Princess Prep Fail

Way back in 2017 I signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. It truly seems like it was so long ago because of how far in advance you have to sign up. As a Disney Annual Passholder I get a couple of weeks’ advance access so, yeah, it feels like it was ages ago.

Flash forward about eight months later and Princess Weekend is this weekend! I’m super excited about it because I love all things Disney. I took the day off from work, my hotel is booked, my outfits are ready…it’s going to be great.

In 2016 I went for a Rapunzel look and I loved it! I’m really excited about my outfit this year!

Only I am really, really unprepared for this race.

On the other hand I am really excited about my outfits for park hours…

When I signed up to do my very first half marathon (also a Disney race) in 2014, I enthusiastically trained for it. The race was in January of 2015- the first time I met Mer and Brooke- and I felt so ready for it. Since that race I’ve done five other half marathons and they’ve all gone well.

Lately, however, training has been difficult. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses, though. I know all the fail has been on my part. I am good at a lot of things, most of the time. Training…not one of those things. Each time a race comes up I try to do better. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t.

Obviously I’ve known about the Princess Half for a while. I haven’t found it in me to do a long run in the past few weeks. I know that I will probably suffer for that a little bit this weekend. Like a lot of folks, I started this year trying to be more healthy. I even decided to add something “health related” to my daily life for lent. Lately I’m struggling with it, though. I know it takes a while to create a habit, I just know that it this point it’s a little too late.

Even though I’m not particularly “prepared” for this half marathon, I know that I’m going to have fun. This will be my fourth runDisney race (my second since November) and they are always a blast. From waiting in the corral at 4AM to crossing the finish line in Epcot. There are cheerleaders, signs, costumes, and park-goers that are there to keep you going. Disney races are always packed with participants and I never feel any pressure to be faster or better than anyone else. I love the camaraderie that you feel when running a Disney race and I’m so excited to see how creative the ladies (and dudes) get with their costumes! It’s my favorite part of a Disney race!

Michelle is my Best Friend/Best Running Friend. We do all our BIG IMPORTANT RACES together.

This will be my second time doing the Princess Half and I am seriously stoked about it, no matter if I’m prepared or not. I’m ready to have fun, to get lots of photos, and to maybe have a celebratory drink in Epcot after. No matter what, I know I’ll be getting that shiny Princess medal!

I’ll be Twittering and Instagramming for Princess Weekend if you want to follow! Also, hit me up if you’re running too! I’d love to meet up!

Stay tuned for my recap sometime next week!

Road Tested: pjuractive 2skin anti-chafing gel

Disclaimer: I received pjuractive 2skin to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

One of my least favorite things about running? Chafing.

I’m not sure how it’s possible but I feel like I might chafe more than the average runner. (Or maybe it just hurts that much?)

Places I’ve chafed:

  1. back bra line
  2. front bra line
  3. on my arm – where my shirt sleeve has rubbed
  4. underwear line
  5. thighs

Basically anywhere you can possible think of chafing, and some places I didn’t even considered I might chafe… I have.

Originally I thought chafing was only a warm weather occasion. However, I now know that I was sadly mistaken. I’ve chafed every season, hot weather, freezing weather, and of course, the rain does a runner no favors when it comes to skin irritation!

Which is why when BibRave put out the call to the BibRave Pros to try pjuractive 2skin anti-chafing gel, I jumped at the opportunity! Unfortunately, soon after I did that, I fell on the ice and broke my arm.

But has that stopped me from running? Nah. I haven’t been doing long runs but I’ve tested pjuractive 2skin anti-chafing gel during the rainy Chili Run and training runs on the treadmill.

My husband helped me apply the 2skin anti-chafing gel to my back and remarked that it’s a silicone-based gel (something he would notice whereas I would not) and that’s how it is able to prevent friction. It has no scent and it’s breathable, water and sweat resistant. It’s a clear gel and left no marks on my skin or my clothing.

In addition to applying it to the usual high chafing areas, I also used some gel along the edge of my soft cast. While only 2 miles, the Chili Run was in the rain and one that I considered a good test for pjuractive 2skin anti-chafing gel and it worked very well! No chafing at all, anywhere.

One of the things that slows me down during a long run or race is when I’m feeling pain from chafing – it’s bad when you get in the shower and feel the water hit the chafed spot but I think it’s even worse when you’re already able to feel it while running. I’ll be using 2skin from now on and hopefully it will no longer be an issue!

I’ve tried other products and always manage to miss a spot but because this is a gel, rather than a solid, it’s easier to spread and the coverage is better. Having the option to bring a small packet with me on a longer run so if I feel skin irritation happening, I can pull off to the side for a quick fix is a game changer.

Interested in learning more? You can follow pjuractive on social media:

T: @pjuractive
IG: @pjuractive
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pjuractive/

And if you want more personal stories regarding pjuractive, be sure to swing by my fellow BibRave Pros blogs:

Lindsey
Andrea
Alastair
Corey
Amy
Karen

Finally, join us at the Twitter #BibChat on February 27th at 9pm est. I’ll be there on the scootadoot account!

 

Convert to Skirt

When I started getting into running and fitness I decided to really focus on what was important: what do I wear?

I went through a lot of brands and styles until I found things that I liked. For the most part, I became pretty partial to racerback tanks and form fitting pants. I don’t like sleeves getting in my way when I run and I like my pants to “hold it all together”, if you know what I mean.

That’s pretty much how it went on for a few year: me shopping around and finding things I liked here and there, but never really committing to any particular brand of bottoms or tops. I’m 4’11” so finding pants that are short enough and capris that don’t look like pants is hard.

It wasn’t until recently that a friend turned me onto the brand Skirt Sports. Skirt Sports is a brand created by women for women. It’s about feeling pretty and feminine while getting out there and doing the dang thing. For some people it might sound silly but I love getting all cute and then going out and running my face off. I’m single, okay?

I was kind of iffy about running in a skirt simply because I’d been stuck on wearing compression pants and shorts for years. My body just liked them. They were comfortable in them. We had become one, the compression pants and I.

THEN – I was recommended the Lioness skirt by my BFF and RBFF (Running Best Friend Forever). It’s short and ruffly with built-in shorties.

Y’all.

It.

Has.

Pockets.

Michelle and I rocking our Lionesses after the Disney Wine and Dine 10K.

In fact, most of the Skirt Products have pockets. And I’m not talking about that tiny little key pocket in the back that gets all sweaty as soon as I step outside into the blazing Florida sun. Pockets on each sides to keep your phone, your fuel, your keys. Heck, probably even a tiny book. (Yo, if you find any tiny novels let me know.) It also has the little pocket in the back, in case you were wondering.

After my Lioness, I fell in love. I bought a couple more and now I’m a girl that runs in skirts.

My friend, Sarah, killing it in her Sidewinder Lioness during her lunch break because #REALwomenmove, y’all.

Me, rocking the same print on a balmy run because, also, real women take selfies.

Skirt Sports is more about skirts, though. There is a huge variety of fitness wear for all types of bodies. Their mantra is #REALWomenMove and, as of Feburary 1st of this year I’m so proud to serve as an Ambassador for this awesome company (with some friends too!). On top of being in the company of some amazing women athletes (like our very own Jenn), I also get a pretty sweet discount and a code to share with others!

Since I became an Ambassador I’ve been on a bit of a shopping spree. Well, technically it’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’d known for some time and decided I need to add to my collection a little. My thinking is that, if I’m going to share and love the brand then I really need to live the life, right?

The Lioness is definitely one of my favorite items, but I’ve also become smitten with the Gym Girl Ultra. It’s got more of a classic, straight feel with built in shorts and, of course, pockets.

As far as pants go, I’m loving the Pocketopia capri. They’re light and breezy with pockets on each side to hold all my important things: my phone and maybe some snacks (or a key if I’m out on a run). I’ve worn the Pocketopia on a walk/run and for a workout and they’ve been awesome both times. The Redemption capris are also super comfy and I snagged a pair in a gorgeous print. They don’t have pockets on the sides, however, and that’s what made me fall in love with the brand.

Loving these Pocketopia capris in Perseverance!

I’m seriously looking forward to loading up my cart with some awesome sales this weekend on some old prints and some newer stuff. If you’re into cute, good quality workout clothes, and empowering others check out www.skirtsports.com.

 

You can use the code 920Veal for 15% off your purchase!

Chick Chat: First Race Ever

We didn’t choose the running life, the running life chose us!

Actually, that’s not true. I think that anyone can tell you that it’s a decision, and sometimes a struggle to get out there day after day, year after year and run.

It’s a love/hate relationship. There are times when it’s awesome and there’s other times when it sucks and we dread every minute of it. But being that it’s Valentine’s Day, we are going to focus on love and share our very first race experiences with you.


When I started training with C25K (Couch to 5K) in the summer of 2013 I’d signed up for a The Color Run with some friends. There were three of us that would be running our first race together so we kept up with each other on Facebook and through texts to see how our progress was going. Before we got to the race in which we would get colored cornstarch thrown all over us, we found a different race.

The local fire department supports a charity each year and does a Pink Heals 5K, so we figured we’d go for it. We’d all done the training and we were ready. Right?

Well, yeah. Right.

This bridge! I’ve been back to it at least four times with different races. Still gets me.

The race was in October so the weather was, well, I live in Florida so it was warm and muggy. I was feeling pretty confident, especially being surrounded by all of my friends. There was no pressure, really. It was the first time for a lot of us and we thought of it as a “practice run” (get it?) for our upcoming race. The course was simple: down the street, over the bridge, and back. Only…I didn’t train for bridges! I remember feeling so defeated because I ended up walking some of the bridge and hating that it was happening.

When all was said and done, though, I felt such a great sense of accomplishment. I was also sore and having my first experience of being rungry. It’s a thing, okay? Looking back, I am so glad I had those friends to train and run with. Having support for a sport that is about mind over matter, truly matter.

My training buddies! I could not (and still don’t) do it without them!

I have a really hard time coming up with my first race. I honestly can’t remember what the very first running race I ever did was… I would have been very little, probably running alongside my mom, in some local 5k in Anchorage. That was just my childhood – running with mom, doing triathlons, cross country skiing, playing basketball.

Having said all of that, as a kid I also didn’t like running. Like, at all. It made me tired, there wasn’t a whole lot of “fun” in it, I wasn’t scoring points… yeah. It was lame. My mom dragged me out there and I complained the whole time (until I could horse-to-the-barn back to the car when we were almost done).

I ran as training for basketball in college – still hated it. I ran after basketball (still in college) to kind of stay in shape – it just made me feel really OUT of shape.

I graduated college, realized that I missed being fit and strong and decided that running was an easy way to find those things again. So I started on the treadmill in my friends’ basement, ran at the gym, cleaned up my diet, ran outside, and finally decided to sign up for a race.

In 2012, I’d just moved back in with my parents and was making the most of the comfortable Alaskan running weather and knew that the Run for Women – a five-miler – was right around the corner. I hadn’t run a race in a long time and really felt as though I could run this one and feel good about it.

And I DID feel good about it! I had signed up alone, but about a half mile into the race found a friend of my mom’s and ran with her for a bit. After a while, we split up, but I felt comfortable and confident and by the time I crossed the finish line I’d not only enjoyed myself, but I done so much better than I thought I would. After I got home that morning, I told my mom I wanted to run a half marathon… and that was that.


It was 2013 and the Color Run was all the rage, so when some friends asked me if I wanted to join their team, Team Scrambled Legs, for the Denver Color Run, I was IN! I trained using Couch to 5k, too, and my team mates were much faster than me. I remember finding them before the start was the most stressful part of the race.

Not only was it the best team name ever, but it was a great intro to road racing. I was slow as usual, but it didn’t matter. I think my time was around 42 minutes. I was hoping to be closer to 35 minutes but meh. I had fun, got dirty, and gave a little girl my gumball necklace. It was a crowded race, and aside from the BOLDER Boulder and Run Disney events, I tend to stay away from big race crowds.

Running through Denver City Park is always enjoyable, the  park is gorgeous and the weather that day was warm. My husband, saint that he is, got up with me and made the 45 minute drive to the race start. That day, he became my personal race photographer.

I think I might be the only person in that photo who still runs. When I ran that race, I never dreamed I’d run a half marathon. Five years later I’m planning to finish my 10th half this year, and embark on lots of trail adventures. Looking back, it’s great to see how far I, and my running goals, have come!

My very first race was a 5k. But not just any ol’ 5k. It was the Down and Dirty Obstacle Race in Philadelphia.

The year was 2011 and while I’d been working out for a few years before that with Stroller Strides, 2011 is the year I started running. I’d begun training on my treadmill during the spring and by the summer event, I thought that I’d be absolutely FINE.

I was absolutely wrong.

Why am I smiling? I don’t know.

The hilly, rough terrain running was honestly the least of my problems. You guys, the obstacles… the first one was a low wall which I not-so-gracefully threw myself over and landed on my knees.

However, I had Cam with me for this race so while I might have been ill-prepared for the obstacles, I had a really good time! Well, not a good time, but we entertained each other and made sure we both survived.

My husband was a spectator, so he snagged a few pictures of obstacles that I was actually able to conquer and not hurt myself on.

Up and over!

This felt a lot more steep than it looks here.

It was a tough, tough race but I had the determination to finish and then sign up for another race, the Rothman 8k, about 4 months later.

After the Down and Dirty, on my old tumblr, I wrote:

Something I learned this weekend is that it’s always important to challenge yourself because you hold yourself to a higher level of achievement each time. Things get easier every time you do them and that’s when you have to kick it up to the next step.

Also? I’m pretty freaking bad ass.

We love you! Tell us about YOUR first race ever? Was it love at first run or did it take some time to settle into the relationship?

What’s In My Gym Bag?

Since starting CrossFit, I’ve managed to acquired a bunch of new swag. My gym bag is full of some gear that I definitely could not do without – and I want to share some of it with you!

Because CrossFit is made up of so many different movements and skills, it’s important to make sure that your body is taken care of – especially when a workout includes a high rep scheme or heavy lifts.

I was hesitant at first to just go out and buy gear, primarily because I hate buying things just to be a cool kid. I want to know that if I’m buying gear, it’s because I know it’s something I need, that will protect me in some way, or support my performance. For example: I have yet to buy olympic lifting shoes. These shoes are specially designed to assist ankle mobility and help athletes lift heavier weights by allowing their bodies to get into optimal position. Knowing that my ankle mobility is pretty good and that I’m still very much learning and improving in my olympic lifts, I don’t feel like it’s necessary that I drop $200-$300 on shoes just to look good.

After a few weeks, though, I did some evaluating and determined that there was one thing I could definitely use: grips. The volume of pull-ups, toes to bar, hollow holds, and other bar work that we do results in some gnarly calluses and puts me at risk of ripping my hands. Anyone who has done gymnastics knows just how AWFUL hand rips can be. They are the literal worst. Clay and I did a lot of research (the CrossFit market is flooded with products… not all of which legit), and found Victory Grips. These are designed by a former gymnast, are durable, provide great hand coverage, and are really easy to break in. Since using them, my hands haven’t ripped once. I started out with their leather grips, which I liked, but didn’t do well with the bars in our gym, and have since switched to the stealth grips (pictured), which are synthetic. I love them.

For Christmas, Clay filled out the rest of my gym bag needs. He hooked me up with a weight belt – something I’ve wanted for a while, but like Oly shoes, I didn’t want to use it as a crutch for bad weightlifting form. Belts provide more core stability when lifting heavy loads – but if you don’t take the time to learn how to brace your abdominals and low back properly, even a belt isn’t going to help you. I use mine when lifting heavy or when the volume of a workout is pretty high and I’ve found that it’s helped make me even more aware of keeping my midline tight and consciously working to protect my back.

While I wish I looked as badass Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, I do have those knee sleeves she’s wearing, so that’s close enough for now. Clay also grabbed me these Rehband knee sleeves for Christmas and I’m really glad he did. Now, I’ve never had knee problems, thankfully, but in the past year or so I’ve noticed that my knees crack and pop a lot more than they used to. I also find that they get sore a lot easier – which is probably the result of me becoming decrepit. These sleeves are made of some sturdy neoprene offer compression and support when I’m lifting heavy. We found new 1 rep maxes last week for our squat cleans and hang snatches… I was definitely glad I had my sleeves on when I pulled 205 from the floor and caught it in a front squat!

I generally try to be judicious about what gear I buy – I want to make sure that the equipment I’m spending money on is going to help me improve as an athlete and ensure that my body is protected and can stay in the game for the long haul. Each of these items has so far proven to do just that.

2018 Race Plans

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my goals for 2018. I started laying them out in November, of course, because I love planning.

Give me a planner and I’ll conquer the world.

     My primary goal is one I’ve had for a long time. It’s a total cliché too. You know, it’s that one about finishing your novel. Yeah. That. I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life and I recently had a small success in that a short story of mine placed in a contest and was published. But my main goal is to finish the novel that I’ve been working on for many, many, many, years. So many years I can’t even tell you how many because it’s an embarrassment. So that is my primary goal in 2018, get my novel finished!

I did run the Yellowstone Half last year but it’s the Caldera medal that’s calling my name.  Plus, I fell in love with the Tetons when we drove through the park last summer. These races are back-to-back weekends in June, and my sister and I are taking a road trip there together. We’ll be camping and hiking the two national parks all week together and I’m super excited about it! I could really use a vacation.  Next week marks the start of half training for these races and I’ll keep mixing strength training into my routine as well.

Some of my favorite photos from the Vacations Races I’ve run over the years.

     I’m also doing the Rocky Mountain Elk Double again in August and it will be my fourth year participating. I’m super excited because Meridith is flying out to join me for my favorite race! I am so stoked because she’s bringing her whole family and I get to show them Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park. I openly admit my bias for Colorado, and I love showing off the state that I’m so lucky to live in and proud to be from. Those are my three races for the year and while it doesn’t seem like a lot, the Triple is two half marathons and a 5k in seven days. It will be a great challenge.

     Last week, I took a class at REI about cross-country skiing, and tomorrow, I’m taking another class there about snowshoeing basics. These classes are free, so check out your local REI for their offerings. I could even ice skate if I wanted to because there’s a pond less than a mile from my house that’s frozen solid right now. The variety and choices are endless! I just have to push myself out of my comfort zone and out of the gym and go give it a try. 2018 is the time to be fearless!

If you want to follow my writing pursuits, I have a Twitter and a website and they come with my undying devotion. You can’t pass THAT up. 

Road Tested: Detach Coconut+ (with Tropical Smoothie recipe!)

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

Hydration has always been a tricky thing for me when it comes to workouts.

When I first began with longer workouts, I stuck with water. I was nervous to branch out and try something other than what I knew worked for me. However, as time evolves, I have as well. I began looking for drinks that would provide something more.

If you ask any of my close running friends, they’ll tell you that I’ve never been a fan of coconut water. However, Detach intrigued me because it’s not just coconut water but rather a coconut water base with naturally added lemon/lime and sea salt.

As soon as I tried it, I was immediately a fan! It’s a great way to fuel for a workout and get the right mix of hydration and energy. It was created because the company’s founders were looking for a way to stay hydrated, focused, and supported their training.

The company recommends that you drink one bottle before a workout and then one bottle during exercise. I’d planned to bring it to the gym with me but with my broken arm, my gym workouts have come to a halt for the past 3 weeks.

Thankfully, I was cleared by my doctor to continue running. I drank one bottle with a light breakfast a half an hour before my run and then set up on my treadmill with my Detach (and pjuractive 2skin Anti-Chafing gel, which I’ll be reviewing next week), watched the Bachelor and did a ladder workout. It was refreshing and worked great for the hour long run.

I also got creative with my Detach and made a tropical smoothie!

You want to know what’s in there, don’t you? It’s super simple and what’s more, it’s super delicious!

TROPICAL SMOOTHIE

1 cup of Detach Coconut+
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 small banana
1/2 cup of pineapple
1/2 cup of ice

Blend to combine and enjoy!

The combination of the Detach flavors with everything else made me feel like I was sitting on a beach in tropical weather rather than in 20 degree weather in New Jersey. So lovely!

I know my fellow BibRave Pros have also made smoothies, adding greens and other assorted goodies to Detach and I’ve heard only great things.

Overall, I highly recommend Detach if you’re looking to pump up your hydration and your activity level during your workouts.

Swing by and check out my fellow BRPs reviews:

Lindsey
Amy
Corey

 Want to connect with Detach?