stalkDisney

I am running (or supposed to be running – more on my injury later) the Walt Disney World Marathon next week. As everyone knows, Disney goes above and beyond on just about everything they put their name on. There is no difference with their races. If you’ve been around runDisney events in the past you may have come across the runDisney meet-ups.

RunDisney meet-ups are free events hosted by Disney that have included meeting Jeff Galloway, character meet and greets, a group run, free swag, and lots more! In order to be one of the lucky ones chosen to participate in the meet-ups, you need to RSVP by email to a specific email address. Historically, for the WDW race weekend emails needed to contain your full name in the body (one name per email) and be sent to wdw.sportsmeetups@disney.com. The meet-up information would be posted in a blog post on http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/ at any time ranging from 10am-3pm, anywhere from 4 to 14 days in advance. Fanatics were known to “stalk” the blog, refreshing the page every minute for days on end in order to get in. The smart people would already have a draft email up on their computer or phone ready to be sent as soon as the post became live.

As time went on, the meet-ups gained in publicity and popularity. With each year, the time before the meet-ups reached capacity became less and less. Last year sending an email a mere 2 minutes after the blog post was made wasn’t enough to make the cut (I have personal proof on this). It’s tough competition to get into meet-ups and the enthusiasts looking to get in for 2014 were prepared to refresh the blog for days in order to not miss the announcement.

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So there I was at 9am this morning, joining hundreds of other fanatics in stalking the blog. At 10am all of our hearts got a jump as a meet-up RSVP was posted, however it was for Disney Blogs and not runDisney. The meet-up, which the majority of us tried to RSVP to anyways despite not being a runDisney meet-up, was for food trucks in Downtown Disney the Thursday of race weekend (http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/01/rsvp-for-our-food-truck-meet-up-at-downtown-disney-at-walt-disney-world-resort/). I sent my RSVP 5 minutes after the post was made, but alas was not quick enough to make the cut. Luckily for me, in this meet-up attendees are allowed to bring guests and I was invited with one of the quick respondents (I will be blogging about this event next week Friday).

After spending another hour constantly refreshing the blog, I decided that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to a meet-up this year and resigned from stalking. I also still do not know if I will be able to run next week due to my injury and thought that a healthy participant would be able to get more out of the meet-up. Looking back in retrospect, boy am I glad I stopped when I did as just before 5pm today news broke that there was not going to be a runDisney meet-up this year for the WDW race weekend. Interestingly enough the announcement did not come from the official Disney blog but from a Disney fanatic blog (http://www.disneyeveryday.com/the-future-of-rundisney-disney-parks-blog-meet-ups-looks-bright/#sthash.2hdW4P3W.gbpl). It was further confirmed by other Disney insiders that this was indeed the case and that everyone should cease their stalking.

While the choice not to have a meet-up this year makes sense with the inaugural Dopey Challenge filling up the race weekend schedule, it disappointed many that Disney waited so long to break the news. Some stated that it was arrogant of Disney to allow people to think they were waiting for a meet-up when one was never coming, allowing Disney to use the extra hits on their blog for an extra marketing opportunity. I’m not going to lie, if I had spent all of today dedicated to the Disney blog I might have some bitter feelings as well. On the other hand, meet-ups are free and have never been guaranteed by Disney so there is always the risk of one never being posted. And, as Amanda Tinney posted on her blog disneyeveryday.com, “there are already so many things to do at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend besides the meet up. Four parks to explore. 4 endurance events, including a brand new 10k race. Kids races. Pasta in the Park Party. Special breakfast events. A Cool Down Party. And a four day Health and Fitness Expo chocked full of merchandise and seminars.”

In the end, despite not being a meet-up, WDW Marathon Weekend will still be a magical experience. For me there is even the added events that being a member of Team in Training has to offer. I’m excited to be able to spend 6 days in Orlando. If you will be at WDW Marathon Weekend, I hope to see you there. May it be a fun filled weekend for all!

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Magic Miles

This morning I woke up at 5:00am; I was wide awake, staring at the ceiling.  Don’t ask me how and don’t ask me why.  For the past week I’ve been setting my alarm for 6:00am to get some early exam studying in and I have slept through it everyday until 7:00am.  Now today, the day I do not set an alarm, my body decides to get up at 5:00.

After a half hour of staring at the ceiling, I finally decided to take control of the situation.  I hopped out of bed (the easiest time I’ve had doing that in months) and bundled up.  Layer upon layer, I dressed until I was ready to face the NEGATIVE 22 DEGREE CELSIUS temperatures outside.  Yes, you read that right, -22 degrees! And I decided to leave my cozy bed, before the sun had risen, to run in it.

Truth be told, making crazy choices like this regarding my fitness empowers me.  What other people see as psycho or impossible, I find strength in.  This morning I ended up running 8.5km in an hour.  A layer of 5cm thick snow covered the sidewalks as more fell from the sky.  It felt a lot like running on the beach in loose sand.  When I finished, I ran to the local Tim Hortons to enjoy my morning coffee.  My mum joined me just after 7:00am.  It was such a wonderful way to start the day.

Going forward, I felt so strong.  I was able to take control of my morning instead of frittering it away staring at the ceiling.  I was able to run outside in conditions that would make most people cringe.  

I write this blog post, besides enjoying the little bit of bragging about my accomplishment, to encourage you to allow yourself to make the choices that most people cringe away from.  Be willing to be that crazy person and do not limit yourself.  Because trust me, doing the crazy can feel so amazing.

On the Grind

Exams are over! What a wonderful feeling!

I have decided to redeem a free 30 day gym membership I was gifted to my local country club.  The club is stunning, equipped with tennis and racquet courts, a fully renovated weight room, cardio floor, and beautiful change rooms that include saunas and steam rooms.  Since I am not going back to school until February, I really want to go hard with my fitness for the next month.  I want to see the progress I can make if I put my entire mindset into it.  

I am still training for my marathon, albeit not as hard as I would like to be.  This winter in Canada has been pretty intense so far.  It’s now common to have -25 degree days with over a foot of snow sitting on the sidewalks.  It’s made running long distances hard as I have been catching a chill between the 8-10k mark that I can’t seem to shake.  Also, and let me know if anyone else has this, but my ass freezes!  Literally my backside turns numb and then I just want to cut my run short and have a hot bath.  I’ve tried layering up, buying special leggings for winter, and all that.  So, needless to say, my long runs haven’t been as long as they should be at this point in my training.  

So with all of that in perspective, I want to go hard in this next month.  I am going to try to really hit my running distances in these next two weeks and get the gym back into my routine.

Wish me luck and happy holidays everyone! Stay active! 

When Life Knocks You Down, How Do You Get Back Up?

It seems like this “sick season” really hit me hard.  After going through the flu in September, an unending cold throughout October, and then three weeks battling strep throat and an ear infection, I was able to acquire food poisoning last night.  This was my first time with food poisoning and if you’ve never had it before, count your blessings! It was the grossest night of my life that caused me to get 0 sleep and sprint to the bathroom not once, twice, but thirteen times in less than 10 hours.  I’ll stop there with the details but it has left me pretty weak and depleted.

I have been pondering why I have taken such a hit in the sickness department this year.  Normally I am able to resist the inevitable cough/cold/flu that everyone seems to get in the fall.  Many people have offered their advice: It’s because you eat meat again so you should go back to being vegetarian; it’s because you’re running too much so maybe you really should cut back the mileage; you go to a gym and those places are crawling in germs; you’re more susceptible to illness when you’re stressed so you need to relax.

While some of those ideas may be somewhat fallacious, they’ve made me think.  I am busy training for my marathon coming this January and have been diligently following my long runs every weekend, going the 20, 25, and 30km distances I’m called to do.  But, have the long runs been depleting my energy stores and inhibiting my body from fully recovering from my illnesses?  It’s a good theory and one my mum is currently standing behind.  She’s suggested that this weekend instead of running the 25 km I am scheduled to do on Saturday, to split it up over the weekend into a 10km and 15km run.  I’ve never changed my long runs up like this and it almost feels like I’ll be cheating a little bit, but would this be the smartest move for me in the current situation?

To be honest, I’m really not sure.  What do y’all think?   

Have You Lost Your Freedom?

In the past couple weeks my running has taken an interesting turn.  After the close of my running series (that I ended up winning my category in and coming 8th female overall!) and my emotional upheaval last month, my running has been less about intensity and more about the experience.  I’ve allowed myself to let loose, forget about time and the stress that comes with meeting a certain pace, and allow myself to just focus on the miles.  I switched from a set, regimented playlist with planned tempos to playing my iPod on shuffle and taking the songs as they come.  I’ve worried less about finishing in under a certain time and booked off entire mornings to complete my long run with Starbucks pitstops halfway through.  

I know that by seeing my runs these past couple weeks as a success simply because I was able to get out the door and log the miles gave me the freedom to make it to the end of the kilometres.  Yesterday my training plan had a big, fat 25km marked in the calendar.  I know that in the situation I’m in of being still in the works of getting back on my feet and finding my inner strength, that if I placed a time goal on the run, I would have given up halfway.  Instead, I gave myself the freedom to have a sense of play in my run.  I was able to make it to that 25km mark (with a time on par with my other long runs) but without the stress of making pace.  It was amazing to see how accustomed my body was to continue the training it has been through and to see what it could do without my mind holding me back. 

I’m not sure where you are at in your fitness intensity.  Whether you have set goals you strive towards, milestones you want to hit before a certain date, or just take it day by day.  But, I do want to encourage you to allow yourself the ability to let some of the stress go.  Our lives are filled with planning, schedules, and time restraints.  We live in an incredibly fast world that sees success and quickness as synonyms.  So who is forcing us to treat out fitness the same way? Why can’t we measure fitness success by the way we feel instead of by the time our Garmin says?

The Ups & Downs of Running

Down, up, down, up, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Today was hill repeats and I performed them over my lunch break.  I upped the hills repeats to 4 this week (as opposed to 3 the previous week).  I started with a 500m flat warm up jog and then got to it.  Performing the repeats on a steep hill that lasts over 1 km in length, I used the bottom, steeper half of the hill adding on 100m flat surface at the bottom for my workout.  I ran down the hill and then back up halfway to run down again and then up halfway again, etc.  My repeats ended up being 500m on the hill and 100m flat for a total of 600m each way.  I travelled 5.5 km in total averaging a 5:54 pace.  The whole workout took just over 30 minutes.

It was a good workout but I was very lucky that today’s temperatures were unseasonably cold as if there was humidity I would have been in trouble.  By the last repeat I was in need of water so as I add on hill repeats and my workouts get longer I’ll have to arrange to bring water with me.  When I got back to the office I recovered using Vega Vanilla Performance Protein with a cup of oat milk. I use a SmartShake bottle to mix it and it works wonderfully (can be ordered from bodybuilding.com).  

Now it’s time for me to actually eat my lunch and I’ll be having turkey with avocado on rice cakes.  I’m finding that going gluten and dairy free have helped my digestion 100% and everyday I’m finding new meals to put together.  The only problem is I now do not know if it is the dairy or gluten or both that have been giving me digestion issues and I’m too chicken to bring one back into my diet to find out; for now I’ll keep going being both gluten and dairy free.

I am still off of coffee, but have now started drinking green tea like a fiend.  I’m slowly trying to replace the green tea with decaf herbal tea but it’s taking some time.  As for my energy, I am feeling good.  I would say that most days I do not feel the need for a nap but there is still a day or two a week where when 3 o’clock hits I find myself at my desk daydreaming about taking a siesta.  Let’s hope today isn’t one of those days.

Tomorrow the plan is to hit up arms and back at lunch with my coworkers and then after work go for a 4k tempo run. Hope y’all are excelling at your fitness goals! More later.

Leg Day Lovin’

Today was leg day and it just might be becoming my favourite day!  I was able to get new personal bests in my stiff leg deadlift, leg extension, and leg curl.  My routine included:

  • Smith Machine Squat – 95 x 12, 105 x 12, 115 x 12, 125 x 12
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift – 75 x 12, 85 x 12, 95 x 8
  • Leg Extension (machine) – 90 x 10 (twice), 70 x 12
  • Leg Curl (machine) – 80 x 10 (twice), 90 x 10
  • Barbell Standing Calf Raise – 45 x 20 (3 times)

This time I made sure to include a brief warmup and cool down to hopefully minimize DOMS later on.  I started with a 1000m erg that took 4:15 and ended with 5 minutes on the ARC trainer and a 5 minute stretch.  

Oh, and another one of my coworkers got a gym membership today to join in on the lunchtime workouts.  I guess the endorphins are contagious 🙂 Once again I recovered with a vanilla vega protein shake.  

My plan is to run hills tomorrow on my lunch break and then depending on how I’m feeling maybe hit up the gym after work for a little arm and ab session.  We shall see.  I will post more later! 

Need For Speed

Yesterday I managed to convince my sister to come run sprints with me.  After my progression 6k on Saturday, I still needed to make up the speed workout I missed the previous week.
My sister and I met up for a walk in the morning and after talk of how well HIIT workouts burn fat, I had her on board.  We ended up going to the waterfront path which runs relatively straight and flat and measured out 200m.  

Our workout consisted of 5 x 200m sprints with a 200m power walk in between (no rest).  It was good!  I knew I needed to fit in a speed workout this weekend and having someone join me on these workouts always helps me push that little bit extra at the end.

My sister kicked my butt in the first two, but after that my endurance training kicked into gear and for the last three I managed to knock out the same pace as my first.  We finished off with a 2km cool down run and a protein shake.  I’m hoping that incorporating sprints into my running schedule will help me come race day find that finishing kick.

My sister seemed to enjoy herself and I hope she’s willing to join me again for my next sprint workout.

Today is a rest from running but I did manage to fit in a 5k walk before work.  Today is leg day at the gym so we will see how that goes.  Hopefully I don’t have DOMS for 3 days after this time.

I’ll post my leg workout after lunch.

Mountain Trail Run

As I mentioned earlier, I was supposed to meet up with a couple friends tonight and go for a hike. Well, throughout the day a couple people bailed out and the hiking group ended up consisting of 4 other very active people: two gym-dwelling fitness guys, one tennis star, and another runner.  So long story short, our afternoon hike turned into a high-speed, high-intensity “trail” run.   I use trail for lack of a better word but most of the time we deviated off the trail and while keeping our eyes on the ground to ensure sure footing, maneuvered our way up and down the side of the mountain.

For the first half hour we hiked at a steady pace down the mountain and then for a good 45 minutes we ran at a decent pace (clocked 5:30/km on the flatter ground). The hike ended up lasting 1 hour 25 minutes and had us all panting by the end.  

This was an awesome way to hang out with friends and get a workout in.  One of the many reasons why I love summer is being able to be active in nature and this was the perfect afternoon.

If you have any sort of trail around your area I recommend taking a group of friends out for a hike, the energy from one another will fuel you up and down the hills faster than going alone.  Plus hiking with a group is always safer than by yourself; you just never know when an animal or rock will pose a threat.

Leg Day DOMS

Oh Boy, so on Wednesday I trained legs.  The routine included:

  • Deadlifts – 85 lb 3 x 12
  • Leg Press – 200 lb x 12, 240 x 12, 260 x 12 (2 times)
  • Lunges – 30 lb barbell 3 x 12
  • Calf Raises – 30 lb barbell 3 x 12
  • Dumbbell Shrugs – 25 lb 3 x 12
  • Squat (Smith Machine) – 95 x 8, 115 x 8, 125 x 8

Then that afternoon I went for my slated 8 km run.  Wow, did my legs ever feel it!  I ended up going nice and slow at a 6:00/km pace for 6 km and then cooling down by walking 2 km.

Now.. two days later I’m still feeling all the nice muscles in the front and back of my legs, especially around my butt!  I’m not supposed to train legs again until Monday but I’m going for a hike tonight so I really hope these DOMS go away.  Plus I need to go for a 12 km run on Sunday and a 5 km progression run tomorrow.

Whatever, pain is gain right?

Hopefully it all pays off and I get a nice butt 😉