Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: The year of the Marathon!

With the worst race of the year, I have successfully finished another year of running!

As I started to look at my list of races for 2013, I noticed it was significantly less than my previous 2 years (which both doubled with 25 races) and I think that has a lot to do with taking a much needed break after the WDW Marathon and then focusing on the NYC Marathon. I didn't travel for races as much this year either, but for the ones I did, ate up all of my racecation budget (coughcoasttocoastcough). There are 2 races on the runDisney schedule I haven't run yet (Tink and Wine and Dine) but I think I'm going to have to wait until 2015 or beyond to accomplish that goal. I liked visiting new places and it would be nice to start doing that again, but who knows? 

2 marathon
3 half marathons
1 10 miler
1 15k
4 10k
3 5 milers
2 4 milers
1 5k

17 races

Not to bad! 8 less races than 2011 and 2012, but only 10ish less miles. . how did that happen? And who knew BOTH of my official marathons would be in 1 year?! I started the year in full taper mode (which I wasn't nearly as nervous about as I was the 2nd one) and I ended the year a NYC marathon finisher. I don't think I can -or even want to- top that. 

In 2014, I would like to resolve signing up for races as training runs, and focusing on speed- neither of which are new concepts for me, but maybe if I keep saying them, I might do it? I have no need to sign up for 9 NYRR races this year (but who am I kidding? I'm sure I will anyway for the fun of it) but I would like to run most of the 5- borough series races and get automatic entry to the NYC Half 2015. If all goes to plan, I will be more than half way there by April. And as much as I like adding a 50 minute workout to my running days in the comfort of the gym, I seriously need to get my butt out to the park and do speed/ hills. 

There is a trend on instagram right now with the Statigram video. It shows your top 5 most liked photos of 2013. I originally only got the video to see for myself, but when it turned out to be my signature eye-patch photos, I had to share.

How was your 2013?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Glass Slipper Challenge: week 12

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 6.5M

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 2M

Sunday: Rest

Another weird week thanks to the holidays. I missed the gym on Tuesday, so I thought I'd make up for it by doing 4 miles and some "hills" via the Williamsburg Bridge on Thursday. Well, I miscalculated and ended up doing 6.5. Oops. But I did get this awesome photo:

I did the first half of my back-to-back runs with my 2 mile walk on Saturday. . . and that was about it. For the 2nd half, I couldn't figure out if I wanted to do what the plan says (9.5M) but since I've already done that distance, did I want to drop to about 8 or just jump ahead to 11? I decided none of the above and skipped the run all together when I found out there was supposed to be a winter storm this morning. I'm still traumatized from the last one I ran through and training is not worth getting sick over. I don't like to skip out on my long runs. It makes me uneasy- I feel like that's an extremely slippery slope, but hopefully things will get back to normal soon. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Christmas Time" at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Seasons Greetings, everyone! 

Hope you're having a magical day and if you're celebrating, 
I hope Santa brought you everything you wanted. 

In mid-November, my family and I got to visit Walt Disneyworld during the "holidays". Yes, I know it was a tad too early to be celebrating, but I didn't care. This was going to be our family Christmas since I wouldn't be going home for the holidays this year. Plus, I was excited to be visiting the parks without the holiday crowds of people. On our last day there, we visited my old stomping grounds- Animal Kingdom. It was my first time getting to see it holiday style!

Seeing the Jingle Jungle parade was on my must-do list. Granted, I've never seen The Jammin' Jungle parade but I absolutely LOVE the soundtrack. Everything I read about it said it's just the regular parade with decorations. After seeing it, I don't believe that at all- the music is completely different! Yes, it's the same floats with decoration, but definitely worth it to see all the details (like the stockings on Goofy's float, pictured above) It's definitely a really cute parade that you should see if you ever have the chance. 

Camp Minnie Mickey was another must-do as well. I really wanted to see it one more time before they closed it forever, to make room for Avatarland. We decided to look around and take character photos while we waited for the next show of the Festival of The Lion King. Best idea ever: no lines! Each character spot had their own uniquely decorated tree.

The Minnie Tree was my favorite.

All of the characters were out in the holiday attire to greet us! I was a little sad Baloo and Louis didn't have the Christmas shirts they wore for the Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5k, but that just gives me incentive to run it next year ;) Minnie and Mickey were greeting guests in Asia (which is where they will be moving all of the Camp Minnie Mickey meet and greets when they close camp, from what I understand) and we didn't get a chance to say hello. I really wanted to visit them in their holiday attire! Maybe next time. 

Of course there were multiple rides on Everest (where my parents and I graciously volunteered to take photos of everyone else on the big drop; we totally got a kick out of that!) and Dinosaur (where I tried very hard not to recite the entire pre-show and attraction script).

My mom and I paid a visit to Santa-saurus while everyone else traveled on the Primeval Whirl.

I will admit, I haven't been giving Animal Kingdom as much love as the other parks on my recent trips, but it's definitely something I plan to remedy. I was really glad I got to see all the festiveness and hope I get to go back during the holidays sometime soon!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My 1st Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

When my family decided they wanted to visit Walt Disneyworld this year, I knew I wanted it to be during the "holidays" because I had never officially seen it. (Technically, some decorations are still up during Marathon weekend, but not really). I also knew I really wanted to take my nieces to the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. It's a separate ticket party held on select nights of the year from November to December and a great way to get to see the holiday festivities, without actually being there during the holiday season. 

Since Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party is one of my favorite things, I really wanted to see the Christmas version. We decided this would be the perfect time to get the character photos in, especially because there are so many that you can only get during the party. It also made it easier to not have to wait in character lines that would eat a ton of regular park time.

We got to the park early specifically to eat (didn't want to waste party time!) and to ride The Jingle Cruise. I was really excited to experience the ride with the brand new Christmas additions and it did not disappoint. The story is the skippers were homesick for Christmas, so they decided to decorate. 

This was also the first time I had ever ridden in the back of the boat and you can definitely hear the jokes louder there. Even though once you were in the ride, there wasn't anything different, I thought the way they incorporated the Christmas jokes was still very clever and a nice mix-up from the usual jokes. 

After we grabbed a quick bite, I went to get in line for the Dwarves while my sister and my nieces went to have some park time. Before we knew it, it was 7 and the dwarves were there! 

We crossed over to the carousel and saw Mary Poppins, Bert and The Penguins. 
The Penguins were very excited because we had matching bows!

Pit stops for hot chocolate and cookies were definitely a must to keep our energy up! 

From there we stopped in to see Cinderella and Aurora WITH their princes. It was quicker than expected. We were in and out within 20 minutes! I was holding off on visiting the Rapunzel/ Snow White side until later, but the wait time never went down, so we waited the 40 minutes. I was warned that Flynn Rider likes to talk (hence why the wait is so long), and they weren't kidding! We compared notes with another family on the bus home, who also noticed that his talking so much made everyone a tad uncomfortable. It's one thing to want to have a magical experience with the kids, but it's a completely different story when you're holding up lines to talk to Rapunzel about random things that no one's interested in. 

Fairytale Hall paying respect to the Snow White ride.

Fireworks from Beast's castle was AMAZING! and deserted. 
I highly suggest watching them from there if you ever get a chance. 

We watched the parade from Main Street- which was also a must. It "snowed". 

Real live ponies! were the highlight of the parade for me.

We got in line just in time to see the Country Bears!

If you ever get a chance to attend this party, I highly suggest it! It's a great way to see the Christmas parade and the parks without the crazy Christmas time crowds. I do suggest figuring out what's important for you to see during the party and make a plan. The time goes by quickly and there is a lot to see and do! 

Even though you can get into the park as early as 4pm, the "official" party entertainment doesn't happen until 7pm. I suggest doing things like riding rides or eating during that time, so it doesn't take up time for the party specific entertainment.

We did not get a chance to see any of the special shows, but I don't think they would've gone over well with my nieces. They're at the age that all they want to do is ride rides. It was hard enough getting them to agree to stop and meet the characters. Hopefully, we'll get to go back again and see all the things we missed. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Ted Corbitt 15k

I spent all week hoping it would get called for the snow forecast. It would be perfect: I could still get credit for the race, but just run later in the day/ Sunday. The idea of waking up super early in the winter, the morning after a Christmas party did not sound appealing. Neither did the 9.3 miles I'd need to run. My training schedule actually only calls for 8 and I thought "What's another 1.3?" A lot actually; especially, if you're not interested in getting injured.

So, why do I keep signing up for races during training? It's a habit I really need to break. This time, the tiny part of me that's OCD was the reason:

No, I don't plan on running the TCS New York City Marathon next year, but I'll be damned if I wasn't going to be ONE race away from qualifying for it. 

First, I was totally NOT prepared for it to actually snow. I figured, it would start right as the race was over and I'd be fine. With that thinking thanks to 2 glasses of Champagne, I didn't really put together that snow was FROZEN WATER and I probably should pack a rain jacket- along with extra clothes to change into. I remember the extra shirt and coat but forgot that I might need a new hat and gloves. So, I pretty much spent the entire 9.3 miles cursing myself for not remembering a waterproof jacket and then cursed myself all the way home about not having an extra pair of gloves. It was an awesome Saturday morning, let me tell you.

My plan of getting to the race early, completely backfires in the winter FYI. I was standing in the snow for about 45 minutes before the race started. I took my sweet time leaving the subway (I even sat on a bench for about 10 minutes) and even then, I was still outside forever. I noticed that there wasn't a line for the portapotties, but that no one was really leaving them either. Once one opened up, I found out why people were taking their sweet time: it was warm in there! 

Once, the race finally started, I was already completely miserable. It was snowing something serious and I was not interested in being outside any longer, much less for 9.3 more miles. I kept telling myself I was so stupid for actually doing it. But there was no way I could just give up and go home then. So I bitched to myself for about 3 miles. Then I saw this:

It was my first time every seeing an event alert level not green. 

I was praying by the time I got back to the start/finish line, they would cancel the race and I could be put out of my misery. Sadly, that didn't happen and I got super pissed off. I knew I had to get in 8 miles, but the other 1.3? Screw it. I decided when I got to the 72nd St. transverse again, I was going to cut through (skipping the lower loop and the extra 1.3 miles) and finish the race. I didn't care if I was cheating. . . technically, I'd only be cheating myself and who cares?! I was that miserable. 

At about the turnaround, I ran into Sarah, who was leading a TNT running group. It really does a lot when you see a familiar face! My gu started to kick in and the weather on the west side of the park was so much better I actually started to feel ok. The snow was no longer pelting me in the face forcing me to inhale it (ps- that sucks). And if only I had a damn waterproof jacket, I could totally be ok with running! I actually started passing people and I made a deal with myself that I could totally finish if it stayed like that. I also made sure to thank each and every volunteer out there. . I could only imagine how bad that must have sucked, but then again, I'm sure they were smarter than me and had on waterproof clothes!

Once I got to the transverse, even if I wanted to, I couldn't really cut across. There were about 20 volunteers guiding us in the right direction, so I just followed and said screw it. What's another 1.3 miles? I was already wet and frozen. 

Then, the frozen rain started pelting me in the face again and I was officially over it. I had to put my gaiter, which was literally frozen stiff, over my nose and mouth to breathe. I don't know which is worse, inhaling water or inhaling snow. 

Like a crazy guardian angel, Sarah appeared again (she's training for Dopey and had 13 miles on the schedule . . . yikes!). We talked for a second, but then she went on her speedy way and I mustered the strength to finish. 

As soon as I finished the race, I skipped walking all the way to the bagels/ gatorade and made a beeline to the checked bags. I didn't tie my bag tight enough, so snow got into it= awesome. But I found a handicapped portapotty and changed as fast as I could into my semi-dry clothes. I decided to leave my earwarmer on my head, because I thought it was better than nothing. 

It took me a good 20 minutes in the shower to gain feeling back into my fingers. I had a sore throat for over a week, like I need reminding of what an idiot I am.

So, that kind of sucked. But hey! Now, I have automatic entry to a race I don't plan on running. On the bright side? Last year this time, I was training for the WDW Marathon- I could not imagine doubling the 15k milage. 

What's the coldest race you've ever run?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Glass Slipper Challenge: week 11

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3M "speed work"

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4M

Sunday: Rest

There are a lot of extra "rest" days in there due to the holiday season. I had three parties this week alone. I knew I had a bunch of work functions I needed to attend also, so I threw in some speed work on the treadmill on Wednesday. By speed work, I mean every minute for 8 minutes I would increase the speed by .1 then I'd walk for 2 minutes. It really helped me get through the workout and I even got up to a 10:30 pace! Yes, it was only for a minute but it still counts. Thank goodness this was a low mileage long run week.

Friday night, I drank a lot. Like, as much as all the other times I drank in 2013 combined (you can count on one hand how many times I drank in 2013, fyi). So, I decided I would move my long run to Sunday and run errands on Saturday. Then I realized the weather was unseasonably warm (60 degrees in December in NYC!. . it was like NOLA came to me for the holidays this year) and rain was in the forecast for Sunday. I had to take advantage. The warm weather was pretty awesome and I felt amazing after! During? Not so much, but hey! It got done. Maybe this incorporating a social life back into my routine won't be as hard as I thought. Bonus? I even ended my run at the grocery: SCORE! 2 birds. 1 stone. BAM!

How are you getting your training in during the holidays?