Princess Training: The First 5k

Good morning Princesses!

Time got away from me for a little bit and I just realized you have probably completed your first 5k sometime this month! Congratulations!

You took the first HUGE step of half marathon training (ok, maybe the second – the first would probably be signing up for a half marathon!). Next up will be your first 10k for a proof of time for corral placement.

I would recommend the Couch to 10k – which should have been offered after completing the 5k program. Princess POT is due by November 14th.

When I first started this process – way back when in 2013 – POT was a little later. My 10k worked out to be the same weekend the official training wanted me to run 6 miles. Don’t panic! Follow the training for the first 10k. I would think this would put you at doing a 10k sometime in late October.

Official Princess training starts October 24th. If there is overlap between the two plans, complete the 10k training first. After you’re 10k, then jump into the half marathon training 🙂

You totally got this! It’s a long string of firsts which also means it’s a long string of achievable goals. I know that kept me going as I trained!

As the miles get a little long and we start to change seasons, let’s talk about gear you may want to add to your “kit”. You already have a fitted pair of shoes (or two), a good sports bra (or 5!). But here are some things to consider:

Do you have ID? I do not run with my license on me. Instead I run with a Road ID. If something were to happen to me, medics would have some basic info about me – no allergies and my blood type – and my mom’s number. These come as bracelets, shoe tags or wearable attachments.

Need music when you run? So do I. I ran a race back in June and they had partnered with Aftershokz. What I love about these headphones – they don’t go in your ears! The speakers sit just outside your ear (so the top part of your cheek closest to your ears), leaving your ear open so you can here that dog bark or car honk or someone trying to get your attention. I run early in the morning or around dusk solo. These let me have my music while giving me piece of mind knowing I can hear everything.

Lastly, runner lights. I don’t know the technical terms for them. But I have 2 small lights I can attach to my clothes. They have 2 settings – a solid light or a strobe type effect. You can typically find these on the counter at most running stores. There are also “vests” you can purchase. They look similar to what would be worn if you are in the movie “Tron” – literally small robe lights that are made into a wearable.

There you have it friends! Keep on running and I’ll see you again at the start of half marathon training!!!

Advertisements

Back on the Training Bandwagon

Hi everyone! I apologize for being MIA for almost two months but there’s a good reason…

I decided in April to actually try again. Try what? Well, try to care enough about running to actually train for my big race this year. I know I have done a lot of races but I haven’t been in shape nor have I trained – for any of it.

In April, I set out to gauge myself with a 5k. I picked the Philly Hot Chocolate 5k/15k. My plan was to try to run the first mile, intervals the second mile, walk the third and finish with a run across the finish line. Yeah…that didn’t happen. I got maybe a quarter mile in before realizing I lost my running mojo more than I thought and holy shin splints Batman! Decided to walk it out with attempts to run sprinkled in (my shins made their objections known with each attempt). It was seriously embarrassing and it didn’t help that I was humiliated throughout those 3.1, I finished completely defeated.

The following week, I had a 10k. Obviously, I wasn’t trained but I went into it knowing it was another test run. If you are ever in the area in April, sign up for the Sole of the City – it’s an awesome road race in Baltimore with typically an awesome premium and a fun post race party. After the previous week still very much in my head, I had an unusual pre-race melt down. I actually was in my car crying and contemplating heading home. I have never been terrified of a starting line. After giving myself a pep talk and some kind words from my friends, I headed to the start area.

While the race did not go as stellar as I wanted, my heart melted at the end of the race. A girl, slower than me, got close enough to tell me I had been her rabbit the entire race. She said my pace was consistent and she had been trying to catch me. I can’t remember if it was her first 10k but I could tell she was more pooped than I was. We chatted along the last of the course. I pulled back so she could finish but she wanted me to cross with her. We actually raced (literally) across the line. I think we both surprised ourselves that we still had some gas in the tank! It was an awesome moment and a good reminder that while I am slow, someone slower is behind me and maybe trying to “catch” me.

That week, I sat down and made myself a schedule. I wanted to start small so I started with cross training. Going from zip to 6 days a week is a major adjustment. I settled on two days of cross training. I found a strength workout on Runner’s World and ordered a few supplies from Amazon (exercise mat and stability ball). The first week I modified the exercises to do them without the equipment.

Week 2, I added a third day. Day 3 was just another day of cross training but a more gentle form of cross training – yoga. This workout I found on my Nike Training Club app.

Finally, I started adding some running. I did a few days with the Couch to 5k app but I quickly gave up on that. I did the program when I first started in 2013 but this time around, I wasn’t into it. Instead, I started walking a mile. I had moved and my mile markers were different since the last time I ran in the neighborhood. I found where a half mile was from my place and sometimes walked, sometimes did jog/walk/jog and sometimes just tried to run.

Once I had established this routine, I made an actual training schedule. I have my crossing training 2 days a week. I run 3 days a week with one of those days being a long run (long runs didn’t actually start for a good month so don’t panic thinking I lost my mind). I scheduled 1 day for yoga which could be switched out for pilates if I need to work more on my core. And I scheduled 1 rest day.

Here’s the May training calendar

It’s almost July and I am just 2 workouts away from completing 2 full months of a self imposed “try to care again” session. I can’t say I’ve made leaps and bounds physically but I am sleeping better. I am also doing pretty good on my diet and making smarter decisions (like just last weekend, I discovered the most delicious meal at Panera and it’s only 200 calories but it is filling and mmmmmmmmmm). This weekend’s long run is 6 miles! 6…miles…

Those 6 miles will be slow and painful and very not pretty but they will get done. I can tell you I am hoping by trying so hard in the heat of summer, this fall when I actually train for my half marathon in February, some form of speed will be with me.

There is no shame in being slow. There is no shame in walking. There is no reason why you should steer clear of road races if you are slow or walk (I have actually been told to switch to other racing where walking is “allowed”).

Your pace. Your race.

Happy running from your favorite snail 🙂

You just signed up for…WHAT?!

Disney Princess Half Marathon registration opened this week to the general public and as always, thousands of princess in training registered (I’m sure thousands of returning princesses are now dusting off and polishing that tiara — I know I am!).

As a returning princess and a princess who is beginning the training journey herself, I thought it would the “charming” thing for me to do and share of the insight I have picked up over the years.

Congratulations! You are registered for the most royal of all race weekends! Whether it’s your first 5k, 10k, half marathon or challenge – you will be awesome! If you are moving up a distance, you got it!

The mix of excitement, doubt, panic, and overwhelming now what are completely normal. Let me point you in the right direction to get you settled…

1. Do your homework:

Ok – you went to the race page long enough to click register but have you actually read all the information available on the runDisney Princess Weekend page? If not, you really should. While not all the information is available, there’s a lot of info you will need – now, as you plan, and closer to the event.

Tip: do not rely on Facebook groups or the people in those groups to relay the correct information to you. The website literally has everything on there that you could possibly need to know and more about the weekend.

Other sources you can use to prepare for the weekend are The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World (available on Amazon – so you can get a print or digital version) and blogs. From personal experience, both the Guide and reading blog reviews were how I researched my first Princess in 2014. With the blogs, I was getting good, bad and not so great moments shared with me so I could prepare for anything. The Guide provided a lot of insight into things I wouldn’t have even thought about.

2. Gear up:

If you are like me and this will be your first big race, please get proper gear! I knew before I started training in July 2013 that I needed to go to the “running store” and get properly fitted for running shoes. Do this – you will thank me later. Spending money now on the correct shoe for you will be a lot cheaper than spending money later on doctor bills because you picked a “cute” pair of shoes. Get fitted – then you can pick colors based on what your shoe comes in.

Another very important piece of gear to have fitted is a sports bra. I can remember after 2 months of training, I did my first 5k. The next morning I woke up with back pain and couldn’t figure out why. I was talking to my mom and she suggested maybe I didn’t have the best sports bra on the night before. It didn’t even dawn on me until I was hurting! Most running stores have seen the uptick in female runners. They will offer bra fittings so you can get the right kind of support (the twins and your back will thank you!).

As you progress through training, there will be other gear you may want to look into – watches, fuel, hydration packs, all kinds of clothes (see how quickly you dislike cotton), personal packs (like a Spibelt), glasses (check out Goodr), etc.

But right now, before you even think of taking a step, go get your shoes and a good sports bra.

3. Training:

Do you want to run, walk or do a combination? Only you know what your body will respond to.

When I started training in 2013, I knew I needed to run/walk. I didn’t think I could run. I quickly stopped training with intervals and tried to run as far as I could and then walk. Once walking, I couldn’t convince myself to run again. Fast forward to now – I am starting to build back up. This time around, I am making myself stick with intervals. Not only have I seen an improvement in my time (which are not speedy), I am seeing a consistent and steady pace that I am comfortable with. A comfortable pace is one where you can have a conversation and not feel like you are dying.

Also, look into training plans. There are so many out there. runDisney recommends the Galloway method – run/walk/run. You may want to start by doing a Couch to 5k program or train for a race through your local running club.

Decide how you want to train. This is your training plan for your race. No matter the distance – you got this!

4. Racecation:

You will be at Disney after all! Are you traveling alone? Going with a friend or family? Think about if you want to spend the weekend or week. You don’t have to book now but these are things you want to think about.

Tip: plan to arrive one day prior to your first race at least. You will need to attend expo to pick up your bib and race shirt.

5. Other sources

Join social media groups for a support network. It’s good to join groups to bounce ideas off of and share in the excitement. As stated before, do not rely on them for correct race information. While what is posted may be correct, it’s a good rule of thumb to use your race website for all correct race information. However, you may see the link to print your waiver in a group sooner than you would on the race page (we’ll get to that later).

Two books I read when I started training (and ones I plan to re-read now that I want to train properly again) were: Running Like a Girl and Confessions of a Fat Marathoner. Both books go into the good, bad and ugly of running – from losing your confidence after a bad training run to the thrill of crossing the finish line. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Take a deep breath. Let it all sink in. Over the next few days to a month, start putting your thoughts, goals and expectations into place. Do your research and properly gear up. We’ll focus on all the other “things” to a runDisney race but first things are first.

Feel free to ask me questions!

I’ll see you at the finish!

Race Recap: Disney Princess Half Marathon

My favorite!

Dust off that tiara and get ready for a magical 13.1 throughout Walt Disney World… come with me!

As you know by now, expo started Thursday before the race. I had the first flight out and somehow made it to expo by 10:30am. 

Tip: always just leave your luggage with bell services – this way you can just hop the bus to expo!

I was prepared for a HUGE line – complete with building wrapping (it happens) however I was able to just walk through the doors and into the building to pick up my bib.


After getting my bib, I picked up my volunteer credientials for the 5k and 10k and then decided to head to Disney Springs. My shirt would be waiting for me when I came back.

Once at Disney Springs, I used my bib to take advantage of runner promos and freebies. Score!

I also picked up lunch, dinner and a super tasty cupcake from Sprinkles to enjoy on my birthday (which was the next day).

I then headed back to expo. I had a vendor shift with Endure Jewelry until close and wanted to make sure I was done expo before I had to work.

This time there wasn’t a line to get into Josten’s Center. I was just able to walk in.


After receiving my shirt, I did a quick walk through of the official merch. Even though it was after 12 on the first day, I was pleasantly surprised with how much was still available AND cast members were restocking! 

Coming out of the merchandise area, I noticed a fancy food booth where you could get champagne and accompaniments. I also saw:


How cool! You could get your Disney nails done right there are expo! If I didn’t have to work, I would have loved to have gotten a mani and sipped on some champagne!

Fast forward to 9pm or so…

Finally back in the room! After checking out day 1’s haul, it was time for bed!


Friday morning was a tad chilly. I was a volunteer that morning and tried to perk up the runners as they went by me at o’ dark thirty! I amused myself at least!

Saturday morning was a little better. I was a screaming fan for the 10k. Though I didn’t so much screaming, I did do a lot of cowbell…and waving! I must say volunteering is kinda awesome. I think my two favorite costumes of the 10k were: Taco Belle (hahahaha get it?!?!) and Moana’s chicken!

Sunday morning — race day! Well kinda…

So fun story – I set 3 alarms. Guess which alarm woke me up? Oh you know the one that goes off everyday at 5:30!

Tip: always schedule a wake up call!!!

After a brief panic attack and lots of unDisney language, I was dressed and out the door.

Four modes of transportation, lots of tears, and embarrassment later, I was FINALLY at the staging area. As I was getting closer, I heard the fireworks for the last corral go off…….

I went directly to the runDisney info table and confirmed I heard the last corral start. I then explained what happened. After a round of it can happen to anyone (which you don’t want to hear at that moment), I asked if I could please have my medal. The runDisney staffer said he needed to check. He came back a few minutes later and I burst into sobs (again)! I thanked him over and over and then headed back for my bus.

Once on the bus, I noticed there were 2 others with me. They had medical issues. I told them they had been faster than I was and congratulated them. 

At this point, there was nothing else to do but learn from a horrible morning and try to make the best of it. 


In hindsight, it was probably good I didn’t race. My feet were so swollen my shoes didn’t fit properly and once I got home, I was a fevery mess.


Any race day horror stories out there??

Race Calendar 2017

Well friends, it’s the last week of 2016 and of course – I am already thinking about my 2017 race calendar. Are you?

Walk, run or crawl, here is my list of races to check out if you need a change or want to go for a more active year:

Cupid Undie Run: yes, you did read that right. In February, grab your friends, drop your pants (for charity) and run the best mile of your life. This party starts and ends at Powerplant Live. Earn fun incentives including a very comfy pair of undies by hitting fundraising goals. This race is definitely more of a party so come on out to support a good cause and watch as jaws drop as you run downtown in your drawers!

B3 Series: start in March with the St. Patrick’s 5k, continue in April with the Sole of the City 10k, and complete the tour of Baltimore in September with the Charles Street 12 (miler). All races include at least 1 post race beer if you are of age and the race shirts are some of the best in Baltimore! All three races are available on their own as well but if you are up for the challenge register for the series.

Atlis Endurance Trail Events: if road races aren’t your cup of tea, check out the events put on by Atlis Endurance. They offer a wide variety of trail races both locally and along the coast. These events are low key and high energy but it could be because the race directors have a bit of a sweet tooth. Oh and the trails they pick are absolutely gorgeous!

St. Michael’s Running Festival: looking for fast and flat? Look no further than the St. Michael’s Running Festival on the Eastern Shore. Brought to you by the same team that puts on the 10k Across the Bay, you’ll enjoy a scenic course and maybe earn yourself a PR.

Zooma Annapolis: this is the ultimate girls race weekend. With a host hotel, beautiful course, great swag and awesome amenities, this is a must do every year for me. Enjoy packet pickup and a cocktail reception on race eve and follow up your race with wine tastings, yoga and massage. Offering distances of 5k, 10k and half marathon, there is something for you and all your girlfriends!

Baltimore Womens Classic: come out and run one the oldest all womens 5ks in the area. This makes a great first 5k for everyone – there are some hills but I don’t think they are terrible. Join the fun and feel the girl power throughout the day. All finishers receive a beautiful medal and a rose as they cross the line!

Dirty Girl Mud Run: this 5k course offers mud and obstacles so grab your girls and go out and play! You can get as dirty (or stay as clean) as you want. Runners receive a medal, fun samples, a clean shirt and free pictures for participating. You can typically find deals on LivingSocial or Groupon.

Boordy Trail 5k: don’t let the name fool you! This course is 3/4 road and 1/4 trail as you leave and re-enter the vineyard. It’s an easy out and back course that ends with – a wine tasting! Another one of my favorites of the season, post race amenities include a wine tasting, wine pairings (bread, fruit, cheese, etc) and a concert. Makes for a great evening out with both your running friends and non-running friends!

Baltimore Running Festival: tour the streets of Baltimore while completing a 5k, half marathon, relay or marathon. You will definitely appreciate your city a lot more after participating in this hometown fave. Swing by the zoo, take a lap around Lake Montebello and run through Camden Yards on your way to Ravens Stadium. Really declare your hometown pride by completing the Baltimoron challenge – running the 5k and half marathon back to back!

10k Across the Bay: start on the Western Shore and finish on the Eastern Shore! You have to run the bridge to beat it! I am looking forward to taking part in this race in 2017 – will you be joining me?

Ugly Sweater Run: Don your best (or worst) holiday clothes for this festive 5k. Runners receive cookies, hot chocolate and a super warm beanie for completing this race. There are fun photo ops before, during and after the event so come out to take an epic holiday card picture!

There are so many great races throughout the running season it is impossible to list them all. I participate in quite a few every year – from big productions to small ones. The above list compiles races that I think would be good for all abilities and offer the most bang for your buck. I am always looking for races that offer something unique (let’s face it, you can only get so many race shirts!).

Happy New Year!

 

 

Around Town for the Holidays: Part 2

It’s almost here – Christmas! Which means…SANTA!!! I really am a big kid 🙂

I headed back up to Pennsylvania last week to tour one of the most beautiful places around – Longwood Gardens. If you have never been I highly recommend – the grounds are amazing! It’s an easy hour-90 minute drive from Baltimore. You can eat in the gardens but for cheaper options, there is a Wendy’s and Applebee’s just before you get to the gardens. Parking is also free once there but I would buy tickets in advance.

The gardens were transformed into a winter wonderland with beautifully decorated trees, light displays and hot chocolate! Even the kids love it! I was able to talk a good friend of mine into going with me and she brought her adorable little boy with her.

After touring the grounds, we headed into the conservatory to view the indoor garden displays (and to warm up again!). The gardens are just breathtaking. I have been many times and each time I am just blown away by the beauty. I do think my favorite time is Christmas because the gardens are just — wow!

Also, did you know, Longwood Gardens has made a list for having one of the best bathrooms to visit?!? Good to know because little ones always visit a bathroom and as an adult, it’s nice to know there’s a nice bathroom to use. (Seriously, there is a list somewhere…maybe I can find it)

While making the drive up (and back), we passed a festive light display at the Herr’s chip factory. It was just a really fun way to start and end our night of lights.

Next up for the holiday tour was supposed to be the Ugly Sweater Run. Unfortunately, the weather did not want to cooperate and Baltimore got iced. I volunteered this race in 2015 and I would recommend to anyone who wants to have a jolly jog in their best ugly outfits. It’s a lot of fun and the creativity is over the top! Also, you get a super warm and comfy beanie instead of a race shirt!

So with the weather being ick and Christmas season upon us – what is a girl to do? Bake of course! I spent the day making cookies for my co-workers. Bonus – my whole apartment smelled like cookies for the weekend!

img_6444

Cookies + candy = yum!

The weather is still cold but the ice has gone away so last night, I went to my favorite part of town for the holidays – Hampden! There are lots of delicious places to eat along The Avenue (or 38th Street) including: Cafe Hon, Dangerously Delicious Pies and The Charmery. Also a lot of cute shops so you can shop local and find something truly unique and different to give to someone awesome.

However, shopping and eating is not the major draw to the area this time of year – it’s 34th Street! One entire block is completed decorated in Christmas lights. I love this street. There is something distinctly Baltimore that makes me grin from ear to ear. From your very Baltimore Christmas to your traditional Christmas – it all can be found on this street. If you haven’t checked this street out, you must go! To avoid the most traffic and actually find parking, park north of 38th Street. I managed to find free parking on Falls Road and just walked to dinner and the lights.

In all the excitement of Christmas lights and dinner with friends, I forgot to mention some of the holiday things to do around town with your furbabies!

Petsmart was my go to for holiday festivities for pets. December 3rd and 4th, Petsmart hosted a stuff a stocking event featuring free treats for cats and dogs. I stopped by to pick up some goodies for the two cats and pup in my life (can’t forget them now can we?!) Toys were also on sale so my extended fur family got a little more spoiled since the prices were too good to walk away from.

img_6445

Not bad for a free treat event!

The following weekend, Santa Paws was at Petsmart. You could take your pet to the store and get a free photo taken. I have an adorable hamster at home and I just had to take her for this picture. She did much better than I thought she would however, it was confirmed – she does not like big animals.  But – the picture is just so cute!

img_6283

Wishing you a happy holiday weekend!

How did you spend the most wonderful time of the year?

Recap: Women Rock! Chicago

Over the weekend I made my way back to Chicago to participate in the Women Rock Chicago race.

This race came to my attention in 2015 and unfortunately, I was unable to make the race last year.

I signed up in the spring and made the decision this would be a quick over and back trip. I paid for my packet to be mailed to me (it was an additional $30) so I would have it. I always try to have my packet ahead of time so I am ready to go on race day. Having everything I need ahead of time helps keep some of the pre-race anxiety at bay. Packets were mailed out around September 1st and I received my packet about 10 days prior to race day.

Race morning was a cool but humid weather day – luckily we would be running on Lake Shore Drive around Lincoln Park so there would be a breeze. The race village opened at 6am and my plan was to be there as close to that time as possible. Another way I keep the anxiety at bay – arrive early!

I wandered around the village to get my bearings and then checked my bag. It wasn’t super crowded. Most participants there were for the longer distances – the half or the 10k or were participating in one of the challenges. Team Ortho did a nice job staggering the distance start times so we all weren’t on top of each other trying to check in and get ready to run.

The half started at 6:30am. I watched the girls leave the starting area and then headed over to where the 10k was starting so I would be ready.

The 10k was set to start at 7am however I think we started closer to 7:10.

img_5819

I can’t say much about this course. It was definitely different from the course I did with the Run Mag Mile Half last weekend and it did have it’s pretty parts. But with both races, the course didn’t provide much distraction after passing it the first time. This course was also one big loop – however the 10kers didn’t have it nearly as bad as the half marathoners who had to do the loop between 2 or 3 times. I was a little jealous of the 5kers – I believe their course took them around the Lincoln Park Zoo and I know I would have enjoyed that!

Anywho, I finished with a time of 1:42 – slower than I was hoping but within my range. Once I crossed the line, I received my beautiful medal, post race snacks, my gear bag, and my personal fave – a celebratory drink! While it was non-alcoholic, it was a tasty treat.

With not much to see or do in the race village, I headed back to the hotel to clean up and re-pack for my trip home. But first I had to take a pic of the race swag:

img_5821

Long sleeve tech running shirt, pendant with Swarovski crystal, branded champagne flute, medal, and buff.

New for this year was an after party at a roof top bar downtown at the Godfrey. There participants were treated to a complimentary glass of champagne and a beautiful view of Chicago’s skyline.