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Introducing…Rocky!

In March Millie Pup officially marked her first anniversary as a House. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. It feels like just yesterday that she looked like this and was small enough to tuck under my arm…

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Our little 5 month old pup!

Now she’s a big, strong running machine. She’s 15 months old and¬†70+ lbs to boot!

And like most runners, she's really good at the post-run nap ;)

And like most runners, she’s really good at the post-run nap ;)

Recently though it seemed like something was missing…and by something, I mean someone. The time had finally come to add a second pup dog to the House family! It took a few months and many meetings with potential pups, but we finally found the perfect addition. While I wanted to bring each and every dog¬†we met home, it was really important to us that our newest addition¬†meet the following qualifications:

  • A great buddy for Millie – a¬†must!
  • Active and ready to run – duuuuh ;)
  • Sweet disposition and a happy go lucky, “lab” attitude

And when I laid eyes on Rocky, I knew he was the one we’d been waiting for. We found him through an amazing labrador rescue group, Great Lakes Lab Rescue, and I can’t tell you enough¬†how lovely it was to work with them. Patty made the entire process streamline, and after reading our application she called within an hour proclaiming that she had just the pup for us. And boy was she right!

Mr. Rocky at Dupage Animal Control

Mr. Rocky at DuPage Animal Control

This is Rocky’s profile picture from the DuPage Animal Control. He’s 10 months old, and he’d been surrendered by his previous owner to the shelter 2 weeks prior. This sweet pup was neglected in his old¬†home. He was kept in a crate for 8+ hours during the day and only let out to eat and take bathroom breaks. He wasn’t exercised, and fluid built up on his elbows from all of the hours spent lying down. It’s called a hygroma (I’m learning all sorts of new things!), and thankfully it doesn’t seem to hurt him and we’re already working on treatment :)

When he¬†was allowed out of his crate, his owner would muzzle him because he was “destructive.” But if anyone’s every known a 10 month old pup they know that they’re more puppy than dog, and everything within grasp is a potential chew toy. Add lack of mental stimulation and exercise to the mix and it’s no wonder he was interested in chewing everything. I’m thrilled to report that in the two weeks he’s been with us he hasn’t destroyed anything of significance (minus one minor incident with a book, ha!), and he’s one of the sweetest pups I’ve ever met.

We have some work to do in the training department, but we start our first class on Manners & Self Control tomorrow night :)

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It’s amazing what two weeks of love, exercise and training can do for a pup’s appearance. I think we have a happy boy on our hands!

And not only do he and Millie get along like they’ve been lifelong buddies, but he’s an incredible runner! He settles into the run quickly and runs with great efficiency. Sometimes he looks at me mid-run and I swear he’s thinking, “So when are we really going to start running?!” Meanwhile, I’m huffing and puffy down the trail ;)

Rocky and Millie <3 It's puppy love!

Rocky and Millie – It’s puppy love! <3

While the blog name won’t be changing, it might be more appropriate to call it Run with Pups¬†– ha! :D I’m so thrilled to have found a playmate for Millie, and he’s already proven to be a big love bug who not only enjoys runs but is a pro-snuggler too. What’s not to love?!

Here’s to many happy runs together!

Spring Training…Commence!

Spring training is officially underway!

Our first long run was a very muddy experience - but so much fun!

Our first long run was a very muddy experience – but so much fun!

Hubs and I are running the Chicago Spring Half Marathon in May, and we’ve logged a full week of training thus far. I always enjoy our runs together. It’s the perfect time to touch base, encourage each other (especially when my legs feel like lead!) and share the feeling of achievement after each run. We trained for and ran a half together in 2013 leading up to our wedding, and I’m so thrilled to be running together again!

It's possible Millie trudges through each and every mud puddle - which means it's bath time!

It’s possible Millie trudges through each and every mud puddle – which means it’s bath time!

Millie Pup is also loving our training schedule (it’s her first running season!), as she joins us for nearly every run. So far she’s run up to 5 miles, and she still has an almost limitless amount of energy. She still had enough left in the tank¬†to turn a toilet paper roll into confetti this week…

It's a good thing she's cute!

It’s a good thing she’s cute…

I hope everyone’s spring training is going well!

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Disney Princess Half Marathon – Escape from Chiberia

Where’s the most magical place on earth? Why, I do believe it’s Disney World!

My best friend, T, and I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon this past weekend, and I’m so glad we planned to run this race together. We signed up waaaaaay back in early 2014 when registration opened, and it’s a good thing we did because it sold out in a matter of days. And now I know why…it’s an amazing race!

We flew down on Friday and went directly to the race expo to pick up our bibs. Characters were already waiting to take pictures with us, which of course we took full advantage of.

We picked up our race bibs and snapped a pic with Snow White - we're already starting to feel like princesses!

We picked up our race bibs and snapped a pic with Snow White at the expo center. Let the magic begin!

We spent Saturday exploring Epcot. I think we can say that we’ve now experienced all Epcot has to offer. My personal favorite? No shocker here, but it’s food centric ;) Hibachi dinner in “Japan” for our carbo-filled dinner. Delicious!

Sunday morning we left our hotel room by 4am to drive to Epcot where we hit an insane amount of traffic. I can honestly say this was the most stressed I’ve ever been before a race, mostly because I wasn’t convinced we’d even make it there on time. Lesson learned! Always leave even more time than anticipated, roger that :)

But we made it! Our support crew (aka our “princes”¬†– thanks, fellas!)¬†walked us as far as they could and then bid us adieu. T and I¬†then started the fairly long walk from the parking lot to the race start. But I have to say, corral M was where it was at. We had a group Journey-themed sing-a-long at the race start and were greeted by fireworks at the word “GO!”

Early into the race we snapped a picture with the Disney princes. It was so worth the wait! Where else can you find that many princes in one place? Hubba, hubba!

Early into the race we snapped a picture with the Disney princes. It was so worth the wait! Where else can you find that many princes in one place? Hubba, hubba!

This race is easily the most entertaining 13.1 miles I’ve ever run. Everywhere you turned¬†you were greeted with¬†characters, music, aid stations…and we can’t forget everyone’s stellar costumes! Any time we started thinking about how tired our legs were becoming, we’d distract ourselves by looking around at the surrounding costumes. Some people seriously stepped up their costume game!

Running into Magic Kingdom!

Running into Magic Kingdom!

We dressed as Ana and Elsa from Frozen. T¬†found us some sweet Sparkle skirts and capes¬†which we complimented with Frozen temporary tattoos and running tanks. I did break¬†the cardinal rule and ran in something I didn’t practice in, but the skirt and cape were so comfortable – I didn’t have a single issue!

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Once in Magic Kingdom we ran towards Cinderella’s Castle – perfect time to pull off onto the sidewalk for a selfie!

I’m not going to lie, I may have teared up a few times during this race. I always get choked up when I see the first female runner going towards the finish (how inspiring!!), but running in Disney with one of my best friends took me over-the-top on the happiness scale. This was T’s first half marathon ever, and I wanted her to have the best experience possible. We both looooove all things Disney. Our dorm room in college sported many Disney princesses :D So running this race together was very¬†appropriate. And I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly impressed I was by her attitude and running! Near the end of my first half marathon I was not a happy camper (you know those thoughts, “Why in the world did I decide to do this?!”), but T had a great attitude the whole time, ran hard and even finished the last two miles faster than the previous 11 all while sporting¬†a head cold. Serious champ status if you ask me! So I may have gotten choked up a bit when we saw the leading female runner (who went on to win the race in a costume – you go, girl!), when we saw Cinderella’s castle and when we crossed the finish line hand-in-hand <3

Once in Magic Kingdom we saw Woody and made a beeline for him. I think we were some of his most excited runners all day!

Once in Magic Kingdom we saw Woody and made a beeline. I think we were some of his most excited runners all day because he gave us a great welcome!

Next we ran through Cinderella’s castle (and by run I mean waddle because there were so many princesses, ha!) and then started our run back towards Epcot. It got a little warm near the end of the race, but some well timed clouds kept us fairly shaded. I was very thankful for¬†them!

We crossed the finish line holding hands and cheering¬†(woooo!)¬†which was short lived because we were almost killed by a man dressed as Olaf because he thought it’d be funny to take a bow (yes, you read that correctly) at the finish line. LITERALLY, at the finish line…when thousands of runners were coming up behind us¬†running the final stretch of the race…this man decided to be a ham and bow to the photographers at the finish. My dear sir, this is a terrible idea and we narrowly missed a giant runner pile-up. If you’re reading this…please, never do that again. I beg you!

Despite our near catastrophe at the finish line, we had a really incredible and fun race. It took us 3 hours to finish, but the time flew by. Our goal for the day was to cross the finish line having experienced all the race had to offer, and I can definitely say that we achieved that!

Thanks for all of your love and support, Hubs! And for driving us all around Disney to get to the race start ;)

Thanks for all of your love and support, Hubs! And for driving us all around Disney to get to the race start ;)

I also have to acknowledge the importance of cross-training in general. I’ve always been one of those I-only-run-ever-what-the-heck-is-cross-training kind of runners, but since falling in love with yoga¬†and weight training, I’ve seen the light. I had fewer training runs¬†for this race than previous races I’ve completed, but all of the¬†heated yoga and sculpt classes this winter definitely paid off. I have more strength in my upper body than I’ve ever had before, and I could feel myself better supported during the later miles of the race. Instead of allowing my body to sink in on itself from fatigue (think less princess and more hunchback of Notre Dame style), I was able to keep my core strong and allow my shoulders to relax¬†down¬†my back. I’m a convert – count me in for cross-training from here on out.

I would absolutely recommend the Disney Princess Half Marathon to fellow runners. I wouldn’t expect this to ever be a PR opportunity because of the crazy¬†number¬†of runners, but if you’re looking for a light-hearted, well organized and absolutely fun race…then this may be the race for you. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to get out of Chiberia in February? I actually have tan lines – can you imagine? It’s a miracle!

My personal favorite photo from race weekend. T and I made it home from the race and took the chance to hydrate, stretch and shower. This is what we came home to - the boys were passed out. Spectating is hard work ;) I kid, we love you guys!! <3

My personal favorite photo from race weekend. T and I made it home from the race and took the chance to hydrate, stretch and shower. This is what we came home to – the boys were passed out. Spectating is hard work ;) I kid, we love you guys!! <3

Yoga Under the Stars

Have you ever practiced yoga outside? What about under the stars?!

This weekend, Hubs and I joined our friends for a yoga class at the Adler Planetarium. What an incredible experience! We practiced in the Grainger Sky Theater, and as we looked skyward we were greeted with incredibly beautiful pictures of the night sky, our galaxy and much more!

Be had to snap a group picture before class began. Once we started practicing the entire room went dark. Practicing in the dark is an experience - especially for your balance!

Be had to snap a group picture before class began. Once we started practicing the entire room went dark. Practicing in the dark is an experience – especially for your balance!

While practicing I kept thinking of the magnitude of our solar system. I did some research, and I think this quote sums up my feelings perfectly:

“It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

What an inspiration place to practice!

What an inspirational place to practice!

And of course, we had to check out the view of Chicago from the Planetarium. What an incredible city!

Hubs and I being cheesy :)

Hubs and I being cheesy :)

I hope everyone’s Monday is off to a wonderful start!

Everything in Moderation

Remember when we chatted about the yamas and niyamas of yoga? One I’ve been thinking about lately¬†is brahmacharya – the practice of moderation.

Brahmacharya (moderation, non-excess):¬†Brahmacharya teaches us to recognize that moment of “just enough” so we don’t move past it into uncomfortable excess. Maybe it’s by pushing away the plate of french fries or using our pent-up energy for a run. By focusing inward, we keep our bodies healthy and energetic. (Lululemon)

Is there anywhere in your life where you’d like to practice a little more brahmacharya? With my recent life changes I’ve been trying to find more balance, and brahmacharya certainly plays a role here. Currently I’m learning to balance the following:

  • Running
  • Yoga Practice & Teacher Training
  • Work (post to come – but I’m officially a Lululemon Educator!)
  • Cooking & Food Planning
  • Friends & Family
  • Time with Hubs
  • Training Pup Dog
  • Blogging!

I feel so blessed to have the time and energy to devote to these pursuits. Now my goal is to continue finding balance and practice moderation in all areas.

Is there anywhere in your life where you’d like to practice balance or moderation? I should probably take a closer look at my chocolate consumption ;)