Friday, June 29, 2012

Training method

There are several training plans out there (Galloway, Hidgon, etc), and I needed to find out what worked best for me.  I bought Marathoning for Mortals since it was highly recommended, and read that as well as looked at the popular plans.  So which one did I pick?  Well, I sort of made my own.  I liked the idea of the run/walk, but I didn't think it was necessary to run anything over 13 miles.  My plan for the Princess was simply to finish.  This would be my first half and all I wanted to do was get to the finish line.

For my training schedule, I decided I would increase by 1/2 miles every two weeks, and have shorter runs in between on the "off" weekends.  During the week I would bike Tuesday, run and lift Wednesday, bike Thursday, and bike and lift the day after my long runs.  I took Mondays and Fridays off to help break up the activity between the weekends and week days.  I wanted a good balance between intense running days and cross-training.  I tried yoga at times, but it wasn't the yoga I was looking for.

The intervals I chose for my long runs, on the treadmill, was 1/4 miles.  I'd walk a 1/4 mile, then run 1/4, walk 1/4, all the way through the miles I had scheduled to do that day.  It worked pretty well, and yes, I did all my long runs on the treadmill.  I made friends with the treadmill early on because my summer running in Texas is done inside.  If I even attempted to run outside during the summer, I would melt.  The benefit of a treadmill is it has containers for all my water and Powerade and energy chews, and it's inside.  I would park myself in front of ESPN and bang out the miles.  I knew without a gadget I wouldn't be able to keep up with the 1/4-mile intervals, but I had a back up plan... use songs on my iPod as the run/walk indicator.  I started building my playlist for that pattern, and it seemed to work rather well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Energy - what to do?

Now that I was hooked and decided on the Disney Princess half for 2012 (because it fit better with my schedule than the Donald) I realized I had to find out which energy supplements would work for me.  I have to admit I was dreading this part.  I didn't think I could do chews while running, so that left me with the gels.  I was so scared about the consistency of the gels and not being able to get them down.  There was only one way to find out.  I went to my running store and bought 5 gels, different brands because of the different bases the companies use.

I set up my flight of gels and poured myself a huge glass of water.  A flight of wines is much more fun. One caused me to grab the water, two of them didn't even make it down, but luckily the last two were better than the other three.  They weren't great, but I kind of liked the flavor and the consistency wasn't too bad.  I stuck with those two brands for a few long runs, but quickly realized the gels were just not cutting it.  I started wondering if I had been wrong to avoid the chews.

I was certainly wrong.  I couldn't find chews for one of the brands, but I did for the other one.  Every flavor I have tried of that brand has been wonderful.  Each packet has 10 chews and the instructions say to take 5 about every hour, so I divide the chews up into ziplock bags that I can take with me to the gym or put in my pockets for races.  I had found my energy supplements!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pixar's "Brave" Review

As I wrote in my profile, I love Pixar.  I'd been excited for months to see Brave with all the firsts for Pixar.  I'm partial to Scotland because of my heritage, and I think it's past the time to have a female protagonist.  This was on my radar when it was called "The Bear and the Bow" and I had my opinions then as well.  There was no way I wanted Reese Witherspoon to voice Merida.  I don't have anything against her, but if the movie was going to be in Scotland, there had to be a Scottish actress voicing her.  Needless to say, I was very happy when it was confirmed Kelly Macdonald would voice the character instead.  I was also impressed when I saw the final voice cast, and was very happy that Pixar stuck to the UK, except John Ratzenberger, of course.  It's always fun to guess which character he is.  This one was very quick, but I know his voice.

A quick note on the short, "La Luna" - it's very sweet and a good story in just a few minutes.

The heart of the story really comes from Merida's relationship with her mother, Queen Elinor.  My mom and I certainly butted heads during my teenage years, and it's no different between Brave's mother and daughter.  Merida wants complete control over her fate but her mother insists she adheres to tradition and marry a son from one of the 3 neighboring clans in order to keep relations between the 4 families congenial.  After mother and daughter fight, she flees into the woods, and comes across a witch - sorry woodcarver - where she wishes for a spell to change her fate.  Of course these things never turn out the way the hero/heroine wants, and during the short time Merida has to set things right, the barrier between her and her mother is broken down and they come to understand one another.  But can she break the spell in time?  If you haven't seen it, be sure to stay till the credits are done.  There is a scene afterwards that ties back to some of the events in the story.

The film itself was amazing.  Between the characters, story, visuals and music, it was a great combination.  There are also a number of funny moments in the film that had the audience laughing, and with it being Pixar, there's something for all ages.  I have to admit, it did make me cry.  I rarely cry during movies, but I cried today at the end and I cried at the end of Toy Story 3.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it did meet my expectations.  In fact, it might've usurped Ratatouille as my favorite Pixar film.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tunes

Let's talk music.  I am one of those people who absolutely NEEDS music during workouts.  I do try to keep the music at a reasonable level so when I'm on a course, I'm used to the lower volume.  It's the way I compromise when I know I need to be aware of a lot of things for my safety and others' safety, but for some reason listening to my own breathing makes me fall out of sync.

The people who know me know my music is not exactly "current."  I do listen to some country artists, but most of those songs do not end up in my workout playlists.  My music tastes run all over.  The last two songs I bought were Stevie Nick's "Edge of Seventeen" and Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain."  I sense a pattern...  When I hear songs on the radio, it won't be the first time I hear the song, but I will be in a runner's mindset and think how can this song fit into a workout.  Then there's Disney music.  Today I ran 80 minutes and every song in the playlist was a Disney song.  I also try to have some fun with playlists so I have lists for summer, Halloween and Christmas.

Funny enough, even though I'm a devoted Parrothead, I don't have much Jimmy Buffett music in my workout lists.  I have a couple across two of my interval lists, and one in my summer list, but that is really it.

I'm always looking out for new ideas to keep playlists fresh.  What songs do you think are must haves?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mickey's Inaugural Halloween 5K


This race was mainly for me to experience the race atmosphere and not worry about the distance.  I knew I could do a 5K, so that was one aspect I didn’t fret over.  My questions focused more on how would I feel like the night before?  Would I be able sleep well?  What’s the right breakfast to eat?  What will it be like in the corrals?
My first excitement was when my flight ended up being delayed after we all boarded because a computer crashed and could not be reset remotely.  So we had to go back to the gate for someone to step onto the plane and push a button.  OK, no worries, but my nerves were starting to get frazzled.  At least I was sitting next to a woman with Oswald on her shirt.  That was definitely a conversation starter.  After the computer was reset, we taxied back into line, and there was no more excitement between DFW and MCO.  I met up with my parents since they were running the relay as part of the inaugural Wine and Dine half marathon.  After horking down lunch (sorry Remy!), we headed to the Disney property.
Packet pick-up for Disney World races is done at the Expo at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.  Below is the only picture I took of the expo.  



I didn’t do any shopping at the expo, but it was nice to walk around a little bit after being on a plane for most of the morning.  After the Expo, we headed to our hotel to relax a little bit, and I used this time to lay out everything for the next morning.  Since it was going to be October 2 on race morning, in Orlando, I chose a sleeveless shirt to try to stay cool.  Even though kick-off was early morning, I knew humidity would still be a factor.  This is Florida!  If living in Texas has taught me anything, it’s about the weather patterns in the south.  After everything was set, we headed to the Magic Kingdom to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  I highly recommend this seasonal party.  I absolutely love Halloween and it’s so much fun.  There’s trick-or-treating, a Halloween parade and Halloween fireworks, and the park is decorated for Halloween as well.



We didn’t stay out too late, and I found I was able to fall asleep without any difficulties, but that alarm came early (not as early as the Princess alarm, but that’s for a different recap).  The 5K was at 7am, and we headed back to the Ticket and Transportation Center before the sun was up.  I gave my camera to my mom since I don’t run with my camera.  Below is the picture she took of all the goody bags after the race started.  Big thanks to the volunteers who got all these and the medals ready to go!



Meanwhile, in the corrals, the 5K isn’t as strict as the big races.  The corrals are signs indicating the pace a runner thinks they’ll run the race in, but it does depend on the honor system.  I wasn't looking to set a course record, and my training had me around the 13-minute marker.  This was the only year the 5K went through the Magic Kingdom since 2011 was at the Animal Kingdom, and 2012 will be at AK as well.  One of the Disney singers, I think from the Voices of Liberty, sang the national anthem, and the race began!  As my group started, I was more concerned about where the kids were – I did not want to run over any by mistake – and it was amusing to see how excited a lot of them were.  There was one kid, however, who got yelled at by his mom.  He kept stopping in front of his (I'm pretty sure older) sister, who would shove him, and she started complaining.  As we were heading towards the park, the sun started to rise and burn off some of the mist.
The course took us under the water bridge, past the Contemporary and then we turned towards the park to enter in through the front gates.  There was a monorail above us with the windows down, and its speakers had the Haunted Mansion music going.  When we got in the park, there were characters there to greet us immediately.  On the side I was running to get around the flag pole, Chip and Dale were dressed up at a London policeman and a criminal in black and white striped shirt and black eye mask.  We went up Main Street and veered towards Frontierland, where Woody was, past Splash Mountain and did a little circle on the route, and then were headed into Liberty Square and out past the front of the castle.  Maleficent and Cruella de Vil were on the circular island, just behind the Partners statue.  We continued on into Tomorrowland where Stitch was and not far from him was Buzz Lightyear, and by that time we were headed out of the Magic Kingdom, heading back to TTC.  On the way was a grave digger from the Haunted Mansion, where people were getting down on the ground next to the headstone for photo ops.  We retraced our steps and got back to TTC.  My first race at Disney, and I knew I was hooked.



Speedwork

I kicked my own butt yesterday when I decided to switch up my speedwork to try something a little different.  I decided to do a ladder-type workout where I built up the amount of time I was at the faster speed, with only a minute of recovery in between.  It was more challenging than I thought it would be, but I got to test out my new workout tank top, and it passed with flying colors.  Here's what I did: 2 minute warm up, then pushed it for 30 seconds, 1 minute recovery, pushed it for 1 minute, 1 minute recovery, and continued by adding 30 seconds each time to the fast points, all the way up to 3 minutes, then worked my way back down the ladder, and the entire workout lasted 30 minutes.  I'll have to come up with a playlist for this workout since it looks like it's a keeper.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Becoming a runner

About me... well, I've always been active, and I think I've always been drawn to sports.  I started playing soccer in the third grade, and I still love it.  I don't play at the moment, but it's a sport I love and most of my friends do too.  I tried other sports, but none really ever replaced soccer, until my family moved to Boston and I fell in love with lacrosse.  I played both sports in high school and went on to play 3 years of lacrosse in college.  Running was always a way to train for those sports, and long distance running was never my forte.  I'm pretty sure all my coaches would confirm that statement.

After college, I tried to keep up with my cardio, but when things turned sour at my first job, I didn't want to spend any more time than was necessary in the city.  I stopped working out, which in hindsight was the worse choice I could've made.  It's my stress release and I didn't have it when stress was mounting at my job.  When I picked up and moved to Dallas, I had the time I needed to get back into shape.

I signed up for personal training sessions at my new gym, and my trainer kicked my rear in gear.  The best part was when I started my second job, I was able to build a routine to keep workouts in my schedule.  As I got in shape, I started thinking about goals I could set to keep things going.  Family and friends were always running races at Disney, but I never thought about doing one myself.  The longest I'd run at one time was in college, and it was 5 miles.  When Disney announced the inaugural Wine and Dine weekend with a Halloween themed 5K, I definitely started thinking about doing the 5K.  I was doing 3 miles at least twice a week, and I knew I could use the 5K to experience the race atmosphere, plus I would get to run through the Magic Kingdom!  I signed up and my journey began.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Runner's Shenanigans

Welcome to my blog.  I decided to start a blog as something to write down the training I do for the races I sign up for.  I went with shenanigans in the title because some people would consider all this running silly behavior.  But being normal is overrated, right?

I'm currently training for the MetroPCS Dallas Half Marathon, and I have completed 2 other races, both at Disney World: Mickey's Halloween 5K in 2010 and the Princess Half Marathon in 2012.

Very much on down the road, I am contemplating the Disney Full Marathon in 2015 as a way to celebrate a milestone birthday, but I am looking for people to try to talk me out of it :-P