Archives for March 2016

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: The Castaway Cay Day That Wasn’t

This is the last installment of our cruise recap, sad times! Unfortunately, this cruise did not end on a high note for us. Read on.

We woke up to gloomy skys, but I didn’t care. We were soon going to dock at my FAVORITE place on earth, Castaway Cay. A little gloom was not going to stop my happiness (oh really now.) We got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to the tube to get our bibs for the 5k and wait for instructions. Keep in mind there are no windows down here so we couldn’t see what was going on with docking.

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We waited…and we waited…and I knew we should have docked by now. Finally, someone got on the microphone and said that the wind was too high for us to dock, and was blowing us away from the dock. The captain was going to try again in 1.5 hours, and they were waiting to get the word on what to do about the 5k. We waited around about 20-30 minutes before we got the verdict.

We were not postponing the 5k until we (hopefully) docked later, but we were going to run around the ship….really. IMG_1527

Seven and a half laps to be exact. The boat is HUGE, so yup, that’s what it took to run a 5k. Now, this is where I got annoyed. I realize I am risking backlash by writing this, but honestly it got me so fired up that I am ok with people not agreeing with me. I know medals for people not finishing and runDisney races are a hot topic, but in this case, the people in question didn’t even attempt to START the race, so here goes…They told everyone that if they didn’t want to run around the ship, that they could “promise to run a 5k at home in the next few days” and come get their medals now and leave.

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Huh? If you are already dressed to run a 5k, and were planning to run said 5k…why not just go ahead and run it RIGHT NOW? There were around 400 people in the room, and only about 60 stayed to run. EVERYONE ELSE GOT UP, AND COLLECTED THEIR MEDALS AND LEFT! Not only that, the race is for those 10 and up, but they were handing medals out to everyone! Little boys and girls, anyone who wanted one. (The kids were there because the adults were going to drop them at the kids club before the race). Here is a picture of everyone jumping up to get their medals. I just couldn’t believe it.

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Now, I would like to believe these people went home and ran a 5k, really I do….(and props to you if you did follow through, you are my hero), but I’m also not dumb, and know that for the majority this probably did not happen. A lot of the other people that stayed to run were very annoyed as well. They are getting a medal for a race they didn’t even START? I was so worked up, that Bobby and I actually ran really fast for our 5k.

They send us out in two groups so we wouldn’t be all bunched up, and then off we went, 7.5 laps, around, and around, and around. It. was. so. boring. There were a few sweet families that stayed on the side and cheered for us as we went by, and Disney even put out a “water stop” for us on the deck which was nice of them. It was difficult to run because if you have ever run on a Disney boat you know this, but there are some tight spaces at certain points. Now imagine 60 runners PLUS people playing shuffleboard/just walking around the deck for enjoyment. There was lots of stopping and going, weaving and “excuse me, on your left” going on. After we finished, we met in the pub for water and to get our earned medals, and then back to the tube to collect our belongings.

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In the elevator we had the chance to chat with some people who also ran and were frustrated that people who didn’t even attempt to start the run got medals, so it made me feel better we weren’t the only ones. I was very proud of myself for sticking out a boring frustrating run and that medal means more to me now.

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(note how windy it was).

So even though I didn’t sail on the cruise to complete the castaway challenge and get the special extra medal, I DID still technically complete the challenge!

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Later that day I saw people walking around wearing their medals that I distinctly remember getting up and getting the medal without running. Really? sigh. About that time, we tried to dock again, and could not do so, the winds had not changed. The captain tried a third and final time an hour later. It was SO disheartening to be looking over our balcony, just a few hundred yards from the island, seeing all the workers standing out there waiting to receive us, and have us get close, only to slowly drift and pull away again. I’m not going to lie. I cried. I cried because I was frustrated about the morning race, sad it was our last day, and mad I was not getting to go to my favorite place, the highlight of my cruise. It may sound pathetic, but in that moment, Heather was not having a good day and I’m owning it.

The rest of the day was pretty boring. We ate lunch, took a nap, watched TV in the room, etc. There was a noticeable change in the mood of everyone on the ship. We had already had 3 sea days, so we honestly were just a little bored. It was rainy and windy so there was no laying out by the pool which I would have been perfectly fine with doing.

It was finally dinner time, and we were at Enchanted Garden.

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Here we are with our new friends and tablemates. We all decided to get mickey bars that night. Cheers!

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Back in our room this guy was waiting. We sadly put our luggage in the hall, and I honestly can’t remember what else we did that night!

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The next morning we had breakfast at the buffet before getting off the ship and taking the bus to the airport. I am so glad we had the opportunity to go on this trip, but between me being sick/losing my voice, lots of rain and not going to Castaway Cay, it wasn’t our best cruise. That just means we have to go again to make up for it, right?

Thanks so much for following along with this trip report. It was fun to relive the good times from the cruise with you all.

QOTD: ever run a 5k on a ship? Do you like Mickey bars?

More than Running

I started going to boot camp classes 3-4 times a week last November. I had several reasons for jumping out of my comfort zone, and I ended up getting SO much more out of it than I planned.

As a runner, I was in a rut. I wasn’t getting faster, I kept getting hurt, I was getting bored, and still had not lost all my baby weight despite running 4 times a week/approximately 20-25 miles a week. Sound familiar to anyone? I’m guessing it does.

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(Me last March at the LA marathon expo. I was too embarrassed to show this photo after it was taken. I had been MARATHON TRAINING but was still not dropping my post baby weight. This was 5 months post partum.)

I had “lifted weights” in the past (you know, the little 5 pound dumbbells) and worked out on the weight machines occasionally at the gym before calling it a day, but that was the extent of my “strength training”.

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I had QUITE the rude awakening when I went to my first week of class. Clearly I had not been pushing myself hard enough, and while it was very tough, it felt SO GOOD to work hard, lift heavy things, and get stronger and leaner.

We do everything from box jumps, to sled pushes, to sprints, to squats with the bar and weight, to TRX, to the rowers. It’s DIFFERENT every time, and I’m constantly sore which is not a bad thing. Part of the price you pay for boot camp includes getting tested on their super high tech body fat machine periodically. Not only was I losing weight, but I was GAINING muscle mass. I eventually stopped losing weight but have still been gaining muscle, and that is fine by me. This next session ends next Friday, and I can’t wait to do the test again to see where I am now (I haven’t done it since January).

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The most surprising but yet welcomed change has been in my running. Yes, we do some running in boot camp but never over a mile, or we may do some sprints, but nothing long distance. However, with me only running one day a week on my own, maybe every other week I will run twice, I am GETTING FASTER.

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Let that sink in. I went from running 3-4 times a week to 1-2, but yet I AM GETTING FASTER. I have more endurance, my body is overall stronger so it can withstand longer distances at a faster pace, and I just FEEL better when I am running, like I can hold myself up better. I don’t get winded as quickly, and since I have cut back on the frequency, when I am running I actually ENJOY it now. I’m very close to my PR’s in every race distance from pre-baby, and I know if I keep at it and get healthy (I’m talking to you, right hip!) I will shatter them all soon.

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Why do I tell you all this? Because I don’t want you to wait as long as I did to get strong to benefit my running, and my health in general. I used to get so frustrated with my lack of motivation, lack of progress, and general “softness” of my body, but now I am proud and strong, and it’s such a great feeling. It’s great to be a runner, but my advice to you is don’t JUST be a runner. Try really really hard to add in at least 1-2 days of REAL, HARD, kick your butt strength work, and I promise you will see improvements all across the board. If you have any specific questions about things I have been doing let me know!

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QOTD: Do you strength train? Have you noticed a difference in your body or your running?

Disney Days at Princess Half Weekend

I’ve already recapped the runDisney expo as well as the 10k and half marathon, but not what Jen and I did on the other days we were in Walt Disney World.

Jen picked me up from the airport Friday and we went to the expo before checking into Hilton Bonnet Creek.

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Check out the gorgeous view from our room.

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We ate dinner at the hotel, and called it an early night.

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The next day was the 10k, and after the race we went to Celebration and had Chick-fil-A biscuits, and then headed back to the resort to shower and change before going BACK to EPCOT. We headed straight for Via Napoli, craving some pizza for lunch.

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It was a gorgeous day and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere. We may or may not have eaten that entire thing, plus we both had appetizers.

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Wasn’t I just here?

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We walked around world showcase and went to Test Track, the Nemo ride, and Spaceship earth.

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But not before getting some much needed caffeine. We were both delirious! I forgot which direction Spaceship Earth was when we came out of Starbucks. That’s when you KNOW I’m tired!

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Can’t you tell we need sleep?

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We went back to the resort and sat outside by the pool and had dinner at a restaurant called Beech. The temperature was perfect, and the food was really good.

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The day had been very peaceful and relaxing, and we only had one race to go!

The next day we ran the half marathon, then came back to the room, packed up and loaded up the car. Then we headed downstairs to our amazing pool cabana, compliments of the resort, so sweet!

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These cabanas can be rented for a full day for $300 and include lounge chairs, a sofa, television, refrigerator with snacks and drinks, a safe, and a button to press to call over a server if you need food and drinks.

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We spent all afternoon napping, eating, and relaxing at the pool. It was glorious, and an amazing special treat after all the running we had just done!

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By late afternoon it was sadly time to go, so we drove over to our home for the next two nights, Port Orleans Riverside. We got SUPER lucky and have a room in a building very close to the food court. However, that night we had dinner plans at California Grill! Let’s just say I’m so glad I packed my flats, my feet were hurtin’!

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After dinner we were craving something sweet so we walked to the food court and I got a Mickey ice cream sandwich. It hit the spot!

The next morning we ate breakfast in the food court before driving over to the Magic Kingdom. I HAD to get a Mickey Waffle, of course.

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it was more crowded than I expected for a Monday, but there was nothing we “had” to do so it was ok.

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First stop, Starbucks!

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We rode Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, Big Thunder Mountain, the people mover, and I think that’s pretty much it! We had lunch at Cosmic Ray’s, and then just walked around a bit.

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It was starting to get pretty warm and more crowded, so we went to the candy store then said farewell and took the monorail to the Polynesian for an afternoon treat.

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We again enjoyed sitting outside eating our treats (notice a theme of all the JUNK FOOD I ate on this trip?!?) and I was happy to get my Dole whip float.

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We got back to the resort and changed clothes before hopping a boat to Disney Springs. We had dinner at Earl of Sandwich, and for dessert, you guessed it…more ice cream!

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We hit up some of the shops, then decided to take the boat back to the resort. When we were about to head back, I realized New Orleans was going to be having severe weather when I was flying into the airport the next day…as in the schools were closing and they were telling people to stay home! I searched several weather sites, talked to my parents about what the local news was saying, and called Southwest trying to change my flight to an earlier one to beat the weather. They said there was no severe weather (HAHA) and it would be $175 for the new flight. Guess I was taking my chances with the weather, but I was super nervous. (you can see what happened here.)

The next morning was sad. Jen left around 6:30 and I had an hour to wait until the saddest bus ever came to pick me up. I was also super nervous about my flight with the weather. I did not want to be stuck in the Orlando airport all day or be on a flight that couldn’t land, I just wanted to snap my fingers and be home. I sat outside on a rocking chair trying to soak up every last bit of “Disney” that I could before I had to go back to reality. Always such a sad day.

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It was definitely a whirlwind trip but it was also a lot of fun, and I am glad we were able to make it happen last minute. I sadly have zero Disney trips on my calendar right now “officially”, but am hoping to take Emma Kate in the late fall. I just can’t with the heat haha.

QOTD: What “must do” rides are your favorite in WDW?

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Day 6

In my last installment, we left off after our Grand Cayman day and dinner at delicious Palo. The next day was a big one, as it was the first ever Star Wars Day at sea. This had been hyped up immensely, and while they did do some things right and had the right idea, it wasn’t all executed well.

The day before we had two port adventure tickets on or bed telling us to be at the Tube at 9:15 for an immersive character experience. We had brunch at Palo at 10:30, so we decided to skip breakfast, do our character meet, then get ready to eat. We stood in line at the tube for ten minutes….to take a picture with a bounty hunter. You are not told ahead of time who will be your character. Some people got two characters at one time. Some people got 2-3 tickets. We got two (one the next day which was weird). It was just a photo, nothing immersive about it so that was kind of a let down.

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We decided to head to the lobby because there were supposed to be characters walking around all day. Everyone was just kind of standing around waiting. These were the only ones we saw, below.

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We decided to give up, and go get ready for brunch.

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We LOVE Palo brunch. Before we ever did Palo dinner, we did brunch and it became a trip highlight for us. It’s a buffet  but there are also plated items you can order as well. The chicken parmesan is amazing. As is the dessert table.

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After we sufficiently stuffed ourselves, we changed and headed up to the pool deck to relax and do some reading. I ordered the Star Wars drink of the day which was called “galaxy in a glass”. it was like a strawberry smoothie but I tasted zero alcohol in it which was a bummer considering the price.

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The quick service locations on the pool deck also had Star Wars themed food.

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The ship horn played Star Wars music a couple of times throughout the day, but other then that there wasn’t the fanfare that we expected. The stores had TONS of great merchandise, though commemorating Star Wars Day at Sea.

We also finally had a chance to ride the Aqua Duck in the afternoon. We passed along the entire length of Cuba all day, so that was cool to see as well!

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We may have gotten some ice cream, too.

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We eventually got ready for dinner at Animators Palate.

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One thing that was kind of cool was since this was the inaugural Star Wars Day at Sea, we were the first ones to hold the special new menus.

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All the food was themed which was cute.

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After dinner, we made our way to the Walt Disney Theater for a showing of the new movie, the Force Awakens, in 3D. There was plenty of Star Wars merchandise at the concession stand as well.

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After the movie, we had to hustle to the pool deck for the deck party and fireworks. The fireworks were cool set to Star Wars music, but the deck party/stage show was lacking. We thought there would be a fight scene, or storm troopers taking over the ship, etc, but it was nothing like that.

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Instead of having a buffet on pirate night, we had one after the deck party, and they had it decorated very nicely. The food was pretty much the same as you see on pirate night with a few additions, but I loved all the décor!

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Crepes for the win!

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We were bummed that the adult trivia challenge was at the same time as the buffet, because I know Bobby would have done really well!

We went to bed after we ate, all in all a good relaxing day. I just think Disney hyped up the day a little too much then didn’t deliver, but hopefully they will make improvements for the future, because there is a lot of potential!

QOTD: Do you like Star Wars? Have you ever done Palo brunch?

Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Recap 2016

At the end of February, I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans half marathon once again. This race would be a little different for me as I was running it by myself for the first time, and I was coming off of a challenge weekend (10k and half marathon) in Walt Disney World. I was still excited to run my hometown race, and the weather was looking perfect!

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What was it I said about the weather? It was COLD that morning. I much prefer to run in the cold though, and I knew it would be warming up quickly as soon as the sun came up. I left my hotel room and made my way to the VIP hotel. I went in and grabbed a little coffee and a bagel, and met a girl from new York who is running a half marathon in all 50 states! It  was really cool to hear her story.

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The best thing about the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans VIP package that you can purchase is being able to use real bathrooms before the start, and being able to hang out in the warmth of a building and then just walk right out to your corral.

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I sat in the hall in my jacket and stretched for several minutes then used the restroom one last time (thanks, coffee, I guess I had too much liquid!) and then handed over my bag for private gear check before walking a block down to my corral only five minutes before the 7:30 start. I was in corral 7, so I knew I wouldn’t miss anything, but wanted to get out before the start so I could cross the street to get where I needed to go.

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Well, one thing I wasn’t expecting was utter chaos! There were still SO many people trying to get into their corrals, and since Rock ‘N’ Roll doesn’t enforce what corral you get into, all of the first corrals were so jam packed that people couldn’t even get into them. I finally found the sign for corral seven and jumped through the opening. As we were singing the national anthem, I looked around and realized I had accidentally jumped into the back of 6 instead of the front of 7. Dang it! I made my way to the very back of 6 as to not impede any runners, because there was no way I could get out onto the street and back a corral at this point, as you can see from the below photo.

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We made our way up to the start, and it was time to go! I was SO not mentally prepared for this race and had a moment of “oh, wait, I have to run 13.1 miles now!” right as our corral took off. Well, nothing I could do now but put in my headphones and run for a couple of hours!

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My first mile felt really good and I ran the pace I wanted to run the whole race in. It was a little crowded, but I have run in much worse so it didn’t really bother me too much. The course is very familiar to me, and I was most concerned with the road conditions so I kept my head down a lot.

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We were running on St. Charles where the beautiful old mansion are, and right after we hit mile two, I got a pain in my right hip. uh oh. This is what I was afraid of. When I ran the Glass Slipper Challenge the weekend before, I did fine in the 10k, but about midway through the half my hip started to hurt. It got worse and worse as the race went on, but I was able to finish. The whole week prior to this race, I didn’t work out at all, and just foam rolled and stretched in the hope of it getting better and not bothering me. No such luck apparently. I had taken Tylenol prior to the race start and it was already hurting me at mile two…this was going to be a long race.

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I had a quick moment of panic where I wanted to just sit on the curb and cry. I thought to myself…you have three choices here. One, you can quit now. Two, you can keep going at a run walk as to not be in pain and finish sometime tomorrow (haha) or three, you can SUCK IT UP, fight through the pain and finish as strong as possible and be proud of your effort. About that time, I saw a med tent. I grabbed some more Tylenol, and decided to just got for it. I picked a number, 10:00 pace, and decided to just try and hold that pace for as long as I could. About that time, the song “Fight Song” came on, and I started tearing up. I CAN do this, I WANT to do this. YES I was frustrated because I have been working really hard and despite running one day a week and running two races the last weekend, I was on track and had the ability to PR in that race, and now I knew it wasn’t going to happen, BUT, I knew I still had a lot of fight left in me, and I wanted to run to the best of the ability that I had for that day. So I pushed, and I pushed, and I struggled. I would run on the dirt street car tracks in the median, then jump down to the road, trying to figure out which felt better on my hip. I stopped occasionally to try to stretch out my hip. I took some GU. I counted down the miles. I gave myself a lot of pep talks. I started at the road, one foot in front of the other. I finally made it into the French quarter.

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I REALLY wanted to stop at Café du Monde, but I kept going Smile

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We made the turn onto Esplanade, and I knew I only had 3-4 miles left. This is where I was unable to hold onto my pace any longer. This is also when the pain started growing and moving from my hip to my glute, and would occasionally seize up the entire muscle group, which was super fun. I had to stop and walk more often and stop and stretch on stop signs. I was DETERMINED to finish as hard and strong as I possible could. It was starting to get hot outside, and I just kept staring at the ground in front of me (I nearly rolled an ankle a few times, yall, the roads in NOLA are BAD.) and kept glancing at my watch to see how far away I was.

When I made it to the museum of art, I knew I was close, but boy did that last half mile seem like the longest of my life. Normally this is where I would kick it in, but I had no kick in me. It was more of a hobble/limp to the finish, but I went as hard as I could. I didn’t even raise my hands when I crossed the finish, I was just so ready to stop running to stop the pain. I crossed in 2:14:59. Not exactly what I was expecting, but I also surprised myself considering all the things I had going against me.

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My watch said I ran 13.36 miles with average pace of 10:06 if I remember correctly. It’s not what I wanted but at least it’s encouraging that if I can do my PT/get stronger and run more than once a week I will PR. Here are my splits:

  • mile 1- 9:31
  • mile 2- 9:55 —> stopped at med tent
  • mile 3- 9:39
  • mile 4- 9:54
  • mile 5- 10:00
  • mile 6- 9:48
  • mile 7- 9:45
  • mile 8- 10:06
  • mile 9- 10:30 —> took a GU
  • mile 10- 10:06
  • mile 11- 10:54 —> took another GU
  • mile 12- 10:18 —> almost died
  • mile 13- 9:12

I made it out of the chute and ran into Mindy and Jenny. Was great to chat with them for a bit!RnR friends

I then walked over to the VIP tent and immediately put my name down for a massage, then got some food. The weather was wonderful, and it was nice to just sit and listen to the music and enjoy the day.

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I got a text from Megan and we met up for a quick hello. Great to see a fellow ASICS ambassador!

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Around 12:00 I knew it was time to head back to the hotel to checkout and drive back to my parents. I didn’t want to leave because I was just enjoying being still after such a stressful morning, but I also knew it was a trek back to the hotel. (Rock ‘N’ Roll has bus transportation back downtown for participants).

My struggles with this race were not the fault of Rock ‘N’ Roll, it truly is a great race and my favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll so far. My one qualm is the terrible roads which I am sure contributed to the early onset of hip pain I experienced. The after party, the bling, the bands, everything else was wonderful and I hope to always get to run this race.

Also, if you have the chance to purchase the VIP package for Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans I would recommend it! The pre race breakfast, bathrooms, private gear check are worth it to me, but then you also get the post race food, alcohol, massages, gear pick up, charging station, and VIP bus (no waiting in line) back downtown. Let me know if you have any questions about this event, I would be happy to answer!

PS: If you want to save $15 on Rock ‘N’ Roll half and full marathons, use my code at checkout! Some exclusions apply such as San Antonio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and a couple of others.

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QOTD: Have you ever had to fight through pain to finish a race?

Disclosure: I received free entry and VIP package as a Rock ‘N’ Blog member, however I was not asked to write this post, and all opinions are my own.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Changes

A lot of people have been wondering why runDisney has been waiting so long to announce prices and more registration information for this fall’s runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon weekend. You may have even seen over the past few days that some people found an active link that mentioned a 10k as well as the expo dates shifting over. It turns out, there is good reason for the delay, as there are some significant changes coming to this years race weekend. Read below to get the scoop:

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Addition of a 10K: runDisney runners have been begging for this to happen, and it finally is! The 10k will be run on Saturday morning.

Addition of a challenge: Following along historically, runDisney has also added a challenge for those that complete the 10k as well as the half marathon. Looks like tradition remains intact as you can now earn a challenge medal for 2016. The name of the challenge will be “Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge”. Adorable!

Time change of the half marathon: This one is probably the biggest shocker of them all. The half marathon will NOT be run at night as in previous years, but instead will be held on Sunday morning. This is not the fault of runDisney, but with all of the construction going on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this was the only way to make it happen.

Time change for the after party: Because the half marathon is being run on Sunday morning, the after party will not be held until Sunday night (8:00 pm-1:00 am). Frankly, I am happy about this, because let’s be honest. Hobbling around EPCOT all sweaty in the freezing cold, while you are half asleep is not always a ton of fun. This way, everyone will be able to go back to their hotel, shower, nap, and then come back later to party refreshed and ready for some fun. Works for me!

Course Change: Again, due to the construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the course has been altered to avoid the park all together. I am actually interested and excited to see a different course!

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Don’t forget those of you with an annual pass can register a week early on March 22 at noon EST, and everyone else can register the following week (29th). Be sure to check out runDisney.com for more information.

Entry Fees

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

  • $190

Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge

  • $330

Disney Wine & Dine 10K

  • $120

Mickey’s Holiday 5K

  • $70

runDisney Kids’ Races presented by GoGo squeeZ® Applesauce on the Go

  • $20

runDisney 1-Mile Run

  • $30

Post Race Party Tickets

  • $79

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QOTD: What are your thoughts on these changes?

Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Expo 2016

Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans is one of my favorite races, and not just because I grew up in the area. The weather is usually nice, the course is flat, and the after party is so much fun. I have run this race about five times, and have some great memories from it. The New Orleans expo is always a lot of fun!

This year was a little different because I was heading over by myself, but I still hung out with friends and had a great time! I drove down from my house with Emma Kate on Friday and stayed the night with my parents (they live about 40 minutes from downtown) and then left the baby with them Saturday and headed into New Orleans. I first went to the hotel, ALOFT New Orleans, to check in. The room was ready, so I unloaded my stuff and waited on my roommates to arrive.

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The rooms at ALOFT are huge, and the beds are really comfortable. They have a pool and fitness center, and they are located right in between Canal street and Poydras Street, we just walked everywhere we needed to go!

Once Joe and Brooklyn arrived, we walked to the Convention Center. I was pleasantly surprised when we were not in Hall J per usual (a LONG walk) but in hall B or C if I remember correctly.

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My sister flew in from Houston for the race, and happened to be at the expo at the same time as me, so we were able to meet up for a few minutes.

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The expo was pretty crowded, so I just wandered around and went to a few booths where I knew the workers to say hello. Then I texted Jen and found her amongst the chaos. We had planned to meet up for dinner later, so I said goodbye and headed to the VIP booth to pick up my packet, and do a little more looking around.

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I love how Rock ‘N’ Roll has all of their heavy medals out!

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We were having a Rock ‘N’ Blogger meet up at the expo entrance at 3:30, so I made my way over to the front and met up with some old and new friends.

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We chatted for a bit, and then saw that there was a film crew out front. I’m not sure who approached who, but before I knew it I was signing a release form to be on camera.

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I still have no idea what the footage will be/was used for, but it was a lot of fun! They asked me questions about running in New Orleans, why I love this race, etc. I really can’t remember what I said, ha!

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A couple of other people were on camera, and then we all realized how hungry we were and decided to walk a couple of blocks over and get pizza, and apparently a Larisa photo bomb.

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We sat outside and ate, but sadly were at three different tables. We got really frustrated when we were told if there were more than 5 people eating together we had to put the food all on one bill. Huh? it really made no sense. How about just 3 separate checks even? No one wanted to put 9 people’s food on their credit card. New Orleans thrives on tourism, and this kind of thing is a major turn off, and if I wasn’t so hungry I would have just walked away. We decided to just sit near each other at 3 different tables and get some food in our bellies.

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Love that girl. She was running the full the next day!

The pizza was decent but the beer I had (NOLA Blonde) was really good. The weather was perfect for sitting outside, and we had a lot of fun.

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Since we are all boring old people, we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel and go to bed.

As we were walking back to our hotel, we heard some music and saw a wedding party coming down the street doing the second line dance! We may have stopped to do a little jig and do some yelling and cheering.

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When we got back to our hotel, we noticed the Oscar Mayer Weenie mobile was sitting outside of out hotel. Umm…ok? Still have no idea why, but of COURSE we had to document the occasion.

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It was off to bed, it was going to be an early morning. I had a great day in New Orleans seeing friends, hanging out, and getting ready for the race.

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QOTD: What do you eat the night before a race?

On Running Fast

Oh how I love to run fast. In High school, I was a sprinter, and loved the 100 meter dash and anchoring the 4 x 100 meter relay. There is just something about the adrenaline and the thrill of going as fast as you can…but only for a short time. I’m not so good at running fast to GET faster, but I’m working on it! Here are some tips to help if you are looking to run FAST to get faster that I was given as a Jeff Galloway Blogger:

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Why is running faster a good thing?  Short and fast segments not only help you run faster in races.  If you run a few faster segments each week you can improve your running efficiency while receiving a better attitude boost.
How long should you be running before you add some faster running in? After 2-3 months of regular running some short accelerations can be added with minimal risk of aches and pains.

Is it possible that running fast can actually be fun?  Yes.  The secret is be creative and limit the length of the fast segment at first.
How often should you run fast? Playful speed can be done once or twice a week.

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Four Faster, Fun Workouts
1. Speed play that you can do on your own. ACCELERATE AND GLIDE.  After an easy 10 minute warmup of slow running, pick up the pace for 10 steps, then coast off the momentum for 10-20 steps.  Don’t be obsessed about the number of steps as this is just a guideline.  Don’t sprint–be playful.  Gradually pick up the pace, and then glide back down to a jog.  Repeat 2-3 times on your first attempt, and take a one minute walk break.  Each week you could increase the number of accelerations as you wish, with a recommended walk break of 1-2 minutes between each.

2. Speed play you can do with one friend—CHASE game.  After an easy 5 minute jog together, one person takes the lead.  As the leader changes the pace (speeding up, then slowing down, speeding up) the follower tries to stay close but not pass.  After 3-5 minutes, take a 1-2 minute walk break and repeat with the other runner leading.  Repeat as many times as desired.
3. Speed play you can do with two friends—SURPRISE game. Following the same format as game 1, the follower tries to surprise the leader by passing gently but quickly.  While there should be no sprinting, it is OK to run fast for 10-30 steps to pass.
4. A speed play workout you can do with three or more friends—INDIAN RUNNING.  The group is running single file for a minute or two at an easy pace.  Then, the last runner, passes all of the other runners and takes the lead for a minute or two.  The current leader sets the pace, and takes a walk break.  When the running resumes, the last runner starts to move to the front.  Each runner gets to take the lead at least once in this game.

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The 2015 Jeff Galloway 13.1 Virtual Race is closing on March 21st! This is a great way to earn an awesome medal and one of the best race shirts around! Run a 5K or half marathon in your town and be a part of the Jeff Galloway 13.1 Virtual Race!
Register at Virtual Race Registration.

First Spring Weekend

Hey guys! I meant to do a weekend recap yesterday but wanted to get my Princess half recap up, so I am going a little out of order. We were blessed with some amazing spring weather this weekend, and we took full advantage of it!

Friday morning I went to boot camp and we spent some time outside running sprints. The sprints weren’t fun, but the sunshine was wonderful! I am finally starting to notice a difference in my muscle mass. Hooray for baby biceps!

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Friday Emma Kate had daycare, so I worked and we just hung around the house that evening. Saturday morning we were in and out of the house walking up and down the street with Emma Kate. That girl LOVES to be outside.

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After her nap, we took Emma Kate to the park to play on the playground and swing on the swings. We then headed to the yogurt shop to help out and do a couple of things, and it’s a good thing we stopped in because they were swamped! Everyone was apparently out enjoying the weather.

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Saturday night Emma Kate must have been one worn out child because she slept until almost 8:30! We were running late for church because I didn’t want to wake her up.

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After church we went to Five Guys and ate cheeseburgers outside, again enjoying the nice weather. Emma Kate did great and sat on the bench for most of the time and then just ran around a bit saying hi to everyone. We got some stuff at Fresh Market to grill that evening and went home for baby naps.

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While the little one napped, I decided to go for a 5k training run, again, because…sunshine and warmth. One thing I forgot was that a cheeseburger and fries is NOT great pre run fuel and I was HURTING during that run.

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Silly girl slept for an hour 45 (who has kidnapped my child? She never sleeps this long!) and was in a great mood when she woke up.

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Then it was up and down the sidewalk again until it was time to BBQ.

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We had some wine and cooked some chicken and sausage and I got to use my new wine glass from marathon weekend.

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We so very much enjoyed being outside and I think we were all worn out that night! I’m excited for daylight savings for the extra daylight but not looking forward to what it will do to the baby sleep schedule.

QOTD: What did you do this weekend?

runDisney Princess Half Recap 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge, and the second part of that challenge was to run the Princess Half.

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My friend Jen and I wanted to wear matching costumes again (last year we were the evil stepsisters), and since neither of us are crafty or creative, we enlisted her mom to create our adorable hats for the race.

On Sunday morning, we got up and had breakfast at our hotel, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. We were cheered on by cheerleaders who even waited on us to go outside to our car after the buses had left so they could give us a proper sendoff. It was so sweet!

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I am a dork and didn’t think to start taking pictures until after the race had started. It was kind of an eventful start too! We got stuck in some serious traffic and were lucky enough to get to park on the far end of the last row of the parking lot at EPCOT. We booked it to the family reunion area and then to the start line, and literally walked into our corral about one minute before we started moving! It worked out great but we couldn’t have timed it better if we had tried!

Our plan was to just have fun, nothing fancy. Oh, and we wanted to beat last years time of 3:00:00. Last year Jen had been in the hospital the day before and I was just coming back after having Emma Kate, so we took it SUPER slow. This year we wanted to have fun but still actually do some running.

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We made it through the Magic Kingdom gates and I apparently had way too much water and coffee before the race because I had to find a bathroom. They had the ones at the TTC ROPED OFF and I knew I wouldn’t make it to the ones in the Magic Kingdom. I stopped off at some portable ones around mile 4.5, and felt SO much better. We made it to the Magic Kingdom and Jen needed to go and we both wanted to wash our hands, so we planned to stop again, but not before getting a castle shot!

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We made it to Tomorrowland and just as I have done in pervious years, we went into the men’s room (along with a ton of other women) and were promptly shooed out by a cast member. The men didn’t care and said it was our race and that we should get to use their bathroom, but the cast member was having none of it. So, we made it through the other side of the castle and stopped in Frontierland. I took a picture with my favorite cowboy while I waited for Jen.

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We had made it to mile 6, and my hip started to slightly hurt. At this point, I was wishing the race was a 10k like the day before!

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We went out the back way of the Magic Kingdom and there was a gust of wind and it got COLD! it was crazy how we weren’t cold before. I call that the magic of Disney. I swear they control the weather. Anyway, we made it to the halfway mark and to the Grand Floridian where we snapped a picture with Bert and the penguins.

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At this point we started taking walk breaks every few minutes because my hip was getting worse. I stopped and got some Tylenol at a med tent, too. We took some gels at the stop around mile nine, and were soon going around the overpass curve of death (to my IT band and hip), where the solider told us to MOVE MOVE MOVE towards EPCOT. Ah, what a beautiful site. I also started getting really warm about mile 11 and I felt bad for the people in the later corrals that would be running when the sun was up higher.

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We made it into the park and I loved that the coach was here this year!

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We looped around towards world showcase and towards the finish line. I Now have a love/hate relationship with this section of EPCOT thanks to runDisney races.

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We passed the gospel choir, and headed towards the finish line. I am happy to say we stomped our goal and finish in 2:33, which isn’t too shabby for several stops for characters and bathrooms and med tents!

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We got so many compliments on our costumes, they are definitely one of my favorites I have worn. We collected our two new medals before heading back to the hotel.

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Another successful runDisney race, and I am so happy that we both were able to get our Glass Slipper medals this year with no illnesses or mishaps! The volunteers were great, the weather was great, and the spectators were encouraging, and a good time was had by all. Thanks runDisney!

QOTD Have you ever dressed up for a race?