A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Castaway Cay Challenge 2017

When I decided I was crazy enough to run a marathon, it didn’t take Darrell long to come up with the idea of doing a cruise afterwards. I’m always on board for extra medals, so we got in touch with our travel agent and then tacked on registration for the Castaway Cay Challenge. For certain Disney race weekends, they offer the opportunity to run a special edition of their usual Castaway Cay 5K on the following cruise (more on my prior experiences with the usual 5K here and here) to earn the Castaway Cay Challenge medal.
Castaway Cay challenge

This set up meant there were a lot of runners on my ship. Four of the six of us at our dinner table had run during the weekend. I was proud of us for not talking exclusively about the race weekend and I’m sure Darrell was relieved by this! I also got asked by lots of cast members about race weekend and got lots of extra congratulations, even without wearing my medal around the ship. There even were special “recovery” drink options in the coffee shops and bars.

I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t quite the same as the usual 5K (not that I don’t love the usual 5K!). A few key differences:

  • As opposed to the usual 5K, registration had a cost associated and was done before you got on the ship. The Castaway Cay Challenge was one of the many stops we made at the Expo while picking up everything for the marathon. Exchanges were available on the ship if you needed to exchange your shirt size. It was nice to get to skip my usual check-in at the Guest Services desk to register for the 5K.

Castaway Cay

  • There were shirts and other goodies specific to the Castaway Cay Challenge, in addition to getting the race shirt with registration. The designs of these were much more colorful, including the ship, Mickey and the beach. I actually prefer the more subdued race shirt, but that may be because I already have shirts for the regular Castaway Cay 5K similar to the added purchase Challenge shirts, so I didn’t grab any of those.


  • There was also an information session on the cruise that was specific to the Challenge 5K. I confess I was doing the dessert experience at Remy, so I didn’t go to this, but one of my tablemates (who’d never run on Castaway Cay before) found this session helpful.


  • The course was a little bit different than the typical 5K course on the island. After a long walk out to the airstrip, we ran down the wide, paved airstrip before turning onto a narrow paved path that paralleled  Serenity Bay, the adult beach. Because we ran out and back along this section of the path, it got very crowded. Unless you were at the very front of the pack, you would have had to shuffle around a lot of people to find space to run. We were in the “jungle,” without any real beach views, but we did get lovely glimpses of the boat and the sunrise every once in a while.Sunrise
  • The course continued back out to the airstrip (where there was a water stop, with little bottles of water) before heading around the loop for the observation tower and then out for the finish line. I love that they had Swiss Family Robinson characters at the observation tower. 🙂 It livened up the otherwise dull loop to talk to them. They were discussing between themselves exactly what a “selfie” might be when I passed.


  • Speaking of characters, they said the course had an “adventure” theme, so other than Beach Goofy at the start:
    GoofyThe other characters were dressed in adventure gear, including a pirate-ish Minnie and Mickey and Chip and Dale in their Rescue Ranger best:
    Rescue rangers
    How did my run go? Oy. This was the most physically painful run of my life. I mostly walked this 5K, because every step I ran hurt everything from the waist down. Even though this was an untimed 5K, for some reason I was adamant that I would meet the 16 minute mile cut off and not walk the entire thing. Thus, I kept an eye on the Garmin lap time for each mile. When the time drifted up to 15:30 for the projected mile time, I’d run again until it dropped, then go back to walking. Unconventional intervals, to be sure, but it got me through and each mile was slightly faster than the last. I even ran all of the last 0.1 to a grateful finish. 🙂

Castaway Cay finish

I was quick to grab my medal and my usual runDisney goodies (banana, Powerade and box) before heading back to the ship. We were all required to check back in to the ship after the race before officially getting back off the ship for the port day. There were a TON of non-runner people waiting for all of us to get back on the boat so they could out to start their beach day. Sorry guys!

All in all, it was fun to get the extra medal and I loved doing the 5K earlier in the day (cooler, plus more time on the beach later!). However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to cruise post-race just for the Castaway Challenge again. It wasn’t that much better than the normal race on the island (which is free and comes with the same cute Castaway Cay 5K medallion). Cruising post-race for the rest and relaxation . . . that’s another thing all together. 🙂

The Tuesdays on the Run link-up today is about how much you’re willing to pay for a race. Somehow I thought this little 5K, which I paid a small fortune for when you consider the cost of the cruise, fit the bill. Be sure to check out Erika, Patty and Marcia for the rest of the link up!

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Walt Disney World Marathon (Part 2)

And now . . . for the rest of the marathon story (part 1 yesterday!)

I was worried that my motivation would flag when I got through the Magic Kingdom, because that section is definitely the highlight and is at the very beginning of the race (miles 5-7 ish) but I carried on with my intervals without much flagging. I had mentally divided things up into chunks: Magic Kingdom (yay!), Animal Kingdom (to Everest or not to Everest?), ESPN Wide World of Sports (survive the suck) and EPCOT (finished!!). That grouping really helped me to avoid getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of miles I think.

Before I knew it, we were nearing Animal Kingdom. There’s an unfortunate and smelly section where you pass the sewage treatment plant that is no fun, but otherwise I really enjoyed the Animal Kingdom section. Ultimately, I decided not to stop for Everest because I didn’t want to lose the good momentum I had. I was very aware that I was running the first half faster than I’d intended and wanted to keep moving before I crashed.

Expedition Everest

Again, this was a section I’d run before, back in the Jingle Jungle 5K (so fun!!) so I had great memories to keep me grinning through the miles. This is also where I hit the halfway point and sent my mom and Darrell a selfie to show how well I was faring so far:
This spot was strategically chosen because I was pretty sure Oliver wouldn’t recognize this as Disney World if my mom showed him. She did and he told her that his mom was SuperMom. Cue tears again. That kid is so much of the reason I run.

When we left Animal Kingdom, I knew the real work was starting. Thankfully, on the way out of the Animal Kingdom there was a huge group of spectators cheering us on (Thanks Patty!) and that gave me a huge boost. I was officially beyond half marathon territory now and had the dreaded ESPN Wide World of Sports ahead of me. I have nothing against WWoS, but have read so many race recaps of how awful that section was and how many people had their races fall apart there that I was dreading it.

I stopped for my one and only character stop of the race to get myself psyched up for the last 13.1 miles:
Haunted mansion gravediggersI didn’t consciously decide not to stop for characters during the course. I wasn’t worried about time or anything. It was just that I hadn’t seen anyone I felt the need to stop for before this. Standing in line, when I knew still had hours and miles to go, had little appeal. I would have stopped for Darkwing Duck, who I’ve heard was present in years past, and had to stop for these guys from my favorite ride. I’m REALLY glad I had them use my camera in addition to the PhotoPass camera, because the PhotoPass pic loaded in my account is not me for this particular photo.

After this, it was up and going again. I definitely lost some momentum with that stop, but it was worth it. The miles between Animal Kingdom and WWoS (14-17 ish) were boring street miles, with lots of construction. When we got to mile 17 and started to head into WWoS, several people around me cheered that we were down to single digits left. Woo hoo! Thank goodness for that boost, because WWoS was pretty boring otherwise.

I think the bad rap WWoS gets is partially because a) miles 17-20 are tough no matter how you look at it: You’ve been going for ages, you aren’t close enough to the finish to really celebrate and a lot of people physically hit the wall at this point and b) we spent THREE miles here, running around sidewalks, the track and the baseball field. That’s more time than we spend in any other park, which definitely feels disproportionate. I’m happy to say that other than getting tired of sidewalks, I did well through this section physically and mentally. I never felt “the wall” – I’d stayed regular with my water at every stop and mix of Gu, Sport Beans and waffle like I’d used in training. I skipped bananas and the other treats offered on the sidelines because I hadn’t practiced with those. I was definitely tired of Gu by mile 20, but it held me in good stead through the miles.
Mile 20 WWOS

As we came out of WWoS and I realized that I was past the dreaded mile 20 (the peak of my training) and “feeling good”, I found myself in tears again at the realization that I was actually about to finish a marathon. I say feeling good in relative terms: my feet hurt, I was tired and I was slowing, but I was still running. At that point, I determined that I was not going to walk it in once I was past sweeping. I could keep running this thing (barring the hills of course – I definitely let myself walk those!).

We left WWoS and headed into Hollywood Studios for the briefest visit, past the Tower of Terror and down Sunset Boulevard, before we hit the sidewalk to EPCOT and safety. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t too crowded at this point like it had been at Wine and Dine. There was still plenty of people running, so things moved fairly smoothly. We rounded the Boardwalk and before I knew it, we were in EPCOT and the home stretch.

Coming in to Epcot

We entered EPCOT in England and rounded the whole of the World Showcase. I swear that ball was never getting any closer. Thank you to the random woman (tears again!) who cheered us on by saying “You made it! You’re in EPCOT!” just as I was believing that Spaceship Earth was a mirage and I was never going to get there. Somewhere around here, I missed the mile 25 marker and as I knew my Garmin was very off in mileage, I had no idea how much further I had to go through this section. This last bit was definitely the toughest mentally, but I was able to convince myself that if I kept going, I’d be finished sooner. Also, I had no $$ for a margarita so there was less temptation to stop.

Once that stupid white ball finally started moving closer, it was over in the blink of an eye. There was the gospel choir and the finish line and I’m high fiving Donald and holy cow I’m a marathoner!
Screenshot (23)

Point of pride: RUNNING at the end of 26.92 miles, thank you very much. I still haven’t looked to see my official time. It’s around the 6:30-6:40 range, based on the Garmin. I really don’t care. I finished a marathon! I was hugely disappointed in that moment with how long I had to wait to get that medal. I know logistically they need to NOT be right at the finish, but I wanted mine as soon as I crossed that line. I’m not the only one, right?

I’m still processing what I think of all of this and the question I’ve gotten most, will I do it again? I might do it again. I’m sure I could do it faster – I’m currently the slowest I’ve been in my running life. I don’t feel the need to right now though. Just knowing that I can run 26.2 miles is enough. If there’s ever a temptation again, I’ll consider it at that point. Who knows – when they open the remodeled Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, I may be back. 🙂

For now, I’m basking in the glory of what my body can do when asked. We really are amazing creatures. Thanks to all of you for your support through this journey. You were part of the happy tears at mile 20 (and the threatening tears right now – holy cow was I unprepared for how emotional marathons are!).

Anybody else find themselves tearing up in big races? I expected tears at the finish (which didn’t actually happen) but not all of the emotion along the way.















Walt Disney World Marathon!

It’s taken me a while to wrap my mind around the marathon experience and what I want to say about it, other than a step by step recap. We’ll start with the step by step (two parts, because it ended up huge!) but I can’t promise I won’t have more to say later. This is the kind of thing that sticks in your mind for a while, I suspect.

Like I said last week, this race felt like a huge win in terms of mental effort and my training. I ran the pace I expected (had been training around 15 minute miles for long runs, ran 14:40 in the marathon) and kept up my mental effort the whole race. My goals, prior to race morning were simple: Finish the marathon. I didn’t have any other goals in terms of time, intervals, etc. I’d told Darrell about my expected finish time, so he’d know when to be at the finish line, but also told him that it could very well be longer.

On race morning, I woke up before the alarm but pleased that I had gotten a very good night of sleep before that. I got out of the room quickly and quietly, without forgetting anything (win #1 of the morning!) other than my rain poncho. It wasn’t raining but that poncho would have been nice for wind protection. I rode the monorail from the Polynesian to Epcot, which was running as early as 3 am. The only downside to the monorail is that you’re dropped off quite a ways from the check in area. Otherwise, it’s great not to wait and stress about a bus – definitely quick and easy. We got dropped off at the entrance to Epcot and walked quite a bit to the bag check, which helped warm things up and settle my nerves a bit. I didn’t have any gear with me, thanks to having Darrell at the finish, so I headed back around to Race Retreat for breakfast and to stay warm for the hour or so before the race. Time seemed to fly by and before we knew it was time to start!
Race retreat characters

I’ve talked about Race Retreat before (here) and will say that again, I felt like it was worth it for my needs at the time. Staying warm, sitting and getting my brain right and of course, character photos. 🙂  It wasn’t long before we were heading out to the corrals. Thanks to lovely random runner who gave me her spare poncho to block the wind while we were in the port-a-potty line!

Just FYI for anyone new to Disney races – I had over 6,000 steps by the time I got to my corral, with all of the walking from the monorail to the race retreat tent to the corrals. Be prepared for LOTS of extra walking before the race.

My first clue that this was going to be a particularly emotional day for me came with Mickey’s kick-off for the first group of runners. He referenced all of the athletes out there to run and I had a “Holy cow, I’m an athlete” moment. Tears in the corral are normal for your first marathon, right?
We're off!When they started the corral, I had this moment of certainty that “I’ve got this.” It was amazing and absolute and got me started in the best possible mood.

I was in corral I, based on my half marathon time and based on far faster paces than I’d been running in marathon training. I was worried that I would head out too fast with all of those faster people, but am so proud of myself for sticking to my plan to run my own race. Yes, those first few miles were faster than they should have been, but I stuck to my intervals rather than running more than I’d trained for.
Magic Kingdom

It was so reassuring to be running essentially the same path that I’d taken in the Princess Half Marathon in my first half marathon years ago. Places of prior success can be so powerful mentally. When I ran through the Magic Kingdom gates,I was reminded of Princess and how great I felt at the end of that race. I was also reminded of the upcoming Magic Kingdom and how great it felt to run through that park. I was thrilled to see that the Christmas decorations were still up when we got to Main Street. Christmas in the Magic Kingdom is definitely one of my happy places!
Christmas decorations still up on Main Street

One nice thing about this race overall is that I never felt as crowded as it was at the Princess Half Marathon. That was particularly appreciated on Main Street – it made it easier to step aside and get the obligatory castle selfie. Castle selfieLike Princess, we ran through Main Street and turned off to Tomorrowland. I was tempted to stop at Buzz Lightyear for old times’ sake, but I wasn’t in the mood for character stops. I was just enjoying the experience of running through the park. I was glad that the crowd was moving smoothly and that we were able to run through the castle too:

Through the castle

I can’t explain why it is so much fun to run through the Magic Kingdom, but I found myself skipping walk intervals through this section and running with a goofy grin the whole time. Definitely the right way to start a marathon!!

I paused in the Magic Kingdom for a real bathroom: Frontierland, no waiting! Then we were out the back, past the train, and on the street again. While I didn’t stop for characters in the Magic Kingdom, I did enjoy seeing my old friend Buzz and seeing Swami Donald out in the park. At the Hall of Presidents, Sam Eagle (Muppets) was poking his head of the top to yell at us which was a lovely little touch!
Sam Eagle

There were also parade floats out to see and on the back roads, old ride cars like the 20,000 leagues under the sea boats and the skyway cars. I felt really bad for the poor “grooms” out by the wedding pavilion on those back roads. No one was stopping for a pic with them. 😦

More to come tomorrow with the post-Magic Kingdom miles!

Did anybody else notice Sam up in the Hall of Presidents? Such a fun touch. I got as much enjoyment out of seeing the characters as I would have taken pics with them along the way. Who would your must-stop character be?

PS: Clearly this isn’t winter running gear and advice so be sure to go check out the rest of the Tuesdays on the Run link up for more info on surviving winter runs. My one word of advice: LAYERS. Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Cruising to Recovery

Nothing like returning from this:

To an ice storm in Omaha that has us stuck inside for goodness knows how long. The whole city is essentially shut down today and they’ve already cancelled O’s school for tomorrow. Gotta love winter – although give me snow any day over this ice nonsense!

Last week was all about recovering from the marathon and enjoying my first real kidless vacation since Oliver was born and not so much about workouts, so there won’t be much workout recapping this week. Mostly, I walked gently and slowly around the cruise ship and looked funny every time I got out of a chair for the week. The only workout I did was the 5K on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, on Wednesday. Wow did that hurt! A full recap is coming, in case they continue doing these challenges and anyone else wants to know how it works, but for now I will just say that it was the most painful 5K of my life. Turns out, even if your legs are feeling good enough to walk and take the stairs, running (even at turtle pace) two days after your first marathon HURTS.
Castaway Cay challenge

However, that Castaway Challenge medal is gorgeous so it’s worth it, right? Right. I spent the week eating and drinking too much, reading (LOTS of reading!) and taking naps. It was glorious!

Now, I’m back in the real world. I’m ready to get back to moving, even if I’m not training for anything or doing anything strenuous for a while. I’m planning on at least 150 minutes of exercise this week, with some walks (once the ice clears!), yoga and maybe hopping on the exercise bike.

We’re also getting ourselves back on regular eating after the cruise. In January’s Cooking Light, there was a 3 day reset menu that has been a lifesaver for these first few days back home! It feels good to get back to healthier eating (for me anyway – Darrell caved after less than a day). After that cruise, I don’t need any desserts or alcohol for the rest of the month. 🙂
Tuna quinoa toss

After all of my stressing, Oliver did great without us for a week! I think he’s enjoying this ice storm though, and getting lots of extra Mom & Dad time to make up for us being gone. I suspect part of the reason he didn’t miss us is that Nana had a scavenger hunt with a new present for him every day after school. Nana’s are meant for spoiling, right?

I promise next week I’ll more fitness to report! I’m working on my marathon recap, to post later this week, and on the Castaway Challenge details.

Thanks as always to Tricia and Holly for hosting our link-up!

weekly wrap up

How did you ease back into workouts after your first big athletic endeavor? I only took a week off running after the back-to-back half marathons this fall, but think the marathon deserves at little more than that. That doesn’t mean I can’t move in other ways though!



Weekly Wrap-Up: Marathoner!!

What a week! First off, I had EXACTLY the marathon race I trained for and it was a fantastic time:
Did it!!I’ll post a full recap when we get back from the cruise, but for now, let me say there were happy tears and a great mental race. Also, lots of awkward hobbling in the aftermath which is entertaining my husband a lot. 🙂 Truly, knowing you all were cheering for me was SO powerful and part of those happy tears. Thanks so much for supporting me through this!

Brief fly through of the rest of the week: Coming up to the race, my focus was on sleep (sort of successful), drinking well, eating well (pretty good! Remembered that French fries aren’t ideal carb loading) and running enough to keep moving. I didn’t worry about mileage targets but tried to shake things out. 

Weekly Workouts 

Monday – Walking and stretching (and the movie Moana – which we loved! Downloaded the soundtrack for race day!)

Tuesday – Easy run with pickups (but oh so cold!)

Wednesday – Even colder easy run, which made me REALLY grateful that I wasn’t running 26.2 in January in Nebraska. Brrr!!

Thursday – No running because of unexpected overnight snow, but snow shoveling Thursday morning was workout enough. 

Friday – Early morning wake up for our flights, with airport walking, expo walking and walking from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian for dinner. Darrell was amazed at how much walking there was at the Expo – he was over 10,000 steps between the airport and the expo and we did the bare minimum at the expo with no shopping!

Saturday – Lots of rest and reading (and an early bedtime!). As you’ve all heard, the half marathon got cancelled because of the storm (and there was thunder, so it sounds like they made the right call). Loads of people got out to run anyway and we had a great view of lots of costumed runners from our room in the Polynesian. I love the dedication!

Half marathoners

Sunday – Race day! I promise a full recap will come next week, after the cruise. For now, I’ll just say that as soon as Mickey counted down 3, 2, 1 and our fireworks went off, a little voice in  my brain said “I’ve got this” and I carried that with me for 26.2 miles. Well, 26.92, because I’m bad at running tangents apparently. It was a great experience, even if my feet feel broken today. 🙂

We're off!

We celebrated after the race with an early dinner at Sanaa, which I highly recommend for the mango margarita and bread service alone (although the butter chicken was also divine!).

Sanaa to celebrate
Now, we’re off for some grown up vacationing on the cruise. Oliver is having a fantastic time with Nana and I’m riding that post-marathon high, so hopefully I’ll be able to relax and enjoy these next few days away from responsibility. 🙂

I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to run this marathon and for the rest that’s in my future. Thanks so much to all of you for your support through this journey!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link-up! I can’t wait to hear all about Holly’s race and her shiny new PR! Congrats Holly!

weekly wrap up

If you were one of the half marathoners with a cancelled race, would you have run it anyway? I think I might have it were my first and there were others out doing the make up run or if it was part of one of the challenges. If I was just here for the half marathon and had done HMs before, I might have taken the chance to have the day off in the parks, I confess. 🙂



Weekly Wrap Up: First week of school!

Big day!I officially have a kindergartner. Gulp.

I know that this phase of training is targeted as much at the back to back half marathons of the I-35 challenge as much as it is the marathon, but I spent a lot of time this weekend reading recaps of prior Walt Disney Marathons and getting excited! And a little intimidated if I’m honest! I think I may need to read some of those every weekend just to keep myself motivated when the going gets tough!

This week was pretty good. I missed one run, but otherwise got in my miles (11 total instead of the 14 on the plan), cross training (three times) and strength training (twice), plus some yoga. I ended the week with legs that feel like they’re getting the hang of this running thing again.


Monday I got in a good 30+ minutes of hilly walking back and forth to Oliver’s school for open house. I gotta tell you, seeing my baby’s name on a kindergarten desk was a jolt. I know this is the best for him, but I also know time is going to fly now and before I know it, I’ll have a kid going to college. Thanks to all of these emotions, I slept horribly.

Tuesday I was up really early (thanks to the poor night of sleep) and ready to go run 3 miles. Unfortunately, it was storming. It made for a gorgeous view of the sun trying to rise beyond the storm, but there was enough lightning and thunder that I had to scrap the run. Oh for a treadmill at home!
Gorgeous but stormy morning

I planned on getting in a treadmill run at the gym before I picked up O, but ended up with a horrible migraine and had to settle for a walk instead as I could barely keep from throwing up. Sigh. I blame that poor night of sleep.

Wednesday 3+ miles of walking and the official first day of kindergarten. My kiddo didn’t even look back, which made me proud and heartbroken at the same time. I’m so glad he’s loving it though – we definitely did the right thing getting him in a little early (his birthday is just past the Nebraska cut off). He got a “smiley” on his school work during this first week and told me so proudly that he got that because he “did a GREAT job” and pointed out to me how carefully he’d colored to answer the questions. Sigh. My guy is totally in love with school. He even said his favorite thing about the first day was homework!
First "graded" schoolwork

Fingers crossed that he keeps this love of school. I suspect he will since his mom is a big geek too. I’m grateful it was a smooth start for him.

Thursday I was determined to get my run done since I’d missed Tuesday’s and I’m happy to say that I hauled myself out of bed for 3 miles. Woo hoo!

Friday Strength training and some yoga stretches

Saturday Four miles in the afternoon – thank goodness it’s cool enough this week that it wasn’t brutally hot to be out there at 4! I’m getting old, guys, and tweaked my back putting a freaking jelly jar in the recycling Saturday morning. Sigh. Some stretching got things worked back out enough that I could run Saturday. I also decided this was a sign that I needed more strength training, especially core work, so I got that in.

Sunday Four more miles and my fastest miles of the week! I attribute this to the fact that I was wearing my freshest shoes (and maybe, just maybe, that I’m remembering how to run). This run felt good.

I got a bonus workout in as I had to chase Oliver’s basketball through my neighborhood Sunday morning. Omaha is hilly and that thing rolled down hill LITERALLY a quarter of a mile, around two 90 degree turns, before I caught it. My brilliant son thought it was a good idea to throw his basketball at the hockey puck he’d also lost in the road, to keep the hockey puck from rolling anywhere. Boys. Sigh.

All in all a good week. While my food choices weren’t perfect, they were better and I finished the week feeling good about my improvement. My NSV is leaving lots of things unfinished this week that just weren’t worth it or when I recognized I was full. HUGE victory for me.

My good deeds this week have largely been of the donation variety, but I feel helpless to do more to help my home state. Louisiana is tough and her people are amazing, but this is a lot.

This week, I have 3 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, a brief work trip out of town (overnight only thankfully!) and long runs of 8 and 9 miles on Saturday and Sunday. I need to remember to wear my compression socks after those long runs! That really helped back in the Rebel Challenge training phase. Other than that, my goal this week is to navigate the food choices at my work meeting as best I can and avoid too much drinking. My social anxiety makes me drink too much sometimes, which leads to bad food choices in addition to all of those unnecessary alcohol calories.

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up!

weekly wrap up

Do you find race reports to be motivating? I love them, especially if there are tons of pictures!



Weekly Wrap Up: Blisters ?!

It feels weird to still be encountering “firsts” when I’ve been running for several years now (coming up on my run-i-versary!) and this was definitely not a good first: My first blisters! How I have run for 4 years now (4!?!) without a significant blister issue is a mystery to me, but this weekend I actually had to stop my run because of a huge blister on my heel. Ouch! Now I’m not sure how to handle the rest of my runs this week. Any tips?

Thankfully, my heroes came to my rescue midrun with new shoes, new socks and BodyGlide. There’s a grumpy Oliver behind that window because I interrupted his “Mama’s running – time for TV” time. I think the problem was with the socks. They were a pair of Balegas that I don’t like and actually thought I’d thrown out. Now they’re trashed and I’ll stick to my tried-and-true Feetures socks. Definitely stick with what works for your particular feet!


Cross-training: Walking on several evenings, which is becoming O’s new favorite thing. It’s great to get all of us out of the house! I also did yoga on Saturday after my run, which was nice (as was my post-run nap! That’s cross training, right?)
Walks around the block always end with a race

Strength training: Only once this week, which definitely is something I need to work on. I’ve written it into my to-do list for two days this week, which will hopefully help. I need someone to follow me around and poke me until I get my strength training done each week.

Runs: Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I woke up for 30 minutes of easy runs. This week, my running goal is to both speed up my morning routine and my pace on these runs enough to get three miles in each of these days.

Saturday, I did 7 miles and noticed at around mile 1.5 that I had an irritated spot developing on my heel. It got bad enough that I slowed to a walk and called Darrell and Oliver to the rescue. I’m not sure if it was smart to keep going, but I was determined to get my run done so I headed back out to finish 7 miles once I had new shoes and socks and things were much easier. The blister is a little bigger than a quarter, over my Achilles tendon on the right. Grrrr. At least I got my run done though, right?

Saturday morning, we were out for breakfast and at the table next to us, a woman was coming in to meet her family after finishing a 20 mile run (as I overheard from her husband proudly telling the waitress). When she came in, I congratulated her and said I couldn’t imagine running that far but would be trying it soon since I was going to run my first marathon soon. She said she couldn’t have imagined 20 miles 6 weeks ago, but you’ve gotta trust the training and it works. I’m grateful for this boost of motivation and good advice!

Sunday, I did 7.5 miles and put a band-aid and BodyGlide all around the blister. It didn’t rupture or cause any pain, which was good, but I was definitely babying it a bit which caused some foot pain until I figured out how I’d altered my gait. The bigger issue with this run was chafing under my bra strap, which I’ve had with my Moving Comfort bra the last two times I’ve worn it for long runs. I’ve worn these for years without trouble! I don’t know if it is the weight I’ve regained or if there’s a change to the styling of these bras (as the one that has been causing trouble is new in the last couple of months), but my back is raw. I didn’t have any trouble with the Soma sports bra on Saturday’s 7 miles, so I think I may have to switch to those for at least a while.

14.5 miles over two days and none the worse for wear other than the chafed spot and the blister, which is pretty awesome. My muscles feel fine, which is fantastic. I need to remember the things I learned from my back-to-back race training for the Star Wars races and stay diligent about yoga, stretching, foam rolling and fueling after these weekend long runs. I also have to keep reminding myself that this is really the base of my marathon training, so staying injury-free is of paramount importance here!

Quieter birthday celebrations

I’ve had lots of treats in my life for the last two weeks, with Oliver’s actual birthday and his birthday party, plus work celebrations. Thankfully, that’s all done now and I can focus on cleaning things up to better support my training. My NSV this week was immediately packing up the leftovers of Oliver’s second birthday cake (a smaller, less elaborate double chocolate chip cookie skillet cake for just the family on his actual birthday) and sending them to work with Darrell. Temptation removed! Even better, all of our M&Ms went with that cake. M&M’s aren’t exactly high quality fueling and yet they’re oh-so-tempting. Better to get them out of the house! We can count all of the goodies I’ve shared with Darrell’s job as my good deed this week. Really, my good deeds lately have been lots of little thank yous and door openings and litter gathering, but that’s okay because of the little things add up to good things.

All in all, I’d give week two of marathon training a solid B+, even with the blister. Points off for the lack of strength training, but otherwise I feel good and feel like I’m settling back into the groove of training. Bring on week three, with strength training, better food choices and longer weekday runs!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up!
weekly wrap up
Any advice for running with a blister?
**Please send all of your good vibes and any resources you may have to help the thousands who have been displaced and injured in the floods in Louisiana. So many have lost so much and I cannot imagine how terrifying this time for them. Here are links to ways you can help:
How to help Louisiana flood victims (CNN)
How to help victims of Louisiana’s historic flooding (nola.com)
How to help Louisiana flooding victims and families (IBTimes.com)
Always evaluate any charity carefully, as there are unfortunately many who take advantage of good intentions during these times. All of you affected have my prayers and my thoughts. I cannot imagine what this is like for you and hope that the water stops rising and recovery starts soon.




Weekly Wrap-Up: Week One Always Hurts a Bit

Nothing like the first week of real training to remind you how much difference there is between being “active” all summer and actually running regularly. Add in the summer temps and it was not the prettiest (or fastest) week of training, but all of the workouts got done and that’s a win.


Monday Cross training on the schedule, which meant strength training (body weight exercises with a focus on my hips because I know that’s a trouble spot for me) and an evening hilly walk.

Tuesday I woke up, got ready to run, and realized it was storming outside. Boo. By the time I realized all of that, I didn’t have time to fit the gym in before the crazy day started. I wish I had a treadmill at home.

Wednesday Since I’d missed Tuesday’s run, I made sure I could get it in on Wednesday. I finished up my work a little early so I could hit the gym for some treadmill time before and during O’s swim lessons. This is the first time I’d thought to ask if I could go work out during swim lessons, instead of sitting there watching. While I like watching, it’s nice to know I can run upstairs to get some work in too. This might make a good weight training time since we do swim lessons at the gym and I know I’m going to be there at least once a week for 30 minutes anyway. Proud of myself for getting it in!

Thursday I woke up early to run again to get in my two weekday easy runs as part of this plan. I was short of my 3 mile plan, but at least I woke up and got outside. It’s a win!

Friday I went for a walk Friday for my cross training and also had a little NSV in that I treated myself to new bras and underwear. It’s time to admit that enough of the weight I’ve regained has settled on my chest to make me a walking wardrobe-malfunction-waiting-to-happen, so I went ahead and bought new bras. I feel much more comfortable about my clothes with just that one change. It’s okay to get a bigger size and feel like your clothes fit.

Treating myself

I also got one of the new Soma sports bras to try out and liked it. I used it on Saturday’s run and while there is some upper bounce, there’s no under bouncing thanks to the underwire and NO CHAFING – big wins. It was comfortable overall. I’ll try it again this weekend for a longer run and see if it still holds up well before I invest in another one, but promising so far.

Saturday We went out to breakfast as a family and I wore my running clothes so that I could run home. That worked really well and gave me a slightly different spin on the run, so that it didn’t feel like I was running the same route two days in a row. Since I’ll be running on both Saturday and Sunday for the next couple of months, anything to break up the monotony will be good! I ran 4 miles – definitely with lots of walking, but I told myself not to get down about it because A) I had 6 miles to run the following day, B) it was hot and muggy – always slower in those conditions and C) this was just the beginning of training, not a reflection of where I’ll be on race day. I also did some strength training as soon as I got home so I didn’t put it off in the midst of a busy day.

We spent the afternoon at a friend’s pool party, so I also got in some swimming and lots of pool walking. Even after all of that activity, Oliver wanted to go for a walk (complete with Batman sunglasses) when we got home, so it ended up being a very active day!

Sunday Another crazy busy day, as we had Oliver’s birthday for his friends (not yet his actual birthday). I woke up to run 6 miles, then decorate his Captain America cake. I’m proud of myself for prioritizing my workout rather than just saying I had too much “mom stuff” going on to get it done. I managed to do the run, get a shower and get the cake and cupcakes decorated in time for the party. Thank goodness I have great helpers in Darrell and Oliver! I’m grateful for my helpers and for the fact that we successfully navigated our first official birthday party.

Oliver had a great time at his party, which is really all that matters. We were worn out after two parties in two days, but he had so much fun at both – and was so well behaved at both! – that it was worth it.

This week, we start all of the back to school stuff. I can’t believe I’m about to have a real kindergartner. There may be lots of wine this week. Our school is actually hosting a “Boo hoo, Yahoo!” party for the kindergarten parents on the first day of school so that we can offer each other moral support after we drop our kiddos off for the first time, which I think is cute.

Other than birthday cake and some cookies at the party that I should have resisted, my food choices this week were good so I’m happy about that. I think the “training” mindset will definitely help steer me in the right direction. This week, I have a plan for morning runs on Tuesday and Thursday, cross training and strength training on Monday and Friday and then 7 miles / 7.5 miles on Saturday and Sunday. At this point, I’m reminding myself that all that matters is getting in the time on my feet. My pace will pick up as I get used to training again and the temperature drops. It’s a relief to finally get this training cycle started!

While this weekend’s runs felt tough and plodding, the really cool thing is that I did them knowing with absolute certainty that I could complete the miles and that I could go even further if I needed to. A couple of years of running has now instilled a really cool kind of confidence in me that I never had before, certainly not about my body. It can do stuff. Maybe not fast, maybe not sexy, but it can do amazing things.

What has running taught you about your body?

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link-up!

weekly wrap up


Tracking your “weight” without a scale

We’ve talked about how I’m trying to weigh in less often so that I can focus on “fuel” rather than weight loss during training for my first marathon. So far (all of 2.5 days in!) that’s going well, but if I’m not weighing in as often, how do I tell if I’m fueling a little too much and ending up in the far-too-common scenario of marathoners who gain weight during training?

Some weight gain, of course, could come from glycogen stores holding onto water (a good thing for long distance) and muscle mass (a good thing) but far too often it comes from over-rewarding ourselves or even eating too much of healthy foods.

Here are the strategies I’m going to try:

Functional measures: I’m going to use my training guide to keep track of things like my average mile time and how easy things feel. If those things are improving, that’s definitely a sign that my fueling and my training are going well!

Selfies: Oy, taking full length photos can be painful. However, sometimes you see things in pictures when you look over time that you don’t notice in your day to glimpses of yourself. You can see muscle definition and shape changes that reflect the hard work you’re putting in, even when the scale doesn’t show it. As a demonstration of the supreme trust you can build with “imaginary” online friends, my online support group has a thread of daily selfies that we’re using to track progress over the next few months. I’m curious to see how those photos change over the next few months!

A picture can say a thousand words, for sure

A picture can say a thousand words, for sure

Measurements: Hopefully, this weekend I’ll have Darrell help me do some measurements to see how inches change. Another measure of this would be how your clothes fit – and now that many of my clothes are tight or don’t really fit at all, I’ll be able to tell progress in that direction (good or bad!) for sure.

Body fat percentage: I have a body fat analyzer that I can use as well, to see how things move up or down as I hopefully increase some muscle and lose some fluff.

Hopefully these things will help me track my progress without stepping on the scale so often during training. I just have such a strong association between the scale and “dieting” that I don’t want to let that mess with my head when my nutritional goals should be focused on the marathon. I have a feeling that going cold turkey may be more successful in that regard than just trying to check in periodically. The scale tends to suck me in.

It can be surprisingly hard to make peace with the scale.

It can be surprisingly hard to make peace with the scale.

How do you keep track of your “weight” without really stepping on the scale?


Weekly Wrap Up: Active week in Montana!

My exercise this week was definitely different from my usual week:

Monday: An hour of hiking through the mountains, plus strength training in the morning
Big Sky hike

Tuesday: Running in the AM, followed by kayaking (harder to steer than I expected!) and stand up paddleboarding (easier than I expected!) in the afternoon.
Water play

Wednesday: Hiking and ziplining
Zip lining in Big Sky

Thursday: My first ever river rafting trip – LOVED it!
river rafting
Friday: Run & strength training in the AM

Saturday: Strength,  yoga

Sunday: Walk – intended to run, but between a storm and a headache, it didn’t happen.

Now I’m here: August 1, the official start of marathon training! This week:
Marathon week 1

I had a huge NSV today at the zoo with O (his school is closed, so we’ve had a mommy-O day): He didn’t finish his french fries. We all know I have trouble with fries lately. I told myself that “training started – I’m an athlete” and I threw them away!!! Did I feel a little silly having “I’m an athlete” as part of my self-talk on day one of my first marathon cycle – a day without a run even scheduled? Sure. But it worked. 🙂

Since O and I are home today, I’ll have no excuse for not doing some strength training while he’s napping (not that he’s fallen asleep yet mind you) and then I’ll be able to ride the stationary bike while he’s watching cartoons later. I haven’t been on that thing in ages! I’m planning on taking my cross training a little more seriously this cycle. Really, this is my first – and possibly only – marathon cycle. It’s important to pay attention to all parts of training – rest, cross training, strength training, stretching/foam rolling, and nutrition – not just running. I feel like I’m ready for that amount of intention with a training plan, since it’s been a year since I’ve worked that hard to train. Glad to get started!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up!

weekly wrap upI confess, I’m excited that it is August because it feels one step closer to fall. I’ve seen Halloween candy and costumes out already!

Anybody else counting the days until fall gets here?