long runs

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.Fun!

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!!

**Yes, I am aware I “borrowed” my headline from the amazing ladies at Another Mother Runner.  Click on the link to see what you are missing…it is a website chock full of great stories, tips and links to their hilarious and amazing books. 

Well, I did it.  My first ever 13.1 mile training run.  It took longer than I wanted and I certainly ached more than I expected during it, but I can no longer ask myself “if” I can complete a half marathon.  Now I know I can.  

4:30am wake up call on Saturday?  Must be a runner!

4:30am wake up call on Saturday? Must be a runner!

VERY early (5:15am) last Saturday morning,  I met up with my running partner and we headed off on long run.  Neither of us had a good running week the prior week.  We were both battling sickness, me a nasty head cold/chest congestion/sore throat thing and she a stomach virus.  So neither of us completed our weekday training runs like we should have.  But, like the troupers all us runners are, we set off on Saturday morning determined to at least get some miles in.

The first couple of miles weren’t hard, but it was darn hot out so we stopped for water breaks almost every mile.  My running partner had more stomach issues during the run so we kept walking for longer than either of us wanted.  With the walk breaks, our legs and feet started aching.  However, that eternal struggle that all distance runners know made us keep going.  We had to get back to where we parked our cars.  So, the last 3 miles we put our headphones in and trudged through.  I kept going until my Garmin read 13.10.  Man oh man was I excited to see that!  Even though my running partner has completed quite a few half marathons and is currently training for a marathon, this was her first 13.1 training run as well.  

We had to get to our cars to take us home...to the food!!

We had to get to our cars to take us home…to the food!!

Source: Runners World

Once we got back to our cars, the aches and pains subsided into joyous elation that we had done it!  We downed a bottle of water each (we had both gone through the 4 8oz water bottles on our hydration belts during our run, summer running in Florida is fun!) and headed home, she munching on a banana, me on my protein shake.  What a way to start the day.

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Survive the Sweat

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

Well, when you put it that way....

Well, when you put it that way….    source

I have always been told I am someone who needs to drink a lot of water.  I get headaches easily, feel extreme fatigue during the afternoon and yes, sweat a lot when I work out.  The more I got into running, the harder it became to recover after a run.  Especially from a long run.  I would inevitably have to take a nap on Saturday and would almost always have a pounding headache at least once (usually more) during the week.  I actually thought I would have to stop running as no matter what I did I could not stop the headaches and fatigue from coming.

Recently, I had an eight mile run, in the summer…in Florida, in which I did NOT get a headache after and I did NOT need a nap.  In fact I felt fantastic the entire day!  With summer upon us I am passing along what I did before, during and after that run in the hopes that some of you might find it helpful:

drink up!!

drink up!!  source

Hydrate the day before.  Don’t know about you but on days I don’t run I’m not the best at making sure I drink lots of water.  This time, I was.  I drank plenty of water the day before (for me 12-14 8oz glasses is a sweet spot) and even downed a glass before my run.

Hydrate along the way: While in the winter I don’t usually take my hydration belt with me, the summer is a different animal.  I made sure I had plenty of water and, much like a race, took a “water break” every mile.

Any excuse to have chocolate is alright in my book.

Any excuse to have chocolate is A-OK in my book.  source

Protein right after your run: No less than 10 minutes after completing my run, I had a cup of chocolate milk.  There is a great article about using protein as a recovery tool here.  If you are like me and never hungry after a run, but always thirsty, chocolate milk is a great choice.  I have no doubt the protein really helped aid my recovery from the heat and intensity of the run.  A spoonful of peanut butter, protein bar or protein shake are also great substitutes for chocolate milk if you aren’t a fan of milk (I’m assuming we are all fans of chocolate..am I right?)

Better tasting than Gatorade with lots of nutrition to help you put back what your workout took out.

Better tasting than Gatorade with lots of nutrition to help you put back what your workout took out.

Hydrate the entire day: Oh you better believe I had not one but two bottles of water with me the entire rest of the day.  Actually one was full of water, the other with Advocare’s Rehydrate.  I like Rehydrate better than Gatorade because it has more “good for you” amino acids without that sickly sweet taste (interested in purchasing your own package of rehydrate to give it a try?  You can do so here).  I would also recommend having Rehydrate the day before your long run or race.  

Don’t forget the importance of sleep: As someone who struggles with frequent insomnia, this one is a toughie for me.  It is hit or miss if I get a good nights sleep.  I usually have a cup of Sleepytime or Sweet Dreams tea before bed and that usually helps.  Try to go to bed the same time every night and do what you need to do to get some shut eye.  An eye mask, soothing sounds, a fan.  Whatever it takes.

I hope these tips help you have a fantastic long run and an even better rest of the day.  Please let me know if they work for you (oh I would love to hear that!) and if you have any additional suggestions, please clue me in!!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

 

 

Today, I became a runner

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

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This week was a busy week.  Three weekly runs, lots of errand running and 2 days spent at that most magical of all places, Disney World.  We got back from Disney last night and I was simply exhausted.  My entire body ached and all I wanted to do was to go to bed…at 6pm.  However, I dutifully laid out my running clothes, got my Gu ready and had the Garmin ready to go for my Saturday long run.  I haven’t missed a Saturday run in over three months.  Until today.

My alarm never went off so when I woke up it was 6:15.  I kept thinking “get up, lets go run” but I just didn’t have it.  For once my body won out and my legs didn’t get out of bed until I heard my daughter at 7am.  I played with my munchkin and chatted with my husband over coffee.  It was a perfect morning.  Except all I could think about was the run I wasn’t taking.  I kept looking at the clock, trying to calculate what mile I would have been on.  I couldn’t think of anything else.  I felt sad.  

Ever since I started running, I always felt like an outsider.  At the running store I felt like a running impostor, as if one of the employees would look at me and say “you aren’t a real runner”.  All the other runners I would see, those who ran faster, slower, more miles or less, they were all the real runners.  Not me.  

However, by missing my run this morning I now know I AM a runner.  It is something that fuels my body and feeds my soul.  My miles, my pace don’t matter, the fact is running is something I now love to do.  Running is something I need to do.  So today, was one of the greatest running days I’ve ever had.  It was the day I became a runner.

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Question: Did you have a moment when you “became” a runner?

Snails Pace

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

On Saturday mornings I run in a park where there are lots of other runners, bicyclists and even walkers.  Aside from the natural beauty of the park, running where there are more people is much safer, especially at 6:30 in the morning.  It is a nice camaraderie; people pass by and say “Hello” or a friendly “Good Morning”.  Sometimes I am really lucky and I get a word of encouragement “looking strong” or some other sentiment.  It is really nice!

Today though I got a bit discouraged.  Large groups of people passed me, all chatting about Christmas and their plans.  I tried so hard to keep up, but there was just no way.  Another woman passed, she looked like she could one of those athletic models.  Two men passed and I honestly had to look down to make sure my legs were still moving, as compared to their speed I felt as though I was standing still!  I thought “I am so slow, I am never going to improve” and “Maybe running really isn’t my thing”.

After my run a fellow runner was telling me about a friend who started running at a 12 minute mile.  She was the slowest of her group and when people passed her, she never got discouraged.  Instead she would say “I’m going to keep going, I am going to get better”.  Guess what…she runs a blistering 6 minute mile now.

As new runners it is so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others.  Everyone is faster than you, everyone can go farther than you.  It can be discouraging.  However, we cannot let those thoughts derail our runs!  Do you think the CEO of a major company started as the CEO?  Nope, he or she had to start low and work their way up.  It is the same in running.  It takes a while to build up endurance and speed.  Most people flying past you have probably been running for years and years!

So give yourself a break (I’m going to give myself one!) and remember in running, as in life, it is all about running YOUR race.  You are trying to beat the person you were last week, not a random stranger.  So don’t give up, keep trying.  Watch, you WILL get better!

Enjoy the Run!

Yovnne

Long Saturday Runs

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Good Afternoon fellow new runners!

One of the rites of passage of becoming a “runner” is the long Saturday run.  It is important because this is when we build our endurance.  Usually it is done on a Saturday or Sunday because that is when most people have the time to devote to going those extra distances.  I have grown to absolutely adore my long Saturday runs.

The weekday runs are usually shorter and it is here runners usually focus on consistency or speed.  You try to increase your speed or just work on getting through those first few miles, running more than walking.  Usually, we are pressed for time during the week due to workplace or family demands.  However on the weekend we tend to take our time, run of course, but it’s not so much about the speed as it is the distance we cover.

On Saturday I love watching the sun come up, as if I am greeting the day!  Seeing the gorgeous colors it makes as it breaks over the horizon is something truly magical.  I also love seeing more people out, saying hi to fellow runners, bikers and walkers.  I also take this time to pat every..single..dog that I come across.  Since time is usually not a concern on a weekend day, you can stop and chat, pat a dog or just use the extra time to sort out your thoughts.

It is hard to get up before the sun on a Saturday, to force yourself to go to bed a bit earlier on Friday night.  However, I find the Saturday runs to be completely worth the sacrifice.  If you need extra inspiration, perhaps download that new song you’ve been listening to or plan an extra delicious breakfast for your return (pancakes and bacon anyone?).  Pump yourself up all week by saying “this weekend I’m going to cover 4 miles” (or 5 miles or whatever that new milestone is).  Pretty soon you will be looking forward to those long Saturday runs, too!

Enjoy the run!

Yvonne