I'm sorry for being behind on posting. Part of my excuse is I haven't actually been running due to my knee injury. The good news is I am in PT for it and should be back to running in the next week or two. 

Now for the fun stuff! I have already contacted the winner of the SPIbelt and it is on it's way to her. Congratulations to Linda Holzer! I hope you enjoy your belt as much as I do mine. I can fit a ton of stuff in it when I go running and hiking. It easily fits my fuel, keys, ID, and phone. 

And once again thank you to SPIbelt for providing the prize. Living in Texas I love that SPIbelt is a Texas company and their products are made in the U.S.A.! I encourage everyone to check out their website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. 
http://www.spibelt.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SPIbelt?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/SPIBELT

 
 
I have some great news!! In addition to the prizes I am supplying I have several confirmed sponsors! 

*Road ID will be providing a egift card
http://www.roadid.com/Common/default.aspx
I don't have my Road ID yet, but it is in the mail. I am so excited about this one. Too many people go out for a quick run with no identification. I have been guilty of this too many times. We all hope nothing will ever happen to us but in the event it does I want my family to be contacted ASAP!

Balega is sending socks. 
http://www.balega.com/
I have a pair of these and I love them. They are so soft and cushy! I'm not gonna lie, it is going to be hard not to keep them for myself

Honey Stinger is sending some Vanilla Organic Energy Gels.
http://www.honeystinger.com/
I have mentioned before that Honey Stinger waffles are my favorite race fuel. I keep a large box on hand at all time and I cant wait to check out their new gels.

And one I am very excited about, a piece of jewelry from Vetro Jewelry!
https://www.facebook.com/vetrojewelry
These pieces are truly beautiful! The piece for our giveaway is a surprise for now but I can guarantee it will be the icing on the cake of our prize pack. If you cant wait go check out their page to see all their great designs  They even do custom pieces including incorporating your favorite race bib into jewelry!

I will also be adding an item or two from Give Kids the World.
http://givekidstheworld.org/http://www.givekidstheworldstore.org/?Click=2174

So a big, huge thank you to my sponsors! This really could not happen without and your awesome products!
 
 
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Stride Box is another subscription box. The cost is $15 a month. For my first month, I got ordered a little late and was not guaranteed the full box. For $5 they put you on the wait list. If there are extra boxes you get the full months box for just $5. If they are out of boxes they send you a mini box. Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to get the full box. The mini box was pretty good and worth $5. Everything shown in the photo plus a Nuun Tablet was in the box. I had been wanting to try Nuun so I was thrilled there was one in the box. It was good and I do prefer it over sports drinks. I'll be ordering some soon. 
I'll be trying the Picky bar soon! I know, these reviews are not that helpful since I haven't tried everything, but there is a lot of stuff in all these boxes! 
There were also the two stickers, a coupon for Barnana's bars and a coupon for Energy Bits. I think the full box had samples of both the Energy Bits and Barnana's. My first full box should be coming soon and I am looking forward to another review! 

 
 
Today I realized that I have neglected to review or show off all the fun things I have been ordering with my gift card!! I'll start off with one of the first things I ordered, The RunnerBox. http://therunnerbox.com/ RunnerBox has a few different options. They have a bi-monthly sbuscription for $20 a box, monthly for $10 a box, a Tri box at $20 bi-monthly or a one time box. I went with the one time box for $20 plus shipping. Shipping bumped it up to almost $26.  
As you can see the RunnerBox comes packed nicely. It comes packed in a separate box however, which is not needed.
Included were
Gloves
Simbi hairband/bracelet
Two pouches Cytomax powder Sports Performance Drink (Cool Citrus and Pomegranate Berry)
Clif Shot Blocks
Lemon Honey Stinger Waffle
Mint Chocolate Gu
Honey Stinger Pomegranate Passion chews
#9 Chocolate Agave energy gel
Extreme Sports Beans
Be Active Herb Tea
The Athletic Wipe by Shower Pill
Endurox R4 recovery drink (Tangy Orange)
Bonk Bar

As you can see, a lot of stuff. I have not had a chance to try most of it. 


The first things you really see is the gloves. The are way too big for me, pretty sure they are men's gloves, and scratchy. Honestly, I don't even know where they are right now. The yellow hairband by Simbi I love and am wearing right now.  http://simbihaiti.com/ From their website Each hair-bracelet sold keeps Haitians employed and helps raise money to install water filtration systems throughout the country, saving lives."
I just really like it.


I am a huge fan of Honey Stinger Waffles, they are my race fuel of choice. I did not enjoy the lemon at all. It tasted like lemon furniture polish. I'll stick to the orginal from now on.



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The Bonk Breaker was interesting. Mine was Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. It reminded me of a Power Bar, but not as dense. It is gluten and dairy free so it is a good option those with dietary needs. It is not something I will probably try again. 

Unfortunately, that is all I tried out of the box so far. I have been saving the Extreme Sports Beans for my next race. I have been out of training long distance with my knee so I have been saving a lot of the stuff for when I get back to longer distances. I wont be subscribing to The RunnerBox, however. While there is a great deal of stuff in it to try and it is a good deal, I already know what works for me. I am not a fan of the gels and chews. A box full of them every month or every other month would go unused. 

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The rest of the RunnerBox contents. 


 
 
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The beginning of last month I got an email from Active.com saying I was the grand prize winner of their Get Tone, Stay Active sweepstakes! This was one of those contests that you just entered your information for and forgot about. I had entered way back in November and didn't give it a second thought. The email said I won a LG Tone+ headset and $1000 worth of personal training. After checking it out and doing my best to verify that it was legit I emailed them back with my mailing address and a copy of my photo ID. Last week I finally received my package from FedEx. 
In it was my headset and a Visa gift card for $1000! I'll talk about the headset first. The LG Tone+ HBS-730 headset is retailed at $79.99 but is available right now at Amazon.com and other retailers for $54.99. I usually don't run or workout with music because the headset cords bother me and get in the way and I am too cheap to buy my own Bluetooth headset. So I was pretty excited to win this one. It was very easy to sync to my phone and I have used it a few times so far. I really love it. The only minor thing I don't like is when running the set moves around my neck. Putting it under my shirt remedied that. Unfortunately, because I never really listen to music on it, there is none on my phone! I am using Pandora for now and will be making myself a workout playlist very soon. I also need to get used to using ear buds. There were three size ear bud covers included which was nice since I need the smallest ones! I tested it out on a phone call and it worked great. I also love that I will be able to have my interval timer in my ear. Intervals can be a pain at races when it seems like half the runners have some sort of device going off. At my last race I didn't even turn the timer on just because there were so many people on the course. 
As for the gift card, I am going to use it mainly for fitness related expenses. So far I have bought myself a new pair of jeans (in a smaller size ;) ) and I ordered a RunnerBox. http://therunnerbox.com/ I received my RunnerBox today and will talk about all the neat stuff that came in it soon. As of now I don't have any other running or fitness related items I want or need so I am saving the rest of it for race registrations. 

 
 
The idea to run a virtual race has been with me for a few months. The idea behind a virtual race is people all over the country, the world really, can sign up and run the race distance on their own at the time and place of their choosing. The benefit to this is there are not a lot of extra costs to the race director, meaning more money goes to the cause supported. Instead of race shirts there is usually a medal that gets sent to all participants. Since there is no timing the results are not official and there are no prizes for top finishers. In my Princess Half Marathon group a joke got started about dinosaurs. Someone threw out the idea for us to do a dino themed virtual 5K and we ran with it. I happened to have a lot of ideas and the time to research it so I took over. With a little bit of searching I found out that National Dinosaur Day is May 15, so that is now the official day of the race. But of course due to the nature of it, it can be run on any day. One of the women in the group asked that a family friend be considered the beneficiary and I agreed. Max Simmons is an 8 year old who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. He has a dream to see the Eiffel Tower and we would like to see that dream come true. All info on the first ever Dino Day Virtual 5K can be found at our event website by clicking here
*note-I have a medal design being worked on by the company producing them. I will post the proof when I get it.
 
 
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Disney's Princess Half Marathon. 13.1 miles through "The Place Where Dreams Come True". Walt Disney World. 
PHM would not be my first race or even my first half marathon. But a RunDisney event was my goal. It was on of the motivators to get me started running again. I found out about RunDisney races and I knew I needed to do one. 
Let me back up. As a kid and young adult I was not active. I was always overweight and didn't know a thing about sports. In 2006 at 24 I decided to join the U.S. Air Force to get some direction and earn the education benefits  That meant crash dieting for a few months to make the weight requirements and getting in good enough shape to pass the physical fitness test. I started running. And I hated it. I hated it the entire time I was enlisted. It was hard. My feet and legs were always causing me problems and I could not have been happier when I got put on a waver to excuse me from running the last year or so I was in. When I got out in 2011 I figured I would never exercise again, much less run. 
Then, one day, I decided I wanted to run. I saw friends posting on Facebook about the 5Ks they were running. It looked they were actually having fun. So I talked my husband into doing a 5K with me and I started Couch to 5K a few days later. 
Our first 5K was in June 2012. By this time I knew about Run Disney and wanted to run one. I signed up for an 8K, joined a gym and had plans to keep eventually train for a half marathon. Then I had a spasm in my shoulder. Looking back I really used it as an excuse to quit. What should have been a week or so of rest was about two months of me doing nothing.  Thankfully, one day I snapped out of it. My husband had to go out of town one weekend in September so I decided to run a 5K. I signed up for a local half marathon talking place January 2013 and haven't stopped since. We are Disney Vacation Club members and we were out of points until after the Princess so I was planing on a trip to run the Wine and Dine half this year or next. A few weeks later I realized I had just enough extra money and airline miles to make it to Disney's Princess Half marathon. It would have to be a very short trip for me, only four nights and alone, but I could make it happen. 

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And I did. On February 24, 2013 I completed 13.1 miles, running from Epcot to Magic Kingdom Park and back. I woke up at 2am to get ready and be on the first bus to the race. I had purchased entry to the "Race Retreat" and would have breakfast there. The Race Retreat tent was a special area runners could purchase entry to for an additional $99. It included food and drinks, a stretching area, tables and chairs, photos with characters, private bag check area and a changing area. I had a bagel, banana, peanut butter, water and Powerade before the race. They also had soda and coffee, I don't remember if they had other food before the race. After the race they offered scrambled eggs, bacon, hash-browns, muffins and the same drinks. The also had a bar with mimosas and sangria and one drink was included with entry. Around 5 am they started to make announcements for the early corals to line up. The corals are about a 20 minute walk from the pre-race area. There were 8 corals total, A-G, and I was in D. I headed over to the start area with a few of the women I had met through a Facebook group but we were all in different corrals. I quickly found a few ladies from our group in my coral though. At 5:35 the race started. They start each coral with the Fairy Godmother and fireworks. All were beautiful but none were are good as the ones for my coral. Just before 6 it was my turn to run. 

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I ran down the highway in the dark with 25,000 of my new best friends all the way to Magic Kingdom and through the toll booths welcoming guests to the park. I ran down Main Street U.S.A.. Through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland and through Cinderella's castle. Then out of the park through Liberty Square and Frontierland. Back down the highway towards Epcot. With the Walt Disney World Monorail passing us by blaring its horn. Passing cars were honking, too, their occupants rolling down their windows to cheer us on. As we got closer to Epcot runners who had all ready finished who were driving away from the finish line slowed down to cheer and show us their medals. The same medals we would be earning in just a few more long miles. Then I saw Spaceship Earth in the distance and I knew I was going to finish. I knew I could do it, I had trained for this and I had completed a half marathon just over a month before. However, I did feel hadn't trained quite enough the few weeks leading up to the race and it was hotter and much more humid than it had been at home in Texas. Plus the two and a half days spent walking the parks was no way to treat my legs just before a long run. 


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But at that point I was in the Epcot parking lot and I only had 1.1 miles to go. I completed the race using the run/walk/run method and at that point I just wanted to run and get to it over with but a mile is a long way when you just completed 12. I keep my pace and made my way through the massive crowd. I couldn't resist stopping for a photo with the Fairy Godmother though!  I love Epcot so I really tried to soak it all in while running through Future World. The course had us run in to the park from a backstage entrance near the Seas Pavilion. We ran up the right side of Spaceship Earth, past the Fountain of Nations and to the edge of World Showcase where we turned around and headed back to the front of the park to exit out anther backstage area. 


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There the gospel choir was singing and then just out side the gates I saw the mile 13 marker. Just .1 left and then it was over. Months of planing and training had paid off. This race was a true dream come true. Just after you pass the finish line they hand you your medal, then water and Poweraid. There are medical tents and ice stations for those who need it. Later that day I was regretting not icing my knee but I wasn't thinking about it at the time. As you leave the finish area you are handed a box of post race food and there are bananas to take. I headed straight to the Race Retreat for my hot breakfast and mimosa! As I entered I was handed a pair of commemorative flip flops and a small towel with the PHM logo on it. I had packed my own flip flops in my checked bag but this meant I didn't have to dig mine out. At that point I collected my things and headed back to my resort. Time for a well deserved shower and get read to enjoy my last day in the parks. Wearing my new medal to show off of course. 

 

    Author

    My name is Amanda, I am a runner and a full time student. I started this blog to share my experiences training for and running races as well as coordinating virtual races. I hope to use my blog and races to inspire others to get out there and run. In March 2013 I started my first "virtual" 5K and plan to host many more in the coming months. I want this to be a fun, safe place to share and inspire. The name of my blog was inspired by the fact that even when I am out running alone, I know I am not on my own. I have my online running buddies, husband, family and friends with me at all times. 

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