Running at Disney!

Well hello you fabulous lot!  Its been a while since I blogged – that’s because I have been soaking up the sun and getting some serious Disney miles stacked up, 80 miles!  over the past few weeks at Walt Disney World, Florida.  Not all of that was running, actually a very small percentage was running.  But I walked, and walked, and walked… for many, many miles around the parks and the whole Disney ‘area’ which is quoted as being the size of Manchester!

We left the UK while it was still mild, not really cold, but not really warm…and were then drenched in lovely sunshine when we got to Florida (the trip there was nasty via New York, which ended with me in tears on a bus, another story, another blog, another time).

We checked into the All Star Movies resort, one of Disney’s value resorts, which is located in the ‘Animal Kingdom’ area, first time we’ve stayed on site at WDW so to speak and it was utterly fabulous!  After a few days of getting used to the time difference, I tentatively went out for a short plod on their marked running trail which was a pathway running across the front of the 3 All Stars resorts which was a mile in length – it was a good chance to wear my running skort, probably for the last time for a while!  The route was heavily used by other runners which was great to see and in the absence of a gym in the hotel I guess this is how visitors got their workouts in each morning. Did the mandatory nods and thumbs up to the other runners, quite surprisingly with not much pleasantries in return…. All in all, I had three plods out over the two week period, I didn’t go far as I knew we’d have a mountain of miles to walk in the day, plus swimming too… just helped to fight back some of the Mickey waffle damage I was enduring!

The picture above includes a shot of shoes in a brilliant running store in Disney Springs, Fit2Run.  They have a brilliant collection of running items, including strollers, accessories,  supplements and more.  They had a Star Wars tech top – which I shockingly didn’t buy… may be next time.  I did purchase (or my husband did for me) a strap to hold my iPhone (my Garmin GPS is a bloody fail at locating me which is so frustrating).  I tried it on in the shop and it fit great!  Will report back after my first post-hols run this weekend, decided to start running with audio again – well Podcasts to keep me motivated as I am upping the mileage to train for the Bath Half HM.

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So now we enter PDD (post Disney depression), but and with a big BUT, Disney have just released their races for next year including Spring 2018 with a Star Wars dark side race… this is very, very tempting, and the husband DID agree to leave it a couple of years till our next Disney visit (it is 2 years really, in terms of numbers….).  lets see!

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In terms of other training, I have my swimming kit packed, plus have been doing Pilates and strength training this week, hello DOMS!  So lets see how I fare over the winter with training – I am in a much happier place, with the family healthier and a sense of renewal for the new year, I’m in good spirits…

Here’s a shot of the non-tech Star Wars top, I had to get this as it had 77 on the back… I’m an old Star Wars fan…. 🙂

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Do you listen to any podcasts while running?  Any recommendations?

BRxx

 

 

 

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Disney planning…

We haven’t been to Walt Disney World in years! Six to be precise.  But this time we are doing it SO MUCH BETTER!

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The last trip, there was just the two of us and a bit strapped for cash so we stayed in a motel type place with the thought that ‘it didn’t matter about where we stayed as we were at the parks most of the days’.  Oh boy were we wrong!  The motel was situated in Kissimmee and we had a hire car to get there from Orlando International Airport.

It hadn’t looked that bad on the website but as we swung into the driveway you could see the disappointment on our faces.  It was obviously a place where people stayed for one night (at a stretch) rather than the 2 week break we had booked.  It was cheap as chips and what we paid for, we got!  Two light fittings didn’t work and the hairdryer died a death after a few days, none replaced or repaired.  The pool itself, grubby, was slap bang in the car park.  Just horrid.  It was a place where a good horror film, or twilight zone episode could be shot. To stay for a holiday, BAD IDEA.  However we learn from our mistakes.  Its only redeeming feature was free breakfast each morning.

With a stroke of luck it was attached to a larger resort which had a decent pool, pool bar and nightlife.  We spent most of our spare time there rather than in the motel.

That was 6 years ago, now we have a toddler, life is very different so we decided to do things a bit differently….

Stay on site: This was really important for us, as a Disney guest, you are entitled to so much more than regular visitors

  • Extra Magic hours: this allows Disney hotel guests to spend more time in parks on specific days, so there can be extra time in the morning or evenings.
  • Magic bands: These bands which are collectible at the hotel on arrival (for UK guests) are your room keys, your charge card and your park tickets.  if you have a Disney Dining plan the waiter will swipe your magic band to deduct your credits as you go.
  • Magical Express: Disney guests can enter the magic at Orlando International Airport upon arrival, this Disney guest bus will take you to your resort.  You can even get them to deliver your bags to your hotel room separately if you wish.
  • FastPass+: 60 days before arrival you can book your Fast Passes (3 allowed at a time in each park),  this allows you to enter the Fast Pass queue, beating the standard queue times significantly.  Once the 3 Fast passes are used up then you can book more as you go along.  A word of warning In Epcot and Hollywood Studios there is a Tiered scheme with Fast Passes, if you say book Soarin’, you wont be able to book Test Track as your next ride.  You will need to complete your three reservations and then book Test Track.
  • Dining: reservations can be made 180 days in advance for Disney guests and I would highly recommend this.  Some restaurants book up so quickly that its very difficult to get reservations for restaurants such as Be our Guest and O’Hana.
  • Disney theming: we felt the Disney theming at the hotel we are staying at, All Stars Movie Resort, would be perfect for our toddler.  If you want the complete Disney experience, staying on resort is perfect!
  • 14 day ultimate ticket:  This is now on your Magic Band rather than a ticket, however this ticket is a park hopper ticket which allows you to visit multiple parks on the same day.  Handy if you’re at a water park in the day and fancy popping to Magic Kingdom later in the evening for Illuminations fireworks.
  • Memory Maker: This was included too in our package, this includes your photos taken by Disney staff and on certain rides.

Factors for consideration:

  • Time of year: we are lucky enough to be able to take Mia who is pre-school age in November, so therefore the costs are a lot cheaper.  The weather is also better than in summer, its cooler (25 degrees Celsius) with significantly less thunderstorms.  As Mia is 2 years old we do not need to pay for a ticket for her, from 3 years old, we will have to pay for a ticket which is nearly the same cost as an adult one! (not cool Disney!).  There is only one public holiday, Veterans day, that will occur during our stay and both the UK and US children will be in school.  This also made us not book a car hire this time, as crowd levels will be low so we are hoping that crowd volumes on the buses will be low too (taking a gamble on that one).
  • Park planning: My husband visited a brilliant site, Undercover Tourist, to access their crowd level calendar and work out which parks had the lowest crowds expected on certain days for that time of year.  That along with the extra magic hours we put together a plan by which we knew which parks we would visit that day, what fast passes we needed to book and what dining reservations we would go for, and at what times.  As we have a 2 year old we are planning many half days in the parks and scheduling in rest by the pool and water park days.  If you download a map from the Walt Disney World site you can work out the best ways to work your way around the park you are visiting to maximise your time.  Our plans are quite loose really, we want to be able to use our Disney park app and say pop over to an event nearby or character meet and greet.  As with all well organised plans, this can go astray!

I will be vlogging and blogging the Disney holiday, please pop back and see how it went!

BBxx

 

 

 

 

Roman holiday…

Recently some friends and I visited Rome, a city that I have never been to before (in fact I’ve only been to Italy once before, a few years back on a wonderful holiday with Gav to Lake Garda).  Determined not to take my running kit, I decided that I was going to pack the miles in with walking and boy did we walk! and talk! and DRINK! well, you know me!

Rome is a fabulous city to explore, the tourist spots are not that well signed and its possible to walk for ages just finding the tourist hot-spots!  This is the perfect place to get your step count up.  I was so glad that I decided not to take my running stuff, my friends aren’t runners and we were up at 7am on the days we were there so that we could fit in everything we needed to do.  I couldn’t hat fit it all in and I was glad, I love walking, I wanted to enjoy it without stressing about running.  I am not training for anything for a while so happy with just running to my plan which I detailed here.

The first day we visited the Vatican and many other tourist spots on the far side of Rome (and an assload of walking from our apartment right on the other side of the city) and the total step count for the day was a whopping 31,754 steps! Crikey!

The next day we took it a bit easier with 26,538 steps, the Colosseum was nearer the apartment !  My feet felt fine, (thank you Converse) but my friends in their flip flops didn’t fare as well.  We covered nearly the marathon distance in those two days, 25.5 miles in total. Happy with that!

I thoroughly recommend this superb city for a walking weekend, in fact we saw groups of cyclists on a city tour – what a cool way to explore a city!

Below are some pix…. Big thumbs up for Rome.. I’ll be back again with my walking shoes….and possibly my running kit….BBx

 

 

 

NEW BLOG POST: Bouncing back for Bath

Hey, hope you have all had a fabulous week.  I have been in a fishing lodge in North Wales for most of this week, just got back today!  I didn’t realise how much I needed that break until I was on holiday and luckily my work email password expired and I can only reset it at my laptop, so happily was work free for the week…

Of course I packed my running kit and I managed to cover a glorious 17 miles of running over two days, which I was very pleased with – one run at 9 miles, the other at 8 miles.  These are the longest runs I have done for a very long time, so feeling a little bit more confident about the impending Bath Half, which is NEXT FREAKING WEEKEND! GULP!

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Beautiful North Wales was a pleasure to run around….

In all honesty I think the best way round the Bath Half is a running / walking combo – however we will see what I can do on the day.  I am not going to stress about it or go for a PB, will save that for Swansea, but just going to try and enjoy it! Seems like they are changing the route for next year which is a shame as its good to compare year on year, so will enjoy this ‘flat fast’ race this year, I think Bath may be the one I do each year.

I wont be meeting up with anyone on race day at Bath Half, I literally cant speak before a race, nerves really get to me, (the poor ladies from RMR who met me pre-Bristol HM could only get a couple of words out of me) and will be shooting off afterwards to get to my daughter,  but really looking forward to seeing how everyone fared.

Talking of Bath races, I completed the Bath Two Tunnels 10k last weekend, if you’re in my FB running group you will know how much I did not want to do this race.  I sabotaged myself the day before by getting blotto with my auntie and I have had nights and nights of no sleep still, which really gets me down, on top of gigantic stress. However, my family and I set off early on the Sunday and got down there in good time, in fact it was such good time that the tea van hadn’t arrived yet!

It was the COLDEST day I could remember and I decided to wear my jacket on the run – its slightly thicker than my Berghaus and it was a bad mistake and one I wont be making again.  I felt loaded down for most of the race and uncomfortable.  However the thought of taking it off  was too much – I was so frozen I was shaking, there were some guys there in vests and shorts only!!! Whaaaaat?!  I really do feel a Southern softie when I see those guys!  Brrrr….

The warm-up pre-race was EXCELLENT – I normally get annoyed at the Race for Life warm-ups, they are too ‘aerobic’ in nature,  I preferred this one as it was designed for runners.

It seemed an age to get to the starting line, I was in Wave 3, which had a finish time of approx 55-60 mins.  I had run a 10k in 55 minutes a while back so was quite confident for this race… however after another chest infection and my daughter being sick/sleepless nights for weeks on end, I trudged round in 1:07, not great, but I will take it seeing how badly my training had been prior to that.  That’s the life of a runner, the ups and downs.  I’ve had 2 awesome runs in North Wales, with no pressure, so when I run the Bath Half I will run NAKED.

Running through the tunnels was quite an experience though, I loved running in the dark, it was so unusual, creepy, and oddly enough I ran quite fast through them!  If they could only have the Bath HM through a 13.1 tunnel rather than round the streets I might stand half a chance.

I will be back to do the two tunnels for sure, possibly the series!

My main focus now before the Bath HM will be to get some sleep, a last 8 mile run tomorrow, plus a couple of shorter runs next week.

Cant believe Bath has come around so fast again, no doubts I will be saying that when I do it next year.

Wishing you all a happy weekend, with much love BB xx