Tag: Running

Tinker Bell Half Marathon: 2016 to 2017

Last year in May, I did the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland for the first time! It was something I had seen on a show, I think it was Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, and thought… “Wow, that would be fun to do!” I love Tinker Bell, she’s my favorite Disney character, so that was one of the reasons I was so drawn to the race, but also the fact that I had recently started my own healthy living journey and was very interested in doing races.

Triumphant right after finishing the half marathon in 2016!

I didn’t think that I would be interested in running a half marathon at that time though. Then one of my friends on SparkPeople ran the Tinker Bell Half in 2015 and I was so motivated and inspired by her story, that I decided that I could totally do the race too. I had a lot of help from friends encouraging me and helping me make this happen, and I am so thankful for all they did for me because the half marathon there at Disneyland was one of the very best experiences in my life so far.

So, in May 2016 I did the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the first time and it was a big struggle. I had trained but not as well as I would have liked. Still, the training I did do allowed me to finish. If you don’t know about runDisney races, they will pull you out if you are too slow and fall too far behind. They require you to keep up a pace of 16 minutes per mile. I had a hard time with this the first half of the race, kept up with the pacers for a little bit, and then slowly started falling behind. I didn’t get pulled out though and was able to finish the race in 3 hours 43 minutes. I was so ecstatic and triumphant for being able to finish the race! It was an amazing feeling. I even didn’t have as much soreness or pain following the race and recovery went really smooth for me!

A picture from my longest training session before the race- 10 miles!

I finished the race feeling ready to tackle another half marathon in November, in my hometown here in California, but due to our moving across the country so close to the race, I wasn’t able to train at all for it. Over the summer though, when they opened registration for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for 2017, I signed up right away! I was so excited to be able to do the half marathon again!

With the half marathon in May, I needed to start training right around the New Year, but I didn’t. Then only a few weeks into the New Year, I got a puppy… totally unplanned, literally showed up at my door. She was pretty calm and allowed me to work and my parents could handle her when I needed them to take care of her. Just four days after she entered our lives, she was taken away by her previous owners who had said we could keep her and then changed their mind, telling our apartment managers that we wouldn’t give her back. A few hours after that whole debacle, they sent Jasper, my puppy to us as an apology.

Look how tiny Jasper was! My heart is melting!

Jasper was younger and they weren’t attached to him, plus I had some insurance against them making a claim against us like they had before. He was meant to be mine, but he is high energy and high maintenance, and I didn’t want to leave this little ball of energy in his cage too often to go training. I already had to put him in there a bit while I worked on writing and later health coaching. I thought things would improve, he would calm down a bit. He did, but not enough and by then I was hustling to make enough income to support him and both of us. Therefore my training kept being pushed back and eventually there was just no time to train. Not only that, but we experienced some car troubles and other financial hardships that left me without a way to pay for the traveling and hotel I would need.

Wearing my “I DID IT!” shirt after the 2016 race.

I was super disappointed that I wasn’t able to go do the Tinker Bell Half Marathon this year. It was heartbreaking to me, seeing the emails from runDisney hitting my inbox, knowing I wasn’t going to be able to go in the final month before the race. Then they sent me a “thank you for participating” and “congratulations on your amazing accomplishment” email a couple days after the race. In my head I was thinking, “Oh how I wish I had done this amazing accomplishment again this year.” It made my heart sink. However, something that took the sting out of it was Jasper having his neuter surgery two days before the race, on May 12th. Taking care of him and all that entailed really kept my mind off of the fact that I was missing this race I had been looking forward to ever since I had done the first one.

There is next year though, and this time I will be training properly and finishing the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the second time. The first time was such an amazing experience and a huge accomplishment for me, there is no way I’m going to miss the 2018 race!




25 Top Gifts for Healthy Living

Do you have someone in your life who would love a fitness or healthy living gift for Christmas? Here are some fun ideas for them:

1. FitbitThese fitness trackers are just wonderful, I know so because I own one myself. They track steps, distance, fitness minutes, floors climbed, calories burned, and much more. Some of the models are quite expensive, but even the Zip ($50-60) and the One ($100) have many benefits! There are also other fitness trackers that would make just as wonderful of a gift for your friend/loved one. Check out them out here: Fitbit.com.

2. Dumbbells or resistance bands: Strength training is an important component to weight loss and fitness efforts. Being strong and working on building strength is a point of pride. The kind of dumbbells or resistance bands that you should get for someone else depends on their level of fitness. Here is a great article on how much dumbbells should weigh for various fitness levels: SparkPeople: How Much Weight Should I Lift? It may be difficult to tell, but I would say definitely no more than 5lb dumbbells for a beginner. Even if they’re not there yet, they can certainly use them when they work their way up!

3. Coffee mug with healthy living quote: There are so many places selling coffee mugs with cute sayings or pictures on them that will inspire your friend/loved one to workout and continue with their healthy living goals. So if they like drinking a hot beverage such as coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, then this could be an awesome gift idea for them and also very meaningful!

4. Gym membership: Gym memberships can be a big commitment that an individual doesn’t want to make but when someone else is helping and motivating them simply by initiating the membership, it might just be what they needed. For better success, choosing one near where they live and one they can afford the monthly cost would be a great idea!

5. Running or sports goods store gift card: A gift card to their local running store or sports goods store will allow them the freedom to choose a custom gift for themselves, one they really want or need for their journey.

6. Workout clothes: Workout clothes are almost always needed, or at the very least can be used in the future if they’re not needed right away. Quality workout clothes with drymore or wicking away moisture capabilities are best. Be sure to include a gift receipt in case the size isn’t right, so they can exchange it for one that fits!

7. Cookbook: A book full of healthy but also tasty recipes that they can try can be a huge asset for someone trying to lose weight and live healthier. It gives them more ideas and choices, as well as some good things to try. Cookbooks with simple recipes might be best for someone who doesn’t like to cook or prefers those simple recipes over others that are more complicated, but someone who loves to cook might want more complex recipes. Weight Watchers and Biggest Loser have great cookbooks with healthy recipes inside!

8. Mini trampoline: Trampolines are a fun way to get exercise in and make an excellent gift! They also have a great bonus of reminding the person jumping on them of what it was like to be a kid!

9. iTunes gift card: A person can never have enough workout music! An iTunes gift card would allow them to download specific music that they can listen to while they workout, music that helps them feel motivated and inspired to exercise. The gift of music is never wasted! Check out options here: iTunes gift cards.

10. Gym bag: A gym bag such as a small duffel bag or a backpack, can be mighty useful if they exercise outside of the house. It allows them to carry what they need simply and easily with them, like water bottles, towels, gym clothes or after workout clothes, workout shoes, power snacks, etc.

11. Bike maintenance gift certificate/card: For the bike rider in your life, get them a gift certificate or gift card to a bike repair shop. Bikes need maintenance from time to time and it can get expensive. Gifting them with something that they can put towards that would likely be very appreciated.

12. Exercise ball: Exercise balls are simple but useful things. They can be used for core work to strengthen one’s abdominal muscles and can be used as a chair to strengthen one’s back and abs as well. They are multifaceted.

13. Roller blades: These would make a fun choice as a gift since they provide an entertaining and enjoyable way to get exercise in. They will even help the user to gain balance, endurance, and strength!

14. Pedal cycle: The compact exercise pieces that are great for those who need low impact exercise options or simply who can’t stand for long periods of time to get activity in yet. Some choices include: Gold’s Gym upper and lower body cycles and Stamina InStride cycles. They can be used with the lower and upper body to gain strength and cardio health.

15. Reflective gear: Do you know anyone who runs, walks, or rides their bike in the dark? Reflective gear is very important in those cases to keep them seen by drivers and as safe as possible. There are many different options for reflective gear as well: tape, paint, jackets and other clothing, hats and gloves, shoelaces, and much more!

16. Fitness or accomplishment related jewelry: There are race distance necklaces and bracelets for that person who does races. There are also run shoelace tags, charm bracelets that they can add charms to that represent their personal journey, and inspirational quotes or words on necklaces and bracelets. All are good choices and help symbolize all their hard work! Here are a just a couple options: run shoe tag “Keep running” and “She believed she could so she did” necklace.

17. A hat or sunglasses: Those who exercise outdoors could certainly use a hat or sunglasses to protect them from the sun and help them stay focused on their exercise sessions without getting blinded!

18. Workout DVDs: Workout videos can be insanely useful for those who exercise at home. There is always a need for variety because for someone who works out at home, things can get boring or stale very easily. So having many to choose from and change things up from time to time is useful.

19. Phone armband: This is handy for taking their phone with them while they exercise and being able to listen to music easily while they workout. It frees up their hands and they don’t have to worry about the phone dropping from out of their pocket.

20. Bluetooth earbuds: Earbuds that connect to their phone without cords are so very helpful for listening to music without the cord getting tangled up in their hands or arms while they are exercising!

21. Nordic walking poles: These poles are used while someone is walking to add intensity and muscle work to their exercise. They may also add a level of stability that isn’t there without them! Here are some: Nordic Walking Poles.

22. Edible Arrangements bouquet: An Edible Arrangements bouquet is a beautiful, pleasing, and healthy gift for someone focusing on their health. Not only does it look pretty and make them feel special to receive, but it is also meant to be eaten and is like a treat! Here’s their website: Edible Arrangements Bouquets.

23. Running medal display: For that race lover in your life to display all their medals in one place, to showcase in pride and style! These come in a bunch of different styles and arrangements as well. Trust me, nearly everyone who loves doing races would enjoy a place to hang their medals for all to see! Here’s a cute one with a place to write their personal records for each race distance as well: PR race bib and medal holder.

24. Top with workout inspiration: There are so many different choices of tank tops and tee shirts with workout inspiration on them. Some have a quote or saying on them that inspires the feeling to just get out there and do it, and some have pictures or funny sayings on them. There are also shirts that have special designs when they get wet with sweat, which can be awesome!

25. Punching bag: A punching bag is a great gift because it allows them to get exercise in and also workout any tension or stress they may have, win win! There are standalone ones as well as ones that can be hung.


If you’re focused on losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, what are some gifts that you would like to receive that would help you reach your goals?



Inspire the Best You 5K Run/Walk

Let’s face it, races are expensive. They are fun experiences though and exciting!

I’ve set up a virtual 5K race on Facebook: Inspire the Best You 5K Run/Walk for anyone, anywhere to do on Saturday, January 28th! It’s completely free and anyone who wants to take part can participate. You do it whenever that works best for you and wherever you choose! You can even share your training plan and progress on the Facebook page and let us know how you’re doing along the way.


For me personally, I was having a hard time finding a race near me that would help me train for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon that I’m signed up for, coming up in May 2017. The ones I did find that seemed interesting cost anywhere from $30-50. That’s expensive, especially when money is tight. The whole process had proven difficult for me so I decided to create my own virtual 5K race and invite you all to join me! Feel free to share with your friends or simply invite them to “race” with you!