Evening Run

Race Review-Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

On October 4th, I did it.  I entered the fifth dimension….I entered….The Twilight Zone.

Source: RunDisney.com

Source: RunDisney.com

I had been looking forward to this race for over a year, the first time I read about it on another blog.  It sounded like so much fun and the medal…well..more on that in just a bit.

My family arrived in Disney on Friday and we immediately went to our resort to check in.  This time we stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort.  I will do a review of our Disney experience in a different post, but once I checked in, I also had to go to a different desk in the lobby to check in and get my free mini-golf passes(that’s right, I said FREE mini-golf passes.  With no expiration date…bonus!)  and my Tower of Terror weekend pamphlet.  After that, we headed over to the Wide World of Sports section of Walt Disney World for our packet pick up.

I was concerned as I’ve heard that packet pick up and the expo’s can be very crowded, but this one was so well organized, we could have been in and out in a matter of minutes (and I had to pick up 2 bibs, one for myself and one for my daughter who did the Kids Races).  Kudos to RunDisney for the expo.  As someone who hates crowds, this was a very pleasant surprise.  I took a look around the expo floor at all of the neat runner specific things that they had for purchase, but the highlight for me was to see all of the other RunDisney Medals!  That is right, all of the other medals from upcoming races were on display.  My favorite?  Let’s just say I need to make a trip out to Disneyland for the Avengers race. (my apologies for no pictures, this area was constantly crowded with people wanting a look.  Can’t really blame them!)

On Saturday I tried to nap, but I was too excited and before I knew it…it was time to board the bus!  Funny enough the usual butterflies that accompany me heading to a race were completely absent.  I had made a pact with myself that I was just going to enjoy the experience.  Everyone told me that with a RunDisney race, you can’t worry about your time, so I decided, I would not (note: I did still have a target finish goal in mind, under 2 hours).

Photo credit: My mom

Photo credit: My mom

The bus was a great experience as people were so friendly.  I met three lovely ladies and we chatted about running and what we hoped for from the run.  (To finish was the over-arching theme.)  We got to the waiting area outside of the corrals and what fun!  There was an absolutely fantastic DJ who had moves to every song, so it was like a dance party, warm up, and aerobics class in one.  I know I should have sat and rested my legs but darn it, if I hear a fun song I just half to boogie down.  Apparently, I am not alone.

I went to a race and a dance party broke out!

I went to a race and a dance party broke out!

While waiting, I also signed in to the Hollywood Hotel guest registry.  I’ve heard good things about this hotel, especially the elevators.

sign in

The only fault I found with this part of the process?  At 8:30pm (race starts at 10pm), all of the port-o-potties were out of toilet paper and the portable sinks were out of soap and paper towels.  There was no one near to report this to.  Next year I hope they have extra supplies of such essentials, especially for us lady runners!

At 9:15 we loaded into our corrals and walked to the start.  It wasn’t long now…the excitement was overwhelming.  Then, promptly at 10pm we were off!!  I always force myself to slow down at the start of a race, and this one was pretty easy to do just that because it was crowded at the start.  Not “running into others” crowded, but certainly too crowded to sprint out although I saw people doing just that.

I was nervous because I was told not to bring headphones and when I got to the race start everyone was wearing headphones, but honestly, I didn’t need them.  Within a mile there were DJ’s, a character meet and greet (Jafar) and water and powerade.  In fact I could not believe how fast the miles ticked by, it seemed like I had just completed a mile when buzzzz, my Garmin vibrated another mile down.

By far, my most favorite part of the run was when we ran into the Wide World of Sports Complex.  It was a well lit trail that added such a different vibe, I thought it was really fun.  I also LOVED running through the baseball stadium.  People were cheering and screaming, oh it was a blast!  Additionally the volunteers on this part of the course were simply amazing.  They were clapping, had kazoos and clappers and were cheering us on.  They deserved a medal too, in my opinion.

It was also a wide world of sports that I got some super fun pictures.  I had to get a picture when the infamous grave diggers, and surprisingly their line wasn’t that long at all, maybe 5 people in front of me?  I also got a picture with the “zombie tailgaters” who had literally zero line. Then at mile seven I stopped to get a picture with the “corpses”.   Every picture I took I was amazed, the people playing the characters NEVER broke character.  They were all fantastic!

corpse brides zombie tailgaters

 

Once I left Wide World of Sports I knew the end was close.  We ran into Hollywood Studios and they had a DJ who was not only playing music but hilarious.  At this point, I sent a text to my husband letting him know I was on property and had about 2 miles to go.  We ran into the lights motor action speedway and through the back lot.  Then we ran down New York City (so cool!) and around the Mickey hat.  It was here that family and friends were cheering and another amazing DJ was playing music and saying “you got this, you can do it!!”.  It was mile 9 and I can’t lie, I almost starting crying (I get a little emotional when I run).  More twists and turns and then through the seamstress section, which was super neat to see all of the clothes.  They also had a disco ball and music, I felt like breaking out into a dance.  Then a straight away with more amazing volunteers cheering and clapping.

My Garmin buzzed 10 miles…yet I was STILL running!  What the what?  I saw a huge screen ahead that had various race photos, the Twilight Zone music and once I hit that, I turned a corner and there it was…the finish line!!  I high fived Goofy and cross that line in my goal finish time!  Bonus was that unlike my Gasparilla experience my husband actually saw me cross!  As soon as I crossed I got a chill towel (ohhh so nice!) and a snack box.  I also snagged my most awesome medal.  Folks, the elevator moves and the windows glow in the dark.  Yep, coolest medal around!

TOT finish!

Photo Credit: My husband..who waited up until almost midnight to see me cross the finish line.

Once my daughter sees this, I will never get it back!

Once my daughter sees this, I will never get it back!

 

Two things about this race that were a bit of an inconvenience:

1. The walk to the bag check to pick up your bag is looooonggg.  For the love of God, I just ran 10 miles, can you make this pick up a little closer?  Also, if you had to pick up your bag, there was no way to tell your loved ones waiting for you where to go.  I wish they would have made that a bit easier.  Lesson learned: I will always tell my family to go to the bag check section or changing tent area to find me.

2. The snack box had all carbs in it.  Almost no protein.  I don’t know if it is just me, but after I run I have got to get some protein into me or else I get a wicked headache (which I had the entire next day).  Lesson learned, next time I will bring a protein shake in my bag check.

I am very bummed to see that RunDisney has elected not to do this race in 2015 (no explanation why), but I hope that this a temporary stoppage.

The Pros:

“Smaller” RunDisney race

Night time course so no hot sun beating down on you

Different terrain breaks up the miles

Wonderful volunteers

Absolutely phenomenal medal and tech shirt (the shirt glows too!)

10 mile distance is a great entry point for someone who wants more of a challenge than a 10k but is not ready for the full half marathon distance

Very cool theme

 

The Cons

That walk to the bag check!  Sweet Jesus.

No ability to meet family right after the finish.  No way to tell them to meet you at bag check vs. party

The fact that family must buy a villains bash ticket to see you finish.  We are annual passholders.  For almost every other race (except for Wine and Dine) my husband could have used his pass to get into the park to see me finish.  But because it was a night race, he had to buy a special ticket.  I am still kind of miffed about that.

There is no Tower of Terror Race scheduled for 2015 😦

 

I loved this race and I want to do it again.  I hope RunDisney does bring it back, and better than ever.  A run through the Magic Kingdom..by the Haunted Mansion ride perhaps?  How amazing would that be?

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Question: Have you run the Tower of Terror 10 miler?  What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of Running & Sleep

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

I’m baaack!  It as been a few weeks, yes weeks, since my last blog post.  My half marathon training has been more draining than I was prepared for.  I’ve been following the plan, taking the prescribed rest days and pushing my mileage only when I felt up to it.  However, my exhaustion level has been higher than usual.  Why?  I think I know.

Should I be asleep now?  My body has no idea!

Should I be asleep now? My body has no idea!

Picture Source 

Runners need more sleep than most, 8-10 hours at least.  Don’t believe me? Read about it here or in this true life tale here.  I don’t know about you but 8 hours of sleeps seems like a glorious dream.  Between family, home and just every day life, getting 8-10 hours of sleep is hard for even the most organized and disciplined.  Add in my varied running schedule (some days it is early morning, other days it is late at night, somedays it is mid-day..) and my body has no idea when it should sleep.  So inevitably I am wide awake at midnight and having trouble keeping my eyes open at 2pm.  It’s a mess.

For the past week, I’ve been trying to get to bed earlier, when I can.  I’ve found an app that tracks my sleep so I have a better understanding of my sleep patterns and how much sleep I’m actually getting.  I’ve utilized the treadmill so I can run during the day vs. waiting until night to run (because running at 4pm in Florida in the summer is just a bad, bad idea).  I’ve also worked on getting more water and making sure I limit my sugar intake as this also affects my sleep.

Will all of this help?  I can only hope so!  The good news?  My running is really coming along nicely.  Last week I completed my longest ever, over 12 miles and my speed is improving as I had a sub 10 minute mile!  I am excited about how much stronger I feel during my runs and even though I’ve been tired and the past few days I’ve been battling a cold, my legs still move when I ask them to.  I know this is a good sign as running is becoming more second nature than it was before training began.  Yes!!!  

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Question: How much sleep do you get a night?

When Mother Nature Doesn’t Cooperate

Rain, rain go away!!

Last week started off so amazingly.  On Monday I did my “fun” workout and this time, I selected swimming laps.  I love swimming, even did it competitively in my youth.  Did a nice variety of different strokes including, Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke and even Butterfly. 

On Tuesday I hydrated like crazy, ate a fantastically good dinner with just enough protein, carbs and veggies and couldn’t wait for my longest mid-week run to date, seven miles.  Then…the rains came.  Having lived in Florida off and on for over 15 years, I know a little about the weather.  I knew enough to wait it out and the storms would stop.  Keeping a watchful eye on the weather radar, when I saw my chance I (literally) ran out the door.  

Oh. My. God.  Those miles were simply awesome.  I felt strong, I felt fast, I was completely in control of my run.  I felt like anything was possible.  The miles simply ticked by one after the other and before I knew it I was on mile five.  Just two more to go. 

Aerial view of Tampa, FL..note the complete lack of elevation of any kind...

Aerial view of Tampa, FL..note the complete lack of elevation of any kind…

One thing about Florida…it is flat.  There are no hills, no mountains, so I was able to keep a watchful eye on the sky throughout my run.  The problem with this is things often seem close when they are far…and some times…like Tuesday night…seem far when they are, in fact, super close.  

I heard the thunder…I saw the lightening.  I just didn’t think it would hit as fast as it did.  Around mile five and a half the skies opened and the rain plummeted to earth.  I hid under a neighbors front porch for a good 10 minutes then when the rain let up, tried to make a break for it.  No use.  The skies opened again and the deluge began again in earnest.  

You may recall I have written many times about how I love a good run in the rain.  Still do.  However this type of rain had thunder and lightening with it and was coming down so fast I literally couldn’t see.  I hid under another neighbor’s porch, this one had cameras (hi neighbor!!) and sullenly came to the realization that my amazing run was going to end prematurely.  My husband was already asleep (he goes into work at 2am) so I called my dad who came to pick me up.  As I sloshed into my house I still felt good about my run.  I mean, if the lightening of a good run can happen once, it can strike twice, right?  

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Can a Morning Person become an Evening Runner?

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

Confession time: I am a morning person.  My internal clock is set for 6am and I wake up ready to go.  The morning is when I am most energized and ready to attack the day.  It is the time of day when most of the items on my to do list are checked off.  Morning is absolutely when I run.

This isn't quite how I look when I wake up, but close..

This isn’t quite how I look when I wake up, but close..

So what is a morning girl to do when she can’t run in the mornings?  My husband recently got a new schedule at work, one that requires him to be at work in the middle of the night and stay there until the early afternoon.  With a 2 year old at home, my morning runs went from a given to a luxury.

Yep, we love it!

Yep, we love it!

Sure I can put her in the jogging stroller, but by the time we grab her breakfast, the 30 different toys she swears she needs for a 30 minute outing and we go potty 5 times I’m already exhausted and I haven’t even gotten out the door.

I can go for a run when my husband gets home from work.  Except that I live in Florida and as of noon today it is already 90 degrees…in the shade.

Really the only good time for me to run is my least likely time of the day to get anything accomplished…evening.  Most evenings I’m too exhausted to even turn on the computer, let alone go for a run.  However one day last week, I decided I would give it a try.

This isn't me (I don't need to wear pants to run in the Florida summer heat!)

This isn’t me (I don’t need to wear pants to run in the Florida summer heat!)

After my daughter went to bed and my husband fell asleep, around 8pm, I left the house.  It was still warm but with the sun setting it wasn’t too bad.  The first few steps were awkward and yep, the first people I saw I said “Good Morning” (force of habit). But you know what, it was pretty darn fun!  It was great to see so many neighbors out and about.  It was fun to see kids playing and see how pretty the neighborhood looks in the light.  Once I got home, I had a glorious 30 minutes of alone time to stretch and cool down and after a shower and my usual evening tea, I was actually ready for bed!  It was awesome!

In short, this morning girl really loved her evening run.  Even though I’ll miss my morning runs (I still plan on doing my long runs in the morning) it was a really fun way to wind down and end the day.  I highly recommend trying to run at a different time of the day than you usually do.  You might really love it!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne