This Runner's Trials

SEA LIFE Charlotte- Concord aquarium review

Posted by runnerstrials

This past weekend, my family visited SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord.


SEA LIFE aquariums are located all over the globe. It’s an “interactive aquarium experience” featuring more than 5,000 sea creatures like fish, sharks, jellyfish, and stingrays.


SEA LIFE isn’t like your typical aquarium, though. The sea creatures are displayed in tunnels, curved tanks, bubbles, and pools, so you really feel like you’re part of the experience, and you get a better idea of what their habitat is like.


Wyatt loved the mini ocean tunnel – especially because Nemo and Dory were in it!

Plus, SEA LIFE is involved in conservation, research, and rescue projects. There were tons of displays featuring their “Breed. Rescue. Protect.” program that taught us how we can make the oceans a better place.


The Charlotte-Concord location also features a behind-the-scenes tour, an interactive quiz trail, children’s play area, and educational talks.


All of that was great! Wyatt had a blast checking out the fish and stingrays – he was a little timid by the fish that were housed in bubble tanks because it seemed like they could touch you! However, there were some extra special visitors at the aquarium that totally made Wyatt’s day.

If you thought “Breed. Rescue. Protect.” sounded familiar, it’s probably because you have a child at home and often hear Explore! Rescue! Protect! coming from your television.


That’s right – the Octonauts were there! Well, Captain Barnacles and Kwazii were – Wyatt asked where Peso and Tunip were and apparently they were on a mission. (The Octonauts are at the Charlotte-Concord location until February 22.)


Creature report. CREATURE REPORT.

We’ll definitely be back one day. We had a lot of fun, but I think Wyatt would get more out of the SEA LIFE experience when he’s a little older. He wasn’t ready for all of the exhibits yet, but he loved looking at all of the creatures. But it was a really great way to spend a Saturday morning. I recommend it!


SEA LIFE provided my family with complementary admission. I was not required to write this review. All opinions are my own.

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My next goal: #virtualrun214

Posted by runnerstrials

Hi! I didn’t mean to fall off the face of the earth. We have been struck by the croup, congestion, and a nasty ear infection. Wyatt woke up at 11 p.m. two Sunday nights ago with that telltale barking cough and our house has been a germ factory (that doesn’t sleep!) since. I’m behind on work, I took a whole week off from running, and we have eaten way too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I hate winter.

The ear infection was mine and I was completely bedridden all weekend. This is my second bad ear infection in two months and my third since last April. After not getting an ear infection in 25 years! This time I had vertigo along with it so I literally couldn’t move my head. It was rough. Wyatt definitely handles ear infections better than I do.


Thank GOD I was sick over the weekend so Daddy could watch them. They didn’t wear him out at all…

Anyway, my immune system has been horrible lately. Perhaps running 3 marathons in 2 months when I have young children who don’t always sleep well wasn’t my smartest move. I have no regrets, but it’s time to get on top of my health now. I took a week off from running, so my Glass Slipper goals may not happen, but I’m OK with that. I’ll try my best to train hard until then, but I’m also focusing on getting as much sleep as possible.

After Glass Slipper, I’m not registered for any races. I wanted to run a spring half marathon, but I think my body is telling me that I need to take some time off from distance running. I want to focus on strength and speed this spring before diving into half marathon training again. I want to do a couple of halves this fall, and I want to run them fast. So, I’m regrouping now and saying a temporary good-bye to double digit runs.

After Glass Slipper, I’m going to mix things up a bit, but obviously I’m still going to run. And, as luck would have it, Pushpointe (the best fitness studio ever!) is partnering with the Charlotte Running Company to host the For Love of Running 214 Mile Virtual Run Challenge.


#virtualrun214 #fortheloveofrunning

A portion of the proceeds goes to the American Heart Association (February is American Heart Month) and you can start logging your miles on Valentine’s Day. Get it? For the love of running?

This challenge is open to anyone since it’s virtual – you don’t have to be local to the Charlotte area. You have until July 4, 2015 to run/ walk your 214 miles, so 20 weeks total. This beaks down to about 10-11 miles per week. This is a perfect challenge if you’re new to running or looking to stay motivated like I am. I just registered and hope some of you will, too!

As far as building up my strength this spring, I need some suggestions. I plan to take more spinning classes – maybe even bike outside again! – but I want to try something new. I am so tempted to try PiYo or the other Beachbody workouts that have taken over my Instagram feed. Everyone who does them looks amazing! Has anyone tried them? My biggest hesitation has been that they’ll make me too sore for running. But since I’m putting running on the backburner soon, maybe now is the ideal time to give it a try?

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Glass slipper challenge goals and training

Posted by runnerstrials

Back when I started training for NYCM, I thought I’d take a few weeks off afterwards and then jump right back into training for Dopey and Glass Sipper Challenges. See, it had always been my goal to just finish Dopey. As for Glass Slipper, I wanted to PR in the Enchanted 10k and do the Princess half for fun. So, I thought I’d continue to do weekly long runs for Dopey, and weekly speedwork sessions with the 10k in mind.

But then NYCM was a disaster and I ran an extra marathon, and ended up getting way more burnt out than anticipated. It was a struggle to regroup and focus on Dopey. I eventually did and got my long runs in, and thankfully Dopey went well. However, I kind of forget about speedwork.


Until this past Saturday. The first time in forever that I averaged sub-8:00 pace.

I say kind of because a lot of my runs in December were on the treadmill. When I run on the treadmill, I’m always adjusting the belt speed to make the workout fun. So there was some informal pace pick-ups, but I literally hadn’t done a true speed workout (meaning tempo runs or 800m repeats, my speed workouts of choice) since October.

We’re 4 weeks out from the Glass Slipper Challenge and I finally feel ready to add speedwork back to my training. Originally, I wanted to aim for a sub-45:00 time for the 10k. Well, that is not happening! I feel recovered from Dopey but even if I train as hard as possible from now until the 10k, I won’t meet that goal. There’s just not enough time.

My 10k PR is 46:25, from a race in May 2010. I think I can beat that now, and I’d ideally like to go sub-46. So, that’s the goal. 45:xx (7:24/mile or faster) for the 10k. I’m not sure if that’s too lofty* or not, but you never know until you try, right?

run ballantyne 2010

May 2010 feels like 100 years ago!

To get there I’m going to do weekly speedwork sessions and I’m going to do my long runs at a faster than marathon training clip, too. I’ll shoot for 8:30ish pace, but I won’t be too strict about it. Here’s the plan:

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
4mi easy 5x 800m w/ warm-up + 400m recoveries Spin + TRX 4mi stroller OFF 11mi OFF
5mi easy 6mi w/ tempo at 7:30 Spin + TRX 4mi stroller OFF 12mi OFF
5mi easy 6x800m w/ warm-up + 400m recoveries Spin + TRX 4mi stroller OFF 10mi OFF
Spin + TRX 4m w/2 tempo at 7:30 4mi easy OFF OFF Enchanted 10k Princess half

I have weekly stroller runs slated, but they’ll only happen if the weather stays decent. If it doesn’t, I’ll replace that workout with 4 fastish miles and move it to Friday.

Here’s how this past week looked:

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Spin +TRX 4mi stroller at 8:52 pace OFF 4mi stroller at 9:13 pace OFF 5mi w/ 3 tempo at 7:35 pace 10mi at 8:14 pace

The other thing I really need to work on? My Princess half costume! I’m not dressing up for the 10k, but I’m doing something fun with Heather for the half!

*If anyone else started singing “Scoop, Muck, and Dizzy, Roley, too…” when I wrote “Lofty”, you are my new favorite person.