Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Year of Running 2013

What a year 2013 has been! It’s had its ups and downs, but overall it was a great year – I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store.

I’ll be the first to admit - I don’t actually “do” New Years Resolutions. (GASP!) On the flipside, I DO plan ahead for my races each year (so I guess you could call that a “goal”) and I’m the kind of person who sticks with my goals. If I say I’m going to do something, you can rest assured I’ll do everything in my power to complete that task or goal.

Year In Review

SO, instead of sharing my “New Years Resolutions” with you today, I decided instead to recap on 2013 and My Year of Running, thanks to Miss Zippy!
  • Best race experience? 
    This one’s tough as I had several GREAT races this year. I really enjoyed running Goofy’s Challenge and Dumbo Double DarerunDisney races are always top of my list.

    I’m going to cheat and list two:
    -My best Full Marathon experience was Rock n Roll NOLA as I finally broke 5 hours (4 hours, 44 minutes to be exact)
    -My best Half Marathon experience was the Disneyland Half Marathon – it was a first for me and a truly memorable race experience!
  • Best run? 
    The Running Trails through Disney’s EPCOT Resorts – I ran through this area back in October during a quick weekend trip to WDW and had so much fun running the New Balance trails with a friend! I especially enjoyed these trails as they brought back memories of past WDW Full Marathon races.
  • Best new piece of gear? 
    I know it’s cliché to list these again, but I received several new favorites for Christmas this year (Raw Threads and Mizuno). Another favorite discovery of mine this year was Balega socks. I love all of these things!
  • Best piece of running advice you received? 
    Don’t take yourself too seriously! If you overthink things, you’ll only stress yourself out. Running is supposed to be fun, relax and enjoy the ride!
  • Most inspirational runner?
    There are so many, way too many to name! I do have to say, I was really inspired by the St. Jude runners who fundraised, trained, and were unable to run this year’s race due to cancellation – not a negative word was said by any of the ones I interact with on a regular basis. They remained upbeat, positive, and were happy for the opportunity to help the unfortunate children of St. Jude’s. I can’t say that I would have had the same attitude. I was definitely inspired to look at the “other” side of things, even if our plans don’t always work out the way we think they should. There’s always a reason behind every situation.  
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? 
    2013 was a great year - despite loss (here and here), I learned to make the most of the time I have with family and friends. I also worked hard at slowing down, enjoying, and   cherishing every moment.
Race tally for the year:
I’d say I had a pretty great year! What about you? What are your favorite moments from 2013?

Monday, December 30, 2013

(Almost) 5 Years & Counting!

Saturday, Heather and I ran a 10 mile long run in preparation for Rock N Roll NOLA (she’s training for Houston). Next weekend, I have my longest training run this season, 21 miles. I hope the weather cooperates – if it’s anything like this past Saturday, it will be perfect! Way to kick off a new year – with a really long run…I love it!

This is the 5th year for Rock N Roll New Orleans and I can’t wait for a beautiful new medal to add to my collection. Oddly enough, this will also be my 5th Full Marathon!

Collage With Dates

Last night, I put this together – it’s fun to look back and see the changes that have been made over the years. Apart from runDisney, Rock N Roll NOLA is second favorite on my list. I find it fitting that the Disney World Half Marathon was my first half and Rock N Roll Mardi Gras was my second half. :0)

Recaps of Rock N Roll NOLA races from 2010-now.
My friend Nicole is also running this race, it’s her first Full Marathon and I’m super proud of her. It’s been fun following along with her training and I know she’s going to do great on race day!

How was your weekend? Did you run a long run? Have you ever run a race every year since the Inaugural one? (I still can’t quite believe I have!)

Have a wonderful day!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Fitness Friday: Christmas Favorites

For Christmas this year, I was pleasantly surprised with several running related items. Santa was a rock star this year (as usual) and completely outdid himself. Here’s a few of my favorites:

Raw Threads Princess in Training Hoodie

Raw Threads Princess Front Raw Threads Princess Back

I was first introduced to Raw Threads at the 2013 Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo when the runDisney booth ran out of Goofy Merchandise. Raw Threads had 39.3 shirts available, so I bought one and I fell in love. I absolutely love the material of their clothing. It’s very lightweight and incredibly soft. Raw Threads also offers a wide variety of tops/clothing for your favorite runDisney race. Looking to dress as a Princess for Princess Weekend? Check out their Princess Tops. Want to dress as your favorite Villain for your next runDisney race? Check out their selection of Villain collection!  The variety and selection is (almost) endless. I cannot say enough good things about this company.

I’m running the Glass Slipper Challenge during Princess Weekend in Disney World, so I’m warning you now, you will see this shirt a LOT over the next few months! :0)


I was SO excited to see this Raw Threads Princess hoodie in the box I unwrapped!  Insert: awkward looking surprise face.

Rumble Roller

Rumble Roller Rumble Roller 2

Do not let this “foam roller” fool you – it IS every bit as painful as it looks. Why did I ask for a Rumble Roller Christmas? Well, I saw this bad boy in Dick’s Sporting Goods one day and decided to give it a whirl. I had two requirements I was looking for in a foam roller – I wanted one that wouldn’t break down as quickly as my other foam rollers had in the past and it needed to give me a bit of a deeper massage than my other rollers. Hopefully this one will do the trick!

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9’s
Mizuno Wave Inspire

The final gift on my fitness favorites list is my brand new Mizuno Wave Inspire 9’s. I began running in Mizuno’s when the Mezamashii Project was introduced. While waiting for the brand new Wave Paradox, being introduced in January (which is replacing my old shoe, the Wave Nirvana), I’m wearing Wave Inspire’s in the interim. Got it? That’s a lot of Wave’s! :0)

Mizuno Wave Inspire Shoe

This color is absolutely my favorite!

After opening a few gifts for themselves, my dogs thought EVERY gift was for them! It was really funny!

mizuno Wave INspire 3

I actually received 2 pair of Wave Inspires – one from my parents and the other from Jason. I kind of already started running in my pair from Jason a few weeks ago…

mizuno Wave inspire 4

….so what I received was an empty box! Yeah, whoops.

I’m very excited to continue running in these and can’t wait for the brand new Mizuno Wave Paradox (although I’m all set for a little while)!

Did you receive any fitness related items for Christmas? Please share! I want to hear all about your new goodies!

Disclaimer: All of these items were given to me as gifts from family which were purchased by my family. None of these items were received as compensation or for a review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Has Come & Gone



It’s the day after Christmas, one of my least favorite days of the year.

Chirstmas Countdown

Our Christmas holidays were spent with both sides of our families.


Jason’s family tradition is to eat Fajitas on Christmas Eve. I look forward to these every year!


Jason’s grandmother reads the Christmas story from the book of Luke prior to handing out presents.


We love taking family group photos. Its fun to see how everyone’s changed throughout the years.

On Christmas Day, we all enjoyed a batch of homemade Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls for brunch.

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

They were delicious!


Mid-day, Jason and I opened our gifts to each other…and the doggies opened theirs, too. Madalynn and Pixie remembered gifts being put under the tree and they were ready! It was hilarious watching Madalynn with this bone…she didn’t know what to do with it at first!

Traditional Christmas Food

We had traditional Christmas Day food at my parent’s house and it was SO good (and yes, my eyes were way bigger than my stomach)!

Family Chirstmas

Our group picture!

After having our fill of food, we played a rousing game of Mall Madness. It had been YEARS since this game was played and we had a lot of fun with it!

Mall Madness

My brother won! He’s an excellent shopper.


I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Only 364 days to go!

How did you spend your Christmas? What did Santa bring you?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

As I was driving to work yesterday morning, a song began to play and it brought tears to my eyes. The song spoke words of truth for so many during the holiday season – there are those all around us who are hurting.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the fun and happiness of the season (myself included), we often forget those who have lost loved ones throughout the year – those who are spending their first year with an empty chair at their table. Those who have no family at all to share the holidays with…those who are sick, in a hospital, or a hospice ward. I’m not saying any of this to be a Debbie Downer, I’m hoping this will serve as a reminder to show love to everyone, especially during the holiday season. You never know what others are going through – a simple smile or a small act of kindness can make a stranger’s day.

Unto us a child is born

On a lighter note, we had fun taking family Christmas pictures this year!  I didn’t have outside assistance with our pictures this year, so the fact we captured a good shot was a miracle in itself.

I set the scene with my additional lighting and positioned Jason, Pixie, & Madalynn the way I wanted them. As soon as I hit the timer button, I would dash to my chair, then grab Madalynn and pose. Right before the timer went off, I would throw a treat or a toy towards the camera in order to make the dogs look that way. All in the span of 20 seconds…whew! (I did this about 30 times – talk about my workout for the day!)

What we received in turn were several “out-takes” before one we were both satisfied with.


Evil eyes…haha!


I mustache you to have a wonderful Christmas!


Yummy treat…why is it on the floor??


Mid-air treat toss…too late!

Last but not least, from our family to yours….


Have a wonderful day and enjoy every moment…a very Merry Christmas to you!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Long Run & Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve!

It’s hard to believe these past few weeks have come and gone and Christmas is already here!

This past Saturday, my friends and I celebrated the season with a long run. Well, we weren’t actually celebrating anything, we were just out for our usual Saturday long run for our upcoming Marathons. It didn’t even feel like Christmas…or December…or even Winter for that matter. The air was hot, humidity was high, and the forecast called for rain. In fact, I’m only wearing a long sleeve shirt because I changed after my run.

Running Group Friends

My distance on Saturday was 17 miles – in training for Rock n Roll NOLA. At the last minute (aka three weeks ago), I decided to bump my registration up from the half to the full marathon. My base mileage has been ok all season, my only concern – I hadn’t run a long run (beyond 13 miles) since February of this year. Yikes! After speaking with my coach, she advised me to run 16 ish miles on Saturday, then 21 miles two Saturday’s from now. 

Both of my friends ran 21 miles because they are training for Houston. It was Erin’s first ever 21 mile run and we are so proud of her!! I love how our schedules intertwine, even though we are training for different races.

I was kind of scared how my knee would hold up during this long run, but I wore my knee brace with extra Atomic Balm and I was all set! Thankfully, I wasn’t sore that afternoon or the next day, either. Saturday’s run definitely gave me more confidence for this Marathon. While it may not be my fastest, I do feel better about finishing.

17 Mile Run

Ignore the time on my watch, I don’t ever stop it on water breaks while out with my running group because I always forget to restart it.

Panera Bagel

After my run, I enjoyed a little Panera for breakfast with a Non-Fat Peppermint Mocha. Yum!

Tonight, we are going to Jason’s family’s house to spend the evening with them. I love being with his family, especially at Christmas – the love and warmth in the air is palpable.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve! What are your plans? How are you spending Christmas Eve?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Recipe: Reindeer Food

Reindeer Food 10

Many many years ago, a friend introduced me to a yummy Christmas treat called “Reindeer Food” and I look forward to it every year. I’ve tweaked, added, and taken away from the recipe over the years, so here’s my version of this popular recipe.

Reindeer Food


1 package 10 oz mini pretzels
5 cups of cheerios (I like Honey Nut)
5 cups of corn chex
2 cups salted peanuts
1 pound of plain Christmas M&M’s
1 package of almond bark


In a large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. I combined them all in a very large pot on top of the stove (stove off).

In a glass bowl, heat almond bark in microwave, starting at 30 second intervals, stirring each time. Heat until almond bark is smooth – do not overheat.

Pour almond bark over cereal mixture and mix well.

Spread onto parchment or wax paper and sift powdered sugar on top.

Allow to cool, then break apart into pieces.

Serve and enjoy!

Reindeer Food


Reindeer Food 2

Dry ingredients in a large pot on the stove

Reindeer Food 4

Melted almond bark

Reindeer Food 3

Ready to spread!

Reindeer Food 5

Mix well, make sure the almond bark covers everything in the pot/bowl.

Reindeer Food 6


Reindeer Food 9

Reindeer Food will be a huge hit at your party, I assure you!

What’s your favorite dish to bring to a Christmas/Holiday party?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fitness Friday–12/20 & A Jingle Bell Run


Currently training for:
-Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon – February 2, 2013, Louisiana
-Glass Slipper Challenge, Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 22 & 23, Walt Disney World

Saturday – 4 mile run
Sunday – 10 mile long Run 
Monday – Rest day
Tuesday – 3 mile run; Squats/Lunges Routine
Wednesday – Squats/Lunges Routine
Thursday – 3 mile Jingle Bell run; Squats/Lunges Routine
Friday – Squats/Lunges Routine

This weekend, I have a long run planned – long as in…longer than 13 miles. I haven’t run a long run like this since Rock N Roll NOLA back in February. I’m WAY behind in the game, I know. Guess we will just  see how it goes!

Last night, I joined my running group for our annual Jingle Bell Run.

Jingle Bell Run

Jingle Bell Run 12

When we arrived, we were each given a set of jingle bells for our shoes and a light reflector so we could be seen in the dark.

Jingle Bell Run 2

Our route was a 3 mile one, with the option to turn around for 2 miles if so desired.

Jingle Bell Run 4 (2)

We made it to mile one, then this happened….

Jingle Bell Run 3

Yeah, that’s a house that’s being moved…and it was taking up the entire street AND sidewalk. House 1, Karen 0.

Instead of waiting or finding a way around, a few of us turned around and ran to the opposite end of the road (passing the way we came).

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, this route is beautiful, and I especially love running it at Christmas time. All of the homes are decorated and it’s absolutely gorgeous. If you’re in a hurry, you shouldn’t take this road at night – not only are horse drawn carriages all along the road, cars also drive reaaaaaaally slow so they can take in the lights.

Jingle Bell Run 5Jingle Bell Run 6Jingle Bell Run 7Jingle Bell Run 8

These pictures do not do it justice!

Jingle Bell Run 9

Yes, it was warm enough to run in a short sleeved shirt and shorts. Crazy weather.

Jingle Bell Run 10

After the run, we enjoyed gumbo, sugar cookies, and satsuma’s.

Jingle Bell Run 11

Best part, I won a door prize!

Jingle Bell Run 15

Woohoo!  I love this run, it’s my favorite of the year. Can’t wait for next time!

Have you/are you going to run a Christmas/Holiday themed race this year?

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