Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stace's Disneyland Lemonade Stand

As many of you may know, I registered for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge during the Disneyland half marathon weekend coming up in August. This will be my second runDisney challenge this year (I also did the Glass Slipper Challenge). I am so excited for this trip because not only will I be running the Dumbo Double Dare, and receiving my Coast-to-Coast medal, but it will also be my "Golden Birthday." Some people have never heard of this, but it is the birthday in which you turn the same age as the day of the month your birthday in on, so in my case, 28 (Yikes)!

Enough about that though, the real reason for this post is after my friends and I had registered for the Disneyland half weekend, we also signed up to run for Team Lemon. Team Lemon is associated with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, and raises money for Pediatric Cancer.

So excited to run as a part of Team Lemon! (Source)

As a Penn State Alum, raising money and supporting Pediatric Cancer is in my (Blue & White) blood. However, now that I'm an alum, I don't have as much access to THON as I used to, so I thought this would be a great way to still give to such a great cause (I mean, let's be real, anything having to do with kids is a great cause) all while doing what I love - running!

The great thing about Team Lemon is that you don't have to raise a minimum amount of money to be on the team or participate in their events (unless you register for a race using one of their team slots). Since my friends and I registered separately, we could set our own fundraising goals. If you have the time, please take a second to check out my Disneyland Lemonade Stand page and consider donating to such an amazing cause. No dollar amount is too small to fund the necessary research, treatment and procedures necessary for those battling this awful disease.

Stace's Disneyland Lemonade Stand: http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/1112917

Again, please take a minute to check out my page, and even share it to spread awareness! Thank you!

QOTD: Have you ever run for Team Lemon or another charity group?

Monday, July 21, 2014

4th of July 5K Race Recap

Hey all! I apologize it has taken me so long to post this recap. I have actually had it typed for a while now, however, to say my life has been turned upside down over the past 2 weeks would be an understatement (but we'll get to that at another time another place). Now onto my 4th of July race recap, enjoy!

Friday July 4th I ran in one of the local 5K races to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. It took a while for my friends and I to decide on which race we were going to do because there was also a 5 miler race (reduced to 4 miles due to construction) that we were contemplating. In the end we decided on the 5K.

Once again, I had friends and co-workers joining in on the fun! I arrived at the race around 7:15-7:30 am, and text my friends to let them know I had arrived and that I was in my car. It was a beautiful day, but it was still cool out, so I met Nita and we came back to sit in my car which was in the sun. Shortly thereafter, our friend Mel met us, and we all stood in the parking lot in the sun to stay warm. While standing there my friend Melissa called to let me know she was on her way, and so I directed her to parking near where I was with my friends. She had brought her son Dominic (who is too cute for words) and one of our coworkers was going to watch him while Melissa ran the race. We got our bibs pinned on, and made our way to the starting line. Poor little Dominic was NOT happy with his mom leaving him for the race! :(

On the way to the starting line we ran into 2 more of my coworkers, Olivia and Linda. The race had an 8:00 am start time, and by this point the weather was perfect for running. Melissa and I stayed toward the back of the pack, and I told her I would stay with her for the race. I had my watch set for a 1 minute run 2 minute walk intervals. We all hung out at chatted for a few more minutes before they set us free. I told my friends I would meet up with them after, and wished them good luck.

(Love running with my besties! Me, Nita & Mel)

We were off, and literally right before the starting line a girl had been tripped and she was on the ground holding her ankle. What a bummer! She had people helping her, so I was not going to stop and trip up other people in doing so. Melissa and I started our intervals and were doing great! About a half mile into the race another girl was down on the side of the road (again, people helping her so Melissa and continued on). We made it to mile 1 and my watch beeped 12:19. Not bad, especially when Melissa is new to running!

Just ahead was a water stop so we slowed to get water. I think here we walked 3 minutes as it was already into our run interval. We weaved through the neighborhoods and commented on the beautiful homes in the area. Some of them looking like small castles or like they belonged on a movie set. Before we knew it we were at mile 2, again my watch beeped, 13:13. A little slower, but we also walked a few intervals in a row. We turned right to weave back into the neighborhood, and came up to another water stop, so Melissa and I each grabbed a glass of water and strolled for a while.

Melissa and I were talking about work when all of a sudden I heard something come up from behind us. We turned to look, and there was a car! Um... Isn't this a closed course?! Luckily we were coming up on an intersection and a police officer walked up to the vehicle and asked the person where they were trying to go, and directed them off the course. The best part was that Melissa and I weren't even last, there were plenty of people still behind us during the race.

We turned the corner and I saw the finish line ahead, so naturally I kicked it up a notch to get to the finish. As I was coming up to the parking lot where we had parked I heard my coworker yell my name, I looked to the sidewalk and saw Martha holding Dominic. I smiled, waved and kept going. I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch, and made my way to the end of the chute for a drink. As I walked to the end, one of the volunteers handed me a paper cup. Assuming it was water, I took a sip, and realized it was sweet flavored and fizzy. I looked into the cup and noticed a pink fizzy drink, almost like emergen-C. I took a few more sips, and decided it was not worth it and went for a bottle of water instead. By this time Melissa had finished, and we were slowly meeting up with our friends to see how they did.

(Hanging out with friends and co-workers after the race!)

We all met in the yard in front of the school where the race started, and there were some post-race snacks, so I enjoyed a piece of watermelon. We all stayed around and chatted for a while before slowly dispersing. Nita and I mentioned that we were going to go get breakfast. On the way to my car, Nita ran into someone she knew, so I went up to look at my "official" finisher time. Naturally, my watch had a better time because their "official times" were gun start, not chip start.

A few moments later Linda came up to me and told me she had run the race in roughly 30 minutes! She then went on the explain that her bib was assigned to a 15 year old boy, so she didn't get credit for the race. When she went to the race relations tent to tell the woman of the mistake, the woman basically brushed her off like it was no big deal, and that it didn't matter. The woman wrote down Linda's finishing time on the bib, and then started to walk off with it. Linda then asked for her bib back because she liked to hang on to them. The woman snarkly replied, "Oh. Well, I never keep my bibs or accept the medals or awards when I do races." I could not believe how rude the woman was to Linda! I, like Linda, like to keep my bibs, so I can look back and see what progress I've made from where I started.

Nita and I made our way to my car and headed to our breakfast spot. We walked in the door and who do we see? Linda and her husband! Linda had heard Nita and I talking about getting breakfast, and they thought it was a great idea. We all sat together outside on the patio and enjoyed a nice breakfast and talked about the race, and talked about how disgusted we were at how the woman acted when Linda went up to talk to her. We also talked about our plans for the evening and for the rest of the weekend.

All in all, the race was fun! The weather was perfect, and it was in an area of the city that I had not run before, so it was great to see some different scenery. I was not pleased with how the woman reacted when Linda went to talk to her about the bib mistake, but a majority of the volunteers I encountered during the race were very pleasant and supportive!

QOTD: Did you run a race to celebrate the 4th of July? Have you ever encountered some not so pleasant race volunteers?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Confession: I've Fallen Off The Wagon

Confession time. Today was the first time I've run since my 5K on July 4th. I'm also feeling extremely guilty about it, but it felt amazing to get out and move today!! I was able to meet up with the rest of Team RWB for our weekly run, and it was nice to see some new faces (They've belonged to the group longer than I have, but it was the first time I've met them)!

(Finally got my Team RWB shirt!)

(Today was my first run with my Nike+ Sportwatch!)

Any way, let me get back to explaining why I fell off the wagon. Let's rewind and review the past week and a half.

Monday, Nita and I had fully planned on running our 9 mile training run, but that ended up getting cancelled. I should have run it by myself, but I didn't. I really have no good excuse for that.

Tuesday while at work, I received a call from my Cardiologist. He had presented my case, and most recent testing (echo and metabolic stress test) to a panel of cardiologists and surgeons in the area, so he called to give me the results of the conference. That, however, is another story for another day. Nita also came over for dinner, so we relaxed and hung out.

Wednesday, I was unable to make it to the Team RWB meet up, so I didn't run that day, and to be perfectly honest, I have completely forgot what I did on Thursday. Then I went to my parents this past weekend. I would have run on Sunday, but there were some serious thunder storms at my parents, so Coco and I hibernated.

Now for the main reason why I've not been running as much. From this point on, I'm pretty much kissing the rest of my summer goodbye (I know that sounds completely depressing). I say that because I will be studying nearly every night for another board exam (which is also what I did for a majority of the weekend while at my parents).

Currently, I'm sitting in my home dog less. It's a strange feeling. Coco is currently at my parents house for a 3 month "vacation" while I study. The house is completely silent, and I no longer have my little shadow following me all over. Not to mention, that when I wake up in the middle of the night and she's not next to me, I have a miniature panic attack before I put two and two together. I know it sounds like a strange idea, to send my dog to my parents so I can study, but in my mind, it's only fair to her. Sure I miss her A LOT, but it's not fair to her if I can't give her the attention she deserves while I study for my exam. I know my parents will spoil her, and she won't want to come home.

Studying for my exam has put an extra bump in my training. Now I have two very important events fighting for my free time. I know to be successful, I need to make time for both. Unfortunately, lately, studying has dominated a majority of my free time in the evenings. In the past for my previous two board exams, I have literally given up everything in my life to study because in my mind, failure is not an option (more or less because I do not want to pay for the exam again)! Let's just say the last time I studied for a board exam (nearly 3 years ago), I was so stressed out I gave myself hives all over my torso and back (sorry if that's TMI). I have NEVER done that to myself before! I know this time around, I need to find a balance between training and studying to keep my stress level to a minimum. We'll see how well this all goes.

(Let the games begin!)

QOTD: Have you ever fallen off the "running wagon?" Have you ever had difficulty finding a balance between two important passions in your life?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Runner's World Cover Contest

Good afternoon all! I hope everyone has had a great weekend thus far!

If you're a runner, then I'm sure you've already heard about the Runner's World Cover Contest. The winner of the contest will appear on the cover of the December issue of Runner's World! Along with thousands of other runners, I have entered the contest to tell my story.
 
(Source)

In order to enter you need to answer 3 questions about yourself as a runner, describe yourself in one word, upload a photo, and of course enter your contact information.

If you have the time, please take a moment to check out my entry, and please vote for me! You can also post your entry link in the comments section below, and I'll vote for you as well! Good luck to everyone entering the contest!

Again, the link to my entry is: http://covercontest.runnersworld.com/entry/541/

Thanks, again!
(And don't forget to leave me your links!)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Difficult Decisions

If you're a runDisney enthusiast, then you know that registration for the Princess half marathon opens to the public on July 15th at noon EST. If you're a runDisney enthusiast that is also an Annual Passholder and/or a Disney Vacation Club member, then you know that early registration for the Princess Half Marathon opens on Wednesday, July 9th at noon EST. I am an Annual Passholder, and up until recently I was fully planning on registering for the Princess Half Marathon again this year.

So what led to the difficult decision of deciding not to register when it opens this Wednesday? There are multiple factors.

1.) Price: As much as I LOVE runDisney, I simply cannot afford to sign up for another runDisney race right now. It is especially difficult for me not to do Princess because Princess half weekend is where I ran my very first 5K 2 and a half years ago, it is also where I decided I wanted to become a runner, and then a year after my first 5K I returned and ran the Princess half as my first half marathon. This race falls right during Spring Break for many schools, so flights to and from Florida for Princess are ridiculously expensive. Then adding hotel accommodations and other odds and ends on top of that, it's just a very expensive trip.


(Thanks Scrooge, I think I will)

2.) Training: I'm not complaining about training for a half, I do that pretty much throughout the year as it is. However, training for Princess was exceptionally difficult this past year. It was a harsh winter, and I was not a fan of running in the bone chilling temperatures. I did 90% of my Princess training on my treadmill, and that was NOT enjoyable. In all honesty, I think I was the least prepared for this half than I have been for any other race.

3.) Race-day Wake-up Call: Let's be honest, the 2:30 am wake-up call and I are not exactly best friends. This past year I did the Glass Slipper Challenge, so two 2:30 am wake-up calls were even less enjoyable. I prefer the Wine and Dine half marathon (or even the Tower of Terror 10 miler - even though it's humid) for the fact that it is a night race (oh, and the after parties!)


(Day 2 on the bus at 3 am = Not thrilled)

4.) I'm registered for the WDW Half Marathon: This is where I ask myself, what was I thinking?! My friends from college and I decided we'd like to take a trip to Disney early next year since they either hadn't been there, or hadn't been in a while. We decided on the marathon weekend, so I had the great (or not so great) idea that since we were going to be there, I might as well run the half! I'll be gone and back before 10 am (thanks to that 2:30 am wake-up call). So, I basically decided that since I was running the half in January, that running Princess in February was probably not the best idea.

5.) The Chaos: If I remember correctly, the Princess half is runDisney's largest half. As fun as the race is, any thing having to do with the race is quite chaotic with the amount of people there for the various race weekend events.

All in all, as difficult as it was to make this decision, I think it is the best one for me. Please don't take this post the wrong way, I L-O-V-E, love, LOVE runDisney, but one cannot afford to run every race (as much as I want to) on a single income. So part of my decision making this past weekend was also trying to figure out what runDisney races I'd like to do and when.

I'm still very much interested in going after the Pink Coast-to-Coast medal that is awarded to individuals who run the Princess half and the Tinkerbell half. I think this one I will try to save for and do in 2016 because it will also be an anniversary year for the Tinkerbell half. I also think in 2015 I will save and just run the Wine and Dine half marathon, as it is one of my favorites. If you haven't done the Wine and Dine half, I highly recommend it! A night race through 3 parks, Christmas lights, wine and an after party at the Food and Wine festival!!

QOTD: Are you going to register for the 2015 Princess half marathon? Have you had to make a difficult decision when it came to certain races you wanted to participate in?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Superhero 5K Race Recap

Last weekend I participated in a Superhero 5K race to benefit one of the local Emergency squads. Linda had mentioned the race to me a while back, and I told her I would love to run!

Since this was a themed race, there were going to be awards for the best costumes in four categories: Superheroes, Sidekicks, Villains, and Evil Minions. I decided this would be a great time to think about what I would want to run as for the Avenger's Half in November, and maybe use a costume twice.

Ultimately, I decided to dress as Wonder Woman, and I made a costume out of things I had laying around (except the tulle for my tutu).

(My costume: this picture came out weird for some reason)

I took a red tank that I had and cut yellow tape I had (left over from my Donald Duck costume from the Enchanted 10K) to make the W. Then I made the tutu with royal blue tulle I bought at Joann's. I used a scrapbook punch to punch out stars and I hot glued them to the tutu. It was pretty simple to put together, although I will say, the most time consuming part of the costume was hot gluing all the stars to the tutu.

Saturday morning rolled around, and Nita met me at my place and we drove to the race together. The race was scheduled for nine, the sun was out and it was heating up fast! Nita and I ran down to grab our race bibs and shirts. Unfortunately, they misspelled my name on my bib (not my mistake, since I used my Active account), so I had to get that fixed. The race volunteer handed me my bib, race shirt and "swag bag." Surprisingly, for an inaugural event, the "swag bag" was really nice!

(Race Swag Bag: T-shirt, pens, hand sanitizer, koozie and Advil)

Nita and I ran our stuff back to my car, and we ran into Linda on the way and told her we'd be right back. Once we got back to the track it was almost time to start. So Nita, Linda and I quickly took a few "before" pictures, since we knew we'd be a sweaty mess after the race.

 (Violet Incredible and Wonder Woman)

(Linda and me)

By the time the race started I swear it had to be close to 80 degrees. The race started at the local high school, and made a loop down to the middle school and back. I had my watch set for 1:1 intervals, and figured I'd just do the best I could against the heat.

About half a mile into the race we ran down a gradual hill, and I couldn't help but think about how awful that was going to feel on the way back to the finish. About a mile into the race, I was DYING. It was getting even warmer out, and there was no breeze. I finally hit the halfway point of the race and made it to the water stop (Thank goodness!) I had lost Nita earlier in the race when her sneaker came untied, so once I hit the water stop I decided to walk 3 intervals and start back up running again after 3 minutes to see if she could catch up.

I pushed on, and made it back to the gradual incline (oh, great). From what I remember I walked a majority of the hill because of how hot I was. I was sweating, but I swear, none of it was evaporating. I made it to the top of the hill and continued on with my 1:1 intervals. I finally made it back to the track where the race started, so all I had left was less than 300 meters. I ran that last little bit, and surprisingly finished in 35:53!

I met up with Linda, and we grabbed some water and fruit as we waited for Nita to finish. She wasn't too far behind me. We rested and attempted to cool down a bit. Once everyone had finished the race, they did the kids race which was a 450 meter dash. It was so cute to see the kids run around the track, especially in their costumes. All the kids received Frisbee's and coloring pages for finishing their race.

Next they did the costume contest. No one dressed up as an Evil minion. There was only one Sidekick (a cute little Robin), There were 2 Villains, and then a large amount of Superheroes. So we voted with cheers for the rest of the contest. Finally, after the costume contest, they presented the awards for the race. The top overall male and female finishers, and then top male and female finishers for age groups. Both Linda and her daughter were top finishers for their respective age groups! Each of them received a medal and a small gift bag. Nita and I hung around for just a short while after that and then decided to head out and refuel after the race.

Overall I really enjoyed this race, it was a nice loop, even will the hill. The race organizers mentioned as we were all getting ready to head out that they were going to hold the race again next year, during the same weekend in June, except they thought they would move the race to 8 am instead of 9. I think an earlier time will help, but there really is no telling what the weather will do here in upstate NY. My Wonder Woman costume worked out well, however, I think I'll still do something different for Avengers in November. Now I just need to think of something...

QOTD: What superhero would you dress up as for this race (or Avengers if you're running the half)?