So I only realized this morning how close we are to the Asheville Half Marathon! It’s like around the corner. People it’s 6 weeks away! Thankfully I have received the running all clear. But still…. 6 weeks. Usually in the weeks leading up to a half marathon I have a strategy. Well it occured to me I have no strategy. Yep. None. Well, I guess I have a semblance of a strategy….

So my strategy is to have no strategy. I am embracing the chaos.

What's your strategy?

What’s your strategy? Embrace the Chaos. 

That’s right. Yours Truly will not have a meticulous training guide for this race. Instead I’m just going to keep building on the strength I’ve gained during my running hiatus (serious strength!) and take it day-by-day with mileage. So come race day this could be a triumphant success or I could hobble across the finish line like Bambi learning to walk.

Yep. I've been there.

Yep. I’ve been there.

End of rant. As a disclaimer I will note that this will be my 14? half and I was been less prepared in the past 🙂 So I’m thinking it will be lots of fun but no PR. Also I’m a race ambassador, so I’m really excited to meet some of the other bloggers who will be there!

So what are your pre-run rituals? Anything you like to incorporate specifically before a half marathon or marathon (besides a training plan)? Have you done any strength training this winter? Have you ever just winged it…. tell me you were successful?!?! Also ever been to Asheville? Any advice is appreciated! 

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Hey Everyone… sorry I haven’t posted in a while but sometimes life gets in the way.

When life gives you lemons...

When life gives you lemons…

For the past several weeks, I have been on a running hiatus. That’s right complete and total running embargo at the request of my Physical Therapist. Turns out a portion of my knee issue could be because I run incorrectly. That’s right…. I don’t run correctly. For some reason it’s like my muscles are fighting each other in my left leg/glute and my knee had enough so it left the party. (If that made any sense.)

Yep. This should be what you were picturing in your head.

Yep. This should be what you were picturing in your head.

Anyway, I have been going several times a week to do exercises, lifts, and other random physical therapy things to work on correcting the issue. The foam roller is my new best friend. I have been actively using it for the last 5 weeks just about every single day! (Yeah. Crazy. I know.)

At first, I thought this is crazy and will never work but my insurance covers it so… what’s the harm. Well I am happy to report that after listening and doing exactly what my therapist has requested I am thrilled with the results. Yesterday, I was finally given the all clear to run for 10 minutes at a 1:1 interval as a test run… (see what I did there. HA!)

During this running break… I have been focusing on cross training. I found 2 great local spinning studios Swet-Ride and Zengo. I have been hooked up ToneItUp exercise videos and DVDs. My exercise bike at home has actually been used! (It’s a miracle.) Lastly, the at home exercise DVDs I’ve been collecting since high school have all been getting their moment in the sun. Truthfully, it’s been fun. By not logging miles, I’ve been able to be a bit more social in my exercise routines and include lots of friends and family.

These last few weeks for me have been full of changes and challenges. But one thing that has helped me is focusing on fitness and my recovery. In the future, I will definitely not be neglecting my recovery, strengthening, and foam rolling!

But with Asheville right around the corner…. so I better get moving.

It's about time though to get running.

It’s about time though to get running.

What are you up to? What at-home exercises do you do? Any races coming on this spring that you’re excited about? Do you love or hate the foam roller?

Has anyone else noticed a movement in the fitness community to bring a fashionable aspect to the workout apparel being worn? As someone who has been active in fitness most of my life, I’ve noticed a change in the tide. No longer is just a boring pair of shorts and a cotton T-shirt the go-to. Women (and Men) are upping their fashion game while working out.

Outfits are now coordinated, made of performance wear fabrics, transition well to that post yoga class coffee break, and most importantly can be very comfortable. Back in 9th grade when I made a custom shirt, it meant doodling, “I taunt hurdles,” on an old hanes t-shirt (Yes, that did exist due to my occasional stutter step). Now you can custom make just about anything through cafepress, etsy, or customink. It’s awesome. I think this shows just how ingratiated into our society fitness has become. It can make a fashion statement.

With fashion comes fashionistas!

With fashion comes fashionistas!

Last Saturday, I was intrigued by the NBC4 Health and Fitness expo in Washington DC. Not so much by the expo but by the Fitness Fashion show sponsored by Mind the Mat and Athleta. (To jog your memory, I reviewed Mind the Mat for Ramblen earlier in 2014.) I am a big fan of yoga and I’ve heard great things about Athleta. So I dragged a friend with me to check out the fashion show. Yes, that’s right a fitness fashion show.

The models were teachers from Mind the Mat and the clothing was all by Athleta. The show was broken into 4 small pieces. Yoga wear, Pilates, more yoga…, and more fitness apparel? There were 4 groups of “models” who rocked their catwalk then did a series of movements as a group to show the range of motion of the clothing. That was the best part. We were able to see the clothing in action.

Yeah... I can't do that. But looks the pants don't move!

Yeah… I can’t do that. But looks the pants don’t move!

Props to doing that on stage.

Props to doing that on stage.

Acro Yoga!

Acro Yoga!

The Fashion Show was a lot of fun. I loved seeing the new Athleta fitness apparel. The styles were so versatile and I could see myself wearing most of it. The colors were so bright and everything looked so comfortable. This trend in workout wear is fantastic in my opinion. The rep from Athleta mentioned that it’s a company designed by women for women and you can see the difference.

So, have you every been to a fitness fashion show? What’s your fav fitness apparel brand and why? Do you often think of coordinating your workout wear? Do you ever do post exercise activities in your fitness attire? If so how do you update the look for daytime? 

2014 was a great year! I can’t complain I got a new job, bought a house, and enjoyed lots of quality time with friends and family. At the beginning of 2014 I made a list of what I hoped to accomplish throughout the year, there were some very clear hits and misses.

1. Get Fastereh… sort of a hit….

In 2014 I ran my fastest half marathon since 2008. It wasn’t a PR but it was closer to my goals. It showed me that with training and hard work I am capable of becoming faster.

Not a win... but also not a lose

Not a win… but also not a lose

2. Run 14 Races in 2014HIT!

Throughout the entire year, I managed to complete 14 unique races! I squeezed in a last minute 4-miler on New Year’s Eve to make the cut, but I did it! I’d actually thought that I’d only done 13 until just checked, so I’m doing a happy dance right now.

I have a dance move like this... I call it the full body shake. (Wish I was kidding)

I have a dance move like this… I call it the full body shake. (Wish I was kidding)

3. Be more consistent with trainingMiss

2014 was a busy busy year! Between the job, house, social events and hurting myself my training was allll over the place. So yeah, I’m taking this one as a miss because clearly I could of been so much better at it.

4. Try New RecipesHIT

I may not of shared all the recipes I tried but I did get out of my comfort zone. I experimented with protein flours (not all great, hence when I didn’t share), healthy substitutions, made my first super successful Meringue, recreated recipes the hubby and I tried at Wine and Dine Fest, and even made Lo Mein. In 2014 I found a lot of joy cooking and baking in my new home. This I hope continues forever, cause I love it!

yeah that's a marbled pumpkin cheesecake with a homemade graham cracker crust #NoBigDeal

yeah that’s a marbled pumpkin cheesecake with a homemade graham cracker crust #NoBigDeal

5. Be kinder to myselfMiss

I am way too critical of myself. This is something I have worked on my entire life. One part that did improve is being less critical of my kitchen disasters. So maybe my almond Russian Tea cakes were gross…. that doesn’t mean I’m a terrible baker. Being less critical is something that I continue to work on daily. It’s a process.

Let's think positive people... and by people I mean me

Let’s think positive people… and by people I mean me

6. Learn a new skill – Miss

I played with that guitar for like 4 weeks and then it sat in a corner for 11 months. Would I love to learn it? Yes. Is it a priority? No.

7. Run 500 MilesMaybe…Yes?

So I used 4 different mileage trackers this year. I started with daily mile, then I used a runner’s world paper tracker, then I used a calendar on the wall of my cube, and lastly I used my TomTom Sport Watch’s online tracker. Daily Mile put me at 116 Miles. Runner’s World was something around 185. Cube wall was like 95 and Tom Tom 113. That’s puts me somewhere around 509? Now, I know there are days that I forgot and didn’t write anything. So I think I did it… but I’m going to try to be more organized about this in 2015.

Yep, that's pretty much my method of organization

Yep, that’s pretty much my method of organization

8. Try Harder – Subjective

This year, I made more of an effort to try harder regarding what I did. Could this of been improved upon? Absolutely. Did I try as hard as I could of? No. But did I make more of an effort than usual? Yes. I try to put my heart into everything I do and sometimes it is wonderful and other times not so much. I once heard, someone say they try to live with purpose and I feel like that applies in this situation. (Tangent Over)

illuminate the world

2014 as a whole was a great year. There were victories and defeats but overall I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Every mile was special and I had some amazing adventures!

What a crazy amazing year!

What a crazy amazing year!

Now that 2014 is officially over. It’s time to start thinking up some new resolutions and goals (that make sense) for 2015!

Did you complete your 2014 resolutions? What accomplishment are you most proud of in 2014?

It’s 2015! What?!? Where has this year gone? To celebrate the coming of the New Year my hubby and I decided to do the Fairfax Four Miler race together. We are a short drive from Fairfax and in lieu of going out or hitting a bar we figured a run would be fun. We both registered online and chose to pick up our packets on race night.

The race began in Old Town Fairfax, which is super cute! The official start time was 6pm. After work, we made our way over. There was ample however, it was a bit congested getting closer to the start due to road closures. Packet pick up was located at the Town Hall. It was very crowded due to people populating inside to keep warm (which makes sense… it was like 35 degrees outside).

I loved the weather. Glorious!

I loved the weather. Can every race be 35 degrees?

It looks like the race was a bit overbooked. They had run out of the custom race bibs, so we had generic Pacers bibs and they ran out of my size premium. Hubby collected his. I was happy to learn that instead of forcing the incorrect size on me, they took my bib number and promised to send one in the next 2 weeks. Based on the list, there were a lot of other people that were getting there’s sent too. We hurried back to the car and dropped off the sweatshirt and made our way over to the start line again.

Check out those awesome glow sticks!

Check out those awesome glow sticks!

Apparently there were 1700+ runners

Apparently there were 1700+ runners

The race began promptly at 6pm.We started by running through Old Town Fairfax and eventually made our way onto the George Mason University Campus. Most of the course is on the GMU Campus. Running in the dark was actually very cool and something that is a bit out of my comfort zone. Due to my current knee situation hubby and I took it easy and just had fun.

Course. Welcome to GMU

Course. Welcome to GMU

The volunteers were great and so supportive. All had such kind words to say and were happy to wish runners Happy New Year. We even approached one person who willed us to, “Stay in it and don’t give up.” I find this very supportive, but it did make me giggle. Sometimes I lose perspective on races. One person’s fun run could be another’s goal race.

The last 2 miles flew by mainly because I didn’t see mile marker 3. By the time I asked hubby about it, he shared that it was like half a mile back and that we were approaching the finish line already. He and I sped through the finish while running hand-in-hand.

Overall, it was a fun local race with my hubby and I finally got to wear my purple sparkleskirt! I’ve decided to use my time as a benchmark for 2014 and see how far I can progress during my training in 2015.

Did you do a New Year’s Race? What’s your fav race weather? Ever do a night race before? What were you NYE plans?

Frosty 5K Recap

Last Sunday, Stephanie and I did the Frosty 5K. The weather was great and it was a blast! So let’s get into the details. On Saturday afternoon, my hubby and I swung by the Potomac River Running Store at Fairfax Corner to pick up our packets. I do not enjoy waking up earlier and this was a great way to ensure that I could arrive as close as possible to the 8:30am start time on Sunday. It was a breeze, we walked in grabbed the bibs and out. The whole thing took 5 minutes max! (Love that!)

whose ready to race?

whose ready to race?

We arrived at 8:10am and parked in the lot. The race starts and ends at the Fairfax Corner Station shopping center. This is where the Potomac River Running Store is located. Our men were on stand-by there is support and cheer! The boys grabbed coffee as we headed to the start. Since, Stephanie has never run more than 2 miles and I am still on the mend, we decided to take it easy. We’d walk/jog. The race goes on roads and generally circles the center. It was a well done course with lots of WONDERFUL volunteers! The water stop at mile 1.5 was a great pit stop too!

wooo!

wooo!

There were a few moments mid-race that Stephanie needed a bit of encouragement but overall we had a great time. Weather was much warmer than expected but our, “Have a Meowy Christmas” and “Bah HUMBUG” sweatshirts were perfect for the occasion.

This was Stephanie's very first race so encouragement was in order.

This was Stephanie’s very first race so encouragement was in order.

Woo! Woo!

Woo! Woo!

Overall, the Frosty 5K was a fun race! I enjoyed the local flair and would totally do another Potomac River Running Race. Well done! AND Let’s here it for Stephanie, deciding to do your first race is always exciting! You Go Girl!

What was your very first race? Do you have do races just for funsies? What your favorite thing about running in the winter?

Curious about what to purchase for your runner or fitness enthusiast friends this year? Look no futher! Below is a list of great gear, gadgets, and goodies for everyone on your list… (as long as they enjoy fitness related fun!) If not an Amazon or Target gift card is always good 🙂

1. Sneakers: Most runners have one or two models of sneakers that they wear over and over again. Brooks Ravennas & New Balance 870s for yours truly. If you don’t know the model of shoes your runner loves… ask them! Runners love nothing more than to talk about running and running gear! If you want to keep it a surprise and don’t feel like rummaging through your loved one’s closets, than a gift card to the local specialty running store is a fantastic way to let the runner in your life purchase a brand new pair of sneakers for the holidays.

Please show me your most obnoxious colored version please!

Please show me your most obnoxious colored version of those sneakers please!

2. Spotify subscription: So I am totally obsessed with Spotify. Since joining, I’ve noticed that I purchase a lot less music and when I do it’s because it’s a song that I know I love and not just crushing on. The best thing about spotify is the ability to create running playlists quickly and easily. I love that I can update the songs I want to listen to during my workout without having to load them. This is a great option for training runs. Check out my current running playlist below. (I also have an amazing Christmas playlist too, which I’ll post later)

3: Foam Roller or The Stick: Recovery is key to training. (Sometimes I know I forget this.) I know that whenever I use the stick or foam roller I always feel so much better afterwards. Want to keep the runner in your life injury free, give them the gift of recovery.

4: Entry into a race: I LOVE this! If you were going to run a race, why don’t you let someone gift you the entry. I find this is always greater incentive to run your best. This is something I have done with friends and family for a long time. Last year, I was gifted entry into the Rock N’ Roll DC Half Marathon and loved it. You may need to get the giftee to assist with the set up of this unless you know all their running stats. (Also I would double check that it’s a race they would like to run)

5: 1 Month of Fitness Classes: This is very popular with friends of mine. If you know someone who has wanted to try the new Barre Studio or Pilates place in their city give them the gift of trying it out. Most fitness studios have one month unlimited specials. This is a great gift to allow someone to test out whether or not they enjoy a place enough to eventually sign up on their own. It’s like you’re giving them a trial membership.

Yep that seems about right.

Yep that seems about right.

6: Shuffle: An ipod shuffle is a great gift for those who choose not to run with phones or don’t want to burn out their batteries while running a race. It lightweight, fits a ton of music, and super easy to use. I would recommend it to anyone who is out running for 3 hours or doesn’t take their phone with them.

7: Yurbuds: Here’s the perfect gift if you’re a bit more budget conscious. Yurbuds are amazing, they’re anti-microbial and usually don’t fall out of  your ear. If you decide splash water in your face and practically take a bath at a water stop at a race then they’re impossible to keep in, (I digress). Anyway earbuds have a tendency to be gross, and I’m sure anyone would appreciate a new pair.

8: A Massage: Want to be a runner’s favorite person ever? Give them a massage as a gift. Whether it’s used as part of training or the week after a tough race as recovery this is a gift that will make most if not all runner’s happy.

Cat massage?

Cat massage?

9: Blender: Does your fitness friend make their own custom smoothies? Yes? Skip this one. No? Get them their own blender! There are so many different types to choose from so there’s something for everyone. I personally have a bella single serving blender and a Vitamix. Both are great. However, the Vitamix will change your life.

Tasty and nutrition and check out that spinach!

Tasty and nutrition and check out that spinach!

10: Compression Sleeves: Alright there are a million types of compression sleeves. Everyone has their favorite. I am personally a fan of BioSkin. They are like trying to put on a wet suit but once they’re on… omg my shins and calves do a happy dance. I wore them during the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and experienced absolutely no shin or calf pain during or after the race AND they were my only item of clothing that was dry post race.

compress me baby

compress me baby

11: Runner’s World Magazine Subscription! Give the gift that keep on giving. A Runner’s World Magazine subscription is a great gift that will supply a year’s worth of value tips and knowledge for runner of every experience and activity level.

12: Athletic Apparel! Okay so I feel like this is the more obvious choice. Get your fitness friend gear! Nike has a great new stylish line of athletic apparel out or under armour has those awesome super hero shirts. If you know your friend’s sense of style or the type of clothes that they work out in, this is a safe choice… (But always include a gift receipt 🙂 )

13. Reflective Gear: It’s winter. The sun is out less and if you’re running before or after work with a 9-5 it’s likely that some of your run is in the dark. While reflective gear isn’t always the most stylish, it’s a great way to ensure that motorists and cyclists clearly see you. There are lights, reflective tape, glow strips, and lots of other randomly bright options. I’m a big fan of my nathan streak vest. Yes, it makes me look like a crossing guard but it’s super bright!!

Okay so I could go on forever with this list but this will suffice for now. There’s a ton of great gadgets for running and fitness that would make excellent presents. Good Luck this holiday season!!

Now go get your shopping on!

Now go get your shopping on!

Have you started your holiday shopping? have you…. finished already? What are your favorite go to gifts for fitness friends? What would you like to get this year that’s fitness oriented?

 

1 Year Blog-iversary!

WordPress just informed me that today is my 1 year blog-iversary! I just wanted to take a minute and say thanks to all my old friends and new ones who’ve made this such a fun experience. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Cheesey I know… Also yes, wordpress had to tell me… Still can’t believe it’s been a full year!

Literally did this at my desk when the notification popped up!

Literally did this at my desk when the notification popped up!

Didn't do this but should of.

Didn’t do this but should of.

No questions today. Just sharing 🙂

After the pain I experienced in my knee during Disney, I knew it was time to finally go to a doctor. I am not a stranger to orthopedists. Roughly 10 years ago I face planted while running hurdles and banged myself up pretty bad. Then the following year, I smashed my knee into the ground while dancing. The second injury partially tore my meniscus and PCL. 2 years later I fractured my ankle on the same leg. It’s a never ending saga with my left leg. I know that I will never run a 6:03 min mile… (PR btw…) again. But I knew that I shouldn’t be in this much pain.

So I muscled up the courage and scheduled my doctor’s appointment. After a consultation, xrays, and a MRI we have a diagnosis! My patella is off track. It veers laterally toward the inside of my leg. So instead of fitting into the joint perfectly and staying on track while I run, it tries to move laterally while moving up and down to the inside of my leg then it’ll lock.  (WHAT?!?) This also means that since it’s not tracking against the proper area it’s grinding on whatever it can. (WHAT?!?)

huh?

huh?

This is great news! A diagnosis means we can start fixing the problem. What’s even better, is that the first step to try to fix is doing physical therapy. I can do physical therapy. I am truly thrilled that I  finally went to see a doctor because I would of never known what was wrong if I hadn’t and now I’m super hopeful that I can see a future where running more than 8 miles isn’t painful.

Unfortunately, there is one big downside. I will not be able to run the Key West Half Marathon in January. The next few weeks will be full of swimming, biking, yoga, and lots of walking. This season for me will be all about strengthening and getting ready to get back in the game for the Asheville Half Marathon and Zooma Annapolis. 

How are your knees? Are you recovering from an injury? Have you injured yourself while running or doing sports before? What’s your fav form of cross training?

 

When I first heard about this race a few years ago, I couldn’t wait until the day that I would finally get to run it. I convinced my hubby and our friends (Mr. and Mrs. RockyMtnPearls) to make a mini vacay out of the whole event. We did the expo the day before and were all ready come race day. On Friday evening we stayed out late for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in an effort to tire ourselves out so we would sleep in. It was a success… well at least for me. I slept until 11am on race day. After collecting myself, I made my way over with our group for some food. I played it safe all day. This is a night race we’re talking about people! You can’t be too careful!

So we lounged by the pool in the overcast and ate all day. Truthfully, it was glorious. On one of our many food stops, we had the foresight to purchase ponchos! The weather was predicting rain and chilly temps, so we all decided to play it safe and get those super trendy ponchos we all love. Flash forward and you get this awesome outfit you see below!

I mean... look at that fashion statement!

I mean… look at that fashion statement! Tres Chic!

Disney has a policy that they require you to get to the race start earlier than your usual race. The race began at 10pm however we had to be on a bus by 7pm. That put us at the race super early! I think we arrived somewhere around 6:30pm. The starting line was located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. On the plus side, it was a super short walk to everything within the prep-area, unlike the Disney Princess Half Marathon where we walked for a mile just to get to our corrals. Once in the area we made a bee line to the photo area to get at least 1 character photo. It took maybe 20 minutes or so. The line was moving fast!

Me and my home girl Minnie.

The gang!

IMG_4584

Twinsies!!

Can you guess our costume?

Can you guess our costume?

Before the start we spread out the ponchos and stretched/sat around for about an hour. We dropped off the bags that would meet us at the finish and then made sure we all hit the restrooms before lining up in our corrals.

So I’m sure you have heard or read about the Wine and Dine Monsoon or the Splash N’ Dash…. for those of you who haven’t. It rained. It poured. The rain did not officially begin until we made it to our corrals. Then the rain really began. What do you do when the race you’ve been waiting for months to run, is a totally pouring… nothing. You just deal with it and make the best. We mentally prepared ourselves to get soaked and decided to embrace the craziness.

When it rains all you can do is just deal with it.

When it rains all you can do is just deal with it.

And we were off! We had decided before the race to not all run together. My knee had been really bothering me and I knew that I would be taking my time. That meant taking lots of pictures!! The boys would meet us at the finish line with our bags that we had checked. Due to the inclement weather many characters were not present on the course, however, Disney made adjustments and included some fun elements to still entertain us. After leaving ESPN Wide World of Sports, we started moving towards Animal Kingdom. I threw off my poncho immediately after taking the fairy photo below which was around mile 1. The poncho was a little too warm and kept sticking to me. So the poncho had to go! Miles 1-3 were pretty much on a highway. We knew that we were on our way to Animal Kingdom so RockyMtnPearls and I entertained ourselves by checking out the amazing costumes our fellow runners were wearing and enjoying some much-needed girl time! (Even if the girl time was spent running a half marathon… at least my friends are as warped as I am…)

Miles 1-3 FLEW by!

Miles 1-3 FLEW by!

Before the race, we had studied the Course map so that we’d know exactly where the parks would be. So going into the race we knew that at mile 3ish and 9ish was where we would be stopping for more pics. Once we arrived in Animal Kingdom, the puddles got bigger and the course got more narrow, but it was my favorite part of the race.

It's looks much longer on a map....

It’s looks much longer on a map….

I have no idea why I am waiving... Really. Don't even remember doing it.

I have no idea why I am waiving… Really. Don’t even remember doing it.

Surprisingly fun part of the race!

Surprisingly fun part of the race!

Once in Animal Kingdom, I didn’t care about the rain as much. There were puddles everywhere and the sounds of the park with in full effect. I felt like I was running through the jungle. It was actually really cool! Surrounded by my fellow runners, battling the elements while running through Walt Disney World, sorry I’m not sorry but I felt like a real athlete. I was invigorated by how exciting the whole experience was and it hit me… this is fun! I’m splashing around at amusement parks with one of my best friends. Running through Animal Kingdom was amazing. There were great characters out and the attractions were all lit very well.

Yes, this is exactly what it was like!

Yes, this is exactly what it was like!

After we left Animal Kingdom, we ran around the parking lot. This was the least thrilling part of the race. However, upon exiting you see Captain Jack Sparrow and his pirate ship!

Can you hear the theme music too?!?

Can you hear the theme music too?!?

Once we’d officially left Animal Kingdom we were at the 10K mark and half way done!! Miles 6-9 were on the highway and the rain had started to slow down. We passed the Toy Soldiers from Toy Story who were offering words of encouragement as we ran up a ramp to get to the road the would eventually lead us to Hollywood Studios.

We entered Hollywood Studios at mile 9 directly behind the Tower of Terror. Here we took a small pit stop and stretched/used the restroom. One amazing thing about this race was that most of the theme park restrooms were open for runners to use, which was convenient and clean.

We made our way through the park and snapped a few pics with Mickey’s Sorcerer’s hat because it’s being taken down in January 2015. It was surreal running down the vintage inspired movies area and turning to view the iconic hat.

Good bye giant hat

Good bye giant hat

After the hat we jogged around the rear of the park and saw the backstage tour! We also passed the disco hall and the costume area. This was a fantastic behind the scenes tour. Mile 9 went by so quickly. Throughout Hollywood Studios, we had been waiting to walk until we reached the Osborne Lights. This is what I was looking forward to most during the race. It was so amazing I had to take a video to put on here! Like wow! It’s just beautiful. We definitely stopped for 5 minutes to take pics and video and marvel at the Spectacle!

This was amazing!

This was amazing!

After the lights we began to run again. We passed the Muppets, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars… 3 of my favorite things. We exited Hollywood studios and had the realization that we only have 1.2 miles left! This is where the course really begins to narrow. I had caught a second wind and really wanted to jog, so we did a lot of maneuvering  to run around people walking. We had decided that we would run until we reached the boardwalk, which we assumed would be slippery. AND… it was. We walked the entire boardwalk section. My knee had been bothering and I was not going to chance a wipe out.

Boardwalk lit up... it was beautiful.

Boardwalk lit up… it was beautiful. But all my photos were fuzzy… this is the best I have… use your imagination

Once in Epcot, we adopted intervals. We’d been playing with them throughout the race, but we hadn’t been ardent about keeping them. I needed the intervals the last .8 miles. My knee was throbbing and I was in pain. The intervals helped distract me to keep going. Eventually we ran through Epcot, past Space Ship Earth and around to the finish line. There was an awesome Technicolor lights show as we rounded the corner to the finish. Then it came into view… the FINISH LINE! We had a surge of energy and picked up our pace to finish strong. I believe that you leave everything on the course, so if you can kick it into the finish!

We're wet and it's 1:30am. But we're triumphant!

We’re wet and it’s 1:30am. But we’re triumphant!

Once past the finish line, we bumped into the boys who’d decided to wait for us outside the chute instead of heading to the post race party. At this moment, I realize that it’s raining again, it’s freezing, I’m no longer running, and I have no poncho. I’m so cold that I’m shaking. As a group, we decided to pass on the post race party. We were all pretty tired and were ready for warm showers! Also, we had already planned on hitting the Epcot Food and Wine Festival later in the day… (FYI… it’s 2am on Sunday morning). Ms.RockyMtnPearls embraced the Mylar blanket and I used her poncho to get back to Caribbean Beach Resort. (Thanks again!) The buses were far from the finisher’s area. But we made the trek, hopped on a bus, and were heading back in no time.

Overall it was a great race! I’m so glad I ran it with one of my very good friends. Yes, the weather was less than ideal, but running through Disney more than made up for it! I would run this race again in a heartbeat. My favorite parts were running through Animal Kingdom and the Osborne Lights. There’s something about getting to spend 4 days with great friends and accomplish a race together that will make this one an extra special memory.

Also... check out that bling!

Also… check out that bling! It’s enormous!

Have you ever run a Disney race? What’s your favorite part about racing with friends? Do you stop and take pics mid-race? What’s more important to you the medal or shirt? If you knew it was going to cold and rainy during a race… would you still do it?