"If you can dream it, you can do it." -Walt Disney

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twas the Day After Christmas

Christmas has come and gone and we are hurtling towards the new year. I should probably be focusing on run stuff and making all my healthy New Year's resolutions, but I am cold. The wind chill here only just raised to an entire degree above zero within this past hour. It had been below zero all morning. I guarantee I will not be doing any running today because I love this thing called "keeping warm." Only one thing is dominating my mind today: hot tea. Well, that and I realized I don't own any sweaters and my favorite pair of boots were destroyed by a rogue can of hairspray during my Wine & Dine Half Marathon trip. My mind is scolding myself for always looking at happy summer dresses instead of sometimes focusing on warm things.

And yes, I realize this post, so far, has nothing to do with running. But, in case you haven't caught on...it's cold!!

Ok, enough of that. When it is this cold outside, I love hearty meals such as stews and chunky soups. And I especially love shepherd's pie. It is great comfort food. So let me share one of my favorite recipes, but taken to a more healthy level.

Photo source: skinnytaste.com

Shepherd's Pie, Lightened Up
From skinnytaste.com

  • 1.5lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp fat free sour cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • paprika

  • 1lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 8oz mushrooms, diced
  • 10oz frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup fat free beef broth
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth, sour cream, salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown meat in a large saute pan. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside on plate when cooked. Discard any fat in the pan, add oil, onion, and garlic, and saute on medium heat about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and celery and saute another 3-4 minutes. Add flour, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add frozen vegetables, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, cooked meat, and mix well. Simmer on low about 5-10 minutes. Spread the meat mixture on the bottom of an 11x7 glass baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes, using a fork to scrape the top to make ridges. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 minutes, or until potatoes turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before serving to give it a chance to set.

Servings: 6 Serving Size: 10.5oz
Per serving..
Calories: 290.5  Fat: 11.1g Protein: 16.8g Carbs: 31.5g Fiber: 4.9g

*I make a few changes to this recipe. For an even leaner version, I use lean ground turkey. The only vegetables I use are corn, carrots, and peas. This means I also eliminate the celery and mushrooms. I use garlic powder and onion powder in place of actual onion and garlic since I always have that on hand so it doesn't require I buy additional items. And while I have not tried it yet, this can be even healthier using mashed cauliflower, which is a great low carb alternative to potatoes.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Inaugural Disneyland 10K Announced!

Have you heard the news?

runDisney announced yesterday that the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend will now include a 10K! This brand new event will take runners through the Disneyland park, Disney's California Adventure, and onto the streets of Anaheim. It is scheduled for August 31, 2013.

And if that isn't enough, you will have an opportunity to register for the Dumbo Double Dare. Similar to Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, the Dumbo Double Dare are for those interested in completing the 10K AND Half Marathon, a total of 19.3 miles. Finishers will not only receive their medals for those races, but will also receive a special medal for completing the Dare.

Watch the video for your invitation!

Interested in signing up? Registration opens January 22, 2013!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Home is Now Behind You, the World is Ahead

Friday, December 14th, was the opening day for the anticipated Peter Jackson movie, The Hobbit. I won't spend time on this blog giving out spoilers for those of you who have not seen it yet, but I will say there is running. A lot of running.

All this running reminded me of a challenge that I came across several years ago: the Walk to Rivendell Challenge.

The original challenge began in March 2003, as a way for Lord of the Rings fans to combine their love of the books/movies with exercise. The idea was that every mile represented a part of the journey that Frodo, Sam, Pippin, Merry, and eventually Aragorn made from Hobbiton to Rivendell. The cumulative journey was 458 miles.

The original journey ended at Rivendell. But as the popularity of the challenge grew, so did the challenge itself. The challenge now covers the journey all the way to Mt. Doom to Aragorn's coronation, back to Bag End, and even to the Grey Havens and back with Sam. Not only that, but the challenge has now incorporated Bilbo's journey from The Hobbit.

If you are looking for an interesting way to add a bit of fun to your fitness routine, I definitely encourage you to check this challenge out. This won't give you pointers on anything, and it isn't designed to be a specific plan to follow. It is simply a way to see where you are with the Fellowship or with Bilbo as you "walk" through Middle-earth. You'll want a way to be able to track your distance, such as a GPS watch (there are also apps that track this), or make sure you are paying attention to the distance on your treadmill if you are staying indoors. That way, you can check out the challenge and see where you are. One thing I want to point out: the challenge might say something like "18 miles" for any given day. That is not what it is telling you to do for that day. It is simply saying how far the characters traveled on that particular day. Go however far you are able.

Sound interesting and fun? Join the Walk to Rivendell (and beyond!) Challenge! I think I will be participating again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Disneyland Half Marathon to Open Soon!

Have you been waiting for the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon to open its registration? Do not fear...the day is arriving!

runDisney has announced that registration for the Disneyland Half will open on January 22, 2013. Taking place on September 1, 2013 with a 5:45am start time, the race will begin in the Disneyland park, go through Disney's California Adventure, and then wind its way through the streets of Anaheim before ending back near the Disneyland Hotel.

If you wanted to complete your Coast to Coast challenge in 2013 but were unable to get into the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, this is your only other chance to participate in the Disneyland portion of the challenge.

Mark your calendars for the registration! As always, spots are limited for the races, but the Disneyland Half tends to sell out considerably more quickly due to the fact that there are only two half marathons at Disneyland. This isn't the race to sit back and dawdle on if you are seriously interested in it. And just in case you forget about registration, make sure you sign up here to be notified of when it opens up.

And don't worry... I will post all the details once they are available!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2013 Expedition Everest Challenge Registration OPEN!

Ready to take a run on the wild side? The 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge registration officially opened today!

Starting at 10pm on May 4, 2013, the Expedition Everest Challenge is a timed endurance event that combines a 5K through an obstacle strewn course with the fun of a scavenger hunt. Set in the Animal Kingdom park, you will take on your own adventure to the finish line where you will receive a special edition compass finisher medal. Then, after your race, enjoy the rest of the night at the Expedition Everest Challenge Post Race Party, which starts at 11pm! This is runDisney's only other night race.

Check out the course map!

Here are the details...

Expedition Everest Challenge (10pm)
Individual Registration
  • $110 between December 11, 2012 - January 29, 2013
  • $120 between January 30, 2013 - March 20, 2013
  • $130 between March 21, 2013 - May 4, 2013
Team Registration
  • $220 between December 11, 2012 - January 29, 2013
  • $240 between January 30, 2013 - March 20, 2013
  • $260 between March 21, 2013 - May 4, 2013
Challenge participants will receive a Champion unisex short-sleeved tech shirt, personalized race bib (if you register before March 8, 2013), ChronoTrack B-Tag Timed Event with live runner tracking sign up for family and friends, a finisher medal, post race refreshments, and admission to the post race party.

runDisney Kids Races (11am)
  • $20 (ages 4-10)

Pre-Race Picnic (11am - 2pm)
  • $18 per person
Food includes 1 sandwich item (chicken sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, hot dog, hamburger or veggie wrap), chips or fruit, a cookie, and water, juice, or soda.

Post-Race Party Tickets (11pm - 3am)*
Adults (ages 10 and up)
  • $49 on or before March 20, 2013
  • $59 on or after March 21, 2013
Children (ages 3-9)
  • $25 on or before March 20, 2013
  • $30 on or after March 21, 2013
Children 2 and under
  • Ticket not required
*Note - Challenge participants do not need to buy a party ticket. Admission is included with race registration.

Need some fine print details? Here ya go!
All Challenge participants must be at least 9 years of age. Kids 13 years and younger must be teamed with an adult. Children ages 4-10 can participate in the kids races, and distance is determined by age group. Entry fees for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge are non-refundable. The transfer deadline to/from a team or individual registration is March 8, 2013. No exceptions will be made.

Transportation will be provided to and from race events to the host resorts. The host resorts are:
You are welcome to stay at any resort of your choosing, but be aware that Disney will not provide event transportation if you are not staying at a host resort. Transportation will be solely your responsibility.

Sound like the race for you? Head over to the event page to register!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Product Review: Reebok Play Dry Jacket

Ever since I spotted it back in September, I have been wanting the Reebok Play Dry Jacket, preferably in aubergine. Cooler temps would be arriving as winter grew closer, and I knew that I couldn't just run outside in my tech tank the entire time. I needed something to keep me a bit warmer. But, the jacket was $55, and the money was needed elsewhere. With a Reebok outlet store nearby my apartment, I signed up to receive their text notifications. Hey, if there's a sale, I want to know! I finally received a text that made my day: 40% off my purchase through the end of December! So last week, I made my way to Reebok, and bought the jacket I had longed to own.

This is the size small. The jacket is meant to be slim fit, though it still is a relatively relaxed fit on me. Originally, the sizes ranged from extra small to extra large. But since this had been out for several months by this point, only a handful remained in stock at the store and I missed an opportunity to try on and potentially purchase a better fitting extra small. But, I will take 40% off over that. Not to mention that the extra room leaves the door open for extra layers if needed. The color is richer in person, which I like.

There are a couple hidden gems here.
First, the Play Dry technology (the inner white lining). This helps the moisture from your body evaporate, but is designed in a way that allows for breathability. This is a bonus for me. Even as I wear the jacket now, I feel warm without feeling like the heat is trapped. That ventilation will come in very handy. It is also very soft, so there is no rough rubbing against the skin. Every aspect of this jacket is designed with movement in mind, so it sits comfortably against you without being restrictive in the slightest. The second gem? That neon orange (which is very neon in person). Really isn't much more than an aesthetics things, but I love it. Especially since my Zigs have the same color scheme.

And this is probably my favorite part of the jacket...

Thumb holes! It may seem like such a simple feature, and it is. But I have a tendency to pull my sleeves over my hands when I am cold, so I absolutely love that this simple feature takes care of that for me. This also prevents any potential of the sleeves riding up.

I am quite happy with my purchase. The only down side to Reebok's promotions is that they are not stackable. Now I understand that many stores won't allow two different promotions at once if they require the cashier to enter in more than one coupon code. So let me explain: if an item is on sale and automatically rings up on sale without having to enter in a promotion, it is not uncommon for a coupon code to be applied on top of that. The Reebok outlet store had this jacket on sale for 25% off. But the 40% off could not be applied to that sale price, only the original price. I had to choose between the 25% off or the 40% off. Obviously I went for the 40% off, but the many years of retail experience in me was a bit disappointed as this is not typical shopping policy. The difference between getting the 40% off the sale price or the original price was about $8. Not a make it or break it deal in my opinion, but I like to get bargains where I can. But that's ok, I got the jacket I wanted for considerably less than the original price.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a good running jacket, I highly recommend you try this one out!

*Disclaimer - I was in no way compensated for this post. I purchased the jacket with my own money with no prompting or recommendations from anyone. I am simply reviewing my purchase to help others in case they are researching jackets.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winterizing My Run Gear

Ok folks, it is getting cold outside. Alright, well, not completely here just yet as it has been in the 70s and 60s this week. But starting next week, we are going to start seeing temps in the 40s and low 50s. And colder temps will eventually follow suit. I hate running when it is cold outside. My body does warm up a bit, but my ears wind up freezing and my lungs feel like they are tearing apart. It is time to winterize my running gear.

Fortunately, I don't have to do a ton. I already have a pair of pants I will be using. They are not officially "running" pants, but they will work just fine. I got myself the Reebok jacket last night from the Reebok outlet store, since I had a 40% off coupon code*. Being my fashionista self, I was saving the money to use towards a custom dress I spotted on etsy a while back (link goes to pinterest since the store owner temporarily took the dress down for the holidays to work on current orders), but figured my money would be better spent on something I would get more use out of. I also have a long sleeve tech shirt, courtesy of my swag bag from the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. It is definitely not the best tech shirt I have ever owned in terms of how the material feels, but it will help keep me warm and that is what I am looking for right now.

Now I need a warm headband. The two headbands I have are sufficient for wicking away moisture, but are definitely not intended to keep me warm in the cold. I am currently considering the adidas Women's Yukiko Cold Weather Headband in purple.

It is a decent price, looks like it will do the job, and the color will match the rest of the purple theme I seem to have between the aubergine of my jacket and shoes. Hopefully I can pick one up soon...it has been far too long since my last run and I am itching to go back out. But I need to be prepared for it.

*When making your purchase, mention code 8801757 as the employees will need it to enter in the system. This code is only valid at Reebok outlet store locations and applies a 40% discount towards your entire purchase (exclusions apply, so ask ahead). Offer expires December 31, 2012. I have received NO compensation for this, just sharing an awesome deal!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Giveaways, Dooney & Burke, and Race Updates...Oh My!

It is giveaway time again! Two different running blogs are offering two different giveaways.

The first is from We Run Disney. They are giving away a copy of the book Magical Miles: A Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World. I want this book!! But I won one of their giveaways that they hosted in October. As much as I would love to win this book, I feel it is only fair if I sit out a few of their giveaways before entering again. But I do want to make sure I let any readers know of the giveaway! There are a few ways to enter, so make sure you read the entire post here. The giveaway ends December 9th at 8pm.

The second giveaway is from Run With Wes. The blog owner, Wes Lashley, is giving away one men's or women's Under Armour Charged Cotton Storm Full Zip Hoody. These retail for $74.99, so this is a great opportunity to get one for free! There are a few steps you need to take to enter, so make sure you read the full post here. The giveaway ends December 10th at 11:59pm PST.

And now for the moment many women have been waiting for...

The preorder of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Dooney & Burke bags!!

If you are looking for a lasting way to commemorate your run in a way that you can always keep it with you (since we can't always wear our medals as much as we would like to), this is a great solution. Keep in mind that a designer bag has matching designer prices. The wristlet is $92, the cross body is $209, and the small shopper is $246. You can preorder these bags here, but just remember that these will not be mailed out. You must attend the expo and pick it up. Quantities are limited and they do sell out fast. Expect to see a similar preorder for the Princess Half Marathon within the next month. I do wish they would release something like this for the Wine & Dine!

In some "finally!" news, runDisney announced on their facebook page that the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge would open for registration on Tuesday, December 11th. If this is the event you have been waiting for, make sure to sign up early through the event page, or at least sign up through this link to be reminded of when registration opens...I know it is easy to forget! The race will be held on May 4, 2013.

Happy running...and good luck if you enter the giveaways!
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