Posts Tagged With: team sparkle

RACE RECAP: Superhero Half Marathon

As many of you know, I will take ANY excuse to dress up (and run!) in a ridiculous costume. So when I first heard about the DSCF3438Superhero Half Marathon in Morristown, NJ, I KNEW I had to run it!

When it came to choosing my costume, it was no contest…I had to go with a Disney superhero, and race as an Incredible! I figured I need all the practice I can get for the zillions of runDisney races I plan to participate in, anyway. I scoured the Internet for weeks trying to track down red running capris, ordered a black Team Sparkle skirt (because, surprisingly, it’s one of the few colors I DON’T already own!) and I tried my hand at iron-on transfers for the first time (let’s just say…it did not go well) to make myself a sweat-wicking Incredibles shirt. I reluctantly cut two holes in an old, stretched out Bondiband to serve as my eye mask (AND keep the sweat out of my eyes), and then I decided to try racing in my new black Pro Compression socks for the first time, since they just so happened to go with the outfit anyway.

First things first. I woke up on Sunday morning to find that it was raining. I’ve never raced in the rain before, so I knew it would be…interesting. Based on some friends’ reviews of this race, I also knew going into it that it was going to be a somewhat hilly course, even though the race website described it as “mostly flat” — which I’m not quite sure is accurate. One of the course’s steepest hills had the paramedics stationed right at the top, for crying out loud! Trying to run to the top made me feel like I was actually IN a cartoon — you know, like when the character starts running and thDSCF3445eir legs are flailing around and dust is flying but they’re not actually going anywhere.

It was also a double loop course, which I’ve now officially decided I loathe…there’s something mentally unnerving about running past the mile 8 or 11 mile marker when you’ve only just started the race, and after I discovered everything the first loop had in store for me, I really wasn’t all that anxious to do it all over again!

I had planned for this to be my “just for fun” race, and I’m glad, because I definitely did NOT perform to my full potential (my chip time was 2:11). The fact that I’m still not fully recovered from the Long Branch Half Marathon combined with the rain and the hills and the fact that I once again (very STUPIDLY!) decided to attend my usual Taekwondo and Thai kickboxing classes in the days before the race did not exactly make for an easy 13.1.

However, it was still a lot of fun! I tried to relax into whatever pace I could manage (by the halfway point, I was completely ignoring my Garmin and just kind of going with the flow). I forced myself to chill out and enjoy the festive superhero costumes (I was secretly pacing myself with a Wonder Woman for the entire race!) and the not-so-festive rain and sticky humidity that was certainly keeping this race interesting, if nothing else!734267_3145089682661_410711098_n(1)

And it was great…now that I’m learning to give up the ridiculous notion that I can somehow magically PR in every single race, I’ve decided to practice learning how to loosen up and stop beating myself up and just enjoy the moment. After all, running IS supposed to be fun (sometimes)…right?

It was definitely exciting to see spectators’ reactions to all the costumes…they’re superheroes just for coming out to stand in the pouring rain to cheer us on, so I was sure to say thank you to everyone and give lots of high-fives! The kids especially seemed to enjoy seeing me as “Mrs. Incredible.” ;-D

My only complaint? (Other than the weather, I mean…which is nobody’s fault except Mother Nature’s). I registered for this race several months ago, and requested my t-shirt size on the registration form, as is pretty much the protocol. As it turns out, however, because I didn’t make the drive to Morristown (which isn’t horrendous or anything, but it’s still about 40 minutes away for me and really just didn’t seem necessary) the day before the race JUST to pick up my bib and t-shirt, I ended up with whatever was leftover on race day. I find that to be a tad unfair — I understand that those who register the day of a race end up with whatever shirts are leftover, but what in the WORLD is the point of asking us to request our shirt size when we register months in advance if you’re just going to hand shirts out to whomever happens to pick up their bib first? And they obviously didn’t order enough shirts in general because I heard the volunteers telling a bunch of other runners that their shirt size was completely “sold out”…but “here, how about a nice men’s size XL?” Absolutely ridiculous. I really liked the women’s cut, tech race shirts — for once, I knew I’d actually get some use out of my “free” shirt — but alas, the shirt size I requested was no longer available when I picked up my bib over an hour prior to the race…so I ended up with yet another too-big shirt that I’m never going to actually wear. Not cool!

The good news? Since this wasn’t a “push myself until I want to puke just to PR” kind of race for me, I had the opportunity to experiment with some new race day strategies. For starters, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s been causing my stomach cramping in the latter half of a race, and I’m happy to report that my DSCF3452stomach issues were pretty much nonexistent during this race. I know it could just be that I slowed my pace down a little bit, but I also tried a few other strategies: I tried taking in more Gatorade during the race, but I diluted it with water at every station (which I allowed myself to walk through, for once). I also ate fewer Clif Shot Bloks (and later in the race) in case they’re actually causing me some GI distress and I just don’t know it! Based on the advice of some of you far smarter runners, I also tried to focus on any sodium imbalances I may have been causing, and snacked on pretzels and tried not to OVER-hydrate in the day or two before the half marathon.

Also…I have fallen madly and deeply and HOPELESSLY in love with my new Pro Compression socks! After reading nothing but rave reviews on some of my favorite running blogs — and given the fact that I’ve been having nothing but foot issues lately — I decided to give ’em a shot. And I am SO glad I did. I’ve worn them for a few shorter training runs, but this was my first time racing in them. I was having some leg issues during the race because I went in with them already feeling a little sore from Taekwondo/Thai kickboxing — like the GENIUS that I am — and my sopping wet sneakers didn’t exactly help with my usual blister issues,DSCF3462 and yet at the end of the race, my legs were feeling pretty good! Since I’ve heard they can help with recovery — and it took me several days just to be able to WALK after my last half — I decided to wear the socks for the rest of the day (after washing them…since, you know, the several other colors I ordered haven’t arrived yet!), and also sleep in them. I’m proud to report that while I do have a little bit of soreness today, given the fact that I practically ran up Mount Everest yesterday and my legs and feet are feeling this great means that Pro Compression socks are pretty much MAGIC socks…and I will never race without them again!

Does anyone else find racing in costumes as fun as I do? ;-D

superheromedal

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Recap: Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo

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Ready to get my shopping on!

I thought I’d start my Princess Half Marathon weekend recaps with a look at the race expo (if you didn’t see my first post-Princess recap, click here). Appropriately dubbed “Fit for a Princess,” the expo was pretty much the female runner’s heaven, with endless booths of must-have running gear and essentials along with girly apparel, sparkly jewelry, and plenty of other fun and festive accessories.

This was my very first race expo, so I feel I should mention that I really didn’t have anything to compare it to and pretty much had no idea what to expect during my entire race weekend experience.

That being said, I had read enough blogs and message board posts ahead of time to know that if I wanted a pair of those coveted RunDisney New Balance sneakers, that I had better get there early. I had already pre-ordered my Disney Princess Dooney & Bourke bag, so it was all about the sneakers that morning.

These lovely gentlemen were on hand to greet us at the expo.

These lovely gentlemen were on hand to greet us at the expo.

I had already changed my hotel to the Coronado Springs resort, which was hosting the expo this year, because I found a better deal through my annual pass discount than my original reservation at the Port Orleans French Quarter.  I was lucky enough to be able to wake up around 7am and take a stroll over the expo, where I was amongst the first 20-something princesses in line for the sneakers.

After the New Balance folks helped organize us into an orderly line and directed us to their booth, I spent about 30 minutes waiting for my turn to try on a pair of the sneakers…and let’s just say that I may or may not have purchased both models, with the justification that my size 10W feet were probably better suited for the wider men’s pair…but I really wanted the women’s, too!

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Yeah…this happened.

My next plan of attack was, of course, the RunDisney booth, where I was greeted with quite a surprise. It was 9:30 in the morning and the booth was absolutely and completely PACKED. I mean it, you could not move. I had to squeeze my way through what seemed a mile-long line of princesses just to LOOK at the merchandise.

Since I’m a crazy person and this was my first half marathon and I was oh-so-excited by all of the RunDisney goodies, my genius shopping strategy was to grab one of everything I MIGHT want, including the coveted “I Did It!” shirt, and then sort through what I was actually going to purchase while waiting in line (needless to say, I had some SORE arms the next day!). It wasn’t until well after 10am that I noticed that there was now a ridiculously long line formed by expo staff just let people into the booth, and I was almost denied re-admission when all I wanted to do was pick up my purse from the Dooney & Bourke table. CRAZY.

Found one of my favorite princesses at the expo!

Found one of my favorite princesses at the expo!

Then it was time to head to runner relations to get my corral changed, pick up my bib, my family’s ChEAR Squad gear, my race retreat wristband, my commemorative items — all of which required standing in separate lines, I might add — before jumping into the line that wrapped ALL THE WAY AROUND THE EXPO for packet pick-up.

I was planning on catching at least one of the speeches by the likes of Jeff Galloway or Ali Vincent from The Biggest Loser — a show that I watched all throughout my weight loss journey, and that continues to inspire me today — but by the time I had all of my must-do tasks taken care of, it was too late! Now that I’ve been through the half marathon experience, I’m hoping to be able to chill out a little bit and participate in more meet-and-greet activities during my Dumbo Double Dare weekend this summer (hint, hint, RunDisney, I’m going to need a spot at the meet-up!)

By this point, I was absolutely exhausted. I never did stop for a cup of coffee as originally planned on my way to the expo, and my stomach was growling, so I grabbed a bite to eat at the resort with my boyfriend (who was kind enough to help me lug my purchases back to the hotel room) and then hit the expo again to browse some new-to-me vendors, like SportHooks for my awesome “Once Upon a Run” medal hanger and Milestone Sports Jewelry for my beautiful runner heart necklace and earrings, as well as some of my tried-and-true favorites: Team Sparkle, BondiBand, and my newest obsession, Raw Threads, who released the adorable Mermaid shirt just in time for me to pre-order for the expo (so that was one line I got to skip!) and whose shirts are the absolute SOFTEST and COZIEST material ever and now I want to buy one for every day of the week. I was also particularly excited to buy the special Princess Half Marathon BondiBands and the Team Sparkle limited edition princess-inspired tees!

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Some of my swag…

All in all, I spent a ridiculous amount of money — this running thing is still very new and exciting to me, and I couldn’t help myself — and while I will say that I wish the expo wasn’t so INSANELY crowded or that the lines just for essentials like packet pick-up didn’t go on forever (and ever…and ever…) it was still a great start to the weekend!

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