Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday Five - holiday gifts

It's Friday and this week has just flown by!  Of course, it helped that there were only three work days for me this week.  It's also time for the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.  Since it's the week after Christmas, I thought I'd share some of the holiday gifts that I loved.
 Friday Five Linkup 2.0
1. Cards - I love all the holiday cards people send out!  I especially like the ones with family photos so I can see everyone and their kids.  For people that don't live nearby, it can be the only way I have to catch up other than Facebook.  And I was able to participate in the blogger card exchange hosted by Fairytales & Fitness this year.  It was so much fun and I loved the card I got from Meranda, along with a much appreciated Starbucks gift card.

2.  Pops! - Mike likes to collect the vinyl figures and this year, his brother and sister-in-law made us little figures that were decorated to look like us.  They're so cute!  And I love that it's my running outfit from the Thor 10k.  Mike's Pop is decorated like a cosplay he's done a couple times.

3.  Gloves - I definitely needed a good pair of running gloves and I'm happy to report that I've gotten them.  These are so practical and I have a feeling I'm going to get a lot of use out of them this Winter.

4.  Gift cards - These are always useful.  I know they don't feel as sentimental to some people but I love how practical they are.  And I love that you can get gift cards for so many different things these days.  I even got one for massages, which I'm definitely making good use of.

5. Charitable Donations - I love that I've started a new tradition with my older niece and nephew.  They both gave me the name of charities they're interested in supporting and I made donations in their name.  And they did the same for us.

I hope that all of you had a great 2017 and a great holiday!  Here's to 2018 being amazing as well :)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Year of Running 2017

I can't believe that 2017 is almost over!  The year has really flown by.  Before the year ends for good, I wanted to look back at my year and running so I'm joining up with Courtney's link up.

Eat Pray Run DC

  • Best race experience: This is a close one between the Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon and the Disneyland Avenger's Half Marathon.  They were both great races but Columbus ended up having unseasonably warm weather.  So I'm going with the Avenger's Half.
  • Best run: The run that sticks out in my mind is the 15 miler I did in DC.  I loved having my running buddy back in town, and I loved the scenic route I had come up with.  Plus, it was great weather that day and we ended the run at a yummy place for brunch.
  • Best new piece of running gear: Oh man, I'm not sure.  I did get a new Garmin in June and it allowed me to start training by heart rate.  I feel like that really helped make easy runs more enjoyable so I'm going to go with the Garmin 335. 

  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: To have faith in yourself.  I wasn't sure I could do a full marathon but I wanted to try anyway.  And each long run I finished help erase doubts along the way.
  • Most inspirational runner:  I'm sure a lot of people will say this but it was definitely Shalane this year.  Watching her win the NYC Marathon was so inspirational!
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: I like this finish line photo from the Thor 10k
  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon.  I loved the organization, the course support, and the way the children's hospital was so involved with the race.  It was a really inspirational race.  It helps that I have family and friends in Columbus too :)
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Slow and Steady.  I've really slowed down this year and I want to work on changing that in the future, but I've been happy with slow and steady this year.  I feel like my running has been more regular this year and I've exceeded past year's mileage by around 200 miles.  I also had my first 100 mile month!
So that's my year in running!  A couple additional stats, I had 11 races this year.  I ran in 3 new states (races in California and Ohio plus running while I was in Hawaii).  And my total miles for the year should be around 700.  

I hope everyone else had a great year of running in 2017 too :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

WDW Marathon Training - week 16

A day late with my weekly recap since we’re still traveling.  We’re heading back home today so I thought I’d take a minute to check in!  

Monday - Pilates video on YouTube.  This was the day after my 20 miler so I didn’t want to do anything too strenuous.  Even the Pilates was tough, I didn’t realize how much I had used my abs during the long run.

Tuesday - Rest day - I skipped an easy run since I was still sore from the 20 miler.  I did get a massage, which really helped.

Wednesday - strength training

Thursday - 50 minutes easy on the elliptical.  Sadly forgot to take a photo.

Friday-  did my long run today since we were traveling on the weekend.  I cut it a bit short instead of doing  the full 12 miles since my knee hurt.

Saturday - rest day

Sunday - 4 mile progression run

That was it for this week.  I hope everyone had a great Christmas for those who celebrate!  

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday Five - 2017 Goals

2017 has flown by and it's almost the end of the year!  I can't believe how fast it happened and it seems like January was just a couple weeks ago.  It's also time for the Friday Five 2.0 link up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness. I figured this was a good time to do an update on my 2017 goals.

1. Train for a marathon - Yes!  This one was my main goal for the year and it's pretty much done.  I had my 20 mile training run last weekend and I'm tapering now.  The race is the first weekend in January and I hope it goes well but it's really the training that feels like the main accomplishment.

Picture from my 20 miler and a partially frozen stream we crossed a bridge over

2. Two new types of workouts - Done. There was a deal on Class Pass earlier in the year and that allowed me to try out some new things.  I tried out a class at Zengo Cycle, which I really enjoyed.  I tried out yoga and barre at a new studio.  I had done yoga and barre before at other studios though.  And I started doing pilates with free you tube videos. 

3.  Try a challenge race - Done!  I had a lot of fun at the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge in Disneyland.  And doing a half the day after a 10k really didn't feel too much harder than just doing a half, so that was good news :)

4.  Read more non-fiction (6 books):  Almost done.  By the half way point in the year I had read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell (an interesting look at Hawaiian history), and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.  Since then, I read (actually listened to) A Giant of the Senate by Al Franken and I'm working on Dark Money by Jane Mayer.  I have Super Freakonomics on tap next but not sure I'll get to it by the end of the year. 

5.  Be more fiscally responsible:  Kind of?  This one is hard to quantify.  We had definitely been doing better at the beginning of the year but November and December were a bit off plan with vacation and the holidays, plus the January Disney trip coming up.  But I feel like there was some good progress here as well. 

So those were my goals for the year and I'm pretty happy with how they went!  I'm not sure yet what my goals for next year will be.  It's kind of hard to look past the marathon at the moment but hopefully I'll have a better idea after the race.Hope everyone else has had a good year too and a great year to look forward to in 2018 :)

Monday, December 18, 2017

WDW Marathon Training - Week 15

Final long run in the books and now it's time to taper!  Last week went ok for the most part but it's just always a busy time of year with all the holiday activities and buying presents and stuff.  I'm sure this week will be more of the same.  So here's how last week's training went.

Monday- rest day with recovery yoga

Tuesday - speed work at the gym.  It was 15 minutes warm up, 4x 5 minutes running, 2 minutes recovery, 10 minutes cool down.  I was still recovering from having a cold the previous week so this one was tough and I had to use my inhaler.  But I was happy that I at least gave it a try.

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - Had a holiday party at my bosses house and then got in some strength training at home.

Friday - It ended up cold and snowy so instead of the easy run outside, I did 50 minutes on the elliptical in my basement.  And then we saw the new Star Wars movie in the evening.  It was so good!

Saturday - Pilates video

Sunday - 20 miler!  This was tough and I'm still feeling some soreness in my quads and feet, it was slow and the end was painful, but it got done.

So that was my week.  I'm wearing my new momentum wrap at work today to remind myself that I just have to stay strong and persevere :)

You would think that doing the 20 miles would be a confidence boost but I'm a little worried about getting from 20 to 26.2.  Most first time marathon plans top out at 20 miles and I know a lot of people have finished marathons with the last long run being 20 miles.  I'll just have to have faith in my training and race day excitement to get me through to the end.  The fact that my training runs have mostly been hilly and the marathon course is mostly flat helps out too.  If anyone has words of wisdom for the taper or for how they got through those last 6.2 miles, I'd love to hear it!

Here's Coach Laura's plan for this upcoming week.

Monday - strength training
Tuesday - 60 minute progression run

Wednesday - Strength training
Thursday - 60 minute easy run
Friday - 16 mile long run
Saturday - rest day (traveling for the holidays)
Sunday - 45 minute easy run

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Maui Travel Report

It's been a cold week here with a couple days of sub-freezing temperatures.  It looks like the weather will warm up a bit for the weekend but for now, it seems like a good day to take a look back at Hawaii!

We were on the island of Maui for 5 nights back in November.  It was a wonderful vacation.  Our main goal was just to relax but we did get away from the resort for a bit and do some sight seeing too.

1.  Logistics - starting at the beginning, we booked our vacation through Costco.  It was great!  It allowed us to get almost everything done in one step and at a good price.  Our package included flights, hotel and rental car.  It also included a free breakfast buffet at the hotel every morning.  This really helped make the planning much easier.  The other thing I would recommend for Maui is the Gypsy Guide.  This was a really useful app on the phone.  It has options for various locations in the US and Canada.  The app runs on your phone and not only does it give directions, but it provides interesting information about the sights along the way and recommendations on places to stop.  We loved using it.

A scenic viewpoint on the side of the road we found because of the Gypsy Guide

2.  Hotel - We stayed at the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort.  It was stunning and I loved this hotel.  Wailea beach is a bit of a ritz-y area on Maui.  Like I mentioned, we got a good rate through Costco.  The hotel had just been refurbished earlier this year.  It's right on a cliff overlooking the ocean and there are beautiful beaches to either side.  There is a beach path that was great for a stroll or early morning run.  The hotel is big and it was a fairly long walk to our room, but that meant it was on the end of the hotel and therefore a short walk to the beach.

The beach path got more crowded as the day went on, though the cats seemed to be there all the time.

The pools were amazing.  There was an adventure pool with slides and a splash area for little kids, an adults only infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and a family pool that also had an infinity pool overlooking the ocean.  The separate pools meant that most rooms were fairly close to one pool or another.  The bar service was pretty good by the pools too, which is always a plus.  We rented a cabana one day but even on other days, it seemed like there were usually chairs available when we looked.

The view from our cabana, with the pool behind us and the ocean in front of us.

There were multiple restaurants too.  There was a poolside grill, the main restaurant which had a stunning view of the ocean, a food truck by the adventure pool and a smoothie/juice bar on the way to the beach.  One of my only complaints is that there weren't a lot of vegetarian options though.  But the food we ate was delicious and breakfast was always great.  There was also a luau a couple nights per week.  The hotel was also walking distance from a mall, which was great for supplies, restaurants, and souvenirs at a slightly more reasonable price than the hotel.

Our view from breakfast every morning

3.  Restaurants - So many good restaurants!  One of our favorites was Cow Pig Bun, where they had vegetarian poutine!  We kind of stumbled on this one a bit by accident and it was tucked away in a office building.  But the food and drinks were great!

Monkeypod Kitchen was another favorite.  It was bit more upscale and a bit more tourist-y but still delicious.  And perhaps the best Mai Tai I had on the island.

The last restaurant that really stood out was Hali'imaile General Store.  This one was another celebrity chef restaurant but the decor and feel of the place was definitely more rustic.  It was upcountry and we had lunch there on the way up to Haleakala so it's a good option for if you have an outing up that way.  The food was delicious but I loved that for vegetarian options, they told me that they could pretty much replace the protein in any dish with tofu for me.  And it was really good!

4.  Sights - Maui is so much about the ocean.  But there are some historical sights to see along the way as well.  On our way back down Haleakala, we stopped at Makawao, an old cowboy town.  Who knew that Maui had a cowboy history!?!  It was really interesting to check out the tiny little museum, take the walking tour of the historical buildings, and check out the boutique stores and art galleries.

We also drove up to Lahaina one day.  Lahaina seems like the main town on the island.  It's an old whaling town and we gave ourselves a little walking tour there as well.  It was really interesting to see the historical buildings, the museum, and the giant banyan tree in the old town square.  It was a fun way to spend an afternoon.  It was a bit of a lengthy drive from Wailea but it was beautiful scenery the whole way and well worth the time.

And we figured since we were in Hawaii, we had to experience a Luau.  There were several options around the island but since there was one rights at our hotel, we figured we would go with that one for convenience.  It was expensive but we enjoyed it.  The show was amazing and the food was plentiful.  The food wasn't the best food ever but it was pretty good.  And the drinks were good too.  We enjoyed the company at our table as well.

5. Hiking/Activities - So much of the beauty of Maui is in it's natural scenery.  It's all mountains and oceans and there seem to be amazing views everywhere you look.  There are several hikes that are supposed to be amazing but we chose two.  We went up to Haleakala which is one of the mountains in the center of the island, a dormant volcano, and a national park.  A lot of people go up for sunrise (for which you need a reservation now).  The fee is $25 per car and that gives you a pass that's valid for three days.  We decided to take it easy and just go up in the middle of the day for hiking.  The day we went was cloudy and a bit rainy but still beautiful.  But it was cold!  I had read that and we were still not adequately dressed.  Definitely take extra layers for this trip.  The drive up was beautiful but a little hazardous in spots so I'm glad we went during the daylight.  And the Gypsy Guide gave a lot of great information along the way about Maui history, culture, and places to stop for hiking trails or other sights.

The other hike we did La Perouse Bay.  This area is the last lava flow from Haleakala and you can clearly see where the lava hit the sea.  It is an otherworldly landscape of black lava rocks overlooking the ocean.  There are also some old ruins from A native Hawaiian settlement that used to be here.  It was a little difficult to figure out exactly where to go and we did accidentally end up on private property at one point, but once it was pointed out we turned back around and found our way back to the public trail.  It was hot so definitely take a lot of sunblock and water on this trip!

And lastly, so much of Maui revolves around the ocean.  We spent some time just swimming and relaxing on Wailea beach but we did have one structured ocean activity that was amazing.  We took an Outerigger Canoe tour with Hawaiian Paddle Sports and it was absolutely amazing. The guide gave us a lot of information on local culture, the Hawaiian language, the ocean, and local wildlife in addition to teaching us how to paddle the canoe.  We saw whales!  And then we went to snorkel and he took photos that he emailed to us too.  It was an amazing trip and I would highly recommend them.

So that was our trip to Maui!  We were only there from Monday to Saturday and were definitely sad to leave.  It was a beautiful island with plenty of opportunity to relax but also plenty to see and explore.  It seemed like it could really be whatever you need it to be.  I'm also linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.

Friday Five Linkup 2.0

Monday, December 11, 2017

WDW Marathon Training - week 14

Well, this week didn't go as planned either.  I caught a cold and started feeling bad from Tuesday on.  I stayed home from work the rest of the week (we had Friday off for a holiday thing anyway) and tried to rest and get better.  I was able to run over the weekend but they did not go well.  Anyway, here's the summary.

Monday - rest day with recovery yoga

Tuesday to Friday - rest days due to being sick

I did at least use this time at home to get some Christmas shopping done.  It helps that pretty much all my Christmas shopping is done online so I don't have to leave the house and risk getting other people sick.  I did get in the Momentum Jewelry Box I got as a gift for my running partner, and the extra one I got for myself :)

Saturday - I knew it was going to snow and I was still getting over my cold but I wanted to try to get in a run before the snow hit.  I went out for an easy 60 minute run.  It was super slow and felt anything but easy.  I had a really hard time breathing but at least I got out there.  The snow started about halfway through the run but I got home before it started sticking.

We spent the rest of the day inside in the warmth watching Star Wars.  We have to prepare for seeing the new movie on Friday!

Perry enjoyed watching Star Wars with us too

Sunday - Thankfully it was a cut back week but I was still supposed to do 12 miles.  I decided to head to the gym since it was snowy and a bit icy out and I didn't want to risk falling again.  Given my luck the past couple weeks, better safe than sorry.

The street was fine but the sidewalks were a bit iffy in places

But I really struggled, even at the gym.  I had to use my inhaler, and I haven't had to use it for a long time.  The lingering cold just made it difficult for me to get my breathing under control.  I did part of it on the elliptical and part of it on the treadmill.  I'd say it was the equivalent of about 9 miles.

So that was it for my week.  It certainly did not go the way I wanted it to but fingers crossed that this week will be better.  I'm determined to get all my short runs in before the big 20 miler this weekend.  I hope that last week wasn't too much of a setback and the 20 miles will go ok.  I did 18 miles the week before so I think it should be fine.

Here's Coach Laura's plan for this upcoming week.

Monday - rest day with some recovery yoga
Tuesday - Speed work at the track (
15 minutes easy running, 4 x 5 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy, 15 minutes cool down)
Wednesday - Strength training
Thursday - 60-70 minute easy run
Friday - Strength training
Saturday - 60 minute easy run
Sunday - 20 mile long run (longest training run!)

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Avenger's Half Marathon

Ugh, I've been home sick for a couple days and it's beginning to grate on my nerves.  Fingers crossed that I'm better by tomorrow!  In the meantime, I figured I'd go ahead and get up my review of the Avenger's half marathon at Disneyland. 

As mentioned earlier, Disneyland has announced they won't be doing races for a while so I'm just concentrating on my own race experience.  I'm sure that if this race comes back, it will have significant differences.

I was nervous about this race because this was the first challenge experience I was doing.  I usually rest up the day before a race.  But I had just done the Thor 10k the day before as well as had a lot of walking around the parks.  I wasn't sure how things were going to go with my tired legs and feet.  But I also had no time goals and my plans for this race were solely to have a good time, and I was pretty committed to that goal.

Unlike the 10k, this wasn't all on Disney property.  It started out going through California Adventure, then through Disneyland, and then we were running through the streets of Anaheim by mile 4.  Just like the 10k, the parts through Disney property were great!  It was a lot of fun and there were a lot of photographers along the way.  I was also in Disneyland earlier then during the 10k so I got the see the lights on the castle better.

The backstage areas were also a little bit different and I loved the part where we ran by the stables and the horses were out for runners to see.  Sadly I didn't get a good picture but they were beautiful.  I did get some cool photo pass photos in the parks. I also loved the Avenger's theme they wove through this part, with cast members dressed up as Shield Agents.

But then we were out into the streets of Anaheim.  This area was a little bare.  I had heard in the past that Disney had worked with community groups to have more entertainment in this area such as cosplayers, antique cars, etc. but there wasn't any of that this year.  I heard it's because Disney used to offer a free park ticket to people for coming out but they didn't do that this year.  There were a couple DJs along the way but that seemed to be it.

But there were a couple spots with great crowd support!  There was a group dressed in pajamas and then another group dressed in costumes.  They both had fun signs and candy they were handing out.  It was definitely much appreciated.

 I did meet another runner during one of these spots.  We chatted with each other during miles 7 and 8 and that really helped out during this particular stretch of the race.  She was dressed as Ms. Marvel which was my 10k costume so we chatted about her and the importance of representation in comics, other races, cosplay, etc.

Then around mile 10, we hid Angels Stadium.  This was another fun part of the course since we got to run on the field and an announcer was calling out our names.  That part was also fun since it signified the last section of the course and heading back to the parks.

As you can see from my splits, I took it easy and had a good time during the race.  You can see that the slowest miles were 7 and 8 (where I was chatting with a new friend) and 10 (Angel Stadium).  I was happy to see that after mile 10, every mile was faster than the last! 

The lead up toward the finish was great.  There was a lot of cheering at this point.  There were various cheer leader groups from local schools, a DJ, a band, and crowds.  It was exciting and definitely pumped me up for the finish line.  I tried to jump at the finish line and got a super dorky photo :)

It was super organized afterwards.  We got our medals, the food box, water, a banana and there was a special diversion for people who were getting the challenge medal and coast to coast.  It was all very clear and well run.  There was also a separate line for people who wanted photos but the line seemed pretty long so I skipped that and went into the family area to meet up with Mike.

We hung out a bit while I ate some snacks from the box and then we went over to Downtown Disney for some breakfast.  After that, we went back to the hotel to clean up and nap.  We head back to the parks around noon or so I think.  And had a lot more fun!  I love that the two parks are close enough to each other that it's easy to go back and forth during the day.