Sunday, April 28, 2013

Asics Gel- Kayano's - My Cinderella Shoe

Asics Gel-Kayano 19 High-Performance Running Shoes - Women (Google Affiliate Ad)
 I LOVE LOVE LOVE these shoes. I don't know what it is about the Asics Kayano's but, I found my first pair 2 years ago and I don't think I'll use any other kind! When I tried them on It made me feel like Cinderella, it just fit like a glass slipper. Like someone made them to fit my shoe specifically. I ran 1 marathon and 2 half marathons in these (including numerous weekly runs) and they lasted for a little over a year and 1/2.  They really helped with my knee pain and gave me great ankle support.
It was worth the price and worth the wait of finding a great shoe!

Big Island Lava Adventure- Part 2, Local Style

 I had been hesitant of posting this actual..story. But I figured, with as many hits as I got on my last post, the 2nd (actually 4th attempt to see lava ) I figured those that are as equally cheap, as I am....Would appreciate this post.

By the 4th attempt out to the lava, prices for the tours went up from $80 (Kama'aina rate (local) ) to $100, tourists $150. It was really flowing into the ocean this time, SO... after getting advice from a friend we discovered a different access point..

NOW this may/may not work depending on where the lava is actually flowing. BUT, this is how we got to see the lava on our own...

TIP #1 decide when you want to go. Honestly the best time to actually view the lava is around sunset.. seeing it flow at night is amazing. It took us 2 hours to get out, 2 to get back (yes we hiked in the dark, with headlamps).

TIP #2 bring water...that stuff is hot and the area can be dry, you will get thirsty. This is NOT an easy hike

TIP#3 be prepared for weather. Bring a wind/water jacket. It gets cold at night and random rain clouds pop up.

TIP #4 Bring a flashlight if you decided to hike at night

OK...SO we decided to begin at the end of road by Kalapana (AKA Uncle Roberts) There is a cafe (with really good burgers) as well as a smoothie and market place. Park somewhere there. Hike all the way out to the black sand beach.

 There is a pretty clear path all the way out to the beach. This beach is very rough and doesn't have a good entry to the ocean, so don't plan on swimming in it. Some locals do .  ANYWAY...after you making it to the beach, go right and keep on going. You want to stay along the coast line the whole way. The beach is public access and you are not on private property.

 There is actually a pretty good, worn path all the way along by other locals who have taken the non $100 route.

This took about 2 hours at a pretty decent pace. We knew we were getting closer when we could hear/see helicopters. We eventually could see the waves from the heat. Mind your step, some of the lava is only a day old and is VERY hot. I could feel the heat on my ankles.
 If you chose to, it's fun to pick up a stick along the way and poke it in the lava. It catches fire and forms a newly shaped lava rock on the end of the stick.
 Lava Field. It's hard to imagine this use to be a HUGE subdivision that is now an endless lake of lava
 Lava flow!
It was an AMAZING site to see it flow into the ocean!

NOW.. please be mindful on your way back. We were debating which path to take and I took my eyes off the ground for a second. I ended up falling to a pretty deep crevasse up to my hip (OW) as well as getting too close to the edge of the land and was one step away from falling into the ocean.

It's an amazing opportunity but can be a bit sketchy coming back at night.

Kalapana is on the east coast of the island (Hilo side). If you have a few days to stay in Hilo, I would DEF check it out.. there are SO many waterfall hikes and amazing sights to see! it's amazing (will post detailed hikes later)

Good luck!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon 2013 Overview Part 2 + Tips someone told me!

Walt Disney World Marathon 2013
Marathon Day: Part 2

 I'm really, really OCD about getting to races early (because of the LA marathon)...I read on lots of blogs to head to the bus around 3:15-3:30...they say "you must be in your line up corral  by 5:45 "..blah blah blah." both times people were still in line for the port-a-poties at 5:50.  If you're lucky and you do have transportation for you..(which is AMAZING) can zombie like walk to the bus...take a 15-20 minute cat nap.. walk to the lot and just chill until they call your corral to head to the line up. If you are driving leave early. This past year there were over 27,000 not including families trying to get to the start to take transportation to the race. This race is very well organized, I just would hate for you to leave and be stuck in traffic.

 TIP#3- It's chilly...Both the princess half and the marathon were warm during the day but in Florida (when the sun's not out) it's chilly (esp. in January and February) SO..if you don't know this already, A LOT of big races have bins where you can donate clothes. Go to Goodwill (or find layers you don't like)...I ended up getting a 1.99 sweatshirt and 1.99 pants and wore them over my running clothes and put them in designated donation bins scattered around the parking lot. Keeps you warm, helps someone :)

TIP# 4 (THIS ONE I WISH I KNEW)!! when your letter is called you go behind a set of white tents where you can drop off a bag, There are about 30-40 port-a-potties that you LITERALLY can spend 20 minutes waiting on... KEEP WALKING...people then resort to just pieing in the trees/woods...KEEP WALKING.. to your left (beside the corrals ) are usually 5-10 port-a-potties with only 5-6 people in line for. The walk from the parking lot to the corrals usually takes 10-15 minutes So..instead of waiting FOREVER and then running to the corral, just find your corral and then take 5 minutes and do your business...

It was VERY early...but...super excited!

TIP #5- BRING A CAMERA...check. Small point and shoot. EVEN if you don't have anyone running with you. At the princess 1/2 I made some pretty awesome friends because we ran a similar pace and would take turns taking pictures of eachother at the mile markers.

TIP # 6- By this point're in the magic kingdom and have been running for an hour or a little over...Well.. just FYI..this is a really good opportunity for a bathroom break ..There are 3 really close to Cinderellas Castle that are open during the race (if you have a fear of port-a-potties.) 1. in tomorrow land, 2 in Fantasy land (before the Castle) and then one in frontier land. Don't miss Jessie, Tiana, and Buzz Light Year, they all normally hangout around there. PICTURE OP!

Mile 1-5 Were pretty similar to the 1/2 . I kept a slow pace just because I knew slow and steady would give me a chance to have more to give at 13-15 (and I WAS GLAD I did )

Mile 5.5-6...UGH favorite..

(don't mind the corral started almost an hour after the clock started)...The let the corrals go in waves..helps with the traffic

I love that they have characters along the route that you can take pictures with...NOW..just remember..the more famous ones (cinderella..mickey and minnie) have lots of long lines. They are usually fairly quick, but if you're trying to get a decent might try just photo bombing to the side with them behind you (that's what i did sometimes...Not in anyones picture..but..they were in my picture...EX

The line for them was extremely long... but I got a pic without ruining someone else's  or waiting forever in line.

SO...Tip #7- Know what you need and BRING IT
  Ok Ok, I should have learned my lesson after the Princess half, but still didn't. I have an extremely fast metabolism and I usually start loosing energy around mile 8-10 (depending on how fast I'm going )...I took advantage of EVERY water/gatorade stop (which I encourage you to do as well..even if you're not thirsty..I'd rather be looking for a bathroom, tip 7, rather than a first aid tent because i'm dehydrated. I can't remember where every water stop is but they are REALLY good about spreading them out about every 2-4 miles. They also have a choice between Gatorade and around with both before the race so you know WHAT works best for your body. Here is one point I REALLY want to make...They have lots of water stops...but NO food stops..ever. They provide Cliff gel energy shots around Mile 10..or 11. By then..I was about to conk out and grabbed a hand full to keep on my person for the rest of the race. Afterwards I think they had 1 more station but that was it. The shots are amazing and REALLY helped my stamina. I learned that I will now carry one a zipper compartment or zip-lock bag somewhere on me (I hate running with belts..water containers..etc) SO... just forewarning you, If you want something to eat (granola..gel...candy) doesn't come until later on in the race so.. Bring it with you.

HALF MARATHON..yay (after this is when it got rough)... I had trained as far as 20 miles before but it was mile 14 and 15 that were probably the hardest! ...By then.. we were out of the parks and running on the freeway to the entrance of the ESPN Wide World of Sports. This was one of the longest spans of road  ( i felt) that had nothing but long stretches of pavement...not a lot of entertainment...nothing...This was the farthest I've also ran in a race and began hitting the wall. For the first time in the race.. I walked.....I was So worried with hitting the wall now and still having 10+ miles to run...

I was SO excited to see mile 16, I've ran 10 miles before..which mean it's possible to finish..right?! LOL. FYI this complex is HUGE.. we were running around in here until about mile 20-21. CRAZINESS.

This was a turning point for me. In Hawaii we had ran with the running group MANY times on Sunday mornings. Our route was pretty well known and it had a well known turn around that could make it 8.. or 10 miles. I had this route well memorized and every mile we passed we laughed and shouted out where we would be on our route back "home". It was nice to become mentally focused on something rather than "am I done yet? am I done yet?" I thought about the ocean I would be passing.. the trees, kids jumping into the ponds, the sea turtles..etc etc It's a well worn route that I easily can remember each mile.

It was really interesting to run on the baseball field!

After this we turned a corner and came down the mile stone stretch of the 20 Mile Spectacular for the 20th anniversary!

It was pretty awesome!...Ok. only 6.2 Miles to go!!

 We turned a corner and came around to the backside of Disney's Hollywood Studios, the end is in sight!

 He was too cute!
 5k TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Down the streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios

 I saw a few of these signs and LOVED THEM :) made me smile!

 Crossing the Disney Boardwalk

 1 more, 1 more!!!!
 Entering EPCOT, Our last park!

 The light is at the end of the tunnel!


OK.. .so...It was done, I had finished my FIRST Full Marathon!!! I was SUPER excited. Total time 5 hours and 45 minutes....honestly, just happy to be done. I walked only 3-4 times for only 5-6 minutes...and kept a steady running pace for the majority of the race. The next part I will never forgot shuttle...
You would think after doing 26.2 miles ... a 1/2 mile walk to the bus would be easy...but my legs were SUPER, SUPER stiff. By the time I made it to the shuttle I was almost in tears, Along with the rest of the people we slowly climbed up the steps and found a seat...we got off at our hotel. Plan of attack, change, shower, eat, relax....sadly we had to be out in 2 hours to catch a bus, to the airport, to catch a shuttle to the greyhound to Jacksonville to visit family that night, like I said..WHIRLWIND of a trip.

 Post Race meal, again.. best thing about the resort, took a shower... had food and a pool ready and waiting.

So..that was pretty much my experience in a nutshell (and a few pictures). It was an amazing experience. VERY, VERY stress free, due to the fact we stayed on the resort and they did everything they could to make it amazing and low key. It was one of the most stress free races I've ever been a part of .

So..TIP #8 Train for your race
One word..... weather. One advantage we had was where we came from. That was a really odd week in Florida. The temperature reached a high of 70-75 during the race and a LOT of people were having problems with the heat. Of course, the last 6 months of my training was in a similar condition where by mile 5-6 into a run it was already 70 degrees and you just learned to deal with it. We met some runners from Delaware and other New England states that had a HORRIBLE time with the weather. They were used to training inside or with 30-40 degree temperatures.My suggestion (IF YOU CAN)...get there a few days early (possibly Tuesday/Wed) and run around in the area. Florida is VERY humid ( a storm can pop up and leave in about 15-20 minutes) the weather can be unpredictable. The race did have a sponge/water station that a LOT of people were using so..they are aware of the weather and will help accordingly.

ALSO...Since I ran the Princess half the year before, I knew the terrain was pretty flat (there were 2-3 inclines the whole race) so, during my training I didn't shy away from hills. It made the course seem very, very easy...again..if you can, spice up your training with some hills, it'll make you appreciate the flat course.

   When you register for the race you are asked to put down the pace you intend to keep through out the race. They have a stipulation where you are subject to be pulled from the race if you run slower than a 16:00 minute pace. I've actually never seen anyone be pulled but, I've also never been in the very back So? I'm not 100% sure how much they keep to that threat...ANYWAYS. I registered with a time of 13:30 and was labeled in Corral G (out of H). At the beginning of the race I realized how bad of an estimate I gave. By the time the race came I had quickened by pace up to a 12 minute pace ( the extra minute was added due to 3-4 bathroom breaks and the picture stops) ..The first hour of the race was spent running around walkers..It was crazy! It was really hard not to run into anyone or trip over anyone...So.. be mindful of your pace when registering. I ended up finishing with a lot of people from corral D and E.

   AGAIN ....this is a FUN RACE...SO many people dress up! I saw Tinkerbell, Tutu's, Buzz Light Year and many, many more costumes. This day is your day to be a runner and a kid all at the same time! When I hit the wall I started shouting each mile number we passed.. "MILE 16!!!!...MILE 17!!"..I got some dirty looks..but I didn't care, it helped me get passed that bad moment and laugh at myself.

  Ok,'s not like the Marine Corps Marathon ( I had the pleasure of having a count down alarm to register for that race. It sold out in 2 hours in 27 minutes..I GOT IN!) It doesn't sell out extremely quick. However, the prices only increase. It's not a cheap race so I would go ahead, make the commitment and register. I believe they've already released the info for the 2014 race (and added yet ANOTHER RACE!)

Overview of the race....2 thumbs up. If you're a novice marathoner..or ran only 1 or 2 other marathons, this one will be PERFECT...I'm not very fast ( I run about 11-12 minute mile pace in Marathons) This is really more a fun run. If you're a Disney Fanatic (like me) this is a great race

- Fun course
- Lots of entertainment
         - Music, Disney Characters, Local companies entertainers, crowds
- Great Disney Medal
- Easy course
- Feels like your a kid again
 - You are treated like a star
- Warm weather

- Entry fee
- Travel expenses
- crowd of runners (there were over 50,000 runners that weekend (5K, Half, and Full).. After spending a full day in a park and half a day elbow to elbow with runners.. I was ready for a break.

If you have any questions feel free to post, I will comment as quickly as I can!

Walt Disney World Marathon 2013 Overview Part 1- Plus tips I wish someone told me!

First off, Let me just say, we probably did EVERYTHING, you're not SUPPOSED to do for a marathon. Even though I was a marathon newbie the circumstances that led up to the race didn't allow for a lot of  what is called "marathon prepping"

The move from Hawaii was arranged around the same weekend (why not kill two birds with one stone and save on air fare). The flight left The Big island of Hawaii at 9:15 am on Thursday and landed in Orlando, Florida 6am Friday morning.

There had been some debate whether we should go cheap, arrange a hotel off the resort and use a rental car all a little bit extra (it actually saved money) and stay at a Budget Disney Resort. LET ME TELL YOU.. that is THE FIRST thing I talk about when I talk about the marathon weekend. IT WAS AMAZING. (Real quick side note*) * There was once an incident at the LA marathon where we spent 2 hours in traffic trying to get to the start and one ended up having to jump out on the car on the free ramp to not miss the start of the race....Getting to the race, stresses me out more than the actual race itself.*

OK... So... The arrival was SO EARLY, we were the ONLY ones on the shuttle that took us to our resort. When we checked in, there were no lines (after breakfast and a nap we came back down to use a shuttle and there was a line out the door around noon)

SO.. TIP #1. Do your research!!! Everything is about "Location, location, location" Because of the resort there was never a worry about food (there was a huge cafeteria on site, they were open at 3am every day that weekend for the runners AND had pasta tailored menu the day before the race, cheaper then pasta in the park)....SO..look for the low budget resorts that Disney has to offer...
All Star Music Resort

I splurged one morning and got was SO CUTE!

 ALSO...They offer shuttle services TO and FROM the marathon.. (I heard the hallelujah chorus) stress at all getting to and from the race as WELL as the expo, no stress about parking... traffic... or getting to/from the airport....

They even carried the 6 suitcases we had (again..we were moving from Hawaii 2 checked a piece, 2 carryons...and a backpack)

I did LOTS of number crunching and with finding our own place and a rental car VS the budget resort we actually saved money.

OK.. So on to the EXPO...
...So I was SUPER excited about the Expo...but I knew it was going to be BUSY...It was wall to wall people.

The bag pick up was a very simple and fast process. The bag contents were ok. Having ran the Princess run last year I wasn't expecting much. It came with the Blue tech shirt (shown above), a race brochure, a tattoo of the WDW symbol, I think a small crunch bar, and a few pamphlets. The expo itself, again, very similar to the Princess race. I don't usually buy anything major at the expos, I DID find a really cool "I did it " long sleeve shirt I purchased. They DID have a pretty cool booth where you stood in front of screen and you got to hold the medals. You printed out a picture and it had Mickey behind you at the finish line. I didn't want to give the medal back, but I knew I would own one soon!

Saturday was pretty awesome! I met up with one of my sorority sisters, who works at the parks, and was able to provide park hopper tickets to Epcot and Animal Kingdom! It was pretty awesome! ( again.. probably shouldn't had walked all day the day BEFORE a marathon! LOL)

 We were there until the park closed...I HAD to see the Illuminations Fireworks show at EPCOT, it's my favorite...I haven't seen it since 8th grade. I actually use the song from the show in my running playlist!

The park closed at the time we got back to the bus, hotel, packed, got everything ready for the was midnight.....the alarm for the race went off at 2:30. AGAIN with 5 time zone changes, 22 hours of flying, 8-10 hours of walking the previous day..I am saying..nothing in that last sentence is what is told to be done before a marathon..LOL

SO... I had to break this up into 2 posts.. SO.. Please look for Part 2 for actual race day! :)