Category: Running

Team Challenge: Running for Family

I’ve always been very open about my struggles with Ulcerative Colitis…it sucks, big time! In 2012, I ran with Team Challenge and helped to raise money to support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.  When Jessica reached out to me to let me know she was doing the same thing this year, I was thrilled!  It’s a wonderful racing team to be a part of and any bit of fundraising helps.  She offered to share her story on why she is running this year…  

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I’m so honored to write a blog post for Sarah. I’ve followed her Running at Disney blog since the beginning. I read a few years ago about her experience running the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon and was very inspired. Little did I know, that I would have a personal reason to be a part of Team Challenge so soon.

I started running seriously in 2009 training for the 2010 Walt Disney World Half Marathon. Since then, I have run 16 other half marathons and 6 full marathons including 2 Goofy Race and a Half Challenges, Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon and the Dopey Challenge this past January. The half marathon I am running this July will be the most meaningful one of them all. I am running the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 20th for Team Challenge. Team Challenge raises money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).

Until a few years ago I had no idea what Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis (UC) were. That changed forever in 2012. Ever since the birth of my nephew in 2010, my sister had been having trouble with cramping, diarrhea, and other intestinal issues on and off. By the summer of 2012, she had made so many trips to the emergency room, she lost count. Her Gastrointestinal Doctor diagnosed her with UC and planned on starting medicines to start trying to reduce the flares. In August, my family was scheduled to come to Atlanta for my baby shower from Maryland and right before the trip, my sister got a bunch of sores in her mouth. ANOTHER trip to the ER ended with the diagnosis of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and she was sent home with some “magic mouthwash”.

She didn’t make the trip to my baby shower with the rest of my family and by the time my mom got home to her, she was very malnourished and not improving at all. One call to the GI doctor later and they were back on their way to the hospital. This time she was admitted.

Elizabeth before her life saving surgery

Elizabeth before her life saving surgery

The placement of her PICC line, intending to give her nutrition and medicine saved her life. The x-ray to double check the placement of the PICC line showed that her large intestine had already perforated in multiple places. The doctor said if she was at home much longer, she wouldn’t have made it to the hospital. Getting the call from my dad that she was headed into emergency surgery to have her entire Large Intestine removed was the scariest call of my life.

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A few days after surgery

That same night I was searching the internet for support groups and stumbled upon the Team Challenge Website. A running group that fundraises for the disease that almost just took my sister from me? This is what I needed to do. So this past January, I went to a meeting and was so excited about the wonderful things CCFA does! Their mission is: To cure Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, and to improve the lives of children and adults affected by these diseases.

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My sister and I

Crohn’s and Colitis hit my family twice that year. My uncle was diagnosed with UC in the spring of 2012 and also ended up having an emergency colectomy. He now has a J-pouch and has his Colitis under control.

The great news is that my sister is on the road to recovery and living her life to the fullest. She is an amazing mom and enjoys spending every moment with her son Emmett.

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In fact she even started running herself!  She completed the Disney Family Fun Run 5k over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this past January.  

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I am so thrilled to contribute in my small way toward this wonderful cause. I want my sister, uncle and all of the other people I’ve met to find a cure and live full, healthy lives.  If you want to donate, please go to my Team Challenge fundraising page. Thank you so much, the money goes to such a good cause.

If you want to read my sister’s adventure through Crohn’s, Colitis and her ostomy, her blog is at mamasgotastoma.blogspot.com 

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Jessica lives in Marietta, GA with her husband, 1 and 1/2 year old daughter and three crazy dogs. She runs to have a few quiet moments to herself and keep herself sane. Jessica’s favorite full marathon was the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon and favorite half marathon was an epic adventure with friends running the Wine and Dine in 2013.  Follow her on twitter here: @jesscutler.

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Big thanks to Jessica for sharing her family’s struggles with UC and for supporting CCFA to find a cure.  These are really hard subjects to talk about, but the more we do talk about them, the more awareness that will be created.

If you want to learn more about Crohn’s and Colitis, head on over to www.ccfa.org for more information and please consider supporting Jessica…she even has some fun things in store for your donation.

  • $10: She will send you a Blue rubber bracelet that shows your support of the Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis foundation of America.
  • $50: She will write your name on the back of her jersey to share your support with everyone. 
  • $100: You can sponsor a mile of her race.
  • $200: She will make a “flat Stanley” character of you and take pictures along the course and send them to you after the race.  

Thanks again for the support and one day we will find a cure!!

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Remembering Boston

200px-BostonmarathonlogoAs the one year anniversary of the the Boston Marathon bombing approaches, I can’t help but think about that horrible day often.  That tragedy shook me to the core and still does to this day.  I know all too well what it is like to be smack in the middle of a horrific event like that.  To think that all of those people who were either living their dream of running the Boston Marathon or who were there to show support for this amazing feat were subject to something so terrifying is both devastating and infuriating.

The incredible thing about the tragedy was how the running community came together to show their support.  The day after the race many people are wore race shirts to show their support or ran 4.09 (the time on the clock) or 2.62 miles.  I asked people to share their photos and the response was AMAZING!  Here is the video:

I can’t wait to watch the Boston Marathon this year and cheer on all of the courageous runners taking on this race and struggling up Heartbreak Hill!  I can only imagine how the city is going to come together to show the world what #BostonStrong really means.  I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it!!  I think this commercial says it all…

Best of luck to all of you running this year…may the wind be at your backs!!

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Week 3 of the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge

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Well week 3 was VERY different from the first 2 weeks.  I started off the week great and ended it up in flames with a beer in one hand and banana fritter in the other.  If you’re gonna go down, do it right!

Let’s start with the positives….exercise.  Early in the week, I got 2 PRs that I was really psyched about!  The first was a 5# increase to my dead lift.  I didn’t quite make it to my goal of 230# because my back was feeling tight and we had 70 lighter dead lifts later in the WOD.  But I’ll take that 225# with pride!  I also increased my strict shoulder press PR by 4# to 74#.  Being the girl who never had any upper body strength…that’s a big deal!

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225# baby!

Then later in the week I headed down to Walt Disney World for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend.  Not only did I run 10 miles and get this awesome medal:

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But I did a TON of walking around the parks!  Not only is Disney always a super fun vacation, but it’s great exercise.  Check out my FitBit stats:

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Both Saturday and Sunday include the 10-Miler since the race started at 10:00 pm, but subtract that and you have around 18 miles of walking in 3 days!  It’s a great way to burn off all of the not so good for you food that you consume while there, which leads me to the negatives for the week…the food & drink.  

Serious Paleo Challenge FAIL.  I knew this was going to happen since this trip was booked before I started the challenge, but I really fell off the deep end.  Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is going on right now and it is my most favorite time of year.  How can you go wrong with strolling around World Showcase sampling food and drinks from all over the world?!?!  So I did just that, I ate and I drank, then ate and drank some more.  And you know what?  I really have NO guilt about it.  I had so much fun that I am ok with a few days off track.  RAD Living is all about balance and I would’ve been miserable if I didn’t enjoy myself with my friends.  So I had a blast and we’re moving on…

However this weekend has put me in a bad spot for the challenge.  I’m now only doing 17% better than the rest of the participants, compared to an already not very impressive 39% last week…yikes!  

Lurong Diet Stats Week 3

Basically all I can do is just get back on track this week and do my best.  It’s a new week! At some point I have to get in WOD 5, which is a combination of power snatches, kettlebell swings, ring rows and box jumps….should be interesting.  

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ENERGYbits: The Power of Algae

You know algae right?  It’s that green slimy stuff that grows on the inside of fish tanks and in swimming pools.  But did you know it’s actually GOOD for you?!?  Algae contains 1,000 times more nutrition than any other food source on the planet.  Just 1 gram is equal to 1,000 grams of fruits and vegetables.  Now that’s a super food!  

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However good algae might be for us, I can’t imagine anyone eating the slimy green stuff.  So here’s where the folks at ENERGYbits come in.  They figured out a way to fit all that goodness into small, bite sized “bits.”  ENERGYbits are made of spirulina algae, 40 other nutrients, and each tab has the highest concentration of protein in the world.

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There are 4 different kinds of bits available.  The original ENERGYbits are made with 100% spirulina and claim to increase energy and endurance, boots alertness and lower blood pressure.  These are best to use before athletic activities or anytime you feel fatigued.

SKINNYbits are also 100% spirulina, but are used for weight loss and aides in stopping hunger and fatigue.  These should be taken before meals to reduce hunger or as a complete meal or snack replacement.

RECOVERYbits are made with 100% chlorella, which is a strain of spirulina grown in fresh water.  These bits are used to pump up the immune system because of their high level of oxygen.  These prevent hangovers (score!) and colds, improve digestion and helps with detox.  These are to be taken after a night a drinking or every morning to prevent cold.  Dual purpose…interesting.

And finally, there are VITALITYbits which are 50% spirulina and 50% chlorella.  This mixture can be used for overall wellness, longevity and improved health.

Besides having a ton of protein, they are also a great source of Vitamin B which is important for maintaining energy when exercising.  I experienced this maintained energy first hand when I tried out some ENERGYbits on a recent morning run.  Now I’m not a morning person and I often find myself dragging when I go out, but I have to say that the bits really helped!  I actually ran a steady 1.5 miles, which is very different for me.  I’m a run/walker and generally never run more than a 1/4 mile at a time.  Not only did I run that 1.5 miles, but I felt great and could’ve kept going.  Unfortunately I had to wrap it up and head to work…

B Vitamins chart

The bits are best taken on an empty stomach for maximum effect, which is maybe why they worked well for me on my morning run.  They are a great way to kick start your day because they are an actual, healthy food source.  They contain no sugar, caffeine or chemicals and are only 1 calorie per bit!

Nutritional Comparison Chart

Interested in trying ENERGYbits for yourself?  Well I want you to win some!  The awesome folks over at ENERGYbits have been kind enough to host a giveaway so you can give them a try.  Simply enter below…you have until 11:59pm on Sunday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a free trial of ENERGYbits for the purpose of this review.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

My Journey West Has Left Me Speechless

So I take a trip out west and apparently stop blogging.  Maybe that’s a sign of having way too much fun, which is exactly how this trip was!  

After a stop in Colorado for a few days (have you seen my visit to Red Rocks?!), B and I made our way farther west to California.  Well, Disneyland in particular!  If you haven’t been following along on my journey through Instagram, here are a few highlights from the whole trip.

After Red Rocks, we made it to the top of Mount Evans in Colorado…the air was VERY thin!

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Faced my anxiety over flying and got on 5 different planes this past week!

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Went to Disneyland for the first time!!

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Had some DELICIOUS cocktails!

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Proceeded to run 21 miles in 3 days and got this awesome bling to show for it!

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And now I’m wearing it at work because I’m still on a Disney runner’s high 🙂

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Regularly scheduled blogging will commence this week and make sure to head over to Running at Disney for my full race recaps and Disney dining review…you won’t want to miss that!  Thank you to everyone who supported me though the races this weekend…you have no idea what that means to me 🙂  Until next time…

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