Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our Race Scrapbook

It has become a tradition that we put a virtual scrapbook together of all the races we've done throughout the year. Eventually we'll print them out, but for now we enjoyed looking back at 2015!
 While Meranda spent most of 2015 recovering from injury, Lacey took her running up a notch and collected many age group awards!
All of our race recaps from this year can be found HERE.   A big thank you to all the friends that we have met, ran with, or who have sent encouragement to us this year! We appreciate you and are glad to be a part of the running blogger world.
Race recap coming soon!

Where you at any of the same races this year? 
What was your favorite race of 2015?
Happy Running! -M & L


Monday, December 28, 2015

We're gonna Run The Year!

After the Disney Marathon and Goofy Challenge are over, we're not completely sure what 2016 holds for us as far as racing goes. We have officially signed up for one race and have a few more in the back of our minds. We may not race as much in 2016 but one thing is for sure, we are not giving up running. That's why I signed my sister and I up for RUN THE YEAR 2016.
Run The Year 2016 is a pledge to run a total of 2016 miles in the year 2016. Now I kind of wish my Ultra Marathon was just a few days later...haha. O well, maybe I'll do another one in 2016!  Anyway, don't feel intimidated by the miles because you don't have to do it alone. You can split it up with another runner (or two).  See the chart on the right to see how you can divide up the miles!
This isn't just another one of those Virtual Races.  I feel this is a way for us to stay accountable (I mean not get lazy) all year long. The Run The Year registration comes with a miles tracker, an online expo, training plans, and PRIZES!  That's right, drawings for prizes for 365 days! 
The Online Expo is not just an online store. It is actually an interactive expo. It looks really cool.
Be sure to check out the preview from the video that I posted below.
Oh, by the way, you don't have to actually RUN all these miles. It is open to walkers too!
 Holidays are always a busy time for everyone and you may have found yourself getting a little "off track" with your running or workouts. If you find that this is the case, why not bring in the New Year with a challenge to hold you accountable.  New Year, New You! 
In addition to the online Race Expo, access to a custom mileage tracker to log your miles and training plans, and prizes, the event also comes with  nutritional tips and inspiration and motivation through an online community.  However, the tech shirt and finisher's medal are not included in your registration fee. You may add this option if you wish.

I think this is a great way to bring in the New Year. Who wants to join? -L

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Meet your Friendly Fairytales and Fitness Bloggers: Part 3

Greetings blogger friends! Since Christmas is upon us we thought we would have a little fun and do another "Meet you friendly Fairytales and Fitness Bloggers post". We've done a few of these already HERE and HERE. If you are a regular reader than you probably know us pretty well. Maybe you will learn something new about us this time. Consider this the Holiday Edition!

1. Holiday Movie:
As much as I love " ELF", another favorite is "I'll be home for Chritmas" gotta love that JTT. -L

Home Alone is always a favorite! -M

2. Holiday Food:
I know this isn't totally a holiday food (except in our home apparently) but I'm gonna say CRESENT ROLLS! I always tease my mom that the holidays seem to be the only time we have them! -L

My favorite this time of year is Cranberry Relish Salad -M

3. Holiday Race:
The only Holiday race that I've done was the Surfin Santa in Virginia Beach. The year I did it it was the 10 miler during the day and the weather wasn't that great. They have since changed it to a 5 miler at night under the Christmas lights. I'd like to go back and run it again. -L

Right now the only Holiday themed race I have done (Besides the virtual Reindeer Run) was Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K. I definitely had fun and it is one I plan to do again. However, I would love to put the Surfin Santa on my list and I'd love to do our town's annual Running of the Elves.  I didn't do it this year because its hard to get into 5K mode while marathon training but when I went to school the next day and saw that one of my students was wearing the shirt from the race (and it was a REALLY cool shirt), I wished I had signed up! -M

4. Holidays Traditions:
Christmas Eve service at church with our extended family and then go back to our parents house for food and holiday movies. The past couple of years we've made it a tradition to wear our Christmas jammies (after church that is). - L + M

5. What we're looking forward to over the Holidays.
I'm looking forward to a relaxing holiday. This is the first year in a long time that I am not stressed about traveling. I live close to family now and don't have to worry about driving to the airport and catching a flight (or not being able to make it home at all). I am so thankful to be in one place this year. -L

I am looking forward to some much need sleep! I know this sounds rotten and I should say spending time with family but as you know from a previous post, I am exhausted. I'm looking forward to sleeping in a few days (and lots of cuddles with my Baylee girl)! -M

In the spirit of the holidays, tell us something about yourself!  Merry Christmas Friends!

We'll be linking this post up for Free Friday with the gals from the Friday 5!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Its too late for Running Concerns!

My goal for the Upcoming Disney Marathon was to just beat my time from last year. I realized that this wasn't much of a goal since I was injured last year. If all goes well there is no reason why I wouldn't finish in a better time.

SOoooo, After a few training runs, I settled into a pace that I felt comfortable with. Based on this pace, I was able to come up with a new goal. The problem was, I based that goal on what I am capable of NOW on the training runs. I did not take into account all the other things that come up during race day, bathroom stops, water stops, crowds, tired legs, etc. But anyway, I've come quite attached to this goal!  I worked my butt off this training cycle to make sure I came in under pace during every training run.

With that being said, I do have a few concerns. First of all, I am completely exhausted! I'm at the point now that I don't want to work towards that goal anymore. I'm not giving up, but I need to realize that if I don't make it, it's my own fault. I just can't put the effort into it anymore because I have been SO tired. I don't know if I even have one more long run left in me.  I just can't wait for the race to be over.  As we were talking about tapering, I expressed my sheer exhaustion to a running friend. She asked when my last long run was and I told her I did 15 miles that weekend, 12 the weekend before, 13 before that, and 18 before that, and so on.

"Well no wonder you are so exhausted" she said.

 She told me that when she was training for Dopey last year that she was only doing long runs every other weekend. Weekends in between long runs she only did 6-8 miles. I took her advice this weekend and only did 7 miles and it felt SO good! 

 My second concern is this. My injury has not come back but I can tell that by mile 13 I'm running on tired legs and my feet are starting to hurt. Not an, I'm injured kind of hurt, but a my feet are tired of hitting the pavement type of hurt. I currently wear the Mizuno Enigmas, which have some extra cushioning. I've bragged about these shoes because I DO like them BUT the thought has crossed my mind to go back to my Altra Olympus (the shoes I loved but they didn't love me back). 

You may remember me saying that the Olympus were the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, hands down! And even though I don't wear them anymore, I will still stand by that statement. I don't wear them anymore because they are zero drop and I believe that may be what caused this whole pesky injury to begin with. However, last year my chiropractor gave me some heel wedges for my running shoes to see if that helped. I never ended up putting them in my shoes because at that point I was just ready to try a non- zero drop pair. I know that going back to those Olympus (even with the heel wedge) is probably not a smart thing to do so I doubt I'll actually go through with it, but it is so tempting when I know how comfy they are!   I have worn my current Mizunos for this entire training cycle (since August) so perhaps it is time for a new pair. I did let Santa know that!

Do you have any advice for me? -M

Friday, December 18, 2015

What running has kept me from.......

There were about 101 things I was looking forward to doing over Thanksgiving break. These are things I normally don't have time to do between working, physical therapy, homework, and long runs.  Turns out, I didn't get to do any of them.  Womp Womp:(

But the good news is that we now have Christmas break to look forward to and I'm making my things to do list a priority. These things NEED to be done for my own personal well being and satisfaction!
Here are just a few.....

1. Get a hair cut - I should have done this months ago!

2. Do my nails ( both fingers and toes) - I don't care if this is a professional or a DIY job. Its just something I keep putting off because in the big scheme of things it doesn't seem that important.

3. Clean and organize the hall closet- Scott and I bring our work laptops home and just randomly place the bag on the floor (or on the furniture) in our house. I'd like to make a little organized system in the closet. We'll see how this ends up!

4. READ my magazine! Last year I DID NOT renew any of my magazine subscriptions because I just wasn't reading them. As luck would have it ( and I am SO grateful) I was gifted with several more subscriptions this year ( Runner's World, Women's Running, and Better Homes and Gardens). Truth be told, I have not read one of those magazines cover to cover. This holiday break I am determined to sit down with at least half of them!

5. Last is just general house work- I'd really like to clean our basement up too. We go through these phases where we keep it really nice and then eventually we keep transferring things we don't want from up stairs to down in the basement and eventually it has become a "catch all" room!

IF I somehow do not get these things done over Christmas break, I will definitely be working on them after I come back from the marathon. I am actually excited about how much FREE time I will have once the Marathon is OVER!

If anyone wants to volunteer to come help me with any of these tasks, you are welcomed to! -M

What has monopolized your time this year?

We are linking up with the gals from the Friday 5.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bloggers Spread Holiday Cheer

Ho, Ho, Ho, The countdown to Christmas is on!  Have you been spreading Holiday cheer?  We both got a little bit of holiday cheer this week when we received our secret blogger cards in the mail.

I got this beautiful card from the lovely Mary Beth from Tutus and Tennies! She so graciously sent me a Starbucks gift card. I was SO excited to see this because we now have THREE Starbucks with in three square miles! 
Last weekend after my run I got this Gingerbread Frappuccino and it was SO yummy!  I have the Chocolate Peppermint Frappe on my list for next time. Thank You Mary Beth! This was a wonderful holiday surprise!
I also sent my Holiday card out this week to my blogger friend. My blogger is a runner and Disney lover much like myself. I searched and searched for a Disney Christmas Card and the only ones I could find were for "Grand Children". Womp womp! I hope she liked my card anyway and the little "surprise" I've included!   -M
My secret blogger was the lovely Jennifer from Running on Lentils!  Jennifer is a fellow PA gal and she was so generous to send me an Amazon Gift Card! I have my eye on a couple running books so I am sure this will come in handy. Thank you so much Jennifer. You are so kind.

I put my holiday card  (and surprise) in the mail this week too. I won't say who my secret blogger is, but she also likes Disney, She loves to race and she lives on the opposite side of the country from me! Can you guess who?  -L

Thank you to everyone who participated in the card swap. It has been a lot of fun reading posts about all of you who are spreading the holiday cheer around. If you missed signing up this time, perhaps you can join us again next year.  If you haven't shared your holiday cheer yet, be sure to post about it and tag us! We'd love to read about!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Headbands You'll WANT ( under $10)

It is no secret that we both LOVE our non-slip headbands. We wear them for training runs, races, and sometimes I've caught myself wearing them for every day tasks.  Buying one at a Disney expo is almost a must. How can we not have a commemorative head band from Marathon, Princess, or Tinkerbell weekend?  I don't just have  "race' designed headbands, I have some other non-race designs too. These are the ones I get complimented on the most. Because of that reason, I wanted to buy some for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers.  I wasn't going to any race expos, so where do I get them.

Well now here is where things get interesting. These headbands can get pretty pricey at $15 a pop.  I had no idea that people made DIY versions of these headbands until just last year when I was introduced to a lady who had a headband shop on Etsy. And guess what???? They are less than $15 and some of them are even adjustable!  I had only tried one version of these DIY headbands and I have to say I was super impressed.  I had no idea that there are SO many talented ladies making these headbands. Each are unique in their own way, but I had no idea what the quality was like. For $10 or less would it be shoddy? Would it fray?  Well, there was only one way to find out.  Let me introduce to you seven ladies who have shops on Etsy that I would recommend.  I am recommending them because of their high quality, affordable pricing, and OUTSTANDING customer service!

1. Cutie Pie Headbands- Denise

No need to spend the big bucks at the Disney expo for those bands because Denise from Cutie Pie headbands has all your favorite Disney designs!  I have taken a special liking to Denise and her shop because I found out that we have something in common. Not only do we both like Disney, we both run, and we both teach an 8th grade entrepreneur class! Denise was tired of over priced headbands at race expos so she challenged herself to design them herself. And she did. She is a great example of an entrepreneur for her students. Oh, even though her designs are cute as a button (or pie I should say), they certainly do not lack quality. In addition to a variety of Disney designs, Denise also makes sport designs, and other patterns. ( Heads up: she even has some Harry Potter bands)
2. Oh Sew Sporty- Karen
Don't let the name of this shop fool you. These headbands don't have to be just for sports! I wore this red Christmas tree designed headband to work last week and then again when I volunteered at the senior center for the holiday wrap party. I got so many compliments. I think it's the perfect accessory  to add a little holiday cheer to your outfit this time of year.  A unique feature of the Oh Sew Sporty headbands is that they are adjustable!  The bottom elastic under the band can be made tighter or looser.  I have pulled on this elastic and slid the adjustable part back and forth several times.  It is sewed together very well. No concerns there!  Oh So Sporty headbands comes in two sizes the 7/8" (seen above) and a wider band ( the 1.5"). Every band is hand tied with a tag that has instructions on how to care for the band. I thought this was a nice touch!  Karen as lots of holiday designs as well as designs for sports. ( Heads up: Right now she has a red, white, and green band on sale for $4.20)
3. Frosted Peach - Alison
I was first intrigued by Alison's shop "The Frosted Peach" because of the name! She says she is a Georgia gal living in Illinois. I thought that was a pretty clever name given that the weather can get quite frosty up there!  I like Alison's shop because she has some unique designs ( include some sports teams).  In addition to the non slip headbands, Alison has started creating some baby accessories like bows, bandanas, and pacifier clips. I love her soft colors and chevron prints.  The Frosted Peach is another example of a high quality hand made items at a reasonable price.

4. Katie Did Productions - Katie
Katie and I actually connected through Instagram!  I like headbands, she designs them.  It was a perfect follow!  From polk a dots, to paisley, flowers, and sparkles, Katie has a wide variety of designs that will be sure to make you smile!  There is even a Holiday ornament band in her line up! At $5 for a skinny band and $7 for a wide one, you really can't beat it! 

5. Deshler Designs -Emily
I was immediately impressed with Deshler Designs as soon as I saw the packaging! Wow, she really took the time to make a nice presentation for her customer. I know it didn't come out great in the picture but she wrapped it in a clear bag with bow and sticker.  If you are looking to buy one as a gift, Emily's got ya covered! The headband itself is of course beautiful.  I actually feel this headband is too nice to run  I will wear it out and about and to work for sure! In addition to her headbands, Emily also designs monogramed items. She has some very cute monogramed baby items and gift items.
6. Sew So Fancy-Jennifer
Jennifer from Sew So Fancy makes a variety of different designs and sizes. She makes ones specific to running and then there's her "fancy" ones that you'll want to wear every day!   She creates 7/8" headbands or you can pick up a 1.5" band for only $5.  The band pictured is a 1.5". Heads Up: Right now she has a grab bag deal going on, three randomly picked non-slip headbands (picked by her) for only $7.50. If that's not a deal I don't know what is.  I've checked out her inventory and even with her picking 3 random bands for you I don't think you'll be disappointed. I always have a hard time making decisions so I may have to try this grab bag!
7.Fleurty Bands- Jasmine
Just from my communication with Jasmine I could tell she is such a sweetheart!  Jasmine is a Full time working mom of boys! She created Fleurty bands as a way to add some extra income and tap into her "girly" side!  The girly side sure does come through in her designs! She has such pretty "Lilly-esque" designs if you know what I mean! She has a lot of other fun designs too! I spotted a really cute Nurse headband and even a Starbucks headband for those coffee addicts. Yea, she's got some really neat ones! These are not adjustable headbands but the length is just perfect! 
I know there are a lot of sellers on Etsy and its hard to decide which ones to buy from when so many of them sell the same thing.  Just know that I have picked these ladies because of their commitments to well made products and customer service.     Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Training for my 50K

I know I haven't talked much about my training for my 50k that is actually coming up this weekend.  I cannot believe it is here already. It always seems so far away when you register for the race. I admit
I never had a real training plan on any of my marathons I've run. Mainly because my crazy work schedule has never allowed for it. But this time was different, because I was able to make the time for a training plan.
 It still wasn't as strict of one like others may set up but it worked for me and that's all that matters. In addition to running a few times through the week, I made sure I progressively added my mileage for my long run on the weekends. My longest run in this training cycle was 21 miles. That was two weeks ago. I felt pretty good during the run and even afterwards.
BUT the next day my knee started bothering me, which was odd because I have never had that feeling before. I have had some IT Band problems in the past, but this was different.  Such bad timing!  So many thoughts were running through my head. What if my knee continued to bother me and I don't even make it to the starting line or what if I begin and  have to DNF. That is one of my biggest fears. I kept thinking in the back of my head. My sister may be right.  She was nervous for me having such a big race before my Goofy Challenge in January.  I assured her that everything would be fine when I signed up for the race. Of course no one thinks they are going to get an injury during their training. Everybody has a goal in mind for their races, usually time related, but this one is just to finish for me. Luckily it rained the rest of the week so that was my excuse to not get out and run at all (even though I do have a treadmill). But I thought it would do my body good to take some time off and relax.

This weekend I knew it was going to be beautiful!  There was no way I was going to miss a run with this weather. 60 + degrees in Central PA in December,  I'll take it! So off I went for a run. My goal was to go for about an hour.  I knew if that's all I was going, there was no need to carry water with me. I was about halfway through my run and I started getting very thirsty. I think it was because I didn't drink enough in the morning. Luckily my Uncle's house was on the route I was running. And it just so happened he was outside grilling ribs that smelled delicious when I ran by. He asked if I wanted a rib for the road. As much as I wanted to say yes, I declined.  After grabbing a quick drink I was back to my run. My uncle use to used to run back in the day, so he gets it!  He even qualified for Boston with a finishing time of 2:57 at Steamtown marathon a few years ago. How awesome is that? 

Anyways, that little pit stop was just what I needed to  get me through my run. I finished a strong 8 miles. The best part was not having any knee pain throughout the run! I guess all I needed was the rest. I am going to take the rest of the week off until my race. Let's hope it feels just as good this coming weekend for my  50K race and I get to the starting line and make it to the finish line without any pain.    -L

What is your biggest fear in a race?
Have you ever DNS or DNF before?
We are linking up with the gals from TOTR.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Disney's Contemporary Resort

We are continuing to plan our marathon trip for January, so I thought it was only appropriate that we talk about Disney resorts. It is our goal to always try new resorts but once we find ones we like, we tend to keep visiting them again and again. It's a good thing we do plenty of Disney races!

Last year for marathon weekend my sister and I stayed at the Contemporary resort. The last time we had stayed here we were just kids and remembered it not being very "Disney-ish".  Because of it's convenient location along the monorail line we decided to give it another try.

I must say that now that I am an adult, this resort is among my favorites!  Here's why.

1. It's the perfect place to stay for a race weekend (at least for those races that start at Epcot).  The Contemporary is the last stop on the monorail line before you switch monorails to go straight to Epcot.  We love the fact that we can wait inside for the monorail and not have to board a bus.

2. Location of the Contemporary resort is key. Not only is it along the monorail line, but it is with in walking distance  to Magic Kingdom and only a quick boat ride ( or jogging path) away from two other deluxe resorts that have some fabulous dining options.

3. The rooms. Need I say more. The rooms are absolutely fabulous.  When we come for a race weekend we have a LOT of stuff. The large rooms here gives us plenty of space to spread it all out and still have space to move around.

The desk area here gives us lots of space to plug in all our running accessories!

 The beds at the deluxe resort are suppose to be comfier too. I know these beds were nice but to be honest, I fall asleep fast so to me, all the other resort beds are nice too.

And as you can see, there is a touch of Disney in the d├ęcor too.

I neglected to get a picture of our view, but it was a great one. It overlooked the Seven Seas Lagoon and we had a great view of the Electrical Water Pageant. Actually, the first night we were there we went to bed early. A little while later I heard my sister ask me to turn the volume off on my phone. I wondered what she was talking about. Here she thought I was playing games on my phone because of all the little beeping noises.  The noise was actually the water parade going on outside our window!

4. Food options. The Contemporary is known for Chef Mickey's Character meals, but even the quick service spot "The Contempo Cafe" is fabulous. I've had many good meals here.

5. The grounds are really beautiful and lots of places to relax and take in the scenery.

You can see the Wishes fireworks from the Contemporary and if you want to take one of the fireworks cruises, they leave from the dock here too.

 The Contemporary is on the higher end of the price scale but there are times when you can get a really good deal. Many people who come for race weekend say that they only need a room to sleep in and that's it. Although that is true, when we go to Disney for race weekends we don't always plan to go to the parks (because we don't know how we will feel after a race).  We do spend a LOT of time at the resort so for that reason we make sure to stay at a place we will enjoy and has great food options!

What do you like about this place?

Friday, December 11, 2015

5 DIY Gifts for Runners

Have you made your list? Have you checked it twice?  There always seems to be much more on my list of things to do and stuff to make for the holidays than I ever have time for.

Throughout the year I have all these ideas of things I want to make for the other runners in my life (or myself). I believe that personal gifts are the best and for that reason I want to share a few of them here with you for this "Gift Guide" post.

1. One of  my favorite gifts that I created was actually something that I gave my sister last year. It was a "Runner Snack Box".  I was throwing around the idea of gifting her one of those subscription boxes but couldn't find one that had the snacks I knew she would like. The solution was I made this.
                                       How I made the BEST Runner Snack box.

2. Several years ago I made my sister this DIY Medal display with a collage picture frame, some cup hooks and a painted dowel rod. I wanted something that could display pictures of the races as well as hold the medals and this was it!
                                  How I made the picture frame medal display.

3. If you don't want to put that much time into making a display (or you don't want the pictures), you can always get something like the one I made for our mom.
                                                  Another DIY Medal Display

4. I know one of Lacey's favorite race projects is her personalized Boston mug. This is better than anything she could have ever bought at the expo! Why not surprise your favorite runner with a mug that has their favorite race bib on it.
5. Another gift that made our list this year is this blanket from Project Repat. Our Friend Heather had this made last year with race shirts. We think its a cool idea but neither one of us has been able to take the plunge to cut apart our race shirts. Maybe in a couple years!
                                               How to do a custom race shirt blanket.
Are you working on any DIY or personalized holiday gifts?
We are linking up with the gals from the Friday 5!