January 31, 2013

Dumbo Double Dare!

RunDisney announced a new race last December for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend in 2013. This inaugural race is also a new distance in the runDisney calendar. The announcement for the 10K race was Alice in Wonderland themed, with the White Rabbit trying to race to catch up with Alice and the Mad Hatter as they travel through wonderland.  This race will take place on Saturday, August 31st  followed by the Disneyland Half Marathon on Sunday, September 1st.

If you run both races, you will have completed the Dumbo Double Dare, 19.3 miles of running fun at Disneyland. Bonus for completing both races in the allotted time is the super duper new Dumbo medal (and a shirt).  We can't wait to get ours!
Christine's favorite ride as a child!
Without a doubt, the newly revamped Dumbo ride in new Fantasyland is a contributing factor to the excitement around this race.
Getting ready to ride the new Dumbo - in a purple Dumbo, of course!
The registration for this race began at the Expo for WDW Marathon weekend and the lines were huge at the runDisney booth with people trying to use one of several computers to join the group of DDD runners! Once the online registration began on January 22, the event filled in less than one hour....Wow, runners are excited about this new race distance and challenge.
Getting help from Michelle at the runDisney booth.
We are so excited to be traveling to California to not only complete the Dumbo Double Dare, but also to complete our Coast to Coast race challenge for 2013.  This weekend will be filled with awesome bling as we earn 4 medals after just two more races.  Cheers to runDisney for offering a new race challenge to runners.
Who's joining us in Anaheim for these awesome races?


January 30, 2013

Running with a Kenyan!

We are presently vacationing in Africa, and while here, I planned to run a few times to stay in shape for upcoming races.   There are not obvious places to run, and while in Nairobi, I requested to run at our hotel.  They did not want me out on my own, so one of the employees, a man named Brian, agreed to be my runningmate!  We set out late afternoon and although Brian is pictured here in his work clothes here, he switched to a tee shirt before we left the property.

After traveling for over 24 hours the prior day, my legs needed a shakeout run, but I did not need to die my first day in Africa!  We agreed that a run of between 30-45 minutes would be perfect.  Off we went through the giraffe gates of the property.  Within the first 5-10 minutes my breathing was heavy and I felt so sluggish.  Little did I know that we were running at 5500 feet elevation.  Since my home is at sea level, this is quite a strain on your lungs. Brian was kind enough to allow me several walk breaks during the course of our run.  I found out that he has a wife and two lovely young daughters and has worked at the hotel for just two years.  He loves his work and commutes with his feet, running a 5k each way.  Occasionally, he is able to borrow a bike from a friend to make the commute a bit easier.

We finished up the run in just over 40 minutes and covered about 4 miles.  It was fun to see the residential areas surrounding the hotel and many local people walking to and from the shops or their jobs.  Many people have just their feet for transportation in Africa.

What a lucky day or me, feeding giraffes and running with a Kenyan!


January 29, 2013

Race Medal Display

You may remember back here, that I was agonizing over how to display all of my new race medals.  For the last few months, most of my medals have resided on a tie-rack, turned necklace holder in my closet.  And while I loved the opportunity to see them every morning as I got dressed, I needed a new space.  I did acquire 6 new medals in 2012 after all!  After spending many months of trying to find homes for my new medals, I finally settled on a plan - I was going to design my own rack and either make it myself or have a good friend (Hi Russ!) who happens to be very handy pitch in.  As I was putting away Christmas decorations and organizing a closet in my den, I noticed a peg rack that had previously held purses and hats in my old apartment.  I hadn't ever found a home for it after I moved into my house, so it had been collecting dust in the closet for a while.  As soon as I saw it, I had a plan!
The vision - adding race medals and memorabilia to the cozy nook in my office -
check out my Piglet stocking...he's still up!
  I grabbed a hammer and some nail and added a few extra "pegs" to the rack.  Then I found a simple, white shelf at Target ($19 in case you're wondering).  I always wanted some sort of shelf/hook arrangement so I could display some of my other race memorabilia - photos and whatnot.  And after that, it was just a matter of putting the holes in the wall at the correct location to hang the medal peg rack, shelf and my framed Wine and Diner poster.  I think it came out pretty fabulous, don't you?

Bling Bling!

L-R: 2012 Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Relay; 2012 Disney's Princess Half Marathon; 2010 Turkey Derby 3rd place in age group; 2012 Team #runDisney virtual 5k; 2012 Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon; 2013 Walt Disney World Half Marathon; 2012 Girls on the Run 5k; 2011 Disney's Princess Half Marathon; 2012 Wicked 10k

Shelf with race photos, Mickey Vinylmation, Rock 'n Roll Relay Baton and D-Tag from Rock 'n Roll Relay

He's pretty cute, huh?

I'm very pleased with the results and it's just one more reason that my office is my favorite room in the house.  I like that my medals are out on display without being over the mantle...although if that's where yours reside, more power to ya! 

What do you do with your race medals (and please don't tell me they're in a drawer somewhere!)?


January 28, 2013

Product Review and Giveaway: iFitness Belt

Wearing a belt while running works for many of us, and recently, we had the opportunity to try out the iFitness single pouch Neoprene running belt.  These belts were included in the awesome goody bag that runDisney provided after the fabulous WDW Marathon meetup.

Christine had planned to purchase a belt at the Expo that we were attending after the meetup.  And given that the expo was a mad house, she decided this one would be just perfect for the Donald Half Marathon!  Endorsed by Jeff Galloway, these belts are perfect for long runs. They are made with a water resistant material and include several pockets inside the zipper pouch. At the bottom of the belt there are two toggles to attach your bib as well.

Christine loved running with her belt - it fit well, held all of her essentials and was very comfortable!  For the race, it held her room key, ID, some cash, and cell phone.  It would be great for holding gels, a camera, chapstick or anything else for a long run or race.  And after a very hot, sticky morning, she can attest to it's water resistant properties!

iFitness is giving one of our lucky readers a single pouch Neoprene running belt (retail value $23.95) in their choice of color shipped directly to you.  We will select a winner using random.org on Sunday, February 3rd at 8pm EST.  To enter, please leave us a comment (on this blog post) telling us which color you would choose and how you'll use it.  That's it...it's that simple!  Good luck!

January 27, 2013

Weekly Roundup - Jan 27th

This was one of the hardest workout weeks I've had in a while.  I made good on my New Year's Goal to get back in the pool and managed to have a great workout.  I also tried a new class at our YMCA called Tabata and subsequently, could barely move the next day!  If you haven't heard of Tabata, it's a high-intensity interval training workout.  Add that to increased run/walk intervals (9:1) to try to improve my overall pace and this week was a killer!

On a fun note, we got about 3 inches of snow on Friday night which made for a beautiful landscape, but poor running conditions on Saturday morning.
The view of my street after work on Friday
I schlepped my behind to the gym and got comfortable with my treadmill for my long run.  And while long runs aren't my favorite, I got it done.  For some tips for managing long runs on treadmills, check out these ideas.
Saturday morning
Sunday, Jan 20th
Christine: 6.4 mi run through the neighborhood
Pam: weights, Bosu ball, plank 1:30

Monday, Jan 21st
Christine: 40 min swimming, 1900 yards
Pam:  Run 4.25 miles  41:31 minutes,  stretching, rolling

Tuesday, Jan 22nd
Christine: 3.4 mi treadmill (9:1), 32 minutes
Pam:  Elliptical for 20 minutes, weight training with trainer Joe

Wednesday, Jan 23rd
Christine: Rest
Pam:  Stretching, Rolling, Bosu Ball, Plank 2:01

Thursday, Jan 24th
Christine: 35 min Tabata class
Pam: Run 6.25 mile run in neighborhood

Friday, Jan 25th
Christine: Rest day
Pam:  Travel day, walked for an hour in Atlanta airport

Saturday, Jan 26th
Christine: 8mi treadmill run (9:1), about 80 minutes
Pam:  Rest day

How did you do on your workouts this week?  Did winter weather derail your attempts to get some fresh air as well?

January 26, 2013

Product Review: Swiftwick Socks

Recently Swiftwick socks offered a giveaway to blogger Jill Conyers at Fitness, Health and Happiness.  I have wanted to try out this brand of socks, so this was the perfect opportunity when I won a pair.  A box from Swiftwick arrived in my mailbox, and not only did it include the socks, but also a rubber bracelet and decal.  Bonus!

There were several things that immediately excited me about the socks.  First of all, they are made in the USA.  The materials to make these socks include Repreve, a recycled nylon that is a planet friendly item.  They have some compression and a moisture wicking feature as well.

Trying them out on a run seemed the perfect test to see if they would be part of my regular running gear.  Today was the day, and after 4 miles the result is that they are a winner.  The socks have enough compression to keep your toes and feet in a comfortable position. They are thinner than my normal sock (Experia by Thorlo), but after less than a mile, I forgot that my feet had more room in my shoes.  It is nice to find another brand that works well and Swiftwick is a quality sock that will be on my shopping list in the future.

Thanks for sponsoring a fabulous giveaway, Jill!


January 25, 2013

Guest Post: Neverland 5k and Kid's Races Recap

Since we didn't attend any of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend events, we were lucky enough to have some gracious volunteers to be our "reporters" for the weekend.  Lois, from Running to Disney, ran the Neverland 5k, her first EVER runDisney race and her girls ran the kid's races (200m and 400m) and is telling us all about her weekend!

This was my first runDisney race, and I headed out to my first experience at Disneyland for the Neverland 5K, which is part of the Tinkerbell half marathon weekend.  I love running and I love Disney, so I needed to combine the two.
The expo was on Friday and Saturday, which is a great way to check out the latest and greatest running gear as well as get your bib and the necessities for the race.  I was a little disappointed to find that almost all of the gear focused on the bigger and longer half marathon, and not on the 5K.  I was able to find one trading pin that had the Neverland 5K logo on it, but nothing else.  I would have gladly bought a shirt that said something about the 5K, but didn’t find one available.  I did manage to buy a very cute running skirt though.  The best part of the expo was the chance to meet Jeff Galloway.  He was so nice and truly believes in what he is teaching.  I was thrilled at the chance to meet him.
The 5K started at 5:45 am, which meant leaving the hotel room around 4:45 to walk over to the park.  Entering Disneyland transformed me.  The music was pumping and there were lots of people in costume.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more green at one race, outside of a St. Patrick’s Day run.  With the music pumping, I danced my way down Main Street, and a cast member even joined me at one point. 
I took some pictures and just decided to have fun with my 5,000 new friends.  Because the 5K took place entirely inside Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, the running path was narrow.  This meant that the hope for a personal record flew down the wire with Tinkerbell, so it was just time for fun and to enjoy the sights of Disneyland in the dark and before it opened.  The run started in front of Sleeping Beauty castle and wound around to It’s a Small World.  We came out of the back somewhere around Toon Town, but it could have been Fantasyland (it was dark and I had never been to Disneyland before).  I stopped  at every character spot for pictures (not what I would do in a regular race).  I posed with Goofy and Pluto, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, DJ (from Cars), Tom Mater and Lightning McQueen, and Pirate Mickey and Minnie Mouse at mile 3. 
Every time I passed a cast member (and there were lots of them), I put up my hand for high fives, sometimes even telling them that I needed a hand.  It’s a great place to have fun.  I loved running on the service roads through Disney and getting a little glimpse of what happens backstage, including the train storage building and some floats. 

As we crossed over to DCA, it was even more magical, as we didn’t really do much of the surface roads.  We ran through a Bugs’ Life and into Radiator Springs.  We then ran onto Paradise Pier, which was awesome.  The sky was getting lighter and the energy just seemed to surge at that point.  It was finally wide enough to get some good running in, but I was having too much fun at this point to even care.  As I finished the race, I had a big smile on my face, put my hands in the air and just let out a big whoop.  The announcers noticed my enthusiastic finish and even mentioned it.  “That one is very excited to finish and she is letting us know she is Powered by Pixie Dust” (which is what my shirt said).  As I crossed the finish line, I was handed my finisher medallion, as well as a Peter Pan bag in which to put my goody box.  This was by far my slowest 5K I have ever done, finishing at about 55 minutes (my normal pace is 30 minutes for a 5K), but it was a fun race.  I wish they would have had Tinkerbell somewhere for photos, as it was part of the Tinkerbell weekend.
The next step of the race weekend was the kids’ run for my daughters who are 6 & 8.  They too were powered by Pixie Dust.  The 6 year old was slated for the 200 meter dash, and the 8 year old was to do 400 m.  I had anticipated the kids’ race finishing by 9:15, but because of some logistical problems, we didn’t finish the kids’ race until after 10 am.  I enjoyed the 5K, but I did not like the kids’ race.  If I were to do it again, my kids will do the 5K with me, and not the separate kids’ race.  I think they would have more fun running through the parks before it opens than running through a parking lot, plus it will allow us to get to the park in time for rope drop.
Thank you Lois for the awesome photos and recap!!

January 24, 2013

29 Minutes to a BQ

For most runners, qualifying for the Boston Marathon is the culmination of hard training and mental toughness, turning a dream into reality.  As a child, we lived less than a mile from part of the course and I remember vividly handing out orange slices and cheering on the runners.  Mind you this was back in the old days, when no qualification was necessary, but the guts and fortitude to challenge "heartbreak hill" and other difficult aspects of the race course. This race means many things to runners, but those that run Boston know they have joined a special group.  This year is no exception as the elite field has been announced here.

During the WDW Marathon Meetup, we had the pleasure of meeting Desiree Davila, who in 2011, placed second in the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:22.38.  This was a course record for an American female!

With Desiree Davila at the WDW Marathon MeetUp

After finishing my Goofy Challenge races, specifically the Mickey Marathon, it was a shock to find out that my time put me 29 minutes off the required time to qualify for Boston. Obviously this is ALOT of time. But considering I ran a half the day before it got me thinking.   Do I run another marathon with a goal this time?  At the moment, I have quite a full race calendar with a half marathon every month until May. Most of all, do I really want to put my body through the training required to run another marathon? Being a competitive person, this is tempting, but at the moment, the idea is just brewing in the back of my head. 

January 23, 2013

Running Skirts Review and Comparison

Running skirts are certainly gaining lots of hype, no doubt partly due to the onset of the popularity of running in costumes at Disney.  And with the Princess Half Marathon coming up very soon, we get lots of questions about running skirts.  If you are running in this year's 5th anniversary race, by all means, you should consider a running skirt or tutu - it's the only way to go!

I have purchased many different varieties and figured it was worth a comparison of four different skirts.  I've tried to compare apples to apples as best as possible, realizing that each brand is unique and has specific features.  I've looked at skirts that are very feminine and most, that come with compression shorts. 

The skirts reviewed are as follows:
- Running Skirts Athletic Skirt, regular price $59-$69
- Sparkle Skirts SparkleTech Skirt, regular price $65-$89
- Team Sparkle Skirt, regular price $25-$35
- Lululemon Pace Setter Skirt, regular price $58

And the results, please...

What are your favorite running skirts?

January 22, 2013

Highlights from Marathon Weekend in Pictures

January 11-13, 2013 at Walt Disney World in Florida was a fantastic weekend and we thought it would be fun to share our highlights from the weekend, in a visual sense...this is more fun than hearing us drone on anyways, yes?!

Meeting up with Goofy the day Pam arrived

Friday morning WDW Marathon Meet Up with Bart Yasso and Dick Beardsley

Who does not love a Mickey waffle and sausage!

Ready to run the Donald Half Marathon Saturday morning at o' dark hundred!

Tasting Dole Whips and Floats at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom

Picking up my late birthday present at the Expo

Celebratory Cupcakes from "Starring Rolls" in HS - red velvet and chocolate peanut butter

Meeting Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first female gold medalist of the Olympic Marathon

And a new PR for Christine!

Pam is a marathoner, thanks for the hug Mickey!
Celebrating with our medals in Magic Kingdom, the happiest place on earth!

January 21, 2013

Be Our Guest, A Celebration Dinner!

Our travel agent Allie scored us a table at Be Our Guest for Monday night after the marathon weekend.  We were thrilled to be going except for one thing....Christine could not join us since she had a date with Disney's Magical Express at 2:30pm.  We were terribly disappointed that she could not enjoy the restaurant with us.  Our reservation was at 6:00pm and we arrived about fifteen minutes early to make sure we could get a table at our scheduled time.  There was a short wait and soon we were entering here...
Love the attention to detail at the entrance to the castle!
Our hostess brought us to the ballroom where we were seated at a nice table for two.  Just in front of our table we heard a voice say, "Hi Pam".  It turns out our friends Scott and Krista Albrecht (she is a co-author of The Runners Guide to WDW) were just finishing up their early dinner at the restaurant.  We chatted for a minute and Krista recommended the scallops and shrimp in puff pastry if we enjoyed seafood.   Soon our waitress greeted us and took our drink orders while we perused the menu.
Roses are the clear theme from Beauty and the Beast and even the napkins are folded into a rose.
We decided to start out with mixed green salads followed by the thyme scented pork chop for Tom and the scallops and shrimp dish for me.  We enjoyed our wine and warm bread while soaking in the ambiance of the grand ball room. From the gorgeous crystal chandeliers, hand painted ceiling, beautiful carved dining chairs, the place feels very elegant.  One very special touch was the light snowfall through the wall of windows, and yes, I made Tom confirm that I wasn't hallucinating...after all I had run over 41 miles (including meetup mileage) that weekend!
Grand Ballroom view
The food was excellent, by far the best meal we had during our visit to WDW.  Each course was presented well, the staff was well trained and friendly.  Best of all was the dessert cart!  We had several choices that were tempting, but Tom chose the triple chocolate cupcake (a chocolate lover's dream) and I had the chocolate cream puff.   The delight of the evening was "the grey stuff."  This is served for special occasions only, and my Goofy Challenge medal earned a chance to try it.  What a wonderful whipped treat, with a chocolate taste and a whipped cream texture, heavenly!
Love the plate!
As you depart the restaurant, you can visit the Beast on your way out.  He loved my Goofy medal! 
 This was a wonderful way to finish a spectacular trip to Florida and the WDW Marathon Weekend.  I can't wait to go back and try some other menu items.

January 20, 2013

Weekly Roundup - Jan 20th

We missed last week's weekly roundup during Marathon Weekend, so we have two weeks to report.  As you all have figured out, marathon weekend was a big success for us.  I attribute that to three things - great training, good taper and even better attitudes. 

Sunday, Jan 6th
Christine: Stationary bike (11 mi); Stretching
Pam: Rest

Monday, Jan 7th
Christine: Rest
Pam: 3.1 miles outside 29.16 mi.

Tuesday, Jan 8th
Christine: 3 mi on treadmill
Pam: Rest

Wednesday, Jan 9th
Christine: 40 min stationary bike (22.4 mi)
Pam: Rest

Thursday, Jan 10th
Christine: Rest
Pam: shakeout run in Florida after long drive   3 miles 30.15 minutes (It was hot at 3:00pm!)

Friday, Jan 11th
Christine: WDW Marathon Weekend Meetup run (2.5 mi); Walked through Animal Kingdom
Pam:  WDW Marathon Weekend Meetup run (2.5 mi)

Saturday, Jan 12th
Christine: WDW Half Marathon (13.1 mi); Walked through Hollywood Studios
Pam: WDW Half Marathon (13.1 mi)

Sunday, Jan 13th
Christine: Cheerleader (vocal muscles well-exercised); Walked through EPCOT
Pam: WDW Marathon (26.2 mi); Walked through EPCOT

Monday, Jan 14th
Christine: Walked through Magic Kingdom
Pam: Walked through Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, Jan 15th
Christine: Rest
Pam: Drove home, walked dog

Wednesday, Jan 16th
Christine: 3 mi on treadmill; Arm weights
Pam: eliptical 30 min. upper body weights 30 min.

Wore my race shirt for first post marathon workout!

Thursday, Jan 17th
Christine: Rest
Pam: Run outside  3.5 miles  33 min.

Friday, Jan 18th
Christine: 25 min stationary bike-8 mi; Leg weights
Pam:  eliptical 25 mins. strength train upper body and abs 30 min.

Saturday, Jan 19th
Christine: 30 min elliptical; Abs
Pam:  Ran 3.37 miles in 32:56 min.

It is time to plan our training schedule for Princess Half Marathon!  Only 32 days until we go back to WDW!

January 19, 2013

RunDisney Marathon Weekend MeetUp in Pictures

We were thrilled to receive emails confirming our selection for the Marathon Meetup by runDisney.  This event was to include a host of athletes, celebrities and of course a run through Hollywood Studios while the park was still closed to visitors.  Our invitation told us to be at the entrance to HS by 6:30am on Friday and of course we were early and eager for this fun event!  As soon as we were checked in we received a 20th anniversary runDisney shirt to wear.  We quickly put on our shirts and a few special characters came into view for photos before our run.   
Early morning in Hollywood Studios

The big guy!

Getting some tips for Saturday!
On your marks...

Getting ready to run with Jeff, Dick, Bart and Tara
We ran in the run/walk group as we definitely wanted to take it easy before the weekend races.  We did a nice 2.5 mile loop through the parks which helped us acclimate to the ridiculous humidity - eek we were sweaty! 
Pausing for a quick stop with Buzz and Woody
Once we arrived at the Lights, Camera, Action stage/theater, it was breakfast time and time for the speakers - yay!
Food truck breakfast - yum!!

It was an incredible group - celebrities, runners, the New Balance team, and former NFL linebacker Eddie Mason.  We paid close attention to all of the speakers, soaking up every word.  And now to the lessons of the day...

After the speakers, it was time for a few more photos and pick up our goodie bag.  runDisney graciously provided each attendee with a 1-day/1-park ticket, an i-fitness belt and H2O products. 
Getting some tips for Sunday
Oh hey Minnie!

Had a blast running and chatting with Krista
Katherine and Christine - Team #runDisney buds
It was a fabulous morning and we are so grateful that runDisney puts on these fabulous events!  As we worked on this post, we were still seeing stars after such a star-studded morning.  It was simply fabulous.

Thank you runDisney!