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Monday, September 8, 2014

Starting Over

Tomorrow marks 6 weeks since the newest squishy was born. 6 weeks! It's flown by. She is becoming a responsive little person, smiling and starting to find her voice. She is still an excellent nurser and still doesn't sleep for squat, at least for longer than a 2 hour period.

As for the rest of the weight I was carrying, well it hasn't budged. I nurse often, you know, breastfeeding, the magic burner of calories. BS plain and simple. I cleaned up my eating. Way too many fruits and veggies and not enough tasty food.
Those who tell you these good for you foods can be fun and delicious, they secretly cry into their spaghetti squash. We go out to eat and I get a salad, with a light vinaigrette dressing as not to overwhelm my sad spring mix and baby spinach. No soda. No sweet tea. Just water, with a lemon if I'm feeling frisky. Tons and tons of water. 14-16 cups a day to be exact. Yet the extra weight, it sits there. I started the pregnancy at 123 lbs. I finished around 175, over 50 lbs gained. I now hover just under 150 lbs, 25 lbs up. I've been here since 10 days post birth. I just finally sucks up my pride and bought some new shorts, a size 12, since none of the 4s-8s I have here come close to fitting and I've been chilling in maternity shorts for 5 weeks. Because there was something prideful about wearing maternity shorts for months pot birth.

I haven't officially been cleared for activity yet, but close enough. I decided to ease into exercise because I don't know how my milk supply will respond. I'm hoping that with plenty of water, I won't have issues. I decided to start with PIYO, a new program that is lower intensity but builds muscle and helps with flexibility. I figure this will not just be easier on my body but will also help me build up my body for running. I've gone through injuries as a runner because of lack of core strength. My DVD set came Saturday, and I started today. Not before a few before pictures.

This is me, being not impressed

This might not look horrible to some people, but it's more than I am comfortable with, and it needs to go.

Now when you are the mother of 4, it's not as simple as popping in a DVD and going for it. My 3 year old is only in school 2 days a week. The newborn has to be changed and nursed and sleeping. And random household chores need to be done when I think of them, otherwise I will forget. So working out went something like this.

Feed 3 year old lunch.
Change baby. Nurse baby.
Send 3 year old to her room for quiet time. With her Kindle(electronic babysitting, don't judge). Change into workout clothes. Try several sports bras on before finding one buried deep that actually covers these massive boulders sitting on my chest. Don't forget nursing pads. I don't feel like stopping midway because I'm leaking.
Remember I need to wash our comforter, so throw it in the wash(postpartum night sweats are no joke yo).
Come downstairs and get baby to sleep in her swing.
Baby sleeping, check.
Pop in the first DVD. It tells me I should have a yoga mat, water and a towel. Well the cat destroyed my yoga mat. Quickly add yoga mat to my Target shopping list. No time to run upstairs for a towel. Notice the 3 year old left her t-short balled on the floor. Pick it up, lay it next to my water. It'll do.

Then I pressed play. It was just an intro DVD but still a little workout. The baby slept for the entire 40+ minutes. The 3 year old, well she played in her bathroom and got into a few other things but nothing harmful, so that's a win right?
Done and done.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Let's Start Over, Shall We?

If my activity on my blog is any indication of how active I was during my pregnancy, well it's no wonder I gained 50 pounds. Let's rewind a bit.

I had sworn that I would remain active during my pregnancy. And I did. Kind of. I did the Tinkerbell 10k and 1/2 marathon and the Glass Slipper Challenge, all before 20 weeks pregnant. So what did I do after 20 weeks? I ate Pop Tarts. A lot of Pop Tarts. I also ate everything else. I took full advantage of eating for two and I ate for two...small third world countries. What was supposed to be my most active and healthiest pregnancy turned out to be the largest amount of weight I've put on while carrying a child.

I was doing well, really. Here I was at 25 weeks. All belly, weight gain looking good, still thin everywhere else.
And then weight gain picked up. Big time. By 30 weeks I wasn't just all belly. I was belly, love handles, thighs and arms.
This only continued. The new baby girl ended up coming a day late(my longest pregnancy) and I was tipping the scales at well over 170 pounds, the most I have ever weighed before. All the hard work and weight loss I'd managed after my 3 year old, gone. Now, this isn't the end of the world. I grew 8lbs and 10 oz of the sweetest little girl, the perfect addition to our family.
Her birth was amazing. Thanks to the past couple of years of running and accomplishments, I learned that life outside of my comfort zone was the cool place to be and I finally got the nerve to chase after the birth I'd always wanted. I wanted a natural birth, outside of the hospital, but I was afraid to make the switch, for fear of something going wrong. After pushing through the Glass Slipper Challenge and knowing how strong I was, I took the leap and made the switch to a birth center at 21 weeks. It was an amazing decision and after just 3 hours of labor, I gave birth peacefully and naturally in the water to the most calm little pudge of a baby girl. It was my perfect birth.

Now that that perfect birth is over, here I am. 3 weeks after delivery, I am down about 25 pounds. I still have 25 pounds to lose. I am nursing so drastic diets aren't an option and I have to pay close attention to my diet, calorie intake, amount of exercise and the water I drink. There's a pretty fine line to walk, I have to maintain enough calories to keep my milk supply up but I still need to manage a net calorie loss in order to lose weight. Obviously none of this has started yet, since I'm still technically supposed to be recovering. I have cleaned up my eating. I broke up with Pop Tarts. I watch what I eat as not to take it 3000+ calories a day. I have started walking here and there, short distances. I'll increase my activity when I get the all clear from my midwife in 3 weeks.

But until then, it's back at square one. I started this blog back when I started running and losing weight the first time around. Here I am again.

The Things You Learn At the Back of the Pack

If you are looking for the condensed version of this post, check out my write up from a few months ago on the DisBroads site.

Now I'll give you the uh, less condensed version. Let me start by saying I'm not some super speedy runner. I'm not placing in my age group and I'll certainly never come close to winning anything. I'm a solid middle of the pack girl and I'm good with that, only racing against myself. I do have a desire to get better and faster. I have tried to take things easy, especially during Disney races, to have fun, but my competitive self has never let me do that, at least before getting pregnant.

So let's go back, to early last summer, when I started training for 2 back to back races in the fall, that would happen two weeks apart. During one of the first weeks of training, I met up with another local mother runner and we got to chatting. At that time, I had no inkling or desire to ever run a full marathon. I joked about doing a certain full marathon with a very large window of time to finish in, so I could do half slowly, stop and take a nap, then finish the other half. The other mother runner was practically offended.
She told me that any regular person of any size and ability can get off of the couch and walk a half or full marathon in 6-11 hours. She'd never put a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on her vehicle if she took that long to finish. It was around this time, combined with me really sticking to my training schedule, that I started to feel the same way. I trained hard, with very early morning wake up calls, late night runs, treadmill runs, whatever I needed, to grab a PR in my next half.

Now I don't want to say I started thinking less of people who took 4+ hours to finish a half or who got swept. Their accomplishment was still note worthy. But they must have gone that slow for a reason. Did they skip out on training? What did they do wrong for it to take so long to finish. Surely they didn't work as hard as I did. I ended up with my PR at my first half in the fall and a Disney PR in my second half two weeks later. Then things came to a screeching halt.
I found out a couple of weeks after those two races that I was pregnant. I had 3 half marathons on the horizon, one in December, January and February. I planned to keep going, slow things down, but stay active and do those races. Thanks to morning sickness and having the flu, I had to skip my December half. I was heart broken but determined to finish my other races, the Tinkerbell 10k and 1/2 marathon in January and the Glass Slipper Challenge 10k/Half Marathon in February.

The Tinkerbell races were slower than normal but I stopped to have fun. We stopped for plenty of pictures, and being pregnant, I stopped for lots of potty breaks. My times were by far the worst times for a 10k and half marathon but simply because we stopped for so much fun! But I still finished with plenty of time to spare.

The Glass Slipper Challenge was a whole different ball game. If you read my recap(and if not, you can find it here), you'll know I went through a scratched cornea 4 days before the race weekend, a wicked stomach bug 2 days before the races started, all on top of being 18 weeks pregnant. To make things even worse, I strained my SI joint during the 10k and couldn't walk without massive amounts of pain, let alone run. But I set out to give the half my best shot anyway. If I was going down, I was going down swinging.

What could easily be considered my worst 1/2 marathon, with me finishing in 4:22, is actually what I consider one of my greatest accomplishments. Why? Plenty of people who didn't even bother training could probably finish in that amount of time. I've seen plenty of runners finish full marathons faster. So why was this race so full of win for me?

To start, just finishing shows how far I have come as a person. I didn't have the best life growing up and by my late teens and early twenties, I had developed a bit of a victim complex. Poor me. Nothing was my fault, I had things rough. It was always much easier to roll over and die than to push through, bust out of my comfort zone, and to actually fight for something. 10 years ago I wouldn't have even started this race. I would have told you all about how awful things were, being sick, pregnant and injured. I would have been too scared that I'd get picked up and swept from the course to even get out of bed the morning of the race. Truthfully, chances are decent I wouldn't have even registered in the first place because it all sounded so hard and I was scared. The fact that I kept going and refused to give up is the proof of how much I've grown up over the years.

Most of all, this race was important to me, not because of what it showed me about myself, but what it showed me about other people. As I mentioned growing over the years, I've also become a bit of a hard ass at the same time. I did go through a lot in my younger years. I did come out the other side a stronger person. If I can do it, why can't anyone else? I used to look at those being swept or those at the back of the pack the same way. I went from not a runner to finishing races in decent times, I trained my butt off no matter what, why couldn't anyone else? But when my situation lead me to a slow finish, it opened the door to understanding and compassion. I didn't know the stories of those at the back of pack. Were they injured? Did something awful happen during training? Did it take everything they had to just drag them self out to the course, knowing they'd probably swept? Maybe they trained, maybe they didn't. Truth is, I had no clue what their story was. I was proud of my 4:22 finish, why shouldn't anyone else be? So while I certainly didn't enter any record books, the lessons I came out of this race weekend with were priceless.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Princess Half Marathon 2014-Race Report

Yes, I know, slacking. But this race was almost 4 months ago you say. Yes, yes it was. Life happens y'all.

So let's recap the week leading up to the race. On top of being pregnant, I fought with a pineapple plant 5 days prior to this race and ended up with a scratched cornea. 3 days prior to the race, and on our way down to Florida, the stomach big that went around my house finally caught up with me, and I spent Thursday and Friday recovering from that. Saturday, the day before the race, I completed the first half of the Glass Slipper Challenge, the 10k, with my husband. During that race, I really made some part of my lower back angry and spent the rest of Saturday barely able to walk. So all of that in a matter of 5 days before this half marathon. Not cool. I went to bed Saturday night, after a feast at my favorite Disney restaurant, Ohana.

The Mister, enjoying a Lapu Lapu and Ohana
I had hopes of resting my back and waking up in the morning, at least able to walk comfortably. Based on the previous 5 days I had, what do you think happened? Did I have a stroke of awesome luck finally?

Ha, no. I woke up quietly early Sunday morning, as not to wake my husband. All of my previous Disney race weekends, with their 2:45 am wakeup calls, were spent with one or more of my DisBroads, all racing with me, so there was at least a little camaraderie to put some pep in our step the morning before a race. Not this time. I climbed out of bed and knew right away that my back pain had not eased up in the night. I had two choices, get back into bed and take a DNS, knowing there was a good chance I would get swept from the course, as I couldn't maintain the 16 minute mile pace, or even close. Or I could get dressed, shuffle along and hope to get as far as I could on the course. I chose the second option. I had to give it my best shot and hope to get as far as I could. Maybe I could make it. I had too much riding on finishing the race not to start. Not only was it the second half of a challenge, but this was the second half of my Coast 2 Coast races. Adding a 4th baby to our family and seeing how much work and money went into getting me out to the west coast for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon the month before, the chances of me being able get back out there for another shot at C2C in another year were extremely slim.

I got dressed quietly, got all of my gear together, and set out for the monorail to get to the starting area, where friends were waiting for me. My body was tired. I wasn't able to fuel properly before the race, except for Saturday, thanks to the stomach bug I had. I was already worn out from that growing a human thing(that second trimester energy boost they talk about, lies, all lies). I made the walk from the monorail to the start. I remember doing the same last year, being so excited about it all, the atmosphere was electric. This year you could practically hear the Imperial March, like I was trudging to my death. I finally met up with my DisBroads and was as ready as I was going to be.
Many of the other girls were planning on sticking together and were falling back to later corrals to keep each other company. I stuck with my corral, E, because I knew I would never be able to keep up with any of them and I knew I needed all of the extra time I could get if I had any hope of finishing this race.
The Zurg to my Buss, the She to my Nanigans, DisBroad Patty
The good guys, with DisBroads Bonnie and Summer
After what would be the first of 10 potty stops, I parted ways with my girls and headed to my corral.
The long hike to the corrals seemed extra long this year.
The long wait before the race actually started provided a little comfort, as I was able to sit and sitting was the only time I wasn't in large amounts of pain. But eventually it was my time. I started off running. This was a mistake. I was in a decent corral and my pride got the best of me, I didn't want the dirty looks as the people I could normally keep pace with jetted past me, assuming I was in the wrong corral. I made it less than a quarter of a mile before I couldn't even manage a speedy trot anymore. More and more of my corral passed me and then there was a lull, as I heard the fireworks of the corral behind me going off. It wasn't long before that corral caught up to me and that group began to pass me. This trend kept going. I would watch corral F pass me, then hear corral G's fireworks, then I would watch them pass me, and it continued. The first group of DisBroads passed me and recognized my Buzz Lightyear wings and gave me a little cheer as they went by.

The first couple of miles were a blur, but I made it. I stayed all the way to the very far right of the course, in the grass even, to stay out of the way of runners. One thing I noticed is that you can stay as far right as possible, and you will still get groups of runners cutting around you, calling that they are passing, and acting like you are the scourge of the earth for being in their way. I even had an official Clif pace leader and group cut around me like that. I've heard a lot of frustration in various runners groups online about slower runners and walkers and the lack of etiquette in terms of them crowding the course, not staying to the right etc, but I learned during PHM 2014 that this is a two way street. If slower folks should stay to the right, then passing to the left should be just as common, and zipping by those of us all the way to the right isn't cool. Especially if you are a pace group leader. If you don't understand the basic(although still unwritten) rules for racing, don't volunteer to lead a pace group and set the example for a bunch of people. Rant over.

You will notice a lack of pictures here. Because I didn't stop. I had to choose very carefully when to stop, because of my slower than it should have been pace. I was averaging 18-19 minute miles that early on. In the Florida heat, I had to make sure I was staying hydrated, and with my stowaway on board, that made for many bathroom breaks. Those nasty portapotties actually became a bit of a respite, because it meant I could sit down, even for 30 seconds, and meant a small break from the pain. By this point, taking steps sent sharp pain from my lower back, down my legs. People here and there stopped to make sure I was okay, I was visibly limping. Each mile was a milestone. I set very short goals, just make it to the next mile. After starting in corral E, it was only a few miles before I started seeing L and M corrals. But I couldn't focus on that. I just wanted to get to the next mile, and maybe even the castle.

I did eventually get to the castle. At this point, the walkers had caught up to me. No, not in some Walking Dead, eat your brains kind of way, but I was starting to be passed by the back of the pack folks. This isn't a bad thing, just an indication of how slow I was really going. I made it into Magic Kingdom and felt a bit of relief. I wasn't a fan of heading down Mainstreet USA, all the folks cheering. I felt stared at, on display and extra slow. The worst part is, people tried to cheer me on and motivate me, as if my pace was some indication of my ability. "Go Buzz, activate your jet pack, get moving, you can do it!"
Yeah, that's right. I know they meant well, but that's all I could think. I made it through what felt like a personal walk of shame(even among hundreds of other racers) and around through the castle. Heading through Frontierland, I saw a short line for Woody and figured if my time on the course was dwindling(surely it was) and I'm dressed as Buzz, I might as well get one picture. Plus there was a wall to sit on while I waited and that felt good.
I knew the race would be all downhill from there. After getting out of Magic Kingdom, you reach a stretch that leads you right to the pit of despair, even if you aren't ready to lay down and die from massive amounts of pain. Everyone kind of deflates as the course gets pretty boring between miles 7 and 10. I didn't need this stretch, but I kept going. I figured once I got past the resorts and into a more open area, I'd be looking at the balloon ladies and men on bikes, waiting to usher me onto the sag wagon. But I kept on.

DisBroads Patty and Julie were taking the course together and we passed each back and forth. They caught up to me and passed me, they stopped for a picture and I caught up to them and passed them, and we danced this tango over and over. I shuffled along and before mile 10(yes, I was still at it at mile 10!), they caught up to me again.
I was miserable at this point, the ladies could tell and they offered to stay with me, but I told them to go ahead. I wasn't going to drag them down with me, and they went ahead. I really wanted to get up the clover leaf and onto the overpass to see what I was dealing with. How close to the end was I? Where were the balloon ladies? Did I even stand a chance? I did make it past mile 10 and up onto the overpass. I looked down below and back onto the course I had completed. I started to feel a little better. Not physically, I was still in massive amounts of pain, but mentally. There were still tons of people behind me. I didn't see balloon ladies or buses. I started to feel like I had hope after all.

Even though I felt like I would actually make it to the point where they stopped sweeping, it was still very hard mentally. By this point, coming up on mile 11, I was more than ready to be done. I had been on the course for over 3 1/2 hours. The fog had burned off and now the hot Florida sun(yes, they have that in February too) was beating down. I was still in pain. I was tired. Who knew it was actually a lot harder to walk a half marathon at close to a 20 minute pace than it was to run one at a 10 minute pace?

After mile 11, I knew I was going to make it. I started to get texts from my husband, checking in on me. I made it down the last overpass and towards Epcot. I saw a very welcome sight when I got to the entrance.
I had made it to Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue can almost always be found towards the end of the race, holding her trusty "I'm Proud of You Too, Complete Stranger." sign. She signaled I was getting closer to being done. The first words out of my mouth when I went up to her were "Oh mmy god, I'm so glad to see you." and I was, because, even though I knew I was close being almost to Epcot, her presence made it more real. I felt safe enough to stop for another picture.
My 5 and 3 year old girls love Sofia the First so I needed this picture. I made my way through Epcot, which was open by this point. My husband had texted me that he'd drove our car up to the parking lot and was waiting for me. I passed the choir and rounded the bend to mile 13.
I was going to make it. I was going to earn my medal. I was going to complete the Glass Slipper Challenge. I was going to earn my Coast 2 Coast medal. I hadn't given up and I made it. You notice the time in the picture. I was well over 4 hours. I kept walking and heard my name called. For the first time during any of my races, there was my husband, standing along the side, by the guardrails, just before the finish line. He had come out to watch me finish, and it meant the world to me. I crossed the finish line at 4:22. This was close to double my finish time of my personal best time just 4 months earlier. But this was by far the hardest race I have ever done, mentally and physically. It opened my eyes to a lot of different ideas, it made me realize how I had grown. Some people might say that anyone can finish a half marathon in over 4 hours, but I would tell you I earned those medals.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Disney's Inaugural Enchanted 10k Race Report

The first half of the Glass Slipper Challenge. If you read the first two entries from my weekend(and if you didn't, you can read them here and here), you'd know I'd been battling a stomach virus in the days prior. The day before the 10k, I felt better, but eating and drinking weren't quite meshing with me, so I wasn't able to pack my food in like I normally would before races. After a day at Epcot on Friday, I was able to sleep well Friday night, and woke up feeling even better on Saturday morning, although still far from 100%.

The events leading up to the race, the snafu with billing and having to hash that out, on top of being wiped out by that stomach bug, on top of just being pregnant, had me in a bit of a funk. I wasn't thrilled with the 2:45 am wake up call, but tried to turn my frown upside down.

This race was different from my others. Usually my husband has played supporter in the sense that he takes care of our 3 kids while I run and race. He has never been to any of my races before, local or otherwise. It's not an issue, dragging our 3 hell spawn cherubic offspring out in public for a race isn't the easiest job, so he supported me by keeping them at home. But this time was different. It was just him and me on this trip and I'd convinced him to run the 10k with me. I was excited to do this with him and to give him a taste of my Disney racing obsession.

We had the pleasure of being able to leave a little bit later because instead of waiting for a bus, we were able to take the monorail over to the Epcot parking lot. The ease of this over the buses was definitely a plus. We arrived and went to meet the rest of the DisBroads. All of us, with the exception of summer, were doing this race.
The DisBroads had a Mary Poppins theme going on, I was too lazy to follow along for this race, and my husband isn't that much of a team player.
Aside from being the first race I was doing with my husband, this was also my first time meeting DisBroad Shannon in person. Patty, Shannon and I met long before Disney running and the DisBroads and the blogs. About 6 years ago, we met in an online group for, let's just say, like minded political folks. We've since ditched the politics and chosen to bury our heads in Disney's sand. It's a much friendlier way to live life.
The girls were happy and dancing and me, I was still feeling funky. At the start of the race, they were going to go ahead and the husband and I were going to be taking it easy. I was pregnant and still weak, and my husband hadn't done one lick of training. Normally that kind of thing wouldn't have been recommended, but well, it turns out he had no issues with this and I spent most of the race trying to keep up with him. Men.

We started off from Corral C, the middle of the pack. All of the waiting and naturally, as soon as we set off, I had to go to the bathroom. The first mile and a half of the race is one big stretch of highway. There is nothing there, and this includes bathrooms. I grew increasingly irritated with Disney's lack of planning in terms of restrooms. For as long as we have to stand in the corrals and wait to set off, they could at least slap some portapotties within the first mile. But no, not this time. At almost 1.5 miles in, I had to go to the bathroom so badly. We came to a medical tent and there was one, yes, one bathroom. I got in line but after a couple of minutes I wasn't willing to wait anymore. We ditched the line and I was forced to do something I have never done before. I had to head off into the wooded median to drop my drawers and relieve myself in the woods. Not cool Disney. Not cool.

Feeling much better, we continued on. The first 5k was down, and we still hadn't seen anything of any interest along the way. I was very disappointed in the course thus far. the lines for the few characters we had passed were very long and we decided not to wait, not to mention the characters themselves weren't anything exciting.

Finally, at around 3.5 miles in, we entered Epcot, from a back gate that lead into Norway. We ran around the World Showcase and out the back gate. Here is where my grand plan kicked in. Months before, when the race course came out, I saw that part of it went along the Boardwalk, right past the Boardwalk bakery. There is a certain dessert, a cheesecake brownie, that I dream of. During our last trip, the bakery was closed for renovations, so I missed out. It had been years since I had one, and I fully intended to stop in and grab a snack during the race. Carb loading or eating for two or something like that, right?
Plus I figured it would make for great pictures. I'm all about photo ops. Luckily the bakery opened at 6:30 so by the time we made it to that part of the race, it was open and my brownie was waiting. So when we hit it, I stopped in.
And I scored!
Things were going well as we entered Epcot again and came up on mile 6. I had to go to the bathroom again and we passed an actual restroom in the park, so we stopped. My husband told me to hurry, so I set off to jog. And there it was. A sharp, shooting pain in my lower back, that traveled up my back and down my leg. I immediately stopped and told him I couldn't. It hurt. A lot. I limped to the bathroom and went, still in pain. I wasn't sure what happened, but walking was very hard from that point on. I just wanted to finish the race, eat my brownie and sit down. I figured I needed a good stretch and to lay down for a bit. We finished in 1:49, my slowest 10k ever, especially considering aside from bathrooms and the bakery, we didn't stop. I was happy to be done. We had breakfast planned, I wanted a shower and to take some Tylenol and get my back to feeling better.
Unfortunately, my  back problems were just beginning.

So my overall thoughts on this race. I was not a fan of the course. The first half was about as boring as boring gets. I had done the Tink 10k 5 weeks prior and that had a much busier course, with lots to see. This course didn't, and if this is standard for 10k courses at WDW, this was probably my first and last 10k. With as expensive as that 10k is, I'd like to see a little more jazz out there. I was also pretty miffed at the lack of amenities along the first couple of miles of the race course. Given the weather  is usally warm for these races and people are hydrating quite a bit, then the wait in the corrals before starting the race, you'd think something like bathrooms would be common sense within the first mile. Apparently Disney didn't feel the same way. With the course as boring as it was, from long stretches of highway to the not so wowing characters on the course, I can't see myself signing up for this particular race again.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Glass Slipper Challenge Weekend 2014-Part 2

Friday morning brought a little relief. I wasn't aching anymore, I had gotten some sleep during the night and was feeling a lot better. My stomach was still feeling uneasy but no full on nausea like I'd had the day before, it more felt like I wasn't very hungry. But I knew I'd have to get hungry and fast, because not only was I eating for two, but the next day would bring the first 6.2 miles of my 19.3 mile weekend. I needed to be fueled for that.

We planned an easy park day, but first stop was the Expo. We grabbed some breakfast from the cafe at our resort and headed over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. I much prefer the expos here over my first expo, which was moved to the Coronado Springs conference halls for last year's PHM weekend. We stopped for a few pictures.
We headed inside to pick up our respective bibs, mine for the Glass Slipper Challenge and the husband's for the Enchanted 10k. This also meant I had a lot of tech shirts to pick up too.
We didn't stay at the expo long. I didn't have anything I wanted to buy, since DisBroad Julie had scored me a pair of runDisney New Balance shoes the day before. We also planned to spend the day at Epcot, and with an early night ahead of us, thanks to an early race morning on Saturday, we wanted to hurry over and spend as much time there as possible. We dropped our swag bags off at our room and headed over to Epcot.

I was still feeling queasy but forced myself to stop in China for some orange chicken and rice. Normally this would have made my taste buds happy, but my stomach was still turning. We toured the countries and did a few rides, including Spaceship Earth. I always love the pictures they get of you.
We met a few other DisBroads over for a quick dinner in America before we parted ways to head back to our respective rooms for an early bedtime, just as the sun was starting to set a bit.
I was hoping the following day would allow me to feel even better. It did, but that just meant that something else would go wrong. Stay tuned for my 10k race report to find out how it went.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Glass Slipper Challenge Weekend: Part 1

Yes, I know that the Glass Slipper Challenge was over 2 months ago. But you try being pregnant with baby #4. Better late than never right?

Where can I start with this weekend? This weekend was a disaster in the making from before the get go. I had completed the Tinkerbell 10k and Half Marathon unofficial challenge in Disneyland just 5 weeks prior. While being pregnant during those races certainly slowed me down, I finished those races with no issues and had a great time at the parks with some great friends around those races.
Glass Slipper weekend was to be a trip for just my husband and me. Normally my race weekends are girls weekends, but my hubby deserved a break too, he agreed to do the 10k portion with me and my mom was more than happy to come stay with our 3 kids while we had one last hoorah before welcoming baby #4. Signs that our weekend might not go so well began very early in the week, before we even left for our trip.

Monday night, t-minus 4 days before hubby and I left for Walt Disney World, the stomach flu hit our house, and it hit it hard. Within an hour, my husband and 2 older kids went from "I'm not feeling so hot." to projectile vomiting all over my house. I cared for them from a distance and prayed I wouldn't catch it myself. I slept in a different bed Monday night, only to get into a fight with a house plant early Tuesday morning and ending up with a scratched cornea. There I was on Tuesday, 4 days before I was due to complete 19.3 miles, with over half my family puking and half blind.
By Wednesday, things started to look better. A trip to my eye doctor gave me some ointment that healed my eye right up and the stomach bug seemed short lived, both kids affected went back to school and my husband went back to work. I felt good and my 2 year old showed no signs of being sick. I continued on with cleaning and preparing for my mother to arrive. She arrived safely and Thursday morning, hubby and I were set to depart.

I woke up Thursday morning and finished getting ready, and got the kids off to school. I noticed a little queasy feeling brewing but hoped it was just a touch of morning sickness, as I still saw it come and go at that point. It wouldn't be long before I realized this was not the case. We barely made it into the next state when I started feeling more sick and body aches started. I had  not only caught the stomach bug, but I caught it while starting a 9 hour long car ride, 2 days before my races. I'm not sure I've never had a more miserable trip.

But that wasn't all. We had our room booked at the Contemporary Resort, a room only reservation, and standard Disney protocol is to pay any remaining balance upon check in. I called for our remaining balance so I could get my gift cards ready, and Disney's automated line said our balance was paid in full. I started to feel more sick, as worry about how our bill was paid and the stomach bug did not make a good combination. I spent quite a long while on the phone, waiting for Disney to tell me how it was paid, as I had not completed check in and had been paying our balance with gift cards in the months leading up to our trip. They finally told me that I had put a credit card number into My Disney Experience over a month prior, and it billed to that card. Things went from bad to worse. I put the debit card for a not often used account when ordering our Magic Bands, kind of as a place holder, because it prompted me to add one for room charging privileges. I figured it was no big deal, and that we would switch to our main card when we checked into the resort. There was no money in this account and if Disney had billed to it, we would be hit with overdraft charges(which I highly doubt Disney would have given back). Cue a freak out.

There was absolutely nothing they could do over the phone. We would have to fix it upon check in at the resort, where they could reverse the charges. But this absolutely didn't help me as we were still 6 hours away. We had to scramble to find a shared branch credit union somewhere in BFE South Carolina, to transfer money from our main bank. Did I already mention I had caught the stomach bug? I already wanted to roll over and die, I felt so awful, now I had to find a random bank, stand in line and transfer money to cover the unauthorized Disney charges. This added another hour or so onto our trip, a trip already so miserable for me. It was pure hell.

We finally arrived to our resort at around 8pm(a 9 hour trip turned into a nearly 12 hour trip thanks to my illness and the bank detour).

I could barely manage standing at the front desk, and if looks could kill, poor Cast Member Tad would have been dead and buried. My attitude was a lot less than magical. It turned out, in Disney's infinite wisdom, they checked in many of the guests without their consent. They figured it would "expedite" the check in process. Those with credit cards on file(and mine was never really on file, at least not for check in and billing purposes) were billed accordingly. Definitely uncool Disney.
Although online check in is only available within 10 days of a trip, I was told I had checked in online over a month prior to that date. While they were able to reverse the charges and straighten things out, they did absolutely no more than offer a "We're sorry about that." after I stood at the desk, weak, shaky and trying not to vomit for almost an hour. I was extremely disappointed, especially given we were staying at one of the most expensive resorts on property. As loyal as I have been to Disney over the years, I most certainly did not feel the appreciation.

But straightened out, we finally were able to get to our room. We were all the way in the south wing, not in the main tower. This was another disappointment. When you think of the Contemporary, you think of the big resort with the monorail running right outside your door.
But if you don't study the resort well, you could find out that you are spending hundreds of dollars a night to stay in a wing off of the main building, with no views and a nice long walk to the monorail. Naturally, this is where our room was. I really feel like it was a waste of money. If I wanted no view of the monorail, with a long walk to our room, in an ordinary building, I could have saved several hundred dollars and stayed at another resort.

Feeling sick, disappointed and not very magical, we trudged to our room. We passed DisBroads Patty and Tania on the way, and they carefully avoided me to stay far away from what I had. We said our hellos and gave our air hugs, but I just wanted to go to bed. We got to our room, which was very nice and spacious(just not in the main tower), and my silver lining for the day waited for me. DisBroad Julie felt so sorry for me, the fact that I was sick, my nightmare of a billing snafu, and a very long drive, that she picked up a pair of the runDisney New Balance shoes for me at the expo.
They sure were snazzy. After what was one of the longest days I'd had in awhile, I settled in for sleep. I had hoped I would feel better in the morning and that I could put the miserable first day behind us. The good news is, I did feel better the next day. The bad news is, the bad juju was not behind us. You'll just have to wait for my 10k race report to hear all about that.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday-Tinkerbell 10k and Half Marathon

Well, almost wordless. I'm a slacker. I admit it. Life, pregnancy, winter, they've all gotten in the way of posting about Tinkerbell weekend. Pregnancy brain keeps me from remembering details from this weekend, so I'll just post the pictures from the first half of my Coast 2 Coast challenge and my first trip to Disneyland.
Sarah, one of many runDisney buddies I've made, and me
My BRF for the weekend, Amy(Mom's Magical Miles), and our flat Julie
A spectacular costume, Kevin from Up. Someone ran an entire 10k in this outfit.
The tightrope Walker and Widowed Bride from the Haunted Mansion, I have never seen them on a course or in the parks before!
DisBroads Amy, Patty and April
April(from Run the Great Wide Somewhere), DisBroad Patty, DisBroad Amy, DisBroad April
Photo Courtesy of Amy
Tink 10k done!
My first A corral start(and last)
The disappointingly small castle at Disneyland. And trash cans.
Really? I pay $175 for a race and you want me to be quiet? I think not.
The DisBroads reunite. On the side of the highway.
Why thank you random stranger!