Tag Archive | health

running, it’s in the family

The running bug has bitten a new victim. After months of subtle brainwashing convincing, I have brought my mom into the runDisney fold. She has taken up running during the past year, at first not believing she would be able to run a mile. Then when she ran a mile, she didn’t think she could run a 5k. Then when she ran a 5k, wondering if she’d be able to run a 10k. Then she ran 9 miles, and now she’s been wondering if she could run a half marathon. Well I say she can, so I signed her up! My mom and I will be running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January of 2013. This race allows runners to sign up as 2 person teams. I introduce to you…


half marathon training: week 2!

Not much time to write today. Wish I could share some brilliant insight about the world and all it’s challenges, but I’m afraid all I’ve got time for is a training schedule reminder. I did not want to miss the opportunity to get the week’s training schedule posted. Here’s what we’ve got:

Half Marathon:

  • Monday – 3 miles
  • Tuesday – Rest
  • Wednesday – 4 miles
  • Thursday – 3 miles
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 5 miles (creeping up on the miles!)
  • Sunday – Rest

Here’s what we’ve got for the 5k trainers:

  • Monday – Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Tuesday – Rest
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Sunday – Rest

Make sure you’ve got the schedule bookmarked because we are sticking to it! Keep me posted. How are you feeling about your training so far? Even if you’re on a totally different schedule, let Running to Tahiti readers know how it’s going. 

Happy running!

no literally… happy, running

the joys of a low tide

When it’s low tide out on the sand, it’s my favorite place to run. I have not fully embraced the barefoot running trend, but I do enjoy it quite a bit from time to time. Especially through the surf. When I get a little warm in the middle of the workout, I let the waves wash over my feet for instant coolness. It’s heaven.

We just completed our 4 mile run. How about you?

half marathon training: day 4

Wish I could come up with some more clever titles for these training entries but I just want to be sure that you’re easily keeping track of the days that are devoted to training. So for now: “Half Marathon Training: Day 4”. For both 5k trainers and half marathon trainers, today marks the last training day of week 1; so if you make it through your workout today, CONGRATULATIONS! You made it through one week! Only 9 more to go 🙂 Here’s what we’ve got:

Half Marathon: run or run/walk 4 miles. Doesn’t matter how long it takes you. Don’t stop ’til you get to 4.

5K: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Contrary to the Half Marathoners, doesn’t matter how FAR you get, just make sure you don’t stop until you finish 20 minutes.

That’s it! We’re heading out right now to get our 4 miles in. Brad and I are running today on the beach. He claims it’s low tide. We’ll see about that….


Half marathon training: day 2 & 3

Good morning runners! Ready to tackle day 3 of official half marathon training? I can’t hear yooouu… was that a resounding yes? Good. That’s the response I’m looking for. Actually for you 5k trainers this is your day 2, since you’re only going to run 3 times a week. So here’s what we’ve got on the menu today:

Half marathon: 3 miles. Doesn’t matter how long it takes, or if you employ a run-walk-run method. Don’t stop until you get to 3.

5k: Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking. Do this for a total of 20 minutes + the 5 minute warm-up. Remember that for right now it doesn’t matter how far you go, it just matters that you keep going for all 25 minutes.

Easy as pie. Miraculously Brad and I got up this morning and got our run in before work. That is completely rare. Must be a sign of good things to come. I would suggest that you do your training runs early in the morning as much as possible. The reason being twofold. One: it’s nice to get it out of the way before unexpected meetings or late nights at the office sabotage your schedule. Two: (and this is even more important) because the actual half marathon and 5k start at 6:00am. The more you train your body to exercise that early, the better you’ll perform on race day. Muscles and breath capacity are very different in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Get them used to the early bird shock.

That’s all for now friends. You’ll probably be hearing from me again later today. I’ve got some running smartphone app reviews I want to put out there. There’s just so much to write about!

the merits of public school, or, how and why I run

I’ve been thinking and thinking about how best to give training advice to those of you who will be training for the Family Fun Run 5K this September. In all honesty, it’s been difficult for me to figure out the best approach because it’s been awhile since I’ve trained for that distance. It’s hard to get in the right head space. I truly don’t mean to toot my own horn by saying that. I’ve said many times, and I’ll say it again, that I am a slow, amateur runner. But I stick with it, so I’m able to build up a lot of endurance. Trust me when I say that anything I can do, you can do too, and I in no way mean to poo-poo the fact that it’s daunting to take on your first 5k. I’ve been running my entire adult, and most of my young adult life, so 5k is my standard daily run. I’m at a place where that’s my starting distance. That wasn’t always the case of course and it was my stroll down memory lane today, back to the beginning of my love affair with running, that helped me get back in touch with what you are feeling. I do in fact remember what a mountain 3 miles can look like to someone who has never run before.

I’ve never wrote about my history with running and what made me start. Most of the time I feel like I’ve just always been a runner but that is, in fact, completely not true. I owe every ounce of my passion for running to my 6th grade teacher Mr. Turner. There were two 6th grade classes at my elementary school. You either got the eclectic, artsy, eccentric teacher with a passion for ancient Egypt; or you got Mr. Turner, the sarcastic, brash, tough jock who reminded me of Coach Hayden Fox. Guess who I got. The jock. And I’m so glad I did for many reasons. I don’t need to delve into the merits of my public school education right now so I’ll only talk about one specific thing for which I owe Mr. Turner a debt of gratitude. He got me in shape. Mr. Turner made the entire class run… every day. When he told us we’d be running a mile every day, we were a) mad and b) convinced our teacher was crazy. We had P.E. once or twice a week and we all played during recess, so why the heck did we need to run every day? I’m not exactly sure what Mr. Turner’s motivations were, but I know he was on to something. Making our class run every day not only blew off the excess energy we 12 year olds harbored and helped us focus when we got back to our desks, it laid the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle and the discipline and routine it takes to maintain it. It’s easy to play tag at recess when you WANT to, but that’s not going to last forever, and neither is a 12 year old’s metabolism. It’s not so easy to be healthy and fit when you don’t necessarily feel like it, but if you build in the habit at a young age you’ll be ten steps ahead of the fitness curve for the rest of your life. I think Mr. Turner knew this, and I think this was exactly why he made us run every single day. Or he was just living out his dreams of being a drill sergeant.

Throughout the rest of my life I haven’t always been perfect about maintaining a fitness schedule, but I’ve always known that it’s important and that I should strive to keep myself active. I’m proud to say that I’ve never been a couch potato, and I definitely would have veered in that direction if it were not for the running practice I started at age 12. If you’re reading this, it doesn’t matter if your 12 or 70, it is absolutely never too late to get yourself into an active lifestyle. Running a 5k (3.1 miles) is a fantastic goal to strive for.

So now that we’ve covered what laying a healthy foundation did for me, now let’s talk about my actual experience of running back then. The daily requirement was that we walk or run a mile. That’s it. Boy, back then, it seemed like a million miles. That field we ran around was HUGE and we had to run around it 4 times? Crazy talk. For weeks and weeks I did a lot of walking. Run walk run. The weeks passed by and the walking breaks subsided. Before I knew it, I was running a solid mile every day. It felt great. At that point Mr. Turner upped the stakes. He said that we still only had to run a mile every day with the rest of the class, but if we wanted we could start aiming for 2 miles.. and even 3! No way. 3 miles was like the same distance as a marathon, right? Absolutely no way.

Looking back, I feel like I have two different brains. The brain of now that feels like 3 miles is a warm-up, and the brain of my youth that remember 3 miles feeling like an impossibility. Both feelings are true, and one is a hearty reminder that the impossible is never truly impossible. 

I continued to run with my classmates a mile a day. I didn’t jump into the 2 mile club. I may have added an extra lap here and there but on the whole I was happy with the 1 mile. Some days I’d push myself and get faster. Others I’d slow down and spend the time gabbing my girlfriends about the brand new training bras we’d just gotten. I enjoyed the time so much. Time to clear my head and not worry about homework, or taking notes, or whether Danny was looking at me on the playground, or whether someone would ask me to play foursquare with them. Not a care in the world. Just run. After a couple of months I decided that maybe I would try and reach that 2 mile goal. A lot of my friends were aiming for it, and a few kids in my class were even going to try for 3. Crazy! Mr. Turner set a specific date that we would try to run the extra distances. That way we could really focus on a timeline to achieve our goal. I kept adding laps , sometimes running and sometimes walking, and slowly but surely I felt like I could take on 2 miles. 

The big day came. About 12 – 15 of us were going to try for 2 miles. 2 kids in class were going to shoot for 3. I still remember those kids. One was a tiny little lighting bolt with brown hair and spindly legs. Boy could he fly. Another was a tall blonde boy who was almost all leg. Clearly he had an advantage. He covered the same amount of ground with 1 step as I did with 3! We started all together. I remember a lot of kids stopping after the first mile. I remember myself wishing I was one of them. But I didn’t give in. I kept going, and after what felt like an eternity later, I crossed that finish line to the sound of my classmates cheering me on. That was the first time I experienced the “oh my god I’m going to puke” feeling from a workout. It felt good 🙂 

Mr. Turner had three big cards up on the wall in our classroom. One said “1 mile.” The other said “2 miles” and the third said, yep you guessed it, “3 miles.” After our accomplishment he would put our names under the corresponding card. Everyone’s name was up on the board some where. Most kids stayed under the 1 mile card. A handful of us made it to 2. And still only those 2 quick as lightning boys made it under 3. That bugged me. What can I say, I’ve always been competitive. 2 boys, no girls. That just couldn’t stand.

The next date rolled around where we could try and reach the next running goal. Many of my fellow classmates were more confident this round shooting for 2 miles. I was proud of them. Me, I was going to, hopefully, do the impossible. I didn’t know how I would be able to ever run so far, but somehow, I was going to try and run 3 miles. The whistle blew and we all started running. I instinctively knew to pace myself. Boy did I ever. I trotted for the first mile more than ran. A very slow trot. The laps came and went. If 2 miles felt like an eternity, this felt like eternity times a thousand. I made it past 2 miles, and 4 looooong laps later, I stumbled across the finish line. Wow… Holy.. I couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t believe I actually ran as far as that tiny brunette kid, and couldn’t believe that I’d accomplished the impossible, and couldn’t believe how sick I felt. Yet I knew I’d be ok. I was too excited to not be ok. In that moment I’d set a new bar for myself. I thought back to how difficult I thought it would be to run 1 mile, and here I’d just run 3. That was the beginning for me. The beginning of a lifelong love affair with running. And the beginning of a lifelong quest to achieve the impossible. Thank you Mr. Turner.

If you’re gearing up to begin training next week for the first time EVER, I’m so excited for you. You’re going to discover a new side of yourself. You’re going to change the way you live and the respect you have for your health. You’re going to achieve things you didn’t know you could do. You’re going to exceed your own expectations and after that, the sky’s the limit. Get ready for the journey that leads to The Happiest RACE on Earth!

This isn’t exactly the right era but it’s the closest thing I have to looking like a little jock. Wuddin’ I cuuuute?

supergirls eat gummy bears

I keep delaying the epic post regarding our massive success at the Disneyland Half Marathon until Brad has time to edit the footage he took during the race. Until then I will systematically work through all of the little details that made the day so successful. Today, we shall talk about the magic of gummy bears.

I have blood sugar issues. I’ve never been diagnosed with diabetes or hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia but my blood sugar is very sensitive and fickle. I’ve shared before the horrors of a blood sugar crash during a long run and I was so worried that would happen this year. It didn’t. I performed with fabulous endurance and vitality. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t get nauseous. I didn’t feel dizzy. My blood sugar remained steady throughout. I could posit that this has everything to do with the rigorous discipline I put into the Supergirl diet in the days leading up to race, but I might be lying to you. The truth is, I think it has everything to do with Gummy Bears.

 I have a bit of a celebrity athlete crush on Jeff Galloway. He is totally the Chef Gusteau of the running world. He’s a class act, world-class actually, yet he makes running a completely accessible sport for anyone and everyone. He’s a guru, but down to earth. He runs something like 20 marathons every year and he believes that YOU can too. He’s even got my mom believing in herself enough to train for a half marathon. He’s like a magical running elf. He also happens to be the official trainer for the runDisney program. Disney picked the right guy to promote their running division for sure.

Okay, gush over. What I wanted to point out was that Jeff Galloway spoke at the Health & Fitness Expo hosted at the Disneyland Hotel the day before the race. I’m so glad that I got to hear him speak this year because one by one he addressed all of my issues with running that keep coming back to haunt me and gave me completely reasonable solutions. He talked about getting nauseous, trick ankles, what to eat before you run, hydration, heat, sleep, blood sugar. He hit all of the big topics. For now let’s discuss blood sugar. Jeff Galloway broke it down for us. It only takes about 20 minutes to burn through all of the glucose stores in your blood. After that, it starts to burn whatever else it can find like fat or muscle, but those are not as efficient forms of fuel as glucose. On a normal 3-5 mile run this is fine and even helps to burn fat, but if you go too long without replenishing your glucose stores (like you would on a half marathon) your body heads towards the sugar in your brain for fuel. Bad idea. It’s like you turn into a confused zombie that wants to eat its own brain. You should never let your sugar get that low. You can start to feel nauseous (check), dizzy (check), irritable (check) and disoriented (check). All of those things have happened to me. If not taken seriously this can actually lead to permanent brain damage or death and to quote Jeff Galloway, “I’m against death.”

“So how do we keep our         glucose levels steady in a long run?” Yes Jeff. How? I must know. I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried nuts, I’ve tried sports drinks, I’ve tried muscle milk, I’ve tried bananas, I’ve tried Gu. Eeew! Gu. Wait, suddenly I hear Jeff talking about Gu. I have to hear this. He goes on to say that for many people Gu is an excellent sugar replacement. No Jeff no! I hate G… “BUT some people can’t digest it very well,” he finishes. What?! That’s me. He’s talking about me. He goes on to explain how the other properties in Gu, the electrolytes and stuff, are hard for some people to digest and actually make them feel nauseous. So I’m NOT crazy! In all my years as a runner, everyone tells me that Gu is the salvation. Gu will keep my blood sugar from dropping and will prevent me from puking. For me however, the very sight of Gu invokes a gag reflex. I thought my blood sugar must have been created on opposite day. I didn’t understand why Gu worked for every runner in the WORLD except me. Turns out it doesn’t. Oh Jeff. You’ve just restored my sanity. 

He goes on to explain that the only thing in Gu that you need to keep your blood sugar up is the sugar. Just pure sugar. So if you’re the type of person that can’t digest Gu then you should just try life savers, a sugar cube, or gummy bears. Gummy bears? Really? Did an Olympic champion just tell me to eat gummy bears during a half marathon? Yes. Yes he did. 

Well I give it a whirl. I buy some gummy bears at the Disney store and count out exactly how many I will need to get me through the race. Galloway suggests 4 bears every 3 miles so I put about 20 in my wrist pouch just to be safe.

Friends, it worked. I think these particular gummy bears may have actually been magic. I never felt my blood sugar dip in the slightest. I never got dizzy or pukey. I actually increased my speed at the last mile, powered by glee, gummy bears, and Jeff Galloway. After two weeks of eating strictly raw almonds, rice, vegetables and hummus, the key to my performance success turned out to be nature’s enemy… high fructose corn syrup. Fine by me. Since I burned every single gram of gummy sugar I put into my body while running it’s really not unhealthy. I just had to remind myself to stop eating them after crossing the finish line. Now go get yourself some gummy bears!

i even look like a gummy bear

writing back-log: the suspense is killing me too!

I have so much to say! The past two weeks on the road to Tahiti have been busy, plentiful, and full of adventure. Half Marathon update, results of the Supergirl diet, news from Tahiti locals, the very nature of achieving our dreams! Yes OURS. Not just mine. Ours. These are the bubbles floating around in my head ready to pop.

However. Work, Theatre of NOTE, AMC duties, meetings, prepping for understudy performances of “Wonderlust” are all consuming my time. Actually they are consuming more than my time. They are consuming about 26 hours a day. I now exist in negative time. I have -2 hours of free time a day. Whew. Ok. Well after this week I should be able to hunker down and update you all on the the fabulous events of late. Here’s a sneak peak:

we did it