New Year’s Double Race Review

When I registered for the New Year’s Double, I had a lot of doubt that I would actually be able to complete it.  My friend Lisa over at WhiskyBaker was planning a trip to Dallas from Toronto to run it, and she asked me if I would mind picking up her race packet for her.  I decided that since I was going to go to packet pick-up anyway, I should run one of the days.  While I was trying to decide which day to run, I saw the bling:

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(stolen from the New Year’s Double FB page, again)

My mind was made up: I’d run the double.  That is, two half marathons in two days, on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  There was also an option for double FULL marathons, but I’m not that crazy (yet).  I approached the training mostly as though I was running a single half marathon, hoping for a PR on New Year’s Eve, and intended to mostly walk on New Year’s Day, although I did do a couple of back-to-back long runs during my training.  I also decided to stay in a hotel near the race site so I wouldn’t have to drive an hour each way two days in a row.

The whole experience (well, except maybe for the looped course, lol) was amazing.  From the beginning, the communications from the race organizer were outstanding.  A few weeks before the race, we had a major ice storm in Dallas that is still causing shipping delays.  Libby immediately emailed out that she might not get the last shipment of NYE half marathon medals and warned us that the last 40 or so finishers on NYE might have to wait for their medals to be mailed.  In my opinion, this was really going above and beyond, and was so crucial to making sure no one was disappointed on race day (as it happened, the medals arrived in time, but the heads-up was great!)

(screen shot of the email Libby sent out)

On Saturday, December 28, I headed out to packet pick-up.  This was, perhaps, the most organized packet pick-up I’ve ever attended.  First of all, the volunteers were AMAZING.  Everyone was happy and friendly and helpful.  Second, it was very well organized.  We were asked to know our bib numbers when we got there, so I had looked up mine (& Lisa’s), and I made sure I printed the email from Lisa giving me permission to pick up her stuff.  Once I had the bibs, I headed over to the shirt table.  On the back of each bib was a label with our names and the shirt size we’d selected at registration. This is genius, really.  I’ve attended a number of races where they were already out of my requested size at packet pick-up because either people don’t remember what they’ve chosen or they decide they really need a different size.  I greatly appreciated this small detail, especially since I was also picking up Lisa’s.

Packing to go to the hotel was probably the hardest part for me.  The weather conditions were unpredictable (in the 20s-30s to start, up to the 40s+ by the time I expected to finish) and I couldn’t decide what I wanted to wear, or which shoes I wanted to run in.  So I made a list.

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I actually packed a few things in addition to the list, too (namely full-length running tights) but forgot one really important item: my foam roller!  It would have been so nice to have after day 1!

We headed to the hotel after picking the boy up from daycare on Monday, December 30.  Once Lisa & her husband arrived from the airport, I took her race bibs & shirts to her, and then we all went out for dinner (tried for pizza, but the wait time was too long, so we headed to a great Tex-Mex place) and then went back to the hotel for an early night.

My alarm went off at 6:15 (perhaps my favorite thing about these races was the 8:40am start time, so I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn!) and I quickly (and as quietly as possible) got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast.

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(NYE flat runner)

I had my normal pre-race breakfast of toast with peanut butter &  honey, and waited in the lobby until Lisa was ready.  She wanted to get to the race site a bit early to make sure she was in the Half Fanatics pre-race picture at 8:20, so we left the hotel about 7:45.  We missed a turn because we were talking (oops) but it only set us back about a minute.  We got parked in plenty of time.  Here’s a picture Lisa took of me right after we parked the car.

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Notice the gloves & the ear warmer – it was about 28 degrees at start time!

Lisa headed over to the picture meet-up spot, and I took care of my final pre-race preparations and took some pictures.

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(walking towards the starting line)

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(pre-race selfie)

I was in corral D for the NYE race, with an anticipated finish time of 2:15.  The “corrals” weren’t really marked, so I lined up behind a bunch of people who had a “C” on their bibs and waited for the announcement that it was time for corral D to go.  I started my music & Nike+ app when corral C started, and started the Garmin as I crossed the timing mat at the start.

I started off a lot faster than I intended, in the 9.5 minute/mile range, but I felt good.  I decided to keep that pace for as long as I could once I couldn’t force myself to slow down.  The course was mostly flat, except for a tunnel that went under a major road, and was all sidewalk & paved trail, so there were no cars to dodge or worry about.  Out on the course, the volunteers were still amazing.  The water stops were a lot of fun (one was manned by the Frisco Running Club and one by the Allen HS girls Lacrosse team), and there were some great spectators on the course both days, too.  The personalized race bibs were great, because the spectators could cheer for us by name, which I found really motivating.

The BEST spectators on the course were from an online Facebook running group I’m part of – the Runner’s Corner.  Zane was out with his camera both days getting pictures.  Here’s one he got of me on my 2nd loop (around mile 10 probably) on NYE.

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The first loop of the course was great.  By the second loop, I was starting to get bored.  I felt really bad for the people running the full marathon who had to make 4 loops of the course – there’s just no way I could have powered through that.  🙂  According to the Garmin, I was maintaining about a 9:45 min/mile pace all the way through the end.

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For the first time ever, my Garmin time matched my official time nearly exactly!  (2:11:02 compared to 2:11:03).  I finished 17th in my age group (out of 36) and was the 107th woman (out of 417) and 217th runner overall (out of 633).  Not only was it a 9+ minute PR, it was my best race finish ever.

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After the race, I went back to the hotel for an ice bath followed by a hot shower, then we went to lunch (pizza at Grimaldi’s!) with Lisa and her husband.  Lisa also ran a PR race by about 6 minutes.

We called it an early night on NYE.  With the whole family in one hotel room, we didn’t have much choice, so we were all in bed by 8:30.  Around 12:15, I got woken up when the girl threw up all over me.  :/  We got her cleaned up, I took a quick shower, and thankfully she was back to sleep quickly.  I managed to get about 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep until my alarm went off again at 6:15.  Again, I got dressed quickly and quietly, then headed downstairs.

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(NYD flat runner)

Again, I had my standard race day breakfast and waited in the lobby for Lisa.  While I was waiting, I met two members of the Runner’s Corner FB group (Lee Ann & Mia) in person for the first time.  Lisa & I left the hotel at about the same time this morning as yesterday, and got to the race site with no mishaps on day 2.  🙂

I was in a much slower start corral for NYD, having predicted a finish time of around 2:45.  I didn’t think much of it as I was waiting, but once we started, I regretted that decision.  I should have put down a faster anticipated finish time for Day 2.  Not because I thought I’d be faster (although I was) but because most of that start corral started out at a 13-14 min/mile pace.  While there was a time, not that long ago, where that was my comfortable pace, now it seems PAINFULLY slow, and on the narrow course, it was really difficult to get around the slower runners and into a group running a similar pace to me.

I intended to run intervals on day 2, but felt better than expected at the start, so I decided to run as much as I could before starting the intervals (this messed up my Garmin stats, since it was set to run intervals, but isn’t really a huge deal).  I made it a little over 3 miles before walking my first interval.  I made sure I was running every time I passed Zane and his camera, but although I was sure he got some pictures of me on day 2, there are none to be had.

Around the 4 mile mark, I was starting to feel defeated.  My legs were feeling tired, and I was nearly positive I wasn’t going to be able to finish the run.  Then I saw Junior, another runner from Runner’s Corner.  He was on his 2nd FULL marathon in 2 days, after celebrating the New Year until the wee hours of the morning.

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(This is Junior.  He ran 13 miles in the coconut bra, apparently)

He was a bit ahead of me, hard to miss, and then he stopped for some video.  I ended up right next to him and I believe I called him crazy.  We began to chat, and he basically paced me for the next 2-2.5 miles, where my average pace increased by nearly a full minute/mile.  Without that short distance at the faster pace, which got me through the halfway point and into the start of the 2nd loop, I’m not sure I would have kept running.  (I still would have finished, but I would have walked the rest of the way)

The Runner’s Corner folks were still the best spectators – they had a makeshift aid station with candy, cookies, and MIMOSAS!!! on the course.  As I passed them for the final time on loop 2, about 2.5 miles from the end, I grabbed a mimosa and walked a bit so I could drink it without spilling.  🙂

Again on NYD, my Garmin time was only off by 1/100 of a second!

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A bit slower than NYE, but still my 3rd fastest half marathon ever.  I was 37th in my age group (out of 65), the 177th woman (out of 395), and the 305th finisher overall (out of 610).  Overall, still a good finish.

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(post run on NYD, the sun created a lot of glare, sorry about that)

The BLING, all assembled:

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Although I could barely move after finishing the NYD race – man, was I sore! – I would do this race again in a heartbeat.  The loops were annoying, but the volunteers and spectators were so awesome, it was worth it.  I think next year, I’ll try for the double-double (that’s a 5K each morning BEFORE the half, too).

It was an awesome way to ring out 2013 and ring in 2014 on the right foot.

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2014 Goals

2014 is the first year since high school that I’m really starting the year as a runner.  So it seemed fitting to set some running-related goals for the year.

2014 Goals Check

1. Run 500 miles: This shouldn’t be too hard, given that I logged nearly 300 from April-December 2013.

2. Run a sub-2:00 half: This is my ultimate goal time. If I can get there, then I’d be comfortable starting the training for a full marathon.  It’s only 12 minutes faster than my current PR, so I think it’s doable.

3. STICK TO MY TRAINING PLAN FOR EVERY RACE! This is going to be the hardest one for me, I think.  I have a really hard time getting out to run on weekdays after work, I just don’t like to take the time away from my kids while they’re awake and I really don’t like to run alone in the dark.  But this is key for achieving goal #2 and goal #4, so I have to do it.

4. Run a sub-1:00 10K.  This shouldn’t be too hard.  At the 10K mark of the NYE half, I was right at 1 hour, and I was pacing myself for a half.  When I race a 10K, I should be able to get under that 1 hour mark fairly easily.  (I like having one goal that seems “easy” so I can see some success early in the year 🙂 )

5. Cross-train and/or core work at least 2x per week.  Again, this is going to be tough for me, but I think it’s also critical for the sub-2 half.  I need to build strength to protect from injuries and to improve speed.

What are your goals for 2o14?

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2013 Year in Review

2013 Year in Review

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2013 was the year I started running again.  I ran in high school, and on-and-off from college until 2011 when I signed up for my first half.  I ran that half, slowly, while pregnant, and then didn’t run again until December 2012 – one very, very slow 2.5 mile run to look at Christmas lights.

In January 2013, I ran my first official 5K – the MRTT Winter Runnerland Virtual.  You don’t see it in my Nike+ Yearly Summary (above) because I didn’t carry the phone with me while I ran it.  Zero training, zero preparation, and only 2.5 miles logged in the previous 11.5 months.  It was ugly, with an official time of 40:59.  Yuck.

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(race medal for my first 5K)

I ran a little bit in February and March (Nike+ tells me I did 3 runs of 1.2 miles apiece in Feb and a single 1.8 mile run in March), but I wasn’t really serious about it.

In April 2013, I registered for the Disney Tower of Terror 10-Miler, held in October.  I knew that I’d need to run some other races between April & October to keep myself motivated to train, so I registered for the Patriot Half Marathon for May and the Too Hot to Handle 15K for July, and then I really started running again.

In April, I managed to get my longest run in over a year (5 miles) and in May I did training runs up to 9 miles before running the Patriot Half, where I set a new PR by 28 minutes in spite of the terrible hills and a LOT of walking from miles 9-12.5.  I also bought myself a Garmin Forerunner 210 as a Mother’s Day gift and started using it (in addition to Nike+) to track my runs.

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(bad post-race selfie)

In June, the Texas heat and quite a bit of time out of town derailed my running, and I only managed one training run of just over 2 miles.  I kicked back into gear in July though, running several training runs and completing the Too Hot to Handle 15K without walking at all (other than at water stops) – the longest distance I’d ever run without stopping!

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(with my MRTT sole sisters before the race, the finisher bling post race)

I also completed my first-ever official 10K, the MRTT Running Mad Summer Virtual.

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(finisher cupcake & medal, my “flat mama” for the race

In August, I averaged 2 runs a week until the school year started and I was back at work… and then only managed one run for the rest of the month.  My training was officially derailed for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler at that point, but I also registered for another half, the McKinney Mini Half in early November.

I did OK in my training in September, since some of my sole sisters were also training for the McKinney Mini, and I got in two solid long runs going in to the Tower of Terror race.  October went pretty well – my time was not great at Tower of Terror, much slower than I would have liked, but it was a nighttime race & Florida is humid.

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(one of the coolest medals ever – the elevator moves!)

 I also did my longest-ever training run in October, just over 12 miles, with my runner girl Shelly, AND PR’ed in a 5K with a time of just over 28 minutes (and won an age group medal!!!).

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(age group award, baby!)

November saw a lot of great things.  I PR’ed again at the McKinney Mini, by 16 minutes this time, and then ran another 5K PR with a time of just under 28 minutes.  I also turned 35 and moved up an age group at races, LOL.

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In December, I almost got derailed again, thanks to an ice storm that took a solid 4 days out of my training (and led to the cancellation of the Dallas Marathon, which I was supposed to run as a relay team).  But I accomplished something I didn’t think I could do – I completed a long run BY MYSELF.  Ten glorious miles, alone with my thoughts and my music.

I wrapped up 2013 (and started 2014) by running the New Years Double Half Marathons.  I PR’ed AGAIN on New Year’s Eve with a  time of 2:11:03 (if you’re keeping count, that’s a new PR in every half I ran for 2013) by about 9 minutes, then got up this morning and ran the course again.  No PR today, but it was my 3rd fastest overall half marathon time at 2:31:13, and a great start to a new year with new running goals to be accomplished.  This post is long enough, so I’ll put my goals for the new year in the next one.

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(New Years Double: 12/31 run, the BLING!, and 1/1 run)

I finished 2013 with somewhere between 290-300 total miles logged, too, not bad for someone who really only started running in April.

Happy New Year!  What did you accomplish in 2013?

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Thoughts on fueling & hydration

Back when I first started training for distance runs, I had a lot of people constantly telling me about the importance of fueling and proper hydration on longer runs.  I was advised to find out what kind of fuel & hydration sources would be available on the course and to train with those, since it’s not wise to try something new on race day.  Instead, I bought a hydration belt and decided to carry my own fuel & hydrating liquid with me, and only drink water on the course.  Over the past year, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with my go-to’s for fuel & hydration: Orange GU and citrus fruit NUUN hydration tablets.

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While training for my most recent half marathon, I also added in a new fuel source: orange Jelly Belly Sport Beans.

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For the most part, these have served me well.  The NUUN has just enough flavor to not be boring, but not enough flavor to make my tummy hurt (and no added sugar!) and the GU gels are really, really easy to eat while running at race pace.  The sport beans, while a bit harder to eat on the run (I find it really hard to run and chew at the same time, LOL), seem to give me a better burst of energy in the short term, so I like them for the last couple of miles in a race.

But, I don’t really like all of the artificial ingredients and refined sugars in most of the fuel sources on the market.  So Santa brought me some new things to try.

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I had never heard of Skratch Labs hydration before I opened my stocking on Christmas morning.  Santa brought me the orange flavor, of course.  Apparently, it gets good reviews in some of the online Paleo communities that Santa reads.  I decided to try out both new things on yesterday’s 5 mile run.

Overall, I liked the Skratch Labs product.  It was tasty and is made of all natural ingredients.  I don’t like that it has sugar in it, though – it’s 80 calories for 16oz – but at least the sugar was raw cane sugar and not refined sugar.

I was not as happy with the Honey Stinger chews.  I had asked Santa for Honey Stinger gels, but he either couldn’t find them or didn’t remember exactly what I wanted to try.  These were tasty, but VERY hard for me to chew while running.  I do like that they’re organic and more natural, though.  I still want to try the Honey Stinger gels… but not until after my races next week.

For the New Years Double, I’m sticking with my tried-and-true GU, NUUN, and sport beans for the end.

What do you use to fuel?  What do you drink while running?  Any suggestions of things that I should try after I get through my races next week and start training for the next events?

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The Countdown is On!

In just over a week, I’ll be running the craziest races of my life.  It’s not so much that the races themselves are crazy, but rather the time frame between them.  See, I’m running the New Years Double – a half marathon on New Years Eve, and another half marathon on New Years Day.  Yikes.

Initially, I wasn’t going to do either of the races… I had my heart set on running the Santa Hustle in Galveston this past Saturday.  For  a variety of reasons, that didn’t happen.  My friend Lisa, who blogs over at Whisky Baker, is flying to Dallas from CANADA!!! to run this race (er, these races), and asked me if I’d be willing to go to packet pickup and get her race bibs & goodies since she wouldn’t be in town for  it.  I agreed.  Then decided that if I was going to go to packet pickup anyway, I should register for one day of the event.

And then I saw the bling.

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(photo blatantly stolen from the race FB page here)

The two daily medals become the gears on the large “challenge plate” which measures 6″ or more!

So I registered for both days.  I couldn’t pass up the bling.

For the most part, I’ve kind of followed the training plan.  I’ve been pretty good about doing back-to-back long runs on the weekends.  I have not been good about getting in my weekday runs.  But I’m never good about weekday runs during the school year.  As a result, I feel like I’m pretty undertrained.  Thankfully the course limit is 6 hours or more (there’s also a marathon option) so I shouldn’t have any issues finishing on New Years Day, even if I walk some.  Or a lot.

If I complete both races, which I’m sure I will, I’ll qualify for Half Fanatics, too.   At level 4 (Jupiter).  There’s probably no way I’ll ever qualify for Half Fanatics any other way, and certainly not at this level.  So there’s that, too.

How do you handle it when you’re undertrained for a race? What’s the shortest time frame you’ve ever had between two races?  Are you a Half Fanatic or Marathon Maniac?

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Fitness Survey {Link Up}

As always, the monthly fitness survey is brought to you by the Triple S Bloggers of Sara, Shelly, and Sarah.

fitness survey

1. How do you stay on track during busy times? Ugh, I don’t know.  I’m really struggling with this one right now.  Between work & the time change, I’m having a really hard time getting my weekday runs in.  I need to figure something out!  Apparently, just having a race (or races) on the horizon isn’t enough anymore, lol!

2.  What have you done to make your favorite holiday recipes healthy? We’ve been using some Paleo cookbooks to find healthier alternatives to the holiday favorites… but mostly, I just try to watch my portion sizes on holidays and enjoy the once or twice a year splurge. 🙂

3.  Will you run a Turkey Trot this year?  Yep, I’m planning on it.  Quite possibly as my first race with the kids in the double stroller, since I think the husband might run it too.

4.  Hot Chocolate or Apple Cider? Because Coffee is a given! Apple cider all the way!  I’m the freak who doesn’t like chocolate!

5.  What is your best race times? So far – 2:20 in a half marathon, 1:44 in a 15K, 1:03 in a 10K, and 28.44 in a 5K.  I’m hoping to beat that half marathon time on New Year’s Eve.

6.  What is your favorite race you’ve ever done? Hands down, the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2012.  Disney races aren’t for everyone – 19000 people, many of whom are running their first half using the Galloway run-walk method and don’t understand race etiquette, can be a bit overwhelming.  But the fireworks at the start, the amazing on-course entertainment, running through 2 Disney parks, the bling… it was AWESOME!

7. Have you ever run a race in a costume? (Post a picture if you have it) Nope, never.  But if I ever run another Disney race, I probably will.  🙂

8. If you run in cold weather, what’s the one piece of gear you can’t live without? Running gloves and something to cover my ears.  I can’t stand it when my ears or hands are cold.

Link up with us!  Or just answer the survey questions yourself in a comment!  The link-up link is on Sarah’s blog, http://howmyworldruns.com

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McKinney Mini Half Marathon Recap

I know, I know, I owe a bunch of updates.  This school year is really getting in the way of life in general, LOL.  I’m trying to be better about it, though, I promise.  I have several races coming up, and I need to blog about my training for accountability!

Yesterday, though, I ran in my 3rd half marathon – the McKinney Mini Half.  It was the inaugural year for the event, so of course there were some minor glitches.

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(flat mama for the race)

Shelly & I were up EARLY for this one, since it was about an hour from home.  We met at 5:30 to carpool to the race site.  We felt good.  We had a plan.  We got lost, then figured it out.  We were parked by 6:45 in close proximity to the start/finish line.  We found  Sara and our other MRTT mamas.

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Yes, those are strollers you see.  Jessica & Alyssa ran the relay with their boys – Jess ran 5.5 miles pushing the double, and Alyssa ran 7.6 miles pushing a single – and they finished 2nd place female relay team, and 3rd place overall.  They’re rock stars.

The race was supposed to start at 7:30.  But, they didn’t even start setting up the timing mats until about 7:15, so we started about 10-15 minutes late.  The start was really difficult for me – it was very narrow and there were a LOT of people.  We started out faster than we had intended – we wanted to average 10:40 minute miles, and had been advised to do the first 3-4 at about 10:50… and our first mile was just over 10:00.   I was worried, since our goal finish time was about 2:25, but we settled into a comfortable pace by mile 2.  The course was fairly flat – even the big hills weren’t big – and there was only one area where it felt like we were really going up a hill.

Somewhere around mile 8, while we were on the one part of the course that forced us onto a windy sidewalk (instead of the street), I ended up getting ahead of Shelly.  We’d talked about our race plan in the car, and agreed that if one of us got ahead that we should just keep running the race, so I never looked back to see how far ahead I was.  I just made sure to stick to the plan, fueling every 3 miles or so, and watched my average pace on the Garmin.

There was a “surprise” hill around mile 12 – I didn’t remember it from the course elevation map, or from the beginning of the race (it was basically and out-and-back course).  I powered through it, though, and despite a lack of attention from some volunteers almost causing me to go the wrong way right at the end, I finished strong.

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Not only did I hit the target finish time, I crushed it!  A 16 minute new PR!  Official time was 2:20.53

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After I finished, I discovered a few other small glitches: they had NO water at the finish line (only warm Powerade) and the only food available at the finish was some extremely greasy pizza.  I really would have liked to have some water and a better variety of snacks – at least some bananas or granola bars or something.

Overall, I think it was a pretty great race for an inaugural event, and I’ll likely run it again.

What’s your preferred fuel during a race?  If it were up to you, what would be provided in a post-race area?

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Tower of Terror 10-Miler Recap

Ok, so I’m really slow with the updates, but I’ve finally got some time to write a recap of the runDisney Tower of Terror 10-Miler that was held on Saturday, October 5. 2013.  Overall, it was a really fun race, and I’m glad I did it, but I’m not sure I would do it again.

We had a 4-day weekend from work (luckily), so we headed to Orlando early early Friday morning.  I mean really early.  Like, we had a 6:15am flight, which meant waking up at 3:15 and leaving our house before 4:00.  With two kids under the age of three.  Possibly not the brightest decision we’ve ever made.  LOL

After a somewhat rough flight, thanks to the little one, we landed in Orlando around 9:30.  Headed to baggage claim to get the double stroller, then boarded a Disney’s Magical Express bus to our resort.  I love how easy Disney makes the arrival process.  We got to the resort, Old Key West, in about 45 minutes, and then got checked in.  By this time, it was around 11:30a, when the expo buses were scheduled to start running, so we decided to head straight to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports for the expo & packet pick up.

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We arrived at the Expo site right at noon, when it opened, and the line was outrageous.  Both kids fell asleep in the stroller within 5 minutes of getting off the bus, so my husband volunteered to just walk around the ESPN complex with them (since strollers weren’t allowed inside the expo) so I could pick up my stuff and look around a little bit.  I took some pictures while waiting in line.

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After a short wait, I was finally inside the arena and could see the expo layout.

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While large, this expo was only about half the size of the expo when I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2012, amazingly.  First things first, I headed over to packet pick-up to get my bib, then over to pick up the bibs for the runDisney kids races, since we’d entered both kids into their very first race (more on that later)!  Then, I went over to pick up my race shirt.  I’d ordered a large at registration, forgetting that the shirts were all men’s cut.  So my next stop was the shirt exchange area.  I traded for a medium, but should have tried it on – by the time I realized I needed a small & made it back to the expo the next day, they were out of smalls for trading.

Once I had all my race stuff, I tried to look around the expo a bit.  But, knowing that John was waiting with the (sleeping) kids, and seeing the REALLY LONG LINES to check out in the official race merchandise area, I decided to head out to find the family.  (I would regret this decision, as by the next morning, they were either sold out of my size or completely out of everything I wanted to get).

After leaving the expo, we headed over to EPCOT for the International Food & Wine Festival, and some character greetings & rides for the kids.  I’ll do a separate post on that later so this one doesn’t get too long.  Suffice to say, we ate & drank quite a bit of phenomenal food, then headed back to our resort once I got the text that our room was ready.  We had dinner at the resort and then settled in for the night.  It had been a LONG day and we had to be up early on Saturday morning for the kids races.

First, though, I had to get the kids’ race stuff ready.

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Getting to the kids race on Saturday morning was a bit stressful.  Trying to get two really young children up, dressed, on a bus, into a stroller, to the far side of the ESPN complex (a LONG walk) and into their start corral by 9:30am is a lot harder than it sounds.  The kids races are so cute, though.  The boy took off sprinting down the track because Pluto was at the finish line… I had no idea he was so fast!  And the girl waddled down the track just as fast as her little legs could go!  At the end of the 100m, they both got a medal, and we went to find daddy.

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And then we had to find Mickey, of course.

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We decided to go back into the expo and walk around for a little while, then (after I discovered that everything I wanted was sold out, boo) headed back to EPCOT for lunch at the Food & Wine Festival.  We were trying to have an easy day, since my actual race had a 10pm start.  We took the kids to the pool for a bit in the afternoon, and I sat in the hot tub to relax my muscles after all the walking I’d been doing (by the time we got back to the resort, we’d walked about 4 miles on our “easy” day, oops) and then just lounged around the room.  I started getting ready to go around 7pm.

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I think I headed out to the bus around 7:30, I was meeting up with some other Moms RUN this Town members for a pre-race photo at 8:30.  I found the person who was organizing the meet up, wandered around the pre-race area a bit, took a picture, then we headed to the start corrals.  The corrals opened at 9:30p.  I was in Corral E, with an expected finish time of 1:50-2:00 – my proof of time predicted a 1:56 finish, and I managed to convince some of the other MRTT girls to start back with me so I’d have someone to run with since they were aiming for about the same overall time.

At about 9:45, we started walking from the corral area to the start line, where there was some pre-race entertainment.  And right on schedule, the first corral started at 10pm.

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My corral started around 10:10 I believe.  The course, overall, was pretty good.  It was nearly all paved roads, starting right outside of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, going down the road to Disney’s Animal Kingdom parking area, then over to ESPN Wide World of Sports, and finishing back at Hollywood Studios.  There were a few places with really sharp turns, and a few other places where the course felt much too narrow for the number of runners that were holding about the same pace as I was, and there was one short section going in to the ESPN complex that was more like a trail.

There were characters along the course every 3/4 mile or so.  We only stopped for two – first, the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, and then again with the HYENAS from The Lion King, my all-time favorite Disney animated film.

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I ended up crossing the finish line at 2:02.58 officially, and 1:59 running time by the Garmin.  After crossing the finish line, there was still over a mile of walking that we had to do to get back into the main part of the theme park for the after party.  I’d hoped to stay and ride some rides, but since the kids had fallen asleep & my family wasn’t at the finish line like we’d planned, I only managed to stay for about 30 minutes after the race.  I headed back to the resort around 12:45am.  It was a really peaceful night at the resort when I got back.  I took this picture as I walked back to the room.

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It was a fun race, but I don’t think I’ll ever run another nighttime race, especially at Disney.  I can’t go to Disney and leave the kids at home, and I can’t do a night race without resting all day before hand, and that’s just not an option at Disney.  Between the heat/humidity and the tired legs, that was one of the hardest runs I’ve ever done.

What’s the hardest run you’ve ever done?  Have you ever run a race that you swear you’ll never do again?

Up next:  A picture of the race bling, and a quick report on the 5K I PR’ed in this morning.  🙂

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Fitness Survey {Link Up}

Gee, life has really just been getting in the way of writing lately.  I’m still having a hard time balancing personal interests (blogging & running, especially) with work responsibilities.  For some reason, this school year I just don’t feel myself settling into a groove like I usually do.  Hopefully it’s coming soon, I have a half marathon to run in a month!  I promise, I’ll get some real updates up this week, including a race review of the Disney Tower of Terror 10 Miler!

But first, the October Fitness Survey Link Up, brought to you by the Triple S Bloggers of Sarah, Sara, and Shelly.

fitness survey

1.  Run or Walk? Run for sure
2.  Elliptical or Treadmill? Elliptical.  I hate the dreadmill.
3.  Longest distance you’ve ever ran(or walked or biked)? Half marathon
4.  How many days a week do you work out? In an ideal world, 3-4, but in reality, I’m doing good to get in my long run + one other day lately
5.  What’s your favorite cold weather recipe? I love soup when it’s cold outside.  This is one of my favorites, Butternut Squash & Leek Soup from Food & Wine Magazine.
6. Do you lift weights? I did when I had a gym membership, but I don’t anymore
7. Do you have a dream race you want to participate in?  I’d like to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon again (or the Glass Slipper Challenge) and maybe the Disneyland Half.  But runDisney races are expensive!
 
Share a recent race or training photo.
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(bad quality, but it’s me with the hyenas from the Lion King during the Tower of Terror 10 Miler)
Link up via Sarah’s post at HowMyWorldRuns.com
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Fitness Survey {Link Up}

fitness survey

This month’s Fitness Survey is hosted by Sara at She Cooks, She Crafts, She Runs.

1.What type of workout have you not tried but would like to? (ex. yoga, zumba, crossfit)
I’d love to try Crossfit, but I think I need to be in better shape first!  🙂

2. Favorite song to workout to.
This one’s hard.  For a gym workout, I really like listening to the first album from All-American Rejects, but for running I need variety.  My current playlist is about 3 hours long & I designed it using jog.fm to find good songs for my goal pace.

3. What is one thing on your list of things to accomplish? (ie. handstand, certain yoga pose, PR in a race)
I’m hoping to run my 10-miler next month faster than I ran the 15K in July, and I really want to PR at my next half marathon.

4. Favorite Sports Bra?
Ooh, another hard one!  I don’t have one, I’m constantly searching for a good sports bra that supports my ginormous chest but is still comfy.  I have a C9 by Champion one that’s decent (but really at least one cup size too small) and a nice one by Glamourmom that fit great when I was first running again after A was born, but is now too big because I’ve lost so much weight.  I hear good things about Moving Comfort but haven’t tried them out yet.  I’d love some recommendations! 🙂

5. What piece of fitness advice would you give someone just starting out? (ie weight loss, running, exercise)
Food is the #1 thing to get under control if you want to be fit.  No matter how much you run, cross-train, weight train, etc, if you keep eating crap you’ll never see the results you want, whatever they are.

6. What is your favorite thing about Fall Sports?  Increased Training? Races?
Football is back!  Woo-hoo!

7. Does your pace improve as the weather cools down? By how much?
I hope so!  LOL  This is the first year, probably ever, that I’ve kept running through the summer.  My pace has actually dropped quite a bit since May, but I’m hoping to get it down even more as the temps cool off.

8. Does your schedule change with the cooler temperatures?  Do you run more? Longer distances?
I run longer training runs when it’s cooler outside (5 miles instead of 3).

9. How much, if any, does your attire change?  At what temperature do you begin to layer?
I switch to compression capris instead of shorts, and t-shirts instead of tanks as it cools down.  I have a running jacket, but I’ve never lasted more than a mile with it on, no matter how cold it is outside.  And if I wear long sleeves, they end up pushed up by the 2-2.5 mile mark, unless it’s still dark outside, overcast, or rainy.  I switch to cooler weather gear when the temps drop into the 50s or so.

10. What is the best time of day for your workouts?
I prefer to run in the mornings, but it’s really hard for me to do that consistently, so I tend to run in the evenings.  Right now, that’s not so bad, because my next race is a night time race (10pm start, yikes), but I’m hoping to get into a morning run routine once the race is over!

 Post a pic from your most recent workout!
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Sunday morning’s long run with my neighbor L!

Link up here: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=316045

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