Who (and what?!) is the purveyor?

My old pal, Mickey, purveys pixie dust world wide!

PUR·VEY·OR : noun– a person or group that spreads or promotes an idea, view, etc, as in “Shannon, Purveyor of Pixie Dust.

PIX·IE DUST : noun – a substance or influence with an apparently magical effect that brings great success or luck.

Ok, here’s the deal. I was going to name this blog 28.4186° N, 81.5811° W, which are the GPS coordinates of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. So yes, I could have picked something more awkward than Purveyor.

I like words. I don’t always use them well, but I like them. And I like to think that this little blog that chronicles some of my favorite things (mostly how Disney and running keep me semi-sane, but with some wisdom of my own sprinkled around here and there) will invite you to do some pixie dust spreading of your own!

I wear many hats in this whole purveyor business – mom (of 2 smart & sassy teenage girls), wife (of the same good guy for 26 years), pastor (of a church with amazing members), friend (of people for whom I am so grateful), resident crazy person (thus the semi-sane requirement). I have a serious case of ADD/OCD/WDW and have been known to chase a squirrel mid sentence. So, stick with me and let’s purvey some pixie dust together!

Yes I did, with 23 seconds to spare.

So this is how crazy ideas get started.
23 seconds to spare
Back in January I ran a 10k that was hard. For real. Seriously y’all, it was uphill and uphill some more. I didn’t plan to run it at any fast clip, I was just out to have a good time, oh and not keel over. Less than a mile into it I realized that I   didn’t start my Tom Tom GPS watch (that I love!). While I don’t really care about my speed or time, I do like to see how many calories I burn (to completely rationalize the pie I’m going to eat later) so I stopped and got the watch going, which wasted a good minute and a half, at least. Six miles later, as I’m huffing and puffing towards the finish, I catch a glimpse of the official time clock and I realize that I’m only one minute – ONE MINUTE – past finishing in under one hour. WHAT?? I didn’t know I could run that fast.
Well, you know what that means don’t you? Exactly. I had a goal. Finish a 10k in under one hour. Sub-60, baby. I signed up for a 10k on the first Saturday in May and got busy. Two weeks prior to the race, I fell down…walking in a parking lot. Yes, that’s right…walking. I did a number on my knee, fortunately nothing terrible, but it did put my goal in jeopardy. Yet on race day (with a serious last minute push from my daughter about 300 yards from the finish) I realized that I could actually make it happen if I turned on every burner I had. It was hard, but it wasn’t supposed to be easy (which was my mantra through all 6.2 miles). I had trained to run faster. And I did. With 23 seconds to spare.
Since then, I’ve had lots of friends ask how I did it. Well, I stuck to my training, I ate better, and I tried to get rest. And I followed some of Jeff Galloway’s training tips (check them out below) for getting faster. It all works together to get you where you want to be. Do I want to PR every run? No way. But do I like the feeling of accomplishing a PR once in a while. You bet! And you can, too, with 23 seconds to spare.
FIVE WAYS TO GET FASTER
by Olympian Jeff Galloway


Longer Long Runs

Increasing the length of the longest long run has produced the greatest amount of improvement that I’ve seen among my coaching clients.  Several surveys have shown more than 13 minutes of time improvement when runners increase their longest long run from 20 miles to 26 miles before a marathon.  Comparable time improvements are experienced in 10K runners and half marathoners when they increase their long runs above race distance as noted in my YEAR ROUND PLAN book that covers all the distances.  Long runs must be at least 2 min/mi slower than current ability, with liberal walk breaks.  The slower the pace, the quicker the recovery.  I suggest doing the long runs every 2-3 weeks.

Speed Repetitions—increasing the number

My runners have improved by an average of over 6 minutes in a marathon (3+ minutes in a half marathon) by increasing the number of speed repetitions to 14 x 1 mile for the marathon, and 14 x 800 meter for the half marathon.  I recommend that each of these be run 30 sec/mi faster than goal pace.  The recovery interval is a 5 min walk between miles and a 3 minute walk between 800’s.  These workouts prepare one to maintain or pick up pace at the end of the goal race, instead of slowing down.  See GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS & HALF MARATHON books for details (http://www.RunInjuryFree.com).

Improve Running Form

Most runners I’ve monitored have improved several minutes in a marathon by fine-tuning their running form.  As the mechanics become smoother and within one’s limits, there is a significant reduction in aches, pains and injuries.  The two best ways to improve form are water running and cadence drills.
•        water running uses the same basic motion as when running on land, using a flotation device so that the feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool.  When done for at least 15 minutes, once a week, the legs find a more efficient path through the water—eliminating extraneous motion.
•        The cadence drill is done for 30 seconds, counting the number of times the foot touches the ground.  This drill is detailed in most of my books.  I’ve found the key to improving speed on the mechanical side is quicker turnover.

Race in Shorter Events

Dropping down a standard distance or two can improve your mechanics for running faster and your ability to handle a higher level of oxygen debt.  On non-long-run weekends, during a half marathon program, try some 5K or 10K races.  When training for a marathon, race at the 10K or half marathon distance.  At first, the faster pace of the shorter distance may seem awkward.  But after several short races, you will adapt—especially if you do some speed training for the shorter/faster event.  These performance improvements can translate into faster times in the longer distances.  My book 5K/10K details the training and the racing strategies for these events.

Hill Training

The only way I’ve found to build strength for running is to run hill repeats.  On a moderate grade hill, start at a jog and pick up the turnover rate of the feet and legs as you go up the hill, shortening your stride.  Walk down the hill for recovery.  Don’t sprint, and follow the other hill training guidelines in my books and athttp://www.RunInjuryFree.com.  The strength from hill training will allow you to perform better in speed sessions which will help you improve in your goal race.  You’ll also run faster on hilly courses, during your races.

~~I’m grateful to be a Jeff Galloway Blogger! Learn more about Jeff and his run, walk, run method on his website!

Your #DisneySide Is Showing, Again!

*I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration from the great folks at Disney Parks and MomSelect. The opinions here are my own.*

If you are here, you know that I’m a little biased towards the magic of Disney. I love it. I’ll tell anyone about it. Heck, I tell everyone about it! So when the folks at MomSelect and Disney Parks offered the opportunity to host a #DisneySide @Home Celebration, I immediately raised my hand!

Hosting a celebration is more than just having a party. It is a chance to connect with other Disney-loving folks who like to celebrate their Disney Side. It is also a chance to try out some great products like HP Photo Printing products, Soy Vay® Veri Veri Teriyaki® (just like they use at Epcot Theme Park!), All laundry mighty pacs, and Twinings of London® Tea (another Epcot favorite!). All of that and much more were provided in the @Home Celebration Kit.

Our celebration was multi-generational – grandparent, parents, teenagers, children, and even a little one who learned to say, “Mickey!” just in time for our party in honor of that timeless Mouse himself! Yes, while his appearance has changed over the years, Mickey Mouse is timeless and he is the icon of all things Disney for me. No matter how young or old you are it seems that you have some memory of Mickey!

Mickey was all smiles at our party!

Mickey was all smiles at our party!

Our party was the perfect mix since our favorite Walt Disney World Resort Vacation memories are made up of all ages sharing the magic together. And actually, while we aren’t related, I have made trips to Walt Disney World with all the families who attended our Celebration with the exception of one – though I’m often “on call” to help out that one family while they are in Walt Disney World. Our party was a great opportunity to reminisce about some pixie dusted times and to remember that, “It was all started by a mouse!” So, lets get the party started!

Bring on the games! #DisneySide Bingo, Pin-the-smile-on-Mickey, and Disney Trivia. One of the highlights of the evening was during trivia when we were seeing who could name the most Characters from The Little Mermaid. After several of the Characters were named, one of our youngest guests said, “And of course, the evil sea witch, Ursula!” Well, of course!

Follow the blue arrow to our Ursala-wise guest!

Follow the blue arrow to our Ursula-wise guest!

And then the food! The big hit of the night was a homemade version of the famous Dole Whip! Thanks to the folks at The Disney Chef, we found an easy and spectacularly yummy alternative to the soft serve that we crave. We paired it with some Mickey shaped pound cake (with toppers from The Suburban Mom) and it was divine!

Yum!

Yum!

And finally the photo booth! Seems that everyone got in the swing of things when the props came out. Thanks to some practically perfect printables from MerrimentDesign and Atypical Familia we all showed our #DisneySide!

photo booth

Check out the goodies those gals have come up with!

Buzz Lightyear made a special appearance!

Buzz Lightyear made a special appearance!

Everyone got in on the fun!

Everyone got in on the fun!

I’m so grateful to have been able to bring a bit pixie dust into our corner of the world with our #DisneySide @Home Celebration. I would love to link up to your Celebration if you had one – so post your link below! And as our pal Mickey likes to say, “See ya real soon!”

Why I Keep Running – the charge with Sarge & Jeff Galloway

Push ups at the WDW Half at the mile 10 up-hill charge with Sarge - and still injury free!

Push ups at the WDW Half at the mile 10 up-hill charge with Sarge – and still injury free!

So there are lots of reasons why I run and maybe you run for these reasons, too.

  1. I like to eat what I want.
  2. I like for my clothes to fit.
  3. I like a challenge.
  4. It let me spend time with my family and friends.
  5. It lets me go to Walt Disney World and Disneyland.  If you knew my husband, you would completely understand this. He will happily encourage me to go on a Disney Vacation if it involves running.
  6. It makes me feel better!

Now, that last one isn’t simply a matter of running giving me energy (which it does), it is a matter of running helping the things that give me serious trouble…primarily my lower back.  I used to think that taking a two month break from running, which I used to do every year after the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, was “good for me.” But mysteriously, every time I did that my back would start giving me serious problems.  Till one day, my Orthopedist said, “Stop taking a break from running!” He likes to say that “motion is lotion,” sounds a wee bit creepy when I say it, but it sounds completely medical when he says it! This year I took his advice. Lo and behold, he seems to be on to something!

I’ve had people tell me that running is bad for your joints or that I’m getting too old to run (yes, those are fighting words!). But apparently not – have you seen Jeff Galloway or heard him speak about running injury free?  He has some great insights about how to stay injury free and not only that, how running can actually be good for you – and not just because you can eat what you want or go to Walt Disney World.

Here is what Jeff Galloway has to say about running injury free:

  • Most injuries experienced by my runners are due to 1) pacing long runs too fast, 2) increasing the weekly mileage too quickly, 3)lengthening stride and 4) stretching.
  •  The principle in staying injury free is to balance gentle stress with the right recovery periods-allowing for rebuilding. (For more information, check out Jeff’s book:Running Injuries: Treatment and Prevention).
  •  Finding the right Run Walk Run strategy from the beginning of a run has been the best way I’ve found to stay injury free, come back from an injury and in some cases, continue to run while the injury heals. (Here’s Jeff’s book that changed the way I run! The Run-Walk-Run Method)

And here are some interesting facts that Jeff shares about running and your health

  • Are you concerned that running will damage joints, and other body parts ? I was told this regularly, from my first week of running over 50 years ago but the research shows the opposite result: Runners have healthier joints, etc. than non runners as the decades go by.
  • While researching for my book Running Until You’re 100, 3rd Ed, I reviewed dozens of studies and could not find one showing that running harms legs, feet, joints, etc.
  • It may surprise you to know that many studies show that runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runners as the years go by.
  • A respected and large population study out of Stanford following thousands of runners over 50 who had run for more than 20 years concluded that runners had less than 25% of orthopedic issues compared with non runners of the same age.

So there you have it. No more excuses. Let’s get out there!

This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy one of the books through the links above, amazon.com will pay me a fee. Purveyor of Pixie Dust is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is no way influences what I write or think.

I Second That Emotion…an encounter with Disney magic

Not too long ago I was asked what made a Walt Disney World vacation special to me and my family.  It wasn’t the old, “You know there are other places in the world to take your family on vacation, right?” <said with a sense of satisfied smugness>.  And just for the record: Of course I know that! My family has been fortunate enough to go to some amazing places on vacation.  Instead, the question was a sincere desire to understand why we love  Walt Disney World so much and why we return year after year. Very simply, I can sum it up with this fabulous little video, which interestingly enough wasn’t even filmed at Walt Disney World! It was at a mall in Long Island, New York, a world away from Central Florida and yet overflowing with Disney pixie dust.   Over on Oh My Disney there is a  brief interview about the making of the video. You may have already seen it floating around Facebook or Twitter, but it is worth watching again, so go ahead and cue it up. So what is it? What is it that keeps up going back to Walt Disney World (or Disneyland or motivated us to explore Disneyland Paris or Disneyland Hong Kong or plan for a trip to Tokyo Disney)?  I think it can be summed up in four words: emotion, connection, inspiration and imagination. Just like the faces of the children when Mickey and Gang walk out from behind those doors in the mall, something about Walt Disney World elicits emotion – joy, surprise, love.  Which leads to connection, like the way that soldier connected with Mickey in a dance-off (who knew Mickey could bust those moves?). So much of a Walt Disney World vacation is about connecting as a family, connecting with Cast Members, connecting with other Guests, connecting with our memories and even inspiring us to look into our future. And inspiration gets us every time we are there and we have Mr. Walt Disney to thank for that. Our family’s favorite Disney quote, “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” resonates in our minds over and over again as we take in all that a Walt Disney World vacation offers. Like those who passed by that storefront window and realized that it was more than it appeared, curiosity goes hand-in-hand with inspiration. Those unsuspecting shoppers let their guard down and let their imagination loose. They explored and were rewarded with… joy. Well, now we are back to that emotion word again, aren’t we?  I’ll second that.

Today *IS* That Day ~ Running with the mind of Jeff Galloway

Catching up with Jeff Galloway at the runDisney Disney World Marathon Weekend 2013

Catching up with Jeff Galloway at the runDisney Disney World Marathon Weekend 2013

Ironically, at a marathon expo I saw a shirt that says, “Someday I’ll run a marathon. Today is not that day.” I had always thought of “Today is not that day” in basically the opposite way: “Someday I won’t be able to run. Today is not that day.” Or something similar.  And yesterday, that mantra kept running through my head.

My favorite running buddy is training for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon and she needed to get her last long run under her belt or tiara, as the case may be. Not a problem, right? The glitch was that just the day before I ran my favorite Atlanta 10k, the Tartan Trot, which is the epitome of Atlanta hills! And for some crazy reason I decided that I needed to PR it. So I was a wee bit sore and tired. But running buddy duty called and I laced up my shoes and headed out the door. We had an awesome 9.2 mile run plus a mile worth of warm up/cool down!

As we approached mile 8 yesterday, I spontaneously said, “Five years ago, I never would have even considered running 9 miles much less 15 miles in two days.”  And it is the truth. I had a few false starts on long-distance running. You know the ones – stress fracture, chronic muscle injury, and the dreaded constant chaffing/blisters/fatigue (seriously, just fill in the blank, right?). All of that until I discovered Jeff Galloway. Olympian Jeff Galloway has coached over a million runners to their goals through his clinics, wonderful retreats, training programs, books and e-coaching.  Not only is Jeff an accomplished runner, he is perhaps that most genuinely positive human being on the planet!

I picked up one of his books on running and never looked back. I’ve listened to him speak at race expos, I follow him on Twitter for daily inspiration and have had the chance to speak with him on several occasions about running.  His run-walk-run method moved me from a struggling 5k runner to a happy marathon runner. I’ve gone longer, run faster, and stayed injury-free while doing it – and I will tell anyone who even looks like they may have a slight interest in running about it!

So, you can imagine how thrilled I am to be a part of the brand new Jeff Galloway Blogger Program, which will enable me to share even more information with others about the Galloway Run Walk Run Method so that you can get out and run because today is that day!

If you are thinking that today might not be that day, here are some of Jeff’s insights to help you get you going with Run Walk Run:

  • You can’t run a long run too slowly or take too many walk breaks.  You’ll get the same endurance based upon the distance covered.
  • If you have a Run Walk Run strategy that is right for you on that day, it’s possible to feel good after every run-even the marathon.
  • Running is the best stress reliever I’ve found. Research shows that running tends to activate the conscious brain which over-rides the emotional subconscious brain and manages the negative and anxiety hormones during and after the run.

If you are a “run-only” runner who is struggling with injuries, distance or pace, check out some of these thoughts from Jeff:

  • The finishing of a run that is longer than you’ve run in the last 3 weeks can bestow a sense of achievement that is unique and empowering-due to positive brain circuits that are turned on.
  • A well-paced run enhances vitality for the rest of the day.  Start each run at least 30 seconds a mile slower than you will run at the end.
  • Research shows that as runners get faster, their stride length shortens.  A quicker cadence is the mechanical key to faster running.
  • When paced correctly, running delivers the best attitude boost you can get. Sustain this by pacing yourself gently during the first mile or three.
Go ahead, lace up your running shoes and get out there and make today that day!
Sign up for Jeff’s  free newsletter at here for more information and inspiration.

 

Tchotchke Wisdom

So I have set a goal for myself to write here at least once a week as a part of the #TypaAChallenge. How hard can it be, right? Well, it must be fairly hard because I have yet to get the hang of it! Despite the fact (truly – the fact) that on multiple occasions every week I have butterflies in the stomach saying, “Oh, this would make a rich blog post!” I just can’t seem to get it together to reveal these pearls of wisdom to you, oh faithful reader (yes, I mean all 4 of you.).

Which leads me to wonder: what the heck do I do all day? I’m mean seriously. I have, in the last 23 minutes, developed a real complex about this. I’dont mess it upm wishing that I had one of my mother-in-laws Xanax right about now because I’m on the verge of freaking out. You see, I’m the one who savors the moment, takes it all in, appreciates the passing of time. I like to take the long road home – even get lost once in a while just for fun. And all I’m thinking right now is to get it done. Stop wasting time. It is as if my propensity for OCD and my ADD have collided.

And so, I’m looking at the little tchotchke (honestly, that’s how it is spelled) on my kitchen counter that says, “This is the day the Lord has made. Don’t mess it up.” and I’m wondering exactly what that means.