December 31, 2013

2013: Year in Review

You didn't think we would pass up an opportunity to recap our year, did you? :)  Plus we like photos and videos so you probably know what is coming in this post.  So without further chatter, here you go!

And now, for the more boring stuff….a quick summary of our 2013 from each of us.

From Christine: It was the year of the unexpected - my goals changed, completed my first race challenge, conquered my first 26.2, and ran 1000 miles.

From Pam: This year was cloaked in a great deal of personal sadness with the loss of several family members.  From a running standpoint, I was overjoyed to complete Goofy's Challenge (and my first marathon) in January and run my first sub-2:00 half marathon in October.

What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

December 30, 2013

I'm accident prone

With less than two weeks until Dopey Challenge I did something really dumb.  Instead of getting out of my chair to retrieve my iPad from an end table shelf, I reached in an awkward way and strained a muscle in my chest. That's right, another chance to sabotage an otherwise good training cycle.  Someone knew of my proclivity to accidents and mishaps and this appeared in my Christmas stocking:

If you have never heard of a Bucky, before, I understand.  Until I unwrapped it several days ago, it was something I had not seen.  However, it is now being used as an ice pack to help me heal my sore chest.  As someone who works hard to stay fit and in shape, it is amazing that I don't seem to get injuries from running. According to my coach, most runners suffer with injuries away from their sport.  Just yesterday, she stepped in a hole that her dog made in the backyard and twisted an ankle. Obviously I felt terrible that this happened, but also felt a wee bit better to know that I am not the only klutz.  On a better note, I have already started to pack for my upcoming trip to Florida for Dopey Challenge.

Do you have mishaps and calamities that seem crazy to your family?  Would you ever use a Bucky as an adult?

December 29, 2013

Weekly Roundup - December 29th

It's hard to believe it's the last full week of 2013.  It seems like just yesterday we were preparing for last year's marathon weekend and thinking about 2013 goals.  I guess it's time to think about goals for next year!
As you know, we finished our final big runs in preparation for Dopey Challenge last Sunday and we are in full on taper mode!  I would be lying if I didn't tell you I was a little excited about it.  I'm pretty tired from the intense training and holiday chaos.  I feel like I could sleep for days!

Sunday, December 22nd
Pam: 22 miles at 10:37 pace
Christine: 22 miles at 10:37 pace

Monday, December 23rd
Pam: rest day
Christine: 30 min yoga

Tuesday, December 24th
Pam: 3.13 miles easy run outside at 9:20 pace
Christine: 3.13 miles easy run outside at 9:20 pace

Wednesday, December 25th
Pam: rest day, it's Christmas!
Christine: rest day

Thursday, December 26th
Pam: ran 3 miles, easy pace
Christine: 35 min stationary bike, Abs, stretching

Friday, December 27th
Pam: 30 minutes eliptical, weights
Christine: rest day

Saturday, December 28th
Pam: 11 mile run outside, first five very slow, last half at marathon pace
Christine: 10 miles outside, 4:1 run: walk intervals at 10:25 pace

Do you have any plans for New Years Eve?

December 27, 2013

My 2013 in Numbers

I started 2013 with big plans to run a half marathon each month.  And just 3 months into the year, I shifted gears to focus on a new goal - running my first marathon in the fall as the precursor to the runDisney Dopey Challenge in January 2014.  I don't regret that I didn't try to hit a half each month.  I ended up running six over the course of the year and they were all different and fun.  I decided that I'm going to focus on quality races for 2014 rather than quantity.  I have my eye on a few big PRs and I'll talk about that more in another post.

So as I was thinking about my 2013, I started thinking about the numbers...number of races, distances, PRs and the like.  I did a little tallying and voila, my year of running!

What was the highlight of your running year?

December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

We plan to enjoy some time with our family so we will be mostly offline for the next two days.  We hope you unplug a bit too!

December 23, 2013

We have arrived in Taper Town!

With just two days to spare before Santa arrives on Wednesday, we arrived in Taper Town!

And yes, I might have yelled that when we were through about 22 miles of our 24 mile training run yesterday.  It went something like this...
Me: Mom, do you know what happens after this training run?
Mom: No....

We successfully completed our Dopey Challenge "simulation weekend" yesterday, with much relief.  This was our last and final major back to back runs, and let me tell you it definitely wasn't easy!
My dog, Paddy, joined us for the first mile and a half.
Here's the breakdown of what we did...

Christine's Dopey Challenge simulation:
Thursday: 3.5 miles easy outside around the neighborhood; straight run with no watch
Friday: 6 miles on the treadmill; straight run at about 10min pace
Saturday: 13 miles outside doing 9:1 run:walk intervals in 2:11, just over 10 min pace
Sunday: 24 miles outside doing 9:1 run:walk intervals in 4:15, 10:37 pace

Pam's Dopey Challenge simulation:
Thursday: 1 mile warm-up, 2x10 min at 8:40/8:20 pace, 1 mile cool down for total 4 miles
Friday: 5 miles outside; straight run at 9:30 pace
Saturday: 12 miles outside
Sunday: 24 miles outside doing 9:1 run:walk intervals in 4:15, 10:37 pace

We are happy to be resting our tired legs today and couldn't be happier to have these long runs behind us.  How are you feeling heading into marathon weekend?  Are you as overjoyed as we are to be in Taper Town?

December 22, 2013

Weekly Roundup - December 22nd

It's almost Christmas and holiday preparations have been underway and company starts arriving tomorrow. Okay, I lied. Christine arrived yesterday, but we do not consider her company! She is especially helpful with meal planning and preparation plus, will be keeping me company as we both run 24 miles this morning!  We are both eager to have the run over so we can start enjoying the taper before our Dopey Challenge. Are you sick of hearing about Dopey Challenge? I must admit, everything seems to revolve around training, eating and resting at the moment. This week runDisney had a bunch of fun tweets about the upcoming race weekend including this:


and this:

We are now at 16 days and counting! For the next few days we are focusing on Christmas and family time while we take a break from running after our Dopey simulation this weekend.  Special meals, a Christmas eve church service, food, viewing Christmas lights, and some family games will keep us busy! We hope you share some very special moments with your families. Our week of workouts was pretty intense and here is the recap:

December 15th
Pam: rest day
Christine: rest day

December 16th
Pam: bike 30 minutes, weights
Christine: 30 minutes elliptical

December 17th
Pam: 30 minutes elliptical
Christine: ran 4 miles

December 18th
Pam: rest day
Christine: rest day

December 19th
Pam:  ran 4 miles at track with group 2 X 10 minutes at 8:40 pace plus warm up/cool down
Christine: ran 3 miles

December 20th
Pam: ran 5 miles at 9:28 pace
Christine: ran 6 miles

December 21st
Pam: ran 12 miles at 10:20 pace
Christine: ran 13 miles in 2:11

Hope your week went well. Please tell us if you had any special highlights!

December 20, 2013

2014 Marathon Weekend Info

I can hardly believe that we're less than 20 days away from the start of marathon weekend!  You know what that means...our frenzied registration for Dopey Challenge last April will soon become a reality that I'm sure will be filled with laughs, pain and triumphant smiles...I hope for NO tears!  Over the last few days, runDisney has released loads of information about the weekend and we're hoping to break all of it down for you in one place.

The official event guide is available on the runDisney website here.  This guide contains a LOT more detail than in the past so I highly recommend you spend some time reviewing it.
**Pro tip: Download the file on your home computer and add to your Dropbox (it's a free app for your mobile device that acts as a document storage tool) so you can review it on your tablet while on your way to Disney!

Packet pick-up is in several locations this year.
   * Kids Races: Champion Stadium Expo
   * 5k: HP Field House, entry level
   * 10k: HP Field House, lower level
   * Half Marathon: HP Field House, entry level
   * Marathon: HP Field House, entry level
   * Goofy Challenge: HP Field House, lower level
   * Dopey Challenge: HP Field House, lower level
**Pro tip: We always study the expo information in advance and write ourselves a few notes of what we need to do and where they are.  It's easy to get excited and overwhelmed and forget a few things!  I usually use the notes app on my iPhone for this!

For gear bag and shirt pick-up, you'll need to head to the Jostens Center at the expo.  You can also find the speaker seriesofficial race merchandise and some exhibitors there too!

If you pre-purchased commemorative items like pins, necklaces, ears, etc., you will pick them up in the HP Field House.

If you're looking for Kids race gear and shirt pick-uprunner trackinginspiration station, or the Dooney & Bourke purses, head to Champion Stadium.  Interested in a custom marathon weekend Dooney & Bourke bag?  Check them out here!  It's a new, white-background pattern this year that depicts Mickey running.  They look very cute!

Running Dopey Challenge?  Then you'll want to pay close attention to this…
   * You'll receive two bibs - a green one for the 5k and 10k and a grey one for the half and full.
   * After each event, you must visit the Dopey Challenge tent to receive a finisher's wrist band.
   * You won't be able to retrieve your Dopey Challenge medal without the wrist bands and correct bib.
   * You will receive one gear check bag and corresponding sticker for use the entire weekend.
   * There are several Dopey-focused events as part of the speaker series on Wednesday.

Running Goofy Challenge?  Then listen up!
   * You'll receive one race bib to wear for both races.
   * You will receive one gear check bag and corresponding sticker for both races.

Sign up here for your free art card from Lasting Commemoratives that you can pick up at the expo.

Jeff Galloway provides some great last minute preparation tips!

In case you missed our earlier post on the corrals, you can access your waiver here.  Your waiver will have a bib number that corresponds to your start corral.

Want to know where you'll be running?  The course maps for the marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k are available on the runDisney website.
Mickey Marathon Course: Hit all 4 parks plus the speedway, ESPN WWOS and Boardwalk Resort Area
Donald Half Marathon: Run down Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom and run through EPCOT as you near the finish
For both the Minnie Mouse 10k and Family Fun Run 5k, you'll zip through EPCOT
Are you interested in joining a pace team?  runDisney uses the Clif pace teams and there will be teams for the marathon and half marathon.  If you have questions about how this works, stop by the Clif booth at the expo and get more info about where the pacers will be lining up on race morning and their estimated per-mile pace.  This is a FANTASTIC resource that runDisney and Clif provide!
  * Marathon Pacers: 3:10, 3:20, 3:30, 3:40, 3:50, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30
  * Half Marathon Pacers: 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:15, 2:30, 2:45, 3:00
**Pro tip: Spend some time learning about the pacer's race strategy in advance so you can decide if it's the right strategy for you. 

Are you getting excited?!  I am!!

December 19, 2013

Baking and running oh my!

This week is super busy with just a week until Christmas and less than 3 weeks until Dopey Challenge!  The last few days have been light on exercise for me as I dread  anticipate my simulation for the January races. This Thursday through Sunday I have 3,6,12 and 24 miles on my running calendar.  In the meantime, my days have flown by with gift wrapping and baking. Yesterday I made a peppermint cheesecake and a coffee cake for Christmas morning! Today operation cookie got started and three kinds of cookie dough were prepared. I had time to get one batch baked and the other two will be in the oven tomorrow!  Of course a few made it into my belly, despite my best efforts to refrain.  Who can resist a homemade chocolate chip cookie?

Wrapped gifts....keeping some a secret from you know who!

As for my exercise, I took two days off, Sunday, post race and Tuesday to be ready for the upcoming mileage.  Last year, I struggled mightily with the last Goofy Challenge weekend training and I am not excited at all about the prospect of running 45 miles in just 4 days.  But I will do it!  Christine arrives on Saturday afternoon so we can run survive the 24 mile run together on Sunday.  After that, it is all downhill as we enter the taper zone for Dopey.  I am excited to know that the long journey is nearly over and we can enter those starting corrals knowing we did the best we could to be prepared for the race weekend.  Come on Dopey...we are ready to earn all the medals!

December 18, 2013

Race Recap: Jingle Bell 5k

On Saturday, we ran our last race of 2013 at the Wrightsville Jingle Bell 5k.  This is a really fun race and has grown tremendously since it first started in 2009. There were 551 finishers in 2013 as opposed to 133 the first year. While this is a chip timed race and many serious runners participate, there is tremendous fun involved with Christmas music and decorations at the start/finish line. Additionally,  many runners race in elaborate holiday costumes! Tom took our photo just before we left the house!

First time to run in my new Without Limits shirt!

My favorite part of this year's race was having my running buddy with me! We arrived really early for race registration and found out that shirts were not available. We did get our bibs and then spent a few minutes looking at the starting line which was decorated with Christmas wreaths and stockings.  This race has a wonderful holiday atmosphere, especially with all the runners in costume.  At this point, we took a few quick photos with our bibs and then went back to the car to adjust our clothing layers!

All set to race! Sorry, I made Christine blurry in this one!
 We decided to do a mile warm up and use the bathroom nearby and then wait in the car. It was a cold and  damp morning, so we did not want to waste energy trying to stay warm standing outside for too long! Soon it was time for the countdown to the start.  Not having paid close attention, we were probably behind 150-200 runners. This proved to be a bit tricky at the beginning as we both did alot of passing. The race itself is at Wrightsville Beach and the scenery is lovely as you cross over the bridge towards the beach and then back to the museum.  Christine was quickly out of my sight and with my Garmin not working (probably operator error) I just tried to run fast and enjoy my music. I did see several runners from Without Limits, my running group and even ran with Erin for a little while. Finally arriving at the finish line, I was disappointed to see my time on the results board.  However, what I did not realize was it was the clock time.  My chip time was a 6 second PR!  Christine also PR'd this race and ran a 22:52! To say we were a bit excited is an understatement. We hung around for the awards and enjoyed seeing all the costumes.  Here are some of our favorites!

Santa with tiny Santa, shepherd and blue Elvis (he won a prize)

The Grinch Group ( won for group costume)

Loved this living nativity! Mary and baby won for stroller divisiion!

It's always fun to get on the podium! (Mrs. Claus did not run in that outfit!)

After finishing the morning with another loop of the course to complete our 7 miles for Dopey Challenge training we made a stop at Chick Fil A and headed back home.  One of these delicious chocolate chip peppermint shakes is the perfect was to celebrate a PR!


December 17, 2013

Training Tuesday: 2013 goal recap

In 2013, I had one specific goal in mind. Simple enough, my goal was to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. Except that is not a simple goal. There were quite a few opportunities for me to attempt this, with a number of halves scheduled on my race calendar.  My first half of 2013 was part of the Goofy Challenge and this actually was my slowest of the year.  There is no surprise there, since that was the plan so I could complete my first full marathon the next day.  Who else is smart stupid enough to run their first full marathon as a back to back? My time for the Donald half marathon was 2:24.49.

Starting line for Donald and Christine did run a PR!

Next up was the Princess Half Marathon in February with very little training after a 17 day trip to Africa.  A PR was surely not in the cards, especially since the weather was hot and humid.  Christine and I decided to run a decent race, but frankly we got through it and that is about was not a fun race day for either of us! Our time was 2:18.43

Glad to be done!

Next up was my first ever local half marathon, the Quintiles Half Marathon in Wilmington, NC.  I was so excited to be able to cook my own dinner the night before the race and most of all to sleep in my own bed!  Due to some family circumstances, I was not as well trained for this race as I would have liked.  The weather and flat course made race day conditions perfect and a little over halfway through the race I decided to try for a decent time!  I did get a PR by just over a minute running a 2:02.05.

A new medal and a shiny new PR!
Next up was the Dumbo Challenge in California and this was going to be another chance to try for a great half marathon time while running with my best running buddy Christine.  We took our time during the 10k and then planned to attempt a good race for the Disneyland Half.  Sadly for Christine, I was the one that did not have the confidence/strength that day to make it a great race. The weather was not ideal, and some days are just not your day. I encouraged Christine to go ahead knowing she had a sub 2 in her that day, but she stuck with me like glue and we finished the race in 2:03.19. I'm still a bit sad that she did not go ahead on her own, but it was awesome to have someone to keep me company during a tough race.

Tweedle Mom and Tweedle daughter stuck together like glue!

As soon as I returned from California, I was anticipating my next race the Baystate Half Marathon in Lowell Ma. My sister would be running with me and she is super speedy and I knew I could count on her to keep me at a great pace. This race lived up to the online hype, a great course with plenty of aid stations, beautiful scenery and perfect weather.  Finally I had the perfect day for another try at the elusive sub 2 goal. To say I was nervous would be an understatement, but it helped to have Alison with me for the wait at the start.  The final time was 1:59.49 and I was absolutely thrilled.  Checking that off my list was huge and now I have an even bigger goal for 2014....but that is another post!

And yes I did wear my medal to lunch with my Mom and sister!

Did you have any specific goals for 2013?  Please do tell!

December 16, 2013

Dream Running Clothes

The other night on my drive home from work, I was daydreaming about all the fictitious running clothes I would like to buy - preppy pink and green outfits, black and white houndstooth skirts, coordinating tops and skirts, etc.  This prompted me to start thinking about brands and designers that I desperately wish would make running clothes and I came up with three.

1. Lilly Pulitzer:  She's the maven of all things preppy, pink and green and beachy.  I would KILL for a flamingo printed running skirt with a matching tech tank…collar popped of course.  Can you imagine it?

2. Chanel:  Sure this wouldn't even remotely be in my price point, but imagine the black and white.  The small square pockets.  The "suit" jacket that would be perfect for post-race to stave off the chill in the air.  The big black sunglasses that evoke Jackie.

3. Banana Republic…the Mad Men collection from 2011 to be specific:  Now those of you who know me in real life know that I am obsessed with the 1960s-based show.  I also love that era.  It was glamorous, people were always "dressed" and everything was polished.

If you could pick one designer or brand to make running clothes, who would it be and why?

December 15, 2013

Weekly Roundup- December 15th

What a fun filled week!  I had a great surprise on Friday night when Christine came to celebrate my birthday!  If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you know we ran the Jingle Bell 5k in Wilmington, NC yesterday!  We posted numerous times, after having so much fun running this race.  The costumes that we saw while running were so creative and fun, but more on that when we post the race recap.

Ready to run!

Overall, it was a fantastic morning and it ended with a trip to Chick fil A on our way home with our favorite holiday milkshake. And Christine hammed it up for the camera as we waited for our order.

This week was high on mileage for Christine and much less for me. However,  next weekend we will be attempting the Dopey simulation with lots of mileage and back to back runs!  I am so happy that we will be together for the 24 mile run on Sunday! Then it is taper time for Dopey!

Sunday, December 8th
Pam: rest day
Christine: 13 miles in the rain at 9:1 run: walk intervals

Monday, December 9th
Pam: bike 20 minutes, 1 mile run on treadmill, 1200 meters rowing
Christine: 5 miles on treadmill - 1 mile warm up and 4 miles at 8:35 pace, 1/2 mile cool down

Tuesday, December 10th
Pam: ran 4 miles at 9:06 pace
Christine: Rest day

Wednesday, December 11th
Pam: eliptical 20 minutes, bike 20 minutes, 1200 meters rowing
Christine: 8 miles on treadmill at 9:1 run: walk intervals

Thursday, December 12th
Pam: W/O Limits group workout 5 X 800 @ 4:15 average pace 4 miles total
Christine: 5 miles outside

Friday, December 13th
Pam: 35 minutes eliptical, weights
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, December 14th
Pam: Jingle Bell 5k and 4 extra miles, 7 total
Christine: Jingle Bell 5k and 4 extra miles, 7 total


December 14, 2013

It's a day to celebrate!

Guess what?  Today is a very special day - it's my mama's birthday!  It's a big one too - one of those milestone birthdays.  I'm not going to reveal her age because I figure that might get me in trouble…so I'll let her decide if she wants to dish.  Please join me in wishing her a fantastic day!!

Hope you have a perfect day, Mom!  Love you!


December 13, 2013

Time for another 5k!

I had no intention of racing again in 2014. But I saw that this race was on my birthday, and I could not resist the opportunity to participate in a really fun morning.  I ran the Wrightsville Beach Jingle Bell 5k in 2011 and loved it.  There were tons of costumes, including a winning group that had Santa with 8 reindeer  runners attached to him for the entire race. How fun is it that each runner receives bells for their shoes at bib pickup and a really cute long sleeve race shirt?  However, 5k's are not my thing!  As an older runner, I tend to build speed in a race and I am not fond of sprinting at all.  But it is a Christmas themed race and I just could not say no to one last race opportunity for 2013! I will be running this as a training run and with thunderstorms in the forecast, who knows if we will be able to run at all, but fingers crossed for a smooth uneventful race day!
Festive shirt from 2011 and my socks for race morning!
Who else is running a Jingle Bell race this year?

WDW Marathon Weekend Waivers & Corral Info

This week, runDisney released lots of information for marathon weekend and the all-important waivers and corresponding corrals were revealed!  For those who are new to runDisney events, you will receive a waiver that includes your bib number.  The bib number will correspond to a specific corral placement.  You can access your waiver here.  Be sure to print and sign it and tuck in with your travel documents.  There are computers available at the expo but this will be one less line you'll have to wait in!

And now for the ever-anticipated corral groupings!

This is pure speculation on my part, but I'm guessing that corral placements for the 5k and 10k will likely be available at the expo.  Typically you don't get an advance placement for the 5ks, but I'm not quite sure how they'll handle that with the Dopey Challenge runners.

We will both be in Corral G based on our placement for Dopey.  We know that a lot of folks are concerned about corral placements this year especially without the option to change corrals at the expo.  Given that there are smaller corrals and more of them, people are bound to be dropping into higher letters - we certainly are!  After submitting a 2:17 half time for last year's WDW half, I was placed in Corral B.  And this year, with a 2:03 half time, I'm in Corral G.  All things considered, we believe we are in the right place.  However, I believe it's worth noting that Mom's updated half time (1:59) which she submitted does not seem to be incorporated because her bib number is higher than mine.

At which letter will you be lining up in a few weeks?  How do you feel about it?

December 12, 2013

Holiday overload, sweets and more treats

It's sugar detox time and we have not gotten to the middle of the month.  Who else is in full sugar/alcohol/party overload?  The worst part is that my baking has not even started.  That's right folks...I am just deep into the Christmas candy right now. Each year, I try to be good and last year during Goofy Challenge, I managed my best year yet of stepping away from the treats.  The training schedule was so intensive for a first time marathoner that I adhered to a very strict healthy eating plan as well. Not so much this time as evidenced below!

Treats at my house!

Maybe I should start an online support group for sugar! My body is so full of sugary treats and adult beverages that I can barely function during my runs.  Each day, I play "Let's Make A Deal", and each day I fail miserably.  However, yesterday was the worst run I have experienced in a really long time.  When I started out, my legs could barely move.  Yes, an eighteen mile run on Saturday was tiring, but the sluggishness I felt was beyond that.  With lead sugar in my belly and post party drinks, it was logical that my run would be less than stellar.  Actually, it was awful and I needed a wake up call with Dopey coming up in just a month!  The weekend before Christmas is the biggest challenge on my training schedule with runs of 3, 5, 12, 24.  Yikes, I need to get rid of this candy! If you have any good tips on how to get control of these habits during the holidays please do tell(Pam)

December 11, 2013

After Dopey

Remember that time I told you about how I wasn't signing up for any races after Dopey?  That I was planning to quit running and "rest" afterwards?  Yea...about that...

If you follow my personal Twitter account (@imperfectcak) or my Instagram account (@werundisney), you may have already seen this.  But I am SO excited!  One of the downfalls of training for Dopey Challenge is the heavy focus on very high mileage.  I've avoided speed and tempo runs because I'm trying to stay healthy.  And given that my knee has been very tender lately, I haven't been pushing too hard on speed work.

In the last week or two, I decided that I'm ready for a big PR attempt in a spring half.  Lord knows I will have a huge mileage base and it will be the perfect time to inject some structured pace and speed work. After I heard that my runner friends Sarah and Matthew and a coworker were planning to run Shamrock, the decision was easy.  So here I go off on another adventure...this time to obliterate my current PR (more on that in another post!)


December 10, 2013

Training Tuesday: Schizophrenic thoughts on a training run

For those of you who noticed our Facebook/Twitter posts on Sunday, you know that I went out for a 13 mile training run in less than ideal conditions.  My alarm was set for 7AM and I woke up a few minutes before it.  As I laid in bed for another minute, I heard the rain start.  I groaned and thought to myself "you've got to be kidding me."  I checked the weather app on my phone - 38 degrees with a "feels like" temperature of 33 degrees.  Gross.  I got out of bed and got ready with the intention to set out by sense rushing since it was already raining!  I also watched the local news for a bit and was further disheartened when the weather man literally called the rain "bone chilling."  Oh good, can't wait to run 13 miles in this garbage!

The minute I opened my front door, I could tell the cold was biting.  I stayed under the overhang on my front steps to get my Garmin to connect.  Normally I leisurely walk down my driveway before I start running but today was a little different - I started running immediately!  I decided to do a loop in the neighborhood to gauge the weather.  I went about a mile and a half and decided to at least do a short jaunt out of the neighborhood to avoid doing neighborhood loops.  I was cold but it wasn't debilitating.  

And a little while the wheels started here it is, a look inside my highly schizophrenic thoughts on my run...

This isn't so bad.  I'm warming up.

Ooh look, they're finally putting in a drive-through Starbucks.  Looks like the neighborhood is moving on up!

Another car just honked at me.  Is that a sympathy vote or do I really look that good in soaking wet running jacket?

I think the arms on my jacket are officially soaked now.  This sucks.

I'm going to regret sloshing through that puddle soon.

Just pretend you're in a Nike ad and keep running.

Gah, this is miserable.  Why did I think this was a good idea?

Guess my hat is soaked since there's water dripping off the brim.  This kinda sucks.

Holy freezing!  That wind is miserable.  Must turn around.

Oh good, now the wind is at my back.  This ain't so bad.

Well, I'm definitely ready if it is cold and rains in January.

I would give anything to be inside on a treadmill now.

I wonder if my first layer is wet.

My legs are freezing. 

I hope I don't end up getting sick from this.  

Man, I am so hardcore!  I am going to run some crazy PRs this spring!

My feet are soaked.  My shoes are squishy.

I wonder how long my Garmin can withstand being wet.

Hot shower.  Hot shower.  Hot shower.  

Cool, I'm almost back to the neighborhood.  One loop and I'm done.

Oh goodness.  Pouring rain again? 

Oh wow, now I'm legit soaked and cold.  Please make these last 3 miles go by quickly.

Hey look, 12.8 miles in.  Almost home!


December 9, 2013

What's on my feet

The other night someone asked me what sneakers I wear on Twitter.  I often don't say much about the shoes I wear because everyone is so different in terms of their needs.  But I realized it had been a while since I talked about what I have on my feet each time I head out for a run so I figured sharing was timely!

So first, I'll tell you a little bit about my feet and stride.  I have wide feet, tend to slightly over-pronate, have lingering left knee issues from a high school injury and have flat feet.  This makes for an interesting combination because while I need a stability shoe, I don't need arch support.  It's taken me many tries to find the shoe that seems to be just right, but at long last I've found it!

Many of you know that I've traditionally worn New Balance shoes and this is for a few reasons:
- Specialization in wide widths
- Lower arch than other brands to accommodate my flat feet
- Always fit me well
- Boston-based company (ok, that's not really that important!)
- Dedicated to making shoes in the USA

The last two criteria on this list make me feel good, but truthfully aren't make-or-break factors in my shoe decision.  If you have any similarities to my feet/gait, you may want to give these shoes a whirl but I highly encourage you to go to your local running store and get a professional fitting.  What works for me may not work for you.

And as for what I wear under my shoes, I use body glide to help avoid blisters and am a dedicated user of Thorlos Experia socks.

What do you wear to keep your tootsies happy?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated (or requested) by New Balance or Thorlos to write this post.  All opinions are my own.

December 8, 2013

Weekly Roundup- December 8th

This week started off slow for me, exercise wise, but built up into a long, hard 18 mile run yesterday.  With the holidays in full swing, parties with too much food and alcohol are making workouts more of a challenge. Christine encouraged me during my run yesterday by text, and even offered to sing to me!  A cut back mileage week is on the calendar and I am looking forward to the break, especially since it is my birthday week!

mile 3 view, the dreaded ice bath and Lulu leaning against my leg having a nap!
My big volunteer obligation of the year is now in the rear view mirror following a dinner for 70 on Thursday night.  It was a success and the grandparent's raising grandchildren were happy with their special evening. The Assistance League of Greater Wilmington has a wonderful group of ladies who made gifts, cookies and helped cook and serve the dinner.

And now for our workouts...
Sunday, December 1st
Pam: rest day
Christine: 20 miles at 9:58 pace using 9:1 run: walk intervals

Monday, December 2nd
Pam: 35 minutes eliptical, weights
Christine: Rest day

Tuesday, December 3rd
Pam: run 4.2 miles average pace 8:35
Christine: 3 miles on treadmill, 2.5 miles on elliptical (planned to run 5, but my knee was bothering me) 

Wednesday, December 4th
Pam: 15 minute stationary bike, 20 minute eliptical, weights
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, abs, stretching

Thursday, December 5th
Pam: coached running workout: 5 miles total, various speed/distance from 1 mile to 400 meters
Christine: Rest day

Friday, December 6th
Pam: 15 minute bike, 15 minute eliptical, Bosu ball, stretching
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, December 7th
Pam: 18 mile run average pace 10:03
Christine: 45 min stationary bike, core work with medicine ball, push ups

How have you been balancing holiday responsibilities and working out?

December 6, 2013

Giveaway: Magical Miles, The Runners Guide to WDW

Please go to Runners Guide to  or right now to buy this book for anyone on your Christmas list that races at WDW. While you are at it, don't forget a copy for yourself! With many trips to the world under my belt, I did not think that there would be much information that would be helpful to me.  However, this book covers all aspects of your trip from the time you arrive at Orlando airport until race day and much more in between. Once you have decided on your race, this book will help you make all your plans for your time spent in Florida, including accommodations, dining, park visits and of course race day.

2014 version

One of my favorite additions to the 2014 edition is the survey results and comments made by runners who responded to the questionnaires sent out by the authors.  The Chapter ending tips section is very helpful too, consolidating the most important information from each chapter. The appendix includes race course maps and packing lists for your vacation, race bag, Expo bag and bag check. I even took a highlighter to my book so I could easily find and review things that would help me prepare for my next trip.  Yikes, it is less than 35 days before I will be toeing the line for the first of four races at WDW in an attempt to conquer the Dopey Challenge!

So now for the fun part!  We have been given a copy of this book to give away to our readers. Be sure to sign up using the Rafflecopter link below and good luck! Sorry, but this open to US Residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:   I was given a copy of the book to review on our blog and one for a giveaway.  As always, the opinions expressed here are my own.  Christine and I have an affiliate relationship with Megan and Krista for their book.  However, we will not be compensated in any way for any sales generated by our readers.

December 5, 2013

You've been chipped

Last week I had a delightful surprise from the UPS man when I received a box from Food Should Taste Good.  The multi grain natural tortilla chips have been a staple in our pantry for a long time. What I love about this product is the lack of any trans fats and the quality ingredients.  For a family of two, it is amazing how quickly we go through the jumbo bags from Costco.  They are bought in pairs and usually I need to replenish the supply every month! The assortment I received included jalapeno, sweet potato, multi grain and chocolate.  The timing on the arrival of the box coincided perfectly with our Thanksgiving road trip.  I quickly grabbed the 3 new flavors and loaded them in the car with our other lunch food.

Now it was time for the taste test.  We were barely out of the driveway at 11:00 am and I had ripped open the sweet potato chip bag. Yum yum good!  Both Tom and I thought these were very flavorful with the crisp texture we love about the multi grain chips.  With 3/4 of the bag gone, we then tucked into our sandwiches.  About an hour later, I just had to try the jalapeno chips.  I love spicy foods and these did not disappoint.  In fact, they were a bit too spicy for Tom, so more for me.  I probably would not buy them just for me, but if you are fan of spicy things, these are delicious!  Since it was time for dessert, I opened up the bag of chocolate tortilla chips. These did not sound appetising, but I was going to give them a try anyway.  What a great surprise!  Yes, they have a chocolate flavor, but they also have salt to give them a savory taste as well.  Both of us enjoyed these very much. Have you ever tried Food Should Taste Good products?  If not, you should!

Disclaimer:  I was provided a box of chips by Food Should Taste Good.  No compensation was received for this post and all opinions are my own. 

December 4, 2013

Tink Half is moving in 2015: My thoughts

The interwebs were a buzz the last few days with an impending announcement from runDisney.  On Monday morning, they posted a video with a teaser that included Tink but few other details.  Speculation was rampant about the announcement - a new race being added to the runDisney schedule, a Tink challenge (similar to glass slipper), the Tink 10k course revealed, more entries being added and the list goes on and on.  To be honest, I didn't pay too much attention to the hubbub but my interest was certainly piqued.

And I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by the announcement...not necessarily by the news that the race weekend is moving to Mother's Day weekend in 2015, but it was a bit of a letdown after all of the hype.

So now for my "analysis"...
- The move from January to May will no longer leave the Tink Half weekend in Marathon weekend's shadow, from a calendar vantage point.
- Especially for those ladies looking to obtain the pink Coast to Coast medal by completing the Princess Half and Tink Half, this creates a bit of a buffer for both time and money.
- Many Moms seem to be very disappointed about the move to Mother's Day weekend, citing their dedication to a family-oriented weekend, where this female-oriented race weekend was traditionally an opportunity for a girls trip.
- For those that couldn't swing a winter race weekend, this provides a new "season" for a runDisney half marathon weekend.
- It appears to compete with Expedition Everest, given that they'll both be in May on back-to-back weekends.  We know that runDisney has done back-to-back events on opposing coasts so it will be interesting to see if EE hangs around on the runDisney schedule.
- There are other large California events on neighboring weekends or the same weekend - the OC half marathon, Diva's half in San Francisco, and others.
- There hasn't been any information released about those who deferred the 2014 races and what the implications/options might be given the date change for 2015.
- A shift from January to May definitely will have implications for race-day will probably be warmer!

My counterpart has informed me that she might like a Mother's Day weekend in Anaheim in about you?

December 3, 2013

Just a couple of runDisney Christmas trees please!

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year!  Decorating the Christmas tree, baking special cookies, wrapping gifts and watching Christmas movies are some of my favorite things.  Last year, I decided to do some crafting for the holidays with a Disney twist. I took all my race pins, attached them to ribbon and used those and some homemade Disney ornaments for a desk sized tree.  This year, due to many Disney races and many new pins, I actually had to purchase a bigger tree!  Here is the finished product and the new tree skirt I made for my desk.  Next year, I may have to eliminate some of the homemade ornaments! The Dopey Challenge and the Glass Slipper Challenge alone will provide 6 more race pins!

New tree is on the having Vinylmation runner Mickey with all his medals too!

One of our readers has been participating in the runDisney races for a long time and shared with us her version of the perfect runDisney race tree.  We loved her tree and thought it might inspire you to use your race medals for a special tree in your own home. The white tree is perfect for showing off the medals and using the post race cape to make a tree skirt is a lovely finishing touch! Fabulous job Deb! Thanks so much for sharing your handiwork with our readers.

There are lots of miles logged for all those beautiful medals!

Do you use your race medals or pins when you decorate for the holidays?  If so please tell us about it!

December 2, 2013

runDisney race check bags and an angel tree

Recently there was talk on several Facebook pages on how you repurpose the runDisney race check bags after the race weekend is over.  I have collected quite a few of those bags over the last three years and they have only been used in a couple of different ways. Runners mentioned the following ideas for the bags when I posed the question on our Facebook a few weeks ago:

* fill with your dirty race clothing
* storing race memorabilia
* protecting your runDisney suitcases
* for knitting projects
* storage for outgrown baby clothing
* for wet sandy items at the beach
* use for packing shoes
Numerous possibilities
I have used the bags for shredded documents!  Not very exciting, but they hold a ton of paper!

Just last week I came up with a great way to use the bags! It is an annual tradition in our household to do something for needy children at Christmas. We have been fortunate to always have what we need and like to help out children who would otherwise have a Christmas that lacked the fun of Santa gifts.  Cue the Salvation Army who put up Angel Trees in many malls around the country.  This year, we did not wait until after Thanksgiving to get our two names.  We went around the middle of November and enjoyed some peaceful shopping choosing just the right gifts for our little angels, Daisy and Frankie. When trying to find bags at home that would hold their gifts, I discovered that the runDisney bags were perfect.  They hold a ton of stuff, are made of a very thick plastic and have the wonderful thick rope drawstring feature. I placed the gifts inside and returned them to the mall for our little angels.

Do you have any other fun uses for these bags?  Have you started your Christmas shopping?

December 1, 2013

Weekly Roundup: December 1st

It's hard to believe that today is December 1st!  This years seems to be a blur...must mean we've had lots of running fun and enjoyment in life!  Kind of crazy to think that we'll be gathering as a family again in just a few short weeks to celebrate Christmas.  We had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration this week - great food, relaxing family time, a little shopping and spending time with one of our favorite families (that of one of my very dearest friends).  We even did a little Christmas decorating at my house which is always more fun than doing it solo!
My Christmas Tree
Heading out for some shopping!

Sunday, November 24th 
P:  16 miles (to finish 4 days in a row of running)
C: 10 miles (to finish up my first 4 in a row)

Monday, November 25th
P:  Rest day
C: Rest day

Tuesday, November 26th
P:  4 miles outside
C: 5 miles on treadmill

Wednesday, November 27th
P: 35 minutes eliptical, Bosu ball, stretching
C: Rest day

Thursday, November 28th
P: Easy 4 miles around neighborhood together
C: Easy 4 miles around neighborhood together

Friday, November 29th
P: Lots of walking for Black Friday shopping!
C: Lots of walking for Black Friday shopping!

Saturday, November 30th
P: 10 miles together (yay!) at 4:1 run: walk intervals
C: 10 miles together (yay!) at 4:1 run: walk intervals

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!