September 19, 2014

5 things I'm looking forward to this weekend

This week has simply flown by!  Between a busy work at the office and finally maintaining my workout routine, I'm glad it's the weekend.  In recent weeks, I've found that by the time Friday rolls around, I'm feeling a bit drained and run down...and desperate for a few days of "me time."  This week I've been balancing my job, my workouts, and life a bit better.  I've knocked out a few small chores each evening in the hopes that my weekend can be spent doing some more fun things and less catching up around the house. 

1. Picking up some fall flowers for my front steps.  I love having potted flowers on my front stoop area.  There's something about flowers that makes a home feel more inviting and now that the mums are out, they've been calling my name!

2. Visiting a friend's new baby.  One of my boyfriend's dear friends just had a baby and we may swing by to say hello, smooch a sweet baby boy, and drop off some food.  I have to admit that really tiny babies scare me a bit.  They are just so little!

3. My long run.  It's been a long time since I've actually looked forward to a very long run, but after two strong weeknight runs this week, I'm hoping that my legs will bounce back.  I may head down to the beach for a change of scenery which would be nice.

4. Picking up a pumpkin and maybe some gourdes for the front steps.  I'm a big fan of fall and I simply love visiting the local farm to snag a pumpkin or two each year.  And it's that time!

5. Bake some fall treats.  After baking two batches (4 loaves) of pumpkin bread in the last few weeks, I think I've perfected my pumpkin spice bread recipe.  And no, I haven't eaten them all myself!  Now I'm ready to move on to some new fall treats.  I'm thinking about some baked apples.

What are you up to this weekend?

September 18, 2014

#tbt First Marathons

Just in time for fall marathon season, we thought it would be fun to post photos from our first marathons!  Christine ran the Marine Corps Marathon last October, and I ran the 20th anniversary Mickey Marathon as my first and as part of the Goofy Challenge.

We both have fall marathons this year, Richmond for Christine and Marine Corps for Pam.  If you are interested in reading more about the Mickey Marathon or the Marine Corps race, here are a couple recaps to whet your appetite for those races:

Mickey Marathon 

Marine Corps Marathon

Do you have a fall marathon on your race schedule?

September 16, 2014

Tower of Terror Health and Fitness Expo

In just a few weeks time, the Tower of Terror race participants at Walt Disney World will be picking up their race packets at the health and fitness expo.  We always enjoy attending these expos and to get the most out of your trip to the expo we wanted to share a few tips.

* Expo hours: October 3rd, 10 am to 7 pm and October 4th from 8:30 am to 3 pm at the Jostens Center at ESPN.

* Before heading to the expo, be sure to print out your waiver and have it completed for easy bib/packet pickup.  There are computers available to print your waiver if you forget! You may be asked for a photo identification so have that available too!

* In your final race instructions, you will receive an iGift bag.  This includes a link to several coupons that you may want to use at the expo.  We always print the coupon from Lasting Commemoratives and at Tower of Terror, you will receive this cute bookmark just by bringing your coupon to their booth.

*  New Balance Disney inspired shoes. Be sure to sign up ahead of time for your chance to buy these shoes, if they are on your shopping list. New Balance has a "virtual queue" and you will receive a time to visit the New Balance booth when you sign up. There are several different designs and styles for men, women and children. I bought the Minnie inspired shoes in a state of weakness back in January!

* Check out the expo map on pages 15 and 16 from your final race instruction booklet and make a list of the booths you want to visit.

* Plan how much you are willing to spend unless you have a bottomless wallet.  It is easy to get swept up in Expo mania and buy much more than you can afford or need.

*  If this is your first expo, we would suggest you start at the runDisney official merchandise booth and get your shopping done.  This booth is generally the most crowded booth at the expo and gets busy very early in the day.

*  The speaker series at the race expos are very good.  We always check the list out ahead of time and try to catch at least one of the speakers.  The talks include a race course recap, food and nutrition information from Diet Diva Tara, the runDisney nutritionist and running tips from Jeff Galloway, the run/walk guru and former Olympian.

* Bring a bottle of water and a protein bar or something similar in case you get hungry.  We always spend more time than planned and getting hungry or thirsty can spoil your fun!

* Wear comfortable shoes and have fun!

There are lots of other posts with great information about the Tower of Terror race weekend.  Just click here!

What is a squeaker?

Any of you that follow our blog, Facebook page or on Twitter know that last Friday was a big day for me.  It was the day I could register for the Boston Marathon and I was nervous, excited, ecstatic all at the same time.  Let me backtrack a little. Last year, when qualified runners were waiting for their chance to register, I learned something that surprised me.  Not everyone with a qualifying time gets the opportunity to run the race.  The only way you got a spot for the 2014 race was to qualify by more than 1 minute 38 seconds beyond the already difficult qualifying times.  These standards are put in place by the Boston Athletic Association, who manages the race.  There are spots given to charity runners and between those and the people who did not finish the 2013 because of the bombings, there wasn't enough space for the qualifiers. Nearly 3,000 qualifed runners were sorely disappointed when they found out they would not be running the 2014 Boston Marathon.

A rolling registration process started last Monday with the speediest runners, those who qualify in their age group by more than 20 minutes. Wednesday is the 10 minute or better group and Friday of the first week, those who qualified by 5 minutes or better.  Then come the squeakers.  I only just recently learned about this group.  What you ask, is a squeaker?  A squeaker is someone who has qualified by less than five minutes, but there is more.  This group of runners, like I did, find the best possible marathon, that is flat, fast and with hopefully optimal weather conditions to give themselves the chance to run that miracle race. Some have qualified more than once, but each time they think it could be their last. I feel exactly the same way.

Today, when I was looking at Facebook page for the Boston Marathon,  I read many posts of those waiting to find out their fate.  My fingers and toes are crossed for each and every runner who made the qualifying standard in their age group so that they can experience this race. I look forward to toeing the line next April 20th in Hopkinton with these runners. This could be my only chance to run this race and I am very grateful for the opportunity.

September 15, 2014

Garmin Forerunner 15 Review

Earlier this summer, I was contacted by Garmin to see if I would be interested in testing out their latest watch, the Forerunner 15.  I've always been intrigued by the 10 and with the 15 being the latest in this style watch, I happily agreed to give it a go!

My watch arrived in early July so I've had a bit of time to really test it.  The watch also includes a heart rate monitor which I was eager to try.  I'm a heart rate monitor newbie!

Overview: The Forerunner 15 is billed as more of an everyday watch that includes an activity tracker.  As a GPS running watch, it tracks the usual stats like time, distance, pace, calories, and when using the monitor, heart rate.  You can purchase with or without a heart rate monitor and it is also compatible with the food pod if you would like to use it indoors.
My thoughts: Definitely a very easy to use watch and I liked that it also tracks your steps.  If you prefer a sportier watch, this would be perfect to have everything in one device!  My one complaint was that even though it doesn't have as many features as other GPS watches, it's a pretty large device.  It's a higher profile than the Garmin 220 which I also own and isn't much smaller in face-size.  

Battery Life: Billed as having a battery life of 5 weeks for use as a watch and 8 hours when used with running GPS features activated.
My thoughts: I used the watch in GPS mode for about 7 hours before it needed to be charged, so the time estimates are pretty accurate!  I didn't notice any substantial difference in battery life and was pleased that I didn't need to charge it after each GPS use.

Data: The Forerunner 15 tracks pace, distance, time, calories, and heart rate.  It displays two data points while in GPS mode and you can select the two you prefer from a menu of options.  When you have completed each mile, the watch beeps and lights up with the mile data.  Like all Garmin watches, you can save data in Garmin Connect.  When you complete a run (or walk), it provides a summary screen with time, distance, pace, and calories burned.
My thoughts: Having used a watch that displays three data points for a long time, it was a big adjustment to two data points.  I'm definitely accustomed to seeing time, distance, and pace together.  As someone who is in a pace-based training cycle now, I didn't love being limited to two data points.  However, if you're not concerned with this, I think the 15 would be a fabulous (and highly affordable) GPS watch!
Post-run summary display
Heart Rate Monitor: The heart rate monitor has an elastic strap that connects to the watch when GPS is enabled.
My thoughts: As a heart rate monitor newbie, it was incredibly easy to use!  It connected to the watch easily and once I was wearing it for a few minutes, I stopped noticing it.  Without having done a lot of heart rate training, I wasn't able to make a lot from the data, but if this is your preferred training mode, it would be a great tool.

Comparing it to other Garmin models - Garmin Forerunner 210, Garmin Forerunner 220
Size: Similar profile to Forerunner 210; higher profile than Forerunner 220; Slightly smaller face size than both Forerunner 210 and Forerunner 220
Stats: Forerunner 210 and 220 track 3 data points while the Forerunner 15 tracks 2; No other Garmin watch also tracks your daily steps
Battery life: Comparable in GPS mode to the Forerunner 220; Substantially better than my tired Forerunner 205 when in GPS mode!
Band: Smaller in width and length than Forerunner 220 band; More comfortable than both Forerunner 210 and 220 bands since it's similar to a traditional watch band
Side-by-side comparison of Forerunner 15 and Forerunner 220
The Bottom Line: If you're interested in an "all in one" device that's a reasonable price point, the Forerunner 15 would be a fantastic option!  If you are a data geek like me or if you're accustomed to having more data shown on a watch, you might be challenged with the GPS display or frustrated by switching screens during a run.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Garmin Forerunner 15 to test and provide a review.  All opinions are my own.

If you have the Garmin Forerunner 15, I would love to hear your thoughts!

September 14, 2014

Weekly Roundup: Sept 14th

Another week passed and now that we are well into September, it is time for the weather to cool down.  We are both anxious for long runs without heat and humidity. Yesterday's run was unbelievably humid and I had to wring out my socks after my 16 miles pounding the pavement. Gross right? In the meantime, lots of fall races are fast approaching for both of us.  Our fingers, toes and every other body part are crossed with hope that we will not be racing in 80 degree weather.  At the moment, we are finalizing our costumes for Tower of Terror, re purposing some items and adding some new things.  It is hard to believe that we will be back in Florida at Walt Disney World in only 19 days.  Friday was the big day for yours truly to register for the Boston Marathon and now I await my acceptance from them. Every entry is checked for proof of time through a race website so this definitely requires alot of man power.  My email inbox is being checked frequently right now!

With marathons for both of us on the horizon, our mileage is increasing weekly.  Yesterday's run was a good one, but unfortunately I learned a hard lesson by not hydrating enough immediately afterwards.  I had an accident with my water bottles and when I returned to my car, they had leaked and nothing was left for my post run ride home.   I also had to stop at the store for ice for my post run ice bath.  Next time I will go in the gas station or Starbucks near our parking spot and buy something.  Better yet, I will make sure to seal my bottles so my water is available immediately!
How was your week?  Did you try anything new or have any calamities like me?

Sunday, Sept 7th
Pam: 14 mile run 10:10 pace
Christine: 15 mi at 9:44 pace

Monday, Sept 8th
Pam: 1 mile walk, stretching
Christine: Rest day

Tuesday, Sept 9th
Pam: ran 6.2 miles, varying speeds
Christine: speed work - 6x800 at 3:30 goal pace with 90 sec RI, 1 mile w/u, 0.5 mi c/d

Wednesday, Sept 10th
Pam: walked 30 minutes, weights, stretching
Christine: 30 min bike, 5 min ab workout, stretching

Thursday, Sept 11th
Pam: 9 holes golf
Christine: 3 miles at 8:25 pace

Friday, Sept 12th
Pam: 15 minutes stationary bike, weights, stretching
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, Sept 13th
Pam: 16 miles at 10:45 pace
Christine: 11.5 miles at 9:52 pace

September 12, 2014

Blogs to love

For the Friday link up this week, the lovely ladies of DC, Mar at Marontherun, Cynthia at Yousignedupforwhat and Courtney at EatPrayRunDC  have suggested the topic of favorite blogs.   As bloggers, we both enjoy reading blogs and some of our very favorites are those written by internet people who have become our friends through racing.  We did not include the hosts blogs, since the links are provided above and you can now check out not just five, but eight blogs that we enjoy reading!

1.  Runners Guide to Walt Disney World  Megan and Krista, authors and running friends write a great blog that covers all aspects of running at Walt Disney World.  While the book is perfect to have at home for easy access when planning your race trip to WDW, the blog covers topics from training, hotels and beyond.  This is a must read for runners going to the most magical place on earth!

Post Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon with Megan

2.  Live, Run, Grow  We met Danielle at Disneyland last year when we were there for the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare challenge.  Having read each other's blogs for a long time, it was great to meet in person.  She is exactly as you would expect, with wit and wisdom in every post.  She too loves running, the beach and Cape Cod!

Marine Corps Marathon Pre race with Danielle (middle) and Lisa

3.  Lisa Runs for Cupcakes Another girl we met in California during the Dumbo Challenge weekend was Lisa.  She and Christine had hit it off through the internet and again, was just as we expected in person.  She totally tells it like it is on her blog, whether training is good or bad, and about life in general.  Her husband is an officer in the military and we appreciate all the sacrifices her family makes.  Oh and her little daughter Cora ran her first race last year and the photos were the cutest race photos we have ever seen!

4. My No-Guilt Life  Just typing the name of this blog made me giggle.  Patty is one of the funniest bloggers and if you are having a bad day, just jump on the internet and read her blog.  She is always upbeat, despite being a mother of four active children who keep her on her toes.  She runs Disney races and has worn some amazing costumes too.  Sorry, we had one photo with Patty and I can't locate it.  We met last year, where else but at Disneyland during the Dumbo Challenge weekend.

5.  Run, Stretch, Go  Cyanne's blog covers lots of subjects including running, recipes, healthy living and real life.  What do I mean by real life?  She works an incredibly demanding job, yet manages to keep a great life balance and attitude.  I find her blog very refreshing by not sugar coating things.  We met Cyanne during race retreat at WDW in January and she and Christine subsequently ran the Zooma Napa Valley race together in June and enjoyed a pretty sweet vacation in wine country afterwards!

We love finding new blogs to add to our reader so please tell us some of your favorites!