Today we ran!

Not far, or fast. But we went in the wind and the rain and the cold, and we did feel better afterwards. It’s been tough these last couple of weeks but running (or exercise in general) really does help. It clears the mind a little, it gets rid of the stresses, it lifts the mood a bit!

The hardest part as so many often say is the getting out of the door. For now, we will just try to get out the door. No timing things, no checking the pace and distance etc, just running to feel better. At some point we will have to go back to full on training in prep for our next half marathon attempt at easter, but for now we’ll just run. And that will be enough.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Hello friends! There has been no running this week. In fact we have not ran since we got back from the Wine and Dine half marathon. It’s been a hard hard week (for reasons I’m not going to go into here) and other things have to take priority over running for the moment. So I thought instead, i’d share with you some things from our most recent trip to Disney World. First off – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

We were really looking forward to our stay at the Lodge, neither of us had visited it before so it was completely new to us. I’ve seen pictures of the lodge on the disney site and other sites etc but no amount of pictures¬†could of prepared me for walking into that lobby! It’s just incredible you guys!! I took a lot of photo’s of the lodge – some of which are below… but just remember that the photo’s (even though they look good) don’t do it justice! You have to see this place for yourself to get the full effect of completely how immersively and impressively themed it is!

IMG_3086IMG_3084IMG_3178IMG_3177IMG_3090IMG_3091

So the overall effect is incredible… but there are also so many little details which would be easy to miss if you didn’t take time to explore the resort – they obviously all add to the overall aesthetic, but they also stand out as beautiful on their own. From the comfy chairs in the lobby, to the various light fixtures and the AMAZING real fire in a gigantic stone fireplace the lodge really is spectacular.

IMG_3085IMG_3492IMG_3520IMG_3518IMG_3521IMG_3486IMG_3488IMG_3489IMG_3490IMG_3517IMG_3493

The outside of the lodge is equally impressive as the inside! The grounds are beautifully kept, with streams, waterfalls, and a boardwalk down to the lake. The hotel even boasts its very own geyser which goes off every hour! We couldn’t even see everything because the lodge is currently going through some renovations meaning the lake shore and man made beach area was off limits (except for the boat dock) so we couldn’t see that part, as was the smaller pool in the villa section and some of the woodland areas – but everything we did see was still fantastic, and Disney did a wonderful job of hiding any construction away so that the ambiance of the resort was not affected. The work honestly had no effect on our trip whatsoever.

IMG_3128IMG_3484IMG_3523IMG_3522IMG_3135IMG_3530IMG_3531

The rooms were also very pleasant with lots of cool Disney touches in keeping with the theming of the hotel. We were lucky enough to have a room on the 6th floor facing the woods, but beyond that you could see a part of the contemporary and (to my delight) you could see Cinderella’s castle at Magic Kingdom! I’m not sure you would have been able to spot it behind the tree’s normally, but because it’s holiday season already at Disney all the christmas fairy lights made it stand out beautifully at night!

IMG_3074IMG_3075IMG_3514IMG_3515

Even if you are not staying at the lodge, we would definitely recommend you visit it during your next trip to Walt Disney World. This place really is Disney theming at its best and needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. Guests are welcome to come and explore the lobby, shops, grounds and restaurants of the lodge and I would totally recommend getting the ferry over for a midday break from magic kingdom and just hanging out in the beautiful lobby or having lunch at one of the Wilderness lodges restaurants. I really would class it as a do not miss experience!!

The many adventures of Wine and Dine Pooh!

IMG_3541
Chilling at the Polynesian Village
IMG_3545
Hanging with the tiki God
IMG_3552
Heading to the rainforest… (cafe)
IMG_3554
Off to Disney Quest…
IMG_3555
Wreckin it with Ralph!
IMG_3556
Dreaming of flying away in a balloon…
IMG_3557
Making friends with a lego sea monster!
IMG_3559
Off to infinity and beyond with Buzz
IMG_3564
Chilling in the Wilderness Lodge
IMG_3565
Rocking out in the Rocking chairs!
IMG_3571
Waiting for the geyser to erupt!

Wine and Dine 2015 race recap- the ‘half a half!’

So we are back from an amazing week in Florida and in typical British fashion it has decided to pour with rain all weekend and be a whole 16 degrees celsius colder than it was in America! The winter jumpers have emerged from the cupboard and the heating is on. Holiday is officially over. Boooo!!! ūüė¶

Anyway onto the race recap as promised. It’s hard to know where to start with this one, so many emotions still flowing through my head. I guess I’ll just go from the beginning and see ¬†what happens!

We arrived Thursday night to record November temperatures for Florida, and boy was it warm. They showed no sign of cooling off before the weekend so we decided not to worry ourselves over it, to just make sure we stayed super hydrated and make the most of it! It felt very hot, but at the same time (and I hope this makes some sense to anyone who’s ever been) it’s a different sort of ‘hot’ to the UK… it’s tropical, and I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing at this point.

We enjoyed the expo on the Friday where we picked up our bibs and got to meet Jeff Galloway (hero) whose plan we have been following. Jeff was so nice, he spent time chatting with everyone who queued to meet him. Genuinely lovely guy!

F5FCC814-7A22-4DDE-9916-65F8E898BF67
Wine and Dine sign photo op at the expo!
IMG_3125
Meeting Jeff Galloway – Legend!

We brought a nice t-shirt each to commemorate the occasion and some cool rundisney wine glasses (which I shall be using later to drown some of my post Disney blues!) I picked up some clif shots to take to the race for fuel. It was a good expo and I’ll probably write a fuller post on it at some point.

Then race day arrived! We spend the morning at Epcot, enjoying some rides and the atmosphere. I broke the ‘don’t try anything new on race day’ rule and had a couple of bites to eat from the food and wine festival booths! Thankfully it didn’t cause me any trouble. We headed back to the room after a lunch of Mongolian¬†beef and rice (so good) and ended up taking a 2 hour nap (it was not supposed to be that long). We then went down to the food court at the hotel and shared a turkey sandwich with fries before going back to the room and getting ready. Here is where I realised I’d forgotten to bring my gymboss interval timer with me! Doh!!! So we would have to use my phone to alert us of our run/walk intervals. This did not prove to be very useful as you will see if you manage to make it to the bottom of this (very long) race report!

Flat Amy - race day attire!
Flat Amy – race day attire!

We caught the bus to ESPN world of sports (where the race would be starting at 10) at a little after 7. There were already a lot of people in the staging area and rundisney had a big stage with music and the hosts interviewing people etc. They even had one gentleman propose to his girlfriend on the big screen (she said yes)!

Staging area - the runners were starting to arrive!
Staging area – the runners were starting to arrive!

We were sitting on the grass waiting for the start and I kept seeing flashes in the sky. I commented that I thought this was lightning (there was a chance of storms predicted on the weather). Gid thought it was possibly just the lights from the stage etc, but it looked like it was from behind the clouds rather than in front of them… I was sure it was lightning and whilst it was still a way off at that point I was starting to worry. I knew the race would go ahead rain or shine, except in the circumstance of lightning as it says on rundisneys website. It was already in the back of my mind that this could ruin things.

9pm came, and just as we should have been about to move to the corrals, the announcers came over the tannoy and asked everyone to immediately evacuate to the sports complex as there was lightening in the vicinity. 12,000 confused runners and their families made their way over to the sports complex to shelter inside and wait out the storm.

We stood inside the baseball stadium (under the covered bit) for around an hour waiting for some sort of communication from rundisney. We didn’t hear anything but then again we werent in the best part of the complex so I don’t know if communication was better in other areas. We were worried they were going to cancel the race. Time was ticking by and as it got closer and closer to 10pm we realised there was no way we were going to start on time even if we did get to run. My legs were already aching (never a good way to start a race) and we were feeling stressed, worried and tired from all the waiting around. Eventually after what seemed like forever, a collective cheer went up and the crowds started to move back outside. The storm must have passed and it looked as if the race would go ahead!!

12,000ish people rushed back outside and to the staging area where we were all held for a while before finally being allowed to go to our corrals. It was whilst waiting here that we started to get wind that it wasnt going to be the race that we had planned. People around us were talking, they had seen on the rundisney twitter page etc or heard from friends that rundisney were shortening the course. People were starting to get a bit¬†agitated. Nobody really knew what was happening. We were hoping it was rumours but werent sure and couldn’t check twitter ourselves as we didn’t want to pay roaming charges.

When we finally got into the corrals, rundisney announced over the tannoy that it would be a shortened course due to the delayed start and would be roughly 10k in length. At the time we were positively devastated! We had trained for almost a year for this. This was our dream. To run our first half marathon at Disney World. We had travelled over an ocean to do it, and had raised money for charity for something which we now wouldn’t be able to complete.

I want to point out that we both completely understood why rundisney shortened the course, even at the time. They HAD to think about the safety of 12,000 plus people with storms and lightning in the area and more predicted for later that night. They made the best decision they could after weighing up the circumstances. They could have called the race off completely and upset 12,000 people but instead they let us run some distance even if it wasnt the full distance. We got to run disney, and I will forever be thankful for that even if it wasnt quite what we intended. Of course, despite this understanding, that didn’t really stop the feeling of devastation at the time. I completely got it,¬†but I was still understandably upset about it.

The start was therefore rather less-than magical. We saw the fireworks, the corrals began to move forward until it was our turn. Then all of a sudden we were off!

The start line (once our corral finally got near it!)
The start line (once our corral finally got near it!)

It soon became apparent that the storms would not be the only hard thing about this run. Forgetting my interval timer was a big mistake – there were a lot runners, it was loud! We couldn’t hear my phone so we just kept running and we were clearly going to fast! I could tell that immediately even without anything showing our pace. We tried to slow it down a bit but the course was narrow until you got out of the sports complex and onto the main road and we were just swept along with the other runners.

We had gone almost a mile before we were out on the main road and decided to walk. The heat was INSANE! I was a sweat bucket already! It was a feel like temp of 28 degrees celsius with about 90% humidity. I don’t know how you natives do it!! I was dying already! All of a sudden I wasnt bothered that the course had been shortened, I was thankful! This was going to take everything I had in this heat!

The water stops were frequent. We took water and poweraid at each station and still felt horrific due to the heat. There was a good deal of walking for us, the set intervals were out the window as we couldn’t hear my phone. We ran when we could and walked when we couldn’t. It was slow going. The heat was just so intense.

We saw some characters but didn’t stop, we just wanted to make it to the end. The next mile marker after 1 we encountered was 8 I think. They obviously hadn’t had a chance to change them from the original course. Quickest 8 miles ever we joked! Ha!

So we had skipped the first part of the course towards, round and back from Animal Kingdom. We later heard the storm had gone right through there and made the path unsafe because of debris etc. I don’t know how true that is, but that was the part that was cut out.

We entered Hollywood Studio’s from backstage by rocking roller coaster and tower of terror and stopped for a quick bathroom break (thankyou nice clean park bathroom) and to splash some water on our faces! We then went down Sunset Blvd and through the park round the backlot and then finally ran through the part of the course I had been looking forward to the most –¬†the Osbourne¬†Lights!

IMG_3168
Running through the Osbourne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (amazing christmas lights all over the ‘streets of America’ section of the park)
IMG_3169
Quick Osbourne lights selfie!
IMG_3170-1
Blurry… but you get the idea!! (I have better pics from when we just went to see the lights not during the run which I will share with you all at some point)

It was amazing! And a much-needed boost when I was flagging! The lights really were magical, and I was so thankful to be running a race at all! After taking our time walking through this section to take it all in, we continued onto the final leg or our journey Рout of Hollywood Studios and over to Epcot via the path past the Yacht and Beach Club resorts.

This part was rather crowded with people. Had we actually ran a full half course maybe people would have had a chance to space out more making it less crowded, but as it was it was very congested.

This part was nice though, as there were spectators around cheering and with signs. There was also a lit up Sebastian from the little mermaid by the entrance to Epcot which was very cool.

We entered Epcot from backstage, and at this point I started to feel a little dizzy. I managed to walk it off but I did start to feel very worried for a moment and seriously wondered if I’d have finished this race had it actually been a half marathon due to the crazy heat. As it happened though there wasnt much further so I pushed on. We ran through Epcot, past Spaceship earth (the big golf ball thing if you’re not a Disney nerd like me) and out into the parking lot to be greeted by the amazing sight of the finish line!!!

I was so so happy to have finished! It might have been a shorter race, but the heat had killed me and the sight of the finish line was a welcome one! We collected our medals (some seriously nice bling), water, poweraid, snack box, the most amazing wet towel to put over my head!! Felt so good!

Finished!!!
Finished!!!

We had done it. We had run Disney!! It may have only been a ‘half a half’ but we got to run something when it came very close to not going ahead at all and I was thankful for that! It was a slow one. Rundisney has since said the revised course was 6.72 miles and our time was 1¬†hr 38 mins¬†which is very slow for us. Our average pace was something like 14’19 per mile, but in that crazy heat I’m not surprised it was that slow, and I will tell you that I could not have pushed harder if I had tried. I gave it everything I had.

On reflection, It was unfortunate of course that we couldn’t do 13.1 miles, but rundisney had to act in the interests of everyone’s safety. It was such a tough race because of the heat, and despite the fact that my medal says half marathon on it and we didn’t run a half marathon, I still feel like we earned a medal that night for finishing a race in such tough (to us) conditions. We ran the race put in front of us, which was all we could do in the end and I’m proud of us for completing something that felt incredibly hard on so many levels.

We wore our medals around the parks the next day and had some great conversations with fellow runners. I don’t think anyone I spoke to was truly upset. Everyone including us understood why it had to be shortened. And as someone who likes to look on the bright side of every situation, I was pretty pleased not to have achy legs!!

We have raised over ¬£500 for Make-a-wish UK and we hope that if you did sponsor us that you understand that the circumstances of why we couldn’t do the full 13.1 miles were beyond our control. In the next couple of weeks, we are going to go out on our training route and do our 13.1 mile run –¬† just so we can say we have! I feel I need to prove to myself that I can do the distance, just for completeness really!

And we are already signed up for the Cardiff World half marathon in March 2016 so the journey does not end here! We may have run disney, but we hope you’ll continue to follow along with us as we finally do manage to conquer our first half marathon race!!

IMG_3180

Brits Ran Disney… Just not all 13.1 miles :-(

Hello friends, I am writing this from our hotel room having just got back. We have¬†ran disney!!! But unfortunately 13.1 was not meant to be! We are beyond dissapointed, but ¬†due to lightning storms in the area the starting venue had to be evacuated and so we were delayed in starting. Because there was lots of lightning in the area the organisers made the decision to shorten the course to 10k. So we have ran 10k. It¬†was the hardest 10k of my life in 28 degree heat and 91% humidity! I will report properly on it all when we get back to the UK and elaborate significantly on all the emotions I experienced both before and during this run. It was a hard one, for many reasons as am i’m sure you can understand.

We hope you understand if you sponsored us that it was beyond our control, and we will be signing up for another half somewhere as soon as possible so we can finish what we started! We are beyond disappointed, but given the circumstances we are just glad to have run at all.

After the wine and dine.... 10k :-( not what we wanted, but sometimes things beyond your control happen and you have to take what you can get.
After the wine and dine…. 10k ūüė¶ not what we wanted, but sometimes things beyond your control happen and you have to take what you can get.o

Packed and ready to go!

So this is it. The bags are packed and ready, the essays are in, the out of office is on at work and i’m now just waiting for Gideon to get home from work in a couple of hours so that we can head¬†off to Gatwick where we will be staying tonight and then flying out to Florida tomorrow! Eek!

How am I feeling? Excited mostly – I am after all going back to my happy place DISNEY WORLD! But also a little nervous, mainly about the weather which is still looking sweltering. However we have done the research and know what we need to do in terms of hydrating and slowing the pace etc, so hopefully we can put that into practice with good results.

A couple of weeks ago I had an email from a marketing agency asking if i’d like to contribute some thoughts to an article for http://www.orlando-ticket-deals.co.uk about running at disney. Obviously as we haven’t actually RAN Disney yet I was a little apprehensive, but the agency thought it would be nice to have some thoughts from someone training for a Disney race so I went ahead and gave some of my thoughts.

The finished article was published today and is available here if you would like to read it! It’s full of useful tips for training for and running disney, some of which I am sure to use this weekend (especially the one’s about having fun)! It has been a good little reminder as we are so close now as to what’s in store!

We have passed our target to raise ¬£500 for Make-A-Wish UK so thank you again if you have sponsored us (and you can still do so here if you would like to). Now all that’s left is ‘getting the job done’ and running those 13.1.

I will try to blog the day after the race to let you know how we did, however as i’ll only have my phone on me it is likely to be a short and sweet post. I’ll follow this up with a long one when we get home. If you want a more instant update, best to follow my Instagram page as i’m sure to be posting pics like a crazy person both after the run and just generally during the holiday.

So excited that it’s finally almost here!! If you see us please come and say hi, and if you are running at all this weekend, we hope you have a great run, wherever that may be!!

Weekly training recap: Mon 26th Oct – Sun 1st Nov

So if you read my post from Friday you’ll probably be aware that we haven’t actually done THAT much training this week, so there’s not THAT much to recap. We did get out for our 5k on Saturday. I found the run difficult, I found it hard to regulate my breathing which is not uncommon for me and ended up gasping and gulping which was annoying. The leaves have started to fall from the tree’s now and the ground around the lake was covered in slippery wet leaves. Nevertheless we managed to make it through the whole 5k unscathed!

So with less than a week to go until the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and only 4 more days until we fly to Florida I guess this is the last training recap  in preparation for this race! How mad to think that by this time next week it will be over! I feel happy and sad at the same time!

I’ve obviously been stalking accuweather to find out how hot it is going to be in Florida. Now that it’s less than a week away i’m starting to think it’s probably a little more accurate, and it is NOT GOOD NEWS!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 17.08.24

20 degrees!!!! at night!!!! that’s warm people!!! that is too warm for this British girl! A part of me is probably going to be miserable if it’s that warm, but i’m hoping the Disney magic along the course will take my mind of it. It could still change I guess… last week it said 13 degrees! 13 degrees would be better… go back to 13!!!

We have managed to smash through our fundraising target of ¬£500 for Make-A-Wish UK so thank you so much if you have sponsored us, and if you would still like you please don’t let the fact that we have met our target stop you – every little bit raised is going towards a wonderful cause! You can sponsor us by visiting our justgiving page!¬†

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

Missed this training run… whoops! Should have done it but the taper crazies (see last post from Friday if confused) plus work/study stress got in the way!!

Wednesday:

Rest day

Thursday:

See excuse from Tuesday!

Friday:

Rest day

Saturday:

Ran 5k using run/walk intervals of 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking. Average pace 12’20” per mile.

IMG_3061

Sunday:

Went for a 3 mile walk along the front. Swansea sure was looking beautiful this afternoon!

IMG_3062 IMG_3063

So this time next week it will all be over! We will try to get a run in on Tuesday, then it’s off to the airport on Wednesday night ready to fly out on Thursday morning. Hitting the expo Friday and then running the half on Saturday night! Can’t believe it’s almost here! Wish us luck!