Race Lessons Learned

It was a giant pain in the butt to take my phone out of my arm band each time I wanted to take a photo so I really need to have a different plan for the half marathon. I would have taken so many more photos through the race if it was more convenient.

Dry mouth is serious business when you are running. My mouth was SO dry within the first mile of the 5k and I was dying for something to drink. I will always have hard candy to suck on during my races from now on to help with this problem. I also love the sport beans, but I brought jolly ranchers with me during my last run and it worked perfectly!

Have extra safety pins when you are traveling for a race in case you lose the ones that came with your race bib!

Set out your race gear the night before (ALL OF IT!) so you are not frantically looking for things at 4am (or earlier).

Banana settles well with Cruella (click here for more on Cruella) before a race.

Always have a throw-away jacket or sweatshirt before a race (even if you live in Florida)!

Do not solely rely on Pandora for your music – it may not catch the signal and then you are out of luck. Always have backup music.

What are your lessons learned with running?


My Disney Family Fun Run – 5K Experience

I ran my first Disney race (The Disney Family Fun Run 5k) two weeks ago during Disney’s Marathon Weekend.

On Wednesday night Lucky Charm and I headed to the Expo where we had to pick up our packets for our races, and check out some of the gear they had for sale. We drove straight to the Expo where we were parked way out in the back fields of Disney’s Wide World of Sports. I put her in the stroller and we walked (ok, I admit I was a little excited so we may have speed-walked) up to the front gates where they had some fun banners for people to take photographs with for their corresponding race. Lucky Charm didn’t want to take my photo, so I just took a photo of the banner.

Packet pickup was pretty easy, we had our signed waivers ready and went to the counter with the appropriate corresponding number (which was printed on the waiver) and had to sign that we picked up our materials. I had previously purchased (during race registration) the commemorative Kids Race Mickey ears for Lucky Charm, as well as the commemorative pin for the 5k, so we were handed those with our race IMG_90521materials including our race bibs, and gear bag. Lucky Charm’s bag had the marathon guide, her ears, pin, t-shirt, and race bib. My bag had the race guide and bib, and we were given a paper to take to pick up the t-shirt at another location.

As we approached the Josten’s Center (where the majority of expo activities were held) we were told that strollers were not allowed in the building, so we parked the stroller and headed in. Lucky Charm has some anxiety around large groups of people and since we arrived at the Expo around 5:30PM the traffic inside the building was growing by the minute. This triggered her into a lovely little spiral of anxiousness which resulted in her throwing herself on the floor in the middle of the Expo screaming. I just stood there dumbfounded knowing that there were 50 people staring at her, IMG_90471and I at that very moment. I asked her if she was done, and if she needed a hug, and she continued to throw a fit. After three rounds of this vicious cycle, I ended up carrying her through the Expo and leaving. My only purchase was three lovely bondibands. I was disappointed in the availability of 5k merchandise – but can understand that it is the smaller of their events and they were focused on the bigger achievements that weekend.

After we left the Expo, we headed to our hotel which was in Lake Buena Vista (just off Disney property). I got my race gear set out for the next morning and we got ready for bed. The alarm was set for 3:45AM. Mr. Lucky had to work until 10pm so drove to the hotel when he got out of work. I ended up falling asleep with Lucky Charm before he arrived so I got up and went down to let him into the hotel and climbed right back into bed.


The morning of the race I was so pumped. I had Pandora playing my favorite workout station as I got ready and that just psyched me up even more. We got Lucky Charm dressed while she was half asleep, and loaded up the backpack and mini cooler for our adventure. IMG_90801

We left the hotel around 4:30am since we were told we had to be in our corrals by 5:30am. I wasn’t sure what to expect traffic wise knowing that marathon weekend traffic results in road closures. We got there very quickly, and we got parked close to the first set of tents. We sat in the car for a few minutes and I ate a banana for breakfast. All of us really enjoyed watching the costumes people had on as they walked by our car. As we walked towards the IMG_90831tents we were directed to an area where bags needed to be inspected and then through to the main area where there was a stage set up with a DJ and a concession tent with coffee, hot chocolate and breakfast. The DJs were very good at getting the audience engaged and warmed up with music and communicating the happenings of the day. At 5:00 we were let through to the corrals to take our places. There were lit balloons that indicated the corral assignment (A through E). I was assigned to corral D and I was very thankful I was not in the very last corral. It had started to sprinkle and it was not even 50 degrees outside, so I was very chilly, and regretting my decision not to bring a sweatshirt with me. I knew that we could have a sweatshirt and throw it before the race, but I don’t own any that I can lose like that, so I wasn’t prepared. I noticed that many people were running in groups with their friends/family, and there were very few of us running alone. I was excited to run alone and do this just for myself, by myself. Although, I am really looking forward to lining up with LMM for the Princess Half Marathon, and couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome that experience is going to be.

As 6am approached, they let corral A line up near the start line, and shot off fireworks as the race began. Slowly each of the corrals ahead were led to the start line and finally it was time for corral D. I was really chilled by this time, but I was pumped to start my run after waiting patiently for over an hour. When the fireworks went off we headed out and I watched for my family on the sidelines and waved to them as I jogged by. Neither of them saw me, but Mr. Lucky was recording so I was sure he would see it afterwards. It was a little crowded in the beginning but most everyone was pumped up and ready to get on their way. First, we navigated through the parking lots of Epcot, cheered on by cast members along the way. This part of the race was somewhat boring, but it was interesting to run through the back side of Epcot where the general public is not typically allowed. As we entered the world showcase, it was still dark and the ball was lit up so beautifully. IMG_90901Running through the showcase was really beautiful, and I saw one character (Dopey) who had a VERY long line of people waiting for photos (more about the Dopey Challenge later!). Each mile marker was beautifully displayed and there were lines of people posing for photos at each one. I stopped briefly at the first water stop to get a drink, and quickly got back on course and on my way. Even though I knew I was making decent time, I refused to stop for more than a second to snap a photo. I didn’t even see any of the characters that others saw during the race because I was in such a zone! I still can’t believe that I missed them, I seriously only thought that there was just the one character on the course! I was starting to get hot and tired when I was approaching the ball, but I knew that was the final stretch, and it motivated me. I stopped for a quick selfie, and then headed to the finish line. IMG_90941It was so amazing to cross that finish line and the feeling of accomplishment is amazing. The cheering crowds are definitely a bonus.

I scanned the crowds for my family and when I found them I stopped for a photo and told them where to meet me. I got my medal, and stopped for a final photo.photo 2 I was very grateful to the woman behind me for taking my photo for me since the photographer was not allowed to, and I didn’t have anyone with me. After the photo station, there were tables set up with post race refreshments. I grabbed a snack box, a banana, a water and a powerade. I met the Lucky’s and we walked back to the car. We didn’t hang around to see Pluto or his friends after the race or enjoy the entertainment because it had started to sprinkle and I was freezing and hungry. When we got back to the hotel, we celebrated Mr. Lucky’s birthday with some cake for breakfast, and then all curled up together for a nice little nap!

Stay tuned for more about our post race celebration and Lucky Charm’s first runDisney Kid’s Race!

My Goals for 2014

I do not typically set new year resolutions or goals, but this year I have high expectations for myself in 2014. I also turn 30 this year so I really want to try to get myself in a place in life where I am comfortable. Here are my goals!

1. Take a family vacation. Our family has not taken a “real” week long vacation in a very long time (pre-Lucky Charm) other than trips to Maine where I grew up to visit my family, and Disney World trips (which are wonderful, but are never more than a few days!). I am really hoping to get a Disney Cruise booked this year, or go somewhere fun. We already have plans to go to a wedding in the mountains of Georgia in the fall for one of my best friends! I want another vacation in addition to this if we can make it work! Which brings me to the next goal…

2. Get our finances in order. This year has been full of financial challenges for us. After the crazy cost of adoption, my back surgery and being on disability, my weight loss surgery, and having my sister and her family live with us for many months, we have not recovered financially. I have also only been working 30 hours a week (part time) at my job since Lucky Charm was a baby. I went back full time originally, but needed to spend more time with her so I reduced my hours. This has been a huge financial strain for us, and for a while it worked, but it is not working any longer. Since workload is so light and the environment in my current job is so bad, this is part of the reason I am searching for a new career. Part of this goal is to also budget effectively, and to start using a cash envelope system. I also strive to be better at clipping coupons and shopping sales for groceries. I rarely buy anything that is not on sale when it comes to non-food items, so I really am hoping to do the same for food when it can be done. I still need to put protein first so I realize this cannot always be the priority for me.

3. Run a half marathon. This is booked, and waiting for me, now I just need to make it happen. I will make this happen. I will finish this race and not get swept!

4. Reach 175 pounds. This is a number goal. Many people do not like number goals, but I need this number goal. This is 25 pounds away from my physician’s goal weight for me, but this has always been my ideal weight. I really think that I can lose 50 pounds this year to meet this goal.

5. Take care of myself. This includes getting rest, physical exercise, eating correctly. This also includes getting a babysitter and taking a time out when it’s needed. This is also going to include making it to my doctor appointments even if a babysitter is necessary, getting regular dental cleanings, and going for a pedicure once in a while. My eyebrows could really use some help too!

6. Put the phone down. Yep, I am one of those people with my phone glued to me. I can be found mindlessly flipping through facebook, emails, news, games, photos, you name it. We have a “no phone zone” with Lucky Charm at times, and she will tell me to put it down, but my goal is to put it down and be actively participating in time with my family as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of times I play with my child, or watch a movie with my husband, but I really want to try and stop passing the time mindlessly. I would rather replace this time by picking up a book to read or anything else productive really.

7. Get in touch with Lucky Charm’s biological siblings and attempt to arrange a meeting. I feel like it is really important for her to have a relationship with them and it is my goal to try to facilitate this contact if possible. Of course if their parents decide it is not in their best interest, I must respect that but I will give it my best!

8. Find a new career direction, and start a non-profit. I am hoping to find a job that I love this year, that is no secret. What I really hope to do is figure out what it is I really want to be doing for my career and make that happen, whether it is enrolling in classes, or another degree program.

9. Blog more! Writing is therapeutic for me, and I really hope to be able to help or inspire someone else. I have been blessed reading so many other people’s blogs and I hope to do the same for someone else struggling with similar issues.

10. Be a better person. This consists of so many things that I won’t dig completely too much into it, but mostly I want to be the best person I can be. This includes elimination of curse words, doing more charity work, loving more and being more positive. I also hope to encourage others to do the same. I also strive to be a better mom and wife for my family. This includes keeping up with my household duties and spending quality time with each of them.

I am not crazy to think that I will accomplish ALL of these things in the next year, but it is my goal to work on each of them, and to roll them over to 2015 if I need to. I am going to look at this list at least weekly and be sure that I remember what I hope to accomplish and try to figure out the best way to incorporate each of these things into my daily living (if applicable).

What are your goals for this year? Are you setting goals this year that you have not before?

Selling Yourself

Selling yourself short is easy, but selling yourself on a resume, not so easy. I have been sitting at my computer trying to re-design my resume, and I am having some trouble selling myself.

I have been with the same company for 10 years. I have grown up in this company, starting as the receptionist and moving into construction administration. I finished my degree while I worked here, so I don’t exactly have the most relevant job experience when compared to my degree in Management. I do, however, know how talented I am. I know that I am moldable, flexible, intelligent, quick to learn, efficient and detail oriented. How do I convey these things appropriately in one page? That’s the conundrum.

I am so much more talented than my current position requires, and that is why I know it is time to move on. My current job has supported me through the adoption of Lucky Charm, and has been so flexible with my schedule, even allowing me to work part time, and often from home. Now that she is older, it is time to focus on finding a career that is fulfilling and that utilizes my talents appropriately.

Problem is, I don’t have a ton of specific experience anywhere in particular outside of Construction Administration. Now I have to capitalize on all of the skills I use in this position and all of the skills I have acquired through my education and volunteer experience and somehow help someone see the capabilities I have to offer. This is HARD. My wheels are spinning and I am going nowhere fast.

Perhaps the new design will spark some creative ways to highlight this? Ugh. I don’t know.

It’s not going to be easy every time you try

I learned today that it’s not going to be easy every time you try to run. Today, I FORCED myself to get out of bed and go for a run, headache and all. It was awful. I hated every minute of it. Typically, I am psyched to go, and even if I am not once I start running and the endorphins kick in I am a happy girl. Today, that didn’t happen. Every quarter of a mile was a struggle. I convinced myself that I could turn around before I had even run a mile – with the fear that I would need to run to the bathroom if I didn’t! (This happened the last time I ran and I was afraid I wouldn’t make it home in time to reach the bathroom! What a horrible feeling!) My total distance was just over a mile and a half – and I walked at least a half mile of it. I felt defeated, and I considered deferring my half marathon registration to 2015. I know that today was an off day, and I just need to get back in the routine. 

Still, today I felt like the 300+ pound girl who couldn’t walk down the hallway without her head pounding. My head was pounding, but I was running, and that should be the victory. I have awful fears that the IH (Intracranial Hypertension) is creeping back up on me.

I have had a headache on and off for the last week. Most mornings I wake up with it but it goes away by the afternoon. With IH, it NEVER goes away. It is accompanied by buzzing in the ears, and a throbbing head with movement. I haven’t had these specific recurring symptoms since before I had my surgery, but if they happen to sporadically pop up it sends me into a panic. Yesterday, I had some buzzing, and today I had the pounding. Hence, the freakout and negative self talk that allowed me to stop running.

Tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow, I am hoping to LOVE my run, and myself. On a positive note, I have almost hit 10,000 steps today on my Fitbit due to the run this morning – no matter how crappy it was, it still counts for something!


Motivation is tricky for me lately. Mentally, I am motivated to accomplish so much. Physically, I am exhausted. Emotionally, I am exhausted. I have huge hopes for the day, and then the exhaustion sets in and nothing outside of the normal daily requirements gets done.

I have not run in over a week. I need to get back out and run tomorrow. I NEED to do this. I am NOT prepared for the half marathon and it scares the pants off me. Obviously not badly enough or I would have crawled out of bed and run this morning. Enough beating myself up, but I need to get my act together. I should really be at a 9 mile distance by now. I haven’t gone over 4.

The holidays have been hard for me. I have been grazing and not putting protein first. After having bariatric surgery it is very important that protein is the main focus of EVERY meal. Over the last couple of weeks I have fallen back into old habits and eating out of convenience, emotion, and preference. See, when given the choice I will almost ALWAYS choose a carbohydrate option over a protein. That is the way it has always been. I do not want this surgery to beat me, I need to continue on the path of good health so I must choose protein first. No more excuses.

Mr. Lucky bought me a Fitbit Flex for christmas so we are getting to know each other. Previously, I had a Jawbone UP which I lost (I suspect in the midst of wrestling lucky charm after an epic tantrum in the mall food court). I am making a huge effort to log my food in my fitness pal, and get my minimum intake of 64 ounces of water (I haven’t even been coming close to this!).

Now, I must get motivated to tear down all of the Christmas decorations, donate old toys to charity, and get myself on the road early EVERY morning to run!