Trying to Be “Somewhat” Healthy on a Road Trip

My husband and I recently completed a 10 day cross country road trip from San Francisco, CA to Cincinnati, OH. Below are some of the things that we did to try to make this trip a little healthier:

Try to find hotels with complimentary breakfasts –  I’m a breakfast eater and breakfasts can be a challenging thing to manage on the road – Most road hotels (Hampton Inn, Best Westerns, comfort inn) offer free hot breakfasts – where you can pick and choose what you want in the amount you want. You have the options of eggs, biscuits, waffles, yogurt, hot and cold cereals, fruit, english muffins, and pastries. It made the mornings more enjoyable and we were still able to hit the road on time.

Have snacks on hand – hunger strikes at weird times on the road, and we had healthy options on hand. Cashews, almonds, raisins, dates, peanut butter (in individual cups for those who like to eat it straight up), protein bars, and crackers were our trip staples.

Eat one “sack” meal per day – we usually had one meal in a restaurant (lunch or dinner) per day, the other meal we ate in the car or in our hotel room – which usually was a light sack lunch – some combination of peanut butter sandwich, crackers, nuts, dried fruit.We also occasionally had leftovers from the previous restaurant meals for lunch/dinner. All of our lodgings were equipped with a refrigerator. Having one lighter meal helped balance things out.

Try to fit in exercise – most of the road trip was spent in a sedentary state, but we did try to fit a few runs in if our hotel was located near a safe running route. Most hotels we stayed at also had fitness centers, but we did not take advantage of them (maybe next time). We also took a few nice walks in some of the towns we stopped in.

Have realistic expectations – I’m not someone with the strongest of discipline – while I would love to be someone who could eat clean regardless of the situation they are in, I’m just not. In my home life – we eat out once a week, but on the road, it’s everyday. I also am someone who likes to indulge during special occasions, and being fortunate to explore different regions of our beautiful nation is a special occasion. We definitely had more than a few opportunities to indulge and we took advantage of them.

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Cupcake Pancakes at IHOP – one of the several meals I treated myself to on the road

Our cross country road trip was an experience that made lifelong memories for us – it was nice to be able to balance the “vices” of traveling with a few healthy choices.

First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon 2016 Recap

After not running my planned half marathon this past month due to a bad chest cold – I was antsy to run the earliest half I could get my hands on.

I had a trip out to Florida in March to spend time with family, and the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon fell during the time I was there, and was conveniently located.

This race conveniently (please note sarcasm) fell on the first day of daylight savings time – so the 6:45 am start would feel like a 5:45 am start, and the 4:30 am wake up would feel like a 3:30 am wake up.

Nevertheless, I slept very well for a pre-race night, and woke up to my alarm. I had my usual oatmeal and almonds – and since my body felt it was the middle of the night – it was really tough to get down.

My mom dropped me off at the start area at 5:45 am, and I picked up my packet, checked my participant tee with gear check, and lined up at the start, placing myself between the 2:45 and 3:00 pacers. I had no PR in mind due to it being my first half marathon in the Florida heat and humidity. I believe it was 75 degrees at the time of the start.

There were no time-released corrals at the start, everyone started at once. I started out at a slow jog until the crowd thinned and eased into my 30:30 intervals.

There were a lot of Galloway runners in this group. I played leapfrog with with a few people who must have been running the same intervals as me. There was one major “hill” which was a causeway bridge that we ascended before mile 1 – and we would return to that bridge  again a little after mile 4. I crossed the first 5k at 40 minutes in, which was consistent with the pace I wanted. When I came back to that bridge, I changed my intervals to 15:30 as I climbed – my goal was not to wear myself out – especially as the heat rose.  Once the bridge was out of the way – I switched back to 30:30.

Miles 7-9 seemed to take FOREVER – at that point the course went through residential areas, pretty but didn’t captivate my attention enough.

At mile 11 I started to get a pain in the back of my knee that forced me to switch to 15:30 intervals and alternate which foot I pushed off of. The pain started to go away halfway through mile 12 and once I saw the finish line I pushed through.

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My time was 2:54:53 with a pace of 13:20 per mile. Not near my faster times – but I’m happy.

The post race food was a catered brunch from First Watch – but I was not hungry at all – bummer, because it did look delicious.

After the race, I grabbed my bag from gear check – took a medal selfie and waited for my mom to pick me up (just like middle school).

This race was my first out-of-state half marathon, and it gave me confidence to know I could run the distance in high humidity and heat.

The race was organized and provided enough on-course support. Definitely a great experience.

2016 Disney Princess 5k Recap Part 2

Part 1 here

After the expo, we chilled out at the hotel for the remainder of the day – the red eye flight from the night before started to take it’s toll on me and I was fast asleep by 8pm.

Which brings me to 1:30 am the following morning – both my mom and I were up around this time and after laying around for a half hour we started to get ready. Since we were walking a 5k – I decided to primp myself up a little bit more than I would if I were “running” – i.e – I wore makeup and “styled” my hair. By styled I mean I wore my hair down in pigtails and we had matching Ariel headband/tiara thingies that we got from Party City.

We also wore matching Disney tops – which we bought at Macy’s on clearance back in September (I told you we’ve been preparing for this race)

We hopped on the first bus which left the hotel at 3:45 am – we were at the start area by 4am.

One thing I loved about Disney World RunDisney was that they sold concessions at the start area. Our hotel wasn’t selling any food or drinks that early (FYI – Disney host resorts do sell breakfast items before the 10ks and above) – but the start area for the 5k did have coffee, granola bars, breakfast sandwiches, and a few other things. Thank GOODNESS – I need coffee in the morning.

We had about two hours to kill before lining up for the corrals – there was a DJ playing typical pop/party music – so my mom and I killed time and warmed up by dancing and people watching.

Soon enough – we lined up in our corrals – waited another 25 minutes – and we were off.

My mom’s goal was to finish as fast as she could walk – she did not want to stop for any reason – no water, character photos, or even a selfie.

The first mile was in the parking lot/backstage of Epcot, and the remaining 2.1 were in the park.

Once inside the park, the course felt very familiar, as it is essentially a walk around World Showcase and Future World – because we have done this path so many times before – it went by very quickly – however it was so much fun!

Based on looking at the clock when we started and finished – it took us about 56 minutes to walk the 5k – a pace of around 18 per mile.

My mom finished strong – and felt great. I was SO proud of her. She really caught the RunDisney bug and wants to do a 10k next! She feels with training she could get her pace to under 16 minutes – and I plan to help her get there.

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We spent the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom – and proudly wore our 5k medals.

This race was so much fun! I thought I would feel like I was “missing out” because I wasn’t participating in the longer races – but I didn’t feel it that much. In fact, it felt pretty good to wake up early only once and relax the rest of the weekend.

Sure, a 5k might be the shortest “long distance” race out there – but it was memorable – 1.) because the majority of it was in the parks  and 2.) because it was my mom’s first RunDisney race

 

2016 Disney Princess 5k Recap Part 1

Yes – this race experience warrants more than 1 post.

It surprises me that a 5k could mean so much to me. This particular one has as much emotional weight as my first race.

I have been blabbing about RunDisney to my mom ever since I ran that first race, the Avengers Half Marathon. My mom would always ask me: can I walk those events? And I would tell her yes, but you had to keep a 16 minute per mile pace (which is a brisk walk). A 16 mm pace for an extended distance can be challenging.

After doing some research about the RunDisney 5k distances – I found out that RunDisney seldom sweeps for those races. While they still do enforce the 16mm rule on the website – because the 5k’s are mostly all in the parks, and also because they are targeted towards families with children – they are very generous and as long as you keep moving, you should be fine. I asked my mom if she wanted to get her RunDisney feet wet with the Princess 5k – and she enthusiastically said yes.

In July of this past year, registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend opened up. The 5k was a definite for me and my mom – I was considering doing the Glass Slipper Challenge or at least the half – but I decided not to.

Why? A few reasons:

The primary reason for this weekend was to spend time with my mom – I didn’t want to enforce early evening bedtimes and lose a big chunk of the mornings more than one time- especially if I was doing the rest of the weekend’s races alone.

This was also my first time doing a RunDisney race in Walt Disney World – sure I’ve had two early morning wake ups in a row for the Dumbo Double Dare, but I could arrive at the race 30-45 minutes before the start – here I had to be on the resort shuttle AT least 1 hour and 15 minutes before the start. I wanted to test the waters out with one race per Florida weekend.

So it was what it was – we were “JUST” doing the 5k.

As the months passed by – I was getting excited and my mom was REALLY pumped. We had been visiting Disney World together many times over the past 25 (eek! where does the time go!) years. This was a brand new experience – a new twist to our typical vacation.

I took a red eye in from SF that landed in Orlando the morning before the race. On both of my flights over to FL – I made conversation with a lot of people who were also participating in the race weekend.

When I landed in MCO – I took Disney’s Magical Express to our resort – where I would meet my mom who was driving in (she lives in Southwest Florida). The line to get on the bus was a bit long – but once I boarded the bus- it took about 45 minutes to be dropped off at the hotel.

Once we were all checked in – we drove over to the expo to pick up our stuff.

The “world” expo experience, was different than the “land” experience. It was a lot more crowded, and the communication on where to pick everything up wasn’t very strong – it was challenging to locate where to pick up your t-shirt and gear bag once you received your bib.

After we got our necessary items – we perused the official merchandise area. I didn’t find anything worth buying. Between the crowds and lack of interest in anything else at the expo – my mom and I went back to our hotel.

Part 2 to come…

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 3

After the half, my husband and I took a nap and headed to the parks later that afternoon.

We decided to start a tradition when it comes to our post-Disneyland race meal. Last year we ate at Cafe Orleans and indulged in a Three Cheese Monte Cristo Sandwich with a side of Pommes Frites. We repeated the occasion. It was Pure. Fried. Heaven.

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We spent the rest of the day and night exploring both parks. A priority for our parks visit was to experience both World of Color at California Adventure and the new Paint the Night Parade at Disneyland.

Our first event was World of Color and it was pretty moving for me, but I do have one complaint. As soon as the show started 95% of the park guests took out their smart phones and held them up to video tape. Obstructing nearly everyone’s view. Your shoddy videotape of the show, which you will probably never watch, should not take priority over the people who prefer to experience the show in real time with their own eyes.

After World of Color, we headed over to Disneyland and got a prime viewing location for the parade. I can not begin to put into words how beautiful the Paint the Night parade is. For me, it was almost worth the price of admission.

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Once both parks closed, we walked over to the Disneyland hotel to go to Trader Sams. I had heard so much about this bar from various Disney-philes on social media. However, our idea to go to the bar was not an original one as the bar had reached capacity and it was approximately a 30-45 minute wait to get inside. At that point it was past midnight and we were pretty tired, so we decided to head back to the hotel.

In conclusion – It was an amazing trip – filled with quality time together and with our friend, a few fun surprises, and a great race experience.

A few weeks after the race, I was on vacation in Florida and I visited Fit2Run and finally got a gait analysis and got measured for insoles. I bought my first pair of personally selected running shoes. My previous entry level Asics Gel Contends (three different pairs) carried me through my races for the past two years, but I have more goals on the horizon, and I need to be better equipped.

I’m a proud owner of Hoka One One Cliftons.

GREPK

The Dumbo Double Dare really was a kick in the butt to help me think about my next running ventures.

The Monday after the race, I registered for a 10k taking place in a little over a week – and I registered for my third and final half of 2015.

Running 19.3 miles in two days gave me the crazy idea that I could run 26.2 in one day – and it is on that idea where I am harvesting my 2016 goal of doing the 26.2 – the MARATHON. I am eyeing an early May race, which gives me seven months to train.

The Dumbo Double Dare was my first multi-race challenge – and it definitely was a challenge. Now that I conquered it – I am ready for the new challenges that lay ahead.

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 2

Be sure to catch Part 1 of this epic saga

I awoke at 3:30 am the morning of the half and I was ECSTATIC that I slept for six hours.

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My husband was placed in Corral C, and I was in D, but he decided to start with me (what a guy!). We arrived to our corral at 5:20 am, but it was already filled to the brim. I know some people have blamed it on corral jumpers (people who were placed in farther back corrals, who broke the rules and snuck into others) however I think a lot of people in Corral C had partners and friends who were in D, and decided to move back. (In RunDisney, you are allowed to move back to later corrals, but are not allowed to move forward).

So we started in E. No biggie. My husband pretty much split from me in the beginning, and I weaved in and out of slower runners and walkers the first three miles. Like I said, my plan for this race was to run continuously the beginning, and start my 30:30 intervals at mile 4, once we were out of the parks.

My previous and only RunDisney half prior to this one was Avengers. A few people had expressed disappointment with that course, but I didn’t understand what they were talking about until I ran this race. Even when we were out of the park, there was entertainment pretty much at every mile, sometimes twice per mile. Local high school drum lines and cheerleaders. Dance troupes. A mile and a half of classic cars. This race also ran through Angels stadium, like the Avengers, but this time – the stadium had people cheering!

My pace kept increasing as the miles went on. I know I mentioned my goal was to simply finish with a smile on my face – but I added a new one: finish in under three hours.

My time was 2:55:19, with a pace of 13:23 per mile. Goal achieved!

I got my half marathon medal and the Dumbo Double Dare medal. We did it! 19.3 miles!

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Oh yes..there will be a part 3!

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 1

Eight months ago, I anxiously sat by my computer, refreshing the page waiting to register for the Dumbo Double Dare.

Once registered – a few running events happened in the following eight months. I ran my second half marathon that gave me a proof of time to be placed in an earlier corral, and my husband and I ran a 12k and a 5k.

The few weeks prior to the challenge were super busy. I was flying out every week, sometimes twice a week for work and personal travel. I drank Emergen-c, regularly took zinc, made sure to get a lot of sleep, and made hand sanitizer my BFF.

My husband and I arrived an hour before the expo closed on Friday night to pick up our bibs and shirts. I was pretty anxious and excited and got around 3.5 hours of sleep the night before the 10k.

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My husband and I were in Corral C for the 10k. I continuously ran the first two miles outside of the park and started 30:30 intervals once inside the parks – which were the final 4 miles. I REALLY enjoyed both courses for the race – but what was great about the 10k, was that the majority of it took place inside the parks. I took the pace pretty easy and really savored the moments on resort property. The idea was to enjoy the parks for the 10k race, and to continuously run through them for the half – and to do 30:30 intervals the remainder of the half while the race weaved through the city of Anaheim.

I finished the 10k in 1:21:48 with an average pace of 13:10 per mile.

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After the race, my husband and I showered, and met our friend Heather – who lives in the OC who was going to be running the half with us – for breakfast. We walked with her to the expo and perused the booths.

At the ProCompression booth, I got to meet Andrea Barber aka Kimmy Gibbler from Full House and the new Netflix series Fuller House. She is an avid runner and is pretty active on social media. I grew up watching Full House – I have seen every episode – so it was super cool meeting her. She was nice and personable and even took the time to chat with me and my husband and pose for a picture.

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After the expo, we went to our friend’s apartment complex to relax by the pool. We went to a local sports bar for pizza and to watch the Wisconsin vs Alabama game.

My husband and I got to our hotel room around 8pm, and fought hard to stay up until 10, but lost the battle at 9:28pm.

Part 2 to follow….

Summer Check In

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote here – so here’s what’s going on:

My next race(s) on the books is  the Dumbo Double Dare taking place at the end of September (10k and Half over a weekend). The races are in Disneyland and I am running it with my husband. We are making it a race-cation. Training for the half and 10k are on track – my goal for the Double Dare is to finish with a grin on my face!

I’m looking forward to the Disneyland 60th nighttime events – specifically the Paint the Night Parade and World of Color. I have a feeling there might be a few emotional tears streaming down my face.

I’m still on the fence about doing another local race.

I signed myself and my mom up for the Princess 5k taking place this February in Walt Disney World. This is my mom’s first RunDisney event and I am so excited for her. We’ve already booked a hotel on property – the weekend is going to be a blast.