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

Marathon Man

John is a marathoner! We are a month post race and it may have finally sunk in that he completed the arduous 26.2 mile race, something that only about one percent of the world’s population can say. He now has the medal to prove it, which is really what it’s all about, right? I’m sure he would agree.

Race expo at the Javits Center

 

We arrived in NYC bright and early the Friday morning before the race, dropped our luggage, and headed straight for the Javits Center to pick up our race bibs and shop the massive race expo. Every racing brand out there was in the house, so we got John fueled up, dressed up, and accessoriezed for the race. I, of course, stopped by the Run Disney booth to reminisce about my weekend running as a princess and to plan my next adventure. Tiffany & Co. was even there with keepsake pieces for those running the marathon.

Waldorf Astoria NYC

 

We stayed at the gorgeous, historic Waldorf Astoria. This hotel is an NYC institution and everything from our room, to the staff, to the bacon on the Bull and Bear breakfast buffet was outstanding. Friday night we had dinner at The Green Fig in Hell’s Kitchen and saw the hilarious Something Rotten musical.

Beginning of the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K

 

We woke up early Saturday morning to head to the start of my race, the Abott Dash to the Finish Line 5K. The race began at the United Nations and was a wave start. It was so much fun running through the streets of Manhattan and into Central Park where the next day 50,000 runners would attempt to cross the finish line. It was quite hilly once we got into Central Park, a cruel joke for those who on Sunday would be on mile 24, rather than mile 3 as I was. It was a treat to experience even a tiny morsel of the exiliration John would experience the next day. I did get a t-shirt and burned enough calories to enjoy a fabulous brunch at Beauty and Essex in the East Village post race.

Almost race day!

 

We tried to take it easy Saturday so John could rest his legs, so after brunch he ventured back to the hotel for a nap and I shopped my way through Midtown. My favorite thing to do in NYC is to just wander and Saturday made for a perfect afternoon of wandering through my favorite city. That night we had dinner at The Smith, just steps from our hotel, so John could walk as few steps as possible for his last carby meal before the race. Once dinner was over, the only thing between John and 26.2 miles was a good night’s sleep.

Disembarking from the ferry on Staten Island

 

John walked out of the hotel at 5:50 a.m. and headed to the subway, to head to the ferry, to head to the bus, to head to the start line. His wave began at 10:15 a.m. and after making it through security check and his transportation tour of New York, he had about 45 minutes until his corral took off.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

 

The marathon starts on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge taking runners across the river from Staten Island into Brooklyn. The TCS NYC Marathon mobile app is awesome because you can track up to 20 runners from the second they start the race until the very end. I watched race coverage on TV, and John’s blinking dot on my phone as it started its 26.2 mile journey, from the comfort of my luxurious Waldorf bed until it was time to meet up with our friends who had traveled all the way to NYC to cheer on John.

John making the turn into Central Park

 

We found a great spot on First Avenue in Manhattan to wait for John to pass, between miles 16 and 17. I read somewhere that over one million spectators line the race course to cheer on the runners. It was amazing to see that kind of support. John had his name on his shirt and said that everyone from random strangers to police officers encouraged him along the way. Once he passed, even though he never saw us but gave us a thumbs up, we headed towards Central Park, by way of a few shops, to spot him one last time before the finish.

He finished!

 

John, and the rest of the ponchoed zombies, emerged from Central Park, exhausted, in pain, but most importantly, as marathon finishers. We began our trek back to the hotel, which included an accidental subway ride to Harlem. We had a celebratory dinner with our friends followed by decadent desserts at Smith & Wollensky that some had earned more than others.

NYC Ready for Christmas

 

I have spent so much time in New York, almost always getting to experience the city my way. This trip was in no way about me and it may have been my favorite trip to the city of all times. I am unbelievably proud of John and have a feeling that this is just the first of many marathons for him. I, on the other hand, am pretty confident that I will continue to run my marathons 13.1 at a time, but, you never know. John completed the 40th running of the five boroughs for his 40th birthday and that is something that neither of us will ever forget.

Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry

Dessert at Smith & Wollensky

My 5K Finish

 

Dessert and Great Friends

Looking Good at Mile 25

2016 Miles to Go: 775

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! I was blessed with a pretty incredible mother. She loves selflessly, supports unconditionally, is the most organized and together person on the planet, has a sense of humor like no other, and has freakish upper body strength. As I reflected this morning on how my mother’s love mirrors God’s love for us, it also hit me that the lessons I have learned from her over the years can help me be a better runner.

 

The slide of death in Ecuador

 
#1: Try something new

My mother is the first person to get you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to try something new. To this day I will try anything once, whether it is food, meeting a new person, hanging a picture a different way, or trying a new activity. I often hate to tell her this, but she’s usually right.

Running is something new for me. I’ve only been running for about five years, but have found so much joy in this new thing that I have tried. Because of my mother, I’m not frightened of new things or change, and I am eternally grateful to her for that. I tell people all the time that if I can do it, anyone can do it. I love recruiting new runners and I have my mama to thank for that.

 

Commitment = Seeing through a week at Disney

 
#2: Commit and see it through

My parents have always encouraged me to try new things, but once a commitment was made, there was no going back. What a great lesson in a time where society tells us we should all be happy no matter what. There were several commitments throughout my life that made me horribly unhappy, things I joined or started that turned out to be far from what I thought they would be, yet my mother always made me honor my commitments. For this, I am so thankful, even if it meant I didn’t get to come home from horse camp. 

This totally applies to running. So many times I have signed up for a race and started my training, but inevitably, those early morning runs would get old after awhile and I would not stay as committed as I should. There is no other feeling like crossing that finish line and if you don’t commit fully and see your training plan through to completion, that finish line feeling may be out of reach.

 

Supporting my theatrics

 
#3: Be supportive

I could talk all day long about this one. Both of my parents have supported me in every single thing I have ever done. Whether it was with their time, their prayers, their finances, or any other way, they have always been there for me 100%. My mother has attended events, bought tickets, worked nurseries, gone on field trips…this list really could go on infinitely, but the point is that she has supported me in all things.

Running a race can be a very lonely thing, but when other runners support one another, we are all in it together. The most supportive race I have ever run was the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon. Complete strangers cheered each other on no matter the mile we were running. Outside of Disney, I strive to be that runner who encourages others, thanks volunteers along the way, and supports runners in their quest to reach the finish line. 

Having fun at Granne’s house

#4: Have fun

Remember how I said that my mother has a sense of humor like no other? I wasn’t kidding. She is hilarious and makes sure that everyone around her is having fun. I didn’t always get this, especially when she was singing over the bus intercom on middle school chorus trips, but I totally get it now. Finding a way to laugh in every situation makes even life’s hardest moments a little less hard, and boy does my mama know how to do that.

Running is hard. It can be downright awful some days. But, I do it to have fun. Traveling, seeing communities from a different perspective, getting great exercise, and earning the bling, all make running fun, and for me, that’s what it’s all about.

  
On this Mother’s Day I am so thankful for my mother and hope that I can be half the mama to Miles that she has been to me. I also hope that the lessons I have learned from her continue to make me the best runner that I can be. I may not have the freakish upper body strength that she possesses, but I bet when the time comes to move Miles home from college, I can make sure that he is more prepared to do so than I, right Mama? 

2016 Miles to Go: 881

Existing Within a Virtual Reality

One of my running resolutions for 2016 is to run a virtual race. What is a virtual race? Well, I’m glad you asked. In its simplest form, a race of the virtual variety enables you to run where you are. No need to travel. No need for complicated race day logistics. No need to spend a ton of money. Just pick your date, pick your time, and run. Oh, and shortly thereafter your shiny, new race bling magically arrives in the mail. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple.

There are a plethora of different virtual races out there. In fact, RunDisney announced last week that they are jumping into the virtual game with their Virtual Running Shorts Series that will be held throughout the summer. This is your chance to get a little piece of the Disney Magic without the larger price tag that is usually attached. There are three different races, and a challenge race if you want to run all three, each with its own signature medal. These races are 5Ks and if you complete the challenge, four bright and shiny medals will be headed your way, courtesy of the mouse himself.

In choosing the virtual race to meet my running resolution this year, I have sifted through site after site containing all of the benefits of running that particular race. Through research, I have decided that my race will have to meet three distinct parameters in order to be the one.

#1: It supports a charity 

With a myriad of races out there some are for profit, others simply want to cover the cost of their bling, and a great deal of them exist to give back. I love a race that gives all or a portion of your race fee to a nonprofit organization. Races for Awareness offers an array of virtual races, all dedicated to a specific charity, with 80% of entry fees going to that charity. I like this site because they offer so many different races for lots of nonprofit organizations and the medals are pretty fabulous! Will Run for Bling is another great resource for virtual races that give back.

#2: It has a set distance

Some virtual races let you pick your distance and go as far as you want, as long as you pay the entry fee.  Others are distance specific ranging from a 5K all the way to those 100-mile plus endurance races. I’m shooting for a 10K for my first virtual race because that distance can be challenging, but makes for a great run whether it’s first thing in the morning or later in the day. I also want a race that requires you to log your distance and time.

How do you track your distance if you don’t have a set course? I run with a Garmin Forerunner 10 run watch. It is just fancy enough so that I know how far I’ve gone, how fast I’m running, how many glorious calories I’ve burned, and my total run time. You can also use Map My Run or RunKeeper, both great running apps for tracking. 

#3: It doesn’t have a set date 

Just like an actual race, some virtual runs require that you run on a specified date. They often bring people together from all over the world to support a cause on a specific date or require that you run on a certain day in order to award prizes and ship medals in a timely fashion. I am looking for a race that has no timeline. I want to run when I want to run. This is just one more reason that virtual races are so easy to do. 

So, what race am I going to run? I’m still not sure, but I’m learning a ton through research, as I look for the perfect race for my running resolution. Have you run any virtual races? If so, what do you recommend and why? 

2016 Miles to Go: 881

Start Spreading the News!

 

Way to go, John!

 
There always seems to be a let down after completing an event, activity, or trip that you have looked forward to for a long time. Post Princess Half Marathon weekend is no exception. 

I love to have something to plan and organize, something to work towards, train for, or countdown. Well, last night the next thing showed up. John got confirmation that he was selected to run the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon! Out of all the thousands and thousands of people who enter the lottery, he was chosen! We were so excited last night when the e-mail came through, you would have thought he had won a free trip somewhere, not the opportunity to work hard and train for the next eight months in order to put his body through more than it has ever been through before. But, we are thrilled! 

After he helped coach me through my magical 19.3, I get to be the supportive wife during his journey to 26.2. I just bought the new Runner’s World Cookbook and can’t wait to cook my way through it to help get John race ready for November. There will be many prayers, many pep talks, and many words of encouragement shared with him over the next eight months, and I can’t wait! 

I have had several people ask me if I would quit blogging now that my race is over. My answer? No way! I’ve caught the RunDisney bug and am already plotting my return and how I can earn the coast-to-coast medal, but we’ll talk more about that later. For now, we are celebrating John and the huge feat that lies ahead of him. To put it into perspective, 14,326 applicants were accepted out of 80,080 lottery entrants for this year’s NYC Marathon. Wow! NYC, we’re heading your way! 

2016 Miles to Go: 922

Running Resolutions Met: PR in Enchanted 10K

Magical Miles

 “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”  Walt Disney

A week later, I am still celebrating. I did it! I completed the Glass Slipper Challenge, running 19.3 miles by finishing the Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon, during RunDisney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World! From start to finish, it was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

We arrived in Orlando bright and early Thursday morning, and after catching Disney’s Magical Express to the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, we made our way to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports to pick up our race bibs and check out the RunDisney Health & Fitness Expo. Each time I visit Disney World, their efficiency and attention-to-detail never cease to amaze me. Races at Disney are no exception. With thousands of eager princesses, young and old, clambering to grab bibs, tech shirts, commemorative items, and every sparkly princess running accessory available, cast members and volunteers moved us seamlessly through the process. With bibs in hand, and a few extra purchases, we high-tailed it to Hollywood Studios for a day of fun in the park.

Mickey cappuccinos at Mama Melrose's

Mickey cappuccinos at Mama Melrose’s

Our day began with a 3:45 a.m. wake-up call, so the wonderful waitress at Mama Melrose’s kept us going with her special cappuccinos. We ate there as part of the Fantasmic dinner package before seeing the show that night. We have tried to see Fantasmic the last two times we were at Disney, and finally managed to see it this time, and it was fantastic! After a long day of traveling we headed back to the resort for a good night’s sleep prior to Miles’ big race the next day.

Friday morning began with Mickey waffles before heading back to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports for the Kids’ Races. Miles ran the 200 meter dash with other kids four to six years old. I have no doubt that he will turn out to be the fastest one in our family. Out of his wave, he was fourth place and was so focused on the finish line, he missed high-fiving Minnie Mouse at the end.

Finish line at the Kids' Races

Finish line at the Kids’ Races

He loved every minute of it and can’t wait to run his next race! We spent the rest of Friday at the Magic Kingdom before going to Epcot for the Pasta Party that night.

My 3:00 a.m. wake-up call came way too early Saturday morning. After getting ready, I hopped on the bus and headed with the rest of the princesses to Epcot’s Imagine parking lot for the race. While we waited for the 5:30 a.m. start, a DJ played dance music, Disney Princesses posed for pictures with runners, and participants completed their pre-race rituals. I was in corral C for the 10K and managed to get a great spot towards the front of the pack. Before I knew it, the fireworks were going off and we were on our way. Much of the race was spent on the highways surrounding Disney, but there were several magical miles in and around Epcot. The highlight for me was running into the World Showcase with all of the countries lit up and glittering at dawn, as Disney music blared all around us and characters and cast members cheered us on.

Enchanted 10K

Enchanted 10K

A fellow princess that I met at the expo the day before, who had previously completed the Glass Slipper Challenge, advised me to take it easy on the 10K so I could handle the half the next day, but I felt better and better the further I went and ended up with a PR for the Enchanted 10K!

Following the race, I met up with my boys and we went to the Princess breakfast where we dined with the likes of Ariel, Snow White, and Cinderella.

Gingers at the Princess Breakfast

Gingers at the Princess Breakfast

After a quick shower and rest for me and pool time for the boys, we went to Epcot for the afternoon. I was a little anxious about the half marathon the next morning, not so much about whether I could run 13.1 miles, but more about whether my body would shut down after two mornings of waking up at 3:00 a.m. and walking around the parks a little more than I probably should have.

Just like “Groundhog’s Day,” my alarm went off Sunday morning at 3:00 a.m. I got ready and headed to the Monorail. I joined my fellow princesses for a half-mile walk from the Monorail to the staging area where once again music was pumping, princesses were posing for pictures, and everyone was going through their pre-race rituals. I noticed that the start line was not where it had been the day before, so I followed the signs and literally one-mile later I was sitting in Corral H with the other runners. I was very thankful that I started walking when I did because from the comfort of my corral, I watched other ladies booking it to get to theirs prior to the start. Miss America sang the National Anthem and the Fairy Godmother used her magic to let us go, corral by corral.

Fireworks to start each corral at the Princess Half Marathon

Fireworks to start each corral at the Princess Half Marathon

Disney did not disappoint as each start had its own display of amazing fireworks. Before I knew it, I was off.

I was surprised how well I felt as I settled in to my pace. Disney doesn’t let you get bored, as there is constant music, characters, and entertainment along the way. Before I knew it, we were making our way onto Main Street USA towards Cinderella’s Castle. This experience was like no other experience I have ever had as a runner. Cast members and spectators lined the way and were cheering us on, as we turned the corner towards the Castle. From there we ran through Tomorrowland, into Fantasyland, and back through the Castle, before heading to Frontierland, and out of the Magic Kingdom. Those were by far the most amazing miles of the race, perhaps the most amazing miles of any race I have run to date.

Sweaty pic in front of the castle during the Princess Half Marathon

Sweaty pic in front of the castle during the Princess Half Marathon

Miles seven through ten were brutal. I don’t know whether it was the climbing temps, the let-down after running through the Magic Kingdom, or just exhaustion setting in, but it took all I had to get through those miles before closing in on the finish. Running up on-ramps near mile 12 is a sick joke, but it all worked out and I completed the Glass Slipper Challenge. We celebrated with dinner at Ohana that night and sleeping in the next morning.

We enjoyed our final two days in the parks. I wore my Glass Slipper Challenge medal proudly around the Magic Kingdom Sunday afternoon and was constantly congratulated on my accomplishment by Cast Members, other runners, and random kind individuals.

Token castle pic with my medals

Token castle pic with my medals

What set this race apart for me was the sense of comeradery between all of the women on the course and the encouragement that seemed to come from everyone along the way. Maybe it was because we were all adults dressed up like princesses for the day, or maybe it was because so many were either running their first race or first Disney race, but it definitely was that we were all in it together, in a magical place where a little pixie dust makes you think you can do anything.

I definitely plan to be a repeat princess, and I am certain that the only thing that would make this experience even more magical would be to experience it with my friends. In the words of the man himself, Walt Disney, “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” Now, who’s in for 2017?

2016 Miles to go: 922

IMG_3384

We’ll be back!

It’s Race Week!

It’s race week, ya’ll! By this time next week, I will have completed the RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge. I am so excited I can barely stand it! I’m going to put in a few more short training runs before we leave to keep my legs loose, but as John put it this morning, three more sleeps to Disney!

February has already been a month filled with all things fabulous. I spent this past week in NYC at the Receptive Services Association of America annual summit, inspiring travel to Tupelo by sharing our story with tour operators from around the globe. Usually, before I can open my mouth, they want to talk about Elvis (I mean, really who doesn’t want to talk about Elvis?!?!), but when I get to share Tupelo’s list of impressive sites, bites, events, and shops, people are truly surprised at all that our special town has to offer.

NYCSNOW

Walking in the snow with my mother in NYC

My mother joined me in the city, and In between meetings, networking events, and exploring the city, I managed to get in a couple of training runs. Since technically this is my taper week for the Princess Half Marathon, three-milers on the treadmill worked just fine. I did a ton of walking this week, too, so that cross-training counts toward all the steps I’ll take in the parks later this week, right? And, walking through the city in the snow counts double, I am certain. According to a statistic I heard today, last week was the coldest week on record in New York City, of course.

Frozen’s Princess Anna

I feel confident about my races as a result of the training I have put in and am looking forward to all that is in store. On a side note, my race outfits are all ready. Apparently, half the fun of running RunDisney ev

The Little Mermaid’s Princes Ariel

ents is dressing the part, so of course I drew my inspiration for each of my races from a couple of ginger princesses. I’ll give you a sneak peak, for now, but I promise to share the full outfits, complete with accessories, on race day! I did a practice run in my new, fabulous skirts from Sparkle Skirts, and they are amazing. Other than the fact that they have built-in shorts that don’t move at all, they have lots of pockets to hold anything you may need on race day. I will keep running in these skirts, even when I’m not dressed as a Disney Princess, and I am really looking forward to checking their booth out at the race expo.

After all of my training, it is hard to believe that the races are almost here. Miles still doesn’t know that we are leaving for Disney World this week, or that he is running in a kids’ race when we get there, so I may be more excited about telling him than anything. Thanks for your support and encouragement throughout this process. I have run three half marathons prior, but never two races back-to-back, especially waking up two mornings in a row as early as I will have to wake up, but I look forward to sharing every single fantastic detail of my experience with the Glass Slipper Challenge, when it is all said and done.

2016 Miles to go: 945

 

Gaining Confidence

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” – Joe Namath

In honor of the 2016 National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide’s celebration in Tuscaloosa today, I thought I would share a quote from former Alabama great, Joe Namath. After two really fantastic training runs this week, I am feeling confident, having fun, and looking forward to amazing things that are to come in 25 days in Disney!

I ran three miles Monday when we returned from Nashville and it was awful. I was slow, winded, and mentally just not into it. I swear 90% of running is having your mind right. The other 10% is just putting one foot in front of the other.

Tuesday, I rocked my 10K! I felt great and could have kept going had it not been after work and the fact that my boys would expect supper sooner than later. Everything about that run was amazing.

Today, I completed an eight-mile long run that was equally as fabulous as Tuesday’s 10K. It was cold, but I layered properly, and enjoyed being out in the sun. Had I had one more GU packet, I could have easily hit 10 or more. Today was a great training day!

Gaining confidence as a runner is vital to enjoying the sport. When I feel good about a run, I have fun, and I know that reaching the finish line of whatever race I am training for is attainable. Joe Namath played football at Alabama under the one and only Coach Bear Bryant, so you know that without a doubt he worked hard to hone his quarterback skills so that he would be confident on the field. He led the Tide to a National Champioship in 1964, both fun and amazing.

Our Magic Bands arrived yesterday and the excitement of returning to “the happiest place on Earth,” has us counting down the days. We aren’t telling Miles about the trip until the morning of departure, so we are just as excited about the surprise as we are the trip. I desperately needed this week of confident runs to know that I am almost fully prepared for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Training was fun this week and I cannot wait to see what amazing things are in store when the race to 19.3 begins in four short weeks.

2016 Miles to go: 965

Keep Moving Forward

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 As the bitter winter cold has finally set in and I have found myself back out on the road, I am constantly looking for inspiration to run harder and longer than ever before. The Glass Slipper Challenge is less than five weeks away and I want to be overly prepared for all that these two races will hold.

Today, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his ultimate sacrifice for equality in our country. I didn’t want to run today since it was so cold and we got up early this morning to drive home from a weekend visit to Nashville, TN, but the prolific words of Dr. King that kept showing up on my social media feeds motivated me to lace up my shoes, put on many layers, and hit the pavement. I waited until 3:00 p.m.to get out and run because it was going to be the warmest hour of the day, at a whopping 34 degrees. With the wind chill, it felt more like 27. Either way, it was cold. I was tired, but I did it. I kept moving forward and completed a much needed training run. It was a rather disappointing run, definitely not my best, but I completed it.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 This week took me to two fabulous southern cities, Birmingham, AL, and Nashville, TN. I spent most of the week in Birmingham on a media blitz promoting Tupelo as a great weekend getaway destination. We recorded a television spot and pitched editorial on Tupelo to some of the amazing publications based in the Iron City. A highlight of the trip was a dinner meeting at Chez Fonfon, Frank Stitt’s delightful French bistro in the Five Points area of the city. I highly recommend a visit to this delectable locale whether you are on business, enjoying a girls’ night out, or just looking for a scrumptious meal. Our hotel was in a very high traffic area, so I succumbed to the dreaded treadmill for my training runs, but at least I remembered to pack short sleeve shirts! Birmingham is such a quick trip from home on Interstate 22 and it was fun sharing all things Tupelo in this beautiful Alabama city.

 With my Run Disney races just thirty days away, I am close to putting in the miles I want to reach to be race ready. I am going to lengthen some of my early morning runs this week so that I am getting closer to what it will be like to run a 10K one day, immediately followed by a half marathon the next. I am confident that I could get through it now, but I know that putting in the hard work and moving forward over the next few weeks, will make my bucket list races that much more fun.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2016 Miles to go: 979

Running Resolutions

I love a good New Year’s resolution. I’m not talking about an overly broad “I’m going to be a better person this year” type of resolution. I mean a measurable, attainable goal that motivates me to actually be a better person in the process. I have made resolutions in the past to read a certain number of books or volunteer a certain number of hours, but this year I am resolving to be a better runner with a few running resolutions in 2016.

Resolution #1: Run 1,000 Miles in 2016

I am going to run 1,000 miles this year. If I were to do it all at once, I could get all the way from Tupelo, Mississippi, to New York City in a little over 1,000 miles. In reality, this is just under three miles a day. My current training schedule requires running four days a week, most days over three miles, so while it will be challenging, I look forward to tracking every mile on the road to 1,000.

Resolution #2: PR a Race 

To date, my fastest race was my very first half marathon. In training for the RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge in February 2016, I have gotten faster and know that a PR is within reach. I don’t expect to PR the Princess Half Marathon from everything I have read about the race with all of the character stops, photo ops, and number of runners/walkers who participate, but with several other races planned in 2016, I am excited about this resolution.

Resolution #3: Participate in a Virtual Run for Charity

Virtual runs can be run anywhere at anytime. You simply sign up, pay the entry fee, get in your miles, and your medal arrives in the mail. Virtual runs are a great way to raise money for a non-profit or charity organization without having to actually put on a race. I haven’t participated in one of these races yet, but plan to support one of my favorite charity groups this year by participating in a virtual run.

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I just finished my first run of 2016 and while it was cold, windy, and I could definitely tell that it has been a few weeks since I hit the pavement, it felt great! I am excited about all that this new year has in store. The RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge is a bucket list race for me, so I cannot wait for that magical weekend in February. Most of all, I love being a healthier, stronger version of myself, and that alone will make me “a better person this year.”

Happy New Year!

2016 Miles to go: 997