Free Printable “I DID IT” Stickers for Your Planner!

Confession: I dislike winter. The cold really bothers me, anyway. Between the early sunsets and cooler temps, I can find plenty of excuses to skip a run. We are currently training for the Glass Slipper Challenge and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, so I need to stay on top of my training!

I decided to make some printable princess and fairy stickers for my training log that say “I did it” to reward myself for completing my training runs and workouts, and keep me accountable during the cold winter training. I’ve been using them for about a week and so far so good. I figured I might as well share them here on the blog in case any of our readers also need some extra winter motivation.

Free printable "I did It" stickers for your planner or running log

CLICK HERE for Princess themed stickers

CLICK HERE for Tink themed stickers

Directions for making stickers:

  1. Print the file on white card stock or sticker paper. (Try Avery Sticker Paper)
  2. Cut out the stickers using a 1 inch circle punch, paper trimmer, or scissors.
  3. If you print the stickers on card stock, use glue dots, tape, or adhesive of your choice to the back of the stickers.
  4. Put the stickers in your planner or training log to reward yourself for a job well done!

Side note: I also love the Xyron Sticker Maker. It’s super cheap and you can turn anything into a sticker – as long as it fits into the machine!

Happy training!

-Christine

Woman Will Attempt to Qualify for Olympic Trials at WDW Marathon!

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Every year, I am so impressed with all runners who participate in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The Dopey Challenge, which includes the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon, is definitely on my bucket list. I wish the best of luck to all the runners tomorrow!

There is one particular runner that has me feeling especially inspired. Erica Weitz, a former University of Central Florida runner and current high-school coach will be attempting to qualify for the Olympic Trials at the Walt Disney World Marathon tomorrow. In order to qualify, she will need to complete her 26.2 magical miles in 2 hours and 45 minutes. Currently, 188 women have met this qualifying time for the 2016 trials. I bow down to all of these remarkable women for showing the world that princesses can also be superheroes.

Erica told the Orlando Sentinel, “I have some nerves, but I don’t want to get nervous too early. I’m pretty confident, and that keeps you from being too nervous. I am lucky with that.”

Erica ran her first marathon in 2011 at the New Jersey Marathon in Oceanport where she finished as the second woman overall. The WDW Marathon tomorrow will be her fourth and final attempt to qualify for the Olympic trials. 

Please join us in sending Erica a little extra pixie dust tomorrow! We hope that the magic of Disney will help her on her quest to qualify for the Olympic Trials!

-Amanda

 

Advice for Runners from Physical Therapist Dr. Karen Bonney

karenWhen I started training for my first full marathon, my biggest concern was preventing injury and getting through the race safely. I wanted to cross the finish line feeling awesome – not like I was just hit by a bus. Because of this, I decided to schedule a Functional Movement Screening (FMS) with Dr. Karen Bonney at Elite Performance and Rehab in Washington, DC.

The Functional Movement Screening is an assessment tool to observe human movement through a ranking and grading system. It is performed by a licensed physical therapist like Dr. Bonney who is certified in FMS. Particularly useful for athletes, this screening technique allows your therapist to assess where your body is strongest and weakest in order to provide an optimal recovery program.

Even though I didn’t have any existing injuries at the time, this assessment was still extremely beneficial for me. By identifying the weak and strong areas in my body, I was able to recognize the more vulnerable muscle groups and therefore prevent injury before it even started. For example, I learned that I needed to perform more barefoot balance exercises in order to strengthen my feet and ankles. I highly recommend the FMS for both new and experienced runners!

Being the nerd that I am, I recently decided to pick Dr. Bonney’s brain a little further regarding injury prevention for runners. She shared some valuable information with me, and I’m very excited to share it with all of you.

1. What are some of the most common injuries you see in runners?

Running injuries vary across the spectrum, but I often see overuse foot and hip/back injuries. 

2. What can runners do to prevent these common injuries?

Runners can prevent these common injuries with the proper balanced workout routine each week. This routine has a combination of running, hip/core strengthening, flexibility and mobility.

Remember, foam rolling is an important part of mobility training. You can learn a little about foam rolling here. Also, check out this video for some great hip flexor stretch ideas. Hip flexors are notoriously tight for many long distance runners!

3. Is there any particular type of exercise you would recommend in addition to running to prevent injury?

There is no magic exercise, but I would highly encourage runners to make sure that there is in fact a strengthening component to their weekly workout routines.

Check out a few of our recommended strengthening exercises here.

4. When done safely and correctly, should long distance running be pain free or is it normal to feel aches and pains during long runs?

Even when your training is done safely and correctly, there is always room for aches and pains to creep in during long runs. I think the most important part is understanding the difference between “good pain” and “bad pain.”

  • Sharp, acute pain that continues to increase throughout the run – is not good.
  • Pain that travels, radiates up or down a body part – is not good.
  • Numbness or tingling that continues to increase throughout the run – is not good.
  • Pain that makes you change your running mechanics throughout the run – is not good.

 All of the above examples are reason to seek out guidance and/or an evaluation from your local Physical Therapist!

5. Do you have any advice for selecting the appropriate footwear?

Footwear is a complicated one but ultimately the latest research out there shows that REGARDLESS of your foot anatomy, your best bet is to make sure the footwear that you purchase is COMFORTABLE on your feet. It must feel good to you. Do not buy footwear with the notion that “you need to break it in” – that is just not true!

6. Who is your favorite Disney princess?
I love Goofy!!! 
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Princess Goofy?

7. Anything else you would like to add? 

The most important advice I can give runners and all athletes is to make sure their weekly workout routines are balanced and thorough! When in doubt, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions!

Learn more about Dr. Karen Bonney at www.karenbonney.com or on her latest blog post through Active Life DC, http://activelifedc.com/elite-performance-and-rehab-physical-therapy-in-dc/116048

Contact Dr. Bonney (DrBonney@KarenBonney.com) with any questions or to schedule a Functional Movement Screen or initial evaluation! Follow her on Twitter @BonneyKaren.

Wishing you many successful and pain free runs!
-Amanda

Beauty and the Beast Workout

If you are anything like us, you’ve spent the last few days being completely lazy. My activities this Christmas have included going to brunch, opening presents, eating fudge, watching movies, sleeping and eating more fudge. It’s the most wonderful time of the year – to put on extra pounds and fall completely off the fitness wagon! With time off of work and the whole family around, it’s almost impossible to stick with our regular workout routines. Well, today Melanie and I decided to force a workout into our Christmas vacation with this awesome Beauty and the Beast Workout. Just follow along while you watch the movie and burn off those cookies!

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Good luck!

-Amanda

Dining Review: Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood Studios

PicCollageDuring our last Disney trip, we tried a BRAND NEW dining experience: Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This holiday themed character dining experience just made its debut this November and will continue to run through January 3, 2016. The cost is $46.99 for adults and $27.99 for children. The experience is also offered through the Fantasmic! dining package at $52.99 for adults and $31.99 for children.

Reservations for Minnie’s Holiday Dine can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/DINE or by phone at 407-WDW-DINE.

Overall, our group of three adults really enjoyed this experience! The atmosphere was festive, the food was tasty, the chocolate fountain was epic and the characters were friendly. The tables are very close together and the restaurant does get very loud, but I would still recommend this dining experience with two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Upon entering the restaurant, you are welcomed by a photo op with Santa Goofy. You can take a picture with Santa Goofy at another location in Hollywood Studios, but there will be a very long line. This is a great way to get the photo opportunity and skip the wait!

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Santa Goofy

 

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Festive Fare

Dinner at Minnie’s Holiday Dine is served buffet style with lots of seasonal favorites. Overall, the menu was pretty eclectic and offered a little something for everyone. The buffet starts with a delicious bread station complete with pretzel bread and cranberry butter (possibly one of the tastiest things at the buffet.) The buffet moves onto salad and soup selections including quinoa salad, caesar salad, winter kale and cabbage salad, roasted butternut squash soup and more.

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Yummy pretzel bread and cranberry butter. Photo courtesy of Disney Food Blog.

As for the buffet entrees and sides, some of our favorites included pumpkin ravioli, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, brussels sprouts and green bean casserole. Other popular items included lobster mac and cheese, honey bourbon turkey and cherry port ham.

There is also a kid friendly buffet station for any guests bringing along the little ones. Some of the items included corn dog nuggets, tater tots and mac and cheese.

Dessert Bar

In my opinion, dinner was great but the absolute best part of this meal is the DESSERT BAR. Here is a picture of the chocolate fountain and Christmas displays which are front and center at the epic dessert bar.

Chocolate Fountain

We pretty much stacked our plate with one of everything. Pictured below you’ll see the gingerbread cupcake, red velvet cake, brownie, pecan tart and eggnog cheesecake. The dessert bar also included chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered marshmallows, pumpkin tarts, peppermint bark, soft-serve ice cream and more.

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Plate full of dessert!

Character Experience

The food at Minnie’s Holiday Dine is delicious, but it’s made even better by the table visits from classic Disney characters! Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Donald are all circling the room while guests enjoy their dinner. Each character makes a personal stop at your table for a photo. Best of all, they are wearing newly designed holiday attire to celebrate the occasion.

 

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The dinner host: Minnie Mouse!

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Mickey makes a great dance partner

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Daisy looking fabulous

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Donald is #1!

In addition to the table meet and greets, there were a few holiday sing-a-longs happening over the loud speaker and opportunities to get up and dance with the characters. As a nice keepsake, each guest received an autographed card to take home featuring signatures from all of the special celebrities.

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Autographed card

If you aren’t able to make it to this event by January 3, Minnie has announced she will be hosting seasonal events all year long! Depending on the time of year, there will be events for each season with special decor, music, food and costumes! Here are some of the dates that have been announced.

March 21- June 5, 2016: A celebration of Spring

June 6 – September 11, 2016: A beach-party blast for the Summer

September 12- November 6, 2016: Enjoy a festive Halloween celebration

-Amanda

10 Reasons to Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

IMG_6030The holiday season has finally arrived, and the Runs in Tutus family is more excited than ever. Why? Because we just returned from our very first visit to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP)!! This event is basically the happiest night of all time. It combines two of our favorite things: Disney and Christmas. The party takes place at the Magic Kingdom from 7PM-12AM on select nights throughout November and December. It requires a separate event ticket that you must purchase in order to gain entry to the park on the night of the party. This event is absolutely worth it. If you plan to be in Disney World during the holiday season, you do not want to miss it. Here are ten reasons why Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a must-see event.

  1. FREE HOLIDAY TREATS

When you attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you get FREE sugar cookies and hot chocolate. There are several locations throughout the park that offer the complimentary holiday treats. All you have to do is look for the light up candy canes and the smiling cast members holding candy cane signs. We enjoyed our free treats at the Tomorrowland Terrace, and we didn’t even have to wait in line. I should also note that this was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

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Aside from the complimentary treats, there are also a few extra special holiday themed desserts that you can purchase during MVMCP, like the Holiday Tree Cupcake at Gaston’s Tavern and the Peppermint Fudge Sundae at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.

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Peppermint Fudge Sundae, photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

  1. MICKEY AND HIS FRIENDS PERFORM THE NUTCRACKER

This show is adorable. It’s called “Celebrate the Season,” and it takes place in front of Cinderella Castle at multiple times throughout the night. Goofy, Mickey, Donald, Chip, Dale and more re-enact their version of the Nutcracker.

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  1. SNOW ON MAIN STREET

Throughout the entire party, there is “snow” falling all the way down Main Street!

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Snow falling on Main Street

  1. ALL OF THE CHARACTERS ARE OUT IN THEIR HOLIDAY FINERY

There are SO MANY characters out during MVMCP, and they are on point with their holiday themed attired. Winne the Pooh, The Seven Dwarfs, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Scrooge McDuck, Minnie, Daisy, Peter Pan, and Wendy – just to name a few. My favorite was seeing all the princesses in their holiday dresses during the parade!

  1. ELSA FREEZES CINDERELLA CASTLE

This show can also be viewed during regular hours at the Magic Kingdom, but it feels extra special during MVMCP! Elsa, Kristoff, Anna and Olaf come out in front of Cinderella Castle and help bring in the holiday season by freezing the castle and making it snow! You get to chant “ICE AND SNOW, ICE AND SNOW” while they do it. I always think chanting is fun.

  1. SMELL-O-VISION PARADE

The Christmas parade is incredible, and you definitely want to arrive along the parade route early to get a good spot. A lot of the characters will interact with you if you’re in the front. You’ll find lots of characters in their holiday themed outfits, and there’s a special visit from Santa. Most importantly, this parade includes SMELL-O-VISION! As the parade floats go by, it actually smells like Christmas. Gingerbread, peppermint and Christmas tree scents!

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  1. HOLIDAY WISHES

The “Wishes” fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom is Christmas themed during MVMCP – complete with holiday tunes!

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Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

  1. CLUB TINSEL

Club Tinsel is a Christmas themed dance party inside Cosmic Rays in Tomorrowland. We stopped in to get a glimpse of the little kids dancing around with Phineas and Ferb. The best part of this event was the DJ yelling out, “When I say Phineas, you say Ferb!!” We took a selfie with Phineas and danced around a little. This is worth stopping in on just because it’s so cute.

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  1. PLAY HOLIDAY DRESS-UP

How often do you get to wear your own homemade Christmas Mickey skirt? There is only one occasion where it’s appropriate, and that’s at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party.

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We made our own Mickey Christmas skirts for the occasion!

  1. LIMITED EDITION MERCH

There is so much fun merchandise to purchase at the Magic Kingdom during Christmas time! Here are just a few of the things we saw.

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MVMCP Magic Band

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Ornament and cell phone cover

 

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MVMCP Shirts

 

Happy Holidays from our family to yours! -Amanda

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Race Recap: The Disney Wine & Dine ‘Half-Half’ Marathon

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Last weekend the Runs in Tutus crew visited Walt Disney World for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. We had a blast and we have so much to tell you about! From Character experiences to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek and MUCH more. I could go on and on about this trip, but let’s start with the main reason we visited Orlando – the actual race!

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Our crew arrived on Friday afternoon to attend the race expo and pick up our race packets. As usual, the expo was well organized with very few lines. Although we arrived pretty early on Friday, there was already a good amount of merchandise that was sold out. This year, Disney offered a last minute “Disney Wine & Dine Welcome Reception.” It was $200 and allowed you to shop runDisney merchandise on Thursday evening before everyone else. It wasn’t advertised until October 2nd when many people had already booked travel plans. I bet they do something similar for the Princess Half Marathon weekend in February, so if you’re really set on getting the best merchandise, you may want to look out for it. Even though some of the merch went fast, I was able to snag a wine glass and Christine bought the adorable Christmas ornament.

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Wine and Dine Half Marathon wine glass

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Other Wine and Dine merch

At runDisney race expos, the photo opportunities are always my favorite part! Always look out for the green screen photo-op above the stairs before heading down to the expo. This year it had Paris in the background with a tray of the grey stuff.

 

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On Saturday evening, we all got dressed in our race costumes and headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports for the start line. This year we all went with food themed costumes that we each handmade. We had popcorn, the grey stuff, a Disney Cast Member Confectionary costume and a Mickey ice cream bar.

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We all gathered on the grass for the pre-race dance party and got ready to head to the start line. This is about when the wind and rain started to pick up and we all tried to snuggle under one blanket. Our race host got on the microphone and told us that there was some “weather” in the area and we shouldn’t head to our corrals yet. A couple minutes later, they got on the microphone and told us to calmly evacuate the area and head to either the Jostens Center or the HP Field House because of lightning in the area. Over 14,000 people began to move inside. I have to give some credit to Disney because they sure know a lot about crowd control. I have never seen a massive crowd of 14,000 people move so quickly and calmly.

Aerial view of the evacuation

Our group moved into the HP Field House and to be honest we had a lot of fun hanging out in there with the other runners. We were able to use a nice restroom, stretch out on the field, and we got a great view of all the awesome costumes gathered in the stadium! There was a good amount of dancing and at one point someone started the wave. Here are the series of emotions we experienced during the rain delay.

At first we were really sad

 

Then we did not know how we felt

 

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Then we thought – hey this is actually kinda fun!

It was difficult to gather information since we couldn’t hear the announcer over the music, but after about an hour of waiting, someone screamed “THE RACE IS ON” and we all started heading back to the start line. There were a lot of rumors circulating around regarding the course, and it wasn’t until we reached our start line that we found out the race was cut 6 miles short.

I was really disappointed to have the course altered, and I was especially disappointed for all the first time half marathoners. I know how hard they worked to train, and it’s discouraging to get so close to achieving a goal and have it taken away like that. I have to look on the bright side though. No one was struck by lightning, we still got to run about 7 miles through Disney World and we still got to attend the after party in Epcot. There will be other half marathons. I’m grateful that everyone is safe, and I trust that runDisney did they best they could with the information available.

All in all, it was a hot, sweaty, short and fun race. Animal Kingdom was cut out of the course, so we only ran through Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Here are some of the course highlights at this year’s 7.1 mile Wine & Dine “Half-Half” Marathon.

1. Lightning and rain didn’t prevent the start line fireworks!

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2. We ran through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios

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3. Characters along the route included Lilo and Stitch, Genie, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, The Seven Dwarfs and more.

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4. Disco lights in the costume tunnel at Hollywood Studios

5. A sign with Olaf on it that said “I like sweaty hugs”

6. Chef Mickey at the finish line

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7. Free glass of wine and Epcot after party at the finish line!

Thanks runDisney for another great race!

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Only 355 days to go until the next Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend! Registration opens on March 15, 2016 at 12PM ET!

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-Amanda

…and if you’re still sad about missing out on those 6 miles, here’s a video of a drunk man climbing the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. It will definitely make you feel better.

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c08VdzS_3OY>

 

Winning Your Own Race

IIMG_6799t’s March 22, 2015. I cross the finish line of my very first full marathon. I’m overwhelmed with joy, and I feel an amazing sense of pride. No more than 45 minutes after I’ve crossed the finish line, a completely different thought comes to mind. There were a lot of really fast runners in that race. A lot of people I know finished in less than four hours. I ran too slow. I’m a personal trainer. I’m supposed to be good at these things. Why didn’t I run this faster?

WHAT! I had just finished a MARATHON. I ran 26.2 miles. I literally trained through blood, sweat, tears, ice, snow and torrential downpour. Why was I so quick to belittle my enormous achievement? I had allowed myself no more than 45 minutes of feeling proud before I started comparing myself to other people. I would never do that to one of my friends, so why was I doing that to myself?

The more I talk with friends, clients and fellow runners, the more I realize that I’m not alone in this. It’s an epidemic among all of us, and it doesn’t stop at just comparing finish times. There’s even a mean voice in our heads that sometimes tells us that we don’t “look” like runners. You don’t need the body of an Olympic athlete to finish a long distance race. In fact, I’ve seen every type of body cross the finish line. You know who looks like a runner? Anyone who is putting one foot in front of the other with the goal of finishing the race.

I’m not saying that we should settle for something that isn’t our best, or that we should only give 50% then tell ourselves it’s good enough. We should recognize our goals and give it all we’ve got, but at the end of the day you’re the only one who can decide that you’re worth celebrating.

If you registered for a long distance race, you’ve made an incredible commitment to yourself. Maybe you’ve decided to do something that scares you. Maybe this is a big step you’ve made towards changing your life and living healthy. Maybe you have to wake up at 5AM to get your run in before work, or maybe you have to run at 10PM after your kids have gone to sleep. THAT IS AMAZING. YOU ARE AMAZING. I don’t care what you looked like or how fast you ran. Training for a long distance race involves constantly prioritizing your goals and your health. You have to make the decision again and again to lace up your shoes and hit the road. Every single time you make that decision there should be celebratory fireworks going off in your head.

Here are a few strategies I’ve been using to help me feel motivated, proud and awesome about my running.

  1. Set specific and achievable goals: It’s silly to feel upset about not running “fast enough” when you didn’t even have a specific pace goal in mind in the first place. Create a goal that is ambitious but achievable and make an action plan.
  2. Delete negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts: Every time you catch yourself saying something negative, literally visualize a giant red X over the words. Replace it with something positive like “I run fast and strong!”
  3. Remember how far you have come: There was a time when running 2 miles was challenging. Now I can run 26.2 miles. I put in a lot of work to get there, and that makes me proud.
  4. Be reasonable about your disappointment: So you made a goal and you didn’t quite get there. It’s OK to feel disappointed, but don’t obsess over it. Use that disappointment as a form of motivation for the next race, not as a way to bring yourself down.
  5. Create a mantra: Mine is based on one of my favorite Deepak Chopra meditations. I let it play over and over again in my head when I doubt myself as a runner or anywhere else in my life. “I am unlimited strength, I am blissful happiness, I am remarkable speed, I am exquisite well being, I am complete harmony, I am inner peace.” It’s pretty deep. It makes me feel good!

I’ll leave you with this awesome Nike commercial that gave me goose bumps. Finishing last doesn’t make you any less of a runner. All you have to do to be a runner is run.

-Amanda

Foam Rolling for Runners

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Foam rolling is a great way to take care of your body during race training. I really believe it was the pixie dust that got me through my full marathon without any major aches and pains. The importance of using a foam roller is starting to make its way around the running world, but not everyone necessarily knows how or why we use it. If you are one of those people, fear not! Here are some FAQs regarding foam rolling along with some examples of how to foam roll those notoriously tight muscles.

What is foam rolling?
Put simply, foam rolling is a form of stretching. The fancy term for it is “Self-Myofascial Release” or “SMR” if you like acronyms. It’s a method that involves putting gentle pressure on a trigger point or a “knot” within the muscle to increase blood flow and release tension. This is similar to a massage.

What are the benefits of foam rolling? 
There are SO MANY. Foam rolling can improve your range of motion, relieve muscle soreness after a long run, prevent injury, improve gait, decrease joint pain, correct muscle imbalances and increase circulation. It basically makes you a better, faster, less injury-prone runner, and it can make running less painful in general.

When should I foam roll?
The great thing about foam rolling is that you don’t have to be warmed-up to do it. In fact, I would recommend doing it at the very beginning of your workout. This will make you more mobile and less injury prone when you move into the actual workout. It’s also a great way to cool down after a long run.

How do I foam roll?
Slowly roll over the targeted area until you find a pressure point. You will know when you are on a pressure point because it will feel really tender and you will experience some discomfort. Depending on how tight the area is, it could be A LOT of discomfort or just a little. Stay on that tender spot for 30-90 seconds and breathe slowly. Try to relax your body. It’s easy to tense up and clench your hands and face when you feel the pain, but try to avoid that. After the 30-90 seconds, you will start to feel the discomfort subside and the muscle will relax. You want to take the time to really explore the muscle and find multiple pressure points. Try slowly rolling forward and back or side to side and notice how just a slight change in your position can locate new pressure points. Here are a few more tips:

  • Move slow. It’s tempting to roll quickly over the muscle, especially when it’s really painful but this is ineffective. It takes time for the muscle to relax and rolling quickly over a tender spot won’t fix anything.
  • Choose the density of your foam roller. If foam rolling a certain area is too painful for you, start with a softer foam roller then build your way up. If you want to really get in there and apply a lot of pressure, try using a rumble roller or a lacrosse ball. Lacrosse balls are especially great for rolling out the bottoms of the feet.
  • Remember that everything in our body is connected. For example, if you’re feeling a lot of discomfort in your IT band, it could actually be your glutes and hips that are tight. If you’re feeling some discomfort in your lower back, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to foam roll your lower back. It could be that your hip flexors or lats are really tight. Just be diverse with what you foam roll.

Foam rolling suggestions for runners:

PicCollageIliotibial (IT) Band/Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL):  Lie on one side with the foam roller just in front of the hip. Cross the top leg over the lower leg, placing that foot on the floor. Slowly roll from the hip joint down toward the knee (but avoid rolling on the knee). You can also try slowly rocking forward and back to see if you locate a more sensitive area toward the front or back of the leg.

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Piriformis: Sit on top of the foam roller. Cross one foot over the opposite knee. Lean into the hip of the crossed leg. This is really important. For some reason everyone always tries to lean toward the wrong leg. Slowly roll on the back hip area to find the tender spot. If you don’t feel any pressure points, try sitting on top of a tennis ball or lacrosse ball.

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Calves: Place foam roller under the calf. Cross one leg over the other to increase pressure. If this creates too much pressure for you, try it without crossing the top leg over. Be sure to roll the entire length of the muscle.

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Shins: This is the area that bothers me the most when I run. Place the foam roller under your shins and then put your hands on the floor in front of you. You can cross your legs at the ankles or roll both shins at once. It works best when you roll over either side of the shin bone. This is also a great one to do with a lacrosse ball.

Recommended products:

Happy foam rolling, runners!

-Amanda

New Disney Announcements from D23 Expo

New Disney announcements have emerged from the 2015 D23 expo! New Star Wars Land, Toy Story Land, Avatar Land and more!

We were not able to attend the D23 Expo in person, but that certainly didn’t stop us from stalking the internet for live feeds of Magic. I watched the live feed of the Disney Parks panel discussion, and it was absolutely amazing. So many exciting announcements. Here are a few highlights that made me very happy:

  • Both California and Florida will be getting a brand new Star Wars Land!! These will be located in Hollywood Studios and Disneyland.  It will be a brand new planet never before seen in a movie! It will include 2 new rides, one of which will be a chance to fly the Millennium Falcon. That is going to take awhile to build, so the Disney powers that be are going to give us a little more Star Wars to hold us over. Star Tours will get a new destination, and there will be a “Season of the Force” special event in the Spring. During this event, Space mountain will be transformed into Hyperspace Mountain, a Star Wars themed attraction. There will also be a new Star Wars fireworks show in Hollywood Studios.

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Hyperspace-Mountain

Photo from Disney Parks Blog

  • A brand new Toy Story Land is coming to Hollywood Studios!!! YAAAAASSSS. At the Disney parks panel, they announced that this 11 acre land will be modeled after Cars Land. It will look like Andy’s backyard and Andy’s room. There will also be 2 new rides, one of which involves little green aliens pulling you on a flying saucer to avoid The Claw. The other ride will be a roller coaster where the car looks like Slinky Dog! Toy Story Mania will be expanded to include an additional track to expand ride capacity. A lot of the changes coming to Hollywood Studios are about transforming the park “from a backstage experience to a real life experience.” All this Hollywood Studios action helps me feel a little bit better about the disappearance of the Tower of Terror 10 Miler.
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Photo from Disney Parks Blog

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Photo from Disney Parks Blog

  • Meanwhile, in Epcot, Frozen things are happening. The Maelstrom (may it RIP) is being converted into Frozen Ever After. In this ride, guests will experience the winter and summer festivals in Arendelle. The characters on the ride look adorable, especially Sven! The style appears to be similar to that of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. There will also be an expansion of the World Showcase to include a larger Norway pavilion that will house a summer cottage where guests can meet Anna and Elsa.

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  • Animal Kingdom is getting a facelift right now to include the Avatar Land of Pandora. In Pandora, there will be floating mountains, and several opportunities to experience bioluminescence in the evening. Two new attractions will be added to Pandora. One will be a Soarin’ type experience where guests will fly through Pandora. The other will be a boat ride through Pandora that will be lit up entirely by bioluminescence. They will expand the safari ride to include more animals such as hyenas. At night, there will be a new light show that will be called “Rivers of Light.” It will be set on huge fountains. There will be lots of lights and floating lanterns that go into the sky!!!!! AHHHHHH!!! Hyperventilating yet?!

Projection mapping being added to the Tree of Life

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Bioluminescence in Avatar Land of Pandora boat ride

Rivers of Light art concept

  • Finally, Soarin’ over the World will replace Soarin’ over California in Disney California Adventure and Epcot.

Perhaps the most magical, epic, life-changing moment of the expo actually happened the day before at the Goofy Movie panel discussion. It is one of our favorite movies. We frequently discuss how sad we are that “121” is not available on Spotify to add to our running playlist. Yesterday, the Disney Gods smiled upon us and graced us with this 20th anniversary panel.

IT. WAS. EVERYTHING. The panel was complete with cheese whiz aaaannnnd a POWERLINE CONCERT. That’s right. IT. HAPPENED. Powerline sang live. God bless the souls who filmed this epic moment. Made me tear up. Not joking! Here it is for you to view again and again. I recommend a box of tissues to wipe those happy tears.

Another tear jerking moment occurred when Disney Legends Richard Sherman and Dick Van Dyke sang “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” together. 

 There is still a full day of excitement at the Expo tomorrow. Can’t wait to follow all of those details (virtually). What are you the most excited about so far?

-Christine