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Running, Travel, Food & Everything In Between
Disney Saint Lucia Color Me Rad 5K

Washing Away 2015

Boy oh boy do I need it.  Not that I really have much to complain about, but 2015 was just rough for me personally.  I had such high hopes after having my baby in December 2014, but they all got shot pretty quick when I ended up having the c-section.

I could sit here and make a list of the negative from last year, but I’m washing away that I did not meet most of my goals and all the negative things and people I had to deal with last year.

This year is about me, my family, and our future.  Setting goals and crushing them.  Whether it be to disconnect more or to push my running up a notch, I’m going to make things great this year.  Two weeks in and we’ve already started.  I’m running more, while actually getting up at 4:30am to do it!  My husband has joined me and is biking again and learning how to cook finally!  Our daughters, well they’re just amazing so they don’t have to do anything more.

Goals, goals, and more goals for this year both physically and mentally, because they go hand in hand.

What are your goals for this year?

Enjoy Your Adventure,
Samantha

The Half Marathon That Wasn’t. 2015 Wine & Dine Recap

At 11 months post partum, I was supposed to finally run my first half marathon.  I was beyond excited because it was my first major race and I was going to run it with a friend to meet a goal of a 2:30 time.  It had taken me months to get back into running and the day was finally here.  I was headed to Orlando to run the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on November 7.

We got to the expo Saturday morning and picked up my bib and shirt and wandered around a little bit.  I even got this fabulous photo taken.

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We got checked in to our hotel and decided to head to Epcot.  Our little girls decided it was nap time instead, so we headed back to the hotel and I got a short nap in.

It was then off to the Magic Kingdom with our littles.  I wore my running attire and brought my bib with us.  I mean why wouldn’t you go to the Magic Kingdom before running 13.1 miles?

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I headed over to catch the bus to the race start at 7pm.  Little did I know transportation from the Polynesian is awful.  There was a long line and we waited an hour for 1 bus to show up.  Two more buses showed up about 10 minutes later and I got on one of those.

I spent our long bus ride chatting with the girl next to me.  It was her first half marathon in over 5 years and her boyfriend was cheering her on.  While sitting on the bus at 9:20pm, it started to sprinkle rain and then stopped about 5 minutes later.  As we were pulling into the ESPN Wide World of Sports, my friend texted me to say everyone was being evacuated into the buildings because of lightning in the area.  Ultimate sad face now knowing that we wouldn’t be starting at 10pm.

We got parked and they let us off the bus with instructions to head towards the buildings.  First I had to find my brother and friends because they had some Clif shots for me.  Do you know how hard it is to find vanilla or chocolate Clif shots since they don’t contain caffeine?

My new friend Emily joined me since she was running alone and we then met up with my friend I was running with.  We sat inside just chatting while we waited to hear any news.   We couldn’t really hear any announcements over all the noise inside, but we headed outside because they sounded as if they were getting ready to let us run.  We made it down almost to the open grassy area when we were told to head back and they were not about to release us, so we decided to head to the back bathroom with the shorter line.   Then it was a mass exodus to the corrals to start and we decided to hit a port a potty on the way.

At this point, nobody really knew what was going on.  Lucky for me, I had a friend volunteering at the finish line who was texting me what was going on.  She informed me that the course was being cut to less than 7 miles.  What?!?!?   It was only 10:30, so why would they cut the course in half?

Everybody we talked to around us was shocked.  We were all lined up in our corrals and there still was no official announcement of how long the race would be, just that it was a modified course and we would be starting at 10:45pm.

My friend and I were originally going to run with the 2:30 pacer, but decided to do our own thing since it wasn’t going to be a half marathon.  We ended up doing 2 minute run and 1 minute walk intervals.  We talked for most of the run, but didn’t stop for pictures with characters.  Even though we started in the fifth corral, since it wasn’t a half marathon most people decided to stop and wait for pictures and the lines were much longer than normal at this point.  My favorite part of the night was when we were running through the old wardrobe area there was a dj and strobe lights so we started dancing as we were running and we both managed to do a spin while running without falling on our asses!  Running win for us both!

We got to the Osbourne Lights in Hollywood Studios and stopped for a few pictures.

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Since it is the last year for them, we walked and took in the lights since the street was pretty much empty compared to going to the park during regular hours.

The last couple miles were pretty uneventful.  There were a few guys sitting outside the Boardwalk hotel drinking beer, well I guess they had too many because when I asked where ours was I got 3 blank stares.  We finished up and got our medals and goodies and then headed to find my brother who finished first.

After waiting for almost everyone to finish, my 2 friend’s and I went to enter the after party at Epcot.  Well the disadvantage of only running 7 miles is that nobody was completely worn out and everyone was going into Epcot.  Huge lines just to get in compared to previous years.  WE ended up just riding Spaceship Earth and heading back to the hotel because well, when you’ve got little ones you still have to get up.

Unfortunately for me that wake up call was 5:50am after getting to bed around 3am.  Needless to say, I was pretty incoherent all day.  My husband asked if I wanted coffee at the gas station and I asked if he was filling the car with coffee.

We ended up heading to Epcot at our girl’s naptime and got sprinkled with some pixie dust to end the unfortunate failed half marathon weekend.  A couple who was leaving gave us the rest of their sampling card for the Food & Wine Festival, so we got to try 4 things for free!

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Now for the rant part of this.  A lot of people were unhappy with runDisney’s decision to delay and shorten the course, while there were a lot of people who were happy they were looking out for the safety of the runners.  A little transparency on runDisney’s part would have made people less angry and more accepting, so yes, I was pissed the race was delayed for “inclement weather and lightning”.  The following is their lightning policy per the runDisney website:

The Walt Disney World® Resort Lightning Policy

Event operations will shut down when lightning is 10 miles out from the event areas. Event operations will not resume until the lightning is 10 miles out moving away from the event areas. The Sports Manager will determine this using the *Flash to Bang Rule* and weather radar. The Sports Manager will consult with Walt Disney World® Resort Management on a course of action to utilize the operational rain plan, delay the event, or cancel the event.

*Flash to Bang Rule* is applied by measuring the time (in seconds) between a visual lightning “Flash” and hearing the resulting “Bang”. This time is then divided by a factor of “5” to obtain distance in miles. For example, 50 seconds between “Flash” and “Bang” divided by “5” equals 10 miles.

I’ve lived in Florida over 30 years and am pretty familiar with what the “bang” is they are talking about and I never heard it.  There was heat lightning in the sky, which is different from your typical ground to sky lightning.  According to someone I know who was volunteering in the Animal Kingdom section, which is the part of the race that was cut, the rain and wind that moved through there caused a lot of debris on the course of fallen tree branches and such.  Now this is where the transparency would be a good path to have taken.  If the actual course was of hazardous conditions, I’m pretty sure more people would be understanding than blaming weather that never moved through.   Whatever the real reason was, I was definitely disappointed, but I had a blast running with my friend who I don’t get to see often.

Enjoy Your Adventure,

Samantha

Your New Favorite Holiday Cookie

You read that right.  These cookies are amazing and are very simple to make.

What are they you ask?

Cinnamon Chip Cookies!!!!

Did you even know they made cinnamon chips?

I didn’t, but years ago when I was working, a volunteer with one of the shelters we worked with brought in a batch of them and they went quick.  I had completely forgotten about them until last year around Thanksgiving when I was buying supplies to do some baking and ran across them.  You can only get them in November and December where I live, but you can order them online year round.  I of course made some last year and everyone loved them.  Now that the holidays are approaching again, I figured I’d share this recipe I used to make the last batch I did as I wait to find more in the stores next month.

Basically it’s an adapted version of a chocolate chip cookie, so you can use this recipe for either cookies you just use chocolate chips or cinnamon chips depending on your mood.  It  makes great cookies for both.

Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Makes 20-24 cookies

Supplies:

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar ( I used vanilla, but regular will do)
  • 2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup & 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 & 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • About 1 & 1/2 cups cinnamon chips (adjust  your desired amount, I use no more than 3/4 of the bag)

1) Heat oven to 360°
2) In large bowl, cream butter & sugars together with a mixer.
3) Add egg & vanilla and beat until incorporated.
4) Beat in sea salt & baking soda  until combined.
5) Beat in flour on low speed.  It will look dry and crumble.
6)Fold in cinnamon chips with spoon.
7) Spoon onto baking sheet and baked for 11-12 minutes.
8)  Let cookies rest on baking sheet no more than 10 minutes before removing.
And your done! 

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Everyone who has tried one has absolutely loved them, so I’m pretty sure you will too.  The next time you’re in the store, make sure to check for the cinnamon chips.  They’re usually on the holiday baking displays by the chocolate chips.

Enjoy Your Adventure,
Samantha

Finding My Mojo

I was planning on writing about my running, but when I started thinking about it, it really applies to everything.  I lost it. My drive for everything since having my baby.  I have had the hardest time getting back into running, or pretty much any consistent fitness regimen. My focus on working and selling as a Travel Agent has been quite lacking, and really my desire to focus on anything was in the wind.

Well, it seems that the tides are changing for me finally.  I’m running more consistently now with a longer run on Sundays and running about 2 times during the week, which includes the dreaded 4:30am wakeup.

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Am I really that awake & happy looking at 5am?!?!

Since I’m actually running, my pace is starting to speed back up.  I still have a ways to go before I get to the speed I was at before pregnancy, but at least I’m moving in the right direction.  I have a half marathon in 2 weeks, so that will probably be a blast and put some fun back into it.  I’m running the Wine and Dine half marathon at Disney World and it’s one of my favorite races with running through the parks and seeing the Christmas lights in Hollywood Studios at night.

I started an unusual strength training class for my cross training by doing a pole dance class.  It’s a total body strengthening exercise, but it is a lot of fun.  I’d say it’s actually the one thing that’s helped me start being consistent and get back to being me again.  More on that in another post.

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Another thing that has drug me down has been the exhaustion I’ve been experiencing.  I guess having kids really does make you tired all the time because even though I get more sleep at night now than I did when I was working, I just can’t seem to not feel tired.  That is unless I drink coffee.  I totally get why mom’s are all addicted to coffee now!

Anyways,  I seem to be getting my lust for life back and it feels great.  I’m running and working out.  I’m starting to put more time into work as a travel agent, and starting to try new things and learn how to do new stuff.  My newest venture besides pole fitness is learning how to sew.  I feel it’s a lost art nowadays and nobody knows how to make their own things.   I know it’s cheaper to buy most stuff, but it makes me feel good knowing I can do it myself.

I definitely owe Anna & Stephanie a huge thank you for getting me back on track with running and putting up with my excuses when I bail.  Jacqueline for introducing my to pole fitness and giving me a challenge to spark my fire again, and of course my husband for, well, putting up with me and all me endeavors.

That’s all for now, but more to come!

Enjoy Your Adventure,
Samantha

A Much Needed Getaway

Wow!  It’s been 2 months since a wrote anything.  Our baby girl is already 10 months old and we literally have so much to do before Christmas.  I guess it won’t slow down for another 18 years or so.  Just since writing this post late one night to now, we’ve already taken a 10 day road trip,  but lets start with this break.

Our family loves to travel and take short getaways.  We normally take two large vacations a year, but due to the arrival of our baby at the end of last year we have not made that happen.  It’s already September and we’ve only taken a quick trip to Georgia for a wedding and 2 quick weekend trips to Orlando.  None of which did we get to do a lot of fun things on or there were other happenings that took away from our fun.  Needless to say, we’ve been going stir crazy for a getaway.

Labor Day weekend I decided we were spending the weekend in Orlando.  We had kind of planned out what we were going to do and we set out on our way on Saturday afternoon.  Ultimately, we ended up kind of winging it the whole weekend and it turned out to be such a great short trip.

It started out with a quick trip to the Florida Mall for the Crayola Store and M&M’s world.  There is an actual activity part called the Crayola Experience, but we decided to forego spending time and money there since we would have to get setup in our hotel and get the little ones to bed.  Our daughter loved the Crayola store, so we didn’t even need to go into the Crayola Experience for a good time.  Best of all, she got to fill a giant tin with crayons and markers of all different colors.

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I’m not sure who was more excited about these, my daughter or husband.

No trip to the Florida Mall would be complete without a stop at M&M’s world.

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This time I think I was more excited.  M&M’s are a weakness of mine.

The next morning we had planned on going to SeaWorld and Disney World on Monday, but the weather was supposed to be horrible Monday afternoon so we decided to do SeaWorld then since we knew we wouldn’t spend the whole day there.

We started our morning at the Magic Kingdom because where else would we go?

It was an extremely hot morning and then came the afternoon rain. It was only supposed to be short intermittent rain like every other summer day in Florida, but it turned into an hour long downpour.  Everyone was trying to find cover and leaving.  That’s when we let our daughter take off her shoes and splash in the giant puddles by us.

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We then decided to make our way towards the front, so we covered up the stroller with our ponchos and took off running.  Lucky for us, my husband and I both wore running clothes so they were comfortable to be in while wet and dried quickly once it stopped.  It drizzled a while and then stopped.  The most surprising thing of the night was that my husband actually wanted to stay and not go back to the hotel to get dry.  So we rode a few more rides and then while on the Astro Orbiter the heavier rains came.  We figured it was time to go anyways since it was past our girl’s bedtime, so off to the car we went.

The next morning the weather still forecasted to be pouring all day starting around noon, so we decided to skip SeaWorld and do a little shopping around.  We headed to the outlet mall so my husband could get new work shoes.  I know, so exciting!  While we were there I think we smelled every candle in the Yankee Candle Store.  We then headed for lunch.  It looked like the rain was holding off so we decided to head to Epcot since the girls would probably fall asleep on the way.

We were right, they fell asleep and transferred into the stroller without waking up.  I guess the previous day had worn them out.

So off to stroll around the world we were, and then this happened.

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Most parents go for alcohol, nope, not us.

Once they woke up, we headed over to the Magic Kingdom.  Even though it was Labor Day, the parks were pretty slow since school had either just started or was about to start that week all across the country.   The wait times were either 5 minutes or walk right on.  Normally we head home early, but we took full advantage of the lack of wait times and finally headed home about 10pm.

Overall is was a great much needed getaway.  Even if it was only to Orlando, we appreciated every minute of our fun family time.

Enjoy Your Adventure,

Samantha

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