Monday, August 21, 2017

Accountability Monday: 8/21/17

Good morning, friends! I hope you had a great weekend full of all the things you love!

The end of August always is a very hectic time for me at work- all our students return on Wednesday so this week/weekend is full of planning welcome events and then executing them.

The end of August is also a very celebrative time as Matthew's birthday is tomorrow! And this year's he's celebrating a very special year... he'll be 40 years young in just a few hours :-)

Happy birthday, Matthew!

Tuesday: 30 minutes, 2.42 miles
Friday: Squats, lunges, and dead lifts per this workout from Women's Running- 2 sets of 10 reps each
Saturday: 7 miles on the trail, 1:32:16, 13:10 pace with negative splits

So maybe doing squats and lunges the night before running the longest you've run in three months isn't the greatest idea? Yeah, I've been struggling to sit down/stand up for two days. LOL.

Best Run
Even though my quads were trashed, and sometimes I felt like death, Saturday's long run was still awesome. I've got nine miles on tap for this weekend- but this time I won't do any squats the night before. :-)

Bravo Moment
I ran the last mile of Saturday's long run in my sports bra because it was 80 damn degrees outside and we were running in full sun. I was a little self-conscious as I don't have the typical "runner's body" of someone who might be comfortable running in just a sports bra in public. But like I said, it was so damn hot that I got over my fear and just went for it. And it was much, much cooler without my tank!

Quote of the Week
This really resonated with me this week. Part of being more mindful is accepting where I am, rather than where I "used" to be- and if I'm currently in the midst of the "struggle" then maybe I need to accept it, learn from it, and help it motivate me to be where I want to be.

Don't forget! You can still enter my giveaway to get a FREE race entry to the Runner's World Half & Festival! The giveaway runs until 8/23 and you can tweet every day to get more entries! 

Friday, August 18, 2017

RW Half & Festival: Come Run With Me!

The Runner's World Half & Festival holds a very, very special place in my heart. The beautiful city of Bethlehem, the changing leaves and perfect running weather in October, the super cool expo speakers, the opportunity to meet and run with editors from Runner's World...  it all adds up to one awesome running weekend.

Photo credit: Runner's World

But I've actually never even run any of the races during the RW Half & Festival Weekend! So, how can I love a race so much when I've never crossed the starting line? Let's rewind to October 2014....

If you've been a long-time reader of this blog, then you know I suffered a second metatarsal stress fracture in September 2014 and was on a knee scooter/non-weight bearing for seven long, torturous weeks. I missed several races that fall and winter- one of which was the "Hat Trick" at RW Half & Festival. I was supposed to run the 5k and 10k on Saturday and then the half on Sunday. Instead, I found myself cheering on lots of friends, volunteering at the expo, and stalking Bart Yasso all weekend 😊

And I had an AWESOME time! Even though I couldn't run, I still got to chat with Runner's World editors/staff, hang out in between races with friends, and just enjoy the atmosphere of a weekend catered to runners of all levels.

We met Mandy for the first time this weekend!

Then in 2015, I returned to Bethlehem, not to run, but to cheer on several runners/friends that were in town to run the race. The steel stacks are only two hours from my home so I couldn't not make the trip to see Dani (Weight Off My Shoulders), Linzie (Sharp Endurance), Jenna (This Princess Runs For Sparkle) and Kristin (Bama Girl Runs) who had traveled from all over the country/state for the races!


So, is it any surprise that I am SO EXCITED to head back to Bethlehem this fall and actually get to run the "Grand Slam" as part of the RW Half & Festival Run Crew?! I literally cannot wait!

I'll be running all the races during the weekend (minus the Kids Race and the Dog Run): a 3.8 mile trail race on Friday, 5k and 10k on Saturday, and the half marathon on Sunday.

Want to join me for one of the best race weekends on the east coast??

The awesomely generous folks at Runner's World have given me one FREE RACE ENTRY for any of the weekend's events to giveaway to one lucky blog reader! See details below for your chance to win!

Giveaway Rules: This giveaway will run until 8/23/17 at midnight. At that time, rafflecopter randomly selects a winner from all the entries. The more points you accumulate, the more entries you can get- make sure to tweet about the giveaway every day to get more chances to win!

I will contact the winner on 8/23/17 by email and will give a two day window to respond/claim the prize. If I have not heard from the winner by midnight on 8/25/17, I will draw another name/winner from the rafflecopter list.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't happen to win the free entry, you can still get a 10% discount on any of the weekend's races by using the code "SPARKLYRUNNER" at checkout. 

Good luck and see you in Bethlehem!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Accountability Monday: 8/14/17

Hola, friends! I am so excited to post this morning because I can finally share some awesome news that I received a few weeks ago- read on to find out how this benefits YOU!

Wednesday: 3.1 miles, 12:41 pace
Saturday: 3.1 miles, 12:10 pace

This week, I finally was able to start running again with no issues from the pneumonia. It has been about seven weeks since I have been able to run consistently without any chest pain or coughing. Since there are only three weeks (!) until the Harrisburg Half Marathon, I'm going to have to really compress my training into the time I have left. I'm planning a seven miler this weekend, a nine miler the following weekend, and then a five miler the following weekend. Luckily, the Harrisburg Half is a walker-friendly race so I'll be able to run some of the race and walk when and as much as I need.

Best Run
Definitely the run on Saturday morning with Matthew. I felt really strong and even managed a sub-12 minute mile in there. Slowly I'll get back to pre-pneumonia shape. :-)

Bravo Moment
Ok, so here's the news I've been waiting to share- I've been selected to be part of the Runner's World Half Marathon Run Crew!!!

So, what's the big deal? In addition to a whole host of goodies, giveaways, and exclusive opportunities during the Runner's World Half & Festival Weekend, the awesome folks at Runner's World have extended the generosity and are giving you some cool stuff as well!

More details will be coming in a post this week, but in short, I've got a 10% discount code for you to register for the event (use "SPARKLYRUNNER" at checkout), a FREE race registration for one lucky follower, and an extra RW Half & Festival Swag Bag (worth $100+) to give away!

Seriously, how cool is that?! I can't wait to tell you more about the Run Crew program and why I'm so excited to be headed back to Bethlehem this October.

Quote of the Week
Because I'm super pumped to see him again at RW's Half & Festival, here's a good one by the "Mayor of Running" himself, Bart Yasso.

Make it a good week, friends!

Who will I see in Bethlehem this fall for the Runner's World Half & Festival?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday

Got my CT scan results back... and I'm back on another round of antibiotics.
Fingers crossed this will cure the pneumonia once and for all. 

Congratulations to Sarah P. winner of the Disney quote medal holder giveaway!

New shoes πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Woo! I made it on the Top 100 Running Blog list again this week!

Drinks with dinner tonight because we have something super cool and running-related to celebrate- details coming soon!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Accountability Monday: 7/24/17

Well here we are, another Monday. Here's to coffee strong enough to get through the day! 😁

Since my last accountability post was just last Wednesday, this one will be short and sweet. 

In case you missed it, this blog turned four on Saturday! I'm giving away a pretty sweet prize and you've still got time to enter the giveaway (ends 7/29/17)- details are in this post. And, you can tweet every day to get more entries! Good luck!

Wednesday: Harrisburg Mile Race, 10:04 unofficial
Thursday: PT Knee workout
Saturday: 2.57 miles walked, 40:44

Even though I PR'd the mile on Wednesday night (an automatic PR because I've never done a mile race before), I think I pushed a little too hard. My lungs hurt a bit afterward and it brought on another coughing fit. It feels significantly better today so I just need to stick to walking and light running for a few more weeks. With fall races just around the corner, it looks like I'll be walking a lot of the training miles. 

Best Run
The Harrisburg Mile was super fun- we ran along the Susquehanna River downtown and even though it was hot, it was still a pretty enjoyable mile.

A post shared by Sarah (@sparklyrunner) on

Bravo Moment
This weekend, my in-laws celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary! How awesome is that? Anyway, Matthew and I spent the weekend at their house and while my mother-in-law was changing out some pictures in picture frames, she came across this picture of Matthew and I from summer 2012 (left) and a picture of us from this past Mother's Day. Even though I have gained some weight, I can still really tell the difference in how I look in these two pictures. Seeing these was a great visual reminder of how far I've come and why I want to keep tracking and trying. Also, I'm ending the week with a few smart points left over- that's two weeks in a row!

Matthew has stayed as handsome as ever. ❤

Quote of the Week
... might have something to do with my giveaway. And my fall race dreams- maybe I'll be chasing a new half marathon PR?! Like the man says...

Have a great week, friends- make it awesome!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Happy 4th Birthday, Sparkly Runner!

Four years ago today (!), I started this blog and shared my very first post. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine how this little blog would grow and change and develop- nor did I imagine all the wonderful people I would meet, both online or in real life. Thank you for reading these last few years. πŸ’–

In honor of Sparkly Runner's fourth birthday, here are two "fab four" lists, a trip down memory lane, and a sweet giveaway for one lucky reader!


4. New Run/Walk/Run Strategy from Jeff Galloway I'm kind of surprised this one made the top four- I guess folks like the Galloway method!

3. 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Review Ok, this post is the third-most read on my blog and I didn't even write it! 😎 One of the bloggers that I stalked followed leading up to the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon, Matt from Hokeyblog, and I partnered up to switch race recaps as he ran the half and I walked the 5k- my first one back after the stress fracture. You can read my recap on his blog here.

2. 2014 Race Recap & Review: Harrisburg Half Marathon This was an awesome race (even though I ran it on a broken foot) and I cannot wait to run it again in September.

1. Accountability Monday: 9/29/14 Again, somewhat surprised that this one is the most-viewed post on my blog but google analytics doesn't lie. This was right after the first race I missed because of my stress fracture. What I thought would be a soul-crushing weekend ended up being really amazing and supportive- my running ohana are the absolute best.


4. Character Photo Ops at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend This was the first time I participated in a virtual blog hop and I got to meet some really cool bloggers/runners as we were linking our posts together. And writing about runDisney character spots is one of my absolute favorite things to write about!

3. Race Recap & Review: Run Swim Run OBX My first not-just-running event was super scary but also super empowering. I loved doing it and loved writing about doing it too!

2. Promises I go back to this post often to remind myself that I am capable of discipline, hard work, and success.

1. Spectating the Inaugural Pop Art Half Marathon There are no other words to describe this experience other than pure magic. This post still brings tears to my eyes rereading it and remember what a special day it was.


Ok friends, because you've stuck with me for four years, I've got a giveaway for one lucky reader!

Pretty cool, right? Follow the directions below to enter to win!

My absolute favorite medal holders come from York Sign Shop so I want to give one away to one of my readers (as in, I buy it and ship it to you). And what better holder than one with a quote from Walt himself?!

Some rules for this giveaway- it will run until 7/29/17 at midnight. At that time, rafflecopter randomly selects a winner from all the entries. The more points you accumulate, the more entries you can get- make sure to tweet about the giveaway every day to get more chances to win!

I will contact the winner on 7/29/17 by email and will give a two day window to respond/claim the prize. If I have not heard from the winner by midnight on 7/31/17, I will draw another name/winner from the rafflecopter list.

Good luck!

And thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking with me the last few years- y'all rock!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Accountability Wednesday (?): 7/19/2017

Hello and happy Wednesday! Some weekends just slip by me and I don't get a chance to get an Accountability Monday post together until Wednesday. 😊

Anyway, here's an update on my pneumonia. I had another CT scan about 10 days ago and I'm still waiting to hear the results. Fingers crossed the last round of antibiotics worked and the infection is on its way to being 100% gone. I have been able to walk (and run- slowly!) a little this week with no lung issues so I'm feeling pretty confident that the infection is healing.

Tuesday: 1.8 mile walk with Matthew
Friday: 10 minute walk, 10 minutes of leg presses and calf raises, 10 minutes of walk/run- 1:1 intervals

This evening Matthew and I will be running the Harrisburg Mile in the "fun run" heat, not the competitive age-group waves as we'd originally planned. I will most likely run/walk the mile, depending on how I feel tonight. Tune into my instagram around 6 pm as I'm sure I'll be posting selfies from the race. πŸ˜‰

Best Run
Definitely running on the treadmill on Friday night. It felt awesome to be able to run again, even if it was only for a few minutes.

Bravo Moment
Last weekend, I attended my first WW Focus workshop. These workshops are designed to be totally different from a Weight Watchers meeting- and they are really, truly different. The session I attended was all about techniques designed to help you get more in touch with your body, heart, and mind. There was meditation, breathing exercises, and something called "tapping"- a practice designed to help reduce anxiety.

I have to say, I went into this workshop not knowing what to expect and then being blown away by how helpful it was. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but I'm proud I kept an open mind. I've even tried some of the techniques this week and have found them helpful.

AND! There's a second bravo this week- I HAVE POINTS LEFT OVER! Yup, that's right, I have NINE smart points left from my weekly budget. This never happens. Like ever. I think the last time I had points leftover was well over a year ago. It finally feels like I'm back on track and in control of my eating habits after the last few months of chaos and lack of discipline.

Still not sure how this happened.

Quote of the Week

Be like a lotus- grow in the mud!

Friends, make sure you come back here this weekend... you won't want to miss Saturday's post! πŸ˜ƒ

Have a great week!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Race Recap & Review: Vinewinder (Harrisburg Area YMCA Race Series)

On the second Saturday of May, Matthew and I completed the first race of the 2017 Harrisburg Area YMCA Race Series: the Vinewinder- a four mile race in and around the Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey. Fun fact, this is where I had my bachelorette party before the wedding!

We decided to register for this race for several reasons:
  • A "new-to-us" race and course
  • Free beer or wine at the end of the race
  • Low entry fee- just $35- and we were able to get 10% off by booking the first day registration opened
  • Free race photos
  • Did I mention free beer or wine??
The morning of May 13th was absolutely miserable. It was cold, windy, and rainy. Still, we were running for free wine, so we made the hour-long trek up to Hershey. Packet pick-up was super easy and there was even an indoor REAL bathroom to use before the race!

Packet pick-up on the right, start/finish line on the left.

At least the rain was good for the vines!

The start and finish were in the same place, just down the lane of the entrance to the brewery/vineyard. The race started without a lot of fanfare and the runners began to chip away on the hilly course around the vineyard. And let me tell you, it was pretty damn hilly. In fact, right around mile three, there was a sign that said "now entering sour grapes hill." It was one of those hills that just feels like it goes on foreveeeeeeer. 

Our smiles just before the "big" hill. Source: Penn Images

At least they warned us...

Ok, so it doesn't look so bad here, just trust me that it was a long, big hill :-)

After we conquered the last long hill, we made our way back to the vineyard and the finish line. It was still raining so all of the festivities were moved inside one of the big buildings. There was a band, lots of food, and free beer or wine! We also were able to get a little print out of our race results including our time and gender/age place. Despite the hills, I had a new PR! Granted the last time I ran a 4 mile race was 2013, but still, a PR is a PR- 4 hilly miles in 48:30. 

Photo: Penn Images

What's better than pretzels and beer?

Overall, this was a fun race, despite the crappy weather. A challenging course with good food and good beverages afterward for an affordable race entry fee- my kinda race! But I think what I liked the most from this race was the shirt. Not only is it super soft, but it also features a 100% true statement:


Will we do this one again? Probably! Fingers crossed for better weather in 2018!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Very Patriotic Accountability Tuesday

Good morning, friends!

To those of you reading in the US....

I am writing today from the most beautiful beach town in America, Cape May, NJ! We are here celebrating the birth of America and the birth of my fantastic husband (a smidge early)! So far, we've had fabulous weather and I'm only -4 smart points for the week- a small miracle considering being away from home/routines is really tough for me.

I got cleared from my doctor to start some light walking so this morning Matthew and I will be participating in our very own little Independence Day Fun Run [Walk]. The race we usually do this time of year, the Wildwoods Beach 'n Boardwalk 5k, was cancelled for 2017 without any explanation. Which is a shame because we love this one and have done it the last two years in a row.

Anyway, here's what's been happening in my world in the past week:

Wednesday- 1 mile walk with Matthew and our pup, 20ish minutes
Sunday- 3.25 mile bike ride while Matthew ran, 34:29
Monday- 60 minutes of bike riding (maybe 5-7 miles?) all around Cape May

Best Run
N/A. Though yesterday's bike ride was pretty fun.

Bravo Moment
Y'all, I have two bravo moments this week!

1. As a way to save money- and eat well while on vacation- Matthew and I brought groceries down to the beach and have been making our breakfast and lunch every day. Not only does this help us keep more cash in our pockets, but it also helps me budget my points for the day much easier than if we were dining out for every single meal. We've been making overnight oats (oats, blueberries, PB2, vanilla soy milk, and cinnamon) and chicken salad sandwiches (canned chicken, spicy brown mustard, light mayo, and 647 bread) to stay on track and stay on budget; both points-wise and money-wise.

2. I posted a candid picture of me in a bikini on Instagram. I had actually made Matthew take a posed shot that I wanted to use on the blog (oh, the life of a social media/blogger spouse!) but he took some candids that I actually liked more. Mainly because they are more accurate of what I look like, weight-gain and all. I re-read this post recently and it really resonated with me. I've noticed myself shying away from the camera and only posting/sharing pictures where I look "thin" in the last few months- basically since my weight has gone up and not come back down. But really, who gives a crap that I've gained weight? I still wear a bikini in public and feel [mostly] comfortable when I do. And honestly, this is what I look like right now, in the summer of 2017. I don't want to look back on this summer and only have pictures of the beach and the waves; I want to have pictures of me and my amazing husband enjoying the surf and the sand and making memories together.

A post shared by Sarah (@sparklyrunner) on

Quote of the Week


Enjoy your Independence Day, friends!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer Updates

Hello, friends! I know I've been a bit of a ghost around here the past few weeks; real life has been busy and has kept me from writing as much as I'd like.

First, a few positive updates:

A few posts back, I talked about launching a new look for the blog by mid-June. Well, obviously that hasn't happened. I'm having a little trouble getting the new layout to look the way I want it to so it will be delayed for a bit longer. You may notice some small changes I made this weekend (mainly to the header and the sidebar) in the interim until I can implement the new layout.

I'm still struggling with my weight. Each week seems to slip away from me and I haven't followed my plan as much as I need to. But I'm still tracking and still trying so that has to count for something, right? And I've been able to run and do a few strength-training workouts each week- again, not where I'd like to be, but definitely better than where I used to be.

In the last five weeks, I've been to three professional conferences, all requiring travel- just this past week I was in beautiful Niagara Falls, NY. Check out my scenic 4.5 mile run below!

Now, a pretty negative update:

I have pneumonia. After spending some long (but awesome) days at the conference in Niagara Falls last week, I started to have chest pains and shortness of breath on Friday night. The pain was bad enough that I decided to seek emergency treatment. My amazing co-worker Kim took me to the ER and seven hours- and x-rays, fluids, blood tests, pain killers, and a CT scan- later I walked out with a diagnosis of pneumonia and a mass (most likely mucus) in my right lung.

I will follow up with my doctor this week and will get another CT scan in the near future to make sure the mass in my lung is breaking up. My chest pain has subdued a lot since Friday night though it's still tough for me to breathe deep or lay on my right side.


So, how exactly did this happen? I have a strong suspicion that this is left over from the upper respiratory infection I had in late February/March. The last few weeks, I haven't felt like myself; fatigued after a basic workout, constant back and rib cage pain, horrid headaches, a few days of a low-grade fever and nausea, and a stubborn, persistent cough. Looking back, it's easy to see that I should have gotten medical attention sooner- I chalked it up to allergies and figured it would go away on it's own. I've taken a few sick days here or there since March but definitely didn't rest the way I should have.

Long days at work, tons of travel, and not enough rest finally pushed me over the edge last Friday night. While it was a pretty shitty experience being in the hospital all night, I am infinitely glad I went and all the tests were done. Pneumonia is one of those things that can be deadly without timely medical treatment- even in healthy people with strong immune systems.

So, for the foreseeable future, I'll be resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and not doing any activities that require exertion, i.e. running. In fact, the doctors, the nurses, Matthew, my mom, and everyone else immediately told me "no running!" as soon as they found out I had pneumonia. I guess they don't trust that I won't run for the next few weeks! πŸ˜‚ Though I will say, the nurse was impressed that I had just run 4.5 miles the day before I was in the hospital. 

I have to give a huge shout out to Kim- she stayed with me all night in the hospital and then after being discharged at 6 am, she drove us the six hours home by herself (after getting ZERO sleep the night before), just so I could get home to my own bed, get my prescriptions filled, and see my husband and pup. She is the literal BEST co-worker and friend on the planet. Thank you so much, Kim!

Kim and me on the American side of the falls. She is so wonderful ❤

So while you might not see any new running or workout related content shared here in the next few weeks, I've got lots of race recaps to post and I've been experimenting with some new muffin recipes- exciting, right? Ha! As always, thank you for your continued support- y'all rock!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Race Recap & Review: St. Patrick's Day Run Fest

On a bitter cold March morning, I traveled about a half hour from my home to run an 8k during the St. Patrick's Day Run Fest in Hagerstown, MD. Matthew and I planned on running this race together but he was under the weather on race day so I went solo.

This event offered multiple race distances: 5k, 8k, half marathon, one mile walk, and kid's races. Because the 8k distance is one I've only ever raced twice (both times during Shamrock Marathon Weekend in VA Beach), I decided to run the 4.97 mile race.

Arriving in Hagerstown, MD, I quickly found free street parking about a quarter mile from the race start/packet pick-up and then registered for my race inside a beautiful theater. For $30 I got entry to the race, a super cute cotton unisex t-shirt, and a free beer after the race. Sweet! This was easily one of the most simple, well-organized race registrations I've ever seen. After walking my shirt back to the car, and using the indoor bathrooms in the theater (another bonus!) I headed out to the race start and ended up bumping into a friend, Steph. We chatted in the "corral" (based on mile/minute times) until the race started. Fun fact, Steph actually was the officiant at our wedding!

We cute.

The 8k, 5k, and one mile walk started at the same time, 10 am. The half marathon had started an hour earlier. All along the course, there was great signage and volunteers letting you know which way to go for each race. The first two-ish miles were in a cemetery which was kinda cool, kinda creepy.

Seed yourselves appropriately, kids. 

Speedy Steph headed towards the cemetery and a smiley volunteer with a directional sign.


After the first few miles in the cemetery, we ran through a bit of downtown Hagerstown and then into a hilly little park. While the morning had started cold, I was overheating a lot by the middle of the race- I'd worn pants, shamrock compression socks, a long-sleeved shirt, a short-sleeved shirt, a hat, and gloves. Yeah, way too much. I ended up taking off the hat, gloves, and long-sleeve and felt much better. That's the one thing I hate about spring running- it's hard to judge how quickly the temperature will rise as the day goes on.

In the last mile of the course, we exited the park and enjoyed an awesome downhill towards the finish. I had been watching my paces on my Garmin so I knew that I could PR this distance if I held onto the sub-11 minute miles. I rounded the corner to the finish line (it was in the same place as the start so I knew where it was) and completed the race in 53:15 (official time from the website), a 4:14 minute PR for the 8k distance! Instead of medals, they gave out green beads with shamrock baubles on them. Super cute.

After the race, I switched to spectator mode and cheered for Steph as she finished the 8k and for another friend, Sara, as she finished the half. Then the three of us headed down to a bar near the finish line, 28 South, to enjoy our free green beer.

Beer is always better after a run.

Overall, this race was really organized, super fun, and affordable. This one will absolutely go on the calendar for 2018. Y'all know I love a themed-race so the opportunity to wear fun socks AND get complimentary beer?! Sounds like my kind of race.

Do you have a favorite holiday-themed race? Share it in the comments!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Accountability Monday: 6/5/17

Welcome to June! Today is my first day back to work after an amazing 11 days off celebrating my birthday and a week at the beach- I don't even remember what I do for a living anymore! πŸ˜ƒ

One of my favorite things about vacation is that we have lots of time to workout; we don't have to squeeze in a run into the end of a busy work day. Matthew and I were very active this week and I have to say, I'm feeling the best I have in a few weeks. 

Tuesday: 3.1 miles, 38:44
Wednesday: OBX Running Company Lighthouse 5k, 32:19; 45 minutes of walking after dinner
Thursday: 50 minutes biking around the outer banks
Friday: 2.51 miles, 30:25
Sunday: Bel Air Town Run 5k, 32:22

Total: 11.9 miles

A post shared by Sarah (@sparklyrunner) on

Best Run
This is a tie this week between the Lighthouse 5k and the Bel Air Town Run 5k. These are the fastest 5ks I have run in almost 18 months. I don't know how I averaged 10:20/10:25 pace for each of these races but I hope I can keep it up! My current 5k PR is 31:28. I'd love to shatter that and get a sub-30 minute 5k by the end of the year. 

Does this skirt make me look fast?

Bravo Moment
Matthew and I went parasailing at the beach (thanks to my awesome in-laws for the amazing 1st anniversary gift!) and you have to say your weight, out loud, to the boat captain and the guy putting you in the harness for the parachute. It's all about safety so you pretty much have to tell the truth, unlike when you're getting your driver's license/ID where you can fib a little. :-) Anyway, I'm super proud of not having any second thoughts about publicly telling a stranger my weight- I honestly didn't think about how incredible this was until later. Years ago, I never would have said my weight out loud. Never. Even though I weigh more than I want to currently, I have come to a point where I'm getting more comfortable with my body, no matter what the scale says. And that's huge progress for me.

A post shared by Sarah (@sparklyrunner) on

Quote of The Week
I saw this on one of my social media feeds a few weeks ago and it feels really relevant to me this week-

Yup. Got a few excuses I need to get rid of.

Have a great first week of June!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Accountability Monday: 5/22/17

Good afternoon, friends!

This weekend, Matthew and I snuck away for a quick trip to Walt Disney World to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! I can't believe it's been an entire year since we got married- that flew by!

When we got home yesterday, we ran a quick little 5k to commemorate our actual anniversary and then ate Chinese food, drank a bottle of wine, and ate year-old wedding cake. It was actually pretty tasty!

Tuesday: 2.6 miles, 32:32
Wednesday: 3 miles, 33:49
Thursday: 3 miles, 40:24
Sunday: 3.1 miles, 37:45

Total: 11.7 miles 

Oh, Goofy! You're such a flirt!
PS- This photo has no relation to training this week- I just needed an excuse to share it! :-) 

Best Run
We ran on Thursday afternoon when we arrived in Disney- and although it was the slowest and hottest run of the week, we got to explore all the ins and outs of Disney's Port Orleans Resorts- Riverside and French Quarter. 

Thanks for the map, New Balance!

Bravo Moment
After basically eating all weekend at the International Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot, I was determined to "reset" my habits last night when we got home from vacation. That included not eating the extra Ferrero Rocher chocolates I had in the kitchen. It was a three-hour mental battle, but I did not eat those damn chocolates. Who knew you could think about a piece of candy for three hours?! πŸ˜‚

Quote of the Week
This week's quote is from the brand spankin' new fireworks show at WDW: "Happily Ever After." Spoiler alert- it is amazing! I laughed, I cried, my jaw dropped at some of the visual effects. I never thought a show could be better than "Wishes" but this one knocked it out of the park! And it was fitting that we watched it while celebrating our first anniversary- "It's just beginning; feel your heart beat faster! Reach out and find your happily ever after!" Appropriate for love- or marathon training! 😜


Go chase your happily ever after this week!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Accountability Monday: 5/15/17

Good morning and happy Monday! Welcome to another installment of Accountability Monday, but with some changes!

In the coming weeks, this blog will have a new look. The content will stay the same- race reviews, weekly training updates, etc.- but the design will be a little different. I've been working on a new layout for a few weeks and I'm excited to share it with you! I hope to have it live by mid-June at the latest.

Accountability Monday is also going to see some upgrades. I still want to use this space to keep myself on track, but I need a break from the usual things I post, especially my weekly weigh-in. It's not that I'm going to completely forgo weighing-in, I'm simply going to weigh-in once a month. If you read my last post, then you know that I am struggling with healthy living. I am constantly feeling like a failure (my clothes don't fit, I don't like the way I look, etc.), and right now, I want to focus on how to feel better instead of how much I weigh. I hope that makes sense.

So, these posts will continue with just a few tweaks! Read on to see this week's training, best run, bravo moment, and quote of the week.

Tuesday: 3.1 miles, 36:06
Thursday: 2.54 miles, 31:21
Saturday: Vinewinder Race, 4.1 miles, 48:33
Sunday: 3.14 miles, 36:20

Total: 12.9 miles

Rolling hills and lots of rain for this year's Vinewinder Race in Hershey, PA

Best Run
Tuesday's 5k run after work was beautiful- great weather, negative splits (12:06/11:48/11:19), and there were sweet purple flowers lining the new running trail in our town to look at. I wish every run felt like this one πŸ˜ƒ

Bravo Moment
Ok, so if you don't know sweet "Weight Watchers" lingo πŸ˜†, a "bravo" is a small, green sticker that we give out in Weight Watchers meetings when a member shares something they did this past week that they are proud of or something that advanced their weight-loss/health journey. So here's my bravo moment for this week: Yesterday was Mother's Day and Matthew and I hosted our families for lunch. We made WW-friendly foods, had plenty of vegetables and fruit on hand, and I managed to stay away from the cake and the rice krispy treats. And I didn't go over my points for the day! Woohoo!

And I got to spend time with my momma ❤

Quote of the Week
This week's quote comes from the ever-brilliant Lauren: "Keep tracking, keep training, keep trying." Wise words from a wise lady and just what I needed to get back on track.

Have a great week, friends!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

To Pittsburgh, With Love

Confession time: I was kinda dreading Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend.

I have been struggling.

Hating myself struggling. Stress eating struggling. Not wanting to run struggling.

My weight is the highest it's been in two and a half years; my clothes don't fit the way they normally do. Work has me incredibly stressed which affects my sleep, my mood, and my ability to get out the door for a run. I am disappointed with where I am in this journey. The years of healthy habits I have worked so hard to cement into the foundation of my life are starting to weigh me down.

Tracking my food. Always choosing the healthy option. Planning meals. Running. Strength training. Exercising. Making time for training. I am tired of doing these things.

This healthy lifestyle routine? It sucks. I hate doing it. I hate that I have to do it. Why can't I just be a normal weight, healthy person who doesn't have to ever think about food? Why can't I just be naturally athletic, run fast without trying, and love to work out? Why can't I have endless energy and a flexible schedule so I can cross off my to-do list and finish all the projects I keep meaning to get to?

I don't have the answers to these somewhat dramatic and irrational questions.

But here's what I do know; Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend made the struggle feel a little less crappy.

Starting line of the half marathon. 

I don't know if it was the races, the people, or the city itself- but my spirits were definitely lifted this past weekend.

There's something about the Pittsburgh Marathon races that makes you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself; like you belong somewhere. Like all these tens of thousands of people have the same, shared goal you have- to finish the race you start.

Home stretch of the 5k.

I can pinpoint the moment that something changed. Around mile six of the half marathon, I suddenly felt a jolt of pure joy- endorphins, maybe- and was overcome with happiness. I felt good... strong... athletic... healthy. I haven't felt much like that in a long time.

Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind.

Beyonce was playing in my headphones, the sun was shining, and I was high-fiving spectators and keeping an eye out for my running ohana- some were running, some were cheering. Throughout the course, I got to see familiar faces and hear encouraging and supportive words from friends. Strangers cheered for me by name- probably because it was on my bib, but still :-) I finished a tough course and then joined my husband and running ohana to cheer for folks still out there racing towards the finish.

I felt like a runner again. I felt like an athlete again. I felt motivated to want to keep trying- to maintain my weight, to get faster, to train more effectively. I felt like me again.

The crew.

Today my muscles are sore, my feet are blistered, and I've still got unpacking and lots of laundry to do. But I feel great. And somehow finding the time to run, and meal prep, and track my food doesn't seem to feel as crappy as it did before.

Like I said, I don't know if it's the races, the city, or the people, but Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend has some kind of magic in it. And I am so, so grateful. ❤