May 28, 2015

It's Race Day!

I woke up this morning and jumped out of bed and shouted , It's Race Day!"  Tom looked at me cross eyed, but after nearly 40 years of marriage, not much I do surprises him.  This race day is special because it is an evening race and it is with a huge group of my Without Limits teammates.

My outfit is set, but most of the girls will be in frilly pink tutus.  Having worn a tutu just twice for races, it is really not my thing.  And besides, the younger girls will look far better in the tutus than this old lady runner.  However, not wearing a tutu did not stop me from putting together a race outfit that shows off my team pride.  The pink tank tops were in short supply, but I was excited to get the last one in size small.
Race shirt and race day outfit!
My goals for the race are to have fun and hopefully win an age group award.  I have no idea how my calf will do, so it may not be possible to run fast.  But it will be a great evening regardless of my race time!

Now I have to wait all day for the Wilma Dash.  It is a female race in downtown Wilmington and at packet pickup they gave us not one, but two drink tickets.  Yes, there is another reason I am excited about the race.  We have a huge party at the convention center afterwards.  It is going to be fun with our team of over 50 runners!  Did I mention that our team also won a team award before the race for the most runners?  We have a party at the brewery in downtown Wilmington to look forward to!

May 27, 2015

Power of the Group Part 2 including tips from Jeff Galloway

As part of the Jeff Galloway bloggers group, we are periodically given tips from Jeff to share with our readers.  No compensation is received.

Last year I wrote a post entitled Power of the Group here.  Imagine my surprise when I received an email last week with our Galloway Blogger tips and the title was the very same as my post from last year.  Joining a group was one of the hardest things I have done as a runner, but without a doubt the best thing I have done to improve and enhance my running.  There are so many things that happen when you join a group but for me, there were three key things.

1. Accountability:  There are expectations to sign up and show up for a weekly practice (s) and once you have done that, you don't want to miss out.  When you know your running friends are pounding out 800's at the track, why should you be home in bed?

2. Improvement:  With the challenge of running with others, your inner strength comes out and you manage to complete runs and races that you never thought possible.  For example, never in my wildest imagination did I expect to PR at the Tinkerbell 10k earlier this month, but the encouragement from coach Sami helped me believe that it was possible.

3. Friendships:  This is a stretch as far as the "Power of a group", but when there is a long run planned for Sunday morning for 16 miles, knowing you have a friend waiting to run those miles makes it actually seem like fun.  Training for my first marathon as part of Goofy Challenge totally solo was hard, especially the back to back runs.  I followed Jeff Galloway's plan, and honestly there were days that I really could have skipped.  Now, my long runs are so much fun and I hate to miss out on the weekends when I have to run solo.  This fall while training for the NYC Marathon I will have plenty of company and look forward to those tough long runs when my group will keep me company and we will solve world problems!

My first travel race with my group and we had a blast!

Now for some tips from Jeff Galloway. Be sure to check out his website to see if any of his groups are in cities near you.  His free clinics are available in many states across the country and would be a wonderful way to get started with a group.

1. Great friendships
2. The miles go by quicker—telling stories, sharing life experiences
3. Guidance in running with the right group for you, with the appropriate run walk run strategy
4. Because the group is waiting for you, you will stay motivated and get out there more often
5. You’ll learn about some interesting races, places to run, fun running experiences
6. On the really tough workouts and races, the group will pull you through
7. Access to tools for management of nutrition, fluids, motivation, aches/pains
8. The right group leadership can fine-tune the pace of each workout, avoiding injury/exhaustion
9. Helping others who are struggling bestows an amazing sense of achievement
10. Sharing the empowerment of finishing a long run can change your life

Have you tried out a group?  Has it impacted your running?

May 26, 2015

Focusing on activity

Since I haven't been great with traditional workouts lately, I've been focusing a lot on simply staying active. I've been paying a lot more attention to my daily steps since I'm not running. And in all honesty despite my crummy "typical workouts," I've been really diligent about doing my morning core work and push-ups. I'm fairly convinced that if I quit eating ice cream I would be rocking some sweet abs this summer. But alas the delicious icy treat continues to call my name so I'll maintain my "ice cream belly" as Mom and I have named them...anyways I digress.
Exhibit A: Memorial Day treat from Brown Dog ice
cream in Cape Charles, VA
We had picture perfect weather over the long weekend and it was perfect for being outside. Adam and I took our bikes down to the Washington Ditch Trail which is a  10 mile rail trail that ends at Lake Drummond. It was rather quiet on the trail which made for a very serene outing. No photos of this day since we were doing a "cell phone free" Saturday. I'm starting to love these...

Sunday, I took the dog for a nice walk and hit the gym since my knee still wasn't up to running. It felt great to sweat a bit and do some weights. And then we went to the beach where we walked around a bit.

The creme de la creme of weekend activity was exploring Virginia's Eastern Shore. While about an hour away, it feels like a world away. It's quite rural but very serene and picturesque. I found a nature preserve with a beach hike online and off we went! It was a really interesting trail that highlighted the type of grass and plants that were protected in each area. It started with tall grass and we ended on the Chesapeake Bay.
The trailhead
Beautiful, empty beach!
When we arrived at the beach, we found low tide so we enjoyed walking a ways down the beach in both directions. We even found a few shells.

The rocks were great for working the calf muscles!
It was a great way to spend the morning and a fun diversion from my typical workouts...both in view and format.  While I take a break from running, it's been great to find new places to be active! What's your favorite workout location?

May 22, 2015

Friday Five: Mother of the bride musings

It's just a little over three weeks until Christine and Adam's big day.  There are still preparations for the parents of the bride so this became my topic for the Friday linkup with the lovely DC girls, Courtney, Mar and Cynthia! So now here is my "to do" list for the next few weeks:

1.  Find a dress for the rehearsal dinner: While visiting my mother earlier this week, I went shopping while she was playing bridge one afternoon.  The stores in Wellesley are so familiar to me and one shop has loads of brands that I like including Lilly Pulitzer.  The first dress I tried on I loved. Score!

My favorite color too!

2.  Plan a run for the wedding morning:  With the help of some of Christine's running friends and relatives, we have cooked up a little surprise for Saturday morning.  It will involve running and eating, but I cannot give any more hints.  Hopefully it will relieve some of the tension of the big day!

Not Christine!

3.  Gather lawn games for the rehearsal dinner:  The dinner will be a casual affair, and playing games seemed like a good way for the guests to get to know each other. We love corn hole, bocce ball, croquet etc.  Tom and I will be bringing our corn hole game that has lights for night play for the young people who will be up all hours!

4.  Champagne:  We will be going to dinner on Thursday night with Adam's parents before the arrival of the other wedding guests.  Celebrating the occasion seemed appropriate so Tom purchased this for the toast that evening.  I still need to go to Party City to buy some disposable flutes!

5. Calf pain:  While Christine deals with a bum knee, I am now suffering with calf pain. while running last week, it became tight and I immediately stopped.   Today I see my PT and hopefully he will have me straightened out in no time.  I do have to run with the bride in just 3 weeks!

May 21, 2015

The time crunch: Working out vs. W-Day

When Adam and I started planning our wedding, I swore it wouldn't take over our life. Fast forward about 6 or 7 weeks and we're in wedding planning mode all.the.time. Or at least that's what it feels like. What did I do after work on Tuesday? I spent about an hour going through our catering proposal and requesting that they make many of the changes I'd already requested (read: I was highly irritated). I also researched wedding officiants since we had a crisis with ours. And then I ordered our guest book since I finally threw in the towel and admitted defeat that I wouldn't have time (or emotional energy) to do the fun DIY project I found on Pinterest (side bar: y'all the wedding section of Pinterest is INSANE and WILL make you feel inadequate...I just quit looking!). It doesn't sound like a lot but after 10 hours at the office, this was the last thing I wanted to do. What did I do after work last night? We went and met with an officiant...who we picked to marry us. Yay! One thing checked off the list!
Toasting the one month countdown!
The next two weeks are littered with appointments and a day-of timeline, meet with the photographer one last time, finalize the rehearsal dinner menu, pick up my dress, meet with the caterer again, etc. I feel like I eat, breath and sleep the wedding. While I love Adam and greatly look forward to having a day to celebrate together, I loathe this phase. I keep telling myself it will be worth it, that we did the most minimal wedding we could, and that we chose a short engagement thereby bringing on some intense weeks of wedding planning. But my body and mind are tired and the last thing on my mind is working out.
Organized. albeit long list! 
I promised myself that I would get my knee and hip troubles in order after the Pixie Dust Challenge so that I'm ready to launch into marathon training this summer. I've been doing lots of yoga and stretching. I've cut back on wearing high heels as much to work. I've been keeping up with my daily ab workouts and push-ups so mixing in a bit of cardio should be a good balance. And I haven't run since the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. So far so good!

Given that my stress levels seem to be perpetually elevated, I know an intense sweat session would help. After walking the dog with Adam last night, we both agreed that working out would be good for both of us. So I'm committing to 3 cardio workouts a week...maybe at the gym, maybe on my bike, or maybe a quick workout DVD. I know I'll feel better, my stress levels will be in check, and I wouldn't mind a byproduct of a svelte physique for my wedding dress!

A long weekend on the horizon is the perfect backdrop for renewed focus on working out. We've talked about taking our bikes out to one of the rail trails or maybe going for a run. What workout or running plans do you have for the long weekend?


May 20, 2015

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Recap

It felt like groundhog day when the alarm went off on Sunday at 4:15 and we arose for another early race morning.  After a very busy day Saturday, it was a little tougher to be motivated to run on Sunday!  We quickly got dressed, had something to eat and headed to the race start, the same place where we started the 10k on Saturday.
Ready to complete the Pixie Dust Challenge

It was slightly warmer on Sunday, but a throwaway was still necessary.  My Delta blanket kept us warm in the corral as we waited a short time again for the race start. The announcers were lively and Daisy Duck was absolutely hilarious, wiggling her tail and causing the crowd to laugh out loud.  She was super cute and definitely stole the show from Minnie!

Soon the national anthem played, fireworks were lit and we were starting the half marathon.  The race plan was to finish around 2:03-2:05.  My secret goal was still in the plans and if I could finish around this time, I would have a chance at another age group award.  Christine and I planned to run this together, but would not be stopping for photos.  While some people think you should always stop during Disney races to "get your money's worth", we prefer character photos at the parks with our medals after the race.

Pre race. The girls behind us were dressed up so cute!

Instead of boring you (and me) with a mile by mile recap, I thought including highs and lows from the race would be best.  The  course itself it similar to the 10k except the additional 6.9 miles that weave through Anaheim.


*  Running through the Disneyland Parks is one of the best parts of the race.  When you run behind the scenes, it is fun to see extra equipment and in my case, I saw an extra train car for the Casey Junior Circus train ride. There were at least two other single ride vehicles, but they are escaping my memory at the moment.

*  The characters in the parks were not busy at all and if we had wanted to stop, there were many opportunities where there was no line or just one or two runners in line.  We both were wondering if this is a phenomenon of the California races because we have never seen so few people that wanted to stop for photos during a runDisney race.

*  Volunteers on the course were fabulous.  They were always ready during the water stops and we never wasted a second of time waiting for water or Powerade.  We tried our best to thank them too!  The maintenance staff for the parks were out cheering and they were amazing and probably the loudest group within the parks.

*  The red hat ladies were the absolute best part of the race.  I screamed to them several times that I was old enough to be in their group!  They were unbelievably supportive, cheering and offering support to every runner who passed by them.  And their group was by far the largest I have ever seen at any race.


*  I got a little bored during one long stretch in Anaheim, probably between miles 9 and 11 on Harbor and Anaheim Boulevards.  There are numerous streets you run through the city, but it seemed that these areas  had very few people and not much to keep you entertained!

*  Christine was still having knee trouble but was an absolute trooper to keep me going and help me finish.  This was not an easy day for either of us, me being tired and she having trouble from a high school knee injury.

The finish line was a very welcome sight as both Christine and I were getting hot and tired.  We pushed to the finish and my time of 2:04.36, was good enough for another 2nd place finish in my age group.  Excited and happy, we showered quickly so we could go celebrate another race and our Pixie Dust Challenge finish.

Happy finishers!

Tinkerbell, Pixie Dust Challenge and Tink medals!

Celebrating at World Of Color in California Adventure after a lovely dinner at Carthay Circle!

Have you run Disney races on both coasts?  If so, which is your favorite?

May 19, 2015

Tinkerbell 10k race recap and a shiny new PR

When our alarm sounded on Saturday morning, it was a mistake.   Unfortunately the time on my cell phone was never changed from east to west coast time, so my lovely alarm went off at 1:20am instead of 4:20am.  Feeling very stupid, we went back to bed, but neither of us got much more restful sleep after that mishap.  Finally, when it went off at the correct time, I jumped out a bed and finally was able to yell, "It's race day!" This always makes me so happy and probably annoys the heck out of Christine although she always laughs!


After getting dressed and having something to eat, we headed over to the starting area which was very close to the Disneyland Hotel where we were staying.  After passing through the main staging area, we kept walking and soon were in corral A waiting for the start.  Rudy Novotny and a fill in for pregnant Carissa entertained us while we waited just a short while for the national anthem and the race to begin.  Before this, we were lucky to run into several runDisney running friends.  We had fun chatting with many and also wishing speedy feet to Kellie Nickerson dressed in her green tutu! She ended up winning the race in a cool 39 minutes and change!

Our race plans were a little different since Christine is a faster runner.  My goal for the 10k was to run a time of between 55 and 56 minutes and she would definitely be running quicker than that.  After chatting with my coach, and looking at last year's results page, if I could run around 9 minute mile pace it would put me in position to place in the 60-64 year old age group. My secret goal for this race weekend was to place in my age group in not one, but both races of the Pixie Dust Challenge.  It was a crazy goal, but coach Sami encouraged me to go for it!

Christine and I wished each other luck after running together for the first few steps from the starting line. After about a quarter mile, I took a peak at my Garmin and realized I was running way too fast. The pace was 8 minute miles and there was no way I was running that for 6.2 miles.  I backed off and soon mile one was 8:45 pace.  After a few more miles we passed the 5k split and my time was 27.12 which was slightly faster than my goal pace.  I started to do the math in my head and realized a PR might be possible.  This is when I started to focus on the miles.  This course takes you through both Disneyland Park and California Adventure, so you are running the majority of the miles being entertained! Luckily, most of the hills were in the first few miles except one tiny one between miles 4 and 5. My splits were pretty even until the 6th mile when I knew I needed to pick up the pace. I put my head down and concentrated on a girl in front of me who was running a great pace,.  After the sixth mile marker I turned on the jets and took my pace down to 7:25 for the last .2 miles.   It was an absolute delight to finally achieve a 10k PR after more than 2.5 years.

Finish Time: 53.50
Division Place 60-64 year old female: 2/217
Overall Female Place:  154/7379

Christine was waiting for me at the finish area and unfortunately her knee had given her alot of trouble during the race.  She was on PR pace for the first half and then throttled back to save her knee and make sure she could finish the half the following day.  Despite that, she finished 114/7379 female finishers and 21/1285 in her age division.

It was now time to celebrate by going to the Disneyland and California Adventure for the rest of the day after a shower and a quick stop for breakfast.  Wearing our 10k medals, our first stop was at Pixie Hollow to see Tinkerbell and take some photos!  She told us we had won the race because we were the first runners with medals to visit her! She is now my favorite character ever!

More picture opportunities and tons of fun rides and entertainment kept us busy until late afternoon!

Dale loved checking out Christine's medal

Posing with our favorite Chipmunks!

We;love the Walt and Mickey statue!
After a final photo stop, it was time to rest up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon!

May 18, 2015

Illumiseem, a great safety item for runners

Disclaimer:  We were both given an Illumiseen belt for review.  No compensation was received for this post and as always, the opinions stated here are our own.

A while ago we were contacted by the Illumiseen Company and asked if we would like to review their belt. After looking at their website, and being someone highly concerned about safety and visibility while running, I jumped at the chance.  This belt has features very different to running gadgets I have for illumination while running in the dark.  Normally, it is just my winter runs that are in the dark, but when it gets really warm here in the summer, I am usually out before the sun rises!

Made with LED technology, this belt lights up very brightly and also reflects light with the 3M Scotchlite reflective material.  Providing full 360 degree coverage, runners can be seen by any vehicles well in advance.  I love the wide strip and know that I will always be seen unless someone chooses to drive with their eyes shut. Most runners don't want any extra pounds when running, but this lightweight belt will be unnoticeable after a couple runs in it.

Excellent instructions and a Micro USB Cable are included inside the package.  Once my belt was fully charged, I checked out how to adjust for fit.  There is a large amount of adjustment, but if you look at the photo, this band is just barely small enough for me.  Once I ran in it though, I realized it is just fine for size.  However, if you are quite small, this might not adjust to the correct size for you.  Should I wear this to ride my bike or walk the dog, I might be tempted to fasten it as a shoulder harness, one of the options they suggest in the brochure. If you happen to wear a backpack or other bag, it could easily attach to that instead of you.

This is a great item to add to your safety equipment while running, biking or doing any activity when it is dark.  You can purchase it through Amazon if you are interested.  As always, there will be no compensation for us should you choose to make a purchase.  We just like to share good quality items with our readers!

May 17, 2015

Weekly Roundup - May 17th

Summer has arrived and it has been such a hot week after arriving home from California late Monday night.  The trip was a whirlwind of fun and I can't imagine a better Mother's Day.  Running races at Disneyland and then celebrating with dinner at Carthay Circle that night followed by World of Color made for a perfect day. Despite two prior trips to Disneyland for races, viewing World of Color had never happened for me.  So I was determined we would view this as our last thing before hitting the bed Sunday night.
An adult beverage to celebrate our races!

After dinner we raced to Radiator Springs and then Toy Story.  Never let it be said that we don't push though the parks with great speed and determination!  And I am not talking about the races either!  Soon it was our time for World of Color show and I could not wait.  It did not disappoint and I would highly recommend this for anyone visiting the California Adventure park. 

With a wedding just 4 weeks away, it is time to focus on something other than running.  Here are our workouts:

Sunday, May 3rd
Pam: 6.1 mile run, 9:54 pace
Christine: 4 mile run at 9:20 pace (cut short due to knee pain)

Monday, May 4th
Pam: stationary bike 35 minutes, crunches, clam shells, plank
Christine: Rest day

Tuesday, May 5th
Pam: Group run, 3.5 miles at 9:30 pace overall
Christine: 30 min elliptical, push-ups, weights

Wednesday, May 6th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 30 min bike ride, abs, push-ups

Thursday, May 7th
Pam:  Travel to CA, walked 2 miles
Christine: 3.5 mile run easy pace

Friday, May 8th
Pam: Walked the parks, Disneyland and CA Adventure, 4 miles
Christine: Travel to CA and walked the parks, 4 miles

Saturday, May 9th
Pam: Ran Tinkerbell 10k  6.2 miles, 53:50
Christine: Ran Tinkerbell 10k  6.2 miles 52:29

Sunday, May 10th
Pam: Tinker Bell Half Marathon  2:04.28
Christine: Tinker Bell Half Marathon  2:04.27

Monday, May 11th
Pam: Rest day, travel home
Christine: Rest day, travel home

Tuesday, May 12th
Pam:  Rest day, walked dog
Christine: 30 min bike ride, abs, push-ups

Wednesday, May 13th
Pam: Rest day, walked dog
Christine: Abs, 30 min walk

Thursday, May 14th
Pam: Played 9 holes golf
Christine: Abs, housework

Friday, May 15th
Pam: Ran 3 miles at my group practice, average pace 9 minute miles
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, May 16th
Pam:  Shopped for wedding attire, does that count as exercise?
Christine: 30 min bike ride, 2 hours yard work

How was your week?  Have you raced recently?

May 15, 2015

Friday Five: What's happening lately

I feel like life has been really chaotic lately. I know part of this is busy season at work and part of it is planning a wedding in 10 weeks. But I'll be honest, I'm not loving this new routine. I had this epiphany the other day that I can really manage 3 things at, wedding planning, social life, a well-maintained home, working out. I can only manage 3 of those things successfully with the chaos in my schedule lately.

1. I bought some Jamberrys a few months ago with some gals from work. They convinced me of their fabulousness and I bought it hook, line, and sinker. I gave it a whirl the other night and while they're not perfect, I love having my nails done with a little flair.

2. Our wedding RSVPs are rolling in every day. With 4 weeks to go, we're starting to get to crunch time and my brain and head are feeling it. I made myself a detailed to-do list and plan to stick to it. I am trying SO HARD not to get anxious but some days, I can't help it. I'm lucky that Adam has been very helpful and engaged throughout the entire wedding planning process. I'm fairly convinced that I wouldn't have been able to pull it off on my own.
Even the dog (my future puppy SIL) approved of the invitations
3. My knee is giving me a lot of trouble again. I've had a few weeks of greater-than-normal pain and I've been working hard to ice it and focus on my stretching. I bought some resistance bands to work on my hip strength to counteract some of the knee issues. Unfortunately, it flared up really badly while we were out in Disneyland doing the Pixie Dust Challenge. I pushed very hard in the first 3 miles of the 10k and it promptly told me to slow down and take it easy. I was disappointed since I was on PR pace but alas, my long term health is much more important. I have a month or so to rest and I'm planning to take good care of it, see an ortho, and focus on strength training again.
My current view
4. I'm obsessed with my new Fitbit bracelet from Bezels and Bytes. The company was started by a classmate of mine and they have fabulous Fitbit accessories that are totally affordable! They're adding in new metals and leathers. Definitely check them out!
I have the basketweave bracelet. Super cute right! 
5. We capped off last night by receiving an email from our photographer with our engagement photos. We spent the next hour ooh'ing and aah'ing over our favorites. How lucky we are to have someone capturing this special time for us...and even better that our photographer is a dear friend's sister. I've known Melissa for years so it's an absolute pleasure to work with her!

I think this photo sums up our relationship perfectly...on our first date, I
worried that I hadn't talked enough. When I met Adam's brother for the first
time, I worried I hadn't talked enough. Adam (and his family members) are
a bit chatty. So this sums it up...him chatting and me along for the ride.
Do you have any fun weekend plans?

We linked up with the lovely ladies of DC, Mar, Courtney and Cynthia!

May 14, 2015

Train to get faster with tips from Jeff Galloway

Attending the expo for any runDisney race is always a treat with some of the great guest speakers that provide tips for training and racing.  Jeff Galloway is the official runDisney training consultant and he is always approachable and very willing to share tips and helpful information regarding the races.

During our many years of running at Disney, Christine and I have enjoyed getting to know Jeff and his lovely wife Barbara.  I actually ran with them for the Princess Half Marathon last year and find his run/walk training plan to be just fantastic for both new and experienced runners.  When moving up to a new race distance, having those longer runs incorporate some walking makes them much easier to manage.

Our Princess Half group post race!

Training to get faster is a whole other topic and one that has been a focus of mine for the past 6-12 months.  After qualifying for Boston last March, I ran very few races for a PR for the remainder of the year.  One race was an automatic PR since I had never run the distance before (Tower of Terror 10 miler) but other than that, my times were just okay. It certainly made it crystal clear why speed training and tempo runs are critical for race improvement. Once 2015 arrived, I knew I needed to PR my 10k and half marathon races that were from several years prior.  My first opportunity at the half marathon distance was the Princess Half.  Most runners run the Disney races for fun, but what could be more fun than setting a new PR regardless of where you are racing?  The other "monkey on my back" PR was eliminated this weekend when I ran the Tinkerbell 10k.  Except for hill work due to flat Wilmington, my training through my coached group includes most of what Jeff recommends.  

As Jeff Galloway bloggers, we receive periodic tips to share with readers and this time Jeff is sharing what he recommends for you to improve your speed.

Longer Long Runs:  Statistics from Jeff's clients have proven that increasing your marathon long run from 20 to 26 miles has shown an average time improvement of 13 minutes for the marathon race.  When you consider that, why wouldn't you run a long run of 26 miles?  Jeff offers a year round plan book that covers all race distances and gives you the appropriate long mileage distance for comparable improvements in time at the 5k, 10k and half marathon level.

Speed Repetitions:  Jeff's runners improve by an average of 6 minutes for the marathon and 3 for the half marathon by increasing the number of speed repetitions of 800 and 1600 meters. He offers very specific guidance in his training books and will give you speed and number of intervals for your level and needs.
Improve Running Form:  Unless you are an elite runner, improved running form should help tremendously in your quest to become a speedier runner. Cadence drills and water running are two of the ways Jeff recommends for form improvement.  An interesting fact is that by running 15 minutes in water without touching the ground, your legs will find the most efficient way through the water. This will be improved form!
Race in Shorter Events: As a runner who prefers longer race distances I avoid short races.  However, I will now embrace them, maybe not frequently but they certainly will help with improved speed.  By running a shorter distance race, your body learns to adapt to a higher level of oxygen debt and your mechanics can improve.  If you are training for a marathon, choose a 10k or half marathon during your training cycle.  As always, Jeff has more information available in his books.
Hill Training: There are not many runners I know who relish the challenge of hills, but by training on hills you will also improve your strength and speed as a runner. Be sure to shorten your stride as you go up the hill and pick up your turnover of your feet.  By running hill repeats you will gain strength and perform better when you do speed work sessions.  You will also have better times for those hilly races.

Hopefully these tips will be helpful as you work towards your next race day goals.  Do you use the Galloway run/walk method?  

May 13, 2015

runDisney Tinkerbell Race Expo- our thoughts

At 10:00 am on Thursday May 7th the Tinkerbell Half Marathon expo opened to runners for packet pick up and official merchandise purchases.  Many of the usual vendors were in attendance including some of our favorites such as Oofos, Sparkle Athletic, Sparkle Skirts and more.
Favorite flip flops- Oofos  = amazing!
Arriving on a flight that landed at approximately 11:30am on Thursday, I did not get to the expo until about 12:45pm.   As I departed the elevator at the Disneyland Hotel, Meranda, Lacey and their Mom Connie stepped out.  They were also headed to the expo so they allowed me to hang out with them for the afternoon.  It is always much more fun to go with friends and Christine was not arriving until Friday. There were only a couple items of official race merchandise on my list and I assumed that there was plenty for everyone.  Spoiler alert, there was not.

After we picked up our packets, we made our way to official merchandise.  Wow, it was surprising how many shelves were already depleted and imagine our surprise that the wine glasses were already sold out.  Just go check Ebay and you will be shocked with the number of items scalpers are trying to resell.  I did find the magnets that Christine and I both buy at each race and also, a mug was on Christine's wish list.  Unfortunately, my photo does not show the small supply of mugs, but I read on Facebook that these were gone by 3 pm.  It is hard to understand how so much merchandise disappears so quickly or is this runDisney's way of trying to get runners to spend an extra night pre race in order to purchase official merchandise?  Certainly I can't answer that question, but it really is unfortunate for people who work and cannot take extra time off just to buy a wine glass or mug.  The jackets also sold out quite quickly in the most popular style and color. What surprised me the most was that on Thursday afternoon, I saw generic Tinkerbell mugs since the other stuff was selling out so quickly.  These were not made for the race, but I guess they figured runners would buy anything in the official merchandise area. (see lower right photo below)

Saturday morning I went back to the expo at opening to see if any restocking had been done overnight. None of the sold out items from Friday were replenished as far as I could tell.  Someone waiting in line with me had hoped to purchase a jacket (she needed a different size than small) and was very disappointed.

At around 12:30pm on Saturday,  Christine arrived and we made our way to the expo for a quick packet pick up and cruise through the official merchandise.  Totally picked over, Christine was thrilled I had gotten her the Tinkerbell mug on Friday.

At every runDisney race expo, the wine glasses sell out very quickly as do the mugs.  It is very hard to understand why these items aren't more plentiful.  Surely there is someone that follows the purchase trends from race to race and particularly for the Princess and Tinkerbell women's focused races.  This is a lost financial opportunity for not only runDisney but also their suppliers.  While we don't need much at the expos anymore, it is sad for first time participants who have their eye on a specific item that was advertised on the Disney Parks Blog ahead of race weekend.  Getting off my pedestal here, please manage your expectations prior to your next runDisney race expo.

Before leaving the expo we made the stop for the runDisney Tinkerbell photos.  Clearly Christine is better at following the instructions of the photographer!

If you are running a race at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World and you want official merchandise, either go at the expo opening, or have a friend do some shopping for you!

May 6, 2015

Marathon recovery and food poisoning- how long is recovery?

It has been 16 days since I ran the Boston Marathon and I still feel so sluggish.  Last night at my group practice, I ran about 4.75  miles and it seemed so hard.  I think when you skip running for a couple weeks for recovery, it can seem more difficult when you start back.  Add to that the high temperature and humidity and it was a tough run for this girl. Obviously there are certain things to expect coming out of marathon training cycle.  Some of those include:

1. Slower paced runs the first few times back on the pavement  Intellectually, this is something I understand, but when it happens, it is disappointing, especially during what should be short nice paced runs.  Getting speed back for shorter distances will take some time, and obviously patience is needed!

2. An increase in appetite  I am always ready to hit the pantry for snacks almost all day long for many days after a marathon.  There is no scientific data on this, but I did read recently that Meb had gained some ridiculous number of pounds (I believe over 10) by the time he was only one week post Boston.  Unfortunately, I am still trying to gain back the weight I lost during my food poisoning/marathon race effort. While I could dig into sweets and salty chips, I am trying to keep my food choices smart ones. However, I do eat a larger bowl of ice cream every night for my dessert.  Since ice cream is a good dairy product this is a good choice correct?  True story. Last week, we visited Boombalati's for a post dinner ice cream treat.  While waiting in line, Tom encouraged me to not get a single or double, but a triple.  He said, "wow, that is only 80 cents more than the single.  I walked out of the place with over a pint of ice cream in this massive vessel, held with both hands.  A woman was walking by, took one look at me and the gigantic bowl and smiled and said, "But you are skinny!"

3. Lots of free time  Obviously I have more free time than most since I do not work. But this is one of my favorite parts of a post marathon month.  Cutting back on training, either the gym, running mileage or other activities is always very welcome in my book since I am usually exhausted after a big race.

Every runner has different routines that they follow post race.  I was surprised at how many people were out running the day after the Boston Marathon wearing their race shirt.  I'm pretty sure they did not give the shirt away and they indeed had run the marathon!  As a low mileage runner, perhaps that is a reason it takes me longer to recover from a marathon.  It seems like it should be quicker, but an older body also needs more rest.  Add in stupid food poisoning and the time lengthens.  A physical today should give me more insight into what to expect this weekend in California.  My goals for the Pixie Dust Challenge are still to be determined!

May 5, 2015

Planning a Wedding is Like Training for a Marathon

It's hard to believe that in less than 6 weeks I'll be married. Yes you read that right. We elected to plan our wedding in a comparatively short time because...well, we just want to be married. We didn't need to spend months agonizing over linens or the color of roses in our centerpieces. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that but it's just not our style. I've started to feel like this whole wedding planning thing is a lot like training for a marathon...

1. You have to test out your outfit. From dress fittings to breaking in the shoes, there's some planning that happens. I've been walking around the house in my shoes to avoid the same way I would with testing new running shoes.

2. Not everyone cares. This is not a happy one. I'm learning the hard way that there are people who won't really dedicate energy to our wedding...even ones you might expect. This feels like a parallel universe with marathon training and talking about it. "Oh goodness, is she talking about that dumb race again?"

3. There's a plan. When you plan wedding in 10 weeks, there's a timeline. Certain deadlines must be hit, with nearly military precision. It reminds me of the long training runs. Miss an 18 miler? Yikes! Miss the final 20 miler? Count on anxiety that you can hit the full marathon distance. Adam and I have spreadsheets...and checklists...and more spreadsheets. It's the only way to manage this. Well that and the fact that it turns out, we can divide and conquer quite well.

4. You'll hit a wall. Not unlike a marathon, there are emotional limits and boundaries that everyone has. At some point, you'll max out. There are days where wedding planning feels all-consuming. In full disclosure, I don't like those days. There have been many moments where I've felt like throwing in the towel and forgoing flowers or the perfect wedding shoes or matching programs. I go to bed and wake up with a clearer head...not unlike feeling crappy after another less-than-stellar run. You just get out there and try again.

5. Emotions run high. The only other time I've written about wedding planning was about a bridezilla-esque outburst. I've had to walk away at times, particularly those when I knew I was spent or at a wall. During marathon training, I've been known to lose it over silly things, particularly as race day grew near.

6. You'll want a support crew. Like training for a marathon, you'll want supporters as you plan a party for you and a few of your closest friends and family. Like Sunday night when I texted a friend about a frivolous purchase I wanted to make. Or during my Richmond training when I routinely talked to Megan and Cyanne about my lack of interest/heart during training. Supporters are great...on wedding day or race day, or leading up to it.

7. Crossing the finish line is ultimately all that matters. At some point or another during marathon training, the simple thought of crossing the finish line is enough. As in the case of wedding planning, all that really matters is that Adam and I are married. I thought about that today as we've had a few hiccups...mostly of the personality variety. If no one came, Adam and I would still be married. We would still become husband and wife, teammates for life. In the end, I simply want to cross that finish line with him...and maybe someday I'll convince him to cross a marathon finish line with me too!

Our engagement photos from Melissa Bliss Photography taken at the trail/park where Adam proposed
Ever planned a wedding or trained for a marathon and felt like throwing in the towel?

May 4, 2015

What's next now that Boston is over?

For the past six months and possibly longer, I have been focused on the Boston Marathon.  Now that April 20th is the rear view mirror, it is time to make new goals and plan for the rest of 2015.  I'm excited to be running alot of new races in the next few months and actually racing a 5k for the first time in over a year.  So what is on my calendar?

1.  Pixie Dust Challenge:  This Friday, Christine and I are flying to California to participate in the first challenge race during the Tinkerbell race weekend.  The 10k on Saturday will be followed by the half marathon Sunday and we are very excited to be running both the races.  We also will earn our first pink coast to coast challenge medal.

10k, half, Pixie Dust Challenge and Coast to Coast medals!

2.  The girls in my running group have signed up as a team for the Wilma Dash, a women's 5k in downtown Wilmington in late May.  Most of the group will be wearing pink tutus with the Without Limits logo tank top.  However, I have opted out of the tutu but will be sporting the team tank!  I am leaving the tutus for the younger ladies on my team!

3.  Blueberry Festival 5k in Burgaw:  I just heard about this race from Lynda while running yesterday and again, a group of us from the running group are planning to sign up and enjoy a lovely Saturday morning in this quaint little town.  There is a cute breakfast place where we will have breakfast and hopefully lots of bacon after completing the 5k!

4.  NYC Marathon:  The big fall race on my calendar is the NYC Marathon and I am very excited to be running this one in early November.  As per my coach's plan, this will be a very slow marathon, but hopefully a PR in fun.

5.  Richmond Marathon weekend, 8k  I ran this race last year, while visiting Richmond, specifically to cheer Christine on in the marathon.  This year, a big group of girls from my running group plan to run the assorted races, including Roxanne running the full, Lynda running the half, Holly and myself running the 8k and hopefully a few others joining the fun.

So far this is my race calendar for the remainder of 2015.  I know there will be a few others added to the list.  What is the big race on your calendar this year?

May 3, 2015

Weekly Roundup: May 3rd

This week dragged by for me with a mandatory "no running" from my coach until Sunday.  I always need the recovery time after a marathon, but the last three or four days waiting to run can be difficult.  I did go to the gym, but those workouts don't compare to running in the neighborhood and going to track practice.

My week did consist of alot of hydrating with a new bottle and koozie from the Boston Marathon expo!

On Tuesday my fingers totally lost control and I registered for the Mickey Marathon  held in January 2106.  My coach was not impressed.

Appropriate mug while registered for the Mickey Marathon!

This week I also spent time gathering my paperwork and rewards cards for our upcoming trip to Disneyland.  I can't believe we leave on Friday!  Can't wait to spend Mother's Day weekend with Christine!

Sunday, April 26th
Pam:Walk 2 miles
Christine: 10 miles at 9:20 pace, stretching

Monday, April 27th
Pam: 35 min. elliptical, leg work, sit ups
Christine: Rest day

Tuesday, April 28th
Pam: 20 min. elliptical, 15 min. stationary bike, left lifts, plank
Christine: 4.5 miles at descending pace starting at 9:30, last 1/2 mile at 8:35, stretching

Wednesday, April 29th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 35 min bike ride, push-ups, abs, stretching

Thursday, April 30th
Pam: 9 holes golf, 35 min. elliptical, leg work, sit ups
Christine: 3.4 miles at 9:12

Friday, May 1st
Pam: 35 min,. stationary bike, plank, sit ups
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, May 2nd
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 25 min stationary bike, circuit workout with push-ups, squats, lunges, abs, weights

 Nearly two weeks out from running the Boston Marathon I finally got to run again!  My group met for six easy miles at the beach and the day is absolutely glorious outside.  I could not wait to run again and see all m running pals.
How was your week?  Anything special happen? 

May 1, 2015

5 things we love about race day

The girls of DC picked a great topic this week, 5 things about race day.  While there are many angles you could take with this subject, here is our take!

1.  The first think Pam does on race morning is jump out of bed and scream, "It's race day!"  Yup, she is that crazy girl who is really excited about their race.  We have actually woken up before our alarm a few times at Disney races and chatted because we were too excited to go back to sleep!

2. We love to wear coordinated outfits. It's fun to have cute shirts or a fun costume for race day. I think of race day like the first day of school or school picture day...gotta look sharp!

3. Both of us tend to set aggressive goals and we love the thrill of pursuing them on race day. Whether it's tackling a new distance or time goal, the sense of accomplishment after training hard is amazing!

4. The running community has been a wonderfully warm community. We've made some wonderful friends and race days are great times to get together. Many of our buddies live all over the country so race day is a nice opportunity to catch up.
Christine, Danielle, and Lisa at the starting line of Marine Corps Marathon
5. The post-race after glow is the best! We love enjoying a tasty meal and wearing our medals. But let's be honest, we wear our medals around Disney but generally don't do this at home.

Don't forget to check out what everyone is writing about race day. I'm sure there are some great perspectives! And as always, thanks to Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney for hosting a great link up! What's your favorite thing about race day?