Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's the Final Countdown

Dodododo….dododododo…dodododo… (You know you were singing it too).  It’s the final countdown to the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  Holy cow!  How did that happen?!?!?!  My summer, which for the past 5 years has been filled with training for this race weekend, was a total disappointment, filled with injury, surgery, weight gain, and lack of any preparation.  I don’t even have my costumes ready—and that’s not like me at all!  Usually at this time I’m going stir crazy because I’m tapering and have a ton of extra time.  But nope, not this year!  This year I’m not prepared at all and heck, what’s there really to taper from?  I haven’t trained a lick! 

At this point, the question has to be asked, “Should I even run this race?”  Yes, I use the term “run” loosely, because I know 100% that I won’t be running most of the race.  There are a few reasons I don’t want to DNS (did not start) this race: it’s my Coast to Coast to go with my amazing Dopey Challenge, Dumbo is supposed to be my Legacy race, and ALL of Disney Runs in the Family will be running.  Considering we live in 3 different states, that’s pretty rare!  You see…I can talk myself into “needing” to do this race in a heartbeat. 
The honest truth is I’m not even sure I can finish.  I’m a stubborn person, but I don’t know if that’ll be enough to get me through. 

I’m nervous, not packed, and in no way ready to go.  My costumes aren’t even finished.  This is not like me at all, but hey, I’m sure once we get there it will be fine (right…tell me it’ll be fine…).  So, for those of you traveling, safe travels.  I hope I get to meet some new friends.  Be sure to connect with us through Twitter (@DisneyRunFamily) and Instagram (DisneyRunsInTheFamily) to keep up with all that’s going on this weekend.  And please, if you see me around, come say HI!  I’ll be the SLOW one on the course! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Reviews-Day: Napa Rose

We found ourselves at the Disneyland Resort for our first wedding anniversary, and since we wanted to have one super special meal, we made reservations at Napa Rose (located inside the Grand Californian).  This is one of the nicest places you can dine at Disneyland, and definitely one to book to celebrate a special occasion.  We love food and wine, so this fit us perfectly!
This restaurant has many options, but we thought “When in Rome” and went right for the chef’s menu with the wine pairing.  This option gives you a five course meal with different wines for each course.  Nope, not cheap, but totally worth it!  You waiter will come out and get any allergies or special needs out of the way, but after that, you’re at the mercy of the chef—and what better way to taste what’s best on the menu?

Some of the courses were small (yes, I leaned in and told my hubby we'd need to stop for a burger), but after salad, appetizer, sorbet, main course, and dessert, plus wine, we were more than full.  It was so delicious!  There is a sommelier on staff, so if the pre-fixe menu is not your thing, they will be able to help you select the perfect wine for your meal.  And yes, it's a little fancy, so you'll probably want to stop and change out of your Mickey ears and Goofy shirt before going to dinner.  I think our bill was somewhere in the $300 range for the two of us--I told you it was pricey!  There is a full menu, though, so you can get out for less, especially if you don't add wine.  While I wouldn't classify this restaurant as "kid friendly", I saw plenty of families who were having a wonderful time.

 Have you ever dined at Napa Rose?  Or is it on your "must-do" list for you next trip to Disneyland? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School Diet Bet

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have already seen that I am hosting my first Diet Bet!  I'm so excited!  I wanted to do this for selfish reasons, really.  Since being injured, I've gained too much weight and have really fallen off the healthy wagon.  I do SO well when being presented with a competition, especially when money is on the line.  If it works for me, I know it will work for others, so now I'm recruiting everyone that needs to lose a little to come along with me.  Let's do this together!

If you are not familiar with Diet Bet, here's how it works.  The host (me) sets up a game.  Mine is a 4-week bet that you will lose at least 4% of your body weight.  You put $25 in the pot (I kept it low for this first bet so that everyone can afford to buy in).  You weigh in through photos and submit those to the site.  If you're shy about your weight (no judgment... I hate that number), no one needs to see it, except for the management of the Diet Bet site.  You can weigh in weekly, provide support for each other, and get the ongoing motivation you need!  At the end of the 4 weeks, we all weigh in by photo again and if you lose the weight, you split the pot with everyone else who is playing. 

Simple! I know you're intrigued, so join me!  The more, the better!  More money to win, more support for each other, more weight lost!  Don't forget to share the link with all of your friends and family.  The game starts September 3/4 with the initial weigh in.  Let's do this :)

Here's the link to join my "Back to School, Back on Track" Diet Bet:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Five: Free Friday!

I'm linking up again with the ladies from Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up For What, & Mar On The Run.  This weeks topic--free!  Anything we want :). Don't forget to check out their blogs and the other blogs linking up this week!

So... I was thinking about goals.  I've really fallen off the health and fitness wagon with this injury.  I've allowed myself to overindulge and I've gained a lot of weight!  EEK!  So, what better time than now to re-focus on some goals to get me through the end of 2014.  So for my free Friday, here are my new goals:

1.  Lose weight.  To be more exact, to lose 17 pounds by the New Year. 

2.  Train to PR my half marathon--and go for a sub-2:00 half!  I've been chasing this goal for a long time, but with my recent injury I'm not sure how long this will take.

3.  Register and plan for all the races to qualify for Half Fanatics (I'll still be running some of the races in 2015, but I want to at least know what I'm doing to qualify).

4.  Work on building my fitness business.  Some of this is just in my head by really nailing down a business plan, some includes actually starting to coach people in running, hosting diet bets (yep... the first bet is coming soon--stay tuned), and explore other business opportunities. 

5.  Blog at least 4-5 days per week.  Okay, okay, at least 5 days. 

Do you set goals?  Are you needing to lose some weight?  What about reach some PRs?  Tell me about it!  Also, check back for info on my first time hosting a Diet Bet!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Updating My Playlist

One of my pre-race rituals is an update of my running playlist.  This is the one place where my two fitness lives, group exercise and running, come together.  In case you need an update for your upcoming fall races or training run, here's what I just added:

I'm A Freak--Enrique Iglesias Ft. Pitbull
Bang Bang--Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
Black Widow--Iggy Azalea
Wiggle--Jason Derulo Ft. Snoop Dogg
Superbad--Jesse McCartney
Bo$$--Fifth Harmony
Bend Ova--Lil Jon

So... what have you added lately?  I'm always on the lookout for something great to add!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Do I have enough “Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust”?

Tomorrow, I will be trying to win a precious spot in the Tinkerbell 10k in 2015.  I’m prepared to register.  I have my active account all set.  If I get in, this will be my first ever 10k, my first timed race.

I only have two 5ks under my belt (both with Disney) and loved doing both of them.   I’m doing my 3rd at the Disneyland Half weekend.  This will be my first race “alone” without my daughter pushing me.   To me, that’s anxiety enough, but a 10K?  Part of me knows if I set my mind to it, it will happen.  The other part of me fears I won’t finish.   Is that fear motivation enough?
I am totally in awe of runners who continually do these races and challenges.  I am inspired by my daughter who effortlessly finished the Dopey Challenge.  For me, the 5k has been my challenge. 

Turning 60 next month has really “messed with my head”.   I thought it was a good idea to set a goal for a 10k in my 60th year!   Now, I’m second guessing my decision. 

The race takes place on Mother’s Day weekend and it would be the first Mother’s Day I’ve spent with my Aly since she moved to Vegas about 10 years ago!   More motivation…well, I could always do another 5k or just go and chEAR her on, but that wouldn’t be a challenge.  The biggest challenge would be to get fast enough to run the race with her and not slow her down (Even though, right now with her post surgery rehab, I’m faster than she is!  Sorry Aly, I couldn’t resist.  This may be the only time in my life I can actually say that!)

I will have to be quick on the button, no hesitations.   Alyson has already instructed me how to be ready to jump on registration.  I guess the only way to get past my fears is to sign up and go from there.   I’ve got plenty of time to train.   

I guess that settles it.   I’m putting on my wings and flying through Disneyland.  Now all I have to do is “win” my spot on August 12

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Switch It Up Saturday: Les Mills BodyPump

I love group exercise classes and I cannot lie (Get it? A little 'Baby Got Back' reference...).  Okay, seriously, though, there is something so much more fun about working out in a class.  Doing so while lifting weights is no different.  A few years ago, 24 Hour Fitness brought Les Mills' BodyPump to their clubs.  I didn't jump on the bandwagon at first, but about a year later, I started to take the class before teaching my own class.  I've been hooked ever since.
This class is a completely pre-choreographed format that hits every body part for 4-5 minutes (sometimes even a little more) using a barbell with interchangeable plates.  The choreography uses changes in tempo and different moves to constantly challenge your body in different ways.  It's a great way to get a whole-body workout in an hour, and as a runner, it not only challenges your strength, but also endurance.  Hello--6 minutes of squats!  I've seen the buffest of men quiver during the squat track!!!

In taking the classes, I definitely got stronger, but about a year ago I decided to take the plunge and add BodyPump to my skill set.  I registered, and then received a scholarship from the gym to get certified.  THAT really got me stronger!  They really pushed all of us to build strength and push ourselves past our limits.  Immediately after the training, I increased my weights and really started to see and feel a huge difference.  I got stronger, and in turn, my running really improved too. 

So, in case you aren't convinced, here are my top 5 reasons why I love this class:
1.  You build strength AND endurance--no baby weights, and no stopping after 10 reps!
2.  You get real instruction. Les Mills has a strong training program and specific reminders that keep your form in check.
3.  Great music--and it's not just one type. If you are like me and love (almost) all music, you'll love this class.
4.  You hit it all in an hour: warm-up, squats, chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abs, cool-down.  Done. Period.
5.  Your body changes.  As women, we are inherently afraid of weights, but strength changes your body--and this class develops strength.  I LOVE what it has done for my body. 

I gotta know!  Have you ever tried a BodyPump class?  Do you like to lift weights or do you avoid them? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 2013 runDisney Meet-Up/Tweet-Up

Less than a month to go!  I love reading race reports from previous years to get my psyched up for this year's race.  Here's another Throwback Thursday for you.  If you missed the others, check them out HERE & HERE & HERE & HERE.  This one's a little different; it's about the meet-up, which runDisney has stopped offering (insert hysterical crying, whining, pouting, etc here).  I was very lucky to get into the last west coast meet-up.  runDisney, if you're listening, bring it back!  This was such a truly magical way to start the race weekend!

Original Post: September 7, 2013-Disneyland Half Meet-Up/Tweet-Up

Holy cow I'm tired!  It's been one week since the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and I'm still in recovery mode.  Of course, it doesn't help that this weekend coincides with the first week students are back at school, my office person retired, we hired 14 new employees...but I digress...

Here is my recap of the first part of my weekend: the runDisney Meet-Up/Tweet-Up.
Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

This was the first time I got in!  I was so stinkin' excited I barely slept the night before.  It made the 4:30 wake-up call a little hard to take, but the excitement replaced my tiredness (well, except in the pictures...I look VERY tired in all of my pictures!). 

Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
We met bright and early under the Sorcerer's Hat at the Disneyland Hotel.  This definitely would have been the perfect trip to stay at the Disneyland Hotel, but let's face it, with all these races coming up, who can afford it?!?!?!  I was greeted by smiling faces from runDisney, giving me my new tech shirt and swag bag.  Guess I should have taken a picture...  I'm still getting this blogging thing down...
The swag was great!  We got full-size lotion and body wash from H2O, pins from ABC from the new series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, a park-hopper ticket, buttons, and the bag was a great reusable shopping bag.  I met some fun people from a few Facebook groups I belong to, and before we knew it, we were off and heading to Downtown Disney.

Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Our first stop was right across the street to be formally greeted by the runDisney staff and introduced to all the celebs joining us (hellllooooo--Joey Fatone, Ali Vincent, Sean Astin...yes, please!).  We were also introduced to all the runDisney staff & consultants.  I have to say, this is one group of happy people!  New Balance then presented their Good Form Clinic, abbreviated.  They talked about how to correct your form to be the most efficient runner.  I actually found myself thinking back to those tips throughout the many runs of the weekend--thank you New Balance!

Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Ali Vincent is a doll!
Quickly, we were in for our first surprise: the White Rabbit came out of nowhere!  We were late, we were late!  Then off we went on our run.  I chose the "slow" group--figured what was the point in killing myself now.  I had another 19.3 to run after this!  That gave me plenty of time for a few pictures.  And the first moment of--damn, I should have brought a good camera, or a least not had my crappy phone with me.

My 16 year old self just died!
Jeff Galloway led our group in a 30/30 run-walk-run.  I know people do it, but I would seriously never make 13.1 miles going 30/30...I felt like a crazy person--run--no walk--no run--no :)

We got to run through Disneyland and California Adventure.  Okay, I know some people on the run are used to this and all, but afterwards, I couldn't find myself in any pictures because I was floating away, mesmerized that I was in Disneyland practically all alone!  (p.s. If I ever get to go again, I will run in the front to get some good shots!)

runDisney planned some other fun surprises--photos with Alice and a spin on the teacups, of course with no line!

We ended the run in California Adventure where we had breakfast and were treated to great speakers.  I have to give it to them--all the celebs and runDisney folks were so inspiring and all gave great bits of advice. 

Here's the rest of the morning in photos:
Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Photo credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

THANK YOU runDisney for the most magical start to a race weekend I've ever had!  I hope to be back--I'll start stalking the blogs now for January! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Road to Recovery: One step at a time!

Yep, that's the spot.  I'll stay on the other side of the road for now!
On May 18th I fell.  Hard.  I fell during a routine 8 mile run around my neighborhood; a path I have taken hundreds of times.  I was worried about my hand and about the scrape on my elbow getting infected, so I headed home.  I was going to finish my run on the treadmill later.  That never happened.

Months of resting, physical therapy, and a knee surgery followed because my hand and elbow were the least of my problems.  I tore a chunk of cartilage off my femur.  A pretty darn crappy injury to have.  There isn't any great solution, surgically or otherwise.  The surgeon removed all the floating pieces in my knee.  I'm left with a 1 cm hole, full thickness (meaning it's all the way down to the bone) and a constant clicking in my knee.  Every step I take is like driving over a pot hole. 

2 SLOW miles!
Surgery was 17 days ago.  I have no restrictions; my activity is only limited by pain and the extreme weakness that is the results of months of inactivity, overcompensation, weight gain from emotional eating, and side effects of surgery.  But today.... today was the day that I charged up my Garmin and hit that same path where I fell.  Today I logged miles for the first time. 

It's amazing to me how much conditioning I have lost and how 2 little miles, walking slowly, causes so much pain.  It's also amazing how getting outside and going for a "run", even when you're not really running, just walking, and it is a distance you would normally double or triple mentally helps. 

I have a funny feeling I'll be paying for my workout tomorrow...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

So You Want To Run Disney--Part 8: You've Arrived (now what...)

Many aspects of your runDisney race-cation will be just like every other Disney vacation, but there are some specifics that need special attention when you're running. Now that you've arrived at your hotel, you are going to want to take some time and get settled: unpack, make sure nothing was left behind, organize yourself, and relax.  Do everything possible to make you fresh for your race!  Here are some more tips:

The Expo:
You will have to carve out time to visit the Expo to pick up your bib and swag bag (shirt and sometimes other goodies).  The expo can be pretty overwhelming, especially during your first race.  Along with runDisney registration frenzy, there is runDisney merchandise frenzy.  If you MUST have items, you will want to arrive at the expo and visit the official merchandise booth right away.  Be forewarned, it can get crazy!  In recent races, some of the most popular items became available for purchase after the race, like the infamous "I Did It!" shirts. 
Gotta have them all!

New Balance got in on the merchandise craze too with special edition runDisney shoes.  These are always popular at the expo.  New Balance has instituted a virtual cue where you are given an appointment time to come to the booth and shop.  They sell out often, so if you really want these kicks, you better be ready to get in line (virtually) as soon as the cue opens!  And by the way, yes, I love my runDisney shoes!

Don't forget your bib!
Don't forget to check out the other merchants as well.  The expo is a great time to find the latest gadgets and gizmos in the running world.  Many vendors have special items themed around the race weekends.  You can also pick up any items you may have forgotten, but unless absolutely necessary, you should NEVER try something new on race day.  Oh... and of course, don't forget to pick up your bib--that's why you're really there!  No need to rush through that line, though.  Your stuff will wait for you.  Final expo tip: you can exchange your race shirt size if you need to.  There is a table for shirt exchange near your shirt pickup.  I've always had success when I needed to swap sizes.

The Night Before:
We always try to get back to the room after dinner so we have time to unwind, relax, and get some extra sleep--don't forget, runDisney races start EARLY!  Lay out your clothes and everything else you need in the morning, including food and accessories.  Be sure to plug in and charge all your electronics--there's nothing worse than pushing play and seeing that empty battery pop up on your i-pod. 

During your vacation:
In the days leading up to the race, be sure to be mindful that you have a huge race ahead of you.  It's so tempting to indulge in all the great Disney eats and stay until the last ride shuts down.  You don't want to regret not being fresh for your race, so show some restraint (that's why my #1 racecation tip is to plan most of your park time after the race).  Make sure you stay hydrated with water as race day approaches.  Try to stay off your feet as much as possible--the day before is a great day to catch shows in the parks (Captain EO anyone?).  Eat simple, familiar, low fat foods.  Even a simple pretzel could be a great option.  We usually opt for a full lunch the day before the race, then snack the rest of the afternoon/evening. 

Save the treats for AFTER you run!
Review your race info:
I always review the race day info when we arrive so I'm 100% sure of when I need to be at the start line.  runDisney provides all the times and locations, as well as travel info to be sure you know all you need to know to have a great race day experience. You can find the official race program at about 2 months prior to the race day.  Usually they also have printed copies available at the expo.  I always keep one for a souvenir too.

Get social and HAVE FUN!:
I love how many friends I've met, and how many more I will meet in the future at runDisney events!  It is so much fun to walk around the parks and meet like-minded people who are all there to conquer a goal.  It might be your first race, you might be trying for a PR, or maybe your goal is to stop for every character photo on the course--whatever it is, enjoy and have fun with all the other runDisney nuts that are there to do the same.  Oh--and if you see me around, you better stop and say "HI!" 

Don't forget to check out the rest of the "So You Want to Run Disney" series!