Friday, February 24, 2017

Flashback Friday: Race Report--2016 Disneyland Half Marathon

Happy Flashback Friday! Remember WAY back to September when there was this little half marathon in Disneyland. Then remember how I never even blogged about it. Well, luckily we have these days like Flashback Friday to give me an excuse to catch up with races long gone (I'm still blaming the baby for my lack of blogging).

This was our 7th time running the Disneyland Half Marathon. We seriously cannot see ourselves ever not running this race! This year, with baby in tow, we had a bit of a different experience, from starting at the last corral to not really training well to worrying about Robby more than worrying about the race.

We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, so the start was pretty easy--basically a wake up, roll out of bed, and head to the start. Of course, this year since we were in the last corral, that meant add an extra hour of waiting before actually starting. The last corral was really a mixed bag of runners: some first-timers, some walkers, some like us who just didn't enter a proof of time. Everyone we talked to was super nice and we had some great conversations to pass the time. I would say the biggest drawback of the last corral is the waiting and the later finish. I'm one who likes to get miles ticked off before the sun rises, but on this morning, we were barely starting as the sun was coming up.

The BEST cheer squad ever!
Once we were on our way, the course was very familiar with a few noticeable changes. Mainly, it was significantly less time in the parks. Not mileage-wise, but actual foot time in the parks. I miss running up Main Street (you still run down as you go through the castle). There was lots of backstage and corridor running on Disney property, but I love being in the park itself, so the course changes were a bit disappointing.

One noticeable improvement was the paving of the torturous stretch before you hit Angel's Stadium. Of course, Disney has nothing to do with that, but it was nice to not have rocks and dirt in your much. I still ended up needing to take my shoe off after the stadium and shake out some rocks.

Onto our race experience: We had a blast running together! Prior to my knee surgery, I hated running with Bill.  I was a more serious runner (yes, faster, but it wasn't a knock on him, I just trained more). I enjoyed being alone and pounding the pavement. After my surgery, though, I found a new comfort in running with him and making the run more social. We talk, laugh, and enjoy the race. We never even think of putting in earbuds because the miles just tick by with fun conversation. Yes, technically I think we slow each other down, but hey, I'm not shattering any world records here, so who cares?!?!

We ran 1 minute run/30 second walk intervals the entire race. I have definitely found my happy place at a 30 second walk. Anything more than that and I lose momentum and really slow down. We stopped for pics along the way and honestly didn't feel too bad at the finish. Not too shabby for a pair of runners who did less than stellar training. There will be a day when we come back and race this race fast, but that was not in the cards for 2016.

We're all registered for the 2017 race! I can't wait to complete the 5th Dumbo Double Dare, our one and only legacy race. On the course this year, we came up with our costumes for 2017, and they are FUN! I can't wait! Truly originals, so sorry friends, I won't be revealing them until closer to race day.

Monday, February 20, 2017

An American in (Disneyland) Paris

I keep seeing friends registering for this year's Disneyland Paris race weekend, and I can't help but be jealous! Our trip last year to run the 5k and half marathon in Paris was so amazing! I wish we could do it every year, but, know, life, bills, work. It all gets in the way of Disney!

I know many of you have never taken the trip to checkout Disneyland Paris, and if you're planning your first visit for September (or even a non-running trip sometime soon) I though it would be good to share some of the things that were different from our Disney Parks here in the states (and there are some big ones that were not so magical, so take notice).

Food was okay, Highchair was awesome!
Food: Maybe the biggest difference is in the food. Or maybe that's just because I really like to eat my way through Disney! When you visit DLP, expect to see a lot of theme park food. Things like sandwiches, burgers, and fries are staples and there aren't many options beyond that, especially in the parks. There are some great restaurants in the Disney Village and in the hotels, but if you spend the whole day in the park you'll have limited options at  quick service venues. That being said, we had such great meals at Walt's in Disneyland and at Chez Remi at the Studios.

Smoking: People in Paris smoke. A lot. All the time. Everywhere. It just permeates the air and you can't get away from it. I'm super sensitive to the smell of smoke, and it got old really quick! There's not much you can do about it, so just be prepared. Yes, Disney has smoking areas and people aren't supposed to smoke just wandering around the park, but that rule was not enforced at all.

Dressing: Yes, we are the geeky family who had matching shirts, and in the U.S. you'd see that all over the place. Here, nope. Even the cast members kept mentioning it to us. If you're the type of person that likes to blend in, matching Disney shirts is probably not the best idea.

Overall Feel: There is a difference. It's noticeable. It just lacks a little of the attention to detail that makes DL and WDW extra special. Some people probably would never even notice it, but I'm that person that will zero in on the piece of trash that stayed on Main Street for 15 minutes. I say that not to be critical, but just as an observation. If you follow some of the Disney buzz, I think this is a main reason Disney as a company is trying to regain control over this park. There is a lesser standard than the American counterparts, and I think Disney wants to bring Paris up to par.

This post is kind of whomp whomp, huh? Not my usual peppy self! All this being said, GO! I have zero regrets, and we've visited Disneyland Paris twice. Not only is it a great Disney park, but you also are in Paris. It's the most amazing city and we love everything from the sites to the food to the people. Don't let any negative Nancy deter you from this amazing experience. I wish we could do it every year!

Are you planning on running the 2017 Disneyland Paris races?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Resisting the Urge

It's Wednesday, and the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend has been on sale for a whole day and nothing is sold out yet. What does that mean for runDisney nuts like me? It means I'm having to sit on my hands, lock up my credit cards, and resist the urge to register for the races.

The 20th Anniversary Medal-My FAVE!
There's anniversaries at stake here. I am slowly starting to get back the desire to complete another Dopey (I mean, that DID take 5 years for the misery to subside). The lure of the 25th anniversary medal for the marathon is strong. Have you seen the 20th anniversary medal? It's my #1 favorite medal. I can only imagine that the design for 2018 is going to be spectacular. To add to the excitement, the marathon falls on Robby's 2nd birthday, so why not celebrate in Walt Disney World?

Here's the issue: babies. We want more kids, and babies take time to bake (40 weeks to be exact). I'm no spring chicken, and while running 3 half marathons during my last pregnancy was a fun task to take on, that last race was absolute torture. Not saying I wouldn't run some again, but it's all about timing. I think my third trimester will be reserved for maintaining fitness and doing some shorter races, not for 13 mile runs. No, I'm not pregnant, so no need to start speculating. It's these early registrations that are making things tough. I have no idea what life will hand me in 2017, so how could I possibly plan for 2018?

If past performance is any indication of what will happen this year, I have plenty of time to decide, especially on the marathon. Here's the catch: I'm cheap (ish) and the thought of paying a higher price just because I register later is kind of hard to wrap my head around. Add to that the fact that I'm sure the kids races will sell out, and I would hate for Robby to miss out.

Must. Resist. The. Urge.

Are you running the 25th anniversary marathon next year?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Happy American Heart Month!

It's February, and it's American Heart Month. I know many readers know a lot about my family (this IS a family page after all), but I'm not sure I've opened up much about my Dad. What better time than this month for two reasons. First, my Dad passed away in February 15 years ago. Yes, there are still days it feels like yesterday. He died of a massive heart attack. We have a pretty strong family history, but he also did not take care of his heart. He was a smoker, he didn't exercise much, and he was a full-on meat and potatoes lover. So second, with it being American Heart Month, this seems like a perfect time to not only remember him and how awesome he was, but also work to help all of my friends and family live a healthier life.

Sometimes I wonder how I really got so into health and fitness. It wasn't as some would think. It wasn't a conscious decision of "my Dad died of a possibly preventable disease so I'm going to dedicate my life to preventing these diseases." I can't help but wonder, though, if there is something unconsciously going on, motivating me daily to get up and do what I do.

With that all being said, maybe it IS time to connect the dots and help people really understand what taking of yourself can do for your future (and what NOT taking care of yourself can do too).

So, my friends, I have to ask: Do you know your risk for heart disease? According to the American Heart Association, some KEY risk factors include:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Weight/body mass index
  • Waist circumference
  • Blood glucose
  • Family history

Do you know your numbers? If not, it's time to schedule a well-check with your primary care doctor and evaluate your risk. Want to know more about evaluating your risk? Check out the American Heart Associations webpage HERE.

Of course, once you know your risk, it's time to take action. That means putting into daily practice those behaviors that keep your heart and whole body healthy: eat smart and make good food choices, be colorful and eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies, move more and get the heart pumping, and be well by reducing stress and taking care of your overall well-being.

In this month filled with LOVE, I just want you all to know that I care about you and want you to have a long, full life. Take care my friends, and know that I am always here to help!