Disneyland Half – Cigna Blogger Event

20 Sep

Earlier this summer I was invited to attend my first ever blogger event at the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, sponsored by Cigna. Cigna has been the presenting sponsor of this event for 3 years now as well as the presenting sponsor of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events (2018 will be the 10th year of this sponsorship!)

As part of their presentation of the event, Cigna provides plenty of great information to participants and others over the months leading to the event. The current campaign “GO. KNOW. CONTROL” encourages folks to go see their primary physician and get to know vital numbers (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) and learn how to control these health markers. If you follow Cigna on Twitter you’ll get all the goods!!  And some other fun stuff, like this reminder of how important sleep is for runners

They also provide important race information – etiquette anyone?!!

The blogger event started with a healthy lunch at the Grand Californian hotel – delicious salads and some sandwich fixin’s! 🙂 I arrived late because even though my plane hit the ground 30 minutes early, we sat for 35 waiting for a gate…#whompwhomp But I made it and was assigned to Team Minnie! And as latecomer to the table I was volunteered to be captain!

Lunch is served…and I’m on my way!!!

If you look reeeeaalllly close, you can see that I finally arrived and am grabbing a yummy salad!!!

We set off for the Disney California Adventure park for The Cigna Great Race — a series of educational – and FUN – tasks and games!

Well, of course I’m in Skirt Sports…what else does one wear??!!

It was a super hot day, but we managed to stay hydrated and finish up our tasks – it was great getting the Cast Members involved as well!

Exercising with the Green Army Men!!

I’m not sure this is what they mean when they talk about Yoga in the Park….

Big and tall like a tree!!! Rhymes with Three!!

In addition to Cast Members, unsuspecting tourists also got involved in our games!!

A friendly game of Red Rover in front of Mickey’s Death Wheel…

I’m just putting this here because, how ridiculous am I??!!

At the end of the Great Race we headed back to the Grand Californian for treats and a visit with the head Mouse and his lady!

They are just Too Cute!

I thought this was a fantastic way to kick off the weekend – making new friends and seeing old ones

Everyone ends up being a friend when you runDisney!!!

So…Moving on :)

22 Aug

My good intentions have not been so great at keeping up on this so I’m hoping to throw a bunch of race recaps out her interspersed with some …you know…life kind of stuff!!

So back in April, after the Hershey 10K and my make-up WDW half, I only had one more 5K on my schedule – it is one I started doing a few years ago. MahoneySabol 5K.

This 5K is kind of the kick-off event for the Traveler’s Championship, a PGA tour that I have volunteered at for 9 years now!  It is run out at the golf course and is really a fun, family friendly event!

Stormtroopers make good parking lot attendants….

It’s a bit of a late starter – usually 11 am- which is a nice change. Sponsors are Mahoney Sabol & Company, a regional , tax, assurance, and business advisory firm, and Traveler’s Insurance. Partners  include Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Bears BBQ (my favorite!), Dunkin Donuts (another fave!), and Two Roads Brewery among others.

The tents with all the goodies….and The First Tee of Connecticut building

Dunkin is there with a hearty breakfast of jelly donuts and coffee as well as bagels if you’re into that kind of thing! And at the finish line Bear’s provides a delicious sandwich that you can wash down with Two Roads IPA!

The course starts and ends at the TPC River Highlands and has it’s nice moments and it’s meh moments! There is a small part of running around the golf course itself (not through!) and a nice residential area. The meh comes in the form of a little less than a mile on the main road through Cromwell – it isn’t awful but…ya know…meh.

I spend a lot of time at this course for the tournament and I’m always surprised how different it looks when there’s no tourney!

Luckily the race starts by running *down* this hill!!

There are kids races which are always awesome to watch and cheer before the 5K and this year we had some characters! I’m pretty sure I saw Batman talking to a Stormtrooper!

 

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!!!

23 Jul

First of all…you’re probably thinking “Hey! This is not in the correct order!” and you are absolutely correct.

Also, this is likely going to be a two-parter cause the timing is pretty expanded!! If you were there, you know!!

But first, take a trip with me back to January…and let’s go to Walt Disney World for Marathon weekend where I was all set to run a 5K and a half marathon and hang out with my awesome Disney Ohana.

This trip involved a couple of travel plan changes but eventually it was all straightened out and me and the Phred got to Orlando  Tuesday morning and after some confusion I found where I had to pick up my rental car and was on my way! Eventually I made it to Celebration and was able to relax. Or…get to work since I had work to do!

As we were running the 5K on Thursday – and I was volunteering on Friday –  we would have to brave the expo on Wednesday to pick up bibs and shirts and credentials. I drove in the red Kia that I had rented (it’s the one in the hamster/rat/gerbil commercial!) and we blasted …um Christmas music on our way to ESPN Wide World of Sports.

The Disney expos have been come a bit of a cluster in the last few years…seems like way too many people in one place at one time! Fortunately,  the building for picking up bibs was not too crowded and the 5K shirts were out in the stadium. Don’t even ask about picking up the other shirt – that building had a massive line to get in so we decided to pick up the Half Marathon shirt after the half on Saturday figuring the crowds would really have died down!

Then I had to hunt down where to pick up my volunteer credentials. After getting mis-directed SEVERAL times I finally found the door to go in and grabbed my things!

The plan for the 5K was to run as a group – we had gotten some awesome wigs and we had matching skirts (not my favorite Skirt Sports but we’ll call it Brand X). Angela and I had Fellow Flower tanks -“Progress Not Perfection” since this is something I need to remember!

As usual I was in a farther back corral than my friends. Happily, for me, Vanessa and Angela dropped back to start out with me. As we got into EPCOT we were joined by a couple of others and eventually, while waiting in line for a picture, we gathered our whole group for an amazing rainbow finish!!

Since Disney races are early enough,  I had time to do a little work after my shower and before we headed over to the Grand Floridian for afternoon tea with the ladies!

I was volunteering the next morning, bright and early, at the start corrals for the 10K so we headed home fairly early…after all, a 2:00 am check-in comes REALLY early!! 🙂

I do love volunteering at Disney — it’s always easy to find the fun and the magic! For this race, I was one of the people leading the corral to the start line. While waiting I met an internet friend, possibly for the first time. Also, watching the faster corrals go past I noticed that not too many of them seemed to be in a very magical mood…More like a dwarves – lots of Grumpy faces! The further back in the race, the more Happy people we saw! Naturally all of them were pretty Sleepy!

Anyway….after getting my group to the start I decide to wait to see more of my friends off. One of the volunteers standing next to me said “wow, you sure know a lot of people!” And I do! Some pretty awesome people!

After all of the runners had left the corrals and were approaching the start, I headed to the meeting area for our group. As I was walking about 3 or 4 runners came speeding past to get into the lines to start – it was a close call for one of them!! We got released early, I headed home for a couple of conference calls and then decided to head over to the parks.

Now, it had been threatening to rain for our Half Marathon on Saturday but the race was “rain or shine”. It isn’t like we haven’t run in the rain before, right?! But…around 5 or so in the evening, people staying onsite started seeing signs go up in the hotel lobbies that the race was being delayed…Okay. But I bet we still need to be there at Dark O’clock. I continued my trip around the Magic Kingdom, texting and checking social media for updates.

And then it happened. Cancelled.

WHAT??!! What??

Seems that there were thunder and lightning expected around the times that volunteers would be setting up and runners arriving and this is no bueno.  Way too dangerous and no where to put 20,000 people if things got bad.

As I was leaving the park I met up with some friends over at the fancy Bay Lake Tower DVC club for a drink. Walking in I was passed by more than a few people who had put on the costumes they had planned for Saturday and were heading out to get their 13.1 in before the storms (this was a trend — the next morning there were makeshift half marathons being held all over Disney property and other guests came out to cheer and provide support!)

I actually did *not* do my half that day. I had gone to bed with a decent head cold so given the opportunity to NOT run in the rain…I took it. Of course, had the official race gone on I would’ve been out there making myself sicker!

I should add here — runDisney took the fairly unprecedented action and actually offered refunds in various forms to those running the half. Which. They did NOT have to do. Rarely does this happen. I’ve personally had 2 races cancelled (one at the very last minute like this one) and got nothing. So… ps – I took the cash – as you should know I would.

I did plan to run a half, completely separate from another registered race (no double-dipping for me!) And I did eventually get it done even if it took me a few months…

But first…there’s other stuff going on that I need to share 🙂

Summer is Finally Here….Maybe

7 Jun

We’re a week into June and it looks like the weather maybe taking a turn towards summer-like here in New England. Let’s hope so!!

Anyway, I haven’t done a wrap-up in awhile so I thought I’d take a break from re-cap after recap of races long gone to do a little update and look forward 🙂

And what better time than the early days of June to get a ‘fresh start’ 🙂

With the year nearly half gone, a check in on my ‘resolutions’ would probably be a good idea, right? It’ll be short for sure:

Not so great with the resolutions so far. Yeah. It’s been lazy-time for yours truly!

May has been full of the things though – some good, some not so good and then some not so good that worked out okay!

The not so good:

I found out early in the month (or maybe in late April…) that my current contract wasn’t going to be extended past the end of June. This meant it was time to start looking for a job again! Definitely not one of my favorite activities – but I was getting a lot of help from people I work with – or have worked with in the past (thanks Betty!!). I had one informal ‘interview’ for what my mom would’ve called “a real job”. She wasn’t thrilled with my consulting I think! Still no word on that one but it’s at the top of my I want to do this list. Late breaking UPDATE though – my current manager has found a way to keep me through the end of the year! Keeping up with my same role but adding some more fun!

Also not so good? My running/working out/nutrition/#allofit – I’ve really fallen off of the get healthy and lose weight bandwagon this year! I’m getting back up to my heaviest weight ever – EEK! I have run a couple of times on my own, and one half marathon (Marine Corps Historic Half) but my training for Marine Corps Marathon and #Dopey18 starts on June 16 and I swear this year I’m sticking to the plan!! I’m accepting suggestions for ways to motivate/reward myself – preferably NOT with a cupcake – to follow plan!! 

Now the good? Well, probably the best thing that’s happened is my nephew graduated from high school! I can’t even believe he’s gotten so old!! And…he also turned 18 which just can’t even be possible!! More on him later – I have to gather the appropriate pictures 😀

 

The graduate….

A week before the big day!!

Conor on his last night as a 17 year old – with Pop and Colin

Also good? My friends. Not that anything dramatic has happened, it’s just nice to be reminded that I have some awesome friends because sometimes we forget, right?

So. Coming up for the rest of the summer?

As mentioned, training starts in a week or so. I know right now the first week will be tough since it is also the week of the Traveler’s Championship golf tournament that I volunteer at every year. That means really long days at the golf course and just enough spare time to wash my clothes and sleep! So….I may give myself a pass for week 1 but I know it isn’t the ideal way to start!

I have a few 5Ks in my calendar through the summer and those are always pretty fun!

I’m also considering another Whole 30 — it’s been about 4 years since I last made an attempt and I need *something* to reset my eating habits so we’ll see about this one! But…I will miss you pizza and cheese. And wine. I will miss you most of all 🙂 This is also something that I would wait until after the tournament to start because it might be hard to find compliant food at the concession stands! At a bare minimum I *will* be cleaning up my eating habits!

So let’s all think good thoughts that I can get back on track!

And now…back to my recap catch-up!! This next one is a doozy!! 😀

Show Me the Chocolate!!!

30 May

So, if you haven’t wandered off yet…. I’m still around-ish! (though choosing “consistency” as my word for 2 years in a row seems to be um…less than effective!)

And if you have wandered off…COME BACK!!!

Please!

Anyway, if you’ve been around a while, you might have caught on that I love running the Hershey Half Marathon every October. Well, every October for the last 3 years anyway!

The Chocolate Town Challenges group also puts on a 10K in April which I’ve never done because, I think this is the reason, it is the same weekend as a local 4 miler. Or, I’ve just missed out on registration by the time I realize “hey! I want to do this this year!”

So, this year I finally got my stuff together enough to make sure to register back when registration opened (maybe on Jan 1?) and was looking forward to adding this one to my yearly schedule!

As with a couple other events (Hershey Half and the Marine Corps Historic Half) I headed over to Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon. Now, normally it’s a nice drive. Uneventful. Unfortunately, I left right around the time a pretty significant thunderstorm was hitting the tri-state area so except for about 20 minutes of sunshine in New Jersey it was a rainy, tense drive!

BUT…I made it to PA and Jennifer’s house safe and sound. The plan was to work at “home” on Friday and the 10K is on Saturday. Jennifer was volunteering at the finish line so we decided I’d just do day of bib pickup and we’d wing it from there!

No real swag with this one – some coupons for cookies and discounts at HersheyPark. But a cute shirt!

Short sleeve shirt because it was “Spring” 🙂

Weather was chilly and windy, I wore my Redemption capris in Frolic and a generic black pullover and my ambassador beanie!

The course is obviously different from the half – it starts out the same, circling the HUGE parking lot and then instead of going into the park, we headed out to the highway. Which, in case you were wondering, is kind of a long slow climb!

Then a bit around the Outlets and soon into the park, through a back gate! NB: Why is every amusement park in the world built on so many hills? ß-Legit question I would like to see an answer to!

Finished the same as the half only didn’t have to run the WHOLE stadium track, just a bit – grabbed a water from Jennifer as well as my post race treat bag. ASIDE: THIS is something that Hershey does SO well. For this race it was an insulated lunch box filled with some goodies – including a gigantor oatmeal raisin cookie and a 10K Magnet!

And then I headed to the car to put my things away and get ready to meet the boys to go to the park! Happily, the volunteers got a free ticket voucher so we waited in a long line to redeem and we were set to go!

After a few coasters we decided to leave – none of us were feeling great (and 2 of us were really tired!) I did get a picture with my favorite chocolate bar…though he was a bit put out about my sweatshirt…

I spent the rest of Saturday and some of Sunday hanging with the family before heading home with Phred.

Another great Hershey / Chocolate Town Challenges event that I will likely be doing again!!

Medal and lunch bag

My next race? Well, actually it was going to be the Walt Disney World Half Marathon – yes, the one they do in January!
Also, volunteering for the Dark Side Challenge and 5K!

Yep – that means I was heading down to one of my super Happy places!!

But hold on, it’s about to get kind of confusing!! 🙂 Get ready to time travel!!

You Should Try Other Distances

18 May

The Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon – April 1

No foolin’! This is a quarter marathon route — about 6.55 miles – – a double loop around the West Hartford Reservoir. It’s a gorgeous course that I’ve run as a 5K and for this event.

Put on by the same folks who bring us one of my absolute favorite half marathons – Sonic Endurance. All of their races have a real family feel and this one is no exception.

The weather for April 1 can be unpredictable in New England and we were on weather watch for this one for sure! Friday afternoon packet pickup was held in Glastonbury so I headed over after work. Grabbed my bib and tshirt and came home to get ready.

Event Shirt back and medal – my ribbon fell off but it’s still pretty!!

Rain was in the forecast. Or snow. But there was definitely going to be precipitation. Because of this the post race festivities were being cancelled so the awesome volunteers wouldn’t have to hang around in the rain.

It looked like I was going to have to pull out my Toasty Tights again, but forecasts said it would be less cold than my St. Patricks Day races had been so I went with some Go The Distance tights, my Toasty Girl Vest (Skirt Sports saves the day again!!), and a plastic rain poncho! When I left the house, it was rainy/drizzly

When I woke up on April Fool’s Day — the weather was….still pretty unpredictable.

On the drive up to the race, I went through some rain. And some sleet. And, was that a little bit of snow? When I got to the West Hartford Reservoir I found a good parking spot and settled in. And watched the icy rain/snow slide down the windshield.

Start time approached so I pulled on my plastic raincoat and headed to the start line – it was a bit drizzly and quite windy and chilly! Someone asked if I planned to wear the plastic the whole time and really I had no idea!

Spoiler: I did keep the poncho on the whole time – which was good since the weather changed every couple of miles!

There was a small section of mud running which I do NOT like – I’m clumsy enough as it is and feared falling in the cold mud so walked that bit both times I went through! Otherwise I managed to keep to my intervals pretty good and while I didn’t set any records I had a good time!

Post Race — one day I will not make dumb faces in selfies!!

Post race I grabbed a cupcake and headed home to shower and warm up!

My next race was coming up the next week – my first time running the Hershey 10K!

**This post contains affiliate links. As a Skirt Sports Ambassador I receive my awesome running clothes at a discount – and so can you!! Just use code SPRINGCPT20 when you shop at Skirt Sports – either online or at the Boulder store!**

O’ – All the Shenanigans

26 Apr

Happy April and belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Haven’t been so great about keeping up in March, and most of this month,  but let’s turn over a new leaf. Again 🙂

Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, the Hartford Marathon Foundation puts on a few 5K races. In the past, there were three. This year, FOUR! So that meant 2 weekends of 5 K’s. Starting with…

The O’Shenanigans 5K

This was the new one. Run in Cheshire/Southington CT and finishing up on the rails to trails path behind the Kinsmen Brewery (a new not even open at the time brewery!) It was cold this Saturday morning — well, not cold actually. It was FAH REEZING!!! Like…11 degrees air temp with a wind-chill near…1. So it was a layer up and hope for the best kind of day!

Swag was a colorful buff which came in handy in the cold!!

The course was, as advertised, a flat out and back. The back was on the path which was really pretty. I ran my new favorite intervals of 45:30 which seems to be working for now. The finishing snack was a Kinsmen beer and some really delicious pizza along with the usual Main Street Bakery bars/snacks and water!

After we finished snacking, Kathy and I headed back to the house to warm up. She headed home to RI while I showered and got ready to head over to RI for the night. Tomorrow’s race would be in Putnam, CT which is closer to her house than mine – plus I hadn’t visited in a while so it would be a nice time!

Sunday afternoon’s race is …

The Courthouse O’Putnam 5K

Putnam is a nice little town up in the northwest corner of the state. This is probably the 4th or 5th year I’ve done this one and it’s a fun day. This one is no where near Flat. But I kept to my intervals, mostly – there’s one or two pretty hefty hills to get up!!

And, it was another chilly day for sure!

And today’s swag was a great knit cap! They’ve learned from prior years and this year it’s a hat that will actually stay on while running!! Bonus!

Post race is a delicious corned beef sandwich (really the only time I have one!) and, of course a beer – which I enjoyed!

We also have a post race tradition of stopping into the little hole in the wall bar (literally, if you didn’t know it was there you’d miss it!) – we stopped in here after our first O’Putnam and have come back every year since. This year we sat at the bar and had a great time talking with the bartender/owner? learning some history of the building and hearing some great jokes!  At one point she commented on the fact that she thought we were familiar and so we told her we come in every year!

As we were leaving she hollered out “See you next year!”

Then it was time for me to gather my things, and my dog, from Kathy’s and head home. I had a big week ahead. In addition to the 2 final O’Races, I was throwing a Skirt Sport Trunk show open house and needed to get the house somewhat presentable!

The O’Niantic 5K

Saturday morning following St. Patrick’s Day, I headed south on Hwy 9 to meet up with Kathy for Saturday’s 5K – Niantic is a great little beach town and this 5K is another fun one!

Once again, I bundled up – though fortunately it was a *little* warmer than last weekend – I think we were getting up into the 30’s this week! It was supposed to be a fairly sunny day, but the clouds moved in before the start and didn’t really go away at all.

Swag report – great green gloves! The kind that you can keep on and still be able to take pictures and use your phone!

Again I kept to my intervals, except for that one big hill!

At the end of this race, we got our doohickey to hold our medals together and we also got our “Lucky” mug for doing all 4 of the races!! We also got some vegetarian chili and a beer! After hanging out at Smarty’s for a bit I headed back towards home to grab my voucher for the Trunk Show food and go get that picked up at Noodles and Company!

Then it was time to shower, finish setting up and wait for friends to show!

And, finally, the last race of the series:

The O’Hartford 5K

This year was a year of many changes for this race! New location, new craft brew festival put on by Small State Great Beer.

O’Hartford is a late starter …like 1 in the afternoon late! Which means we got to sleep in, which was nice. And the sun was shining fairly brightly too so there was some hope it would be a little warmer.

But the wind was also blowing so it was still pretty chilly out-

Final Swag – a Pair of Run Irish Socks! And also, I got a replacement for my “Lucky” mug that I managed to shatter in my driveway the day before…

We headed down an hour or so early, to beat road closures and park. Then my friend Pam let us hang out in her office before the race to stay warm (and, bonus! Indoor potties!). Her parents were meeting her down there so when they arrived we headed over to the start.  I was curious to see how I’d like this new course.

Again, kept to my intervals except on the bigger hills (I know, I just need to get over it..see what I did there?) and had a fairly decent finish.

Post-race we grabbed some sort of soup…and beer. This time we could choose from multiple CT breweries and I think I chose well (except at this late date I can’t remember though I think it was from 30 Mile Brewery)

After goofing off a bit we went back to Pam’s office where I may have had a second beer – but a smaller coffee mug sized beer 🙂  And by now it was getting pretty late – so we all headed to our respective homes.

All in all, it was a really great couple of weeks! I had hoped that it would motivate me to get back to a regular running schedule but so far, I’m still hoping…I’ve been feeling really scattered and like there are other things I need to get under control before I get my running back in line — more hoping that Spring will snap me out of my slump!!

All Of The Pictures – 

Using our awesome new buffs to help stay warm…#foggyglasses

All the Skirt Sports winter gear! Love my Toasty Tights, my Toasty Vest and my beanie!! I wore those pants every race during the series!

Swag from the first two races…

PreRace Niantic…I need to get back to Dublin one of these days…SOON!!

Post race Niantic!

This outfit again?!!

Swag from last 2 races…

All the medals, and extra glass. For drinking. Water

 

Coming up next — the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon!!

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