If you know me, you know I am a pre-planner for sure and my race calendar is usually being filled up months in advanced. Last week, I learned about a race fairly local to me that was being held on Sunday. Since I had to get a few miles in, I figured that this was an excellent opportunity to get out and support my local community as well. The best part was that the race was only $10! Yes, a $10 race! Lakeview Back to Health 5K here I come!
The course was definitely one of the more challenging courses that I have ran. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger though - right? With an out and back course that consisted of a lot of rolling hills and a few tricky angled roads followed by an uphill finish the last 200 meters or so, there the course kept you on your toes the entire time.
Sometimes while running I often think I am having "running hallucinations" and see or hear odd things around me. Well, shortly after passing the first mile, I came across an odd sign. The sign looked like a horse crossing sign (which is not unusual in rural Georgia), however this "horse" on the sign had short and dumpy legs. I thought to myself 'is that a donkey on the sign?' - there is no way that there is a donkey crossing sign. Sure enough, about 30 strides later I passed a pasture that suddenly had about 12-15 donkeys running and "hee-hawing" at the runners as we when by. This was totally unexpected and very entertaining to say the least. Thank you dear donkey friends for the cheers along the way - it was much appreciated.
Despite a few challenging hills, I was quite pleased at the way I ran. I ran a pretty even race with my splits being consistent along the way despite being about 2 minutes slower than I would have liked to be. Once I finished, I waited for Momma K to approach the finish line and cheered her on to finish strong during that final hill.
The post race area hosted a health and fitness expo where participants & volunteers as well as their family and friends could take part in different health screenings and learn more about ways to live a healthy life. The different tents included health screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, weight and BMI along with other information about reducing stress, weight loss and overcoming different addictions. I liked how this race had a different type of post-race area then most races. It was great to see that rather than providing runners with post race snacks and information from different sponsors that they used this as an opportunity to help promote healthy lifestyles.
The awards ceremony got a little chaotic, but was not the fault of the race directors by any means. Apparently, a few runners did not get tagged with their ages by the timing company, so the race results were wonky. They got to my age group and announced the 3rd place and second place winners and their times which I beat both so I was pumped to claim my 1st place award. Well, 1st place wasn't me as well (she was slightly faster than me). Yep, I was one of the few without an age. The timing company had already packed up and left by the time the race directors realized that the results got messed up so they manually helped figure out the correct placements. The race directors handled everything very well and helped make sure that everyone received their correct award - including my 2nd place medal! Whoooop!
It was a morning full of award winners for sure! My friend Jessica won 3rd place overall for women, Momma K won her age group (she was actually the oldest woman in the race), and a 2nd place age group finish for me.
This was a great local race despite the hiccup with the results. I will definitely be adding the Lakeview 5K to my calendar for 2016 - I need to tackle those hills again for redemption and see my donkey friends again!
Question of the Day: What is the oddest thing that you have seen while running?
Sometimes the best races are the little hidden gems you find local to you. If you are from a more rural area you might know what I am talking about - the small town races that are held in conjunction with a town's fall festival or other community event. It is always great to run in your local community and support your local organizations, so I was more than excited to run the Historic 5K again this year!
The Historic 5K takes part in conjunction with the Rose Lawn Arts & Crafts Festival. It was definitely a much small race with around 60 runners. It is sometimes nice to just get to run a "no pressure" type of race where you can just enjoy what is around you rather than running in a herd most of the way. Typically, I have to drive about 30-45 minutes each way to get to races (if not further), so it was nice to get to sleep in since the race was so close to home - BONUS!
The course was made up of small rolling hills with a few decent sized hills mixed in through residential areas of town. A few of the residents even sat outside and cheered for us as they enjoyed their cup of coffee or walked their dogs. I always enjoy the cheers from those around me, so thank you!
Before the race, I got to meet one of my readers, Kristina. I always enjoy meeting readers at races and events so this made the more great for sure. Thank you Kristina for talking with me and for your kind words about my blog. :)
I am going to be honest - I had a rough race. I had a very intense training session on Thursday night and I was still feeling it in my left hip and quad. While I dealt with some tightness when going uphill, I still had a good race. I beat my PR by 1 second, so I won't complain. After finishing, I cheered on the rest of the runners including Momma K and Papa J.
With a race of this size, they did 10-year age groups and only did awards for 1st overall male & female as well as 1st place in age groups. Papa J won his age group which he calls his "old man award." I am so proud of him - he decided last minute to go ahead and run this race and he ended up winning!
While this race is local to me, I realize that it likely isn't local to you. However, I do recommend that with Fall Festival season being here that you check and see what kind of local races you can find. Yes, the big name races are a lot of fun to run, but these local races are little gems just looking to be discovered.
Thank you again to the awesome team and volunteers at the Historic 5K! We had a great time and definitely look forward to returning again in 2016.
Over the past few months, Becky and I have attend a couple of Girls' Night Out events held at our local Road Runner Sports stores. Girls Night Out events are a series of events held at the Road Runner Sports stores nation-wide. The evening are a great time to try out some new products, shop the store with extra discounts and even win some prizes. The best part is that these events are FREE!
When we entered the store, we checked-in verifying that we RSVP'ed for the event in order to claim an extra raffle ticket for doing so. We were also greeted with some light snacks and drinks to munch on while we shopped.
As you shop the store, you receive bonus raffle tickets for trying out certain items in the store. For example, trying on a pair of Brooks shoes or a Moving Comfort bra scored you an extra ticket.
A representative from Prissy Tomboy was in attendance. We had met a few of the ladies from Prissy Tomboy briefly at a previous Adventure Run, but it was great to learn more about the organization and their goals. Prissy Tomboy is an organization focused towards helping pre-teen and teen girls find ways to engage in a active lifestyle through trying different activities in a non-intimidating environment. To learn more about Prissy Tomboy, be sure to check out their website.
As the evening progressed, the Road Runner Sports team drew raffle tickets for various prizes. The prizes ranged from foam rollers, to hats, to water bottles, and a grand prize of Brooks shoes and a Moving Comfort Bra.
Even though we did not win anything at Girls Night Out, we made the best of the evening and did what we do best - SHOP! Road Runner Sports provides extra discounts on select items during Girls Night Out events so of course we had to do a little shopping which we were there.
Girls Night Out is continuing at Road Runner Sports stores this week, so be sure to check out your local store for dates and times of these events (or future events).
After a long time of speculation, runDisney officially announced the Star Wars 1/2 Marathon - The Dark Side Weekend coming to Walt Disney World in April! Coming to Walt Disney World April 14-17, 2016, the race weekend will be made up of a health & fitness expo, 5K on Friday, Kids Races and 10K on Saturday, 1/2 Marathon on Sunday, and The Dark Side Challenge (10K on Saturday and 1/2 Marathon on Sunday).
runDisney first introduced Star Wars themed races to Disneyland with the inaugural races being held in January 2015. Ever since the announcement of the Star Wars 1/2 Marathon weekend in Disneyland, runDisney and Disney fans in general were anxiously awaiting for a "East Coast" version of the race. When it was announced that the 2015 race of Expedition Everest 5K would be the final year of this May race, rumors grew rapidly about Walt Disney World getting a Star Wars race weekend that coincided with their Star Wars weekends in May. When the official announcement of the newest runDisney race was released, fans were ecstatic about the announcement.
Between the overall excitement from runDisney fans and Star Wars fans alike, this race weekend will be highly popular to say the least. The limited number of pre-sale spots that were available for individuals such as DVC Members and Annual Pass Holders went insanely fast, so you can expect the same to happen on general registration day. Below are a few of my top tips for making registration day a little more successful - May The Force Be With You.
If you are planning on registering for any of the races, make sure you are online and ready to go at noon (eastern time). Check out the runDisney website for more details including registration fees, travel information and more. Here are a few tips for getting registered:
(1) Be on time.
You will want/need to be online at noon Eastern (if not even before)
(2) Be ready.
Have all of your registration information and credit card ready to go.
(3) Know what you are registering for.
Are you registering a friend or loved one for a race (or races)? Make sure you know in advance what you are signing up for. Noon is not the time to hem and haw over what you want to run. Yes, it is a commitment, but you don't want the race to fill up while you are making up your mind or waiting for you loved one to respond to your text.
(4) DON'T GIVE UP!
Active.com has been know to crash during hot race registration such as runDisney races. A new queue system has been implemented that will put you in a "line" to register, so get in line and be patient (don't exit out and come back in because you will lose your spot in line).
(5) Register in order of importance
If you are registering for multiple races, register in order of importance/popularity. More than likely, Dark Side Challenge will fill up first.
(6) Use social media.
Follow runDisney's Twitter account (@runDisney) for the most up to date information such as the current percentage sold out.
(7) Have a back up plan.
Just in case something happens and you are stuck in traffic getting to your computer or your internet goes down have a friend/family member on call to register you.
(8) Get shut out? There is still hope!
If worst case scenarios happen and you miss open registration, there is still hope. Make sure to check the runDisney site for information of purchasing bib packages from travel agents or you can run with a charity group and raise money for some awesome charities while you runDisney in April.
For additional information on the Star Wars 1/2 Marathon Dark Side weekend, be sure to check out the runDisney website.
Question of the Day: What event(s) will you be signing up for today at Star Wars 1/2 Marathon - The Dark Side Weekend?
If you followed my posts on Instagram or read my recaps from Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, you probably already know that Momma K PR'ed during the half marathon. I am beyond proud of her because it is one thing to PR, but it is even harder to do after running a 5K and 10K the days before the race.
Crossing finish lines, PR'ing, and even just getting to a start line just don't happen on their own. There is a lot of miles and training that go into the race for the weeks and months leading up to race day. Momma K put in a lot of hard work and countless miles this summer in order to get ready for the 22.4 miles that she ran at Disneyland.
People tend to forget how important training and following a training plan is to being being successful on race day. Thank you to my pal Jeff Galloway for providing us with some great advice as to why training plans are important and tips for training plan success.
***DISCLAIMER: All information provided below was provide to me by the Jeff Galloway Blogger Program to share with my readers. Thoughts are not my own (other than if noted), rather they are the advice and thoughts of Jeff Galloway. ***
WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN? When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation. Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual, tend to improve more, with less injury risk.
WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice. This leads to confusion and more aches and pains. The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.
KEY TRAINING ELEMENTS: 1) A longer run builds endurance, 2) a hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.
WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER? The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal. Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts. To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.
EVERY OTHER DAY! Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day. This allows for the “weak links” to heal. The very slow long run is usually on the weekend, when there is more time available. Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example, Tuesday and Thursday)
SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don't have to exert yourself on non running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat. So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking.
DOES VARIETY HELP? Changing things a bit can improve motivation. You don't have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.
WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit. Hill runs build strength. Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form. Long runs produce stamina and endurance.
WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS? Take it easy on these days. Do little or no exercise, don't over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.
SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY. Not Recommended! It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves. While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries.
IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation. Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience more burnout and injury.
Jeff Galloway's Customized Training Plan!
Let Jeff customize a plan that allows you to "have a life" while achieving your goals! Your 6 month plan includes:
Learn more now!
Jeff’s proven method has helped hundreds of thousands to achieve their goals, injury-free. Whether you’re a beginner or a Boston Qualifier, let us customize a plan that allows you to “have a life” while achieving your goals.
Your 6-month Custom Training Plan includes:
• A customized training schedule to your target race over the next season
• Daily email reminders of upcoming workouts
• Based upon your current conditioning
• Drills to improve running form, efficiency, and speed
• For runners at every fitness level, from beginning runners to ultra-runners
• Perfect for those without a local Galloway Program or with busy schedules
See more at: http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/customized-training/#sthash.2bhhrWdT.dpuf
Earlier this year, Momma K and I have taken part in two other Atlanta Track Club events that carry a sports theme - Atlanta Hawks Fast Break 5K and the Braves Country 5K. It is only appropriate that we fit the third and final of the "series" into our race schedule. The Rise Up and Run 5K was just in time for the kick off of the NFL season as it was held 2 days before the home opener for the Atlanta Falcons.
My fellow Atlanta Track Club Ambassador, Deborah was volunteering this morning and just happened to be working my corral. Of course this meant a photo op was necessary! Deborah is such a great member of the Atlanta Track Club Ambassador team and is constantly giving back to the running community.
We made our ways into the corral and waited for the race to start. The corrals are self-seeded so you select the corral that is most appropriate for your anticipated pace. The corrals would go off in waves about 2 minutes apart which allows for a little less crowding on narrow sections of the course.
The course is made up of some gentle rolling hills (gentle by Atlanta standards at least) along with a few generous downhill sections. There were a few spots that it got tight as we were running in a single lane and encountered a few cars parked along the way. It was nothing too crazy, you just simply run around them. :)
Around mile 2 or so I knew I was on track for a solid PR. I tried to ignore the fact that I just realized this and focus on the mile ahead of me. By the time I made the final turn to head into the Georgia Dome and finish on the 50-yard line, I had a strong feeling that a PR was about to happen. What do I do...I take a selfie of course!
When I finished, I looked down at my Garmin and learned that I had PR'ed! I shaved another 50+ seconds off of my 5K time! I got my official finish time via text just a few minutes after finishing to confirm my time. I was beyond excited and even hugged a random volunteer handing out water.
I waited for Momma K to finish and cheered on the runners in their final stretch to the finish line. The really awesome thing about this race was that they did a 40-yard challenge. If you are a football fan, you know how important the 40-yard sprint is in recruiting and measuring the athletic ability of football players. In your race results you would find your 40-yard time which was really cool - granted, you have to remember that you just ran 3 miles before :)
Of course no football themed race would be complete without a photo on the 50 yard line...
One of my favorite parts about Atlanta Track Club races is getting to watch the kids races. There is something great about watch proud kids and parents as the little ones make their way to the finish line. It is great to see kids starting their running journey and having that sense of accomplishment after they cross the finish line. Way to go junior runners! I am sure we had some future Kilometer Kids and Peachtree Road Race runners in that group today. There were also skills competition stations set up for the kids and the big kids, too. I openly admit that I know that I cannot throw, therefore I just watched others enjoying the friendly competitions going on.
We took part in what we deemed our "50-to-50 Challenge" after the race. We finished on the 50 yard line of the Georgia Dome during the 5K then we ran an additional 2 miles to Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech to tailgate and watch our Yellow Jackets play that afternoon. I must say, it was nice to run DOWN Centennial Olympic Park Drive versus UP that long gradual hill during many races.
Thank you again to all of the wonderful Atlanta Track Club staff and volunteers for creating such a wonderful race morning for us. This was my first time running the Rise Up & Run 5K, and it definitely will not be my last!
Are you interested in joining in on the fun of future Atlanta Track Club events? There are a number of races happening in the upcoming weeks around metro-Atlanta.
September 26th - Wingfoot XC Classic (FREE for Atlanta Track Club members)
October 3rd - Run Around the Park Relay
October 25th - Atlanta 10 Miler & 5K
November 26th - Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K
Interested in becoming a member of the Atlanta Track Club? Learn more about member benefits and become a member here.
I had to miss Road Runner Sports Marietta's Adventure Run earlier this month because I was in Disneyland that night, so it definitely felt good to be back at Adventure Runs again! Sadly, I had to go to tonight without Momma K and Becky. Momma K had other commitments and poor Becky was recovering from a bug she picked up after our trip to Disneyland. The awesome thing about Adventure Runs though is that you are never really alone because of all of the awesome people that are there.
What is an Adventure Run you ask? Adventure Runs are hosted by Road Runner Sports stores and are a scavenger hunt style fun run. At the start of the run, a map is revealed on a board (or sent to your email if you pre-registered) and you are sent on your way. Your goal is to get to as many checkpoints and get back to the store in an hour. Each checkpoint gives you raffle tickets to be used in the drawings once the run is over. At some checkpoints you simply get tickets for arriving and some have fun little tasks to complete (such as burpees, planks, etc). There are some pretty awesome prizes to be won and the best part is that Adventure Runs are FREE!
Each Adventure Run night has a different theme. The theme can be anything from luau, patriotic, movies, and more. This week's theme was a battle of good vs. evil in a Super Hero and Super Villain night of fun!
Mother nature was trying to rain on our fun, but Adventure Runners weren't going to let her antics ruin our fun! Adventure Runners ran from tent to tent to stay dry in the Vendor Village, but there was still tons of fun to be had by all! There were samples of Honey Stingers, some up-coming races, and product demos of compression sleeves and Asics!
The map was revealed at 6:30 and we were on our way! Remember, if you pre-register for your Adventure Run, you will receive a map to your email! That's right, no jotting down notes when the map is revealed - you can just go run and collect tickets!
The first checkpoint that I went to was Road Runner Sports. Here you had to find "Joe" in the store and take a selfie with him. Take a selfie and get tickets?!?!? Yes, please!
If you have ever been to an Adventure Run or you have read my "Tips for Adventure Runs" post, you know about secret check-points. Today's secret check-point gave you two options for a task to perform - you could either hula-hoop for 20 seconds or perform a slow-motion noodle fight. The noodle fight was definitely the popular choice here.
The team at Bocado Burger had a bobbing for apples station set up. Thankfully, they left the stems on the apples to make it a pretty easy task.
Exhale Spa is typically a just grab your tickets and go type of checkpoint....not today! For tonight's Adventure Run, we had to challenge super-volunteer Thomas at a mean game of cornhole. You got tickets for playing along, but scored some bonus tickets if you could sink one in the hold before he did!
The hour was almost up, so I headed back to the lawn to separate out my tickets. There were about $3000 worth of prizes to hand out this evening. While the crowd is always pumped at raffle time, with fewer participants tonight everyone knew that their odds of winning were probably better tonight.
There were some pretty awesome prizes tonight! From running gear like foam rollers and gels, gift cards to local restaurants and gyms, and even FREE SHOES! Yes, you heard that right, FREE SHOES! I did score a nice gift bag from a local gym that included month of membership.
Road Runner Sports also has a special drawing at Adventure Runs called the "in-store raffle." To get tickets for this raffle, you must be a Road Runner Sports VIP and you get tickets for making a purchase at Road Runner Sports the day of your Adventure Run. The more you spend, the more tickets you get. Perfect time to pick up some new gear or even get your new kicks, right? Well, guess who won tonight!?!?! Thank would be ME! When they called my name I didn't even realize that it was my name because I was distracted texting Becky - haha!
My prize pack is pretty sweet for sure! I received some Honey Stinger gels and waffles, a shirt and visit pass to YouFit gym, roller massage, a great ice pack, and FREE ASICS!
Thank you again to Road Runner Sports, the awesome volunteers, and the great vendors for donating prizes to the Adventure Run. Sadly, Adventure Run season is quickly coming to an end. Have no fear though, you still have chances to check out your local Adventure Run! Either visit your local Road Runner Sports for information or go to www.AdventureRun.com for more information.
Disclosure: Cigna invited me to attend this event. All opinions about the event are my own.
A few weeks ago, I received an exciting email from the team at Cigna. They are the presenting sponsor of the 2015 Disneyland 1/2 Marathon Weekend and they were inviting me to attend a blogger/social media meetup that they were holding to celebrate the weekend. Of course I accepted the invite!
The event was held at Napa Rose restaurant in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The event would be centered around nutrition and meal preparations that are fast and easy so we could do them at home. Cigna and our chefs recognize that one reason many people eat poorly is due to "lack of time" in order to prepare healthy meals. During the event, we were placed into 4 small groups that rotated to different cooking stations to meet with chefs to learn recipes and meal prep tips to get a healthy meal on the table in about 20 minutes. I know that I can find 20 minutes to get something packed with nutritional value vs. 10 minutes to prepare garbage to go into my body.
Before breaking off into our 4 separate groups, we listened to brief introductions from Laura Flores (Co-Host of Un Nuevo Dia) and Julle Stand (Cigna Dietitian). It was interesting to hear a little about their own personal fitness and health journeys as well as how important it is to use your life as a platform to share a healthy lifestyle.
1. Smoothies (Pre-Workout and Post-Workout)
Our group first went to meet with Chef Katie. At this station we learned how to prepare two different smoothies: one for pre-workout and one for post-workout. A blender is probably one of the least intimidating appliances in the kitchen, so I know that I can get these smoothies together at home.
Our first smoothie was a pre-workout smoothie that blended a few of a runner's most "critical" foods - coffee and chocolate! I am not a coffee person at all, but I will say that I actually enjoyed this smoothie. The blend of banana and cocoa powder really took precedence over the coffee flavor. Let's be real, anything with a chocolate flavor wins in my book. Emelia from Half Crazy Mama said it best: "I cannot trust someone who doesn't like chocolate."
Crunchy Coffee Cocoa Smoothie
1 Cup Ice
1/2 Cup Coffee (chilled)
2 Tsp Agave
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
3 Tbs Almonds Unsalted
2 Tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Banana 1.5 (freeze it night before)
(Thank you Patty for taking excellent notes to share)
After we all gave our stamp of approvals on the Crunchy Coffee Cocoa Smoothie, Katie showed us a great post-workout smoothie. This smoothie incorporated something that was new to me - cactus pear. Thank you Chef Katie for introducing us to the sweet goodness of cactus pear.
Blueberry Cactus Pear Smoothie
2 tsp Agave Nectar
1/4 cup Rolled Oats
1 tbs Ground Flax Seed
1/2 cup Blueberries
1/4 cup Cactus Pear
1/2 cup Plain Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup Soy Milk
(Thank you Patty for taking excellent notes to share)
Both smoothies were super easy to create and involved very little prep work. I'm not typically a big smoothie drinker, but both of these are definitely ones that I could incorporate into my life.
Our next station was the salad station. Here we had two lovely volunteers (Justin and Linzie) help prepare our vinaigrette dressing for the salad. While I think Linzie got quite the upper body workout wisking, this salad was very easy to prepare and it even included berries! BONUS!
3. Entree (Chicken)
I am going to be completely honest. The entire time we were at the salad station, all I could do was smell the yummy aroma coming from the entree station. Yes, salads have a lot of nutritional value and the vegetables are a vital part to your diet, but let's be real I am a girl who LOVES some chicken!
Chef Chris first took a whole chicken and showed us different uses for all of the different parts of the chicken as he was getting to the breast to make our lunch entree with. Once again with honesty - ripping apart a bird frightens me but it was really cool to see that you could get a whole chicken and use it for so many different recipes.
Our final product included a deliciously seasoned chicken breast with vegetables and pesto. I am glad that we were going to be receiving our own plate of this yumminess shortly, otherwise I might have walked off with Chef Chris' plate. Someone has to do a quality control check - haha.
Our final station was fruits and desserts. I am a lover of fruits - particularly berries. The culinary team at this station talked to us about how the Disney team purchases their produce and fruits for the restaurants each week and the seasonality of different items. I was beyond pumped when they gave us a seasonality chart - this will make planning produce shopping a lot easier.
We had the opportunity to taste a few different fruits currently being utilized on the Disney property currently. All the rage right now with my friends' kids are cotton candy grapes. Yes, grapes that taste like cotton candy. While I highly enjoy grapes, I have never had a cotton candy grape...until now.
Make room for Brandi on the "cotton candy grape train" because these things are AMAZING! You have to trust me here, go to the store and pick some up ASAP! Up next were the gooseberries. All I could think about was the scene in Willy Wonka where they discuss schnozberries on the lickable wallpaper.
While at first I was a little hesitant about the gooseberries, they were actually very tasty. I cannot really describe the taste of them, but trust me you need to try them (especially with white chocolate on them)!
After trying various fruits, our chef team started preparing our desert for the afternoon - a peach crisp. I am not a huge peach fan typically, but this desert was AMAZING! The chefs were even kind enough to share this easy to do recipe with me to pass along to my readers, so be sure to check it out below! It was a very easy recipe to make and took very little time to prepare.
6 Peaches Diced, Tree Ripe
2 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp. Corn Starch
2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 Orange Zest & Juice
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
1. Combine all ingredients together and set aside until ready to use
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
2oz Granulated Sugar
2oz Brown Sugar
3oz Granulated Sugar
3oz Brown Sugar
1 1/4 cup Oats
1 cup Shredded Coconut
1 cup Pecan Pieces
2oz Butter, Melted
1. Combine 1st part of ingredients in a robo coupe. Mix until mixture is crumbly and butter is in small pieces
2. In a separate bowl, combine second half of ingredients except butter.
3. Add the mixture to the first bowl
4. Slowly Pour in butter mixing crisp in between addition
5. Spread on a full sheet tray line with parchment
6. Bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes (or until golden brown)
(Recipe Credit: Napa Rose Culinary Team)
Before we sat down to enjoy a delicious meal prepared for us by the Napa Rose team, we had a special guest come and visit us. Of course Chef Mickey had to come and greet us and thank us for attending today's event.
Before we sat down to eat we had one more surprise. The team at Cigna asked a few of us to be interviewed about today's event for a video recapping the meetup. Who were we to decline the opportunity to share our love for fitness, a healthy lifestyle, and of course snacks?!?
Want to check out the final product? Here's the link to the Cigna Blogger Meet-Up recap video staring a few of your favorite bloggers and social media enthusiasts.
It was finally time to eat and let me just tell you, all of our meals were AMAZING! If you weren't in the kitchen watching these meals be prepared, you would honestly think that they took hours to prep and cook. My favorite was obviously the chicken, but everything was absolutely delicious.
Thank you again to the team at Cigna and Napa Rose for hosting this event. This experience truly reiterated the fact that cooking healthy doesn't take a lot of time and is possible even with a busy schedule.
Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite quick and healthy recipes?
Today was the day! With 2 races and 9.3 miles down, it was time for 'the big one' - the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. It was my 3rd DIsneyland 1/2 Marathon (for my 3rd Dumbo Double Dare Challenge) and Momma K's 2nd Disneyland Half Marathon.
One of the hardest things about the runDisney multiple race challenge weekends is battling the early wake-ups for multiple mornings. Momma K, Becky, and I played it right though and made sure that we were all hydrating and refueling well each day and getting back to our rooms at a reasonable time so we could get a decent amount of sleep. While it is tempting to shut down the parks and run 13.1 miles after spending the entire day on your feet and with 3 hours of sleep, it was not in the plans for us - we will play after our business is done. We left the hotel around 4ish and got to the race area a little before 4:30 which gave us plenty of time to use the restrooms and head to our corral without much stress.
The "herding" into the corrals was a little unnerving. Despite leaving for the corral early, there were so many people heading into the corral and the corrals were filling up quite quickly. It appeared that they were even creating "sub-corrals" outside of the corrals waiting for the corrals to move up because some of the corrals were full. This is why we always get into our corrals early (but not too early). Our group consisted of Momma K, Becky, myself and our friend Jeff from Pennsylvania. Jeff is coming off of a knee injury and was needing to run a little more reserved this weekend so he asked if he could run with us. I think he secretly just wanted to see how much fun we have out there ;-)
There was about 10 minutes between corrals but the time really flew by as we waited. There is so much going on and the announcers ,Rudy and Carissa, are always very entertaining and engaging with the crowd. The first 1.5 mile or so has you heading towards California Adventure. After entering into the park through a backlot area, you are greeted by the breath-taking views of Cars Land and Route 66.
I love running through California Adventure and my favorite part is running past Mickey's Fun Wheel. If you are in the early corrals and fast enough, you are lucky to catch the park still lit with the evening lights on. Sadly, by the time we arrived the lights are slowly turning off as the sun is starting to rise. It is still a beautiful sight regardless <3
If you have ever ran a runDisney race, you have likely experienced the outpouring of support and chEARs from Cast Members. Today was no different. We received countless chEARs and "high-fours" from the amazing Cast Members that were along the course in the parks.
Next, we made our way over to Disneyland! It was time to run down Main Street! Ahhhh! There is nothing like running down Main Street - period! The music, sights and magic are unlike anything else.
Before exiting Disneyland and heading to the streets of Anaheim, we made our way through some more backstage areas. While it might seem boring to run through this, it is actually a lot of fun. Between Cast Members arriving for work and chEARing you on, parade floats on display, and even seeing some of the behind the scenes magic there is always something to see.
Around mile 4 we exited the parks and were heading through Anaheim. The entertainment and support along the way is great. There are countless marching bands, cheerleaders, and dance groups performing and cheering along the way. They were so great that Jeff even decided to cheer for them as well with his clappers!
Around mile 8 we were greeted by hundreds of awesome antique cars and crowd support. Words cannot express the amount of gratitude that I have for all of these wonderful people giving up their Sunday morning to come cheer for thousands of runners.
At the same time, you enter the territory of the Anaheim Ducks. Shortly after passing the Honda Center, you run about 1/2 a mile on the Santa Ana River Trail which is a fairly narrow gravel path but it is nothing too extreme so don't let the word "trail" scare you.
Mile 9 is one of my total favorites! Growing up as a huge fan of the movie Angels in the Outfield, Angel Stadium always gets me pumped! After going through the Clif Aid Station, you cross the 15K marker.
Oh, did I fail to mention that you run INSIDE of Angel Stadium? Imagine entering a stadium with hundreds of screaming children cheering for you. Entering Angel Stadium gives me goosebumps every year. Even though I know what is about to happen, there is just something special about getting those much needed cheers just before mile 10 when you need it most.
Some of the signs in the last 10K were pretty awesome. That, or we were just that delirious at this point - I vote for awesome!
Going into the morning, there were no intentions of PR'ing. Today was a morning for having 13.1 miles of fun and memories as a group of 4. Jeff and I were keeping a close eye on our pace. As we were coming into the final 5K, we knew that it was possible for Momma K to PR. As we got into the last mile, the possibility of a PR was really shaping up. We had ran a very consistent pace the entire race, so we just needed the last 1.1 mile to be consistent as well. Momma K started to lose a little steam in the last mile, but Jeff was an excellent coach to keep her on pace. As Jeff prompted for each run-walk interval, a portion of the crowd around us was actually following Jeff's announcements for the intervals. We crossed the finish line with a new PR for Momma K by 25 seconds! It isn't much, but a PR is a PR! Not too shabby for having fun, taking photos, and still PR'ing!
After crossing the finish line and celebrating our accomplishments, we headed to receive our haul of bling. We each received our Disneyland Half Marathon medal, Dumbo Double Dare Challenge medal (for completing 10K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday), and our Coast to Coast medal for completing a half marathon (or further) at Walt Disney World and half marathon at Disneyland in the same calendar year.
Our bling was absolutely amazing! The half marathon medal was absolutely beautiful as it incorporated the 10th anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon along with the 60th anniversary of Disneyland.
Thank you again to all of the runDisney staff, sponsors, volunteers, chEARleaders, and fellow runners for making this a truly magical weekend. I am always sad to see runDisney weekends come to a close because of all the wonderful memories and friendships that are made, but first we have one more night to celebrate in Disneyland!
After "spinning" my way through the Disneyland 5K yesterday, it was time for race 2 of the weekend (and part 1 of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge). If you read my costume reveal last week, you know that we went down into the Brier Patch as the gang from Splash Mountain.
We got to our corral and didn't have to wait too long before starting. There was about 7 minutes between each corral, but things went by very quickly thanks to our great hosts Rudy and Carissa.
I'm not going to lie. The first mile was tough! There were sooooo many people in our corral and it was very congested the first mile or so. It was so bad that I literally had someone take off my shoe running because they were right on my heals trying to get through the crowds. I like to call this my "Cinderella moment" of the race.
After making our way around the Convention Center, we made our way into California Adventure! Whooop! We entered into Cars Land which is one of my favorite parts of the park. I mean, who doesn't love running on "Route 66"!?!?!
After a quick tour in Cars Land, we made our way towards Paradise Pier. We got into Paradise Pier early enough to catch the lights still illuminating the way for us as the sun was rising.
As we wrapped up our trip through California Adventure, we made a quick visit to Buena Vista Street and "dropped in" at the Tower of Terror Hotel. We were now on our way to DISNEYLAND!
I absolutely LOVE running through the entry of Disneyland and crossing under one of my favorite signs! <3
Momma K and I have a rule: NO WALKING ON MAIN STREET! Think about it, any other time in life, running down Main Street is a no-no. You have paid your cash to run down Main Street...enjoy it! Oh yea, you have to smile too...there is no frowning in Disneyland :)
After Main Street and a "out of this world" trip through Tomorrowland, we made our way through some backstage areas and Toontown before heading towards Frontierland.
Back when we were around mile 3, we received a text from my friend Jennifer that our friends Brer Fox and Brer Bear were on course around mile 5.4. EXCUSE ME!?!?! Needless to say, all we could think about the next 2 miles was getting our photo op with them. I think our pictures turned out pretty well, however it came with sacrifice. Brer Fox was able to capture Brer Rabbit while we waited for our turn for a picture.
In case you were wondering, yes I did spend the final .8 mile tied up in a rope. This is when you know the true meaning of friendship - you can run "together" (literally).
We made our way through Downtown Disney which was full of some pretty awesome spectators - whether they knew they would be spectating a 10K this morning is the question. Regardless, their cheers and smiles are much appreciated. We crossed the finish line and collected our new bling.
Part 1 of the 2015 Dumbo Double Dare Challenge was now complete. 9.3 miles are done and 13.1 magical miles the next morning separate us from whole lot of awesome bling!
I love to run and most importantly I love to have FUN while I run....I am the "Funner Runner"
Feedspot's Top 100 Running Blogs