Countdown to Disney: 174 days to go!

With less than 6 months until our next trip to Walt Disney World the count down has well and truly began. This week, we have spent time booking some advanced dining reservations for our must-do dining spots around the park!

Dining reservations can be booked at 180 days in advance, and you better believe that some of the popular ones really do book up that quickly, so you need to get in there pronto! For guests staying on site like us, when you reach 180 days out from your vacation Disney will let you book advanced dining reservations (ADRs) for the first 10 days of your holiday!

This trip is one with the extended family who are going out a few days ahead of us. They were able to book some of the ADRs that we will be joining them for before we reached our 180 days. All I needed to do was book the meals we will be having ‘just the two of us’ once our 180 day mark came around!

Anyway, between us all we managed to get everything we wanted. Some of them are restaurants we have dined in before, some are completely new. We are also planning to go to a few places off-site this year, such as the cheesecake factory and crackerbarrel. However as we have a Disney dining plan included with our holiday, we’ll use this to eat most of our meals on site for free!

Ultimately this trip is to celebrate Gid and his twin brothers 30th Birthday, so some of the ressies we have made are for the whole family (7 of us) and some are for just myself and Gideon, on the days when we are all off doing different things, or on our last few days where everyone else will have already gone home:

Mama Melrose (Hollywood Studios) – We have booked Mama’s for our first night! We have been here twice before and absolutely love it. I’m sure I’ve said it before on this blog but they do the best Steak I have ever had in my life EVER. I dream about that Steak! Can’t wait to eat it again MMMMM!!

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Steak of my dreams mmmm!!

Coral Reef (EPCOT) – Again, love this restaurant. It’s a massive aquarium where you can see the sea turtles and sharks and rays swim past you as you eat. We have done this twice before as well but the whole fam is joining and I don’t think they have eaten here so it will be a first for them!

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Sea turtle swimming past our table at the Coral Reef. 

Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom) – The big 30th Birthday meal!

Kona Cafe (Polynesian Resort) – Gid and I are actually eating here twice, once for Breakfast and once for Dinner. There brekkie is incredible!

Paradiso 37 (Disney Springs) – Another one we have done before but which will be new for the rest of the family. Always a great atmosphere with live music!

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Awesome bar at Paradiso 37!

Sci Fi Dine in Theatre (Hollywood Studios) – This is a new one for us. I am looking forward to the awesome theming (booths shaped like cars) and trying their milkshakes!

Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs) – This was still being built last time we went!

Ohana (Polynesian Resort) – We had such a great meal at Ohana last trip we had to include it again this time!

Florida Homecoming Kitchen (Disney Springs) – Another newly built offering at Disney Springs. This is celebrity chef Art Smith’s restaurant. He is famous for his amazing fried chicken (apparently) and I LOVE fried chicken so I couldn’t pass this up!

Yak and Yeti (Animal Kingdom) – Always wanted to try this place and finally getting around to it!

T-Rex (Disney Springs) – This one is on Gid’s bucket list and as it’s his 30th Birthday trip I have decided to give it a go even though Dinosaurs freak me out!

California Grill (Contemporary Resort) – Something special for our final night! We’ll be able to watch wishes from the viewing spot!

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Fireworks from the Contemporary!

So fellow Disney nerds, tell me what you think? Have we made good choices? No doubt some of them may change in the next 174 days, but I’m pretty happy with what we’ve got! What’s your favourite Disney restaurants? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

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What now?

Today the inevitable September cold has taken its hold on me. As I’ve only got one week left as a part time worker and then it’s back to full time life I’ve decided to stop fighting it today and use my day off to rest up and let my body do it’s thing in the hope that it will be well and truely gone by the start of October.

Lying on the sofa with a box of tissues and a duvet does have it’s advantages. I have spent some time looking at runs I may want to attempt next year. Now that the Swansea 10k is over, there is nothing on my calendar. We have not signed up for any more races and don’t really intend to sign up for anything taking place for the rest of this year at-least. There is a reason for this:

London 2017.

Back in May, still on a post-Cardiff half marathon high Gid and I both entered the ballot for London and then promptly put it to the back of our minds. A few horrible races later and it’s started to push itself back to the front again, mostly because the ballot results will be out in just a few weeks time and I’ll suddenly know whether 2017 is going to be defined as ‘the year I try and run a marathon’ or not.

I’ve sort of gone off the idea  since I signed up to the ballot. It’s not that I don’t want to do a marathon, it’s just that I don’t know if I want to do one right now. I think maybe I’d like a few more years to mull it over, but then, a few more years might turn into several and I might never take the plunge. The plan was to do one before I was 30. I’m 27 now. So if I get that coveted spot, do I take the plunge and get it out the way at 27 or do I re-evaluate and come back to it at 28, or 29? Tough one.

Ultimately, the ballot will decide this for me. If a place comes my way, I can’t see myself giving it up unless for a very good reason, and I still believe I could do it. I’d go back to my tried and tested intervals and I think that could get me round with enough training.

So thats why nothings booked yet. That’s why we haven’t given much thought to next year. Whether either of our names are pulled out of a hat will entirely decide what next years running looks like. Right now, it’s kind of nice having nothing to work towards. We can utilise that gym membership a bit more for a while – go swimming or do a couple of classes, without feeling guilty that we should be out running instead.

The only other race that has caught our attention so far is a 10k in Winter park in Florida that is happening when we are out there on holiday in March. It would be fun to do another destination race. It starts at 7.30am so it should still be cool-ish weather and would be over by 9 in any case so the rest of the day could be spent chilling/recovering. There are no RunDisney races on when we are there this time which is sad, but this seems like it would be an awesome alternative. We’d get to explore a little bit of a very nice Florida neighbourhood and the swag looks amazing!!! A medal, a pint glass and a t-shirt! That’s a pretty nice haul!

Ultimately though, if London throws either of us a place, it will mean that an 18-20 mile long run will have to happen whilst we are in Florida, and thats a lot further than 10k. So I guess its just a waiting game now. Time to wait and see what we are dealt and then go with it!

Swansea 10k race recap 2016!

I could probably sum up this race in one word:

Ugh.

Is Ugh even a word? Or just a noise to express distaste?? Anyway, that’s what it was! The whole race was just Ugh. I had some goals which I shared on Saturday. I did not meet them. Well, actually I suppose I met my C goal, which was to finish injury free! My knee felt surprisingly well all race, it was just the rest of me that didn’t!

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The Swansea 10k is a strange race, in that it starts at 1pm which is a weird time. I did however LOVE the fact that I could have a lie in on race day. I’m not one for early mornings! However a 1pm race makes fuelling a bit tricky. We had chicken and rice on Saturday night which is generally our standard pre-race meal (it just works for us) and then Saturday morning we had an apple when we woke up and then avocado and poached egg on toast at about 11am. This was because last year I remember I got really hungry during the race and I didn’t want to repeat that. The avo and egg at 11 seemed to work well. I wasn’t hungry when we started the race, or when we finished. I did have a banana about 30 minutes before as well and again that seemed fine. I didn’t feel full and uncomfortable when running.

We lined up at about 12:50. There were over 2000 runners this year. We stood right at the back in the 60+ minute section. There is no wishful thinking here, I know I’m 60+ minutes, I just didn’t quite realise how much +60 I would be this year!!!

The gun went, we moved slowly forward, crossed the line about 3-4 minutes after the start. I started my Garmin, which turned out to be a pointless way of keeping time as I forgot to stop it again at the end, doh! Off I went. Feeling good to begin with. Gideon was gone straight away, but that was fine, he’s faster than me and I wanted him to do his best effort. Everything was ok for the first 2-ish miles, although it felt like a very long slog.

Somewhere between miles two and three things started to go downhill. The sun had emerged, and it was actually really humid. Typically it came out for about 1 hour during the whole day, which just happened to be racing hour! I was starting to really tire, and with the aftermath of the Swansea half marathon still haunting me and the knowledge that training for this race had not been great, I decided to add in some walk breaks. I think I’m still feeling a bit afraid of pushing myself to hard after what happened in June as it was an unpleasant experience, so I’m not surprised I made that decision really.

I should mention, that the Swansea 10k is an out and back course. Out along the road, and back along the promenade, but there are parts of the course where you can see the runners on the other side quite clearly. It starts to be continuous as you get close to the 5k turnaround point, and as someone already struggling I found it really quite demoralising seeing everyone else so much further ahead of me, on their way back to the finish when I hadn’t even made the turnaround yet and was still really far from it. I think this is the problem I have with all Swansea races (as they are almost always out and back along the front). I don’t want to see how much better people are doing than me. I just want it to be me, and the few people running at the same speed around me, not the hundreds and hundreds of faster people. I find it really demoralising. I definitely think I do better mentally on non out-and-back courses!

Gradually, I just started feeling worse and worse both mentally and physically. I could tell I was running out of energy. I was starting to walk more and everything was cramping up. I was also really really hot. It was slow slow going, getting slower by the second. This is the point where I really could have used a pick me up. In previous races I’d have taken a Clif Shot about now, but the Swansea half aftermath has put me off those as well. I was basically afraid to annoy my stomach with anything it might reject. So I didn’t have anything, and I totally conked!

At about 8k I think I came as close to hitting ‘the wall’ as I have ever come. I know your not supposed to hit a wall in a 10k that’s a marathon thing, but I just felt like I had nothing left. No energy for anything. I just kept walking briskly, but even that was knackering. I tried to run again for short bursts, but they never lasted long before I was out of energy again. As we got to the last 400m I gave myself a mental slap and plodded my way without stopping to the finish line, but what a plod it was, I honestly felt like I was hardly moving AT ALL.

My chip time was 1 hr 19 minutes 3o seconds. A whole 8 minutes slower than last years time!!! Super rubbish!! I was feeling so down about it that when I eventually found Gideon I had a weepy moment and got all upset about how crap I am. (Gideon had a much better race, by the way, he finished in 1 hour 9 minutes, which is so good considering he couldn’t run for ages because of surgery).

Now that I have had time to reflect I have decided that I am not crap. It was a horrible race, but there are many lessons I can learn from it. Here are a few:

  1. If you don’t train up to standard your run isn’t going to be up to standard. Pretty obvious statement there, but I can’t expect to run a PB and have an amazing race if I haven’t trained well. And I didn’t train well this time around. I was mediocre at best, so why should I expect the race to be amazing. If I want to run my best I need to train my best.
  2. I need to find some sort of natural fuel I can take during the race. Or something anyway. The Swansea half experience has put me off the clif shots and I don’t like gels, so if anyone has any suggestions for ways to get some energy during the race please let me know. After Sundays experience I know I need something, I just don’t know what would be best.
  3. Out and back races are not good for my mental state! I’ve hated every Swansea race I’ve done and I think I’ve finally figured out why. I’m going to look for some races that are not out and back to try next year. Maybe Cardiff? Need to test my theory.

Finally, I may well have given up half way round the course if it had not been for the fact that I was running this race for a charity close to my heart – Children of Hope. That thought absolutely got me to the finish line. The children who live on the streets in Kenya that are helped by Children of Hope suffer a lot worse than I did during that hour and 20 minutes. So far, I’ve raised £160 (you can still donate here if you would like) which will go towards rescuing a child from those terrible conditions and placing them back into a loving, stable, home environment. I can endure an hour and 20 minutes of hell for that, and I would do it again. That alone made all the effort worthwhile!

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Swansea 10k Goals

On Sunday, I will be running my second Swansea 10k race! You can read about the first one here. It certainly wasn’t the best race, there were bits of it I really didn’t like, but it wasn’t the worst race either and I did get a PB! The race kicks off at 1pm which I still think is a bizarre time for a race, so I’ll be looking back at last years pre-race prep to see if there is anything that needs changing this year – thank goodness for this blog that documents my races as I can’t remember any of my pre-race prep off the top of my head!

This year I am running to raise money for Children of Hope – a charity that work in Kenya to rescue children from the streets and reunite them with their families. If you would like to sponsor me you can do so here. Every penny raised will enable them to continue doing great work, so no amount is too big or too small! You can read more about it on their  website!

I have three goals for the 10k this year. An A goal, a B goal and a C goal. If any of these goals are achieved I shall consider it a job well done.

Goal A – Run the whole race without walking.

This is the big goal I have been trying to work towards, and honestly, progress has derailed a bit in the last few weeks. Nevertheless, I shall give it my best go. I shall try to eat right leading up to the race and make sure I am hydrated and hopefully the weather will cooperate and it will be good conditions for running. If all these things go to plan then it could still be doable!

Goal B – A new PB.

Again, I’m not sure if this one will be achieved. Last years time was 1 hr 11 minutes 7 seconds. To beat that I’m going to have to keep it well under 12 minute miles which if I run it all could certainly be do-able, but if I have to walk that could slow things down. I need to remember if I do have to walk to really keep it at a speed walk pace and not doddle!

Goal C – Get round the course without getting injured. 

I really hope this one happens. The last few races I have run have aggravated my knee, despite it not really hurting at all in training. I really hope my knee holds out for this one and doesn’t start hurting, I’d like to finish it injury free. I also don’t want a repeat of the Swansea half marathon where I was ill for about 6 hours afterwards, but as it’s a much shorter distance and I’m much better trained so I should hopefully avoid that!

So those are the goals. Fingers crossed I can meet some of them. Either way, I’m trying to raise some much-needed funds for Children of hope, so it will be a worthwhile run regardless. Afterwards, we’ll be heading to our favourite restaurant for a good old-fashioned pig out! I think we’ll have earned it!

One week to go until the Swansea 10k!

By this time next week we should have finished the Swansea 10k and will be tucking into a delicious dinner in celebration! I won’t write a proper recap today as training has been somewhat lacklustre this week. We went to the gym yesterday. I biked 9 miles and did some weight work.

My parents were visiting this weekend, so we had them drop us at one end of Swansea bay this morning and then we ran all the way around and met them at the other end. It was 5 miles.

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See where that white tower is across the water??? We ran alllll the way around to just past that! Far! 

It wasn’t the best run but it wasn’t the worst. The sun was shining and the wind was behind us so it was quite warm for the whole run. I hope next week its a little bit cooler (but not raining). We did walk a little, normally for about .10 of a mile at the end of each mile. I think it was on account of the dead legs from the gym yesterday (I clearly didn’t learn from last week).

We are planning a small run this week. Maybe 2 miles on Tuesday and then taper so that the legs are rested for the big day. I’m running this 10k in aid of children of hope, and if you have a few pennies to spare and would like to sponsor me you can do so by clicking here. Every penny is valuable money to the charity, helping them to continue to rescue children from the streets of Kenya and reunite them with their families!

So only one week to go – it’s snuck up a little. Our race bibs have come in the post, and we will be picking up our t-shirts on Saturday, and then it will just be an hour and a bit of running and done! Wish us luck!

Weekly training recap: Mon 29th Aug – Sun 4th Sept

Another mixed bag this week. Gid has struggled with a horrible summer cold for much of the week so took the middle of the week off. I did one midweek run, but most of our efforts this week were concentrated on the weekend. Anyway, I’m glad to say that we managed to get out and do our 4 miler today, so I am feeling slightly more confident for the 10k in two weeks time. It wasn’t the best run I’ve ever done. It was really humid despite being overcast and I definitely overheated. We did stop and walk a couple of times so as not to overdo it, but I’m still glad we did the distance. Stupidly, having done a gym session the day before my left calf muscle felt very tight for the whole run which was annoying and didn’t help make it any easier. Definitely no gym-ing in the few days before the 10k! Taper taper taper!

On another note, I have now set up my fundraising page for the Swansea 10k. I’m running the 10k in two weeks to raise money for Tumaini Kwa Watoto – Children of Hope. They are a small charity that works in Kenya to rescue children from the streets of Nairobi and reunite them with their families, or provide a stable home environment for them. They also work with families to address the reasons why children run away from home in the first place. If you can spare a couple of £ to sponsor me and help out this amazing charity I know that it would be so so appreciated by the team! It would also help me keep motivated in these last couple of weeks! You can click here to access my BT mydonate page if you would like to sponsor me!  I’ll also put it in on the blogs homepage!

So if you have been reading regularly you will know that my goal for this 10k (as well as raising vital funds) is to run the entire race without any walking. I’m still quietly confident that I can do this. I definitely think it will be a mental battle rather than a physical one. My body probably could have gone on without the walk breaks today but my mind wasn’t having any of it, so I really need my mind to be in a good place on race day to help me push onwards.

Monday:

Small gym session today. We had a plan review with the trainer, and he added a couple of bits and pieces onto our plan. I am now doing the incline walk for 25 minutes instead of 12 and dropping the cross trainer as it was hurting my knee. He also added some kettlebell exercises and burpees! I started to feel a bit ill half way through todays session though so cut it short after doing the incline walk, rowing and seated arm bike.

Tuesday:

Rest day

Wednesday:

I went for a run today. I decided to run with music, popped in my headphones and set off, only to realise after I had already started running that I had forgotten my garmin and hadn’t turned on my nike+ app. I must have been in a world of my own because I didn’t even realise I wasnt timing myself until about 5 minutes in, I was just enjoying running along to the music! Anyway, it was too late to do anything about it by that point so I just enjoyed my technology free run. I did map the route on mapmyrun afterwards and I think it was approximately 1.25 miles, but I have no idea how fast (or slow) I was going.

Thursday:

Rest day – Gid was still unwell.

Friday:

Another rest day as Gid still not fully recovered.

Saturday:

Gym session today. I managed to do the following:

  • 25 minute treadmill walk at 3.5mph on incline level 5
  • 2000m row which took approximately 13.5 minutes
  • Shoulder press 3 reps of 16 with 5kg weight
  • Lateral pulldown machine 3 reps of 16 with 15kg weight
  • Seated rower weight machine (this is new) 3 reps of 16 with 7.5kg weight
  • 3 x 30 second planks
  • 3 x 30 second burpee sessions.
  • 5 minute cool down on the bike (whilst watching Wreck it Ralph – I should have just done the whole session on the bike and watched the movie – think of the cals I could have burnt!!)

I looked for the kettlebell (the one I can actually lift) and could not find it anywhere, so I had to skip that part. I also skipped the arm bike today because I’ve been finding the machine quite frustrating to adjust. I don’t know if something is broken on it, but I can never seem to adjust it so it’s in a comfortable position, and my arms were already feeling dead.

Sunday:

Ran 4 miles. We did walk a little bit but just when we were feeling tired rather than proper intervals. Average pace was a very slow 12:51 per mile. At least the distance is done now though!

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Our final long run will be next weekend, and the aim is 5-5.5 miles. Looking back, our final long runs never seem to go to plan, so I really hope this one is the exception. I think managing the 5 miles would really give me a mental boost for race day. Hopefully they’ll be no illness or injury this week to de-rail the plan!