Hello, December

img_4113-1

Welcome to the final month of 2017! In a few short weeks, we’ll be ringing in 2018. Crazy. As axial tilt gives us shorter days and colder nights, partake in your traditions and enjoy time with loved ones and friends. *insert sappy holiday-isms and humorous anti-holiday-isms here*

 

saturnalia-620x282
For example…

 

So, what have I been up to? Let’s see…

Starbucks Seasonal Beverages

starbucks

When I want to indulge in December, or when I have a terrible day at work, I choose a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks. Pairing that with a warm blanket to snuggle with and some TV is my favorite way to recharge that doesn’t involve copious amounts of sleeping.

Cozy Clothes  

friendsgiving

This was my Friendsgiving outfit. I am gravitating towards bigger and cozier clothes that offer more coverage around my core, as it is an area of self-consciousness for me. Most of my tops hit me right at the hips and ride up incessantly. Totally annoying. This pink cable knit from Walmart is chic and cute, especially paired with dark denim.

Cherry Blossom Kickoff Party

cucb 2018 kickoff

I did a quick trip to DC to attend the CUCB kickoff party. I would not have made this free trip without frequent flyer points/miles, so shoutout to JetBlue and Delta. 

cucb 2018 shirts

We got to vote on the official shirt color, and while I voted for the green and pink one (shoutout to my sorority, Delta Zeta), the slate gray won.

There was plenty of food and fellowship between runners. I had the privilege of meeting Marine Corps Marathon race director, Rick Nealis!

cucb 2018 mcm

There were also 25 guaranteed entries to the 2018 CUCB 10-Miler, and I managed to acquire one. I will be returning to DC in April for the Runner’s Rite of Spring!

UO Fun Run 5K

UO Fun run

Recap coming shortly for this race that I did on Saturday. It was my third 5K, and while it was my slowest time (51:25), I definitely PRed in character stops with 11!

UO FUn run finish

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Weekly Review

We’re entering the final weeks of 2017. I’ve been saying all year long that this year has flown by. As challenging and rewarding as this year has been, I’m looking forward to heading into 2018 with big goals and positivity.

For starters, our runDisney countdowns have hit critical points! 50 days for Marathon weekend, and 100 days for Princess!

Speaking of running things, there are a couple of updates from my neck of the woods:

Due to prolonged damage from Hurricane Irma, Everglades Half weekend is cancelled. I’m a little disappointed, but totally understand that the park itself is still underwater, and since the water hasn’t receded yet, it’s pointless to hold a race.

img_3193

However, when doors close, windows open…

img_3271

I got to sign up for the company fun run! It’s a 5K through Universal Orlando property! This will be just my third 5K in my running career, and I’m hoping to break :30 (current PR is :34-something). It’s a non-chipped race, so I’ll be trusting my Garmin for the time.

I will be heading back to DC at the end of the month for the Cherry Blossom kickoff event! I had a blast last year running the 10 Miler. For those wondering, “You’ve been to DC twice since you’ve moved. What gives?”, I still enjoy DC immensely for various reasons, and if financial circumstances were different, I’d still be up there. I’m looking forward to seeing the city transform itself for the holidays; I think the trees will be up by the time I get there!

img_3174

A couple weeks ago, runners descended into Orlando for the final east coast runDisney event, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend! I headed to the expo to see what there was to see…

img_3195

I still think this passport medal (and the travel themed medals in general) is the most genius thing the runDisney designers has come up with.

img_3210img_3205img_3209

 

img_3212
It’s not a runDisney expo without Wetzel’s pretzels and beer!

 

Congrats to everyone who finished their races recently. We’ve had a ton as we start closing out fall racing season! (Wine and Dine, Avengers, RnR Las Vegas, RnR Savannah, Ragnar Relays, etc.)

Let’s see what else has happened…oh! I finally got to visit SeaWorld!

img_3302img_3331img_3329img_3339img_3360img_3389

And Elsa has made her appearance at DIsney. The Dream Lights are finally on!

 

img_3295
Picture from…2016? Early 2017? They all look the same now.

And finally, the holiday decor has made their way into stores. I went to Michaels, and while I didn’t spend any money, took in the lights and glitter and cuteness. This sign was one of my favorites:

img_3490-1

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Marine Corps Marathon Recap

I didn’t enter Marine Corps Marathon weekend with high expectations. With my resentment towards the 26.2 distance aggrandizing since the WDW Marathon in January, I honestly just wanted to get in and get out with minimal injury. Having flashbacks of my 2015 experience in DC still fresh in my mind, I didn’t care what my pace was. I wanted to cross that finish line and be done.

I slept terribly the night before, getting about four hours total. Chris and I woke up around 4:45, and before I knew it, it was 5:45 and we were out the door, heading to the Metro. I swear, no matter how much time you give yourself to get ready, it’s never enough!

We arrived at the Metro slightly after six. I was sort of excited to ride, as MCM partnered with WMATA to open the Metro two hours early to accommodate the runners, with extra Blue and Yellow trains to the Pentagon station. Okay, so we’ll have trains operating every five minutes or so, easy peasy. I won’t have to freak out about being late.

I should’ve known better. This is DC Metro, after all. The first train didn’t arrive until 6:30 AM.

We arrived at Pentagon station by 6:45, and it was a madhouse. With each arriving train, the platform got more crowded. The crowds were moving at a snail’s pace to begin with, probably due to those not being prepared in advance with their Metro cards to tap out of the station. It took us about 15 minutes to exit.

img_2548

Following the swarm of runners to the starting area, the sun started to cast a beautiful yellow and orange glow in the sky. Rosslyn was off in the distance and its buildings were reflecting the rays as a sort of welcoming beacon for us. The weather was slightly chilly, but that was going to change quickly once the sun peaked. After walking roughly over a mile, we came upon the UPS drop off location.

Over the booming speakers, we heard: “If you’re here and running the 10K…ouch!” -announcer guy

(The MCM 10K, which is also on my list, was taking place IN the city as the last 6.2 miles of the marathon course. If a 10Ker was at the Pentagon, well…)

Chris and I found our other Kappa Kappa Psi brothers and running buddies, Lauren, and her husband, Patrick (who was playing support crew with our other friends Chris and Ema). After a quick picture, we headed to the starting area.

pre race

With the fear of being swept fresh on our minds, and after careful analysis of our previous races and paces from this year, we decided to line up around the 5:00 area. We’d have a somewhat decent barrier between us and the sweeper vehicles, and be in the vicinity of the 5:00 and 5:30 pace groups in case we wanted to join.

img_2558

img_2566

The parachuters did their performances, and the Ospreys did their flyover to the cheers of the crowds. At 7:55, the Howitzer fired, and the race began!

Sort of.

Any Marine Corps Marathon veteran will tell you that it takes, on average, twenty minutes from the time the Howitzer fires until you cross the start line. So it’s a perfect representation of the military: hurry up and wait.

img_2568img_2575-1

Around 8:17am or so, the three of us finally started our journey! First stop: Rosslyn.

img_2579img_2581img_2582

I posted several times on social media that the first 5K for this race is the worst. It has the most elevation changes, and staying conservative will be beneficial in the later miles. The crowds were ample and puppies even moreso. We stayed steady, walking the hills and running the flat areas. The energy was amplified, and, trust me, greatly appreciated. We hit the 5K mark and descended into Spout Run along miles 3.5-4 on the GW Parkway. (This turned out to be my best mile of the whole damn race.) The views of Georgetown University were gorgeous as we headed towards Key Bridge.

img_2586img_2588img_2590img_2593

The crowds started to thin a little as we ran down M Street in Georgetown and flew down Wisconsin Ave.

img_2596img_2597

Our next stop was Rock Creek Park, and I was starting to feel a little fatigued. Lauren and Chris were definitely faster than I was, whether running or speed walking, so I tried to keep up the best I could.

img_2599

RCP was shady and pretty as always. Having run the same route during several other DC races, I knew what to expect. The turn around at mile 7 led to a nice downhill (same downhill as NAFHALF and halfway up the evil hill from RnR DC), and back into the shade. As we headed past mile 8, we saw the sweeper busses coming up the other side. Already?! There’s no way in hell I was getting on that bus this year.

My lower back was starting to hurt, and it was getting harder to keep up with Chris and Lauren. I didn’t want to bog them down with my slowness, so I told Chris to just go ahead without me. He didn’t want to leave me behind but I didn’t want to screw up their race plans. I watched them get farther away, and I had no doubt that they would finish their first marathons strong and in one piece.

img_2602

The sun was starting to rage around mile 10 as I headed toward Hains Point. I was starting to feel dehydrated and weak, and slowed to mainly walking with some running bursts in between. My new friend, Christine, whom I met post-expo and is also Ms. United States: District of Columbia, caught up with me around mile 11.5 and we shared some encouraging words before taking off for the Blue Mile at mile 12.

img_2606img_2605

I’m glad I wore sunglasses for this race; I got really emotional watching other runners stopping by the signs of their loved ones and just pausing to reflect.

I also got a lot of high fives in this section, which was great because I was about to fall over.

I wasn’t planning on taking Run Gum until the halfway point, but I took it just before I entered this section. Holy crap, was that a bad idea. I didn’t have water to wash the flavors down, so the sugars coated my mouth and throat and felt thick and suffocating. This error would affect the rest of my race as the ensuing dehydration made me feel sick and gross.

My half split was a 3:09, which is surprisingly decent compared to some of my other half splits over the years.

The second half of the race was torture. My stomach and back weren’t cooperating, the sun was blazing, and I was so ready to be done. However, just past the halfway mark was the Funny Sign Mile. I was SOOOOO happy that they didn’t take these down prematurely, unlike in 2015 when everything seemed to disappear after all the faster runners went through.

img_2609img_2608img_2613img_2612

The objective here to focus on was making it to the “D.C. Gauntlet” at Mile 17 by 12:33. I had about 45 minutes to make it three miles. Not an easy feat when you feel like dying and are walking the entire distance. The pace car (white car with colored handprints) was annoyingly riding alongside of us (and we honestly didn’t know if it was the official pace car or what it was doing), but I was just happy to not see those stupid sweeper busses riding my ass.

 

img_2614
Another Kappa Kappa Psi brother, Katelyn, was at Mile 15!

 

I came up on mile 16 and, after taking liquids, thought I had to go to the bathroom. I stepped in and tried to go. Nothing happened. At this point, I knew I was going to be diverted past the first gauntlet and to the bridge. I took a moment, gathered myself, and got back on the course. Even with the copious amount of liquids I ingested, it still felt like it wasn’t enough. It would actually be several more miles before I saw water again.

img_2600img_2615

img_2616

I missed the cutoff for the D.C. Gauntlet by 13 minutes, and to be technical, I’m not considered an “official finisher” due to this. Cutting across Jefferson Drive and right to the Beat the Bridge portion at mile 19.5, we slowpokes merged in with the bulk of the other runners here, and rejoiced over the fire hydrant that happened to be open and spraying water about. I also heard my fellow Team Shenangians member, Meghan, cheering me on as I went to the bridge.

img_2617

img_2619-1

The 14th Street Bridge…I had no doubt I’d get over this, as I started around 12:50-ish. Still walking, the sun was beating down on us, and its effects were affecting all of us. Still feeling ultra dehydrated, I was very tempted to ask another runner if they had water I could take a quick sip of. Embarrassing as it was, I ran around asking random support groups if they had water. One of them—I didn’t quite catch a name—actually seemed reluctant to give me a bottle, but they did. If it wasn’t for that water, I probably would have dropped on the bridge…or over the bridge.

img_2621

I got over the bridge and into Crystal City at 1:36, 13 minutes before that cutoff. As I was heading in, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and it was Chris! He was soooo confused as to how I got ahead of him, and I told him I got diverted. Still confused, I told him I’d explain later, and he started getting ahead of me. He was a man on a mission at this point, and I knew he’d finish. I asked where Lauren was, and he said she was behind him a ways.

img_2624

During the Crystal City section (and at other points on the course), I had other runners come up to me and ask if I was @runDisneyBelle, seeing as they had seen my flat runner on social media. One of them was @runnerchick29! Trust me, I am ALWAYS happy to meet other runners on course. Look for the bow and say hi 🙂

Having run MCM before, I can tell you that no matter how many fire hydrants and hoses were open, Crystal City is awful. It’s neverending, and runners drop like flies. The crowds were really good this year, had lots of food, and I caught quick glimpse of the medal from a distance. I knew had to finish (and to justify buying the jacket prematurely!). I swing around Mile 23, and saw Lauren on the other side of the road! I ran over to her and we were just like, “…mehhhhh….when’s it gonna be overrrr?”

Yeah. We were so over it by this point.

The last 5K was just as brutal as the first 5K, but with water and animal crackers, and more sun. By the time Mile 25 arrived, we had swung back to where we had started about 6.5 hours prior. This time, we’d be taking the hill to the Iwo.

img_2626-1img_2627-1img_2629

img_2628

I ran into fellow Shenanigator Kristin here, and it was a great boost to get us to the finish!

 

img_2631-1
Left up the hill…

img_2632img_2633

 

 

img_2636
Selfie with the support crew!

 

img_2635
To the finish!!

 

 


img_2666-2

img_2667

So I crossed the finish line for my fourth marathon, if you can even call it that. Due to being diverted from those miles in the city, the Xacte splits actually calculated predicted pace for the 30K and 35K marks for me. I appreciate its generosity as it gave me 12:33/ppm and 13:17/ppm respectively.

img_2641

I got across that finish line and my “time” was a 6:41:43. To me, that’s all that matters at this point. Mission Accomplished. Woohoo.

I’ll jump on my soapbox for a moment and shout I AM SO PROUD OF LAUREN AND CHRIS FOR FINISHING THEIR FIRST MARATHON! Chris kicked my ass by twenty minutes and Lauren finished just a couple minutes behind me. I am SO proud of my fellow brothers for accomplishing their goals.

img_2652img_2642img_2662

Christine also came over and celebrated with us!!

img_2646


Christina’s Post-Race Thoughts:

1. I say this after every marathon, that I’m done and completely over the 26.2 distance. Then I find myself toeing the line for another full. But after this one, I feel like I am truly done. I got my “redemption” by crossing the finish line for this race. I didn’t get swept, nor did I die due to the heat. Calculating the miles from Metro excitement and heading to the start line, it gave me roughly 27-ish miles post race, according to my Garmin pedometer. I will call that a win.

Getting back to future marathons…I am supposed to do Chicago next year due to deferring this year. However, I would have to repay $195 just to claim my deferral. That’s literally a fifth of my rent and over two days’ worth of work! With this being the biggest reason to skip, and the ever growing resentment towards the distance, I am 99% certain that I will not be attending Chicago 2018. Let me also remind you all that I will also not be running in Disney in January for Marathon Weekend. I ran the last two years and abhor the course. Why continue doing a distance that I cannot stand, and dealing with the, “I’m so done with this.” angry feeling before, during, and after the race?

2. Weather all around the nation has been obnoxiously hot this year. I suggest to race officials that an additional water stop be put on the bridge for future races. For those like me who got diverted at 17, we did not get the convenience of the two water points that were in the D.C. Gauntlet. We went from the mile 16 water stop to mile 21.75 without water in the blazing sun.

3. Major thanks to everyone who came out and cheered for us during this race, even for us turtles in the back. Trust me, we greatly appreciate it. Cheers are not reserved for just the fastest runners on a course.

4. I was disappointed to see so many vendors packing up their stuff as I made my way into the Finisher’s Festival. I understand y’all have places to go and things to do, but we turtles would like to partake in what you have to offer, as well! I wanted bacon and watermelon.


 

img_2639-1

So, what comes next?

Well, we have some recovery to do…then Chris and I are headed back to the Everglades! We have the Gator Double in December with the Biscayne 5K + Everglades Half!

18010671_819850951496488_4939003519474816570_n


Congrats to everyone who finished this weekend! It was an arduous course, and the weather moreso. Great job of Charging the District, Beating the Bridge, and Taking the Iwo. You ran with purpose and finished with pride. Extra confetti to the first timers! You deserve it!!

Thanks for a great racecation, D.C. Until next time…

 

 

Hello, September

Ahhhh, September. The prelude to the most wonderful season. While we still have to wait a few weeks for the Autumnal Equinox, we can start the celebration a tad early with scenic pictures of leaves, countryside, apple cider doughnuts, and coffee, of course!

And if you’re so inclined, your Pumpkin Spice Latte… 😛

img_0535

The farther north you are, the sooner the temperatures begin to fall and the leaves begin to change. This shot was taken when I lived in Maine, and the autumnal fire began at the beginning of September. No complaints here!


As we start the last third of 2017, I am so so SOOOOO happy to announce that I have finally landed a job!!! *happy dance*

I am SO relieved that something finally came through. I’ll be starting in mid-September, and while that doesn’t assuage my financial anxieties, I’m content with getting back into the workforce and expanding my network. It’s still not my dream job, but it’s still fun and I plan on making the best of it. (Before you ask, it is not Disney. Trying to get a job in Disney World is like trying to get into Harvard or Stanford. Good luck.) 


 

img_1336
19 years later…all was well.

It’s September 1st, therefore witches and wizards are boarding the Hogwarts Express for the start of term!! Even better, September 1, 2017 marks 19 years since Harry’s scar last hurt. Truly, all is well.

 

 

img_0795
Back to witches and wizards and magical beasts…..

 

Speaking of Halloween, Disney has already launched Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This will be at Magic Kingdom and will run through the beginning of November. If you plan on going, MNSSHP is a seperate ticket that is required. Check out the details and information on the Disney Parks Blog!

 

img_0594
Nothing is better than seeing the Mickey pumpkins on Main Street!

If you’re an Alex and Ani fan, you’ll be delighted to know (if you don’t already know) that there have been new bracelets released just in time for the change of season! They are Haunted Mansion themed, and include the Singing Busts, the Haunted Mansion logo, and Madame Leota.

madame leota bracelet


Universal Orlando is gearing up for Halloween Horror Nights! I went last year and had a blast. If you’re up for a great scare and have an appreciation for horror movies and original haunted houses and mazes, HHN is the perfect place for you. Just like MNSSHP, it requires a seperate ticket for admission. Check out the latest details here!

Some scenes from last year:


I haven’t talked about running much, but that may change here very shortly. As the temps start to dip, we enter fall marathon season. You’ll see some of the big names like Chicago, Richmond, and NYC. For me, Marine Corps is on the agenda. The countdown is at 50 days!

12046755_900998479955573_8998277606811790146_n


Do you have any exciting fall plans?

Two Weeks Later…

It has been approximately 14 days since I clocked out for the last time.

14 days since ringing telephones and cacophonous nonsense filled my eardrums as the soundtrack of my days.

14 days since I last had to fight the rolling dumpster fire that is the D.C. Metro to make it to the city.

14 days since this journey to self-discovery and happiness began.

 

b10e2ffdd06792ce46a747a7a83f2aeb
source: lessonsfromcountry.tumblr.com

 

Personally, I’m doing okay. Not completely depressed, not completely overjoyed, just okay. Neutral for the time being. Trust me, it’s hard as hell to be overly excited about self-discovery journeys when you have no income coming in, your money stash is slowly dwindling, you haven’t heard back from the places you’ve applied to; you’re sure your application got lost in resume purgatory, and you want to move so badly yet are paralyzed with fear that you won’t get a job in your field and will have to settle, yet again, for a “survival job” that pays pennies when you have $163,000 of student loan debt whose looming presence suffocates you during the day and keeps you up at night .

That’s my professional life in a nutshell at the moment. So much fun.

188b065907becd3376494c94dfe6df11

However, I do have my birthday weekend coming up (which I have saved for and am getting many things comped for, thanks to Florida buddies!). The only thing I’ve had to pay for so far was my flight, which was incredibly reasonable (thanks, Jet Blue!). Now, I’ve only bought my flight down. Have yet to buy my flight back. Who knows…maybe the stars will align and something good will happen when I’m down there.


There are some happy things that are happening, such as…

I started Chicago/Marine Corps Marathon training yesterday. That’ll keep me occupied, and back into a fitness regime! Having a desk job caused me to gain between 10-13 lbs in the past year; when I was seating on the restaurant floor as a hostess, I clocked in around 10 miles per shift, and that went out the door two months later. I don’t fit into the cute summer clothes that I have, so all the more motivation to get back in the weight room!

 

DBlNr6fXgAEikHf
3 mile run to start!

 

I’ve also been asked what time I’m aiming for, and since Chicago is my focus race (as I am pacing three of my friends for their first full during MCM and just want to finish and gain redemption from 2015), I’m shooting for a sub 4:30. My previous three marathons (MCM 2014, WDW 2016, and WDW 2017) were all between 6:50-7:30. I was on track for a 5:24 during WDW this year, and I ended up wussing out after mile 6 when I hit cone alley. A 4:30 would be fabulous. Anything faster, well, even better!

I’ve also started a Disney Countdown on my social media accounts. I love doing this starting from ten days out, but I’m so excited that I started it from 15 days out! I pair one of my own pictures with a Disney quote and add the countdown to it. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram for the latest!

14 days
14 days: “You’re never too old to be young.” -Snow White
13 days
13 days: “To all who come to this happy place: welcome!” -Walt Disney

The sun and sand are still vivid in my mind, the echo of crashing waves and scent of salt air enticing me. I know it won’t happen tomorrow, but I know where I need to go…

e0670abee832995a04c664cae2c19fed

 

Search

 

2

 

MoveCopyDeleteCancel
0 Pins Selected