Saturday, October 24, 2015

Paws in the Park 5k

I love running races for causes that I truly believe in.  Pet adoption is one of those.  As most of you know, we adopted our dog, Guinness, from Peace Love and Dog Paws Rescue in Birmingham just a week after moving into our house.  We’ve had him for just over 4 years and can’t imagine what life would be without him.

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When I heard about the Paws in the Park 5k in Blue Ridge, I knew I wanted to run it, especially since all the registration fees went straight to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge.  So I had my parents sign me up when they were in town one weekend and was ready to go!

Packet pick up was held at Terra Outfitters, a fairly new running store in Blue Ridge.  If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend stopping by and checking them out.  The owners are amazing and they have some great products.  They also host weekly run and walk groups.


Saturday morning brought some cold temperatures to the mountains.  Just about everyone was bundled up from head to toe.  Knowing I would warm up soon after the run started, I went with my usual race attire – a tank and shorts, with some arm sleeves added for a little warmth.


The race started and I felt great!  I hadn’t run outside since the Disneyland Half Marathon last month so I wasn’t entirely sure how I would feel or how I would do, but I had a really good race.  The course was a loop/out and back (if that makes sense).  My parents snapped some pictures of me along the course.


I finished 14 seconds away from a new PR…I was pretty pleased with myself!!  After the race they had warm chili and cornbread and fried apple pies for the runners, as well as the usual bananas and water.


Here’s where things took an unfortunate turn -

When I picked my bib up the day before, I noticed that it had my incorrect age on it (35…I am 33).  It wouldn’t have been an issue except that it bumped me into the next age group.  I never go into any race thinking I’m going to place in my age group, but this time…I did…I place 3rd…in the wrong age group.

I accepted the award and stood on the podium, knowing I didn’t belong there…it should have gone to the next person, but I did not want to interrupt the awards ceremony to make the correction (which I know I should have done).  I should not have posted a picture on Facebook saying that I managed a podium finish (which I did).  I was unable to find the race director afterward, but I have reached out to her to make her aware of the mistake and have offered to mail the award back to them so that the rightful person can claim it.

I know there are a lot of cases of cheating that happen (people running with someone else’s bib, cutting courses short, etc), which I do not condone.  This was a clerical error that was not realized until the night before the race.  I am doing what I can to correct it and already have guilt for taking away the podium from the person who should have been there, but I cannot go back in time to change my actions.  Sadly, what’s done is done and all I can do is move forward and be more careful (and make sure my parents know exactly how old I am if they sign me up for another race).  So the lesson is to never assume anything – get things corrected before something like this happens.  I’m sure I’ll get some negative comments about this, but I am being honest and putting it out there instead of hiding under a rock.  I did not need anyone to tell me the right thing to do…I knew what it was and handled it as soon as I could. 

Other than that, I really enjoyed the race and hope to be able to do it again next year.

PITP 14 


Have you ever had something similar to this happen to you?  How did you handle it?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend – Day 1

I am so incredibly behind, so hopefully I can get all caught up!

A little over a month ago I boarded a plane to head to one of the Happiest Places on Earth for what promised to be an epic, amazing, fantastic, spectacular (oh…you get it? Okay) #DiamondGirlsWeekend at Disneyland!

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After landing in LA and hopping onto my own “Cinderella’s Coach”, we were off to the Disneyland Hotel for the Disneyland Half Marathon race expo!

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Here I met up with my friends and awesome roommates for the weekend – Lena and Heather.  Lena had jumped in line for the official race merchandise (which was crazy!!) and was sweet enough to pick up my wish list items and purchase them for me :) 

We didn’t stay at the expo long as we had to head to the airport to pick up Krissy!  We then headed to the InknBurn headquarters to say hi and check out some of their amazing clothes, then it was time to feed our bellies with a true California tradition -


IN-N-OUT!!!  We don’t have them on the east coast so it’s always a must have (animal style is the bomb)

After lunch, we headed to our hotel to check in and drop our luggage off, then back to the expo to pick up our bibs, anniversary party tickets and do a little shopping.  I loved how close our hotel was to the parks and Downtown Disney…definitely a perk of Disneyland vs. Walt Disney World.

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We had a lot of fun walking around the expo, checking out all the amazing vendors they have, and running into friends we hadn’t seen in awhile!  Some of my favorite vendors included Sparkly Soul, PRO Compression, and Sparkle Athletic.  runDisney also had a fun photo booth for us!  You could pick between a Sleeping Beauty Castle backdrop or a Dumbo backdrop….or even both!  Since I was only running the half marathon this year, I went with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and I thought it turned out pretty cute!


Once we finished with the expo, it was back to the hotel to drop off our purchases, a quick change of clothes, and it was time to head into Disneyland for the runDisney 10th anniversary party!

To be continued…

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Disneyland 1/2 Marathon Weekend “Schedule”

The day has finally come!  I’m leaving to spend a highly anticipated weekend to Disneyland with some amazing friends!DL suitcase This weekend is going to be jam packed with park time, eating, drinking, laughing, making memories….oh…and the reason we’re all there…the races!DLH I have some super fun plans, so if you’re around and see me PLEASE make sure to say hi!

Thursday, September 3
My flight lands at LAX at 9 a.m.  I’ll be rushing to get my luggage at baggage claim and head to meet my shuttle to take me directly to the Disneyland Hotel for the expo!  After lots of hugs and a little shopping, we’ll run a few errands, check into the hotel and head into Disneyland for the runDisney 10th anniversary party!  I’m super excited to see the “Paint the Night” parade and the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks!

Friday, September 4
One of my friends/roommates is running the 5k, so after she’s done we’ll be heading to the Plaza Inn for a fun character breakfast!  A few weeks ago, I was super excited to see an email inviting me to a blogger/social media event hosted by Cigna, the sponsor of the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, at Napa Rose Restaurant.  I’ve never been here so I’m excited to check out the space, especially their kitchen!  They’ll be showing us lots of quick, healthy meals as well as a few other surprises.  Be sure to follow me on social media to check out what we learn as well as #CignaRunTogether! Cigna came up with this awesome infographic with some of the top training tips for runners for before, during, and after a run (click on the picture to make it larger…there are some great tips in there!)CignaAfter the event it’s off to the Pupcake Meet Up hosted by my friend, Krissy, and back into Disneyland to close the park for the night!

Saturday, September 5th
Both my friends/roommates as well as MANY other friends are running the Disneyland 10k, so what better thing to do than to get up and spectate the race??  I haven’t decided exactly where I will be setting up shop, but it will be somewhere in Downtown Disney…I’ll post where I’ll be on Twitter and Instagram so you can look for me…I’ll have my cowbell!

After the race we’ll head into Disney’s California Adventures to ride some rides, play some boardwalk games, and act like big kids for the day.  Pizza for dinner (gotta get those last minute carbs in!) before closing down DCA for the night and heading to bed.

Sunday, September 6th
It’s the big day…RACE DAY!  I’ll be running the half marathon with friends and enjoying every magical mile of it!  After the race we’ll get cleaned up and head back to the parks for some last minute fun (and photo ops) before heading home on the red-eye…gotta get some pictures with this beauty!2015 DL medalSee?  I wasn’t lying when I said the weekend will be JAM PACKED!  BUT…I wouldn’t have it any other way…I have plenty of time for sleep when I get home.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram to join in on the fun!  My user name for both is “hellofitnessjen” but just click on the link and it’ll take you straight there :)

You can also follow and use these hash tags during the course of the weekend -


See ya real soon!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Disneyland Half Marathon weekend - Meet Ups (UPDATED!)

With the exciting race weekend that is just days away, myself along with thousands of other avid runDisney runners are busy packing and gearing up for the fantastic weekend ahead of us!

During the weekend, there will be many opportunities to meet new friends and see old ones.  I know I'm crazy excited to see a lot of friends whom I haven't seen for awhile.  While chatting with one of those friends last night, we both realized that it was this weekend back in 2013 where a lot of friendships were formed.

Over the course of the weekend there are a few 'meet ups' going on where you can meet some new people...maybe someone you've followed on social media.  I wanted to share a few with you that I knew were going on -

#TeamSparkle Donut Meet-Up

 If you're a runDisney fan, I'm sure you've seen tons of ladies (and even some guys!) sporing the ever so sparkly skirts during the races...these more than likely came from the awesome gals at Sparkle Athletic!  I met one of the founders, Kelly (@according2kelly) at Disneyland in 2013 and look forward to seeing her at each runDisney weekend that I attend.

This year they are hosting a meet up...but not just any meet-up...a DONUT MEET-UP!

Sadly, I don't think I'll be able to make it to this one due to prior commitments, but this is sure to be a great time!  Come carb up for the races and get to know the ladies behind the Sparkle!

Cupcake Meet-Up

I met Krissy (@krissymmurphy) for the first time at the 2013 Disneyland half marathon weekend and we have been friends ever since!  She is partnering up with DVC Central for the meet up, which will benefit PAWS Chicago, a national model and the Midwest’s largest No Kill humane animal shelter.  The money raised will go towards fellow runDisney fanatic, Justin Stone (@DisnyRunr24), fundraising efforts as he trains for the 2015 Chicago marathon as a member of Team PAWS Chicago. may not know who Justin is, but you may be familiar with his amazing photos of his 2014 Wine and Dine half marathon medal and the infamous hash tag #MakingLemonadeOutta...

photo credit - Justin Stone
While registration for the meet up during the Disneyland half marathon weekend is now closed, you are more than welcome to stop by, say hi, and maybe even get a picture with Justin and his medal  :)  BUT....have no fear...they will be having another cupcake meet up during Wine and Dine half marathon weekend in November AND there is a virtual option! (with the virtual option you still have a chance to win prizes and receive the commemorative item...but you'll have to provide your own cupcakes).  Check out Krissy's blog to get more info, and you can register by clicking here :)  You can also check the official Cupcake Meet Up Facebook page for more information as the dates get closer.

The #PupcakeMeetUp2015 will be held from 1:30-2:30pm at the Picnic Swirl.  It's sure to be a fun time!

Instagram Meet-Up

Ivie (@ivieanne) and her fiance' AJ are an incredibly inspiring couple.  They have both changed their lifestyles and have lost a lot of weight!  They are also super cute together.  I've also never met them but hoping I can make it over to their meet up to say hi and introduce myself.  I'll definitely be in need of caffeine over the course of the weekend!


I actually met Linzie (@SharpEndurance) at one of his meet ups during the 2013 Disneyland half marathon weekend.  I was a little shy but he made me feel right at home.  I'm excited to see him again during this weekend!  I've been following Carlee (@CarleeMcDot) on social media for quite awhile and am looking forward to meeting her in real life!

If you want to learn more about #WeRunSocial, check out the blog that Brian (@PavementRunner) wrote about it.  I've got my shirt packed and plan to wear it while spectating the 10k so look for me on the course!

There are tons of other opportunities to meet and run into people - the expo, anniversary party, the races, and the parks!  I strongly suggest you take the time to introduce yourself....the running community is a wonderful one to be a part of - I know I have met some of the most amazing people I've ever known through it.  You never know who you might meet and what connection you might have.  Make sure to say hi if you see me around!

Do you plan to check out any of these meet ups?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Disneyland Half Marathon Packing Vlog

Hey guys!

Soooo….I kind of leave for Disneyland in EIGHT DAYS!!!!  I cannot believe the time is almost here!!!

I’ve started to get my things together and pack, and had a crazy idea to do a vlog…my FIRST vlog….was a little scary but I did it and now I’m posting it for the interwebz to see. 

So here it is…check out my “must have” racecation items!

Just a couple of things to add that I left out -

ALWAYS pack your race clothes into your carry on bag.  If you check your luggage and it gets lost, you could be up the creek without a paddle.  You don’t want to run in any new clothing or shoes for the first time at a race, so make sure you have these!  Everything else you could buy once you arrive.

Also, I like to make sure that my KT Tape sticks to my skin by using alcohol and hair spray before applying.  Make sure that your skin is clean and wipe the area down with alcohol and allow it to dry.  Then, spray on the hairspray (aerosol works the best) and allow it to dry, then apply the tape.  You can purchase small spray bottles to fill with alcohol and travel size hairspray to take with you.

I am so unbelievably excited!  Hopefully we'll see what fun merchandise will be for sale at the expo :) I hope to see YOU there, too!

Did I leave anything out?  What's something you would add to the list?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend info!

Everyday my friend Lena and I message each other with our countdown to the Disneyland half marathon weekend.  Today was 26 days, and to make that even better, runDisney released LOTS of information!

A couple of weeks ago they revealed the medals.  Aren’t they gorg?

2015 DL medals

I am especially excited about earning the 10th anniversary Disneyland half marathon medal!

2015 DL medal 
First off, click here to view and print your waivers to see what your bib number is.  Then, you can check out the corrals

Half marathon-
DL half corrals

Dumbo Double Dare-
DDD corrals

It doesn’t look like there is any corral information for the 10k.

They also released the 5k, 10k, and half marathon course maps.  I love how much time you get to spend in the parks for the 5k and 10k, and running through Angels Stadium is always a treat!

Check out the iGiftbag and get coupons and information on some of your favorite products at the expo, and make sure to download the event guide ahead of time.  It has tons of great information (and I like to use it to plan out my expo stops).  Based on the cover, I foresee lots of blue, white, and silver merchandise :)

Here’s a quick rundown of all the events going on during the weekend (all information is from runDisney)

runDisney Health & Fitness Expo
Disneyland® Hotel Exhibit Hall
Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday, September 4, 2015 - 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Disneyland® Half Marathon 10th Anniversary Party
Disneyland® Park

Thursday, September 3, 2015
Start time: 4:00 p.m. – Midnight

Disneyland® 5K presented by Cigna®
Disneyland® Resort

Friday, September 4, 2015
Start time: 5:30 AM

Disneyland® 10K presented by Cigna®
Disneyland® Resort and the City of Anaheim

Saturday, September 5, 2015
Start time: 5:30 AM

runDisney Kids Races
Downtown Disney® District near ESPN Zone®

Saturday, September 5, 2015
Start time: 9:00 AM

Pasta in the Park Party
Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree inside Disneyland® Park
Saturday, September 5, 2015
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Disneyland® Half Marathon presented by Cigna®
Disneyland® Resort and the City of Anaheim

Sunday, September 6, 2015
Start time: 5:30 AM

ChEAR Squad
Disneyland® Park
Sunday, September 6, 2015

Tickets are still available for the Pasta in the Park party, the Anniversary party, and for the ChEAR Squad here.

Maybe soon we’ll get a peek at the official merchandise and race shirts!  Who knows? :)

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2015 Peachtree Road Race recap

Exactly one month ago today I was running down Peachtree Street with 54843 of my closest friends.  This race is one that I think everyone should do at least once.  The atmosphere is simply amazing, and what better way to kick off your holiday than to run (or walk!) a race?

I had been stalking the weather for about a week and knew the chance for rain was pretty high.  After running Wine and Dine (aka "Splash and Dash") last November I was at least prepared with what to do.

I didn't go to the expo but my friend, Ramona, was kind enough to pick up my race packet for me :) 

The night before was a perfect evening.  The hubby, Guinness, and I walked up the road to watch the fireworks the city was shooting off at the fairgrounds.  It was nice not to have to worry about traffic and crowds of people.
We got home and I did my usual pre-race tradition of laying out "Flat Jen" - I absolutely love my new InknBurn Patriotic tank!
I also collected a towel, change of clothes, and my Oofos to throw in my car since it was pretty evident that I would be soaking wet after the race.  The next morning I overslept a bit, but nothing too bad.  It actually worked out to my advantage!  The drive to MARTA was quick and easy and I jumped right onto a train.  As I walked to the starting line I was just in time to see the elite athletes participating in the Peachtree Cut to start the race!

About 10 minutes later I made it to my corral.  I kind of hung out and then slowly made my way into the crowd, where I ran into my friend, Zoila.  We chatted and decided that we just wanted to have fun and enjoy the race, so we ran together.  It was good to catch up with her as we hadn't seen each other in quite some time!

Finally our corral made it to the start line.  Due to the rain, they had taken down the huge American flag that usually hangs down over the runners.  Just as we were crossing the start line, a HUGE bolt of lightning struck and everyone simultaneously gasped.  They delayed the race as our corral went off, but we just missed getting pulled off the course (we didn't see anymore lightning after the first strike).

Despite the weather, there were TONS of spectators out, cheering and having a great time with the runners.  One of my favorite spots on the course is by the Catholic church.  The priest stands in the road and throws holy water on the runners.  Even though we were soaked from head to toe by the rains from the heavens, we managed to get some of his water on us as well.

I didn't take any pictures during the race as I didn't want to chance damaging my new phone (again...long story).  We had a great time, despite the definitely didn't dampen our spirits.

Once we crossed the finish line and received our coveted t-shirt, we went our separate ways.  I headed over to the Atlanta Track Club members only area at the Park Tavern to find a dry place to text the hubby and let him know that I was done and to snap a post-race photo...still smiling!

Soon after I headed back to MARTA...most of my friends had either left or I couldn't get in touch with them, so I decided to leave.  At least I was able to grab a seat on the train and chill out on the way back to where I parked.  Before heading home, I made a pit stop -
Yay for a free Starbucks reward coffee!  It was much needed as I was chilled to the bone!

Even though it rained the whole race I still had a fantastic time.  You have to make the best out of a situation that's out of your hands, and we definitely made lemonade outta lemons for this race.  :)  I'm ready to run it again next year and continue the tradition!  Absolutely loved the race shirt design this year, too!

You may have noticed a small addition to my bib - a 4-H clover.  I have a very dear friend, Dr. Bo, who had run the past 25 Peachtree Road Races, but had to miss this year due to going through cancer treatments.  I have known him for years as he was the State 4-H leader here in Georgia when I was growing up.  We reconnected at a race back in 2012 and I currently serve on the Georgia Master 4-H Board with him.  When I learned that he would not be able to run this year, I knew I had to run "for" him.  So I came up with the idea of the 4-H clover and wrote this on my hand -

It's a little smudged from the rain but it says "#Run3rd Dr. Bo".  He is a very inspirational man, and I was happy to do this for him.  I happened to see him the following week and he told what I did touched his heart..  I am happy to say that his latest tests show no signs of cancer!!

If you are unfamiliar with #Run3rd, it started as a Twitter campaign by actor Sean Astin, who is a long distance runner himself.  The meaning behind #Run3rd is that I first run for myself, second for my family, and third for you.  Members of the #Run3rd campaign often dedicate their runs to friends, family, and complete strangers.  If you want to find out more, check out their blog here.

Is there a race that is a tradition for you to run?