A Dismal December Calls for Jumpstart January

To say that December has been a less than ideal training month is an understatement. Between my travel, “the incident,” the endless rain, and a few lazy mornings thanks to the craziness that is the holidays, December has done little to help propel me to the finish line of the Princess Half Marathon that is a mere six weeks away.

Despite the fact that I despise running in the cold, I am confident that I will be ready for the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. With such a short amount of time to go until my races, I have three items in my arsenal to help me get finish line ready.

First, did I mention how much I hate running in the cold? I really cannot stand the way my body feels when I run outside in frigid temps, yet my favorite races always seem to be held in February, and I am not a fan of the treadmill. My husband, and coach, hooked me up this Christmas with an array of cold weather running gear. My favorite new accessory is the Under Armour Coldgear Infrared Reflective Beanie. It is super warm, has a hole in the back for my ponytail, and, of course, it’s pink. Being both warm and well accessorized will definitely help with those last few long runs I have to get in before February. 

Second, I always seem to eat terribly during the month of December. Once Thanksgiving hits, it’s pretty much a downhill spiral until the new year begins. Having tried all of the fad diets and miracle products out there that promise to melt away those pesky December pounds, it wasn’t until I made the decision to change my lifestyle that I became more healthy and lost weight as a result.

 I participated in the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living program last January and truly experienced how clean eating can change everything. Sure, I lost 14 pounds during the 30 day cleanse, but the healthy living practices I learned through participating have helped me run faster, sleep better, and have a stronger immune system, thus staying well.

I am not participating in the full cleanse this January since I am in training mode, but I am using some of my favorite products to stay strong and feel great. I love the vegan protein for my morning smoothie and homemade protein bars, and I can’t live without the probiotic. With all of my travels, the probiotic has kept me well when traditionally I would catch a cold everytime I hopped on an airplane. They also have a PhytoSport line with a pre-workout, post-workout, and hydration product. We love them! As a bonus, John loves his Arbonne as much as I do, so it helps us both when training for races.

Finally, I may be the last person on the planet to discover podcasts, but I’m hooked, and I love that I can lose myself in listening to one while on a long run. I am currently listening to “Serial,” and “This American Life,” but have also discovered “Runner Academy,” which is a wealth of information on every facet of the sport of running. Running is such a mental sport and if I can focus on what I’m listening to instead of how much further I have to go, my long runs get easier and easier. Do you have a favorite podcast? Please share!

With just six weeks to go, I am getting really excited about my races. I have my Enchanted 10K running attire all ready to go (more on that soon!) and am working on the Princess Half outfit. Our reservations are made, FastPasses booked, and all that’s left are a few long runs before I’m Princess-ready. Thanks to my secrets weapons, I should be good to go!

Running Role Models

Sunday morning I sat on my front porch with a hot cup of coffee and watched the runners in the Tupelo Marathon and Half Marathon run past our house. The course was a 13.1 mile loop, so those running the full marathon came past twice. We were at mile 8 and 16, providing a cool shower from the sprinkler John set up for the participants to run through and a little comic relief from Miles running around in his pajama top and underwear cheering on the runners.

One of the amazing runners in the Tupelo Marathon

One of the amazing runners in the Tupelo Marathon

I am in awe of marathoners, both mentally and physically. Watching the runners yesterday, some struggling and others looking like it was the easiest thing they had ever done, it made me think about the runners that I admire most. In training for the 19.3 miles that will make up the Run Disney Glass Slipper Challenge, I thought, what better time to gain inspiration for those long runs, than from those whose running prowess I hold in the highest esteem. Each of them has an important attribute that I hope to imitate on my road to running like a princess.

Hard Work

My dad is a marathoner. He finished the New York Marathon and many other 26.2 mile races. He is my model for work ethic, even though I will never be as hard a worker as I have seen him be over all of my years on this planet. He works harder than anyone else I know, and that’s why he is a wonderful example as a husband, father, pharmacist, runner, and so much more. You have to work hard to run distance races, even on the days where all you want to do is hide under the covers and not come out. When I ran my very first half marathon, I remember the amazing feeling of crossing that finish line, knowing that I had accomplished something great. The only thing that felt better than receiving that medal was hearing my dad tell me how proud he was of me for working hard to train and finish the race. When I don’t want to lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement, I will think about my dad to make sure that I put in the hard work necessary to run the 19.3 miles that lie ahead.

Dedication

My Aunt Jennie is the definitive runner. She has been a runner as long as I can remember. She looks like a runner and is fast, as in, wins races fast. I can’t count the number of races she has run. She is a running role model because her dedication to being a runner is something I desperately want to imitate. I can remember being on vacation with her, or it being a holiday, and no matter what, she completed her run for the day. Her pace per mile is something I will only attain if I end up in an actual zombie apocalypse, but until then, I will strive to be as dedicated to the sport as my incredibly fabulous aunt.

Determination

Lisa Martin wasn’t always a runner, but one day she chose to become one. Not only did she decide to run, she decided to write about it. She was determined to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and shared every detail of her journey to the magical finish line through her blog “Born to Run…in a Princess Marathon.” I started reading the blog early into her training for the race and she was the very first person who made me think, “I can do that!” Her hysterical, brutally honest words helped me muster the courage to sign up for the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon in 2012, and the rest is history. I will definitely continue to channel my inner-Lisa on this road to 19.3 that I am determined to conquer.

Commitment

To run a distance race you have to be completely committed or you will not be prepared for the task at hand. I have never met anyone more committed to running than my husband, John. When he decides to do something he doesn’t just jump in with both feet, he cannonballs in making the biggest splash possible. He gets up most mornings before 5:00 a.m. to get the miles in he needs. I watched him train wholeheartedly for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, committed to running 26.2, all while fundraising for the kids of St. Jude. Unfortunately, his race was cancelled the day before due to an ice storm that hit Memphis, but had he been able to run, he was completely prepared because of his commitment to crossing the finish line.

Rock 'N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon...our very first!

Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon…our very first!

I am both nervous and extremely excited about the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. My training is going well and I am so close to meeting my fundraising goal as a St. Jude Hero, and thanks to my running role models who have taught me hard work, dedication, determination, and commitment, I can already feel that medal around my neck, and it feels great!