Thursday, August 30, 2012

Heading Off to the Disneyland Half!

In just 12 short hours, I will be on my way to the airport--heading out to the Disneyland Half Marathon!  I could not be more excited!  I am meeting my running besties for a fun girls weekend.  I also have some work to do while I am there.  First, I have to take lots and lots of pictures of the brand new Cars Land is Disney's California Adventure for my travel agency's website.  Also, I am working the Expo on Saturday morning at the SparkleSkirts booth.  Can these things really be considered work?  Taking pictures at the happiest place on Earth and helping ladies try on the best running skirts out there?  Probably not.

The Disneyland Half Marathon is Sunday morning.  This will be my second runDisney half.  I am expecting the really early morning to be easier since it is on the west coast.  I love races on the west coast--a 3 am wake call feels like 6 am due to the time change.  I am a Californian a heart I guess.  I am also stoked to get my Coast to Coast medal.  runDisney gives a special medal to runners who run a race in Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year.  Since I did the Princess, the Disneyland half will qualify me for this honor.

I can't wait to see all of the changes to Disney's California Adventure.  So many changes have been made since I was there last year. Cars Land is finished.  The park entrance is completely different.  I am so excited to see it.  The Disneyland Hotel is also all new.  The brand new pool looks amazing, with a slide featuring the park's original monorail.  I also can't wait to be in Disneyland again.  It is the park that Walt build.  Disney World was his dream, but he never got to put that dream into action.  Disneyland is all Walt.  You can feel his spirit as you walk down Main Street.

A dream is a wish....


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Incident in the Sporting Goods Store...

I am in desperate need of new running shoes.  After doing some research, I decided I wanted to try the new Brooks PureCadence, in pink of course.  What had me drawn to these shoes is all the reviews with people saying how they have great arch support.  Since I have flat feet, a good arch support is something I was really looking for.  I also liked all the reviews that said the shoes are very cushiony.  I did some searching online, and found a coupon for $15 off any pair of athletic shoes for a "big box" sporting goods store that is close to my house.  I prefer to try shoes on first before I buy them, so on my way I went to check them out.  

I got to the store, found the shoes and asked to try them on.  The sales girl brought them out to me.  I tried them on and really liked the feel.  I asked her what she knows about the shoes.  At first, she raved about them.  She asked me what my plans for the shoes were.  I replied that I needed new running shoes.  She said to me " you run, like really run?"  I was sort of confused by that question.  I told her that yes, I run--normally around 20 miles a week.  I told her I normally wear Asics 2160's but wanted to try something different.   She looked at me in a bit of disbelief.  She then went on to tell me that she did not think these shoes were good for my body type.  She said they would not hold up well for me and that I should stick to my 2160's.  This comment made me feel very uncomfortable.  I thanked her for her help and I was out of there!

As I was walking out of the store, I felt so embarrassed.  Was this a slam at me being overweight?  Did she not believe that someone like me could actually run regularly?  I don't know what to make of this.  I feel like she really was trying to help me.  Maybe she could have went about it in a different way.  I don't think she was being malicious, that this was just her natural response.  It's things like this that make me feel very insecure as a runner.  After losing weight, improving my running so much, and having 3 half marathons under my belt, I still feel insecure.  

Have you ever been in a situation like this?  How did you handle it? 

A dream is a wish...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Premier Protein Review and Giveaway!

I was so excited when I got a huge box of Premier Protein shakes and bars to try and tell you about.  I  got the two shakes flavors--chocolate and vanilla.  I also got some protein bars in 3 flavors--Chocolate Peanut Butter, Double Chocolate Crunch, and Yogurt Peanut Butter.  I tend to not be a fan of protein bars because sometimes they taste chalky, dry, or just plain weird. I first check out the Double Chocolate, of course.  I was pleasantly surprised by the smell.  The taste was good, better than I expected.  The other two flavors were good too.  They are a bit high in calorie count, but I felt full enough after each bar that I could use them for quick breakfasts on the go.

I also tried the protein shakes.  I am very committed to drinking Shakeology because of all the other health benefits, not just the protein, but I gave these shakes a try anyway.   The taste was not bad!  What I did like about these shakes is that they are already premixed and in a juice box type container--also good for a quick meal on the go.  I prefer my shakes mixed with ice in the blender, so doing it this way does not make it any easier than Shakeology.

I had never heard of Premier Protein before they sent me the samples.  Since I got them in the mail and tried them, I see them everywhere!  They have them at Sheetz (a convenience store) and Sam's Club.  The price is fair, with them costing around $2 at the convenience store and less in bulk at Sam's Club.

Want to win some Premier Protein Samples?  Enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A dream is a wish...



Monday, August 27, 2012

A Great Team Run

A few weeks ago, I told you about my most awful run ever.  The extremely hilly, hot and humid TEAM run through Springvalley Park.  I was so miserable!  It really scared me.  Was I ever going to like running again? Was it going to be better next time?

At my last Team run, we meet by the Susquehanna river.  The course the coaches mapped out was beautiful!  I ran a total of seven miles, with the first three right along the river.  I find water so inspiring.  Renewing.  It was tranquil and calming.  After the part by the river, we had a .9 mile uphill.  I could not expect the coaches to give us a completely flat course, right?  The nice part of that killer hill was the last three miles were gently down hill.  As we were finishing, the Team met up for a little picnic by the river.

I feel so much better about running since this Team run.  With that awful run so fresh in my memory, it was so nice to have a good run.  It is still August, so it was still hot and humid, but not as bad.  It was still tough to breath, but I felt so much better this time!  You know how much I love my TEAM, so I could not leave the bad run out there without telling you about a great Team run.  We are all out there for a such a great cause.  Every tough run is worth it because of the good we do together.

A dream is a wish...


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Beach Run

Representing runDisney in OCMD! 
My family went to visit the beach for the weekend in Ocean City, Maryland.  The one thing I wanted to do was do my long run early one morning on the boardwalk.  I have been to OCMD many, many times and I have seen the runners up bright and early, running on the boardwalk.  Last summer, I wanted to run on the boardwalk but I did not have the confidence to actually get out there and do it.  This year I was going to make sure it happened!

I woke up at 6am on Saturday morning and put my running clothes on.  I got to the front door of the house and it was raining.  Not just raining, but pouring!  The wooden boardwalk gets very slippery when its wet, so running on Saturday morning was out.  The forecast for Sunday looked much better, so I was ready for take two.  I woke up bright and early again Sunday and I was ready to go!

My ocean view!
The OCMD boardwalk is 2.25 miles longs.  Since I wanted to do 9 miles, this was perfect!  I did two trips up and back and got exactly 9 miles in.  When I started out, the sun was just rising and it was not to hot.  Once the sun came up, it got hot--quickly!   My biggest pet peeve was all the smokers.  People were hanging out outside the hotels smoking, I guess because can not smoke inside.  When I run through smoke, it kills my lungs.  I usually have to stop and walk to catch my breath.

Running with a view of the ocean was amazing!  I have always been a fan of the ocean and water--I find it very soothing and calming.  Looking out onto the ocean made the hot run so much more enjoyable.

Have you ever run along the ocean?  Do you have a place that you run that you find calming or tranquil?

A dream is a wish...


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some Tips For a Great runDisney Experience

I wrote the post below as a guest post for another blog, but I thought some of my readers would like it too, so I decided to post it here too.  Please let me know what you think!

A dream is a wish...


runDisney events are the most fun endurance running events out there.  Disney is great at making each runner feel special.  The race starts out with fireworks, not just for the first corral, but for each corral.  Since runDisney races start so early, the fireworks light up the sky.  Each corral is announced and given their own “ready, set, go!”  The anticipation builds as you know you are running toward the Magic Kingdom and the Castle!   The moment you turn the corner and see it—pure magic!  Runners race back toward Epcot for a Disney finish, complete with Minnie and Mickey at the finish to congratulate you. 

All along the way, there are character stops to get your photo with.  My favorite photo op is the one right in front of the castle.  The medals from runDisney events cannot be beat.  They are all beautiful, heavy and worth all the hard work.  If you are interested in doing a runDisney event, let me give you some tips—from a certificated Disney Travel Specialist. 

   1)       Stay is a Disney host hotel.  Depending on the size of the race, some or all of the Disney owned hotels make special accommodations for runDisney runners.  These hotels offer special event transportation to the expo and to and from the race.  Disney has to close down several roads for the race, so traffic race morning can be terrible!  Some runners staying off site have missed the race all together because they were caught in traffic.  Staying at a Disney host resort will eliminate this worry because they guarantee you will get to the race on time. 

   2)      Rest up the day before the race.  I know this can be tough—you are in Disney World!  Hanging out by the beautifully themed Disney resort pool is a great way to spend the day before the race. Plan to stay in Disney World for a few days after the race instead of before so you can enjoy the parks.  If you must hit the parks the day before the race, at least take is easy. 

3)      Pack your tried and true race morning food and take it with you to Disney World.  For me, it’s a bagel and peanut butter, plus some Clif Bloks to stash for during the race.  While you may be able to find that in Disney World, it may not be your brand or flavor.  Race day is not the time to find out you are sensitive to certain brands of flavors, so be safe and pack your race morning food from home. 

4)      Don’t take the race to seriously!  runDisney events are meant to be fun, so don’t expect yourself to PR.  With all the fireworks, characters, music and photo ops available, enjoy yourself.  Take in and savor the experience. 
After doing several half marathons in different cities and put on by different race companies, runDisney events are by far my favorite.  Follow my tips above and you will have a magical runDisney experience too! 

A little about me:  I am a mom and blogger on the quest to fitness! I am addicted to runDisney and lost 75 pounds on my way to the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I am also part of Team in Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  We train together for marathons and raise money to fight cancer. I am a frequent Disney traveler and lover of Pop Tarts.  If I can help you plan a Disney dream vacation or your next runDisney event, please contact me at  I blog at  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Smart runners make SMART goals: Goal setting with Coach Rachel

My Sweat Pink sisters and I are doing a blog swap.  Here is a special guest post that I think you will find very helpful.  To check out all of the blogs in the swap, check out this link.

A dream is a wish...


When I work with runners, particularly runners new to the sport, our work often centers around a specific goal. These goals are often related to specific events (I want to run my first half marathon), times (I want to run a 25 minute 5k), or consistency (I want to run consistently for 8 weeks). Most runners have big goals. I love big goals. They're motivating, and help keep all of us on track. But, the smart runner also has little goals, and sets and achieves little goals throughout the training cycle. It's these little goals that really help keep us on track, and contribute to that sense of accomplishment that drives running joy.

The smart runner has two types of goals: Goals and goals. Big G goals are meta-goals, the season-long goals that organize a runner's year. Something like running a key race is a Goal. goals, on the other hand, are micro-goals, little g goals, that define a particular training period, week, or run. Little g goals relate to the Goal, but are specific and concise.

The best little g goals follow the SMART acronym. They're

S - specific
M - measurable
A - attainable
R - realistic
T - time-bound

So, your G/goals might look something like this:
Goal: I'm going to Run Disney at the Princess Half Marathon
goal: This week, I'm going to run between 20 and 30 miles.
goal: In today's run, at 7am, I'm going to run 4 miles at an easy pace, and feel great.

Setting micro-goals will not only help you organize your training, it will help you feel connected to a big Goal that might be far off. I track my goals in a training log, and encourage my runners to do the same. I think about my goal before every run. Sometimes I have a specific distance, pace, or route in mind. Sometimes tying my shoes is a good goal. But every time I accomplish something I set out to do, I feel amazing.

Set a goal today, Smart runners, and feel inspired!

And a little about me:

Dr. Rachel is a running coach, blogger, and college professor in Connecticut. She blogs at Rachel is a trail runner, road runner, and lover of animals who regularly runs with her dog, Lucy. More information about her running coaching services, including distance coaching and plan development, can be found at

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Shipment of Bondi Bands!

Hello Friends!  I am just $1000 away from meeting my $3000 fundraising goal for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  A new batch of Bondi Bands just came in, lots of them with funny sayings about running.  I also got some more tiara bands.  There are some fun animal print bands too.  Click on the picture to take a better look.  All proceeds go to helping to find a cure for cancer!  Here are the Bondi Bands I currently have.

The cost of the bands is as follows"

1 for $10
2 for $18
3 for $25

I will cover the cost of shipping.  Please email me at to let me know what bands you want or if you have any questions!  Thanks for supporting me and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

Friday, August 10, 2012

One More of My Disney Dreams Came True: Huge Announcement

One more of my Disney dreams has come true--I am now an Independent Disney Travel Planner!

If you are a new Disney traveler, or a pro--let me plan your trip--for FREE!  That's right--it won't cost you any extra for my services.  That is because Disney pays us.  I may actually be able to help save you money!  Disney has travel agent only specials, plus new offers come out all the time.  I will work hard to make sure you get the best deal possible.

So what can a Disney travel planner do for you?  In addition to saving you money, I will help you plan your dream vacation.  I can plan an itinerary, make your dining reservation, arrange for transportation to and from the airport--really, anything you need to make your trip magical!  Let me know what you need, and I will do my best to make it happen.  Already a Disney pro and just want someone to make sure you get the best deal, that is ok too.  I am here to do as much or as little as you like.

Do you already have a Disney reservation that you made directly with the Disney Travel Company?  You can easily transfer your reservation to me and still get all of the above services.

Click on the link above and check out my agency website.  If there is something I can do for you, please email me at today!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pacing Drills

At my TEAM run on Saturday morning, Coach had us do some pacing drills.  We ran around the parking lot and counted how many steps we took in a minute.  My first was 144.  We did it again and I got 162.  After the two tests, Coach gathered us together to tell us about a how to pace better.

He told us about a study by Jack Daniels--no, not the one in the bottle.  Basically, the scientific best turn over rate (number of steps per minute) when running is 180.  When running, we get the best efficiency of our oxygen and energy when we take 180 steps per minute.  Coach warned that this does not mean running faster.  It means taking shorter strides.  Coach had us do one more run around the parking lot.  Most of us saw our turn over rate increase, very close to the 180.  Mine improved to 176.

When I got home, I read more about the method.  Something that makes running easier and more efficient?  Sign me up!  I found and read the science and I was amazed.  Daniels studied Olympic athletes and lots of runners all alone the speed spectrum.  Every time, the most efficient turn over rate was 180.  What if I want to get faster?  Daniels says to keep your turn over the same, but increase the length of your stride.  Over time, runners stride gets longer and that makes them faster, will keeping the efficiency of the 180 strides per minute.  Daniels also says that a turn over of 180 steps per minute decreases injury.  This is because you spend less time in the air, decreasing force when you land.

I really like this study and plan to implement it in my running. I plan to take a minute or two and count my steps during a run every week our so.  What do you think of this study?

A dream is a wish...


Monday, August 6, 2012

My Toughest Run Yet...

This past Saturday morning, I ran with my TEAM.  We meet at an all new location--Spring Valley Park.  I was excited about this location because it is the closest location to my house that my Team has ever run.  We meet there nice and early at 7:30am.  After the usual introductions and dedication, Coach handed out maps, and we were off!

Very quickly in the run I could tell this was not going to be an easy run, not easy at all!  The park was beautiful to run in, but nothing but hills--very steep hills!  They seamed straight up and up and up.  It was very unnerving looking off in the distance and seeing four plus story cliffs and knowing that is where I was running to next.  It was very hot and humid outside and the mosquitoes were having a feast--on me.

Coach Barb and Coach Scott
The combo of the heat, humidity and hills tired me out very quickly.  It was next to impossible for me to stick to my Galloway run/walk/run method.  The up hills were just to steep for me to keep running, and the down hills were so steep I was slipping on the gravel.  By mile three of seven, the sun was out and it was getting hotter.  I was feeling miserable!  I even considered quieting before my seven miles were done.  I walked a lot more of the run than I would have liked, but I stuck to it and completed my miles.  My time average was 17 minutes per mile, while my normal long run time average is 13 minutes per mile.  The hills and walking really killed my time.

Since I like to keep things positive, here are some wonderful things about the run.  My running buddy Maureen and I stayed together the whole time.  It was nice to have her to chat with and take my mind off the tough course.  We also were treated to seeing a momma dear and her two babies who run across the road right in front of us.  Running through the park was so tranquil and beautiful. While the sun was beating down on us for much of the run, the trees in the park offered us some shady areas to cool off a bit.

I am so lucky to be part of such a wonderful team.  My team mates are so supportive and positive.  We have some of the best coaches out there.  They work so hard to see use succeed.   When I woke up on Sunday, the DOMS were in full force! My gluts and hammies are so sore from all the hill work.

I was feeling really down over the weekend about my run on Saturday.  Now I am trying to look at it as an opportunity to improve.  Not all runs can be good ones.  Next week will have to be better.  How do you move on after a bad run?

A dream is a wish...