Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jazz Half Marathon Recap

I've been so terrible at posting on my blog lately. Saturday, November 1st, mom and I ran the Jazz Half in New Orleans. As you recall, I sat for my boards on October 4th (and I still haven't received my results), and my training had fallen to the wayside since studying became my number one priority.

The race was set to start at 7 am, so mom and I got up around 5:30 to get ready and walk to the start. I had set all my stuff out the night before so I could be sure I wasn't forgetting anything.

Before we left for the race I decided to throw a long sleeve shirt on just until the sun came up. I'm so glad I did, mom and I took one step outside and it was FREEZING! I checked my phone as we made our way to Lafayette Square, and the temperature was 39 degrees and it was windy! Great.

We hung out around Lafayette Square for a good 20 minutes before the start of the race trying to do whatever we could do the keep warm. Honestly, this is our bad for not checking the weather report, but who would have thought it would be that cold in New Orleans in early November. Not to mention ,the day before the race was gorgeous! Unfortunately for us, a cold front came in that night.

Finally the race started, and I was hopeful that my muscles would warm up and the cold and wind would not bother me so much. Yeah, that didn't exactly happen. Mom and I tried our best to stay positive the entire race. The first 3 miles of the race we ran with the 5K runners, then when they were coming up on the final 2/10th of their race the half marathon course turned right and headed across the city to Audubon Park. We looped around the park and ran back to the finish the same way we came (out and back course).

Mom and I made it to mile 9 and we were completely miserable, our muscles never warmed up, and our legs were starting to stiffen up. At that point we decided to just power walk the rest of the half. I promised mom we would finish, and that was all that mattered at that point. About a mile from the finish we caught up to another walker and we casually chatted. Turns out she is going back to school to become a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist), so it was interesting to talk to her about school, and she was interested in my job as a cardiac sonographer as she has been part of transesophageal echoes in the past.

Talking with her made the last mile fly by, and finally, we turned a corner and we could see the finish. I said to mom that we should at least jog that last little bit. We started to jog, and oh my, did it hurt. My muscles were so stiff I could barely bend my knees. Once I crossed the finish line, I received my medal from the volunteer and kept walking in an attempt not to stiffen up anymore.

Mom wanted something to eat, so we walked over to the finisher party in the square. I wasn't hungry, so I just hung out in the sun. It was still windy out and it never really warmed up. I was over being outside, and just wanted to crawl back to the hotel and melt into a hot bubble bath. Before mom and I left the park to hobble back to the hotel, we did get a finisher photo together. I'm so proud of my mom for running this race with me! It was on her bucket list to complete a half, and she did it! Unfortunately, the conditions were less than desirable, so she gets extra brownie points for dealing with that.

(Glad to be done, but in so much pain)

Once we started our walk back to the hotel my right groin completely tightened up, and I was unable to bend much of my right leg. The walk (hobble) back to the hotel was pretty miserable. I was so relieved when we got back to the lobby, and just to be inside where it was warm.

In all honesty, I would consider doing this race again if I had the proper attire. The course is completely flat. There were a lot of bands along the course to entertain the runners. Seeing all the big homes decorated for Halloween was also interesting - some people have unique taste. The post race party also offered a nice variety of refreshments for the runners.

Over all, the race is worth the money you spend on the registration - but there is a way you can waive the registration fee. Runners have the option when they register for this race to set up a fundraising page to raise money for pediatric cancer. Runners looking to run the half for free need to raise a minimum of $250.00. Runners that would like to run the 5K for free need to raise a minimum of $100.00. So that is a great option if the registration fee is more than you're looking to spend, and it's for a great cause.

QOTD: Have you ever run a race when the weather conditions were not what you were expecting?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No Use Crying Over A Cancelled Disney Trip

It's been nearly a month since my last post, and I feel terrible about that. Let's just say things have been a bit hectic for this girl. It amazes me how much things can change in the matter of one month, and honestly, I can't complain. But my oh my, where do I start?

The last time I posted about regaining my freedom after my board exam. I still haven't found out whether I've passed or not, but I will know in less than a month (hopefully it will be an early Christmas present)! I also mentioned that I had slipped in my half training plan from the studying, and that it was going to hurt me during the Jazz Half. Mom and I did go to New Orleans and we finished the half, but the Jazz Half deserves its own recap, which I PROMISE I will get to (I have a few recaps I need to catch up on, yikes)! I will also eventually post about my trip to New Orleans.

My birthday was in August, as I'm sure you may know from my Disneyland Half Health & Fitness Expo Recap, and my parents were still asking me what I wanted for my birthday. They came up one weekend to help me around the house, and I had mentioned I wanted to look into getting a new front door because my is pretty drafty, and in these cold Upstate NY winters you can definitely feel it! (You also know you're growing up when you ask for that for your birthday!) However, when all was said and done, a new front door was going to cost more than I wanted to spend at this point. So my parents sent me money for my birthday, and I actually bought a new bike. Unfortunately, I can't use it until spring, because sure enough, it's snowing here now.

(Birthday goodies!)

While I was in New Orleans, my friend had text me to tell they had been offered a job promotion, but unfortunately it interfered with our travel plans for the Avengers Half Marathon at Disneyland that was about 2 weeks away, and they were now unable to go. I was a little bummed at first, but after I thought about it, I had REALLY hated running the Disneyland Half in August, so I brushed it off. I called and cancelled our hotel reservation and my flights. I lost money on the trip, but no big deal, in the long run I'd actually be saving money on food, and other stuff that I probably didn't need. I got that squared away, no use crying over a cancelled Disneyland Trip.

So, what does one do when their mini vacation gets cancelled? They plan a trip to their happy place! That's right, I kept the time I had off and decided to drive down to State College to see my friends and take in a Penn State game. I knew I wouldn't have any other opportunities to do that this fall as I have a lot coming up over the next few weeks. So I got a hold of my friend, Danielle, and just like that, I had a new "mini vacation" planned. I spent from Friday afternoon until yesterday in State College with my friends catching up.

Friday night Danielle and I took it easy. We ordered our favorite D.P. Dough, we each had a bottle of wine (I nearly finished mine, oops), and we watched Friday Bride Day on TLC. Kora, Josh's pit bull puppy made herself comfortable on my lap most of the night. She is the laziest puppy I've ever met, but so adorable!

We got up early Saturday and headed to a special tailgate at the Pegulla Ice Arena for Veterans. There was a huge assortment of food and desserts. We hung out there for a few hours and stayed warm before heading over to Beaver Stadium for the game.

(We felt like VIPs!)

(This was actually my first time in the arena, hard to believe, eh?)

We headed over to the game with Danielle's sister and her friend. Danielle had the goal of making it to one game this season before kick off because she had yet to do that. Just as we were walking into the stadium in our section Coach Franklin was walking down the tunnel with the team. It felt good to back in Beaver Stadium with 107,000 of my best friends.

(Right on the 50. Not one bad seat in the Beav)

(Let's Go State! Trying to stay warm)

We decided to leave after the 3rd quarter. It was freezing, Penn State was winning, and they just continued to fight on to a victory. We are also bowl eligible! We went back to Dani's house to rest up and thaw before getting ready to head out for the evening. We decided to go to Inferno for drinks, and my friend Jordan met up with us! He saw through the Facebook grapevine that I was in town.

(A little dark, but still good!)

Sunday was a veg day. I met up with Dani and her family to see Big Hero 6 (GREAT movie by the way, highly recommend it), and after, Dani and I went to Barnes and Noble to have coffee with her mom and gram. Sunday night I started feeling like I was getting a cold and even made the comment that I thought I was getting sick.

Monday I woke up feeling okay, and I met up with my friend Kristen for Breakfast at the Waffle Shop to catch up with her. After breakfast I went downtown to do a little Christmas shopping before heading back to NY. I also splurged on a few items for myself...


I started feeling worse as the day went on, and sure enough, I woke up at 4:30 this morning, and I couldn't breathe and I felt like I had a marble in my throat.

Once I got home from New Orleans I went a little crazy spending time with my friends and family. I had plans with my friends every single night up until last night, and I've been up until close to midnight nearly every night for the past 3 weeks. I should have known better than to do that. Now I need my own Baymax to make me feel better (Big Hero 6 reference). I'll definitely be veggin' most of this week to recoup. I'm also on call this weekend, so I'll have plenty of time to relax. I'll need some movie ideas for the weekend.

QOTD: Who ran the Inaugural Avengers Half? What's your favorite movie to watch when you're not feeling well?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Getting My Life Back

The boards are over!!! That's right, I sat for my exam Saturday, October 4th, and am relieved to finally have that weight off of my shoulders. It didn't hit me right away after my exam that I was now "free" to have my life back, but it slowly crept up on me that Saturday evening, and by Sunday evening I was feeling better than ever knowing I don't have to study. It was so great to sit in bed Sunday evening and catch up on Grey's Anatomy, and not feel guilty that I wasn't studying! If you recall, I had posted that I was giving up my summer back in June to study.

The only stinker about this exam is that I won't find out whether I passed or failed until roughly Dec 15th. I received a print out that stated I'd receive an email notifying me that my results would be available online on my account. That being said, I have a little more than 60 days of freedom until I find out my fate. In all honesty, I feel the exam went well. And even though I told myself I would NOT do this, I sat at work one day last week and looked up some of the answers to questions that had me second guessing myself. Of the questions I looked up, I only got one wrong, and the correct answer was the other option I was going between, so I can't feel too bad about that. If it turns out I failed the exam, I will just reapply and sit again next spring, at least I know what to expect the next time around. However, I choose not to worry about that until I know for sure.

Next, can I please just brag about the amazing people I have in my life? I realize that I've been MIA on my blog for much of the summer and fall (due to my exam as you know). Not only have I been MIA on here, but I also was to my friends. I had not seen Mel and Nita (other than at the Rochester Marathon Relay) since our trip to Disneyland in August. That was particularly rough on me, especially during the last week when my anxiety was getting the best of me, and I nearly had a meltdown the Monday before my exam. Work has been busy, and my supervisor knew I had been stressing about the upcoming exam. When I walked into work the Thursday before my exam, she had left me a card with encouraging words and a Starbucks gift card to treat myself after the exam!

The Friday before my exam, I pulled into my driveway, and I had a box sitting on my front step. My friend, Mel, had eluded to the fact that something would be sitting there and not to be alarmed. I brought the box inside and opened it. Inside I found a card with little notes of encouragement from Mel and Nita, along with a bunch of my favorite snacks, a candle and some cute Frozen items! I was so overwhelmed with the kind gesture from my friends. I'm so very fortunate.

(Seriously, the best friends EVER!)

Now that my freedom is back I have so much to get back to. Running being one of those things. I have not been keeping up with my training schedule, especially during the month of September, which is surely going to hurt me during the Jazz half at the end of the month! Mom and I will be flying to New Orleans for our first time (and her first half), and I can't wait! So much to experience in the 5 or so days we'll be there! Beignets, beignets, beignets!

Last week I also treated myself to a new pair of running sneakers. I have been running in Mizunos, and so when I went to try on new sneakers, I wore my old Mizunos so they knew what to look for. The guy helping me at Medved brought out a few pairs of stability sneakers, and the first pair he pulled out were a gorgeous pair of Mizunos. Not the same pair I had currently been running in, but very similar. He said the only difference is that there is more cushioning in the new pair. I tired on a few other brands to compare, but there was no comparison. The Mizunos are so light, and I feel like I'm running on a cloud. The sales associate also said that people who run in Mizunos often only run in Mizunos, and he wasn't going to try to get me to switch brands.

(Love at first sight)

Last Sunday, Nita and I went for a long run. It was nice to get out and run with her again. I had joined her once in September as a part of her 20 mile training run. She ran 15 miles, then I met her for the last 5 miles. She had to run 8 this past weekend as her last long run before her marathon which was today (and she finished, success)! We ended up running just a touch over 7.5 miles.

(Post long run with roomie!)

I also wore my new sneakers for a test run, and I love them! I had a 10K this afternoon with my mom and I wore them again. It's awesome that I have ZERO PAIN running in Mizunos, they're just amazing. I'm hoping I can get them broken in enough before my half Nov 1st. As for the 10K, it was my mom's first official 10K. We finished in 1:20ish, and I stayed with her for the race. It was chilly, cloudy and breezy, but overall a beautiful course. I'm hoping I can catch up on my race recaps now, I'm so behind!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

I'm sorry for the delay in posting this recap, to be honest I've just been dreading writing it. As you may know, I had an absolute blast running the Disneyland 10K! Let's just say the Disneyland Half was not so "magical" for me. RunDisney advertises the Disneyland Half as the "Happiest race on earth." I get it, it's a play on words because Disneyland is the "Happiest place on earth." Let's recap and find out what went wrong for me.

My alarm went off at 4:00 am, but I was already awake. Surprisingly, I was feeling fine when I woke up, even after spending all day Saturday in the parks on limited sleep from the 10K. Nita, her mom and I got ready, and headed out of our hotel room by 4:30. I decided to wear my hydration pack for the half to ensure that I had enough electrolyte to get me through the race, and I would sip water at the water stops.

Nita and I were in the same corral, and her mom was placed in a corral or 2 ahead of us, but Nita and her mom were planning on running together, so she dropped back with us.

(Pre-race good fairy selfie)

We made it to the corrals with plenty of time, and of course we waited a while before we were set free. I don't remember exactly how much time was between the corrals, but it didn't seem like it was too long.

(When our corral eventually made it to the start)

Finally, we were off and running. Unlike the 10K course which takes you 2 miles outside the park first, the half takes you into the parks just past the one mile mark. You first enter California Adventure by Paradise Pier, run around the pier and down into Cars Land.

(We ran the opposite direction of what we ran for the 10K)

(Mid-race selfie - Flora and Fauna being mischievous in the background)

Before I knew it we were making our way across the sidewalk and into the Disneyland park.

We made our way in through the front entrance by the train station and onto Main Street USA.

At the end of Main Street USA we turned left and weaved around the back part of the park and back around through the back of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Sleeping Beauty's Castle was one of my BIGGEST pet peeves during the half. Once I came up to the Castle I pretty much came to a dead stop because everyone was walking through it! WHY?!?! 

Once through the castle we turned left into Tomorrowland, looped back around by the Teacups and the Matterhorn, then back by It's A Small World, and down into Toontown. Then just like that we were almost to mile 4, and out on the streets of Anaheim. 

Once we got out on to the streets of Anaheim it got boring, and I really had nothing exciting to look forward to other than finishing. It was nice though that the people of Anaheim came out and cheered for the runners. Some offered small pieces of candy, or pretzels as a little energy boost. Some had funny signs to motivate runners. Others offered to squeeze a sponge of cool water down your back (which was amazing)!

Around mile five I started getting back pain. It was my hydration pack. I had never run more than 3 miles with it, which was my fault, and I was starting to pay. It was at this point that I started walking, and that was pretty much it for me. I power walked with very short bursts of running for the remainder of the half.

The course weaved in and out of different areas of Anaheim basically having us run in a zig zag pattern. As we were weaving in and out of the neighborhoods, we ran through a few areas where people brought their antique cars and had them lined up down both sides of the street, so it was like running through a car show. It was like this out to the Honda Center where the course placed us on the Santa Ana River Trail.

This was my least favorite part of the course. The trail itself did not bother me, it was well maintained, smooth with a little elevation climb. It was the fact that we basically ran though the tent cities. I assume the police had cleared the people out for the race, as no one was down there, however, there were tons of sleeping bag, garbage bags, and other packs just piled down under the bridge we ran under.

Once we jumped off the trail we were basically at the Angels Stadium. Mile 9. Phew, keep moving forward. Cliff was there handing out energy shots, which I still have a difficult time choking down even small amounts, but I tried. There were also a lot of Boy Scouts there cheering the runners on as we made our way across the parking lot into Angels Stadium. 

I have to admit, running through the stadium was pretty awesome. They had a camera that showed us runners on the jumbo-tron, and as we ran past a certain point an announcer would call out our names. We ran back out through the tunnel and back onto the parking lot. Across the back part of the parking lot there were cheerleaders and marching bands playing, but before long we were back onto the streets.

Almost to mile 10, just a little over a 5K to go. I pushed along and before it knew it I was passing the sign marking mile 12. All of a sudden I heard voices yelling my name. Mel and Matt were standing along the course cheering! I don't remember exactly, but I think I said something to the effect of, "I'm dying, everything hurts!" And Mel offered a, "You're almost there!" The last part of the course looped back behind Paradise Pier, and up by the resorts. The finish was just past the Disneyland Hotel.

I crossed the finish line extremely relieved to be done. I claimed my Disneyland Half medal, then went to the Dumb Double Dare tent and claimed my Dumbo medal, and finally over to the Coast-to-Coast tent where I claimed my Coast-to-Coast medal. On the way out of the finisher area a volunteer offered me a reusable cooling cloth which felt amazing draped around my neck. I grabbed a quick finisher photo with my bling and made my way over to the refreshments tent. Grabbed water, Powerade, a snackbox and banana and started my walk back to the hotel (Ugh).

(My new bling!)

After a shower and some food in my stomach I was finally feeling human again and ready to venture through the parks again for the day.

(Hangin' outside Sleeping Beauty's Castle with my bling)

I feel like this entire post is me complaining about the DL half, and to be honest, it's not runDisney's fault I felt so miserable. Let's look at the pros and cons.

Disneyland Half Pros:
*Hotels are closer to the park and the runDisney starting line. This means you can sleep later than the Disney World races, and walk to the starting line.
*More running through the parks. I was happy that nearly 3 miles of this half course was within the Disneyland Resort parks. At Disney world, depending on what race you run, you don't get nearly as much time running in the parks. 

Disneyland Half Cons:
*The corrals. Sorry, but there were not many corrals and I was wedged in with so many runners that the beginning of the race was not an enjoyable experience (See above: Sleeping Beauty's Castle). There needs to be more corrals with fewer runners in each.
*The first water stop. The first water stop was placed in a very tight congested area, and it forced EVERYONE to walk, but just beyond the water stop was a wide open space. Poor planning on runDisney's part.
*Most of the half is running through the neighborhoods of Anaheim. The first part of the half is the parks, which I know runDisney can't change because they need to get the runners in and out of the park before it opens. I would have enjoyed running through a small part of the park at the end though.
*Running through the tent cities. Not much can we done about this, it's just how it is.
*The Price. Sorry for the price of this race, I just was not impressed or pleased with my experience. RunDisney races are becoming wildly popular, so much so they they sell out in less than 24 hours. Unfortunately, runDisney see's this as a cash cow and increases the prices because they know people will pay.

QOTD: Have you ever had a miserable experience at a runDisney race?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Disneyland 10K Recap

Saturday, August 30th I ran the Disneyland 10K as part one of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, and OhMyGosh, this was BY FAR my favorite runDisney course I have had the opportunity to run!!

Let's start with the corrals. There were 5 corrals to separate the mass of runners. I'm not sure how they exactly broke the corrals down, since they didn't ask for a proof of time at registration (I know this because I had registered my friend Mel for the 10K the day registration opened, and I specifically remember not having to put a proof of time in for her). I do know that runDisney did have my proof of time for Dumbo, so they may have used that to place me in a corral. Any way, Mel was in corral C and I was in corral D.

(With Mel before we separated into our corrals)

(Just before the start of my 10K - upside down because I was looking down at my bib)

The race had a 5:30 am start time which is typical for runDisney races, so they can get the runners through the parks before they open. I can't remember exactly how many minutes were between corrals, but it didn't seem like much time had passed before my corral was off and running.

The first two miles were pretty boring as it was outside the parks on the streets of Anaheim. There were still people out on the streets cheering us on though, so that was nice. Once I had made it to mile two of the race we entered California adventure. That is where the fun began!! All the lights were on, the rides were moving (though no one was on them), and the rainbow sprinklers from the World of Color show were going. I first made my way down through Cars Land where Mater greeted runners and many stopped to take pictures.

(Sorry, it's a little blurry, I think my pic from the 1/2 is better)

Once through Cars Land we whipped around the corner and up to Paradise Pier, here is where I was able to see the World of Color Fountains. We ran down the boardwalk down by California Screamin', past the carousel and Mickey's fun wheel (debatable), and back around the front of the pier. Just as I was coming up to the Carousel, I noticed they were letting people on to ride it. I ran up to the line, but the woman said, " Sorry, it's full and this is our one Magic Moment." BUMMER! If only I hadn't stopped to take a few pictures at Cars Land and Paradise Pier. Oh well, it was a really neat idea!

 (View of Paradise Pier)

(I'm still wondering why I decided to pose like this in ALL of my pictures)

Once through paradise pier we turned and ran down by the Grizzly River Run and back around near the front of California Adventure and ran back towards the Tower of Terror. The course had us exit California Adventure through the side of the park where we ran down a ramp, underground and then back up the ramp where we came out inside Disneyland by Casting and Costumes. We turned by the Main Street USA train station and entered the park from the front.

 (My VERY first glimpse of Sleeping Beauty's Castle EVER!)

(Main Street USA)

I ran down Main street USA and turned towards Tomorrowland, then around by the Matterhorn and It's a Small World. We looped around a back part of the park where they had a few of the parade floats out playing music. We reentered another part of the park, and turned back down towards Sleeping Beauty's Castle. One of the most exciting things about running through Disneyland (and Magic Kingdom at Disney World) is running through the castle!

 (Just hangin' outside my favorite princesses castle)

After running through the castle we turned down toward Frontierland and through New Orleans Square, where we exited the park through the side. Once outside the park we looped back around toward to front of the park and ran through Downtown Disney. All of downtown Disney was lined with people on both sides. As luck would have it, I looked to my right just as I was coming up to Nita and Tracee!

(Can you tell I was excited to see my friends?! Haha)

Nita caught that action shot of me (that will probably be the only decent looking picture of me while running, I swear the rest of them make me look like I'm dying). When I saw Nita and Tracee, I had roughly 4/10 of a mile to go. I finished strong, and claimed my Stitch medal and my 10K finisher bracelet for the Dumbo Double Dare, then met up with Mel so we could walk back to the hotel together.

The reason I enjoyed this course so much was because the majority of the race was inside the parks. Being inside the parks, there's more opportunity for pictures (Disneyland can't have characters on the streets of Anaheim). Even though I rarely stop for pictures with characters it definitely adds to the fun. At Disney there's always something to distract you from the fact that you're running (the rides, the lights, music, characters, etc). During the 10K I had also decided to listen to the Disney music from the CD my brother and his wife gave me for Christmas, so it was Disney all around for me (I know, I'm such a goof).

If you've never run at Disneyland and are debating on what race you think you'd enjoy more, I can honestly tell you, I think you'll be the happiest with the 10K! I loved every second of this race! Stay tuned for my Disneyland half recap in a few days.

QOTD: Do you have a favorite race course that you enjoy running each year? What's your favorite part of a runDisney race?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Disneyland Half Health & Fitness Expo

Happy September, I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. It's hard to believe summer is drawing to a close!

This past weekend I was out at Disneyland for the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. If you've been following along, then you also know I was registered for the Dumbo Double Dare. I'll get to my race recaps another day, first I wanted to talk about the Disneyland Half Expo. The expo opened on Thursday at noon allowing runners to come pick up their packets and peruse the expo floor and all the vendors. My friends and I had decided not to go into the parks this day and instead decided to spend the day around the expo and walking around Downtown Disney (Thursday was also my birthday)!

We made our way up to the expo around noon when it opened and there was already a sea of people there. We were guided to an area below the Disneyland Hotel (I assume it was a parking garage the way it was arranged) where we picked up our bibs. As we were walking down, we came across this fun carpet:

I love the retro look of the logo

I realized on the way up to the expo that I had printed off 2 copies of my race waiver, and of course, forgot both of them in the hotel room. Luckily, there is always a place where you can print and sign your waivers at the runDisney expos. Since Nita, Mel and I were all running different races, we had to wait in separate lines to pick up our bibs. Mine was the longest line (go figure), so they all came over to meet me when they were done picking up their bibs. I signed and initialed for my bib and also received my Coast to Coast wristband, and then we made our way back up to the expo floor to pick up our race packets and race shirts.

After that was done, it was time to have some fun around the expo! Our first stop was at the Florida Hospital booth because they had a "photo booth" set up where we could be goofballs. This was our picture:

I had to put on the Maleficent hat

Next we decided to make our way over to the official runDisney merchandise. Unfortunately, once we saw the line to get into the area we decided it was not worth the wait. The Raw Threads booth was not too far from there so we headed there next. I ended up purchasing a Dumbo Double Dare themed racer tank, and an Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) themed tank.

We also made our way over to the runDisney booth where you are able to register for other runDisney races, look at the finisher medals and speak with Jeff Galloway! Nita and I waited patiently to speak with Jeff, and then we both purchased one of his interval timers (this way I didn't have to rely on the beep of my watch over my music).

Hangin' with Jeff Galloway!

I think we may have ended up staying at the expo until close to 2 pm because Nita had registered for the New Balance sneakers on the virtual queue. While she waited in line for sneakers, Mel and ventured around the expo a little more and ended up coming across displays set up for each race to take pictures with your bibs!

 With Mel at the Disneyland 10K display

 With Mel at the Disneyland Half display

I LOVE the Disneyland Half display - Sleeping Beauty's castle!

After we were done with our pictures, Nita was done at the New Balance booth, and we were off to Downtown Disney for the afternoon.

Fast forward to Friday morning. Nita's mom needed to pick up her bib and wanted to explore the expo. Nita, Mel and I all tagged along. We decided if we got there early enough we might be able to check out what was left of the runDisney merchandise. Luckily, we had no issues getting into the merchandise area this time around. I was able to pick up a Dumbo Double Dare Sweatyband, and also an "I did it!" Dumbo Double Dare t-shirt. I was actually surprised with the amount of merchandise that was still available for purchase on the 2nd day.

While Nita and her mom were downstairs picking up her race bib, Mel and I walked around the expo a little more. We headed to the Sparkle Athletic booth. The day before we had spotted a really cute new sparkle skirt that was "superhero" themed. I decided to buy this for the Avengers Half that I have coming up in November. While cashing out I was able to chat with Kelly. She was so sweet! I had mentioned to her that I was nervous for the race because I had never run a race in California before, and since I was from the west coast, I hadn't completely acclimated to the time and climate change. She reassured me that I would be fine and told me this was one of her favorite races.

With Kelly at the Sparkle Athletic booth

Mel and I continued to walk around the other shops that were set up, then decided to head outside to soak up some sun while Nita and her mom were in the Expo. It wasn't long before they met us outside, and we were ready to head to the parks. Nita, her mom and I were all completing the Coast to Coast challenge this past weekend, as we had all run the Princess Half in February (yay)! For those of you that don't know what the coast to coast challenge is, in order to qualify, you need to run a half marathon at Walt Disney World and a half marathon at Disneyland in the same calendar year to claim a special coast to coast medal.

We're Coast to Coast ready!

Overall, I liked the setup of the Disneyland Half expo, and had a great experience! Having the bib pick up in the parking garage below the hotel was a great idea because it was a large and open space to allow for the lines. I had no issues when I went upstairs to pick up my race packet and t-shirts. I walked right up to a volunteer, she ripped the t-shirt tag off of my bib and handed me a bag. I enjoyed the variety of vendors the expo offered. I also love going to the Raw Threads booth, they're one of my favorite vendors at each race! Unfortunately, the line outside of the official runDisney merchandise area is something that is unavoidable on the first day. I believe runDisney has designed it this way to allow for only so many people in the area at one time, this way we're not all tripping over each other. Luckily, I was able to go back early the next morning and get in with no wait, and still purchase what I wanted. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it is the same way when I go back in November for Avengers!

QOTD: Have you ever had a bad experience at a runDisney health and fitness expo? (I have) How about another race expo?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Preparation

Morning all! As many of you probably know, this weekend is the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, and I will be traveling to Anaheim with my friends tomorrow morning to spend a few days out there before the event kicks off! As you probably know, I am participating in the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge. The friends I'm traveling with are also participating in this weekends events (either the Disneyland 10K or Disneyland Half). I am the only one running the Dumbo.

(Source: runDisney)

Now that we're less than a week away, I'm starting to get that "What was I thinking?" feeling. I had signed up for the Dumbo Double Dare before doing the Glass Slipper Challenge, not knowing what to expect. It will still be fun, but I'm not looking forward to the early mornings. My friend did remind me though, that since this race is in Anaheim, we are able to walk to the start from our hotel, instead of having to catch a bus like the runDisney races held at Walt Disney World. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I am able to sleep a little longer for the Dumbo races. I'm also hoping that the time change works to our advantage. Since we live in New York, my body may not have enough time to acclimate to the west coast time. This could mean I sleep better the nights before my races. If not, I won't be any worse off than I was for the Glass Slipper Challenge in February.

Not only am I nervous about the double early mornings for the races (again), but I'm also nervous about that fact that I just don't feel all that well prepared. I have been running and following my training plan as best as I can, however, I just am not feeling as great as I had anticipated for this weekends events. I also have been having some minor foot issues. My right foot has been giving me fits lately. Once I start running I get pain on the inside starting at my ankle and it shoots down my foot. After I warm up a bit, the pain does seem to dissipate, but it's been a nuisance, none the less. Yesterday when I was picking up a few items for my trip, I picked up a new brace that I'm going to test out on my last 30 minute training run this afternoon after work. Keeping my fingers crossed it at least helps a little.

The nerves and "ailments" aside, I am extremely excited about the four new shiny medals I will be bringing home for my collection!

 (I'll be earning the 3 middle medals: DL 10K, DL 1/2 and the Dumbo medal)

(I will also be earning my Coast-to-Coast medal. Source: runDisney)

Not only am I going out to Anaheim for the Disneyland half weekend, but It will also be my first visit to Disneyland!! It's hard to believe that this will be my 4th trip to California, and I have never been. Along with my first Disneyland visit, I will also be celebrating my birthday while I am out there! (And you better believe I'm going to be sporting both a "1st Visit" pin and "Happy birthday" pin!) My birthday falls on Thursday which is our first full day in Anaheim. We've decided not to go the the parks this day. Instead, I think the plan is to lounge by the pool for a while. Then wander around the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo when it opens at noon so we can pick up our packets, and then venture to downtown Disney where we'll shop and have dinner. It would be great if I can get my shopping out of the way on the first day at Downtown Disney, so I don't have to worry about carrying any bags through the park the days we're there. 

Yesterday evening Nita and I finished our costumes for the Disneyland half! She, her mom and I are doing a group costume even though we're probably not running together. Still though, I'm really excited about my costumes for this weekends events! They were pretty simple to construct, and relatively cheap as I had most of the clothing and other odds and ends I needed to complete them. This evening after my run I need to finish packing and change up my running playlist with some new music. I haven't changed it since Princess Half Marathon weekend, yikes!

I hope everyone has a great and safe Labor day weekend, and I will update with race recaps, etc. when I get back next week!

QOTD: Do you run in a costume for your runDisney races? Ever celebrate your birthday while at Disney (either Disneyland or Walt Disney World)?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Miracle Treat Day 2014

Hey all, today is Dairy Queen's Miracle Treat Day!!

At participating Dairy Queen locations a $1.00 from each Blizzard purchased will be donated to your local Children's Miracle Network Hospital.

I don't know about you, but I am totally looking forward to eating ice cream for dinner! You can search for participating Dairy Queens here, and help make miracles happen!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Run for the Red Twilight 10K Race Recap

Hey all, I am so sorry for the delay on my race recaps lately! Studying has consumed a good majority of my free time. Thursday, July 31st, I ran the Twilight 10K at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion in Canandaigua, NY. This race benefited the American Red Cross (hence the name). I know it sounds a little kooky that the race was held on a Thursday, but it was in the evening (back to the name: Twilight). I love night races, it is one of the main reasons why I love runDisney's Wine and Dine Half SO much!

My friend Mel had registered for the 5K, and I had registered for the 10K. A few of my coworkers had also signed up. Linda and her husband were running the 5K, and Olivia and her sister, Monika were running the 10K. After work that Thursday, I picked Mel up at her place and we drove to the race together. It's just much easier to carpool because this race wasn't just a hop, skip and a jump away from where we lived, so having a travel buddy was great. We weren't sure what the parking situation was going to be like, and let's be honest, if we did get lost, at least we were together. Lucky for us, Linda's husband had picked up all of our packets on Wednesday, so we already had our bibs. One less thing to worry about.

We arrived in plenty of time. The 10K wasn't set to start until 6:30 pm, and the 5K at 6:45 pm. Mel and I hung out around my car for a bit while we pinned our bibs on, and made sure we had everything we needed (since we honestly weren't sure how far the start was from where we had parked). We decided to walk over to the tents where everything was set up, and we started searching for port-a-potties. None in sight. We finally overheard a woman talking about how the restrooms were over a hill in a small building. So we ventured that way. OF COURSE, the woman's line was out the door and onto the sidewalk leading to the building. Mel and I waited a good 20 minutes to use the restrooms. While waiting I told Mel that if I missed the 10K start, I would run the 5K with her. As we waited I noticed I had forgot to put my Sportwatch on, and was hoping that after I used the restroom I would still have time to run back to my car to get it.

Mel and I had finally made it into the small building, and between the men's and women's restrooms, there was a table of food set up. First off, gross! Second, the cut up onions for whatever they were serving were nauseating. Mel and I finally made it into the little women's room, and there were 4 stalls, strike that, 3 stalls, one was out of commission. There was a roll of toilet paper being passed around because some of the stalls were out, so I grabbed a handful and went into one of the stalls. I set my water bottle (filled with electrolyte) on the floor, and quickly used the restroom, so I could get out of there. I noticed the toilet kept bubbling, which was worrisome, but it still flushed... slowly. Just as I was about the leave, water was running into my stall on the floor from the stall next to me. I quickly picked up my water bottle, washed my hands and bolted.

Mel was already outside, so we quickly walked back to my vehicle so I could get my watch, and then back to the starting area (which wasn't very well marked). Mel and I kind of stood there and hoped I was in the right place. Shortly thereafter, Olivia and Monika came up from behind me. Mel and I wished each other good luck, and she stepped off into the grass next to the starting area. This was Olivia's first 10K, so she said she was just going to stay with me. I told her I had my watch set to 1:2 minute run/walk intervals, and she said she was okay with that. Before we knew it, we were off without any warning which I thought was weird.

Olivia and I had made it about a mile into the race, and we were dying it was so warm out! We passed a group of volunteers, and they asked us if we were having fun yet? I responded, "Sure, but I wish it was a little cooler!" Around mile 3 we reached a water stop (finally). The 10K course made its away around Sonnenberg Gardens, and then weaved in and out of the town of Canandaigua before eventually meeting back up with the 5K course around mile 4 of the 10K. Around mile 5 we had finally reached another water stop. Unfortunately, they had run out of water (see below). The race finished back at Sonnenberg Gardens just short of the starting line. The majority of the course was flat with a gradual hill that we had to run down and eventually back up. Olivia and I finished the race in 1:14:31, which is a P.R. for me! I grabbed a bottle of water and chugged it (probably not the best idea, but much needed).

10K course

Group shot with the ladies!

I met up with Mel, and walked to my car to put away my water bottle and other running gear that I didn't need for the after party. I also grabbed a long sleeve shirt because I figure once I started to cool down I would start to get cold. We met back up with Olivia, Monika, her friend and Linda and her husband. We made our way over to the drink tent and the line was backed up so far, but Linda and her husband reassured it moved fast (which it did). With our race registration we were given vouchers for 2 free drinks (great perk)!

Twilight after party

Once we got our drinks we all got in line for food which was equally as long. I grabbed a hot dog, and we all ventured to an open area in grass where we could sit, relax, eat and enjoy the entertainment. Monika had grabbed a small container of plums and brought it over to where we were sitting for us all to share. It started to get dark out, so after we all had finished eating we took a couple pictures, and decided to head out.

 Great race with a great friend!

Hangin' with Liv!

I had to work early the next morning, and knew it would be late when I finally got home and into bed. Mel and I started walking back to the car just as they were starting to hand out awards. In all the commotion of getting food after the race, I had lost Linda, so I text her to tell her we were heading out, and to let me know if she had placed in her age group. She placed 2nd!

As a little side note: I just have to say, the drive to and from the race were equally as fun as the race itself. Having Mel as a co-pilot was great, and we always have so much to talk about. I wasn't even paying attention when we got close to Mel's place (as we were talking), that I missed when she said "turn right here," and I continued to drive right by her complex! (Sorry about that, Mel!) 

Now for the Pros and Cons of this race:

Evening race - this is a lot of fun if you're into night races.
5K and 10K race - This offers something for everyone, runners and walkers alike.
Beautiful scenery - Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion is beautiful, you also get to run around some of the residential areas of Canandaigua.
Free food and drink - Post race refreshments included free food (hot dogs, potato salad, fruit, etc), and beverages (water, gatorade, powerade), and 2 free alcoholic beverages with your race registration.

On course water shortage- This is a major complaint! It was very warm during this race, and the only water stops on the 10K course were at mile 3 and mile 5. Not only that, by the time Olivia and I got to the mile 5 water stop, they were out of water! This is most likely due to the fact that the mile 5 water stop for the 10K was also the mile 2 water stop for the 5K (we had merged on to the 5K course at this point). So every single runner hit this stop. I still had electrolyte in my water bottle, but that still doesn't excuse the fact that a majority of runners had nothing to keep them hydrated at this point, especially when it was still so warm out.
No Port-a-Potties- I get that they're gross, but the only restrooms available were the small restrooms in the visitors area on the Garden grounds (see above). It was extremely frustrating waiting in a line that was at least 20 minutes long to use a restroom before the race. I understand that they're trying to keep the grounds clean, however, when you're hosting a large race, port-a-potties are a necessity.

QOTD: Do you prefer to run in the evening or in the morning? Ever run into a shortage of on course "refreshments" (water, electrolyte, gus, etc)?