Posts Tagged by run

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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How Body Type Can Dictate Your Sport

Well runDisney has taken up most of my blogging time these past few weeks.  Last week was the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and this week was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend.  I’ve been taking a break from running for a while, but I still LOVE Disney races, so I’ve been following all the fun and cheering on my friends along the way.  But all this running madness did get me to thinking…  

I recently saw this video on the difference between a sprinter and a marathoner.  It basically comes down to explosive strength vs. endurance.  This does apply to both sprinters and marathoners, but it also applies to numerous other athletes as well.  Where do I fall? 

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Sprinters train their muscles to react quickly and use short bursts of energy to achieve quick goals.  They need total body strength and muscle.  All that muscle gives them explosive power to run fast, lift heavy things and push extra hard, but it also adds weight, weight that makes it quite difficult to run a marathon.  That’s why these athletes excel at sports like sprinting, rowing, weightlifting and speed skating.  

Marathoners on the other hand do not need those strong, explosive muscles to run long distances.  They keep their weight down and train their muscles to carry them for long distances.  Speed and strength isn’t as important as endurance.  Besides marathons, these athletes excel at other sports like cycling and cross country skiing.

Well I don’t really fit into either category, but I definitely lean more towards sprinter than marathoner.  Yes, I’ve run a marathon but it was far from an easy task to complete.  I’m not exactly what you would call “light on my feet” and while I can endure many miles it’s not very fast.  My energy tank runs low fairly quickly.  I’m just not built like your typical runner.  Look at my friend Marc for example, tall, thin, fast, and runs ultra marathons…he’s your typical marathoner.  

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I’m somewhere in between.  I have great explosive strength that allow me to lift heavy and I have increased my endurance to get me through half and full marathons, but I don’t completely excel at either.  And due to my genetic make-up, I probably never will.  I can train my muscles to be better in one area then the other, which is what has been happening with my CrossFit training.  I’ve been focusing more on lifting weights and slacking on my running, and I have seen a definite decrease in my endurance because of it.

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So yes it’s genetics, but you can also train you body to excel in one area or the other.  Do you want to run marathons?  Focus on endurance and put in the time with some long runs.  Do you want to sprint or lift heavy things?  Work your entire body and build your strength.

Where do you fall?  Do you excel in one area or are you more 50/50 like me?  

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Rethink Your Day With the Polar Loop

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Polar.

How much do you move during the day?  Probably less than you think.  Well at least that’s what happened to me when I got my first step tracker.  So when I was given the opportunity to test out the brand new Polar Loop activity tracker, I jumped at the chance.  I know I’m fairly inactive during the day because I have a desk job that involves sitting at the computer and working on spreadsheets and other lovely documents.  So I wanted to see how this new tracker could help me get moving and rethink my day!

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My first impression was that the Loop was chunky and bulky.  It felt heavy compared to my FitBit Flex.  But the more I’ve worn it, the more I really like the design.  The Loop can be worn 24 hours a day and since it is waterproof, you can even wear it in the shower.  It is designed to accurately capture all movement and exercise with the ability to distinguish between varying levels of activity.  

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Polar Flow is the online tracking service and iPhone app (Android coming soon) that syncs up with the Loop via Bluetooth Smart.  This gives you a ton of charts and graphs to track your performance over the days, weeks and months.  You have the ability to monitor five levels of activity: running, walking, standing, sitting and lying down/sleeping.  Look at the difference from a day that I exercised and a day that I didn’t:

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Polar Flow allows you to track your progress over time to so you can see where you can make improvements.  For me, I know that I need to make an effort to get up and walk around during the day more or maybe just do some air squats at my desk.

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What I really like about the Loop is that it suggests activities for you to achieve your daily goal and how long you will need to do them for.  For example, at the end of a typical work day, my activity level is pretty low.  The Loop tells me that I need to go jog for 45 minutes to reach my goal…pretty cool!

The iPhone app will also notify you when you’ve been sitting down for too long and tell you to get your butt into gear!  Well, it’s a bit nicer than that 🙂

Probably my favorite thing about the Polar Loop is that it has the ability to pair up with a heart rate monitor.  The Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor has BlueTooth Smart technology to pair with both the Loop and Polar Flow.  It will tell you what zone you are in based on your heart rate (fat burning vs. fitness) so you can scale your workouts based on where you want to be.  The soft band is so comfortable that you could even where it all day.

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While many of the features of the Polar Loop are great, it does fall short in a few areas.  First, the band is not adjustable.  Before you can wear the Loop, you need to fit the band to your wrist which is an involved process as you can see by this video.  I often wear wrist wraps at the gym, which obviously makes my wrists thicker.  When I first adjusted the band I made it loose for that reason, but it would be nice if it could just be easily adjusted.

Second, syncing problems via Bluetooth.  The Loop does not easily sync to the iPhone app or pick up the heart rate monitor.  It will after a few minutes, but it definitely takes a while.  Also, after a few emails back and forth with the company I was told you must have the most up to date software installed on your phone (which I didn’t).  And actually, once I updated to iOS7 it still won’t sync to my phone.  I had to sync it to B’s phone to test the app out.  There are definitely some glitches that need to be worked out there.

Syncing via USB

Syncing via USB

Third, I wish there was some sort of vibration or sound that would notify you when you reach your goal or if you should get up and move.  Now that it’s cold here in CT, I’m wearing long sleeves so I don’t see any notifications that might pop up.  Plus, while I’m at work I’m not always looking at my phone to see if the app is telling me to move.

Even with the few shortcomings, the Polar Loop is a great activity tracker.  It really does help you #RethinkYourDay and get you moving more…something we all need!  This model is now available from Polar…a perfect holiday gift for the fitness buff in your life!  I also hear that a pink version with white LEDs is expected in early 2014.

What do you think of the Polar Loop’s features?  Do you see one in your future?

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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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