2014 In Review

2014_in_review_image1_1_1Well, here we are, another year is in the books – and my what a year it has been!

Sometimes, we all get so wrapped up in our day-to-day grind that it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, and it’s only when we hover above all the minutia and really take a “bird’s eye view” that we can see how far we’ve come!

2014 was an #epicwin year for me!!  I accomplished so much!

Personally, I celebrated both my 1 year and year and a half anniversaries of wine-sobriety.  That’s right, sports fans, I have not had a drop of vino since May 5, 2013.  And that’s a HUGE deal for a chick who, in my hey day, used to pound down at least 4 bottles of wine per week!

Deb and I celebrated our 4th year together, which makes me a really lucky gal, four times over!

Josh headed off to middle school and is doing terrific.  What a great kid he is!!  He was diagnosed with ADHD and gluten/dairy intolerances this year and has just taken it all in stride.  Amazing!  Erin headed off to the University of Maryland (College Park) on January 3rd and is a Junior majoring in English and doing incredible.  Nicki is a sophomore at Stetson University double majoring in Religious Studies and Psychology and is also excelling.  We have 3 really smart kids!!! 🙂

Business-wise, 2014 was a breakthrough year for us!  The speaking calendar was full, including a huge national convention in Dallas in August, and several regional trainings for the same company.  We launched several new products, and organized a 5K race to raise money for domestic and family violence awareness.  It was so successful and garnered so much positive attention, that we incorporated our non-profit entity, Building Remarkable Communities, Inc., and are organizing an entire racing series in 2015 consisting of 5K, 10K, and 15K running events spaced 3 months apart so people can progressively and safely train to the next distance.

old_meAthletically, it was an awesome year!  I came into the year a newbie runner – previously having run no more than a really, slow, sloppy 10K .  In February, I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Then I took some time off from racing pursuits to train for my karate black belt test in July (which I somehow passed).  In August, I picked Swim-Bike-Run back up in a major way to prepare for my first solo Olympic Distance Race at Battle of the Bridges.  Then in October, shifted into pure running mode, as I prepared to take on my longest distance run ever – a full marathon – at the Space Coast Marathon. Along the way, I ran a couple of half marathons and some 5Ks (including a PR 5K at the Operation Changing Lives 5K ).   And to put the proverbial cherry on top of 2014, in October, I was named to the 2015 Swim-Bike-Mom Ambassador Team, which means I, along with 27 other amazing women, get to spread the word that triathlon is for every woman – no matter their size, shape, age – triathlon is a big tent and there is room for everyone!

2014 in Review: 
Swam: 17.98 miles
Biked: 1,156.72 miles
Ran: 573.11 miles
Longest Swim: 3200 yds
Longest Bike: 112.01 miles
Longest Run: 26.2 miles

Looking to 2015, I can only say BRING IT ON!!!  Officially, I will be virtually running the 3 races in our race series; I am running a half-marathon relay at the Melbourne Music Marathon Weekend on 2/1 with my friend and swim buddy, Megan White; Gulf Coast 70.3 triathlon on 5/9; and Beach2Battleship 70.3 triathlon on 10/17.  There will likely be some additional sprint and oly triathlons, as well as some half marathons and other 5K/10K events TBD.

My goal in 2015 is to run 100 miles each month – not sure how that’s supposed to happen, but I am assured that it can be done.

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RACE RECAP: 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon

Rapunzel-tangled-34260942-1008-755Okay, WOW!!  Just WOW!  I have never seen so many princesses in one place before in my life!!  I definitely needed a tutu or a sparkle skirt or a tiara or something.  Oh well, next year.

I signed up for this race on the day registration opened last year on June 11th.  2 days later it was sold out.  Over 25,000 people showed up this weekend to run this race – AMAZING!!

I am certainly no race circuit veteran, but this was the biggest event I have ever participated in by a factor of 10!!

After I registered, I talked my step-daughter, Nicki, into registering too, so it was kind of a family affair!

About 6 weeks from the event, I started looking into logistics and it became clear that we needed to spend Saturday night before the race on Disney property so we could make use of Disney transportation, rather than driving from home and HOPING to get where we needed to be when we needed to be there.  Staying at one of the host resorts (we stayed at All-Star Movies) took a lot of stress out of the equation – and I’m all for that!!

Then I started reading blog posts from previous years races and found a lot of mixed reviews.  Many ladies were just excited to be able to dress up and run and stop along the course and get their pictures taken with Disney characters.  But there were some that griped and grumbled and panned the race from start to finish – I’m not quite sure what they were wanting…

Nearly EVERYONE mentioned that this was NOT the race to seek a PR in, because there were just so many people and you couldn’t really RUN.

So, I really didn’t know WHAT to expect going in.

What I DID know was that, regardless of the the outcome, as long as I finished it WOULD be a PR for me, because I had never run a half marathon before.

First stop when we got to Orlando on Saturday afternoon was the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where the “Fit for a Princess Expo” was being held so we could pick up our race bibs and such.2014-02-22 001 2014-02-21 008

2014-02-23 001 2014-02-23 003Disney is considered a MASTER MARKETING company for a reason – they have this shit DOWN!  You pick up your race bib in one building – very smooth, not much in the way of lines, I was able to pick up Nicki’s bib without hassle – and then you have to go to another building (where the actual Expo is being held) to get your t-shirt (and let’s face it – the PR is cool and all, but we all race for the freaking t-shirt and the finisher’s medal, right? 🙂 ) and you have to walk all the way through the expo to get to the t-shirt distribution place, and then that area dumps you right into the runDisney merchandise booth so you can then BUY t-shirts, pins, jackets, magnets, bumper stickers, and all manner of other stuff.

2014-02-23 002 2014-02-23 001Well played Disney, well played!!

We walked around the expo and Deb bought me the one thing I wanted as a souvenir of this race – a medal rack.  And the one I found was PERFECT for me – it exemplifies everything I think about fitness goals.  You just have to BELIEVE!!!

As we were leaving the Expo area we passed a large pink and purple wall that lots of people were taking pictures of.  As I looked closed, I realized that the name of each person who was registered for the race was listed on that wall – how cool.  So in an ego-filled moment, I had to snap a picture of my name.

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One of the highlights was walking past an area where a guy was talking about race strategy and nutrition and realizing that it was JEFF GALLOWAY!!  So yes, I had to get my picture taken “with” Jeff Galloway! 🙂

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Race day started WAY before 0-dark-thirty!  I woke up at 2:28 a.m. (2 minutes before my alarm was to sound), had my Spark, imagineered, downed a shake, and generally just got pumped up for the morning.

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I am so amped up in this picture!!!

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Nicki? Not so much…

Nicki and I walked down to the bus loading area at 3:10 and walked right onto a bus.  We were at Epcot by 3:45.

There is quite a bit of walking involved once you are dropped off by the buses.  We walked from the parking lot, through bag check (which was incredibly fast and efficient) to the Family Reunion/gEAR check/Party Zone area,  and each ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  Then we went through the check point to a holding area where we just hung out until about 5am.  It was super humid and foggy, but warm.  I had brought an old sweatshirt to wear while we were waiting that I could just throw away when it was time to run, but I really didn’t need it.  At 4:45-ish, we were herded – yes, I think “herded” is an appropriate term – through another parking lot and down another road to the starting corrals (HA!  Another cattle reference).

There were 16 start corrals,  I was in Corral E (I submitted my pitifully slow 10K time from the Beat the Heat Triathlon back in November) and Nicki was in Corral M.  The start was staggered by corral in 3 minute waves.  It was timed like clockwork – so well done.  There was a stage and big screens that were projecting the announcers, there was great music, and a really energized atmosphere!  And princesses EVERYWHERE!!!  There were also lots of PRINCES!  I felt mightily under-dressed in my purple Under Armour running shirt and running shorts, but just couldn’t stomach the idea of running in a tutu and a tiara – maybe next year…

My goal for the run was to finish in under 2 hours.  I knew if I just RAN I would likely run out of gas somewhere along the way.  So my plan was to run 3:30 and then walk 30 seconds, and to do that over and over and over again until I crossed the finish line.  I figured if I did that, I could maintain close to a 9:00/mile pace.  So, that’s what I did.

The route was mostly in the dark.  And maybe it was because I had the good fortune to be in one of the early start corrals, but there were only a handful of times when I couldn’t run as fast as I wanted to go.  There were 5 times that I can remember in the first half where the course narrowed so much that we were all pressed together pretty tightly and we all slowed to more of a trot for a bit, but those were short lived.

Nicki said the crowding was a lot worse further back and she had to walk more than she wanted to because there was such a mass of people at times!

I promise to buy all my race pics as soon as they are all uploaded - this is just a placeholder - I PROMISE!!

I promise to buy all my race pics as soon as they are all uploaded – this is just a placeholder – I PROMISE!!

Just as we were entering the Magic Kingdom I saw a familiar face – a man – and quickly realized it was JEFF GALLOWAY!!!  So I shouted, “Hey Jeff Galloway!  You’re my hero!!”  And he stopped, smiled, said “Hey!  Thank you very much!!”, gave me a hug and I was on my way – PASSING Jeff Galloway! 😉  That was so cool!!!

Running through Cinderella’s Castle was really cool.  I’m posting this picture, and I realize it’s not mine to share yet, but I will replace it with when the photographer finishes uploading all the pics and I can buy the downloads.  I really was still running with a smile at this point!

Before I knew it, I was turning back onto Epcot property.  I had 10 minutes to go to run 1.4 miles – it was just barely doable on fresh legs for me.  My legs and feet were aching, but I decided to go for it.  As I rounded Spaceship Earth I was running faster and faster, but I was running out of gas fast!

Where was the damned Finish Line!  Then I realized that there was a turnaround and I had to run back to Spaceship Earth and THEN to the Finish Line!  OH MAN!!!

The 2 hour mark passed as I hit the turn, but I wasn’t all that disappointed – I was still going to finish my first half marathon with a decent time.

As I crossed the finish line, I heard the announcer call my name, which was cool!

I got my medal – which is really nice and HEAVY!

I made my way to the Family Reunion area to the place where Deb and I had planned to meet and found her and Josh right away.  I was soooo relieved to be finished.

An hour or so later, Nicki crossed the finish line.  Considering she really procrastinated training until about 3 weeks ago, I am damned proud of how she did!!

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We have decided to come back next year and run the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K on Saturday/Half Marathon on Sunday).

Race Advice:

  1. If you want to register for this race, find out when registration opens and register that day!  Don’t wait or it will sell out.  This is an Aim-Fire-Ready thing.  You’ll get ready along the way, I promise!!
  2. If you have a previous 10K or half marathon time, do yourself a favor and submit it to runDisney so you can get in one of the earlier corrals.  My race and Nicki’s race were entirely different experiences because of our corral placements.
  3. Dress up and have FUN!  I will dress up to some degree next year.  I mean seriously, why not?
  4. Disney was awesome and prepared well for everything.  There were ample port-o-potties (although finding one to use after the race that didn’t look like a someone EXPLODED inside it was a trick – sorry TMI), so the call of nature is not a big concern.
  5. There were water/Powerade stops every mile or so and a Clif product stop between miles 8 and 9.  I stuck with what I had been eating/drinking in training, but there was plenty there for those who weren’t carrying their own nutrition.
  6. The volunteers were AMAZING!!!  THANK YOU to any of them who happen to read this! 😉

Either Disney has learned a lot in the past few years or some of the harsher race reports I read were written by divas or folks with incredibly inflated expectations, but I really have nothing negative to say about the event – AT ALL!

My Results

All-in-all, I am very pleased with my results in this event.  I stuck to my plan and feel like I did my best, although I probably did go out a bit too fast.

Here are the numbers:

resultsMy time was 2:03:20.
I came in 891/20,751 overall (top 4.2%)
I was 733/19,282 females (top 3.8%)
I was 36/1,582 in the 45-49 Age Group (top 2.2%)
Not too shabby for an old chick!! 🙂


Finally! I’m So Excited!!!



I’m so stinkin’ excited I can hardly contain myself!

One conference call and then we are out the door, Disney bound!

Race clothes – check; Race fuel- check; Garmin – check; iPod – check; Mapquest directions – check; ID – check; Hotel confirmation – check…

First stop:  ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to check in, get race bib, SWAG, and empty my wallet at the expo.

Then to the hotel to check in and figure out the transportation situation for the morning.

Then dinner and attempt to unwind and go to sleep.

1st alarm at 2:30am to eat, imagineer, and catch the 3:30am bus to the start line (well, to the drop off point… I understand there is then a 20 minute walk to the actual corrals.

Can you tell I am excited?  And I haven’t even had my coffee yet!!

I know these past months of training will pay off.  I’m ready.  Can’t wait for 5:30am!!


I’m Ready…

Wow, what a whirlwind the past week has been!

Work has been a series of jumping from one event to the next and preparing for upcoming events, and taking steps toward the announcement of a HUGE initiative by our company (Shhhh, can’t talk about it yet, but rest assured I will spill it all very soon).

So sadly, personal blogging had to take a back seat to the work that actually pays the bills.

My training schedule last week as ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!  I was getting up at 4:30 a.m. to jump on the bike trainer just to get in any workout at all, and my training runs that Coach Pam scheduled were stacking up at the end of the week.

On Friday night, I got the text I was dreading from Coach Pam…


I immediately felt a huge amount of guilt for reworking her training plan.

I hadn’t even completed my long run of the week (10 miles) – UGH, I was a bad mentee!!!

Saturday morning I woke up at 3:30 a.m. so I could get a pile of work done before my run and then taking my son to his swim meet  The first thing I did was email Coach Pam:

Thanks for the text last night.  This week has been – hmmm, how to put it – challenging!!

We are in a period of incredible growth in our business, which is awesome and pretty amazing, but it comes at the price of time to do what I want when I want.  It has definitely been a “nose to the grindstone” kind of week that has had me up wicked early every day to even get a workout in at all.

Soooooo, I’ve needed to flex and flow a bit..

Monday:  Still sore from Saturday’s 14 miles, I opted to do 10 mi on the elliptical – it felt fine.
Tuesday:  Upper body strength and karate
Wednesday:  1 hour hard aerobic on bike trainer
Thursday:  Off (Deb’s Birthday)
Friday:  30 minute sprint on bike trainer
Saturday:  Running 10 miles (Wednesday’s scheduled workout – will let you know how it goes)
Sunday:  5 miles – hard intervals with easy jog during “walk” breaks (Friday’s workout)

I owe you a brick!!! 🙂

At 7am I headed out for my 10 mile, negative split run.  It was hard, but at the end I was pretty sure I could have managed 3.1 miles more.

10-mile-splitIt was a good run, but I was still dreading Coach Pam’s response to my “massive justification” email (yes, yes, I know, I’m on Day 4 :p )

I was not prepared for what I found on social media…

pam-fbSeriously?  How freaking awesome is she?  I am not even kidding!!

So, here I sit 12 days out from my first ever half marathon and I know that I am ready.  I can do the distance.  My run has quantum leaped in the past few weeks.  I have a long way to go to  reach my ultimate goals, but I am pretty darned tickled with how far I have come since November.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I received the following email:

Subject:  Ready to go!

Thank you for being so coachable…

I got your other message – challenging week, time pressed and you are doing great – slightly re-routing the schedule is fine… cause here is the deal – you are trained – everything from here out is to keep you focused and confident.  I know you understand that, but you will worry anyway if you don’t keep moving.

Keep me posted – you are an absolute champion.  Congratulations in advance for your enormous success.

Your imagineering assignment now is to race that race over and over and over… each mile enjoying the negative splits.  Being patient hearing the crowd, seeing the smiles, watching the great stories of courage and determination.. seeing the finish line clock with the number that you want to see – not the one you know you can do… the real one you want to see.  🙂

You have to believe it to see it.  Your thoughts determine your destiny.  Imagineer the results you dream of.


You just HAVE to love it when your coach throws your own words back at you.

I’m ready… I just want to go, go, GO!!!  12 days!