Running Down Memory Lane…2014

While 2014 was not always sunshines and rainbows, I am very thankful for both the good and bad days. For all of the experiences, trials and tribulations, and days that literally took my breath away, make me appreciate and savor every moment. Everyone thinks that there will be time. Turns out there’s just roads. Long and paved filled with potholes. So what are you waiting for?

Here are my top moment’s from 2104:

Birthday!

Most Magical Inaugural Race: There is a very soft spot in my heart for inaugural races especially if it is a runDisney event which then gives me the opportunity to strive to become a Legacy Runner. I am entering my 4th year as a Perfect Pixie for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and my 3rd year as a Perfectly Dumbo for Dumbo Double Dare Challenge. Lucky for me I live in California and I was able to participate in the Inaugural Avenger’s Half Marathon weekend. November is typically an excellent time of year to run a race in California. Avenger’s weekend despite the beautiful temperature, it was awfully windy, but all in all I have to say it was a magical run. I simply loved that it was a different course than the Disneyland Half Marathon and Tinker Bell Half Marathon. Running this race made me realize how given time everything falls into place. For the first in a very long time, I felt my stride coming back, my pace returning, and I was starting to get my groove back. My heart and soul that blistery windy weekend was finally all taped up and glued back together! Needless to say it was a Thor-ific weekend!

Thorific!

Proudest Moment: In light of the previous months, it was honestly a miracle that I was not only on the road to good health, but I was able to participate in the 2014 Dumbo Double Dare Challenge during the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend.  That weekend I earned my 20th runDisney medal. Since 2009 I have run over of 188.9 miles between Walt Disney World and Disneyland. That is seriously A LOT of miles!

Figment DDD 2014

Most Inspiring Race Weekend: Participating in the 2014 Napa to Sonoma Valley Wine Country Half Marathon with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation was an amazing experience. I have personally never been in a situation where I was with so many people who have had so many similar experiences as I have had. Very few people my age have walked in my running sneakers or at least so I thought. I always knew that I was not alone and not the only one, but to actually see and hang out with people in my situation, who like me DON’T give up was an eye opener.  For those that know me, know that this weekend almost did not happen for me. While I am not going to mention names, you know who you are ;-), without my running partner who grabbed my hand to cross the finish or my friends who kept checking in on me via text along the course, or my running coach who stayed with my running friend and I for the last few miles this race weekend would not have been possible and for that I am forever thankful.

Napa!

Coolest New Race Distance: I have always felt that if you are going to run a 15k you might as well run at least a half marathon, otherwise what is the point. Well let me tell you, if it is the right race series or event a 15k could be a perfect alternative to running a half marathon. While planning a special weekend the idea to run in the Hot Chocolate 15k Scottsdale was thrown into the festivities of fun. I have never participated in an event hosted by the Hot Chocolate racing series and they did an amazing job! Being the holiday season I thought that it was only fitting to run as a candy cane and my running partner in crime very sweetly agreed to go as Buddy the Elf. WOW!! How lucky was I to have someone go along with my crazy scheme to run a race in a costume, especially in yellow tights!! This was a wonderful way to end the 2014 race season. If you have ever thought about participating in a Hot Chocolate race I suggest that you give it a try in 2015!

Hot Coco

As I reflect on the enormous lessons and the gratitude that I have for 2014 I can’t help, but reflect on how far I have come. Often times we lose sight of that and get stuck in the moment. Everything in life happens for a reason and while I thought that I would never bounce back or be the runner that I once was I am slowly, very slowly, might I add, but surely not only am I becoming the runner that I once was, but even better.

QOTD: What are you most looking forward to in 2015?

January 2015 Goals

Happy New Year! I sincerely hope that this year brings more laughter, happiness and more joy.  Being the Disneyaholic that I am I can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year and celebrate my birthday than at Disneyland!

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It has been awhile since I set monthly goals and to be honest with you I feel that it honestly keeps me focused, on track, and grounded. Let’s take a look at my January Goals, while some of these goals are not new per say, but I am adding a few new ones, here it goes…

1.) Finish the Inaugural Star Wars Rebel Challenge plus 5k in the upright position: Goals and objectives change. This is self explanatory. May the force be with me! Less than two weeks!

2.) Pile on the Miles: I intend on running a minimum of 40 miles this month, which sounds like a lot of miles, but the quick observer and mental mathlete will notice is that it is a realistic goal. At least ten miles a week for four weeks equals 40 miles. :)

3.) Stretch: I need work on this. I am going to make it a priority to stretch at least 3 times a week. And foam rolling would be added benefit too!

4.) Yoga: This going to be an ongoing goal throughout 2015 and I think that it will blend nicely with my goal to stretch and run 40 miles this month.

Here’s is to an AMAZING 2015, let’s start the year out right, and make every day count!

QOTD: What are your goals for January?

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! I will be spending the day with my family and hope you are spending the day with your family and loved ones. Savor those special moments and time spent with loved ones for that’s what really matters. I hope that you have a warm and delightful Thanksgiving and wonderful holiday season!

A Few of My Favorite Things Friday

No I am not going to burst out singing songs from The Sound of Music, though it it definitely on a continuous running loop inside my head. Navigating the world as a gluten free, dairy free, and no high fructose corn syrup consumer is not always easy and sometimes finding products that are healthy, nutritious, and actually delicious making you crave for more is not as easy as it seems. Luckily there are ton of brands that are actually catching on to this trend and new products are always hitting the shelves in the local market. As I become more informed and discover a few of new favorite things I thought that I would start sharing them with you! I always try to have a protein for breakfast and that is a lot easier said than done. I have about three breakfast options, I’m not joking, that I currently rotate and let’s just say that get’s BORING! I mean seriously I eat hummus with veggies, egg whites, or  a protein shake. While these two items might fall under the “shake” category this definitely adds options to my morning routine.

My two newest obsessions are Svelte Organic Protein Shakes and Califia Farms Chocolate Protein Pure Almond Milk. Both are equally delicious and amazing!

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Califia Chocolate Protein Pure Almond Milk is only 140 calories and 8 grams of protein! I love the low calorie content which allows me to throw it in a blender and combine with a banana! Can anyone say Chocolate Moo!! Yum!

These are certified NON-GMO and in a BPA free bottle. Not only does this help my dairy sensitive tummy, but they are also vegan, soy free, dairy free, and gluten free. They have an include line up of products including the best almond milk on the planet! I don’t joke about almond milk! From almond milks to pure iced coffee’s Califia Farms has you covered!

Wordless Walt Disney Wednesday

While I can’t recall EVER eating popcorn I do have the proof and with this proof I thought it would be fun to take a look at the various popcorn carts in Disneyland! Did you know that each cart has a miniature figure that rotates a cylinder of popcorn. The miniature figure’s appearance and costume on each cart is directly themed to the land which the cart is located. How cool is that?!

My Popcorn Proof

My proof! Don’t I look cute and like I am enjoying myself…Can you guess where I am!

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QOTD: Do you have a favorite Disneyland or Walt Disney World snack? What is it and where you find it!

It’s Been a Weird Year

The past few weeks I have been going through a lot of big changes and transitions in my life, where I am a proud to say that EVERYTHING is starting to finally fall into place! It’s all HAPPENING!!! It’s beyond hard to put into words all of my feelings and emotions in regards to how relived I am to put that last chapter of my life behind me. I’m not even sure that I am ready or have fully processed everything that has transpired these past few years. Hopefully a lot of the extra stresses in my life are behind me, which optimistically speaking should help my Crohn’s. Fear not friends, San Pellegrino will always be my best friend!

Emerson Quote

Building and creating a new life is not easy and I don’t think that it is meant to be easy. It’s really hard and you need to fight for it, keep searching until you find what you are looking for. I have traveled across the country and back within the past year and I learned very valuable lessons including what is most important to me in my life and where my heart calls home. If I could have clicked the heels to my running shoes sooner, trust me I would have, but like our heroine Dorthy Gale, sometimes you need to journey down the yellow brick road of life.

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All roads lead home and eventually you wake one morning warm in your bed, look around and realize that you are home.  Arrived safely, not unscathed, but you most importantly you made it. While in life there might always be a little voice in your head saying, “coulda, woulda, shouda,” I am firm believer in everything happens in life for a reason. Sometimes in life you need to travel to the ends of the earth to discover who you really are and what you are made of. I for one know that I have endless amounts of strength, resilience, hope, and determination. I am a fighter!

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This little blog and running hiatus of mine, due to life simply taking over, has opened my eyes and I’ve decided to blow the whistle on myself! Life is a juggling act as they say and it’s not always easy. All of a sudden, it’s obvious that I’m not performing as well as I should be. I have been experiencing a lot and I mean a lot of muscle spasms in lower legs and it really hurts! It is time to put the legendary Capricorn self-discipline to work. I need to change my work methods and diversify my activities. All sorts of solutions are available to me, I have the whole world at my fingertips! I am very lucky to be living in a city that has not only beautiful weather throughout the year, but also to live in a community that has beautiful running paths as well.

157bde5d3467877a388d500b66b9fa5dToday we have about 2 months left in 2014 and I intended to make the entire year count, it is year of JOY after all! I am going to embrace everyday as a new day and an opportunity for happiness and sunshine. In tend to fill my Hope in a Jar, with new adventures, ah moments, and laughter. I am going to start focusing more on my running, being more diligent in regards to improving pace and stamina. I know that this won’t always be an easy task, I will need to keep reminding myself all of the amazing reasons why I love running. The sun on my face, the wind in my hair, discovering new routes, to name a few. Running has taught me so many valuable lessons that I will always be applying those lessons towards my daily life.

While I might not be exactly where I pictured myself to be at 31, I definitely have a clearer picture of where I want to take my life and the women I envision myself to be, which brings me back to the title of this post; It’s Been a Weird Year. As the expression goes, if you don’t like what you see in the mirror, change it. And that is exactly what I am in the process of  doing. Besides, if I keep consistent and diligent with all of endeavors including with my running and training plans, everything will fall into place and I will begin to not only be the person that I want to be, but also be the runner that I envision myself to be.

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I am going to wake up every morning with optimism that today is a new day and to believe in the power of the day. I am going to take full advantage of the promise that each new day holds. I’m eager to get out and hit the pavement again and reach my goals!

QOTD: I’m not too sure who is out there reading this, but I would love to hear from you. Please comment and share why you love to run and the hurdles that you have faced in your own running routines and how you over came them.

How to Bake Challah Gluten Free…Challa-lujah!

Living in a world without challah has not been easy since I went gluten-free in 2012. For me that was one of the harder items to give-up, but the positives out weighed the negatives and I eventually learned to live without. Those that know me, know that I am a huge believer and preacher in just because you are gluten-free does not mean you need to live without. So my big question is what  have I been doing for two and a half years without challah?! Well the wait is OVER and NOBODY will have to live without again! Close those down those laptops and open up your ovens and repeat after me, Challa-lujah!

Challah

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups Gluten-Free Bread Mix (Either King Arthur Flour or Pamela’s)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup non-diary butter, melted (Earth Balance Non-Dairy Butter Sticks)
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 ¼ tsp yeast

Directions:

  1. Mix all together for four minutes on medium speed in a stand mixer.
  2. Using 3 piping bag cut the tip about 1-inch long. Divide the dough evenly among the three bags and “pipe” a braid onto a greased cookie sheet. The dough will be too sticky to braid otherwise.
  3. BraidMake sure you start at one edge of the sheet as the braid will take up the whole sheet.
  4. Let rise for at least 90 minutes in a non-heated oven with the light on and a glass bowl of water on the lower rack.
  5. After the 90 minutes brush on an egg wash (egg yolk mixed with a touch of water).
  6. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 1 hour.

QOTD: What is the one item that you have missed since going gluten-free?

 

Twist and Shout Out Crohn’s Disease Take the Cha

Life is far from a carousel ride in the park and is probably more equated to a roller coaster especially if you are living life with a chronic illness such as Crohn’s Disease. While yes you might be angry or mad at yourself for getting on board, strapping yourself in the roller coaster. Sometimes the drops are terrifying and frightening not knowing what is coming around the corner, but you somehow make it through to the other end and all of a sudden are looking forward to what is next.

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The same can be said for living life with Crohn’s disease, there are times when you are beyond scared, angry, mad, feeling like your body has betrayed you, feeling like your body is the enemy. These drops and rapid turns are like a flare you never know when they are coming. Then there are other times where the living is easy and you are smiling ear to ear and BAM another drop! While this could imaginably be hard on anyone, especially if you are young, vibrant, and at a time where you should be living life to the fullest. What makes it even harder is this an invisible disease and while one might look healthy on the outside your insides are all twisted and shouting out in pain. While the advancements have been amazing there is still not a cure and each more and more people are being diagnosed.

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My New Year and birthday advice to myself was that life is all about the little bumps and bruises and the hidden curves along the way. To embark on a new outlook towards life. With intensions to be bold and follow my dreams, not settling. Listening to my inner voice. Taking chances. Dance it out in my pajamas. Understanding that yes, sometimes taking a chance gives us a second chance. Here I go with my third year fundraising and raising awareness for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

And while you can’t alway’s choose what is thrown your way, what matters is how we handle these curve balls that comes our way. I like to think that I handle it with a little bit of grace, whole lot of strength, and whole lot of dancing it out! While I can’t hop on a float in the middle of Chicago with Ferris Bueller to spread Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness I can invite you to this virtual dance floor. Join me and let’s twist and shout out Crohn’s Disease!

Will you twist and shout out Crohn’s and Colitis with me on this virtual dance floor? I dare you! I challenge you to dance it out in your pj’s and if you don’t please be sure to click on the link to donate! Every penny counts!!

To donate to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, please follow click this link! Remember every penny counts!

***Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both major categories of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). IBD affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans. These chronic diseases tend to run in families and they affect males and females equally. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition limited to the colon, otherwise known as the large intestine.