June 29, 2012


I'm sure by now most of you have seen the P&G ad for the Olympics, thanking Moms.  I love it.  And most of all, it reminds me of all the incredibly amazing support my Mom provided my when I was a young athlete - swimmer to be exact.

While I was no Olympian, I had my fare share of support during my years of (non-stop) training.  Before I got my license, she drove carpool and drove me to AM practices at 4:45.  She brought me snacks before afternoon practice and sat through countless hours of swim meets - summer league, high school and USS.  She was a shoulder to cry on when I had a crummy race.  She celebrated my successes with me, notably my college acceptance, which was shared by the swim coach.  My Mom drove me home from out of town meets late on Sunday nights after finals so I could go to school bright and early on Monday.  She would hand me my morning snack (1/2 muffin) on my way out the door to practice when I could drive myself.  I don't think I ever realized the magnitude of the support system that she provided and I am eternally grateful.  I love this ad because it reminded me of all the love she gave me, even when it wasn't necessarily convenient for her.

Thanks, Mom!

June 28, 2012

Plan Ahead

I finally have a good handle on my training schedule.  I found a great planner at Office Max that lists each day in a column format. 

I made a nice little grid to segment work and personal activities as well as meals and workouts.  I like planning dinners for the week (you'll note I only planned 2 nights this week) and also figuring out my workout schedule based on other events going on.  It's nothing earth shattering but it's working really well for me.


June 27, 2012

Disneyland or WDW.... which is your favorite?

I have been lucky enough to run at both WDW and Disneyland.  Last year, I talked my sister into joining me at the Disneyland Half for our first trip to DL after many visits to see the mouse in Florida.  We are both Disney enthusiasts, so imagine our delight at visiting Walt's first park in Anaheim. 

The race courses differ greatly at the coast to coast destinations.  My first half was at the Princess in 2011 and while I enjoyed the race, there were parts (such as the long stretch of highway and the on ramps) that were not very fun.  Running through the Magic Kingdom, especially going up Main Street towards the castle is fantastic!  The corral setup and transportation to the race from a host hotel is fine, but you end up getting up extremely early for the race start.

At DL, the course runs along the city streets and obviously some are nicer than others.  I must admit though, as a baseball fan, running through the Angels Stadium and seeing yourself on the jumbo tron was very cool.  Also there with loads of kids (mainly boy scouts and cheerleaders) yelling encouraging words,  sitting in the stands of the infield. 

One huge advantage to DL over WDW is the ability to walk to the race start from your hotel.  We chose the DL Hotel and yes it was a splurge, but the five minute walk to the start and convenience of walking back after the race to cool down was a nice perk.

I would struggle to pick a favorite  race, because I love them all.  If you have the opportunity to try a race on both coasts in a calendar year, you will also add to your medal collection with the lovely Coast to Coast medal featuring Walt Disney and Mickey.  It is a real beauty!


June 26, 2012

Training Tuesday...Heat and Humidity!

Today I drove to my local college track for speed work. My plan was a mile warmup and then three repeats of 1600 at 8:05 pace. So after my warmup, I knew based on 78 degree temperature and high humidity that I needed to adjust my pace. So I ran my first 1600 in 8:20 knowing that I probably could not complete all three sets. My second was right at 8:18 and that definitely was a struggle. So I completed my workout with two fast sets of 400 at 1:55 and 1:48. Maybe I should be disappointed that I could not run the last 1600, but frankly I was wiped out with the heat.

Adjusting workouts in the heat is really important and I am pleased to have that one over for the week. In the meantime I searched online for tips on running in the summertime. It would be easy to skip outdoor runs altogether, but being able to have heat tolerance is a huge part of your physical fitness. You can read more here.

Next up...tempo run on Thursday!


June 25, 2012

runDisney Circuit

Mom and I were talking about what it would take to complete the runDisney "circuit" in a single calendar year.  It sounds great, doesn't it?!  Just think about all the medals and spending 7 weekends in Disney parks in FL or CA.  Awesome.  But also expensive and physically taxing.  So let's talk about what this would look like from a calendar perspective.  And just for clarification, we're talking only about the distance events plus Expedition Everest since that's the only event that weekend. 

Tinkerbell Half Marathon - Disneyland
Marathon Weekend - Disneyworld
Total miles: 26.2 - 56.4 mi (depending on if you do a half or as much as the Goofy marathon weekend)

Princess Half Marathon - Disneyworld
Total miles: 13.1 mi

Expedition Everest - Disneyworld
Total miles: 5.3 mi

Disneyland Half Marathon - Disneyland
ToT 10 miler - Disneyworld
Total miles: 23.1

Wine and Dine Half Marathon - Disneyworld
Total miles: 13.1

Total miles for the year: 80.8 - 107...wowzers!! 
Total Registration cost: $1080 if you hit the lowest race for each rate...now just consider the flight, hotel, park tickets and incidental costs for all of those weekends too!  I guess I'll be playing the lottery...

It's fun to dream isn't it?


June 22, 2012

It's Friday baby!

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed some of my posts about marathon weekend.  As you all know, Mom (Pam) already signed up to go Goofy!!!  Totally amazing and I cannot wait to watch her undertake this incredible race!

After much hemming and hawing, I realized that I'm pretty uncertain of my ability to actually complete a marathon.  A demanding job, some health scares at my first Princess and a bum knee have my confidence wavering.  And really, let's be honest...I would rather "run" the Mickey course on a golf cart than actually pound out the 26.2 miles myself.  So that leads you to the likely race outcome....

Yes, that's right friends, I've signed up to run the Donald Half Marathon on Saturday, January 12th.  I was able to snag the discounted rate before prices hiked up on Wednesday.  And I'm looking forward to another Disney race.  Donald was really the right pick for me anyways...

The best part of signing up for this race is that I get to run this one with my Mom and then cheer for her on Sunday when she does the Mickey Marathon!!  I cannot wait!!  Who will be there with us?  


June 21, 2012

Disney Race Expos.....runner shopping heaven!

The race Expos for the Rundisney events are absolutely fabulous. Some runners will spend virtually no time at the Expo except to get their packet while others will spend quite a few hours listening to the guest speakers, checking out the numerous vendor booths and having something to eat or drink at the restaurant inside ESPN Wild World Of Sports.

In a prior post I admitted to my obsession with the wonderful runDisney apparel associated with the races. That being said, I do try to stick to a budget when shopping at the Expo. Most recently, I decided to award myself a certain amount of dollars each week depending on how well I do with my weekly workout/training schedule. Christine is doing something similar and pays herself for each workout.  This money will be saved for spending at the Expo when I always find numerous race related merchandise items I cannot live without!

There are ways to save on your purchases too. At the runDisney booth, I use my Chase Disney Visa card and receive 10 percent off my purchase of $75.00 or more. If you are going to the Expo for the first time, be sure to go with proper ID, signed waiver (they release these on the runDisney site a few weeks before the race) and you will sail through packet pickup and then be able to enjoy everything else associated with the Expo.


June 20, 2012


As I mentioned here, my training started Monday and I successfully made it to the gym for a hardy cross-training workout of elliptical, weights, abs, lunges and push-ups.  Last night was my first run using my training plan from Run Less Run Faster (Mom wrote about it here and I plan to share more details on the training plan later).  The plan is much more prescriptive than I'm used to so I spent a bit of time studying my run for the evening.  The workout for Tues evening was:
2 miles easy
3 miles at ST (short tempo pace)...according to their table based on current 5k time, mine is 9:27
1 mile easy

Let's consider that Tuesday evening was one of the warmer nights we've had in a while.  After I got home from work and took a quick break to chill out, I headed out, at about 6:15.  Turns out, that was NOT EVEN CLOSE TO LATE ENOUGH!  It was still scorching outside.  After completing the 2 easy miles in about 12 mm pace, I made the turn (literally and figuratively) for the ST miles.  After about a mile and a half, I was wiped!  And out of water and really, really hot.  Rather than push myself too much, I headed home feeling a little deflated.

As I opened my front door, the rush of the AC cooled my body and was intoxicating.  I quickly filled a water bottle from my Brita in the fridge and chugged about 1/2 of it down.  And then it hit me.  The most genius idea ever.  The freezer!!!  Somewhat related segue....Have you ever seen the Simpson's episode with the heat wave?  And Bart and Homer pitch a tent in front of the freezer?  Genius right?

So there I was, chilling in front of the freezer for a quick minute to get an extra chilly burst.  As you can see, my momentary disappointment in not hitting my training run according to plan was quickly lost with my great idea for a cool down.

While my training run didn't live up to the plan, all was not lost.  I learned that I either need to run 1) early in the morning, 2) later in the evening or 3) on a treadmill anytime.  I genuinely underestimated the challenge of training outside in the summer heat.  The heat was just too much tonight.  I checked my iPhone and it registered 86 just after I got back - yikes!  I also tested out my orange Gu chomps as a pre-run snack and they were pretty tasty.


June 19, 2012

Training Tuesday....Bike Work

Because I only run three days a week, I cross train three other days and have one rest day. My cross training is usually a 30 minute swim or a bike ride of 45 minutes. I just returned from one of my outdoor bike rides, and after huffing and puffing the last few miles I arrived at home.

 During the end of the ride, I wondered how much my 20 year old Schwinn five speed bike must weigh. So, I pulled my scale into the garage, weighed myself with and without the bike and was shocked to see that my bike weighs 36 pounds. Considering that is more than one third of my total weight, it made me realize that this is indeed a good workout on many levels! Today my ride was just under nine miles and it took me just under 44 minutes. A new lightweight ten speed bike would probably be twice as fast, but I enjoy cruising along on my old bike and enjoy my neighborhood scenery. Don't forget to take a water bottle when you go out for a ride!


In my ears

I'm basically obsessed with selecting the perfect running mix so I'm always looking for some good recommendations.  Here are some of my favorites:
  • Sleepyhead by Passion Pit
  • Gimme More by Britney Spears (the song that kicked off the 2011 Princess)
  • Meet me Halfway by The Black Eyed Peas
  • Beautiful People by Chris Brown featuring Benny Benassi (the song that got me across the 2012 Princess finish line)
  • Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
  • Two tunes from The Naked and Famous - Young Bloods and Punching in a Dream by (the song that kicked off the 2012 Princess)
  • Move This by Technotronic and Ya Kid K
  • No Love by Eminem featuring Lil Wayne
  • Love and Memories by O.A.R.
  • A few tunes from Foster the People - Helena Beat, Houdini, Warrant and Broken Jaw
  • What is Love by Haddaway
  • Call on Me by Eric Prydz (this one took me across the 2011 Princess finish line, even if I don't remember much of it)
As you can see, my running music is a little all over the map - rock, rap, hip hop, dance, techno.  As long as it has a good beat and has a "happy" tone, it's usually a good bet.  

I remember my Mom listening to a lot of Abba when she first started running and I know she's morphed some of her picks.  Check out her favorite tunes:

  • Good Life by One Republic
  • Firework by Katy Perry
  • Soul Sister by Train
  • What makes you beautiful by One Direction
  • You belong with me by Taylor Swift
  • Hangover by Taio Cruz
  • We Belong by Pat Benetar
So do tell, what's on your ipod for your work outs?


June 18, 2012

One more day

Only one more day to register for the marathon weekend races before the prices increase.  Right now, the prices and percentages for each race as follows:

Disney Family Fun Run 5k: $55 (none provided, likely less than 50%)
Donald Half Marathon: $150 (none provided, likely less than 50%)
Mickey Marathon (20th Anniversary): $150 at 53% capacity
Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge: $320 at 72% capacity

I plan to register for at least one of the races, likely the Donald but maybe the Mickey if I can wrap my brain around 26.2 miles.  Who else will be in Disney for marathon weekend?


June 17, 2012

Gearing up!

My "official" training for my upcoming races starts this week.  We're registered to run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon relay labor day weekend in Virginia Beach and after that, we'll be in Disney for the Wine and Dine in early November.  In preparation for my upcoming training, I stocked up on some essentials...

Yes, I grabbed practically one of everything in the "snack" aisle at Dick's sporting goods.  I've only tried the caffeine-free gels in the past and I enjoyed the Watermelon sport beans (before a race, not during).  So I figured with all of these races coming up, I wanted to test a few different options so I grabbed some sport blocks, different flavor gels (and some with caffeine) and new flavors of the beans. And of course some Powerade...and then TJMaxx got the best of me and so I grabbed two new pairs of shorts and this wrist pouch thingie (far right) that may be helpful for storing stuff.

Here we go...


June 16, 2012

Weekend Inspiration

I just returned from a week in paradise (Aruba to be exact) with a dear friend...it gave me plenty of time to think and unwind.  So what's on my brain for this weekend of catching up and regrouping before heading back to work...

1. I did 2 short training runs on our trip and realized I definitely need to upgrade the music on my shuffle!
2. Puppy time!  Other than having my own bed again, I was most excited about seeing my sweet pup...maybe she'll join me on a run this weekend since it's supposed to be cooler in Southeastern VA.
3. The hydrangeas are in full bloom in my yard!  Can't get enough of these beauties!
4. I'm thinking some new sneaks may be in order soon.  I usually like to have an extra pair to break in while I'm training.
5. A chilly beer is just the ticket for a summery weekend. 


June 15, 2012

Disney Blog

One of the ways that I get a lot of fun little tidbits about the Disney parks and resorts is through the official Disney blog.

They always have fun insight into the latest happenings at both the Walt Disney World Parks in FL and Disneyland Parks in CA.  For example, look at yesterday's post about the new Ghirardelli soda fountain in Disneyland's California Adventures park.  YUM!!!

I also really enjoyed the recent post about Disney's new approach to healthy living.  With their new initiative comes the "Mickey check" tool and changes in the way food is marketed to children within and Disney media.


June 13, 2012

Training Tuesday: Do you stretch?

Stretching is an important part of any exercise routine, especially running since we tend to get tight hamstring and calf muscles. I sometimes shortchange my workout by either abbreviating my post workout stretch time or eliminating it. For the rest of this year, I am planning a monthly goal. My June goal will be to stretch each and every day.

For runners, the four important stretches are:

  1. Glutes 
  2. Hamstrings
  3. Calves
  4. Quads

You do not need a lot of time to adequately stretch, just self discipline. Most running books include a chapter on stretching if you need tips on specific stretches and technique. My "go to" running book is Run Less, Run Faster, but even the running magazines will address stretching. Add 5-10 minutes to your workout and stretch...it will help you recover and avoid injuries.


June 12, 2012

Tinkerbell Half Marathon....Registration is Open!

Registration for the 2nd Tinkerbell Half Marathon opened up today on the rundisney website. This race was extremely popular this year with 17,000 runners in the inaugural race.  The race weekend starts on January 18th with the Expo at the Disneyland Exhibit Hall.  There you will pick up your race bib and packet, have the opportunity to purchase runDisney merchandise (always fun) and listen to numerous guest speakers on topics such as nutrition, training and other running subjects. 

There are several races over the weekend, the Neverland Fun Run 5K and  kids races that are great for even the youngest competitors.  The 5K and kid races are held on Saturday morning and the half marathon will take place on Sunday where upon completion you will receive a wonderful medal in true Disney style.  Be sure to sign up soon if you wish to participate.  Disney is expecting over 20,000 runners in 2013 for this great event and if you are an east coaster, this is a perfect chance to start off the year right and work towards that coveted Coast to Coast medal.


ToT 10-miler

The newest runDisney race, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 miler, intrigues me.  It's another night race, like the Wine and Dine.  The race has a little bit of a "spooky" tone to it.  It runs September 29th, so sort of Halloween-ish time frame.  And the post race party is Disney villains-themed in Hollywood Studios.  I thought that sounded amazing.  Based on that, I can only assume that the race course entertainment will follow a similar theme.

I was a little disappointed that we didn't register to run this race since it's the inaugural race and usually the medals are special.  But when I spent some time looking at the course details, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed.  The course is mostly on Disney highways and doesn't pass through a park until the finish.  It does wind around the Wide World of Sports complex and I anticipate that in true Disney fashion, they'll have tons of on course entertainment, but for me, the parks are really the draw for these races.  

As with all of the longer races, there is a 5k and a kids race as well.  Both the Happy Haunted Trail Run 5k and the kid's races take place at Disney's Wide World of Sports

So are you running the Tower of Terror 10 miles?


June 8, 2012

Running Skirt or Shorts....What is your pleasure?

I have only worn running shorts or compression capris/pants for my races or training runs. Each time I look at the skirts in my local running store, I mentally talk myself out of the purchase since I am an older runner. Questions run through my mind about whether it is an appropriate item for me to wear while running around my neighborhood.
They look so comfortable especially with hot summer runs on the horizon. So I may take the plunge and visit Try Sports in Wilmington soon to choose an appropriate model.

Are you a mature runner than runs in a skirt? 


June 7, 2012

runDisney Race Apparel

I love Disney race apparel and especially the shirts that say "I DID IT!".  I try to be in the first wave of runners through the race expo so I have a large selection of race related apparel at the runDisney booth.  Last September, I traveled to California for the Disneyland Half Marathon (and to receive my Coast to Coast medal).  I bought my first race jacket  (above left) and matching teal tee shirt.  At the Princess race this year I was lucky enough to get this wonderful cross body Dooney Bag and another jacket and shirt.  The jackets are great to wear to the gym and of course the Disney logos make them super cute!

Race shirts from 2011 Princess half, 2012 Chip 'n Dale Marathon Relay, 2011 Disneyland half, 2012 Princess half

For all the Disney races, a shirt is part of your race packet.  Above are my four shirts from my races at Disney.  My favorite is probably the Chip and Dale marathon relay shirt, since that race was for one year only.  I do hope runDisney reconsiders and brings that back.  It was a blast!


June 5, 2012

Training Tuesday: Training while on vacation

With summer fast approaching, it is time to plan how you will workout and keep up with your running while on vacation. This past weekend, I attended my niece's high school graduation. For four days, I was away from home and my normal routine. Since this wa a brief trip, my scheduled weekend long run was moved to Wednesday, and I talked one of my niece's into a short tempo run! This is a great option for me since I rarely have anyone to share my runs. I even left my iPod at home so we could talk along the way.

If you are going away for a longer trip, a careful plan to keep up with your running schedule should be considered. In February, I spent several weeks away and then returned to run the Princess Half Marathon. While my race was not a PR, I managed to train intermittently during my 3 week trip, and had a really fun race. It is important to maintain your expectations for race day if you travel during the peak part of your training schedule.


How are you celebrating?

Tomorrow, June 6th, is National Running Day.  People all over the world will share why they run on facebook and twitter and join in group runs.  I'm hoping to join a group run that kicks off the local rock 'n roll training efforts in Virginia Beach.  If you're in the 757, come join me!

Here are their 10 ways to celebrate, with more details on their website.
1. Declare your passion
2. Bring a "runway" to work
3. Morph your friends into running fiends
4. Change happy hour to running hour
5. Strike new ground
6. Give the gift of running
7. Make running run in the family
8. Make a running resolution
9. Take advantage of the great outdoors
10. Treat yourself like a champion

So join the conversation and finish this statement: "I run..."

I run to stay healthy, to clear my mind, because I love competition...and for that (>>) moment of crossing the finish line!


June 2, 2012

New training gear

After my less than fabulous 10k last weekend, I finally put my game face on and decided it was time to ramp up my summer training.  Given that most of my runs (at least in the last few months) have been on a treadmill, I know that I needed to spend more time on the pavement, dealing with the weather.  I have always struggled with heat and I think the only way to get more comfortable with that is practice!

Armed with some new gear, I headed out on a nice, long (yes, that's somewhat relative these days) training run this morning.  All things considered, it's a relatively cool morning here in Southern VA.  We had some pretty violent storms blow through last night, so the air is a bit crisp, considering we're definitely into summer weather.

My Mom surprised me with a little package the other day and it included a new Sprint Palm Holder from Fuel Belt and some Fitness magazines.  I have a hydration belt, but I don't love it because I always have a hard time making sure it doesn't bounce too much.  So I tried out the palm variety this morning and loved it!  The only problem was I could have used more water, but that's neither here nor there.

Next up on my new training gear for today is my new Road ID bracelet!  I was so overdue to order one of these and found a coupon from an old race bib and finally got my act together.  Since I run by myself (usually), I thought it was a good idea that I have some sort of identification and emergency contact info on me in the event of an emergency.  Like my Mom, I also got the wrist ID slim in pink.  And guess what, you can get $1 your order with my thank you coupon.  The code is: ThanksChristine14542645.  Just hit up the Road ID website and pick out an ID that works for you.

And lastly, I road tested some "new" sunglasses today.  They're not really new...more like new to me!  I found some shades tucked away in the back of a closet that I bought back in high school (!!) and they're perfect for morning runs.  Not exactly conventional...they have light blue lenses, but I like the fit and they stay put just like they should!

Baby blue Oakley sunglasses, circa 1999...any princesses may also recognize that awesome tech top! :)
What's your best training gear?


And the winner is....

Comment #1 - Caitty13!  Caitty, check for an email from us and we'll get your info so we can send your prize to you! 

Thanks to all for your support - hopefully more fun giveaways on the horizon!