Race Recaps: Summer Trail Series 1 & 2

With the first two races of the 2014 Gulf Winds Summer Trail Series completed, I thought it would be appropriate to review  the first half of the series.  Both of these races were held on single track trails (trail maps) at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park in Tallahassee, Florida.  I love running on my local trails, so this race series was a no-brainer.  Running on trails is about the only way I can continue racing during our hot Florida summers. 
Trails can be as much as 12 degrees cooler than running on the road.  

Race #1 6/21/14 6:00PM- Redbug Mountain Bike Trail 4.5 mi
Salomon is one of the trail series sponsors - so another cool thing is that the rep is at every event with demo shoes.  I ran in demo trail shoes for the first race.
Hanging out pre-race with some of our running buddies: Patty, Michelle, Charly, Karen, Jamie
I had also run the Monticello Watermelon Festival 5k that morning with a lot of the same running friends (Dopey Challenge prep can't start too early). 

The first race was an evening event.  Don't let the late start time fool you, it was brutally hot and humid.  The race was held on a mountain bike trail that makes an amazing race course.   
The race started off with the race director asking everyone to line up by expected finish times. I am always impressed by trail racers, they always seem to be far more honest with themselves (and others) about their times. 

 I only passed a couple of people, and only a couple passed me.  There was no constant passing, as that would have almost been impossible on such a narrow course anyway. 
Being a mountain bike trail (bike only, only open to runners for a couple of events a year), it is far more technical than I am accustomed to.  The constant turns, hills, and obstacles always keep you focused.

This race reminded me that I need to make sure to keep up with the Dopey training schedule.  Back to back races can be fun, but you always need to be prepared.
Sportkilt makes me faster!

Just a quick note on post race snacks.  We had the usual water, PowerAde, bagels, bananas, chewy granola bars. But our race director really treated us right.

Rice Krispie Treats! Clementines!  Roasted Peanuts!
Perhaps my favorite thing at the finish line waiting for the runners were ice pops.  You know the ones your mother would bring to your sporting events, when you were a kid.  The ones that come in the giant bins at your local super store. 
They were great when you were a kid and they are still great when you're an adult (Hey DisneyBride- why don't we grab a pack for the freezer?).

Absolutely great race- on to race 2!
Race #2 7/12/14 8:00AM- Swamp Forest Trail-  4.1 mi

Another brutally hot and humid day.  Why can't Race Directors control the weather?  This race was a different single track trail at the same park as the first race. The Swamp Forest Trail is my go-to trail for my weekend runs.  The trail is beautiful, challenging, and shaded.
DisneyBride is my favorite race volunteer and #1 cheerleader

This race starts off with about a half mile of an equestrian trail.  This gives everyone ample time to get spread out before hitting the single track trail.  I am glad that this was a trail I was very familiar with as my glasses kept fogging up.  Every 5 minutes or so, I would have to try and find a dry piece of clothing to clear them off (if you have a product or idea to prevent this, please leave a comment below). 

Was that The Flash?  Nope, it's me!

This race took more out of me than the first.  The humidity was that bad. 
Feeling pretty "Incredible" at the finish line
The series has been great so far and I am looking forward to the last two races.  Want to give a shout out to our awesome race director, Bobby York, who has really been working hard to put on top notch trail events here in Tallahassee.  This is the second year of the trail  series, and in January he served as race director for the Inaugural Swamp Forest Trail Marathon, Half, and 1/4 - that DisneyBride ran.

While I have no award/podium aspirations this year, but it will be neat to see my rankings through the four race series.  I'll write another post at the conclusion.

I'm going to add that I always say: "it's not a trail run until you fall".  And we've seen some pretty bad wipeouts and face-plants so far.  However, I have miraculously managed to stay on my feet for both races.  Now that I have said this, I am doomed to fall during race #3 this Saturday.

Are you doing any trail races this summer?

Do you do any of your training miles 'off-road'?


Dining while Dopey: runDisney Marathon Weekend Preparations Begin

So yes, it is still many months away, but the January 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is still very much on our minds.  

1) Dopey Challenge:  if you are one of the Dopeys completing the 4 day, 48.6 miles challenge and you are following one of Jeff Galloway's official training plans, you should now already be into your second week of the plan.

2) ADR (Advanced Dining Reservations) opened up for our travel dates today. If you are staying at a WDW resort during Marathon weekend, don't wait to make your reservations. 


With the first week of training for Dopey 2015 behind me, this is a good time to bring everyone up to speed.  I have been slacking a bit lately, writing down my training plan has finally got me back to running on a regular basis.  I have my plan written down to account for all my fall races, and I plan to get it into an electronic format that I can share here on the blog.

I think it is tempting to underestimate the importance of training runs early in the plan.  But, I am living proof that consistency early in the plan does work.  I'm not fast, my form isn't efficient, and I'm not in great shape.  But I stuck to it the last time around, never got injured, and finished all the Dopey 2014 races within my goal times. So by creating good habits and following through with the shorter runs now, you will go a long way to being consistent when the training runs start to get really long. 

My first Instagram pic! Dopey (and ultra) training of course

The first few weeks in my plan only have me running 3 days a week.  Two timed runs during the week and a long run on the weekend.  I have managed to keep up so far, lets hope I don't have any issues this summer.  Its been pretty hot, so I have concerns about staying cool on my long runs.  I'll be keeping to the trails to try and escape some of the heat. 

My next race is this Saturday.  Race 2 of 4 of the Summer Trail Series here in Tallahassee.  I'll provide a recap of the first few races next week.  And I'll provider some progress updates as I prepare for Dopey 2.0. I even started an instagram account to keep me a bit more accountable. You can follow me here.


RunDisney weekends require a bit more strategy when it comes to booking your dining reservations.  You don't want to book an early breakfast because you may not be done with your race in time to get there. Or you might cut it close - but you won't have time to shower or change.   Then you don't want to have late dinners or big heavy dinners if you have to wake up at 2am to go run 13.1 or 26.2 miles.  Even though we always have a car, during race weekends we prefer restaurants accessible by monorail.  Because there are also the road closures that affect your ability to get around from resort to resort.

So Advanced Dining Reservations became available for us today, allowing us to book our meals during January 7th - January 12th, 2015.  If you have a reservation 'on property', at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts, you can make your reservations a bit earlier than the general public.  If you are a frequent visitor to Disney, you will have your favorite places - and want to try to get in before they book up.

The very popular places (Chef Mickey's, Be Our Guest, O'hana, etc) do book up quickly and your favorite restaurants may not be available if you wait too long before reserving.  We were not able to get into Boma for breakfast on the dates we wanted for this trip - so DG and I spent our lunch hour on the phone juggling and rescheduling all the other reservations to accommodate for second choices and availability.   

Big kids at heart - we are all about the character dining.  So we'll be at Chef Mickey's twice, for dinner and breakfast, The Garden Grill, Akershus, and O'hana to see Mickey and Friends, Chip & Dale, the Princesses, and Lilo & Stitch respectively.  We got into Boma for dinner - so I suppose we will have at least one 'grown up' meal during the trip. I use the term 'grown up' loosely - as I am often shocked when forced to remember my age.

So are you preparing for a big out of town race that is still many MONTHS away?  

How far out do you start your training plans and think about planning your meals?

Run Happy!  

What's on my grill? healthy vegan meals (and a giveaway) {CLOSED}

This Giveaway has closed.  Check our most recent posts for other great giveaways.

Through my affiliation with Fit Approach, we got the opportunity to try out Sunshine Burgers. 
"made with certified organic, verified Non-GMO whole food ingredients, free of gluten, soy, corn, canola, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy or eggs.”
As a lifelong vegetarian, recently transitioning to vegan, I was very pleased to read this.

I want to quickly mention mock meats.  They are very popular food items to those seeking to transition to vegetarian diets.  Many of these are crafted to resemble meat in color, flavor, and texture.  Many 'veggie' burgers out there do this.  Sunshine Burger does not.  There is no attempt to make it something it is not.  You can look right at it and see the bits of veggies.  Mock meats have their place, but if you want to enjoy and appreciate veggies in their own right (and you want the pleasure of grilling up a tasty 'burger'), then this is the one for you.
There are many delicious recipes in  the recipe section of Sunshine Burgers’ website, but we were encouraged to create our own dish with our review.

The case I received contained two boxes: Southwest and Garden Herb. I selected the Garden Herb and then looked to our own backyard garden for inspiration.  There are many other flavors I can't wait to try out.  But right now, this one has become a household favorite.

Garden Fresh 'cheeseburger'

  • Sunshine Burger Garden Herb patty (grilled)
  • Go Veggie 'vegan cheese' - I used Cheddar / Jalapeno)
  • Fresh salsa (from homegrown tomatoes and jalapenos)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • pickles (of course)
  • Spicy Mustard
  • Bun of your choice (I used Pretzel Buns)
Served with oven-fries and vegan baked beans.
And banana-maple 'ice cream' for dessert. (Made by blending frozen bananas with a drizzle of maple syrup. That's right, dairy-free and delicious!).
A very tasty and satisfying summer meal.

We're in Florida, and Sunshine Burgers are readily available at Publix and Whole Foods.   You can checkout the Store Locator section on Sunshine Burger’s website to find their products near you.  If you sign up for the Sunshine Burger newsletter, you can even get a coupon on your next purchase.
I'm giving away Sunshine Burgers for you to try at home.  You can enter using the rafflecopter below. 

Terms of the Giveaway

1) No Purchase Necessary.

2) Giveaway begins Thursday July 3, 2014 and ends Wednesday July 9, 2014 at midnight. Winner will be announced on the Facebook page and this blog post.  He or she will be notified Thursday, July 10, 2014.

3) Must be 18 years or older to enter. Must be a U.S. resident. 

4) One (1) winner will be selected. The winner will receive a variety of Sunshine Burgers. The product will be shipped to winner by the sponsor.

5) Sign in through Rafflecopter below to enter. With your first entry, the app will capture your e-mail or facebook name. This is so we can reach you if you win, in accordance with sweepstakes terms. Your contact info will ONLY be used to contact you if you win.

6) There are additional opportunities for multiple entries.

7) The winner will be chosen at random using the rafflecopter app below. Odds of winning are determined by the number of eligible entries received.

8) In the event winner does not respond to contact attempts via e-mail or facebook name provided within a one week period, another winner will be selected at random.
9) Void where prohibited.

Disclaimer: I received Sunshine Burger product to review without monetary compensation. All opinions are my own. I was given the opportunity to review through the Sweat Pink Ambassador community.