Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Goals for 2012


2011 is the year I become a runner.  2012 will be the year I become a distance runner. Yesterday I did a year in review, so now it is fitting that I tell you about my goals for next year.  My New Year’s goal for 2012 is to run five half marathons.  I had considered the goal of doing a half marathon each month, but that might be a bit much for my first year as a distance runner—maybe in 2013.  So, what half marathons do I have planned for 2012?  I’ll tell you!

1)       TheDisney Princess Half Marathon on February 26.  I can’t believe this has been my goal for almost a year.  This is the goal that got me started with running.   I am a girlie girl and love all things princesses.  This goal brought me so many new friends and a reason to get fit.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it!



2    2)    The Movie Madness Half Marathon on April 7.  This race looks like so much fun!  The volunteers will be dressed as movie stars.  The race starts on a red carpet with the words “lights, camera, action!”  The course is along the picturesque Susquehanna River.


        3)  Myrtle Beach Diva Half Marathon on May 20.  This will be a family event!  My three sisters and I will travel from Pennsylvania to South Carolina and all run in this race together.  We will spend the rest of the week celebrating on the beach.

       4)     Disneyland Half Marathon on September 2.  I love Disneyland even more than I love Disney World—and that is saying a lot!  My plan is to do TNT for this one.  It’s a lot of money to raise, but it’s such a good cause.  It will be my first trip across the country alone. 




     5)    The Baltimore Half Marathon on October 5.  I have lived, worked and went to school in Maryland for a large part of my life, plus it’s only an hour away from my house.  Knowing the route might give me a slight advantage. 





What a year I have planned!  Besides these half marathons, I have lots of shorter races planned too, like the Baltimore Women’s Classic.  I am so excited about what 2012 will bring me!  What do you have planned for 2012? 

A dream is a wish…

--Amy

***Let’s connect of Facebook and Twitter too!  Find the links on the upper right. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Year in Review


What a year!  2011 is the year I became a runner!  If you told me a year ago that I would be typing this, I would have laughed at you!  The idea of running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon just came to me one day in mid-January.  I knew that I need a big goal to get me moving to lose weight.  Since I love all things Disney, the Princess Half was a perfect fit for me.  From the day I made this my goal I put myself on this path.  I started running at the gym the next day…and, as they say, the rest is history.

Running has given me a confidence I never knew before.  I have witnessed my body do things that I never thought I was capable of.   I have made some the wonderful and supportive friends, some I know I will be friends with forever.  I have found a new way to bond with my sisters.  I can never thank running enough for all of the things it has given me.

I have done several races this year, in length from 5ks to 10 milers.  My very first race every was in June.  It was the Baltimore Women’s Classic.  I had no idea what to expect, but had a great time.  From that time on, I was hooked!  I decided then that I would try to do one race each month for the rest of the year.  I am happy to report that I accomplished that goal.  In July I did the Full Moon Run, then in August I did the York Rail Trail 10 miler.  This was my most difficult race to date, but I did it!  Finishing gave me so much confidence in my abilities as a runner.  I knew that if I could finish the 10 miler in the August heat, I would be fine to finish the Princess Half—my ultimate goal.  I finished out the fall with the 9/11 run, the Wrightsville Bridge Run and the Turkey Trot.  As long as weather permits, I will do doing a New Year’s Eve run to finish out the year, and get 2012 started on the right foot.

Looking back on all of these accomplishments, I am truly amazed where this year has taken me.  To celebrate, I registered today for the 2012 Baltimore Women’s Classic.  It was my first race ever, any my favorite (the swag bag was amazing!).  My ultimate goal—finishing the Disney Princess Half Marathon will be accomplished in just eight weeks!  All of this hard work over the past year has been very worth it!

Where did 2011 take you?  Was this expected or unexpected?  What would you change if you could?

A dream is a wish…

--Amy

Friday, December 23, 2011

Runner’s Christmas List



With Santa coming tomorrow night, I figured it was time for me to write out my Christmas list.  Since running has been my main hobby of 2011, the things on my list are running related.  Most of the things on my list are things I need for the Disney Princess Half Marathon!


SparkleSkirt:  I want the SparkleLight in Perfect Purple.  It will be perfect for my Rapunzel costume.  I love that the SparkleLights have built in, hidden pockets and that they are flattering to every figure.  I plan to wear this over a pair of black capris.  

Zensah Compression Sleeves:  I need these in purple.  I have them in pink and I love them.  These babies help you avoid shin splints and help with muscle recovery.  Many people don't know this, but marathon runners are more likely to get blood clots due to a lower heart rate. Most of these blood clots form in the calves and then travel to other parts of the body.  Prevent this by using compression sleeves during and after a race--especially if you have to sit on a long drive or flight home after the race.  Safety first!  

Asics 2170’s:  Yes, I did just get a new pair of Brooks.  My Asics are my old favs, and these come in purple! I love the new design and fit.  Even if I absolutely love my new Brooks, I will still have to get a new pair of this shoes.  

Adidas Squad bag:  I saw this bag at Dick’s last weekend and loved it!  It is the perfect size to carry all to running gear and it has a special zipped section for shoes. Such a great idea and the perfect way to carry on all my race stuff on my flight to Orlando. 

Tiara:  Every princess needs a tiara.  Now I need mine.  I am not sure how I will get it to stay put during the race, so I need it now to practice. I am not really to picky about what tiara I get, it just has to be really pretty. 

The perfect top for my Rapunzel costume:  Santa can work his magic on this one.  I have no idea where or what I want for this one yet.  Any ideas?

I sure hope Santa reads my blog!  What is on your Christmas wish list this year? 

A dream is a wish…

--Amy

***Let's connect on Facebook and Twitter!  Click on the links to the right. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Year's Reads


Do you read self-improvement books?  I have never been much of a reader, but this New Year, I plan to read a few self-improvement books.  I am going to start with PUSH by Chalene Johnson and Run Your Butt Off by the editors at Runner’s World Magazine.  I have never read a self-help book, so I really don’t know what to expect.  Here is a bit about the books I am going to read: 

Run Your Butt Off!: A Breakthrough Plan to Lose Weightand Start Running   When I first found this book, I thought—perfect, my two goals combined into one book—losing weight and becoming a better runner.  The books description on Amazon is:

 “Shed unwanted pounds and keep them off ONCE AND FOR ALL with Run Your Butt Off!, a back-to-basics, test panel–approved weight-loss plan and beginners’ running program that yields sustainable, healthy results. The Run Your Butt Off! program is founded on the simple concept that in order to lose weight, calories burned must exceed calories consumed. No gimmicks, no shortcuts, no silver bullets can circumvent that reality. With this program, you’ll learn to burn fat from both sides of the weight-loss equation—the calories in and the calories out—at the same time. Run Your Butt Off! will make you fitter, stronger , and leaner.”  

Doesn't all this sound great!  My book review and results will surely come soon. 






PUSH: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin' Body, andthe Life You Deserve!   You all know of my love for Chalene Johnson.  I love her workout DVD’s (Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire and Chalean Extreme), her live workouts (Piyo, Turbo Kick and Hip Hop Hustle) her clothing line and now I get to check out her book.  She is my mentor.  Chalene has already helped me so much.  I have lost over 50 pounds doing her workouts and I can’t wait to see how her book helps me. I hope one day to become an instructor of her workouts.  The Amazon description of PUSH is:

 “Fitness superstar Chalene Johnson creates a revolutionary 30-day system that will allow readers to transform their bodies, their diets, and their lives!”  “Chalene gives readers the life-changing tools they need to change their habits with 30 days of practical steps that include pinpointing goals, reverse engineering a course of action to achieve them, and kicking the clutter—whether that means junk food, draining exercise regimens, or toxic relationships. In one month, readers will learn how to create layers of accountability so that success is their only option.’’ 

This book was released today and I should get it any day now from Amazon.  Getting this book has me so psyched about the New Year and the next year of my life!  Again, review to come.


Have read any of these books?  Do you read self-improvement books?  Which ones do you recommend?

A dream is a wish…

--Amy

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Charm City Run


Yesterday, I finally made it to Charm City Run, a legendary running store in Baltimore, MD.  I have been to a local running store several times (Flying Feet), but have heard wonderful stories about the service and great advice that is given at Charm City Run and I have wanted to go for a long time.  Since my Christmas shopping is mostly done, my husband and I had time to take a road trip to Baltimore and check it out. 

We walked through the doors and were quickly greeted by a nice young man, Aubrey.  He asked me what I was looking for.  I told him I was looking for the perfect running store for me.  I explained that I have been running for about a year now and that I have a half marathon coming up very soon.  I told him I have been running is Asics 2160’s, a chance pick at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  I continued telling him that my 2160’s were working out well for me, but that I wanted to make sure I have the best shoes for me.  He asked if I was having any problems with my current shoes.  I told him for the most part, no, but I was getting blisters on the insides of my feet.

Aubrey had me take off my shoes and roll up my jeans.  I then walked up and down the store several times so he could analyze my gait.  He told me that I slightly over pronate, so I would do well with a neutral or support shoe. Next, it was time to measure my feet.  I told Aubrey that I have been getting a size 9. He told me I should try a 9.5 or a 10.  I am a true 9, but you need a little more room in running shoes, so I should try a larger size.  This may be the cause of my blisters—my shoes were to tight. My Asics 2160’s were one of the shoes he chose for me.  Since I have had several pairs of them, I wanted to try something else.  Aubrey was very patient and gave me four different pairs of shoes to try on—Brooks, Mizuno, Saucony and Asics, in a variety of sizes. 

I tried on each and every pair brought out to me.  I walked around the store in them to find the ones that were best for me.  A size 10 felt way to big, but a 9.5 felt nice.  After trying on lots and lots of shoes, I decided on the Brooks AdrenalineGTS 12.  I chose these because they felt roomie, but not to big.  They did not offer quite as much arch support as my Asics 2160’s, but that might be a good thing.  Since I donated my old running shoes, Charm City Run gave me 10% off on my new shoes. If you live in the area, I would certainly recommend Charm City Run for all of your running needs.  Shoe review to come….



A dream is a wish…

--Amy


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fitness Trends in 2012


I can across an article about what fitness trends will be hot in 2012.  Since I know all of us want to stay fit and get even more fit in 2012, I wanted to share it with you.  Some of the predictions were surprising, some were obvious to me and one I had never heard of. 

Have you heard of Barre?  I had not before I read this article.  It is a blend of Palates and Ballet intended to give you a killer, dancer like body.  I may have to give it a try. 

What I found surprising was the section the author calls “Unconventional Workouts”.  I got a chuckle out of imagining people hula hooping, pole dancing, roller skating, trampolining, and doing acrobatics.  But hey, if it gets them moving and helps them achieve fitness while having a little bit of fun, more power to the hula hoopers, pole dancer, roller skaters, trampoline jumpers, and acrobats. 

The obvious to me were running and home workouts…because these are the things I do every day and plan to continue doing in 2012.  With the success of Beach Body workouts suchas P90X, P90X2, Insanity, Turbo Fire and countless others, this trend it here to stay.  (If you want more info on any Beach Body workouts, contact me—I am a coach!)  The recent explosion of running for fitness is why we are all here.  While I will NEVER be a Tough Mudder, a Spartan or a Warrior Dasher, I respect those who take on the challenge.  Fire, mud, electrocution...wow!  With more and more people interested in our sport, it paves the way for companies and race directors to make more specialized products and races.  I love all the running gear that comes in pink now! With more buyers, fitness companies will devote more resources to newer and better products.  Race directors all over the country are developing all kinds of cool niche races, like the Dive Half Marathons, the Disney Princess Half Marathon (see the medal below!) and the Tinkerbell Half marathon that cater to women runners.  RAM racing has a “Hot Chocolate” running series where finishers go to a chocolate themed after party.  How fun!  With more people joining our sport, even more specialized products and races will for sure be on their way. 

Technology and our busy lives will continue to shape fitness in 2012.  Do you have a smart phone?  Thought so, most of us do.  There will be tons of new and updated apps for our smart phones to help us eat smarter and work out better.  No time to work out?  There are lots of shorter, 10 to 20 minute workouts to try.  Working out for a few minutes is better than not working out at all. I recommend 10 Minute Trainer

What do you think about these predictions?  Which is your favorite or least favorite?  Will you be part of any of these trends?

A dream is a wish…

--Amy

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cold Weather Running


As you know, I am a total wimp when it comes to cold!  I hate being cold and I will use it as an excuse not to do something any time I can.  I will tell my son “it’s to cold to walk to the bus stop, let’s drive”.   I drive around at the grocery store until I find a really close spot so I don’t have to spend to much time outside.  I have even went as far as using valet parking when I take my daughter to doctor appointments at the hospital so I don’t have to walk from the garage to the building in the cold.  I know--total cold wimp! 

Since the Disney Princess Half Marathon is at the end of February, I have resigned myself to the fact that, yes, I will indeed have to suck it up and do some running in the cold.  While some runs on the treadmill at the gym will be alright when it is raining or snowing, my marathon training will be so much more effective if I run outside.   Since runners have to be in their corrals around 4 am in Disney World, spending time in the cold now will get me used to it for the big day.

To make this a bit easier (or at least harder to get out of), I have done a few things.  First, I signed up for the winter running series with a local running club.  They offer eight events ranging for 5k’s to ten milers from November to March.  Next, I got a running buddy.  She is also training for the Princess Half and we are both using the Jeff Galloway plan.  We meet on Sundays at 2 PM.  If I wimp out, I will be letting her down.  I also bought some good cold weather gear.  I got a bottom layer Under Armor shirt, a fleece and a wind coat.  All of this gives me no reason not to run in the cold. 

For some inspiration, I came across a really good article that I wanted to share with you.  They offer great tips as to why running outside in the cold is beneficial to you. 

Do you run outside when it’s cold?  How do you make it more bearable?  Do you have any cold weather running tips to offer? 

A dream is a wish…

--Amy

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Take on Barefoot Running

It is a trend that can be seen all over in the running world—barefoot running.  I hate wearing shoes, so this concept intrigued me. Just about every shoe company offers some sort of “natural” or “minimalist”.  A few months ago, I decided to take a spin on the minimalist bandwagon.  I got a pair of Vibram FiveFingers and gave them a try. 
The VFFs took some getting used to at first.  They felt kind of funny on my toes at first, a bit tighter than I am used to.  As shoe wearers, we are not used to having anything between our toes.  I started wearing my Vibram around the house and then on errands.  Once I got used to having something between my toes, they began to feel natural, like wearing nothing at all.   I even wore them walking around the Magic Kingdom one day in October in Walt Disney World. 
I tried the VFFs one day for a 30 minute run.  I will report, I am not a barefoot running convert.  As an over pronator, the shoes did not offer me enough arch support.  I did not feel the usual spring back in each stride that I usually experience when I wear my Asics 2160’s.  For now, barefoot running is not for me. I will continue to wear my VFFs in my day to day activity.  I also like to wear them when weight lifting or taking Pilates classes, as I do find then comfortable.  While I appreciate the science behind barefoot running, I am not a fan. 
Have you tried barefoot running?  What did you think of it? 
A dream is a wish...
--Amy

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Team in Training Lousy Medal 5k

Some friends have put together a fun event that I wanted to tell you about.  Heather Gannoe and Hope Epton are training for a half marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training.  Through Team in Training, athletes train for an event and raise money for the LLS.  The girls have come up with a really cool fundraising idea—a Lousy Medal Virtual 5k run/walk.  Basically, you run or walk where ever and whenever you want that day.  For supporting the cause, they will send you a “lousy” (or really neat I hear) finisher medal. 
I started reading more about the LLS on their website.  What a great organization.  They raise money to help patients in need and fund vital research to cure and treat cancer.  The Team in Training program offers athletes their choice of endurance events all over the world in exchange for raising funds for the organizations.  All of this has got me thinking….I am considering joining TNT for an event in 2012, maybe the Disneyland Half in September.  I plan to attend an informational meeting in January. 
Please consider joining me on December 17 for the Lousy Medal 5k in support of TNT and the LLS.  Have you ever done a TNT event?  What did you think of it? 
A dream is a wish…
--Amy

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My First Running Injury

I don’t know if this is something to complain about or something to brag about, but it seems I have my very first running injury.  Apparently, I have an injury to my Patellair Ligament—a ligament just south of the knee.   
My daughter sees a physical therapist a few times a week. The physical therapist, Mary, was nice enough to look at my knee for me.  She told me it is a very common injury to runners, probably caused by coming to abrupt stop.  That makes sense to me because the Turkey Trot was a very crowded course and I did a lot of bobbing and weaving with many instant stops.  Mary told me that since this is a small, thin ligament it does not get much blood flow.  Not getting much blood flow means it will heal slowly.  She suggested Aleve and rest.   
The Aleve feels like it is working. The rest part is going to be difficult for me.  Last week, my family visited Walt Disney World.  We had a great time, but as you know, you walk all day long at Walt Disney World.  Now that I am home, I plan to take this whole week off from running.  I am hoping to heal enough to get back on my Jeff Galloway Disney Princess Half Training plan on Monday.  If it takes more than a week to heal, I will take all the time my body needs to heal.  I will not let this temporary injury become permanent. 
What types of running injuries have you sustained?  How long were you on the side line? 
A dream is a wish…
--Amy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

I admit it, I did not run today.  It has been POURING here all day.  I am not a fan of being wet or cold.  I kept telling myself all day—I will go out later, I will go out in an hour, I will go out when it stops raining.  Here is it, after nine PM and I still have not gotten my run in. 
My training has been going very well lately. At the Turkey Trot last week, I got a new 5k PR!  I have been trying to stick to the Jeff Galloway Disney Princess Half Marathon training plan as closely as possible.  My family is heading to Walt Disney World (yeah!) for a long weekend, to take in all the holiday spirit that WDW offers.  I know that I will miss my 30 minute run on Thursday and my long run on Saturday. This is making me feel even guiltier for missing today’s run.  Ugg! 
I am putting this behind me right now!  Tomorrow is a new day.  We will be on our feet doing a lot of walking at WDW this weekend.  When we get back on Monday, I will start my training up again.  What do you do when you hit a snag in your training plan?  How do you get back on track?
A dream is a wish…
--Amy

Saturday, November 26, 2011

York YMCA Turkey Trot 2011

Instead of sleeping in on Thanksgiving this year, I decided to start my Thanksgiving off with a 5k race, the York YMCA Turkey Trot.  I got up before the sun came up, got dressed and looked over Black Friday Sale papers before my sister came over.  We headed off to the race early to be sure to get a place to park. 
When my sister and I arrived at the YMCA, we walked to packet pick up area since we both had preregistered.  The instructions given there were to look on a posted list for our name and bib number, then go to the bib table and ask for our assigned bib number.  Neither of our bibs were where they were supposed to be.  The volunteers were very less than helpful.  They told us to go inside and find the race director for help.  After looking for about twenty minutes, we found the race directors.  She went out to packet pickup with us and she quickly found our bibs.  The volunteers had gotten the bibs out of order and were unwilling to spend more than a second looking for our bibs.  You get what you pay for I guess.  Good thing we came early. 
Once the bib mishap was resolved, my sister I and went to meet up with a few friends and line up at the start.  I mayor and the head of the YMCA got the race started.  I really enjoyed the course of this race.  The race started on Market Street, running past the old town square that is over 300 years old.  We then run south toward York College, my alma mater.  The campus was empty, except for the runner of course.  I had never seen the campus so empty.  We ran past most of the dorms, then back into town on the rail trail.  The beginning, like most races, felt a bit crowded but the crowd spread out pretty quickly.  The end was also crowded on the rail trail, since the trail is only four feet wide.  I enjoyed seeing all the local families sitting on their porches cheering the runners on. 

I costumes for this race were great!  So many people and groups dressed up.  We saw one family dressed as chefs, ranging from a toddler to Grand mom.  There were also lots of turkey hats.  Our friends, Erin and Will, made some really cute shirts with “hand” turkeys and brightly colors feathers.
This race was a PR for me!  My time was 37:45.  The race contained two hills, one entering the college and one just before getting to the rail trail.  I ran most of the race, but walked the hills as not to get to tired or winded.  As I said before, this was a really good course.  There was a great mix of city and trail, mostly flat but some hills.  Everyone together celebrating was a perfect way to get into the Thanksgiving spirit.  This is certainly a race I will be doing annually.  Thank you to the YMCA for organizing such a great event.
A dream is a wish…
Amy—
***The winner of my Road ID gift card is Suzanne Westenhofer.  Please email me at amysmith7@comcast.net with your mailing address and I will get it right out to you! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dover 10 Miler

Today was the first race of the York Road Runners Club winter series.  It was a ten miler in Dover, starting at North Salem Elementary School.  I drove to the site and went inside to register.  Registration was very quick.  A huge plus to this race—no porta potties!  After a rather uneventful start, we were off. 
I was very surprised at how hilly this course was.  Jeff Galloway says that running hills will strengthen your legs better than anything else, so I welcomed that challenge.  This was my first race on country roads.  I have run plenty on sidewalks and city streets, but never on a country road.  I was very surprised how much of a pitch there was in the road. The pitch really bothered me.  I felt off balance and it caused a cramp in my foot.  To avoid this, I tried as much as possible to run toward the center of the road.   Most of the race was through rolling farm land. We passed cows, horses and chickens.  I could hear the sounds of hunters and gun shots in the distance. The turnaround point was by a bustling campground, complete with picnicker and horseshoe players.
I would like to thank the York Road Runners Club for being very patient with the runners at the back of the path.  I have been to races where the finish line was already taken down when I finished.  The YRRC still had the finish line going and were still cheering as the last few of us crossed the finish line.  Plenty of water, bagels and good old Pennsylvania whoopie pies waited for me at the finish line. My official time was 2:28:11, 14:29 per mile.  This time is very close to my previous 10 milers, the Rail Trail 10 miler in August.  My time in August was 2:26:47, but the rail trail is very flat.  I am happy with my time today because all the hills could have really slowed me down.  I felt like I could have keep going for three more miles and can finish a half marathon—Disney Princess here I come!  I look forward to the rest of the races in the YRRC winter series. 
A dream is a wish…
--Amy 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

York Road Runners Club Winter Series

Someone from a local Facebook running group I am in posted the other day about a local winter running series.  I wanted to let all my local running friends know about it. 
The York Road Runners Club Winter Series is a steal!  It costs just $22 to join the series of eight races.  You get one bib to wear to all eight of the races.  The races range from 5k to 10 miles, with an 8k, a 10k and a 15k in between.  I decided to enter the series as a way to keep me running during the cold winter.  I am not a fan of cold weather running, but the races will give me something to look forward to, and added reason to get out and run. 
If you are local to the area, I would love to see you at the YRRC Winter Series!  Time for bed, I have a 10 mile race in the morning. 
A dream is a wish…
--Amy
***There is still time to enter my Road ID giveaway! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

100 Days and Counting...

Ok Princesses, we have entered the home stretch!  100 days until our sneakers turn into glass slippers, 100 days until we run! 

There is so much to do!  Finalize travel arrangements, find a killer outfit…and train! 

The travel arraignments will be the easy part.  I have the Bay Lake Tower booked already from February 24 to 29 with our DVC points.  We have season passes, so that is covered.  All that is left is to book air and rent a car.
I think I have my outfit planned too.  My plan is a yellow SparkleSkirt! with a princess tech shirt from Balancing Act Clothing.  I still need matching shoes--and a tiara of course. 
The Galloway plan has been going great for me.  For my 30 minute maintenance runs, I have been doing intervals of two minutes running and one minute walking.  For my long runs, I have been doing 60 seconds runs and 90 second walks.  These intervals are working great for me as I do not get winded or tired.  With this plan, I am doing 12 minute miles for my short runs and 14 minute miles for my longer runs. It is starting to get cold very quickly here in Pennsylvania, so I have accelerated my long run schedule a bit.  I am not much for cold! 
What do you have to do in these 100 days to prepare?  What is your plan? 
A dream is a wish…
--Amy


***Don’t forget to enter my
Road ID giveaway!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Safe Running at Night

Since we changed the clocks back a week ago, it gets dark here around 5 PM.  This does not give me much time to run when it is still light outside.  Since I am not a morning person, I have to wait to run in the evening after my husband gets home.  On my run the other night, I almost got hit by a car.  I run the sidewalks in my neighborhood.  I was coming up on a house when I saw a women quickly leave the house and jump into a car.  I keep running by the house while the she started the car.  Just as I was passing the driveway, she through the car into reverse and almost hit me.  Scary!  This got me thinking, was I being as safe as possible when I run at night? 
Here are a few tips I have come up with to keep us safe when we run at night: 
·         Run in a place that is well light so you can see other and they can see you.
·         Be visible.  Consider wearing bright colors, clothing that reflects light or even a head lamp or flashlight. 
·         Carry a cell phone. 
·         Leave the music at home.  Limiting your hearing will put you at a disadvantage when it comes to hearing cars, dogs, other runners or any other potential harm. 
·         Follow your instincts.  If you feel unsafe at any time, trust your gut and return to a safe place.
·         Vary you time and route.  Don’t make yourself any easy target.
·         Run with a buddy if possible. 
·         Run on sidewalks to put as much space between you and drivers as possible.
·         Carry identification, such as a Road ID
To keep all of you safe, I am doing a giveaway!!!  I am giving away a $15 gift card to be used toward a Road ID.  To read a previous Road ID review, click here.  To enter the giveaway, you must use the Rafflecopter form below and be a follow of this blog.  Good luck and be safe out there!!!
Do you have any other tips for running at night?  What time of day do you prefer to run?
A dream is a wish…
--Amy

***Edit: Road ID must have loved this post because they just sent me an e-mail with coupon codes for all of you!!!

20% off until 11/28 with code pcSanta220
15% off from 11/29 to 12/6 with code pcSanta215
10% off from 12/7 to 12/25 with code pcSanta 210


Monday, November 14, 2011

Cross Training

Since we only run three times a week in the Galloway plan, I have been doing some cross training.  From the research I have been doing, there is conflicting information about how helpful cross training is to a runner.  From everything I have read, it looks like cross training its self will not make you become a better runner, but it can help you to lose weight, become stronger and improve your cardiovascular health.  Sign me up!!!
For cross training, I have been taking a spin class twice a week.  In spin class, you ride a stationary bike.  The tension in the peddles can be adjusted from easy impossible.   The rider can peddle at different speeds.  The instructor tells the riders how fast to go and how much tension to us.  It can be a killer workout!
On days that I do not run or spin, I do a Turbo Jam or Turbo Fire video.  These are great dance/kickboxing workouts instructed by Chalene Johnson.  The best part of these workouts, they burn up to 800 calories per hour!
For strength training, I have been doing a workout video series called ChaLEAN Extreme.  The theory of the workout is that by lifting heavy weights with fewer reps, you build muscle faster.  The instructor, Chalene Johnson (love her!), always repeats the phrase “muscle burns fat.”  I am all for that.  The workouts are intense, but not to difficult.  I will do a full review when I get farther into the program.  For more information, on Turbo Fire, Turbo Jam or ChaLEAN Extreme message me. 
Some other cross trainings I am looking into is swimming and Zumba.  Zumba seems like a lot of fun and is a great calorie burn.  Swimming is also a lot of fun and burns a lot of calories, but it can also help to build muscle.  Do you do any cross training? What do you do for cross training?
A dream is a wish…
--Amy

The winner of my Balancing Act Clothing giveaway is Jennifer Wood!!!  Email me with your mailing address and what shirt you want!  (amysmith7@comcast.net) 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Goals

I have been improving how long I can run without a walk break a little each run.  I can almost do my .8 of a mile neighborhood loop.  If it was not so hilly, I am sure by this point I could do it.  In the 5k I did over the weekend, I ran an entire mile without a walk break. 
For the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I plan to do the Galloway run/walk/run plan.  For my long runs, I also follow this plan.  For my two weekly 30 minute runs, I try to run as long as I can without a break.  I will give it to Jeff Galloway; my time is usually about a minute per mile slower when I run as long as I can before a break. 
I know I am never going to win any races.  I will never be a fast runner.  That is okay with me.  I only race myself.  As the Princess Half gets closer and as I enter more local races, I am amending my goals a bit.  My new goal for my local races is to run a whole 5k.  To run the entire race without a walk break.  My new goal for the Disney Princess Half Marathon is to finish the race with a time of 14 minutes per mile.  This will give me time to take pictures, but still not push myself to hard. 
What are your running goals?  How often do you reflect and amend your goals? 
A dream is a wish…
--Amy
Don’t forget to enter my Balancing Act Clothing giveaway! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

5k MAG Wrightsville Bridge Run

This past Saturday, November 5th, I did a really cool run over a very old bridge.  I read about the bridges history and learned it had once been the longest wooden bridge in the world, 1.4 miles long.  It was damaged by ice and was rebuilt.  In the civil war, the bridge was burned to halt the advancement of the confederacy.  They later rebuilt the bridge out of cement. 
I woke up early Saturday morning for the run.  This was the first ever race I went to alone.  My husband or sisters usually go with me.  Since this was a close one, I went alone.  I met a friend there.  She met another friend there, so I had a few running buddies anyway.  It was so cold that morning!  I am a real wimp when it comes to cold weather.  It was about 34 degrees when I parked my car.  One good thing about this race was that it started just outside an elementary school.  Registration was inside that school.  There was plenty of room in the school to hang out and stretch before the race.  The best part of this race—no port a potties! 
The start of the race was rather uneventful.  Everyone gathered at the start.  The race organizer was speaking over a loud speaker, but it was muffled inaudible.   All of the sudden, the people in front of me were running!  Off we went.  The beginning of the race was down a very steep hill toward the bridge.  I stuck with my friends for about the first half mile. Once I got moving, I worked up quickly.  I was wearing an Under Armor tank, a Target C9 long sleeve compression top and a zip up jacket, with my Old Navy Yoga pants and Asics shoes.  This combo worked great for me for this run.
The view off the bridge was absolutely breathtaking.  I could look both ways up the river and see for miles.  The sun was slowly rising in the east, the direction we ran in the first half of the race.  I could see lots of geese swimming in the water.  There were few boats in the water.  There is a dam a few miles south of the bridge, so the current is quite strong in the area.  The water’s edge was iced lined.  The bridge was closed to traffic, so we had the whole thing to run.  By the time I reached mile one at around eleven minutes, I was being passed by runners on their way back.  Once I reached the end of the bridge, the turnaround was at a little tiny park.  It was just a small loop and back to the bridge we ran. 
One thing I really liked about the organization of this race was the every tenth of a mile, there was a large brightly colored flag.  These flags really helped me plan my run/walk ratio.  I was more tired on the return run that I was on the first half, but my time stay steady.  I was running at about twelve minutes a mile—that is until I got to the last quarter mile.  Once I got off the bridge, the last quarter mile was straight up!  I was paying for the nice downhill beginning.  I have never run up a hill like that.  It was as steep as running up stairs.  This really slowed down my pace and killed my PR. When I hit mile three, the clock read 36:40.  My PR on a 5k is 38:12.  With almost a minute and a half, I was close enough to touch a new PR.  I started up the hill, but quickly lost steam.  I crossed the finish line with a time of 39:02.  According to my RunKeeper, my pace for the last tenth of a mile was 15:42. 
There was a nice lady waiting at the finish to hand the runners a bottle of water.  I was feeling warm and sweaty, so I unzipped my jacket and waited for my friends to finish.  Bad idea!  As my body slowed down, my temperature dropped quickly.  I was still sweaty, so I got cold really fast.  I learned to welcome the warmth when running in the cold.  One thing I really like about this race was that the fastest runners were not the ones to win all the prizes.  This race gave out about 20 door prizes, ranging from $100 cash to gift cards to local restaurants.  I like this idea because most of us are never going to be elite runners.  It was nice to have the chance to win a prize anyway.  Over all, this race was a great experience.  It is on my list of must do races next year. 
A dream is a wish…
--Amy
***The winner of my GU sampler pack is RunDreamCook!  E-mail me at amysmith7@comcast.net with your shipping address and I will get it right out to you!
***Don’t forget to enter my Balancing Act clothing giveaway!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Balancing Act Clothing

While searching for the perfect outfit to wear for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I came across a really cool site offering unique running clothes.  Balancing Act Clothing is a small business owned by Alissa Costello.  She is a graphic designer and a screen printer.  Balancing Act Clothing offers unique running clothes with inspirations sayings, as well as fun running shirts.
 Alissa designed a special shirt for both the Disney Princess Half Marathon and the Disneyland Tinkerbell Half Marathon.  I had originally ordered the fairy shirt because I instantly fell in love with it.  When it came in the mail, I was very pleased.  The shirt was made of a light weight performance material.  The screen printed wings were applied very well, and then sprayed with glitter.  I wore the shirt the weekend to the Moon Light Run I did back in August.  I have washed and bleached the shirt many times since then.  It looks just as good as the day I first wore it.  I was so happy with the job Alissa had done on my shirt, so I “liked” Balancing Act Clothing on Facebook.  A few weeks later, she asked if there were any bloggers who wanted to do a review and giveaway.   Of course, I jumped at the chance.  
I love the shirt Alissa designed for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  It features a princess dress on the front.  You can choose one of five colors, one color for each princess.  I chose yellow because Belle is my favorite princess.  On the back of the shirt, you can choose one of four phrases.  I chose “Earning my Glass Slipper.”  This shirt is perfect to wear to the race because is it made of a wicking performance material.  I am thinking about wearing my Balancing Act Clothing princess shirt with a yellow SparkleSkirt!  How cute!
Balancing Act Clothing is so proud of all of you training for the Princess Half!   Alissa wants one of you to win one of her great shirts.    That’s right—it’s giveaway time!!!  For this giveaway, I will be using a new application called Rafflecopter.  To enter the giveaway, you must be a follower of this blog. Here are the ways to enter the giveaway:

2)      Follow Balancing Act Clothing on Twitter.

3)      Share this blog page with your Facebook and/or Twitter friends.  (To do this, click to the right where is says “Share this on Facebook” or “Tweet this”.

Each blog follower can enter the giveaway multiply times (like on FB and/or Twitter, share this page on FB and/or Twitter—earning one entry each day you share.  ONLY entries done with Rafflecopter can be counted.  You can enter until midnight Eastern Time on November 10th, 2011. Then I will choose a winner!  Check for a new blog post that evening to see who the winner is!  Balancing Act Clothing will send the winner a shirt.  Good Luck everyone! 

A dream is a wish…
--Amy