Monday Miles : Week 1

Week after week while doing my long runs I have had one recurring thought. I really should blog about that. Many times the blog ideas disappear by the time I get home but this one hasn’t. It just keeps floating around. Now that i’m going from being half crazy to full crazy I am going for it. Once a week I will be posting an update about my training and any tips I learn along the way. This week it is late, the holiday threw me off but this is week one of Monday Miles.

Monday Miles: Week 1 | Country Girl Gourmet

My first Full Marathon will be January 10th at the Happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World. I have read repeatedly how the Walt Disney World Marathon is one of the best marathons out there and knowing how well run the Princess races are I took it as a sign to enter when registration was on my anniversary. Happy 16th anniversary, your going to run a full marathon! To be fair my husband signed up for his first marathon too, just not WDW.

We are at 17 weeks and a few days before the marathon now and with my foot being cleared to go, it is go time. During my time off from running I was still active. During the week I was out in my garage working out with my husband, 15 year old and sometimes lil miss joined us. I would also go with my husband on his long runs during the weekend. The only difference is that I would ride my bike (ok and walk some of the steep hills but each week that was less and less). Once my foot was cleared I started walking instead of running. I wanted to test out my foot plus I was going to be sweeping a half marathon in a few weeks. 10 miles is a slow start right? I was able to do the 10 miles within the half marathon’s time limits easily with no foot problems. The following week I did 13 with my husband. I was set to go.

Sunday morning came all to early and before I knew it myself and the 3:30 pacer for Fayettevilles Race 13.1 were walking down the All American Highway. Moving right along, chit chatting and all that fun stuff.


We stayed together until around mile 7 when I picked up someone from the 10k. I helped him until around mile 8, well a bit before. I have to give this guy mad props. He was out there after having both of his hips replaced! He just wanted to see if he could do it and he did! I stayed with him until his wife came up to finish with him and her urging me to go ahead, she had him. I went ahead and saw my husband who was working as a course monitor and sped up trying to catch back up. Right about mile 9, I did my first scope on Periscope and sent a video out on Instagram.

It took about a mile but I caught back up to the back of the pack. Where I stayed for the rest of the race. I carried the American Flag and kept making sure everyone was doing ok. Outside of aches and pains and being a bit tired the ladies were doing good. One of the complaints was an achy hip from a mom of a 6 month old. She didn’t want to stop to stretch so I had her do some lunges which helped some. I also suggested she invest in a pair of good compression shorts. I explained to her the compression will help with her core which often becomes weak when having kids as well as additional stability in the hip. There are many claims that compression does this, that and the other thing but the stability is the stand out for me.

We kept on going and I kept doing what I could to encourage the back of the pack ladies. When another said they didn’t think they could do it at mile 12 I told them to stop and that they could. I explained running is in your head first. If you say you can you will. We made it up the on ramp and down to the mall and with encouragement I slowed down so she could run it in and own her half marathon finish. She worked hard for it and finished running. I came in last, like I was suppose to. It was the first time i’ve come in dead last it was very weird. I was given water and handed my medal and then I wandered my way to the Team RWB tent as most of the vendors had broken down or were in the process of doing so.   My feet were killing me, I wore the wrong shoes and I am back on the quest to find a pair of shoes for the WDW Marathon. My feet are full of hot spots,blisters and i’m pretty sure I have new black toe nails.

I took Monday and Tuesday off. Well I tried to run Tuesday but my feet were not having it. My feet have not been this bad since 2012 when I did my first half marathon. I am going to try again today but we’ll see how it goes. It may be a cross training type of day.

Are you a runner? What has your training schedule looked like for the past week?

Adventures in Running: The Back of the Pack Runner

I have been running for several years now. Seven to be exact. In those seven years my pace has stayed about the same. Turtle speed. I have always been one of the back of the pack runners. Well except when I run a Disney or an Rock N Roll race. Those races I become a middle of the pack runner simply because of the thousands of people that run those races. It’s not due to the lack of trying to improve because I have. I build up but then I get an injury. An ACL injury, stress fracture in my foot to my latest one, a concussion and soft tissue damage after my car accident. I keep going though. My pace is comfy at a 12-13 minute mile, sometimes it is a bit faster but sometimes it is slower. My 8 year old daughter is a faster runner than I am but I am fine with that. After all, a mile is a mile, it is the same distance no matter your pace.

Adventures in Running: Back of the Pack

It has been a while since I did a race where I ended up in the back of the pack. I paced a recent half marathon, I was the sweeper pacing the 4 hour half marathon group and all of my back of the pack memories came rushing back.  When you are running it is easy to forget about those behind you unless you are the one in the back. I also wonder if race directors truly consider those that are slower. I understand that race directors pay for roads to be shut down and some course support and then there are all the volunteers and that is why many have course limits. That is understandable, completely. My issue is that everything offered on the course and afterwards should be the same for the first runner to the last runner, especially if that runner finishes within the course limits.

Simple things like moving barricades before the final runners have even finished crossing the street. Then there are the various aid tables. There should be plenty of water, gatorade, snacks and/or gels for every runner. I have watched in disbelief as water was being dumped as I was less than a tenth of a mile from the water stop. My first half marathon they ran out of gels and gatorade. Then there is the finish line where there is post race nutrition or more so lack of. It seems in that regard, many times faster runners just take what they want forgetting those behind them. Then again maybe race directors just don’t supply enough for everyone? When it comes to after marathon festivals, that final runner should be able to get food or have a beer, whatever is being offered, when they finish. Instead many times awards and entertainment have been done and over and those who had set up are either in the process of packing up to leave or have already done so. Heck, even race photos are lacking for the back of the pack. I have scoured over hundreds of photos from the race I just paced and there was not a single photo of the back of the pack of the half marathon. It wasn’t until we were nearly finished I was able to get the girls I was pacing to a photographer, yet based on the pictures I have seen there were many, many more photographers and news crews in various areas.  You would think you wouldn’t have to worry about those things especially with a set course limit but you do. After all you are putting down the same money for a race that all of those who finished ahead of you did. Why would your race be any different than theirs?

I am sure there are those out there who think I should stop the whining and just work on my pace and try to get faster, like I haven’t done that and continue to do that already. That anyone in the back of the pack should use these factors to push themselves to work harder so they don’t end up in the back. Despite the media highlighting a couple back of the pack runners runners that were helped to the finish line those back of the packers are largely ignored and forgotten about.

Those in the back of the pack are there for a multitude of reasons but they are giving it all that they have. Many of those in the back are taking great strides to change their health. They have had that wake up call that change needs to happen. They may be running in support of a great cause. They may be running for those that cannot. Others in the back are overcoming something or working to get back to where they once were. They could be coming back from a car accident, major surgery or an injury.  Maybe they just fought cancer and kicked it’s ass.  I will tell you first hand it can be harder than you think it will be. My first 5k after my car accident my leg went numb and I stopped running and walked. I didn’t want to stop, I wasn’t giving up.  A girl I paced was having issues with her back and her hope was just to be able to finish before her back began to spasm. Everybody has a story and their own reason why they run. The fact is they got up and off their couch and they are out there. That is all that matters. They may walk their half marathon but that is fine. They are still doing it. Don’t judge them for coming in last and don’t allow their race to be any different than those who finished way ahead of them. Give them the same race. They deserve it.

Disney Running Playlist


Just over a year ago I ran my first RunDisney Half Marathon, the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon and I became hooked on RunDisney races. They are absolutely the best races I have attended. They are very organized, they have awesome course support and the crowd support is really nothing like i’ve ever experienced. If I was a millionaire I would run all of their races but sadly I am not. I am lucky to get one RunDisney race in a year, well that is unless someone out there would like to support my habit. Any Takers? I’ll make you cupcakes!

Next month I will be running the Princess Half Marathon again and I have been busy training. I am at the point in my training where I am racking up more and more miles on my long runs.  While out on my last long run I thought to myself I really need more Disney music on my running playlist. So I have come up with a Disney Running Playlist. I am sure I am missing some songs but it is a pretty decent list if you want to add all or just pick a few of your favorites. I included songs from Frozen,of course because what is a Disney Race without hearing Let it Go now? I also included songs from other Disney movies to the Tiki Tiki Tiki Room song and the Main Street Electrical Parade Music.  The songs are perfect whether you just love Disney or you are training for an RunDisney Race Weekend. They help mentally prepare you for your upcoming races as well as just put you in a good mood. An extra plus to my list is that there are plenty songs on my list to keep going for your whole race.
Disney Running Playlist



Disney Running Playlist

  • Let it Go -Frozen
  • Love is an Open Door- Frozen
  • Fixer Upper- Frozen
  • For the First time in Forever- Frozen
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious- Mary Poppins
  • Step in Time – Mary Poppins
  • Spoonful of Sugar- Mary Poppins
  • Lets Go Fly a Kite- Mary Poppins
  • Go the Distance- Hercules
  • Life is a Highway- Cars
  • Something I Want (Grace Potter) -Tangled
  • I’ve got a dream- Tangled
  • Touch the sky -Brave
  • Dig a Little Deeper-Princess and the Frog
  • Almost There- Princess and the Frog
  • He’s a pirate- Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Yo Ho (A Pirates Life For Me) -Pirates of the Caribbean 
  • (Lana Del Rey)  Once Upon A Dream -Sleeping Beauty/Malificent
  • Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo- Cinderella
  • A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes- Cinderella
  • Whistle While You Work – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Hakuna Matata- The Lion King
  • I Just Can’t Wait To Be King- The Lion King
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight- The Lion King
  • The Glory Days- The Incredibles
  • He Mele No Lilo- Lilo and Stich
  • Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride- Lilo and Stich
  • Kiss the Girl- The Little Mermaid
  • Part of your World- The Little Mermaid
  • Under the Sea- The Little Mermaid
  • Be our Guest- Beauty and the Beast
  • Something There- Beauty and the Beast
  • Bare Necessities-The Jungle Book
  • Friend Like Me- Aladdin
  • A Whole New World- Aladdin
  • I’ll Make A Man Out Of You -Mulan
  • (Owl City) When Can I See You Again? -Wreck it Ralph
  • Sugar Rush- Wreck it Ralph
  • Tiki Tiki Tiki Room
  • Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah
  • It’s a Small World
  • The Main Street Electrical Parade
  • Once Upon a Dream (Lana Del Rey)- Maleficent
  • Try Everything (Shakira)- Zootopia
  • Just Like Fire (P!nk)- Alice Through the Looking Glass
  • How Far I’ll Go- Moana


So there it is, my Disney Running Playlist. What do you think? Did I miss a song? If so comment below and I will add it to the list.

Running with your Dog

Do you have a running partner? Let me tell you about mine. He is very handsome and a bit hairy. Oh yeah, he is my dog, well my husband’s dog, but really he is mine. Just don’t tell my husband that. I have been running or well, attempting to run with my dogs for a few years now. I say attempting because my Golden Retriever is a want to be runner. She see’s me get my running clothes on and she knows what that means. Momma is going for a run. Somedays she get’s me with those big brown puppy dog eyes but once we are out she reminds me why I rarely take her out anymore. She is 8 and barely does 2 miles. Once in a great while she will do 3 but it usually isn’t pretty.

Running with your Dog | Country Girl Gourmet

Unfortunately not all dogs are runners. Some breeds are said to be better than others. Check out THIS list from Runner’s World about various breeds. My Golden Retrievers are usually pretty obedient on the trail like the list suggests. My older dog just has never been good for distance. My dog of choice is our German Shepherd. He has trained for 2 half marathon’s with me and we are training for my 4th. He is a great running partner as well as security guard but it did not happen over night.

Here are some tips if you want to run with your dog:

1. Some people get their dog’s knowing that they want to run with them but there is something important to remember. Wait until your dog is old enough! Their bones are still developing. For most dogs that means waiting until your dog is a year old. Ask your veterinarian if you are unsure.

2. Slowly easy your dog into running. Just like you needed to train to work up to longer distance your dog needs to do the same.

3.Do not feed your dog right before you go to run. When a dog eats to close to when you go running there is a chance for bloat.

4.Vaccinate your pet and give it regular flea and heart worm treatment.

5. Training. Take the time and do some at least basic training with your dog. If your dog knows how to behave appropriately  on a leash it will result in you having a better run instead of having to stop and redirect every few minutes.

6. Use a Leash. This seems like common sense to myself but you would not believe how many people  we have come across that run with their dogs not on a leash. While you may have a normally well trained and behaved dog you do not know how it may act when it comes across another dog or person. The majority of the time the unleashed dogs we have come across do not listen to their owners. My dog is also trained and is protective of me and my family. This said he rarely barks at other people but after numerous encounters with unleashed dogs he barks at every dog we pass on a leash.  I am stuck now with deciding to try to correct the behavior and possibly undo his training or just letting him bark.  I am sure this is not something people think of when they let their dog run without a leash. My dog was doing what he was trained, to protect when an unknown animal ran at us. I don’t want to correct the barking and in the future I get bit because some other dog owner could not restrain their “well trained, sweet as can be” dog.  After our last incident with an unleashed dog and an owner not attempting to retrieve her dog after it did not listen to her. I have decided I will not try to restrain my dog anymore when he is only trying to protect me.

Running with your Dog | Country Girl Gourmet


Do not use leash types as an excuse. There are a variety of different collars, leashes and harnesses out there. There are some that you can even put around your waist. It may take trial and error but the perfect leash is out there for you and your dog.

7. Think of your dog’s paws. For people we put on our shoes and run but our pets do not wear shoes so consider the running surface. Especially if it is hot out your pup doesn’t need to be running on pavement. They get rid of some of their heat through their feet! Plus always check their paws/pads of their feet when you are done running for anything that could be irritating them.

8. Don’t let your dog overheat. Do your best to keep your dog cool. This could mean stopping for frequent breaks, carrying and giving your dog water. For instance I taught my dog to drink out of my fuel belt water bottle. Another good option is collapsible water dishes. Try to pick running routes with shade and especially in the summer work out in the morning or evening when it is cooler out.
It is a good idea to keep an eye on how your dog is panting. Panting is one of the ways dogs try to cool down. If your dog’s panting is a bit much try slowing down your pace or stopping and giving your dog a break. Overheating in dogs is a serious issue and can lead to head stroke and even death.

Running with your Dog | Country Girl Gourmet

9. Please be kind and clean up after your dog. Sometimes it is unavoidable, poop happens. Please clean up after your dog to the best of your ability. This includes when you are out on trials.Would you want to be running and step in a pile of dog poo? Plus as a dog owner I can say it is not nice to get the evil eye over somebody else’s dog’s poop!

10. Have fun because running with your dog is awesome! They make the perfect partners. They don’t care how fast or slow you are just that you are out there.

So what do you think? Are you going to try running with your dog?

Running with your Dog | Country Girl Gourmet



My Best Running Advice

Back in 2007 I started running, for fun, for fitness and overall good health. I had signed my oldest son up for a race on the Navy base we lived on and at the same time I signed myself up for my first 5k. That was the moment it all began. My son went on to win his race as well as being an Army child winning the Navy kid run. Myself, yeah I didn’t win but I finished and I wasn’t dead last so that was good for me. I went on to run in more of the free 5k’s that the Navy base held, PR’ing every single time. I read all sorts of advice that of course was the best running advice to see what I needed to do to improve my running.

My Best Running Advice | Country Girl Gourmet

There are so many things that I have learned over the years but there are a few pieces of advice that I can give to anyone who is  wanting to start running.

My Best Running Advice

1. Every person is different and what may work for one person may not work for you. You have to figure out what works best for you.

The moment I figured this gem out my world of running changed for the better.

Being a runner does not depend on what you look like. Runners come in all shapes and sizes.

Being a runner does not matter how fast or slow you go or even if you walk some of the time.
 If you walk it doesn’t make you any less of a runner. There are great programs out there that incorporate walking like couch to 5k or the Galloway program. Just remember everyone starts somewhere.

The clothes you wear do not make you a runner. You need clothes that fit YOU well, not clothes that someone else says are the best. It may take trial and error but you will figure it out. Something to look out for in clothes is if it is going to make you chafe. Anti-chafing sticks like Body Glide or simple petroleum jelly can help out if you do. Another factor is dressing for the weather. What you need to wear on a cold day may not be the same as the next person. Like I hate it when my ears are cold and depending on the temp I will wear a hat or a headband. At the same time though I have gone out when it was 25 degrees in a cold weather top and a hoodie and I was too warm. That is me though you may want more or less.

Same thing goes for shoes. While I highly suggest going to a running shoe store and getting properly fitted. Every person out there has a different foot and what works well for me may not for you. There is variation in the different shoes for your type as well. Find what feels good for you not because the shoe is a certain brand. I learned my lesson the hard way. I picked a popular stability shoe  and ended up with Plantar Fasciitis. Personally, I now wear minimals and they have helped me tons but again they are not for everyone.

Hydration is important in running but how you hydrate is up to you. Some people carry water and other hydration drinks and others don’t. Some only carry if they are going a certain distance. Some think it is ridiculous to wear a fuel belt in certain races but it doesn’t matter.  You have to do what is right for your needs. I use to always carried water while I ran, it was easy. I pushed my daughter in my BOB stroller and just brought a bottle even if I was only doing a couple miles. As she grew and I no longer pushed her in a stroller I tried out hand held water bottles but they annoyed me so I started running without water and did fine until one day. It was a nice cool day and I was going out for 10 miles but I severely cramped at 9 miles and was stuck sitting on the side of the road waiting for my husband to rescue me. I now have a fuel belt that I always wear on runs that are 4-5 miles and longer. I carry a bottle of water and a bottle of Nunn or Skratch Labs, sometimes I drink it sometimes I don’t.

When it comes to gels, chews, beans and things of that nature everyone has a favorite. Gel’s bother some people and they eat raisins, gummy candy like swedish fish and even pretzels. The point is to help replenish your bodies glycogen levels and calories burned during your run. There isn’t a one fits all solution though because timing and frequency to avoid bonking depend on the individual using them and how their body processes it.

My Best Running Advice | Country Girl Gourmet

 Some people run with music while others do not. Those who run with music all have different opinions about what the best music to listen to is. I know my favorite running music differs greatly from my husbands. Just as some run with both earbuds in and others just one.

Some use a heart rate monitor and others do not. Just as some use a Garmin or other GPS tracker. That in itself is a huge debate. Who has the best running app? Is it Nike+, Runkeeper, MapmyRun, Garmin. I know with the apps I had my favorites and had friends who had completely opposite opinions. Then there are those that use the different GPS watches.

With running it is very individualized to each person’s needs. There is no clear cut answer to what is best. What is best is what works for you.

2. Running is mostly in your head.

Yes, you read that right, Running is mostly in your head. It is a battle with your brain. Some days it will be easy while others it will be hard. On those hard days doing a mile will be difficult but you just have to tell yourself that you can do it and push yourself. Just remember it will be worth it. Don’t give up, you can do it, dig deep, you are a rock star!

3. Listen to your body

You need to listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you. If it is telling you to rest then rest. If you are in pain then take a break. If the pain doesn’t get better after a couple days see your doctor. It isn’t better to take a few days off instead of making a possible injury worse and needing to take a month or longer off. Again, I learned this the hard way.

My Best Running Advice  Country Girl Gourmet

As I prepare for my second half marathon this month this running advice I can safely say has been the best things to keep in mind when I run. Running isn’t all about form. It is about running your own run and enjoying it. Running is easily the cheapest therapy out there. It allows you to go out and be alone with your thoughts. It is about being grateful for the opportunity  and the ability to run when there are those who cannot. It’s about pushing boundaries and seeing what your body can do and being amazed with yourself. Running is simply a variety of so many different amazing things.

My Best Running Advice | Country Girl Gourmet

“I run because long after my footprints fade away, maybe I will have inspired a few to reject the easy path, hit the trails, put one foot in front of the other, and come to the same conclusion I did: I run because it always takes me where I want to go.” 
―Dean Karnazes