Sunday, November 25, 2012

Race recap-2012 ING Miami Half Marathon 1/29/2012

Yes, I know this is very late--hey, I'm almost caught up though!

I was really lucky with the registration for this one.  They were running a promotion for the first however-many to sign up once registration opened that registration would only be $25 (I think it was the first 50 people).  Registration opened February 1, 2011 at 6am...I was registered by was $33.50 with Active fees (lordy how I hate those Active fees!).  Couldn’t pass that up for a race as big as this one, especially since the 2012 race was the 10th anniversary promising special bling!  The race would be held January 29, 2012

I already knew I’d be running an event during Marathon Weekend at Disney earlier that month...I didn’t realize at the time that I would actually be running both the half and the marathon relay--3 weeks before ING.  Ah, would be an experiment to see just how far I could push myself, right?  Sure.

The expo was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center and SIL and I went down to it together.  We met up with our friend Tracy and a couple more ROTErs we ran into there (hi Paul and Bill and Todd!) and got a free pic together at one of the booths.  After, some of us wandered down to Lincoln Road for some lunch before we headed home to rest up for the race.

The morning of the race my SIL and I drove down and got caught in a bit of a traffic crush trying to get to the parking garage by Bayside across the street from the American Airlines Arena (in front of which the start line was located).  Thankfully we made it with plenty of time.  We met up with some ROTErs who were in town for the race and hung out until it was time to get to our corrals.  It was great to see people down here that I normally have to travel up to Disney World to see.

The only problem?  I had this nagging feeling that I really didn’t want to do the race.  I mean, I had no issue with doing the miles (that never bothers me)...I just didn’t want to RACE.  I don’t know if my body was just telling me it was tired out after my back-to-backs during Marathon Weekend, or if it was a mental thing or what.  I just did NOT want to be there racing.

Unfortunately, we were both in the very last corral so it was quite a long wait until it was our turn to cross that start line.  One of the neat things about our corral though was that we were actually on a side street right next to the start line (we’d feed into the main road to cross the start), so we were able to see everyone start before us really close up.  And finally it was our turn and we were off.  

Now, normally when I start a race I’ll run for the first 30 seconds to one minute-excitement of the start and all that-and then settle into a walk for a bit to ease up on my shins before starting my intervals.  And that’s what I did for this race...though I probably ran a bit longer than I should have as my shins felt like what they feel like when I need a new pair of running shoes (and no, I did not have old shoes on).  This usually would be no big deal-I would just walk slower for longer before starting my intervals.  Except this course threw in a bit of a curveball.

After a small straight start, we turned right headed toward Watson Island...and the first bridge, only a quarter mile into the race.  Now, the bridge would normally be no problem-if it wasn’t so soon in the course.  My shins hadn’t had a chance to break themselves in and already I had to go up...up..up.  Those of you from other places in the world probably think I’m one heck of a softie, I mean it’s just a bridge right?  But I’m the very definition of a flatlander (South Florida native, and while I did live up in the NC mountains for five years, I was not active while there)-and I so very, very rarely ever have any kind of inclines in the races I do that I haven’t bothered with hill training so far.  Hitting that bridge right after the start and with my shins not really worked out yet HURT.  And so I slowed down...a lot.  Like almost 18 minute miles.  At least I had the cruise ships to look at along the MacArthur Causeway as I went along.  There was a second bridge along the causeway, but thankfully my shins had loosened up by then.  Too bad I was never able to get my speed back to normal.  Here's some pics from the first part of the race:
or this...
I'd rather be on this...

Approaching the 2nd bridge

 I do have to say, I’ve done a few races down in Miami Beach and I do like going along the Causeway.  Too bad most of the rest of the course did absolutely nothing for me.  We had maybe a little more than a mile (I’d guess around mile 4.5 through about 5.75) that was along Ocean Drive and the beach...other than that it was just going through the city streets, then along the Venetian Causeway-which had a whole bunch of construction along it.  It wouldn’t have been a big deal, but at the pace I was at, somewhere between mile 9 and mile 10 I (and everyone else still out on the course-which was a pretty good number of people) had to move up to the sidewalk as they were trying to open the roads back up.  Again, usually not a big deal when that happens, and I know that’s something I might encounter during a race if my pace is or falls below race pace (I’m just glad when they still let you finish and just move you to the sidewalks).  However, the sidewalks along the Venetian Causeway were mostly pretty narrow so there were many of us single-file and it was very difficult to pass anyone (which I was still able to do at some points, yay for me!).  

I tried to stay positive though-at least the skies were overcast so the sun wasn’t beating down.  We had only had a few sprinkles (for me back around mile 5 or so and only for a couple minutes) so it was not hot at all. Here’s my “keep your chin up” pic:

Once back on the mainland, it was a couple more miles through the city streets of Miami...but most in areas that didn’t look so hot (I wouldn’t walk there by myself if I wasn’t on a race course, especially around mile 12).  Our spectators for that part were mostly several homeless men sitting with their bags of stuff along the sidewalks.  By miles 11 and 12 I was dipping back into the 18 minute mile range.  Then finally during mile 13 I just totally eased off, knowing I was going to finish and not really caring at that point how long it took.  Remember that feeling I had like I really didn’t want to be there?  Miles 11-13 that feeling was roaring back full force.  I made the final hairpin curve to the can see how totally blah I was by then:

And then I was done.  Final chip time-3:55:37.  While I was not last-there were over 140 more people who came in after me-and not the slowest I’ve ever done 13.1 miles-I’ve never felt more tired, sore and just so totally wretched after a race as I did after this one.    I made my way through the finishers area (here, I smiled with my medal, I dug deep for that one)...

...and through the post-race food tents where there was plenty to eat since those people running the full marathon still had a couple more hours to go.  I was starving.  I looked around trying to find SIL (I knew she had finished almost an hour before me) and made my way over to some benches in a little mini-amphitheater area where a lot of runners had decided to crash.  I did not want to get up.  I would have been happy just laying down on the bench and staying there for the rest of the day.  But she found me and after we both just sat for a bit, we finally, very slowly, made our way back to her car for the ride back home.  Where I crashed on the couch with food and a blanket (after a shower of course) for the rest of the day.

Personally, I don’t know that I’d ever do this race again.  Not because my experience just sucked from a physical/mental standpoint, but because I really didn’t care for the course.  The other two half marathons I’ve done in the Miami Beach area were much more scenic and just felt more comfortable to me.  I’m not really a metro-urban city kind of girl and would rather be where there’s a lot more trees, water and so on than city streets with businesses and such.  I’m glad I did it, especially since it was the 10-year anniversary (yay for spinning bling!) and I got in for such a cheap entry fee...but for me it’s certainly not a priority for a future race.  I’ll gladly ride down to cheer for friends though come next year!

Sorry for such a long report and a mostly down-in-the-dumps one at that...but it does accurately capture my whole mood that day.  No really great pics with the exception of our group pics.  

Have you ever had one of those “I just don’t feel like doing this today” feelings before a race?  

Have you ever done the ING Miami Half Marathon?  What did you think of the course?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Disney Marathon Weekend 2012 Part 3-the Marathon Relay

When I signed up for Marathon Weekend 2012, I was initially only going to run the Marathon Relay (Chip & Dale) on Sunday, but wound up also signing up for the Half Marathon for Saturday.  I rationalized that a couple of ways-it was my SIL’s first Half Marathon, so I would run was a progression towards eventually going Goofy (2010 Half, 2011 Full, 2012 Half/Half, 2013 Half/Full) was an opportunity to do back-to-back half marathons on consecutive days which I’d never done before.  Whatever my reasoning at the time, this would be a very new experience for me since the closest I’d ever had two half marathons together was 2 weeks back in 2010.

After a take-it-easy first half on Saturday, I was up again in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday to make my way to the start area for the Marathon Relay AKA Chip & Dale.  I had partnered up with a fantastic ROTEr named Carol from Georgia after we found each other on the Running of the Ears forums looking for relay partners.  Since I was running the half on Saturday and the first part of the full marathon course for Sunday was pretty much the same course as the half, plus I had never run back-to-backs before and didn’t know what kind of shape my body would be in, I wanted to do the 2nd leg of the relay so I could see the 2nd half of the course; I was also concerned about being too slow if I was runner #1 due to the prior day’s race that I might get swept (I learned later that even I that were to happen, the runner #2’s would still get to start).  Thankfully Carol was just fine with being runner #1.

It was pretty chilly at 4am, all the way down to 44 degrees at the lowest!  I hadn’t worn my throwaway pants as my legs aren’t normally chilly-I had a throwaway fleece blanket instead ($2.50 at Walgreens, great deal!).  I did have on a long-sleeved t-shirt over my short-sleeved tech top so even with my fleece blanket I was still chilly.  After meeting up with the other ROTErs in the start area, those of us who were relayers running leg #2 went to the shuttles as a group to be transported to the exchange area over at the Magic Kingdom parking lot.  Once there, not much was going on.  There was a DJ and a big-screen that they showed clips of the race start, then later as the first of the runner #1’s started arriving, they would put them up on the screen.  Until then, though, there was not much to do except sit around and chat and try to keep warm.  Since it was so cold, the volunteers were actually handing out the mylar blankets to us to keep warm with the caveat that we give them to our partners as they came in.

Those mylars really helped!  We waited and watched as the sun came up-it was a beautiful morning with clear skies.  I had signed up to get text messages from the runner tracking so I knew where Carol was and when to expect her at the exchange area.  She was unbelievably consistent so once I went over to the chute where we’d exchange, I only waited a couple of minutes since I knew when she’d be there.  She was originally slated to start in corral F (out of H), but I believe was moved up to D based on proof of time from another race.  Between that and her AMAZING 2:43:43 time (you ROCK Carol!), she made it to the exchange around 8:30 am-ish where I got to take over.  I was glad I had done a Disney relay before (Wine & Dine 2011) so I knew what to expect in the exchange area.

It was a pretty interesting time for me to start.  Considering I’m usually in either the last or next to last corral where you have a lot of walkers and walk/runners, starting while there are tons of people just running (and running at a nice pace too!) was really weird...but cool at the same time since I’m never around people going that fast!  I made sure to get all the way over to the right as quick as I could.  I was a bit stiff at first but as I kept on everything started loosening up.  I didn’t need to wear my long-sleeved t-shirt for too long and tossed my throwaway gloves (those 50-cent kid ones you can get at Target) a little before arriving at Animal Kingdom.  The gloves I didn’t mind tossing but the top I kinda liked, it was really comfy so I tied it around my waist instead.  

One of the great things about being able to start the 2nd half of the full marathon course so much earlier than when I had reached that point the year before when I ran the full was how much more I was able to see since I wasn’t anywhere near in any danger of being swept.  Heck, I could have taken an hour longer than I did and not been swept (*bowing down to Carol for both her speed and agreeing to be my partner*).  As I entered the back of Animal Kingdom, they had actual animals out that you could pet and take pictures of:

And of course, the characters (yay for getting Minnie!):

As I passed by Expedition Everest, I was really tempted to take a ride since the line was super short (plus from what I heard, if you were a runner the cast members were letting you go to the front of the line), but I felt like that would be taking extra advantage of my huge head start from my partner so I kept on going.  From Animal Kingdom it was back to Hollywood Studios.  As we came across one of the overpasses, I snapped this shot of the backup of traffic due to the road closures from the race (you think the drivers were mad?):

But one of the killer spots of the full is this hill heading toward the Studios:

My legs, after doing the half the day before, were screaming at me saying “What the &%$#! do you think you’re doing?!?!?!”  Yeah, I walked up that you can probably tell, most people were walking.  I give a standing ovation to those that were running (or attempting to run) up that.  Remember, I’m a SoFla Flatlander to the max.  Our idea of a hill is a bridge over a highway.  And I personally live out near the Everglades in some of the flattest land down here, so just looking up that incline made my legs want to go run and hide LOL.

One of the best parts of reaching Hollywood Studios when I did the full last year was the candy stop--yummy chocolate!  Um, yeah-at 20+ miles that tastes heavenly.  At around 9 or 10-not so much...I thought I was going to gag and had to wash it away at the next water stop.  But that’s okay-I was in the Studios and could actually watch everything around me!  

Once I got out of the front of the Studios and started heading down the walkway toward the Boardwalk resort, I knew I was home free.  Not that I was anywhere near being herded on to a bus.  Just passing by the buses that were already there for those coming later knowing I didn’t have to worry about that was such a relief!  And once across to the Boardwalk side, past all the resorts there came my favorite part-entering Epcot for the final lap around the World Showcase before heading to the finish line!  Here’s some tiny pics from that:

I wound up finishing my half in 4:01:04, much slower than any other half I’ve done but I was thrilled to still be in the upright position after completing the half the day before.  Yes, I was sore.  Yes, I was tired.  Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat!  I thoroughly enjoyed the relay-it was wonderful being able to actually take in my surroundings during the 2nd half of the full marathon course instead of worrying that I would be taken away for not making the pace.  Our combined time was 6:59:45.  Yes, I made us a slower team, but still within the 7 hour pace time...not that we were anywhere near being swept away ;-).

The relay is not being held for 2013, but I’m hoping that’s just because of the 20th anniversary year for the full marathon with the course change and other “surprises” they have planned.  I would love to do the relay again, especially as runner #2.  Here’s some parting pics:

Have you ever done half marathons (or longer) on back-to-back days?  Would you do it again?  I sure would, especially Disney!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Marathon Weekend 2012 recap part 2-the Half Marathon

Marathon Weekend 2012-part 2

Yes, I know it is 10.5 months late.  Sometimes you just don’t get around to things when you want to, then when you do have time you just don’t feel like writing a race report.  I hate leaving things like this unfinished so I’m finally finishing my report from Disney’s Marathon Weekend 2012 events.

First up-Saturday and the Half Marathon.  The Disney Half is a fun race and always has a lot of first-timers...this time my SIL was the first-timer which was a big reason behind why I went ahead and registered, setting myself up for a double half marathon weekend.  We went to bed really early Friday night-around 7am-and I got up at 2am to have my breakfast and get ready.  We headed over to the buses and once at the pre-race area I made my way over to the “H” tent to find the ROTErs while SIL hunted down some friends that came up to run with her.

Once it was time to head to the start corrals, we made our way over together to get lined up.  We were in the next-to-last corral, so it was nice to know I had a bit of a cushion since I wanted to take it easy with the relay coming the next day-plus we started as close to the front as we could get.  I knew SIL was going to be faster than me (isn’t just about everyone?) so after our corral took off, I ran for the first minute or so, then backed off to walk for a while before starting my intervals, watching her head off ahead of me.  It was pretty comfortable out weather-wise-certainly better than the crazy frozen weekend of 2010!

I did my walk/run intervals for a while, then around mile 7 or 8 started backing off to mostly walk. I didn’t even see the bike people (the ones who carry those orange flags to warn that the pace girls AKA the balloon girls are nearby...meaning you’re falling behind pace) until after mile 9, but I never saw the orange flags this race and those balloon girls never passed me.  The cushion of my corral placement and the fact that we were up at the front of the corral handled that for me.  I wound up finishing in 3:45...yes, slower than the 16mm pace but again, this was mostly on purpose since I didn’t know how my body was going to react with two half marathons in one weekend.  I was just happy to have another half marathon complete and very proud of SIL for finishing her first one!

I didn’t take any pictures along the course this time, but here’s a pic of us afterward...not my best, but we both have Donald Duck bling around our necks so that’s all that matters!  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A little off topic-Glade Expressions, new smelly stuff!

There’s lots of cool sites out there that let you try free products, usually as a free sample or maybe as part of a survey where you get to test new products before they hit the store shelves to make sure they actually work.  One of my favorite sites is BzzAgent, a social marketing company that runs “campaigns” for different products.  How it works-you sign up on the web site, answer surveys so they can determine things like demographics and such, then they’ll notify you when there is a campaign that you would qualify to join.  For example, if you don’t have any babies or toddlers, you wouldn’t be offered a campaign that is about baby foods or toys.  Once you join a campaign, they’ll send you products (or coupons to pick those products up free at the store).  All you do in return is share your opinions about the products to others through reviews, Facebook posts, tweets, pictures and so on.

Anyway, I love to use Glade products, especially the plug-in oil warmers, so when I saw a campaign for the new Glade Expressions products come up, I immediately signed up to participate.  They sent me coupons to pick up one each of the fragrance mist and oil diffuser to try out myself and a bunch of high-value coupons for both items to share with others (yeah, those went REALLY fast LOL).  This is my review of those items.

I decided to pick up the Glade Expressions Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice scents for both the fragrance mist and oil diffuser so I'd have the same scent going throughout my house.  The oil diffuser was very easy to set up and the second I opened it up I just thought "Yum!"  I love those apple and spice smells and this smelled wonderful!  

I set the diffuser up in between my kitchen and living room.  It’s designed to look like an artsy-type piece so you can display it pretty much anywhere without it actually looking like it’s there to make things smell nice.  The only thing that was slightly disappointing (and why I gave 4 stars in my review instead of 5) was the reach of the fragrance.  You needed to be pretty close to the unit to smell it.  So while it did diffuse the fragrance, it didn't cover a very large area.  In that respect I believe the regular Glade plug-in units with the fans do a better job.

For the fragrance mist, we've been using it on an as-needed basis, like after cooking or if the bathroom gets used and any...ahem...lingering smells are around.  Or even if I just want to smell a boost of scent just for the heck of it.  I plan on keeping the fragrance mist handy for those situations going forward.  It’s basically a can of the scent with a decorative piece that goes over it-all you do is squeeze the decorative cover and the mist comes out.

Overall I was pleased with both products and would recommend both to anyone looking for a good way to introduce pleasing scents into their home.  Just be aware that, in my experience, the diffuser will only cover about a 100-150 square foot area well so you may want to get more than one (of the same scent) if you have larger rooms.  In addition to the Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice scent I got, both the diffuser and mist also come in Cotton & Italian Mandarin, Pineapple & Mangosteen and Lavender & Juniper Berry scents.  I think I’ll try the lavender one next, I’ve always loved lavender scents.

As far as prices go, when I got mine I went to Target where the diffuser ran $5.99 for the starter kit and $3.49 for a refill.  The fragrance mist was $2.99 and refills were $1.99.  I would consider those prices about average when compared to other scent products, but like most Glade products you should be able to score some coupons either online or in the Sunday paper in your coupon inserts.

Do you use fragrance products in your home?  What are your favorite products and scents?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rainbows and sweat

Yesterday was a scheduled 7-miler.  Started out fine, 76 degrees but 86% humidity-though there was a slight breeze at first.  I was trying to get out ahead of supposed storms that were moving in.  I did have a light sprinkle for about 10-15 minutes and considered turning around and trying later, but turned to see a rainbow (can you see it?) and decided to just keep on plugging-might as well just get the miles out of the way early and have the whole rest of the day to myself.
I did do small loops around my immediate area instead of my usual out and back that I prefer for anything over 4 miles so I'd be close to shelter.  Turns out that wasn't necessary, after that first sprinkle the rain stayed away.  Unfortunately, it did stay overcast...which is usually a good thing since it blocks our scalding sun, but when there's rain clouds around that means one thing-humidity.  Lots of it.  Meaning another sweat-fest of an outing.

Yeah, I'm used to it-SoFla native here ya know...but I prefer sweating from exerting myself, not from walking out the door just to stand outside.  Yes, there's a difference-humidity can really sap the life out of you which just makes the exertion part uncomfortable and very tiring.  Like, take a 3 hour nap in the afternoon tiring (yes, that's exactly what I did after we ran some errands).

Anyway, 6.93 miles in the books.  I am concerned though about pace.  Been having problems keeping up run intervals with all this humidity (makes it hard to breathe while running) which means overall pace has been horrible--bringing up big concerns for ToT.  Just keep swimming...right? Almost literally...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Virtual Racing: The Cupcake Classic 2012

Jess from Run with Jess has another fun free virtual race coming up-The Cupcake Classic 2012 .  It's a virtual 5K being held from October 14-21, 2012.  Lots of great sponsors and there'll be a random drawing at the end for prizes.  You can even buy a shirt if you'd like.

You may remember back in April I had fun doing her Jelly Bean run (you can catch up with my post from that here).  Virtual races are fun and there's less pressure since you can just run by yourself or with some friends instead of being surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of people.  Jess has a fantastic blog, so check her blog out and sign up for the virtual race!  You may even win a prize...and don't forget, it's free to enter!  And of course, don't forget to treat yourself to a cupcake when you're done ;-)


Monday, August 27, 2012

2012 Tower of Terror waivers posted!

Nothing like having the waivers posted to make a race seem closer and more real.  I pulled mine up and I'm going to be bib #10192.  Way way way in the back of the corrals...again.  I have no idea how many runners there are registered, but I'm hoping it's way more than 10,000 so I'm not in the very last corral.  I've avoided the last corral for my last few Disney races, crossing my fingers that it's the same for this one.

If you'd like to look up yours, click here 

5 weeks to go...

Friday, August 17, 2012

This or that

Okay, I’ve seen several different blogs doing a “this or that” for these so I’m jumping in too.  Not that I eat or drink any of these things too much...*hides guilty face*
So, here we go:
1. Coke or Pepsi?
Definitely Coke.  When I was a kid, I would go through phases where I’d like one, then switch to the other.  Now it’s all Coke, I think it's sweeter with a slight citrus touch.  But I’d rather have a Mr. Pibb.  
2. Caramel Apple or Cotton Candy?
Both are favorites, but I’ve got to go with cotton candy.  Especially when I can find the purple cotton candy at Disney cotton candy is less calories.  Yes, I know it is straight sugar.  What's your point LOL
3. Salt or Pepper?
Depends what I’m eating...I usually don’t use much of either, but I suppose I use more salt than pepper.
4. Pudding or Yogurt?
This depends on time of day.  Morning-yogurt, especially Yoplait’s Fiber One key lime pie flavor (only 50 calories!).  Afternoon or evening, pudding (Jell-O’s sugar free butterscotch or chocolate are my faves, especially with a little bit of Cool Whip Free on top!
5. American or Provolone Cheese?
Neither...well, okay American if it’s a grilled cheese sandwich.
6. Cookies or Brownies?
7. Pretzels or Chips?
Pretzels for sure, we always have a bag of pretzel sticks in the house.
8. Cake or Pie?
Cake please!  Make mine Red Velvet.
9. Oatmeal or Cereal?
Cereal.  Tried oatmeal and to me it just tastes like mush.
10. Mexican or Japanese?
Japanese...hibachi preferred, much more fun!
11. Chinese or Italian?
As my waistline will attest, ITALIAN!  I do love my pasta ;-)
12. Surf or Turf?
Most definitely turf.  My surf repertoire consists of one thing-tuna fish sandwiches.  Give me a nice, juicy steak any day of the week.
13. Pizza or Pasta?
While I love pizza, pasta will always win in my book (don’t forget the freshly grated cheese, please-preferably romano cheese)
14. Mustard or Ketchup?
Ketchup.  Mustard is gross and smells funny.  Yes, I know I’m weird.
15. Sandwich or Wrap?
Sandwich.  Wraps are too flimsy for this carb-lover.
16. Apples or Oranges?
Granny Smith apples, yum!
17. Strawberries or Raspberries?
Strawberries, the darker and sweeter the better.  LOVE berry season!
18. Blackberries or Blueberries?
Blueberries.  Love taking them to work as part of my snacks, good finger food while working.
19. Rice or Noodles?
Noodles.  As in pasta with tomato sauce noodles.  No other noodles please.  Again, weird picky eater here.
20. Spicy or Mild?
How about medium?  I always like a little spice, just please don’t burn a hole in my esophagus.
21. Salad or Soup?
Salad for sure.  
22. Soup or Stew?
Neither.  I’m not much for liquid-y food.
23. Salted or Sweet Popcorn?
Salted with a slight touch of butter (Pop Secret Homestyle is my fave)
24. Cauliflower or Broccoli?
Oh, ugh, ewwww and gross to both.  No thanks.
25. Onion Rings or French Fries?
French fries.  But can I please have them in the form of tater tots?  Much more fun to eat!
26. Burger or Hot Dog?
Hmmm...depends on the day.  If I had to pick one, I’d say burger with bacon and barbecue sauce.  But I do love my Ball Park smoked white turkey franks on a potato roll.
27. Popsicle or Ice Cream?
Ice Cream.  Make mine a Cold Stone Cake Batter please (with cookie dough mixed in)
28. Coffee or Tea?
Tea.  We are tea crazy in our house...especially from Teavana.  Coffee is just way too bitter.
29. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Wow.  I’m stumped.  I’d say vanilla, though if you asked me when I was much younger I’d have said chocolate.
30. Sausage or Bacon?
No brainer.  Bacon please!
31. Peanut butter or almond butter?
Peanut butter...with grape jelly
32. Salty or Sweet?
Sweet for sure.
33. Fried or Scrambled Eggs?
Um, no thank you to either.  I may have loved my morning egg when I was an infant/toddler (according to my mom), but now...yuck!
34. Waffles or Pancakes?
Pancakes...nice and fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

Dang, now I’m hungry.  So, what are your choices?  Don't play the healthy card and say "neither"...what do you REALLY like if you could have whatever you want, no consequences?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lizards and Butterflies

Sunday morning miles--start at 80 degrees-->84 degrees, 83% humidity-->75% humidity

Um, yeah...can you say sweaty?  I had to peel my clothes off afterward.  But that’s 4.15 miles done with the rest of the day ahead to enjoy.  I’m very glad I have a haircut this afternoon as even with my hair in a ponytail thru the back of my hat, it’s gotten long enough that it was sticking to the top of my back, neck and shoulders.  While I wouldn’t mind my hair growing longer, it’s just too annoying for workouts.  I could always pigtail it, but I’ve got way too many layers cut in to try in an attempt get some body out of my very fine hair, so braids just wind up having hair sticking out every which way.

So, I had a couple of peeves going on today.  First--attention all SoFla lizards!  While I respect the fact that you are animals who live outside so pretty much everywhere outside is your home, why oh why oh why do you have to wait until the very last second as I’m coming by to race from one side of the sidewalk to the other?  You have been very lucky so far, but I refuse to hurt myself pulling up or over-lunging to miss stepping on you of these days it’ll be SQUISH! And at this point I won’t feel badly about it.

Second--my town is actually very fitness-friendly with miles and miles of sidewalks and bike lanes as well as 14 parks plus a YMCA center in our 27-square mile town of just over 65,000 residents.  In fact, most of the sidewalks here are usually 1.5 times as wide as your average sidewalk with many areas at least 2 to 2.5 times as wide.  We have tons (yes, I’m not exaggerating) of cyclists and dozens of bike groups that ride out here, from packs of 2-4 people to well over 100 at a time that will zoom by as I’m doing my miles.  It’s actually pretty exhilarating to be walking or running along and have such large groups flying by.

That said, there are some cyclists to choose not to use the bike lanes and instead ride on the sidewalks.  And I’m fine with that, especially when there’s kids riding.  But when I’m walking or running along all the way to one side of the sidewalk and you are riding two abreast, why do you think that I’m the one who has to move over into the grass while you pass by?  Seriously, and with our sidewalks being as wide as they are?  In the state of Florida, the law says you have to yield the right of way to pedestrians, not the other way around.

Sorry, but this happened to me twice this week so it makes me grumble.

On the “it makes you smile” side today--lots of butterflies out this morning, even as humid as it was.  Made me want to stop and try to get one to land on my hand (love it when they do that), but they were more interested in the flowers than me.  They did make me smile as I passed by though.  Not used to seeing them out early in the morning when it’s still so humid out.  Maybe it’s a sign summer weather will give way to fall weather sooner.  Yeah, not likely but I can dream, right?  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the butterflies :-)

Oh...only 7 weeks left until the Tower of Terror 10 miler!  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Getting motivated for short races; A new adventure

So right now I only have two races on my schedule-the Tower of Terror 10 Miler at the end of September and the Disney Full Marathon in January.  If I was only training for the full, I wouldn’t need to start my “official” training plan until the last week of August.  With the 10-miler on the schedule, my plan started two weeks ago.  Now I will admit, I kinda stink at cross-training days...I always have (even though I KNOW those days will only help me overall).  I don’t mind yoga or upper body weights so much, it’s the lower body (meh) and core (UGH UGH UGH) that I’m not fond of.  But, I do usually stick pretty close to my mileage days, maybe with some flip-flops here and there--meaning flip-flopping miles with cross training days--when needed due to weather or work or life.

What gets me is my thinking about the 10-miler.  “Oh, it’s ONLY a 10-miler, no biggie”.  And so the motivation to actually DO the training is quite a bit lacking.  Well, at least the cross training part.I even look at the mileage days and think “Eh, just 2 miles today...whatever”.  After completing 9 half marathons and one full marathon, 10 miles just doesn’t seem like something to get excited over.  Is that crazy or what?  When I tell a non-runner friend/co-worker that I’m doing a 10-mile race, they can’t fathom going that far--but then again, neither could I when I first started out.

So the question now is, how to motivate for those shorter distances?  And how to motivate for cross-training in general?  I also train solo-both cross-training and mileage.  That makes it all too easy to blow off a day since I don’t have anyone in my face to be accountable to.  I’m not at all concerned about the full marathon portion of the training.  I actually enjoyed that last time (well, at least the mileage part...), though I still ran into the same motivation issue for the cross-training.  What’s a good way to motivate?  I was thinking of using a rewards system...has anyone ever tried that as a motivation tool for their training?

Okay, now on the the new adventure.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you probably know I am a Disney freak.  It is my favorite place in the USA to vacation, whether just for a quick weekend or something much longer.  I’m always looking to plan my next trip (often because there’s a Disney race going on!).  Because I love Disney so much...and just travel in general...I decided to work on becoming a Disney Vacation Planner.  After weeks (well, almost two months actually) of comparing host travel agencies, then choosing my agency and getting set up, I am now able to plan and book vacations-Disney or pretty much anywhere else you can think of!

I’ve set up my own Facebook page and today launched my very own website,  Let me tell you, putting together a website is HARD work!  My brain was totally fried.  I did have lots of help from my techie DH (thanks honey!) without whom I’d have floundered around for ages.  I did teach myself some new tricks but am glad DH IS a techie because if he wasn’t I probably wouldn’t have attempted the website (or if I did I’d be working on it for months before it would be presentable).

Anyway, please take a look and tell me what you think.  I want to make sure the site is user-friendly and appreciate any and all feedback!  Oh, and if you need a vacation quote......  ;-) just let me know.  I’ll be adding a link of some kind here (or maybe a page, like my training calendar is a page and “My Races” is a page, etc) for anyone who may need vacation planning/booking assistance.

Looking forward to January and this again...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fall Training kickoff!

So today was day 1 of my Fall race training schedule-30 minutes of cross-training. Decided to take an easy walk around the neighborhood...threw in a single run interval just for kicks but overall took it very easy with an average 19mm pace. Temperature was 77 degrees with 77% humidity and one of those barely-there breezes after we had storms come through this afternoon. At least it was better than if I had gone out this morning--by the time I woke up it was already in the 80s. Yeah, just love SoFla summer weather.

I'm thinking I'll be moving most of my cross training indoors for a couple of months...but not the miles for run/walks. I just can't do that on a treadmill, no how no way. Kudos to those of you who can...I'll brave the heat and humidity (what the heck, I'm a South Florida native, I'm used to it anyway).

Anyway, on tap for tomorrow is upper body weights plus yoga. I'm looking forward to getting back to yoga, I always feel so nice and stretched out afterward. I'm hoping that adding it along with regular strength/core training will help out when my back muscles get sore while walking/running. I really suck at staying on a regular core training schedule--upper body weights I love, lower body is okay...but core? Ugh, double ugh and phooey. Yeah, I know once my core is strengthened it gets better but dang, the road to getting there is HARD.

You know what they say though...nothing worth having is ever easy. And..........

And so, gotta make sure I do it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My training calendar-now LIVE on my blog!

I figured how to embed a Google calendar, so my planned training calendar is now live on my blog on the "Training Calendar" page here.  I stress the word "planned" since of course days can flip-flop and be adjusted depending on what pops up in the family/friend/work world-if there's one thing I've learned during prior race training, it's that you have to be flexible.  There's still some tweaking to happen as time goes on.  This plan is both a Tower of Terror 10-miler and WDW Full Marathon plan merged together so it's about twice as long as just the full marathon plan by I'm hoping my endurance on the run intervals will grow faster so maybe once it's time for the full marathon I could hopefully be at a 2 minute walk/2 minute run instead of the 3/2 that's currently on schedule.  And again, I might alter it to make it so I'm walk/running every other day instead of just 3 days per week (so would be 3 days/4 days repeated), I just am not sure how to change the intervals if I do that.

Planning on really working on the yoga this time around (which I love) as well as core strength workouts (which I hate).  I'll probably be trying the 100 pushups program again, starting with wall pushups (yes my upper body strength is laughable), then hopefully moving on to "girly" pushups (from the knees but on the floor)...then if I'm really dedicated finally a "REAL" pushup.  Miracles do happen you know.

Did I say yet I'm going to try the morning-run thing?  We'll see how that goes.  It's cooler, just more humid.  Like 95%+ humid.  But the 90+ degree blaring sun won't be out to play yet.  It's a trade-off, need to see what's the lesser of the two evils.  Anything to stay away from that awful modern-day torture device known as the treadmill.

One thing at a time.  First to tackle this:

Then we move on to this (typed with the determined-face smiley):
Damn straight!

Oh, and if you see something amiss in the calendar or have suggestions or questions, please let me know.  The ToT part is based off of Hal Higdon's 15K/10 mile novice training plan and the WDW Full Marathon part is based off of the Walk/Run Marathon plan in Marathoning for Mortals...both with some slight alterations from me.  And yes, I know June and half of July is empty...the calendar is my "official" fall/winter training calendar.

Do you have your training plan in place yet?  What plan(s) do you use?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Yup, officially registered for the 2013 Disney Marathon!

I'd already committed to doing the Disney full marathon in January 2013, but now it's official-I handed my money over to the mouse this evening.

I'm actually looking forward to that crazy training again, I've already filled up my calendar with a blended plan that starts July 23 with Tower of Terror training, then moves in to the training for the Disney full.  Right now it's a 3-day-per-week running plan, but I'm thinking of altering it to every other day being a run day (which would mean my long run day would alternate back and forth between Saturday and Sunday).  I could just turn one of my cross-training days into the extra run day, but I think I prefer having the day in between each run day for recovery.  Any thoughts on that?

The only thing I'm not looking forward to about training?  Starting July 23.  No, I don't mean I want to procrastinate because I don't feel like training--I really am looking forward to it.  I mean the time of year.  Smack dab in the middle of the scalding SoFla summer when we'll be having daily high temps in the mid- to upper 90s...not to mention the frequent thunderstorms.

And yes, my training WILL be outside.  I more than despise the treadmill for running-the last time I tried running on one, I felt so wrong, so uncomfortable, I had to immediately stop.  I can't even explain what it felt like.  I tried just walking on it to finish out my training session but couldn't even do that.  I'd rather chance the heat and rain...thankfully there are many shaded areas around my neighborhood to help out.

And honestly, my body is used to it. When I was training for my first-ever half marathon (2010 Disney Half), even waiting until an hour before sunset to go out (during the week when I couldn't train in the mornings) it was still in the mid- to upper 80s...and I still went out.  I didn't know any better, I figured everyone trained like this, didn't they?  And since I've lived here in SoFla for over 35 years of my life, the temps just seemed normal to me anyway.  But don't get me wrong-I'll take those temps in the 40s at the start line every time!

Looking forward to seeing all the Running of the Ears peeps for another spectacular Marathon Weekend at my favorite place on earth!

Have you registered yet?  Which race are you doing?
Shot from the 2011 Disney Marathon...I wouldn't have minded making a permanent stop here ;-)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Some good news...and back to the training!

Check out my post on my other blog, The Disney World Files, about my winning a contest for a great Disney prize!

And to prep myself to properly enjoy said prize...back to the grindstone!  Took all my measurements yesterday and weighed in.  Did my grocery shopping today to re-stock with the proper foods (not that I hadn't been all along-most of my backsliding had to do with eating out and getting hooked on soda again)...loving Publix right now as they had blueberries on sale for $1.99 a pint!  I bought two pints which I know will be gone by the end of the weekend-even with just me eating them all by myself.  Yum!

I've got my race training schedule on the calendar for the Tower of Terror 10-miler at the end of September and the Disney FULL marathon in January (yup, you read that right, going to do the full again!).  My "official" training doesn't start for another 6 weeks so I might play around with C25K for a bit until then...and work on my yoga.  I want to get the pound-dropping going before the real meat of my training schedule hits since that's when it gets soooo hard to keep dropping those pounds with the sheer volume of miles I'll be doing.

Those are actually the only races on my calendar right now.  Toying with the idea of throwing in a half marathon at the right point during my full marathon training schedule but I haven't made my mind up on that one yet.

Come on peeps...I'm doing this mostly all by myself so would love to have some online buddies to check in with and remain accountable to.  Drop me a line on my contact me page if you're interested.

Looking forward to anniversary bling at Mickey XX!  Time for another picture like this:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A non-Disney vacation? Blasphemy! But oh so relaxing...

Every now and then I go on vacation---to somewhere other than Disney World.  Shocker, right?  I wasn’t planning on doing anything over Memorial Day weekend but my mom asked if I wanted to join her at her favorite vacation spot so I decided to tag along.  I didn’t go far...just went over to the west coast to Sanibel Island.  I left after work on Friday (we got out around 1:30pm) and went home Monday afternoon.
When I was a kid our parents would take us over to Sanibel and Captiva Island every now and then.  Now, both my mom and my brother go over once or twice a year and stay at a condo place on the beach (gulf side) called Sanibel Arms West which is where we were for this trip.  We had a nice 2-bedroom/2-bath condo.  We weren’t right on the beach, but it was just on the other side of the little parking maybe 50 feet away.  Yeah, close enough for me.
Our building is in between these two that are right on the beach--see it back there?
Driving in to Sanibel is pretty nice, you get to drive over the causeway which is three bridges hopping little land areas.  The first bridge is pretty steep (I certainly wouldn’t want to see it during a race!) so it looks like you’re driving up into the steep you can’t even see the buildings on the other side.  The next two are mostly flat.  When I was driving over the second one, I was passed by a pelican flying along the side of the bridge going the opposite way.  Then onto the island and a couple of minutes later I’m pulling in to my home away from home for the holiday weekend.
Friday night I was just all tuckered out from a busy week so just relaxed in the condo.  My mom made us dinner (nice perk of having a condo instead of a hotel room, a kitchen so you don’t have to pay to eat out every meal) and I wound up falling asleep just after 10pm.  I got to sleep a little over 9 hours before finally getting up in the morning.  After some breakfast I grabbed a chair, my beach towel and book and headed across the walkway down to the beach.  No worries--I was smothered in sunscreen and didn’t turn pink at all.  A few hours on the beach reading in the morning until the temps started to soar (we got all the way up to 93 on Saturday), then out for some island shopping before heading to the Jacaranda Restaurant for dinner...with a gift certificate of course.  They had some amazing olive oil infused with garlic and rosemary to dip our bread in (along with parmesan cheese...yum!).  
Trail down to the beach

These little birdies were so cute running from the waves on their tiny birdie legs...

Now this is the life...
Storm coming in Saturday night after was a doozy!

Shortly after getting back from dinner we had a crazy storm-torrential rain, wind and lots of thunder and lightning.  Had a great spot on our screened in patio to watch the show. Early to bed again so I could head back out to the beach early...can’t believe I was already out there by 7:45 or so on Sunday. This time I had an umbrella for shade and stayed on the beach until noon.
A good book, sun, sand, waves...ahhhh......
The birdies liked the beach too
Saw several people both Saturday and Sunday jogging on the beach, including some lady in a bikini and flip-flops jogging at a pretty good clip...IN FLIP-FLOPS.  Nuts.  One guy came by at about the same pace the marathon leaders passed by when I was working the water stop at the Disney marathon in 2010.  Me?  I had no desire to move any faster than a very...very...very leisurely stroll.  Maybe with another “very” in there.  I was even doing some shell-hunting.  For me, beach=relax.

Monday dawned a bit cloudy but I still went out to sit and read on the beach for a couple of hours before packing up to head back home.  It may sound boring to some of you--just sitting on the beach and reading for the whole holiday weekend, but for me it was pure relaxation.
If you’re looking for a nice place to have a beach vacation here in Florida, I highly recommend Sanibel.  One thing to know before going though--this is very much a shell beach.  There are tons of beautiful shells all over the place (including small conch shells--but PLEASE check first before just grabbing them up, many still have the animals inside.  Please put those back in the water and move on until you find an empty one!) you may want to bring water shoes or wear sandals to walk the beach in-ones you don’t mind walking in the water while wearing.  Right by the water’s edge is usually better, but right before and right after there are shells everywhere so it can be a bit ouchie on your feet.  Regardless, it’s still a fantastic place to relax.

Don’t forget to walk all the way down to the lighthouse...