Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: The Expo

So, as most people in the blog-world know, this past weekend was Princess Half Marathon Weekend!  Ray and I arrived on Thursday night and left Sunday afternoon.  I got an opportunity (ok, and illegal one...) to run the 5k, but didn't end up doing so because I didn't get the paperwork on time.  Which is probably better, since I'm not usually a rule breaker.  But at any rate, we ended up going to the expo about an hour before closing on Thursday night, which was a wonderful and empty time to go! We picked up my packet and briefly looked around, mostly just at the official RunDisney merchandise because I know that sells out the fastest.  I still managed to miss some of the things I wanted, like one of the headbands (not just the ones that say RunDisney, the cute ones they had!).  We also looked at the Dooneys but they had already completely sold out!  And crazily enough, Ray was even thinking about buying me one as a late Valentine's Day present!  Ok, and so he could buy gun parts without feeling guilty, but I like to focus on the romantic part.  However, he did end up getting me a Dooney, just not a PHM one, and I absolutely love it!  It has so many Alice related charms and it's perfect!  Thursday night we ordered dinner in to the hotel room.  Just a warning, we ordered the Four Meat, and I think there was more meat than pizza!  

Friday morning we woke up and went back to the expo, and I did all of the buying I needed to.  A SparkleSkirt (my first medium, down from larges!), a SparkleAthletic sparkly visor with a tiara to attach to it, a Handana, and other things I'm sure but I can't remember right now.  We also got our body fat percentage/body composition info from the hospital that was at the expo - WOW what a wake-up call!  I knew I needed to lose weight but...it stung a bit to see the info!  We also met Jeff Galloway, which was such an honor.  Without him "legitimizing" the run/walk method, I would never have gotten this far!  It's seriously been a life saver and is the only way I can run.  We also watched a bit of Braves spring training, which apparently you're not supposed to do without a season pass - whoops!  But Ray is a Braves fan, so it was super exciting for him, especially after all the glitter of the expo!  

After the expo we went to Downtown Disney, and stopped in at the Earl of Sandwich for lunch.  It was delicious, quick, and cheap for Disney!  We got there about 11:20, and the line looked longer when we left, but it moves quickly.  I would definitely recommend it!  For dessert we stopped at the Ghiradelli store and both got Nob Hill Chills.  It was absolutely heavenly, and I definitely had a chocolate high!  Then we headed out to the Poly resort for the #runnerslove meet up held by Meg and Kristy.  I was so excited to be able to meet both of them, especially after reading their blogs for so long!  I also saw a few other bloggers who I follow, but being my shy self didn't say anything.  Take a look at all of the loot we won!  It was so amazing the sponsors they had gotten, and I heard of a few new great companies to take a look at.  Unfortunately it did start to rain during the meet up, which made it slightly chaotic.  I was sad that Rachel didn't make it in time due to delayed transportation, but luckily we saw her on the way back up from the beach!  It was great to catch up with her for a little while before dinner.  Dinner was at the Kona Cafe, and we actually got in about an hour before our reservation which was great, because we were both starving!  We started out with some amazing sushi (and the bread, oh my the bread!) and then I had Pan Asian noodles and Ray had a tuna dish.  Everything was so delicious and I definitely recommend this as well!  After dinner was a very exciting time - Ray's first monorail ride!  He'd seen a documentary about it when he was younger and was adorably excited to ride on it, whether he wanted to show it or not.  It was nice to just sit and ride it all the way around, and see the castle and Epcot ball all lit up from afar.  Finally we got back to the resort and went to bed not quite early enough!

Thursday and Friday were both great days, and I have a bunch of photos below!  They should be in order with my ramblings above =)

What did you think of the expo?  Have you been to Earl of Sandwich or Kona Cafe?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Yoga Retreat

Last weekend, Feb 7-9, my mom and I went to a yoga retreat and it was absolutely wonderful, overall.  I'll tell you a little about it and then completely overload you with pictures.

It was at the Musgrove Plantation on St. Simon's Island, Georgia.  The Plantation was built in the 20's and 30's, and people such as President Carter have stayed there.  For the most part, though, it's been kept to family-only events and more recently they've opened it up to weddings.  To have our yoga retreat there was a great honor, and Nicole, the granddaughter of the original owners, was there with us as well.  There were probably no more than 10 of us total, and then two teachers from Savannah Power Yoga (SPY) where I go for my yoga.

Mom picked me up Friday morning around 7:30, and we had about a two hour drive to get there.  From there, this was basically our schedule:

10 a.m. - Practice
11:30 - Meet & Greet
Noon - Lunch
2 p.m. - Inquiry/Journaling
3 - Practice/Meditation
5 - Free Time
6 - Cocktails
7 - Dinner

7:30 a.m. - Breakfast
9 - Meditation
9:30 - Practice
Noon - Lunch
2 p.m. - Transformational Breath Session
4 - Practice (Restorative)
6 - Cocktails
7 - Dinner
9 - Fireside Inquiry

7 a.m. - Meditation
7:30 - Breakfast
9:30 - Practice
11:30 - Waterside Inquiry
Noon - Lunch
2 p.m. - Transformational Breath

The fireside inquiry didn't happen, and Sunday morning's meditation was a walking meditation at 9 a.m. instead.  Mom and I participated in everything Friday and Saturday, and Sunday we just had breakfast and then went home.  I had been feeling off all weekend, and was too sore to do another practice anyway, so it made the most sense. I also didn't do practice after the breathing session, but I'll get to that later.

A few overall thoughts - it was absolutely wonderful to be able to get away for a weekend and only have to worry about yoga and eating.  It was slightly too much yoga for me all at once, so I was pretty sore, but I pushed through what I could.  This is power yoga, and they heated it the best they could.  It wasn't quite as hot as in the studio, but I still worked up a really good sweat each time.  We tried some new things that don't work in a classroom setting, but we could do due to the setting.  But, overall yoga is yoga, so I won't go into specifics unless anyone wants to talk about them =)

The most revelational activity of the weekend was the Transformational Breath Session.  It's called Effigy Breath and is based on holotropic breathing.  Essentially, you're doing focused breathing of an hour, but you don't breathe as normal.  You sharply (but fully) inhale, then let the exhale happen on its own.  The inhale is like when you take in a deep breath when you're startled.  Kate, one of the instructors, was telling us about different things she'd experienced during breathing.  I, of course, went "Oh, people just think these things happen, they aren't real".  But how wrong I was!  For the first few minutes, it was just kind of annoying to breath that way.  Then my nose went numb and my face got tingly, like when I drink too much.

From there is where it got more weird.  Apparently, the hands, feet, and mouth are the exit points of the body for energy.  The oxygen moving in and out of us more than normal stimulates energy moving in the body.  Kate warned us that our hands and feet may close involuntarily to stop the flow of energy.  After the first few minutes, I felt that it would have been easier to close my hands as opposed to leaving them resting how they were.  They were tingling like crazy, and when I tried to spread them out to get rid of the tingling I almost couldn't open my hands all the way.  Then, my arms felt like they were being attached to the ground by magnets, and I could barely get them off of the ground.  They also started moving further away from my body.  I should add that I apparently had one of the two most physical reactions to the breath.  I also developed a feeling on my fingertips that a very strong stream of water was moving in small circles around them.

After the hour of breathing, Kate had us lay there and "just be" for about 15 minutes.  I tried to breathe through my nose but my mouth literally would not close and was extremely tight.  Eventually I started breathing through my nose and don't remember it, but when I "woke up" I was breathing through my nose again.  During that fifteen minutes, the only things I really remember were almost breaking out bawling in tears, but at the same time having no emotions or thoughts in my mind, and also at two points having feelings of sheer panic and having to open my eyes and orient myself.  Even after breathing normally for 15 or so minutes, my pinky and ring fingers and the sides of my face were still tingling.  My hands and forearms were sore from the muscles being so tight.  It was an extremely strange experience, and I skipped practice after that because I was shaky and still trying to process everything.  I don't know if it's something I would do again, but it was certainly interesting to do once.

If anyone has specific questions, I'd be glad to answer them, but the breathing definitely stuck out most in my mind.  And now, I'm going to unload a bunch of pictures on you!

Do you practice yoga?  Have you ever done a retreat?


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Princess Packing List

I feel so underprepared for Princess Weekend but so excited at the same time!  I just wrote out a packing list and will start packing hopefully tomorrow.  I always feel like I'm missing things on my list though, and would love any suggestions!  We're driving down Friday and home Sunday, so we aren't there for long.

This is what I have so far:

- black tech shirt
- black sports bra
- LittleSister skirt
- running underwear
- purple socks

- Tiffany skirt
- teal tank top
- purple sports bra
- Elsa cape
- running underwear
- white socks
- tiara
- margarita ShotBlox
- watermelon Chomps

- Garmin
- Shoes
- iPod
- phone
- camera

- Garmin
- phone
- iPod
- Fitbit
- camera

- underwear
- regular bras
- after 10k park outfit
- after half outfit
- park shoes – Cinderella sneakers
- socks
- waivers
- MagicBands
- hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, body wash, razor
- body glide
- compression socks
- KT Tape
- Luna bars, peanut butter, apples
- The Stick
- bobby pins and hair elastics

Have you made a list?  What would you add to mine?  (I don't really do meds, Biofreeze, etc. so those aren't on the list for a reason).


Valentine's Day Celebration - 10k and a fancy dinner

I know, I know, bad blogger going 2 weeks without posting.  But I have 2 or 3 posts that I should get up today/tomorrow to make up for it!  First was from yesterday, Saturday.  On Friday we didn't celebrate Valentine's day, we just went to my parents' house for dinner.  Saturday brought the inaugural Savannah Hot Cocoa Half and 10k.  My boyfriend and I were both doing the 10k, and we had both gotten SavedbytheDeal deals for half off (at different times).

The weather going into it was decent - it was 50's and sunny but the WIND was absolutely killer!  It didn't make it cold, really, it was just so darn strong, and most of the race it seemed we were fighting against it.  Sometimes I couldn't even hear him because the wind was rushing by my ears so much.

The race itself was in a community about 15 minutes away from us.  It's not a gated community, but very nice.  Gorgeous houses - I love to go "house shopping" whenever we have races through neighborhoods.  It was an out and back course with the 10k turning around at 3.1, and the half continuing on to 6.5 before turning around.  Probably the only issue I have with the race itself was the water stops.  I didn't end up stopping at all - I was on a mission to PR which I'll talk about later - but they were inconveniently placed.  The course went out and about a third of a mile in you go through a little gazebo type thing, where a water stop was.  Then you go around a lake (pictured below), and back through the gazebo, just around mile 1.  In my opinion, this is far too early for a water stop.  If there was one at the turn around point, I probably would have used it, but we just hit the gazebo again around mile 5 when we went back through.  That, for me, is too late in the race.  I will say that the water station was very well stocked - fruit, water, Gatorade, and of course chocolate!  They had Snickers, Reese's, and a couple other kinds I didn't see.  I just wish they were placed a little better.

My boyfriend ran this race with me.  He knew he couldn't PR, since he just did at Tybee with a time of around 1:10 and change, and didn't want to race for time if he couldn't PR, so he stayed back with slow little me!  I, on the other hand, DID PR!  I was so so so excited!  I finished in 1:22:52, which is a PR of 3 minutes and 17 seconds.  I honestly feel like if the wind was nonexistent I could have broken 1:20, but I was so excited to PR, and by that much!  I did my 1:1 walk:run intervals, skipped the first walk like I always do, and skipped I believe a total of 3 run intervals, which is much less than I normally do.  

At the finish line there was hot chocolate, Girl Scout cookies, and chocolate fondue with many dippers - strawberries, grapes, marshmallows, pretzels, and more things I'm sure I'm forgetting.  They also had Hershey's Kisses, homemade cookies, and a few other little things.  I just had a cookie and a Kiss; I pushed hard during the race and my body wasn't quite ready for food yet.  We got our medals and mugs, and walked around for a few minutes after to cool down, then met a friend at Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

Another comment about the race - there was really no course support.  The volunteers at the water station were absolutely amazing, cheering for every runner.  They had a few volunteers here and there to keep you on course, and at the 10k turn around (I'm sure the half turn around as well), and they were cheering.  A few people were outside of their houses watching, but not really cheering.  It didn't really bother me, but I did notice the lack of it, but completely understood with it being a neighborhood race.  I knew one lady who was running the race, Tara.  She's such a wonderful person that I met through running, through rarely see and barely know, but when she passed me on her way back in while we were still going out, she cheered for us and yelled our names, which was sweet!  We also met a couple (and their cute little baby) who did Tower of Terror and are doing Glass Slipper Challenge next weekend!  Overall, it was a great race that I look forward to running again.

After having breakfast/lunch and getting all cleaned up, we hung around the apartment for a while, then got ready for our fancy dinner.  We went to the Melting Pot, as we always do for fancy occasions, and it was fabulous as always.  They even brought us a champagne toast at dessert, which was so sweet!  I won't go into too many details, but if you've never heard of it it's an absolutely amazing fondue place!

I can't stay fancy & classy for long!

Overall, it was a great Valentine's Day a day late.

What did you do to celebrate?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Race That Wasn't and the 5k That Certainly Was

This past weekend has been the Critz Tybee Run Fest.  I outlined the details on my Five Things Friday so you can see there to get an idea of what this is all about =) I had originally signed up to do all 5 races, but decided the night before that I would just do the 5k and the half because I had fallen behind a bit in my training.

Friday night at 6:15 was the 5k.  First they had the kiddie run, which was adorable as always, and then we got lined up for the 5k.  I'm going to say what I didn't like about it first.  1.  There were only speakers right at the start line.  That means that unless you were in the first 20 or so people up at the start, you couldn't hear them announcing anything at all.  It was a bit frustrating.  I didn't even know they were singing the National Anthem until about halfway through!  2.  People didn't seem to understand the whole faster people in the front, slower people in the back idea.  I don't know if this was because there were too many people, because no one knew we were lining up, because it was too small of a start line, or what.  I started in the middle/back where I normally start, since I run the first few minutes.  Before a tenth of a mile, probably a hundred people flew by me, I was flanked on each side by strollers trying to weave everywhere, there were walkers that started in the front, and later I heard about someone with a walker starting in the front!  Seriously, kudos to you for getting out there and moving, but you are creating a hazard to yourself and others!  3. It was DARK!  We were only on the main roads for mayyyyybe a mile, if that.  That's about the only place there were street lights.  There were a few volunteers at turns that had flashlights, but we were in the neighborhoods of Tybee, and not much is lit up.  I do think that watching my footing so much did slow me down.

With all that said, I absolutely loved this race, and it would probably be my #1 if it wasn't  for the dark.  Granted, this could be because of my performance.  As a reminder, I do 1:1 run:walk intervals.  Usually I skip the first walk, maybe the second if I'm feeling good.  Well, I kept feeling good, and ran all the way through the first mile!  I was so shocked and pleased with myself.  I walked a minute at Mile 1, ran a half mile, walked a minute, ran a half mile, walked two minutes (starting just before Mile 2), ran to 2.25 and then started my 1:1 intervals.  I was so proud of myself! I didn't PR because I didn't run as fast as normal, because I was trying to pace myself, but I did do it in 40:39 at a 13:20 pace.  I hadn't run in a week and this is a lot better than I had been doing, so I was very very pleased with myself!  Here are a couple pictures:
While mascots kind of freak me out, it was fun to meet him!
Slightly blurry start line
Start line selfie
Shaky, but I wanted everyone to know IRun4 Oliver!
Trolley full of sweaty runners after - it kept fogging up!
My adorable support team!

This morning Ray (boyfriend) and his mom participated in the 10k starting at 7:00.  He got a new PR as they came in a 1:10:52!  He pushed harder than he probably should have but really wanted to break 1:15 and I'm so proud of him for doing so.

Now, as he was running the 10k, I was staying warm in my car.  Last night for the 5k, it was about 50 degrees outside with no sun.  I wore a skirt and long-sleeved shirt and I was warm by the end.  I looked at the forecast when I woke up this morning, and it was supposed to be about 55 at 8:00, and the half started at 8:30.  I figured I'd be fine with a skirt and long sleeves again.  How wrong I was!  From the time we woke up at 4:15 it was raining.  Being right on the beach, it was windy.  It was probably around 48 degrees out at 7:50, when I got out of the car to feed the meter (parking is enforced starting at 8), and head to the finish line to cheer them in.  (His mom runs around a 1 hour 10k usually, so I knew it probably wouldn't be soon after that at least she would come in.)  

I stopped to wait at a tent they had set up for runners to eat/drink after their race, and realized how cold I was.  This was with sweatpants and a sweatshirt on over my running clothes.  I thought I was just being a pansy, since people were walking around in shorts and tank tops seeming fine!  But I started talking to another woman who had traveled for the race who was considering not doing it, and I realized I was having the same thoughts in my mind.  Hearing that someone else was thinking it too made me feel more sane.  While waiting at the finish line, I realized I couldn't feel my nose, toes, or fingers because it was so windy and cold out.  It was then that I decided not to do the half, with an extremely heavy heart.  This was a very difficult decision for me to make, and there may have been a few tears shed in the process.  But I think it was the safest for me, and helped me avoid getting sick.

I had always planned on Princess being my first half, the Tybee run was kind of a last minute decision, but I think it's kind of fate that Princess will end up being my first half anyway.  What better place to have one than in Disney World?  While I'm upset about my decision today, I'm coming to terms with it, and so so so looking forward to PHM weekend!

Have you ever made a last minute decision like this?