Race Day Essentials

I’m kind of a minimalist when it comes to running. I don’t have a ton of tech and I’m not big on gear. I like it simple. However, I like quality items.


I thought I’d share my race day essentials. These are the items I’ll be packing in my carry-on luggage next week when we depart for California. We are attempting to pack entirely in carry-on luggage, but know that’s going to be difficult. I’ll be running two races (10k and half) for the Dumbo Double Dare so I will need two running outfits and am going to bring two pairs of sneakers — which take up room!


Anyway, onto my list!


1. Running shoes — I feel strongly that you should go and get fitted for running shoes. Everyone needs something different and its helpful to have someone who know what they are doing show you what should fit, then let you test out a bunch and find the sweet spot for what works for you. Even as a beginner, getting fitted is important. If you invest in NOTHING else, get good shoes.


My current shoe of choice is the Mizuno Wave Inspire 9.

Mizuno Women's Wave Inspire 9

I used to wear (and still wear my old ones while I phase them out) the Asics 2100 series. However, Asics made some adjustments to this shoe in their new version. I still like it, but the Mizuno Wave Inspire just felt lighter and fit a little better.



2. A good sports bra — again, for me (a female) this is essential. A sports bra, can make or break a run. Good support and good fit will help you get through the long runs. I personally really like the TaTaTamer II from Lululemon. While I definitely empathize with those who have issues with lululemon and their sizing limits, the bottom line is, this is the best sports bra I have found. Until I find something equally good or better, I’m going to keep buying it.  If you are smaller chested, a sports bra probably isn’t a big of a deal – just get something that won’t move around or rub. For the bigger chested (I’m on the bigger side at a 32D) good support is also important. I like the TaTaTAmer because it offers good support, adjustable straps and also has a clasp closer (easy off after the race — none of that crazy yoga move crap to get off a sweaty bra).

Ta Ta Tamer II


3. Good socks. Seriously, go buy yourself some non-cotton socks. I rock Under Armour Nylon/Acrylic socks in neon colors. That’s just how I roll… They also come in White if you’re boring like that. Don’t even try to wear cotton socks. You WILL get blisters. Bad ones…ask my Sister in Law.

4. Shorts, pants, capris — your bottoms of choice. I used to run only in shorts. Then I bought a pair of Under Armour Heat Gear capris and have been running mostly in those for races. They wick away moisture and heat (they are also good for my TRX/personal training). They also suck everything in so nothing’s jiggling around while you’re trying to focus on running. For my upcoming races I’ll be rocking some shorts for the 10k and a pair of capris for the half. Get what works for you. Heck, if you’re just starting out wear sweatpants, no one’s gonna care. After a while you will understand the benefits of clothes made for the sport, but if you’re just getting out there are on a budget, wear whatever you have. I have a friend who recently started running and had been wearing yoga pants — no problem. For her first race though, I convinced her to go get a pair of capris to run in as they will be much more comfortable!

5. Underwear — speaking of bottoms, eh hem…the underwear part is really up to you. I personally can’t do the whole commando thing, but I know a lot of people do. I used to just run in normal cotton underwear, but I recently invested in some nylon briefs for my upcoming races. We’ll see if they make a difference…

6. Shirt — again, this is up to you and will depend on the weather. I am not a big fan of tanks, but I know a lot of people prefer them. For me, I like a looser fitted tee. I don’t want to worry about something moving around (like a tight tee or tank might do). Sometimes I will layer a tank over a tee or a jacket or long-sleeve. It just depends. But yeah… I really lean towards a looser fitted tee. I’ve been wearing Under Armour heat gear for my races. I tend to get overheated and these help out with that. Even if its cool outside, I’ll layer something over them.

7. A reliable hairband and a headband. Hair is always in a ponytail or braid. There’s this chick who runs near my work and leaves her hair down and it just looks so awkward and uncomfortable.  Ponytail…trust me.  I use goody hairbands that have a rubberized effect so they stay in place. Then I add a headband to keep fly-aways out of my face. I used to use goody brand, but bit the bullet and got myself some Sparkly Soul headbands for the upcoming races. I’ve been wearing them around the house and working out to make sure they won’t give me a headache. So far I’m loving them. They stay in place great but I barely feel them on my head!

8. Sunglasses. If you’re going to run during the day, I am a big proponent of eye protection. The sunlight can damage your eyes. My mom has issues with pressure in her eyes and has been instructed to wear sunglasses whenever she is outside. I have concerns that I will have issues when I am older so I try to wear sunglasses as much as possible. I have a pair of Tifosi sunglasses with yellow-tinted lenses. I personally don’t like black lenses and always lean towards a brown lense. These are along those lines, but they will darken if the sun is brighter. They are also polarized so the glare is minimal. Your sunglasses should fit snug so they block sun from both the front and side and won’t bounce around. Try some different ones on and try leaning over to make sure they won’t fall off your face.

9. Bodyglide or anti-chafe. I didn’t use to use this stuff at all. However, I’ve been using it to rub between my toes, on my heels and under a few areas of my bra to make sure there isn’t any unnecessary rubbing during the race. Johnson and Johnson also make an anti-blister stick that I find works very well.

10. Gels, goos, hydration, etc. I never used to use this stuff either. However, after our ten-miler last year when I got dehydrated mid-run, I started carrying it. I like Clif Shot blocks. I also try to drink whatever sports drink they have on course or  drink the water only and bring extra shot blocks or another fuel that I like. I am still testing around and feeling stuff out. You need to figure out what you like and then try running or exercising to make sure you won’t have GI issues. Luckily I haven’t had many GI issues while running…they hit me before and after the race, but hold steady when I’m actually out on the course.

11. Plastic baggie — to put your cell phone, camera, key, etc in and keep them sweat free.

12. Belt – wear a spi belt with a kanga pouch to keep my cell phone, key, money, id and fuel in. I don’t wear it for shorter runs, but for a 10k or longer I’ll def have the spi belt on. For my half I’ve been wearing both.  I DO NOT Carry water or drink with me for a race.

13. Flip flops — I pack flip flops in my checked bag or in the car to change into post-run.

14. Post-run snacks — again either in the checked bag or in the car I will keep some water bottles and/or some snacks just in case what they’re handing out stinks. I have been finishing my races either with a growling stomach right away or within 15-20 minutes I’m starving.

15. Camera — umm pre and post-race photos are a must. To prove I was there.


That’s it. This is my list for half marathons. For shorter runs I take much less.


What’s on your race essentials list??





How much does it cost to “Run Disney” for a year?

Early this morning we had a HUGE thunderstorm roll through — around 5am for about an hour or so. The thunder boomed so loud it woke DH and I up.

Then I laid there and couldn’t fall back asleep. It got me thinking…how much would it cost to Run every Disney Race for a full year?


So that’s what I’m going to figure out today!

I’m going to calculate based on 2014 with the caveat that some of these are still 2013 prices since they haven’t been updated yet! I will also assume you are booking the day the events are released and will get the cheapest price listed.

I’ll exclude transport, but include resort stays at a value resort price and park tickets for each day that there is a race. Oh! And, including adult races only (no kids races).



Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: (Total – $1143)

Dopey Challenge (includes 5k, 10k, 1/2, and full marathon) $495

Value Resort Stay (Wed-Sun): $340

Park Tickets (5 days): $308


Disneyland Tinkerbell Weekend: (Total – $1263)

Tinker bell 1/2 Marathon: $175

Tinker bell 10K: $95

Resort Stay @ Paradise Pier (Fri – Sun): $783

Tickets (3 days): $210



Disney Princess Half Marathon: (total- $804)

Glass Slipper Challenge: $270

Value Resort Stay (Fri – Sun): $255

Park Tickets (3 Days): $279



Expedition Everest Challenge: (Total- $391)

Individual Registration: $110

Value Resort Stay (1 night): $85

Park Ticket (2 Days): $196



Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend: (Total – $1039)

Dumbo Double Dare (10k and Half) : $280

Paradise Pier Resort Stay (2 nights): $554

Park Tickets (3 days): $205



Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-miler: (Total – $ 416)

10-miler Registration: $135

Value Resort Stay (1 night): $85

Park Tickets (2 days): $196



Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend:(Total – $456)

Registration: $175

Value Resort Stay (1 night): $85

Park Tickets (2 days): $196


Race Totals:

WDW Marathon Weekend: $1143

Tinker Bell Half Weekend $1263

Princess Half Weekend $804

Everest Challenge Weekend $391

Disneyland Half Weekend $1039

Tower of Terror Weekend $416

Wine and Dine Half Weekend $456

Total to Run Disney for a year: $5512


Seem like a lot? These are in and out, no extra days costs so you’re probably looking to at least DOUBLE that cost if you want to stay longer, or take someone else along. And, don’t forget you gotta pay for transportation and food!


Looks like I won’t be running full disney for a year anytime soon!





Vacation Prepping

Eek! 2 weeks from today I will be in Disneyland!! I can hardly believe it. And to top it off the next two weeks at work are going to be Cah-razy! So many hurdles to get over before I am free in the land of happiness!

I am a bit anal when it comes to planning for vacation. I like to have all my t’s crossed and my i’s dotted.  As we are prepping for a our “big family vacation” in January I have started sending emails to our family each week with Disney information.

But the trip in two weeks is just DH and I. Our friend will be joining us for the first few days to run her first 10k! But its pretty much a me and DH kind of vacation.

I tend to plan our vacations in stages:

First up – choosing a location (more recently it’s been convince DH we / I need to see Disney again). I tend to book at least some portion of our trip at this point (hotel, tickets, race entry, etc).

6 Months out – For a disney vacation I like to have my resort (hotel) booked prior to this date so I can book ADRs (advance dining reservations) for any “hard to get” table service dining. A few weeks before the 180 day marker I will plan out my ADR’s and then the day of I will either call in or get online first thing in the morning and get my reservations booked.  For Disneyland, this is totally different.

For non-Disney vacations I’ll start working on looking at hotels, touring plans, etc to get a rough frame for the vacation.


2-3 Months out — Time to start scouting out flights. I start looking at little before the 3 month mark so I’ll have a base price to work off. I will figure out how much I want to pay and then start searching the web for good deals. I try to check on Tuesdays and at least one other time during the week.

For Disney vacations I will also start planning each day of my trip at this point. Figuring out what I want to do, tweaking the ADRs as necessary and scoping out any special offers Disney is offering (I am hoping for free dining or 35% room discount in January!).

For Disneyland, this is when I booked our Dining reservations (60 days out, i believe?).  I will note, Disneyland does not need reservations as much as WDW. Walk ups are much more accessible. However, I wanted to be sure to get in a few places so I booked 4 total reservations (World of Color, and three breakfast buffets).

1 month out – Nitty-gritty planning. This is where I make attraction wish lists and plans.

For Disney, its through touring plans and making a touring plan for each day (I DO NOT follow my touring plans, but like to have them on hand for fall-back).

For non-disney, its making sure all the final details are booked — transport to/from airport arrangements, car rental, hotels (if not booked yet), dining plans, tickets for different places, etc.

If we are flying I will also start browsing the airline baggage regulations and fees to determine what luggage we will need to bring.


2 weeks out – I pre-pack. At two weeks out I will do all of our laundry and pull out our vacation essentials. I have a tendency to only do our laundry about every two weeks so this makes sure I’m not scrambling at the last minute for something that we NEED. I also check for all of our non-clothing items and pre-pack the suitcases to make sure everything will fit. I tend to “hide” DH’s vacation clothes so he doesn’t wear them by accident. :o)


1 week out- Pre-pack again. This means pulling EVERYTHING and packing it up. Any final laundry and picking up any essentials.

Night before – Pack for real. Unpack everything and re-load it into the suitcases in a functional way. I sort out our carry-on luggage v. checked (if we have any) and what items we will need.

Morning/Day of — Toss in any last minute items and review the check-list ONE MORE TIME. And we’re off!


So this weekend is my first round of pre-packing. I have actually already been working on this a little. I had bought some Disneyland clothing for us a few weeks back (local Disney store outlet had a clearance sale) and set it aside. I pulled the laundry out earlier this week so I can get rolling on it tonight. And, I starting making a list of items we will need to pack.


Since I am runing DDD (Dumbo Double Dare) I will need two sets of running clothes. I am debating if I should bring two pairs of shoes and leaning towards yes… I think I’ll wear my older shoes for the 10k and then my new shoes (awesome Mizunos!) for the 1/2.

I will also be making a tutu this weekend for wearing during the 10k. So excited!!


How do you prepare for a vacation — running, disney or otherwise?

Hurts like whoah…

I started training with a trainer as of last week.
 …something I thought I’d never do.


So here’s the deal. I’m super cheap in some areas of my life and blow money like its nothing in others (namely expensive food and shoes and clothes).


I have tried getting gym memberships, joining teams and even tried working with a trainer, but I hated it all. I still, in all honesty, don’t love it.

However a few weeks back I started researching a local gym that does TRX. TRX intrigues me. It looks a lot easier than lifting weights or running on the treadmill. So after a few weeks of browsing the web site and doing research (lawyer in me) I decided to send an email on a whim. This is my MO (modis operendi) for life. I do a ton of research and then at the last minute just do whatever on a whim. I can’t ever consciously make the decision to do something. It has to be long and drawn out and thought out and then regardless of what rationality says, I just go with my gut. I do rule a lot of things out in the research phase so most of the stuff I “Wing it” on are things that are fairly stable/safe.


Anyway, I emailed the trainer and set up a meeting. My last experience with a trainer was a disaster. They didn’t pay attention to me (working with multiple people at one time) and didn’t listen to what I was saying (used a standard training rather than one specified to me). After three session I never went back and no one even noticed.


So I had a sour taste in my mouth going in. That turned around pretty quickly. This new trainer is awesome. First of all, she’s a she…no more guys telling me stuff they don’t really understand. Second of all, she’s normal. She’s not some super-cut, super-pumped, super-exercise nut. She’s healthy and believes in healthy, but after talking to her I realized she believes in what I’ll call “whole healthy” meaning my once a week 32 oz coke slushey is not going to get me a guilt trip lecture. Hey…I gave up soda completely about a month ago…once a week won’t kill me.


So I left the first meeting totally excited. All that was left was selling it to DH. He was okay with it, but was concerned about the cost. Luckily the trainer was running a special in July so I signed up at 30% off and bought a book of 10 sessions.


Last week was my first sessions. I was nervous again, but LOVED it.


TRX has a rep of being dangerous and ppl getting hurt (or that ppl love it). Here’s my two cents…if you are going to try it, try it somewhere reputable. And, start off one-on-one or with a small class. The trainer should be able to gear the workouts to your specific needs and skill level. In a class there should also be options for various skill levels. You should definitely check the place out before you sign up so you know what you are getting into.


I like TRX b/c I find it easier than lifting weights. The training I am doing is a combo of a lot of different styles and uses the TRX as part of it. I was able to do 50 minutes last week and again last night. I am sore the next day or two, but not uncomfortably so.


We worked my butt and thighs a lot last night, hence the title. Its difficult to wear heals the next day, but not impossible. I am working to keep moving.


That’s where I’ve been.


I need to keep up with my running, but the training is definitely helping. I’m also going to try to incorporate some of the non-TRX moves into a 30 minute session at home at least two days a week.


That’s my goal…hopefully I’ll stick to it.

Redefining “Healthy” or “lean” or whatever you want to call it…

This morning this article popped up in my sparkpeople email:



The articles (which you can read for yourself) discusses the struggle to be “really lean” and the misconception that only that type of body type is healthy and fit. In realty, according to the author, being fit and healthy can be something totally different. It also discusses mental well-being in relation to physical health and that finding a “balance” between different areas of your life is just as important, if not more so, than physical health alone.


Long story short, I really enjoyed this. It’s a topic that I think about often.


It also turned me onto the term “fitspo” if you’re not familiar it is the so-called “fit inspiration” posters or memes.”

Here’s some examples:



And here’s an article about why fitspo sucks:



Anyway… my point is this. I’m working on redefining what my goals are. I have friends and family who are all different shapes and sizes and I don’t judge any of them based on their bodies alone. So why am I so darn hard on myself?

I think that I set high standards for myself and they aren’t always realistic. I’m working on learning to accept that I have a curvier figure and that I’ll probably never be a size 0 again, and that’s all okay. I can still look hot and be healthy.

I do know this…I need to get myself in better shape physically and mentally so that I have a long, enjoyable and joyous life. I don’t want to be bed-ridden with injuries and diseases.

In March we lost my grandfather (aka Pappy) at 88 1/2 years old. He was still taking his daily walks (2 miles+) and going to hunting camp. He was awesome and taught me a lot of things and I need to start incorporating these things into my daily life.


So yeah…we as a culture need to redefine what we think healthy is. It’s not the stick thin supermodels or girls of “fitspo” its about HEALTH — and that doesn’t always equate to a lean body.



Event #8 (only 5 more to go!)

Event # 8 was this weekend.

DH and I traveled to Monroeville, PA on Friday night. We then woke up early Saturday morning for another hour of driving to Wampum, PA for the Pennsylvania “Run for your Lives” event.

If you aren’t familiar with “Run for your Lives” you can check out their web site here:

Run for Your Lives


We signed up quite awhile ago (March??) to run in the morning and then be zombies in the afternoon. A few weeks back we received an email that said they were changing the times so zombie shifts and running shifts in the afternoon were moved up a bit. This limited our time to run, eat lunch and get ready for round two (as zombies). Not such a big deal, but I can imagine that other people may have felt the crunch a bit more.


The way the race works is that you run a 5k obstacle course with “zombies” along the way. You are given three flags (like flag football) and the zombies try to “infect” you by taking your flags. Later in the day I heard that past races have had “med pacs” scattered throughout to earn back flags. Ours did not (at least not that I’m aware of), but zombies kept trying to give back flags to runners along the course.


Our run time was 10. The first wave started at 8a so when we got to the site there were people finishing up. At 930 I heard a girl say that only 5 people had “survived.”

As we watched people finishing, looking completed beat and totally filthy, then hearing how few had “survived” I decided that “surviving” was not my goal, but actually surviving without injuries was the new goal (and that was before I saw the course!)

We found some nice people and were chatting with them throughout the bus to the site, at the site and in the start corral. Then we lost them..found them along the course, then lost them again.


So yeah…I took it easy. DH did really well and lost his last flag in the last quarter mile (what we learned later was “kill zone.” I, on the other hand, lost all three flags in the first half mile.


We started off pretty good. The course had a TON of ups and downs on AV trails. About a half mile in, some rude kid shoved me right into a zombie (there went flag one). I felt bad b/c I put my arms out and essentially shoved the zombie too, but it was more to keep me from falling (he was a big guy compared to my frame so I hope he was alright.  DH kept getting ahead then waiting up for me in slower/rest zones (I was fine with this).  After the first span we came to the bottom of a hill and entered an old mine (Snowtop mine…still trying to find information on this). This was REALLY cool, except I’d prefer to do it with a headlamp and on my own time, not with zombies and electric wires hanging down. That’s where I lost my last two flags.

Here’s the deal. I have a ton of trouble seeing in the dark. Its mostly that I have difficulty adjusting to the dark. So entering a mine without a flashlight was just death to begin with. Add to it a slick floor (it had rained earlier) and mud and I’m just done for. Like I said, my goal was to survive without injuries so there was no running full force in this for me.

After the mine we hit several obstacles. I can’t remember exactly the order or how many or what, but I’ll name a few.

Walls — there were several walls to climb over throughout the course. The first one had some stumps to help get you up, but the others did not (I skipped the ones without the stumps). I think there were at least two types.

Creek – We actually ran though a creek…a natural creek. Oy, my environmental side cringed and the side of me that’s afraid of snakes cringed more (I know in that environment there likely would be no more snakes b/c of all the motion, but still…).

Crawl through creek — we crawled through a creek bed (very shallow) with barbed wire overhead.

Tunnel – we crawled through black tubes that were slightly in water.

Crawling – we crawled under these wooden triangle things that had barbed wire. They were on the ground in the woods so….bumps,rocks, worms, you name it.

Hay bales — climb over hay bales

Smoke room/house – I skipped this. But from my understanding it was a room pumped with smoke and had those electric wires hanging down again. Again with the eye issues…

Blood bath — a big container of dirty water with big empty barrels.

Hills, mud, rocks, zombies — pretty self explanatory.

More crawling  — the last obstacle as the finish line with was a fence that you had to crawl under that was supposedly electrified.


So here’s the thing, this was on ATV trails (four wheelers and dirt bikes). Which means lots of hills. Not such a big deal except for that rain I mentioned earlier which made it a muddy, muddy mess. We took it easy and were both infected.

Infected people got one medal and Survivors got another.

Here’s me before and after.



While it was fun and I enjoyed it. I am not sure I want to do another obstacle race. My cousin finished a spartan last month and has been asking me to do one with her in the future, but I’m definitely going to wait until after our full marathon, if I do one at all.


We quickly changed our shirts and gulped down dinner before heading over to be “Transformed” into zombies. Since they moved the shift up we had about half hour (you were supposed to arrive two hours ahead of your zombie shift).

I don’t have any pictures of just me with my zombie make up so I can’t post the “before” shift, but here’s a very poor “after.” Remember, this is after 4 hours of standing around/zombying.



I would definitely be a zombie again! So fun.


For zombying, you got a medal (same as our infected medal) another tee and a beer ticket.


If you’re into obstacle races, this a fun one to try. I don’t recommend doing it in the middle of half marathon/marathon training because there is the risk of injury.


Have a great weekend!