Monday, October 5, 2015

5 Halloween Races You'll want to Run!

 The theme for this week's Tuesdays on the Run is "Novelty Races" so we thought it would be the perfect time to talk about Halloween races!

Have you decided on a Halloween costume yet? Will you be attending a party or will you be wearing a costume to run a Halloween themed race?
I'm not sure if there will be any Halloween parties in our future but we are hoping to get a fun Halloween themed race in this month! 
We thought we would share a few of them here with you. Hopefully you'll find one that you can easily travel too.
1. Rock n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon - Usually this race is held in September but as everyone knows the Pope came during that time this year so they moved it to Halloween Day. I ran it last year and it was a good flat course.  This year I think it will be even more fun because people will be able to dress up during this race because of the date change.   ( You can still use our code FAIRYTALESNFIT for a discount on your RNR race entry fee.)

2. Wicked 10k- This is another favorite race of ours.  This is part of the J&A Race Series located in Virginia Beach and a fun run that people dress up for. There are several prizes that can be won for costumes such as most unique,  best group, etc. A portion of the race runs on the boardwalk and there is always a great after party at the VA Beach convention center where runners are greeted with some warm soup in a tasty bread bowl!

3. Elizabethville 5k- If you are looking for a shorter distance and live near Central Pennsylvania this sounds like another fun race. You can choose to either walk or run the 5k. In addition to having the 5k they have a Monster Mash Dash kids race. This is a very economical race, $25 for the 5k and $10 for the kids race. 

4. Howl-oween 5k Fun Run-  Notice the "Howl" in the title?  This race is a charity race that supports animals in need. What a great cause. This race is also located in Central PA (Lewisburg).  Whether you're a walker, runner, or pushing a stroller, all are welcomed.  Hmm, I wonder if it is open to dogs as well?   Registration is only $10.  You can't beat it. You have to love these local race fees.

 If your schedule doesn't allow for a race morning, run it when your schedule allows. That's one of the things I like about a Virtual Race, there's no time frame.
You can still receive some great swag for signing up for this race. How cool is this spinner medal?  We Runners love our race bling.  All the swag shown is what you would get with the regular registration. The premium registration include a pair of glow in the dark knee socks.

Do you have any Halloween Races you will be running this month. Will you be running in a costume?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Harvest Hustle 5k through the Winery

Happy October!  It is finally starting to feel like fall around here. I have a feeling it is in part of the impending storm that's brewing on the East Coast. Already some races have been cancelled ( one I was suppose to run).
Anyway, I had a fun fall weekend this past weekend when I ran the Harvest Hustle 5k at a local winery called Shade Mountain.

1. Pre-Race: My friend picked me up and we arrived with plenty of time to spare which meant no problem finding a parking spot. After we got our race bibs my friend wanted to pick up a few bottles of wine. She had been there  before and knew which ones she liked, so she was  able to purchase hers before it became too crowded.  I told her I wanted to wait to get some because I wanted to be able to sample wines before I purchased them (this detail is important later). After dropping the wine off back in the car it was soon time to lineup.
2. The Course: It was chip timed at the finish, but no official start time. It went like this: Ready, Set, Go! And then we were off. I started right up front with a few men. Right from the beginning we had to run up a dirt hill which eventually turned into a grassy incline. It is a lot harder to run in grass  than I thought. I kept thinking we have been running up a hill for a while now. It either has to eventually flatten out or we have to start going downhill. There was a slight downhill right before getting back on another dirt road to continue up yet another incline.
3. The People: While I was running there was one man in front of me that I kept trying to keep my eye on. He was holding the American flag. I kept thinking that I didn’t have any ladies pass me yet. I wasn’t sure if this was true or not because once you start running you just get in a zone. I wanted to think that was the case so I was trying not to let anyone pass me from that point on. I was starting to get short of breath but felt much better than I did in last week’s 5k. I saw that there was a water stop at the turn around point so I decided to grab some. I never usually stop and get water at 5ks but I thought maybe this would help me this time. After continuing down the hill I saw the next lady making her way to the turn-around point. I was determined for her not to catch me. It was time to make my way back down the dirt road to yet another hill before entering back into the winery. Still there was no one ahead of me except the guy with the flag. I didn’t even hear anyone behind either. I wanted to look back so bad to see where the next person was, but I know you are never supposed to do that in a race, so I didn’t. I knew I was on the home stretch when I saw a sign that said you are almost at the wine. After making the turn I saw the Finish line.
4.The Finish: After crossing the finish line I went to get some water and the lady said congratulations I think you were the first female to cross. I thought, wow that’s great! Guess it was true that no one ended up passing me. I went back to the finish line to watch my friend finish. Then it was time to celebrate with some wine. Every runner received a wine glass with one complimentary glass of wine. We enjoyed the wine and an appetizer while listening to the band. Then it was time for the awards. They announced the names in all the age groups that had won and mine was not one of them called. I thought that was weird, maybe I wasn’t the first one. But when I saw the lady go up to receive her prize, I knew she finished after me. There was even someone that came up to me and said Didn’t you come in before her? I decided I was going to go ask. When I walked up to ask, the lady that received the prize said you did come in before me. She was the first in her age group but I was the first female overall but they didn’t announce the overall winners, which I thought they were going to. The lady handing out the prizes did apologize and said I will be right back to give you a gift card for the winery. We waited around several minutes and she never came back. So we decided to walk in the winery to choose some wine. I got in line to receive my gift card and she said I’m glad you came in. I thought well so am I because I was waiting outside for you and you never came back. After getting my gift card I knew I wanted to use it right away because I never come to this winery. I am glad I didn’t end up buying wine before the race. After sampling some wines, I purchased some bottles and we were own our way home.

5. The Verdict: I really enjoyed this race. However, I think they needed to be a bit more organized and needed more help inside with samplings and checking out. The course was pretty tough for a 5k. Even though I’m sure people wanted to do this race just for fun and have wine afterwards. It is not a good first 5k race. I think it should have been clearly stated that it is a tough course for beginners. Another thing that would have made this experience better for runners would be having it be earlier in the day or later in the season. The race didn’t start until 1pm and it was very warm at that time. But with any first time races there are always things to improve on and I’m sure with their feedback they will work on some things for future races. I still can’t believe I finished first female overall. I never thought that would be in my reach. That evening I came home and celebrated by having a glass of wine. -L
Have you ever done a race through a Vineyard? Have you ever raced through grassy areas?
We are linking up with the lovely ladies of the Friday 5!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dumbo Double Dare: The Disneyland Half Marathon

We are never ones to pass up a good Disney race recap so when our friend Lois agreed to share her experience at the Dumbo Double Dare race challenge over Labor Day we were excited!  After visiting Disneyland for one race challenge this year, I'm not sure when (or if) we will fly cross country to do another one, but it sure was fun seeing it through Lois's perspective!

Sunday, September 6, 2015 was the last day of racing at Disneyland.  It was the final leg in a long journey.  It was a day when dreams came true.  It was the day that I would accomplish something I had set out to do almost 2 full years earlier.  It was a day I would do the Disneyland half marathon, a day that would finish up the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, and a day that I would get the coast to coast medal.

Like in Dopey, the multiple mornings with the O dark thirty wake-up call seemed like they were getting earlier.  And like Dopey, the day of the longest race of the challenge I was able to get out of bed quickly and move quickly.  Unlike Dopey, I didn’t get stuck in a major traffic jam as I headed to the race. 

By this time, the Goofy statue and I were getting very well acquainted, as I stopped there for yet another pre-race picture.  I met up with my friend Erin as we were coming out of the elevators, so we walked over to Downtown Disney together. 
We met up with some friends for a pre-race picture and some words of encouragement.  We met at Earl of Sandwich, which was a great place to meet.  It was on the way to the start line, but it wasn’t crowded so we were easily able to find each other.  My friend Melanie and I had hoped to run the half together, so I was very thankful for an easy spot to find each other.

We headed to the start line. I dropped back a corral so we could start together, but we made our way to as near the front as possible.  We actually were right by the 2:30 pace group.  We thought about trying to stay with them, but we also know pace groups don’t stop for anything.  We decided to run our own race and pace and not join the pace group.  We didn’t stop for many pictures while in Disney’s California Adventure or Disneyland, the lines were just too long, maybe due to the fact that the hero of the story was combined with the villain.  We saw Lady Tremaine with Cinderella, the Evil Queen with Snow White. We did stop for DJ and Lightning McQueen and we absolutely had to stop for Tiana and Dr. Facilier since that is my youngest daughter’s favorite movie!  
 I think every race for the weekend I made a stop in Cars Land for a picture of whatever Cars character was out.  We stopped by the Mickey wheel and by the castle for some pictures, then we headed out of Disneyland and we hit the streets of Anaheim.

I have to tell you, I had heard about the entertainment on the streets, but I didn’t think it was going to be as much as it was.  It really was a street party.  I loved the dancers, the high school bands.  The costumes of the Spanish dancers were so bright and beautiful!!  I forgot to get a picture of them, but I loved the hula dancers that I did manage to get a picture of.  The classic cars were amazing.  I thought it would be a small group like in the Speedway of the marathon.  Goodness, no, the cars went on for over a mile.  My favorite color is purple, so when I saw an awesome purple car with Elvis Stitch on the front I had to get a picture.  I was Elvis Stitch for the full marathon for Dopey, and Stitch for the half for Dumbo, so it was the perfect car to just snap a picture with.

Angels’ stadium was probably one of my favorite parts of the half marathon.  I grew up a HUGE Cubs fan, and I had once dreamed about seeing a baseball game in every major league stadium.  So when we hit Angels’ stadium I was so excited.  I love running the warning track on a baseball diamond.  I do the Coors Field Homerun for the Homeless just to run on the warning track (and get a slushie for free).  When I was doing Dopey, I didn’t hate ESPN zone, because we got to run on a baseball field.  So to run on the warning track at Angels’ stadium just got me pumped up.  I told Melanie that we should run the entire thing, no walk intervals…but then we had to stop for a picture.  I loved the boy and girl scouts lining the stands and cheering us on.  I high fived lots of girl scouts that day.  Angels’ stadium was just a fun experience, and I would do the Dumbo challenge or the Disneyland half again just to run the stadium.

The last few miles of the race went as expected, and I kicked it up a notch near the end.  I have a habit of doing this when I run, pushing harder toward the end, so I can finish.  Melanie on the other hand doesn’t like to kick it up at the end, so I did end up having to pull back a little.  We passed the 2:45 pace group somewhere around mile 11 (how they got ahead of us, I have no idea).  We wondered if we would catch up with the 2:30 pace group that we had started with.  We didn’t catch them, but we had a great finish time of 2:33.  Not bad for stopping for pictures while in DCA and DL, stopping for every mile marker, and stopping for a few pictures along the half marathon course.  We were quite pleased with our time.

I really enjoyed the whole race experience while at Disneyland.  I loved the ease of walking to the start line without having to catch a bus.  I loved being inside the parks for the 5K and the 10K.  I truly loved the set up of the half marathon, where the first few miles were fun, taking pictures and enjoying Disneyland, but I absolutely loved that the last part of the race we could just get a good groove on and get running.  I love the smaller field that Disneyland has of runners compared to the massive field at Walt Disney World.  Getting Dumbo and getting my Coast to Coast medals were something I had dreamed of since 2013, when I first started thinking of doing the WDW marathon.  I wanted it even before the first Dopey was announced.  I loved Dumbo, the whole experience.  I liked the fewer days of Dumbo versus Dopey.  I loved Dopey for making me push so hard for something.  I liked Dumbo, because I ran all 3 races relatively pain free.  I am Dopey, I am Dumbo, I make my own dreams come true!!   -Lois

Monday, September 28, 2015

I'm sorry if my running annoys you

My friend Kristy recently wrote a post about things runners do that could be contributing to an unpleasant race experience for other runners titled "How to make sure you don't ruin a race for others".  She interviewed a group of runners on Facebook and recorded their responses.

While I was reading this post, it reminded me of a post I had been wanting to write for over a year.  I have definitely been a runner who has had her ups and downs. Over the years I've been a corral "A" runner, I've been a middle of the pack runner, and I've been an injured runner. For those reasons I feel I can be very diplomatic when writing this post.

Let me start out by saying that running is such an individual activity and out of all the races I've run (and I've done quite a few "bigger" races) I have never encountered another runner who I've contributed to me having a bad race experience.  With that being said, I understand when runners are annoyed with
 other runners who blow "snot rockets", run in groups that block half the road, or who just disregard runner etiquette altogether.  However, there are a few things that I think other runners need to just get over.

1. Yes, I know that some runners are annoyed with the run/walk runners.  I have done the run/walk method in the past and I will continue to use it during my next marathon.  If I am doing a race where I plan to run/walk, I know enough to place myself on the side of the road. When I am slowing down to a walk, I know to put my hand up to signal the change in my speed. That is the right thing to do.

It was mentioned by a non run/walk runner that us run/walk runners should turn around and check to see if anyone is behind us before we start walking. Well, I've learned early on not to turn around while I run.  When I first started running races I use to look over my shoulder to see how many people were still running behind me (I was paranoid that I would finish last).  I need to stay focused on the road ahead of me, not constantly taking time to look back. I would never expect a runner in front of me to look back. That's what the hand raise is for.  When you are driving a car, you are responsible for controlling your vehicle so it does not hit the car in front of you. I feel the same thing goes for running. I am responsible for paying attention to what is in front of me.  Perhaps not every runner is familiar with the run/walk method and might not know what the hand raise signifies. Well, runner's are a smart bunch, I think after a while they'll figure it out.

2. Apparently the constant beeping of Garmins and other devices us run/walkers use annoys other runners. Honestly, I was shocked when I heard this one.  This is so insignificant that I can't believe any runner would actually say this.   If these runners don't need the beeping for running intervals then heck, they shouldn't even be running at my pace. They should be ahead of me. Or better yet perhaps these runners should just put their ear buds in and listen to their music.

3. One thing that I constantly read over and over on blogs and on Facebook posts is people complaining that they had to weave in and out of "slower" runners.  This makes me feel bad when other people say this because it is essentially like they are saying "other people are in my way".  Yes, there is something to be said about corral placement. I have ALWAYS started in my correct corral but that doesn't mean that I have never been passed by someone who started behind me or in my same corral. I too have had to weave in and out of people that were not running as fast as I
was but that is just all part of the experience. Not everyone who is in your same corral is going to run at exactly the same pace at the same time. You need to be prepared to share the road with everyone.

I mention this because I want to remind everyone that it IS a race and it IS open to runners of all ability levels and paces. If runners don't ever want to weave around someone, hear someone's annoying beeping Garmin, have to watch out for other runners,  or hear a runner accidentally start to sing along to their ipod
(yes I'm talking about Lacey), then perhaps those runners should just run by themselves at home on their favorite trail. You will no doubt experience all sorts of runners on race day. Some will not run the same way you do, but keep in mind that everyone's goal is to cross that finish line and they are doing whatever they can to make it possible for them to do that even if it means doing a run/walk and having their Garmin beep.

Keep in mind that runners don't set out to annoy other runners! Please just have an open mind next time you are out racing.  -M

Disclaimer: Kristy and I are actually friends and she knew
 that I was going to write a follow up post to hers.

We are linking up with the gals from Tuesdays on the Run

Friday, September 25, 2015

Running the Tussey Mountain Relay

There are so many things that I am looking forward to this fall but the one thing I am especially looking forward to is participating in the Tussey Mountain  50 miler Relay Race in October.
 Several years ago I ran this race with members and instructors of the gym when I worked there and we had so much fun. This summer when I started teaching classes at the gym again I had the opportunity to become part of the team. Of course I accepted. There are so many great things about this race. Their motto is "Just for the hill of it"

1. The terrain. Yes it is very challenging as it is straight up the mountain with much elevation, but it is mostly on a dirt road which is much easier on your legs than a road race. What goes up must come down, so the second half of the race isn't as bad as the first half. 

2.The weather is usually perfect during this time of year for the race. The trail is mostly shaded so you do not get the direct sun on you. 

3.I have always wanted to do a Ragnar Race, but this ultra is great since it is only one day and there is no restless sleeping in a van.

4. One of the things I like about being part of an Ultra is the aid stations. So much better than at a marathon. In addition to water and Gatorade, they have snacks such as gummy bears, swedish fish, pretzels, and even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Some of the aid stations are only for the Ultra runners (that are doing all 50 miles by themselves).

5. Finally, it is just fun. There is 7 of us that do about 2 legs each. We get shirts made that say, "We run for Fun" because that is why we do it. There is no pressure with this race..

Have you ever Participated in an Ultra or Ultra Relay? -L

We are linking up with the gals from the Friday 5!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sharing the Disneyland 10k

Over Labor day weekend many people were preparing barbeques, hitting the pool for a last dip before summer ends, or just enjoying a lazy weekend.  That weekend was anything but lazy for our friend Lois.  She was starting the second of three races out at Disneyland. She participated in her first Dumbo Double Dare and she is happily going to tell you all about it starting with the 10K on Saturday.
Dumbo double dare

Being on the west coast made the early morning wakeup calls much easier than the wakeup calls at Walt Disney World for the Dopey challenge. 

The 10K was villains themed, so I dressed as the Queen of Hearts and headed off to the races. 
dumbo double dare race
 The Goofy statue in the lobby was my go-to for the early morning prerace picture, just a fun place to take a picture.  The walk to the start line was an easy walk and didn’t take long at all.  I loved that part of the Disneyland races, they were all so easy to get to, no getting up extra early to catch a bus or leave early to beat the race traffic.  I absolutely loved being able to walk to the start line, and then at the finish of the race, walk back.  Disneyland can’t be beat for the ease of getting around race morning.

Cruella De Vil had taken over the stage and told us all to be prepared as the villains were now in control, and Mickey was not to be found.  It was true, I didn’t see Mickey the whole race.  Malificent came on the big screen and was very upset she wasn’t invited to the party, and you know what happens when Malificent doesn’t get invited to the party.  She took over and Rudy wasn’t able to start the race (but don’t fret, Malifecent was the one who started the race)
Dumbo double dare race

The race didn’t put us right into the parks, instead we headed down Disney Way toward the convention center, circled around that, and then entered the park on the east side on Harbor Blvd.  I liked being on the street for a bit, as it gave the corrals time to thin a little.  Once we hit the parks, we didn’t leave until the very end of the race where we went through downtown Disney to hit the finish line.  Along the course, the villains were out.  I stopped to get a picture with DJ, and who I thought was the shadow man from the Princess and the Frog (my youngest daughter’s favorite movie).  They had Lotso out from Toy Story, but the line was super long and I didn’t want to wait.  As we rounded into the Hollywood Area, Hades was out.  I’d never seen him, so I stopped for his picture.  Man, he is one scary dude.  Then Lady Tremaine was right there, so I stopped there as well. 

We crossed over from Disney’s California Adventure into Disneyland.  The one big difference between the west coast and east coast Magic Kingdom’s is that the castle on the west coast isn’t a prominent feature.  I of course stopped to get a picture by the castle, but it was rather underwhelming, after doing the races at Walt Disney World.  I loved going behind the scenes and seeing the train depot, the floats, and the Imagineering building.  I don’t know why, but seeing that gave me the chills, I guess it comes from knowing that is where the magic starts. 
Dumbo Double dare race, Captain hook
 I didn’t stop for many pictures in the Magic Kingdom, but I had to stop for Hook and Smee (maybe it is because I absolutely adore Killian Jones on Once Upon a Time, so I just had to get a picture with the original).
Disneyland 10k medal
The 10K ended the same was as the 5K, heading out into Downtown Disney, then through the finish line near the Disneyland hotel.  It was so much fun to see all the villains out, and as I was crossing the finish line Malificent was there.  Once again, the 10K didn’t disappoint, and I really think it is my favorite distance.
Have you ever done any of the Disney 10K's? What were your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Harvest Festival 5K

 Every year our local area puts on a 5k race in celebration of the Harvest Festival. None of my family ran it last year, but my dad and sister ran it in 2013 and I ran it in 2012 and then another time a few years back.  The last time I ran it I placed first in my age group. I run a lot more now than I did back then so I was hoping to place again!
We had a beautiful day for the race. The best I can remember in recent years. The race did not start till 9:30 am and it was already starting to get hot. This was a chip timed race, however there was not a timing mat to step on as you started the race, there was only the finish line timing mat.  So I guess those that started near the back had the same start time as those in the front.  That isn't really fair but I guess since it is only a 5K it's not like anyone needed this as an official time to qualify for another race! 

Right from the start, I felt short of breath and just didn't feel right. Knowing that I won first in my age group before, I wanted to meet my goal again. Since it was a local race, I knew a lot of people there and I felt that added pressure to make sure I did well. The first mile I didn't feel like I was going that fast since my breathing was off. I looked at my Garmin and it read 6:47. What??? I have to slow down. No wonder I didn't feel right. I knew I had to hold my pace back the following miles. When I did that, I started to feel a little better. Even though I finished strong, I wasn't feeling very confident with my time this year, like I had in the past.

I met my mom, Scott, and Baylee at the finish line and waited for my sister and dad to cross.  After they crossed we had to walk across a parking lot back to the  lawn of the registration building to get water and snacks. It wasn't a far walk, but it would have been nice to have the water given out somewhere right past the finish line, especially since it was such a hot day. The race was pretty organized and right away they had our names, times, and places up on a board to view. I saw that I placed 2nd in my age group, which I was still happy with. My dad said that he placed 4th, and of course awards were only for the first three in each age group. 
 We stayed for the awards ceremony and we were surprised as well as my dad was to hear his name being called for 3rd place. Silly guy can't read the results right. He says, "well I'm glad I stuck around."  I was also fortunate enough to win one of the door prizes, free admission to one of the corn mazes!  Later that afternoon I went back downtown to visit friends and watch the annual parade.

What a beautiful weekend.  Next up, is a 5k through the Vineyards next weekend. I will be looking forward to that.

Do you like running local/small races? -L
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