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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Running the RunDisney Kids Races at Disney World

RunDisney Kids Races are a great way for young runners to experience a "real race" just like Mom & Dad.  Each RunDisney race weekend has at least 1 day of kids races with events  for kids ranging from age 0-8.

I have been a race announcer with RunDisney for 12 years, but it's just been in the last 4 months that I've been able to really enjoy the kids races with my own little one.  At the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend, CBear did her 2nd diaper dash.  It was the first dash where she was mobile and she really put on a show for the crowd!
 Here is the typical breakdown of distances and ages for the Kids Races:

  • Less than 1 year old - Diaper Dash
  • 1-3 year olds - 100m
  • 4-6 year olds - 200m
  • 7-8 year olds - 400m
  • One Mile Run - Open to ages up to 13 (currently only at Disney World events)
If you sign your child up you will need to pick up their packet at the expo before the race.  Make sure the parent brings a form of identification.  Kids receive a medal, shirt, personalized bib, and refreshments just like Mom and Dad.  These races do usually sell out too, so make sure you register in time.  If you're expecting and hoping to get your baby into a Diaper Dash here's some advice:  You may be registering them before they're born and thus you don't actually have a valid birthday for them.  You can make up a date, but you'll need to remember it since you'll use that date to print their waiver.  I had to do that when signing CBear up for her first kids race but not this one.
The race start times are in the program book and the Diaper Dash started at noon.  Since babies are unpredictable we planned to have CBear and the Bear Squad there right at noon. If you kid is a bit older I would recommend getting there earlier.  At DisneyWorld we start a dance warm up at 1030am and then the 100m at 11am, 200m at 1120am, and the 400m at 1140am.  

A BIG thank you to my Mom (Mojo) who drove Bear to the race.  Daddy works on Saturday mornings so my mom went to our house, babysat, then successfully navigated car seat loading and ESPN Wide World of Sports parking to get Bear there on time.  Go Mojo!
Since I was still announcing the kids races we had CBear go in the final diaper dash wave.  She had been "army crawling" at home so we were cautiously optimistic that she would perform on race day.  We set down the microphone and the always popular iPhone and waited....
After a brief pre-race interview she was off!
Those mats make a long distance for an 8 month old.  We kept moving the "bait" and she kept crawling.  It was a very proud Mamma moment and so much fun to hear the crowd cheer each time she would re-start her crawl. Yes, she won her heat too! 
If you are considering signing your little one up for a Diaper Dash, I can say that it's much more exciting if they are a bit older and could really crawl or walk.  That being said babies are cute...so if they run, crawl, lay still, sleep, or cry it's still going to be an awesome event.  Don't forget to bring your own toys or phones to help "motivate" your baby to crawl.  I have seen phones, keys, edible puffs, and even a remote control used to coerce the baby to crawl.  My other advice is to make sure your Marathon photo photographer at the end of the mat gets a photo of their bib before you start.  That way you can find your photos after the race.
Thank you to Bear's Squad who came out to cheer her on.  Shout out to Team Sparkle as well for making her custom Baby Sparkle skirt.  It was such a special event and even though she won't remember it, we always will!
Has your little one ever done a Diaper Dash or kids race?

Love and Team Sparkle,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Day in the Life - 8 months old

It's been almost 9 months since little Bear arrived and rocked our world.  Those of you who are parents know that life is never the same once a little one arrives.  We have had changes, challenges, and wonderful moments.  As a "work from home" Mom I get the privilege to be there for lots of Bear's moments, but it also means quite the juggling act to stay on top of everything.  My friend Lindsay has done a series of "Day in the Life" posts that I really enjoy, so I thought I'd do the same.
The day I chose to document was not typical, but what day with a baby is? Currently we are working through some sleep timing issues and she's been "overtired" and fighting sleep.  If you follow the WonderWeeks then you'll know what I'm talking about when I say that she's in a "leap".  It's a predictable pattern when young ones make major leaps in their physical and mental development.  For us it causes disturbances in sleep.  Usually it's just naps, but her nighttime sleep has been shortened too.

Here's how our day went:

620am - Baby wakes up and Mommy wakes up.  In the past she was waking between 730am - 8pm, but it's been getting progressively earlier.  I try to get a bottle ready ASAP and see if she'll go back to sleep. No such luck.  We change our diaper (hers not mine) and head out to start our day.

710am - Bear watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I pump milk, feed the cats and clean up the kitchen.  I also drink a green juice and make my morning coffee.  I stand right by the sink near the living room.  Every 3 minutes or so she turns around to smile at me and make sure I'm still close by.

735am - Tummy time in the living room.  I DVR the Today Show and Bear rolls around and plays while I catch up on the Presidential Primary news. I also drink my coffee carefully and eat Quaker oatmeal with dried cranberries and almonds.
820am - She's acting fussy and tired.  I did some research this morning on why she was waking up progressively earlier and it leans towards overtired. Instead of keeping her up the usual 3 hours I try to feed her and put her to sleep when I see the first signs of tiredness - rubbing eyes, putting her head down when she's playing.  She takes 3 oz of her bottle and I try to rock her.  She pulls my hair.  Not tired yet mom.

825 - 850am - We play quietly in her room until she tires out then I put her down for nap 1.

850 - 1130am - nap.  This is the longest nap she's possibly EVER had.  Since this day is President's Day and I caught up on work last night I go take a nap.  I may announce races but I am NOT a morning person.  My nap ends at 10am and I grab a banana and go into my office to answer emails and work on client deliverables.
1145am - Bear's wakes up and eats.

Noon - 1pm - Daddy arrives home for a quick lunch break.  Thanks to the holiday Kyle gets to come home and even though it's only an hour it's a wonderful thing!  Bear is so excited to see her Daddy and I'm grateful for the help during feeding time.  Bear eats a lunch of oatmeal and mashed banana. Kyle and I eat Greek meatballs I made the night before with a side of roasted potatoes.

115pm - 2pm - We had a visitor today!  My friend and Kyle's cousin's fiancĂ©, Kayla, stopped by to bring a sweet box of goodies to ask Bear to be a flower girl in wedding.  We said YES and are so looking forward to the big day!
2pm - Bear starts to fuss so we head into the bedroom for nap #2. She drinks 2 oz but won't settle for her nap.  I lay her in her crib awake and she rolls for about 10 minutes before falling asleep.

230 - 415pm - Nap.  I head into my office and try to knock out as much work as possible knowing this will be my last nap during normal "office" hours.  I eat a KIND bar. I also head into the kitchen when I'm done to do some prep for dinner which included chopping salmon and asparagus to be cooked later.  Since she's still asleep I order photos from a Valentine's photo shoot we did.  Look at this girl!
430pm - Bear drinks about 6 oz and we head out to play while sitting up.  Tummy time too soon after eating = spit up time!

5pm - It's overcast and cool outside so my plan to go for a stroller run works out.  I try to be flexible in my workout schedule, but on this day it goes according to plan.  I run for 20 minutes while Bear looks at the cars and plays with flutter bug.
530pm - 645pm - I call this the marathon time.  When I have to cook dinner for the adults, feed her, and get her ready for bed it feels like a marathon.  I try to put her in the Ergo to get some kitchen prep done and then sit her in her jumper so I can cook.  Little miss is less than happy in the jumper so I give that up and focus on getting her dinner ready.  Her dinner includes whole organic yogurt mixed with avocado, prunes, and fresh pears I made at home.  We do a mix of jarred organic purees and homemade foods right now.  Sometimes she eats wonderfully (better with Daddy) and sometime she doesn't.  When time is tight it doesn't make sense to me to spend extra time making fresh food that I throw out and get more frustrated.  Clearly I'm not the only one frustrated by dinner this evening...
Eventually I let her play with some ice cubes and get a good bit of the prunes and some yogurt in.  The prunes were my goal since she was having some tummy trouble earlier in the day. My dinner was a spinach salmon salad with cucumber, avocado, and asparagus.  Kyle hates fish so when he gets home he'll have eggs with veggie sausage, asparagus, and fresh raspberries.
7pm - She's dressed in her pjs (why are baby's so cute in pjs and why do they hate diaper changes?) and has her last bottle of the night.  She's getting a mix of formula and breast milk currently as my supply won't meet her needs anymore.
710pm - asleep.

720pm  - NOT asleep.  I got back in and rock her asleep.

730pm - And we're awake again.....Daddy gets home and goes in to see her.  He tries to get her back to sleep and I pump.

8pm - Bear is still up so we play in her room and then watch some of the Grammy's as a family.

845pm - Daddy goes to give her a little more formula and try to get her to sleep.  Finally at 9pm she's out and I shower.

930pm - 10pm - Watch the Grammy's in bed.  Wait for Adele.  Wonder why Adele wasn't "Adele".

1015pm - bed time.

The day I documented was Monday, February 15, 2016 and every day is truly different.  We're working hard to get her bedtime earlier so she can get more restful sleep.  Check with me in 10 days when her "leap" is over.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  I'll try to keep up every few months and let you know what our new normal is.

What's your usual wake up time?
Do you watch awards shows or the Grammy's?

Love and baby President's,
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Spicy Buffalo Pork Enchiladas

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post by The National Pork Board.  As always all opinions, thoughts, and content below is 100% mine.

Traditions are great. So are routines and habit. They’re comfortable and consistent, but every once and a while we need to shake things up! Today I’m challenging you to break from tradition and start a new habit of including more lean pork in your dinnertime rotation. I teamed up with the National Pork Board to create 3 new recipes to combine current food trends with lean cuts of pork for an all-around delicious and good-for-you dinner.

There are actually 7 cuts of pork that meet the USDA guidelines for “lean” or “extra lean” – and the pork tenderloin used here is just as lean as a skinless chicken breast.

These Spicy Buffalo Pork Enchiladas feature tender pork tenderloin, whole-wheat tortillas, spicy buffalo sauce and “hidden” veggies for extra nutrients. Another bonus is that you can cook the pork tenderloin in the crock-pot, which is a huge time saver on busy weeknights.
Photo courtesy of the National Pork Board

You can also make extra of the recipe, as it’s perfect for freezing and reheating later.

Instead of the traditional red enchilada sauce alone I added buffalo sauce and Gorgonzola cheese. It’s the perfect punch of flavor inspired by 2 current food trends – spicy foods and global cuisine. Keeping some red enchilada sauce included allows the flavor to lean toward “buffalo” without being too hot. These enchiladas would have been perfect for Super Bowl 50, but they’re great for any gathering and hey – the NFL draft is only about 10 weeks away! Plus for you hoops fans March Madness is coming up too!

You can find this recipe I created and other dishes on the Pork Be Inspired website.

Spicy Buffalo Pork Enchiladas:
Ingredients:
·      1 pound pork tenderloin
·      8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
·      ¾ cup red enchilada sauce
·      ¼  cup buffalo wing sauce
·      ½ cup diced green bell pepper
·      ½ cup diced celery
·      1 small white onion diced
·      1oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled or more to taste
·      2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
·      Non-stick cooking spray

Directions:
·      Using a slow cooker add the pork tenderloin and 1 ½ cup water.
·      Cook on low 6-8 hours until pork is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork.
·      Shred pork and add to a large bowl.
·      Preheat oven to 375.
·      In a skillet on medium heat add non-stick cooking spray, onion, celery, and pepper.  Cook until tender about 4 minutes. 
·      Add cooked vegetables to bowl with shredded pork. Stir to combine.
·      Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. 
·      Fill a tortilla with 2-3 heaping spoons of the pork-vegetable mixture.  Roll up and set seam side down in the baking dish.  Continue until all 8 tortillas are filled.
·      Combine red enchilada sauce and buffalo sauce.  Drizzle on top of enchiladas.
·      Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.
·      Top with crumbled Gorgonzola and cilantro before serving.

What’s the last global meal you ate?

Love and spicy lean,

Carissa

Monday, February 8, 2016

Celebration Half Marathon 2016

The Celebration Marathon & Half Marathon is a small race with big perks and a flat course.  It's ideal for runners looking to Boston Qualify or anyone who wants a friendly, fast race.  The race shirt is Raw Threads and we got finishers jackets, towels, and a headband! I kinda don't want to tell you how awesome the race is, because it's small and I don't want it to fill up faster :)  Don't worry - I already have a calendar alert for 2017 registration!

I ran the Celebration Marathon in 2014 and laced up my shoes for the first time as a "Mother Runner" for the 2016 half marathon.
Going into the race my training was less than ideal.  ZERO speed work and my longest run was 8 miles.  Hi - owning 2 businesses + baby = no time to run! But I made time when I could and did "just" enough to know that I could safely finish.
With Amy the overall women's winner!
I arrived at Celebration around 5:30am and easily found close parking.  I picked up my packet and headed to the Celebration Hotel to use some "real" bathrooms and meet up with my running group. Besides proving to myself that I could do a half, I really wanted to do this race to see my running friends.  I MISS them and it was a great reunion.  Kudos to Rick who finally got his sub-4 marathon! 
#RunWithTeamEd
After catching up with more running friends (Hi Kate & Merle), the race started right on time at 7am and I settled in near the 10-minute mile pace group.  My race goal was to finish happy, but I secretly hoped to be under 2:10. I kept telling myself to start slow, not go out too fast, and stick to my intervals.  It's so easy to get carried away in a race and think "oh I can run fast and hold on - I've done it before". No sister...go slow.  Finish.  Don't sit on the curb and cry at mile 10.

I ran the first 1.5 miles and then kicked into my 3:30 run/30 seconds walk routine.  The I approached mile 2 and MY GARMIN BATTERY DIED.  Y'all it died!  I charged it all night and it went dead. Ok, so I can't tell my pace.  No biggie BUT now I couldn't time my walk breaks.  Panic set in.  I spent a good mile trying to figure out what to do.  I knew I need the walk breaks to make it safely to the finish, so I decided to turn on my iPod and walk at the end of every song.  Song ends.  Walk.  Count to 20.  Run.  So it was me, Britney Spears and the road.  At this point the 4:20/2:10 pacer was about 50 feet in front of me.  Instead of feeling bad about my race goal I just listened to the music and started having fun.  I was lip syncing, I was waving at random spectators, and I was LOVING it!  I went from feeling burdened by expectations to feeling so grateful that I could run.  Grateful that I had a wonderful family, a husband taking care of my baby, and the ability to try and run for 13.1 miles.  I had this special journey that I was able to take and I wanted to enjoy it.

It's funny to run without a Garmin.  I would literally forget what mile I was at.  I have NEVER done that.  I enjoyed the music and around mile 9 I started passing people.  According to my splits, I did run a negative split race (meaning my 2nd half was faster than my 1st half).  I was around a 9:54 pace at the 10k and 9:52 at the 5k.  Around mile 11 I passed the 2:10 pacer and felt like a rock star.  I finished in 2:08:56 with a  9:51 average pace.  I felt strong, I felt proud, and I met my goal!
Here are the things I did smart this race that I would recommend to anyone doing a race they weren't 100% trained for:

  • Start your walk breaks early and stick to them
  • Take race nutrition early and often (I had the equivalent of 3 GU's where I usually have 2)
  • Start slow and finish strong - you'll be happier than the other way around
I don't have another race on my calendar, but I hope to be back at Celebration in 2017 and I'd like to have a date with the Chicago Marathon in the next few years.  Besides that I want to up my stroller running game and enjoy running when I have the chance.
What's the next race on your calendar?

Love and bling,
Carissa & Kyle