Running Vision

I can’t run for a week and it is killing me! Last Wednesday I underwent LASIK eye surgery and I am not allowed to get sweat in my eyes for a week while my eyes are healing. This will be the longest that I have gone without running since I started, but it will all be worth it in the end.

As long as I can remember I have not been able to see as well as I would have liked and it has been getting worse and worse as time goes by.  I could barely see out of my right eye and my once good left eye has been declining as well. The thought of LASIK surgery had crossed my mind, but I was always scared at the thought of anything going near my eyes.  I couldn’t even have someone put drops in without a struggle!  At the last Track Shack race I worked at, a representative from Hunter Vision noticed the trouble I was having with my glasses in the heat and humidity and tracked me down to tell me about LASIK surgery and he set me up with a free consultation.  I didn’t think it would lead to anything, but it was free so I decided to go and hear what they had to say.  It turned out that I was a candidate for the procedure and I honestly started thinking that it could become a possibility.  After a lot of research and discussions with my family I decided to go for it.

20160704_051449.jpg

The surgery went great!  It was one of the weirdest experiences ever, but totally painless and easy!  It has now been a week since then and I couldn’t be happier!  For the first time ever I can see clearly and I never have to bother with glasses again.  I keep thinking about all the things I will be able to see now and how great running will be with my new vision.  It seems like small things but I will now be able to see the starting line stage at Disney races or finish line clocks as I approach.  I never run with my glasses on, so I know that there is so much that I am missing on my runs.  I will be able to see the world in a new way and I can’t wait!

20160720_165449.jpg

Advertisements

2016 Star Wars Half Marathon The Dark Side: RACE REPORT

I awoke to the sound of my alarm going off at two in the morning.  That could only mean one thing: time for another runDisney race!  My plan worked.  Since I got up super early the day before, I was able to fall asleep that night and I woke up kind of rested.  It was the morning of the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon The Dark Side!  I jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth and then started to put on all the pieces for my costume.  I was going as a Sith Lord with a light up skirt.  The lights were Chris’ idea and they turned out great!  My Mum had to sew my skirt without me this time because I was working in Canada until right before the races.  We had to come up with the measurements via a Hangouts video chat.  It paid off because the skirt fit perfectly!  I had found a black tank on clearance at TJ Max and the headband was made by ChickyBands on Etsy.  I thought the red imperial symbol matched perfectly with my skirt!  I wore a running belt so I could stuff my battery pack inside.  It worked out great and was very comfortable.

WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARACORRALCANDID7_7661064538As soon as I had all my things together we left for Epcot.  This was a different race course than had ever been run before.  It started in Epcot, but ended at the Wide World of Sports Complex.  That wasn’t the most convenient, but more on that later.  When I arrived to Epcot it was just like any other runDisney race; tons of people waiting around for the announcer to say we were allowed to go to the starting line.  I had a Photopass photographer take our picture and then we waited around until it was time for me to go.

When it was time, I told Chris bye and followed the mass of people heading to the start line.  It was slow progress until we got to the split of the beginning corrals and back corrals.  I headed towards the beginning corrals and made my way to the porta-potties.  When I was done I walked nervously to corral B.  I didn’t see any pacers there, so it looked like I was on my own.

I couldn’t really see the stage because my eye sight was so bad and I never run in my glasses.  I was too nervous to pay attention anyway, but the announcers did their usual spiel and Disney did some Star Wars advertising.  I remember thinking that I just have to try my best and not worry about a PR.  The fireworks sounded to start the push-rim contestants and bring me out of my thoughts.  A couple of minutes later corral A started and we began to move to the start line.  The 1 minute warning was said over the loud speaker, then 30 seconds….3……2…..1….and we were off!

WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARACOURSEACTION9_7663070574-cropI started running at a conservative pace because I knew I would need my strength later on since my training didn’t go as well as I would have liked.  The first park we entered was Epcot at about mile one.  Running through the World Showcase is one of my favorite parts of Disney races and it was as breathtaking as ever.

Next was Hollywood Studios which was a nice change from previous courses.  We entered the park at about mile three and ran right down Hollywood Boulevard toward the Chinese Theater and past a bunch of Storm Troopers.  At this point in the race I was still feeling great at about an 8:30 pace per mile.

WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARACOURSEACTION19_7661321818On the way to Animal Kingdom I started feeling the fatigue.  Osceola Parkway was long and it felt like I was going uphill the whole time.  There wasn’t much around which was making it tough to go on, but the excitement of running through Animal Kingdom kept me looking forward.  I have to say that the Animal Kingdom parking lot is HUGE!  It felt like forever running around it before we entered the park.  Animal Kingdom was pretty difficult for me and because of that, most of it was a blur.  I do remember running past Primeval Whirl as we entered and then as we exited we ran to the park entrance where there is an incline that I always dread after a long day at the park.

After Animal Kingdom and a high five with one of the 501st legion members, it was back to Osceola Parkway and on to The Wide World of Sports Complex.  This was really difficult because my legs started hurting in Animal Kingdom and my pace showed it.  I slowed down to about a nine minute mile.  As bad as my legs were hurting, I knew that I had to keep going.  I gave it my all and ran as best as I could back down Osceola Parkway, which ironically still felt like I was going uphill.

WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARAFINISHLINE3_7661062415-cropWe entered The Wide World of Sports through a dirt path on the side of the complex.  I didn’t even know about that path and was very surprised that I was all of a sudden running on dirt and rocks.  It was tricky, but I did not trip!  We then ran around some fields and turned going towards the front and the finish line.  When we made it to a shorter dirt path I heard a girl behind me yell, “Is this over yet?!  I want to lay down!”  I felt that sentiment as well.  At that point I could hear the finish line announcer and a crowd of cheers.  I finally turned a corner and saw the finish line itself.  I was so exhausted and couldn’t wait to cross.  I finished with the time of 1:56:06.  Even though that was my worst half marathon time I was extremely proud of what I accomplished.

WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARACOURSECHARACTER2_7661444511After I received my medal, towel, and snack box I met up with my family and we headed to the Star Wars character backdrop area for pictures.  There were about ten different ones, each with a different Star Wars character.  I took pictures with Darth Maul, some storm troopers, Jabba the Hutt, and a tentacle monster.  When I was done with those lines we went straight to the buses that would take us back to Epcot.  I wanted to beat the rush of people so we didn’t have to wait too long for a bus.  As it turns out there wasn’t a line at all!  We got right on a bus which was a relief because I was really sore and needed to sit down.  As soon as it filled up we were taken back to our cars at Epcot.  Apparently to get to the finish line my family had to stand in a long line and wait about half an hour for a bus to take them there.  The buses were also quite a walk from where I left them to go to the start line.  They were less than happy about the experience because in addition to the long walk and wait, the bus was falling apart and the driver got lost on the way to the finish line.

The walk back to the car felt extremely long from the area where the bus dropped us off and I didn’t think I was going to make it to the car.  I did make it and we drove home where I was finally able to rest after a very tiring weekend.

I enjoyed the race, but I have to say I wasn’t a fan of the course.  It seemed a lot more difficult than Princess in regard to the elevation.  I also missed the mid race excitement that running down Main Street and through Cinderella’s Castle brought to the other races. I did like running through three parks this time, but ending in The Wide World of Sports Complex felt less climactic than I was used to.  With the constant raising of prices for Disney races, I’m not sure that I will be inclined to sign up for this half anytime soon in the future.  I am glad that I got to participate in the inaugural race, but legacy just doesn’t seem worth it for a race where I wasn’t fond of the course.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Working at the Star Wars Dark Side 10k and Expo Fun!

 

20160416_055322-1.jpg

I took a week off from Canada to fly home for the Star Wars Dark Side weekend. I was worried about how I would do during the half that Sunday because my training wasn’t one of my best. I don’t think that there was one week where I ran every day that I was supposed to. Work had been taking up most of my time up here, so when my alarm would go off early each morning, I would sometimes hit the snooze and lay my head back down. Another problem was the weather: I had been training in freezing conditions and Florida was anything but freezing during April.

I flew back to Florida late Friday night. I already knew that it was unlikely that I would get anything from the Expo because the merchandise usually sells out the first day. I tried to sleep some on the plane, but that is really hard when there is a screaming kid a couple rows back. I went to bed shortly after I arrived home (after I spent some time with the kittens!) because I had the brilliant idea of signing up to work the 10k with Track Shack the next morning.  At least it prepared me for getting up early for the half!

20160416_055802.jpg

Early Morning Selfie!

The Star Wars 10k was the first Disney 10k that I had worked.  The good thing was that it was a shorter shift than working the half.  I had to get to the Wide World of Sports complex at 3:30 in the morning because I was working the finish line.  When I got there we were shown around so we knew the layout in case runners had any questions about where things were.   Once the race had started we moved to the finish line.  It was exciting because I got to see the first finisher break the tape!  This was my view:

20160416_060538-1.jpg

After quite a few first finishers crossed we were moved to our posts that we would stay at for the remainder of the race.  My job was to make sure no one went back the wrong way up the finishing chute. Most people listened, some argued. I’m not sure why people feel the need to wait for people in the chute itself. That’s what the family reunion area is for. Also finishing photos are not group photos. It is supposed to be you with your medal. Coming back up the chute with friends to take a group photo is not allowed and really makes no sense. There were about six backdrops with characters in the family reunion area where group photos could be taken. It was our job to clear the chute as soon as possible to get the runners on their way. Since I was very lacking in sleep I couldn’t wait until my shift was over so I could rest up for the half.

After everyone had been cleared out of the finishing chute and the two missing kids had been found, I was allowed to leave. I headed home to get ready to head right back there for the expo since I still had to pick up my packet.

20160416_115819I was really disappointed with the expo. I usually am able to go the first day and get what I want. We first went up to the pre-order area after I got my bib and the official merchandise area that was up there was closed and completely empty. I went to the pre-order pick up area to ask if they had extra jackets. I saw the design when someone posted it online and really wanted one. After I got my Princess one I really regretted not ordering the inaugural Dark Side one. I was told that extras would be sold at the merchandise tent after the race. I hoped that my family would be able check for one before I finished the race.

We left that building and made our way to the main expo building. As expected when we entered the official merchandise area almost everything was gone. There wasn’t anything that I needed, I just would have liked the a tank if they had one. They didn’t, so I ended up getting a yellow performance shirt with Vader and storm troopers on it.

After I paid for the shirt we were able to relax and walk around the expo. I had a list of a couple booths that I wanted to check out. I talked to photo pass to inquire about a single day memory maker since I was only doing one race. I was told it was $69. A little more than I wanted, but still cheaper than Marathonfoto!  I looked for the Luna Bar booth and the Cliff Bar pacers, but couldn’t find either one. I didn’t even see pacers at the half. I was really bummed by the Luna bars not being there because it was one of my favorite booths at the expos and I was getting hungry.

The last thing I wanted to check out was the Sparkle Skirts booth. I had been hearing for a while how great they were, but I couldn’t justify the high price tag and high shipping price. I wanted to see one in person to figure out why they were loved so much.  When we got to the booth there was a sale rack right up front.  I looked though a bit and found a very pretty and sparkly one for only $55!  They are usually all about $70.  There were some curtains to the side where people were trying on their skirts.  Chris convinced me to try it on, so off I went.  As soon as I put it on I couldn’t believe how comfortable it was!  I jogged in place for a bit in the dressing room and it felt great!  I stepped out to talk to the owner and she made sure that I had picked the right size.  It was a perfect match so I bought it!  I had finally fallen to the power of the Sparkle Skirt.

There wasn’t really much more to look at and I was exhausted, so we left to get lunch.  After I ate I just rested and then went to bed really early.  I wanted to be the best I could for the half the next day.  I was really nervous, but all I could do was my best and trust in my training.

Disney World Marathon Weekend Registration

13029666_1416147625077862_4877149739368462039_o

After Star Wars Half Marathon:The Dark Side last weekend I contemplated which runDisney half I should run during 2017.  I had thought that it would be Star Wars because I wanted to try to get legacy, but after running it I am having second thoughts.  I will elaborate more on why that is during my Dark Side race recap.

It just so happened that the Tuesday after the Half was early registration for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  I plan on running the marathon as my first marathon in 2018 for its 25th anniversary, but the half seemed very tempting.   I have never run a race during marathon weekend and I thought it might be good to run the half the year before I take on the full.  Also it is the half’s 20th anniversary and those always make for great medals!

After considering all of that I signed up for the half.  The process was very quick and easy and I was finally able to use my new proof of time from this year’s Princess Enchanted 10k.  I know I won’t be in as high of a corral as at Princess during this race, but I think my proof of time will give me a decent, competitive corral that I can try to set a PR in. I can’t wait and I know it will be a lot of fun!

Montreal Training

For the past month I have been in Montreal, Quebec for work.  With Star Wars:  The Dark Side Half creeping up on me I have had to continue my training here, although not in the best conditions.  I still follow the Nike Plus advanced plan, or at least I have been trying to. Work has not always been making that easy.  Hours have picked up a lot and I have been modifying my training plan either because of time or just because I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning.  I mean, who wants to go outside when it is 15 degrees!  That is exactly what I did today.  I was lucky enough to have a rare off day so I slept in for a bit and then went for a run.  It was one of the hardest runs of my life.  I made the mistake of stopping for a while to take photos of Olympic Stadium and by the time I started running again my hands were really hurting.  I was able to find a gas station where I went in to warm up my hands.  I don’t know if it was worth it, but I did get this cool photo with the help of my phone timer and armband:

20160404_110052.jpg

I have had quite a few running adventures since I have been here.  One morning before work I ran ten miles up and down Mount Royal in the snow.  I found a nice long trail once I was near the top and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was!  It was my very own winter wonderland and probably one of my favorite training runs to date.  It was so peaceful there and I had to keep stopping to take photos even though I will remember it forever.

Running up Mount Royal has been very challenging.  There are so many hills in Montreal and I feel that has made me a better runner.  I am ready for The Dark Side Half and am really looking forward to it despite the heat in Florida.  I will also be working at the 10k the day before so say hi if you see me!  It should be fun and I am looking forward to a relaxing week off back at home.

U-Fit Bike Lock Review

20160306_094001Riding a bicycle to run errands or go to work is a great way to get that little bit of extra fitness each day.  I needed an activity to compliment my running so I looked into getting a lock for my bike so I could use it as transportation.  With this new U-Fit Combination Bike Lock I now have a safe and secure way to leave my bike when I go inside.

The lock is very easy to use and the combination is a great alternative from having to carry around a key.  The quality seems great!  When I locked my bike to a railing I felt that is was very secure and I wouldn’t worry leaving it for hours at a time.  The only minor issue is that the cable comes curled up and it tends to stay in that position, which makes wrapping it around a pole or railing a little difficult.  I feel that over time it should lose it’s shape and become easier.

Overall this is a great product!  If you want to read more about the lock you can find it here on Amazon.  If you are in need of a way to lock and secure your bicycle I suggest checking it out.  I received this product at a discount for giving my honest and unbiased review.

Renard Compression Socks Review

20160226_133515-1.jpgCompression Socks and sleeves have helped me a great deal in my running. I usually wear them to keep warm during early morning runDisney events, but they can help with recovery as well. I recently picked up these black compression socks made by Renard Compression.   When I first put them on I could instantly feel the pressure on my calf muscles.  My legs instantly felt relaxed. I believe that compression helps my legs during races so they don’t feel sore when I am finished. I also like to wear them after a long run while I am relaxing. I’ve noticed that by doing this while increasing my milage each week, my legs don’t get sore anymore. I also believe that these new socks are contributing to that.

These socks are some of the most cushioned socks that I have ever had. I could instantly feel the comfort when I put my foot in. Comfort is something that I look for in a sock because I don’t usually like anything on my feet.

Renard has done a great job with the quality of this product. I feel that the socks will last a long time through the wear and tear of my long runs and the washing machine.

Overall I am very happy with this product and I can’t wait to run in the socks some more in the future. If you would like to read more about them you can find them on Amazon here.  I received this product at a discount for giving my honest,.unbiased review.