Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Club Friday: Reconstructing Amelia

It's Friday which means it's time for another Book Club Friday!  This week I'm sharing Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.  My friend Tess recommended it and I trust her recommendations so

Synopsis (from
A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter's life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she'd done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of "spontaneous" suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn't jump.

Sifting through Amelia's emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day-and why she died.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It's about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

My thoughts:
My friend Tess recommended it and she's usually spot on with her books.  I have to admit though, it took a long time for me to get into the book.  I actually debated stopping at one point, but I wanted to see it through.  Once it going though, I couldn't put it down.  The book was well written and the ending actually surprised me.  I won't go to much into it as not to spoil it, but I recommend giving it a read.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Balance Girls Night Out

Last Wednesday was another of the New Balance Girls Night Out events.  They started doing these earlier this summer, but this is the first one I got to attend!  Yay!

Upon arriving, I checked in and had to choose which activity I wanted to participate in.  The choice this Wednesday was a class with CityRow or a group run.  I wanted to take the rowing class, but also needed to get my run in.  I ended up doing the run, but have plans to take a class at CityRow.  Both Pam and Abby did the CityRow workout and really liked it. 

Prior to the start, you had the option to try on some of New Balance's sneakers and use them for your workout.  I decided to try the new Fresh Foam sneakers.

They were pretty comfortable, but I don't think I would wear them for running.  They have minimum cushioning and I really like a lot of cushioning.  I am sure there are people out there who would love these - especially if you like minimal cushioning.

Once everyone was registered and bags were checked, they split the group into rowing and running.  Those doing rowing left first, then the runners headed out.  Our course took us up 5th Ave and then across to the Highline.  I don't think you are supposed to run on the Highline, but it wasn't too crowded so it wasn't bad.  It was pretty cool to run on the Highline as the sun was setting!

After the run, they had a nice post workout party at the New Balance store.  They had some food set up (apps, sandwiches, cookies) and cocktails (yummy!). 

Bliss Spa was also onsite and they were offering foot massages and stretching.  I opted for a foot massage and it was sooo nice.  Made me want an actual massage - it's been a while since I've had one. 

We also got a nice goody bag upon leaving which was filled with some Bliss goodies (face mask, body lotion) as well as a pass for a free class at CityRow.  Sweet!

New Balance is hosting these in several cities and are coming back to NYC in October (and they are free!).  Hopefully my schedule will allow me to attend again!

{Side note: I registered on my own to attend (it's free for all guests) and was not invited by New Balance or asked to write this post.  Even so, all opinions are my own.}

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2 on Tuesday

In this weekends news that shouldn't surprise anyone, Disney officially announced that Maelstrom in Epcot's Norway will be closing and a Frozen ride will be taking its place.  I am not at all surprised by this, but I will miss Maelstrom.  It's always been one of my favorite rides and I'll miss it when it goes away.  But, I have faith in Disney that the Frozen ride will be done right.

I love fall decorations, but my apartment doesn't have a ton of storage space so I don't really have much.  I was at HomeGoods this past weekend and spotted this sign.  I couldn't resist it as I love candy corn (and it was only $4.99!).  I plan on leaving it up all season long.  My one solitary Fall decoration.  I love it!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Training Recap Week of 9/8 (Tower of Terror Week 2)

Happy Monday everyone!  I can't believe it's already the middle of September!  Holy cow, where has time gone?

This weekend was pretty low key.  Got some solid running in, ran lots of errands and caught up on my DVR.  All in all a good weekend!

I also got a good amount of running in this past week.  I think last week's down week was really needed!

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 3 miles easy
Actual: 3.00 mi, 29:58, 10:00 pace

Scheduled: 5 miles easy
Actual: 3.16 mi, 33:07, 10:29

I attended New Balance's Girls Night Out only got 3 miles in.  More on that to come!

Scheduled: 3 miles easy
Actual: 3.00 mi, 31:07, 10:22 pace

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 6 miles easy
Actual: 9.00 mi, 1:32:39, 10:17 pace

I only had 6 on the schedule for today, but we were running over the GW Bridge which is one of my favorite runs and I wanted to go longer.  I felt pretty good though!

Scheduled: 2 miles easy
Actual: 2.56 mi, 25:31, 9:58 pace

Had only planned on 2 miles, but there was a race in the park and had to make some adjustments!

Total miles: 20.73
Total September miles: 27.17
Miles until goal (1,250): 337.00

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 Musuem

Today is never an easy day.  It's been 13 years, but it still feels like yesterday.  I shared my story of where I was on that day a couple of years ago, so I won't go into it again today.

I mentioned a couple of training recaps ago that I missed a Tuesday workout since Abby has gotten us tickets to the 9/11 Museum.  Rather then go into heavy detail about the museum, I thought I would share some photo's from my visit (seems appropriate on this day).

I will say I thought the museum was really well done.  We spent 2 hours there and I could have easily spent another two.  There is a lot to take in and I have plans to go back and see more.  If you are in New York, I highly recommend going to the Museum.

*images original to sarah runs a lot

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Race Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon 2014

Don't forget to read my posts on the expo and 10K if you haven't yet!

Disneyland Half Marathon
August 31, 2014

State: repeat (California)
Lifetime: #47

Another early morning for this race - it starts at 5:30 as well.  Fortunately, staying at the Disneyland Hotel really helps in terms of travel time - the start is right outside the hotel!

I had laid all my gear the night before, so getting ready was a breeze.  I did get up slightly early then the day before so I could make sure I got my breakfast down in time.  After getting dressed (and figuring out the best way to secure my ears), Pam and I headed down to the start.

Similar to the 10K, Pam and I split up shortly after arriving so I could use the restroom one last time and head to the corrals.  She was waiting for our friend Tim and she was in a corral farther back, she had some time.

I made my way to Corral B - but not before a photo.  I really loved my Mousketeer costume (thanks Karen!) and forgot how much fun it is to run with your name on your shirt.  It had been a while since I had done that!

It was hot out, but much better then last year so that made me happy.  I actually hadn't run in the shirt yet (oops) but I knew it was wicking so fingers crossed.  It ended up working great - very comfortable and cool.  Yay!

The race started pretty promptly (which was good since the corral was PACKED) and they actually send Corral A and B off together.  I think it's because the back corral's were packed, but not 100% sure.

Even though it was cooler, I was not planning on racing this one.  I just wanted to have fun.  I knew all the character stops would be before mile 4, so I wasn't concerned with the pace for those miles.  I had decided I would only stop for short lines and characters I hadn't gotten photo's with before.  I have to say - they did a good job of putting different characters on the course!

The first mile winds around the back of California Adventure (on the road) before turning into actual park property.  I spent the first couple of miles warming up my legs, so the stops for photo's worked well.

After a loop behind California Adventure, you enter through Paradise Pier and go in front of the lagoon.  They had a bunch of Green Army men (from Toy Story) out and I had to stop for a photo in front of World of Color!

After that, we headed into Cars Land.  I have to say, I really love this portion of the course.  There is just something about running into Cars Land with the neon lights on I love.  I stopped for a photo with one of the Cars characters that is not Lightning McQueen or Mater - I think it's Flo but someone correct me if I'm wrong =) (it was early and dark out!).  Lightning McQueen and Mater were out but I have those photo's so I didn't stop.

After that we headed into Hollywood Land and past Tower of Terror onto the main street heading towards Soarin'.  In front of the Disney Jr Playhouse was Jake the Neverland Pirate.  Poor Jake had no line so I quickly took a photo (my niece really liked that one so it was worth it!).

Right past Soarin' we take a sharp right and made the very short trek to Disneyland (I love how close they are!). 

We headed onto Main Street and as usual, it gave me chills.  Love Main Street in either park.  Towards the end of Main Street, they had the Three Caballero's (so fun!) and of course I had to take a photo in front of the castle, it's tradition!

From Main Street, we head left into Frontierland and around Fantasyland to the Castle.  At the merry go round, the Tremaine's were taking a right (Evil Stepmother and sisters) plus Prince Charming were taking a spin.  After the castle we headed to Tomorrowland, where I got to pretend to be a Charlie's Angel with the Storm Troopers.

 After that, we headed back towards Fantasyland and 'It's a Small World'.  Last year this stretch was Princess Row, this year it was Villian's Row!  I love that they had the villians out - so much fun!

After that stretch, we headed into Toontown for a brief stretch before heading out of the parks.  My paces those miles weren't great, but I knew they'd pick up once we left the Parks.  As soon as we got out of the park, I settled into a nice rhythm and the miles ticked away.

The stretch between 4 and 7 is kinda boring (just being honest), but runDisney tries to keep them interesting with dancers, bands and cheerleaders.  It works for me because I like it when it's a little boring since I can zone out.  

About mile 7 is when the classic car section starts.  I always like this portion since it provides a bit of distraction and keeps your entertained.  After about 2 miles, we head onto the dirt path (which seemed more paved to me then last year) and towards Angel's Stadium.  

This is still one of my favorite points of the race.  The sound you hear as you enter the stadium is awesome.  It gives such chills!  Love it.

From then, it's simple a countdown back to the parks (and the end).  The next section isn't the most thrilling, but again, they keep it entertaining with bands and cheerleaders.  You re-enter California Adventure at mile 12 (behind the scenes only) and go around it towards Disneyland Hotel.  After a quick detour through the parking lot, it's off to the finish line!  There are a lot of fans there so it is a really great boost at the end.  

After finishing, I picked up my Disneyland Half, Coast to Coast and Dumbo Double Dare medals.  Love those medals!

Overall, I really do like this race.  There are some sections that are boring, but I don't mind that section.  You can't beat the portion in the park!

Official: 13.1 mi, 2:10:33, 9:57 pace
Garmin: 13.26, 2:10:35, 9:51 pace

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2 on Tuesday

If you remember from my Eugene Expo post, I had tried Picky Bars at the expo (and met Lauren Fleshman, but I digress...).  I had really liked them so I joined the Picky Club.  It's basically a subscription service for the bars.  They had different quantities and you can adjust the flavors.  I've really been liking them and have been using them during the week in the afternoon when I have a run that day.  Helps keep me full without eating junk.  Win!

I know it's not "officially" fall, but I've already had a pumpkin spice latte.  It was iced, does that help?  I feel like they come out earlier every year and I always try to wait until later in the month (once it's close to actual fall), but I couldn't help it this year.  I just really wanted one.  And it was just as delicious as I thought/knew/remembered it to be.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Training recap week of 9/1 (Tower of Terror Week 1)

This week was not good in terms of running.  I was always planning on taking Tuesday off (I do not do well with jetlag and knew I'd need to sleep), but I also missed Wednesday and Thursday.  Wednesday I got some last minute tickets to the US Open and I couldn't miss that.  Thursday, I was sick and took off to rest.  I'm not sure if it was something I ate or my body telling me I needed some sleep, but I am guessing some combination of both. 

I'm working on my Disneyland Half recap post and it'll be coming this week I promise!

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 4 miles easy
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 3 miles easy
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 6 miles easy
Actual: 6.45 mi, 1:05:26, 10:09 pace

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Not so much running this week, but sometimes it's needed!

Total miles: 6.45
Total September miles: 6.45
Miles until goal (1,250): 357.72

Friday, September 5, 2014

Race Recap: Disneyland 10K

If you haven't yet, make sure to check out my expo recap!

Disneyland 10K
August 30, 2014

Race morning came bright and early - but not as bright and early as in Disney World.  Start time is the same (5:30am), but since we were staying at the Disneyland Hotel, we only had to leave about 5am to be there on time.  It's so much nicer!

After getting to the start area (which is right outside the DL Hotel), Pam and I split.  I wanted to use the bathroom one last time and Pam wanted to head to the corrals.  Since they split the 5K and 10K this year, it was much less crowded and after using the restroom, I was able to make my way to my corral easily.  But not before a picture!

Cheshire Cat ready to run!
I only had about 15 minutes before the start by that point.  The announcers were doing their thing and since it was Lilo and Stitch themed so they had Stitch on site (and Elvis too!).  After Elvis sang us the National Anthem, it was time to go off!


I was in Corral A so I didn't have to wait long to start.  The course was the same as last year, so I knew what to expect.  After about 2 miles, we headed into California Adventure.  We went in the back way and headed in through Cars Land.  I love Cars Land - especially with their neon on!  Even though I already had a photo, there was no line, so I stopped for a picture with Lightning McQueen!

After heading out of Cars Land, we took a left and headed towards Paradise Pier.  After making a full loop, I stopped for a photo in from of Mickey's Fun Wheel with the World of Color lights on.  I really love how they look!

From there, we headed past Grizzly River Run, Soarin and into Hollywood Land.  From there we went backstage and headed across to Disneyland - I love how close they are!  You head into Disneyland via Main Street.  I don't get the same chills running down Main Street here vs the Main Street in WDW, but it's still pretty amazing. 

Can't resist a photo in front of Walt's statue and original castle
 There definitely weren't as many characters out this year, but there was Prisoner Dale and Police Man Chip (with Elvis!) and Elvis Stitch.  Not as many, but those are definitely some different characters so I had to stop!  Fortunately, they didn't have long lines so it went quickly. 

After making our way through the park, we headed back into Downtown Disney and towards the finish.  After a quick right before the Disneyland Hotel, there is the finish! 

I really tried not to go out too quickly, but I did start faster than I wanted.  The character stops helped slow it a bit, but I was still faster then I would have liked. 

There was definitely less characters on the course for the 10K this year.  My guess is that last year there were so many on the course, it really held up people from finishing.  Since they have to open the parks, they probably need to get us off the course.  It didn't really bother me, but I am sure there were some people who upset by that.

Official: 6.2 mi, 1:03:00, 10:09 pace
Garmin: 6.28 mi, 1:03:01, 10:02 pace

Love the Stitch themed 10K medal!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend - Expo Goodies

Last year's expo was a disaster - sheer insanity.  I'd been keeping my fingers crossed that this year it would be better, but I wasn't sure if it would.  Forntunately, this year it was much smoother!

The expo opened at noon on Thursday and since we were already there, Pam and I decided to go on the early side.  First stop, merchandise!  There were a couple of things I really wanted, so it made sense to do it first.

The merchandise was in the same area, but this year it was sectioned off better.  There was a line to get in and they were monitoring how many people were inside at once.  The line wasn't too bad when I arrived and it moved quickly - probably only waited 20-25 minutes.

Once inside, there was plenty of room and there was none of the mad grabbing to get merchandise as there was last year.  And there was also plenty of merchandise to go around (and from what it sounds like, plenty all weekend).  Looks like runDisney actually listened and made some positive changes!  Thanks runDisney!

They didn't preview a ton of the merchandise online (just a couple of t-shirt designs), so I wasn't sure what they'd have.  I knew a couple of items I hoped they had (and they did!) and assumed I would find a couple of other things to buy.  I can't resist race merchandise!

I started with the three items I knew I would want: Sweaty Bands (I love them and wasn't able to get them last year), a magnet (which I have gotten from all my recent runDisney races lately) and a mini Dumbo Double Dare medal pin (I got the mini medal from both Dopey and Glass Slipper and wanted to complete my collection).

Lucky me - they had all 3!  I actually got 2 Sweaty Bands - one for the Half and one for Dumbo.  The designs were really cute!  I was also able to get my magnet (I got the Dumbo one only, they did have 2 for the Half) and the mini medal pin.  Off to a good start!

I also thought I might get a wine glass... I don't need one, but I have one from all my other runDisney races so I thought I had a feeling I would get one for this race too.  And it was really cute this year!  I love the tag line - 'Running the Dream!'.  Perfect for this race!

They also had a really cute waterbottle (I have an obsession with them) so I picked up one of those.  The pack of the waterbottle says 'Running for Peanuts'.  I also picked a Dumbo Double Dare keychain.  So cute and something I can use everyday!

Lastly, I ended up getting a Dumbo Double Dare hoodie.  I loved the blue color and the back had a great design.  I didn't really need it... but I couldn't resist.

The back, the front says 'Running for Peanuts' on the right side

After making our decisions, we headed to the registers.  They had them located in a side room and it was a very smooth process.  So easy!

Once we had paid for everything, we headed back to get our numbers.  My line to pick up was pretty short, so it went quickly.  I also got my race pins with no line as well.  Pam's line was a little longer, but not too bad!

After that, it was upstairs to get the race shirts.  They had it set up so you went directly up from the number pick up into the back of the expo for shirt pickup.  The shirts were well organized and no lines.  I really like the shirts this year!  The color of the half shirt isn't my favorite, but I don't hate it (I know some people really didn't like it).  And they were women sized, yay!

Did some quick walking around the expo, but honestly didn't look around too much.  I don't need much of anything so just made it quick.

Overall, I think this expo was a 100% better than last year.  They made some important (and needed) changes to the expo so it went smoother.  They organized the official merchandise better and had plenty of it.  I'm not sure how much they had left over (I hope not a lot so they don't order less) and that they continue to order a lot of merchandise.  It's not fair to the people who can't go on the first day not to be able to get stuff.

If you went to the expo, what did you think of it?