Thursday, November 12, 2015

RunDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015

Here's the thing about the Wine & Dine Half Marathon...I think it's one of the best race courses RunDisney has to offer AND it has an amazing after party BUT I think it might be unlucky.  Ask any runner who's raced it the last 2 years and they might agree.  Last year it poured the entire race and this year serious lightning threatened to cancel the entire event.
The Wine & Dine Half Marathon is one of the more condensed RunDisney weekends.  It's just 2 days and starts on Friday with the expo.  Saturday is a jam packed day with the 5k, kids races, expo, and half marathon.  I spent Friday afternoon at the expo and had a great time catching up with friends that I had not seen over the summer.
Saturday morning I donned my elf attire and reported for the Kids Races on the track and ESPN Wide World of Sports.  The track opened at 9am for the 10am race starts and I was a bundle of nerves, because my little one was doing her first ever dash around 11:15.  
Elf Stevie D and I sent off all the waves of the 100, 200, and 400 meter dashes.  Then it was the Mickey Mile and finally the diaper dashes!  Kyle brought CBear out and she was joined by Mojo (my mom), Kyle's cousin, his girlfriend, Guy, and our friend Cindy.  She had quite the cheering squad.
Now I went into the race knowing she wouldn't be able to crawl.  Homegirl is only 5 months, but I really just wanted to be able to have her touch the mat and experience that parental pride.  It was all that and more!
Race day was near record highs (87+) so it wasn't an ideal situation for a baby (mine or anyone else's), but Kyle did a great job keeping her cool.  We put her on her tummy on the mat and had a good 90 seconds before boredom and fussing set in.  Kyle helped her make it across and mat and she was rewarded with a medal and Goofy hugs!
A big thank you to my Mom for making her Santa outfit and Kyle and everyone for helping get her set for the event.  It takes a village my friends!
After the kids races I went back to the hotel for a quick nap before the nighttime race.  As a race announcer you lose all concept of time.  5am race, 10pm race...just tell me when and where and I'm ready to say "GO!".
The start line show started as normal and I was surprised when discussions about weather started to come up.  I knew there was a chance of rain, but when I saw the radar it didn't look good.  There were thunderstorms on their way in.  Now rain is an inconvenience, but lightening is a serious issue.  
About 920pm we were told we were on "standby evacuation" and around 935 we were told to alert the 16K plus runners that they needed to evacuate to the stadium and buildings at Wide World of Sports. It was quite a sight to see masses of runners trudging from the parking lot up to the complex.  The announcers returned to the trailer and awaited further instruction.  It was decided that at 10pm I would be sent to the finish line as planned.  One announcer needs to go early to insure someone is in place for the first chair athletes.  It took about 20 minutes to get there and once I arrived I checked in with our timing team and race staff to see what was the plan.  I could still see some lightening off in the distance, but I guess it had cleared our immediate radius.  We set a tentative start time of 1045pm.  The race would happen, but the course was going to be shortened by almost half.  The course would go out of Wide World of Sports, but it would cut out Animal Kingdom and all of Osceola Parkway.  It would basically jump from Mile 1 to Mile 8.  As a runner I know how disappointing that change must have been for the athletes, however we were very close to having to cancel the entire event due to dangerous weather.  I’m grateful to our race director Jon for taking runner safety seriously and giving the runners part of the experience they were looking for.
The first runners came across in about 30 minutes and we welcomed in finishers until 2am.  My Mom ran and earned her 3rd Coast to Coast medal.  Admittedly she wasn’t too sad about the shortened distance – she got to see the Osbourne Lights and save her legs for the Avengers events the following weekend.
It was certainly a memorable weekend and one for the RunDisney books.  Babies, lightening, and still a great after party.

Have you ever run a race that was affected by weather?
What’s the weather like where you are?  It’s still hot HOT here in Orlando.

Love and flashes in the sky,

Carissa & Kyle

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Family Fun

October is one of my favorite months! Who am I kidding...October, November, December..I LOVE them all!  To me they are the "holiday" months and they mean special events planned and plenty of things to look forward to.  This year we're experiencing things in a whole new way with the Bear.  It's her "1st" everything and we are soaking it all in and I'm sure oversaturating social media with pics.
In keep with my goal of blogging more consistently here's a "Family Fun, Fitness, and Food" recap for the past few weeks.

Family Fun
The Bear's first pumpkin patch trip happened this month.  It's never easy to plan a venture out with an infant.  You have to time naps, eating, fussiness and weather.  But this day we had perfect timing, perfect weather and a very happy baby girl.
I could relive this day over and over.  CBear was so bright-eyed interested in all the pumpkins.  She had her eye on one special one that we made sure to get her.

I'm still rocking the "world's worst half marathon training plan".  I ran 5 miles last week with my 2 1/2 minute jog/30 second walk strategy.  I'm hoping to up my miles by 2 each week  and add in a 20-30 minute stroller run 1 other day.  My pace was right around 10 minutes per mile.  I have to keep telling myself to not worry about pace and just get in the miles to finish Space Coast.  It occurred to me on this run that I'll be running Space Coast on the Bear's 6 month birthday.  Finishing a half marathon at 6 months postpartum....I'll take it. (I have to finish first but that's my internal motivation)
Post Run Bird Selfie
Epcot's Food & Wine Festival is a fall tradition for Kyle and I.  We have been annually for the past several years.  We missed last year, because let's be honest...I like food but I like wine better and I didn't really want to go to a festival and watch others partake in the wine.

Usually we go with a big group, but this year Kyle and I opted to go as a couple.  We booked a room a Disney's Boardwalk hotel so we could walk to and from the festival.  If you want to go to Food & Wine I highly recommend looking into a hotel on property.  You can walk to the festival from the Boardwalk hotel, Yacht or Beach club, and the Swan & Dolphin.  You have easy access to Epcot from the "International Gateway" entrance.  It will put you into the park right between France and England.  Best of all there's no driving.  Food + Wine + Driving isn't cool.  Just walk it off to your hotel room and be safe!

Since we've been "Food & Wine Pros" for a while, we have seen some changes over the years.  It's become SO much more crowded then in the past.  I knew we were going on a Saturday and that we should expect lines, but I was surprised by how long they were.  We stuck to shorter lines like Morocco and Greece, but did wait it out for 30 minutes to get a beer flight and beef slider in America.  Another tip is to head to "The Chew" food stands closer to the Epcot ball.  It was much more peaceful over there with short lines.

Another change...smaller beers.  I totally get why they would shrink the size of the beers to "slow the roll" of those drinking, but these are beers for ants.  30 minutes in line for a 3 oz beer?  My 1 normal size beer at a non Food & Wine marketplace.  Keep the cup.  Then by 2 beers when you're at the marketplace and pour them into your saved cup.  Voila.  Beer in a normal human sized cup.
The last thing I noticed....people are serious about their drinking around the world.  So serious they get special shirts made.  I can't tell you how many groups I saw with specific "let's get drunk at Epcot" themed shirts.  Maybe I'm a prude, but I just can't wear a shirt in Disney proclaiming I'm there to drink too much.  Also if you want Disney security to keep a keen eye on you wear matching shirts that say "Drink, Drank, Drunk" with Mickey faces on them.  Just sayin'
Kyle and I had a great time together despite the lines and tiny lagers.  Our favorite eats were the beef tenderloin in Patagonia and the liquid nitrogen dessert at The Chew.
We spent about 4 hours at the festival then stopped at the ESPN Club for more food and football.  About that FSU game.....ouch.

It's been a great October so far and this week is BIRTHDAY week for me!

Have you been to Food & Wine at Epcot?
Are you dressing up for Halloween?

Love and holiday festivities,
Carissa & Kyle

Monday, October 19, 2015

Race Training with an Infant

When I was pregnant with the Bear one thing I looked forward was running again and racing.  I'm love running, but I particularly love training for a race.  The structure, the consistency, that's my jam.  Correction.  That was my jam.

Captain Obvious statement of the week: Having a baby changes everything.
I am running the Space Coast Half Marathon on November 30.  It's a great race and I'm so excited to run.  And I am not at all trained for the race.  I hate admitting that, but it's true.

Here's my new race plan:
Run as far as I can whenever I can.

I am going to finish that race.  I'm going to celebrate the heck out of my first race as a "Mother Runner".  It's not going to be my fastest race, but I'll be out there.  And I'm stoked about that! God bless the Galloway method, because it's the only thing making me feel like this is possible.  I know if I stick to my run-walk-run strategy then I can up my mileage the best I can and finish the race safely and healthy.  Jeff G - you're the man!

For those wondering how my race training got so off, it wasn't just the baby.  For those pregnant ladies or future mommies reading here's a tip - you feet will change after pregnancy.  Mine got wider and in my case that led to 2 infected toenails.  Yup, that's gross.  I finished a 6 mile training run and got home to find my toe kinda hurt.  No biggie.  Then about 3 hours later I noticed my toe was red and the redness was spreading.  I sent a pic to my Mom to get her thoughts and they were "see a doctor!".  Apparently infections can happen fast and spread fast.  2 rounds of antibiotics, 2 toenails removed, 3 weeks later, and 1 MRSA test (that was negative) and I was cleared to run again.  I have new shoes (size 9!) and I run only in Injingi toe socks.
Bear and I have been doing some stroller running together.  It's fun and she usually falls fast asleep.  It's not quite as hard as I thought it would be.  It's hard, but if I pump one arm then I can keep moving at a somewhat decent pace.  In a few months she'll move out of her car seat and fully into the Bob.  The hard part is it's just now not 90 degrees here in Orlando, so I can't stay out too long.  Hot baby = grumpy baby.

Bear and I also did our first 5k this weekend.  It was the Run For Aven which helps support beautiful Aven who is healing from a very aggressive form of soft tissue cancer.
The race went through a local park, Moss Park, and at first I was afraid of some offroad terrain but the Bob stroller did great.  So did Bear.  She was awake the whole time chewing on a toy :)
Mom and I did 2 minute 30 second intervals with 30 seconds of walking and finished in 33:24.  Actually Mom finished in she got those 2 seconds on me I don't know...hmmmmm.... Here's the funny part - both Mom and I WON our age groups!  Pushing a baby and we won our age groups!  Gotta love small races!
I'm looking forward to running more races on my own and with the Bear....even if my training lags as a result!

What races are you training for?
How do you train when life gets busy?

Love and 3 wheeling,
Carissa & Kyle

Monday, October 12, 2015

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal is a perfect make ahead breakfast that gives you all the flavors of fall and a healthy boost of nutrition.
You don't need me to tell you that we are in the midst of pumpkin mayhem.  There is pumpkin flavored everything!
The only person missing the trend is the Bear...sorry honey...right now you get 1 food source and it's NOT pumpkin flavored!  I truly think Starbucks started this pumpkin mayhem and while I'm not mad at it I do think 1 flavor of fall got the short end of the stick - the apple!
Fall, cider mills, apples I missing something?  Today I'm here to #BringBackTheApple with an easy, make ahead breakfast recipe.
Steel cut oats are technically not that much different from rolled oats nutritionally, but they are lower on the glycemic index which for some people is important.  They take longer to cook, therefore you just have to plan accordingly when you want to make them.

This recipe really does taste like apple pie.  I make it once a week and portion it out to be reheated in the morning.  I usually add fresh berries, pumpkin seeds, and a touch of maple syrup to mine before eating.  Kyle has is plain and it's actually his second serving of oatmeal in the morning.  He has our favorite baked oatmeal on the way to work and this as his midmorning snack.  The boy eats some oats.

If you're looking for a new breakfast recipe or just wanting to let the real produce star of fall shine give these oats a try!

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal

  • 1 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 diced apples (pears or peaches work too depending on the season)
  • 2 cups soy milk (or your milk of choice)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon or *shudder* pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir.
  • Cook on low 4-6 hours or until liquid is absorbed
I jazz mine up before serving and I also add a little extra milk if I'm feeling like creamier oats.  It's really up to you on the cooking time.  If you like thick oats cook longer and wait until you get a consistency you like. I also highly recommend buying slow cooker liners to use.  It's an extra expense, but it makes clean up so easy!  You can find them near the sandwich bags and foil in the supermarket.

What's your typical breakfast?
What's the last pumpkin thing you ate?

Love and how 'bout them apples,
Carissa & Kyle

Monday, October 5, 2015

I'm here, I'm here!

Ummmmm.....Hi!?!?!  Hello terribly neglected blog.  I'm here and I promise I still love you.  How are YOU?
I just wanted to pop in and say hi....admit that I've neglected my blog...and promise that this time I have a plan to get back on track to consistently share all the fitness, food, and family of 3 fun that I want to share.  My goal will be to weekly post a wrap up of everything that's going on including workout tips, running updates, and some family fun too.  How does that sound?   

It might be hard to believe but little Bear is 4 months old! It's crazy!  She has grown so much and what I love most is how alert and aware she is now.  
Kyle and I have been trying to establish a routine and balance the bear, the gym, my business, travel, RunDisney, and our commitment to healthy, fit living.  It's been a challenge and a learning experience, but I think we're getting there.  I've never eaten so much take out food in my life..but..we're getting there.

Early in September I took off to California for the 10th anniversary Disneyland Half Marathon weekend.  Kyle, the Bear, and even my Mom stayed at home and I got to hang out with 2 of my best girl friends during the work weekend. They were both very unimpressed with the size of the Disneyland castle...ahem.....
It was a great weekend and it felt so good to be reunited with my RunDisney friends and family.
I took a trip down Florida's turnpike to Miami for several TV appearances and met Ryan Eggold from NBC's The Blacklist.
I've also been back to working out and running.  My first race as a #MotherRunner is coming up quickly.  It's the Space Coast Half Marathon on November 30.  Don't expect any speed records.  My goal is to get in the miles of training to finish healthy and then up my speed work game for my next race in January.  
Last weekend I traveled again and headed to Nashville for the annual national dietitian conference called FNCE.  It was tough to get away, but a really productive work weekend and a great inspiring reminder to keep pursuing my passion and doing what I love.

That's what we've been up to.  I'd love to know what's going on in your world!
I'll be back soon and we'll get this blog back in action ASAP!

Tell me something good going on with YOU!

Love and reconnecting,
Carissa & Kyle