Giga-what? (and a giveaway!)

GigaBODY.

Okay, so what are some things you know about me? I get really bored, really fast with exercise and I live in the Arctic Tundra. If those two came to mind, you know me pretty well, and you know that only one of those things is an exaggeration. (Hint: I don’t actually live in the Arctic Tundra, but IT FEELS LIKE I DO).

Winter can be a tough time for working out. It’s cold outside, it gets dark early, there is often weather to contend with and the living room is pretty darn inviting.

But you could do the working out IN the living room! I’ll admit, when Fit Approach (#sweatpink) asked for people to review Gigabody, I was stoked. I have an abundance of workout videos, but I’m always looking for fresh blood…errr… sweat.

But, maybe you don’t have, or want, a bunch of workout DVDs hanging around. Maybe you’ve scoured your On Demand listings and found that there is only one yoga workout and it’s for 5 year olds. Maybe you’re just not sure what kind of indoor workout you want to do.

Gigabody, guys. It’s where it’s at.

A gigabody subscription is under $10 a month, and you get access to a ton of videos, with all different kinds of workouts.

You like Barre? Try the Ballet Body workouts.

Is Zumba your thing? Body Boom Club is a blast!

Looking for something totally new? Bombay JAM. (This is my new jam, pun totally intended. A Bollywood inspired, cardio dance party? Yes. Yes, please).

Where can you do the workouts? Anywhere you have internet access. I loaded them on my Kindle Fire and took to shaking it in my bedroom while the family was watching TV.

So, I give Gigabody a very enthusiastic, booty shaking, thumbs up. If you want to check it out for yourself, we’re giving away a free month membership!

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*The Gigabody membership was provided in exchange for a honest review. The opinions are all mine.

 

I’M SO EXCITED…AGAIN

YOU GUYS. I’m excited again. Or still? Probably still. A few months ago, I wrote a post about the things I I was obsessing over at the moment, and welp. I have new things. Things I want to talk about. Share. KANYE CAPSLOCK ABOUT.

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My hope is always that when I discover something new – a song, a book, a person (I know that sounds creepy, but just go with it) – and I tell my friends or Mister Jess about it, they’ll be sucked in with me and then we can talk about it ad nauseam. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they just stare at me. But that doesn’t stop me then, and it won’t stop me now. At the very least, people, you’ll know what I’m texting about with a slightly deranged smile on my face. At the very MOST, you will walk away from this post with some new things to like.

So? Let’s do this.

1. Montevallo. This album, by Sam Hunt, is one I’ve been obsessively listening to since it came out a few months ago. Now, about me: I love music. Like, any kind of music basically. If it speaks to me, I’m all in regardless of genre. I’m typically not super into contemporary country artists, but there’s something about this album and his voice and his lyrics that made me immediately obsessed.

Plus, this dude is like 6’4″. That’s tall. He looks like a hipster but he’s not. He sings songs about pick-up trucks and something called “summer feet.” It intrigues me.

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2. Beyoncé. She’s on the list forever. Her new music – “7/11″, “Flawless Remix”, “Feeling Myself” (she is featured on this Nicki Minaj track) – and her style and her fierceness and just her everything. Let’s hang out, B.

She's just laughing at a joke I told, nbd.

She’s just laughing at a joke I told, nbd.

3. Bar Method. My friend dragged me to a class the other day and I fully expected to hate it, because I’ve heard all about it and, to be honest, it sounded like my own personal hell. But while it was SUPER hard, and while I let out audible noises when the instructor would call out “20 more reps!” (are you KIDDING me, lady?), and while my body had the consistency of an overcooked noodle when class was over, I felt surprisingly awesome afterward. Really, really awesome. And then I went and had a kale salad because WHO AM I? I’m the girl who’s going to another class today, that’s who.

4. This quote: “And I said to my body. Softly. ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath. And replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.’” – Nayyirah Waheed

5. And this one:

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Things are hard sometimes. And when they’re hard, that means they’re teaching you something. The older I get, the more I prefer to look at challenges this way; it makes getting through it a helluva lot easier.

6. Life’s random delights. The other day I was standing on the corner of Market Street, waiting to cross. I looked over and saw this:

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For those of you who don’t know, these are lyrics to “Ignition (Remix)”, aka one of my favorite songs ever and a song that Mister Jess and I dance around the house to often. It was so random and unexpected and just…great. It put a smile on my face for no reason, except that I love that song and clearly someone else out there does too, enough that they pasted the lyrics to it on a light pole on Market Street.

7. My kid. Granted, I’ve always been obsessed with him, but he’s turning into such a human being and it’s getting even more fun to watch him grow up. It gets better every day, I’m telling you. I gobble up morsels of information about him as he reveals himself to me: that he loves Taylor Swift songs and when Daddy makes weird animal noises while he eats. That if a kid falls on the playground, he is the first person there to make sure he or she is okay. He is so sweet and full of goodness that my heart aches with it. Aches, I tell you.

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8. Humans of New York. This website represents the best, the most mundane, the hidden and most intimate of humanity. Brandon Stanton, who runs HONY, helps us remember that at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make our way through the world, and that we all have baggage we’re carrying while we do it. And he’s doing some really incredible things right now. Really incredible.

So there you have it. My current obsessions. And while I am silly about my ardent love tendency to geek out, I also think being emphatic (to the point of evangelical) about things is important. It reminds us that even when the world feels kind of shitty and terrible, there are small joys to find every day.

What are you currently obsessed with or loving? Anything on my list? Anything NOT on my list? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 

 

Cleared For Takeoff!

Huzzah, I say! Huzzah!

Yes, friends, the day has come. The #bustedankle is no more.

Celebratory snapchats required

Celebratory snapchats required

After my physical therapy appointment last week, I got the clearance to run – albeit only for short intervals – but that didn’t matter. I’m allowed to run! And you know what? It felt gooooood (regardless of the fact that I was on a treadmill). While my ankle didn’t feel 100% that first go-around, after a few minutes, things loosened up and it felt better than it had in a long time.

Yesterday, I had my last physical therapy appointment – I graduated! Yay! Cleared to do all the things (except play basketball… that has to wait another month, because lateral movement).

Pivot. You know. Basketball.

Pivot. You know. Basketball.

With clearance to run again, now comes the hard part. Deciding which races to do! This is a seriously important question. I know I want to aim for another marathon this fall, but I’m not sure which one, yet. I have at least one half marathon on the docket in September – the Navy Air Force Half (more on that in my next post, exciting announcement to come!) – and probably another go-round at Bird-in-Hand, preferably with better temps and conditions than last year. There will be Jog n’ Hog again (because what beats ice cream in July? Oh. I know. RUNNING THEN ICE CREAM THEN RUNNING).

Team Scoot? Try Team Cute.

Team Scoot? Try Team Cute.

My first race back will be at a work function – the association I work for always has a 5K at our annual conference – so, my first race of 2015 will be in the great state of Texas! I’m teaming up with my friend Nichole to help her take down the boys we’re running against. Can’t wait for some friendly competition – just the motivation I need to get back in gear.

I am fortunate enough to live in a place where during the spring and summer there’s 5K or 10K or 10 miler nearly every weekend. There are so many options! Choosing is the hard part. I’m going to spend the next few weeks working those intervals and trying to narrow down my racing options. Bring on 2015, folks. I’m ready!

What races are you looking at/interested in/already planning for? Do you have any local favorites? Dream destination races?

Star Wars Half Marathon picture pages

A week back from Anaheim, I am again itching for SoCal’s summerlike weather, delicious food treats and fabulous friends.

I ran the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland last week and – to my surprise – ran like I was being chased by imperial fighters. Swift feet and a fast course took me to a new PR at 1:55. The weather was perfect and I was thrilled. Here’s my race recap on my work blog.

The weekend was about so much more than running, as I went to Anaheim to spend a few days with friends. We laughed, we ate (everything) and had an incredible time.

So here’s a virtual photo album of my trip:

SW3The course was strong with this one. My medal at the finish line of the half marathon. I wore it at the park Sunday night and someone actually offered to buy it from me. I declined, but curiosity has me wondering how much the fan would’ve offered.

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We went to the Wookiee Welcome Party in Tomorrowland Thursday night. The event featured amazing desserts (like these-I ate them all and then some), drinks and a meet-and-greet with many Star Wars characters.

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CHARACTERS!

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We also rode a few popular rides – sans any lines. Plus this was my first time on Disneyland’s Space Mountain. I went on a few rides for the first time on this trip – the Paradise Pier coaster, DCA Tower of Terror and Mickey’s Fun Wheel all included. I still haven’t recovered from that last one.

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Heather and I spent much of Friday in and around the parks thanks to extra magic hours.

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4 1/4 friends! We met up with Laurie, Anya and their handsome little guy Finley!

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Of course we got Minnie ears. Pluto dug them.

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I spent a few hours working at the PRO Compression booth at the expo. Loved chatting with so many runners!

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Saturday brought the Star Wars 10K and I watched the winner cross the finish line! Way to go Jacob!

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Imperial motivators

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Spent some time with these lovelies - Dani and Linzie

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I stopped for a few pics mid-run and this one with Boba Fett was one of my faves! I’ve got my awesome Sparkle Athletic skirt and tank on, with an Oiselle base layer and PRO socks.

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A stunning sunrise stopped me mid-stride on the streets of Anaheim.

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After our run, we went out to celebrate at Club 33.

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This pic of Cam says it all! We had a blast together all weekend long!

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The gang’s all here – from left Cam, Heather, me, Jillian and Mike. Happy racing everyone!

Cam and Heather both ran the half – and Cam PRed! Click here for her recap.

Did you attend the Star Wars half weekend? What was your favorite part of the course? What did you like best about the weekend? What would you change? Tell me in the comments!

Day 12 of the 21 Day No Junk Challenge

Have you ever heard this saying?

abskitchenHow about this one?

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Because I have… for years. I’ve seen them on tumblr. Heard my trainer mutter the sentiments as he rants asks kindly about our eating habits.

However, that is exactly what I was trying to do, for the past few months. It will surprise approximately no one that it wasn’t working.

NO MORE! I decided to take on the 21 Day No Junk Challenge. It doesn’t include magic potions, wands, wraps, etc. It’s simply being mindful of everything I eat, every move I make, every breath I take. Oh wait, this isn’t a Police song, is it?

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Right now I’m over halfway through the challenge and I’ve lost 4 pounds since I start 12 days ago. What the what? That can’t be right, can it? But it is.

And I’ve told everyone who will listen because this doesn’t usually happen for me. But here I am and it’s been 12 days and I am working hard and I’m down four pounds.

I started at 158 but didn't think to take a picture.

I started at 158 but didn’t think to take a picture.

So what exactly am I doing? (Besides challenging my inner Destiny’s Child with No, No, No…)

1. Really, really, really watching the snacking.

Just call me the mindless snacker. Bored? Stressed? That calls for a snack!

I love snacking. However, when a snack involves thought, you question if you really want/need it.

And when you DO, you land on things like these:

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Yum!

applenachos

Om nom nom.

My choices have all been delicious and smart choices. I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself at all. I feel like I’m fueling myself!

Ahem, that’s not to say that I wasn’t craving sugar the first week. There was one evening in particular that I thought that I absolutely needed ice cream.

2. Support group, rally!

“I want candy.”

“I think I really need wine tonight.”

These are the texts I sent to Brooke and Bec last week. And then they sent supportive texts back telling me why I didn’t need those things and gave me alternatives instead.

It takes a village and I am so grateful for mine.

3. Really, really, really watching the steps.

Every day = 10,000 steps (at least)

No excuses.

If this means getting on the treadmill in 20 minute increments while my little dude is sick with a never-ending cold, I will do it. If it means that I can get it all done in one shot with a 5 mile run, I will do that.

Whatever it takes. Additionally, I don’t limit myself to running. If I feel like speed walking, that’s what I do.

As further motivation, I’ve got challenges going on with my Fitbit pals. So throughout the day, I’ll get messages like this:

Back off, Moe!

Back off, Moe!

When I see messages like this one, it makes me want to get moving and beat Maureen. And Cyanne. And everyone else.

4. When I work out and eat well, I feel really good. (Sore, but good.)

I think I might need to invest in regular massages because I’ve got to say that upping the intensity of my workouts has me with a few more aches and pains than I’m used to. That “good sore” is teetering on the edge of “sore sore” on certain days.

On the flip side of that, I’m also feeling good. More toned, more “in shape”. I don’t know actually how true that is, especially after only 12 days. There are no abs to speak of yet, but if I continue this… if it’s more of an every day challenge and not just a 21 day thing, who knows!

With all of this, I need to have that healthy balance, as sometimes I can get a little disordered in my thinking. So I’m not tracking my food and after this challenge is over, I’ll be cutting back on the scale/weight thing to every couple of weeks.

I need to do what works for me so that I can succeed and ultimately do the best by me that is possible.

There’s my update. I’ll be checking in again once I hit 21 days; but I want to hear from you, too!

If you’re doing the no junk food challenge, Whole 30, Whole 60 (Kyle is on round two, holla!), no beets, no nasty stares, whatever you’re doing… I want to hear about it. What are your struggles? What’s been easier than you thought it would be?

This is How You Train with a #BustedAnkle

Remember back in November (GOSH that was a long time ago) when I did a dumb thing and my ankle ended up looking like this?

Not. Bueno.

Not. Bueno.

Well. It looks less like that now and more like a normal foot/ankle situation, albeit a little bit puffier than one would like. Two months of physical therapy later, and I’m still not allowed to run. Yet. My orthopedist made mention of “coming back to see [him] in a month if the ankle still isn’t better.” That was before Christmas.

For those of you that can count, Christmas was nearly a month ago. Ankle? Still not 100%. But, I’m waiting to make that appointment until my PT gives me a re-evaluation. (I really don’t want to have to do the surgery-thing. I want to avoid the surgery-thing as much as possible.)

Anyways. In trying to avoid the surgery-thing, my PT has me doing all sorts of fun things. Strengthening exercises, ultrasound, stim… and he’s cleared me cycle (THANK GOODNESS), do the elliptical, and walk briskly on the treadmill. So, I’ve headed back to the gym, with gusto, to continue to train and strengthen my sad ankle and try to stay in shape (a shape that isn’t a circle).

So, how do you workout with a sort-of busted appendage? Let me count the ways:

Cycle:

I’ve been spinning for about two years now and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t one of my favorite things. I try to go at least three or four times a week. Lately, I’ve been going nearly every day. Because when my options are either spin or “walk briskly on the treadmill,” I’ll take spin every time. Not to mention the fact that it’s a great cardio workout and if you focus on form and power – it can be a great strength workout too. #quadzilla like whoa.

Spin is good for the soul.

Spin is good for the soul.

Weight Training:

I love lifting. Like, a lot. Because when you do it right, lifting weights burns a ton of calories, builds muscle, and works your whole body like crazy. I like to get in a session after a cardio workout, when I’m warmed up already. I haven’t been as disciplined about getting in the weight room in the last few months, and I’ve felt it. So, this month, I’ve made an effort to lift at least four times a week, and I feel SO much better.

Musclessssss. Sort of.

Musclessssss. Sort of.

Rowing:

Chick Vic is a real rower. I just like to hang out on the Concept2. This is a great upper body and core workout. And it doesn’t hurt my ankle which is an even better thing. I like to do this on days that I’m not spinning, because this wipes me out! Added bonus, if you row, you can be a cool cat like Frank Underwood:

Maybe I watch too much House of Cards...

Maybe I watch too much House of Cards…

I’m supposed to be cleared to run this week (I go back to my PT today), but in the event that I’m not, I’m going to ask about swimming. I haven’t been allowed to do that yet for fear of hyperextending my ankle, but now that it’s on the mend, I should be able to. Fingers crossed I get some good news today!

What are your favorite workouts? How have you coped with an injury? Because it’s just the worst.

The More You Know

Since I’ve started this journey to find my fit self, I’ve learned many many things.  As a novice, I made mistakes.  I’ve carb-loaded with beer and macaroni and cheese.  I’ve ran a race in brand new shoes.  I’ve overestimated the length of my running shorts and skimped on the glide.  After running this weekend’s Disney Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland, I realized I’ve learned a few things.  I also realized, many things left to learn I have (Yep, I just Yoda’d you).

Channeling my inner Yoda (who sounds a lot like Meri).

Channeling my inner Yoda (who sounds a lot like Meri).

I can’t say I was feeling particularly confident.  You all know how serious I am about training (please note sarcasm) and I’ve been nursing a sore ankle since last February.  I’m beginning to think I’ve damaged it beyond repair because I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to get back to normal but it seems I’m stuck between 60-80%.  Also, once again, I’m having problems with my feet and shoes.  I’ve had a long lasting love affair with my Skora’s, but after last weekend’s Citrus Heritage 5K here in Riverside, I fear the sneaks have fallen out of favor. With only a week until the half, I was in no position to break in a new pair of shoes so I toughed it out at Star Wars.  Because that is my jam, yo.  As a toy collecting, merchandise wearing, video game playing fan, if anyone should participate in an Inaugural Star Wars themed race, it should be me.

Just a taste of my collection.

Just a taste of my collection.

Despite this business, Meri persuaded me to make a plan.  Plan you must, she said, like my own personal Jedi mentor.  So I decided to do intervals.  I mean, really do it.  Like actually stop when my phone tells me to.  And I went to bed early.  And I didn’t drink beer the night before and I got up early and ate a great, healthy snack and I wore comfortable clothes, including a pair of bright green compression socks courtesy of my chick and Star Wars roomie, Vic.  I biofreezed, KT taped, AND compressed my ankle.  And guess what?  I PR’d.  That’s right.  I never thought I cared about this until I actually beat myself.  Yes, it’s true, I love beating myself.  And now I feel like a whole new runner.  The more you know…

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I think I’m going to stick with this planning thing.  I bought new shoes today.  I know, I know, AGAIN?  But I went and had my feet evaluated because during that race yesterday, all I could think about was how if my feet would stop throbbing, this race would be amazing.  The race was amazing, the course was fantastic, the costumes divine, but my feet effing sucked.  So Brooks, you’ve worn me down, waited me out, and here I am, putting my poor flat feet into your big, ugly soles.  I also got orthotic inserts to try out and if they make a difference, I’m seriously considering having some customized ones made.  Something has to be done or I won’t be able to run much longer.  And we all know that CANNOT happen.  I can barely stand the fact I didn’t do the Rebel Challenge this weekend.  Every time I heard the clanging of medals yesterday, I was overcome with medal envy.  Imagine if I could never again feel that sweet victory ribbon heavy with determination hang around my neck.  No.  Race I must.  And so wear ugly shoes, I must.

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They’re not so bad, right? And I can cute them up with socks, right? RIGHT???

The Lies They Tell Us

As a one of the new Chicks, I’ve been very conscious of the content of my posts. I mean, duh, right? Us Chicks always want to provide you with informative, entertaining, and maybe sometimes, thought-provoking content. As writers, we expect no less of ourselves, and as readers, you expect no less of us. Personally, I’ve also tried to stay in neutral topic territory. Because, well…opinions. And I assure you I can be quite opinionated about my opinions. The thing is, I saw something the other day that bothered me, and I’d like to share it with you and get your opinion, friends.

On my lunch break, I went to the local supermarket and was all excited to look through the January issue of Women’s Running, which I didn’t find. So, I started looking over the rack. thinking that maybe a Runner’s World would do. Nope, didn’t see that either. On to plan C. I need some help with strength and cross training, maybe a women’s fitness magazine? Obviously, I just wanted to buy a magazine. Any magazine. I stood there perusing the covers, and nearly shouted my disgust aloud when I realized what I was seeing. I snapped this photo, my mouth agape in horror.

I don’t care what you say, you evil, evil magazine covers, I’m not fat!

Aside from poor Katie Holmes’ divorce drama, this scene inspired some epic eye rolling on my part. Okay, I admit I rolled my eyes in sympathy for Katie, too, because we all know Tom is lame-o. But seriously, look at this photo.

Immediately, subconsciously, it triggered several responses in my brain. The nasty, blaring appearance of the word belly on three of the covers made me guiltily think about the six pounds I’m looking forward to running off, forever with any luck. Although you can’t see them all, trust me that all of them had some blurb about a diet or losing weight. The models are beautiful and their figures are inspiring, but for most of us, they are hardly a realistic ideal. Not to mention the store’s thoughtlessness in placing the Family Circle chocolate trifle and Women’s Day cupcake covers RIGHT NEXT to the fitness and diet magazines. Sadly, not even diabetics can catch a break at this store. Thanks for the support, Kroger.

Now, I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. We see this all the time, and I’m the zillionth person to rabble-rabble-rabble about it. So yes, perhaps I’m failing in the informative category this week. Also, I must allow for the fact that it is January, the time when people set new goals to be fit and lose weight. I must allow that it is possible that these magazines are writing to that annual trend. Also, I was looking at fitness magazines after all, and they should have this information in them. I suppose it struck me because I wasn’t looking to read about losing weight or the latest diet, I only wanted some sound advice on safe and effective fitness. I just couldn’t get past the you’re-too-fat messaging. At least, that’s how it made me feel.

Then yesterday, I stumbled upon this Buzzfeed article wherein contributor Marie Southard Ospina tries on ten different brands of size sixteen jeans and all of them fit differently, or not at all. I found it reassuring because I can totally relate. My guess is you will as well.  In contrast to Marie, I’m 5’ 2” and a buck twenty sopping wet. But like Marie, I have 6 different sizes of pants in my closet right now. When I buy jeans, which I hate doing despite my addiction to shopping, I seriously question who, or what, was in control of product development at all of these labels. If I find a pair that fits my pygmy height, it’s two or three inches too big in the waist. If I find a pair that fits my waist, there are 7 inches of extra denim covering my toes. With the latter, I’m always wondering who the eff wears these?! You can see that Marie and I have the same problem only we’re on opposite sides of the sizing spectrum. Based on that,  I would venture to bet that most women have this same problem regardless of their weight.

Let’s talk numbers for a sec, shall we? If I’m 5’10 and weigh 118 (i.e. tall and thin enough to actually fit into those jeans), my BMI would be 16.9. A BMI of less than 18.5 is underweight for that height/weight ratio. Clearly, this is complete and total insanity. The kind of insanity that makes us feel inadequate and imperfect. It makes us feel…not pretty. And whether we’re a size 0 or 24, it makes us feel overweight. Worst of all, it’s not a healthy message in any respect.

What in the hell do these people want from us? More importantly, WHY ARE THEY MESSING WITH OUR HEADS?

When the jeans thing happens to me, I shake it off. Those people who design those clothes are nuts. Maybe it’s the seamstress in me that can say that because I know what it takes to make a pair of jeans, and seriously, some of those people have got to be high. Don’t believe them, gorgeous readers. Don’t let them, or anyone, trick you into feeling shitty about any aspect of the beautiful force of life that is you and only you. Plus, remember this girl?

Neither do I, sister.

Neither do I, sister.

She really wanted to have a pot. Yep. That’s right. The adorable French girl in Pulp Fiction actually wanted a pot belly because she thought they were sexy. And French girls know.

 

What types of body image messaging affects you most? Do you have opinions? Do you have opinions on pot bellies and/or blueberry pancakes? Hit me up, yo!

Serendipitous WDW Marathon Cheering

Brooke and I weren’t planning on going to any of the parks on Sunday. However, I sort of had Disney non-visit remorse on this short trip (I know, I know) and since Brooke has an annual pass, I suggested an Epcot visit.

We were about halfway there when I said, “Hey, wait a minute. Doesn’t the marathon go through Epcot?” (You know, because we live in a bubble and didn’t think about it prior!) After a brief glance at the course map we realized that it did, indeed! Not only that but it was at the very end of the marathon, miles 25 and 26.

SCORE!

mickeyfaces

Brooke and I are VERY big into the rah-rah! I mean, if we had the supplies in the car, we would have whipped up some signs on the spot. But since we didn’t we had to rely on our big mouths.

No problem-o!

We knew quite a few people running the full marathon. Naturally, we were tracking exactly zero of them.

But everyone is a friend in Disney, right? Knowing that everyone deserves a good cheer, we decided to just cheer for everyone and hoped that maybe we’d stumble across pals!

I’ve got to say, the way that Disney handle crowds while the park is open is very impressive. They had a couple of different routes so when they routed runners one direction, the park goers would wait. Then they would change the runners directions slightly so that the crowds could cross. It works very well (as long as you wait at the crosswalk and don’t dart out in front of runners).

cheer1

It started raining a little after we arrived but it wasn’t as cold as it had been the past few days. We made our way over to Mexico, cheering as we walked.

Figuring margaritas were in order for cheering, we grabbed yummy beverages. Some of the runners had the same idea. Because, why the heck not? (This nearly made me say, “Hey, we should run the marathon so that we can drink at the end.”) (Nearly. Then I realized I could just do that anytime in Epcot and NOT run a marathon.)

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This awesome guy was drinking around the world! He’d already gotten an Orange Slush and beer and was rounding it out with a margarita.

We hung out around the Mexico pavilion for awhile, cheers-ing and cheering the runners!

cheer3

We made sure not to say that they were almost there or that the finish was just around the corner. Instead we emphasized how much they all rocked and were looking good and strong!

grete

Of course, while we were there we made our way to Norway! We needed to give a Scoot a Doot shout out to our favorite statue of Grete Waitz!

Around this time, we started wondering if we would be able to track down Kristen and Suzanne. We did a little social media stalking (I feel only slightly weird saying that; after all, we were looking at people’s skirts yesterday to find them!) and knew we were looking for peach colored shirts and that Suzanne was wearing a cool superhero skirt. We continued to walk and cheer until…

I don’t even know HOW to describe the noise we made when we all saw each other. I really don’t. I mean, we were excited when we found each other during the half the day prior. But this? This was a whole other level!

kristensuzannemarathon

We offered them our drinks and they took sips before they were once again on their way! Oh my word, it was seriously awesome.

I’d been texting with our friend, Meredith, and told her we’d be by Morocco. It was her first marathon and my hope was to see her to cheer her on at some point because we’d missed each other the rest of the weekend!

Brooke and I grabbed some yummy food and sat down outside to eat when I heard Meredith yelling my name. We were falling down on the cheering job!

merandmer

Mer and I had met each other at the 2013 Wine and Dine meetup and it was especially awesome to see her again, right where we had first met. She was running for Team Noah and she ROCKED it!

We sat and ate while watching more running streaming through the World Showcase. We saw awesome costumes, people who looked like they were hurting (but they were persevering!), and family members cheering on their people. It was all wonderful!

balloonladies

After awhile, we saw the balloon ladies come and go. For those not familiar with the term, the balloon ladies are the very last people to start a race and they keep an exact 16 minute mile pace so people know how fast or slow they are going. The goal is to be in front of the balloon ladies to keep an accurate pace and avoid being swept.

I’m not sure what mile you have to get to in order to be “safe” but I know that we spent a good amount of time right near the balloon ladies in Disneyland and it seemed like mile 10 was the key mile there.

Brooke and I continued to walk along the course while the runners became more sparse. Finally, the last runners made their way through the course while we were in France.

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What wound up as spontaneous cheering for the marathoners was a great treat for us! As runners, it was wonderful to be out there, supporting our tribe.

spaceshipearth

You’re all out of this world and we give you two thumbs up! Way to rock!

2015 Walt Disney World half marathon recap

Fun fact: I’ve never run a Disney race twice.

disneymedals

I kicked it off in 2012, tackling Princess as my first half marathon and doing the 5k for funsies the day prior (and friends thought I was nuts). From there it’s been a whirlwind of the Castaway 5k, Tink, Wine and Dine, Disneyland 10k and half (again, with the nuts comments – they obviously don’t know many who have done Goofy/Dopey), and most recently the Walt Disney World half this past weekend.

Anyone who has run a Florida runDisney race knows about the dreaded early wake up time.

Anyone who has not run a Florida runDisney race but wants to… you may want to set your alarms now for 2:45am and practice that along with training. Because yes, that’s what time you get up for these races.

The struggle is real.

Extra, extra, read all about it. It's COLD outside.

Extra, extra, read all about it. It’s COLD outside.

Brooke and I decided that we would be Newsies. We also decided that we would wear cute little tanks and running skirts. And then Mother Nature decided that she was going to throw a curveball at all of northern Florida and make it fairly chilly. Warmth took precedence over cuteness.

Sleep nearly took precedence over the race, if I’m being quite honest. Have I mentioned how early it was?

We stayed at the All Star Movie Resort, which made our travel to the start very simple; buses are scheduled non-stop starting at 3am. We didn’t check bags so we gathered our SPIbelts, food (wheat flats, almond butter, and bananas), and braced ourselves for the cold weather.

cold

Donning our pajama pants and Brooke’s husband’s sweatshirts we found ourselves at the start village. Our dear friend, Ashley, was doing her first half marathon and our plan was to find her before the race. Attempts to track down Kristen and Suzanne were made, as I knew they were starting in our corral but to no avail.

The walk from the start village to the corrals is about a mile or so and while I found it daunting during the Princess half (remember, that was my first half ever), this wasn’t bad at all. The flow of traffic was smooth and we were able to get to the corrals with no issues. Our walk consisted of us geeking out over Universal’s Harry Potter world and books in general.

These are my people!

ashleystart

Ash, Brooke, and me

Soon we had to split off and go to our separate corrals, so we gave hugs and high fives to Ash and her friends before heading to corral J.

Thanks to social media, Brooke and I knew which skirts Kristen and Suzanne were wearing so we spent a good long while walking around the corral, peering at people’s legs. Yes, indeed. Sadly, we didn’t find them (but hey, it was a way to pass the time).

The earlier corrals began to cross the start line and we both shimmied out of our pajama pants, tossing them into the collection boxes. We listened to the announcers banter and watched the fireworks at the start of each corral.

Before long, it was our turn!

startline

Our plan for this race was to HAVE FUN and I would say we succeeded! We thanked volunteers left and right. We ran when we felt like it. We walked when we felt like it (or when the course narrowed and there wasn’t much of an option). We cheered for other runners.

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We pulled to the side and took selfies.

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This course is the exact same as Princess so we knew what to expect. But honestly, my feelings toward this race couldn’t have been more different. My first half, it was all about getting through it. This? This was just about having fun and spending time with my friend. I didn’t hurt. I didn’t push any limits. I just had fun with Brooke.

The park is always crowded, as you can see in this video. There are people cheering and there’s not much room to navigate if you want to go faster than the people in front of you. What’s a courteous runner to do? Just roll with it. Soak it up, enjoy the moment, and smile.

It was "snowing" as we ran into the castle.

It was “snowing” as we ran into the castle.

If you’re a middle to the back of the pack runner, realize that you probably won’t get that awesome running shot of you coming out of the castle. I know for me, it was slightly disappointing when I first ran a Disney race. However, there are photographers stationed right in front of the castle if you want to stop and grab pictures with the castle in the background.

Brooke was hoping that this train would bring us to Diagon Alley. It does not. Sadly.

Brooke was hoping that this train would bring us to Diagon Alley. It does not. Sadly.

Miles 7-11 are what I like to call “the boring miles.” You exit Magic Kingdom and it’s lackluster. I feel like Disney could do something MORE in these miles to make it less tedious. I said that 2 years ago during Princess and I’m saying it again.

That’s not to say that the boring miles only pertain to runDisney, it’s really true of any half marathon. They are just sort of ho-hum, are we done yet? miles. For the record, the answer is no. You’re not even close to being done.

Which is why when you run into Kristen and Suzanne, whom you’ve been looking for the entire time, you basically lose your ever-loving mind and make loud squealing noises!

They spotted my hair and hat and we spotted their SKIRTS. How cute are they?

They spotted my hair and hat and we spotted their SKIRTS. How cute are they?

We hung out with them for about a half mile (I’m guessing – my watch was set on kilometers so I wasn’t exactly knowledgeable of anything in the distance department) before I pulled to the side because I had something in my shoe. It was so wonderful to see them and it definitely made those “boring miles” way more exciting!

Since the race is mostly on access roads, it’s hard for spectators to get out to the more remote areas. That’s why I totally have to give kudos to this guy! This was mile 10, just before going up the access ramp.

disneysigns

Brooke and I kept chugging along although we were straight up speed walking at this point with the hopes of finishing up faster. Right outside of Epcot there were people cheering and it was wonderful to hear my name being called. Only LATER did I realize it was Bonnie! OH MY GOODNESS, I love that girl!

EPCOT

When you hit Epcot, you hear the same thing over and over. “The finish is just around the corner.” But we knew the course and we knew that it was NOT. You have to wind your way through Epcot a little before that corner finally comes. However, this is how you know the corner is really the actual corner and not a fictional one.

That’s right! There’s a gospel choir! You can hear Brooke WOOing them, like a good Woo Girl should.

Then, and only then, can you expect to see the finish line around the corner.

finish

This is the moment that you’ve been waiting for for 13.1 miles. You take it in. The crowds cheering. The people in front of you holding hands. The far off sound of medals clanking.

The sound of Brooke as she exclaims, “WAIT! Is that Minnie Mouse?”

Well worth it!

Why, yes. Yes, it is.

The finish was wonderful. Filled with great medals and snacks because runger is a real thing. Oh, and banana phones.

bananaphone

W stayed at the finish area, snacking and stretching, so we could meet up with Ashley after she finished her very first half marathon. Mark my words, next time we are running TOGETHER.

Different races have meant different things in my life. Some are for PRs, others are for fun with friends. This one, and this weekend in general, was therapeutic. It was good for the soul and exactly what I needed.

theafter

Do different races hold different meanings in your life? When is your next race? Anyone entering the Broad Street 10 Miler Lottery? The next 5k I’m registered for is the Adrenaline Run 5k. After that it’s the Atlantic City April Fools Half. Will I see you at either of those?