Workout Recap

Getting back into the swing of things this week.  I’m doing Blogilaties 28 day reset but modified a little because I don’t want to workout for 28 days straight!  This week was about getting back into the habit of working out, it didn’t go as planned but something is better than nothing!

Tuesday:  Day 2 of PIIT 1.0 and its rough!  I only did 3 rounds instead of 4.  In my defense I haven’t worked out for about 2 weeks so easing back into things is the safest way to go I think.


Wednesday:  I was going to run today, woke up and decided nope I want more sleep and that’s just what I did.  Day 3 of PIIT 1.0 that night and some foam rolling for the legs to be ready for tomorrow.

Thursday:  I decided to go for a 30 minutes, get the legs moving run today.  I even took the dogs and they were so happy about it.  The pace was slow but I got back out there and it was very nice to have no pace goals and just run.  I did not do PIIT tonight because I was actually feeling pretty depressed and I couldn’t motivate myself to do it.  I did run that morning though so I didn’t feel so bad.


Friday:  PIIT day 4 and got the rounds up to 4 today.  I have to modify a lot of the moves because I’m not strong enough yet to last but at least I’m doing something!  Stretching and foam rolling after.

Saturday:  I was going to run today with my running club, but I got up, it was cold and I decided my bed was much more inviting than the outdoors.  Usually that’s not the case I can almost always get my butt out the door when its cold but today I wasn’t having any of it.  Brunch with my girl Amy instead and we did go on a nice hour walk so technically I got my exercise in!


Sunday:  I didn’t do any workouts today, not even cleaning like I should have and I’m not sad about it at all.

Monday:  PIIT day 5 today.  Keep on plugging along trying to get back into decent shape and one day be able to do these workouts all the way through with no modifications!  Stretching and foam rolling after the workout.


CHIME IN!!!  How did your workouts go this week?  Have you struggled with motivation?  What’s your go-to at home workout?

Disney’s Castaway Cay Challenge

You all know by now that I ran my first marathon during Walt Disney World marathon weekend.  You may not know though that the following day I went on a cruise and completed the Castaway Cay Challenge.  To take part in this challenge you have to complete an event during the Walt Disney World marathon weekend, be a passenger on the cruise embarking the next day (see runDisney website for specific cruise date), and register for the challenge.  The challenges entitles you to an un-timed 5k just for marathon weekend participants, a special medal and on-course entertainment.  This is unlike the standard castaway cay 5k because of the entertainment and taking part before the other cruise passengers can get off the ship.


I knew if I ran the marathon I had to do the challenge.  Its the best of both world, a race challenge with a great medal and a relaxing cruise.  I mean really how can you say no to that!  The cruise is also a 4-night which means its a little less expensive and not as much time away from home.  With limited paid time off this is really important.


I, along with 699 other runners, took part in the challenge and it was wonderful.  The weather was perfect (about 60 degrees) the sun was shining and everyone was in great spirits.  It was still an early wake-up call at 5am but since that’s when most runDisney races start I cant complain too much.


For this race I decided to get a good pace going because I really didn’t want to spend all day on the course.  I planned to stop for whatever characters I saw and enjoy the morning.  I was lucky enough to be in coral A which will probably never happen again so I had to earn that!  We got to our corals about 20 minutes before the start but between the DJ and watching Goofy do his silly stretches the start buzzer went off and the race started.

I always try to be on the far left side of courses (so if you ever cheer for me thats where Ill be) and Joe got a nice start pic, thanks Babe!!  The course itself was pretty simple straight down an airstrip, down a dead-end walkway, back down the airstrip, around a short bikepath then boom your finished.  At the end of the airstrip on the way out was pirate Mickey.  The line wasnt too long since I was in A so I stopped for a quick pic.

Down the dead-end street was Chip and Dale but their line was long and I’m not a big fan of theirs so I kept going.  When I got back to the airstrip Minnie was where Mickey had been so I stopped again and this time she had NO line!  Pic done and it was back off, quick grab for water at mile 2 and still plugging along.  No more character stops along the way which was a little sad but the bike path was very peaceful to run through.  By this time I had passed the majority of the racing field.  I think there were only 20 people ahead of me if that.  Since this isn’t a timed race I’m pretty sure most people decided to walk but I just had the urge to get those legs pumping.  Plus, being in A truthfully made me want to run a little harder.  I know its totally silly but that’s what was going through my mind.

I got out of the bike path and the finish line was in sight.  I picked up the pace a little then I saw in my side-eye a lady coming up behind me.  Oh HELL no!  I turned on the heat, put the legs in high gear and SMOKED that lady.  I know the race isn’t timed but ain’t no way I’m going to get passed at the last few feet!  I cruised to a halt, got my well deserved medal then basically ran to get in line to high five Donald #noshame.  After the photo-op it was back to the boat to shower then disembark with the rest of the cruise guests (you cant stay on the island and hang out they send you back to the boat).

Now I will say my body was still pretty stiff from the marathon and not being able to foam roll.  I was able to get my willpower going and average out a 9 minute mile for the course which I was really happy about.  The legs were fighting me a little but it still felt like I could have run harder if this was a timed race.  Since it wasn’t and I was stiff still I didn’t go all out and I’m not sad about that decision.  With the stops for characters I finished in 31:07 which to me was a great time all things considered.  I think without stops my time would have been around 28 minutes.


After showing it was island time y’all!  Soaking up the sun, having a few island cocktails and just enjoying the beautiful day.  Of course as you can already see I took a ton of pictures with my medals and bib because I had to.  Oh and I had all the characters sign my bib.  I’ve never actually done the whole signature thing and this was a really fun way to capture those memories.  I don’t mind if you use this idea in the future 😉  When we got back to the boat it was Pirate night and we headed to Pink for more champagne to celebrate the giant success that is completing my first marathon.  Now that’s what I call a race-cation!  Cheers!!

Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal, Cruises or ANYWHERE!!!  Here is the link to my facebook page or email me at

CHIME IN!!!  Have you been to the Bahamas?  Ever been on a Disney Cruise?  Would you run an un-timed race?

1st Ever Festival of the Arts at Walt Disney World

For the first time IN MY LIFE I was actually at Walt Disney World for the opening day of a new event.  I was BEYOND excited and we extended our vacation by 1 day to make sure we were able to get the full festival experience.


First, let me give you a brief overview of what the festival is.  Its at Epcot and is called Festival of the Arts.  The festival will be 6 weekends (Jan 13- Feb 20) featuring world-class cuisine, visual art and live Broadway entertainment!


Festival Highlights Include:

  • Artist appearances
  • Artful photo ops (picture above)
  • Workshops and seminars with visiting artists
  • Community arts musical showcase
  • Culinary masterpieces
  • Destinations Discovered Tour
  • Disney on Broadway Concert Series
  • Gallery exhibits
  • Interactive mural
  • Living statues
  • Walking chalk gallery and more!


That’s the summary let’s talk specifics.  Unfortunately the first day was very rainy so a lot of the artists weren’t able to be out.  We did see some sidewalk art but it was hidden in the back of the American Pavilion.  I wish we could have seen the living statues but again the weather kept them inside.  The food you can seem some of what we tried below.  The stand-out for me was actually the Pop-Art and the pot roast (not shown).  The NASTIEST thing I had was the fish things you see in the top left.  So nasty I threw them both away.  In all honesty we actually skipped a lot of the food stations because the only things that sounded good to me were desserts and a woman can not live on sugar alone, at least not in the real world.  PRO TIP—be prepared to wait for your food.  The concept behind each dish is art so they take a little longer to prep than normal food kiosk offerings.


The big ticket item though, and the real reason we stayed an extra night was the Broadway Live show and for the first night it was Ashley Brown (Marry Poppins) and Josh Strickland (Tarzan).  I have seen both of them perform these types of shows before and knew I had to see this one, it did not disappoint.  Even though we waited in the rain for 45 minutes and ended up being seated in the rain on wet bleacher seats it was worth it.  The show was only an hour but it felt like 15 minutes it was so entertaining.  PRO TIP—from what I heard from cast members reserved seating for Annual Pass and DVC Members is already full so the only way to get reserved seating is to do a dining package.  Dining package seating is very limited, I tried and they only restaurant available was Biergarten in Germany and I wasn’t feeling that.  So if you cant do any of those reserved seating options make sure you are in line at least an hour beforehand because this event will only grown in popularity.

Here’s what I thought was AWESOME

  • Live Broadway performers.  Sorry for the bad video quality below, we didn’t have the best seats and it was raining.
  • Uniquely crafted food offerings
  • Variety of artists selling goods
  • Interactive “paint-by-numbers” wall
  • “Part of the Art” displays
  • Workshops.  The one I saw was watercolors and I wish I could have done it!
  • Friday-Monday only, allows the park to be itself during the week

What I thought could be better

  • Wait times for food.  I know its hand crafted but wait times were more than 10 minutes with no line.
  • More food kiosks.  I don’t need Food and Wine caliber but I think a few more would have been nice or at least more “main course” type foods.
  • More independent artists.  I mean those not paid by Disney to do Disney all the time.  Or have those artists sit out and paint.  I think they are doing this now but on the day we were there it was too rainy so I’m not 100% sure
  • Re-loadable gift card 😦  Whomp Whomp cast members were not able to activate this on the first day.  The glitch has probably since been fixed but when I tried they were not able to load.  I fully recommend these wrist gift cards but it just wasn’t working for me.

Joe and I both agree this was a great start to a solid 1st year.  I know its not the best but I think in a few years this could really be a big draw for Epcot.  With all the elements they had this year I think next year they will just keep adding on.  I also like that its not the whole week.  That way during the weekdays you can experience Epcot but on the weekend it transforms into a festival.  Very cool concept if you ask me.


I’ve heard Epcot get a lot of flack for introducting “yet another festival”.  While I at first felt the same way I quickly changed my tune and here’s why.  First of all, festivals happen all the time in the real world so the concept of a wide variety of festivals absolutely fits in with WorldShowcase.  Second, the arts are often times forgotten and I am so excited that they are being showcased in such a classy way.  As a non-professional musician and lover of the arts this festival really resonates with me and Im so happy to see Epcot offering a diverse range of arts (not just paintings, but music, food, scultupre, etc).  This festival is also subtly educating guests.  Dont know what the painting above is, well you can find out on the back and learn about it!  Im so excited for this festival to grow and you can bet I’ll be back again in years to come.


CHIME IN!!!  What do you think of the festival of the arts?  Do you want to become part of the art?  Are you a broadway lover?

When it’s Time to Part Ways with Your Coach

Now that my training is over for the biggest race of my life its time to reflect on the coaching that got me to that point.


I recently made the decision to part ways with my running coach, but for very specific reasons.  I feel like these reasons are very valid in why you should no longer work with a coach.  Let me say that I do value the services of a coach and know it has made a positive impact in my running.  That being said I don’t feel my current coach is a good fit me for anymore.  I definitely don’t want this to be a trash talk session so I’m going to highlight the key reasons I came to my decision.   Can we just take a moment to appreciate the 10+ years younger me running my first official 5k.  Little baby Rachael 😀


  • Your coach no longer gives you the level of attention you need.  I’m not saying I need a text everyday saying “good job” but if I leave a comment in my training log that is visible to my coach that warrants a response, a response would be nice.  If questions to your coach like stretching techniques, pace requirements, or general running concerns are being ignored this is a problem.
  • Your coach doesn’t remember key race dates.  My coach forgot about 3 of my races most important of which was my marathon.  This might be partly my fault because I didn’t put the dates in the app we use, but I did let her know and we did have conversations about each race.  If my training is being based around races this is a big issue.
  • Your coach doesn’t/wont adapt your training to fit your life needs.  I’ve told my coach many times I cant run on Mondays because of my travel schedule for work.  I’ve told her I cant run longer than 50 minutes during the week because of my daily time constraints in the morning, she ignores both of these requests.  This is an issue.
  • You coach doesn’t coach.  When paces are missed, distances not met or I’m struggling with a workout I expect my coach to offer suggestions or advise or SOMETHING to help me through.  What I don’t expect is to be ignored when I bring up that a workout is difficult or I’m struggling.  This is not ok.
  • Your coach doesn’t provide pre-race support.  I mentioned this in my marathon post but I didn’t hear from my coach at all in the month leading up to and including race day.  This is the 3rd time she’s done this and really to me is unacceptable.  I have, on multiple occasions reached out to solicit information (pace, strategy) but in my opinion the paid professional should be reaching out with this information not the other way around.


There are other minor things that was annoying but the points listed to me are all major problems that led to the decision that my coach and I are no longer a fit.  There has been no progress since my half marathon in February, in fact my times have gotten worse.  As much money as I pay for a service this should not be the case.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t expect a PR every run but for times to regress consistently proves problematic.


I will go back to coaching but this time I know more about the process and I know more of the questions to ask and what I need from a coach.  While I don’t regret my decision to hire my past coach, I cant help but be frustrated.  Next time I want a coach who’s focus is on running.  My old coach focused mainly on tri-athletes and maybe she thought “just running” was boring or too easy so she let it slide.  Either way, its just no longer right for me.


I don’t want to leave on a negative note so…if you know of a great running coach that is positive/encouraging and knows running let me know!  Also it would be great if said coach wasn’t so expensive I have to sell a kidney 🙂  I also want to reiterate that I do believe in a professional helping you reach your running goals.  I don’t have the patience to figure things out like pace, VDOT and all that crazy tech talk.  You know the saying, if you don’t want to do it yourself be prepared to pay someone to do it for you 🙂


CHIME IN!!!  Do you have a running coach?  Have you had to part ways with a paid professional?  What are your thoughts on running coaches?

I Survived my First Marathon! Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

I’m alive!!  I finished my first marathon and it wasn’t horrible!  That’s pretty exciting stuff in my opinion.  Let’s go over every mile in extreme detail…JUST KIDDING let’s not do that.  Instead let’s take a walk down memory lane and go through the highs and lows that is running a marathon.


First up is the expo.  I knew going in I had some issues to deal with.  My proof of time was lost in cyber-space giving me coral M (finish time of 6:30) and not at all where I needed to be.  Luckily I was able to get my coral changed because I had proof of my submission (thanks Mom).  REMEMBER TO SAVE YOUR SUBMISSION just in case this ever happens to you.  RunDisney will ONLY change the coral if you can prove you did in fact submit your time.  This means taking a screenshot of the submission form and saving that just in case.  I will be doing that for ever race in the future because this was stress I just didn’t need.  I was able to get my coral changed to G.  Yeah that’s 6 corals ahead of where I was and 30 minutes less of waiting around in said coral.  This also meant that I was able to get a castle pic with the ice lights on before the sun came up which was a huge priority for me.  Yeah I’m weird but it was a main draw for running this race.  Thank God it came out ok!


Other than the bib change we went through the expo pretty quickly.  I was disappointed that SparkleSkirts wasn’t there I had planned on getting a skirt and wearing it for the race 😦  Oh well se la vie!  After the expo we headed over to Epcot for dinner then early to bed since we drove from Houston to Orlando.  Joe needed a good nights sleep 🙂

Next day is Saturday, in case you didn’t know the half marathon was canceled due to lightning and the storm was pretty intense.  It was sad but luckily it was not a race I was running!  It rained a little bit more that day while we were at Magic Kingdom but I don’t mind since it keeps the crowds low.  After lunch at Be Our Guest we headed back to Epcot for dinner at Via Napoli.  Its pretty much tradition at this point for me to have pizza before a race and Via Napoli is THE BEST pizza in Orlando.  Pizza did not disappoint, then we headed back to the room for early  bed time for early wake-up call.  Unfortunately I slept like crap but that was a little expected before my first marathon.

3:15am alarm, out the door by 3:45am with an english muffin with almond butter and a banana in hand.  Also my trusty water bottle with a Nuun tab and it was off to a FREEZING start line.  I thought 30 degrees would be fine with what I was wearing but I totally forgot about the windchill which made it more like 20 degrees.  Yup it was cold, my body was shaking uncontrollably by the start but we will get into those lingering issues in a moment.  I was coral G and just like that we were off.  I think it was about 20 minutes from first wave to us.


The first couple of miles were uneventful running to Magic Kingdom.  I was running a pretty solid 11 minute mile pace and was freezing which does help me run faster.  I was so cold I didn’t do any run/walk intervals until mile 8.  I knew if I started walking my body temp would drop again.  Which was proven when I stopped at mile 3 for the bathroom.  My one and only bathroom stop people!  It took me another 4 miles to warm up again from that.  Anyway, into Magic Kingdom the sun started to come up so I picked up the pace a smidge just to make sure I got my castle picture and I told myself I could take it easy after that because that was my magic shot of the whole race.


After the castle it was pretty  boring again, very few characters out (I think due to the weather) and not much to see until mile 7.7 I ran past the Polynesian and Joe was out cheering me on!  Energy boost success!  Around this time I was getting concerned that I hadn’t seen any food stops.  I had checked the map the night before and saw quite a few so I didn’t bring as many gels as I needed because of this.  Mistake #1 people.  I even knew this was a bad idea but I did it anyway.  I took a gel at mile 10 but knew I only had 1 left so I had to start planning.  I knew Joe would be at mile 20 with 3 more gels if I needed them and I had 1 one me at the moment.  So that meant I couldn’t take that other gel until mile 16 to keep them spaced out.  I also realized that my hands had no circulation.  They were freezing and swollen and concerned me.  I ran with my hands up quite a bit to try and get the blood flowing, during walk breaks I had my hands in my arm-pits (super classy I know) but it was an issue the whole run.


Around mile 12 there was a food stop but it was bananas.  Now I have never trained on real food only gels so as much as I wanted that boost of energy there was no way I was going to mess with my fueling routine.  I sadly ran past the food and on to Animal Kingdom.  Around this time was also when I started to have serious tightness and pain in my bladder area again.  I have no idea what this pain is or why its happening but I stretched it a few times with no help at all.  I think ultimately this is what caused me to be so slow at the end because it was just so hard to get past the constant never ending pain.


Through Animal Kingdom in a flash with again hardly any characters and no run past the tree of life (with a photographer) luckily I snapped my own pic on the way in (my goal was to get a picture with each park icon).  Out of Animal Kingdom and on to ESPN Wide World of Sports.  Around this time I knew Brittany and Patrick would be finishing breakfast and looking for a place to find me.  Unbeknownst to me my live tracking was not working (Garmin watch capability) 😦  So I missed them at mile 15.5 by about 20 minutes.  Boo!!  Headed into ESPN I knew everyone hated this stretch and said it was the most boring part of the run.  I was prepared, I knew it was going to be boring and I was at peace with that.  Around mile 20 before we headed into the complex there was THANK GOD gel.  I took one and saved it to take at mile 22 (I had just taken the last one I had at mile 16).  There was one other gel station but I cant remember where it was…mile 22 I think, there was another banana one as well but I have no idea where that was because I wasn’t going to eat one.

Right when you got into the complex Mickey and Minnie were there and I veered off to get a pic…then they walked off for some cheese.  Yup, nope, not waiting an extra 10 minutes and off I went.  I actually really enjoyed the run through ESPN.  It was very similar to running through the Woodlands with my running group.  All the trees and meandering I found this part very peaceful.  Don’t get me wrong I was struggling but peaceful none the less.  True to his word Joe was waiting for me at mile 20 and I was so happy to see him.  From this point on this is the farthest I have ever run and many runners say this is when they hit their wall.  I asked him to be here so I could get an energy boost.  He did just that and folks..the emotions started to hit me.  Seeing Joe, knowing how far I had run, knowing how difficult my body was being up to this point…but I choked it down and kept running.


Only a 10k to go and that’s a no-brainer for me!  That was my mantra until mile 23, then it was only a 5k to go!!  5k’s I do every run!  At this point we were making our way into Hollywood Studios and I stopped for Oswald because I have never met him before and why not.  Luckily I stopped and checked my phone because I saw Brittany and Patrick were here!!  You guys, so many emotions hit me here.  Seeing them so excited for me, up so early to come support me and cheering me on.  It took a lot not to burst into tears…marathon emotions are real!!  I stopped for a minute to get the best hug from Brittany, encouraging words from both her and Patrick then back to running.  That boosted me until mile 25.5 where I had to go back to longer walk intervals.  Until I saw mile 26 then it was no more walking you run your ass through that finish line like the winner you are.


And that’s just what I did, smile on my face the whole way I ran through that finish line (almost stopped for Donald and sad I didn’t).  I heard Joe cheering my name, tried my best not to let the emotions take me down, got my medal, got my finisher picture then met my amazing husband and friends for all the post marathon hugs.  After the race we headed back to the hotel so I could take a shower, eat, change and then head to Magic Kingdom.  It was really rough walking around that day because my feet were so tired but it was probably the best thing for me.  I had issues all day with the cold which ultimately had us call it an early night and not see the fireworks 😦

The next day I was still pretty stiff but I was able to walk around pretty well the only issue was my knees and that was expected.  Today was also heading to a cruise ship after a fun morning at Magic Kingdom so I wasn’t too worried about stiff knees 🙂

Here are my main thoughts on the marathon:

  • Always bring all your fuel, don’t count on the course even if it says there will be fuel
  • People support is essential.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t hit the dreaded wall because I had support throughout the course that helped me through
  • Run your race, don’t let the people passing you get in your head.  This took me a long time to learn but thank God I did before marathon day.
  • Drink water even if you don’t think you are thirsty.  I had water at every stop except mile 1.
  • Run/Walk intervals help break up the time so you don’t look at your watch and think “oh my gosh 2 hours to go” now its “only 3 more minutes until a walk break”.  Much more manageable mentally for me.
  • I would run another marathon, definitely not more than 1 a year but I would definitely do another one.  Chicago, New York I’m looking at you.
  • You have to be strong mentally for this kind of thing.  Its not easy to run for more than 3 hours and that’s where those training runs come in.
  • My main thought during the race to keep me going was “if you stop its just going to take you that much longer to finish”.  My mile 20, all I wanted to do was be done so that helped a lot.  I never stopped…well not counting pictures I mean like prolonged gotta stop because I want to die kind of stop.  I did walk more than I planned but that’s still better than a straight up stop.
  • I’m firing my running coach**

**This deserves its own bullet point.  Its no secret I’ve been disenfranchised with my running coach as of late but this race weekend was the straw that broke the camels back.  Not only did my coach not text/communicate with me AT ALL prior to the race, she didn’t provide any guidance, pace goals, finish times, NOTHING prior to the marathon.  In fact I haven’t actually heard from her (outside of her posting workouts) for over a month.  Not only did she forget I was training for a marathon, she forgot where it was, forgot to wish me luck and forgot to tell me how fast I should be running it.  I tried to ignore it but at mile 8 when I was in pain and frustrated I decided her and I are done.  I paid through March but I don’t want someone who clearly doesn’t want to be my coach, as my coach.  I’m not saying I need to be babied or anything but seeing as she knew this was my first marathon and she has done multiple, as a coach, I feel the least she could have done was given some kind of strategy.  There are quite a few other issues I’ve had with her but this was it, this pushed me over the edge and I decided right there during the marathon that she is done.  I wont continue to pay for an individualized service that I’m not receiving. **Ok sorry, I had to get that out there because really it was the only big glaring negative of the whole experience.


Physically the most concerning aspect of the marathon was the cold/circulation issues I had.  My hands didn’t get back to normal until I took a hot shower and my body until the week we got back from the cruise was having issues with getting super cold.  I know this is due to the hour I spent in the cold and that’s all on me for not having some kind of throw-away jacket.  I wont make that mistake again but it was a hard lesson to learn.


All in all, look I’m not going to say it was easy.  Heck no it wasn’t easy and it hurt and I struggled from time to time but at the end of the day I’m happy I ran a marathon.  I’m happy I have awesome friends who came out for support and I’m happy I have a husband who will get up at 3:15am with me to cheer me on.  I’m grateful for everyone that sent me well-wishes leading up to the race and I’m proud to say I’ve done a marathon.  If you are on the fence about tackling the beast that is marathon training, I say go for it!  It was scary but I think it was worth it.  I just wish I could wear my medal everywhere and hear congratulations all the time like they do at Disney 🙂


CHIME IN!!!  How was your first marathon?  What’s holding you back from registering for you first?  Do you run/walk?

Workout Recap 1/10-16

Post marathon week and that means recovery week.  I’m also on a Disney Cruise and have no intention of working out so this recap is going to be bare bones 🙂

Tuesday:  Day at Sea and a day spent walking around the boat, meeting Disney Characters and having an all around leisurely day.  Perfect for my tired muscles.  No foam rolling because, hello, its a cruise room and there is no extra space for that kind of thing.


Wednesday:  I actually did a 5k today!  Today was Castaway Cay Challenge day.  What that means is you ran a race during Walt Disney World marathon weekend, then you took this cruise and ran the 5k on the island.  There is a special medal in addition to the plastic one they give out.  I decided to run this a little faster and earn that A coral I was given.  I finished in 31 minutes and that’s including 2 character stops!  Too bad the course wasnt timed or that would have been a nice 5k time.  Stopped to meet Donald post race in his fancy beach wear.  No stretching or foam rolling again cause of space.


Thursday:  Nassau beach day and some walking around the beach and the Bahamas.  My calves are still pretty painful, like that weird pain I had leading up to the race but I think its just because I haven’t been able to foam roll just yet.


Friday:  Back on dry land and headed straight to Epcot for the first day of the Festival of the Arts.  It was a rainy day but I still managed to get my 10,000 steps in for the day.


Saturday:  We hit up Magic Kingdom before a long day on the road.  We got a few steps in but not as many as I was hoping for since we left a little earlier on account of the silly rain.


Sunday:  We are home!!!  Unpacking today and resting my poor body.  15 hours in a car is not as fun as it sounds 😛  Oh I also decided to fire my coach today so I guess I should have lead with that.  More to come in marathon recap.  No foam rolling or anything today, I needed it I just didn’t want to.  I’m sure you can relate 🙂

Monday:  My coach did schedule a run today but I am taking this week off as well.  I think after a marathon you deserve 2 weeks of not running.  I did sign up for a pop-up 10k to get a sub hour time for 2018 races but its a 10k so I’m not terribly worried about taking the extra week off 😛  Back to 15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses to loosen up these tight muscles.


CHIME IN!!!  What do you do post marathon?  If you are in Houston are you doing the Rodeo Run?  How was your week?

How to Pick a Vacation Destination even on a Budget

There are some many great places in the world to visit sometimes it seems hard to even figure out where to start.  Never fear future travelers I am here to help!  In a completely different post writing style I have a fun game to help you pick your destination!


Let’s play pick your own adventure!  Before we plan our getaway, think of a destination, any destination that you want to go to.  It could be a beach, a city, a far off dessert, just imagine a place you know you would love to go.  Got your place in mind, ok lets start with #1.  If you cant figure out a specific place to go start with #0.


#0- Too many places to choose from or just have no idea where your ideal vacation is?  Try this-what do you want to experience.  Is it the beach, maybe its a safari, maybe you’ve always wanted to see the largest ball of twine, or maybe you want to unplug and get off the grid.  Name a type of vacation and there is a place to fit that.  What I like to do is use sites like Lonely Planet or Pinterest (if you can believe it) as a starting point.  This will help you narrow down your big idea to specific places.  From that list of destinations then you can figure out a specific spot to start with.  For example lets say you want to go to a beautiful beach.  Search Lonely Planet for “world’s most beautiful beaches” and a whole list will come up.  From that list the Maldives looks the most beautiful.  Now I have my specific location! Once you have your specific spot move on to #1.


#1- Can you drive to this destination?  If yes go to #2 if no to go #4.

#2- If you can drive to the destination, is it feasible to do so?  For example, if you are traveling with kids can they make the trip and you live to tell the tale.  If its just you how many stops would you have to make and how long would it take.  If the answer to this question is no go to #4.  If the answer is yes go to #3


#3-Then drive!  Map out your route, make sure your car has good tires and a recent oil change.  Driving saves a lot of money and can be very convenient to have a car in your destination. Now that you know how to get to where your going move on to step #6


#4- Can you get to this destination by another means of transportation like a train or plan or boat?  If yes go to #5 if no start back at the beginning.  If you cant figure out a way to get to your destination, you probably don’t need to go there anyway!


#5- Find out how much it would be to travel to the destination.  Flexible travel dates will give you the best chance of finding a great deal.  After you researched the cost of getting to your destination is it within your budget so far?  If no go back to the beginning and think of a new destination.  Remember its not always the right time to go to say Australia but it might be the right time to visit Vancouver.  If the answer is yes go to #6


#6- Destination picked, mode of transport decided, now its time to talk accommodations.  Can you find a place to stay that is within your budget?  If yes go on to #7 if no go to #8.


#7- Book your accommodation.  I usually book refundable rates in case I change my mind on the property or find a better deal closer to my travel dates.  Non-refundable rates are almost impossible to get changed even if you find a better deal.  Now that your accommodation is booked go to #9


#8- Are you sure you cant find an accommodation?  Have you thought about Air B&B, hostel, apartment rentals, unique accommodations.  Sometimes hotels will be sold out but the cute B&B down the street is ready to check you in.  Take one more look.  If you can find a place to rest your head move back to #7, if you cant then start the process over again with a new destination.


#9- Destination, check.  Transportation, check.  Hotel, check.  Now plan your adventure!  I’ve already done a post about that (click here) so I wont do that again but its really that simple.  There are quite a few apps out there that help you find amazing airfare (I use the hopper) but like I said if you  have flexible dates its a lot more likely you will find some great travel deals.  After you plan your adventure move on to #10.


#10- GO HAVE FUN!!!  Travel the world, see new things, have life experiences.  Immerse yourself in a new culture, break boundaries you thought you had.  But most of all, have fun and make memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.


When you enlist the services of a travel planner (such as myself) they can help you figure out where you want to go, when the best time to go would be and find some unique accommodations to stay at.  Travel Planners take all the work out of vacation planning for you and the concierge level service I provide is included with the package price.  Best of all I’ll do the deal hunting and research for you.  Its what I love to do 🙂  You can email me at or like my page on facebook.


CHIME IN!!!  Where is your dream vacation?  Do you have a hard time figuring out where to go on vacation?  What is holding you back?


Running Plans for 2017

2017 is my year.  My year to take some time off from running and get my body back to strong and healthy.  I realized I’ve never taken an extended break from running and Im at the point where its probably past due.  With that being said 2017 running is going to look much different than years past.

Walt Disney World Marathon—already completed

Castaway Cay 5k—in process probably as you read this!  No time goals or anything this was just for the bling 🙂

Rodeo Run 10k, March 7(maybe)—I want to run Princess in 2018 (its an anniversary year) and I want to get a sub hour 10k time for good coral placement.  I’m writing this before the marathon so that’s why its a maybe.  If I think I can recover and get a good time by March then Ill sign up but I wont sign up until I get back from the marathon and have had more time to think about it.

Houston Half, Late October (maybe)—I’m thinking about this race only to see if I can get a sub 2 hour half marathon.  This will largely depend on how much time I take off from running and if I can find a better running coach.  I’ve done 2:13 so its within the realm of possibility but I don’t know if I will want to train during the summer.

That’s it folks, that’s all she wrote.  I have no intention of running any more than these 4 races in 2017.  Its an extreme departure from previous years.  In 2016 alone I ran 8 races, which in hindsight is probably too many.  Se la vie!

Im excited actually to scale things back, sleep in on the weekends, be able to have real weekend plans again.  With that being said you might see less running related posts here and that’s just the direction of my life right now buts its not forever.  Stick around, the runner rest cycle doesnt last long!

CHIME IN!!!  When was the last time you took an extended running break?  What race are you looking forward to in 2017?  Want to run Princess in 2018 with me?

Workout Recap 1/3-9

This is it…marathon week.  Time to put all that practice to work and earn all those calories I’m going to eat on the cruise.  Wish me luck and cold temps so I can make it through, the anxiety has started yall!

Tuesday:  5.5 miles at an average pace of 11:06.  2 miles at an average pace of 10:30 which is the pace I will try and maintain for most of the marathon.  It was nice and cool today and I’m hoping the conditions will be similar on race day.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing that night.  No time to slack off now have to keep the injury prevention going!


Wednesday:  Rest day!  You know I love a rest day!  I thought about doing a blogilaties video today but I really don’t want to be sore anywhere come race day so I didn’t.  I did however finish taking down the Christmas tree and it was very sad 😦  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing that night.


Thursday:  Recovery run with 6×30 second pick ups.  Finished with 4 miles for an average pace of 11:06.  It was nice and cold this morning which was perfect!  Its actually pretty close to predicted race day conditions so that was nice.  Confirmed I will be wearing shorts and not pants.  Gotta get that cold air anyway I can!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  Talk about random things I see on my run…how about a random firework on my own roof!  How did that get there?!


Friday:  Rest day…and EXPO DAY!!!  We are now officially at Walt Disney World getting my gear for the race and trying to get my corral fixed (wish me luck, Im writing this in advance).  I love expo’s and hope this one is bigger than all the others.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing that night.

Saturday:  Rest day, well not really a rest day we are walking around Epcot and Magic Kingdom.  The plan says a 2.2 mile recovery run but since Im doing a bit of walking at Disney today that will have to suffice.  Carb loading for dinner, early bed time and 15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing to set myself up for success tomorrow.

Sunday:  RACE DAY!!!  All the anxiety and nerves and UGH ITS MARATHON DAY…why did I do this…someone please remind me why I did this!!!  It’s OK though it’s 30 degrees so the only thing I could concentrate on was trying to get warm.   Full recap to come soon but I finished in 5:41:57.  A little off my goal but I don’t even mind!

Monday:  Rest day and off to our cruise!  See you guys in a week!!!

CHIME IN!!!  What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen on a run?  When do you take your Christmas decorations down?  Real or fake tree?

What’s so Great About a Cruise Anyway?

ICYMI I posted a video on my Vacation Planning page talking all about Disney Cruise Line.

The video is specific to Disney Cruise, if you have time give it a view.  I know its a little long there is just so much information to share!

The video is specific to Disney so let’s talk general terms though on why I love cruises so much.

  • You get to visit multiple destinations but all your luggage is in one place!  Speaking from experience it really sucks taking a multi-city vacation for the simple fact that you have to bring your luggage all over the place.  Cruises make that so much easier!  Unpack all your things, get settled into a room and visit ports without all the hassle of baggage.   LOVE IT
  • There are so many places to go!  Alaska, Norway, Mediterranean, British Isles, European River Cruises, Mexico, Bahamas, and so many I’m leaving out.  Cruising allows you to check a few destinations off your travel wish list for one price and on one convenient ship.


  • Cruising is still elegant.  Its so strange but taking a cruise (ok maybe not carnival) is like going back in time when dressing up for dinner was a thing.  I love formal night on the ship I feel so glamorous.  Dining is relaxed and slow paced while the entertainment is top notch.  I can see why that was the way to travel for the rich and famous back in the day.
  • So…much…food.  I ate like a king and had zero regrets about it.  Now not all cruise lines are the same in food caliber so if you are looking for a good dining experience look to Disney, Norwegian or Princess.  Oh the food though!


  • Easy to plan.  I mentioned ports earlier, but don’t worry cruise lines have you covered with port adventures!  While the list may be hard to narrow down I’m confident you will find something that piques your interest.  The great thing about this is you don’t have to do all the research, the cruise line has done it for you.  All you have to do is pick the one you like the best.  Aside from port adventures, the travel to each city is covered (your on a boat!), the food, the entertainment, its all pre-planned for you.  What’s required of you?  Wake up when you want and participate in what you want.  I LOVE this so much.
  • There is so much to do!  On board you can go to the pool, the spa, fitness center, lounges, bingo, some have casinos, clubs, and the list goes on.  I have quite a few people ask “well don’t you get bored?”  My answer is HECK NO, if anything there is too much to do!  The hard part is deciding what you want to do.


  • Best sleep you ever had.  I bet you are looking at the screen like Im crazy but let me know tell you, the rocking of the boat lulls you to sleep like when you were a baby.  I thought this would trigger my motion sickness but it was so peaceful and relaxing I slept the best I ever had on vacation.  No joke guys, rocked to sleep like a little baby and it was glorious.


Before you ask, let me answer the MOST COMMON questions I get asked: “But I get motion sickness, I don’t think I can handle a cruise.”  Speaking first hand as someone who has frequent motion-sickness issues I will say I only had 1 night on a 7-night cruise where the seas were so choppy I almost got sick.  To be fair, other cruisers who have been on several cruises…A YEAR…said that was the roughest patch they had ever experienced.  I didn’t get sick but I did take a Dramamine which helped tremendously.  I never had to take a patch, I never had to eat the ginger gum I brought, and other than that 1 night I never had to take a Dramamine.  I was really nervous about getting sick (previous house boat encounters did not go well for me at all) but luckily everything was fine.  Rest assured fellow motion-sickness sufferers you will be just fine.


There you have it, quite a few reasons to go on a cruise.  Now its your turn, what is a reason you haven’t been on a cruise yet and let me help you get over that hurdle!

Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal, Cruises or ANYWHERE!!!  Here is the link to my facebook page or email me at

CHIME IN!!!  Let me hear your reasons why not a cruise!!  If you have been on a cruise add to my list!!