Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts

DC Wonder Woman 10K - Virtual Race Recap

DC Wonder Woman Virtual 10K


With virtual racing being the "norm" in 2020, I've really jumped on the bandwagon!  Prior to this year, I really didn't understand the interest in running a virtual race.  What I've come to learn though is that running a virtual race can be really rewarding when you bring the fun and treat the race day like a race day.  With that in mind, I approached my DC Wonder Woman 10K - although things didn't go quite as I thought they were going to go when I wrote my announcement post about this race.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the DC Wonder Woman Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Getting Ready for Race Day

My original plan for this race was to partner it up with the DC Batman 5K Virtual race and complete the Good v. Good Superhero Challenge in one weekend.  But, things don't alway go as planned.  October has thrown my a couple of curve balls that derailed some of my training and made my evenings and weekends busier than I expected.  Looking at my calendar with fresh eyes, I had to space the two races out to make them work for me. . .see, a great perk of virtual racing - flexibility!  I bumped the Wonder Woman 10K up a week which means my challenge didn't quite come together as I thought it would, but I was still excited to run.

Part of what made this race so much fun to prep for was the theme.  My regular readers know how much I love a good theme and Wonder Woman was fun to prep for.  Even in the swag kit, there were some fun wristbands that I could incorporate into my outfit.  Check out everything that comes in your swag package here!



To complete my look for the race, I lucked into finding a star-spangled tutu as I was walking through Wal-Mart on clearance for $2.50 - how lucky was that?!?  Then, in another stroke of luck, I won a pair of Pro Compression socks on a Twitter chat and decided to order the Americana ones that would go great with the outfit.  How do I look?





DC Wonder Woman 10K Virtual Recap


As I mentioned before, training for the race got a little derailed but I was still able to pull it together on race day.  I'm always a fan of Galloway's run/walk intervals when I run longer distances and this time I put them to work for me on the 10K as well.  I ran the race through the downtown area of my small town.  There are a number of hills that roll throughout town so rather than sticking to times for my intervals, I opted to run down the hills and walk up them.  I have a pre-measured loop around town that equals just about 2.5 miles so I did that twice and then added on an extra loop closer to my house to close the gap.  While I was passing the miles, I enjoyed listening to the latest BibRave podcast.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you can find all the details here





I finished the 10K in just over 1:24, showered up, and then proudly put on my Wonder Woman pullover and added my medal to my display of bling.  Want to learn more about the DC Wonder Woman run?  You can visit their website to join the fun for 2020 and keep an eye on what's to come in 2021!  

ROADiD Sidekick iD Review - Safety Gear for Runners



Mom always told me "safety first!" and my ROADiD Sidekick is a way to follow through on this mantra.  I was really excited when I had the opportunity to test this out and now I can share with you why I consider this a must-have item for runners, hikers, cyclists. . .and many more!

Disclaimer: I received a ROADiD Sidekick iD to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Ordering and Unboxing ROADiD Sidekick iD


Before I even laid eyes on my Sidekick, I was impressed with the quality of customer service from ROADiD.  ROADiD has several options on their website - all with the goal of providing safety information to emergency providers when people need it most.  The website was easy to navigate and I could easily figure out what size Sidekick iD to order (there are two sizes depending on the width of your watch band).  In case you don't know, the Sidekick iD attaches directly to your smart watch so you don't have to wear one more thing on your wrist and comes in two sizes to ensure it fits with your particular watch.  Check out my unboxing video below to see just how easy it is to attach - right out of the box!


Besides having a website that was easy to navigate, I received multiple emails from ROADiD confirming my order and updating me on the status of engraving and shipping - that's great customer service! 

ROADiD Sidekick iD Review


So what's it like running with ROADiD Sidekick iD?  It's like it's not even there!  The Sidekick attaches to your watch easily and effortlessly - you won't even realize you have it.  However, if you ever need the Sidekick iD it will be with you.  I included two emergency contacts on my Sidekick and there's additional space to note medical concerns if you have them.  I had an extra row of text available and opted to add a touch of my Disney loving personality by saying - "Running to Disney World!"  



At just $19.99 for the product which features customized engraving, the price is right for piece of mind on your runs.  If you don't own a smart watch or are looking for something a little different, they also have a Wrist iD available which is it's own separate bracelet to wear.  I prefer only wearing my smart watch, but after having experienced the quality and customer service of ROAD iD, I may be back online soon ordering Wrist iDs for my kids to wear when we travel - just in case we get separated.

There are also additional accessories to customize your ROAD iD product.  I purchased two badges - one that says "Believe" and another that says "Shut Up Legs" for a little motivational pop.  And I forgot to mention earlier that all of the platings for their products come in a variety of colors.  I opted for rose gold, but graphite and slate are options as well.  And during special seasons, you can also find additional colors.  For example, to begin October they are featuring pink products and a portion of those sales will go to support the American Cancer Society.

After having my ROAD iD Sidekick for just a few short weeks, I can't believe it took me this long to try it out.  This is a affordable and stylish product that can help runners, cyclists, hikers, and everyone feel safer while enjoying their active lifestyles.

Looking for some fun virtual races to enjoy with your ROAD iD? Check out the DC Wonder Woman Run Series and the DC Batman Run Series!

Purchase a ROAD iD Sidekick and Coupon Code!



Want to grab your own Sidekick iD or other ROAD iD product?  Visit their website at www.roadid.com to see all that they have to offer and be sure to use code SHIP4FREEBRP to score free shipping on your order.

DC Wonder Woman Run - The Good v. Good Superhero Challenge ACCEPTED

DC Wonder Woman Virtual Run Medal - Image from www.dcwonderwomanrun.com


Y'all know me - I'm always up for a good running challenge.  In the past I've conquered the Frederick Running Festival Nut Job Challenge, the Baltimore Running Festival Balti-moron-athon, and the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge just to name a few.  Race challenges typically mean running multiple races in one weekend, but can also mean running several partner races over an extended period - like in the Maryland Double Challenge or the King Crab Challenge.  

A few weeks ago, I signed up to run the DC Batman Virtual 5K and so when the opportunity presented itself for me to run the DC Wonder Woman Virtual Run as well - completing the Good v. Good Challenge - I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the DC Wonder Woman Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Check out the details about planning for a SUPER race with the DC Batman Virtual Run here!


The DC Virtual Wonder Woman Run has a lot in common with the DC Batman Run making them easy to go hand-in-hand with each other.  First, the superhero theming means that you can plan a fun challenge fit for the bravest of heroes.  Then there's the swag.  We've already established how amazing the Batman swag is and what you get with Wonder Woman is another fantastic race package!  Check it out!


I've decided to set this up like a true challenge event and will be running my DC Batman Virtual 5K and my DC Wonder Woman Virtual 10K on back-to-back days.  2 races, 9.3 miles of fun and heroic adventures!So what are you waiting for?  The clock is ticking to sign up for the this awesome race!  Whether you are running the 5K or the 10K, all runs must be completed by November 1st to download your finisher certificate.  Find all of the details about registering at www.dcwonderwomanrun.com.  Don't forget you can save on both this registration and the DC Batman Virtual Run by signing up for both and completing the Good v. Good Superhero Challenge along with me!

DC Batman VIRTUAL Run - 5 Ways to Have a SUPER Race!

DC Batman Run Swag - Image from www.dcbatmanrun.com


That bat signal in the sky is calling you!  Whether you live in Gotham City or Any Town, U.S.A., there's plenty to attract you to this fun, now virtual, running event.  Here's five ways to spice up your DC Batman Run so that you can have a SUPER time.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to DC Batman Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

How to have a SUPER virtual race event!


1.    Don't forget to train - Virtual events can sometimes be easy to slack on the training when you don't have that in person date staring at you on the calendar.  Bruce Wayne knows that you have to work for your success and training for a virtual run is no different.  I recommend choosing a date and putting on the calendar - just like a real race.  For me, I'm running this event on Halloween morning.  What better way to celebrate the holiday than with a fun event!

2.    Run in costume - If you've followed my running adventures over the years, you know how much I LOVE a good theme race and running in costume.  Virtual runs often provide some super themes and the DC Batman Run is no different.  I mean, Batman has a cool costume, so why shouldn't you. . .right?  I'm working on assembling a costume that will both rep my orange as a BibRave Pro and celebrate the Caped Crusader himself.

Check out an oldie but goodie post on putting together fun running costumes that are still functional!


3.    Run with friends - Everyone knows running is better with friends.  What's Batman without Robin by his side?  In this time of social distancing, we want to be safe of course, but why not sign up for the race with a group of friends and each run your own course that day.  Maybe you can have a costume contest for the best outfit.  Friends make everything better!

4.    Make your own course - Setting up a virtual race means that you're creating your own course.  However, don't just worry about the distance - make it fun!  Create a start line.  Set up a finish tape.  See if friends and family can create some signs to support you.  Create that "real race" feel in a virtual setting!  Don't forget your bib!!

5.    Share the swag - OK, did you see the swag for the DC Batman Run at the top of this post?  Running virtual races doesn't mean you miss out on the sweet swag.  How about posing for some cool finish line photos with your medal?  Or lounging around after a hard race in your shirt?  Whatever you choose, share your photos and tag the race to connect with your fellow runners and community!




Join the Fun!!!


Ready to have a super race along with me?  Sign up now at www.dcbatmanrun.com and begin your training for either a 10K or 5K race.  The race can be completed anytime between 8/31/20 to 12/1/20 and you don't even have to board a plane to Gotham City.  If you're looking to add some additional purpose to your run, St. Jude's Children's Hospital is the official charity of the race and you can add a donation to your registration.  



Biking the GAP Trail with Kids

Cycling the Great Allegheny Passage - Finishing in Cumberland, MD

Cycling has become a big part of our family's lives during this pandemic.  Both of our boys (ages 5 and 8) learned how to ride a bike at the start of COVID and before long we were hitting up trails and racking up the miles.  They even convinced their old mom to get back on a bike for the first time since I was a kid!  We spent weekends cycling the York Heritage Rail Trail in PA, the C&O Canal in Maryland, and some local neighborhood trails.  My 8 year old became especially enamored with the sport and started challenging himself with longer and longer rides.  By July, he was ready to tackle a big challenge - riding all 150 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP Trail) with his dad over 5 days.  Since our vacation plans were cancelled this summer, we pivoted and decided to make it a family road trip.

If you're not familiar with the Great Allegheny Passage, it's a 150 mile trail from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD where it then connects to the C&O Canal.  Planning a trip like this, my husband and I mapped out segments they would ride each day - ranging from 18 to 44 miles depending on the day.  There are long stretches of this trail that do involve up hill grade so you'll want to check out the maps on the GAP Trail website for more details about where to expect those.  Despite the climb, the trail is incredibly well maintained so you won't be spending time or energy fighting poor conditions.

Biking the GAP Trail? See how to make the most of your time in Cumberland, MD!


We opted to stay in two different hotels over the 5 nights we were away.  We spent the first two nights in the Hilton Garden Inn in Uniontown, PA for the northern part of the trail and then moved to the Hampton Inn in Somerset, PA for the remaining three nights.  These locations kept travel reasonable to trail access points.  They also gave us the opportunity to visit some other cool areas in Western PA including Ohiopyle, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, Laurel Hills State Park, Flight 93 National Memorial and Fort Necessity Battlefield.  The day that Brody and Dan rode in Pittsburgh, my youngest and I visited the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.  Needless to say, there were plenty of outdoor activities to do keep us busy when the boys wrapped up their biking each day!  When you end in Cumberland, there is a ton to do including a great little restaurant in The Crabby Pig, a cycling shop, winery, and ice cream. . .all directly at the trail's end.

Staying in a hotel during COVID? Read more about our first COVID travel experience here!


To hear more about biking and the Great Allegheny Passage, check out what my son had to say about the experience!


Want to donate to the C&O Canal as part of Brody's 50 mile ride fundraiser? 



Cycling is a great way to get outside, burn some energy, and stay active - especially during this time of social distancing!  We look forward to highlighting more cycling destinations as we travel and sharing our adventures with you.  Happy riding!

Fargo Marathon - Join the Fun. . .Virtually!!!

Fargo Marathon Logo - Image from Fargo Marathon

Like many other races recently, the Fargo Marathon has made the decision to go virtual for 2020.  While I know COVID has put race directors to the test, one of the benefits of so many races going virtual is that more people have a chance to participate.  Living in Maryland, my participating in the Fargo Marathon would be an unlikely occurrence, but now that I can run virtually from the comfort of my own streets, I'm excited to share that I'll be running it this year!

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Fargo Marathon 10K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

So why Fargo when there are so many other races out there?  Well, let's look at a few awesome things about this race:
  • Variety - It's the spice of life, right?  And they have a race distance for everyone - 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon.  The 10K is my favorite race distance and it doesn't get enough love in my opinion so I was thrilled to find 6.2 miles of fun waiting for me on this registration page.
  • The Swag - You can run the Fargo Marathon without compromising any of the awesome swag runners love!  Runners at each distance will receive a finisher's medal and a shirt.  5K runners get a short sleeve tech tee, 10K runners receive a long sleeve tech tee, and half and full runners get a sweatshirt AND jacket.  That's pretty great!
Fargo Marathon Virtual Swag - Image from Fargo Marathon
  • Give Back - In 2010, the Fargo Marathon established it's Shoes for Kids campaign to help get shoes to kids in need.  You can add a donation to your registration to help this important charity.
Ready to sign up?  You can register by visiting their website here.  Don't forget to use the discount code "SAVE5" to take $5 off your registration!




Hope to see you sharing all of your fun on social media.  Drop a comment below if you register so that we can cheer each other on while training and racing.  One of my favorite things about the online running community is the support for each other - let's keep that going!  

A New Adventure Awaits - I'm Officially A BibRave Pro!

Running and fitness activities have been a big part of my life for a long time.  Even with my yo-yo weight loss and gains throughout the past decade, running has been there every step of the way. . .literally.  Over the 6 years I've been here at Running on Pixie Dust, I've written about my races, running products, and training.  I mean, y'all know my love of runDisney, right?!?



So what's BibRave?  I found the BibRave community on Twitter a few years ago and began participating frequently in their Twitter chats to share ideas and swap stories with fellow runners.  I even was lucky enough to win a sweet prize during a Twitter chat in 2019 - a pair of AfterShokz Aeropex headphones!  But BibRave is more than a social media community.  When you visit the BibRave website, you find an amazing wealth of running knowledge in reviewed races, a podcast, gear, and a community of runners.  I mean, the running community at BibRave is strong!  They can help you find answers to just about any running question and with runners all over the country, you can find reviews on some pretty great local races too.  

Like I said, I've been a BibRave fangirl for a while now and I have applied a few times in the past for the BibRave Pro program, so imagine my excitement when the email finally came that I was selected for the program for the second half of 2020!  This means that I'll be able to share even more running and fitness content with you - here on the blog and across my social channels - so make sure you are following along for the journey!  COVID has cancelled a lot of things, but not running.  Races may look a bit different right now with more virtual options opening up as races adapt to this crazy time and place known as The Twilight Zone. . .I mean 2020. . .but we're learning to adapt to that together.  I'll also have the opportunity to share with you reviews of some fitness products - many of which both runners and non-runners will enjoy!  

BibRave Pro Ready - Let's Do This!! 


So, stay tuned for more to come along the BibRave journey.  I couldn't be more pumped to be a part of this team and am excited to share each mile of the adventure with you!  Happy Trails!

Looking for BibRave on social media?  You can follow them @bibrave and be sure to follow the #bibchat and #bibravepro hashtags!

AfterShokz Aeropex Running Headphones Review

Aeropex AfterShokz Headphones

Do you ever feel like you get incredibly lucky from time to time?  Well, one night back in December, I was participating in a Twitter chat and at the end of the chat found out I had won a pair of AfterShokz Aeropex headphones.  I was so excited!  For years, I've heard about the quality and wearability of these popular headphones, but I hadn't had the chance to try them.  When they arrived, I had to celebrate with an unboxing. . .

Castaway Cay 5K - What to know before your run!

We're fresh off our latest Disney Cruise Line vacation in January 2020 and during our sailing on the Disney Dream we made a stop at Disney's Castaway Cay - a private island paradise in the Bahamas!  This island has it all. . .sun, sand, crystal clear water, food, a kids club, and much more.  But running friends will be happy to know that there is a FREE, yes you read that right, FREE 5K run available on every stop at Disney's Castaway Cay.  This was my second time participating in the run, but while many things remained the same, a few have changed and it's important to note what you need to know before you run.

It's a fun run, not a race - If you're a regular reader here, you know my deep love of runDisney races.  Alas, this is not considered a runDisney race.  In fact, it's considered an "onboard activity" for cruise guests.  When you are planning all of your cruise activities on the Disney Cruise Line website you can "register" for the race.  Once on board, stop by guest services and pick up a waiver that will need to be completed before the race.  Or, you can walk up to the race start and get the waiver to fill out.  Trade your completed waiver for a bib and you are good to go.  The start is a simple "1, 2, 3. . .Go!" announcement and there is no chip timing - just a simple clock at the start finish area.  

But you do get a medal! - The other thing you probably know about me is that I care about the bling. . .deeply.  All finishers in this fun run will get a fun rubber medal.  Yes it's only rubber, but it has a cute ribbon and a fun design to commemorate your accomplishment.  I mean, you ran on a cruise vacation while most people on cruises only run to the buffet line!  Wear it proudly and be sure to stop by and see the characters around the island after your run for some pictures showing off your bling.

Getting off the ship - So this was a change from the last time I ran this particular event and the guest services staff told me it started just a few months ago.  In the past, runners would receive a "shore excursion" ticket the night before and meet in a specified lounge around 7:45.  As soon as the ship was cleared, the runners disembarked first together as a group to take the nearly 10 minute walk to the start line.  That's in the past now.  Runners just meet up at the start line which means that you have to join the pack of people exiting the ship when it's cleared at 8:30 and make your way very quickly to the starting point near the bike rentals.  I have to say, I was not a fan of this change. . .even if I got to sleep in an extra 30 minutes!

This run is for everyone - You will find serious runners here who go all out and others who are 100% walkers just looking to stretch their legs with some exercise and take home a unique cruise souvenir.  I know sometimes we all find ourselves being self-conscious with our abilities, but don't be nervous about joining this fun run.  The course is a super simple out and back and the island terrain means you will encounter no elevation change whatsoever.

Speaking of the island - Regardless of what time of year you run, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Even with an 8:50AM start time, you are running on an island. . .in the Bahamas.  It's hot and oftentimes it humid.  The sun is intense most days too.  Even the walkers in this event want to take hydration very seriously.  Think about it in the days leading up and drink plenty of water on board.  Along the course of the fun run, you pass a water aid station 4 times - take advantage of it!  I saw a lot of people stretching out cramps along the way.

The Castaway Cay 5K is truly a family fun event that casual and serious runners will want to check out on your Disney Cruise Line vacation.  Kids as young as 10 may participate.  If you need a space to check-in younger children while you run, Disney has a kids club, Scuttle's Cove, on the island which is open as you make your way to the run.

You may also want to pack some extra money for the race apparel that you'll find at the finish line! There is a cute collection of hats, tanks, tees, and long sleeve shirts along with pins and much, much more to further commemorate your fun run on the island.  I picked up a Castaway Cay 5K hat to bring home as my cruise souvenir and something I can use on cold training days to remind me of the island vibes this run leaves you feeling!  Enjoy the scenery, the fun, and the bling. . .then enjoy the sun, sand, and drinks!


Baltimore Running Festival - Things to Know Before You Go!

I just wrapped up my third Baltimore Running Festival and it was less than a great showing from a performance standpoint.  I went into the weekend undertrained and well aware of that fact so I ran some and walked liberally to my 2nd slowest half-marathon time yet.  But, I finished and still had an amazing time - that's what's important!! So instead of making this the typical race recap post, I'm going to shed a little insight to things you should know about the Baltimore Running Festival in case you decide to run in the future!

Registration - Registration is easy and on the relatively inexpensive side if you do it early enough.  This race is organized by Corrigan Sports Enterprise (CSE), which organizes several other races around Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic.  When you register for the Baltimore Running Festival, you'll also see this race connected with several other.  You can register for the Maryland Double or the King Crab Challenge as well if you're interested in competing in multiple races during the course of the year.  For the Baltimore Running Festival, you can find a race distance regardless of your ability - 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Team Relay, and even the BaltiMORON-a-thon (running both the 5K and Half in the same day).  Thinking about registering?  Keep your eyes open during the holiday season as previous years have seen race discounts as deep as 25% for a 24-hour period during the holiday shopping season!!

Premiums & Bling - Each year the Baltimore Running Festival provides top notch premiums from one of our favorite Baltimore companies, Under Armour.  Runners for the 5K and Team Relay each receive short sleeved tech shirts, while half and full marathon participants get long sleeved tech shirts.  And then, there are the medals!  In recent years, the Baltimore Running Festival has celebrated Maryland's unofficial state symbol, the crab, with their designs.  As the final leg in the Maryland Double and the King Crab Challenge, you'll hear lots of runners walking around with "clanging" medals after the race.

Getting Around - In each of my three Baltimore Running Festivals, I've had different transportation experiences on race day.  My first year, I ran the 5K and was on the road into the city in the early morning hours.  Traffic was backed up and it took a while to get into the city, but there was ample parking at M&T Bank Stadium that was free.  Getting in and out of the city isn't super easy on race day with road closures though so plan with ample time on both sides of the race.  The second time I ran, my husband and I got a hotel room at the Hilton the night before.  This was the year I ran the BaltiMORON-a-thon and was a fabulous option.  We could sleep in a bit on Saturday morning, walk right out of our hotel just a few steps to the 5K start and had a warm place to hang out and relax between the 5K and the half.  This year, I was only doing the half and opted to take the Metro into the city.  This was a super easy and effective option.  If you know me at all, you know I despise city driving so I couldn't have been happier to park in Owings Mills and take the subway in from there.  This may not be a good choice for 5K or full marathon runners though depending on how early you need to get into the city and when the Metro begins it's service that morning - be sure to check the schedule!

The Course - Is it just me or does Baltimore get more hills every time I run there???  You will certainly find your fair share of hills throughout the course.  The fist half of the course trends uphill so be sure to train for them.  On the plus side, what goes up must come down, so the the back half of the course trends down hill.  One of the prettiest parts of the course is the run around Lake Montibello.  This is such a serene half-way mark on the course and features the best aid station - energy gels!  Well, maybe that's the second best aid station.  Who can forget about the munchkin mile presented by Dunkin' Donuts?!?  I usually pass on donuts during the race, but decided to stop and smell the sugar this year with any time goals being nonexistent anyway.

The Best of Baltimore - This may be my favorite part of this race.  Baltimore doesn't always get the best press, but this event brings out the best in the city!  First of all, the support from the police department and other first responders is top notch.  There were countless cops who not only worked to block intersections throughout the city to keep runners safe, but they also joined in on the cheering and the fun.  Neighborhoods came together to throw some of the absolute best block parties - from music screaming from speakers, to costumed dancers, to children giving high fives, and endless cheers and applause, it was certainly a sight to be seen and helped motivate everyone regardless of how fast you were running.

Despite the tough terrain, Baltimore is one of my favorite running events - for all of these reasons and much more!  I hope to see you in Charm City sometime soon!!

Frederick Running Festival 2019 Half Marathon

The sun did not shine
It was too wet to play
So we ran through Frederick
On that wet, wet, wet day

Okay. . .so maybe that's not exactly how Dr. Seuss wrote it, but that's my adaptation to intro you into a recap of the 2019 Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon.  I had never run a race before that rained (and rained hard!) most of the race, so this was definitely a first.  Let's recap - the good, the bad, and the wet!

This was my third time participating in the Frederick Running Festival. In 2014, I ran the Twilight 5K and in 2016 I completed the Nut Job Challenge by running the Twilight 5K on Saturday night and the half marathon on Sunday morning.  I've always enjoyed this race weekend for several reasons - number one probably being the company I get to keep when running!  Several of my friends participate in this race each year so it truly is a fun filled event.  In fact, one of the couples we are closest with lives in Frederick and play host to a pasta dinner on Saturday night and open their house to runners to sleep at the night before the half.  I also really enjoy the course in Frederick, or at least the first 10 miles of it.

Miles 1 through 10 of the race are ran primarily through the streets of downtown Frederick.  Whether you're running through the shopping and dining district or winding through neighborhoods, the course always brings out a good number of fans and the time in town passes quickly.  The last few miles of the course though are brutal.  The course opens up to basically be wide open road.  With all visual interest lost and a pretty terrible uphill climb through mile 11, it's easy to quickly fade out, especially in the rain.

So let's talk about the rain for a minute.  We knew a few days out that weather forecasts were predicting a soggy half marathon, but forecasts only increased rain totals as the hours drew closer.  Having never run a race in this type of steady and consistent rain before, I was seeking advice from my more experienced friends.  Armed with anti-chafe cream, a hat, and my poncho I took to the starting area ready to get this race started and finished.  Maybe the rain would motivate me to run faster?  About 5 minutes before the race started, the skies opened up big time.  As I'm standing at the starting line, I'm watching rain pour from gutters of the surrounding buildings and realize I'm already accumulating puddles of water in my already soaked shoes.  It was at this time I started to think that I had made a tremendous mistake.  Luckily, the rain eased up as the race began and by a mile into the race, it was a steady, but slow rain.  It picked up again around mile 6 and I was again trudging through a downpour for about 2 miles.  The highlight of that stretch was one of the volunteers standing outside cheering us on with the song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" blaring from his car!

After mile 8, the rain again slowed to a more manageable amount, but by this point I was thoroughly soaked and tired and I slowed considerably for the final miles of the race.  I was ahead of pace for where I wanted to be until then, running on average around 11:30 miles, but slowed to over 12:00 miles and then eventually closed in on the 13:00 mile pace.  I think I really need to build in some speed work before my next half because when I tried to "kick it in" at the end, I had nothing - no next gear whatsoever.  Despite this collapse at the end and the conditions, I actually set a new PR by 11 minutes, besting my previous time of 2:53 with a finish of 2:42.


Overall, I would say the day was a success.  With a new PR firmly in hand and proving to myself that I can conquer the weather, I was pretty pleased.  However, I think my favorite part of race day was the hot shower that was waiting for me at the end followed by the big greasy cheeseburger from McDonald's - and the bling! And a great perk post race is that Care First provides runners with FREE, yes FREE, race photos!   Missed the Frederick Half Marathon, but still looking for more great races in Maryland.  Corrigan Sports, the group that hosts the Frederick Half Marathon, also has both the Baltimore 10 Miler and the Baltimore Running Festival coming up in the weeks and months ahead.  If you're interested in learning more about the Baltimore Running Festival, check out my referral link here!

Training Plans!

Time to lace up those training shoes, Mickey!
One of the best things about keeping a blog are the connections you make with others along the way.  I've met so many fabulous "virtual" friends over the years who share both a love of running and a love of Disney with me.  So in the spirit of connecting with others, I'm starting a weekly post this year that will allow me to share my week in training.  My hope is that this will be a place where I can hold myself accountable by publicly sharing what's going on with my running while also hoping to create a community space where all of you who are also enjoying the ups and downs of a fitness journey can share your own stories.

So here we are at week one - let's talk 2019 goals first.  Actually, to tell the story of my 2019 goals, I need to tell you a 2020 goal.  I'm planning to run the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2020 along with the Castaway Challenge which means that 2019 is a year for me to seriously pile the miles back on!  I generally do better sticking with a training plan when I have a race to train for so I have two half marathons on the books this year.  In May, I'll be running the Frederick Half Marathon.  This race was my very first half back in 2016.  I'm also signed up for the Baltimore Half Marathon in October.  This will be a return to this race after a three year hiatus.  By completing both of these races, I'll also earn the Maryland Double medal.  And, because I love medals and it's really only one more race, I may add the Baltimore 10 miler which would get me "King Crab" status for the second time.  Ultimately I'm running Maryland in preparation to runDisney again in 2020!
Pretty much. . . #truth

Those of you who have been following me for several years now know my deep love of Jeff Galloway and his training plans so it should be no surprise that I'm once again turning to him for guidance on my training this year.  While I continued a regular exercise routine in 2018, I didn't run any races, so I'm back at staring in square one for half marathon training.  I'm following Galloway's Beginner Half Marathon training plan that can be found on the runDisney website.  It's a 19 week training program which works perfectly since the Frederick Half is 19 weeks away.  This week, I ran my three training runs - two 30 minute runs and a 2 mile run on the weekend.  It actually felt pretty good being back out there with minimal adjustment for my body.  I'm supplementing my non-running days with either walking or yoga to keep moving but hopefully without putting too much stress on my muscles and joints.

What are your fitness goals this year?  Any runners out there with exciting races on the calendar?  Or maybe you're changing up and trying something new.  Whatever your goals are, I can't wait to follow your journeys too!

Taking Time for Mom

Over the past three months I've taken an unplanned hiatus from blogging.  I can't say that I'm sorry about it either.  While I was in Walt Disney World for runDisney's Princess Half Marathon weekend, I had a blast with my good friend, but realized just how out of shape I was for someone who was a "runner."  Yes, I would run using Galloway's interval training, but since the birth of my second child, I had a hard time dropping the pounds.  The pictures from the weekend revealed this to me more than I liked to admit.  So I decided to get serious about getting back in shape and focus on me.

In order to take more time for myself, I had to find some extra time in my schedule which meant that blogging took a back seat.  I have to say that it felt good to do something for me each day.  And the results have felt good too.  I've lost roughly 20 lbs over the three months and refocused on my health, career, and family.  And while I still have work to do in all of those areas - I'm ready to return to the blog to talk about my journey over the past months, summer family fun plans, and the magic of Disney!  I look forward to connecting back with each of you again over the next few weeks!!

Motivational Monday from Finding Dory

Dory and friends returned to the big screen on June 17 to a resounding welcome from kids and adults alike - and it's no wonder why.  The story provides opportunities for viewers to draw motivational lessons from Dory that they can apply to their own lives.  Runners find motivation in lots of places and runDisney runners can find motivation in all things Disney.  So let's take a look at what runners can learn from Finding Dory to inspire your training.



Just Keep Swimming
The movie begins with Dory having a memory from her childhood, a rare occurrence for a fish suffering from short term memory loss.  The memory of her parents encourages Dory to begin an adventure across the ocean to find her parents.  No matter how insurmountable the odds may seem, Dory never gives up.  I love the shirts that say "just keep running."  As someone who runs for fun, certainly not for speed, I use the "just keep running" motto to push me through long runs to train for half-marathons.  Dory doesn't always get places fast, but she has fun getting there. . .kind of like me!

Support of Family and Friends is Priceless
Throughout the trials and tribulations of life, we rely on the support of family and friends.  That support can help motivate us to push ourselves beyond what we believe our potential may be.  In the movie, Dory relies on both old and new friends as well as family that she is just starting to remember in order to find her way home.  In my own life, the support of my family and friends has meant the world to me in all of my endeavors, especially running.  Whether it's giving me the time to run by keeping the kids or standing at a finish line cheering me on, I couldn't be a runner without family and friends supporting me.

Dreams Come True Through Years of Training
As a society we are always looking for instant gratification.  Dory didn't get that.  In fact, without spoiling to much about the movie for those who haven't seen it yet, the little things she begins to remember about her parents ultimately teaches her how to find her way back to them.  As runners, the same is often true for us too.  Training for a race isn't something that happens overnight.  In fact, it's not even something that starts in the weeks or months ahead of a race.  Each training run and each race that we've had over the years has taught us something we can learn to improve ourselves and has made our mark on our running biography.

There are so many powerful messages that you can discover in Finding Dory.  Whether or not you're a runner, these life lessons can inspire everyone to achieve your fullest potential.

If you enjoy Finding Dory and want to learn more fun ways to celebrate the release - check out some other amazing bloggers with lots to offer from Disneybounding, to crafts, to food!  Visit the linkup here!  

Baltimore 10 Miler Recap

I can basically sum up the 2016 Baltimore 10 miler in three words - hills, heat, and humidity.  Leg 2 of the King Crab Challenge proved to be much tougher than the Frederick Half Marathon that took place just 4 short weeks earlier.  While the run was certainly not one of my best, it was a great course and took you through some beautiful parks in downtown Baltimore.  Runners should be prepared with an early June race that Maryland weather can be brutal this time of year.  Humidity at the 7:30AM start time was already 84% - I think I was sweating while I was waiting to start.

This was the first time that I've run the Baltimore 10 so I didn't know much going into the race.  The race begins at Druid Hill Lake Park which is also home to the Maryland Zoo.  There was plenty of parking for the race, even if traffic was backed up for quite a distance as parking is not the easily accessible large lots that you'll find by M & T Bank Stadium for the Baltimore Running Festival.  The race begins with a steady downhill as you wind down the park and towards 28th Street.  I was hoping that some part of the race would take us through the zoo, but that didn't happen.  The run through downtown didn't offer much scenery, but it was well supported with ample water stations and plenty of locals out to cheer us on.  

The race is an out and back course.  Runners enter Lake Montebello around mile 4 and exit near mile 5.  Adding to the excitement of passing the halfway point, there was a DJ blasting fun music to keep you motivated as you enter the mostly uphill second half of the race.  

Then comes mile 8.  

Oh, mile 8.  

The brutality of mile 8.  

Mile 8 is a tough uphill battle when your legs are burning and your chest is about to explode and the humidity is suffocating you.  Luckily, mile 9 flattens out and you finish back at the start line where a cold towel, fruit, and a few beers await all finishers.  This race is also well known throughout the area as having one of the best premiums around.  Between the nice jacket, fun medal, and challenging course, runners will walk away feeling a great sense of accomplishment.  


Next up in the King Crab Challenge is the Baltimore Running Festival in October.  I only need to complete the Baltimore Half that day to achieve my King Crab status, but I've decided to go for Balti-moron status and run the 5K and the Half in the same day.  Time to crank up my training!!

Life in the Slow Lane


When you're not fast, you run for other reasons than always being worried about time - fitness, quiet time, and the pure enjoyment of the run.  Training for a half-marathon was not always fun, pounding the pavement mile after mile, but logging 13.1 miles on race day for the Frederick Half was pure fun throughout most of the race.  Being in the slower pack of the race, I get to enjoy things that some faster runners might just breeze right by without even realizing they're missing anything.

Neighborhood Support - Somewhere around mile 7 we were in a perfectly quaint little neighborhood that came out to cheer on runners, even those of us in the back of the pack.  I think my favorite "cheerleaders" were the little kids who set up along the road to hand out high fives to everyone who passed.  I think they reminded me of my little boys who I wish could have been there cheering mommy on!

Camaraderie with Runners - There are lots of interesting people you can meet while running if you have the time to slow down and say "hi."  I was excited to meet Sid Busch during Frederick.  If you don't know Sid, he's a bit of a running celebrity who had a spread in Runner's World a few months ago.  Sid runs races from 5Ks to marathons in honor of fallen service men and women while carrying an American flag.  He's participated in runDisney races and several of the local Maryland races that I've done, but this was the first time I had the chance to meet him.  I also was passed (yes, I'm admitting it) by a man who jumped rope the entire half marathon.  How awesome is that?  And I did pass him back around mile 11.  I also saw about 25 runners wearing runDisney shirts that day which automatically caused me to talk with them as we were running together about their favorite races.  Nothing brings people together quite like Disney - even when you're almost 1,000 miles from the park!

More time for donuts (or other pit stops) - That's right.  I said donuts.  I was surprised, and excited, to see Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins at one of the fuel stops along the run.  When your time is not the most important part of the day you have time to stop and smell the donuts - and eat them too!  Other races may feature fun stops too - like the character greetings during a runDisney race.  When you're enjoying life in the slow lane, there is always time to stop for a smile.

Let's end with a little pick-me-up for some runners who might feel like they are "too slow" for a certain race or to call themselves a runner.  By embarking on the training journey and participating in the race, you're already accomplishing an amazing feat that many others don't even dare to attempt.  Whether you are running 8 minute miles or 15 minute miles, stand tall, stand proud, and enjoy the run!

2016 Frederick Nut Job Challenge Recap

This past weekend, I crossed a big item off my bucket list - I completed my first half-marathon.  And not only did I run the 13.1 miles on Sunday afternoon, but I turned out to be a complete Nut Job by adding the 5K race on Saturday evening.  While the pain is still fresh in my legs and joints, I've already started reflecting on the lessons learned from this race experience.  I can tell you that there will me more posts to follow on the emotional highs of this past weekend, but for now I'm just going to stick to the basics of a race recap.

Frederick Twilight 5K - The Frederick Running Festival kicks off on Saturday evening with a 5K race.  The race begins on the track at the Frederick Fairgrounds.  It's a well attended event and features a variety of elite runners as well as plenty of first timers.  The course is a fairly flat out and back course that runs along some back open roads.  There is not much shade and not much to look at, but the course goes by pretty quickly.  There is a water stop in the middle of the road around 1.25 miles and then you pass it again coming back not far before the 2 mile mark.  I ran this race beck in 2014 and not much has changed.  Participants are treated to a fun after-party featuring music and beverages (of the adult variety).  While there is no race "bling" for the 5K, it is the first step in earning your status as a Nut Job.  I didn't particularly care about time for the 5K as I wanted to keep my legs fresh for Sunday morning.  I a pair of women who were having a great time jogging along and enjoyed listening to their funny stories and banter.  The three of us also cheered on a 5 year old who was struggling to get through the last mile.  He was adorable, dressed as Superman and running with his dad.  I had a group of friends with me who were running this as well and after some time on the infield of the fairgrounds celebrating, we returned to one of their houses in Frederick for a delicious Italian dinner and to crash before the half in the morning.

Frederick Half-Marathon - Luckily with staying close by in downtown Frederick, we didn't have to get up too early on Sunday morning.  My friend Ali is an awesome host and had a spread of bagels, peanut butter, coffee, and bananas ready for any quick fuel-ups that the runners staying at her house wanted.  We left the house at 6:15 and made it to the start by 6:30AM.  I had my game plan going into the race and knew that I wanted to stick with it - I didn't want anyone else to dictate my race to me.  I have been training my long runs using run/walk intervals as I've increased run distances.  I jogged the first 5 minutes to get through the bottleneck at the start and then settled into my 60/60 intervals.  Compared to many other courses in Maryland, the half is relatively flat with the exception of a long, steady uphill between miles 11 and 12.  The course is very scenic as it weaves through historic downtown Frederick.  Miles 8 - 10 were run through a quaint neighborhood where many supporters came out playing music, blowing bubbles, and high-fiving runners.  The course was well supported with water, gatorade, and bathrooms around every 2-3 miles.  Throughout the race, my splits were amazingly even - settling in right around 13 min/mile from mile 1 to mile 13.  I crossed the finish line in 2:53 and felt elated. . .followed immediately by exhaustion!  My body was spent and I was not sad when a carload of my friends wanted to head back to shower rather quickly rather than hanging around.  But there was time to pose with my bling before leaving!

Will I be back for more half-marathons?  Absolutely!  I think it's a great distance to challenge you mentally and physically while not overwhelming you.  Will I complete more challenges again?  Probably. . .I'm a slave to the bling!!  The Frederick Half was the first part of the King Crab Challenge and the Maryland Double with the Baltimore 10-miler in June and the Baltimore Half in October completing those challenges.  Can't wait for more race excitement this year!

One more way runDisney can take all my money. . .

It's no secret that I love the magic of a runDisney race.  About the only thing that has saved me from going broke running several a year is the fact that each race requires paying for flights and other vacation necessities in addition to the cost of the races.  But what if runDisney created a way for me to run races and earn cute bling without the expense of a Florida trip?  Well, they just did. . .

Image from www.rundisney.com
Welcome to the era of runDisney virtual races!  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of virtual races, it's very simple and, some might argue, a little silly.  You pay a race entry fee and in return typically receive a bib and a medal.  Some races allow you to purchase shirts at an extra cost.  Then you run the race distance - on the treadmill, around your neighborhood, with friends, or alone.  You can connect with other runners via social media who are doing the same race in their own city and show each other support.  There's no fanfare, no crowds, no other runners - just you, the pavement, and a medal at the end.

runDisney has just announced their first virtual race series.  The series is made up of three different 5K races.  You can purchase each one separately or pay a combined "challenge" package where you complete all three.  Like typical virtual races, you'll receive a race bib and a medal in the mail - all with an adorable Mickey theme.  The races in this inaugural series include theming around Mickey's famous yellow shoes, red shorts, and white gloves.  Races cost $39 each or $142 for the entire series. This is a steep price compared to most virtual races, but is a bargain price compared to the typical runDisney 5K.

As for me, I'm debating whether or not to sign up for one of these races.  While the lure of runDisney bling always calls to me as a siren song, my favorite parts of the runDisney experience are the characters and the camaraderie among my fellow runners.  But if I know the runDisney community, it will be buzzing with excitement and encouragement for all runners out there tackling these virtual races.

Oh, who am I kidding?  Go ahead and take all money runDisney. . .

Fitness Challenge - Week 2 Recap

The 30 days of fitness challenge is rolling on and so far April has continued to be a perfect month!  This week was not easy to meet the challenge, but it worked out with a little perseverance and some creativity.  I had three nighttime activities this week on top of my normal work day which made it hard to squeeze in workouts.

On Tuesday I got active enough on my own without officially "working out."  Tuesday was a busy day at school and then I walked a few blocks after the kids left to pick up my race bib and packet for the Main Street Mile race the following day.  That activity level was enough to push me past my 30 minute goal.  On Wednesday, Brody and I ran the Main Street Mile.  It was his first race and he rocked it!  Mommy was so proud!  Between the run and a few quick cardio exercises when I got home, I cleared my goal again.  And on Friday, I had a "no excuses" day and stopped by the gym for a quick workout before picking the kids up and then heading back to school to chaperone our movie night.

One of the things I'm learning through this challenge is how to blow through excuses.  The choice to get active and workout is truly a case of mind over matter.  Despite an exceptionally full plate this week, I found a way to meet my goals.  I think this is one of the biggest things I wanted to prove to myself during this month.  I have often found myself saying "It's too late" or "I'm too tired"' or "There's not enough time."  But now I see those are just excuses - not real barriers.  Life will always be busy and there will always be other things to prioritize over exercise, but now I see that if I choose not to exercise, it is just that. . .a choice.

Fitness Challenge - Week 1 Recap

Perfect month so far!
So week one of my fitness challenge is in the books and I'm still on track! I have to admit that there were some nights that were a bit of a challenge this week which speaks to the dedication that it takes to maintain a fitness regimen.  Over the course of the week, I got in a few runs of a couple miles each and also completed a several Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred workouts.  Here's what I lost and gained this week:

**I lost time.  Time is precious in my life.  I get up at 5AM, out the door at 6:30 to make the daycare drop off, to work by 7:15, leave work around 5PM, get the kids from daycare, cook dinner, bath time and bed for the kids between 7 and 8.  Only after then, do I get the chance to start my workout.  And if I'm working out then I'm not able to get laundry / blogging / cleaning / resting into the nighttime schedule.

**I lost about 2.5 lbs and several inches.  I should have done official measurements before the month began, but even without those I can already begin to feel a difference in how my clothes fit.

**I gained more energy.  Despite being strapped for time to squeeze everything into the day, I walk away from my workouts feeling more energized then before.  There were two days this previous week that I had headaches after work and almost gave up on getting a workout in.  However, after getting up the motivation to work out, I felt much better - not just that evening, but into the next day too.

**I gained strength and endurance.  One of my favorite things about working out is how quickly results and progress can start to be noticed.  As my runs are getting longer, I'm hanging in well with the increase in distance and my endurance during the 30 Day Shred videos is improving each day as well.

This next week is going to bring even more challenges as I have three evening activities to juggle on top of my usual work days.  I plan to harness the benefits I've seen week one to motivate me through completing week two.