Monday, October 29, 2012

Savannah Trip, 5k recap, and ENERGYbits review!

I'm back from spending a great weekend in Savannah with one of my younger brothers. :)  J went to a paintball tournament down in Florida with a group of guys he used to play with back in the day, so I opted not to go and visited my brother instead.

I got there at around 11:30 Thursday night and we just went to bed.  He had to go into work for a few hours, so that gave me a chance to sleep in (as late as Guinness would let me), get ready for the day, and play a few games of Mario Kart on the Wii.  When he got home we went to Fleet Feet to check it out.  I swooned over the shoes I want as my next pair and picked up a couple of Luna bars to eat before the race the next morning.  After we left, we went down to River Street and grabbed lunch at Vinnie Van Go Go's.  Great pizza, but make sure you have cash!
River Street is a neat part of Savannah.  There are tons of little shops, bars, and restaurants to check out.  You must go to the Savannah Candy Kitchen and River Street Sweets (they're owned by the same people).  They make amazing pralines that you can sample as soon as you walk in as well as homemade taffy
We picked up some sweets and headed back to his house to hang out before going to dinner.  One of his favorite places is Cheddar's, so he took me.  They have good food for great prices, and their drink menu is extensive and cheap!  I had a skinny sweet tea and it was sooo tasty.  We got home, watched a little TV, I laid out my race outfit and we went to bed.
Saturday morning we got up bright and early to head to Armstrong Atlantic State University for our 5k race.  We got there about 20 minutes before the race was to start.  Last week i got a sample of ENERGYbits to test out so I waited until the race to see what they could do (review to come at the end of the post.  As they lined us up to start the race, I realized that it was a VERY small group of runners.  They sounded the horn and we were off.  

The course was really nice...it took us all around campus, and having never really been there before other than going to my brother's graduation a few years back.  They had students from the PT department all along the course cheering us on and making sure we stayed on track.  The race went by pretty fast for me.  I usually use my interval timer but thought I'd try something different - I ran as far as I could and then I would take a walk break, set a landmark to start running again, and repeat.  It seemed to work pretty well, so I may try that technique this week in my training runs.  Soon, I rounded the last corner and was on the home stretch.  The students were cheering and I looked at my iPhone and realized if I really kicked it I might have a chance to PR, so I booked it to the finish.  I felt nauseous as I ran, but I refused to stop until I crossed the finish line.  As I crossed, the student keeping time called mine out - 34:16...a new PR!! I was so happy!  I walked over to my brother then grabbed a water and chatted with him and some of his coworkers.

Shortly after, they announced the age group winners for the 5k.  I was running my mouth and didn't hear them call my name out, but yes...I won my age group!  Now...I'm no fool and I realize that normally in my age group my time would be nowhere close to the top, so I'm enjoying the moment while it lasts because I know it probably won't happen again.  My brother also won his age group with a time of 30:03 (he's 26).
We stayed until the last 10k runner crossed the line, then we headed back to his house for some breakfast.
I went and showered and Chris laid down on the couch during College GameDay and took a little nap.  Then when he got up to shower I stole the couch and got a cat nap in of my own.  He woke me up hungry, so we went and got food to grab for the grill to eat before the UGA/FL game.  Can I just say HOW 'BOUT THEM DAWGS!!
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After the game, we went out to dinner with a 4-H friend of mine that happens to live in the same complex as my brother.  It was so nice to hang out with her and catch up.  We saw each other at the UGA/USC game a few weeks back but actually had time to chit chat without being rushed.

Sunday I slept in while he went to church, we had lunch together once he got home, we watched a quarter of the Falcons game and then I started the long, 4.5 hour drive home.  He was a great host and it was really nice to spend some one on one time with him.  Thanks Chris!

So onto my review of ENERGYbits...since this blog post is long enough, you can go here to read the benefits of taking spirulina algae.  As I said earlier, Jonathan at ENERGYbits was nice enough to send me a sample to try out on my own.  Since I was only running a 5k, I only took half of the recommended dose (30 pills).
They smell like fish food, and you can either swallow them whole or chew them up.  I don't do too well with taking this many pills at a time, but it seemed like the better of the two options as I have read it can get stuck in your teeth if you chew them.  So I took them, one by one, about 20 minutes before race time.  I'm not sure if that was a little late or not.  As the race went on, I didn't feel as winded when I stopped for my walking breaks and felt that I had more energy when it was time to run again.  I feel they did give me a boost of energy, albeit not as much of one as it could have been had I taken all 30, but I still felt good.  I think my only critique is to maybe do a few larger pills so you don't have to swallow so many at one time.  

I know the month is almost over, but ENERGYbits has a coupon code you can use on a bag of them!  As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this horrible disease is actually how ENERGYbits was created.  When you buy a bag of any of their four types of bits, use the code BREASTCANCER to receive 30% off!  This offer is only good until October 31st, so act fast!  You can also check out how algae can help protect women against breast cancer here.

Lastly, I have created a Facebook fan page and would love to get more "Likes", so feel free to check it out, "Like" it, share it, and I'll be sure to check your page out if you have one and if I haven't already!

https://www.facebook.com/hellofitnessjen 

Until next time, 

Jen

Disclaimer: ENERGYbits provided me with a free sample of this product to review. All opinions stated here are completely my own.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Should I Go Bi?

I mentioned a few months back that J and I will be spending 2 weeks in Hawaii next February (can't believe it's a little over 3 months away!)  I have set a goal for myself to run at least one race in each of the 50 states, so why wouldn't I check out to see if there are any races in Hawaii while we're there??

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 About once a week I've been using Google to search for any 2013 races happening the weekend we're there, and I've had no luck...until today.  The Waikiki Swim Club is hosting the Valentine's Biathlon on February 10th...a 5k run...and a 1k swim.  ::gulp::

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I am a little afraid of the ocean.  Not so much of the creatures (my dad always says "everything in the ocean will bite you, sting you, or eat you) but when I was 5 or 6, I was out on an inner tube and floated far enough from shore that I couldn't get back in on my own.  Hearing my mom freaking out on the beach put more panic in me, and my dad had to swim out and tow me back in.  Ever since I have been extremely wary of the ocean.  I'm a decent swimmer, but I've never swam out in open waters with tides and waves before.

I've never done a competitive swim, much less a biathlon, so I have no idea what I am supposed to wear!  I looked through the pictures on their website to see what kind of clothing the women were wearing...I saw tri suits, running apparel, and even a woman who just ran in her one piece! (That's not happening with me).  Do I need to wear a swim cap?  Goggles?  Do I need to buy any special pieces of clothing?  How does the transition work?  So.Many.Questions.

I know there are still a few months left for possibly just a run to pop up, but if it doesn't it looks like this could be my only choice.  So I'm asking you...my wonderful readers...for you help, advice, encouragement...anything you have to offer.  Should I do it even if I find just a race?  Help!

Until next time,

Jen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Running Pop Quiz!

I saw this on Road Runner Girl's blog a few weeks back and thought it would be a fun entry!

!.  FUEL:  Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy, or other?
I've tried all of these...I like the Shot Bloks or Energy Chews before the race, and if I'm running a longer distance the GU is easy to take

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 2. RACE LENGTH:  5k, 10k, Half marathon, Marathon, Ultra, or other?
I'm loving the 5ks as that's primarily what I've been running...I think I'll enjoy the half marathon as I've already found some that I want to run after my first one!

 3. WORKOUT BOTTOMS:  Skirts, Running shorts, Capris, Pants, or other?
I prefer compression running shorts...they're longer and I don't have to worry about them riding up when I run.

4. SPORTS DRINK:  Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, stick to water, or other?

While I'm racing, I usually have Nuun in my water bottle...after the race I drink Gatorade or Powerade...whatever they're providing.  I don't like to drink it while I run because it makes my spit feel thicker and not so easy to swallow
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 5. RUNNING TEMP:  Heat or cold?
It was just starting to warm up when I started running back in March, so I haven't gotten to experience running in the cold yet...but I do know that I HATE running in the humidity!!!

6. RUNNING SHOE BRAND:  Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brooks, Asics, or other?
I big puffy heart my Mizunos and I'm already looking for my next pair.

 7. PRE RACE MEAL:  Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal, or other?
I am not a fan of eating something heavy in the morning, especially before a race.  I usually have a Luna bar or something similar.

8. REST DAYS:  1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or other?
Right now I'm only running 3x a week, but I hope to increase that to 4-5 days a week in the near future.

9:  MUSIC:  Have to have it or go without it?
I enjoy running with music...the beats sometimes help my cadence and pace.  If I'm running with friends I won't use the music so that we can chat

10. #1 REASON FOR RUNNING:  stress relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight loss, social reasons, or other?

My health.  I want to be around for many many many years to come and I need to take better care of myself to make this happen.

Until next time,

Jen

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy birthday, hubby!

Friday was J's birthday, and lucky him got to travel home from a business trip in Puerto Rico.  I made dinner reservations for a German restaurant in our town (which probably wasn't a good idea since he had JUST gotten home) but he was a good sport and we went out anyway.

Had to start off the evening with birthday beer -


We had a potato pancake to start (didn't get a picture of it), he had the currywurst sausage with German potato salad and sauerkraut, and I had sauerbraten with spatzle, veggies, and gravy and potato dumplings and red cabbage.  Dinner was delicious!  I ordered baked alaska as our dessert -

When they brought it out they said "We don't sing" and then one of the guys yodeled for us...scared me to death as he was right next to me and I wasn't expecting it.  It was good and we finished it off last night.


J mentioned that he wanted a new bike, so that's what he got for his birthday.  I plan to drag him out to the greenway to ride while I do my runs :)

Saturday I volunteered at a fundraiser for You Lucky Dog Rescue at a local restaurant.  It was my first official event with the rescue and I enjoyed meeting everyone that is affiliated with it.  We had a great turnout and I'm really looking forward to working with them even more in the future.

I didn't get my run in this weekend like I wanted, and this week will be tough as I am working four 10 hour days to have Friday off, but I do have my next race on Saturday in Savannah!  I'm dragging my brother with me in a 5k and I'm looking forward to it :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Until next time,

Jen

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Virtual Cupcake Classic 5k recap

Run With Jess hosted a virtual race on her blog and Facebook, and after seeing the name, how could I resist?

During the week of October 14-21, you were to run a 5k anywhere of your choice.  Jess even hosted an actual run in her hometown.  It would have been a blast to be there!

I chose to do my run Thursday night after work at one of my favorite places to run - the Big Creek Greenway Trailhead.  I stretched and then headed out to start my run.

The run started out pretty decent, but soon after my ankles began hurting every time I took a step.  I'm not sure if they're just weak or if maybe my shoes are starting to show some wear.  They've never bothered me before this run.  

I did pretty decent, not walking too much during my run intervals but the pain in my ankles really slowed me down.  It definitely wasn't my best time, but it wasn't my worst, either.

Doneski!
After I finished I went home and enjoyed my reward...a cupcake!

Yum....
She even had some awesome bling to go with the race -




She had tons of amazing sponsors for this race, and she's doing a raffle for everyone that participated to possibly win some awesome prizes!  Can't wait to see if I might have won :)

We had a virtual race packet, too, complete with lots of coupon codes for various websites.  I have heard about Injinji socks from other bloggers, and they were doing a special on some pink toe socks, so I bought them!

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The special is still going on so check them out!

I'm already looking forward to this race next year :)

Until next time,

Jen

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Runs and Volunteer Work

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

I had such an AMAZING run Thursday night.  I decided to do a 5k around my neighborhood, and after the less than stellar run I had on Tuesday, I was really hoping to make this one even better.  I was a little under a minute away from my PR and I felt so incredibly great afterward!  No knee pain, no leg pain...it was seriously a great run.

Last night's run was not as great, but it wasn't horrible either.  I did a 3 mile run around my neighborhood.  I have to say that I am getting better at only walking during the walk intervals, so I'm pretty proud of myself for that!  

Last Friday my company had a service day - we got to pick the organization of our choice to volunteer for the day.  I split my day between two - the Humane Society of Forsyth County and You Lucky Dog Rescue.  At the Humane Society I cleaned one of the cat rooms and got to play with some of the pups


Breakfast time!
Hutch enjoyed playing with the leash
 I really enjoyed volunteering at my local Humane Society.  They are a strictly no-kill shelter so it put my mind to ease knowing that all of the animals can stay there as long as they need to until they get adopted.


My afternoon was spent picking up a couple of pups that wandered onto someone's property.  No one claimed them, and they had a hard time finding a rescue to take them.  You Lucky Dog agreed and my first assignment with the rescue was to pick them up and take them to the vet to get them checked out before they go to their foster homes.

We adopted Guinness from a rescue in Birmingham, and since it's not easy to volunteer with them, I'm happy to have found a local rescue that I can get involved with.

Be on the lookout for some giveaways coming soon!

Until next time,

Jen

Friday, October 12, 2012

Guest Post - Tower of Terror 10 Miler Part 2 - Race

*CAUTION RUNNERS Extremely long post ahead*CAUTION RUNNERS extremely long post ahead*

After lunch our little family decided to just hang out in the hotel room and try to nap.  There was some quiet time, TV, giggles, stretching, water drinking, and lots of "Austyn, time to dodo", but no real nap.  At around 5, Austyn finally decided that it was a good time to nap.  I knew we had plans to meet up around 7ish so I decided it was much easier to get ready with a sleeping 16 month old than a not used to having such a late nap grouchy girl (I can call her grouchy because she gets her late nap grouchiness from me...I confess).

So I showered up (because you always need to smell good for a race) then started getting dressed.  The girls I was starting with are known for their fun costumes.  Since this was my first race I was a little nervous to overdo it.  I had ideas for a few different characters.  While I kept going back to my all-time favorite villain, Captain Hook, I ended up as Mr. Smee!

I wanted something comfortable, not too hot, and fairly easy to make.  I found the shirt at Target, the shorts at Sports Authority, the glasses...look familiar?  They're Harry Potter glasses - the only thing I could find that kinda "fit" Mr. Smee.  As for the hat...oh the hat.  Living in south Florida I wasn't lucky to find a regular beanie.  I attempted to make one of those ever so popular mini hats on a clip, but I looked like a clown.  So as I was looking for scrap material I thought, "Maybe I can just cut up a shirt".  It just so happened that my husband had an old red shirt that's moisture wicking AND the sleeve fit my head perfectly!  I cut the sleeve off, sewed it shut, and sewed a tulle pompom on my head.  Seriously, it was that easy and ended up being how I could spot myself in the Brightroom pictures.

While I kept thinking "My costume is a little lame", you wouldn't believe the compliments I got from other runners and even some spectators along the way.  I even appreciated my friend Becca's comment "I have no idea who Mr. Smee is, but you're pretty cute!"  If you can't nail your character, just nail being a cute version of your character.  This is where I give pregnant Mr. Smee the number one Mr. Smee award.  It was a perfect choice for her and she looked great!

Before I completely geared up, my daughter woke up and let us take a few unhappy shots, but I got a high five and that's all that matters.


I then met up with the rest of the group.



 We snapped a few shots and headed to the buses.


 While we were getting on the bus, a girl made a remark about how her costume was better than one of the girls in my group.  This really disappointed me.  Let's face it girls...there is no costume contest.  We all have our own unique way of doing our costumes.  Let's have fun and save the judging.  It's Disney World - The Happiest Place on Earth!  Keep the sass to yourself.



When we got off the buses, I called Jen.  I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing.  The atmosphere was amazing.  My butterflies turned into pure excitement.  If they would have let me, I think I could have taken off on my own, run the whole 10 miles nonstop without looking back on the adrenaline alone.

We picked the photo op line with the shortest wait and had the people behind us snap a few pictures.

 We hung out, stressed, and headed to our corrals.  All of the girls were put in Corral B, and Alexwas in Corral C, so we parted ways with plans of catching up with him early on.



The newbies, the Dalmatian and myself, decided to head to the porta-potty while we waited to line up.  The wait was not terribly wrong, but we picked the non moving line.  After our potty break, we met up with the Queen Lynn and Evil Sea Witch Juliette and did some more stretching.  We joked about our running injuries (feet, knees, and hips) and had a good time hanging out.

Then it was time to head to the starting line.  I will be honest - from things I've read, I was expecting there to be these long draining walks everywhere.  While there is a lot of walking before you start, I felt like the excitement of the race masked the distance and found nothing to complain about.




While waiting for the race to start, some cool things went on.  We got to be in the background of the race recap video!  I even ended up standing next to the one and only Captain Hook.  She was really nice, and didn't make me feel like a total loser when I asked her to pose for a picture with me.

There were not a ton of Mr. Smee's or Captain Hook's, so it was fun that we were waiting to start next to each other.  We even met again during the race.  I heard "Mr. Smee!" and there was Captain Hook.  You hear a lot about how friendly people are at the races, but at that moment I personally experienced and realized that.  Yes indeed - Disney races are the best and most friendly!




We both ended up making the race recap video.  40 seconds in behind Snow White you will see me and the Dalmatian (sorry...I have no idea what her name was...oops!).  At 1:15 you will find the Captain Hook, and spot me not far behind her. 

Now...where was I before I so rudely interrupted myself?  Ah...the start of the race.

Of course right before the start I got the sweetest text from my biggest cheerleader, Jen!




Who had a fan a state away with a sign?  THIS GIRL!  Be jealous.

National Anthem, fireworks, wheelchair group 1 GO, fireworks, wheelchair group 2 GO!  (Seriously, we saw these people going when we took off.  Talk about awesome!)  Corral A, fireworks, GO!

Here we are.  It's finally our turn.  I've got chills...they're multiplying.  There is about a 3 minute wait that feels like eternity between corrals.  Then you hear "Corral B is for Brave...or Better than A, *twilight zone music*, some more stuff about the Twilight Zone and the Tower of Terror and THEN the fireworks.  We were off!

video
Lynn and I linked arms as it gets a little pushy and tight at the beginning.  Our plan was to walk to the right while non-costume Alex ran to catch up with us from the beginning of Corral C.


Of course, we get caught on video while we are walking, and Lynn is messing with her phone (about 20 seconds in).  For the first five miles I ran with Lynn.  Her running partner, Juliette, ran ahead with her friend (the Dalmatian) and was to meet us at mile 5.  Lynn and I had a great time running, and speed walking, all while trying to wait for Alex.

For me, the first mile is usually the longest mile of the run, but this time it seemed to fly by, even with us stopping to pose with the alligator.

Next up, I got to experience my first race announcement - "CAUTION RUNNERS - SPEED BUMPS AHEAD", as we entered Animal Kingdom.  Funny how you read up on these races and when you do your first race you think "Ah, that's what they were talking about".





I'm not a fan of long lines so I slowed down just enough to snap a picture of the hyenas.

"Mufasa" "Ohh! Do it again!" "Mufasa" "Ohhh!" Mufasa Mufasa Mufasa!""Hee hee hee"






We hit mile 3!..HAKUNA MATATA! We have done a 5k and I felt great.  I still had so much energy balled up in me!  I got this.  I don't care what time of night it is.  We got this.  But crap.  Where is Alex?  There was a guy wearing the same type of non-costume as Alex, same build and each time he would pass us we would get excited thinking we had found him, but it was never him.

Mile 4 came.  About this time is where I started seeing people on the side of the road stretching.  We soon passed the medic station.  I was so happy at this time that my hip was hanging in there, and Lynn was hanging tough with her throbbing foot.  We didn't need to stop - a small triumph!  We haven't fallen apart yet.  We are still alive.  Things are looking possible.

About this time is when we turned onto the dirt road.  It was very close quarters and we all smelled delightful.  THIS, my friends, is what 5 a,m. boot camp prepared me for!  Hot, stinky, off road, don't give up, keep on going, you got this, sweaty, dark, interesting, full of surprises, FUN!  Lynn and I got the giggles at one of the teams.  One person was screaming at how she didn't sign up for this and that it was the "worse course ever".  The other followed closely behind pushing her along.  While we couldn't see much, there was a pirate ship that I couldn't resist.

Here we go!  Mile 5!




While I loved the dirt road, I was more than happy to see a little more light and the field at Wide World of Sports.

I thought it looked peaceful



Up until this point Lynn had been urging me to go ahead because she didn't want to hold me back with her injured foot.  I, on the other hand, didn't want to leave her to run alone.  Lynn runs the races with Juliette and I knew she would meet us at some point and I wasn't going to leave her until she had someone to run with.  After the dirt road, Lynn found out that Juliette was at the water station at mile 5 waiting for us.  Lynn decided to use the "real bathrooms" that were open at Wide World of Sports, and I made the decision to finish the race alone, knowing that Juliette would be just a few steps away.

Once I passed Juliette and knew Lynn was in good hands, I texted my husband one simple word - "Alone".  Since he was waiting with our entire group's family and friends, he would now know that my race would be different and he could no longer go off anyone's texts but mine.  So what does he do?  He sends me back a picture of my daughter - wide awake.  I could not read the text, and I didn't need to.  As my one word explained enough to him, that picture told me what the next text was saying - "You are not alone".



This is why we allowed the afternoon nap.  And just in case you were wondering, the text said, "We're so proud of you.  She's waiting up to see you.  Can't wait.  Not getting any of the auto texts.  Love you.  Try to let me know when you're close"  No worries...I completely forgave him for the water incident.  He's worth keeping around for year 11.

The picture completely made me choke up.  At mile 7 I was getting myself back together when the next text came through - "YOU GOT THIS" - my sister.  I thought for sure I was going to be a babbling buffoon, but I kept it together and pushed on!

Mile 8 is a blur.  I just remember thinking "Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog, I'm going to finish this race!".  It became real to me.  I was getting tired and I tried to keep my pace at around 11 minutes knowing I wanted to finish with a decent average pace, but also knowing I wanted to finish standing.  This is fun!  There is no need to push myself and aggravate my hip flexor.

Then the emotional roller coaster hit me again.  We are here...Almost done!




Running and running I was so excited to run through Lights, Motor, Action!  My husband and I always attend both showings when we come, so my heart pounded and I knew he was somewhere nearby waiting for me to finish.  Then I realized I was on the big screen and knew he would think that was super cool so I ran back and took a picture.  LOL

Thankfully I wasn't the only dork that felt the need to take a picture!
Not far after LMA, there was a guy cheering everyone on.  We had about 1/2 mile left and as we passed he said, "I don't know how much longer you have but it's not far".  I think myself, along with every other runner passing him at that time screamed "A HALF MILE!!".  I picked up the pace and kept thinking about my family waiting for me on the other side.  I tried to text my husband to tell him I was getting close but I didn't want to stop running, so this is what he got -






After 9, that was supposed to be "!!!!!!!!!!!!!" so he knew I was getting close.  Then I tried typing "1/2" and I just typed some letters.  His "Yaaaa" came in after he snapped the picture of me crossing the finish line.




Can you see me?  I did it!  Hearing my name being called over the loud speaker was worth every drop of sweat, lost hour of sleep, and mile I ran to get there.  I did it - 10 miles!  Well...a little more than 10 miles because I kept running until I got to where they were handing out medals for two reasons: 1) I had no idea where my husband was and knew he was taking pictures, and 2) I was afraid if I stopped running I wouldn't make it to the medals.




I got my medal, Powerade, water, banana, race box, and headed over to the medic station.  There were some runners that looked pretty bad, but I felt good.  I realized I completed a goal I didn't even know I had.  I completely a 10 miler without a problem with my hip, and was still able to walk around and not feel bad.  So THAT is my goal for the Princess.  Finish standing up, and feeling good.  I grabbed some ice for my hip just in case, put some Biofreeze on my knees and ankles, and took the Tylenol they were handing out.  I figured better to be safe than sorry.

I think carrying everything to my husband was as hard as running the 10 miles!  I made it to the line to take pictures, and the line moved fairly quickly, took my picture and I was off to find my husband and daughter.  After 10 miles in the dark I was a bit turned around in the park.  I had no clue where I was or where I was going.  We have probably visited Hollywood Studios more than any other park but I still could not find my way around.  At last, I was able to find the finish line and my family.

Seeing his smile and hearing him say "I knew you could do it" made my night.  My daughter crashed about 30 minutes before I crossed.  He said she fought hard to stay awake but couldn't.  At this point I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins.  I probably could have run another 3 miles on that alone.  However, I was very thankful I was able to take a few more pictures and put on my flip flops.




I have to give a hand to my girls Lynn and Juliette.  Those girls are tough.  Hurt or healthy they run and don't give up.  They have goals that most think are crazy that they will accomplish and make it look easy.  Thanks for letting me tag along ladies.  You rock!

Quick review : The weather was hot and humid.  It is also south Florida so I figured it would be but hoped for better.  All my training was outside and I felt that was one of my major advantages.  I loved the course.  I welcomed the dirt road and the track.  I thought it changed it up and kept it interesting.  It was possibly one of my favorite parts of the race.  As far as entertainment, while more is always better, I was okay with what we were given.  I know you are giving me the side eye, but this was my first runDisney race.  I run alone on city streets where the most interesting thing I see are curly tailed lizards scurrying across the pavement.  Running and looking at costumes and hearing other runners push each other along was more than enough for me.  I do have to say that I found the last mile to be rather disappointing.  I guess I pictured more people along the streets cheering us on.  I saw a lot of people stop and walk with less than half a mile left.  I think if there were more spectators, there would be a bigger push to keep everyone going.

Overall, I really enjoyed the race.  All the complaints have me very excited for the Princess half.  I can see why runDisney is addicting.  I'm already planning and saving for what's to come after the Princess because I know I want more!  No worries...I'll continue to drag Jen along!

Thanks for letting me relive the Tower of Terror run.  See you again after Jen and I complete our first half marathon together!  135 days! *squee!!!*


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Tuesday I was FINALLY able to run again!!

As soon as I got home, I ran upstairs, changed, told the hubs I would be back soon, and set out on a 30 minute run around the neighborhood.


The weather was great, and it felt amazing to get back out and run!  But...it is crazy at how you can lose stamina, even after a week.  I was definitely slower in my run than I normally am, but not running for a week will do that to ya.  I'm not worried, though.  I'll be back...better than ever :)

I'm already anxious to do my next run tonight!

How long did it take you to get back to where you left off from?

Part two of Amanda's Tower of Terror run coming soon!

Until next time,

Jen


Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Post - Tower of Terror Pt 1 - Expo

My dear friend, Amanda, who is responsible for persuading me to run the Disney Princess half marathon with her, experienced her first runDisney race a couple of weekends ago at the Tower of Terror 10 miler.  I have asked her to put together a guest blog post about her weekend, and this is the first of two.  So heeeeeeeeeere's Amanda!
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Long story short....a friend of mine has run Disney races for a few years now.  I enjoyed running before I was pregnant so I thought I might want to do it.  I had my daughter....made excuses....felt bad about the excuses...cry me a river...blah blah...decided I was going to run the Princess half marathon in 2013.

Same friend told me about the Tower of Terror 10 miler and suggested that I sign up.  I got ballsy and did.  I figured I had better get my butt in gear; therefore, I began attending Coconut Creek Adventure Boot Camp four days a week to cross train.

I then decided I should probably see if I could talk someone else into this crazy running idea.  Thankfully, Jen loves me and was easily persuaded.  The days passed, goals were made, miles were run, goals were met, and before we knew it Jen was running her 15k and I was up next!

September 28th, we hit the road around 6:45a.m. and made pretty decent time.  We arrived at Port Orleans French Quarter a little after 10.  Since we are originally from Louisiana we stay at Port Orleans any chance we get.  It just feels like home to us.  The rooms have been updated since our last stay there in 2010 (I love the new bedding).  Forgive me for not taking pictures...I completely forgot.

Our plans that day were to hit the Magic Kingdom.  I couldn't bring my daughter all the way to Disney for her first time and not let her enjoy a park.  While we had plans to go to the Expo that day, my daughter was having such a great time we decided that we should just spend out time at the MK and do the Expo the next day.
It's Mickey!!
That night we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner at Raglan Road - the burger was fantastic!  Upon return to our hotel I discovered my husband forgot to pack one thing...my case of water - CATASTROPHE!!!

Thankfully, our hotel room was close to my friend and I was able to steal some of her water for the night.  I was not going to spend $2.50 for each bottle of water I needed.  No worries...my husband got the "You don't get it! I need to hydrate! I can't believe you forgot it!  It was right by the door!" angry whisper lecture over and over again while my daughter had dreams of Mickey and dancing pirates.

That night I attempted to sleep in bed with my daughter, who was restless from being overtired.  At 2:30 a.m. in tears knowing I wasn't getting enough sleep I woke up my husband.  I'm pretty sure I was a little mean from being aggravated about the water.  Nerves had already set in and I was scared I would be too tired to run this race.  I go to bed at 8 when my kiddo does, and I do my running and workouts in the morning.  A 10 .m. start?!  WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!

Around 7 a.m. I decided that was about all I could sleep.  I got up, made a cup of coffe, and tried to be as quiet as I could be as I got ready for breakfast and the Expo.  Our room was freezing, so I turned up the A/C.  NOTE:  Now at POFQ the heater comes on to "heat" the room up to the degree you ask it to.  I thought my coffee was catching fire!  Once we were all up and moving we headed down to the hotel restaurant for beignets of course!

Since we are local and had our own vehicle, we decided not to take the bus to the Expo.  The driver had a other stops so we decided it would be faster if we could drive (This also gave my husband a chance to buy water)  My daughter crashed before we made it 2 minutes to ESPN Wide World of Sports, and my husband and his friend took this opportunity to skip out on the Expo.  They took my daughter and let her nap while my friend and I enjoyed ourselves (read - spent too much money) at the Expo.

The Expo is the one thing I couldn't picture, or dream of (Please tell me I'm not the only one that dreams of races before I run them).  When we walked in my friend mentions how small it is compared to what the Princess will be.  **jaw drop** I was very happy to have her there to walk me through what to do!

First things first - pick up my bib  **SQUEE!!!**  As we headed toward the bib pick up, waiver in hand, my heart began to pound.

Butterflies have officially arrived.  I signed off for my packet and headed over to verify my bib.

I walked across, and my name flashed on the screen.  *gulp*  That's me.  That is my name.  I am really about to do this.

Now to pick up my shirt and bag. 

NOTE:  The runDisney shirts run a little big, or they did this time.  They didn't have any XS left for me to exchange to so I had to stick with my small.  I'm not complaining - it's a nice shirt and it glows in the dark  I will wear it proudly even if it swallowed me whole.

If you are like me and new to runDisney and hear people talking about bag check and don't want to be a total newbie and ask what they are talking about, here you go.  This is the bag:

If you have no one meeting you at the end of the race (or the person you're meeting doesn't want to carry your things for you) then you stick anything you may need in this bag.  They give you a sticker to put on your bag to identify it.  I'm sure you guessed it...your bib number and first letter of your last name.  That's about as much as I can tell you about the bag check.  My husband had the stroller and diaper bag so I just gave everything to him.  If I'm running 10+ miles he can carry my flip flops!

Next up, shopping (of course!!)  Sadly, they were out of the TOT pins.  I didn't know what they were so I didn't order it when I signed up.  I figured I would see it at the Expo and pick it up if I wanted.  WRONG.  They were all gone.  I think this was my biggest complaint about the race.  There are so many people, and people that would love one or even two of things I don't understand why Disney doesn't make more.  It's frustrating to feel like you have to rush to be first in order to get certain things, rather than take it easy and enjoy your time.  I highly recommend pre-ordering a pin when you register!

 I didn't let it get me down for too long as we found the Bondiband booth.  Jen has raved about her so I really wanted to try one out.  I had my heart set on a dark gray one, which I found right away, but I could not pass up the cute ones with sayings.  We could have sat there for hours.  My friend actually bought two, then while we she was helping me find the perfect one she ended up with two more.

We also stopped by the Hippie Runner booth as I eyed the SPIbelts.  I wanted something to carry my small camera and cash in, but nothing too big.  This belt has two zip pockets, places for your GU, and you can also hang your bib from the belt (unless you're short like me and then your bib hits your legs).  It was perfect.

Our last stop was by the ever so popular One More Mile apparel booth.  You can get shirts, stickers, and other items with funny sayings on them.  It seemed to be a popular place.  I tried to resist the urge, but could not.  I completely understand why they say to save your money for the Expo now.

The fun stuff I bought
The Expo was a lot of fun.  We didn't stay long and enjoy it as we should have, as we needed to have lunch, relax, hydrate, and prepare for the race.  In all honesty that was probably better for my wallet.

Lynn and Amanda at the Expo
Because this long guest post makes me feel like I have overstayed my welcome...and I still have more to come with my race recap...here are the Bondiband coupon codes I was given -

Buy 3 get 1 free coupon code:  1
Five for $25 coupon code: 5
http://www.bondiband.com/

Check back later this week and enter the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror with me!
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Thanks for the recap Amanda!  Can't wait to cruise through the Expo with you in a few months!

Until next time,

Jen