Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Why Square Life Round World?

 

Square Life Round World


Y’all may have figured out by now that I’ve changed the name of my blog. More changes are coming eventually, including a new look, although I don’t have a timeline to share just yet. I also have some cleaning up to do of my existing site to completely convert to the new name, so please be patient with me. I do have all of my social media user names changed to reflect the new name as well. But, why? Why the new name and what does it mean?

It’s pretty simple, actually. I’ve felt for a long time that I was trying to fit my square peg of a life into the world’s round hole in a lot of different areas. However, over the last year I’ve come to terms with a lot of what I think has caused me to feel that way. So, I’ve decided to embrace it. My life fits the way it should. It’s not necessarily the life I imagined for myself or the life I would have picked, but that’s ok. In some ways, it’s even better. 

I started My Glass Sneaker over three years ago as my voice while I made an attempt at becoming an athlete. I thought there would be people who could relate to my story, the story of an inactive, overweight person becoming, for lack of a better word, a runner, and there were. Well, the reality is, eight half marathons, one 10 nautical miler, two 10 milers and countless 5ks and 10ks later, I’m no closer to becoming an athlete than I was 5 years ago when I began to try. And that’s ok. I’m still healthier and stronger than I was, with a lot more stamina, and I now know that I can accomplish more than I thought I could. But an athlete I am not, and an athlete I will probably never be. Plus, there is so much more to my life than training and races, and those other aspects of my life felt out of place in My Glass Sneaker. I sort of lost my inspiration when there was less I wanted to write about that would fit. It became clear to me that I hadn’t lost my inspiration to write, just my inspiration to write for the blog as it was.  

I’m still running Disney, but there’s more to me than that.

I’ve also gone through a major career change in the last year and a half, easily the best decision of my life. I left a 15-year career in banking and finance to become a professional fundraiser. I enjoyed banking for many years. It was a great career. Until it wasn’t. And when it wasn’t, it really wasn’t. I stayed about five years longer than I should have, partly because I still had hope it could be good again and partly because I truly didn’t believe I was qualified to do anything else. But as my CEO at my current job always says, growth does not happen in the comfort zone. I’m so glad I was forced out of my career comfort zone because I have never felt as fulfilled in my career and in love with my job as I am now.  

#DoWhatYouLove #LoveWhyYouDoIt

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the role the Disney Parks Moms Panel has played in this. Here I am, a never-married, no kids Disney fan trying to land a role on something called a Moms Panel. I suppose it should have been intuitive that I was never going to fit, but it took me about 10 years to finally get the hint. 

You see, it’s not like I didn’t want to get married and have kids. I mean, that’s what most girls grow up thinking will happen. That’s what our bodies are made to do. But for reasons even I can’t begin to understand, those weren’t the cards I was dealt. And that’s ok, too. Sure, there are times when I’m envious of my mom friends. They get to help Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. They get to play with Elf on the Shelf. They get to go to school parties and field trips. They get Friday family movie nights and Saturday morning snuggles. Then there are plenty of times I’m not envious in the slightest. There are homework woes, ER trips, bad attitudes, and don’t even get me started on puberty, driving and dating. I have no idea how I would live through the last three. There are also divorces and custody battles. All things considered, I’m ok. 

So, I’m learning to, not only embrace the life I have, but also love it to its fullest. It fits exactly as it should, and I’m incredibly thankful for that. Sure, you’ll probably still see fitness posts sprinkled in every now and then. I haven’t completely abandoned movement. It’s just not the main focus anymore because my life is about so much more than that. Maybe, just maybe, readers will be interested in that, too. 

Have you ever felt you were trying to make something fit that just didn’t?

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runDisney Releases 2016 Race Schedule

runDisney released its 2016 race schedule, complete with registration dates yesterday. A few things to note are the races which have been the subjects of many rumors lately. 

 

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend is returning, thus squelching all rumors that 2015 is the last year. Almost certainly it will feature a new course due to the impending extensive construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. One of the highlights of this race, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, is in its last year, however, so it will be interesting to see what changes the organizers have in store.  

 Notably absent for the second year is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler Weekend. Rumors continue that this will return at some point in the future as another half marathon weekend, possibly with a challenge. It makes sense, right? 13.1 miles for a 13-story drop.  

 Currently, my only runDisney race plans for 2016 include Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Some friends and I have a huge girls weekend planned around that. After all, runDisney races are perfect for that. 

What are your runDisney race plans for next year?

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St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. All month long, you may have seen people changing their profile pictures on social media to #ShowYourGold or even superheroes.  

Showing my gold


On September 19 and 26, St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer events happened all over the country to coincide with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I participated in the Memphis event, and it was unlike any 5k I’ve ever done. 

First of all, it was a walk/run, with an emphasis on walk. This made it perfect for beginners and even people who aren’t active at all. There was none of the “fast people in the front, slow people in the back” business. It was not about racing. It was all about everyone coming together for one reason and one reason only: to raise awareness for childhood cancer. 

There were also so many people participating in teams and staying together as a team. Many teams had matching shirts made for the event. All that unification was a really cool thing to see. 

There was so much gold, too! Gold signs, flags, pom poms, headbands, shoelaces and even socks were everywhere! My floor made gold and black tutus to sell as a fundraiser so those were all over the course as well. I even wore a tutu for the first time. 

Traffic was crazy getting to the event so I knew the turnout was going to be huge.  

Stuck in traffic but I couldn’t wait to get there!


Despite allowing myself what I thought was more than enough time, I got there just in time for a photo with my immediate work team before heading to the start. 

My work team

I also got a quick Periscope broadcast in (@myglasssneaker). 

 

Ready to Walk/Run

The weather was great. It was a mild, overcast day, although more humid than I expected. I absolutely love downtown Memphis courses. 

I love running by the famous M bridge.

The scenery is gorgeous, although I always forget how hilly it is.  

Does this look like a hill? Because, it definitely is one.

 

The Pyramid, which is now home to Bass Pro. Except, the hospital and finish line is in the opposite direction. Shouldn’t we be heading the other way?

 

Finally, we are heading back toward the hospital!

   

The finish is in sight.

As a chronic back-of-the-packer, I really enjoyed being with the pack for the entire course. Once I was done, I stuck around for a few minutes at the finish line to cheer people on. I also did another quick Periscope broadcast from the finish line. 

It was a great day, and I’m sure it will be even bigger next year. Did you participate in an event in your area? 

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runDisney Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler Race Recap Part 1

It’s hard to believe that the runDisney Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler (#Tower10Miler) was over a month ago!  This was the second time I’ve been lucky enough to run this one, and it stands as the only runDisney event I’ve ever repeated.  In fact, other than this, there are only 2 local 5ks I’ve repeated.  I guess I’m not really one to repeat races, but my experience in 2012 with the #Tower10Miler was so bad it almost made me stop running.  I needed redemption.  Did I find it?  Hmmmmm, I’m not too sure, but I did have a much better experience so there’s that.

My issues with this race in 2012 were partly runDisney’s fault and partly not.  The expo was awesome and more than exceeded my expectations!  It was a great first impression as this was my first runDisney event.  The event staging area and event transportation were also huge hits!  The corrals were much more organized and closer to the drop-off than I thought they would be.  There were even port-a-potties in each corral, which was awesome.  However, it was all downhill from there.  The heat and humidity really got to me and made for a miserable night.  Also, I felt the entertainment and course theming were lacking, even for a newbie like me.  Fast forward to 2013, and from reports I read and heard, course theming and entertainment had really been stepped up.  When registration opened for 2014, the event date coincided with an already-planned family vacation so adding this on to the beginning seemed like a good idea.

I went into this event ridiculously under trained.  I considered bailing at least a hundred times.  I just couldn’t let it go, though, and I’m so glad I didn’t.

I didn’t arrive until Saturday morning, so the expo had already been open for a day when I got there. 

The expo was practically empty when I got there Saturday morning.

The expo was practically empty when I got there Saturday morning.

I did arrive shortly after it opened on Saturday, which was right after the Happy Haunted 5k.  I enjoyed seeing all those runners with their cute Hitchhiking Ghosts medallions and all the cute costumes.  The kids races were about to get underway, too, so there was a lot of hustle, bustle, and excitement in the air, perfect for setting the stage.  The expo, on the other hand, was completely empty.  This worked to my benefit because my first order of business was getting the special runDisney New Balance shoes.  I wanted both the Minnie and the Cinderella ones and anticipated long lines.  However, I walked right up and 5 minutes later had my shoes in hand!  Next up was merchandise.  My only complaint about the event is that they were out of almost all merchandise.  I only got an “I Did It!” t-shirt, and had to settle for men’s at that.  I don’t understand why they can’t get the merchandise right.  They either have way too much and lots ends up in the outlets weeks later or they run out very early, and late-comers don’t get anything.  I’ve even heard reports of things being sold out at the expo, only to show up in the outlets weeks later.  What’s up with that?  I digress.  My next stop was the KT booth for the special Minnie KT tape.  I’m a sucker for all the things I can only get at a runDisney expo.  I needed tape anyway, so what of it?  Next I stopped at the Florida Hospital booth to pick up my free draw string bag.  Have I mentioned I love bags?  I do.  All types of drink ware and bags are totally my thing!  My dad came to the expo on a later bus than I did, so next I met up with him, picked up my bib, had a cute runDisney Instagram photo taken, picked up my shirt, and started to make our way back to the buses. 

I love that runDisney offers these special photo ops for free.  You just have to show them you follow runDisney on Instagram.

I love that runDisney offers these special photo ops for free. You just have to show them you follow runDisney on Instagram.

On the way back, I noticed the beer carts were selling beer in cute runDisney cups.  I didn’t want beer at 9 am on the morning of a long race so I stopped to see if they would sell me just the cup (hello, drink ware!).  They did, and $4 later we were on our way back to the buses for real this time.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll share my experience with the race itself.

Have you ever seen an almost-empty runDisney expo?

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runDisney #Tower10Miler Costume Reveal

It’s here, y’all!  The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler is this Saturday!  Squeeeee!!!!  Costumes are a HUGE part of any runDisney race, and this one is unique because of the villains theme.

I tossed around several costume options before landing on my final one.  I really wanted to do a group theme with my Princess Posse girls but our initial idea wasn’t coming together.  So, I decided to go out on my own and go as one of the villains.  I had already purchased most of the elements for my costume when my group came up with a really cute matching outfit idea.  We had skirts custom-made by our friend Vicky with RUNWay Gear and we ordered super cute matching shirts.  So, I ended up with TWO costumes and ONE race!  It was such a hard decision to make but I ultimately could not let go of my villain.  I really have no plans to ever run this race again (yes, I’ve said that before but I mean it this time, I think) and since this is the only villains themed race at present, it’s either now or never.  I will have the opportunity to wear the other outfit in the future, even if I won’t be with my girls then.

So without further ado, I give you…………………………………………………………………………….

I'll be Hades at the runDisney #Tower10Miler.

I’ll be Hades at the runDisney #Tower10Miler.

Hades!

I purchased the running skirt online and got the gray tech top from a mall department store.  I bought the blue wig online and made all of the embellishments out of different colors of felt.  Yes, I sewed them on myself.  I’m no seamstress but I have a sewing machine and I’m not afraid to use it.

Since we are on the subject of costumes, I have a bonus one for you.  I also plan to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which is one of the few times adults are allowed in the parks dressed in costume.  Because I had already purchased TWO running outfits for ONE race, I didn’t want to buy yet ANOTHER costume.  So, that could only mean one thing, that it was time to dig in the closet and see what I could make with what I already owned.

I give you……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I'll be Sulley at the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

I’ll be Sulley at the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Sulley!

You may recognize the base of this as my Jasmine costume for Princess Half Marathon 2013.  I spent a total of $2 on more felt with which to make purple polka dots to sew onto the skirt and top.  My friend Bettina had this Sulley hat she no longer needed and gave it to me for the cost of shipping, $6.  Mission: accomplished!

What are your costume plans?

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Packing For runDisney: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Welcome, y’all, to my stop on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler Virtual Blog Hop!

It’s getting closer!!!  I’m talking about the runDisney Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler!

Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Tower of Terror 10 Miler

It’s only 2 and a half weeks away.  How did that happen?  That means it’s time to start packing, which is the inspiration for my part of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler Virtual Blog Hop.

American Tourister

American Tourister

The thing about a racecation is there are so many different elements to packing.  First, you are packing for a vacation.  Next, you are packing for a race.  Third, if it’s a runDisney race, you also might want to give some thought about the gEAR bag (see what they did there?).

I’m sure you’ve taken many, many vacations and don’t really need any help with regular vacation packing.  So, I’ll skip right to race packing.  I have some rules about this.

  • Make lists!  Sure, when you are running at home you probably have it down to an art.  You have your stash of gels, you know exactly where your favorite socks are, you have your headphones and GPS watch right by your keys, and you grab water from the fridge on your way out.  However, when you are hundreds or thousands of miles from home, it won’t be that easy.  Make lists of what running gear you need to pack and also what you need to carry with you to the race itself.  Trust me, if you don’t have the exact gel you’ve trained with, it will wreak havoc on your mental state.

    Make sure you have everything you need for your runcation.

    Make sure you have everything you need for your runcation.

  • Bring more than you think you will need.  This applies to socks, undies, gels, tape, even shoes if you have multiple pair you rotate through.  Why?  It’s happened to all of us!  You put those tried and true socks on and something just doesn’t feel right.  When you are at home, you can simply grab another pair.  You pull out your favorite gel and, for some reason, you just aren’t feeling that flavor.  At home, you grab another.  Away from home that’s only possible if you brought extra.
  • Pack all your running gear in your carry on. This is very important!  Do not tempt fate by putting your trusted running gear in your checked luggage.  Yes, you can even pack your gels in your carry on.  Call me crazy but I also don’t trust the resort baggage handlers with my running gear.  It stays with me at all times until I get to my room.

Once you get settled into your accommodations, there is one more bag you might want to think about packing:  your gEAR bag.  At the expo, a runDisney gEAR bag will be part of your packet.  How big is the bag?  I get asked that a lot.  I measured it just for you!  It’s 17.5 inches by 24 inches.

runDisney gEAR bag

runDisney gEAR bag

You will also get a sticker with a number on it to stick on the bag.  Pro tip: the number on your sticker should match that of your bib.  Check it closely before leaving the expo.  If it does not match, head straight to runner relations.

This is where you'll stick your sticker that should match your bib number.

This is where you’ll stick your sticker that should match your bib number.

Why do you want to pack a gEAR bag? If you are like me, there may be things you will want as soon as you finish.  For me, it’s wipes, a Luna bar, and flip-flops.  Bandages and deodorant are also smart additions.  I usually pack a change of clothes, too.  This is especially true of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler because runners get access to the Villains Bash after party at Hollywood Studios.

There are a few things to know about gEAR check for this particular race.  First of all, where you check your bag will not be where you pick it up.  You will check your bag in the parking lot of Hollywood Studios when you arrive for the start of the race.  Just follow the signs.  It will be well-marked.  While you are making your way through the 10 mile course, your bag will magically be transported to the theater where the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is held.  Bag pick up will be on the stage.  Here’s where it gets, um, interesting for this race.  You will finish the race in the backstage area behind the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  From there, you will be ushered back into the park by way of the walkways around the theater where Beauty and the Beast is performed.  If you know anything at all about this park, you know these two areas are nowhere near each other. This means you will have to walk a ways across the park to get your bag.  You will also have to tackle a few stairs in the theater when you pick up your bag.  It’s really not that horrible.  I mean, you just ran 10 miles.  Surely you can walk across a theme park and take on a few stairs, right?  It is something to be aware of, though.  If you have family waiting for you at the party, an alternative is to just give your things to a family member and bypass gEAR check altogether.  I’ve done this in the past for this race, and I plan to do it again this year, too.

If you do check a bag, here is where double checking your sticker comes into play.  The volunteers working bag pick up will match your bag to your bib number.  Make sure you are still wearing your bib when you go to get your bag.  If the numbers don’t match, the volunteers will not be able to give your bag to you.

What if you lose your sticker before checking your bag?  Or what if you forget your bag altogether?  Not to worry!  Volunteers working gEAR check will have extra bags and blank tags if the Villains decide to show up early to the party and throw a wrench in your plans.

You know the drill.  An ounce of prevention yields a pound of care, and it’s really true when packing for runDisney.  Have a great race!  Say “hi” if you see me on the course!

The start of something EPIC!  Any guesses?

The start of something EPIC! Any guesses?

Thanks for hopping on over to my blog.  For the other posts in this virtual blog hop, click the Mickey runner below.

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

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Getting Ready to runDisney

My next runDisney race, Tower of Terror 10 Miler, is coming up in, oh, about 2 months.  Yikes!  There is so, so, so, so much left to do!  It can be overwhelming without a plan. 

The thing is, runDisney races aren’t like your normal race in your home town where all you really have to do to prepare is train.  No, runDisney races involve so much more!

  • Training, of course!  I do not want the other details to overshadow what still is the most important part of getting ready for any race, training!  You must have a plan.  You must follow the plan.  It just has to be done.  But what if you find yourself, say, 2 months from the start line, way behind in training?  I’m not talking about myself.  Noooooooo!  Well, maybe I’m talking about myself.  Whatever you do, DON’T start where the training plan says you should be by now.  For example, this past weekend’s long run was supposed to be 6 miles.  If you are like me and are way behind, don’t do the 6 miles.  It’s better to get to the start line healthy than not get to the start line at all or get to the start line injured.  So, I’m adjusting the plan, and instead of getting up to a long run of 11 miles, like my original plan called for, I’ll back my longest run down to 8.  What does this mean?  It means the race won’t be quite as easy for me as it would have been if I were completely trained, and recovery may be a bit more uncomfortable, but it does not mean I should just throw in the towel and quit.

    Training is important! More importantly, #LetMeTakeASelfie

    Training is important! More importantly, #LetMeTakeASelfie

  • Costumes!  One of the things that makes runDisney events unique is that so many people have fun with dressing up in costume.  It’s not as easy as heading to your local party store and picking out something like you would for a costume party.  It still needs to be running-friendly, meaning made of breathable tech fabrics.  Lots of people like to wear normal running clothes and throw a tutu on over it and call it a day.  I say people because, yes, men do it, too.  Don’t judge!  Some people who are super-crafty go all-out and either have their costumes made or make it themselves.  You’ll see a lot of group costumes, too.  These can be anything from a group that has each person depict a character from a certain movie or even a group that all dresses alike.  To be honest, I’ve never loved a costume I’ve done yet. 
    Does this even count as a costume?

    Does this even count as a costume?

    This time is going to be different!  To start with, I have an EPIC Disney Villain idea. 

    The start of something EPIC!  Any guesses?

    The start of something EPIC! Any guesses?

    I already had all the elements purchased for it when some of my BRFs (best running friends) decided we should do a group thing.  So, now I have 2 costumes and 1 race.  What to do?  Well, at least I have options.  Time will tell which one I’ll be wearing.

  • Reservations!  For most, runDisney races are more than races.  They are racecations.  That means making hotel reservations and sometimes even booking flights.  If you stay at a host resort, runDisney makes transportation to all race events really easy.  Plus, to me you just can’t beat staying on property. 
    Wilderness Lodge: my favorite!

    Wilderness Lodge: my favorite!

    Even if you are on a budget, you can find a competitively priced resort.  The key, though, is to book early for the best selection!  I cannot stress this enough.  Race weekends bring in lots of people, and hotels book very quickly.  The good news, though, is even if you didn’t plan ahead, there are a number of travel agents who have room blocks to sell.  The downside to this is you may not get your first choice and you may not have a ton of flexibility when it comes to arrival or departure dates.  The room blocks are often for the weekend only so if you are planning a long family trip before or after the race, this may not be an option.  I go back to this:  book early!

  • Dining!   For Walt Disney World, dining reservations are accepted 6 months in advance (up to 180 days +10, to be exact, but I’ll have to save that explanation for another day).  Believe it or not, for the most popular restaurants, you really do have to be on the phone or on a computer the second reservations open to even stand a chance of getting in.  Of course, you might get lucky later on if there’s a cancellation but if there’s a place you really want to visit, you better be sitting on ready when the time comes.  Since runners are often concerned with digestive issues leading up to a race, this will be something else to think about 6 months in advance. 
    You probably don't want to eat this Mom's Meatloaf Dinner from Prime Time Cafe the day of or the night before a race.

    You probably don’t want to eat this Mom’s Meatloaf Dinner from Prime Time Cafe the day of or the night before a race.  Just Sayin’.

    I hear you, though.  Many of you have no idea where or what you’ll want to eat in 2 days, much less 6 months.  If this degree of pre-planning isn’t for you, fine!  There are a number of counter service places available, many of which rival some of the sit down restaurants.  There will also be tables available somewhere.  It might not be what you want or convenient to where you are at any given time, but you’ll have options.  

  • Park Planning!  This one kind of gives me a headache as of late.  It used to be so easy.  Back in the good ol’ days (up to about a year ago) your hardest decision was how many days your park hopper needed to be.  Unless you had a dining reservation, you didn’t even have to decide what park you were going to until the day of.  Those days are gone, unless you really don’t care what you see or do once you get to the park.  Now they have these things called Magic Bands and Fast Pass+. 
    Magic Bands CAN be pretty magical, but the planning is anything but.

    Magic Bands CAN be pretty magical, but the planning is anything but.

    Your Magic Band contains your room key, tickets, charging ability, and your attraction fast passes.  So 60 days before the first day of your trip, you’ll log on to My Disney Experience (explanation for another day), and schedule 3 fast passes per day of your trip.  This means, if you don’t have a package, you will already need to have purchased your tickets and loaded them into your My Disney Experience.  The kicker is that you can only schedule them in one park per day. 

    Fast Pass+ in My Disney Experience

    Fast Pass+ in My Disney Experience

    Gasp!  Hold on!  They do allow additional passes to be scheduled in another park but you have to wait until your last pre-scheduled pass expires and you have to use a kiosk in the park where your additional one will be.  Want the Cliff Notes version?  Sorry, there really isn’t one.  It kind of is as complicated as it sounds.  I’ve had 3 trips since this new-fangled way of park planning was launched, and the rules weren’t exactly the same for any of them.  My best tip for this is read, do your research, stay on top of it, and try not to lose your mind.

  • Packing!  This is important. 
    American Tourister

    American Tourister

    First and foremost, it’s a race so do not forget your race essentials!  Shoes, clothes, socks, underthings, and gadgets are all things you don’t want to have to figure out how to replace once you get there so double, triple, quadruple check that they are packed.  Also, pack them in your carryon if you are flying.  Unfortunately, lost baggage happens so don’t tempt fate by leaving these things in the care of the airline.  It’s a vacation, too, so pack all the things you would normally pack for a regular Disney trip, also.

    #PackMoreFun

    #PackMoreFun

Whew!  See what I mean?  Lots to get done and not really a lot of time to do it in.  Training is my top priority at the moment, and then the park planning will begin next week.  I’ve already told my family to expect a lot of crankiness once that process begins.  Once it’s done, though, I’ll be ready to relax and have a great race and a great vacation.

What’s your next runDisney event?

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Safety First

There’s something that’s really been weighing on my mind lately: safety.  I’ve been hesitant to write this because you can do a search for safety using any search engine available to you and get hundreds of articles written by a lot of people who are a lot more qualified to write on this subject than I am.  So why am I writing it now?  Recent events have made me realize that, just like the 999 happy haunts in Disney’s Haunted Mansion, there is always room for one more.

Just this weekend a runner close to where I live was hit by a train.  A train, people!  Tragically, the runner was killed.  Care to guess what the news media chose to highlight about this story?  The runner was listening to music using headphones.  Also yesterday a cyclist was hit by a big tractor trailer truck and killed.  I read stories all the time in my running groups where friends had close calls.  So, yeah.  There’s always room for one more story on safety.

Be safe out there!

Be safe out there!

I’d be lying if I said I follow safety guidelines all the time.  We all get complacent.  We get in a routine where things feel comfortable.  At the same time, every time we are out there, anything can happen.  There is no substitute for good judgement.

In no way is this list intended to be all-inclusive.  These are just the best guidelines I can think of that I try to incorporate in my running life.

  • Make sure someone knows where you are and how long you will be there.  If I go missing, I’d like for someone to report it at the earliest possible time.  I always have my phone on me.  My family knows where I am, what my route is, and how long my planned run will take.  Often, friends and family stay in touch with me during the run, too.  This is not just in case I get kidnapped (highly unlikely).  It’s also in case I collapse or fall and break something.
  • Carry ID on you at all times.  I always carry my driver’s license in my pocket.  If I do have some sort of accident, I want someone to know who I am.  There is also a company called Road ID that makes custom ID bracelets with your info.  A lot of people I know have those, too.
  • Run AGAINST the traffic.  I do not like running on actual roads with cars unless it’s part of an organized race, and I don’t have to share my side of the road with anything motorized.  Some of you do, and I get that.  I am fortunate to have access to a network of paved trails long enough to cover any length I would want to run.  Not everyone has that.  Also, sometimes you just need a change of scenery.  So, if you are going to be sharing the road with cars, please, please, please run against the traffic.  You can see the cars coming at you in time to get off the road if need be, and they can see you better, too.  That being said, always assume they do not see you.  The roads are full of distracted drivers.  Truth!
  • Be visible.  Wear reflective clothing.  Wear bright clothing.  If you are running at night, wear those annoying flashing lights along with your reflective, glow-in-the-dark clothing.  Whatever you have to do, however you have to do it, be seen!
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Yes, this means audibly just as much as visibly.  You might want to think twice about listening to music.  Truthfully, I rarely run without my headphones.  However, I have the sound low enough that I can still hear what’s going on around me, and sometimes I just wear one headphone.  No, I don’t run where there are cars very often, but I do share paved trails with cyclists.  Some of those riders are flying!  I want to hear them coming up behind me.  Plus, I frequently get passed on the trails by other, faster runners.  I want to be able to get over so they can get by me, too.
  • Hydrate.  This is more of an internal safety issue as opposed to your external surroundings, but it’s every bit as important.  It’s hot out there, y’all, and this is the time of year when over heating is a real concern.  I don’t go out without hydration at all, even for a few miles, when it’s hot outside.  Sure, you can hydrate all day long every day but it’s just as important to hydrate during your activity, too.

    Hydrate

    Hydrate

  • Have an exit plan.  Always have a strategy for how you are going to get yourself out of a situation where you feel unsafe.  Pop up thunderstorms can happen in the blink of an eye this time of year.  Also, sometimes you just get an uneasy feeling about your surroundings.  Is there a friend nearby who can pick you up?  Is there an alternate route you can take?  Is there a store or restaurant where you can take refuge for a bit?  Sometimes my plan is to simply run loops close to my car so I can get back to it in a hurry if I need to.
  • There is safety in numbers.  I personally don’t like to socialize while I’m running.  I wish I was one of those people who could chat away for 12 miles, wondering where the time went.  I can’t.  The only way for me to ever get into “the zone” is if I don’t talk to anyone.  That being said, I will sometimes run in a group.  I just don’t talk to anyone very much while I’m running.  A lot of people find groups intimidating but they can be a real comfort.  Usually everyone still runs at their own pace.  Some are chatty.  Some, like me, are not.  At any rate, I like knowing there is a group of people who know I’m out there and can help me if I get into any sort of trouble.

Be safe out there, everyone.  I don’t like to hear about these runner accidents.  We are out there doing something good for ourselves, and I don’t want any of our stories to end in tragedy.

Is there anything you would add?  Tell me in the comments.

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RUNway Gear and Giveaway

I don’t know about you but I like to wear cute athletic gear when I work out.  One of my favorite things is running skirts.  I like to feel like a girl, even when sweating.  Plus, the skirts cover up my, um, backside.  Those of you who know me also know that I love theme races so I can run in costume.  That’s one of the things I like about Disney races.  As soon as I’ve registered for a race that lends itself to a costume, I get to planning.  Here is where my friend Vicky comes in.

RUNway Gear

RUNway Gear

Vicky has an Etsy shop called RUNway Gear, and she makes the most adorable running costumes.  If you can dream it, she can do it!  Some of the things she has made in the past include Mrs. Potato Head, a cowgirl, Jessica Rabbit, coronation Anna from Frozen, Dopey, and a NASA space suit for the Spacecoast Marathon, just to name a few.

Bettina as Mrs. Potato Head

Bettina as Mrs. Potato Head

Vicky in her NASA space suit ready for Spacecoast Marathon

Vicky in her NASA space suit ready for Spacecoast Marathon

Bettina as a Cowgirl

Bettina as a Cowgirl

Dopey

Dopey

She also makes super cute skirts either for racing or just training.

Love this cute skirt from RUNway Gear

Love this cute skirt from RUNway Gear

She sources out the cutest fabrics, and if you are looking for something in particular, she will stop at nothing to help you find it.  And yes, the fabrics she uses are suitable for athletic wear so no worries there.  She also makes headbands and can even customize them for you.  She can use the same fabric as she uses in her skirts if you like to be matchy-matchy (me) or she can embroider most anything you’d like on them.

Vicky can embroider what you want to make a custom headband for you or your team.

Vicky can embroider what you want to make a custom headband for you or your team.

I can see this working out great for cheer and dance teams, too.  She even makes other things runners would like such as lounge pants (hello comfort after a cold run), dish towels, and coffee sleeves.

Comfy lounge pants

Comfy lounge pants

Kitchen Gifts for the runner

Kitchen Gifts for the runner

Coffee Sleeves

Coffee Sleeves

Check out her Etsy shop here.  She also recently launched her Facebook page so be sure to check that out here.

Vicky has been generous enough to offer up one of her headbands for one of my readers.

One lucky ready will win this headband from RUNway Gear.

One lucky ready will win this headband from RUNway Gear.

You can enter by clicking the Rafflecopter link below.  Sweepstakes is open to US residents with a US shipping address only and is void where prohibited.  All entries are subject to verification.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday, July 8 and there are daily entries available.  Good luck!

Disclosure:  Vicky is a friend of mine and is providing a headband free to one reader.  I have not been provided any products for free nor have I been compensated in any way.  As always, all opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Navy 10 Nautical Miler Race Report

A little over 2 weeks ago, on June 8, I completed my first distance event since physical therapy, and it was awesome!  Well, the event was awesome!  My performance was a different story, but that was expected.

This is the only road race sanctioned by the US Navy.

This is the only road race sanctioned by the US Navy.

I went into the event almost completely untrained, and logic would say that I probably shouldn’t have even done it at all.  However, I wanted to do it, and so I decided to throw caution to the wind and went with the school of thought that it’s better to be under-trained and healthy than be over-trained and injured.  I decided I would run/walk as far as I could then just walk the rest.  I was confident I could finish without further injury by using this strategy, and I was right.

Before going forward, I will say that I don’t recommend this.  I don’t want anyone reading this thinking to themselves, “if she can do an event untrained then I can, too!”  Please keep in mind, I have trained for and completed several half marathons so I know how to hydrate, fuel, and pace myself.  I do think this is more than half the battle.  Training is more than just getting yourself physically ready.  It’s also practicing and experimenting with hydration and fuel so you know how to keep yourself going.  I know what works for me because I’ve spent a lot of time figuring it out.

Now about the event.  I really wanted to do this event last year.  Unfortunately it was cancelled due to the government sequester.  It is presented by the Navy, just like the Marine Corps Marathon is presented by the Marines.  While I don’t know all the details, the government cutbacks meant last year’s event had to be cancelled.  So, I was thrilled to learn it was on for 2014!

On Saturday, June 7, I went to packet pickup, which was held in the gym at the Navy base in Millington, TN.  I was expecting a normal packet pickup but when I got there, I found more of an expo set up.

I expected a small packet pickup but found an expo instead.

I expected a small packet pickup but found an expo instead.

There were several vendors and swag was plentiful!  Just from the vendors I got a tech shirt (not the race shirt), a fan, a pocket notebook, a thing to hold small items and hang around your neck, a plant, and a sweat towel.  Also, this does not even put a dent in all I could have gotten, but I only picked up things I thought I would use.

Freebies from vendors

Freebies from vendors

The official race swag came in a reusable tote, which contained my race bib, race tech shirt, event sticker for my car, koozie, cup with race logo, hot/cold pack with race logo, a motivational book, Gu, KT Tape, and Biofreeze.

Official Race Swag

Official Race Swag

This was by far the most generous goody bag I’ve ever gotten from a race and really set the tone for the rest of the event.

On Sunday morning, I left my house at 5 am for a 6 am start.  We had to line up 15 minutes early so the Captain could address us.  He explained the significance of the event, which I could create an entire story on.  The short version is that this event is the only road race measured in nautical miles (10 NM = approximately 11.5 land miles).  At sea level, 10 NM is the distance to the edge of the horizon.  Also, 10 NM is the distance the Allied Forces traveled on D-Day.  The first Navy 10 Nautical Miler was held on D-Day in 2010.  After the National Anthem and the Captain’s address, the wheelchair division got their start.  Before long, we were off, too!

The weather was gorgeous, mild and overcast.  It was a perfect day to run.  The course was beautiful, too.  We went around a golf course, through some rural areas, residential areas, and through the base.  I saw horses, and even a live skunk within spraying distance.  Luckily, it left me alone.  Course support was plentiful!  They had water and Gatorade at every nautical mile.  There were orange slices at 2 of the stops, and about halfway through, there was even a beer stop (not official).  In the residential area, neighborhood kids had their water guns, giving sprays to whomever wanted one, which was a fun touch.

It definitely took me much longer to finish than it would have if I were well-trained.  I walked most of it, but I did finish in relatively decent shape.  I was so excited to get my finisher medal!

I was thrilled to earn my anchor!

I was thrilled to earn my anchor!

I had been waiting a long time to earn that anchor.  I was also handed a cold towel, fresh from the cooler, right after getting my medal.  I think that was the most refreshing thing I’ve ever felt!  The post-race party got high marks from me, too.   Food was plentiful!  Beer was freely flowing, and water and Gatorade were in abundance!  I also saw chocolate milk available, too.  Food items I saw included chicken and biscuits, macaroni and cheese, breakfast potatoes, pizza, waffles, and Krispy Kreme donuts.

Overall, this was one of the most well-run local events I’ve done.  I enjoyed every aspect of it, and I hope to have the opportunity to do it again next year and redeem myself.

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