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?  


Monday, July 20, 2015

I “Tri”ed it Out…and Liked It!

I may have been quiet here, but still been kicking it in the gym! 

One thing I love about Orangetheory Fitness is the fun events they’re always putting on.  This past Saturday they hosted a “Dri Tri”.  I was intrigued, but hesitant when I first head about it.  After chatting with a friend I met at the gym, we both decided to dive in and give it a shot.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous going into it, but determined to give it my all and have fun while doing it!

Dri Tri 1 Dri Tri Start

There were 10 of us that signed up for the Dri Tri, and we had Coach Allie and Coach Kellye there to lead us and cheer us on!

First off was the 2000m row.  I knew I needed to pace myself and not start out too fast.  I did pretty good but it’s definitely something I want to work on.

Dri Tri 2

Next came our time in the weight room.  We were to do 2 rounds of the following -

20 Push Ups
20 Tap Squats
20 Burpees
40 Step Ups
30 Hop overs
20 Plank Jacks

The burpees were the slow down for me.  Another thing I want to work on.  It was definitely a killer weight room workout!

Dri Tri 3 Dri Tri 4

These pictures absolutely crack me up!  I was on my last set of plank jacks and Coach Allie got in the floor and encouraged me to finish strong, and I did just that.  (We have some kick ass coaches, don’t we??)

Finally, we headed to the treadmill to finish off with a 5k.  I kept a pretty steady pace and slowed down to a brisk walk when I needed to (still dealing with a bit of knee pain).  I much prefer running outside because I don’t always know how far I’ve gone or how far I have to go…on the treadmill it’s right in front of you.  I ended up throwing my towel over the distance and just ran.  I took it off when I was at around 2.8 miles.  I bumped up the speed and worked to finish strong.  Coach Allie, Coach Kellye, Shannon, Valerie, and a couple of participants who had already finished came to my treadmill to cheer me on.  Valerie cracked me up when she yelled “Run like you’re at Disney!”.  I was pretty pleased with my time but definitely want to do better!

Dri Tri 5 Dri Tri tread

I stayed in the gym to cheer on the last few people who were still on the treadmills.  After we were finished Coach Kellye stretched us out.  Everyone there did a great job! 

 Dri Tri 7Dri Tri 6 Dri Tri 8

No prizes were won by me, but knowing I completed the Dri Tri felt awesome.  They’re doing it again in August and I can’t wait to see how much I can improve on the times. 

Dri Tri 9 Dri Tri finish

I got some decent Splat points and calories burned during this workout, and we got some fun swag…a drawstring bag, tank top, towel, and bracelet!

Dri Tri 10 dri Tri 12

I learned some things during this workout and definitely have a few moves I want to improve on before the next Dri Tri, but it was definitely a great experience!  This is the only “Tri” I would ever do.  We truly have a great group of members and staff at my OTF…throughout the whole workout everyone was encouraging each other and were quick to give high fives once we all finished.  I feel lucky to have found a great place filled with great people (and great workouts!)

Would you consider doing a Dri Tri?

Until next time,

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

River Run for Hope 10k recap

Since I registered for the Disneyland half marathon a little late, I panicked a bit since I hadn't run a 10k race since the 2014 Peachtree Road Race.  When I entered my finish time on the runDisney proof of time page, I was not pleased with my estimated finish time for the half.  I started looking frantically for a 10k race that I was in town for and thought I was out of luck...

...until I saw a post in one of my Facebook running groups.  There was a 10k race on Saturday , May 30th!  Talk about getting one in just in the nick of time!  I immediately signed up, hoping for the best for the race.

Race day came, and I woke up with a very unhappy stomach.  I was not feeling very confident about the race, but I knew it was my last chance, and even if I shaved off a couple of minutes from my proof of time, it would be better than what I already have, right?

The race was in Roswell, GA and started and ended at a Catholic church.  The race benefits the work of the Ghana Friendship Project's work.  It helps to supply medical and health care supplies, educational material and clothing to the people of Ghana.

Getting to the race was super easy.  I arrived at around 6:30 and had plenty of time to grab my bib and shirt, walk back to my car to get ready, and get to the finish line.  I kind of liked that I didn't have a lot of time to stand around.  I went to the race solo so I took some time to give myself a little pep talk (and a couple of pictures)

The race started promptly at 7 a.m. and we were off!  The weather was perfect....low 60s and overcast.  The humidity was a little high but the cool temperatures helped.  I wasn't able to find my interval timer the night before so I depended on my Garmin to tell me when to run and walk.  As the race started I skipped over the intervals until I got away from the crowd.  Mile 1 felt pretty good.  During mile 2 I started to struggle mentally and actually considered cutting my race short and making the turnoff for the 5k course.

But I didn't.

I pushed through and kept going.  Mile 2 I slowed down a bit, but really picked it up the rest of the race.  We ran for about a mile on a dirt road, which my knees enjoyed.  At this point in the race I started to make it a goal to pick people off in front of me.  Each time I passed the person in front of me I aimed to pass the next.  During mile 4, I realized that I could actually PR my 10k time.  I kept with my intervals and was shocked at the average pace per mile each time.  As we came up on the finish line I really kicked it into gear.  There was a nice little downhill toward the finish line and I sprinted toward it.  When I stopped my watch, I was at 1:16:55...a new PR!  I haven't PRed a 10k in over 2 years, so I was absolutely ecstatic with myself.

I grabbed a bottle of water and saw runners with freeze pops, so I scoped them out at the refreshment table and snagged an orange one.  So tasty after the race!

I was shocked when I looked at my splits....with the exception of mile 2, I had all negative splits!  Usually I get slower as the race goes on, but to run faster?  Go me!  When I got home I immediately entered my new proof of time into the runDisney website and was much happier with their estimated finish time for me.

I have to give so much credit to my trainers at Orangetheory Fitness.  I haven't run outside much lately...the only runs I've been doing have been on the treadmill during our workouts.  My workouts have really helped build my endurance and got me here.  I really got back my love of running during this race and I am already looking forward to meeting up with some friends on Saturday morning and getting some more miles in.

If you're looking for a great 10k race, I highly recommend the River Run for Hope.  Flat, fast course and it supports a great organization.  I'll definitely put this race on my calendar to run again.

92 days until Disneyland!!

Until next time,