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)?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Women Run the Roc 5K Recap

Sunday, July 27th I ran the Women Run the Roc 5K. I believe this year was the second year for this race, and it is a 5K geared toward women, and one lucky guy! Since it's a race for women, instead of giving the first 500 registrants a t-shirt, the women got a custom Women Run the Roc SweatBandy! What a great idea, I for one was all for this idea as it is something I will use over and over again.

Friday before the race, I went to packet pick up during my lunch hour. I was able to sneak out of work a few minutes early and beat the crowd. I'm sure glad I did, not only did I have like 7 bibs to pick-up, but by the time I was done, there was a line across the room.

(Ours bibs and sweaty bands! So cute!)

Sunday morning I drove to Nita's house and we drove to the race together. The weather was great, and it wasn't too hot out. The forecast was showing it to be around 70 degrees for the race. Nita and I had also talked before hand and decided that we were going to run an additional six miles after the race to complete the nine miles needed for training. We met up with our friends that were running the race, two of my co-workers were running the race, and my co-workers daughter was also running. We hung out and chatted for a bit before we walked over to the starting line.

(Pre-race selife!)

(Waiting to start)

As we waited to start, Nita and I decided to try and stick together during the run, and use a 1:1 run/walk interval. Shorty thereafter, they set us free and we were off! The first part of the course took us over a footbridge by High Falls. This is one of my only complaints... this should have been near the end of the course instead. This bridge has staggered benches and since we were still all clustered together, we were all weaving in and out of the benches and around each other.

Finally, we all started spread out and Nita and I settled into a comfortable pace. The course starts and ends at Frontier Field, takes you across the High Falls Bridge, around Liberty Pole Way and down Main Street. It wasn't too far into the race when it started to warm up quickly, and it became quite humid. Nita and I made it just about a quarter of a mile from the finish, and I started to get a cramp in my side, so I told her I was going to walk one more interval, but told her to go on ahead and finish strong. I think we may have finished 45 seconds apart. My final time on my watch was 36:33, not bad considering it ended up being so humid, and my watched marked me .17 miles more than the 5K, probably due to the weaving in and out of people and the benches.

(Hanging with my co-workers, they're the best!)

Nita handed me a cup of water, and we slowly made our way to the finisher area where there was fresh fruit and bagels. Nita and I went for the oranges, and then decided it would be a great idea to take a picture with the orange slices in our mouths. Let me just tell you... Before deciding on a picture, I had already grabbed the largest orange slices I could find in the bowl, so trying to get it into and out of my mouth caused fits of laughter. I was doubled over laughing so hard I was crying and trying not to choke on this orange slice! We hung out for a short time after that and decided that running the extra 6 miles in the heat was not going to be a good idea. Instead, we decided to grab breakfast to refuel.

(Yummy!! Took the picture after I ate all the avocado off my sandwich, oops!)

This was a great race, especially since it was geared toward women. Everyone was so encouraging from the staff and volunteers to the other runners encouraging each other. I really like that this race's "swag" is a SweatyBand instead of a shirt. Like I said before, a SweatyBand is something that I will use for future runs (believe me, I have a collection of them)!

QOTD: Do you have a favorite piece of race swag, or even a favorite race shirt?