Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tinker Bell Race Weekend at Disneyland - Part 1

The Tinker Bell Race Weekend is a part of the runDisney Race series that happens during Mother's Day weekend at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim , California.  The weekend consists of a Race EXPO at the Disneyland Hotel, Neverland 5K on Friday, Tinker Bell 10K on Saturday, and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday (Mother's Day).  

I had been looking forward to this trip for over a year... pretty much since the last day of my trip to the Tinker Bell Race Weekend in 2015.  This was my 4th Tinker Bell Race Weekend... BUT my first taking one of my children along.  My 10 year old daughter has shown lots of interest in running and has done several local races with me over the past few years.  So... we put our sights and our pennies in a jar for over a year to save up for this trip. 

A girl's trip to Disneyland for Mother's Day weekend and lets throw a few races in for fun!

We flew out of Seattle VERY early Thursday morning May 5th... we were traveling with my friend Merritt... who has done Tinker Bell twice before and had been my travel partner in 2015.  She was game to do the trip with us... not minding having Makenna join us!  

On the plane and ready to go!

We traveled down early because the Race EXPO at Disneyland opened on Thursday... we needed to be there to get a full day in at the EXPO and rest up for our early start of races the next day!  The Neverland 5K at Disneyland had a 5am start time on Friday morning.  We had planned to not go into the Parks on Thursday so it was EXPO, lunch, and rest up for the next morning!  Makenna was excited about the pool at our hotel too so we made time for that.

The EXPO which was located at the Disneyland Hotel was fun (crowded) ... Our flight out of Seattle was at 6am... we arrived in Orange County by 9am... at our hotel and headed to the EXPO by 10:30am... we dropped our things at the hotel and headed over to the EXPO. We acquired our bibs, had a chance to shop the EXPO merchandise, and successfully checked into our hotel room.  We stayed at the Best Western Stovalls which is a Good Neighbor hotel just off official Disney property located on the corner of Katella and Disneyland Drive.   I have stayed at the Stovalls for the Tinker Bell Race weekend every year since 2013... a good location for access to the EXPO and the Parks.

We had some fun at the EXPO... meeting Jeff Galloway and some special photo opportunities.

 Official line for the TINK Merchandise... "Pack your patience!"

 Found Chip for a selfie in the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel!

 Jeff Galloway and his wife Barb (not pictured) - always genuine and inspiring!

 Honda is a new sponsor of Autopia so they had a fun Photo Op at the EXPO!

View from our room at the Best Western Stovalls - you can see California Adventure... 

We had lots of fun looking around the EXPO... had lunch at Trader Sam's (restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel), and headed back to our hotel to check into our room and enjoy some down time.  Later on that evening we headed over to Downtown Disney and had dinner at Earl of Sandwich.   After a yummy dinner we went back to our hotel to lay out our things for the Neverland 5K in the morning!  

Up next... Neverland 5K Race Recap!

  Were you there?  What goodies did you pick up at the EXPO?

If you could dream of a destination race... where would you go??? 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

OOFOS!!! A review and GIVEAWAY!!!

Want to enter for a chance to win your own pair of OOFOS?  Read on and then enter the contest via the Rafflecopter below!

Running is something that is still new for me... I have only been at this for about 3 years.  Sometimes the things you really need aren't obvious at first.

When I first started on this Run / Walk journey... after a long run or race day I did notice fatigue and soreness sometimes in my lower legs and feet.  I wondered about just wearing my supportive running shoes after a run or race and thinking that might help.  There were times though that even though my running shoes are awesome... after a run I just want to let my tootsies breathe and be comfy!  Then one day I found out about Recovery Sandals.  I tried another brand first... actually one that I found out about on a fellow Bloggers review.  I thought the idea of recovery sandals sounded good so I ordered them.   They were comfortable but I felt like there must be a better pair out there. 

OOFOS Mission - Our mission is to make YOO FEEL BETTER.  We know when you wear our shoes you will understand.  

I had heard through various modes of social media about OOFOS.  (All good things!)  To be honest the price is what kept me away at first... after all they are "just" flip flops right? Then prior to my trip to Disneyland in 2015 to participate in the Tinker Bell Race Weekend my bestie running buddy told me she was thinking about ordering a pair of OOFOS.  So I considered it and I did too!  I thought they might be the perfect sandal to tour the park or at least wear around the hotel after our races and long hours touring the theme parks.   I ordered the OOFOS OOriginal in Black.  I would suggest ordering true to your size in the OOrignal.  I wear a size 10 running shoe but in OOFOS I ordered a size 9.  They were (and are) a perfect fit.  I have NEVER looked back!  They are my go to around the house and I kind of wish they would make a warmer slipper version.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and unfortunately it isn't always "sandal weather" here... even indoors.

To add on about our trip last year... I wore them all over Disneyland and NEVER once had that "I am so sorry I wore flip flops moment"!  I usually would go to a sturdy tennis shoe with good socks for touring the parks... but this time it took one time wearing the OOFOS and I wore them everyday of our trip!
OOFOS OOriginal

I love my OOFOS for lots of reasons... but the biggest is... they just feel good.  SO GOOD!    So naturally I wanted another pair to add for our Mother's Day trip to Disneyland again this year.  BUT... this year I am bringing along my 10 year old daughter so I needed to make sure she was going to be comfortable too!    She is a runner and a dancer.  She has had some soreness issues due to growth with her heels.  I knew getting her some of her own OOFOS was a no brainer.  She could definitely use them on our trip as well as after her dance classes.  We went with the OOFOS Original and actually have a pair of the OOFOS OOlala in "Tink" (seafoam) green for her.  She is in LOVE!   Last year at Disneyland I ran the 5k, 10K and the Half Marathon as well as toured the park for 5 days!  I know... that is a lot of running and Disney...  I can't get enough... did you see the name of this blog?  

This year... Mother's Day weekend my daughter and I will be participating in the Neverland 5K and and Tinker Bell 10K together and I will be doing the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on the actual Mother's Day morning.   Yes... we do have 5 day Park Hopper tickets too... So you can be sure our OOFOS will be getting a lot of mileage for recovery and comfort!

OOFOS OOlala in green

OOFOS Originals in Black

OOFOS OOlala Slides (pictured on my daughter's friend's feet)

OOFOS are just the BEST!  
Here are some features that are so obvious the minute you slip your feet into them...

- Absorbs more shock than traditional foams... 
Athletic shoe foams are designed to “rebound” and propel you forward. Revolutionary OOfoam does the opposite, absorbing 37% more shock with every step than traditional footwear foam.
- Reduces stress on sore feet, knees and back...
Your feet and joints take a pounding on hard surfaces. Slipping on OOFOS after a workout provides them with relief and a chance to recover.
- Cradles your arches...
Unlike flip-flops, the OOFOS patented footbed is designed with tremendous arch support to take the pressure off of ankles, knees and hips, as well as your lower back.
- Enables more natural motion...
Biomechanically designed, OOFOS flex with both your foot and the ground. The soft, flexible OOfoam material enables your foot to articulate the way nature intended.

I will just add these other things stated on the OOFOS website because they are all true!

- Soft conforming toe post eliminates chafing
- Durable OOfoam holds the cushion its entire life 
- Moisture and bacteria resistant closed cell foam is shower ready and machine washable! (I have tossed mine in the washer many times... just set them out for a few minutes to dry)
- So light... they float!

 OOFOS OOriginal in Black
(...and my cute daughter ready for her Disneyland adventure in May!)

OOlala Slide in Seafoam Green



I turned one pair over so you could see what the tread on the bottom looks like!

As for sizing... I would stick pretty close to your normal size... I will say about the OOFOS OOlala Slides... the sandal seemed to fit fairly tight on my daughter's foot so we sized her up on those only to allow for that to be more comfortable for her.  I don't think she has particularly wide feet but that is what worked for her.

I would also add that personally I prefer the Original to the OOlala... mostly for the thickness of the over strap.. but the OOlala is not uncomfortable at all. Both styles of the OOlala come in lots of fun colors too and are slightly "shiny" on the upper which is fun.

More colors available on the OOFOS website.

So... are you convinced!  I think the minute you try OOFOS on you would be a BIG fan!!!  Find a store near you and go and try them... Click HERE to find a retailer near you.

Would you like to try and WIN a FREE pair??? The winners get to choose which pair (size and color too) they would like from the OOFOS website - either the OOFOS Original, OOFOS OOlala, OOFOS OOlala Slide, or the OOFOS OOahh Slide.



The 3 Winners have been randomly selected by Rafflecopter and are listed below.  
They have been notified via Email!

  Thank you to EVERYONE who entered!!!  

I hope you all will be feeling the OO!!!  
#feeltheOO #OOFOS

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were provided OOFOS Sandals for this review from OOFOS but the thoughts and opinions here are all my own.

Giveaway Rules:
Prize: THREE winners will receive ONE pair each of OOFOS Recovery Sandals... winner's choice.  Contest entrants are only eligible to win ONCE per sweepstakes, - one pair OOFOS per household.
Contest starts on April 14, 2016, and ends on April 20, 2016, at 12:00 am PST. 

Enter through the Rafflecopter widget.  The winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter and notified via email provided to Rafflecopter.  The winners have two days to respond, or they forfeit and another winner will be selected.

Prize will be shipped directly to winner from OOFOS.   Winners are to notify Blog author via email of preference, size, and shipping information.  Choices LIMITED TO... OOFOS Original,  OOFOS OOlala Slide, OOFOS OOahh Slide,  and OOFOS OOlala.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Gimmie the Hot Chocolate!

The Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K took place on March 6 this year... I hitched a ride with a friend down to the race and we arrived in plenty of time.  The weather was not sizing up to be great. It was cold and a little drizzly by the time we had parked and got to the corral area at the Seattle Center.  The 5K started well before the 15K and we saw that some of the corrals for the 5K had not even began the race yet as we walked onto the grounds at the Seattle Center.  So we headed over to the Center House to use the flush toilets and stay warm.   We made note of the large bag check area near the Center House on our way since we both planned on checking bags before the start.   We used the potties and got warm and realized it had started raining outside... it is Seattle after all but I am not excited about running wet and being cold... for over 9 miles.

My friend decided to use the restroom one more time so we parted ways and said "see ya at the finish line!"  She is way faster than me and had been placed in a further up corral.  I was in corral J... I didn't realize my placement would be so far back... but I am a rule follower so back to Corral J I went.  I had decided to ditch my jacket at bag check at the last minute... I knew even if it started to rain hard that I would regret having it 5 minutes into the run.  I am not sure I made the right choice.

After a slow move forward we were off... The weather was all over place... first a little rain and then the sun would break through for a bit.  Then as I hit the middle of the mileage the weather took a turn and got worse.  There were moments of diagonal rain and inches of water on the roadway.  Needless to say I was soaked!  Then the wind... geez... really?  My strategy to finish well was to turn off my trusty Galloway timer around mile 7 and go for landmarks.  This basically means... run through the next two cones... walk one cone... run through the next two and so on.  

Finally that finish line was in view (up another hill but that is Seattle for you).  The sun broke out a bit for my big finish.  I was just so glad to be done and all I wanted was my jacket!  I had picked up some little kids hat that had dropped it right in front of me as he and his tiny sister jumped in with their mom on the home stretch to finish with her.  Now I am all for cheering and celebrating someone's accomplishments... BUT... the volunteers handing out medals gave these two kids 15K medals.  REALLY?  I am not sure they were suppose to do that and at the time it bothered me A LOT.  I guess it still bothers me.  Would that upset you?  This wasn't a cheap local 5K... I EARNED (and paid for) that 15K medal... and you just gave two little kids the same thing I EARNED (and paid for?).  Hmmm.  I know these were volunteers and they probably thought it was cute... two little kids running across the finish line with their mom... it was cute and HIGH FIVE would have been enough.  Hand their mom the medal she earned (which they did) and simply high five the kids.  Oh well... 

So was this race worth it this year?  What drew me in again? (This was my 3rd Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K)  I have to say it is the challenge.  A 15K is not my favorite distance... it is far... did I say far for me on a good day  and this year the weather presented not so perfect conditions.  I do like the medal... that is part of the draw for me.  Time with a great friend on the ride down and back.  Participating in a large race... next to Disneyland this is probably the largest race that I do.  A lot of people like the spread at the end... the hot chocolate and snacks. 

Not my photo ...but this is almost exactly 
what we received at the Seattle race.

The snacks are good and plentiful... but seriously a water and a banana would have been enough for me.  I did appreciate holding the hot drink but it was SUPER sweet and REALLY thick for my liking so I tossed that pretty quickly.  I ate the banana (I did dip that thing in the hot fudge) and brought the rest home for my kiddos.  I have heard that some people find fun uses for the cups but I tossed it in the recycle.  It is pretty cheap and a really thin plastic.

So... would I do this race again.  Probably.  The biggest reasons... the challenge for myself and I do like that medal.  Lets hope the weather is better next year!

My great friend Merritt and I at the finish!
Bless her for waiting around for my slow #%*!

What would be your fun snack of choice at the end of a race?

Have you seen medals handed out to people who didn't actually participate in the race? 
(I am okay with a volunteer receiving one... this wasn't a cheap local 5K... this race was long... hilly... and that medal was earned!) wah wah

Friday, January 15, 2016

Coming up... Half Marathon # 20 The Rain Run

Yes... that is correct... Half Marathon # 20!!!  How in the world did I get here?   It really seems unreal but then real all at the same time!   

Yep... I signed up for my 20th Half Marathon!  I am participating in The Rain Run in Redmond, WA on January 23rd, 2015.   I participated in this race in 2015 and had a terrific time.   When I started to think about my 2016 race schedule The Rain Run was definitely one that came to mind as one I wanted to repeat.  The course is fairly flat... scenic... and has a really awesome medal!  That is what drew me in the first time and participating a 2nd time is a no brainer!  I am not a fast runner... in fact I walk a lot... I do what is called intervals... run... then walk... then run again. I use what is called an interval timer.   Looks like a little pager... it beeps to tell me to walk or run and I can program it to what ever intervals I want.   

The official website of The Rain Run lists these benefits to participating... I wholeheartedly agree!  (especially about the bragging rights and the finish line food!)

- Chip Timed Half Marathon
- A huge and shiny finisher's medal!
- Rain Run Umbrella
- Finish line food - which include cupcakes with SPRINKLES!
- Random prize giveaways from race sponsors
- Bragging rights that you kicked butt in the rain!

The Rain Run (so perfectly named for the Pacific Northwest) is about an hour of driving time (one way) from my home... about as far as I like to go for a local race.  The race begins at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA very near Lake Sammamish.  The course begin at the Park and travels up the paved trail along the Sammamish River Trail between Redmond and Woodinville (just east of Seattle).  The out and back course is scenic and FLAT!  There will be aid stations at miles 3, 7, and 11.  The race is limited to 750 participants.

If you have read anything here before you might know that I haven't always been a "runner".  I used to laugh when people asked if I ran... and say "Me?  No Way!  The only place I run is to the shower when I am late!"  But in spite of that... one day in 2012 I just said... I want to do this!  I had seen a picture in a magazine ad for a Half Marathon at Disneyland.  I sat looking at the picture... thinking... "I want to do that!" but not knowing if I ever could or how I would ever get there.  The answer to... "How do you do that?"   It is making one big decision and then thousands of little decisions everyday after that.  You just keep making the decision to do it and then it happens.  I found some great advice and training tips through Jeff Galloway and set off on my training.  Then... Half Marathon #1 happened... in January of 2013 at DISNEYLAND... it was epic.  I never thought I would get there but I did!  Slowly... my mindset was changing!  It is possible and I can! 

Then I came home from that trip and I wondered... should I try again?  Maybe the miles at Disneyland weren't really real miles?  My husband encouraged me to sign up for another Half Marathon... one closer to home.  So I did.  I did that one...  I was so nervous at the start wondering If I could finish.  I did it and I didn't die. 

So I signed up for another one...

I finished that one too... and so on and so on... 

I have been back to Disneyland two more times to run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and am going back for my 4th time this coming May!

This last picture is me at the finish of The Rain Run Half Marathon in January of 2015.  I try and think of actual races as a victory lap of all of the hard training I put in.  My victory lap!  I will toe the line at The Rain Run Half Marathon next Saturday the 23rd of January... wish me luck on my 20th Half Marathon!   I am sure I won't die but I might get a little wet... but have a lot of fun doing it!  I never thought this would be me... but it is!  

How many races have you participated in?

What is a challenge you never thought you could do but then surprised yourself and did it?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Biggest Loser Race Series RECAP

On October 25, 2015 I had the pleasure of participating in my 3rd Biggest Loser Half Marathon north of Seattle in Lake Stevens, Washington.  The Biggest Loser Run Walk Race Series is a special one and always a ton of fun!  All 3 years I have participated in this Seattle area race the location has been different.  In 2013 the event took place in north Seattle starting at Gas Works Park.  Click HERE to read my recap of that race.  I wrote that post in 2 parts with the Expo in Part !... Read about the Expo HERE.  In 2014, because of construction in Seattle, the event was moved to Everett, Washington.  I wrote about that race all about the 2014 event HERE.

My 1 EXPO shot... My daughter with Dan from Season 5 of the Biggest Loser

For 2015 the event was moved to Lake Stevens, Washington which is even farther north of Seattle.  Good for me because it meant a less then an hour drive the morning of the race.  I definitely took less pictures this year... thank goodness for the FREE photos that the Biggest Loser Run Walk offers.  YES... that is right... they have photographers on the course and at the finish snapping tons of photos and they are ALL yours for FREE!

 The medals for this race series are awesome!  Themes to each city they come to... even medals for the 5K Finishers too!
Half Marathon Medal Biggest Loser 2015 
Lake Stevens, WA - Oct 25, 2015

The pre race area for this race was set up great... vendors, tons of port of potties and a scenic setting there in Lake Stevens.   I did pay a little extra for the VIP Tent experience at this race... I had never done that before but thought the access sounded great and the snacks both before and after the race were included.  I was not disappointed about the food options... they had TONS of food both pre race and after... BUT the porta potty... the VIP one was a Handicap (a really big one) located right there in the VIP tented area.  I did enjoy the extra room but it would have been nice to have a couple more available at that location.  Just sayin... if you are going to take the extra  time to change clothes or whatever I shouldn't feel like I am holding up EVERYONE else from just going potty... I felt badly but oh well.

I will say that this race series is the MOST welcoming atmosphere for beginners and/or new runners (or walkers for that matter)... the generous time limit to finish is awesome and they CHEER you in at the finish!  Not to mention the BLING!  They have awesome medals!

Here I am showing off with ALL 3 of my Seattle Biggest Loser Half Medals and the Legacy Medal I received this year for completing all 3 Half Marathons in Seattle.

Pictures really tell the story... 

I had so much fun doing this race...  I was hoping for an under 2:30 time but oh well... with just a few hills (which I do not enjoy)  and I was happy with just finishing!   My chip time was 2:37 and I finished 6th in my age group!

I would definitely do this race again... I began doing this race thing in 2013... with my first Half Marathon in January of 2013.  I have now completed 19 Half Marathons to date and the Biggest Loser Half has been 3 of those.  My weight loss and fitness journey is ongoing but in a nutshell... I lost about 75 pounds between 2010 and 2012... with Weight Watchers... not really introducing much of a fitness plan.  I needed something to help me stay active and help me maintain the weight loss I had worked so hard to achieve.  I was introduced to the Run Walk Run program though Jeff Galloway and I was sold!    I complete all of my races using intervals... and use a little timer called a gymboss to alert me when to walk and run.  It works for me and I have never felt better!

The Biggest Loser Race Series is a great one and I would HIGHLY recommend it to any runner/walker... especially for newbies and or people who feel like they are slower then your average racer!  I seriously would have NEVER predicted I would be doing this 4 or 5 years ago... me a runner?  Really?  Yes - I am!  Get out there and participate... you won't regret it!

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