Motivated to Train and Ready to Run

Did you see it??

Today was the big reveal by runDisney of the 2019 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend medals! In case you missed it, you can see the medals and read the entire article on the Disney Parks Blog here.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of this event and I am so excited, both as a chef and as a runner, to be there. After an accident and having to cancel my solo trip back in the spring when I was supposed to run the Star Wars Rival Run Challenge, I have regrouped, healed and rescheduled my trip. I’m crazy excited for what will be both my first Wine & Dine runDisney event and my first 10k.

If that Olaf & Sven Frozen themed medal isn’t motivation for me, I don’t know what is. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me, but that icy finish on the medal…love it!

Ok, but to get that medal takes a lot of work on my part.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been 3 months of sloth recovering from my injuries, and I’ve put on 10 lbs, so I’ve got some work to do to get back in shape. Thankfully, my training has already begun.

Meal Prep

Two of the big issues for me when it comes to getting back on track and maintaining my optimal weight and fitness level, are portion sizes and making better food choices. Nothing helps me with this more than a little meal prep.

I don’t go crazy here. I’m not one of those people that worries about fats vs carbs vs protein, or weighing out each of my ingredients. Kudos to those that do, but I don’t. That just doesn’t work for me. So I do what does work..

I’ve found that spending a couple hours in the kitchen once a week (usually Sunday afternoons) doing meal preparation helps A LOT. My weekly staple prep items tend to be a sugar-free fruit compote (to mix with Greek yogurt or to top buckwheat pancakes), simple grilled vegetables and chopped raw veggies, salads for quick lunches, tuna burgers, and spinach egg muffins. These things are my go-to items that are almost always found in my refrigerator.

 

Then I plan other items to add to the mix just to shake things up a bit every week to avoid boredom. Things like spinach vegetable quinoa cakes, pumpkin quinoa burgers, sweet potatoes topped with Buffalo chicken, or pesto vegetable pasta with roast chicken all add big flavour and keep me excited about food while not going overboard.

As long as its in the fridge and ready to go, I won’t linger in the kitchen and grab the wrong thing, or eat more than I should.

(Happy) Planning My Workouts

One thing I’ve discovered is if I write it down, I’m more likely to do it. And that includes workouts.

I schedule my workouts like I would a doctors appointment. I find mornings work best for me and scheduling three workout sessions per week works well. If I get in a couple more workouts or manage to get in some kind of physical activity with my family above and beyond that, great. But I find if I try to schedule more than three, I end up missing or cancelling those extra days when life gets crazy (or my kids make plans over my plans) and I end up frustrated. If I have an upcoming run, my three workouts tend to be runs as per my running plan (that’s discussed below). Otherwise, it’s three workouts of my choosing: a run, gym session, weights at home, running hills & stairs along the waterfront trail…whatever.

So, like meal prep, once a week I sit down and plan out the following week. I look at what appointments I have, what hours I have to work, where I have to be and when, and plan my three workouts to fit. I do all of this using fitness pages in my Happy Planner. I know to some this might seem silly, adding stickers and washi tape to a fitness planner, but for me it helps. I can add whatever sticker quotes I come across that help keep me motivated for whatever mood I’m in that week, or add a habit tracker sticker so I can track how many meals I’m NOT skipping, or how many meals I ate sugar-free. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but it’s really helped me. Recording my workouts and seeing the results in writing (how many calories burned, miles I ran, or steps I put in) is incredibly rewarding and motivating for me, and formatting the pages ahead of time help keep me immersed in all things fitness.

Fitness Planner

Fitness Pages in my Happy Planner

As for the workouts themselves, I mix it up. If I have a marathon event on the horizon, I do try to follow the Jeff Galloway training plans on the runDisney site (you can find them here). I love the walk/run combination and have had good success with them for my past runs.

I also love Pilates and try to do a couple short sessions (20 minutes or so) each week to help build core strength, and I mix those up with a couple weight sessions. I have found these critical to proper form on my runs and in building speed.

Off and Running

Alright, so I’ve shared what works for me. What works for you? Do you use a food journal? An exercise log? What are your favourite meals to prep ahead?

Anyone else have a run coming up, runDisney or otherwise?

 

 

 


Edible Options Gluten-Free Bakery

Every year my husband participates in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer here in Ontario and joins about 4500 other cyclists in riding from Toronto to Niagara Falls in the name of raising funds for cancer research.

While he cycles in whatever weather Mother Nature throws his way, I travel with our daughters and my sister to Niagara Falls so we can camp out at the finish line and cheer for the riders as they cross the line.

This year, my husband was one of only 97 riders (out of just over 4500) that took on the added challenge of a 260+ km course called The Hammer. I’m proud to say, not only did he complete the entire route, but he crossed in the best shape of all the 12 years of the ride thus far. I am blown away by the amount of time and effort it takes to train for this ride and my hat goes off to all the riders.

Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer – Ride #12, The Hammer

Dedicated Gluten-Free Bakery

Before we left town last week, I was told that if I was going all the way to Niagara Falls, that I must stop at a little gluten-free bakery in St. Catharines for what is claimed to be THE BEST gluten-free bread anywhere.

I hadn’t heard of the bakery so I looked it up…Edible Options is a dedicated gluten-free bakery that offers vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free, cane sugar-free baked goods. Always ready to try and support anyone in their gluten-free endeavors (and excited to support anyone who works in a dedicated gluten-free shop as I do), I put it in the back of my mind and made note to try and visit the bakery if time allowed.

Thankfully we were able to take the time to stop in St. Catharines on the way home and wow! The gushing reviews online were not overstated!

As soon as we opened the bakery door, we were greeted with incredible smells of fresh-baked goods that had everyone in our group drooling (gluten eaters included). The bakery is an industrial-style cafe with plenty of room to shtop and enjoy whatever you’re lucky enough to buy and try. Almost immediately I was getting asked ‘are you sure it’s gluten-free’ because 1) there were no signs anywhere saying so, and 2) everything looked incredible!

I went straight for the bread and stood in awe at the height and size of their loaves. It was the first thing I ordered, without hesitation – two multigrain loaves, and one cheese & herb. Only then did I wander along the counter to check out the rest of the goods. The staff were fantastic.. patient, and smiling at how happy and excited we all were to be there.

By the time I’d ordered the bread and the staff had sliced all three loaves for me, everyone in my group had their eyes on something they wanted. They all ordered something different for the long ride home: shortbread cookies, ginger cookies, chocolate whoopies, coconut bombs, banana crumble muffins…there were so many options. I was truly in Heaven…EVERYTHING GLUTEN-FREE! Believe me, it’s not very often I get to walk into a bakery and choose anything I want and know that it will be safe.

I was told that the best way to keep the bread was on the counter (wait, what?!) and NOT in the fridge. Unheard of for gluten-free bread! Yep, apparently the bread will keep for about 7-9 days (seriously?!) but it does also freeze well if I wanted to go that route. I smiled but secretly didn’t believe the cheerful young lady behind the counter.

I don’t think we were even out of the parking lot before everyone in the car began eating their treats and started with the gasps of delight, trading bits of their items for bits of someone else’s so everyone could try everything.

The Best Gluten-Free Bread

Back at home, I immediately broke open the loaves of bread. Gorgeous!

My youngest was into them right away and without anything on it, ate a slice. She was two steps away when she turned around and asked for more saying it was the best bread EVER! That’s all it took…my eldest was right behind her begging to try. Yet again, BEST BREAD EVER! Now neither of my kids has to eat gluten-free (and generally prefer not to) so needless to say, none of the loaves I bought will make it to the freezer. As for the claims of the bread lasting 7-9 days out on the counter, I’ll let you know….if any of it lasts that long.

 

July 2019 UPDATE: Ok, so the bread was amazing and YES, it did last 7 days on the counter! Just how good was it? I’m off on a 4 hour road trip tomorrow to get more!! And this time, I ordered ahead. Bringing home a car full of goodies.


Volunteering Benefits Everyone

There’s no doubt that being able to see the results of hours of your hard work, makes putting the time in a little easier.

And when countless hours spent volunteering to help make tissue paper flowers for a Mother’s Day charity event goes from a pile of paper on your dining room floor, to a beautiful venue…

you smile and feel good inside.

I believe volunteering makes a difference – in both the individual who does the volunteering, and in the world around us.

With our busy lives today, it’s easy to say we don’t have time, but the rewards of volunteering even as little as one hour of our time can be enormous. It can be a chance to give something back, gain new experiences, develop skills, meet new people and socialize, or get out and discovery more of your community.

Our children are required to complete 40 hours of volunteer work before they can graduate from high school, but why stop there? And shouldn’t we set the example for them?

I volunteer my time in different ways: as a member of the parent council at my daughter’s school, at different school functions, and often for various local running and charity events in our community.

Over the past couple of weeks, I spent hours making tissue paper flowers alongside my youngest daughter for a local Mother’s Day charity event. She’s too young to have her volunteer hours count toward her required hours for high school just yet, but our little girl gladly put in her time regardless.

In the end, we were able to attend the event, a Mother’s Day high tea, and see how our hard work brightened up the venue and brought both smiles and a touch of spring to the room. While both my daughter and I are not too eager to see another tissue paper flower for a while, I know we’ll step up again next year with a smile and do it all over again if given the chance.

Do you volunteer your time in any way? What reward or benefits do you gain?


Garden View Tea Room – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

We have been fortunate enough to enjoy afternoon tea in the Garden View Tea Room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa many times over the years, and it has become a family tradition for every trip.

Garden View Tea Room tea pot and cover

Sweet Curry Chicken

That’s because my family knows that if there’s one must-have food item I need to eat every time I go to Walt Disney World, it’s the Sweet Curry Chicken finger sandwiches at the Garden View Tea Room.

These little delights haunt me in the best possible way.

It’s the one recipe I cannot duplicate when I get home, and believe me, I’ve tried. And tried. And tried.

Garden View Tea Room

The Disney Dining Plan is not accepted in the tea room, so it’s worth noting that this is an extra expense if you typically use a dining plan as we do.

There are a few different packages at different price points on the menu, but we love The Bedfordshire Tea package (the least expensive package) which includes assorted finger sandwiches, a scone, your choice of dessert, and of course your choice of tea from their vast menu. There is no shortage of food here so be sure to go hungry!

 

A Delightful Gluten-Free Tea Experience

I’m the only one in our family that has to follow a gluten-free diet, and the chefs never disappoint when it comes to my personal tea experience.

Gluten-Free Finger Sandwiches

As with their standard menu, there is a gluten-free assortment of finger sandwiches that come on fresh gluten-free bread and they are amazing! The selection can vary but my plate pictured above included egg salad, sweet curry chicken, tomato, cucumber, and poached pear (did I mention there is plenty of food?).

gluten free cakes and spreadsThe scones on the menu are the one difference and for anyone dining gluten-free, they are replaced with different breads (snack cake style), but you won’t miss the scone and you still get to enjoy the trio of spreads that everyone else does: strawberry jam, clotted cream, and lemon curd. Again, amazing! macaroons inside view

As for dessert, I always enjoy the plate of sweet macaroons that go perfectly with those last few drops of tea.

While the entire menu is tasty, I can’t help but hold a sweet spot for that curry chicken. I have created my own sweet curried chicken salad recipe at home which is close, but that magical ingredient is sadly missing.

My hunt for that perfectly duplicated recipe continues and every time I find a recipe for curried chicken somewhere that looks close to what I imagine the Disney recipe must be, I test it. I’ve had no luck so far, but I’m enjoying the process. And if it means I have to keep visiting the Garden View Tea Room in hopes of getting my fix, so be it.


If At First You Don’t Succeed

Here we go again…

Today was the day. I got up this morning with mixed emotions and decided I would late fate decide: to run the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend, or not.

Yes! Who am I kidding?? Of course I’m going to take another shot at a runDisney event!

I drove my daughter to school, put on a pot of coffee, logged into my laptop, fired up the runDisney Events page and waited.

Thirty grueling minutes later, it was done. I’m in!

w&d1

A New Hope

But…

I will admit I was so excited for the Star Wars Rival Run trip and the excitement I’m feeling for this trip/run is very different. I had to rethink this trip: how much to keep the same and how much to change? Turns out switching it up has helped me get excited about it all over again.

First, my Star Wars trip was meant to be a solo trip and a personal challenge for my 50th birthday. This new trip is not that. Instead of registering for the challenge, I’ve registered for “just” the 10K (a girl can only throw out so much in Canadian funds to sign up for runs that offer no refund). I did however register for the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon so that will be my challenge to myself once my doctor gives me the ok to run again. And I’m keeping the solo aspect of this trip and am excited at that. Disney on my terms, my way.

Second, I LOVE everything Star Wars and was absolutely stoked at the idea of being a part of the Rival Run excitement. Light side vs dark side? And those medals?? Loved it all! So only a food-themed run during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival could get this chef as excited to try again. And hey, thanks to Disney’s latest announcement about the earlier than anticipated opening of Galaxy’s Edge, I get to combine both of my loves in one trip (just me and about 5 million others).

Third, was the resort issue. Stay at the original resort I had planned, or pick a different one? I decided to go for a whole new one. I’m picking a Disney Resort that we’ve never stayed at in the past (more about that in a future post).

So here I sit excited about a whole new trip and a new experience. This will be my first solo trip, my first runDisney 10K, and my first time at my selected resort. If I can just keep my feet firmly planted on the ground and avoid anymore accidents between now and then…

…just 225 days to go!

 

 

 

 


When You Can’t Get to Disney…

One week ago today, I had a nasty accident that left my entire right side badly battered and bruised, and my right wrist broken.

In an instant, all of my Disney dreams went out the window as a surgeon spoke the words I’d already been telling myself but hadn’t been strong enough to speak out loud, “there will be other marathons.”

I have spent the past seven days feeling sad and sorry for myself. I cancelled all of my vacation plans and let go of my dreams of my first Disney solo trip and running the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Challenge.

Until today.

Today I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started thinking. I’ve trained hard and I’m ready to run my first half, so why let all of that hard work go to waste?

Virtual Running

I cannot tell you how many times the words of the surgeon have played over and over through my head, “there will be other runs.” So today I went looking for other runs.

And bingo, there it was right in front of me!

As I roamed social media, hitting every marathon and running site looking for a run in the not-too-distant-future, there it was. The runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon.

It’s perfect:

  • I have time for the bruising to subside and my wrist to heal enough to run again.
  • I don’t have to travel anywhere or run with a cast in heat and humidity (suddenly I’m thankful for the cooler Canadian temps).
  • I have the option to break the distance down over shorter runs if needed (not that I want to).
  • I still earn a Disney Star Wars themed medal.

I thought about it for all of five minutes before I hit the Register button.

Back to my Roots

This isn’t my first virtual run. It’s actually how I first began running and earning medals. I started out with the runDisney Virtual Running Shorts back in the summer of 2016, earning my Yellow Shoes, Red Shorts, and White Glove medals. I quickly also joined the Hogwarts Running Club where I earned medals running longer distances and going beyond 5K’s. And once my daughters saw me earning my medals, they were all in too!

While the official deadline for this virtual half is March 31st, I want to complete my run safely and with doctor approval. Maybe I’ll set the medal aside and run it at home on the same day of the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon. That way it won’t hurt as much when I see all of those fabulous finish line photos pop up on social media on the day of and after the run.

Maybe it will have to wait longer. Only time will tell. Either way, I won’t unwrap and wear the medal until I’ve earned it. Safely.

So remember…where there’s a will, there’s a way.

And watch for my future post where I’ll be wearing that Star Wars half marathon medal!

runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon Medal

runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon Medal

Look here to see all of the Star Wars runDisney 2019 medals.

 


How NOT to Train for a Marathon

Fall

Down for minimum of six weeks with a broken radius.

Accidents Happen

Life doesn’t always go according to plan.

For instance, I had planned to train for and run the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Challenge in April at Walt Disney World. After successfully registering for the challenge, I put in the hard hours of training, logging many miles on my running shoes, did the research on a proper diet and ate well, and I put in time at the gym doing cardio and weight training workouts to prepare.

Then, as I was decorating for my daughters 13th birthday party, I had an accident and all that went out the window. I fell. Hard. Long story short, I have a badly broken wrist with possible nerve damage and the surgeon tells me “there will be other marathons.”

He’s right of course, but that doesn’t take the sting out of it.

One minute I was just 30 days away from my first solo trip to do the challenge, a trip that was both a birthday present and a challenge to myself for my 50th birthday, and the next I was just thankful to have only a broken arm and not having lost an eye or having broken a leg as well, and wondering if I’ll one day be able to pick up and yield a chef’s knife once again.

Cancelled Plans

I cancelled my trip.

I believe all things happen for a reason even if we may not always know that reason, and I try to focus on the positive. In this case, the reason escapes me, but I am happy I spent the time training and getting myself in good shape. No doubt about it, that will help me in my healing and rehabilitation process.

So, this is day five of me sitting on my butt, trying to learn to do for myself with just my left hand/arm, trying not to think too hard of what might happen during or at the end of my recovery, and I’ve already got my eyes set on another runDisney marathon and a new challenge.  

I guess this means that for now I won’t be sharing any training progress notes with you, but don’t count me out.

After all, I am a chef, so maybe I was meant to run the Wine & Dine challenge??