August 29, 2014

Friday Five: Fall Preview

I am one of those people that loves everything about fall - the clothing, the weather, the treats, and the holidays.  It's just always been my season.  And that might have something to do with the fact that I was born in October so I'm just partial to this time of year.  When I saw the DC Trifecta's Friday Five topic this week of "Fall Preview," I was immediately on board.  What better to write about than some of my favorite things?!

1. A new jacket: As I've gotten a little older, I've started making investments in my wardrobe.  I'm starting to find that I'll make one or two big purchases each season and buy some fun accessories or cheaper trendy clothes to mix in.  A few summers ago, I was on a quest for the perfect jean jacket and for the past two fall seasons, I've been looking for the perfect caramel-colored leather jacket.  After enlisting the help of one of my very fashionable coworkers, I found it!  I'm looking forward to some cooler days when I can finally start wearing this beauty....and not with a Princeton swimming t-shirt and cotton shorts!

2. My third marathon: It's no secret that I'm already training for my next marathon, the Richmond marathon in mid-November. I'm on the upswing of mileage now and I'm eager to work hard through the rest of my training and see what I can do in this race.

3. A fun Birthday trip: Mom and I are heading down for a long weekend to Walt Disney World for the Tower of Terror 10 Mile race.  We've never done this race before and we're really excited for it.  The timing for the race is perfect as it aligns with a 10 mile cut-back week in my marathon training schedule.  The race also happens to fall right around my Birthday so the timing really is impeccable.

4. Roasting: It's no secret that I love to cook and I always enjoy a chance to indulge in the season's best flavors.  One of my favorite ways to cook is roasting meat, vegetables, whatever with tons of fresh herbs and spices.  It really is a perfect accompaniment to a chilly evening.

5. Fantasy Football: Now you probably didn't expect that this pink-loving, Lilly Pulitzer-wearing, domestic diva is into Fantasy Football, but that's where you would be wrong.  Each year, I strategize my team's name and corresponding logo to maximize my trash talking potential.  Previous team names have included "Brady's Baby Mamas," "Make it rain, suckas," and "Ladies is pimps too."  Many of these names originated from being the only girl in my previous league.  I LIVE for fantasy football.  Last year I was second in my league and this year I'm out for blood.

Thanks for hosting a great Friday Five linkup, Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia!  Happy long weekend Friday, y'all!

August 28, 2014

How to Rock VA Beach like a local!

With a combined 23 years of residency in the Hampton Roads area, with 14 of those being in Virginia Beach, I think we can consider ourselves locals on the area.  We've already shared our ten tips to enjoying Virginia Beach like a local and we figured it made sense to share some insight into the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach half marathon as well.

1. Beware of the heat.  Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach race weekend is known to be a very hot event.  It is the end of the summer in a mid-Atlantic beach town, so I'm not sure anyone would expect otherwise.  With that, be mindful of what you wear and choose something cool.

2. Bring some hydration.  While the course has tons of water stops, I was grateful that I had a handheld water bottle when we ran the relay in 2012.  And also a word of caution…we experienced some very chaotic water stops in 2012 so be patient when you pass through.  I've heard that RnR has made a lot of improvements in that area so fingers crossed that's no longer a concern!

3. Plan for the parking situation.  There is definitely not enough parking at the Va Beach Convention Center so locals are encouraged to park at Farm Bureau Live (formerly the Virginia Beach Amphitheater); there will be shuttles from this venue to the start and finish line.  And for those who are staying at the oceanfront, there will be shuttles from various locations to the starting line and finish area.  After having dealt with race morning traffic at the oceanfront before, I can tell you that the shuttles are the way to go.  Or if you want to skip the shenanigans altogether and have a spot at the convention center, you may want to consider the VIP package.

4. Prepare to beach bum after the race.  The race finishes on the boardwalk and the post-race party is on the beach, so why wouldn't you bring a towel and bathing suit for post-race beach enjoyment?  This is not rocket science, people!
After the 2012 race on the beach

5. Check out the sights.  You'll pass by some of Virginia Beach's notable sights along the race course including Rudee Inlet, the Marine Science Museum (aka the aquarium), Camp Pendleton, and the Boardwalk.  When you cross over the Rudee Inlet bridge, take a look on both sides. It's an incredible view…and you'll be grateful you reached the top of it both times you have to cross it during the race!

6. Know the boring sections.  Yes, like any race course there are sections that aren't my favorite.  For the Rock 'n' Roll half course, this is miles 7-10ish.  You'll be pretty far off the oceanfront and there isn't usually much air movement…or much to see.  Enjoy the bands or make a friend on the course during this section.

7. Don't let the sun get you down.  With a 7:00 AM start time, it will be sunny so I'd recommend a hat/visor, sunglasses, and sunscreen.  You can thank me later, especially the part about sunscreen.  And if you choose to hang out on the beach after the race, make sure you have sunscreen for post-race too.

Looking for more info about race day?  Check out the official event guide here.  They even have a "run like a local" section on page 42 and these are many of my routes - they're good ones!

Disclaimer: As a Rock 'n' Blogger, I received a free race entry into the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach half marathon.  All opinions are my own.


August 27, 2014

Boot camp at the beach!

If you follow us on Facebook or twitter, you know I spent early Saturday morning at the beach with several other ladies for a special book camp class.  Leaving my house, with very dark clouds in the sky, it was unlikely we would be able to have a class.  But we were fortunate and the rain held off so Mitzie and I could get our butts kicked by fitness trainer Rachael.

Serene setting, but not once Rachael got us going!

The class started with some easy jogging that got increasingly harder to get our blood pumping.  We then did some grape vines and lunges before the fun started!  We did several sets of exercises that were quite difficult for the old lady of the group. I don't spend alot of time doing squats and honestly, I should.  Sunday morning I was sore in my inner thigh area from some of the challenges of the boot camp class!

Can you tell it was windy?
The class lasted for 45 minutes and by the time we were doing abdominal work and planks, I thought my arms might fall off.  Mitzie and I had a great time whining and complaining to Rachael, but it was all in good fun.  I can't wait for the next beach class and hopefully the attendance will be much better.

Mitzie kept me laughing the whole time!
Thanks to Rachael for putting this class together.  I hope we will be doing one again soon!

August 26, 2014

Final Tips for Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach - are you ready for some fun?

It's race week for these two ladies and we are so excited.  Megan, co-author of The Runner's Guide to WDW, athlete and friend will be joining us for race weekend.  Here are some of the details to help you enjoy your race weekend in Virginia Beach!

*  Print out your final confirmation/waiver and have it filled in for ease when you get to the Expo.  They will also require a photo ID, so don't forget that important item.

*  The Health and Fitness Expo is held on Friday from 1:00pm to 7:00pm and on Saturday from 10:00am - 5:00pm.  This expo is a fabulous one so make sure to allow extra time to check out the merchandise and vendors.

*Race registration:  If you forgot to sign up for the races, don't fret!  There is still space available for Expo registration for the one mile race on the beach and the half marathon and half marathon relay.  Be sure to get to the expo early to secure a spot.

You know you want these!

* VIP Experience:  You can still sign up for this package here if you want the royal treatment on race day!  This includes special parking, pre-race breakfast, private gear check and indoor restrooms, post race lunch  with bar and a shuttle back to the start line.

In case you missed it, we also posted about our favorite things to do while in Virginia Beach several months ago.  You can check that out here!

Can't wait to a great race weekend.  Hope to see some of friends out on the course!

August 25, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin non-racing fun!

Part of our experience as Rock 'n' Bloggers at the Rock 'n Roll Dublin Half Marathon included several fun events besides race day.  Christine wrote about our race day experience here and honestly, it was one of the most fun and relaxed races we have run.
Getting our credentials at the expo…and feeling a little out of our league!
And celebrating afterwards with a fun pub lunch in the Temple Bar section of Dublin was wonderful and so different than the way we eat/drink after our races here in the US.  Just look at the size of those beer glasses!
No, those weren't all our beers!
Getting back on topic, the first event we attended was the party held on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Cafe, which ended up being practically next door to our hotel in Dublin.  This event was sponsored by the Rock 'n' Roll Competitor Group and included delicious food and drinks.
Headed out for a fun evening!
It was a great opportunity to meet with many of the people associated with the event including Josh Furlow, Executive Vice President of Global events.  His travel schedule is insane!  Right after the Dublin event, he was flying to Virginia Beach, to work on things for the upcoming race on August 31st.  We also met some of the police force who are tasked with keeping all the runners safe on race day, a woman who had won her race entry via a contest, and Mary, who is affiliated with the Tourist Board of Ireland.
Enjoying a few libations!

On Sunday afternoon, while Christine shopped for clothing since her suitcase still had not arrived, I had the opportunity to take a walking city tour courtesy of Failte Ireland (Tourist Board).  Tom joined myself and 4 others including Christina MacDonald, editor of Women's Running UK magazine, who was also running the half marathon on Monday morning.  It was delightful to have a few hours to see some of the more contemporary and newer sights in Dublin.  My favorite was probably the rooftop bar at The Marker which we were told is packed on a beautiful day.  We stopped here for a brief rest and beverage and then continued the tour at a nearby area called the Grand Canal.  It is unusual to see water sports in the middle of a big city, and we learned that a place called Surfdock caters to all ages with some thrill rides and less scary water fun! Another stop was at a coffee shop called the 3fe (3rd floor espresso), that has won numerous awards worldwide for their coffee.  It has a very contemporary flair with table and chairs made out of scaffolding!

Our final stop was at the Fallon & Byrne Restaurant for dinner.  Luckily, Christine and Adam had finished their shopping and were able to join the group.  This restaurant is located above a food hall that was a gourmet cook's paradise.

Nice views of the downstairs since it was closed when we left the restaurant!
Lovely food, drink, and conversation with fellow runners/writers made the evening a fantastic way to end our busy day.  With race morning less than 12 hours away, we said our goodbyes and wished each other well.

We feel so lucky to have been extended the invitation to attend these events and are truly grateful to both the Competitor Group and Failte Ireland for treating us like running princesses!  Hopefully we will be back to enjoy this race again.

If you are interested in reading another take on the Dublin race, here is a link to "Dublin Rocked," a blog post by Chris MacDonald.

August 24, 2014

Weekly Roundup - Aug 24th

This week has been one of my best in terms of the quality and success of my training runs. I seriously cannot remember the last time that I hit all of the distances and goals for my 3 runs during the week and I'm feeling very pleased about that. 

But what I most want to tell you about was the drama from my training run yesterday. I set out at about 6:45AM and it was actually somewhat cool. About a mile into the run, I realized how humid it was and noticed I was already sweating a lot. I was consuming my fluids much faster than I anticipated. I checked the time on my watch and realized that my gym would be open right around the time I was running by so I planned to stop and refill my water bottles. I've done this before so it wasn't new. Of course I don't carry my car keys with me so I didn't have my membership card and the girl at the desk started to look me up in the computer. I mentioned that I wasn't even planning to work out and just wanted to fill up my water bottles. She didn't look up. After trying several different ways to find me in the system, she was unable to locate me. When I said "I am a member and have been since before this became the YMCA," she just looked at me. She eventually said she was unable to locate me and it was clear I wasn't getting any water. Not wanting to waste more time, I headed back out the front door with tears in my eyes and panic in my mind. 

I had at least 3 miles to go until I made it home and I knew that I would struggle without fluids. Luckily there's a brand new Starbucks that's on my route so I stopped there. And the two baristas couldn't have been nicer. They even offered to wash the Gatorade out of one bottle before refilling it! In comparison to my gym, I considered the fact that I wasn't a paying customer so they didn't owe me anything. Amazing. My frustration with my YMCA fueled me to finish my run at a very strong pace so not all was lost! 

Sunday, Aug 17th

Pam:  Ran 4 miles at about 9:30 pace, walked 6 miles
Christine: 9 miles at 9:15 pace (planned 12), stretching

Monday, Aug 18h
Pam: Lots of walking around London
Christine: 30 min circuit workout with jumping jacks, squats, lunges, abs, push-ups, hip exercises, plank

Tuesday, Aug 19th
Pam: Walked 5 miles in London
Christine: Speed training - 1 mile warm up, 5x1000 with 400 RI (I dropped it to 200 after the first 1000), 1/2 mile cool down

Wednesday, Aug 20th
Pam:  Rest day
Christine: Rest day

Thursday, Aug 21st
Pam: 40 minutes elliptical, sit ups, plank, Bosu
Christine: 4 miles descending at 9:03, 8:28, 8:26, 8:11 plus half mile cool down

Friday, Aug 22nd
Pam: Ran 4 miles descending: 9:25, 9:13, 9:05, 8:57
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, Aug 23rd
Pam: Boot camp at the beach!
Christine: 10 miles at 9:04 pace, stretching 

August 22, 2014

Upcoming runDisney Events: DL and ToT

It's getting to be the time of year when runDisney events are in full swing!  In just a week, many of you will be participating in the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend events.  We ran the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge last year and simply loved it!  It was a really fun race weekend that was only amplified by my first trip to Disneyland resort.  Hard to believe, isn't it?

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Information
* Don't forget to print out your waiver!
* For some reading on the plane, download the Official Event Guide to your tablet.
* Need to check your corral?  Use your bib number that's found on your waiver to check your corral for the half marathon, 10k, and Dumbo Double Dare Challenge.
* Check out some of the discounts in the igiftbag.
* Don't forget to get a coupon for the free art card.  We love including these in our race scrapbooks, especially since they're FREE!
* Take a final glance at the final race instructions so you are ready to race!

Tower of Terror 10 Miler Information
* Since this is our very first ToT event, you better believe we'll be studying the Official Event Guide in great detail!
* Keep checking for the waivers to come out so you can have yours printed and ready for the expo.
* Print out the event guide or have it downloaded on your Ipad or phone so you can read it while on your trip to WDW.
* Buy tickets for friends that are not racing for the Disney Villain's Hollywood Bash after party here.

RunDisney released the new medals in June and we can't wait to get our hands on the 10 miler medal.  It has a cool new ribbon and will look great on our medal racks.  We are really looking forward to the race weekend since we will be attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party too.  It will also be fun to party with the villains after our race in Hollywood Studios riding our favorite rides, eating some treats and drinking a few adult beverages.

Are you going to be at either of these race weekends?