My holiday history and the hassle

When I was a little girl I always looked forward to going to my grandparent's house to help decorate the Christmas tree. My grandma was one who decorated every thing in the house. She had holiday dish towels, those little cling things that you put on the refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher, and she even had holiday shower curtains and commode covers in the bathroom. She went all out!

As the years went by, the big Christmas trees got smaller and smaller until one year it was only a fiber optic table top tree. Of course I was disappointed. I remember offering to put the "big" tree up but it just seemed to be too much for them.

So where am I going with this story...........

Lets fast forward a bit to my married life. When we first got married we got real pine Christmas trees. A few years later (we now had two dogs), the real tree seemed to be too much of a hassle (plus pine needles are not good for dog paws), so we bought a huge artificial pre-lit tree at Lowes.

We used this tree for several years. In the coming years I would always be too anxious to put the tree up and would want to do it when I wanted to do it.  I didn't want to have to wait for anyone to help me get it down from the attic and set it up. It became such a hassle.

 SO..... Instead of putting up one large tree, I decided to put up two smaller trees ( in two different rooms of the house of course).  These are easily manageable for me. I store them in the basement and I can put them up and take then down whenever I want. The best part is that they don't take up as much room as the large tree.  I've been using these two trees for several years now and this year I finally wonder if I really need two?

I also have 2 large totes full of Christmas decor I put out every year and 2 Disney Villages. This year, I only put a few snowman item out (because they were my grandmothers).

I am slowly realizing that even though I like Christmas, I don't like to disrupt my home for 30 days.  I've realized that the more I get out to decorate, the more I have to clean up at the end of the season, and who has time for   I now understand how my grandparents may have felt about all the decorations over the years or maybe I'm just in a decorating slump!

Oh, and about my grandparents. My grandma passed away a few years ago.  Later that year during the Christmas season I surprised my Pappy and bought him a 6 foot artificial Christmas tree. I called my dad up and we decorated it before my Pap came home ( I don't remember where he was).  I didn't know if he would appreciate the gesture or not, but it turns out it was a big hit.  I notice that the same tree goes up every year and each year it has more and more ornaments on it!

Tell me a Christmas tree ( or decoration) story of your own. -M

Running with the Comfort Wagon

This week (On Tuesday) is my best girl's birthday.  I don't know if you mommas of children feel the same way but I know I always get a little bit sadder when my sweet girl turns another year older.
This Picture was from 2011. Wow, I can't believe it was 5 years ago!

This year is especially hard because we have dealt with a variety of health issues.  Most recently you may have remembered me saying that Baylee had Bronchitis. Well, that may have been a misdiagnosis to a more serious problem that ended up being a heart problem. This heart problem she will have for the rest of her life and now we just need to keep her on meds.  Okay, enough about the sad news.  The good news is that she is still here with us and we are going to enjoy her.

Since we want to keep her heart rate down Baylee doesn't run (or even walk) with us anymore.  However, we wanted to continue to spend time with her, so I decided to buy her a little present.

It actually arrived a few weeks ago and Scott sent me this picture while I was at work.  I couldn't wait to come home so we could put it together and try it out.

It's called the PetEgo Comfort Wagon trailer that hooks on to your bike.  I looked up reviews and watched videos and I thought this was the best choice. I ordered it from Amazon. I know, just call me the crazy dog lady. Some people may laugh that I will go through all this effort to take my dog on the trail with me, but she's my baby!

The wagon is actually easy to assemble. The wheels pop off and the frame collapses (but is very sturdy when put together).  The wagon comes with one attachment to attach to the bike, so we have it attached to Scott's bike for right now. We will buy an additional attachment for my bike so we don't have to keep taking it off every time we want to switch bikes.

There is also a handle attachment you can purchase that turns the wagon into a stroller but I think that might be taking it a bit too far!

Last year during marathon training, Scott would ride his bike next to me while I ran. Now the plan is for him to pull Baylee in the trailer while I run beside her.  We are jut trying to get her use to it (and not be too excited or panic) while she is in it, so we haven't actually took it for a real run on the trail yet.  We've only taken it to the church parking lot to ride her around.

My hope is that she will really enjoy this and that way we can spend more time with her while we are out on the trail.    -M

I love reading your comments but I must warn you that I am super sensitive when it comes to the health of my pets so please refrain from commenting on any health issues (AKA: No sad pet stories). Thank you.

Since this week's topic is "free" we are linking this post up with the gals from TOTR.

Weekly Wrap...At home with Google

I am SO thankful for the few days that I have off, as I am sure we all are.

After the holiday, this is how I spent my weekend.

The Run Chat Scavenger hunt has started and a trail marker is one of the pictures we had to get.

Friday I did a short run on the rail trail with my sister. This run proved that I need to be getting back to the gym next month. I wasn't achy, just very tired.

I normally use Black Friday to stay home and decorate but later in the afternoon my husband decided he wanted to go shopping for more Christmas decorations. I resisted hard but eventually gave in because there is only so much whining you can take from a grown man,

We did not come home with any Christmas decoration (which I admit I am to blame for) but we did come home with a purchase from Best Buy (of course).

We have it sitting on an end table and it looks like it could be an air freshener. The lights only come on when she is "thinking"

We got this Google Home thing. It's kind of like the Amazon Echo where you can ask it questions and such. IT IS SO ANNOYING.  My husband sat around all day asking it stupid questions that no one would care to know, or he'd ask it simple questions like "what time is it" or "What is the temperature", things that I could quickly tell you just by looking at my phone.

However, I was trying to find some redeeming qualities about this gadget and I did like the fact that I can tell it to play an entire album from a certain artist. This was nice because I had lost one of my favorite CDs ( I know, who listens to CDs anymore) and now I can listen to it anytime I want.  Also, we had fun playing trivia games with it (like 80's TV theme show music and regular Trivia). If you don't know the name of a song, you just have to say a few lines of the song (or tell what the song is about) and the device will find the song for you (and she's been pretty accurate). I call it a she because it's a women's voice.

Saturday, I got a bit more holiday decorations out, wrapped some gifts, and then watched the Brittany Murphy story on LMN.  I've seen this story several times but every time it is on it just sucks me in (that and the Anna Nicole Smith story). So needless to say I just sat around the rest of the evening. I was at least trying to be productive and tried to make a photo book (of my dog) on Shutterfly.  Why does Shutterfly have to be so complicated????  I've made plenty of Shutterfly books in years past and I don't remember it being this difficult.

Today we are going to attempt to decorate the outside of the house. My husband likes to go all out but I like to keep things simple because I remember that we will have to take it all down in January. And although it's 50 degrees now, it will be much colder when we have to take it all down.  -M

Thanks to Holly and Tricia for hosting the Weekly Wrap!

Friday 5: The last week in November

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. This edition of the Friday 5 is a mix of things from this last week in November.
Image result for clipart turkeytrot
1.  Earlier this week my sister and I and a friend were considering running a Turkey Trot on Thursday but then at the last minute we all decided that we were going to pass.  My reason for passing was because I just wanted to sleep in. I didn't end up sleeping in but still glad we didn't run because it did end up raining for a bit that morning.  Maybe one year I'll actually do a Turkey Trot.

2. Our other friend actually did get up to do a a Turkey Trot and he won first in his AG and won this trophy! Isn't that cool?  Who else ran on Thursday?

3. I actually had an awesome run this past weekend. The weather was gorgeous, as was the run. I was actually in shorts and a t-shirt and felt I was over dressed! The leaves were falling off the trees as I was running beneath them and I loved hearing the crunching sound under my feet. There was even actually a smell of fall in the air.  I hadn't ran since my race, which was the first weekend in November, so I had been missing out on all this "fall" running!  Do you know what I mean what I say it smells like fall?

4.  Have you decorate your tree yet?  Lacey got this cool Runner Ornament from a company called Personal Creations and I know it will be the first ornament she puts on. If you are looking for some great gift ideas for ANYONE I would highly suggested checking out Personal Creations because they have more than just ornaments. They have blankets, holiday and home decor, and just about anything else. I just got on the site last night and I see they are having a HUGE black Friday sale. Seriously check them out. 

5. Have you started purchasing gifts yet?  I actually received this Runner Crate last week and after checking it out I do believe it would make a fun gift for a runner friend. I think it would make a great exchange gift if you are doing a gift exchange with someone from your running group. The crate I received was jam packed with running goodies including a thermal mug, a variety of organic snacks, a cold pack, blister shields, and much more. 

Body Flow

I have been reading on many blogs lately about favorite cross training activities now that weather is getting cooler.  Many people say they like to take yoga classes. If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I am not a fan of yoga. I have done hot yoga earlier this year and I did like it because I was sweating during the class so I felt like I was getting something out of it, but other than that I haven’t done any yoga.

Recently I received an email that my gym was having a training to become a Body Flow Instructor. Like I said I do not like yoga, but this was Les Mills and there is not a bad program they offer. Call me bias, because I already teach two of their programs (RPM and Body Pump) but I do find their criteria and standards a bit higher than other classes that I have taken that are not Les Mills.

I thought if I was going to get certified in it I better take the class first. The sign up for this is coming up soon and I knew I was heading out of town so I wanted to try it out before I left. So I decided I would take one after my RPM class. The only thing was that this particular class wasn’t for another hour and 45 minutes later after my class ended and I didn’t want to leave the gym and come back, so I decided to take another yoga class before that one. Well let me tell you, I should have just left and came back.

Image result for yoga clipart
I arrive early and place my mat which I thought was close to the Instructor’s mat, but it wasn’t. It was another member that was taking class. I wondered where the Instructor was going to set herself up, but she never did. She walked around during the whole class just stating what we were supposed to do. Sometimes she would show us a move quickly as what we were supposed to be doing, but that’s it. That was the longest hour! After class one of the members asked her what she was going to do the rest of the day. She replies back by saying, “I am going to go take a yoga class, I get cranky if I go too long without one”. What???? She just taught yoga for an hour walking around but didn’t think to take her own class. I was so confused. By this time I was really looking forward to taking Body Flow. And let me tell you it did not disappoint!

Image result for body flow les mills

Right from the start the Instructor was very friendly and talking to the members saying what she had planned for us today. As soon as the class began I knew it was going to be good. One thing that Les Mills offers is great music. Each program has a format they follow with each release which you must perform, so it is not as free flowing as other classes, but it makes it structured which is a good thing I think. And the Instructor did the whole class with us. The class was not like your typical yoga class, but that’s why I enjoyed it. I still am not sure if I will go through the training or not but either way, I am going to continue to take that class.

When I arrived home I realized I didn’t have my Ipod in my bag, so I called the gym to see if it was there. Sure enough it was, and I needed it for another class the following morning at a different gym so had to go back and get it that night. Since I had to make a special trip back, I thought I would make it worth while and at least take another class. I ended up taking CX works (another Les Mills program) and that is a killer core workout and even better, only 30 minutes. ~L
What type of yoga classes have you taken?

Do you find some better than others?
Do you find Les Mills workouts challenging?

Running and Trains

So this is a short little story I want to share with you guys earlier this fall and then it just got pushed to the side.

Well, there have been a lot of stories about trains this fall.  You may have seen on the news about the  train crash that happened in New Jersey, or perhaps you saw (or read) about the train that disrupted the Lehigh Valley Marathon in September.


Oh, if you haven't heard about that, let me fill you in.  The Lehigh Valley marathon is "unofficially" the Runners World  marathon because Barty Yasso helps organize it and a lot of Runner's World people run it.  A lot of people who run it are trying to qualify for Boston because it's such a flat and fast course.  The marathon route crosses a set of train tracks but Marathon personnel, and Norfolk Southern ( the train company) always communicate when the race will be held and they agree that all train services will be halted at that time.

Well, apparently someone at Norfolk Southern did not get the memo because sure enough as runners headed towards the track they had to wait for a train to pass.  Can you imagine trying to PR or BQ at this marathon and having to stop and wait for a train????  Needless to say there were some very unhappy runners.  This made national news and they even talked about it on Good Morning America. I can't find the GMA video but you can watch this one from one of the runners.

So my PT and I were talking about this incident a few days after it happened and he shared a funny story with me.  He told me about a time he was training for a marathon. He was in the military at the time and was stationed in South Dakota.  He was out on a training run but had to make it back to the base to start his shift. He also was stopped by a train and there was no other route he could take to get back. The train was moving slowly and it was very long.  After waiting about 10 minutes, he worried that he would be late ( and you know you can not be late when you work on the military base). So anyway, he just decided to run through the cars. they were going slow enough that he though he could do it. He ran along with the train for a few moments and then he made the jump.  It was a success and he made it to the other side uninjured.

EXCEPT.....waiting on the other side of the track for the train to pass was a police car.  The officer saw what my PT had done and he fined him for violation at a railroad crossing.

I got a little chuckle out his story and I thought maybe you would too.   Enjoy your day folks! -M

                                        P.S Don't forget to sign up for the Holiday Card Swap!

We are linking this one up with the gals from TOTR.

Weekly Wrap....Up, Up, and Away!

How was your week? My week was great! This past week was my Birthday! I woke up to a beautiful bouquet of roses, ate breakfast, and was out the door for my birthday adventure. Did I mention this was a surprise? I had no idea what we were doing, but my friend told me what the dress attire was, what time we had to leave to make it there on time, and to plan to be away for the whole day. 

We started out heading north from Virginia Beach. I was thinking maybe we would go to the Wineries in Williamsburg, even though we did that recently, that’s always fun.  Well that wasn’t it. I thought, maybe we would be going somewhere in Richmond, but soon we got into the other lane and stopped heading towards Richmond. We started following signs to Charlottesville. Hmm what is in Charlottesville I wondered? The anticipation was killing me. I had a few ideas in my head, but I didn't think that the weather was nice enough for what I was thinking it might be, even though it was a beautiful fall day with the sun shining. I will find out soon enough I told myself. 

We arrived at a beautiful bed and breakfast resort and he says this is where we are meeting our group but we are a little early. So we walked around the property and passed some time.  I still wasn’t sure what it was. We walked into the main entrance to wait for our group and the concierge asked if she could help us. My friend says no we are just waiting for Rick. She says, oh your waiting on the hot air balloon ride, that’ll be fun! I said ok I guess we are, thinking way to ruin the surprise! So needless to say once I found this out, I was super excited! I have never been up in one. 

We met our pilot and then got in the truck to go to where he was going to launch the balloon off.  When we arrive at the location and I see the basket in the back of his truck and a bag. I kept thinking there is no way that huge balloon fits in the bag. Well it did. We were even able to help the pilot inflate the balloon. This thing was enormous. I have never been up close to a hot air balloon so I didn’t really know what to expect, so it was pretty cool. The one thing we both thought there would be was a door to get into the basket, but there wasn’t. We just had to climb in.   

Once we were up in the air, it was very peaceful. We had a great view of Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge mountains. Good thing we are not scared of heights. We got all the way up to about 2,000 feet and by then the cars did look like little match box cars. It was a perfect day for a Balloon ride. It wasn’t as cold while we were up there as I thought it would be either with the hot air continuing to blow up into the balloon. We were up in the air for approximately an hour or so and then it was soon time to land. There were several fields in the area, so our pilot says it all depends with the wind where we actually land. There was another man that was following our balloon in his truck from the road. He and our pilot each had a radio to communicate to each other and to tell him which direction we were heading towards.  We landed safely with the truck there waiting to pick us up. It was another process to deflate the balloon and get it back in that bag that never looked like it fit in there to begin with, but it did.   

After we were done we were both starving and wanted to find some place for dinner.  I had an idea of where I wanted to go but wasn’t sure if they had one in Charlottesville. I quickly looked up their locations, and there was one. Score! We made reservations for Melting Pot. When we arrived we had to wait a few minutes for our table so we had a drink at the bar. Soon the hostess came to take us to our table. You would have thought we had made these reservations weeks ago with a special request. We went up a few stairs to this one and only corner booth that had a birthday card on the table. I asked him if he asked for this and he said no. It would have been romantic if it was a couple’s date. There was even a curtain the server said we could have closed for privacy, but of course we were just friends and giggled at this set up. We had an excellent 3 course meal and we even left with chocolate covered strawberries for my birthday. It was a great birthday with even better company!  -L 

We are linking up wit Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap! 

PS: Don't forget about joining us for the Holiday Card Swap. You only have till Thursday to sign up.

The Holiday Swap is Here!

It's that time of year again! 

If you are reading this post, then that means you are a blogging friend of ours. We'd love for you to increase your circle of blogging friends this Holiday season and that is why we are hosting another Holiday Card Swap. We hosted this in 2014, and again in 2015 and were overjoyed  at how many people wanted to join us! Bloggers really are great! 

Whether you are a long time blogging buddy or someone we just connected with this year, we'd love for you to join us again.   Here's how it will work.

1Sign up: Please let us know that you would like to participate by emailing us at fairytalesandfitness at gmail dot com.

 Please include your name (and name of your blog) and mailing address. (Please note your mailing address will only be shared with us Meranda and Lacey, and one other blogger).  Please sign up by Thursday November 24.

2.  By Friday (Evening) November 25,each blogger who participates will get the name and address of another blogger. You would then send that blogger a holiday card.  You are encouraged to send "a little something" with your card. It might be a coupon for an item you think they would like or perhaps it's a race sticker, a gift card, etc. It could be anything really, but please make sure it fits inside the card. We don't want you to have to pay for extra postage! The "little something" inside the card is just that, a LITTLE something.  I know some people got some really great somethings last year. People are really creative!   If you want to know how we determined the swap list last year you can click HERE.

3. Once you get the name of your "secret blogger" you are encouraged to visit their blog ( if you aren't already reading it of course). You might find that they are training for an upcoming race or maybe they are having a tough time with something and your encouraging words will be just what they need this holiday season.  This way you get to know a little bit more of who they are and what they enjoy. It is up to you as to whether or not you want to keep your "Secret blogger" a secret. 

4. Once you receive a card from a "secret blogger"  please mention it on your blog and give that blogger a shout out. Please also mention that you are doing the Holiday Card Swap with Fairytales and Fitness so your readers don't think you just get random cards from bloggers...haha.

 Know that you will actually be connecting with 2 blogger, One that you will send a card to and one that will be sending YOU a card.  We thought this would be the best way to increase engagement among all who want to participate. Also, this way we don't have to worry about having an even number of participants. 

5. Mail out your Card.  Holiday cards should be mailed out between Nov 25 and Dec 19.  This way we get it all in before the Holiday rush of that last week before Christmas.  And remember, once you get your card, mention it and the sender in a blog post!

Okay, so now who's ready to spread some Holiday Cheer with us?  

If you have any other questions about the swap or there is something you are unsure of, please leave a comment below and we will respond!  Thanks!

Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon

The Disney Wine & Dine half marathon was the last race on our " run Disney Bucket list" that we both wanted to do. Both of us were a little disappointed that it was no longer a night race like in the past, but of course we knew that when we registered so no use complaining about that now.

disney wine n dine half marathon

To tell you the truth, even though Disney races are always "fun" runs for us, I will admit that I had high hopes for this race when I signed up for it and started training for it.  I know I mentioned this before, but the Wine & Dine half marathon would be the first Disney half marathon that I WOULD NOT be injured for and I was SO excited to run it and see what I could do. However 4 weeks before  the race a metal dog gate fell on the back of my calf and caused two hematomas. That put me out for quite a while because running just plain hurt!  Well, I was feeling guilty for not running so the Wednesday before the race I had the bright idea that I needed to run 8 miles.  My calf felt very tight, but it held up. I could tell that my cardio had suffered from not running in a few weeks and I ended the 8 miles with 2 blisters and VERY sore legs. For sure the pain would wear off by race day on Sunday.
At Epcot earlier in the weekend.

I was so sore as I walked around Disney all weekend. I actually tried to limit my time walking around the parks.  I was not starting the race out on fresh legs and that did not have me excited for race day.

Photo courtesy of Kathryn (or Preston

This race started at the ESPN Wide World of Sports parking lot. The nice thing about this is that as soon as the bus dropped us off, we did not have a long walk to the race staging area. The corrals were right beside the staging area so no long walk there either.  While in the corral we met up with our friend Kathryn from Dancing to Running.

disney wine n dine half marathon

I kind of thought that we would run through ESPN Wide World of Sports like we did during the marathon but we didn't. We only ran on the highway in front of ESPN.  In fact, we continued to run on the highway until we hit Animal Kingdom at mile 3 and we exited Animal Kingdom by mile 4. The rest of the miles were highway miles until mile 12 when we entered Epcot.

I have to admit that I did not care for this course.  I say this not only because it was completely boring with very little characters and entertainment (unless you consider trucks blaring music entertainment) but also because I didn't care for the banked roads.

The day before I could feel my IT band starting to flare up and I crossed my fingers that I would be able to get through at least half the race before it started pinching.  By the time I got to mile 9, I could tell I was struggling.  At this point my sister is still running with me. She is all happy eating pretzles and swedish fish and trying to offer me some and I'm all like No, looking at food is gonna make me vomit right now! I wanted to wait until mile 10 to start my intervals but I couldn't, my legs were SO tight.  I had to take walk breaks after mile 9.

The good thing is that my IT band never fully flared up and it never kept me from pushing forward. My legs were very sore but it was just from not starting on fresh legs, it was not from being injured.

When we crossed the finish line I was so excited like I had just finished my first half or something. I was so happy that I was able to finished uninjured. I was sore, but not injured.

After receiving our medals, we still walked over to the medical area so I could get some ice just for preventative purposes.

Disney wine n dine half marathon

A blogger friend once said that I should be sharing my race times and stats and since I have them handy here I'll share. We finished in 2:25 FLAT and ya know what, I'm pretty pleased with that. I knew this race wouldn't be a PR so coming in somewhere in the 2:20's is pretty much what I expected and I'm okay with that.  I came in 2,875 out of 12,651 finishers ( I don't know how many runners actually started. I wish I knew.).

Disney wine n dine half marathon

So even though I really didn't care for the course, and my legs were super tight (and felt SO heavy), I still feel like this race was a success and I am happy with how it turned out. I'm generally a positive person anyway so I rarely have a bad race regardless of how I do. I figure if I can make it across the finish line than I've accomplished something. One thing I know my sister and I were both disappointed about was that there was NO massage tent! We were both looking forward to a massage (especially me since my legs were hurting)!   I do enjoy visiting Disney during this time of year but until they change the course (or add something exciting like when they use to have the Osborn lights), we agreed we probably won't be running this race again. -M

Wine n Dine 10k

Lacey Balliet

Last weekend was the Wine and Dine at Disney. My sister and I were really looking forward to this race for quite some time. Unfortunately the year that we signed up for, it changed to a morning race because they added a 10k the day before the half marathon. I chose to run this because I was already going to be there for the half marathon.  

The morning of the 10k came way too early. I woke up and I was out the door before 4 am to catch the bus to the start of the race. I thought I arrived way early. Even with the porta potty line wait, I still had a good 45 minutes waiting in my corral before the start. I promised my sister I would stay with her the following  day during the half marathon, so I really wanted to push myself on this 10K. I was fortunate enough to place in the Tinkerbell 10K the year when I ran that, but I had to keep reminding myself that this is a much bigger race than Disneyland so we will see. 

The National Anthem was sung, and soon we were off. I was keeping a pretty good pace right from the start, but knew I didn’t want to push myself too much right away. There was this one lady that looked close to my age that was running a good pace. I told myself to just keep running right beside her but do not pass her yet. 

 While I was running I kept thinking, how boring this course was. The first three miles was all on the highway before we entered the back lot of Epcot. By this time, I had passed that lady and I thought maybe I was going too fast, but I felt good so I was going to try to just keep it up. Once arriving into the park there were some characters to see and a lot of cast members cheering you on so that helped with the boredom. I knew I was close when I was running around the Epcot ball because the finish line was the same for Marathon and Princes, so I picked up the pace and gave it all I had and crossed the finish line.  

After crossing the finish line, I looked at my watch and saw a new PR. But was my time enough to place? 

ILater that morning my sister suggested I look up my results. I pulled it up, and I didn’t believe it! My sister said you placed 1st in your age group! I kept saying no there has to be an error, she says no look it says division 1 that means in your age group.  Needless to say I was thrilled!   I ended up being 1st in my age group, and 16 overall female.  

I was very happy with my win for the 10K for the Inaugural Lumiere’s Challenge but I have to say I have no desire to do it again. It was a very boring course, and those Disney Races start way too early.  -L

We are linking up with the gals from TOTR.