Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Medals Revealed for the 2014 Tinker Bell & Princess Half Marathon Weekends

The Disney Parks Blog has officially revealed the medals for next year’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon and 10K, as well as the Princess Half Marathon, Enchanted 10K, and Glass Slipper Challenge!

New Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathon Medals

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I LOVE all of these medals, and I am so excited to earn the one for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon! I also really wish I registered for the Glass Slipper Challenge because that bling is B-E-A-UTIFUL!

QOTD: What do you think of the medals? Will you be earning any of them next year?

Running Playlist – Halloween Edition

Hey everyone! Can you believe that Halloween is upon us already tomorrow? This holiday is so much fun, and I really enjoy celebrating it. In addition to a work potluck lunch, my apartment complex’s party, and watching my favorite Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus) and TV special (It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown), I will be celebrating with a 3 mile run. And what better way to run on Halloween than listening to some of my favorite spooky tunes while doing so!

Here are a few of my favorites for this time of year:

Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Halloween Opening Medley from The Sing-Off
I Put a Spell on You” from Hocus Pocus
Monster Mash
” by the Boris Picket & the Crypt Kickers
Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Glee Show
This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas
Grim Grinning Ghosts” by Disney Villains
Mickey's Boo-to-You Parade at Walt Disney World
Little Shop of Horrors Intro Song
Thriller/Heads Will Roll” from Glee

I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween tomorrow!!

QOTD: What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekly Recap 10/21 – 10/27

Happy Monday everyone – My marathon training schedule commences today, and I am excited and ready! The official countdown begins: 0 weeks down, 18 weeks to go!

I would like to give a couple of big shout outs from this weekend. First to my friend Long, who successfully completed his first Half Ironman race, and also to Christine at We Run Disney, who completed her first full marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon! You both are awesome, congratulations!!

My workouts this week:

Monday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Tuesday: 3.1 Mile Easy Run

Wednesday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Thursday: 3.1 Mile Easy Run

Friday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Saturday: 1 Mile Walk at the CAPS (Citizen’s for Animal Protection) Howl-o-ween Walk & Expo – the pups had so much fun (we dressed them up as Tigger & Winnie the Pooh)!

Sunday: 4 Mile Long Run

I hope you all have a wonderful week – Here is some Monday Motivation!

QOTD: Do your pets have Halloween costumes?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Woodlands Marathon – Training Plan

Monday marks the official start of training for my first ever 26.2; the Woodlands Marathon! Over the past few weeks since I decided to begin this journey, I have been researching different training regimens, and while there were many from which to choose, I was able to narrow it down to a modified version of the Marathon Rookie plan.

It is originally a 16-week program, but I extended it to 18 weeks ‘just in case.’ I want to make sure I am still prepared if I get sick, or become extremely busy; the extra two weeks will also allow more time for my body to get used to the longer distances.

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Mondays will be speed work, Wednesdays/Thursdays will be easy pace runs, and Saturdays are will be long runs. Wednesday’s mileage usually equates to about half the Saturday long run distance. As for non-running days, Fridays will strictly be rest days, while Sundays and Tuesdays I plan to incorporate low-intensity strength training such as yoga and resistance band exercises. I am very comfortable with what I have put together, and am extremely excited to get started!

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Let  the adventure begin!

QOTD: How do you choose your training plan for a race?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Post: One Man’s Journey to a Half Ironman

Today’s post is by one of my best friend’s and racing buddy, Long. This weekend he will be participating in his first half Ironman in Miami, Florida. A half Ironman race consists of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run. Having known about his journey personally, I asked him to put into words what it was like training for a race of this magnitude. I truly feel his journey is inspirational and worth sharing with you all! So, without further ado, here is his story:

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What a journey it has been. The past several months of endless bike rides, swim laps, and miles run will soon culminate in one triumphant moment of glorious victory. In just a few day’s time, I will venture out into the world of the ½ Ironman and while I eagerly await the challenge, I begin to reflect on my journey. It is said that the journey is just as important as the destination, if not more. Although I have not quite reached the destination, I can say this of the journey… it has been one of many small victories and great challenges for my mental, physical, and emotional capacities.

Wounded Warrior Half Marathon (Long and myself) – June 2013

Though I have competed in sprint triathlons for about four years, the leap in distance required a significant increase in my drive to success. I made completely unexpected discoveries such as the ease of swimming compared to biking after the bike distance reaches beyond 20 miles. I discovered that I can’t wait to feel hunger or thirst before I consume sustenance or it’s too late. Most importantly, I discovered that my drive to success should never outweigh my own internal capacity to enjoy training for the Ironman.

For two months, I trained with the single purpose of reaching a point whereby I could begin the Ironman training program. Every stroke, pedal, and step after the first month was a mental note that what I am doing will not get easier or less painful because I am getting faster, going further, and getting stronger. You could call my first steps into the Ironman training my first big victory amongst the small ones. In the first two months of my training, I had reached a fitness level good enough to sustain before reaching a truly new level of mental and physical exertion.

Cooper Sprint Triathlon – July 2013

Eventually, I reached a two-a-day training schedule that commanded a combination of either a morning swim and evening run, or a morning bike and evening run. What used to be a workout for one day had now become just half my new daily workout, and the last month and a half would push all my limits. Reaching bike distances up to 55 and 62 miles became grueling; no matter how well I planned, at such a distance, I would inevitably run into hills and head wind.

During the last month of training, I became emotionally charged and would feel anxious if I had to miss a training session. There came a time where, due to work, I had to miss one or both of my daily workouts, and I became deeply bitter. This is the point where I realized I had reached an emotional and mental tipping point. My drive to success had become negative and I was putting too much pressure on myself. Important as the race is, I couldn’t forget why I started – I started this journey because I enjoyed the challenge…to cross a finish line which only a handful of individuals in this world would ever even dream to attempt. This victory would be mine and mine alone forever; no one could take that away.

North Texas Bicycle Rally 100K – Oct 2013

From that moment, I have managed to balance myself out by focusing more on my vision of victory rather than the insecurities from missing workouts. To conquer this Ironman physically, I must first conquer it mentally! With just a few days away, internally… I am already a victor.

QOTD: Is a half ironman on your bucket list?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weekly Recap 10/14 – 10/20

Hello all! I can’t believe another Monday is here already – crazy how the weeks are flying by; Robert and I were talking this weekend about how the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend is creeping up on us being only 3 months out now!

Training this past week was good for the most part. My IT band was feeling a bit tight since the 10-miler a couple weeks ago, so I took it pretty easy on my workouts. I have also been stretching and foam rolling every night, plus I realized I really needed some new running shoes, so I went over to Luke’s Locker to get a fresh pair. I probably should have bought a new pair before the 10-miler, but at least I will have them for the start of my marathon training next Monday (more on that on Friday)!

Anyway, my IT band is feeling SO much better, but I will keep the mileage low again this week in addition to the stretching and foam rolling to keep myself feeling 100%.

Here are my new shoes (and super comfy matching Adidas sweater)! My newly-retired ASICS are the same type (Gel-Cumulus), so now I just have the updated pair which, thankfully, do not have any structural differences. They will be perfect for the next 500 miles!

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My workouts this week:

Monday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Tuesday: 3.1 Mile Easy Run

Wednesday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Thursday: 3.1 Mile Easy Run

Friday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Saturday: 4 Mile Long Run – the fall weather finally hit Houston this weekend. The temperature and humidity level were perfect; I am really looking forward to more fall running!

Sunday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation – I think this should be an every day thing, don’t you?!

QOTD: Do you take a conservative training approach if you feel sore?

Friday, October 18, 2013

EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2013

Previous posts from the Tower of Terror 10-Miler weekend:
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Tower of Terror 10-Miler Expo & Pre-Race Recap
Tower of Terror 10-Miler Race & Villain’s Hollywood Bash Recap

The Monday after the race, Robert, myself, and our friend Stacy went to EPCOT to experience the International Food & Wine Festival for the first time ever!

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When we first arrived, we made our way around the World Showcase to sample the foods and drinks we were really excited about; they even had a little passport that each food kiosk could stamp, and we could mark off the specific items we tried.

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Once we made our way around the first time, we decided to take a break and ride a few of our favorite rides to let our stomachs settle. Robert and I split everything we tried so we would be wouldn’t get too full and so we could try as much as possible. The final count in our passport booklet – we tried at least one item in 17 out the 30 booths.

After our break we made our way around again to try new items, and ended the evening watching the, always spectacular, Illuminations show!

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Here is a list of all the items we sampled:

1. Argentina: Beef Empanada

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2. Australia: Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto & Potato Crunchies

3. Mexico: Shrimp Taco with Purple Cabbage & a Mango-Habanero Margarita

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4. Singapore: Lemongrass Chicken Curry with Coconut & Jasmine Rice

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5. China: Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichuan Noodles, Chicken Potstickers, & Silk Ice Cream Ribbon (Mango Flavor)

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6. Cheese: Artisan Cheese Selection – Beecher’s Flagship Reserve served with Honey, La Bonne Vie Triple Crème Brie served with Apricot Jam, Wyngaard Goats Gouda with Craisin Bread

7.  Brewer’s Collection (German Beers): Radeberger Pilsner, BraufactuM Palor, BraufactuM Roof Smoked Wheat Beer, BraufactuM Darkon

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8. Germany: Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll

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9. Italy: Ravioli de Formaggio all’Emiliana (Baked Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Beef Bolognese Sauce, Parmesan & Mozzarella)

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10. Florida Local: Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with Monterey Jack and Sweet & Hot Pickles

11. Japan: Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll

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12. Belgium: Beer Flight – Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe Blonde, Leffe Brune

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13. France: Crème Brulee au Chocolat au Lait (Chocolate Milk Crème Brulee topped with Caramelized Sugar)

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14. Ireland: Bunratty Meade Honey Wine

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15. Canada: Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

16. Greece: Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios & Honey

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17. Desserts & Champagne: Chocolate Orange Cupcake & a Frozen S’mores Drink

I loved almost everything, but my absolute favorite items I tried were the shrimp taco from Mexico, Ravioli from Italy, and the cheese soup from Canada.

The only things I did not enjoy were the lamp chop from Australia, the Darkon German Beer, and the mango-habanera margarita from Mexico.

Overall, I LOVED this festival – the dishes in each booth were perfect sample sizes, and really well priced too. I cannot wait to go again next year!!

QOTD: Which EPCOT Food & Wine Festival country’s dishes sound most delicious to you?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tower of Terror 10-Miler 2013: Race & Villain’s Hollywood Bash Recap

Previous posts from the Tower of 2013 Terror 10-Miler weekend:
Part 1 – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Part 2 – Expo and Pre-Race

I crossed the start line and immediately became entranced in the magic of running at Disney. I do not know how this happens, but for both runDisney events in which I have participated, it feels too easy to just forget that I am running a long distance race.

After what felt like a few seconds, I reached the first character spot with the Evil Queen from Snow White, and I felt so good that I considered skipping it. However, I remembered WHY I run these events and that no matter what, finishing time just does not matter here, so I stopped for a photo and I think it may be my favorite one from the race! I ended up standing in a few long lines, but I would say that the majority of the photo opportunities that I saw were only a few people deep. It always shocks me how many people skip all these wonderful chances for pictures!

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A little bit down the road, I passed a DJ playing some fun and upbeat music. Luckily, I had my iPod music on low volume so I could hear everything around me, but honestly, if I had forgotten my music, I would have been perfectly fine; runDisney knows how to keep runners entertained! Soon after, I ran through the entrance booth for Animal Kingdom, where there were more photo opportunities, and then made the turnaround on Osceola Parkway.

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Around mile 4.5-5, we entered the trail portion of the race, which I found to be quite fun! They made it seem like we were entering an elephant graveyard from the Lion King, and the hyenas were such a fun photo stop! The trail was very well lit, and while it was a shorter distance across, if people were walking 3+ abreast, I would just excuse myself and ease my way in between them in order to keep moving.

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The next part was probably my second favorite part of the race – running through the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. We ran around the track (which felt so nice on my feet), and the baseball field where the spectator support was incredible! I wish I could remember all the great signs I saw people holding up, but I do remember hearing quite a few people shouting “GO BUZZ!!!” I think the cheering and my wings made me go a little faster.

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Not too long after leaving the sports complex, I ran into Heather from Through Heather’s Looking Glass! It was the first time I met her in person, and she graciously listened to me gush about how much I love her blog, then we got a photo together.

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I eventually found myself back on the path towards the race start, and I passed the Evil Queen yet again (TIP: The line was much MUCH shorter than earlier) then ran underneath the Hollywood Studios entrance booth. I was about 2 miles from the finish line and found myself wondering how on earth the last 8 miles went by so fast?! I felt fantastic and pushed a harder pace; I knew I had reached the point where I wouldn’t be stopping again before the finish.

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As I entered the Hollywood Studios park, which was undoubtedly the best part of the race, the spectator support increased tenfold! I think I made the right choice for costume, because people just loved it – every twist and turn I  heard someone cheering for Buzz Lightyear! This last part passed so quickly and soon I made the final turn. It was an amazing experience running up to one of my favorite rides at Disney World, and giving Goofy a high five right as I crossed the finish line!

I ended up with a chip time of 1:49:17, which I am thrilled about considering all the photo stops, and received another gorgeous runDisney medal! After finishing the race, I went on to grab my post-race box of snacks, Gatorade, water, and bag of ice. After sitting down and relaxing for about 45 minutes, I saw Robert coming my way, so we headed to the bag check where we met up with Stacy and headed to the Disney Villain’s Hollywood Bash!

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We stayed until about 3:30 AM, and in that time, we refueled with our snacks and drinks, had a photo op with Darth Vader, and rode Star Tours and Toy Story Mania. I kid you not, it was the first time EVER for all 3 of us to ride Toy Story Mania since the fast passes run out before lunch most days, and the stand-by line is always ridiculously long; turns out it is a very fun ride!

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As I expect to be the case with every runDisney event in which I participate, I highly recommend this race; it was VERY well organized and tons of FUN! I also want to point out that because of the heat and humidity this time of year, runDisney added more water stops than usual. I was never feeling de-hydrated or wanting for water. Although I did not participate in last year’s Tower of Terror 10-Miler, I am positive runDisney made the necessary changes to make it a more enjoyable race this year!

Extra Notes:
Character Stops I Passed: Jack and Sally Skellington (never seen the movie), Hades (Hercules), Queen of Hearts (she was on a break), Stitch (not a fan), Big Bad Wolf (he was on a break), Lotso (shame on me, especially since I was Buzz, but he was a stop during the last mile).
Character Stops I Wish They Had: Ursula, Maleficent, Evil Queen in her normal form, Gaston, and Mother Gothel.

QOTD: Is the Tower of Terror 10-Miler on your running bucket list?