Disney Marathon Training Week 6: 9/21-9/27

This week was just….UGH!  It rained so much here, and I just couldn’t get to the gym.  I’m sad that I missed some runs, but it’ll be fine as long as I don’t miss the long ones!

Monday 9/21  30 minute maintenance run + Arms and Abs conditioning

Today was the first day of Tone It Up’s Fit For Fall Charity Challenge.  I’m incorporating it into my marathon training plan as an easy way to get in cross-training and focus on eating healthy.  I ran 30 minutes in my neighborhood, which counted towards 3 miles for the #100forcharity challenge.  Then I did their #FriskyFall arms and abs routine on YouTube.

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I’m using the Charity Miles app on my iPhone to track my miles.  A sponsor donates money per mile towards the cause of your choice.  I am going to stick with RED, part of the ONE Campaign.  The ONE Campaign was co-founded by Bono (the lead singer of U2) to organize and draw the attention of the world towards charities that are fighting disease, poverty, and hunger in Africa.  RED is fighting to eradicate HIV and AIDS, which you may know is an enormous problem in Africa.

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The amount of money is not huge, and you are limited to the charities on the app.  I want my money to go where it can do the most good.  An $0.81 donation to a charity in the U.S. or another wealthy country does not go nearly as far as a donation to extremely poor countries.

Tuesday 9/22  Fit for Fall HIIT Workout + Thigh Strengthening + Ab Work

The new Tone It Up HIIT workout is a free downloadable printable.  It involved several minutes of sprinting/jogging in between sets of burpees, jump squats, lunges, and other mat work.  Afterwards, I did some thigh strengthening moves on their YouTube video 3 Moves to Toned Thighs (which is also given to you as a free printable if you join the challenge), and the ab moves from yesterday that I hadn’t gotten around to.  Whoo….my abs were sore!

The workout had so much running, so I counted it towards my #100forcharity and used the charity miles app:

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 2.06.02 PMWednesday 9/23 Yoga, Arms, and Abs

I followed the Beach Stretch and Release routine on Tone It Up’s Beach Babe 3 DVD.  Next I followed along with some of their YouTube abs and shoulders routines.

Thursday 9/24  Rest Day

Friday 9/25 (supposed to have run 4 miles)

….but my debit card number was stolen and used to make some big purchases, so I spent close to 5 hours dealing with this, and it was raining, and I ran out of time to go to the gym before date night with my husband.  We saw “Black Mass” with Johnny Depp…it was ok.

Oh and here’s when it all started to happen….I ate seafood alfredo and shared a carafe of red wine with the hubs… so…

Saturday 9/26 Was supposed to run 4 miles…again

But was still raining, I was hungover, and I had to take my daughter to a soccer game (in the rain!).  I made up for this by eating very very….badly.  Cupcakes, ribs, cole slaw, and creamy chowder…

Sunday 9/27 Was getting much…worse.

I was supposed to bring food for my Sunday school class, so did I chose to bring a fruit tray?  Nope.  I brought biscuit and gravy casserole.  I made myself eat a very normal/smallish portion of it.

After my ok-ish healthy lunch of a turkey sandwich, I got to work in the kitchen with the food I had bought yesterday.  I made a bunch of very healthy meals to make it easier for me to stick to the Fit For Fall Challenge this week.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 2.06.23 PMI had a very healthy salmon and green beans for dinner, drank lots of water, and woke up feeling like I’m close to being back on track.

Here’s to a fantastic week 7 to come!

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Disney Marathon Training Week 5: 9/14-9/20

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Total Miles:  14.88

Cross Training:  1 day (barre)

Monday 9/14:  30 minute maintenance run

Wow, the weather was fresh today!  I considered a long-sleeved shirt for a second, but I knew I wouldn’t be chilly for long.  Blue skies, fall weather:  the perfect running day.

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I ran a slightly different route, incorporating some of my route from a run last week.  I ran mostly on streets surrounding my neighborhood.  I’m lucky that many of the streets leading from my neighborhood have sidewalks that extend for miles.  I don’t always enjoy running here because the sound of traffic isn’t exactly peaceful, but it gets the job done.

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 11.13.25 AMLook at those beautiful negative splits!  Can’t wait to run in more weather like this.

Tuesday 9/15  Barre Class

I actually wore my heart rate monitor during this class.  I have worn it during previous classes and discovered I burn around 200 calories (interesting since many barre fitness studios claim up to 500 calories).  You need to be careful with HRM calorie burns because you should subtract the calories you would’ve burned anyway, just by being alive, for that amount of time (Basal Metabolic Rate calculator).  Take your BMR and divide it by 24.  I take that as an educated guess.  So for me, I could burn anywhere from 50-60 calories an hours just by lying on my bed.

So that 200 calorie burn for an hour of barre class?  More like around 150.  Which doesn’t make the exercise I do in that class useless!  Far from it!  The strength exercises in the class don’t burn anywhere near what I burn running, but the value of the strength gains I get is high.

I didn’t feel like I got as much of a cardio workout in the class as I normally do, but my glutes were on fire.  So I got something out of it.Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.51.09 AMWednesday 9/16 30 minute maintenance run in downtown Greenville

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Love this cooler weather!

Thursday 9/17 Rest Day

Friday 9/18 9 mile long run

I decided to try run/walk intervals for this run to see if my recovery would go easier.  I felt like I was a bit too destroyed by my 7 mile run two weeks ago, and it shouldn’t have been so hard to recover.

I set my Garmin to 2:30/0:50 run/walk intervals.  This is very easy to do; then it beeps when you need to run or walk (giving you some warning beeps too, so you have time to get over).  It becomes a fairly automatic response after a while.  During the walk, I did not speed walk,  I walked at a normal pace.  I was afraid trying to walk too quickly would cause me to overextend my knees and cause pain.

I ran downtown on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  It is significantly less crowded on weekdays than on weekends.  It’s nice to do my longer runs on Fridays because it allows me more weekend time with my family.

I warmed up for a little more than 1/3 of a mile, walking, then jogging a bit.

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"Swamp Rabbit"

“Swamp Rabbit”

I wore my heart rate monitor this time...and it chafed and cut up my chest in the middle where the strap is!  Ugh!

I wore my heart rate monitor this time…and it chafed and cut up my chest in the middle where the strap is! Ugh!

My pace clearly shows the intervals.  The longer intervals or more frequent ones you see are when I had to cross roads.

My pace clearly shows the intervals. The longer intervals or more frequent ones you see are when I had to cross roads.

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Done!

Done!

Saturday 9/19 Rest Day

Was able to go to the Saturday Market downtown.  Saw the Clemson cheerleaders!

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Sunday 9/20 Rest Day

Extra rest day because tomorrow starts Tone It Up’s Fit For Fall Challenge!

DietBet.com Review: Part 1

Have you heard of DietBet.com?  You pay money to join a group (typically running for 6 weeks) where you are “betting” that you can lose 4% of your body weight by a specified date.

A running for weight loss group I am a part of is running one that recently started, so I decided to join.  I bet $25.  I had to take a picture of myself on a scale, and a picture of the number, along with a secret “password.”  My starting weight was then verified.  This is one of the ways they prevent cheating (you can read more about that on their site).  Nobody can see your weight unless you allow them to by checking a box when you sign in.

Some find this motivating, which obviously I’m hoping I will.  Others find the idea distasteful and perhaps focusing on the wrong path towards health.  Diet Bet doesn’t endorse any diet, participants can lose the weight in the way that works for them.  I agree with this premise somewhat, different programs work for different people; on the other hand, it does nothing to prevent someone from losing weight in an unhealthy and dangerous manner (starvation, pills, etc.).

I decided to give it a go in the name of variety and research.  I’m already down .2 pounds!  Very exciting.  I’m not following any sort of plan, other than using My Fitness Pal to track my food intake.  I’m aiming for a 3-500 calorie deficit a day, which includes exercise calories.  I track my exercise calories using my Garmin and my UP24 band, which are conveniently connected to the MFP account.

My goal is to lose weight to feel comfortable in my own skin, improve my running, and relieve pressure on my knees.  This, in combination with participation in the Tone It Up Fit for Fall challenge should keep me on track!  I’ll be updating as the contest goes along, it ends in October.  Wish me luck!

Disney Marathon Training Week 4: 9/6-9/13

This week was a cut-back training week.

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 11.02.37 AMTotal Miles:  9.17

I did not do well incorporating cross-training into this week!

Sunday 9/6:  Rest Day

Spent a rainy day at the Isle of Palms, but at least we got a few dry hours to spend on the beach.

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Monday 9/7: Rest Day

I had planned to run at the beach today, but was feeling extra stiff and sore from sleeping on the pull-out bed.  Not to mention heaviness from eating unhealthy food.  It was another rainy day, so I packed up the kids and drove back home.

Tuesday 9/8: 30 minute run in neighborhood

I felt SO slow, so stiff.  It was not a good run at all!  I resolve to get back on track with my eating habits.  Ugh!!

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Wednesday 9/9:  Rested

I wanted to run 2 miles and do barre class but I felt terrible today!  Exhausted, sick, sleepy.  I decided to rest one more day.  I wonder if it’s because of my long run on Friday?  My body hasn’t run that long in months and months.  It began to pour down rain later.  I had to drive through the torrential downpour to get my daughter from preschool, then get in the car line to pick up my son.  He normally walks home, but the school’s weather policy kicked in so he wasn’t allowed to walk home.  It took 35 minutes for me to get him in that car line…

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Thursday 9/10:  30 minute run in neighborhood

I took a different route around my neighborhood, which did mean a few more hills, but it was nice to go a different way.  I finally felt normal again, and had a good run!

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 11.13.40 AMLook how different my average pace is from my terrible run Tuesday!  I ran at the same effort level for both.  Not every run is a good run, but they are all training your body.

Friday 9/11:  Rest Day

Working on my volunteer obligations, doing some household business, and generally planning what we are doing this weekend.  I’d like the kids and my husband to nail some stuff, build some things in the garage.  E needs a hands-on outlet to tear apart and build things, and I want M to learn that girls can certainly do that stuff too.

Saturday 9/12:  4 mile step back run

For the first time in race training, I’m actually following Jeff Galloway’s step-back weeks.  The long-runs happen only every other week, and in between you run a shorter “long-run” of 4-6 miles.  This is supposed to reduce wear and tear during training.

I decided to drive to downtown Greenville and run the Swamp Rabbit Trail, mostly because I could easily get a Starbucks afterwards as a reward.  The people watching here this morning was epic.  Lots and lots of runners, walkers, and cyclists.  Many people clearly doing their fall marathon training.  It was great weather, not too hot or muggy, cloudy.  Just a nice run.  I felt really great too!

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The Reedy River at Riverwalk across from the Peace Center

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.53.24 AMMy average pace looks pretty good for a 4-miler.  I didn’t try very hard to get negative splits since this was a shorter run…but I actually achieved it!

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.56.23 AMAfterwards, I cooled down with a short walk to Starbucks on Main Street (yes, one guy did stare at me walking in all sweaty…but nobody else gave me even a first glance, much less a second).

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Reward! Don’t worry, non-fat latte, no sugar or syrup

This could be considered a good recovery drink?  It’s milk, right?  Protein, carbs.

The rest of the weekend was great.  I was so thankful for fall weather on Sunday!

Wrigley loves fall!

Wrigley loves fall!

Fall mums!

Fall mums!

How did your training go this week?

Tone It Up Fit for Fall Charity Challenge

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Back in the spring, after I broke/sprained my toe (who knows, the main thing is it hurt to run and I needed to rest and heal), I researched other ways to keep myself motivated and in shape while I couldn’t run.  I wanted to include more strength training in my routine.  A friend said she used Tone It Up to stay in shape.  So I decided to check it out.

Tone It Up is a fitness brand started by two friends, Karena and Katrina.  They are both personal trainers in their 30s, and started by making YouTube exercise videos.  Every Tuesday they release a new (free!) exercise video on their YouTube channel.  Their Bikini Series was just beginning, so I decided to join.  You can join their fitness challenges for free.  You sign up, and they include you in that series’ email newsletter.  You check the email and their blog (I use their app) for the week’s exercise schedule.  Of course, it’s a business, they need to make money, naturally they include workouts only available on their DVDs.  What I liked was they also gave you alternatives if you didn’t own the DVDs; they would list free videos for you to do.  They would also include a sample meal plan and free recipes.

I followed along for free for a while and then I decided to take the plunge and buy the package.  I got their DVD and meal plan for $199.  That is a steep price, yes, and it’s not for everyone.  But with that one purchase you are a Tone it Up member for life.  Each new meal plan or challenge they have, you get it for free.  If you look at it in terms of other diet plans, that’s a deal.  A monthly e-subscription to Weight Watchers will set you back $40 a month.

I find Karena and Katrina to be very motivating. Their workouts are challenging, but realistic (and short!).  I definitely saw results.  One of the things that draws me to Tone It Up is they do not emphasize weight loss or any one body type.  They seem more focused on a healthy lifestyle (which should lead you to a healthy weight) and how you feel about yourself.  Of course, they are cut and buffed bodies themselves, but that’s their job.  I never feel that they are trying to make me “skinny.”  The goal seems to be just to build and uncover muscles.

I always say that the right “program” for you is the one that works, and this works for me.  I was excited to sign up for the Fit for Fall Charity Challenge.  I immediately received the starter pack, an e-document that includes motivational tips, an explanation about their 100 “miles” for charity challenge (using the Charity Miles app), their prizes (including drawings to donate $200 to the charity of your choice), fall recipes, and an explanation of their plan.

I love this challenge.  Their challenges always include a personal element that is more about your emotional/mental health; encouraging you to treat yourself kindly.  I’m all about that.  This challenge also includes practicing gratitude (thus, the charity challenge aspect).  It’s a bit of extra motivation and getting out of your own head that I feel is important in keeping yourself healthy.

I’ll be following along with the challenge on social media (Instagram @carrie.knit.run), join me!  It’s fun!  No, really, it really is!

Do you every change things up with a challenge, official or personal?

Need lunch ideas?

Sometimes the most exhausting part of my week is trying to decide what to eat.  There’s nothing worse than that “I don’t want to eat anything I have” feeling as you stand in front of the fridge.

I have been getting together a few ideas for quick and healthy lunches so that I will have them all in one place.

Lunch Tacos

I found these great tortillas at Costco.  They are not cooked, so you need to put them in a pan over medium heat, 30 seconds each side.  So worth it!  They taste much better than the pre-made tortillas at the store (though you can use those too).IMG_3224

Ingredients:

tortillas (flour or corn)

refried beans (vegetarian are my favorite because they are low fat and packed with protein)

tomatoes

salsa (or a can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies)

sour cream and/or cheese

avocado (optional)

I heat up the beans in a separate bowl, then just put everything in the tortilla.  It’s easy, filling, and healthy.  If you are packing your lunch, you can easily carry the ingredients separately.  Sometimes I also add meat from leftovers.

Zoodle Soup

*follow link*

Paleo Shrimp Scampi

*follow link*

Bean Salad

This is the best, and so easy. Try to buy the lower sodium canned beans for an even healthier salad.

Ingredients

1 can each black beans, cannelini (white) beans (drained and rinsed)

1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies, drained (or just plane diced tomatoes, fresh or canned)

green onion (optional)

4 tablespoons Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar salad dressing OR

3 tbs red wine vinegar and 1-2 tbs olive oil (add more to taste)

salt and pepper to taste

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl.  Enjoy served over a mixed green salad, on its own, or with pita or tortilla chips.

What are some of your favorite quick lunches?

Disney Marathon Training Week 3: 8/31-9/6

These training logs will be more like an online running log, each section written on the day the run took place.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 12.17.16 PM(that 1366 calories looks awesome! HA!  I did not lose half a pound this week, unfortunately…)

Monday 8/31

Maintenance run, in my neighborhood

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 4.36.01 PMI tried to take it easy on this run because my knee was “twinge-y.”  It was a little warm during the run, mid-70s, and sunny. I had originally planned to run downtown, but changed my mind.  I need to find other, easily accessible running routes so I don’t get bored.  Plus, the roads in my neighborhood are canted which could be contributing to my knee pain.

I stretched well after the run, and iced my knee.  I plan to ice it twice more today, and three times tomorrow.

Tuesday 9/1

Barre class at the gym:  Because I now have to drop off my daughter at school at 8:45, I can no longer go to the 8:30 barre class I’ve been attending all summer.  Luckily, there is one at 12:15.  I got there early to get a pass, but this turned out to be unnecessary.  There were only about 6 people in the class (including my mom, love working out with her).  My knee bothered me a bit during the plié portion so I might need to work on not going so low.

I felt like I was successful in completing all the reps for each exercise (very hard to do in this class).

That afternoon, I watched both my children during their gymnastics classes.  My son is in an all boys Level 1 class now, and wow do they do some difficult stuff!

That evening I made my weekly banana bread (my kids favorite) and watched Wrigley chase birds.

The kids always want to add chocolate chips

The kids always want to add chocolate chips

Successfully saved family from robins

Successfully saved family from robins

Wednesday 9/2

30 Minute Run at Swamp Rabbit Trail (Greenville, SC)

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Are you on Garmin Connect? I’m carrieknitrun

It was so humid!  The humidity was just killing me, especially since the weather had seemed so nice the past few days.  I couldn’t start the run until about 9:30 AM because of school drop-off, and it was just so hot.  I wish I had gotten up at 5:30 instead of waiting.

There were quite a few runners out training, it was nice to see.  I saw a couple of people I know.

I had to stop and walk around in a circle for about 2 minutes here at Falls Park until I felt refreshed enough to continue

I had to stop and walk around in a circle for about 2 minutes here at Falls Park until I felt refreshed enough to continue

Whew! So dizzy with humidity I felt no shame at taking a ridiculous picture

Whew! So dizzy with humidity I felt no shame at taking a ridiculous picture

Thursday 9/3

“Rest” Day:  Today I cleaned the entire downstairs (did the upstairs yesterday); dusted, swept, and mopped the porch and porch furniture; swept the patio; swept the spiderwebs from the eaves of the house; and washed off the front porch.  Plus I did laundry, and made bread.  My UP24 was impressed:

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I’m going to knitting night at a friend’s house, hooray!

Also:

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Friday 9/4

7 mile long run on roads near my neighborhood

I decided to run a slightly different route than I had in the past.  I ran through and then out of my neighborhood and then on sidewalks past some businesses and other neighborhoods near me for 3.75 miles, then I came back the same way.  I actually live in the same neighborhood in which I grew up.  This route was particularly nostalgic: I ran past the bagel shop where I used to eat breakfast sometimes before school (and we still go pick up bagels here on weekends), past what used to be the TCBY where we would stop after school for the occasional treat, past the elementary school where my mother was Assistant Principal, and all the way up past my old middle school (well, the original building has since been torn down and rebuilt).  This provided quite a bit of distraction.

I was a bit nervous about this run because I haven’t run longer than 5 miles since March, and that 5 miler was only two weeks ago.  Seven miles is a long way, and I wasn’t sure I was ready.  Also, I’d be running later in the morning than I typically do for long runs.  Normally, I start long runs (in summer and early fall, warm weather) around 7:00 AM on a Saturday.  Because we are leaving early in the morning for the beach tomorrow, I had to get the run in today.  First, I had to get my kids ready for school.  After seeing my 1st grader off to school, I dropped off M at my mother’s house so she could take her to school and I could get my run started earlier to avoid some of the heat.

The first 3 miles were great, I took it slow.  The past two years I’ve just been working on “getting it done” when it comes to training.  Running pretty much at the same pace, some speedwork thrown in, just to get the miles in and finish the race in good shape.  Now that I’m more confident and more experienced, I’d like to work on my pacing, which is essentially nonexistent.  My pacing strategy up to this point has been just to go at a comfortable pace, and generally I stay that pace for the entire race.  I do think my race times could improve a bit without speedwork, just by learning to run negative splits (when each subsequent mile in your run is slightly faster than the previous).

Well…. it could’ve gone better.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 12.08.30 PMI noticed during mile 3 that I was going faster than I wanted, but I just couldn’t slow down for whatever reason.  I did try!  Mile 4 looks slower because it was about halfway, so I stopped and walked a bit and drank some water.  Mile 5 a bit too fast. Mile 6 was just the worst.  Uphill and I was so hot, I had to walk a few times, as you can see on my pacing below.

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I hope I’ll get better at this.  My goal marathon pace is an average of 12:00 per mile.

I could not wait to get back into my neighborhood (shady trees!) for the last mile.  I was also feeling a little bit of pain in my right glute and calf (radiating sciatia from overdoing it with the housework yesterday).

After the run, I decided to really do recovery right, just to get into the habit.  Training for a marathon is all about recovering from long runs, right?  So I stretched, drank some water, even sat in a cold bath for 15 minutes (really babying myself), and iced everything that hurt during the run (my knee, of course, and the ball of my right foot).  Then I ate a Greek yogurt for some carbs and protein, and foam rolled.  Perhaps this routine is a bit much for such a “short” run, but I need to develop this habit.

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I plan to rest tomorrow and Sunday at the beach (one last mini-vacation before fall).

How did your training go this week?

Disney Princess Weekend 2015: Epcot for adults

If you’d like to read my previous posts on this weekend, please see this page.  At the end of this article I have listed some tips for an adult’s only day at Epcot (with or without running a half marathon the day before!).

The day after the race, the husband and I headed back to the Polynesian, but this time to eat breakfast at the Kona Cafe.  I originally had a reservation for breakfast at Ohana, but at the last minute decided it was too kid-oriented.  If we were here with our children, we would of course chosen the character meal, but this was an adults only trip, so I wanted to make choices we wouldn’t normally make.

Kona seemed crowded, and there were a couple of families that seemed grumpy about having to wait.  I recommend getting and advance reservation, like we did.  Our wait was minimal.  The cafe is located on the 2nd floor of the Polynesian (the level where the monorail stops).  It isn’t highly themed, but it’s decorated in much the same way as the rest of the Poly, just with more of a diner feel to the style.

The food, though.  Phenomenal.  I ordered the Tonga Toast because it looked good, having never heard anything about it before.  Holy wow.  I wish I had a picture!  It was a piece of sourdough bread the size of dictionary, stuffed with an entire banana, deep fried and then rolled in cinnamon sugar.  The strawberry compote it was served with was the absolute bomb.  I ate every bite.  When we got home the next day, I googled copy-cat recipes, and I can’t wait to recreate this at home.

My husband got some kind of sausage, eggs, pancake combo that looked good but honestly I was so enthralled by the Tonga Toast I hardly noticed his food.

We went to Epcot after breakfast.  I had a plan to do some rides and then eat/drink our way around World Showcase.  I hadn’t been to Epcot since I was a little girl, and I didn’t really enjoy the rides.  If you are nostalgic about them, like I am about some of the Magic Kingdom rides, then go for it.  I wish we had skipped all the rides and gone straight to World Showcase because we didn’t have enough time to see all of the countries.

I would like to offer my opinion on some of the rides, although I’m sure many would disagree with me.  Mission to Mars made me far too uncomfortable.  I do not get motion sickness, but toward the end of that (you are spun in a centrifuge) I felt ill.  It was very cool, but I’ll never do it again.  Test Track, likewise, was a bit much for me, and not so exciting.  I’m sure my son would’ve loved it, though.

We also went on Soarin’, Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and the Gran Fiesta Tour.  Soarin’ struck me as old-fashioned, not up to date technology, but we both enjoyed it.  Living with the Land was just a nice boat ride, and it felt good to sit.  It too felt dated.  The Seas with Nemo and Friends made me wish we had skipped it because it felt too much like a kids ride.  We both really enjoyed the Gran Fiesta Tour, however.  It was so much like the great original Walt Disney World rides, the classics; we truly enjoyed this ride.

Our first stop in World Showcase was Norway.  Some of the topiaries were beginning to appear for the flower show in a few weeks.  We stopped at the Kringla Bakerei Og Cafe for a school bread:  a big puff pastry donut thingy filled with vanilla cream and dusted with powdered sugar and toasted coconut.  My husband refused to let me have the last bite!

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Next we stopped in Germany.  We had a look in the German beer hall, which was nicely done and the food did smell delicious.  I noticed a shop that had wine tasting, so of course we had to stop.  Even my German husband was impressed.

Our favorite wine

Our favorite wine

So we can find it again!

So we can find it again!

We ate an early dinner, late lunch at the San Angel Inn in Mexico.  The atmosphere here was just wonderful!  It’s located in the Aztec temple, and it feels like you’re in a square in Mexico City underneath the stars.  The Oaxacan art they had for sale was also authentic and beautiful.  There were even craftsmen working on several pieces.  My husband has been to Mexico often, and he was impressed by the artwork.

Our waiter was quite good.  He was very friendly and professional, everything presented to us with flair.  My husband asked for his recommendation for an entree, and he was not disappointed.  He had the Tacos de Carne (New York strip tacos).  I chose the Pollo a la Rajas, and it too was delicious.  I’ve heard of people not enjoying the food in this restaurant, but both my husband and I agreed that it tasted authentic and delicious.

We walked leisurely through China, Japan, France, and England, stopping to see performers.  The buildings are stunning.  Morocco was also cool, and if we hadn’t been so full perhaps we would’ve stopped for some mint tea.  We found a spot on the terrace of the Rose & Crown, bought a beer and waited for the Illuminations:  Reflections of Earth show to begin (I recommend getting there at least 45 minutes early, like we did).

Sun setting

Sun setting

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The show did not disappoint, and we had a fantastic view.  Getting back to the bus with the crowd of people leaving Epcot after the show was not so bad, as long as you are prepared for it.

It was a good day, we agreed, but, like I said before, I wish we’d skipped out on the majority of the rides and spent our time at World Showcase.

Starbucks, my medal, and Epcot

Starbucks, my medal, and Epcot

Tips for an Adult’s Only Day at Epcot in Walt Disney World

  1.  Unless you are a huge fan of these rides, I recommend skipping most of them with the exception of the Gran Tour with the Three Caballeros and possibly Spaceship Earth (if you’ve never done it, it’s pretty neat).
  2. Start in Norway with breakfast at the Kringla Backerei Og Cafe, and get several school breads (trust me).
  3. Work your way around each country, enjoy the performers, look in the shops (you don’t necessarily have to buy anything, but the authentic items they have for sale are pretty cool).
  4. Eat and/or drink something unique in each country.  Wander into all of the buildings you can, even if you’re not eating at Akershus or the beer hall in Germany or San Angel Inn, they are very interesting to see.
  5. Eat dinner at one of the top rated restaurants such as Via Napoli in Italy or Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada.
  6. Find a great viewing area around the lake, get there up to an hour before Illuminations starts.  Relax, drink, talk, take turns going into the shops while some stay to hold your places.
  7. Don’t sweat leaving the park with the crowds.  The fleets of buses are lined up and go fairly quickly.  Now, cars in the parking lot could be a different story…

What is your favorite thing to eat/drink at Epcot?

Disney Marathon Training Week 2: 8/24-8/29

There is no Week 1 training log done, but during the first week I ran two 30 minute maintenance runs, did one barre class, and ran a 5 mile long run on Saturday, August 22.

Monday 8/24

30 minute maintenance run on treadmill

Tuesday 8/25

Barre class

Wednesday 8/26

30 minute training run, in neighborhoodScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 4.28.33 PM

Thursday 8/27

I wanted to fit in another 30 minute run, but this day was too hectic.

Friday 8/28

Barre class

Saturday 8/29

4 mile “cut back week” run

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 4.29.43 PMI was so hot during this run!  Both kids slept until almost 8:00 because we were up so late the night before at a baseball game.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sleep in, but I paid for it having to go during the heat.

Overall

I wish I had been able to get in an extra run, but it is what it is.  I volunteer at my daughter’s school, and because last week was the week before school started, I had a ton of work to do.

My knee has been aching on and off since Saturday, so I’m trying to baby it.  I need to get together my list of PT exercises and start doing them every day.

August Shopping: Bath & Body Works

I’m ready for fall!  The weather, sights, scents, and tastes!  Pumpkin beer!  And the start of race season and sweater weather (working hard on my sweater).

I popped into Bath & Body Works to get some scents for the house.  Smelling those scents really gets me into the mood for fall.

IMG_4175My haul:  two 3-wick candles, five foaming hand soaps (5 for $18), five hand sanitizer minis (5 for $6), a hand sanitizer holder, and a room spray.  I haven’t been to Bath & Body Works in YEARS.  I have zero time for going to the mall, normally, but with both kids now in school full time, I find myself rediscovering all sorts of small pleasures.

The first candle I picked was London, which smells deliciously of tea, lemon, and sugar.  This is my kind of scent.  It’s light, refreshing, maybe a bit earthy/foody.  I much prefer that kind of scent to anything cloying and sweet.  One big candle scents my entire first floor (approximately 2500 square feet, 6 rooms) when it’s lit.  They last a long time, too.  I really like the covers on these big candles, because to me it isn’t attractive to look at a half burned candle.  Putting the cover on it when you aren’t using it is just a nice touch.

I really wanted to buy the Paris candle, but I didn’t like the scent.  The next one I chose is fall themed:  Cinnamon Pumpkin Swirl.  It smells like a good candy shop in the fall, but without being overpoweringly sweet.  The lid on this candle is very cute, too!  Little embossed pumpkins, how sweet!

IMG_4176

There was a sale on foaming hand soap, so I took advantage of that.  My kids go through hand soap like you wouldn’t believe.  I’m glad they’re clean and all, don’t get me wrong.  I felt like having fun scents would make washing up before dinner seem like a treat.  Lots of people love foaming hand soaps because of how clean they are to use; fewer drips, rinses clean, no clogged and gunky nozzles.  Anything that eliminates mess in the bathroom is fine by me.

I bought Eucalyptus Mint (smells like Irish Spring soap, but in a more subtle way), Fiji Sands (LOVE this one, using it now just to extend that summer feel a bit more), Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin (for the kids), Sweet Clementine (who doesn’t love how those smell!), and Pumpkin Cupcake (for the kids).

I immediately washed my hands 5 separate times as soon as I got home.  Ahhhhh

The last thing I picked up was some room spray, Lemon Verbena, for the downstairs bathroom that gets the most, ahem, traffic, and is unfortunately very centrally located so what goes on in the bathroom does not, in fact, stay in the bathroom if you know what I mean.

Do you have favorite scents at Bath & Body Works?