March 3, 2015

Let's rock some races!

Disclosure: As Rock 'n' Bloggers, we have each been provided with a free Tour Pass entry for 3 Rock 'n' Roll events.  We are encouraged to support the race through social media and our blog, but are not required to do so nor are we compensated for this post.  All opinions are our own.

Last year, we received notice that we are Rock 'n' Bloggers again this year for the Rock 'n' Roll race series.  We were delighted with the two races (Dublin Half Marathon and VA Beach Half Marathon) we ran last year from this series and can't wait to plan our races for this year.  The first Rock 'n' Roll race for us is the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon in two weeks that Christine will be running. We're  still working through the rest of our race plans for the year. With so many great options for locations, it's a very tough decision!

We've really been excited about the Rock 'n' Roll race series for several reasons:
* Awesome race locations - Nice, Nashville, San Antonio, San Diego, and Dublin...need I say more?
* New challenges for completing multiple races in a single location (i.e., the Remix challenges) and completing multiple races in a geographical area (i.e., Southern Charm or Dallas Duo)
* Multiple race distances in locations. Since not every runner has the same goals, this provides the opportunities for families and friends to participate together in a race weekend and complete the right distance for their abilities and interest level.
* Awesome music! It's in the race series title so clearly it's a big part of the events. There are numerous bands on the race courses and there's always a headliner for each event. At Rock 'n' Roll DC, you'll be able to jam to Better than Ezra at the finish line.

We would love to share some savings for a Rock 'n' Roll race with you so feel free to use our code if you are planning to sign up for a race!

Will you be rocking DC this year (or any other city)?

March 2, 2015

Running like a Champion - some things we love

Disclosure: We partnered with Champion for the Princess Half Marathon and were given clothing to wear for training and races.  No compensation was received and as always, the opinions stated here are our own.

When we received an email from a representative of the Champion brand asking us to partner with them for the Princess Half Marathon, we considered the offer very carefully.  As bloggers who do not accept paid posts, we are picky about what we write about and turn down plenty of offers for product reviews and merchandise.  This offer was intriguing to us for several reasons, but mostly because we love the runDisney races and hello, Champion is the official clothing company for runDisney!
Christine got two boxes! 

Both of us received very generous boxes filled with clothing to wear for training and on race day.  While we have already written a post about the partnership, highlighting some items that were superior in terms of performance and price seemed like something our readers would enjoy.  Here are some of my favorite items and why:

Marathon Sports Bra  It's no secret that my rather small girls don't need tons of support.  I can buy just about any sports bra and it will do the trick.  However, this one does it better and I feel strongly that it will work well for anyone.  Made of nylon and spandex, this bra delivers with adjustable racerback straps, a power mesh material to aid wicking and an inner support system for maximum compression.  Good sports bras are not inexpensive and the cost of this item is $48. I have worn mine on both short runs and most recently on a run over 15 miles.  No chaffing and no Body Glide necessary, this bra stays in place and was very comfortable.

Champion 6.2 Capri Pants Super fun and well fitting, these capris are great for the gym and running.  This was probably my favorite item in the box and I bet Christine would agree.  She even wore her pair during the Enchanted 10k race and cruised to a nearly 3 minute PR in the race. I digress.  Here are some reasons we love these pants so much!  Designed for serious running, these pants have a mesh back panel, a fantastic side leg pocket that will fit several gels and a back zip pocket for your car keys, license, money or whatever you need to carry.  The fabric is super stretchy and the draw cord inside the waist helps for a perfect fit.   At a price of $38, these capri pants are worth every penny and much cheaper than some of the other brands of running apparel that we have purchased.

Clearly we love pants that can help earn big PR's!

Champion Women's Performax Marathon Printed Packable Jacket  This jacket was another favorite item we both received. Made of a very lightweight polyester, it will be perfect for spring runs once the winter weather disappears.  Since my sister forgot her lightweight jacket for our trip last week, she borrowed this jacket and carried in her tiny backpack to the parks when she was not wearing it.  It has a mesh pocket that it can be zipped into making it very small for transport, With reflective details, you will be seen as you run and the thumbholes will keep you warm when you start your run.  I am so excited to have this piece in my running wardrobe because it is so compact.  Oh and for you ladies that care about style, it is super cute too! Price is listed at $65

We really appreciate the opportunity given to us by Champion and are enjoying all the new running gear!  One final note. While I have shared links in case you might like to look at any of the items, we unfortunately do not have a discount code to share. However, I have noticed that Champion offers great deals/ discounts through the website!

March 1, 2015

Weekly Roundup: Mar 1st

Wow, is it March already?  February passed so quickly as we trained for the Princess races and tolerated alot of cold winter weather.  There are complaints here though compared to what our friends further north have been dealing with this year.  It is hard to believe that last week we were toeing the line for the Princess Half Marathon.  Here are a few more photos from our super fun weekend!

I was very tempted to buy this shirt for Christine, but I knew she would never wear it!

We spent most of Saturday at Animal Kingdom after Christine ran her Enchanted 10k PR.  My favorite parts of AK include the safari ride and the gorilla habitat. We rode the safari twice and spent at least an hour watching the gorillas!  Seeing the 5 and 6 month old gorilla babies was the highlight of the day!

Snuggling with mom

Baloo and King Louie having fun!

At the expo, the Tinkerbell Medals were on display at the runDisney booth and we took time to look them over since we will be earning the Pixie Dust Challenge medal, Tinkerbell 10k and Half Marathon medals and the pink and purple coast to coast challenge.

Now here's a recap of our workouts from the last two weeks.  Oops, we were too busy at Disney World to post last Sunday!

Sunday, February 15th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 6.5 miles at 9:00 avg pace with pick-ups last 2 miles

Monday, February 16th
Pam: Ran 5 miles at 9:18 pace
Christine: 35 min stationary bike, abs, hip exercises, stretching

Tuesday, February 17th
Pam: 25 min. elliptical, 20 min. exercise bike, plank, sit ups
Christine: 4 mi easy, stretching

Wednesday, February 18th
Pam: 5.5 miles at 9:25 pace with pick ups
Christine: rest day plus snow day walk and shoveling

Thursday, February 19th
Pam: 30 min. bike, sit ups, plank, stretching
Christine: rest day

Friday, February 20th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, February 21st
Pam: run 30 minutes easy with strides at the end
Christine: Enchanted 10k

Sunday, February 22nd
Pam: Princess Half Marathon + 7 miles walking in Magic Kingdom
Christine:  Princess Half Marathon + 7 miles walking in Magic Kingdom

Monday, February 23rd
Pam: walked 10 miles at the parks
Christine: walked 10 miles in the parks

Tuesday, February 24th
Pam: 3 miles easy around POR
Christine: 3 miles easy POR

Wednesday, February 25th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 35 min stationary bike, abs, stretching

Thursday, February 26th
Pam: 30 minutes stationary bike, plank, sit ups, clam shells
Christine: 20 min shoveling, 1.5 mile walk in snow, backyard sprints with the dog in the snow :)

Friday, February 27th
Pam: WOL group workout total 5.25 miles
Christine: rest day

Saturday, February 28th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 5 mi on TM at 9:20 pace, stretching

How was your week?  Have you raced recently?

February 27, 2015

Princess Enchanted 10K 2015: Race Recap

The morning of the Princess Enchanted 10K started like all runDisney events - early!  I made plans to ride the bus from Port Orleans Riverside to the race with Mindy and we met up at 3:30. Side note - I was SO excited to finally meet Mindy (dressed as Olaf) after years of chatting via blogs and social media...and not to mention, it was nice to have a bus buddy since Mom wasn't running the 10K. It was a chilly morning so we were more bundled up than originally planned.

 We arrived in the EPCOT parking lot around 4:00 so we had a long wait ahead. Nearly immediately, we ran into Dani (dressed as Maleficent) and were chatting nonstop! Soon enough, we spotted Karen in her darling Anna outfit. I was trying to catch up with Lisa pre-race since we hadn't seen in each other in ages so I parted ways with Mindy and Dani to check my bag and find Lisa. I hadn't seen Lisa in ages and it was great to catch up with her. We initially talked about running the 10k together, with both of us hoping to PR but given she had been sick for a few weeks, we scrapped that idea.
Maleficent aka Dani, Olaf aka Mindy, and me
Soon enough it was time to head to our corrals where there were several volunteers checking bibs and corral letters. You definitely weren't getting through without a bib...or going to an earlier corral! We enjoyed the entertainment from the runDisney race announcers and briefly chatted about race goals. I mentioned I was hoping to PR and ideally would run under 50 minutes.
Starting line
Soon enough, the national anthem played and we both noted that we weren't in the race, mentally speaking. Who would have guessed the girl standing in front of me turned out to be Amanda, a runner I met in Napa last year. It was fun to see her after running into her after ToT last fall. Lisa and I gave each other a good luck hug and then were off!

The first 2 miles ticked off surprisingly easy and I was surprised to be holding the pace right around 8:00-8:05. I saw the white rabbit at the first hair pin turn up the on ramp around mile 2 and the TV screen with Disney cartoons and music around mile 2. Just before mile 3, we entered backstage at EPCOT with some characters on stilts and then it was time to run around World Showcase. I think I was grinning ear to ear. I saw Jiminy Cricket in Germany (?) and Marie in France before we exited out the International Gateway. I knew there were hills ahead and just under 3 miles to go so I told myself not to burn out. I was holding 8:00-ish pace and still feeling strong.

Along the boardwalk, I saw Donald dressed as baseball player and was dying to stop since I love Donald and baseball but I pressed on. Soon enough, we traversed the steep, but quick hill past the Swan and then were making our way past the Yacht and Beach Club resorts. I was starting to tire so I focused on the crowd at this point. I smiled and enjoyed their signs. I passed royal Minnie as we exited backstage and then quickly returned to the park to loop by The Seas and then Spaceship Earth. We passed Goofy dressed in space garb near Innovations (I think).
Pretty view of Spaceship Earth
The final mile was very windy so it was hard to zone out and just run hard. I was tired so I simply focused on passing the person in front of me. Being that I have a VERY strong competitive streak, this plan worked perfectly. I was able to ignore the pace on my Garmin and fatigue in my legs and just focus on a single person ahead of me. And next I was running into the finish line stretch where I saw the race clock tick from 49 to 50. I didn't have a kick at the end to get under 50 but I still ran a big PR with my final time at 50:10. I found Lisa in the finisher's chute. Despite being sick, she ran a really strong race! We shared celebratory hugs and a picture before she headed out to enjoy park time with her family.

I enjoyed a few photos with the princesses and was able to see Lacey and Meranda before I headed back to the resort. Mom and I had plans to head to Animal Kingdom and I was eager for a hot shower.

Snow White was stunning in person!

Tiana was jamming a bit before we snapped this photo!

Lacey and Meranda looked festive in princess pink!
Overall, I really enjoyed this race. The cool weather made for perfect PR conditions and running through the parks never gets old. And while I didn't stop for character photos, I loved seeing them on course.

Race Details
Final time: 50:10
Placement: 26/1565 in age group; 181/10989 overall
Course support: Excellent as always. Water stops were great and volunteers were fantastic.
Crowding: Started in corral A and experienced no crowding issues.
Characters on course: White Rabbit, stilt walkers, Jiminy Cricket, Marie, Baseball Donald, Royal Minnie, Space Goofy

Did you run the Princess Enchanted 10k? What was the highlight for you?

February 26, 2015

Princess half marathon 2015, Pam's version

Sunday morning, as I waited in the starting corral, my thoughts were on two things.  I wanted an age group award and a new PR in the half marathon distance. My last PR in the half marathon was in October of 2013 at the Bay State Half Marathon and it was my only time to run the distance in under two hours.  After a super early wake up alarm and a quick departure from our hotel, we arrived at the starting area of the race with alot of time to spare.

Pre race with my sis, Christine with our friend Megan (bottom right)

Relaxing before a race is not my strong suit.  I get very anxious and on Sunday morning I may have made at least 8 trips to the porta potty before entering corral B around 5:00 am.  Having Christine to keep me company in the corral was helpful and we were entertained by Rudy and Carissa, the runDisney announcers who exude energy and excitement.  Finally after the surprise announcement of the new runDisney Paris race in September 2016, the national anthem was played and we were off two minutes after corral A.

Christine was running with me and we started out with our first mile at 9:12, exactly as planned which was slightly slower than goal race pace. We gradually descended our pace over the next few miles and quickly  we were approaching the entrance sign for the Magic Kingdom and the announcement cautioning runners about the speed bump ahead.  This part of the half marathon course is so exciting because you know you will be in the park shortly and running through the castle is always one of my favorites.

After racing the 10k the day before and achieving a PR, Christine had tired legs.  She told me several times, prior to mile 4 that she wanted me to go ahead.  Finally as we departed Magic Kingdom and after slowing down further to a 9:14 and then 9:21 mile 5 and 6, I went ahead to try to finish under two hours.  A little side note here..... I was not abandoning my best running pal. We had made these plans prior to the race after her very hard 10k Saturday morning.

The next landmark on the course was the  DJ just past Magic Kingdom who announced we were halfway, I looked at my Garmin to see a time of 1:00.42.  This was slow and I picked up the tempo and completed the next few miles at a faster pace.  At mile 9, my butt needed kicking and who should appear but my sister who started in the corral behind me!  I was so relieved to see her and we both decided it was time to show the race course who was boss.  At this point, I knew I needed to make up approximately a minute in four miles to meet my goal.  Alison kept me company and we ticked away those miles at under 9 minute mile pace until mile 12 with the last highway ramp.  I really struggled on this one and my tempo showed.  Finally as we ran into Epcot, we shifted gears and ran an 8:38 pace for the last mile followed by the .2 at 7:22 minute pace. My PR wish came true by 5 seconds and another half marathon under two hours!  And Alison, she finished in a cool 1:57.41 at 65 years young!
Three happy finishers
My race stats:
841/20182 runners
679/18459 female runners
4/275 60-64 age group
Not a race stat but yes, I earned another age group award at a Disney race! I can't wait for it to arrive in my mailbox!

My goals were met and now it is time to finish my training cycle for Boston!  Do you set goals for every race?

February 25, 2015

Returning to Reality

Coming back home from Disney is never fun. In fact, it's made even worse when you leave Florida shorts weather and return to cold and snow. Both Mom and I made it home (miraculously) last night and found snow in our respective locations. In Virginia, they're forecasting another 5-7 inches tonight. Is it summer yet? In any case, I digress. We're getting back into the swing today and figured we would share a few photos from our trip before we get our race recaps put together.

Goofing off at the expo! After this picture was taken, I jokingly tried to trip Mom.
The photographer didn't capture our shenanigans...
My favorite in AK! 
My 4th Princess Half Marathon in the books
Princess runners at the Hall of Champions
 What was your favorite part of Princess Half Marathon weekend?

February 22, 2015

Hallelujah runDisney announces Disneyland PARIS race!!!!

At long last runDisney has answered our prayers - a half marathon in Disneyland Paris!  I practically squealed and jumped up and down when they announced the news, my francophile heart beating at record pace!  And now for the details...September 23-26 2016 Woohoo!

We are certainly adding this race to our calendars and will be eagerly awaiting the day that we can combine Paris, Disney and running into an amazing trifecta!

So what are your thoughts?