Meet our new BRF (Best Running Friend)

We have some happy news to share.  Meet our puppy!

He is a rescue from the Tallahassee Animal Shelter.  Everything we know about him is here on this card.  He was a stray found on April 15.  They believe he is an English Pointer - Lab.  

Approximately four months old, he is a big lovable boy and so very sweet. Check out the big paws and his beautiful green/gold eyes.  

We've been planning to adopt a dog for over a year.  But with a lot of race travel and family-related travel, it got pushed back again and again.  On Saturday, we were at our local animal shelter to donate blood.  They had a promotion going on, and we got a 'certificate' that would waive the customary adoption fees.   

We walked through the kennel area and this little face caught our eyes right away.  

We asked to play with 'Gunther' (the name shelter  staff gave him) and ...  I am almost positive I actually heard "So This is Love" from Cinderella playing out loud...    It was love at first sight for all three of us.

So this is love, Mmmmmm
So this is love
So this is what makes life divine
I'm all aglow, Mmmmmm
And now I know
The key to all heaven is mine
My heart has wings, Mmmmmm
And I can fly
I'll touch ev'ry star in the sky
So this is the miracle that I've been dreaming of
So this is love

We put in an application for him that same visit.  But he wasn't 'fixed' yet - so we've had to wait until his surgery was done, before we could bring him home on Tuesday.  

Of course we went back to visit him the next day, Sunday.  While the puppy had been a bit shy the day before, you can see he is coming out of his shell more and more.  (DG looks grumpy here for some reason - so don't mind him.)

Yesterday, this little guy was neutered.  And the shelter is closed on Mondays, so we couldn't see him.  Sad day all around.

But, today he says Good-Bye to this:

and HELLO to his new Forever Home.  

The days have been very long waiting for this little guy.  But we had a chance to puppy-proof the house, and to pick up all the things he needs:

  • Food
  • Bed
  • Crate
  • Leash
  • Bowls
  • Treats
  • Rawhide and other chewy things
  • Toys and more toys
  • Shampoo
  • Doggie sunscreen
  • Toothbrush/paste

His first vet appointment is tomorrow - so he can get all checked out. But I can't believe how big he is already, to be only about four months. His teeth are so tiny and just coming in, so I know he is still a baby, but I'm having difficulty lifting him due to his sheer size.  I mention this because, I had every intention of recreating the Simba and Rafiki scene from The Lion King, but he is too big for me to handle like that, over my head.


Maybe I can convince DG to stand in as Rafiki.  I think he'll do it.

We are both really looking forward to taking Magnus out for walks, once he is healed from his sterilization procedure. And as the months pass, we'll be gradually adding distance little by little with some jogging.  With his high energy level, long legs, big feet, and slim athletic build, our pup has all the makings of a endurance runner - so we anticipate many happy years enjoying the trails with our new BRF.

Run Happy!

p.s.  DG and I debated names for three days. Winston, Angus, Lancelot, and Buzz (of course!) were contenders.  In the end, Magnus won out. It means "Great One" in latin.

Do you run with your pet?

Have you rescued a shelter animal?

If you don't believe in Love at First Sight - run to your nearest animal shelter.  They will make a believer out of you.

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Registration! Are you in?

Today is the day.  The day registration for runDisney's 2015 Walt Disney Marathon weekend opens up to the general public.   

It has been said that "Pain is Temporary and Pride is Forever". 
It must be true, because it looks like I will be running the Dopey Challenge once again. 
Me neither.
I finished the Inaugural Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon) this January.  I was tired, but injury-free, so naturally I immediately began thinking about Dopey in 2015.  However, this does mean another summer of long training runs, weekends devoted to back-to-back runs, and weeknight training sessions.  It also means the longest and toughest training period will peak around Christmastime. 
Last year I created my own training plan. But this year, I'll be following Jeff Galloway's Dopey Challenge plan.  Note: Jeff Galloway’s training plans are already available for WDW Marathon Weekend.  They have never failed me - so whether you are a newer or experienced runner, the plans are worth checking out.
Next January, I will try to spend more time enjoying the Disney Parks in between races.  I'll be the first to admit, I was dull and boring during Marathon Weekend this year.  I was just focused on finishing Dopey.   Now, with one successful Dopey under my belt, this time around I plan to spend more time enjoying the parks, restaurants, and meet-ups. 
Early registration (for Annual Passholders and DVC members) opened up this past week for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  DisneyBride got us both signed up.
Looking forward to seeing my runDisney friends in January.  Perhaps this time, Buzz Lightyear will make an appearance.  If you haven't read my Dopey Challenge blog posts, they are available here.
With so many races available in Florida year-round, it gets difficult to choose.  Not this time.  I just loved the Inaugural Walt Disney World 10K this year, so coming back in January was a very easy decision to make.  Plus, I have to be here anyway to support my Dopey!
The temptation of another Minnie medal proved too much to resist.  This past January, I only ran the 10K, but for 2015, I've signed up for the 5K as well.  This is because I've convinced a friend to make the WDW 5K her very first running event, and I'm really happy to be able to run it with her.
I've not committed to running the Half Marathon as of yet.  Volunteering at the half has been such an amazing experience these past two years, I feel inclined to go for a third time.  DG is still hoping I'll sign up for the Half, so... maybe.

January 2015 seems like such a long time away, doesn't it?

Will we see you at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend? review {sponsored post}

I prefer a hot breakfast. But the time crunch of a typical weekday morning often prevents this.  Hot breakfasts require time to prepare.  They also demand to be eaten and enjoyed slowly.

We all know oatmeal is a wholesome, filling, and heart healthy option.  And flavored instant oatmeal packets are easy and convenient, right?  They are convenient, but there are only a few flavors, and they are often much too sweet for my taste.
Enter  With dozens of ingredients to choose from, there are endless combinations - and something for everyone.  We got to make our own custom oatmeal blend. 
The flavors I chose were Horchata and Dulce de Leche.
Chalk it up to my latina roots, but I am a big fan of Horchata (a rice milk type drink) and of course, Dulce de Leche (a caramel-like confection made from sweetened condensed milk).  My oatmeal arrived and smelled AMAZING!   I opted for unsweetened oatmeal, so when I made it, I added a light drizzle of honey.  Very tasty. Definitely did not have the bland 'instant oatmeal' flavor I've come to expect from the bigger commercial brands.
The other product I selected was PB Lean.  PBLean is a powdered peanut butter.  However, it is 85% lower in fat and calories than traditional peanut butters.  There are many ways to use your PB Lean:
-add water to make peanut butter
-replace flour as the ingredient in your favorite baked treats
-mix into smoothies, yogurt
-sprinkle on food
-add to cooking sauces, e.g. BBQ
I was all set to order plain, when I spotted the German Chocolate Cake flavor. 
When it arrived, I was not disappointed. 
The first 'treat' I made with it, was adding a heaping tablespoon to a half cup of low-fat ricotta cheese.  Then I added a drizzle of some local organic honey, and a few pieces of dark chocolate chips.  I know - it sounds weird - but I often put weird combinations together and discover that it tastes really good.  Yes, it was good.  So good, that we polished off the tub of ricotta and I never got a photo!
The next treat I made was a simple smoothie.
1 cup of vanilla rice milk
1 1/2 tablespoons of PB Lean
1 drizzle of agave nectar
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 cup of ice
Blend until frothy.
What will you come up with?
Disclosure of Material Connection: No financial compensation was received. received product from My Oatmeal via partnership through Fit Approach, in exchange for this review. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will be good for our readers. All opinions stated on this blog are our own. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Apera Bags Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

This Giveaway has closed.  Check our most recent posts for other great giveaways.

We each got the chance to try out our own Apera bag.  Apera Bags have six styles to choose from, and we both found the perfect one to suit our individual needs.

DisneyGroom on the Duffel Pack
I have spent the last month using the Duffel Pack.  This bag is perfect for all my running needs.  It conveniently fits like a backpack and has all the versatility of a duffel bag - as it lays flat and you zip it open.  This thing has tons of space (35L).  This is a great bag to take on a weekend runcation.  The side pockets for shoes easily fit my size 13 running shoes.  The shoe pockets have external access, but are hidden and separate from the main compartment of the bag, keeping any mud or odors from getting on my nice clean clothes.   Check out this video that shows many of the features and pockets of this bag.
Speaking of odors, each Apera bag comes with a washable insert.  They show it with swimming gear, but I used mine to separate my sweaty gym clothes from the rest of my clean clothes.  I often run at lunch and then meet DisneyBride for a post-work run.  In the past, I would end up making my clean clothes dirty by having them in the same bag.  This is a problem no more. 
The Duffel Pack has plenty of internal and external pockets to hold all your running gear.  The water resistant front panel protects your gear  as you place your bag on the ground (or floor of the gym locker room).  The antimicrobial protection helps keep the bag free from all the nasty things that seem to take up residence in my gym bag.  This bag kept my clothes smelling fresh and that is a true feat. 
The bag is functionally large, yet fit easily behind the door of my office.  No longer was a grungy gym bag taking up space on the chairs in my office.  I use my bag for workout clothes during the work week and on weekends to bring a clean change of clothes to a race. 

It would also make an excellent day pack for a hike. Here I have two 32oz water bottles.  Yep - the water bottle pockets will easily carry a gallon (64oz) of water, your daily allotment.   The bag even has a chest strap to help keep things steady if you head out for a nice long trek. 
Let me also take a minute to mention the other bag I gave serious consideration to getting: the Active Pack.
If I traveled by public transit and/or regularly carried a laptop, I would have chosen this bag in a heartbeat.  I actually saw this bag in person, and it would make a great daily use bag for a professional that needs their electronics and workout clothes.  Further, the Active Pack has a sleeve to secure the bag onto your suitcase.  Very convenient when you fly.
DisneyBride on the Performance Duffel
All the Apera bags feature the following:
  • Anti-microbial fabric
  • wipeable linings
  • vented compartments
  • washable insert (zip pouch for wet items)
Why are all of these important?  Well, just having one or two of these would be nice, but having all of these features = a healthier bag.  Your gear stays cleaner, more hygienic.
I've been enjoying my Performance Duffel for a few weeks now.  And I find that I use it nearly everyday.  Here is Apera's video that goes over the features of my bag.
I may not have the love affair with pockets that DG has, but I do appreciate all the separate compartments to keep everything organized, especially the smaller padded pockets for sunglasses and mobile devices. 
The shoe pockets are ventilated (mesh).  There are two shoe pockets - one on each side of the bag.  Each shoe pocket will hold either two pairs of my dress shoes or one pair of running shoes.
I'm also trying to remember to drink more water every day, so I really appreciate having not just one, but two mesh water bottle pockets.
Here each pocket is holding a 1 liter bottle of water. 
This bag is incredibly spacious, with a internal volume of 35L.  I can easily carry gym clothes with me for the day and have plenty of room to spare.  My Apera bag has also turned into my 'weekend bag'.  And it will travel beautifully with easy access to the many zipped pockets. 
Like DG, I too debated which bag to get.  I almost got the Sling Tote.  A slimmer profile, but still very roomy, I could see that easily turning into my everyday office tote.
But overall, I'm glad I got the Performance Duffel, as it is nice having plenty of space to carry my gear.  I'm very happy with this bag, and the lovely shade of fuschia always makes me smile.   So much prettier than my previous boring old gym bag.


There are two opportunities to win. 
The first:  Apera Bags will be giving away free bags every month throughout 2014.  You can find more info  here:
Second:  Our friends at Apera have allowed us to giveaway this adorable Sprint Pack.

So much better than a run-of-the-mill cinch sack. The Sprint Pack has the Anti-microbial fabric, wipeable linings, and vented (mesh) compartments seen in the other Apera bags.  Plus there are three separate areas for your gear.
Another cool thing about the Sprint Pack, these are the same bags donated to the Special Olympics by Apera. For every three bags sold, one bag is donated. Awesome, right?
Terms of the Giveaway

1) No Purchase Necessary.

2) Giveaway begins Friday April 4, 2014 and ends Thursday April 10, 2014 at midnight. Winner will be announced on the Facebook page and this blog post.  He or she will be notified Friday, April 11, 2014.

3) Must be 18 years or older to enter. Must be a U.S. resident. 

4) One (1) winner will be selected. the winner will receive one (1) Apera Bags Sprint Pack.  Retail value: $20

5) Sign in through Rafflecopter below to enter. With your first entry, the app will capture your e-mail or facebook name. This is so we can reach you if you win, in accordance with sweepstakes terms. Your contact info will ONLY be used to contact you if you win.

6) There are additional opportunities for multiple entries

7) The winner will be chosen at random using the rafflecopter app below. Odds of winning are determined by the number of eligible entries received.

8) In the event winner does not respond to contact attempts via e-mail or facebook name provided within a one week period, another winner will be selected at random.
9) Void where prohibited.

Disclosure of Material Connection: No financial compensation was received. We each received one bag from Apera Bags in exchange for this review and promotional giveaway. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will be good for our readers. All opinions stated on this blog are our own. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”