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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

RunDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

After months of rumors and speculation, the news is finally out.  Running Star Wars fans rejoice as the RunDisney Star Wars Half Marathon is now no longer a dream in a galaxy far, far away...it's real and it's coming in less than 7 months!
RunDisney announced on Tuesday the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation coming to the Disneyland Resort January 15 - 18, 2015.
The weekend will include:

  • Star Wars Half Marathon - Sunday
  • Star Wars 10k - Saturday
  • Star Wars 5k - Friday
  • Rebel Challenge (Half Marathon + 10k)
  • Kids Races - Saturday
  • Expo - Thursday - Saturday
  • Wookie Welcome Party - Thursday
  • Amazing announcers - Carissa & Rudy (who I hope they dress like yoda!)
This evens the California and Florida RunDisney calendar with 4 major events on each coast and fills the spot opened when the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend moved from January to May.  I know that many people were hoping Star Wars would come to Orlando in May to coincide with Star Wars weekend, but I am a huge fan of the west coast races. The weather will be perfect and I know this is an inaugural event that you won't want to miss.
If you think you have the "force" to run then make sure you sign up as soon as registration opens at noon EST on June 10, 2014.  Avengers sold out in 2 hours people...get on it if you want to run!
I also want to point out that there will be some intergallactically (not a word, but roll with it) stellar runners who complete the Dopey Challenge in Orlando, Castaway Cay 5k on the cruise, AND the Rebel Challenge.  If my math is correct that's 12 medals in 11 days.  Better bring an extra suitcase.

Are you going to sign up for Star Wars?
What do you think of these new races?
Who would you dress up as?

Love and there is no try, 
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Touring the Farm in Vermont

Cabot sponsored my trip to Vermont, but my opinions and love of their cheese is all my own.
Last time we left off I was fast asleep in Vermont with a cheese-full belly and anxiously awaiting another great day in Vermont with Cabot.

Saturday morning I woke up around 6am, had 2 dried plums, and set off with Kelly and Deanna for a 3-mile shake-out run before Sunday's big race.  I also donned by new "Run Vermont" socks that were part of our Cabot swag.

I always do a slow 2-3 miles before a half or full marathon.  Our hotel was located right on Lake Champlain, so we headed down to the water and jogged on the flat bike path. I was surprised that the temperature was much warmer than I anticipated.  I think more than racing I love being able to run with new friends in new cities. It was a great run!

After our run I grabbed a quick coffee and oatmeal breakfast at Starbucks before we started our day exploring Burlington and beyond.
I was most excited for the first stop at Percy Farm.  Cabot is unique because 100% of their profits support their farmers and their families in the Northeast.  I think it's super important to support agriculture in our country and Cabot's commitment to their farmers is amazing.  This also insures a quality product.  It's good stuff.  Fun fact: There were even several farmers running with the Cabot Fit Team in the race.
We met Paul at Percy Farm in Stowe, Vermont and he's just one of 1200 family owned and operated Cabot farmers. Paul and his wife have 2 dairy farms, over 600 cattle, and they milk about 375 of them.  We learned about the process and the cow's diet, which is watched over by a nutritionist!
The scenery was beautiful, everyone on the farm was friendly, and welcomed all of our questions.  

After an hour or so on the farm we headed to another Vermont tourist stop, the Von Trapp Family Lodge.  Think, "the hills are alive"...yup those Von Trapp's.  I really didn't know they were a "real" family, but I guess you learn something new everyday.  We had a very brief stop at the lodge, because it started to rain, but we did get a nice Cabot Fit group shot.
Lunch was next on the agenda and we stopped at a cider mill.  The cider mill wasn't in operation making cider, but I did taste some fresh cider and a cider donut.  I read a lot of Northern bloggers who always talk about Cider mills in the fall, so it was nice to get to visit one.
We also opted to eat lunch there and I went with a pressed panini full of local ingredients.  Inside was roasted turkey, bacon, Cabot cheddar, and apples.  Cheesy delight!  
Our final stop of the day was at the Cabot Annex store.  If you live in Vermont then you are one lucky cheese lover!  They had every variety and flavor of cheese (including the Old School) as well as other products like whipped cream, shredded cheese, popcorn topping, and a variety of local caramels. We all crowded around the sample table and sampled cheese like we'd never tasted them before in our lives.  #StillGood

After the annex we headed back to the hotel for a little R&R.  As much as I wanted to explore more I knew that some time off my feet might be a good idea.  I watched some TV and then headed off to Downtown Burlington for my traditional pre-race beer. 
I was back in the room and ready for bed and the race by 9pm. Thank you to Cabot for another great race.  In my next post I'll share my race recap....spoiler alert...the hills were ALIVE....and it hurt! :)
Have you been to a cider mill?
Do you have any big tourist destinations in your area?

Love and Julie Andrews,
Carissa & Kyle

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cabot Fit Team in Vermont Day 1

This weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Vermont and run 13.1 miles as part of the Cabot Fit Team.  As psyched as I was to eat oodles of cheese, I was also excited to learn more about the farmers and process that goes into making award winning cheddar...however that doesn't happen in Orlando so early Friday morning I made my trek up north.
I had a 2+ hour layover in LaGuardia and then I found myself on a tiny and apparently ancient plane.  Note to self:  Please leave your hotdogs and cassette tapes in the terminal.
Gosh what am I going to do now with out my Phish mix tape I made for this trip.  #Fail
Love these things!
After being #48 for take-off and a taxi time that was longer than my entire flight I arrived in Vermont.  Everything from the air was so green and beautiful.

Quickly after I landed 2 members of the Cabot Fit team including their RD Regan picked me up in a minivan and the adventure began.  I had only a few minutes for a quick change before our first event.  Since the weekend was sponsored by Cabot, we were able to meet with one of Cabot's "Cheese Graders" and learn about how the cheese is produced, monitored, and how the different varieties are created.
We started our sampling with the sharp and went through the flavor spectrum to "Old School."  The milk and then the cheeses are meticulously tasted and measured throughout their life to make sure they are aging properly and taking on the flavor characteristics of each particular flavor.
Depending on factors like what the cows eat, the cheese can actually have a very different flavor.  I love sharp, rich cheddar and the Old School blew me away.  This one had aged 6 years and was amazingly smooth and creamy with the perfect cheddar bite.  You can only buy "Old School" online or at the Cabot Annex store in Vermont.  If you ever have a chance to try it do NOT miss it.
"Cheesy selfie"
For those of you who are new to my love of Cabot here are a few reasons why Cabot cheese is my absolute favorite:
  • 100% of their profits go to their Cabot farmers
  • Lactose Free- naturally aged cheese like Cabot is lactose free
  • Gluten Free
  • Great flavors like the Old School, Alpine Cheddar, and Everything Bagel
  • Just plain delicious

After our bellies were full and our palates educated, we were treated to a fresh, local dinner at the South End Kitchen.  I opted for a chicken salad on spinach and candied walnuts and a cider vinaigrette.  Perfect light meal to end my night.
Once dinner was over we headed back to the hotel and after a long day of travel I was ready for bed.

If you want to catch up with more #CabotFit travels, check out the rest of the Cabot Fit Blogging team:

Have you tried Cabot cheese?
What's the last "new state" you traveled to?

Love and cheesy co-op,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Expedition Everest Challenge 2014

The 2014 Expedition Everest Challenge at Walt Disney World...aka the time it rained for 48 hours.

In my 10 years as a race announcer for Walt Disney World I have had rain at 3..just THREE..events.

Years and years ago we had an inline marathon and it rained the first year I announced that, which delayed the start due to the slippery conditions at the Boardwalk Hotel.  Everest in 2009 (I think) had a crazy strong thunderstorm to roll in and cause us to stop the race for safety.  This year's Everest Challenge was the first race day since then that had precipitation.  Luckily there was no lightening and it was just a cool, wet night.  Good thing it was already called a challenge! :)
The race was Saturday night at 10pm and I checked into Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge on Friday night.  This is my top DisneyWorld hotel barely edging out The Boardwalk.  I've never stayed at Grand Floridian to compare...just sayin'. But I don't think they have giraffes and zebras.

Saturday morning I was in my best rain gear at ESPN's Wide World of Sports for the kids races and Family Challenge.  Despite the pouring rain at times a lot of the kids said it was their favorite kids race ever.
The Family Challenge was great too and the team that won proudly told me that they were 7th last year and 1st this year! Congrats and hooray for ponchos.

After the challenge wrapped up around noon I headed back to the hotel for a mandatory long day nap.  90 minutes later I was rested and decided to take on my own 5k before the race.  I actually did high intensity interval 1 minute sprints, but it ended up being a 5k.  Shout out to Michelle from the Mickey Miles Podcast for the Mickey Milers sweatyband.  The perfect RunDisney weekend accessory.
Expedition Everest is always a special race for me, because Kyle runs!  He's not a distance running guy, but he'll take on a fun challenge in his favorite Disney park.  Kyle ran on a team with his brother-in-law Matt.  They became "Team BIL".  Kyle's sister Kelsey ran alone and although she probably could have won the female race she decided to stay with the boys and run for fun.

I interviewed Team BIL before the start of the race and asked Kyle about his training routine.  Kyle said, "Beer on Friday and workouts on Saturday." Good plan my man.
For those of you who aren't familiar, the Expedition Everest Challenge combines a roughly 3 mile run with 3 obstacles and then a clue/scavenger hunt through Animal Kingdom.  Your time finishes when you get the answer to the clues and exit the park.  Then of course you get to go back into the park and party!

Mark and I hosted the start line festivities and then after Corral B I headed over to the finish line to welcome in runners as they transitioned to the clues.
This was the same spot where the runners finished the scavenger hunt, so I was there until about 12:30am when all the runners finished.  After a 1am awards ceremony for the top finishers, I was ready for my bed and a snack.  A special shout out to Ben & Christy and the Tampa Bay Boys for their strong finishes!
Another Everest Challenge tradition is a trip to Animal Kingdom the day after.  This year we added breakfast at Boma to the tradition.  French toast bread pudding....all.day.long.
Kyle's favorite attraction is the gorilla enclosure, so we spent a good amount of time there.
Kelsey and I hopped in the single riders line to ride Everest too.  I think that's my second favorite Disney ride. (any guesses on the first?)
Even though it rained and rained, I'd say it was a pretty spectacular weekend!

Have you done the Expedition Everest Challenge?
Favorite Disney ride?
Have you eaten at Boma?

Also  you have seen the latest RunDisney challenge? A cruising' challenge: http://www.rundisney.com/blog/articles/the-castaway-cay-5k-challenge-05-12-2014/

Love and compass medals,
Carissa & Kyle

Related posts:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Master Morning Motivation

How did you start your morning?

- Did you curse your alarm?
- Did you roll over and count 30 more minutes of sleep instead of showering, working out, answering email, etc...
- Did you jump up thinking about the possibilities of a new day?
- Did you fire off a workout that gave you energy for the entire day?
A friend of ours has a sign above his mirror that says, "You got another day.  Now what are you going to do with it?"

I am a firm believer that how your start your morning can set the tone for your day.  On the flip side, I do not do well getting up early to workout.  If I'm meeting a buddy or training with Kyle then yes...if not....then you might count me in the rolling over pile.  But I always, always feel better when I sweat in the am.

Our gym is directly next door to a 7-11, which is great for post workout coffee and bananas.  After a tough 7am workout and 1 mile run last week I was walking into 7-11 to get Kyle coffee.  Entering at the same time was a man with eyes barely open holding the MASSIVE size refillable Big Gulp anxiously waiting to fill it with Mountain Dew.  Here I was full of natural endorphins and pride from finishing a tough workout and he was in serious need of 64 oz of green liquid to function.  How different those mornings started?
Taking 30 minutes in the morning to commit to being fitter and healthier can literally change your life.  Make a new habit whether's it a gym workout, walk around the block, or time for mindful meditation.

Every morning we have a gift - another day.  Be thankful. Feel blessed.  And then get moving because that lion is coming!

What's your morning routine?
AM or PM workout?

Love and gazelles,
Carissa & Kyle