Top 5 Fitness Wins During My 31st Year Of Life

My 30s have kicked freakin' booty! No seriously. I was wicked nervous about breaking into a new decade on September 16, 2012, but I have no idea why I have been so scared.

During my looooong bike ride last week, I started ticking off the amazing accomplishments I've had since turning 30.

Even in the last 365 days.

I thought I would share with you all my Top Five Fitness Wins as a celebration of my 32nd birthday today (listed in no particular order).

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1) Dopey Challenge: This was one of the most life-changing events of my life!


For those that don't know the inaugural Dopey Challenge took place in January 2014 in Disney World and consisted of 4 races in 4 days covering 48.6 magical miles - 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon.

That's right folks I ran 48.6 miles through the parks - and highways - of Disney ... and it was AMAZING!


My main goals were 1) Finish, 2) Have Fun and 3) Take a picture with EVERY character along the way.


All 3 were accomplished. If the challenge wasn't $530, I would do it again in a heartbeat. :) Well not sure I could handle 4-straight mornings of getting up before 3:30am again ... there is no training for that!

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2) 2 Half Marathons In 24-Hour Span: Annnddd this solidified my membership as a Half Fanatic (HR #5043)


On September 28-29, 2013, I had a whirlwind weekend. Friday (Sept 27) I took the drive down to the Cape to stay with my friend and fellow blogger Nancy. Nancy and I were both ambassadors for the ZOOMA Women's Series Half, which was happening the next day.


The course was beautiful and really captured the Cape (excited to head back there later this month) and I was really happy with my race (recap).

But after a quick hangout with Nancy and her girls, it was time to hit the road and travel from the Cape to Providence, Rhode Island. Thankfully it was a painless drive.

When I arrived in Providence, I grabbed a celebratory beer and met up with Samantha and Robin. My two good friends and fellow racers. Special thanks to Samantha for letting Robin and I crash at her place for the night.


I had no idea how my legs would handle another 13 miles, but I took any time pressure off myself and just enjoyed the course and the friends along the way. (Recap)

Sub 2 hours for both? I was thrilled!!

I felt so accomplished when the weekend was over, but man the final drive home seemed to take forever. I really missed having my wife there.

I owe a big thank you to Zensah compression sleeves for helping my body stay strong during the training and the races themselves.

3) Half Ironman: Never in a thousand years would I think this would be on my list of fitness accomplishments.


On September 7 this dream became a reality. A Half Ironman is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run. All in a row. Without a time to nap in between. ;)

The training for the half ironman became more of a mental game than a physical one. I ticked the workouts off my training plan (which I put together through a book another blogger recommended), but the mental worry over being able to complete the race within the time limit (8 hours) wreaked havoc on my sleep and my confidence.

The biggest worry? The bike. I learned through the training that 1) the bike is my weakest leg and 2) I don't really enjoy biking. Now that may be because I was doing most of my training alone or it's just not my thing.

My lovely wife and friends kept reminding me that I was the one that signed up for it. Thanks family. I did remember that. ;)


It was supposed to be enjoyable and in the end the race was. One of the toughest parts was lack of headphones. I have been training without them for awhile in preparation, but the race turned out to be 6 hours of just me and my thoughts. Oy! Which became another mental exercise rather than a physical one.

But in the end crossing that Finish Line was exhilarating... and the post-race beer tasted amazing! :)

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And I surprised myself finishing in 6 hours and 6 minutes. Originally I thought the race would take me well over 7 hours.

Big thanks to my wife, my dad , my BFF and my niece for making the drive to come cheer me on.


4) 2 Marathons In A Six-Day Span: Sometimes I sign up for crazy adventures in the name of raising money and awareness to Fight Stroke with Tedy's Team.

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 Tedy's Team logo

So on April 21st, 2014, I tackled my second running of the Boston Marathon (with a lot of complications along the way).


Because I have amazing friends and family I had a surge of donations before the race, which got me thinking about joining my teammates for a second race that week at Rock 'n' Roll Nashville. Two teammates had committed to doing the full ... and I was tempted.

My goal would be to hit $9,500 raised in order to complete both races with Tedy's Team ... and I was up for the challenge.

When I hit the plane for Nashville, I was at $9k. Thank you friends for fueling my craziness.

After health problems at Boston, I told everyone I would drop to the half in Nashville...


... but I had other ideas since I was feeling okay! ;)

I even completed the Rock 'n' Roll Nashville marathon on April 26 45 minutes faster than Boston.


I even qualified for the Marathon Maniacs (MM #9142) with this awesome feat.

And thanks to you all I raised $10k in honor of all those affected by Stroke after completing 52.4 miles of running.

5) Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Hat Trick: "Hey Dani do you want to run a 5k and 10k on a Saturday then follow that up with a Half Marathon on the Sunday"



Ummm when did that become my response? Before 2005 I would've laughed in your face at running even 1/4 of a mile. But when Runner's World invited me to come hang out with some amazing bloggers and run a bunch of miles - I jumped at the opportunity.


It was a crazy experience Heartbreak Hill outside of the Boston Marathon/training for the marathon.


Plus I love being part of an inaugural event... and hanging out with my BFF Shalane Flanagan. She may not know we are actually BFFs.

Similar to the Dopey Challenge, these races were not being run for time, but for fun! I had such a cool experience getting to know bloggers while out on the course. I was one of the few local folks so I was able to share about the history of the town and Heartbreak itself. Those poor Florida bloggers didn't know what they were in for. ;)

I thought it was a once in a lifetime experience, but I am honored to be doing another Hat Trick with Runner's World in PA in October. :) Bring on the bling!


There are so many other amazing things that happened in the past year, but I don't want to keep you here all day.


Because you have celebrating of my birth to do.

How are we celebrating?

By registering for my Birthday Virtual 5k run/walk/bike and/or raffle. I am hoping to have 32 people sign up today in honor of my 32nd birthday.

Check out the info HERE!


What is your proudest fitness accomplishment of your last 365 days?