When it’s Time to Part Ways with Your Coach

Now that my training is over for the biggest race of my life its time to reflect on the coaching that got me to that point.

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I recently made the decision to part ways with my running coach, but for very specific reasons.  I feel like these reasons are very valid in why you should no longer work with a coach.  Let me say that I do value the services of a coach and know it has made a positive impact in my running.  That being said I don’t feel my current coach is a good fit me for anymore.  I definitely don’t want this to be a trash talk session so I’m going to highlight the key reasons I came to my decision.   Can we just take a moment to appreciate the 10+ years younger me running my first official 5k.  Little baby Rachael 😀

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  • Your coach no longer gives you the level of attention you need.  I’m not saying I need a text everyday saying “good job” but if I leave a comment in my training log that is visible to my coach that warrants a response, a response would be nice.  If questions to your coach like stretching techniques, pace requirements, or general running concerns are being ignored this is a problem.
  • Your coach doesn’t remember key race dates.  My coach forgot about 3 of my races most important of which was my marathon.  This might be partly my fault because I didn’t put the dates in the app we use, but I did let her know and we did have conversations about each race.  If my training is being based around races this is a big issue.
  • Your coach doesn’t/wont adapt your training to fit your life needs.  I’ve told my coach many times I cant run on Mondays because of my travel schedule for work.  I’ve told her I cant run longer than 50 minutes during the week because of my daily time constraints in the morning, she ignores both of these requests.  This is an issue.
  • You coach doesn’t coach.  When paces are missed, distances not met or I’m struggling with a workout I expect my coach to offer suggestions or advise or SOMETHING to help me through.  What I don’t expect is to be ignored when I bring up that a workout is difficult or I’m struggling.  This is not ok.
  • Your coach doesn’t provide pre-race support.  I mentioned this in my marathon post but I didn’t hear from my coach at all in the month leading up to and including race day.  This is the 3rd time she’s done this and really to me is unacceptable.  I have, on multiple occasions reached out to solicit information (pace, strategy) but in my opinion the paid professional should be reaching out with this information not the other way around.

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There are other minor things that was annoying but the points listed to me are all major problems that led to the decision that my coach and I are no longer a fit.  There has been no progress since my half marathon in February, in fact my times have gotten worse.  As much money as I pay for a service this should not be the case.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t expect a PR every run but for times to regress consistently proves problematic.

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I will go back to coaching but this time I know more about the process and I know more of the questions to ask and what I need from a coach.  While I don’t regret my decision to hire my past coach, I cant help but be frustrated.  Next time I want a coach who’s focus is on running.  My old coach focused mainly on tri-athletes and maybe she thought “just running” was boring or too easy so she let it slide.  Either way, its just no longer right for me.

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I don’t want to leave on a negative note so…if you know of a great running coach that is positive/encouraging and knows running let me know!  Also it would be great if said coach wasn’t so expensive I have to sell a kidney 🙂  I also want to reiterate that I do believe in a professional helping you reach your running goals.  I don’t have the patience to figure things out like pace, VDOT and all that crazy tech talk.  You know the saying, if you don’t want to do it yourself be prepared to pay someone to do it for you 🙂

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CHIME IN!!!  Do you have a running coach?  Have you had to part ways with a paid professional?  What are your thoughts on running coaches?

I Survived my First Marathon! Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

I’m alive!!  I finished my first marathon and it wasn’t horrible!  That’s pretty exciting stuff in my opinion.  Let’s go over every mile in extreme detail…JUST KIDDING let’s not do that.  Instead let’s take a walk down memory lane and go through the highs and lows that is running a marathon.

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First up is the expo.  I knew going in I had some issues to deal with.  My proof of time was lost in cyber-space giving me coral M (finish time of 6:30) and not at all where I needed to be.  Luckily I was able to get my coral changed because I had proof of my submission (thanks Mom).  REMEMBER TO SAVE YOUR SUBMISSION just in case this ever happens to you.  RunDisney will ONLY change the coral if you can prove you did in fact submit your time.  This means taking a screenshot of the submission form and saving that just in case.  I will be doing that for ever race in the future because this was stress I just didn’t need.  I was able to get my coral changed to G.  Yeah that’s 6 corals ahead of where I was and 30 minutes less of waiting around in said coral.  This also meant that I was able to get a castle pic with the ice lights on before the sun came up which was a huge priority for me.  Yeah I’m weird but it was a main draw for running this race.  Thank God it came out ok!

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Other than the bib change we went through the expo pretty quickly.  I was disappointed that SparkleSkirts wasn’t there I had planned on getting a skirt and wearing it for the race 😦  Oh well se la vie!  After the expo we headed over to Epcot for dinner then early to bed since we drove from Houston to Orlando.  Joe needed a good nights sleep 🙂

Next day is Saturday, in case you didn’t know the half marathon was canceled due to lightning and the storm was pretty intense.  It was sad but luckily it was not a race I was running!  It rained a little bit more that day while we were at Magic Kingdom but I don’t mind since it keeps the crowds low.  After lunch at Be Our Guest we headed back to Epcot for dinner at Via Napoli.  Its pretty much tradition at this point for me to have pizza before a race and Via Napoli is THE BEST pizza in Orlando.  Pizza did not disappoint, then we headed back to the room for early  bed time for early wake-up call.  Unfortunately I slept like crap but that was a little expected before my first marathon.

3:15am alarm, out the door by 3:45am with an english muffin with almond butter and a banana in hand.  Also my trusty water bottle with a Nuun tab and it was off to a FREEZING start line.  I thought 30 degrees would be fine with what I was wearing but I totally forgot about the windchill which made it more like 20 degrees.  Yup it was cold, my body was shaking uncontrollably by the start but we will get into those lingering issues in a moment.  I was coral G and just like that we were off.  I think it was about 20 minutes from first wave to us.

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The first couple of miles were uneventful running to Magic Kingdom.  I was running a pretty solid 11 minute mile pace and was freezing which does help me run faster.  I was so cold I didn’t do any run/walk intervals until mile 8.  I knew if I started walking my body temp would drop again.  Which was proven when I stopped at mile 3 for the bathroom.  My one and only bathroom stop people!  It took me another 4 miles to warm up again from that.  Anyway, into Magic Kingdom the sun started to come up so I picked up the pace a smidge just to make sure I got my castle picture and I told myself I could take it easy after that because that was my magic shot of the whole race.

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After the castle it was pretty  boring again, very few characters out (I think due to the weather) and not much to see until mile 7.7 I ran past the Polynesian and Joe was out cheering me on!  Energy boost success!  Around this time I was getting concerned that I hadn’t seen any food stops.  I had checked the map the night before and saw quite a few so I didn’t bring as many gels as I needed because of this.  Mistake #1 people.  I even knew this was a bad idea but I did it anyway.  I took a gel at mile 10 but knew I only had 1 left so I had to start planning.  I knew Joe would be at mile 20 with 3 more gels if I needed them and I had 1 one me at the moment.  So that meant I couldn’t take that other gel until mile 16 to keep them spaced out.  I also realized that my hands had no circulation.  They were freezing and swollen and concerned me.  I ran with my hands up quite a bit to try and get the blood flowing, during walk breaks I had my hands in my arm-pits (super classy I know) but it was an issue the whole run.

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Around mile 12 there was a food stop but it was bananas.  Now I have never trained on real food only gels so as much as I wanted that boost of energy there was no way I was going to mess with my fueling routine.  I sadly ran past the food and on to Animal Kingdom.  Around this time was also when I started to have serious tightness and pain in my bladder area again.  I have no idea what this pain is or why its happening but I stretched it a few times with no help at all.  I think ultimately this is what caused me to be so slow at the end because it was just so hard to get past the constant never ending pain.

 

Through Animal Kingdom in a flash with again hardly any characters and no run past the tree of life (with a photographer) luckily I snapped my own pic on the way in (my goal was to get a picture with each park icon).  Out of Animal Kingdom and on to ESPN Wide World of Sports.  Around this time I knew Brittany and Patrick would be finishing breakfast and looking for a place to find me.  Unbeknownst to me my live tracking was not working (Garmin watch capability) 😦  So I missed them at mile 15.5 by about 20 minutes.  Boo!!  Headed into ESPN I knew everyone hated this stretch and said it was the most boring part of the run.  I was prepared, I knew it was going to be boring and I was at peace with that.  Around mile 20 before we headed into the complex there was THANK GOD gel.  I took one and saved it to take at mile 22 (I had just taken the last one I had at mile 16).  There was one other gel station but I cant remember where it was…mile 22 I think, there was another banana one as well but I have no idea where that was because I wasn’t going to eat one.

Right when you got into the complex Mickey and Minnie were there and I veered off to get a pic…then they walked off for some cheese.  Yup, nope, not waiting an extra 10 minutes and off I went.  I actually really enjoyed the run through ESPN.  It was very similar to running through the Woodlands with my running group.  All the trees and meandering I found this part very peaceful.  Don’t get me wrong I was struggling but peaceful none the less.  True to his word Joe was waiting for me at mile 20 and I was so happy to see him.  From this point on this is the farthest I have ever run and many runners say this is when they hit their wall.  I asked him to be here so I could get an energy boost.  He did just that and folks..the emotions started to hit me.  Seeing Joe, knowing how far I had run, knowing how difficult my body was being up to this point…but I choked it down and kept running.

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Only a 10k to go and that’s a no-brainer for me!  That was my mantra until mile 23, then it was only a 5k to go!!  5k’s I do every run!  At this point we were making our way into Hollywood Studios and I stopped for Oswald because I have never met him before and why not.  Luckily I stopped and checked my phone because I saw Brittany and Patrick were here!!  You guys, so many emotions hit me here.  Seeing them so excited for me, up so early to come support me and cheering me on.  It took a lot not to burst into tears…marathon emotions are real!!  I stopped for a minute to get the best hug from Brittany, encouraging words from both her and Patrick then back to running.  That boosted me until mile 25.5 where I had to go back to longer walk intervals.  Until I saw mile 26 then it was no more walking you run your ass through that finish line like the winner you are.

 

And that’s just what I did, smile on my face the whole way I ran through that finish line (almost stopped for Donald and sad I didn’t).  I heard Joe cheering my name, tried my best not to let the emotions take me down, got my medal, got my finisher picture then met my amazing husband and friends for all the post marathon hugs.  After the race we headed back to the hotel so I could take a shower, eat, change and then head to Magic Kingdom.  It was really rough walking around that day because my feet were so tired but it was probably the best thing for me.  I had issues all day with the cold which ultimately had us call it an early night and not see the fireworks 😦

The next day I was still pretty stiff but I was able to walk around pretty well the only issue was my knees and that was expected.  Today was also heading to a cruise ship after a fun morning at Magic Kingdom so I wasn’t too worried about stiff knees 🙂

Here are my main thoughts on the marathon:

  • Always bring all your fuel, don’t count on the course even if it says there will be fuel
  • People support is essential.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t hit the dreaded wall because I had support throughout the course that helped me through
  • Run your race, don’t let the people passing you get in your head.  This took me a long time to learn but thank God I did before marathon day.
  • Drink water even if you don’t think you are thirsty.  I had water at every stop except mile 1.
  • Run/Walk intervals help break up the time so you don’t look at your watch and think “oh my gosh 2 hours to go” now its “only 3 more minutes until a walk break”.  Much more manageable mentally for me.
  • I would run another marathon, definitely not more than 1 a year but I would definitely do another one.  Chicago, New York I’m looking at you.
  • You have to be strong mentally for this kind of thing.  Its not easy to run for more than 3 hours and that’s where those training runs come in.
  • My main thought during the race to keep me going was “if you stop its just going to take you that much longer to finish”.  My mile 20, all I wanted to do was be done so that helped a lot.  I never stopped…well not counting pictures I mean like prolonged gotta stop because I want to die kind of stop.  I did walk more than I planned but that’s still better than a straight up stop.
  • I’m firing my running coach**

**This deserves its own bullet point.  Its no secret I’ve been disenfranchised with my running coach as of late but this race weekend was the straw that broke the camels back.  Not only did my coach not text/communicate with me AT ALL prior to the race, she didn’t provide any guidance, pace goals, finish times, NOTHING prior to the marathon.  In fact I haven’t actually heard from her (outside of her posting workouts) for over a month.  Not only did she forget I was training for a marathon, she forgot where it was, forgot to wish me luck and forgot to tell me how fast I should be running it.  I tried to ignore it but at mile 8 when I was in pain and frustrated I decided her and I are done.  I paid through March but I don’t want someone who clearly doesn’t want to be my coach, as my coach.  I’m not saying I need to be babied or anything but seeing as she knew this was my first marathon and she has done multiple, as a coach, I feel the least she could have done was given some kind of strategy.  There are quite a few other issues I’ve had with her but this was it, this pushed me over the edge and I decided right there during the marathon that she is done.  I wont continue to pay for an individualized service that I’m not receiving. **Ok sorry, I had to get that out there because really it was the only big glaring negative of the whole experience.

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Physically the most concerning aspect of the marathon was the cold/circulation issues I had.  My hands didn’t get back to normal until I took a hot shower and my body until the week we got back from the cruise was having issues with getting super cold.  I know this is due to the hour I spent in the cold and that’s all on me for not having some kind of throw-away jacket.  I wont make that mistake again but it was a hard lesson to learn.

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All in all, look I’m not going to say it was easy.  Heck no it wasn’t easy and it hurt and I struggled from time to time but at the end of the day I’m happy I ran a marathon.  I’m happy I have awesome friends who came out for support and I’m happy I have a husband who will get up at 3:15am with me to cheer me on.  I’m grateful for everyone that sent me well-wishes leading up to the race and I’m proud to say I’ve done a marathon.  If you are on the fence about tackling the beast that is marathon training, I say go for it!  It was scary but I think it was worth it.  I just wish I could wear my medal everywhere and hear congratulations all the time like they do at Disney 🙂

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CHIME IN!!!  How was your first marathon?  What’s holding you back from registering for you first?  Do you run/walk?

Workout Recap 1/10-16

Post marathon week and that means recovery week.  I’m also on a Disney Cruise and have no intention of working out so this recap is going to be bare bones 🙂

Tuesday:  Day at Sea and a day spent walking around the boat, meeting Disney Characters and having an all around leisurely day.  Perfect for my tired muscles.  No foam rolling because, hello, its a cruise room and there is no extra space for that kind of thing.

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Wednesday:  I actually did a 5k today!  Today was Castaway Cay Challenge day.  What that means is you ran a race during Walt Disney World marathon weekend, then you took this cruise and ran the 5k on the island.  There is a special medal in addition to the plastic one they give out.  I decided to run this a little faster and earn that A coral I was given.  I finished in 31 minutes and that’s including 2 character stops!  Too bad the course wasnt timed or that would have been a nice 5k time.  Stopped to meet Donald post race in his fancy beach wear.  No stretching or foam rolling again cause of space.

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Thursday:  Nassau beach day and some walking around the beach and the Bahamas.  My calves are still pretty painful, like that weird pain I had leading up to the race but I think its just because I haven’t been able to foam roll just yet.

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Friday:  Back on dry land and headed straight to Epcot for the first day of the Festival of the Arts.  It was a rainy day but I still managed to get my 10,000 steps in for the day.

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Saturday:  We hit up Magic Kingdom before a long day on the road.  We got a few steps in but not as many as I was hoping for since we left a little earlier on account of the silly rain.

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Sunday:  We are home!!!  Unpacking today and resting my poor body.  15 hours in a car is not as fun as it sounds 😛  Oh I also decided to fire my coach today so I guess I should have lead with that.  More to come in marathon recap.  No foam rolling or anything today, I needed it I just didn’t want to.  I’m sure you can relate 🙂

Monday:  My coach did schedule a run today but I am taking this week off as well.  I think after a marathon you deserve 2 weeks of not running.  I did sign up for a pop-up 10k to get a sub hour time for 2018 races but its a 10k so I’m not terribly worried about taking the extra week off 😛  Back to 15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses to loosen up these tight muscles.

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CHIME IN!!!  What do you do post marathon?  If you are in Houston are you doing the Rodeo Run?  How was your week?

How to Pick a Vacation Destination even on a Budget

There are some many great places in the world to visit sometimes it seems hard to even figure out where to start.  Never fear future travelers I am here to help!  In a completely different post writing style I have a fun game to help you pick your destination!

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Let’s play pick your own adventure!  Before we plan our getaway, think of a destination, any destination that you want to go to.  It could be a beach, a city, a far off dessert, just imagine a place you know you would love to go.  Got your place in mind, ok lets start with #1.  If you cant figure out a specific place to go start with #0.

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#0- Too many places to choose from or just have no idea where your ideal vacation is?  Try this-what do you want to experience.  Is it the beach, maybe its a safari, maybe you’ve always wanted to see the largest ball of twine, or maybe you want to unplug and get off the grid.  Name a type of vacation and there is a place to fit that.  What I like to do is use sites like Lonely Planet or Pinterest (if you can believe it) as a starting point.  This will help you narrow down your big idea to specific places.  From that list of destinations then you can figure out a specific spot to start with.  For example lets say you want to go to a beautiful beach.  Search Lonely Planet for “world’s most beautiful beaches” and a whole list will come up.  From that list the Maldives looks the most beautiful.  Now I have my specific location! Once you have your specific spot move on to #1.

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#1- Can you drive to this destination?  If yes go to #2 if no to go #4.

#2- If you can drive to the destination, is it feasible to do so?  For example, if you are traveling with kids can they make the trip and you live to tell the tale.  If its just you how many stops would you have to make and how long would it take.  If the answer to this question is no go to #4.  If the answer is yes go to #3

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#3-Then drive!  Map out your route, make sure your car has good tires and a recent oil change.  Driving saves a lot of money and can be very convenient to have a car in your destination. Now that you know how to get to where your going move on to step #6

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#4- Can you get to this destination by another means of transportation like a train or plan or boat?  If yes go to #5 if no start back at the beginning.  If you cant figure out a way to get to your destination, you probably don’t need to go there anyway!

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#5- Find out how much it would be to travel to the destination.  Flexible travel dates will give you the best chance of finding a great deal.  After you researched the cost of getting to your destination is it within your budget so far?  If no go back to the beginning and think of a new destination.  Remember its not always the right time to go to say Australia but it might be the right time to visit Vancouver.  If the answer is yes go to #6

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#6- Destination picked, mode of transport decided, now its time to talk accommodations.  Can you find a place to stay that is within your budget?  If yes go on to #7 if no go to #8.

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#7- Book your accommodation.  I usually book refundable rates in case I change my mind on the property or find a better deal closer to my travel dates.  Non-refundable rates are almost impossible to get changed even if you find a better deal.  Now that your accommodation is booked go to #9

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#8- Are you sure you cant find an accommodation?  Have you thought about Air B&B, hostel, apartment rentals, unique accommodations.  Sometimes hotels will be sold out but the cute B&B down the street is ready to check you in.  Take one more look.  If you can find a place to rest your head move back to #7, if you cant then start the process over again with a new destination.

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#9- Destination, check.  Transportation, check.  Hotel, check.  Now plan your adventure!  I’ve already done a post about that (click here) so I wont do that again but its really that simple.  There are quite a few apps out there that help you find amazing airfare (I use the hopper) but like I said if you  have flexible dates its a lot more likely you will find some great travel deals.  After you plan your adventure move on to #10.

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#10- GO HAVE FUN!!!  Travel the world, see new things, have life experiences.  Immerse yourself in a new culture, break boundaries you thought you had.  But most of all, have fun and make memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.

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When you enlist the services of a travel planner (such as myself) they can help you figure out where you want to go, when the best time to go would be and find some unique accommodations to stay at.  Travel Planners take all the work out of vacation planning for you and the concierge level service I provide is included with the package price.  Best of all I’ll do the deal hunting and research for you.  Its what I love to do 🙂  You can email me at Rachael@DreamComeTrueVacations.com or like my page on facebook.

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CHIME IN!!!  Where is your dream vacation?  Do you have a hard time figuring out where to go on vacation?  What is holding you back?

 

Running Plans for 2017

2017 is my year.  My year to take some time off from running and get my body back to strong and healthy.  I realized I’ve never taken an extended break from running and Im at the point where its probably past due.  With that being said 2017 running is going to look much different than years past.

Walt Disney World Marathon—already completed

Castaway Cay 5k—in process probably as you read this!  No time goals or anything this was just for the bling 🙂

Rodeo Run 10k, March 7(maybe)—I want to run Princess in 2018 (its an anniversary year) and I want to get a sub hour 10k time for good coral placement.  I’m writing this before the marathon so that’s why its a maybe.  If I think I can recover and get a good time by March then Ill sign up but I wont sign up until I get back from the marathon and have had more time to think about it.

Houston Half, Late October (maybe)—I’m thinking about this race only to see if I can get a sub 2 hour half marathon.  This will largely depend on how much time I take off from running and if I can find a better running coach.  I’ve done 2:13 so its within the realm of possibility but I don’t know if I will want to train during the summer.

That’s it folks, that’s all she wrote.  I have no intention of running any more than these 4 races in 2017.  Its an extreme departure from previous years.  In 2016 alone I ran 8 races, which in hindsight is probably too many.  Se la vie!

Im excited actually to scale things back, sleep in on the weekends, be able to have real weekend plans again.  With that being said you might see less running related posts here and that’s just the direction of my life right now buts its not forever.  Stick around, the runner rest cycle doesnt last long!

CHIME IN!!!  When was the last time you took an extended running break?  What race are you looking forward to in 2017?  Want to run Princess in 2018 with me?

Workout Recap 1/3-9

This is it…marathon week.  Time to put all that practice to work and earn all those calories I’m going to eat on the cruise.  Wish me luck and cold temps so I can make it through, the anxiety has started yall!

Tuesday:  5.5 miles at an average pace of 11:06.  2 miles at an average pace of 10:30 which is the pace I will try and maintain for most of the marathon.  It was nice and cool today and I’m hoping the conditions will be similar on race day.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing that night.  No time to slack off now have to keep the injury prevention going!

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Wednesday:  Rest day!  You know I love a rest day!  I thought about doing a blogilaties video today but I really don’t want to be sore anywhere come race day so I didn’t.  I did however finish taking down the Christmas tree and it was very sad 😦  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing that night.

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Thursday:  Recovery run with 6×30 second pick ups.  Finished with 4 miles for an average pace of 11:06.  It was nice and cold this morning which was perfect!  Its actually pretty close to predicted race day conditions so that was nice.  Confirmed I will be wearing shorts and not pants.  Gotta get that cold air anyway I can!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.  Talk about random things I see on my run…how about a random firework on my own roof!  How did that get there?!

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Friday:  Rest day…and EXPO DAY!!!  We are now officially at Walt Disney World getting my gear for the race and trying to get my corral fixed (wish me luck, Im writing this in advance).  I love expo’s and hope this one is bigger than all the others.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing that night.

Saturday:  Rest day, well not really a rest day we are walking around Epcot and Magic Kingdom.  The plan says a 2.2 mile recovery run but since Im doing a bit of walking at Disney today that will have to suffice.  Carb loading for dinner, early bed time and 15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing to set myself up for success tomorrow.

Sunday:  RACE DAY!!!  All the anxiety and nerves and UGH ITS MARATHON DAY…why did I do this…someone please remind me why I did this!!!  It’s OK though it’s 30 degrees so the only thing I could concentrate on was trying to get warm.   Full recap to come soon but I finished in 5:41:57.  A little off my goal but I don’t even mind!

Monday:  Rest day and off to our cruise!  See you guys in a week!!!

CHIME IN!!!  What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen on a run?  When do you take your Christmas decorations down?  Real or fake tree?

What’s so Great About a Cruise Anyway?

ICYMI I posted a video on my Vacation Planning page talking all about Disney Cruise Line.

The video is specific to Disney Cruise, if you have time give it a view.  I know its a little long there is just so much information to share!

The video is specific to Disney so let’s talk general terms though on why I love cruises so much.

  • You get to visit multiple destinations but all your luggage is in one place!  Speaking from experience it really sucks taking a multi-city vacation for the simple fact that you have to bring your luggage all over the place.  Cruises make that so much easier!  Unpack all your things, get settled into a room and visit ports without all the hassle of baggage.   LOVE IT
  • There are so many places to go!  Alaska, Norway, Mediterranean, British Isles, European River Cruises, Mexico, Bahamas, and so many I’m leaving out.  Cruising allows you to check a few destinations off your travel wish list for one price and on one convenient ship.

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  • Cruising is still elegant.  Its so strange but taking a cruise (ok maybe not carnival) is like going back in time when dressing up for dinner was a thing.  I love formal night on the ship I feel so glamorous.  Dining is relaxed and slow paced while the entertainment is top notch.  I can see why that was the way to travel for the rich and famous back in the day.
  • So…much…food.  I ate like a king and had zero regrets about it.  Now not all cruise lines are the same in food caliber so if you are looking for a good dining experience look to Disney, Norwegian or Princess.  Oh the food though!

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  • Easy to plan.  I mentioned ports earlier, but don’t worry cruise lines have you covered with port adventures!  While the list may be hard to narrow down I’m confident you will find something that piques your interest.  The great thing about this is you don’t have to do all the research, the cruise line has done it for you.  All you have to do is pick the one you like the best.  Aside from port adventures, the travel to each city is covered (your on a boat!), the food, the entertainment, its all pre-planned for you.  What’s required of you?  Wake up when you want and participate in what you want.  I LOVE this so much.
  • There is so much to do!  On board you can go to the pool, the spa, fitness center, lounges, bingo, some have casinos, clubs, and the list goes on.  I have quite a few people ask “well don’t you get bored?”  My answer is HECK NO, if anything there is too much to do!  The hard part is deciding what you want to do.

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  • Best sleep you ever had.  I bet you are looking at the screen like Im crazy but let me know tell you, the rocking of the boat lulls you to sleep like when you were a baby.  I thought this would trigger my motion sickness but it was so peaceful and relaxing I slept the best I ever had on vacation.  No joke guys, rocked to sleep like a little baby and it was glorious.

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Before you ask, let me answer the MOST COMMON questions I get asked: “But I get motion sickness, I don’t think I can handle a cruise.”  Speaking first hand as someone who has frequent motion-sickness issues I will say I only had 1 night on a 7-night cruise where the seas were so choppy I almost got sick.  To be fair, other cruisers who have been on several cruises…A YEAR…said that was the roughest patch they had ever experienced.  I didn’t get sick but I did take a Dramamine which helped tremendously.  I never had to take a patch, I never had to eat the ginger gum I brought, and other than that 1 night I never had to take a Dramamine.  I was really nervous about getting sick (previous house boat encounters did not go well for me at all) but luckily everything was fine.  Rest assured fellow motion-sickness sufferers you will be just fine.

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There you have it, quite a few reasons to go on a cruise.  Now its your turn, what is a reason you haven’t been on a cruise yet and let me help you get over that hurdle!

Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal, Cruises or ANYWHERE!!!  Here is the link to my facebook page or email me at Rachael@DreamComeTrueVacations.com

CHIME IN!!!  Let me hear your reasons why not a cruise!!  If you have been on a cruise add to my list!!

Goals for My First Ever Marathon

Well folks the time has finally come for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  I switch from being excited to having all the anxiety.  Its been a really rough training cycle and at times it feels like there is more dread heading to this marathon than excitement.  I have found it very hard to put into words my goals for this marathon because this is the first one and I have no idea what to expect.  I’ve also had issue with my coach so I also have no idea how my body is going to react to all of this either.

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With all of that in mind I decided to be very conservative with time goals and focus more on crossing that finish line and being able to enjoy our cruise the next day.  My thoughts on this marathon right now are to set a base time.  This time will be the time to beat if I ever do another marathon and Im fine with it being a slow time.  That just means it will be that much easier to PR the next time!

Without further ado, here are my race goals:

  • Finish in 5:30:00 or less
  • 10min run 1:30 walk
  • Run with a pacer group to distract me from the pain
  • Run (ie hobble) across the finish line with a smile on my face
  • Listen to my body and make adjustments as needed
  • Be careful of overheating and cool down early and often (temps expected to be in the 70’s)

Well, the goals are on the internet now so that means its even more real.  In just a few short days I will be riding the pain train all 26.2 miles of Walt Disney World.  Wish me luck, send me a funny text.  Help distract me ok?!?!?!?

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CHIME IN!!!  Have you run a full marathon before?  Any sage advice you want to share?  What are you doing this weekend?

Workout Recap 12/27-1/2

I have the post holiday blues.  Good thing I have plenty of runs, vacation planning and party prep to keep that off my mind.  Runs this week weren’t stellar and honestly I’m tired.  My legs are exhausted and haven’t had a real break in a while.  My coach isn’t tapering me and I’m worried I wont have fresh legs for next weekend…all the worries right now!  Let’s talk training instead.

Tuesday:  Rest day.  My legs are like lead and need the break.  Im also exhausted from all the Christmas festivities and being back at work.  I’ll never complain about rest days.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

Wednesday:  Today’s run crashed and burned.  My shin splints were getting crazy painful today so I cut the run in half.  I did 10 minutes warm up and 15 minutes at 9:15 pace which was going fine except for the leg pain.  Im too close to marathon time to be side-lined by shin splints.  Im not sad about it though it was hot and humid today.  And when I say hot I mean warmer than 70 degrees.  Welcome to Houston 😛  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night plus icing the shins and bio-freeze before bed.

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Thursday:  Luckily all the decisions I made yesterday paid off.  Plus the weather was slightly better which always helps.  Did 4.8 miles with an average pace of 10:06.  The intervals were 10min (9:44) pace and 1 min (about 16min pace).  My legs were getting pretty tired at the end of the run so we shall see if I run or just walk tomorrow.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night with icing the shins and biofreeze for good measure.  Feet up at work is always a good idea…if you can do it 🙂

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Friday:  scheduled 30 min run but I changed it to a 30 min walk.   My legs are screaming at me for a break.   The puppies loved the walk so it all worked out!  15 min stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

Saturday: 11 mile run modified down to 6.  I’m struggling with giving my legs time of to recover this shin splint nonsense or doing what my coach says.   I’m pretty annoyed with her these last few weeks and not communicating or giving advice on some issues I’ve sent her.  In the end I decided having legs that are capable of running a marathon is better than pushing myself and getting a worse injury.   90 minute massage to really work on those legs.

Sunday:  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  today is a rest day and also brunch day!  I love new years brunch 🙂  15 min stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing that night.

Monday:  Today should have been a 5 mile run but there was a crazy storm this morning complete with thunder, lighting and hail.  So instead I got some more sleep and it was glorious.  My calves are also crazy painful right now so it was probably for the best.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses / icing that night.

CHIME IN!!!  How was your New Year’s?  How do you deal with calf pain?  What’s your longest run this week?

Running Gear I’m Loving Lately

Its been a while since I’ve talked about the running products I use so I thought now would be a great time to do a round-up of products Im loving right now.  There are links to the sites but its just to make things easy for you, no affiliate or anything like that.  In no particular order, away we go!

My Brooks shoes:  I am rotating between two pair right now the Launch 3 (review here) and the Glycerin 14 (review here).  I love both of them but they are both about to be retired from all the miles of marathon training.  I love the launch for speed runs they make me feel like Im going super fast and give my feet a lot of room to expand.  The Glycerin I love for longer runs they feel like they have more cushion but propel me forward.  I did have to get a different pair and go with the wide’s but now that I’ve done that these shoes are wonderful.

CEP compressions sleeves.  I love these sleeves.  I’ve tried ProCompression and they just don’t seem to have the same effect as CEP.  Granted CEP is said to be clinical grade so there’s that.  I also don’t like me feet to have compression I get crazy foot cramps so these win.  I have 3 pair right now.  I just wish they came in fun designs like ProCompression does.

Garmin Forerunner 235:  Me and this watch have our moments of frustration but on the whole I still love it and am glad I made the investment.  Check out my review of it here.

Cliff vanilla gel shots:  I’ve been training with them all season and love them.  I’ve tried other brands and other flavors but my body just responds much better to cliff.  Im ok with it Amazon Prime sells a box for a great price!  On cold runs I do have to warm them up in my hands though otherwise its hard to eat.

Nuun:  It took a while but I’m totally on the nuun bandwagon.  What I hated about it was the sparkling quality it would add to my water.  I’ve solved that problem by adding it to my water the day before and most of the sparkling goes away by the morning.  I love how it makes me feel hydrated and I’ve even started drinking a glass of water with one tab the night before a race just to make sure I’m full of hydration goodness.  I don’t have a favorite flavor yet but grape was surprisingly good.

VS Lightweight Sports Bra:  Me and sports bras, we have a history.  Its really tough to find a good sports bra that lets you breathe but gives you enough support that the girls aren’t flying all over the place.  I finally found that in this bra.  It takes a few wears to break in around the arm pits but once that’s good to go its perfect.  I don’t struggle to get breath (other bras would sit too low and constrict my breathing), I don’t feel like its too heavy and it comes in a bunch of fun colors.  I have 5 right now and am getting ready to throw all my other ones away I love it that much.  Warning though, they aren’t easy to get off so you will be doing the sports bra removal dance.  Oh and with this bra I had the first ever boob chafe.  The fabric doesn’t do the absolute best job of sweat wicking, but then again in 90 degree heat there is only so much it can do.  Winter running I’ve had no issues but when I was sweating a lot plus pouring water down my shirt and head I would have to use vaseline to prevent chafing.  You have been warned.  Still doesn’t stop me from loving this bra though.

Feetures socks:  I’ve tried 4 different brands and styles of socks and these are now my favorite.  They are thick, don’t get my feet hot in the summer but keep them warm in the winter.  They help with water issues when I run in a puddle and I don’t need to double sock it when I wear the super thick ones.  I did double sock on this last 17 mile run, but come on it was 17 miles, you gotta double sock that.  I love the colors they have and the tabs on the back of the sock that keep them from going in the depths of the shoe.

Fuel belt:  I love this fuel belt because #1 it doesn’t slide around like my old one would.  #2 there are 3 bottles which means during the summer 1 bottle is hydration mix and the other 2 are water.  #3 its lightweight and doesn’t feel bulky during a run.  I did have to buy a different brand holder for my phone because the standard holder is really only big enough for gels.  Other than having more than one water container having storage for my phone/key/ID/money was a big reason I bought this particular belt.  While the pouch that came with the belt didnt fit I was able to find an attachment that did work.  I cant find the exact model of pouch anymore but this one works great.

CHIME IN!!!  What gear are you loving right now?  Do you have a favorite bra or sock?  What watch are you using right now?