Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights

Oh look, it's New Year's Eve! That can only mean a few things, but one thing I know it means for sure is I get to recap my top favorite moments of 2013! I have a list of my top 10 favorite memories of the year! Following that, I will share my top 5 favorite albums that came out this year! The list is in no particular order of importance, as each moment I have selected means something extremely special to me, so it wouldn't be fair to rank them! Sooo...let's do it!

This year, I was honored to join the INKnBURN ambassador team! I have a huge passion for this company and their amazing athletic apparel! Being part of this team has been nothing short of a dream! Thank INKnBURN for having me, and allowing me to represent your brand!

I was also asked to join the EnergyBits family of ambassadors! EnergyBits has been a VERY awesome company to represent! Health is so very important, and it is always necessary to fuel properly before, during, and after a run! So I am thrilled to be a member of such an amazing network of athletes!

With the help of some awesome friends, I became a marathoner in January. I crossed my first marathon finish line! I was on top of the world with happiness and elated with a sense of euphoric triumph! You never forget your first marathon! I was just happy it happened in Walt Disney World with some of my new found best friends!

Running the Chicago Marathon this year was absolutely unreal! I usually don't get to nervous before the start of a race, but this race was so special. I love Chicago as a city and was so blessed to be able to run through it. Not only did I have a great run and enjoy the weather and the amazing spectators...but I ran my first sub 5 marathon and PR'd! Chicago wins!

I was trying to achieve this goal literally all year! During my last half marathon of the year I finally did it! Just two weeks ago I ran my very first sub 2 half marathon with a time of 1:57!!!!! YES!!!!

Although not all of us in the in the photo above, we were together in spirit! The members of #CorralG have become more than just a group of runners who were looking to support one another through a marathon...we have become family. We speak everyday and look forward to the next time we can always be together. My life is so much better knowing I have these guys in my corner!

Along with some of the members of #CorralG we decided to visit Boston for the B.A.A. 10K! We had an absolutely amazing time running the race as well as eating and drinking our way through Boston! Truly an amazing experience! I hope to run the Boston Marathon someday to reinforce those amazing memories.

Look, I could go on and on about what a great year this has been! These are just a few of the stand out moments but trust me there are so many more! I hope to meet more of you in the coming months, and trust that we will be able to laugh, run, get fit, and encourage one another through each of our journeys. I wish you all a wonderful, healthy, exciting, and blessed 2014! Let's do it!


Monday, December 30, 2013

T25 Focus 21 Day Challenge with Katrina Elle

I will be the first person to say I have the hardest time staying motivated to cross-train. Cross-training is one of the most important activities (in my opinion anyway) for a runner. Running isn't just about how fast you can go for how long of a distance. It is your body being balanced and strong from top to bottom. I consider myself to be somewhat strong, but often feel the fatigue in various muscle groups when I am out running. This is due to the body not being as strong in certain areas. Well...we will fix that.

I don't like going to the gym to lift weights. Believe it or not, I actually don't like being stared at when I am trying to work out. So, I happened to be texting with my girl Kat from Katrina Elle and she mentioned that she was going to start hosting her 21 day fitness challenge on her blog! Kat is a personal trainer, insanity trainer, marathoner, Beachbody coach, and pug mom! You may remember that we co-hosted the #DumboTweetUp together in September alongside Pavement Runner Brian.

I was talking to Kat about various exercises I could do to stay fit, and was getting some advice about nutrition. Again, I am TRASH when it comes to my nutrition...why do burgers and fries have to be so darn tasty??? Kat gave me some amazing advice and ideas! I decided that this would be an amazing way to get fit, stay motivated, get stronger, and get my body ready to rock the INKnBURN tank tops this summer! No seriously.

I told Kat I was all in! I wanted to get my body ready to Stand on the Sun like Beyoncé in the H&M commercial...or something like that. Just go with it.

 I ordered my DVDs of T25 Focus. I not only ordered the DVDs, I also ordered the very large bag of Shakeology! I've tried Shakeology before and found it to be quite tasty. So I will be excited to see how it works as a breakfast supplement. Goodbye cinnamon toast.

This is not only about achieving awesome results for my physique, but this about discipline. I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle and that includes working out, and eating right. Doing this will not only improve my performance on race day. Now, I am also very excited to be able to incorporate EnergyBits into my daily routine as well. Normally I take a handful of bits in the morning as my vitamins, but now I will bring some with me as food throughout the day, continuing to provide my body with essential vitamins and minerals throughout the day! Bits aren't just for performance, they are for your everyday life.

The challenge kicks off next week, so you still have time to join the fun. My whole household is participating in the challenge! If you want to know more, head over to KatrinaElle.com and shoot her a quick email for all the details and to join the party! I also encourage you to check out Kat's Beachbody Coach page. Everyday right here on See Sharp Run I will be recapping my thoughts using tag #FitnessRealness! Keep up to date, and keep me encouraged and accountable! Who knows, maybe you'll want to try it out for yourself! Let's Do This!!!!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 - The Year of the Incredible

It's time for that bittersweet blog post...my 2013 race year has come to a close. That means I get to recap and discuss some thoughts and share some insights from this amazing year!

First, let me start by saying THANK YOU to each and every one of you! The readers of the blog and followers on social media! Without you guys, this would not be as much fun! I started blogging in 2012, and in June of this year I moved my domain and blog over to Blogger. The page and post views have been unreal and absolutely surpassed my own expectations! So thank you very much for continuing to support the blog and my efforts as I run all the races and hopefully inspire you to keep going or even to try something new.

To help illustrate what kind of intense year I have had, I created a small info graphic. Now, when I actually did the math on the miles I've traveled this year...well...you'll see what I mean haha.

Incredible! I am so blessed and thank each of you for all of your support and love this year! You have helped me grow as a runner, blogger, and as a person. Now, I want to shout out the awesome folks over at INKnBURN and EnergyBits for being such wonderful companies! Their support has really been nothing short of incredible and I hope to continue the relationships with them in the coming years! I would also like to take a moment to stop and thank one of the sweetest Race Directors I've had the privilege of working with, Keira Henninger! Keira has an amazing spirit, is always smiling, and is one hell of an ultra athlete. She began following me on Twitter and asked me to help her promote her trail races. It has been an awesome experience to run her races and work alongside her! By the way, Griffith Park trial marathon registration is open! (plug).

So, I put a lot of miles on my shoes this year as you can tell from the image above. But of all those races, which ones were my favorite?

I have 4 I selected and I want to share with you why!

1. Walt Disney World Marathon! This was my first attempt at the marathon distance! I was undertrained, scared, and anxious! Luckily, thanks to social media, my very good friends (they are more like family really) #CorralG was born! The memories, laughs, frustration, and smiles will ALWAYS be one of the brightest moments of my life! The moment we all joined hands and jumped over the mile 20 timing mat, the conga line to the finish line, my Grumpy Cat mile at mile 24, finding Perry at mile 26. This race had everything, and I am so happy to fortunate I gained some awesome friends out of it!

2. Bank of America Chicago Marathon! My first World Marathon Major! It doesn't get much cooler than that! I was very excited for this race! #CorralG sisters Marcia and Katie met me in Chicago! Katie also ran the race, so the night before we went to Gino's East and ate all the pizza! Being in the start corrals was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I was intimidated and excited to take on the race! I enjoyed everything about this race and the weekend! Great friends, including my wonder twin Christopher who came in from St. Louis to support me. I also PR'd this race and ran my first sub 5 marathon!

3. The San Francisco Marathon! Probably one of my favorite marathons! Running across the Golden Gate Bridge was ALL I needed! It was perfect. I felt free, I felt amazing, I felt inspired! I connected with the air, the ocean, and the energy the runners were pounding into that bridge. There is NOTHING like it. Especially being born and raised in California...this was SO special.

4. Wine and Dine half marathon! This weekend was MUCH needed. I reconnected with #CorralG and ran my favorite half marathon. I ran the race with sisters Jill and Marcia and I crossed the finish line giving Chef Mickey Mouse a HUGE hug and cried at the finish. My spirit was renewed this weekend!

All this to say, this year has been incredible! Each and everyone of you is to thank! I can't wait to see what 2014 brings! I know it will be amazing!

What did you enjoy about 2013?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Product Review - INKnBURN's Long Sleeve Holiday 'Sweater' Tech Tee

Ya know, I think that whole facade that people put up about not liking corny holiday sweaters is a bunch of hog-wash! Everyone at least likes the idea of a holiday sweater...even if they aren't the one wearing it. If nothing else, we like to laugh at people that do wear them...come on kids, let's be honest...don't end up on Santa's naughty list for fibbing!

Well, the INKnBURN long sleeve holiday tech tee is absolutely nothing to laugh about! It has absolutely turned into a staple in my holiday collection, both for running and casual attire. For one, it isn't itchy OR ugly! Although the shirt looks like a sweater your no-so-favorite aunt may gift you with a pair of socks, it moves, breaths, and behaves like any other INKnBURN product would. You feel comfortable, you look great, and you distance yourself from the crowd! All pluses in my book. Another thing I discovered when I wore this shirt is the versatility of the sleeves. I usually like running in short sleeve tech tees, but while in Walt Disney World with a group of friends (and fellow INB Ambassador Jill) we all decided to get and wear our INB holiday sweaters for Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K...we had a blast by the way. What I liked was when I got hot, it was VERY easy to roll up my sleeves in such a manner that the tee actually looked like it was short-sleeved. It continued to perform amazingly with no chafing and still allowed for plenty of air to circulate through and of course wicking sweat!

Yesterday during my last half marathon of the year, I ran the local Holiday Half Marathon...which happens to be located less than a mile from my dad's house, so that made life easy! Winter in Southern California can be...well...what's winter really? We had a high of 74 degrees yesterday. It was a brisk 45 in the morning (which for some of you is considered a heat wave), so I couldn't wait to wear my festive tech tee again to this race. As the race got warmer, I used the same techniques for rolling my sleeves as I did previously. I received lots of compliments on my tee, and cheers as I came across the finish with a new PR of 1:57 for the half marathon!

If you are looking for shorts or a skirt to pair them with, denim is a popular favorite or even try the Brave plaid designs! Both are causal yet festive! Don't forget to pair it with a tech tube as well to keep your face warm! There is a holiday themed tube available if you want to match ;)

Now I did say I plan on wearing this tee casually as well...I have a holiday party at work on Thursday...problem solved.

Everyone needs this in their closets. Both red and navy sweaters are available at INKnBURN.com! Don't forget, for new customers to INKnBURN, create an account on their website and use discount code 'LinzieToldMe' to save 15% on your first purchase! I wonder what fun cooky design they will have next year?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


It is hard to believe that in less than a month, runDisney's largest race weekend The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will be in full effect! For most of us, this isn't just a weekend...this is a week of running, endurance, and plenty of fun and laughs! runDisney events are notorious for being the place for runners of all skill levels to come together, meet, fellowship, and create magical memories as they run. 

You may remember back during the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, Kat from Sneakers and Fingerpaints, and Brian from Pavement Runner and I came together to host what was a very successful #DumboTweetUp! More than 50 runners came out to hang out, put faces to Twitter handles, and win some awesome prizes! Although Brian will not be participating in person with us during marathon weekend, he will most likely be enjoying the pictures and insta-posts of the next tweet up! Kat and I have enlisted the help of my new friend Dani from Weight off my Shoulders, and the three of us will be hosting...

THE #WDWRaceTweetUp! *insert thunderous ovation*

The tweet up will be held on Thursday January 9th at 1 PM. Join us at the Downtown Disney Marketplace near the carousel! This event is absolutely free! We want all the runners to come out, shake hands, tweet, insta-whatever, vine, laugh, everything!!! The other ladies and I have also been working on scoring some awesome giveaways....and I'm going to tell you the list keeps growing!

We want to see as many of you there as possible. Come out, make a new friend! Meet the hosts! Come get some running advice. Come discuss your strategies for how you plan on surviving the weekend challenges ahead! It is all waiting for you at the #WDWRaceTweetUp! I personally, look forward to meeting you there!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Runner Spotlight - So Cal Divas

One of the things I love about this hobby/job I have is that I make friends all over the place! You meet people through social media, you meet in person and it's almost as if you've known them forever. As you continue to chat and share you discover that there are some amazing people out there. I have met SO many amazing folks through my running adventures, and people I am so glad I can actually call friends. Today at the So Cal Run Like A Diva half marathon (yes I did run), I ran into some ladies who just make me smile every time I see them. So rather than recap the race (it was through Ontario, CA past the airport, past Ontario Mills and ended back at the Convention Center flat and fast), I thought I would talk a little bit about some running divas who are just so amazing! I think I start doing runner spotlights on my blog! Again, there are so many great folks, I think it would be fun to spotlight some awesome people! So, let's get right into it!

Tracy can be found on Twitter @ATurtlesPace . She is one of the most tenacious ladies I've ever met. She lives here in So Cal and is a fellow EnergyBits ambassador. She is a #Run3rd team captain which is always a great quality. I first met Tracy in person at the Pasadena half marathon earlier this year. She was on a mission to see me and give me a hug. She was following me for some time, and made the point to tell me that I was one of the people that helps her to keep going. Tracy sometimes has a small challenge staying motivated to keep training, but let's be honest we have all been there me included. Every time I see Tracy, she is smiling, warm, genuine, and just a sweetheart! Even I have my bad days, and she knows how to send me a tweet just to say hi, remind me of all the hard work I've done, and to take my own advice and keep going. Tracy, you inspire me, you make me smile, and I am thrilled to know you and have you in my circle of friends and runners. Continue to run, smile, and inspire others. Go You!

You have seen me highlight Connie before on my blog, and I can't get enough of her! Find Connie on Twitter @Conniekos, and she recently took on a new adventure. She launched her own fan page for running on Facebook called I Love Running which brings runners from all over the world together in one place! I mean, she launched the page just a few months ago and already has more than...wait for it...TEN THOUSAND LIKES!!!!! I mean, I couldn't be happier for her. Connie always has a smile on her face! She often tells me that I was one of the reasons she felt it was possible for her to run her first marathon...which was this year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon...she was there with me :) I adore Connie! Anytime there is a running event that we are both at, we text one another and make sure we link up to chat and catch up! She's absolutely inspiring and her reach is only going to get wider! She touches people all over the world, and connects people on a forum to allow them to exchange information, pictures, and thoughts! Go Connie! Keep going, don't ever stop reaching for your dreams...oh and welcome to #TeamBits as one of our newest ambassadors!

Now this lady here. I actually have a real job that finances this bonkers hobby of mine, and I work with this awesome chic! It's my fault she started running...she blames me every chance she gets. I regret nothing. Jen is one determined chick! Jen started her journey earlier this year on a quest to loose weight and get healthier. She noticed how much fun I had telling her stories about running all these miles and just having a blast. At first she resisted and told me I was crazy (she was right lol). Then, she registered for Rock 'N' Roll San Diego and ran this June! Once she crossed that finish line, it was a wrap! She got the bug! Jen has achieved an incredible feat of running 3 half marathons this year. Let's not forget to mention her personal training and crossfit sessions! She has battled knee injury and is recovering and she told me today she refuses to give up! I am SERIOUSLY so happy and proud of Jen, as the monster I created LOL! She has such a great heart and I know she won't be stopped! In fact, I can't wait to see what adventure she takes on next! Jen is on Twitter @Jeninglewood GO JEN!

Wow...writing this was a lot of fun. All three of these ladies inspire me! Ladies, continue to do good stuff! The Captain is proud of you and always has your back! Never quit!

Be on the look out for future Runner Spotlights! Who knows, you may wind up here :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Start Thinking About Your 2014 Goals

Can you believe that 2013 is just about finished? I know people say that a lot, but really think about it...a lot has happened this year and the year has just flown by! I am never one for a New Year's Resolution, but what I do try to do is consider the activities and actions that are occurring in my life at any given time and evaluate how to enhance them or remove them. Given that my birthday is in 4 days, I think this is the perfect time to start to reflect and I would love to share some of those thoughts  with you.

2013 has been a spectacular year for me. You (my readers and social media followers) have embraced me and encouraged me to continue to blog and share my stories and adventures with you. For that I am grateful. I have run five marathons this year, including the Chicago Marathon...each marathon was a different experience. I have made some of the most incredible running friends a guy could ask for. I became a brand ambassador for the always awesome INKnBURN and EnergyBits brands. I will have run 16 half marathons by the time the year is over. I have traveled to Nevada, Illinois, and Florida for races. I have had a truly blessed year.

So what's next? 2014 I want to focus on realizing my dreams. It's about being consistent, and keeping focus on the dreams. I was to be able to run a consistent half marathon with a finishing time of 1:45. I want to run a marathon and do it with a sub 4:15 time. Given that I am really not that far off, these goals are just aggressive enough to keep me focused and challenged. I want to continue to blog and make you laugh and inspire you. When I have someone stop and tell me that I made them believe that running a marathon was possible...that makes doing this worth it. If this blog touches one person, then I have done my job. I want to focus on quality posts you want to read, I want you to share them with your friends so they can be inspired. In my next post, I will be sharing one of my favorite books of all time with you...and this post may make a bit more sense. At the end of the day, I just want to be happy. So I will do what needs to be done to ensure that continues to happen.

All in all, life is about growing, learning, and sharing. I grow everyday when I learn something new about someone/something, or even myself. I grow when I share my thoughts or experiences, through which I actually find a sense of fulfillment. So that is what I shall continue. So, what are some of your goals for the following year? What are you looking forward to most?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon & 10K

This is one exciting weekend! I have actually been looking forward to this awesome weekend of trail running madness for a few weeks! Then it just crept up on me. This past weekend, the always wonderful and amazing trail race director to the stars Keira Henninger hosted her Griffith Park trail half marathon and 10K! Keira is also the lovely RD that hosted the Paramount Ranch Haunted Trails of the Night 10K a few weeks back! So anytime I get to hang out with Miss Keira and 400 or so fellow runners on some great trails, I'm a happy camper. So, let's dive right into this recap tastiness shall we?

Saturday, I got up and headed to Griffith Park. Before we go any further, let me explain what Griffith Park is. Griffith Park is a Los Angeles (and Southern California for that matter) iconic location. It is home to the hills where the Hollywood sign are, the Griffith Observatory which is an amazing building and place to go, as well as the Los Angeles Zoo. It is one of the largest urban parks in North America. It is a large mountain range essentially in the middle of Los Angeles. HUGE! Not your average every day soccer park...we are talking a mini mountain rage here people. Ok, back to the story. So, I parked my car, near the historic Greek Theatre (also located in Griffith Park), and headed to the start area which was at the base of one of the trails. Keira always feeds her runners, so I immediately noticed three full tables of pastries, coffee, juice, and igloos full of water. She also had the awesome folks from A Runner's Circle (one of Los Angeles' premiere running stores) there to help with the coordination of efforts. Check in was a breeze, and Keira gave some pretty kick ass tech shirts from Patagonia (whom she happens to belong to the ultra running team), a really great steel water bottle in a cool teal color, and some other neat goodies! She goes all out with her swag. Also important to note that her races aren't outrageously expensive...she covers a lot of costs to ensure we as runners have an amazing event. She's really a classy RD!

@KeiraHenninger and I at the start area
I checked my bag, chatted with some awesome runners like Sheila from StridingMom.com. Before I knew it, we are staged at the gateway to the race and Keira was counting us down. We got to zero and bolted out into the sunrise. This trail race took place on 5 Griffith Park trails with more than 1500 feet of elevation gain. So naturally I got a nice workout.

Within the first mile, I looked to my left and saw something we don't often get to experience due to haze or smog. With the recent rains, it cleared out the air, so we were fortunate enough to get breathtaking panoramic views of the beautiful city of Los Angeles. I could see as far as the Port of Long Beach. I could see Catalina Island, I could see Santa Monica. The ocean never looks so beautiful from atop the mountain. This view itself was all I needed to be inspired to enjoy this run! Nature and the beauty of the earth, the sky, and ocean are such blessings and should be appreciated. If you looked on the other side of the mountain, you looked into the San Fernando Valley. You can see Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers Studios.

Breathtaking views from the trail run. Notice the runners continuing the climb on the right
The first milestone of this run was reaching the world famous Hollywood sign. Living in the Los Angeles area my whole life the closest I have ever gotten to the sign was driving past it on the freeway, or forgetting it was nearby during my visits to the observatory, but when I tell you that nearly standing under it and seeing it unclose...there is nothing like it. Another incredible highlight! Great wide trails, amazing weather, spectacular views, and the Hollywood sign. We won!

WOO I'm In Hollywood! See, I told you I'd do it!
After that we swung back around and headed down into Brush Canyon where we made it to the half way point. This is the Camp Hollywood Land area where the infamous caves are...you know Adam West's Batcave!!!!! Just to awesome! At the various aid stations they were all fully stocked with energy gels, mini PB&J sandwiches, salty snacks, and plenty of water and electrolyte beverages. I hung out at this aid station for awhile, really just taking in this awesome canyon, the colors, the textures of the rocks and sand, the energy of this magical place. In case you couldn't tell yet, I was in heaven.

The Hollywood Dragon has landed in Brush Canyon
Then we had to make our way back UP and out of the canyon. This was rude. LOL. A nice steady walk up the hill. Along my hike up the trail, I ran into fellow local runner Tracy who was taking on the trails! Way to go, Tracy!

Go Tracy!

The next stop after climbing out of the canyon was to swing around to the iconic Griffith Observatory. One of my favorite places in Los Angeles. The observatory was mile 10 on the run, so sadly this awesome run was coming to an end. There were lots of cars and people heading up for a fun day of star-gazing and science filled fun...I think they were confused why we were all running back and forth haha.

At the Griffith Observatory
Heading back toward the start/finish area was a fun decent back to reality. Some of the way down was very steep (much like the climb), so I had to make double sure I didn't break an ankle or my face. I came across the finish line around 2:42. I was VERY happy with this time considering the climb and the challenges of this course. This course was beautiful, but let me be honest, it will kick your ass. Something happened when I made it to the top of the hills. I felt this surge of triumph and energy! I felt like I could take on the world. I even spread my arms and took in the air and energy of the sky as I ran around one of the turns. This race was incredible. It is easily one of my absolute favorites.

Day 1 Done!
Now because one day of awesome trails wasn't enough, of course I had to go back for seconds. I woke up on Sunday and headed back to Griffith Park for Keira's 10K race. This race took place on the other side of the park, near the old location of the LA Zoo and the famous Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. Again, another easy day of check-in/registration and lovely morning snacks and beverages. While I was waiting to begin the next 6.2 leg of my trail run journey, I ran into fellow INKnBURN Ambassador Chantal! She looked amazing in her Steampunk tech tee. Speaking of INKnBURN, there was a HUGE INB presence out there! So many awesome looks out there!

Chantal and I getting ready to rock!
We were underway! This race was not as aggressive as the half marathon, which was a relief considering my legs were a little tight from playing mountain-man the day before. Again, waking up and seeing the sunrise and the colors splashing over the valley, what a great feeling that was! Inspiration started early again.

Kicking off our run with a great view
This run was an out-and-back route, again fairly mild trail, but enough of a challenge to keep me alert and challenged. The landscape was absolutely stunning. I honestly had no idea that places like this in Los Angeles even existed. Who knew that it was so close? Well played, Keira :)

Rocking the trail
I really enjoyed this shorter trail run. I think I found a new place to come out and just get away! I finished the 10K around 1:10 minutes (maybe faster) but I had a blast!

What a lovely rock!
All in all, I highly recommend these races to anyone who appreciates nature, fresh air, and time to clear your mind and free your spirit! The answer is yes! This was an amazing experience and I had a blast! Now, it's Monday evening and my legs feel like jell-o. Thanks for that, Keira. :)


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Surviving the Dopey Challenge

Well...we are getting closer to the kick off of runDisney's Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna! In my opinion, it is the largest runDisney event of the year. Quite fitting that it is also the first event of the year. With the introduction of the Walt Disney World 10K and the official Dopey Challenge, this year's event sold out faster than ever. I know I am very excited to earn all of the medals in just a few short weeks, and those of you that are joining me, I hope your training is going well.

So, people want to know how I am training and how I am going to be able to manage an insane 48.6 miles over 4 days. Well...um...I don't know exactly. But I do have a strategy laid out to help me not collapse at Mike and Sulley's feet like I did this year during the second leg of my Goofy at mile 23.

Thanks #CorralG for picking me up haha
So here's what the plan is:

Arrive in Orlando, and head to Casa de Pelham for laughs dinner and more laughs. Unpack my gear and prepare for an insane 7 days.

Slay the expo! Since I am going Dopey, I will want my Dopey jacket/hoodie/pullover (whatever they offer for men this coming year) and some other minor things for merchandise. I will pick up my bibs and all the tech tees. I am also assuming this is the morning the runDisney meet-up will be. That is a 100% Sharp assumption there is no confirmed fact to that statement...so don't go running said Sharp told you! lol! After the expo, I gather there will be free-play involved...perhaps a dole whip.

5K! This race isn't timed so there isn't much of a need for me to become prince of the gazelles here. I will more than likely enjoy a smooth run with little speed and use this time for character stops and laughs. So this day is a cake walk. Post race, I am sure there will be nourishment and sustenance. Then more free time...perhaps Magic Kingdom.

10K! So this is where I will need to get my head in the game. I am considering this run my shake out run. I won't be going out very fast. In fact, I plan to be consistent on this race with an hour finish time. Just enough to get my legs warm without breaking the sound barrier or encouraging an injury. If there are characters I have not encountered yet, I will stop. But this race, is to focus my mind on the prize and what's coming next. After the race, a little bit of free play, but it will be time to rest and get ready for the half. About time to get off my feet.

HALF MARATHON! Last year I paced by friends Ruby and Erica during the half marathon and we finished around 3:30. This wasn't bad for me considering I had 26.2 to run the next day. I plan on being world faster this time around. I am looking to finish the race between 2:30-2:45. Again, just enough to get the  burners hot, but not enough to burn out the muscles. As time has gone on, I have gotten faster and stronger and my recovery time has shortened. So this pace will encourage a fast recovery IF I eat clean, massage properly, and rest my legs post race. So after the race, we shall dine on appropriate foods, and probably retire to Casa De Pelham for the afternoon in preparation for Sunday's event.

MARATHON! Last year, it took #CorralG nearly 7 hours to finish will our character stops and we had the time of our lives. We laugh at that chip time now. This go around, my plan is to get a PR on this course. My standing PR is 4:54 from this year's Chicago Marathon, so I would really like to PR at Walt Disney World. I am familiar with the terrain, I am familiar with what I will encounter, so if the weather decided to behave (I know it's Florida it does what it wants) then we should be good to go! Post race....PARTY IN THE PARKS! I will have earned it!

The key to surviving this race isn't simple! It takes weeks of dedicated and focused training. The hard work comes all the way up to the event, so if you are behind on your training, you may want to get on the ball (responsibly of course I don't want to hear you got injured). The second part to surviving this race series is taking it easy and listening to your body. You don't need to PR every race...and in fact, you shouldn't be at 100% running each of them. Pace your way through the weekend. Then celebrate your awesome accomplishment in the parks with some booze, a Nutella waffle, or a dole whip...hell have all three!

I mean I do have Tinker Bell weekend the following week, so naturally I need some strength left. Yeah, it's out the bag...I will be going Coast-to-Coast at Tinker Bell again...participating in the 10K and half marathon. Yeah...

What is your plan or tackling Dopey?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gametiime Launches in California

If you are anything like me, you wished you had a genie in a bottle or a magic map that would show you all of the races in your geographical area with a simple click. Well one day, I happened to stumble across this genie and his name was Gametiime! Gametiime is in my opinion the only place you'll need to go to locate you next 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, or even ultra! The team at Gametiime works hard to search the internet looking for races, saving you time...because let's be honest...ain't nobody got time to be searching through the internet and race calendars! They do the work for you!

Gametiime is a free resource that anyone can use. I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation from their team some months back during their beta testing phase. I provided some feedback and have kept in close contact with their team. When the site first launched, they were only available in Washington state...and I was totally jealous. Now, Gametiime has expanded it's reach to Oregon and now CALIFORNIA! So, how easy is Gametiime to use? Easier than you think!

Say I want to search for a race in San Diego because I would be interested in vacationing there this holiday season. I simply go to Gametiime, log in and enter the criteria I am looking for. I can search by city, date ranges, the race distance I am looking for and away I go and appear the results. Simple. Did I mention that the user interface is very clean and easy to navigate?

Enter your search criteria

Once my results come back, they show high quality images and links to the races, both small and large races. When you click on the race, Gametiime will provide you with a small snapshot of the race, provide you a Google maps image showing you where the race will be held, and provide you links to register for the race! It couldn't be easier! If you aren't ready to register for the race, you can always save it to your account for later. The people at Gametiime are all about ease...saving you time...again this is a free tool!

Who doesn't love search criteria?

Example of a race page on Gametiime
So, if you haven't done so, I recommend heading over to Gametiime to find your next race. Again, they are only live in Washington state, Oregon, and California at this time, but I can promise you they are making their way to other states! And when they do, will you be one of their users? I swear by Gametiime, and I know once you get your hands on it...you'll be a fan too! You can read what I thought about the launch here.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

runDisney Wine and Dine Official Meet-Up Recap

Now, this was the way to kick off a runDisney race-cation weekend! I've attended several runDisney meet-ups, but this one was very special! But of course, it was an experience getting to the meet-up. Let me give you the play-by-play of my crazy Thursday.

I landed in Orlando at 5:30PM....check in for the meet-up started at 7. You can already see how this is going to go. I grabbed my bag and RAN through the terminal to Mickey's Magical Express station, scanned my pink Magic Band, and headed to the line to Port Orleans, Riverside resort. I waited about five minutes and then my bus arrived...and then I forgot one detail. Port Orleans, Riverside is the last stop on the route for this bus...Damn. So I had to go to Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, an Port Orleans, French Quarter before even making it to my hotel...where I was the only guest to get off the bus...since I was the only one left. Then the bus driver looked at me and says 'Oh, next time just tell me before we leave and I can re-arrange that.' I gave him a side-eye and ran into the lobby. I checked in, and ran to my room. I did a Wonder Woman wardrobe change and ran to the bus depot and awaited my complimentary lift to Epcot.

My transformation looked something like this.

Once I arrived at Epcot, and again ran. The time as now around 7:30PM. Now, it is important to note that the meet-up didn't even begin until around 9PM, but one never wants to be late and be THAT person. And low and behold, who do I run into in the parking lot, King of the Gazelle's Matt from Dad's Got The Runs (love this guy). We walked up to the registration table together and got our really awesome tech tees, and fast passes to TestTrack (WIN).

Matt & I...I don't think we know whats happening lol
Matt and I entered Epcot and immediately started laughing. Mainly because I think we are both a couple of basket cases ;) We then met up with fellow Team #runDisney pals Ali from MSP Run and Jennifer from Sunshine Running. I always love seeing these two ladies! I've said it once, and I will say it again, runDisney races are nothing without the awesome people you encounter and get to know! Half of the fun of going to these races is seeing and reconnecting with awesome people like Matt, Ali, and Jennifer. I decided to venture out before the meet-up and would reconnect with these fine folks later on in the evening. Along my journey, I ran into one of my favorite people, Connie! We hung out in front of TestTrack for a while just catching up! It's always a joy seeing here, talking to her and catching up! Even though we live close to one another, and we just Owned Chicago, it's always a pleasure!

Yay Connie! @ConnieKos
Before we knew it, it was time to head to the Mexico Pavilion and get ready for our VIP seating experience for Epcot's nightly fireworks and laser spectacular (and one of my favorite shows in Walt Disney World) IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth! We had superb viewing for this show and this brought ALL the smiles to my face! As we waited for the show to begin, all the attendees (all 125 of us) took this time to mingle, shake hands and take photos!  I was no exception! I ran into some familiar faces, and finally got to meet some new folks!

Herd of Gazelles - Ali - @AM588, Matt - @Marcella823, Jenn - @JennRunsDisney
Then I met this inspiring lady in person. Kimberly Markey is amazing! She runs her marathons and won't let any illness get in the way! She is truly an inspiration, and if you get the chance to actually spend a few moments with her, you will be forever changed!

Got my life with Kimberly @MMMarathoner
And of course, I had to give one of my favorite people a hug...Miss Heather from Through Heather's Looking Glass! runDisney captured a pretty awesome photo of the two of us, that made me smile and laugh! 

Heather - @HeathersLG and I being photographed...we love our readers and followers!
Before we knew it, IllumiNations had begun. I was so surprised at how close we were. We had the best seats in the World Showcase! I was amazed! All eyes were on World Showcase Lagoon and the sky above as fireworks, fire, lasers, and LED projections took over! Always an amazing experience!

The World Showcase Comes to Life with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
At the conclusion of the show, we made our way to The American Pavilion where wonderful food and wine were waiting for us. That is you had to be 21 or older to attend this event. We dined on delicious Gardin chicken skewers, great salad, and tasted some vegan Chardonnay...yes there is a such thing as vegan wine...I will get there ;) No meet up is complete without a photo op with Mickey Mouse! So the crew and I made our way over to the line and made some magic happen!
Me and Chef Mickey!

Team #runDisney and the Big Cheese
Once character photos were done, we got down to business! We took our seats, pulled out our phones and iPads and got ready to live tweet the event. I was saving battery life, since I didn't get a chance to charge due to my Wonder Woman costume change, but I certainly got the highlights out to you guys! The presentation started with Darryl Fry and Farron Kelley from runDisney bringing us a high-energy introduction of how awesome the night was going to be...as well as some teasers of some things to come in the near future!

Faron and Darryl. Photo Credit Disney

Next, we welcomed Tara Gidus and Jeff Galloway, the official Nutritionist and Training Consultant for runDisney! Every time these two talk they always provide some great feedback and impart such great knowledge.

Tara and Jeff. Photo Credit Disney

The meet-up continued with culinary specialists who discussed the various types of food and wine that were available during Epcot's International Food and Wine festival! They event spent time discussing what vegan wine was. Some wines during fermentation or finishing have animal additives added to them. Vegan wine is all natural with no extras...just grapes, no animal bi-product. I had no idea...and I LOVE WINE!

The New Balance came up and showed us some of their new glow-in-the-dark products. I am all about safety so I appreciated this portion of the event. They also teased the 2014 runDisney shoe...which was officially announced this morning during the runDisney meet-up in Atlanta.

Before we knew it, it was time for our run around the world! Yay! Before take off, I met up with a few of my readers Monica and Walt from Running Happily Ever After! Some of the sweetest people I tell you!

 We ran 1 1/2 times around the World Showcase and met at the Fountain of Nations in Future World. We took our group photo, then headed toward Spaceship Earth for a champagne toast to officially kick off the weekend!

Faron toasting to the meet-up. Photo Credit Disney

WOW! That was a fast-paced but exiting evening of friendship, laughs, lasers, food, merchandise, and new memories! It was also an awesome touch that it was at night! I knew that this meet-up was going to be special...and it was! runDisney didn't disappoint! Thank you to the team for putting this together for us :) It was the perfect kick-off to what was an amazing weekend for me!