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!