Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ultra Training: Week Five

Week Five of my Ultra Training was definitely an eye opener for me.  I learned some lessons and I’m grateful that I’m still in the beginning stages of my training. 

I learned that I need to eat better—not only am I feeling it on the scale, but also on my runs.  I’ve been indulging since my Disney weekend and I need to get back to eating better.  I also learned that I need to add cross training and hill training more consistently on my schedule—as much as I run, I still feel out of shape.  It’s frustrating to know that you are capable of more, but can’t quite get there.  But the miles are done for week five and I know that with a few adjustments on my training outlook, the upcoming weeks of training are going to be awesome.
Sunday called for a short run—I woke up later than I had wanted, but I was able to get my run in.  Sometimes the runs aren’t good or bad—they just are.  This was one of those runs, but the miles were done and that was ultimately what mattered.

It doesn’t rain often in Southern California so I was excited to wake up to rain.  And even more excited to run it in.  I headed out for a short run and of course it stop raining when I got to my running spot.  I chased the rain clouds for three miles and enjoyed the cooler weather.  

I decided to switch up some of mileage this week based on what my schedule had room for and made Tuesday a short run day.  It was a beautiful day for a run and the miles felt good.  After a few days of being sick, I was definitely glad to be feeling better.

I decided to hit up the trails for my run and it seemed like all of San Diego wanted to join me.  My favorite local mountain was so crowded!  I hiked up the main path for a bit before venturing off to the side trails.  Anytime I can run with the dirt beneath my feet, it’s a good run. I also met someone visiting from Arizona at the top of the mountain-- he was doing all five peaks during his visit.  Sometimes the best conversations are with strangers.

I was signed up for a Turkey Trot on Thursday, but my training plan called for a 5K plus two miles.  I headed out to Coronado to run my two miles before the race—if you’ve never run in Coronado, it’s beautiful!  And to watch the sunrise during my run was breathtaking.  I also had a good run with the Turkey Trot. 

Last year, REI started the idea of #OptOutside so inside of shopping, I knew that I wanted to spend some time outside.  I had a short run schedule, so when my friend invited me to San Elijo Lagoon for a short adventure, I was ready.  I had never been there and I love exploring new running places.  The trails were really pretty but I hadn’t anticipated soft sand (like what you would find on the beach.). The soft sand definitely made the run more challenging, but the views made it worth it. 

Saturday’s schedule called for a long run—12 miles.  I decided to join some local runners who were doing a 14 miles run—it was a couple miles than I had scheduled, but I knew I’d be taking some walk breaks so I thought it would all balance out.  The route my friend had selected was challenging for me—it had a lot of hills and though the weren’t steep, I wasn’t ready for the steady incline.  As much as I struggled, I was also glad because it was a good reminder that I need to add some hill work to my training plan.  I need to make sure to diversify my mileage. 

Total Weekly Miles: 35.26

Until next time, happy running!

Coronado Turkey Trot Recap

Last Thanksgiving I ran my first turkey trot and I knew it was something I wanted to do again this year.  I am fortunate to live somewhere that offers several so after some research, I decided to run the Coronado Turkey Trot.  From my research, I could tell that it would be a small race but it was in Coronado so I knew it would be a pretty run and it benefited Rady Children’s Hospital which is a great benefactor of the race proceeds.

I woke up Thanksgiving morning with the plan of getting down to the race area early—although they had two pre-race packet pick-ups, I opted for race day pick-up.  The race is a 5K but I had a few more miles to get in on my training plan so I decided I would run them before the Turkey Trot.  Arriving early would also help with parking since the race had limited parking available.  

When I arrived to the park where the race was starting nothing was set-up yet.  Cars were still being unloaded and I saw no sign of a start or finish line.  I wasn’t too concerned because I was early and I had still had two miles to run before picking up my race packet.  After running my two miles, they were still setting up even though it was past the time packet pick-up was supposed to start.  This gave me time to go to my car for my Vega energizer and get a few stretches in.  Once they were ready, I headed over and got my race packet.  By this time, my friends running the race had shown up and we hung out until the race started.

By the time the race was ready to start, a start/finish line had been set up as well as the time mat.  But there were not other indicators of a race course.  They gave up the course directions during the pre-race announcements and then we were off.  (I was a little surprised that there was no National Anthem as I’ve become accustomed to this at most races.)

The race course was on the walkway on the Coronado bay front with water views the entire course.  I’ve run other races in Coronado and the beauty of the courses is definitely one of the perks.  It was a double out and back course and did get congested at a few spots, but most people we courteous to the runners.  Unfortunately the pathway wasn’t closed to the public so there were a few times where bicyclists were also on the course and made it even more congested.  At each turn around spot, they had someone directing us were to go but this was the only course support during the race.  Although in my training runs, I don’t carry water with me for any run less than five miles, I was a little surprised that there was not water on the course.  This is the first 5K I’ve done that didn’t have at least one water station.

Once we were finished and received our medal, we were directed to tables that had bottles of water and fruit for us.  It was “help yourself” style but I didn’t see anyone overtaking.  The apples they had were delicious and it was a nice to have this post race treat instead of the typical bananas.  (They had bananas too but the apple was definitely more refreshing.)  They were having a post race raffle, but you had to be present to win and I wasn’t hanging out that long after the race. 

This is the smallest race I’ve ever participated in.  At one point, someone said there were 800 people registered but it certainly didn’t look like there were that many people there.  There wasn’t a lot of extras, but the simplicity of it was nice.  We learned in the pre-race announcements that all the swag and “workers” had been donated/volunteered so all of the race monies went to Rady’s Children’s Hospital (aside from the fees). It was nice to participate in a race where all the monies were going to the cause.  The views were spectacular and I had a good time, but I think this is a one-and-done race for me.  There are so many Turkey Trots to choose from where I live I’d live to experience a new one next year.

Did you Turkey Trot this year?  What’s the smallest race you’ve ever run?

Until next time, happy running.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What I Do When I'm Not Running on a runDisney Weekend

I’ve lived in Southern California most of my life and going to Disneyland was something I grew up with.  I’m always a little surprised when someone tells me, “I’ve never been to Disneyland.”  Because of where I live, I have an annual pass and I try to get there as often as I can.  Some of my visits correspond with runDisney race weekends and I always try to get some of my favorite things in while I’m there.

Everyone’s approach to Disneyland is different and I will admit I am not of those people who needs to “ride all the rides.”  As much as I love the rides, I am equally as happy just walking around enjoying all the little things that Disneyland has to offer.  On my recent runDisney weekend, I experienced a few things I don’t normally for and took some time to do a couple of my favorites.  So whether you’re headed to Disneyland for a day or a week, here’s a few things I would recommend doing.  

Character Breakfast

There are a couple Disneyland hotel properties that offer a character breakfast, one of them being Paradise Pier.  When my friends and I decided to stay there during our race weekend, we decided we wanted to do the character breakfast.  Although it is a bit pricey for breakfast, the experience is fun.  Breakfast is buffet style and includes things such as fresh fruit, the famous Mickey waffles and an omelette bar. (My omelette was delicious!)  As you’re enjoying breakfast, characters walk around interacting with the guests.  We were probably the only table without children, but we still had a blast.  Your visit includes a guaranteed picture with Mickey, which they try to sell you, but they also allow you to take pictures with your own camera.  

Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps” Tour

As part of our girls weekend, we wanted to do something extra special.  After looking at the various tours they offer, we decided to do “Walk In Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps” tour and it was amazing!  You take a three hour tour of the park, learning the history of the parks and seeing Walt Disney’s vision.  The tour includes a few rides, lunch and a trip to Walt’s Dream Suite.  We were only allowed one picture in the Dream Suite, but I must say it is beautiful!!!  My favorite part of the tour?  They were able to have ASL interpreters for me, as well as a captioning device for the rides—this made sure I didn’t miss anything on the tour and I was beyond impressed that Disneyland offered this service for its guests. 

All The Snacks!

Disneyland has some great treats and the holiday season is no exception.  Some people go for the churros or Dole Whip, but my favorite treat is their gingerbread Mickey cookies.  No holiday Disney trip is complete without it.  I had the Dole Whip too, but there is something special about the cookie.  California Adventure has a new festival for the holidays and there were some tasty treats there as well.  As much as I love the Disneyland snacks, I do try to keep my meals a little healthy when I’m there and I find there are better options in California Adventure or Downtown Disney.

The Entertainment

Sometimes I just walk around Disneyland and enjoy the sights, which includes the various entertainers.  One this trip, we saw a holiday drum line, the dapper dans and a few bands.  Everyone seems in such a hurry to get to the next ride, but I love stopping to take some time to enjoy it all.  

The Decorations

The Holiday season at Disneyland is my favorite.  There is so much attention to detail from Main Street to the rides, you can’t help but be happy.  But this isn’t just during the holiday season—year round Disneyland is a magical place and the details are always awe inspiring.

The Rides

I mentioned that I don’t need to ride all the rides, but c’mon—you can’t go to Disneyland without riding some of the rides.  I always try to take a break from technology when I am at Disneyland, but I definitely love the Disneyland app which can help you determine your wait times and plan your adventures.  

Have you ever been to Disneyland? What’s your favorite thing to do there?

Until next time, happy running.

RunDinsey Avengers Superhero Half Marathon Recap

After three days in the parks and two races, I was ready for the Avengers Superheroes Half Marathon—not only was I looking forward to all the fun but I was also looking forward to earning my second Infinity Gauntlet Challenge medal.  As I mentioned in my Dr Strange 10K recap, we had decided to mash Disney with Superheroes so I would be running the half marathon as Super Snow White, complete with shield to weild off any bad apples I encountered on the course. (See what I did there…)

Sunday Runday was off to an early start—we headed over the the start line area to meet up with everyone and get a few pre-race pictures before the race started.  Then we were off to our corrals to wait for the race to start.  After the national anthem and other announcements, the runner's were on their way.  The waves seemed to be going rather quickly and before I knew it, it was time for us to start.

Our plan going into Sunday was to have all the fun.  The course for this race was new and I was looking forward to it—this was my fourth runDisney half marathon at Disneyland and every course has been different so far. Shortly after mile one, we came up to the first photo stop and the line was short! What?!  This never happens so we took a quick picture, took a bathroom break and continued on our way.  Then we came up to the next photo stop and again, a short line! 

I’m not sure why all the lines were short, but the longest wait we had for a photo was about seven minutes.  Maybe people took all their pictures at the 5K and 10K—it’s the same characters, but we still wanted all the pictures.  

After mile four, we headed out of the parks and into Anaheim.  If I’m being honest, the most exciting thing in Anaheim is Disneyland, but the crowd support makes this race worth it.  At mile six, we came upon the Sparkle Athletic cheer station, complete with the Sparkle unicorns.  We then continued on and before I knew it, we were entering Angels Stadium.  In the past, the course routed you through the back entrances and you didn’t see the completed stadium.  This course brought you through the front and I saw the Angels helmets that I had never seen before.  

The crowd support near the stadium was awesome.  My favorite part of any runDisney event has been the group dressed in vintage military uniforms, complete with a dance floor and dancers.  I was excited to see them out there again.  Once we left the stadium, a cosplay group cheered us on for about half a mile.  Before I knew it, we were at mile ten with only a 5K left to go.  

I struggled the last three miles.  I don’t know if it was a combination of running two races the days before and spending time in the parks, but my legs were not happy with me.  I was getting cramps in my legs and my feet were screaming at me to stop.  I was grateful to have Stephanie, Toni and John with me to help keep me going.  

Finally we found the finish line! I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so happy to cross a finish line.  After getting our medals, snack boxes and taking a few pictures, we headed to the stage area to meet up with the rest of our friends.  I decided I needed to keep moving, so I headed back to the hotel to get ready for the rest of the day in the parks.  (I think I may have been having some shoe issues during the race because as soon as my shoes came off, my legs felt so much better!)   

After the 10K on Saturday, I was a little concerned about the hydration stops along the course, but they had so many.  The crowd support was awesome and we loved getting shout outs on our Princess Superhero costumes—we even had some people take pictures with us because they loved our shields! The new course? Amazing!  I loved this change and I hope runDisney sticks with it.  

It was another great runDisney Avengers Superheroes weekend and I can’t wait until next year!  Maybe I’ll actually watch the movies before then.

Until next time, happy running.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ultra Training: Week Four

This week started off with all the fun and all the miles.  It took a slight detour at the end of the week, but the miles have been run and week four of my training is done!

I ran the Avengers Superheroes Half Marathon to start my week.  According to my watch, I actually ran over 15 miles—I’m not sure if it was the weaving or the back and forth, but somehow I ended up with extra mileage.

After finishing up the half on Sunday with very sore legs, I woke up feeling pretty good on Monday.  When I headed out for my run, I wanted to run fast.  My legs didn’t agree with me.  It was a slow three miles, but it still felt good to get out there and stretch my legs.

On Tuesday, I needed to run five miles and I decided I wanted to feel some dirt under my feet and headed out to the trails.  It was just what I needed.  It was a beautiful day and the miles felt great.  

Day 170 of my Run Streak!  How did this happen?  When I started my run streak, I never imagined I’d make it this far.  I am beyond grateful for everyone who has been a part of it and supported me on my journey.

Another five miles on Thursday and it felt good.  The weather is finally starting to cool down and I wore my “winter” running clothes.  For me, that’s a short sleeve shirt—but how fun is this #runner shirt from pointonemiles?

I woke up Friday morning with a fever- this was not how I wanted to start my day.  Although I sometimes push myself, I know that running with a fever is a big “No,” so I didn't take any chances and skipped my Friday morning run group.  After consulting with my doctor, I did get a mile in later in the day to keep my Run Streak going (By this point, I had been fever free for over six hours).  I had more miles on my schedule, but I know that running the minimum was the smart decision.

I woke up still not feeling 100% but I am stubborn.  I kept telling myself, “It’s just a cold” so I headed out for my long run—I had eight miles scheduled and almost made it.  I was able to get in just over seven miles and I was done.  I spent the rest of the day in my pjs, resting and getting ready for a new week.  

One of my rest buddies! 

Total Weekly Miles: 41

I'm looking forward to a new week, which includes a Turkey Trot in Thursday.  

What are your run plans for Thanksgiving?  

Until next time, happy running.

runDisney Dr. Strange 10K Race Recap

When registration opened for the runDisney Avengers Superheroes weekend, my first thought when I saw the theme for the 10K was Dr. Strange was, “Doctor Who?!”  Although this would be my second year running the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge, I’ve never actually seen the Avengers movies and don’t know who the characters are. 

As I mentioned in my Captain America 5K recap, this was a girls weekend with Michelle, Stephanie and Toni.  After discussing costume ideas, we decided to mash Disney and Superheroes—for the 10K we decided to be Superhero Mouseketeers.  Julian would also be joining us and I couldn’t wait to have all the fun.

Like all runDisney races, race morning came early and we headed over to the start line area to meet up with our friends for some pre-race pictures and fun. This year we stayed at a Disney hotel and I loved being that close to the start area!  After meeting up with everyone and taking pictures, we came up with a race plan.  AJ and Ivie were starting in earlier corrals, so they would run ahead to the first photo stop and wait for us. 

 It worked out perfectly—by the time we met up with them in line, we were almost to the front of the line.  As a group, we definitely follow racing etiquette and picture taking etiquette—although it may have looked like we were cutting in line, we take one group picture with one person’s phone.  We have the process down to a science to make it easy on everyone.  After the first photo stop, we were on our way for the rest of the race—I run most races alone so I always have a blast with the groups at runDisney events.  This race did not disappoint.

After all the character stops and all the fun, the race was over.  I was honestly having so much fun, that I didn’t pay that much attention to the course.  I know that I wasn’t struggling to get through the crowds like I was at the 5K and it never felt too congested to me.  

The only change I would make would have been the number of water stations—there were only two and I would have liked one more.  The weather started getting warmer the last couple of miles and one more water station would have been perfect. 

I still don’t know who Dr. Strange is but I had a blast at the Dr. Strange 10K.  And the bling is pretty awesome too! After getting our medals and snack boxes, we made our way to the race stage to meet up  with other friends, have more fun and take more pictures.  After this race, I was definitely looking forward to the next day’s Avengers Superheroes Half Marathon and earning my Infinity Gauntlet Challenge medal.

Have you ever done a multi-day race challenge?

Until next time, happy running.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

runDisney Captain America 5K Recap

In 2015, I ran the runDisney Avengers Infinity Gauntlet Challenge.  As part of the weekend events, I went to a We Run Social meet-up and met Michelle, Stephanie and ToniAnn.  We became instant friends and decided we would return for a girls weekend in 2016.  After a year of planning, the weekend was finally here and I was beyond excited.  

A few weeks ago, I obtained a bib to the Captain America 5K as part of the runDisney Avengers Superheroes weekend.  It was a last minute decision and I was excited because it would be my first runDisney 5K.  

After fun  at the expo and spending time in the parks with my friends, I was ready for bed and the early wake-up.  If you have ever run a runDisney race, you know they start at 5:30am and as early as you need to wake-up, I love that an early race means you’re finished early and have plenty of time to enjoy the parks.  

I headed to the start line with Michelle and we met up with Julian.  After catching up and taking some pictures, we headed to our corrals.  I’m not sure if it’s because I registered so late, but I was placed in the last coral.  Frankly, I wasn’t happy about this—I wanted to run with my friends who were in other corrals. (I did go to runner relations at the expo, however they were unable to change my corral placement) 

Pre-Race show- how awesome that they have interpreters?!
We made a plan—I would race to the first photoshop, meet up with them and run with them the rest of the race.  Unfortunately starting in the last corral made it a little hard to race—I’ve never had to weave in between so many people during a run.  I won’t lie—I was frustrated as people abruptly went from running to walking or were in groups 4-5 people wide. I ended up skipping the first photo stop (Hawkeye) and met up with Michelle and Julian at the second stop. We continued on our way, saying hi to other runners we knew, having all the fun and taking all the pictures.

While we were in the photo stop line for Captain America, Stephanie and Toni text us to see if we wanted Starbucks at the finish line.  Yes!  We ran into them just before mile 3 and actually took our coffee then and ran the rest of the race with it.  Yes, we crossed the finish line holding Starbucks and it might be my favorite finish line picture ever! 

I love that 95% of the 5K in run through the parks. Running through Cars Land and the Disneyland castle are my favorite. Like all runDisney races the energy is great—the cast members who are out cheering for us and the volunteers are awesome!  Would I run the 5K again?  Without question, yes!    

Race Shirt and bling!

What’s your favorite finish line picture?

Until next time, happy running.

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