February 28, 2014

A personal worst that was so much fun - Princess half recap

My fourth Princess Half marathon turned into a wonderful race day despite being the slowest half I have ever run.  With orders from my coach to take the race slow and easy after racing the 10k on Saturday, I had plans to just enjoy the course, costumes and perhaps take a few photos along the way.  My goal was fun and nothing else.  After getting up promptly at 3:00am, Alison and I were headed to the bus stop at 3:15am for our ride to Epcot and the race area.
2 sisters ready to race!
After a porta potty stop, we went to the corrals early to have time to stretch and warm up a little.  I barely got into the corral when Lisa, who had paced me for the 10k, stopped to say hi and wish me a good race. Michele came over soon after and kept me company until the race start.  I also met another runner, Bridget who joined in the fun, but I forgot to get a photo with her.
Michele had such a cute Ariel costume!

As always, the start line was beautiful with lots of eager princesses ready to run 13.1 miles.  I love the fireworks and each time I start at one of these races I get the chills!  My plan was to run /walk the distance in about 2:20-2:25.  My first mile went quickly and less than a few tenths into mile 2, Alison passed me and I cheered her on. During my next walk break, I heard a voice ask me what intervals I was doing.  It was Barbara Galloway and I replied 4/1, 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking.  After exchanging a few pleasantries, I was off for my next running interval.  Meanwhile, we seemed to be going at about the same pace overall, and I asked Barbara if I could join she and Jeff and another runner, MaryAlicia.  Their intervals were 30/20, 30 seconds running and 20 seconds walking.  Never having used any intervals but the 4/1, I thought this would be a great chance to see how shorter ones would work for me.  The miles flew by, and many more runners joined in our group which made the race go even more quickly.  I loved having people to chat with and MaryAlicia and I also enjoyed stopping for many photos along the way! 

My photo adventure began with the pirates.  I was surprised to find only 2 people in line and so I made the decision to take character pics.



Who could resist these handsome footmen?  I am not certain what I was doing, but clearly they amused me!

This race was turning into a photo shoot and MaryAlicia and I stopped as often as possible quickly rejoining out group.  We even took this one with Princess Atta from A Bug's Life together!

The miles were ticking by and soon we were approaching the the last on ramp before we arrived back at Epcot.  Of course I needed to stop for the army man after seeing the fantastic photos our friend Danielle got during the Wine and Dine Half marathon weekend.  My assignment was five push ups, not too bad!   

Shortly after arriving in Epcot I saw PeggySue, a runDisney cheerleader extraordinaire.  She has the same sign at every race and is so supportive of all the runners.  I was excited to get a photo with her and of course she offered me a treat from her supply!

Last of all was the fantastic gospel choir that sings to the runners as we round the corner to the finish line. It is always so exciting to see them at each and every race. 

Jeff with his princess runners!

Medal time again!

It was so fun running into Kelly from Sparkle Athletic as I left the food area in search of my sister.  She looked so cute in her Merriwether costume!

Finally I met up with my sister to find out that she had run a 1:56 half marathon!  I was so excited for her and was certain that would give her an age group award! 

                                                                                                                                      Two happy sisters

Christine sent me a text message to let us know Alison placed second in her age group! Now it was time to go celebrate in Magic Kingdom! Have you ever run a race for fun and taken photos?  


February 27, 2014

Inaugural Princess Enchanted 10k - meeting a 2014 goal!

In early June 2013, I registered for the Glass Slipper Challenge with one goal in mind.  Placing top three at a Disney race was high on my radar after seeing my sister bask in the Disney race award glow at every Princess Half Marathon race she has run.  Sometimes it is hard to be in the shadow of a speed demon older sibling! Actually, it was so much fun visiting the theme parks afterwards! I would tell anyone and everyone I could about how excited and proud I was of Alison.  She is extremely modest and you would never hear her tell anyone about her accomplishments. So when registration opened for the race weekend, I was fast on the computer registering for the challenge with the plan of racing the 10k and using the half as a training run.

Fast forward to February 22nd and it was race morning! I woke early, before my scheduled alarm of 3:00AM and quickly got dressed, ate and got ready for the bus ride to Epcot.

Sorry I am so hopeless at taking a "selfie." Let's just say that my age has prevented me from having the crack computer and cell phone skills of the younger generation(s).  Back to race morning, I texted Karen and planned to meet her at the bus stop.  However, when I arrived there at 3:25, one bus was leaving and another was already loading. I took that bus and met Karen and some other friends shortly after arriving 

Brandi and her mom Karen and the other Karen below!

After a quick chat with these girls, I made my way over to my starting corral.  Soon,  Lisa found me in the corral and she kept me company until it was time to start. She was not feeling well and planned to run near the pace I was hoping for that day.  Soon enough it was time for the race to begin and we said our goodbyes and wished each other a great race.

The first few miles of the 10k course are, well, boring.  You are out on roads with sparse entertainment so the miles tick by fairly slowly. Fortunately, Lisa was just ahead of me, and I tried to keep up with her for as long as possible.  She had no idea that she was pacing me, but it was really helpful to have someone to follow.  Finally we got to the backside of Epcot and the fun began.  We passed quite a few characters stops, but I did not stop for any since I was trying to race this course.  Unfortunately, the heat was really getting to me around mile 4 and at each water stop I was pouring a cup of water on my head and drinking one. I even took 3 or 4 walk breaks because at one point I thought I might lose my breakfast. After passing the boardwalk and making our way back to Epcot, I got really excited.  The crowds were cheering us on, and the end of this hot, humid race was in sight.  I knew a PR was not possible, but considering the weather and doing the math in my head, I would be pleased with my effort.  Finally I rounded the corner after passing Spaceship Earth and saw the finish line.  I raced those last few meters and finished at a strong pace for the last .2 mile.  

After passing through the finish shoot I spied the volunteers handing out the race medals and saw a lovely girl with a crown.  I asked another volunteer to take a photo while this pretty princess gave me my medal. 

My favorite part of a race!

All smiles with this girl!

Now it was time for some fluids and food.  I immediately chugged a bottle of Powerade, followed closely by a banana and a bottle of water.  After leaving the food area, I noticed that there were two Disney princesses set up for photographs.  This was an opportunity I could not pass up! 

Ariel looked beautiful in her aqua gown!

So excited to see my favorite Princess, Cinderella

Other than the weather, this was a wonderful race morning.  It got even better when I received a text shortly after finishing from Christine. She had been monitoring the results and was quite certain I had placed in my age group. Finally the results were confirmed and indeed I had placed second in the old lady category, 60-64!  Now I am patiently waiting for my little plaque to arrive from runDisney!

And here are the numbers:
Finish time:  55:41
Age Group: 2/172
Gender: 208/7928
Overall: 320/8967

Did you run the Inaugural Enchanted 10k last weekend?  What was your favorite part?

February 26, 2014

Princess Half Expo - It was really fun this year!

After last year's fiasco at Coronado Springs, runDisney moved the Princess Half Expo back to the ESPN center and everything went smoothly.  I arrived at the expo by noontime after my ridiculously early flight Thursday morning. It was simple getting through packet pickup for both myself and my sister with absolutely no lines.

The runDisney merchandise booth was not crowded at all, nor was the checkout area.  After choosing a few items, I got in line and waited less than 10 minutes to purchase my race souvenirs.  As always, there was a huge assortment of goodies including headbands, cups, shirts, jackets, pins, magnets, Vinylmation and of course the ever popular "I Did It" shirts.

I always buy the "I Did It" shirt. Someday I will make a quilt with them!

While shopping in the runDisney booth, one of our readers stopped me to say hi. Emily was running the half marathon and we chatted for a few minutes about race strategy and then parted ways.

Emily, ready for her first half marathon!

Don't you think Christine would look cute in this shirt!

This shirt was very tempting to buy for Christine, but I refrained....I knew she would never wear it and I am practical like that! Don't worry though,  I found something she will really like at another booth! I spent a little more time wandering around the Expo checking out a few of my favorite booths and making several purchases. Those included Sparkle Skirts, runDisney, and Sparkle Athletic, where I chatted with the lovely Kelly and bought a skirt for my running coach. Of course I could not miss seeing the medals at the runDisney booth! They had some fun new buttons that they were giving away that could be personalized.  I chose to have Glass Slipper Challenge written on my button.You can see it above in the photo with my Expo loot!  Jeff Galloway was also there and I chatted with him for a few minutes and of course had the obligatory photo taken.  He is always so smiley and happy!

Little did I know then that I would be spending alot of time with Jeff and his lovely wife Barbara on Sunday morning while running the Princess Half Marathon!  After picking up my art card from Lasting Commemoratives, I left the Expo to grab a bus back to the resort. All in all, it had been a very pleasant two hours and I was ready for lunch, my room to be ready and a shake out run!

February 25, 2014

Big news from runDisney this morning!

runDisney has something big up their sleeve and we will find out all the details this morning at 11:35 Eastern/8:35 Pacific time!
As part of the cool down party after the Princess Half, a chalk artist went to work to create this teaser for today's announcement.  The interwebs have been a buzz with speculation for this announcement - an Avengers themed race (hence the "smash" in the hash tag), a Wreck it Ralph race (hence the bricks in the drawing), or something different.  Most figure this will likely be a west coast event given that most runDisney events take place at WDW.  In just a few short hours, we'll know for sure!

Sign up to "attend" the event revealing all the details on runDisney's Facebook page here.

So what do you think it is?

February 24, 2014


A few weeks ago, I decided to go out on a limb and apply for a ZOOMA ambassadorship for their Napa Valley race.  I knew it was a long shot since I reside hundreds of miles away from the race location.  When I got my thanks but no thanks email, I was a bit disappointed.  I've always wanted to go to Napa Valley and the idea of racing there just sweetened the deal.  Lucky for me, my friend Cyanne was interested in the race as well.  A discount for the race solidified it.  Our summer race plan was born!

I am officially registered for the race and I simply can't wait!  I've heard wonderful things about the ZOOMA race series.  I'm a sucker for a women's race series and the swag sounds awesome.  Each participant gets a swag bag with $50 of fun things including a tech tee, feetures socks, ZOOMA hat and reusable bag.  And the medal looks fantastic!

I am eagerly awaiting lazy afternoons sipping wine in the California sun with a runner friend.  I've started researching things to do and the must see places.  So now let's start the countdown until the end of June!

Have you ever been to Napa?  What do you recommend?

February 23, 2014

Weekly Roundup: February 23rd

This was one of those weeks where the promise of spring was finally in the air!  We had a few warm days mid-week in Virginia and I took advantage of them!  On Wednesday, I looked at the weather app on my phone and saw it said 70 degrees and sunny.  I still had some work that I wanted to get done that day but I decided it could wait so I headed home to enjoy every warm hour of daylight that was left.  Paddy and I ran around the backyard and she was completely unhelpful while I did a little clean-up (raking and picking up fallen limbs) in the backyard. 

But to be outside in a long sleeved shirt and shorts was simply glorious and definitely renewed my spirit and served as a reminder that spring, is in fact, on the way!  We had a great week of workouts and I'm excited to hear about Mom's race in the Princess Half this morning!
Pam met her royal footman...now time to find a real prince! 

Sunday, February 16th
Pam:  Ran 10 miles total time 1:39.16  average pace 9:56
Christine: Ran 11.5 miles at 8:45 pace

Monday, February 17th
Pam: 20 minutes stationary bike, weights, Bosu ball
Christine: Rest day

Tuesday, February 18th
Pam: Group workout  8:45 pace with pickups and easy  mixed in, 5 miles total run
Christine: Tempo run 6.5 miles total - 1/2 mile warm up, 1 mile at 7:50, 1 mile at 8:10, 3 miles at 8:30, 1/2 mile cool down plus 1/2 mile walking; stretching

Wednesday, February 19th
Pam: 20 minutes stationary bike, weights, walked and carried 9 holes golf
Christine: 30 min walk with Paddy, 30 min yard work, lots of foam rolling and stretching

Thursday, February, 20th
Pam: 2 mile shake out run
Christine: 35 min elliptical, leg weights

Friday, February 21st
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 12 miles at 9:40 pace

Saturday, February 22nd
Pam: Enchanted 10k
Christine: 1 hour walk with dogs, biked around DC

Did you race this weekend?

February 21, 2014

The Inaugural Enchanted 10k Race Costume

I'm so excited to be running the Inaugural Enchanted 10k race tomorrow.  I have not raced a 10k in a really long time so hopefully this will be a great day of running.  Most of all, I am excited to be wearing my Donald Duck costume!  This was planned a while ago and completed just two weeks ago.  So without further ado, here is what I will be wearing as I race through Epcot tomorrow morning!

Please say hi if you see me.  I can't wait to quack my way through this course with all the other princesses!

February 20, 2014

Dopey is homeless!

I've been agonizing in a somewhat excessive way about what to do with my Dopey Challenge medals.  Initially I planned to add them to my medal hanger, but it's already very full and somewhat cluttered. 

I decided that the 6 Dopey Challenge medals needed their own place - a home that's all theirs to bask in the glory of 48.6 miles.  I spent hours looking at various options online and finally settled on one - a bib and medal holder combo with the inscription "Celebrate every mile."  It seemed perfect since we celebrated Mom's birthday while running 48.6 miles.  I entered my purchase information and eagerly awaited its arrival.

Last Friday, I arrived home from work to find the new addition to my race shrine waiting on my doorstep.  As I picked it up, I could feel it shift in the box and I also noticed that despite being marked "fragile," the box was pretty banged up. 

I opened the box to find the wood piece not even wrapped and inevitably, it was damaged.  Two corners were dinged. I was sad. 

I emailed the company to inquire about a replacement.  They offered me a 50% refund (not a replacement) which I declined and I requested a replacement or full refund.  They simply refunded my money, which I found a bit odd.  Sure, I am not out any money, but I was excited about this medal holder and I'm disappointed that the company didn't want to make it right. 

So I'm back to the drawing board to give Dopey and his pals an appropriate place in my home.  Any ideas?!


February 19, 2014

The Rise of the Race Challenge

As I've become a more experienced runner and racer, I'm more interested in the various challenges that exist.  Initially, I was only aware that runDisney had challenges for runners to multiple races in a single weekend.  But recently I've noticed them more and more.  I think part of this recent revelation is that I'm looking at more races and more open to the idea of a challenge (especially since I completed the mac daddy challenge - Dopey!)
Disneyland 10k + Disneyland Half = Dumbo Challenge complete!
And that coveted Coast to Coast medal!
Over the last year or so, runDisney has continued to add more challenge events.  What started with Goofy and Coast to Coast has now yielded Dumbo, Glass Slipper and Dopey!  Something tells me that with the vast popularity of these events, there will be more to come.  

Bermuda Triangle Challenge: Complete the 1 mile, 10k and either half or full marathons during the Bermuda Marathon weekend in January and receive a Bermuda Triangle Challenge medal and t-shirt.  This race challenge is definitely on my wish list! 
Wouldn't it be amazing to run there?!
Dolphin and Whale Challenges as part of Shamrock Marathon: To complete the Whale Challenge, run the TowneBank Shamrock 8k on Saturday and the Yuengling Shamrock marathon on Sunday and receive a challenge medal.  The Dolphin Challenge participants complete the TowneBank Shamrock 8k on Saturday and the Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon on Sunday to receive their challenge medal.

Heavy Medals Challenge from Rock 'n' Roll events: Complete multiple half marathons in the same year and get extra medals.  And who doesn't love extra bling?

There are quite a few cities or states that offer extra medals for runners completing multiple events in a year.
* Completion of the Publix Georgia Marathon and Atlanta 13.1
* Complete the San Francisco Marathon and the Surf City Marathon for the California Dreamin' Racing Cup

If you're up for something a little extra for your next race, there are lots of great options to take 

February 18, 2014

Construction of a race costume...channeling my inner duck!

While it may be the Princess Half weekend at Disney World this week, I decided to run in a duck costume.  You see, I am not very girly and dressing like Donald seemed like a fun thing to do for the 10k race.  Several weeks ago I got busy putting together my race outfit.  I was lucky to find most of the items in my closet and one that I had completely forgotten, a white skirt purchased at Costco last year for a color run that was never worn. With a short sleeve blue shirt in my pile of running shirts, there were not many materials I would need to purchase.  Here is what I used to complete my shirt and dress up my skirt.

*  4 large white buttons
*  spool yellow ribbon
*  1/4 yard blue fabric for the shirt collar
*  foam visor and extra foam
*  red fabric
*  thread
*  small pieces of Velcro
*  hot glue gun
Total cost of materials (that were not in my home supply) was less than $8.00 and I found everything at Michael's and Joann Fabric.

First I took the yellow ribbon and sewed it above the skirt ruffle. Super easy and it added a little color to a boring skirt!

Second step was making a visor. I bought a white foam visor, traced around it and cut two pieces out of yellow and blue foam.  I hot glued the two pieces together and voila, a Donald visor!

Transforming the shirt into a sailor shirt was difficult. I trimmed the shirt sleeves with more of the yellow ribbon. Next I made a pattern for a collar out of newspaper and cut it out of fabric.  I added yellow ribbon trim around the collar and attached the collar to the back of the shirt.  The front part of the collar would stay in place with Velcro. A red bow for the base of the collar would be made out of the scrap fabric. I cut two rectangles approximately 9 inches by 4 inches out of the red fabric and sewed them together leaving an opening to turn the piece inside out. I sewed that section together and used a small piece of red fabric to cinch the bow in the middle. Finally I attached the bow to the shirt and sewed on the large white buttons and the outfit was complete.

You will have to wait until Friday to see me dressed as my favorite duck! Please say hi if you see me on the race course!

February 17, 2014

runDisney relay races....I miss them

Back in January of 2012, runDisney had an inaugural race during the marathon weekend.  It was called the Chip and Dale Marathon relay and I was fortunate to participate in the race.  When I first heard about the relay I could not wait to register but first I needed a running partner.  At the time, Christine was still not back to running and one of my neighbors here in North Carolina had a daughter who ran, and who lives in Florida. Best of all, Allyson was willing to team up with me for this special race.  We got registered and before long it was marathon weekend and we were ready to run.

Loved the bibs with my favorite chipmunks!
The race itself was good, but the logistics for making it happen are the most likely reason that the race was discontinued.  The transition point at the Transportation and Ticket Center was a bit confusing and relay runner number 2 had to wait a very long time for their turn to run.  In fact, we were given a four page booklet of Final Race Instructions at bib pickup that had all the relay runners arriving at the race start at 4:00AM! Clearly this meant runner number 2 would be sitting around for a long time and perhaps that is why we were all given a little sit pad with our booklet!
Instructions and our little pouch with pad for waiting!
Allyson and I both had fun participating in this event and I do wish runDisney would figure out a way to bring it back.  The medal is one of my very favorites, with Chip handing an acorn to Dale for the relay transfer! Our race shirts had a great design and so did the medals!

My favorite runDisney shirt of the unisex styles.
Although neither of us ran it, there was also a relay for the Wine and Dine half marathon in 2010 and 2011. This seems like such a nice option, particularly for those who want to be participate in a longer race without having to do all the distance.  The camaraderie associated with relays also makes them really fun. Waiting for your partner to finish, and cheering them on is so different than just racing solo.

Perhaps runDisney will consider returning these races to the calendar sometime in the future and if they do, I know two girls who are very eager to register.

February 16, 2014

Weekly Roundup - February 16th

What a week with another winter storm slamming the east coast of the US.  We had some icy conditions here in North Carolina that included power outages in many areas. Fortunately, some very kind friends invited us to dinner as we suffered only about 7 hours in the house without any power. Our trash can was iced over and we were unable to open it, and the amount of yard debris Tom picked up yesterday was huge!

Thankfully, we have been blessed with a gorgeous weekend, including temperatures into the 50's! Yippee. Today I will be taking a long run with one of my Without Limits teammates which will be quite fun. Normally, I am on my own for long runs, and Meghan agreed to meet me and yes, I am excited! Christine has been my only other training partner and since we live far apart, it is only occasionally that we run together.

Friday was Valentine's Day and these awesome treats arrived in my mailbox.  They were perfect for a Tigger lover! Thanks to my lovely daughter for making my day extra special.

As for our weekly workouts, here is the lowdown on what we both did!

Sunday, February 9th
Pam: 16 mile long run, average pace 10:12
Christine: 45 min elliptical, weights, abs

Monday, February 10th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Boot camp

Tuesday, February 11th
Pam: treadmill tempo run 4.5 miles descending: warm up and cool down 9:40, 9:30, 9:15
Christine: Speed work - 3x1600 at 7:08 with 400 RI and 1 mile warm-up and 1/2 mile cool down

Wednesday, February 12th
Pam: 15 minutes stationary bike, 15 elliptical, 1000 meters rowing, sit ups
Christine: Rest day

Thursday, February 13th
Pam: Rest day because the gym was closed!
Christine: 6 miles easy at 9:30 pace

Friday, February 14th
Pam: group track workout 5.75 total miles 1600 at 8:06, 1200 at 5:55, 800 at 3:51, 400 at 1:51, 800 at 3:54, 400 at 1:51
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, February 15th
Pam: 35 minutes stationary bike, weights
Christine: 15 min elliptical, 30 min stationary bike, weights, stretching

Were you affected by the big storm along the east coast?

February 13, 2014

Tips for first time marathoners

We're approaching spring marathon season and I've had adequate time to reflect on my first marathon experience (and also my second in January!).  Not surprisingly, I learned a lot in my first marathon.  And after I begged people for advice leading up to the race, I wanted to share some of my advice for first time marathoners.  And while much of it isn't new or terribly unique, it's worth taking in if you're approaching the starting line for your first marathon.

1. Have fun!  No really.  EVERYONE told me to enjoy the race.  In my head, I quickly moved that input aside for the more technical stuff like how to start the race, pace-wise and whatnot.  But I tried to really take in the moment. 

2. Start slower than slow.  I watched friends pace the Chicago and Grand Rapids Marathon in the two weeks leading up to my race.  Some of them struggled the last 6 miles.  For my first marathon, I had no idea what the last 10k would bring so I wanted to make sure I had gas in the tank.

3. Look around.  Another "fluffy" tip.  I made mental notes to look around at key points during the race.  I looked at fellow runners and the scenery and tried to take it all in.  This was important to me and I definitely have a few notable memories from Marine Corps Marathon.

4. Ditch the goal times.  Sure it would be fun to BQ your first marathon (like my friend Kass), but your first is really about crossing the finish line intact.  I had a general goal time of 5 hours but really wasn't sure what the finish line clock would say when I crossed the line.  Not having a time goal also eased the pressure of a pace and made it easier to just run.

5. Pay attention to your fueling.  One thing that I believe helped me avoid the dreaded wall was consistent fueling the last 10 miles of the race.  I made sure to get Gatorade at the water stops and also chomped on a Shot Blok every few miles to keep my energy up.  And another thing to consider - check out the fuel served on course and try it during training so you know your stomach will be happy.  I actually broke this rule when I snagged an orange slice around mile 10 but I know orange juice sat ok in my stomach so I took a risk.  Luckily it paid off!

6. Take a few photos.  I'm not necessarily recommending that you take photos during the race, but make sure you commemorate your day.  I am forever grateful that I have a few great shots from before and after the race.  
This one will never get old
Are you getting ready for your first full?