Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Recap Part One

Hey everyone! I've got a lot of posts (and running costumes) that are long overdue, but while it's still fresh in my mind I thought I'd share a quick recap of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend.  WARNING: this will have lots of silly pics and be extremely long winded.

This race my mom and Kevin (my bf) joined me in Disney for the weekend. Kevin ran the 5k with me and mom ran the half with me so I had company for both races! I've done a few Disney race reports already, so I'll try to stick to focus on what made the Wine and Dine races different rather than detail every little thing that happened.

We arrived in Orlando on Thursday evening, rode the Magical Express (Disney's transportation) to the Pop Century Resort, and checked into our rooms. Kevin wanted to rest before heading to the parks, so mom and I walked around the resort and explored some!

Me goofing off

Mom posing with Lady
After exploring we left for Epcot to grab some food and watch the fireworks.

Me and Kevin watching the Fireworks

The next day we spent split between Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the race expo. For the most part the expo was the same as the other Disney races I have done. You pick up your packets in one building, and the shopping and your race shirts are in the other building. The only major differences I noticed were that most of the official race merch WASN'T totally sold out by the time we got there (late afternoon), including pins which I've never seen at the expos for sale before. Also, there was a lot less "Ooooh! I need to buy that!" going on than I remembered at the other races, but that could just be the time we got there.  I totally spazzed on taking pics for most of that day. Sorry!

Saturday was crazy hectic. It started with the 5k that morning. This was my first Disney race not staying at a "host resort" which means transportation to and from the races isn't provided and you need to call a cab of your own if you aren't renting a car (which we weren't). Kevin and I donned our awesome costumes and headed downstairs. We are both in love with the tv show Phineas and Ferb specifically Perry the Platypus and Heinz Doofenshmirtz, so we both dressed up as Dr. Doofenshmirtz for the race. While we were waiting for our cab to arrive we started snapping some quick photos.

But then we realized that our cab was really running late and did some frantic runs between the phone and the front desk. We had arranged for the cab to arrive with more than enough time to get to the race, even with road closures due to the race, but it turns out our driver decided to pick up another fare instead on the way. How rude!! Lucky for us another family's cab came in time and they had room for Kevin and I to squeeze in. So if you aren't staying at a host resort, plan on getting ready EARLY because it appeared lots of people were having the same issue.

Once we arrived at the race it was a little chilly so Kevin and I were sort of bouncing around to stay warm while we waited in line (for almost an hour!) for a photo with Mickey and Minnie. While we were standing in line, we actually got stopped by one of the race MC's for a quick interview. I've been to a few Disney races, but it was really cool to be interviewed once. He talked to us both about the race and the fact that it was Kevin's first Disney race while photographers and videographers swarmed us. Kind of fun! After that we grabbed our pre-race photo and lined up to start the race.

The start line

Posing with Mickey and Minnie in our Doofenshmirtz costumes
Soon the race began. The race wound around the animal kingdom parking lot, then through the animal kingdom before finishing back out in the parking lot. The entire course was filled with fun things to look at, Christmas music to go along with the theme of the race (Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5k), and fun Disney characters. It was by far my favorite Disney 5k. 

The first part of the race went through the left side of Animal Kingdom (near Camp Minnie Mickey and Africa) passing by the Tree of Life. 

After that portion of the race, we followed a similar route to the trams to Rafiki's planet watch in an easy out and back format. At the furthest point there were live animals to check out including a donkey, a lamb, a really cool owl, and more. 

After that it was time to head back into the main area of the park past Asia and Expedition Everest.

Finally we left the race and ran back out to get our medals. Near the finish line Kevin stopped me and dipped me to give me a kiss!

Which turned out to be a fun way to end a race ;) It may even be better than getting the bling:

I really thought this was race was a great 5k and absolutely worth the money. I loved the other Disney 5k I did, but I thought the course and the obvious effort put into the race by both the RunDisney team and the cast members made it so much more fun than my previous Disney 5k experience.

Stay tuned for part two (the half marathon) headed your way soon!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm going to Disney World... Again!!

I have a few new race reports (awesome tutus included!) that are headed your way soon, but this week I'm headed to Disney World for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend. I'll be participating in the 5k and Half Marathon and taking it really slow because my asthma hasn't been the best. If you will be in town, email me and we can try to meet up!

I have a great costume planned for the 5k that I hope some of you disney nerds will recognize (HINT: It involves a platypus arch enemy). My planning for this trip was beyond last minute this year though, so the half costume will most likely be my default disney half marathon costume of minnie mouse.

Anyone else going to Wine and Dine? Cute costumes planned??

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tough Girl Tutus Review!

Long time no blog! Sorry for the ridiculously long delay again. I know, I know, bad blogger. Things have been more than a little crazy in my personal life, and I have been a lot of trouble with my asthma so there hasn't been much running going on to blog about. 

However, I do have a review of an absolutely fabulous product that is long overdue. A while ago I was approached by Alexia from Tough Girl Tutus and asked to review one of their tutus. Pretty much if you've ready anything on my blog you know how much I love running in tutus so I jumped at the chance to try one out. 

Tough Girl Tutus are tutus that are designed specifically for runners. They have no liner so that you can wear your favorite gear underneath and special toggles built in for your race bib. They also come in cute colors/designs. 

When I got my tutu I decided to put it to the ultimate test: Warrior Dash. I have tried many brands of tutus before while running and I usually run into some of the same issues:
  • They are flimsy - While I'm walking my arms brush the tutu and by the end of a race the tutus usually have random loose threads and tattered edges everywhere
  • They don't move well - Despite how cute they are while posing for pics, they tend to bunch up between my legs while running which is definitely not cute.
I had high hopes for the tutu because Alexia was so wonderful to work with and the tutu passed my expectations by far. Before the race I snapped some pictures. Let me preface these pics by saying that I was NOT in a posing mood. At last years Warrior Dash everyone was in costume, but this year almost no one was and I felt really awkward, especially because one of my guy friends (now bf!) was there and my sister and I had forced him into a costume too. 

As you can see the tutu was really cute. The toggles held the bib in place securely  and it was nice and full. After a few pics my sister and I decided to move the bib to my shirt, only because I was worried with all the mud and jumping it may be harder to see my bib number if it were down low and I wanted my fire leaping pics again! haha. I think it would've been fine on my tutu looking back, but oh well.  Here's a few more pre-race pics once I moved the bib.

Me and my sis 

Munchkin hamming it up

My sister, Kevin, and Me all ready to go. We made poor Kevin wear that ridiculous outfit all day!

As for the race, The tutu held up beautifully. It never felt tattered or worn and it moved like I had hoped. No scrunching and bunching up every 5 minutes. It was soooo much more comfortable than any other tutu I have worn. And even soaking wet and muddy It stil looked cute!

Tutu after the mud!
My costume held up really well and I'm so glad I was wearing a Tough Girl Tutu! Kevin's homemade costume that my sister and I put together did not fair so well. haha.

Sad Puppy

I forgot to mention the tutu even lasted through the wash and will live to see another race! If you guys are thinking about getting a tutu for a race, the Tough Girl Tutus are worth every penny! Please go check them out! 

NOTE: This review was made possible by Tough Girl Tutus. I was not compensated for this review other than a product sample provided by Tough Girl Tutus. All opinions are 100% mine. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

River Run and Dog Jog 2012

Before I start the race report, I'd just like to say last weekend I was supposed to run a zoo run and the lovely ladies at Tough Girl Tutus sent me an awesome leopard print tutu to review. I'll post a review of it soon, but I got sick and didn't get to race in it yet :( Please go check out their site because the tutu is adorable and great for running!

Ok back to the report: This weekend was the River Run and Dog Jog for New Leash on Life. New Leash on Life is an awesome organization that helps train service and therapy dogs and provide them to those in need. Obviously this is an awesome cause and I was really excited to run the race. There are two options for races, the 5k and the 3k dog jog. The races are at separate times, so I chose to enter both races. My mom ran the 5k with me and my sister walked the dog jog with me. Since the race was on memorial day, you can bet I didn't miss another opportunity to dress up, and we all went as sailors.

Gear all laid out

Monday morning we woke up and headed to Wiley Post Park. The volunteers for this race were phenomenal and I quickly got my race packet and bib and then started to get ready. By the way, the race included tees for the humans and bandanas for the puppies. The first race was the 5k so my awesome sister helped me and my mom get ready while wrangling the dogs for us. Big tip if you've never done a dog run: No matter how well behaved you THINK your dogs are, get to the race extra early. It takes much more time to get everyone ready with a dog. I grabbed a quick pre-race photo and then it was time to head to the start.

My Sailor Memorial Day Running Costume

The Start Line
The race was a simple and flat out and back course (which seems to be the case with all of the OKC 5ks). I was still recovering from being sick, so we took it easy and my mom was a great help to me during the race. I couldn't do all of this running if it weren't for her amazing support. The race was much smaller (in terms of participants) than I thought, but it was really fun. There were lots of volunteers on the course and a few water stops along the way. I will say it again, the volunteers were absolutely phenomenal this race and I'm so glad that there were so many there to encourage the runners. I got quite a few "keep it up sailor!" comments during the race whenever I was starting to feel really sick (yay asthma and colds!) and it helped to spur me along.

Once again I didn't get any pictures during the race, but it was over before too long (thankfully!) and it was time for the dog jog with my sister. The plan for the dog jog was for Ashley, my sister, to carry Buster in a doggy stoller and for me to walk with champ. Before the race we snapped a few photos with everyone in costume.
Buster in his race costume

Me and Champ

My Sister and Buster

All Together
The race started and I think the dog jog was actually bigger than the 5k. Ashley and I had fun chatting while we walked. Maybe if you started in the very front you could actually run this race, but everyone was walking very slow and we didn't have any choice but to walk. We had planned on this, so we were very happy to walk with the boys.

Having never run a dog run before, I was curious to see how Buster would handle drinking out of a cup. Champ has run with me on training runs before and drinks out of cups or water bottles easily but Buster is still learning how to use a leash. The water stops were well manned and there were several along the way. Each water stop has dog tons of dog bowls lined up so we didn't even end up having to worry about Buster. We just took him out of the stroller and let him drink.

It was really hot out so our main concern was just keeping the puppies safe. I think they had a blast and soon we were rounding the corner to the finish line.

Nearing the Finish Line
I didn't really get any good pics of it but not only did my sister get the dogs dressed and ready for the race, she also decorated the stroller with garland and star-shaped balloons. Too cute!

After the race we all tried to cool down and waited for awards. My mom got 2nd in her age group again (go Mom!!) and I forgot my timing chip otherwise I would've gotten second as well (by default of course! haha). She won an gift card to a sports store which will be fun! In addition to our awards for running, there were a few fun contests for the puppies and my boys won best costume. They got a large gift basket full of dog treats.

All in all it was a great day and I'm so glad my puppies had fun!And you better believe they slept like babies on the way home

One sleepy corgi

Monday, May 14, 2012

Body Shop 5k & 10k 2012

As you know, I've really been slacking on the running front lately and thought the best way to get back into it would be to sign up for a bunch of races, so be expecting more race reports coming your way. The first race on my comeback tour was this Saturday. I ran the 5k race at the Body Shop 5k & 10k event. I stumbled into the race online and saw this description:
 Knock out the dents or polish up your speed with us on May 12th from Wheeler Park in Oklahoma City
I though the description was perfect for my first race back after a long running hiatus and immediately signed up.  And since it was my first race back I had to go in costume right?! The race theme was obviously about working out and getting your body back in shape so I decided to wear some 80s workout gear. I threw it all together at the last minute and this is what I came up with:

Definitely not my best costume, but I made it work. haha. I took an oversized neon running tee and cut off the color so that it would be a one-shoulder top. Next I added neon shorts and a side pony. I tried finding leg warmers, but by the time I had the idea for a costume, it was too late and I had to go with compression socks instead. The outfit definitely could've been better but it was still fun. 

Once I got suited up it was time for the race to start. The 5k and the 10k started at the same time, so it was a little crowded on the narrow paths at the very start, but soon everyone spaced themselves out so that it wasn't cramped at all. The course was a simple out-and-back course with different positions marked for the 5k and 10k turnaround. Mom was with me again, and we decided to take it nice and slow. It felt really good to be back out there again, even if our time was slow. 

Now you know it's been a while since I've blogged because I completely forgot to take pictures! The whole race I was just chatting with mom and glad to be running; so much so that I never stopped to grab a quick photo. I'm sorry for the boring photo-less recap and promise to use my camera next time! 

After the finish, there was a little party with beer, hot dogs, and awards. We stuck around for the awards because my mom usually places (by default but shh!). This race we both placed (again not because we are fast, but because our age groups were small) and we got awards for placing in our age groups. I got 2nd in mine and she got 3rd in hers. Anyone receiving an award got a souvenir glass. 

Overall it was a fun race. Here's my race breakdown:
  • Water stops: 1- there may have been more for 10k runners
  • Number of runners: 76 in the 10k, 72 in the half
  • Support: This was a small race so no spectators, but the race production crew was very enthusiastic and supportive. 
  • Atmosphere: All of the runners seemed to be friendly and supportive of one another. However, the runners seemed to be quieter than usual for whatever reason. Maybe the weather change that day?
  • Photographers: There were some stationed at the start/finish line. I hated ALL of mine, but I usually hate the professional ones.
  • Favorite part: Just being back out there felt so great. 
  • Least Favorite part: The bad music. If you're going to play music during a race, it should be upbeat and fun. They just had it tuned to a local radio station which played several slow songs including the theme song to Titanic. Why have it on at all?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Getting Back on Track

I've been a bad blogger. Again. I'm sorry for disappearing on you again. I've been super busy as usual, and a lot of  things have changed for me since my last post. I haven't forgotten about the blog though I promise and now that things are settling down some, I hope to be start posting more regularly.

So what exactly have I been doing while I was away?
Buster, my new corgi puppy

  • I got a "big kid" job. I got my first real full-time salaried job and it feels great to be so much more independent. I    don't want to share too many details, but I'm working with a small software company and it's been hectic and crazy at times, but mostly it's been fun. There are even some runners and athletes at work who encourage me to move more which is nice. 
  • I moved in with Cam. Cameron and I have always practically lived together when we were close by, but never actually moved in together. I didn't think it would be that much of a change, but I quickly learned that practically and actually are very different things haha. It's been challenging at times getting used to the quirks of living with a boy who is my complete opposite in most ways, but it's been amazing and I wouldn't have it any other way now. 
  • I got a new puppy. After moving to a new neighborhood (and town), we didn't have as many friends for Champ to play with. It was really hard on him because he was so used to being around other dogs all the time. Cam and I had talked about getting another dog before, so this seemed like the perfect time. The new puppy's name is Buster and he's a very devious little 9-week-old corgi. 
  • I joined Fitocracy. If you haven't done it, you should. It's a pretty cool site.
  • I got my wisdom teeth removed. Not fun at all. I looked like a chipmunk and felt horrible for a while. I'm back to solid foods now though!
  • I threw my best friend's bridal shower. I mentioned it before, but my best friend is getting married and my maid of honor duties are starting to kick into high gear with the wedding approaching.
  • I didn't run almost at all. That's right, my running has been majorly slacking. I missed it so much, but with all the big changes going on I just wasn't able to keep on the ball with workouts. However,  I'm working on changing that and I've got new plans to make my running more dynamic and workouts more fun. I did a few workouts here and there, but no races and nothing very exciting. 
And that's pretty much the highlights. What have you been up to while I was slacking?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Part 3

FAIL! AGAIN! I started a new job (my first "real" job!) recently so I've been a little wrappped up with things there, but here's where I left of with my race report:

Friday night I went to bed excited for the half marathon the next day. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling so cheery Saturday morning because I woke up with the flu. I had a sore throat, runny nose, and just felt awful overall. After being pouty for a few minutes, I decided to suck it up and get ready for the race.

Once we were dressed and ready, Mom and I left on the 3:30 AM Bus to the race. Unlike the 5k, at the half marathon the start line is a bit of a walk from the bag check and bus drop-off area. We decided not to waste any time and quickly dropped off our stuff at gear check then walked over to the start area.

The walk is about a mile long and you pass some of the same things you do in the 5k, like the disney "graveyard". Once you finally get to the start line you are directed to your assigned corral. There were 8 corrals plus the elite runners and we were in Corrall F. Here's how the set-up looked.

Because we were in Corral F, our side didn't even move until Corral E was gone. I was absolutely frozen and feeling pretty miserable so I just sat down and curled up inside my sweatshirt (I brought a really big one for this reason) and then I fell asleep. I'm usually really pumped up and nervous before races, so the fact that I could fall asleep was a true testament to how sick I really was. Once it was our corral's turn to go, we got up and moved to the start line, where Mom and I snapped a quick pre-race pic.

Donald Duck (the mascot of the half marathon) counted us down and then fireworks went off and it was time to go.

Before the race I decided my main goals for the half were just to have fun and take as many photos as possible without getting swept. (If you don't maintain an average pace of 16 minutes per mile including stops for photos you can be pulled off the course).

The first 5 miles of the course are on highways and roads leading from EPCOT to the Magic Kingdom. This part of the race is where the volunteers go all out. We passed high school bands, DJ's, characters, a hot air balloon, spectators, the Team in Training cheerleaders, some really cool old cars and more. While I wasn't feeling my best because of the flu, my legs felt surprisingly okay after the 5k and park mileage leading up to the race. Mom was feeling a little more stiff, so we came up with a system. Every time I stopped for a photo, she would keep walking and I'd just run to catch up to her. This way she wouldn't stiffen up waiting for photos, and I would get my pictures. The first photo of the race was with some really cool Jesters on stilts.
Disaster of a photo, but they were cool, trust me. 
After that we decided to ditch our sweatshirts because it was starting to get a little warmer. Soon we passed the signs that say Magic Kingdom. The signs are way before you actually enter the park; but it's always nice to feel like you are getting close, even if you aren't.

"Entering" the Magic Kingdom
The miles before the park seemed to fly by this year. Mom and I talked most of the way and were feeling really good the whole way. I think having run the course before really helped to make it feel shorter this time around. I also tried to enjoy the race more this year, and I think stopping for pictures was a great choice.
Launchpad and me posing for photos near the raceway
Right before you get to the Magic Kingdom there is this part of the course that goes underneath a miniature bridge and spectators are allowed to cheer there. I always remember it being so loud right there and getting a big rush of excitement before entering the park. Then you turn a few corners and you're inside the Magic Kingdom.

The feeling you get while coming down main street is totally indescribable. You enter the park from a side entrance from backstage. There aren't any spectators back there, and there's only a few cast members pointing you in the right direction. It's REALLY quiet. Then you turn a corner and it's like a wall of sound and excitement hits you. Tons of spectators are cheering, blowing horns, and shaking noise makers cheering you on. The cast members of main street, like the mayor and the dapper dans, are all out there too. You can see the castle in front of you, which you've trained so hard to run through, and it hits you that you really are there. I so wish there was a way to share that feeling with you because it really is incredible. I tried to video-tape it for you at the last minute, but it was a definite bust. Here's what I got:

Sorry about that shaky video! After coming down main street, you enter tomorrowland. I've always loved tomorrowland and it's so cool to see the sun rise over the astro-orbiter and know that no one else (okay no one besides other runners) will get to see it like that. 

After a quick turn through tomorrowland, you enter fantasyland. In fantasyland there are always a bunch of characters and we lucked out that the lines weren't too long. Mom and I both stopped for a quick photo with Alice. 

Then I had to clown around with Dumbo. I think this was my favorite photo of the race!

They actually didn't have this set up like a photo-op, he's just an extra ride vehicle there for everyday guests to take photos with. Since most of the runners were busy trying to run to the castle or get a photo with Alice, no one was stopping here and I thought it would make a cute photo.

After fantasyland you run through the castle from the back towards main street. This is another one of those exciting only-at-disney moments during the race. It's very surreal to actually be there. I tried video-taping it, but I failed again.

Once you pass through the castle, there's an opportunity to pose for a quick photo in front of the castle with the official race photographers. At princess last year I didn't get the best pic here, but it was ok. This year the photos were AWFUL. I don't know if it was just the time I happened to be there, but the photographers were really pushy and kind of rude. They didn't hardly give you a chance to smile before pushing you along. Needless to say, I don't have a castle pic to show you from this year. 

After leaving main street, you wind your way through liberty square and frontierland. There are a bunch of bathrooms(actual restrooms not porta-potties) in frontierland and not too many runners stop here, so it's a great place to stop if you need to by the way. Mom took a quick bathroom break while I stopped for another fun photo near the Country Bears.

Passed the country bears is splash mountain. At that time in the morning they are usually testing the ride with empty boats, which is pretty cool to see. After that you swing passed the train tracks and exit the park through another backstage exit.

Once you leave the park, you pass a really cool backstage area where they keep all of the floats for the parades. When I was younger (grade school) I sang and danced at disney in the magic kingdom and remember passing this area in a car a few times. It was really neat to see it again, but this time with old floats out on display.

The next few miles of the course are definitely the toughest. You go back to epcot on a very similar path that you came (and even run past some of the same things on the opposite side of the road). It can be mentally tough if you aren't prepared for it. However, disney staff and volunteers never cease to amaze me and kept runners' spirits high as we ran past. Your bib has your name printed on it and so many random strangers will be yelling your name at this point like "keep it up sara!"and it's really fun.

After a few photos, I was in trouble. This is the part where things really started to go downhill for me. I never thought I would have to quit a race before and this one truly had both my mom (a nurse) and I worried that I'd have to stop. Remember that cold I mentioned? Well it turned into a full blown asthma attack. My entire body started to get charlie horses. My toes were completely curled like I was running on balls. My arms and hands curled up to what I like to jokingly call "t-rex arms" and I couldn't move them at all. It was absolutely miserable and I started to turn a scary shade of purple. My mom made me walk and tried to keep me calm. I am pretty good at laughing at myself and not panicking when scary things happen like this, but it was a little hard without a medical tent in sight and my hands getting progressively bluer and bluer. It was absolutely no fun, but I refused to quit and we just kept going until we were in epcot.

This is a random side note, but right as I entered EPCOT I passed Lou Mongello of WDW Radio, who's show I'm crazy geeky about and I was so happy to see him on the sideline cheering on the runners. I was having trouble talking because of the muscle spasms at that point (i know you're jealous of how cool I am) so I didn't get to say hi, but it was still neat to see a disney "celeb". I never got to the point where I could move my hands or my toes, but my arms relaxed some and I got much better color near the last mile of the race. We passed phineas and pherb near the end and snapped a pic. You can see my hand is still stuck in a weird position in the photo :/
After that passing phineas and ferb and spaceship earth we finally made it to the gospel choir. Every half disney has a gospel choir which I always get a chuckle at the "thank heaven you're almost there" vibe you get. haha. Finally it was time for the home stretch and mom and I passed the finish holding hands and then got our medals.
Half Marathon Medal

That wraps up the race, I'll have some more post-race stuff and my overall thoughts coming up soon!
Happy Valentine's Day!