The Happiest Place on Earth

in All Posts

We have yet another snow day.  All of the Husband’s patients called off, so we decided to brave the elements and go to yoga.  It took twice as long as normal to get there – our door was frozen shut!


Yoga was CRAZY HARD.  It was a hot vinyasa and some of the pose sequences literally brought me to my knees.


Came home and made a wonderful lunch.  I’ve gotten kind of bored with lunches lately so a new grain was exactly what I needed to spice things up.


The star of the show was Israeli cous cous, which is basically giant cous cous.  Love!


Also in the middle:


  • Stir-fried tempeh.  I’m not a HUGE tempeh fan, but I do really like this recipe.  Today I just pan-fried it.
  • Raw celery
  • Raw tomatoes
  • Raw cucumbers
  • Coconut curry sauce


Happy Disney Anniversary!


Today is (close to) my one year anniversary of running the Disney Marathon (recap).  Disney was my first marathon.  I ran it in 4:53.  10 months later, I ran my second marathon and shaved 32 minutes off my personal record!


Running Disney was an awesome experience because it taught me that I’m capable of whatever I put my mind to.  I never thought I could finish a marathon… but by golly, I ran and walked my way 26.2 miles and never felt more proud.  Plus, I got to run with my BFF Lauren.  It was a great experience! 


To celebrate my Disney anniversary, I thought I’d share a story from Betsy, who ran the Disney Half Marathon this past weekend.


In September, Betsy emailed me to say:  This past Saturday night I decided to stop the excuses (bad knee, I run too slow, not enough time) and just do it. After some Googling, I realized I’m going to be in Orlando with my family during the marathon and half marathon. That night, I signed up for the Disney Half Marathon! With some help from my brother’s fiancee Whitney, I designed a training plan and fit it to me.  Am I nervous? Oh my gosh, yes. But this time around I’m not letting those nerves get the best of me and keep me paralyzed on my couch. ! I WILL be sending you pictures of me with a medal after crossing the finish line of the half marathon.


And earlier today, I got this email:


Betsy wrote: I wanted to let you know that I ran the Disney Half-Marathon this past weekend and killed it!!!!!! It was my first major race and hands down the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done. I’ve had 4 knee surgeries so getting my body ready for 13.1 was a big process. I was slow and steady but finished with a smile on my face!  Miles 1-5 were a blur. I do remember passing by 3 and thinking oh my gosh – 10 left?!?!! 5-7 were through the Magic Kingdom and it was a great distraction. I saw my entire family around mile 7, which is when the pain was starting to set in. I was having a rough time but their cheers pushed me a little more. I hit an emotional wall between miles 9-11. The furthest I had run in training was 10 miles and so when I was struggling around 9, the negativity slipped into my head.  I got really down on myself and began texting expletives to my friends. With the help of some texts I received back, I realized I would never finish with a negative mind-set and turned it around. I was so happy I ran with my phone in my water belt, and I’m also glad I put my name on my shirt – some of the cheers I got from strangers were great! The rest of the race is a blur as well. I remember being in so much pain and just wanting to finish. They announced my name crossing the finish line and I burst into tears. It is such a huge accomplishment for me. Training for this race helped me make other changes in my life.  I’ve lost 30 pounds making small changes in my diet.  And after getting out of a long-term relationship, I have tried to focus a lot of positive energy on myself. It has been quite the journey – all I can think is that all the pain was worth it. I’m going to take a short break and then continue training to run the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia (where I live).

post race sitting



Any one else have any epic race stories to share?



  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin January 11, 2011, 3:31 pm

    Awesome stories!! I ran my first half marathon in September 2010 after being obese for nearly all my life and never believing I could do anything like that. It was a pretty huge moment for me crossing that finish line and really symbolized the enormous changes I had made in my life.

  • Amanda January 11, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Is there anything you could compare tempeh to, to try to explain it to a meat eater? I’m not sure if I really have the nerve to try it but I’m slightly curious. What is the texture and flavor like?

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 3:40 pm

      It’s like nutty and thick tofu. That doesn’t sound very appealing though… it’s good!

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing January 11, 2011, 3:37 pm

    I am so proud of my friend Jessie for running the Disney Marathon this past weekend. Anyone who runs a half or full marathon deserves the utmost respect!

  • Bethany January 11, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Ugh, frozen doors are the worst! Our garage door freezes all the time… with the car inside… it’s the worst!

    Way to go Betsy! 🙂 I also am a runner who has bad knees, so I found this story really inspiring. I especially loved her revelation about attitude & finishing. Outlook makes such a difference!

  • Kelly January 11, 2011, 3:38 pm

    Go Betsy! I love Broad Street, it’s a great race! That ice looks miserable.

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow January 11, 2011, 3:38 pm

    Such inspiring stories out there!!!! I don’t have any current stories but I just signed up for a century ride on June 4 so I hope to have one in the near future.

  • Ali @ Ali on the Run January 11, 2011, 3:39 pm

    I must say, it can be worth braving the elements for a truly fabulous hot yoga class. What better way is there to warm up?! Great story from Betsy. Love the power of positive thinking. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jenna @ Eating Green, Staying Lean January 11, 2011, 3:39 pm

    That’s awesome! It’s so great to read about everyone who has gone through the journey of beginner runner (me) to running the Disney half or full marathon!

    I hope to run AT LEAST the half this year, so I’ll keep you posted!

  • Stephanie January 11, 2011, 3:39 pm

    Poor red pacifica. 🙁 Mine was COVERED with about 5 inches of snow when I woke up this morning.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) January 11, 2011, 3:40 pm

    At least you got out…we are so suffering from cabin ever here. The ice is just too bad in Atlanta. Your lunch looks delicious. I love coucous. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening with the hubs!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! January 11, 2011, 3:42 pm

    What a huge accomplishment–congratulations! I ran my first half marathon in October in Napa, CA. I had also only run 10 miles before the race, but I felt confident in my fitness and training. I was completely alone at the race–no fans, no running partners–and it was much more difficult mentally than I thought it would be to race the course by myself. But I challenged and pushed myself harder than I ever have before, and finished in 1:51:50…more than 8 minutes faster than my goal time! I learned so much from that half marathon about how to race, and I’m so excited to run my next half marathon in less than a month. Congratulations to Betsy!

  • Lisa January 11, 2011, 3:42 pm

    I’ve never tried Israeli couscous but it looks delicious!

  • Natalia - a side of simple January 11, 2011, 3:43 pm

    Hot vinyasa sounds perfect right now. We’re getting ready to get snowed in again and it’s so chilly except near the wood burning stove!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 11, 2011, 3:45 pm

    WOW!!! What an amazing story! Congratulations to Betsy – that is such a huge accomplishment. 🙂

  • Whitney January 11, 2011, 3:47 pm

    Betsy did so great!! I’m lucky to have a great training group here in Chicago but she did so much of the training on her on. I really am so proud of her and can’t wait to call her my sister in May!

  • Alison @ Around the VeggieTable January 11, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Congrats to Betsy! What an amazing accomplishment! I felt totally inspired reading her story and then the story of your Disney Marathon. My sister is running a half in May in honor of our uncle who passed away (raising funds for Donate Life) and I am contemplating running with her for my first half. It is scary but you guys give me hope that it’s possible!

  • jen @ taste life January 11, 2011, 3:49 pm

    Congrats Betsy! I got chills reading about her crossing the finishing line 🙂

    Honestly, I think finishing any race is epic! I have run two half marathons and both times I was so happy just to finish…it feels like a miracle that our bodies can be put through so much and come through like that!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 11, 2011, 3:53 pm

    Aw I love this! So inspiring. I have knee problems too, and I know how hard it can be to overcome them, especially in conjunction with other factors. Congrats Betsey!

  • Meghan@travelwinedine January 11, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I feel like all of my Boston Marathon experiences are epic, at least in my heart. It is a ridiculously emotional experience, from the time I see them setting up the finish line days earlier until I cross it on Marathon Monday. Lots of crying 🙂

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous January 11, 2011, 3:54 pm

    Way to go Betsy!!! I don’t have any epic running stories YET, but I did run my first race this past weekend. (5 miles) I knew I could do it fairly easily because I’ve been running for the past 8 years or so, but it took me this long to sign up for a race. It was great. Not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. I am experiencing foot pain (I’m prone to plantar faciitis, owww!), but I think if I become more diligent with my foot exercises, I’ll be good to go for my next race in no time!

  • Dorry January 11, 2011, 3:56 pm

    I love inspirational running stories! My husband’s father passed away unexpectedly in December 2000, so we trained together and ran our first half marathon a year later on December 5, 2010 in his dad’s memory. It was a very emotional and therapeutic day – one I’ll never forget!

    • Dorry January 11, 2011, 3:57 pm

      *December 2009, not 2000 🙂

  • Kristy @ KristyRuns January 11, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Whoo hooo, Betsy! Running that race is a huge accomplishment, but after 4 knee surgeries!?!? Dang! You rock!

    My epic race story is having to cross a huge-ass river during a 50k in the summer. 28 miles with wet shoes is crazy. I am aware of that…now.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) January 11, 2011, 3:57 pm

    What a wonderful heart warming story 🙂 Go Betsy!!!!

  • Michelle January 11, 2011, 4:02 pm

    On my birthday in 2008 I signed up for the ’09 Disney Half, and then a week later busted up my knee making all of 2008 a wasted year in the end between doctor’s visit, a round of PT, surgery, & a 2nd round of PT. It took some time to get my groove back but I finally ran the Divas Half Marathon last October (tiara, pink boa, firemen and all). I was cursing the whole mile 8 (running up an incline & into the wind, UGH!) but was quite pleased to finally have finished it. The firemen handing out medals at the end helped. 🙂 My birthday is Friday and my birthday present to myself is going to be registration for a fall half, but I’m not signing up for it until Saturday. No jinxing this time!

  • Charlie January 11, 2011, 4:02 pm

    I never tasted Israeli cous cous, it sounds yummy! I actually never tasted tempeh either; want to but can’t find it anywhere :(.

  • Val @ Balancing Val January 11, 2011, 4:04 pm

    Glad they cancelled!

    I mean it sucks you won’t get paid for the visits but you don’t want anyone to get hurt coming or going!

    That ice looks wicked!

  • carlee January 11, 2011, 4:05 pm

    Where do you buy temepeh at? I have really been wanting to try it! Your lunch looks fabulous!
    oh and our doors were frozen shut to this morning! LOL

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 4:10 pm

      Earth fare or whole foods or trader joes!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 11, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Great story!! Go Betsy, Go!

    I love Israeli couscous– so chewy!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans January 11, 2011, 4:16 pm

    What a great story! I love reading about people who make positive changes and accomplish things they never thought possible!

  • Baking 'n' Books January 11, 2011, 4:17 pm

    Did you notice you said – re: lunch – that the couscous was the star of the “snow”?…snow on the brain much 😉

    Happy Marathon-niversary!:)

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 4:18 pm

      heheh correcting now.

  • Leanne (For Health's Sake) January 11, 2011, 4:17 pm

    Congrats to Betsy!! That’s so awesome!

    I just talked to a lady who did the disney half marathon too… its so inspiring! I definitly have that on my bucket list 🙂

  • Liz January 11, 2011, 4:22 pm

    I love this story! My proudest sports moment would have to be the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer weekend. SO many firsts! The first day is a 26.2 mile walk. When I crossed that finish line, I cried! I could not believe what I had accomplished. Then the next day I walked another half-marathon. I was so proud of myself. It was inspiring to do the Avon walk because so much money was raised for people in the Charlotte area. The coolest thing was how so many people in homes along our route decorated their houses with posters and streamers, and passed out waters and goodies to us as we walked. It was truly unforgettable!

    Love your blog! I look forward to your posts. I was amazed at Operation Beautiful! How inspiring!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 11, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Congratulations to Betsy!!!!! That’s so amazing she pushed all her doubts aside and rocked it. 🙂

  • Kara January 11, 2011, 4:29 pm

    That was a great story, you rock Betsy! I’m doing a half on the 29th of this month and I’m sure it will be epic…gravel path, icy cold weather, 2 hour drive there…oh yeah, it will be epic 🙂

  • Beth @ 990 Square January 11, 2011, 4:30 pm

    I ran the WDW Half Marathon this weekend as well, and it was an amazing experience. It was my first, and I think Disney puts on a great race for first timers! It won’t be my last though..I’ve got the bug!

  • nysoonergirl January 11, 2011, 4:34 pm

    I talked to you when I called the clinic today… I was actually a bit nervous – you’re a celebrity! 😉

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 4:35 pm

      you did?!?!? who were you???

      • nysoonergirl January 12, 2011, 9:47 am

        The one in NY stocking up on all the supplements. You had to call me back with the price of the prosynbiotic. 🙂

        • Caitlin January 12, 2011, 9:50 am

          I thought so!!! You should’ve said something. Call me again next month and we can chat.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 11, 2011, 4:39 pm

    SUCH inspiring stories!!! Especially about running a half after SUCH an injury!

  • Camille January 11, 2011, 4:41 pm

    Congrats on your marathonaversary! 🙂

  • Cindy January 11, 2011, 4:42 pm

    I just wanted to say that I am digging the emails that you have been including in your post. While it’s nice to read someones full journey (their tipping point), it is also nice to just hear about little milestones in peoples lives. I really enjoyed Betsy’s story!!

  • abbi January 11, 2011, 4:42 pm

    Awesome. I love race stories. Like many others, I used to be overweight. Lost it, changed my life, etc. I fell in love with distance running last year and completed everything from 5K to marathon…with more to come!

  • Molly @ the F-spot January 11, 2011, 4:44 pm

    My resolution for 2010 was to complete a Half Ironman triathlon. I did it! It was, by far, the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done. I can relate to Betsy with tears at the finish line. It was an overwhelming feeling of strength and pride and RELIEF! I wrote about the gory details here:

    Also, here’s my favorite israeli couscous recipe (you can see my amendments in the comments section): YUM!! I will have to try tempeh!

  • Jane January 11, 2011, 4:53 pm

    Not yet, but I just signed up for this race and it is going to be insane! I am scared and excited at the same time

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 4:59 pm

      i want to do that race!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 11, 2011, 4:56 pm

    I have ran the Disney half and it was the BEST half of my entire life. It was magical and my hubs ran it with me. We both PR’ed and had a stellar amazing race. Congrats to you, Betsy and all the runners..whether it’s that race, another race or whether their run is 1/4th of a mile. Just doing it is the name of the game.

    I love challenging myself in yoga…glad you had a great class!


  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 11, 2011, 5:01 pm

    I don’t have any crazy running stories, but I think the fact that I’ve run a marathon is pretty epic by itself 🙂

  • Marisa January 11, 2011, 5:01 pm

    Go Betsy- I also plan on running Broad Street this year. I am a total beginner so I am SCARED but reading your story and all of the stories Caitlin posts really inspires me!
    Thank you both!!

  • Elizabeth January 11, 2011, 5:08 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I remember the recap of your 1st marathon so well. At that point – I had a couple 1/2 marathons under my belt with NO thought of ever running longer. But after reading about your experience, I became obsessed. Not with the idea of running just *any* marathon – it HAD to be Disney. Well… I did it! And I must say – it was rather epic!! 🙂 So thank you Caitlin – for helping me dream big. xo Congratulations Betsy!! You’re a rock star!

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 5:14 pm

      this comment is going in my special emails folder!


      • Elizabeth January 11, 2011, 5:19 pm

        Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 🙂

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) January 11, 2011, 5:13 pm

    I ran the Disney Half this weekend too!!!! It was my first half-marathon ever! Such an amazing experience. I am still in disbelief that I finished and that I did it in a pretty good time! 😀

  • Sarah (Sarah Learns) January 11, 2011, 5:14 pm

    betsy’s story is so inspirational! 🙂 i would love to run a half marathon some day. i can’t imagine doing it after 4 knee surgeries, though. congrats to her!

  • nicole January 11, 2011, 5:33 pm

    That’s a great story! Congrats to Betsy! This got me pumped for my second half marathon this upcoming Sunday.

  • Allie @ Healthy Balance, Healthy Life January 11, 2011, 5:39 pm

    Ahh I want to run at Disney at least once–I think it’d be so fun!

  • alison January 11, 2011, 5:40 pm

    Congratulations to Betsy! And after four knee surgeries?! That’s incredible.
    I haven’t anything epic to share, but I did run the Disney Marathon on Sunday. I aimed for 4:59:59 and crossed the finish line, holding my husband’s hand, at 4:33:13. My husband is rather speedy, but slowed it down to stay with me during my first marathon. Best of all, the race announcer said our names as we crossed the finish line. It was a great experience.

  • Tina @ The Shakespearean Tomato January 11, 2011, 5:43 pm

    It has been my dream to run the Disney World Marathon since I was 18 and started running for the first time. I have gone through periods of running, and longer periods not running, and I even did the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2008 when I lived there, and then stopped running again. It has been 11 years since I first heard of the Disney marathon and I still know that one day I will get there and do it and what an accomplishment it will be!

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life January 11, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Lunch looks delicious. Good luck digging out of the snow! One of my co-workers did the Goofy Challenge and has the limp today to prove it!

  • Claire January 11, 2011, 5:50 pm

    Hey Caitlin, I’ve been wanting to see your blog post that you posted your first Operation Beautiful note in. Do you knkow what day it’s on?

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 7:09 pm

      I’m looking for it!

      • Claire January 11, 2011, 7:12 pm

        Okay thanks 🙂

      • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 7:16 pm

        I think it was this one but I overwrote it with a general post about OB by accident. 🙁

        • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 7:16 pm

          Haha clearly before I realized the potential ramifications of one little note.

        • Claire January 11, 2011, 7:35 pm

          Haha, that’s ok. Thanks so much 🙂

  • Katherine: Unemployed January 11, 2011, 6:00 pm

    betsy is so cute! go disney

  • Tulip January 11, 2011, 6:04 pm

    I would loooove to run Disney one day. Despite the fact that I live on the other side of the world, and cannot yet run a 5k, I hope it happens eventually!

  • Sana January 11, 2011, 6:35 pm

    I love that you are spicing up your meals!

  • maria @ Chasing the Now January 11, 2011, 7:01 pm

    Great story! I think most people can do anything they put their minds to. It’s just a matter of deciding what you want and going after it full-force!

  • Allie January 11, 2011, 7:06 pm

    Very nice stories 🙂 I love when you put stuff like that in your blog because it inspires me. The Israeli couscous looks amazing and I’m glad you made it to yoga in the crazy weather.

  • Kelly January 11, 2011, 7:08 pm

    I finished the Disney Marathon this weekend! 🙂 Even though I had some stomach issuesand didn’t run it as fast as I wanted, I am pretty proud of myself for following through and now I’m excited about doing another one!

  • Jen January 11, 2011, 7:14 pm

    Yikes, that’s a lot of ice!!! I tried making Tempeh, but it was a huge, epic fail. I think I’ll try your recipe, looks way better than the shizz pile that landed on my plate.


  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 11, 2011, 8:08 pm

    That is such an AWESOME story from Betsy! She rocked it!

  • Alicia at Poise in Parma January 11, 2011, 8:42 pm

    I too ran the Disney half this past Saturday. I cried crossing the finish line and writing my race recap (

    Ten years ago, this 250 pound girl would have NEVER even though of walking a mile. Today, I’m a half-marathoner. It’s nothing short of EPIC.

  • Susan January 11, 2011, 9:05 pm

    Congrats Betsy! And this coming from yet another person who finished the WDW half this past weekend as her first as well!

    The race was truly amazing. I love my cousin so much, because she brought me out of the doldroms. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it – I pulled a groin muscle the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and really was pushing too hard for it to heal. A couple days after Christmas,my hip was feeling like it was going to collapse. My cousin told me to rest – skip the rest of my training.

    I rested, my hip started to feel somewhat better. Then this past Wednesday I woke up – to a cold like I haven’t had in years. And I was due to fly out on Thursday.

    Come Friday night – I was still fighting a cold, although my hip was at ~85%. That was it – I was doing it.

    Long story short (too late) – I finished. Mostly because I took Contac at 3 AM. Of course, right around mile 10 the Contac ran out and I started coughing. The cough would move down my chest straight into my groin – which made it throb.

    But – I did it. I still can’t believe I did it!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit January 11, 2011, 9:18 pm

    Wow, that ice is crazy!

  • Ashley January 11, 2011, 9:25 pm

    Go Betsy! This story literally made me tear up (I’m a big baby sometimes, lol) That is awesome!
    Glad you made it to yoga safely!

  • *Andrea* January 11, 2011, 10:34 pm

    i’m running that too with my mom and sister!!! SO scared though… i’ve only ever done one 10k!

    are you going to follow a plan??

    there’s nothing boring about hummus and veggies to me! or nut butter… nut butter+hummus = my 2 fav conidments 😉

  • Dee January 11, 2011, 11:32 pm

    I have been wanting to try Israeli Cous Cous! It looks so good. 🙂

    Look at the ice! Stay warm!

  • Amanda January 12, 2011, 1:13 am

    Nothing like a sheet of ice on the car when you wake up!

  • whitney January 12, 2011, 6:49 am

    such a great story and I’m so glad the weather was nice this year. Although I’m still bitter about last years weather.

  • Shannon January 12, 2011, 9:08 am

    Congrats Betsey!! I also ran the Disney Half on Saturday and what an amazing experience it was!! Thanks to Caitlin and her salty foods suggestion during my training- I didn’t even feel sick after!

    Next up is Broad Street for me too!! You go girl!

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point