Tag Archives: disney

Half Marathon Training Week 1 recap and My Running Story

I’m starting my training with Hal Higdon’s novice 5k plan because I have not run regularly since I ran a half marathon last December. I ran the Decker Challenge in Austin and it was my first half marathon ever.


Do my fingers look less swollen like this?

I had never run that far before. In fact, before starting training for that race I had only ever run 6-8k tops.

For a first half marathon, I picked a HARD one. The Decker Challenge is full of hills, with a really long incline around mile 10.


Not my photo. I can’t believe I ran this.

I used Hal Higdon’s novice plan for half marathons to train for it. The longest run you do in that plan is a 10 miler the week before the race. According to Hal, you didn’t need to run more than that before your first half marathon, because the adrenaline and excitement you experience during the race will get you through to the end. Well, for me it was sheer willpower. After that huge hill at mile 10, it took EVERYTHING I had to get through that race. I HAD to finish. And I HAD to finish having run the whole thing. Those thoughts were the only things keeping me going. I had no music to push me and no podcasts to distract me. John was on a business trip at the time and I didn’t have many running friends or people who would willingly wake up early on Sunday morning to cheer me on. So, I didn’t even have that to keep me going…. just me and my thoughts. I was also running in between two pace groups, the 2:15 group I believe and the 2:20 group.For a lot of those last few miles I was running by myself.

I have never been good at running. Always huffing and puffing and lagging behind. Hating my life with every step. I remember being a senior in high school and having to run just one km during PE and I was dying. I was only 18, how embarrasing, right? I wasn’t overweight, just really unfit. I also have a pretty high resting heart rate. In the 90’s last time I checked, which really bothers me.

I didn’t start running for exercise until I was a Sophomore in college and I had gained the Sophomore 15. I had to start out really slowly. Run/walking until I could do 3 miles without walking. I was pretty confident in my running at that point. So much so that during the annual sportsfest at the university I was attending I signed up to run the one mile race after the original runner had cancelled. Sportsfest was just an event where different floors of the different dorm buildings at the school competed against each other. Some students were athletes, most were not, so it wasn’t a super serious competition. I had just had a bowl of oatmeal and the race was in half an hour, “yeah, I can totally do it.”


Look at how confident I was

Well, I nearly barfed after that race. I did come in third though, out of four.

After that I didn’t run for a few years until I moved to Amsterdam and lived near the Amsterdamse bos (Amsterdam forest).


Amsterdamse bos on a really good day. Also not my photo!

I decided I would start running in there and I started out slowly until I could run 6-8k without stopping. I would always quit in the winter time though because I couldn’t and still can’t stand the cold. In fact, it was the cold that stopped me from going running last year after the Decker Challenge and I lived in TEXAS.

When I moved to Austin I lived right next to a busy trail which was always full of runners.


Just one of the many things I miss about Austin.

I got inspired to start running again after yet another hiatus and signed up for the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5 mile race. I had so much fun I decided I was going to train for a half marathon and the rest… the rest is history.

I have about nine months to train for this next half marathon which is why I’m starting with the 5k plan. I’m also taking my dog out running with me and he needs to slowly build up his miles too. He has gotten way out of shape since we left Austin.


Time to get fit doggy!

I want to try to keep running after this race. Now that I live in California there are a bunch of cool races around: Big Sur, the North Face challenge (I think), the San Francisco half, the San Francisco women’s half, and so on and so forth.

I do really miss the trail I used to live by in Austin though. I just don’t see as many runners out here. I like running where other people are also running around me.

Training is going well so far. This week the longest run was 1.75 miles. Piet, my dog, is getting used to it too. When he hears my watch beep he starts running. I listen to podcasts while I run. If I listen to music I have a tendency to blast it and that’s not good for my ears. I find podcasts a lot more distracting than music too. I try to listen to inspirational podcasts to help me feel hopeful about my life. It’s a good start to my day.


Disneyland Tinkerbell Half Marathon Training Day 1!

This morning I woke up super early and took my dog out with me for my first run in nearly ten months. Last December I participated in a half marathon. After the event, I kept running now and then for about a month and then I just stopped. It was winter time, and I was tired of getting up early to run in the cold. One particularly cold day I woke up and decided to just stay in bed. And you could say I’ve basically stayed in bed since!

I didn’t really workout regularly again until June. I did stay active: a lot of walking with my dog, I commuted around the city on my bike, and stuff like that. I just didn’t set aside an hour of my day solely dedicated to training of any kind. The last 4.5 months I’ve been doing some strength training and treadmill running at the gym.

This morning was my first run and since I have 9 months until the half marathon, I decided to start with an 8 week 5k plan. The first run was only 1.5 miles. I thought my running on the treadmill would have helped me out but it didn’t as much as I thought it would. They might as well be two different workouts. One thing it does though is keep up my cardio but my legs were still super tired during this first run and I ran really slowly: 12:30 was my avg pace. My average pace for the half marathon last year was 10:20 and it was for the Decker Challenge in Austin, which is known for being a hilly race.

Nine months is more than enough time though. My plan is to do Hal Higdon’s novice 5k plan for the first 8 weeks, and then go through his novice half marathon training plan twice before the race. I’ll have to see if there is space to maybe do some repeat weeks if needed.

I’m super excited. If all goes well I might register for the Walt Disney World Marathon next although maybe not. Disneyland is at least in the same state I’m in. I might look for other interesting races in California to do instead.

This will be my first Run Disney event and second half marathon ever. I appreciate any and all tips! Especially if it’s related to Disney running events!

Disney Gator Attack

I am a huge Disney fan. I’d go way more often if my husband didn’t mind me spending the money, but he does mind, so I have to compromise. 🙂

I was pretty horrified to read about the toddler who was attacked by an alligator at the shoreline of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World. I looked at photos of the area where it happened and I can absolutely see myself walking along the waters edge there. It looks just like a beach. There are even lounge chairs for people to relax in. There are of course “no swimming” signs and alligator warning signs and if you are from Florida you probably know to take the alligator signs pretty seriously. Even so, I lived in Florida for 4 years next to a lake with an alligator in it and I still think I would have walked along that shoreline.

Disney is really good at what they do and one of the things that they do is make people feel very safe. Surely nothing could go wrong at Disney, right? There are plainsclothes security officers all over the place. If I lose my kid in the crowd, Disney will do everything in their power to find them. When I visited Disney in April I left my phone and wallet inside the Space Mountain rollercoaster car I was sitting in and didn’t realize it until after the car had left to go back to the beginning of the ride. Disney responded quickly and efficiently and I got my belongings back.

I don’t think it’s the parents fault that their child was attacked by an alligator. They weren’t swimming in the lake, the area looks like a beach where you can safely walk along the shoreline, and it was dark. They probably wouldn’t have been able to see an alligator in there.

Now I’m wondering if Disney is going to respond to this by making that beach area less accessible, or killing all of the alligators in the lake or something else. I wonder if the second option is even feasible. Probably not, as alligators are endangered. I hope there’d be an outcry if their solution was to keep the lagoon alligator-free by killing them all. I think they should either have a curfew in that area, so that you can’t go on the beach part after dark, or have a large barrier between the beach and the rest of the resort, like a fence… or both. They could lock the fence gates at night so you aren’t in danger of being attacked by an alligator, which I imagine is hard to see in the water at night.

I’ll be interested to see how they respond.



Walt Disney World and Harry Potter World

I just got back from my short trip to Orlando and I want to go back already! I’ve been to Disney many times before but this was my first time to Harry Potter World. I freaking loved it. We got a park to park pass and took the Hogwarts Express between the two Harry Potter sections. Diagon Alley is amazing. They put so much detail into everything.

The first ride we did was The Forbidden Journey. Oh man, it is nauseating! But while you are in line you are walking through the Hogwarts castle. It is so cool! Paintings moving and talking. I know they are just screens but they did a really good job making them look like actual paintings. We walked by Dumbledore’s office too. Ron made it snow on us just before we got to the carts.

I got really dizzy on that ride though. Maybe I shouldn’t have had breakfast that day. If it got to be too much I just shut my eyes and that helped. After that we did flight of the hippogriff, then we took the train to Diagon Alley. I actually really liked the train ride. That really made me feel immersed in the Harry Potter world. I felt like I was actually in the Harry Potter universe. Then we rode the Gringott’s ride twice. That one is really fun. We walked around diagon alley, discovered knockturn alley, tried butter beer (horrible), and looked inside a few shops.

We did go to the rest of Universal Studios to go on a couple of rides but now in retrospect I wish we had spent the entire day only doing Harry Potter things. I have a game plan now for next time.

I was mostly vegan on the trip. I did taste butter beer, which isn’t vegan. And I also tasted a cauldron cake and a chocolate frog that my sister bought. I also did not verify with the theme park staff if my veggie burgers were vegan. I didn’t eat any meat though.


Mickey Pretzel. This is actually vegan.

Growing up I LOVED Carousel of Progress. I was also the only one in my family who did. I wanted to experience it for what could be the last time. I know it’s Walt Disney’s personal project but I have a feeling it won’t pass the test of time.

I also LOVED the Swiss Family Robinson film growing up. I spent one summer rewatching that VHS tape a million times. I was fascinated with the idea of living on a stranded island. I was a weird kid.


Ahh… so picturesque.


That’s inside Honeydukes! I didn’t really see many vegan options. I didn’t buy anything though because it’s so expensive!


Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes! Such a kooky shop! I loved it.


We entered Hogsmeade first. Snow covered shops.. kind of a weird thing to see in Florida.


Just some of the treats inside Honeydukes!

I need to go back ASAP. I don’t know when I’ll be able to go back.

I need to reread the books too. 🙂