The runDisney runners out there probably already know about the Galloway way (named for Jeff Galloway). I’ve also heard it called Gallowalking. From the runDisney website:

Jeff’s quest for the injury-free marathon training program led him to develop group training programs in 1978, and to author Runner’s World articles which have been used by hundreds of thousands of runners of all abilities. His training schedules have inspired the second wave of marathoners who follow the Galloway run-walk, low mileage, three-day, suggestions to an over 98% success rate.

Injury-free. Runners of ALL abilities. Less fatigue. SUCCESS. It’s no surprise that Jeff Galloway is the official training consultant for runDisney and designs the official training plans for the races with a method like that and the success it has had. He also trains tons of runners every year, writes books and for magazines, speaks… I could probably go on. I won’t. You can read all about it here though. He’s BIG time though and he knows his ish.

When I did my first half marathon, my only goal was to run the whole thing. I felt pretty confident that I could finish even though I’d never run more than a 10k at the time I signed up. I knew I only needed the required 16 minute pace and that felt doable. What I didn’t think I could do was run it. The whole thing. No walking. That’s what runners do, right??

Well, I managed to do just that.

The following year, I came into the half with an injury. I’d sprained my foot on my final training run just a few days before the race. I was cleared by a doctor to run if I wanted (I WANTED), but to “be smart.” Smart for me meant giving myself permission to not run the whole race like I had the year before. I figured I’d feel it out and do what felt best. I ended up doing a somewhat haphazard run/walk method. Run to the light. Walk to the stop sign. Walk through the aid station. Run past the mariachi band. And so on and so forth until I finished with a time almost 10 minutes faster than the year before.

As much as I saw the improvement in my time, I still felt like I couldn’t be a “real” runner if I walked. Since that half, I’ve done a little bit of both. Some runs all running. Some runs with a combination. In all that time, I don’t think I realized runDisney had training plans (true story). I had used other training plans and while I knew who Galloway was, I didn’t know about his method. Somewhere along the way, I learned of it (I suppose it was inevitable in the rD community). But, I’d still never tried it.

I’m trying it now: the methods and the training plans.

I’ve slightly adapted his plans for Princess and Pixie Dust to fit my own schedule, but by in large, I plan to use them as is. Plus, I know now that “real” runners can walk too. Jeff Galloway himself uses the method he recommends.

I’m still playing with the intervals (there are several options for my speed) to see what feels best for me. I find that equal parts running and walking, without being too short, seems to be best right now. I tried 20/20, but I found that the walk break wasn’t enough to recover me so my speed decreased on the run part. I’m liking 30/30, but have had mixed results.

In general though, it’s easier for me to push myself hard knowing that I get a break. I think I can find more overall speed if I keep with this method. I’ll be sure to report back.

The half marathon too…

It’s been awhile since my first spotlight, so it seemed about time for another. So, let’s talk about BodyFlow™. Fun fact: It’s only called BodyFlow in the United States. If you go anywhere else in the world, or are visiting this blog from anywhere else in the world (hi! welcome!), you’ll see BodyBalance™. So, Flow/Balance – same thing, different names (if memory serves, it’s because there’s another company with a very similar name in the U.S.).

What is BodyFlow™? From Les Mills directly:

Ideal for anyone and everyone, BODYFLOW® is the yoga-based class that will improve your mind, your body and your life.

During BODYFLOW an inspired soundtrack plays as you bend and stretch through a series of simple yoga moves and embrace elements of Tai Chi and Pilates. Breathing control is a part of all the exercises, and instructors will always provide options for those just getting started. You’ll strengthen your entire body and leave the class feeling calm and centered. Happy.

BODYFLOW is available as a either a 55, 45 or 30-minute workout.

I’ve only ever taught the 55-minute format, but the 30-minute format is available On Demand and you can choose a flexibility-focused workout or a strength-focused workout.

I love this workout. I went through Initial Training in BodyFlow just over three years ago. I talked a little bit about that journey a long time ago. Since then, I have fallen more and more with this format. I’ve found strength, courage, and confidence. It can be an intense, sweaty workout or a beautiful, relaxing recovery.

I love the way the mind quiets as soon as tai chi begins. It’s all breath and movement. I love how I begin to warm and wake up during sun salutations (the beauty of teaching regularly at 7am). I know that standing strength will challenge my limits every time and it’s a conscious decision to move myself deeper into warrior. Balance feels like coming home. Every day, every hour is different and sometimes my balance is AWFUL. But it reminds me of years spent at a barre and the challenge that always came when we moved to the center. Plus, when I move straight from balance into hip openers, my inner dancer sings. It’s like coming home to get into those deep stretches.

As we move into the second half of class, we ramp of the energy with some Pilates core work. I love that I can see progress in core. I first encountered bird (crow) in a back track. “How on earth will I ever teach this if I can’t do it?!” How did I? Practice, persistence, and accepting where my body was at the time. And then, patience and slowly leading my class through the set up and options for the longest time. It took time and it was the most awesome feeling to finally get it. I’ve had that experience with so many poses and that’s the beauty of sticking with something, TRYING, TRYING, TRYING AGAIN, and the confidence that comes from knowing you put in the work and it paid off.

We wind down the movement of the class with twists and forward bends & hamstrings. Again, that dancer in me loves the stretching. Hamstring stretches are like candy. I can’t get enough of them. They just feel SO good. And finally, relaxation and meditation. I teach far more often than I take, so I rarely get to give in to the relaxation. I love leading the meditation though. It’s still such a beautiful moment and I enjoy the reminders of how our breath and mindfulness matter, how we must train our minds and thoughts the same way that we train our bodies.

Obviously, all of these elements are excellent cross training for running. The strength built in my legs and core, the release in down dogs, hip openers, hamstrings. The mental focus that will keep me running and moving mile after mile after mile. It’s all good. It’s all necessary. Plus, I have the added benefit of using my slower Flow music to keep my pace down on easy run days and choreography to learn to distract me. ;)

Speaking of, it’s that time of year where choreography overload kicks in for relaunches. :) For those of you out there that haven’t taken BodyFlow/BodyBalance before, now is a GREAT time to start. Sure, you can do it On Demand at home and that’s a good option. But, you could also find a gym that has it and most gyms will have just rolled out or be rolling out the new choreography and music in the next few weeks. It’s way better with people. :) Plus, during relaunches, you get the same music and choreography from every instructor for 2-4 weeks. It gives you time to learn and master the moves.

Alright, wrapping up, a few more words from one of the Co-Program Directors:

Let’s get one thing straight from the start: I live in San Diego. I grew up not in San Diego, but in another Southern California beach town (primarily). I am SPOILED as heck by the weather (I pay rather dearly to be spoiled by the weather in fact).

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This was January 2nd several years ago. It was about 78 out and beautiful.

My yearly seasons tend to look like this:

  • Sunny and 74
  • May Gray
  • June Gloom
  • Sunny and 74
  • Santa Anas (aka the worst winds in the world aka Fire Season)
  • Sunny and 74
  • A few cold and rainy days (cold is 50s/60s; rain often results in Flash Floods and Mudslides)
  • Sunny again

Recently though, the weather has not stuck to this plan. Last year, we had a scorching May (100+) and brutal fires. Summer brought many more super hot days and ridiculous humidity (the South would be proud). As most people know, we had next to no rain and California’s drought has been getting worse and worse each year (water restrictions finally imposed this year). This year, May had pouring rain and so did July. But recently, it’s been sweltering.

Which is really the point of this post…

I cannot hang with lows in the 80s and humidity in the 70s (and highs in triple digits). See, the thing is, since we don’t have that weather here, we aren’t equipped. As in, most people don’t have air conditioning (because we don’t need it). They probably don’t even have ceiling fans. I’ve been melting for days and zapped of all energy.

You know that saying about how the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do?

Or how about the one about lapping everyone on the couch?

Last week, I had some bad workouts. I was the one on the couch everyone was lapping. Actually, that’s not true. I was the one in the gym where there was air conditioning, but I wasn’t running.

I got one run in last Sunday on my way home from my parents’ house. It was a beautiful coastal, hilly run, but HOT. I think it was about 90 (just before sunset). But that was the last one this week. Terrible.



It’s supposed to rain today, but then warm back up from the rest of the week. Thankfully, the lows are forecast in the low 70s, so the high 80s should be more tolerable. At the very least, I should be able to get some early morning or late evening runs in when it’s cooler. When it was 81 at 5:30am last week, it just wasn’t going to happen (reminiscent of the 2013 Disneyland Half, gross).

We are supposed to have LOTS of rain this winter though, so I should probably stop being a baby about the weather. Haha. Training doesn’t have time for that. Or suck it up and get on a treadmill. I did spend lots of time researching running in the heat and treadmill workouts last week. No, I still didn’t run. But this treadmill workout doesn’t look too terrible.

How’s your weather? Do you get Fall? I would love Fall. :) Any treadmill boredom kicking tips for me besides Netflix? Any running in the rain tips? (Can I still have music?! Will my headphones short or phone die????!?!?!)

Ah the Rest Day…

Sometimes, I am totally ready for my Rest Day and fully enjoy it. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, I’m all about a day off.

Sometimes, I take a rest day when I’m “not supposed to” and still enjoy it even if I feel a little guilty (like when I skipped my run last Saturday morning to head to my parents’ house). I stopped at the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo on my way and picked up this tank that I’ve been wanting for a few months. (Side story: Stopping at the expo was equal parts brutal and amazing. I’ve done the DL Half three times and it was so weird to be stopping by, but NOT running! I was nostalgic and jealous, haha. It was also such fantastic inspiration for 2016. I loved seeing all of the runners sporting their shirts and medals from the 5k the day before and/or 10k that morning… plus all the kid runners!! Oh they’re so cute!! The buzz, the energy, it was definitely awesome, even if it did make me wish I was running.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I got to hang out with my family all evening, including this cutie.

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My nephew is the cutest of all time. Fact.

And then, there are the times when Rest Day comes around and I’m not ready. I don’t want to take it.

There’s that run I needed to get in or that class I always take or that choreography I needed to practice… or, or, or, or…

I recently came across this old article on Pinterest about recovery days and it was great to see where I’m doing well (protein! active recovery!) and where I need to work. I have recently put a huge focus back on my sleep, especially trying to shift my schedule to more morning workouts. It hasn’t been all good, but we’re getting there. It was good to see that on the list and foam rolling too. I love/hate foam rolling. I know it’s good for me and I try to keep it in my schedule, but I should definitely do more.

But the one that really caught my eye was #7. I knew that stress affected sleep and all that, but it was I never really thought about how it could affect muscle recovery and all that. I have so much going on that even long weekends I’m busy frantically trying to get everything in and stressing when I don’t get the house cleaned or meals prepped or work done, etc. I need to RELAX and enjoy those days off too (not to say I can be a total slacker), but I need to realize I can space out the chores and that stressing over the “to do” list won’t help, but slowly plugging through it and getting the things done that will make the rest of the week flow better will reduce stress in a bigger way (so I’m not frantically packing meals in the morning before work).

So, REST and also RELAX in order to RECOVER. Then, you come back stronger. :) So, when’s my next Rest Day? I should probably figure that out. ;)

Back in June, I finally made my way to New York City for the very first time. I haven’t written about the trip… mostly because this blog was seriously neglected at the time. I’m not going to talk about the whole trip today, but I am going to talk about a piece of it.

First, a little back story… I was invited to a dear friend’s wedding in Boston in June and I decided to make the most of my plane ticket back east and include a personal trip to the Big Apple before heading to Boston (maybe that’ll be a post for another day). At some point in my pondering and deciding and date searching, my parents asked if they could join me in New York. They had it on their bucket list. I immediately said yes – I knew company would be awesome and it’d be fun to do with them. Plus, we were all very united in our “must see” lists.

At the top of the list was the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

We began our day early with Mass at St. Peter’s in the Financial District. We had wanted to get Mass in first since we weren’t sure how long our other activities might take. Plus, it seemed best to start such a day with prayer and reflection at the oldest parish in New York State – just a couple blocks from the World Trade Center. It’s also the site where Fr. Mychal, chaplain of the New York Fire Department and first certified fatality, was taken (carried to the altar after his body was recovered).

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After Mass, we made our way to the Memorial. It was amazing to see the size and scope of the base of the towers through the Memorial fountains after only having seeing pictures and film of the Twin Towers my entire life.


We paused at both the North Tower fountain and the South Tower fountain before making our way into the the museum. We watched a film before making our way down the stairs to the exhibition space.


There are a few pieces out in a more open exhibition area where photography is allowed, but the bulk of the museum exhibits are behind a set of glass doors, with no reentry and no photography. We noticed at the end of our visit that the “average time to visit” that portion was 45 minutes. We were in there for MUCH longer.

The exhibition is broken into three galleries: the timeline of September 11, before September 11, and after September 11.

On September 11, 2001, I was up way too early in my Southern California home doing the homework I hadn’t had time to complete the night before. I was up when both towers were struck and when the Pentagon was struck, but I was oblivious being on the west coast (and not having the TV on). My mom woke up an hour or so later and turned on the Today Show like she does every morning. She called me out of my room and together we watched what was happening on the east coast. Together we learned, with the rest of the country, of Flight 93’s crash in Pennsylvania.

“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.”  – U.S. President George W. Bush.

Together, my mom, my dad, and I entered the exhibit and started at the beginning of the timeline. Relearning the day’s events that were playing on repeat on the news for us that morning. We saw the live clip of Matt Lauer announcing the breaking news in the middle of a segment. We read details, listened to voicemails (definitely the hardest part for me), saw artifacts, and slowly absorbed, as best we could, the day as those on the ground and in the air did. We spent hours in there. At times moving together and slowly drifting apart and then back together. Sharing pieces with each other and having quiet discussion. Solemnly and respectfully, we paid tribute.

Early on, I caught the conversation of a couple behind me. They were looking at a graphic of the South Tower. The graphic showed the tower with the companies by floor and who was above, below, and in the impact zone. Perhaps they’d long ago block out the knowledge that their daughter’s company was in the impact zone or perhaps they’d never realized it, but you could hear the shock in their voices and the relief in their words and on their faces. “We are just so lucky.” Their daughter was on a different floor during the attack and she made it out safely.

A little later, my dad came up to me. “Do you see that couple?” They were moving through the exhibition with their daughter. They saw a photo of a man they knew (I can’t remember now if it was a friend’s son, their son, or their son’s friend). He also survived. When I later made my way to where the were, to where my dad had been reading before he came to find me, and saw that it was a picture I’d seen many times before in the news.

As amazing as it was too see the artifacts, heart-wrenching and shocking though some were, it was made all the more significant overhearing the stories of the people walking through the exhibition at the same time as me. Some, like the ones above, knew survivors, others were local (or localish), and like me, some were visiting from somewhere else. Yet this one event united everyone walking through those galleries. We remembered where we were when we heard the news. We’ve experienced the aftermath. Like those days after the attacks, we were united. You could tell from the stories of these people, even in snippets, that politics didn’t matter in that moment. Even in moving to the after, you didn’t hear the negativity or division that you hear now. I saw what the memorial and the museum being there meant for them.

“Remember the hours after Sept. 11 when we came together as one…It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.” – Then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, in 2004.

We spent a really long time in the first gallery and fatigue slowly started to set in as we moved to the before and the after. I learned that the before, the previous attacks on the Twin Towers, took place on my 8th birthday. It was strange to see my birthday written so many times, but it was amazing to learn how that failed attack helped save so many lives on September 11. The emergency procedures and evacuation drills set in motion after that day prepared so many people.

The after talked about the memorials around the world, the clean up, the war. I was moved to tears watching video of crews ceremoniously removing the last column from Ground Zero and then I made my way back out to the larger gallery space and spent some time with that very same column.

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As we began to make our way out, my dad and I stopped to “sign” the wall (Mom was nowhere to be found, and possibly looking for me, and disappointed later that she’d missed that opportunity).


With a different set of eyes, we made our way out of the museum and saw the fountains and One World Trade again.

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” — U.S. President Barack Obama in a 2011 radio address.


I will always remember you and I’ll carry your stories that I’ve learned with me into the world.

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” – Author David Levithan in his book “Love is the Higher Law.”

The runDisney races are BIG. We’re talking thousands and thousands of people. In fact, this past weekend, I read that nearly 16,000 participated in the Disneyland Half Marathon and nearly 29,000 participated in some part of Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend (there was also a 5k, 10k, and several kids’ races – so CUTE!). Wow! Right????

So, when a race is that big, they have corrals. Corrals split the runners up based on their estimated finish time. If you don’t have a proof of time, or if your proof of time shows that you’ll be in the back of the pack, you’ll end up in the last corral (or last corrals depending on how many people don’t have POT or are back of the packers).

There are many reasons you might want to submit proof of time. You might know you’re fast and you don’t want to have to weave among walkers. You might want to stop and take pictures with characters, so you want that extra leeway in your pace time. You might be shooting for a PR. These are just a handful of reasons. The goal for corrals is to correctly pace and improve crowding on the course, especially with Disney… this doesn’t always work (see “stopping for character photos” above).

I didn’t have a proof of time for my very first race and I was okay with that. It was great being able to move up the next couple of years though – especially in 2013 when it was SO HOT and SO HUMID, it gave me some extra time on the course before the sun came up and it got EVEN MORE HOT and EVEN MORE HUMID.

I was hoping to be able to use my Balboa Park 8-miler for my POT for Princess, but it turns out it’s not an appropriate distance (FYI it’s not 10k or more, it’s those specific race lengths listed). I debated back and forth and back and forth… do I care that much? Do I really want or need to find another race for POT?

Ultimately, I decided that I did want and need to race for a POT. Why?

  • I’ve read that the Princess Half Marathon is HUGE – the corrals last year went all the way to P!! (I think the farthest back I ever saw at DL was G).
  • This means that not only do I need to get up at 2:30 AM (or thereabouts) to make sure I get to the race start in time, but it also means that I could potentially be starting AN HOUR AND 45 MINUTES after the official start time. I might “not care” now, but I’m definitely going to care at 5:45 AM on race morning when I’ve already been up for over 3 hours and still haven’t started running yet.
  • I want to PR. I have a time goal for Princess and I’m most likely to accomplish that if I can start among other people at my similar pace.

So, I signed up for the Surfing Madonna 10k in October. I considered the 10-miler, but I think I can push myself for a faster time (and thus a better converted time) with the 10k. Plus, while it’s hard-packed sand, it is still sand and I’m not sure what that will do to my time. Also, it’s in the middle of the day. This could be good or bad. Good in the sense that I’ll get a good night’s sleep, bad in the sense that it could be super hot Santa Ana weather (or who knows, maybe pouring rain if El Niño has already struck). It’s also apparently the largest beach run, so I may be dodging walkers there too. We’ll see.

I figure any POT will still put me at least a little ahead, right?

I’ve written about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (September 14) many times before, but that’s no reason to stop posting.

I’m sure many of you have already seen pink in anticipation for Breast Cancer Awareness next month or heard about various drives/calls to action. Some of you may be well aware of Movember for Prostate Cancer Awareness. I’m not saying this is bad. The more awareness, the more research, the better the prognosis if you or a loved one ever gets cancer. So why don’t we hear much about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Why does it seem to get overlooked each year?

I’m not sure what year this infographic was made, to be honest, but it still has some good information. St. Baldrick’s reports 1 in 285 will be diagnosed with cancer. St. Jude and St. Baldrick’s report that 1 in 5 will not survive. Just like in adults, the type of cancer makes a huge difference when it comes to survival.

September is also blood cancer awareness month and ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) accounts for 75% of childhood leukemia – it currently has a 90% survival rate. There are other blood cancers that still need more research to increase survival rates and I know that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hopes to go out of business one day because their work is done. Did you know that about 60% of all funding for drug development in adult cancers comes from pharmaceutical companies? But St. Baldrick’s reports that for kids, almost none comes from pharmaceutical companies because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable.

Did you know that Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals treat 88% of the children that have cancer???? Help me raise even more money this month to support these hospitals – for research, for care, for equipment, for the best professionals, for whatever they need to keep doing excellent work at your local children’s hospital.


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