Thursday, September 29, 2011

Arm Workout

I've been on a break since the Disneyland Half Marathon and I'm gearing up to start increasing my mileage again.  I'm still hitting just about 2 miles at a time, but that's been good since my ankle and shins have decided they want to act up... again.  I have to admit, I don't ever think I'll never not be injured or fighting something.

Still, I am getting mentally prepared to get back in endurance training.  It is definitely going to be my focus now because it was seriously lacking for the Disneyland Half.  Plus the humidity is finally dropping off and the daily temperatures are calming down.  That means I'll be able to run outside again!  I was going to today, but it's an important day at work for me and yesterday my ankle had me limping around in the afternoon so I decided to take it easy.

If you remember when I started this journey I said I was going to do pull ups everyday because I recognized that as one of my weaknesses.  Then I stopped... Well, I just discovered the pull up and dips machine in the gym.  It uses weights to help you back up and so I've been playing with that to find the right amount of help.  I can tell you one thing... my shoulders are sore!  I spent about 10-15 minutes today in the gym just focusing on my arms and they are definitely tired and will be sore tomorrow.  Still, I had fun discovering the new machines to help out with my arm workouts.  That's still one of my biggest trouble zones and an area I'll probably always continue to work on.

So a run tomorrow followed by a night at Magic Kingdom park for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party... what a great start to the holidays and to the weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Missing Goals

So I had that distance goal on Nike+ and unfortunately, I'm not going to make it.  I kind of saw it coming last week when I realized 9 miles behind and would have to run 3 miles for 5 days.  I was positive about it at first, but along with my circuit workouts and work schedule, it just didn't work.

Nike+ is great and doesn't want to discourage runners so even though I didn't make my goal, Nike+ offers extensions.  I appreciate that considering I didn't even care about that goal when I realized I wasn't going to make it.  So now that I've extended it, I'm ahead of where I need to be and we'll see how quickly I finish up the 13 miles I have left.  I think I might run 2-3 miles 2-3 times a week for another month or so before picking up the miles again to prepare for the Princess Half Marathon.  I don't think I'll make another goal after this for a while, probably not until closer to the Princess..

While my original Nike+ goal passed me by, I did get my diet back on track.  I don't want to say I'm a calorie counter, but instead I'm calorie aware.  I know what I'm eating, about how many calories it is, and how much I can be eating that day.  I'm not sure strict about staying under the allotted calories, but I don't let them get out of control (most of the time).  I'm still eating what I like and not worrying about only eating certain things.  It just makes diets that much better.  Like I've said before, it's all about portion control and I'm proud to say I've been getting a lot better at that!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Good News Follows Bad

I did as I said I would and got out and ran 3 miles this morning!  I then proceeded to walk for about 10 minutes.  I'm getting back on track...  I am now 8 miles behind on my Nike+ goal.  I have 5 days to complete 15 miles... Let's see if this can happen... I have also been smart about my food choices today to get my diet back on track as well.

In other good news.  Darden Restaurants, the company that owns Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Red Lobster, and other chain restaurants; has pledged to First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Campaign and will be reducing the calories and sodium by 20% in the next 10 years.  

Darden has also added more healthier options to the kid's menu.  Now, when I first heard about this change, I was listening to the radio and the hosts were talking about it.  They also mentioned that if children want fries with their dish, then they need to have an adult order it for them.  Now, I didn't see this mentioned in the article I read about the announcement, but I personally think it's a good idea.\

To read an article about the announcement you can visit NPR's report here.

Now, this is great news for me because while I'm not a big fan of Red Lobster and have never been to Bahama Breeze or Longhorn Steakhouse, I absolutely love Olive Garden.  Hopefully the change doesn't make a decline in the quality, but I doubt it will.  These big chains are good about keeping the quality up even facing these types of change.  Plus, they have 10 years to figure it out... I'm sure they'll get it right in that time.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I've Been Bad...

So, this week was just busy.  It's the easiest way to explain the week really.

I combined 2 weekends to take 4 days off for the Disneyland Half, so I ended up working for 2 weeks, or 10 days.  Today was day 10, which is great because that means I get tomorrow off.  However, the 10 days have worn me down and I've just had no energy to run.  Just this afternoon, I collapsed onto my bed after work and took a 2 hour nap.

Due to this extra time off, I'm way behind on my Nike+ goal.  I'm almost 10 miles back.  Tomorrow I'll be running about 3 miles, it depends on how I'm feeling.  Saturday could be the same.  It's one of the sad things about the Nike+ is that it doesn't log biking or weights.  I've done both of those in the last week, but they didn't count!

For most of the week, I've been good about what I've been eating, but I unwravelled a bit yesterday and today.  Especially today.  Luckily, tomorrow is my day to get back on track... I'll run, eat right, and just feel better with where I'm at.

I think that was the worst part of this whole week.  I knew I was falling behind on my goal and I knew my calories weren't as good as they should have been.  That ate at my conscience and I've had it bugging me over the last few days.  I guess that's still the competitive athlete in me.  When I swam competitively I never missed a practice unless something with school came up or I was really really sick.  Now, it seems like one little thing can throw me off.

So like I said... tomorrow will get me back on track.  I'll get up and run, take my roommate to the airport, and relax for the rest of the day.  I'll recenter myself and just regain some of that control I've lost.  Maybe I'll do a little meditation while I stretch?  Who knows...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back Running

While running would have been nice yesterday, I'm in the middle of a marathon work week and so I went home and took a mini-nap. Thus my workout consisted of me walking around Disney's Hollywood Studios for a few hours and getting my heart rate up on Rock'n'Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror.

So this morning turned out to be perfect for my workout. I set my alarm a bit early and was able to get down to the gym for a nice little run.

I wasn't sore, but my IT band was tight and I definitely felt that for a bit. It looks like I might be doing some rolling once I get home from work. Other than that my run felt pretty good. I then did a few arm-focused weight exercises.

Yes, that does mean I faced the dreaded treadmill again, but I chose one I knew (or hoped) was working and things went well. I was still bored and I cannot wait for the humidity to disappear so I can run outside again. It's already starting to get better...

I was running in my new Asics Cummulus' and they felt pretty good. There weren't any shin splint worries or anything like that so maybe in the next few weeks I'll break them in and get out on a 5 miler... So, right now the reviews are positive on the new shoes!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Break Boredom

The taper before and break after the race are nice times to relax.  I already talked about how I relaxed during my taper and currently I'm getting ready to start running again... thus my break is coming to an end.

And thank heavens for that!  I've been wanting to run and workout again since only a day or so since I got back to Florida.  The weather is getting cooler, I have new shoes, and quite frankly I am bored.  

Just 2 days after getting back, I did get on the treadmill for a 1.5 mile run.  

Then yesterday, so nearly a week from the race, I was able to get back down to the gym.  Unfortunately, my foot was having some issues so I chose to just use the stationary bike and then I used some weights for abs and arms.  My arms are a bit sore, but part of that might have been from a shot I got for work that gave me dead arm.

I'm thinking I'll get back on the treadmill or out on the road in the next few days. Maybe Monday?  Maybe tomorrow even after work?  We'll see I guess.

O!  And check out my picture from the Disneyland Half Marathon.  All 3 medals (Princess 1/2, Coast to Coast, and Disneyland 1/2)...  

Thanks to my father for being a personal photographer for the day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Race Recap

So it's been two days now since the Disneyland Half and it's about time I start looking ahead to the 2012 Princess Half Marathon.  So, to put the race behind me it's time to recap all that happened.

The first mile was spent trying to get around people.  The first few miles of the Disneyland Half is spent weaving through the parks so it bottlenecks a lot and you tend to get stuck behind walkers and slower people.  Which brings up my first issue... those people who somehow get into the higher corrals and are walking within the first .5 mile!  The starting line was still visible and I was passing walkers.

For those of you who believe that moving up corrals doesn't hurt anyone... it really is annoying and it can be dangerous if runners can't get by or aren't expecting you to stop.  So, if you are in a higher corral and are planning to walk early, go to the back of the corral so those who are serious about the running part can get by.

Once we were in the parks I took pictures with Phineas and Ferb, Dug and Russel from UP, Rapunzel and Snow White, and then Belle and Cinderella.  There were other characters out, like Darth Vader who had the longest line, Tigger, and Sleeping Beauty and the fairies.  Sleeping Beauty was actually on the Carousel which was pretty neat.  They also had some floats out from the parade, but without any character so that was kind of iffy.  If you're going to bring a float out, at least have the character with it...  They had the trains out again which was a cool and that was my last picture before hitting Anaheim.

The course looped through more of Disneyland than it did last year considering California Adventure (DCA) is still under construction.  I liked the fact you saw a lot more of the park, but again, there's a lot of bottlenecking through the parks.  Maybe next year when DCA is open again they can have more of the race inside the parks?  What do you think runDisney?

 Between miles 4 and 8, it was pretty boring.  Let's face it Anaheim isn't the prettiest of cities.  There was a bit of snaking up and down streets to get the miles up before heading to Angel's Stadium.  I hit my first and biggest wall just before mile 5.  I didn't feel good and fatigue was just tearing apart my legs.  I walked a bit to get over the nerves making me feel like I was going throw up, but then once I calmed down and got some water and powerade I was feeling better.  I was still feeling a bit sluggish though.

Around mile 7 the soundtrack from Illuminations, the nightly EPCOT show, came on.  That music helped push me through the next mile and and once I hit mile 8 I was feeling a lot better.  It also helped that mile 8 is like the turning back to home point for me.  I know it's over half way, but there's so much more after that marker and it just pushes you that much harder.

First was the Honda center, although they didn't any hockey players of the Duck from the Anaheim Ducks out.  After that we ran on the Santa Ana trail.  That's a pretty narrow area so again, it's important to make sure you're out of the way when walking and just make sure there's no one who can run into you or for you to run into.  There was a nasty little hill coming up from the trail, which I did walk, but after that it wasn't too bad.

Almost immediately after the trail we were at Angel's stadium.  The Boy Scouts were out again cheering everyone on and trying to get high fives from the runners.  I was more than happy to run on the side and slap there hands... Then we turned into the tunnel, and ran onto the field, just like the teams.  They were getting the field ready for a game, but we were still able to run around home base (see picture below).  They had the jumbo-tron on again and it's always fun to see yourself on a massive tv.

After Angel stadium it was almost a straight shot back to the parks.  You hit Mile 10 in the stadium's parking lot, and then Mile 11 out on the streets.  Mile 12 was right when you hit the parks.  Now, but this time my ankles were on fire, my calves were tired, but still my quads were good.  The last mile weaved through the service roads behind DCA and then through the hotels.  

Finally, between Downtown Disney and Disneyland Hotel, the finish loomed over everyone.  Mickey and the rest of the Fab 5 were at either side of the finish cheering everyone on.  It felt amazing to finish... I had finished another half.

Getting the Disneyland and Coast to Coast medals was the best feeling ever.  As soon as I have a picture with all of my medals on, I will be posting it!  I wore them around most of the day, even though they were smacking each other the whole time and being annoying.  They were heavy, but I was proud to bear that weight of those medals to show off what I had done.

If you've been reading this blog then you know how bad my training has been since my move.  The fact that I survived and my quads didn't hurt nearly as much as either of the last halves is a testament to how important strength training is to a training plan.  However, I was running about a 11 minute mile so the endurance training would have helped to get that time down.  

I know the things I need to work on before the next half and the things I need to just keep doing.  I need to get my endurance up again and my strength training needs to stay strong.  Other than that... less than 6 months to Princess!

Some tips for those who might be running the 2012 Disneyland Half or even the 2012 Tinkerbell (if it's the same or a similar course).
  • Get to your corral early because there are a lot of a people, not a lot of room, and you'll just get a better position.  Then again, please be mindful of your speed (walking vs running) when you decide where to go in the corral.
  • Enjoy running through the parks.  Take pictures with the characters you want.  They are only in the first part of the race since the rest is in Anaheim.
  • Spread out and focus on your own pace while running through the city.  You have pretty much the whole street, so use it!
  • Enjoy everyone cheering you on.  There are a lot of bands, cheerleaders, and dance groups out there for YOUR entertainment.
  • And most of all... HAVE FUN!
So there it is, my recap.  For those who haven't thought about doing a Disney race, I would HIGHLY suggest it.  Personally, I plan on looking forward to Princess next year, then maybe Disneyland again and Food and Wine?  I might possibly be looking to do all runDisney events in the next 5 years or so...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Run Hard Party Harder

I'm done.  It took me 2 hours and 36 minutes, but I'm done... Now, I'm sitting here in comfy jeans and my new "I Did It!" t-shirt.  My legs are sore, my back is sore, I'm just sore in general.  Overall... Disneyland was another fun and successful race.

Initial thoughts-

  • My ankles hurt the most, my calves and knee would switch, but were tolerable.  Both spots were expected to be painful so that's not surprising.
  • My quads weren't nearly as tight as I was expecting.  Actually, they aren't tight period (In my opinion at least).  I guess I should thank Jillian Michaels for those quad workouts... I'm stronger than expected.
  • Weren't as many cheerleaders and bands, but still the course was fun.  
  • My medals are heavy, but AWESOME!  Yes, I did bring my Princess 1/2 Marathon medal and so I will be wearing three around with me today.  It's my neck's workout for the day because anyone who's done a runDisney race will know how heavy and well done the medals are.
  • Volunteers were amazing.  They deserve a round of applause as well.
Alright, well now it's time to refuel, aka go get breakfast.  Eggs, breakfast potatoes, and fruit, or cinnamon bun french toast?  Decisions decisions...

Tonight I'm getting together with friends from high school and college and tomorrow I'm heading back to Florida.  A more detailed race report will come tomorrow or the next day (along with pictures), and product reviews will come after that...

2011 Disneyland Half Marathon Done.  Next stop... 2012 Princess Half Marathon!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Checked In and Ready To Go

Check in finally got here, which means the race is tomorrow!  There's no backing out now and it's just time to get ready to run.

Check in was busy, but went smoothly enough.  I printed my waiver at the event and signed in for the race.  Pretty much it was sign here, sign here, initial here, initial here, great!  Here's your bib, pin (I bought one when I registered), and some other papers.  After I was signed in I got a green wrist band which distinguished me as a coast-to-coast candidate.

I then went over to the expo and picked up my goodie bag.  It was decent, no disposable camera which I appreciated since I still haven't used the one from last year.  This year's tech shirt is black, which means I can wear it with my blue shorts.  There were a lot of ads for other races, a discount card for sports authority, Blocks, and some other little things.

I did do some shopping at the expo.  I got some asics to replace my old running shoes, a new headband (we'll see if it slips or not), and new earbuds.  I also got 2 shirts and a second pin at the expo.  I got the women's "I Did It!" shirt (yes, they had male and female versions this year), and a coast to coast shirt as well.  Pictures of those will come later as I'm not wearing them until I've completed the race.

And the surprise of the expo?  I got to meet Drew Carey and Megyn Price (the woman from Rules of Engagement).  They are both running the race, and were taking pictures and signing autographs for a bit.  I found out that Megyn was a swimmer until college, where she ended up lifeguarding since she didn't get onto the Stanford swim team.  It was awesome seeing that we had something in common.  Drew Carey's lost a ton of weight.  I mean, it's obvious when you see him on TV, but in person it just smacks you in the face just how much weight he's lost.  He looks good though.

In just a few hours, I'll be getting up for the run.  I'll admit I'm pretty nervous, but I'm also excited.  It'll be interesting to see how I do, but either way, I'm finishing, getting the Disneyland 1/2 medal and the Coast to Coast medal.

I'll have an initial summary/reaction tomorrow once I get back to my room so check back tomorrow morning for race updates!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last Preparations

One more day till I fly to California!  Three more until the Disneyland half marathon!  I am so pumped right now that I'm not worried about what's going to happen after the race (shin splints, ankle injuries, knee injuries, etc...).  I just want to get there and have fun running!

That's one of the great things about the Disney races is that the Disney spirit is still throughout the race.  Yes, running 13.2 miles is not an easy feat by any means, but to have characters, bands, other groups, and crowds cheering you on makes it a lot more fun.  Plus there are the little things...

If you register early enough you get your name printed on your bib.  I was about halfway through and this school group was out cheering on someone used my name.  It confused me for a second until I realized my name was on my bib and they had just read it.  It was still awesome to have complete strangers cheering for you and using your name!

It's memories like that, that I'm excited to make more of this year!

In preparation for the race I haven't been too strict on my running, but I have been stretching a lot.  My current best friends in the running world.... my stick, mat, and rope.

My stick especially.  The rope is great to help on those hamstring stretches and what not, but the stick can just get so deep into the muscle that it can roll out all of the lactic acid.  One thing to be careful about is that you do have put effort into rolling, it can't just be like rolling it over your skin lightly.  But that little bit of effort goes a long way when it comes to rolling.  Then the mat just makes it nicer when I'm sitting on concrete or makes it so I don't let my soak into the carpet.

I'm relaxed, I'm stretched, I'm loose, and I'm checked into my fight.  Time to 13.2 miles!


In other news, I have decided to start a new blog.  I get to do a diversity calendar for work and I've been finding a lot of really fun holidays throughout the month.  So, in order recognize these days, I've created Everday Holiday, a blog celebrating all the daily holidays throughout the months.  Check it out, follow it, and enjoy all the cool holidays!