Minnie Mouse Baby Shower

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I wrote this a month ago and totally forgot to post this…whoops!

As I prepare for my little one’s arrival (any day now), I am trying to fill my time with getting rest, getting the house ready and reflecting on how crazy it is to be pregnant.

I mean, your body just KNOWS what to do!  How?  I basically just need to eat right, take it easy and enjoy the ride.

The ride has not been without it’s ups and downs.  I’ve been sick 3 times during this pregnancy, which required two rounds of antibiotics, being told not to run anymore, which was rough and just dealing with the ever changing body my little one inhabits.

The ups?  I’m creating a little human.  How cool is that?  Plus, I kind of had the best baby shower ever.  Thanks to some amazing people, I used Pinterest for a myriad of ideas and they brought it to life.  Below are some photo’s from the party.  It was truly the best.

My husband and I decided to do a co-ed baby shower.  We had about 60 or so people attend and kept the games simple and non-invasive (I really didn’t want anyone measuring my belly) and didn’t open gifts there, it would have been WAY too long, plus I have gift opening performance anxiety…

Any who, for anyone thinking of doing a Minnie Mouse theme for your baby shower, I hope this may inspire some ideas for your party!

Our cake was incredible!  It looked beautiful and tasted amazing.

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We also had cupcakes with little Minnie ears.IMG_0329

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Our candy table and game #1 – guess how many butterscotch in the jarIMG_0332

The room set-upIMG_0333

Our sign for Baby🙂IMG_0335

We had a take your own photo “photo booth”IMG_0336

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Game #2 – Price is Right.  You have to guess the price of the grouped items – without going overIMG_0339

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The table centerpieces – all the Minnie heads were made by hand and so darn cute!

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Rob and I enjoying our cupcakesIMG_0347

My sister and I taking advantage of the photo boothIMG_0373

We had such a great time!IMG_0437

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All the tables had these cute photo holders with this picture from our Maternity Photo Shoot at DisneylandIMG_0483

We both are so grateful for the love from family and friends.  Baby is certainly going to be one very loved and cared for child, that is for sure.  I can’t wait to meet her and teach her about all things Disney!

Disneyland Maternity Photos

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WOW!  Has it been almost 5 months since I’ve written a post?  How is that even possible?

Well, I guess it is possible when I’m pregnant and tired and trying to deal with my body changing.

On the plus side, we have done some fun Disney themed stuff in the meantime.

We had planned on running the January Star Wars Half Marathon in Disneyland, but my doctor told me that was a no go with some stuff going on with the pregnancy.  Everything is fine now, but it was a precaution, so we decided, since we’re in Disneyland and our wedding photographer just HAPPENED to be there too to run the race, why don’t we do some fun maternity photos?

So with some help from John Remus, we were able to capture some really fun moments that we will cherish as our last visit to Disneyland before baby gets here.

See below for my most favorite shots he got for us.

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Pregnancy and Running – Harder Than I Thought

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It has been so long since I’ve posted…approximately 3 months…YIKES!  One big exciting thing that has happened, and basically changed my life, is Rob and I found out we were expecting a baby girl!  She will be making her debut in May.  YAY!

Woo-hoo!

Woo-hoo!

Now, we found out in August, so I was about 5 weeks along when I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon, which is why I took it super easy on that run.  Not that I had much choice.  One of the first things I noticed that seemed a bit off before I knew for sure I was pregnant was my running became way more labored.  I felt like I was running so fast and hard, only to look at my Garmin and notice I was going 2 minutes per mile slower than my average pace.  WHAT?!  That was when I knew something was up.

Going for a run in Chicago - 2 days before I found out I was for sure pregnant and thinking why it felt so hard to run!

Going for a run in Chicago – 2 days before I found out I was for sure pregnant and wondering why it felt so hard to run!

Running the Disneyland Half at 5 weeks - slow, but steady

Running the Disneyland Half at 5 weeks – slow, but steady

Now, I’m trying to balance my growing belly while still staying fit (or at least keep moving) and it’s not easy.

The first trimester I was nauseous – all three months.  Blerg.  I was able to get through the Disneyland Half and do some post half marathon runs, but it got very difficult.  Eventually, I just gave myself a break and reminded myself that I’m creating a human and stuff and that takes a toll on the body.

Finally, in the second trimester, I have gotten a little break from the nausea symptoms and have a little bit of energy back.

Once a week, I do strength training videos from Popsugar.com and prenatal yoga.  I go for walks and try and stay as active as possible.  I haven’t been running too much since my belly started bouncing, so I’ve kept it to a swift walk and sometimes jog.

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I have the Star Wars Half Marathon coming up in about a month.  I’ll be 24 weeks along.  I’m planning on crossing the start line and seeing how far I can get…maybe even finish!  But I have decided not to put too much pressure on myself if I have to bow out before I get to the finish line.  I will be proud of myself for starting, but baby takes priority and if she doesn’t feel like continuing, I will listen to her.

This will be half marathon #22 for me, so not completing one out of 22 won’t be that bad.  Plus, I got a really cute shirt I want to wear for the race.  It’s all about the outfits really.

Can't wait to wear this!

Can’t wait to wear this!

I’m looking forward to my husband and my final trip to Disneyland as just a family of two.  I can’t wait to start seeing Disneyland through the eyes of our daughter and how she will take to the magic of the parks.  It’s such an exciting time and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  Also, I need to register for a jogging stroller,  because she will be coming along with me when I can start running again!

QOTD: Have you every done a half marathon pregnant?  How did it go for you?

2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Race Review

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I was so excited the days leading up to the Disneyland Half Marathon this year.  For one, it was the 10th anniversary of the run and two it is the 60th anniversary of Disneyland!  So many things to celebrate during my 21st half marathon.

We arrived on Friday morning and went straight to a Cigna blogger meet-up.  This is Cigna’s first time sponsoring the Disneyland Half Marathon so they had some bloggers come together for a small event Friday morning.  If you’d like to read about it, click here.  It was super fun.

Cigna Blogger Meet-Up

Cigna Blogger Meet-Up

Afterwards, Rob and I headed to the Health Expo to pick up our bibs and t-shirts.  This year they also included a luggage tag!  Kind of fun. We’re not fans of hanging around the expo, so we got in and out fairly quickly, but not before a stop off at the New Balance booth where I may have bought a pair of the black and white Minnie Mouse Run Disney shoes.  Oh my goodness, I love them!

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I also stopped in to the official merchandise area – where they had a line to get in.  By the time we got in the stuff was pretty picked through.  I don’t understand why Disney doesn’t make more of the items or hold some stuff back for people that can’t arrive on the first day of the expo, but it’s okay.  I saved some money by not buying anything.

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After we took our picture with the castle, we spent a fun-filled day in the park.  P.S.  if you haven’t seen the Paint the Night Parade or the new fireworks, it’s a MUST SEE!

Saturday, we did the parks all day and hung out.  It was a nice, relaxing day.  We got back to the hotel around 8:45pm and set our stuff out for the early AM wake up.

Disneyland fun

Disneyland fun

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Sunday morning rolled around and we found ourselves being awakened by the 3:45am alarm we set.  Sigh…I know these races start early, but it’s so hard sometimes to wake up that early.

My Smee outfit

My Smee outfit

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We got dressed and headed over to Jamba Juice to grab some oatmeal.  It was a beautiful morning, cool, but not too cold and a nice breeze, which stuck around through the entire race.

We headed to the race start area and took some pics and listened to the DJ.  Then we headed to the corrals.

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I was in corral B and Rob was in corral A (because he’s speedy), so we parted ways and headed towards our separate corrals.

I had already made the decision to take it easy this race.  My training has been pretty scattered these last few months, so I didn’t want to push myself into injury.

About 5 minutes before the start, they had a cast member sing the national anthem, it was really beautiful.  Plus, they had some fireworks, which always makes the singing of the national anthem even more beautiful.

First to be let out of the gate was the wheelchair division, then corral A and then it was our turn!  Corral B – GOOOOO!!

We were off!  They changed the beginning of the course a bit, but before I knew it we were in the parks.  Like I said above, I decided to stop for character pictures so that’s exactly what I did.

For about the first 4 or so miles we ran through CA Adventure and Disneyland.  I knew I was way behind my regular pace when I looked at my watch and noticed I had been on the course for an hour and I had only gone 3 miles…lol…whatever I was having fun.

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Once out to the streets of Anaheim, we encountered a ton of course support.  One of the reasons I love this race so much is the course cheering.  So many people and cheerleaders and dance groups (I love the Mexican Folkloric dancers and the hula dancing group).  Then around mile 6 comes the long stretch of classic cars.  SO FUN!  I just love looking at them, especially when they honk their horns – A-OOOGA.  LOL.

After that, I was feeling tired.  I caught up with the 2:45 pace group from corral C, so I decided to stick with them to the end of the course.  Star, who was the pacer for the group, was great.  She kept everyone very motivated and we had a walk/run, so it made it easy to keep up.

Finally mile 8.5ish rolled around and we were in Angels stadium!  There is nothing like running into the stadium to the roar of the crowd.  Amazing and so uplifiting!

Now, we were in the home stretch.  Star kept us all going at a very steady pace and I was feeling great.  Around mile 12 – I decided to pick it up and take off towards the finish line.  Just as I was getting ready to cross, I spotted some friends on the sidelines and yelled their names!  They got my picture mid-run🙂

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As I was approaching the finish line, I spotted Minnie and gave her a hi-five and off I went to cross the finish line.  Number 21 half marathon complete at 2:48:36, which is pretty slow compared to my PR of 2:06, but whatever, I had a great time.

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After I was done, I met up with Rob and we headed back to the hotel to shower and go eat at PCH Grill!  Super fun and delicious.

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I said to myself when I signed up for this race that it would be the last Disneyland Half I would do for a while, but I don’t know, I’m having second thoughts.  Maybe I will sign up for the 2016 one.  It’s so hard not to do these races, because they’re so fun…we’ll see…

QOTD:  Did you do the Disneyland Half this year?  What did you like the most/least about the race?

Cigna Blogger Meet-Up – Disneyland Half Marathon 2015

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I took copious notes during this event, but when I got home I couldn’t find my notepad!  Forgive me, as I’m going off of memory for this.

I was so excited when I received an email from Cigna asking if I would like to attend a blogger meet-up during the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend!  I went to check out Cigna’s website to familiarize myself with the company and they are a health insurance that believes in keeping it’s customers healthy and happy, which makes perfect that they would be the main sponsor of the Disneyland Half Marathon.

The meet-up consisted of going through 4 cooking demonstration stations and then a sit down lunch in Napa Rose restaurant at the Grand Californian Hotel.  I was way excited for that because I had never been to the Napa Rose restaurant.  It was really pretty!

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Once we signed in and everyone had arrived, they opened with their Cigna nutritionist who talked about helping Disney cast member reach their health goals.  I think it’s so inspiring listening to someone who has seen results, like people getting off medication because they have gotten their health back on track.  It really makes you realize how important it is to keep moving to stay healthy.

The Cigna nutritionist

The Cigna nutritionist

Then they had a speaker, Laura Flores, who talked about running her first 5k, just that morning.  How both her parents were diabetics, so she was very aware of ensuring her family lives a healthy lifestyle.

Laura

Laura

After that, we were broken into 4 groups. Rob and I were in the Pluto group.  All the recipes we were learning were from the Grand Californian banquet team – so if you ever have a meeting or event there, you may see some of these on the menu!

Our group started at the chicken station.  We watched Chef Chris prepare the whole chicken with a kale pesto and fresh veggies.  Watching him chop up the chicken was pretty impressive! I wish I could use a knife the way he did.  Maybe I just need a better knife.  He also made farro with smoked cheese – oh my goodness…heavenly.

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Next we went to the dessert station where we learned a fruit crisp.  First, they passed around a few different types of fruit for us to try.

The first thing we tasted were cotton candy grapes – ummmm, I had no idea there were grapes that tasted like cotton candy…amazing! There were also figs, plums, peaches, melon and gooseberry covered in white chocolate.  The crisp part was made with rolled oats, sugar (brown and white) and flour.  It looked super easy to put together and was delicious.

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Next station we headed to was the smoothie station.  We learned a pre-workout recipe and a post-workout recipe during this station.  The pre-workout was a coco coffee crispy smoothie.  It had some coffee in it, unsweetened coco powder, almonds, ice, soy milk.  I tried it, but I don’t like the taste of coffee, so didn’t love it, but my husband really liked it a lot. The recovery smoothie was super yummy.  It had dragon fruit, flax seed, ice and almond milk.  I liked this one, it was sweet, but not too sweet and seemed like it would be super refreshing after a hard workout.

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After the smoothie station we moved to the final station, the salad station.  First, they asked for volunteers to help make the vinaigrette, so I volunteered, who doesn’t love to volunteer and learn to make something new?

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My vinaigrette was made with honey and my fellow volunteer’s vinaigrette was made with sugar.  I thought they both tasted great, but the group voted the honey one tasted the best.  They put the salad together with the lettuce, fruit and julienne endives.  It was so pretty!

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After we finished up we had a special guest appearance – Chef Mickey!!  We all got to take photo’s with him, which was super fun.  Then it was time to eat!

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Rob and I sat at a table with a lot of the Cigna representatives.  We were able to tell them how awesome this event was and how lucky we felt to be invited.  I think it’s a great idea for the sponsor of a big race like Disney puts on to have an event where bloggers can get to know them a little better and spread the good things they’re doing.

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I want to thank Cigna for inviting me (and letting my husband tag along) for this great event!  We had such a great time and the food was amazing.

Stay tuned for my Disneyland Half Marathon race review coming soon!

Thanks for reading🙂

Santa Cruz 2015 Wharf to Wharf Race Recap

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Every year, since I’ve been running, I have wanted to run the Santa Cruz Wharf to Wharf race.  The problem?

1) The race sells out in about 30 minutes – if you’re not online to sign up right when it opens, you’re out of luck.

2) It falls on the weekend after my birthday and I’m almost always out of town for my birthday.

I solved those two problems by deciding to spend the weekend after my birthday in Santa Cruz and using those super speedy race sign up skills I’ve learned from Run Disney to be online 5 minutes prior to the race registration opening and VOILA – I’M IN!  Ditto for my husband, since I signed him up too and then told him after🙂

The race runs from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to Capitola – an easy 6 mile trek.  Some rolling hills, but fairly flat with some beautiful views on the way.

We got into Santa Cruz the Thursday before and hung out, went to the beach, went to the Mystery Spot, basically just chilled and lived the beach life for a few days.  It was awesome.  Got in a few runs too!

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Sunday rolled around and Rob and I sloooooowly got up and got out the door.  Let me tell you, it was difficult to get going after sleeping in for 3 days in a row.

Once we got to the Boardwalk, we were super excited!

They had reasonably priced parking and shuttle service to the boardwalk, but we just parked in the Boardwalk parking lot.  A little steep ($15), but it was fine.

They had several corrals set up, both Rob and I were in corral one, but we had a friend running in corral 3, so we went back and met up with her.  Running with friends is way more fun!

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Waiting for the start

Waiting for the start

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After a beautifully sung National Anthem, they started the race right on time.  It took us about 5 minutes to get over the start line, but once we were off, the music started. SO MUCH MUSIC.  It was kind of amazing.

The course is all along the coast, which is beautiful, but there was one downer.

The course was SUPER crowded.  There were so many people running, which made it really hard to find a pace.  There were a lot of walkers, which are fine, but when you combine lots of walkers with a narrow course and a ton of people, it starts to get congested.  Usually, I find that races tend to thin out after mile 3, but the crowd was pretty thick the entire 6 miles.

Now, let’s go back to the music.  Holy moly!  I would say this race has 10 times more music than any Rock’n’Roll Half I’ve done.  It seemed like every half a mile there was a band playing.  Funky bands, bagpipes, Grateful Dead cover bands, marching bands, you name it, they had it!

We had a great time on course.  I think I was smiling a lot.  It was a really fun 6 miles!

Finish line fun!

Finish line fun!

Once we crossed the finish line we headed over to grab some water and then our goody bags that had our t-shirt.  I was a little bummed it was a cotton t-shirt and not a tech-t, but I’ve already worn it a couple of times so I think I like it more than I want to admit.

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After we grabbed everything, we went to catch the shuttle back to Santa Cruz.  I have to say, they are SUPER well organized in terms of transportation.  We didn’t even really have to wait in line, we were on a shuttle right away headed back to the parking lot.

Shuttle fun!

Shuttle fun!

All in all – I really want to do this race again next year.  The energy, the music and the course was amazing.  I’m hoping to set an alarm on my calendar to be ready to sign up for 2016!

Next up is the Disneyland Half Marathon…YAY!!!

QOTD: What race have you done with the best course music?

A Missed Goal…What Are You Going to Do?

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It’s been a while since I’ve written.  Lots going on here in life.

I had proclaimed earlier this year that I had set a goal of running a half marathon a month.  Well, June went by and I didn’t run at all.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Zero.

Why is this?  Well, a couple of things happened.

1) I had a foot injury, really intense Plantar Fasciitis, which caused me to take a break and slow down.  I headed to my sports therapist on a regular basis and finally got better and felt ready to get back into the swing of things.

2)  Pityriasis Rosea…what?  Yes, Pityriasis Rosea, otherwise known as a really annoying and irritating skin condition.  If you’ve ever had this, you know what I mean.  It is so under researched, no one knows what it is caused by.  Some think it’s a virus, some think it’s caused by stress (I’m sure that’s what happened to me).  It is not contagious, so you don’t catch it or spread it to anyone.  It starts with a “herald” patch, which I thought was a bug bite.  Then it slowly starts to spread into a small red bumps all of over.  It usually sticks to the trunk (front and back), arms and legs.  Typically is stays off your face – thank goodness – but it was extremely uncomfortable and itchy for me.  There is nothing that can be done, medicine wise, to cure the rash.  It lasts between 6-12 weeks and once it’s gone, it’s as though you’ve never had it.

Lucky for me (sarcasm), I was on vacation when the rash really got started – about a week after I spotted the herald patch.  I ended up going to urgent care in Sedona, where they thought it was an allergic reaction, so they gave me a shot.  When that didn’t work, they prescribed me steroids and antibiotics.  Yeah…nothing worked.  Fortunately, I was able to forge through and enjoy our vacation, doing some hiking within the city and having a chance to visit the Grand Canyon (if you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend it, it was AMAZING).

The top of our hike at Cathedral Rock in Sedona

The top of our hike at Cathedral Rock in Sedona

Getting some hiking done in the Gand Canyon.  The Pityriasis Rosea had spread on most of my body at this point so I covered up even though it was 90 degrees that day...

Getting some hiking done in the Gand Canyon. The Pityriasis Rosea had spread on most of my body at this point so I covered up even though it was 90 degrees that day…

Once we got home I went to my general practitioner and as soon as she saw it she diagnosed me with Pityriasis Rosea.  Basically, she said, there is nothing I could do, just wait it out.

Being the type of person to not take things lying down, I scoured internet forums to see what other people have done to at least get some relief from the itching.

Here are the things I found that worked for me:

1) Head and Shoulders.  Yes, the shampoo.  I used it as body wash and left it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off.  I think this was a BIG help.

2) Pure coconut oil.  Right out of the jar.  I slathered that on after the head and shoulders so my skin wouldn’t completely dry out.

3) I started amping up my vitamin intake.  Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Calcium and Milk Thistle.

4) Tanning bed.  Now, I am not one to EVER recommend to go to a tanning bed.  I’m a big believer in sunblock and keeping your skin healthy and wrinkle free, but the more I read, the more people said the tanning bed did wonders.  Off I went for no more than 5-7 minutes at a time.  Within less than a week, the spots started flaking.  Of course, when I told my doctor, she said she would not recommend the tanning bed, but did say sun exposure would help.  Since I looked like a leper, I didn’t want to tan in public, so the bed was the next best thing.  I covered my face with a towel and let the UV rays do their job.  THEY SURE DID.

After 2 weeks of doing all of these things regularly, the rash has gotten about 75% better.  I finally have been able to run again, but have to shower right after because the sweating makes the bumps angry.  Hopefully soon they will be completely gone and I can exercise without worry.

UPDATE:  I am now 7 weeks in, the itching is completely gone and the spots are now smooth and very faint.  Hoping in the next couple of weeks they will be completely gone.  I’ve been exercising again and I even wore a bikini with the faint spots and I didn’t feel like a complete leper!

I don’t have any half marathons scheduled for July and August and may have to keep it that way.  The next half marathon I have on the books is the Disneyland Half Marathon in September.  So, I have some time to get back into fighting shape.

QOTD: Have you every dealt with a big set back from your running?  How did you deal with it?

QOTD2:  Have you ever dealt with Pityriasis Rosea?  What steps did you take to manage it?

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Recap

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Oh Run Disney weekends are my favorite weekends!

My husband Rob and I have been doing the Tinkerbell Half Marathon since its inception which makes us “perfect pixies” (not sure if that is an actual term, but I just like calling my husband a perfect pixie), so we had to continue the tradition and sign up for this year.

We got to Anaheim late Friday night.  We went straight to bed and were up Saturday morning to get over to the Health Expo and pick up our bib and t-shirts.  We had a breakfast reservation at 9:50am, so we kind of hustled quickly through everything.  We didn’t even go to the merchandise area only because I had read on some of the Facebook groups I follow that they were pretty much picked clean by Thursday.  Probably best anyway, I don’t NEED any extra stuff.  LOL…

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We spent the day at the parks.  It was pretty crowded, partly because of the race and, I’m guessing partly because it was Mother’s Day Weekend.  We had breakfast at Carnation Cafe (LOVED IT) and then went off in search of some rides.

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We were able to get on Haunted Mansion, the line was ridiculously long because it was the first weekend of the return of the Hatbox Ghost!  I don’t think I have ever stood in a line that long for the Haunted Mansion before, but I do love that ride, so it was totally worth it.

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We actually skipped Pirates because the line was SO long!  We meandered around, got on some more rides and then headed to CA Adventure.

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Have you had the lobster nachos at Cove Bar?  If you haven’t YOU MUST!  They were so delicious…I want some right now.

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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention above, the third reason I imagine it was so crowded was because there was a movie premiere happening on Saturday!  Tomorrowland starring George Clooney had their red (well it was blue, but still) carpet happen at 5:30ish, so we stood and watched some stars walk down the carpet.  We saw several, of course I don’t know their names, but they looked familiar!  The only photo we got was of Cindy Crawford who is as beautiful in person as she is in photo’s.

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Alas, we had an Indiana Jones fastpass and, to be perfectly honest, I was not willing to miss it to see George Clooney.  So off we went!

We were back at the hotel and laid everything out for the next morning.

4:00am and we were awake!  We got ready and went and grabbed some oatmeal at Jamba Juice.

On the way to our corral we ran into John, our wedding photographer, and his family!  Always fun to see friends.

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Rob was in corral B as they put all the fast boys in B so the first to cross the finish is definitely a woman.  I was actually in corral A (the only time I will ever be before Rob in corrals), but went back to B so we could run together.

First off were the wheelchair racers, than A and we were off after them!

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It was dark when we started, around 5:40am, but the sun rose quickly.  It was a little confusing to my brain because in the past Tinker Bell has been in January.  We run in the dark for a long time.  This time, being in May it was daylight super fast!  This wasn’t bad at all.  It wasn’t too hot and a lot of our pictures in the park came out really great because it was light outside!

The first 5 miles or so were around the park and then through California Adventure, then through Disneyland.  They had some great characters out, so we stopped for several.  The longest line we waited in was for Tinker Bell (of course).  I’m pretty sure we waited for about 5-7 minutes.  It was a good chunk of time.

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After we made our way through the parks we were out in Anaheim, through some really nice neighborhoods.

I actually prefer this course to Disneyland Half Marathon.  As much as I love running through Angels Stadium, the roads getting there are not the prettiest.  For Tink, we have some lovely neighborhoods and then through downtown.

Both Rob and I were pretty tired, so we kept a pretty easy, steady pace to finish off the race.  As we approached the finish line, I saw Minnie there and asked Rob to take a picture of me hi-fiving her…he got my hand….but it’s still cute!

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After we finished, got our medals, both the Tink and the Coast to Coast from our Goofy race earlier in the year we headed back to the hotel to clean up and get to our Goofy’s Kitchen brunch!                                                     IMG_6193 IMG_6188 IMG_6192 IMG_6190 IMG_6184

After our brunch we headed to Trader Sam’s for our traditional post race drinks!

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Then it was off to the airport.  Until September for the 10th Anniversary Disneyland Half Marathon.

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Can’t wait!!

QOTD:  Did you do the Tink Half this year?  What were the highlights for you?

2015 Western Pacific 5k Race Recap

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I’m a little late in writing this review, but it’s been quite the month!

I decided to sign up for the Western Pacific 5k because my husband Rob signed up for the full marathon.   If you’ve read past reviews of mine you’ll see how much I love Brazen races and this is no exception.

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Brazen runs their races like a tight ship.  Well organized, well attended and the best after race food EVER (bear claws and powdered donuts…YUM)!  Not to mention, I love their shirts.

Shirt

Shirt

I got there really early for my husbands start.  He decided to downgrade from the full to the half, so his start time was 8:00am and mine wasn’t until 8:45, so after he started I had some time to kill.

Ready to run

Ready to run

Rob off on his run!

Rob off on his run!

LUCKILY, one of my very good friends signed up for the 5k too, so I was pleasantly surprised when she found me and we hung out before our race start!  YAY for friends.

8:45 on the dot we were off.  It was an easy loop around Quarry Lakes, fairly flat all the way around on gravel/dirt.

Cristalle and I stuck together for the first mile and a half, then I went ahead to finish.  I was feeling really good, minus a slight heel pain.  I finished at 28 minutes, not a PR, but I found out I placed SECOND in my age group.  YAHOO!!!

YAY!

YAY!

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I spotted Cristalle finishing and cheered her in.  She didn’t find out until later, but she placed in her age group too!!  It was a good day for us!

Cristalle bringing it in!

Cristalle bringing it in!

A little while later Rob came in from the half, not a great race for him, but he finished strong.

Rob finishing strong

Rob finishing strong

We grabbed some food and hung out for a bit and went on our way.  It’s always so fun to run with friends, to have people to chat with before and after the race.

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Next up, Tinkerbell Half Marathon re-cap (spoiler alter: it was a great weekend).

QOTD:  What’s your favorite post race food?

2015 Santa Cruz Half Marathon Review

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Half Marathon #4 for the year is complete!  YAY!

I signed up for the Santa Cruz Half Marathon a while ago and was super excited for this race.  I have actually done the 10k before, so I was familiar with the course and I knew a lot of it was along the water, and I love the water, so I thought, why not do that half?

I live about an hour away from Santa Cruz, which means, I woke up at around 5:45, to leave the house at 6:15 and get to the race start by 7:15.  All was going according to plan until…parking.

Oh man!  The parking situation was crazy.  It’s my fault.  I should have gotten there earlier.  I thought that 45 minutes before race start would be enough time…I was WRONG!  I found a spot around 7:20am that had a meter.  When I looked in my wallet I had 3 quarters…not enough for the amount of time I was planning on being there.  On the meter was a website and an app to pay online.  I downloaded the app…didn’t work.  I went on the website to try and give them my credit card number…error.  Finally, I called the phone number, it was a recording.  When it came time to read back my license plate number, the recording kept mixing up F with S…WHY?!  3 times I called back because the dang recording kept hanging up on me…the recording did not practice good customer service, if you ask me.

By 7:50 I FINALLY was able to get everything taken care of.  I sprinted to the registration booth to pick up my bib, got in the starting corral with 4 minutes to spare. I had my Flipbelt, my cell phone, my shuffle, my headphones (with my new Cordskinz), my visor, my gels…my gels??  OH NO!  The gels were still in my purse…in the trunk of my car.  No gels for me on this race.

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By the time I got in the corral, set my watch and got my headphones in it was one minute to start…ahhhhh…plus I had no time to potty and after an hour drive, plus 45 minutes of figuring out the parking…I needed a potty…oh well!  That had to wait.

We were off!  I spotted the 2:00 pacer, so I just kind of paced off of him.  We went up West Cliff Drive with some beautiful views of the ocean and the cliffs.  Around mile 5 I finally spotted a bathroom!  I took a moment and when I came out it was too hard for me to catch back up to the pacer.  We were on a paved trail high above the ocean on overlooking the cliffs, it was so beautiful!

It was also hilly.  For some reason I wasn’t anticipating all of the hills on this course, but I just went with it.  What else could I do, right?

We did a really nice trail curving back towards the paved trail we ran on.  There was a nice breeze going, but there wasn’t a ton of shade on the course, so it was pretty warm.  Not a cloud in the sky in Santa Cruz, so the sun was definitely beating down.

A little uphill at mile 8, past Natural Bridges on mile 9 and then hit a stride at around mile 10 heading back towards West Cliff Drive.

I’m not going to lie.  I bonked hard at around mile 7 and mile 10.  I had no gels, so every water stop I was taking water and gatorade (had to be careful NOT to pour the gatorade over my head, like I do with the water), but it wasn’t the same as gels.  I was feeling it big time and had a terrible cramp in my left hip.  Annoying.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Finally, I spotted the Boardwalk in the far distance and knew we were almost there.  I walk/ran the last 3 miles just because I couldn’t keep the pace running.  My feet were feeling it too!  2 blood blisters and one regular when I took my shoes off after I got home.  Good fun.

The race finished right on the beach and I got my super sweet medal.  I also spotted my blogger friend Michelle at Blessed with Thunder Thighs!  She was pacing the 2:10 group and I came in right behind them at 2:11:20.  Always fun to see someone you know on the course!

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After I finished, I grabbed some water, a bagel, banana and some orange slices.  Sat on the beach for a bit and then headed over to grab my shirt.  The only disappointing thing about this race…they ran out of women’s small shirts!  Such a bummer!  I had to settle for a men’s small, but I think I can cut it up to be cute.

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All in all, this was a great Sunday morning run with beautiful views.  I highly recommend it if you’re close by or if you just want to take a vacation in Santa Cruz during this run next year🙂

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Next up – Tinkerbell Half in Disneyland next month!  YAHOO!

QOTD:  Have you ever run into a parking situation right before a race?  How did you handle it?