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 distractions...it 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 know...here 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!!!