RunDisney 2016: 15 Weeks to go, and Tough Mudder!

Ok, we all know what this week was about.. Tough Mudder.

With that looming at the end of the week, we decided to only run once, on Tuesday, and skip Thursday to save ourselves for Saturday.. It was a nice little 5-6 miler, nothing special, but Saturday..

Saturday was all about the mud. If I’m being honest, I’m still a little in shock and awe that its all over, and that we did it. It was beyond insane.

Up and on the road by 7.30am, a rush to sign in and find our team, and into the warm-up zone for a quick jump around before making our way to the start line – which of course we could only get to by getting over a 6ft wall!

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From there, it was only 11.8 miles with almost 30 obstacles to get through before we crossed the finish line again, no biggie..

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Ice baths, mud miles, 12 ft walls, tunnels, hills, and electric shocks – the photos don’t do justice – and just over 4 hours later, we crossed the line and were greeted by goodie bags and a pint!

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I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it was such an incredible experience! Definitely hard work, but amazing. Our team was phenomenal, especially Dad, who only actually signed up for this during the week, but was such a trooper and blew us all away!

Would I do another one? Let’s just watch this space..

And as for Run Disney, today marks the first day of double digits – only 99 days until we leave!

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RunDisney 2016: 20 Weeks to go!

Despite my positive attitude to our new training schedule, I knew a week like this would happen at some point: the ‘disappointing’ week – the kind where running isn’t top priority.

In all fairness its my fault. I had two total burnout gym sessions this week which left me too tired and too achy for our early week runs, and it was the sensible decision to give them a miss in anticipation of a bigger distance on Saturday.

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So this week we ran 7.5 miles, in the fairly respectable time of 1 hour 30. Sure, we’ve been faster, but this week wasn’t about pushing ourselves, it was about keeping going. Plus, despite being a British summer, its still August and it was really warm, even at 8am, and I really struggle with heat.

So what else has happened this week? Well becoming an ever-increasing priority for Dad and me is improving our eating habits, and while its a bit of a challenge, we’re slowly getting there, and probably the greatest revelation on this subject is our lasagne transformation. Lasagne is my all-time favourite meal, we eat it every week, but we’ve made a few simple changes – swapping beef mince for Quorn mince, and adding spinach as well as using spinach lasagne sheets – and we’re definitely onto a winner, it tastes amazing! I’m also making an effort to prepare more meals in advance so I’m not tempted to grab a ready meal at work or give into my snacking temptations.

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With all this in mind, I’m pretty pumped for getting back into things properly next week with a few key mantras in mind:

– Always find time to stretch and cool down properly

– Eating healthy makes for happier people

– Just keep swimming!

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#fitfordisney – What’s in my gym bag?

I love reading ‘What’s in my bag’ posts on other people’s blogs, so I thought it would be fun for a #fitfordisney post to do a ‘What’s in my gym bag’ post!

I’ve written before all about my gym bag itself, and how much I love it – its the Fabletics Sophia Satchel, and you can read all about it here – but today I’m emptying it to share the essential items of my gym kit that I love.

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For starters, I have a LOT of hairbands; everything from scrunchies to headbands. Because I have such long hair, keeping it all out of the way when I’m at the gym or out running is damn near impossible with just a simple hair tie, so I generally keep a skinny headband on me at all times, either to wrap my ponytail up into a bun, or to control the wispy hairs around my face which drive me mad! The wider headbands I tend to wear more around the house, or when I’m doing yoga.

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I generally walk to and from the gym, so don’t use the shower and changing facilities there, which means I don’t carry a massive amount of toiletries, but I cannot be without lip balm so I keep one of my many Eos balls in with my kit, as well as Vaseline hand cream in a vague attempt to keep my hands soft after doing weights! I also always have my combination lock, because you have to provide your own at my gym, and the nifty tool that opens my Fitbit when I need to change the battery, just in case!

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While hygiene is important in most aspects, I feel that foot hygiene is pretty high up there on the list of most important places to keep clean, and generally fairly forgotten about. As a runner, my feet are the most used body part in my workouts, so I always keep a can of shoe deodorant in my bag to spray my trainers after use, as well as a spare pair of socks. On the topic of feet, I also keep my pair of yoga socks in my gym bag, should I need them. They might look weird, but they’re crazy comfy, super grippy and I love them.

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Then there’s the gym essentials: a water bottle and a sweat towel. We all sweat, its entirely natural and you can’t do anything about it, but you can be considerate to other gym users by wiping down your equipment after use, whether you’re super sweaty or not, and for your own good, keeping hydrated is vital for replacing the water you lose while you’re working at your hardest. I have an Aladdin water bottle which is 600ml, and I generally will end up refilling it halfway through my gym sessions because I try to drink as much as possible.

So that’s me and my gym bag, what’s in yours?

#fitfordisney

RunDisney 2016 – Training Week 16

This post is coming out a day late, but the weekend drained me so much that I decided to take a quick power nap at about 6pm yesterday before writing my weekend posts, and I ended up sleeping through til 10pm, at which point I decided I should probably just get some sleep and start fresh today!

Yesterday Dad and I ran in the Poole 10k, our first competitive 10k since last October, which was our first. Now I’m not one to brag or anything, but we smashed it! We shaved 4 minutes off our time from October, finishing in 1 hour 3 minutes, and we actually did the first 5k in a record pace of 31 minutes! Safe to say we’re feeling pretty happy with ourselves!

Now we made a couple of changes to our plans this week..

With sign up for the Star Wars half marathon weekend opening early to APs, DVCs and travel companies, we got in touch with the travel company we thought about booking Disney World with (but didn’t in the end), and when they came back to us with prices, we had to think a lot about comparing prices from all our options, and we made a rather spur of the moment decision.. to do the Rebel Challenge!

So originally we were going to do the 5k, which will be on the Friday, and the half marathon on the Sunday, but Rebel Challenge is completing the 10k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday, essentially running two longer distance races with no rest day in between, eek!

Either way, we decided to book through the company, which means we’ve officially been accepted for early registration! We decided we won’t be staying on property in California; the local hotels are literally only minutes from the parks anyway, and are about a quarter of the price, so for only a few days, which we’ll spend entirely in the parks, it wasn’t worth the extra spend.

So this has been a pretty great week! We’re going to dial down training a little in the run up to Japan, then kick it back up to full notch once we’re back!

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RunDisney 2016: Training Week 15

Another week, and a new PB, yay!

Jeff’s training schedule implements something called ‘Magic Miles’, which is where every other week you time yourself for one mile, and then watch how this time improves with your training. Dad and I, however are sort-of bypassing this, and instead taking part in our local ParkRun 5k every other week instead, and tracking our improvement based on our times for that. Last time we did a ParkRun, we set a PB for the distance, and this week we managed to beat it; granted only by maybe 20-30 seconds, but an improvement all the same!

The great thing about our local course is that its mixed terrains and levels, from grass to dirt tracks to concrete paths, with uphills and downhills, so it really covers everything, and although most races tend to be fairly flat, it prepares us for all eventualities and works different muscles for all round effectiveness!

We’ve (rather spontaneously) entered a 10k next Sunday, and we’re hoping to beat our previous record for a race, which is 1 hr 7 mins, but its looking like its gonna be hot, hot, hot, and its mid-afternoon, eurgh!

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RunDisney 2016: Training Week 14

This week an important lesson was learnt.

Never EVER wear new/different shoes on the day of a race.

I mean it.

If you’ve been following our training, you’ll know that this week was going to be the week we hit the big distance. We decided to forgo the 12.5 mile target and hit the big 13.1, set our first PB and feel super about doing it..

We didn’t. And I’m not going to lie, it was entirely my fault, which I hate.

I have two pairs of trainers that I run in: a pair of Nikes, which I’ve done the majority of my running over the last year or so in, and a pair of Karrimor running shoes which I use on and off, but not very often, so I’ve been trying to use them more recently to wear them in a little more and check their suitability. I wore them for all our runs last week and they were totally fine; a lot more lightweight than my Nikes and slightly more supportive of my feet.

So I figured why not wear them this weekend? We set off bright and early yesterday morning, and totally opposite to our last big distance, the weather was sunny, not much wind and for 7.30/8am, it was super warm, and by super warm I mean sweaty hot. But we continued to run into the heat of the morning sun, keeping a good pace, and hit the 5 mile mark in a record time (for us, obviously) of 57 minutes, which was a great feeling and could only mean good things for the rest of the run..

And then we hit 6 miles, and the blisters formed.. A runner’s nightmare, and all because I wore the wrong shoes. I’d never run more than 4-5 miles in my Karrimors, and the result of going past that point meant I quite literally have blisters upon blisters, in the same place on both feet. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the shoes are bad, I’m just stressing the importance of proper testing of shoes before a big race because I’d hate anyone else to have to give up mid-run, or do any serious damage to their feet.

I’m totally gutted we weren’t able to do it this week, but with plenty of training time to go, its not the end of the world!

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RunDisney 2016: Training Week 12

Another week of running, another week closer to the main event!

Yesterday was another big run – 11 miles! And d’you know what? It was easy. Well, that’s not entirely true; we ran the first half into what I like to call ‘brick wall wind’ (because it literally feels like you’re running into a brick wall), and there was a sand-in-the-eye incident, as well as a little bit of rain on the way back.. But running wise, we really got into our stride, if you pardon the pun.

Because both Dad and I had a little bit of calf pain in the week, we thought we’d be better off doing regular run-walk-run intervals, which once we hit the wind, we were eternally grateful for! So the first half (into the brick wall wind) we ran for 0.4 miles, then walked 0.1, and then on the way back we did 0.9 and walked 0.1, and we averaged a steady 5 miles an hour the whole way through, finishing the total distance in 2hrs 13mins. That in itself was an incredible accomplishment, but even better was knowing that we could have easily kept going for another two miles!

We nailed everything, from the time of day for good (by which I mean not too warm) weather, to eating a good breakfast that had us energised, but not feeling stodgy, and even having on-course snacks of a wine gum every few miles. For the first time I think we know that not only can we do it, but we’re easily going to do it in a great time: sub 2hrs 30!

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