Musings from my coffee break

I am typing this from the beachside coffee shop as Gideon takes on his 11 mile long run around the bay. I’ve ran the first 1.5 miles with him which conveniently brings me to this spot, where I’ll sit with a cuppa for the next 1.5 hours until he returns and then run the last 1.5 miles back to the car with him. 3 miles for me… with a coffee break in between! 


It’s a resonably nice morning here today. It’s threatening showers but the sun is also trying to burn through and it’s quite mild for January, so a good day for running. 

I went to the gym yesterday and so I was a bit intregued to see how this mornings run would be, whether I would feel fresh or tired. The first half went well I’m glad to say. I’m not sure how the second half will go on a stomach full of latte but thankfully I’ve got an hour before then to let it go down.

Being the first weekend of 2017, the front is quite busy with runners this morning. There is even a beginners run club here that have just started up currently running back and forth infront of the cafe. I feel almost naughty for enjoying my latte in the warm! 

This weekend is the annual Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in Florida. I’m part of some rundisney groups on facebook, and people have been eagerly training for either the 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon for months in anticipation of this weekend. 

Late friday night, rundisney had to make the difficult decision of cancelling the half marathon planned for early Saturday morning. There was a massive storm front coming in, with lightning predicted in the area. The safety risks to runners were just too great, there is no shelter at the start or out on the course, so they made the difficult decision to cancel.

Reading the posts on the facebook group was heatbreaking. We sympathise, truely. Having been at Walt Disney World, ready to run our first ever half marathon in 2015 and then having it cut short for the same reasons (lightning) I truely truely felt these guys pain. When you have worked so hard for something for so long and it doesnt go to plan it’s tough. At the end of the day though, just like back with our race, rundisney had to put safety first and they made the right call. People totally understood this, but often it still doesnt make it any easier.

The early morning predicted storm came and went, and then something truely truely inspiring happened. People who were due to run the half just went out and did it anyway. There were hundreds of posts from people who had gone out and ran around their resorts or their neighbourhoods at home and completed their 13.1 miles regardless of the fact that there was no race. They had earned there medals (which they could still go and pick up from rundisney even though the race was cancelled which was pretty nice). Other runners doing todays marathon or who had done the 5 and 10ks were setting up makeshift water stops at the resorts and holding signs and cheering people on. Someone even made a finish line from toilet roll that people could run through! It was a truely truely beautiful thing to witness (even virtually through the internet). All these runners, banding together to help each other meet their goal, no matter the circumstances. Never have I been so proud to call myself part of  the running community as I was yesterday. 

So as I sit here with my cuppa and wait for Gideon to return so I can run the 1.5 miles back to the car with him, I will watch my fellow runners go past and give each and every one a cheer in my head, because they are all working towards something, whether its completing a specific distance, getting faster, gaining speed, or just becoming a more healthy version of themselves, and that is something I can get behind! You’ve got this runners! 

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New RunDisney Wine and Dine events for 2016!!

Last November we flew to Walt Disney World to run the wine and dine half marathon! Training for wine and dine really was the beginning of a weird love-affair with running for me. So when rumours surfaced that rundisney was planning on changing things up a bit for this years wine and dine event I was intrigued to see what exactly they had in store.

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2015 Wine and Dine half marathon medal!

Yesterday a whole new look for the wine and dine rundisney weekend was announced. This year, instead of being a night half-marathon like it has been since it began, it will become a morning race like the rest of the rundisney events throughout the year! Furthermore, as well as this, the weekend has been expanded from the usual 5k and half marathon events, to include a 10k. AND, as well as this, they are offering a ‘Lumiere two course challenge’ option – which basically means you can run the 10k and the half marathon and earn yourself an extra medal!

So what do I make of these changes?

Well what drew us to the wine and dine half in the first place was that the race took place at night. I am NOT a morning person, and rundisney morning races start ridiculously early (the 5.30am start of this years wine and dine half illustrating my point nicely). This means waking up before 3am – which doesn’t appeal to me.

Then again… the last two years of wine and dine events have been plagued by bad whether. In our case, the race had to be shortened because of lightening storms in the area caused by the crazy heat and humidity. Holding the race stupidly early in the morning, probably does mean you run less of a risk of having to cancel or modify it due to humidity related whether.

Also, now that the highlight of the half marathon – the Osbourne spectacle of dancing lights – is gone forever from Hollywood Studios, it’s probably not necessary for the entire race to be in the dark.

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A very blurring photograph from running through the Osbourne Lights and Wine and Dine 2015! 

Then of course there is the after party. An ‘after-party’ is still included this year with the run… only it takes place a good 12 hours after the run rather than straight after! I can kind of see the logic – we were so knackered from running last year that we didn’t go to the after party. Holding the race in the morning and then having the whole day to rest up (read: nap) means we likely would have gone had it been like this last year.

So I guess I can kind of see rundisney’s logic in changing things up a bit for the wine and dine weekend. But really, this year it’s all makes no difference to us as we are saving up for a 2017 disney vacation so there are no rundisney races on the cards for us in 2016! It’ll be interesting to see how well received the changes are though amongst the rundisney fans, and whether the event will sell out in record time as it did last year when registration opens on March 29th.

What do you think of the changes to the wine and dine weekend? Good or bad? Do you prefer racing in the morning or did you like that wine and dine was a night race? Let me know in the comments below!

2015: The year of running!

I can’t believe that 2015 is almost at an end. 2015 really has been the year of running for us. We started the year having never even ran a mile. I hadn’t run any distance since doing cross country in school when I was 13 – and even when I did that I did it begrudgingly because I didn’t have a choice. This year, I had a choice. I could choose to carry on being a lazy couch potato, feeling sorry for myself, eating several bags of chocolate a night, putting on weight on constantly feeling under the weather, or I could get up off my butt and do some exercise!

It took a pretty big thing to get me into running – it took the promise of a trip to my favourite place (even if that meant I had to run around it whilst there). Gideon’s dream was to RunDisney and that dream came true this year! We RAN DISNEY!!!! WE RAN FULL STOP! The goal was the Wine and Dine half marathon… and whilst it didn’t turn out to BE a half marathon in the end (you can read about that here) we still RAN DISNEY!!! The dream still came true, and it was pretty awesome!

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We Ran Disneyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

In 2015 we ran our first mile without stopping. We ran our first race – the Bath Two Tunnels 5k. We then ran our first 10k in Caerphilly… and then both PB’d during the Swansea 10k a few months later. Then we jetted off to Florida to complete our ultimate goal of running Disney! It’s been a pretty good first year of running I must say!

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This year, I ran 218.8 miles! WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?! Before the start of this year I didn’t think i’d ever even run 1 mile let alone 218.8! That’s an average of 18.2 miles per month!! I know that might not sound like a lot to some of you seasoned runners, but to me that is MENTAL! I went from running 0 miles EVER… to an average of 18.2 miles A MONTH! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!? I may even clock up a few more before 2015 is up! who would have thought?!?!

I’ve always dreamed of running a marathon, but it never seemed like an achievable goal – mostly because I loathed running. But somehow, i’ve grown to love running this year, and i’m not planning on stopping it anytime soon. I may even try for that marathon at some point before i’m 30 (so I have a few years) – it doesn’t seem so impossible anymore. I’ve come so far already, i’m sure I could go a little further.

Gideon and I still have our half marathon goal to reach (as Wine and Dine, through no fault of our own didn’t quite work out as planned) and 2016 will be our year for this! We are signed up to run the IAAF World Half Marathon in Cardiff in March, so fingers crossed that will be our race, and we’ll finally be able to tick that half marathon off the list.

We look forward to continuing with our love of running (and our love of Disney) in 2016 – who knows what the year will bring! I hope it brings more medals and more great memories!

 

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Bring on 2016’s medals!!! 

The many adventures of Wine and Dine Pooh!

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Chilling at the Polynesian Village
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Hanging with the tiki God
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Heading to the rainforest… (cafe)
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Off to Disney Quest…
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Wreckin it with Ralph!
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Dreaming of flying away in a balloon…
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Making friends with a lego sea monster!
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Off to infinity and beyond with Buzz
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Chilling in the Wilderness Lodge
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Rocking out in the Rocking chairs!
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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!!! 😦

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!

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Wine and Dine sign photo op at the expo!
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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!

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Running through the Osbourne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (amazing christmas lights all over the ‘streets of America’ section of the park)
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Quick Osbourne lights selfie!
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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 – out 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!!

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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!

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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.

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Sunday:

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

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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!