Friday, May 26, 2017

Swimming Tips and Tricks (Friday Five Edition)

I have been getting back to swimming recently.  It's a great way to exercise, especially if you have a nagging pain when you run.  I grew up with a pool in my backyard, so swimming is second nature to me and something I always enjoy.  That doesn't mean I have an easy time talking myself into getting into the pool, especially in the colder months (even in a heated indoor pool).  Here are some tips that I use to make it more enjoyable.

1. Since I had a pool growing up, every summer my hair would be dry and green (especially since I have blond hair).  We would use all the different shampoos that were made to combat that, but they never really worked.  Nowadays there are a lot more shampoos out there that help and the technology is a lot better today.  But what I have found that works is to prevent it by putting conditioner on your hair (not rinsing it off) and then covering it up with a swim cap.  This is a tip that came from my hairdresser.  I've been in the pool once a week for the last few weeks with no damage to my hair.

2. Swimming laps is really boring.  Really really boring.  Like serious boring.  What I have found to help pass the time is a waterproof iPod.  There are a few companies that waterproof the iPod Shuffle.  I am not a huge fan of the Shuffles, but no one waterproofs Nanos, because the touchscreen is hard to use when wet.  The waterproof earbuds with shorter cords are a must with the iPod.  It's easy to hook the iPod on your goggles and having a short cord means it won't get tangled while you swim.  The earbuds also help me stop getting water in my ears.

3. Have you ever had foggy goggles?  The best way to combat it is to spit in the lenses.  I know this sounds super gross, but I wouldn't do it if it didn't work.  I spit into each lens and use my finger to get the whole lens wet and shake it out.  Do not put it into the water to rinse off.  It works both in the pool and in open water.

4.  Don't be afraid to take a lesson or join a swim clinic.  When I was little, my parents signed me up for all the swim lessons that the rec center offered till we took them all and then they signed me up for diving lessons (which did not go well).  Even though I know how to swim, I did find the clinic very helpful.  I picked up things like I didn't kick very well while I was swimming.  I since have been working on focusing on making my kicks stronger.

5. Wash everything off.  While chlorine is good to keep a pool safe and clean, it takes it's toll on everything we put into it.  I try to make sure that I rinse everything out well after each swim.  It's easily done if you just jump into the shower with everything on and rinse it off with the water from the shower.  Every once in awhile I'll put soap on everything to clean it good, but not often.  I know you are not supposed to put your suit in the washing machine, but I will after a few swims.  I have plenty of different suits and they are all inexpensive so I'm not too worried about that.  But I will not put them in the dryer.

Bonus:  There are times that I do water jogging when I have a pain that won't go away and I don't want to lose too much endurance or I'm in the middle if a training cycle.  The best way to do this is to have a floater that goes around your waist.  I bought mine on Amazon for about $25.  My gym also has a couple for the members to use while there.  The trick to water jogging is to stay where your feet do not touch the bottom of the pool.  At the one at my gym it's hard as that's only about the middle third of the pool so I'm continuously turning around.  I did do the water jogging at an aqua center where they have a whole section that is deep enough to jog.  The other trick is to keep your body as upright as possible to mimic running.  It's amazing what type of workout you can get without straining your legs.

Do you swim as a cross-training activity?  How do you entertain yourself when lap after lap gets so boring?  Any tricks or tips that you have?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Epcot 2017 Part 2 (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

So here is the second part of my day at Epcot during my Star Wars Dark Side Weekend.

If you missed my previous posts, please take a moment to catch up.

We had just finished lunch at the Liberty Inn and the time was getting close to my first scheduled FastPass at Test Track.  We decided to take the boat across the lake to get to Future World.  I had never even heard of this ride before I booked my FastPass and had no clue what I was in for.  

It was a lot of fun.  As part of waiting for our turn, we were allowed to create our own car.  Not anything close to what we would be riding, but to compare to others who create their own.  I had no clue what I was doing, so I just started picking things to add to the car.  Franklin was able to use the station next to us to build one as well.
We got into the actual ride and that was a lot of fun.  It's sort of like the Cars ride at Disneyland.  It does some maneuvers to "test" out the cars made and then a fun fast bout outside where you reach speeds of 64 MPH.  Feels faster with the wind blowing on you then it does a real car.  In the end, my car beat Franklin's in the score!!

We headed into the Festival Center.  Kelly wanted to see if she could find some gifts for birthdays and Mother's Day.  I actually found something.  It's a plant that is made from other plant DNA and not a seed.  I wasn't sure if it would make it home, but it would be fun for my mom if it did.  Spoiler alert, it did not survive the plane ride home in my checked bag.

We decided to meet Joy and Sadness.  While we waited, Franklin went over to see Baymax from Big Hero 6.  That line moved fast enough that he had enough time to join us.  I loved seeing Sadness, she was so cute.

Then we headed over to Soarin'.  I love this ride and couldn't wait to see the changes they made.  I used another one of my timed FastPass and Kelly and Franklin used their second "anytime" FastPass.  I have to say that I really enjoyed the changes.  It was fun to see all the places around the world and was even more fun to point to the ones I've been to.  I did see why people were complaining that if you were too far to a side, things looked a little distorted, like the Eiffel Tower was curved a bit, but it was still fun.

We had time before our next FastPass and we were trying to decide if we wanted to do Soarin' again or if we wanted to do the Living with the Land ride that is also in The Land building.  We decided to do Soarin' again.  This would be Kelly and Franklin's last "anytime" FastPass and my second.  It was so worth it as I had asked that we be in the middle group in the first row.  That meant we had the best seats in the house.  Right in the middle and on the top where no one's feet were in our line of vision.  I was so glad we had done it the second time.

After the ride was over we headed down the stairs to check out if there was any line at Living with the Land and there wasn't.  We hopped right onto the boat.

While this isn't a fast or scary ride, it was a lot of fun learning about different ways that Disney grows food and raises fish.  It was also nice to be off our feet for a little while.

We headed to our next FastPass, meeting with Mickey and Pals.  We saw Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie.  Goofy was in rare form.  He didn't have anyone visiting so he was goofing around with the other Cast Members.  Yes, Goofy was acting goofy.

After this we parted ways.  They had FastPasses for the new Frozen ride and I had one for Mission: Space.  I had a little bit of time before my FastPass started so I decided to do the Test Track again and use my last "anytime" FastPass.  In the end my second car was only one point better then my first.  Guess I like to build the same type of car.

I then headed over to Mission: Space.  I hadn't heard of this ride before either before booking my FastPasses, but after reading about it, it sounded like something I've been on before when I visited NASA a couple years ago.  They have a Green team and an Orange team.  They are both the same ride, a launch from Earth to Mars, except the Green team skips the centrifuge, or spinning action, so it's more of a gentle ride.  I, of course, opted to join the Orange team.  

I was teamed with a dad and his two boys (one a lot younger then the other).  As the video played and talked about the team formation we joked around on who was what position and remembering to hit the buttons when we needed to.  As we got in, I ended up being the navigator while the younger brother was the captain.  There were a lot of things I read about how people riding the Orange side would get motion sickness.  I experienced none of it.  I don't even think I knew when the centrifuge happened.  We all pressed our buttons like we were supposed to and got to Mars safely (mostly) and had a fun time.

I realized that because I decided to add in Test Track before Mission: Space, I was now late to meet up for dinner.  Oh no!  I raced through Future World to Mexico and made my way to Italy.  Whoa that was exhausting.  We had reservations for Via Napoli to get some good pasta in.  

Kelly and Franklin had already ordered, good.  So I took a quick look at the menu and really wasn't sure what I wanted.  I asked the waitress what she thought was good and she said the Linguine allo Scoglio.  Pasta and seafood?  Yes, please!  The dish came and it was huge.  Kelly and Franklin ordered a white pizza, all cheese, yummy!  My pasta dish ended up not that great.  The pasta was under cooked and I don't think there was a lot of seafood there.  But that's OK, it filled me up.  They said the pizza was great, until it was on the floor.  They had eaten less than half of the pizza and with no one touching it slipped off the rack and right onto the floor.  The manager was very nice and allowed them to get the small pizza to make up for the half that they lost.

By the time we were done with dinner we all were beyond exhausted.  And my feet were killing me.  I felt like my planters ficiatis was rearing it's ugly head my way again.  So we headed back to the the hotel to call it a night.  We had to get up early again for the 10k!

I have to say that was a great day.  I never knew that Epcot could be so much fun.  I know part of it had to do with the great company, but I also discovered a whole new side to the park.  I can't wait to go back!

Continue on and read about the Star Wars Dark Side 10k!

What's your favorite ride at Epcot?  Would you do the Orange or Green team on Mission: Space?  Have you eaten at Via Napoli?  What did you think?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Epcot 2017 Part 1 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

I know it's been a couple of weeks since my last Star Wars Dark Side Weekend post, but I've finally had some time to finish up my post about Epcot.

If you missed my previous posts, please take a moment to catch up.

Let me start this post by saying, I've been to Epcot and except for Soarin', I have always thought that the park was pretty boring.  Yes they have beautiful flowers and very creative topiaries (or shrubs-of-art).  But I never understood what the big deal was of the park, especially when you have to pay over $100 to get in.  My thoughts and expectations changed on my last trip.
Usually on my runDisney weekends, I don't go to the parks very often.  Maybe once a trip.  It's just too hard to be on my feet and then run all of the races and the park prices are just too expensive.  I usually can fit it in after the 5k and then rest after the 10k.  It worked out well when I did the races in Disneyland in January.  So I decided to do the same thing.  I was thinking about going to Magic Kingdom since I haven't been to that park in a few years.  Kelly sent me their itinerary and for Friday they were heading to Epcot.  To say the least, I was a bit disappointed, but they were doing a Tea Tour that sounded like a lot of fun, so I decided to head with them to Epcot.

The Royal Tea Garden Tour is a 45 minute tour around the tea garden behind The Tea Caddy.  It's more of an in-depth explanation of the garden then you would get in the regular tour that happens a couple times in the afternoon.  The Royal Tea Garden Tour is only offered once a day in the morning.

The Tea Tour was a lot of fun, but since we had to be there at 9:15 AM, we had to bust our buts to get back from the 5k, shower and change, and get to Epcot by the time it opened.  And we did, with a few minutes to spare.  We were to check in at the Rose & Crown Pub in the United Kingdom Pavilion and then the tour would start.

Our tour guides, Katie and Natalie, lead us to the gardens right across the street.  They both are from the UK and in the middle of a year long internships at Disney.  It was nice to be there before most of the crowds hit that part of the park.

We learned how the popularity of tea came about, because in the 1600's and early 1700's there were coffee and ale houses, tea was not really served in England.  We learned that basically all tea comes from the same type of plant, Camellia sinensis.  The big difference between the teas like green and black depends on the Oxidation.   Black tea is fully oxidized, which gives it its black color and green tea is still green because the oxidation process is left out.  The differences between each type of tea, like within the green tea family, is where the plant is grown and the weather and soil conditions.  Like the differences in wine types and where the grapes are grown.

We also learned that herbal tea isn't made from tea leaves at all.  They are made from dried fruit and spices to make up different flavors.  I do have to say, I'm a huge fan of herbal tea.  One of their suggestions, that I will be using this summer, is not only to make iced tea from it, but freeze it in pop cycle trays for a summer treat.  Or freeze it in ice trays to add to your ice tea and that will stop the ice from watering down your tea.

Also, tea bags were a concept that came up accidentally.  Apparently in the early 1900's they shipped the tea in silk bags to keep the tea together while it traveled.  The people who received it was supposed to take it out of the bags to brew, but they ended up brewing it in the silk bags.  And hence then the tea bag was born.

After the tour was complete, we were invited into The Tea Caddy to have a cuppa and some scones.  I tried their Buttermint tea, which if I remember correctly is a Twining's exclusive.  They also talked about another exclusive tea, the Lady Grey blend.  I'm not really a fan of black tea or Earl Grey, but this blend is supposed to be lighter and have some citric flavoring to it.  I wish they had it there to try.  I'll probably just have to buy a box somewhere to try.  While we were having our tea and scones we had a few visitors begging for food.  While I don't give them food, it was fun to see them up close.

After we had our tea and scones we saw that Marry Poppins was there for a character meet.  She was so prim and proper and a lot of fun.

We walked through Canada and decided to see the O'Canada! Circle-Vision 360 movie.  It was really cool to see a movie from all directions.

We headed through France, trying to figure out where to eat lunch.  Kelly loved the French quick-serve, but Franklin had bad memories of it.  So we decided just to stop and watch the movie there instead.  It wasn't as interesting as the Canada one, but we were able to sit down.  My feet were already starting to hurt a lot.  I really should have brought better shoes to walk around the park in.

We decided to hit Liberty Inn for lunch.  The sandwich and fries were really good, especially for a quick-serve.

This post has been getting pretty long, so I'll break it up into two parts.  Click here to read about the second half of the day!

Have you ever done any of the tea tours at Epcot?  Or any other tour at Epcot?  Have you had lunch at the French quick-serve?  Was Kelly or Franklin right about the place?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Random Friday Five (Friday Five Edition)

This past week and a half have just been a blur.  So many things have been going on plus trying to work a few extra hours the last couple weeks has just exhausted me.  Here are some highlights from the last week or so.

1.  I had a birthday.  Honestly it was just another day.  I didn't tell any of my coworkers cause I just didn't feel like it.  I did have a great dinner with a friend at Ruth Chris' this past weekend.  I also got this great gift from a friend.  I just need to figure out the right place to hang it.  I have a few other pictures I need to hang as well.

2. My parents and I celebrated my birthday and Mother's Day having brunch at the Jefferson.  It now has become a tradition and is something we look forward to every year.

3.  My mom had knee replacement surgery.  Everything went well and she was standing and putting a little weight on that leg just 5 hours after the surgery.  The next day she walked all the way down the hall and up some stairs.  It's amazing how quickly they have you on your feet after such a major surgery.  She is home now and doing well. She made her way upstairs yesterday very slowly.

4.  While my mom was in the hospital, we checked my dad into respite care.  Basically that is short term care in a nursing home.  A lot of people use it so that the care givers can have a break or go on vacation or like my mom, have a medical procedure.  My dad has sever separation anxiety when he is not with my mom, so I have worried a little about him while he was there.  He is doing ok there. He's not really happy but he won't remember it. I'm hoping that he will stay there over the weekend to give my mom time to recover a little more.

5.  I haven't been running much lately.  I really have lost my want to do it, again.  I didn't do anything two weekends ago because my quad hurt.  But honestly, I could have stretched and done exercises to get back to running sooner then I did.  And then last weekend I wasn't feeling well.  I refuse to say I had a cold, so I've been telling myself that it's just bad allergies.  Even though NyQuil and Mucinex have helped the symptoms, I still refuse to acknowledge that I was sick.  I just don't have time to be sick this week, so I'm just dealing with really bad allergies.

I've run 3 times since I've been back from Star Wars.  I'm now debating on if I should do the triathlon that I'm signed up for.  Even though I have swum a couple of times and feel good about that, I haven't gotten on my bike yet.  There are only 5 more weekends to go.  Part of me thinks I can do it, the other part of me doesn't want to put that stress on myself, especially when I've lost "that running feeling".

Did you do anything fun for Mother's Day?  Have you ever "lost that running feeling"?  How did you get it back?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Monday, May 8, 2017

Short Weekly Update (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

I'm not quite done with my next recap of my Star Wars Dark Side Weekend.  In the middle of my Epcot recount, which is getting long enough to turn into two posts.  But work and life and just wanting to sit on my couch yesterday kinda got in the way.  So here are just some things that happened.

I signed up for Princess Weekend.  I have done this race once in 2014.  My friend said that she wanted to do it again to do the Glass Slipper (or is it Fairy Tail) Challenge on the anniversary year.  I had said I would do it with her, so we signed up.  The funny part is that she was so busy that day that she forgot to sign up.  Yup, the only reason I signed up was now not able to sign up because the challenge was all sold out.  But the good thing was, she was able to get in with a travel partner.  So we have our bibs, a room, and park tickets.  Half the planning is now done.  It all worked out well in the end after a few stressful moments.

And four days later I signed up for the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge.  They had a special link sent out to past participants to be able to sign up early.  I took advantage of that, and the $10 discount, and signed up for that weekend too.  Better start saving my money. :)  Just now waiting to see if they will ever get the Star Wars Light Side weekend on sale.  Somethings up with that and no one knows.  Will there be a change or will they cancel the weekend?  No one knows.....

I hurt my left quad last week.  Not really sure how it happened, but it started hurting Thursday night.  Probably did a little too many weights.  I took the weekend off from running and was going to run this morning, but it still hurt.  I know I have to get my butt in gear if I want to do that triathlon.  I did swim for the first time in a year for about 20 minutes which was good.  But my leg was bothering me and I didn't want to push it.  And if I don't get out on my bike soon, I may just bag the triathlon.  It's just hard to get on the bike this time of year.  The weather just fluctuates too much.  I hope to get back in the swing of things by the end of the week (cross fingers).

I've been reading Robin Robert's book Everybody's Got Something on my lunch breaks and I LOVE it.  She seems so real on Good Morning America and this book just makes me want her as a friend.  She is amazing dealing with all of her health issues and still being such a positive force.

I also spent a bit of time cleaning up the back end of this blog this weekend and how I wanted it connected to YouTube and my email.  Google has a ton of features and it got to be confusing on the back-end on what I was updating and what I was messing up.  But for now, I'm happy on how it is all connected.

My mom is having a knee replacement next Monday.  Which also means my dad (who has dementia) will be going into respite care for the first time.  A lot of unknowns and just a bit of stress next week.  And I hate that we won't know the time of her surgery till Friday evening.  It makes it hard to give a schedule of my time off for work.

And my birthday is tomorrow.  I usually take the day off, but since I have no vacation time with the new job, I'll be working.  I'll be going to Ruth Chris' on Saturday with a friend and then Brunch at the Jefferson on Sunday with my parents to celebrate my birthday and Mother's Day.  So it will be very low key this year.

How was your week?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Five Highlights of the Star Wars Dark Side 5k 2017 (Friday Five Edition)

Here is the recap of the expo from the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend.  If you missed my previous posts, please take a moment to catch up.

1.  Character photos before the race - Since everyone needs to get to the start line at Disney World so early, they have characters out so that you can get photos with them.  The Star War race is where I have seen the most characters, eight I think.  Friday morning we decided to take the first bus down and get a couple of pictures before the 5k started.  We were able to get Boba Fett and BB-8.


2.  The start - Because you don't have to prove your time, I'm usually able to get into coral A.  This makes it nice as it doesn't seem as crowded as it is when you start further back.  And even though there is no time limit per se, I feel more comfortable stopping for character photos when I start towards the beginning.

3.  The course - The course is the same as all of the other 5k's that they do in Disney World.  It starts and ends in Epcot.  You can get a lot of pretty pictures of the world as the sun comes up.

4. Character photos during the race - This is the first time that I didn't feel intimidated by the character lines.  I think they are getting to run them more smoothly so that they go by faster.  I did all the character stops except for the Ewok, which now I regret and wish I would have stopped.

5. The bus back - When I was done, I made my way to the bus line.  I got there and there were no buses to be seen.  It took about 5 minutes for them to start lining up.  I thought that was weird as I really had a slow 5k time since I stopped for several characters.  What I didn't realize was that the bus line was on the beginning of the course and the last corral must have just gone through right before I got there.  I thought I heard the announcement for a corral to leave, but because it had been so long I thought I was just hearing the finisher announcer.  I guess that was the start for the last corral that I heard.

Continue on and read about our day at Epcot.

Do you get to a Disney race early just to take character photos?  Do you like to stop for characters during the race?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0