Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Meet-Up

I apologize in advance, because this post is pretty picture heavy.  I tried to cut some out, but the folks at runDisney took SO many amazing pictures, so it was HARD!

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I received the email letting me know I was in for the Wine & Dine Meet Up.  I attended the one in February before the Princess Half weekend and had such a great time.  runDisney threw everyone for a loop this time around — usually they send out a few teaser tweets before the posting the info about the meet-up, but this time there was only one teaser followed pretty closely by the blog post going up!  Funny thing is, I was thinking about it earlier in the day and went to their twitter page and saw the initial tweet.  I thought it was odd that it was so early, but went on about my day.  A few hours later, a friend of mine called in the middle of the afternoon, which was odd, so I answered and she basically squealed that I needed to hurry and get to the Disney Parks blog for the info and to send my email in right away.  After a bit of fumbling, I managed to fire off emails for myself and my husband, then waited.. later that night, we found out that we were both in  - YAY!

We had to do a last minute scramble to book an extra night at our hotel and to find someone to help out with the kids (thanks Jenn!) but Thursday afternoon rolled around, and we were on our way to Orlando.  We checked into our hotel, got changed, and headed over to EPCOT to check-in for the meet-up.  We were given wine colored runDisney shirts to wear for the night, and a fast pass for Test Track!  I’ve never been on Test Track and we usually stay away from the more thrilling rides since we have little ones, so I was excited to try it out.

It was fun and I think Braden would really like it — especially designing his own car.  We may be spending more time in EPCOT for our next visit to Disney :) Before heading over to Test Track, we met up with an old friend of mine and her running buddy, Andrea and Cori.  The Food & Wine Festival was going on, so they checked out some of the food/drink kiosks and got some snacks, while I tagged along.  Unfortunately, my stomach wasn’t playing nice most of the weekend so I didn’t get to enjoy a lot of the delicious food EPCOT had to offer.  Boo to my belly!

We made our way over to Mexico, where a special area was roped off for our group to watch Illuminations.  I’d never seen it before so it was fun to get the opportunity.  I was surprised at how many faces I recognized from blogs that I read — but since I’m pretty shy around new people and I wasn’t feeling well, I hung back and kept pretty quiet.  Blah!

Once Illuminations was over, we headed over towards America.  We got to sample some yummy vegan wine and Trick’n Chick’n — a vegan chicken curry dish with a side of rice.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, but my belly revolted.  I stuck to the hummus, pita bread, and fresh fruit. It was delicious!

We also had some time to visit with a few of the local celebrities! :)  No trip to the Food & Wine festival is complete without a hug from Chef Mickey, am I right?

We all settled down and Farron Kelly and Darrell Fry took the stage to welcome us all to the first night time runDisney meet-up and to give away some nice goodies!  Cori was lucky and scored a free entry into a future runDisney event — I may be just a bit jealous!  They gave us an overview of runDisney in general, some information about the race weekend, and said that their big goal is to create races that make you feel good about yourself — they really do want every mile to be magic!

Next up, Tara Gidus and Jeff Galloway took the stage.  They reminded us a few times how important hydrating before a race is and Tara offered some advice on how to fuel properly for a night race.  I should have paid more attention to her, as my race-day fueling left a LOT to be desired.  She said to eat light, eat often, and hydrate well.  Jeff reminded us to start slow so that we could be the passer instead of the passee in the later miles.  Definitely should have listened to his advice too.

Tara finished up by telling us about some of the health benefits of wine.  She said it makes you run faster — that’s good news to my ears!  We also learned that wine preserves memory and can help lower body mass and reduce belly fat — even more good news!  Apparently moderation is key when drinking wine though and 5 oz is considered a serving of wine? And no more than one per day is recommended for the ladies? Boo!!

Next we heard from some of the chefs and a sommelier responsible for the food and wine offerings at the festival this year.  I was really hoping that my tummy issues would be short lived so I could try some of the delicious stuff they were talking about.

We got confirmation that there WILL be a new runDisney/New Balance shoe for 2014 and they gave us a few details about it.  The 2014 shoes will have race specific inserts and lace decorations to customize your shoes for each race weekend.  Fun!  New Balance gave away a few pair of the 2013 model, and I hope you got your hands on them at the expo if you wanted them, because it was your last chance!

Last on stage was Jenny Simpson.  She ran the fastest mile this year in 4:19 in her New Balance shoes.  That’s crazy fast!!  The fastest I’ve ever run a mile was just under 7 minutes and I wanted to lay down and die when I was done!  Since the race fell on Veteran’s Day weekend, runDisney invited a service member from each branch of the military to run.  After they were all up on stage, they received (a very well-earned) standing ovation.  I may have teared up, just a bit.

Finally, it was time to run!  This is the highlight of the event for me — I absolutely love running through the parks after they’re closed with such a small group.  We split into two groups – the first ran 20/20 intervals with Jeff Galloway and the second did a straight run at a relaxed pace (I’d guess somewhere around 10-10:30?  I wasn’t wearing my watch so I’m not sure.)

It was really nice having my husband along for the ride this time too.  The last meet-up I was on my own.  Even though we don’t run races together, it’s fun to do these types of events together.  He kept giving me a hard time because I wasn’t really running with him — I think he’s full of it, almost every picture of us running has us together :)

We made our way up to the front of EPCOT and took a group picture in front of Spaceship Earth.  I have to tell you, I was impressed that they fit all of us in!  There were 125 participants this year, the biggest meet-up runDisney has hosted yet!  I really hope they keep the group size on the bigger end so I have a chance of getting in for the next race weekend too!  Can you find me??

After the big group picture, we split into our run and run/walk groups for a smaller photo.  Adam and I decided to do the straight run, here’s the rest of the group.  The girls in the coral colored jackets are a group of bloggers that were there with New Balance — I had total jacket envy every time I saw them over the weekend.  I kept telling Adam he needed to stop by the New Balance booth to pick one up for me, but the $175 price tag and the shopping spree at the lululemon outlets over the weekend made him tell me no.  Maybe next time ;)

We did a quick jog up to the front of the parks, where Farron Kelly did a quick toast to the weekend and thanked us all for participating.  His toast was really cute, I wish I could remember it.. but I have the worst memory.

This picture makes me laugh — I held the champagne flute for the picture but couldn’t drink it.  Thankfully I had Adam there to help me out, he’s always ready to take one for the team ;)

Thanks for a great time runDisney — here’s to a great weekend!

Twenty Mile Weekend!

I’ve been scared of this weekend ever since I added “Long 20″ to my training calendar this summer.  The idea of running 20 miles seemed beyond crazy and completely outside of my comfort zone.  I started stressing as it got closer because it looked like I was going to have to do it on my own too, and we all know how that goes.  Blah!

I posted on my personal facebook page kind of joking asking who wanted to run it with me.  I figured if nothing else, I may be able to get a few of my runner buddies to run a few of the miles with me and if I planned it well, I’d only have to cover a handful of the miles completely solo.  I got lucky and one of my friends (the one whose group I’ve been running with) needed to run 14 miles this weekend and was looking for company too!  SCORE!

She was planning to run a bit faster than I was, but agreed to slow down just a bit so we decided to meet at Starbucks at 6AM on Saturday and I was actually kind of excited.  Honestly, I just really wanted to be able to post a picture of my Garmin showing I ran 20 miles with a bit “I DID IT!!”  Yeah, I’m a nerd like that.

Since I had to run an extra 6 without my friend, I decided I’d get up at 4:30AM so I could get a few of them in before I met up with her.  I woke up and heard water running.. I figured there was a leak or something.  It never crossed my mind that it may be raining.  I rolled over, grabbed my phone to check twitter, instagram, facebook, and the weather.. I was not so pleasantly surprised when I saw that we were in the middle of a pretty heavy downpour and it wasn’t letting up anytime soon.

I considered rolling over and going back to sleep, but I knew my friend would be there waiting for me so I got up, got dressed, and headed downstairs for breakfast and coffee.  I texted her to make sure we were still on and checked the weather again.  The storms were supposed to clear out by 7AM so we figured if it was bad, we could just hang out at Starbucks ’til they cleared.

Note to self – weathermen don’t know it all.  When they say the storms will clear out by 7AM, the storms probably won’t clear out by 7AM.

It poured on me the entire way to Starbucks.  Not a nice, refreshing rain.. a down pour.  We figured we’d be waiting around for a long while if we tried to wait out the storms, so in true BAMR fashion, we headed out for our long run in the rain.  Thankfully my friend knew the area well because thanks to the cloud cover, we were running in the dark for much longer than normal.  Running in the dark also meant that we couldn’t see the puddles ahead of us until after we ran through them.  Yeah, 20-miles in soggy clothes and soggy shoes.. are we having fun yet?

The run itself was actually really fun.  We had a lot to catch up on and eventually we were so soggy and waterlogged that the rain really didn’t bother us anymore and was kind of funny.  We did learn that when your running clothes are soaking wet, it’s better not to try to pull them up and mess with them, because if you do, then you’ll spend the rest of your run trying to hold them up.  And also, we should get cross training points since we basically swam part of the way and were pretty much running with an extra 10 pounds on us from our wet clothes and shoes.

We made our way back to Starbucks and I was on my own for the last six miles.  I changed into dry socks since the rain had let up some and stretched out for a bit, then took off again.  I’m so glad that I had body glide with me or I would have been beyond miserable.  My wet shoes and wet foot plus dry sock was a chafing nightmare.  I stopped after about half a mile to coat my foot in body glide, the finished up the rest of my run.

Then, I got to post this lovely photo, because we all know it didn’t happen if you don’t post a picture of your Garmin, right?

Meeting at Starbucks was a really great idea (for me, maybe not for the other Starbucks customers) because when I finished running, I was freezing and wet and hot coffee sounded amazing.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have a drive-thru so I went in to get my drink (venti non-fat no whip salted caramel mocha-YUM!) and had to stand in line.  I was so wet that there was a puddle under where I was standing.  Oops!

I was surprised at how great I felt afterward.  Nothing hurt, I wasn’t really sore, and I really felt like I could keep going for a while longer.  My pace was pretty decent too.  I think what really helped with that was that we were running intervals.  My friend typically sticks to 4:1 (4 minute run, 1 minute walk) intervals and picks the pace up quite a bit when she’s running.  I’ve done the intervals with her for my last few long runs and I’m always surprised at how little I hurt when we’re done.  I’m trying to decide if I should plan to do intervals at Space Coast — I’m thinking maybe 5:1 or 6:1.  Typically I walk through the water stops at races, so that’s kind of an interval, just a much longer one.  I need to think about how I want to do this.

So now, it’s taper time.  I’m really looking forward to 12 miles being my long run for the next few weekends — crazy that 12 miles isn’t really a long run for me now.  Yikes.

I’d planned to spend the rest of the day relaxing at home with my babies.  It’s Florida/Georgia weekend in Jax (huge football weekend, for the non-fans) and I wanted to watch the game and spend a lot of time in my compression capri’s with these two snuggle bugs..  (please pardon the lack of makeup!)

Sadly though, since work is so busy right now, this is how I spent the rest of my day.. at Panera in a not-so-comfy chair staring at the lovely website that we’re currently in the process of taking over (it’s a government site and I can promise you, it will be a million times better than the crazy Obamacare one!) and documenting every error message I could possibly come up with, then matching it up to a spreadsheet they sent us.  It was quite possibly the most boring way ever to spend a Saturday afternoon.

I called it a day around 8PM and headed home to watch the Florida State/Miami game (GO NOLES!!) and fell asleep a little after half time.  Mackenzie usually wakes up at some point during the night and Adam gets her and puts her in bed with us.  I woke up to her throwing up in our bed around 1AM.  I grabbed her and ran to the bathroom with her while Adam got the bed cleaned up.  I spent the rest of the night alternating between rocking her in the chair in her room and attempting to sleep on the floor next to her bed so I could be close if she got sick again.

Thankfully the vomiting didn’t last, but the poor little thing was miserable all day Sunday.  Our usually crazy-happy little girl spent the day either cuddling on the couch with one of us or sleeping and fighting a fever.  There’s nothing worse than having a sick little one when there’s really not much that you can do for them.  She perked up that evening and seemed to feel better.  By bedtime, she was back to normal and thankfully was kind and didn’t share her sick germs with the rest of us!

Have you ever alternated between straight runs and interval running?  Which works best for you?  How do you decide which to do?

Is this evil stomach bug going around near you too?  I think half of Braden’s school has been out with it!

Let’s Catch Up

It’s been crazy around here and we’ve been busy, busy, busy.  Instead of bombarding you with a ton of little posts about the things we’ve been up to, I’m just going to share some pictures.  I could write lots about it, but I know when posts are this picture heavy (and long) I tend to just scroll, so I’ll save us all the time and try to be brief!

There’s a new crop maze that opened this year in our area – Amazing Grace Crop Maze.  A friend of mine from high school had the idea and she and her husband are running it.  We had a blast getting lost in the maze.  We let Braden be our guide, so it took a while.  The kids also LOVED the corn crib (and I found corn EVERYWHERE when we got home, sorry for stealing corn Kelly!).

I think their favorite part was the cow train.  Thankfully they weren’t busy when we were there, so both kids got to ride over, and over, and over..

Braden spent a good chunk of time in the petting zoo too.  I didn’t get pictures, but they had two itty-bitty baby goats (I think they said they were two weeks old) and I wanted to steal them and bring them home with me.  It was cracking me up watching them with their mama, they babies just wanted to nurse and you could tell the mama had had enough – she kept running away from them and they kept coming back for more.  I feel your pain, mama goat!

The next week, Braden’s class went on a field trip to the crop maze and I chaperoned.  I was a little worried that he’d be bored since we had just gone, but he loved it and got to do a few things we skipped when we were there.  He did the duck races FOREVER.

My favorite part of chaperoning field trips is watching him interact with his friends from school.  I rarely get to see it, and it’s nice to get to see a different side of my little guy and to meet the buddies that I hear so many silly stories about.

The Friday before my birthday, we celebrated with some friends at Taverna Yamas.  It’s kind of a drive from our house, so we rarely go, but their food is SO good.  Seriously, you need to try the artichoke chicken and lemon potatoes.  Oh, and the flaming cheese.  YUM!

And FINALLY, after three years of asking, Adam finally got the birthday cake that I wanted!  It’s from a small, local restaurant, French Pantry.  They bring this cake every year to our office for our lease anniversary and it is SO good.  You have to order it in advance though and he kept forgetting in the past.  This year, he did not forget, and it was so worth the wait.

The restaurant has belly dancers, but who needs belly dancers to entertain you when you have these two crazy girls?

The day before Halloween (how’s that for last minute?!) we headed over to the Pumpkin Patch so the kiddos could pick out and carve their pumpkins.

Braden kept saying he wanted to get the BIGGEST PUMPKIN EVER!!  We told him he could get the biggest pumpkin he could carry.  You should have seen him trying to carry these pumpkins that were bigger than him over to the table where you paid.  We finally gave in and helped him with one after he kept struggling because he swore he couldn’t find one that he loved as much as this one.

We headed home and Adam and Braden got to work carving their pumpkin.  Braden picked out the mummy design because he loves mommy :) I love this kid!

Mackenzie wasn’t so sure about their carving abilities.. or about giving her big brother a carving knife..

But it all turned out okay.

And I can’t even remember what day this picture was from, but is it not the cutest thing ever?  I love how much they love each other :)

I have a few more catch-up posts that I didn’t want to squeeze into this one, then I’ll get to my Wine & Dine weekend posts! It was such a fun weekend and I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it!

2013 Evergreen Pumpkin Run 10-Miler

I’ve been looking forward to this race for a few months. A long, long time ago (like before we had kids), a friend of mine tried to get me and another friend to do this race with her. I told her she was completely nuts because there was no way I could EVER run 10 miles without dying. She was in the middle of training for her first marathon, so 10 miles was no big deal to her. (We ended up doing the Race for the Cure with her instead, and walked almost the whole thing!)

The race fell on my birthday so instead of sleeping in, as I usually do, I convinced Adam to get up bright and early to drop the kids off at my parents house and head to the race site.  It’s held at Evergreen Cemetery, the same place as the St. Patty’s Day 10K, and is absolutely gorgeous.  Seriously, if you’re ever in Jax for one of these races, you should definitely do them.

Andrea (from Once Upon a Run) and her husband met up with us at my parents house when we dropped the kids off and we all headed to the race together.  We got there not too long before the race started (which in my mind was a good thing, because it was COLD!) so we made a quick stop at the port-o-potties, then Andrea and I gave our pants that we’d worn over our skirts to her husband, and we made our way to the starting line.

On the way to the race, I realized I forgot my Garmin on the counter at home.  There wasn’t time to go back and get it, so I was running this race naked.  Sort of.  There were timing clocks at each mile marker so I wasn’t completely on my own, but that required me to do math while running and trying not to trip, which isn’t exactly one of my specialities.

I wasn’t quite sure what my goal should be.  Everyone kept telling me that since I’m in the middle of marathon training, this race would be easy and I’d probably get a huge PR.  Well, I’ve never run a 10 mile race, so it was going to be a PR no matter what.  Here’s what I settled on:

A – Finish with average pace under 9:30
B – Finish with average pace under 9:45
C – Finish and feel good.

I knew going into the race that I didn’t want to really push it because I had my big 20-mile training run the next Saturday and I wanted to be sure that I was ready for it.  I’ve been running most of my long runs at a 10:30-11:30 pace, depending on who I’m doing them with, so I figured 9:30 would be a good A goal — definitely pushing it but not to an outrageous degree.

Andrea and I ran the first three miles together before she broke off to switch over to intervals.  I felt great pretty much the entire time.  I did kind of wish that I’d brought my own water though.  I think there were only 3 water stops and since the summer heat, I’ve gotten used to carrying my own water and having it available whenever I wanted.  I drink a LOT when I run.  I think the guy at one of the water stops got annoyed with me because I stopped and drank 3 cups of water.  They were itty bitty cups that were only half full and I was thirsty!

I got all turned around toward the end and I’m terrible at judging distances, so the last half mile or so was tough.  There was a spot where we ran through a lot of spectators and I figured we must be getting close to the finish line, so I started running as hard as I could.. then I rounded a corner and the finish line was nowhere to be seen.  Oops.  I took a quick walk break to catch my breath, then got back to it and eventually found the finish line.

My chip time was 1:34:53 for an average pace of 9:34.  So close to my A goal!!  That’s okay though, every race can’t be an A goal race.  I’m definitely adding this race to my calendar next year.  I love running local races and the venue for this one is really great.  In case you’re wondering, Adam finished right behind me at 1:35:47 for an average pace of 9:39.  He keeps telling me how he’s so much slower than me, but his race times do not agree.

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