Category: Inspiration

Farewell Peggy Sue

This morning I learned of the passing of a legend in the runDinsey community, Peggy Sue.  This is a huge loss not only to our community, but to me personally as she has touched me in so many ways over the years even though she probably had no idea.

Photo Credit: Tony Conticello

Photo Credit: Tony Conticello

If you have run a race in Walt Disney World or Disneyland, chances are you have seen Peggy Sue and you have smiled.  She was always near the end of a race course holding her famous sign: “Hello Complete Stranger, I’m Proud Of You Too!”

My first memory of Peggy Sue was during my first half marathon, the 2012 Princess Half Marathon.  I recall seeing her near the bus stops as you head into Epcot for the final mile of the race.  I was so emotional about finishing my first half marathon and to think that this person had come out to cheer ME on was mind blowing…I will never forget her there.

I continued to see her at every Disney race.  In front of the Yacht Club for the Wine & Dine Half and the WDW Marathon and in Downtown Disney for the Disneyland Half.  I didn’t know who she was, but I was always thrilled to see her and would stop to thank her for her support.

It wasn’t until after a year or so of running that I found her through the Pacebook Running Club (PbRC).  I was thrilled to learn her name and I quickly friended her on Facebook.  She was a HUGE part of the PbRC and always attended their meet ups on race weekends.

Photo Credit: Nahed Jawhari

Photo Credit: Nahed Jawhari

The last time I saw Peggy Sue was during the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  I had known she was ill and I wasn’t sure if I would see her.  Plus is was pouring rain and chilly for that race.  When I saw her and her signature sign in front of the Yacht Club I was elated.  I ran over, gave her a big hug, asked how she was feeling, and thanked her for coming out on that incredibly crappy night.  I didn’t know it would be the last time I would see her, but I’m so thankful for that moment.

This incredibly kind and selfless woman will surely be missed both on and off the race course.  She meant so much to so many and touched thousands of lives.  Her spirit will surely live on in all of us and she will never be forgotten.  Thank you Peggy Sue!

Photo Credit: Tiffany Johnson

Photo Credit: Tiffany Johnson & David Jones

Please take 5 minutes to view this wonderful tribute:

RAD Signature 100x75

For All The Slow Pokes Out There

With runDisney race season fast approaching, so many of us are kicking our training into high gear.  Whether you are a newbie with your first race coming up or a seasoned veteran, we all worry about pace.  Some are trying to be the fastest, some are trying to beat their last time and some are just trying to finish without getting swept.  Whatever your goal, if you don’t have the slightest bit of anxiety about pace when going into a race you are either a machine or you’re lying.  It’s always somewhere in the back of your mind.

030 LB Half_Time

Me, I’m slow.  My pace ranges between 12:30 and 14:00.  I am a run-walker and I find it’s the best way to keep my endurance up for a long race…it works for me.  I’m not built like a runner, but I like the challenge so I do what works best for me.  So imagine my feelings when I read this article from 2009 that has been recircling the interwebs lately.  Basically, the author and other elite (i.e. fast) runners are questioning whether the act of simply finishing a marathon is worth the title of “marathoner.” This paragraph pretty much sums it up:

“It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours,” said Adrienne Wald, 54, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, who ran her first marathon in 1984. “It used to be that running a marathon was worth something — there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’ ”  

That makes me sad.  Just because there are those of us who can’t complete a marathon in 4 hours, doesn’t mean our accomplishment is worth less.  We still traveled that same distance on our feet, don’t we deserve a medal too?  We’re not trying to win, we just want to finish and be able to celebrate that finish without being judged.  Completing a marathon is HARD.  Hell, just having the guts to even attempt a marathon is HARD.  That hard work should be rewarded, no?

And really, what does our slowness matter to those speedy runners?  They start way before us and finish way before us.  We are in no way inhibiting them from running their best race possible.  Just because we are taking 2 more hours to finish, doesn’t make their accomplishment any less valuable.  Are they annoyed that the roads are still closed when they are trying to leave and they get stuck in crazy traffic jams?  That MUST be it!  Because otherwise why would they even care?!?!

To finish a marathon in 4 hours takes an insane amount of training.  Those people are serious rock stars in my eyes and I am in awe of the dedication they put in, and I recognize I will never be among them.  I just don’t have that dedication to training, but I do love to push myself and run races.  Maybe that’s why I like runDisney so much.  There’s no pressure.  The elite runners take off in corral A and then the rest of us are there to have fun!

While this article was saddening, I was glad to find a reaction to it by Jeff Galloway who basically negated everything stated there.  He works with thousands of runners every year and confirmed that Ms. Wald is in the minority of how most runners feel about long marathon times.  Most runners have respect for those who even attempt a marathon because they know how difficult it can be.  Jeff goes on to say:

The finishing of a marathon bestows a unique sense of worth that can last for a lifetime – regardless of finish time.  We need to salute the efforts of those at the back who did not inherit the genetic material to run on a collegiate cross country team, but who inserted training into busy career and family schedules, improved their health and inspire others.

To me, running is personal.  You run as fast or as slow as you can or want to.  You are competing against yourself and proving to yourself that you can accomplish what you set your mind to.  Just get out there…get moving…walk if you have to. But just remember to NEVER listen to anyone who says that you are too slow and not a “real runner” because no matter what they say, they can’t take that medal or sense of pride away from you!


I’m a Marathoner Bitches!

After Every Storm There is a Rainbow

This past week has been tough for me.  There has been a lot of self-doubt, reflection and another minor injury.  I strive to be as positive as I can in every area of my life, but sometimes those negative thoughts and feelings creep in and rear their ugly head.  I often find it hard to break free of those feelings and and feel like I’m spiraling out of control…hence my current funk.

So last night when I left CrossFit a giant storm came rolling in.  I was driving to the store and was in awe of these amazing clouds.


Storm2I’ve always had a healthy fear of storms since I was a kid, but I find them incredibly fascinating at the same time.  I really appreciate both the beauty and sheer force of nature.  I sat for a few minutes watching the clouds and then went into the store as the first rain drops fell.

By the time I came out, the storm had quickly passed and the sun was peaking out.  And then I saw this…


Yeah, yeah…I shouldn’t be taking photos while driving, I know, but the rainbow was following me home!  But there is something so magical about rainbows, right?  How can something so beautiful come out of something so destructive?

So it made me start thinking…all this doubt, all this fear, all this negativity have just been hindering my ability to move forward.  It’s like a turbulent storm that’s been brewing and I’m stuck in some crazy funnel cloud.  I need to move past it, get my head together and focus on my goals.  I need to realize that difficult times are just thrown in our way to make us stronger.  It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Walt Disney…

480624_10151535561670359_575194562_nThere will always be a beautiful rainbow at the end of every storm and I just need to focus on that when feeling doubtful.  I have an amazing support system of family, friends and readers who help me realize that I am important and what I do means something, even if I forget that.  I just need to “Keep Moving Forward!”

 How do you find your rainbow?

A Reflection on 3 Years of Running and 33 Years of Life

For my 300 post, in this 3rd month of 2013, on what just happens to be my 33rd birthday, I thought I would reflect a little on these past 3 years.  That’s a whole lot of 3s!!  I think you might see a theme forming here.

It’s quite unbelievable for me to see how far I’ve come both physically and mentally in that time and how running (runDisney in particular) has helped fuel that change.  I try to share both my accomplishments and my struggles here on RAD, but I wanted to look at it all together and also share how this journey began.  Hope you’ll stick with me here…I’ll consider it a birthday present if you do 😉

Yes, that is me...

Yes, that is me…

In my early years, I was always very active.  Horseback riding, field hockey, lacrosse…I loved sports.  But then I became a teenager and things like friends, boys and yes I will say it smoking cigarettes (because that was cool right?!) took priority.  I ate poorly and I didn’t exercise.  I was unmotivated, lethargic and overweight.  Sadly, this lasted into my late-20s.  I went through exercise phases where I would religiously go to the gym but that always only lasted for 6 months or so and then I would give up.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy…I just wasn’t healthy.

It wasn’t until my honeymoon to Walt Disney World in September of 2009 that I decided that I needed to make a change.  I was coming up on my 30th birthday and I couldn’t keep living like this.  I needed to get healthy for my new husband so I could stick around for a while.  While we were in WDW, the 1st Expedition Everest Challenge was taking place and they were also promoting the now defunct Race for the Taste 10K that October.  Seeing all of those people walking around with their medals really lit a fire under me and I decided I was going to run the Race for the Taste in 2010! fun does this race look?!?

Seriously…how fun does this race look?!?

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later, it was announced that the Race for the Taste 10K was no longer happening and it was being replaced with the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  I couldn’t run a half marathon…that’s insane!!  I took a few months to contemplate it and looked at various training plans along then way, and for my 2010 new year’s resolution I decided I was going to run that half marathon.  Holy crap.

I invested in a treadmill and started with the Couch to 5K that February, which I found to be manageable.  I started eating better and quit smoking (for good this time!).  I continued with the plan through the spring and then the injuries started.  Shin splints, ankle pain…you know all that fun stuff.  Plus as my mileage was increasing (and by increasing I mean 2 miles total), I was having issues with energy because I wasn’t eating properly.  Knowing what I know now, I was basically doing everything WRONG and because of this I’m sad to say I gave up.

That’s right I gave up.  I’m not proud of that, but it happened and trust me…I felt really crappy about it.  13.1 miles just seemed completely unattainable   I was seriously struggling just getting to 3!  The kicker was, I had already booked my trip for that weekend and had family coming down to cheer me on.  Now I had to break the news that I wasn’t running and I was ashamed.

Sad Panda

It was around this time that I was becoming more active in the online Disney community and to my surprise there was a large group going down to WDW that very weekend for an event which has become known as Epic October.  Many people were running the 5K that weekend and I decided to make that my new goal.  I could do 3.1 miles and I had a huge support group there as well!  Hey B even signed up!  It was the first race for so many of us and we were all a bundle of nerves together.

Look at that group of kids!

Look at that group of kids!

The 2010 Mickey’s Halloween 5K was one I will never forget.  Not only because it was my first 5K, but the course was run through the Magic Kingdom, which they haven’t done since for a 5K.  I feel lucky to have been a part of that.  I also formed some amazing friendships that weekend.  Because we went through this experience together, it has formed a very special bond that still exists today with most of us.

My first runDisney castle shot!

My first runDisney castle shot!

S&B Halloween 5K 2010

That race was really hard for me.  I look back and think about how I struggled through that last mile.  Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the running…the friend part yes, the running part no.  I was so turned off my the running that I actually stopped completely after that.  Plus the rest of that fall and the first half of 2011 were crazy for me so my motivation for exercise was lacking.  I was finishing my MBA while working full time and I started to fall back into my unhealthy habits.

Hey I graduated!

Hey I graduated!

Just before what was becoming our annual trip for Epic October 2.0, I once again registered for the Halloween 5K after much peer pressure from my friends.  Looking back on the prior year, I immediately regretted the decision but I was going to follow through.  You can read all of the details of the race here, but the short story is that it changed my life.  I had a different feeling when I crossed the finish line that time.  One of serious accomplishment and I just wanted to do better!

2011 Halloween faced and proud!

2011 Halloween 5K…red faced and proud!

Later that night I saw my friends Sarah-Irene and Amanda cross the finish line at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  That was it…all I needed to get the kick in the ass to start this journey.  The sheer pride and excitement I saw on their faces sealed the deal for me and as they say…the rest was history.

My Inspiration :)

My Inspiration 🙂

I got home from that trip and immediately started training for the 2012 Princess Half Marathon and haven’t looked back.  Since then I’ve taken on a healthy lifestyle of exercise and clean eating (well about 75% of the time…I’m human!).  I’ve run 4 half marathons, 1 full marathon (race recaps here) and have become addicted to CrossFit.  My confidence has blown through the roof, I have a much more positive outlook on life, and I just FEEL GOOD!

Looking back on my entire 33 years while writing this has been fun, but difficult as well.  It’s hard to see all of the damage did to my body early on, but I don’t think that I would be where I am today if I didn’t have those experiences.  I’ve also realized a few key things (I’ll give you 3 since we’re sticking with that theme) that have kept me going…

  1. I am stronger than I ever thought possible – mentally and physically!
  2. A good support system is critical.
  3. Facing your fears is terrifying, but highly rewarding.


This little blog was born out of my need to keep myself accountable for training for that first half marathon, but it has turned into so much more.  It has opened up so many possibilities for me and led me to do things I never thought I would do.  The most rewarding part of it is sharing my story and then hearing yours.  I can’t even begin to say how humbling it is that I have actually inspired people to make changes in their lives.  Me?? No way!!  Mind boggling.

And I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.  I can’t wait to get that next PR and see where this amazing body of mine will take me.  It make be bruised and beaten, but it’s the only one I got and damn it I’m not going to waste more time.  So where will the next 3 months, next 3 years, next 33 years take me??  No idea, but I can’t wait to find out 🙂

Amazingly Sparkly Inspiration!

When I held my Sparkly Soul giveaway last week, I asked you to tell me how you find your sparkle.  Sparkle can be a metaphor for happiness, strength, motivation, positivity…you name it!  I was completely overwhelmed by all of the responses I received (I guess you all really wanted those Sparkly Soul headbands!) and I wanted to share all of the inspiration you gave me with everyone else.  I hope you all remember…


Photo Source
I think I need one of these!

Don’t forget that the amazing folks over at Sparkly Soul are offering all RAD Readers a 10% discount on all orders placed through tomorrow, March 17th!  Just enter the code RAD at checkout for your discount.

I find my sparkle by pushing my limits and achieving things I never thought I could!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could complete a marathon.  But I did!  Dead lift 210 lbs??  I did that too.  Run a sub-40 minute 5K??  Yeah I totally killed that time.

Now let’s see how you find your sparkle!  I hope you find this as motivating as I have 🙂

Krissy @ Shiawase Life: I find my sparkle by helping others with Disney and running stuff <3 And meeting new awesome friends that love both!!!!

MissyMaintains: I find my sparkle by doing fitness classes that I love and feel great from afterwards.

Meredith: I find my sparkle by running that extra mile and training for all my RunDisney events! signed up for 4 already this year

Laurie Bishop Oliveri: I find my sparkle by working out & sharing my love of disney with friends and family…even better when i combine the two!

Devene Godau: I find my sparkle by surprising myself…. like when I ran the Princess Half!

Allison H: I find my sparkle while running and then helping others during there run!

Jen Floyd: I find my sparkle through my running and encouraging others to stay active and have fun with it!!! I have been wanting to try sparkly souls headband for awhile and would LOVE to win one!!!!

Lynn Webb: I find my sparkle through my two beautiful little girls. They have inspired me to start running again so that I can live a long, sparkly life with them!

Nicole Bynum: I find my sparkle by motivating others to run and through mine and their accomplishments in running!!

Deb: I find my sparkle through my children and my husband; especially when they’re at races cheering me on (or in the stroller encouraging me to run faster, on training runs!!)! Thanks for the opportunity!

Heather: I find my sparkle by challenging myself with new races!

Kristen K: I find my sparkle by putting my whole heart into everything I do! I sparkle especially bright with all things Disney!

Jenn: I find my sparkle and inspiration from my friends that have paved the way before me to achieve new goals and believe in myself, it may be a long hard road but I will accomplish the miles eventually! (following you and sparkle everywhere

Mecca: I find my sparkle every time my 3 yr old daughter is smiling and laughing, and that’s ALOT.

Jillian Davis: I find my sparkle though my baby boy & my husband!! Love them and all the support they give me!

Meg: I find my sparkle by running. It has given me the chance to change my previously unhealthy lifestyle, form new friends as well as nurture the one I have with my dog. It is my me time, I love it!

Amy Weber: I find my sparkle by going to Disney and taking awesome photos!

Katherine P: I find my sparkle through supporting others and helping others believe they can run and achieve their goals. All it takes is faith, trust, and pixie dust!

Sarah: Helping others, especially with food allergies helps me find my sparkle  It’s become a passion of mine for the last 4 years and has helped me personally feel my inner sparkle, which 4 years ago seemed slightly dimmed after having been diagnosed with Crohn’s & food allergies. It’s been a great way to re-channel that energy into helping others.

Carrie B.: I find my sparke through running and my two beautiful boys!

Heather: I did my sparky on a sun and warm day at the beach. But that doesn’t happen very often so my lil one provides the sparkly every day!

Morgan Duvall: I find my sparkle when I know I’ve accomplished something that not too many other people have done… like becoming a Perfect Princess at the Princess Half Marathon this year!

Jennifer: I find sparkle in my husband. He provides the motivation I need to keep going. Now, I need some literal sparkle!

Jackie: I find my sparkly by setting new goals and conquering them!

Cathleen King: I find my sparkle by working out and sharing my love of disney.

Jessica: I find my sparkle in my daughter. She’s the light of my life.

Jen A: I sparkle whenever I play with my niece and nephew.. especially when we play tangled!

Amanda @SlowLaneRun: Tonight is my lazy night (shhh) and I found my motivation by watching the latest Biggest Loser!

Meaghan: I find myself in accomplishing the goals I set out for myself! Love looking girlie and sparkly while doing it!!

Christine @ We Run Disney: I find my sparkle with my girlfriends who know me best when I can be myself and don’t have to explain myself!

Pam: I find “My Sparkle” encouraging and actually getting friends to participate in runDisney events! Next up is a neighborhood group at Wine and Dine for some girly fun!

Danielle: I find my sparkle by setting goals outside my comfort zone and going for them!

Wendy: I get my sparkle on every single time I fight myself to get off and away from the couch. Walking outside, breathing deeply and feeling my body in motion is my way of glittering all over the place!

Julie M: I find my sparkle everytime I see progress in my fitness (new PR, weight loss, muscle definition, etc).

Jessica F: I find my sparkle by challenging myself and always setting goals for myself.

Lisa: I find my sparkle by racing. It feels so great to cross the finish line knowing I’ve given it my all.

Estelle: I totally find my sparkle when chatting with you or just hanging out with friends who GET ME. (And make me nice drinks.)

Hilary S: I find my sparkle in achieving new goal times and new races!! I love seeing the improvement!!!

Laurel: I find my sparkle by looking at my “before” photos 30 lbs ago, and then looking in the mirror today! A lot of sweat went into this sparkle! ;D

Kristen: I find my sparkle in making new friends who love to runDisney as much as I do!

Paige Cofnas: I find my sparkle in achieving new milestones in physical therapy, on my road to recovery post ACL injury. My goal is to run the disney princess 2014, I missed it this year due to surgery.

Kim Taylor: I find my Sparkle by going the distance! Started not being able to run a me a year ago and now I’m running half marathons! My goal is to run a full marathon in a few years. Disney and the support from others (like you!) keeps me going!

Amanda Banach: I find my sparkle in my little sister Abbey, who helped me with the weekly motivation to train for the Princess Half, which we ran together just a few weeks ago. Her and I sparkled through to that finish line with our sparkly headbands, which we are now also obsessed with!

Kim Smelser: I find my sparkle by staying driven and focused on my goals! I need some of those cute bands to help me out!

Dominica: I’m finding that with running, I am rediscovering my sparkle. Having to leave the world of the performing arts and entering the world of wife/mother/full time teacher …I lost my shine. I lost a bit of me. But I stared working out again, and then found running, motivated by the princess half (completed my first half this year !!!) I am finding my sparkle getting brighter with every mile I run. And every race I run!!!

Lisa Jones: I find my sparkle by making sure I get my running in and I run for those who can’t and give them the thrill of the race (I push disabled adults/children in races in a group called Team Hoyt VB)

Kinnereth: I find my sparkle with friends and family, and of course running and everything Disney!!!

Heather McCarn: I find my sparkle by finding things and doing things that make me happy. This week has been rough with work and I knew it wasn’t going to get better so every morning I’ve made myself a favorite breakfast and then after work done something just for me. I think finding my sparkle comes a little different each day. Running at Disney has been definitely added to my list of sparkle this year as I just ran my first race The Princess Half. I am now addicted and going through Disney withdrawls lol so I’m looking to sign up for the Tower of Terror 10 miler for some more *sparkle*

Sarah Grodzicki: I find my sparkle by teaching my kids new things each day. I love watchimg them learn and grow!

Marcellina: I sparkle by getting my run on! I don’t sweat, I sparkle. I also sparkle when I see my 2 year old son smile at me.. nothing like the unconditional love from a little one!

Ashley B.: I find my sparkle in so many things — my 8-month old son, my husband, my friends, and in all the little things in life. I stay motivated to run by continuing to sign up for fun races!

Vicki: I find my sparkle by getting outdoors. A hard day at work, a stressful time in life, and it all goes away once I’ve hiked into the woods or catch my groove out on my bike. I’m extra sparkly when I can share it with my awesome family and friends.

Kristina: I find my sparkle in making lemonade out of life’s lemons. A little bit of sparkle can be found in each moment of each day

Dani: I find my sparkle through running and helping others!

Laura: I find my sparkle by volunteering for races – it’s great inspiration for me to put in more miles!

Steph Federer: I find my sparkle through exercise, my husband, and my 2 little girls!

So if I haven’t told you all how amazing you are recently…you are!!  You are strong and you can accomplish anything…ANYTHING!  I’m am constantly inspired by your stories of courage, perseverance and pure will.  Thank you for keeping me grounded and motivated to be better at everything I do and thank you for sharing your stories.

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