Running with a Camelbak Annadel

7 Jan

Ever since I read Anne’s review of her Camelbak hydration backpack, I knew I wanted one. So when it came time to send Santa my wishlist this year, I made sure to include the Camelbak 2012 Annadel.

I had  been using a waist pack for long runs, but I had to fasten it so tight so it wouldn’t bounce. And that only led to tummy troubles. Having something on my back instead seemed like a much better idea.

So on Christmas Day, I opened up one of my gifts from Santa and found my very own Camelbak!

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I can’t wait to put it to use during the WDW Marathon! But first, I needed to test it out first, so I headed out tonight for a 5-mile run. It’s a short enough run but long enough to know if it bounced around too much or had the potential to chafe.

Luckily, the bouncing was minimal, and I don’t foresee it chafing me much at all. And even though the water reservoir was full, it didn’t feel heavy whatsoever. The bouncing could have been even less if I adjusted the sternum strap a little tighter, but it’s going to be laying on my bare skin, and I didn’t want it rubbing too much.

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The bag carries 1.5 liters, which is kind of small for a full marathon. But with the Disney marathon having so many water stops, I only plan on using my own water in between water stops if necessary.

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I really like all of the pockets, which are big enough to hold trail maps, snacks, keys, gummies, etc. I won’t be able to reach the pockets without taking the backpack off, but it will be good to have some fuel and BodyGlide on me just in case. I’ll also be carrying GU Chomps in one of the pockets in my running capri crops.

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I’m super stoked about this hydration pack. It’s super easy to use and doesn’t bother me while I run. The only thing I would change is to add a magnet so the drinking tube would stick to the shoulder strap. Right now, it just hangs out and bobs around, so I had to stuff it in my sports bra. Other than that, it was a rather successful test run!

5 miles

 

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The New Year

4 Jan

Happy New Year! I hope you all had fun ringing in the new year! I enjoyed the evening with some co-workers and a glass of Rosa Regale at the Grand Floridian.

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I’ve been writing this post in my head for the past few weeks. I wanted to make clear, concise goals for this year. But I came up with one vague goal… DO MORE.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve made excuses to skip out on commitments, to call out from work, skip workouts, and quit weight loss programs. When faced with a challenging day, I usually take a nap instead of staring down the obstacles.

This year, that will change. I will honor my commitments. I will complete training programs for races. I will work harder and longer every day. I will stick with a weight loss program until I meet my goal. And by simply “doing more”, I will achieve my goals.

I will volunteer more.

I will run more.

I will spend more time with my friends and family.

I will drink more water.

I will save more money.

I will read more.

I will clean my home more.

I will work more.

I will blog more.

I will love myself more.

In the end, I will come closer to homeownership. I will be a FitFluential ambassador. I will be at my goal weight, and I will be on my way to becoming a Weight Watchers leader. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll respect myself enough to continue to do more in the next year.

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I realize that I have not followed the “rules” to setting goals (clear, concise, measurable) and I broke the lululemon rules of saying “I will”, but whenever I’m leaning towards making an excuse to skip out on something important, I’ll just remember I promised to “do more”.

What are some of your New Year’s resolutions?

Merry Christmas from My Family to Yours

25 Dec

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Molly and I wish you a very magical holiday season! May all your wishes and dreams come true in the new year!

Weekend Motivation

22 Dec

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the rest of your life

how far one can go

 

Do you have a mantra that keeps you going?

26 Miles 26 Lives

17 Dec

I couldn’t let this day go by without mentioning the awful tragedy which happened on Friday, December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

26 lives and 26 miles. I have decided to dedicate the running of my second Walt Disney World Marathon next month to the memories of the lives that were cut short this past week at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. The names of each of the victims will be written on my arms, and each mile will be dedicated to a victim of these senseless murders.

In closing, I’d like to share with you the tribute from The Voice. I hadn’t shown any emotion since the shootings until now. Having faced death face-to-face when I was a lifeguard, I learned to suppress my emotions regarding death because it would bring back the images of that awful day I faced. I was beginning to think something was wrong with me. That I was so desensitized and so out-of-touch to not show emotion or sadness. Selfishly, I’m glad I finally felt the sadness so many had already felt.

Rest in peace, dear sweet children. Rest in peace to those brave and heroic teachers.

Tower of Terror 10-Miler Recap

8 Dec

I’m so awesome at slacking on these race recaps. This race was at the end of September, and here it is December!

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The Tower of Terror race weekend began with the expo at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

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There was no line for packet pickup!

expo

As per usual, the expo was super crowded, but I did try to take my time to check out all of the booths. I scored 3 pairs of compression socks, a Minnie Mouse themed headband for my full marathon costume, and some GU Chomps.

The next day was the race, and it started at 10pm, so I spent the morning and early afternoon in Magic Kingdom with Alison, who was visiting for her birthday. I was able to catch a little nap before the race, which was essential because the after party would be going on until early morning.

My friends and I caught the buses at Wide World of Sports around 6 or 7 and made it to Hollywood Studios pretty early, so we had time to relax and chit chat before we had to gather in our respective corrals.

on the bus

before race 2

before race

Anne Marie and I were in Corral B.

corral b

There was quite a walk to the start line, which was stationed at the Studios’ toll booths. I really thought this was an odd place to start because you immediately have to swerve to miss the speed bumps and toll booths.

fireworks

The race started off just as any other Disney race… with fireworks!

The weather brought us a humid, muggy, and extremely miserable evening, which resulted in a very sweaty Andrea by mile 1.5.

The course was a straight out-and-back to Animal Kingdom’s toll booths and back to the Wide World of Sports, where we were met with a very dark and crowded dirt trail. Most everyone walked the trail because it was so dark, which made it pretty hard to maneuver around people if you wanted to run, which I did. I was getting my second wind, but I had to walk. Booo. But the run around the baseball friend at WWOS was pretty cool.

ball field 2

ball field

The race itself was pretty non-eventful for me. There wasn’t too much entertainment on the sidelines, and spectators were limited to the ball field at Wide World of Sports and Hollywood Studios. I tried to stick to 2/1 run/walk intervals the whole time, but I switched to walking mostly near the end as I was getting overheated. I did enjoy running through the Studios at night, where we ran by the Lights, Motor, Action set, down New York Street, and around the Sorcerer’s Hat.

studios

I finished in 2:25:51, a pace of 14:19/mile, which is a slower than normal pace for me, but I’ll take it. Like I always say, I need to work on my endurance and speed! For.real.

time splits

course

I have to say, the finish was pretty cool. It was in a “backstage area” facing the creepy Tower of Terror.

after the finish

I gathered my medal and one of the silly “lunch boxes” they hand out to finishers. Just give me a goshdarn bagel instead of these gourmet crackers!

medal

finishers medal 

I quickly found my friends, partook in some beers, and rested a little before enjoying the Disney Villains Bash After Party. Attractions such as the Tower of Terror, Rockin’ Rollercoaster, Toy Story Mania and Star Tours were open for after-partiers. Our sweaty selves had a great time, but unfortunately, some runners had too much fun, and they had to close down the rides for a little while. Surprisingly, we stayed until closing time at 4am.

Overall, it was a fun race. I’d do it again, but only if I’m in better shape and better trained. And let’s hope the weather cooperates next year!

A Look at Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland

6 Dec

Sara and her husband arrived in Orlando at just the right time! Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland had just had their “soft opening” just a few days prior, so we were able to check out the new part of the park without all of the press and paparazzi.

My day started at the Grand Floridian where I snapped a few pictures of their amazing lobby decorated for the holidays.

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That gingerbread house is life-size! You can purchase your own gingerbread shingle from the shop inside of the house.

We had spent the day before in Animal Kingdom in our “regular Minnie ears”, but we decided this trip to the parks was reason for some fancy Minnie ears!

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My most favorite holiday decorations adorn Main Street, USA.

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Since Alice is Sara’s most favorite Disney character, we checked with Town Hall to see when she’d be out for pictures and then made a bee-line right to her when we found out she was already in Fantasyland by the Mad Tea Party. We had quite the discussion about being very late for a very important date.

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After a little “off with your head” joke, the three of us headed over to the New Fantasyland, an area I hadn’t even seen yet! Our first stop was for lunch at the Be Our Guest restaurant in Beast’s Castle.

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We arrived at 10:50am, and there was already a 20-minute wait. I can’t imagine how long the wait would have been later on in the day. We quickly made our meal decisions and waited in line along with some creepy lookin’ dudes.

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They did such an amazing job with the theming here!

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After a short while, it was finally our turn to enter the castle.

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We were greeted by sneezy, sleepy, and snoring knights in shining armor. If you listen closely, they’re talking to each other, but the queue line was so loud, I couldn’t hear what they were saying.

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They ushered us to the ordering area where you can either have a cast member help you or self check-out. In my opinion, if you’re not familiar with computers, use the cast member assistance line. I was hungry and behind some families who couldn’t figure out how to use the touch screen.

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There were many options, but I chose the French onion soup and the Croque Monsieur, a grilled sandwich of carved ham, Gruyere cheese, and béchamel with pommes frites.

There are three dining rooms. The enchanted West Wing is dimly lit and features the famous famous under the glass.

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The Rose Gallery features life-size, twirling figurines of Belle and her Beast.

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The ballroom is absolutely stunning and will take your breath away. You will feel like you stepped right into the movie.

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The huge windows display a larger than life mural of a French landscape, making you feel like you are very far away from civilization. You might also catch a snowflake or two breezing by the windows.

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The atmosphere and logistics of the restaurant seem to work (besides a few kinks I’ve heard the servers talking about), but honestly, I wasn’t all that thrilled with the food. The onion soup was nothing to write home about, and the sandwich was a glorified grilled cheese with ham. Nothing special, that’s for sure. I mean, I’ll go back, but I’m not going in thinking it’s going to be some spectacular meal. They do bring your food to your table instead of having to truck your tray around the restaurant while trying to miss misbehaved children who are trying to trip you. Unfortunately, the system doesn’t always work. If you sit down in one dining room and decide to sit somewhere else, they’ll bring your food to the original table.

I do, however, like the drink stations. There aren’t many quick service restaurants on Disney property that allow refills, and this one does. Score!

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After our lunch, we meandered over to Gaston’s Tavern and a little merchandise shop. We decided $10 was a little much for the non-alcoholic LeFou’s Brew, a no sugar added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam. But I imagine I’ll purchase it at some point.

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Situated right next to Gaston’s little part of town is Eric’s castle (from The Little Mermaid).

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The expected wait time for the attraction was 60 minutes, but luckily, we got through the line in 20 minutes. The queue was designed around a nice water feature, and most of the line sits in some caverns leading to the start of the ride, which should be a nice break from the summer heat when that time of year rolls around.

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I was hoping there would be a little merchandise shop filled with whozits and whatsits, thingamabobs, and other little dinglehoppers, but no luck. I hear they are selling a few Little Mermaid things in Sir Mickey’s near Cinderella Castle.

My day with Sara and her husband ended around 2pm as I had to quickly head to work for the evening.

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