2018 York Half Marathon Recap

Happy long weekend! I hope that you all are enjoying the warm weather 🙂

I want to take a moment to thank all service men and women who have fought for our freedom and continue to fight today. Thank you for all that you do.

Last weekend, I took part in the York Half Marathon, a fun local race.

Leading up to the weekend, I was still recovering from the Pittsburgh Half. I was taking my time with recovery since I ran harder than I ever had before. Additionally, on Friday, I started feeling REALLY bad…like horrible stomach cramps, nausea, and headaches bad. The stomach pains were enough to make me stay in bed after work on Friday and most of Saturday morning. I did make sure that I watched the royal wedding, however! How beautiful and sweet was it?!

After I got ready for the day on Saturday, I told Steve that I was going to play the race by ear…if I felt better, I would do it. if not, I wouldn’t worry about it. I had already PRed, so I didn’t need this race.

As the day went on, I began to feel slightly better, and I even got to help my sister get ready for her senior prom. She was on Prom Court. Isn’t she stunning?!

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Also, I chopped my hair two weeks ago, and I love it!

After the prom festivities, I made my way home and got to bed. I set my alarm and promised myself that I’d listen to my body in the morning.

When I woke up, I was surprised that I felt much better. I got ready, ate my breakfast, and then Steve and I drove down to the race area.

When we got there, I picked up my packet, which included a great race shirt and bag. I was so impressed! I then took my swag back to the car, put on my bib, and started to stretch out.

My goal for the race was simple: to finish. I wanted to take my time and truly enjoy my surroundings.

As the start time approached, I lined up at the start area and waited to begin.

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As ready as I was going to be! 🙂

Before I knew it, it was time to begin. I started off slowly and settled into a comfortable pace. We started in the heart of York and quickly headed to the York Heritage Trail, a beautiful rail trail that stretches a wide area.

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We mainly rain on the gravel trail roads (as you can see here), which were a nice relief for my legs after months of pavement and treadmill running.

The miles were going pretty quickly. I was feeling good so I neglected my run/walk and kept running. I did stop for water breaks and took my time through those.

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The course was an out and back trail, which I liked. I knew what to expect towards the end of the race. The course was also pretty crowded for a local race. Because the course is so flat, many runners travel to try to qualify for Boston (there’s also a marathon during the weekend). But, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of runners by any means.

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I was feeling pretty good through mile 10.5, and then the sickness started coming back. I began to have stomach cramps and get pretty nauseous. I knew that I was almost done, so I decided to keep moving and get the race over with as quickly as possible.

The rest of the race was honestly a blur. I put my head down and kicked it into gear.

I quickly made my way to the finish line and crossed it with the smallest fist pump. I was just so happy to be done.

I got my medal, grabbed some water, and made my way to find Steve. He snapped this really sweaty photo of me before we headed home. At that point, I just wanted to go home, shower, and lay down.

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I spent the rest of the day in bed before venturing out for lunch with Steve’s parents for their anniversary. I was not able to eat much, however. I made sure that I got to bed early that night because I was so exhausted and felt so poorly.

I later learned that I had a 72-hour stomach bug. It was AWFUL!

I’m proud of myself for pushing through this race, and I can honestly say that it’s one of my hardest earned medals. I finished with a time of 1:57:50, which I am very happy with considering the circumstances. Because of this, I can always look back and smile when I think of this race, even though I felt so crappy.

So, what’s next? I actually am happy to say that I’m taking a slight break from half marathons. Nothing major, just a few months to let my legs rest after Dopey and the harder spring races that I completed. I’m hoping to get back into it in the fall or next spring!

Do you have any upcoming races? What are they?!

Design

2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon Recap

Hi, friends!

It’s absolutely beautiful outside today…at least in Central PA! As I admire the blue skies outside my window, I thought it would be a great day to recap my Pittsburgh Half Marathon experience.

Steve and I traveled to Pittsburgh the Friday before the race (May 4). We left after work, so we got to our friends’ house in Pittsburgh pretty late. We did get to spend a few hours catching up with our friends, which was great! We went to high school and college with a lot of our friends there, so it’s always great to catch up and share old memories.

We woke up pretty early on Saturday to get to the expo when it opened. I was really looking forward to this expo because in previous years, it’s always been full of awesome vendors and free samples.

We ubered down to the Convention Center and got in line at 8:45 (the expo opened at 9). Luckily, they let us in a few minutes early, and we raced over to the packet pick-up area to grab my bib. Three of our friends were also running the half, and we were able to go to the expo with one of them.

After picking up our packets, we headed toward the main expo area to check out the official merchandise and other vendor booths. Overall, I was sort of disappointed in the expo this year. I did buy two items (a “Runner of Steel” tank and a metal rack extender for my current metal rack), but it just seemed like the entire expo was taken down quite a few notches from the last two times I visited it. Not terrible, but not as great as I remember….and definitely not as many free samples.

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After we finished up at the expo, we headed to Smallman Galley where we ate a delicious brunch! I went to the Banhmilicious booth and got the egg and avocado rice bowl. IT WAS SO GOOD! I also got a raspberry herbal tea to help calm my nerves from the impending race.

We then took a leisurely walk through the Strip District, which I had never done before! We got so many free samples, and I was sure to purchase a bottle of wine and a homemade cannoli – YUM!

Then, we headed back to our friends’ house to drop off our stuff and hang out for a few hours before dinner. I took this opportunity to take a nice nap and keep my feet up. I knew I needed it!

After my nap, we headed down to Benny Fierro’s to get my pre-race tradition of pizza. I had never been to Benny’s before, and boy was I in for a treat! I wish I had taken a photo of my pizza slice – it was GINORMOUS!

I also made sure to get a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory…because…..when in Pittsburgh, you get a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory…always!

We made our way back to our friends’ house and I got ready for bed. I knew that I wanted to go to sleep fairly early since we had to leave the house early the next morning due to traffic.

We woke up around 4 the next morning, got ready, and ate our breakfasts. Then, we called an Uber and headed down to the race area. We got there about an hour early and chatted as we warmed up and stretched.

When it was about 30 minutes to race time, we all split ways and headed to our respective corrals. I was B, so I knew I wanted to get a good position so that I could run pretty quickly after starting. I knew going into this race that I wanted to PR. I had worked hard for it, and I was ready.

Before I knew it, we were off! My goal was to NOT do my typical run/walk interval and instead run the entire race, minus the water stations. How people run and drink at the same time completely blows my mind….that’s talent!

I honestly didn’t take any photos during the race because I was trying so hard.

The miles flew by as we ran through the different neighborhoods (Strip District, North Side, etc.). I honestly didn’t even look at my watch until we headed across the river around mile 6.5. I was feeling great and knew that this was going to be a great day for a PR.

It was definitely humid, so I focused on my breathing…slow and steady, especially while running up the notorious Pittsburgh hills.

I kept my spirits high and my feet moving as I ran through the Southside and up the Birmingham Bridge. YIKES! I definitely forgot about how long the hill is from the beginning of the bridge to the other side of the river (it’s almost a mile long!)! But, I got through it, and I knew that it was all downhill from there.

In the meantime, Steve texted me when I was at mile 11 and said that he was at mile 12. I kept my eyes open as I was flying through the streets. I passed the mile 12 marker, but I did not see him. I didn’t text him back because I knew that I would be finishing soon and could get him after. He would have never made it to the finish line in time any way.

As I quickly approached the downtown area, I knew that I was so close to the finish line. I tried to avoid looking at my watch during this stretch, and instead, I focused on running as fast as I could. So, I had know idea how far ahead I was…I knew I was making good time though. I passed the mile 13 sign and really kicked it into gear – I mean FULL OUT SPRINTING!

This part of the race is always so fun – the crowd is so loud and you truly get chills as you cross the finish line. As soon as I crossed, I stopped my watch, and to my surprise, I had PRed by 4 minutes! My official time was 1:48:29! I couldn’t believe it!

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I immediately texted Steve and made my way to the finish line festival area where he was waiting. We celebrated with a few photos of course.

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We then met up with our friends and headed to brunch/lunch on Mount Washington. I got a pierogi bowl, a typical Pittsburgh dish, and I was given a free beer from my waitress for participating in the race. How sweet?!

Then, we headed back to our friends’ house so that I could shower. Because Steve worked the next day, we knew that we had to get back fairly quickly.

I, however, took the day off on Monday. I spent time with my pup , relaxed, and celebrated my PR.

Overall, my experience at the 2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon was FANTASTIC! I always love this race and the crowds that it draws. It’s definitely an experience like no other.

But, that’s it for now. Next up: my recap of the York Half Marathon, which I completed last weekend!

Have you ever run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon? Tell me about your experience!

Design

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

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

2017 CC Mini Thon 5K Recap

Happy Halloween, friends!

This past weekend, I completed the Cedar Cliff Mini Thon 5K as part of my 10-mile maintenance run. I was the 4th girl (according to my sister), but the race experience wasn’t what I expected. Follow along to find out why.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early and completed 6.9 miles around my neighborhood. I kept my pace nice and slow (averaging a 9:44 minute/mile pace), and really focused on my breathing. After completing the preliminary miles, I changed out of my clothes (it was very cold and I knew I needed to get into dry clothes!), grabbed a Gu and water, and headed out the door.

The race was only 10 minutes from my house, so the drive did not take long at all.

Once I got to the park where the race would be held, I walked up to the pavilion and picked up my packet. I will say that I was VERY impressed with the race packet! The race was run by my sister’s class, so I wasn’t expecting to get so many goodies! In the goodie bag (which was a nice, sturdy string bag), we got our race shirt, some Four Diamonds stickers, Halloween candy, a nice ballpoint pen, a Four Diamonds lanyard, and two complimentary one-week passes to our local LA Fitness. Not bad for a local race!

After I took my goodies back to my car, I began stretching out my legs and doing what I could to warm my muscles back up. About 15 minutes before race start, I took my Gu and met up with my sister and dad (they came to watch me since they live 5 minutes away).

After a few moments of chatting, I headed to the “start line.” My dad snapped this pic, which made me giggle.

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My dad is too funny!

Then, with some non-descriptive, last-minute course descriptions from the race director, we were off! I started out nice and slow and really focused on settling in to a comfortable pace. This race was not about winning or getting a PR. I really did it to donate to a good cause and break up another training run.

As we exited the park, I realized that I totally forgot to start my watch….oh, Sara….

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I made the 5K Instagram post. Clearly, you can tell that running makes me happy haha. And, no, I was not last. There was just a big gap between my part of the race pack and the next.

I had heard that this race was going to follow the annual Turkey Trot course exactly, so at what I’m guessing was the 1.5-mile mark, we hit the school. Now, I’ve run the Turkey Trot for the last 4 years, so I’m very familiar with the course for that. At first, it seemed like we were following the course, but as soon as we hit the school, about .15-.2 of the course was cut out. This really confused me, and I hesitated when everyone else went a different way…BUT no one was there to direct us otherwise. Usually after the school, we head up and make a loop around the library before heading back to the main road. So, thinking that we’d make up the distance later, I followed the rest of the pack to stay on track.

Well….I was very wrong…..

We never officially made up that distance. We ran a straight shot back to the park, and before I could even comprehend what had happened on the course, I was crossing the finish line.

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And, at that moment, I so wished that I had worn my watch. Just how short was the course? Should I have run more earlier?

I walked through the finisher’s shoot and headed towards my family. My sister informed me that I was the 4th girl to cross, so that sort of brightened up my mood. I felt so guilty…like I had cheated the 5K somehow..even though I followed everyone else.

After I met up with my family, we headed towards the pavilion to get some food and water. The amount and quality of food that they had out was AMAZING! There was fruit, applesauce, hundreds of pastries and donuts, water, and CapriSuns!

As we entered the food line, we overheard some of the race volunteers chatting about how so many people cheated and cut the course. My sister, intrigued by the conversation, went up to chat with the volunteers (since most of them were her classmates). When she came back to our area, she noted that most people cut out the library and just headed back to the park. So…they were talking about literally everyone who ran the race…This frustrated me a little. There wasn’t anyone on the course to direct us to the library, and thinking that there were some changes from the Turkey Trot course, everyone just headed down the main road. But, I put that behind me. I did the best I could, as did everyone else on the course.

Although the race course wasn’t ideal, it was still nice to get out to do another local race. I’ve been doing so many RunDisney races in the last two years that I haven’t really had time for too many local races. While I probably won’t do this race again next year, it was a nice change of pace. And, although the course was cut short by the runners, I’m happy that I was able to get out and add to my maintenance run.

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Do you like to do any local races?

Design

Week in Review – October 20, 2017

Happy Friday!

This week has been SO MUCH BETTER than last week. I have been in a fantastic mood, and my health and fitness have been on point! I’m loving it!

With that being said, let’s get this recap started!!

Workouts

Two more runs and Dopey Challenge training week #20 is in the books! Holy moly. I cannot believe that I’m over 2/3 of the way done with my training. I’ll be posting my second Dopey Challenge training update next week, so be on the lookout for that to see how weeks #10-20 went!

  • Friday: 25 minutes on the elliptical on the gym and some leg exercises
  • Saturday: 9 miles around the neighborhood
  • Sunday: Rest day, but I did take an hour-long hike with my dad!
  • Monday: 25 minutes on the exercise bike at the gym and some leg exercises
  • Tuesday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 7 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym

This morning, I did 25 VERY EASY minutes on the exercise bike at home, and I also did some light arm exercises. I really just wanted to get my legs moving (without running or pushing myself too hard). I have 6 miles tomorrow, and then I will be completing a total of 16 miles on Sunday. I’ll run 2.9 around my neighborhood and then head to Gettysburg for the Blue-Gray Half Marathon (13.1+2.9=16!). I definitely plan to take this race nice and easy, so I’m excited to focus on the beautiful scenery.

Favorites:

Experiences

Just one favorite experience this week. On Saturday, I sent my baby sister off to her senior homecoming. You guys, where did the time go?! I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday!

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Didn’t she look stunning?!

Books:

I made some headway on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’m about 100 pages in, and I’m excited to keep going. I don’t know why, but I always gravitate toward the Harry Potter movies this time of year, perhaps it’s the witches and wizards…or the fact that most of the movies have Christmas scenes in them? Yes, Christmas is coming…Either way, I’m into it! Now if I could just find a Butterbeer recipe that would work with my nutrition plan…….

Food:

If you saw my post earlier this week, then you know that I spent a majority of my free time on Sunday meal prepping for the week. Click here to see what I made! Hint: IT ALL WAS DELICIOUS!

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Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

As I mentioned last week, two of my best friends who live across the country are in town! I’m excited to spend some time with both of them this weekend! I even took off on Monday to spend the day with one of them.

In addition to spending time with my friends and running my half marathon, Steve and I plan to visit a local fall festival on Saturday. We’ve never been, but we’ve heard that the food is to die for! Good thing I’ll be carb loading 🙂

What are you most excited for this weekend?

Design

Another Half Marathon?!

Yep…you read that right…I signed up for yet another half marathon. What?!

This time, I’ll be competing in the Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon on Oct. 22. Yes, I’m still in the midst of training for my very first Dopey Challenge in January 2018, but I really wanted to find a way to break up some of my longer training runs in the middle of the cycle.

A few weeks back, I was searching for half marathons that occurred on the same days as my long runs this fall/winter. The only one that fit this requirement in my area was the Blue-Gray Half Marathon. And, I actually did this race in 2014 – which was a bonus!

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This race occurs on the same day as my 16-mile training run in late October. My plan for the day is simple: run 2.9 miles at home and then head to Gettysburg for the race and take it EASY. No PRs and no competing for prizes. I honestly am going to treat this race like a RunDisney race, using an easy pace and truly taking it all in. Fall in Pennsylvania is absolutely beautiful, and this race takes you on a scenic wooded tour of the town of Gettysburg and the historic Gettysburg Battlefield, so I don’t want to miss out!

While I’m not setting any goals, I’m still going to treat this as a serious training run, with the proper fueling, water and intervals. I don’t want to mess with a good thing!

I am VERY excited for this race! I had such a great time back in 2014, and it looks like the race coordinator has made a ton of updates since then, including more race time on the battlefield and a post-race beer garden. How cool is that?!

If any of you are planning on running this race, let’s chat! I’d love to meet you 🙂

Design

My Running Belt Collection

Hi, friends! With my 11-miler coming up this weekend, I’ve got running, fuel, and gear on the brain. So, today, I want to talk a little bit about how I store all of my gear when I run.

First things first: let’s start out by discussing how and when I use a running belt. I usually don’t need a lot of “stuff” for my shorter weekly runs, which range anywhere from 2-8 miles during this training plan. I don’t like to drink too much water (for obvious reasons relating to my bladder :)), and my body doesn’t require fuel for any runs less than 10 miles. I also usually don’t carry my own water with me during races (except Marathons), unless the race course does not feature any. I do, however, always carry my phone, no matter how far I’m running.

With all of that being said, I usually don’t wear a running belt for any training runs under 10 miles. I don’t find it necessary, and I like to just be “free.”

Alright…so when I do run longer than 10 miles, what do I use?

I’ve gathered a fairly large collection of running belts over the years, and I’ve narrowed down a few of my favorites below:

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  • Fitletic Mini Sport Belt (I believe I had a different model, but this is the most current version that I can find). This was my very first running belt. After I decided to sign up for my very first half marathon in 2013, I did A TON of research on what I would need to train. Because I followed several RunDisney bloggers/social media gurus, I was instantly drawn to this belt. It was water resistant, had plenty of storage for my phone and cards, and did not ride up. Now that phones have gotten larger, I don’t really use this belt all that often anymore. Fitletic does sell separate pouches for phones and other add-ons, but as you’ll see below, I have plenty of other options to choose from when training!

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  • The Buddy Pouch. These were actually gifts from Aunt for Christmas a few years ago. She got me both sizes so that I could have options when running. One fits my phone, while the other does not. I’ll admit – I was extremely skeptical about this pouch before I used it. Would the magnetic strip really hold? Would the velcro be strong enough for my fuel and phone? But, I am happy to report that I was wrong. Although not ideal for long runs, this pouch is perfect for long walks, hikes, and runs under 10 miles. This does not bounce, and it keeps all of my items in tact.

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  • Flip Belt. I’ll be honest…I totally bought this because everyone was talking about it. I  didn’t necessarily need a new belt at the time, but I really wanted to try it. And, to my delight, it is one of the best running belts I’ve ever tried, and it’s super simple to use! You slip your belongings into the holes and then flip it inside-out. Easy! I’ve used this on a few long training runs, and I’ve never had any issues. I’ll surely be using this again throughout the duration of my Dopey training!

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  • Fitletic Forte Armband. Ok…so this isn’t a running belt per say, but I do use this a lot, so I think it deserves to be featured in this post. I love this armband! I’ve used it for several half marathons, and it’s been great! This armband provides the perfect amount of storage for my phone and Gu, and it comfortably stays put on my arm. I love it!

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  • Fitletic Hydra 16 oz. Belt. And, finally, this is the most recent belt that I purchased. While training for my first two marathons in 2015 and 2016, Steve would ride the bike next to me to keep me company – since I had never gone that far before. He also carried a bag full of water bottles for me to use at any time. This time around, Steve and I have some other commitments, so I’m not sure that he will be able to ride next to me for every long training run. So, I decided to look for a running belt that would meet my hydration needs. Because I had such a great experience with my first Fitletic pouch, I decided to go back to it. I haven’t tried this belt out yet, but I’ve heard rave reviews from multiple bloggers and YouTubers. I’m hoping to try it out in the next few weeks!

And, those are the belts that I tend to use during my training cycles. I love them all and use them for very different reasons. I’m looking forward to using my new Fitletic hydration belt, and I’ll be sure to post a review once I do!

What’s your running belt of choice?

Design

 

5 Reasons to RunDisney

Hello, friends!

Within the next few months, our Instagram feeds will be filled with tons and tons of RunDisney photos. From Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend to Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend, the next 3 months will be quite busy within the RunDisney realm.

As this next RunDisney race season approaches, I thought that I would take some time to explain why I love RunDisney events so much.

  • Entertainment. From music to character stops, RunDisney race courses are filled with tons of entertainment for all types of athletes. More serious runners can enjoy the music, signs, and parade floats as they zip through the course, while the “fun” runners (runners looking to have fun and take their time) can also enjoy character stops. Character stops really set RunDisney races apart from other races for me. Need a break? Stop to hug a character! Want a photo with your favorite character? Stop and get that photo!

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  • Swag. No RunDisney race is complete without the swag! With each registration, you receive a a beautiful race shirt (or multiple if competing in a Challenge). Each race shirt is themed to whichever race weekend you are participating in and is made from very durable materials. I almost exclusively run in these shirts at home! They are so comfortable! RunDisney expos also have fantastic official merchandise booths, where you can buy shirts, jackets, magnets, wine glasses, mugs, pins, headbands, and more! I always come home with more than just the race shirt 🙂

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  • Courses. RunDisney race courses take you on a scenic route of the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, or Disneyland Paris Resort. Runners are given a behind-the-scenes look at each resort’s entertainment, rides, access roads, and more, and most races take runners through the parks BEFORE they are open to the public – how cool! My favorite part of any RunDisney race? Running through the the castle in the Magic Kingdom. There’s nothing like running down Main Street U.S.A. with hundreds of fans cheering you on!

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  • Costumes. RunDisney races give runners the ability to compete in costume. Most runners dress in Disney-themed costumes – in fact, you’re sort on your own if you don’t wear one! I previously shared my costume plans for Dopey Challenge in an earlier blog post, and if you want to see some of my previous RunDisney costumes, see my previous blog post here.
  • Atmosphere. And, my favorite part of any RunDisney race has to be the atmosphere. NOTHING beats the way that RunDisney races make you feel. Yes, the sights and sounds during the entire race are great, but the RunDisney race officials create an atmosphere where you truly feel that you can do anything – characters are cheering for you, fans are cheering for you, and all volunteers/race officials are cheering for you. It is absolutely incredible!

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If you’ve never done a RunDisney race before, you absolutely have to! Yes, the races aren’t cheap, and, yes, travel is required for most of you, but each race will leave you with the most incredible memories to last a lifetime!

What’s your favorite part about RunDisney races?

Design

Dopey Challenge Training Is Starting!

Hello, all!

IT’S TIME! Dopey Challenge training starts this week, which means that my regular workouts will be changing slightly.

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As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I will be following the Hal Higdon training plan. The plan officially starts on September 5, but some additionally training is required before then.

Higdon’s training plan is 18 weeks long and consists of 4-5 days of running per week. The first long run is 13 miles and occurs in the first week. The plan then builds to include two virtual Dopey weeks (running Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), and ends with a long run of 20 miles three weeks before Marathon Weekend. This plan is definitely intense!

To prepare for the first Higdon week in September, I plan to spend the summer building up my endurance, starting this week.

Here is what my training/weekly workouts will look like:

  • Mondays: 30 minutes on the elliptical and some strength training
  • Tuesdays: 3 miles and some strength training
  • Wednesdays: 4 miles
  • Thursdays: 3 miles and some strength training
  • Fridays: 30 minutes on the elliptical and some strength training
  • Saturdays: long runs every other week (the pattern will be 7 miles, 4 miles, 8 miles, 4 miles, 9 miles, 4 miles, 10 miles, 4 miles, 11 miles, 4 miles, 12 miles, and 4 miles)

As you can see, this mini plan greatly resembles Hal Higdon’s 18-week plan, which means that it will be a great starting point.

While I’m nervous for the long training miles ahead, I’m excited to finally begin the journey to Dopey Challenge.

Are any of you running Dopey Challenge in 2018? When does your training begin?

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