Healthy Living

101 posts

Travel The Road to Nowhere, Bryson City N.C.

Travel The Road to Nowhere

Just beyond Swain County high school in Bryson City, North Carolina, you will find “The Road to Nowhere”. To locals, it is a memory of broken promises dating back to World War II. To my family, it has become a must-do on each trip to Western North Carolina.

Shortly after we were married, we took this epic photo (which is printed on a canvas in our bedroom).

On our most recent trip to Bryson City, we recreated the photo and included our girls.

History of The Road to Nowhere

The best information I’ve found about the history of the Road to Nowhere can be found on this website.   In short, back in the 1930’s and 40’s some of Swain County’s private land was given to the Federal Government. During World War II hundreds of people in these communities were forced out of their homes and Old Highway 288 became buried under Fontana Lake.

The government was to replace the road and stretch from Bryson City to Fontana. However, when an environmental issue arose all construction stopped and the citizens named the road “The Road to Nowhere”

In 2010 a legal settlement was reached in regards to The Road to Nowhere.

It’s a really interesting read, so I’d be sure to check out the history on the Bryson City Website. 

Directions

From Bryson City, take Everet street until it turns into Lakeshore Drive and ends. There is a small parking section just outside the tunnel.

Things to Do in the Road to Nowhere

The Road to Nowhere can be an all-day adventure or just an hour or two. It’s really up to you, and what you want to do. Please be aware, if you are traveling with your family there can be some inappropriate graffiti on the walls. If you just shine your light down at your feet and not at the walls, you won’t even notice it.

Walk through the Tunnel

During your visit, you can simply walk from one end of the tunnel to the other. It will take you less than an hour, you can snap a few fun photos and be on your way.

Go Hiking

There are a few trails just beyond the Road to Nowhere. The Gold Mine Loop is only 1.2 miles. However, my Apple Watch claimed we hiked closer to 4 miles. Either way, the hike was awesome. Even with our young girls, we enjoyed this hike.

We had the privilege of having a Bryson City local join us, so we got to learn the history. See some things we might not have. He also escorted us to Fontana Lake. Just off the trail a bit, you can actually walk down to Fontana Lake, which was such a neat experience. We even got to see some bear tracks while we were down there.  If you are going to hike The Road to Nowhere, don’t forget your snacks. #momfail I left all the snacks in the car and only took some water with us.

Tips for Hiking with Toddlers

When hiking with toddlers, safety is the #1 concern. We want our children to explore and enjoy the hike but we also want them to be safe. Here are a couple recommendations for hiking with your children.

  • Use a Baby Carrier

If your toddlers are young enough or small enough to fit in a baby carrier, bring it along. Our girls (4,3 & 2) all took a turn or two in the baby carrier for this hike. This is my favorite one*

  • Buddy System

We made sure at least one adult was with each of the girls during the entirety of the hike. Helping climb up and down the mountain and give the opportunity to take a rest break throughout the hike.

Have a Picnic

The Road to Nowhere is a great spot for a picnic. Either on the other side of the tunnel or somewhere on the trail. The Road to Nowhere is a beautiful destination for a quiet picnic.

Photo Shoot

Have you considered family photos at the Road to Nowhere? Either with the beautiful foliage or the tunnel, this could be the next location for your family photo.

Exploring the Road to Nowhere

There are many things to do on The Road to Nowhere if you’ve been – leave a comment below! Let me know what you think!

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Let’s go Running and Give Kids The World in 2018

Running?

Remember when I used to run? Yeah… it was a while ago I know. After training for and completing the 2018 WDW Marathon, I decided to take a break from the sport.  I guess 3 babies in 3 years does a number on your body…😉

I’ve spent 2018 re-building my core through different beach body programs and other routines found on Youtube. I’ve also made a commitment to my husband that I wouldn’t register for any more Half Marathons or Marathons until our youngest daughter starts school (3 years to go…).

On a personal level, we just felt the commitment of training for those type of races combined with the logistics of actually attending the races is too much right now. #adulting

So, I took a break from running. Until now…

Give Kids the World

Give Kids the World is an organization in Orlando Florida that grants a wish for families with children who have life-threatening illnesses. This non-profit organization began in 1986 by hotelier Henri Landwirth. Mr. Landwirth passed away in April, but the organization continues on with the goal of making wishes come true. I had the opportunity to volunteer at Give Kids the World Village when I was in high-school. It was such a unique experience. If you ever have the chance, I recommend volunteering there!

Running: December 8, 2018

This year I have teamed up with my blogging-bestie Keri (Flipflopweekend) and our Disney Fans FB group (Join the Ohana!) to run the Give Kids the World 5K. All proceeds from the race will be given to Give Kids the World.  The GKTW 5k will be my first race since the 2018 WDW Marathon. I am so excited to participate in this event! Guess what, we are doing the virtual option, so you can join me!

REGISTER HERE! 

Running isn’t my thing…

I hear you, a lot of you perhaps aren’t into running. That’s okay, you don’t have to be a runner to participate in this race. We created a virtual team, and you can either walk, run or cycle! My friend Jennifer is actually going to be in Miami on December 8th so we are going to complete the race together!

So will you join me? Will you help Give Kids the World? 

REGISTER HERE!

Planning a trip and want to support GKTW at the same time? Check out Keri’s travel resource page. 10% of the proceeds earned through her affiliate links will be donated to Give Kids the World.

Join our Ohana! 

 

Cycle through Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami is the oldest and largest zoo in Florida. It spans over 750 acres and has many different opportunities to have up-close experiences with the animals. In the brand-new Everglades exhibit, guests can crawl through a passageway leading directly through an alligator tank, slide through an otter slide and explore an exhibit for an American Bear!

WATCH ELLIE’s HATCH DAY CELEBRATION HERE!

Zoo Miami was recently included in the USA TODAY 10 Best Zoos in the country! 

Fastest Way to See Zoo Miami

If you only have a few hours to visit Zoo Miami, I highly recommend renting the family cycle. Safari Cycles can be rented hourly for for the entire day. We found we were able to see most of the zoo in about 2 hours with limited stopping. If you wanted to experience the zoo a little more thoroughly, i’d recommend the full day.

Find out current rates here.

Our family rented the large cycle, and fit quite comfortably. It did rain while we were cycling through the zoo, so we couldn’t put our bags on the roof.

Benefits of the Safari Cycle

Everyone is together

If you are visiting Zoo Miami with your family of friends and want to have a conversation, the safari cycle is a must. We were able to have an enjoyable visit and conversation with my parents during our trip to the zoo. When one is pushing a stroller and another is chasing a toddler around the exhibits meaningful conversations can be a struggle.

Children can better see into the Exhibits

Since the exhibits have fairly high fences, it can be difficult for younger children to see into the exhibit. With the safari cycle, your children will be above the fence line.

Shade from the Sun

There are lots of trees and foliage around Zoo Miami, but the build in shade of the Safari Cycle is AWESOME!

See the Whole Zoo in less than a day

Zoo Miami is the largest Zoo in Florida, and with small children it is very difficult to see the whole zoo in one day. The Safari Cycle helps guests to move quickly from exhibit to exhibit and make the most of their day!

Make an Unforgettable Memory

There is something magical about experiencing something new. Cycling with your entire family through a beautiful zoo is a memory that will last forever.

Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami is one of my favorite places. Our family visits regularly and has an amazing time during each visit. I hope you will check out Zoo Miami next time you are in the South Florida area!  Be sure to check Groupon for any deals before purchasing your tickets.  You can also run through the zoo this October! 

Find great deals at Groupon.com!

 

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Three BEST Breakfast Dishes (according to my 3-year-old)

The Importance of Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast helps wake you up and get your body ready for the day. From my own experience, when I start my day with a glass of water and something small to eat I tend to make better choices throughout the day. My children also tend to eat better throughout the day when they’ve started their day with a meal.

Additionally, when I first started my weight loss journey in 2012 one of the first things I did was to make time for breakfast in the morning. I firmly believe that eating a healthy breakfast in the morning was key to kick-starting my weight loss journey.

Here is a photo of me when I first started my weight loss journey with a photo of me last fall. – The biggest thing I remind myself is that I am worth it. This August I am getting back on track with my weight loss goals and reminding myself that I am worth it  and You are too!

3 Best Breakfast Dishes (according to my 3-year-old)

If you didn’t know, my daughter has requested to start making “cooking movies”.  This particular video is one that she asked to do, and I thought it was actually a really great thing to share. She gives her top 3 favorite things to eat for breakfast. So, I do hope you’ll take a moment to go watch her video and give her a big thumbs up!👍🏼

Breakfast One

The number one thing my children request for breakfast is scrambled eggs with cheese. We recently purchased some round plates at our local Target, and they were perfect for making the eggs into a happy face.

Eggs kind of get a bad reputation sometimes. However, they aren’t as awful for you as you might think. Did you know that just 1 large eff has 6 grams of protein? They are also packed with lots of nutrients that help boost your brain power, vision and keep you feeling full longer. – Go ahead, google it! Eggs are a great breakfast for your kids!

Breakfast Two

Muffins! or, Breakfast Cupcakes. Muffins also have a bit of a reputation for being an unhealthy breakfast. Yes, there are a lot of muffin recipes out there that fill you up with empty calories. However, with this recipe, you are loading your kids up with Kale (and they might not even realize it!) 😱

Kale is such a great vegetable to include in your diet. It is rich in so many vitamins and nutrients, including Fiber, Protein and Folate. Do your brain a favor and have some Kale.😊

Breakfast Three

Mickey Waffles.

Mickey Waffles are a Saturday tradition in our home. Everyone in our family loves waffles, and who doesn’t want to eat a Mickey Waffle? If you want to make this option a little healthier, I recommend the recipe for the 21-day fix cookbook. It is made with whole-wheat flour and other quality ingredients. My children have been eating their waffles this way for so long they prefer whole-wheat waffles to any other.

*This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate your consideration of supporting this website with your purchase.

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Blueberry Kale Muffins (Vegan) and Toddler Approved

Vegan Blueberry Kale Muffins

Full disclosure, this recipe is not my own. It came via text message from my friend Meg, (megforit.com) and is one that she created based off this recipe. When Megan and her family lived in Miami-Beach, she and her children would come to Zoo Miami with us and bring these delicious muffins. After my oldest daughter ate about three of them, I had to have the recipe. These muffins have become a staple in our home, and I make them a few times a month.

Recipe for Vegan Blueberry Kale Muffins

All-Purpose Flour, 3/4 Cup
Whole Wheat Flour*, 3/4 Cup
*I often use all whole wheat flour, the difference is the final product is a little denser
Brown Sugar, 1/4 Cup
White Sugar, 1/2 Cup
Baking powder, 2 teaspoons

salt 1/2 tsp

Vegetable Oil, 1/3 Cup
A Ripe Banana
Milk (Nut Milk for Vegan), 1/2 Cup
Blueberries, 1 Cup
Kale Blended with water, 1 Cup

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 400 degrees for 17-20 minutes.

Watch the Video

These muffins are super easy, you will want to put it together with your kids. Since it’s egg free, you won’t have to worry about chance of your children eating it before it is baked.

 

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Easy (Toddler Approved) Cauliflower Pizza Recipe

 

Cauliflower Pizza Recipe

As a mom of three toddlers, I am always on the lookout for easy, veggie-packed recipes to feed my girls. My girls love Pizza, but I want them to love vegetables. When I found riced cauliflower at my local Aldi, I knew I needed to find a recipe for cauliflower pizza. Thank you, Pinterest for directing me to this blog –  with only three ingredients needed for the crust, I knew it was the perfect recipe to try with my girls.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust Ingredients

Again, this recipe was not my own. I found it on this website. 

For this recipe you will need:

  • Bag of Riced Cauliflower
  • 1 1/5 Cups Parmesan Cheese
  • An Egg

Optional ingredients:

  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasonings

I found all these items at my local Aldi, making this recipe super budget friendly. Another one of my favorite Frugal recipes is my Taco Chicken Casserole. 

Directions for Cauliflower Pizza

This pizza recipe was so easy my three-year-old was able to put this together.

Watch the vlog on our youtube channel.

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Join me in June – Insanity Max 30!

June Fitness Goals

June 1st?! I can hardly believe 2018 is almost halfway over – it’s so crazy how fast time flies when you have young children. If you watched my instastories back in April, you know that I was doing Insanity Max 30. I was loving the program, but when I got bronchitis I had to stop the program.

Now that I am healthy again, I have teamed up with my new blogger pal, Bethany from The Pintastic Girls to do the Insanity Max 30 program!

I will be sharing real-time updates on my Instagram page, so be sure that you are following me!

About Insanity Max 30

Insanity Max 30 is a Beach Body program with fitness trainer Shawn T. I am not a beach body coach, but I do enjoy the programs. If you would like to start with Beach Body, I can point you to a few really good trainers – just let me know!

The goal of Insanity is to push yourself a little farther than the day before. Each workout is about 30 minutes, and no equipment is needed. That’s right, just you!

What’s needed for Insanity Max 30

  1. The Program
  2. Yoga Mat
  3. Water Bottle
  4. Pen & Paper
  5. Big Goals & Dedication!

Shop for the basics on Amazon! 

StorybookErin, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Getting Started with Insanity Max 30

Before starting an exercise program, it is always important to have proper clearance from your doctor. Once you have proper clearance, take your measurements and before photos.

When I first started my weight loss journey in 2012, I did not take any measurements. Honestly, I don’t even know exactly how much I weighed. I have a rough estimate, but that’s it. If I could start again, I’d take the time to properly weigh myself and take my measurements.

About a year ago I did a Live Video on my FB page about how and why I track my measurements. So be sure to watch the replay if you are interested in learning more!

Once you are in the BB on-demand application, take a look at the Program Material Tab. This will provide you with the calendar of workouts. I like to write them down in my planner, but do what is comfortable for you.

Accountability

Accountability is so important when starting an exercise program! I am so excited to be working with Bethany from The Pintastic Girls during the month of June as we chase our goals! We’d love to have you join us!

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Achieve your Fitbit Step Goal without leaving home!

Get your steps in

I see you. You’re frustrated that you aren’t hitting your fitness goals because you are a stay-at-home or work-at-home mom. I have three little ones at home with and only a double stroller. So I was finding it impossible to hit my step goal on a regular basis. Like you, I was frustrated.

Then I turned to my favorite FREE platform for workout routines and started WALKING in my living room! By following two 15-minute walking routines I can achieve my step goal. As a bonus, my girls all enjoy the fitness routine with me! Here are two videos I’ve been loving on Youtube that help me reach my step goal, and encourage healthy habits with my girls! This first is about 15 minutes and at the end, you’ve walked 1 mile.

The second workout is also 15 minutes and one mile long.
Adding these walking routines to my day lifts my spirits and inspires me to keep chasing my fitness goals!

What are your favorite ways to reach a fitness goal?

Here are my picks for exercising at home and three options to purchase your own Fitbit*. 
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*this post contains affiliate links. 

FAT-SHAMED at Davids Bridal!

Fat-Shamed

I have the great honor of standing up next to my future sister in law as she and my brother in law exchange their wedding vows this Spring. I didn’t imagine the struggle finding the perfect bridesmaid dress would be nor did I anticipate being fat-shamed at one of the most known bridal shops around.
 
David’s Bridal, this is for you…
on behalf of every other curvy girl who has to deal with your store and employees.
 

An Open Letter, My Story

Dear Davids Bridal,

Have you ever tried to make an appointment on your own site? 5 redundant steps with the last one being a second confirmation of the appointment?  I arrived at my local Davids Bridal and was greeted by two girls who seemed quite annoyed at my existence. When they couldn’t find my appointment, I was told I’d have to wait – the two girls then proceeded to talk about their personal plans and lives while still trying to gather information from me – After a few moments one girl says to me…
“do you have the brides phone number of not?!” 
I responded with
 “I was waiting for your personal conversation to end so I could give it to you” 

After a few minutes, I was greeted by a third (annoyed) employee. Every other word out of her mouth was how she wasn’t working the next day, and she’d had a rough day. She brought me the dresses I’d requested and then disappeared. Thankfully, I had my husband there to help me try everything on so I could make a decision and leave. The appointment was quite tense and the employee made no effort to assist in helping me find a dress.

Every time she came to me, her words were negative
“your back doesn’t look good in that dress”
 
 “are you sure you like that?”
 

 it just didn’t end, and I was feeling overwhelmed with her negativity.

To make the situation worse, I wasn’t able to get into one of the dresses that was the exact same size and material as all the previous dresses (that had been loose), so I asked her to verify that the dress was labeled correctly. 

Her response was quite sharp, and she says
“Yes, that’s the size. I didn’t bring you the wrong one”. 
 
 her sharp response frustrated me because she just wasn’t listening.
So when she brought a larger size of the dress, I showed her how the one she originally brought me was 4+ inches smaller than the other dresses of the same material, and it HAD to be mismarked.
 
That’s when she said it… words that hurt me so deeply and have rung in my ears for over a week. Words that put me in tears for hours, words that no one should ever have to hear. 
“You don’t know how big you are” 
I took a deep breath and responded with,
“WE ARE DONE TALKING!” 
Once in the dress that was now about 3 sizes too large, I asked her why the size she originally bought was $129.00 and the one I was wearing was 189.00.
She grabbed the tag from the dress I’d questioned and says…
“Oh, this is a Junior Bridesmaids dress. 
That’s why it’s cheaper”
(EXCUSE ME????)
She THEN proceeded to tell me that someone ELSE must have put it in the wrong place.
She Never took responsibility for bringing me the wrong dress
and she never apologized for her words.
I got dressed, grabbed my husband and left in tears.
Davids Bridal, you are the worst of the worst.
I hope I never have to set foot in your store again.
– – –
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My Running Story.

“RUNNING IS THE WORST” 

You’ve said it, you’ve heard it, but do you really believe that running is the worst?
I used to believe that.
In fact, I spent most of my life believe that.
This is me before I ran, and then again while training for my second Marathon!
A post shared by Erin ✨ (@storybookerin) on

 

So how does someone go from the girl on the left, 
to the girl on the right? 
How does one go from absolutely hating running
to obsessing over running? 
 

It started with a walk

…that turned into a run.

In the year 2012, my husband and I decided we’d lived our unhealthy lifestyle for long enough, and we were going to walk each morning before work. So, at 5:30 a.m. each day we got up and went for a walk around a nearby golf course. We started to lose some weight, and then one cool March morning an older large man ran by us.
I was so humiliated and inspired at the same time, so I took off running and I haven’t stopped since. I went to work and told a co-worker that I’d run a little bit that morning and didn’t hate it. So, what did she do? Encouraged me to sign up for the Everest Challenge at Disney! (Read all about it here)
After the Everest Challenge, I got serious about learning to run and the research began. I’d like to say that I figured our running pretty quickly, but the truth is, I didn’t. When I first started running, I would run, run, run until I just couldn’t run anymore and then I’d walk really slow trying to catch my breath. It worked and helped motivate me to keep training and through it all, I continued to lose weight!
In February of 2013, I ran my first half marathon than in April I ran my second and fully solidified my love of running!
5 years later, I’ve run 11 half marathons, 2 marathons, 2 10ks and countless 5k’s! Many of these races I’ve run while pregnant with one of our three girls and I’ve learned SO many things!
So, here are the things I tell people who have seen my love of running develop and how I encourage them on their journey.
 

HOW TO START YOUR RUNNING LOVE-STORY

Before you begin your running journey, I think it is important to set some goals.  Is your goal to run a 5k, run a mile? Maybe you want to run a Full Marathon! Set that goal, write it down and put it somewhere you will see it.
When I first started running, I had the numbers 26.2 written on a post-it in my office, I’d look at it every single day, and then in January of 2015 I hit that goal and it was awesome!
The second thing I tell people is to look into the Run-Walk-Run method of running. Developed by Olympian Jeff Galloway, the Run-Walk method is perfect for any level runner. – Find out more about the Run-Walk Method on this post.
Lastly, find accountability!  If you don’t have someone physically with you to run, try reaching out online. The running community online is so supportive! Track your fitness with apps and get social! I’ve found some amazing friends in the running community on instagram and twitter and i’d love to connect with you too!!
My Favorite apps for tracking fitness include:
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How to make money while working out!

Last week I made $10.00, just by sharing my workouts online! 


Too good to be true?  It’s not! 
In January of 2017, I ran across a blog post introducing the app Achievement. This is a FREE app, that pays YOU for working out! Since I was doing the 21-day fix at the time, I thought I’d give the app a try and you know what? it worked! My husband was the first to cash out, but I wasn’t surprised because he bikes to work every day, so obviously, he was earning more points than I was. 
How the app works

This application is basically like participating in a big market research, and health companies fund the app which in turn gives you financial incentives for making healthy choices!

How to earn points 

  • Connect your favorite health apps and work out as per usual. 
    • I have the following connected: 
      • Garmin
      • FitBit
      • MyFitnessPal
    • List of apps that you can connect here
How many points to cash out? 
You need 10,000 points to cash out at $10.00. The money is redeemable in Giftrocket or Paypal. 
How long did it take to cash out? 
It took me 1 year to earn enough points to cash out, and my husband about 8 months. 
There are ways to earn more points, by doing surveys and referring friends, we just simply didn’t do those things! 
So what are you waiting for? Let’s make some money JUST by tracking your exercise with your favorite device! 


*Use my link and we both get a point bonus!* 


How to stay warm before a race at Disney

Marathon Weekend 2018 was once again a very cold one at Walt Disney World, and my sweet friend spent the week before the race running around grabbing the most epic layers to keep us warm before the race.

So how does one dress when it is in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s at the start of the race?

Layers.
Beautiful, crazy layers! 

Being a Miami girl, I was pretty cold for more of the race, so I kept almost all my layers for 14 miles and then eventually had to ditch them.

Where to buy layers?
We found all our layers at Walmart for less than $10.00, and let me tell you, it was worth every penny!
What happens to the layers after you toss them?
RunDisney gathers the layers and donates them to local charities.  
Do you toss all your layers? 
No, I always keep my hat and gloves. 
I stuff them into an elastic on my running belt and keep them for the next race. 

Are you a Disney Mom or Disney Blogger?

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More RunDisney Posts

Did I meet my goal at the 2018 Disney Marathon?

If you’ve been on Instagram for 1/2 a second, you most likely saw too many a few photos from the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon! Today, I’m going to share photos from all along the course.
**SPOILER ALERT** I had so much fun at the WDW Marathon, and can’t wait to run it again!

The Course! 

Bundled up at the Start! 

Twinning is Winning! 

Miles 1-3

The first 5k really seemed to fly by, I started the race with my friend Stephanie and we were sticking to a run-walk interval of 30/30.

Stephanie and I parted ways just after the ticket and transportation center (between mile 3 and 4) because she needed to use the bathroom. 

Miles 4-7
Here is where we enter into the Magic Kingdom, I wanted to run with my friend and I was doing pretty well with my timing so when I saw some short lines of characters, I decided to get some fun photos! 

Running from the sweepers! 

The third *evil* step sister 😉 

 Miles 7-12

I saw my chEAR squad at the Grand Floridian, got a hug from my husband and kept on running. I had take my sweet time through the Magic Kingdom and knew I needed to make up some time while the weather was still cool and I was feeling good.

My daughters have recently been obsessed with Mary Poppins, so a photo with the Penguins was a MUST DO for me!

I actually kind of enjoyed this section of the course and even had negative splits! Around mile 8 I saw my friend Stephanie, and felt relieved that she was still in this! 
Miles 13-14
Animal Kingdom, … I started to get emotional at this point in the race. I had been feeling SO great during the first half of the race, but now I was getting nervous. I hadn’t heard from my friend in a while, I was starting to get nervous for her sake. I didn’t want her to get swept, I didn’t want to get swept. 
Another hug from my husband and a tissue from my sister and I was on my way to ESPN, Wide World of Sports! 
It was in Animal Kingdom that I had to finally ditch my blanket. I used the restroom and just couldn’t get it tied back on me comfortably, so on trashcan just outside of the Finding Nemo Show, I left my fabulous tie dye blanket. 

Miles 14-18

After a clif bar and a hug, I was ready to head back out to Osceola Parkway for the long stretch to ESPN, Wide World of Sports.

Miles 18-20

ESPN… Oh, ESPN… I didn’t remember it being this awful. Perhaps its because in 2015 when I ran the Goofy Challenge my sisters were chEARing for me in the parking lot… perhaps it is because there was a huge crowd of people, I don’t know but RunDisney… You NEED to get some more support on this section of the course. – Seriously, hear our plea…

When I made it to ESPN, it was pretty evident that I was towards the back of the pack. I hadn’t heard from Stephanie in a LONG time, and the sun was out and the winds were up. I was a weird combination of hot, cold and just plain miserable. With views of construction, direct sun, high winds and essentially zero cheering zones, I was one hot mess.

 Miles 20-23

Just leaving ESPN, I found myself amidst the 7-hour pace group. The Walt Disney Marathon has a time limit and you are required to maintain a 16-minute mile, or else you are at risk of being swept. So, when I saw that Jeff Galloway Pacer holding a 7-hour sign, I latched onto the group and with everything I had in me stuck with the intervals.

At one point I confirmed with another runner when we were safe from being swept because I was so scared I was going to end up on the “Parade Bus”.

I didn’t take photos during this time, I was focused on sticking to the intervals and not getting swept.

Mile 23-24

Finally made it into Hollywood Studios, where we were handed Halloween Candy… (Um, seriously RunDisney? Candy Corn M&M’s?  – No thanks). I stuffed the Candy Corn M&M’s in my bra and grabbed plain M&M’s down a little further and tried to relax a bit since I was almost beyond all the sweeper busses!

“There you are”

I hear from the crowd at Mile 24, I look up and see Chris searching the crowd desperate to find me. I smiled a little brighter after seeing him there and started to make my way towards the finish line. I knew he’d never make it to the finish line to see me, so I made the decision to soak everything in. 
I would stop for any photo I wanted, and venture off course to find a snack to eat at the finish line. I worked hard for this moment, and I wanted to enjoy it! 

Miles 24-26.2


THANK YOU RUNDISNEY VOLUNTEERS!
26.2 Magical Miles! 


 So what’s next for me? 
I promised my husband, NO more Full Marathons until after all our girls start school. Therefore, I’m going to focus on improving my time on the 10K, and Half Marathon before taking another 26.2-mile journey.

Thank you so much for all the love and support during this journey. I am truly grateful for the opportunity and ability to participate and complete the 2018 Walt Disney Marathon!

Finally, thank you to my number one fan, the man who sacrificed so many Saturday mornings of sleeping to watch our girls so I could complete my training runs. I wouldn’t have made it to the finish line without the many people who took a turn watching the girls so I could run.

Sharing is caring!

P.S. I friend Stephanie DID finish the race! 😉 

My outfit for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

Happy Walt Disney World Wednesday!

We are just a few days away from the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon, those who are running the 5K, or Dopey Challenge are already en-route to the Happiest Place on Earth, but some of us won’t be heading towards Orlando until later in the week.

I’m not going to lie, my Instagram feed is full of amazing pictures of people soaking in the fun at the parks before the craziness of RunDisney weekend sets in, and I’m slightly jealous. So, to combat my fear of missing out I’m going to share my costume for the Marathon!

Originally, I was going to be someone very Shiney… 😉

I even bought a shell to spray paint for my Moana Crab (Tamatoa) costume. However, as the race approached I didn’t feel like I’d do the costume justice and genuinely felt like the shell would annoy me. So, I ditched that idea and started over. 
Training with three kids, ages 3 and under proved to be much harder than I thought it’d be. Throw in an exclusively breastfed infant who refused a bottle for most of her life, and you’ve got my reality.

Training for this race was harder than I anticipated, 
but I got it done! 
Around the time I was trying to find a new costume inspiration, my daughters had been requesting to watch Peter Pan on repeat, and I’m glad they did. 
For the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon, 
my costume is inspired by the Movie Peter Pan! 

If I have time, I plan to add a red feather to my visor, and white pom poms to my shoes.  We will see if I can make it out to a craft store for the supplies.
Costume Details! 
  • Shirt: Raw Threads, get yours here.
    • sign up for their newsletter, they always have amazing sales! 
  • Shorts: Under Armour Compression Shorts
    • These shorts are my favorite! They even work well during pregnancy. 

  • Skirt: Sparkle Athletic
    • sign up for their newsletter, they also have amazing sales! 
  • Timer: Gymboss
    • I plan to do 30/30 Run Walk Intervals for the Marathon, I felt it gives me a nice and comfortable pace. One that I can maintain for all 26.2 miles!  
  • Watch: Garmin Forerunner 220
    • Love this watch, it’s super simple to use and has very limited bells and whistles. It’s an older model watch, but it’s perfect for what I need. 
  • Costume Inspiration, Peter Pan! 
Who is your favorite Character in Neverland? 
Pin for later… 


Quick, Easy, Frugal Friendly Sugar Scrub Recipe

Frugal Friendly Sugar Scrub

Disney Springs: Must Do

One of my favorite places to go to in Disney Springs is Basin.  Today I am going to share with you how I make my DIY scrub with just a few ingredients.  Visiting Basin is such a fun experience. I just love all the unique fragrances, hydrating scrubs, and Magical soaps!  One of my favorite products is the body scrub. I love the way it makes my skin feel. Since adding a couple of princesses to our family, we don’t get to shop in Disney Springs or visit Basin very often anymore. When I realized that I could make my own at home with only a few ingredients, I was thrilled.

Basin sells a jar of their body scrub for around $35.00, but you can make your own with just three ingredients that you might already have in your home!

Uses for the Sugar Scrub

I recently used to create party favors for my sister in law’s baby shower. This recipe was so easy that my three-year-old was able to mix the scrub and help assemble the jars for gifting. This scrub is great for gifts, or to use personally in your home.

DIY Body Scrub

Some of my favorite essential oil scents to try. 

  • Lavender
  • Lavender and Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Peppermint and Lavender
  • DoTerra Serenity

Why Fractionated Coconut Oil?

Fractionated coconut oil has been processed to remove the coconut scent, and also will not harden in cooler temperatures.

 


Can I use regular olive oil or coconut oil for the scrub? 

Yes. You can certainly use olive oil or the coconut oil for the scrub, I have. However, please be aware that the scent of the oil can be overpowering.

Where I buy DoTerra Essential Oils

I purchase my DoTerra essential oils directly from my mom who is a DoTerra Wellness Advocate. She has used EO’s for many years and has a lot of information on improving health and well-being through the use of EO’s. I’d encourage you to connect with her to purchase some oils of your own.


Purchase Oils Here! 

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl add a 50/50 mix of sugar and coconut oil.
  2. Add 10-15 drops of essential oils
  3. Stir until you have created the consistency you prefer
    1. If the mix is too wet, add Sugar
    2. In the mix is too dry, add oil
  4. Store in a glass container and enjoy!

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Disney Tip: 

Basin can be found in two places on the Disney World Property.
1. In Disney Springs
2. The Grand Floridian Resort
I love to go to the one inside the Grand Floridian as it is a much smaller store, and never as crowded as the one in Disney Springs. You’ll also get a chance to check out the beautiful Disney resort! *Pay attention to the floor in the Grand Floridian Lobby, you might spot some Disney Pals in the tile designs.

What’s in my Lunchbox? Family of 5

Need some lunchbox inspiration? Look no further! Here are the items that I pack for an afternoon at the Zoo, Park or Theme Park with my family!

  • Sandwiches 
    • Peanut Butter only for the girls, cut into fun shapes!
    • Peanut Butter and Jelly for my husband and I
  • Nuts (for mom and Dad)
    • Almonds have been my favorite right now 
  • Fruit (pick 2)
    • Apples
    • Grapes
    • Clementines
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
  • Veggies (1 or 2)
    • Grape Tomatoes
    • Carrots
    • Cucumbers
    • Peppers
  • Cheese
    • Cubed
    • Cheese Stick
  • Yogurt
    • I like to freeze them, they are the perfect temperature by the time we eat lunch 
  • Something Crunchy (1 or 2)
    • Granola Bars
    • Puffs
    • Cereal
    • Pretzels
My current favorite lunch box is one that I purchased from my friend Deanna who is a Thirty-One consultant. 
The Around the Clock Thermal is perfect for packing lots of snacks for your day at a theme park, the local park or zoo. Some of my favorite features include a long strap for cross body carrying, front zipper to carry hand sanitizer and a small trash bag. 
Current Price: $30.00
Get yours from your local thirty-one representative or from my friend Deanna
Let’s support as many small shops and small businesses as we can this Holiday Season. Let me know in the comments below, what are some of your favorite small businesses? 

SHARE ME ON PINTEREST! 

    Evelyn Greer Park, Pinecrest FL

    Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the childhood obesity rate as more than doubled since the 1970’s and that 1 in 6 children from the ages of 6-19 is considered to be obese?

    The CDC recommends at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity for school-aged children, living in a small condo this isn’t always the easiest for us to accomplish that at home, so we love to explore all the beautiful parks in our area. We typically spend about 45 minutes to an hour at the park, and that includes our picnic time.

    One of the parks we recently visited a park located in Pinecrest, Florida and fell in love with all that it had to offer.

    Evelyn Greer Park is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! As we approached the park, I couldn’t help but notice the beautifully manicured park, and the fence around the playground. As a mom with multiple children, the fence is a huge perk!

    This park has several soccer fields, a batting cage as well as a fitness and walking trail that is a little longer than a quarter mile – great for the mom or dad who wants to get a little walk in before playing on the playgrounds with your family.

    Prior to Hurricane Irma this park had a large canopy over the playground, hopefully, this will be back up soon because there wasn’t much shade on the playground itself – but the walking trail was quite shady.

    Another thing I loved about this park was the large clean restrooms. When you have a potty trained and potty training toddler, clean restrooms are a must and this park provided!

    I can’t say enough positive things about this park, we had such a lovely time. If you’d like to see more of what this park has to offer, please take a moment to watch our Youtube Video and give us a subscribe. 😉

    Current Favorite (Free) Workouts!

    Who has time for DVD’s? – Not this momma! That’s why I’m obsessed with streaming workout routines from Youtube! Today I’m going to share two of my favorite Fitness Channels on Youtube!

    POP Pilates

    I’m fairly new to the POP Army, but when I saw several amazing momma friends on Instagram using the hashtag #POPARMY I wanted to check it out. POP Pilates was developed by Casey Ho, she took the everyday fitness routine and created a time of not only fitness but empowerment. I absolutely LOVE her personality and create moves.

    Currently, she is doing a superhero series on YouTube, you’ve gotta check it out!


    This is not the first time I’ve mentioned YWA, truth is – she’s my absolute favorite Youtube Yogi! Her videos are perfect for someone who has never tried yoga before but would like to get into it. The way she effortlessly explains how to move from position to position is amazing and has truly helped build my fitness vocabulary, giving me confidence during more advanced fitness routines!

    I like to go through her Pre-Run routines before a run to help get me stretched and ready!

    Let’s Connect!
    Tell me about your favorite fitness routines, who do you follow on Instagram that inspires you? 

    Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, Race Recap

    September 17, 2017, I attempted to run the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, and literally, everything that could go wrong did and there is no one to blame but myself.  I should have known better, especially after the Mount Dora Half experience... but I didn’t learn. 

    So, here are my 3 ways to ensure a HORRIBLE race. 

    1. Neglect your Training. 
    I have EVERY excuse available:
    • Three Small kids
    • Hot Weather
    • Hurricane 
    • Lack of Sleep
    • Lack of Motivation
    • ….
    However, if you register for a race, and want to have a fabulous time at the event. Do not neglect your long runs. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get out the door for a few long runs before the race and then we were trapped inside while #hurricaneIrma moved through my beautiful Florida so, I just wasn’t as well trained as I was intending to be – and I paid the price for it.  
    2.  Forget to Hydrate
    The day before this race we had the opportunity to go to an Air Show on base with our friends. It was an AMAZING experience, truly a highlight of my trip to Washington D.C. However, I didn’t drink enough water the week before the race, nor the day before the race. So, when I got to mile 3 and found myself throwing up, I was in tears. 
    I called my husband in tears and told him I wasn’t going to be able to finish the race. I talked to him about possibly switching to the 5-miler, but hadn’t made up my mind.  I decided to stick with the half-marathon but in retrospect, I should have just quit after 5 miles. 
    In addition to being under-hydrated, the temperature and humidity levels were a lot higher than I anticipated. To be honest, it seemed a lot of runners were struggling with the weather that day.
    A post shared by Erin ✨ (@storybookerin) on

    3. Ditch your PLAN the night before…
    :: Face Palm::

    I really wanted to get my P.R. (Personal Record), like… really bad. A few weeks ago, I was on track to accomplish that goal. However, life happened and my training went from consistent to non-existent.

    I am a #gallowayrunner. I am literally always singing the praises of Jeff Galloway’s method of running and training. If you’ve ever talked to me about running or getting started with running I probably told you to do the Run/Walk/Run Method.  – I believe in that method, it’s the method I use…

    Except when I lose my mind over a silly goal…

    In my quest for a 2:40 Half Marathon, I messed with my intervals. Right before going to bed I changed my intervals from 1:00/1:00 to 2:30 Run /:45 Walk.

    Have I EVER done that for a long run?
    nope.

    Mile 3 was about the time I couldn’t keep up with the intervals anymore and EVERYTHING caught up with me. The lack of sleep, lack of water, lack of common sense when setting up my intervals – so disappointing.

    Did I accomplish my goal?
    Not even close…

    My final time was 3:29:10
    Almost a solid hour longer than my goal.

    Final Thoughts on the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon

    Course: Loved it, Running is such a great way to see a city – I absolutely loved the course.

    Packet Pick up: It was well organized, had plenty of booths for people to shop. The only disappointment for me was the location. Last year when my sisters ran it they got to tour the Washington Nationals Stadium, this year it was outside in a tent.

    Race Day Organization: There was a little bit of confusion at the start, people all seemed to be kind of lost, and not really sure what color bibs were intended to go first…? I felt more pre-race communication would have been helpful.

    The other issue I had was the start/finish line was really far from post-race water, snacks and bag check.  In all other runs I’ve done, the finishers exit through a shoot and are guided to the beverages and snacks – this race was not like that.

    The Bling: I loved the medal. Such a great design, and if you look closely you can spot some glitter – and we all know how I feel about sparkles!

    Would I run it again?
    I think so, the race was a lot of fun.

    The question of the day: What race is on your bucket list?

    How #HurricaneIrma affected my Marathon Training

    Marathon Monday   Thursday!

    If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you are probably aware that I am located in South Florida, and I have three of the most amazing kiddos in the world! I, like EVERYONE in Florida watched Hurricane Irma grow in strength and uncertainty for several days, and began to prepare.

    Between organizing a baby shower for my niece (coming this fall), and preparing my house for Irma, I haven’t had any spare energy or time to get out the door for my training runs but here is what I have been doing.

    I purchased comfort items, such as non-perishable chocolate milk so my three year old would be able to sleep a little easier when the power went out.

    I purchased lots of fun snacks, packed puzzles, NEW crayons and little toys for our evacuation to Abuela’s house.

    I practiced putting a baby carrier on in a hurry in case we had to run to a closet if we were in the path of a tornado, or other extreme weather.

    I got down on my knees and prayed for wisdom and guidance as we watched Irma.

    I taught my girls a memory verse to recite to themselves when they were afraid, but if i’m being honest… it was really me who was afraid.

    A post shared by Erin ✨ (@storybookerin) on

    I gave my girls jobs to help them feel a part of the preparation, and took the time to talk to them about Hurricanes.

    A post shared by Erin ✨ (@storybookerin) on

    and once the storm passed, and we were among the first to have power we opened our home to family and friends who needed a place to cool off, take a shower, charge their phones or just relax.

    I’ve never been afraid of a hurricane like I was for Irma, but I am so thankful for the many people who reached out to let me know my girls were in their prayers. Your kindness gave me such peace, I could never express how much your kindness meant to me.

    A post shared by Erin ✨ (@storybookerin) on

    To the many in Florida and beyond still without power, and working hard to find “normal” after the storm, you are in my prayers. 
    Have Courage & Be Kind.

    Is Aaptiv worth the investment?

    I was so thankful for the opportunity to preview the fitness app Aaptiv for a few weeks. The timing was ideal as I just started Marathon training, and am always in need of motivation.

    What is Aaptiv?

    We founded Aaptiv with the goal of bringing an elevated workout experience to a global community. We use technology to make that experience accessible anytime, anywhere – whether you’re working out at your local gym in LA or running outside while traveling in London. – source

    Aaptiv provides audio classes for you to listen to right from your own home or gym. These classes are hosted by a professional trainer and incorporate motivational music throughout.  There are many classes to choose from, no matter your fitness level or how much time you have to squeeze in a fitness routine there is something for you. 
    Classes Include: 
    • Core Workouts
    • Running
      • Outdoor
      • Indoor
    • Running Training Plans
      • 5K
      • 10K
      • 1/2 Marathon
      • Full Marathon
    • Walking
    • 7-minute Quick Hits
    • Elliptical
    • Strength Training
    • Indoor Cycling
    • Stair Climber
    • Yoga
    • Stretching
    • Meditation
    • Programs & Challenges
    • NEW Maternity 
      • Prenatal Classes
      • Stroller Workouts

    Benefits of Using Aaptiv


    I really enjoyed the trainers, and the coaching. Especially for treadmill runs. I am not a fan of treadmill running. However, it is so hot right now in Miami, that I have to do my midweek training runs on the treadmill. So, having a coach cheering me on, playing great music is a HUGE motivation, and it actually keeps me on the treadmill. 
    Now that I’ve played around in the app, and taken quite a few classes, here is a quick list of benefits I found with using Aaptiv
    • Portable
    • Access to Trainer Bio’s
    • Current Music
    • Motivating Trainers
    • Ability to Favorite classes
      • set reminders
    • Ability to share workouts with your favorite social media accounts
    Things I didn’t LOVE about Aaptiv
    Overall, I was very happy with the app. I was really motivated by the trainers, and even found my running speed increase through the help of the app. However, I like to share my honest thoughts with my readers and felt it important to share a few things that I personally didn’t love.
    • Calorie Tracking / Mile Tracking
      • Since you don’t put in your actual weight nor GPS location, there is no proof that you actually kept pace with the class. Therefore, your app will day “ran 2.0 miles” but in reality you may have only ran 1.5
        • not a huge deal, but for someone who likes to keep records of miles and pace, it can be a little frustrating.
    • All Audio / No Video 
      • Since this is an Audio App, there is no visual demonstration of moves. Obviously, it’s an Audio app. However, I felt like because of the lack of visuals it could be a little intimidating for someone who was new to working out. For example, I listened to a couple of the *Newly Launched* prenatal fitness routines with my sister in law, who is currently expecting, and she had many questions on the moves.
    How much does Aaptiv Cost? 
    • Monthly Fee 
      • 9.99
    • Yearly Fee
      • 99.99
    • Lifetime Membership
      • 399.99
    Is it worth it?
    I go back and forth on this question, and ultimately I think it is a good investment for someone who is looking to have access to classes and coaches without re-arranging their lives to attend the classes. This would be ideal for someone who is in college, or lives in a neighborhood and has access to a gym with many types of equipment but lacks the motivation to get on a machine and workout. 
    If you have the money in your budget, and have made a commitment to yourself to workout – I say YES, YES, YES!! This app is absolutely a great thing for you to have. However, if you are more on a budget, or just getting into fitness and learning the lingo this might not be the right time for you to invest in this program.  
    Interested in checking out the classes, or the NEWLY LAUNCHED MATERNITY WORKOUTS, go here for a FREE 7-day trial! 
    Some of my favorite classes included:

    • Yoga / Stretch  
      • Prepare of Sleep
      • Runners Stretch
      • Chill Vibes, Evening Stretches
    • Running 
      • Move, Dance, Run It Out
      • Drip Drop Hills

    Help your Baby FALL in LOVE with GREENS!

    In the fall of 2013 I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes during my first pregnancy I became very interested in healthy eating and pregnancy. Just what exactly do the babies get, can they taste?

    I’m not sure if they can actually taste like we do outside the womb, but tastes are being developed from inside the womb, and eating a healthy diet while you are pregnant is a gift to you AND your baby.

    Once you start introducing solids to baby, I like to start giving greens as soon as possible. My pediatrician chuckled when I told him I wanted to start my first born on Kale as soon as he thought it would be okay.  Around 7-9 months is when I introduced greens to my girls, but be sure to talk it over with your pediatrician when starting any new foods.

    I am thankful to report that my girls all LOVE Spinach and will even have Kale in smoothies from time to time without an argument, and it’s all thanks to this quick and easy recipe.

    Greens Recipe for Baby


    Ingredients: 

    • Spinach (or Kale)
    • Apples 
    Instructions:
    1. Wash and Peel Apples
      • I like to use a variety of green and red apples to make the flavor more interesting 
    2.  Steam Apples until soft
    3. Steam Spinach for about 2 minutes 
    4. Blend 
    5. Enjoy! 
    It’s THAT easy friends!! 
    Why I LOVE Spinach? 
    Spinach LOADED with essential vitamins such as iron, vitamin A, C and so many more.  Just like leafy greens are recommended for healthy digestion in adults, this fiber rich meal can help keep things moving with your baby. 
    I remember with my oldest daughter she would often get constipated when we started introducing solids, every since introducing spinach as a regular part of our children’s diets this has not been a problem. 😉 
    Question of the day: Do you prefer Spinach raw or cooked? 
    I prefer steamed spinach, but my husband prefers raw spinach to be eaten in a salad. 

    (Affiliate Links) My Favorite baby food making products! 

    Ninja Blender: http://amzn.to/2qDsTXO
    Baby food Storage: http://amzn.to/2r1YfZ2
    Space Saver High Chair: http://amzn.to/2rWCeLr
    *This post contains affiliate links, it costs nothing extra to you but does help support our family. 


    PIN FOR LATER 



    Sweet Potato Lentils

    Do you LOVE Lentils? 

    Growing up, I’m sure I never finished a bowl of lentils or requested them like my kids do (sorry mom).  To be honest, if it weren’t for the recommendation of my pediatrician and mother in law I probably would have never considered making them for myself OR my children! 

    With its low in fat, high in protein, iron and fiber properties, this little legume packs a serious health punch for you and your little one. Not only is it super healthy for you, a small bag at the grocery store costs about $1.50, and will last your family for several meals! 

    *When did/do I introduce Lentils to my Children? 
    Around 7-9 months, I begin introducing Beans and other proteins to my children. I follow the recommendation of my pediatrician and do it very slowly.  So far, all three of my children have been EXCELLENT eaters (as babies…)

    *always talk with your personal pediatrician about when and 
    how to best introduce new foods to your little ones*


    MOM HACK:
    Lentils are one of the few legumes that you don’t have to soak overnight before making – so not only is this a great budget friendly meal it’s also quick! 


    Sweet Potato Lentils
    Ingredients: 
    1. Lentils
    2. Sweet Potato
    3. Carrots
    If you are making this for your family and not only  for baby food add some seasonings like Salt, Pepper and Onions. 

    Cooking Instructions:
    1. Rinse Lentils
    2. Fill Pot with plenty of water to cover the lentils
    3. Add Sliced / Peeled Sweet Potato
    4. Add Sliced / Peeled Carrots  
    5. Bring to a Boil and let Simmer for about 45 minutes
    6. Enjoy

    When making this dish for my baby, I like to blend it in my food processor. It gives a nice smooth consistency and the sweet potato gives it a nice creamy texture. The color isn’t all that pretty, but the flavor is amazing!


    This dish is also great for the whole family, you can either serve with some of your favorite rice as a meatless meal, or cook up some pork chops to serve. 

    Lentils have become a family favorite in our home, and I hope they will become a family favorite in yours too! 

    (Affiliate Links) My Favorite baby food making products! 

    Ninja Blender: http://amzn.to/2qDsTXO
    Baby food Storage: http://amzn.to/2r1YfZ2
    Space Saver High Chair: http://amzn.to/2rWCeLr
    *This post contains affiliate links, it costs nothing extra to you but does help support our family. 

    Pin for later…

    The SECRET to a SWEETER Sweet Potato!

    As a mom of three children, three and under I’ve had to develop systems and find ways to make the healthiest and tastiest recipes for my children. I’m no chef, in fact, I personally believe i’d benefit from being on one of the worst chef type shows you see on T.V. However, I have mastered the art of making healthy, and delicious baby food recipes, and I’ll be sharing some of my favorites with you during the month of June!

    My tried and tested way of making the BEST and SWEETEST Sweet Potatoes EVER! Before I give you my secret, I wanted to give a little background on how I used to prepare them for my first born.

    Before I discovered this amazing hack for cooking sweet potatoes, I would spend hours chopping sweet potatoes and squash to either boil or roast and then blend. Making baby food often felt overwhelming because it took SO long. Then, one day read a little secret, and it completely changed my world!

    The longer you roast a sweet potato, the more the natural sugars begin to release and the potato becomes this creamy, yummy dessert WITHOUT adding ANY sugar, or sweeteners.

    So, how does a Mom of three accomplish roasting such amazing sweet potatoes?

    Hello Slow Cooker. 

    Yes, wash those sweet potatoes and throw them in the slow cooker and let them roast for a few hours. It is the PERFECT way to make baby food for your infant, and a side dish for your family.  I use this hack for making sweet potatoes for our family, baby food and even sweet potato casserole.  This hack also works for different types of squash as well.

    In order to make this into baby food, just let it cool for a little while then add to your blender with a little bit of water and blend, it makes the perfect first food for your baby.

    If you are starting to introduce meat to your baby, these sweet potatoes make the perfect addition to
    the meat.

    Instructions for Sweet Potato & Chicken Baby Food

    • Roast Sweet Potato
    • Bake Chicken in Oven 
    • Let Cool
    • In your food processor, blend the chicken
    • Add Sweet Potato & Water and blend until smooth
    We like to mix all our meats with sweet potato or other squashes, and now that I know I can cook them in the crock pot, no more chopping, peeling or spending additional time in the kitchen prepping the food. Making baby food is easier than you think! 
    _ _ _
    My Favorite Products for making Baby Food*
    Ninja Blender: http://amzn.to/2qDsTXO
    Baby food Storage: http://amzn.to/2r1YfZ2
    *This post contains affiliate links, it costs nothing extra to you but does help support our family. 

    Running Tips from Jeff Galloway – Motivation

    MOTIVATE YOUR WAY OUT THE DOOR.

    There is a point where every runner needs a little motivation to head out the door. Here is a proven strategy to get moving on the tough days.The method has also been helpful in dealing with other challenges.

    Mentally Rehearse: The following is a mental exercise that you can do throughout the day to prepare for this situation, as you are sitting around at the end of the day, driving, or commuting home. Don’t focus on the workout. Instead, break down the experience into a series of small steps which are easy to do. As you rehearse the sequence of these, over and over, you become more likely to follow the same pattern when you need to do so. Prepare by putting on comfortable shoes and clothes, and having your exercise equipment handy. You’re not thinking about exerting yourself – just getting out of work clothes and into clothes that are comfortable but could be used for your workout.

    1. Coffee? As you are dressing, brew some coffee, tea, or have a diet drink, etc. Caffeine (if you have no problems with it) will wake up the central nervous system, making exercise feel better.

     2. Eat a snack. Low blood sugar is the most common reason for low motivation in the afternoon. An easy-to-digest snack will raise the level so that you feel good and will reduce the negative messages received from the stress-monitoring part of the brain (the left brain).

     3. Weather? Just walk out the front door to see what the weather is like.

     4. If you are using exercise equipment in a health club, check the availability and walk around the equipment until the user has finished his or her workout.

     5. If outside, walk to the end of the block to get your bearings. Once you have walked 100 steps you are almost certain to continue. If using a treadmill, commit to walking 100 steps, then commit to running 100 steps.

     Have a reward afterward, such as a snack, a beverage, or a massage – you earned it!

     There is a principle of lazy physics here:

    A body on the couch wants to stay on the couch. But once a body is in motion it wants to stay in motion.

    See ya at the finish line! 

    *I am a blogger for Jeff Galloway, as such I receive great tips and resources to share with my readers. Enjoy!

    Bike to Work Month: Gear up!

    Welcome to Part 2 of my BIKE TO WORK series!

    No matter what you do, it is important to have the right gear. However, a trip to the bike shop can be intimidating. Luckily, there are some very basic things that every cyclist needs to get started.

    The Essentials

    Get a Bicycle

    For real. You need it. I started out by borrowing my brother’s bike. It was an old salvage job that sat out in the weather for a while. It was really hard to ride and always had some kind of problem. However, with a $0 investment fee, it was perfect for starting out.

    But eventually you will need to put your money where you mouth is (or the seat of your pants are…) and buy yourself some real gear. Since the bicycle is going to be your most expensive investment, it’s important to make an informed decision. There are several factors that you should consider, like:

    • Is this for commuting, exercise, pleasure or some combination?
    • How much bike maintenance are you comfortable doing? 
    • How portable does your bicycle need to be?
    • Brand
    Here’s how I answered these questions:

    What’s it for?

    I decided I needed to buy a bike that was primarily for commuting. Sure, I’ll use it to ride for pleasure, but I do not use it as an exercise bike per se. That cuts out those touring and mountain style bikes. I wanted something stable and simple.

    Also, I wanted fenders. Without them, I’d be wearing the road on my legs. Dirt, mud, water–everything would be liable to splash up on me. I needed fenders on my bike. Either they needed to come with it or be installed after the fact.

    Maintenance

    I wanted something I could easily maintain. Here’s a general rule of thumb: The more moving parts, the tougher it will be to maintain. I chose a single-speed bike with a single brake lever. There’s only one gear to worry about and no derailleur. This means the gears, the chain, the tires, the tube,… everything is easier to take care of right off the bat. 
    That’s not to say everything worked out perfectly with no hitch. I found ways to make things complicated. But, could you imagine if I had bought a bike with more parts?

    Portability

    I wanted something super portable. It had to be lightweight so I could carry it up stairs if needed (done that). I wanted to be able to load it in the SUV if my wife came to pick me up (done that). So I settled on a folding bike.
    Yes, folding. I can fold the handlebars down to the front wheel, fold the front wheel back to the rear wheel and slide the seat all the way down. After that, I can take the bike into my office or slide it in into the back of my SUV. Pretty cool!

    Brand

    Like the car you choose to deliver you safely across town, the bicycle brand you pick is pretty important. I found that Dahon is one of the leading manufacturers of folding bikes. So I chose the Dahon Boardwalk for my ride. It looks a little funny, but I enjoy the aesthetics and it suits my needs.
    Remember that guy who is the dad of the Penn-State cyclist? He approved of the purchase.

    A Helmet

    No, persons over the age of 16 technically are not required to wear a helmet. But they should. I have had several close calls over the year (too many to count) and I have been hit once by a car (she said she didn’t even look my way). So here are my safety rules. I only have two.
    1. Always wear your helmet.
    2. Always assume they didn’t even look your way.

    A Bag

    I recently purchased a pannier bag. They are basically saddlebags that go on your bicycle’s carrying rack. I haven’t developed an opinion yet, but I can tell you that I arrived at work with less sweat on my back.
    However, when I started I bought a simple Adidas backpack. It was waterproof, had discrete compartments for stuff, and was highly reflective. It served me very well until some low hanging branches ripped it to shreds.
    You’ll want a bag that can hold your work clothes, lunch and technology. I like my Adidas bag because it has two straps that snap across the front for extra security. It also has a separate compartment originally designated for shoes that I use for my riding clothes.
    That’s really all you need to get started. There’s other gear you might consider as you continue.

    Other Gear (Technology, mostly)

    Fitness Watch

    I like to track my rides in Garmin. I have a Garmin Vivoactive watch that works great for running, walking and cycling. It also has functions for swimming and golfing, but I do not do those sports enough to really have a good opinion on its performance in those areas.
    It’s good to know how long it takes you to commute back and forth. You can also analyze the map to see if there might be a more efficient route. Remember, cycling to work is a commute and efficiency is critical. You can also how your fitness level improves.

    Relive.cc

    Speaking of maps, relive.cc is a really good application that plugs into Garmin devices (Strava too, I think). When you finish a ride, relive.cc creates a map and displays your ride in a video. It’s really cool and fun, especially when you know you went fast.
    Here’s a Relive.cc video from our trip to Shark Valley.

    IFTTT – Location

    I use IFTTT on my phone to share my location with my wife. IFTTT sends a notification to a GroupMe channel whenever I:
    • Leave work
    • Arrive at work
    • Arrive at home
    Yes, it will trigger whenever I pass by work or home in a car. But judging by the time and day, Erin can know if I safely made it or not. She can also check on me if it gets late and I haven’t made it home yet.

    About Water and Exertion

    I didn’t say anything about water. Since I only ride five miles to work and it usually takes less than half an hour I do not hydrate on the road. However, I usually drink a glass before going out and as soon as I arrive at work I fill a water bottle and get to drinking. I also have protein powder at work in case I need a snack for recovery.
    I also (as mentioned) do not push myself when riding to work. I keep a comfortable pace so I do not sweat so profusely as I would if I were pushing my body to the limits. This is also for safety reasons.
    1. I go slower so I can observe and react.
    2. I go slower so I can have another gear to kick myself into should I need to get out of the way fast.

    *This post does contain affiliate links, it costs nothing extra to you but does give a small percentage to help keep StorybookErin.com going. We thank you for your support!* 

    The Secret to Keeping Cool at Disney

    Summer heat is upon us down here in South Florida, so I decided to make some “Elsa Spray” for my husband to keep in his backpack. He bikes to and from work every day, so this spray was the perfect thing for him to have. I saw this idea originally on this blog, but added a few drops of lavender EO’s to give it a little more of a soothing property.

    It is also a great item to slip into your backpack for a trip to the theme parks. Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and Disney World are all located in Sunny Florida and with limited inside rides and waiting cues, this spray could be your little secret to staying nice and cool. 

    The Recipe: 
    • 2 OZ water
    • 3 drops Peppermint Essential Oils
    • 2 Drops Lavender Essential Oils 
    The Benefits: 
    Peppermint*
    • Cooling Effect 
    • Often used to improve respiratory function
    • Can help relieve tension 
    Lavender
    • Soothing to the skin
    • Relaxing aromatic properties
    • Eases Muscle tension 
    Where do I get my Essential Oils? 
    I purchase my EO’s from my mom, who is a wellness advocate for DoTerra. With several years of personal experience with essential oils, she is a great resource. Would you consider supporting her small business?

    Kitty Slusser, Doterra

    *be sure to do your research on peppermint EO’s before using on babies and toddlers. 

    Bike to Work Month: Why I started

    Since the month of May is Bike to Work Month, and since I bike to work every single day, Erin asked me to write a few blog posts about my experience. I plan to write on several topics, including:

    • Gear
    • Safety
    • Health
    • The environment 
    • Finances

    But I’ll start this off by telling you how I started. So here goes!

    Why I Started

    So I started commuting to work via bicycle almost exactly a year ago. No, it wasn’t directly in response to B2WM, I actually had several motivations for biking to work. All listed above. Thoughts of committing to this mode of transportation were already fermenting in my mind for several months. Erin and I had even talked about it on several occasions.
    Since I know my wife so well, I knew she thought I was nuts. 
    Why would I do such a thing? It’s hot in Florida (We were in Southwest Florida for most of these discussions. News flash: it’s as hot there as it is in Southeast Florida.) Also, we didn’t have a reliable bicycle. And we lived pretty far from my job. And it was dangerous. And…
    Lesson Learned: If you listen to all the reasons why you shouldn’t do something, you’ll never do anything. 

    I Got A New Job

    I snagged a sweet gig at Florida International University on the faculty as librarian. It is a completely different lifestyle from that of a public librarian. That change of occupation was just the occasion I needed to push me to make a change in my transportation. In other words: New job, new me. 
    I made the decision to buy a bike and ride to work. It made an immediate impact in my routine. We were blessed to be able to stay with my parents while we looked for a home. They live about 3 miles from the university. However, this one decision affects:
    1. Where we choose to live
    2. When I get up in the morning
    3. When I have to leave the house
    4. When I need to leave work to come home (before rush hour)
    5. What I wear to work
    6. What I eat for lunch (I can’t really go out without a ride)

    Developing A New Ethos

    As a result of this decision, I now have a new element to my work ethos. That is, my decisions at work are directly affected by my decision to bike to work. This should not be surprising or radical. My work ethos used to be driven (pun, get it?) by my decision to commute by automobile to work. People who take public transportation are affected similarly by their commute as well. 
    It was frustrating to drive to work. As always, some days were worse than others. But a typical day included some shouting and trouble with others on the road. Likewise, cycling to work can be frustrating too. More situations can involve life-or-death decisions. I have yelled at idiots on occasion. But there’s something about getting to your destination using your own muscle power that helps with stress management. 
    It’s also a conversation starter at work. When people hear that you bike to work they have tons of questions about your experiences. At this point, I can’t imagine what colleagues would ask about my Kia… 

    So it starts

    So I began biking to work. I had a free month parking pass, so I biked about 70% of the time and drove the rest of the time. This helped me ease into the routine. 
    I borrowed my brother’s old mountain bike while I decided which bicycle to purchase. It was a rusty, rough ride, but it got me from A to B and back again, so I made the best of it. I didn’t know much about bike maintenance then, I probably could have fixed it up a bit…
    May is a tough time to start biking to work in South Florida. It’s hot already. Then comes June and summer. Heat. Humidity. Afternoon thunderstorms. If you can bike to work in summer, you can do it all year long. 
    So I did. 

    A Few Tips

    Beginner Tip #1: Take it easy

    So you’re interested in cycling to work, eh? Slow down! Don’t buy anything yet. Don’t sell the car. Don’t dive in prematurely. I did a lot of research before starting. I read a lot. I carefully planned my steps. 

    Beginner Tip #2: Talk it out

    I have a friend who is a competitive cyclist (he cycled at Penn State). So I talked to his dad about my plans. (Remember, the boy trains while the father finances and observes.) He gave me a lot of useful, valuable advice mingled with tons of encouragement. Find someone knowledgeable who will both advise you and encourage you. They will help a lot. Especially when you see them 3 months later and they ask if you’re still cycling to work. 

    Beginner Tip #3: Try it first 

    Try your best to invest as little as possible at first. Use an old bike or borrow one for the first month. Wear an old backpack. The only thing I recommend buying outright is a new helmet. Then you can reward yourself with a new bike after sticking to it for a month. By the time the new gear novelty wears, cycling will become part of the routine. Remember also that used equipment will likely perform worse than new stuff. So if you can do it with borrowed stuff, things will only get easier with new toys. 

    Beginner Tip #4: Take extra care

    Assume the drivers don’t see you. Assume the pedestrians don’t see you. In fact, assume they didn’t even think to look your way. (That is a paraphrase from that time I found myself on the hood of someone’s car.) Remember that you are very vulnerable on that bicycle and behave accordingly. 

    Beginner Tip #5: Read more stuff

    I’ll write a few more articles for StorybookErin this month explaining different aspects of biking to work. There are many benefits to enjoy along with a few pitfalls to manage. Read up and ask me questions on Twitter: @cjmnz8

    Cleaning Checklist: After the Common Cold

    As a mom of three, I am always on guard against the runny nose. When you have toddlers sharing touching and sharing everything, and a mobile teething baby crawling around putting EVERYTHING in their mouth, you need to work quickly and efficiently! 


    At the first sign of a cold, I begin this routine and each night once the children are in bed I will wipe the surfaces and toys again.
    Bedroom:
    • Open Windows, let the Sunshine in!
    • Remove and Launder All Bedding
      • Sheets
      • Blankets
      • Stuffed Animals and Comfort Items
    • Disinfect Bed
      • Wipe or Spray with a Disinfectant Agent
    • Dust the Room
    • Clean the Floors
    Bathrooms:
    • Clean as per usual
      • Pay Special Attention to:
        • Disinfect light switches
        • Door knobs
    General:
    • Open the Windows, Let the Sunshine in!
    • Disinfect All Surfaces
    • Disinfect Door Knobs and Handles
    • Change Air Filters
    • Disinfect All Toys
    • Clean the floors


    For additional support, I like to diffuse some DoTerra essential oils in the air.
    Some of my favorite blends include:

    • (2 drops) Lavender, (2 drops) Orange (2 drops) Lemon
    • (5 Drops) Wild Orange
    • (3 Drops) Lavender (3 Drops) Purify  

    If you are looking for an EXCELLENT cold fighting soup, check out my friend Meg’s blog for a recipe.
    I used her recipe as a base and added some carrots and calabaza squash for some additional flavor and vitamin C and A.

    Remember to stay hydrated, and rest!
    <3
    StorybookErin

    What’s in My Diffuser: Morning Routine

    Anyone still hanging in with me on the 30 day shred? I must confess, I am slacking… I’ve had a hard time getting it into my routine, but I am trying my best!

    In an ongoing effort to remove heavy perfumes and candles from our home, I have turned to the diffuser. My parents have been using a diffuser for years, and I just recently received my first one as a gift and have been hooked ever since. My recent morning blend has been 2 drops of lemon and 2 drops of wild orange essential oils.


    Why Lemon and Wild Orange?
    Wild Orange
    • Uplifting Aroma
    • Powerful cleaning agent
    Lemon
    • Promotes positive mood
    • Powerful cleaning agent
    I find using this blend of citrus helps uplift my groggy-mood, and is a pleasant start to my day! 

    2 Ingredient Carpet Refresher (Budget Friendly)

    Over the last two years I have been diving into the world of essential oils.  It was around the time I had given birth to our second daughter, and I wanted to reduce my use of cleaners with heavy fumes or toxins.

    I’d spent a lot of time on Pinterest searching for DIY cleaning recipes and today I thought i’d take a moment to share two ways I’ve used essential oils on my carpets.

    Both ways are simple, budget friendly and have been tested by me.

    This first only requires a cotton ball, and a few drops of your favorite essential oils.

    Supplies: 

    • Cotton Ball
    • Essential Oils 
      • I’ve used both lavender and orange 

    Instructions: 

    • Put the EO’s on a cotton ball
    • Vacuum the cotton ball 
    • Vacuum as per usual 
    What to expect: 
    As you vacuum, the essential oils leave a nice subtle hint. I liked to use the Orange when I would vacuum in the day time because it seemed to lift my spirits, and feel clean. I’ve also used the lavender when vacuuming bedrooms,  to give a calming fragrance. 
    Now for the second method.

    Supplies: 

    • Baking Soda 
    • Essential Oils
    • Empty Parmesan Cheese container
    Instructions:
    • Fill empty container with baking soda
    • drop 8-10 drops of essential oils
      • give it a good shake to combine
    • sprinkle the mixture all over the carpets and let sit for a few minutes
    • vacuum as per usual
    What to expect:
    The baking soda and essential oils work together to eliminate and remove odors from your carpets. I like to use this method when potty training. I just sprinkle the mixture over the accident, place a towel over top and once the baking soda has soaked in all the urine, vacuum it away! 
    These are just two quick, easy and kid friendly ways I use essential oils in my home. 
    If you are looking to purchase high quality essential oils or learn more, please pass by my moms Doterra website

    Fit Mom: Hip Hop Abs Program

    We are approaching the end of my hip hop abs program, and although my six pack abs never showed up, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about the program.

    The Trainer

    I love Shawn T.

    He’s upbeat personality helped this momma push play over and over again. I really enjoyed his personality, and had a lot of fun with the workouts, and am looking forward to doing another program with Shawn T.

    The Workouts

    The first week I was completely lost, I didn’t know my left from my right. However, that’s not anything about the workout. That’s just I’m not exactly coordinated. 😉

    I appreciated that the workouts were fast moving, and had very limited floor time. If you read my why I ditched Piyo post, you understand why.

    These workouts can be adapted for any fitness level, and any age. My 1 year old loved to dance with mom!

    The Results
    I still have another week on the program, and to be honest. My nutrition has been pretty rough lately, so I am not expecting any big results this time around. I will be sure to post them once I take them though.

    What program should I try next, should I do another round of the 21 day fix and try to destroy the Sugar Monster?

    Why I Ditched PIYO.

    So, I quit PIYO. 
    Even though my overall fitness goal for 2017 is to build my core, and my February goal was to decrease back fat. 
    I had to quit. 
    After a month of frustration with the inability to get the workouts in, I just came to terms with the fact that I just couldn’t fully commit to the program. 
    Why?

    It’s all about understanding your season of life. If I want to get my workout done, I have to do it first thing in the morning, first thing in the morning when only 1 of my 3 children are awake. 
    So, my current morning routine includes:
    • Get woken up by a toddler around 6:30 a.m.
    • Feed the baby
    • Feed the toddler
    • Put on ocean noise, to help the baby drift back into sleep
    • Workout. 
    Since PIYO has a lot of workouts that you are either in plank position, or on the floor and I have a 25 pound toddler who uses me as a jungle gym anytime i’m near the floor, I just couldn’t do it. 
    I was getting frustrated, and I didn’t feel that was the appropriate feeling to have towards exercise. So, I ditched PIYO. 
    This isn’t the season of life for me to be doing PIYO. 
    Why not workout before your kids wake up? 

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret about having three kids, three years old and younger.
    There are only a few hours that all three children are sleeping at the same time. Therefore, it is crucial that you take advantage and also SLEEP. 
    According to my Fit Bit, I am sleeping about 3-5 hours a night, with anywhere from 7-15 “restless” periods. 
    Notttttt a whole lot of sleep happening. 

    So, I’m sorry Chalene Johnson hopefully we can reconnect and workout again in the future. 
    Question of the day: What workout program did you have trouble committing to? 
    You might like…

    #miamifamous 2017 Recap!

    Last January my husband and I ran our hometown race and fell in love with it. We just LOVED everything, the vibe on the course, the pineapple treat before mile 11, the beautiful Miami weather.

    2016 was an amazing race!

    Read the Recap of 2016 here.

    So, the day after we ran the 2016 race, we registered for 2017! We had no idea 2016 had so many big changes for us.

    • 1. Third Baby 
    • 2. New Job
    • 3. Move back to Miami

    Um… Yeah… shortly after we registered for the 2017 Miami Famous Half Marathon we found out we were expecting baby number three, and I was going to have to run the race at just a few months postpartum.

    Baby girl was born in late September and since I was the new mom of three girls under the age of three, I really took my time to get back into fitness. A decision I do not for one moment regret. I ran a few miles here and there from November until the race, but focused on my core and general fitness during the month of January through the 21 day fix.

    When the half marathon weekend came, I was so nervous. I knew I could do it but,… I just wasn’t sure how well. My goal was just to finish.  So, how did I do? Well,… I finished.

    My finish time was 3:05:43, it wasn’t the worst i’d ever done and to be honest, I was quite proud of myself to doing that well under the circumstances. I was undertrained, and miserable in the cold rain, but I stuck to my run / walk intervals and got it done.

    I am now a 10 time half marathoner!

    21 Day Fix: Final Thoughts and Results

    On Sunday, January 22nd, I completed the 21 Day Fix!

    ::Applause::
    It was ridiculously hard for me to stay focused, and at the beginning of week 3, I had no interest in pushing play for another workout. However, I did push play each day and complete the program. 
    Thoughts on Container Eating: 
    I liked having the containers to measure out an appropriate serving size, and really felt that I learned a lot about what my body needs.  Since I shop primarily at a bulk grocery store, I found that I got bored with the options I had in my fridge. I think next time I would shop at a regular store and buy smaller quantities. 
    Will I continue container eating? 
    Yes. 
    I’d like to continue container portioning my meals for the next few months so that I can really understand visually what my plate should look like. 
    Thoughts on the workouts.
    Boring. 
    The workouts were fine until week three, by week three I just was so bored. I also got stronger than my weights so I had to switch the the bands and really struggled to use them – that is probably because i’ve never used them before and need more practice. 
    Will I do another round of the 21 day fix?
    Not right away. 
    I have the #miamifamous half marathon on Sunday, and after that I am going to start up a round of PIYO. 
    Results:

    • 10.5 inches lost
    • 2.6 lbs lost

      Thoughts on Results.
      I was not surprised that I only lost a couple of pounds, we had something like 6 birthday parties and a wedding on our schedule during the month of January and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a treat. 
      I was proud that I did the daily workouts, and when I was in my own home I ate fully on the plan. 
      If you had so many birthdays and a wedding, why wouldn’t you wait and start in February? 
      Life is always going to have celebrations so why keep waiting for the “perfect” month? 
      Would you recommend this program? 
      Yes. I think it’s a great program for someone who wants to learn the basics of nutrition and portion sizes. 
      **Please note, I am not a Beach Body Coach and if you are interested in the program I will gladly put you into contact with someone who can hook you up! These are just my thoughts after completing the 21 Day Fix Program.**

      Breastfeeding on the 21 Day Fix

      Where have I been?

      Goodness! I can’t believe I’ve been MIA from the blog for so long. Truth is, I couldn’t keep up with housework, potty training, meal planning, 21 day fix workouts and everything all at once. The first thing to go is always my blog.

      So,  I apologize if you were interested in getting more up to date thoughts on the 21 day fix via my blog.

      One of the questions I’ve gotten a few times, is in regards to breastfeeding. As a woman who struggled with supply issues for my previous two babies, I was a little nervous to start any type of meal plan or diet. The value of doing the 21 day fix, is that you are not completely restricted on the amount of food you can eat, and if you are breastfeeding it is recommended that you add an additional couple hundred calories. For the most part, I’d add an additional serving of oatmeal or some more veggies on days that I felt hungry.

      We are on day 19 of the 21 day fix, and I have not noticed a decrease in my supply. My personal opinion on this, is because I have been faithful in drinking my mother’s milk tea and also the 21 day fix encourages whole foods and leafy greens, which naturally increases the quality of your milk.

      Here’s a glimpse at some of the meals we ate during the 21 day fix.

      Question of the day: Have you considered a Beach Body Program?

      Disclaimer: I am not a Beach Body Coach, but if you are looking for one I know several that I’d be happy to introduce you too. <3

      Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot – Race Recap, Family of 5!

      Last Thursday our family did as many did, we woke up extra early, ran a local 5k, watched the parade, stuffed our faces with delicious food and chatted about the Gilmore Girls over a slice of pie.

      It was a beautiful day, one I will always remember.

      My husband and I ran our 5th Turkey Trot together, and our first as a Family of FIVE! Weren’t we a sight to see. I with my #teamsparkle tutu and matching visor pushing a regular (non-running) stroller with our 2-month-old daughter tucked in, sleeping peacefully. Him in his running gear pushing a bulky double jogger, filled with two girls who would simply rather be anywhere but IN the stroller.

      We start the race with a light jog to keep with the flow of runners, and just as we got a stride, it rains!

      In a state of panic, I run to the side and throw my body across the stroller and shout to my husband to pass me the nursing cover so I could cover our precious baby and protect her from the cold rain.

      Of course, the rain stopped as soon as we got back to running.

      Did I mention the two toddlers begging to walk? Well, the stroller protest was just starting to get wild as we turned into a major road.

      Back in the park, we pull to the side once again to let the girls walk with us.

       “You’ve got a long way to go” I hear someone shout to their friends who were walking nearby.

      My sweet baby girl (19 months old) did a run/walk for about 3/4 of a mile. I was so proud of her, she was so proud of her.

      As she ran, anyone who was actually behind us cruised right on by, leaving us and a few other families behind.

      I offered to cut a corner in the race, horrified my husband said “no way!” So, on we went.

      We convinced her to take a ride in the stroller for the rest of the course. Weren’t we something… Jogging through the parking lot section of the course, dodging cars filled with families ready to leave and enjoy some Turkey.

      We thanked the volunteers and enjoyed ourselves as we entered the final section of the course.

      Then let the girls out once again to run across the finish line.

      It took us 1 hour to complete the 5k and you know what, I wish it was longer!

      Why? Because for the hour, our family of 5 was completely engaged in the same activity and my husband and I were showing our girls that being healthy and active can be fun!

      It’s easy to get wrapped up in PR’s and goals to improve our running, I’m totally guilty of it. Let’s take it easy on ourselves during the next festive race, and celebrate the finish line NOT the finish time.

      Until next time…



      #miamifamous Monday – Week 1

      Ladies and Gentlemen, we are roughly 9 weeks away from my first baby number 3 postpartum half marathon!!!

      <excuse me while I have a tiny panic attack>

      Last year we had SO much fun at the #miamifamous Marathon and Half Marathon, that we registered during the registration blitz! Little did we know, God had some BIG plans for our family and we welcomed Baby # 3 in late September.

      I am quite excited to participate in the Miami Half Marathon again this year, last year I had an absolute blast, and it is my current PR for the Half Marathon! A year ago I was hoping that this would be my annual PR race, a race that I’d work to get better and better at each year. However, since we have a newborn and two toddlers at home, I think crossing the finish line in one piece is enough for me.

      Each Monday, up until the Monday for the race, I will be chatting about training and fitness! I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

      Fitness Recap

      Goals for this week! 
      • Be active all 7 days 
      • Drink 60 oz of water a day 
      • Limit treats to only on Thanksgiving Day and the day after! 
      What are your goals for the week? Link up with my good friend Mindy with The Weekly Chase to share! <3 

      7 Day Ab Challenge Results!

      The Results are in!

      If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably noticed a few 3 minute work out each morning, and if you read this post you already know why there were a few short and sweet workouts!

      My good friend Meagan over at Megforit.com put together a 7 day challenge to help kickstart your journey towards a flat tummy. Since I had just been cleared to begin exercising again, I thought I’d give it a try with a few modifications.

      Details of the challenge:

      • Complete the AB circuit 1-3 times 2x a day
      • Drink only water
      • No sugar

      My Modifications:
      • Complete the circuit 1x each morning
      • no added sugar to my coffee 
      • make a conscious effort to drink water 

      My Goal: 
      • Fit into a pair of non-maternity shorts comfortably
      • commit to 7 days of abdominal exercises 
      We had a visit to see family as well as a Disney trip right in the middle of this, and I knew I’d not be able to avoid treats so  that is why I didn’t want to commit to “no sugar”, I did try to watch my intake of treats. 
      My second born daughter joined in on the fun with me each day, I loved seeing her try to plank with me and do some crunches! I believe it’s never to soon for children to see their parents making healthy choices. 
      Proof Photos: 

      The Results: 

      Here I am at Disney at 7 weeks postpartum in a pair of non maternity shorts! 
      I am very proud of myself for committing to all  7 days, I found that it only took about 3-4 minutes each morning to do 1 circuit, and if I didn’t have 3-4 minutes for my health, I needed to reevaluate some things. 
      Question: Do you have 3 minutes for your health?

      Fitness After Baby – The “Bounce Back” isn’t my jam.

      It took me three pregnancies and three years to come to the realization that the “bounce back” just isn’t for me. I follow some incredible mommies on instagram, women who practically give birth then go run a 5k to celebrate. These women are beautiful, inspiring and give me a hope that some day I’ll be able to run without feeling like my who body is going to fall apart.

      After baby # 1, I needed to get right have into running because I was training for the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney, and I needed to get ready. I never imagined I’d end up running 39.3 miles through WDW at 5 months pregnant, but I did.

      Then, right after baby # 2, and a move across the state… I tried to “bounce back” into running again.

      So, here we are. 6.5 weeks after baby # 3 and I’ve decided not to lace up my sneakers and run. For the first time, I was not back comfortably in my jeans and under my pre-pregnancy at my 6 week appointment, and for the first time I’m totally okay with that. I’m still rockin’ my maternity clothes, eating like a teenage boy and figuring out life with 3 girls under the age of 3 years old.

      This does not mean I’m going to just continue to sit on the couch all day, unfortunately those lazy days need to start coming to a close and I need to start getting back into a fitness routine. So, that’s why I am excited to join my dear friend Meagan with her 7 day to a flatter belly challenge. (Join the fun, here).

      2 out of three of my girls were sleeping this morning, so I took advantage of the “free” time and did 1 rep. My goal is to do at least 1 rep 2x a day for the 7 days. I’ll be posting proof pictures over on Instagram, so be sure to join in on the fun! 
      Let’s work on our tummies together, thanks MegForIt.com for the challenge! 

      Running Tips from Jeff Galloway: Fast Lane 101

      Content provided by Jeff Galloway, with the intent to share with all of you lovely readers. 

      Neighborhood tracks are the most convenient place to run for most.  Whether you’re taking your first steps or wanting to improve your time, it’s easy to check your pace by timing each lap. Because I’ve spoken to many runners who mistakenly feel that they are not fast enough to run at the local oval, here are a few simple guidelines:
       
      • What is the distance of a lap?  Standard distance is 400 meters (@ .25 mile).
      • In which direction should I run?   In most cases, run counterclockwise.  A few tracks alternate direction from day to day,  so follow the direction of the other runners.
      • What lane should I use when running slow or walking?  The inside 3 lanes are reserved for faster runners and those doing speed workouts.  Most runners should use the 2 outside lanes.
      • How do I pass slower runners? Assuming a normal, counterclockwise pattern, move to the right to pass, with a smile.
      • Is it OK for kids to ride bikes and skate on the track? This is not a good idea.  Try to find another place near the track for these activities.
      • Do I have to pay to use a track?  Most tracks are free, but the hours of use may be restricted by the school.
      • Can I run on the track with an iPod? This is up to you but be aware of your surroundings and possible threats or faster runners coming up behind you.  Keep one ear uncovered.
      • Do I need special shoes?  No—you can use the same shoe for road, track or fitness trail—unless you are a competitor doing very fast speedwork.
      • Are there any times that I should not use the track?  If there is a track meet or organized track practice by the local team, find another running area.  Some track teams allow recreational runners to use the outside lane during their workouts.  
      Say What?
      Repeats—These are the fast segments during a speed workout.  Each repeat (usually about 3-5% of the distance of the goal event) is run slightly faster than goal race pace, followed by a rest interval of  walking or slow jogging.  Through a series of workouts, the number of repetitions gradually increases.

      The Fix
      I always lose count of how many times I’ve run around the track! How can I keep track of it better?  Office supply stores sell “counters” that keep track of the number of laps as you click each time you finish a lap.  Another method: time yourself for the first 2 laps, for two laps in the middle and 2 laps at the end.  Compute an average of the lap times.  You can compute the number of laps by dividing the total time run by the average time per lap.

      The Excuse
      There are lots of fast-looking people at my track; I’m scared I’ll get in their way. 
       The inside lanes are for faster runners.  If you run in the outside lane, you will not get in their way.

       

      Don’t miss out on this opportunity to complete the First Annual Double G! 

      The first 400 participants who register for the Double G will receive a JG-branded puffer vest! If you are one of the lucky 400, you will be able to pick up your vest at the Expo.

      The Double G includes:

      • Barb’s 5K (Saturday, December 10, 2016)
      • JG 13.1 (Sunday, December 11, 2016)
      • 3rd medal for completing both races

      * The Double G is only for those who participate in the actual races in Atlanta. It does not apply to the virtual option.

      Register at jeffgalloway131.com/onlineregistration/#.V-mcO_ArKUk

      FAST FOOD: Breakfast Ideas

      As a Mom of two young toddlers and a newborn on the way, I’m often asked “how do you, how will you…”

      To be honest, one moment at a time. It’s not easy, but it’s our life and it’s beautiful! 
      So, for the busy human I thought I’d share one of my favorite breakfast ideas! 
      This is something you can make for babies, toddlers, tweens, teens and adults! It’s simple and delicious! 

      1. Cook Oats to taste 
      2. Slice Apples
      3. Add a spoonful of peanut butter 
      4. Enjoy! 
      With a baby you can easily skip the peanut butter and just mix in some apple sauce. 
      I love the way peanut butter mixes in with oats, it gives it a cookie dough like consistency and makes you feel like you are eating a dessert! 
      Enjoy! 
      Question of the day: what’s your favorite breakfast? 

      Star Wars Darkside Half Marathon – RECAP!

      The (Innagural) Star Wars Half Marathon

      I was so excited to be able to participate in the Inaugural Darkside Star Wars Half Marathon. We had a busy day prior to arriving at the race Expo, and we were anxious to get there and talk to runner relations because there was a glitch in the system and my husband’s proof of time wasn’t read.  Thankfully he had put all the information in a notes section of Active and  RunDisney was able to (within seconds) place him in the appropriate corral! He moved from Corral J all the way up to Corral D [insert happy dance].

      Since I am expecting, and had zero intention of stopping for anything except maybe a bathroom we agreed that he should run in his corral and I would run in mine (Corral G).

      Pre-Race

      Prior to the start of the race, we took several pictures with some star wars characters and just had a lovely time enjoying the pre-race vibe.  My sister was also running the half but was in a different corral. I also advised her to run her own race and have a good time, because I knew I wouldn’t be pushing myself (at all) for the race. My only goal was to finish before the sweepers.

      The Race Begins

      The race started and I moved as far over to the right side as I possibly could and began my 30/30 intervals. I’d decided it would be short enough intervals to keep me distracted, and I wouldn’t get my heart rate up too high too quickly. On Friday I took a one-hour glucose test at the doctor to test for gestational diabetes and was still feeling “off” so I really just wanted to do my own thing.

      My sister must have passed me around mile 2 because I received a text message with her 5k split a few minutes before I made it to the 5k mark myself. I never saw my sister, but that’s alright, we were all running our own race and having as much fun as possible.

      Running Through Epcot

      Let’s talk about the start of the race, we were in Epcot and IT.WAS.AWESOME!  We entered Epcot from the back (like think underneath test track) and ran around World Showcase for a bit. Since it was still quite dark when we ran through it, all of the buildings had white lights around the top, and there was Star Wars music BLASTING through all the speakers. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but whatever nerdy ounce I have in my body was thrilled.

      Running through Epcot while the sounds epic light saber battles are all around you?

      Best start to a race EVER!

      Running through the Boardwalk

      After Epcot, we entered onto the boardwalk area and ran the path that connects Epcot with Hollywood Studios. The course was quite narrow at this point, and as annoying as I was to all those around me, I continued to stick all the way to the right hand side and run 30/30 intervals.

      Running through Hollywood Studios

      Hollywood Studios was also pretty Epic. There was a large stage in front of the Chinese Theater with Kylo Ren and some storm troopers, you know encouraging you to “move along”.  I had every intention of taking a picture, but … I didn’t. I got distracted by the ambiance, and just kept moving.

      Running through Osceola Parkway

      After HWS we entered the first long (and boring) stretch of Osceola Parkway. One thing they did, that I wish they’d do more of during other half marathons is they played movies every mile or so on the long boring stretches! I mean, it’s not like meeting Jedi Mickey (Who was no where to be found) but it’s pretty cool and distracting!

      Running Through Animal Kingdom

      Before I knew it I was entering the Animal Kingdom. I got a little emotional during this part of the course, mostly because I was having deja vu from when I ran the Marathon (pregnant with Baby 2). The sun was rising, and everything just looked so pretty!  I had a good time running though the Animal Kingdom and took advantage of a REAL bathroom and sink to wash my hands.

      Running on Osceola Parkways (again)

      After the Animal Kingdom, we entered the final stretches of Osceola Parkway. I’d started to slow down at this part, but was still well above the 16 min mile requirement so I was comfortable with my slowing pace.

      Running through ESPN Wide World of Sports

      Before I knew it I was turning a corner into the woods and running on a dirt path entering EPSN Wide World of Sports. The crowd was vibrant was we entered ESPN and it was here that the tears just fell. I’d done it… My knees still felt great, and I was approaching the finish line.

      My dad and younger sister had come to chEAR us on with signs, so I blew some kisses to them and then headed for the finish line. Where my older sister had waited for me so we could take a picture together!

      This was not my fastest half marathon, in fact, it can go on the list as one of my slowest. However, it was the most fun I’ve had running a half marathon. I loved this race so much, and think it’s a great addition to the RunDisney races! 

      Finish: 3:19:21
      Pace: 15 minutes per mile
      Pregnancy: 14 Weeks (Second Trimester)

      The Question of the day, who would you dress up as for a Star Wars themed race?  

      RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Recap

      Happy Wednesday Disney Fans!

      We’ve (finally) made it to the recap of the Princess Half Marathon. I won’t lie, I have been struggling to write this post. The fact is,… I don’t really want to re-live it. (Yes, it was that bad) but… My Princess Half weekend posts would be incomplete if I didn’t talk about the biggest race of the weekend, so bear with me – I had a pretty rough run. 
      Before I went to sleep I decided to set 2 alarms, I just had a feeling I wasn’t going to wake up. I was absolutely exhausted from the previous two days and a little nervous about missing the race. It’s a good thing I set two alarms because in my sleep I turned off the first one and almost missed the second one. 
      Actually it wasn’t the alarm that woke me up, it was our friend who was staying with us getting settled onto the bed in the living room that woke me up. 

      I got up and zoomed around getting ready as fast as possible, and fast walked over to the bus. I was the last person on the first bus before they headed over to Epcot.  Once on the bus I texted my sister to let her know I was on my way! 

      She responded that she would be leaving soon, so I got in line right away to meet some princesses. After I had met two different princesses, I got a text that she had locked her shoes in her room and didn’t have  key! 

      Sooooo, I just kept hanging around with the Princesses waiting for her to arrive. 
      When she arrived, I was almost next in line to Meet Mulan (again) so we snapped a quick picture and then had to head over to the corrals because they had already done “last call” announcements! 

      As we walked my sister commented on how long the walk was! It’s nothing like the 10k where you start right in the parking lot. 
      As soon as our corral left we started our run/walk intervals of 1:30 / 45. The course was really crowded, and a lot of people were trying to run in large groups so we did quite a bit of weaving.  Between mile 1 – 5 we cheered as the elite runners ran by us.  It’s kind of a blur as to the entertainment on the course, so I’m going to link you to Mindy’s blog – she stopped for all the characters with her friend Jenny! 
      When I started the race I was feeling a little dehydrated so I had a slight cramp, but I pressed on. 
      Once we made it into The Magic Kingdom I remember there being a TON of characters, and large crowds of people. We took a bathroom break just before mile 6 and kept on running. We did take a couple of selfies by the castle. 

      Everything was going FABULOUS until mile 8. At Mile 8 I just wanted to cry… My cramp had gotten more severe and now my knees started hurting. 
      WHAT?  My Knees??? 
      I’ve never had a problem with my knees, so I was pretty discouraged. My sister kept dragging me along and then, (finally) we made it back to Epcot. 
      I wish I remembered more about the last part of the course but all I remember was being in tears all the way through Epcot, and then feeling like my knees were going to shatter. 
      I saw Donald Duck and decided to grab a selfie with him before the finish – he is my daughters favorite! 

      We finished the race, I grabbed ice for both knees right away and headed back to my hotel. I didn’t stop for pictures, I didn’t look for people, I just went to my bus. In fact, I lost my sister in the crowd and just texted her from the bus – it was that bad. 

      After some food and a shower I was feeling better, but my knees were still in pain and I still had that pesky side cramp. 
      Our time was 2:57:08 
      I was in a lot of pain but was still super proud of breaking 3 hours for the half. 

      Question of the day: who is your favorite disney Prince? 

      Run Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – 10K Recap

      Happy Wednesday friends!!

      We are still working our way through my Princess half weekend recaps and today I am so excited to actually talk about the running.

      I was pretty excited about the 10K mostly because we my sisters and I had pretty epic costumes, and it was the first RunDisney race for both of them! (See about our costumes here)

      My husband arrived to Disney around 9:30 on Friday night and took over baby holding duty. The girls and I arrived on Thursday so I could be there for packet pick up and the kids races on Friday. As a result, our girls were missing Daddy and were both quite clingy.

      Once both girls were sound asleep, I finally got my chance to go to sleep. I continued to wake up every hour until 1:00 a.m.. At 1:00 a.m., my husband was looking around the kitchen area, because the poor guy was starving. He didn’t eat dinner, he opted to just drive straight from work to Disney and only had a cup of coffee and a granola bar.

      So, at 1:00 I just got up with him.

      I took my sweet time getting my hair fixed, and putting on make-up, putting my wings on just trying to get my nerves in check. I have run several races, many of them at Disney – why do I still get super nervous EVERY time?

      I was on the first bus over to the race, and quickly got in line to meet some princesses!  Since we were dressed as the Three Good Fairies, I knew we needed to get a picture with Aurora!

      After our picture we headed over to our corral and waited for our turn to start.  When we finally got going my younger sister TOOK OFF! She was SO excited that she just went. I’m more of a slow and steady, run-walk-run type of girl so I just stuck to the interval we’d agreed on (2/1) and let them go their own thing.

      The 10k seemed to fly by. Honestly, it was so much fun. I think it might be my favorite race distance to run at Disney.

      After the race we stretched and headed back to our rooms to take a nap and then head out to Magic Kingdom (More on that in another post).

      Question of the day: What is your favorite race distance?

      Princess Half Marathon Kids Races

      Happy Wednesday my friends!

      I’m (slowly) making my way through the Princess Half Marathon weekend with all of you. Today I wanted to share some pictures and highlights from the Kids Races.

      The theme for the whole weekend was The Little Mermaid, and the kids races medals were absolutely adorable (and if I could find where my kids hid it, I would have taken a picture).

      This time the kids races had a huge area for the kids to play before or after their races. The area included:

      • Color your own crown
      • obstacle course 
      • music 
      As done in previous kids races, they start with the 1-3 year olds and do all the “dashes” and then once all of the age groups have gone (just before the “Mickey Mile) they do the diaper dashes.  Since our group had two in the 1-3 age group and one in the 0-1 group we were out there pretty much all morning.  We packed lunches and while we waited for our turn enjoyed a pic-nic and played around in the field. It was such a beautiful day! 
      I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll say it again. The kids races are SO.MUCH.FUN. for your toddlers! (3 reasons to love Kids Races). 
      The next opportunity to sign up for kids races (or RunDisney races) is Tuesday, March 29th at noon. This will be for the Wine and Dine weekend in November. We aren’t running the W&D this year, but are considering registering our girls for the kids races. (Stay tuned to RunDisney for information)
      Question of the day: Do your kids love the same activities as you? 

      Tips from Jeff Galloway – Fast and Fun – Its a state of mind

      Good morning friends, I’ve received another set of tips from Jeff Galloway to share with all of you!  This time it’s all about speed! Who wants tips on how to improve your speed without increasing your risk of injury? 

      _ _ _ 

      FAST AND FUN—It’s a state of mind 

      Why is running faster a good thing?  Short and fast segments not only help you run faster in races.  If you run a few faster segments each week you can improve your running efficiency while receiving a better attitude boost.

      How long should you be running before you add some faster running in? After 2-3 months of regular running some short accelerations can be added with minimal risk of aches and pains. 

      Is it possible that running fast can actually be fun?  Yes.  The secret is be creative and limit the length of the fast segment at first. 

      How often should you run fast? Playful speed can be done once or twice a week.

      Four Faster, Fun Workouts
      1. Speed play that you can do on your own. ACCELERATE AND GLIDE.  After an easy 10 minute warmup of slow running, pick up the pace for 10 steps, then coast off the momentum for 10-20 steps.  Don’t be obsessed about the number of steps as this is just a guideline.  Don’t sprint–be playful.  Gradually pick up the pace, and then glide back down to a jog.  Repeat 2-3 times on your first attempt, and take a one minute walk break.  Each week you could increase the number of accelerations as you wish, with a recommended walk break of 1-2 minutes between each.

      2. Speed play you can do with one friend—CHASE game.  After an easy 5 minute jog together, one person takes the lead.  As the leader changes the pace (speeding up, then slowing down, speeding up) the follower tries to stay close but not pass.  After 3-5 minutes, take a 1-2 minute walk break and repeat with the other runner leading.  Repeat as many times as desired.

      3. Speed play you can do with two friends—SURPRISE game. Following the same format as game 1, the follower tries to surprise the leader by passing gently but quickly.  While there should be no sprinting, it is OK to run fast for 10-30 steps to pass.

      4. A speed play workout you can do with three or more friends—INDIAN RUNNING.  The group is running single file for a minute or two at an easy pace.  Then, the last runner, passes all of the other runners and takes the lead for a minute or two.  The current leader sets the pace, and takes a walk break.  When the running resumes, the last runner starts to move to the front.  Each runner gets to take the lead at least once in this game.

      _ _ _

      I’m excited to try some of these tips on my next run! 

      Question of the day: What pace are you working towards? I’m working on getting to an 11 min mile pace for distance. Right now I’m at about 12:30; so I have some work to do! 

      Guest Post: My First RunDisney Expo

      Happy Wednesday Friends! 


      I have a little secret… I never actually went to the expo for Princess half. Yep… I skipped it.  My race packet and shirts were all in the same room as the Kids Races packets and since there had been tales of chaos over in the actual expo, I opted to keep my girls out of that mess. Honestly, there wasn’t anything I absolutely needed to purchase so it was the best decision. I am sad I missed it, but my sisters and niece went on Thursday evening. They seemed to have a great time, so I asked my little sister to share about her first ever RunDisney Expo and Packet pick up experience! 

      Met Princess Minnie during packet pick up. 
      Hello! My name is Dana and I am Erin’s younger sister.The Enchanted 10k was my first Disney race and my sister asked me to talk a little about my experience with the exposition and packet pick up!
      I arrived in Orlando early Thursday afternoon with our other sister Ruth, so we could settle into our hotel rooms, pick up our packets and visit the exposition. The plan worked out for us because we didn’t have to rush to the Kids Races on Friday. Ruth kept Junebug (1.5 years)  in the carrier for most of our trip to the expo, so we wouldn’t have to worry about her running around.

      Packet Pick-up: Quick and easy! In the downstairs hallway, there were computers and printers for people to print their own waiver. We printed our waivers ahead of time, so we skipped past that crowd. The main room was full of booths and each was clearly marked with the bib numbers that could be picked up there. Bib numbers are printed on the waivers and we were able to go straight to our assigned booths. 

      After I picked up my packet, I found Ruth at the front of her line and she had already picked up Junebug’s packet. Since she was running the Glass Slipper challenge, she had to take a quick picture with her bib. 

      There were 2 spots for character pictures, but no characters were out at this time.  We did get to do a Snow White themed photo opportunity! In honor of Snow White being released there was a green screen and 4 or 5 Snow White backgrounds to choose from. They printed out the photos for you AND they emailed you a digital copy! There were also free buttons on the table! 
      Exposition: We had to go to another building for the Expo and this one was much more crowded! As soon as I looked down on the crowd I was ready to leave. 

      I had to get over it for 3 reasons: 
      1. My shirt was on the far side of the room. Ruth and Junebug’s shirts were in the bag with their bibs because Ruth was a challenger and Junebug is a kid. 5k and 10k racers had to get shirts at the expo. Since there was nothing to do except pick up a shirt, that corner of the room was not crowded. If you needed a different size shirt, you had the opportunity to exchange it.
      2.  My sisters ordered from Rawthreads and Ruth needed to pick-up their shirts. 
      3. Ruth still had not purchased a running belt for herself and was also considering buying compression socks. 

      By the time 1 and 2 were done I had made my peace with the crowd and started to enjoy the event. I was surprised by the amount of free stuff given away. We picked up a lot of samples throughout the expo and we took pictures at the GoodSense booth. GoodSense had a green screen and we could choose our 1 of 3 backgrounds and they emailed us a digital copy of our photo. They also had a prize wheel to spin and I won a sample pack. Junebug won a high five and looked so cute holding up her hand for her high five, she was also given a cowbell. Although it didn’t look too busy when I peeked in,  I never made it into the area where the “I did it” shirts were sold; but that’s okay because I really liked the 10k shirt that RunDisney provided with my registration.

      _ _ _
      Dana rocked her first RunDisney race and is *thinking* about doing another one next year after she accomplishes some swimming goals! 
      Anyway, if you enjoyed hearing from Dana you can check out her FB page. She shares a lot of motivational posts and healthy recipes.  
      For more about the Princess weekend, check back on the next couple of Wednesdays or here (10K costume) and here (half marathon costume). 

      Disney Princess Half Marathon Outfit Reveal!

      Happy Wednesday Friends!

      Last Wednesday I revealed our costume for the 10K. It was a LOT of fun to fun in costume, and receive compliments on our totally awesome costumes – BUT, I was pretty excited to NOT be running with wings for the Princess Half.

      Last June my sister and I decided we would be the Eels from the Little Mermaid, Yes… JUNE (before we knew the theme!). So, when it was 3 weeks before the race and the only thing we had was a green visor an no outfit inspiration for these Eel costumes, we turned to Raw Threads.

      We decided to purchase the ‘I’m with the Villains” wear our green visors and a black Sparkle Athletic skirt. We decided to put a yellow eye on the visor to be more inspired by the eels and last minute I traced a little mermaid onto each eye.

      Overall I was very happy with our costumes, because they were SUPER comfy, easy to run in and I felt we looked adorable!

      DIY Little Mermaid Eye

      1. Pull up a picture of the mermaid on your phone
      2. Put the yellow paper onto your phone
      3. trace the mermaid 
      4. cut into a circle
      Costume Pieces
      • Sparkle Athletic visor 
      • Sparkle Athletic Skirt
      • Compression Shorts
      • Raw Threads Villains shirt 
      • Pro Compression Socks 
      Question of the day: Who is your favorite Disney Villain?

      Training Update – RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge!

      *Calling all Princesses!*

      The Princess Half Waivers and Corrals have been posted, so go check it out!

      I was literally jumping up and down when these posted, I was just SUPER excited!! To be honest with you, it wasn’t until this week that I really got excited. A few weeks ago, all our plans kind of fell apart when my husband wasn’t able to get Friday off. Thankfully everything is sorted out now, and my dear friend is going to come with me to help with the girls at the kids races and packet pick up until my husband comes on Friday evening.

      ::Hallelujah::

      The corrals are posted and I’m not in the last corral (and neither is my sister) sooo…

      ::Hallelujah::

      Come on Princess Half!!!!!!! (but remember).

      Now, lets talk Training.

      Ever since my PR at the #miamifamous half Marathon, I have been SO motivated and excited to run. I’ve been hitting the treadmill after the girls are in bed and really enjoying my runs. So, I’m ready!

      On Friday I will be running 5 miles and then Saturday I’ll attempt 14 miles. We will see how it goes on the treadmill for 14 miles. It’s supposed to rain on Saturday, so I just going to go straight to the gym, get some movies ready to go on my phone and RUN!

      I’m strangely excited about it too. …

      Next week is time to taper, HOORAY!!!

      Question of the day: What’s your favorite ride at Walt Disney World?

      #Miamifamous Half Marathon Recap

      Yesterday we talked about the #miamifamous Expo, and TODAY we get to talk about the RACE!!

      Seriously… WAY too early. But, we needed to be awake, and check out before we left for the race. So,… just like when you #rundisney, we got up far too early. 
      In order to really wake up I like to take a quick warm shower! 
      I spent quite a bit of time getting ready, I put on some make up, fixed my hair, ate an apple and slowly got all my things together for the race! 
      We checked out before the race and seriously… that took FOR-EV-ER. There was only 1 employee and a bunch of people asking questions. I felt bad for the guy because he was getting flustered, but… it’s part of the fun of being a race hotel I guess. 
      It took about an hour to get from the metromover, through bag check and into the corral. I met up with a friend (Crystal from RunDisneyDork) and somehow in the process lost my husband in the sea of people. He was in a different corral so it was okay, he called me right before the start of the race.
      I was in the very last corral, and honestly… it bothered me because I’m so tired of always being at the end but… it was okay, I had a new running friend to keep me company. 
      The race started and I was freezing! I knew if I was freezing during the first mile I’d need to keep my blanket to stay warm while I waited for my husband to finish the full. So,… I stuffed the blanket into my running belt as small as possible and ran. 
      Mile 1 is straight onto a bridge, but I was so happy to finally be running I didn’t notice it too much. Crystal and I were doing 30/30 intervals and I was feeling fantastic. 

      In no time at all we were across the first bridge and on our way to the second. Still feeling strong with our 30/30 intervals we entered Miami Beach! I joked with Crystal about how it was just a quick 10K around South Beach, back over the bridge and we were done. 
      Well, it turns out it was pretty quick because with the distraction of the crowds and sunrise we were heading back over the causeway in no time! 

      Around mile 10 I started to need to stop and go to the bathroom, I thought I could hold it but at mile 11 Crystal kept running and I stopped to go.  I hung around outside the bathroom for a little bit trying to see if Crystal had stayed or kept running, and finally decided she had most likely kept going. 
      So,… off I went. 
      Right before we got to mile 13 I saw Crystal just ahead of me and so I sped up so we could finish together. I was feeling so strong and proud of myself and Crystal because we just really had a FANTASTIC race! 

      I crossed the finish line with an 11 minute PR and I’m still floating with excitement.  I finally broke the 3 hour half marathon mark!  Not bad for the girl who spent 3:27 minutes on her first half marathon just a few short years (and two pregnancies) ago! 

      Seen on my Run: Central Park

      Running through Central Park is beautiful, there is no question about it.

      Running through Central Park on your birthday… MAGICAL!  We left our hotel room around 7:30 and set out for a run around Central Park. We weren’t sure how far we would run, but we knew we wanted to see as much of the park as we could before we got too hungry.

      The perimeter of the park seems to be where most people run and there were LOTS of people out running. I wanted to see the inside of the park and explore some of the bridges so my hubby and I turned into the park and went exploring.

      We ran 3.70 miles and took lots of pictures. It wasn’t a run for time or anything, it was a run for FUN!

      Here are some pictures from our run.

      Enjoy!

      like my new baby hairs? 


      The question of the day: Do you run for fun when you are traveling in a new city?

      In case you missed it… 30 hours in New York. 

      30 hours in New York!

       I have started to type out the details of the most magical Birthday ever (and I’ve been spoiled by my husband a few times before), but I just couldn’t find the words. I am so thankful for my family and friends who made this trip possible. My in laws who sacrificed sleep to drive us to the airport and watch our babies, my parents who gave us gift cards to use for food and trinkets from our travels, and all the wonderful Facebook comments and text messages wishing me a Happy Birthday.  I am one loved girl!

      I picked a few pictures to show you the adventures we took during our 30 hours in New York!

      9/11 Memorial 

      Carousel in Central Park

      Central Park 
      Central Park 

      Niketown

      Niketown 

      Broadway
      Times Square Disney Store! 

      Ready to explore after the show

      Birthday Run

      Run

      I liked this tree… Central Park. 

      Central Park 

      Nike Store 

      Miami Turkey Trot – Recap

      Every year since 2012 my husband and I have participated in the Miami Turkey Trot every year.
      Recap from 2012.  – 10K.

      If you saw my Thanksgiving vlog you saw the weather was less than ideal. Since it was POURING down rain we decided not to bring the girls. The last thing we needed was for them to get sick, and I’m sure they had more fun with their grandparents anyway!

      By the time the race began we were SOAKING wet, and I was shivering. My feet were drenched from the puddles and I really wasn’t sure why we stayed – but we did.

      The race started and we just started running, and I felt GREAT! Since I was so cold I just kept running and before I knew it, we were at Mile 1. I took a little walk break and then ran some more and then MILE 2.

      Since it was still raining, and we didn’t have to worry about our children staying dry my husband and I just ran through all the puddles, and laughed together for the last mile.

      Just like that, we were done!

      As always, running in Miami was SO much fun. The crowd is always dynamic, and the vibe is incredible. I missed Miami so much and was Thankful to run in Miami again!!

      Question of the day: Did you run in a Turkey Trot this year?

      Did you see our Thanksgiving Day Vlog?

      Fort Myers Half – Recap

      I remember registering for the FM Half a few months ago, and thinking how wonderful running in November was going to be. November is typically full of rain and cool-fronts. If you hit it JUST right, you have AWESOME running weather (if you don’t hit it right, you have Splash and Dash or…Wine and Dine.) Never did I think we would be running in 97% humidity and temperatures approaching the 90’s… (so miserable).

      The race was scheduled to begin at 7:00 a.m., but for some (unannounced) reason the race began late. Our pre-race instructions encouraged you to line up with your pace, but there were no signs or pace groups to line up with.

      Mile 1 felt GREAT! Perhaps a little too great, because it was my fastest mile (11:21). I hit my groove and made a friend for miles 2-8. My pace was slowly creeping up from low 12 minute per mile to low 13 minute per mile, but I wasn’t too concerned about that. It was starting to get REALLY hot and I was starting to get a head ache.

      Just after mile 8 we turned a corner and started up a ramp… “just like Disney” I told myself for the entire time. Disney is always throwing ramps and over passes in the course (just for kicks and giggles I suppose). When I reached mile 9 I was exhausted. So I decided I’d walk until 9.5… that turned into walking until mile 10,… and then eventually walking until mile 11.

      At mile 11 I made myself promise I’d go back to running 30:30’s. 30 second running and 30 second walking. I kept my promise and mile 11 proved to be the most grueling of them all… (a 17:12 mile pace).

      During mile 11 we started the climb up and over the second bridge of the course, and had now been in direct sunlight since mile 9. By this point, I was just ready to be done – I couldn’t imagine how the runners doing the full marathon were feeling, but the finish line was coming.

      Even though I could see the finish line for the last mile, it took all I had in me to cross the finish line.

      After the race I walked directly to the nearest curb and plopped myself down to hydrate. It was during that time while talking over the race with my husband that I realized I had missed my sub 3 hour half marathon by a few seconds.

      I’m sad but not upset, I gave it my all. It was hot, it was humid and I was running on less than 4 hours of sleep.

      When I look back on this race, I will remember the older woman who cheered me on throughout the race, the fire fighter running in all her gear to raise awareness for cancer and watching the Marathon winner cross the finish line!

      Official time: 3:00:10

      Thanks for the memories and the PR Fort Myers Half!

      p.s. I think you should consider starting the race at 6:00 a.m. next year; especially if it’s hot like this year.

      The current 13.1 time to beat!
      November 2015

      Fort Myers Half Marathon – Packet Pick up!

      Saturday morning arrived far too early, and my husband headed out the door with both girls for a shake out run while I did some speed cleaning around the house.

      While he was out, I was able to get the bathrooms cleaned, floor vacuumed, laundry moved along and started to unload the dish washer. I raced around the house dreaming of lounging on the couch with a cup of coffee. Someday I’ll be able to enjoy that coffee, and that day will be sad because it will mean my girls are in school…

      Around 12:30 my husbands parents arrived, I pulled a frozen pizza out of the oven (I’m quite the chef, I know) and we headed out the door for packet pick up.

      Packet pick up took place at a crab festival in town, and if you wanted to park it was 5.00. Since we were only picking up our packets and heading over to Target we decided that I would jump out and get the packets while my husband drove around the block .

      Well,… I jumped out of the car and only took my drivers license (oops). I picked up our packets and then walked around the perimeter of the crab festival looking for my husband. My love was calling me, but I couldn’t answer because my phone was on silent in the car.

      Eventually we found each other and we headed over to Target.

      All the Halloween costumes were 90% off so we may have had a little fun in that department (We were without kids you know…). I also found a Star Wars shirt to wear to the movie in December and some other random things ( like stickers and Mickey tissues from the dollar spot).

      After Target we headed home to visit with our family, and then decided to order dinner from Jason’s Deli. After dinner we put our littlest love in bed and watched Inside Out before all going to sleep around 9:00 p.m.

      Question of the day: Have you ever had to pay for parking at a packet pick up?

      Monster Dash – 10K Race Recap

      Hello Friends,

      Thank you SO much for all the love on the other days post. I didn’t set out to be an inspiration, I set out to be a healthier version of me. It’s a journey I’m still on.

      Last weekend my husband attended a Bible Conference with Missionary to Niger Nate Bramsen. I had the opportunity to hear some of the messages, but mostly I was watching the girls.  I mentioned to my sister that I needed a to run a 10K for a submission time for the Princess Half Marathon and she recommended that I run a 10K at my former school (Lake Sumter Community College).

      Since she agreed to watch my oldest, I registered! $30 for a 10K isn’t a bad deal when you just paid 200+ over to Mickey Mouse.

      The two nights before the race I couldn’t sleep, at all. The first night (Thursday) I was at my inlaws house in South Florida because the girls had pediatrician appointments on Friday (yes, we kept our pediatrician in Miami…even after the move). Friday we made it to camp for the conference and both girls were WIDE awake from the excitement of being with family and in a new place – basically I didn’t fall asleep until about 2 a.m. and then the baby woke up at 5 a.m. when Daddy went to go for his long run.

      6:45 a.m. (ish) I headed out with our oldest daughter and my sister to the race.

      They had some stretching before the race, but I am more of a dynamic stretching type of girl so I warmed up on my own. I noticed my FAVORITE professor (who is now retired) has a bench in her honor near the track. It made me smile, and reminded me of the time I clocked a 22 minute mile in Fitness class and she told me I needed to work on that.

      The race started around 8:00 a.m., and I along with about 30 other people headed out around Silver Lake. The 10K course was two laps around the lake and the 5K was one time around the lake.

      I’d forgotten my visor  but I didn’t think I’d miss it. Well, I did. If you don’t have a Sparkle Athletic visor, GO GET ONE. It was no fun having sweat dripping into my eyes for the 10K.

      Since it was a small race, I ran by myself for most of the time. I could see some people a little in front of me, and some people behind me but for the most part I was alone. There were two water stops around the lake staffed by the college’s baseball players

      The race ended through a giant blow up cat with plenty of water and snacks for the finishers!

      I was excited to PR on this race, especially since I’m using it as a submission time for corral placement in the Princess Half!

      Time: 1:12:58
      Overall Place: 26/28

      Would I participate in this event again?
      Probably not. It was fun to do once but I’m not sure I’d do it again unless someone did it with me. I was a little bored and lonely on the course.

      Question of the day: Do you like to run in costume?

      Favorite Products for Running + Training Run Recap, Fall 2015

      Outfit of the Day! 
      *this post contains affiliate links*

      How I felt during the run: 
      This was a very comfortable outfit for my 8 mile run. The visor helped keep the sweat out of my eyes, and the shirt was a mesh back so I was able to keep cool that way too.

      I was having a little trouble with the sparkle skirt and the running belt today, for some reason the skirt just wasn’t sitting right on my hips and I felt like I was pulling it down the whole run.

      Overall it was pretty comfortable and the compression socks help keep my legs feeling strong for those miles.

      Question of the day: Do you run with a running belt?

      Recipe Review: Black Bean Smothered Sweet Potatoes

      It’s been a while since I tried a new recipe. I’d gotten into a groove of buying the same groceries over and over again, it made meal planning easy and groceries faster. The only problem, I was sick of eating my own cooking. Truth is, if I AM  sick of my own cooking, I knew my husband probably was too. He doesn’t like routine when it comes to meals, he likes more of a variety.

      I knew I had sweet potatoes roasting in the crock pot and some black beans in the pantry.

      So, off to google I went and a quick google search landed me on the eatingwell.com website where I found a recipe for smothered sweet potatoes! 

      This recipe can be done over the stove or if you are in a hurry it can be done in the microwave.  My husband and toddler (1.5 years) and I really enjoyed this meal. I loved that it was something new to try with ingredients we already had in our pantry. It’s also a great meal if you are trying to eat less meat.

      Question of the Day: Have you ever tried black beans on your sweet potato?

      You might also like…
      5 minute meal for the picky toddler.
      2 slow cooker recipes for a budget.  
      Oven s’more recipe. 

      Tips from Jeff Galloway – Do I Need a Training Plan?

      Since I am part of the Jeff Galloway blogger program, I get tips and motivation from Jeff himself to share with all of you! This information came at a great time for me as I am about to start seriously training for an upcoming Half Marathon! 

      Enjoy!

      THE TRAINING PLAN
       

      WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN?  When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation.  Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual,  tend to improve more, with less injury risk.

      WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN  Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice.  This leads to confusion and more aches and pains.   The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.
       
      KEY TRAINING ELEMENTS:

      1)       A longer run builds endurance, 2) a hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.

      WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER?  The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal.  Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts.  To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.   

      EVERY OTHER DAY!  Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day.  This allows for the “weak links” to heal.  The very slow long run is usually on the weekend, when there is more time available.  Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example, Tuesday and Thursday)

      SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don’t have to exert yourself on non running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat.  So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking. 

      DOES VARIETY HELP?  Changing things a bit can improve motivation.   You don’t have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.

      WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit.  Hill runs build strength.  Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form.  Long runs produce stamina and endurance. 

      WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS?  Take it easy on these days.  Do little or no exercise, don’t over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.

      SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY.  Not Recommended!  It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves.  While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries. 
       

      IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation.  Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience  more burnout and injury.  
      _ _ _
      NEW Jeff Galloway’s Customized Training Plan!

      Let Jeff customize a plan that allows you to “have a life” while achieving your goals!  Your 6 month plan includes:
      • customized training schedule
      • daily email reminders for your workouts
      • drills to improve your running form and efficiency
      For for runners of all levels, from beginning to ultra, with busy schedules or without a local Galloway training program.

      Learn more now!
      Jeff’s proven method has helped hundreds of thousands to achieve their goals, injury-free. Whether you’re a beginner or a Boston Qualifier, let us customize a plan that allows you to “have a life” while achieving your goals.Your 6-month Custom Training Plan includes –

      • A customized training schedule to your target race over the next season
      • Daily email reminders of upcoming workouts
      • Based upon your current conditioning
      • Drills to improve running form, efficiency, and speed
      • For runners at every fitness level, from beginning runners to ultra-runners
      • Perfect for those without a local Galloway Program or with busy schedules 
      Register now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 Half Marathon weekend from December 11-13th

      • Jeff Galloway 13.1 – Sunday, Dec. 13th
      • Barb’s 5K Presented by BeeCause – Saturday, Dec. 12th
      • NEW Fit Kids Run/Walk – Saturday, Dec. 12th

      Register now!

      Guest Post: Scene on HIS Run: New Orleans

      Hi Friends!

      Since my love and I took turns running in New Orleans last weekend, I thought it’d be fun to show you some of the pictures he took while he was out running solo in the City! (Here’s my run in case you missed it).

      My hubby’s Social Media.
      Twitter Feed
      Instagood pics
      Facebook Page
      Blog – Holy Things
      Blog – All about Books 

      There were a few things on my “must do list” for Labor Day Weekend in New Orleans. Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, see the mighty Mississippi river that Mark Twain raved about so very much, visit the Audubon Zoo as is our family tradition, eat an authentic New Orleans po’ boy sandwich and add a run to my map on Nike Plus.

      OK, maybe that’s a bit more than just a few things. But if I was going to make the long trek out to NOLA, I wanted to be certain that there was enough to occupy my time. Oh, the trek? We left at 2 AM (Eastern) and arrived at 2:30 PM (Central). That’s a lot of time in the car. After being cooped up, I wasn’t sure that I actually felt like running. On several occasions, I considered scratching the fitness element off my list.

      After arriving and checking into the hotel, we set out on our first adventure: beignets. Oh yeah, we were on vacation and we were going to treat ourselves immediately. Cafe du Monde, here we come! It was about 0.7 miles from our hotel, so we strapped up the baby and grabbed the toddler by the hand and made a beeline for sugary-fried-goodness.

      Get in my belly Coffee & Beignets!

      It felt like a hundred degrees outside and we got fresh, hot beignets, so we couldn’t get back to the hotel’s AC fast enough. There would be no running that afternoon for me. I would need to cool off and rest. Remember all that driving?

      Taking Pictures @ Jackson Square

      The next day, I got up early with my alarm. I got up at first light. Early enough when you’re on vacation. I had my clothes laid out so I could throw them on without disturbing the girls too much. I said bye to the wife and hit the road.

      First (or second) light on Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church

      It was a cool high 70s outside (South Florida Runner, that’s cool) and the city was quiet compared to the bustle of the previous evening. I made my way down Canal street towards Harrah’s Casino. It was about as peaceful as one would imagine a major city could be. I crossed the tracks by the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and there it was: The Mighty Mississippi.

      Reader: perhaps you are from a part of this country that borders the Mississippi River. Perhaps you could read Huckleberry Finn on the very banks that the protagonist of that book explores. Until this weekend I had never visited it. I am a fan of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, so seeing the river brought me joy. Isn’t that why we go on vacation? For the joy of it? Isn’t that a good reason to go for a run? To bring a little joy into your life?

      The Mississippi & Monument to the Immigrant

      Next came a few selfies. I know, it’s very narcissistic but I did it anyways. As I cut through Riverwalk Park, I paused to take a pic of the Monument to the Immigrant because who cares about pace when you’re on vacation? Once I got to the Steamboat Natchez I decided I should head back. I promised the wife I’d only put in a mile and I was about to hit up cafe du monde again. For you close readers, you’ll note that I broke my promise.

      Running through the French Quarter

      I headed back to Canal street via Decatur and paused for a selfie in the French Quarter. The architecture was just beautiful. I had to document the moment. There were no incidents coming back up Canal street. Just friendly faces and more than a few fellow runners. I imagine they too were on vacation, adding a little run to their map as a memento of their trip to NOLA while relishing in a morning burst of endorphins.

      As I entered my hotel, I realized that the model of New Orleans they had in the lobby was a perfect replica of the area I had just run through. I quickly snapped a picture for Instagram. I just ran NOLA.

      Map of 1.90 mi. run through NOLA

       I entered the hotel room and realized right away that I’d be babysitting for a little while. Erin was up even though the babies were asleep still (we REALLY need to buy blackout curtains) and her running clothes were laid out on the bed. “Should I go out for a run? Is it safe?” I smiled. Going out for a run was probably the best decision I made that weekend. She should definitely go out for a quick run.

      “Go.” I told her. And so she went for a quick mile run.

      Just in case anyone is mad at me for going further than I said I would, take a look at this map. Yes, she went out further than I did, so there! You can read about the Scene on Her Run right now.

      Scene on Her Run: my perspective

      Scene on my Run: New Orleans

      Our family road tripped to New Orleans over Labor Day weekend. While the babies slept my husband and I took turns running around the city. It was strange for me to be running solo in a new city while my family was relaxing in the hotel, especially because my husband and I typically do EVERYTHING together, but it was a nice experience!

      I set out to “only run a quick mile” but…

      I ran 2. 
      Here are some of the pictures I snapped while I was out. 
      Aren’t the clouds beautiful!
      The Mississippi River!
      Cute little park by the river. 

      Outside the aquarium.

      Crossing the tracks and heading back to the hotel!

      Stopped at Starbucks for a surprise treat for our daughter! She got to try Chocolate MiLk for the first time during our trip! 

      Question of the day: what’s your favorite part about traveling? 

      Weekend Recap: National Geocaching Day!

      Happy Monday Friends!

      How was your weekend? Our family had a great visit with my parents, and spent a good portion of the day Geocaching!

      If you aren’t familiar with Geocaching, it’s basically a little treasure hunt with your GPS. I’ve been geocaching since 2006, when smart phones weren’t in the hands of every person from 8 to 80.  You enter some coordinates into your gps and search for a small log, once there you sign the paper and then go into your geocaching website and log it there too! Back in the day, you needed a real hand held GPS and a notebook to jot down clues and information found on the website before you left on your adventure. Now, you can download apps on your phone and be on your way without any planning.

      It goes up and down with popularity, and I even go through phases with it, BUT it’s a lot of fun! My husband and I love it because it’s something you can always do. If you have a day that you aren’t sure what you want to do, geocaching is an essentially FREE option. Essentially you are just paying for a little gas to drive from location to location and you’re good to go!

      More info can be found here!

      We’d planned an adventure with my parents for Saturday, and then while we were on our way geocaching I realized that it was actually National Geoaching Day! So, that was pretty exciting!

      Here’s a sneak-peak into our afternoon of Geocaching!

      After geocaching we went and had some soft serve ice cream at a local produce stand and headed home before the afternoon thunderstorms.

      How was your weekend? Have you ever been or heard of Geocaching?

      Running Tips from Jeff Galloway

      As you know, I am a blogger for Jeff Galloway. As such, I get tips directly from Jeff to share with my readers! 

      Hope you enjoy his tips on training through the heat, I know in Florida it’s always a struggle to start a training plan for a fall or winter race because you have to begin in the hottest part of the year! 
      Enjoy!

      Dealing With the Heat

      Training through the summer can not only be grueling, but down right dangerous.  Here are some tips to train safely and as comfortable as possible in the hot summer months.

      Slow down by 30 sec/mile (20 sec/km) for every 5F temperature increase above 55-60F ( every 2.5C above 14C)
      When the temperature is over 70F (21C) you may take a 5 minute “cold shower break” every 25-30 minutes to keep cool.
      Try to complete your run before the sun rises above the horizon.
      More frequent walk breaks during hot weather can lower body temperature increase.  If you used to run 3 minutes between walk breaks, run only 90 seconds (walk 30 seconds) at 70F (21C) and at 80F (26C) drop to 60 sec run/30 sec walk or 30/30
      When you start to heat up more than normal, take a longer walk in a mall or indoor AC building
      Pick shady courses on hot days.
      Don’t wear a hat!  Pour water over your head
      Have an indoor alternative—treadmill, etc
      Run in the deep end of the pool, using a flotation belt
      – – –
      ANOTHER AMAZING LAKE TAHOE RETREAT!

      We stay at the beautiful and comfortable Squaw Valley Lodge. Lodge amenities include indoor and outdoor hot tubs, swimming, tennis, sauna and fitness room. Week camp began Thursday, July 23th.  Weekend camp began Friday, July 24th at 5PM. Both camps began with an easy run to get acquainted.  The morning breakfasts were followed by clinics by Jeff and his guests. Seminar topics include Running Injury Free, Nutrition, Speed work, Goal setting, Shoe selection, Pool running, and Running form / analysis.
      After lunch, our guests shopped, went sightseeing, sunned by the pool, or joined the group for a scenic hike, T-shirt swap, bike ride, river raft ride, etc. The group gathered again in the evenings for dinner onsite or at one of the nearby restaurants and after-dinner relaxing.

      You can learn more about the various Jeff Galloway Retreats at http://www.jeffgalloway.com/retreats/.

      – – –

      MAKE YOUR NOMINATION FOR THE MARATHON FOTO/ROAD RACE MANAGEMENT LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

      Make your nomination today!

      In conjunction with the Road Race Management Race Directors’ Meeting, Road Race Management and MarathonFoto will again honor an individual who has made a major difference in the sport with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

      The award is for contributions to the sport of long distance running over the course of a lifetime. Nominees, who may be either living or deceased, should have made major contributions to the sport in more than one area, for example as an administrator, elite athlete, promoter of the sport, or innovator as an event director or vendor.

      “We are seeking to honor a ‘sport changer’…a person who really made a difference,” says Phil Stewart, RRM editor and publisher.
      Nominations from the public are being solicited and will close on August 31, 2015.

      A ten-person committee will choose the winner to be announced November 6 at the Race Race Management Race Directors’ Keynote dinner in Hollywood, FL.

      3 things that surprised me after losing 90 pounds.

      We all have a starting place… Mine exceeded any number I thought I’d ever see on a scale, and the thought of attempting to lose 100 pounds was scary – the thought of NOT losing 100 pounds was even scarier.

      I don’t share my story to brag, because honestly, I couldn’t have lost a pound without the support I found online through social media or more importantly my husband and family.  I share my story to help others who may know they need to lose weight but are terrified to start.

      I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that since January 1st, 2012 I have lost 90 pounds and become a mother to the two most beautiful baby girls i’ve ever seen. In fact, I’m not sure i’ll ever be able to wrap my head around it, but here are the three things that surprised me after losing 90 pounds.

      Take a moment and look at these few pictures from 2010 – 2011, it’s when I was reaching my heaviest.

      Go ahead,… take a look.

      Our Church
      2010

      FIU
      2011
      Camp
      Summer 2011

      Beach Vacation
      Summer 2011

       

      See how happy we are? My husband and I were genuinely happy. Our weight was steadily increasing, but so was our love for each other. 
      So, now that you’ve seen more of less where we started. 
      Here are 3 SHOCKERS about losing a large amount of weight. 
      Shocker 1: It’s really hard to take a compliment. 
      If in the last few years, you’ve told me how great I look – and I’ve been really awkward in response, or perhaps offended you, I am sorry. 
      I just really don’t know what to say when people comment on my weight loss – really… I don’t. Mostly because I’ve been uncomfortable with my weight for most of my life, and because of my discomfort I read WAY too deeply into what people say to me. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. 
      From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!  If I seem awkward or slow to respond just know my heart is bubbling, and I’m thankful someone noticed my hard work. 

      My FIRST 5K, Everest Challenge
      May 2012

      Shocker 2: The struggle is REAL

      My husband gets onto me ALL the time because when we go shopping I will automatically look at the plus sizes – not just look at them, but try them on. This is why I’m no longer allowed to shop online – I have no idea what size I am. 
      When you’ve seen certain sizes in your closet for your entire adult life, it’s very hard to re-train your brain to give that medium a try. 
      Shocker 3: You won’t look like you envisioned, and that’s okay. 
      When I first set the goal of losing 100 pounds, I imagined I’d have a flat stomach and basically look perfect. The closer I get to my goal, the more I realize my vision won’t be the reality, and I’m okay with it. 
      Truly. 
      I’ve had two babies, and lost a significant amount of weight in order for me to have a flat stomach, I’ll probably need skin removal. I’ve got saggy skin, it’s gross – but it’s the truth. 
      Whatever your goal is, go for it! Weight loss has been the hardest journey I’ve ever taken, but look at these two beautiful gifts I received after getting my health on the right track. 
      Weight loss is a process, it takes time, dedication, and a decision to make better choices each day. I’m so thankful my husband said yes when I asked him to help force me out of bed an hour and a half earlier each morning for a walk. Those early morning walks are some of my most cherished memories of our times together. 

      Running Announcement: RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge

      Friends, I’m in!

      I’m officially registered for the 2016 Princess Glass Slipper Challenge!

      Any other princesses out there?

      I’m looking forward to sharing with all of you my training. Now that I’m a mom of 2 under 2, and my husband is marathon training, and we just recently moved to a new city and so many new things I know it will be a challenge but I can’t wait to share my journey with you!

      Blacklight Run – Tampa Recap

      “The colors will wash away, but the memories never fade”
      … (excerpt from Blacklight Run 2015 Youtube Video.)

      Registration
      Ever since my sisters watched my husband and I complete the Goofy Challenge  they have wanted to get into running, and have sent me a few runs to consider doing with them. When we saw a local fun run for only 20.00, we thought it’d be great!

      My husband and my sisters husband agreed to watch the girls (3 of them… all under 2 years old) so we could do it – SO we registered.

      Training
      I didn’t train.

      My sisters did, I did not.

      Packet Pick up

      This run almost required you to pick up your packet the day before. Actually, if you didn’t pick it up, there was a fee of 5.00 to pick it up at the race… seriously? What’s up with that?

      Thankfully my sister picked mine up for me, so I was able to save 5.00.

      Pre-Race Communication

      I received several emails prior to the event asking me to download a specific app to participate for a chance to win prizes. but no emails with instructions for parking etc… only in an initial email that it would be 10.00 to park, and so car pooling is recommended.

      I didn’t download the app, my sister did and said it was just like instagram.

      Traffic & Parking Direction

      It took us over an hour to get less than 2 miles, and when we actually got too the gate it was only 6.00 to park (not the 10.00 as stated) and there were only 2 people directing traffic.

      2 people for something like 10,000 people? – I’m not actually sure how many people were registered.

      Signs & Lighting

      Okay, we’ve arrived and parked. (Hallelujah)

      We had trouble locating the starting line, and really anything because there were NO lights. … Typically for a night run, you can find the start line because it’s well lit, not this one.

      In fact, the finish line didn’t have a single light at it either!

      The Course

      We were in a wave that started around 9:15 p.m., I’m not sure how many waves went before us but when we finally got to the start line and went, the cones were all over the place, there was no direction, limited lighting, pot holes EVERYWHERE, only a few random poles with a blacklight at the top and tons of people crowded around it trying to take a picture… (of what, i’m not sure because the color stations didn’t have any powder…)

      It was hard to run because of the crowds, and lack of proper safety necessities (such as lights and volunteers or employees)

      There was a water station (in the dark) with no one staffing it, just a table with bottles of water.

      When we arrived at the finish line, there wasn’t anything. No lights, no water, no volunteers or any visible staff …

      Additionally, there was only one ambulance and maybe two medics about half way through the course…

      Bottom Line.

      I was disappointed in the way Youtube portrayed the run, because when you watch the youtube promos you see lots of glow stations, color and fun… when you arrive, it is NOTHING like i’d seen on the Youtube videos.

      I hope to NEVER participate in this athletic event again. We probably would have had more fun spending our 20.00 at dinner or a movie than the Blacklight Run in Tampa.

      Question of the day: What’s the most disappointing run you’ve participated in?

      I am in no way affiliated with the Blacklight Run, I registered and paid for this run with my own money. I always try to find the positive in things, and give honest feedback. However, I felt that this athletic event is not worth the time, I was extremely disappointed in the organization of this event. 

      Tips from Jeff Galloway – The *new* Run/Walk/Run

      As you know, I am a Jeff Galloway blogger and as such I receive tips from Jeff to share with all of you. The latest tip introduces a new way to complete the Run-Walk-Run method. When I was pregnant, and Marathon Training I used 1 minute ratios.

      See the latest from Jeff on the best ratio for increasing speed below.

      Jeff Introduces a New Run/Walk Strategy
       The 30-second Walk Break

      Jeff Galloway‘s Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons: 
      1 – Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run.
      2 – Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often.
      3 – Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without. 
      Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners, allowing him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster. 
      The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 sec. 
      Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away. 
      After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down. 
      Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break: 
      A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race.
      As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi. 
      This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race. 
      Avoiding the Slow-down 
      Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times. 
      The Bottom Line 
      If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don’t need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It’s that simple.

      Do you run-walk-run, what’s your preferred ratio?

      First Run After Baby # 2

      June 3, 2015

      National Running Day. 
      It was the day I’d chosen to make my way back into the running world after my little break during pregnancy. 
      It was going to be perfect, I was going to feel fast and graceful. I’d be like a beautiful gazelle running in the sunshine. 
      Yeah. 
      That didn’t happen. 
      That first run felt awkward… It was like my insides were jiggling from my throat to my my toes and then settling somewhere inbetween during walk breaks and did I mention my skin? It may have been slapping me in the face… Well maybe not – but I’m sure it was flapping. 
      I wish I’d remembered these feelings from the first run after my oldest was born, but I didn’t. 

      I put this photo as my profile picture on Facebook as a reminder that I… 
      – trained for a marathon with an infant at home 
      – trained and ran that marathon (goofy challenge) 6 months pregnant.
      – that mouse (man) next to me believes in me
      – I will get my groove back someday
      Question: how was your first run after a break?  

      Running with Friends – The Galloway Training Group

      Do you run with a group, or do you prefer the time all alone? I’ve only ever run with my husband and on occasion my sister and her friend. However, I’m so curious to see what training and running with a group is like.

      Jeff Galloway has several training groups all over the U.S.  sadly, there isn’t one in my area but maybe there is one in yours!

      THE POWER OF THE GROUP

      The fun of running with a group pulled me into the sport 57 years ago.  Running and training with my friends Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter Bill Rodgers, brought out the best of running in me—while we became good friends, and Olympians.  As I travel the US this season, for our Galloway training program kickoffs, I see the same fun, support and friendship development.  I hope to see many of you at our free clinics.  Here are the ways I’ve observed runners of all abilities improve more and have more fun when in the right group.
      1. Great friendships
      2. The miles go by quicker—telling stories, sharing life experiences
      3. Guidance in running with the right group for you, with the appropriate run walk run strategy
      4. Because the group is waiting for you, you will stay motivated and get out there more often
      5. You’ll learn about some interesting races, places to run, fun running experiences
      6. On the really tough workouts and races, the group will pull you through
      7. Access to tools for management of nutrition, fluids, motivation, aches/pains
      8. The right group leadership can fine-tune the pace of each workout, avoiding injury/exhaustion
      9. Helping others who are struggling bestows an amazing sense of achievement
      10. Sharing the empowerment of finishing a long run can change your life
      Most groups, like our Galloway programs allow runners to try them out for free.  Together we can celebrate fitness and inspire others to improve the quality of their lives.

      Highlights of this year’s Galloway Training Programs:

      • Discount on the Jeff Galloway 13.1 and Barb’s 5K LINK
      • 50% discount of Jeff Galloway’s Running Schools and Blue MT Beach Retreats
      • Discounts on Phidippides products – Jeff’s store and the original running specialty store LINK
      • Discounts on ElliptiGO, my favorite way to cross train outside
      • Discounts on Pacific Health Products Accelerade & Endurox
      • Discounts on Cooper Complete vitaminsLink
      • Galloway Alumni hat available just for those who have been a part of our team before
      • Newly redesigned Galloway Training medal to celebrate completion of this year’s program

       

      Question: Would you consider training with a group? 

      Four Ways To Energize Your Day and Clear Your Brain

      Good Morning Friends,

      Happy Marathon Monday!!! I’m so excited for all those running in the Boston Marathon today. It’s such an accomplishment to train for a Marathon, and the 26.2 miles is part of the celebration!
      So, congratulations to everyone who lines up at the starting line!!

      As you know, I am a Jeff Galloway Blogger. As such, I am given the opportunity to share tips and articles written by Olympian Jeff Galloway. Here is the latest article, hope you enjoy!

      Four Ways To Energize Your Day and Clear Your Brain
      by, Olympian Jeff Galloway
      runinjuryfree.com

      It’s natural to become focused on the big things in life, and worry about outside forces, building stress.  A few simple lifestyle adjustments can result in greater control over attitude and energy, while reducing stress and fatigue.  Yes, you can exert more control over your life, produce positive attitude hormones, and blend together body, mind and spirit by planning and taking action.
       

      1. Walk or run, one day and a walk (or cross train) the next.  While the exertion will wake up the muscles, you’re away from the phone, allowing the mind a little freedom.  Most who start with a blank mental state, finish their exercise session with the day planned, and a few new ways to deal with problems.  Others like to walk/run during lunch hour, while munching on an energy bar.  This can clear out morning stress and prepare mind-body for the challenges of the afternoon.  Many evening exercisers believe that the weight of the day’s stress is erased or contained with the after-work workout.  Scheduling these outings gives you control over your existence.
      2. Don’t sit–walk!.  The addition of a few extra short walks, throughout the day, will energize the body and activate the mind.  Park farther away from work, the food store, the transit station, etc.  Many of my clients use a step counter for motivation and calorie counting.  It helps to find one that is consistent and reliable (usually @ $30).  Shoot for 10,000 steps a day.  You are rewarded for  getting out of your chair (or  the couch) more often.  These short walks burn fat, which adds up (up to 30 pounds a year!).  The best reward is the head clearing effect, which can power you through the mid morning or mid afternoon energy crises.  Even a 3-4 minute “recess” walk at work, can result in clearer thinking, more energy, and greater self-confidence.   
      3. Eat more frequently.  Each time you eat, even a small snack, you’ll boost your energy level. The longer you wait to eat, the more likely your metabolism will slump into drowsiness and laziness.  This also means that you’re not burning many calories.  If you divide up your daily calorie budget into 6-9 snacks a day you’ll burn more fat (up to 10 pounds a year).  Eat a snack every 2-3 hours, and you can feel better all day.  It helps to choose foods that have (percentage of calories vs total calories) about 20% protein, about 15% fat and the rest in complex carbohydrate.  This combination will leave you satisfied longer with fewer calories consumed.  To experience a fat loss, consumption can be managed through websites or journals.  For more information, see A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO FAT BURNING by Jeff and Barbara Galloway.
      4. Help someone exercise. The psychological benefits are significant when you help someone improve the quality of their life.  Offer to walk (run, hike) with your spouse, parent, friend co-worker, child—or all of the above.  My books WALKING & GETTING STARTED have proven programs with motivation which can lead you  and your “coach-ee” through the training. 
      Question of the Day: Do you need to focus on any of these tips? Which one (or ones)?

      Why do we get injured? – Jeff Galloway Tips for Running

      I hope you’ve been enjoying all these tips on running from Jeff Galloway, I know that I have.

      Motivational Tips.  More Tips.

      On Injury. 

      When following a training plan its important to know your body. Here are a couple tips from Jeff Galloway on just why we get injured.

      1. Be aware of the irritation of weak links.

      The key weak links are body parts where my runners tend to experience injuries are these:

      • knees
      • feet
      • calf
      • achilles
      • hip
      • glute
      The body parts that YOU need to be aware of are the sites where you are injured or suffer more aches and pains. 
      So, if you’re sensitive to the first indication or irritation in these areas and take immediate action its possible to avoid injury. 
      2. Stress build up due to the way we train. 
      • Training schedule is too intense-not enough rest between stress. 
      • Adverse training components – speed is too fast or has too much, too soon. 
      • Running form – too long a stride, forward lean, bouncing too high off the ground. 
      So staying focused on the way one runs and following these guidelines, can often allow runners to maintain a manageable increase without injury. 
      _ _ _ 
      Top 5 Ways to avoid Stress Buildup and avoid injuries
      1. Take walk breaks more frequently and run shorter run segments
      2. Form: shorter stride, feet low to the ground
      3. Slower long runs, with more walk breaks
      4. Avoid Stretching
      5. Be careful when running speed sessions 

      Tips from Jeff Galloway on Injury

      I’m back from our family zoo tour, and am excited to re-cap our adventures for all of you. BUT! Before I do that, I wanted to bring you some tips about injury from Jeff Galloway.

      From Jeff Galloway

      • Most injuries experienced by my runners are due to 1) pacing long runs too fast, 2) increasing the weekly mileage too quickly, 3) lengthening stride and 4) stretching. 
      • The principal in staying injuring free is to balance gentle stress with the right recovery periods – allowing for rebuilding. – Check out the book Running Injuries by Jeff Galloway for more info. 
      • Finding the right Run Walk Run strategy from the beginning of a run has been the best way I’ve found to stay injury free, come back from an injury and in some cases, continue to run while the injury heels. 
      I agree with finding the right Run Walk Run strategy at the beginning, when I ran my first Marathon at 25 weeks pregnant, I knew I could keep up with the Disney Pacing requirements if I just stuck with 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking for all 26.2 miles. That pace and strategy helped me to focus on the moment, and not the mile – it carried me to the finish line! 
      More from Jeff Galloway
      • Are you concerned that running will damage joints, and other body parts? I was told this regularly, from my first week of running over 50 years ago but the research shows the opposite result: Runners have healthier joins, etc. than non runners as the decades go by. 
      • While researching for my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU ARE 100, I have reviewed dozens of studies and could not find one showing that running harms legs, feet, joints, etc. 
      • It may surprise you to know that many studies show runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runnersas the years go by. 
      • A respectful and large population study out of Stanford following thousands of runners over 50 who had run for more than 20 years concluded that runners had less than 25% of orthopedic issues compared to runners of the same age. 
      As long as you stay below the threshold of irritation you can often continue to run while the injury heels – Jeff Galloway 

      Question: Have you ever considered what it’d be like to run at 100? 

      Motivation & Tips from Jeff Galloway!

      If you missed my first post, you can read it here. I was selected to be a part of the Jeff Galloway blogger program! So,  stay turned to my Facebook page & blog for tips and motivation from Jeff Galloway!

      As always, you can check out Jeff Galloway’s tips and motivation on his page www.runinjuryfree.com.

      When I was training for my first Marathon, I used the Run Walk Run method. I really felt that it helped me avoid the “exhaustion wall” because I knew it was an interval and it helped me focus and stay in the moment!

      In researching my book MENTAL TRAINING I discovered that running turns on brain circuits for a better attitude more vitality and empowerment better than other activities studied – Jeff Galloway.

      Yes. So much yes!

      In college, I went to the gym a lot – I never seemed to lose weight (and keep it off) and I never got that “feel good” buzz from working out. Finding running was truly a game-changer for me.

      How about you, does running improve your attitude more than just working out?

      7 Training & Motivational Tips from Jeff Galloway

      I am SO excited to announce that I have been selected to participate in Jeff Galloway’s blogger program. I was first introduced to Jeff during the WDW Everest Challenge at Disney. It was my first 5K, and I loosely followed one of his training plans. 

      I then followed his training plan to complete my first ever Half Marathon in February of 2013 (Princess Half) Of course, when it was time to train for the WDW Goofy Challenge, Jeff Galloway was my go-to-guy for training plans! (You can read about it here)

      Now that I’ve established, I’m pretty much the number 1 fan. You might still be wondering WHO IS JEFF GALLOWAY??? 

      1972 U.S. Olympian, Jeff Galloway can be referred to as “America’s Coach”, he has helped thousands of people (just like me) train and accomplish running goals with his proven Run-Walk-Run method. Check out his website for additional information. 

      On a personal note, he and his wife were among the first two people to know about Baby #2 (sorry mom!) My husband and I were at the Expo for Disney’s Tower of Terror 10-miler, and we happened to see the Jeff was there talking to runners, giving tips, taking photos, etc… So, we stopped by, said hello and then got to talking about training for the Goofy Challenge. Our conversation was just started when I mentioned I’d be running the Goofy Challenge at 25 weeks pregnant and would LOVE any tips. Immediately he referred me to his (totally adorable) wife, and we talked for a good 20+ minutes about running pregnant, and following the run/walk method. 

      So, I’m VERY excited to be a part of the Jeff Galloway blogger program. Not only because his run/walk method has gotten me to the finish line with a smile on my face EVERY single time I’ve used it, but because I truly believe his advice is helpful and want to share it with all of you! 

      So, here we go! 

      7 Tips for Jeff Galloway himself! 

      • When paced correctly, running delivers the best attitude boost you can get. Sustain this by pacing yourself gently during the first mile or three.
      • A well-paced run enhances vitality for the rest of the day.  Start each run at least 30 seconds a mile slower than you will run at the end.
      • If you have a Run Walk Run strategy that is right for you on that day, it’s possible to feel good after every run-even the marathon.
      • Running is the best stress reliever I’ve found. Research shows that running tends to activate the conscious brain which over-rides the emotional subconscious brain and manages the negative and anxiety hormones during and after the run.
      • Research shows that as runners get faster, their stride length shortens.  A quicker cadence is the mechanical key to faster running.
      • The finishing of a run that is longer than you’ve run in the last 3 weeks can bestow a sense of achievement that is unique and empowering-due to positive brain circuits that are turned on.
      • You can’t run a long run too slowly or take too many walk breaks.  You’ll get the same endurance based upon the distance covered.

      Why Goofy During Pregnancy?

      If you are new to my blog, and only reading about my Marathon Weekend Adventures (Parts 1, 2, & 3) You might think I’m a little crazy and you know what, that’s okay.

      So, here I am. Answering the question that I’ve gotten already a few times, and if someone has actually asked me – chances are there are people who are thinking it, but not asking.

      So, why goofy?  Why accept the challenge to run 39.3 miles at 25 weeks pregnant?

      Medical Clearance.
      Let’s start here. My Doctor said I could… Now, I am NOT a medical professional, I am a mom-blogger who loves to run. My doctor cleared me to continue training and to run the Goofy Challenge. I reviewed all my fuels with her, my run/walk intervals and I promised that if at any time I were to get a cramp, felt weak, dizzy or any other symptoms of an injury or dehydration I would stop.   I was very open and honest with my doctor about my training – and very grateful for her support.

      January 2013
      Take a walk down memory lane with me for a moment. It was here that I first decided to run the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World. I’d successfully made it through an entire year of changing my lifestyle and getting healthy, I was AT Disney World during Marathon Weekend, surrounded by hundreds (or thousands) of people who LOVED running and many of them were about to complete the Goofy Challenge themselves.

      I was so inspired.

      I was set to run my first half Marathon in about a month (the Princess Half) and completely hooked on running. I’d decided that in 2014, I WOULD run the Goofy Challenge, and I WOULD have a blast doing so.

      April came along, and we registered. Around the time we registered, or a little before… I even posted about how we would be training for the next 9 months and compared it to another 9 month life changing experience … (post here)

      Isn’t it ironic that instead of the 9 months of Marathon Training I thought I was going to have, I ended up spending the next 9 months preparing for motherhood? … Crazy – I know.

      Our family was growing, and I was due the weekend after Marathon Weekend. Goofy would have to wait… I was able to run until 38 weeks pregnant (all with medical clearance from my doctor), and continued to eat healthy and make plans for crossing the finish line for the Goofy Challenge.

      January 2014, we welcomed Little Lady into our lives, and it was beautiful. Our little family of 2 had now grown to 3 and honestly… I hardly remember life without her (that’s a lie, we slept more).

      In late February i’d received medical clearance to run and resume all forms of exercise. I actually didn’t start much more than walking until March of 2014.

      From March – June I focused on my core doing yoga and programs such as PIYO, with the intent to begin training for the Goofy Challenge on July 1.

      July 1 – day one of training.

      YAY!!!! I’m finally training for the Goofy Challenge, it was AWESOME!! Our little lady was big enough to handle being in a jogger, and we were ready to train.

      Around September I found myself in bed (or hugging a toilet) for 3 days. I thought I had been over training, or perhaps doing too much. I had recently returned to work, I was still trying to breastfeed, I was not sleeping more than about 5-6 hours a night and honestly I just thought I was tired.

      On day 3 of not holding anything down, feeling weak and overly emotional I called my husband at work and asked him to take me to urgent care. I just wanted to feel better, I wanted to feel better so I could start running again. I HAD to cross that finish line…

      While at Urgent Care they asked my permission to test for pregnancy. I honestly didn’t think much of it and when the doctor came in evaluated me and told me he wasn’t sure what was wrong other than severe dehydration i’d gone back to my original thought that I was over-doing it – and there was not a baby on the way.

      When he ran back in and told me he “solved the mystery” I was a little stunned (mostly at how excited he was) – he says “You’re pregnant!”

      I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it… Pregnant,… again? Will I ever get to Run the Goofy Challenge? He put me on an IV with fluids, gave me some anti-nausea medication and told me to take a nap.

      So, I napped.

      When I got home, I called my OB and scheduled an appointment.

      During my first appointment she sent me right away to have an ultrasound to see how far along I was and when I came back, her first question “Are we Marathon Training again?”

      … she knows me so well.

      Since I was only 7 weeks along, and at the time of the Goofy Challenge I’d still be in my second trimester, she agreed to let me train with the intent of running the challenge. We had many long conversations about fueling, and hydrating and hydrating, and hydrating… and through all the crazy morning sickness (that I still have) I was able to maintain 16 minute miles (with bathroom breaks etc…) so I felt confident I could complete the challenge.

      It was an honor to run with my husband and my bump. I was very focused during the challenge. I was focused on hydrating, and staying in-tune with my body. I made sure I knew what type of turf we were running on so not to trip. I made sure I kept my blood sugars stable by eating constantly, and I made sure to stay away from the middle of the course so that there would be less chance of being in the way of a runner.

      Final thoughts.

      Training for a Marathon with an infant, a pregnancy (with crazy morning sickness), a full time job and a husband was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. BUT – my husband was also committed, and we have such a supportive family that knew of our commitment so it was totally doable.

      Would I do it again?

      Yes.

      Would I do it again pregnant?

      I’d have to review the situation, it totally depends on the pregnancy.

      Question of the Day: Who is in your circle of support for training, or big life commitments?

      WDW Marathon Weekend: Kids Races and Expo Fun!

      Welcome to Recap 1 of one of the most exciting weekends EVER!!

      My husband and I started our health Journey in January of 2012. We began by simply tracking our calories on MyFitnessPal , walking and drinking more water. I started running one morning when I was embarrassed that an older larger man could run and I couldn’t. So, I took off and ran too. Surprisingly… I didn’t hate it!

      So excited about my new found form of exercise I told a co-worker who then encouraged me to run the Everest Challenge!  We ran the challenge in May of 2012 and from the moment we were hooked on running   crossing finish lines.

      January 2013 we attended the WDW Marathon Weekend (ran the 5K). Marathon Weekend is so inspiring, I hadn’t even run a 1/2 Marathon yet and I told my husband (and announced on Social Media) that in 2014 I was going to run the Goofy Challenge.

      Obviously, the Lord had other plans and instead of running the Goofy Challenge in January of 2014, I was deferring the challenge to welcome our Little Lady into the World.

      So, here we are… Two years later. Recapping the weekend I’ve been thinking about since the last time I was in Disney for Marathon Weekend!

      Thursday, January 8
      3:20 a.m. – The alarm goes off, and our daughter begins to go into hysterics. … A bottle of milk saves the day and we make it out the door by around 3:45ish. Head over to CVS to pick up some last minute items and make it to my husband’s parents house by 4:15.

      Everything gets loaded into the car and we are on our way by 5:00 a.m.

      Around 9:30 we make it to O-town and stop for Breakfast at Cracker Barrel!

      10:30 it’s EXPO time!!!


      I’d done a bit of planning so I knew exactly what building we needed to go to in order to grab Little Lady’s packet. There was NO line for her bib OR our Goofy Bib’s so we went ahead and grabbed the bibs, snapped our “goofy challenge” picture and headed out to the field for Little Lady’s race.

      Unfortunately, it was about 40 degrees with a windchill so our little Miami lady was NOT willing to leave our arms for the race. We put her in about 3 different heats of the Diaper Dash and she flat out refused to move for either one.

      **sigh**

      Oh well,… another time.

      After the kids races we went back through the Expo to pick up our shirts and check out the Merchandise. I was pleasantly surprised at how much official merchandise there was and how smooth everything seemed to be flowing at the Expo.

      I purchased an “I did it” shirt for the Goofy Challenge and the Marathon, and promptly put them at the bottom of my drawer in the hotel. I was NOT going to even THINK about them as part of my wardrobe until I’d actually accomplished the Goofy Challenge!

      Other than the official merchandise, we really didn’t spend too much time at the Expo looking around. I was quite tired and getting hungry so we opted to head over to our hotel to check in and have some lunch.

      It was great to run into my friend Lena from The Beginners Runner Blog and catch up.

      Starlight Half Marathon and Mount Dora Half Race Recap

      Hello Friends!

      I’m finally ready to talk about my husband and I’s double half marathon weekend! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that for our 6th wedding anniversary we decided to complete two half marathons in 1 weekend.

      Our Schedule:

      12/20 – Happy Anniversary!!!!

      • 10a – drop off Little Lady
      • 10:30a – drive to Palm Coast, FL 
      • Lunch time – Panera Bread, and a quick trip to Kohls for a car charger
      • 4:30p – Packet Pick up! 
      • 6:00p – Starlight Half Marathon!!
      • 9:15p – Starlight Half Marathon completed
      • 10:00p – McDonalds Cheeseburger
      • 11:30p – Arrive in Central Florida 
      12/21 – Half Marathon 2
      • 4:30a – Alarm goes off…
      • 5:15a – Leave for Mount Dora
      • 5:45a – Packet Pick Up!!
      • 6:00a – Meet some AWESOME RunDisney people from an Online RunDisney Forum (shout out to RtD) 
      • 7:00a – Mount Dora Half Marathon
      • 11:00a – Mount Dora Half Marathon completed
      • 11:20a – The biggest serving of iHOP food I’ve ever eaten… 
      • 12:00p – Shower / Stretch / Nap
      • 3:00p – Drive to Disney
      • 4:00p- Check into Allstar Music
      • 4:30p – Explore Disney
      • 9:00p – Dinner at Beaches and Cream 
      • 11:00p – Goodnight Moon 
      Okay, now that you’ve seen the schedule here’s my recap! 
      Starlight Half Marathon

      The Course:
      • I loved it! It was so lovely, and there were so many Christmas Lights, and other festive decorations throughout the course. 
      • The only negative was the course was VERY dark at parts. … VERY dark. 
      The Amenities:
      • Shirt (long-sleeved)
      • Medal (large size)
      • Beer / Hot Chocolate
      • Snack after the race
      The Volunteers / Directors:
      • Fabulous! Honestly, there was a great support system from the local police, and just locals. Everyone was so positive and encouraging – it was wonderful! 
      Considerations for next year? 
      • more bathrooms (this preggo was in desperate need of a potty!)
      Would you run it again? 
      • I think so, I really enjoyed the course and the support from the volunteers and coordinators. 
      Time: 3:18:50 (~15:00 min mile pace)

      The Mount Dora Half Marathon

      The Course: 
      • Really pretty
      • Too many hills 
      • Seriously… like Florida MOUNTAINS
      The Amenities:
      • Tech Shirt
      • Snacks
      • Fuel Station 
      • Water Bottles at the finish
      • Advil at the finish (if desired)
      • Nice medal with spinning rocking chair
      • Bag with race logo 
      Volunteers / Coordinators:
      • Wonderful! 
        • I truly felt that the people organizing the event truly enjoyed watching others run, and were so encouraging throughout the race. There was also a lot of support from the local police station, also very encouraging! 
      Considerations for next year?
      • Couldn’t think of any… 
      Would I run it again? 
      • If I was in the area, i’d do it again – but NOT after 3 hours of sleep…. 
      Time: 4:00 hours (~18 min mile)
      What went wrong? 
      Well, due to the lack of sleep, lack of proper hydration and food I got a cramp. Since I’m pregnant, I’m really sensitive to any discomfort (especially in my side or abdomen) so we decided to walk for the first mile or so. 
      That’s not a problem, but… it was a little chilly out and with already sore muscles and hills – we got cold and tight. Therefore, it was near impossible for us to get warmed up. I finally got my stride for a few miles, but I was cold, stiff and not feeling very well so it was tough. 
      In tears I turned the corner towards the finish line – I’ve never felt worse approaching a finish line and hope to never make such poor choices again. 
      Half Marathon #4 is in the books, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of the lessons learned and how I will manage the hit my pride took as I prepare for the Goofy Challenge next weekend! 

      Run Disney Goofy Challenge Training.

      I am just days away from officially beginning goofy training!

      excuse me for 1 tiny second.  GOOFY?

      Yes. Goofy!

      I feel like I talk about Goofy like its a common knowledge, and I understand that for those in the RunDisney world it is. However, for those regular Disney fans who when they think “Goofy”, they picture this guy… I will explain the challenge.

      May 2013, Before we knew about Little Lady… 🙂
      The Goofy Challenge is hosted by RunDisney each January during Marathon Weekend. It consists of running 39.3 miles over 2 days. 
      On the first day, you run 13.1 miles (Half Marathon hosted by Donald Duck)
      On the second day you run 26.2 miles (Full Marathon hosted by Mickey Mouse)
      At the end of the two races, you have officially run 39.3 miles, and through all 4 parks (some of them twice)! As a reward you get 3 fabulous medals and of course the satisfaction of knowing that YOU have run a Marathon!!! 
      This year is the 10th anniversary of the Goofy Challenge so there is a special medal and everything! 
      I’m SUPER excited, and SUPER nervous! 

      You can read more about the challenge on the RunDisney website.  
      QOTD: Do you RunDisney? – What’s your favorite race? 

      Clermont 12k on Lake Minneola, Race Recap

      In order to get a proof of time for the Tower of Terror 10-miler, we needed to run a 10k or longer distance, and when we found the Mineola 12K, we knew it was the right one for us. My parents live not too far from Clermont, so we had someone to watch our daughter and a place to stay!

      Here is a breif recap of our experience at the Minneola 12k.

      The course was beautiful, we started in the park and ran completely around the lake – which was nice because at times you could feel the cool breeze.
      Miles 1-2 I held up a 4 min run / 1 min walk routine. 
      Mile 3 – I started to feel really dehydrated, so I switched to a  3 min run / 1 min walk 
      Mile 4 – choked down some GU, made me more nauseated. 1 min run / 1 min walk 
      Mile 5-end – finally feeling better!! 2 min run / 1 min walk 
      I genuinely felt great! I was super nervous with only 1 hour of sleep the night before and I was also feeling nauseated (nerves always get me) – but, it was a great race! 
      I’m proud to turn in this pace for my upcoming Run Disney events!!

      3 Reasons Pregnancy Made Me a Better Runner

      Add 

      Last May when I found out I was expecting, I was undoubtedly excited. I couldn’t wait to be a mom.

      Only thing, I  was in the early stages of training for my First Marathon… Actually a 39.3 mile, two day challenge at Walt Disney World. 
      My pre-pregnancy plan was to keep up my base mileage, and work on strength training. I’ve read so many articles that encourage a strong core for better running form, so I was going to work on my core, and building my base from April – July. 
      In July, I was going to start the Jeff Galloway training plan for the 2014 Goofy Challege. Since I was expecting, I couldn’t train for the race but with my OB’s consent (and constant supervision – seriously, she was always checking in on my mileage) I continued to run until I was 36 weeks pregnant. 
      Becoming a #pregnantrunner helped me in many ways, here are three of them! 

      1) Proper Form
      When you are carrying a child, your balance is different. In order to compensate, I took shorter, more focused strides and was sure to keep my head up.  By focusing on proper form, and taking slower runs during pregnancy, I’ve seen a change in my current running. 
      I’m actually paying attention to the details of the run, not just pounding the pavement gathering miles! 

      2) Nutrition 
      Running for two requires attention to your water and calorie intake! 
      It’s easy to get focused on the need to run and forget to make sure you are properly hydrated, and have a snack before the run. 
      Now that I’ve gone from #pregnantrunner  to #breastfeedingrunner the same applies! 

      3) Enjoy each run, and be thankful. 

      At 37 weeks, my baby was full term and I had started to lose weight. Baby was healthy but my OB was concerned for my health and asked me to stop running, and only walk a few times a week. 

      I was bored. The 8 weeks I wasn’t permitted to run I missed it… 

      My lesson was learned. Even on the rough days, I try to be positive and thankful that I was able to run! 

      Question: did you / would you run while pregnant? 

      Reminder: I’m not a health professional, prior to running while pregnant be sure to get clearance from your doctor! ❤️

      First pregnant running event! (June 2013)






      3 ways to get fit during tummy time

      Yesterday we had a beautiful day with just the family! Little Lady had her 3 month check up, and ears pierced. She looks adorable, by the way! In order to celebrate, and spend some time outside of our condo, we bought zoo passes!

      We LOVE the zoo, and now I have a place to walk around with Little Lady. Saturday we are going to go meet the Easter Bunny at the Zoo. So fun!

      If you’ve had children in the last 20 years, you know the importance of “tummy time”. Ever since the “back to sleep” campaign, which encourages care-givers to put babies to sleep on their back, infants have needed additional time on their tummy. This helps them to build neck control, and build up the upper body strength needed to crawl and eventually walk.

      (Disclaimer, not a medical professional – just a mom)

      Anyway, since little lady and I have been spending a lot of time on our tummy I thought i’d share a few ways I’ve incorporated fitness into our tummy time.

      Note: Always monitor your baby, and keep his/her safety your number 1 priority!

      1) Planking.
      With your baby on their tummy, do a plank (or a few planks) in front of them. Talk to the baby while you plank, this will help pass the time for you and encourage them to look up at your funny face for a few seconds.

      2) Super mans.
      Baby’s on their tummy kind of look like they are doing super mans. I will mimic her action, causing her to smile and well, I’m getting some core work done.

      3) Squirms.
      Same concept as super mans.

      As your baby ages, you spend more and more time during tummy time, and you will find ways to incorporate yoga poses, or other workouts into the routine.

      My goal is to make tummy time fun for both of us, and show my daughter that living an active healthy lifestyle can be fun!

      As I said, always be sure you are watching your baby and considering his or her safety!

      What are some ways you’ve incorporated fitness into tummy time with your baby?

      The Return to Fitness After Baby

      One of the best parts of being a mom is that I get to watch Tiny Princess discover new things ALL the time. Her latest discovery? …fingers! We were sitting on the couch during our afternoon “sing-song time” (where I sing basically every song I know very loudly in all different voices for about 15 minutes) and as I was counting with my fingers, she reached her hand up and pointed a finger, then quickly inspected it.  Now, I might be a little crazy – but it made my whole day. She’s been mesmerized by her fingers ever since.

      Life is one grand adventure, and on the days where it seems the laundry is piled far too high, or we don’t have a single clean dish I remind myself that someday I will remember these as “The Good ol’ Days”. So, in celebration of “The Good ol’ Days” we set out on a family adventure on Saturday.

      Last Monday I was given the okay by my OB to resume fitness, and reminded that my body has changed so I need to 1) be careful and 2) take it slow, and re-introduce myself to my body.  Soooo, this week I’ve been “taking it slow”, but yesterday I just HAD to go on a “long run”. (more than 1 mile currently equals “long run” status). So, I did. and… WOW! … my hips feel huge!

      Moving onward. 

      After a lovely run in 78 degree Miami Sunshine, our family loaded into the car to go for a walk at Matheson Hammock Park and search for a few geocaches.

      What is Geocaching? 

      Geocaching is basically a treasure hunt with a GPS. You go online, and look up coordinates to a location – plug them into your GPS and when you get there, you’ll find a little log book. Log your username, and the date then go back to the internet and log that you found the spot.

      I’ve geocached off and o