Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What's next?

Well, I'm done with my major races for the year and not currently training for anything.  So what's next for me in terms of running? 

I'm planning on a couple small races between now and the end of the year.  I'm not signed up for a Turkey Trot since I'm going to be at my parents' place in Ohio for Thanksgiving, though I am hoping to get a 5k in on my own Thursday morning.  I am signed up for Pacer's Jingle All the Way 5k the first weekend of December.  I'm really looking forward to that one since it was a lot of fun last year.  I loved all the costumes people came up with.

Last year's Jingle All the Way 5k

I'm also planning on the MCRRC's Jingle Bell Jog.  It is close to my house, their last low key race of the year, and free for club members, so why not?  I missed this one last year because of the flu so I'm looking forward to experiencing it this year.

And then, I start training again.  My next big race is going to be Rock and Roll DC again in March.  I signed up right after last year's race so was able to register for $50.  I really loved the course and am excited to give this one a try again.  

 Running through the rain at last year's RnR DC Half

Even more exciting, I've talked two of my friends into running it as their first half marathon!  So the plan is for the three of us to train together through the Winter. We're using one of Hal Higdon's beginner half marathon training plans and I'm really looking forward to doing their first half marathon with them.

So that's the plan for now.  A couple weeks off and then back to training.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Weekly review

Well, I have no workouts to report this week.  Zero.  And I am ok with that.  I was sick pretty much all week and gave myself permission to just concentrate on getting better.  I took off from work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  I finally got back into the office on Thursday and my boss sent me home early since she thought I still looked pretty bad.  I worked from home on Friday.

I finally started feeling better Saturday, the fever was gone, and I was able to actually leave the house on Sunday!  It felt like an accomplishment to just get ready and go out into the world.  I was also able to eat real food instead of just things like soup and mashed potatoes.

Thankfully, I feel a lot better today and am on the mend.  I'm back in the office, though this is a short week anyway due to Thanksgiving.

I was so bored stuck at home I began to entertain myself by hiding Perry's toys on his head

I feel like I've been getting sick way too much lately.  I had bronchitis not that long ago, and now another sinus infection of some sort.  I'm not sure how to address this.  One recommendation I got was to start taking Vitamin C so I'm going to start that next week.  I figure it can't hurt.  I'm also going to get my vitamin D levels tested again.  They were really low the last time I got tested, I started taking supplements per the doctor's instructions, but realized I never went back in to be tested.

Does anyone have any other recommendations to bolster my immune system?  I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wine and Dine (half of a) Half Marathon review - Part 2

My review of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon was so long, I split it into 2 parts.  I talk about the expo and a lot of the pre-race happenings in Part 1.


I think the fireworks for the first corral start went off and 11:00 or so.  By that time, we were pretty sure thanks to social media that the race would be between 6-7 miles.  Things moved pretty quickly after that and I think our corral started around 11:30 or so.

So my race strategy had gone back and forth a couple times.  Initially I wanted to try for a good finish time, maybe even a PR.  But once I saw the race was red flagged due to heat and humidity, that went out the window and I just planned to take it easy.  That decision was cemented with the delay.  But once I saw the race would be shortened to less than 7 miles, I thought I might push it a bit.  I think this uncertainty kind of hurt me as I just wasn't sure what I was doing.

I started out running for 10 minutes and then started my intervals of 2 minutes running to 30 seconds walking.  But then I saw a photo with dancers from the Main Street Electrical Parade with a short line so I stopped for a photo.  Obviously not thinking of time then.  Plus, I was sweating like I've never sweat before.  The humidity was out of control so I decided to go back to just doing the race for fun. But then toward mile 5 or so I saw the 3 hour pace group pass me and I felt the need to catch up and finish ahead of them.  I'm not even sure why.  I was obviously not thinking too clearly at this point.  

Random giant light up lobster puppet

Ok, so the shortened course at least included the best parts of this half marathon course.  The out and back on the highway was cut out, as well as running in Animal Kingdom. There was tons of entertainment on the course, including the characters, DJs, the green army man motivating people, etc.  And the best part of the race was running through the Osborne Family Christmas lights at Hollywood Studios.  I stopped at this part to take a couple photos as well.

After the lights, we left Hollywood Studios and ran on a path going toward Epcot.  This part was very narrow.  There were loud announcements warning that the case was going to narrow, and I was glad of the heads up.  It was narrow enough that I had to walk a lot of this section.  It turned into run when I could but walk when I had to due to the congestion.  We got to the area by the Epcot hotels and the course widened a bit so I was able to run again with my normal intervals.  And this section was nice because there were cheering spectators hanging out to encourage us on.

We then entered Epcot and I knew this meant the end was near.  We ran about a mile through the park.  I was looking for Mike at this point but wasn't able to find him.  There were a lot of spectators and runners that had already finished cheering. And then it was out to the Epcot parking lot and the finish line!  

My official time was 1:35:06 for 6.72 miles. According to my Garmin, it was 1:32:45 for 6.84 miles so an average pace of 13:34 per mile. This included one character stop, stopping to take photos of the Christmas lights, and a quick stop at medical for more body glide.


The finish line area was pretty chaotic.  Thankfully, I hadn't checked a bag since Mike was carrying stuff  for me and he was already in Epcot for the after party. Therefore, I didn't have to stop in bag check or the changing tent.  I just trudged past to get some water and a banana.  I didn't take the food box since I was planning on getting food at the after party in Epcot. I did get my free beer and this is the first race where I've been able to do that!  It was too cold at my first half marathon and too rainy at my second.  So yay for finally getting my free beer. When I saw the line to get into Epcot, I was again glad I didn't have a bag.  There was a giant line to go through bag check, even with the clear bags that you had just gotten from the race bag check :(. I was able to skip all that but I felt really bad for the people who had to wait in that line.  I think I would have given up on the party if I had to wait in the line.

Instead, I went into the park, found Mike and changed clothes.  We the walked toward the party but had to wait since it involved crossing over the race course.  This part seemed really chaotic and I think it took 15 minutes or so.  Finally, we got to one of the food booths and Mike parked me on a bench while he went to wait in line to get me some food and drink.  We enjoyed the band that was playing, walked and a bit, but then headed out a bit before 3am since the lines seemed pretty long everywhere.  

The party was a bit disappointing if you finish toward the middle or back because the lines made things seem inaccessible.  But Mike said it was great for spectators.  He was able to get into the park at 7, see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in concert, catch the fireworks show, sample the food and wine booths using the $15 gift card I was given with race registration with very little lines as well as several of the rides.  He said the character lines were also really short at the beginning.  I heard the same from the faster runners, the party was great at the beginning.

Final thoughts

Overall, I think Run Disney did the right thing.  There was definitely lightning in the area and I was feeling nervous about running in those conditions.  I don't know how you would evacuate everyone to shelter once the race had started so I think they had to delay.  And I heard afterwards that there was a lot of debris on the ground in Animal Kingdom from the rain, so that part had to be cut out.  I was obviously disappointed, but I understand why it had to be done.  It was also really hot and humid, and I had a hard enough time with the shortened course.  I feel bad saying this but given the way I felt after those 6.7 miles, I'm not sure I would have done well with the whole 13.1 miles. I think it was good for runners well being that the course was cut.  I do feel bad for people who trained for this as their first half marathon, but hopefully they were able to find another local half so the training wasn't "wasted."

I listened to the Mickey Miles podcast from last week where they did their recap of this race and it was very informative.  Apparently the race came really close to being black flagged earlier in the afternoon and the close to being cancelled with the Lightning in the evening.  So I'm glad I got to run at all and I feel positive about rolling with the punches and running the race that was put in front of me. No one can control the weather and we all have to deal with the circumstances we're given on race day.

The only thing I wasn't happy about was the communication to people in the later corrals.  The majority of our information was coming from social media and the few people who were able to get service in the crowd were kind of reporting out to all of us.  It would have been nice if the official race communication could have been filtered back to us somehow.

This race, more than any other I've done, felt like a really different experience for the back of the pack than the front of the pack, especially with the communication difficulties, the lines to get into Epcot and the lines at the after party.

Wine and Dine (half of a) Half Marathon review - Part 1

Well, I foresee this being a long post, so settle in for the story :). Actually, the post was so long I ended up splitting it into two parts.

By this point, I'm sure many of you heard about what happened at the Wine and Dine half marathon at Disney World but for those of you that haven't, I don't want to bury the lead.  The half marathon was shortened to about 6.7 miles because of weather and timing concerns.


But first things first, the expo.  We got to the expo pretty soon after it opened and the crowds were pretty big.  The expo is split into two buildings, one for bib pick up and the second for buying stuff. So we went to pick up our bibs first.  There was a huge line, but before I waited too long it was announced that the line was just for people who had pre-ordered merchandise.  I don't know why they had to wait in a separate line instead of putting that stuff with their bibs.  But thankfully for me, it meant I could get out of that line and instead go straight to the bib pick up line, which was only a couple people in front of me.  I had to wait in two lines since I did both the 5k and half marathon, but both were relatively short and moved quickly.

There was also some official race merchandise for sale here, but the line was really long so I decided to go buy the stuff in the other building instead.  This would turn out to be a mistake.  There were also some fun photo ops here so we took advantage of that before heading over to the second building.

Where the crowds were even worse!  We went to the area to pick up our included race shirts first, and that moved quickly.  But then we went to look at the official race merchandise and the crowds were crazy.  I found the shirt I wanted and thankfully, Mike and my dad agreed to wait in line for me.  It took them more than an hour :(

My mom wanted some shoes and a knee brace, so I took her over to the Fit 2 Run booth where she got some oofos and a knee brace.  We wandered around some more, took some photos, and went by the KT Tape booth but the line was long there as well so I skipped it.  We wandered around a bit more, Mike found a booth giving away some free stuff from Disney Springs along with a coupon for the place we already planned to eat lunch, so score!  I think we spent about 2 hours at the expo, total.


Race day was the following day.  We had left the room at 5am for the 5k so after a late breakfast, we spent the rest of the day resting.  The half marathon was a night race so I had a hearty late breakfast and a light dinner at 5pm of a bagel with PB2.  Mike and I then left at 6:30 to drive to Epcot.  We got in easily with smooth parking and I got in line for the buses, which started at 7pm.  I got on one of the first buses heading to the start area.  I'm glad I did.  I heard from others that there was quite the back up later, even for people who arrived shortly after 7.

But of course, this means I was at the start area pretty early.  The race was supposed to start at 10pm and I was there shortly after 7 so I had quite a bit of time to kill.  Thankfully, there were characters out and the lines weren't too long so I got in line for a photo op.  Then, I saw that the Mickey Miles podcast hosts tweeted they were in the start area as well so I went over to say hi to them.

After that, I went over to the runner only area.  It was still early but I wanted to minimize time on my feet so I just found an empty spot and sat on the lawn and listened to the DJ. Around 8:30 or so, I went over near the area that opened up into the corrals because I figured they would open that up around 9.  Shortly after I got there though, the temperatures dropped petty drastically, the wind picked up, and we began to feel a couple raindrops.  I also saw some flashes of lightening. People near me began checking their phones for the weather radar and worrying about possibilities for storms.  I pulled out my poncho and continued to wait but I was beginning to worry too.  We then started moving and I just assumed that they were letting us into the corrals as I hadn't heard any announcements saying otherwise.  But as I passed one of the volunteers, I heard her saying we were being evacuated due to the Lightning. I think this was around 9.

I ended up in the baseball stadium, seated on one of the steps.  And we continued to wait.  There were some announcements but we couldn't really hear them at all and I had no idea what was being said. But I figured it was ok because I'd see other people moving once it was announced.  I was beginning to worry about whether we'd get to race at all and if we did, how I would handle the delay. I got up at one point to go to the bathroom (yay really bathrooms!) and when I came out, saw that everyone was moving! So I followed along with the crowd, back to the corral area where we were earlier and we were held there again.

I had put my phone on airplane mode as I was trying to conserve battery but other people around me were checking Twitter and the rumors were flying.  This is where I first heard someone say Run Disney had tweeted that the race would be shortened, but still no details on what that meant.  Most people around me assumed that meant Animal Kingdom would be cut out, but how much of the highway section would be cut out?  We were guessing it would be somewhere between 6 and 10 miles but that's a pretty big range.

I think it was around 10pm when we were allowed into the corrals and this was a giant mess.  Everyone just streamed towards the corrals en masse and it didn't seem like anyone was cracking whether people were going into the proper corrals or not.  Now, runners obviously have to take some responsibility for this.  You know where you belong and you deliberately chose to take advantage of the chaos and try to sneak into an earlier corral.  Not cool.

Once we were in the corrals, more waiting and more listening to people getting information from the Internet.  We were in corral H and so we couldn't hear any of the announcements back where we were.  I later heard that the speakers where we were had malfunctioned, so maybe that's why? Nonetheless, we felt pretty left in the dark.

The good news is that people and me were pretty positive the whole time.  I think people felt disappointed but able to roll with the punches.  This helped me put a good face on it as well.  At that point, I and most of the people around me, just wanted to start running whatever race ended up in front of us.  Also, we were laughing about being pretty hungry so I think we just wanted to get to the food too!

You can see the rest of the story in Part 2 of my review.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Weekly review

A bit late but I'm squeaking in on Monday and getting my weekly review in.  I've been home sick all day today but I've been feeling a bit better this evening so I'm taking advantage of that to write up this blog post and check out bloglovin'.

So, I think I have 2 weeks of work-outs to report on so here goes.

Monday - run on the hotel treadmill plus walking around while sight seeing in Pittsburgh.

Beautiful sunset over downtown Pittsburgh

Tuesday - walk on a trail near my hotel in Pittsburgh after my meetings and before I had to go to the airport.

Wednesday - body pump

Thursday - flight to Orlando so this was a rest day

Friday - lots of walking around Disney Springs and the expo even though I had thought to try to stay off my feet.

Saturday - 5k in the morning and 6.7 miles in the evening since the half marathon was shortened due to weather concerns

Sunday through Wednesday - lots of walking around Disney

Thursday - Body Flow class at the gym plus a massage.  Both felt great but I'm not sure I like body flow.  I'm going to give it a couple more times to see how I feel but I think I prefer straight forward yoga classes.

Friday - rest day

Saturday - body pump where I up'ed the weights plus going dancing with friends in the evening.

Sunday - 3 mile run with friends plus about a mile walk home.  I ended up super sore the rest of the day (probably from body pump) but then ended up feeling sick by the evening.

So I'm not sure what my plans are for the rest of the week.  It's going to depend on how I end up feeling.  I have tickets to a basketball game tomorrow so that was going to be a rest day anyway.  But hopefully I feel good enough to go to the game and also for a short run on Wednesday. I'm also hoping to have my review of the wine and dine (not) half marathon up this week.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Five - Jingle Jungle 5k

I'm back from Florida, and just in time to join the Friday Five link up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney.  Since the Wine and Dine weekend races are still on my mind, I thought I'd take this week's Friday 5 link up to write about the Jingle Jungle 5k and 5 reasons that we loved it.

1.  Welcoming to newcomers - I did this race with my dad and Mike.  It was their first big 5k and I could tell me dad was a bit nervous.  I let him know that there would be plenty of walkers and that he didn't have to worry about being swept or not finishing.  It's an untimed fun run and it seemed like a lot of people were taking their time and having fun with it.  And that really helped my dad relax and enjoy it as well.  This was a great even for people who might be new to races and are anxious about it, they even gave out medals at the end.

Dad showing off his first race medal

2.  Costumes - Mike and I dressed up as Agent P and Dr. Doofenschmirtz from Phineas and Ferb.  We loved the opportunity to be silly and dress up together.  And we all loved checking out everyone else's fun costumes.  Disney 5k's are a little easier to get elaborate with your costumes compared to the longer races since you don't have to worry about running for too long.

Having some in character fun after the race

3.  Characters - We were taking our time with this one and going at my dad's speed.  Since we weren't worried about time at all, we had fun with it and stopped for multiple character photos.  I love that Disney had a lot of characters out for this one.  I remember at least 7, which is a lot in a 3 mile distance.  And they were all animals in keeping with the Jingle Jungle theme.

4. Animal Kingdom - This race started out in the Animal Kingdom parking lot, ran around the parking lot for the first mile, went through the park for the second mile, and then backstage for the third mile.  I loved the time spent running through the park.  That's one of the biggest perks of the Disney races and we really enjoyed it here as well.  Animal Kingdom is such a well themed park and there were a lot of details to check out and keep you interested.

Stopping for photos with park icons in the background

5.  Backstage - And I mentioned that the last mile was backstage.  Which sounds kind of boring but I really enjoyed that peek at the backstage area of the park.  It was cool seeing the back side of the Expedition Everest roller coaster as well as some old items they had hanging out back there.  And of course, they still had characters and photo ops in that area to keep things interesting.  But it was a fun way to see a side of the parks most people don't get to see.

The backside of Expedition Everest

Random backstage props

In short, we all really enjoyed this 5k.  It was untimed but I did have my Garmin on.  It's a bit off since I had it paused while we were waiting in line for characters and I forgot to turn it back on right away at one point.  But it's close. So while it took about 58 minutes of moving time, it took around 1:15 overall for us to finish the course.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Five - favorite race signs

It's Friday and I'm in Disney World!  I'm happy to finally be down here and today is packet pick up at the expo plus mostly taking it easy so I don't tire myself out before the 5k and half marathon tomorrow.  But Friday also means time for the Friday Five link up with Cynthia, Mar and Courtney.  Today's theme is about favorite race signs.

I love spectators and spectator support on the race course.  It really helps pull you through sometimes.  And I love reading all the great signs out there.  So here are a couple that I've loved.

1. I love signs that are specific to a race theme.  The first year I did Lawyer's Have Heart, Mike cheered us on with a sign that side "Show Them how Lawyer's Run this Town."  He apparently got quite a few cheers for that one.

2.  Speaking of signs that are specific to a race, there are a lot of political themed signs at DC races and I love those. I almost always see one that says "You're Running Better than Congress."

3. Signs with pop culture references are so much fun, especially when they're 80's and 90's references. That's the route we went when we spectated at the Marine Corps Marathon last year.  We had a sign that said "You're 2 Legit, 2 Legit 2 Quit!" with a photo of MC Hammer.  We got a lot of positive feedback for that one :) 

4. Speaking of pop culture references, I love almost all things nerdy.  Bring on the Dr. Who and Star Wars! Running at Disney has a great one on her site with a picture of Yoda that says "Keep Running for that Churro, You Must." That one would have really kept me going in a race!

5.  And lastly, I love the beer signs and the people giving out beer on the course :) When I first heard of this, I thought it was so strange.  Why would anyone want to drink beer while they're running a marathon or half?  But we were cheering next to the beer table at the Marine Corps Marathon and the runners seemed to love it.  So I tried it at the Richmond Half and it tasted like the best thing ever at mile 10! And I tried it at the Rock and Roll DC Half and it really helped keep me going through that cold rain.  So I was converted to a believer :)

Any favorite signs you've seen?  I'm always happy for ideas for the next race we spectate!