Race Recap: Disneyland 10k/Dumbo Double Dare

Y’all, I love a good 10k. (I also love to say y’all, even though I’m from New Jersey.)

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When I began my running journey in 2011, I started with a 5k mud run. From there I did an 8k road race before jumping in distance to the runDisney Princess half in February 2012. The elusive 10k distance didn’t happen for me until fall 2012 and with one race, I fell completely in love with the race distance.

Hearts in my eyes, swooning, in love.

Problem was (and is), there weren’t a whole heck of a lot of 10ks around these parts. I ran a 10k in October 2013 but haven’t gotten the opportunity to do one since.

Fortunately, runDisney started adding 10ks to their race weekends and sweetening the deal by creating challenges that incorporated these races. The 10k distance AND Disney? Be still, my beating heart! 

As soon as I got the idea in my head about doing the Dumbo Double Dare challenge in California, there was no stopping me.

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I knew that Cam would agree to it because Cam really loves my ideas and is always down for anything that I suggest. You know, until it comes to the race and then she’s all “Meridith, what did you get us into?”

That’s when I usually do the “Isn’t this FUN?”comment during a really, really fun part of the race (like while we were jamming to Elvis in Cars Land) so she remembers the fun and not the fact there we were so sweaty, the sheen had our arms slipping against one another the entire race.

I let Jess slide when it came to doing the challenge, being that this was her first half ever. Next time I know she’ll be all in!

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You know what’s rad about the Disneyland races? Waking up at 4am and then walking to the start from the hotel – we stayed at Best Western Stovalls Inn. It’s so easy breezy and when you’re a bundle of excited energy who doesn’t really sleep well before races, easy breezy is always appreciated.

A hush fell over the crowd as Elvis crooned the Star Spangled Banner. This race’s theme was Stitch, with an emphasis on Elvis, Hawaii and all things Polynesian. Cam decided to pay homage to Pearl Harbor with our costumes and we were feeling very patriotic.

We lined up right behind the D corral and waited for our turn to go. The energy was great within the corral and everyone was looking forward to making our way through the course.

I decided to ditch the watch this weekend. Disney races are never about the time for me. Plus, the more time I can spend with friends, the better!

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We got the GO ahead (see what I did there) and crossed the start line to the sounds of Elvis. Our game plan was to do an easy run throughout the course and stop for any must have pictures.

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credit: runDisney

The first two miles were through the streets of Anaheim and around the Convention Center. They were pretty quiet, which I can understand because it was early in the morning. No bands, no cheering squads, but plenty of smiling faces of race supporters and awesome volunteers.

There were a lot of younger kids running this race, which is something I always love to see. Going into mile two, one was running on the median and must have stepped wrong because he fell. Yikes!

A few of us stopped to see if he was okay but thankfully he jumped right up and kept running. It was a good reminder to be aware and stay on the marked course. I know the want to go faster is there for some but we need to race smart!

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The air was hazy and humid as we made our way into California Adventure but spirits were high! Running through the parks is always the highlight of these races although in Disneyland the time in the parks is less – mainly because there are less parks.

Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen were out in Cars Land but we decided to skip the lines in favor of a brief pit stop. Hello, real restrooms! Always hold out for the real deal if you can. Totally worth it.

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Everything part of me was sweating at this point. So gross and so awesome, all at the same time. Let’s just say that I was very grateful I decided to wear bike shorts under that skirt. (I also had my Spibelt under there to hold our fuel – Laffy Taffy – so I bet that everyone else was grateful I was wearing bike shorts, too, when I was hiking up my skirt.)

Races with Cam always rock because she’s a really cool chick. I mean, Disney races are always fun but when you’ve got Cam by your side you can expect dancing, singing, seeking out and mugging for race photographers, and jokes that make you giggle the entire time.

We didn’t seeing many character photo opportunities during this race, which was a bummer, so we decided to stop in California Adventure to snag a shot. Selfies weren’t really cutting it because you could see our faces but not much of the background! Thankfully cast members are always there to lend a hand.

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Cam and I both commented that the air in the parks was actually cooler than the air on the streets of Anaheim. Is it possible to air condition outside air… outside? Disney magic, hard at work!

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This tunnel was actually pleasant because there was a cold spot right smack dab in the middle. I sort of wanted to stay there! Alas, we continued on because there was more fun to be had.

Feeling parched in Toontown, we made our way to water fountains… only to find the water to be hot! Not so yummy. Then I nearly tripped off the curb because walking is hard. Very grateful I had Cam to grab on to and didn’t turn an ankle!

We knew the Castle wasn’t far. Holla!

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I think this is the first time I actually got to RUN through a castle during a race. This race was crowded but probably the least crowded of all the Disney races I’ve done.

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Of course, no race is complete without a random shot that you didn’t mean to take.

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Magical Disney ground!

After a few more turns around the backlot, we were headed to Downtown Disney and ready to wrap up this party. Around this point I texted Jess because she requested I let her know when we were around mile 5. The plan was for her to meet us at the end however she was still zzzzzzing away, right up until the text. Whoopsies!

Also, texting while running is really difficult so I decided to just call her. And then I was THAT GIRL on the phone. Please, feel free to judge me. I was judging myself.

The crowd support was high in Downtown Disney, including a sign that said YOU ARE WINNING. There were people calling “Hey Sailors” to us too, which made us grin ear to ear! It was perfect.

And so was the finish line!

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Water bottles were handed out directly after the finish, which was appreciated and necessary in the hot, hot heat. From there, we made our way to the volunteers handing out the medals and collected our super cute Stitch medals.

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The Dumbo Double Dare bracelets were handed out directly after that. Pictures and Medical were located nearby (we skipped both) and headed straight for the snack boxes and freezing cold bananas. Those bananas! I mean, who would know I could get so excited for a piece of fruit. BUT I DID.

Side note: Came home, put bananas in the freezer and forgot I did it until my husband brought them to me with a perplexed look. Then they were too cold to bite.

There was awesome entertainment and while we snacked, we took a few minutes to soak it all in.

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Later we visited the park to celebrate with Dumbo.

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I’ll bid you adieu the same way I began…

Y’all, I love a good 10k!

 

Race Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon

We went.

We ran.

We conquered the Disneyland Half Marathon.

And it was AWESOME.

Now, I feel like kind of a fish out of water writing this race recap because I’ve never written a recap for a half marathon before. So as I’m typing this, I’m thinking “what do I even say about this weekend? How can I put into words how fun and hard and great and tiring and rewarding but also pretty insane and let me not forget how HOT it was?” I’m sure someone who’s run multiple half marathons before (ahem, Cam, Meridith, Victoria, Brooke, ahem) could – would! – be more eloquent about it. But all I can do is tell you that it was fun. And hard. And great and tiring and rewarding and completely insane. And very, very hot.

Well, I can tell you some other things, too. Doing a half marathon isn’t something I thought I’d ever do. I loved running when I was little – the burn of my lungs and the wind whipping through my hair, the adrenaline pumping through my veins and that lovely soreness in my calves from pushing, pushing, pushing myself. But adult me definitely lost the love of running. It’s no secret that I still don’t love it, even (or maybe especially) during my training for this half.

All that said, this will probably remain one of my fondest life memories. I reclaimed the feeling of loving running and turned it into something else: the love didn’t come from the burn or the wind or the exhilaration of running. The love came from the pride of actually doing this, and doing it with two of my most wonderful friends by my side. How awesome is that?

With all of my personal musings out of the way, let’s get to the important stuff: the actual race! Not that I didn’t know this before, but I got to see firsthand what an amazingly well-oiled machine the Disneyland Half Marathon is. I mean, these people are not fooling around. From the expo (during which I spent much money at Raw Threads) to the race itself, everything was executed without a hitch. For people who have run Disney races before, this is probably not a surprise. But I have to admit that I’ll probably be ruined for other races going forward, and the seamless execution of every event last weekend is only one reason.

I’ll get to the other reasons…right now!

Prior to flying down to Anaheim, I checked the weather and saw that it was supposed to be in the mid-80s on race day (Sunday). Cue me freaking out because I hate heat. I have a zero tolerance policy for heat. If it’s above 75, I’m complaining. Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), I was worried about how the temperature would affect my performance during the race. But Meridith assured me I would be fine, and I agree with her on most things, so I decided to agree with her on this as well.

At any rate, we all rolled out of bed at 4 in the morning on race day and got dressed up in our SUPER CUTE Timothy Q. Mouse inspired costumes that the ever-talented Cam made (stay tuned for a post from her on that!).

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Do the bustle!

 

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Were the riding crops our favorite part of the costume? Maybe. Probably. Okay, yes.

Once we were dressed and had a pre-race donut and some water, we headed over to the park to the start line.

As did about 16,000 other people.

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Yeah. It was a little busy. We had to make our way cattle-call style to the J corral, which we would later come to call the “JUST LET US GO ALREADY” corral. Because we had to listen to the announcers’ jokes and “Let It Go” when they released corral A. And then we had to listen to the announcers’ jokes (the same ones) and “Let It Go” (the same one) when they released corral B. And then C. D. E. F….you know the rest of the alphabet.

"OMG, DUDES, LET US GO."

“OMG, DUDES, LET US GO.”

And let me tell you: I didn’t know the words to “Let It Go” before this race, but by the time we were given the go ahead, I sure knew every word.

LET IT GOOOOOOOOO.

LET US GOOOOOOOO.

And they did!

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The course took us through Disneyland and California Adventure, then through the streets of Anaheim, before eventually looping us back into the park for the last mile. And while the miles inside the park were infinitely more entertaining, there were sights to see in Anaheim, too. More on that later.

For now, the park!

Meridith and Cam told me that characters would be available to take pictures with as we ran through the park, so we made sure to take advantage. I thought there would be more characters – maybe a princess?! – but the ones we did snap pics with were great. I can’t really complain about having the entirety of Disneyland to ourselves, can I? Plus, the cast members – ALL OF THEM – lined up along the side of the course and cheered us on, gave us high-fours with Mickey Mouse gloves, and were just generally awesome. We had such a huge cheering squad.

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Scandalized by our whips, Jafar?

 

Juicy tidbit: my army guy broke character and said “whoa” when he saw our riding crops. In my unofficial poll during the race, I noticed that the menfolk tended to respond very favorably to our props.

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The castle!

 

We continued our jaunt through the park, keeping up a pretty nice clip for the first four miles.

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And then…WE TOOK IT TO THE STREETS.

Of Anaheim. For a lot of miles. At that point, we made a group decision to take it easy and just enjoy the race. We all had various physical pain points and none of us were looking for a PR. So we slowed it down to a fast walk – sometimes a prancercise – and took in the sights, the spectators, and the great, awesome signs.

An approximation of our fancy walk.

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Adorable Hawaiian dancers!

Mariachi dancers!

Mariachi dancers!

Classic cars. There were SO many! We asked for a ride, but alas.

Classic cars. There were SO many! We asked for a ride, but alas.

I have to say, I totally appreciated that we weren’t left high and dry when we left the park. There were dancers and high school bands and cheerleaders to cheer us on as we made our way back toward Disneyland. And once you hit a certain mile – in our case I think it was around mile 8 – we really, really needed to hear people cheering for us. For strangers to get up super, super early to do that…well, it really touched me.

And let me NOT forget about the awesome signs we saw along the way:

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My absolute favorites of the race. Hands down. Great reminder. I needed reminding at that point.

Getting back to the weather: we had overcast skies and even a teeeeeeeensy breeze until we hit mile 8. And then the sun decided it wanted to shine its hot little death rays on us. Of course, this was the part of the course where we were running next to a dried-up reservoir type thing on our way to Angels stadium. I think Meridith asked multiple times, “WHO DESIGNED THIS PART OF THE COURSE?”

Not our favorite part.

Not our favorite part.

Yeah. Hot.

But THEN we got to Angels stadium which, despite my fervent love for the Oakland A’s and thus my fervent loathing of the Angels, was really, really cool. The stadium was packed with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and their cheering parents and it was just so damn awesome.

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RIGHT? RIGHT? HOW COOL IS THAT?

Of course, we had the 16-minute mile pacers breathing down our necks, and this is kind of the part where it all went to shit. The track we were running on was super narrow and the 16-minute mile pacers were yelling that we were behind schedule and everyone needed to MOVE MOVE MOVE, so people started panicking and pushing and I got separated from Cam and Meridith for a few minutes while people acted like bizonkers.

But then we reunited and it really DID feel so good. And we kept going. And going. And going. And encountered more high school bands and cheerleaders and amazing spectators and I just forced myself to take it all in despite the fact that I was hot and tired and starting to hurt.

And then: Mile 12. We hit it. We got back into the park. We were almost there. People were TELLING us we were almost there. Meridith asked, “How almost there is almost there?” but no one would tell us. Just that it was almost. So close.

 

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Ring the bell for energy! We totally did. Not sure it worked. Malfunctioning bell?

Finally, someone took pity on us and told us we had less than half a mile. That kept us motivated until we crossed the finish line, which I have no pictures of because we were just so happy to be DONE.

And then we were! Done, that is. And my feet were so thankful, because dude. 13.1 miles. That’s a LOT of miles.

We got our awesome medals and Meridith put mine on for me, which was adorable.

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AWWWWWW.

I whipped this race (get it?)!

I whipped this race (get it?)!

We did it! Couples finish together!

We did it! Couples finish together!

 

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My first half marathon in the books. Thank god for Instagram filter.

We wandered around the finishers area like zombies for a bit, picked up Meridith and Cam’s Dumbo Double Dare medals (because they had run the 10K the day before like crazy people), drank all of the water and some bananas, and then made the painful trek back to our hotel.

I can’t tell you how not fun it is to have to walk back to your hotel after you’ve just completed a half marathon. But we did it. And then we did this.

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So yes. We went. We ran. We conquered. And we had an amazing time.

 

 

Happy Running Day!

Happy National Running Day! I’m not running, of course. To make matters worse, I wore my sneakers for a little (okay, a lot) longer than I should have on Sunday and ended up with some pain around my ankle on Monday. Since then, I’ve been in the boot for most of my walking time, and now I feel ready to ease back into sneakers. Again. I should have been more diligent but now I know a little more about what my foot can handle. This injury stuff sucks.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about running, and also trying not to think about running. Sara sent me a text last week to tell me that the Gasparilla half-marathon registration opened soon, and it was quite a low moment for me. I can’t even walk in sneakers for more than four hours right now, so obviously, I’m not registering for any more races until I’m running again.

That said, I know I will run again. Tendonitis is a common injury, and not super serious (don’t tell my doctor I said that, omg.) and I feel whiny and I hate that- I have a 6 year old, a 4 year old and an 18 month old- I hear enough whining during my days without having to listen to my own. Setbacks happen to all of us and the best thing for me to do right now is take the time to heal, and remember that there’s always another race. There are more sunrises to see while on my morning run, more things to chat about during my long runs with Sara, more shoes and patterned pants to buy and many, many more runcations with my Scoot chicks.

School is out down here and I’m in full camp mom mode with my awesome kids. I’ve been looking forward to this since Spring Break because I love creating activities for them (on Monday, we painted rocks to make tic-tac-toe game pieces) and I love taking them on field trips (yesterday- the library and a picnic at a local playground). I think they’re the coolest. I’m planning to take a little break from blogging because I have a lot going on during the day, and most of it is mommy/kid stuff and not exercise stuff, which makes me both happy and sad. I’ll still be reading blogs, of course, so please link yours below.

Today, I’m going to share some of my favorite running photos with you, in celebration of our favorite sport.

With Meri, before the Rothman 8k in 2011

With Meri, before the Rothman 8k in 2011

Running with my middle babe at the Disney Princess kids races in 2012

Running with my middle babe at the Disney Princess kids races in 2012

Happy at mile 13 at my PR race, the Melbourne Beaches half marathon in 2012

Happy at mile 13 at my PR race, the Melbourne Beaches half marathon in 2012

It's not often we get to run together! A beach run with my husband last summer.

It’s not often we get to run together! A beach run with my husband last summer.

Post- UCF 5 miler with my family (we all ran a race that day except the boy!)

Post- UCF 5 miler with my family (we all ran a race that day except the boy!)

Wine and Dine with Meri and Lisa (who had a huge PR that night). Love these girls!

Wine and Dine with Meri and Lisa (who had a huge PR that night). Love these girls!

New Year's Day run with my girl, Dorothy, who is blurry because well, we were running.

New Year’s Day run with my girl, Dorothy, who is blurry because well, we were running.

Before the 10k portion of Disney's Glass Slipper Challenge. I miss my running time with Sara almost as much as I miss running.

Before the 10k portion of Disney’s Glass Slipper Challenge. I miss my running time with Sara almost as much as I miss running.

A friend gave me some advice many years ago- to hold onto a memory, to really be able to pull it back into you mind, you should take a mental picture. Focus on the smell, the sound, the scene before you. How you feel. This isn’t easy to do during a race, because your body is so tired, your mind is thinking of everything, or nothing, or that pain in your whatever…it’s almost impossible to soak in a single moment in time for later recall. I carry my phone in my hand to snap pictures, but my mind does a decent job, occasionally.

I will never forget how I felt after I crossed the finish line after the Melbourne half in 2012- partially because I had achieved the sub-2, and also because I was breathing pretty poorly and worried I was going to pass out. (Later I found out I had bronchitis. Oops.)

I will always remember the joy of crossing the finish line with Mer at her first half marathon. It was such a tearful, happy moment.

My friend Danielle ran my last run of the RW Holiday 2013 streak with me, and went a lot farther, mile-wise, than she planned to because she wanted to help me get to 100 total miles. I don’t remember what the weather looked like, or what we wore, but I remember how grateful I felt for her friendship.

Watching Anne finish her first half-marathon in April is probably my favorite running memory of 2014. I felt high all day because of it (okay, a little bit was due to my own race. But mostly hers. Seeing a friend believe in herself, and achieve something they’ve worked so hard for is magical.)

I can’t wait to get back out there and make some new memories. Share one of your favorites with me?

A Day In The Life: Brooke

Ever wonder what a stay-at-home mom does all day? How about a professional volunteer? Or a journalist? I know I often want to text Jess about what she’s doing at work (because make-up) and what she’s wearing or buying or coveting at Nordy’s (because fashion). And what is Bec making for dinner? What bags is she eyeing at Kate Spade? What fitness class is Cam trying today? Did her students get her anything good for the last day of school? What are we reading? These are the questions of our lives, and lucky for you (or lucky for me, anyway), we have decided to give you some answers. For the next six Fridays, the Scoot Chicks will be giving you a glimpse into our day, and today, we start with me!

I start my day with coffee- always two cups, black. Lately, I’m obsessed with Dark Chocolate Truffle from Target.

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I make my kids breakfast and get them ready for school, and in between, I make my breakfast and I make lunches for the girls. At the beginning of the school year, I was good and packed everything at night. But now it’s May, and some days, that means they get uncrustables and applesauce (Today, I actually made the sandwiches. This was pre-cutting them into flower shapes).

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Once the kids are ready, I have about ten minutes to get myself ready to go. This is when Little Dude’s Elmo obsession comes in handy. (Thank you, You Tube!) After school drop off, Little Dude and I usually have a playdate. Today, we went to open play at a local gym.

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Once home, we have lunch and I try to squeeze in a little bit of cleaning while he naps. (Some days, he naps on me, and that’s my time to read or text friends. Usually Mer. I’ll be sad when he stops napping on me because I’ll have no excuse for the laundry pile.) While putting him down, I received an email about Frozen on Ice tickets on presale, so I rushed to buy those (as did everyone else on my fb feed).

The first carline is my time to catch up on emails, check out Facebook and Instagram and listen to more Elmo.

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Between pickups, I usually take the youngers on a fun “field trip” (typically, the playground or Target). Today, we went to the library.

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Second carline means a nap for my middle girl- Bon Iver is her nap time whisperer. She usually falls asleep about 45 seconds into the first song.

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Then, I get to read a little bit more. Today, I’m catching up on a newspaper article about John Green. (My husband gets the WSJ, and he leaves articles of interest for me in our bathroom magazine rack. It’s the sweet little things that make a marriage, isn’t it?)

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Dance classes are finished and there’s no homework for the last two weeks of school, so once I picked up my oldest girl, we met some friends at the blueberry u-pick.

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Dinner for the kids was McDonald’s, along with a discussion about why mommy doesn’t eat it, why it’s a “treat” food and some examples of healthy and unhealthy food. (They asked, haha.) This all occurred on our drive to swim lessons. A lot of our teaching moments happen in the car! An older mom-friend of mine told me that she was sad once her daughter started driving because they lost that car time together.

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Once home, we worked on my oldest’s Ladybug Girl costume for book character day (so glad I hoard arts and crafts supplies because we’ve had a lot of “Fun Family Projects” in Kindergarten. I’m still waiting for my report card, to be honest. Or at least a “Super!” sticker.). My husband and I ate a quick dinner and got the kids into bed.

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The day I photographed was my blogging day for Scoot, so once Little Dude fell asleep, I worked on my post. Finally, around 9:30pm, J and I settled down on the couch for some wine and House of Cards.

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Some days are less action-packed (I LOVE THOSE DAYS), but most are a flurry of activities and chores and noise. I feel so lucky to stay at home with my kids. This is my life! It’s messy and crazy and ruled by tiny little people, and it’s a ton of time in the car, omg, but I’m doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.

For all the moms- stay-at-home, working, work-at-home- here’s a video that I saw at my MOPS meeting on Monday. It captures our days pretty well!

How do you take your coffee? Is there someone you text almost every day? Are we all stocking up on tissues for the TFIOS movie? 

Mother Runner Giveaway Winner and Spring Break Fun

Hey runner friends! Last week, I told you about the Mother Runner event in Orlando, and how I purchased some pretty sweet goodies for one of you. This morning, I picked a winner-

Congrats to Nicole, who won via Facebook entry! Check your email, Nicole, so I can send you your prize! Thank you to all who entered.

It’s Spring Break here in the Babbles house and our days have been packed with fun, fun, and more fun. This mother runner is very tired, but I adore having all of my babes at home with me. Here are some of the things we’re enjoying this week:

The Disney Infinity game. We all have our favorites, and Rapunzel is mine. (Shocking.)
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Movie Mornings in our pajamas. We don’t watch tv during the school week, so the opportunity to watch tv while eating breakfast is a welcome change for these littles. (Did Disney pick a good week for the Frozen dvd release or what?)

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Speaking of Frozen, of course we picked up our dvd yesterday! We stood in a pretty long line at the Disney Store, where I also bought this adorable coffee mug-

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The bowling alley and arcade, and time with their Uncle and soon-to-be Aunt. These girls love air hockey!

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These crayons. My older girl and I sat for over an hour and colored with them. The glide on the paper like an oil pastel, and then once you brush with water, you get the watercolor effect AND they sparkle brighter than Edward Cullen.

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I also love that nail polish (Deborah Lippmann She Bop) and the treadmill, because that’s the only way I’m getting to run this week. One thing we don’t love is sleeping in. The kids are all still a little off from the time change. Or they’re just early morning people like their mother.

Anyway- Happy Spring Break if you’re on one, and Happy Wednesday if you aren’t. Time to go pack lunches for today’s outing.

Any Disney Infinity players out there? Favorite Frozen character? Favorite arcade game? Favorite Spring Break activity? Talky!

Swimming: love it or hate it

Last weekend I went for a swim on a whim. And it felt great.

Swimming is no longer something I regularly do. It was once the center of my life. I swam, daily, for more than a decade.

swim1With my sister in our first swim team photo, 1984

I was a fish and I loved the water. I proudly reeked of chlorine and my hair felt like straw. You couldn’t drag me away from the water. For years, kicking and pulling my way through a pool was my favorite place to be.

ymcaCirca 1986. Can you spot me? (hint: top row)

I swam year-round and by the time I was in high school, I competed for one summer team and two winter teams. I often wore my pajamas to school over my swimsuit for early morning practices. My weeknights were spent at one practice or another (occasionally I had two in one day). And my weekends were spent at meets around southern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

I loved to swim, until I didn’t.

All of a sudden, competitive swimming wasn’t fun anymore. Yes, I learned such incredible life skills through the sport, including the importance of teamwork, the vitality of one’s attitude and that one had to put in the work in order to see results.

I learned numerous life lessons that shaped me into who I am today – thank you Coach Dan! I wouldn’t trade my swimming years for the world. But I was done. It was time to move on.

Eighteen years have passed since I raced my last race – a states meet as part of a medley relay. I remember it like it was yesterday. As part of my YMCA team, I was the 100-butterfly leg of our four-person relay. We swam at an indoor pool at a university in Philadelphia.  We fared well and left it all in the pool. It was a fantastic way to end my competitive swimming career, the end of an era.

swim2My summer swim team photo in the early 90s. I think I’m 15 here?

More than once, I’ve since hopped back into the water with goggles and a swim cap to attempt a few laps. I’d always complete my laps, but my heart was never in it.

Instead I walked, I hiked, I ran and I rowed.

Several friends tried to encourage me to tackle triathlons. I politely declined. Later, as those same friends repeatedly pressed, citing my swimming skills as an asset for triathletes, I “not-so-politely” declined.

Swimming was no longer fun for me. Why put myself in a position where I’d most likely loathe each workout? That would be a recipe for disaster.

Then last summer, I joined my friend Jess in the pool as she trained for her first triathlon. Together, we swam laps at a local indoor YMCA.

Stroke after stroke, I started to smile.  Unexpectedly, my attitude had shifted. Swimming again became enjoyable.

There was no pressure to go fast. There was no coach shouting improvements for my stroke. It was just me and the open water. And finally, I found myself looking forward to a swim.

It’s funny how you can fall right back into old (swimming) habits.

I can still don a latex swim cap one-handed.

I still count my freestyle strokes on every lap. (It’s typically 21 strokes, if you were interested.)

Backstroke flip turns are still the bane of my existence.

Those rainbows surrounding indoor pool ceiling lights? Yep, they haven’t gone away.

I’m still an awful breast-stroker, but that doesn’t stop me from using it as a “rest lap.”

I still inhale way more chlorinated water than one person should ever consume.

Even when swimming alone in a lane, I still swim on the right side. I have to make room for my fellow swimmers.

Sunday evening, I headed to the pool to tackle a cross-training workout. I laughed at myself as I jumped in the water. In all, I swam more than a mile.

Some strokes were easy, others were hard. But I wanted to swim every one of them. And that, my friends, is something worth cheering about.

Have you ever burnt out on a sport or beloved activity? How do you handle it? Did you ever go back?

My Year in Pictures

To say this year has been an active one for me is a bit of an understatement. My 2012 ended with a newborn baby- my third- and I began 2013 with some pretty specific fitness aspirations.

First, I wanted to fit into my jeans again. (Is that really a fitness goal? Well, I wanted to fit into my running shorts again too. That counts, right?) I wanted run a half marathon before the end of the year and I wanted to train smarter and more broadly- to begin lifting weights and try different kinds of cardio instead of just running.

I’ve done the postpartum return to fitness before, obviously, but never with this much determination. Never with specific goals (Okay, with each babe, I have wanted to fit into my pants again. But it was super easy with the first two kids and really hard work this time around. I’ve been told it’s because I’m over 30 now. Sigh.).

At first, I walked a lot. Once I got the all clear from my doctor (6 weeks post-baby), I eased back into running on the treadmill and began working out with a trainer. I also tried barre workouts, zumba and returned to my favorite hot yoga class. When summer arrived and the baby grew bored of sitting at the gym with me, I began running in the early mornings with Sara- we ran longer and faster; each of us chasing our own goals.

By fall, I had some sweet definition in my arms. My pants fit again too- it took 10 whole months- and I was ready to tackle that half-marathon. Timing is everything, and I was grateful that this year was Vic’s year to run the NYC marathon because that meant she could run with me for Wine and Dine. I could have run it alone, of course, but it made it easier to have a friend cheering me along for those 13.1 miles.

I decided to do the run streak during this holiday season because I thought it would be fun (“Isn’t this fun?” is basically my motto for all things fitness.) and I love a challenge. Some days have been awful. Just yesterday, I sent Meri the following text: “I don’t want to run. I’m so tempted to stay in my jams and drink coffee all day.” Like any good, bossy friend, she told me to just get it done. Most days have been wonderful though, and while I don’t think I could ever be an every day runner, I’m glad I ended the year with all this running.

I’m excited to see what next year holds for me. I have three races on the calendar already- the Glass Slipper challenge and the Nike Women’s half in DC, and there are a few more I really want to run.

I’ve been thinking about my goals a lot lately, but since I’m not quite ready to commit to them here, I thought I would share some of my favorite fitness photos from the past year.

My first post-baby run. My warm-up walk included a nursing session.

My first post-baby run. My warm-up walk included a nursing session.

My view from the treadmill.

My view from the treadmill.

J and I attempted a monthlong wall-sit challenge. Yeah...we didn't complete it. But I got this cute picture!

J and I attempted a monthlong wall-sit challenge. Yeah…we didn’t complete it. But I got this cute picture!

The boy was totally tired of the gym at this stage. This was my last workout with him present. (which meant the beginning of very early mornings)

The boy was totally tired of the gym at this stage. This was my last workout with him present. (which meant the beginning of very early mornings)

Sara and I after hot yoga.

Sara and I after hot yoga.

The Bob got some love during the second half of the year.

The Bob got some love during the second half of the year.

My first postpartum race- the UCF 5 miler and 2 miler (I did both for the bling)

My first postpartum race- the UCF 5 miler and 2 miler (I did both for the bling)

Back at Wine and Dine again, and happy I got to run with my friend.

Back at Wine and Dine again, and happy I got to run with my friend.

Still working out with Trainer Jen. She makes me do all sorts of crazy things.

Still working out with Trainer Jen. She makes me do all sorts of crazy things.

Run streak! A long run last weekend with my friend, Dorothy.

Run streak! A long run last weekend with my friend, Dorothy.

What races do you have scheduled for 2014? Do you set yearly goals? Share your favorite fitness photo from 2013 with us on Twitter or Instagram! #favefitphoto

Happy Anniversary to Me

Well, it was a pretty humdrum weekend for most of us at the Scoot A Doot blog…

Kidding.

If you follow any of us on twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you know that 4/6 of us were at Disney for the Wine and Dine half marathon. For me, it wasn’t a PR, but it was right around what I expected to run- 10 minute miles- for a chip time of 2:11:33. I’m pleased and now I’m plotting. But more on all that later this week.

Yesterday, I celebrated seven years of marriage with my mister. (I use the term “celebrated” loosely, as we basically cuddled together on the couch with some wine, once lunches were made and children were asleep. That’s the stuff that wedded bliss is made of.) Saying “I do”to this guy was the best decision I’ve ever made. He makes me laugh, he listens to me rant about politics, he buys me pretty shoes. He’s the best dad, he’s a supportive partner, and sometimes he even does the dishes without being asked. He makes me crazy happy.

Today, I’m sharing some pictures from our family photo album.

Married! One of my faves from our wedding day.

Married! One of my faves from our wedding day.

The night our little miss was born and we became a family of three.

The night our little miss was born and we became a family of three.

Christmas is a lot more fun with kids! This was our holiday card picture the year our second girl arrived.

Christmas is a lot of fun with kids. This was our holiday card picture the year our second girl arrived.

Our fifth anniversary trip to Sonoma and Napa. We love wine almost as much as we love each other.

Our fifth anniversary trip to Sonoma and Napa. We love wine almost as much as we love each other!

Gooooo Knights! Football season means race training for me and football for him.

Gooooo Knights! Football season means race training for me and football for him.

After running the Tangled 5k at Disney in 2011.

After running the Tangled 5k at Disney in 2011.

Family silliness after our oldest's pre-k graduation.

Family silliness after our oldest’s pre-k graduation.

Married? How do you celebrate your anniversary? If you got married pre-pinterest, would you want to do it all over again just for the planning fun?

Red wine? White wine? College football or NFL? Talky in the comments!

We are Family

My cousin Kristen and I are a decade apart. But as we grow older, we also grow closer.

Our mothers are sisters, and like Kristen and me there’s a large gap between them — 8 years. But as they aged, their bond has strengthened.

Kristen and I have much in common — our hair color, posture, body type and other family traits. Our love of Harry Potter, dark chocolate, hiking and good wine are also not to be forgotten.

But most importantly, we’re family. We share an unconditional love that sees one another through tears and laughter. I often describe Kristen and her brother Keith as my younger siblings rather than my lone first cousins.

20130625-223634.jpgOpening Christmas gifts with Kristen in 1989.

kvHiking with Kristen in 2003.

kv2With Keith and Kristen at my 2005 wedding. (I look tired.)

schreffler3Kristen turns 21. Kristen, Keith and me toast with a legal drink (2009)

schreffler4Hiking in 2011 with Keith’s wife Laura and Kristen

20130625-223402.jpgCousins, 2013

We tease one another and confide in each other. We spar, we hug, we cook and eat (a lot) and we travel together. We share the good and bad, even when we feel alone.

After all, who else understands what it’s like to head to our grandparents’ house for Easter dinner where succotash and sliced ham are divvied with military-style precision? And who else comprehends a family throwdown mid-vacation that ends by baking bread then breaking bread?

And of course there’s the family tradition of stuffing the fridge to the gills, mainly with freshly-picked veggies from the garden.

We do.

Kristen was actually born while I celebrated my 11th birthday with friends at a roller rink. I was thrilled to share the day with her and even more excited to meet her several weeks later.

Last weekend, our family gathered in Bethlehem, PA to celebrate Kristen’s wedding. She married her best friend Erik and we welcomed him to our slice of insanity with open arms. Kristen was a stunning bride – confident, happy, gracious and glowing.

schrefflerAunt Martha, my mother Barbara, me and Kristen

We don’t see each other as often as we’d like. But when we do gather, we have a great time.

I feel so blessed to have such incredible, strong and loving women in my family. Sure, we all trip and make mistakes, but we learn from those errors. We evolve, we grow, we become who we are today.

What’s the last family gathering you attended? Are you like me, with a close family that lives far away? How do you cope?

Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k 2013

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I did it again. I lost a friend I was pacing mid-race.  But this time, my running partner blessed my zippy feet. Before Saturday’s 5K race through Haddonfield, NJ., Meridith had asked me to pace her. BUT, only on the condition that IF we lost each other, I would race to the finish.

Agreed.

Our happy group for the Haddonfield Running Company’s Adrenaline 5K included two first time 5K-runners, not-so-silent Bob and Jay, Mer’s husband. Friends, Brandi and Megan, and their respective trailblazing husbands, Sean and Matt, rounded out our colorful group.

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We arrived at Haddonfield HS about an hour before the 9 a.m. race. We had access to the school to use the bathrooms and keep warm. We sure did, as temps dropped into the mid-30s Saturday morning.

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Brandi showed us her dual watches, however, neither one worked properly during the race. Bummer!

Soon enough, we lined up outside the school on Kings Highway and before we knew it we were off. No, really, we had no idea the race began until people around us shuffled forward.

Within the first quarter-mile, we saw two firefighters donning full turnout gear – one man hauled a fire hose and the second carried an American flag. We thanked them for their service and waved as we passed by.

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We passed some other interesting characters, including a dog in a green tutu, and another canine – a senior golden retriever named Birdie — running the race.

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Sean, in the red shirt and orange cap, paced his wife Brandi in the first mile as Brandi aimed to break her personal 5K record. She waved him on mid-race.

I started the race alongside Meridith and tried to stay just in front her, to force her to chase me through the streets. But it wasn’t Meri’s day. I turned back more than once to see her smiling face nodding. But shortly before the first mile marker, she grimaced and waved me on.

I rounded a bend, onto Washington Avenue, and picked up my pace. But oh, there were obstacles. Mini-Cooper-sized potholes. You really had to watch your step as you ran, for fear you might turn an ankle in one of those potholes.

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As the runner pushing a stroller in this photo said, “We come to Haddonfield for the schools, not the quality of the streets.”

I headed down a hill, taking full advantage of gravity, rounded a few bends, passed by a water stop and ran up a small hill near the high-speed rail line. I was passing people left and right (thank you, running partner Ray for pushing me to run hills each Tuesday night!).

Ultimately, I sprinted that last mile. I ran to the finish knowing full well it was not my best or my worst time. I received a medal and stalked the finish line to snap photos of Meridith. She rolled in a few minutes later – grinning.

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Like me, it was not her best run nor was it her worst. She joined me at the finish and we waited for her husband to appear. And the flurries started to fly.

Soon enough, we spotted his blue jacket in the distance. He was approaching – fast. We yelled – not that he could hear us. But he sprinted, realizing he could surpass his time goal and flew past several runners.

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He finished just under 39 minutes and was soon surrounded by his fan club (seen above and to the right.) Well done, group!

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Megan, Meri, Brandi and Vic at the finish. Most 5K races don’t reward finishers with medals, but the Adrenaline 5K has a pretty kick-ass medal…which doubles as a bottle opener. And we put those medals to good use at the Haddonfield Running Company’s Sweet 16 Party back at the store, 121 E. Kings Highway.

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There was quite the variety of beer – ranging from Guinness to microbrews to Coors Light. The store put on a pretty stellar post- race food from a local catering company, Apron.

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And of course, there were sales. Oh yes. And we shopped. (Really, we needed a few things.) We visited with friends for a pretty great day. Thanks Haddonfield Running Company. We’ll be back.

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