Monday, June 25, 2012

Baltimore Women's Classic 2012

Yesterday morning, I trekked out very early for my second Baltimore Women's Classic.  This was my favorite 5k of 2011, and they again delivered a great race.

I rode with my sister and her boyfriend into the city bright and early.  We got there extra early to be sure we had enough time to park and pick up our packets.  Last year, the BWC goody bag was amazing!  Since it was my first race, I did not know it then, but the goody bag really was way better than any other.  This years goody bag was bright purple with lime writing.  It content's were really great, but not as good as last year.  We got some really cool stuff this year--including olive oil, Luna Bar, sun glasses, chap stick, Emergen-C, and lots of coupons/fliers.  We also picked up our race shirts.  This year's race shirt is lime with purple writing.  I love it!

The BWC organizers really know how to get the crowd pumped!  An hour before the race, they had a DJ pumping the tunes.  A half hour before the, a local fitness celebrity lead a warm up of Zumba and dancing.  I made a quick trick to the bathroom, and then it was time to hit the starting line.  After a year of racing, I have learned that people do not really honor the suggested starting place based on pace.  I started in the ten minute mile pace group and that suited me well.  By no means was I in the front of the pack, but I did avoid that bottle neck at the beginning and I did keep up with the crowd.

What I love most about this race is the course!  It highlights all of the most beautiful parts of the city.  You run past the art museum, Federal Hill, lots of cute city neighborhoods, then end running right along Baltimore's famous and beautiful inner harbor.

The heat was on yesterday for the race! By 8 am, it was 87 degrees and very humid.  I was hoping to get a PR for this race, but once I felt the heat and humidity, I gave myself some slack.  Heat and humidity really affect me, making me nauseous and dizzy.  I did not want to experience this at my favorite local race, so I really took it easy and enjoyed the race.

The Baltimore Women's Classic makes each runner feel special.  By around mile 2.5, spectators line up and start cheering the runners on.  After crossing the finish line, each runner is handed an ice cold BWC logo towel, a bottle of water and a rose.  After you get out of the shoot, there was tons of food!  There was Pinera Bread  bagels, water melon, chips, oranges, Cabot cheeses, bananas and more.  After getting something to eat and drink, I hung out with my sister and my friend Jen for a while.  We watched the awards assembly and then headed home.

I am so glad I did the Baltimore Women's Classic for a second time.  It is still my favorite 5k.  Do you have any races you do year after year?

A dream is a wish...


Sunday, June 24, 2012

And The Winner Is...

I want to thank everyone who donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by entering my raffle.  Together, we raised $475 to fight blood cancer!!!  I also want to thank those of you who shared my raffle via Facebook, Tweets and e-mails.  I really appreciated your support!

First prize Ultimate runDisney bag goes to Anne K.

Second prize Race Day Ready bag goes to Jennifer G.

Third prize Girl on the Run bag goes to Suzanne W.

Thank you again to everyone who entered and donated to the LLS!

A dream is a wish...


Friday, June 22, 2012

My One Year Runiversary

After the Baltimore Women's Classic last year
A year ago from Sunday will be my one year runiversary!  It has been one year since I ran my first official race.  I ran the Baltimore Women's Classic last year as my first official race. It has been my favorite local race so far.  I am not sure why.  Maybe because it was my first race?  Maybe it was the wonderful course along the Baltimore Harbor?  Maybe it was the support I felt because this was an all women's race?  I don't know, but I am really looking forward to this being the first race I do for a second time.  
When I started a year and a half ago, I was not sure where this running thing would take me.  I had faith in myself that I could finish the Disney Princess Half Marathon, but beyond that I was not sure.  I am so thankful for where this past year has taken me.  I have met so many friends running.  I found my teammates.  For these things I am so thankful.  

I am so excited to run my first race for a second time.  I still remember my finish time from last year--41:44.  It's the only race I remember my exact time finish time from.  I can't wait to see what my time this year is.  I can't wait to see home much I improved.  I am hoping for shave five minutes off that time.  

I am also excited to have my second BWC shirt and goody bag.  If you remember, the shirt and goody bag were pretty awesome!  The shirt was a royal blue New Balance.  The race goody bag was to this day the best goody bag I have ever seen.  

Please wish me luck!  I can't wait to tell you all about it!

A dream is a wish...


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Practice Races

Last year at this time, I was preparing for my first official race.  A few seasoned runners suggested that I enter some local events to get the feel for racing before my main event--the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon.

I was terrified!  What should I wear?  What should I eat?  How early should I get there?  What exactly is this "bag check" thing?  These were some things running through my head.  As you know, I did great.  The race was a blast.   After just one race, I was hooked.  Doing the Baltimore Women's Classic last year was great practice.  I felt so comfortable at my first race that I have done so many local races that I have lost count.

I am so thankful for the advice that I got to run some local races before my goal event.  It made me so much less nervous.   It was so nice to figure out what worked for me long before my goal event.  I got to the Disney Princess Half still feeling very nervous, but feeling comfortable in the race environment and feeling like all the pre-race stuff was routine for me.  I can't wait for Sunday to run in the Baltimore Women's Classic again. 

Did you have a practice race?  Did it make you feel better about your goal race?

A dream is a wish...


Don't forget to enter my HUGE raffle to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!  SparkleSkirts, Balancing Act top, SPIbelt, Nuun and so much more!  Only $5 to enter.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Every Sunday evening, my husband and I sit down together with our schedule books.  We talk about what we each have going on for the week.  Since my special needs daughter can only be cared for by myself or my husband, it is essential that I schedule my workouts for the week.  If I do not schedule them, there is a good chance they will not happen.

I try to run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and then get some time for cross training Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  This does not always happen because of my husband's work schedule. It's nice to know ahead of time that if this is not going to work out for the week, I can make different plans.  I might flip flop my cross training and running days one week, like this week.  If Mike works late for the day, cross training could be a Turbo Fire while my daughter naps.  Its nice to not be surprised at 9 PM that I did not get my workout in.  It's nice to have it planned into my week.

It is a good idea for everyone to schedule their workouts.  Work, kids, pets, Facebook--life gets in the way.  If it's not written down, then its not a priority.  Don't let your workouts happen by chance.  Make sure YOU come first! 

Do you schedule your workouts?  Do you get them in by chance?  

A dream is a wish...


Don't forget about my huge giveaway!  SparkleSkirts, Balancing Act Clothing top, SPIbelt, Nuun and so much more.  Please enter today and support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Only $5 to enter! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Couch to 5k

I have decided I am going to redo Couch to 5k to work on speed.  After not improving on my speed much this past year, it is something I have been really thinking about.  I have shaved about 5 minutes off my 5k time and about a half hour off my half marathon time since I started racing--which is great!  But I want more results!

A running friend told me her coach told her to redo C25k to improve her speed.  Something about the walk breaks making it easier for her to run faster during the run parts.  When I first heard this, my first thought was that is sounds a lot like the Jeff Galloway run/walk/run method, so I was instantly intrigued.  It makes a lot of sense to me--you run fast starting for a short period of time and you build on that slowly, increasing your endurance and stamina.

I started C25k at the beginning of the week.  It should fit nicely into my half marathon training plan, for a while anyway, because right now I am in the beginning of  Disneyland Half training.  All my "long" runs are still relatively short.  After my long runs actually get long, I plan to still do C25k during my weeknight runs and then do my long run on the weekend.  This program is nine weeks, so I will be finished a few weeks before the DL half.

Have you ever done Couch to 5k?  What did you think of it?  Did it make you faster?

A dream is a wish...


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Huge Raffle to Benefit the LLS!

Hello everyone!  As you know, I am very committed to fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Over the past few months I have been working hard on getting a huge raffle together of some really great running stuff I know you will love!  All of these products were donated by their respective companies to help me raise money for the LLS.  I have three bags set up for you--all of them awesome!

Bag 1:  The Ultimate runDisney Prize Pack!  (worth over $120)

runDisney prize pack
Me wearing my SparkleSkirt!
This bag includes everything you need to look fantastic at your next runDisney event.  First off, the winner will get my absolute favorite, must have running product--a SparkleSkirt!  Please read all about SparkleSkirts! here.  The SparkleSkirt! tech has legs that are the perfect length and never, ever ride up.  They are also the perfect length--not to short, not to long.  I simply can not run a race without one. The winner will have their choice of SparkleSkirts!, but can not choose a special order or limited addition fabric.

The next item in the ultimate runDisney Prize Pack is a top from Balancing Act Clothing.  I love these shirts!  They are soft, super comfortable and absolutely adorable. I wore one for the runDisney Royal Family 5k.  I also wear them to local races and training sessions all the time.  They offer princess and fairy shirts--perfect for a runDisney event.

A friend in her BAC fairy shirt at the Disney 5k
Also in this prize pack is a thick Sweaty Band.  I am in love with Sweaty Bands!  I wear them every day, whether I am working out or not.  They always stay put and look super cute.

In the Ultimate runDisney prize pack I am also giving the winner a runDisney tote bag!  This bag is so awesome, I almost can't bring myself to give it away.  It is big enough to hold several gallon jugs.  Not that you plan to carry around a few gallons, but that gives you a good size reference.  This is the perfect carry-on to take with you to your next runDisney race!  I am also throwing in some GU, some Sport Beans and some Clif Bloks.

Bag 2:  The Race Day Ready bag  (worth over $60)

In this gift bag you will find a draw Rock and Roll Marathon Series drawstring backpack, a Rock and Roll Marathon Series pink headband, some GU and Sport Beans.

You will also find a Road ID $15 gift card.  Road ID is something you wear on your wrist or shoe while you run in case of an accident.   You chose what info goes on it--name, DOB, emergency contacts.  It is a total must have for any runner.

Next in the bag is a tube of Nuun.  Never heard of Nuun?  It is my preferred electrolyte sports/recovery drink.  It does not contain carbs or sugar.  What I like about Nuun is that it is so portable.  You can take a Nuun tablet anywhere and drop it into your water bottle.  I prefer the light taste over other sweet sports drinks.  The winner of this prize pack will get a tube of Nuun tropical flavor.

Lastly in the prize pack is an SPIbelt!  This is the only running belt I have ever been able to wear.  It does not bounce or shift while you run.  SPIbelts are fully adjustable, so it fits everyone.  It may look small, but it holds a lot!  I have put a 16oz bottle of water in mine without a problem.  I usually carry my iPhone, a chap stick, my keys and my Vera Bradley wristlet in mine while I run and it all fits very easily.

Bag 3:  Girl on the Run bag (worth over $35)

This gift bag starts with a Thirty-one mini zipper pouch with "RUN" embroidered on it.  Want the matching purse?  Check out my Thirty-one fundraiser!  There is also a zebra print thin Sweaty Band, a Thirty-one nail file, some GU, and some Sport Beans.

How to enter:

Awesome prizes, right?  I wish I could win!  To entry, all you have to do is click here and donate to Team in Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Make sure you use this link or the link to the upper right on my blog.

Donation of:

$5 gets you 1 entry
$10 gets you 3 entries
$25 gets you 8 entries
$50 gets you 20 entries
$100 gets you 50 entries

This raffle will be open until midnight on Saturday, June 23rd. The following day I will randomly choose the winners and post them to my blog.  Good luck everyone!  Please be generous, as the funds go to such a wonderful cause.

Thank you!

A dream is a wish...


Monday, June 11, 2012

San Diego Rock and Roll

Last Sunday, I competed in my third half marathon—the San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  I woke up super early, as we do for most big races.  I meet my Team in the hotel lobby at 3:45 for a quick prerace team photo and we were off to the race.  We rode a shuttle bus through the dark streets of San Diego to Balboa Park.  Then we had a two hour wait for the race to start. 

It is a Team in Training tradition at the night before the race the Team gathers and decorates their shirts together.  I decorated my shirt with my name, and then the names of people I wanted to dedicate my run to. I dedicated my run to Dave, Scott, Emily and of course sweet baby Kaitlyn.  Kaitlyn's mom always put the cutest, most girly bows in her hair.  In honor of Kaitlyn, I wore a big purple bow in my hair during the race. 

It was so nice having my Teammates there to wait with.  We ate breakfast together, checked our bags together, stood in the long porta potty lines together and then waited in our corrals together.  I like the corral system the RnR series used.  There were 42 corrals, each starting a minute apart.  Each corral felt special because they were sent off with cheers and a “ready, set, go”.  This eliminated the bottle necks at the beginning of the race.

The first two miles or so was run on the streets of San Diego.  Then we entered Balboa Park, right in front of the San Diego Zoo.  It was really neat running through the Spanish Village part of Balboa Park.  Then we ran on the 163 freeway—for four miles, much of it up hill.  I really did not enjoy this part of the race.  The road was banked, so my right foot was a few inches higher than my left.  This made my left foot hurt and it really slowed me down.  If you know me, you know how much I hate snakes!  There was a dead snake in the road. Gross!  I was never so happy during a race as I was when I saw that we were exiting the freeway.  The next four miles were through the town of San Diego.  This part was really fun to run through.  There were lots of Team in Training cheer teams and lots of cheerleading squads cheering us on.  There were lots of bands and DJ’s keeping the music pumping.  I could finally see the beautiful San Diego water starting at mile 12.  By this point in the course, lots of spectators were lining the course cheering the runners on.  I could see SeaWorld in the background—the finish line.  I keep running hard and crossed the finish line!

Once I crossed the finish line, I could think of nothing but getting water.  I got my water and then my beautiful, shiny medal.  The “finish line party” was like nothing I had ever experienced.  There was a huge band stand with bands playing music.  As I walked through the shoot, people kept handing me things.  I got water, Gatorade, a Jamba Juice, a yogurt, every kind of fruit you can think of, tons of energy bars, chips…I could barely carry it all—until someone handed me a grocery bag to put it all in.  I picked up my checked bag, checked in at the TNT tent and went to meet my Team for lunch.

My time for this race was about one minute less than my time at the Myrtle Beach Diva, so a PR for me. One experience that was truly unique in this race for me was the Team in Training coaches.  Each chapter around the country brought with them a coach.  The coaches were placed all along the course to help and encourage the Team in Training runners.  Have a question, need support, need some GU, just need a caring friend?  The coaches are there to help.  They really helped me.  For instance, on the killer hill on the 163, a coach was running up and down the hill chanting “shorter strides, deeper breathes”.  It really helped me.  My coach told us a story about a guy having a really tough time at mile 21.  She ran with him and cheered him on up until mile 25.  He finished the race because of her. Wonderful and dedicated coaches are just one of the many reason I love being part of Team in Training. 

One thing I really liked about the Rock and Roll series was the organization.  They had food and water for runners at the start.  They had plenty of porta potties at the start, finish and along the course.  The route was well marked.  The finish line was also well organized and had plenty of food.  The bands on the course were motivating.  The bands were approximately every half mile apart, except for the part on the freeway.  There were no bands there.  I was not impressed with the course.  Four miles of banked freeway was not for me.  I expected to see more than one mile of ocean.  Overall, I am very happy I got to be a part of this race.  It was a great experience. 

A dream is a wish…


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Team Inspiration Dinner—With a VERY Special (famous) Guest

“The miracle isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”  --John Bingham

Last Saturday, the night before the big race, over 2,500 of my closest friends, also known as my national network of Team in Training teammates, ascended on the San Diego Convention Central for our traditional Team in Training Inspirational Dinner.  Rumors had been flying around the expo about a very special guest speaker—John Bingham.  I could not wait to get to the dinner to find out if it was true.

I met my team in the lobby of our hotel at 5PM and we walked over to the dinner together.  As we walked into the lobby of the convention center, there were hundreds of TNT staff and family members--some dressed in crazy wigs and costumes--clapping, yelling and cheering for the team members.  Honestly, it was very overwhelming at first.  I did not know what to expect.  All of the sudden all of these people were cheer and yelling for me.  After a few seconds I got into it and started cheering for my teammates too. 

We got our pasta dinner from the buffet and found our tables.  At each seat was a very special placemat that read “at this table sits a HERO”.  I had never really looked at myself or my teammates that way, but I guess to the cancer patients we help, we are.  Each staff member decorated their team’s table.  Stephanie decorated ours in the Hershey theme.  It was fun to walk around and see how the other tables with teams from across the country were decorated. 

After we ate we got to listen to a few speakers.  The first was Jennifer Grandy, the Team in Training National Director.  She had some amazing news to share.  She told us that the national Team in Training San Diego Team raised over $7.3 million!  She also told us how the money would be used.  There is a new, very promising drug that just made it through a phase one clinical trial.  In the trial 28/50 patients went into remission, while only 15/50 went into remission with the old drug.  These results are simply astonishing!  Wouldn’t it be amazing if I was part of finding the cure for cancer! 

After all the seriousness came the fun!  Our guest speaker was the famous penguin runner, John Bingham.  John has written several books on running, and was a writer for Runner’s World Magazine.  John told us lots of funny stories—about the running “bite me zone”, and about sitting in porta potties and why you may never be able to stand up again.  He was very entertaining and inspirational at the same time. 

The Team Inspirational dinner was so perfect to get us in the running mode.  We were reminded of the real reason so many of us trained.  I left the dinner ready to run for such a wonderful cause! If you would like to donate, I am still taking donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  There is a link on the upper right. 

A dream is a wish…


Friday, June 8, 2012

Rock and Roll San Diego Race Expo

With the RnR "Elvi" (plural for Elvis, LOL) 

All runners are required to attend a race expo for most larger races, include the Rock and Roll Series and the runDisney races.  I have been to a few races expos in the past, but they were nothing in scale compared to the Rock and Roll San Diego Expo.  This expo was big!

After lunch Friday, most of my Team in Training Teammates and I went to the race expo together.  We made the short walk from our hotel to the San Diego Convention Center where the expo was being held.  The beginning of the expo was set up like a maze.  Attendants would wind up and down partitioned off area’s accomplishing a few necessary tasks.  First, we had to hand in our race waver and pick up our bib somewhere down a long and slender room lined with numbers and tables.  What table you went to depended on what your bib number was.  The next stop was the T-shirt room.  This area was divided by what shirt you got—men’s or women’s and then by size.  The final stop was the goody bag stop—my personal favorite!

The "finish" line! 
The goody bag for this race was very nice.  We got a black draw string back pack with the Rock and Roll race series logo on it.  It had lots of samples, like Starkissed Tuna, GU, shampoo, lots of coupons and flyers for other races. 

The first area attendants came upon was the Brooks area.  They had a “heaven” theme.  The heaven area had treadmills and shoe specialists helping racers find their perfect pair.  One thing kind of funny in the Brooks area was changing rooms that looked like porta potties for racers to try on Brooks clothes and official race apparel.  After that, we entered the main body of the expo.

Goody bag and booth swag
There were so many booths; I did not know where to start, but I found many favorites.  Of course, my favorite booth was the runDisney booth.  They were offering lots of race specials, but did not have anything that I am not registered for.  My next booth was the Team in Training booth.  They had mock race bibs for runners to make and wear in memory or honor of loved ones who fought cancers. I hit up lots of other booths and got lots of swag—including 5 Hour Energy, Jamba Juice, McDonald's oatmeal, Sports Authority coupons, KT tape, Pepto, GU, Biofreeze, Lara Bars, Clif Bars, Uber bars and lots of other cool stuff.  I picked up a Team in Training purple sparkly Sweaty Band before heading back to the hotel. 

I meet a very nice woman who was running on a team for the Ronald McDonald House.  They have a team for the Philly Rock and Roll Half in September.  The fundraising minimum is $500.  Should I do this event too, along with still fundraising for the LLS?  I still would like to raise $2000+ for the LLS.  The Ronald McDonald House holds a very special place in my heart.  While my daughter was in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and The Milton Hershey Hospital, I spent a great deal of time at the RMH.  With out them, I don't know who I would have survived in Philly.  Having a place to rest and sleep while your child is in the hospital is a god send.  I would love to have the opportunity to give back.  Decisions, decisions…

A dream is a wish...


Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Trip to San Diego

I just got home from an amazing trip to San Diego!  While I had never been to San Diego before, I have been to Southern California many times.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  San Diego is beautiful!  As much as I love Los Angeles, San Diego is so much cleaner and less graffiti covered.  I gave up control when I allowed the Team to make all my travel arrangements.  Stephanie, our TNT staff member, did such a great job planning our trip.

We stayed at the Hyatt Manchester right on the San Diego harbor.  It was beautiful!  Most rooms have a water view.  I shared a room with another Team member, Donielle. The hotel had an outdoor pool on the 4th floor.  I spent time there every evening, frequenting the hot tube that overlooks the San Diego harbor.   We flew US Airways.  While I am still partial to Southwest, US Airways was not bad to fly with. 

We flew into town around lunch time on Friday.  After riding the shuttle and checking into our hotel, most of the Team went to Seaport Village for lunch.  Seaport Village it a cute little boardwalk area of the San Diego harbor.  After lunch, the Team headed to the Expo together (review to come).  After the Expo, the Team cleaned up at the hotel and went to Dick’s Last Resort for a fun dinner. 

On Saturday morning, I went to breakfast with a fun bunch of Team members.  After that I met my friend Rachel at her hotel and we went to the world famous San Diego zoo!  It was so nice.  We saw the panda’s, the elephants, the gorillas, the lions and many, many other animals.  After the zoo, we went back to our hotels to get ready for the Inspiration dinner.  I meet my Team in the hotel lobby and we went to the dinner as a Team.  I will tell you all about the amazing and moving dinner tomorrow.  After dinner, most of the Team went back to the hotel to rest up for the big day in the morning—the race!

We woke up very early for the race.  It was wonderful!  I will tell you all about the race this weekend.  After the race, I went to Sea World with some Team members.  After that, we rode the shuttle back to the hotel to get ready for the victory dinner.  By this time, I had done all of my San Diego must do’s except one—Coronado. After dinner, Stephanie and I rode the ferry over to Coronado Island.  Coronado was so amazingly beautiful.  We walked the old hotel and the beach.  After taking the ferry back to the hotel, I took one last dip in the water view hot tube and packed to go home. 

On Monday morning, I was not ready to leave San Diego, but I was ready to go home and see my kids.  I missed them very much during this amazing trip.  Please stay tuned for my experience at the Expo and the Rock and Roll San Diego Half marathon!

A dream is a wish…