Beyond the Parks Part 2

 

In my last installment of beyond the parks of Disney world, we discussed golf, working out/spa, waterparks, water craft, afternoon tea, and bike rentals. Today I will discuss a few more of the hidden fun things to do while vacationing in Disney World beyond the standard theme park rides (which are still great by the way!)

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex:

I wouldn’t have known this existed if I wasn’t a runner. This is where Disney holds the expos for their races. There are plenty of events held here such as Pre-season training for the Atlanta Braves and the Tampa Bay Bucs. SO, depending on the time of year, you could hit up one of different sporting events! WWOS is also home to the Playstation Pavilion. They have 17 PS3 systems, wi fi, and more. It costs $5 to play for thirty minutes.

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Characters in Flight: This hot air balloon located in Downtown Disney will take you a soaring 400 feet above the ground (tethered to it, of course!) for the best views of Walt Disney world. You get to enjoy your view for 8-10 minutes flying high in the sky. Weather permitting, hours of operation are 10:00 am to midnight.

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(source)

Fireworks Cruise:

You can board a boat for the Wishes or Illuminations fireworks in Walt Disney World. Price of the wishes cruises includes snacks, and you can even have Private dining whip you something uo to eat onboard. What a great way to enjoy the show from the 7 seas lagoon!

For the illuminations cruise, you can also have private dining have food for you, as you cruise around the water in EPCOT watching the show.

Another option is the Grand 1 Yacht at the Grand Floridian. It is a 45 foot boat staffed with a captain and deckhand. Ride the lagoon in Grand style as you enjoy the Magic Kingdom Fireworks.

Lastly, there is the Pirates and Pals Fireworks voyage. You are provided snacks before your voyage, where you can watch the electrical water pageant and Wishes fireworks. Captain Hook and mr. Smee may show up for photos, before you sail the lagoon, docking nearby to watch the fireworks. You may even get to see Peter Pan as the voyage concludes.

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Horse drawn carriage rides:

At Fort Wilderness, you can take an old fashioned horse drawn carriage ride, first come first served. The ride lasts 45 minutes and departs from Pioneer hall twice nightly. During Halloween, you can book a haunted 25 minute carriage ride through the woods. Spooky! There are also Holiday “sleigh rides” that you can book in advance.

There are also regular25 minute carriage rides at Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans Resort.

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These are just a sampling of the many, many fun things to do in WDW. This is one reason we keep going back. We do new fun things every single trip, and have a blast! If you would like more information on any of the things I mentioned above, please contact me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com and I would be more than happy to help you plan your vacation AT NO COST. Our services are free for our clients!

Be sure to click on the Free Disney Travel Quote tab on my menu bar for more info and current offers!

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I ran 3 miles in the treadmill last night. my first three miles since the injury! It was really hard (and slow) but I did it! Next run on Thursday I will go for 3.5. Movin on up, yall! Thanks again for all the support and encouragement!

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QOTD: If you had Disney world to yourself for a whole day what would you do?

Catch Up

 

Happy Monday! Catching up from the weekend? here’s what you missed:

How it All Began: Have you ever wondered how/when/why I started distance running? Here’s the story!

RWS Features #6: the next installment in my series

Five Years and Counting: Bobby and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary!

On Friday morning, I had the privilege of having coffee with Sarah. If you aren’t following her blog or following her on Twitter, you should! She is so inspiring, and was in town to run TWO marathons in two days in preparation for her 100 mile race coming up. Holy cow! I first met Sarah when she came to say hi at Rock N Roll St. Louis when I was working the Running Skirts booth, so I was thrilled to see her again!

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I was given some new running shoes to try out by Running Skirts, and I can’t wait to see how I feel in them. They have a zero drop in the heel and a wide toe box so your feet can spread out. After I break them in I will do a review! (P.S. did you know you can buy certain brands of running shoes from Running Skirts, including Newtons?)

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Speaking of Newtons, Saturday I ran two miles in mine. My calves were a little sore, but once again I am being proactive and stretching and foam rolling a lot so it hasn’t been as bas as I imagined it would be. This week I will move up to a 3 miler and 4 miler and see how the foot does. So far so good!

I have still been lifting weights 4-5 days a week and I am getting some serious arm muscle! I love when I can actually see a difference. I will have to post a picture for you soon. I have guns now! Bam!

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I am brainstorming ideas of locations for the Princess blogger meet up, as well as ideas for door prizes, or any other fun things to do at the meet up. If you have any ideas, leave a comment or e mail me at runningwithsass@gmail.com. I am thinking OUTSIDE of a park would be best since not everyone will have tickets or park hoppers. If you are a blogger attending Disney’s Princess half, please vote on the right side bar of my blog on a day and time for the meet up.  I have also started brainstorming for my costume for the race!

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Bella still hates her sweaters. It doesn’t help that we torture her a little when we put it on her.

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Do you remember when I did a Christmas post on my favorite things to buy for gifts? One of those gifts was Clocky, the alarm clock that runs away. Well, my husband read said post, and bought Clocky for me! I can now say from personal experience, the little joker does indeed run away from you…usually underneath your bed where you end up trying to whack him with something to get him within your reach to turn him off.

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QOTD: Do you get up as soon as your alarm goes off, or do you hit the snooze?
*I added frop down menus to some of my menu items across the top of my blog, under my header. Take a look around, I added some sub pages, and more to come!

How It All Began

 

Funny story before I tell my story. Last night, my husband asked me if I planned on doing more vlogs for my blog. I told him of course, and told him about a couple of the ideas I had for some fun ones. I then told him about the post I was going to publish for Sunday (today, the one you are currently reading.) I thought since the buzz this weekend is the Disney marathon, I would take a trip down memory lane and tell the story of how the WDW marathon weekend will forever hold a special place in my heart, because that’s where my running journey began.

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He asked if I had told the story before and I said that yes, I think I had in parts, but that you get new readers all the time so it’s always fun to tell an important story like that again. So I turn on my computer yesterday, save the pictures into a folder from my race recaps that I want to use, and go read some blogs before I write my post, and lo and behold, Karen had the exact same idea! Great minds think alike I tell ya. Be sure to go check out her story, as it is very very similar to mine. Smile

Let’s rewind to January of 2009, shall we?

I had been a part of a message board for Disney brides and honeymooners for a few years. Several of us had gotten very close, and decided to have a “meet up” in WDW. A couple of the girls were running the marathon, so we thought it would be a great weekend to go. Karen and I had never met, but our plan was for her to drive to my parents house, fly to WDW with me, share a room with me, hang out for the weekend, then fly home. I must say, I was a bit nervous having never actually met the girl!

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Our first picture together. Oh how there would be many, many more in the following years!

This was also the first weekend I met Jen and Crystal, both also a part of the message board. How could I have known some awesome lasting friendships would come of this?

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One of the most fun weekends of my life. These people are a blast.

The morning of the actual marathon, Karen and I staked out a spot in front of Hollywood studios to watch the race…no particular reason for this spot. Keep in mind I was NOT a runner at this point! We waited for our friends to pass. The place we were standing was around mile 24. We somehow missed Jen and Jeff, but managed to catch Crystal! As all of the people passed by, and as I watched everyone cheering them on, all of the sudden I got really really emotional. I thought of the hard work and dedication these people had put into their training for this race. I didn’t know them, but I was so proud of them as they all passed me by. I cheered my little heart out, and decided I COULD do this, I HAD to do this! Fortunately, Karen had the same thought as me, and we vowed we would be back to run.

Fast forward to January 2010.

Bobby, myself, my mom, and sister drove to WDW for marathon weekend. 17957_532225199888_61700476_31352426_8226839_n

Jen, Bobby, me, and my sister outside the race expo

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Dinner at Narcoossees

We had trained for this race, our very first half. Our goal was to finish in one piece and to have fun. If you are familiar with marathon weekend, you know this was the year of the freeze and the sleet. Yes. It sleeting during the half, and neither Bobby or I had the proper cold weather gear. Thankfully Jen had a bit to spare for me!

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We did make it in one piece, and it felt so good to cross that finish line! We did it, we were officially half marathoners!

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But we had not yet reached our goal. What? That’s right. My goal was the Disney full marathon.

Fast Forward to January 2011.

It was a tough training cycle. I was struggling with an IT band injury, and Bobby and I were not even living together (he took a new job and I lived with my parents while our house was being built, and he lived in our new town with his employer.) It was tough training basically on my own, I was under a lot of emotional stress. But, we made it to Disney! Karen ran the full with Bobby and I, and it will forever be one of the best memories of my life. We had SO MUCH FUN with the race, stopping and taking pictures with every character, goofing off and enjoying the race.

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I remember very distinctly when Karen and I ran by our inspiration curve outside of Hollywood studios. I got really choked up remembering where it all began two years prior. I could not believe I was about to accomplish my goal, and finish the race.

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“inspiration curve”

Crossing the finish line was amazing, we finally did it. Two years later, we accomplished what we had set out to do, and it felt wonderful.

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Fast forward to January 2012.

Yup. sitting on my couch. Smile I didn’t make it to marathon weekend this year, because Karen, myself, and my mom are running the Princess half in February! Oh, and I have my sights set on just ooonnneee more teeny tiny Disney goal.

Goofy 2013, I’m coming for you!

In case this wasn’t enough fun for you and you want MORE, you can read the individual race recaps for the Disney half and full marathons that I ran, as well as this year’s Disney Wine and Dine race and Halloween 5k:

Disney Half Marathon 2010

Disney marathon weekend expo 2010

Disney Full Marathon 2011 part one and part two

Disney Halloween 5k 2011

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

QOTD: Can you remember back to what inspired you to start running or become healthy? What did it for you?

RWS Features #6

 

Good morning! Thanks you all so much for the sweet anniversary wishes. We had a low key evening together. I am missing being in WDW. We were there in 2007 for our honeymoon, then again in 2009, 10, and 11 for WDW marathon weekend. If you are running this weekend GOOD LUCK and have fun! In case you didn’t know, WDW marathon weekend is how my whole running journey started! I will share my story tomorrow so you can see how it all got started!

Also, yesterday I had the privilege of having a blogger meet up, but you will have to wait until tomorrow to find out who it was with!

Today I want to share with you another of my RWS features. We all love finding new (to us) blogs to add to our readers, and who knows, a new friendship may blossom! So, today, I am featuring Rebecca! She blogs at Nourish on, and here is her story:

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1)  How/Why did you start blogging? In December 2008, I published my first post on a blog I called “Pressing On”. My original intent was to have a place to connect with out-of-state friends and share pictures and newsy updates. But blogging quickly became much more than that — it became an outlet for my writing itch and a place to share and process the life lessons I’d been learning. In June 2010 I launched a healthy living page, “Nourishing Bites” because as a Dietetics student passionate about nutrition and fitness, I wanted to have a place to share recipes, race recaps, and fitness goals.

2) Sum up your blog in a couple sentences: Nourishing Bites is my journey from a chubby little girl, to battling an eating disorder in high school, to now seeking to have a balanced and healthy relationship with food. I love experimenting in the kitchen, creating nutritious foods that make me feel strong and alive. I’m pressing on to a well-nourished mind, body, and soul…one bite at a time!

3) What do you wish to accomplish/achieve by blogging? My highest goal in blogging is to show people how living healthfully is achievable, delicious, and fun! I hope that through my personal adventures in running, cooking, and college life, I can help others know that they are so much more than a number on a scale and that food can be enjoyed and not feared.

4) What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment? My biggest healthy living accomplishment was the half-marathon I ran in September 2011. It was something I never thought possible and crossing that finish line was one of the best moments of my life. I can’t wait to run another!

Thanks so much girl! Be sure to follow her on Twitter and go say hello on her blog! Let’s all encourage each other!

QOTD: What is one healthy food you used to dislike but now eat/like?

Back to My Roots: Tips for Beginners

 

So, some of you may have seen this post on Twitter yesterday.

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Sigh. I was so ready for a nice, relaxing massage, and instead I spent an hour talking to someone who obviously knew NOTHING about running, but asking me a million questions. Was I annoyed? Heck yes! I paid money to relax! Not explain what a GPS watch is to you!

When I got home, I started doing some thinking. Was it wrong and very annoying what she did? Of course, BUT, at the same time, here was someone obviously very wowed by my running knowledge, eagerly wanting more info and tips. She actually jokingly (I think!) asked me to be her running coach. She also told me she would hate to see me kick someone as she was rubbing my calves. Is it weird that I took this as a major compliment by the way?

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Anyway, here I was thinking “how can she not know what a Garmin watch is?” and “is she seriously asking me how I am supposed to know how far I have run “are there like, marks in the road that tell you?” As I began to feel slightly proud and cocky, I was immediately put in my place when I remembered that there was once a time when I didn’t know the answers to those questions.

How silly of me to assume that everyone knows how to get rid of a side cramp, and how you know what kind of shoes you need. To the “normal” world, these are not common knowledge issues. I do so much reading and research every day, it has become so easy for me to forget that everyone has to start from somewhere, and learn as they go.

So, I have decided to go “back to my roots” shall we say, and go over some things I wish I knew in the beginning but didn’t know.

GPS Watch/Garmin: These handy watches are amazing and it is my favorite piece of gear. They work via satellite and track your distance, pace, time, elevation, etc. Then you can plug it up to your computer and download your info to have for a training log, comparisons, etc. There are also phone apps for this purpose as well.

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(wearing my Garmin)

GU/Chomps: When I first started running I had no need for this as I was just running 3-4 miles at a time. When I got up to six miles I realized I needed to start using something for fuel. I was scared to try GU, the consistency seemed nasty, but now they are my BFF and I love trying the different flavors. I can’t do the chomps (if I can help it) because they get stuck in my teeth. The GU is easy to “suck down” when I see a water stop up ahead.

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How to start training: If you are starting from scratch, I highly recommend the couch to 5k program. I have not done it myself but know people who have been very successful with it. We all start from somewhere, even if it’s your couch. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Sweat Wicking: You don’t want to run in cotton! It gets very heavy when you sweat and doesn’t feel good. Invest in some dri fit/sweat wicking workout clothes that wick moisture away from your body. I of course recommend running skirts for workout gear!

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Log your workouts: It can be dailymile.com., or writing workouts in a journal, but keep track of what you do, and how you felt. That way you can look back to see how far you have come, what conditions you run best in, time of day, etc.

Body Glide: go buy some. You will thank me later when you don’t have burns and rashes all over and your friends do.

Walk Breaks: are perfectly normal. I hate that there is a stigma that if you walk during a run or a race you aren’t really a runner. I have done some experiments, and I actually race FASTER when I take a 20 second walk break every 7  minutes or so after I hit mile 8 of a half marathon. True story. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you need to walk every now and then.

Rest: Being too ambitious in the beginning can get you burnt out or injured. Your body NEEDS rest days to recover and rebuild to make you stronger. Don’t forget to cross train as well. Build strength all over, and not just from running.

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These are by NO MEANS all the tips there are, these are just a few off the top of my head I wish I had know starting out (and some my masseuse asked me!) As always, if you have ANY specific questions, please feel free to comment here or e mail me at runningwithsass@gmail.com. I love hearing from readers!

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Also wanted to add…I ran my FIST MILE since Thanksgiving Day today! It felt good! I took it slow, but ran the whole thing. I’m coming back! YAY!

QOTD: What is a running tip you wish you knew when you first started?

-Also of interest: This post I wrote on beginner running injuries.

Cleared

 

WAHOOOO! I have officially been CLEARED to run again! I went to the doctor yesterday morning, and he said I could start back slowly as long as I didn’t have any pain. He said the pain I had after our last visit was probably a bruise from him pressing on it. I told him it was a different pain than the injury pain, and he said “was it dull and achy” and I said yyeesssss! That’s EXACTLY how I was going to describe it. Whew! glad to know I’m not crazy (well, not for that reason at least. )

A HUGE thanks to everyone for being so sweet and supportive. I know I whined and threw a pity party in the beginning, but I was being honest, which I find to be so valuable here on RWS (and everywhere!) So that’s for sticking with me, now hopefully we can get back to our regularly scheduled run-blogging.

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So, to start, I am going to start slow with just a mile or so, slow running, maybe walking a little, then move to 2, 3, etc. My fears are not over though…one of my biggest ones is that I will start running and it will start hurting again….praying it doesn’t!

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please don’t fail me now, foot!

So, to celebrate I did two things. First, I got a massage (thank you Christmas special at the massage place!) and second….I agreed to run the Rouge Orleans relay on an all girl’s team EEEPP! Remember the post I did on Hood to Coast where I talked about it? it’s actually going to be a reality and I could not be more thrilled! I figure it will be a good way to get back into things because no leg is longer than six miles, and it’s all flat (running on the levee) so I think I can handle six at a time by mid February.

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I will be running with friends and fellow bloggers Katie and Kristyn, as well as some ladies I have yet to meet (6 of us total) We are going to have FUN!

SO….who watched the Bachelor on Monday? WOW that girl Jenna…I can’t believe she got a rose! I was excited to see a blogger make the show….aaannddd then I was embarrassed for her…she is giving bloggers a bad name. Please already think we are nuts, we don’t NEED help here. Did you watch? What were your thoughts?

QOTD: -Thoughts on the Bachelor?

             -Have you ever run a relay like Rouge Orleans or Hood to Coast?

Taper Madness

 

Well folks, it is officially taper time! Now, one would think a runner would love this time, be happy about this time, excited to not have to log as many miles per week. Well, it is quite the opposite! I am going CrAzY! As it is, I already feel less confident since I did 18 miles, but not my 20 miler, and with Christmas and all the bad food..I am just getting a little nervous about the marathon!

I was supposed to run 8 miles Sunday, but it was in the 20’s with crazy wind, so I said no worries, I will run Monday (today) well…it is JUST as cold today! So instead I am going to do 3 miles then try for my 8 miler again tomorrow, then this weekend I will do 6, with a couple of short runs next week. I can’t believe we are this close! I have worked my butt off for this race, and it is finally here. I feel like everyday I am losing fitness. I feel like I need to go out right now and run 20 miles. I feel like I should only eat fruits and veggies for the next two weeks. Someone make me stop!

I try to remind myself that this is my first marathon. my goals are to FINISH and enjoy it (at least a little bit.) I have no desire to kill myself reaching a time goal, or more importantly stress myself out over one. I try to remember that I DID run 18 miles, and even if I had to WALK the last 8 miles, I could still FINISH! (Hopefully this won’t happen haha!)

Legs, please please carry me for 26.2 miles!!!

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Body, be proud of how far you have come in the past two years!

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I wrote this post back when I was still having IT band problems, and I was doing a “mini taper” for a half marathon. I stated in the post I was hoping by the marathon I would feel confident in my training to get me though. Well….I have really REALLY been trying to tell myself that, but I think there is only so far I can go thinking that having NEVER run the distance before. I used to get so nervous running half marathons but now I don’t because I KNOW I can complete the distance. With no past marathon experiences, it is a lot harder! I know I will get more and more nervous as it gets closer, but I am trying to stay positive and have faith in myself and my training.

QOTD: How do you deal with taper madness?

Just What I Needed

 

Have you ever gone for a good while without a great run? Where they just all seemed bad, or mediocre, and you gradually start to lose confidence without even realizing it? Well, that has been happening to me. Being injured sucks, but so does coming back from an injury. It’s hard to not expect to be able to go right back to the way things were before you got hurt. I started thinking back, and my last really GOOD run I can remember was when we were training for theRun for Life Half Marathon, and Bobby and I ran a ten mile training run where I just felt great, and smiled the whole time. This is all great and everything…except that run was at the end of September if I remember correctly!

Well, today, I FINALLY had a good run! It was just a three mile run, but I felt good (except for the last mile where I felt like I was going to throw up from pushing hard) and I ran fast. Faster than I have since my injury! I clocked in at 28:30, and I have never been happier to run at a 9:30 pace! For awhile there I was really wondering if I would ever be able to run distances again, let alone at a good pace. Granted, I was dying when I was done and couldn’t have held that pace much longer, but it is definitely a start! That run was just what I needed to boost my confidence and stoke that fire that keeps me running. I don’t think I realized how much I was really needing a good run until it happened. 

So, I am happy today, and ready to finish up my marathon training. Smile 

As we creep closer to Christmas, I thought I would share my excitement with you with a few snapshots.

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QOTD: How do you feel after a really good run? How often does it happen?

Road to Recovery

 

Evening friends! I hope everyone had a great day! I played catch up today…wrapping presents, addressing Christmas cards, cleaning up my room, etc. I feel like I have gone non stop all day! I also got to run, woo hoo! I ran 5 miles, no knee pain. I also ran the 5 in 51 minutes, which is decent speed for me coming off an injury.

While I was running and pondering my speed, or lack there of, I started thinking about something. I first started having IT problems after running the Run for Life Half Marathon on October 9th. Every run after that was painful. So, to get through my training, I ran all my miles, and did all my long runs….but…(yes, the dreaded but) I did them slowly, at a “comfortable” pace. I was just trying to get through the run and the pain, I could have cared less what my pace was most days. Then I ran the Jazz half marathon at the end of October, and my knee started hurting a lot during mile 2, so that was pretty painful and slower.

I then took some time off, and finally came back to running last week. I was so careful, I didn’t want to annoy my knee, and make it tight or hurt, so I ran all my runs at a slow, comfortable pace. Well, Today when running, I realized my knee was not hurting at this comfortable pace I have kept for 2 months, so I decided to try to push my pace a little today and run more uncomfortable. Not FAST, and not doing speedwork, just slight discomfort. I surprised myself, because after having to take so much time off I didn’t think I could run 5 miles in 51 minutes, but I did, and I didn’t hurt!

I feel like I am definitely on the way to healing, on my road to recovery, and will be able to continue to race, train, and get faster. 4 weeks ago I was crying saying I didn’t know if I could even run my marathon because my knee hurt when I ran even 3 miles. I swore I wouldn’t take running pain free for granted if I got better, and I am trying to keep good on that promise! I enjoyed my run today, woo hoo!

Just for fun…look at the cute McAlisters ornament I got for free for buying a $25 gift card! If you know me, you know this is the PERFECT ornament for me Smile

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Sassy sleeps in this big chair, and Bella was annoying us the other night so we put her in the chair, too. Sassy HATES Bella, and when she realized Bella was in her chair, she tried to get away, so she stood up against the back of the chair trying to get as far away from the puppy as she could, and she just stayed like this for several minutes. It. was. hilarious!

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QOTD: Do you ever feel like, in whatever you are doing, you could try a whole lot harder if you really wanted to?

If the Shoe Fits

 

If the shoe fits…stay with that kind and don’t ever switch to anything else! I am talking about running shoes of course! I used to run in Nike Vomeros, but I pronate and they didn’t really help, and they made my hip hurt.

Then I moved on to Asics GT’s, and they didn’t make my hip hurt BUT I think I ordered too small of a size because they made the toes on my right foot bleed, and the toes on my left foot go numb.

(See HERE and the end of HERE for bloody shoe and toe pictures.)

I got these shoes in August and felt bad buying another pair months ago when this started happening (I know, I’m cheap with things like that.) But, now, with the marathon a month away, toe issues still there, and having “gotten more use” out of the shoes, I decided to buy a new pair.

I went to www.runningwarehouse.com and found my old shoes. Of course, they didn’t have pink, and the other colors didn’t have the new bigger size I need. Of course. Then I saw they have just come out with the NEW model, and with the good prices on the website, I was able to get them for $75.00 plus free shipping! They only had one color sadly, so I will be sporting blue running shoes this time around. I love that they have free shipping and free returns in case they STILL cause problems or don’t fit right!

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Crossing my fingers (and bloody toes) that these work for me! I realize I should have bought new shoes as soon as their was a problem. But I did the bad thing and just kept hoping it would go away, or I would say things like “maybe I need to just tape them” or “maybe when it cools off it will get better because my foot won’t swell.” etc. etc.

Moral of the story, make sure you are wearing the proper shoes AND size for your foot! As runners our feet just happen to be very very important to us Smile I will be sure not to make this same mistake again, and if these don’t fit, I will be sending them back! If you have never gone to a running store and had a proper fitting, go, find one, now! Don’t just guess or wear a shoe because it’s popular or someone else has it, or told you they like it. It may not be right for YOUR foot!

Have a nice day everyone, I am off to run a ton of errands and then I have some work to do.

QOTD: What shoes do you wear? Have you ever had a problem with a running shoe?