Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#YearOfYou Diet Bet--join us!

I love the New Year: it's a time to set goals, dream big, and say goodbye to the negativity of the past. For so many (and this year, me included), January is a time to set some weight loss goals. Of course, I'm going to have to wait until our little man makes his debut before jumping into my fitness and weight loss goals, but you don't so we organized a little Diet Bet to help you along! You just can't take the coach out of me, even when my mind is preoccupied with a million other things! does it work? We start on Monday, January 4th. The bet is that you lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks. Diet Bet handles all the money, the payouts, the weigh-ins, and verifying that everyone is playing fair. Once you register, you will get an individual word that you will photograph with your scale, as well as photographing yourself on the scale, all within 24 hours of the start. As long as you lose the weight, you are guaranteed your money back at the least, BUT (this is the fun part) everyone who meets their goal splits the pot. Not that you want others to not reach their goals too, but the odds are in your favor that you stand to win more than you put in, that is, as long as you reach your goal. So it's you against yourself--you don't have to worry about being the "biggest loser".

There's even an app to keep you on track and I'll be posting tips throughout the game to give you an edge over the rest. It's fun, it's social, and it definitely works!

Are you in? It's time to get started! Follow this LINK and join us in betting on yourself in 2016!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pregnancy, Nutrition, and Running--Oh My!

Well, we're getting close now, and it's almost D-Day! My due date is right around the corner and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the newest member of Disney Runs in the Family! Sitting here at 38.5 weeks in the middle of the holiday season, I'm feeling a little reflective of my pregnancy journey and how proud I am that I have made staying healthy a top priority for myself and my little man! Yes, I'm bragging, but why not? It would have been much easier to "eat for two" and spend 9 months living on Netflix!

During this pregnancy, I ran 3 race weekends: The Tink Half, The Disneyland Half, and The Avengers Half. The first two, I did the challenges with the 10k on Saturday and the Half on Sunday. I'm pretty darn impressed by that. My training wasn't perfect. It was actually far from perfect, but it's still a major accomplishment that I am very proud of. One half marathon per trimester--that just sounds really cool! I also managed to keep up with my other workouts, still teaching classes at the gym until 35 weeks. I had to eventually give it up, though, because I couldn't get through the hour of jumping around without using the restroom. I'm still taking classes and getting my workouts in, but I've really had to modify now that the baby is sitting low and we are close to the end.

One thing that I KNOW helped tremendously has been my nutrition. I really tried to stick with a healthy diet, rich in protein, fruits and veggies. Of course I had Shakeology daily to fill in any gaps with nutrition and drinking lots and lots of water was a top priority. My energy was a little low the entire time, but luckily I haven't had too much trouble sleeping except for the past 2 weeks. I also have not had any medications and only had to suffer through one quick cold right after Thanksgiving. All in all, I was super healthy. Of course, I attribute part of that to the choices I made, but I have to admit that I was lucky too.

Now, we are at the sit around and wait part. Depending on who you ask, I'm either already full-term or will be within a few days. I personally really wanted to get through Christmas, and that looks pretty good. Once I hit 39 weeks, though, the eviction notice will be served!

I have to admit, I'm really excited to get back to running fast and working out hard. Between my knee surgery last year and pregnancy this year, I haven't been able to work on speed in a long time and I'm ready to set some big goals! My first race will be the Hot Chocolate 15k in Vegas on February 28th. I know I won't be breaking any records, but it will be nice to be on a course with friends for some fun running! (By the way, if you're interested in this race, use my code LASVEGASBUFF3 to get extra swag in your bag) I'm hoping recovery from labor is quick and I can get a good month of training under my belt before race day, but I won't make any promises.

Stay tuned for our big birth announcement--hopefully sooner rather than later! We can't wait for our little monster to arrive!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Avengers Half Marathon

Warning: I'm not an Avengers fan, I ran this race almost 8 months pregnant, and I didn't even get any Disneyland park time in during the weekend...I might be a little less than my normal positive self in this review! HAHAHA

Way back during the Tink Half weekend, I was about 5-6 weeks pregnant, feeling great, and got lured in by lower pricing and a cute runDisney bag--I registered for the Avengers Half Marathon at the Tink expo. I knew that our time living close(ish) to Disneyland was coming to an end in the next few years and traveling with an infant is difficult, so I thought this would be my chance to run the only race weekend I hadn't previously experienced. It seemed like a good idea at the time...

We arrived at Disneyland on Saturday around lunchtime. We had decided to save the cash and not even go to the parks--I had been there pregnant quite a few times already and it just didn't make sense. First stop was the expo to pick up my bib and swag bag. It was pretty empty, so that was nice, but there was nothing left. I thought maybe I could get some Christmas shopping done, but nope, that wasn't even an option with how picked through everything was (I was looking for just some generic runDisney stuff-not even the Avengers swag, which I knew would be gone). It wasn't a huge disappointment, as I knew that finding anything would be difficult so late in the game. I was, though, super disappointed in the speaker series! This was one of the things I would have liked to do. Since we didn't have theme park tickets, I thought we could spend the afternoon listening to speakers. Not so much. We ended up having lunch and browsing shops at Downtown Disney before heading back to our hotel. Not crushed, but just kind of blah.

For a pleasant bonus, we got to our hotel and were upgraded to the Presidential Suite--this room was seriously bigger than our house! It made the perfect excuse to stay in, order some food, watch some TV and rest before the race.  Ironically enough, I did NOT sleep well in our beautiful suite. I probably knew what the next day was going to bring.

In typical runDisney fashion, I was up early, costume on, taking pictures, and ready to roll. I was in corral B, so when we got to the race, I promptly lined up at the very back on the right side. My plan was to do 30 second run, 1 minute walk intervals to try and give my pregnant self a break. I definitely set myself up for disappointment, though, as I hadn't trained well and the last few weeks have been really tough as far as feeling "pregnant" (tired, big, tired, achy, and TIRED).

The race started late, which is not typical of runDisney at all. It just added to my bad attitude that morning. I started out with a 30 second run/1 minute walk interval. I felt fine for the first 4 miles. I even met another running mama-to-be, who was probably a lot smarter than me and was walking the entire race. I was maintaining an easy 12:30 pace, but at around 4.5 miles I had the most excruciating pain in my stomach. As I'm writing this, I haven't been through labor yet, though, so I'm sure this "most excruciating" will soon be replaced! I was tempted to pull myself off the course and for the next mile slowed to a snail's pace of walking. I debated for about half an hour on what to do, but since there was no medic tent in sight, it gave me enough time to walk it off and feel better. I wasn't about to chance starting to run again, so I decided to walk the rest.

The course was definitely my LEAST favorite of all the Disneyland courses. There is way too much time on narrow, dirt and gravel paths, and seeing as I was walking, I constantly felt like I had to walk so far right that I was tripping over everything on the path. Runners also were coming up around me on the right, which I absolutely HATE. I get it, you're running, I'm not, but I'm also trying to be as courteous as possible, so when you fly around me in the 6 inches of space on my right and almost knock me out, I start to get a bit irritable! The costumes were kind of "eh" on the course, so it didn't give me much to look at.

Soon enough I was nearing the finish. I had been out on the course almost 4 hours and I was done! My hubby was waiting right before the finish line, and asked "How do you feel?" My answer--I'm bored!!! The family standing next to him so sweetly started cheering for me. I didn't feel very cheery, but it was so nice of them to encourage me at the finish.

Overall, this was definitely my least favorite Disneyland race. I'm not a big Avengers fan and it was a recipe for disaster from the start. I'm still glad I did it, though, because I really do want to run all the races someday. I don't want to say I'll never be back, but this won't be on any of my must-do lists in the next few years for sure. On a happy note, up until this point Baby S had been breech. I have come to assume that the miserable pain that I felt at mile 4.5 was my baby flipping to get head down and ready for birth. Crazy, I know! When other mom's to be ask how to turn a baby, my answer is "run a half marathon". Guess that won't work for most mamas, but at least it did for me! See, the moral of the story is runDisney makes everything better, even if you don't know it at the time!

Have you ever run Avengers? What was your thoughts? Am I being too harsh?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I've Been a Bad, Bad Blogger!

What happens when you work a full-time job, run your own side business, work a part-time job, have a baby on the way, and it's the holiday season? Well, your blog goes unattended for weeks on end! I'm still here, I promise, and there's so me great stuff coming your way soon, from the race reports on the Avengers Half to our big Disney nursery reveal.

We only have a few weeks to go before we welcome our little monster, so stay tuned for a few pregnancy updates as well. Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Random Ramblings on Last Night's Events: Wine & Dine 2015

Last night while the runners were in limbo and wondering what was going on, I was blissfully unaware of the situation and enjoying my baby shower here in Vegas. I got a text from Katie saying that she was relieved that she wasn't at Wine and Dine this year (she and Chris had to defer). I quickly went to Facebook and Twitter, because that's where all the real info comes from, right? HAHAHA  This morning, my FB feed was full of status updates, some whiny, some positive, and some downright rude. What's a runDisney blogger to do other than give my two-cents?

First and foremost, I wasn't there. I didn't fly across the country. It wasn't my first half marathon. It wasn't my first runDisney race. That being said, if you were there and had your race cut short, I'm sorry that the weather impacted your race. I hope you still feel the seriously amazing accomplishment you were prepared for. You did the training, you toed the line, you were ready, and THAT is the accomplishment. The race is the icing, the fun part, the part people focus on, but all runners understand that the REAL work is done in the dark, in the cold, in the heat, on the treadmill. For that, I hope you are celebrating your accomplishment!

For all the critics of runDisney for cutting the course, and there were a lot of them, I'd love to hear YOUR solution! Storms, lightning, I'd rather be safe than hear about a tragedy happening on the course. And for those questioning why they would cut so much off the course (the race ended up being a little over 7 miles), you do realize it's a point to point course and logistically there are considerations that needed to happen. It's probably not so easy to just cut a mile or two. I think they did the best they could so that people could run a race, earn their bling, and celebrate. Personally I think it's naive to think they were only motivated by getting people to spend money at the finish line party. Last year, at the Wine & Dine "splash and dash", they did nothing to speed up the time you got to the party--in fact, the finish line was so understaffed I wasted at least half an hour waiting for my dry clothes. We stayed at the after party until 4 a.m. and the park was empty. I'm sure if they could control the weather, they would, but guess what, Disney really doesn't control everything!

This morning, I woke up to runners now criticizing the Wine and Dine runners for getting medals "they didn't earn." Really? I refer you to paragraph 2. Why would anyone poke at a runner who came ready to go, was evacuated, ran late, and had something beyond anyone's control change their plans? I hope that I'm only seeing a tiny bit of the runDisney family, but I keep hearing this over and over. For the record, I'm not a supporter of people taking the medal if they can't finish the race. It's not a popular opinion, but if you don't finish a race, you shouldn't get the medal. This case is different, though. These runners DID finish the race. There was a course, a start and a finish, and the runners went from that start to the finish and completed the race. It just feels different to me. This is probably the first time I've even voiced my opinion on the whole medal issue, and I avoid it on purpose--not my place to judge; it's just my opinion.

I hope the runners had a great race and enjoyed their weekend. You have a great story and experience that is very unique. Congratulations on your accomplishment--now celebrate! I suggest the food and wine at Epcot!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wine and Dine Wednesday

Are you getting ready to leave for Wine & Dine? With the 6th running of this very popular runDisney night race, I thought it would only be fitting that I give you my top 5 tips specific to this race. Of course, all the other stuff applies, like make sure you trained and blah blah blah, but being a night race during the Food & Wine Festival has some specific challenges.

1. Pack a comfy, warm outfit for after the race and check it in a bag in your plastic bag they give you at the expo. Don't forget the undies, socks, or flip flops, if you prefer. Be sure you have a bag that is more comfortable to lug around Epcot after the race. Those plastic drawstring bags they give you will likely not hold up to the partying you are about to take part in!

Good Luck Runners!
2. Avoid most of the Food & Wine Festival until after you are done running. There are a lot of yummy foods and even yummier drinks, but you don't want to chance something just not sitting right. At the very least, don't enjoy those festivities the day of the race--hold out for the finish line party!

3. Eat in reverse on race day. I start my day with the biggest meal and slowly cut down on food as the day progresses. I made the mistake in 2013 of eating a large lunch, and even that didn't have enough time to digest and I ended up not feeling great after the race. Eat your regular pre-race "meal" about 2 hours before the start.

4. Sleep in, take a nap, and try to get yourself ready to stay up until 4! Our one goal last year was to shut down Epcot, and even in the pouring rain, we shut it down!!! We stayed on "west coast time" and attended the Christmas party the night before, so 4 am didn't feel so scary. The after party is the best part, and you've earned it!

5. If you haven't run much in the dark, be prepared to slow down at some points where you can't see so well. If that makes you nervous, check out some lighting options--there are tons, from those on your head to those on your feet. There will be some not-so-well-lit spots on the course. Oh, and unless you're going to win the race, SLOW DOWN and enjoy the Osbourne Lights!!! It really is spectacular!!!

That's my 5! What other tips do you have for first-time Wine & Diners? Hope you all have a blast! I can't wait to return to this race weekend when Baby S arrives!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon

It's right around the corner: the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Marathon! I'm bummed I won't be going this year--it's one of my favorite runDisney events and favorite time to go to WDW. I knew it wouldn't be worth it, though, since I'd be running slow and not able to enjoy the BEST part of the weekend-the wine!

For those of you going, here's a Throwback Thursday for you: My 2nd time running, and the race that became comically known as the "splash and dash".  A little rain never hurt anyone, right???

Original Post: 12/22/14

Race Report: 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon

I hope I can remember this race!  Yes, it's been way too long and I should have recapped sooner.  I got sucked into the holiday rush and too much work at work.  Here goes nothing!
My Dole Whip Costume...Dry :)
We spent the day at the parks, and returned to our hotel room around 5 to get ready for the race.  We were able to lay down for about half an hour before getting ready, which was great since we planned to shut down the after party.  We, along with everyone else running, were looking at the gloomy forecast with sad eyes.  There was no avoiding it.  It was going to rain.  We got ready, not changing much of our plans for costumes and attire.  We were sure to pack some ponchos for afterwards, and just figured we'd suck it up and have fun.  Even as I write this, I'm still not back to where I was with speed, so it was no big deal to just take it slow.
The last dry pic of the night
We headed out of the hotel around 7:30 and took a cab to Saratoga Springs.  We stayed off property at the Hilton near Downtown Disney, so this seemed like the best option.  Boarding the bus was easy and we were on our way to meet up with the Mickey Milers.  This race is fun to be at early--everyone is awake and buzzing with excitement.  We had ponchos to keep dry before we started.  Of course, us being totally inexperienced with rain, threw them away because it had stopped raining.  UGH!  How dumb are we?  Once the corrals opened, we stopped one last time for the bathrooms and the lines just weren't moving!  It was the worst we'd seen!  And then it started raining.  Cold, wet rain.  A very nice fellow runner managed to get an extra garbage bag and gave it to me.  I love runners!  They are the best strangers! 
We had to rush to the corrals, even missed the National Anthem.  I felt super rushed.  Not sure what the difference was, but I don't remember this last year.  By the way, it was still raining.  I lined up at the back of corral C, knowing I'm slower now than I was when I registered.  I got all my electronics up and running, and soon we were off.  Yep, still raining.  I tossed my garbage bag right before the start.  I guess this was going to be a new experience for me! 
I started and stuck to my intervals of 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking.  And it continued to rain.  Luckily it really wasn't that cold, so my tank and pants were perfect.  Thinking about it, it's probably better to run in less in the rain.  I had no choice but to be cautious running.  I'm already cautious--it's amazing what a huge fall will do to your confidence.  This race, though, was even more cautious than I usually am.  I was very careful about my footing and not running too fast.  Then I saw someone fall and it was all over for me.  I was not going to take the chance of injury.  I kept it slow.
As for the course, we went through Animal Kingdom first, then Hollywood Studios, then Epcot.  I didn't bring my phone or camera with me.  They would have both died had I brought them out in that rain.  I did notice a lack of characters.  Not sure what they could have done with the downpour, but we all knew it was going to rain--they should have planned for it.  I think my favorite part was running through the costume tunnel in Hollywood Studios.  Just for a few minutes, we were dry.  It felt amazing.  Oh, and those Osbourne Lights!!!!!  This year I decided to walk through.  It never gets old.  Just absolutely beautiful!!!!!  The rain really started to come down at the last mile.  I was glad I was almost done and could change into dry clothes.  That last bend before the finish line is great at Wine and Dine--they have lights and blasting music that really captures the party feel.  Round the corner and I was done.  I made it in 2:31, not lightning speed, but with the weather, I thought it was pretty great.  I collected my medal, fuel, and was off to the bag check.
I was one of the lucky ones whose medal did not break (there were many that were broken with the spinner).  I was not, though, lucky when it came to the bag check.  I'm not sure if they were short volunteers or what, but I waited over half an hour in the freezing cold rain after running a half marathon to get my dry clothes.  It was awful!  This was the most unorganized I've ever seen it.  This is my #1 complaint about this race (last year was nothing like this, so I'm going to be optimistic and assume it was a fluke).  Not only was it cold, but as each minute ticked away, it was time ticking away from my party time!  It took over 30 minutes to get my bag.  Once I did, I felt instant relief.  I made my way to a real bathroom and changed.  I know they have tents, but tonight it was just too cold and I was too wet to bother with a sweaty, hot tent.  It felt amazing to be in dry clothes.  I really wished, though, that I had packed flip flops or some other wet-proof shoe.  I had to put my sloshy wet sneakers back on after changing.  Very little time went by and Bill was ready to meet up.  We finished freshening up in front of Epcot, then we were off to the party.
A little rain didn't stop us from partying!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, it was pouring rain there too.  If you remember, my goal was to shut down the after party.  I was not going to miss it again!  We put on ponchos and started drinking! 
Honestly, I can see how this is a favorite race for so many runners.  I loved the after party, even though we were soaking and freezing.  Because of the rain, not as many rides were open and the vibe was a little low-key.  I joked to Bill that this means we have to come back AGAIN next year.  Don't think that will happen, but I'm sure we'll be Wine-ing and Dine-ing again in the future.  Overall, it was a great race with bad weather, and we loved every minute!  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Gender Reveal Fit for a Prince!

During the 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, we had BIG plans, not just to race, but to officially find out the gender of Baby S! When we knew we'd have the ultrasound just a few weeks prior, we instantly thought of Disneyland as the place we'd want to find out. Since our families both live in different states, it just made sense to have us all meet at the Happiest Place on Earth and celebrate.

We started with Disney Dining--We made our reservation for dinner at Carthay Circle for the night of the Half Marathon. We knew we wanted to be done racing and be able to stay out late and enjoy. When I called, I explained that we wanted to do our gender reveal for dessert and they were able to start the process right then and there.

In less than 24 hours, I was put in contact with a Disneyland Pastry Chef. From there, it was pure magic! She helped us in picking the size, design, flavors, and even sent pictures of images so we could decide what we wanted. A few emails back and forth and our cake was all set. Well, except for one small thing...we didn't know the gender.

That had to wait until we had our ultrasound. The tech sealed up an envelope for us, and it was sent directly to Disney. I had my fingers crossed it didn't get lost in the mail, and within a few days we had an email with a "congratulations" and confirmation that the results were received. I have to admit, it was a bit torturous to know that a tech and the Disneyland bakery knew if it was a boy or girl, and we had no idea. Those 3 weeks dragged on forever, and we were so preoccupied during race weekend, I could barely focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

Finally, we had our dinner at Carthay Circle. It was delish, as usual, but we were all ready for dessert from the moment we sat down!!! In fact, the cake had been delivered earlier in the day, so the whole staff was ready for us to have dessert too--they wanted to know if Baby S was Team Mickey or Team Minnie! The cake was beautiful, but definitely not too beautiful to cut into. A few pictures, and we were ready to cut. There was no mistaking, it's a boy! Team Mickey won!

I cannot thank Graciela, the Assistant Pastry Chef that handled this entire process, enough! She made our experience so special and completely stress-free. I could not have dreamed of a better way to make this very special announcement. I never doubt anything Disney does, but this truly blew me away in how perfect it all turned out!

Have you ever done a special event at Disney? How did yours turn out?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Grandma’s Take on the 10th Anniversary DLH Weekend

With Aly and Bill's NJ baby shower about a week away (I can't wait to see the change in the "baby bump" since the DLH), I began to reflect on our exciting Disneyland Half Weekend.

After I checked into the Disneyland Hotel early Thursday afternoon, I headed to the expo. The process for runDisney merchandise at this expo was new to me. You had to go upstairs to get a wrist band, get in line and wait for your group to be brought downstairs. The line went rather quickly. I think this was the first time Aly didn’t give me a “list” to scoop up stuff for her before they got to go the next day. I didn’t get much either, treating myself to a magnet and shirt. I think it was the excitement of the real reason I was there…the baby reveal. Yes, I was enjoying the race weekend, but I couldn’t wait until Sunday.

Anniversary Party attendees
got this nice sling bag.
I picked up my bib, anniversary ticket and swag, and then got a text from Katie and Chris who were at the expo. I met up with them for a bit, but then returned to the hotel to rest.

Water projection on
Rivers of America
Disneyland was calling but I didn't get going until about 8pm. (I know I could have gone earlier, but I was up since 3:30 that morning to catch my flight to the west coast.) I walked around and found a good spot to catch the fireworks. Sat, people watched and talked to others for a while, but the fireworks never happened. A DJ was entertaining the crowd by playing music on a barge in Rivers of America. I rode Pirates twice, which was kind of nice to walk right in. The rides had no lines.The “party” seemed kind of empty.The largest lines were for character pictures. I really wanted to see the special “Paint the Night” parade, but that was at 11pm (2am for me) and I didn’t make it. I slowly made my way back to the hotel exhausted.The kids called saying they were an hour away.I vaguely remember them coming in.

The Queen of Hearts while she
was still running.

My 10k bib was acquired at the last minute through a travel provider who had 1 bib left. It was interesting because I should (and could) have signed up for the 5k, but my competitiveness to capture that last bib took over. Fail. I was not prepared and limped my way through the last 2 miles. Countless runners asked if I was ok as they passed me. I knew it would not be good as I did not train well. Not being a consistent runner, it’s all about the training leading up to the race, no matter what the distance. Lesson learned. But, I finished. My highlight…running through the castle! That is something I never thought I would get to do, as I will never be able to run a half marathon.

The next morning, I cheered on the rest of the family. I saw them all at different points but was able to capture some pics near mile 12. I was a little concerned when Katie and Chris passed and I wasn’t seeing Alyson. She’s usually a faster runner, but as I found out later, she took a tour of all the Disney rest rooms and port-o- potties on the course. 
Katie & Chris with a sunshine glow!


The races were over. Aly, Bill, Katie and Chris had another Dumbo Double Dare under their belts.   Now it was time for the celebration. 
I didn't understand why Carthay Circle didn't change their sign to read The "Baby" Celebration!
Dinner was absolutely delicious, but we were all waiting for dessert.That was the main reason I came.The Disney Bakers made a fun (and delicious) cake. We were all excited when it was cut and we found out…

Of course, I was prepared with a Team Mickey gift. (And, I couldn’t fool Alyson. She knew her Mom and figured out there was also a Team Minnie gift in my backpack.)

Baby S' first Mickey T Shirt and Mickey Onesie
We all went back to our hotels exhausted and excited. The next day we managed to get some “I’m celebrating “ buttons and this grandma-to-be is gladly keeping her new Disneyland souvenir.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Are you ready for Paris? Oui!!!

I know, I've been so quiet lately. If you follow me on FB or Instagram, you may have seen that I was in a pretty big car wreck. Me and Baby S are okay, but it was a terrifying experience that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

That all being said, since I was preoccupied with hospital and doctor visits last week, I personally think runDisney postponed the Paris Half registration for me! LOL

Tomorrow is the big day...officially!  We are finally able to register for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon!  Our family put in our request with GET travel, so we are hoping that was enough to secure our 2 half marathon and 2 5k spots. We'll be with baby, so my mom is joining me and the hubs so we can run the half, then me and mom will tackle the 5k together. Of course we're going to also spend at least a week in Paris after the races. excited!!!

In case you are still on the fence, GET travel has posted the pricing and options. Looks very affordable, in comparison to some other races. Of course, you still need to get to Paris, and after that long of a trip we're not just going for a race.

Here's the link if you're wanting to check it out. I believe there are other travel providers who will also be offering similar packages.

Are you planning to run in Paris?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Two New Smoothies To Try!

During the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, I was invited to attend a blogger meetup hosted by Cigna at Napa Rose. The theme was healthy, nutritious meals, and my favorite station (probably because I could really do it) was the smoothies.  The chefs at Disney's Banquet Department came up with 2 recipes for us to try. They were both delicious, and they will definitely be making an appearance in my home! Let me know what you think!

Coffee Crunchy Pre-Workout Smoothie (one serving):
1 cup ice
1/2 cup coffee
2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 cup almond milk (they used soy, but I stay away from soy milk)
3 tbsp almonds
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 bananas (frozen)
Blend until smooth!

Post-Workout Smoothie (one serving):
1 cup ice
2 tsp agave nectar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp ground flax
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup cactus pear
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
Blend until smooth!

See,,,my type of cooking!  If you want to know about the rest of the meetup, check out my full post HERE.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Disneyland Half Cigna Blogger Meetup

I had the pleasure of being invited to a blogger event by Cigna, one of the sponsors of the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. It was so much fun to meet other blogger friends and reconnect with those I've been at events with before.  runDisney people are the best!!!

We met at Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel at 10 and were greeted with chef hats and a warm welcome from Disney and Cigna.  We talked a little about health eating and the importance of spreading the word of health through what we do (hellloooo...this seriously IS my life's calling!). We were split into 4 groups and got to attend 4 cooking demonstrations by some of Disney's best chefs. Someday I have great hopes of working with runDisney on running training or fitness in some aspect...clearly I have NO hope of working with Disney in a kitchen! They made it look so easy!

We started with a delicious chicken with pesto, veggies, and farrow. Yep, I'd never heard of it either, but it was delicious. Chef Chris from Disney's Banquet Dept flew threw the recipe, even butchering a whole chicken in minutes. It would have easily taken an hour for me, but it's definitely inspiring to see someone so passionate about the creative side of cooking!

We followed up with the dessert station where we tried tons of delicious fruits I had never heard of, including cotton candy grapes (what???). They actually tasted like cotton candy. The main ingredient was peaches, of course. The ONE thing I can't even touch because I'm allergic. They did look delicious, and we also learned to make a yummy crumble, which I plan on using for a different cobbler. Don't worry, I had a big spoonful of the crumble to make up for the lack of peaches in my tummy!

Next up was smoothies. We did a pre-workout and a post-workout. They were simple and tasty. I made sure to take meticulous notes, so I'll be sharing both of those in a separate post so you can make them too! I guess this is my level of chef-status...throwing things in a blender!

Finally, we headed to the salad station, where we learned how to make our own dressing, as well as a salad filled with berries, Delish! I definitely need to make my own salad dressing--it not only is healthier, but saves money too. Forget all those chemicals they put in the bottled junk at the store!

Of course, after we finished, the man of the hour appeared: Chef Mickey! Nothing like an appearance by the big cheese to get a bunch of Disney nuts excited. We took some pictures, then sat to eat all of the yummy things we'd been staring at for over an hour. This preggo lady was ready to EAT!!! Not that I had any doubts, but each dish was more delicious than the last. It was a great meal, and a great start to my Disneyland weekend.

I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU to Cigna for hosting such a fun event! I had a blast, and I hope there are more in the future. See you at the next race!

And finally...we EAT!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon

Well, I considered naming this post "The tour de port-o-potties" but thought I'd just stick to "race report".  This was technically not my first half marathon pregnant, however the first was Tink when I was about 6 weeks along and had not even hit morning sickness yet. This time around I was sporting my bump, about 10 extra pounds, and a lot slower pace.

Bill and I decided to run together--he never has enough time to train for this race since it's right at the end of his busiest season at work and he wanted to be sure to support me and Baby S.  Luckily he didn't mind going slow! We made some shirts (they came out great) and stuck to a pretty low-key look.

We headed to the start with enough time to leisurely get into corral C.  We made sure to line up toward the right since we knew we'd be walking and definitely hung back a little to let the faster runners get a good pace going.  We started out at a 2:1 run/walk ratio, but a few miles in, the heat started getting to me (it wasn't bad, but it wasn't cool and being preggo doesn't help).  We had to switch to a 1:1 run/walk and it felt much better.  Yes, I'm taking notes for the next race.

The course was a little different running through Disneyland. It felt like we had less park time and in less fun places than in previous years.  I usually don't stop often for the bathrooms, but clearly this time around was different--I also noticed the lack of passing by park bathrooms!  I was looking forward to taking advantage of the real bathrooms, but it was mostly port-o-potties on this course!

Once we left the parks, it started to get light out.  I'm usually through at least half of the course or more before the sun comes up. This was strange, and I was getting nervous about the heat.  We made sure to stop at every water station and hydrate (of course, this added to the tour de port-o-potties).  It was kind of fun to just take in the sights and sounds.  This being our 6th year running we knew what to expect: classic cars, mariachi bands and dancers, tons of cheerleaders, and of course the huge crowd at the stadium.

A few random course notes: You'll hear people complain about the dirt path right before the stadium. It stinks! This time around we actually saw a person fall right off the side ledge.  Listen up runners--be careful--it's a short distance so just slow it down!  The back of the pack is fun, but PACKED.  I'm not super fast, but at Disney races I'm usually in corral A or B, and keep that pace.  This was definitely a different experience, but it was fun.  We found ourselves running really slow because we were surrounded by runners with a slower pace.  It's kind of a funny phenomenon. You just end up going with the flow, and it was okay with us!

We finished in about 3:30 I think--I haven't even bothered to look.  Total stop time, according to my Garmin was 17+ minutes.  That's a LOT of potty breaks! This was one of the most fun times I've had at the race though. No pressure, lots of great conversation with my hubs, and no soreness/limited tiredness at the end.  Of course, I already have my plan set to come back with a vengeance in 2016! I'm going back to chasing PRs in 2016!!!!  Guess it's a hard habit to break!!!

What did you think of the 2015 Disneyland Half? Did you notice a difference in the course, or was I crazy?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Disneyland 10k

We're back from Disneyland, starting to get caught up on sleep and laundry, and ready to reflect on a great weekend.  There were so many highlights, so be patient--you've got LOTS of posts coming your way!

Let's start with the races themselves.  No one ran the 5k, but by looking at pictures and reading other recaps, it seemed like a great race.  Darn work that keeps expecting me to actually show up in order to collect my paycheck! Hahaha!

The expo for us was fairly unremarkable.  We got our bibs and shirts, looked at the line for official merchandise and decided to not even bother, and I had a quick chat with Jeff Galloway about coaching.  He recommended a few books for me as a new coach and really got me excited about the opportunity ahead of me to coach all levels of athletes.  Needless to say, I'm taking his advice very seriously--he's a pro!

Let's jump to the morning of the 10k.  The whole crew was running!  My mom dressed up in race-themed Red Queen, and Bill, Chris, Katie, and I were the Dapper Dans.  This was BY FAR the most elaborate costume we'd ever done.  We had been crafting for months and I just barely finished ours the day before.

Got photo-bombed!
We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel--can you say SPOILED!  Chris and Katie were asking if we were ready and we had just woken up.  I don't know how we'll ever go back to the other hotels.  We headed to the start line, all starting in corral D.  We must have been stopped a dozen times for pictures--the costumes were definitely a hit.

Being in corral D, we didn't get much of the beginning of race fanfare.  We kept ourselves occupied until it was our turn to begin.  We settled into a 1:30/1 run/walk ratio.  It felt great to be running in cool weather and of course, running through Disneyland.  Should I tell you all again how much I love this 10k course?  It has so much park time!

Of course, running pregnant means lots of port-o-potty stops for me, so I had to stop right after mile 1.  The rest of the Dans went along without me, so I had to really run to catch up. I ran into a few friends and got back to the crew within a few minutes (but phew...I was tired from running a 9:30 pace...I'm definitely slower pregnant!)

This is my fave pic from the course
The course sends you through the convention center area, Disneyland, DCA, and Downtown Disney. No need for music or was all just pure fun!  I did get a cramp from either running too fast catching up or from too much water so my last half mile was all walking, but hey, I was just there for the fun!

The medal was impressive, but in all honesty I wasn't really into the theme.  Disney always does great medals though, and the finish is always a party.  It was getting warm and we were ready to shower and hit the parks, but first, we had BIG finish plans--we needed a picture with the real Dapper Dans!

We headed to Disneyland and a cast member told us that their first appearance was scheduled at 11. We had breakfast, rode a ride, and hung out on Main St waiting...and waiting...and waiting. No show for the Dapper Dans!  We were seriously bummed!  The irony was the rest of the weekend we saw them everywhere!!!!  Oh well...we at least had our awesome costumes and pictures together.

We met another set of Dans at the Finish Line!
Overall it was another great race and the start of a great weekend.  Baby S' second 10k, and our 3rd Dumbo Double Dare was off to a great start!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Preview

Our FIRST DL Half in 2010
We are in the home stretch on our way to the 10th Anniversary Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend!!!  EEK!!!  We are ALL super excited to be running again this year.  My first DL Half was during the 5th anniversary, and I have a feeling I will see many more anniversaries of this race!  It's been our annual tradition since.

So, to get you ready with all you need to we GO!

Chris & Katie's first half in 2011
The expo is open Thursday (10-8), Friday (12-8), & Saturday (9-4).  Remember, you have to actually go to the expo to pick up your own bib, using your photo ID and waiver.  Unfortunately, you can no longer pick up a bib for a friend or family member.  Yes, it's inconvenient, but I'm seeing this more and more at large races across the country.  If you forget your waiver, no worries--they will have printers available at the expo.  Another fun part of the expo is the speaker series, though a schedule hasn't been released yet.  I'm hoping for a good schedule for Friday, since we don't have park tickets that day.  Of course, the MOST fun part of the expo is shopping!  runDisney has great merchandise, but don't overlook some of the other vendors.  I love finding new favorite running items at the expo, and often there are some great sales!  Remember too, if you are unsure of what corral you are in prior to arriving, your corral information for each race will be listed on your bib.

Anniversary Party
On Thursday night, some lucky runners will be attending the 10th Anniversary Party (my mom is one of them...jealous!).  They will be treated to special characters, parade viewing, and of course, shorter lines for some great rides.  I would imagine this event to be similar to the annual passholder event we attended back in April.  It was a blast, and well worth the extra caffeine to stay up until midnight!

Disneyland 5k
Early Friday morning, runners will be taking off for 3.1 miles of magic through the Disneyland parks. I love these shorter races at Disneyland especially because of how much time you get in the parks. Be sure to get there early enough to use the bathroom and get into your corrals.  You definitely won't need to line up quite as early as you do for the half, but leave yourself time.  I also love to get up early if I'm not running to cheer on the runners--there are always super cute kids running and awesome costumes for this race!

First Dumbo Double Dare
Photo Credit: Sparkle Athletic
Disneyland 10k
Saturday morning, our family will be heading out to take on the Disneyland 10k.  I love this race!  So much park time!  It starts promptly at 5:30 am, so I'd suggest being down in the staging area no later than 5 so you can get into your corrals without having to rush.  Also, if you are worried about being swept, get to your corral early and make your way to the front.  Sweeping starts after the last person has crossed the start line, so any extra minutes will be worth it.

Pasta Party
While we aren't going this year, we have attended the Pasta Party in the past, and it was SUPER fun! If you're going, you are going to want to get there early so you can not only eat, but also take pictures with characters!  When we went, all of the characters were dressed in their sports clothes. We got great pictures. It is a buffet, so come hungry, but be forewarned:  When we went, I ate so much (way too much) and it really effected me during the half the next day.  Remember the #1 rule of racing: don't do anything different on race day (or the night before).  Be careful about what you eat, but of course, ENJOY!

Disneyland Half Marathon
It's the main event!  Prep for an early morning--we usually leave our hotel around 4 (though we'll be at the Disneyland Hotel this year, so we get to sleep in a bit).  Aim to arrive around 4:30, especially if you plan to check a bag and/or have a nervous (or pregnant) bladder and will need to use the bathroom...multiple times.  Yes, I have a ritual.  You will notice many more runners for this event than in the previous two races.  The corrals get packed, so get there early if you want to move up to the front.  I'll also go on my rant here: Go to your assigned corral or move back.  You can't move up. Don't try it, and don't get mad at the volunteers who are enforcing this rule!  I always see runners get rude with the volunteers--it's not necessary and it makes us look bad as a group.
LOVE the coast to coast!
Once the fireworks go off, your in for a few miles in the parks, then you're out on the streets of Anaheim.  Be careful!  There are a few areas with train tracks, poorly paved roads, and of course that slim path right before you hit Anaheim Stadium.  Be aware of your surroundings and please don't run more than 2 abreast, especially in tight spaces.  The weather is looking a little warm, so also be sure to hydrate early and hydrate often.  Don't be ashamed to slow down in the heat too!
When you hit the finish line, it's time to celebrate.  If you are a Dumbo runner, don't forget to grab that medal, and of course, get that Coast to Coast too!  Celebrate, take pictures, and relish in this HUGE accomplishment.

I'm getting butterflies in my stomach just thinking about the fun ahead of us this weekend! PLEASE...if you see us in the parks, come say hi!  We've got AWESOME costumes planned for the races, so hopefully we'll stand out.  It's time to get packing.  We'll see ya real soon!!!