Princess Half Recap

Actually, how far I went was a little over 13.1 miles, but I wanted something cute to start off with!

This weekend was Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World and I participated for the second time, running my seventh half marathon. Princess Weekend consists of three races: a 5K, 10K, and a half marathon. Running all three race is on my bucket list, but I’m just not there yet. (I mean, have you every paid for a runDisney race?!)

Since Princess Weekend starts on a Thursday with the expo my friend and I took Friday off from work and drove the three hours to Orlando. We spent the afternoon at the expo in ESPN Wide World of Sports. It’s a lot of fun just kind of walking about and checking out all the great running and fitness stuff that on display, not to mention all of the official runDisney merchandise that, of course, I purchased.

Now, Michelle and I weren’t running until Sunday and were fully aware that we didn’t really need to go up until Saturday for the expo and packet pickup, but we did anyway. Our job is stressful, we’re both annual passholders, and a day at Magic Kingdom is a cure-all. I’m not kidding. We spent most of Saturday at Magic Kingdom riding rides, dodging crowds, and stuffing our faces with delicious food- er, race fuel.

Flat Ash with a Princess Anna/Frozen theme is ready!

Saturday night was an early bedtime, of course. Anyone who has ever done a Disney race knows that while races start at 5:30ish, it’s best to be at the venue at least an hour in advance. My outfit was all set thanks to my Skirt Sports Lioness skirt and my friend JD over at Harpo Graphics. Princess starts at Epcot and since we weren’t staying on Disney property we left our hotel at about 3:30AM. Traffic is also pretty horrendous due to some construction, so we ended up getting to Epcot around 4:00AM. We hung out in the car before trekking into the welcome area. We’d had coffee at the hotel and bagels with peanut butter in the car, which is my go-to race day breakfast. I usually pair it with a banana, too.

We knew the weather was going to be rough. Early that week there was an advisory about heat and humidity. As south Florida is our home and normal running place, we weren’t too worried. I did start hydrating with Nuun on Thursday and made sure to drink plenty of water all weekend. We had plenty of time to take pictures and visit the porta potties and nothing felt rushed at all. I guess that’s a perk of waking up at 2:30 in the morning!

At the start line!

Once we made it to the corral there was a lot of waiting. My friend and I are not fast runners, so we were in one of the last corrals that also happened to be a very large group. There were about 25,000 runners on Sunday morning, so it was packed! If you read my post about training fail then you know I was not at all prepared for this race! I signed up last summer with the intent of training and things just did not work out for me. I won’t make excuses because it was all me, for sure.

The thought of “faking” a half marathon was pretty daunting but we were ready to run, walk, and have a little bit of fun. The weather was nice for the first few miles…until the sun came up. We had a smooth first half and the sun was coming up just as we were entering Magic Kingdom. One of the greatest things about a Disney race is the characters on the course. There are, in true Disney fashion, always long lines. Don’t worry. You can just take selfies.

My Princes await…but so does the finish line.

Now, the sunrise is Disney is great, don’t get me wrong. It’s the heat that comes with the sun at miles 7-10 that were killer! About mile 8 my legs started to get heavy and I was doing more walking than running. Thank goodness Michelle was there to push me (as always). I had a Gingerade GU to try and perk me up as I was starting to feel hungry, too.

Volunteers were handing out sponges to help runners stay cool.

Mile 10 started with a fairly intense cramp that I couldn’t seem to shake. We were making decent time for a not setting an actual pace and doing some walking, so we took it easy for a little while. The crowd was still pretty thick around us and once we hit an overpass you could still see a sea of runners behind us. It sounds mean, but as a “back of the pack” runner I’m always glad when people are behind me! Coming into Epcot means coming up on the finish, so Spaceship Earth was a lovely sight!

Always be on the lookout for Disney photographers for your fun pics!

I love running through the parks and seeing all of the people there. Even if they are actually there cheering for you, they are still cheering! Unless they are just park goers who had no idea there was a race. Then they are just looking at you being all sweaty and weird. Running is such a fun sport because there are so many different levels of it, but everyone is still very encouraging. One of my favorite things about Disney races is seeing everyone’s running outfits and just the joy (really) of running through Disney.

When no one gives you high fives, you smile anyway.

I made sure to high five the choir for Meridith (no pics, sorry) and that is how you know you’re in the home stretch! Rounding the final corner to the finish line is exhilarating and exhausting. I almost tried to stop, but Michelle pulled me through and we finished at a little over three hours. Our goal is to do a sub three one day, but this was not the race for that.

Once we stopped moving I felt a little queasy. It was nothing a runDisney snack box and some ice didn’t fix. The race was as tough as I expected it would be. My legs were screaming at me afterward as we headed to Disney Springs to eat all the food and then head home. It was a great weekend of fun, even the running part of it. I will always recommend a Disney race to people just because it’s such a huge event and it’s always a lot of fun.

Even if you don’t train for it.

Always get the castle pic.

The Light Run

Back in October I boldly stated that I was done running any sort of race for the year. I think I truly meant it until I heard that the registration for The Light Run was open.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” (name that movie!)

Along with my friend Beth, we registered on the spot!

The Light Run is a fun run co-sponsored by local running pals Good Day for a Run and MEAN GUY Running. The run is not timed and winds through the streets of Pitman, New Jersey. You get an ornament and a really great experience with a fun after-party at nearby Carolina Blue.

The cost for this? A mere $12 and if you’d like to, a donation of a toy at check-in that goes to local charities the Robin’s Nest and The Kids Caring Foundation. I’m pretty sure it sells out every year because who could resist a deal like that?

Since it’s not a closed course they ask that you stay mostly on the sidewalks and follow pedestrian laws. Once we started running we figured out where we should be in the pack and made our way through the fairly quiet streets of Pitman.

Every turn was clearly marked with a sign and cones and there were a few volunteers out on the course to wave runners in the right direction as well.

Most of my runs take place in the morning so it was a little weird for me to be out at 6:30pm, running a 5k, but it was also so much fun!

Beth ordered us Christmas light necklaces and I also wore my Tracer360 light vest, along with my Knuckle Lights. I’m so glad I had the Knuckle Lights on because there were a few areas where the sidewalk was heaved and without them, I’m pretty sure I would have tripped. #klutzstatus

Along with our lights galore, we also wanted to be comfy temperature wise! I actually love running in the winter weather but staying warm beforehand is always something I struggle with. I was fairly comfy in running tights, Pro Compression socks, a long-sleeved running shirt, a sub-zero jacket,  BUFF® hat and headwear, gloves, and um, more gloves.

Yes, I doubled up on the gloves and also added hand warmers in the mix too. I like keeping my hands warm and toasty.

We circled around the streets of Pitman, oohing and ahhing at the houses we saw along the way. There were so many pretty ones!

During the second half of the run, we went to the piece de resistance, the Hagerty Family Christmas Lights, which is in its 32nd year. I wasn’t expecting to see Santa there since it was a Wednesday but I guess there was a bit of magic in the air!

This was Beth’s first non-family 5k and I’m so glad that we got to do it together! It was lovely and as long as The Light Run exists, I’ll be out there in December running it (so remind me of that the next time that I say I’m done with running for the year, okay?).

Are you a fan of checking out holiday decorations and lights? Do you go by car? Walking tour? My family and I love to drive around and look at everyone’s decorations closer to Christmas too – it’s one of the things we always look forward to!

5 Reasons to do the Jog ‘n Hog


When preparing for a race, one doesn’t usually make sure she’s armed with sprinkles, Magic Shell and whipped cream. But this is no ordinary race…

It’s the Jog ‘n Hog!


If you know anything about me, you know that ice cream is my weakness. Or some might consider it my strength! Let’s go with strength.

When I first heard about the Jog ‘n Hog last year, I knew I needed to participate. For the record, I realize how crazy the idea is and on any normal day, I’d say running and eating do not mix.

However, on National Ice Cream day all bets are off.

The Jog ‘n Hog is in its third year and I plan to return again and again (I’m only sad that I didn’t know about it from its inception). What’s so great about the Jog ‘n Hog? Let me count the ways!

1. Uncle Dave’s Homemade Ice Cream


Let’s not get it twisted, first and foremost, I do it all for the ice cream.

Which would you be, a half hogger or a full hogger? After last year’s race I talked a big game and said that I would go for the quart (full) versus the pint (half) in 2014. However, when I went to register, I couldn’t pull the trigger.


Pints all around!

It might be a good thing I didn’t because I (still) couldn’t finish the pint. I definitely ate more than I did last year though so I bested myself and I consider that a win.

Christina finished her ice cream last year AND this year. She's thinking full next year!

Christina finished her ice cream last year AND this year. She’s thinking full next year!

2. Friends (who are just as crazy as you are)

It’s always fun to see who is down for a little jogging and hogging. This year the cast of characters was smaller than last year but mighty!


Meet Christina, Linda and Maureen. Christina is Victoria’s high school friend, Linda is a college friend and Maureen is a blogger/twitter pal. Perfect example of world’s colliding, in the best way!

Of course, I’ll be there again next year so you already have a built-in friend. You’re welcome!


As you might imagine, most people who are in attendance are there for the fun and novelty that this race has to offer. You make friends as you go!

3. The Brothers Smith

Andrew and Brian Smith are the geniuses behind the Jog ‘n Hog (they also host a Pepperoni Ball event in Erie, Pa. earlier in the year) and are, in a word, awesome.


They put on a good event and also know the power of social media. Through the year they’re interacting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Jog ‘n Hog has a family feel, from the bib and shirt pick up to the volunteers cheering on the course. Who doesn’t like family?

4. The Price

A pint of Uncle Dave’s Ice Cream runs for $5. If you register the first day of registration (St. Patrick’s day), it’s $22. What? That’s practically free! Well, okay, no… it’s not. But the way I rationalize it is this:

$22 for registration – $5 for a pint of ice cream = $17
$17 for 1.6 miles out and 1.6 miles back = $5.30 per mile


Uh. I don’t even know. Whatever. It’s cheap. And it’s good, clean fun. Plus, the running nearly negates the ice cream. (Shhhh, let me live in my dreamland.) Additionally, your bib gets your 20% off at the farm store and the store has great produce, great candy, and WINE.

5. The Pig, Yo

Meet this year’s pace pig.

pacepigHe was out there cheering for the runners as we headed toward the ice cream. The “goal” of this race is to beat the pig during the second half of the race.

We are going to star in a new musical called The Pig and I.

We are going to star in a new musical called The Pig and I.

The Pig beat me for the second year in a row however, I ate ice cream and from what I understand, he did not. Therefore, I think that I won by default!

I was just chatting with my husband over dinner and we were thinking of the next step for the Jog ‘n Hog. Why not take the Pace Pig to the next level with not one, not two but THREE pigs: Brick, Sticks and Straw? The Brick pig could be the fastest pace pig, Sticks at a medium pace and Straw pig could keep a slower but challenging pace. Hey Smith Bros, I’ll be your Straw pig! Dude says they could hand out stickers that say, for example, “I huffed and puffed and beat the ‘Stick’ pig.”  (Note:  Alcohol may have been a factor).

Another challenge for future events? Grab a paver near the start line and run!


Maureen is totally up for the challenge!

So let’s recap. Fun, ice cream, family, nearly free, pigs, friends, me. Who will I see next year? Have you ever participated in a zany race like this before?

P.S. Sprinkles make a great noise while running. I might ditch my music and run with sprinkles all the time.

P.P.S. I’m not kidding.

Let’s get UGLY, Philly!

Last month Jess and her fam took to the San Francisco streets (or well, close by) for the Ugly Sweater Run. This past weekend I got to have my very own experience! Cold temps, inflatables, and the most awesome ugliest sweaters imaginable: it’s the Philadelphia Ugly Sweater Run.


Jay and I arrived at 6:30 for an early morning packet pickup. There was no line and we got a fantastic parking spot. Score! Usually I’m a fan of doing packet pickup before the day of the race but this was super laid-back and easy. While waiting in our warm car we got the chance to check out a lot of ugly sweaters of all different varieties.



About a half hour before the start we wander toward the start area. Techno Christmas carols were pumping and there were photo opportunities for all. This run partners with Toys for Tots and many runners brought unwrapped toys to place by the inflatable Christmas tree.

usr2Soon we found all the members of our team, The Ho Ho Hos (I giggled good and hard when we came up with that name) and got the obligatory “we’re in it to win it” picture.

Brandi, Jen, Megan, me, Cyanne, and Alissa

Brandi, Jen, Megan, me, Cyanne, and Alissa

Seriously business runners, right here! I’ve know Brandi, Jen, and Megan for awhile now – we met in Stroller Strides and “graduated” to running races together through the past couple of years. And I finally got to meet Cyanne and her friend, Alissa! Team Sparkle in the hizzy!

We chatted for a couple of minutes about our race strategies (um, none) before heading to the start line, which was a wave start. It was chilly so we all wanted to get moving to get the blood flowing.



Soon enough we were off!


The course was pretty dense at the start and it lasted for about the first half mile or so. I had told Jay that I’d stick with him throughout the race. He’s got (stupid) plantar fasciitis and I’ve been dealing with some (stupid) foot pain of my own so we were taking it nice and easy. Cyanne stuck with us too, which was rad because we got to chat throughout the entire run and it just confirmed what I already knew through our Twitter/blogger friendship – she’s awesome!

Of course, we took all the pictures.


The point of this picture was to get the snow. I failed. Totally. But Cyanne is adorable regardless.

Thanks to Cyanne for this pic!

Thanks to Cyanne for this pic! (She didn’t fail!)

About a mile and a half into the run, we came across the water and hot chocolate station! We chose water but it seemed like there were a fair share of people getting hot chocolate to warm up.


And we came across a little Christmas tree going for a ride in a wagon. Because hey, why the heck not?


Two miles in, we entered the “enchanted forest”. To say we were enchanted would be putting it mildly!


Three enchanted ugly sweater runners are we!

Sadly, we had to leave the forest and continue on our way to the finish line. The Ugly Sweater Run website says that the run is “approximately” 3.1 miles. That is accurate. We crossed through Smith Memorial Arch and were surprised to see the finish line just ahead!


Jay's "what the what, we're at the finish already?" face.

Jay’s “what the what, we’re at the finish already?” face.

After the finish, there was the post run party, which included Sam Adam’s beer and cider and hot chocolate. There was a crazy long line for the beer area but we figured out where the secret second line was! Woo to the hoo!

usr13We found the rest of the Ho Ho Hos and chatted about our romp through the park. After sharing a post race drink, toasting to our successes as rocking the ugly attire, and warming our hands by the fake fireplace, we were ready to really warm ourselves in the heat of our cars.

Last year I had committed to running 12 races in 2012. I didn’t make the same goal for 2013 but when I got home from the Ugly Sweater Run, I realized that I’ve completed 13 races in 2013. What’s next? Continue my run streak for the rest of December and think of my goals for 2014. I’d like to be more specific this year. What are some of your goals for the upcoming year? Have you met Twitter/blogger friends in person?