"If you can dream it, you can do it." -Walt Disney

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Just Sitting. And Running. And Waiting.

A very Happy Halloween to everyone! I love costuming and love that Halloween gives me an excuse to dress up. I also love that the upcoming half marathon is giving me another excuse to dress up. There are only 8 days left!

I really don't have much left to do. There are the remaining training runs, of which there are only a few left. I still need to get my race fuel, which I will probably do this weekend. And then there is the packing, but I will probably do that a couple days before I leave. I did my online check in for Disney a couple nights ago. Now the biggest thing I have left to do is wait. Wait for November 8th to board my plane. Wait for Magical Express to pull into the resort. Wait for November 9th to attend the expo, pick up my packet, and hold my bib in my hands. Wait for November 10th for the race to begin.

I am beyond nervous. I am excited also, but all the fear and doubt is creeping in and I keep worrying about being swept. A friend of mine said she will be waiting outside the BoardWalk (near mile 11) to cheer me on. I am grateful. If I can make it to mile 11 to see her smiling face, then the next 2.1 miles will be nothing. I wish this was a more spectator friendly race so I can see all the people throughout the course. But maybe it is best if I just remain in my zone and push myself to make mile 11, and then finally see the spectators at the finish line.

I can do this.

I hope I can.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Host Resorts

Disney's All-Star Music Resort

Any time you travel to Walt Disney World for a runDisney race, you obviously will need a place to stay. No matter what type of travel forum you visit, you will inevitably find the discussion on whether it is better to stay on Disney property or offsite. I, personally, choose to stay onsite. I could go on and on about why I like to stay on Disney property for all kinds of personal reasons, but I want to specifically focus on why I am pro-Disney during the races...

Host resorts.

For each race, Disney designates specific resorts as host resorts.Unless, of course, you are going during Marathon Weekend in January, in which case ALL the Disney resorts are considered host resorts. What this means is that Disney will provide shuttle service to and from all the race events during the race weekend. This will include the expo and the various races. You are not obligated to use this service, but it is very convenient for those who prefer not to drive while figuring out where to park or what roads may be closed. The resorts themselves may change depending on the race, but there will always be at least one resort in each category of value, moderate, and deluxe. For the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I will be staying at the All-Star Music Resort. I stayed there last year as well. Admittedly, the All Star resorts are not my personal favorite, but I didn't want to shell out the cash for a moderate or deluxe, and the other values were not considered host resorts. It made the decision very easy. I will be in Disney, however, so ultimately no resort will be a bad resort.

I want to stress the importance of knowing about host resorts, even if you choose not to stay at one. I am doing this because I have seen, more than a few times now, complaints from runners who are staying at non-host resorts who are being left to find alternate transportation, specifically from those who are staying at non-Disney resorts. Like any vacation, you should always do your homework first. That includes knowing what your transportation options are for getting to the race and back. And it is important to note that any time you stay at a hotel not associated with Disney, Disney is not responsible for any aspect for your stay there. This includes race transportation. Complaining to Disney about what a hotel not associated with them offers or does not offer will not go anywhere. Contact the hotel you are staying at, or find other options.

I am not saying this to be mean or rude. Simply to inform you that doing your homework is vital...you don't want to miss your race because of transportation issues.

*Disclaimer - I was in no way compensated for discussing Disney resorts. While I will be staying at one next week, the room was booked using a promotion that had been offered to the general public.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wine & Dine Cover Photo

Have facebook? Participating in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend? Then you will want to update your cover photo with this amazing design put out by runDisney about 20 minutes ago! Just click on the image to get the full size version.

Cover photo courtesy of runDisney

We are only two weeks from race day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Disney Races Update - Last Chance Opportunities!

Just wanted to do an extra post today after checking on the status of some events. Here are some last chance opportunities to sign up for....

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K - 90% full
runDisney Kids Races - 88% full

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
Disney Family Fun Run 5K - 87% full

Expect these races to sell out very soon, especially since the Jingle Jungle 5K was at 78% only an hour ago. If you are interested in registering for any of them, do so now. Do not waste any time on it. Last time I posted an update, the Wine & Dine Finish Line Party was at 90% full. Two days later, it was completely sold out. There are people posting left and right on the runDisney facebook page looking for extra tickets, and there are none to be found. So this is no longer the time to sit back and continue to consider it. Either you do it now, or you lose out. Good luck!

Costume Sneak Peek

I am quite proud of myself. I have only one more item to check off on my to-do list: buy race day fuel. I am just under two weeks out before I travel to Disney, and just over two weeks out before the race. Part of me is hating the feeling that time is dragging, as it seems to do before every Disney trip. The other part is wondering where the heck time has gone...it feels like just yesterday that I still had months of training to go. Now I only have five training runs left (six if I choose to run the evening I arrive at Disney). We are really down to the wire.

With so little time left, I wanted to give a sneak peek at my running costume....

Yes, the arm warmers finally arrived! I will be testing them out this weekend to see if I really want to do the race in them. If anything, I will be using them for a group photo pre-race with my DISboards WISH friends. All I am waiting on is the headband, which shipped out yesterday. If the sneak peek of this running costume for a Disney race wasn't enough of a clue to show who I will be...it is Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

Temps here seemed to have finally gotten into the fall season range, which makes it ideal for running...and brings out my inner baker. So I think I will be making cauliflower poppers a bit later today. Have a wonderful day!


Baked Cauliflower Poppers
Courtesy of Delighted Momma, found on pinterest

2 heads of cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and clean the cauliflower; cut off and discard the stem. Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the cauliflower pieces and thoroughly coat each piece. Place the cauliflower pieces onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for one hour, and turn three times during baking until each piece has a nice brown coloring. The browner they are, the better. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Here...Race Gifts Part 2

In this blog post, I discussed race, or achievement, gifts and showed the necklace that I wanted to represent my Wine and Dine Half Marathon accomplishment. This past Monday, I ordered the necklace.

It has arrived...

Yes, I had it put in a gift box. No, I will not be opening it until I finish the race. I think it will have a bit of special meaning when I unwrap it knowing that I earned it. You can check out the necklace here.

The website I ordered the necklace from is called Emitations. I have to say that I am very impressed with their service. I ordered the necklace on Monday and chose the free shipping option in order to save a few dollars, and knowing it would likely take a bit longer to receive it. It arrived yesterday. That's right, even with the free shipping option, it took only two days to get to me! I also tend to hunt around for coupon codes when I shop online, and I was delighted to see this company seems to consistently offer them. I found a great one for my purchase and want to share it with you: get $20 off your purchase when you spend at least $45 through the month of October by using the code OCTBIRTHDAY. My necklace was $39.99, and I added the premium gift box for $6.99. When using the code, I wound up paying only $26.98. Great deal!

Only two more weeks until I leave for Disney!

*Disclaimer - I was in no way compensated for the recommendation of Emitations.com. I just wanted to share my personal experience with their service, as well as let you know of a great promotion they have so you can save a bit of money.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Run Like a Princess Sweepstakes & the Princess Half Medal

Big news for those running in the Princess Half Marathon, or are interested in doing so!

The Princess Half Marathon will be celebrating its 5th anniversary in February, and a new medal design was revealed today to commemorate the occasion...

2013 5th Anniversary Princess Half Marathon Medal
To be 100% honest, I am not sure I like this design better than the previous one...

2012 Princess Half Marathon Medal
I like the general design of the previous medal, though it does seem a bit lacking. But the new design seems almost too busy. I think I would have liked something in between, although I do like how the anniversary design incorporates five gems to symbolize each of the five years. I wouldn't be complaining, however, if one of those had been placed around my neck. And no matter what the design, it is still a medal I would like to earn one day. I should also make note that this race is currently 78% full, and the registration fee will increase in exactly three weeks. So if this is a race you want to run, register soon!

Which brings me to my next topic...

The Run Like a Princess Sweepstakes!!

Sponsored by runDisney and Lady Foot Locker, this is your opportunity to be in the race in a unique way! Just take a look at what the grand prize package for FOUR people offers:
  • Race entry for Disney's Princess Half Marathon, Disney Royal Family 5K, or runDisney Kids Races
  • Pasta in the Park Party tickets at Epcot
  • Race Retreat or Platinum Level ChEAR Squad entries
  • Meet & greet with with Olympian and runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway for the winner and three guests
  • Round trip airfare
  • Three day Magic Your Way theme park tickets
  • Two night stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • One night stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite at the Magic Kingdom park
This is an incredible package!! You can enter daily through this link up until November 20th. If you have already registered for the race and you win, your registration fee will be refunded to you. Entering in the sweepstakes also gives you the chance to win gear and gift cards instantly! Take advantage of this...you won't want to miss out!

*Disclaimer - The Run Like a Princess Sweepstakes is only open to legal residents of the United States. I have received no compensation for sharing the sweepstakes with you, nor does it increase my chances of winning.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Making a List, Checking it Twice

I have been working on my to-do list and am pleased with my progress. Here is what I needed to get done:

1. Get a packing list together and finalized. Seriously, I will forget things if I don't do this.
2. Finish putting my running costume together. I am almost done with this. The skirt is being ordered tomorrow, the compression shorts arrived last week, the large rose pin arrived yesterday, I am (still) waiting on the arm warmers, and I already have my tech shirt. All I will have left to get is the headband.
3. Write out a food plan for race day. You would think I know how to eat. Generally I do. But since race day eating will be a bit different than normal day eating, I want to make sure I have an idea of how I should be spacing out meals/snacks.
4. Get a hair cut. My mane has become unmanageable.
5. Buy the fuel I need for race day. Time to head out and get those extra packs of Honey Stingers and some glucose tablets.
Here is where I am at with each:

1. I still need to get my packing list together. Hopefully I will remember to work on it this afternoon.
2. My running costume is just about done. I ordered the skirt on Friday and the mail has it marked as out for delivery today. Should be in around 12:30pm. Can't wait to see it! The headband is the last piece and will be ordered today.
3. My food plan has been made. It was helpful to see others who are doing this race post their own plans so I could get an idea of what will be good.
4. Got my hair cut on Saturday. It feels a million times better.
5. Still need to get race fuel. .

17 days until I arrive!!

Giveaway from We Run Disney!

Love freebies? Here is your opportunity to snag some! One of my favorite blogs I read, We Run Disney, is hosting a giveaway featuring items from Sweat Pink, Bondiband, and Yankz. These are great accessories for any runner! Come check it out here and make sure you read through the rules to see how you can enter!

All entries must be received by 8pm eastern on October 24th, so don't delay!

Good luck!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall 2013 Race Dates Announced!

Ladies and gentlemen! We have race dates for fall 2013!

The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend will take place August 30 - September 1, 2013.
The Tower of Terror 10 Miler Weekend will take place September 28-29, 2013.
The Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend will take place on November 8-9, 2013.

These events are not yet posted on the runDisney site, and registration has not yet opened. You can expect them to open around February and/or March of 2013. To be notified when registration opens, please sign up here.

Just a word of caution:
While these dates will likely be the dates of the race, please be aware these dates are subject to change. Runners who were anticipating this year's Wine & Dine are no stranger to that. At last year's expo, all literature had this year's dates for the Wine & Dine at the end of September. Potential runners started looking into booking rooms, particularly those who were Disney Vacation Club members. Then, about a month or two later, runDisney announced the inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler, which replaced the Wine & Dine. Wine & Dine was subsequently pushed back to November. It is highly unlikely the Disneyland Half dates will be moved as that requires working with the city of Anaheim. I am not too worried about any of next year's dates changing, but thought I would share that little disclaimer.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

T Minus 3 Weeks

Exactly three weeks left until I board a plane for Disney. I am nervous and excited. But mostly, I am feeling...

...Sick. Ugh! I just cannot shake this virus. Today's high is only supposed to get to 71, which would be great for me to run in later today. Not perfect, but still really good. Yet, I do not think I will be able to make it out. Again. I had no choice but to skip Tuesday. But, as a friend put it to me yesterday, it is better to have my body be healthy than to get in those last few runs and be sick. So true. I cannot kick myself over this. I would rather skip these runs in order to feel better than to push myself and never recover...and wind up being too sick to do the race. For now, there is a lot of tea going into my body.

I have a few things I still need to do in preparation for my departure. Time always seems to drag when I am waiting for a Disney trip to get here, but it will be here before I know it. On my to-do list...

1. Get a packing list together and finalized. Seriously, I will forget things if I don't do this.
2. Finish putting my running costume together. I am almost done with this. The skirt is being ordered tomorrow, the compression shorts arrived last week, the large rose pin arrived yesterday, I am (still) waiting on the arm warmers, and I already have my tech shirt. All I will have left to get is the headband.
3. Write out a food plan for race day. You would think I know how to eat. Generally I do. But since race day eating will be a bit different than normal day eating, I want to make sure I have an idea of how I should be spacing out meals/snacks.
4. Get a hair cut. My mane has become unmanageable.
5. Buy the fuel I need for race day. Time to head out and get those extra packs of Honey Stingers and some glucose tablets.

I feel like I am forgetting something...

Oh well. For now, I leave you with this picture I took on my run this past Sunday as the sun was setting.

I can't wait to get back out there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wine & Dine Bib Numbers and Corral Assignments!

The day has finally arrived!!

No, not race day. Today is the day that runDisney finally released the race waivers, which gave the runners their bib numbers. They also released the corral assignments. I knew my bib number a few days ago, but it was still exciting to finally see the link on the site.

Still need your waiver? Click here!

I, by no means, have some fantastic number. Since this is my first timed race, I did not provide Disney with a proof of time which potentially would have placed me in a higher corral. Because I don't have proof of time, I am automatically placed in the last corral. That is ok! The fact I am participating in the race at all is a huge deal to me (cue dreamy me thinking about the accomplishment necklace).

So, without further adieu...
Bib number: 12244
Corral: F

24 days until we race!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Running = Free Therapy

I am still sick. I have been pushing myself to get things done, run errands, get to an appointment, etc., that I have not been able to just rest. I have a fever, and have had one the last few days. I really don't want to do anything but lay under some blankets while falling in and out of sleep. My life just does not allow me to ever be able to do that.

I desperately want to not run today. It is only a 30 minute run, but my body has no desire to exert any energy for it. I arrive in just over 3 weeks...I cannot quit now. But it is an idea I am toying with today. And as I continue to toy with it, I am reminded of a saying I heard earlier this year: running = free therapy. I never looked at it that way before, but I fully agree. So even though I am sick, I am wondering if I really want to skip out on my therapy session. Let me explain this a bit futher....

Do you ever have problems in your life you just dwell on? They play over and over again in your mind, filling your head with doubt and worry, leaving you wondering if you will ever be able to move past it. Yes? No? Well, I do. But something happens when I run...all those problems disappear. I might try to think about those things so I can see how I will word my response. But maybe 30 seconds later, it all goes away. If I try to turn my mind back to it, it disappears yet again. I finally realized that my mind does not want to focus on those things during a run. All I can think about is the run itself. I think about how I am performing, I think about pushing myself to do more, I think about how satisfied I will feel when I finish. Sometimes I think about the race. Sometimes I pay attention to the lyrics of the songs I am listening to. Sometimes I think of nothing at all. But I never, ever think about the problems. It is like I am physically, mentally, and emotionally unable to do it while on a run.

For that brief moment while running outdoors, I feel like I am in my own world where the problems don't exist. I feel like all is right with the world. I feel like I have been heard.

Running = free therapy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Of Honey Stingers and Powerade

I have felt so awful this weekend. I mentioned on Friday that I did not feel well, and it seems to have only gotten worse. Yesterday I was scheduled to do 12.5 miles. I couldn't do it. I tried, but I just couldn't. I did manage to get in about 6 miles, so at least that is good. I knew that had I felt normal, I would have completed it without a problem. So it was frustrating to not be able to do what I needed. But my body was shaking and my sweat felt cold. I did, however, test out a few new-to-me products.

In one of the many discussions we've been having on the Wine and Dine Half Thread, the topic of how we fuel ourselves during a run came up. This was particularly interesting to me. Since I have never done a half marathon before, the fuel is something I needed to know. The idea of gels does not appeal to me in the slightest. I considered plain old sugar cubes, but unbelievably could not find them in the local stores.  I did like how glucose tablets worked. Then someone brought up Honey Stinger. So did someone else. And another person did also. Before I knew it, there were several recommendations for them. After asking about what people suggested in specific after seeing there are several option options, I finally went to the sports store to buy a couple packages to test it out.

Let me tell you, finding these things was no easy feat. They were only available in the checkout lane, and only in one of the several the store has. So I was combing through each lane until I finally found them. I do have to express my disappointment that I have to purchase them individually. That worked for the one trip since I was only going to test them, but I can imagine the frustration over not just being able to buy a box or case if you swear by these things. Fortunately, the official website does sell them that way. I picked up a waffle and a couple packages of fruit chews and was on my way.

The first Stinger I tried was the waffle. It was recommended to me as something to have before my run. While I know there are people who eat it during a run (or something else), it just seemed more like a mess to deal with so I was glad for the recommendation. There are a few flavor options, and I chose honey. The flavor itself was ok, but the consistency was...weird. I really don't know how to explain it. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't my favorite either. And it was kind "messy" as I had predicted. It is not something I believe I will stick with. I think I would rather have a banana before heading out than this...I am just not sold on it. But that is why I test things!

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews - Fruit Smoothie

Next up on the test list were the energy "fruit" chews. The look and feel of them are what you'd expect with a gummy bear. There aren't many in a single package; I believe I counted 11. I took them out with me on my run. Normally I would do my blood sugar boost every couple of miles. Yesterday I decided on doing it only every mile. I needed something to push myself for, needed something to keep me going. While the look and feel of these reminds me of a gummy bear, the consistency does not. A gummy bear is chewy...you just keep on chewing for it to actually be able to break down. These are not like that. You bite down and they already break apart. I like that. And I really like the flavor. That, plus no stomach issues from them...I think I am sold. But, I will also be carrying glucose tablets to mix it up so I don't mentally get bored with only one option during the race.

As far as hydration and rehydration, I used water when I first began running. Water is good for you. I know this. I drink a lot of it throughout the day. But my word does it become boring when I run. So I switched to Gatorade. I love Gatorade. And it helped me keep fueled during runs, though I am sure having something with flavor also helped me. Unfortunately, Disney does not sell Gatorade, nor do they provide it to the runners. The sports drink offered is Powerade. I have heard the drink stations along the course offer both water and Powerade. It was time to get used to Powerade.

Powerade ION4 - Lemon Lime

I picked up an 8 pack of the ION4 in Lemon Lime. Some runners who have done the Disney races have stated that is the flavor they typically see offered, so I figured it was best to use that one. I kept the drink on a bench while I ran around, using it to chase down the fruit chews after each mile. I really like it. I felt a bit refreshed after each drink. I also drank some post run, and felt like I was quickly recovering (from the run, not the illness, mind you).

I am happy to find what fuels me during runs, and feel like I fit in a bit more with the running community now that I can say, "here is what works for me!" when other runners ask. It really is trial and error, and I am glad that I didn't go through a ton of errors before finding the right products.

*Disclaimer - I was in no way compensated for these product recommendations. I am simply sharing products that have worked for me.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Upcoming Disney Races Update

For those of you interested in upcoming Disney races or their extras, I wanted to provide an update on the availability...

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend...
Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K is currently 73% full, and the runDisney Kids Races are at 69% full. For those of you interested in the Wine & Dine Finish Line Party, buy your ticket now. It is 90% full and won't last much longer. Keep in mind that the only ones who need to purchase a ticket are those who are not participating in the half marathon. Half marathon runners received a ticket to the party as part of their race registration. Travel companions, spectators, 5K participants, and anyone else not running the half who wants to attend the party will need to purchase a ticket. The cost is $84 per person.
10/15/12 Update: The Wine & Dine Finish Line Party is now SOLD OUT.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend...
There has been no change in the status of any of the races.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend...
The Pasta Party and Breakfast have only had a slight increase in how full they are, going from 50% to 54%. The cost for the Pasta Party is $89 for adults, and $69 for children. The cost for the Breakfast is $69 for adults, and $49 for children. Adults are defined as ages 10 and up; children are defined as ages 3-9. Children under 3 are free.

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend...
The half marathon is currently 72% full. If you are interested in participating in the half marathon, be aware that the registration fee increases on November 14th. The Breakfast is 52% full. The Race Retreat jumped up to 80% full, so you will want to get your tickets for that soon if you are interested in attending. Expect that to sell out before the race does. The cost is $99. The weekend does offer a Pasta in the Park Party. The tickets are $47.50 for adults, and $28.35 for children. The runDisney site does not list how full this is. Adults are defined as ages 10 and up; children are defined as ages 3-9. Children under 3 are free.
10/16/12 Update: The runDisney site keeps changing its listing about the Race Retreat. One day it will list it as 80% full, the next day it will drop to 55% full before going back up and dropping again. Since the number is not accurately displaying at this time, I would advise you to get your ticket now if you are interested so there isn't any shock when it does eventually sell out.

Expedition Everest Challenge...
Registration is not yet open.

Keep checking back for future updates!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Keep Moving Forward

I feel....ugh. Yes, that is the best way I can explain it. The weather here has been up and down, and I think it has caught up with me. The last few days I have been very lethargic, with today being the worst (so far). But as of yesterday, I have only four weeks left before I board that plane. I have to press on.

In spite of feeling so out of it, I still went for my run yesterday. I had to push myself through it. I was tiring out, mainly because I just did not feel well. I had increased my walk interval back up 15 seconds, and added 10 seconds to my run interval. I did not notice a difference with my pace or the distance. So I am just going to go back to my regular interval times. In spite of not feeling well, I still managed to get in over 2 miles with a pace of 14:09. I am really hoping whatever bug I have will go away by Sunday. Sunday will be my long run, with 12.5 miles scheduled. I will not be able to run in the morning, but rather the afternoon/early evening. I am not looking forward to it. The high is supposed to be in the low 80s...and 12.5 miles in that does not seem ideal. Actually I know it isn't ideal. But I have to do it.

Spending some time online this morning, I read yet another thing about a runner who mentioned her husband was going to get her a "running gift" when she crosses the finish line. I am always intrigued about running gift discussions, and I do wish people would be descriptive about what they have received or will be receiving. I wonder what each person finds significant. I wonder how each trinket symbolizes their accomplishment.

I am rambling now, so I guess I will sign off. I am going to wrap myself in a blanket and soon indulge myself in some pumpkin bread. It is rainy outside and I am a bit chilled. Yes, I know pumpkin bread is not the healthiest...but sometimes we all need a little comfort food. Enjoy the recipe!


Pumpkin Bread
Courtesy of David Tutera, found here

1 can (29oz) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup Crisco oil
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons allspice
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and spices and mix well. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and add to pumpkin mixture. Blend well. Grease and flour 3 foil loaf pans, or spray them with Pam (butter or original flavor). Pour the mixture into the pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of each loaf. Let loaves stand for about 5 minutes. Remove the warm loaves from the pans and brush the top with a glaze if you choose.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Packing List

With just 28 days until I depart for Disney World, I have been taking mental notes on what to pack for the trip. Though I have been to Disney multiple times, this trip will obviously be unlike the typical vacation since I am including a race in it. I did do the Halloween 5K last year, but running just over 13 miles is a bit different than running just over 3 miles...so I have been looking to see what little items I need to remember. So for that, I have to thank runDisney.

At the end of August, the runDisney blog put together a packing list for those traveling to the Disneyland Half Marathon. I think it is a great list to keep for any race you travel to! The image is rather large to put in this post, but you can view it here.  I don't know about you, but I am the type of person that needs to list everything I have to bring, or chances are I will forget it. So I am grateful for this list, especially as it lists things I wouldn't have necessarily thought to bring. Items such as baby wipes, extra laces, safety pins, and others.

Another packing checklist had been brought up by my friends on the Disboards Official 2012 Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon Thread. This wasn't your typical "what should I bring on my trip" list, it was a packing list for the bag we check in at the race. It wasn't something I had thought of. I mean, I checked in a bag when I did my 5K last year, but all I can really remember putting in the bag was a light jacket and a pair of sunglasses. But again, the mileage is rather different. This made me really think about what I would be putting in my check in bag. My list is not extensive, but I think this is what will work for me...
-change of clothes
-baby wipes
-dry shampoo (possibly)

Simple enough, right?

One thing on my mind lately is what I will be wearing the day after the race. Well, I guess the day OF the race since I won't be finishing until after midnight. The month of November can be a bit tricky when it comes to Florida temps. The days can be in the 80s. The nights can be in the 50s. I don't want to be wearing shorts during the day and then rush back to my hotel room to change into pants. And to be honest, the idea of wearing jeans after running that much is not very appealing to me. So pardon me while I break out my inner fashionista....

I want this sweater. Badly. I love the fall color, I love the unique take on a classic piece, I love the relaxed look. I just love it. I so want it for post race day, to pair up with some leggings and boots. I would still carry my jacket with me, but I think that outfit will be perfect for staying comfortable through throughout the day...while not being overly hot while the sun is out, but still being warm in the evening. A $42 sweater with $7 shipping is not quite in my budget, though. :( Still, I posted it not only because I like it...but also because post race day outfits are something to consider. If you are the type of runner who clings onto that body recovery, make sure you pack an outfit that will accommodate that need.

No matter how much you pay attention to what goes in your bag, make sure you list what you need to bring. Even the most experienced runners can forget the obvious...as evidenced by one runner who mentioned forgetting to pack her shoes and having to buy a new pair at the expo. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Turn On the Ignition!

Just one more month.

One more month until I am in that mass of people in the picture above waiting to cross the start line.

One more month until I navigate my way through a 13.1 mile course, running against the backdrop of Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.

One more month until I cross the finish line.

One more month until I can call myself a half marathon finisher.

Just one more month.

It is daunting. It is nerve-wracking. It is exciting.

I went for my run yesterday and decided to cut my walk interval by 15 seconds in an effort to help my pace. It did help...by dropping it all of around 30 seconds per mile. But the problem is that I found myself a little more tired than normal. That is not how I wanted to feel after just a couple of miles or so. That will surely get me swept. Still, I was not completely out of breath. I will be adding those 15 seconds back to walking as my body seems to have an easier time "recovering" and getting ready for the next run interval. I may try increasing my run interval by 10-15 seconds, though, and see how that works out. If it ultimately doesn't work, I will just stick to my regular intervals. I was just hoping to give myself a little cushion. Cushion or no cushion...I will focus on the positive. I can do this.

One more month until all the frustration, success, setbacks, steps forward, smiles, and tears finally sees its purpose.

31 days and counting.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Favorite Running Apps

It seems like I come across runners who all have their favorite apps for one reason or another. I am no exception to this. For a while, I was using the Couch to 5K app. There were a few things I liked about it. First, it kept track of my runs. It knew exactly where in the program I had stopped and would automatically forward to the next day in the program when I was ready to go back out. This saved me the trouble of having to look up where I was. You could also just manually change it to do whichever day you wanted. Second, there was a voice that would tell you when to walk and when to run. Since the app could be running while also playing music, it would slightly bring down the volume of the music so you could hear the walk/run prompt. It would also tell you when you were at the half way point. The downside? Well, the program simply did not work for me as I have discussed here. The app may have had some new features added since I last used it over a year ago. If you like Couch to 5K, I definitely encourage you to check out the app. They also offer a 5K to 10K app.

Needing an app more suitable for my runs, I began doing a bit of research. I finally settled on one that I have really liked: MapMyRun. This app has everything I am looking for.

2010 screen capture. The app's look has since been a bit updated.

It allows you to enter in what type of run or other workout you are doing, which is interval training for me. You can switch live tracking on or off, choose a route or enter in a new one, and even have your results posted to facebook and twitter. The app will not only track your mileage, but will also calculate your average speed, average pace, approximate number of calories burned, and shows how long you have been running. The average pace and mileage are the two I focus on the most. Once you have finished your workout, you can post it publicly so other runners using that route can see it, or just keep it private. You can also challenge your fellow runner friends! I also like the fact that you can look at all your workouts at a glance, so you get an idea of your progress.

I also needed something to time my intervals. I ordered the Jeff Galloway Run-Walk-Run Vibrating Timer specifically for this purpose, as well as the armband to go with it.

The timer takes only a moment or two to set up. There are a few options for letting you know when to switch to running or walking: it will beep, vibrate, or both. I listen to music on my runs and wouldn't notice the beep. So I kept it on vibrate. Unfortunately, I could not feel the vibration, so there were many times I was walking or running much longer than I should have been. The problem is that I am not doing steady and consistent training, which makes it more difficult for me. I do not want to down this timer at all. I actually love it and am hoping I can figure out how to affix it to my body so I can actually feel the vibrations.

There was a day I went out for a run and forgot my timer at home. Not wanting to trek back home for a timer, I quickly looked at the app store to see if there was something I could use. That is when I discovered the Run/Walk Intervals Timer.

The intervals are very easy to set up and will allow you to program your desired interval down to the second. You can also choose which interval you want to start out with. Like the Couch to 5K app, this app will tell you when it is time to walk or run (or vibrate as an indicator), will mute any music playing in the background when it lets you know and return the music back to its original level. If your sound is off, the phone will vibrate and display a note on the screen to indicate which interval you are on. The nice thing is that this runs alongside any other app you have running. So if I am looking at my MapMyRun app, this timer will still let me know when to switch intervals. Unfortunately this app is exclusive to Android users. I honestly do not know if there is an iPhone app that does the same.

So there you have it...my favorite running apps! Perhaps more seasoned runners use other apps that are seemingly more high tech, or perhaps ones that may actually be better for me but I have not yet discovered. But these work well for me for the time being.

*Disclaimer - I have received absolutely no compensation for these product/app recommendations.

Monday, October 8, 2012

And So Begins the Countdown

Today starts the big countdown. Well, kinda. In one month from today, I will be boarding a plane and flying out to Orlando. I will be checking into my hotel and attempt to mentally prepare for the half marathon only two nights later. The biggest countdown begins in two days.

So how did I spend the weekend preparing? By not doing a thing. Brilliance at its finest, right? Saturday was way too cold. It never got above 40 degrees, with the windchill making it feel no higher than 37. I do not own a long sleeve tech shirt or any sort of running jacket (though there is this Reebok one in aubergine I am rather loving), and my arm warmers have not yet arrived. All this meant I was not going to be heading out on Saturday. That's ok; the temperature was supposed to be a high of 56 on Sunday, and that would have been much more favorable. As my story tends to go, something prevented anything from happening. That would be my knee. It felt like someone had taken a swing at it as it hurt to walk around. It also felt swollen, even though it wasn't. Yesterday's high hovered around 50 degrees which would have been fine without my arm warmers, but this darn knee.... I kept off my feet as much as I could, and it wasn't until late at night it finally felt better. Today I am not having any issue with it, so I am thinking I must have somehow twisted it while I slept Saturday night. This morning's temps were not much better...a whopping 32 degrees. I am sitting here drinking a cup of hot tea to warm up. It is supposed to get up to 65, and the rest of this week should be pleasant.

It is time to crack down on everything. Training, cross training, eating. I have only 31 days until I arrive. Once I arrive, there won't be any more training. Well, I may take a short jog the night I arrive, but no hard training. Part of me wants that necklace now so I can grab onto it and blow on the star to wish everything goes so very smoothly. I have no idea why I would blow on the star except that you blow out birthday candles to make a wish...and it makes sense in my mind. And if you know me, then you know that anything that makes sense in my mind is the way I am going to do it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Race Gifts

I remember reading on a forum some time ago about some runners who were congratulated with "accomplishment" gifts...a token to remember what they achieved through their race. There were also those who gifted those tokens to themselves. I didn't really think anything of it since I was not yet part of that group. But in just over a month, I will be. And I have wondered to myself if I wanted a token as well. Last night, I decided I do. I love the finisher's medal that I will be receiving. Admittedly, I like it way more than the full marathon medal Disney offers...which was even redesigned for the 20th anniversary. The medal design itself was a big driving force behind me wanting to do the Wine & Dine Half to begin with. That said, I obviously can't wear the medal every day. It is a medal, not a necklace. It would only be appropriate for me to wear it the day after the race as I walk around one of the Disney parks. Although, I guess it would technically be the same day since I'll end the race some time after midnight. But regardless, it is not like I just wear it when I go to buy some groceries.

Anyway, after realizing I can't wear the medal all the time, I wanted something I could keep with me all the time. Something I could look at and remember all the hard work I put in for this little dream of mine. A wish come true. And when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. So I found this only fitting...

Those familiar with Sex and the City 2 will recognize this as being extremely similar to Carrie Bradshaw's necklace. Though I have seen some of the television show, I have never seen the movies and had no idea that is what it was inspired by during my search for "star necklaces." But the design is unique and I am in love with it. I love that it incorporates a star...something to wish on. And the fact it has a moon is perfect in its representation of night...since this race will take place at night. You can see more views of the necklace here.

Now I won't be the type that I have seen that needs something like this for every single accomplishment I make in my life. But this race is a huge deal to me. If I ever decide to do a full marathon (a lofty achievement that I have no aspirations towards for the time being), I could see maybe getting something to recognize that. But this is my very first real race. Yes, the 5K was a real race. I don't know...I feel like this one is just different. And it should be recognized somehow. I am sure there will be awesome little trinkets at the expo for the race. Actually I know there will be. But this piece...I don't know...it just suits me and the situation. And it gives me something to blog about.

And I would also like to take a moment to recommend an excellent service if you have a runner staying on Disney property and you want to gift them something, but just don't know what to give. Disney Floral & Gifts offers a variety of gifts ranging from bouquets, to baskets of snacks, and more. They have an entire section of recommended products for marathon runners (or half marathon runners). If you are unsure of what package to get your runner, I personally recommend the "You Can Do It!" package. It comes with an insulated bag, reusable water bottle, and is filled with sustenance such as snacks, energy bars, fruit chews (excellent blood sugar boosters during a run), water, and Powerade. The best part of this service is that they will deliver to the runner's room!

The idea of a gift to commemorate an achievement is in no way exclusive to running. Take pride in the dreams you accomplish!

*Disclaimer - I am in no way compensated for recommending Disney Floral & Gifts. I am simply recommending a service that has received wonderful reviews, and includes some of the most creative gift packages I have seen.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It is Going to be How Cold?!

My training runs are scheduled Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays or Sundays. Jeff Galloway's plan has the long runs for Sundays, but it really depends on what my plans are before I can decide if I will do Saturday or Sunday on any given week. Last week, I chose Saturday. The run was good, with temps at about 60 degrees when I went out. I have not been able to train this week so far, and am hoping I can make it out later today or tomorrow. I have been in pain  and nauseous (both unrelated to running) which has put a damper on physical activity. My long run is this weekend, although I am glad it is not the typical long run. I am scheduled for a 4 mile run with a "magic mile." I have not been doing well with magic mile runs simply because it has been way too hot to get a good estimate. The formula assumes that the temperature on race day will be 60 degrees or cooler. Well, I've only had one run day in that range. Until this upcoming weekend, that is.

I looked up the highs for this weekend and my jaw dropped. Saturday's high is only 49 degrees. Our HIGH. That is about 20 degrees cooler than the average we're supposed to have. That obviously means it will be colder than that if I choose to run in the morning. I am debating if I want to run that day, or wait until Sunday when the high is all of 6 degrees warmer. I am telling myself that this will be good training. After all, my race is a night race in November. Then I remembered that I used to live in Florida and it wasn't 40something degrees at night in November. The average low is about 60 degrees.

I will not be skipping out on this weekend's run. I only have 5 more weekend long runs before race day, so I cannot afford to skip them. And training in cooler temperatures is MUCH more preferable than training in extreme heat. I know that my body will warm up and my performance will excel. Still...I wish I had my arm warmers already.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Upcoming Disney Races

runDisney offers several races a year between the Walt Disney World and Disneyland properties. Registration does have a fee, and that cost is determined by which race you register for, and when you actually register. The races typically have three "tiers" of fees. The fees will be at their lowest usually within the first couple months of registration opening. Once that time has passed, the fee will go up for the second "tier" for a couple more months. Then the fee will go up a third, and final, time. Obviously this means the best time to register for a race is as close to registration opening as you can get. It is also important to know that these races typically sell out. As you know, I am registered for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. The race sold out at the very end of July (I registered in March), though it is not until next month. So it is not only best to register early for the lowest fee, but also to make sure you actually get into the race.

Here is the list of the upcoming Disney races...

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
November 9-11, 2012 - Walt Disney World
-Half Marathon...sold out
-Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K...68% full
-runDisney Kids Races...65% full
-Wine & Dine Finish Line Party...67% full

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
January 10-13, 2013 - Walt Disney World
-Marathon...sold out
-Half Marathon...sold out
-Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge...sold out
-Disney Family Fun Run 5K...73% full
-runDisney Kids Races...53% full

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend
January 18-20, 2013 - Disneyland
-Half Marathon...sold out
-Never Land Family Fun Run 5K...sold out
-runDisney Kids Races...sold out
-Pasta in the Park Party...50% full
-Breakfast...50% full

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend
February 22-24, 2013 - Walt Disney World
-Half Marathon...67% full
-Race Retreat...55% full
-Breakfast...50% full

Expedition Everest Challenge
May 4, 2013 - Walt Disney World
-Registration for this event has not yet opened. Please click here to be notified when it does open.

The 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and the Tower of Terror 10 Miler dates have not yet been announced, and they are currently not listed on the runDisney website. That does not mean they will not happen...they will! But usually only the events through the Expedition Everest Challenge are listed until the time draws a bit closer. We will likely see the events pop up on the site once the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is over, possibly not until the beginning of 2013.

Obviously the majority of these races take place at Walt Disney World. I have seen a lot of complaints from those closer to Disneyland about having only a couple races there. Please bear in mind that because the Disneyland resort is so small, the races do not take place solely on property. This requires Disney to work with the city of Anaheim since the races go through the roads. Since the Disney World races do take place solely on property, Disney has no one to worry about but themselves. Disney World also offers more hotel space for runners and their companions. So while it may be more of an inconvenience for those on the west coast, it only makes sense for Disney World to host most of the races from a logistical standpoint.

So there are your announced races! I will keep you posted as events sell out, open up, face fee increase, and are announced.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Run! Walk! Run!

If you are an experienced runner, or maybe even if you are not, you may have noticed that my pace is not exactly the best around. I average about 14-15 minutes per mile. But here is the thing...I am an interval runner. That means I alternate between running and walking...so my average pace is longer because the quick running pace is "slowed down" by the slower walking pace. This method of training has allowed me to go for longer distances without injuring myself and without wanting to quit so quickly into my run. My pace with interval training may still be longer than others doing the same training, but perhaps they are more experienced runners. But I do what is best for me, and what will get me across the finish line within the required time.

When I first began running over a year ago, I used the Couch to 5K program. I figured it made sense since I like the couch, and I was going to run a 5K in the fall. Oh man...that did not work out. I mean the program in general is great and has worked for many, many people. But it seemed to have required a higher fitness level than just sitting on the couch when starting out and it did not work out for me at all. This is not to down the program, because as I said, it has worked for many people. I am just not one of them. The training was building you up to going from a mix of running and walking to all running. My body was not having it and I never, ever made it past going two miles. And I hated almost every bit of it. I was unmotivated, discouraged, tired, and sore.

Then I arrived at the health and fitness expo for the 5K last year...and I sat in a session with Jeff Galloway. That is the first time I heard about interval training. It was also the first time I did not feel guilty about doing a combination of running and walking. If a former Olympian was not only encouraging it, but also using that method to help others train, obviously there was something to it. I found myself wishing I had known about this months before so I could feel better prepared for the 5K.

Fast forward to today. I ditched the Couch to 5K program after the 5K. I began training for this half marathon using Jeff Galloway's training method, and I accomplished 2 miles on my first run in a shorter amount of time than I ever did with the Couch to 5K program. I have found I am able to go longer distances, and come out of it just fine. Yes, I might be a bit tired...but nothing like I was before, and I don't wake up really sore the next day. The worst part of it was only when I had terrible running shoes.

Jeff Galloway makes his training programs available through his website for free, and are designed for full marathons, half marathons, and 5K/10K. He is also the official training consultant for runDisney, and his training programs have been adjusted to fit each race Disney offers. Check out the Wine & Dine training schedule I am doing! If you are interested in any other Disney race, you can check out the training programs for each here.

I cannot say enough how much I love this training program. I want to say that training programs are not a one size fits all. Different methods work for different people. That is why I stress that I am not at all downing Couch to 5K...just saying that it is not the method that works for me. I also know people who had better success with other training programs. But Jeff Galloway's method has worked wonders for me. And I am very partial to someone who is extremely humble and makes you feel like you are the most amazing runner out there even if you tell him you have only been able to run a block. I should know...I got to meet him after that session last year. For a first time 5K runner to get the most amazing encouragement from a former Olympian...well, let's just say it still makes me teary eyed.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Running Playlist

Many, if not most, people have a playlist to do their runs. There may be varying reasons for this...perhaps it is to keep themselves on pace, or just entertained. I am not the exception to this, and I listen to keep keep myself entertained and to keep my mind off the run. The more I focus on the run itself, the more I focus on how much more I have to do...and that just makes it boring, tedious, and I lose my motivation.

My playlist is short and I do need to add considerably more songs to it. The playlist is largely made up by TobyMac songs...because he is both my favorite recording artist and because his songs are so upbeat and perfect for me to keep going. So, without further ado, here is my list!

Boomin - TobyMac
Catchafire (Whoopsi-Daisy) - TobyMac
Eye On It - TobyMac
Feelin' So Fly - TobyMac
Ignition - TobyMac
Jesus Freak - TobyMac
Le Disko - Shiny Toy Guns
Me Without You - TobyMac
Never Going Back to OK - The Afters
Requiem for a Dying Song - Flogging Molly
Thankful for You - TobyMac
Way Beyond Myself - Newsboys

Two things from my earlier statements prove to be true...
1. My list is short.
2. It is largely made up of TobyMac songs

I am certain my playlist is not for everyone. Maybe not for anyone else other than me, even. That is ok. The point of making a running playlist is to come up with something that will keep you going.

Finally, from my playlist, I will share my running theme song...

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