Disney Princess Weekend Part II – The Race

This post was written shortly following the Disney Princess Half Marathon, but I delayed posting for a variety of reasons. If you’re really curious, I can tell you why in real life.


Sunday morning’s alarm went off at 3 a.m.  No that isn’t a typo.  We left the hotel at 3:30 in the morning to walk over to Saratoga Springs.  Disney only provides transportation to and from the race from select “host resorts”.  Old Key West wasn’t a host resort, but we didn’t mind the walk to Saratoga. In fact, we laughed a ton.

We caught the bus to the race, which dropped us off at the finish line.  We checked our bag (flip flops, extra long sleeve shirts to change into) and started the trek to the start line.  I totally understand why Disney said to be on the bus by no later than 4 a.m.  We caught the 4 a.m. bus and we made it to our corral at 5:40.  It look a long time to travel to the start.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Jane, Christen and I were all in corral C so we lined up in the back so we could start the race at a nice slow pace (Belle, who was walking the race was in corral A and started before us).  Props to Disney for having fireworks at not only the start of the race, but the start of each corral.  Seriously.  I loved the fireworks.

Disney Princess Half MarathonChristen, Jane and I at the start line

We ran down the highway that connects EPCOT and Magic Kingdom and ran past people of stilts, a Pirates of the Caribbean float and a hot air balloon.  Then we ran through the opening gates to Magic Kingdom.  We curved around the parking lot a bunch of times and stopped to take pictures with the villains, who were grouped together. We passed the Contemporary resort.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Next was the most amazing part of the race.  We curved through a back-employees only section of the park near Space Mountain and entered onto Main Street USA and ran up to the castle.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half MarathonDisney Princess Half Marathon

We turned off to Tomorrow Land, curved around Fantasy Land, came up through the castle (and ran through the castle!!) and curved to Frontier Land.  Then we exited through a back employee-only area and onto a back road.  We traveled down the back road onto the road that runs between the golf course and the Polynesian and Grand Floridian resorts.  Disney was great at having a ton of characters on this stretch, which is approximately miles 7-9, which is the point that a lot of people hit the wall.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Then, we dumped back onto the highway and ran past Pirates and the hot air balloon.  On the way back, Disney added a few characters such as a bug from It’s a Bug’s Life.  We than entered into the EPCOT parking lot and into the park, running all over including around the front of the big silver ball and back near the countries (but not through the countries).  We then looped out to the parking lot and made our way to the finish line.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Crossing the finish line was an amazing feeling.  Absolutely amazing.  And I loved being able to cross the finish line with two of my friends.  Jane, Christen and I made a pact to stay together throughout the race, and that we did.  Shortly after crossing the finish line, race volunteers placed the metal over our head and we were able to pick up a bottle of water and a food snack pack.  We were especially impressed that the snack pack was entirely gluten free.

After the race, we caught the bus back to the resort where the boys made us breakfast.  My sister and her family stopped by briefly to say hello; it was great to see them.

Overall, I thought the race was really great.


  • The race was really well organized and Run Disney did a great job at providing information leading up to the race.
  • The packet pickup was very smooth and getting our corral changed was super easy.
  • The expo was great – tons of vendors and lots of stuff (both free and for sale).
  • Buses that morning ran regularly, and we didn’t need to wait long to board.
  • Along the race route there were a ton of water stations and first aid stations.  Each station had tons of water and PowerAde.  There was enough people handing out water that it was easy to grab.  I was never thirsty during the race.

Areas for Improvement

  • This race had a LOT of walkers.  Which is great that it’s friendly to people of all exercise levels.  But it made it really hard to run, as many walkers didn’t duck off to the side or slow down before coming to a halt.  It was really hard to weave in and out of walkers, and I almost ran over a few people to came to abrupt walking breaks.  In the future, I’d love to see a walking and running “lanes”.  Or perhaps Disney can include in the race info that walkers should stay to the outside and let runners take the inside lane.
  • Some sections of the course were really narrow (of course, this made the walkers that much more difficult to weave around).  While that can’t always be avoided, there were so sections where the road was divided in half – one side for runners and one for those cheering.  However the fans rarely took up their whole half.  Perhaps making it 2/3 runners, 1/3 fans would help on narrow roads.
  • I would have expected Disney cast members to know a bit more about the race.  Whenever we asked our front desk questions related to the race, they were unable to answer our questions.  I know we weren’t staying at a “host resort”, but I would have liked them to have a bit more information.

All in all, I thought it was a great race, and I’d do it again in the future.

Disney Princess Half Marathon


#BeThankfulChallenge Week 2

This week I wasn’t great on getting everything on Twitter, but it was a really busy and hectic week.  But here is this week’s rundown of what I’m thankful for…

November 7 – Amtrak.  While the train isn’t always the best way to travel, it certainly has its benefits.  On Monday night, Ben and I were supposed to take the train home to New Jersey, but we ended up driving.  While hitting traffic at 11:00 at night, I definitely appreciated the train:  no traffic, you can plug in your laptop/iPhone or computer and multitask, or sleep.  Since I can’t drive Ben’s car (it’s stick), I don’t think its fair for me to sleep while he’s stuck behind the wheel.    While we didn’t take the train this time, I’m thankful that it’s an option for future trips.

November 8  – Freedom.  This was only appropriate for election day.  I’m thankful to live in a country that hold free and fair elections.  While I don’t always agree with the campaigning that happens (aka – dirty lies), I’m still thankful to live in a country that gives people an opportunity to choose our leaders.

November 9 – Coffee.  It’s dependable, tasty, and helps you feel like a human when you want to go back to sleep.  It comes in lots of flavors and can keep you warm on a cold day, or cool on a warm day.  And during this particularly crazy week, I lived off coffee. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Did you know that drinking coffee can reduce your risk of getting skin cancer?  There are a lot of other health benefits of coffee (My favorite stat in that article is that Coffee drinkers are about twice as likely as non-coffee drinkers not to develop the potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in their nostrils.  How specific is THAT?!).

[photo credit]

November 10 – Fall.  While Fall is not my favorite holiday (I’m more of a summer girl), I do love it.  The trees look so beautiful with their changing colors.  I love being able to break out my scarf collection and coordinate outfits around one.  As a bonus, it’s great weather for running – not too hot and not too cold – and the season of my birthday!

[photo credit]

November 11 – At risk of sounding cliche, I’m thankful for veterans and those currently serving our country.  I’m thankful for everyone who has put country before self and protected America home and abroad.  These brave citizens deserve to be honored for their commitment.  So thank you.

November 12 – Running.  There are so many things I love about running.

  • Running gives me an opportunity to clear my head and de-stress.  Sometimes I just zone out, other times I use it to plan out my life.  When I actually get up and run in the morning, I spent those two miles planning out everything I need to do at and after work.
  • When I do really well on a run, it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment like no other.  Maybe it’s because I was never a runner growing up.  But a runners high is like nothing else I can explain.
  • I also love that it can be an individual or group activity.  While you can run with people, you’re not competing with those people.  It’s about improving yourself.  And I love that Ben runs too.  Sometimes we head out together and stick together throughout the run.  Other days, we start off together and separate based on our running plan for the day.  And sometimes, I head on our my own.  Just me and the road.

November 13– Running buddies.  This is a bit of a rip-off of the last bullet from yesterday, but I do enjoy having running buddies, both near and far.  Today, it was great to have Ben and Christen by my side for the 10K.  We kept each other motivated and moving.  We stuck together (mostly) for the first half of the race before splitting up at paces comfortable to us.  But we all did our best (I’ll have a recap up soon) and it was a great experience.  But I’m also thankful for my running support system that isn’t local. Such as the “Pile on the Mile” challenge the Delta’s are doing.  While we can’t run together, it keeps us all motivated and makes us check in with each other to make sure we’re on track.  Plus, running 13.1 miles through Disney will be more fun with friends!



Running Away

Something I haven’t talked about a whole lot lately on the blog is running. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been happening behind the scenes.

This fall, I’ve got three races scheduled:

  • Veteran’s Day 10K.  The weekend of my birthday, Ben, Christen and I are all running the Veteran’s Day 10K.  Some of you may remember that a bunch of us ran the 10K last year.  I’m excited that Ben is running it with me this year, plus it gives me some company on my training runs.
  • Hot Chocolate 15K The race sounds fantastic, and the swag is awesome compared to the Veteran’s Day 10K.  Its sponsored by Ghirardelli, and the money goes to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  You get a cool jacket for participating.  Jane is coming in town to run this with me, plus I have a lot of friends from work running it as well.
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon.  This is the big one.  Jane+Christen+Anna+13.1 miles through Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.  I’m so beyond stoked for this, and I’m already planning my costume.  Any guesses as to which Disney princess I plan on being?

Part of the reason I signed up for the 10K and 15K is to make sure that I’m training properly for the Half Marathon.  These fall races will make sure I build the miles and base needed to carry me 13.1 miles.

I’m excited to have company for all my races.  I’m especially happy that Ben is joining for the 10K – it will be his first race ever.  I think we’re gonna stick together for the first half, and then I’m gonna let him go ahead and burn rubber.

Asics GT2150 Review

Last February, I did a ton of research and purchased the Asics GT 2150.

Now that I’ve been running in them for a few months (even if it is sporadic running), I figured it was time to give them a review.

Bottom Line: I really like the sneakers, but I probably wouldn’t buy them again.

When I slip my feet into these sneakers, they feel great.  They feel like they hug my feet in all the right places.  They provide great support and just enough cushioning.  When I’m running, I feel fantastic.  Perhaps its the fact that I’ve improved my stride, and I’ve moved from “person-barely-getting-their-feet-off-the-concrete-to-move” to someone with with an actual stride.  I run in these sneakers.  My feet almost seem to bounce off the concrete.

But…(isn’t there always a but)…after every run, I immediately have a blister on the inside of my foot, right between my arch and heel.  No matter how often I run in them, my feet don’t seem to adopt to the structure of the shoe.  Usually the blister goes away in a day or two, but if I’m going to run every day it could become a problem.

Perhaps its just this cut, but I feel like I read somewhere that all Asics are cut tight to the foot.  With my next shoe, I’d love everything that the Asics GT 2150 provide, but perhaps a bit more flexibility surrounding the heel.

Flowers for the office

How was everyone’s Valentine’s Day?

Yesterday, it was flower central at work.  A lot of the women had flowers on their desks from their significant others.  At one point I was walking around the office and I thought, “man, I totally understand why single girls HATE this holiday.”

But I did love my flowers.  Ben didn’t go for roses.  Too cliché.  He always gets my favorite flowers, star-gazer lilies.

stargazer lillies

This beautiful arrangement arrives at my desk yesterday.  I really wasn’t expecting flowers.  No really, I wasn’t.  But I can’t say I wasn’t happy when they were dropped off at my desk! Right now, all the bulbs are closed, but my mid-week, this baby will be in full bloom.


Dinner last night continued along my “must go from table to belly in 30 minutes” theme.

This was a super easy dinner.

Gnocchi and Veggies

1 package potato gnocchi from Trader Joes (it comes in a red package and doesn’t need to be refrigerated)

1 package Archer Farms Harvest Blend Vegetables (Broccoli, carrots, onions, baby cob corn, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, water chesnuts, & red peppers)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

salt, pepper and olive oil to taste

  1. Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water until it floats
  2. Steam the veggies in the bag per instructions (7.5-8.5 minutes)
  3. Saute veggies in garlic
  4. Combine everything in a large bowl, add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste and enjoy!

I sprinkled a bit of Trader Joe’s low fat cheese on it as well.  Fantastic topper.  Although, really, when isn’t cheese a fantastic topper.  This could easily be made a bit healthier by leaving out the olive oil, but we needed some healthy fats in our diet tonight.


Yesterday was beautiful in D.C.  It even hit the high 60’s.  Perfect outdoor running weather, right? Well by the time I got home for work, there was so much wind it felt like a hurricane was traveling through our nation’s capital.  So up to the treadmill I went with my new shoes.

Verdict: overall, I like them.  I can feel how they help my stride a bit (I run on the insides of my feet), and they provide a lot of support on my arch.  The backs are a bit more snug then I’m used to, so I’ve got a tiny blister.  But I’m gonna just chalk that up to wearing in a new pair of shoes.  I’ve had work flats do more damage on the first day.

White Ale, New Sneakers – doesn’t take much to make me happy

What was the highlight of my weekend?  Besides our Valentine’s Day dinner, of course…


Samuel Adams White Ale

Samuel Adams White Ale Label[photo credit]

Pretty much anyone who knows me, knows that Sam Adams White Ale is my favorite beer.  It used to be Sam Adam’s spring seasonal.  In college, Jane and I used to stock up on like it was going out of style.  Well, then in January 2010, it did go out of style.  Sam Adams announced that they were replacing White Ale with Noble Pills as the spring seasonal.

Now, don’t get me wrong,  I like Noble Pills.  I really wanted to hate it for taking over my beloved White Ale.  But I couldn’t.  It was too good.

Sam Adams claims that it is available in November-December in a variety pack, but I’ve never been able to find it.  While in Harris Teeter over the weekend, I walked past the Sam Adams “American Classics” variety pack and something caught my eye.  Could it be??  Oh yes it was!  My beloved White Ale!  I grabbed the variety pack and ran across the grocery store, looked at Ben and said, “Is it ridiculous to buy a 12-pack for two beers?”  After assuring me that the other 10 beers would not go to waste, I happily dropped the variety pack into the cart.  Now, I’m going to have to ration those two beers….


New Running Gear

I got really lucky with my old running sneakers.  In late Fall 2009, Ben and I were starting to head back to the gym.  My previous workout sneakers were on their way out when I found a pair of Nike’s on clearance at DSW.  Not knowing much about the sneakers, except that they were cute, I bought them.  They were like $30, and I was just looking for something to use as a general gym/workout sneaker.

When I got into running, I heard the worst thing you can do is just grab whatever sneaker is on clearance and go with it.  Oops, that’s exactly what I had done.  I Googled my shoes and it turns out, they are fantastic running sneakers.  Like made for running sneakers.  Awesome.  I just went with it.

But now, my bargain bin sneakers are getting worn out.  My feet have started to hurt while running and I can feel the ground more than before.  I don’t know exactly how many miles I’ve put on them, but after a year and a half, I’m thinking they are getting worn out.

So on Sunday, Ben and I went out for a little running gear shopping spree.  I purchased these babies:

Acics GT2150 Raspberry[photo credit]

The Asics GT2150.  I got them in the raspberry/lightening (as seen above).  They are great for stability (which I need) and have a lot of cushion (which I like).  I was pretty sure I wanted Asics, but I went in with an open mind.  I tried on numerous pairs, and these seemed to fit pretty well.  I did have to go a full size larger than my normal shoes.  I haven’t run in them yet, but I’m very excited. Plus…they are pretty.  And they match my new long sleeve running shirt.


Yay for beer and running gear!


Valentine’s Day

Ben and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day over the weekend.  How did we do it?

Started off with a 4+ mile run around D.C.   We started down on Ohio Drive (near where we ran the 10K on my birthday), ran down Ohio Drive, by the Lincoln Memorial, over Memorial Drive bridge into Arlington, down onto the Mt. Vernon trail to Teddy Roosevelt Park.  I took a break while Ben ran the trails through the park.  Afterward, we reversed the route and went back to the car.

It was terrible.  Terrible.  I could never get into the groove.  It was my first run outside in a while.  I’ve gotten used to running on the treadmill – where you can’t really stop.  Running outside, you could stop whenever you want.  Also, the wind was so bad that it kept knocking my earphones out.  Also, I kinda need to sneakers, so there was that too…

After the run, we had our Valentine’s Day dinner.  We decided to make dinner instead of going out.  On our menu:


Butternut squash soup


Baby lettuce with candied pecans and cheese


London broil

Roasted sweet potatoes

Sautéed asparagus

Italian bread


Hand rolled truffle

chocolate peanutbutter “bomb”

Dinner worked out well; Ben handled the meat, asparagus and salad and I handled the soup and sweet potatoes. We cheated and bought the dessert at Harris Teeter.  They have a rather extensive fancy dessert section.  We always assumed it wasn’t that great.  But after 4+ miles, we decided to give it a shot opposed to making something from scratch. 

I was totally fine that we didn’t go out somewhere.  Sometimes, its nice to just have a big fancy dinner at home.


What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

The weekend of the Groupon…

Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone is enjoying the Sunday football game.  Ben and I are sitting watching the Bears/Packers game.  I think I’m rooting for the Packers, cause then at least my Eagles lost to the team that went on to the Super Bowl.

On Thursday, Ben and I realized that we had two LivingSocial coupons for The Madhatter that expired in early February.  We decided to use one Thursday night.  We ordered some of their happy hour specials (I stuck with Bud Light, whereas Ben enjoyed some Bud Light and some Jack and Diets).  We also ordered a TON of food:

  • goat cheese pizzette
  • fried calamari
  • Madhatter Classic – burger with applewood-smoked bacon and cheddar (me)
  • Ribeye Steak Sandwich- Caramelized onion, melted provolone, pesto aioli,
    and horseradish mayo (Ben)

The calamari was only so-so.  It came out kinda cold and a bit tough.  I’ve had it there before, and it was fantastic, so I’m going to just chalk it up on one bad dish.  My burger was really good, and Ben enjoyed his sandwich as well.

On Friday, Ben’s mom flew into town.  We had dinner at Kora – a great restaurant in Crystal City.  We each got a flight of wine (Riesling, Merlot and Chardonnay) and we all split the prosciutto and shrimp pizza and the BBQ short-ribs pizza.  Two VERY different flavors, but both were fantastic.

Saturday, we woke up and used a Groupon to go to the Newseum.  I’ve been before, but Ben and his mom had never been.  Being in PR, I’m really fascinated in how they show (1) how the media has changed through the years and (2) how media has portrayed various events in history.  I think they have a really well done video about media and 9-11.

Piece of the Berlin Wall from Newseum DCBerlin Wall at the Newseum

US Capitol from Newseum DC

U.S. Capitol from the Newseum deck

We then hopped in a cab and headed BACK to the Madhatter to use LivingSocial deal number two.  We watched the Duke game while enjoying dinner.  Again, we got the fried calamari (much better this time).  I got the same burger again – very good. We had the same waiter from Thursday, which was nice.  I wish I knew his name so I could give him a shout out, because he was great.

After dinner, Mrs. B and I walked from Dupont to Georgetown to use yet ANOTHER Groupon.  Last year, Ben bought his mom and I a massage from M3.  The Groupon was for a Swedish or a Sports massage.  We both went with the Swedish.  I would definitely recommend M3 to anyone looking for an affordable massage in D.C.

The spa is on the second and third level of a townhouse right on M street.  You go one flight of stairs and check in at a very calming, clean-looking lobby.  They offer water and tea to customers, and have lots of space to sit and wait.  They also sell some skincare products.  It wasn’t a brand I recognized.  My masseuse came and picked me up from the waiting area and took me to a small room on the third floor.  He brought out a Tupperware container that I could keep my clothes in, which I liked.  Overall, he did a great job with the massage.  At points, I thought he could have used a bit more lotion, but  think that’s just because I like to drown my skin in lotion.  When I asked for more pressure, he adjusted appropriately and went out of his way to make sure I was relaxed and enjoying my experience.

M3 Massage roomphoto credit

In case you’re curious, M3 generally charges $80 for an hour massage.  I think that’s a pretty good price, especially here in D.C.  I usually think an hour massage will be at least $100.

This morning, we woke up, had breakfast, and sat and chatted for a bit about wedding stuff.  The three of us then headed to the gym.  Today’s run wasn’t terrible when you look at time and distance.  However, it felt really tough.  Its crazy how much of running in mental.  When I’m having a great day, my runs tend to feel better than days when I’m frustrated.

But all in all, two and a half miles in 25 minutes isn’t bad (and that includes a two-minute warm-up and a two-minute cool down).  I then did 5-10 minutes of yoga and one set of arm weights.  We came back, showered, and sent Mrs. B on her way back to South Carolina.

So we had quite a busy weekend.  But when as was said and done, we used six Groupons/LivingSocial deals.  We were actually supposed to use a 7th today for lunch, but we ran out of time.

YAY for Groupons!

Arnold oatnut bread!

 Happy hump day, yall!

Well today was particularly productive.  After getting home from work at 6:45, I decided I was too hungry to go for a run right away.  I needed something to give me energy, but not weigh me down.  I looked in the fridge/freezer and what did I find…

arnold oatnut bread

I totally forgot that a few weeks ago Harris Teeter was having a great sale on Arnold bread, and we stocked with a ton of loaves in our freezer.  It’s Ben and my favorite bread brand, although we generally only buy it when its on sale.  Of all the styles, the oatnut is absolutely my favorite.  But our store always seems to be out of the oatnut. I decided that some oatnut bread with peanutbutter and bananas would be the perfect pre-run snack. 

When I arrived at the gym, every single treadmill was in use and the only elliptical was the really old crappy one.  Forgetting how terrible it is, I hoped on for 10 minutes before calling it quits  I did a bit of strength training and was about to call it a failed workout, when I looked up and pretty much all the treadmills were open.  So i hopped on with no real goals in mind.  2.5 miles later, I would call today’s workout a definite success. 

In wedding planning news….

Ben and I selected our invites!  It’s funny, we actually chose our invites probably about 3 months ago.  But we were afraid to pull the trigger because “what if something better came along.”  Well, now that we are at our deadline that we need to actually order the invites, we went back to our old favorite.  Although, I think the colors we are thinking for the font has changed, but not dramatically. YAY for wedding progress.  We are also finally got closure on the bar.  We had a bit of a hiccup, but everything is back on smooth sailing.  And once both our parents look at another propsal, we will able to check another box on our list.