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Running update and what have you

I am finally back at it. I have just recovered from a crazy upper respiratory infection. i was getting worried about it because I have a half marathon this coming weekend. I ran a 5 k two weekends ago with the infection and it wasn’t that fun. (How could I turn down a free registration though!?)

Anyway, I did two runs this weekend and they weren’t too bad. Saturday I felt pretty great. I tried out 3/1 intervals and they seemed to work pretty well. I averaged about 13:06 min/mile. I even managed to run all the way up the massive hill of death at the park.  It wasn’t my fastest run but it would be enough to get me a PR at the half if I can hold that pace all race. I really want a PR on this one. It was the second half I ran and ended up being a 20 minute PR for me. This year’s will be my fourth half and I just want to come in under 3 hours.

Yesterday, i ran with my bff and she is just getting back into running. She’s a natural speed demon but we both struggled yesterday. The wind was awful. Leave it to us to go for a run in the middle of a dust storm warning. I thought we both did good. We averaged about 14 min/mile and I still think she did great despite her saying she didn’t. I was just happy to keep up with her!

There are some other things going on lately too. I am still going to personal training 3 times per week and it is going wonderfully. I love my trainer and I’m seeing massive differences. My biceps are more defined as are my shoulders, back, and triceps. Today she told me she could tell my knees were getting stronger due to the amount of weight we used in one of the sets. it was a weight I was never able to do before.

I have also started redoing my diet and started juicing. I’ll try to make some posts about those soon. I also have a review of my new Garmin planned.

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Very Late Princess Recap: Half Marathon edition

Okay, I admit it. I have been slacking. I mean, I have been sick but I’ve also been completely slacking on everything except work and personal training. So here it is, my recap of my first ever Disney Half.

1:30 am I wake up on my own to avoid the whole flashlight in my face thing from the previous morning. Seriously thought i was about to be murdered. I’m dressed and ready, pacing a bit by around 2:10 am.

  
I was far more awake than I expected to be and I beat my running buddy to the lobby once again. My ChEAR squad was sleepily in tow. We boarded the bus first, once again at 3:00 am and were well on our way to the pre-starting area. More dance party and character meets ensued. My adrenaline was going and I was so beyond ready to get in the corrals.

   

 My running buddy was correct, we had to walk FOREVER to get to our corrals this time but it gave us something to do so I didn’t complain. Everyone was packing in and eagerly awaiting the fireworks to get us going. Miss America gave a short speech and they played the super cute video about dreaming big and the corral starts began.

   
 We had our planned stops for the run, which was less than for the 10k. We had two priorities the Heroes and the pirates. Beyond that, we just wanted to finish ahead of the balloon ladies. We saw the heroes early on before Magic kingdom and jumped in line. My heart was joyous when I saw Flynn Rider. He’s my favorite! We took that quick pic and were off. We ended up not seeing the pirates at all, sadly.

  
Running buddy needed quite a fe bathroom breaks and I took those times the get a good stretching in. Who knew hard hard it could be to do two races back to back, right? Haha yeah…

We ran through the gates to MK and passed the Contemporary resort. The first sign of the park itself that I remember was seeing Space Mountain. It was so neat to see it so early in the morning with oodles of princesses in running gear. Some midrun selfies and quick pictures of our view happened throughout the run. We photo bombed some characters to save time. (Aladdin and Abu, The Stepsisters, and our castle pic.)

   
    
    
    
    
    
   
Running through the castle was a lot easier than I was expecting. They did a great job of keeping a steady flow of runners and that was nice. Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff were standing on the balcony of the castle waving and talking to us as we passed. My running buddy shouted “Do you have any chocolate?” to Anna and Anna responded with “Chocolate?! Where?!” Which was pretty fun.

   
    
    
    
   
There was a lot of roadway and the two large hills toward the end but nothing horrible. they had  DJ at the beginning of one of the hills. My running buddy and I dance/ran and sang “Call me maybe” as we conquered that hill. It was the homestretch from there. I ran it in strong despite my severely aching feet. Hubby was texting me toward the end to tell me which side to stay toward so he could see us. When I came up to where he was, he had a surprise for me. He made me a sign and both he and our friend were yelling for us! There was nothing quite like crossing the finish line for the second time at Disney and going to collect our medals. I will admit it…I teared up.

In summary, I DID IT! I earned my Glass Slipper and proudly display them separately on my wall.

   

  

Enchanted 10K Recap

It’s taken me a while but I’m finally able and ready to give my recap of the Enchanted 10K. I asked our friend to make sure I didn’t oversleep. I’m not a morning person and getting up at 1:45 am sounded pretty daunting. That was not the best idea.

I woke to a light being shined directly in my eyes and a voice saying “Get up.” I seriously thought I was about to be murdered for a second. It did the trick, though. I was up and fully ready long before I was supposed to meet my new running buddy at 2:45 am. 

  
Rapunzel was surprisingly ready at this early in the morning. We all headed to the lobby of our resort to meet my new friend. That’s when we found out that the buses didn’t start running until 3:30 am not 3. We were the first ones on the very first bus. There was a lot of standing around to be done once we got to the race area.  

    
   
Plenty of time for pre-race photo ops. The lines for the characters got really long but we did jump in for a picture with Belle.  

 Then there was more standing before heading everyone toward the starting line. 

   
 It wasn’t too long before we set off. Seeing the fireworks for the corrals ahead of us really got me pumped up for the run ahead. It was fun seeing Elsa and Anna waving to us from the bridge 

   
We had most of our picture stops planned out for this run. We planned for most of the character photos to be in the 10K  with just a few in the Half. First up was Tink. I HAD to stop for her because she’s my favorite. I was so pumped to see it was Tink and Terence since I have never seen him in the parks. The line wasn’t too long but right as we got to the front they brought out new characters and I was afraid they were giving Tink a break. Nope! We lucked out and got Silvermist, Rosetta, Tink, AND Terence! 

  
We passed up meeting the Hag from Snow White and ventured on. We saw some neat stops along the way but felt they were ones we were okay with passing up. Soon, we were entering the World Showcase at Epcot. It was so gorgeous when we emerged from the backstage area. 

   
   
We were having a blast! It really didn’t feel half as tough as all the other 10ks I have ran in the past. The World Showcase was where the characters really got started. 

  
Pinocchio and Jimminy Cricket

  
We were surprised and super excited to see Lumiere and Cogsworth.We were one of the last few to get the pics with them. From there, we headed on toward the Boardwalk. We were greeted with warnings about the possibility of the area being slippery, which I was grateful for. Slippery surfaces and my crazy knees don’t mix well. We got another surprise….the Genie!! We had talked about getting him in the Half since that’s where my friend saw him last year. 

   
   
Apparently, this is my excited face. 

After that was the home stretch and finish line bound. I can’t tell you much about the mechanics of the course. I know there was a hill or two but I was having so much fun and there was so much going on that I really didn’t notice. Running through the finish line was great! 

We gratefully accepted our medals and snack boxes before reuniting with my boys. 

   
    
  

The boys had fun while we’re were gone too. No lines to hang out with the princesses. 

 

Princess Weekend Day 2: the Calm Before The Storm

Day 2 of the fabulous race weekend was a park day. We hit Ohana for breakfast. Hubby LOVES Stitch so we sprung for the extra meal. Plus they have that amazing juice. 

   
    
    
 
After O’hana we hit Hollywood Studios. We didn’t use hardly any of our fast passes because of the funkiness of the day. I managed to fudge a little on our reservations. We had breakfast at O’hana and an hour and a half later, we ate lunch at Sci-Fi Dine in Theater. Oops. I also had to leave for a meet up with one of the Facebook groups I was in. (I was sucked in by the pretty purple princess sash.) It took forever to get myself back due to the crazy situation with the bus rides to and from the resorts. By the time I returned to Hollywood Studios, I was in a near break down state. Pretty sure there were tears. 

I recovered quickly and we set out to do some of the fun things in the park. The guys were stoked to meet Kylo Ren. We got in line for it and they conversed about all the clever things they were going to say to him. 

Hubby repeatedly said he was going to ask what he was planning for Father’s Day and our friend was going to call him Matt. 

Yeah…none of that happened. They totally froze. He was pretty intimidating actually and grilled us about droids. At one point he got right in my face. It was a fun meet though!

   
   
We ended the night with a ride on the Rockin Roller Coaster then headed back to the resort to get some sleep before the early morning wake up for the 10K. I was incredibly sad that we didn’t get to see Fantasmic and, as much fun as the meet up was, I was a little sad I didn’t get more park time. 

Next up…Race day #1!

Princess weekend recap: Expo edition

So I am back to work in the reality of life and I am finally going to take a little time to relive the amazing experience I had for my first ever Princess Weekend. I’ll start with the fight to the death on day 1. (This may also be referred to as the expo.)

The first day of my trip was Wednesday, February 17 but that was mostly spent riding in the car or crummy gas stations for pee breaks. We drove until we were about 2 hours outside of Orlando then grabbed a cheap hotel. In fact, it was the same exact hotel we stayed at on the way down in October and has now been named the official hotel of the Neeley family Disney trips. It should be easy to remember. It’s the ONLY hotel for miles at this point in the trip. 

Anyway, I insisted that I make it to the expo by the time the doors opened. I preferred to be there before they opened and I planned to go straight to the Official Disney merchandise tent. I had great tips from posts here as well as on the Facebook groups and felt this was the best plan of action. 

We arrived just in time and I made a beeline for the Official merch. I really didn’t know what I was in for. I expected to see a ton of people and I expected to have the chance of things selling out quickly. I hadn’t bargained for the pushing, shoving, screaming mass I found myself in. 

   
   It was a mad dash for anything you wanted. You just needed to pray you picked the right size. I didn’t pray hard enough apparently because I ended up with a hoodie that was a size too small for me. It was all rectified thanks to the Facebook groups. 

   
 Although I did see people grabbing things from all directions and there was some poor usage of manners, I did not personally witness the alleged fight over the wine glass. I was lucky. I got pretty much everything I wanted. Wine glass and the much sought after Tervis water bottle included. Once I was done with that crazy area and I dropped more money than I care to remember (it’s what a princess does right?) I grabbed the hubby and friend and we left that mess. 
The area with the vendors had a lot more breathing room and slower pace. I looked around for a bit, bought myself a few shoe charms from Beecause shoe charms, and snagged a picture with Jeff Galloway.

  
I got in on the virtual queue for the New Balance shoes even though I just can’t run in New Balance shoes. I wasn’t sure if I would purchase a pair or not but I wanted to try them on anyway. I got a great time. 11am I headed over there after looking at the other vendors. (Really tough not to buy a new Sparkle skirt, just saying) We didn’t have to wait very long and we talked to some super nice ladies that gave me extra encouragement and info about the races. 

My turn came up and they snagged my size for me. Needless to say, those babies came home with me. 

  I don’t trust any shoes to run in other than my trusty Brooks because of my wonky knees but there was no way I could pass up Ariel shoes. They were super comfy to walk around the parks in though and I have toyed with the idea of displaying them on my running wall at home. 

The Glass Slipper packet pick up was much more laid back since it was in the other building. I opted not to look at the Dooney & Burkes because I knew I would probably end up forking that money over too. Overall, it was a success. It was crowded and everything but I expected that. We finished out the day by going to our resort before heading to Animal kingdom. 

Tiny biceps and nerves

Yesterday I rested and today I did personal training with the awesome Mallorye. As I did bicep curls she tells me “Hey there’s a bicep there!” I looked in the mirror and, sure enough, there was a little baby bicep. Guess this sticking to a routine thing actually CAN work! Seriously though, I love personal training and it’s helped my running in both physical and confidence. I feel better. I feel stronger. I tell myself I can and WILL complete the Glass Slipper Challenge.

I’m still nervous. I have both my skirts in and the tanks from raw threads are on their way. I will either do the assigned 5 and 14 mile runs this weekend or I will do the 10k and half run through in costume. I still want a few props ( an apple and a headband for Snow and a toy frying pan for Punzie..if the new rules will allow those.) but I am mostly ready. We set out for Florida in exactly two weeks!

Getting my mojo back

I finally got back out there and ran today. I took my lovely Sparkle Skirt out for a trial run and she was amazing. I only did two miles because I didn’t want to get sweaty and nasty in her. After last week’s tough run, I have not had much motivation but today was pretty good. I went without music and ran at the college campus here in town.

Since today was the first day where temps were in the 60s again, everyone was at the park. I tried to run there first and both the road and the trail were packed to the gills. It was insane.

I did my short run. Averaged 12:19 min/mile and that was with walking to take a phone call from the hubby. If not for him I would have been a bit speedier. I’m looking forward to going back out again tomorrow for a longer run.

As for my skirt…she was great! There are two enormous pockets on the shorts underneath the skirt and it was big enough to fit my iPhone 6 plus, case and all. Someone had said they put a water bottle in their side pocket. My water bottle fit but looked like I had some kind of deformity so I left it in the car. The middle zippered pocket was perfect for my keys and would be great for holding fuel on longer runs. She didn’t ride up and made for a very comfortable run.

Not so great end to the weekend

This past week was just completely off thanks to the brief winter weather. It was a double run weekend and I feel like those are most important for the GSC training. I stressed half the week hoping I would get to do them.

I did. Saturday I did a personal training session and later went for a run. I decided to try to use the shoe inserts one more time. I shouldn’t have. They were the source of my foot issues and I ended up walking instead of running.

I headed out yesterday for the scheduled 12.5 run and there was still some pain. I did great for the first half of the run though. Then 8 miles in I had to make an unscheduled bathroom stop. For like 10 minutes. I seriously thought about just doing the mile that would get me to the mall where my husband works, stealing his car, and going home. Alas, I decided to continue on. The rest of the run was just a disaster. Full of traffic lights. The foot pain threw my gait off and gave me hip pain and I almost popped my knee out of place trying to stretch. Yeah it was awful. I decided at 10.5 miles to call it. I walked the mile back to my car and complained on the phone to my running friend about how sucky it felt.

Then the doubts started. Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into. 

Holy cow I have to run further than this for the challenge.

Oh crap it’s less than a month. What was I thinking?

Of course, I realize that this is just ONE RUN. I also know there won’t be stop lights and bad shoe decisions before those races. I am telling myself repeatedly now, YOU CAN  DO THIS and Think of all that bling! 

There is no way to slice it, I am nervous. Seeing posts about how we should be getting corral assignments soon and everyone getting their magic bands (ours came in last week) is drilling it in. This is really happening and it’s not far away. Single digit weeks.

Anyone else getting the jitters??

 

The Things I Get talked Into…

I know I already posted but I wanted to do a more upbeat one now that I ate my snickers and feel better 😉

I’m going to start by going back a year. This time last year I was struggling and in so many ways. I was registered for a half marathon. The second one I registered for but it would end up being the first one I completed. Anyone that knows me can tell you, I am not used to failing. I’m just not. I had a 4.0 in high school. I have a master’s level education and was able to obtain a dream job. I was a championship majorette in high school and I went to districts in tennis twice, one of which was about three months after having a pretty significant knee surgery. I don’t give up and I rarely fail at things I truly set my mind on.

That being said, I had to back down from my first half marathon. I had busted tail all summer alone. I picked up my time and everything. I was hitting massive hills and practically wore  down the path in the trails at the park. I ran rain or shine. Then my old running partner came back to run. She had been out for a few months due to her back problems. She’s an amazing athlete that continually downplays her awesomeness and I have to admit that I sometimes felt a little inferior. She was a beast and just an overall natural runner. I was lucky to have her help me get started but I was trying to keep up with her and my so-called good knee went out on me (i.e dislocated) less than two miles in. It was my worst fall to date and I have dealt with these falls since I was single digit ages. I just have naturally awful knees. I still have flashbacks of that fall and might be part of why I am not quite as fast as many people I know that run. it put me out of commission for a while. We did the 5k instead of the half for that race and I was distraught. It felt like a failure.

Fast forward to January 2015. I had new shoes and a new half I was training for. I had some minor falls and the previous November I sprained my ankle. I had no running partner because she stood me up pretty much every day. She just really wasn’t a morning person. I was terrified I would not be able to finish that one either. The pace requirement wasn’t super fast or anything. You could literally walk the whole thing and finish but I was still terrified. I’m going to speed this up because the post is longer than I thought it would be… needless to say, I finished! and I made a new friend along the way.

She was wicked cool and stayed with me the whole time, even when I had to sit on the concrete and stretch my crazy hip out. Also, the medals were way cooler than the one pictured. Those were temporary ones because the real ones were tied up in a shipping crisis. Anyway, I had massive hip pain and was super slow but I still finished my first half.

The struggle I had was with pain and feeling like I was alone all the time. The day after this half, I started a program I accidentally signed up for. It was called Women Can Run and, yes, I said I ACCIDENTALLY signed up for it. I don’t do new crowds well. I’m an omnivert with a slight tendency toward introvert so hubby pretty much forced me to go through with it for the next few weeks.

The program was amazing!  It was free and for women of all ages. Walkers and runners were all welcome and I was somehow in the advanced group. I was terrified. I went on the first group run and was terribly slow. My leader, Lauren, was wonderful and hung back with me since everyone else had those amazing fast twitch muscles God left out on me. I told her about the awful hip pain I had experienced and about the knee problems. She suggested a metronome and told me to take small steps as if my shoelaces were tied together. I swear she was magic because that hip pain disappeared after that short run with her.

The program was 10 weeks and ended with a graduation 5k. In the advanced group we learned about speed drills and all kinds of stuff I had only read about in blogs and books. I some how went from running 13 minute miles to having my best magic mile be 10:45. My easy pace went up to 12:30-11:30 per mile. The best part was, they encouraged you to get to know the other women and make friends. This was how #teamslug began. I made two of my best running friends in that group. I did my second half marathon with them and cut 20 minutes off my time! That accidental registration changed my entire life and I am so glad hubby kind of forced my hand for those first few weeks.

The program is state wide and it was the best thing that happened to me. i would not be preparing for Princess Weekend if I had not gone to this clinic. I think I would have given up. Okay so maybe not but I would have hip pain, bad gait, and like no running friends which is just as bad.

The program is about to start back up and I have been talked into being a leader. I’m nervous because I feel like I still have so much more to learn. I’m also extremely excited and flattered that they felt I would be “an inspiration” to others. I have no idea how I will be an inspiration but I am hoping to be placed with the beginner runners. I love seeing people find joy in running and I can’t wait to give back to the program that gave me so much!

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