Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K

I am going to ignore the insane weather going on.  It has literally been pouring all day.  I am so over the rain.  I am starting to forget what it felt like to be warm.  So frustrating.  Anyway, let's (finally) get to the Hot Chocolate 15K recap!

Hot Chocolate 15K
April 6, 2014

I had been looking forward to this race for a while.  I had heard good things about it and was looking forward to spending some time with the girls visiting Megan in Philly.

We ended down to Philly on Saturday afternoon and went straight to pick up our numbers.  It looks like other Hot Chocolate races have a real expo, but this one was basically a number pickup.  It was held at Philly Runner in University City.

We picked up our numbers and swag bags.  This race has a pretty sweet race hoodie.  It's nice and soft and very comfortable.  I also used a promo code when I registered so I got a nice travel coffee mug.  It's a good size and really cute!

Sweet travel mug
After picking up our gear, we headed to the hotel to check in quickly and then spent the rest of the afternoon with Megan and her adorable daughter Chloe.  After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

We got up early and headed back to Megan's.  Her place is really close to the start, so it made for perfect parking!  We weren't sure how traffic would be, so we left extra early.  It was fine for us.  Since I had to 12 on the schedule, I headed out a little early and got an extra 3 miles in.  It worked out perfectly since I could feel the weather.  It was warmer then we had thought, so I dropped an extra layer off when I went back to pick up Megan and Abby.

We headed to the race start and it was so well organized!  Dropping baggage off was super easy and there were tons of port-a-pottys with little to no wait.  It was really refreshing!

The race started pretty promptly at 9 and off we went!  The course wasn't anything special - an out and back on Ben Franklin Parkway.  Not the most scenic course, but it was on the water so that was nice.  Plus since it was an out and back, I got to see Megan and Abby on the course.  Always nice to see a friendly face out there!

I did the first 6 miles at goal race pace and the rest was supposed to be easy, but it was hard to pull back to mug.  I felt strong the whole time, so I am taking that as the positive.

After finishing, they had the chute set up well.  Water and gatorade easily accessible.  I was able to pick up my bag quickly and went to meet Pam (who was spectating with Chloe).

But the best part of the race is definitely the post race chocolate!  It included a cup of hot chocolate (which was some seriously good hot chocolate), melted chocolate for dipping, a marshmallow, pretzels,  graham crackers and a banana.  It was all delicious, but I would suggest using pretzel rods moving forward.  The tiny little pretzels were too hard to dip.

It was all really good.  I just wish there were more things to dip into it!  I am going to play a game of how many uses can I find for my hot chocolate finishers mug.

While eating all my chocolate we hung out at the finish line and waited for Abby and Megan to finish.  Everyone had great races!

We stopped for some cheesy photo's with Marshall the Marshmallow before heading home to Megan's to shower and head to breakfast.

All wearing our race hoodies
All in all, I would definitely recommend this race!  It was well organized, not too crowded and the race swag was definitely worth the entry fee.

Official: 9.3 mi, 1:20:36, 8:40 pace
Garmin: 9.4 mi, 1:20:38, 8:35 pace

A bowl of yum.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2 on Tuesday: Expedition Everest Edition

How is it already Expedition Everest time?  It has seriously snuck up on me (we *may* have only just made dining reso's and fast pass plans).  I think it might have something to do with this being weekend number 7 of travel in a row.  That's a lot of travel in a row.

Even though it snuck up on me, I am really looking forward to going.  We'll be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge which will be a first for me and having dinner Friday night at Boma (another first) which I've heard good things about.  I thought I'd use this week's 2 for Tuesday to talk about some Everest things.  It might be more then 2, but oh well!

First up, lots of information was posted for the event.  Here's what you can find on

There are no corrals posted online, so I am assuming we'll find those out at number pickup.

Next up is the course.  I am really excited it is all in Animal Kingdom (okay, and the parking lot)!

Lastly, costumes.  Since the race is only a 5K, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do anything for this one.  And my recent schedule has not really allowed for any craft time.  I am just going to reuse a costume and I am pretty sure it is going to be my Incredible outfit from the 5K.  That one was really good and it'll be nice and comfortable for the after party.

Oh, and let's not forget about the after party!  Animal Kingdom will be open late and we'll be able to ride Everest (at night!), Kali River Rapids (which is always closed when we are in Disney, so I am super excited about this one) and others.

 Anyone ever done Everest before?  What can I expect?  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Race Recap: Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon

Don't miss my recap of our visit to the Run the Bluegrass expo! Now onto the race recap.

Run The Bluegrass Half Marathon
March 29, 2014

State: Kentucky (#15)
Lifetime: #44

One of the best parts of this race was the start time - 9am.  Since it wasn't crazy early and we didn't have to go far for the start, we got to "sleep in".  It was so nice!

After getting in some breakfast, it turned to a lengthy debate about what to wear.  The weather was calling for rain and it was only going to be in the low 40's.  I think all of us brought multiple outfits to the start to see how it would turn out.  Plus dry clothing to put on afterwards.

I ended up running in capri's, a long sleeve shirt and running vest.  With gloves and a headband to cover my ears.

We got to the start about 8:15.  They recommended everyone get there early since they had to close some of the roads.  We could see the start from the car, so we waited in the car as long as possible.  About 15 minutes before the start, we made our way over to it.

Even though we were so close to the car, I still checked a bag.  I wanted my dry clothing easily accessible and since I would be done first in the group, I checked the car key in my bag (since it was a rental, the keys and chain were huge and not feasible to run with).

After that, we quickly lined up for the start.  It hadn't started raining yet at this point, but there was heavy mist in the air and you could tell it would soon.  The race started promptly at 9am (which was great because I didn't want to stand around any longer then necessary!) and off we went.

The entire course was on the Bluegrass Scenic driving trail and went past lots of horse farms.  The course was hilly, but also incredibly beautiful.  The sites kept my mind distracted.  I was to run the first 7 easy and then pick it up for the last 6 if I was feeling up to it.  I won't lie, those first 7 miles were HILLY and I wasn't sure if I would be able to pick it up.  It was just continuous rolling hills.  Up and down, up and down.

The water stations were well spaced out and I thought the volunteers working them were really great.  Especially when it started to really rain around mile 8.  Tough to run out there in the rain, but even tougher to stand around.  Thank you volunteers!

The mile 7 marker was literally at the bottom of a big hill.  I decided to push it slightly up the hill and hopefully make up the time on the downhill.  I was going to just take each mile 1 at a time and focus on my pace for that mile.  No need to go crazy thinking about all 6 miles at once.  It was hard to hold the pace on the uphills, but the downhills balanced it out so the paces were all under where they should have been, so that was good!

It started lightly raining around mile 5, but really started to come down around mile 8.  It was also incredibly windy, so the rain was almost going sideways.  I was very happy to only be 5 miles from the finish.  The last 5 miles are kind of a blur.  I was so focused on not freezing to death and trying to take in the sites (keep my mind off the cold), I don't remember much.  I do remember picking up the pace for the last mile because I really wanted to be done.

Crossing the finishing line felt great - until I stopped moving and realized how cold I was.  I collected my medal, a water and gatorade as well as some post race food.  They had a great selection and were handing out bags to put all the food in.  So smart!

The medal is honestly one of the best ones I've gotten.  It was a nice heavy weight and the design was so detailed and really beautiful.  The race honors a different champion thoroughbred each year and they use their race colors for the shirt and ribbon.  The horse is featured on the medal as well.  This years horse was Zenyatta, so the colors were Tiffany blue and pink.

The race had organized a post race festival - band playing, lots of food vendors and beer (we got one included with our registration).  Obviously the rain forced everything inside.  It seemed like a lot of people hung out, but after getting my free beer and gear bag (and promptly changing into as much dry clothing as possible), I headed back to the car.  Back at the car, I put the heat on full, finally warmed up and waited for the other girls to finish.

Weather not included, I thought this was a great race.  It's unfortunately the weather was bad, but that is out of the organizers control.  I thought they did a great job - we got a really nice shirt and medal, the branding was cute, the expo was well organized and getting to and from the start was easy.  The race had worked out a great deal with the local Marriott (which was really nice hotel) and it was super affordable, which was appreciated by these out of towners.  They communicated well throughout the months leading up to the race and dealt with the rain well.  If you are looking for a Kentucky race, I highly recommend this one!

Official: 13.1 mi, 2:00:52, 9:14 pace
Garmin: 13.09 mi, 2:00:57, 9:15 pace

Seriously beautiful medal!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Training recap week of 4/21 (Grandma's Week 10)

This week was a little better in terms of aches and pains.  I ended up taking Tuesday off to help with recovery.

It was good I did, because this week included state #16 - Nike Women's DC.  And for some even bigger news, I accomplished one of my goals this weekend, I set a new PR during the race, a 1:50:01.  I'll have a full recap soon, but it felt great.  It was hard, but makes me feel pretty solid for Grandma's (in just 8 weeks).

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 5 miles easy
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 3 miles at Half Marathon Pace (8:20), plus 2 mi WU and 1 mi CD
Actual: 6.03 mi total, 54:40
Paces: 8:14, 8:23, 8:14

Scheduled: 4 miles easy
Actual: 4.00 mi, 39:44, 9:56 pace

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 2M shake out run
Actual: Rest

Between heading to DC and the expo, ran out of time.  Did do a good amount of walking to and from the expo though!

Scheduled: Nike Women's Half Marathon (race effort)
Actual: 13.31 mi, 1:50:02, 8:16 pace

Total miles: 23.35
Total April miles: 121.13
Miles until goal (1,250): 833.53

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Club Friday: Case Histories

I've been getting a lot of reading done lately, with all my travel lately, I've gotten some more time to read!

Time for another Book Club Friday!  This week I'm sharing Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night.

Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack.

Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . .

My Thoughts:
This book got some good ratings on Goodreads, but I (personally) didn't love it. I can't exactly put my foot on what it was about the book.  I liked it, but definitely didn't love it and it took me a long time to get into it.  This was the first in the series, but I don't think I'll be reading any more from the series.  It wasn't bad by any means, just not for me!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Run the Bluegrass Expo

Well, this recap is super late.  Remind me not to do races 4 out of 5 weekends in a row.  Anyway, let's dive right in.

The expo for Run the Bluegrass was held at Keeneland Race track.  This is where the start/finish also was held on Saturday, so we got to know it quite well.  It was a relatively small expo, but still had lots of stuff to check out!

We picked up our numbers first and then headed in to visit the vendors.  Stop number 1 was official race merchandise.  For a small race, they had a pretty good selection including special bottles of bourbon and horse themed items.  I picked up the official coffee mug for only $7 bucks.  It's huge and so cute, so great deal!

After official merchandise, we continued along our way.  Megan and I made a stop at Sweaty Bands and I picked up 2 new ones.  It was buy 1 get 1 free... so I could't resist.

They also had Heather Abbot at the expo while we were there.  After Boston last year, the race wanted to do something to give back.  The One Fund put them in touch with Heather who was injured while spectating.  The race made a donation to her recovery and all the participants had the option to donate as well.  She was the grand marshall for the weekend and was signing copies of her cover of Tops in Lexington Magazine.  She was super nice and I thought it was great that the race gave back.  Between the race and participants, they were able to donate $10,000 to her recovery fund.

After checking out the remaining booths (mostly local races and running stores) and getting our fill of samples (lots of local foods to try out!), we made our way to the t-shirt pickup.  When you registered, you had the option of a tank or short sleeve dri-fit.  I went with the tank.  I really loved the design... but the sizes were running really small!  Fortunately, they did let you exchange, but they only had a limited amount of sizes left.  I was able to get one a size larger, but the other girls were not.  They had more of a selection in t-shirts then tanks for swapping.

While we were at the swap table, we noticed they were selling some shirts for $5.  The woman informed us these were shirts from last year that were left over.  After looking at it, I realized it did not have a date on it!  I really liked it, so I grabbed one.  Nice race shirt for only $5!

It might have been a small expo, but I really enjoyed it!  They had a great selection of race merchandise at an affordable price and the expo was manageable.  Keeneland (where it was held) is also extremely pretty so it was nice to be there as well.

Up next - race recap!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wine and Dine 5th Anniversary Medal

As I mentioned yesterday in my 2 on Tuesday post, last week the Disney Parks blog shared sneak peaks of the anniversary medals.  In addition to the Goofy 10 year medal from yesterday, they shared the 5th Anniversary medal for Wine and Dine.  Drumroll please...

I don't just like this medal - I LOVE this medal!  First off, I love that it spins (yes, I am 5!) and I really love that they brought back the Spaceship Earth design from the first 3 years while incorporating the design from year 4.  I have done 3 out of the 4 previous years (missed year 2!) and the original Spaceship Earth was my favorite.

I almost didn't register for this year since Pam and I are also doing Tower of Terror, but now that I've seen the medal, I am so glad we did!  There is a group of us going and should be a good girls weekend.  

Only 28 weeks and 3 days to go!

Any other Wine & Diner's out there?  What are your thoughts on the medal?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2 on Tuesday

Registration for the January WDW Marathon weekend events opened today.  Events include the 5K, 10K, Half, Full, Goofy and Dopey (plus kids races).  As of 2:30pm, the 10K and Dopey sold out!  I honestly thought Dopey would sell out slower then that and Goofy would sell out quicker.  I am doing the half this year, no challenges for me - even though I was almost tempted by...

...this medal!  When they shared the 10th Anniversary Goofy medal this past week on the Disney Parks Blog, the idea of doing Goofy (very, very, very) briefly flitted through my mind.  I love the medal (it spins!) but not even this medal could make me do it this year.  I'm not saying never, but definitely not this year.  They also shared the 5th Anniversary Wine and Dine medal, but that ones gets it's own special post.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Training recap week of 4/14 (Grandma's Week 9)

This week marked the halfway point of training, and let me just say... it did not go well.  I had all sorts of aches this week, but the next week is a down week so hopefully they will all go away.

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 6 miles easy
Actual: 6.00 mi, 1:04:28, 10:45 pace

Scheduled: 6 x 0.5 mi @ 10K pace (7:51) with 0.5 mi recovery, plus 2 mi WU and 1 mi CD
Actual: 9.12 mi total, 1:28:03
Paces: 7:51, 7:58, 7:53, 7:45, 7:47, 7:31

Scheduled: 5 miles easy
Actual: Rest

My legs were killing me so I skipped this one (plus I had a work commitment so that helped)

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: Long run (10M easy + 4M @ MP)
Actual: 12.01 mi, 2:12:29, 9:27 pace
Paces: 8:45, 8:40, 8:35, 8:36

Scheduled: 6 miles easy
Actual: 6 mi, 58:24, 9:44 pace

Total miles: 35.72
Total April miles: 97.78
Miles until goal (1,250): 856.88

Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Club Friday: The Wave

Happy Friday!  Per my post yesterday, this day could not have come at a better time!  Yay for Friday!

I'm back for another Book Club Friday and this week I'm sharing something super nerdy.  Don't judge.

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rouges, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis­missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo­ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­-foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

My thoughts:

I first heard about this book when the author was on The Daily Show.  It sounded interesting, so I added it to my 'to read' list.  It took a while, but I finally got there.  Yes, it's a book about waves.  And yes, there are some portions that are scientific.  But the majority of the book is about the big wave surfers (mostly Laird Hamilton and his crew).  That part I really enjoyed.  I liked learning a little bit about the science about waves and found the surfering part very interesting.  I totally want to learn how to surf now!

I admit due to the science portions, this isn't the quickest read, but I recommend it!  It was nice to read something that I learned from.  See?  Total nerd!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Is it Friday yet?

I had full intentions of getting at least my Run the Bluegrass posts done by today (expo yesterday, race today).... but this week has been insane.  Work has been crazy and I've had commitments a couple of nights that put a crimp in getting anything done (and in my sleep schedule).

The weather has taken a frightful turn for the worse - it snowed/sleeted on Tuesday night and I left my apartment for work on Wednesday to a thin layer of snow on the cars.  It's super cold again and to say I am not a fan would be an understatement.  This change in weather has put me in the worst mood which isn't helping anyone.

Hopefully, I'll wake up and it'll be warm again tomorrow and all will be right again.  And hopefully soon I'll be able to catch up on all the posts I want to do.

At least tomorrow is Friday!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Training recap week of 4/7 (Grandma's Week 8)

Another week of training, another week of traveling.  This past weekend included a trip to Philly to run the Yuengling Lager Jogger 5K (and some quality time with Kasey).  I've loved traveling and spending time with my friends, but I am super glad to be here this weekend.

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 5 miles easy
Actual: 5.01 mi, 48:07, 9:37 pace

Scheduled: 4 miles easy
Actual: 3.12 mi, 31:36, 10:08 pace

Scheduled: 5 miles easy
Actual: 5.03 mi, 48:00, 9:32 pace

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: Lager Jogger 5K + 1 mile cooldown
Actual (race): 3.18 mi, 25:38, 8:03 pace + 1 mile cooldown

Scheduled: 10 miles long run
Actual: 10.13 mi, 1:39:30, 9:50 pace

Did this run while I was still in Philly along the waterfront.  It was a gorgeous day!

Total miles: 27.47
Total April miles: 62.06
Miles until goal (1,250): 892.6

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Club Friday: How to Eat A Cupcake

Hi all!  Sorry for the bit of radio silence this week, it's been one of those weeks - work was crazy, I took a day trip to Boston, running took precedence... you know how it goes.  I'm off again this weekend to run the Lager Jogger 5K (and visit Kasey).  I still need to do recaps of the Run The Bluegrass Expo and race (plus share some of our itinerary) and the Hot Chocolate 15K.  I swear I'll get them done soon.

But in the meantime, I'm back for another Book Club Friday!  This week I'm sharing How to Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donohue.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs' housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia's San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother's death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia's engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens up old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.

My thoughts:
This was cute book.  It was groundbreaking or anything, but I enjoyed it.  It was a nice easy read and I basically read it over a weekend.  The plot wasn't very complex, but it did surprise me with a couple of twists I didn't see coming (but with a couple I did).  If you are looking for a light read for the beach, I think this one fits the bill!

I need some reco's - what should I read next?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2 on Tuesday

This month has been crazy and it's only April 8th.  I seem to have over scheduled myself this month and while I'm happy to see all my friends and get some races in, I miss having some weekends home.  I can't wait to not have to go anywhere for a weekend!

Winter may have been extra crappy and gone on way too long, but as long as Mother Nature keeps giving us nights like the one above, I think I'll be able to move on.  It's been so gorgeous (not all the time, but we are getting there) and the view on the reservoir always reminds me of how much I love NYC.

We are less than 4 weeks from Everest!  I am excited and can't wait to get my medal!  Not sure if I am going to dress in costume for this one (not sure I have the time to pull anything together), but still will be nice to be in Disney!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Training recap week of 3/31 (Grandma's Week 7)

This week went well.  A bunch of us headed to Philly this past weekend to run the Hot Chocolate 15K.  I'll have a full recap this week (I hope).  I still need to do a recap of the Run The Bluegrass Half... I'm a little behind.  They are coming I promise!

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 5 miles easy
Actual: 6.00 mi, 59:15, 9:52 pace

I switched this run with Thursday as I had plans that night and wanted to make sure I got in as many miles as possible.

Scheduled: Hill repeats - 7 x Harlem Hill at 10K pace (7:51 pace) with downhill recovery + 2 mi WU, 2 mi CD
Actual: 7.56 total miles (including warm up and cooldown)
Paces: 8:02, 7:57, 7:55, 7:53, 7:48, 7:46, 7:41

Scheduled: 6 miles easy
Actual: 2.56 mi, 25:49, 10:04 pace

Scheduled: Rest
Actual: Rest

Scheduled: 6 miles easy
Actual: 6.05 mi, 58:32, 9:40 pace

Scheduled: 12 miles total - 3 easy, 6 @ marathon pace, 3 easy
Actual: 12.4 mi, 1:49:41, 8:50 pace
Paces: 8:24, 8:29, 8:30, 8:17, 8:24, 8:06

This run included the Hot Chocolate 15K.  I ran the whole thing faster then I should have, but it was a gorgeous day and the course was flat!

Total miles: 34.59
Total April miles: 34.59
Miles until goal (1,250): 920.66

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2 on Tuesday

YAY!  It's April.  March is finally over.  Man that month took for-ever.  Seriously forever.  Anyway, here's to warmer weather and no more snow!  I think we can all raise a glass to that, right?

It's been all over the internet and I've shared my feelings on the issue - Tutu Gate (yes, I made that up).  I was happy to read on Monday upon returning from Kentucky that Self owned up to the mistake and is discontinuing the BS Meter in the magazine.  The editor-in-chief also interviewed Monika and talked about her story and how we can support woman, not bullying them.  You can read the full article here and let's all #ChangeTheConversation and #KeepItPositive.

I am a big fan of Graeter's Ice Cream.  And while we can get it in the grocery store, it's pretty expensive and not the same as getting it in the shop.  We managed to go twice while in Kentucky this past weekend.  It was as amazing as I remembered.  Even more amazing?  Coozie's for your ice cream pint.  Solves the dilemma of the ice cream melting or the cardboard getting soggy.  Such a great idea.  Can't wait to use mine!