Thursday, April 24, 2014

(3 Things) Egg Hunts, Spartan UP and Nike Women's excitement!




B and I bought our first piece of art this week. Isn't she beautiful? After obsessively talking about the Fabrege Egg Hunt, we saw that our favorite egg was also being sold in smaller form as a painted Ostrich Egg. Seeing as we didn't have thousands of dollars to bid on the original (pictured above), this one works out perfectly! It was a bit of a literal "egg hunt" to find it, though. After Easter, all of the pop up stores all over the city closed. Luckily, we discovered the hidden pop-up headquarters underneath Rockafeller Center (past the Men's Room, incase you too need to find it!) and got to bring our new piece home (shout out to the awesome folks who let us buy even though they had just closed!). I even braved the tourists last Friday to go see all 260 eggs together. Not gonna lie, it was really awesome! Can't wait to see where it goes next year.


 

Congrats to Seth, who won the Spartan Race giveaway earlier this week! I had so much fun spectating, that I'm seriously considering running it next year. When I was doing a little research about the races, I came across Spartan Up, the book written by the founder of Spartan races, Joe De Sena. It debuts in May but they're excepting pre-orders now. Since I expressed interest in reading it, my Spartan friend sent over a 20 page excerpt and I can't wait to read the whole thing! I think it's a perfect motivational kick in the pants to Spartan Up. The promotional video alone makes me want to run out and CONQUER! What exactly? I don't know. . . but that's how awesome it is!


I'm pretty sure I've been driving everyone around me nuts all week, but I can't help it! I'm really excited about my first Nike Women's and that the branding is awesome. But the number one reason why I'm kind of already in love with this race weekend is because I have already bought all the race merch I want and I haven't even stepped foot in an expo. Granted, I'm sure there might be something I will have to have once I get there, but as of right now, I'm content with my purchases and I don't have to be upset when they are sold out in my size because I didn't get to the expo SUPER early or because I'm a slower runner. Other races please take note, this is how you do it! 

Dear Nike Women's, thanks for offering your race merchandise online beforehand (even some finisher's items!) you've made me very happy even if my bank account doesn't agree.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Virtual runDisney: Pros and Cons of running a night race

Congrats to everyone taking on the Yeti this year in the 7th annual Expedition Everest Challenge! The EEC is definitely a unique runDisney experience- a night time 5k through Animal Kingdom with obstacles and a scavenger hunt. 

Speaking of night races, let's talk about the pros and cons of participating in one. My absolute favorite runDisney race happens to be a night race, but there are definitely many things to weigh when you decide to run one. Here are a few of my top pros and cons about them:

PRO


- No early Disney Race wake-up call! If you've ever run a runDisney race, you know those 3AM wakeup calls can be worse than the actual race. Night races take care of that problem! 


- You can fly in the morning of the race and save that extra vacation day for after the race. That might be cutting it close for some, but it sounds really appealing to me. 


- Post race parties are always fun! All of runDisney's night races have post race parties. The Tower of Terror 10miler ends in Hollywood Studios and The Wine and Dine Half Marathon ends in Epcot. During EEC, you get to see Animal Kingdom at night! Animal Kingdom is the only park that usually closes before dark and it's a rare occasion you get to be there after the sun goes down, so I think that's a pretty big PRO if you've never had the pleasure of seeing The Tree of Life lit up. 


CON

- Longer night races can be a problem for people not used to running late and having earlier bed times. Personally, that's usually me but I make exceptions. Most of runDisney's night races don't start until 10PM- that's crazy late, in my opinion. Not to worry, though! EEC is a 5k followed by a giant scavenger hunt through Animal Kingdom. 


The 5th Anniversary Medal

- Nutrition and eating the day of the race can be tricky. I try to make my lunch the biggest meal, and then bring along a small snack (Clifbars are my usual pre-race breakfast and work perfectly for me) while I wait for the race to start. 

- There may not be the normal runDisney wakeup call, but there will be a lot of sitting in a parking lot for a longggggg time. If you didn't already know, Disney likes you to get to their races early. But the positive side is, there's always entertainment while you wait! Bring a trash bag to sit on and enjoy the pre-race excitement!


With that said, I think the Expedition Everest 5k and Scavenger Hunt is a great unique runDisney experience. It really does have the potential to be a must-do, and I hear they did a ton to improve the race experience since we did it. I understand that it's hard to justify a race-cation for just a 5k, but it's one you don't want to miss. If you have the opportunity to participate, I highly suggest taking it! 

Want more information about The Expedition Everest Challenge? 

Hop on over and check out other blogs! 

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

Celebrating Earth Day with Bears

Happy Earth Day! 


We are really big fans of going to see the new Disney Nature film that comes out to celebrate. This year did not disappoint! Bears was a super adorable story about Momma Bear, Sky and her 2 baby cubs. John C. Reilly narrates and it's great. If you went opening weekend, proceeds are given to a film related charity so it's a win win!

Last week, I also happened to stumble upon a Q&A at the Apple store with filmmakers Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey and DisneyNature ambassador, Dr. Jane Goodall. It was a great experience and fun to get more insight as to how the film was made. If you want to see that panel, Apple will be posting it to their website, where they have tons of sessions like it from all kinds of Apple stores all over the world. How cool is that?




During the panel (as well as a trailer before the film) they gave a sneak peek to the next Disney Nature film, Monkey Kingdom. It was described as the real life Jungle Book, where monkeys rule. It sounds like it's going to be quite the comedy. Can't wait for next year!

Are you a fan of DisneyNature? 

Do you do anything special for Earth Day?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nike Women's DC Training: Taper Time!


Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2.5M+ Strength Training

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4M- HILLS

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 6M

Yes, you read that right! There was actual strength training involved in my workouts this week. Now, was it enough? Probably not, but hey! Everyone has to start somewhere, right? 

Tuesday, I had another appointment downtown, so the gym it was! I did my 30 minute cardio and ventured over to a side of the gym I had never been before: the weight and free workout area. They even had a WOD on the wall (I think that stands for Workout of the Day?); I did not participate. Instead, I did squats, lunges, single leg stances and step ups. What?! I know. It was crazy town. I definitely felt that I had hip muscles for days! So much so, it took me a second to get into my run on Thursday. I even decided to continue with hill training and take on Cat Hill a handful of times. 

Today, I went for my long run midday again (choosing it over Saturday because it was cooler temps). For it being Easter Sunday I felt like the park was EXTRA crowded. . but that is my own fault for going so late. Once you passed Cat Hill, it got calmer. I was surprised to see so many people up as far up as Harlem Hill- I even witnessed someone walking up it in HEELS. Wowsers, that's intense. Besides that, it was an easy run and extremely beautiful out.

And with that, it's taper time! I am really excited about DC next weekend, mainly because it's a mini- Girls Trip and I'll be earning my very first Tiffany's necklace at the finish line. DC got back in my good graces after Meg and I went for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler a few years ago and I'm having a semi-love affair with all things Nike right now, so it sounds like it'll be a great weekend! 

PS- Have you entered my Spartan Race giveaway yet? It ends tomorrow! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Hot Chocolate 15k: Philadelphia edition


I've been wanting to run a Hot Chocolate race for awhile, but none of the locations/ dates were that convenient. This year, the Philadelphia one worked out perfectly. Sarah, Pam and I could visit with Megan and Chloe (the cutest 18month old ever!) and get a race in. We drove down Saturday morning and went straight to pick up our bibs. Seeing that it was in a running store, I was expecting the worst. Yes, it was a tad crowded, but all in all, it went a lot smoother than I was expecting. 

The Race Marshall. . . Mallow

The next morning, we drove to Megan's and hung out at her apartment until the race started. Her apartment is ridiculously convenient to the start; it's about a 5 minute walk to the Philly's Museum of Art (which is where the majority of races start/ finish in Philly. How nice is that?!). We left around 7:45 for the 8AM start and had plenty of time for a last minute portapotty stop. Surprise, surprise- there were no lines! It was awesome.


After seeing the course, I was a little concerned. It happens to be the last part of the Rock-n-Roll Philly course and I'm not that big of a fan of that part of the course. I'm usually ready for the race to be over and the Museum looks closer than it is and that drives me insane. But it's also flat and along the water, so life could be worse. Plus, a major positive of it being an out and back was I got to see Sarah and Megan speed by, which was a great mid-race boost!

Originally, I thought it was a little weird that they had the 5k start 45 minutes before the 15k, but I think it was logistically perfect- the 5kers could enjoy their post-race party and probably be on their way home by the time the 15kers were finishing. Smart. I never felt the area was over crowded.


Surprisingly, my race went really well. I knew I didn't want to race it, but I did want to push myself a bit. I've been running races just to get through them since before marathon training (for fear of injury if I pushed too hard) and since I'm trying to get faster, why not see how my progress is going? I was a little perturbed that I was over dressed (I switched out of my costume because it was freezing at 6am when we were leaving the hotel. At 8:15 when I started running? Not so much.) but it turned out to be really beautiful race weather. I decided to run how I felt and apparently I was feeling good. At the 5k mark I noticed I was only a minute off of my PR, so I decided to see if I could hit my 10k PR (since the ultimate goal is to 10k PR).


Then there was chocolate. Sadly, I couldn't stomach it at the time, but saved it for later. The volunteer handed me a handful, so I started giving the volunteers some as I passed them. Did I mention the volunteers were awesome?! Because every one I passed was cheering like no one's business. It was great. There weren't that many spectators (I'm assuming because of where the course was), but the volunteers enthusiasm definitely made up for it.

Once I got to the 10k mark, I realized I was about a minute behind my PR then, too! (sidenote: I later discovered that my PR is actually 3 minutes slower than what I thought, so I was ahead of pace! SCORE!) I decided I would continue to push myself to see what I could do. I had just run the Ted Corbitt 15k in December, but I wasn't running for time (just to finish without being a popsicle!). Even though I had no clue what my time was (note to self: you should probably check that before you run a race!), I just continued to run harder than I normally would've.

Which is of course when my knee started acting up (note to self: strength train. Seriously). I stopped to stretch a couple of times but not for very long. I started to do some math (note to self: mid-race math is never a good plan) and I figured I could try for a sub-2 hour finish. That sounded fun, right? Not to my knee! I laid off of it as much as I could, but pushed to the finish (who puts a hill at the finish, seriously?!) I finished in 2:01 on the dot. I'll take it! The plus side of being the slowest runner of the group? Having your own private cheer section as you cross the finish line!


Finally got my own finisher's mug!

One suggestion: More things to dip in the chocolate! One marshmallow was not cutting it for me and the airline sized pretzels didn't work very well with dipping either. I ended up eating the rest of the chocolate with a spoon (no shame!) which was DELISH, but turned out to be a terrible plan. I can't eat a lot of chocolate at one time because it actually makes me sick. Add that to warmer weather running plus a sensitivity to getting car sick and you have the perfect equation for a not so pleasant unscheduled stop on the side of the road on way back to the city.



With that aside, I really loved this race! From the easy packet pickup to the no line portapotties to the after race celebration, it was a great way to spend a Sunday- or weekend visiting with friends in my case. It was extremely kid-friendly, I saw a bunch of space walks and families hanging out. It was a tad pricey, but for everything you got, it was well worth the price. The hooded fleece lined jacket was enough! On top of that, I got a 9 minute PR- and who doesn't love PRs?! Hopefully I'll get another chance to run one of their races and I would definitely recommend the same to you!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Spartan Sprint (+ a race entry giveaway!)


Yesterday, I decided to go check it out the Spartan Sprint at Citi Field. I did not participate in the race, but I can tell you I was definitely regretting not signing up once I was there. I was extremely jealous of everyone who was getting ready to earn the title of Spartan. 


The race started on one of the stadium ramps and from there you ran back and forth and down and up on the stadium's upper seating area. The race was 3.1 miles in and around the stadium with many obstacles sprinkled throughout. I'm not sure about all of the obstacles, but the ones I saw were pretty intense:

Wall crawl, sword throwing and the Cirque tent- oh my!

You pick the ball up, you throw it down. You repeat.

These aren't your playground's monkey bars.

And just as you get back into the the field to run your victory lap, there is a rope climb, a wall climb and a net tower to get through before you get your medal. 

I'll be honest, I was extremely nervous about each obstacle that required upper body strength (because I have none) and the 30 burpee penalty (every time you couldn't complete the obstacles) is intense.  If I wasn't so worried about injuring myself for a couple of big running events I have coming up, I probably would have done it anyway. I love that there are no time limits for Spartan events- encouraging everyone to just get it done! Now that I've been to an event, I'm pretty convinced I need to do one.

LOVED the camaraderie!
This guy's team waited for him and gave him a badass welcome in! 

The winners! First time I've ever seen an awards ceremony. 

There was also tons of stuff for spectators to do as well. Being that this was in a stadium, you could see your Spartan a lot throughout their race. If you just wanted to hang out in the stands by the finish line, that's cool, too. The jumbotron and all the monitors throughout the stadium were showing clips of the Spartans at various places along the course. About once an hour they were shooting t-shirts into the crowd as well. It was a lot of fun! There were even kid races for your Spartans in training. 

Getting to watch the different obstacles on the jumbotron.

Check this site out for more information on Spartan races near you! 

Do you want to WIN a chance to earn the Spartan title? Well, lucky for you, the Spartans are allowing me to give away a free entry to any US 2014 Spartan Race! See below for more details.

Don't want to wait/ didn't win? Don't worry! Here's 15% off:  
http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Nike Women's DC Training: 2 weeks to go!



Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2.5M

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: HILLS

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 8.5M

Sunday: Rest

I really thought the week was going to go to crap when I couldn't make it to the park on Tuesday. I had a work meeting downtown that ran over, so off to the gym I went! It's funny, when you start running outside again, the treadmill does not sound like much fun. My body was not happy about that and it let me know- my feet and my knees were not fans of the moving belt. The upside was I got in and out of there in no time. The downside was I ran an entire mile less than I would have had I been at the park. 

Not to worry, I still got to the park on Thursday. Pam suggested running the 81st St. Bridal Path hill. I had never heard of it, but when I mentioned it to another runner friend, her comment was "Good luck with that. Have fun!" Awesome. The hill seems to go on forever and it feels like you'll never see the top. I definitely had some I feel like a smoker again moments trying to will myself to get up it at the fastest speed I could muster. There was lots of mentally cursing Pam and her bronchitis the entire workout. I have no idea what my mileage was for the night because I forgot my Garmin but that might've been a blessing to not know how slow I was actually running up that hill. I need to keep reminding myself all of this is going to make me faster.

But faster I was not on my long run this weekend. Not gonna lie and I will say it, Saturday was HOT! Then again, I did decide to start my run at noon- so that's no one's fault but my own. It did make me long for those cooler winter runs though. I am really not looking forward to summer runs- then I remember I'm not training for a marathon this year, so rock on. I'm seriously contemplating retiring from running for July and August just because I can. Although, the race I want to potentially PR in will be in the beginning of June- I'm definitely wishing for a freak cool front for that. 

I also decided it had been a while since I ran along the Brooklyn waterfront and what better day to do it?! It also happened to be where the Williamsburg Brooklyn Flea was. Oh, and surprise! I think this was the 1st weekend they held it outside for the season. I'm sure you can imagine how awesome it was trying to bob and weave around the entire hipster population for miles. Because of the heat and the direct sun, I didn't think about how thirsty I would be. Luckily, I made it to my favorite park with a working restroom and refilled in the sink twice. I also grabbed a Gatorade at the CVS on the return trip. I was pretty sure I was going to be sick for the rest of the day, but luckily I was not. 

RIP midday long runs. We had fun while they lasted.