Saturday, August 31, 2013

Disneyland 10K

Race #1 of the Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare is COMPLETE!!

Please ignore the 5K background, I didn't realize it when I asked a fellow runner to take my picture (I guess that was why there were no lines to use this backdrop :)). 

This morning I participated in the Inaugural Disneyland 10K. It was a GREAT time! The heat and humidity were NOT fun, but once I felt the weather I knew I was going to take it nice and easy.

Feet ready to move

Normally I do not stop to take pictures during a race - the main reason is because I take my races 'seriously' and want to focus on my time (don't get me wrong, I am not speedy, but I still do try my hardest - especially when I am paying for the entry and training for the run). Today, especially since I am running a half marathon tomorrow, I wanted to just take it nice and easy.

I stopped and took a couple 'scenery' pictures along the course.

Cozy Cone

Mickey's Ferris Wheel

The Castle!

Thankfully I was in an early corral (I was in the front of Corral B, but they let us out with the end of Corral A), which meant the lines were SHORT for the characters! WHOO HOO!! The longest line I waited in was about 3 or 4 runners.

Farm animals on the course?! OF COURSE!

We will just consider him a pony?! 

Me and the ladies

Had to stop since it was a Wonderland themed race :)

Off with her head?! 

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Run!

Me and the Chipmunks! 
Like I mentioned, the heat, humidity, and fact that I have another race in the morning kept me going slow and steady throughout the course. Even with walking through the water stations and stopping to take a bunch of photos, I still kept around 10 minute miles (Ryan chuckled and said that it was still faster than his normal pace).

Pretty awesome bling!

'Artsy' shot [for my dad] of my finishing time, finisher medal, and shoes

I told Ryan that he could sleep in this morning, instead of coming down to the start line with me around 5am [not to mention he wanted to eat the hot continental breakfast that we got with our hotel stay] - how nice of me, huh?! That meant this morning was actually the first race that I have ever started without him being there, but thankfully I met some 'friends' that kept me company - YAY FOR Team#RunDisney (THANKS SPECIFICALLY TO KRISSY - check her out over at Outrunning the Monorail and Shiawase Life).

Team#RunDisney MeetUp before the 10K

Ry and I were planning on him watching me finish and then meeting up, but the silly boy forgot his phone at home, so when he missed my finish (they even announced my name when I crossed the finish line) we had a difficult time finding each other. Thankfully we were able to meet up after about 10 minutes of looking and he grabbed some 'finisher' pictures for me.

I had a great time and am glad I was able to get so many fun shots. Now on to tomorrow's race - RYAN'S VERY FIRST HALF MARATHON!!!! SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!

California Adventure

Yesterday, after we went to the Expo and the Bacon Challenge MeetUp, we decided to hit up the parks a little (we were lucky enough to have our annual passes NOT blacked out, since they have been all summer).

It was extremely warm (when we checked into the hotel around 2pm the thermometer on the car said it was 98*), so we made sure to bring in water bottles that we were able to fill up (for free) at the drinking fountains around the park. [Ryan even suggested I ask some of the food stands for ice and every time they kindly gave me a large cup of ice that I put in the bottle.]

When we made it into California Adventure it seemed empty. I mean, not extremely empty, but for what I was expecting it was empty! I was assuming it would be packed due to the race, holiday weekend, and a Friday.

We were able to walk right onto California Screamin',

[we took a fun picture, where we were both looking and pointing off into the distance, but the glare on the screens was super bad, so the picture didn't turn out on my phone]

ride the Silly Symphony Swings twice (we actually asked them if we could just stay on a second time, since there wasn't a long line and they let us - how fun),

drop in to the Tower of Terror,

and grab some fun photos around the park all within about 2 hours.

Pluto wanted HUGS

We didn't end up making it over to Disneyland (we were originally planning on heading back over after we grabbed pizza to hit up a few rides and watch the fireworks), but decided we would get the extra rest.

All-in-all it was a pretty great, quick trip - which reminded me of why we love going!


Pump-Up Video!


Friday, August 30, 2013

Sparkly Soul SALE!!

Happy Labor Day from Sparkly Soul! We hope you had a very SPARKLY summer! Celebrate summer and get ready for fall with 20% off at with code LABORDAY through Monday 9/2 11:59pm EST! 

Heading to DL!


We love our DL!

[Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple days, I have had a few things come up that I needed to handle before we head out of town for the weekend]

Today Ryan and I will be heading up to Anaheim!! It is the weekend we have been waiting for on pins and needles for a while now!! DUMBO DOUBLE DARE!! Ryan’s VERY FIRST Half Marathon!! DISNEYLAND!!

[Photo – Courtesy of runDisney’s Instagram]

Both of us are getting off a little extra early (normally Friday’s are our half days, getting off around 2pm, but we wanted to make sure we beat the holiday weekend traffic this afternoon) and hopefully hitting the road by noon.

We will be checking into our hotel (as long as the room is available) and then quickly heading over to the  Disneyland® Health & Fitness Expo. [PS YES I did allow Ryan to book the hotel room, seeing as I have had LESS THAN STELLAR picks in the past - see posts here and here about our last couple 'experiences'.] We will pick up our bibs and maybe do a little perusing (who doesn’t love grabbing the freebies and trials when at a HUGE Expo) – not to mention checking out the NEW medals that runDisney revealed for some of the upcoming races!!

[Photo: ©Disney]

After we are done at the Expo, we will head over to our Endurance Sports Connection Three Little Pigs BACON CHALLENGE MeetUp. We will be doing a VEGGIE BACON Challenge this weekend!! We thought it was an AWESOME idea and thought WHY NOT be a part of it?!


Then hopefully we can hit up the parks for a few rides, since our annual passes are still open today.

Tonight will be an early night though, seeing as I have a 10K in the morning. (I did tell Ryan that if he wanted, he could sleep in a bit and just meet me at the finish line [since most of the race is through the parks and he won’t be able to watch it anyway].)

I am bringing our computer with me, so hopefully I will be able to post some more ‘real time’ updates on here. (I figured I would have all day tomorrow, while watching COLLEGE FOOTBALL [thank goodness it is back, right?!] to post updates about the MeetUp, the 10K, etc.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fundraising for AFSP

This will be my fourth year fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. With YOUR help, I will not just be walking, and you won't just be writing checks - WE WILL BE HELPING TO SAVE LIVES! 

I will be joining with thousands of people nationwide this fall to walk in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's (AFSP) Out of the Darkness Community Walk.

My personal fundraising goal is $1,500. I would appreciate any support that you give me for this worthwhile cause.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, advocacy, education and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. With more than 38,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP's mission has never been greater, nor our work more urgent.

I hope you will consider supporting my participation in this event. Any contribution will help the work of AFSP, and all donations are 100% tax deductible.

Donating online is safe and easy! To make an online donation click the "Support Me" link in this email and then click the "Support Me" button on my fundraising page. If you would rather donate by check please make the check payable to AFSP and mail it in with the offline donation form.

Thank you for considering this request for your support. If you have any questions about the Out of the Darkness Community Walks or AFSP do not hesitate to contact me or visit


As you can see, I have just added a new 'button' on the right hand side of my blog, showing where my current fundraising status stands. Please prayerfully consider giving to this amazing cause. And if God doesn't have your name on it - TOTALLY COOL - but maybe you could think about who you may be able to share this with that may have it on their heart to give. Thanks in advance for all of your support - both to me and to this terrific organization!!

JostRunning Medals

Look what arrived in the mail last night!!

The August 5K/ 10K Medal

The August Half/ Full Marathon Medal (Front)

The August Half/ Full Marathon Medal (Back)

My JostRunning Medals from the Virtual Races that I completed in August (5K and Half Marathon).

I am soooooooooo thrilled with the quality of them!! I am not sure if you can tell from the picture, but the half marathon medal has a SPINNING piece - the whole center square SPINS (that's why there is a 'front' and 'back' picture)!! And the hot dog (don't get me started on how cute it is) is super sparkly.

And to top it off - RYAN GOT MEDALS! He didn't sign up for the races, but he did participate along side of me during both of them (what a loving and supportive hubby, huh?!). We were NOT expecting that either - it was totally out of left field (get it, the theme was baseball, HA)! Anyone who "takes care" of one of the most important people to me in the world gets EXTRA kudos from me!

The little note that came with Ryan's medals


So excited to be working with JostRunning [check out my original blog post here if you would like to know more about our partnership] for the next couple months. THANKS AGAIN JOSTRUNNING!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

REVIEW: RunnerBox

Staci at RunnerBox is so sweet [Not only does she enjoy running and everything that comes with it, but the company is based out of Michigan – a WIN/WIN. If you know much about me, you know that I grew up in Michigan with an amazing dad who MUST support local (or at the very least American Made) and has instilled that desire within me as well.].

Staci and I had been chatting back and forth and she was kind enough to offer to send me one of their August/ September RunnerBoxes to try out and review.

What is Runnerbox?
RunnerBox is a subscription based box for runners, triathletes and other active people. It is a mini shoebox filled with running products, mailed to your front door. It has everything from energy products, gels, chews, protein shakes/supplements, nutrition bars, skincare, and other accessories! Some products will be brand new (but personally tested) on the market, and some will be tried and true favorites. With so many products coming out on the market, leave the trials and testing to us, we’ll search out the best and send them to you!

I will be posting separate reviews for some of the individual products that came in my specific box, but I wanted to start by giving RunnerBox its own review.

The presentation of the RunnerBox is awesome! It felt like Christmas or an earlier birthday present [September 10th - don't you forget it :)] from someone who knew me well, arriving right at my door – a little box, wrapped up all cute and quaint, with a personalized little note.

I really love the fact that there was a description of each of the items included in the box. The document gave the name and a brief description of the item (whether it was a protein bar, a coupon for a discount on compression socks, a tube of sunscreen, an energy gel, etc).

Just in case you can't tell, I think this is an AWESOME idea! I always love trying out new items and this is a great way to try out a ton of different things without a large commitment (i.e. you aren’t buying a case of protein bars that you end up hating or spending $80 on a pair of compression socks that end up turning out to be crappy). Another great thing about the RunnerBox is that the items are tested prior to arriving (whether that is personally tested by the folks at RunnerBox or a tried and true item that athletes have already fallen in love with).

A further FANTASTIC feature with the RunnerBox is that they also offer a Gluten–Free box. I know that there are many athletes that have dietary restrictions; so having a specific box dedicated to Gluten-Free options is great (and much appreciated, I am sure)!

If you have any runners (or even just active friends or family members) in your life, this would be a GREAT gift [hint, hint – Santa – please put a subscription to RunnerBox under my Christmas tree this year :)].

Monday, August 26, 2013

Song for his Wife

96-year-old man records tearjerker love song for his late wife

Fred Stobaugh isn't a singer, but he is a man who was struck by love and 75 years later, still hasn't recovered.
Stobaugh, 96, met his sweetheart, Lorraine, at a car hop at an Illinois root beer stand in 1938.
"She was the prettiest girl I ever saw … I just fell in love with her right there," Stobaugh said in a YouTube video produced by Green Shoe Studio.
They dated for two years and married, spending more than seven decades as man and wife.
Along the way, they had children and grandchildren in an all-around happy life Stobaugh says felt like a dream.
"It felt kind of unreal, dreaming or something. But it was real, that's all I can say. It was real," he said.
The final chapter of their love story closed when Lorraine died earlier this year just shy of their 73rd wedding anniversary. Stobaugh channeled his feelings of love and loss, grief and gratitude for the years they had together, writing a love song in her memory titled Oh Sweet Lorraine.
"After [Lorraine] passed away, I was sitting in the front room one evening by myself … it just came to me almost. I just kept humming it and singing it," Stobaugh said. "It seemed like it just fit her."
Around the same time, Green Shoe Studio in Peoria, IL, held a songwriting contest for aspiring musicians.
"I thought I'd just write a letter and send it in, never thinking I'd get an answer," Stobaugh said.
But he sent the lyrics in anyway.
In a digital age where most musicians send MP3's and YouTube videos, his entry stood out for its sheer simplicity.
"People are supposed to upload their videos, but instead of a video, we received a very large manila envelope," said Jacob Colgan, with Green Shoe Studios. "Lo and behold, it was a letter from a 96-year-old man who said 'I've written a song for my wife.'
"Green Shoe Studio decided to take Fred's lyrics and bring them to life. We decided to put them to professional music, professionally record it, we wanted to have a professional singer sing on this song."
Because it wasn't a video, Stobaugh's entry didn't meet the criteria for the songwriting contest. But Colgan, touched by Stobaugh's story, decided to record it anyway.
"He goes 'Oh, that's so great. But how much is this going to cost me? I don't have any money.' I said, 'Fred, you misunderstand me. We're going to do all this for free.' He began to cry on the phone and ask 'Why would you do this for me?'" Colgan said.
Colgan transformed Stobaugh's heartfelt lyrics into a polished song. 
"I probably spent more time with his song than most other people's songs. To be honest, I was a little nervous taking it to him," Colgan said.
"Because it meant so much to him, it meant so much to me."
Oh Sweet Lorraine is available for download on iTunes.
Watch Stobaugh's full story and hear the song at 

Your Story - Angel

Your Story 38: "Angel" from North Coast Church on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


The awesome people at LOCK LACES™ sent me a few of their Elastic Shoelace & Fastening Systems to try out. I was excited to give them a go.

They sent me a few pairs (two of which I put in my running shoes and one that will go in Ryan's running shoes - although he is a little 'superstitious' about putting them on the week before his first half marathon, so he is planning on lacing up his shoes with the LOCK LACES™ after next weekend) and even allowed me to choose the colors - hot pink, yellow, and royal blue.

The lock incorporates a sliding, spring activated device. The locks are made from a strong, durable nylon and use a high-tension alloy spring that won’t rust or corrode. The locking device holds the laces in place so they stay secure and maintain the same constant tension on the foot never loosening.

The innovative curved tips of the laces allow the wearer to lace shoes easily through the eyelet configurations in athletic shoes. The laces are made with multi-banded strands of elastic (the same elastic used for bungee cords) that won’t break or dry rot. The elastic laces give you greater flexibility with a tighter, more comfortable fit than cotton or nylon shoelaces.

The LOCK LACES Advantage™
With LOCK LACES™ patented "elastic shoelace and fastening system" you have a product that is high tech with low maintenance. Worry free LOCK LACES™ provide a better fit for improved performance.

Source - LOCK LACES™

Such a great idea. Not only for athletes, but for kids, seniors, individuals with special needs, and the list goes on and on. I know I may be too much of a planner for some, but I think these would be a GREAT stocking stuffer for Christmas (hey, it is 4 months from today - better start your shopping!).

Ryan and I took some photos and created a little shop-motion project to show the ease of which the LOCK LACES™ can be put into your shoes. Take a peak:

We also did a video to show the difference in speed of tying a standard shoelace vs. cinching down your LOCK LACES™. I think it really shows why so many athletes (especially triathletes trying to cut down on their transition time) love this product.

This evening I did a 3-mile run with one shoe still having a standard lace in and the other with the LOCK LACES™. They felt great. Not too tight (I was actually a little worried about it, since they are the bungee material, I was nervous that I would tighten them up too much and have to stop during the run to loosen and readjust them - but they were totally fine), not too loose, they were just right! Also, STAY TUNED to my Dumbo Double Dare recaps because I plan on wearing these during those 19.3 miles!

Now that I am totally sold on them, I am 100% comfortable on switching out all of my standard laces for LOCK LACES™. I would HIGHLY recommend trying them out. If you haven't seen them at a retailer near you, please pick up a pair online. PS Just a side note, but I LOVE that they are sold at Meijer!!