5 Things We Like Friday

Trying a new feature on our blog.  Let us know if you like it!

1. OOFOS Recovery Footwear *

Pro: These are VERY comfortable! Designed to be worn for recovery after a long run/race or just for long days, these are well made and provide excellent arch support. I have recently converted to a standing desk in my office, and these are perfect to keep me on my feet and still comfortable all day. There are several colors and styles available for men and women.
Con: The shiny coating on my black OOCloog Luxe clogs has started to peel. Next time, I'd like to get the OOlala (flip flop style) in one of the fun colors they offer.  The OOCloog - Men's clogs have not been available in larger men's sizes, at least in the past few months we've been checking. DG wears a 13, so he could only get the OOFOS OOriginal, not the clog he would have preferred.

2. Cordskinz*

Pro: Available in many fun colors and keeps your earbud or headphone cords untangled.
Con: Did not cover the entire cord assembly, so I still have the tangling issue. I would need to order two sets to cover my earbuds.

3. run Disney MagicBand Vinyl Decal on etsy.

Pro: Only $4 and you can add a little running Mickey decal to your Disney magic band. They have a lot of other cute Disney inspired images made into decals.
Con: I can't think of any. These are cute and very reasonably priced.

4. Trader Joe's Roasted Seaweed Snack

Pro: Satisfies your salty, crunchy cravings for a mere  $0.99. Entire package has only 60 calories (2 servings per package/ 30 cal. each).
Con: Wish there was a way to reduce the excessive packaging, and make this eco-friendly.

5. Daiya Chocolate Cheezecake

Pro: OK, I was impressed.  No, it doesn't taste like homemade, but it had the tartness, creaminess, and texture I had almost forgotten I missed.  My omnivore husband's take: "I can't tell the difference between this vegan cheezecake and a regular dairy cheesecake that we could get from a grocer."  Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-free. Vegan. Excellent!
Con: Right now, I can only find these at Whole Foods. Would like to see them in more grocers.

Hope you liked our little roundup. 
Did you find something new you would like to try? Let us know.

Until next time.
Run Happily!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: No financial compensation was received. We received products from OOFAS and Cordskinz in exchange for our opinion. Products from Trader Joe's, daiya, and etsy were purchased with our own money. 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.”

#MotivationMonday Maickel Melamed runs #BostonMarathon

Today is the running of the 2015 Boston Marathon.  The eyes of the running world are on this city and it's prestigious race.  Each runner today worked very hard to get there - whether through a qualifying time or raising money for a charity.

Among the numerous inspiring stories of the athletes running today, there is one that is getting little fanfare - but he should.  Maickel Melamed is from Caracas, Venezuela, and although he is well known through the Latin American press, there is very little of him in the mainstream North American media.

I started following Maickel Melamed while he was running the 2013 Chicago Marathon. He  has run some of the world's most prestigious endurance events.  In fact - he set out to run The Big 5.  What will surprise you - are his finish times.

Born with hypotonia, a rare type of muscular dystrophy characterized by a state of low muscle tone, even the most routine physical acts like walking are a struggle for Maickel.  The fact that in 2011 he set out to run the most prestigious and well-known marathons in the world, and has been accomplishing this, is nothing short of miraculous.

Maickel was born with his medical condition, and he has not let it stop him from achieving professional and personal successes. He is an economist, a professor, a motivational speaker, and when he decided to climb a mountain, he climbed the highest mountain peak in his native Venezuela.  He doesn't do things on a small scale.  This guy DREAMS BIG and LIVES BIG. So deciding to run these world class endurance events - he chooses to be among the best and fastest athletes. He chooses to do what they do - to show that anyone can work hard and accomplish their goals.

None of these things come easy.  I've watched the live stream of some of his races. It is heartbreaking when he falls down.  He has been hurt many times, but he perseveres.  It is incredibly emotional to see him approach that last mile and home stretch.

Founder of Proyecto Vamos! (translation: Project Let's Go!), Maickel reminds us all that there are infinite possibilities in life.  And he inspires and leads people from all walks of life to embrace those possibilities.

You can check out this brief video to see more about him.

Like the other runners, Maickel trains year round for these events. Like the other runners, he has tremendous mental determation. 
And like every runner in Boston today - Maickel motivates us with his determination and will.  We send our hearts and best wishes to all the runners this morning - and long after the elites, the fast, the mid-pack, and yes, even the back of the pack comes in, Maickel will still be out there - putting one foot in front of the other.

I can't wait to see him finish!

You can follow Maickel today on

(Sorry his social media is in Spanish, but Facebook does have a translate option.)

~Run Happily

Update on 4/21/15:
AMAZING! After over 20 hours, most of it in pouring rain,Maickel Melamed gets his ‪#‎BostonMarathon finish. Through the cold, rain, and wind - he persevered!  Am glad to see his story got picked up by several North American news outlets. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/04/21/boston-marathons-final-finisher-an-inspirational-story/

And the Mayor of Boston himself presents Maickel with a medal!

Gasparilla Distance Classic- 2 days and 30.4 miles

Sorry for this recap being nearly two months late.  The Gasparilla Distance Classic was Feb 20 & 21, 2015.

This year we did not run the runDisney Princess Half Marathon.  We ran the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa that weekend.  The GDC is a two day event, with two races on Saturday (15K & 5K) and two races (1/2 Marathon & 8K) on Sunday.

There are three challenges available: 
Michelob Ultra Challenge: All four races for 30.4 miles
Michelob Ultra Amber Challenge: 15K, 5K, & 1/2 for 25.5 miles
Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge: 15k & 8K for 14.2 miles

I did the Ultra Challenge and DisneyBride did the Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge.


This expo was by far the best I have ever attended. The expo took over a pretty large portion of the Tampa Convention Center. Free samples and demos were everywhere. 

There was even a Star Wars themed booth with characters for photos.

The pick-up areas (Bibs were picked up separate from your shirts and jackets) were well staffed with volunteers and the waits were a couple of minutes tops.  Free samples and demos were everywhere. We tried several foods including electrolyte popsicles, chips, drinks, fruit, and other snacks. Also, the reusable bags from the race sponsor, Publix, were a very nice touch.

Day 1: 15k and 5k

Our hotel was near the start area so we could walk to the races. The starting area was well organized and the corrals were well marked. The 15k was an out and back course mostly along Bayshore Blvd. 

It was a cold morning but we had a fun time.  We ran with several friends from Tallahassee.

The course had plenty of aid stations and also featured entertainment at several points. 

The legendary Bart Yasso was announcing the runners as they crossed the finish line

After finishing the 15k, runners had the option to check their medals before the 5k. I choose to put my medal in my hydration pack. Other runners told me the medal check was organized and accepted and returned medals very efficiently. The finish line was well stocked with water and Gatorade.

I finished the 15k with plenty of time to stroll towards the starting line for the 5k. Plenty of volunteers were on hand to guide runners to the the start of the next race. The 5k followed the same course as the 15k (obviously the turn around was much earlier). For a very well attended race, the crowds didn't seem that bad. At the turn around for the 5k, I ran into DisneyBride. We finished our respective races together.  

Following the race we headed to the festival area. The festival area is broken into two separate areas. One near the Convention Center has plenty of food and drinks from sponsors available. Fresh fruit, cold coke, fruit cups, and more was available to runners. Further down the walkway, in an adjacent park was a live band and the beer area. The cold beer and live music was a great way to wind down from the races.  

Day 2: Half Marathon and 8k

The starting area was well organized on day 2 as well.  Since I had to finish the race under 2:55 gun time, I decided to try and PR.  The course is a basically a figure 8 and relatively flat. Again oncourse entertainment was plentiful, bands and entertainers to keep your mind off the running. I did manage to get my half marathon PR that day. Not quite the PR I had hoped for, but a PR.      

The finish line was again well stocked with beverages and the medal lines were quick. I headed for the starting area of the 8k as was pleasantly surprised by how close it was. I had read recaps of previous years where people made it out to be quite the hike.  

The 8k was essentially the same course as the 5k.  Running the half really took a lot out of me.  I ran the 8k pretty leisurely with a friend.  Crossing the line, I headed to the food area next to the convention center (long drive this day, so I skipped the beer), they really brought out their "A" game.  Unfortunately, everyone decided to enjoy the festival area.  Lines were enormous.  I skipped almost all of them and headed straight to The Columbia table and enjoyed a nice plate of delicious hot food.

The Good

  • The Ultra Challenge (all 4 races) cost the same as the Princess Half Marathon, so I felt like it was a good value
  • The expo was amazing
  • Aid stations were plentiful 
  • Post-race food was great
  • The shirts and the challenge jacket
My Michelob Ultra Challenge jacket

DisneyBride's jacket, bib, and medals

The Not as Good 

  • All four courses are pretty similar
  • The medals (with the exception of the half marathon) look the same.
  • The challenge medal was not that impressive.

For next year, we are undecided if we will return. I would love to go back, but DisneyBride wants to go to Princess Half Weekend.  We still have a few months to decide.

Pirates OR Princesses for 2016?   
Tough decision.  Which would you choose?


Is it time to sign up for #WDWMarathon already?

~Reminiscing about the 2015 Walt Disney World 10K~

Yes kids, it's that magical time of year again.  It may still be 266 days away, but registration time for the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend events is upon us.

Today just before noon, I hung up my "At Lunch" sign outside my office door and sat down with credit card ready.  Early registration for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members and Disney Parks Annual Passholders (Walt Disney World only) became available today for the 2016 runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon weekend events.  I know, it seems like it was just yesterday that we were there running through the parks, earning our bling, seeing our friends, and eating like we had just run a long distance event.  But the calendar tells us it was over three months ago.  And so - nine months out, it is time to register.

The registration pages were predictably very slow to load and after 10 minutes of trying, I finally got in.  To DisneyGroom's delight, I was able to get him registered for Dopey Challenge #3.  Yes, he is going for a third, and fully intends to keep going... until when, I don't know.  The Dopey Challenge does not hold the appeal for me that it does for him, kind of like marathons and ultras.  Those are his thing. I have other ambitions, at least for now.

Sadly for me, once I got his registration complete, I was too late to register myself for the 10K or the 5K.   I don't have any info on how many race and challenge allotments are designated for early registration, but it can't be too large a number.  So now, I wait.  And like tens of thousands of other hopefuls, in two weeks my fingers will be poised over a keyboard, impatiently pressing refresh, and praying active.com doesn't crash.

If you are on facebook and would like a reminder for registration, feel free to join our event reminder here.  Just set your facebook settings set to alert you on your smartphone or via email, then you will have that reminder and can try to be ready by 12noon EDT.

If this will be your first WDW Marathon Weekend, then you are in for more fun than you can possibly know.  If you are returning, well - then you know what an awesome time it is.

You can check out some of our Walt Disney World Marathon recaps here:

DisneyGroom's 2014 Dopey Challenge

Run Happy!