Wednesday, March 30, 2016

2016 Goals-March

As I start a new month in a day,  I am reflecting on my 2016 goals along with April being my birthday month.

While some of these goals are year-long, others are achievable by the end of the year.  I am happy to report that I have achieved another one of my 2016 goals.  

If you remember from my original goal blog post, I stated that I would color the hearts in pink as I have achieved them.  Here's the updated picture!  :)  

Three hearts are now filled in.  The third heart to be filled in was for my Instagram goal.  I wanted to reach 200 Instagram followers.  I now am proud to say that I have 238 Instagram followers.  I would be honored if you would like to follow me on  Instagram.  

Some of my other goals are coming along well.  I have read 15 books out of 80 along with 8 from my Mt. Vancouver goal of reading 36 books in my TBR (to be read).  I'm working on my gratitude journal daily of writing five things daily in addition to my daily fitness journal.  Other goals are coming along and I hope to complete at the end of the year.  

How are you doing with your goals that you set in January?  Are you achieving them-slowly but surely?  Are you on  track with some of them like me?  Let me know-I would love to hear about your goals along with successes and struggles!  Leave me a comment-let me know if I can help you achieve your 2016 goals.  

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said! 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Shamrock weekend 2016

I had the opportunity to attend the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA this past weekend.  I had started to plan this when I was in Virginia Beach running the Wicked 10K on Halloween.  Plans were to stay with friends for the weekend and run the half marathon.

I was excited about this opportunity as I had heard so many great things about Shamrock Weekend.  This race has been on my bucket list since I started running.  As the time approached, plans changed a little in regards to where I was staying but everything worked out well.  I looked forward to seeing friends, making new friends and having a great time!  I also saw that several of my favorite vendors were going to be at the expo:  Sparkle SkirtsSparkle Athletic and Raw Threads.  What's not to love about this line-up!

I left on Wednesday evening for the weekend.  I had a planned visit to the Northern Neck River area on Thursday to leave on Friday morning.  This is about half way for me and gave me the opportunity to visit the area that I so love.  I did a brief run at Belle Isle State Park on St. Patrick's Day.

After resting for the day, I got up Friday morning and left for Virginia Beach.  I had planned on arriving and meeting friends at the expo when it opened at noon for packet pick-up.  I also had the opportunity to work for Sparkle Athletic on Saturday so Friday would be my day to visit the expo, shop and attend lectures.  I love the Virginia Beach Expo Center and the convenience!
 I arrived, met my friends, picked up my packet and headed straight to Sparkle Skirts.  I was anxious to meet Jessica as I have been working with her as a guest blogger!  She hugged me as did Sparkle Tom and I loved her from the moment I actually met her!  She is just bubbly, friendly, smiling and sparkling!  I had such fun visiting the booth along with buying new skirts!

 Next stop was Sparkle Athletic to introduce myself to Kelly.  Kelly is wonderful-friendly, out-going and fun!  I knew that I would enjoy working with her!  After spending about two hours at the expo and getting pictures, I went home to a friend's house and enjoyed a late lunch, followed by resting and then off to get frozen yogurt in the evening.

Saturday morning came early and back to the expo to work the day.  I enjoyed working with Kelly and for Sparkle Athletic.  I had the opportunity to wear fun items and picked up several to bring home.  I also met several friends at the expo who stopped by to see me and had fun making new friends while working!  I loved this opportunity and am so grateful for the ability to work for a fantastic company!

 Saturday evening came with dinner at Carrabbas for pre-race carb loading.  I met the nicest people, enjoyed a great dinner and had a wonderful time.  A neat story to share as I "checked in" on Facebook and later that evening there was a message from a follower of mine.  She and her husband sat behind me and she wrote that she wanted to say hi but didn't want to be "stalker-ish".  I replied back that she should have said hi.  Needless to say, I ran into the next morning at the race!  What a pleasant surprise to meet her and I was so happy to have that opportunity...what a sweetheart and I enjoyed the brief conversation that we had!  Please also say hi to me; I love to hear about you, your running adventures and share in your joy and happiness!

After dinner, back home and deciding what to wear as the weather forecast had changed several times. I laid out my flat me and went to bed.
When the alarm went off at 4 am, I was tired but excited.

 I couldn't wait to run Virginia Beach.  No rain or wind; just a bit chilly but I could live with that.  After parking and going to the VIP Tent, I ran into Bart Yasso!
 What a nice man and we chatted about the race.  But the weather didn't stay away!  It was as though the sky opened and it poured monsoon rains and gusts of wind!  I was with a friend who was feeling well and she walked me to the start line.  I missed the Sparkle Skirts picture because of the rain.  I was cold, wet and she wasn't feeling well.  By the time, I got to the start line, she was really sick and I was cold and the wind was awful!  I decided to take her home and call it a day since I was starting a new job and couldn't afford to be sick!  The rain, cold and wind was awful!  I took my friend home and then drove home, a bit disappointed but knowing that I took care of a good friend and made the right decision.  There was even an article in the local paper "The Virginia Pilot" the next day about the weather conditions.

Have you ever not run a race?  If so, why?  Let me know!  Til next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rock 'N' Roll DC Race Recap: Part II

The night before the race, I put together my race outfit.  I wasn't going to go patriotic for this race however I found cute arm sleeves at the Expo.  How cute are these sleeves! :)
Flat Me
I woke up at 4 am on race morning feeling tired, excited, butterflies in my stomach but who doesn't feel this way on race day!  
Morning Selfie

I drove to DC and parking was super easy, what a pleasant surprise! The sunrise was beautiful over the city.  
DC Sunrise
I hopped on the Metro to go downtown (Federal Triangle) for the Sparkle Sister meet-up.  I had planned it and was hoping for a lot of sisters but this was more than I thought would show up.  I love meeting new Sparkle Sisters and in every race, I always make a new friend because of Sparkle Skirts.  These women are wonderful and there were many well wishes for the race going around!  
Sparkle Sisters

More Sparkle Sisters

A quick trip to the restroom and off to the start line.  Of course, a quick selfie with friends never hurts either!  
DC Selfie at Start Line
Selfie with Valerie

The race started and we were off.  First towards the Kennedy Center, the Memorial Bridge and then through Washington, DC.  As I stated in Part I, I was a bit hesitant about this race.  I had never run through some of the parts of DC with this race and the elevation at mile 6 scared me.  However, the bands were wonderful along with the race support!  Rockburn Park was beautiful and before I knew it, mile 6 was approaching!  Yes, it is quite a hill!  As one of my friends wrote on Facebook, he lost a lung and wondered if anyone had found it.  The Wear Blue to Remember folks where at mile 6 with pictures and flags; quite a solemn moment.  I made up it up the hill, turned the corner and there was a water stop along with a band.  Well done, RNR DC!  Just what I needed!  There is a small hill at mile  9 which ran through a neighborhood and there was a Guinness Beer stop at one of the houses. Of course, I needed a swig of beer from these friendly people.  I forgot to take a picture though; maybe next year! Somewhere between miles 9 and 10, I was in Adams Morgan and I ran into my friend, Brian from Shake Shack.  He asked me how I was doing and I replied GREAT!  He gave me a hug and wished me well.    At mile 10 as I turned a corner, what did I see but the Brooks guy!  This was fantastic!  
Brooks Guitar Guy
At mile 11, Toyota was there with inspirational signs and neighborhood people were handling out jelly bean!  The bands and neighborhood support were wonderful throughout this race!  I had a mouth full of jelly beans when I posed for this picture! :)  
Toyota Mile 10

Before I knew it, I could see RFK stadium and the finish line.  I sprinted to the finish line without realizing that I still had that much left in me!  All I can say about this race is WONDERFUL!  I have always loved the RNR Race Series and this one is going down as one of my favorite races!  The bands, the course, the neighborhoods along with the support were all amazing!  A huge thank you to all the volunteers, police and medical who helped make this race wonderful!  We depend on you such much as runners and are so grateful for your support and time!  THANK YOU!  

I waited for friends, grabbed food and headed home.  This is the first half marathon that I've done and didn't feel tired.  I guess my cross-training is really helping!  Of course, my beloved Balega socks helped me too!  
Finish Line

Finisher's picture

Balega-The Best Socks Ever!

GWP Bib with Medal

Shirt with Medal

I can't say enough good things about this race.  I'm already signed up for next year and can't wait to do it again!  The only thing that I would change is that I need to take more pictures!  Again, RNR seems to have it together even the next day when I received an email with all my finisher badges, certificate, pictures, etc.  Well done, RNR!

Finisher Badges

Til next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rock 'N" Roll DC Race Recap: Part I

On Saturday, March 12, 2016 I had the opportunity to run the Rock 'N' Roll half marathon in Washington, DC.  My first half marathon was with this series in Las Vegas in December 2012 and I loved it then!  Who doesn't love the RNR series?  Between the great swag and expos, music with live bands every couple of miles, the runner's village along with great food and free beer...what's not to love about these races!  There's so much to share that I'm writing two parts for this recap.

I had signed up for this race at last year's expo (I went to the expo even though I wasn't running the race last year to meet friends) because of the great expo price.  And guess what, I signed up already for 2017 once again because of this special!  I was a bit hesitant about this race as it wasn't the traditional DC race course that I was used to going through the monuments and Haynes Point.  I also saw the elevation profile at mile six and thought, "That a hill!".  I was also a bit hesitate with parking and getting to the race because this race had a different start and finish line.  I had to park close to the finish line but metro to the start line.
Course Map

Elevation Profile

I was on track training for this race until last Monday.  I was placed back on my medication for my ADD (I had been off for nine months due to treatments and surgery last Summer/Fall) and had an adverse reaction to it.  So, I was sidelined approximately the last week before the race and not feeling well at all.  I had to mentally prepare myself more because of this for this race.  I also put together a Sparkle Skirts picture meet-up for race day.  Initially, I didn't have a lot of women respond however the Sparkle Skirts showed up...more to follow about this. :)

I went to the expo on Thursday at the DC Armory.
DC Armory
 I was glad that I chose to drive there because I pre-purchased the parking for race day and it was in Lot 6 which is where I had to park for the expo. Because of this discovery, I re-evaluated my plans for race day to allow for more time to get to the metro for the start line.  The expo was smaller this year but I had more fun!
Expo Schedule

At the Expo

RNR Expo Picture
I did a Toyota challenge and drove a new Rav4, met with the Balega rep, Dan (being a Balega Impi Ambassador this was exciting for me) and see the new socks which I love, saw some friends and just enjoyed myself.
Fun at Toyota

I love this sign!

Balega Fun!
I spent so much time at the expo and had a blast!  Personally, I think that the RNR expos are some of the best running expos.  Anyone else feel this way? :)  Of course, great swag too!
I came home feeling excited about this race! Til next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Race 13.1 Wilmington, NC Race Recap

I had the opportunity to  run a half marathon with the company, Race 13.1 in Wilmington, NC the weekend of February 21, 2016.  Race 13.1 is a fairly new company, two years old and run races in the Southeastern part of the country.

I was fortunate to travel with wonderful people who rented a condo about four blocks from the start/finish line.  What a wonderful trip and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my travel partners better and had a fantastic weekend with them! :)

Wilmington is a beautiful city located about twenty minutes away from several beaches.  The downtown area has a lovely waterfront walk while the city has several trails for runners, walkers, bikers, etc.  One of these trails, The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail was part of the race course.  Once this trail is 100% complete, it will run from downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach.  The race itself sponsored a 5 and 10K along with the half marathon.

Packet pick-up was extremely easy and held at Omega Sports who had friendly staff and volunteers. Saturday was spent trying to figure out the course map which was a bit confusing due to turnarounds and the shorter distance races.
Course Map

Packet Pick-up

I spent Saturday afternoon in downtown Wilmington at Riverwalk and found a great little bookstore, Old Books on Front Street.  Old books is quite quaint with high shelves of books comfortable chairs with lighting, a small coffee cafe.  I would love to spend a rainy day here, heavenly! :)  
Old Books on Front Street
Inside Old Books

Saturday evening was spent making dinner, great conversations and getting ready for race day.  Since it was Princess Half Marathon weekend, I decided to be there "in spirit" with my Princess Posse friends and wear my PP skirt and shirt.
Flat GWP

We got up, ate breakfast and drove to the race site.  The runner's village was small however it was nicely set up and there was a pre-race exercise warm up.  I decided to stay with a pace group for this race.  
Pre-race photo

The race started promptly on time after the national anthem and we were off.  I was doing well with the pace group and for the first 2 miles we were running to the trail.  The trail covered most of the miles however we did run about 2 miles on the campus of University of North Carolina Wilmington.  The campus beautiful and some of the college students were at the water stops cheering us on.  The weather was perfect, mid 70s and sunny.  I was doing well with the pace group until about mile 10 and then I lost my steam.  I dropped back, a bit disappointed however at this point in the race, we were back on the trail and I really enjoyed the beauty of it being myself.  I finished with my normal race time for a half, a bit disappointed but realized that it was my first half of 2016 so I can only get better! :)

After the race in the race village, there was water, oranges, bananas and even Domino's Pizza!  The race ended promptly at 10:30 am with a $1000 drawing in which every runner was entered however you had to be present to win!  
Finisher, can't wait to use my Shower Pill!

Race 13.1 Wilmington Race Finisher

Race 13.1 Wilmington Finisher

Loving my Hidden Comfort Balegas with my medal
 I loved this race and the Race 13.1 has numerous other races that I'm thinking about adding to my race schedule.  I love the medal with the fish which is so appropriate for Wilmington!  I also like that we received a virtual medal to share.
Virtual Race Medal

I would run this race again, maybe 2017!  Have you run any of the Race 13.1 races?  What do you think of this fairly new race series?  Til next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said! 

#RIOTS Week Six and Seven

It's weeks six and seven for the #RIOTS.  I got a week behind as I had a lot of personal things going on these last two weeks. I ha...