This Runner's Trials

runDisney Princess half marathon 2015 race recap

Posted by runnerstrials

This was supposed to be a Glass Slipper Challenge race recap, but I didn’t end up running the 10k on Saturday. On Thursday, we arrived in Disney and I got really sick. I caught the stomach bug the rest of my family had the week before. I have never been so sick in my life and ended up in the hospital due to dehydration. Once I got sick, I didn’t plan on doing the 10k or the half – all I cared about was getting re-hydrated so my breastmilk supply would come back. But the doctor told me not to count myself out. Thanks to all of the IV fluids, she told me that I’d be surprised by how quickly I bounced back.

I didn’t feel well enough in time for the 10k, but by late Saturday morning, I was eating again and my milk supply had come back. I felt fine all day and Heather and I were always planning on taking the half marathon slow anyway. She knew how sick I had been and even agreed to walk the entire race with me if I needed to – what a friend, right? My husband encouraged me to at least try to do the race, too. I could always pull out if I had to. I was nervous about tackling 13.1 miles so soon after being sick, but it was one of those things where you never know how it will go until you try.

I woke up at 3:00 am on Sunday morning and pumped and pumped and pumped. My supply had come back with a vengeance and I felt great – I was really excited for the race! I downed a bottle of Gatorade and got dressed.

Heather and I decided to be Cinderella’s stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella, months ago, but our costumes came together last minute. We received these amazing skirts from Rock City Skirts (the same skirts I wore for my Ariel costume and Minnie costume during Dopey), but we had to put the rest of the costume together ourselves. We may be the two least crafty people on the planet, but I was proud of how cute our costumes came out. We used ribbon for the sleeves, secured it with fabric tape, and tucked it into leg warmers. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but it stayed put fairly well!


Anastasia is ready for the ball!

I hopped on the bus at Wilderness Lodge at 3:45 and there was no line! I was at the race site by 4:15 where I met up with Heather, Megan, Karen, and a bunch of other runDisney friends. It was in the mid-50’s and I felt comfortable in just my costume – I had heard it had been much, much colder for the 5k and 10k so I was grateful for our warmer weather.


We’re so pretty. Why did the prince choose Cinderella over us?

We chatted with our friends, took pictures, and I secured my fake eyelashes in the dark using the camera on my phone as a mirror. I wish we got a picture of that! For sure a sight that’s only seen at the Princess Half Marathon!

Heather and I made our way to corral C for the start of the race. I was nervous how I’d hold up due to my illness, and she was nervous how her injured hip would fair. We agreed to take it really slow, walk through fluids stations (I planned to drink Powerade and water at each stop), take walk and bathroom breaks whenever one of us needed it, and take lots of pictures. Our super laid back approach really kept my nerves in check at the start.


Right before the first corral went off, runDisney announced a Paris race for September 23-26, 2016!


Who’s in? I’d love to go, but don’t think it will fit into our budget.

Before we knew it, the fireworks were off and we were off with the rest of corral C. We started running and I felt surprisingly fine. We were running a much slower pace than what I was used to, and that undoubtedly helped. I honestly don’t think I could have run any faster if I had wanted to.

The first mile or so was a blur, and then we turned onto World Drive where we saw the pirate ship that’s out for all of the races. runDisney, I love you, but can we please have some new character stops? We didn’t stop for the pirate ship, but pulled over for the next character stop – the heroes!


Aladdin told me he was taken. Lame.

Heather and I were definitely in character for the race. We mocked any Cinderella we saw, made silly faces, and acted all boy crazy. It was a hoot!


“Caution, runners, speed bumps ahead!”

We continued on, and we both realized we had to go to the bathroom. Our goal was to make it to the Transportation and Ticket Center before stopping. Real bathrooms, for the win! Once we got to the TTC, I looked to my right and saw my husband! I had no idea he was coming out to cheer us on and it was a nice surprise. We stopped to chat with him, and he was happy to hear I was feeling well.


Then we stopped at the bathroom and made our way to MK. I was excited to run down Main Street – it’s always the highlight of any race.


But once we got to Tomorrowland, I started to feel a little weak. Heather said we could stop and walk, but I figured we’d be waiting in line soon for characters anyway. We expected to see Belle near Fantasyland, the sisters (us) near the castle, and Tiana near Liberty Square. But none of those princesses were out! None – for the Princess half marathon! We were pretty disappointed.


At least we got a good castle shot, though!

I made another bathroom stop and then took my Gu, and immediately felt 100% better. I was just weak from a lack of calories over the past several days, thankfully.

On our way out of MK, we saw the one and only princess we’d see all day – Snow White – and Prince Charming. We had a plan to kick Snow out of the picture so we could fight over Charming. It was hysterical. He and Snow were such good sports and even told us “well played” as we were leaving.


We ran into our friends Carrie and Kristin at the next fluid station and ran with them for awhile. At the Grand Floridian, the sun started coming up and it was bright and hot. I loved the heat. Loved it. I am not a cold weather runner. However, I wasn’t into the brightness. I didn’t even think about grabbing my sunglasses before leaving the hotel room because most runDisney races I have done have been cloudy. Oh well.

We stopped by the glass slipper guys and fought over one of the slippers!


So fun.

Heather’s hip started acting up so we walked a little more from this point on, which was fine with me. We still had 5 miles to go, and there’s no way I could have run it straight. Jeff texted me around this point to let me know he and the kids would meet me at the finish, and I could try to nurse Hadley at the baby care tent. This took a lot of pressure off. I wanted to be back at the room between 9-9:30 so I could feed her, but now there was zero need to rush, which I loved.

Heather and I had a lot of fun talking and catching up over the next few miles, and chatting with other friends we ran into along the course. When we turned into EPCOT, we saw Sofia! Ok, so I lied, I guess we technically saw two princesses on the course!


My son’s favorite.

We made one last character stop when we saw the Fairy Godmother and asked her if we could go to the ball!


Then we ran it in! We finished in 3:02:04, a 13:54 pace. By far my slowest half marathon ever, but it was seriously all I could do on that day. And you know what? I had an awesome time! It was a blast hanging out with my friend and acting like a goofball. I seriously loved every minute of it.


I know I’ll get my Glass Slipper Challenge medal one day, and I plan on taking a similar approach that weekend when I finally do. I have just as much fun running as fast as I can as I do taking it slow, so I’ll run the 10k all out and run the half for fun. I loved experiencing runDisney both ways!


Loved the silver medal this year!

Thanks runDisney for another great Princess half marathon! I will definitely be back – and hopefully more princesses will be out the next time I return!


A day in the life: part-time work-at-home mom of two edition

Posted by runnerstrials

Everyone says that the first year of having two kids is the worst. I was pleasantly surprised that the first few months were easier than expected (no doubt because my first baby was so not easy, so my perspective was skewed). But around the 4-month mark, juggling two kiddos became a little more challenging.

My daughter is a wonderful baby, but she doesn’t nap much. This makes it tricky to get any work done. I spent months trying to get her to nap, but by the time the New Year rolled around, I had enough. It was time to throw in the towel. We hired a sitter to come a few of afternoons per week, and it has been great! I’m so happy with how things are going. I feel so much less stressed and so much happier.


No one believes me that she doesn’t nap well because she’s so happy.

Now that we have somewhat of a routine, I thought a “day in the life” post was in order. The last time I did one of these posts Hadley was 2 months old – and reading it just makes me tired! I honestly thought things were going well back when I wrote it, but OMG. I’m very glad to be where we are today.


So here’s what yesterday looked like. Wyatt is 3 and Hadley is 10 months old as of today!

4:04 a.m.: Hadley is awake. She usually sleeps well, but last week she had some congestion so we held her for several hours for a few nights. She’s had a tough time settling back in to sleeping all night since, so we let her cry. She used to sleep until 5:30, wake up to nurse, and fall back to sleep until 7. I want her to get there again, so we don’t respond.

4:26 a.m.: The crying is getting worse, and I’m getting nervous that she’ll wake Wyatt up. If that happens, he won't go back to sleep. I have no idea what to do. Then the decision is made for me. The poor girl is just learning how to pull up, and she whacks her head on her crib. Jeff goes in to soothe her, and she’s asleep again within a few minutes.

5:30 a.m.: My alarm goes off. I debate going back to sleep since Hadley was just up, but Jeff told me he changed her diaper an hour ago – which means I can attempt a dream feed without waking her (she doesn’t like being wet, so I typically change her before I nurse her). I’m successful! I was able to nurse her without ever seeing her eyes. The best feeling!

Next, I pump for 15 minutes. I have no idea why I’m still pumping. Ok, I do. Wyatt’s immune system tanked as soon as he weaned. Hadley is already losing interest in nursing and I fear she’ll wean soon, so I’m building a freezer stash so she can have breastmilk for as long as possible. I want to keep pumping for as long as possible, but I’m really getting sick of it.

I brush my teeth, change into my running clothes, and head downstairs. I down coffee and a banana, and get Wyatt’s Valentine’s ready for school.


This is the first time he decorated cookies without eating any in the process! I let him have one when we were finished.

6:40 a.m.: I’m out the door for my run. It’s cold – 32 degrees, remember I’m a wimp so that’s cold for me – but there’s no wind, and I can see the sun coming up. I do an easy 5 miles, but it was one of those runs where I just feel so thankful to be a runner.


Best way to start the day.

7:30 a.m.: I head inside after stretching and the next hour is chaos. I make Wyatt’s lunch for school, make breakfast for all of us, eat my oatmeal while feeding Hadley her oatmeal, get a shower, get Wyatt dressed for school, and head out the door by 8:30.

8:30- 9:00 a.m.: Drive to and from preschool drop-off.

9:10 a.m.: Nurse Hadley and put her down for her nap. She doesn’t always take a morning nap, but I always try. Then I “cook” dinner – I throw some quinoa on the stove and some butternut squash in the oven (I buy butternut squash pre-cubed to save time – and my fingers). While the quinoa cooks, I fold laundry and put away all of my baking supplies from the day before.

9:55 a.m.: Hadley falls asleep! Yay. This means I can go to my office and do some work. I cannot work when either of my kids are awake. I need complete silence.

10:17 a.m.: She’s awake. Yup, a 22-minute nap. This is the norm if she takes a morning nap. Still, I cross my fingers that she’ll go back to sleep, but that doesn’t happen.


10:45 a.m.: I get her and we play for a little while before I make us an early lunch.

11:30 a.m.: We’re out the door to run errands before we have to pick Wyatt up from school. Running errands with one kid feels like vacation, especially when the one kid is Hadley. She’s content to just ride in the Ergo and look around.

12:45 p.m.: We pick Wyatt up from school. He brings home some crazy Valentine’s. What happened to the days when store-bought cards were enough? Thanks Pinterest.

1:00 p.m.: We get home. Wyatt knows the drill. He strips in the laundry room, goes potty, and washes his hands before we all head upstairs. He gets in his pjs (he only wears pajamas when we’re home now), and the three of us climb in his bed to read a book. Except Hadley wants to climb out, so we let her crawl around on the floor. Then we sing a song and it’s naptime for Wyatt. Yes, he still naps. In fact, he naps better than he did this time last year!

Next it’s Hadley’s turn. I walk across the hall to her room, change her diaper, attempt to nurse her (she’s really not into this feeding), and put her down.

I head downstairs, unpack Wyatt’s backpack, and try to start working, but I can hear both of them through the ceiling. I write this post instead of doing work.

2:00 p.m.: Wyatt is asleep but Hadley is still up. She’s laying down and shaking her head back and forth so I know she’ll nap, but don’t know when.

2:20 p.m.: She’s finally asleep!

3:00 p.m.: The babysitter gets here, and Wyatt comes downstairs 5 minutes later. I resume working.

3:25 p.m.: Hadley is up. I give her a good 15 minutes before I get her. Even though we have a sitter, I get her most days because sometimes she nurses at this time. Today she does, thankfully.

3:45- 6:00 pm. I sit in my office and work. FOR OVER TWO HOURS, WITHOUT INTERRUPTION. Ok, that’s a lie. Wyatt came in to get art supplies once and another time to tell me that he ate his dinner. BUT STILL. This is amazing.

6:00 p.m.: Bath, jammies, and nurse Hadley. I tell Hadley that she’s turning 10 months old a few minutes after midnight, and let her know that 10-month olds sleep until at least 5 a.m. She’s in bed by 6:30 and falls asleep within 10 minutes.

6:30 p.m.: This is mommy-Wyatt time. We play with Magnatiles, and hide from invisible green and purple polka dot crocodiles that keep invading our house. He helps me clean up some of his toys and earns a special sticker.


7:15 p.m.: Bath, brush teeth, jammies, book, and cuddle time for Wyatt. I lay in his bed with him for a few minutes every night now, and it seems helps him wind down and stay in bed.

7:45 p.m.: Finish picking up the kitchen and family room. I throw a quinoa salad together for myself and come back into the office to respond to a few emails and write more of this post. I hear Wyatt running around his room and notice that he doesn’t settle down until after 8:30.

8:50 p.m.: Jeff gets home. We watch Greys Anatomy and then hear Wyatt get sick in his bed. He got the dreaded stomach virus that's been going around school. This isn't where our night ends, but I think it's where this post should! It was a long night.

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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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