I conquered my first Marathon Major this year!! Berlin was a success and I got a new PR! Recap coming soon! 🎉
I conquered my first Marathon Major this year!! Berlin was a success and I got a new PR! Recap coming soon! 🎉
Long time, no post. I know.
This year has been…interesting. Outside of the few races that I have run and you may have read, I’ve felt very demotivated and low-energy toward most aspects of my life, including maintaining any consistency with my writing. Here’s an overview…
The bad: I lost my dad in March due to hereditary Hemochromatosis. We all knew it was coming since last year, and at the end of March, his body just kind of imploded on itself. When it comes to death, relationships, what have you…everything has a time, and everything ends. It’s been easier to come to terms with the whole situation with that bit of wisdom.
My love life: a shining light, to be honest. I exited my previous relationship in March (everything in my life happened in March, it seems), and entered what is the best relationship I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many! I am so thrilled for this new opportunity and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Running/BQinBerlin: Pretty sure the BQ ain’t happening this year. I haven’t been motivated to train for Berlin, and I was paranoid that I wouldn’t be able to go on the trip at all, because finances. (And everything in my goddamn life revolves around money and lack thereof.) However, with a little savvy searching, I’ve found some incredibly great deals on cheap fights. I have also partnered up with one of my Instagram runner buddies for lodging! With two months to go, everything is slowly coming together.
My training…well, I work outside all day, so the heat/sweating/hydration factor is taken care of. Depending on the venue I’m at, I can get between 3-6 miles a day, sometimes more if it’s a longer shift. And if the elevator is out, I take the stairs. With 50-some days to go, it’s not too late for me to get my butt in gear, especially with the light growing brighter that the trip and travel portion is coming together.
Running/runDisney: Like I wrote in my 2018 Princess Half review, I am on hiatus from runDisney for the forseeable future. There are plenty of other races to sign up for.
My career….still hasn’t taken off. I’m certain this is the most prominent reason for my deflated spirit. I’m still being a programmed robot going through the motions every single day with my personality and creativity being squashed little by little. While I was blessed with full time and benefits in February, it’s not enough. I have been rejected by our internal application site so many times even though I am fully qualified for everything that I’ve applied for (and I have my own choice words to say about so many behind-the-scenes elements that could be overhauled and improved, yet will fall on deaf ears). Naturally, I’m searching to take my intelligence, talents, and energies elsewhere, and am holding out as long as possible here. I have thought of dabbling in YouTube to bring the stories you read here to life…I’ve also done enough stupid shit in my life to have stories for days. If you have ideas for topics, let me know!
Being a WDW AP…has paid for itself five or six times over. While I am blocked out currently for the summer until mid-August, the minimal monthly payments for a weekday select pass are extremely manageable. ($289 total, or $14-ish per month after 50% down payment.) With hyper peak summer season upon us, one-day tickets with a park hopper are near $200. One and a half tickets equate to my Annual Passholder pass. Granted, many need their fix of Mickey more than I do, and their AP might be fancier. But for what you’re paying…it’s worth it.
I hit my one year of living in Florida a couple weeks ago. Naturally, it’s been a journey, and I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long. Time really has flown…
Now, I just gotta get myself to the beach…
Happy Independence Day! Today I’m sharing one of my new favorite outfits which incorporates a couple of classic summer pieces that will keep you cool and comfy during those warm summer months. Down here in Florida, there’s no shortage of heat!
(Yes, I know the photography isn’t perfect. But hey…being perfect is boring and yet I’m still getting the point across. 😊
P.S. This is not a sponsored post. Just providing honest feedback.)
I picked up this Ralph Lauren polo shirt (100% cotton) when I was in Washington D.C. at a T.J Maxx. The blue is vibrant and versatile; I’ve paired this with dress pants, jeans, shorts…and it looks fantastic in and out of an office. Also, having multiple buttons gives me the option of being more or less conservative depending on the setting. (I am wearing a Medium. If you have broad shoulders, size up.)
I was in the market for new khaki shorts, and this pair of Vineyard Vines shorts is one of the coziest pairs I own. The 3 1/2″ inseam gives me the right amount of coverage so I don’t get dreaded thigh chafing. What impressed me the most was how well they fit in the waist. They don’t cut into you giving that “muffin top” feel, and there is a bit of stretch.
Now, I hate shorts shopping. I feel like nothing ever fits correctly and I leave perturbed. I went to try this particular article on, taking both a 4 and a 6. (I hover around 28 or 29 inches in the waist, but every store everywhere has their own definition of what sizing means to them.) I found that I was swimming in the 6, and the 4 was a drastically better fit.
What you don’t see in this shot are my shoes! I found the cutest pair of red gingham sandals at Abercrombie and Fitch a couple weeks ago. I very much prefer shoes that encase my feet and have ankle support, as I tend to fall out of shoes quite easily (especially heels). These are comfortable enough so I can go short distances and not tear holes in my feet. (No traipsing around a theme park in these babies!)
Have a safe and happy holiday! 🇺🇸💙❤️🦅
I returned to D.C. in April to run the Runner’s Rite of Spring, and the whole weekend was a cold front. Surprise, surprise…it seems like whenever I run here, the weather is some extreme or another. Alas, I was excited to return to this historic road race for the second year in a row. I arrived on Friday and took time to explore my old roots and catch up with friends and former coworkers.
Saturday was expo day, and I wound my way around the National Building Museum checking out the vendors.
I ran into my Sparkly Soul sista, Caroline, and got our obligatory pre-race picture!
I stayed just a short time at the expo. The cherry blossoms, which were still surviving the cold, were calling my name! I hopped on the Metro and went to the tidal basin…along with 48293 other tourists.
Sunday was race day and I am SO glad that I kept my cold weather gear. The temps at the start line were frigid: 26 degrees with 12 moh winds. It. Was. Miserable. My hands and feet went numb within the first five minutes of being there, even with gloves and socks on. I lined up in the Purple Corral around 6:45, bundled up like an Eskimo with my space blanket and huddling toward the ground to get a break from the wind.
My feet were tingly and painfully numb as I waddled closer to the start line. Once we launched, I tried to keep some semblance of form that represented running. I thought about peeling off the course at Mile 2 for the med tent because it was that unbearable, but pushed along.
(I later discovered that my first two miles were worlds apart from last year…10:45 and 11:37 respectively. How the hell did I manage that?!)
I didn’t pull out my phone for pics until halfway through, just like 2017. Rounding near the Jefferson Memorial, the blooms greeted us like a long lost friend.
My times dropped to around 13, 14 minutes per mile…but it was worth it!
Heading into Haina Point, I developed a fartlek strategy: run where the sidewalk dipped inward toward the river (so I could actually run run with space), and walk when it swung back in. Walk the water stops. Take pretty pictures. That was miles 6-9-ish.
By mile 7 or so, my body had been feeling relatively normal for a few miles. When we looped around the Point and headed back to the city, the last two miles were all headwind. (For those that have run Marine Corps, this is miles 12-14.) The cold feelings returned and I was determined just to get to the finish.
Oh, and take another picture:
I kept one eye on my Garmin those last two miles. My 2017 PR was a 2:10:05, and my current time was getting reeeeeal close. Beating that previous PR would give me such a boost since my attempt to PR at the Fairy Tale Challenge had failed and I still felt like crap for being unable to do so after racing the same courses for years.
Hitting mile 9, I was hovering around a 1:57. The screams and cheers of the final mile propelled me up the final hill/last 400m and down to the finish.
I had a new PR! 2:09! Woohoo! 🎉🎉
Look at those negative splits in the last few miles! 😊😊
I retrieved a space blankie, my medal, and snacks. I walked a long, cold walk to Prêt a Manger on F Street to get something warm to eat and to thaw out.
It has glitter!! Yay! ✨✨
I then traversed to Georgetown, space blaket a-flying, and met with my Twiter friend, Amy, for victory cupcakes and coffee at Baked and Wired!
When I descended the plane the following day, I was greeted by my boyfriend, Michael, holding a name sign he designed and decorated (and drowned in glitter for!) and a branch of cherry blossoms!!
Sunday. 2 AM.
Happy five-year runnerversary to me! Happy tenth half marathon! Happy I’m Getting My Perfect Challenger Status Today Day!
No matter what my finish time was going to be, I knew the day was going to be celebrated. I packed up all my Princess medals the night before, knowing that I would add three more to the collection for a grand total of fifteen.
I woke up with my strategy of sticking with the 60/30 pace group in Corral E and aiming for a 2:30. I arrived at EPCOT in plenty of time, like always, to hang around and slowly warm up. While en route to the security checkpoints, I ran into Ashley, who is one of the best wheelchair athletes runDisney has! We had been social media friends for quite awhile and it was awesome to finally meet in person!
I checked in and meandered around. Not too long later, I met up with Christine, who I met during Marine Corps Marathon weekend!
We journeyed over to the corrals way earlier than usual and we were there around 5. I found my way to Corral E (highest corral ever, yay!), and stretched out, talked to some people, listened to the pre race stuff. You know, the usual. The same scenario on repeat from the last five years…
At some point I stood there, absorbing my surroundings. The cheers, the crack of the fireworks, the buzz of nerves and excitement…and I felt utterly surreal.
If this was my last Princess Half, I would be completely okay with it. I know I had been talking about it on the downlow, but honestly….I’m so over this.
We inched closer to the starting line, and I took a look around to figure out where the pacing group was. Oh, they’re behind me. I’ll get started and drift back towards the once we get going.
The journey of 13.1+ Princess miles began once again.
Pairing up with that pace group for the first two miles felt great. My times were steady, around 12:30 and 11:30 respectively.
Then it all fell to shit. I lost my group.
Too narrow of a course coupled with WAY too many people running, walking, and intervalling became an absolute nightmare.
On the bright side, I was on par for incredible sunrise pictures, and talking with other runners! Around Mile 4 in the TTC parking lot, I started taking in my surroundings and enjoying the scenery. I could still hear the fireworks being launched around 6:30am from all the way over there. The weather was calling to be extremely hot later on and I felt quite grateful for my 5:50-ish start time.
The Princess Half course itself has remained unchanged for the last nine years (as far as I know). However, this year featured a small yet unique difference: instead of making Mile 5 right by the down and back by Space Mountain after the Contemporary Cone Alley, it curved to the left just prior to that, and took us right in front of the Magic Kingdom entrance!
Now THIS was a special treat. The Main Street citizens were up on top cheering down at us, and being able to enter from the very front of Main Street U.S.A felt SO magical.
And this sunrise…. I could NOT get enough! You could tell by looking at my splits where I stepped aside for optimal photo ops!
Now the second half of the race…
*brain goes dead*
Once you hit the curve after Mile 6.8, and you’re not in the front corrals with open road, everything just falls apart. It’s hot. You hit Cone Alley after Cone Alley. So many cones.
And so many people.
I try my best to stay to the farthest left that I can in this area. There’s no point in running, because you just can’t.
I started cramping up around Mile 8. I knew had a ton of time on the sweepers (over 45 minutes), and I decided just to walk the rest of the race from this point. My pace fell into the 16-17 minute range…but that’s so typical of a runDisney event, especially given the logistics and conditions of the course.
The rest of the race had me mentally counting down the miles. The EPCOT geosphere kept getting closer and closer, and I felt relieved and content about the thoughts going through my head…
-I want my runDisney career to be over.
-I want to be off this course with all these people.
-I want to be in my bed after taking a shower.
-I am so tired of this repetition, year after year.
-Couple more miles? Sure, I can do that. Get me out of this sun.
-All this money in registration fees and all we challengers get is a bib designation and a lanyard? Not cool, runDisney. Y’all can do better…
Descending into EPCOT, the crowds grew and their cheering moreso. I hustled my butt over and around to the final down and back loop and straight on towards the finish line.
My time? Ha. 3:35. Two minutes faster than my all time slowest half and definitely my slowest Princess Half. But I didn’t really care. I finished. I was a 5-year Challenge legacy runner. I had completed my sixth Princess Half, and tenth half marathon. All reasons to celebrate.
I collected my medals and legacy lanyard and made a beeline for some shade. After downing some electrolytes and water and that super tasty banana, I layered up for my legacy shot (and found Ian in the process!).
I also ran into the Princess Men, whom I had met at the Enchanted 10K the previous year! Props to them for running in those costumes in the heat!
Five years. Ten Races. Fifteen Medals. What. A. Journey.
Christina’s Post-Race Thoughts:
At the time of this writing, it’s been almost two months since this race day. Yes, I’m happy to have celebrated all of the personal milestones that came with the weekend. I’m excited for those that completed their first races or earned PRs on this course. All finish lines should and will be celebrated.
However, after much contemplation, I have reached an impass with runDisney. No longer has the registration fees yielded the results that I wish to receive from a race company. I have calculated paying over $1700 in the last five years just for registration fees for the Glass Slipper/Fairy Tale Challenge. I understand permit fees and other administration/logistical things on their end obviously cost money….but what we get in return in terms of a race experience isn’t worth it.
I’ve received questions and inquiries from other runners on my socials about what all the perfect Challengers received, like sashes or different medals or whatnot. Unfortunately, what I mentioned earlier about the bib designation and lanyard is 100% accurate. I’m super proud of the Perfect Princesses getting their sashes….but c’mon runDisney…couldn’t you have splurged on something cool for us?
I also have running goals that simply cannot be met on a runDisney course. As someone that is striving to run faster, trying to dodge 25,000 other people on a tight course where many do not adhere to the runner’s etiquette of going two-wide or less when walking is just a buzzkill that I wish to not battle with anymore. Until the day comes where I can earn an A corral status, my time with runDisney career is on a permanent hiatus.
While I won’t run the races, I will be here to support all of you who do! I’m here for all of your questions and 100% honestly blunt answers about Marathon and Princess weekends. Who knows, you may spot me at an expo or I may be on course acting as a cheerleader!
See ya at the finish line!
Next up: Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
Saturday. 2 AM.
The mornings come early and miles even moreso. With the I-4 expansion project, the exit closest to where I’m at in Orlando is shut down at night. I had to leave earlier than expected to take a different route. No biggie, I still arrived obnoxiously early around 3:30 AM.
After many minutes of chilling, I headed into the runner’s village. I LOVE the fact that the 10K has such a smaller field than the half. I can move around and breathe and not feel trapped.
My team, Team Shenanigans, trickled in and we met up near the A-F bag check where another member, Kenny, was volunteering.
We also snagged a picture with the lovely balloon ladies!
My Sparkly Soul sister, Caroline, and I also met up for a pre-race picture!
We headed to the corrals and I was pretty excited line up with Corral C.
I was hanging out when a woman came running up to me. She recognized me from Instagram, and I the same. It was Dana (@ladysoup4)! It was amazing to finally meet in person!
*insert pre race stuff*
With the mini waves, corrals were sent on a fairly regular basis. In no time, we were sent on our way.
I had an A goal of sub-1:00. My first mile was a 10:34. Steady. I was also running with music, which I hadn’t done in years. I mean, who could not run to The Greatest Showman?
Then I hit the hairpin turn by mile 1.5 and hit a wall of people.
I kept up the speedwalking and got a quick run break after mile 2. From 2-3, I had some open road where I’d run a distance, have a walk break, rinse and repeat.
Then those walk breaks became more frequent as the wall of runners got heavier heading into World Showcase.
Who can resist a runDisney World Showcase picture? Not I!
I slowed down and started to enjoy the scenery a little more. Country representatives were cheering and waving flags. The sun was slowly peaking. Torches were lit and the countries had that pink glow to them.
The Enchanted 10K soon became the Wildlife 10K when I descended the hill into Boardwalk. To my right, I saw a small pile of ducks that looked like they wanted to cross. I ran over clamoring, “Oh my goodness you’re so cuuuute!”, took a pic, and with the help of another runner, started ushering them across the roadway while calling out, “Ducky crossing!”
Now that my heart was full of fuzzies, I continued on.
Found some more Shenanigators!
And some funny signs:
The sun was about to rise as I entered Yacht Club, which, in my opinion, is the best part of the whole weekend.
Right ahead of me at Yacht Club, this beautiful Great Egret was chilling on the ropes. Perfect photo opportunity!
Best on-course picture I’ve ever taken. My slow pace was absolutely worth it for this postcard-worthy shot!
And then it flew away. Ha.
The rest of this section was picturesque as it has been the last four times I’ve run it.
Reentering back to World Showcase, I had to use the loo for the first time all race. There was an area by the Port of Entry so I ducked in.
Men’s room, of course 😛 When there’s no one in there, you take advantage of that!
EPCOT in all its beauty:
My time ended up being a 1:35:04. WAY off from my time goal, but with the scenery and pictures I got, it was worth it.
AND HOW ABOUT THIS MEDAL?!
Fifth Enchanted 10K complete, and, of course, I brought my other babies with me for a Perfect picture!
One down, one to go. Next up: 2018 Princess Half Marathon!
This 10th anniversary Princess Half weekend was filled with numbers and significance. Not only was it celebrating five years of the Fairy Tale/Glass Slipper Challenge, but I was also celebrating a milestone of five years running!
I went into the weekend with goals in mind, namely hitting my first sub-hour 10K and an even more ambitious goal of cracking the 2:30s for the half. I should have known better than to make goals for this race. The crowds and course layout make it almost impossible. Plus, weather is always a factor.
Anyway, I was determined to have a little fun this weekend. I started off at the expo, which had a new layout as the new arena had opened.
First stop was picking up my bib. I had submitted a 1:12 10K POT, so I was hoping to have netted a decent corral.
Yup, corrals C and E. Major improvements! 🎉🎉
Perfect Challengers got light blue bibs with the “Perfect” designation. Whenever volunteers pulled these out, everyone cheered. That was a cool feeling. 🙂
I continued on, checking out the sights and sounds:
In the arena, the official runDisney merch was displayed. However, the first day of the expo, which is notoriously crowded and ridiculous, had a seperate queue waiting to enter the merch area that had a two hour wait.
^^holding queue. No thanks.
So I jumped in line for the characters and got some last minute advice from Tiana, who is one of my top three!
My pink bow reminded her of Lotte! 🎀
I returned the next day to take in more of the expo and not be rushed around, and to meet friends.
My California runner friend, Sarah! ⬇️
I met Jeff Galloway four years ago for my first Glass Slippe Challenge. It was only proper to reintroduce myself and pick up a copy of one of his books for extra BQ in Berlin motivation!
I also ran into Heather Schulz (@heatherrunz), who is an elite runner whom I’ve admired for years. We always take an expo picture together and get caught up on life. 🙂
I was hanging down by the arena again people watching (expos are great for that!), and I saw that the Playalinda Brewing Co. was set up. I harp on myself to not drink before races, but the Glitter Brew Wheat Ale seemed too good not to pass up! (Hint: not brewed with actual glitter.)
I finally got my way into the runDisney merch section, and while things were cute, I couldn’t justify spending exorbitant prices for things.
For example, the medal rack below, while covered in glitter and super adorable, was $75. I could make my own for far less.
I left the expo with just a few practical things in hand and feelings of excitement. It blows my mind how I could return to this very race year after year and still celebrate the past and look forward to the future in my running career. Always look back on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.
It was time to get this weekend started!
Next up: Enchanted 10K Recap!