Jul 24, 2017

Team DJ Takes Chicago (Part 1)

After signing up for the race forever ago, booking plane tickets, and a hotel, the time finally arrived to head to Chicago. I was meeting up with one of my best friends, Jenn. Now Jenn and I have only met in person for about an hour last year at the Tinkerbelle Half Marathon. But just cause we live on opposite coasts doesn't mean we don't text all day, and talk about anything and everything.


Lately, my trips have all had a monkey wrench thrown in. As I was at the nail salon the night before I left the power went out. There was a crazy thunderstorm, and apparently it knocked out the power. Everyone in the salon used their cell phone flashlights to light the place up as best as we could. As my nail lady was packing up her stuff to take it to my house to finish up my mani, the lights came back on and we were back in business. I finally got home, and was checking my email, when I saw my 10am flight was canceled.

A craze of phone calls and texts ensued, but eventually Jenn was able to book me a flight out to Chicago, and I snagged a flight back. After all of that crazy, I'd be flying out of Fort Lauderdale, not Miami like I originally planned. So Pop picked me up and we headed about an hour away to Fort Lauderdale. I got there, and luckily my flight was not canceled. It was just delayed an hour. UGH1 The weather was bad up by Fort Lauderdale. Eventually, I boarded and was headed towards Chicago.


After waiting for my delayed flight to land, I met up with Jenn at the airport and we headed into the city. We checked into our hotel and rested for a second before getting dressed to grab dinner and go see Aladdin, which we had tickets for. We of course had to toast with a glass of wine first!


One of the things we wanted to do in Chicago was see a show. We both love musicals and Disney, so we got tickets to Aladdin. And mostly cause Hamilton was mad crazy expensive. The show was spectacular. Lots of glitz and fireworks (not even kidding), and singing and dancing.


The theater it was in, the Cadillac Palace Theater, was old and just amazingly gorgeous inside. I couldn't stop looking around at everything.



After the show, we walked back to our hotel. And as we walked through the theater district, we stumbled across the Chicago theater! It was definitely on my to do list, and I'm glad we got to see it all lit up.


It had been a long day of travel, so we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep. We slept in a little on Friday, cause no races! We grabbed a great breakfast and headed out to explore the city.

Our hotel, the Congress Plaza Hotel. We found out on our last day it was haunted by Al Capone.



As we walked around, we saw so much. Gorgeous buildings, statues all over and street art too. I loved seeing all of the old buildings mixed in with the new. Older cities fascinate me.


We headed to the Willis Sears Tower. And OMG, it's huge.


And we headed right up to the Skydeck, 103 floors up. The elevator gets you up there so fast, and my ears totally popped. LOL!


Luckily we had the GoCity Card, which we got with a Groupon, so no waiting in line for us. We got the fast pass lane. These Disney girls do love them a fast pass.




We got to the top and, just WOW. Those views were amazing. You could see the whole city and the lake (but you couldn't see the other side of the lake, it's that big).


And since we were up there, we got brave and took pics in the glass that overhangs the building. It was crazy!


And we laid down too. OMG that was so nuts, my heart was beating so fast when we finished.

After getting back on the ground, we headed to the expo to grab our bibs and do a little shopping, cause let's be serious, you always need more running stuff.


But we both noticed that this expo was a little smaller than we had thought. I know Jenn sees crazy huge expos in California, and I'm used to runDisney. But we were able to scoop up a few things.


Since we had such a big late breakfast, we found a little bar on yelp to grab some bites and a drink. OMG, it was amazing. Can you say homemade tortilla chips?


Then it was time to meet Cintia! My friend Cintia moved to Chicago earlier this year. So I had to see her while we were there. We went up to her office and saw the views from there, then headed to the Riverfront for wine, and the worst sandwiches ever.


We decided we needed a dinner re-do, so she suggested Mario Batali's Eataly. It was like a wonderland of food and cheese and kitchen stuff. Plus, of course they have a restaurant.


We ordered some real food from there and it was amazing! Handmade pasta and a handmade pizza. All of it was so delicious.


And on the way out, we got cannoli from their cannoli bar. Yes, a cannoli bar! We took the cannoli to go, and parted ways. Jenn and I had a race in the morning. And that cannoli was the perfect midnight snack!


Then it was time for flat runners and get to bed. We had a 5k in the morning.


Jul 7, 2017

July 4th 5k 2017 Recap

I signed up for a July 4th race again this year. Luckily, they only had the 5k option this year. Last year it was entirely too hot for a 10k. This, of course, didn't mean that  it wouldn't be insanely hell hot this year.


And hot was an understatement. I did 10 miles on Monday, the day before the race, cause I couldn't get in a Sunday run. And that run was hard, even though I started in the dark.

I woke up early on America's birthday, threw on my red, white, and blue, and headed to Indian Hammocks Park (which is luckily about 2 miles from my house).


It was already hot and humid, and after the feels like temps in the 100s over the weekend, I was happy that it was only 3.1 miles.

I got to the park, and picked up my bib there. I just lost track of time the day before and didn't make it to packet pickup. I grabbed my bib and shirt. The shirts for this race were Brooks shirts. That was a nice surprise.


At 7:04 exactly (a rarity that a Miami race starts on time), we were off. This course takes us through the park out to 117 Avenue, back up a side road to 107 Avenue, then back through the park to the opposite side from the start to the finish line. There was a bit of thunder before we began, but no rain while I was running. Thankfully, there was some cloud covery, so the sun wasn't blaring on me. But, the humidity was nasty. That thick air kinda slowed me down, but I tried not to let it get to me.

I did pretty well with my new 1 mintue/30 second intervals. I only skipped half of one interval, cause hell, I needed it. Then I was at the finish back inside the park and ready for some water, and watermelon.

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That's the one very summery thing about this race, the watermelon at the finish. I hung out for a bit to see my results, and I was only a tad bit slower than my PR. Not too bad considering the heat.


The medals were two sided and super cute. I signed up for this race as part of a series. The next one is on Labor Day weekend, and then I have the last 5k for Veteran's Day. I think the medals all come together somehow.

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A rarity for a summer race here in South Florida, cause obviously, it's crazy hot. But this is a great little race. And I can't pass it up when it's so close to my house too.

May 15, 2017

ALS Lou Gehrig's 10k Race Recap

So, I have apparently now become added to the mailing lists of evert single race out there. Which means, sometimes I'll just click on it to see how much it is. And when I saw that this race was only $30, I decided to sign up and go for it. I knew it would be hot, but at least I'd be getting out there for a run.

Of course, Jenn would have a 10k that same morning on the other side of the country. So we coordinated outfits to be matchy 3000 miles away.


The next morning I headed out to Coconut Grove for the race. I've done another 10k in the Grove, and it's a nice course. I was hoping it'd be the same one.


I parked a little farther out than I would have liked, which meant that I'd have to run with my commemorative shirt in my pocket. Not ideal, but I wouldn't have time to get to the car and then back again for the start.


At last the anthem played and we were off. As usual in a small race, I'm at the total way, way back of the pack as the race started and I get in my 5 mintue warmup. But soon enough I start to pass people. I had a goof pace going as we passed through the main part of the Grove.


It was getting warm for this race. Like hot warm, this is Miami after all. It's a swamp in the Caribbean. But the one thing that is good about this course is the tree cover on the middle stretch of the course. Down Main Highway and through some of the neighborhoods, the trees give much needed shade.


I kept up a good pace, and wanted to keep going, but not gonna lie, that last part of the course, as we head back to the marina. The trees are gone, and that sun gets HOT. But I know it's so close to the end. And finally that last stretch and I booked it towards that finish line. I gave it all I had and emptied my tank to get there.


I really gave it all and with the heat, I felt a little lightheaded. I went and stood in the shadow of the paramedic truck. I needed the shade, and might as well be close, just in case. But I drank some water and felt better. So, I walked over and got some munchies and water. What a difference that made.

I hung around the results for a bit to see how I did, and wouldn't you know it? A 10k PR!

I couldn't have been more shocked or grateful for that PR. Especially after feeling it at the end. I was glad to get a reward for that hard work.


At long last, I made it back to my car and cranked the AC. Nothing like blasting that cold AC. What a relief!

Star Wars Dark Side 5k

I haven't done a 5k in a while, and I haven't done a runDisney 5k in what seems like forever. But Kris's dad wanted to take a shot at a Walt Disney World 5k, and asked us to join him, so we did.

He decided on the Star Wars Dark Side 5k. This is one of the best race weekends that runDisney offers. It always has a great vibe. Since the race was on Friday, I decided to make a long weekend out of it, and took the bus up on Thursday to go to the expo and get our bibs. 


Thursday we hit up the expo and got our bibs and some merch. I got us a room in Disney Springs, so we could sleep in as much as we could before the race. Thankfully it started at 6am, and not 5:30. But Kris's dad wanted to make sure we got there with plenty of time, so he came to pick us up at about 4:15 and with our Leia buns ready, we headed over to Epcot.


We got to the start area and headed to the corrals. And hung out until it was time to start.


And I'm totally digging the new corral waves send off. It keeps the people really moving to the start. There is way less waiting for your corral to start, plus lessens up the crowding. This is a total win runDisney. Definitely keep this.


Kris and I set up an easy goal for this race. We'd run (no intervals) from character stop to character stop to get all of the pics. We set off with a little walk to start and then it was a run to the first line. I stayed at the end of the line, as Kris went ahead to see who was there. It was the ewoks, and we decided to skip that long line for them.

The next stop was around the back employee entrance to Epcot. It was the imperial throne. As we waited for this stop, we were able to see Kris's Dad walk by. We finally got on the throne and took our pic.


Then we ran into the World Showcase. I've run a bunch of races through Epcot, but never did we come in next to Mexico (all the way at one end). It was pretty cool to be able to run so much of the "world." We even caught up to Dad around Africa, and were able to snap a selfie.


We heard rumblings through the crowd that R2D2 was in America. We knew that was our next stop. The line was LOOONG. But this was the point of the race for us, so we waited. And got some pretty cute pics with R2.


R2's line took forever, but then we went out through the rest of the World Showcase. There were tons of photographers, but I seemed to miss them all, or I thought I did, as I passed them. But Kris told me about one coming up, so I threw up my hands and hoped for the best. Best race pic ever!

We headed out the international gateway and looped around and saw Chewbacca. Since Chewy is usually available for pics in Hollywood Studios, we skipped him. Then, we ran back into the park and into Future World. After we rounded The Living Seas, Kris and I took our only walk break, and of course there were photographers there!


Pretty fast after that we were heading to Spaceship Earth and back out to the parking lot and the finish line. It's odd to me that the 5ks aren't timed. There wasn't even a timing mat to see when I really finished, but hey, I did it.


I got my water, and the all important bling. The medals for the 5ks are actually metal now, and the design was so cool.


We headed out of the finishing area got the famous runDisney food boxes. Now, I'm gonna get real here, this processed cheese and salty chips are life after a race. I'm so spoiled by this. I need something salty when I'm done with a race now! LOL


Since there are characters available after the race, we got in line for Darth Vader, cause it is the Dark Side after all. He was HUGE.


Star Wars Dark Side is such a fun race weekend. This 5k was great the course was through a LOT of Epcot. I don't even thing in a 10k I had that much park time. Even though I only did the 5k this weekend it was still so much fun. Everyone is in such a great mood and looking to have fun. Having done lots of runDisney races Star Wars Dark Side is def my current favorite.


And seriously, the Dark Side has cookies!

Which is your fave runDisney race?