This Runner's Trials

Healthy, Happy Kiddos & L’il Critters™ Gummy Vitamins

Posted by runnerstrials

As a mom, there is nothing more important to me than keeping my children safe and healthy.

I encourage my kiddos to wash their hands often, get adequate sleep, run around outside, and eat well. I feel like these habits not only prevent sicknesses, but also set them up for good health in the long run.

However, one habit in particular has always been a challenge for my son: the nutrition component. He’s never been a great eater, and feeding him has been a source of stress. Not because of anything he did or didn’t do, but due to how I reacted to his pickiness.IMG_4959

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve cooked something that I knew he’d like only to have him not even taste it. The wasted time spent cooking upset me – I always thought of everything else I could be doing with that time! And, of course, the wasted food irked me, too – I used to cater recipes to his allergies and taste buds and oftentimes some of the food would go uneaten.

But over the past year or so, I’ve been trying to simplify things. I don’t worry too much about what does – or doesn’t – make its way into his mouth. I serve him simple but nutritious meals and snacks. If he eats, great! If he doesn’t, then no big deal – the next day may go better.

Since his nutrition isn’t perfectly well-rounded, his pediatrician has suggested that he take supplements to help fill the gaps. We’ve tried several brands, but either my son doesn’t like the taste or I don’t like the ingredients (why are synthetic dyes allowed in vitamins and supplements?).

Wyatt just started taking L’il Critters™ Fiber Gummy Bears and we are both so happy!


He loves the fruity flavors and gummy texture. He gets two after his breakfast and he chews them up. They’re super convenient – no water needed!


I love that he gets 3g of fiber (in one serving) with his breakfast no matter what he touches on his plate. I also love that L’il Critters™ Fiber are sugar free and have no synthetic (FD&C) dyes – their bright colors are derived from vegetables, fruits, and plants – nor high fructose corn syrup. They’re also gluten free.

IMG_4971 (1)

These supplements have helped me stress less about my son’s nutrition, and have simplified our morning routine. The makers of L’il Critters™ and vitafusion™ offer a complete line of vitamins, minerals, and supplements to help meet the health needs of people at different stages of life. From kiddos to pregnant women and older adults.


How do you try to keep your children healthy? Answer this question below and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card courtesy of BlogHer.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I received free product and payment for this sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.

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runDisney Dopey Challenge pros and cons

Posted by runnerstrials

The winner of the Illumiseen giveaway is Erica C. Congrats Erica! I’ll send you an email.


I’ve had a Dopey Challenge final thoughts post done since a week after I completed the race this past January. But I thought it was better to sit on it awhile before hitting publish.


You see, immediately after the challenge, I was on the biggest running high. It was my best race experience ever, and I couldn’t wait to do it again. Even my non-Disney-loving, only-runs-because-it’s-necessary-for-triathlons husband was a huge fan of Dopey. We went into Dopey thinking that we’d be “one and done”, but the day after the marathon, Jeff started making goals for “next time”. Of course, this was music to my ears!

dopey results

That’s our cumulative time for the races on the right. I actually want to run again so I can beat him!

I had hoped that we would be running Dopey again in 2016. But Disney Annual Passholder registration came and went last week, and we didn’t sign up – and we won’t sign up when regular registration opens later this month either.

Here’s the short version why: Dopey is the most amazing race, but it’s also incredibly expensive – $586! – especially when both my husband and I want to run. Add in travel costs, hotel, meals, and it’s more than we can afford right now.

If you’re on the fence about registering for Dopey, I’d definitely suggest doing it. But if you want a little more info than that, here are my top pros and cons:



It’s the most amazing race challenge. Dopey consists of a 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, half marathon on Saturday, and full marathon on Sunday. A full marathon, in my opinion, is a huge race challenge in itself. Running a marathon after running all of those other events leading up to it is just… well crazy! Part of the excitement is the unknown. I never did any Dopey simulation runs (some people run 4 days in a row and do mini-Dopey challenges as part of training), so I really didn’t know if I would be able to complete the challenge. But that’s seriously half of the fun. As the challenge goes on, things get more serious and the nerves and excitement just keep building up, making you feel like you’re going to explode. Add in the fact that you’re in Disney with thousands of other runners, and it’s just an amazing environment and experience.


It’s doable if you can run a marathon. I honestly didn’t know if I’d be able to finish Dopey going into it. I had friends who ran it the year before who assured me that I would, but still – the unknown is scary! However, I remember finishing the marathon and thinking “that wasn’t so bad”! And it’s true – if you can run a marathon, you can do Dopey. I think holding back during the first three races – we ran the 5k, 10k, and half marathon all at an “easy” pace – and resting as much as possible between the races is key for success.

The early race starting times. I know that the crazy early start times, and 2:30 am wake-ups, seem like a con, but they’re not for Dopey. We resisted the urge to nap every day so that we’d be ready to pass out by 7pm every night. By days three and four, we had readjusted our body clocks and weren’t too tired. Full disclosure, though: at the time we ran Dopey, we had an 8-month-old and 3-year-old, neither who slept through the night for months leading up to the race. So, we were used to not being well-rested if that makes sense.



Unpredictable weather. I prefer running in warm weather, and unfortunately it was horribly cold and windy the morning of the 5k. The 10k and half marathon weren’t too much better, but thankfully it was warmer for the full. The weather in Florida in January is so unpredictable. We participated in marathon weekend in 2009 and it was warmer than average, in 2010 when there was record lows and sleet, and in 2013 when it was miserably hot. You never know what you’re going to get, which makes costume planning challenging. I suggest bringing four throwaway layers, one for each race morning.


You won’t know until race morning if you’ll need to run the entire race in a bathrobe!

The time of year of the race. For me, December is the most challenging month for running. The cold air settles in and I’m just not eager to hop out of bed on cold, dark mornings to go run. Add in the extra festivities and family fun that comes with the holiday season, and it’s just really hard for me to carve out time for long runs. However, I ran two marathons in November before Dopey. Even though I was feeling burnt out after those races and second guessed my decision to take on Dopey, I think already being in marathon shape before December helped me out. I didn’t feel the pressure to get in every training run through December because I knew I was in fairly good shape. When I run Dopey again, I’ll also follow this approach and run a fall marathon.

The price tag. Unless you’re local to the Orlando area, Dopey is a racecation. In addition the steep registration fees, you have to pay for travel and at least 4 nights stay in a hotel, not to mention food, park tickets, and goodies from the expo. You’re literally forced to make a vacation out of Dopey. For many runners, this means bringing the kids along, which adds to the cost. Dopey literally costs thousands of dollars! In my opinion it’s worth it once (if you can afford it), but this is what’s stopping us from doing it again in the near future.

My biggest tips for Dopey are to take it easy at the parks, resist the urge to nap so it’s easier to go to bed earlier, and expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather. And have fun! Dopey was hands down my most fun race experience ever. I’m so excited for everyone who is taking on the challenge in 2016!


For more on Dopey, check out these posts:

Registration for runDisney Marathon Weekend opens April 28, 2015 at noon EDT. Don’t hesitate to sign up. Dopey will sell out quickly. If you want to run any of the 2016 marathon weekend races, be at your computer before noon.


Illumiseen LED reflective belt review + giveaway

Posted by runnerstrials

If you run at dusk, dawn, or overnight, I have a great product to share with you today! This is now my go-to illumination device on morning runs.


Illumiseen contacted me awhile ago to review their LED reflective belt. Once I read a little bit more about the belt, I jumped on the opportunity to try it.

I regularly run at dawn. When I was marathon training last summer, I started some long runs hours before the sun was up, so I literally ran in the pitch dark. Since then, I’ve tried a few reflective products to help me see or keep me illuminated. One thing that really caught my eye about the Illumiseen belt was that it comes with a rechargeable battery.


I just plug it into my USB charger and volia, it’s charged! This is huge. I love some other illumination products I’ve tested, too, but the batteries die so often that it’s a pain keeping up with them (I’m talking about you, Knuckle Lights).

I also love how bright this belt is. It makes me glow from all angles.


From the manufacturer's website:  “Thanks to the 3M Scotchlite™ reflective material and custom-designed fiber optics it reflects oncoming light AND gives off a powerful beacon in the dark.”

In the above picture, the LED light is turned off. With the switch of a button, you choose if you want to run with it off, completely on, or blinking on and off. I usually run with the light off since I start my runs only about 20-30 minutes before the sun rises. It’s not that dark, so I don’t need full illumination.

Here’s a comparison of what the belt looks like off vs. on:


It’s really bright!

I was most nervous that this belt wouldn’t be comfortable. I do not like running with things around my waist or shoulders – I have never found a fuel belt that I like – so I didn’t know how I’d do with the Illumiseen belt. But it surprised me! The belt is adjustable. At first, I adjusted it to fit around my waist, like in the above picture, but it bounced around too much there. So, I moved it lower to around my hips. The snug fit bothered me for a couple of minutes, but then I quickly got used to it and forgot it was there. I’ve worn the belt on runs up to 6 miles so far, and it’s always been comfortable.

If you don’t like it around your waist, you can also drape it across your shoulder. Or double up with two belts!

Green and Red

photo courtesy of Illumiseen.

The Illumiseen belt comes in three colors: green, red, or blue. It comes with a money back guarantee, and can be purchased on Amazon. Or you can win one right here!

Illumiseen has generously offered to give one of you guys a belt! Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The giveaway will be open until Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 11:59 pm Eastern. I will contact and announce the winner next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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