Thursday, October 31, 2013

Disney Marathon Weekend Medals

Happy Halloween everyone!  I have no big plans for Halloween (I'm not even dressed up at all), just grabbing dinner with a friend.  It was entertaining today on the subway with everyone in their costumes (there was guy in full Walter gear from Breaking Bad that was pretty good).  Did anyone dress up as anything really good this year?

I've been meaning to get this post up for a while, but other things keep getting the way.  But since they announced the Princess medals last night and I figured I should share the Marathon medals before I share the Princess ones.

The marathon medals were first revealed during the Disneyland Marathon weekend.  As I mentioned, the expo was insane and the runDisney booth was no exception so I didn't get to examine them too intensely.  But runDisney shared a photo of all the medals on their blog about a month ago so I could get a better look at them.


At first glance (back at the expo), I wasn't too thrilled with them medals.  I love that the 5K is Pluto (he's always been one of my favorites), but otherwise they all seemed nice, but not too special.

But, the more time I've spent looking at them, the more they have grown on me.  I like that they are similiar and they get bigger in size from 10K to Marathon.  I like the colors on Goofy (obviously, since they are 'Cuse colors!).  I also really like that the Dopey medal is different from all the others and has more color in it.

I know not everyone loves them (and let's be real, they are never going to please everyone), but I've really grown to like them.  Can't wait until they are all mine in January!

What are your thoughts on the Marathon Weekend medals?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2 on Tuesday

The NYC Marathon is this week and even though I am not running it, marathon fever has over taken the city.  This week 8 years ago was one of the reasons I started running in the first place.  One thing I love about the marathon is that companies actually make custom items for it.  Case in point - the above Asics sneakers.  The are special colors and have NYC 2013 on the heel.  And they are my Asics and (even though I am not running the race) I really want them.  I am due for a new pair soon....

I have been cooking a lot lately.  Not only is it cheaper for my wallet, but it's also healthier for me.  I have found that I just feel better when I don't eat processed foods (I'm not giving them up completely) but I just feel better overall so I am trying to reduce how much I eat them.  Last week I made this delicious soup - Stuffed Pepper Soup.  It was so yummy and quite easy!  Get the recipe here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Training recap week of 10/21 (Dopey Week 7)

Another week come and gone and one closer to Dopey (eek!).  I am going to keep this one short tonight because I just got back from being home for a long weekend and I am exhausted.  Overall the week went well.  My long run on Saturday wasn't the best, but they can't all be great.

Scheduled: Rest or Cross Training
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 4 miles easy pace (10:09 - 11:09)
Actual: 4.00 miles, 40:15, 10:03 pace

Scheduled: 7 mile tempo pace (9:09ish)
Actual: 7 miles total, 1:05:43
Paces: 8:38, 8:37, 8:42, 8:44, 8:25, 8:32, 8:27

Scheduled: 4 miles easy pace (10:09 - 11:09)
Actual: 4.00 miles, 41:12, 10:18 pace

Scheduled: Rest 
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 9 miles long run pace (9:54)
Actual: 9.01 miles, 1:32:37, 10:17 pace

Scheduled: Cross training
Actual: 35 minutes elliptical + core work

Total miles: 24
Total October miles: 118.13

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wine and Dine Costumes

Hard to believe (especially for me 'cuz this race totally snuck up on me) but in less than 2 weeks I will be leaving for Wine and Dine.  This has always been one of my favorite races.  Kasey and I ran the relay the inaugural year and while I missed the second year, this is Wine and Dine number 3.

I am super excited (okay, probably not as excited as Dumbo, but it is definitely up there), and I have behind the scenes been preparing my costume.

Back when I was training for Dumbo, I gave a pretty detailed history of my costume progression (see the whole history here).  I think that list makes it pretty obvious that I am not going to go crazy (at least I haven't yet!).  For the upcoming Wine and Dine particularly, I am not going as intense on the costume as I did at Dumbo, but I am still getting into the spirit.

Since I knew I wanted to wear my "Wine-O" shirt again (it's become something of a traditional at Wine and Dine), I was tasked with the decision of what to wear with it.

I could have gone boring and worn any old pair of shorts with it.  But, I was at Lululemon a bit ago and found a skirt that reminded me of something waiters wear (navy with thin white strips).  Since it was on sale (good discount too), I picked it up for my Wine and Dine costume.  Adding a red sparkly Sweaty Band and I am going to be a "wine-o waiter".   I feel like it's not fancy, but perfect for Wine and Dine.

What are you dressing up as for Wine and Dine?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Help me decide!

Fitbit Flex or Up by Jawbone?

I really want a one of the fitness and sleep trackers.  I am such a data nerd (I love reviewing my garmin data) and I really enjoyed tracking my data when I was doing my step challenge through work so this is obviously right up my alley.

The only problem now is - which one to get?  The two main ones are the Fitbit Flex and Up by Jawbone.  I've been doing some research on both and I can't decide.    I feel like they both have there pluses and minuses so it's hard to make a decision.

I know a lot of people out there have one or the other (or have tried one of them) and I'd love to get your opinion on what you like (or don't like) about either.

Please help me decide!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2 on Tuesday

When I was in Hartford two weekends ago for the Half, I think my aunt made it her mission to have me get my fill of fall related activities.  Not that I minded - I love fall!  We went apple picking, took a hayride, drank apple cider and ate some local homemade ice cream (I got the pumpkin flavor naturally).  I am a city girl at heart, but I love a good weekend of fall activities as much as the next person.

We had a ton of apples from apple picking, so we decided spontaneously to make some cobbler.  A quick Pinterest search on my phone (via the Pinterest app) found this recipe which seemed easy enough and we had all the ingredients on hand.  Score!  It came together in no time and was really delicious.  I will definitely make this recipe again.  Just be aware, the recipe in the link makes a ton.  There were only a couple of us so we halved the recipe (the above picture is half the recipe).  Just an FYI if you are making it.  And you should, it's that good!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Training recap week of 10/14 (Dopey Week 6)

Well, week 6 has come and gone and with it, I am 1/3 of the way through my training.  I still have 12 weeks to go, which sounds like a long time, but I know it is going to fly by.  I can't believe how quickly it is going.  It seemed so far away for a while!

Last week I discussed needing to adjust my paces.  I have upped them this week, but more importantly I am trying to run based on feeling.  Since this race isn't about time, I want to be comfortable.  I do have paces I am going to try and hit because I don't want to push it too hard, but I am also just going to run and feel good on the run.  Some weeks might be slower, some weeks might be faster.  All part of the training moving forward.

Scheduled: Rest or Cross Training
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 3 miles easy pace (10:09 - 11:09)
Actual: 3.00 miles, 30:56, 10:18 pace

Scheduled: 6 mile tempo pace (9:09ish)
Actual: 7 miles total, 1:05:43
Paces: 9:23, 9:22, 9:04, 9:04, 9:11, 9:17

Scheduled: 3 miles easy pace (10:09 - 11:09)
Actual: 3.13 miles, 32:35, 10:24 pace

Scheduled: Rest 
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 6 miles long run pace (9:54)
Actual: 7.29 miles, 1:12:55, 10:01 pace

Scheduled: 16 miles long run pace (9:54)
Actual: 16 miles. 2:35:17, 9:42 pace

So, yea.. I tried my new "run comfortable" theory out on my 16 mile long run on Sunday.  And I ended up with a 9:42 average pace.  The last couple of miles were tough and I am thinking as the Saturday runs get longer, the average pace on Sundays will slow.  But given this training season who knows!

Total miles: 36.42
Total October miles: 94.13

Hope you all had great training weeks!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October Kona Kase Review

Back in May, I shared the items in my first ever Kona Kase.  Even though I haven't been sharing each month, I've still been getting them.  It's nice to get new items to try each month.  This months Kona Kase was especially good and I could not resist sharing again!

This months case was curated by the fine folks at Triathlon Magazine.  And let me tell you, they packed it full!  I have already tried a couple of items and can't wait to try the rest.  Let's dig in.

First up, we had a pack of Skratch Labs Hydration Mix.  It was created and tested by athletes competing in races like the Tour de France.  Excited to try another electrolyte mix.

I also got another of the PowerBar Performance Engery blends.  I have gotten these in a previous box, but this was a new flavor.  I like to use these before races sometimes, so excited to add it to my nutrition.

I am very excited to try this.  I love KIND bars and I imagine there granola will be equally as delicious. I assume this will be eaten for breakfast very soon!

Up next is a packet of Barnana.  This is a new one to me.  They are banana snacks that are packed with nutrients, high in potassium, high in fiber, non-gmo, organic and gluten free.  Excited to try these too.  Think I will try them before a long run/race (replacing my PowerBar Gel Blasts).

 Also included was a packet of FlapJacked Protein Pancakes.  These have already been eating!  Super easy to make (just add water) and very good.  I added chocolate chips to mine (because why not?) and ate them post long run this morning.  High in protein (15-17 grams), great recovery food.

Then we had a packet of Honey Stinger Organic Waffles.  Pam has been talking about these for a while, so I am excited to try.  Might be another one to rotate into the pre-race line-up.

Lastly, we have Musette Bakeries Four Berry Tart.  Nice little sweet treat to round out the box!

Interesting in getting your own Kona Kase?  Sign up by clicking here and you'll get $5 off your first box!

Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated for this post at all.  I paid for this box myself (I doubt Kona Kase even knows who I am) and just wanted to share my excitement about the items.  All opinions are mine.  I am part of the referral program and do get a perk for referring new members who sign up using the above link.  Hope you enjoy your own box if you do buy one!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Club Friday: The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Happy Friday!  I don't know about you, but I am really happy it's Friday.  It's been a long week.

And I'm back for another Book Club Friday.  Yay!

This week, I'm reviewing The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen.

Synopsis (from Barnes and Noble):

Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.


This is my second book by Sarah Addison Allen (the first being The Peach Keeper).  I really enjoyed that one and was excited to pick up another book by her.  I have to admit though, this one did not do it for me like the first one.  It was a pretty easy and short read (which was nice) but I wasn't that enthralled by the plot and was hoping there'd be more.  I didn't hate it, but just not one my favorites.

What should I read next?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Race recap: ING Hartford Half Marathon

ING Hartford Half Marathon
October 12, 2013

State: #14 - Connecticut
Lifetime Half: #39

This past weekend I ran the ING Hartford Half Marathon as part of my 50 States Challenge.  I was excited to check a state of the list and it gave me an excuse to spend the weekend with some family (my aunt and uncle live outside Hartford).

While I did have a good race day, let me just say the overall race experience was a bit of a comedy of errors.  When I initially made the decision to do it, I booked an Amtrak ticket to Hartford.  It was schedule to arrive at 8:21pm which would have given me plenty of time to get to the expo before 9pm (expo and train station are only a couple of blocks away).

But...that was before MetroNorth got all screwy.  I was watching train statuses all week and every day the train I was scheduled on was arriving after 9.  Not good for me.  Then on Friday, my friend Pam told me she was going home to CT and wouldn't be that far from Hartford and she'd drive me to the expo and then drop me off at my aunt and uncles.  Great, cancelled my train ticket and went with that.

Then it took us twice the amount of time to even leave the city.  Traffic was insane.  We quickly realized I would not make the expo.  But they do allow someone else to pick up your packet.  Before I cancelled the train, I had already sent my aunt and uncle all the paperwork in case the train was delayed.  So I made the call to my uncle and he said he would pick up my number.

He was able to pick up my number, but by then they had run out of the pretty ING Hartford official numbers and I was issued a generic number.  They had also already run out of shirts.  They are apparently going to mail me one, but who knows?  I'll keep you posted if it arrives.  I'm confused on how you run out of shirts and numbers for people who pre-register?  Shouldn't they be guaranteed a shirt?

But I digress.  I finally make it to my aunt and uncle's house and Pam drops me off.  I spent a little bit of time catching up with my aunt and uncle before heading to bed.  The race started at 8, so would need to be up early.

Race morning was pretty standard for me.  I had my oatmeal and some water (hydration is key!) before getting ready.  I didn't know how the weather was going to be so I brought enough clothing for all outfits.  It was a little chilly at the start, but would be perfect for running.  Since it wouldn't be too cold, my running skirt and short sleeve shirt would be perfect.  I had a long sleeve throwaway and heatsheet for waiting around.

We headed out of the house at 7am to head into Hartford.  My uncle so nicely drove me in and then went back and picked up my aunt and they came back to cheer.  Thanks guys!

I got dropped off only a couple of blocks from the start and was able to use the bathroom one last time and checked my bag.  Then I got into the start area.  Not official corrals or anything, just line up by pace.  They had a tribute to Boston right before the start (a group sing along to "Sweet Caroline") and off we went.

The half and the full share the same course for only about 1.2 miles so it wasn't too crowded for long.  I warmed up quickly and ditched my throwaway shirt at about mile 2.

The course was mostly flat with some rolling hills thrown in.  It was quite pretty along the way and went through downtown, neighborhoods and parks.  There were also bands along the way and some DJs.  The miles ticked away pretty easily and before I knew it we were heading to the finish!

Crossing the finish line, I got my medal and made it through the finishers chute.  We got a reusable bag with some fruit, a protein bar, granola and some other items I am blanking on.  We also got a nice finishers water bottle filled to re-hydrate with, a nice perk.

They also had a separate tent with food for the finishers which was very nice.  They had banana's, bagels, grilled cheese (I passed on that one), tomato soup, apple cobbler and chocolate milk.  All quite delicious.

I was planning on doing this as my long run, so was not going for time.  Even so, running comfortably was putting me under my planned pace.  I guess it's good that I am naturally faster now and it takes less effort, but it's still something I am not used too.  Guess I should get used to it!

The medal was nice, not my favorite but I like the fall colors in it.  So happy to check another state off the list!

Special shout out to my aunt and uncle for housing me and being my chauffeur for the weekend!  CT would not have been possible without you!

Official: 13.1 mi, 1:57:43, 8:59 pace
Garmin: 13.3 mi, 1:57:42, 8:51 pace

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


So since I feel asleep before hitting publish last night, you get 2 posts today!  I know, you are all very excited.

When we were in Providence for the half, they had an event called Waterfire going on.  It takes place on 12 nights throughout the year.  It started as an art installation and has grown each year.  It's slightly hard to explain (we did not know what it was when we went), but I will give you my description of it.

It takes place at sundown and they lite torches alongside the river that runs through Providence (yep, don't know the name).  Following the torches, they lite basin's located on the river.  Then a ton (ok, so I am exagerrating, maybe 50) different canoes and kayaks with light up koi fish attached to them take to the river.  It's an interesting sight and was quite pretty.  They keep the fires going in the basins until midnight.

I am glad we went when I was there, but I don't know if I would make a special trip just to see it.  But, if you find yourself already going to Providence for something, see if there is a Waterfire going on!

You can learn more about Waterfire (including a proper description) on their website.

Here are some photo's from the event to give you a better idea (all photo's are mine unless otherwise noted).

Getting started
The basins lining the river
With the "koi" fish

Photo courtesy of my friend Michelle

2 for Tuesday (belated)

So I totally had this post written last night (late after I got home from the Nets game), then I set my computer down for a minute, sat on my bed and (I bet you can guess where this is going) promptly fell asleep.  Oops.  So you get a belated 2 for Tuesday today.  Enjoy!

As I said, I attended the Nets game last night at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn.  They were playing the Celtics and this was my first time visiting the Barclay's Center.  I don't travel to Brooklyn a lot (mostly because I am lazy, but also because it's a haul from my apartment), but it was worth it to visit the Barclay's Center.  It's a relatively small arena, but really nice.  They also have great food, all of which is from restaurants based in Brooklyn.  Gotta love the home town support!

Our tickets for the game were pretty sweet and I was excited for that alone.  But I think the icing on the cake was Dan Stevens, who played Matthew on Downton Abbey sitting 1 row in front of us.  My love of Downton is pretty established on this blog, so I was beyond excited.  At least, I'm pretty sure it was him.  I didn't go up and ask because I'm not that crazy (although I did take a photo of him while pretending to take a picture of the game.... so my definition of crazy is a little off).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Training recap week of 10/7 (Dopey Week 5)

Another week of training come and gone.  5 down, 13 to go.  Each week it gets a little "real-er" (and slightly more terrifying I am not afraid to admit).

This week included the Hartford Half Marathon, which also checked CT off the State list.  I'll have a full recap later this week, but let's just say it went well.

Fall was also back this week and it made for some glorious runs.  Let's hope this isn't followed by another heat wave like it was last time I said that.

Scheduled: Rest or Cross Training
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 3 miles easy pace (10:44 - 11:44)
Actual: 3.00 miles, 32:33, 10:50 pace

Scheduled: 6 mile easy pace (10:44 - 11:44)
Actual: 6.01 miles, 1:02:42, 10:26 pace

Scheduled: 3 miles easy pace (10:44 - 11:44)
Actual: 3.01 miles, 31:41, 10:32 pace

Scheduled: Rest 
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: Hartford Half Marathon (long run pace, 10:29)
Actual: 13.3 miles, 1:57:42, 8:51 pace

Scheduled: Cross training or rest
Actual: Rest

So in what seems to be a running theme (haha), all of my paces were on the fast side.  I had planned on running the half as my long run and was really not concerned with my time.  But as you can see above, that was not my long run pace.  I didn't push it at all and wasn't even doing hard effort during the race.  I finished and felt fine.

I keep telling myself that Dopey is not for time (and it's not), but I think it's time to face the fact that I am just faster overall and my new natural pace (which also used to be around 10:00's) is just faster than I am used too.  I also don't want to lose my newfound speed so I want to continue to do some faster runs.  I am going to be adjusting my paces in the next couple of weeks to see what works for me.  

Total miles: 25.32
Total October miles: 57.71