Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Inspired Letter "M"

Of course the first Disney Inspired Letter "M" that comes to mind is Mickey & Minnie Mouse!
Pictures are from October 2010, taken at the Character Spot in Epcot. Abigail, almost 2yo, was so excited to meet the characters it was as if she didn't know what to do when she actually got to meet them! It wasn't until she turned 3 did she start smiling and posing in her character photos.

Do you participate in Blog Hops?
This Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop is hosted by Deb at Focused on the Magic. Deb posts a list of themes for everyone and anyone who participates can link their blog post through her Wordless Wednesday post. If you're interested to see what Disney Inspired Letter "M" translates to other bloggers, definitely hop over to Focused on the Magic and visit the other blogs who have linked up!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Training Recap: July Week 3

It's now Thursday/Friday, ideally my weekly recaps would post on Sunday or Monday immediately when a week is finished. This rarely happens. There's no one specific reason, life happens. We go to church Sunday mornings and usually get together with our community group in the afternoon or evenings. It's a major plus if I'm able to squeeze in some sort of a run. So as much as I really enjoy my recaps, I'm happy if I get something posted regardless of when.

My morning started off fairly lazy, including re-entering my application into the Starbucks online system. I was feeling defeated because this was application #3. The most convenient location to me was over staffed and after a couple interviews with another location, our schedules weren't lining up. Sigh.

Abigail and I were finally getting out of the house when I realized I had numerous text messages from Linzie telling me INKnBURN announced their Ambassadors and I made it! I was confused, in a bit of denial, and while I did apply to be a brand ambassador I really was not expecting to land a spot! I am crazy excited and look forward to representing INKnBURN.

I was so excited I threw on a pair of INKnBURN shorts and went to the gym to ran 6mi on the treadmill. As an InB Ambassador I will be getting a discount code to share with my friends and family! I hope you'll go window shopping so you'll have an idea of what you'll try first. :)
My morning started bright and early as I dropped Brewer off for a temperament test at a local Doggie Daycare. It was a peaceful morning without him, he's usually jumping and biting me as I check email or try to drink my coffee when it's hot. When Abigail and I picked him up 4hrs later he was worn out, and he received a good review so he'll be going back in future weeks!

Abigail had her usual swim and dance classes scheduled. She actually informed me she would no longer like to take dance, wanting "only gymnastics". I have to admit, it broke my heart a little. She seems to have so much fun in her class her teacher, Miss Ashley, couldn't be more wonderful too. I headed to the gym after where I was able to get in a quick 3mi run before the CORE class. 

Pictures posted from the Summer Steamer 10K and I was super excited to discover a race photo good enough to share and purchase! Finally. Training wise, I took a rest day since hadn't taken one since the Thursday before. My runs are feeling great, and I love that my speed is improving. It's honestly not about speed, I just appreciate the fact that it's not taking me as long to run certain mileage. This leaves more time for cross training (especially when I'm limited to 2hr time limits with Abigail in gym childcare) or just being able to get more in a day because running doesn't consume every waking hour.

Abigail's swim coach peaked my interest on Tuesday mentioning he uses the stairs outside the building for a workout. So I "delivered" Abigail to class then headed outside to run some stairs. I ran a loop through the parking lot, up and down the stairs, then repeated x5. Goodness gracious, this was tough! Probably due to the extreme heat and there is absolutely NO shade. I lasted a measly 11mins in the heat. I seriously considered diving head first straight into the pool after I was finished. If I had a change of clothes and an extra towel I would have, otherwise I would have been even more of a wreck taking Abigail to her gymnastics class after swim!

Later that evening, I went to the gym and had an awful time trying to run on the treadmill. My shins were bothering me a bit, which was completely new to me. I felt like a quitter, but I called it a day and headed home early. I am hoping my five laps up/down the stairs worked different leg muscles and needed rest instead of also running same day. 

I took Abigail to a local indoor "playground" of sorts to play with some friends in the morning. She was able to jump and run around and I was able to catch up a bit with another mom friend. Later we had to run around town a bit to drop off a few things and since they were going to be quick errands, we decided to bring Brewer along.

Brewer wears a harness I can loop the seatbelt through, and it really helps keep him contained when I'm driving. We rode with the windows open, which Abigail and Brewer both enjoy. On our way home, we picked up a pizza since Abs and I would be solo for dinner as Matt was meeting his softball team at a local brewery for beers. Knowing what was in store for my back to back run weekend, this was a nice rest day from training.

I decided to take Brewer to a local trail to attempt a 5mi loop with me. He normally runs with me through the neighborhood so getting off the pavement would be a pleasant change of scenery. The trail was absolutely beautiful! The paths were different widths in different areas but were all well kept, some with mulch or hay. The first portion of the trail crossed over a creek numerous times so I let Brewer walk through and drink from it. There were also a couple of water fountains on the trail. Somehow I took a wrong turn and our 5mi loop ended up closer to 8mi. We didn't run the whole thing, since the there were hillier portions we ran, walked, hiked. It was great but Brewer needed to cool off when we got home!

After church I headed to the Silver Comet Trail for my long run. My training plan called for 15 miles. Now if you're familiar with my race schedule (always posted on the right side column of this blog), you might think back to back runs (a 5mi and a 15mi) might be longer than necessary since Dopey isn't until January.

Have I mentioned yet I have a Goofy weekend in October scheduled? For those of you not aware, runDisney's Goofy Challenge is held during Walt Disney World's Marathon Weekend in January and the challenge is finishing BOTH the Half Marathon on Saturday and the Full Marathon on Sunday. The last weekend in October, I will be running a Goofy weekend here in Atlanta! While this is a bit extreme, I feel like it will make sure I'm keeping up with my training and give me an early deadline to best gauge how my training is going so I can tweak as necessary before heading into the last two months before The Dopey Challenge. I'll be running this challenge as a St Jude Hero and I really want to make sure I've done everything I can do to train and do my very best in this challenge.

I chose the Silver Comet Trail for this long run because it'd be an out and back course. I knew I would feel great during my first 6-8mi so as long as I didn't turn around before Mile 7, I knew I would get my full miles in regardless. I had not run 13mi straight since April's Finish on the 50 Half Marathon and while I did 13 total on July 7th, it was very broken up mileage. I decided to run intervals of 3:1 to keep my endurance up. I forgot my Nike+ watch but used the RunKeeper App, which signaled each interval change and gave me 5min updates with mileage and current pace. Somehow, while I thought I was taking this run easy (I felt great!) my split times were faster than I was expecting. I cannot believe how great I felt after these miles! I stretched, used my foam roll and made sure to drink plenty of water and NUUN to keep me hydrated. So thrilled to end this week on a high note!

-Does life "get in the way" of other unimportant deadlines you give yourself?
-Have you ever been selected as an Ambassador for a company?
-Are you familiar with INKnBURN? Let me know what's at the top of your wishlist!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Social Media Disney Memories

So this "Wordless Wednesday" isn't going to be very wordless... Social Media is to thank for all my amazing runDisney friends!

I joined the "For the love of Disney running" immediately after registering for 2013 Princess Half on Labor Day, and then jumped head first into registering for the 20th Anniversary WDW Marathon that same week. This wonderful Facebook page is run by Erin, who encourages and supports runDisney participants virtually. Erin even tracks everyone's training miles, which is really cool to see how all the miles add up leading up to race weekends. During WDW Marathon weekend, Erin held a meet-up at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, the ice cream shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort. Abigail and I joined the fun! It was great to finally meet Erin and others who would be running that weekend. I got to see Marcia again, and officially meet Katie, Joe, Adam and Kira...all of whom I ended up running with during the WDW Marathon! Oh, and if you've never done it before, I highly recommend getting a few friends together and indulging in The Kitchen Sink! It's such a fun experience I cannot wait to repeat during 2014 WDW Marathon week!

Leading up to the WDW Marathon, I was nervous and to say the least. I had been following along the #CorralG chat Linzie and Marcia had going (probably others were chatting too but since I had only met Marcia before this race). I knew I needed others to help encourage me for 26.2, and that was my absolute best decision I made. We have become the best of friends since, and the miles we have between us hasn't stopped us from encouraging and supporting each other when we are running, and even when we aren't running! These people are flat out amazing.

Somewhere along the way I also joined "Team #runDisney", a group on Facebook for runDisney enthusiasts. Runners try to meet-up before races, not just runDisney events. The Publix Georgia Half Marathon is where I finally met some local Atlanta runDisney enthusiasts. It's been fun to have local running friends, even if we don't actually run with each other very often. Brandi, Jen and I are registered for lots of the same events and even though we all run at different paces, it's chatting before/after races and seeing a familiar face during the race on out and back courses. Through Twitter the three of us have also become good friends with Ramona, and are looking forward to her running Disney with us in 2015!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Training Recap: July Week 2

I was a little worried about getting back into a decent routine after all the Forth of July fun last week, but it turned out to be an excellent week of training! I'm a little bummed I didn't make it to one of the Power (weight) classes at the gym this week so I'll just have to coordinate a bit better next week.

I decided it'd be best to take a rest day since I did my first 13mi run (even if it was broken up) on Sunday. It must have been a bit of a lazy day because I cannot even remember what we may have done.

After Abigail's swim and dance classes we headed to the gym so I could get in some indoor miles. I ran Brewer a lot through our neighborhood during the Runner's World Summer Run Streak that I was curious to get back in a controlled environment and test myself a bit. My plan was to get in 5mi with the mid 3 at race pace. I had my training plan with me so I could do my normal over-analyzing.

I have Jeff Galloway's Training Programs all transferred into my planner. The Dopey Challenge training is 28 weeks long, and officially started last week, so this was Week 2 of Dopey Training. The Wine and Dine Training is an 18-week plan for time improvement, and training began this week. Jeff's plans all include 30-45 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday, then there is a Saturday assignment. I am using these training programs as a guide and have two others I am also incorporating into the mix but am intending to write an entire post just about my training let's see if that happens sometime in the near future.

For the last few weeks, social media has been exploding with chatter, reviews and giveaways for the new Mizuno Wave Sayonara shoes. They look pretty snazzy, in pink and in white! I got to check them out a bit at The Peachtree Road Race Expo last week, they are very light weight and airy. When I saw West Stride would have the Mizuno Rep out to let runners test run the Wave Sayonaras, I knew I really wanted to attend. I had never been to West Stride before for a group run so I opted for the 4 mile (instead of the 6 mile). This also turned out to be a good choice since I was testing out the Wave Sayonaras. While they were great to walk around, I think I over thought the running portion. I was too attentive to ever little feel and possible quirk of the shoe, so I'd like to give them another go. Luckily there are a couple other dates upcoming where the Mizuno Rep will also be appearing for future group runs. Hopefully I'll be able to test them again.

I ended up taking a Rest Day. Abigail attended her swim and gymnastics classes and while I was hoping to take Brewer for a much needed run, I ended up in the kitchen cooking up another huge batch of Beef Pasta Bake. It's my go to meal of choice when it comes to loving on a family. My mom's group organizes meal calendars when new babies are welcomed home, it's a simple dinner on my part and really is appreciated by friends during their times of transition. I freeze the Beef Pasta Bakes and then can pull them out when it's time for me to deliver.

Abigail and I met up with some friends to see Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat at The Center for Puppetry Arts in the morning. If you live local to Atlanta, I highly recommend attending a show as we have loved ever performance we have attended.

We ran some afternoon errands before heading to the gym where I knocked out 4 quick miles on the treadmill. I'm glad I was only running 4 because I was super hot and sweating so nasty, but maybe it's me and not the gym (yuck!).

It was also "Cow Appreciation Day" at Chick-Fil-A and if you dress like a cow, you get free food! A couple years ago Matt got the genius idea to cut holes in an old undershirt and wear it over a black shirt. Abigail sported a white tank with black running shorts and an "Eat More Chicken" sign. Abigail was super excited when the little girl cow was greeting families because she has never met her before. Honestly, what's best about this event is people watching.

We headed to Newnan, GA to celebrate our nephew's 4th birthday party. Abigail had lots of fun playing with her cousins outside in the pools, sliding down the slip-n-slide and in the crazy water sprinklers. It was a fun afternoon!

I headed out early to run the Summer Steamer 10K in Kennesaw. My first ever 10K was the Possum Trot on June 1st and I ran it in 01:03:59. I felt good during that race but knew I had a little more and could definitely sub-60 soon. I had wanted to reach this goal at Peachtree last week, but after my trail run, I knew it was going to be very unlikely. The course was packed and I was prepared for rain. My time was consistent with 01:04:06 and with the hills of Peachtree, I knew I had improved. I ran hard today, maybe a little too hard because I had forgot my Nike+ watch and was relying on the RunKeeper App to give me updates every 5mins. I knew I had a good time buffer during my last mile and mentally gave into run/walking uphill after the Mile 5 marker. Once up the hill, I had recouped a bit of energy to sprint to the finish. I crossed the finish right as the finish timer clicked to 58min and I was thrilled! The final time came in at 00:57:34. I couldn't be more happy with this time, but I will continue to be a bit hard on myself about walking a bit up that last hill. Oh well, I just keep reminding myself that I will only continue to improve.

-Are you doing anything fun and different this summer to occupy your days?
-Do you like to dress like a cow to get a free meal?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Peachtree Road Race Expo

Abigail and I arrived at 2013 Peachtree Health and Fitness Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center a little after initial opening on Tuesday morning. Most large events are held here but there's a $10 parking fee, and I'm pleased that both Expos I have attended here have offered coupons for discounted parking. Once inside the Expo, there was a giant road carpet with each corral having individual diagonal booths on the left side of the "road". This made for very easy retrieval for packet pickup as there were two volunteers at each booth so lines moved very quickly. I picked up four different packets, for runners in four different corrals and it was quick and painless.

Once we picked up our race packets, you proceeded through a huge Reebok booth and then landed upon all the Peachtree Road Race merchandise from Atlanta Track Club. I had joined ATC to get pre-registration without having to enter the lottery for the Peachtree Road Race.  My race bib had an extra "ATC member" line on it and I was given an red ATC tech shirt. While chatting with some of the ATC volunteers,  The ATC also had tables set up for other race registrations and to sell previous race merchandise. One of my friends mentioned that the super cheap previous race merchandise would make excellent "throw away clothes" for future races, so I'll have to keep that in mind in the future.

Somehow we ended up walking through the Expo opposite than I think it was intended. The aisles were very spacious allowing me decent room to weave my stroller with Abigail in it around other Expo visitors. I wanted to get a good idea of all the different races and vendors at the Expo before I bought anything.  That is until I saw the NUUN booth. For those of you who are not yet aware of my love for NUUN, it's an electrolyte tablet that transforms your water into a flavored sports drink. The tube of 12 NUUN tablets normally retails aruond $6-7 and the Expo special was two NUUN tubes and a water bottle for $10 (a value of $17). I ended up purchasing 6 tubes of Watermelon since I haven't been able to find it locally!

After wandering the aisles, collecting free snacks along the way, I found a pair of running sunglasses and a white hat I was hoping to find a good deal on both at this Expo. Eventually, I finally found the runDisney booth. If you register for a race on site, you get a complimentary backpack. I am already registered for the Wine and Dine Half and will have accepted the Dopey Challenge as a St Jude Hero, but I wanted the backpack. Then I remember I still hadn't registered Matt and I for The Jingle Jungle 5K yet, score! Now we have two backpacks, and I know they will be used during future Disney and runDisney trips!

I found a vendor selling iPhone armbands that can fit my Otterbox Defender case. I was really hoping to find a better armband than what I've been using. I had been searching online and reading reviews but was hesitant because I wanted to touch and feel and try to shove my iPhone into it to really make sure it was going to work. I have since worn it for a few runs and have really liked it.

Of course I had a few unplanned purchases too. I bought two "Running Girl" tanks, they were 2 for $25. Another vendor was selling Feeture socks Buy One Get One and I got a free shirt with purchase. These are my favorite running socks but the price is a bit high (normal for quality running socks). I also made a $15 donation to The Waffle House Foundation and received a tech shirt (will be Matt's for softball practice because they only had Men's Large). I remember seeing runners pictured below in The Adaptive Learning Center photos as I was running The Georgia Half Marathon in March. I had posted on Twitter trying to learn more about the runners to no avail.

While I was wondering through Expo, Abigail got bored and took a snooze. Don't let that completely fool you though, she had plenty of fun getting freebies and taking a photo with the giant Olympic torch. She even got to play tennis! Many vendors must be used to families visiting their booths because Abigail acquired a lei, a tiara and she ate a couple chocolate dipped marshmallows.


I got to chat with US Olympian Jeff Galloway at his Phidippides Expo booth, and it was pretty amazing to see all his Peachtree Road Race shirts framed on he wall next to a photo of him winning the very first Peachtree Road Race and his trophy! All Peachtree finishers receive a t-shirt and this shirt will award you discounts and freebies throughout the city on race day.

Probably the craziest part of the Peachtree Road Race Expo, is I registered for not one, but TWO marathons. Maybe I was had gone a bit delirious after being at Expo for two days? After the WDW Marathon, I swore I would never do another, unless it was Disney again. Now here I am only 6 months after finishing a marathon, and now I find myself planning and researching training plans for THREE upcoming marathons. The first will be at the end of October, it's The Atlanta Marathon. The course looks amazing, running throughout the city! This marathon will be more for training than for time, so I can have two months before I run The Dopey Challenge to tweak any training. I also registered for 26.2 with Donna, which is held annually at the end of February in Jacksonville, FL. I will be running Donna with two of my amazing friends made from the WDW Marathon, Marcia and Linzie! Although we are all miles apart, I know we'll continue to encourage and support each other virtually during training. There will be much more talk about these marathons over the next few months, yikes!

-Do you like attending these type of Expo events?
-What is the best item you think you've ever purchased from an Expo?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Training Recap: July Week 1

Abigail and I enjoyed a fun morning at a local playground with friends then met up with my in-laws for lunch. With some rain coming down and us stuck in the mall without an umbrella, I decided to let Abigail play in the little indoor mall playground area for a bit. This is NOT a usual occurrence for us, but to entertain myself I started making random observations on Twitter. I ended up providing lots of entertainment for many Twitter friends...if you want to check it out yourself, search for #indoorplaygroundobservations on Twitter. Brewer and I got our run in, we ran 1.85mi in 19 HOT minutes.

I knew with our full afternoon and evening, I had to get my run in first thing. I parked Abigail on the couch with cinnamon toast and strawberries while I took Brewer for a run (Matt was home!). We ran 1.51 in 17 minutes. Abigail and I then packed up to head to the 2013 Peachtree Health and Fitness Expo at The Georgia World Congress Center. To read all about the Expo, click HERE.

The Expo was excellent, especially since I was reunited with Marcia! She drove into town to work Expo as the social butterfly for the 26.2 with Donna event in February and it was so fun to have her in town, especially since the last time we briefly saw each other was during Princess Half Marathon weekend. After the Expo we met up with a few other friends at Gladys Knight & Ron's Chicken and Waffles. It wasn't my restaurant as another local friend made the suggestion as a "must" for friends coming from out of state. The food was good, but the company was even better! Abigail even found ways to amuse herself.

Another early morning run with Brewer to start another full day. We ran 1.25 in 14 minutes
And just like that we are carb loaded!
Cheers! with Cami Cupcakes

After months and months of anticipation, the Peachtree Road Race was finally here! This is the largest 10K in the US and it's known as an Atlanta tradition, and I had been very much looking forward to this race! To keep it short and sweet, I finished and am happy with my time...and that it didn't rain during the race! I'll be posting my entire race recap separately. Forth of July also ended my Run Streak! I had been running at least one mile every day since Memorial Day.

The fun had to come to an end, so we went to Waffle House for a couple free waffles with Marcia and Katie before Marcia had to head back to Florida.

Matt, Abigail and I headed to Studio Movie Grill for a family fun afternoon. We walked around NorthPoint Mall a bit while waiting on our movie. This was our first visit to Studio Movie Grill, instead of watching

What a lazy, rainy day! During the rain, Matt and I caught up on a few shows we haven't had the chance to watch over the last couple weeks (The Glades, Royal Pains, Franklin and Bash, Necessary Roughness). I finally decided to make a run for it, pun intended, and try to get my miles in before the rain started back up. Brewer and I trucked through some rain but the bottom completely dropped out right before we hit 4 miles. I'm very happy we got these training miles in today with all the rain (3.97mi/41mins).

Matt and I serve during with the youth's church service once a quarter, and July is one of our months. We went to lunch after church then it was time for my long run. Today called for 13 miles, and I'm pretty sure the last time I ran 13mi was at Auburn's Finish on the 50 event in April. I broke up today's miles, ran the first two with Brewer, went to the treadmill for the next 9 (until gym closed), then finished up the last two with Brewer back in our neighborhood again.

-Have you ever participated in the Peachtree Road Race or a race that's an annual tradition to your city?
-Are there any summer TV shows you like to watch?