Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yoga for Runners

I have been going to Yoga at my gym for about two months now.  I feel like it a good balance to running.  I still can't believe how tough it is!  I can only make one class a week, but when I wake up the next day boy can I feel it....I love that feeling! 

I was so excited when my January issue of Runners World came.  As I flipped through it, there it was--an article about why Yoga is great for runners.  The article told runners that Yoga is great for strength training and flexibility.  The article listed some tips for runners who are new to Yoga. Take it slow!  Just as in running, don't expect to be a pro your first time out.  Take it slow--don't push yourself to avoid your risk of injury.  Try out different styles of Yoga and different instructors to see which is right for you.  

My Yoga class yesterday was tough.  I think the hardest part for me is how tired my wrists gets from holding Downward Dog.  The instructor took that pose a little farther by transitioning into something called Wild Thing.  Basically, you starting in Down Dog, lift one leg and let it fall over the other, landing with your tummy toward the sky, like a one armed bridge.  I was to scared to try it during class--I was not sure I could catch myself on my other leg.  I tried it when I got home--a place I would not be embarrassed if I fell.  I did it!  I could do the move just fine.  Next week when we do it in class I will do it with everyone else.  I still love Pigeon pose the best, and do it after each run!  The stretch feels soooo good on my tight hips.  

Do you do Yoga to complement your running?  Do you think it helps?

A dream is a wish...


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Post Workout Nutritional Advice from runDisney's Tara Gidus

I had the opportunity to meet runDisney's nutritionist, Tara Gidus, at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon meet up.  She also spoke to the group about the importance of post race nutrition.  As Tara spoke, I thought to myself, wow--this is something I never have really thought about.  I track WHAT I eat--I use My Fitness Pal to track my calories, fat, protein and carbs.  But, I never really thought about WHEN I eat.

Tara told the meet up group that we all need to eat something within 30 minutes of a run.  This is something that I never, ever do.  I get my run in, I drive home, sometimes run a few errands, I take a shower ect.  I usually do not eat until about two hours after I run.  It seems I was doing it all wrong!  If you think about it, it makes sense that we need to eat right after a run.  Our body are dehydrated, zapped of carbs and our muscles are weak.  We need to give our bodies back what we lost. While talking to us, Tara asked the group: "What should you eat within 30 minutes of running?"  Most of us, including me, answered "protein."  Wrong again!

From listening to Tara, I learned that in the first thirty minutes after a workout, we do not need protein, we need carbs!  Our bodies just depleted our stored carbs.  Right after working out, we need to rehydrate and restore our carbs.  Then, in a meal about two hours later is when we need our protein.  The protein is needed to rebuild and restore muscle after a run.  Tara likes the trend of drinking chocolate milk right after a workout because of its perfect ratio of carbs, protein and fat.
I got some one on one advise from Tara while waiting to meet Tink!

I am not much of a chocolate milk fan, so I thought about what I will try to eat right after a run.  My first though was my Shakeology.  I love the stuff, plus it has a good ratio of protein to carbs.  Some other options I though of is an apple and a hand full of almonds, a cup of oatmeal, or a Luna Bar.

Do you always eat within 30 minutes of a run?  What do you eat?  I am looking for ideas!

A dream is a wish...


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Run Third ( #run3rd )

At the official runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon Meetup last week, we had the pleasure of hearing Sean Astin speak.  I will be honest, I did not even know who he was before I looked in up real quick on IMDB, and then I still did not recognize any of his movies.  What can I say, I am not a fan of the fantasy genre.  I was not really expecting him to speak about anything relevant to me, but I listened anyway.

Sean started telling us about something called "Run Third".  This was something I had never heard of and I was immediately interested in hearing more.  He explained that first, we run for ourselves.  We run for our health, we run for stress relief, we run for self esteem....  The reasons we run for ourselves are endless, but we all get something personal out of it.  He then told us that second, we run for our families.  Running makes us more healthy, it gives us patients, it makes us happier.  All of this our family benefits from too.  Sean then challenged each one of us to "Run Third".  He asked us all to run for something else.  That something could be anything we believe in.  Cancer research, suicide prevention, military support....the list goes on and one.

I could feel the crowd really take this in.  I could see the expressions on everyone faces--they got it.  My #run3rd is for Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  As you know, I have been running with them for over a year now.  I have raised over $7k so far.  Thinking back, the two half marathons I have done with TNT have been some of my favorites, and my best performances.

I love the whole concept of #run3rd.  Of course, I run for myself first--and that is ok.  Being healthy for my family is important, so of course they are my run second.  It feels so good to know that my running helps other, so the concept of run third makes so much sense to me.

Have you ever heard of #run3rd?  What do you think of it?  What is your #run3rd?

A dream is a wish...


Friday, January 25, 2013

runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon

This past Sunday, I did the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.  It was my fourth runDisney event and my eight half marathon.  This race was the earliest one I have ever done with a start time of 5 am!  Good thing I was staying at the Disneyland Hotel--I just work up, got dresses and went outside to the start line.  Everywhere I look, I all I could see was a sea of wings.  It was so much fun!  I brought five pairs of wings with me--from the after Halloween clearance.  I made my friends/roommates all wear a pair.  It was so much fun! 

It was a chilly morning, but that did not keep the excitement level down.  When we got out to the start, the crowd was already pumped!  They played good music and kept doing a count down every 5 minutes until the start.  As usual for me, I started in corral C.  In true runDisney fashion, each corral got their own "ready, set, go", complete with fireworks!  

What made this race special is that we spent about four-five miles inside the parks.  This is alot compared to the other Disney races I have done.  We started out with a quick lap around the outside of Disneyland and then into California Adventure.  They had the "World of Colors" show playing for the runners.  This is an amazing water and light show that is a daily sell out.  I have had the chance to see it a few times and it always takes my breathe away.  After seeing all the sights in California Adventure, we ran across to Disneyland.  Running through the castle is always the highlight of a Disney race for me.  It was even more beautiful at Tink because the sun was just coming up as I ran through it.  

After Disneyland, runners ran through Downtown Disney.  This was a huge spectator area!  There were people cheering us on the entire length of Downtown Disney.  I always love seeing little kids cheering on their running mommas.  My kids are usually not at my races, so its nice to see other kids and think about my own.  At the top of Downtown Disney was a group of ladies from the Red Hat Society.  It felt like they went on and on--for at least a quarter mile.  It was so nice of them to come out and support us.  

After Downtown Disney, we headed off Disney property to run through the town of Anaheim.  This part was a bit of a downer for me. We were just hitting mile six.  I knew my park time was over and that I had seven more miles to go.  Running through the town, of course, was not as entertaining as running in the parks.  I started to feel cold from the wind.  I woke up with a cold that morning and I started to not feel so well.  I know this was the time when I need to let my training kick in.  It was all mind over body at this point.  I had no doubt I could do it, but it was not going to be easy.  

As the sun rose, it began to get warmer.  I took a few DayQuil from my pocket and started to feel better.  I was going to conquer this race!  I keep doing my intervals as we ran though the town.  The city came out to support runners.  We had local high school bands and cheerleaders, locals sitting on their porches waving--I loved how the town got into the race.  It's always a huge upper for me to hit mile 10.  Once I hit mile 10, I knew I was in the home stretch.  I could see the Tower of Terror in the distance--I was getting close.  In no time I was in behind California Adventure park.  

Runners crossed Disneyland Drive and we could see the finish line.  Darn you runDisney, before we could cross the finish line, we had to take a lap around the parking lot--talk about huge let down.  By this time, spectators were everywhere.  This really pumps me up, so I started to run hard.  I was ready to finish!  After giving Goofy a high five, I crossed the finish.  Just pasted the finish line, everyone slows down, so there is always a bottleneck.  I could not wait to get my hands on that beautiful medal!  I got my medal from a volunteer and stared at it--it is so beautiful--instantly one of my favorites.  I got some water and a snack box and walk over to my hotel, feeling proud of finishing yet another runDisney Half Marathon. 

A dream is a wish...


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Never Land Family Fun Run 5k

No runDisney race weekend is complete without the doing the 5k Family Fun Run.  This past Saturday, I did the Never Land Family Fun Run 5k as a warm up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.  I woke up super early and tip-toed around my room at the Disneyland Hotel as to not wake up my roommates.  Once I was ready, I walked through Downtown Disney to Disneyland.

This 5k is by far been my favorite runDisney 5k yet!  First off, we started the race inside Disneyland--right in front of the castle.  The start line was at the top of Main Street.  Runners lined up down Main Street waiting for the race to start.  As an amazingly special treat, Tinkerbell her self got the race started.  She was flying above the castle, waving her wand, sprinkling us all with pixie dust!  It was a real life, life size, real person Tinkerbell!  It was so magically breath taking.

Runners started out by rushing past Matterhorn Mountain, then past It's a Small World.  After that, we ran about a half mile in the "back stage" area of Disneyland.  For a Disney geek like me, this is super cool!  This is a place that so few guests ever get to see.  We ran though this really long tunnel--super cool.  We ran past parade floats and live animals.  We got to see where all the magic is staged. After the back stage area, we ran through New Orleans Square, then Critter Country.  After that, it was out of Disneyland and into California Adventure.

We hit all the high points in California Adventure--Hollywood, Cars Land, and Paradise Pier!  What I love about 5k's in Disneyland is that its possible to see all the big landmarks in such a relatively short distance race.  It takes a full marathon in Walt Disney World to see all the big highlights.  The finish line for the Never Land Family 5k Fun Run was at the end of Paradise Pier.  Starting and ending a race inside the park makes it all that more magical.  As always, runDisney put on a great race!

A dream is a wish...


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon Meetup

On Friday morning, I was so given the opportunity to attend the runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon meetup.  I was beyond excited when I found out I was attending, but the experience was so much better than I had even imagined!

It was still dark when those of us chosen to attend gathered at the Sorcerer's hat just outside the Disneyland Hotel.  Each attendant was asked to check in with the runDisney rep and sign our waiver.  We then got our exclusive, only for attendants black runDisney tech top.  I meet up with some of the runners at the event, many of whom I know from reading their blogs but never in person.

We all gathered around the Sorcerer's hat to listen to Bob Hitchcock, the big guy at runDisney.  He welcomed everyone and introduced the special guested--Ali Vincent from the Biggest Loser, actor Sean Astin, Tara Gidus, and the New Balance rep. Jeff Galloway spoke for a bit and explained that we would be doing his run/walk/run method for the meetup. Our intervals were :30/:30.  We started our run from the Disneyland Hotel toward Disneyland while running through Downtown Disney--an outdoor mall type area full of fun shops and restaurants.

As typical for me, my first glimpse of the castle always takes my breath away.  It was so beautiful running through the castle just as the sun was coming up.  After about a mile into our run, we stopped for our first surprise -a meet and greet with Tinkerbell herself.  At this time, I stopped to chat with Ali Vincent.  I did not know who she was before that morning.  It was amazing how much our stories paralleled.  I was inspired by her positive attitude. We chatted for a while, and when the run started again we ran together for a while.

After meeting with Tink, we ran to California Adventure.    The park is so beautiful and unlike any of the Walt Disney World parks.  It celebrates everything that California is known for--Hollywood, the beach, its history, and cars!  After our run was over, some other very special guests paid us a visit--Minnie, Mickey and Goofy--all in their 1920's attire.  The runDisney folks gave us plenty of time to get all the pictures we wanted.  Then they announced our next big surprise -that we all were riding Radiator Springs Racers!

This ride is the hottest ride right now is all of the Disney parks.  It features the characters of the "Cars" movies, as they race through Radiator Springs. My little group ran over to be the first in line.  I got to be in the very first car of the day!  After the ride, while we waited for everyone else to ride, we got to meet some of the Cars characters.  Once everyone had a chance to ride, runDisney Bob announced another surprise -we were having breakfast at Napa Rose!

Napa Rose is a five star restaurant in the Grand California Hotel.  They offer an amazing gourmet food and wine menu.  I have always wanted to eat there, but the price and the dress code have kept me away--until the meet up!  It felt so strange to be there is sweating running clothes.  We got into the dining room and found our seats.  I sat with some of the girls I had meet that morning.  The Napa Rose had prepared a wonderful breakfast spread for us--bagels, danish, fruit, yogurt, assorted juices and of course coffee.  It was perfect after a run.

Once we all had eaten our breakfast, it was time for the speakers.  runDisney's Bob Hitchcock started it off by thanking us all for attending and being so devoted to runDisney events.  Up next was the New Balance rep.  The latest runDisney phenomenon is the runDisney themed New Balance shoes.  The rep told us they are simply overwhelmed by the demand for these shoes.  Then he did a drawing for four pairs of the shoes!  I did not win, but I will have them one day!  Hopefully I will get them at the Princess expo.

Next up to speak was Sean Astin, an actor turn runner.  He told us about his #run3rd campaign.  First, we run for ourselves, second we ran for our families, but then we all should run third.  Run third can be for anything--any cause we believe.  Cancer research ( my #run3rd) , diabetes, children's charities, military,  domestic violence, ect--the list can go on and on.  The important thing is that we all #run3rd.  That we all have something important out there to keep us running, that we help others while we do something good for ourselves--to give back!  I was so moved by hearing Astin speak.  It was nothing I expected to here from him, but something I was blessed to hear.

The next speaker was Ali Vincent, the first women to win The Biggest Loser.  I heard so much of her story along the run, but she is so fun to listen to.  She is so animated and positive!  After Ali, we heard from Tara Gidus, the runDisney nutritionist.  Along with Tara giving us some nutritional tips, we also got a cooking demo from the Napa Rose chefs on how to cook a great post run black bean cake and poached egg breakfast.
As the festivities winded down, Bob announced the biggest giveaway yet--a free entry into the Dumbo Double Dare!  Again, I did not win, but that is ok.  I got to attend the event--that was enough for me.  Bob thanked everyone for coming and announced our last surprise -that we all were getting a free one day park hopper pass!  I was so excited!  What a great way to end an amazing event! As we were leaving I thanked Jeff Galloway for changing my life.  I quickly told him my story.  Just as the other times I have met him, he seemed genuinely interested.  I stopped over and quickly told Bob Hitchcock my story too and thanked him for running runDisney.  I would not be where I am today without the runDisney experience and I wanted to make sure they know how important what they do is to so many of us out here.

There is not other way to describe this experience other than amazing.  It was surreal, for a complete Disney geek like me, it was unbelievable!  Thank you so much runDisney for giving me this opportunity!

A dream is a wish...


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Am I Goofy?

The ultimate runDisney event is called the Goofy Challenge.  The challenge is a half marathon on Saturday morning and then a full marathon on Sunday morning.  For doing both events, you get a third medal--the Goody medal!  I have several friends who just competed the Goofy Challenge this past weekend at Walt Disney World.  I have heard race reports ranging from the experience being completely amazing to absolute hell.  I feel like I am trained enough from my half marathons that the half would be fairly easy, but doing the full the next day is what terrifies me!  I feel well enough the day after a half that I could do another half--but a full, that is completely different animal! 

If I ever attempt a full, the runDisney Marathon would be at the top of my list.  The only other full marathon I would consider doing is the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. If I ever do a full marathon, I think I will only do one.  I sort of feel like if I am going to do a full marathon, I might as well go all the way and go Goofy! 

What do you think of the Goofy Challenge? Would you ever consider doing it? 

A dream is a wish...


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trail Run #2--FAIL

Today I meet with my Turtle Runners team again.  We are an eclectic group of slower runners, mostly Team in Training members.  We get together on Sundays to run and enjoy each other's company.  Today we meet at Pinchot Park for a trail run--a real trail run. We ran this same trail about a month ago, but this time it was very different.

It has been a very snowy and rainy winter so far here in Central Pennsylvania.  We have had a warm January, so all the snow has melted.  To say the trail was muddy is a total understatement!  It started out not so bad, but as we got farther and farther into the woods, it got more muddy and more muddy.  There were times when we were ankle deep in mud.  This lasted for quarter+ miles at a time.

To call this a trail "run" would be an exaggeration as there was very little running involved for me.  Between the roots, rocks and all the mud, I could run very little.  Since I am heading to California for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in three days, I was not going to risk getting injured.  As clumsy as I am, this meant taking it very, very slow.

While we were on the run, the runners had a blast!  I did not love it so much.  It was funny hearing them chat and plan mud runs coming to our area this year.  They joked with me about this run being nothing compared to a Dirty Girl/Tough Mudder type race.  If one good thing came out of this run, its that I now know for sure I will never do one of those mud runs!

Have you done a mud run?  What did you think of it?

A dream is a wish...


Friday, January 11, 2013

Tink Meetup--Here I Come!

Before every runDisney Half Marathon/Marathon, runDisney plans what they call a "meet up".  Basically, they choose 20-100 people to gather very early in the morning for a once in a lifetime experience. I have always wanted to attend one, but I have never invited--until now!  I got into the Tinkerbell Half Marathon meet up next week in Disneyland!

I have heard tales of amazing meetups--running through the castle in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Cars Land is California Adventure, checking out Club 33 in Disneyland, ect.  To a Disney geek like me, these were dream experiences--but merely Disney urban legend for someone who disparately wants to be part of it.    There are usually special guests at these events.  Jeff Galloway (my running hero) is always in attendance.  For the Tinkerbell Half Meetup, it is rumored that Ali Vincent from Biggest Loser fame will be there, along with Tara Gidus, a famous sports nutritionist. runDisney always has surprises up there sleeves for participants--park tickets, swag bags, giveaways, access to places normally off limits to guests.  From what I hear, the group meets and runs together for about two miles, using the Galloway run/walk/run method. Then there are talks by the special quests and breakfast.  Sometimes the meet up groups get special VIP access to the Expo before it is open to the public.

The events are usually held on the Friday before a big event.  I could never go because we usually travel on a Friday.  Good thing for me, I arrive in Disneyland on Thursday. Thursday morning at a very wee hour I will be meeting up with the other chosen participants at the huge sorcerer hat at the Disneyland Hotel.  Good thing I will be staying at the Disneyland Hotel--no travel time.  I am so incredibly thankful to runDisney for giving me an amazingly awesome experience.  How am I going to get through the next 5 days until I leave for California?   Be sure to check back soon to find out how it went!

A dream is a wish...


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How Are Those Resolutions Going?

We are a little over a week into the new year--how are your resolutions going?  Mine are going well.  Instead of making a huge change on January 1st, I decided to make small changes each week.  Last week my change was to drink more water!

I happened to stumble on a Dr. Oz episode episode last week where he was talking about weight loss.  He mentioned that cleansing your liver could help with weight loss.  He continued that our liver does over 500 functions, and it does not function well when it is fatty.  Dr. Oz mentioned that dandelion tea can help reduce the fat on your liver, and could aid in weight loss.  Of course I found this intriguing, but Dr. Oz talks almost daily about different things that can aid with weight loss, so I took it was a grain of salt.

One of my Facebook friends posted the picture on the right about a Jillian Michaels flush.  There it was--dandelion tea again!  If all of those experts think there is something to it, why not give it a try.  Since my change of the week was to drink more water I might as well give it a try.

I added the ingredients to my shopping list and went to the store.  The dandelion tea was pretty easy to find in my grocery stores organic/health food section.  The pure cranberry juice was not so easy--everything I was finding was a cranberry blend, or had added sugar, but I found it.  Along with picking up so lemons and distilled water, I was ready.  I came home and tossed the ingredients into a pretty pitcher to make it look more appealing. It was all mixed and ready to drink.

I poured the mixture into a glass and gave it a try.  I was very pleasantly surprised at how tasty it is.  It's like a diluted pink lemonade, but with almost no calories and no sugar--real or artificial   I am hooked!  I have not weighted myself since I starting drinking the mixture, so I can not attest to the weigh loss promise.  What I can attest to is that it makes water alot more appealing to drink and that is a huge plus right there. I have been making the mixture at night and chilling it in the fridge overnight.   I plan to continue to drink it--what is there to lose!

A dream is a wish...