times, I should have been in C or D, not K. I wanted to cry the first mile and a half. We literally came to a standstill a few times and I ran on the grass as much as I could where it was safe. So many bottle necks, I just wanted to get out in front of the congestion and have some breathing room.

Finally, when we got almost to the Magic Kingdom signs, the crowds thinned, but unfortunately I would face many more bottle necks to come.

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I love this guy they put on top of the bridge, he is always so much fun yelling to all the runners.

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We finally made it to the Magic Kingdom, and I was bummed that the icicle lights were not on the castle.

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We stopped at the bathrooms in Tomorrowland where I ran into these two!

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Linzie and Kat

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We made our way through a very crowded Magic Kingdom, and were soon back out onto the road. My IT band had started twinging during the 10k the day before, so I wasn’t surprised when it started to bug me here. I stopped at the med tent after Magic Kingdom and got some Tylenol.

We went through more crowded areas heading down the road towards the Grand Floridian and ran mostly in the grass. It opened up again near the speedway, and we saw this fun guy, which was very hard to get a good picture of due to the wind.

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We kept on trucking, doing run walk intervals at a comfortable pace, and made it to the mile ten marker, just a 5k to go….oh and then a marathon haha. We tried to conserve energy so we took it easy going up the overpasses, and were finally in EPCOT!

I picked up the pace because I was so excited and like to finish strong, but Bobby was wanting to hold back. It was so hard for me to slow down, but I’m sure it helped us the next day.

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We made it to mile 13, and I could hear the finish line, woo hoo!

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We crossed at 2:43, 3 races down, one really big one to go! (and mileage wise, we still were not half way, yikes!)

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I celebrated with a post race mimosa, of course.

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We actually stayed until the very last person crossed the finish line, which was surprisingly way after the 16:00 per mile sweeper pace. Either way, it was really fun to see and cheer on everyone to the very end. I screamed my lungs out, and shed a few tears along with the runners that were crying as the crossed the finish line. It was so inspiring and so much fun!

We chose not to go to a park this day, and instead opted for a nap and hanging out at the hotel. It was a good decision!

Final thoughts: I LOVE this course, and running through the Magic Kingdom is my favorite. 9Secretly hoping they change it up a bit to run through new Fantasyland though!) There were plenty of aid stations, amazing volunteers, med tents, and bathrooms. The actual race was put on very well. I did notice a lack of characters though, which led to even longer lines at the ones that were out (we didn’t stop for any).

I do hope they will either reduce the number of runners, or give Dopey’s a bib for the half and a bib for the full so they can be in the correct corral for each (I was in the correct corral for the full, but I’m terrible at fulls so the time they based my half placement off of was my estimated finishing time for the full, yikes). Coming to a standstill during a race is never fun. I also heard that a lot of people were dishonest about their finishing times, and that track shack did not actually verify the times, hence a lot of people in places they did not belong which I’m sure made the problem even worse. I felt bad for the people in the alter corrals who wanted character pictures, because the lines were so long since there were not many characters out.

Overall this race holds a special place in my heart because it was my very first half marathon in 2010, and it is my favorite course so I know I will come back and run it, just not as a Dopey.

QOTD: Have you ever watched the very end of a race?

*Winner of my Under Armour giveaway is Rachel V! Please email me with your address so I can get your prize to you!

 

 

 

 

Dumbo Sell Out

WOW! Registration for the runDisney Disneyland half marathon opened at noon yesterday and Dumbo sold out in under 45 minutes! (remember, Dumbo is the combination of the 10k and half marathon).

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As of last night at 7:30 est, the Half marathon was at 99% full

the 10k was sold out

the 5k was at 92% full

and the kids races were sold out.

Unfortunately I will not be participating this year in the races (flying to California is expensive!) but I am so glad I got to experience the inaugural event with my husband.

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The event weekend is again taking place over Labor day 2014. The 5k and 10k will be held on different days, as opposed to the same day like in 2013.

Expo hours:

2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 28

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 29

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 30

Location: Disneyland® Hotel Exhibit Hall

-The Pasta in the park Party is at 89% full and will take place Saturday, August 30th from 6:00-7:30 pm in the Disneyland theme park.

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(picture from 2013, ignore the hours).

This race also includes a new “Welcome Event” that you can pay to attend, (it is now sold out). It will be held on Thursday morning, early (5:30 am) at the California Adventure Park. The event costs $89.

The Welcome Event features:

  • Official Welcome from runDisney
  • Question and Answer Session and Dynamic Warm-up with Runner’s World Experts
  • Official Welcome to California with a ride on Soarin’ Over California
  • One (1) hour early entry into “Official runDisney Merchandise area” on Thursday, August 28, 2014
  • runDisney bag which includes a runDisney tech shirt and a Runner’s World Magazine

 

***To sign up for any of the open events, be sure to visit runDisney.com

QOTD: Will you be going to Disneyland and running in any of these events? What are your thoughts on the new “Welcome Event?”

Confessions: January 2014

Confession: I got an iPad Air from my awesome parents for Christmas, and have yet to buy a case for it. I’m just not sure what I want, so I have been carrying it around in the box it came in. I kid you not. On the airplane flying into LAX last week, a man actually made fun of my box. I decided it is officially time to get a real case.

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Suggestions? Favorites? Likes and dislikes? What do I need to be looking for? Help! I have never owned an iPad and I am quite clumsy.

Confession: I am so burnt out from running I am not even looking forward to the Princess half marathon….yet. I KNOW this will change as I get closer and more excited, but right now running three races in three days makes me want to cry a little.

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Confession: I cried Sunday night watching the Bachelor wedding on ABC. Like a little girl. When Sean started crying as Catherine walked down the aisle, I lost it.

Confession: I got home from Tinkerbell last Tuesday and I have only done one load of laundry. Maybe it I just keep the door closed and pretend it’s not there it will go away?

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Confession: Every time I go out of town I bring my straightener and curling iron and never use either of them. I am SO LAZY when it comes to my hair. I can’t even remember the last time I wore it down. I should just stop pretending, it would give me more room in my suitcase.

QOTD: Do you have any confessions? Have you fallen victim to any of mine?

Dopey Challenge 2014: 10k Race Recap

rundisney 10k recap

The next leg of my runDisney Dopey Challenge journey was the 10k. I was excited for this race, because it was the first Disney World 10k, so this course was brand new.

(If you missed my 5k recap you can check it out as well).

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Can you spot the bottom of my tail in the above pictures?

We started at the same place as the 5k in the EPCOT parking lot, at 5:30 in the morning. I was able to meet up with some buddies before the race began, something I didn’t get to do the morning of the 5k!

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Rachel and Mindy

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Karla

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Divya

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Danielle

Bobby and I arrived earlier on this day and were able to get to the front of our corral. This REALLY helped as we were able to avoid some of that initial congestion getting out and onto the road.

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We got towards the front of C but not right in the front because I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way starting out faster than me.

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Also, since the course goes the opposite way of the 5k, the road opened up a lot sooner for this race which was really nice. We were out on a road quickly, and going under the overpass outside of EPCOT.

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Our plan for this race was much like the 5k, no character stops, but still taking it at a comfortably easier pace so we had some gas left for the half and full. I would say we stopped off on the side to walk for about one minute every mile or so. I met some blog readers out on the course (hi guys!) it was so great to chat with everyone and hear everyone’s race stories so far.

I stopped and took a photo with Kathryn who spotted us out on the course. We chatted for a bit, she was running her first half marathon the next day (and she rocked it!)

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I will say the first couple miles of the race were pretty boring. I loved the Disneyland 10k course, so I had high expectations. For those that ran the 5k it was a repeat as we ran through much of the same parts of EPCOT.

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My favorite part of the course was the Boardwalk. It is gentler on my body, and was a nice change of scenery.

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There were a ton of people out cheering along this part of the course, which we so appreciated! Lots of fun signs to read, and people lined up near the Boardwalk in and by the Yacht and Beach Club resorts.  We made it back into EPCOT and towards the finish line again. We were almost there!

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I couldn’t believe I still had two more days of crossing this finish line, it seemed so surreal at that point that I was actually in the middle of this crazy challenge.

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It was just getting to be daylight when we crossed in 1:16:01.

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Everyone kept saying we were “halfway” done, but as far as mileage goes, we weren’t even close to halfway. The early mornings were tough on me though, so I was quite happy to have two of the four 2:45 am wake up calls over with!

As we crossed the finish I ran into some of my buddies!

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Linzie, Kat, and Rebecca

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Newsies!

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Jenn and Danielle

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The boys

It was time to once again head back to shower, eat, and hit the parks. Two of four, done.

QOTD: Do you prefer the 5k or 10k race distance?

Weekly Workout Recap: January 2014 Week 4

Happy Sunday! This week was quite odd as I was in California then traveled home after being gone most of the month. I wasn’t sure how I would feel after Tinkerbell, and if I’m being honest, the answer is VERY burnt out on running.

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So, I did what I felt my body needed…and I didn’t run. Genius, I know. I didn’t run for six days, and when I DID finally run, it was slow and I hated every step of it. I am hoping to get my mojo back in time for Princess next month, then I am taking a distance break.

Here is what this week looked like, day by day:

Sunday: Tinkerbell half marathon

Monday: walked around the parks all day

Tuesday: rest/travel day

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 20 minutes elliptical

Friday: 30 minutes stationary bike

Saturday: 3.1 mile run

I mentioned last week that I pulled my back at the airport. It has been slowly getting better, but yesterday after my run it really started bothering me again, so I will probably lay off the running until it’s healed.

I have also been using this sunscreen from Skin Authority, I like it because it doesn’t have any dyes or fragrances in it, and it also moisturizes as it protects.

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QOTD: How soon do you go back to running after a race?

Don’t forget to enter my Under Armour giveaway!

 

Dopey Challenge 2014: Family Fun Run 5k

My first leg of the runDisney Dopey Challenge (running 48.6 miles in four days) was running the family fun run 5k.

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I was excited because this race started later than other runDisney races, yes, at the late hour of 6:15 in the morning. This meant I got to “sleep in” until after 4:00! I decided to dress as Minnie Mouse, because I knew a lot of people were doing Minnie for the 10k, so I wanted to be different and chose her for the 5k instead.

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We hopped on a bus from our hotel and made it to the start. We were running a little late, and ended up towards the back of our corral, corral C. (the corrals were based on your estimated marathon finish time, and apparently Dopey runners were pushed back into farther corrals for all the races than they should have been).

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When the race began, we still had to wait over 20 minutes to start. I could tell it was going to be a frustrating race as I overheard people saying they were walking the whole thing, etc. and I knew the course was very narrow in the beginning.

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We finally started, and literally, people crossed the starting line and began walking. Hear me out, there is nothing wrong with walking a runDisney 5k, or any 5k… I think it’s awesome that so many people were out there at all, but runDisney has got to come up with a better system, or people need to be honest about their times and move to the right corral or the back of their corral to walk. I felt like it was definitely a safety hazard, and that there should have been more corrals spaced 5 minutes apart instead of less corrals spaced 10-11 minutes apart. I think the 7,000 Dopey runners made this race way too big and runDisney should make a separate Dopey 5k and family fun run 5k. I thought it wasn’t fair to the families and kids who wanted race photos with characters but because there were so many participants, there was no way to do that unless they stood in character lines longer than at the parks.

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So our corral started, and we began going through the parking lot, weaving in and out of people, running in the grass, just trying to keep a running pace at all. We finally hit mile one, and made it into EPCOT where the course opened up a little bit, ah, running room!

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We had not decided if we were going to stop for photos, but after seeing the first ones we knew we definitely would NOT be stopping. With the added number of participants, the photo lines were SO LONG. Dopey was on the course (still not sure why) and his line was easily 200 people long.

Speaking of characters, I only counted 3-4, and one character line didn’t even have a character at it when we went by! I remember running the Royal Family 5k a couple years ago and there was a princess at nearly every country, so I was kind of bummed by the lack of them.

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We ran around the World showcase, keeping an easy and comfortable pace, and just kept on going.

I honestly don’t remember this race too much, just looking down a lot so I didn’t trip as we weaved around people. I remember the pretty torches being lit around World Showcase, and just running, running, running! The finish line was in sight, and I couldn’t wait to cross that same spot on Sunday after the full marathon.

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We finished in about 35 minutes, collected our first of six medals, and I was finally able to meet up with Dani in real life! It was great to finally meet her, and we were both dressed as Minnie!

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Oh, we also had to get our 5k finisher wristband so that we would be eligible to get our 10k band the next day.

We went back to the hotel, showered, ate breakfast, then headed back to EPCOT to spend the day in the park. We didn’t stay all day though, we still had three races to run!

QOTD: What are your thoughts on crowded races? Should there be more corrals? Less people?

For more info on running a 5k with runDisney, visit their website.

Armour 39 Review + Giveaway

Everyone likes to be able to measure things. Goals, weight, progress, and workouts. There have been many heart rate monitors on the market, some glitchy, some just ok, but nothing compares to the amazing technology of Under Armour’s Armour 39.

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I love the tagline “never cheat yourself again”, and this device simply won’t allow it. So what exactly does it measure? Heart rate, calories burned, intensity, and WILLpower.  (WILLPOWER™ IS THE FIRST TRUE MEASURE OF AN ATHLETE. IT BOILS YOUR WORKOUT DOWN TO A SINGLE SCORE 0.0-10.0.) So what IS a WILLpower score? WILLpower™ is a single score of how hard your body has worked during a training session, on a scale of 0.0 10.0. It accumulates over the length of your workout, taking into account information that includes the length of your workout, body position, intensity throughout, user profile, and key heart rate information. With WILLpower, you can, for the first time, objectively measure a hard day versus a light day. There are two options, both require the chest strap. You can use the strap and your mobile device,* or use the chest strap and the Display watch (sold separately)

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If you choose to use your smart phone, you simply download the Armour39 app from the app store, sync it to your chest strap, and begin! There is an optional assessment that I highly recommend doing at the beginning to help the device zero in on your target heart rate.

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*Compatible with iPhone® 4S, iPhone® 5, iPhone® 5S, iPhone® 5C, and iPod Touch® (5th gen) Here is an example of your workout overview:

Armour39-App

If you are anything like me, you struggle to take “easy days easy, and take cross training days seriously and need to up the intensity. With this device, you set a target so you never take a day too easy or too hard. I love having a goal, and I love looking at my phone, seeing I need to push harder, and then can see the results of “picking up the intensity”. It truly shows how much of your WILLpower you put into each workout, and is a great tool for any athlete. What’s better? Thanks to my friends at Under Amour Women, I am giving away a chest strap here on THLG! This strap retails for $150, and can be used with your smart phone, or you can purchase the watch to go with the strap. Simply follow the rafflecoptor instructions below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Back to My Routine

Finally home! Until last night, I had only slept in my bed once since January 6th. Even thought I didn’t get back to New Orleans until 6:15, I decided to drive home last night anyway. So my trip home started yesterday at 8:00 am, and ended at 8:00 pm. California is fun but man is it far away!

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Anyway, this sounds quote ridiculous I assure you, but I somehow managed to pull my back out at the airport. Yes, the same side I hurt around New Years. When we got off the bus at LAX, the man put my what I found out later would be 54 pound suitcase on the ground. Well, I had to get it up an dover the curb so I pulled it really hard…and…well, you get the idea. It was so painful I almost didn’t make it through security I kid you not. My mom had to help me take my shoes off, etc. because I couldn’t bend down. I don’t know what I would have done if I was flying alone. Pathetic, I know.

So I am officially now the old lady, sleeping wasn’t too fun last night because every time I tired to roll over I was reminded of the fact that I did NOT lift with my legs. Today calls for ice and ibuprofen, as well as a LOT of work.

That was a long into, but I digress. Point being, I am HOME and will be getting back into a routine, oh, how I love routine. I have six, yes SIX races to recap as well as lots of other fun parts of my travels, and, look for an amazing Under Armour giveaway! It’s going to be a great couple of weeks around here folks, and I am so glad to be home and back to my blog.

QOTD: Have you ever had an airport mishap?

What would you try if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

This guest post is written by Lesley. I return home tomorrow and have so much to share!

Sometimes it can be easy to set goals that are relatively easy to achieve. Conventional wisdom tells us to avoid setting goals that are too lofty, to not set ourselves up for disappointment and failure.

Our family disagrees. We enjoy setting goals that are ambitious and daring.

Almost all of us have heard a quote similar to the one above, I’m sure. Recently, I really took a good look at this quote and thought of how it applied to me. It inspired me to find a word to live by in 2014: Fearless

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My goal is to live this year as if I know I’ll never fail, even if I end up doing that very thing. This will require me to try new things and to set my running and fitness goals very high.

I’m also positive that I’m going to have people doubt me. But, the way I see it is simple. If people don’t think I’m “crazy” for my goals then I didn’t set them high enough.

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I was intimidated to participate in a mud run and I surprised myself when I finished it. I cried during my first 10K because I was so miserable and it made me so proud of myself when I crossed the finish line.

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In closing, don’t make goals that are easy. Nothing of value comes easy – so make your goals mean something.

QOTD: In what areas could you be fearless? What is something you would try if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

Check out Lesley’s blog! Also, she Is the one who made my wonderful tutu’s for Dopey and Tink, and if you mention my blog when you email her to order she will give you free shipping!