Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thor 10k

I figure I better start my posts about our vacation if I want to avoid forgetting things!  The vacation started out with a flight to California for the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge at Disneyland.  That included the Thor 10k and the Avenger's Half Marathon.  A quick note that RunDisney has announced that there will not be races at Disneyland for the next couple years.  I would usually include information on logistics in my review in case it would be helpful to people considering doing the race in the future.  But I assume that if/when the race comes back, there will be lots of changes.  So I'm just going to stick to my experience :)

The weekend started out with us taking an early flight to Los Angeles on Friday morning.  We got to LAX with no problem and called a Lyft to take us to Anaheim.  It was around a 45 minute drive until we got to our hotel.  The room wasn't ready so we dropped off our bags with the front desk and headed off to the expo. The expo was at the Disneyland Hotel so we had to walk through the Disneyland esplanade area to get there.  It took a really long time to get through security but we were finally in after 20 minutes or so.  We then decided to stop for lunch in Downtown Disney on the way to the hotel and when we got there, it was about an hour or so after the expo opened.  There were no lines for bib pick up and it went really smoothly.  There didn't seem to be a lot of vendors or a lot of energy at the expo so we headed out after a little bit of browsing and some photo fun.

After the expo, we had to wait in another long line to get through security to get into the parks.  I think this one took more like 30 minutes.  Finally, we were in and rode the monorail to Disneyland.  W had a great time with rides and just wandering around the park.  Initially, I had thought about trying to stay up for World of Color at 9pm but given the early morning flight and the fact that I had to wake up at 3am for the 10k the next morning, we called it an early evening and went back to the hotel around 7pm or so.

Saturday morning, my alarm went off at 3am and I got ready in my Ms. Marvel gear.  It's all tech wear but I just used fabric paint to paint the design on the shirt.  I left the hotel room around 3:30 and happened to run into another runner walking to the start as well.  We had a nice conversation on the way over and thankfully security just took a couple minutes this time.  The way was marked pretty clearly to get to the starting area and it didn't take too long.  I think I was there 15 minutes after leaving my hotel room.  There was a lot of pre-race excitement going on and I took the opportunity to take some photos and admire all the cool costumes I saw.  Lots of costumes based on Thor Ragnarok since that had come out just the week before the race.

I went over to the corrals around 4:30am.  That got me right at the front of my corral and I sat on the ground to relax a bit before the start.  Before I knew it, it was go time!


I loved the 10k course.  There was a lot of park time between the two parks and even the back stage sections were a lot of fun.  There were fun holiday decorations up in the parks as well as a lot of superhero theming for the race.


The official character lines were pretty crowded by the time I got through so I didn't stop for any of them but there were cast members in various places around park icons offering to take photos as well and I stopped for several of them.

We had opted to buy max pass, which was a way to get fast passes for the rides over our phones.  An added benefit of this is that it included photo pass photos for free.  So here are some of the photo pass photos from the race that I liked.

I knew that my plan was to take it easy and have fun during this race.  I took a lot of photos and just really enjoyed the atmosphere of the race.  They had great Thor elements.  A lot of the cast members were dressed like citizens of Azgard.  There were places where they had people dressed like Valkyrie or a fighter from Azgard encouraging us along.  And there was a lot of crowd support in Disneyland itself.

I'm happy to say I was successful with my goal of having fun!  It was a great race, a fun course, and I enjoyed taking it all in. And I felt pretty good after the race, which was important for purposes of heading to Disneyland for more rides!  The race started so early that I was finished in time for us to walk back through Downtown Disney (we did not have to go through security again) and get in line at Disneyland in time for their early opening.  Mike had brought me clothes to change into and we went forward for some more rides and characters.  I also ate some of the snacks from the post-race food box to tide me over until we got something more substantial.

So that's it for the first part of the challenge.  I'll be back soon to talk about the half marathon and our last day at the park.

Monday, November 27, 2017

WDW Marathon Training - week 12

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  It was a bit of a hectic whirlwind for us but it was also a great time with family and friends.  It was a bit of a mixed bag on workouts since I got in my 2 strength training days but only 2 runs.  However, I'm reasonably happy with how the week went given all the traveling.  And the 2 runs I got in were the long run and speed work, so I feel like they were the most important ones.  Here are the details.

Monday - Rest day - We got back from Hawaii at 1am Monday morning so we went straight to sleep and back to work when we woke up.  Therefore, we were pretty exhausted and no working out this day.

Tuesday- Strength training

Wednesday - Rest day and flying to Ohio

Thursday - Turkey Trot that I used for speed work.  The plan was to go easy for the first 15 minutes as a warm up, and then add in decreasing intervals starting with a 5 minute interval and ending with a 1 minute interval.  The race was super cold and the terrain was mixed since the last mile or so was on a gravel trail, but it was fun.  And the first 800 finishers got a pumpkin pie :)

Later in the day, we went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving and had a huge Thanksgiving gathering full of fun.  It was great being able to catch up with people over tons of food.  One of the friends there has trained for multiple triathalons and just ran his first full marathon in October so I enjoyed picking his brain about training.  I forgot to take any photos so grabbed from from a friend's instagram.

Friday - Runner's World power yoga.  We also had a chance to catch up with my brother and his fiancee and help them out with some wedding planning stuff.

Saturday - 16 mile long run.  Thankfully I had a good audio book to keep my attention!  This one was just winding around my parent's neighborhood going down as many roads as I could to get the mileage.  I stopped at home after 8 miles to re-fill my water bottle and then did some of the same route again to get the additional 8 miles.  I had one mile (around 14 I think) where I walked almost the whole mile because I had turned down a side street where the wind was blowing straight in my face and it was an effort to even move forward.  But at least the 16 miles got done :)

Sunday - rest day - fly back from Ohio.  I had meant to try to get in a recovery run during the afternoon but we just ended up resting and getting errands done instead.  I did get in a walk with a friend and that was nice.  I felt like I recovered pretty well from the 16 miles the day before so that was a plus as well.

So that was my week :) The last two weeks, while fairly active, were light on actual running with being on vacation in Hawaii and then going straight into Thanksgiving week.  I'm happy with how they went but definitely need to get back on track with the training schedule this week!

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

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - 60-70 minute easy run
Wednesday - Strength training
Thursday - Speed work (15 minute warm up, 4 x 5 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy, 15 minute cool down)
Friday - Strength training
Saturday - 4 mile run
Sunday - 18 mile long run

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

WDW Marathon Training - weeks 10 and 11

Hope everyone's been doing well!  I've missed a couple weeks in blogland and I look forward to catching up this week as I get some time to relax over the Thanksgiving break :)  The past 2 weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind with preparing for vacation, doing the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge races at Disneyland and then off to Hawaii for a wonderful vacation.  We got back late Sunday evening (Monday morning really) after a whole day spent in airports and on planes.  But it was worth it :)  I'll have separate posts for my races and the vacation, but here's a summary of my training for the past couple weeks.

Monday - 4 mile easy run

Tuesday - Rest day

Wednesday - Pilates video

Thursday - 4 mile progression run

Friday - Expo and a lot of walking at Disneyland for more than 19,000 steps.

Saturday - Thor 10k (Had some Garmin issues and had to restart)

Sunday - Avengers Half Marathon

Monday - Rest day and fly to Hawaii

Tuesday - Canoeing and snorkeling

Wednesday - Hiking on Mt. Haleakala

Thursday- 55 minute run plus 60 minute hike on lava fields

Friday - 90 minute run plus swimming in the ocean

Saturday - 60 minute walk by the beach before flying back to California

Sunday - rest day flying back to Baltimore.

So that was my week :)  I hope you all had a great week as well!

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

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - strength training
Wednesday - Interval run
Thursday - Turkey Trot 5k
Friday - strength training
Saturday - 16 miles
Sunday - 4 mile run

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Attempted 16 miler

I wanted to go ahead and document how my attempt at a 16 miler went this past weekend.  As most of you saw, I didn't finish.  Instead of doing 16, we only did about 11.5.  So here's what happened.

First of all, I had been stalking the weather and it lied to me!  It indicated that it would rain Saturday night but that the rain would be done by 6am on Sunday.  We weren't starting our run until 7, so perfect.  I don't know why but it didn't even cross my mind that I should be prepared in case that wasn't true.

And of course, it rained the whole time we were running.  I had on new leggings that I hadn't tested before, and socks I had never worn in the rain.  I thankfully had stuck a visor in my hydration pack so I at least had that.  Sadly, the reason I stuck it in there was in case it was sunny later.


We were running on the Rock Creek Trail.  It's a beautiful trail that is hilly but we'd done it before and just walked up the uphills when needed.

So the first part of the plan was that we would meet up at 7 and run north on the trail.  That's 3.5 miles so it would be a total of 7 miles out and back.  One of my friends was running late so the two of us started and did a 10 minute warm up while waiting.


This was a pretty section with the Fall leaves. It was also pretty peaceful with not a lot of other people around.  And at this point, I was still hoping that the rain would end soon.  The northern end of the trail ends at Lake Needwood which was beautiful and a nice pick me up before we turned around to run the 3.5 miles back to the parking lot we had started at.

We then ran south on the trail.  The plan was to just go 30 minutes south and then turn around to come back because that's when one friend was going to have to leave us.  This section seemed to have more tree coverage which meant more leaves on the ground.  And they were slippery!

In addition to the slippery leaves, this section also had a lot of puddles covering the trail.  We tried to walk around them in the grass initially but that just resulted in our feet sinking into the mud.  So we eventually just started walking through them which resulted in cold, wet feet and soaked socks.

We did our 30 minutes out and back to the parking lot and this had us at around 11 miles.  So 11.5 including the warm up.  The initial plan had been that two of us would keep going at that point to finish up the extra 4.5 miles.  And usually, I think that would have been fine.  But the weather just had taken it's toll and I had no more mental fortitude to keep going.  My friend already had a blister on her foot and I felt several hot spots so I could tell I wasn't too far from blisters either.

So we called it a day.  Thanks for all the reassurances that one bad long run with missed mileage won't kill my training.  I definitely think it was the right decision given where we were mentally and with the wet socks.  But here are some things I've learned for the future.

Lessons learned:

1. Adjust for last minute weather changes if needed - I should have checked the weather again in the morning so I could change my outfit and even maybe change the route to one that would be less slippery.

2. Set yourself up for success with the route - it was a mistake to structure the route so that we went by the car again with only 4 miles to go.  I should have had our friend join us for the last 11 miles, not the first 11 miles.   That way, we wouldn't have been back at our car so close to the end.

3. Work on the mental game - I think I could have physically done 4 more miles.  I just didn't feel like I could mentally deal with the rain for longer.  It just didn't feel worth it.  Which is fine for one training run, but I've got to work on that for the future.

I will most likely not have any blog posts until I'm back from vacation!  I hope that you all have a great couple weeks and if you want a sneak peek at how things are going, follow me on Instagram.  I'm sure I'll have lots of photos to post there from the Avengers race at Disneyland and then from Hawaii.

Monday, November 6, 2017

WDW Marathon Training Week 9

It was a bit of a mixed week on the training front.  On the plus side, I got all my workouts in.  But on the negative side, this was the first time I didn't hit the mileage I was supposed to for my long run.  But here are the details.

Monday - Rest day with recovery yoga

Tuesday - 4 mile easy run after work, and this took me to my first 100 mile month ever!  That was an exciting milestone :)

Wednesday - strength training

Thursday - Speed work with a 15 minute warm up, and then 5 intervals of 3 minutes speed/2 minutes recovery.  I was also supposed to do a 15 minute cool down but only got in a 5 minute cool down since I was running a little late.

Friday - 30 minute pilates video from You Tube

Saturday - 60 minute easy run in the morning including breaking in new shoes.

I also got a sports massage today.  Mike had bought me a Groupon for the massage and it was amazing.  The woman seemed to be able to work magic and any pains I had before were pretty much gone afterward.

Sunday - 11.5 miles.  This was supposed to be 16 miles but it just didn't work out that day.  I'll talk more about this run later but I think the rain and slippery conditions just took a toll and we weren't able to get it done with those conditions.  I'm hoping that this doesn't derail things too much.

After the run, Mike made brunch for my friend and me.  It was a delicious cheesy egg scramble with tater tots that I totally forgot to take a photo of.  And he had also recorded the NYC marathon coverage for me so I was able to watch it afterward while cuddling on the couch with Perry.  I almost cried when Shalane won, it was so emotional!  I'm glad I was able to watch it.

And after some errands, we went out to the Melting Pot for dinner with friends.  This was another deal through Groupon.  The food was amazing but there was so much of it!  I thought I might have to be rolled out of there.

So that was my week :)  I hope you all had a great week as well! 

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

Monday - 4 mile easy run
Tuesday - strength training
Wednesday - 4 mile progressive run
Thursday - rest day
Friday - Rest day with flying to LA and Avengers Half Marathon expo
Saturday - 10k!
Sunday - Half Marathon!

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Five - vacation fitness

Happy Friday!  I hope everyone had a good week.  It's Friday and that means it's time for the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.  It's also a week until I leave for vacation!  So I figured I'd talk about 5 ways to stay fit on vacation.
Friday Five Linkup 2.0

1.  Races!  I don't combine all my vacations with races but it's nice when that works out :)  My plan for this particular vacation includes a stop in Disneyland to run the 10k and the half marathon for the Superheroes race weekend.

From my last Disney vacation race

2. Take advantage of the location you're in.  All vacation spots have something special about them.  It makes sense to combine the sights with activity whenever possible.  I know a lot of cities have running tours or cycling tours of the cities possible.  I'm going to be in Hawaii which is all about the ocean so I'm going to be sure to include some snorkeling and paddle boarding while I'm there.

The last time I went paddle boarding was on vacation in New Jersey

3.   And of course, a lot of vacation spots have natural beauty that can be explored on hikes . I've got several hikes bookmarked for while we're in Hawaii.  But whenever possible, using your own feet to see the area is a great way to combine sight seeing with fitness.

Glacier hiking in Iceland was definitely a workout!

4.  Take advantage of your hotel.  Most hotels these days have fitness centers available.  And many have pools.  I'll definitely be taking advantage of those.  But it's worth digging a bit deeper to see if they have other offerings too.  It turns out that the hotel we're staying at has complimentary fitness classes and I'm looking forward to some beach side yoga.

The view from poolside yoga I found at a Vegas hotel

5.  Relax!  Or course, vacation should include some relaxation too :)  And let's face it, fitness should include fitness for the soul as well as the body.  I'm planning on plenty of time to just relax by the water and re-center myself after a busy year.

So those are my plans for incorporating fitness into my vacation.  I find it always helps to incorporate it into the plans for the vacation from the beginning and to make it fun, and to include things you can't easily do at home!  It is a vacation after all :)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

15 Mile Long Run

I thought I'd share more details about my long run as I've been putting more thought into planning them now that the distance is more than half marathon distance.

So this week was supposed to be 15 miles.  And it was the first week my running buddy was back in town after several weeks away for work!  This was going to be the longest run ever for both of us and I wanted to make it fun.  I also wanted to avoid a lot of prolonged uphill.  I love the Capital Crescent Trail that runs from Maryland to DC but hate that it is mostly uphill on the way back.  So I decided on a point to point, starting in Maryland and ending in downtown DC.

Of course this meant working out some logistics in advance.  I made brunch reservations in downtown DC to include Mike and another good friend of ours.  This gave us a nice end goal to work towards :)  It also meant that Mike would meet us downtown with the car and be able to drive us back to Maryland.  It still would have worked without a driver, we just would have had to take the metro back to Maryland and that would have made the trip a bit longer.

So my friend and I met bright and early in Bethesda.  There was some unforeseen construction which meant she had problems finding parking but it worked out and we started just a little bit later then planned.  This first part was a nice, paved trail that's very popular with runners and bicyclists in the area.  It's beautiful and pretty shady as well.  There were some rolling hills but it's a net downhill.  The trail also has water fountains every couple miles or so.

We hadn't seen each other in a while so we spent most of this time catching up while running.  I didn't even have to turn on my headphones until mile 9 or so!  Company really makes long runs much more enjoyable.  So we were on the trail for about 7 miles or so and then we hit Georgetown.  It became much more crowded at this point but we were also running by the river, which was nice.  There was also less shade.

Yes, that is a bride and groom paddle boarding in their wedding attire!

We continued on by the river and passed the Kennedy Center.  We did get a little lost at one point and ended up trudging through some grass to try to find out way again.  I think this was one of the 17 minute splits we had.  Once we found our way, we went down Hains Point, which is a little peninsula.  This is still by the river and we meant to go the whole way around the peninsula but the pavement became a bit dodgy so we turned back early.

Then we found ourselves at the Jefferson Memorial and this ended up being a good time for a bathroom break.  We had to circle the building a bit to find the entrance to the bathroom so I think this was another 17+ minute split.  Once that was taken care of, we continued onto the national mall to run past the Smithsonian Museums, to the Capitol building, and back down the other side of the mall to the Washington Monument.  This section was on a dirt/and gravel type surface and the softer surface definitely felt good at this point.

After going past the Washington Monument, we turned north to go up 17th street.  This sadly meant that we were ending our run with some uphill sections but it was ok because it was leading us to brunch.  We went up the street for several blocks, turned right eventually to get to 14th street, and then going downhill for a couple blocks got us to the restaurant.  And I hit 15 miles right when I reached the block the restaurant was on!  Mike and our other friend were already seated and had big glasses of cold water ready for us :)  Mike had also brought us Shower Pills and clothes to change into so we were more comfortable during brunch as well.

So that was our 15 miler!  It was fun and definitely made the time seem to go by faster when there was so much to see.

Pros:  Varied surfaces felt good on our feet, interesting sights, mostly downhill or flat, shade for much of it, water fountains and bathrooms, easy to adjust mileage by doing more or less of the Mall.

Cons:  Logistics of working out a point to point run.