The Daily Grind

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Disney Princess Weekend ....2015

I simply love running at Disney... it is by far the most fun I ever have at races. I of course never do it for time because there are too many great photo opportunities that I just can't pass up.

This year I was a little nervous that I was not going to be as prepared as I wanted to be for these races. Sure I was going to be able to do the 10K no problem but my bout of bronchitis/walking phumonia during the holidays curtailed my training by at least 3 weeks and as it is I had a late start to training for these races.

I am not one who likes to be unprepared, and running is no different. Last year I thought I was and I had a bit of a tough go of it due to the lack of mileage, the heat and subsequently due to some of the health issues I was having. When you run at this distance you need to respect the mileage if you don't you can quickly get yourself in a lot of trouble. I saw a many a lady race weekend that clearly did not train and suffered for it. Let me tell you there is nothing worse than being halfway through a race and running out of gas.

So for my recap:

I arrived Friday and headed straight to the expo, I was on a mission to get some specific memorabilia and sadly they were sold out of everything I wanted. (more on this to come in another post) I had my Miller Lite in my pink run Disney race cup and after walking around a buying a few things at the expo I headed to the hotel to check in.

I had prechecked in online, though I'm not sure why since I still had to stand in line for what felt like a decade. Finally, I was able to get to my room get settled and then ran out to Wal-Mart for some Gatorade, blanket and some bottled water.

I headed back to the hotel and had dinner and made sure to get myself to bed at a decent hour. Whenever I race (or have to be somewhere early) I never sleep well, I am always afraid I am going to oversleep and this trip was no exception.

If you don't know Disney has their races start at the crack of dawn, actually it is before dawn and they start at 5:30. The main reasons for this are the heat as well as the road closures and park opening factor. So on race days you get a wake up at 3:30am to ensure you are up ready and give yourself plenty of time to get to the starting line.

Saturday 3:30 came early but I was ready, it was a bit chilly even for Florida so the Buccaneers fleece blanket I bought for 8 bucks the day before came in very handy as I waited to start the race.

The fireworks went off and we were off on our 10K journey. I felt really good during this race, the temperature was perfect for me once I got about a 1/2 a mile in and I stayed at a comfortable pace the whole way and was able to stop and get some really great pictures. Also I have to say running as Tinkerbell was super cool! The shouts and cheers of encouragement from spectators calling me "Tink" was awesome "Go Tink" "You got this Tink" all awesome to hear at 6:30am on a cold Saturday morning.

I wrapped the race received my Enchanted 10K medal and headed back to the hotel for a shower and a nap!

After a quick nap I was off to the airport to pick up my husband who was coming to see me race the half marathon the next day. Once I retrieved him we headed to the parks for a little fun before I retired early yet again for the early am wake up call. Unfortunately I think I overdid it a bit and walked a few too many miles, which took its toll on my legs. After a solid dinner of carbs I headed for dreamland.

Again with the early am wake up on Sunday! This time though it was a little tougher and my legs were telling me they were not happy with me. Oh well..... we had a job to do! So for the second year

in a row I channeled my best Cinderella and headed for the start line.

Getting to the start line of the Disney half is no small task you walk about 2 miles to the corrals. Yes that is right 2 miles so not only are you going to run 13.1 miles you walk an additional 2 so you are doing a minimum of 15.1 miles !!

I was in corral G not the front and not the back I was in a good spot I had plenty of time to finish and would be able to see all the great characters. I met some great ladies who took pictures for me and chatted as we waited for our start.

So race gets underway and before I hit mile 1 I had to go to the bathroom!! This never happens to me....ever!!!! I found a Porta potty did my business and got back to the road. I was cruising, doing well no real issues I stopped a couple times for some photo ops and enjoyed the Disney scenery. At about mile 5 my legs stated telling me they were not happy with me or my decision to walk yesterday or run today. Luckily I was coming up on the magic kingdom and the crowds there along with my husband I knew would pick me up. Unfortunately he didn't make it there in time and already run past our meeting place when he got there. I was pretty disappointed, not going to lie. I pulled myself together and headed for the castle.  I ran through the castle and out to the back lot when I hit the dreaded mile 8.

Mile 8 is my nemesis when it comes to the half. It is my wall. By mile 9 I was telling myself " this was a great idea in July when you signed up and now its just stupid" I even said "I won't ever do this again."

Then I got to mile 10 and it hit me  "you only have a 5K to go you can do this." I stopped at the medical tent at mile 11.5 and rubbed my legs down with biofreeze and popped 2 Tylenol. I was ready to tackle the last part of the race.

Coming into Epcot is always great there are people there to cheer you on though I will say it always feels like the last 1.1 miles are the freaking longest ever!!

I saw the finish line as I passed the Gospel choir, it was time to go into my sprint and head for home.

I made it to the finish line and was excited to see my husband, he wasn’t able to meet me at the mid way point of the race so I was excited to hear his recap of the finish. No such luck….:( he didn’t see me. Not going to lie I was bummed…chorused actually. I really wanted him to witness me race.

Once I collected all of my gear we headed back to the hotel for breakfast, a shower and a big nap for me.

I woke up refreshed and ready to go so we hit Epcot to celebrate my second Disney princess challenge accomplishment. Needless to say there was lots of adult beverages involved.

It was a great decision to stay until Monday, it allowed me to not only recover but enjoy basking in my achievement while at Disney J. I am already looking forward to next year, hopefully I can convince some girlfriends they need to come and run as well!

Here is a slide show of my awesome weekend!

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Cheers to Disney!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Posts are coming.....

I have several posts in various stages but I have not been able to find time to polish any of them so I can get them up. I promise there will be a post soon. In the meantime to wet your whistle here is what I am working on .

United we stand??
Disney wrap up.....
Entrepreneurs??? or Greedy people??
Play Play Play

Friday, February 27, 2015

Disney Flat something revealed

I haven't really been able to write my review of my Disney races for various reasons.... mailing because I have a lot to say and not enough time to get it all out and edit it.

However I have had a lot of PM's about my flat something for Disney. Who knew I had readers let alone ones who were intrigued by what the post would be made up of???

So a little background before I let you view my flat something journey at Disney.

I am a huge Muppets fan! I remember being a kid on Saturday night at 7pm parked in front of the TV primed and ready to sing the theme music....

It's time to play the music

It's time to light the lights

It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight

It's time to put on makeup

It's time to dress up right

It's time to raise the curtain on the Muppet Show tonight

Brings ya back doesn't it??? :)

I have been known to nickname people based on the characters of the Muppets for instance I have named someone in my office Beaker, a guy who coaches a baseball team in my sons little league is The Swedish Chef and I may have even called a few people Ms Piggy a time or two. My son is animal, I have known many a Statler And Waldorf over the years, and well... Kermit is me because its not easy being green.

But then there is Fozzie Bear... who doesn’t love Fozzie bear???? All he wants to do is make you laugh and be your friend. Whenever you need a pick me up Fozzie is there. He is loveable, cute and dependable. He is Kermit’s sidekick and without him the Muppets just aren't the Muppets.

So I took Fozzie Bear (FB) on my trip. Seemed like he deserved to have a little fun. So below is his adventure. Now while I would have loved to have taken him on the runs and in the park for my visit I was a bit fearful of losing him and that well that would have been catastrophic.

So instead he played it safe and hung out with my on the plane, at packet pick up and in the room. He even made friends with Running Mickey during his Disney stay.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Public Speaking and giving back......

I am not a public speaker, sure I can carry a conversation on with a group of people I don't know and I can even tell a joke or 2 to make them laugh..... that is where my public speaking ends.

I know why I feel this goes all the way back to elementary school and being intimidated because I didn't read very well and I was terrified when called upon for my turn to read out loud to the class. I never really recovered from those experiences and it only got worse as time went on.

As I progressed through life there became the need to speak in front of others more and more. It never got easier and it still  to this day riddles me with the same fear I had as a 5th grader reading out loud.

I remember when I was very pregnant with Izzy, I was told (noticed I didn't say asked) to speak about a project I was working on my company. So 7+ months pregnant I get up in front of about 200 folks and give a talk. Terrified!!! I managed that process right down to what I wore to work that day so I ensured people wouldn't see how much I was perspiring. I made it through ... I had some nice comments afterward ...but it didn't make it easier.

In the last 5 years I have had to speak more and more in front of people, I will say it has gotten a bit easier but I still shake in my heels when I know I need to present.

So for me to voluntarily ask to speak to a group of college aged students was way way way out of my comfort zone.

There is a great program called Yearup which was featured a couple of years ago on 60 Minutes and I found it to be very intriguing. This program takes underprivileged youth who may otherwise not get the education/ training they need and brings them together industry to provide them opportunities. These kids have an incredible amount of talent but lack the opportunity to showcase that talent. This program provided them the opportunity.

For 6 months they participate in intense Business or IT training, then for the following 6 months they work for one of the many companies who have partnered with Yearup. They must keep to strict standards while both in the classroom and on the job. A good number of these kids end up with Jobs which then leads them to other various avenues to pay for school and receive the education they desire.  

I inquired about become a mentor a while back and at the time they had more than enough mentors. I was asked if I would be interested in coming to speak to a group. I said yes but was non committal on a date.

I was unsure what I would talk about, I don't think I am an inspirational or motivational speaker and the idea of putting something together made we flush with fear. But then something changed and I decided I did need to do this, not because I wanted to conquer a fear but because I wanted to give back some of my good luck and fortune.

I had an outline to talk about my challenges growing up, not only at home but in school. I was going to talk about achieving dreams I never thought possible because of hard work and I was going to talk about failure and that failure is a part of the success process and how it humbles you and makes you appreciate more what you ultimately achieve.

I had a speech, I wasn't going to read word for word because good speakers don't do that, they deliver a speech with ease and passion. The speakers I look up to make it look easy and effortless and better yet keep those they are speaking to engaged.

I began, I was nervous, I started with a joke as I have always been told that is a great icebreaker and a laugh from the audience will put them and you at ease. I spoke, I stuck to my points but I found I expanded on them  and I relaxed and the passion I had for my life and my accomplishments and my message came through and best yet I didn't die in the process.

This group of young people were amazing and they have so much to offer, they were full of questions and ideas and no doubt are grateful for the opportunities they have been given.

I wish them all the best of luck in the years ahead and hope to one day connect again with some of them to see how their stories unfold.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Inspiring Quotes From Extraordinary Women

These women come from all sectors of life and their words are truly inspirational....Enjoy!!!

 "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement." - Helen Keller

 "You are the one that possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness." - Diane von Furstenberg

 "I was smart enough to go through any door that opened." - Joan Rivers

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations can never effect a reform." - Susan B. Anthony

 "When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful." - Malala Yousafzai

 "Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." - Golda Meir

 "Knowing what must be done does away with fear." - Rosa Parks

 "I didn't get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it." - Estée Lauder

 "Power's not given to you. You have to take it." - Beyoncé Knowles Carter

 "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." - Amelia Earhart

"The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves." - Barbara Corcoran

"You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them." - Shonda Rhimes

 "Beware of monotony; it's the mother of all the deadly sins." - Edith Wharton

"If you don't risk anything, you risk even more." - Erica Jong

 "I have stood on a mountain of no's for one yes." - B. Smith

"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." - Peggy O'Mara

 "You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe." - Leymah Gbowee

"If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one." - Dolly Parton

22. "If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind. If you don't, you're simply ducking your responsibilities." - Ann Richards

 "You can't give up! If you give up, you're like everybody else." - Chris Evert

"No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth." - Martha Beck

"Done is better than perfect." - Sheryl Sandberg

 "One of the secrets to staying young is to always do things you don't know how to do, to keep learning." - Ruth Reichl

 "One cannot accomplish anything without fanaticism." - Eva Perón

 "Look your best - who said love is blind?" - Mae West

"It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent." - Madeleine Albright

"What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." - Jane Goodall

 "I firmly believe you never should spend your time being the former anything." - Condoleezza Rice

 "I may be wearing makeup, but I can throw a fastball by you at the same time." - Jennie Finch

"A good compromise is one where everybody makes a contribution." - Angela Merkel

 "A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done." - Marge Piercy

"If your home environment is good and peaceful and easy, your life is better and easier." - Lori Greiner
"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." - Coco Chanel

 "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." - Ayn Rand

 "Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." - Mother Teresa

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation." - Ruth Bader Ginsburg

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." - Nora Ephron

 "You should treat your marriage like a business that you wouldn't want to let fail." - Lisa Ling

 "It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody." - Maya Angelou

 "Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay." - Simone de Beauvoir

 "If you're not making some notable mistakes along the way, you're certainly not taking enough business and career chances." - Sallie Krawcheck

 "A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence." - Sonia Sotomayor

 "Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for." - Jennifer Lopez

 "You can be the lead in your own life." - Kerry Washington

 "When you feel copied, remember that people can only go where you have already been, they have no idea where you are going next." - Liz Lange*

 "Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you." - Hillary Clinton

 "You can't please everyone, and you can't make everyone like you." - Katie Couric

 "No one changes the world who isn't obsessed." - Billie Jean King

 "Hold your head and your standards high even as people or circumstances try to pull you down." - Tory Johnson*

 "The best thing to hold onto in life is each other." - Audrey Hepburn

"Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from." - Jodie Foster

 "I am always busy, which is perhaps the chief reason why I am always well." - Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 "I learned a long time ago that there is something worse than missing the goal, and that's not pulling the trigger." - Mia Hamm

"When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it." - Madonna

"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it." - Brene Brown

 "I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself." - Arianna Huffington
"I'm always perpetually out of my comfort zone." - Tory Burch

 "If you can't go straight ahead, you go around the corner." - Cher

 "If you don't get out of the box you've been raised in, you won't understand how much bigger the world is." - Angelina Jolie

"Everyone shines, given the right lighting." - Susan Cain

 "If you're someone people count on, particularly in difficult moments, that's a sign of a life lived honorably." - Rachel Maddow

 "You can't be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute." - Tina Fey 

 "If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing." - Margaret Thatcher

"The challenge is not to be's to be whole." - Jane Fonda

 "Don't look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance." - Anne Lamott

 "There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there." - Indira Gandhi

 "All careers go up and down like friendships, like marriages, like anything else, and you can't bat a thousand all the time." - Julie Andrews

 "If somebody can do something 80 percent as good as you think you would have done it yourself, then you've got to let it go." - Sara Blakely

"You have trust in what you think. If you splinter yourself and try to please everyone, you can't." - Annie Leibovitz

 "If you find someone you love in your life, then hang on to that love." - Princess Diana

 "We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better." - J.K. Rowling

 "We need to start work with the idea that we're going to learn every day. I learn, even at my position, every single day." - Chanda Coacher

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." - Rachel Zoe

 "When I believe in something, I'm like a dog with a bone." - Melissa McCarthy

 "Women asking for raises should not only know their value, but they should ask with the confidence that they're helping the company to be successful." - Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

 "Whenever you are blue or lonely or stricken by some humiliating thing you did, the cure and the hope is in caring about other people." - Diane Sawyer

"I need to listen well so that I hear what is not said." - Thuli Madonsela

 "It's not the absence of fear, it's overcoming it. Sometimes you've got to blast through and have faith." - Emma Watson

 "When I'm tired, I rest. I say, 'I can't be a superwoman today.'" - Jada Pinkett Smith

Friday, February 13, 2015

The slow dance....

I was writing a post about music and while writing it I of course listened to music and a slow love song came on and then I got to thinking.....when was the last time I slow danced?

Sounds silly huh? I am not a dancer my moves look like those of Elaine from Seinfeld. Though I do have a mean car seat dance and let’s not forget the sitting on a stool in a club seat dance! But the slow dance is one that is meant for two and it has sent many a middle schooler or Jr High student into a complete tizzy, and it has set many an adult relationship in motion.

I remember being a young girl at St. Mary's Elementary and going to my first dance. I was scared to death! Back then I could get away with some swaying a fist pumping as my upbeat dance and didn't look like a complete dork. (Ok maybe I did but for the sake of this story I am going to go with I

didn't.) However, when the upbeat dance music stopped you were then in the dreaded slow dance mode.

I recall it like it was yesterday it was like a slow motion game of musical chairs, guys awkwardly standing on one side and girls on the other while the DJ encourages the boys to find a girl to ask to dance. Girls in their clicks giggling and staring at the boys, yet trembling hoping that "he" would pick her.

I too had that I hope "he" picks me moment several times. Alas, it never happened, I'd get paired up with some poor guy that felt it was his obligation to dance or be forced to look like a loser standing alone.

I think there were several reasons I was not picked to slow dance within the top 15 girls. 1) I was not a cute girl, I was like many at that age, at a very awkward stage 2) I was taller than most of the boys and what boy wants to dance with a girl taller than him? and 3) I was not one of the cool girls. So 3 strikes and you’re out ....right??

I am happy to say I lived through my middle school years and on to my high school years were I outgrew some of my awkwardness and "blossomed" a bit if you will. I did get to slow dance with boys at dances albeit I was terrified doing so. I've since learned to love the slow dance.

So back to my reason for this post...... to talk about the slow dance. When writing the music post and the types of songs that you slow dance to were playing, what popped into my mind was this.... as an adult there are limited opportunities to slow dance let’s face it; it is usually at  weddings maybe a party or two but that’s it! So my hope for you and me is this ... that you are swept off your feet and asked to slow dance by those you love. Slow dancing lets you slow down and enjoy those you are with or those you seek. The slow dance says I am taking time for you and want to be with you and only you. So grab the one you love or the one you like and suprise them with a slow dance... it may spark something or just let someone close to you know you care.


Friday, February 6, 2015

A letter to my younger self.....

We've all said it "if I knew then what I know now" it is true with age comes wisdom and experience and most of the time the experience is what shapes us and without it we may be on a different path. Just think for a minute if you were able to give your younger self advice, some of it might lead you to a different life and some may just steer you clear of some of the landmines along your given path.

Me at 23
Me at 40

I was encouraged recently to take a look back to see how far I have come. In looking back at old pictures and reflecting on my life it was clear the first thing I would tell my younger self is ......that hair is not working for you!! And thank goodness you found wax for those eyebrows!!! WoW!!! In all seriousness, there is a lot of life advice I would give my younger self and not all of it is about fashion!

So here is my letter to my younger self

Dear Steph,
Well, you are in your early 20’s and you feel stifled and trapped. There is an end to all of this though you do and don’t control when that end happens. The next 10 years are going to shape you and they will jade you, be careful what you hold onto and be willing to let go as well. The following 10 years will open you up to love and opportunity you never dreamed possible.

Your anxieties will get worse, you won’t feel safe in your own home, your self-esteem will be virtually non-existent, and people you love will hurt you. Please know that those people who hurt you, they do it because they, too, are suffering. It’s not your fault. They hurt others because they are hurting. You don’t have to put up with that in your life. Speak up!

Not everyone is “out to get you”. You must learn to trust, a life without trust is a lonely one and you have a lot to offer the world. You will be tested by some you never thought would hurt you, it won't be the end of the world and you will recover. Deal with these situations head on don't bottle up your feelings, they are yours and you are entitled to them and entitled to let them be seen and heard. It will take a long time for you to fully trust others. Forgiveness will come but it will take time, and special people will come along who will show you how to love and trust, hold on to them.

Seek out others who will see the good in you as well as your potential, believe them when they tell you that you are bright and worthy. They will be your salvation and will allow you to blossom into the friend, employee, wife, and mother and good person you have always dreamed of becoming. Friends at all stages will make you see that there is a better life out there and that it is yours for the taking. Listen to them, confide in them and never take for granted having them enter your life, but most of all hold on to those you really care about.

Don’t avoid the things, places or people that make you anxious. You know those freak-outs you have before social events, or when meeting new people those are panic attacks. One day you will be so ruled by them that you will shut yourself off from the world…Don’t…. you can and will overcome and conquer these fears. You don’t know it now but one day you will speak in front of an entire organization and you will live to tell about it.

Never stop dreaming. That life-long dream you have of becoming an executive? You accomplish it at 39. I know, pretty awesome huh? You will exceed your life’s dreams but don’t stop there keep climbing. Never settle.

Sports and your athleticism will lead you to life experiences you never thought achievable. Enjoy the ride and the journey, for it will be a cathartic one for you in the years ahead.

I know right now you don’t know much about positive thinking, keep trying to be positive, and don’t listen to those people who call you unrealistic. What they don’t know is that it is that optimism that will get you through the years to come, and start you on an amazing journey that will lead you to living an amazing life.
You will be made to realize how brave and strong you are, embrace that, own it, and know you are strong and brave and can handle all that life throws your way.

Believe in signs, they are the tipping point on the proverbial decision scale when you are unsure which way to go. One might also consider it following your gut. Either way don't ignore either... they will guide you in the right direction though you may not always appreciate the outcome.

Some of the coming years will be dark, but there is so much light, so much good, waiting for you on the other side. Everything you are going through will be worth it, and everything these tough times teach you, about yourself, about others, and about life, will one day serve to make you very strong.

Be selfish, but not so much so that you lose yourself or become arrogant. By being a little selfish you will learn to take care of you first, which will be very important in the years to come.

Most of all: Be kind to yourself. You are so worthy of love and respect, but it starts with you. Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place. Make loving yourself your number one priority.

I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know that, no matter how unbearable it all seems, and how lost you feel, you will get through it; you will find your way.

It’s all going to be okay.

I Love You.