Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mascara Review

Let me start by saying: I am NOT a makeup person. It's not a part of my daily routine, I find it fussy and a little smothery, but its a necessary evil for work.

You hit the stage without makeup, and you look like a cross between a zombie and ghost.

Now I am told that my combination skin is a blessing which will keep me looking young beyond my years (add 'vampire' to my list of ghouls), but it also has a way of having a negative effect on any mascara I have ever tried.

Between foundation and my natural glistening self after running around under hot stage lights, and I end up wearing my mascara a lot lower than it was initially applied.  As in, UNDER my eyes.

Not cute.

I've been on the hunt for a mascara that will not slip and slide it's way down to accentuate the dark veins under my eyes.

Enter the Shoppers Drug Mart Eye Studio Sampler.


I found this shortly after Christmas (it was a holiday gift box which, according to reviews, seems to be an annual offering) and thought it was right up my alley.  I plunked down the $39 for the box of 7 sample sizes of their top selling mascaras.  Also in the box is a coupon to exchange for a full sized version of your favourite.

I haven't tried all the samples - I read the descriptions of some of the offerings and dismissed them immediately.  I was looking for something long lasting, water-proof and generally tough-as-nails since I attribute much of my smudging to oiliness.

I narrowed it down to the Lise Watier 24 Hrs Glam Mascara sample:

Source: LiseWatier.com

From their website:

Our mission: to boldly lengthen and volumize lashes while providing extreme, long-lasting wear. Once you try our 24 Hrs Glam Mascara, you'll agree: mission accomplished. Its elastic polymer formula and FlexiQueen TM brush surround each lash with a 3D waterproof film to create an infinitely glamorous look that lasts all day, and all night for an astonishing 24 smudge-free, waterproof, sweatproof, humidity proof and, sob, tear proof hours. Need yet more proof? Okay. It's opthalmologically tested.

I wore it to a couple of long shifts running single serve coffee machines at a bridal show (read: Lots of steam) and was pleased to see that there was no smudging, but it wasn't really the toughest trial I could think of.  It gave good coverage, good definition, good lash separation.  Nice product.

Meanwhile, I gave the Smashbox Full Exposure a run for it's money - facilitating a corporate event in a hot room for 90 minutes, then running home. It did well in the facilitating portion of the day - less good in the running part of the day. That said, the quality of the product was amazing. It looked great. I would happily wear it for regular, non-sweating events.
FULL EXPOSURE MASCARA
Source: smashbox.com

But back to my pal Lise Watier.

Yesterday I really put her to the test. I hadn't had a good run in since the Half Marathon, and despite the rain, it was time to get back out there. Since we're heading back out on the ship in a couple short weeks, I figured it was a good idea to get my whole mascara situation settled.  So I did what any normal person would do.

I put on a layer of mascara, suited up, put on a layer of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, and went for a 5 mile run in the pouring rain.

Since I didn't run past any reflective surfaces, I wasn't sure if the "what a nut" looks I was getting from other soggy pedestrians was due to the fact that I was out running in that weather, or because I looked like Tammy Faye Baker had a love child with a raccoon.

Guess what?

They just thought I was nuts because I was running in rain, freezing rain, thunder and lightning!

My mascara did NOT BUDGE!

I know a lot of ladies like to wear a touch of make-up for races, and runDisney's Princess Half Marathon is only a few short weeks away, so if you haven't found your mascara of choice, perhaps the Lise Watier 24 Hours Glam Mascara is for you!

Note: I paid for these mascara samples myself and this review is the opinion of a happy consumer. I have no relationship with any of these companies.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - Half Marathon Recap

Here it is: the much delayed and not at all ballyhooed race report for the Walt Disney World 20th Anniversary Weekend Half Marathon!

The coffee maker was prepped, the race outfits laid out, the multiple alarms were set.  We went to bed on Friday night after a surprisingly good meal at Carrabba's. We'd never been before, and had low "Olive Garden" type expectations and those expectations were pleasantly exceeded. (I am a self-admitted 'food-snob', and I will admit to sending my food back to be reheated.  Tepid food is a pet peeve of mine, but I'm always happy enough to just have it thrown in a microwave if the kitchen has one.)

We got back to our lovely one bedroom villa at Saratoga Springs, and tucked in for the night later than we'd have liked, excited for the next morning but dreading the early wake-up.

There is nothing quite like the confusion you feel when your alarm goes off at an ungodly hour.

"What happened? Where am I? WHO am I?"

We scrambled some eggs, toasted some bread, slurped down some coffee and spooned up some yogurt, grabbed a banana for the road and headed out the door.  We got to the bus stop around 3:15, had less than 5 minutes to wait for a bus and watched as the line up suddenly mushroomed behind us.

Tip: Everyone and their mother plans to line up for the bus at 3:30. If you don't like line-ups or stress on race morning, go earlier.

Our bus driver got a little confused and made a wrong turn, which lead to him dropping us off right at the Runner's Village, as opposed to farther down the parking lot.  Score!  We hustled to the Race Retreat, but I saw the Pacebook Running Club Pace Group gathering, so I popped over to wave (They nicely waved back, but probably had no idea who I was considering how big the group is. Next time I'll be more outgoing at the runDisney Meetup, and will try to get to at least one PbRC meet up!) and then we flashed our armbands to the Race Retreat bouncers and made our way inside.

We joined a quiet couple at a mostly empty table, grabbed coffee laced with hot chocolate and tried to relax (and snack) while we waited for the "get moving" announcement which came quickly enough.

Tip: When joining the 'herd' heading to the corrals, understand that you are heading into an inevitable gridlock. Keep your head on a swivel.

For some magical reason, runDisney ushers you past a huge bank of port-o-potties and through a teeny bottleneck on your way to the corrals. Be patient, but purposeful as you move along. You're walking into a line of people facing the potties, and they aren't going to move in the same direction as the corrals, so don't be afraid to move forward. They aren't stopped because there's nowhere to go, they're stopped because they're criss-crossing a crazy-long line. We moved to the front of the potty-line and walked through the 6 foot space that people left in front of the potties to by-pass the worst of the blockage.

Tip: Do NOT succumb to the lure of these potties. They will waste your time. There are SO MANY more potties on the way to the corrals. More than you could ever dream of. Bide your time, clever runner.

We finally got to our corral (Greg and I moved back from B and C respectively to join Rachael in E) and settled in. We looked around, checked our phones, took photos, aimlessly stretched and then finally sat down to wait for the race to start. Before we knew it, we were listening to the National Anthem, and watching the sky erupt with fireworks as the wheelchair athletes were sent off.

Disney had the corrals starting every 7 minutes, like clockwork. That said, these corrals were the biggest I'd ever been a part of. Bigger than the Princess Half, bigger than the Disneyland Half, comically bigger than the Downsview Half. As a result the corrals seemed to start to bleed together, one corral was barely through before they'd have to start the next corral.  

We were pretty far up in our corral, and while we were waiting, Greg looked around and noticed Drew Carey hanging out and watching the monitor. He ran over to shake his hand, we got a quick photo, my sister shook his hand and he backed away, but soon called her back over to shake her hand again. It must have been her bad-ass Wonder Woman outfit.  He was super-nice.

As we were getting organized for our start, I realized that I had never reset my Garmin to our regular 2/1 intervals after my :30:30 practise run and I couldn't program it on the fly. Greg quickly programmed his 310XT for our intervals and Rachael chose a 2/1 program on her 410 as well (this would later become significant). I opted for an open workout to track our splits. My Garmin is also set for the city-running, auto-pause option for stoplights and busy streets, so my perception of the actual time is a little off.

Soon enough it was time for Corral E to start. According to my Garmin, we started at 6:02am.   




We had another problem, immediately. I realized that I also had not tried on my Nathan hydration belt recently - meaning that it was sized for wearing over my thermal pants, coat and layers.  So... bounce, bounce, bounce. We switched to a walk interval and I started tugging and re-adjusting to get the belt tightened down to a less bouncy size. I finally got the straps re-attached when I got jostled from behind. My gel bottle went flying. I took 10 steps before I realized that this would not do. We hadn't even gone a quarter of a mile. I needed that bottle. So I did the least safe or responsible thing I could have done. I went back for it.  I bobbed and weaved, arms in the air so people could see me, waved like a crazy person to alert the other runners that I was bending down, grabbed the bottle and hoofed it back in the right direction. I wish that was the only backtracking I would do that day. We'd been running less than 5 minutes, and it was already a shambles.

With the three of us running together (in a row, not side by side) it was very difficult to get into a groove at the same time. We'd be trucking along and one little thing or another would cause us to slow (foggy glasses, or side by side teams in training walking along) or stop (photos or potty breaks).

On top of this, I was moderately concerned about our pace. I knew we had a 21 minute buffer between us and the sweepers, but that did not give me 'let's take our time' confidence. I was also concerned about the sun coming up and the unseasonably hot temperatures that would come with that.



Mile 1: 14:11
Mile 2: 14:41
Mile 3: 15:09

We bypassed the Black Pearl and Captain Jack Sparrow. It was still pretty dark, so we figured we'd take photos on the way back when it was lighter outside.
Before we knew it, we were heading to the Toll Plaza.





We made our way towards the Contemporary, and under the bridge where a DJ with giant Mickey hands Gangnam-styled us up the hill.



We made our way through the parking lots and encountered our first cheering spectators, and a group of cyclists on Pennyfarthing bicycles.



From there, it was a hop-skip-jump situation to the backstage area where we were dumped out onto Main Street, USA for arguably the best part of the race.

No left turn?  I LAUGH at your 'no left turn'.

Great view, eh?  Enjoy my bouncy Nathan Hydration belt, and MY BUTT!
Best view, ever.
And with a sunrise?  Come ON!

We hadn't yet had a chance to see the new Fantasyland expansion yet, so this was our first exposure to that beautiful bit of Imagineering. Looks great. And we stopped so Rachael could get this epically awesome photo. It was a long line, but worth it.


As we waited for Rachael to get this photo, I started worrying a bit more. Greg and I were noticing the uptick in the crowd, the pace of that crowd, and then finally the BIBs on that crowd.  There they were. Lots of bibs from corrals G and H. The back corrals. We'd lost some ground.

We trotted toward the castle.



You could not run through the castle if you wanted to. You could probably comfortably have crawled through... backwards... blindfolded... things had gotten pretty slow and crowded. Still, we had to have this photo:



Mile 4: 14:47
Mile 5: 14:53
Mile 6: 16:08 (actual 10K split 1:46:55 thanks to bathroom & photo stops)

From here, we tried to pick up the pace as much as possible. 

Look out! Train!
We hoofed it through Frontierland and out of the park, past the Grand Floridian, past the Wedding Chapel, past the golf course and past the Polynesian. I was focussed on keeping us moving.

Mile 7: 13:36
Mile 8: 15:00
Mile 9: 15:41

We made a restroom stop, paused briefly at the Medical Tent for some BioFreeze for Greg's shoulder and made our way to the Clif Shot station.

Except the Clif Shots were all gone.  Bad sign.  Bad, bad sign. I'd noticed the water stations were getting more and more sparsely populated with cups, too. It was time to try a little harder, so we pushed on.

Or so I thought.

We started on another run interval, pushed it out, slowed to a walk and I did my customary shoulder check to see where Rachael was.

Except that she wasn't.

Greg and I moved over to the side of the road and watched the runners go by.  We debated what to do, but we were both a little run-drunk at this point and not communicating at our best.  I suggested that he run on ahead and see if somehow she'd passed us and I would go backwards to see if she'd been sidelined, or had to stop for a medical reason - then we could call each other if we found her.

I kept checking her Facebook page to see if she'd crossed the 15K split mat, since we'd just hit it.

Nada.

Greg wouldn't leave me alone - he knew that I would stop the race altogether if I couldn't find her and he knew she wouldn't want me to do that.  We opted to walk back towards the medical tent we'd just passed to see if she'd ended up there.  As we were walking that way, Greg said "There are the Balloon Ladies".

"No, those are just ladies with balloons... oh, crap".

Yes.  Yes, we had walked back to the VERY BACK of the race and the Balloon Ladies (aka, the sweepers) had just passed us.  Greg confirmed their identity with the bike cops right behind them.

Gut check time.  Greg HAD to go on.  He was doing the Goofy Challenge.  If he DNF the race, his Goofy medal was in jeopardy.
I did not feel right going on.  I was worried that Rachael had already been swept, even though I KNEW that wasn't really possible.  We didn't see her on the side of the road from where we were standing all the way back to the medical tent, and we didn't think it was realistic that she would have been discovered, assessed and moved in the amount of time since we'd last seen her, so the only thing to do was continue on and hope that we could discover her fate from runner relations.

It didn't make sense to me that she would have been swept - she was more than capable of making and keeping the pace. I called and left a message on her phone that we were moving on and that if she was at a medical tent, to have the staff call me.

And we moved on.

Moving time for Mile 10: 16:40. Real time: 26 minutes.

It was hot. I felt like a heel. The sweepers were right behind us. Mile 11 to the finish was not the most fun I've ever had at a race.

Mile 11: 12:54
Mile 12: 14:05
Mile 13: 14:14
Mile 14 (yes, our back-tracking added another .90 mile): 12:02
Official Finish Time: 3:47:20 (ouch). Moving time, per my Garmin: 3:24:07 (still, ouch)

We finished the race (we really did, despite the fact that there are NO official photos to prove this...) rushed through the chute, grabbed our medals, checked the self-treatment icing area for Rachael, took our food boxes and made our way to the Race Retreat tent.

We figured we could get information there on what happened with Rachael.

We entered the tent, were handed our commemorative socks and barely had a second to look around when we heard:

"TAAAAAB!  GRRRRREG!!"

There was Rachael!!

She learned that she had finished a good 17 minutes ahead of us.

She'd gotten a stitch as we started our last run interval together, wasn't able to call our to us, and consequently lost us as we pushed on.  She hustled along, assuming that if she pushed, she could catch up to us... except she never saw us.

And in an effort to get around slower runners/walkers, she ended up on the grass a fair bit, missing the 15K split mat altogether.

She'd looked for us for a while, figured we'd just gone on ahead and so she just kept pushing long, listening to her Garmin beep out her intervals, and passing a ton of runners/walkers along the way.

She finished, headed to the tent to look for us, assuming that we'd finished well before her only to discover via the runner tracking that we had not finished yet.  For a while SHE started worrying about US, wondering the same things we'd been wondering about her.

TIP: If you're running with others, talk about a "if we lose each other" strategy ahead of time, and HAVE A PHONE ON YOU! (hers was back at the hotel)

Once we were all together again, the situation quickly went from "stressful and guilt-ridden", to "funny anecdote". We laughed about it, teased each other (I still think she lost us on purpose so she could 'beat' us), and enjoyed our breakfast at the Race Retreat tent before heading out to take some more photos, and wait for an unreasonably long time for our bus back to the resort.

Once back at the resort, I filled up 5 grocery bags with ice, and took an ice bath to ease my legs - something I'd never done before, but I will ALWAYS do in the future.  My legs felt fresher the next day than they ever have before.

TIP: Have an ice bath. The 5 - 10 minutes of discomfort is well worth it, when you consider that you'll be able to sit down AND get back up like a normal human being the next day.

Afterwards, Rachael and I went to Downtown Disney to meet up with our dad and step-mother to grab a bite to eat while Greg finished up his own ice bath and had a rest in order to prepare for the Marathon the next day.

All in all, it was a lesson in 'running your own race' and managing expectations. I was not thrilled with how incredibly full the course was, but it was something that I certainly expected. It probably would not have phased me if I hadn't let myself stress about all the other shambley stuff going on.

But most importantly we all finished - maybe not together - but we finished! And it was an adventure. And isn't that what it's all about?

TIP: No matter what happens, have a GOOD TIME!

Sisters conquer Donald!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - Travelling & Getting settled

I've sat on writing a race report for a couple of weeks for a couple of reasons.

  1. Sometimes I'm lazy.
  2. It's taken me this long to figure out how I feel about the race.
Hang in there, and you'll see what I mean.  But first, travel day.

Our trip started out inauspiciously.  On Thursday afternoon, we drove from Toronto to the Buffalo airport to fly with JetBlue to Orlando.  As soon as we arrived at the airport (and we were pretty early to begin with) we discovered that our flight was DELAYED. 

It wasn't long before we were given meal vouchers, which is always a bad sign.  You know if they start throwing free food at you, you're going to be a while.

The delay ended up being just over 3 hours - which I chirped about on Facebook.  Almost instantly, my runner friend Penny came to the rescue with a link for the JetBlue Passenger Bill of Rights.  A quick perusal softened the blow of the delay, because we learned that we were entitled to a $75 credit for our troubles.  They weren't making announcements to this effect, so I went to the desk, and made sure they had my information on file so that we would receive our credits (they initially had no idea what I was talking about, so I showed them their Bill of Rights on my phone).

So, thanks Penny!

When the plane finally did arrive, the DirectTV wasn't working.  They gave us all free headphones and free movies for the flight, and I followed up afterwards to get an additional $15 credit, again, thanks to their Bill of Rights.

Again, thanks Penny!
I was sporting my runDisney Coast to Coast challenge bag, and my Pacebook Running Club logo.
Our 9:00pm arrival time in Orlando turned into a 9:00pm departure time from Buffalo.  Yes, we were leaving when we were supposed to be arriving.

Uneventful flight for me (although Greg had to sit next to a very chatty dude who also spent a lot of time yelling across him to his mother in law across the aisle, and my sister sat in front of his seat-kicking son.  I was lucky).  Watched Perfect Pitch.  Just ok.

We picked up our rental car from Hertz, using their Jetsons-inspired video booth customer service kiosk and grabbed our teeny-tiny car.  Oh, so teeny.

Here's where I got surprised.  We needed to grab something for me to have for breakfast the next morning before the runDisney meet up, since I would be up and about before anything at our resort was open, so we headed to the nearest Target/Wal-Mart.

They were CLOSED!!

Granted it was midnight, but still.  This is America!  Isn't everything always open in America? *sputter-sputter-outrage*

After some quick googling, we made our way to the overpriced, but conveniently open, Goodings.  Bing-bam-boom, cereal-yogurt-milk-coffee-bananas-eggs-bread-peanut butter (Really?  THAT much?  What are we?  Back in Canada?), let's gooooo!

There was a surprisingly long line at check-in for such a late hour (especially since I did online check-in) but we got our room requests honoured (ground floor, close to transportation) and hustled to get settled.  Also at the front desk was my Dolotech SparkleSkirt which I had arranged with Leah to have delivered to the resort so I could wear it for the runDisney Meet Up.  We had a travelling trunk show scheduled in our room the next morning at 10am so my sister and I could try on some more styles, but I wanted one to wear to the run!

We hustled over to our one bedroom unit (hello Jacuzzi tub!) and had to do serious battle with the sofa-bed before it would agree to come out of hiding and behave like a flat surface, but we got there...

It was an imperfect day of travel, but, much like the sofa-bed - we got there.  And that's all that matters.

Now I just had a few short hours to get some sleep before I had to be ready for the runDisney Marathon Weekend Meet Up, which I wrote about here.

Up next - the HALF MARATHON race report - aka, the Shambles Run.




Thursday, January 24, 2013

runDisney Marathon Weekend Meetup

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was lucky-ducky enough to be chosen to participate in the runDisney meet up scheduled for the Marathon Weekend.

For the uninitiated, basically it's an event that runDisney organizes for runners, where they can get up close and personal with accomplished professional athletes and celebrities (of the animated and non-animated variety).  It's done in a very Disney way, and they had promised this meet up would be the biggest yet, being that it was the 20th anniversary of the Marathon Weekend.

We were asked for our shirt sizes in advance (as well as our twitter handles) and were told to meet at the front gates of Disney Hollywood Studios bright and early on Friday - 6:30am.  I'm guessing this isn't super early for a lot of 'real runners', but for this gal whose flight was delayed by 3 hours, and who didn't get to bed till after 2am?  It was early...  Nevertheless, I bolted out of bed and fired up the coffee maker.

Greg opted to take the morning to play 9 holes of golf, so he gave me (and a Pacebook Running Club acquaintance) a lift to the park.  We signed our "we won't sue you if we fall and knock all our teeth out of our head" waivers, filed into the park and were given bags with T-shirts inside which we were asked to wear for the duration of the event.  Usually the shirts given out for this event are tech shirts, but this time we were given cotton shirts with a different logo commemorating the 20th anniversary for runDisney.  Nice, but hot once the sun came up!

Here's where I discovered that a lot of people knew each other already.  Some had already done these meet ups before.  Some were old friends through blogs, or races, or Facebook groups.  Now, I'm a member of the Pacebook Running Group and a couple of others, I read some blogs, I recognized some people I follow on Twitter, but that morning I was too tired to pretend I am anything but a shy-boots so I tweeted and took photos and just enjoyed the quiet of the pre-dawn park. 

I turned out to not be so great on the 'social' part of the 'social networking event' at first.


Soon after we put on our shirts, a few special guests arrived to take photos.


I may be exhausted, but I'm ready to run Donald's race!
Me and Mickey
Photo courtesy of runDisney

Me & Goofy

Before long, the photo op had ended and we were greeted by our runDisney hosts and invited to choose our pace group for the morning - the 9 minute/mile group, which included Olympian and Boston Marathon runner up, Desiree Davila and 8 time Disney Marathon winner Adriano Bastos - uh, not my group - or the 12 minute/mile group (yes please).

Our group was led by former Olympian and current runDisney training consultant, Jeff Galloway, which was a treat.  It's thanks to Jeff's Run/Walk/Run philosophy that I ever considered running a half marathon to be a remote possibility, and now I'm 4 deep in them!
We ran :30/:30-ish intervals, and I would guess that about 2/3 of the 100 or so participants chose to go this route.

I mean, most of us had a race the next day - might as well take it easy, right?  Well, easy-ish. 12 minutes/mile is pretty brisk for me, but thanks to my trial run earlier in the week, I felt confident.  And honestly, the :30/:30 intervals made it a lot easier than I'd expected.

During the run, I found myself pacing alongside Dick Beardsley so we chatted for a bit.   Super nice guy.  I tried not to think about how I was huffing and puffing along side an elite athlete who would go on to win in his age division the next day at the Half Marathon (1:32).

I know that running in a group makes me competitive, if for no other reason than to want to keep up and not look like a Fatty Outofshaperson, and so I forced myself not to straggle.

What it looks like when you try not to straggle.

Before long, we pulled into the theatre for Lights, Motor, Action! and were invited to grab a beverage, a breakfast sandwich and a seat.

Coming into the venue.
Waiting for the presentation to start.


I tried to ignore the sweat running down my back (oh, cotton shirt... who chose you?) and focussed on the start of the event.  I wasn't sure what to expect, if it would be a long runDisney/New Balance commercial, or what.  Turns out, it was a lot of fun!

I mean, THIS guy showed up.

Joey Fatone shows his best Dancing with the Stars moves.
There was much swooning among the over 30 crowd.
Photo courtesy of runDisney

Joey (I call him "Joey" cause we're tight like that.  And by that, I mean, it's his name.) talked about how his wife was planning to run the Goofy (Half Marathon and Full Marathon on back to back days), but she broke her foot.  He, in the words of many a well-intentioned husband, said "I'll run it for you".  And so here he was - slightly under-prepared, but hoping his Dancing with the Stars cardio would suffice.  (Spoiler alert - he made it.)

Next up was the New Balance team, talking about types of shoes that runners can choose from.  (Here's that commercial I was expecting...)
Shoes, shoes, shoes, New Balance shoes...

We learned that New Balance was now the official shoe of runDisney, and to commemorate that pairing, New Balance had designed Mickey and Minnie inspired shoes, for sale only at runDisney expos.  They made 1000 pairs, and in a great show of underestimating the obsessive nature of the Disney Nerd, they ran out of shoes by noon of day one of the expo. They're used to selling a couple of hundred shoes at an expo...

They could have brought ALL of them, and still run out. (Hey, these are the nerds that sent over 5000 emails to try and get into 100 spots for the runDisney meet up.  These are the nerds who repeatedly crashed the Disney Parks Blog by hitting 'refresh' obsessively while waiting for the meet up announcement.  These are the nerds who bought out the new Dumbo Double Dare race combo at Disneyland within hours of it opening for registration...  These are nerds you should never UNDER prepare for when it comes to merchandise.)

We didn't know they'd actually BUY the shoes...
Photo courtesy of runDisney
We heard from a panel of amazing runners, including Jeff Galloway, Bart Yasso, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Bill Rodgers, Dick Beardsley and Desiree Davila.


And here are their shoes.
Photo courtesy of runDisney

We heard the amazing statistic that this year was the very first time that female runners outnumbered male runners for the marathon - to which point someone asked if we could expect women's shirt options for all the races - not just the 'female oriented' Princess and Tinkerbell Half Marathons.  Yeah!

Joan Benoit Samuelson talks about how it feels to see so many women joining the sport she revolutionized.

Former NFL player, Eddie Mason encourages us to get enough rest, and to strengthen our core.

Now a lot of women were supes geared up about seeing Joey Fatone, and that was cool and all, but THIS surprise was my favourite.


Drew Carey!

Photo courtesy of runDisney
 As someone who makes their living doing sketch and improv comedy, I have a lot of reasons to thank this dude.

Initially he was supposed to run the Marathon this weekend, and had challenged a group of sketch comics he was working with to participate too.  He offered to pay for everything, fly them first class, run the race, party-town, have fun.  The only caveat is, they had to finish the race.  If they didn't, they owed him all the money back.  Over time, everyone backed out - all but one girl.  She was there running that weekend, and he was there to support her, as promised, even though he had injured his knee and wasn't able to run himself.

Now that, if you'll pardon the pun, is a stand-up guy.

He had some funny Price is Right stories, did a tight five, and took some questions.  Truly a highlight of the event for me.


I was too geeked out to talk to him like a normal human.
There was a raffle as well - they gave away a bunch of pairs of the limited edition runDisney New Balance shoes, which I did not win. 

But I did win THIS!

runDisney rolling duffle bag and a designer signed Vinylmation runDisney Mickey!
The event wrapped up with an invitation to come and experience a America's Funniest Videos showing, where we'd watch some videos and receive a t-shirt, but Greg was on his way so I had to hustle to meet him, so I took a few more photos, collected my gift bag and headed on my way.



The gift bag included some full sized samples of H2O products (foot lotion and refreshing face spray), New Balance shoe laces, an iFitness waist pouch/race belt, a Cliff Mojo bar, and a One Day/One Park pass - sweet!

Overall, it was a wonderful event full of surprises.  I was so happy to have been included and you can bet that this Disney nerd will be hitting 'refresh' obsessively on the Disney Parks Blog again next time I do a runDisney race.






Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ready to Go

Today = Whirlwind.

I had planned to spend the last week packing and getting ready for our trip, however apparently I need a hard deadline in order to get my ass in gear.

The hardest deadline of all?

TOMORROW.

For that reason, today has been a whirlwind of final loads of laundry, sweeping, mopping, kitchen cleaning packing and errand running.  I'm going to go ahead and say it's all done, because at this point there's not much more I can do if it isn't.  The house looks decent for our pet sitter arriving tomorrow (crap!  Forgot to get cash to leave for her!  One more errand early tomorrow.)

I did a last minute run to Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up a small travel sized spray bottle for my KT Tape Adhesive Spray:

KT Tape Ultra Stick Adhesive Spray
Source:  http://www.theratape.com/kt-tape-ultra-stick-adhesive-spray.html
We're not planning to check a bag (not letting my bag out of my sight!) on the flight down, so I needed something a little smaller for my spray.  It almost didn't make it home from Anaheim, but the airport scanner felt sorry for me and overlooked my inability to gauge what 3 oz looks like.  Or is it 1 oz?  I may be in trouble.

Love my KT Pro Tape, love my KT Tape Adhesive Spray.  They are the real deal.

I'd like to think I have everything (except that darn cash for the pet sitter... dang it!) ready to go.  Most important are my race clothes, shoes, and Garmin.  Everything else can be replaced at the Health and Fitness Expo (aka Runner's Shopping Heaven).

I don't think I need anything from the Expo.  I never think I need anything from the Expo.  We'll see how it goes.

Mostly, I'm just ready to be at Walt Disney World, snug in my bed at Saratoga Springs Resort counting down the hours till we start our race!

But first.  Sleep, then a quick weigh in at Weight Watchers in the late morning, then a drive to Buffalo...

So many steps!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I got picked!!

I am so delighted!  I was chosen as one of the lucky runners who get to participate in the runDisney Marathon Weekend Meetup.

How lucky am I??

From the runDisney confirmation email, here's what I have to look forward to:


"Our runDisney morning will start promptly at 7:05 a.m. with a 2.5-mile run-walk-run with Jeff Galloway. Please arrive prepared to start our run. We will have staff on-site that can take small personal items to the location where we will be after the run.
Along with Galloway, we will have a number of special guests Friday morning, including Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson, New York and Boston Marathon championBill Rodgers, Runner’s World columnist Bart Yasso and athlete/television host Dick Beardsley.
To keep up with all the race weekend’s events, follow @runDisney and @DisneySportson Twitter. The Meet-Up hashtag on Twitter is #WDWMarathonMeetUp. And to share photos and experiences, the event weekend hashtag is #WDWMarathon."

“Jeff
Source: Disney Parks Blog
All those world class, elite athletes... and ME (plus 99 other lucky winners).

I mean... WHAT??

I just... I can't... I... 

Wheeeeeeee!!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pins and Needles

So, today is the day that all runDisney nerds spazz out.  (Me included)

We're waiting for the announcement of the official Marathon Weekend runDisney meet up on the Disney Parks Blog.  (Me included)

It involves an early morning 3 mile run through (usually) a Disney park, led by the official runDisney trainer and former Olympian, Jeff Galloway.  I've read other bloggers reports of it, and it sounds super fun and well organized.

So, refresh, refresh, refresh on the blog...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Weigh in Day

Today was weigh-in, and I was pleased to find out that my first week on the Weight Watchers 360 program, I was down 3.4 lbs.  Very pleased.  My goal was to have lost 3 lbs, since I know you always lose a little more in week one.

That includes the drinks I've had this week (1 beer and 1/2 a bottle of champagne on New Year's Eve) and the bits of candy I've allowed myself (and counted).  Oh, candy.

But what I've done is try to include a bit of fruit or veg with every snack I've had (relatively successful) and tracked evvvverything.  Tracking what I'm eating has made me very aware of how little fruit I'd been eating.  Dummy.  Fruit is your friend.

Physiotherapy has been going well.  My PT was happy to see the swelling in my achilles had decreased and the range of motion had improved over the weekend.  I'm heading back to see him tomorrow, and then hopefully once next week before the half.  I will say this - it feels significantly better than it did a week ago.  There's still a bump, but it doesn't hurt to touch it any more... so... good?

And in the irony department - the clinic where I go also sells shoes and braces and what-have-you...  Yeah.  They have my old Nike Structure 15s.  So I could have gotten them there...

Duh.

We had one of our few remaining training runs last night and went super-duper slow.  It was cold, icy and we were both a little twingy from our respective physio treatments, so we took it a little easy.  Seeing a 15 min/mile pace freaks me out a little for a mid-week training run (I prefer them to be faster), but you have to take the miles as they come.

The countdown to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend begins.  We leave in ONE WEEK!!

Perhaps my next post will focus on packing and organizing for the trip... excited?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Prodigal Blogger

I admit.  I've been a bad blogger.  I fell off the face of the earth.

Well, not really.

But I fell into a bit of a black hole.  To call it "depression" sounds a little to dramatic for my taste, but in reality, that has something to do with it.

Just plain bummed out about career stuff, money stuff, my weight... just gross feelings.

So, no blogsies.  I suppose blogging through that might have been cathartic, therapeutic, or what have you; but frankly the thought of pouring out my sensitive ouchy feelings grosses me out even more, so... 6 weeks off.

What happened during that time?

I did a lot of work promoting a certain coffee machine in-stores and brought home some fiduciary bacon (and a LOT of left over coffee, sadly in brands and flavours which I do not enjoy.  Soon to be donated.)

I struggled to continue my half marathon training - I missed a few runs, and as a result I am a bit behind, but am relying on my half marathon in November, and my 8 mile long run this month to get me through (I had a 5 mile taper run this past weekend that went alright).

I began physiotherapy again to tend to my achilles tendinitis - just some tune-ups and some pain relief.

I got new shoes.  I'd been having pain in the ball of my foot and eventually it occurred to me to turn over my shoe and have a look at the sole.  Right at the ball of my foot?  Worn right down.
Now, my Nike Structure 15s are discontinued and pretty hard to get ahold of.  The Nike Store in Toronto did an amazing job by locating a pair for me, and also suggesting I try the new 16s.  I was hesitant to try a brand new shoe that might not work, and they went above and beyond by agreeing to let me take the newer (lighter) Structure 16s out for a training run (outside, on my own) so I wouldn't get stuck with shoes that were wrong for me right before the half marathon.  I really like the new Nike Structure 16s!  I put them on side by side in the store, and I could definitely feel the difference in the weight of the shoe.
I got such personal, careful service from the Nike Store, I'll be going directly there in future.


Source:  Nike.com

I tried something fun - I love me some zombies, so I've been giving the Zombies, Run! a try.
I don't use it every time I run - I generally run with my sister, so I don't listen to anything since we're usually talking and listening for our Garmins to beep our intervals.  But when I do use it, I really enjoy it.  It seems pricey at first glance, but it's a well produced bit of radio drama, with some very cool technology included.  I enjoy the story (you listen to it as episodes of either half an hour or an hour), I enjoy the interactivity of it, and I enjoy the chill I get on the back of my neck when I hear the zombies close in.
I recommend it - it's especially creepy when running at night, but my creepiest run to date was my solo run through the deserted grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition during daylight.  Nothing like chains on doors and closed fences to add a bit of reality to your theatre-run.

And finally, and I struggled with mentioning this because I tend to deal with my weight in the shadows, but I finally (after a month of 'intending to') made my way to a Weight Watchers meeting.  Before I started working on ships, I was very successful with their program and got to my goal weight.

But then the ships... oh, the ships.

When you start the job, you kind of forget that you're not on vacation.  Don't get me wrong, there's work to be done, but you're constantly surrounded by people having their week of fun, and it's hard not to get caught up in that spirit.

Cut to:  30lbs later.

Yuck.

So, I'm working on it.  And now I'm admitting that I'm working on it.  It's been an issue for me, but it's especially hard on me when we come home because I always think people are looking at me thinking to themselves "oh, look how big she got".  I know my friends aren't judging me, but it's an icky thing that always goes through my head and it gets compounded by the fact that when I come home, none of my clothes that I left behind seem to fit me anymore.  I literally skipped a party this holiday season because I was ashamed.  That's how I knew it was time to get this thing sorted out.

Voila!  Warts!  Tears of a clown!  This blog has it all!

I feel better now that I've taken action.  I really do.  Sometimes all you need is to take the first step.  It can give you hope that you have what it takes to take the next one.  And the next one.

Running taught me that.

I'll do my best to keep this up.  The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is right around the corner, and so is my first half marathon of 2013.  We're not looking to run for time, just for fun!
But I was delighted that my Toronto Women's 10K time was sufficient to get me placed in Corral C for the race!  I'll be hopping back a couple of corrals to start with my sister, but it feels good to know I earned that spot.

My plan for 2013 is to keep running.  I want to focus on shorter distances this year (unless we find a way to manage doing another Coast to Coast to take part in Disneyland's new Dumbo Double Dare).  I want to improve my speed.  I mean, I've got these long legs... they've got to be good for something!

So there's my unfocussed, start of the year, all out, first post of the year.
Happy 2013!