Saturday, February 25, 2012

Princess Half Marathon Meet Up

For once, I happened to be in the right place (twitter) at the right time (Thursday @ noon) and scored a spot in the pre-race meet up sponsored by Run Disney!  I guess this has been happening every year, but it's the first time for me.  I wasn't sure what it would be like, but I was very excited to find out.
We all received RunDisney shirts to wear.
I met the group at Epcot Friday morning at 6:30am to run a couple miles with Jeff Galloway, Rachel Booth, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Betty Wong and about 80 other Princess runners. 
We had the choice of walk/running our miles with Jeff Galloway or running with the Olympic runners (Suzy and Rachel). Even though I didn't want to run too hard, I decided to go with the smaller group that would run the 2 miles. 

I ran about a 9 min pace and was no where near the front. They were too fast for me. I fell into line with a few others whose pace matched mine and we got to talk and enjoy the scenery as we ran through the deserted park.  It was beautiful and peaceful. Not something you get a lot of opportunities to experience. 

Both groups ended at the Beer Garden in Germany.

Once inside we were treated to a buffet of muffins, danish, fresh fruit, bagels, coffee, juice and water. Each seat was decorated with a tiara too! I went with my go to PB and J on a bagel.

Next we heard from the featured runners:  
Jeff Galloway was up first. He is such a friendly guy. He believes running should be more than trying to get from point A to point to point B as fast as you can. I so agree!  Where is the joy in that?  Realistically that approach is only going to leave me frustrated.  I want to  find the joy in each race and appreciate what I am able to do instead of being disappointed in my shortcomings.

Rachel Booth, an Olympic runner, talked about what running is like for her as she juggles a family, part time work and her training. 

Lori Lovell from Disney Mom's Panel shared how she loves running through the castle. The panel is made of everyday people like Lori who answer at least 25 questions  a week. 
Next was Betty Wong, Editor in Chief of Fitness magazine.  She gave us all a copy of the current edition and talked about how to lose weight while running.  She said that upping the intensity is what makes the difference.  For instance, if you typically run 3 miles in 30 minutes, try to do 4 miles in that time. Weight training is important too.

Suzy Favor Hamilton was a hoot!  She is also an Olympic athlete and is very outgoing!  She shared some personal stories including her struggle with depression and by the end  had every one up and dancing to Firework by Katy Perry.

Our final guest was Minnie Mouse dressed in a royal gown of pink from head to toe.  She was dazzling!

The morning ended with us getting some photos with other Disney royalty and receiving a 1 day Park Hopper ticket!  This was such a great morning from start to finish!


Snow White

I had the chance to meet some great people who all love to run!  I also got a chance to meet face to face with some twitter friends.
It was a privilege to be included and we were treated so nicely. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!  If this sounds like something you would like, keep your eyes and ears peeled for next years so maybe you can attend too.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Disney Land Neverland 5K recap

I got to participate in the first nighttime run through Disneyland as part of the Tinkerbell race weekend.
The race started at 10:30 pm in the park by the castle.  They had us all lined up down main street prior to the start.  Just before we began, Tinkerbell flew in and around the castle.  That was a spectacular sight!

We took off running to the song of  Following the Leader from Peter Pan.  This was a fun run and not a timed event.  There were 4000 runners, but I arrived early and got a spot near the front. As I was waiting for the race to start I figured out that Disney made quite a bit of money for this little race. Each person paid $99 for this race. Rounding that to $100 per person that makes $400,000 for Disney!  Not too bad for a couple hours work.

 We ran throughout Disney Land, through the Castle and then into California Adventure where the race ended by the Ferris wheel, which made for an awesome backdrop for finishing photos.

I ran a comfortable pace for this race, as I wanted to save my energy for the half marathon on Sunday. I finished with a time of 29:22.  It was fun running through the parks and seeing some behind the scenes places too. The parks looked beautiful all lit up and the temperature was perfect too.  

The hardest part was staying up for the start, that was a 1:30am start time for me and it felt like it.  This was day one for me on the West coast.  Needless to say, I was tired after the race and went straight to sleep.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tinkerbell Half Marathon Race Recap

The Tinkerbell Half was a sea of green and glitter with a lot of wings-  definitely a sparkly event!

The race is the West coast version of the Princess Half, marketed to women.  Eleven thousand ran and only 920 were men.  I was lucky enough to get placed in corral A and that was very exciting.  I have never been that close to the start before and I got to see all the pre-race action on the stage which helped pass the time. There were two celebrities running the race that were introduced, Sean Astin from Lord of the Rings and Megyn Price from Rules of Engagement.  

Starting temperatures were around 46 degrees which is great running weather, but a little chilly when you are just standing around.  Deciding what to wear was tricky and having to pack it in advance was even more difficult.  I am not used to traveling for races and am not a good packer. I decided to go with arm warmers, that I could take off if I got too hot. I was going bright and pink!  (Compression socks were a last minute addition as my legs were tired from my park hopping the day before)  It ended up being a good choice, and I probably could have taken my sleeves off, but I wasn't sure how easily they would come off over my garmin.  (I know this is a big No No, but this was my first time wearing them, and I hadn't practiced taking them off, so I kept them on for the entire race.)

The beach ball pillows were part of the decor and there was a sign in the room that stated "should you choose to allow the beach ball pillow to travel home with you, please be advised that you will be charged $65".  I suppose a few have walked.

Because Disneyland is so compact, I was able to walk out of my hotel at 5:05am to make it to my corral by 5:15am.  It was just down the road - couldn't be more convenient than that!
In the lobby before heading out to line up.
The race started in the dark at 5:45am.  The first few miles had a few hills, nothing too steep or too long, but I would rather have them in the beginning them have to tackle them at the end.  The beginning was very crowded and it was hard to set a decent pace.  Little did I know it would get more crowed before it got better.  When we entered the parks the path got more narrow and curvy.  

Running down Main St.
I had decided I would not have any expectations about this race, but would run the best I could based on the conditions and how I felt.  This was a freeing feeling.  This would most likely be my only race in Disney Land and I knew the little bit of extra time it took to take pictures would be worth the memories I would have.  I did not stop for every photo, but there were some characters I had not seen on a race before and I couldn't resist.  Unfortunately, I was most excited about my photo with Tarzan and Hercules and that one did not turn out.  But here are the others.

Aurora & Phillip
John Smith and Pocahontas

Wendy and Peter
After running through both Disney Land and California Adventure we headed out the streets on Anaheim.  The remainder of the course was flat and wide.    The course had some good entertainment along the way: marching bands, cheerleaders, DJs and some awesome spectator sections including a large turnout from the Red Hat ladies.  They were awesome!

The last few miles of the race took us back to the parks and some more photo ops. The race finished in the parking lot next to my hotel.  Lucky me!

I ran a good race with negative splits and had a good time.  Would I have liked to run faster? Always! but I know there is more to this whole running thing for me than just a fast time. 

Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck met us at the finish line. 

Here is the breakdown of my race:

The food at the finish was good, Luna Protein bars (I am loving the peanut butter one), Cliff Fruit ropes, water, bananas, oranges, bagels.   The medal is awesome too!   I only wish the t-shirt had been of softer material, it is not the same quality as the other Disney marathon tees.

Part one of my Coast to Coast medal is done.  Part two is the Princess Half on February 26!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fluffernutter Brownies

Being away for the weekend, has left me feeling rushed with the hours just zipping by.  So much to do and so little time.  While I am trying to get caught up and write my race recap from the weekend I am going to leave you with this sensational idea to jazz up your brownies.

Oh yes, these are as delicious as they sound!

Fluffernutter is a famous sandwich and now it has come to brownies!  My husband complained last week that he was forced to settle for a glass of chocolate milk for dessert two nights in a row and  needed a REAL dessert.  Brownies are a favorite and would be quick to make, but I wanted something more than just a regular brownie.  

Before putting the brownies in the oven I decided to add peanut butter right into the unbaked mixture.  But I got an even better idea and decided to add marshmallow fluff in too.  Using a large spoon I dropped alternating scoops of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff across the pan. I only did a section of the brownies because I did not tell dessert man I was doing this and wasn't sure he would be interested.

I then took a knife and swirled the scoops into the brownie mixture until it was nicely marbled.
I cooked the brownies according to the package directions and...VOILA!  A masterpiece emerged.
Okay, maybe not a masterpiece, but a darn good brownie that I could not get enough of.  This section of the pan was a hit with dessert man too who is not a big marshmallow fan.  There is something about it with peanut butter that makes it irresistible.

I wish I had made the entire pan into fluffernutter brownies!

Fluffernutter Brownies
Brownie mix or recipe
Peanut Butter (I use Jiff)
Marshmallow Fluff

Make your brownies according to package or recipe directions and spread into prepared pan.  Using a large spoon, alternate dropping heaping scoops of peanut butter and marshmallow on top of mixture.  Use your judgement on how much based on your preference.  I wish I had used more peanut butter on mine. (Admittedly I have a peanut butter problem).
Using a knife, make circle eight motions through the toppings to swirl throughout the brownie base.
Use package or recipe directions for baking temperatures and times.

Keeps well, if hidden.