WDW Top Tip Tuesday: Celebration Buttons!

Welcome to other addition of WDW Top Tip Tuesday!

This weeks top tip: Grab yourself a celebration button!

Okay, so I know not EVERY trip to WDW is going to fall on a Birthday, or an Anniversary, or another special occasion, but when those things do coincide with your disney vacation, make sure you grab a celebration button!

Me wearing my Birthday button at WDW!
Me wearing my Birthday button at WDW!

If like me you are from the United Kingdom, you may know these better as ‘badges’ but in Disney World they call them buttons so thats what you need to ask for.  You can get a button from your resort hotel check in desk (if you are staying on site) or from Guest Relations at one of the parks or Downtown Disney. Some cast members even carry them around, so it’s worth asking if you are celebrating something!

Wearing a celebration button will get you lots of love and attention during your stay at Disney. You will hear magical shouts of “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” or “woohoo first visit” from random strangers and cast members as you wander round the park. Sometimes, wearing a button can even get you other magical experiences….

Birthday cupcakes at Kona Cafe - they only knew because I was wearing my button!!
Birthday cupcakes at Kona Cafe – they only knew because I was wearing my button!!

Who wouldn’t want some Birthday cupcakes?!?!

Disney has buttons for several occasions such as:

  • Birthday
  • Wedding/Honeymoon
  • Engagement
  • Anniversary
  • Generic Celebration button
  • First visit

So swing by guest relations and pick up a button and wear it with pride during your next trip for a little extra magic during your Disney vacation!

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Weekly Training Recap: Mon 13th – Sun 19th April

The last week has been good in terms of training, we haven’t covered as many miles as usual as we have been visiting family and doing other fun things besides running, but the run’s we have undertaken have been good and we feel we are improving, especially as far as speed and stamina are concerned.

There won’t be a weekly recap next week, as we are off on holiday to Greece on Friday, so instead I will do a 2 week recap on the 3rd May to update you all on how we got on before and after our trip. Then it will only be one week until our very first race, the Bath Two Tunnels 5k, so we’ll be able to see if our training so far has paid off!

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

2 miles, using run/walk intervals of 5 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. We thought it would be interesting to mix up our intervals a bit and get a feel for what worked and what didn’t. I did find these longer running intervals taxing, but we did manage to maintain a good pace. Hopefully longer running segments will get easier with time, but I still find my 1 minute running and 45 seconds walking to be more comfortable. Average pace per mile 11’22”.

Wednesday:

Rest day

Thursday:

1.37 miles, using run/walk intervals of 3 minutes running and 1.5 minutes walking. This was a hilly route, and the time it took us certainly reflects that. Average pace per mile 13’11”.

Friday:

Rest Day

Saturday:

1.5 miles using run/walk intervals of 1 minute running and 45 seconds walking. This was a good run, early in the morning whilst visiting family. Average pace per mile 11’31”.

image1We also enjoyed a lovely walk in the afternoon whilst visiting other family members.

Sunday:

Leisurely afternoon walk with family.

Goal for the next two weeks:

The goal for the next two weeks is to try to keep up our training whilst we are on holiday so that we don’t slip before the 5k run. We are hoping to be able to run twice this week before we go on Thursday and then get some treadmill runs in whilst in Greece at the hotel gym.

If you would like to sponsor us in preparation for our half marathon in November, you can do so via just giving by visiting www.justgiving.com/hookwaysrundisney/ 

Mini Motivation…

As with everything new, at first it’s exciting. Doing something you didn’t think you could do is exhilarating, whether that be getting a good grade on an exam, sewing your very own dress, constructing that piece of flat pack furniture that nobody else thought you would manage to do by yourself, or running a mile without stopping to walk.

At first, your motivation is merely to succeed, to prove to yourself and to others that YOU CAN DO IT. But there comes a point in every journey where that motivation is no longer enough by itself. That first flat pack was easy…. but now you have to make another 6 to furnish the rest of your house. A mile suddenly turned into 4 and your legs hurt and you can’t breathe and you would quite like to be lying on the sofa with a mars bar and watching television boxsets.

How do you force yourself to continue on, to complete the task you have set ahead for yourself? That’s certainly something i’ve been pondering this week. I wouldn’t say my motivation to run has gone, not at all, I still want to run the races, I still want to feel the exhilaration as the medals are placed around my neck, but the journey…. i’m not so sure i’m as eager for the journey as I was.

Training for a race is difficult, it takes time and effort, just like it does when you assemble your flat pack furniture, scratching your head because there are too few screws left or cursing yourself because you screwed on the table leg upside down. Running a race takes weeks of commitment, to get out there and train, to push your body till it aches. Sometimes it’s good, the sun is shining, your legs feel great, you can breathe perfectly, you feel as if you could conquer the world, running on and on and on forever…

Other times…. not so good. Cold weather, gusts of wind stopping you breathing, glasses fogging up because of the rain, legs aching, mind screaming at you to stop torturing yourself and get back onto the sofa with that mars bar.

Sometimes you need more to motivate you than just the desire to succeed, more than just the knowledge that it’s helping to enable you to meet your goals. Sometimes you need some mini motivation to supplement the main motivation.

Here are some of mine:

CHOCOLATE!

Perhaps one this size isn't the best idea!!!
Ahh chocolate… I’d run forever to eat you!

If you haven’t already guessed from my constant referrals to Mars Bars, I’m a bit of a chocoholic. Before I started running, i’d get through a bar of chocolate a day (sometimes more) without giving it much thought. BUT NOW… NOW I HAVE TO EARN IT. Now I use chocolate to motivate me… If I finish that run I can eat my chocolate GUILT FREE because I burnt those calories and I earned it!

When its horrible outside, just put a chocolate bar at the end of my run and  i’ll be out that door before you can say cadburys!

FUNDRAISING

On a more serious note, I’ve committed to raising some funds for the Make-A-Wish foundation from running this Half Marathon. Its a charity i’ve chosen, and there isn’t a set amount I need to raise, but I WANT to use all this time i’ve spent working towards this goal to benefit others besides just myself. If people can see the training and effort i’m putting in, then they are more likely to sponsor me for the race, and THAT is a mini motivation right there!! If I can get sponsorship, I’ll be helping make some very deserving children’s wishes come true! If that isn’t motivation enough then I don’t know what is!

MEDALS

I see all your shiny bling fellow bloggers. I read your race reports, and see beautifully shot Instagram pics of your medals, and I want some of that bling for myself! The only way to the medals is to put in the effort during training. I’d feel gutted beyond belief if I didn’t finish because I didn’t put in the work. I’ll use the thought of the medal hanging on my wall to motivate me through until race time! I wan’t my piece of the bling!

What are your mini motivators that get you through training until race day? I’d love to hear in the comments as I’m positive I’m going to need some more besides these to get me through the next 6 months!

Running with asthma

I’ve had exercise induced asthma since I was a child, I remember being at Brownies and getting puffed out as we ran around playing games outside. I was soon given a lovely blue inhaler (the reliever), and later as I got slightly older a lovely purple one (the preventer – which later changed to a brown one as they decided I wasn’t really asthmatic enough to need the purple one after all!)

I was always fairly active as a child despite the asthma, I did dance and swimming regularly and was quite happy during PE lessons at school. Taking my inhaler is something I grew up doing, so it never really bothered me, and eventually I didn’t really need to take it for those activities.

I’ve never had a proper acute asthma attack, and once I became an adult (and pretty much stopped being active) I never really needed to take it at all, unless I had a cold or chest infection.

That was…. UNTIL THE RUNNING. 

The first few run’s were alright… I got a bit wheezy during them, but it went away once I recovered… then the slightly longer distances came about (say more than a mile) and I realised I probably should take the reliever after running as the wheezing wasn’t really going away by itself anymore.

I’ve always been a bit wary of taking my reliever inhaler ‘pre-emptively’ before exercise, but when I told the asthma nurse at my yearly clinic review she assured me that there would be no problem in taking it before I set out for my run, and then again during or after the run if I still needed too. So before my next training run I took a puff, and off I went and there was NO WHEEZING! Breathing had never felt so good!

Now we are doing 4 mile runs I do find that even when taking my inhaler before a run I do feel slightly breathless towards the end, but nothing like I feel without taking my inhaler… and its good to know that I can take it again if I need to during or after the run. After all, thats is it’s purpose – to help me breathe, and I suddenly have a much greater appreciation for it!

Things that have helped me whilst running with asthma:

  • Taking the reliever before I run – I find probably about 10 minutes before is best to give it time to take effect. It has significantly helped to reduce my wheezing and breathlessness during running, which in turn has made running a much more pleasurable experience for me!
  • Taking my preventer inhaler properly – I had never really kept up taking my brown preventer inhaler before running – I didn’t feel like I needed it. But at my last asthma clinic the nurse performed a force vital capacity test, and explained to me properly exactly what the benefits of taking my brown inhaler would be. The force vital test measured what my ‘predicted’ lung function would be (if I had perfect lungs) and taking my preventer inhaler twice a day as prescribed would help get my lungs up to closer to this level – which in turn would help me maintain good lung function whilst running! Since then i’ve really tried to take it as prescribed, and I am beginning to feel the effects!
  • Being wary if I am feeling under the weather – I don’t stop training for every little but cough and cold, but I do take extra care if I am feeling under the weather and I recognise that I may need to take my inhaler slightly more often. Sometimes I find it may be best to listen to my lungs and rest and recover instead.
  • Dressing for the weather – I wrap up in the cold weather and protect those lungs by wearing layers and a windbreaker if needed.
  • Trying to avoid my triggers – My asthma can also be triggered by things other than exercise like pollen, allergies or pollution. I try to bare this in mind when deciding when to run, as it may be worth running at a time of day when air pollution is lower, or going for a slightly easier run on the days with high pollen counts.

Most of all I have realised that the best thing I can do is listen to my body! If I need to slow down the pace during my runs because of breathing problems then I do it, running slowly will inevitably be a better experience than having an asthma attack!

If I had to suggest one thing for those looking to take up running who have asthma it’s to seek advice from a healthcare professional and take things slowly whilst working our your limits! There’s no reason why you can’t run with asthma – you just need to work out what is comfortable for you and then go and have fun!

Do you have asthma? How does it affect you whilst running? I would love to hear your stories in the comments!

Please note I am not a healthcare professional – these are just my personal experiences of running with asthma. I would strongly advise anyone like myself who has asthma to talk to a healthcare professional and get advice for their own personal situation. 

Weekly training recap: Mon 6th April – Sun 12th April

This week has been difficult training wise on a number of levels. We struggled with leg pain earlier in the week, and I struggled with breathing in the headwind on Saturday. Despite this, we persevered and managed to cover approximately 8.5 miles! 

Mentally this week has also been a challenging one and for the first time yet I felt like running a half marathon was something I couldn’t do. This is despite the fact that there have been some real milestones this week, such as our fastest ever mile and a fast four mile run today which is the joint-longest distance we have run so far. 

Whilst feeling mentally drained and wondering if I should give up, i’ve had to remind myself that this isn’t just a personal goal for me, i’m doing it to raise some funds for children who experience much more pain – physically and mentally – than I will ever feel whilst doing a 4 mile run. We are running to raise funds so that children & their families can have a break from their own physical and emotional pain and experience something that will bring them true joy, and as I slog on over the next 6 months before the big race, I hope I can remember the bigger picture in all of this, and use it to spur myself on to that finish line!

Here’s hoping for a more positive week next week 🙂

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

1.00 mile using run/walk intervals of 1 minute running and 45 seconds walking. Average pace 12’00” per mile.

Wednesday:

1.45 miles using run/walk intervals of 1 minute running and 45 seconds walking. Average pace 12’50” per mile.

Thursday:

Rest day

Friday:

We postponed todays run until Saturday as we had experienced significant leg pain earlier in the week and wanted to give our legs an extra day to recover.

Saturday:

2.00 miles – (whilst breaking in the awesome new shoes!) we did not interval train during this run, we just ran and walked when we felt we needed too. Average pace: 12’00” per mile.

We also clocked our fastest ever mile (Gideon logged a 9′”08′ paced mile and I logged an 11’08” paced mile) Gideon’s overall pace was definitely faster than mine during this run as I had significant problems with my breathing whilst running into the headwind which slowed me right down, once we turned around, things got a lot better and I was able to run that final mile in record time!

Fastest mile yet! woohoo!
Fastest mile yet! woohoo!

Sunday:

4.00 miles – again we did not interval train during this run, we just ran and walked when we felt we needed too. Both our gps apps failed during the run because of where we were, but it took Gideon approximately 40 mins to cover the 4 miles route today, and it took me slightly longer – around 45 minutes.

Gideon hardly stopped to walk at all during this run – he deserves a massive high five for his efforts!

IMG_2197
He’s getting away!!!

Goal for next week:

Next week is going to be busy for both of us, which will probably impact our training, so we are aiming to cover 6-8 miles, with one run of at least 5k.

If you would like more information on why we are doing this, or would like to donate to the Make-A-Wish foundation, please visit our just giving page at www.justgiving.com/hookwaysrundisney/

New shoes…

This week started out quite tough, Gideon and I ran on both Monday and Wednesday after work, but both times our legs were wrecked by the time we had even made it a mile. For me, it was shin splints and then seized up calf muscles. For Gid, it was also pain in the calf muscles.

On Monday we put it down to just a bad day, we probably hadn’t eaten right, or were dehydrated, or still tired from last week, we figured a rest on Tuesday would be enough to get us back on track on Wednesday.

Wednesday came and we were ready for a run – excited even (if you can  believe that) – but straight away I knew that the rest on Tuesday hadn’t been enough. I managed a mile with the shin splints, but as soon as the cramping in my calf hit as well that was it for me. Gideon was also experiencing the same calf pain as Monday, so we called it quits again and went home wondering what – if anything – we could do. After talking, and researching, we decided to bite the bullet and buy some proper running shoes, in the hope that these would help ease the pressure we have been subjecting our poor leg muscles too lately. We both run in trainers currently, not specialised running shoes, and to begin with this was fine, but as we up the mileage and distances each week we have definitely noticed the strain on our legs.

New Asics Gel Essential neutral running shoes for Gideon!
New Asics Gel Essential neutral running shoes for Gideon!

Hopefully the new running shoes will help keep our legs happy as we put them through their paces. This evening we are planning a nice flat 5k along the bay to test out the new shoes, and i’ll report back soon with a full review and  to let you know how we got on. I really hope that the new shoes help, because we have our very first 5k race coming up one month from today, and we would really like to improve on our current time and not have any injuries in the run up to this!

Karrimor D30 women's running shoes for me!
Karrimor D30 women’s running shoes for me!

WDW Top Tip Tuesday: Kilimanjaro Safari’s

IMG_1518
Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

Welcome to WDW Top Tip Tuesday!! As a small break from running, every Tuesday we will try to share one of our top tips for Walt Disney World!

This weeks tip: Hit Kilimanjaro Safari’s as early in the day as possible! 

When heading to Animal Kingdom, our top tip is to head straight for Kilimanjaro Safari’s as early in the day as possible. The animals are said to be most active during the early morning hours, when the temperature is slightly lower. Hit this attraction first thing for the best chance of seeing lots of active animals (especially the lions, who like to lounge around for most of the day) and to avoid the massive queues that tend to build up for this headliner attraction.

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Who wouldn’t want to go on Safari and see this little guy?

What’s your top tip for touring WDW? Comment below and we may feature it in a future post!