Category Archives: Running

Run – Week One Disney Princess Half Marathon Training

This week marked the beginning (officially) of my training for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon! While I’d love to be able to say that I pulled it all off flawlessly, I can’t.

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The last couple of weeks have been CRAZY around here. My busy season for work is in full swing. I’m still trying to finish a Halloween costume. I had a field trip to attend, and I’d volunteered to donate treats for an event at the school. That would have been more than enough to do, but then, we had several things break down in the house and on my car. It feels like I’ve spent all my time either driving back and forth to the service center or waiting on repair men at home, trying to squeeze the other things I need to do in between. Oh, and the day after I picked up my car for the second time? I totally backed into another mom after school.

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I was supposed to have done a 45-minute maintenance run on Monday and Wednesday, and a 3-mile long run on Friday. What I actually did? I managed one 45-minute maintenance run on Tuesday and a 5-mile run on Friday. I guess I technically just skipped one maintenance run, and I ran too far for the long run. I’m not too terribly heartbroken. Next week will be better. It has to be.

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A new race on the calendar!

As many of you know, registration for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World opened up to the general public last week. I’ve wanted to repeat this race since I first participated in 2013, but I haven’t had the opportunity. All the stars have aligned, and I will be going back in 2017!

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What’s really fun is, once I put it out there on the Internet that I’m registered, I learned that a lot of people I know are running. AND I recruited a friend to come and make it her very first half marathon! AND she is inviting everyone she knows to come along, too. If I’m honest, so am I. “Come! Run with me!” “Come! Be my cheerleader!” I’m pretty excited. I just can’t seem to help myself.

Once the kids are back to school (in less than a month?!), I’ll have to get serious about running again. We haven’t broken up completely, but I haven’t trained for any kind of long distance since January. Of last year. I’ve lifted weights and done a lot of other things, but I haven’t run farther than three or four miles in quite some time. It will definitely be a challenge with the hills and altitude that I have to contend with now.

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I snapped this photo one morning while walking Hank. It’s a little tricky to tell, but our neighborhood is nestled right up next to the mountains. There’s a running/biking path…at the bottom of the hill. No matter what I do, the last mile back to my house? Straight up. I may need to leave the neighborhood to find a path that won’t try to kill me.

Regardless, this is happening. I’ll have another one of these beauties to add to my collection come February! Now, to figure out my costume….

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New runDisney Costume Guidelines

Of course, as soon as I post about Disney race costumes, they go and change the rules on us.

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Straight from the runDisney blog, here are the new guidelines:

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Some of these rules, I completely understand. Some of them, however, rule out some of the best race costumes I’ve ever seen. Some of them, well…you have two Star Wars races now. Nobody can dress as a Jedi? Because of the robe? Come on. And so what if I think someone else’s costume is amazing and want to take a picture? Where is the harm in that? Does anyone else have strong opinions about this?

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My Favorite runDisney Costumes…for now

This week, Disney runners are packing up their tutus and donning their mouse ears, gearing up for 2016’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I am more than a little jealous. One day, I will be closer. One day, I will run all the races. Today…well, today is not that day.

Until then, let’s take a look at some of my (latest) favorite costumes from past runDisney events! As a warning, you won’t find any princesses here. There’s an entire race in February just for them.

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Let’s begin with Cinderella’s stepsisters – Anastasia and Drizella. This has long been a favorite of mine, but I’ve never had a runDisney buddy to try it with.

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Of course, I have to include Cruella de Vil. You’ve seen her here before, and you’ll probably see her again. I tried to recreate this one myself, but I didn’t look near as awesome as Kelly does.

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Russell & Kevin from Up! Again, I’d need a buddy. I’d also need that buddy to let me be Kevin.

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This BB-8 costume is outstanding. This gal was at a different Disney event, but I saw something very similar at the Star Wars 10K last January while waiting to begin. HER ARMS ARE INSIDE. I prayed that poor girl wouldn’t trip.

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Are there any Inside Out fans among us? This is a great idea for a large group.

This last one is my very favorite…

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The Disneyland Churro! Click over and read the post. That costume is SCENTED! I’ll bet there were a lot of runners craving churros that day.

No matter what race you’re running this weekend, good luck to you, costumed wonders!

 

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Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Recap

It’s kind of fun to be involved in the “inaugural” anything, but the very first Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend was super cool. There were a lot of firsts for me this weekend. It was the first time I’ve been to Disneyland since I was a kid, so there were a lot of Disneyland-related firsts. (I’ll share my general Disneyland experience later.) This was also the first time I’ve participated in one of runDisney’s challenges. I’ve been watching Internet friends run a gazillion miles back-to-back for a few years. I guess I got a wild hair and thought I’d see if I could survive that kind of torture, too.

First up – my first Disney 10K! I’m honestly surprised I finished as quickly as I did. I arrived mid-afternoon on Friday, picked up my race packet, hung out at the pool, and enjoyed dinner at Steakhouse 55 before an early bedtime. I hadn’t been in either of the parks yet. My head was on a swivel the entire time, trying to see as much as I could as I passed through. That pic in front of the ferris wheel? First time I’ve ever seen it! California Adventure didn’t exist the last time I was at Disneyland.

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I am extremely happy with my results. I tried to be conscious of the fact that I’d be running the half marathon the next day, so I wouldn’t completely burn myself out. I think I managed that fairly well.

On the way back to the hotel, I happened upon a familiar face…

…and then this happened. #rundisney #rebelchallenge #gooniesneversaydie

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I saw others stopping for a pic with him, and I very nearly passed on by, not to be a nuisance. I changed my mind at the last minute, though. I knew nobody would believe me otherwise, least of all my husband. 😉 Thanks for stopping and helping me take this selfie, Sean Astin. You’re the best!

The next morning, we were out of bed early to run the half marathon. (But not nearly as early as I have been for races at WDW. Staying on property and walking 10 minutes to the start line was the best decision we could have made!) I wasn’t nervous per se, but I had very low expectations for my finish time. I usually give myself a couple of rest days before a long run. My legs felt good post-10K, but I wasn’t sure how things would go down. I should have practiced running back-to-back. I intended to. I never did it, because training over the holidays? It just didn’t happen.

The course was really different than any other Disney race I’ve run. Shortly after mile 4, we were completely finished running through the parks. The rest of the race took us through the streets of Anaheim. I don’t have a problem with this personally. There were people along the entire course cheering us on – local marching bands, cheerleading squads, people who wanted an excuse to dress up in Star Wars costumes, etc. People amp me up, so this totally works for me. For those who are used to running Disney World and want Disney in their face the entire time? Disappointment city.

At the 10K mark, I noticed I was running considerably slower than I had the day before. It took my legs a lot longer than usual to warm up. I put a lot of effort into those first 5 miles or so. I managed to pull out a PR by the end somehow. I beat my best time (that half in September that I didn’t train for) by a full minute!

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I only stopped once, for a photo with a couple of storm troopers. Most of the character lines were crazy long. I skipped over them. I wanted to get done, so I could go play at Disneyland! I did stop my Garmin while I waited and took this photo, though. My actual run time according to the watch was closer to 2:18. When I finished my first half marathon in 2:37 almost four years ago, I never could have imagined that would be anywhere in the realm of possibility.

All in all, this was another good runDisney weekend for me. It redeemed my Wine & Dine Half Marathon experience completely. The only thing that I wish was different are the Coast to Coast Challenge rules. To earn a Coast to Coast medal, you have to run a Disney race on each coast in the same calendar year. There were only two months between the two half marathons I participated in, but since they were in 2014 and 2015, no Coast to Coast medal for me. 😦 The only race left that I could run in Florida in 2015 is Wine & Dine, and the memories are a little too fresh for me to want to go back for that one again so soon.

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I’m going to Disneyland!

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Y’all, I will be running this race in one week. ONE WEEK. I haven’t made it through all of my Christmas photos, or put away my decorations (if I’m honest, this is completely normal, though), and we just finished unpacking the last of the suitcases and gifts from Christmas break today. But in a few short days, I’m off to California!

I’m excited, but the timing makes me question my own judgment. It’s a good thing I didn’t try to go to Florida for the WDW Marathon Weekend. I’d have been a hot mess. As it is, I’m still trying to put together costumes and figure out what I need to pack. Have you ever tried packing for sunny and 75 when it “feels like” -20 degrees outside? Because it’s weird. I apologize in advance to Anaheim and the greater Los Angeles area for the blinding whiteness of my skin. It hasn’t seen sunshine in a while.

This will be my first trip to Disneyland since 1996. A lot has changed since then. Namely, there are two parks now instead of just the one. The Indiana Jones ride was brand spanking new when I went. Now, kids are like, “Indiana who?”

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I just can’t wait to see California Adventure, Cars Land, stay at a Disneyland hotel for the first time in my life, take a zillion pictures on my phone, etc. 🙂 You’ll hear more about it than you ever wanted to when I get home, I’m sure. Maybe I’ll try to squeeze in my Christmas pics before then.

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Race Day – Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2014

Saturday. Race day, for the kids and for me. 🙂 This was my first time bringing the whole family along to a runDisney event. The kids were very back and forth about whether they wanted to participate in the kids’ races. Initially, I only registered Aidan, because Neely didn’t want to run. About a month later, she changed her mind, so I registered her, too. After we got to Florida, nobody wanted to race. We left it until the very last minute to decide. Before bed on Friday night, I showed them their t-shirts, race bibs, runDisney mouse ears, and they decided they would go to the races. We gave them the option to back out at any time. I’m really glad they didn’t, though.

The kids’ races are a lot of fun. There was music and dancing to warm everyone up beforehand. They had different distances for each age group. Neely ran the 200-meter dash, and Aidan ran the 400-meter dash. There’s no real rhyme or reason to how they line up. A group of kids lines up across the track, and they let them go in waves. Of the groups that my kids were in, they each finished second. Pretty impressive for Aidan, considering most of those kids were a head taller than him.

When everyone was done racing and had their adorable Duffy bear medals in hand, we made our way over the EPCOT to meet the rest of the family. We probably would have been better served just hanging out at the pool. This was the last weekend of the Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT. It was a madhouse. We went on a couple of rides in Future World, and literally spent the afternoon just trying to find a spot to sit in the World Showcase. There were wall-to-wall people, and let’s just say I’m thankful that my kids didn’t question any of the adults who were being loud, silly, or wearing t-shirts that said things like “Drunk 1” and “Drunk 2.” Not a family-friendly day at EPCOT. We only stuck it out, because we had an early dinner reservation at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada.

The plan was for us to eat dinner at 4:30pm, and I would go back to the room and rest before race time. It took a lot longer than expected for us to be seated at Le Cellier. By the time we were, I was panicky. I’ve never run a night race. I knew I needed to be off my feet for a while. I knew the weather was probably going to be bad. I knew I shouldn’t actually eat most of the things on the menu. I settled for ordering soup and salad, and when I finished – adios. I went back to the room on my own to try and get some rest.

I didn’t. 6:00pm is not a quiet time at a Disney hotel. There are lots of kids moving up and down the hall, doors slamming, etc. I closed my eyes and laid on the bed for a while, but I never slept. Which made me even more panicky.

I finally gave it up and began getting dressed. Yes, there was a 98% chance of rain beginning at the exact time the race was supposed to start. Yes, I knew that a costume probably wouldn’t hold up, but I had nothing else to wear. So here it is, the costume –

Figuring out how to get white in my hair was a big pain in the butt. I tried white hairspray straight out of the Halloween section at Target, but it never made my hair white. No matter how much I used, it was gray. I considered chalk, but that would have been way too time-consuming. I finally found this tube of white hair gel online and decided it would have to do. I didn’t end up putting it on the entire half of my head, because the amount I had to glob on the turn it white? It took forever to dry. I streaked enough in my hair to make the rest of my costume make sense, then moved on. I was freaking out pretty badly by the time I was getting dressed, so at that point in the game, I really didn’t care how the costume turned out. That’s probably why I don’t have very good photos of it.

I got on the bus for the ESPN sports complex around 8:15pm. We made a few stops at other resorts and watched a good chunk of I, Robot, so it was closer to 9:00pm by the time I was headed to my corral, and the giant line for the bathroom, of course. At 9:30pm, the rain began. I wish I had brought along a poncho. I don’t think I’d have run in it, but it would have been nice to stay dry during that last 30 minutes hanging out in the corral, waiting for the race to start.

The race kicked off with fireworks at 10pm, and we were off! I knew very quickly that this was not going to be as much fun as I had hoped. I enjoy Disney races, because the spectators are awesome, my favorite characters are stationed along the course, the scenery is fun…but in the dark? In the rain? There weren’t many people out to cheer us on. There were only a few characters, most of them tucked away under awnings in Animal Kingdom…which we hit around mile four.

The next several miles were brutal. The Animal Kingdom parking lot is ginormous. You hit mile 4 in the back of the park and by mile 6, you’re almost out of the parking lot. Then, there was nothing to see but other miserable people and wet pavement until mile 9, when we reached the Hollywood Studios area.

Hollywood Studios and EPCOT are pretty close together, so the last portion of the race was more bearable. There were no characters in Hollywood Studios. It’s a good thing I’ll be seeing the Star Wars guys in January, else I might have been upset that they weren’t around. Darth Vader can’t handle some rain, y’all. Save that tip for a rainy day, Jedi. They had sort of a disco tunnel set up in Hollywood Studios, through part of the old Backlot Tour, and thankfully, I did get to do the one thing I signed up for this race to do…

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…run through The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. This was my first time ever seeing it. It is indescribable. I loved it! I tried to take a selfie, but I am a mascara-smeared mess. I’ll save you the agony of looking at the photo.

There is a little treachery between Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, when you run down the wooden boardwalk between the EPCOT resorts and the International Gateway entrance. It’s narrowish. It’s slippery. A lot of my concentration was focused on not getting hurt with barely over a mile to finish.

Once we were actually in EPCOT, I picked up the pace. It’s amazing what the prospect of a dry, warm bed will do for your motivation when you’ve been trudging along like a wet noodle for a couple of hours. My finish time for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon was 2:27:32. My best time is about six minutes faster, but I really wasn’t expecting to PR given the weather conditions and my state of mind anyway. On the upside, this wasn’t my slowest finish time, either.

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See? Hot mess.

I wish I could share a little insight into how the Finish Party was. It sounded like fun. They kept a lot of the attractions in EPCOT and the Food & Wine Festival booths open until 4am. We sat down to celebrate at the Rose & Crown Pub in the U.K. Pavilion, and shortly after received a phone call that sent us sprinting (hobbling quickly, in my case) back to the hotel at 1:30am. What I have insight into instead is how amazing Disney is when a child wanders out of a hotel room (adjoining my brother and sister-in-law – she was not left unattended) in the middle of the night.

All in all, it turned out to be a successful day. Although at this point, I don’t really have the desire to attempt this particular race again, but I’m glad it’s been crossed off my bucket list.

 

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Bomber Run Recap

I ran a half marathon yesterday. I know. What?!

My friend and I signed up to run ONE WEEK AGO. Because we are crazy people. The longest training run I’ve accomplished to this point was 6.5 miles, so you know, why not double it?

I’ll be honest. It took me all week to get my brains in check. Mentally, I did a lot of freaking out. What if I hurt myself? What if I die? What if I have to crawl across the finish line? On Thursday, I finally got myself in check. I have run this distance before. Yes, it’s been a while, but I’ve been running and cross training pretty consistently for the last few months. I should be in fair shape to pull this off. Especially since I’m not trying to win, and I’m not ashamed to walk a little.

I got all my gear ready that night, so all I had to do on Friday morning was get dressed, feed the little ones, and pack them off to school. Well, mostly that was all. We had a little incident where my boy scraped up his face pretty badly in a skateboard accident on Thursday night. Yesterday morning when he got out of bed, his eye was swollen shut. I got a little panicky, knowing I’d need a little extra time to go talk to his teacher about why he can’t see out of one eye before school and getting myself to the starting line. Regardless, everyone made it where they needed to be on time. Sometimes, I like to worry myself for no good reason.

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Here we are – before, during, and after the half marathon that neither of us trained for. The Bomber Run was a fairly small event. We were told there would be 300 runners, but I don’t think that many actually showed up. I’m used to being a middle-of-the-pack runner, but when you’re running a race on a military base, the game changes. We were squarely in the back from pretty much the very beginning. We maintained a steady pace the entire time (no walking!), and by the end, we started to pass people who’d burned out early.

Our finish time? 2:21:21. Without training. Y’all, I am ecstatic. As far as chip-timed races go, this is a PR for me. I finished the Princess Half at 2:26, and that was my best time to date. I fully expected Courtney to be dragging me across the finish line at 2:45. But we did awesome! Especially considering it was our first time running together. I really felt like we were evenly matched in pace, and I’m extra glad there was no judgment coming when I needed to dance or sing along to the iPod to make it through the next mile…because she was doing it, too. 😉

Here’s the catch, though. I just ran a half marathon without training, and not only did I live to tell the tale, but I BEAT MY OWN BEST TIME! I’m traveling for my next half marathon in two months. “The Plan” had me up to 9.5 next week. I’m really tempted to ditch “the plan.” I just ran 13.1. Maybe I should just do a long 10-ish mile run every other week until the race and call it good. My goal, as usual, is to finish in the upright position and to have fun, because, hey, it’s Disney World!

What would you do? Stick with the plan? Wing it with mostly maintenance runs and a few long runs thrown in for good measure?

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It’s runDisney costume time again!

The countdown is on! I’ll be runningDisney at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in just 64 days, so you know what that means…it’s time to start creating my costume.

I have changed my mind eleven bazillion times for this one. First, I wanted to run as Anna from Frozen. 

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Then, I wanted to run as Olaf from Frozen.

And now? Well, I’ve decided that since by November, I will actually BE frozen, I want to dress up as something other than a snowman, or an ice queen’s little sister.

I’ve scoured the Internet for ideas, and I’m down to two favorites…

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Option #1

 

Option #2

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I am definitely leaning toward one over the other, but….what do you think? Cruella or Mary?

 

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I fell off the wagon.

OK, so I didn’t completely fall off. I haven’t quit running altogether. But that training program I chose for November? It was pretty ambitious, especially for someone who practically took a running hiatus all winter. I am officially switching to the “finish in the upright position” plan. Time improvement. Ha! What was I thinking?

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I am not, however, ashamed of my mileage for July. Don’t make fun of me. Yes, I still use a paper calendar. I need visual reminders of what I’ve got going on, without having to get into my phone or computer. I started writing my mileage for the day in a bright yellow highlighter so I could see how well/horribly I’m doing. 42 miles, y’all. Not too shabby.

I haven’t done a long run over 6 miles yet. On the old plan, I should be running 9 for my long run this week. On the new plan, next week I should be at 6.5, so I’m right on track. I feel certain this will all be much easier to accomplish once the kids start school in a few weeks. I’ve just got to hang in there until then.

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