Tuesday’s on the Run: May Training Recap

Ony 96 more training runs until my first marathon, the Walt Disney 2020 Marathon!

Wow…can you believe that May is over?  Personaly, I am glad because that means summer vacation for this educator and a couple of months of morning running instead of afternoon runs in the heat and wind.  I so prefer morning runs!

Let’s take a look how May was in terms of my marathon training…

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Highs

  • Did not miss a single training run and even made up for the one I missed in April.
  • I ran my fastest pace EVER.
  • I ran my fastest mile EVER.
  • I learned that Jeff Galloway’s Magic mile formula for long runs really works!
  • I built up to 11 miles in running distance.
  • Finished another successful StepBet Challenge.
  • Officially into double digits of training runs left until 2020 Walt Disney World Marathon.

Lows

  • My weight loss has hit a plateau, mainly because I have not been focused and 100% on plan…modified plans get modified results.  I am holding steady at 35 pounds lost since November.

Goals for June

So what does June have in store in terms of running & training?  I actually have 2 races scheduled, Rock & Roll Seattle and the Slacker Half Marathon.  I am hoping to get a personal best time out of one of these races and break the 3 hour barrier, which has always been a goal of mine since I started taking running seriously.  I am also hoping to reach 40-45 pounds lost by my birthday at the end of the month.

How was your May training?  What are your goals for June?  Drop me a comment!

Tuesdays on the Run: April Recap

It’s the beginning of May and the end of my first official full month of training towards my first marathon and in true Tammie form it has been a month of highs and lows…

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Highs

  1. Long Run Distance-I will have built my distance to 8 miles of run walk intervals.   My pace is steady over the distance and is at where I have set in my own mind as what I need to do in order to  cross the finish line.
  2. Total Mileage in 2019-I hit the 500 mile mark earlier this month in my goal to reach 2019 by December 31 at 11:59 pm.  While I am behind I am hoping that summer will bring more time to get out there and just walk.
  3. Lots of Personal Records-It seems that each time I run, RunKeeper is telling me that I am shattering my own personal records.  It is totally amazing, getting almost 40 pounds off this body has made a huge difference not only to my time but to my physical well being.
  4. Injury Free-I am almost scared to write this but so far the hip, the shins, and the achilles are all playing nice with each other.  They have reminded my a couple of times that they are in control of this running thing but so far, so good.

Lows

  1.  Short Runs-While I have only missed 1 short run, I am struggling to get my short runs in each week, which is frustrating since it is only 2 miles or about 30 minutes.  I am so full of excuses and so tired at night. My afternoon runs are not pleasant, they feel sluggish. Come on summer, ready for some morning running.
  2. Weight Loss had Plateaued-This month I just lost the same 5 pounds about 4 times.  I am so close to the 40 pound mark but I just can’t seem to get there.

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My goals for May are pretty straight forward…

  1. Build my Distance to 11 miles.
  2. Do  ALL of my short runs.
  3. Break the weight loss plateau and make it to as close to 45 pounds lost as I can
  4. Get to 700 miles by the end of May.

Tuesday’s on the Run:  On a Runner’s High

Call it a mid-life crisis if you want, but the candles numbering 50 this year got me really thinking about my bucket list and the urge to cross items off.  I actually have a couple of bucket lists going and one of those lists is focused “solely” on running. Honesty, I had pretty much prepared to throw that list in the trash can after so many miserably failed runs post Achilles tear over the last 2 ½ years.  But, I still had a race that I signed up for and I can’t stand wasting entry fees, let alone not do something that I said I was going to do (yes, I have a HUGE stubborn streak).

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I went into the Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2019 in January totally prepared to be swept from the race and end this whole running thing that has consumed me for the last 6 years.  I was VERY undertrained, had no confidence in my ability and worried that with each step would come another injury. However, that EARLY Saturday morning in January, I could not help but feel the excitement that comes with runDisney event and realized how much I was going to miss this.

Those butterflies where certainly clamoring around in my chest as I crossed the starting line, but I knew that if this was going to be my last race I was going to throw caution to the wind and have the time of my life because I wanted to go out at least on some sort of a positive. And not only did I do that…

I crossed that finish line without even a glimpse of those dread balloons and bikes, feeling strong, injury/pain free and on the biggest runner’s high there ever was.  

It’s funny how a runner’s high makes you feel invincible.  I have carried that high with me for now for over 3 months.  Runner’s highs also make you do crazy things, no more being “half” crazy for this middle aged mama.  I decided I was going to embrace my crazy side by going FULL ON crazy in January 2020 and cross off the biggest item on my running bucket list, a full marathon.  And there is no other full marathon that I can think of that might actually be fun to complete…

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Let the training begin…

Day 1:  De-Stress, Just Enjoy Being Home

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Up until a week ago, I was supposed to be traveling tonight to Walt Disney World, but once again I found my sucked into the Twilight Zone with the floor dropping out from under me.  Instead of ending up with another anxiety attack over it, I gave myself one more Disney day and really treat myself because it is well deserved and VERY earned!

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Today is about de-stressing and being home, but still within the  perimeters of new experiences…

Plans for today include:

  1. Breakfast at Be Our Guest (I hear they now mimosa’s)
  2. Massage at Senses in the Grand Floridian

-I might end up at All Star Pool, hotel room for a nap. or Food & Wine in the afternoon.  All of these options are on the table.

  1. Dessert Party and VIP Seating for Fantasmic!

-Afterwards, the night is still relatively young in terms of Disney time so I might go to Disney Springs or enjoy All Stars at night.   

Remember that I am doing a full out social media blitz this week to make you part of my “working vacation.” Content will be different on each site to make it fresh, so you will want to follow me on…

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I am also going to be giving everyone* following along and interacting, a chance to win up to $200 in a Disney Vacation Credit* as well as a few daily giveaways as a thank you for being a part of my “working vacation.”  The more you interact, the better chance you have to win.

“Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho It’s Off to Work I GO” Contest Rules & Details

There is so much magic waiting for me that I need to get going, I will C U real soon and remember that life is always better when you are wearing ears.

Tuesday’s on the Run: A Marathon Runs Through It

It’s Tuesday (okay, I know in reality it is Wednesday and I am a day late), so it’s time to link for Tuesday’s on the Run

images   Montana

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This past weekend, I crossed another state off my quest to “someday” complete a half marathon in every state with the Missoula (Half) Marathon. Why the Missoula Marathon?

brad2Maybe I was hoping to find a young Brad Pitt (circa 1992) waiting for me at the end with nothing but his waders on, after all “A River Does Run Through It” or should a say a marathon runs through it…

Seriously, If you are going to finish an event in every state is seems pretty clear that you pick the best one the state has to offer, and in this case the United States has to offer…

The Missoula Marathon has twice been named as the Best Marathon in the US (2010 by Runner’s World Magazine and in 2017 by BibRAVE).  It has also been named the 2017 Top Marathon for runners like me, Back-of-the-Packers, as well as a Top 10 Bucket List Marathon.

Missoula Marathon YOUTUBE VIDEO  

Now I know that I only completed the half (cause I am lazy that way), but for 10 miles of both events we shared the course…

The Missoula Marathon makes it look easy to be NUMBER 1…

The volunteers and Run Missoula Wild put on an event with EXCEPTIONAL RACE MANAGEMENT. From the moment I submitted my race registration in April, the Missoula Marathon provided weekly communication about the event via email newsletter.  Each week I looked forward to reading about Missoula as well as the race.  It was also nice to get a PRINTED race program at bib pick up, a keepsake. Bib pick up was easy and in a central location that also gave you insight into the finish set up, as well as a chip check for your bib (just in case you are one of those who are running for time).  Parking was easy, buses ran efficiently to the starting line.  The bag check as the best I have ever seen conducted, with a fleet of UPS trucks and men in brown and bags sorted according to bib number waiting on marked trucks as you made your way to the exit chute. The race start, with fireworks, went off smoothly and ON TIME. The finish was a well-oiled machine of stops (medal, bag, time tape, and food) before meeting back up with your own personal cheering squad.

It’s Montana! I knew going to be beautiful and being a fan of the movie (and book) “A River Runs Through it”, I already had my vision of the race course set in my head long before I completed the registration.  Missoula delivers on the promise of one of the most beautiful places to run (and I have completed mountain half marathons in both Colorado and New Mexico) with its 360-degree panoramic view of the mountains during sunrise, run along the river, charming homes on tree lined streets and the dramatic finish over the bridge and across the river into downtown Missoula.

But you want to know the real reason why Missoula is number 1…

The People of Missoula!  It felt like the entire town somehow came out on race weekend. From the countless volunteers who made sure not only did the race go off with out glitches but runners felt safe and welcomed, to the townsfolk who literally lined the sidewalks of the race course and offered their personalized spin on course entertainment…signs, cowbells, cowboys on horseback, a man playing a baby grand on his front lawn in tails, a string quartet, banjos, cowbells, unofficial course treats (including whiskey shots and popsicles) and just shouts of encouragement as you went past. There wasn’t any stretch of the race where there wasn’t someone cheering you on or a water sprinkler set up purposefully to keep you cooled off!

My experience with the Missoula Marathon demonstrated why in the movie that Brad Pitt’s character, Paul, would reply to his brother Norman “Oh, I’ll never leave Montana.” The Missoula Marathon makes you feel like you are part of the community, and who wants to leave a place where you are treated so well?

Oh yes and then there is the bling…

which is just about the size of the Big Montana Sky!

 

 

A Cars Inspired Road Trip, Part 4: Tucumcari, New Mexico to beyond Williams, AZ

There is an item on my bucket list that my family and I have partially completed, a drive from Chicago to Santa Monica along the famous Mother Road, Route 66.  Last Spring we drove half of the route on our Cars inspired trip to Disneyland…

IMG_0928We were only supposed to go about 500 miles today, but as you will discover when you read to the end we ended up going much further than planned…

We said goodbye to the Blue Swallow Hotel early, wanting to stop in Albuquerque for breakfast at the Famous Frontier Cafe across from the campus of the University of New Mexico.  

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Frontier Restaurant 

My husband grew up in Albuquerque and the owners of the Frontier, the Rainosek’s,  are family friends.   180sNo stop to Albuquerque is complete without a Frontier Cinnamon Roll, some homemade tortillas and my personal favorite, green chile stew.

 

We will save the 66 Diner, which serves American comfort food to hungry travelers of Route 66,66 diner 2

Route 66 Diner

in Albuquerque for another day whose chrome and stainless steel Streamline Moderne decor and 1950s-inspired waitresses uniforms serves as inspiration served as inspiration for Flos V-8 Diner in Carsland.

Our next stop was just across the New Mexico-Arizona border at Chief Yellowhorse Trading Post (which was closed).  

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It was easy to see what part of Cars and Carsland was inspired from this location…

At the same exit for Chief Yellow Horse, you will find 2 other locations that inspired both Cars and Carsland…3E76CE89-C137-4DEB-9BD4-F1ED7173DE88

 

Take a look at the cliffs and it is easy to picture this location in the movie right behind the Cozy Cone. And across the highway at the same exit you will find the inspiration for Fillmore’s Taste-In.

The Cars character, Fillmore is also based “unofficially” on an actual person, Bob Waldmire.

He is  “unofficially”  Fillmore because he refused to lend his name for the film.  Waldmire lived a hippie lifestyle, driving up and down Route 66 in his VW microbus (complete with a solar panel for supplemental power), and selling his intricate artwork. You can see his microbus at the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac.

Our next stop was in Holbrook, Arizona home of the Wigwam Motel…

My “boys” had a great time exploring all of the old cars parked around the motel.  Can you guess the how the Wigwam Motel inspired both the movie and Carsland?

Continuing down I-40/Route 66 we came to the exit for the Jack Rabbit Trading Post (which of course was closed) but we still had fun locating the next inspiration for Cars and Carsland…

We then continued on to Winslow, Arizona (Are you already singing along?)…

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While it is not an inspiration for Cars, Winslow is just one of those places you have to stop at for a photo opp… standing on the corner and singing!  We would drive another 90 miles to Williams, Arizona where we planned to spend the night…only to arrive and discover that I made reservations for the next week at the hotel and there was no room in the inn.  Oops…IMG_1028

 

Taking it all in stride we decided to head for the California boarder and spend the night in Kingman, Arizona in order to get an early start on our next day and arrive at Disneyland in time for the fireworks.  I am glad, I messed up the reservation because we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset that evening.

Stay tuned for Part 5:  Oatman, Arizona

 

Friday Five:  5 Tips for an Incredible Summer Trip to Walt Disney World

1 incredible summer

Now that my school year has finally come to a close it is time to start enjoying the summer.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate summer than with a trip to Walt Disney World and this summer is going to be an Incredible one…

Summer at Walt Disney World

  • In the Magic Kingdom,  the Incredibles are going to take over the Tomorrowland Dance Party.
  • In Epcot, the Guardians of the Galaxy take over an out of this world themed concert with music from the movies!
  • In Animal Kingdom, Donald is taking over Dinoland for a Dino-Bash.  And…
  • In Disney Hollywood Studios, the much anticipated Toy Story Land opens on June 30 where guests get to play big and shrink to the size of a toy in Andy’s backyard.

With summer comes some not so magical parts of a summer vacation at Walt Disney World…crowds, rain and heat. Here are Friday’s Top 5 Ways to Make Sure that Your Summer at Walt Disney World is Incredible…

1.  Be Prepared for the Mr. Sun

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Summer humidity and heat in June, July, August, and even into September is no joke and can quickly ruin a trip to Walt Disney World if you’re not prepared.

When packing for your summer trip to Walt Disney World make sure to include

  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Aloe Vera

3 frog towelsAnd wear quick dry shirts and shorts. Even if you don’t actively plan on getting wet by going on water rides, these quick-dry materials are nice because they also don’t get soaked with sweat. They’re more breathable, light, and airy, keeping you cool.

I am also a huge fan of Frogg Cooling Towels.  These lightweight and inexpensive towels are easily found at Walmart and will keep you cool for hours. “This towel can absorb eight times its weight in water providing longer evaporation times than conventional towels. An internal polyester mesh IMG_0494reinforcing material allows it to dry you off, while it cools you down. Simply moisten the towel, wring out excess, and it starts working immediately.”

And if you need to cool off, make sure that you hit the water rides like Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids.  Don’t forget that there are splash pads in Epcot, Disney Springs, and Magic Kingdom…whose says only kids can run through the sprinklers?

2.  Dance in the Rain

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Florida’s rainy season starts with summer with the average rainfall from June to September being 6 to 9 inches EACH month.  The rains are usually limited to afternoon downpours during the summer months, so expect a storm each afternoon. These afternoon storms are commonly referred to as “Nature’s FastPass” and once it begins to rain the lines will begin to clear out and people will rush out of the parks.  When this happens, put on a poncho, brave the rain and enjoy the rest of your day with low crowd levels. Just remember to pack extra shoes, socks and rain ponchos.

3. Hydrate

Staying hydrated is so important especially during the hot summer, no one wants to faint6(1) while in line!  Many people like to carry a water bottle along with them (just remember not to bring glass)  and refill them throughout the day. An aluminum water bottle is a great choice because it keeps the water cold and the bottle does not sweat, so I can put it in your purse or backpack and not be afraid of what it will ruin.  I however prefer to go as bagless and hands free as possible, plus I don’t want to waste a precious snack credit on a bottle of water.  Instead, any quick service location will happily provide you with a free glass of ice water for the asking. And if you are dining, refill your cup before you leave. And if you are dining, make sure to ask for a glass of water along with your other beverage and drink up!

4. Manage Time

7The old saying, early to bed and early to rise makes a family happy, healthy, and wise. I always advise clients that a Disney vacation is NOT a sleep in kind of vacation.   For those families who can answer their wake-up call and get to the parks before opening, they will be able to enjoy some of the theme park’s best attractions with little to no wait. Your family can take advantage of this by arriving early and enjoying the most popular attractions before the heat of the day creeps into the theme parks. You will be amazed at what you can enjoy and accomplish before 1:00 pm, while everyone else is slowly making their way to the parks.

Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, but only if you have the park hopper option. This will allow you extra time in the parks with lower crowd levels.  Then when the crowd builds hop over to a different park.

Another way to manage your time is to make sure that you have made the best use of your FastPass+ selections.  Don’t waste them when when the crowds are lower in the morning. I like to begin booking FP+ around 10:30. Also, make sure that you have made your ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations) at the 180 day mark.  If you are doing a quick service meal, try to avoid peak dining times 11 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm.

If you are staying on property AND have a PARK HOPPER TICKET,  I recommend taking advantage to the Extra Magic Hours and then hop to a different park when the crowd level builds.  By staying at a Disney Resort hotel access to either extra magic hours in the morning or evening each day of your trip.  Take advantage of the extra time in the parks during the coolest time of the day.

5. Take a Break

The struggle is real and you will be tempted to try to tour until you drop trying to do it all, but I GUARANTEE that this will not be your only Disney vacation.  So take a break. When the crowds and the temperatures rise in the afternoon, this is the perfect time to take in a few shows like the Festival of the Lion King, Nemo, Frozen Forever, Mickey’s Philharmagic (my personal favorite), American Adventure in Epcot, Turtle Talk with Crush, Pixar Shorts, or the Adventures of the Little Mermaid Show.  Not only do you get out of the sun but you also get a chance to sit down and relax. If you time it right you will not have to stand in line either. Don’t worry about a FastPass+, the theaters are huge and normally there are lots of open seats.

My best suggestion is at 1 pm when the crowd is building and those that sleep in are just arriving are just arriving, LEAVE the park. That’s right I told you to leave the park and head back to your resort.  All of the Disney resorts have fabulous pools and while everyone else is in the park you have them to yourself. And Disney Cast Members are there to entertain the kids, while you get to sit back and enjoy an adult beverage better is that you can Or even better, take a little siesta in your room and recharge.  Around 6 pm, return to the parks and have dinner, afterwards enjoy the evening.  

I know that for many families,  summer is the only opportunity that they have for a Disney vacation and that’s okay. Remember to keep a positive attitude, be flexible and use these tips and your family will avoid the heat, the largest crowds, and the longest wait times, which will make your family happy.  And you will be happy because you just maximized your day by outsmarting other guests.

I am full of tips to make your first or next Disney vacation the most magical ever, just contact me today and let’s get planning.  Remember all of my services are FREE when you book your vacation with me.

Bonus Tip:  Cool down with some delectable frozen delights.

There are plenty of ice-cold treats that’ll keep you cooler longer than a melty cone of ice cream. Here are a few of my favorites…

  • Lefou’s Brew (Gaston’s Tavern)-Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland
  • Raspberry Lemonade Slush (Cheshire Cafe)-Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland
  • Night Blossom (Pongu Pongu)-Animal Kingdom, Pandora
  • Frozen Chai (Royal Anandapur Tea Company)-Animal Kingdom, Tree of Life
  • Kaki-Gori  (Kabuki Cafe)-Epcot, Japanese Pavilion
  • Frozen Elephant of Coke Slushie (Refreshment Outpost)-Epcot, World Showcase