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Thursday, August 8, 2013

6 Months Post Princess Half

I asked for suggestions for blog posts. Our friend and follower, Rebecca asked how our routines have changed since our half marathon and if we've lost focus.

I cannot speak for Mandy but I will admit that I have totally lost my focus. I had mixed feelings of elation and total relief to be done with our Princess Half. It was a LOT of training and dedication to be able to finish standing up and to be able to have fun in the parks with my family when we were done.

I truly anticipated coming home and taking a break for a while, but that break lasted a bit longer than I thought and had hoped for.

I did have some light training two days a week from March to May when I coached my daughter's Girls on the Run team. I completed a 5K with her, but we walked most of it. I will say I had stamina to keep going longer than 3.1 miles but no desire or oomph to run it.

My husband and I lost a lot of weight before our trip. I was excited to have extra hip space on most rides, even feeling like I was slipping under the lap bar on a couple of them! That NEVER happened before!

But, with lack of exercise and lack of motivation to eat well, the weight came back. My husband asked what we did wrong and why this happened. I told him it's simple--we ate more and moved less. To lose the weight we didn't have a magical pill or something mysterious happen, we ate less and moved more. In the same way, nothing magical or mysterious happened to gain it back. We just stopped doing what was working.

With no races on my calendar, I slacked off. I didn't go running. I didn't eat well. I had drive thru for lunch most days of the week. As a substitute teacher, I justified it saying I NEEDED to get out of the building for my lunch time and I DESERVED to eat insert high calorie, low nutrition item here. 

I don't let the scale define me, but it is frustrating when your once baggy pants are now too tight. When I tried to wear my Princess Half "I DID IT!" shirt and my muffin top showed through I wondered if people would actually believe I completed a half marathon or wonder if I simply bought the shirt because it was cute.

But, in the last month or so I've gotten back on track. This week I've scheduled and completed some runs and some bike rides. I plan to run again tomorrow and then go biking with the family over the weekend. My husband and I are back on the 17 Day Diet and doing well. You can read about our first time on this diet here: http://blog.dashtodisney.com/2011/12/17-days.html

We are returning to Disney World to enjoy the Christmas decorations in a few months so we have weight loss goals to reach before we leave. So far we are both about 3 weeks ahead of our goals. We are very excited.

Mandy and I are planning to do a 10K in November. A race on my calendar really helps! I need to remember this when I decide to take a break.

I think I was burned out on running and without a big goal like a half marathon I got lazy. The good news is, I haven't lost ALL that I gained. My mile is pretty slow, but it's always been slow. However, it's not as slow as it was when this journey began 2.5 years ago.

I have to remind myself that running is probably only 10% related to how well your BODY is doing and probably 90% related to how well your MIND is doing. When my mind says, "This is crazy. I can't do any more," I can either listen or ignore it. I have to remember to ignore it. My mind will give up LONG before my body does.

I also have to remember my ultimate goal---to take care of my kids' mom. I love being able to run with them and bike ride with them and to have the energy for all that is involved with raising three children.

It's not often that I look back on vacation pictures and LIKE the way I look. But, I love so many pictures from our Princess Half Marathon trip to Disney. I keep telling myself I need to post some of these around the house so when I'm feeling blah and craving chocolate I will remember my goals and keep moving forward.

I often think of this sign we saw along our 1/2 marathon route:



With a thumbs up from Mickey Mouse--how can I not be motivated to keep trying???






Thursday, July 25, 2013

Yes, You CAN take your children to EPCOT--and you SHOULD!

One thing I often hear from first time guests to WDW or guest with a limited number of days for enjoying the parks is: "We're going to just skip EPCOT. The kids are too young." or "The kids won't like it." or "There's nothing for kids there."

I try really hard not to force my opinions on others so I have to hold myself back from saying, "WHAT?!? Are you KIDDING ME?!?"

So, let me tell you my opinion and then tell you why. There are 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom can both be enjoyed in one day without missing too much. EPCOT and Magic Kingdom usually require at least 2 days each for our family. If you have less than 4 days to spend at Walt Disney World, I highly recommend you look at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT for the most bang for your buck.


If you have 'tweens and teens in your group who long for the excitement of the  Rock 'N Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, then by all means, head there, do those things and then head for the boat which will take you to EPCOT.

I will preface this post by saying, Magic Kingdom is our favorite of the 4 theme parks. Cinderella Castle, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain cannot be topped! But, EPCOT is a close second and here's why.

Test Track
My children LOVE this ride. Even the new version which some like and some hate is a hit with my kids. They love designing the car and they love going fast on the track outside.

Some of our Test Track Vehicle Creations




Living with the Land
My children are thrill seekers, but they also love the calming, informative ride inside the Land Pavilion. They love this ride so much they begged us to book the "Behind the Seeds Tour" on our last trip.

I'm so glad we did! It was incredible. 

I did not feel guilty my children were missing school when they were learning new words like "hydroponic" and learning about how things grow from seed to plant without soil!

They learned about insects being used to fight off other plant destroying insects. They sampled cucumbers which were grown hydroponically and they fed fish which were being raised in the Disney greenhouse!
Hydroponically grown pumpkins!


Feeding the fish!


Posing by a hidden Mickey! 

The Living Seas Pavilion
Everything in here is awesome! When you're greeted by the seagulls from Finding Nemo screaming "Mine! Mine! Mine!" how can you not smile? And then run to pose inside the mouth of Bruce the Shark, of course!!
Inside this pavilion, you can also see real fish on display and catch a glimpse of a manatee!

Figment!
On our last trip, my 5 year old became obsessed with the ride "Journey into Imagination with Figment". It's a great ride that usually has little to no wait.

I am hearing rumors that Figment will at least be closed for refurbishment in January 2014. Rumors are also circulating that Journey into Imagination with Figment will be replaced by a Phineas and Ferb ride. Even my Figment loving children think this would be cool!


Speaking of Phineas and Ferb...
If your children love Phineas and Ferb and you want to have time to browse some of the shops in the World Showcase area of EPCOT, then you MUST participate in Agent P's World Showcase Adventure.

Using a handheld device about the size of a cell phone, children are given clues and must solve a case involving the Evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. We recently did this in Germany. It took about 25 minutes. At the end of the adventure you are given the option to turn in your device or continue to another pavilion/country to do another one. 

It's a great way to keep the kids busy while mom and dad enjoy the shops, try some cultural cuisine or just relax on a bench. The cast members who issue the cell phones can be found at kiosks around the World Showcase and they are REALLY helpful making sure the kids have a way to decide how to share and not fight over the device. 

Gathering around the device to see what their mission is.

Even the 'tween was interested, 
looking over her siblings' shoulders to see what was happening on the cell phone.

The evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has been spotted!!

But, That's Not All!
There's much more to do in the Future World section of EPCOT.

Spaceship Earth: a great ride about the history of communication.

Innoventions West and East: you could get lost in here all day enjoying things similar to what you would find in a hands on science museum, but WAY cooler! A great place to be on a hot, humid Florida day or on a rainy day when you thought going to a park would not be enjoyable.

Club Cool: looks like another gift shop featuring gifts from Coca Cola, but you can sample Coca Cola products from around the world--for FREE! Let us know how you like the Beverly. 

And one of our favorite places to cool off--the  EPCOT Character Spot. One of the best meet and greet locations. Stand in line once and see 3 or 4 characters one at a time. 


Give it a Shot!
So, the next time you're planning your Disney World park days and trying to figure out what the kids will enjoy most, give EPCOT a try. We've made so many memories at this park. There's something for everyone, if you know what to look for.







  




Thursday, April 11, 2013

Highlights From Disney 
Michelle's Perspective

One of our Facebook followers suggested we write about the thing we did at Disney that was our FAVORITE on our Princess Half Marathon trip. While the race was the highlight and the apex of our trip, there were other things I loved. It's hard for me to pick just ONE favorite thing, so this is the first of several "Highlights From Disney" pieces I will write. Today's feature's a special dessert from Yacht and Beach Club. Dig in!

Kitchen Sink
Back in February of 2012, my family and I took some time one evening to venture to Beaches and Cream, a cute little restaurant/soda shop at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort. Our quest was to find the infamous dessert The Kitchen Sink. 

"What is the kitchen sink?" you ask? It is the K2 of ice cream desserts. EIGHT scoops of ice cream served in a kitchen sink with EVERY topping they have. This includes but is not limited to: candy bar pieces, cake pieces, a pile of maraschino cherries and chocolate syrup. And, the highlight for my children: AN ENTIRE CAN OF WHIPPED CREAM!

But, as luck would have it, we arrived at the end of a busy day and when we got there, it was a 40 minute wait for a table. So, we decided to skip it and do it "next time". 

Well, February 2013 was next time! And I promised my children, after I conquered the Disney Princess Half we would conquer a kitchen sink!

Beaches and Cream
Tuesday after the race we had a rainy day to just chill and relax so we decided it was our chance to go to Beaches and Cream. We arrived in time for lunch so we each ordered actual food before the huge dessert we were anticipating.

Everything was excellent! They have many sandwich type items, hot dogs, hamburgers, your typical fare from a small diner. I ordered grilled cheese and tomato soup. Only it was not your typical 6 year old's entree. The grilled cheese had several different kinds of cheeses, each slice of bread was super thick and the soup was tomato bisque. I was in LOVE.

We finished our lunch and then ordered our dessert. As our waitress carried our sink to our table lights flashed and sirens wailed. She presented us with our dessert as other diners stared in envy, awe, disbelief...not sure. But, we were excited.

Just look at my son's face as he prepares to dig in. What mother could deny her child such excitement??

Getting Ready to Dig In!

Even with 5 of us sharing this monstrosity, we didn't even put a dent in it. Did we NEED this? No. But, it brought smiles and laughter to us on a rainy Disney day. We may not order the kitchen sink on every trip, but I'd definitely go back for the grilled cheese and tomato bisque. 

YUM!!

Stay tuned for my next entry--EPCOT: Yes, you CAN take your kids there! (and you should!)
We're DASHING in a New Way

On Facebook we've admitted we haven't been running as much as we should be and we haven't run much since we returned from Disney. Things are definitely less intense now than they were 3 months ago at the height of our training. But, we're getting back on track. 

I'm back on my quest for weight loss and better health. I use an app on my phone called My Fitness Pal. I simply keep track of my calories I eat each day. I also keep track of my physical activities and calories burned. I want that ice cream? It's quite obvious how many miles I have to run to get rid of the evidence. It works as long as I'm purposeful about it and fill in my food diary honestly and accurately and then STOP eating once I've used up my calories for the day.

Easier said than done, right? Well, I'm not here to discourage you. I'm just here to say--it's NOT easy and I've never been told it is. I just have to retrain my body and my brain as we learn together what's best for my body and mind. Because when I'm eating right and MOVING I feel sooooo much better!

Having said all that, we've decided to add to the meaning of "DASH" to Disney. Those of you who have been to Disney and have loved it will understand exactly what I mean, when I say---as soon as you get back from Disney you start planning your next trip, even if it's just imaginary or a "dream". So, even if we aren't going to race, Mandy and I are constantly planning our next Dash to Disney. 

Our Facebook site and our blog will now feature more Disney things. We'll still be posting running info, stories and inspiration, but we'd like to throw in some more Disney things. I'm thinking we'll start at the beginning for those who have never been to Disney. Question #1 (after where do I begin when I want to plan a trip to Disney) WHEN do I go?

Please let us know what other topics you'd like to see covered. We both follow many Disney themed blogs, Facebook pages and chat groups. We've both been numerous times, as children, as adults without kids and as parents. We can now add "been to Disney as a runner". We have driven from Southeast Michigan and we have flown. We are the ones friends turn to for planning advice when they start planning their Disney vacations. And we LOVE it!

We hope you love our new direction. We are excited to share our thoughts, knowledge and love of all things Disney!

~Michelle

Monday, March 11, 2013

Well now what?

Mandy and Michelle at the start of the race. Ignore the date stamp!
 


The race is over. The Half Marathon that Michelle and I have been prepping over the past two years is completed. Wow, the cliche is really true - time does fly when you're having fun. Two years ago I was an out of shape mom in her early 30's that couldn't even run for 60 seconds straight. Today, I have a couple more years, some stronger legs, and a much healthier self esteem! Will I do it again? Probably not. Am I glad I did it? Yes, it was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life!

So now what? Well this blog is going to pretty much stay the way it has been. Ignored. After I started this blog I actually started writing a little freelance for a Michigan Travel magazine. Contributing to their site, and my own personal blog pretty much take up all my writing time. Besides, we were reaching more people with the FaceBook page anyways. That page will stay. We might not be Dashing to Disney anymore, but we'll still be dashing - just not for such long distances! Wait. Maybe I shouldn't speak for Michelle. I wont be dashing such long distances!

I am grateful for the friends that gave me support in the form of hugs, took time to accompany me to various races, words of encouragement, and even a few signs! I am also grateful for those people that did NOT wish me well. Proving people wrong is indeed a great motivator!

Why am I done with half marathons? Why aren't I going onto a full? Well to be completely honest, it's not that important to me. My family had to make sacrifices for me to train for this. I need to give back to them now. Especially my husband. My poor husband! I can't do it to him again! He has done more than his share of the single parent thing when I'm out and about training for a long run. Ironically my hubs has only attended two of my races. My first 5k, and this last race in Disney. I'm fine with that. We have two young kids that like their sleep. Besides, this way when I'm running I don't have to worry about finding them in a crowd, wondering  if everyone is behaving, if I'll have to carry my little guy when I'm done running...  Why does he need to be there anyways -that's what cell phones are for. He got every text updating where I was on courses, and I was chatting with him sometimes even before I got my post run banana!

One  thing that I am extremely proud of is how proud my daughter is of me. She's an impressionable 8 year old that is entering the world of body images and negative self esteem. However all she wants to do is run and workout with me. When I hear her friends talk about how they are "fat", I only hear her ask if she looked faster on her last sprint through the neighborhood! I hope to be part of the trend to strive to  be healthy, not skinny. It's hard enough to be a young girl!

All this training has given me time to think. A LOT of time to think when I was to chicken to brave the sometimes fierce Michigan weather and I ran indoors (boring!). I was always wondering to myself - Why am I doing this? As the race grew closer (and I spent even longer times on the dreadmill), the answer became clear. Because I can. I ran the race for myself, my family, and for everybody that couldn't run. As much as I try to see joy in everything, I've been faced with friends battling major illness, death to people I love way too soon in life, and people not capable of completing a milestone. I ran because I could run the race, and I would be a fool not to! Besides, after starting a public journal of running, no way could I face the shame and back down. No way!

I'm a lucky girl for being able to be complete a huge item off my bucket list. Even luckier that I did it all with my good friend Michelle beside me every step of the way. We held hands when we crossed the finish line. We trained together, ran together, and motivated each other. We're a team! She means the world to me, I wouldn't be able to call myself a runner if it wasn't for her! I was so happy to finish, but I was just as happy for Michelle. We both earned those goregous medals!

 Everybody should have the chance to be proud of themselves, I'm grateful that I did.

Mandy



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dressed for Success

Well Hello there!
Today is a beautiful, dare I say "spring-like" day in Michigan. I woke feeling inspired and ready to concur the world. Or at least my little part of it! I've been getting some support in motivation lately in the form of my friends, and it's wearing onto me.

A few weeks back some of us were complaining about how our houses have gotten a little out of control. That's the nice way of saying pig sty... In came The FLY lady. I wont go into her whole philosophy, but one of her key points is to get dressed for the day. Like dressed, hair done, even put shoes on. The thought process is that when you are put together like that you wont lounge around eating bon-bons, you will actually go to "work" at your house.

Fast forward to today. No work, no kids events on my schedule. Just a day at home with my little guy wrapping up loose ends. That's the nice way of saying "bustin' ass to get all the stuff I've been putting of" done. I got up, got in the shower, and then started thinking of everything on the to-do list. Well I can tell you that one thing to do today is get a run in. I'm not talking about a 5k outside, just a mile or two on the treadmill to start convincing my body that I can indeed break a sweat again. After pondering what to do first, I channelled my inner FLY lady. I needed to dress the part to get this running done!

So out of the shower and into my workout clothes. Sports bra, running shoes, and all! I must say -  It's working! I have capri pants and a tiny tee on, and I'm cold! All through dinner prep earlier I had to dance around the kitchen to stay warm, that surely burned a few calories. Now the boy is playing Mario, and as soon as I leave this computer I'm getting on that treadmill. I have to warm up, and I'm desperate to get out of these clothes, and back into jeans. Bam! Instant motivation!

Moral of the story, sometimes a little push is all you need : )

Thursday, December 8, 2011

17 Days

So, I started a new diet on Tuesday. Well, my husband and I started a new diet on Tuesday. It feels a bit easier with him on board too.

The name of the diet is "The 17 Day Diet". The information needed to follow it can be found in the book of the same name, written by Dr. Mike Moreno.

The diet is comprised of four 17 day cycles. The first cycle is called "accelerate" Its purpose is to promote rapid weight loss by improving digestive health. Let's be honest, we all want to see rapid results or we give up. This 17 day cycle is meant to give you early success so you don't give up.

The second cycle is called "activate". It's purpose is to reset your metabolism by increasing and decreasing your caloric consumption to stimulate fat burning and help prevent plateaus.

The third cycle is called "achieve". It helps to develop good eating habits by re-introducing your body to additional foods and move you closer to your goal weight.

If after the third cycle, you have not reached your ideal weight, then you return to cycle 1. If you have reached your ideal weight at the end of 53 days (good for you, just don't tell me--just kidding) then you go on to cycle 4 which is "arrive"

The "Arrive" cycle keeps you at your goal weight by eating your favorite foods on the weekends while eating healthfully during the week.

"Arrive" sounds a lot like many diets I've tried but I always found the weekdays a challenge and soon my cheat weekends would turn into Friday through Monday and then they turned into weeks and before I knew it I was back to eating unhealthy every day.

I recently tried Game On. But found that for someone who has problems with portion control and problems choosing healthy foods, asking them to eat 6 small meals is a huge mistake. I found myself obsessing about what I could and couldn't eat all day long. I'd finish one meal and would have to start planning the next so I could fit all 6 in or else lose points for my team. I found myself eating between dinner and bedtime just to get in my 6th snack when I really wasn't hungry, just so I wouldn't lose points for my team.

So far, "accelerate" is working well. The guidelines are: Eat as many healthy veggies and lean proteins as you like. Limit your fruit intake to 2 servings of low sugar fruits (he has a sample list) before 2 PM and eat 2 servings of any kind of yogurt you'd like each day. Drink eight 8 oz glasses of water each day. This is what I CAN eat. I try not to focus on what I can't eat because this is a LARGE list of things I can eat.

However, I will share with you, in this first cycle there is no cheese, limited carbs, no breads, pastas, beans, potatoes or other starchy things. It's simply lean meats, certain veggies, 2 servings of specific fruit and 2 servings of yogurt.

Even the lean meat list is pretty short. But, it's do-able.

Yes, even without my diet pop I am surviving. I am encouraged to drink 3 cups of green tea each day. It's great for it's caffeine kick and also its healthy properties.

So far, Jason and I are following it to the letter. The only thing we have not done past day 1 is something that is merely suggested. Dr. Moreno suggests first thing, upon waking each morning to drink 8 oz of hot water with the juice of half a lemon. Apparently it gets the digestive juices flowing.

I don't mind it, I just don't always have time to do it. My husband on the other hand, thought it was the most wretched thing he had ever tasted. I have been religiously drinking my water and tea.

So---how's it been going?

I won't lie. Day #1 was rough. It rated high on the divorce meter. I told my husband I now know why my mother would go out and buy my father a pack of cigarettes every time he tried to quit smoking. I was ready to feed Jason french fries and a Big Mac by the end of day 1 he was so crabby and miserable. (My dad was eventually successful at quitting, by the way! :))

We both had some headaches and felt ill the first couple days from the low calorie amounts we were consuming.  But, we're eating more of the lean meats and may even try a higher fat yogurt since any kind of yogurt is allowed for your two servings.

We are both feeling better today on day #3. There is an exercise component as well---exercise 17 minutes per day. Whatever you want--walk, run, aerobics, whatever. Just do it for 17 minutes.

We have yet to incorporate this since we were feeling so lousy and weak, but we hope to exercise tonight.

So far, we are liking the results we are seeing on the scale and hope they continue. Hubby is down 3 pounds and I am down 4. I am a firm believer in rapid results making you want to continue to do well. I am hopeful that this diet will allow us to slowly work up to eating a wide variety of foods but with portion control and making healthier choices.

On diets I've tried in the past, I've always felt like I was missing a step. Like I wasn't quite ready to be at the point they wanted me to be. I'd mess up once or twice and see no results, get frustrated and go back to my unhealthy norm. Once I get to my ideal weight and go to cycle 4 it seems totally live-able.



I hope to continue blogging about our progress, especially through the holiday season. We know it will be a challenge, but I'm hoping having a plan in place will keep me from eating through a dessert buffet or two in the next month.

Off to drink my green tea,
Michelle


The 17 Day Diet, by Mike Moreno