How Running 13.1 Miles Truly Feels

Well, as I sit here trying to think of words to re-cap last weekend my brain gets a bit lost. Last weekend, if you missed my posts on Instagram, I ran a 1/2 marathon and I lived to tell the tale! To be transparent I’ve been training for this beast for just a few short months and I never really felt nervous about the run until I hit mile 7. I was in good spirits and felt positive. Plus, I ran the Run Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon! It was my first trip to Walt Disney World! I was just beside myself the entire time, crying at every turn when I saw something new. I could feel my body tense up with excitement walking down the Magic Kingdoms Main Street and seeing the Animal Kingdoms Tree of Life. It all was so overwhelmingly awesome. I’d have to say the only thing that was awful was not having my children with me to experience it. However, we are already planning a trip back with Mila in tow. I can not wait!!

Running never used to be my thing, as much as I wanted it to be. I had always tried to get to that point of “needing” to go for a run. I thrive more so on group exercise classes like spin or dance and I love weight training with my husband (who is a personal trainer). I’ve run 5k’s before but never any more miles than that. Though when the option of running a 1/2 marathon presented itself I jumped at the chance, mostly to see if I could really do it. Turns out I can, not to entirely well, but I finished the race! Ever since arriving back home I’ve been hell bent on running another and decreasing my race time. So, the addiction has started so to speak and though I can’t wrap my head around it much … I guess you could say I am a runner. But if you told that to me just even 6 months ago I would have laughed and said “No Way!”

The truth is running is mostly mental, as in all in your head. Yes conditioning, endurance etc. all matter. But it really comes down to how strong you are in your head. Those positive thoughts really do work. It is hard for me to think of anything more inspiring than my own children when I run. I like to think of them right beside me, I imagine the wind blowing through Ryan’s red curls and Mila’s crinkle nose smile. I know it might sound weird, but that is what does it for me. I know people must think of the most random of things while running. My friend Jenna told me during the race when I was starting to fade, “Dedicate each mile to someone or something.” That was especially inspiring because then I started to run for things like my marriage, my own personal motherhood, my family as a whole, those thoughts kept me moving forward. Running for things that mean the world to me and drawing strength from them helped immensely. It also made me cry through out the race. Which, I think I might have been the only one bawling during the race? Who knows.

The one thing that was the most difficult was trying hard to think/push past the pain. Come mile 7 (mile 7 was hell) my knees started to ache and the pain only got worse as the race went on. I had to stop and walk a few times which embarrassed me at first, but I came to piece with it. I think at some point you really have to listen to your body, though running is mental there is pain that can’t be ignored. My knees were pretty much shot after the race. I had to ice for three days after race day and they still feel a bit sore. I learned about IT Bands and how running too many miles can cause them pain haha! My husband says I need to do more squats and other exercises to strengthen my knees. So, I’ll be working on that and training more efficiently moving forward. I also know so many of you mentioned to get fitted for running shoes, which I’m kicking myself for never doing. You live and you learn. Or you run 13.1 miles and learn.

I will say the best part of the whole trip was crossing that finish line and holy crap did I cry! I wasn’t even looking at Dan, I had my eyes fixed on the lady who was putting the medals onto people. I immediately had a flood of emotions and the second she put that medal around my neck I gave her a giant hug and cried on her shoulder. Then I found Dan and kept crying. People were asking me if I needed water, a banana, Dan was trying to take my photo. I was a hot mess, numb with excitement and pride.

To recap - The weekend at Walt Disney World was insanely awesome. The 1/2 marathon was incredibly hard, but also the most rewarding thing. I’ll definitely be doing it again and I’m excited to continue to train for a better race time. I couldn’t have gotten through it with out my children and husband. For they are ones who have built me into the person I am and give me the strength daily to achieve my goals. Thank you SO much for following along on Instagram and for all your well wishes before and after the race! You guys are the best and I look forward to sharing with you my next race!

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Here I am crossing the finish line. I honestly can't tell you why I was so emotional. Maybe because I actually finished? Maybe because of how badly my knees hurt? Maybe it was the thought of my children and missing them so badly, wishing I could have seen them both there at the finish line? Maybe I'm just an emotional mess? ;)

Here I am crossing the finish line. I honestly can't tell you why I was so emotional. Maybe because I actually finished? Maybe because of how badly my knees hurt? Maybe it was the thought of my children and missing them so badly, wishing I could have seen them both there at the finish line? Maybe I'm just an emotional mess? ;)

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Dan posted this to his Instagram stories and I thought it was so funny! My eyes are so happy and SOOO tired. I'm in so much pain here, and yet so damn happy!

Dan posted this to his Instagram stories and I thought it was so funny! My eyes are so happy and SOOO tired. I'm in so much pain here, and yet so damn happy!

A Day At Disneyland + Our Top 3 Disney Tips

If you have been with me from the beginning, as in nearly seven years go when I started my blog and social media, you know I love Disneyland! I started taking Ryan when he turned a year old (why did I wait a whole year?!) and never stopped since. While Ryan was with me, our Disney trips quickly turned into ‘our thing’. We frequented the park at least once a week and had our route and favorites down pat. Even on his last day here on Earth was spent at the “Happiest Place On Earth”. Disneyland will forever be a place where I feel and remember every ounce of my wild boy.

Now, once Mila was born I was jumping at the chance to visit Disneyland again with a child of mine. We took Mila when she was just two months and it was perfection. We haven’t stopped going since. If you see us on Instagram we head to the Disney parks once (and sometimes more) a week. Over the past year Mila has seriously grown to love the place and she even has a few favorites now. It has been such a joy to watch her grow, laugh and love a place that was close to her big brother and I. I’m proud to say, Disneyland is now a place I go with BOTH my children. Though anything Cars was Ryan’s favorite, Mila is more fond of Minnie Mouse and Small World. I am more partial to Haunted Mansion and Pirates. The three of us enjoy churros, churros and more churros.

This week my family had a fun opportunity to stay at the Disneyland Hotel and play inside Disneyland for two whole days back to back. Which is pretty much my dream! The best was that Dan took a few days off work to join us! It was his first time back at the park since Mila was just a baby! When we arrived at the park on Tuesday I fully cried because it really did feel like the four of us were together roaming around, having fun. I think the best though was watching Dan’s face while he watched Mila and her reactions to everything. I always come home bursting with stories from our Disney adventures, but he got to see her first hand this time around which was really special. We will be heading back again as a family soon, I’ll be sure to share a bit more on my Instagram stories!

Since we do go to Disneyland a lot and typically always share our fun on Instagram and Facebook, I receive a ton of questions. A lot of you ask how we do certain things, what rides are good for little ones like Mila and what foods we like to enjoy. Now, I’m no expert. Though, we do go a ton and I’ve nailed down a few tricks that make our life easier. I will say first that each and every time we go to Disneyland I arrive with zero expectations. The only game plan I have is to have fun. I have found that keeping expectations low at overwhelming places like Disneyland takes the pressure off. What will happen will happen and above all else, you are at Disneyland! Even grabbing a snack and sitting for 30 minutes while your kid gets their wiggles out is more fun than not! Below I’ve shared my top 3 Disney tips for you all, hope they are helpful! If I didn’t answer something you are curious about, just ask and I will either answer you in comments.

How We Survive Line & Parade Wait Times

Mila and I typically head to the park early to avoid long wait times. Hitting Disney early is a must with little ones simply because you can hit a lot of rides without waiting in long lines AND get a ton done before lunch + nap time! Usually Mila and I get the park at open ride her favorites in Fantasyland, hit up New Orleans square for Pirates and Haunted Mansion then take a breather for lunch. If we do find ourselves in a longer wait time I let Mila just hang out for as long as she can. Meaning she just waits alongside with me. I either wear her/hold her or hold her hand. We people watch, talk, sing songs. If she gets antsy I have a small snack on hand. A good rule of thumb for us is, if the line is longer than 30 minutes we don’t ride that ride. Mila can hang for more than 30 minutes with out losing her mind (can you blame her). My advice is find a few things you can bank on keeping your child’s attention with and don’t make them wait longer than what they can handle.

Parades are a beast that has literally taken a year to master. I am not kidding. Snagging a front row spot for a parade is a must in my book, but that means you have to wait a good 1.5 - 2 hours beforehand. I bring a blanket to sit on and plan it around meal times. I pack snacks, bubbles and a few toys that keep Mila happy. Like clockwork about 30 minutes before showtime Mila gets fed up. So at that point I just hold her hand and we walk up and down the parade route near our spot. She watches other kids play and toddles around. When the parade starts I will tell you, I’ve cried at the way my daughter reacts to seeing the magic up close. There are times while waiting when I think “Am I a F-ing nut bag for doing this?” but once that parade beat drops and I see my daughter perk up and start dancing … it makes the waiting worth it.

Must Do Rides For Mila (Baby +Toddler)

This is an easy question! Any ride with out a height requirement is a must do! Both my children loved all the rides. Get the park early and hit Fantasyland before it gets busy, those line queues can get a little hairy with little ones. Do the classics like; Small World, Pirates and Haunted Mansion. Over at Disney California we always ride Littler Mermaid, Monsters Inc. and watch the World Of Color show. You’ll find that your little one can go on just about anything, except the roller coasters and any ride with the word ‘mountain’ in it. Once your child hits 42 inches though they can literally go on anything. There are a few rides that call for 32 inches which Mila just hit! So now we can ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Cars Land which I’m pretty excited about. I'd also say any parade is worth the wait so check parade times as soon as you enter the park and work your day around those!

Favorite Foods Within The Park & What We Bring From Home

If you know me, you know I love sweets. At Disneyland I always get a churro. Sometimes (like this week) I go a bit overboard and indulge in a caramel apple or beignets, which are fried donuts covered in powdered sugar. Guys come on! So good! But in real life, for as much as we go to Disney we can’t eat like that every time. I always pack a tiny lunch box with food for Mila and a few snacks for me like string cheese, protein bars etc. Disneyland is pretty accommodating and even has a microwave in their baby center, so you can pretty much bring anything from home! I say, bring a ton of snacks and packed lunches from home, but indulge in a few treats from the park too!

Photos by Morgan Pansing

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Making Time For Fun

Recently I have been so busy trying to consume everything on my plate right now. I am notorious for biting off more than I can chew and then proceed to scream, cry and feel super overwhelmed as I choke it all down. I love what I am doing, so in the end it makes it all worth it. However, I can't help but wonder if I am doing it all right.

I am trying to learn how to maximize my productivity and how to balance everything on my plate. I recently read a blog post that detailed the importance of creating balance in your life, taking care of yourself and spending quality time with family, friends and by yourself. I read this right before my weekend started and this quote really hit home for me.

"Balance doesn't just happen. You need to plan it."

I had two very important orders this last week and I wanted to get the house clean before the chaos of Blog Sugar week {I'm making the dessert for the speaker dinner & 200 cookies for the Swag Bags..I'm insane.} PLUS spend time with Dan and Ryan....and well my list went on and on. Then I read this and something clicked. Balance doesn't just happen. I, myself must create ways for it to happen....I needed to make myself take breaks and enjoy doing nothing and everything with my family, friends and myself!

So, that is exactly what I did. Here is how I made time for fun, work and relaxation.

Thursday I delivered a cookie order and then went shopping with two new friends! Alyson and Meagan. It was the perfect dose of girl time. Plus, I bought a little something for myself that made me feel happy. {and it was under 6$...score!}

Here are the cookies for the Blog Sugar swag bags. I made 200 of these!

Here are the cookies for the Blog Sugar swag bags. I made 200 of these!

Friday Ryan and I went for a morning walk. It is starting to cool off here a bit so we went for a nice walk and at the end I treated myself to a extra hot whole milk vanilla latte'. During Ryan's nap time I decorated the baby blocks for the baby shower cake.

Baby blocks I made from crisped rice cereal treats and butter cream frosting.

Baby blocks I made from crisped rice cereal treats and butter cream frosting.

Friday night I bundled up Ryan for a super fun outing. My good friend Tory and I took Ryan to Disneyland to see the World of Color. It was the best time! The 3 of us had a blast and Ryan LOVED the show.

Saturday I woke up early and baked and frosted the baby shower cake. Spent some time blogging while my boys were still asleep and grabbed a coffee all by myself.

Saturday afternoon we decided to do a family trip to Disneyland. Saturday afternoon was one of the best days we have had as a family! Disneyland brings out the kid in you! It makes my heart melt experiencing the Happiest Place on Earth through my son's eyes.

Sunday we woke up and had breakfast together. Then the boys went to a friends house to watch football while I went and delivered the baby shower cake.

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Sunday afternoon we had BBQ dinner with some friends.

Sunday night I cleaned up the house and made some plans for this week ahead.

{We all ended up like Ryan above...But the weekend was productive and fun!}

The important thing here is you have to make time for fun. And when you do it leaves you feeling refreshed and happy. Not to mention you create some fun memories!

Embrace the time you have and make time for fun.

I would love to know how you balance your time and any advice you have. What seems to work for you? What are you favorite things to do with the family, your friends or alone?