Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Operation Sparkle: Flat Addie...NOW with REVISED weather appropriateness!!!!

Well, tomorrow is the day! I get on the plane and I'm off to Orlando and I honestly have no earthly idea how I'm going to get through work today.

I'm very proud of myself because I've gotten to work early every day this week to get ahead on my reading and I've warned everyone I work with that my email checking will be limited and this may actually resemble a REAL VACATION. Except the part where I have to wake up at 3 am every day.

But I'm also almost entirely packed! Even my last minute purchase to make my 5K outfit weather appropriate came yesterday! Especially since runDisney put this out yesterday...

Appropriate, no?
But when I was repacking, I realized y'all have yet to glimpse my costumes! So here we go.

5K Costume: "Anna" from Frozen
The long-sleeved shirt is actually blue. And then I embellished the black top and made the caplet and skirt. And hat with braids. Added some gloves and my long thermal pants. Hopefully I'll be warm...My hat with the braids is probably my favorite this I made for this. 

10K Costume: "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast-Ballroom Scene
I'm a little worried this will prove cold, but hopefully not because I think its so cute! I know her dress is only gold in the movie, but I wanted to add in the pink rose embellishments to tie in one of my favorite icons from the movie. This is also the costume I'll be wearing a tiara with!

Half Costume: "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast - Provincial
This is my favorite Disney outfit EVER. I just hope it's obvious I'm Belle...not Alice in Wonderland...haha. I added some 'hair" to the bow headband so it looks like a ponytail. Hopefully that helps clear it up. This is my simplest costume and that's what I made it the half costume. I wanted to be comfortable.

So those are the costumes! They are all packed up and ready to go! Thanks to Space Bags, they are all in my carryon in case the airline offers to check my bag. And of course, Sven has claimed his spot. 
For those of you who don't know, this is Sven. He travels with me. And poses for Instagram shots. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Operation Sparkle: A Reflection

So when I said a blog everyday for the week leading up to the culmination of Operation Sparkle...I meant weekdays ;)

Yesterday...well, yesterday it hit me. I think it's been slowly building since the countdown hit single digits...but yesterday, it hit me just how close we actually are. And how far I've come.

I told you last week that there were friends who admitted to me recently that when I told them that I was doing this they doubted I would follow through. Honestly, I doubted I would follow through in some moments. And then over the summer when I found myself registered, I knew that wasn't going to be the case.

I decided to do this a little over a year ago. I had been a runner for approximately 4 months. I had barely finished the couch to 5K program and Catie had just returned from doing the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World, where, at my request, she had sent me all sorts of pictures and I thought "I want that. I want to do that." It was further cemented when, a month later, when Catie returned from Princess Weekend.

I started a 10K training program. Then a half marathon training program. Before that was over, I had to register for this weekend and I registered for all three races. Because I'm crazy. Or I will run for bling. One or the other.

In August, I booked my flights and that was the day that my mom decided to come too. And I was so excited. We're staying at a hotel I've never been to and I've been planning since August where and what we were going to do. In September I started GSC training, which saw me through this past weekend, which I decided to skip in favor of not risking injury before the big weekend.

In between January 2014 and now, I've logged over 500 miles. I've run four 10Ks, one 5K and 2 half marathons. I have to admit, it's been challenging. It's been life-changing. Sometimes I can't believe how far I've come and how much of this journey I've still got left. Not counting next weekend, I'm already registered for 5 more half marathons this year, and intend at least one more and a 10-miler. I've got Operation 2015 to complete. And then who knows what's beyond that. The plunge of a full? Time will tell.

But it's almost time to complete the task that started this whole journey. It's crazy to think where I was a year ago...where I am now. How far I've come.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Operation Sparkle: The forecast!!!

First of all, let me say that I love that typing in Walt Disney World into the Weather Channel automatically makes the background image the castle. What a sight!

Anywho! Here we are, another blog in our weeklong leadup to the culmination of Operation Sparkle. Today, we are close enough that the entire forecast for race weekend now exists in the 10-day outlook!

I've been a morning runner from the beginning, so I've gotten very used to watching the weather forecasts like a hawk. For morning races and runs, it's not so much what the High is going to be that day, but what the Low will be the night before. And because it's Florida, an idea of overnight humidity.
Thursday night indicates the 5K forecast
So the 5K outlook doesn't look that bad. It may be a little chilly at the start (and with sunrise not until most people will be finished it could stay chilly). I think I've officially decided to pack long pant for that costume instead of capris. Hopefully that will be enough. May need some throwaway gloves as well. And a trusty trash bag.

Friday night indicates the 10K forecast
The 10K outlook look warmer...but it also looks a bit more humid. Still a chilly start, but the thicker air may actually make it feel warmer. I think my capris will be good for this one.

Saturday night indicates the Half forecast
The big one! I'm actually really excited about this forecast. This is great running weather. And my half costume should be perfect to go along with it. The only thing that could be a problem is that humidity. But hopefully it won't be too bad...especially if it's like Saturday, because I'll have an idea of what it feels like.

The good news is *knock on wood...seriously, I'm almost afraid to type it and jinx myself* there doesn't seem to be much call for least there's that!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Operation Sparkle: The Merch!

Afternoon junkies,
I really need to come up with a better name for you all dear readers. Suggestions welcome.

Today, we continue our week long blog lead-up for the Disney Princess Half weekend...the culmination of Operation Sparkle by taking a closer look at some of the official merchandise RunDisney released earlier this week.

I have to admit, it caused quite a frenzy across the interwebs. So let's take a look, shall we?

First up - the Dooney's...
Credit: Disney Parks Blog & The Main Street Mouse
My thoughts? I love it...I truly do. But Dooney & Burke is WAAAAAAY out of my price range. As if these races didn't already cost me enough, I'm now going to add another $100-$200 to commemorate the experience? I can find a better way to spend that money (and wind up with a few more souvenirs)...Additionally, there is no preorder opportunity this year, so there will be a mad rush to try and get them.
Final Verdict: I will not be purchasing. As my mother pointed out, D&B start out heavy...and who wants a heavy purse? (My friend Aut responded that they are heavy because your soul is saying " paid how much for a purse?"). Now if rD starts making racing Veras....

Next up - the Sneakers
Credit: New Balance & The Main Street Mouse
My Thoughts? They're ugly. Plain and simple. Okay, maybe ugly is harsh. They're very...masculine for a women's shoe. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with's just not my style. When they were first released in advance to WDW Marathon weekend, a lot of people didn't find them as pretty as last years shoes and hoped a different set would be released for Princess. This week those hopes were dashed and this is what we're stuck with. You'd this for the "Princess" themed, female centric race weekend they'd be a little more...girly? 
Final Verdict: I will not be purchasing. Another madhouse line I get to avoid!

At this point, my wallet is pretty happy with me. But then...there's the rest of the race merch...
All above Credit: Disney Parks Blog & The Main Street Mouse
My thoughts? OMG! The onslaught of want! That was my initial reaction anyway. But then I remembered I have a budget and I can't BUY ALL THE THINGS (as much as I want to). So instead, I started thinking practically. What do I need to commemorate this...first thing thrown out where the ear hat and the phone cases. I made super cute ears for the weekend that I'll be sporting and I already have a phone case that I love. And I'm not the kind of person who switches out their phone cases regularly. The event pins I've already preordered and paid for (yay!) and I have no need for mini versions of the medals I'll be earning...I'll have the big ones! As for the rD magicbands, while I understand their appeal, I'm already going to have the pink one that came with my resort stay and the Special Edition Belle one I plan on getting while I'm there. I don't go to Disney enough to get anymore. So that leaves the apparel. I love Bondi-Bands...I got some in my goody bag at my half in January and have become a convert. So a couple of those are on my list. There's also some GSC bands I've seen elsewhere that aren't in the above pics that I hope to pick up as well. I also really want the black GSC "I did it" tshirt. I love getting tech shirts for my races to train in, but I also like have tshirts to wear around work and school and town to show off my accomplishments. I love the GSC wine glass as well and the hat, and and the jacket.
Final Verdict: The headbands are a definite. The tshirt is a definite (hopefully they still have my size when I get there). The wine glass and hat will depend on cost. And as much as I want the jacket, the prices I've had quoted to me makes my wallet cry, so I may have to pass.

Overall, I love the merch. I wish I could get it all. But I know the things I get I will love. I will have to make sure I spend as much time as I can seeing everything in person before I make any impulse decisions. And having mom there for honest opinions will definitely help.

What is your must have item? Have you run before? Have any expo tips for this first timer?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Operation Sparkle: The playlist

Hey there junkies!

Two posts in one week, what will you all do with me? Well, hang on to your hats, because I'm actually going to try and post everyday in this week leading up to the fruits of my yearlong labors.

Today, I want to talk about music. I always run with music. It helps keep me going and it gives me something to listen to and try and overpower that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me to give up.

In preparation for Disney, I have been running with a mix of Disney and non-Disney tunes. I try my best to alternate the Disney and non-Disney. They have to have a good strong beat to keep me going. And that's really my only criteria.

This is the order my "Let's Go for a Little Run" Playlist is currently in, but as has become my prerace tradition, I will probably run with it like this for the 5K and 10K but then shuffle it up before the half. By doing this, I've found that I get a little extra jolt, since I'm not used to what's coming next. The only exception to that shuffle is the first song. It is always my start off because it's a great opener.
Note: If I've been able to, I've linked the song to a youtube vid of it so that you can hear them for yourselves!

Shew...that looks a lot longer when it's typed out. but I'm a 3 hour half marathoner, so I need enough tunes to get me through. So that I can cross the finish line for these:

What's your must have running tune???

Monday, February 9, 2015

Operation Sparkle & Operation 2015: The time is nearly upon us

Well yall...It's almost time to do the thing I set out to do over a year ago. I can't believe I've made it. In 10 short days I will be on a plane to the Happiest Place on Earth to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

This weekend was my last long set of training runs. I did 2 on Friday, 5 on Saturday and just shy of 12 on Sunday to try and simulate what the race weekend will be like. I'm feeling pretty good and my soreness over the weekend was minimal, even though I was still pretty active. It made me pretty excited because I'm hopeful that my park time will be doable.

I've made my schedules and plans everything for me and mom and...well, I'm ready. I just

I've also been fulfilling my year-long challenge for myself, Operation 2015. In January I ran the Phoenix Challenge as part of the Miracle Match Marathon weekend. I wanted to use it as a practice for back to back races at Disney and I must say went very well. I PR'd the half (not hard since my first half was disasterous) and it did wonders to boost my confidence. Even if the hills were murder.

So now the time has come for my #22point4milefebruary. And I have a hot bag to pack in.

The time has come to trust in my training. I have put in the miles and that's what I have to tell that little nagging voice in my head when it starts spouting doubt around mile 8. I'm going to do 3-4 more runs between now and leaving, and I'm going to take them easy.

I cannot believe I've made it this far. I had dinner with some friends on Saturday and they confessed to me that when I told them 15 months ago I was going to do this, they seriously doubted I'd make it this far. Honestly, I did too. I'm the girl who avoided PE as much as possible. I couldn't run a mile without feeling like I was dying and I thought runners were INSANE.

But now, I'm one of them. And I have bling to go get and add to this board.

Keep on running.