Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

New Camera

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Steve and I decided instead of buying each other gifts for our wedding we would get ourselves a gift of a really nice camera.  So I am now debating starting my own 365 project like my friend Andi does on her Violet Films webpage.  So far I have taken a few quick shots here and there but nothing too exciting unless you consider sleeping Labradoodles exciting.



Expedition Everest 2012

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Sometime before Princess Steve mentioned running Expedition Everest with his 10 year old DD since he knew she was now old enough.  I thought it sounded like a great idea and that race has been on my bucket list since it started, so at Princess we took advantage of no Active fees and signed the three of us up.   Since there were three of us and we all wanted to start together we actually signed up as three individuals to make sure the three of us were in the same corral.

Packet pick-up looked small compared to weekends like Marathon, Princess and Wine&Dine but was comparable to races like Tower of Terror 13K and was actually bigger than the ESPN5K.  We went Friday shortly after it opened.   There were a few shirts available for purchase, but the last thing I need is shirts, so we skipped the merchandise and picked up our bibs, pins and bags.  We were posing for pictures with the base camp set up when Becky found us.  We chatted a bit and she mentioned that David and his wife were on their way.  We went in search of our shirts which brought us to the course talk area just a few minutes before the next talk was to begin.  The talk was delayed but that gave Becky and David enough time to meet and for us to get introduced to him and his lovely wife.  I stuck around for the talk in hopes of getting some tips for the clues.  We quickly realized there would be none and were on our way. 

Saturday night came before we knew it.  We changed into our running gear and headed to the parking lot early since they had announced during the course talk that roads were going to start closing at 8:15.  We hung out in the car in the air conditioning till our bladders could wait no more.  When we exited the port-a-potties we decided to hang out and wait for the kids races to start since our littlest one was running.  We walked down his course a little bit.  He being a veteran Family Fun Run runner was not impressed with the course even though they had obstacles set up for them.  I believe he wanted to run in the park and run a slightly longer distance.  After his race he was going to hang out with his grandparents while the rest of the us ran the 5K Challenge.  They arrived just in time to see him race.  The kids races seemed less organized than I have seen them in the past.  There were no announcements for waves or corrals or anything.  Everyone just lined up and was sent out in what seemed like waves but I am not sure how the decided the ordering.  The kids started by running about 200 meters and making a u-turn.  On the way back they climbed over some small walls, jumped over some hay bales, and ran through some tires.  The special surprise challenge involved them being given clues.   The clues had a picture of a character on them and said “Find me!”.  They had baby pools set up with sand and the kids had to dig through the sand till they found their character.  Then they were done and given their medals.  The medals were cute, featuring the Yeti. 

After we sent the little one on his way we started to make our way across the parking lot to figure out how to line up for our race.  We went towards the start line, running into friends along the way.  Then we realized we were supposed to enter the chute from the back.  They called for Wave 1 to line up at the entrance and we joined everyone at the back of the corral.  They then opened the entrance and we all filtered into the corral.  There was no corralling by pace so we actually ended up seeded a little higher than we had planned.  My goal was to stay to the right and just try to keep us single file till things thinned out.  The start was slightly delayed and I was surprised that they actually had fireworks because I thought they would have disturbed the animals. 

We took off doing our 1:1 ratio and did our best to keep to the right.  I didn’t think we were that far back but we spent most of the race dodging those that were strictly walking and doing so several people abreast.  We managed to make it to the first obstacle without trouble.   The obstacle was set up wide enough that we could run side by side across the hay bales.  They were too high and wide for me to feel comfortable just hopping them so I stepped on the top and launched myself over.  Steve and DD made short work of it and were ahead of me before I finished.  We got right back into our 1:1 as the course narrowed into the park.  Just as we entered King Louie was set up for pictures.  Since Steve had to potty DD and I jumped into the line to get a picture.  We were quickly on our way and started to notice signs directing down different paths for both the 5K and the Scavenger Hunt.  I suspect that these were the “clues” on course that they had eluded to in early messages about the race. 

Next up would be the “silent obstacle”.  Having run Family Fun Run 5Ks through Animal Kingdom before I knew the backstage turn around was close to the animal habitats, most specifically the Rhinos.  I had a feeling they were requesting us to be quiet for the animals but at the same time they had DJs blaring music back there so I was confused.  Either way we all decided to go down one set of tires this time.  Me taking the lead and Steve in the rear so that we could make sure that DD didn’t have any problems.  We made short order of the tires and were quickly on our way.  We continued to wind through backstage areas and came upon Baloo, so we stopped for one more photo of all three of us this time. 

We neared mile 3 and saw our last obstacle.  At first it appeared that we were going to be crawling under cargo nets through sand.  Steve announced that he would be going around it but as we got closer we spotted grass mats so all three of us dropped to our knees and scurried to the other side.  We saw the timing mats indicating the end of our run and ran across them.  We asked DD whether she wanted to run to the clues or walk and she eagerly announced that she wanted to walk, so we got our first clue, trying to get the same one for all three of us, grabbed our sharpies and flash lights and looked for an empty spot to look at our clue.  Three miles wiped my brain cells and I wasn’t even paying attention to the compass on the paper and kept staring at the clue.  Steve announced the answer and DD and I quickly scribbled it on our cards before continuing.   Looking back at the card each of the directions on the compass were letters and the clue gave you times of day so you used the compass as a clock and pulled the letters.  We ran to the park entrance getting passed by Carol who was headed in the other direction looking for a sharpie.  There was no signage as to what to pick up where and I think luck had us stumble past the sharpie/flashlight people.

Each card had a location and a name at the top.  For instance Camp Mickey & Minnie – Goofy and Asia – Laos.  We made our way from station to station flashing our cards and picking up the next clue.  The way of solving the clues were the same at each station, but the answers were different per name.   We got the same clues for the first three stations then got a different clue, but it didn’t slow us down any and luckily enough we were moving quick enough that it wasn’t too crowded so we didn’t lose track of each other.  I will try to make another post about the clues themselves once I have them in hand.  They are in FL and I am back in Baltimore now.  So expect another blog in June outlining the clues. 

One thing that I had an issue with regarding the Scavenger Hunt was that we repeatedly crossed over the 5K course while later waves were running.  At one point while we were crossing DD dropped her flashlight.  She stopped to grab it and all Steve and I could do was cover our eyes and hope for the best.  If we had tried to go back for her we would have caused even more trouble.  Luckily she made it out alive. 

Once we were done our clues we headed for the finish next to Expedition Everest.  DD took off as soon as she saw it screaming with her arms in the air and Steve and I had to chase her to keep up.  We crossed the finish and went for our medals.  The volunteer handing us ours was all tangled up and wasn’t able to put the medal around DD’s neck which I was hoping he would.  We grabbed some Clif bars, bananas, water and Powerade.  We walked just a small ways and found a bench to sit, eat and drink.  After about 10 minutes we decided to go and try to hop on some rides.  As we entered Dinoland we ran into Becky, David and his wife again.  We got to catch up and see how our friends did on their races.  Becky came in 4th and David 19th in their respective genders.  Very proud of them.

After bidding farewell we walked past a very long baggage check line and went towards Triceratops Spin.  It broke down, so DD instead went on Primeval Whirl, which she doesn’t mind doing by herself.  When she was done we all headed for Dinosaur to finish off our night.  At this point we were all tired and I was getting itchy from the drying sweat.  We headed off to pick up the little one then headed home to get some sleep. 

After getting home someone pointed out a typo on the medal itself.  The NE and SE on the compass are reversed.  That is a little disappointing but overall it is very nice bling.

Shamrock Sportsfest 2012

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I have had the Dolphin Challenge on my bucket list for a while. For those not familiar with the Shamrock marathon they have an 8K on Saturday and then the half and full on Sunday. When you do the 8K and the half it is called the Dolphin Challenge. When you do the 8K and full it is called the Whale Challenge. When Megan and Gracie deferred their entries from last year I knew this was my chance to go and do this race with some good friends in tow.

We arrived Friday evening and hit the expo. Packet pickup went very smoothly except that I couldn’t find my number. I went to the Runner’s Relations booth to try to change my corral. They had me in 7, which I was worried was going to be too far back and hold me from my race goal of doing a sub-3 hour. I walked up and asked if a 2:12 would be enough to move me and the guy pulled out a sheet. I was so sure he was going to say “no” that I started to walk away as soon as he responded and he said, “I said yes it was enough.” Embarassed I walked back and he used a sharpie to color out the 7 on my bib and right Corral 6 above it (yes, he did include the smilie). We headed out for some pizza and water and then it was back to the hotel so I could rest for my 8K.

Alarms went off around 6ish the next morning and I got myself ready for the 8K. I was the only one participating in the challenge but my wonderful support team came down and hung out at the start with me then cheered me on the entire race. I lined up in my corral and noticed lots of really young children around me. I tried to prepare myself mentally for running with lots of little kids which typically requires lots of dodging as they often stop short or cut across the course when you least expect it. The first corral is off and we shuffle our way towards the start line. They call for our corral to take off and we start picking up our pace to the start line and then the stop us and announce the corral behind us. There was no really split between the corrals to the announcer was just winging it as to when he thought he hit a new corral and in the process he combined much of corral 5 with 6. So the horn blows and we again speed toward the start line. I cross the start jog two steps and then stop short realizing I am in a complete sea of walkers. I waved at my awesome support team and then set out to try to pass the walkers so I could get into a comfortable groove with my intervals. Little did I know it was going to take me nearly 3 1/2 miles to pass the bulk of the walkers and even then I was still dodging pairs of them here and there. The race etiquette for those involved in this race was extremely poor. It was making for a very frustrating race for me. I tried to relax and keep my eye on the prize which I finally spotted at about 3 miles – the finisher’s medal. I wasn’t sure there was a medal, so when I saw it I tried to focus on it. In the end my pace wasn’t too horrible. The race course was great, it was just the corraling and the race etiquette that needed to be worked on. If I were to try to do this race again, which I don’t think I will, I would have seeded myself in a higher corral.

After the race I met up with my support team and we headed off to get some pancakes. On the way back to our hotel we noticed that the kids races and Marathon Kids final mile were running so we hung around with our cow bells cheering some pretty awesome kids on as they ran their races. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, hydrating and fueling for the half marathon on Sunday.

The alarm went off a little earlier on Sunday and I tried not to make too much noise so that our marathoner, Lauren, could get some more sleep. I had a goal for this spring to get a sub-3 hr half, which has not happened for me since April of 2010. I wasn’t sure this was the race. I did not really hyrdate as well as I should have. I ran the 8K the day before. I haven’t been getting the best rest in the last few weeks. I joined Jen, Megan and Suzanne in my new corral and we waited for the start. The horn blew and we started making our way to the start line. I actually think we may have taken off with Corral 5 this time, but unfortunately I started to see some of the same issues I had the day before. Lots of walkers seeded in front of us making for lots of dodging and weaving to get past them. Megan wanted to see what she could do on her own so we soon saw her ponytail bobbing out of sight as Jen, Suzanne and I worked to pass people and still stay together. After about a mile and a half the course started to open up for us some more and we were doing less weaving and more focusing on our goal. It took a couple miles for a tight left calf to loosen up on me and that finally made it easier to pick up the pace a little. When we hit the 5 mile marker we were at about a 13:51 pace. Slightly behind my virtual partner (running a 13:40), but not completely out of reach. We lost Suzanne somewhere around mile 5. Soon we picked up a new friend, Cammie, who was fun to talk to. She had done the Shamrock before in ’09 as her first half. We told her to stay with us and we would try to pace her to a new PR. We were jogging along and in the sea of green in front of us I saw a flash of red. I stared through the crowd and saw a familiar looking person but wasn’t sure till she turned her head and I once again saw the flash of red. It was Monica! We caught up with her and ran together for an interval or two. Soon we were on our way again through Fort Story. The miles were ticking away faster than I thought. The sun had come out and we were beginning to look forward to the breaks in the dunes where the sea breeze could reach us. We left the Fort and found ourselves back in the beach down making our way towards the finish line. Cammie was trying to stay with us but we unfortunately lost her somewhere before we got back to the boardwalk. We had pulled off some awesome splits but really wanted to try to make sure we had something left in the tank. I was keeping an eye on my VP and we had gone from being a minute behind him to a minute in front of him so both Jen and I knew we had that sub-3 in the bag if we could just maintain our pace. We jogged into a water stop and walked out, then decided to take the next interval as a walk instead of a jog to make sure we had something in the tank for the finish. We made the turn onto the boardwalk and the finish was in sight. It is decieving looking down that boardwalk because the finish looks so close but feels so far away. We took one last walk break in our approach and then went for it crossing hand in hand.

I stopped my watch and it read 2:58:53! We had our sub-3! Couldn’t have done it without my RP. And yes Joey, now I can sign up for my marathon.

We headed to the finish to wait for Lauren. This race is a little odd in that the marathon starts and hour and half after the full. I started running some numbers in my head and realized I was going to have to leave soon after she came in. I ran back to the room to shower and pack so that I would be ready to head out after Lauren finished. I soon realized we could see the turn onto the boardwalk from our hotel room so I opened the curtain and watched people come in as a packed. I then headed downstairs to cheer Lauren on at the turn before walking back to meet up with them at the finish.

We headed into the tent to meet up with Kevin and chit chat for a little bit then headed back to the room to get everyone cleaned up. Soon I was on the road driving back home. What should have been a 5 1/2 hr drive was closer to 6 1/2 thanks to some bad traffic, but I hung my medals from my rear view mirror to remind myself the drive was totally worth it.

Baltimore Running Festival – 4 Person Marathon Relay

Monday, October 17th, 2011

This past Saturday was the Baltimore Running Festival.  Ever since I started running I have wanted to run the relay there, but haven’t been able to pull a team together so I have run either the 5K or the Half instead.  Well this year was my year.  Not only did we get one team together but we got 4.  So we had people to run with, people to wait with, and people to cheer with.  It was going to be a fun day! 

Over the past several month Jen L and I have been training together since we were running our leg together.  We have been gradually getting stronger and stronger as she and I have been both coming back from a hiatus on running.  I was really looking forward to our leg together.  At the last minute we recruited my friend Kelly, one of my bridesmaids, to run with us as well.  She is a much faster runner than I and was exchanging with a fast runner, so I knew she would be off before we were but it was nice getting to catch up with her on the bus ride to the exchange and hang out with her in the port-a-potty lines, lol. 

As we waited for our runners to come in Jen and I spotted a woman who must have found her long sleeve shirt a little too warm and decided to tie it around her waist but unfortunately was not wearing  a bra appropriate as outerwear.  We decided she was going to be our target.  We were going to pass her during our leg and then we started eagerly awaiting the arrival of our teammates.  Six minutes later they arrived.  My maid of honor, Jen H, was running the first leg for our team and we paired her up with Margaret from Jen L’s team so they could run that first leg together.  They had a very hilly leg which also ran through the Baltimore Zoo.  Those of us that have run Zoo Zoom and the Baltimore 10 Miler were very familiar with the hills that they had in store for them, but both ran strong and rocked their leg. 

Jen H and Margaret were awesome bending down and moving the chips to mine and Jen L’s ankles.  We gave them our bags and hugs and off we went.  We were starting on a wicked uphill but it is one she and I have run on multiple occasions before so we pushed through.  We were running down some streets in Baltimore….some really hilly streets in Baltimore, but we also had some downhills to make up for the ups.  We were on a roll and weren’t about to stop.  We passed some zombies that I quickly snapped some pictures of and sent off to my fellow Zombie hunters and teammates Kim and Megan.  Before we knew it we were headed down to the inner harbor.  We passed close to the exchange but it was more of a tease as we still had about 4 miles to go before handing off to Dad and Kim.  They then took us up Federal Hill, which is part of the Run to Remember course, and immediately back down it then we were on to the flat part of our course.  I was looking forward to the turn-around point as the race organizers said it was going to be awesome. 

We were running around the harbor and on the same course as the Survivor Harbor 7 and the Baltimore Women’s Classic.  We were having fun discussing the race we had run these particular streets on.  The wind was really picking up on us and we always seemed to be running into it.  We made the turn to cross under the Under Armour logo and turn onto their parking lot.  There was a DJ and a fuel stop and that was about it.  The fuel was cool with bananas, oranges, chips and pretzels.  I was just expecting a bigger crowd and more energy.  We turned to leave the parking lot and found a marathon runner confused about which way to go.  We screamed for her to go left and then followed her out of the parking lot.  As we made our way back from the factory we spotted a Looper nemesis – the Joggler.  We got a little boost knowing he was almost half a mile behind us and kept on running.  Some of the neighborhood’s and schools along this out-and-back came out to cheer and it was definitely needed along this section of the course.

We rounded near some of the really expensive condos that they have been putting up along the harbor and I spotted her not even a tenth of a mile in front of us.  Bra lady!  We turned on the afterburners and started closing in on our target.  We passed her not even one interval later.  We both giggled as we realized we passed her and still had over half a mile till we handed off to our teammates.  I texted Kim to let her know were closing in on them and we pushed through for the final section of the race knowing we had run at a pace nearly a minute faster than we had been training at.  Kelly had run back and turned to run us into the finish line.  We ran up to the exchange, moved the chips from our ankles to Dad and Kim’s and cheered them of before grabbing their bags and heading for the finish. 

The walk was nice and relaxed.  We stopped for  a second so that Jen could pose with both the joggler and bra lady in the background and giggled our way over to the runner’s village to get our medals and some crab soup.   We settled in with the awesome spot Jen H had scoped out for us to chear runners in to their finish.  Somehow we managed to miss almost every runner we were watching for except for Laura and Megan.  How we missed them all we have no idea. 

I really enjoyed the relay and would definitely do it again.   One of the things that surprised me was that with a race course that is open 8 hours the back-of-the pack seemed to start really early in this race…at about 13 minute miles.  It made for some really lonely stretches of roadway.  As relay runners since our distances were so short it wasn’t too bad but I really felt for the marathon runners still out there and the half marathoners as well.  It messed with Dad’s head some when he ran his leg as he didn’t expect it to be so empty and really felt slower than he was actually running causing him to head out way too fast.  However in the end all 4 teams had fabulous races with most of us running at paces faster than we had trained for.  Go team!

Wine&Dine Half Marathon 2011

Monday, October 17th, 2011

This year I gave the Wine & Dine half marathon a second try.  Last year I did everything wrong.  I spent the day before and the day of the race at the parks.  Ran a 5K the morning of the race.  Had a cinnamon roll for breakfast.  Didn’t get a true chance to nap or rest before the race start.  All of this added up to sore feet and being exhausted at the start line.  I was determined to do things differently this year.  Woops!  

This year when I got to Disney Steve was attending a conference, which meant it was my first chance to spend some time with the kids without him.  I was determined to make it a fun and enjoyable experience for them, which meant sacrificing my legs and feet a little before I got to the start line of the race.  Do I regret it?  No, just like I don’t regret last year either.  However I do really look forward to next year when I will be living down there and have no reason to spend the day before an the day of the race in the parks.  On with the recap!

Saturday evening Steve and I headed over to EPCOT to hop the bus to Wide World of Sports(WWoS) I know earlier than he probably would have liked, but I get antsy spending time in lines when I have some place to be.  He, I think, is getting used to this behavior of mine, lol.  The bus line was no longer than it was last year when I probably got to EPCOT a half an hour later.  It only took a few minutes and we were being loaded onto a bus.  We got lucky and met deanadm from ROTE on the bus.  It was nice having a new ROTE friend to chat with on the ride to the start.  All was going swimmingly till the  bus broke down.   It just died out of nowhere.  I tried to stay calm as I calculated how far of a walk it might be to WWoS from the location we were currently sitting in.  The driver tried several times to restart the bus and eventually we heard it purr back to life.  Half the lights were out on the bus but at least we were moving again.   Whew!  

We pulled up to WWoS and proceeded to wait in a line for the parking lot to unload.  It took maybe 15 or 20 minutes before they parked our bus and opened the door.  Steve and I hopped off the bus and headed in search of the ROTE group in the middle of the field.  The first person I saw was Tammie.  I <3 Tammie!  She also had several of her friends with her that aren’t ROTErs but have participated in several of our events in the past so it was nice to catch up with them.  We parted ways with Tammie knowing we would see her in the runner’s only area and headed through to meet the rest of the ROTErs.  I was in search of Rebecca because I had her new ROTE visor for her.  I got to the area and having not met her in real life before I was trying to figure out how to get her attention so I put the second visor on my head.  Not even a minute later there she was.  J  We spent a good hour catching up with ROTErs and trying to figure out when was a good time to head to the potties then onto the corrals.  I tried to sit as much as I could get just spend time off of my feet, but every time I stood up I knew it was going to get ugly once I got a couple miles on them.  

Before we knew it the time had come to head to the corrals.  A small group of corral C people headed off to get a good spot.  Thanks to the ROTErs that walked with me we found a nice hunk of curb for me to sit in front of.  It was in front of a speaker, but it would work.  We hung out for maybe 15 minutes and then the corrals started to shuffle forward some.   It took maybe 10 minutes from the first corral till we got our send off with our own set of fireworks.  I was tight for the first mile or so, but I was prepared for it.  We spent this time leap frogging with Laura as she was doing a 1:1 ratio and Steve and I were doing a 2:1. Since we were running more we eventually pulled away from Laura, but it would not be the last time we saw her during the race.

We made are way out along the roadway and headed for Animal Kingdom.  We were passed by Rebecca who was having what seemed like a great first leg for her relay team.  We were also passed by Laura as she seemed to also be having an awesome race.  One of the best parts of this race is the park time you get.  Several miles in both Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and about a half mile of EPCOT backstage.  Animal Kingdom however can be very dark and the footing tricky.  Several people fell last year and Disney seemed to get the message as they added these glowing eggs to the route right around the edge of the path where the footing was most tricky.  Time flew by once we were in Animal Kingdom but my feet were screaming with every step.  

We made our way out the back and past the relay exchange point.  Then headed back out onto the roadway to Hollywood Studios.  Somewhere along this road way we passed Laura.  My legs were feeling good but my feet were still hurting.  I was just afraid to even think about skipping a walk break.  I needed to keep moving.  I started feeling rougher and rougher as we made our way into Hollywood Studios.  Somewhere in there Laura caught back up to us again and passed us.  Unfortunately somewhere in here is also where I lost Steve.  My legs were feeling good and my feet were starting to almost go numb.  I just had to keep pushing, keep moving.  I was watching my watch and it said we were just over the 16 minute/mile pace.  I caught back up with Laura and we decided to work as a team.  Her runs were stronger and my walks were stronger, so we took turns setting the pace.  I moved to using her 1:1 so we could stay together as we made our way around the boardwalk and on to EPCOT.

As I kept pushing the walk pace I could hear Laura’s wheezing setting in.  She took a puff on her inhaler and wanted to keep moving so we did.  I eased up on my walk just a bit, keeping one eye on my watch, and one eye on Laura trying to stay just ahead of her to help her push her pace.  I was convinced we were on pace to come in just under 3:30.  We pushed through the finish line area that was lined with cast members cheering the runners on and just before I reached the finish line I felt a hand on my shoulder.  It was Steve.  He ran the last mile in 11 minutes to catch me just as we were coming into the finish.  With an extra spring in my step with my love by my side we crossed the finish line.  

I stopped my watch and looked down.  3:35?  Huh?  Apparently I was not so great at tracking the tangents and ran around 13.4 miles.  They were under the 16 min/mile pace but we weren’t under the 16 min/mile pace for 13.1.  Dangit!  The disappointment was fleeting.  When I took a second to look back at where I had been only 6 months before as I suffered through my back injury to where I was then.  My only real goal for the race was to keep up my running interval for the entire event.  That I had done.  While I came in just over the required pace I did so with feet that were telling me to stop.  I pushed through and I did it!  I couldn’t have been happier with my progress.  

Next up half marathon wise in the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon.  This was a really strong race for me last year and I am hoping while there I will finally see that sub-3:30 I have had my targets set on.  Let’s do it!