Running Day 2016

Hi friends! Today is a big day in the running world. It’s Global running day! What a fun thing to do, celebrate a sport that so many people have come to love and enjoy over the years. I am so thankful for what running has taught me, and the opportunities it has provided for myself and my family. I have gotten to travel, work, and run through the past six years and I am so grateful.

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I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane and see what I have done thanks to running over the past six years. You can check out how I was bit by the running bug here.

Bobby and I ran our first half marathon in January of 2010 at Walt Disney World during the year of the sleet and ice. It’s a wonder I ever ran another race again!

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At that point I still wasn’t convinced I wanted to run a full marathon, so I ran more halfs and shorter distance races in 2010, but ultimately signed up for the full for 2011.33044bcb

We had an amazing time running, but weren’t ready to sign up for another full just yet. That race was hard, but we continued to run all year, and my blog began to pick up some steam. In February of 2012, I was invited to attend my first race as media, and had a blast working with runDisney for the first of many times.

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I ran the Princess 5k and half, and then had more opportunities to work with brands that year. We started traveling to more races, and even ran at the beach in Florida.

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I also began working with RunningSkirts.com that year as a sales rep, which afforded me the opportunity to work race expos and then run the race. I traveled to Florida, Rhode Island, and Missouri among other places to work and run.

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Unfortunately I also struggled with a couple of injuries that sidelined me along the way, but I always came back to running. In the spring of 2012, Bobby and I did something pretty goofy….we signed up to run Goofy! We ran the half marathon on Saturday and the full on Sunday, which also happened to be the 20th anniversary year of the marathon, and still my favorite race medal.

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I had conquered the toughest challenge runDisney had, and thought I was done with full marathons. I started doing a little bit of weight training, and in the fall of 2013 was asked to be a blog ambassador for Under Armour, and even got to visit their gorgeous facility in Baltimore.

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I also had the opportunity to travel to Disneyland a few times, and even take my mom there at the beginning of 2014.

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Speaking of 2014, runDisney decided to throw a curve ball and create the Dopey challenge: 5k, 10k, half and full on back to back days. Of COURSE we had to sign up for the inaugural year. I know they never say never, but I don’t plan on doing that one again.

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I was also photographed and interviewed for the front of the sports page of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper for my Dopey costumes, so that was pretty cool.

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Ok, so NOW I’m done with full marathons! I was so tired during Dopey then flew to CA that week to run Tink with my mom. I chalked it up to all the running and flying, until I went home, and took a pregnancy test.

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I announced babyM in March, but it was hard to keep a secret when my whole family when to Disney to run the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. They knew, but no one else did, and I was SO sick. I was terrified someone would find out!

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Unfortunately I had bad round ligament pain and couldn’t run for almost the entire second half of my pregnancy, so obviously there was no racing or traveling, but I kept up with my blog and got to virtually meet a ton of awesome people, and I started working with my favorite shoe brand, ASICS.

Shortly after Emma Kate was born (like a couple months after) ASICS asked me if I wanted to come run the LA marathon with them in MARCH. So, another marathon, and I would be 5 months postpartum. SURE! It ended up being one of the hardest but BEST experiences of my life for so, so many reasons. I had an amazing and special time in LA and am so thankful for the opportunity.

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I ran many more races in between all of this, but there are too many to list! Having a baby definitely forced me to cut back on my travel that first year which is totally fine, but I’m hoping to get to venture out further again to new places very soon.

So far in 2016 I ran the WDW half, the Castaway Cay 5k, Rock n Roll New Orleans, the Glass Slipper Challenge, the Crescent City Classic 10k, and another local 5k. I was also asked to be an ASICS ambassador, and a RunningSkirts ambassador, two of my favorite brands!

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I even placed 2nd in my age group only running 1 day a week thanks to boot camp at my gym and all my new friends there.

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Whew! The past 6 years have been so much fun and full of running. Never did I think my life would revolve so much around this, but I am happy that it does. I run for my health, my sanity, the people I meet, the experiences I have, and because it just makes me a better person. I can’t wait to see what the next 6 years hold.

You will now be rewarded for making it to the end of that long post! Today, ASICS will be giving away 1 pair of shoes for every 100 uses of the hashtag “#WeRunJune1” on Twitter. Be sure share to tell them what you run for with the hashtag for a chance to win!

Happy World Running Day!

QOTD: What is something you wouldn’t have done/experienced if not for running or working out?

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

I know I usually do my weekend recap on Monday, but because of the holiday I decided to lump it all into the “weekend” even though I had to work yesterday.

Saturday morning I got up and went for a run in my favorite neighborhood. When I arrived there were SO many cars and I forgot it was the weekend of the triathlon! Bobby did this one last year and we had a lot of fun. I had to figure out some logistics so I wouldn’t get in the way of the race, but I ran 4.5 miles. I realized very quickly that I am going to have to start running much earlier. It was super hot and humid at 9:00!

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As soon as I got in from the run, Bobby told me our employee (who was supposed to be at work in 30 minutes) called in sick. I told Bobby I would go in, so I jumped in the shower and headed to the yogurt shop. Saturday afternoon we hung around the house, and Sunday morning we went to church. Also, big girl wants to sit in a regular chair now which has made mealtime interesting.

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We only had one service at church because of the holiday, and I swear everyone in my town was at the beach. The preacher even made a joke about it! Longing for the sand and waves, I put on my swimsuit and played outside in the water with Emma Kate. It’s the same thing, right?

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It was really hot and I ended up in the shade. Don’t worry, we both had on sunscreen!

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Sunday evening Bobby grilled some chicken and we made enough to eat Monday, too. Monday morning, I got up and went for a three mile run before going into the shop. I again volunteered myself so I could get out of the house for a bit.

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Monday afternoon I did some super fun exciting cleaning, work on the computer, and blogging stuff. I know I am going to be all thrown off this week with what day it is! Have a great TUESDAY everyone.

QOTD: What did you do this weekend? if you went to the beach, just don’t answer. Smile

IT Band Stretches and Photos

IT band pain is a topic I am quite well versed in (unfortunately…) and so I wanted to share some of my favorite stretches. Here are six things I try to do several times a week. My IT band is currently behaving, but that can change so quickly, so I choose to be proactive. I hope these IT band stretches help some of you who have been struggling!

IT Band Stretches:

Stretch 1: If your RIGHT IT band is the problem, stand with your right foot crossed behind your left and lean towards your left with either your arm in the air or your hands on your hips. Hold for 15-20 seconds, repeat. (follow this rule for all stretches mentioned)

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Stretch 2: If your LEFT IT band is the problem, sit on the floor with your right leg straight. cross your left leg over your right, and twist your body to the left, pushing against your left leg for resistance.

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Stretch 3: Yoga has really helped me, especially the pigeon pose. If your RIGHT IT band is bothering you, put your right leg underneath your body with your left leg out straight behind you. use your arms to balance, and try to sink down as far as you can. Hurts so good! (By the way, I am finally getting slightly visible triceps, which is hard for my long muscles, yay!)

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Stretch 4: Find something sturdy you can lean against, and put your hands on it. if your RIGHT IT band is bothering you, use your left leg as the stabilizer leg, and slide your right leg out to the left behind your left leg and push/sink as far as you can.

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Stretch 5: this involves a Foam Roller (and if you have IT band pain you DEFINITELY should own one of these anyway!) Lay your hip/leg on the side of the pain, put your other leg out in front to stabilize, and ROLL until you find a sore spot, then sit on that spot for several seconds.

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Stretch 6: lay on the floor on your left side if your RIGHT IT band is bothering you. Put your right leg behind your body and hold your foot. Put your left foot/heel by your right knee, you should feel a deep stretch.

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A few key things to keep in mind if you are suffering with IT band pain and looking to do IT band stretches. (This is based on my own personal experience, if you are having pain go see a doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc.)

1.) REST. I took 6 full weeks off of running when mine was at it’s worst. It won’t get better if you keep running through the pain. Trust me on this, I tried, and it wasn’t until I took some time off that I truly felt better.

2.) Foam roll like it’s your job. It hurts, it sucks, but it will help loosen you up. Or, be proactive and use it a few times a week to keep problems at bay. A tennis ball works, too.

3.) Ice. Icing helped alleviate my swelling, especially at first when I was not being smart and was still running.

4.) Massage. I know actual sports massages are expensive, but if you can swing it, do it.

5.) Of course, stretch. A good stretching routine is something you should be doing anyway! (As I look in the mirror and tell myself…)

6.) Use resistance bands. < —- These are the resistance bands I personally use to help strengthen my hips and glutes to prevent a flare up from occurring again. They are inexpensive and totally worth it! I use them while I watch TV.

If you are looking for a way to track your daily fitness routine and goals, check out my FREE set of printables! 

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QOTD: Have you ever suffered with IT band pain? Do you do IT band stretches? Any other helpful hints you can think of?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links

5 Things Friday XVII

Happy Friday my friends! It’s going to be a hot and sunny weekend here in Mississippi. Big plans include staying indoors and avoiding the sun and humidity at all costs. For those that get a 3 day weekend (sadly not me) enjoy your day off! Here’s five things for Friday.

1.) Running Skirts compression socks: Running Skirts sent me a pair of their adorable new compression socks (check out the tiaras in the hearts!) I have been a fan of their socks for many many moons, but these are just icing on the cake! My new favorite for sure. Easy to get on and off and give just the right amount of compression. They wash and hold up really well. They are not only great for running, but I wear them after long runs for faster recovery and happy legs!* Also, today is the LAST DAY of their epic moving sale. AMAZING prices on skirts (like $26.50!) click my link above or in my sidebar to shop!

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2.) Bella the old lady: On Monday night, Bella jumped on our (very tall) bed and hurt herself. She wouldn’t eat or drink and didn’t want to walk but we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We took her to the vet and found out she has a bulging disc/inflamed vertebrae/possible pinched nerve in her neck from the jump, and needed muscles relaxers and a bag of IV fluids because she was so dehydrated. She’s a happy girl on her pain meds but I’m supposed to “keep her confined” which isn’t going too well…

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Poor baby. As you can see, she wouldn’t even eat my popcorn, which is insanely odd for her!

3.) Boot Camp part 2: A new two month session of boot camp starts on Monday and runs through the end of July. if you are local, this is the perfect time to jump in and see what it’s all about! I would love to chat with anyone that is interested. I did my body fat test this morning, and while I have lost a little weight and gained a little muscle, my body fat % is still not where I want it to be. Back to tweaking what I eat!

4.) Smells like Disney: I stumbled onto these candles in an Etsy shop (Etsy is ssooo dangerous!) and knew I had to try one out. All the scents are based off of Disney scents, either places, rides, or food! I got the Floridian scent, but there are many more I would love to try! I bet Main street bakery is amazing!

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5.) Emma Kate does Disney: Speaking of Disney, guess who finally had dates to go see the mouse for the first time? Yes my friends, the long awaited day! Emma Kate will be going to Disney World with us (and my parents). We will be staying at Saratoga Springs at the end of October. My folks are new DVC members and have invited us along to stay in their villa. Let the planning commence!

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QOTD: What is your favorite WDW smell? Ever had a pet hurt their neck?

*Disclosure: As a Running Skirts ambassador, I received these socks for free, and I get a small commission if you order through my link above. However, I would never recommend something I wouldn’t use myself and don’t love! Thank you for supporting my blog!

Tips for Running on Vacation

Jeff Galloway has been around the block a few times (pun intended) and has some great tips for running while on vacation, no matter what your destination may be!

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The best, more efficient workout when you’re at the beach…
Running into the dawn: In Summer, it’s best to run before the sun rises above the horizon.  Since it’s common for family members to sleep a bit longer on vacation, get up early and hit the beach.    Set a total time you wish to run, and turn around at the halfway point.  Or, run 1-2 minutes longer going out and try to run faster on the return.
When you’re camping and near a lake and/or mountains.  Drive around the campground area to find suitable running/trail areas.  Plan a group hike each day.  Appoint yourself the “lookout”.  Walk ahead of the group for a few minutes and then run ahead for a minute or two, and run back.  Repeat this routine throughout the hike.  Even short segments of running, during a 1-2 hour hike, will maintain your running adaptations very well.
On a road trip, taking frequent “pit stops”.  Wear your running gear on the trip.  If it is safe to run or walk at your rest area, walk for 1-2 minutes as a warmup and then run for 5-10 minutes.  Repeat this pattern until the group is ready to load up.  If it is a food stop, get your meal “to go” and spend the time running.
When you’re on a trip that’s based around a theme park.  Many of the hotels in areas like Disneyworld, have designated areas for running.  In some cases you can run to the parks.  Ask the hotel staff for recommended routes.  Each evening, gather the family and plan your park visit for the next day.  This allows for you to find a timeslot to squeeze in a run.  As you mention how you are planning your run, you’ll teach the kids how important your exercise is, for you.

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When you’re on a sightseeing city tour.  Time is limited during most sightseeing tours but you can usually squeeze in a few minutes here and there.  Wear running clothes or very comfortable apparel with running shoes.  When the bus stops, keep walking around while looking at the sights or listening to the guide.  If time allows before reboarding, jog for a minute or two.
A home-based vacation.  If possible, arrange with another family member to watch the kids while you run.  Then, offer that person a chance to get away for a while while you stay with kids.  Early morning is often a great time to get in your runs.  Plan trips to local parks (that you seldom visit) where you can run and walk with the family.
Note: Olympian Jeff Galloway has coached hundreds of thousands of runners to their goals.  For more information, see his books GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS and MARATHON—you can do it!  Ask Jeff a question at www.JeffGalloway.com

QOTD: What is your best tip for running on vacation?

10 Tips for Running in the Heat

As the weather warms up, it’s wise to take a few minutes to think about how this will change your runs. If you don’t plan ahead, you may be setting yourself up for failure (or heat stroke!) so be careful and make sure you are prepared. Here are my best tips for running in the heat.

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1.) Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! Also, for really long runs, I reapply after an hour.

2.) Wear a running hat or visor. I always feel so much cooler not having the sun on my face. Plus it will help fight against wrinkles and sun damage.

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3.)Hydrate ahead of time, and bring water with you. I have a small insulated cooler I pack my drinks in with an ice pack so I can grab them at the car as needed. I also like Gatorade because I sweat a lot and need to replace some electrolytes. Nuun and coconut water will do the trick as well.
4.) Wear loose fitting moisture wicking fabrics. Cotton is never your friend as a runner, but particularly when you are sweating a lot. Running Skirts actually has a tank top that cools you down as you sweat. It’s awesome! It’s called the “keep it chill” racerback.

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5.) Try to run early in the morning or after the sun goes down at night. Between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM is when the suns rays are the worst. It was still be very warm but when the sun is down it feels nicer!

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6.) Pace yourself. Don’t expect to have an awesome training run in which you PR at noon in July. Stop or slow down if you need to. Be realistic about your expectations!
7.) This goes with number 6, listen to your body! If you start to feel overheated or dizzy/lightheaded, walk, or find some shade and take a break/sit down. One run is not worth your health.

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8.) If you must run in the heat of the day, run shorter distances or use these days for easy runs.

9.) Put a wet washcloth in the freezer, then carry it with you on your run. it will keep you nice and cool if you put it on your neck.

10.) Keep drinking water after your run. Sometimes if I don’t drink enough during a really hot run, I get a bad headache and am more exhausted later in the day. Be sure to take care of your body AFTER you run, and not just during!

QOTD: Any tips I forgot for running in the heat? What has helped you?

Parading Through the Weekend

Happy Monday all! We had a “cool front” come through and it made for a GORGEOUS weekend in the 70’s. Unheard of for Mississippi in May, but I’m not complaining.

On Saturday morning, I got up at 5:15 to go run 6 miles. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, but when I was done I was so glad I got out early ahead of the warmer weather. Also, my view did not suck.

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I hurried home to pick up Bobby and Emma Kate, as we were meeting some of his workout buddies and their families for a workout at the local high school track. The kids all entertained themselves while we ran/worked out. I didn’t do all the workout with them but I did run another 1.5 miles for a total of 7.5 for the day.

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This weekend was our local parade of homes, so since bobby’s mom was in town we asked if she could watch Emma Kate while we spent a couple hours looking around, I LOVE looking at new homes so I had a blast. There are some gorgeous houses out there yall!

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We grabbed a bite to eat after and came home in time to put EK to bed.

Sunday morning was church, and a baby shower for our friends in our class who are due in a couple of weeks!

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One day he will learn to wait until I’m ready to take the pictures…

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After Emma Kate took a VERY short nap (she is killing me with the short naps!) We loaded up and looked at some more houses on the parade of homes that we didn’t get to the day before. There are some gorgeous, very expensive homes in the area. Way out of our price range but it was fun to dream!

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We spent some time outside in the afternoon playing with Emma Kate’s new water table we got on sale at Sam’s. She had a blast and played for over an hour before dinner.

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I love that it has an umbrella because our backyard is very sunny in the mornings.

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I wish I could bottle up the awesome weather we had this weekend and bring it back in July!

QOTD: What did you do for the weekend? Is there a parade of homes where you live?

5 Things Friday XVI

Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday! You’re welcome. Bust day of workout and work ahead of me, but the sun is shining and it’s Friday. I hope everyone has a great weekend! Catch ya on social media until Monday.

1.) Running Skirts has come out with a new ADORABLE compression sock with tiaras on them! Love! Even better, right now you can get these socks with free shipping. This probably won’t last long so I would jump on it.

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2.) Last week I spoke of loving the chocolate chip Complete Cookie. That was until I tried the birthday cake flavor. Holy cow, this is good stuff friends! If you like cake flavored things you should check these out. I love that I can get a box of twelve because Bobby keeps stealing them.

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3.) My child loves ducks and is not afraid of them. There are some pretty aggressive ducks at one of our local parks that will come right up to you if they think you have food. My kid is like “whatevs, I just want to hug them.” I love that she is obsessed with animals. Sweet baby. Now I just hope she doesn’t get attacked by one and scared for life.

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4.) Does anyone have any experience with this particular water and sand table? I saw it at Sam’s for a great price but haven’t heard reviews on this one. Thoughts?

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5.) As a Rock ‘n blogger, I get fun things from time to time like the Eagle Creek gear I made a video for last week. This week I got this great training journal and book about proper eating for athletes. Can’t wait to dive right in! Thanks Velopress!

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QOTD: Any experience with water tables? Any scary duck stories? I have been bitten several times. Favorite Complete cookie flavor?

5 Things I Have Learned About Lifting Weights

I have been talking up boot camp for awhile now, and it’s because I have seen changes in my body like I never saw when I was just running. I always assumed I was “in shape” because I could run a marathon, but y’all, I really wasn’t in overall good health/shape. lifting weights has helped me in so many ways though!

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I have urged, begged, and pleaded with you in the past to start strength training if you are mainly just doing cardio, and yup, I’m going to do it again. I would love to make a believer out of you! Here are five things I have learned since I started lifting.

1.) You burn calories for longer: When you lift weights, you have the potential to burn calories for HOURS after, even while you sit on your couch. Your muscles have to repair themselves, so yup, better calorie burn for you, without the extra work! I don’t know about you, but I much prefer burning calories in my PJ’s on the couch than actually having to stay at the gym for an extra hour.

2.) You will look better: Let’s face it. Someone who looks strong looks healthy. My posture is better, my arms look better in a tank top, and I have gotten rid of a lot of excess jiggly flab all over my body. I feel way more toned and tight than I ever did just running. I love it!

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3.) You will run faster: Lifting has made my legs way stronger, so I am able to run faster than before with less running workouts. I have the strength to hold my body in proper running form longer, too. I was so surprised to PR in my 5K last month because I only run once a week right now!

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4.) You probably won’t bulk up: I say probably because you can bulk up, but it is highly unlikely it will happen unless you are trying to. I go to boot camp and lift four days a week and while I am more toned, I do not feel bulky. Don’t let this common misconception stop you!

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5.) You will feel more confident: Looking better, feeling better, and being able to do more with my body has given me such a sense of accomplishment. I am not as afraid to try new things, and I am so thankful that for all that my body does for me every day. It’s just this overall sense of wellness that is kind of addicting. Join me?

As always, please check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine. You will probably be really sore at first but don’t give up! Sore is good. Live for the sore! Let’s all be healthy and fit this summer.

QOTD: Do you lift weights? How does it make you feel? Has it helped you in other areas like running or another sport?

Don’t Be Like That

Eagle Creek so graciously sent some packing essentials my way, which I was very grateful for. I have always packed for races with garbage and grocery bags, so this was a real treat! Check out my short video below for more info and a fun little way of sharing about their products.

Here is the Eagle Creek website where you can find all of their cool gear! Remember, no one wants to sit next to a smelly person’s stuff on an airplane. So just don’t be like that, ok?

QOTD: How do you pack your stinky race day gear and shoes?