June 30, 2013

Weekly Roundup: June 30th

It is hard to believe that we are halfway through 2013!  Training is in full swing for both of us and the mileage is ramping up for some big races later this year.  We are counting down to our race weekend at Disneyland in just under 10 weeks.  The Dumbo Challenge will be such a fun pair of races! This week, the weather was not very nice, i.e. hot and humid and sometimes rainy.  We both managed to make time for some quality workouts and I even raced on Thursday night!
Post race: hot but happy!
Sunday, June 23rd
Pam: scheduled rest day,  played 9 holes golf, carried my bag
Christine: 5 miles hill work at Mount Trashmore in Va Beach

Monday, June 24th
Pam:  speedwork outside, 1x 1600 8:10, 1 x 800 4:03, 1 x 400 2:00  total 3.15 miles
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, leg weights, stretching

Tuesday, June 25th
Pam:  1 hour yoga class, 9 holes golf, rode
Christine: Rest day

Wednesday, June 26th 
Pam:  tempo run outside, 3 miles with hills
Christine: 4 mile outside run in 44 min (miserably hot and really struggled mentally)

Thursday, June 27th
Pam:  9 holes golf, walked and carried,   10k race night
Christine: 35 min stationary bike, leg weights and lunges

Friday, June 28th
Pam:  water aerobics class 45 minutes
Christine: 2 mi easy neighborhood run with 2:1 intervals

Saturday, June 29th
Pam:  outside run, 5 miles
Christine: 11 mile run with 4:1 intervals in 1:49


June 29, 2013

Hot, Humid and Hilly: Esprit de She Race Recap!

On Thursday night, myself and 665 other women ran the inaugural Esprit de She race in Cary, North Carolina.  Two races were offered, a 5k or a 10k.  Since I had not run a 10k in over a year, I thought why not?  The majority of runners chose the 5k and they were lucky given the steamy night!

Tom and I drove over from Wilmington after I completed 9 holes of golf.  Sounds crazy, especially since I walked and carried my golf bag for two hours. However, we still arrived in Cary at about 2:00pm after a short stop to pick up sandwiches at Subway!  After a detour to our hotel and getting my gear, food and fuel ready we left for the event venue.   Packet pickup started at 4:00 pm and we arrived at the Koka Amphitheatre in time to be one of the first for pickup.  It was simple and after less than five minutes, I had a bright yellow nylon bag filled with goodies, my race bib and race shirt. We quickly returned to the hotel so I could rest, hydrate and eat prior to the race.
Great swag: nylon tote bag, race shirt, JR Watkins foot creme, Luna bar,
magazine, Athleta catalog, Arnica pain reliever

After an afternoon of relaxing and mostly watching TV and playing on my iPad, it was time to leave for the race.
Trying to smile, but not excited with the weather!
So after arriving a few minutes after 6:00pm, we made our way through the parking lot and amphitheatre to the starting line of the race.  Tom was the official photographer once I got behind the line and he managed very well!
A sea of women waiting to race and the sun came out!
We were off after the race announcer gave us a few final instructions and played the Star Spangled Banner.  It was a loosely run start with just a chip timing system and no corrals.  My first mile went fairly well, but it was obvious with the high temperature and humidity, not to mention the sun, that the race would be hard.  With my iPod playing my favorite tunes, I chugged along and enjoyed watching all the runners, especially the moms who brought their young daughters for the 5k.  As the miles ticked by, I questioned whether I could even keep 10 minute mile pace.  I struggled with the heat and at one water stop, one of the men dressed as a Greek warrior (sorry no pic) offered to throw me in the lake as he saw me dumping lots of water on my head.
Just past mile 3 and still smiling!
After the turnoff for the 5k runners, the 10k group went back onto the path that wove around the lake.  At the end, there was a hill and then a turnaround section that was not too bad.  But after that section came a huge long hill that was a killer in the heat.  At around mile four, I decided to revert to run/walk using a 4:1 ratio.  I still kept a pace of around 9:30, but it was tough.  Finally, at around 5.8 miles I started to walk and this wonderful woman came from behind, asked if I was a 10k runner and said "you are breaking 1 hour, come on!"  She gave me just the pep talk I needed to complete the race strong.  I struggled to keep up initially, but at 6 miles I let loose and ran the final distance with a pace on my Garmin of 7:10.  It was fun passing at least 8 people on my way to the finish line, although I know you are not supposed to count!
After race treats featured a champagne bar and many tapas
style sandwich choices...YUM!

Thrilled to be done!
While results have been posted, the 10k is only showing gun time, not chip time.  According to the computer printout on Thursday night, my time was 58.55 and I was 2nd (out of 7) in my age group and 52nd out of 195 overall.  Sadly they only gave prizes to the overall top three places.  This was the only slightly unhappy moment I had all evening!  This women's only race series has multiple events across the country so be sure to check out their site for a race near you.

Disclaimer:  While I have made many positive comments about this race series, I paid for my entry and was not compensated in any way by Esprit de She.

Have you done an all women race?  What do you think of the fun, feminine atmosphere?

June 28, 2013

In the news (001)

My job often dips into relevant news in the health arena.  Often times, I come across interesting information that pertains to running or fitness or nutrition so I figured I would share things that pique my interest.

Recently The British Journal of Sports Medicine published an article summarizing a very large exercise science study on pronation, running shoes and relation to injuries.  As an over-pronator myself, I'm very comfortable and happy in my stability shoes, but this article certainly makes you think a bit.  What do you think?  Link to NY Times article here

Apparently a high-carb diet makes you want more carbs.  Go figure!  I run so I can eat pizza, cookies and cupcakes...but I guess it only makes me want it more!  Link to LA Times article here.

Is it possible that less physical harm is done during an ultra than a marathon?  A study of runners in the Tor des Geants, a 330km race through the Italian Alps, concluded that runners showed less muscle fatigue and lower levels of inflammation in the blood.  Link to Science Mag article here.


June 27, 2013

Esprit de She Race Tonight!

Tonight I will be running the Esprit de She 10k in Cary, North Carolina.  This is a slight road trip to me, and Tom agreed to chauffeur me to the race which is especially nice!  Anyway, I have no plan to try for a PR, but would like to enjoy the race and find out more about this women's race series.  With training in full swing for the Dumbo Challenge, today's run will be a back to back since I ran yesterday morning.  My morning started out with nine holes of golf!

Here is my outfit, providing it is not too stinking hot.  I will also pack my lightest tank and shorts, just in case I need to go with plan B!

This is my first time to run an evening race (as compared to my normal morning races and the occasional nighttime race at Disney) and should be a fun time, especially since there is a glass of champagne at the finish line!

June 26, 2013

KT Tape to the rescue

As many of you know, I've been struggling with some IT Band and knee pain issues over the last 2-3 months.  And more than likely, the two are interrelated.  I've been diligent about cross-training, icing, strength training, stretching and foam rolling.  Unfortunately I still notice a little discomfort now and then.  My knee trouble has plagued me since my high school swimming days, no doubt a bit of an overuse-type injury.

Many people have suggested various things and one was consistent - KT Tape (aka Kinesiology Tape).  I've seen people taped up in the bright colors at various races and figured I would give it a go myself.  My therapist used to tape my knee in high school as well.  I checked their website for local retailers who sell the pro version of the tape, which comes in all the fun colors.  I was excited to learn that quite a few local drug stores have it.  I picked up a blue roll and promptly tested it on a training run.  I ran relatively pain free.
Relaxing after a neighborhood run, all taped up
The website has some great videos with detailed instructions to guide your application.  I've tried two or three different knee taping arrangements (both on my knee and IT band) and have found one that seems to work best for my knee.  I've worn it for training runs and races alike.  I think I'm a convert!
Rocking my pink tape at the Run for the Dream Half
Marathon earlier this month
Have you ever tried KT Tape?  Any tips for getting it to stay 'stuck' in the sticky summer months?

**Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for the information in this post.  All opinions are my own and I wanted to share my new found running helper!

June 25, 2013

Speedwork Gone Bad!

Yesterday I tried to get enthusiastic for my training run, but I could not.  Despite normal preparation, food, and hydration, I just was not feeling it.  I even tweeted about my less than excited feeling for this run here:

Good Morning! Trying to get away from the twitter feed for a run. Anyone else feeling lazy?

My training plan called for speedwork and normally I go to the local college track.  They have a very nice rubber cushioned track surface, a bench for my drinks, running log and my husband (who is kind enough to keep track of my splits) and porta potties.  For some reason, it just seemed easier to run my one mile intervals in the neighborhood.  With a one mile warmup complete, I started on my first of what was to be 3 one mile runs at 8:00 pace.  The first was complete at 8:10, which was not bad given the heat and humidity, but my mind decided that my next interval would be just a 1/2 mile.  My rest of approximately 90 seconds turned into a couple minutes or more, and I managed the run in 4:03.  Again, not bad, but then on my third interval I dropped to 1/4 mile and that one was finished in 2:00.  This was not horrible, but I gave in mentally for the first time in months. Mental strength is usually something that I can manage very well,   Maybe I should feel worse than I do, but it is not easy week after week giving your training runs 100 percent. This picture tells it all.  However, I do love the new Bondiband that matches my skirt!  Nothing like a coordinated training outfit!

How do you feel after a training run that does not go well?

June 24, 2013

It's getting HOT! Tips for summer running

It's been a long time coming but the temperatures are finally rising in Hampton Roads.  And while I'm excited that summer is finally here, I'm less than enthused about the prospect of running through swampy, muggy, warm air. 

Here are a few ways that I make sure I stay cool and healthy when I'm out running when the mercury rises...

1. Hydrate in advance.  If I know I'm running outside, I try to pay attention to my fluid intake a few hours or a day before my run.

2. Go early. The mornings are typically the coolest time of the day and the pavement will be at it's lowest temperature from the overnight hours.  I typically try to get out by 6 or 6:30 for my long runs over the summer months.

3. Seek shade.  If you have a trail or shaded path, by all means, take that option.  It will give you a break from the sun.

4. Slather...with sunscreen that is.  I have learned the hard way many times that a long run is basically the equivalent of sitting out at the pool

5. Grab your sunnies.  I have gotten in the habit of wearing sunglasses to help protect my eyes.  I notice that when I forget them, I sometimes get a headache...whether that's from squinting or not, I'm not really sure and quite honestly, I don't really care.  I have some old sporty glasses that get the job done.

6. Dress the part.  I try to wear very light clothing, both in color and fabric on the very hot days.  Typically, I'm in a thin tank and shorts or a skirt.  I usually try to avoid compression sleeves or anything 'extra'.

7. Hydrate during. I bring a hand-held water bottle or a hydration belt on every. single. run. in the summertime.  I need it, whether its 3 miles or 13.  On the longer runs, I plan a route so I can refill the bottles at a water fountain or by swinging back by my house. 

8. Listen to your body.  If you can't hang in the heat, cut your run short.  Sometimes I increase my pace to better

A few additional resources:
"Summer Running: Take Precautions in the Heat" from Active.com
Collection of Hot Weather Running articles from Runners World
"Top Ten Ways to Survive the Summer Heat" from Running Planet
"How to Run Safely in the Summer" from Rodale

How do you prep for runs in the dreaded summer heat?

June 23, 2013

Weekly Roundup: June 23rd

Another week of training and the mileage is ramping up for both of us with the Dumbo Challenge just 10 weeks away!  It's hard to believe that we're well into summer now and our next runDisney event is coming so quickly.  We're starting to think more about our Disneyland trip and are looking at some restaurant options.  Christine did her first back to back running days and I will complete that next week.
Sticky Saturday morning run

Sunday, June 16
Pam: 8 x 400 speed work on treadmill 4.25 miles
Christine: 8.5 mile run, 9:1 run: walk intervals at 9:38 pace

Monday, June 17
Pam: Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, stretching
Christine: 30 min circuit training

Tuesday, June 18
Pam: 1 hour yoga class, 750 yards swimming
Christine: 3 x 1600 (400 RI) on treadmill with 1 mile warm up and 1/2 mile cool down - total 4.75 miles

Wednesday, June 19
Pam:  10 mile outdoor run, pace 10:14
Christine: Rest

Thursday, June 20
Pam:  yoga class,  500 yards swimming
Christine: 5 miles at 9:1 run:walk intervals at 9:30 pace

Friday, June 21
Pam:  Tempo run 5 miles, 9:02 pace
Christine: Rest

Saturday, June 22
Pam:  25 minutes elliptical, Core and Restore class
Christine: 3.2 mile easy run with 4:1 run:walk intervals at 10:00 pace

How was your week?  Did you do anything special to officially kick off summer?

June 22, 2013

Setup for Sparkle Skirts at the WDW Princess Expo

I had the opportunity to work at the Sparkle Skirts booth helping with setup for the Princess Half Marathon Expo in February.  This year, the Expo was held at Coronado Springs Resort due to the Atlanta Braves having spring training baseball games scheduled at the ESPN Sports Complex during the weekend.  I arrived at Leah's booth a few minutes after 1 pm and immediately got started helping with the booth construction.

It never occurred to me, despite attending many race expos, that the logistics for arranging a booth would be so significant.  A medal frame structure would hold the skirts in place and also make a nice display for the expo attendees to see many of the options available.  Leah has numerous choices of skirts that include Sparkle Tech and Sparkle Light.  The quantity of skirts at the booth needed to be plentiful because of the many women who attended the Expo over the weekend. Skirts were hung based on style and type and after about six hours of setup the booth was nearly complete!  The best part of working the booth is the "Sparkle" dollars you earn for helping out.
Favorite skirts hanging in my closet!
As a more mature runner (read old) the Sparkle Tech skirts are my favorites.  I wore my "Mouse About Town" skirt for the Mickey and Minnie Royal 5k and the "Queen of Hearts" skirt for the Princess Half marathon.  Recently, I finally made the decision on which skirts I needed (wanted!) and placed my order!  The skirts arrived yesterday and of course they are just perfect.  Next week I will be wearing my new "Surf City" model that is red, white and blue at the Esprit de She race in Cary, NC.  In the meantime, be sure to check out Leah's website and all her great skirts and other running accessories.  Her customer service is wonderful (read more about our running skirts review and comparison here) and you will love your new running attire!


Disclaimer:  As always the opinions shared here are my own and I was not compensated in any way for this post. I did earn credit towards merchandise by working at the Sparkle Skirts booth on February 21, 2013.

June 21, 2013

Running Races in Far Off Places!

If you have been following our blog, you know that both of us love to travel.  I have been fortunate, with no work constraints to have the option to travel to places both near and far.  Some of my favorite destinations would also make for lovely race vacations.  I decided to recap some of our favorite trips with the eye of returning to run races in these beautiful cities/countries.  Since that clearly will not happen, I am tempting you to race in these lovely places!

French Polynesia:  What do you say about a place that has some of the most beautiful snorkeling waters in the world.  It is lovely and warm, with water sports having a high priority for those visiting this magical place.  However, I did find half marathon races on both Moorea (February 22, 2014) and Tahiti (November 16, 2013).  If you have the opportunity to travel to these beautiful islands, perhaps you can participate in one of these races!

Great Wall of China:  Having the opportunity to climb part of the Great Wall of China in 2010 was a once in a lifetime thrill.  Recently, I found out that they offer a marathon, half marathon and 7.5km fun run each year.  Next year, these races will be held on May 17, 2014.   This race could be very tempting to those taking a trip to Beijing, but beware. The elevation challenges will make this race extremely difficult.

Antarctica: This place is both pristine and beautiful with wonderful wildlife including penguins, seals and birds. The icebergs offer a dramatic backdrop to views of the seas.  A trip here offers a chance to view things that few people will ever see and to race here would be magical.  However, the March 9, 2014 and 2015 marathon races are already sold out!  That's right, there are wait lists for this race so be sure to get your name in if you want to register for 2016!

Easter Island:  One of the most remote islands on earth, Easter Island sits approximately 2,000 miles from Chile and Tahiti.  It is known for the Moai statues that surround the coastline of this small island.  They offer a marathon, half marathon, and 10k on June 1, 2014.

South Africa:  Cape Town is an exceptionally beautiful city with Tabletop Mountain as a backdrop and the lovely ocean in the forefront.  A race here would be a fabulous way to spend a morning and you are in luck with a marathon that is scheduled in late September each year.  This year, there will be both a 10k and a marathon run on September 22, 2013.

*Marathon Tours is a really cool company that offers races in many remote locations.  Check out more info here.

**Disclaimer: We were neither compensated nor requested to provide any of the information in this post.  We like to travel and did a little research!

What's your fantasy race location?

June 20, 2013

My Journey to 26.2: The Freak Out (005)

Well, it finally happened.  I knew it would someday.  Just like Jerry Maguire...

On a Tuesday night when I was calmly walking through my summer schedule, desperately searching for a time when I could take a vacation that wouldn't be laden with long runs...the "holy cow, I'm running a marathon" freak out happened.  It wasn't pretty.

For a long time, I've been calmly working through my training in anticipation of October 27th when I will attempt the 26.2 miles of the Marine Corps Marathon.  As you all know, I spent a long time putting together a thoughtful training plan.  I feel good about this plan.  I modified what felt like a gazilion others to put together one that will work for me.  I have no reason to doubt it.

But in that moment, I started seeing all these numbers...17, 20, 23, 56, 18, etc.  Daily mileage, weekly mileage, monthly mileage.  It started weighing on me.  How in the world was I going to run that much...in August and September no less, when this area can be sweltering.  For the most part, my panic was all internal but I shared some of my anxiety with a friend.  A few minutes later, my phone was ringing with some helpful advice - relax, take a deep breath and trust your training.  She reminded me that I never thought I could run 13.1 miles a few years ago and she's right.

Someday I WILL run 26.2. Maybe I can't go that far today, but on October 27th, I will.

Ever freaked out about an impending race?  How did you handle it?

June 19, 2013

Beauty On A Run!

Do you ever get lost in the beauty of nature while on a run?  Last week, in the middle of my tempo run, I pulled out my cell phone from my running belt and I just started snapping.  Normally, I am lost in thought and  do not notice anything around me other than cars, people or animals.  Enjoying all the work my neighbors put into their gardens was on my mind as I chose various spots to stop and take photos.  Here are a couple of the photos that show some of the lovely gardens, flowers that I enjoy every time I lace up my running shoes:
Wildflowers in bloom on common ground
Mailbox decor

Pink and white daisies

My favorite flowers, hydrangeas

The last photo is obviously not flowers, but one of the wonderful stops I can use along my route to get a drink of cold water.  We are lucky to live in a neighborhood with a golf course and the water stops are all close to the main roads so a quick detour and I am set for a drink.

Pit stop for water!

Do you take time to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature when you are on a run?

June 18, 2013

How Many Races Are Too Many?

When we first started our running obsession, the goal was to complete the Princess Half Marathon 2011 and then move on to other pursuits besides running.  Clearly that is not how things turned out and we are now registering for many local races as well as the runDisney extravaganzas.  Several people who follow this blog have asked us if we would write a post about races and specifically how many to schedule and when.  This is a big issue for many of us, especially if you follow twitter and see some of the hashtags such as #runalltheraces!   We, like many other runDisney fans, would love to run every race each year that Disney offers and many other races too.  So here is what we think about scheduling races.

In 2010, we ran one race six weeks after we started our running.  It was a 10k on Thanksgiving morning and we ran strictly to get a time for corral placement at the Princess Half Marathon.  You can see this race recap here.  Nearly three months later, we toed the starting line for Princess for what was to be our first and last half marathon.  Obviously we got hooked, and Pam sooner than Christine.  After some careful review of running books and Runners World Magazine, Pam booked some additional races to prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September 2011.  My race calendar that summer included a three 5k races and two 10k races that were all local to my area.  Those races helped me work on my goal of getting faster for the Disneyland Half Marathon.

Fast forward to 2013, and we both have raced many longer races this year and have many to look forward to this summer and fall.  This year, Christine has five eight half marathons so far and Pam has raced three halves and a full and we will both be running a couple short races too.  Part of what we concluded from scheduling so many races was that you could not "race" them all. A personal record in every race is not only difficult to achieve, it is also not reasonable if you do not give your body rest between races.  So, we choose specific races for "racing" and enjoy others as training runs.  It is hard to not go for a goal time, but when we ran the Princess Half this year, we had decided well before we arrived in Orlando that the race was going to be for fun.  We dressed in costume, and our focus was to enjoy the course, and the whole Disney experience.
As you can see, we had fun!

Running lots of races is not a problem and we enjoy the challenge of local races and runcations.  Do you participate in many race weekends or do you have just a few races per year?

June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

While Dad isn't an active member of our family running club, he's our consummate cheerleader and supporter.  He was my spectating buddy during the WDW Marathon this year as we watched Mom successfully complete the last leg of Goofy Challenge.  The funny thing is that we often ran together when I was in high school when I was trying to stay in shape during the swimming off season.  He would often serenade me with Army chants to keep us moving forward.
Magic Kingdom circa August 1990
My Dad inspired and encouraged my inner nerd....from introducing me to sci fi flicks like Star Wars and Planet of the Apes to helping me with math homework to inspiring me to pursue engineering as a degree and career.  He is my amusement/theme park thrill-seeking buddy and will join me on any and all of the roller coasters.  He introduced me to cool music like Tom Petty, Genesis, Rolling Stones and many others when I was a kid and he's lucky that I often indulge him in the "Name that Tune" game (since Mom loathes it).

He's helped me with countless home improvement projects, including hanging the newly painted cabinet doors in my kitchen only hours before I was throwing a huge party (not good planning on my part).  He took me on mystery dates when I was a little girl and we've shared countless other adventures on the ski slopes and tennis courts, at English pubs, on our makeshift driveway basketball "court", and at Big Thunder Mountain at WDW.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!


Weekly Roundup: June 16th

This week was filled with some challenges for working out - a tornado warning on Monday in VA and we both traveled to Boston for family functions later in the week.  It's easy to get out of whack with training when you're away from home, but we fared pretty well, largely due to the fact that there's a beautiful gym in my grandmother's retirement community. 

Sunday, June 9th
Pam: 45 minute bike ride, Jillian Michaels 30 day shred tape
Christine: Trail run - 5.0 miles on trail and 2.5 in neighborhood

Monday, June 10th
Pam: run 4 miles outside
Christine: 25 min stationary bike interrupted by tornado warnings so I went home and finished with a 30 minute circuit training in my living room

Tuesday, June 11th
Pam: 60 min. yoga class, 9 holes golf
Christine: Rest (hit up happy hour with friends instead of working out...I think it was a good decision!)

Wednesday, June 12th
Pam: 8 miles running, deep water aerobics class
Christine: 3.4 miles outside in neighborhood

Thursday, June 13th
Pam: Rest
Christine: Rest

Friday, June 14th
Pam: 40 min elliptical, stretching
Christine: 5 miles on treadmill, stretching

Saturday, June 15th
Pam: Rest
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, 20 min elliptical, stretching

Any fun plans for the upcoming week?

June 15, 2013

My Journey to 26.2: Hill Training (004)

One of the things that I quickly learned about upon signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon was the hills.  Everyone who was familiar with the race made sure I knew about them too!  After a big surprise (mostly due to my lack of research) at the Run for the Dream Half with a hilly course, I told myself I need to be MUCH better prepared for the marathon.  Unfortunately (for hill training's sake), the area I live is very flat.  It's coastline, people - this isn't the mountains!  So in order to find hills, I'm going to have to do a bit of work.  I settled on a few options...

1. Trail running.  There are a few beautiful trails in our local area and they'll offer some nice elevation change and a more challenging workout environment.  A few colleagues have told me that I can get about 20 miles out on the Cape Henry Trail in Virginia Beach, which should be great for the long runs as I get deeper into training.

2. Hill repeats.  One of the random places in our area is Mount Trashmore...literally a landfill or mountain of trash that they have converted into a park with trails, picnic areas and a playground.  The hill serves as a great place for repeats and the mile trail loop will be a good warm-up/cool-down spot.

3. Treadmill sessions.  I'm certainly not a treadmill hater but the idea of doing hill work on it is less than exciting to me.  I figure that this will be a good way to get in some hills

4. Do some races with hills.  I figured that other than training, I should probably prepare my brain for hills on race morning and what other way to do that than race a hilly race.  I'll be taking on the Peachtree Road Race 10k in July which is a notoriously hilly course.  This will be a good warm up for the Marine Corps Marathon later this fall.  If nothing else, I'll learn my style of dealing with hills in race conditions and get ready. 

I figure with a combination of these 4 methods, I'll get my legs (and mind) into shape for some race-day hills in October.  Any other ideas for hill training?

More info here from Runner's World on hill training.

June 13, 2013

Musings on a trail run

Last weekend, I set out to conquer the Noland Trail and run the entire thing.  It's a 5 mile trail that I have run in parts (there's a 2 mile segment) and also walked/hiked many, many times.  I love this trail.

It is part of the Mariners Museum park in Newport News and winds along the James River.  Sunday was a beautiful-looking day but I could tell from the moment I stepped outside, it might be a tough run from the sticky, heat.

- Wow, trails are tougher than I thought.
- Keep running, it will get easier.
- At least it's beautiful here.
- Wow, turtles sunning - yay!

- Get a JLo booty, get a JLo booty!
- Cute puppy dogs on the trail today.
- Glad I brought my hydration belt since the water fountain isn't working.
- Love being out in nature today - so peaceful.

- Wow, check out all these great runners.
- Pace is much slower on trail than road.
- I need more lateral strength in hips and knees.

Do ever run on trails?  I really loved it - I'll be back for more.

June 12, 2013

Why I've decided not to run Glass Slipper Challenge

Ever since runDisney announced the Glass Slipper Challenge earlier this spring, I've been agonizing over whether to register or not.  I've already committed to run Dumbo Challenge in Disneyland over labor Day weekend, Wine and Dine Half Marathon (and Jingle Jungle 5K) at WDW in November and Dopey Challenge at WDW in January.  It's a lot.  And I told myself I wouldn't register for a single race following Dopey, knowing that both my body and mind might need a break from running.  Who knows, I may end up trying to fulfill my goal of 12 half marathons (one each month) in 2014.  But for now, I'm focusing on the upcoming races at hand and notably, my first marathon - Marine Corps Marathon in October.

When Mom registered on early registration day, my willpower was in question.  The Princess Half will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was my first half marathon after all and the one that brought me back to life.  I love that race.  It's simply magic, running with all those women (and men) down Main Street, through Magic Kingdom and then to finish in EPCOT.  The race means a lot to me.

However, I've been doing some thinking.  2013 (and Jan 2014) is essentially dedicated to racing and primarily, runDisney.  This means both my money and my time are dedicated to my running/runDisney habit and that's not a bad thing!  While I cannot wait to go to Disneyland for the first time in August or cross the finish line of Dopey in January, I want to do other things.  I want to go see the wine country in California.  I want to go to Costa Rica.  I want to try pizza and Chianti in Italy.  I want to go wander Paris...again.  In summation, I want to take a vacation outside of Disney and running.  I love traveling and I want to get back to that place that helps me feel happy and free.  Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Disney and always will, but I want to go someplace new (okay, I know Paris isn't new, but it will always be on my travel list).
In Wonderland At the starting line at the 2013 Princess Half
I wonder if Mom will be disappointed.  Princess is our thing.  But I think she gets it.  Even after she launched a full-blown Facebook and Twitter peer pressure campaign to get me to sign up, she eventually relented, citing my reasons above.  I appreciate that.  I felt a little guilty knowing she would head to Disney solo (at least in the moment).

I keep reminding myself that 2014 is the year for some new things - vacation, races and just variety in my life.  There is no doubt in my mind that I'll be back for the Glass Slipper Challenge another year and when I come back, I'll be more wordly and thirsty for the challenge.

Did you make it to register before the clock struck midnight and the race sold out?

June 11, 2013

Training Tuesday: TRX Class

If you have been following our blog the last few months and especially on Tuesday, you know that I has been trying a host of different cross training methods, including classes at the gym.  My most recent test was at a TRX class, which is a class that uses suspension to add something new to a workout.  I was a bit hesitant to try this one, but Rachel, our gym director and instructor suggested it to me and I am glad I tried.  However, due to a busy schedule, I have only made it to the one class.  It is definitely on my calendar to make it to at least two of these a month.
Intimidating equipment ready to kill  put us through the moves!
Now to the details.....This type of class is meant to develop every muscle in your body through the suspension activity.  Your core is definitely engaged throughout and endurance and balance are also part of the focus.  When the class has more than 6 participants, two groups are set up with one group using the TRX suspension system and the other doing hard cardio workouts on the other side of the room.  This gave a great balance to the class and I was always eager to move from one side to the other.
On the right, my first try with the cables!

No class is complete without a few planks!
Have you tried TRX or any other new classes lately?

June 10, 2013

Have you Started Training for Dumbo Double Dare?

Several months ago, RunDisney came out with a training program for those of us participating in Dumbo Double Dare.  Jeff Galloway, the running consultant for runDisney offers training programs for all the Disney races.  I copied the plan off the internet and studied it. It looks like a great way to train smart and remain injury free while incorporating back to back runs to simulate race weekend.

Love a paper copy so I can make notes!

Not only did I download this program, but I have already made notes on the training days, so I can keep track of my workouts. Jeff recommends walking some of your back to back mileage and of course slowing down for high heat and humidity.  With summer here in North Carolina, I am trying to be conscious of the weather. My natural tendency is to keep to goal pace whenever I am training, which is a sure way to cause an injury or illness.  Hopefully, now that I am in my third summer of running, I will do a bit better of staying at a more reasonable pace when running outdoors.  Although this guide is strictly for the running portion of my training, I add many other workouts to my week to include strength training, yoga, stretching and of course dates with my foam roller.  The longer my runs, the more I need all the additional stretching and rolling to keep my body happy. I also include one day of rest and sometimes more depending on how the week is progressing.

We are now approximately 12 weeks away from race weekend so the next task is on our agenda.  What shall we wear for costumes?  Christine and I have made our choices, but now is the time to get all the parts together!  Have you started your training?  Do you plan to dress up for the races?

June 9, 2013

Weekly Roundup: June 9th

This week started out with nice weather, but we ended up with rain several days towards the end of the week.  Christine raced the Run For the Dream Half Marathon in Williamsburg, VA last Sunday and enjoyed the race despite the high heat and humidity.
A winning smile with a new medal for the collection!
RunDisney opened advance registration for the Princess Half Marathon races and I slipped and registered for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  Somehow, I need to be kept away from any computer when race registration opens for the Disney races.  I now have "runDisney fingers", a disease that makes you unable to resist clicking and registering for whatever new Disney race is on the horizon.  Christine shows way more restraint!

Oops,  runDisney fingers struck again!
Our exercise week was pretty good and here is a run down of our workouts.  With Dumbo Challenge just 81 days away, we need to start focusing on more long runs and some back to back work as well.

Sunday, June 2nd
Pam: Bike ride outside 45 min., walked and carried 9 holes golf
Christine: Run for the Dream Half Marathon

Monday, June 3rd
Pam: 8 X 400 on treadmill 4.5 miles total
Christine: Rest

Tuesday, June 4th
Pam:  walked 2.5 miles
Christine: 35 min elliptical, shoulders/chest weights, abs

Wednesday, June 5th
Pam: ran 3.75 miles, tempo run
Christine: Speed work - 6x800 (90 sec rest), stretching

Thursday, June 6th
Pam: Yoga class
Christine: Rest

Friday, June 7th
Pam: ran 8 miles treadmill
Christine: Rest

Saturday, June 8th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, 30 min elliptical, arm/shoulder weights

How was your week?

June 7, 2013

Oops....I Did It Again!

My fingers were the first to lose control and the pressure is on Christine to join the runDisney party in February for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend.   That's right,  now I am doing the insane, by running Dumbo Challenge, Wine and Dine Half Marathon, with a 5k thrown in, the Dopey Challenge and the Glass Slipper Challenge.  By quick calculations, this will mean an additional 14 beautiful medals to add to a growing collection. I may need to add a room onto the house to have a place to showcase all my bling!

Who else is registered for multiple runDisney events right now? We would love to know who is going to participate during the Princess Half Marathon weekend too!

June 5, 2013

Happy National Running Day!

June 5th is National Running Day.  What will you do to celebrate?  I'm planning to hit the treadmill for some speed work, which is coincidentally my favorite run workout. 

Interested in registering for a race?  Check out the Rock 'n Roll series and Women's Running Series.  They're offering $20 off today!

So tell us, why do you run? 

June 4, 2013

Run for the Dream Half Marathon Recap

On June 2nd, I set out to conquer my eighth half marathon ever and fifth this year.  While I was really looking forward to this race, I was nervous.  I had two crummy runs the week of the race and the weather was looking challenging at best.  The forecast was calling for very warm conditions and all during the week leading up to the race, there were messages from the race team warning runners to stay hydrated and be safe during the race.

Saturday, I headed to the expo to pick up my race packet and check out the vendors.  The expo was very well organized and I was easily able to get my gear.  There were about a dozen vendors and no one that I was terribly interested in so I was in and out relatively quickly.

Sunday morning was an early wake-up call (4:20 to be exact) so I could drive to Williamsburg for the race.  I felt like I had gobs of time to get ready so I wasn't really moving quickly.  Then a bit later, realized I was actually running late - ACK!  I was a little stressed out that I was going to miss the shuttle (they had people park at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center and select a specific shuttle time)...not the type of morning you want to have when you have to drive 40 miles to a race!  But alas, I made it with a minute to spare and learned the shuttles were constant and they weren't checking wristbands for specific times.  Whew!  It was about a 15 minute ride to Merchant's Square where we were dropped off to make our way to William and Mary, where the starting line was located.

Once I got to the starting area, I dropped off my bag at bag check, which was very simple.  One interesting note was the requirement that everything be visible in the clear bags.  Like most runners, I had all of my things in our red string bag and had to pull everything out and stuff the plastic bag.  I'm assuming this was a safety precaution and it didn't bother me at all.  On the heels of Boston, there will be changes and this one wasn't terribly impactful to me.

I wandered around for a moment and then spotted my friend Maggie (she's fast becoming one of my buds at all the local races which is awesome!).  I was so happy to find her and have a buddy for pre-race chatter.  We both lamented the heat and shared our anxieties about the race (my lack of race plan and her lack of sleep from the night before and sneaker fiasco).

We hit the porta potties and then headed to the starting line, but not before I spotted an awesome reader (hi Saundra!!) and we chatted for a few minutes.  She was even wearing my favorite pink and green Saucony running outfit which I had contemplated wearing for this race.  I love seeing buddies at races as it always puts my mind at ease and makes it so much more fun!

A few moments later, we were anxiously fidgeting at the starting line.  I looked over to my left and saw this guy.  I immediately was tempted thinking about how fast I'd been running my training runs.  I told myself I would try to hang with the 2:00 pace group but would drop if it wasn't working for me.

I hung with them for about 2 and a half miles and then I had to call it a day.  They were running 8:30-8:40 pace which was just too fast for me.  As much as I was dreaming about a sub-2:00 half for those few miles, I knew it wasn't the right day.  I decided to ease up and run my own race and just settle in for some fun.  By this point in the race (mile 3-ish), I was already noticing the heat and was pretty sweaty.  A sign of things to come, for sure!

During the 3-4 mile stretch, there were some great signs on the road that were welcome distractions.  I loosened up a bit and was enjoying the scenery.

And then there was the moment I was dreading...the beginning of the hills that would dot most of the course from miles 5-11.  I wasn't prepared for them and my legs knew it.
Hill that led up to the mile 5 marker

Look ma, mile 5!
I had studied the course map in detail and knew there was a two mile out and back stretch that comprised four miles from 6-10.  This section was thankfully mostly shaded except for the bridges, but it was hilly.  Crossing the bridges was really awesome - simply beautiful views!
It really was a gorgeous day, even if I swore I was running on the surface of the sun!
It was here that I started to unravel a bit. Miles 7-10 were tough.  I was tired and hurting.  I was hot and struggling to keep my pace.  I took a few moments to compose myself at around mile 9.75....paused my music, focused on my fellow runners and gave myself a little pep talk to suck it up!
Tired runner! (approx. mile 7)
I found this slightly amusing...you better believe I'm
 going to pass mile 8!!
In this stretch, I started dumping water down my back at every water stop.  I was also grabbing multiple cups of water or Gatorade to stay hydrated.  Above all else, I wanted to avoid the medics.  I'm sure they're nice people and all, but I wasn't in the mood to make friends this morning.
Once I hit the mile 10 marker, I got a huge mental boost.  It's only a 5k left, I told myself.  We also started heading back into Williamsburg where there were more spectators and TONS of service men and women standing in the streets cheering us on.  I high fived everyone I saw.  Before I knew it, I was passing the 11 mile marker, having lost complete track of my pace and expected finish time.  It was the first time in a race I had no earthly idea how I would finish and that was freeing.  With the misery induced by the heat, I was just focusing on feel and having fun as I kicked it into the finish.

Mile 12 seemed like it might last forever, but eventually the crowds increased and we were making our way into Zable Stadium, the William and Mary track and field venue.  We finished the race by running a lap on the track - SUPER COOL!

At last a real, bonafide smile.
You can see the finish arch in the background over my right shoulder. 
A glorious sight!
I crossed the finish line, thrilled to have completed my eighth half marathon on a tough course in brutal conditions!  They were handing out bottled water and  cold, wet washcloths immediately after you crossed the line, which was fantastic.  I chugged a bottle of water before I walked over to the volunteers handing out the medals.  While I love my medals, my body was telling me to focus on hydrating!
Gorgeous medal and love the light blue ribbon!
I snapped the obligatory post-race medal self-pic and made my way through the chute to wait for Maggie.  The chute paralleled the race course as it entered the stadium so I was able to cheer for her as she headed toward the finish.  Once she came back out with medal in hand, we headed to the finish line party in the sunken gardens.  
Happy half marathoners!
We grabbed some snacks and quickly decided we needed to find a shady spot to chill out.  After about 30 minutes or so, Maggie decided she was going to head back to the hotel to find her family and I needed to go snag my bag from gear check.  I changed into flip flops (the most amazing feeling EVER!) and made my way to the food area for some BBQ that Megan has been talking about. 
I snuck a bite of my sandwich while I was in the beer line!
I get it.  Some southern BBQ and a beer really is the perfect post-race food.  I housed that sandwich in about 90 seconds and leisurely enjoyed my beer (Shock Top).  A little while later, I decided I needed to go find the shuttle and head home.  I noticed a back-drop for post race photos (wish I'd noticed this when Maggie was still around!) and asked a lady to take a quick photo.  Well quick may not be the best description since I basically had to give her instructions on how to take a photo with my iphone...oh well!  She did take a pretty good photo!

It wasn't my fastest race.  It wasn't my slowest race.  It was my eighth and hardest half marathon.  I smiled.  I grimaced.  I wanted to give up.  I contemplated a PR attempt.  I was drenched with sweat.  And I crossed the finish line after 13.1 miles with my arms raised over my head and a smile in my heart.  This race taught me how to abandon time goals and have fun, no matter what the conditions.