Walt Disney World Marathon 2018 Recap

IT IS TIME…for the last installment of my 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend recaps! If you haven’t guessed, The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie of all time.

If you missed my 5K, 10K, and half marathon recaps, be sure to check them out!

Flashback to January 7, 2018…..

I woke up for my fifth and final early morning of the weekend. Jenna and I brushed our teeth, washed our faces, and put on some sunscreen. Then, we checked the weather, which was surprisingly looking fantastic – it was going to be the best day of marathon weekend! We quickly got dressed into our costumes, grabbed our breakfasts, and headed toward the bus stop.

We arrived at the race area and headed straight for the merchandise tent. Due to my crazy expo experience, I wanted to see if there was anything left over. I wasn’t expecting much. We waited for about 15 minutes before we were let into the tent. I quickly searched up and down the aisles to see what was left, and, as I had guessed, nothing was left. But, it was warm, so we did a few more loops before exiting the tent.

We then headed over to the DJ to watch some of the pre-race entertainment. We knew that we wanted to get into the corral pretty early since Jenna had never experienced a runDisney weekend. We then quickly used the restroom and made our way to bag check. This was the first morning that I brought a bag. Jenna and I wanted to ditch some of our outer layers and extra food before the race, so we thought that a bag would be a great idea. I marked my number on the bag and then handed it to the cast members working the bag check.

Jenna and I began our long walk to the corrals. We chatted about our race strategy (stop for shorter character lines and do 4:1 intervals). As we reached Corral C, I noticed that my sunglasses were missing. NO! My brand new sunglasses that I had worn once! I traced my steps in my mind, and then it came to me….I set my glasses down to write on my bag for bag check! By the time I realized this, it was too late to go back. The race was starting in 15 minutes. I quickly texted Steve and asked him to stop by the bag check table to see if my glasses were there. He and Logan were just arriving on the spectator buses at that moment, so I knew that there was a slim chance that he would find them sitting on the table. But, to my surprise, he texted me 5 minutes later saying that he found them! I WAS SO HAPPY!

Ok…back to the race….

We watched the pre-race entertainment, and, before we knew it, the wheelchair athletes and elite runners were off! Because it was the 25th anniversary of the marathon weekend, runDisney was playing hit pop and Disney songs from each year that the marathon was run (1994-2018). We heard plenty of Backstreet Boys, Britney, Boys 2 Men, etc. It was awesome! Because we were lucky enough to be in Corral C, we were able to start within a few minutes of the official race start, which was awesome!

The first few miles followed the same course as the half marathon, so I won’t bore you with details. Similar to the day before, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom around mile 5. Jenna and I were making great time, and we texted the boys to see where they were. We knew that they were on their way to the Magic Kingdom to see us. As we continued down Main Street, we received a text that they were still on the monorail. So, in an effort to wait for them, we decided to stop for a bunch of photos within the Magic Kingdom!

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After snapping a few photos in front of the castle, we heard our names being called. It was Steve and Logan – they had made it in time to see us! We waved to them and then continued on our way through the rest of Magic Kingdom.

We continued on the same course as the half marathon for a few more miles – passed the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and the golf course.

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Just after this photo (I believe), we started to make our way to Animal Kingdom. Jenna and I were having a blast and had so much energy. And, the sun was starting to come up, which made us super happy!

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Hehe. This picture makes me laugh! If you know Steve and I at all, then you know that we’re obsessed with Pain and Panic from Hercules. So, when I saw this photo opportunity just before Animal Kingdom, I begged Jenna to stop. There was no line, and she happily agreed. The cast member took the photo on “2” both times instead of “3”…so this is the best photo that we got. HA!

We quickly made it into Animal Kingdom and enjoyed the shade and peaceful atmosphere. This park has definitely grown into something spectacular!

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I snapped my traditional park icon photo, and we made our way towards ESPN Wide World of Sports. Usually, I start to hit the wall around miles 17-19, but I was feeling fantastic! Jenna really helped to keep my busy as the miles flew by. I honestly didn’t pay too much attention from Animal Kingdom until the end of Wide World of Sports. We chatted about life and our running goals for the year.

I will say that Wide World of Sports lasted A LOT longer than it did the last time I did the marathon. We ran 3 miles in there! WHAT! I don’t think there was a road or sidewalk that we didn’t use! Around mile 20, we were happy to be done with it. We then ran down the long stretch and slight hill to Hollywood Studios. Surprisingly, we were still in good spirits! My legs were feeling great, and Jenna’s first marathon was going better than she imagined!

We entered the back of Hollywood Studios and made a quick loop through the park. As we were exiting, I heard my name being called. It was one of my cousin’s friends from home. She was visiting with her family, and she was tracking me so that she could cheer for me. How sweet!

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After Hollywood, I told Jenna that we just needed to run to Epcot and around the World Showcase. We kicked it into gear and started singing every time we passed a speaker that was playing Disney songs.

We ran along the pathway to Epcot and the Boardwalk before entering the World Showcase. Although we were making good time, we decided to stop for the many photo opportunities within Epcot. There were NO lines! We decided that we must have been towards the front of the pack to see no lines for popular characters (and, by front, I mean the first half of finishers 🙂 – NOT the first runners)!

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We were smiling from ear to ear and singing our hearts out! And, as we approached the mile 26 marker, it really started to sink in. I was going to finish the Dopey Challenge, and Jenna was going to finish her first marathon! We full out sprinted towards the finish line. As soon as we crossed, we turned and immediately hugged each other. We did it!

After tearing up and having our moment, we grabbed our medals, food boxes, and water. Of course, we also had to have a selfie session with our hard-earned bling!

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After celebrating with Champagne with the group, I texted my parents and in-laws to let them know how I did. In return, I received this sweet photo of my pup!

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My family is the best!

When we finally finished our celebrations at the finish area, we headed to the bus stop to go back to the resort. We had early fast passes for Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster, so we quickly got ready and headed to Hollywood Studios. We rode those two rides, and then took a bus to Epcot to spend the rest of the day eating and drinking around the World Showcase. We deserved it!

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Of course, we had to get a photo in front of the 25th anniversary banner!

Overall, my Dopey Challenge experience was absolutely amazing. I still can’t believe how fabulous I felt the entire time. No pain and no exhaustion! So, would I do it again? YES! Will I ever have the opportunity again? Probably not. But, I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.

Have you ever completed the Dopey Challenge? Share your experience with me!

Design

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2018 Expo Recap

Hey, guys!

So, I returned from Walt Disney World three weeks ago, and if you read my post last week, then you know that I’m dealing with the Disney blues. While I had a blast running 48.6 miles around Walt Disney World, I’m so sad that it’s over. Over seven months of training…..and Dopey is complete….wow!

But, all good things must come to an end, and I’ve finally decided to start my recaps. First up: the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo!

We arrived in Orlando on Jan. 3 at about 10:30 a.m. We knew that the expo didn’t open until 12 p.m. to the general public, so we decided to take the Magical Express from the airport to our resort (Pop Century) to see if our room was ready. We were very impressed with how short the trip was from MCO to Pop Century. We’ve never stayed at a resort that took less than 30 minutes to get to from the airport, so this was a pleasant change!

By the time that we arrived at Pop Century, we still had not received the text that our room was ready. So, we used the restrooms and dropped off our carry-ons at the luggage assistance station outside of the lobby. And, by the way, that has to be the coolest thing ever.

We then made our way to the bus line for the expo. On the way through the lobby, we ran into some friends from our hometown! We knew that they were coming down, but we had no idea that they were staying in our resort – how weird is that?!

After catching up with our friends, we got in line for the bus. We were able to get on the next bus, which came in about 10 minutes. While on the bus, we were told that we were one of the closest resorts to ESPN Wide World of Sports, which is where the expo is held – we were actually less than 10 minutes away!

After a short trip, our bus entered the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex (it was just about 12 p.m. at this point). But……as soon as we passed the sign, we were stuck in the expo traffic. This was my first experience going to the expo on opening day. I usually arrive on the second or even third day, so I was not expecting the traffic (and crowds) to be that bad.

After about 20 minutes, our bus made it to the drop-off location, which was moved to the opposite side of the parking lot from where it was in previous years. Steve and I ran off the bus and headed straight for the Dopey Challenge packet pick-up line, which was also the location of the official merchandise and commemorative item pick-up. And….this is where it all went downhill…..

The Dopey Challenge packet pick-up line was about 15 minutes long. In our “packets,” we received our bibs, a commemorative luggage tag for the 25th anniversary of the full, and some BibBoards, which had runDisney symbols on them.

We were then corralled around the corner to pick up my shirts.

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I actually really liked this year’s shirts! So cute and colorful!

In years past, I was always able to head straight to the official merchandise tent to begin shopping. But, to my surprise, we were told to head outside to get in line for the official merchandise AND commemorative items. At this point, I was slightly annoyed because I knew that the items were all in the building that I was currently leaving. But, there had to be a reason for us to go out and around, so I followed the directions and headed out of the building.

YOU GUYS…..the line for merchandise/commemorative items was ridiculous. Like wrapped around the complex ridiculous. If you follow any runDisney bloggers who attended this event, I’m sure that you’ve seen pictures. As we started to approach the line, I went over to a cast member to see if I needed to wait in the line for my commemorative items. For the first time ever, I was OK with skipping the official merchandise tent. That line was just way too long. But, the cast member told me that the line was for the official merchandise tent AND commemorative item pick-up (you had to go through the line to get into both areas). UGH!

So, at that point, I told Steve to go sit in the bar and wait for me. There was no sense in both of us waiting in that line. I headed to the back of the line and waited….and waited….and waited….

One hour and 20 minutes later, I finally made it into the official merchandise area. And, I decided that because I waited that long, I was going to shop. I deserved it! I knew going into the expo that I wanted to get the Tervis Tumbler water bottle and a Sweaty Band (which is something that I get every race weekend). I quickly picked up those two items and then took a look at the Dopey Challenge items. By this point, a lot of the merchandise was selling out. I found a shirt and a tank top that I liked, grabbed my size, and then headed to check out. The check out line was only about 8-10 minutes long, so it moved pretty quickly.

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My favorite model 🙂

I then headed over to the area that said “Commemorative Item Pick-Up.” But, when I got there, the area was blocked off…..completely. I asked the cast member that was standing there how I could access the area, and he said that the commemorative item pick-up line was outside. WHAT?! I told him what the original cast member had told me, and he said that I did NOT need to wait in the original line. He let me slip through the barrier (probably because he could see how defeated I looked), so I’m very grateful for that.

I got through the commemorative item line in about 20 minutes. I grabbed my pre-ordered jacket and headed out of there (I do not have a picture of my jacket because it’s in the laundry – you’ll see it in my pictures throughout my recaps though!). By that point, I was SO ready to leave, but I knew that I wanted to exchange my shirts for smaller sizes since they seemed a little larger this year. I called Steve and we met at the V Center (previously Vista Center, previously J Center, previously Josten….I don’t even know). We headed straight for shirt exchange, grabbed my correct size, and then headed back to the buses. We were so excited to be heading back to the room for a quick rest before dinner at Morimoto in Disney Springs.

Overall, the expo experience was pretty…I’m not going to sugar coat it…horrendous. I’ve never had that much trouble during any of my other runDisney weekends. While I’m happy that I got my Tervis water bottle and Sweaty Band, I’m annoyed that I was told to wait in a line that I didn’t have to for an hour and 20 minutes. And…those shirts I bought? Yeah….they were WAY TOO TIGHT….like the “I can barely move” type of tight. Luckily, I was able to exchange those in the gift shop of our resort, so I did get my money back for those.

Other than the crazy lines and misinformation, I didn’t think that the new expo set-up was too bad. I know that there were a lot of people who did not like it (separating bib pick-ups into different buildings and moving the official merchandise out of the main expo), but I sort of liked it. It felt like there was a lot of room to shop (once you actually got into the official merchandise area), and the regular expo floor was slightly less crowded than usual, so people could easily browse vendors if they wanted to.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my Dopey Challenge recaps. Keep an eye out for my race recaps next week!

Have a good weekend!

Design

Week in Review – December 8, 2017

Happy Friday!

Time for another “Week in Review” post – let’s get started!

Workouts

After my 13-miler tomorrow, Dopey Challenge Training week #27 will be complete. We are getting down to the wire! I’m still feeling strong, and I’m ready to finish this training. So….how did I do this week?

  • Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Saturday: 9 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Sunday: 20 miles around the neighborhood
  • Monday: Much needed rest day!
  • Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Friday: 30 minutes on the bike and some leg exercises

As you may recall from last week, my 20-miler was actually supposed be a 19-miler, but I was feeling so good that I didn’t want to stop! That was the best I’ve felt during a Dopey simulation weekend. I can’t wait to do my final one next week!

I have a 13-mile maintenance run tomorrow, and then I plan to take a rest day on Sunday. Only 26 days to go until Dopey!

Favorites:

Experiences

My favorite experience for the week was definitely cuddling with my puppy. Now that he’s getting older, he’s wanting to cuddle more, and I am DEFINITELY all for that. I was slightly under the weather during the second half of this week, and I do really think that he knew that. He always wants to make me feel better 🙂

Books:

And…I didn’t read anymore of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You guys, this book is not going well. I’m definitely enjoying it, but the timing is just not right. I just need to buckle down and finish this baby!

Food:

As I said before, I was feeling slightly under the weather over the last few days, so food was definitely not on my priority list. I tried to just eat a bland diet, so nothing was too special this week. But, I am already looking forward to next week because I’ll be having PIZZA next Saturday! My fave ❤

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

My sister had her first basketball game of the season tonight, and she has another one tomorrow. I love watching her play! It’s her senior season, so it’s a bit bittersweet. She has a couple of games next week as well, so you better believe I’ll be there!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

Design

November Goals Recap and December Goals

How is it already December 6?! As you could probably tell from my blogging schedule over the last month, I have been extremely busy – busy painting our house, traveling for holiday parties, working, and finishing up Dopey Challenge training. I was not expecting this all to hit me at once, so I apologize for all the silence. It’s been CRAZY, but, I digress…

It’s December! And, it’s the month before Dopey! I expect that this month will bring some exciting things (cough cough TAPERING cough cough), but I really do think that’s because of all of the hard work that I did in November.

What hard work am I talking about? Read on to find out!

At the beginning of each month, I like to sit down and reflect on the previous month and make a list of goals to achieve during the new month. November was another great month, and I got so much done, including a lot of training!

Now that it’s the beginning of December, I wanted to recap my progress on my November goals. So…how did I do?

  • Lose two more pounds. You guys…..I don’t know if it’s the pick-up in my training or my recent focus on my nutrition, but I lost another 4 pounds last month. YES! You read that right….4 pounds! That means that I’m only 3 pounds from my goal weight! I don’t think I’ll hit my goal before our trip, but I’m so happy with the progress I have made.
  • Continue training for Dopey. Another great month of training is in the books, and I’m so happy with how November’s schedule went. I nailed each and every one of my training runs, and I’m feeling stronger than ever!
  • Continue working on my Dopey Challenge costumes. With everything else that we did this past month, I did not have time to work on my Dopey costumes. I do, however, plan to finish them at some point next week. It shouldn’t take too long, and I’m excited to see the final products!
  • Declutter my accessories. DONE! This month, I decluttered my purses, wallets, sunglasses, jewelry, belts, shoes, and fuzzy socks. I’ve now gone through everything in my house, and I feel so much better! We have a ton of items to donate to people who need them more than us, and we now only have what we use/wear in our house. Score!
  • Finish all Harry Potter books before my trip to WDW. So, I did technically make progress on this goal, but not very much. I read a little bit more of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix…..but nothing major.

So, overall, I accomplished 4/5 goals…which I am very happy about! In addition to these goals, I also finished our Christmas shopping and all planning details for our trip in January. November was MY month, and I really feel like I owned it!

Now that December is underway and I’ve evaluated my November goals, I’ve come up with a list of 5 goals that I’d like to achieve before the beginning of January (and Dopey Challenge!).

My 2017 December goals are:

  1. Lose two more pounds. Just like last month, I’m hoping to be down another 2 pounds by the end of the month. Sweets are my downfall, and the holiday season brings PLENTY of them. Cross your fingers that I can stay on track!
  2. Continue training for Dopey. I can’t stop now! There’s less than one month left until marathon weekend!
  3. Finish my Project Repat order. In all of the hustle and bustle of the season, I neglected to tell you that I ordered myself a Project Repat quilt during the company’s Black Friday sale. I’ve had so many t-shirts from elementary schools, middle school, and high school sitting in our attic. Although I don’t wear the shirts anymore, I could never get myself to get rid of them. They represent so many memories – my classes, the time that I was in a play (and Steve), all of my sports accomplishments, etc. With Project Repat, I’ll be able to save those memories in a way that is much easier and more useful! No, this post is not sponsored by Project Repat, but I am very impressed with the company so far. To finish the order, I need to cut up my shirts (yikes!) and send them off to be made into a quilt.
  4. Find time to enjoy the holiday season. To most of you, this may be a fluffy goal. But, to me, it’s definitely something that I need to remember to do. With training, preparing for our trip, and a busy work schedule ahead, I want to try to remember to enjoy holiday season with my family and friends.
  5. Finish Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Going back to the basics on this goal….I just want to try and finish this book before my trip. I think this goal is more doable.

So, there you have it: my goals for the month of December. I’m looking forward to recapping and reflecting on these goals next month! See you then and wish me luck!

What are your goals for December?

Design

Week in Review – December 1, 2017

Happy December!

I can’t believe that we have just begun the last month of the year! This year has flown by so fast! It could be because of my training, but it feels like it was 2016 (or even 2012) just yesterday!

I apologize for being late on this post again – we’ve been doing a lot of shopping for our loved ones AND for our trip. I definitely plan to do a post in the next few weeks with some of our purchases for Marathon Weekend. We got some great stuff (mainly me :))!

Workouts

After my 19-miler tomorrow, Dopey Challenge Training week #26 will be complete! A little over 4 weeks to go! I know that I say this every week, but I can’t believe how quickly this training is going. After this weekend, I will only have one more virtual Dopey week and 2 maintenance runs. THAT IS INSANE! But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s talk about how this past week’s training runs went.

  • Friday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at home
  • Saturday: 12 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Sunday: Rest day!
  • Monday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at home and some leg and arm exercises
  • Tuesday: 5 miles around the neighborhood
  • Wednesday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 2-mile walk on the treadmill at the gym and some leg and arm exercises
  • Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym

I did 9 miles on the treadmill at the gym this morning, followed by 10:00 of walking to cool down. Tomorrow, I have the last leg of this virtual Dopey training weekend: a 19-miler. I’ve already begun drinking a ton of water, so I’m hoping that this run will go as great as my last one!

Favorites:

Experiences

My favorite experience for the week was decorating everything for Christmas!

Christmas is my favorite time of year, so we go ALL OUT on decorations. And, of course, many of our decorations feature something from the wonderful world of Disney.

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I just had to throw this picture in here too…I mean look at how cute he is!

Another one of my favorite experiences for the week was doing a paint night with Steve’s family! I went with Steve’s mom, aunt, and cousin. We had a blast, and our paintings turned out great!

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Books:

I was VERY busy at work this week, so I was only able to read about 50 more pages of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I still have a good bit to go, but I’m hoping to take a bath tomorrow night and read some more then (and during my lunches this week).

Food:

Steve and I didn’t do anything special for food this week because we were trying to use up some of the food in our freezer. Why?…BECAUSE WE GOT A NEW FRIDGE! It is so beautiful! We are still getting it hooked up and in its correct placement in our kitchen. But, I promise to show it in my upcoming post with our finished painting photos.

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

Steve and I will be going to dinner tonight to have my pre-long run pizza. I am so excited, and I’m ready to eat! We are also going to go see Coco tomorrow, which will be fun. I have tried to avoid Disney social media accounts so that I can be surprised when I see it for the first time. I’ll let you know what we think!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

Design

Week in Review – November 24, 2017

Happy Friday!

And, I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m very thankful for my family, friends, and, of course, all of you!

Since my last “Week in Review” post (just a few days ago), I did a lot! And, I’m excited to share my happenings from the last week with you.

Let’s get started!

Workouts

I have just one more run until Dopey Challenge Training week #25 is complete! This week seemed to fly by. I’m not sure if it was the lower mileage (compared to last week) or the short work week, but I’ll take it! I felt great during each training run this week, and I’m ready to do my maintenance run tomorrow.

  • Friday: 3 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Saturday: 8 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Sunday: 18 miles around the neighborhood
  • Monday: Rest day!
  • Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 5 miles around the neighborhood

I did 30 minutes on the exercise bike today, followed by 10:00 of walking on the treadmill and some leg exercises. Tomorrow, I have a 12-mile maintenance run, and the weather is supposed to be beautiful. Slightly chilly, but definitely warmer than it’s been the last few days. With that being said, I’m hoping to do my maintenance run outside tomorrow morning! Let’s hope it works out!

Favorites:

Experiences

Obviously, the highlight of my week was spending time with my family on Thanksgiving. Most of my extended family (on both sides) lives 2+ hours away, so I rarely see them outside of the holiday season. That’s why I love going up to my grandparents’ houses each year!

This year, my mother’s side of the family did not have a Thanksgiving dinner because my grandfather has been in and out of the hospital. Instead, we all visited my grandfather on Thanksgiving morning. I’m very happy I was able to see him!

After that, we headed over to my dad’s side of the family. Almost all of my cousins were able to come, which is always fun. We are all very close in age, so it’s great to be able to hang out with them each year.

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And…each year, my cousin, who is a beautician, likes to experiment on our hair. Needless to say, this year’s hairstyles had a 90s theme!

Books:

I didn’t read any of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix this week. We puzzled each day during lunch (at work), and then I totally forgot to bring the book home when I left on Wednesday. But, that’s ok! We have a few free weekends coming up, so I should be able to get through this book before the holidays!

Food:

Yesterday was Thanksgiving….enough said.

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

YES! Today, I will be heading to a local brewery to watch Steve’s cousin play in a band. He’s a very talented musician, so it will be fun to watch him play with Steve’s family! Additionally, Steve and I plan to do our last round of touch-ups and cleaning tomorrow, so I’ll be able to take our post-painting photos! I can’t wait for you all to see our finished project!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

Design

Week in Review – November 10, 2017

Wooh! All I can say is T.G.I.F.! It’s been quite the stressful and busy week, and I’m ready to relax tonight before our busy weekend starts tomorrow morning.

So, without further adieu, let’s get this recap started!

Workouts

Dopey Challenge Training week #23 will be complete after tomorrow’s maintenance run. 54 days and less than 8 weeks to go. AH! I am so excited!

This past weekend, I did the first of 4 “virtual Dopey runs” to help me to prepare for 4 days of races in January. It went rather well, and I wasn’t too sore after my long run on Sunday!

  • Friday: 2 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Saturday: 7 miles around the neighborhood
  • Sunday: 17 miles around the neighborhood
  • Monday: Rest day!
  • Tuesday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym

This morning, I did 30 minutes on the exercise bike at home, followed by some leg and arm exercises. I have an 11-mile maintenance run tomorrow. It’s supposed to be a high of 30 degrees here in Central PA, so I think that I might sleep in and do this run on the treadmill at the gym when it opens at 8 a.m. I just started Stranger Things, so I’ll probably watch an episode or two while I’m running 🙂

I’m VERY excited to take Sunday off. All of the painting we did last week/weekend – and the painting we plan to do this weekend – really is wearing me down. I’m ready to relax for sure!

Favorites:

Experiences

As I said earlier, we painted pretty much our entire house last weekend. We did not paint our bathrooms because they were in pretty good shape, and we did not paint our spare bedroom because we plan to use that as a nursery down the road….not now.

I didn’t take any photos while painting, but I did share some Instagram stories during the process. Once we complete the house (we are doing the rest of the trim and doors this weekend), I’ll be sure to take tons of photos to show it off. We are absolutely in love with the colors and the way that everything turned out!

Books:

I’m still working on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I was able to read for about an hour after work today before Steve got home, which was very relaxing. I’m approaching the half-way mark, and it’s getting so good! I really have been enjoying this series, and I’m excited to keep going!

Food:

Nothing really sticks out for me here. But, we are going to our favorite Italian restaurant for dinner tomorrow with my dad, so I’m sure that will be the best meal of the week for me. I’ll be sure to share Instagram stories tomorrow, so follow me if you’re curious! I’ll also share photos on the blog next week.

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

YES! We are going to try to finish (or nearly finish) painting the rest of the house. We only have to do the doors and the trim around the windows, doors, and in the stairwell.  We are planning to drop the dog off at Steve’s parents’ house tomorrow so that we can get a majority of that done. Let’s hope that we can get it all done this weekend!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

 

Design

October Goals Recap and November Goals

Hi, friends! I apologize that this post is so late. As you’ll read later, we were very busy last week/weekend, so my blogging schedule was pushed back.

Without further adieu, let’s get into this post!

At the beginning of each month, I like to sit down and reflect on the previous month and make a list of goals to achieve during the new month. October was another great month, and Steve and I got so much done. Read on to see all that we did!

It was another month of fantastic experiences, and my training runs went so well!

Now that it’s the beginning of November, I wanted to recap my progress on my October goals. So…how did I do?

  • Lose two pounds. I crushed this goal! I really took the time to focus on my health and fitness this month, and it really paid off. I lost a total of 2.5, and I’m feeling better than ever. Only 7 more pounds to go until I reach my goal!
  • Continue training for Dopey. And, another one bites the dust! I got through another rigorous month of Dopey Challenge training, and I feel great! I’ve learned how to recover effectively and quickly, and that’s been so helpful.
  • Continue working on my Dopey Challenge costumes. All clothing purchases for my costumes are done. Now, I just have to focus on finalizing the details on two of my costumes (more on that later in the post).
  • Prepare the house for painting. And, as promised, this is the reason I have been absent for a few days! We spent the last part of the month/early November painting the house! All of our rooms are complete, but now we need to do the trim around the house. We plan to finish that in the next two weeks. The fresh paint really makes our house feel like “ours” – if that’s not too weird to say. We are in love with it. Once we finish the trim, I’ll be sure to share photos on the blog.
  • Finish all Harry Potter books before my trip to WDW. I’ve made a lot of progress here. I’m breezing through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (I’m about half way), and I plan to finish it and start Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince before the end of the month.

So, overall, I hit 4/5 goals…I’m pretty proud of myself for what I accomplished last month. In addition to all of items I mentioned above, Steve and I also celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary last month. This past year flew by so fast! Steve and I are beyond happy, and we can’t wait to see what our future holds.

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Although I was extremely busy, this will be a month I’ll remember for a long time.

Now that November is underway and I’ve evaluated my October goals, I’ve come up with a list of 5 goals that I’d like to achieve before the beginning of December.

My 2017 November goals are:

  1. Lose two more pounds. I’m hoping to be down another 2 pounds by the end of the month. Although I’ll be training a lot this month, I’ll also have four Thanksgiving dinners…yeah…I’m determined to stay focused, so I’m hoping for the best!
  2. Continue training for Dopey. I’m crushing my training so far, and I can’t quit now! Only 2 more months to go until I chase my dream!
  3. Continue working on my Dopey Challenge costumes. I’d like to finish my costumes this month. I only have two main tasks left to do for these: the spots for the Dalmatians costume and the Pizza Planet symbol on my alien costume shirt. I’m still unsure on how I will do these, but I plan to figure it out this month!
  4. Declutter my accessories. I’m pretty good about decluttering my closet after each season, but I’m not as good about doing the same with my accessories (shoes, hats, gloves, scarves, purses, wallets, etc.). I’m hoping to go through all of my accessories this month and donate those that I do not use anymore.
  5. Finish all Harry Potter books before my trip to WDW. Like I said before, I am making headway on this, and I’m determined to finish. With all of my race costumes for my trip, I won’t be able to fit any of the large Harry Potter books into my carry-on. Additionally, the books are getting so good, so I definitely don’t want to stop now!

So, there you have it: my goals for the month of November. I’m looking forward to recapping and reflecting on these goals next month! See you then!

What are your goals for November?

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Week in Review – November 3, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy November!

It’s been an incredibly busy week! This weekend will also be busy, so let’s get this recap started!

Workouts

Only two runs stand between me and the completion of Dopey Challenge Training week #22! Less than nine weeks to go until race weekend. It’s getting so real!

  • Friday: 25 minutes on the exercise bike at home and some leg and arm exercises
  • Saturday: 6.9 miles around the neighborhood and 3.1 miles at a local 5K (read my recap here)
  • Sunday: Rest day!
  • Monday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at home and some leg and arm exercises
  • Tuesday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 7 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at the gym and some leg and arm exercises

This morning, I did 2 miles on the treadmill and the gym. I have 7 miles on the schedule for tomorrow and 17 on Sunday. We have plans to paint most of our house this weekend, so both of these runs will be done at the crack of dawn. I’m definitely not looking forward to waking up early on my days off….

Favorites:

Experiences

I only had one favorite experience this week. On Sunday, my husband and I celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary. Holy moly….this past year FLEW by! To celebrate, we went to The Melting Pot on Saturday night, and then we got our favorite donuts on Sunday morning to commemorate our special day (we had our favorite donut shop make donuts for our wedding instead of getting a cake or cupcakes). And, everything was AMAZING!

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Books:

I’m currently about 1/4 of the way done with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I wanted to be a lot further by now, but I forgot to bring it home over the weekend. I’m hoping to continue to read big chunks during my lunch breaks over the next few weeks.

Food:

Again…Steve and I went The Melting Pot, and we had our favorite donuts this past weekend…so both of those meals definitely won. No need for further competition 🙂

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

Well…I wouldn’t exactly call it “exciting”…But, we will be painting most of our house this weekend. I’m excited to finally get this done, but I can’t say that painting is my favorite activity. Luckily, my dad and his wife and Steve’s parents are going to be helping us. So, because our house is so small, we should get most of the painting done on Saturday. We plan to get pizzas for everyone Saturday night, so I guess there is an upside to the activity haha.

What are you most excited for this weekend?

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2017 Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon Recap

Happy Thursday!

I’m excited to finally recap the 2017 Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon!

The day started off slightly different than other race mornings. The entire reason that I registered for this race was to break up one of my longer training runs. I was scheduled to run 16 miles on race day, following a 6-mile training run on Saturday.

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and did a relaxed 2.9 miles around the neighborhood. It was pitch black, but the weather was beautiful!

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I was shooting for 10:00/mile pace (or higher), so I remember being slightly nervous that I ran a 9:47 pace.

After my run, I ate my Uncrustable sandwich, changed into my race outfit, and then we headed to Gettysburg. The drive to Gettysburg takes approx. 45 minutes, so I was trying to keep my legs loose in the car with my stick roller and stretchy strap.

We pulled into the parking lot of the starting line at 8:00 a.m., which was roughly 1 hour from the start of the race. I immediately started stretching and tried to keep my nerves at bay. For some reason, I get EXTREMELY nervous before every race – even though I’ve done so many!

After I spent some time stretching and doing some last-minute hydrating, Steve and I headed up to the Gettysburg Gateway Theater to use the real bathrooms. All of my fellow runners out there will appreciate how amazing it is to have real bathrooms at the starting line!

After using the restroom, Steve and I headed to the starting line area. There was some music playing and A LOT of crowding.

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With about 5 minutes to start time, Steve and I said our good-byes, and then I made my way to the middle of the crowd of runners. I don’t consider myself a fast runner, but I do consider myself to be in the middle of the pack. By starting in the middle, I don’t have to worry about passing too many runners…usually.

After the National Anthem and some last-minute announcements, it was time to start the race! The wheelchair athletes were first, and then it was our turn!

I took some deep breaths, and then we were off! It was truly a mad dash at the start line. There were so many fast runners that started too far back in the pack. I felt like I was being passed by everyone!

For every race, I like to skip my intervals for the first 2.5-3 miles. I find that helps me to avoid being trampled while walking so early (when everyone else is sprinting). So, I started off nice and easy and settled into my pace for the first few miles.

The first mile took us on a long pathway to get out of the massive parking lot for the theater. This part reminded me a lot of a Disney race…lots of pavement and parking lot.

Then, we headed directly for the battlefield. I wasn’t able to read too many of the signs on the way through this area, but I believe a lot of the Virginia troops were stationed at this part of the battlefield. It was so cool to see the cannons and beautiful rolling hills!

I felt great through Mile 3, so I decided to keep running through my intervals. My pace was averaging around 8:35/mile, so I was excited that I was doing so well!

After two miles of battlefield, we made our way back to some paved back roads in Gettysburg, where we remained for the next 6-7 miles. This was an out-and-back course (with only a slight difference in the course on the way back), so we did see a lot of the same scenery.

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This was around the 5-mile mark (also the 10-mile marker) – right before I took my first Gu.

And…this is where it started to get tough…

All of the sudden at mile 5, my legs started to feel like jello. I could feel them getting tighter. I decided to add some of my walking intervals back in. I ran 9 minutes and walked 1 (as opposed to my 4 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking). This helped a lot, but I knew if I walked anymore than that, I would not be able to finish. My legs were just tightening up that fast.

At this point, I just wanted to be done. But, even though my legs were so tight, my breathing and stride were great, and I was somehow managing to average an 8:34/mile pace…..WHAT?!

At mile 10, I took my second Gu. While I took a short break, I realized that if I kept up my pace for the next 5K, I would PR. I had a brief internal argument with myself…do I really want to risk messing up my training this week (or more) for a PR? I knew that this was crazy, but my competitive side got the best of me, and I kicked it into gear. The miles were flying by, and my pace was looking great!

At mile 12, the course really opened up. At this point, I knew I had my PR. Although my legs were more sore than ever, I couldn’t stop smiling! At the same time, I found myself stride-for-stride with another gentleman who was smiling and singing his way to the finish line. He asked how my race had been so far, and I let him know that I was extremely tired, but I was going to PR. He told me to stop talking to him, and go for it! So, I did just that. I kicked it into high gear and sprinted to the finish.

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If you can’t tell, I’m almost in tears in this photo.

My official time was 1:52:23. I finished 94/483 overall, 31/280 in my gender, and 3/20 in my age division! I DID IT! I PRed by over 2 minutes! I honestly never thought that I would break my previous PR, let alone do it during Dopey Training!

After I crossed the finish line, I found Steve and immediately headed for water and a banana. I was so hungry and knew that the potassium would help my sore muscles!

I cooled down and watched some of my fellow runners finish. As I was stretching, the race director made an announcement that official times could be reviewed at the tent. So, I made my way over to the tent and gave the race director my bib number. As he handed me my print-out, he noted that I had won a prize and that I needed to stick around for the awards ceremony. WHAT?! I won a prize?!

About 20 minutes after I finished, the awards ceremony started. First, the overall winners were announced and given their prizes. Then, the director went through each age division and gave out pies to the top 3 finishers in each division. I came in 3rd in the 19-24 division, so I received my own apple pie!

Then, the annual North vs. South competition was scored and announced. Each year, runners have the opportunity to run for the North or the South. The race directors then average the times of the top female and male finishers on each side. The side with the lower time wins a prize. And, our side (North) won, so I also received a free race glass!

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Overall, this was one of the hardest half marathons I’ve ever done. But, it was so worth it! I’m so incredibly proud of my PR and for finishing 16 Dopey miles that day.

Now, it’s time to buckle down and really focus on Dopey – there’s only 69 days left until Marathon Weekend!

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