Mother Bear:  Last Minute Holiday Gifts for the Active Mom

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It’s December 17th and frankly, I’m a little behind with my holiday shopping.  This year, I decided to focus on enjoying the holidays by putting up the tree (early for once) and enjoying it (sitting and staring at the twinkling lights in my clean living room sans runDisney costume parts) instead of running around up until Christmas Eve trying to make everything perfect.

At 43, I realize the ONLY person who cares about perfection is ME.  So this year I’ve decided to be, if I can quote My Fair Lady, “more like a man” and not stress out and see where inspiration takes me…

Scott James Jewelry

Scott James Jewelry

Here are some gift ideas on MY holiday wish list – Click on the item name.  A link will bring you directly to the shopping page:

  1. Clarisonic Cleansing Device  Let’s face it – runners are exposed to the elements.  Wind burn, sun burn, extreme cold, rain you name it.  Keep those lines away and protect your skin.  I love mine and have had it for YEARS.  Seriously – years.    $99 and up
  2. Barefoot Dreams What’s the first thing you want to do after a 20-mile run?  Right – cuddle up in the fetal position and die, I mean nap.  How about napping wrapped in an ultra soft, like butter, Barefoot Dreams wrap.  I have 2 wraps and a blanket I used for chemotherapy treatments.  I gave a wrap to my mother-in-law last Christmas.  Worth every penny.  $90 and up
  3. Bondi Band Hats I love Bondi Bands hats – lightweight, dry wick material, cool colors.  These are great for cancer patients as well.  I love the choice of ponytail or pigtail holes!  $18 each
  4. Scott James Jewelry I love my medals, but it’s frowned upon to wear them post race.  This is where race jewelry comes in – goes hand in hand with car race magnets as conversation starters to discuss running and your races with anyone who is too dumb to know better ;-) $10 and up
  5. Alex and Ani bangles. They have running themed bangles, inspirational, favorite charity, sports team and Disney bangles.  You are welcome.  $28 and up
  6. Something with Wonder Woman on it – a coffee mug, a water bottle, underroos, a make-up bag.  She will love it, because if she grew up in the 70’s, she loves Wonder Woman.  Trust me.

If you need more gift ideas check out my mother’s day list.

Stocking Stuffer’s:

Let’s discuss the importance of the Christmas stocking.  Please remember to fill your significant others stocking.  There is nothing sadder than a limp, empty Christmas stocking on Christmas morning.  I have to fill my own so I here are a few items I will be stuffing in my stocking this year:

  1. Philosophy Shampoo, Shower Gel, Bubble Baths – get the travel size.  My favorite flavor is birthday cake!
  2. Krave Jerky – You must try the Black Cherry. My favorite.  My kid’s favorite.
  3. Shower Pill – I have a few squirreled away when I need them. One is in my work desk drawer.  Another in my car.  And another is in my gym bag.  Perfect for Ragnar Relay Races.  Perfect to have on hand ICE.
  4. Chap Stick – It’s winter. Everyone needs multiple Chapsticks (try Cake Batter and Candy Cane) for their purse, their car, their desk drawer, their ski jacket and then add a few more because one always goes into the dryer and melts all over your clothes.
  5. EOS Lotion & Lip Balm– With lip balm flavors of Honeysuckle and Tangerine what’s not to love.  Their lotion is good too, but what I’m really buying is the cool packaging. I love it.  I’m a sucker.
  6. Real Time – I’m not sure which race expo I was where I was made to try RealTime, but let me say – I attended an expo the following week and purchased a $30 tube. Yup – so good I’m over BioFreeze.
  7. Sweets – There is nothing better than a chocolate covered marshmallow Santa, Pez, the Lifesaver “book,” you get the idea – don’t be stingy.

 What’s on your shopping list?  Have any suggestions?

Race Report:  Ragnar Adirondacks – Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid, New York

Home and then back on the road again...

Home and then back on the road again…

Sure I’ll run a Ragnar ultra in the Adirondack Mountains – how hard could it be?!!

I was beyond excited to run my second Ragnar of my life/the year – Ragnar Adirondacks for Team Bondi Bandits.  I had run Ragnar Cape Cod in May as a member of a 2-van 12-person team and had an excellent experience so I jumped at the chance to run for Ragnar Relay Series sponsor, Bondi Band.  Plus I knew running both Cape Cod and Adirondacks would give me the opportunity to earn the Dock and Dacks medal in addition to the Cape Cod and Adirondacks medals (I am a medal whore).

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For those of you not familiar with the Ragnar Relay Series - Ragnar is a “overnight running relay race.”  “You and 5 of your crazier friends (for an ultra team) pile into a van and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style.  Only one runner hits the road at a time.  Each participants runs three times, with each ultra leg ranging between 8-16 miles.”

 

2014 Ragnar Cape Cod Team Runs on Dunkin - Cranberry Edition

2014 Ragnar Cape Cod Team Runs on Dunkin – Cranberry Edition

If you would have told me I would have found it “fun” and be excited about sleeping (barely) in a van with 5 others and running in the middle of the night in the middle of east bum-fudge, I would have thought you crazy.  But I was so super excited to run this race, an ultra no-less, in the mountainous Adirondacks that I conned my pal, Perfectly Goofy Gail into running with me.  Also representing Team Bondi Bandits was Lisa Bjerklie, Adam Rice, Jenny Rice @RunningThriver, Tina Garstad @Crantina.  Supporting us were Sandy Sawyer, Sales Manager, Bondi Band and our driver – Jay Gruebele.

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Our sponsor Bondi Band/Sandy had also secured sponsorship from:

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Running All the Races can sometimes be a challenge – especially when you also have to work to support your running habit!  My work schedule had me coming directly off a plane from Alabama, with only a few hours home to kiss my family, unpack and repack in order to pick up Gail from the airport and make the 3.5 hour drive up to Lake George, New York.  Fate had it that my flights were uneventful, but Gail was stuck in Las Vegas without a flight to Connecticut.  Somehow Gail managed to secure a flight into Albany and we celebrated her arrival with a couple of margaritas.

When in doubt #DrinkAllTheDrinks

When in doubt #DrinkAllTheDrinks

The margaritas helped lessen the pain of trying to find the Lake George hotel in the dark.  The alarm and morning came too soon, but since we are seasoned racers, we got out of bed to meet our teammates and pack the van – our home on wheels for the next 36 or so hours.

Team Photo Pre-Race

Team Photo Pre-Race

The race check-in and start was at Saratoga Springs.  Here we would check-in as a team, pick up our bibs and packet/”Race Bible,” show our safety gear (vests and lights) and attend a safety briefing.  Then at 7:15am we would send Runner #1 (Lisa) off to begin our 200(ish) mile UPHILL relay to Lake Placid (I’m not even remotely kidding – it was uphill all 200 miles see the elevation chart).

At the start sending off Lisa for Legs 1 & 2.

At the start sending off Lisa for Legs 1 & 2.

It got warm mid-day, but the course was beautiful with fall foliage close to peak.  I was Runner 5 and began my 1st Leg at 1:55pm.  My leg was a total of 10.19 miles with only a 328-ft elevation gain.  Unfortunately, there were a few unsupported legs, no-shoulder, rail-trail, where we couldn’t pull the van over to check on our runners, but Leg 1 for all 6 of us went off without a hitch.  Soon it was time for Leg 2 – night running.

Ready to start my 2nd leg at 3am...

Ready to start my 2nd leg at 3am..

I don’t do well without sleep and need a minimum of 2-hours in order to barely function.  But I was prepared to sleep as well as one can in a van with my eye-mask, ear-plugs and sleeping bag.  I don’t know exactly how much sleep I got, but when it was my time to run, I jumped out of the van and waited for Gail in the exchange.  Gail was running only 15 minutes behind schedule and I took off for my 2nd Leg at 3:37am.  My leg began in Crown Point, New York.  There was nothing out there.  I got passed by four runners the beginning of my first leg and then I was all by myself.  I heard rustling in the woods, but refused to look keeping my eyes straight on the road and my ears at high alert.  It was scary and I was as alone as I could be.  I tried to keep positive and tried to keep moving forward.  I reached civilization and the town of Port Henry where I would run through the exchange and continue on to finish my 15.75 mile leg (with an elevation gain of 1,732 feet).  When I arrived to the exchange to hand off to Runner 6/Tina, I was exhausted, but overjoyed to be out of the silent darkness and safe in the warm inviting van.

I have never been so happy to see my teammates and get off the road.

My face says – “Thank you for rescuing me.”  I have never been so happy to see my teammates and get off the road.

During my 15-mile leg, I had figured out we were one of the last teams out on the road.  It turns out there were only 11-ultra teams running Adirondacks.  Because we were a leg or 2 behind the other teams, Ragnar advised us to double-up running legs together so we could catch up to the other teams and not be all by our lonesome.  This suggestion sounded a whole lot better than running by ourselves and we decided that Lisa & Jenny would run Lisa’s leg.  We’d have Adam run an easier leg then the nightmare we had originally planned for him and Gail and I would run Tina’s leg of 10.45 miles into the finish.  Did I mention it was uphill the entire 10.45 miles into the finish?!!

Finishers!!

Finishers!!

Misery always loves company and the plan of running together and laughing – okay bitching – about the hills, the heat, everything and anything was made more enjoyable with Tina and Gail by my side (or behind me and in front of me – I don’t know I was delirious from the stupid hills!!!)  We made it to the finish line and crossed as a team.  The beer at the finish line party never tasted so good!

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Would I run Ragnar Adirondacks again?  Absolutely – it was a beautiful course and Ragnar throws one heck of an event.  Would I run Ragnar Adirondacks as an ULTRA?  Hmmmmmmm – I would have to give that great thought.  The course is tough.  We ran parts of the Ironman Lake Placid course.  I think when you run Ragnar as an ultra you can’t have as much fun as you could running half the distance.  It’s fun, but a different type of fun.  It’s all about the running.  My three legs were a total of 36.39 miles.  That’s a lot of running without sleep surviving on ClifBars, Krave Jerky and Nuun.  It can be done, but I personally rather run less, rest more and enjoy my time with my teammates.

For Tips to running a Ragnar Ultra, see RunAllTheRaces (post uploading shortly).  To see highlights of our 200(ish) mile Ragnar Adirondacks race please click on the video below.

 

Product Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 – Realize the Power Within

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I recently received a complimentary pair of women’s  Mizuno Wave Rider 18’s to review. This was my first ever pair of Mizuno running shoes.  I had heard only positive reviews from my BRF, Janice.  Janice is an official tester for Mizuno and is constantly showing up to our long runs in yet another pair of Mizuno’s to test (lucky girl).

010Style:  The color sent was Black/Silver/Florida Key colors.  I would have never picked out black shoes for myself, but I was open to trying something new and the color grew on me.  I really liked the Florida Key color accents on the soles and laces.   Styling was fresh and current – I felt like a hipster.

I love how design of the black into the silver

I love how design of the black into the silver

Cushioning: The shoe is designed for neutral runners and I found there was enough support for me.  I didn’t feel the need to add a shoe insert.  The Wave Rider 18’s were quite springy and lightweight/airy.

They even looked good lounging around...

They even looked good lounging around…

Wear test:  I received these shoes to review right between my 2 marathons – Hartford, October 13th and New York City, November 2nd.  I decided to break in the Wave Rider 18’s running errands and on my short runs.  Then I decided to give them the full test during the Hershey Half Marathon on Sunday, October 19th (my 38th race of 2014).

Mizuno Wave Rider 18's with my Hershey Half Race Essentials

Mizuno Wave Rider 18’s with my Hershey Half Race Essentials

What I liked:

  • The fit – I normally wear a size 9 in a running shoe and the Wave Rider 18’s Women’s size 9 fit perfectly (meaning perfect amount of extra room for my toes while not allowing my heel to move).
  • The support was perfect for my run especially the race.  The shoe was stable, yet lightweight and durable.  The hills of the Hershey Half were rolling, I had tripped and almost fallen on my face, the shoes kept me grounded.
  • They are new shoes so I felt the difference in cushioning right away.  It will be interesting to see how they wear once more miles are put on them.
Mizuno Wave Rider 18's broken in during the Hershey Half

Mizuno Wave Rider 18’s broken in during the Hershey Half

What I didn’t like:

  • The shoelaces were short.  I had to loosen the laces to allow for swelling and I couldn’t double knot my laces.  I had to stop and retie during the race which was an annoyance.
  • When I got tired my ankle rubbed against the right (and only the right) side of the shoe.  Not a fault of the shoe, but my tired gate.

All in all – I liked the Mizuno Wave Rider 18.  I thought they were a good solid, sturdy running shoe – perfect for a wide range of neutral runners.

Mizuno’s Wave Rider 18 are available in both Men’s and Women’s sizes in a wide selection of colors.  The Weight of the Men’s shoe is 9.2 oz.  The Weight of the Women’s shoe is 7.8 oz.  The suggested MSRP is $119.99.  The Mizuno Wave Rider 18’s are on sale now nationwide and on Mizunorunning.com – Check out the Fuchsia Purple color!

Disclosure:  I was given Mizumo’s Wave Rider 18 product to review.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

Product Review – Win Detergent

WIN sports detergent: green and regular

WIN sports detergent: green and regular

 

If your family is actively participating in sports, then you probably do A LOT of laundry.  Since my daughter is running cross country and I am running 48 races this year, we are constantly in and out of active gear!  And what I know about active gear is – it can stink!  And what I also know about sports gear is that if you don’t use a sports wash, the tech gear can retain the stinky smell.  I was sent two bottles of WIN Sports Detergent to put to the test!

 

A cup of WIN

A cup of WIN keeps the stink away!

I like to use sports wash for my sports gear because I spent lots of money on my gear and I want them to last for years.  I find washing with WIN on the delicate cycle/cold and then line drying keeps my clothes in tip top, non-stinky shape!  WIN removes pesky sweat & odors and helps keep my favorite workout clothes fresh and new.

A full load!

A full load!

I really liked the GREEN version of WIN.  It is dye-free and fragrance free.  My skin can be very sensitive and the GREEN version was very mild.  I didn’t even notice a scent when trying this new version.

Also used WIN for hand washing my Tower of Terror costume

Also used WIN for hand washing my Tower of Terror costume

Both versions of WIN are made in the USA, with a bottle made from 25% post consumer recycled plastics. WIN is septic safe, phosphate free, and can be used in high efficiency washers. WIN does not do any animal testing.

Trying out WIN GREEN

Trying out WIN GREEN

Now here’s an opportunity for you to give WIN a try!  Use coupon code WINGIVE1  at WIN’s Amazon page

Giveaway:  I’m giving away two bottles of WIN (one regular, one green) to a lucky reader!  Enter here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I was given WIN product to review.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.

2014 runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon, Part II Dumbo Double Dare

At the start of the half

At the start of the half

The Disneyland Half marathon is hands down my favorite runDisney Half Marathon race (although the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is a very close second).  The Disneyland Half Marathon holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, but what made the 2014 running of the Disneyland Half so special was I would be earning my 50th runDisney medal (actually 50, 51 AND 52) at the completion of the half marathon.  Not only that, this race would also be my 30th half marathon.  Note:  Perfectly Goofy Gail earned HER 50th runDisney medal at the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon – coincidence? 

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For my 4th straight Disneyland Half and 2nd Dumbo Double Dare, I was excited to share the miles with some BRF’s – Sweaty Band Merle and Perfectly Goofy Gail. Gail and I were dressed as Dumbo the flying elephant – complete with his magic feather and the ring master. Merle’s costume was her Sweaty Band ;-)  Note:  I have a mission to get her into a costume.

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The Disneyland Half Marathon begins where both the 5K and 10K started days earlier on Disneyland Way.  We headed south past Disney’s Grand California Hotel and Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, turning left on West Katella Avenue and then another left onto South Harbor Boulevard. There we turned into Disney California Adventure for our 3+ magical miles through both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Park.

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Our race plan was to “take it easy,” but Gail and I took off like jackrabbits pulling Merle along for the ride.  Thank goodness we planned on stopping at all the photo opportunities because we seriously needed a break to catch our breath!

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Even though the Disneyland Half Marathon spends the least amount of course time in a Disney park, it is still my favorite race because of what it offers outside the park. Yes, the course outside the park is unspectacular, however, the people of Anaheim and the community/cultural groups who come out and support the race ARE spectacular. As with previous years, there were school bands, school cheerleaders and dance teams, cultural dancers, and my favorite part – the vintage classic cars! The cars are grouped together, not only by type, but by decade.  Photo stops included a DeLorean, Herbie the Love Bug and even a hearse.

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Although many complain and see miles 4 through 12 as boring, I personally find they ‘fly by’ and remember them fondly.  My favorite part of the Disneyland Half Marathon, other than running through Sleeping Beauty Castle, is running through Angels Stadium. The stadium is located at 15K or 9.3 miles – where energy can be lacking.  Once you enter the stadium (watch the steep hill) the energy is electrifying. The stadium is filled with both Boy and Girl Scouts cheering you on as your round the bases!  New for 2014 – an announcer interviewing runners!  Gail & I took the opportunity to take an #Usie with him!

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Unfortunately, the fun of the Disneyland Half Marathon only lasts 13.1 miles and IMO is over too quickly. We soon headed towards the Disneyland Resort and on property to finish the race. After we collected our Disneyland Half medal (my 50th runDisney medal) we also collected our blue Coast to Coast medal (our 2nd of the year since we had collected our Pink Coast to Coast at the finish of the Princess Half Marathon Weekend).  We then picked up our 5th runDisney medal of the weekend – the Dumbo Double Dare.

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I thought the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon/Dumbo Double Dare was on-par with other Disneyland Half Marathons I have run (2011, 2012, 2013).  Course entertainment was stellar and there was a good assortment of photo stops:

  1. Green Army Men
  2. Mater and Lightning McQueen
  3. Firetruck
  4. Jake
  5. The Three Caballeros
  6. Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia and Prince Charming
  7. Darth Vader
  8. Maleficent
  9. Jafar and The Evil Queen
  10. Cruella de Vil and Dr. Facilier
  11. Big Thunder Ranch assorted animals

The runDisney volunteers were outstanding as usual.  The water stations were well stocked with happy and encouraging volunteers.  I also think the runDisney post-race recovery box is getting better with each race!  The tech race shirts were finally available in ladies sizes this year (YAY!!!!) and the colors and designs were pretty.  The medals and their ribbons consistent with the runDisney standards.  To me, it was a success and I cannot wait until 2015!  For a full video recap please see the link below:

What was your favorite part of the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon?  Are you coming back in 2015?

2014 runDisney Disneyland 10K, Dumbo Double Dare Part I

At the start of the 10K

At the start of the 10K

I really think the 10K is the perfect distance of a Disneyland Resort runDisney race.  It’s long enough for total immersion in the resort without having to venture too far out into the city streets of Anaheim.  This was the 2nd running of the Dumbo Double Dare and the Disneyland 10K.  This year I was running the race with Perfectly Goofy Gail, Photo-Bomb Rebecca and Pammy.  In 2013, the theme of the race was Alice in Wonderland.  Not thinking runDisney would change the theme, we decided to run as playing cards.  However, runDisney changed the theme of this year’s race to Stitch, but playing card costumes were made so playing cards we were!

One of the Elvis' on course

One of the Elvis’ on course

The 2014 course was exactly the same as the 2013 course.  However, this year the 5K was held on Friday instead of Saturday prior to the 10K.  This made for a much easier and less stressful morning for all – except those needing to take extra vacation time to #RUNALLTHERACES.

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The 10K course started on Disneyland Drive, continuing south until turning left on West Convention Way.  From there we ran past the Marriott and Hilton until turning left onto South Harbor Boulevard.  There we ran into the back stage area of Disney California Adventure.  We wound our way  through Paradise Pier, Condor Flats, Sunset Boulevard and down the tunnel under the bus parking into the gate of Disneyland Park.

Spectator sign - Downtown Disney

Spectator sign – Downtown Disney

From there we ran up Main Street USA and into Tomorrowland.  We ran around It’s a Small World to back stage and into Toontown, Fantasyland, Aventureland and Critter Country until we were once again in Downtown Disney and heading towards the finish.

10K Finisher wristband and Coast to Coast wristband

10K Finisher wristband and Coast to Coast wristband

After completing the race and being interview by runDisney for the video race recap, we added the 10K finisher wristband to our Coast to Coast wristband and grabbed our medal.  This Disneyland 10K medal was a beauty.  Although, I’m not the biggest Stitch fan, I do think it is one of the prettiest runDisney medals in my collection.

Race bib and medal

Race bib and medal

In my opinion, the second running of the Disneyland 10K/Dumbo Double Dare improved in some areas and lacked in others.

IMPROVEMENT:  I thought moving the 5K and having only one race (coupled with the Kids Races) was easier on the runDisney staff and the volunteers.  This year the water stops were ready and prepared for the racers.  The volunteers did not seem like they had survived an ambush like in 2013.  Note – this year the weather was on our side.  It was not as hot and humid as it had been in 2013. 

LACKLUSTER:  The course was great, however, I believe there weren’t as many character photo opportunities as in 2013.  I love, love, love me some Elvis, but I’m not running a race in DISNEYLAND to take a photo with ELVIS.  If I wanted to see Elvis I’d run at GRACELAND or VEGAS.  runDisney please listen up – we want DISNEY characters at runDisney events.  Please provide us with plentiful photo opportunities with characters that compliment the themeing of the race or the Disney Park which we run the event.

All in all – a fine, well-run event through Disneyland Resort, although a smidge disappointing if you were a veteran of the event.  For the complete video recap of our race please see the link below.

What did you think improved or was lacking at the 2014 Disneyland 10K?

2014 runDisney Disneyland Family 5K Race Report

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Photo credit: runDisney

There’s something really, really special about the runDisney Disneyland Family 5K’s.  In my humble opinion, I believe it is because you run the most park miles of any runDisney 5K in some of, if not, THE best Disney parks in the world.  The 2014 Disneyland Family 5K was my 3rd straight time running this race.  Running with me was my partner-in-crime, Perfectly Goofy Gail.

In Cars Land with Lightening McQueen

In Cars Land with Lightening McQueen

We had been working on our costumes for this race weekend for months and decided we were going to go #AllOut since we weren’t “really” going to “run” the 5K because it was a “fun run” and “not timed.”  We decided on the theme of our costumes based on the theme of the 2013 race – Alice in Wonderland.  Unfortunately, the theme was changed to Stitch for 2014, but since we were already committed to our costumes we kept the Alice in Wonderland theme with Perfectly Goofy Gail running as the Cheshire Cat and I as the Caterpillar (complete with hookah).

World of Color

World of Color

The Disneyland Family 5K course was not changed from 2013.  The race began heading south on Disneyland Drive.  From there we turned left into Disney California Adventure running into Cars Land and down Route 66.  Then we ran in front of Paradise Bay and The World of Color.  We then made our way past Grizzly Peak and Condor Flats turning left onto Carthay Circle and down Buena Vista Street out of the park and into Disneyland Park.

With Lilo

With Lilo

Once in Disneyland Park we made our way down Main Street USA and into the central hub.  From there we ran past Matterhorn Bobsleds turning left into Fantasyland and Frontierland.  We ran around Rivers of America into Critter Country.  Winding our way backstage, we ran until we were out of the park and into Downtown Disney.  This was the home stretch as we ran towards the Disneyland Hotel, turned right onto Downtown Drive and through to the finish line!

With Stitch

With Stitch

Here are the 2014 Disneyland 5K photo stops:

  1. Lightening McQueen
  2. Mater
  3. Mile 1 sign with Hula Girl
  4. World of Color
  5. Lilo
  6. Chip & Dale, Daisy Duck, Clarice
  7. Mile 2 sign
  8. Stitch with Hula Girl

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The Disneyland Family 5K race was great as always.  This is the perfect race to begin your runDisney obsession.  You’ll never get bored with the course entertainment.  And the race course itself cannot be beat because it stays within the Disneyland Resort!  A race belt is not needed because water is plentiful!  The water stops were well staffed with happy, cheerful volunteers.  And the medallion and personalized bib were delightful!  Yes, the Disneyland 5k is expensive for a 5K, but I believe it is totally worth the expense – a great 5k in a location that cannot be beat!!!

Here’s a video recap of the race and be sure to check out Run All The RacesWhat was your favorite part of the Disneyland 5K?

Race Report: Surftown Half Marathon

With Perfectly Goofy Gail before the start of Surftown Half

With Perfectly Goofy Gail before the start of Surftown Half

Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Surftown Half Marathon is quickly becoming one of my favorite races.  This was my second time running the course – I had run it last year.  In my opinion it’s a race that is 100% worth a drive to experience.  Please note a 5K race is also offered after the start of the half.

Prior to the start

Prior to the start – potty line…

Surftown Half Marathon takes place along the streets of Misquamicut Beach and Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  It offers beach and ocean views and a flat and fast course (except for 1 little hill at mile 10).

Napping...

Napping…

Joining me on my run of Surftown Half was my pal, Perfectly Goofy Gail, in town on business from Arizona.  We left my house, just outside of Hartford, Connecticut at 4:30am in order to get to packet pick up at 6am.  Since it was an hour and a half drive to the race, I wore my PR Soles to drive.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to put my running shoes in the car!  It was a good thing I remember while still in town…

Race shoes!

Race shoes!

Traffic was non-existent and we made great time even stopping for gas.  We arrived a little after packet pick up opening.  We quickly picked up our number, tech shirt and bag.  We got to use the potties and then Gail & I settled in for a 45-minute nap prior to race start.

Starting line...

Starting line…

The races were both sold out.  The start-line was full of energy and the music kept us pumped.  The wheelchair athletes started racing first and soon we were off!  Having both run the day prior – Gail ran a Half Marathon and I ran a training run of 14-miles – our legs were a little tired.  We started off running 2-minutes and walking 30-seconds, but somewhere in mile 2 when we were run/walking a 9:27 mile we decided we did not have the energy to keep this pace and switched down to a 1 minute run and 30 second walk.  We managed to keep ourselves at a 11:11 pace the entire race.

Finishers of the Surftown Half Marathon

Finishers of the Surftown Half Marathon

We finished the race in 2:27.  No where near a PR, but not at all bad for racing on tired legs!  After our race, we decided to celebrate with a visit to Sloppy Waffle located on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington!

Sloppy Waffles

Sloppy Waffles

One of my favorite things about the Surftown Half is the surfboard medal.  I’m proud to add it to my collection.  I’m also a big fan of all the 2014 HMF tech shirts.  The techs are available in both men’s and ladies sizes and the designs have been exceptional this year.  I would highly recommend this race to those wanting a PR, a racecation or even a really cool medal!

33rd race of 2014 and my 31st half marathon

33rd race of 2014 and my 31st half marathon

Did you earn a Surftown Half surfboard?  Is this race on your #buck-list?

You’re Sure to Meet a Couple of “Characters” on the Course…

 

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

I experienced my first runDisney The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend last year. I completed both the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler. I loved both races, not only for their courses and themeing, but for the variety of characters I encountered during each race.

Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run:
If you have ever experienced Mickey’s Not So Scarey Halloween Party, you’ll know the highlight is the parade opening featuring The Headless Horseman. In 2013, we experienced a similar surprise at the start of the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run. Here are the characters I encountered in 2013.

The Big Bad Wolf

The Big Bad Wolf

 

Captain Hook

Captain Hook

Br'er Bear & Br'er Fox

Br’er Bear & Br’er Fox

Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John

Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John

Haunted Mansion Grave Diggers

Haunted Mansion Grave Diggers

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler:
Character photos during a night race can get a little tricky due to the low lighting.  Most of my photos did not come out.  So if you are “dying” to grab a photo with your favorite character, I would suggest waiting in line for the professional photographer.  Here are some of the characters we encountered in 2013:

  1.  Witch from Snow White
  2. Jafar
  3. Zombies
  4. Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas
  5. Queen of Hearts
  6. Dr. Facilier
  7. Shenzi, Banzai and Ed
  8. Stitch
  9. Wreck it Ralph

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What character stop is your MUST STOP SNAP for the 2014 race weekend?

National Parks: Exploring America as a Family – Part 3

Here’s another tip when exploring our National Parks:  journal, journal, journal every evening!  I took my laptop and tried to write down everything we saw each day, so when I finally wrote my blog entry and began to SCRAPBOOK, I would have all the details of my trip ready.  Here are day 7’s  highlights.

Day 7: 

Yes, the wolves are there...

Yes, the wolves are there…

Lamar Valley:  Woke up early and was out the door and on the road by 6:10am!  We saw bison, prawn horn deer and the highlight was 2 black wolves we saw in the distance with the help of a scope.

The Petrified Tree

The Petrified Tree

Petrified Tree:  Having been to the Petrified Forest it was a disappointment.

IMG_4990Mammoth Hot Springs:  We walked the Lower Terraces Area and drove the Upper Terrace Drive.  We spotted some Elk in the distance and were excited to cross them off our “must see” animal list….until we drove into town and we saw elk everywhere!!!  And I mean everywhere – laying in front of the buildings in the shade resting.

IMG_5005Roosevelt Arch:  We had to travel into Gardiner see the original park entrance.  We had our picnic lunch in its shadow.

IMG_5018Gardiner & Boiling Rivers:  We took a dip in the Gardiner River where the Boiling River flows into it.

IMG_4998Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel:  We had to stop in the historic hotel to take a peek at the Map Room and visit with a FaceBook friend who happens to work in the park!  We also had some exceptional ice cream.

IMG_5028

Blacktail Plateau Drive:  Took this 6-mile dirt road in order to see more wildlife.  We didn’t see anything except for a squirrel.

IMG_7603Tower Fall:  Enjoyed the short walk to the falls, but really enjoyed learning about the different rock layers that make up the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Have you traveled to any of these places?  What was your favorite part?

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