May 31, 2012

Inspiration: Race Day Duds

I've been thinking about my race day apparel for the Wine and Dine race in November.  Mom and I have talked about custom tech shirts...we'll reveal those closer to the time!  Here's my inspiration board for our outfits.

Outfit details: Nike top; Minnie Mouse hairbow from bowsforme on etsy; Garmin watch; Thorlos experia socks; New Balance WR940 Sneaks; Team Sparkle red sparkly skirt.


May 29, 2012

Training Tuesday: Do You Strength Train?

An integral part of running well is having a strong body. This can be achieved with strength training several days per week. I choose my non-running days for both cross training (biking or swimming) and strength training. My upper body work is usually planks, some weight machines at the gym and free weights. For my legs and abs, I do pull ups, wall sits, and leg work on a mat.

As an older runner, my muscles need consistent work to keep from losing mass. Your diet also plays a part with strength sure to eat adequate protein and carbohydrates.


Don't forget to enter our giveaway - 3 more days!

May 28, 2012

ERR 10k recap

I ran the Elizabeth River Run 10k in Portsmouth, VA on Saturday. I had big goals-hoped to run a PR (I've only run one 10k and it was in 1:03) and wanted to have fun. I was running solo which was a first for me as well- at least in a race.

The race started at 8 and I knew it would be hot. I could feel the warmth and humidity while I was hanging around before the start. Heat is not my strong suit. When I headed over to the starting line, I noticed a woman with a shirt that appeared to say "Princess 2012." Of course I walked over and inquired if she ran it. She told me that she and her daughter ran it together and they're also doing the Tower of Terror ten miler. We immediately bonded over our love for Disney races and then it was time to line up at the start.

The race started well- I was easily able to maintain my 4:1 walk:run pace. After a little while (ok, about 12 min to be exact), I realized we hadn't seen a mile marker and being that I'm a pretty consistent 10min mile pace runner, I got a little nervous. When I saw the next volunteer, I asked about markers-none, he said. Hmmm...this is going to be interesting being that I only have a basic watch with stopwatch only, no GPS features, against which to check my pace.

After 35 min, the heat was really getting to me so I adjusted to 3:1 pace. I was still having a hard time and was dying for water. I grabbed 2 cups at the water stop at about mile 4.7 (I think) and chugged one and dumped the other down my back. I felt better momentarily. I had to slow my pace significantly to keep running. At one point, I thought I might be sick...I willed myself to stay on the course and not quit. I found 2 girls running a manageable pace and ran the last half mile or so behind them.

 I didn't PR, but I crossed the line only 2 min slower than my fastest time. It was hot, the course was tough to pace and I was, at times, desperate for someone running by my side.

I'd do it again (very well done race minus mile markers), but I would definitely bring a hydration belt. And I might consider training for the distance (my longest run since the Princess in late Feb is 4.3 mi).

Don't forget to enter our giveaway here!


For a giggle

Happy Memorial Day!!

May 25, 2012

Hollywood Studios - get ready for glitz

As a quick aside, I am a big fan of all things retro, so Hollywood Studios appeals to my inner retro-phile.  It's a smaller park so it's very manageable for walking.  And don't even get me started on the bakery there - it's incredible!  Read more about that in keyboard almost shorted out from drool.

Ok, back to the park.  This park is heavy in attractions versus true rides.  There are a lot of shows and self-paced areas to enjoy, like the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground and the Magic of Disney Animation areas.  There are quite a few full-service restaurants of really fun themes.  The food here is definitely better than most parks.

Pam: Toy Story Midway Mania is my favorite ride in all of the parks.  I love that ride!

Christine: I'm a big fan of the Tower of Terror for a few reasons - it appeals to my love of all things retro and the cast members always do an incredible job with their spooky roles.  I also really like The Great Movie ride in a makeshift Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Rock 'n Roller Coaster which features some great tunes from a little band called Aerosmith. 

P: I love the 50's Prime Time Cafe, where I usually have a Caesar Salad followed by an ice cream sundae with extra whipped cream!  For a quick meal, the Backlot Express is also quite good.  They have nice salads and some veggie sandwiches.
C: Ok, time for business.  Let's talk bakeries, shall we?  I'm often disappointed by the lack of truly good desserts in the parks.  Sure you can get a soft-serve cone or a chocolate chip cookie, but I'm talking about a real dessert here, folks.  At Starring Roles cafe, there are amazing cupcakes and treats.  I had a chocolate peanut butter cupcake there a few years ago that was to die for! 

C: I like Mickey's of Hollywood which is on the main street when you enter the park.
P: Oh yea, we love Mickey's of Hollywood!  It's a Wonderful Shop is great too - it's a shop that's totally focused on Disney Christmas paraphernalia and since I love Disney and Christmas, it's perfect for me!


May 24, 2012

It's a magical day - our first giveaway

We've been so overwhelmed with all the support and encouragement we've received as we get ready to kick our training into high gear for our next half marathon in November, that we're having our first giveaway!  Every runner needs great ear buds and we have a pair for you.  Check out these super-cute Coby earbuds.  I love the color - so perky and fun!  They are perfect for your next jog in the park. 

We would love to share this fun little treat with you so please follow the instructions below and place your entry!!!

1. To enter, you must "follow" the blog and leave us a comment with a valid email and tell us your favorite songs to play while you run.
2. For an additional entry, "like" us on Facebook and leave us another comment with your facebook name and a valid email address.
3. For an additional entry, retweet the link to the giveaway and leave us a comment with your twitter name and a valid email address.
4. For an additional entry, blog about the giveaway and leave us a comment with your blog link and a valid email address.
5. For an additional entry, post about it on facebook and leave us a comment with your facebook name and valid email address.
6. For all entries, please leave one comment per entry (note, that each person can have 5 total entries).
7. We'll use a random number generator to pick the winner and we'll contact you via email.
8. All entries must be received by 8pm EST on May 31st.  We will announce the winner on the site and we will email you.

Good luck, runners and thanks for your support!  We look forward to seeing you in the happiest place on earth in November!!

May 23, 2012

Expo Logistics......

Every Disney race starts with a visit to the Expo. The Expo is a must to get your race packet with bib, chip and final race instructions (these are also available on the runDisney website a week or so before the race).

Here are the Race Programs from the Princess Half,
Disneyland Half and the Chip 'n Dale Marathon Relay

And there's also the final instructions for each race as well....
Lots of good info!
I love the excitement of getting to the front of the line to pick up my number and then checking the electronic chip to make sure it works. After this is done and my race shirt is in the bag, it is time to check out the guest speakers and merchandise in the numerous booths.

Picking up our race packets at the 2011 Princess Half...the lines
were LONG!!
Jeff Galloway is the officia running consultant of runDisney and he speaks several times during the Expo. Nutrition is also covered by Diet Diva Tara and other relevant topics to running and well being. It is definitely worthwhile to spend some time listening to the experts. The vendor booths at the Disney Expos are fabulous. Be sure to bring a full wallet or credit cards so you can take advantage of all the wonderful gear available for purchase.  Note that you can get a discount when using a Disney Visa credit card

Christine was happy with her Princess Aurora
bib...can you tell she likes pink?!
My weakness is the runDisney race merchandise.....the "I Did It" shirts are a nice thing to wear to the parks after the race and the Champion nylon jackets are also an item that I look for. Another recent option is the Dooney Bourke handbags with race motif. I was weak and purchased the cross body bag at the Princess Expo in February!
Sporting my 2011 Princess "I Did It" shirt and
my new Dooney cross body bag!  Christine
wasn't feeling as festive...harumph!
If you're looking for some runDisney gear to help keep you motivated during "training season", you can purchase some Champion apparel on the Disney store website. So get shopping and enjoy training for one of your Disney races with a tech Mickey shirt!

The Clif booth at the Expo has samples of their products and also provides wristbands for various finish times. We used those at the Princess race in February (Check out Christine's race recap here) and they were very helpful. Clif also offers a pace team on race day  and that is also an option for solo runners.  At the Princess Half in February, they were called "Pace Charmings" I think.  Cute, huh?!

RunDisney also has a booth for future race registration and a case showing all the medals for their races. This is perhaps one of my favorite things at the Expo. It is no secret that I covet race medals and my goal is to earn one from every long race at far, I have 5 including the Coast to Coast, Princess x2, Chip and Dale Relay and Disneyland Half!  Enjoy your time at the race expos and be sure to allow plenty of time for shopping!


May 22, 2012

Last Day for Wine and Dine at $155

Today is the LAST DAY to register for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon for the lowest rate of $155.  Effective tomorrow, the price goes up to $170.  Sign up today!!  Here are a few fun videos to get you excited about the race!!

2011 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

The inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2010

Training Tuesday: Tracking Runs

Tracking your training runs is always a challenge.  In an era of all sorts of electronic gadgets and gizmos*, I'm still inclined to use paper.  It is usually easier for me to scribble down a workout than spend time typing it up.  Some people use iphone apps, some people use their blogs and some use other methods.  I'm a notebook sort of gal when it comes to tracking training runs.  For my first Princess Half, I used a Princess-themed spiral notebook that I found at Target to track my training runs.  As part of a gift basket that my Mom won at a recent auction, she gave me a diet and training journal. 

It's structured and provides a relatively simple format, but a lot of information is required.  I haven't quite decided if it's something I'll actually use...even if just for tracking training runs.  Who knows, I may regress to a basic notebook for tracking my workouts. 

What do you use to track your runs and other workouts?


*How do you like that Disney song reference...."I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty, I've got who's-its and what's-its galore..."  Which one is it?! :)

May 21, 2012

Oh my gracious! Sparkly skirts galore!

Have y'all seen the sparkly running skirts?!?!

How cute are those?!  Sparkle skirts has TONS of really cute running skirts including this one, the sparkle light, which is a thin skirt that doesn't have any bottoms under it.  The also have the Sparkle Tech which has shorts underneath.  I am in LOVE with their Minnie Mouse print and now they have a limited edition Mickey Tech skirt

If you're a runDisney girl, you must be gushing over this too.  They're $60, so a bit of an investment and they only have sizes small, large and extra large left. 

You should definitely check them out if you have a flair for the the feminine even when you're grinding through a 13 mile run!  What do you think of the Sparkle Skirts?


May 20, 2012

Hey Marathoners!

runDisney just released the new course maps this week.  You can find them on the runDisney Mickey Marathon page here.  The big changes include the omission of the initial run through EPCOT, a run on the WDW Speedway, running around the baseball stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports and the much-hyped mile 20 surprise in honor of the 20th anniversary of the race. 

There's a cute video starring Mickey Mouse that explains the new course.  The course includes all 4 parks and follows this general route: Magic Kingdom, WDW Speedway, Animal Kingdom, Wide World of Sports Complex, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. 

So who's running the marathon?  Are you in it for the course, for a fun race or for the 20th Anniversary bling?  I know someone (cough, cough, Pam, aka my Mom) who is in it for the bling and the challenge.


May 18, 2012

Animal Kingdom - go wild!

Yes, the title of this post is really cheesy.  Yes, I own that! :)  I have to admit that I was highly skeptical about Animal Kingdom prior to my first visit to the park.  I assumed it was going to be an overpriced zoo.  Boy was I wrong!  Animal Kingdom is like the best zoo you've ever visited on steroids.  It has amazing animals that you can see through rides or walking trails, cool rides and a great parade (Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade). 

Animal Kingdom is broken up into sections sort of like Magic Kingdom.

Oasis - When you walk into the park, you'll immediately notice the lush garden where you'll see some neat plants and may spot a few animals.

Discovery Island
Pam: I love the Tree of Life.  It's Tough to be a Bug is a really cute show!  Island Mercantile is a great spot for souvenirs.
Christine: You'll notice that the Tree of Life has all sorts of animals carved into the trunk of the tree.  If you're a meat eater, Flame Tree barbeque is a great spot for lunch. The barbecued chicken salad was very tasty.

Camp Minnie-Mickey
C: I like seeing all of the classic characters dressed up in safari-wear! 
P: Festival of the Lion King is a great show - the costumes are great and there's not a bad seat in the house.

P: My favorite thing is the Pangani trail where you see the gorillas.  I could stand there for hours watching those guys.  Tamu Tamu refreshments is set up like a market and they have great fresh fruit and veggies for snacks. 
C: I like the safari and while common lure tells you to go first thing in the morning, I recommend hitting it at 3 different times of day - morning, mid-day and late afternoon.  I promise you'll see cool animals each time.  And if you don't....well, blame your guide, not me!

Conservation Station
C: I'll admit that I was skeptical to head out to the Conservation Station, but I was an immediate convert when we got there.  They have some neat areas to watch the vets in action taking care of wounded or sick animals.  You learn about the food for each type of animal.
P: I like seeing how the animals are cared for and what they eat.  I really like seeing how much they eat....some of the animals are real piggies! 

P: I love the Kali River Rapids ride.
C: I am not a fan of the Kali River Rapids because generally speaking, I hate getting wet on rides...when I rode last February, I curled up under my windbreaker to try to stay dry.  I'm a big fan of Expedition Everest which is one of my favorite rides in all of the Disney parks. 
P: The Jungle Trek is really great - you see the tigers there.
C: Ooh I love the tigers!

Dinoland, U.S.A
P: The Finding Nemo musical is great.
C: I love that too.  I also love the DINOSAUR ride.  I also got to meet Donald and Goofy near TriceraTop Spin in their archaeologist garb.


May 15, 2012

Only 7 more days...

....until the Wine and Dine half marathon registration price increases!  Race is 59% full, so now is a good time to register as it's typical for the races to have a surge in registration right before the price goes up.  On May 22nd, the price increases to $'s currently $155.  Let us know if you're racing - we'd love to meet our friends from the ether!


May 11, 2012

Expedition Everest Recap #2

Check out Tracy's recap over on Goal: Bling.  She has some really cute photos too!

Expedition Everest Recap from Guest Blogger Tara

Thanks to our wonderful guest blogger Tara for this fabulous recap of the Expedition Everest race!!

Saturday night while in Orlando for a work conference, Mom and I took part in Disney’s Expedition Everest 5k + scavenger hunt. I have previously run Disney’s Princess and Tinkerbell races so I was looking forward to seeing what a Disney 5k was like. It was great that my mom was tagging along for the trip so we entered as a team. Now my mom is not a runner so, we planned on doing a mix of walking and some running for the race. It was the first time I have ever walked a race and that was a unique experience.

We were staying at the Coronado Springs resort for the conference so decided that since we had the time, we would take advantage of the Disney transportation system to get to ESPN to pick up our race kits gather than grab a taxi. We left the resort at 10:40 and grabbed a bus to Downtown Disney (now if the bus had not been right there, I may have thought about that for a moment, but it was so off we went). From Downtown Disney, we caught another bus to the All-Star Sport resort and from there the bus to ESPN. All in all, that venture took about 1h 30m. In retrospect, it would have been MUCH smarter to grab the bus to Animal Kingdom (or any other park) rather than going completely out-of-the-way to Downtown Disney. That probably added a good 30mins to the trip. Must remember this for the future.

ESPN was basically a race kit pick-up only and not an expo. Mom and I did pick up some fun women’s cut shirts that were much nicer than the race shirts. I have definitely been spoiled by getting a women’s cut for both the Tinkerbell and Princess. The Unisex shirt for Expedition Everest was HUGE. I had to get back to my next meeting, so I grabbed a taxi back to the resort while Mom browsed the shops at ESPN.

The latest race start time, I have ever run was the Rock’n'Roll in Vegas last December. It started at 8:30 but our corral went closer to 9:30. Night races are weird as you really need to be careful with what you eat (turns out Thai may not be the best option for some as we found out in Vegas) and you have a lot of time to kill on race day. It feels like you spend the whole day waiting. Expedition Everest was set to start at 9:30 from the Animal Kingdom park.  Since we did not have to be on site at Animal Kingdom until 8:45, Mom and I headed to Downtown Disney and Raglan Road for supper. I had heard great things from a co-worker and it lived up to its reputation. 
We shared the Scallop Forest and both had the Salmon special. Both were divine. This Irish pub also has Irish dancers that hope up on stage from time to time. Mixed with the great food and relaxed atmosphere, this is one of my new favourite spots.

After we walked off a bit of dinner, we headed back to Coronado Springs to change and then out to Animal Kingdom. This would be my Mom’s first race and I knew she was probably quite nervous. More so, due to the fact that for whatever reason, we were in the last wave (wave 8). I have never not been in the first or second corral so this was a unique experience again. Given that we were planning on walking the 5k, I was concerned that we would not finish in time. Our corral was schedule to go at 10:15 and the race course was scheduled to close @ 11. I spoke with a Disney rep on site and was told not to worry.

Each Wave started 6 minutes apart. The first wave was delayed a few minutes but then they were off.  The corrals worked a bit differently here as you waited until your wave was called to take your place in the corral. So they called Wave 1 to the loading area and then walked them to the start line while Wave 2 was grouped in the loading area.

One of my favourite things about Disney races is that the start line experience is the same from the first participant to the last. 45 min after the first group went we got our start, complete with fireworks.

We started off strong and I was really proud of my mom for running some and walking some. We finished the 5k portion much faster than I anticipated with a final time of 44:18 (the fastest 5k ever for mom!!). The route was a bit confusing through the park as the race course and the scavenger hunt course crossed at a few points and it would have been easy to get knocked by the frantic people hunting down clues (and frantic is the correct word for some).  Did I mention that the 5k was also an obstacle course? No….well it was but in typical Disney fashion they were pretty easy. The 1st mile was hay bales, the 2nd was tires and the 3rd was a low hanging net that you had to crawl under. You always have the option to go around the obstacles but then you may as well pick another race. So I jumped and crawled my way through for the team (Mom did the hay bales and tires but drew the line at crawling). 

I knew in advance that the obstacles were pretty low-key as I found an awesome video on youtube that highlighted the whole course. The bad thing about watching the video was that I knew what we were missing. In the video Minnie and Mickey are on the course cheering on with a few other well placed characters. I can only assume that was the case again this year as the stages and scenes were there …..just no characters. This was a huge disappointments for both of us as I had told my mom how cool it was pass characters on the route. I guess this is what happens when you end up at the back. I have a new appreciation for everyone in the last wave. Frankly, it is not fair and now I wonder how often this happened at the other races I have been in. Not Cool Disney!!

The race portion ended shortly after the crawling obstacle and then we had our first clue. Now, when it came the clues…they were hard. I was lucky enough to figure out the first 3 but was stumped by the last 2.  Luckily, the volunteers are a huge help and we completed the search portion in 33:02 to bring our race total to 1:17:20. Not to shabby given how crazy hot and humid it was that night, especially since you probably run/walk another 2 miles in the search going from Oasis to Camp Minnie-Mickey to Africa to Asia.

It was a medal well-earned and fun medal, I love that it opens to a compass. Disney has the best medals out there and this one will definitely have a place of honour.

The finish line was crazy crowded with people all blocking the exit (waiting for their friends/family?) so we grabbed our warm water, PowerAde and banana and tried to find calmer ground. Once we left Asia and headed into Dinoland USA the crowd thinned out quite a bit. Plus, we had the added bonus of locating a cold beer cart. Hooray. The perfect contrast to the warm water was a nice cool but well-earned beer.

The line to pick up our checked bag was HUGE but thankfully moved quickly. However, if we had waited 30 minutes the line would have disappeared completely. It was a crazy warm night so in retrospect, we did not really need to bring sweaters. We finished the night on a high note as I finally got to eat my giant turkey leg. I had been wanting to try these for the my last  3 visits to DL/WDW but have not had the chance. It was worth the wait.

Expedition Everest is fun, unique race in the Disney family of races and I would highly recommend it to anyone, although I would try to stay out of the last wave.

Thanks again, Tara!!

May 10, 2012

Race Day Gear- Throwaway Shirts

For any of the long races at Disney, there is a chance that you will be waiting in a corral early in the morning or late at night for an hour or more depending on corral placement.  Therefore, I bring a "throwaway" shirt to every race along with a mylar cape saved from a prior race to stay warm. 

All throwaway clothing at the Disney races is donated to charity, and I generally find my shirts at either Kohls or Old Navy for very little money.  Last week, I was in Old Navy and bought two shirts for Christine and me for our upcoming Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  They were originally $14.50 and I got them both for $5.89 plus local tax.  They are nice shirts and will keep us cozy while we wait for the fireworks to send us on our way November 10th!


May 8, 2012

Training Tuesday: Jeff Galloway Training Programs

If you closely follow runDisney's updates on Facebook, you probably noticed the Disneyland Half Marathon training programs that were recently mentioned.  If not, now you know!  Jeff Galloway is runDisney's official training consultant and he's got great training plans for every runner - newbies to experienced racers.  You can find the training plans on runDisney's website here.

I'm especially interested in trying the time improvement program, since I'd like to drop some serious time in my next half marathon at the Wine and Dine race in November.  I love that the training plan is all laid out for me with some great times about recovery and speed work. Happy training!


May 7, 2012

Expedition Everest

Hey blog friends!  Do you know anyone who ran Expedition Everest and would be up for a guest blogger recap?  We are very curious to hear about the race...and the bling!  Leave a comment on the blog, leave a note on our Facebook wall or email us!'

We Run Disney

May 6, 2012

A PR woohoo!

This Saturday I ran in the Oceanfront Jaycees 3rd annual Cinco de Mayo 5k with two dear friends from DC. We ventured out bright and early to drive to the Oceanfront of Virginia Beach. We easily found parking and grabbed a bottle of water while we waited to start. The race started at 31st street park and headed south on the boardwalk until 9th street and then did a u-turn to head back to 31st street. I figured the street markers would be helpful for calculating progress.

The race started at 8:00 which seemed ok given it's early May. Boy was I wrong! After the turn to head back to the finish line, I really started to feel the heat of the sun. As the streets numbers increased, I had to slow my pace a little bit (I started at a pretty quick pace and got tired with the heat) I was really hoping to break 28 minutes but still managed to PR at 28.37 so I was pleased with that. In fact, we all PR'ed so our crew was happy!


May 4, 2012

EPCOT - Not just for nerds

As a kid, I have a very vivid memory of EPCOT...when we arrived in Disney after lunch, we headed over to EPCOT and immediately upon entering, found space Mickey dancing with guests.  I got a solo, slow-dance with Mickey in the center of a circle of park goers.  It was really fun!

As an adult, I love EPCOT for many reasons.  The rides and pavilions in Future World appeal to my inner techie nerd and the food is awesome.  The fact that the restaurants aren't dominated by burgers and fries and you can get an ice-cold beer from around the world are nice draws for me. 

Future World
Pam: SOARINTest Track is fun.  Eating at the Living Sea's restaurant Coral Reef (we celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary there when they lived in FL). 
Christine: Mom definitely has an obsession with Soarin' really is a great ride.  I'm a big Michael Jackson fan, so I was excited when they brought back Captain EO.

World Showcase
C: Like I said earlier, I love food.  The Biergarten in Germany was a big surprise for me in that I really enjoyed the food and the show.  La Cantina de San Angel in Mexico has great beef tacos and the Tangiere Cafe has a great selection of Moroccan and Mediterranean fare.  I like the ride in Norway and love seeing the great topiaries that are scattered around the park for the Flower Festival in the spring. 
In France with Sleeping Beauty and her handsome prince
P: I like visiting all the countries, especially going on the ride in Mexico with the three Cabaleros.  I love eating at the Katsura Grill in Japan.  There's a beautiful garden for enjoying lunch or dinner.  We saw some baby ducks in the pond when we were there in February.


May 1, 2012

Another Take on Speed Training

My speed training is usually done at a local track not too far from my home.  It is a on a college campus and is a good quality place to run since it has a rubber surface that is easy on the legs.  When training for a half marathon, I have the following schedule for my speedwork:

Week One, 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down with 4 intervals of 400 meters at 1:53 pace.
Week Two, same warm up and cooldown but I increase the intervals to 3 at 800 meters 3:50 pace
Week Three, warmup and cool down and intervals are 2 X 1600 meters at 8:05 pace
The following weeks are varied, but the mileage is never more than 6 miles during the peak training week and that includes warmup and cooldown for a mile each.  Speedwork definitely helped with increasing my pace during my second half marathon in which I dropped nearly 20 minutes from my prior PR.  I recommend anyone that is planning to race this year to incorporate speedwork into your training.  An aside note....during this type of training be sure to bring several bottles or water and Gatorade/Powerade for adequate hydration.  In the summer last year, I needed lots of fluids to not feel faint while getting through the workout.  Also, be sure to adjust your speed depending on the weather conditions....if it is very hot and humid, do not hesitate to reduce your pace.