new gear

Since I’ve been having trouble pacing myself on the first mile, and because it was COLD this morning, I decided to hit the treadmill rather than the pavement this morning. While I ordinarily prefer to run outside, I was excited for my indoor run because it meant I could try out my new running top.

Image(Can you tell I like pink too?)

As I mentioned in my last post, this princess has a running budget.  To make the most of it, I try to invest in quality items when necessary (for me, a great sports bra is worth every penny) and save when I can.  When I saw this sleeveless v-neck top at Target, I thought the color would work perfectly with my favorite pair of shoes and other items I already owned.  When I saw it was under $10, I definitely had to try it out.

After an easy 5K this morning, I can say that it held up very well.  The material is very light and breathable and I never noticed any discomfort during my run. While the shirt doesn’t have the amazing moisture-wicking properties that you find in top-of-the-line running gear, it also doesn’t have a top-of-the-line price tag.  For me, I think it will be perfect for shorter and/or low-key runs, where extended comfort isn’t critical.

I’d love to hear your tips for making the most of your running budget.  How do you decide when to save and when to splurge?

♥ & pixie dust – LV

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Intro to Disney’s Princess Half Marathon

As of noon today (March 12, 2013), registration for Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2013 is officially open.  I don’t think I will be able to make it – my running budget doesn’t look like it will stretch that far – but all the chatter got me excited about planning for the race I know I’ll attend – Disney’s Princess Half Marathon 2014.

I was planning to run the 2013 Princess, but an ugly injury (more on that later) got in the way, so I deferred to 2014.  I had already done lots of research, though, and thought this blog would be a good way for me to organize what I learned and share that info with others.  We’re still months away from any releases from runDisney on 2014-specific info, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the major elements of race weekend will follow the same structure as in years past.

Let’s start with the very basics:

The Disney Princess Half Marathon is a women’s focused Half Marathon held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. In 2014, the race will be held on Sunday, February 23.

What does “women’s focused” mean?  The numbers tell the story – of the 23,866 runners who participated in the 2013 Princess Half, here’s the breakdown:

22,525 female runners; 1,341 male runners(Infographic from runDisney)

Men are welcome to run, but they cannot start in the first two corrals and are not eligible for awards (though they still receive the same finisher’s medal that female athletes receive).

But that’s just what “women’s focused” means on paper – in practice, it means that you’ll see a lot of women embracing their inner princesses at this event – costumes are encouraged and tutus are common.  By all accounts, this women’s focused race translates to a very positive atmosphere – making it an especially welcoming event for first-time half marathoners.  Many race recaps from past participants describe a strong sense of camaraderie and girl power.

The 13.1 mile course starts and ends just outside Epcot®.  Runners enter Magic Kingdom® around mile 5 and return to Epcot® for a lap around Spaceship Earth just before reaching the finish line.

Later posts will go into detail about everything you’ll need to know to prepare for the race, including information on registration, host resorts, course details, the Expo, other race weekend events, and much more.  Please let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to cover, and if you’re a Princess vet, I would love to hear about your experience!

For now, I’m off to bed, hoping to dream about running down Main Street USA in a tutu and tiara!

♥ & pixie dust – LV

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ain’t no sunshine

I have mixed feelings about today’s run. With daylight savings kicking in, I missed seeing the sun on my morning run. Since I don’t have a window in my office and long hours keep me from seeing the sun in the evening, I can’t help but feel a bit bummed (though I know in a few weeks the sun will be back to rising before me).

On the other hand, it felt incredibly productive to have gotten in a run before sunrise. I feel like I’m finally getting back into the swing of early morning workouts – the trick for me is to have all my gear laid out the night before and to get out of bed and start getting dressed before my sleepy brain can start to complain. Once I’m on my feet, my heart and head both know that working out is the best wake-up routine, but when I’m lying in bed, my mind tries to convince me otherwise.

One step I need to add to my morning routine, at least in the next few weeks, is sun protection.  I neglected my skin care this weekend and I don’t want to make the same mistake again.  I love Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Body Mist for general use, but I’m still on the hunt for a good sunscreen to use on my face.  The products I’ve tried all seem to end up sliding down my face in a sweaty, stinging mess, well before the work out is over.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist(This pale girl’s best friend during daylight hours. The Cooling Mist version is phenomenal on hot days.)

I would also like to find a great pair of sunglasses for running.  I’m looking for a pair that will stay on comfortably and won’t need constant readjustment, ideally without breaking the bank.

What are your strategies for sun protection?  I’d love to hear your recommendations for sunscreen, sunglasses, or other sunny-weather gear I’ve overlooked.  Hope sunny days are in your running future!

♥ & pixie dust – LV

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

making the best of a so-so run

So today’s run didn’t go exactly as planned. I thought I would try a 3:1 run/walk ratio for 3.25 miles. I went way too hard at the beginning and my ratio came closer to 1:1 at the tail end.  I did manage to cover 3.5 and ran a strong final quarter mile, but it wasn’t the run I was hoping for.  On days like this, I have to remind myself of the following:

No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couchI decided to add some stairs to my workout since I didn’t feel great about my run.  The combined workout took longer than I planned for, so my husband and I decided to skip our museum visit (which closed at 5) and instead walked around the National Mall with our pup.  The weather was gorgeous – can you tell from my expression how happy I was to be outside under a bright blue sky? (please excuse my post-run sweat “glow”)

Smiling under blue skies

We took an almost-four mile loop down the Mall and out to the Jefferson memorial.  So, despite not running as fast as I would have liked, I ended up having a great day, both fitness- and family-wise.

How did you spend your weekend?  Are you as bummed as I am that it’s over already?

♥ & pixie dust – LV

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

countdown: 50 weeks to go!

As of today, the 6th anniversary of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon is 50 weeks away.  At this point, it seems so far away, but on the flip side, that means I have plenty of time to prepar

Yesterday I volunteered at a four miler sponsored by my local running store, the Four Courts Four Miler.  It’s a St. Patrick’s Day-themed race with a brutal hill on the back end, and people get pretty into the theme.

Pacers Four Courts Four Miler
(photo courtesy of Pacers Running Stores)

I’ve only recently gotten back into running, and the furthest I’ve gone is just over three miles.  I feel strong for the first half of my runs, but by the time I hit three miles, it’s like hitting a wall. I definitely did not feel ready for a four mile race, especially since I’ve done very little (okay, practically no) hill work.

Volunteering was a great way to share the enthusiasm of the runners, get to know my local running community a bit better, and get inspired.  I love road races, and I would really like to add some to my calendar sooner rather than later.  It’s so much easier to run fast and run far under race conditions.

Following the race, I put in a solid three miles – the first 2.5 on pavement and the last 0.5 at a local track.  I’d never been to the track before and it was packed on the sunniest afternoon DC has seen in months.  It was great to see so many people of very different fitness levels committed to their health.  I had initially intended to run four, but again hit that three mile wall and walked the last mile home.

Instead of trying to make a one mile jump when I’m struggling at three, I think today I’ll try for 3.25.  One of the beautiful things about planning for a race that is so far out is that I can afford to take baby steps in increasing my distance.  Even if I only add a quarter-mile to my longest distance each week, I’ll hit 13.1 in plenty of time. (Of course, that’s easy to say now – it assumes that I’ll stick with my training, but that’s where you come in.  I hope you’ll keep me honest!)

On that note, I’m going to lace up my shoes to make the most of our unseasonably warm weather.  After bracing for a snowstorm that never materialized on Thursday and seeing flurries on my Friday morning run, it’s amazing that yesterday I didn’t need gloves or a scarf and today I’ll just be in a light fleece.

How’s the weather where you live? Do you dread winter workouts on the treadmill, or are you happy indoors?

♥ & pixie dust – LV

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

first things first

I want to dive in, but I thought I should introduce myself first.  I’m Laura – a twenty-something working girl/princess-in-training.  I live in the nation’s capital with my amazing husband and our sweet pup. I wanted to create this blog to serve as a resource for interested in Disney’s Princess Half Marathon.  Whether you’ve just started toying with the idea of registering or you’re already clocking in 50 miles a week, welcome!  Selfishly, I’m also hoping that updating the blog, and hopefully getting to know some other princesses-in-training, will help keep me on track.  Thanks for joining me! 

♥ & pixie dust – LV

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments