thumb_img_9159_1024

My First 10K Race Report & 5 Tips on Running Disney

On January 14th, 2017 I accomplished something that I never thought I would do.  I crossed the finish line of a 10K running event.

And I did so in the upright position, not in last place and without throwing up.

rundisney_dlrmarafinishline3_20170114_396202820119

Who just ran 10K? this girl did…

It felt amazing.

It wasn’t my fastest run. It wasn’t my easiest run. It wasn’t my hardest run.

It was the longest though…and the most fun.

Running Disney is a wonderful experience from the moment you pick up your bib to the last stride across the finish line. Not only is the event incredibly well organized (what else would you expect from Disney?) but there is something magical about running through the parks before the sun has even risen.

thumb_img_9108_1024

Running through Radiator Springs before sun up…

thumb_img_9116_1024

California Adventure park selfie!

thumb_img_9134_1024

When you hit 7km and your feet hurt like hell and then you look up and realize you are about to run through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. So good!

The photo opps along the way are awesome.

thumb_img_9127_1024

Oh hey Kylo Ren. Sorry…gotta run…

thumb_img_9114_1024

I was so tempted to wait in this line…I mean I was R2D2 after all. But just couldn’t stand for 40 mins when I still had 7km left to run. 

thumb_img_9149_1024

The final mile marker right before the home stretch…

 

And the medals are heavy.

thumb_img_9159_1024thumb_img_9158_1024

That said, I do have a few tips for anyone considering a runDisney race.

1. Don’t get to your corral too early.

Unless you are running in a highly competitive corral at the front you won’t actually start your race until at least 20 minutes after the posted start time of the event.  I was in Corral F for this 10k and we didn’t start until 6:05am. That meant I stood shoulder to shoulder in a packed corral for 34 minutes before getting to run. I couldn’t stretch and I got cold (remember this is before sunrise!) which led to a tough first few kms.

 

thumb_img_9092_1024

Corral F – couldn’t stretch without putting my face in someones butt or vice versa. 

thumb_img_9104_1024

Finally our turn to get running!

2. Don’t plan on running a personal best

RunDisney races are PACKED and it can be very difficult to find space to get moving at a good pace. For this 10k I had hoped to finish in 1 hour 20 mins but took nearly 1h45. I hit my first bottleneck at 1km where we all went down to a walk whether we liked it or not.

thumb_img_9129_1024

I do love me some Stormtroopers.

3. If you do the walk/run method move to the side to Walk

I run intervals and always made sure that there was no one right behind me when I transitioned from run to walk. That said, there were several times when runners weren’t as courteous and stopped right in front of me. It’s really just a common courtesy people.

rundisney_dlrmaraaction22_20170114_7926155750

4. Watch for Disney touches all over.

Yes there are character photo opps that are clearly posted – and you can chose to wait in line for 40 minutes (see what I mean about your best time) or just take a passing by selfie like I did.  But there are also little touches like illuminated shapes up on building walls or Disney staffers lined up with Mickey gloves ready to high five runners as they pass by.  I nearly missed Captain Phasma up on a bridge at the exit of Disneyland.

thumb_img_9125_1024

Thank YOU Disneyland Third Shift Custodial…you rock!

5. Have fun!

If you aren’t in it for your finish time then be in it for a good time. There is lots of laughter and joy around every runDisney event. That Disney spirit is infectious…so get caught up it and enjoy every minute.  How many times do you get to run a route like this anyway:

thumb_img_9152_1024

Bonus:

If you need a little motivation to get you to the finish line – get your friends and family to position themselves right near the end. My family was waiting for me at the 8km mark and seeing their smiling faces was all I needed to push me to the end.

thumb_img_9142_1024

hello family! (my girls were still in their PJs – so cute)

So that’s it! My first 10k in the books and my first 10K medal ready to go up in a place of honour right above my Neverland 5k medal.

Maybe…just maybe…I may add that Half Marathon medal one day. And if I do…you know it will be a runDisney medal.

 

giving-back

Teaching My Kids about Giving Back at Christmas

This year my girls won’t be getting any gifts under the Christmas tree from us.  And they are actually pretty excited about it.

Why you ask?  Well, let me back up just a little and tell you about my frame of mind about Christmas this year.

I love Christmas.  I love the pretty lights and the decorations and the singing and the family time.  I love the feeling of Christmas.  And I love, love LOVE giving presents to the people I love.

I love to watch them open gifts that I have thoughtfully picked out and carefully wrapped. I love that feeling when you see a person smile in such a way you know you hit a gift giving home run.

So I was pretty much on cloud 9 when I had kids and suddenly had more people to buy for and a bigger audience of smilers around me.  And for a few  years it was great.  Until on my oldest daughters 3rd Christmas she stopped opening gifts halfway through her enormous pile of gifts, declared she was done and proceeded to play with a dollar store stocking stuffer for the next hour.

It was an eye opener.  I learned a lot in that moment and I vowed to never overdo it again. It had never been my intention to make Christmas all about the presents but somehow that’s what I had done.

For the next few years I scaled back, finally introducing the awesome Four Gift Giving Rule in our home three Christmases ago.

b1e6e-4giftruletagonpresent

The girls adjusted well to less gifts and I tried to put a lot more thought into what I gave them.  But try as I might I still couldn’t get my girls to see past the “I want” part of Christmas.

So this year I was feeling pretty over it all by November.  When every second phrase from my kids was “Can I have it?” Or “Can we buy it?” and anytime I gave in and said yes the once coveted item was used once and promptly forgotten.

It bothered me that I had somehow raised my girls to be selfish and focused on “stuff”. I wanted them to have more respect for the things they already had. I asked them – out of desperation almost – to tell me one thing they got for Christmas the previous year.  I needed them to be able to answer me.  I needed them to remember.

Shocker – they didn’t. Not one present. Not even the things they had begged for. The things they NEEDED!

And it was then that I decided this year was going to be different. I had been thinking about finding something charitable to do on Christmas for year but had never found the right outlet.

I needed the connection to giving to be strong.  I needed them to really understand what I was trying to teach them. And finally – and this was the big one – I needed them to be happy about it.

I found exactly what I was looking for with the YWCA prom called Presents of Peace.  It ticked all the boxes and I signed up right away to sponsor a family of three.  A single mother and two children.

The thing I was most excited about with this program was the fact that we get to deliver the gifts directly to the family.  We get to meet them and get to know them and the girls would get to see how our decision to sponsor this family had really made a difference.

Once I had committed I told the girls about the program and broke the news gently that sponsoring this family meant the loss of their own Christmas presents.  And to my great surprise (and relief) they didn’t complain. In fact they were excited.

They wanted to know how old the kids were, what was on their wish list, when could they go shopping and could they help wrap?  They offered to make Christmas cookies and craft projects for the family.

And so this year instead of buying for my girls, we have gone out together as a family to shop for gifts for 4 year old twins that love Spiderman and Frozen and have things like bed sheets and winter jackets on their Christmas wish lists – and their mother who’s asked for sensible work shoes and clothes.

I have loved every step of this process and can’t wait to get the chance to meet the family in person next week.  And I really do think that slowly but surely the message of giving back is starting to sink in.

I can only hope that feeling lasts all the way through Christmas Day.


The Presents of Peace program isn’t accepting new sponsors for 2016 but please consider it for next Christmas.

And if you are looking for a way to help this year the YWCA has another great program set up called Simplify the Season where you can go online to donate and help families have a much more happy holiday season.

giving-back

 

 

 

 

 

star-wars

Star Wars 10K or Bust…

A few years ago I ran my first ever running race – the Neverland 5k at Disneyland.  It was a moment of great accomplishment for me.  It signalled the start of a new me.  I thought within a few years I would have several more medals to my credit.

There have been more races since then – an 8K, a very hot and sweaty 5K & a few other runs – but nothing longer than the 8k even though my goal had always been to keep running further and further.

I like running (really I swear I do!) but there were times that I questioned if it was really for me. I wondered if I was trying to push my body to do something it wasn’t really equipped to do. It was hard and I never seemed to be able to run farther than 5K. And I never seemed to manage to run any faster.

But I persevered because I loved the feeling when I finished a tough run. Maybe all I needed was a new goal.

Like another awesome RunDisney race maybe. But this time I’d do the 10k where I would get an actual metal medal instead of the plastic one you get for the 5k.

When I found out the run weekend in January had been re-branded to a Star Wars theme I knew it was settled. This would be all I needed to get back into running…to get back to what I started.

Plans were made. Tickets were booked. Hubby signed up for the half marathon and I for the 10k. And I decided to follow the RunDisney Training program this time and see if that helped.

And guess what – spoiler alert! – following a training program and actually committing to running on a regular basis actually HELPS! Crazy right?

I started out slow but then I got into a rhythm. And with that came running successes that I hadn’t achieved in years.

6l

5-12k

And oh boy did those achievements feel good.  So good that when I realized my training program was calling for me to run 7km I was confident I could do it.  And I did.

7k

As we made have made our way into December my world has gotten a lot busier and my ability to commit to the training program has waned.  And while that’s not the way I had hoped it would go I now have the confidence to believe I can get right back up to speed when I need to.

Just over a month to go now.  Just keep running…just keep running…

 

 

 

Copy of Kid Speak

Kid Speak: World Flag

10yo: Mummy, why isn’t there a flag for the World?

Me: Well, flags are how each country represents themselves. Plus, I’m pretty sure you couldn’t get all the countries to agree on what the one flag would look like.

7yo: That’s stupid. It would just have the world on it. Because we are all a part of it.

IMG_4348

So I’m thinking maybe we should just let the kids be in charge for a little bit and see what happens…

 

 

 

14479688_10154415293951221_5148073253119520037_n

My First Mud Run Report

A few weeks ago I took on the Mudderella course at Whistler with a group of 7 other girlfriends. It was equal parts awesome, overwhelming, inspiring, painful & fun.

This was my first obstacle course and when I committed to participating way back in May I was sure that I would have time to train and be fit and ready on race day.  What I didn’t realize was that I had 3 work projects due right around the same time and I would literally have NO time to train or be ready.

And that’s not how I would recommend taking this on.

A few observations/comments/thoughts:

  1. I was no where near muddy enough at the finish line. When the event name has mud in it you come in with certain expectations…I wanted to be muddy.  What i was instead was wet and cold up to my waist and dry from my waist up.  A very odd combination.
  2. If you are going to do one of these races do it with a group of awesome people (like I did), a group that has your back always and will never let you quit.
  3. Training is probably a good idea. Especially if you are doing a run at a ski hill like I did. That hill damn near killed me.
  4. What hill you ask?  Well just the one that we had to climb on like a 90 degree incline for 3kms straight up. This one:
mudderella-hill-3

it just kept going up and up and up. This was the easy stretch.

and trust me when I say this picture does not adequately show the stupidity of said hill.

I wanted to give up on that hill. It seemed to be neverending. I kept thinking “I don’t need to do this. I can just stop and sit down and give up.”

But my girlfriends were having none of it.  A group of them literally pushed and pulled me to the top. They pushed me forward “one flag at a time” and without them I never would have made it there.

Never would have found myself standing at the top of that mountain – 3600 feet up – looking down at where I had come from and marvelling at what my body had  just accomplished.

That was such an amazing moment for me.  Not just because I had made it but because I had seen and felt the power of friendship to such a huge degree it was physically staggering. Women are truly incredible beings.

The entire day was full of accomplishments and laughter and support:

The obstacles along the course were fun for the most part but a little repetitive. I felt like we went through 4-5 of the same one – big piles of mud separated by freezing cold waist deep pool of water – that were just called different names.

I was proud of our group for taking on each obstacle and completing them. We scaled 10ft high walls, crawled on our knees under cargo nets and wire and climbed up ropes.

Just before the finish line I had to face the obstacle I was dreading most – the one where I had to jump off a 10ft high platform onto an inflatable mat.  I have a pretty severe fear of heights and this was the one obstacle I wasn’t sure I could actually do.

When we go there It seemed a hell of a lot higher than when I had watched others do it earlier in the day.  We mounted the platform as a group and I watched a few of my friends make the jump.  I knew the longer I stayed up there the more likely I was to NOT to do it.

And so I made my way to the edge – shaking like a leaf – looked down at the landing spot and leaped. I landed right on my backside (somewhat gracefully I hope), rolled off the mat and looked up at the platform again.

It still looked high but not quite as intimidating as it had before.  The rest of my group jumped and with that we ran as a group to the finish line.  Where we crossed the line together, collected our finisher t-shirts and headbands and went off in search of beer and food. Not necessarily in that order.

Just over 4 hours it took us to complete that course. Most of us were exhausted and sore but we were all feeling pretty damned good about ourselves too.

Would I do it all over again? Maybe not this one again. I don’t think I need to tackle that hill twice in a lifetime.  But I’d love to do a different one, maybe one on a flat surface next time.

Oh…and I’d definitely make sure I did some training next time.

 

My yoga pants are finally going to yoga

For a very long time I have wanted to do yoga. Not just for the health & fitness benefits but also for the mental health benefits.

The idea of taking time out of my busy schedule to rest my brain while I nurtured my body was so appealing. But I never did it. Even with all those first class free offers.

And the reason I didn’t was all about a lack of self esteem. I always thought I was too fat to do yoga.

I mean come on…I live in Vancouver…this is the city that birthed the lululemon phenomenon. I have been served a completely skewed vision of what people doing yoga should look like for years.

The only thing I have ever bought at lululemon that fit my not so small body was a headband.   And even that was a little tight.

The thought of showing up to a yoga class in my stretched out pants and baggy tshirt and being faced with this:

yoga

well…it was overwhelming.  Too much to bear. It would be just another experience for me to the fattest girl in the room.  And this time I would have no freakin’ clue what I was doing and probably do every move wrong.

And so for years I did nothing about my wish to try yoga. I pushed the idea to the back of my mind. Filed it away in a file marked “Things I can do when I’m skinny.”

Over the past few years I’ve more and more often found myself looking at website for yoga studios and being drawn to special offers for one month trials and the like but never followed through.

Then earlier this year my mum started doing yoga and I saw first hand the incredible results she was seeing from it. When a groupon popped up for her yoga studio I jumped on it and found myself for the very first time…taking my yoga pants to actual yoga.

It was nothing like how I had pictured it. There were women and men of all ages, all sizes and all different kinds of apparel in the room.  Everyone was friendly and helpful. The teachers were kind and patient.

And I loved every minute of the class. Could I do every pose? Hell no. But I could do more than I thought I would be able to.

Consider me a convert.  Add me to the list of yoga loving west coasters.  Mark me down as a person that has om’d with a group and loved it.

So my point is this…if you are holding back from trying yoga for the same reasons I was.  Well…just don’t.  Put on those stretched out Walmart yoga pants and get thee to a class.

Namaste…