Saturday, December 4, 2010

Warrior Dash and Muddy Buddy Discounts

A couple of fun races will be held in Orlando in 2011: The Warrior Dash and Muddy Buddy. If you register very soon, you can enjoy an excellent discount!

The Warrior Dash
What is it? Running race over a 3-mile course with 12 obstacles and a lot of mud.
When? January 29
Discount: It's $40 until 12/31 and then goes up to $50 in 2011. BUT I have a coupon code for $10 off so it will only be $30 if you sign up now. The code is julyreg30. Here is the link:

Muddy Buddy
What is it? Run/bike partner race over a 7-mile course with a few obstacles and a lot of mud.
When? April 9
Discount: Save $20 when you register before December 10, 2010

Hope to see you in the mud pit in 2011!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Great Outdoors

During yesterday's run, I noticed an animal rustling in the bushes. I got worried at first, as i was running near a very ominous canal behind my office and I've had alligators on the brain (thank you, Starwood Owner-exclusive offers ... Gatorland is a pretty scary concept, surpassed only by The Holy Land Experience).

Turns out, there was an armadillo in the bushes. This is just the second time I've spotted an armadillo in the wild, and the other one was dead, so that doesn't really count. Of course, I run over to check it out, then realize that I know nothing about armadillos. Are they aggressive? I assume not, considering they're a walking suit of armor, but some things are better not to assume. And it's always important to err on the safe side when running alone. Here are a few easy tips for running safety:

1) Always be aware of your surroundings.
2) Map your run before you go.
3) Ditch the music. Or at least run with one earbud out.
4) Ladies, skip the booty shorts. Female runners will attract unwanted attention while running in full sweats. It's a workout, not a beauty pageant.
5) Run with a friend. A big, scary friend. Or join a running group. It's hard to throw more than one person into the trunk of a car.
6) Avoid running at night. You won't see armadillos and alligators lurking in the bushes, poised for attack.
7) Consider running with mace. Or a gun, if you're the governor of Texas.

Pretty crazy story, this spring, Texas Governor Rick Perry was jogging with his dog. He saw a coyote, felt threatened and shot it! And they say the weirdest news occurs in Florida?

Pretty impressive. Running with a gun seems like a responsibility I'm not ready for yet. The armadillo population would be in danger.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Musical Motivation

Just posting the playlist for tonight's spin class. Ojos Asi by Shakira is a particularly fun song.

Please feel free to recommend some motivating music. I'm always looking for new suggestions.

Thankful Thursday

Thanksgiving is two weeks away! To get in the spirit of the holiday, here are the top ten things I'm thankful for this morning:

Things That Rock
1) Living in sunny Florida. It's November 11, and I'm wearing my favorite rainbow flip flops to work. They're standard attire year round.

2) Casual dress codes at work. Again, I :heart: my rainbows. And wearing jeans and leggings every day.

3) Facebook. It is the primary way that my mom and I communicate. It's really helped us stay close despite her living more than 600 miles away in North Carolina. And she always "likes" my updates. :)

4) Great friends. Life would suck without them.

5) Kai Ryssdal and MarketPlace on NPR. He makes the stock market exciting.

6) & 7) This Is Why You're Fat and People Of Walmart for providing excellent entertainment. Like the Baboon Heart on This Is Why You're Fat. It entails cream cheese, a burger stuffed with salami, provolone cheese, fried egg, buttered toast, fried turkey, bacon, grilled onions and peppers, spicy ranch dressing, muenster cheese, all on a bagel. Breakfast of champions. If your name is Adam Richman.

8) & 9) Married to the Sea and Natalie Dee. Their web comics rock.

10) Urban Dictionary, for its exceptional ability to answer all of life's mysteries.

Finally, and most importantly, thank god it's Thursday. Woo hoo for the weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

America's Favorite Cities

Travel + Leisure magazine just released their survey results for America's Favorite Cities:

It's an interesting read, particularly for those who work in the hospitality industry, like me. And you can actually pit one city against another in a face-off of city awesomeness.

Sorry Orlando, but you lose.

On a pretty fascinating note, you won't want to miss the rankings for where to find America's most beautiful people. Not surprisingly, a majority of the cities listed are in warmer regions where people tend to wear less clothing in general. After all, it's hard to show off your figure when you're buried under a parka and a snowsuit. Here's your top ten:

#10: Nashville, TN
#9: Denver, CO
#8: Austin, TX
#7: San Juan, PR
#6: Honolulu, HI
#5: SLC, UT
#4: Miami, FL
#3: Savannah, GA
#2: San Diego, CA
#1: Charleston, SC

The #1 city threw me for a loop! I tried to think of a famous Southerner to reinforce Charleston's position on this list, but the only person I could think of was Paula Deen.

By the way, did anyone check out her stick of butter costume? Love it!

Anyway, I quickly remembered that Paula Deen is from Savannah, not Charleston. Regardless, it's a smidge surprising to see a southern city land the top spot on this list.

But, the coolest thing about the list is that it takes personality into account. Cities with the friendliest people also had some of the most attractive people. Just goes to show that a smile can be an instant, FREE makeover.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pump up the jam!

Nothing like a high-energy playlist and spin class to reverse the damage of desk jockey butt. Here's my playlist from tonight's class ... may it provide a little inspiration and motivation for your next workout! :)

1) Womanizer by Britney
2) World, Hold On by Bob Sinclair
3) United States of Pop 2009: Blame it on the Pop by DJ Earworm
4) Take Over Control by Afrojack
5) Elevator by Timbaland and Flo Rida
6) Escape Me by Tiesto
7) Loca by Shakira (hmmm, turns out that song features Dizzee Rascal)
8) Memories by David Guetta
9) Dare by Gorillaz
10) Gotta Get Through This by Daniel Bedingfield
11) Harder Better Faster Stronger by Daft Punk
12) Bang Bang by K'Naan
13) Welcome to the Black Parade by Natasha Bedingfield
14) Strip Me by Natasha Bedingfield

I'm constantly looking for high-energy songs for spin class, so please send me any recommendations you may have. Is there any particular artist or song that gets you totally pumped?

Most of my favorite "Get Pumped Up" songs aren't particularly appropriate for a classroom setting (Lil John's Get Low, anyone?), so I could definitely use a few recommendations.

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'll Spin You Right Round

I recently decided to further pursue my passion for physical fitness by becoming a spin instructor. Spinning is such a fun exercise because it combines great music with hardcore sweating.

After teaching my first class last night, I was thrilled to hear from my students that they loved my playlist. So, for your personal enjoyment, I'm posting it here for you to borrow (or ridicule, based on your personal music preferences). :)

Let's Get It Started 3:37 Black Eyed Peas
I Like It (feat. Pitbull) 3:52 Enrique Iglesias
Temperature 3:37 Sean Paul
Everytime We Touch 3:41 David Guetta & Chris Willis
Stereo Love 3:12 Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina
Do It Well 3:08 Jennifer Lopez
Boom Boom Pow 4:11 Black Eyed Peas
Love Is Gone (Fred Rister & Joachim Garraud Radio Edit Remix) 3:21
DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love (feat. Pitbull) 3:42
Hang Me Up to Dry 3:39 Cold War Kids
Club Can't Handle Me (feat. David Guetta) 3:53
I Gotta Feeling 4:49 Black Eyed Peas
Escape 3:28 Enrique Iglesias
Breathe Me 4:35 Sia

Feel free to suggest some great tunes for my next class! I'm always looking for new, exciting jams. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This is why I run...

I started running as a freshman in college as a means to avoid the freshman 15. It's always important to earn your beer before you drink it.

With the addition of Shipyard Brew Pub in Winter Park, looks like I'll be logging even more miles on the pavement.

Orlando's Going Big Time
Shipyard Brewing and Big Wheel Provisions to Open New Location in Winter Park, Florida

WINTER PARK, FLORIDA (August 9, 2010) – Fred Forsley, president of Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, and chef Tony Adams, owner of Big Wheel Provisions in Orlando, Florida, announce plans to open a Shipyard Brew Pub and Big Wheel Provisions marketplace this October.

Located at 200 West Fairbanks Avenue (the former site of Strollo’s Cucino Due), this joint venture will pair the award-winning craft beer of Shipyard Brewing Company with the locavore and artisan food created by Tony Adams of Big Wheel Provisions.

The Shipyard Brew Pub will feature a 28 gallon brewing system. Beer will be brewed on the premises under the direction of accomplished Orlando brewer Ron Raike. Raike will brew small batches of seasonal and unique beers based on his own creativity and ingredient availability. The pub, overseen by Adams, will feature a chef-driven menu created with local, seasonal ingredients.

The Big Wheel Provisions marketplace will feature a regularly revolving selection of deli items, local produce and eggs, artisanal cheeses, hard-to-find specialty food products, cookbooks, food-focused periodicals, and kitchen tools. Alfresco dining, cooking classes, catering, and local delivery service will also be offered.

Facebook: Shipyard Brew Pub Winter Park
Twitter: @ShipyardWPark

More about Shipyard Brewing Company: Shipyard Brewing Company was founded in 1994 by master brewer Alan Pugsley and entrepreneur Fred Forsley on the historic waterfront in Portland, Maine. Shipyard produces 16 varieties of award-winning English style and seasonal beers as well as a full line of hand-crafted Capt’n Eli’s Soda. Florida’s coastal heritage, ties to New England, and growing interest in craft beer makes it a strong market for the Shipyard family of products.

More about Big Wheel Provisions: Big Wheel Provisions is a catering and charcuterie company located in Orlando, Florida and created by Chef Tony Adams. He is a native of Fairfield, Maine and has lived in Orlando for the past seven years. His passion for locally produced food is the driving force behind Big Wheel’s success. All of Big Wheel’s food is made in small amounts by hand. From custom event catering to handmade condiments, pickles, slow simmered stocks, and smoked foods, Big Wheel’s products are all created with fresh, local ingredients and backed by the integrity of Chef Adams.

Tami Kennedy, Shipyard Brewing Company
Portland, Maine
207-838-0816 --

Tony Adams, Big Wheel Provisions
Orlando, Florida

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spice Up Your iWorkout

The iphone could be my ticket to insanely amazing fitness. Here's how:

1) iTunes. Even if I forget my iPod, my phone has my entire playlist. No excuse not to work out.
2) iTunes movies and TV shows. Today I felt lazy. But I knew I needed to work out, so I hopped on the elliptical and watched an entire episode of Millionaire Matchmaker on my phone! And I got a decent ab workout from laughing really hard while listening to Patty Stanger admonish her millionaires.
3) Apps. Seriously. There's an app for everything. Weigh yourself with an app. Track your nutrition with the LiveStrong app. Check into a volleyball gym via foursquare. Upload your workout pics via twitpic. Annoy your friends via your facebook app by tracking your workout progress. You can do it all ... or nothing at all.

The one drawback to the iPhone, however, is that it's not very waterproof. Best to keep the sweat to a minimum.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sale: Sarasota Half Marathon

I love a good bargain. So when I saw that registration for the Sarasota Half Marathon was discounted to $30, I had to sign up ASAP! Good idea? We'll see. Anyone want to join me? It's in March 2011.

The goal is to run it in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Time to get my booty back in running shape! After tonight's wine class, of course. ;)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Race Calendar 2010: I need your help!

2010 stands to be a productive race year for me. So far I've completed 4 races, including 3 5ks and 1 marathon. I finished 5k #3 this morning, the House of Hope Run Around the Pines 5k in Winter Park.

I mentioned in a recent blog post that I wanted to drop one to two minutes from my 5k time of 26:42, giving myself 2 weeks to do so. Great news. I finished in 25:33. Not as fast as I wanted, since I ran a 24:30 while training this week, but I can't really complain because when training, it's rare that you have to elbow your way past walkers and other people who don't understand the point of a stagger start. (HELLO PET PEEVES--how can walkers actually think they're going to complete a 5k at an 8-minute-per-mile pace?)

Anyway, it dawned on me this morning that I have just 4 races left on my agenda between now and May ... and it seems really silly to work hard to lower my 5k time if I don't have more races on my plate. So I need your suggestions for races to add to my schedule.

Here's what I have so far:

Race #1) Tour de Cure, a 60-mile charity bike ride to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. I greatly appreciate any contributions as I raise money for this cause. And even if you can't contribute, I definitely appreciate your moral support, as I am NOT a biker. I'm riding next Sunday, February 28, and I hope to survive. On a cool note, I get to demo a pretty sweet bike.

As a non-biker, I may make a special request for training wheels. Here's hoping I don't die! :)

Race #2) Disney's Princess Half-Marathon, which I'm running with several gfs in 2 weeks on Sunday, March 7. This time, I'll try not to carb-load with jello shots the night before, as I did with the Walt Disney World Marathon last month. :(

Race #3) The Corporate 5k Presented by IOA on Thursday, April 15. Starwood (my company) organizes a huge group to run this. Our team has won in the hospitality division for the past couple of years, and I have no doubt we'll kill the competition again this year. We have some very strong runners. The best part about this race is the post-party. Last year our company played flip cup and beer pong at Lake Eola until after 9 pm. It was a really great way to bond with colleagues, so I'm psyched to do it again this year.

Race #4) AND OF COURSE, THE MUDDY BUDDY, a 6- to 7-mile partner race that includes biking, running, obstacles and a MUD PIT. Best of all, there's a beer garden sponsored by Red Hook Brewery. Do you see a trend here? I do like beer.

I'm still trying to determine who my partner will be for this race, but I am REALLY excited for it.

So here's where I need your help ... I need more races on my schedule! So if you have any fun recommendations, send them to me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tell Tale Signs of a Runner, Part One: Feet!

After a 3-year hiatus from serious running, I finally feel like a runner again. Why? I lost a toenail yesterday. Once again, I have runner's feet.

Runners have notoriously scary feet. Runners Feet are akin to Wrestlers Ear. Disgusting, but only tolerable due to the love for the sport. Before a race, we cut our toenails as closely as possible to prevent them from falling off as a result of rubbing against our shoes. To no avail. We lose our toenails anyway.

For the ladies, it's futile to paint our toenails. My nails chip after every other run.

And then our heels. When you showering twice a day, a crocodile probably has softer feet. Or an alligator. Whichever is scalier and nastier. I'd rather give a foot massage to a crocodile than to a runner.

I could go on and on about bunions, corns and callouses. But I'll spare you the dirty details. I don't have these yet, but with my toenail situation, I'm afraid that I'm in the midst of a downward spiral. :(

Friday, February 12, 2010

Muddy Buddy Madness

It's time to start planning for The Muddy Buddy. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a 2-person run/bike/obstacle course with a deep mud pit at the end. The smack talking has already begun, as I intend to demolish the Tall Guy Surfing team.

The Orlando Muddy Buddy is May 8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports. If you're interested, here are a few things for your checklist:

A buddy (preferably one of a similar height so you can share a bike)
A mountain bike
Old clothing/shoes
Clean clothing to change into after the race
An appetite for beer (there will be a Red Hook beer garden)

The old shoes are a must. Here's what my legs looked like after last year's race:

If you think that's bad though, check out my face:

My partner pushed me face-down into the mud. :) This year I won't be as trusting. Or I might just have to beat him/her to the punch.

Sounds like your kind of race, but you're not into biking? Then check out The Warrior Dash. It's a race with mud and obstacles and you get your own warrior helmet. Does it get any better than that? I don't think so.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Progress Report

My times are improving slightly, thank GOD. This weekend I ran the Lady Track Shack 5k in 26:42 (an 8:35 pace). Definitely disappointing for someone who used to run 22- and 23-minute 5ks.

But my previous race was the Seasons 52 5.2k, where my 5k split was 28:20 (9:04 pace). So the good news is that I’m getting slightly faster. The bad news is that I really let my fitness slip.

So now I’m on a mission to get faster. I’m running the House of Hope 5k in Winter Park on February 20. My practical goal is to finish under 26 minutes and my stretch goal is to finish under 25 minutes.

Method of attack:
I’m limiting myself to wine/beer just one or two nights per week. This could be a challenge for someone who likes a glass of wine each night, but I’m pretty sure it will make a difference in my performance. I should note, I stopped by Wally’s pub this Friday night and had a drink (one drink there is equivalent to three drinks), and then got just 5 hours of sleep prior to the race, so perhaps that could explain my slow time.

Side note:
I highly recommend running the Lady Track Shack 5k next year. It winds through pretty parts of Winter Park and the tech tee is really cute!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Safety First: Avoid Being A Target For Murderers, Kidnappers and Other Bad Guys

Great news! The murder scene that I stumbled upon during yesterday's run was apparently a criminal justice training exercise for students at Everest University, one of Orlando's finest diploma mills.

Now I can run with headphones again, oblivious to the world around me. Many runners will discourage you from running with headphones in public (use them at the gym instead) due to the fact that you couldn't hear a potential mugger/kidnapper mere steps away.

However, there are some days where you just need some extra motivation to get through your workout. Today was one of those days. And my AWESOME playlist provided perfect motivation for today's workout. If you need inspiration, try any of my tunes from today:

Arab Money, by Busta Rhymes
B.O.B., by OutKast
Beep, by Pussycat Dolls
Break Ya Neck, by Busta Rhymes
Bruised Water, by Natasha Bedingfield
Carry Out, by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake
Faster Pussycat Kill, by Paul Oakenfold
Feel It, by Three 6 Mafia and featuring Tiesto
Fight for You, by Morgan Page
Heads Will Roll, by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I'll Be In The Sky, by B.o.B
Lose Yourself, by Eminem

Now you can effectively rock out during your next workout.

If you're still concerned about being a target for potential kidnappers when you run with headphones, I have excellent advice for you. Purchase a fat suit or sumo suit and wear it while running. Not only will you look like a challenging kidnapping prospect (fat people are harder to kidnap and are less likely to fit in a trunk), but you'll burn more calories in a heavy, rubber suit. It's a winning solution!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Things that make you go hmmm (and run faster)

Need a little pep in your step for your next run? Try running in a slightly dangerous location.

I work in a somewhat shady portion of Orlando, where the bee-line meets John Young Parkway. I like to run on my lunch break or after work along a trail behind my office building. It's very remote and there's a peaceful path that runs along Shingle Creek.

During my last two runs on this path, I have witnessed suspect things:

1) On Friday, January 29, I stumbled across a long bone. I hope it belongs to a deer.
2) At lunch today, a portion of the path was roped off with police tape. Within the tape? A chalk outline of a body (pics to come) and red splotches on the pavement.

As you can imagine, these sights definitely give incentive to run faster. While some would probably prefer to find a new running trail, I've been impressed at my pace during these runs, so I'll probably keep enjoying the trail.

I mean, could it get worse?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Reforming a Renegade Runner

Running has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a child growing up on a farm in BFE, NC, I chased/herded cows on a regular basis. As an adult, I've competed in races, including 3 marathons.

However, during my last marathon I came to the realization that my renegade training habits will no longer keep me in racing shape. Here was my approach to the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon:

A) Complete a maximum long run of 6 miles during race training
B) Carb-load with wine in the days before the marathon
C) Consume Jello shots at my best friend's boyfriend's birthday party the night before the race
D) Pray to God that I wouldn't die during the run

However, this is a terrible approach and I would never do it again. My time, as you can imagine, was 5 hours and 30 minutes. Pretty sad for someone with a PR of 3:54 and with aspirations to one day qualify for Boston.

The Disney marathon serves as my wake-up call. It's time to get my butt in gear. And I'm using this blog to hold myself accountable for my performance.

That's all for now. Gotta run ... literally. :)