October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Hope you all have a wonderful, ghoulishly fun day today.  Enjoy your run and hopefully no ghosts or goblins will be chasing you.  I am getting my workout done before dawn at the track with my running group!  Then it will time to indulge in a few sweet treats!


October 30, 2013

New Medals for Princess and Tinkerbell Weekends!

Check out these beauties!!  What do you think??

More info on the Disney Parks Blog here!

Local Races....we love them!

Both Christine and I have participated in a variety of local races the last few years from 5K's to half marathons.  While destination races are a blast and we always love a race vacation, there is something about waking up for a race in your own bed that is quite wonderful!   Here are some of our favorite races and links to their recaps if you would like further information!

Post race, Toys for Tots 8K 2012

We love racing on Thanksgiving morning and for the last two years we have run the Toys for Tots Turkey Trot in Newport News, Virginia.  With just a $25 entry fee, you receive a long sleeve cotton shirt and hot chocolate and other goodies at the finish line.  We have run this race the last 2 years, and this year it will be just a 5k option.  Here is a glimpse at last year's race.

Notice the baton used by the relay runners!

The Rock and Roll race series are extremely popular and last year we tried our first one as a relay.  The Virginia Beach Rock and roll event is always over Labor Day weekend and the party atmosphere is fantastic.  It was our first relay and we enjoyed every aspect of the race except the humidity.  It was brutal!  If you are interested in this race, you can read more about it here.

Operation Homefront 5k

I drove to visit Christine during a weekend in July this year so we could be part of her work team in a local 5 race held at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach.  This race is a charity fundraiser, which we always love, and was really fun.  Plus, when we both get medals there are extra smiley faces!  Here is the lowdown on this race.
Wicked 10K, 2012

Last year, we ran the Wicked 10k, a J & A race in Virginia Beach.  These races definitely have a party atmosphere and many of the runners were in costume.  J & A offers many fun races throughout the year, with holiday themes such as the Virginia is for Lovers event in February and the Surf n Santa 10 miler in December.  We recapped this fun event here.

Now it's your turn....I have shared favorite races near Christine's home.  Please tell us races that you love that are local for you!

October 29, 2013

The end of my journey to 26.2: MCM 2013 Recap (016)

"When you cross the finish line, no matter how slow or fast, it will change your life forever." 
-Bill Rodgers from Spirit of the Marathon

After months of training and waiting for the big day, the marathon was upon me.  I went to bed feeling a bit anxious, but mostly calm.  I woke up and immediately got up to check the time on my phone - 4:30 AM.  Given that my alarm(s) were set for 5:00, I decided to stay up.  I spent a little time on my phone checking FB and Twitter and watched the final installment of the MCM TV videos (a drill sergeant telling us to relax and get motivated - how perfect!).  I got dressed and double-checked all of my gear.  And that's when the nerves set in.  I was about to run a marathon that day.
Race outfit minus the throw-aways

Ready to race!
My friend Susan snapped a quick pic before we headed out at 5:30.  She drove me to Crystal City where I grabbed the shuttle to the Pentagon.  The line for the shuttle was quite long and immediately got a bit stressed out.  Luckily, the line moved very quickly and part of the wait was in a warm parking garage.  When we were standing outside, I made the decision to shed my long sleeved tech shirt and leave it in my gear check bag.  I would be grateful for this decision many times during the race.  Once we got to the Pentagon, we had a pretty decent walk to the Runner's Village.  I texted Lisa and Danielle and made plans to rendez-vous with them at the bag check trucks.  We had to go through a security check-point and the Marines directing everyone were very high energy which was a great start to the day!

Once I got to the Runner's Village, I was easily able to meet Lisa and Danielle.  We sat around for a bit chatting about our race day outfit decisions.  We hit the porta-potties and then checked our bags and headed to the start.  We got up to the start area at about 7:20 or 7:25 and then things happened fast - the pre-race prayer, singing of the national anthem (by the Voices of Liberty, a la EPCOT!), parachuters and some other presentations.
I was so happy to hang with these girls - definitely calmed my nerves!
Wounded Warriors parachuting into the starting line!

Final parachuter with a 100 foot American flag! 
At 7:55, the howitzer was fired and the hand cyclists set off.  Five minutes later, the runners were sent off.  At 8:11 I checked my watch and we were still waiting to get moving.  I estimate we started at about 8:15.  I was feeling pretty calm and ready to go.  As we crossed the starting line, I thought to myself "ok, here we go" and we were off on a 26.2 mile run!
What a sight!  Photo from Danielle
The early miles ticked off easily.  We started very slow and there were lots of hills which helped keep our speed in check.  We both ditched our sweatshirts before mile 1 and unfortunately I lost my Road ID wristband when I took off for my sweatshirt.  I looked for it for a moment and then decided to forget about it.  Running through Roslyn was awesome - lots of spectators and we saw Danielle's Mom at mile 1.  At about the 5k mark, I noticed a familiar shirt and realized it was my friend Maggie (remember, we saw each other at Run for the Dream?) and we chatted for a few minutes.  I was excited to see her as this was her first marathon as well!  Next, we headed into Georgetown with lots of crowds.

After Georgetown, we turned onto Rock Creek Parkway for the out and back section of the course.  This was miles 6-9-ish.  This stretch was very crowded and at times, tough to get around people.  It was tough for the hand cyclists and we were often yelling for people to move aside.  We also saw lots of people carrying flags through this stretch which was particularly moving.  At one point, I turned to Danielle and told her I was having so much fun and couldn't wait to run another marathon.
Yes, we were having fun!  Photo from Danielle
Next, we headed back into town.  We passed the aid station with orange slices - they tasted fantastic!  A few minutes later, I noticed my shoes were very sticky though!  We passed the Kennedy Center where my friend Jamie planned to spectate.  I tirelessly searched the crowd but never saw her and felt a bit bummed out that I had missed her.  Next, we started heading towards the mall, weaving along the tidal basin.  The miles continued to tick off with relative ease and Danielle and I still chatted a fair bit with ease.  We looked for her Mom at mile 11 but also missed her.

Through the next stretch winding around the tidal basin, we saw military bands and a very moving stretch that was lined with markers of fallen service members.  Each marker included a photo, the year of their death and their age.  It was incredible to see that many of them were years younger than me.  In that moment, I realized this race is so much bigger than me and I was so lucky to be a part of it.  Shortly after this stretch, we hit the half marathon mat in 2:22, which is faster than my first two half marathons.  I commented to Danielle that I could hardly believe I was running the first half of a marathon so much faster than my first few half marathons.  I also realized the idea of beating Oprah (she ran it in 1994 in 4:29) was all but gone.  I felt momentary disappointment, but felt pleased that we would likely break 5 hours.

As we turned toward the mall, I could feel my legs start to tighten up a bit, particularly my calves.  We saw Danielle's mom again at mile 16, where she passed off some pretzels and OJ.  I was really starting to feel fatigued at this point and wondered how much longer I could hang with Danielle.  As we headed up the mall, I started looking for Susan and her family.  I turned off my music for most of this section of the course so I might be able to hear them if they saw me.  As we passed the National Gallery (I think), I spotted a familiar face - my friend Jamie screaming and jumping up and down.  I ran over and got the best hug of my life (literally!) and thanked her and told her I loved her.  As I ran away, I had tears in my eyes...mostly grateful for a familiar face and that awesome hug.  I still remember how soft and cozy her fleece felt.  It was just the boost I needed to get re-energized.  I was able to pick up the pace a bit and we headed toward the capital.  At this point, I was looking for a coworker who planned to be at the South corner.  I saw her before she saw me and got another hug.  With my spirits high, we turned south and headed back down the mall.  And once more I saw Jamie as we passed mile 19 and got another hug.  And this time, I'm pretty sure she told me she was proud of me and I was her hero.  I was on cloud nine.  Somewhere in this stretch, I missed seeing Susan and her family (bummer!), but they were there cheering loudly for us!

Mentally, I was feeling very strong at this point and some physical fatigue was setting in, but it wasn't debilitating.  We started up the 14th street bridge and Danielle took off.  After looking at my watch and seeing that we were hitting 8:40-ish pace, I made the decision to tell her to go ahead.  At the next walk break, she looked over her shoulder and I waved her on yelling that I would see her at the finish.  For a nanosecond, I regretted this decision thinking that I would enjoy the company over the last 6 miles.  But on some level I was relieved because I didn't want to hold her back and was comfortable running my own race at this point.  You could see people starting to lose it on the bridge - lots of people walking, lots of people stretching and a few people getting sick.  I passed the one and only pace group that I ever saw on course - the 4:45 group and felt good about that, knowing that my goal of a sub-5 hour marathon was doable.  I took an opportunity during a walk break to send a quick text message to Mom to update her on my progress and promptly put my phone away until after I finished.  I was tempted to read some of the other texts coming in but wanted to stay focused.

Once we got over the bridge, I got excited to head into Crystal City.  There were some rolling hills in this section, but I handled them with ease.  There were tons of crowds, but they were quiet.  At one point, I threw my arms in the air and yelled at them to start cheering for us.  I think I yelled something like "Come on people, we're at mile 22 in a marathon, give us some love!"  It worked!  Through this stretch, I passed what felt like hundreds of people.  I kept my run-walk intervals and held 9:40-ish pace during the run intervals.  I started thinking that maybe I could hit 4:40 or 4:42 for my final time.  I was running on adrenalin at this point.  Somewhere around mile 23 or 24, I choked down one last shot blok to get me to the finish.  I saw the Dunkin Donuts munchkin table, but couldn't begin to think about eating them - it didn't sound appealing at all!  We rounded the final turn in Crystal City and hit a water stop where I was happy to get some Gatorade and water.

Next, we headed under the overpass toward the Pentagon.  The end was near - I could just feel it.  I checked my watch again and realized that a 4:30-something marathon was possible but I would have to really move to make that happen.  The spectators and DJs along the stretch near the Pentagon were infectious with their energy.  We turned to go down an off ramp and the mile 25 marker was there welcoming us closer to the finish.  Commence ugly cry.  It finally hit me that I was actually going to run a marathon that morning!  Me...the girl with a bum knee, the girl who said she couldn't run a marathon, the girl who used to hate running...I was actually going to do it.  I tried to hold it together to finish strong.  As we got to the bottom of the ramp, a Marine was yelling 1.2 miles to go.  I thanked him - it was a huge mental boost!  We ran past the starting line area and the spectators started increasing.  I saw Bart Yasso and yelled his name and got a high five and warm wishes for the finish - awesome!

And before I knew it, I was at the mile 26 marker and could see the finish line and the dreaded final hill.  I had gas in the tank so I took off.  The crowds were encroaching on the road and many runners were walking, so I hugged the left side of the course and sprinted as hard as I could toward the finish.  I raised my tired arms in triumph as I crossed the mats and yelled I did it and cried happy tears.  I grabbed my phone and texted Mom and she immediately called to share her congratulations.

I walked through the chute and got my medal.  There were two Marines handing them out in each line - one holding the medals and one presenting it to you.  I asked the one holding the medals to snap a photo.  He took two - this is the best moment of my day.  The Marine saluted me, shook my hand and told me congratulations.  It was a moving end of the race and was incredible to have that level of personal attention.

Honestly, one of the happiest moments of my life!
I got one professional photo with my medal but somehow missed the area with the photos in front of the Iwo Jima (SAD!!!).  I was honestly focused on getting water and Gatorade.  I looked up and noticed Danielle right in front of me.  We shared a celebratory hug and went to get our post-race snacks, jacket and get our bags.  As I was waiting in the water line, I head my name being called and saw my friend Jamie!  She had also come to cheer at mile 26, but I was in the zone and never heard her.  What an AWESOME friend!

Time for more photos and celebrating!
Mission accomplished - YES!

It's a bulldog, not a bear!
Danielle and I made our way through Roslyn to get our bags and meandered through the finish festival.  We were both tired and headed back to her hotel to stretch for a bit before my friend Greg was picking me up.  It was fun to debrief the race with her Mom and they were so generous to let me crash in their room for a bit.

It was seriously an incredible day!  I couldn't have asked for a better race experience, more support or better race day friends!  To all of you who have encouraged me along this journey, thank you.  Thank you for believing in me and helping me cross this finish line.  I am sure I will be sharing more on my race in the coming days.  Until then...I'm a MARATHONER!!!!


October 28, 2013

My Tutu for WDW Marathon Weekend!

Another first for this girl here!  I will be sporting a tutu for the WDW Family 5K fun run in January.  Christine and I decided to make the Dopey Challenge less stressful and use/reuse costumes and running clothes that are already in our closets.  While we love to dress up, this will be a hard weekend with 4 races and it is more practical to go with some favorites.  However, Lesley, from Greater Fitness contacted us several months ago and asked if we would like to wear one of her tutus in a Disney race. She started making tutus to raise money for Girls on the Run, an organization that Christine has been involved with for a while.  Subsequent to reaching her fundraising goal,  Lesley decided to start a tutu business due to their popularity!  My tutu arrived on Friday and I am thrilled with it.  However, I am keeping it a secret until January! Let's just say Lesley nailed this one! Her tutus are absolutely precious, custom made for each runner/wearer!  Here are some samples of her designs!  Aren't they pretty? 

Samples of Lesley's beautiful tutus!

 Here is a custom order that she made for Heather at Through Heather's Looking Glass  Adorable right?  

Cruella de Ville for the Tower of Terror 10 miler.

If you are interested in a custom made to order tutu, Lesley is more than happy to help you out.  Here are some of the details if you would like to order and right now, she is offering a discount to the readers of We Run Disney.  You can receive 10% off your entire order, but be sure to mention that We Run Disney sent you!

Adults (ages 13+) are $25, children (ages 5-12) are $12, and babies (ages newborn-4) are $8. Shipping is $3. We Run Disney readers will receive 10% off their entire order! :-) 
To order you just need to send Lesley an email (greaterfitnessblog@gmail.com) so that she can discuss your custom design.  She also has a paypal account for easy payment.  

Disclosure:  Lesley provided me with a tutu to wear in my upcoming race.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  The opinions provided here are my own.

October 27, 2013

Weekly Roundup - October 27th

We've had a relaxed week of workouts with Christine in taper mode and me in recovery mode. Today is a big day as Christine runs her first marathon and nervous mama awaits updates via twitter and Facebook!

Here is a glimpse at our week of workouts! After today we will be looking forward to reuniting at the Wine and Dine half marathon weekend when we will meet up with loads of our running buddies! 

Sunday, October 20th 
Pam: half marathon  13.16 miles
Christine: 6 miles easy

Monday, October 21st
Pam: trail walk 2.5 miles, lots of stretching and rolling
Christine: rest day, rolling and stretching

Tuesday, October 22nd
Pam:  Zumba class with mom! extra stretching
Christine:  5K in 26 min. and felt great!

Wednesday, October 23rd
Pam: 20 minutes stationary  bike, 15 min. eliptical, 1000 meters rowing
Christine:rest day, rolling and stretching

Thursday, October 24th
Pam: one hour Yoga class, walked/carried 9 holes golf
Christine: easy 4 miles, rolling and stretching

Friday, October 25th
Pam: 4.25 mile run
Christine: rest day, rolling and stretching

Saturday, October 26th
Pam: stationary bike 30 minutes, 1000 meters rowing, plank, stretching
Christine:  walked around expo, stretching

Are you doing anything special today?

Today is the day!

October 26, 2013

Race Retreat for Dopey Challenge

This week, my fingers went crazy and somehow we are now registered for the race retreat for the Dopey Challenge.  Christine sent me a text a few minutes after I registered both of us, asking about it!  So, my secret was not so secret after all! It was going to be a surprise at Christmas!

The precious Dopey medal that we can't wait to earn in January!

Race retreat was always something I considered an unnecessary luxury to race weekend and something I would never pay for.  However, when thinking about the long weekend of races in January, a little comfort sounded nice.  Megan from Runners Guide to Walk Disney World gave me some advice based on her experience with race retreat last year and it sealed the deal. We won't be spending alot of time in the parks between races and having breakfast in the tent and some fun extras will be really nice.  Most of all, I look forward to a place to eat and relax prior to the half and full marathon races.  Here is the information about what is included in the package, direct from the runDisney page:

Saturday, January 11, 2014
3:00 a.m. – 5:30 a.m. (runners only)
5:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (runners and Platinum ChEAR Squad only)

Sunday, January 12, 2014
3:00 a.m. – 5:30 a.m. (runners only)
5:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (runners and Platinum ChEAR Squad only)
Location: Family Reunion Area

Enjoy the magic even more with a VIP Race Retreat Package!

Want to add even more magic to your race experience? It's easy with a VIP Race Retreat Package! Race Retreat is a great way for runners to prepare for their race, get pampered, and reunite with friends and family once the race is over.
Race Retreat Package Features

Pre-Race Amenities
  • Pre-race bagels and fruit, plus coffee, water and PowerAde
  • Temperature-controlled tent with lounges
  • Private restrooms and bag check
  • Padded stretching area

  • Post-Race Amenities
    • Internet access to check live results
    • Brunch with hot and cold beverages
    • Changing tents
    • Self-treatment and First Aid station
    • 10-minute massage for only $10 (based on availability)
    • Designated location to meet friends and family to celebrate your accomplishment!*

    Other Amenities:
    • 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend commemorative socks and towel
    • Disney Character meet & greets
    • Live video feed from the Finish Line
    • Information Station

    Race Retreat Package Pricing
    • Walt Disney World® Marathon - $120
    • Walt Disney World® Half Marathon - $120
    • Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge or Dopey Challenge - $200

  • Have you ever done race retreat?  Did you think it was worth the money you paid?
  • (Pam)

October 25, 2013

Wine and Dine Meetup

Many of our running friends will be attending the Wine and Dine meetup in just 2 weeks.  We can't wait to follow along with the tweets and Instagram posts that are sure to blow up our newsfeed on Thursday night! Last year, we were lucky enough to attend this event and we are so excited that so many new attendees will be enjoying the fun.  Here is a glimpse of what everyone will be seeing/doing:

Direct from the Disney Parks Blog: "It’ll be our first runDisney nighttime meet-up, so you will definitely want to be able to say you were there. It’ll have many of the same magical elements of our previous Meet-Ups, but with some cool new twists that only the nighttime can provide.
For instance, we’ll kick off the event with a special viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the nightly laser, light and fireworks show. After that, selected participants will get to taste and learn about some of the extraordinary cuisine and wines that are part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, hear from some Olympic endurance runners and get some expert advice on safely running at night.
Then, selected participants will get to put some of that nighttime running knowledge to work during a starlit fun run “around the world” at Epcot well after the park closes. And of course there will be a few magical surprises throughout the night."

Hopefully runner Mickey will make an appearance again this year at the meetup.  We found him running around the world last year! Just to whet your appetite, here is our recap from last year's meetup! 

Wine and Dine Meetup 2012!
This sounds wonderful and will be a very memorable evening for those lucky participants! Enjoy this magical experience and please take lots of photos!

October 24, 2013

Sunday was race day!

The Baystate Half Marathon was a race I had been anticipating all summer.  This race has the kind of course that is perfect for a PR. It is also a race that many marathoners run to try to qualify for Boston. Best of all, I was running this race with my sister Alison.

Normally on race morning, I am up way too early and Sunday was no exception. 4:00am was my first wake up and after checking the Red Sox score on my phone and a quick pit stop, I went back to bed and slept until 5:00am. This time, I got up and started my race morning preparations.  Besides eating an English muffin with peanut butter and a banana washed down with a little Gatorade, it meant at least 25 trips to the bathroom!  Okay, so I am good at exaggerating.

Flat Pam ready to race!

We got in the car just before 6:00am and drove to Lowell for the race.  We found a parking garage and then proceeded to the porta potties before making our way to Lowell High School.  The race organizers made arrangements with the high school to not only be open for the expo, but also on race morning so runners have a place to relax before the race begins. Finally it was time to make our way to the starting line. As we arrived at the half marathon area, I heard my name being called and one of our Facebook pals, Kathianne was there with her husband to cheer on her friend Susan.  She was so sweet and also included my name and number on her poster, but sadly it was hidden in this photo.

Waiting for the start and it was cold!

With no designated corrals, we lined up between the 9 and 10 minute mile place, closer to the 10.  Soon we heard the "ready, set, go" by the race announcer and we got started.  Alison and I kept together or within 5-10 feet of each other for most of the race.  We made some small talk, but the morning was beautiful and we both were enjoying our run.

Our pace started off a bit slow with a 9:30 first mile and then 9:20 for mile 2.  I picked up our pace and we settled in around 9:05-15 for the next 8 miles  By the time we hit mile 10, I knew that a possible PR and breaking 2 hours was a possibility. However, my pace would have to quicken and it was go time.  I told Alison I was taking off and she encouraged me to go for it.  My brain was not working out the math at all, but my body was telling me to just get my a** to the finish line as fast as possible.  The final 3 miles clicked in at about 8:45 pace. When I finally reached the 13 mile marker it was time to pick up the pace. Thank goodness my legs still had a little kick and so I sprinted the last .16 at 7:16 pace! My official time was one second quicker than my Garmin at 1:59.49!

This was the race I had been hoping for all year.  My big goal for 2013 was to break 2 hours in the half marathon and I feel so blessed that everything came together for me on race day.  The weather was perfect, my body cooperated and running with my sister made it a great combination.  I am so lucky to have not one but two family members who run races with me.  Alison completed the race in 2:00.21 and will be receiving a first place prize in the mail soon having won her age group by over 9 minutes!

Have you had a special race this year?

October 23, 2013

Never Give Up

My sweet Grammy sent me a nice card and a note this week.  She is one of the few people that still believes in the art of letter writing (I also subscribe to this way of life) and I always enjoy receiving mail with her return address.  In her note, she tucked a small poem that was my Grampy's motto/favorite saying.  With the Marine Corps Marathon being a mere 4 days away, it felt so very appropriate.  And for all of you, whether you're running a marathon this weekend, a training run or just focusing on something in your daily life, I hope you find this will resonate for you as well.

Never Give Up
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is happening
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up

by the Dalai Lama 


October 22, 2013

Bloggers are the best!

On Friday, a single tweet made the afternoon a joyful one for Christine.  It started on Thursday when  I posted the following comment on the blog of Lacey and Meranda, two sisters who blog at Fairytales and Fitness. They would be attending the bloggers event at Runners World Headquarters in Pennsylvania this past weekend.  On their post, they mentioned that Summer Sanders would be there and I had to comment that Christine would love to meet her!

Fast forward one day and the following tweet came to Christine:

This gesture of kindness made us both so happy that we are runners and part of the running bloggers community.  Thanks again for such an amazing treat!

October 21, 2013

Wine and Dine Half: What to Expect

Wine and Dine is a bit of a different animal for many racers.  The simple fact that it is a night race poses lots of questions for most runners.  So in today’s post, we’re sharing all of our best tips and advice for this fantastic runDisney event!
We are excited to have this beauty hanging around our necks!
Day of the Race
What to expect: Since it’s a night race, be prepared to relax that day.  Take advantage of the hotel pool and other resort amenities.  We never do a park this day to save our legs.  If you must leave the resort, I would recommend a short trip to Downtown Disney for lunch and a little shopping.  Alternatively, if you are comfortable with a very short park day, spending several leisurely hours in the parks might keep your mind occupied.  But if you are looking to PR, I’d rest!
When to eat: Last year, runDisney posted a great video about fueling for a night race.  The basic guidelines - lots of small meals and stick with foods you know.  Race day is not the time to try a bunch of new things at the Food and Wine festival - wait until the after party!
Last year, I had an omelet for breakfast and a turkey sandwich for lunch (I ended up eating half at lunch and then the other half mid-afternoon).  And then before we were leaving for the buses, I ate my normal pre-race meal of a banana and peanut butter on an English muffin.  Race day is not the time to try a bunch of new things at the Food and Wine festival - wait until the after party!

What to expect: This race starts outside ESPN WWOS complex and there is ample area for milling about.  Most of the area is grass, so it’s a nice spot for sitting with other runners and resting your legs.  Unlike many of the morning runDisney events, this one left us feeling like we were there SUPER early last year!  I think we had close to two hours of milling about before we got to the corrals.  Like all Disney events, there is usually a character or two for photos (plan for a LONG line!) and a DJ getting the crowd hyped.
What to bring: Plastic trash bag or poncho for sitting; any pre-race snacks or fuel; bag-check bag

Corrals and Starting Line
What to expect: You will line up according to your corral.  Usually there are volunteers checking to make sure people are in the right corral.  In true Disney fashion, each corral will be sent off with fireworks! 
What to bring: Anything you need for during the race – fuel, hydration belt, etc.

Race Course
What to expect: You'll go through three parks - Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and EPCOT plus the Boardwalk resort area.  It will be dark but there is more than enough light, so don’t feel obligated to bring a headlamp or anything like that.  The most crowded area of the course is going into Animal Kingdom and running through Animal Kingdom.  It’s also very dark in the park and the pavement is a bit uneven so pay attention!  In terms of characters, there are several Spectromagic floats on the course before and after Animal Kingdom and several characters as well.  I remember seeing Goofy and Chip ‘n Dale.  And there are several in Hollywood Studios – I know Darth Vader was there last year.  And then there are the magnificent Osbourne Family lights in Hollywood Studios.  Be prepared to be wowed! 

Finish Line
What to expect: In typical Disney fashion, there is a fabulous finish area with plenty of snacks and drinks.  They typically provide a snack box, bananas, PowerAde and water.  You’ll have an opportunity to take a finisher photo with Wine and Dine back-drop.  There are tents for changing (one for men and one for women) before you go into EPCOT.
What to bring: Pack a change of clothes in your bag check bag.  Last year, I brought flip flops, a jacket, and some wipes to clean up.  Bring your ID, the $10 gift card and some extra money as well – I carried this in my belt during the race.  I would also bring a bag (like a string backpack) to carry your things around the party.  The plastic bag check bag is a little unwieldy.
Heading into EPCOT

After Party
What to expect: A fantastic time!  The Food and Wine booths are open, characters are out and rides are open.  Last year, I believe that Soarin, Spaceship Earth, Maelstrom, and Grand Fiesta Tour were open.  All of this information will be confirmed in the Final Race Instructions.
What to bring: ID, $10 gift card (part of what you receive with registration), money, and camera



October 20, 2013

Weekly Roundup: October 20th

Today, I am running the Baystate Half Marathon in Lowell, MA with my sister Alison, while Christine is in taper for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I'm really looking forward to this race and the cool temps that are predicted.  It's a big race day - Nike Women's Half in San Francisco, the Runner's World Half in Bethlehem, PA and many others.  May you all have fast feet!

Sunday, October 13th
Pam: ran 6 miles, pace 9.16
Christine: 30 min yoga, stretching

Monday, October 14th
Pam: Jillian Michaels Yoga DVD  35 minutes
Christine: 35 min stationary bike, Abs, Leg weights

Tuesday, October 15th
Pam: ran 3.26 mile temp run
Christine: 4 miles hill work on treadmill, 0.25 mile cool down

Wednesday, October 16th
Pam: 30 minutes stationary bike, 1000 meters rowing, weights, sit ups
Christine: Rest day with stretching and rolling

Thursday, October 17th
Pam: Without Limits trace workout: warm up, 3 x 800 3:50, 3:45. 3:45 3 miles total
Christine: 3.4 miles at 9:20 pace, stretching

Friday, October 18th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Rest day with lots of stretching and rolling

Saturday, October 19th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, stretching, rolling


October 19, 2013

Spectating Marine Corps Marathon

As you all know, I've been training hard for my very first marathon which takes place next Sunday!  For those of you that live in DC and plan to spectate in person and for those spectating from afar, there are loads of amazing resources from the Marine Corps Marathon team to help you figure this out.

1. Runner Tracking: You can receive updates on a runner at 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k and finish via text, email, Facebook or Twitter.  It's free!

2. Download the Mobile App: Marine Corps Marathon has developed an app with everything you need in one place.  It's FREE and available in iphone and android platforms.  Search for "Marine Corps Marathon" in your app store.

3. Spectator Pace Calculator: If you know your runners anticipated pace, you can get a sense of what time they will arrive at various viewing spots.

4. Recommended Viewing Locations: There are 5 recommended viewing locations, that are all accessible via metro, as follows...
    - Viewing Spot 1: Starting Line
    - Viewing Spot 2: Lincoln Memorial at mile 11
    - Viewing Spot 3: Smithsonian Museums at miles 18-19
    - Viewing Spot 4: Crystal City at miles 22-23
    - Viewing Spot 5: Finish line at Marine Corps War Memorial

5. Video Footage: Available at csnwashington.com.  

6. Course Map: The updated course map is available online and has interactive features to identify aid stations, landmarks and the like.  I would highly recommend you print a copy to stuff in your pocket - the printable version includes metro stations as well.

7. Family Link Up Area: There is a family reunion area at the Finish Festival so you can easily reunite with your runner.  The map of the Finish Festival is available here.

If you've spectated the Marine Corps Marathon before, would love to hear your tips!

October 18, 2013

Allied Medal Hanger Giveaway Winner!

Happy Friday!  It has been quite an eventful week and we are both looking forward to a great weekend...I'm excited to have some time to get organized for Marine Corps and Mom is headed up to Massachusetts to run the Bay State Half.  And I'm sure none of you really care about this as you're just interested in the winner of the Allied Medal Hanger giveaway!  I can't fault you there!  So without further delay, I give you the winner...

Congrats Lauren!  Please email us at werundisney@gmail.com to claim your medal hanger! You have until Sunday, October 20th at 6:00pm to claim your prize.


October 17, 2013

Fall Pumpkin Treats

Every fall, pumpkin flavored foods and beverages are a favorite for both Christine and me. We also get into the spirit of the fall holidays by spoiling our dogs with toys for each season/holiday.

Lulu loves her witch Minnie!

 One of my favorite ways to enjoy the tasty pumpkin flavor is by baking Pumpkin Bars.  Last year, our hostess for my book club made these for us and we all went crazy for them.  Any bar that is frosted is especially tasty, especially when it includes pumpkin. I thought I would share the recipe with you since it is a simple, quick dessert that everyone loves!

                                                          Pumpkin Squares

1/2 cup butter                                 1 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar                         1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar                       1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs                                             1 tsp. baking powder
1 small can pumpkin                        1/2 tsp. baking soda
                                                       1/4 tsp. salt

1 pkg cream cheese softened
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner sugar

Cream butter and white sugar.  Then beat in brown sugar, then eggs.  Slowly add the pumpkin and remaining ingredients until blended.
Place in 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Cool and Frost!

October 16, 2013

A weekend in Williamsburg and no race!

This past weekend, Tom and I visited Williamsburg for a quick little getaway.  While the weather was totally uncooperative, we still managed to have a great time.  We took in the usual historic sights and also did some shopping in Richmond on our way back home.  We are mall deprived in Wilmington, NC, so I was excited to finally be hitting a real mall for a few hours of fun.  I digress, back to Williamsburg and why you should visit this lovely place. They do have a fabulous race here, Run For The Dream that Christine ran last June and recapped here in case you want your visit to be a racecation!

Williamsburg has much to offer the visitor including all the historic area of Colonial Williamsburg and of course the College of William and Mary that has a beautiful campus.  We spent much of Friday afternoon wandering the streets of the old area and despite a very gray day outside, I snapped loads of photos with my phone.

Loads of food and drink choices!

Besides wandering around the colonial area, we also visited Merchants Square to make a stop at the Peanut Shop where we indulged in many samples and left with a bag full of treats.  It was great to buy a few Christmas presents too! One of the gift shops (I forgot to note the store name) had a small section of bacon items. Many of our running friends love the bacon challenges at the runDisney races, so this photo is for you!
all these goodies are bacon flavored!
 Are you planning a racecation anytime soon? 

October 15, 2013

My Journey to 26.2: A Cancellation? (015)

Earlier today, I celebrated my amazing friends that I have dubbed, 'my pit crew.'  I was feeling much more calm and confident today.  Oh the irony...

As I was going about my business at work this afternoon, I took a quick Facebook break and saw the news from an Arlington, VA news source - a possible race cancellation.  I read the article no less than 3 times and immediately checked out the official Marine Corps Marathon Facebook page and Twitter feed.  Nothing official.
The main theme of the article
I immediately got on Twitter to gauge a read on the crowd - pandemonium is probably the most accurate description.  I was in full on freak out mode at this point.  A little while later, a formal status was issued from the race organizers.
From the MCM Facebook page
Kudos to them for identifying a date when we will know one way or the other if we will be running.  So unless the government reopens this week, we'll know something definitive on Saturday.

I would be lying if I said I was calm as all of this news was blazing around the ether.  I was shocked, sad, frustrated and just plain old pissed!  I've trained hard for this event (500+ miles since I registered to be exact).  And never in my training plan, did it occur to me that the race might not take place.  With this news weighing heavily, I did what any runner would do - tossed on some shorts, shirt and shoes and headed to the treadmill.  And while I was pounding out some stress, I had a few revelations.

The first is probably the most important.  The real issue here isn't a marathon, it's the simple fact that our elected officials have neglected to do the fundamentals - pass a budget and keep the government running.  There are people out of work, without benefits, without medical support, etc.  It's beyond unacceptable.  Governments (state and local) and companies cannot plan or budget without knowing the future of large-scale federal funding.  The potential cancellation of this race is an unpleasant side effect, like that of a prescription drug.  It's inconvenient, but my life will go on.

The second is that I'll find another race.  It may not be running the streets of Washington DC on October 27th, but I'll figure something out.  I've already identified two (semi-feasible) races on the east coast - the Atlanta Marathon and the Cape Cod Marathon.  They're both pretty good options with a few caveats.  Registration for the Atlanta race closes tonight (!!), so there's that....  Cape Cod would provide me with the opportunity to run with Danielle since that's her likely plan B.  Both require some major travel planning, including flights and whatnot.  It's a lot to consider as I'm 12 days out from race day.  Plus there are other major races on the horizon, although those would require some major shifting of my current taper plans.

In the end, I will run 26.2.  I'm not sure where, I'm not sure with whom and I'm not sure when.  But I will run my marathon.  No government can take that away.  And for the sake of our fantastic country, let's get this government open and put people back to work!


Journey to 26.2: My Pit Crew (014)

It really does take a village to run a marathon.  I'm reminded of this over and over...from the friends who send me words of encouragement, to the little packages with fuel that Mom sends to the random strangers who smile and wave at my while I'm on a long run.  They all give me a nice boost for my next workout, regardless of when or what it may be.

Throughout my training, I've hit my mileage, with near military precision.  There haven't been many runs that I've missed and when I have, I have managed to find a way to get back on track and "make up" the mileage somehow.  I've said it before and I will say it again - I've been in robot mode for much of the training.  As I'm now in taper mode, I can most definitely say that I wasn't prepared for the emotional roller coaster this might entail.  My thoughts constantly drift to the race, to my training and to everything surrounding it.  I'm working very, very hard to stay calm and keep reaffirming that my training will pay off and that I am ready.

While I was working out yesterday, I started putting together a mental list of sorts of all of my awesome friends and family who have helped me get to taper town and especially a few who will see me through marathon day!  I started thinking about them as my metaphorical pit crew...those that will help you get through any challenge that race day presents.

Katie, the enabler: My friend Katie was my ultimate enabler.  She was the one who actually registered me on March 27th after I gave up with the registration day challenges.  She has been a fantastic cheerleader and I am looking forward to sharing my first marathon with one of my first running friends!

The cheerleaders: There have been so many people - coworkers, friends, Twitter buds, Facebook friends, etc. that have been encouraging.  Many don't know a THING about running but they've been important all the same.

Danielle, the race buddy: At Disneyland Half weekend, I was fortunate enough to FINALLY meet Danielle and as I predicted, we were fast friends.  Fast forward a few weeks and after sharing many training stories, we decided we would run the race together.  When I read her email about it, I actually squealed!  I'm so excited to have a buddy, even if we end up splitting up mid-race.  She's also been an unbelievable supporter and has shared some of her first marathon freak outs...guess I'm not alone here!

The support staff: From my friend Kira who left water in her mailbox to Patrick driving me home from the gym after 17 miles and the corresponding jell-o legs, there have been plenty of folks that have helped me get here.  Heck, I should add the guy at Running Etc. who convinced me to go up a size in shoes and I haven't had toe blisters since!  Amazing how small gestures become so meaningful when you push your mind and body to the limit on a regular basis during training.

Lisa, the realist: Another amazing girl that I finally met at Disneyland Half was Lisa....similar story with Danielle - we were fast friends and bonded over running, blogging and life.  We've shared countless text conversations mid-long run.  Most were whiny and complaining about how we felt, the weather, lack of interest in running, etc.  Sometimes it's helpful to have someone with whom you can just be honest.  She's also embarking on her first 26.2 at Marine Corps and I can't wait to share this with her!

The training buddies: As I embarked on every run, there were countless folks in support.  I shared training runs, virtual updates, race days and everything in between.  I'm grateful to so many of you - Heather, Megan, Krissy, Maggie, Allie, Marcia, Kat, Jen (x2), and a gazillion other people.

Susan, the hostess: I'm staying with some of my dearest friends while I'm up in DC.  They are unbelievably gracious to let me and my marathon crazy self crash at their place for a few days.  Susan has been an unbelievable cheerleader throughout my training and has promised to cheer on the course during the race - incredibly.  She gets my "crazy face" as we are very similar personality-wise...she often reminds me that we're cut from the same cloth and I'm forever appreciative of her support.  A few years back, she completed a sprint triathlon, looking mighty fashionable along the way!  Somehow, I don't think I'll look quite as polished after 26.2 miles!

The Mom: There's no metaphor here, folks.  My Mom has been amazingly supportive and seems to know when tough love is required.  From anyone else, I would be annoyed but there were days I needed it.  She has been the best training partner a girl could have.

This was basically my Oscar acceptance speech.  Cue music...


October 14, 2013

Journey to 26.2: Taper Plan (013)

I've been asking around A LOT for advice on tapering and prepping for race day, particularly considering that I'm about to take on my first marathon in 13 days!  Luckily, the running community is amazing and people have shared some great tips.  I've also spent lots of time perusing articles from running authorities to get additional ideas.
Awesome responses to last night's #runchat
This taper is different mostly because I haven't ever run 26.2 miles.  Normally I look forward to having more time, having fresh legs and the training break.  I used to LOVE taper during swimming season.  It meant less yardage and really quality sets.  I have a feeling the taper crazies may set in this go 'round.  I'm trying to prepare myself for nerves, anxiety and any semi-negative emotional responses.  Based on what I know about myself as a runner (and person) and how I handle stress, I tried to come up with things that will be best for ME.

1. Get sleep.  I have been running on fumes lately and that must change.  I am going to get back into the habit of turning off electronics 30 minutes before bed and reading or otherwise decompressing.

2. Eat right.  Like the sleep thing, I've been off lately (some travel and birthday celebrations are likely culprits).  I went to the store yesterday and stocked up on produce and healthy snacks.  I also cooked some food for the week so I won't end up noshing on junk if I'm in a hurry and need lunch or don't feel like cooking dinner.  I promised myself I would make time to prep and cook healthy foods.  On October 28th, I can eat whatever I want!

3. Be good to myself.  I've had more downs than ups over the last few weeks and just haven't been feeling terribly confident or positive lately.  That ends now.  Last night, I gave myself a ridiculously self-indulgent, 'I love me' pep talk.  Until the 27th, I'm going to be confident, kind to myself, and selfish.  Yup, I said it.  Selfish.  I'm gonna do things that make me happy!  After all, I have trained for this race for the last 4 or 5 months.

4. Trust the training.  This is a hard one but I'm going to keep reminding myself that I ran one 19 and two 20 mile training runs.  I'm ready; if I just feel telling myself that, I'll believe it, right?!  Plus this is one piece of advice that EVERYONE gave me!  And it's one that I often dish out about half marathons.  Hello pot, meet kettle!

5. Keep busy.  I know myself and I am totally a victim of that "idle hands" adage.  I'm planning some dinners with friends and a few easy house projects to keep busy over the next few weeks.

6. I get by with a little help from my friends.  I have a few friends that have been particularly kind and encouraging over the last few weeks.  I know I will continue to rely on their encouragement in the coming weeks for some pick-me-ups when the moments of doubt creep in.  I am grateful to have awesome cheerleaders!

What advice would you give someone prepping for their first 26.2?

October 13, 2013

Weekly Roundup: October 13th

This week marked my last long run before Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday.  Hard to believe I've finally arrived at taper town!  I would be lying if I said I felt completely ready, but the hard work is done - now time to take extra special care of myself in terms of sleep, eating and workouts to be ready for the big day on the 27th.

A few fun and random things about this week...
- I had one of those weeks where hard work started paying off at work and it felt really good.
- I went to see Gravity on Saturday afternoon with a friend.  It was a beautiful movie, but very intense.  It almost felt like I was on a roller coaster...that's how much I was gripping the chair or clenching my jaw.  Beautiful visuals so definitely worth a trip to the theater.
- One of our favorite things about Thanksgiving is Black Friday shopping...we're pretty lame and we love collecting the Disney snow globes from JC Penney.  We are SO glad they're bringing them back this year!
From JC Penney's instagram account
Sunday, October 6th
Pam: 12 mile run 10:39 pace
Christine: 20 mile run

Monday, October 7th
Pam: Rest day - lots of stretching and rolling
Christine: Rest day- also lots of stretching and foam rolling

Tuesday, October 8th
Pam: ran 4 miles, plank, bicycle sit ups, stretching
Christine: Speed work - 8x800 at 3:52 with 1/2 mile warm up and 1/2 mile cool down, total 5.5 miles

Wednesday, October 9th
Pam: 30 min stationary bike, 1200 meters rowing, plank, Bosu ball, bicycle sit ups
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, Abs, Leg weights

Thursday, October 10th
Pam: Track workout: 1 mile warm up,  5 X 1200 @8:28 pace stretching, cool down
Christine: 4 mile treadmill run at 9:00 pace

Friday, October 11th
Pam: Rest day, lots of walking
Christine: Rest day (less walking, more happy hour'ing hehe!)

Saturday, October 12th
Pam: 2 mile run, 10 min elliptical, arm weights, plank
Christine: 13 mile run