runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap

My husband and I recently ran the second annual Star Wars Dark Side half marathon at Walt Disney World. Check out my recap of the race below and email [email protected] if you have any questions about the race.

My alarm went off at 2:45 am, and I was actually oddly enough already awake. I knew just laying there would make it even harder to get up, so I begrudgingly did it and got ready for the race, taping my knee, and psyching myself up. I scarfed down a Quest bar and Bobby made eggs (seriously, who makes eggs at 2:45 in the morning?) and soon we were off to the buses. It was slightly chilly (for me, but I’m always cold) but not “cold” by any means. I could tell it was going to be a humid race though.

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The bus pickup for Bay Lake Tower and the Contemporary was on the far side of the convention center, so we had quite a hike to get where we were going. However a bus was there waiting and we snagged the front row. We made it to the star very quickly since it was in the Magic Kingdom parking lot, and we got in line for the bathrooms then made it into our corals with an hour left to spare. I know runDisney wants to make sure everyone gets there on time, but we got on a bus right before 4 am (which is when they say the last buses leave for runners) and we had WAY more than enough time to spare. We sat down in coral C and waited…and waited…and waited. When you are sitting there waiting to run 13.1 miles you begin to contemplate why you spent money to be tortured in this way. Anyway, soon it was time for the National Anthem and then coral A got their fireworks and start, and we were moving up to the front.

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Then we were running…and it was dark. Like REALLY dark. A lot of the street lights weren’t on/working and I was concerned about tripping on something it was so dark. We made a huge loop and ended up almost next to the start line. We were in the 3rd of 19 waves, so we kept hearing fireworks for a very long time. We then turned onto Bear Island road, which reminded me of running the marathon around into the back of Animal Kingdom, which is exactly where we were headed. But not before running into some storm troopers!

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My knee began to bother me a little bit so we did run walk intervals, which I was fine with since I had not been running since the Princess half eight weeks ago.

There were a few photo op’s that didn’t involve characters which I thought was a nice touch. Since I don’t know a ton about Star Wars (don’t hate me) I had to get Bobby to explain several things to me.

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We made it into Animal Kingdom, hit the bathrooms, and made it around the park. I was actually shooting an Instagram story in the below photo. Gotta work while I run!

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On the other side of Animal Kingdom we ran into these guys. Bobby told me to do this with my hands but I still have no idea why.

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Dark Maul was next. Clearly I am impressed with Star Wars characters. However, Bobby was in his element.

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At about mile eight, Bobby’s lack of training began to show. Poor guy doesn’t have time to run, and he ran one six mile run and a few short runs before the race, but that’s it. His hamstrings began to cramp up and his knees were aching pretty badly, so we did more walking the last few miles of the race, and stopped some so he could stretch.

I really enjoyed running a different course than the same ones I have done over and over, and in particular I loved going through Hollywood Studios an dover the Boardwalk.

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But what I did NOT like is the path going from DHS to the Boardwalk. It’s super narrow and was really congested. You can’t get around people so it was slow going the whole way. Oh well!

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I kinda like him.

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On the Boardwalk there were more fun characters to pose with.

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Selfie with a Storm Trooper? Why not!

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As we came down towards the International gateway area, we saw Chewie but didn’t see a clear path to get to him from the road, so we hopped in the grass to get over to the line and a cast member yelled at us in a not so magical voice to get off the grass. Oy.

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We made the turn into EPCOT and started around the World Showcase.

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My attempt at getting Spaceship Earth in the background.
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Near where the gospel choir is at other runDisney races, we saw these two and of course had to stop. Leia’s face cracks me up.

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We made one final turn past the mile 13 marker, and were in the home stretch. Across the finish line we went and another half marathon was now complete.

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We didn’t stick around because my parents were watching Emma Kate, and we had fastpasses at Animal Kingdom so we hopped on a bus and headed back to the resort, eating snacks from our boxes on the way. Another race to check off my list!

QOTD: Are you a Star Wars fan? Would you ever run this race?

Quad and Knee Running Injury Update and Info

Hola friends! If you have been following along, you may have noticed a lack of running social media posts. Or maybe you watch my Instagram stories talking about how I have been injured since the runDisney Princess half. I wanted to share an update with you on my progress in case anyone is going through the same or similar thing.

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Honestly, I’m still not 100% sure what happened. I was running really well leading up to Princess, and getting faster over short distances due to Orange Theory Fitness. I had run up to a 10 mile training run, which is not out of the ordinary for me leading up to a half marathon, especially one I am not running all out/am running for fun like Princess.

I haven’t had a running injury in a LONG time, so you can imagine my frustration when leg pain I had at the very end of the half and then the few days after….never fully went away. Let me back up. I noticed the last mile or two of the Princess half that my upper middle portion of my quad was hurting as I lifted that leg to pull it forward for a stride. I chalked it up to a tweak and sore muscles from running 13.1 miles and went on my way. I had a hard time walking that night, but thought after a good night’s sleep I would feel better the next day.

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Interestingly enough, the next day my quad pain had subsided by about half, but the pain had shifted down to the inside of my kneecap. So strange I know. I took some Motrin, stretched a bit, and continued on walking around the parks for two days. The pain would get progressively worse during the day, then feel much better (but still there) by morning. I got home on Wednesday, and took two full days off before going back to Orange Theory on Friday. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the inside of my knee, and my quad hurt when I rowed. I was dumb and ran through it. I took the whole weekend off, stretching and foam rolling and tried again Monday. The pain continued, but this time I was (a bit ) smarter about it and did the elliptical instead of the treadmill in class. After that class I was still having issues and knew I needed to make a decision.

Fortunately, OTF allows you to freeze your account for a month for $15 instead of paying the monthly fee and not using it. I started foam rolling and stretching every day, and did zero cardio. After another week of this, I started slowly adding in some strengthing exercises I found online. After 3.5 weeks, I decided to try going for a walk/run with some KT Tape on. while my leg definitely felt better than it had been, I was still having tightness and pain. After talking to a couple of doctor friends, the consensus was as long as it was getting better and not staying at the same pain level, it was probably a tear that needed more time to heal. Apparently 3.5 weeks is not enough. They told me to try walking but STOP if it hurts, and then eventually move to running, but never running through pain. Also to keep stretching etc.

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I followed their advice, and after another week tried walking a mile, then slowly went up to 1.5 miles throwing in a few short runs, and now I am up to 2 miles run walking with no pain. I am also still foam rolling and stretching daily like it’s my job, and wearing KT tape. so my timeline was as follows:

Sunday February  26: Injury occurs.

Monday-Tuesday 27/28: Walking all day at Disney parks

Wednesday/Thursday 1/2: rest completely and stretch/foam roll

Friday 3: OTF…lots of knee pain, some quad pain

Saturday and Sunday 4/5: complete rest, with stretching/rolling

Monday 6: OTF, still pain even on elliptical

Tuesday 7: Freeze OTF account, stretch and roll rest of this week and the next plus a few days.

Thursday 23rd: Tried to go for a run, got frustrated because I still had pain and tightness. Talked to doctor friends.

Friday 24-April 5: Walk while slowly building up to adding in runs, now up to 2 miles run/walking. Still foam rolling and stretching daily. Doing PT exercises 3/4 times a week.

Of course, every injury is different, so if you have the same one as me it may take you more or less time to heal, or you may have done some sort of damage that requires surgery. I think the key for me was that the more I stayed off of it, it slowly got better. If it had stayed at the same pain level for a month, I for sure would have gone to get an MRI. This is the same leg that I have had IT band issues with in the past, so I’m not surprised that it’s giving me fits again. I know if I had incorporated daily stretching and rolling into my routine to begin with, I could have potentially saved myself 6 weeks of frustration.

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I know I am not totally out of the woods yet, but I do plan to run/walk the Star Wars half at the end of this month. Fingers crossed I can do it pain free!

QOTD: Have you had a running injury before? What did you do?

March 2017 Goals

Whew! I know February is a short month, but I can’t believe we are already getting so far in to 2017! Once again, it’s goal check time. Don’t forget about them until December and then try to cram everything in. No, no no, stay on top of things, take action steps, and you can do great things! Lets take a peek at how I did in February and then jump into March.

1.) Track my food intake 1-2 days a week: D- Yall, I did this for about a week and then life happened. It’s totally my own fault, as I had vacation and other events to attend, and it is showing on the scale. That was the biggest reality check for me coming home from my Disney trip. I am adding this one to next month because it’s important to me.

2.) Take Emma Kate to Disney: A+ Yes! Not only did Bobby and I take her to Disney, but then I took her back again with my parents for the day. So much fun! We went to the Magic Kingdom and ate at Crystal Palace. We rode rides, sang Let it Go at the Frozen Sing Along, and then she fell asleep on the way home. The sign of a good Disney day I tell you!

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3.) Time Block My days: C- While I do a good job of using my planner for special events and things to remember, I didn’t time block as well as I wanted because some days I didn’t know what I was going to do, and some days included random things happening outside of my control that threw me off of my timing/lists. I think what works better for me is making a weekly list and scratching things off that HAVE to be done, then have another list of “would be nice to get done but not the end of the world if it doesn’t”. We will see what happens in March.

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March 2017 Goals: Yall, February was wild for a few unexpected reasons, so I’m really hoping for a calm and quiet March. I feel like I was totally out of whack all month and had a hard time staying on task. This month is going to be all about FOCUS and not getting side tracked.

1.) Track my food 1-2 days a week on My Fitness Pal: I have gained back a few pounds that I lost in the summer and this frustrates me since I worked so hard to lose them. This month it’s back in the saddle with counting calories a couple of days a week to keep myself in check. This is NOT something I obsess over daily, but needs to be done some in order to stay on task (for me, personally).

2.) Orange Theory twice a week: Last month, I skipped Orange theory three times due to different reasons, and I CANNOT let that start becoming a habit. Back to my twice a week workouts with them to get back in the swing of things for March.

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3.) Put Together my Bar Stools: I know this one sounds silly, but we finally bought bar stools for the kitchen and they are currently in boxes in the foyer. I just keep pretending they are not there. I am so behind from being out of town, I just don’t have the time at this moment to put them together, but they WILL get done this month!

Remember that the best way to reach your goals is to have action steps so you have a path way to success. Also I believe in printing or writing out your goals so you SEE THEM all month. You can download my goal and fitness tracking printables for free HERE. Good luck!

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QOTD: What are your goals for March? Did you complete your February goals?

How to Start Running Even When You Hate It

I have been running for awhile now, and have gone through many ebbs and flows with my running love affair. There have honestly been more times when I hate running than times when I like it. I know that sounds like a horrible thing for a “runner” to say, but for me, it’s the truth and I’m owning it. I would MUCH rather sit on the couch and watch Hulu than go outside and sweat, be uncomfortable, and bored for an hour. However, the things I DO love are the benefits of running. For me, running is just the necessary evil to get there.

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I love the post run high, the extra energy it gives me, the calorie burn, and the competition aspect. I love the comradery with other runners, the race expos, and the bling. Some of you may be nodding right along with me, especially the beginners who feel like it will be impossible to ever get up to a “far/long run”, or feel like they love it. Unfortunate reality: you may never actually love it. However, that’s ok! You have two choices: 1.) Find something else to do 2.) Do it anyway because you love what it GIVES you, even if you don’t love the act of actual running.

I’m here to give beginners my best advice if you decide you do want to try out the running thing (even if you are currently hating it).

1.) Make a list: What is it you are hoping to accomplish with running? Why did you or do you want to start? Sometimes having a clear and concise reason can help get you moving when you want to take a nap instead. Maybe you want to lose weight, or maybe you just need some alone time. Some people start running to be social with a running group, and some want killer legs. All are valid reasons. You as an individual need to have a goal or focus on WHY you lace up or it may be stuff to stick with it.

2.) Start Slow: Trying to do too much too soon is not only overwhelming (and dumb! Injuries suck!) But it can cause you to give up before you have even gotten started because it seems too hard. Gradual build ups are best mentally and physically. Start with a walk and throw in a few 20-30 second jogs every now and then. Count mailboxes. Tell yourself you will run for ten mailboxes then walk for 20. Get creative but don’t over do it trying to get results faster.

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3.) Schedule your runs and keep track: I am a numbers nerd, and seeing my progress on a piece of paper (or in a spreadsheet for you non paper people) makes me want to keep going so I don’t “lose” my progress. Keep track of how long you go for, and your time. Also be sure to schedule your runs into your planner (or Google calendar, whatever my tech savvy friends are using these days), so that you will actually do it. Heck this blog started because I used it as an accountability journal. I said I was going to run in a blog post, so then I knew I had to follow through.

I have a set of free printables you can download and print out to help you set goals and keep track of your fitness if you want to check them out!

4.) Talk to a running friend: For some reason, we humans like talking to people who have gone through a hard thing that we may be currently dealing with, and have made it out the other side. It’s comforting to know we aren’t alone, and that success is possible. Find a running friend or online buddy who has accomplished a certain goal you want to reach (a time goal, distance goal, whatever!) and pick their brain. It will give you confidence you keep going!

5.) Picture that end result and just do it: I know this seems pretty basic, but it’s just truthful. Think about why you are doing this, then suck it up buttercup and run. You will feel better when it’s over. I have never regretted a run once I was finished. That’s a true story!

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Note: There are people who just LOVE running, and that’s awesome too! There have been times in my life I was that person, but overall, I have to really psych myself up for the actual run portion. I much prefer the results, the social aspect, the races, and the bling as mentioned before. We are all unique and different and that’s what is awesome! This post is not meant to knock anyone who truly enjoys the act of running, but instead to motivate those who are struggling some (or most) days.

Tampa Tuesdays: Orangetheory Fitness

Before we moved to Tampa, I went to an amazing gym. I took boot camp classes four days a week, and a HEAT class, which is very very similar to Orangetheory. Soon our town opened an Orangetheory studio, but because of my love for my current gym, I never tried it out.

Fast forward to the end of 2016, and a move to Tampa. After doing some online research and not really finding anything nearby that was similar to my gym “back home”, I decided to give Orangetheory a shot with Megan. You get to attend your first class for free, so why not? They asked me to show up thirty minutes before class was to begin in order to get me set up and explain the class flow with me.

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First a little background. Orangetheory is an interval based, sixty minute workout led by a “coach” who trains you and gives you tips throughout the class. On average people burn over 500 calories per class/hour.

“The physiology behind the Orangetheory Fitness workout involves heart-rate-monitored training designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours postworkout. “ –(source)

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Upon arrival, they had me fill out some paperwork, and gave me a heart rate wrist band to borrow for the free class. I was shown around the studio, and as soon as the class before ours let out, I was brought into the fitness room and shown exactly how the treadmills and rowers worked. Then we went over to the weight area and he explained to me how they would put exercises up on the TV as well as have the instructors show us how to do each one to make sure we kept proper form.

I was told you either start in the weight room or on the treadmill (“treads” as they call them there). In most classes you stay on the treadmill for 25 or so minutes then switch to rowing and weights, but some days we switch back and forth doing ten minutes on each to mix it up. He asked if I had any questions, and told me since it was my first time I could choose if I wanted to start on a treadmill or in the weight room and they would reserve a spot for me. Everything was very low pressure and laid back which I appreciated because I was already nervous!

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Everyone stays out in the hallway/waiting area until time for class. At that time, the instructor comes out and explains what we are going to be doing that day. Then they go over any promotions or orders of business that need to be addressed, and then they head back into the studio room, get their headset on, and high five everyone into the room.

I like to start on the treadmill first, so I hopped over there and started warming up. Orangetheory has big TV’s up on the wall with everyone’s heart rate, calories burned, and splat points. Splat points are what you earn when you stay in the orange and red (two highest zones). You get one point for every minute. that you stay in said zones. The zone below orange is green, which is a fat burning zone. They encourage you to stay in orange and green the most, with just a few minutes in red.

Presentation is everything! Domino Arts does it for you.

(photo credit: Orangetheory fitness, used with permission)

I also learned that on the treadmill they would use three terms I needed to learn: base pace, push pace, and all out. The instructor calls out intervals such as “push pace for 90 seconds” and then “drop to base pace for 30 seconds” so it’s important to know what these mean for you.

Base pace is your steady pace whether it be power walking or jogging that you could just keep going at for a long time. I think of it as a warm up and recovery pace. Push pace would be closer to a race pace for a longer distance race in my mind. Something difficult but not absolutely killing you. All out is well….all out. Hard as you can sprint or power walk (power walkers typically use a high incline here.) The changing up of the speeds and inclines keeps me from getting bored, as does knowing I will only be there for 25-28 minutes each class.

Presentation is everything! Domino Arts does it for you.

(photo credit: Orangetheory, used with permission)

In the weight room, everyone got a station that has a bench, bosu ball, ab roller device, TRX straps, and free weights. The instructor showed us each exercise we would be doing (they were also on the TV), as well as how many reps we would be doing them for, or how many rounds. A lot of times in between rounds we would row 300 meters, etc. to change things up. I also like that they tells us how heavy or light we should go on weights depending on what we are doing that day. Everyone goes at their own pace with their own weights, so people of all fitness levels can be doing the same workout which is awesome. My instructors have always been good to correct my form or tell me I should be using a heavier weight. They truly seem to care about us working out properly and not just saying cues they are told to say.

At the end of the class, our trainer led us through a quick stretching session, and then the TV’s showed us our calorie burn, splat points, and how many minutes we were in each zone. We were also immediately emailed a copy of that information which I love having!

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After my first class was over, the guy that showed me around beforehand came in and asked me how I did, and if I had any questions. He then went on to explain the pricing structure to me, packages, and purchasing a heart rate monitor. There were three levels of class packages at my studio:

-4 classes for month

-8 classes per month

-unlimited classes per month

You can also purchase a “pack” of classes to use within a certain amount of time, and there were drop in rates as well. Another cost that you need to factor in is the heart rate monitor. I bought the wrist strap kind and it was $99. A lot of times they run specials, and I was able to take advantage of a mid month special where I purchased my package of classes and heart rate monitor in a bundle with a free hoodie as well as some extra classes to use that first month.

A couple of things to note:

-There is no childcare at OTF, which would be an awesome addition!

-I would not recommend doing OTF 5 days a week, but that is solely my opinion. I go twice a week, and push myself REALLY hard. There is no way I could go for that many days without completely tearing my body down. I would say 2-3 days max if you are giving it your all out effort. (also going on consecutive days is super hard!)

-Be sure to bring a water bottle and towel. You will sweat a ton! My studio had a place to refill your water bottle which was helpful as well.

-My studio had lockers where you could put your keys, jacket, phone, etc. while you workout. There  also was a shower and bathrooms.

-If you want to start on the treadmill, get there early. At my studio everyone crowded around the door to get to the treadmills first (very annoying, I wish they would just hand out numbers as you walk in)

-Classes can fill up fast depending on location. There is an app you can download to sign up for classes, and if one is full you will be put on a waitlist. At my studio, if you don’t cancel at least 8 hours before your class time, you will lose the use of one of your sessions that month, unless it’s an emergency. Good motivation if you ask me!

-You can go to an OTF anywhere in the country once you sign up! This is great for those that travel a lot, or if you have a studio near your office and also one by your house. I love this idea!

I also love that there is no time commitment when you sign up, it just goes month to month. If you ever want to quit for awhile then pick it back up later, you can. I have been going to OTF for a month now and I am really enjoying it! I still miss my boot camp class like crazy, but this has been a pretty good substitute for me. I still feel like I need to do one heavy lifting strength training session a week and one run, but this class is great for intervals, endurance, and to work up a great sweat!

QOTD: Have you ever tried Orangetheory? What are your thoughts?

Get Paid to Be Healthy

I often hear people say things like “well if I got paid to workout I would do it more often!” What if I told you that there IS a way you can? For doing simple things like walking and writing healthy tweets and getting sleep. Um, yes please! Count me in! This is perfect with the New Year, because hopefully you are already moving more than you were in 2016. I recently stumbled upon an article about a new app called Achievemint that allows you to connect different fitness trackers and social media such as FitBit and Twitter, and it gives you points for certain healthy things you do. The points add up and turn into CASH. Yes, like money deposited into your PayPal account cash. Here is a screen shot to show you what I am talking about:

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So yesterday I did normal things like tweeted a healthy tweet, weighed myself, went to sleep, and walked around (NOTE: I wish I slept 9 hours ha! My FitBit read “laying in bed watching the Bachelor” as actually sleeping. Oops!) and checked my points at the end of the day on Achievemint. I am literally making passive income for just doing my normal thang.

There are so many apps you can connect, like your Garmin, Foursquare, Map my run, My fitness pal, FitBit, and Runkeeper (and lots more!) Connect your Twitter account to get points for tweeting health related things. It really is that easy. If you want to be more active to participate even more in this app you should  learn Modafinilcat closed explanation that will help you keep you alert and more energetic.

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A few more details:

-You can earn up to 80 points a day for for tracked activity like running, biking, and walking.

-You can earn up to 6 points a day for posting healthy things on Twitter, or Foursquare.

-Points expire one year from the date in which they are earned

-Once you reach 10,000 points ($10) you can get paid! Holla!

**If you sign up for an account using my link, you will get 250 points to jump start you! (This is an affiliate link, but hey, you get rewarded, too!) Good luck and make that money!

QOTD: What apps would you connect? Ok, now go sign up, it’s free!

7 Year Blogiversary

Well, with all the moving madness I am a little late, but did you know that I have now been blogging for SEVEN years?!? Looking back, my blog has evolved so much over the years, and it is truly my baby. I have put so much time, love, and many tears into my little corner of the world, and I thank you for taking this journey with me!

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Our first big race expo. Training for the runDisney half is what inspired me to start blogging.

For those of you who may have been here since the beginning, you will remember that this blog started out as Running With Sass, a running/training journal to hold me accountable. I had never blogged before and had zero idea what I was doing. (Heck, there are still days I have no idea what I am doing!) The blogging world has changed so much and some days it’s hard to keep up with all of the “new things” going on with blogs and social media, but I do love it and hope to do it for many more years to come.

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First half marathon

I realized as the years went on that I loved this community, the other bloggers, the readers, and the support. I love encouraging others and helping people, and am so thankful for all of the doors that blogging has opened for me. Heck, Bobby’s new job all came from a connection I never would have made if not for blogging! I owe my little blog so much, and I owe YOU my readers so much! Thank you for hanging in there with me through thick and thin, good times and bad.

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I can’t wait to share our new Tampa adventures with you in 2017 and beyond! Cheers to another year. XOXO.

Mizuno Wave Rider 20

I am pretty picky about my running shoes (as any runner should be) and I can be pretty hesitant to try something new. I have worn shoes from Mizuno before but it had been awhile. However, I had heard so many great things about the new Mizuno Wave Rider 20, that I was dying to try them out!

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My shoes came in a beautiful box wrapped in platinum paper. As soon as I unfolded the tissue and saw the gorgeous coloring, I legit let out an audible “oooooo!” even though I was the only one in the house. Well, besides the dog, and she obviously doesn’t wear shoes. (But she did however think I was unwrapping food).

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I immediately laced up and went out for a quick run. Smooth and bouncy would be two words that immediately came to mind. These shoes have a could wave technology that allows for a comfortable ride. It has more cushion in the heel than wave riders of the past, but it didn’t feel bulky at all.

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These shoes also have really great mesh that provide breathability and movement. The wave rider 20 is a neutral shoe, and it is 33% more durable and responsive than previous models (wow!) They come in narrow and wide which I think is great, since people don’t all have the same shaped foot! I personally don’t like when my toes feel cramped, but they felt great in these shoes. I have gotten lots of compliments, and am enjoying getting in some miles in my new shoes.

For more information, photos, and colors (cute ones!) check out the wave rider 20’s on Mizuno’s site and give them a try!

QOTD: When buying a running shoe, what do you look for as the most important feature?

This post was sponsored by Mizuno, however all opinions are my own.

Body After Baby: Two Years

Note: This post is about body image, weight loss, and eating. If this may be a trigger for you, please feel free to skip this post and come back another day!

I know it may seem a little odd to do a body after baby post so long after giving birth, but for me personally it has taken this long to really feel good about myself. I wanted to be sure other women know that if it doesn’t happen in 3, 6, 12 or 18 months, IT’S OK. Slow progress sticks around better for me anyway as opposed to a quick fix, and I much prefer lifestyle changes instead of “diets”.

For a quick refresher before we dive into the now, let’s take a look at what I looked like one month postpartum below:

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and then again six months postpartum below:

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and now (2 years postpartum) below:

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Also here’s a shot from the day I had Emma Kate (9/24/14), and then from August of this year:

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When I was 12 months postpartum, I was one pound over my pre pregnancy weight, so I weighed 151. At the time I was happy with that, but what I didn’t realize then was that I wasn’t in the best shape when I got pregnant…so getting back to my pre pregnancy weight still wasn’t my “happy weight”. I wanted to be stronger and have more muscle. I wanted to feel better, to be the best mom I could be.

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I am now sitting at 143 pounds, so I have lost eight pounds since probably about mid June (yes I sat at 151 from last September until this June, fluctuating a pound or so here and there). So what changed? Well, a couple of things.

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(The above photo was taken on day FOUR of eating out at restaurants for every meal. If only I had been able to take photos at the beginning of the trip!)

1.) I amped up my workouts. I was doing bootcamp 3-4 times a week and running 1-2 times a week while resting 1-2 days. It just wasn’t giving me results as fast as I would like, so I moved up to bootcamp 5 days a week and running once a week, sometimes twice. I also started running stadiums on Wednesday mornings before class. Some weeks I do take off two days, but I aim for only one day of full rest. My current schedule looks something like this:

Sunday: OFF

Monday: Boot camp

Tuesday: Boot camp

Wednesday: Stadiums and sprints at the track, HEAT class (like Orange theory)

Thursday: Boot Camp

Friday: Boot Camp

Saturday: Long run

As much as I enjoy racing and will continue to do so, it just isn’t working for me right now to run tons and tons of miles to get faster for longer distances. I would much rather be strong than fast, so it is what it is.

2.) I cleaned up my eating. I seriously loathe counting calories, but knew I at least needed an “idea” of how many calories I was eating in a day, so I counted calories for a week or so (as well as macros) just to get a good starting point. What I realized is I don’t get enough protein, and I was eating too many carbs and fats, as well as overall calories. Lots of snacking folks! After counting on My Fitness Pal, I felt like I had a firm grasp on my hunger cues, and about how much I needed to eat a day to still be able to workout hard and not feel weak.

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So what happened? I started eating foods that filled me up more to fuel my tough workouts instead of empty calories. I stopped eating late at night, and I was just more mindful in general. Do I still eat candy and drink alcohol? Heck yes! But for example…if I know I’m going out with friends that night, I am more careful during the day and the day before. It’s seriously all about planning ahead and meal prep these days, and it really does pay off (I talk about meal prep more in my book!)

After a couple of weeks, I started noticing that I could SEE my muscle more in my arms, abs, and legs. It was under there the whole time, it was just hidden. Smile

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I have been able to go up in weight when doing a lot of exercises, and I don’t tire out near as easily. It’s such a good feeling to be able to add that 25 pound plate at the squat rack, or use heavier dumbbells for bicep curls or kickbacks.

The beginning of November marks one year of boot camp, and if you look back and read my 12 month body after baby post, you will see I was just about to start boot camp and had a “we’ll see what happens” attitude towards it. Never did I think I would end up falling in love with it and making great friends at my gym.

I started really PUSHING myself at boot camp this summer, in spite of having been going since the end of 2015. I began not just doing the bare minimum, but really pushing myself to my limits and taking it seriously. I work out way too hard to ruin it with a bad diet or injury, so I am more careful with everything I do now. I have lost fat, gained muscle, and still managed to lose weight in the process. I honestly am not as concerned about the number on the scale though. I just want to feel good in my clothes, and have energy and confidence.

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I want to be a good role model for my now two year old daughter, and teach her to work hard for the things in life she really wants. I want her to learn discipline, self love, and respect for her body. I want to run races with her, teach her how to lift, and help her find her passions.

To all the new mamas out there or mamas about to have babies, I know, I KNOW, it’s so much easier said than done, but you can get to where you want to be. Don’t get bogged down in a timeframe. Enjoy your baby, and get back to working out when YOU feel ready. It may take you two years, it may not. Don’t let the amount of time it took me scare you. But just know if it does take two years, that’s ok. Do the best that you can, making small changes one at a time. Make your health a priority, and please don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do it all on your own. We are all in this together, and other moms understand the best just how stressful it can be, so lean on each other. If you don’t have someone who supports you wanting to get healthy, FIND SOMEONE. In real life, online, at the gym, at church, etc. Find your people. You can do this. Be BRAVE! You can have a great body after baby!

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So what’s next for me? Sadly, this round of my beloved boot camp ends November 4th, and then I move to Tampa. I’m sure things will be up in the air for awhile until I find a new gym home. I hope I can find a new boot camp class as awesome as the one I have here, but it’s highly doubtful any group can compare. Smile I look forward to having more racing opportunities in Florida, and making new workout friends. Who knows what’s next? It will be a fun ride to find out.

QOTD: How long did it take you to get your body where you wanted it after having a baby? What worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

The Bridge 5k 2016

A couple weeks ago, I ran my first 5k since this past spring. Since I haven’t been running much, I knew there would be no PR but I really wanted to participate because it was being sponsored by my church, and was for a good cause:

The Bridge exists to build a bridge of hope and encouragement to our surrounding community. Proceeds will be used to provide equipment, materials, and training to address recidivism among men currently or previously incarcerated in correctional facilities in central Mississippi.

I signed up on a whim the week of the race, and was up bright and early Saturday morning. I went by myself which is fine, but I left a little too early and got bored standing around waiting to start.

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The race was set to begin at 8:00, which is late for Mississippi in September. It was hot and humid yall. I did a little warming up and then hung out around the start line. At 8:00, it was announced that they had blown a breaker so we would be starting late. Great. It was getting hotter and hotter by the minute, and my once ready to run and warmed up body was getting tight. Oh well.

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We finally began at 8:17. There was a 5k and 10k option, and after standing around in the 94% humidity and 83 degrees, I was so glad I opted for the 5k! The race was pretty small (just over 100 in the 5k and 10k) and I had no grand illusions of doing well or placing. I was dumb and went to a hard boot camp class the day before where we did lots of running, and my legs were definitely not feeling fresh (totally my fault).

We took off, and I noticed I was about the 4th female back after about .25 miles. We went down a big hill which I knew meant we would be going back up after the turn, so I decided to not push too hard on the front end. I had my music playing and just hung out behind this one guy for a while, kind of zoning out. Two girls passed me, and then I passed then just before the turn around. At this point, I wasn’t sure if there were any girls ahead of me because I hadn’t paid attention to the people coming back the other way, and I saw at least two girls going straight for the 10k course. I felt it a very strange feeling to be the possible lead female, and it made me chuckle in slight embarrassment because with the time I was running I should NOT have been in the front. I made my way up the second hill and when I had a half mile left I started to really fade. I felt like I was going to throw up and my face was so hot it felt like it was on fire.

All of the sudden, a girl sprints past me. Hmm. Well, if I was in the lead I wasn’t anymore. Oh well. I had about .35 left and was SO ready to be done. I had slowed considerably, and another girl goes by. Well. That’s what I expected so I wasn’t upset. I turned the corner and got to the last straightaway and saw the girl in front of me had slowed down considerably. I gave it all I had and sprinted past her to the finish. Turns out, I was second overall female which means I WAS leading all that time haha!

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I finished the race in just over 28:00. Everyone was saying how much slower their times were because of how oppressive the humidity was, so at least that made me feel a little bit better. Some cheerleaders from the local high school were there, and they did some cheers while we waited on the last 10k finishers and the awards.

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There were a bunch of door prizes, but sadly I didn’t win anything.

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The pastor of my church got up and said a few words about the money we raised and how it was going to a good cause in the community. Then the awards were handed out.

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I was second overall female and first in my age group (which I thought was weird because in most races I have run, if you win an overall award, you are taken out of the age group category for winning?) Either way, I was proud of my accomplishment despite it not being a great time for me in the race. I truly gave it my all with what energy I had that day. I also really liked the hand carved awards!

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QOTD: Do you race when it’s hot outside or wait for cooler weather? Any races coming up?