Running with the Marines

I’ve been on the run like crazy this fall and winter, but finding time to write about it has evaded me. With several races in fabulous destinations under my belt, it is way past time to share!

John, AKA: the luckiest man alive, entered the lottery in hopes of winning a spot in the Marine Corps Marathon, and that’s exactly what he did. Fresh off a successful stint entering the lottery for the New York Marathon the year before, John and I spent four days in October running through our nation’s capital.

We flew in Thursday night before the race and checked in to the Westin City Center. After sleeping in Friday morning, we made our way to the beautiful Gaylord National on the banks of the Potomac River to pick up our bibs and do a little shopping. John and I love a good race expo and the Marine Corps Marathon expo did not disappoint.

We picked up our bibs and race shirts from actual Marines who were working the event. From the second we walked into the expo to the moment we left the post-race party, the energy surrounding the event, fueled by the support of the Marines, was electric.

We did some sightseeing Friday afternoon following the expo, making sure to hit the high points throughout the National Mall.

When I tell you that we ate amazing food in D.C., we seriously ate amazing food in D.C. In all my travels, I have never had such scrumptious meals, one after the other, as we did on this trip. Friday night we dined at Le Diplomate, a French bistro in the heart of Logan Circle and walking distance from our hotel. I am still dreaming about the French onion soup!

When John ran the New York marathon, we did a lot of walking around prior to the big race. He made me promise that we wouldn’t do that this year, so Saturday morning we took a quick Uber ride to Georgetown for brunch at Sequoia before doing a little shopping. Located just down from the Kennedy Center on the Potomac River, boats rowed by while we enjoyed small plates of everything from breakfast pizza and vanilla bourbon French toast, to calamari. We watched football and rested our legs Saturday afternoon before the next amazing meal at Filomena. When you walk in to a restaurant and the first thing you see is a lady hand rolling pasta, you know you’re in for a treat!

Sunday was race day. We took the metro to our respective start lines, John’s in Pentagon City and mine in the National Mall. We went opposite directions in the metro terminal. I was literally the only person on my side of the tracks as I sat staring at the hundreds of runners heading to the marathon start line across the way. Thankfully, about five more minutes into my wait, another 10K runner joined me and we laughed about the fact that it looked as though we had no idea where we were going.

Our train finally arrived and we made it to the chilly start line. Watching the sunrise over the Capital as a trio sang the National Anthem was an amazing experience and really set the tone for the entire race.

I have decided that the 10K may be my best distance. I set a PR in the Marine Corps 10K and felt great throughout the entire race. Both the 10K and marathon finish uphill at the Marine Corps Memorial. Surrounded by Marines cheering us on, the uphill switchbacks were painful, but made the finish that much sweeter.

But, enough about me. Despite the rapidly rising temps, John said that it was a great fall day to run 26.2. The highlight for him was the Blue Mile. At mile 10.5, they honor fallen service men and women. Pictures of those who gave their lives for our freedom line the mile, making it a moving experience as you run with Marines in full gear, rucksacks and all. John’s knee began to give him problems around mile 16, but he and Elvis were able to finish the marathon. We enjoyed the finish line festival for awhile, complete with all the watermelon you could eat and live music.

We celebrated with steaks at The Capital Grille Sunday night. And, lobster mac and cheese. And, cheesecake. After all that yumminess, we needed to do some walking, so the Jefferson Memorial was our next stop. It was extra beautiful at night and was the perfect way to end our trip to D.C.

The Marine Corps Marathon made for a great long weekend in D.C. With a 10K PR under my belt, I was well on my way toward training for the next race on my calendar, the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, but that’s a story for another day.

A Tale of Two Wetsuits, Part One

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller

I swear I blinked and somehow June and July happened. I’ve been on two international trips, enjoyed time on the mountain, soaked up some rays on the beach, and spent time in our nation’s capital. I had some once in a lifetime experiences this summer and learned a lot about myself in the process.

With so many amazing adventures this summer, I have lots of stories to share. Today, I’m inspired to write about my family vaca to Banff, Alberta, Canada, in July. Anyone who knows me well knows that I prefer tights, boots, and coats to shorts, tanks, and swimsuits any day of the year, so a trip to Canada in July was right up my alley.  

After a dreadful experience with cancelled flights, an unexpected overnight in Dallas, and 48-hours without luggage, we settled in for a week of fun in the picturesque Canadian Rockies. The beauty of this locale was that the hardcore hikers could do their thing while others could still experience the breathtaking scenery without strapping on a pack and wandering into the wilderness. 

Day one began with a gondola ride near Lake Louise. Halfway up we spotted several grizzly bear right off the bat. Banff is known as bear country so we were psyched to start out the trip with a bona fide bear sighting. 

We spent the afternoon canoeing Moraine Lake. Y’all, the water is really that blue. It’s ridiculous. The color results from the sediment that is continually deposited into the glacially-fed lake and the light that is refracted off of it. Despite the fact that John will tell you he paddled myself and Miles around the lake “Driving Miss Daisy” style, Miles and I did our fair share of paddling through the 38 degree water. 

So, let’s get to that wetsuit. The whole fam loaded up and we rafted the Kananaskis River with Chinook Rafting. The water was in the low 30s and had still been icy the week before. We were each issued a wetsuit, neoprene booties, a water resistant pullover, and helmet. A quick training session later, we embarked on our frigid whitewater adventure. 

Miles had the most important job, serving as wave blocker throughout our journey. John and I sat in the front of the boat, so we could be close to the wave blocker, and were told to synchronize our paddles so that the rest of the raft would stay in sync. Somehow we managed to do just that, while keeping ourselves and the wave blocker safely inside. Our fabulous guide, James, made every effort to ensure that we were completely soaked, whether we stayed in the boat or not. Wetsuit or no wetsuit, that water was cold! 

We were in Banff for July 4th, so we celebrated with a traditional American evening of bowling and pizza. It was so much fun and being that my family isn’t competitive at all, no smack was talked and everyone was a humble competitor. Right. Look closely and you will notice that the six-year old won. 

Y’all know my favorite way to explore a new place is through running. I enjoyed a great run through Tunnell Mountain, exploring some of the trails near our resort. While I packed for mild weather (I may have packed a pair of boots in each member of my family’s checked luggage), they were having a heat wave while we were in Banff. It was hot, but it felt great to get a run in. I even spotted some wildlife!


The culmination of our trip was a ride down the Icefields Parkway and a visit to Athabasca glacier. We rode the massive, all-terrain ice explorer bus to Athabasca and were able to disembark and walk around on the huge, 10,000 year old glacier. As part of the experience, we also explored the glass-bottomed Glacier Skywalk with amazing views of the Sunwapta Valley. 

On our final night in Banff, we visited the Fairmont Banff Springs after dinner. While driving past the golf course that borders the hotel’s property, we spotted a group of elk hindering some golfers on the front nine. As far as the eye could see, the elk were grazing and enjoying the nice weather and manicured greens. 

From water slides and all-you-can-eat buffets, to poutine and bear sightings, many a memory was made in Canada. Ferris wasn’t kidding when he said that life moves pretty fast. That alone makes special memories made in far off places that much sweeter. 

2017 Miles to Go: 446

If I Can Do It, Anyone Can Do It

Since I started writing about running and travel, people always ask me two questions. First, they ask me where I’m running next. Second, they ask me how I got started running. Readers tell me all the time that they wish they could run, but they can’t. My token response is always, “if I can do it, ANYONE can do it.” Then, I share the tale of how it took me over 16 minutes to run a mile when I first started running and a few short months later I completed my first half marathon. There’s more to the story. 

In honor of Global Running Day today, I wanted to share a few tips for getting started if you want to begin the journey of running. Whether it’s to run a race, find a new hobby, or to just plain get healthy, I hope these tips will inspire you to take that first step. 


#1 – Buy the shoes

When I first started running, it was in tennis shoes that I had worn since college. Despite the fact that some days I feel like I could still be in college, running in shoes from those four fabulous years was a terrible idea. I felt like I was running in cement! 

Go get fitted for good running shoes. Find a local run shop where they can evaluate your stride, watch you run, and put you in the right pair of shoes. While you’re at it, get some good socks so your feet are well taken care of before you hit the pavement. I’m currently running in Brooks Ghost 9s and I love them! 

Side note: Shoes, like cars, have mileage. When you purchase your new running shoes, ask how many miles you should put on them before your next pair. If you’re training for a half or full marathon, consider buying multiple pairs so you don’t wear them out as quickly. I learned this the hard way. 


#2 – Make a Plan

I began running after setting a personal goal at work to run a half marathon. I gave myself plenty of time, found a race, got a training plan together, and began to run. I initially used the Couch to 5K training plan until I could run for 20 minutes straight. Then, I just ran as long as I could, upping my mileage by about 10% each week. Couch to 5K is a run/walk method that can be used through your mobile phone. I always run with my phone so this worked great for me. The key to making a plan is to find what’s right for you. Do the research and find what makes you comfortable. Then, get started! 

Side note: Go ahead and register for your goal race, then work toward completing it. I always do this to stay motivated and make sure I am ready to meet my goal.

#3 – Don’t Overdo It

You know when a new song comes out and you add it to your Spotify, download it on iTunes, and turn it up every time it comes on the radio, then about a week later you are completely over it? Don’t do this to running. Overdoing it can lead to burnout, and more importantly, injury. 

When I first started running, I wanted to get out there every single day and run as much as I could to get faster and go further. Stick to your training plan and add a day or two of cross-training to your plan to stay active and avoid overdoing it. Listen to your body. I upped my mileage too fast for this past February’s Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon and paid the price with shin splints.

#4 – Have Fun

Never in a million years did I think that I would enjoy running as much as I do. There is a feeling of accomplishment that cannot be explained when you cross a finish line after training for months to run a race. If you’re not having fun and feeling great, maybe running isn’t for you. But, wait to make that decision until after you cross your first finish line. You can thank me later. 

Side note: Training is not fun. I feel great when I’ve completed a training run, but I don’t look forward to training as a super fun activity. It is a necessary part of becoming a runner. Find a running partner or local run club to join and it will make training more fun and keep you accountable.

To be a runner, all you have to do is take the first step. Good luck! 

2017 Miles to Go: 480

They Say It’s A Dry Heat

Last week took me to sunny Palm Springs, CA, for the annual PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference. No other event is more targeted to what I do every single day at work than this conference. I love getting to see old friends in the tourism industry and making new ones. Plus, Palm Springs is not the worst location to have to travel for work, right? 


The conference was held at the Riviera Palm Springs Resort, just ten minutes from the Palm Springs airport and easily accessible to all of the city’s hot spots. The beauty of this conference is that you get to hear from major travel editors and journalists in the industry, while also rubbing elbows with them at networking events. I mean, how often do you get to talk Tupelo with Samantha Brown, face-to-face? 


Tuesday morning, I participated in a fun run with everyone else crazy enough to get up and run through the desert. It was hot, even at 6:45 a.m., and the 5K I ran seemed way harder than usual, as a result. They say it’s a dry heat. But, hot is hot and at least in the humid South, I know when it’s time to hydrate. I loved getting to experience Palm Springs while running, and the view made it worth those hot miles.

Our closing reception was held at the Dinah Shore Estate in Palm Springs. The plush, mid-century modern estate is now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio and is situated in the same neighborhood as homes once owned by members of the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe, and Liberace. Elvis’ honeymoon cottage is also in the neighborhood, so my new friend, Rachel from San Jose, and I hopped in an Uber and made it our mission to find the home. Of course I had to check it out! 


When the conference ended Wednesday afternoon, we moved the networking poolside to celebrate the end of a great event and soak up our last few hours of sun in beautiful Palm Springs.

My trip to CA included quality time with my first and forever best friend, Elizabeth. We met at Disneyland for a magical morning of roller coasters and catching up. We would have been happy to just sit in the car and talk all day, and with the crazy traffic getting in to the park, that almost happened.

This was my first trip to the original Disney park. I consider myself a Disney World pro at this point, but that prepared me in no way for this visit. Walking into the park was like stepping back in time. We maximized our visit by hitting the rides that were exclusive to Disneyland. The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Pinnochio’s Daring Journey, were a few favorites. 

Elizabeth and I took a 72-hour trip to Disney World when we were in college. A Friday afternoon phone call from her at Ole Miss to me at the University of Alabama resulted in the two of us driving through the night to Orlando in time for rope drop at the newly-opened Animal Kingdom. Rather than buying food and a hotel room, we brought snacks from home and purchased Disney souvenirs. We ventured to the Magic Kingdom that afternoon, stayed through the fireworks, and drove home. The whole way down we talked about riding Space Mountain first. When we arrived, it was closed for refurbishment. So, it was only fitting that Elizabeth and I chose Hyperspace Mountain as our first ride together at Disneyland. It was well worth the almost 20-year wait! (Ummm, yes I did the math correctly and I, too, am shocked.) 

My trip to Palm Springs was pretty fabulous. It’s less than two hours from both Los Angeles and San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park is about an hour away. Make it your base and it’s the perfect place from which to explore all that beautiful, sunny Southern California has to offer. I learned a lot, met some new tourism friends, spent time with my forever friend, ate some great food, and got to experience a new place. This trip was just the first of many this summer that will keep me on the run and I look forward to sharing it all.

2017 Miles to Go: 483

Gates at Elvis’ Honeymoon Cottage

Editors’ Panel at the Conference

Unlike Disney World, Characters wandered around Disneyland

My Mickey Ears!

Fun Run in Palm Springs

The Hill that was not so fun on the fun run in Palm Springs

Oorah

It’s training time again at my house! But, it’s not me. John entered the lottery for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., this October, and once again he is the luckiest guy around.

Yes, I agree. He should try buying a lottery ticket or two instead of entering race lotteries. But, I’ll be honest, some days, getting the notice that you were selected to run a bucket list race is worth more than a million bucks. Some days.

There are many things that set this marathon apart. One of those things is that there is no prize money awarded for winning the race. It’s all about the commitment and courage that it takes to finish the marathon. It’s organized by the amazing men and women of the United States Marine Corps. The weekend is full of events, from the health and fitness expo and the kids races, to the 10K (that I will get to run!), and of course, the marathon. Everything takes place with our nation’s capital as the picturesque backdrop. 

This race is so much more than a bucket list run for John. It’s about running for something. He’s running for his Uncle Paul who served in the Marines during Vietnam.  His uncle saved multiple men in his company during a fierce battle. He was shot in the leg while saving the lives of others and received two Purple Hearts for his immense service to our country. That is something worth running for. My grandfather fought as a Marine in Okinawa during World War II, so I’m pretty sure it will be a special weekend for both of us.


I’m writing this from my gate at the rainy, 40-degree Minneapolis airport enroute to the PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference in sunny, 98 degree Palm Springs. As I was just walking to my gate, I passed a Minnesota lottery ticket kiosk. The thought to grab a ticket crossed my mind, but the luckiest guy I know wasn’t here to buy it, so I kept on walking. (P.S. It’s much more fun to travel, or really do anything for that matter, when he is around.)

I’m excited about our trip to D.C., a city I haven’t spent much time in as an adult. What are your favorite D.C. don’t miss spots and if you’re a Marine Corps Marathon finisher what tips can you share? 

2017 Miles to Go: 489

Consistency

Consistency is everything. In running, in work, in your spiritual life, in relationships, in eating right, in life; if you’re not consistently working on the things that are important to you, you’re never going to meet your goals or uncover your true potential.

If I have been anything over the past two months, I’ve been inconsistent. After the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, I wound up with shin splints. A result of my adding too many miles too fast before the NOLA race, I brought them on myself. I would rest a few days, but every time I ran they came back with a vengeance. It was beyond frustrating to feel fine, begin a run, and have to quit because of the pain.

So, I rested. I rested a lot. To be exact, I rested the entire month of March. I didn’t run a single mile. I didn’t blog about the fact that I wasn’t running. I just didn’t run. Because I was inconsistent in my training for New Orleans, I had to take a break that I had not planned to take. It derailed some of my goals and kept me from running some races I had intended to run this spring.

That’s me in the pink socks!

So, when April arrived, I bought a new pair of running shoes (I’m loving the new Brooks Ghost 9!) and hit the road. I ran the annual Autism Run 5K a few weeks ago on my first day back at it. I felt great and enjoyed being able to run in support of the amazing work that the Autism Center of North Mississippi does in our area. After the race, my abs hurt, I was tired, and even a little sore. Consistency, right?

I’m  finally back in a good running routine, focusing on a faster 5K. The longest race on my horizon is a 10K, at the moment. I hope that through consistent training, I’ll be able to shave a minute or more off of my current 5K time. I also hope to be better prepared to run that 10K, on the road to my next half marathon. For now, my goal is consistency.

2017 Miles to Go: 491

Why I Run

I get asked all the time why I run. 

I run because I’ve found that it can be my main form of exercise without having to stick to a restrictive diet that I know I won’t follow. I run because I enjoy eating good food, preparing good food, talking about good food, and eating more good food. I run because I have a six-year old who has endless supplies of energy and loves nothing more than playing some type of competitive sport with his mommy and daddy. I run because I have an incurable wanderlust and running races helps me experience new places with a unique perspective. I run because I like a medal. I run because I can do it all by myself without paying a fee, taking a class, or relying on someone else to get in my workout. I run because pizza is my favorite food. I run because I couldn’t and now I can. 

At church this past Sunday, our pastor said something that really made me think about why I run. In preaching from 1 Corinthians 6, he talked about our bodies as vessels for the Holy Spirit. As new believers, we are taught that our sins are forgiven once we ask Jesus to live in our hearts, and while this is wonderfully true, the Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity who actually takes up residence inside of us. With that, every single thing we do with our bodies, we’re doing to its greatest resident. Wow.

I run for my calories. Are those calories pleasing to my Lord? I run so I can dress up like a princess and race through the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Am I glorifying God through this? I run so that I can wear a shiny medal. Is this pleasing He who created everything? 

This week I have spent a lot of time in prayer for a lifelong friend’s wife who has battled an illness that, in all honesty, should have taken her life. Miracle after miracle has happened throughout her ordeal that can only be attributed to the healing power of the Great Physician. This is just one more reminder to me that our earthly bodies are truly not our own, but are vessels for God to be glorified, in sickness, in health, in every single thing that we do. 

I run because it makes me feel good, but more importantly I run to take care of the body that has been entrusted to me to carry out what God has called me to do here on Earth. While that body may be dressed up like a Disney princess every now and then, my prayer is that even my sparkles will glorify God. 

2017 Miles to Go: 521

Today Was a Good Day

The Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon is about a week away. I’ve had some fantastic training runs this week and I’m so looking forward to a weekend in the Big Easy. Despite the fact that they are currently predicting 70 degrees and rain for race day, it’s going to be fun.

I ran a little over eight miles this morning  on my last long run before the race. I’ve had a rough week, which actually makes for some great running. A stellar speed workout Thursday night both cleared my head and made me feel stronger. I needed it. Eight more miles this morning means I can make it to 13.1 next Sunday.

I ran in my new PRO Compression socks this morning and they are fabulous! The fact that they’re the hottest of hot pink definitely sold me on them, but the promise of faster recovery sealed the deal. The graduated compression felt great. I didn’t have to stop during the run to mess with my socks. And, you could see me coming a mile away.

So, today I tried something new. As John would say, I “got frozen.” After our long runs we went to Cryo Correct for -200 degrees of fun. I opted for the whole body therapy  which included three minutes in the cryochamber that uses nitrogen gas to drastically drop the temperature in order to promote recovery. It was cold, like, really cold. But, it was awesome and the shin splint pain I’ve been having the last couple of weeks is gone! I totally felt like Han Solo before he “got frozen,” but was straight back to Princess Leia after three chilly minutes. I will definitely be back for more!

As a bonus to my first full body cryoadventure, I also got a cryofacial. They apply pressurized liquid nitrogen vapors to your scalp, face, and neck improving circulation. I could literally feel my skin tightening as the treatment was applied! The extreme cold was invigorating and as she used it over my nose, it almost took my breath away. The treatment is also supposed to help with allergies. I loved the experience and will absolutely do it again.

Today was a good day. I’m looking forward to a great weekend in New Orleans next week as I run my fifth half marathon. Rock ‘N’ Roll NOLA was my very first half and this wil be my third time back for this super fun jaunt through the Crescent City. I run for my calories in New Orleans and this year will be no different. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series is celebrating 20 years in 2017, so my expectations are high, as this race should be the best one yet. 

2017 Miles to Go: 553

Racecation Top 10 List

I’m always planning my next racecation. A racecation is a vacation planned around running a race, but that’s pretty obvious, right? In other words, where can I go and run a race, experience something new, and have a great meal or two along the way? In honor of tomorrow’s RunDisney Walt Disney World Marathon, I am sharing my top ten list of racecations that are either on my list or have already been crossed off.

#10 Viking Half Marathon – Greenwood, MS, Not every racecation can be in an exotic locale, so number ten on my list is the closest to home. The Viking Half Marathon is a flat, fast race through this Mississippi Delta town where “The Help” was filmed. Your race weekend must include a night at The Alluvian and dinner at Giardina’s. Staying two nights? Definitely book a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School and a spa treatment or two at the amazing Alluvian spa.


#9 Tinker Bell Half Marathon – Anaheim, CA, Disneyland’s companion race to the Princess at Disney World, run both races in a year and you earn the special pink edition coast-to-coast medal. As if you need another reason, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is a RunDisney race, which means magic at every turn in sunny Southern California.


#8 Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon – Las Vegas, NV, I love a Rock ‘N’ Roll race and what sets the Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon apart is that it’s run at night. With the Las Vegas Strip as the backdrop, runners finish 13.1 under the neon lights in the desert. I don’t need to tell you how to enjoy a racecation weekend in Vegas, baby.


#7 St. Jude Memphis Marathon – Memphis, TN, I have no excuse for why I’ve never done this race that is literally 90 miles from my front door. The weekend includes a full, half, 10K, and 5K, all benefitting the lifesaving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. During the race, you run through the campus, past cheering patients and their families. What a humbling experience. Top it off with a stay at The Peabody, dinner at the Rendezvous for the best Memphis-style ribs, and a visit to Graceland, and your St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is complete.



#6 Seaside School Half Marathon – Seaside, FL, It’s a half marathon, at the beach. Enough said. The Seaside School Half Marathon includes medals and a Vera Bradley bag for every finisher. The weekend also includes a Taste of the Race event with Chef Emeril Lagasse. A flat race at the beach, with great food? Yes, please!

#5 Princess Half Marathon – Orlando, FL, Still my very favorite racecation to-date, the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend invites runners to channel their inner princess, dress up like her, and run 13.1 miles through Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. The feeling of turning onto Main Street USA and running through Cinderella’s Castle is truly unbelievable. I did the Glass Slipper Challenge and ran the Enchanted 10K the day before, maximizing my time as a princess.


#4 Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon – Napa, CA, This race takes participants on a scenic journey from Napa to Sonoma. The Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon includes great pre and post events, including a wine and  music festival after the race. Sounds like the perfect couples’ weekend getaway!


#3 Walt Disney World Marathon – Orlando, FL, RunDisney’s flagship race weekend, it includes a 5K, 10K, half, and full marathon, as well as kids’ races. Challenge races include the Goofy Challenge for those who want to complete the half and full, or the Dopey Challenge for runners who can complete every single race that weekend. During the Walt Disney World Marathon you run through all four Disney parks, the only RunDisney race during which this happens. I’m going to do this race, sooner than later. Mark my words!

#2 Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Marathon & Half Marathon – New Orleans, LA, My very first half marathon and still one of my favorites, the Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Marathon & Half Marathon is another flat, fast course that takes you through the heart of this city like no other. The Rock ‘N Roll Marathon Series folks do it right with bands every mile and great entertainment throughout the course. And, there is no doubt that the people of New Orleans know how to spectate! Plus, you will have earned all those amazing calories just waiting for you in this city that is all about delectable food. I’m doing this race again in just a few weeks and can’t wait!


#1 Disneyland Paris Half Marathon – Paris, France, Definitely a bucket lister, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon has the magic of Disney all while you’re running through one of the most iconic cities on the planet. It’s number one on my list because it is so much more than a long race weekend. Combine the efficiency and excellence of RunDisney with the excitement of exploring this grand European city and you’re a winner already.

So, these are my current top ten racecation races. Ask me tomorrow and the list could totally change. The one constant is that I love to use running as an excuse to travel, and am a little partial to RunDisney races. At any rate, I am always in search of my next great adventure.

Good luck to everyone running the Walt Disney World Marathon. Run fast! Run hard!

2017 Miles to Go: 591

Pushing the Running Reset Button

I love a clean slate. There is power in knowing that you can start over, push reset, and get a do-over. A new year means opportunity and I enjoy nothing more than setting goals to make the most of my clean slate. For example, I’m reading the Bible all the way through this year, with a focus on scripture memory. I’ve read it through many times before, but in 2017, I’m committing to memorize more scripture. When it comes to running, I am definitely pushing the reset button in 2017.

This time last year, I was jumpstarting my training for the RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge during the Princess Half Marathon weekend. After an amazing race weekend, I ran a few other races during the year, but didn’t train consistently in order to keep my miles up. Even worse, I really slacked off when John got going on his TCS NYC Marathon training. I hate getting up super early, so it was hard for me to run consistently, especially when he often had to get 8-10 miles in before work during the week. I didn’t meet all of my running resolutions for 2016, but learned a lot about my capabilities and am ready to work towards meeting this year’s goals.

Running Resolution #1: Run 600 Miles in 2017 – In 2016, my goal was to run 1,000 miles. In retrospect, that wasn’t going to happen. It was a lofty goal with my schedule and I obviously didn’t complete it. This year, I’m shooting for 600 miles. While 1,000 was too many, I feel like 500 would be too easy, so 600 it is. Super scientific, huh?

Running Resolution #2: Make my miles count with Charity Miles – Charity Miles is an app that enables you to earn money for charity every time you run. Basically, you choose your charity from their list of 37 different organizations, then get your miles in. Based on how far you go, money is earned for your charity from major corporate sponsors. There is a teams feature where you can run with a community and make a collective impact for your chosen charity. In 2017, I’m running for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and I’m a proud member of the Hogwarts Running Club, Team Ravenclaw. Hogwarts Running Club also puts on virtual races throughout the year, so if you are a Potter fan and enjoy running, these are your people.

Running Resolution #3: Become a stronger runner in 2017 – I want to be a stronger, faster, more consistent runner this year. I’m going to develop a plan to strength train in order to become stronger. This means I will work on my core this year. I repeat, I will work on my core this year! Follow my Run Princess Run Pinterest page for tips on strength training. I’m also going to fuel my body with proper nutrition in order to become stronger. I recently bought the Runner’s World Cookbook that includes a plethora of recipes created specifically for training, recovery, and more. Will I still eat pizza this year? Um, absolutely.

So, these are my goals for 2017. I’m signed up to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon the first weekend in February, so I’m hitting these goals hard first thing tomorrow. If you see me, ask me how my running resolutions are going. I welcome accountability and encouragement in any form. Like I said, I love a clean slate and I’m ready to write my running story for 2017, one step at a time.

2017 Miles to Go: 600