Push ups weren't part of our training plan - but they happened!

Prior proper planning provides pixie dusted performance

Let’s get something straight here. I register and run races not for the medals, not for the t-shirts (though runDisney does make it enticing!), or even for the competition. Likewise, I don’t set time goals for a race so that I might win my age group or even to beat the person standing next to me on the starting line.

I do it so that I have to train. Plain and simple. I do it so that I can say, “here is what I have to do for the next 10 or 12 weeks or so to make it happen.” I’ll admit it, I’m not a runner who will just wake up every day and be excited to go out for a run “just because.”

Push ups weren't part of our training plan - but they happened!

Push ups weren’t part of our training plan – but they happened!

I love running. It keeps me sane and provides all sorts of benefits, but it is the first thing to go when I have to take something off my list in order to get life done. Unless, of course, I have a goal in mind (sometimes that means just finishing in the upright position!) and have to work for it. And working for it always – and I mean always – requires a training plan. 

Always have an extra spring in my step when I've trained properly!

There’s an extra spring in my step when I’ve trained properly!

Jeff Galloway has been my go-to guy for training. His run-walk-run method has worked for me every time and his sensible training plans keep me motivated without killing me.

So, if you are anything like me and you want/need/must have a training plan to keep you on track, but aren’t sure how to make it happen here are some great tips from Jeff himself to get you going.


WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN?  When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation.  Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual,  tend to improve more, with less injury risk.

WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN  Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice.  This leads to confusion and more aches and pains.  The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.


1) A longer run builds endurance, 2) A hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.

WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER?  The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal.  Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts.  To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.

EVERY OTHER DAY!  Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day.  This allows for the “weak links” to heal.  The very slow long run is usually on the weekend when there is more time available.  Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example, Tuesday and Thursday)

SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don’t have to exert yourself on non-running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat.  So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking.

DOES VARIETY HELP?  Changing things a bit can improve motivation.   You don’t have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.

WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit.  Hill runs build strength.  Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form.  Long runs produce stamina and endurance.

WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS?  Take it easy on these days.  Do little or no exercise, don’t over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.

SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY?  Not Recommended!  It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves.  While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries.

IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation.  Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience  more burnout and injury.

Galloway 13  Want to get started by registering for a Half Marathon or 5k? Register for Jeff and Barb’s races coming up in December! 

For individualized training plans for any race/distance/pace, check out Jeff’s Customized Training Plans!

*I’m honored to be a part of the Galloway Blogger program. They provide tips for bloggers to share. Go check out the Jeff Galloway Official Website and find out more about the man and program that got me running and keeps me going!


Labor pains of life

signI promise I won’t make this a habit, but I have something on my mind. And I warn you, this post is pretty personal and involves some graphic stuff. So look away now if you need to.

Yesterday, I received a phone call that I didn’t want to get. It was telling me some news that I dreaded to hear and that, to be honest, I really thought would never come even though I had been waiting for it for the last year and a half. No one was dead or sick or even angry, but there was pain and a person I care about involved. I wish I could be more direct with you about it, but you will just have to trust me.

So, after going through most of yesterday with this on my mind and heart and after sleeping on it, I woke up this morning thinking about labor pains. Yes, as in childbirth. If you have delivered a baby you know what I mean. Every movie scene where a woman is in labor and she wants to rip someone’s head off or she is channeling that chick from The Exorcist? Yes, labor pains. Thanks for that image, Holy Spirit.

It is like running  long distances for me (you knew I would throw running in there somewhere, didn’t you?). It totally sucks at mile 11, but I know that it won’t last forever and I WILL cross that finish line even if it means dragging my raggedy-self across it. But for me, labor pains are better than running pains.

In my case, at the end of labor there was something utterly amazing to show for it. At the end of labor there were these amazing people. They changed my life forever. They made me a better person even in the midst of exhausting me, and giving me gray hair, and making me do things I really didn’t want to do otherwise. At the end of labor, I was transformed for the better into someone different than I was when it started.

Now, here is where it gets graphic, but I’m laying it out there. In the middle of the night, I realized that the church I serve is in the midst of labor pains. We have had an interesting last year and a half. There are times when I step back – sort of like when a woman in labor feels as if she is having an out-of-body experience – and wonder if I’m seeing it the way it is or the way I imagine it all to be, but it is often hard to tell.

And just like labor, there are times when the contractions recede, giving you a moment to catch your breath, only to then be flooded by another wave of pain.  That phone call yesterday was a wave. But somehow in my heart I know that the gut wrenching pain signals that something is happening and that this whole labor process will soon be over. And when it is, there will be something amazing to show for it.

We don’t necessarily will-fully choose pain in our lives.  Sometimes it is given to us by others. Sometimes it looks like divorce or a life threatening illness or an unwelcome job change or perhaps something we can’t name.  In whatever way we experience the pain – at the moment when we are certain we can’t push anymore – if we take a deep breath and focus our attention not on the pain itself, but what the pain may bring at the end of it, we just might find ourselves transformed closer to who God is calling us to be.

But let’s be honest. There are moments when we would opt for an epidural. That doesn’t seem to be an option at the moment, so I’m counting on God’s grace to be sufficient.

Thanks for listening.

Go ahead, call me a gypsy.

Cinque Terre, Italy. I wouldn't believe if I didn't see it myself.

Cinque Terre, Italy.
I wouldn’t believe if I didn’t see it myself.

Let me just tell you, I have had what just may have been the Best. Summer. Ever. Seriously, the best summer of my life – and I’ve had some good ones. What, you may ask, made it so? I attribute it to three things. ONE: I vowed to not use a hair dryer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Yes, I do live wide open. TWO: It was spent with lots of amazing people who inspire me – my family, friends and church members (yes, I get paid to take amazing trips). And THREE: you know me, I would rather have a passport and a plane ticket in my pocket than have, well, almost anything you can buy. I’m a wanderer. I have travel-lust. Go ahead, call me a gypsy. I don’t mind.

The summer started off in one of my favorite cities in the world: San Antonio, Texas.

San Antonio, Texas. The home of Whataburger. It's not just about margaritas.

San Antonio, Texas.
The home of Whataburger.
It’s not just about margaritas.

The food, the atmosphere, the margaritas, the Spurs, the food. It is the place where my husband proposed to me and a place where I’m completely comfortable.

From there I headed to Guatemala, another place that I love. Everything in Guatemala is in Technicolor. The trees are greener, the flowers are more vibrant, the sky is bluer, the eyes of the people are richer.

Guatemala. Planting roots with AIRES.

Planting roots with AIRES.

Gorgeous. The fact that I came home and tossed my cookies for 2 1/2 days following that trip does not damper my enthusiasm for Guatemala in the least.

After that, I was off to Honduras. Which, in addition to Walt Disney World, is my favorite destination and one of which I never tire. And the bonus of this trip was spending it with my younger daughter who has known Honduras her whole life without ever being there. Priceless. Plus, I have friends there who knew me before any of us were parents. A lot of water has passed under our bridges.

Los Patios, Olancho, Honduras. I can't even.

Los Patios, Olancho, Honduras.
I can’t even.

And then, it was off to a place I have never been – unchartered territory – Italy. It was in a word: SPECTACULAR. My college-age daughter and I met in Milan and took Italy by storm.

The Vatican by moonlight. Stunning.

The Vatican by moonlight. Stunning.

Five cities in nine days. I wrote a travel journal of the sights, sounds and smells. I’ll post it soon now that I’m over my travel withdrawal and can think about it without getting weepy. No, really.

Made it home from Italian paradise in time to run a 10k, walk in a parade, and pack my bags for Valladolid, Mexico, all in the span of 48 hours.

Valladolid, Mexico. Another continent, another catherdral.

Valladolid, Mexico.
Another continent, another cathedral.

A week in the Yucatan Penninsula was muy bueno. While I had been to Valladolid before, it was never my home for a week. New friends, new favorite places to go. And it is a fun name to say.  I love it.

And then, it was home for a few days before heading to Clinton, South Carolina. It is a hot spot. No, it isn’t. But it is homey and quaint and there are good people there. Oh, and a fabulous cow with a goat side-kick.

The Best. Summer. Ever. wrapped up with a trip to Disneyland to celebrate and to run and to raise money for the Tourette Syndrome Association.

Right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A., Disneyland

Right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A., Disneyland.

Everything about it was magical. 19.3 miles is so much fun when you are doing it in a pixie dusted place for a good cause with friends who make you laugh.

Though my hair dryer is still idle, the signs of Fall are upon me. The air is  crisp in the mornings. The sun is setting brilliantly in the sky. The moon will soon be big and bold at night as I drive home. And I’ll pop back here once in a while and remember with gladness the Best. Summer. Ever.

Turning up the heat ~ tips from Jeff Galloway

I’ll admit it, even though I’m running the Dumbo Double Dare  as part of Team TSA (to raise funds and awareness for the Tourette Association to find a cure for Tourette’s Syndrome – check it out!) in just over a month – I have avoided running this summer because I live in Atlanta and it is hot and humid. Period. End of story. When it rained at the AJC Peachtree Road Race this year on the 4th of July, I was one happy camper to be running in the cool rain. I love this shirt from The Big Peach Running Company, it sums up running in Atlanta from oh, let’s say March to November! [That perky blonde isn’t me, by the way.]

One of my favorite ATL shirts - the back says it all! "Heat, hills & humidity...welcome to Atlanta!"

The back says it all!
“Heat, hills & humidity…welcome to Atlanta!”


Even though it seems like we should be back out there pounding the pavement since school is a week away from starting (and seriously, whose idea was that?) it is STILL hot! But never fear, Jeff Galloway has some tips for us to stay safe and cool (well, at least not miserable?). Continue reading


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) and I 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!

23 seconds to spare

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.
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!



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!”