Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I just needed a moment...

Last week was rough in my world, as it was in so many of yours. Did anyone else just need a moment? I was not blind to the very real possibility that the New York City Marathon would be cancelled. I was not prepared for the tears. Not because of the race, but because it was just one more thing.

Here in New York, gyms have no reopening date. I realize for many, this is just an "adjust course" type of thing, but the gym is also my place of employment. No, I don't pay my mortgage with that money, but I do contribute to my household, and with Bill also out of work, we need to be back at work in whatever capacities possible. 

The cancellation of New York also means the likelihood of Wine and Dine happening is getting smaller and smaller. I won't give up all hope until they make the official call, but the writing is on the wall. I keep telling myself: they will make the field smaller, they will allow deferrals, it's already the smallest race, it's all the way in November. We have all of our plans done. We will probably go anyway just to get away (unless we are still in quarantine on either end). I'm changing course as to why we were going and running all the races (clearly 40 races won't be happening with fall being cancelled). I'm just sitting here, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Then there's the whole training thing. I had penciled in my plan a few weeks ago. I'm supposed to start today. I haven't even wrapped my head around rewriting 6 months of plans, let alone letting go of the A race marathon that was supposed to be my easy slide into the Dopey Challenge. Now, I have to figure out how I'm doing Dopey. 

So, if you need a moment, take it! Hopefully I'll be back soon with new plans, new races on the calendar, and feeling hopeful again for the future world, post-quarantine!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Tips to Create Your Own Training Plan

I totally get it! Not everyone is ready or able to invest in a running coach (but if you are, I happen to know of a GREAT one, cough cough). When you've got your registration, the next thing that usually comes to mind is, "Oh crap, I have to train for this thing!" At least, I hope you are starting to think about training.

Coach Google has TONS of free training plans. runDisney has official training plans. If you're new, though, where do you even begin? What happens if you miss a run? What if you want to start training early? Help! Don't worry, I got you!

The insipration of this post came from many questions in all the runDisney groups, followed by some really good and REALLY bad advice. If you're new and asking those questions, I think it's safe to say that you probably don't know which is which. Oh, and by the way, that's OKAY! We were all new once, and you learn by asking, doing, asking again, reading, watching, and experimenting. Before you know it, you'll be dishing out advice (and hopefully it'll be the good kind)! 

Tip #1: Work backwards from the race date.
I'm a total paper/pencil planner type, so I will print calendars, work backwards, and design my plan from end to beginning. 

Tip #2: Add in holidays, special events, travel, or other races. 
After putting those on top of the plan, you likely will have to move things around. This is where it gets a little tricky. You really need to be sure you give yourself enough rest, especially in the taper weeks leading up to race day. You also don't want to increase your weekly mileage by too much. A good rule of thumb is to increase by no more than 10% in a week. 

Tip #3: If your plan doesn't start yet, build a base!
I see this the most--people have no idea what to do when the plan they have chosen doesn't start yet. I've seen some crazy suggestions out there! Here's my simple formula for base building: take the number of days per week you will run during the training plan, and work up to that number of days. Don't worry about mileage. This is also when you can add some speed training to help your pace. 

Tip #4: Be flexible, but don't try to "make up" your runs.
Life happens. Accept that some runs just won't get done. The worst thing you can do is try to double up or make up those runs. Like Elsa, just let it go! It's the overall commitment and quality of your training that will get you to the finish, not any one, single run.

Tip #5: Stay the course.
You may be tempted to see another plan, see another runner's posts, Google again, or just wing it and want to change things up. Plans are designed with purpose and build systematically. Stick with your plan. Don't bounce around. If you follow the plan, you will be successful! 

Best of luck on your training! 

Don't know where to start? Here are some links to get you going:
Hal Higdon plans: https://www.halhigdon.com/

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Global Running Day

Today is Global Running Day. We are also in the middle of chaos. Nothing in life lives inside a sterile vaccum. Today is a day I would usually get out, run a few miles, throw up a few hashtags and connect with my fellow runners. As I sit here this morning, I don't even know if I have it in me. Live is heavy right now. This blog is about magic, Disney, the fun of running, but I don't live in a bubble. 

So today, I will run. I will run heavy. I will think and reflect on what I have learned and the many things I still need to learn. I will run fueled by stress, by sadness, by worry and by the weight of my own responsibility. 

Global Running Day. Becuase "Happy" just doesn't seem to fit this year.

Monday, May 11, 2020

April 2020 Month in Review

This blog, at its core, is a way for me to log our journey, running and enjoying Disney. April was a wild month, and by wild, I mean lots of time at home, sitting, working and not doing anything fun. Sitting here now, I know this time of the Covid-19 pandemic quarantine will be a distant memory sometime, just not right now. April was hard. Bill was laid off in March, so I worked crazy hours making up the income. Luckily my work from home job provided the needed hours, so we didn't need to dip into savings or our running/Disney fund. For my fitness, though, the closing of the gym and added hours of sitting have not been so great. People, the "quarantine 15" is REAL!

I did manage a few workouts a week, trying to stick to my Bodypump schedule (with no bar, but at least some decent-sized weights) and kept teaching Strong by Zumba virtually. I ran here and there, but definitely didn't get in as many miles as I'd hoped for. I have developed a new, nagging hip injury (yippee), so had to take some time off and have reduced my speed and miles. My nutrition was everywhere, drank too much wine, and definitely loaded up on the sugar. I hope you didn't come here for inspiration!

May is my last month of unplanned running before jumping into my NYC Marathon training plan. I have some small goals, some big goals, but mostly the goal of just to get into a better routine. What's your plan for the month?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday 5: Workouts at Home

Stuck at home? Need to workout? Don't worry, I've got you covered! I rounded up some of my favorite at home workouts for this week's Friday 5! Check them out, and let me know what you think!

1. Virtual Running with New York Road Runners
Love running with NYRR
In general, I'm not a super-fan of virtual races, however we are in trying times, and sometimes you need some motivation. Last year, I did the virtual NYC marathon to gain entry to this year's race. It was crazy intense, but I also found the awesome community of NYRR virtual racing! These races are a bit more serious than other virtuals. You have to upload proof of completion through Strava, there is a wonderful, international online community for support, and there are ways to run virtually to gain entry to some of the most popular road races. I've already signed up (for FREE) for the 5k this month. Check out their site for the full schedule HERE

2. Les Mills On Demand
It's no secret that I love teaching Les Mills classes at my gym. Since most gyms (if not all) are shut down, they have made even more content available for free to keep you fit from home. My favorite, BodyPump, is definitely a challenge without the fancy bar and step, but I've been able to make some small modifications to use the weights I have at home. You can find everything from dance to yoga. Check it out HERE

3. Beachbody On Demand
(Affiliate link: If you click the link and purchase a package, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!)
It's no secret that I love my Beachbody On Demand too! There are so many amazing programs, nutritional supports, and full guides to help you stay on track. I personally love Shaun T the most, but I've yet to find a workout I don't love. I highly recommend following a program (or two--look for some hybrid schedules) to ensure you have a good balance in your weekly routine. Reach out if you'd like some guidance--I'd love to help! You can find BOD HERE

4. Strong by Zumba
If you want a high intensity workout, seriously, get to a Strong by Zumba class! I am currently doing live classes twice a week on Zoom (come find me on FB and join in), or you can do a sample workout HERE There's no cha cha cha in this format! Think burpees, biceps and beats!

5. Virtual Spartan Race
Last year a friend at the gym convinced me to do a Spartan race, and I actually had a lot of fun! We had a big team and it was short enough to manage. Spartan has put together a virtual option, giving us a whole list of self-made "obstacles" to do along with a run. I even know of a few groups who are doing it, then getting together on Zoom afterwards to share their results. It's a great option for runners who want to switch up their regular routine. Check it out HERE

Finally, I wouldn't be me if I didn't also add my words of caution. Please be mindful of where you get your exercise advice, especially now. Everyone is a home workout expert on Facebook these days. Many of us have gone through years of education, training and assessment to call ourselves fitness professionals. Even more, though, have not. Working out at home presents some of its own risk: no one is there to correct your form, monitor your effort, or give advice. Be safe, and be selective about what or who you follow. I'm always here to help, so never hesitate to reach out!

I'd love to hear about how you are staying fit at home! Drop me a comment below!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A New runDisney Era

After Thursday's record sellout of the virtual races and the craze of Wine and Dine registration, I feel we are in a new, yet familiar, runDisney era. We have warped back in time to earlier years when registration frenzies were a regular occurrence and getting in the race was (almost) harder than running the race.

Sadly, I missed out on registration for the Haunted Mansion race. I'm hoping some magical extra registrations come up. I mean, really, why not make some extra cash runDisney? No, I don't actually expect this to happen, but hey, a girl can dream!

There is something fun about returning to the insane runDisney days, though. I made some great friends in those years. Those were years of lots of travel, PRs, park days, and fun. There were blogger meetups with celebrities and swag. There were new races, familiar races, and legacy races. Most importantly, we were in a time of thriving, not in a time of international pandemic like we have never seen before.

So thank you, everyone who has made runDisney insane again. It gives me hope that we will all run again, together, very soon. Stay safe. Train smart. I can't wait to be back at Disney World in November to enjoy all 3 races at Wine and Dine. Love you all!

Note to new runners: I am in the process of updating our most popular posts: So You Want To Run Disney?  This is a great series that walks you step by step through runDisney races. Stay tuned! I can't wait to share the updates!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Re-Planning Your Disney Vacation

Raise your hand if your Disney trip has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic! I fell your pain, friend!

Many of us have had the perfect trips cancelled, and the only way I know to cope is to start planning again! For me, it meant focusing on smaller trips first, then planning (and budgeting) for our 11th wedding anniversary. Here's what we are doing, step by step!

We loved the party in 2017!
1. Pick a return date. We originally rebooked our trip, with MANY changes, for mid-May. Since that isn't looking too great, we started to research some of the perks Disney is offering for those who had to cancel. If you booked an on-site room that was cancelled, you have until the end of May to book a new reservation to get free dining (must travel before October 1). You can check out the details HERE  Unfortunately for us, we already have annual passes, so we can't advantage of this offer. We are still on the fence about where to stay, but we did pick dates for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in September, booked with our Disney Visa points. Our travel agent (I always try to support my friends and their businesses) is also able to book for May 2021 as soon as we are ready. Our hurdle now, like many people, is Bill being furloughed and not knowing when he will return to work. With so much uncertainty in our budget, we are trying to be smart.

2. Change your flights. This is actually a bonus! We have found some very inexpensive flights, even when booking with points (which is how we mostly travel). Depending on how you paid, who you fly through, and when you were supposed to travel, you may be getting a refund or a credit. Either way, booking a flight now definitely seems smart. We are also looking ahead to Wine and Dine Weekend, seeing if we can even get those flights now. 

3. Stalk rundisney.com :) runDisney has postponed all race registrations, most likely because of the reduction of employees. That's my theory, at least. I have confidence that by November, we will be back to running races on schedule (please, don't burst my bubble!). With the quick sellout of Wine and Dine, I want to be sure we don't miss a registration day, especially with my goal of 40 for my 40th!

4. Rebook your dining and FastPass+. If you are within your booking window and you are planning on the (loosely) the same itinerary, you can login to My Disney Experience and change your plans right from your "My Plans" page. Of course, you can also start over and search. This is always my favorite part, so doing this has been a great way to add some fun to my daily "stay at home" life. 

5. Confirm your refunds. Since everyone is having to get refunded, it is always a good idea to stay on top of your refunds. Disney gave me a 4-6 week window for my refund, but it showed up on my card much sooner. Because we had multiple charges (split stay, rebooked reservation, and some prepaid dining), I made notes to be sure it all went through as expected. It did, and much earlier than expected, but it never hurts to be 100% sure.

6. Share your excitement. Even my most upbeat Disney FB groups seem to have some negativity about rebooking or vacations in general. I'm here to be your cheerleader! Tag me on Facebook! Share with me on Instagram! I think the world can use a little Disney magic these days!  

Can't wait to "See 'Ya Real Soon" Disney World!

Friday, April 10, 2020

A Hopeful Thought...

I can only speak of my experience here in New York. Every commercial is about staying home or celebrating the heroes of this pandemic. Yesterday, watching these emotional commercials, I had a very hopeful thought.

I can see it. I can feel it. The 50th New York City Marathon on November 1st, 2020. I know it is possible and even likely that this pandemic will be impacting us for months, maybe even into the fall, but I have high hopes that this race will not be cancelled. And damn, it's going to be an epic celebration!

Running down the streets that are now empty. Bridge to bridge, borough to borough. Celebrating life and health. Cherishing every moment even more than before. Getting to say "thank you" to our first responders, our medical teams, and our volunteers that make it all possible on that day and today. I can only imagine the tears, the chills, the smiles and the support when we all get to the other side of this.

Looking to the future and holding onto hope is what is pulling me through, day to day. Our lives are different now. These are the moments that change us and shape us; they force us to remember what is important. I would love to hear about what you are looking forward to. How are you going to celebrate? And if you're in NY, I'd love to see you in the crowd celebrating with all of us--this is America's race!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

What now?

Disney is closed. Gyms are closed. I know, this does seem trivial in the bigger picture of people's health and lives, but for many of us, these things are deeply ingrained in our happiness and self care.

Today marks 42 days until our planned Disney World trip. We have a fun, split-stay trip planned, fast passes done, matching shirts, dining reservations, flights, everything. Today is also the day that we are most likely canceling our trip. With my part time work gone and Bill officially furloughed until his company can be up and running, we have to trim every penny, like so many others. Our overly extravagant Disney vacation is a clear cut that we will have to make. Fortunately, we have not activated our annual passes yet, and we have the opportunity to reschedule for a future date. I know many of my runDisney friends are uneasy about Star Wars weekend, and just awaiting that very likely announcement of it's cancellation. Again, I know it's trivial, but when you plan and prepare for something for so long, disappointment and sadness are natural feelings.

What I am learning through this, though, is that I have a need to be a helper. My purpose is and has always been to help people. It is what drives me, and in times like these, I feel that need even more. In my fitness life, I've been sharing resources for home workouts. Last night, I ran my first live group fitness class from my home. I plan to do more as soon as I can figure out my work from home schedule and what I really need to do to keep us afloat during these trying times. (Shoot me a friend request on FB, follow me, follow the page, connect on IG--I'd love to share lots of these resources with you)

So what now? I guess we just continue helping our neighbors, try to stay positive, and look forward to better times. We follow the guidelines of the medical professionals. We pray. We smile for our kids, we laugh when we really want to cry, and we give thanks for everything we do have. Most importantly, we take care of ourselves so we can take care of others. So, with that, please eat well. Take vitamins. Exercise. Have fun. Sleep.

Remember, as Dory said, "Just keep swimming."

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Vacation Shirt Planning Tool

As everyone heads to WDW for another race weekend, I'm stuck at home just dreaming and counting down to our next trip. If you've been following along on Instagram, you know that I have a new toy! I just got a Cricut Explore Air 2, so of course I've been Disney-fying everything I can. This also means that I am on matching t-shirt mode for our next trip. As any good planner does, I've also been obsessively planning each day, the materials needed, sizes, colors, all of it! To get myself organized, I created a simple planning template. Print it. Use it. Change it (after saving on your own, of course). I hope you find it helpful!

It's time, princess!

Calling all princesses! Your time is here!

I can't say I'm not a little jealous of all of those headed to the world for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. I have only run this weekend once, but I am excited to return in 2021.

If you are on your way, best of luck! I'll be cheering you on from home. Need a little extra inspiration or excitement? Here's a throwback Thursday for you! Disney went all out on themeing in 2015--it truly was frozen! I remember wearing every layer I brought for the 5k. Happy race recap reading!

Princess 5K 2015

Princess 10K 2015

Princess Half Marathon 2015

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Top Tips for Traveling with a Baby (or Toddler)

Recently, I have become the go-to tagged person to give some Disney advice for babies and toddlers. I guess it's no secret that we love Disney and do not subscribe to the "wait until they can remember it" thinking. We have taken both boys before they even turned one; Robby made it to both Disneyland and Disneyland Paris before that milestone birthday. Of course they won't remember it, but we will, and we'll have stories and pictures to share. I may be biased, because I was definitely "born and raised" Disney, but if you have the means, take the trip!

Robby in Paris!
While I could go on forever on how to make it the best trip ever, I narrowed it down to my top ten tips for traveling with babies and toddlers to a Disney resort. Let me know anything I missed!

1. Use the Baby Care Centers! These are special rooms located in each park (check the park map for exact locations). They are quiet, cool, and relaxing. I have personally nursed babies many times here, plus they have nice changing areas that are much less crazy than the regular bathrooms. You can also warm food, set your littles up in a proper high chair, and some even have small tables and chairs to let them watch a cartoon. It's a great place to go if you (or your baby) are overwhelmed by the crowds and just need to catch your breath. The staff is always so sweet! You can also pick up any forgotten baby-specific items here, such as diapers or baby food. These are definitely underutilized! Check them out!

2. Bring your stroller! I prefer to travel with my running stroller because it's so easy to move, even though it is pretty big (okay, the double BOB is huge). You might be more of a "smaller is better" person, which is fine too. No matter how much your kid loves to walk or you love to carry them, I think a stroller is just necessary. BONUS TIP: Mark your stroller with a tag, ribbon, or balloon. Did you know that they often move strollers to keep the park traffic flowing? When you exit a ride or attraction, your stroller will probably have been moved. We have a sign that we hang from the handlebar and it helps us find ours easily in a sea of strollers.

3. Baby-wear! Wait, but didn't you just say bring a stroller? Of course, but I honestly do both. Using a carrier while you wait in line or eat at a restaurant (with a napping baby) is the best! Also, for some areas of the park, like Fantasyland, we will park our stroller and walk from ride to ride. Just be sure not to leave your carrier in your stroller; I have heard many stories of sticky fingers taking carriers (so sad, I know).

4. Use rider swap! I really need a write step-by-step how to on this one, but let's just say you can double your fast passes and completely master Disney by using Rider Swap. This program lets one part of your party stay with the little ones while the other rides the thrill rides. Then, you can swap and skip the line so the other party can ride. If you're traveling in a group, the lucky ones can even ride twice. Just see a cast member at the fast pass line entrance and make sure to bring your little one along. They will ask who is going first and who will swap, scan your magic band or give you a pass, and you are ready to swap and have some fun.

5. Plan for regular nap times. If your baby is great at sleeping in a stroller, this can be a great time to get in some rides that have a height requirement. We personally have always done well with having the boys sleep either in a stroller or carrier (versus going back to the room).

6. Know your limits! I think this is more for toddlers than babies, but know when they have just had enough. We have suffered from trying to push Robby a little too much on a trip. Take breaks at the pool. Sleep in. Go to bed early. We all know Disney isn't a relaxing vacation, but find ways to make sure everyone gets enough rest to have some fun.

7. Poop bags are life! If you have a little still in diapers, pack the disposable diaper bags (the small, individual tie ones). Being in a hotel room with a poopy diaper isn't fun for anyone!

8. Pack a reusable shopping bag. If you plan to take a stroller, you will inevitably end up with junk under it, strapped to it, on top of it, etc. To board Disney buses, you have to fold the stroller. We always carry along a shopping bag, then just toss everything in there quickly before folding the stroller. It's so much easier than trying to hold everything or (worse) find a spot to put things.

Ryan's First Haircut
9. Measure your kiddos at home! There are quite a few rides that have a lower height requirement (think Mine Train, not Splash Mountain). Don't set your littles up for disappointment. Know their height, and plan accordingly. Of course, we double checked, but we knew exactly what rides we could go on before we arrived.

10. Make some memories! There are so many special experiences you can do! From character meals to dress up experiences, the list is almost endless. You don't have to add anything on and still have an amazing trip, but if you want a few extras, Disney offers so many options. By far, though, our favorite is the first haircut at Walt Disney World's Harmony Barbershop. Both boys and our nieces have had their first haircut there. It was an amazing experience, surprisingly affordable, and sprinkled with magic like only Disney can do. Make sure you make your reservation ahead of time! They book up fast!

runDisney bonus tip: The kids races are awesome! Both boys have already done the Diaper Dash, and Robby has run the 100m a few times. In the upcoming year, we probably won't do every kids race, but they are another great value and a ton of fun for a race weekend.

I'd love to hear your questions and tips! What is your number one tip?

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Monday after...

The Walt Disney World Marathon weekend has come and gone. We weren't there, but were definitely cheering everyone on from home! I love seeing all the pictures, posts, and stories from friends and strangers alike.

From when I said, "Never again!"
Now that it's Monday, I'm sure some of you (like me) are high on pixie dust and ready to jump into another runDisney event! We are focused on the 2021 Marathon Weekend, with Kate taking on the marathon (her first!!!!) and with me being crazy and doing Dopey just one more time. (Anyone remember 2014? That "one and done" race? I lied, I guess!). We are also going to follow the race weekend up with a cruise, and yes, doing that challenge too. Starting in May we will also be APs, so expect to see us on every course from Wine and Dine 2020 through Star Wars 2021.

Since it's Monday, and we are all motivated, I figured I'd share some of what I'm doing to help coach Kate to the marathon! Here's our January focus:

  1. Build a good base and exercise habits. We are both focused on a few runs per week just to get in the habit of getting out there.
  2. Focus on nutrition and weight loss. It's hard to lose a ton of weight during a training cycle, and we don't want to have to focus on that when we're already focused on the miles. Dropping a few pounds in the next couple of months will only make training and running easier.
  3. Get started with a Disney budget! Maybe not the most fun, but we are both starting to save for our upcoming trips. 
  4. Start looking for proof of time races. We definitely want to have a proof of time so we have a little buffer for corrals.
So take that motivation, and let's do something with it. Who's running Disney soon?