Tuesday, February 25, 2014

OMG OMG OMG: runDisney announced the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend today!

Was working on fixing a little hiccup on the site at work today when an email headline caught my eye. Just the preview of the headline, actually:

You're Invited - Take a Sneak…

Well, you know I couldn't resist. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but THE HULK!!!


I quickly read the (brief) email, which told me all I really needed to know. A Marvel Super Heroes-themed half marathon and 5K in Disneyland… and, to top it off, it's on our anniversary weekend. SO EXCITED!!!!

We'll have to figure out how to balance it against DesignerCon (which is, of course, the weekend before), but we will most definitely head down for the race. Registration opens on March 25. Did I mention that I'm excited??

The biggest question now: which super hero to run as??? There's part of me that just says, "Duh, it's Hulk." I mean, I have been using his line ("That's my secret, Cap -- I'm always angry") since the day I heard it. CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW GREAT THE MERCH WILL BE?!?!?

Who needs glitter and wings when you can have SUPER HEROES?!?!

But, seriously… Hulk? Iron Man? LOKI?!?!?!? Who should I be?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Speaking of Presidents -- Rock 'n' Roll Seattle headliner announced today….

… and it's the Presidents of the United States of America!!!

13.1 or 26.2 miles…. and MILLIONS OF PEACHES!!!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

7 Presidential Races for President's Day

It's President's Day, so I started thinking about presidential (themed) races. Leaving out all of the 5Ks associated with eponymous schools, and dozens of President’s Day 5Ks across the country, I still came up with a few, including one race I am desperate to run one day.

photo courtesy Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon
1. One of my “dream races” has always been the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon, held in Springfield, Illinois. Honest Abe himself (okay, it’s a Lincoln impersonator) starts the race, the course runs past his house, his law office, the Old State Capitol, and even his grave site in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Best of all? The finisher’s medal is a GIANT PENNY!!!

2. The father of our country is honored at George Washington’s Birthday Marathon, supposed to be held in February 16, 2014, but canceled this year due to the terrible weather in Washington D.C. As I write this, they’re deciding whether to fully cancel for this year or decide on a future date.

3. The Monticello Holiday Classic 5K will be held on December 6, 2014 on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. Run from the East Walk of Monticello to the Thomas Jefferson Visitors Center and enjoy some holiday treats at the finish.

4. Also at a presidential home, the Montpelier 5K is held on the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier, this year on March 22. Course runs on roads, passing in front of the mansion, and ending at the base of the home.

5. James Monroe is honored by the James Monroe 5K, held this year on May 17. Situated on the grounds of Ash Lawn-Highland, the course offers views of the Piedmont, woods and pastures, and finishes on the historic paths of Monroe’s home.

6. Old Hickory can’t be stopped with a mere 5K… so he’s celebrated with the Andrew Jackson Marathon in Jackson, Tennessee, on March 22, 2014. The course starts and finishes on the campus of Union University, then run on rolling hills through the countryside around Jackson.

7. But perhaps my favorite “presidential” race is the OK5K, held in Kinderhook, New York on June 7, 2014. Why presidential? Because Kinderhook is the birthplace of Martin Van Buren, and the race website includes this very cute “preview video” showing MVB himself running the course, along with other local running legends Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane, who suddenly picked up his pace, for some reason…

I'm sure I’ve missed some good ones -- I can't believe that there doesn't seem to be a Theodore Roosevelt Half Marathon somewhere! -- If you have other examples, please let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

True Confession Tuesday: I've never seen a "Rocky" film...

There it is. I've never seen Rocky. I feel as if I know the movie -- I mean, it's got a huge cultural resonance. And since I run a ton of races, I have heard both "Gonna Fly Now" and "Eye of the Tiger" way more than your average person. Way more.

And, of course, one of the classic moments in Rocky is the training montage. I must admit that sometimes when I run, in my mind, it becomes a training montage. (Really? Not when you run? Oh.)

I don't know anything about Philadelphia -- other than that there's an amazing medical history museum there (the Mutter Museum) -- so I had never thought about how far Rocky runs during his various training montages. Of course, someone has.

Dan McQuade, writing in PhillyMag.com details the long, kid-mobbed montage in Rocky II, where Rocky Balboa runs through Philadelphia.
What’s always amused me about this scene is how absolutely little sense Rocky’s route makes: South Philly becomes North Philly becomes the Italian Market becomes North Philly again, and so on. Obviously, the montage isn’t meant to be taken seriously as an actual workout; it’s just a few scenes strung together so “Gonna Fly Now” can play and Rocky can finish at the top of the Art Museum steps.
But, I wondered, what if this roadwork were treated as one actual run? How far would Rocky go? Well, I decided to find out. I pieced together the routes Rocky could have traveled from scene to scene in this training montage and calculated distance. 
Dan measured it all out and, apparently, if Rocky ran it as one stretch, it would be 30.61 miles long. Don't forget that Rocky sprints the last half mile or so flat out,… I guess so that he can run up those stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on his own again…

Read the very funny piece on PhillyMag.com… and remember to try and finish every run with a triumphant run up some stairs so that you can throw some punches and then jump up and down with your fists in the air. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

runDisney event on sale dates for 2014 … even 2015

Tomorrow -- February 11, 2014 -- registration opens up for the runDisney Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler weekend. The weekend events include the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, runDisney kids races, and the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash.

We've never run this event -- Orlando is awfully far away, especially for a 10-mile race -- but it has a lot of things going for it! On Saturday morning, October 4, there's the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run -- a not-so-scary race held on the grounds of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Not a true trail run per se, but runners will run on a variety of surfaces, including grass, sand, and pavement.

Slightly later on Saturday morning runDisney holds a series of kids races, for kids from 13 and under … even crawling babies can "run" the Diaper Dash, and all participants get a runDisney kids races medallion. Sweet!

Then at 10pm on Saturday night, it's time for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler. (It's just occurred to me that you could run the 5K that morning and the 10-Miler that night as a sort of "progressive half marathon"… well, sorta…). This race sounds super fun -- it starts in Hollywood Studios, then runners run out to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, run around the grounds of EWWOS, and then run back to finish at Hollywood Studios.

Then after the race, probably the best part of the weekend: the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash! A late-night party for the runners, their friends, and their families, to celebrate after their hard work. And, well, I'm guessing that the Disney Villains will be out in force!

We ran the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in 2013 and had a blast -- we especially enjoyed the after party in Epcot. And coming from the west coast we had a great advantage -- staying up till "4am" was really only staying up till 1am!

In other runDisney news -- perhaps more interesting to me -- is was that the email contained the on-sale dates for other upcoming runDisney events.

2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend 
November 7-9, 2014     
ON SALE: 3/4/14
2015 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals 
January 7-11, 2015     ON SALE: 4/22/14 

2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 
February 19-22, 2015     ON SALE: 7/15/14 

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend 
May 7-10, 2015     ON SALE: 8/12/14
I don't think I'll be able to run any of the east coast events for the next few years (even though I really, really want to run the Princess someday!), but let's just say I'll be setting reminders in my calendar for August 12 -- I can't miss running my fourth straight Tinker Bell Half Marathon!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Midwest Race Trip!

When I started my looooooooong project to run a half marathon in all 50 states, one of the "double weekends" I identified pretty early on was the Indy Mini-Marathon on the first Saturday in May, and the Flying Pig Half Marathon on the first Sunday in May. Two major races, on consecutive days, under 150 miles apart. Heaven!

But for various reasons, the timing just didn't work out. Either we had too much else going on, or I was traveling for work, or it just didn't make sense. 

But the news that in 2015 the Tinker Bell Half Marathon was moving to Mother's Day weekend in May spurred me to just bite the bullet and sign up for the Indy Mini and the Flying Pig in 2014. 

The "Indy Mini" is held in , you guessed it, Indianapolis, and since 2004 has featured a full lap of the "Brickyard", aka the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (In the early days of the race, the course finished at the finish line on the racetrack, but didn't include a full lap.) The Mini attracts some 35,000 runners each year, making it the US's largest half marathon. Some years the race sells out very quickly, so I didn't want to wait too long to get signed up. I have heard that one's bib number doesn't correspond to the corral, but to the order in which you signed up… but that doesn't make much sense, so I probably just made that up. (But for what it's worth, my bib number is 25,021…)

I'm most excited about the lap around the speedway… though I've also heard it's the toughest part of the course. I mean, a 2.5-mile oval is BIG… the back straightaway must be nearly a mile long… so I bet it feels hot and tedious. But, still, it will give me a chance to say hi to my dad (okay, his ashes), AND a chance to "kiss the bricks". No matter how well things are going, I'm going to make a point of pulling over, stopping, and kissing those darn bricks. It's what dad would have wanted, right?

Then the next day I'm going to run in Cincinnati. Flying Pig is another huge event that sells out every year. This event contains a marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, a 5K, kids races, a couple of relay options, and even a "pump and run" option where runners also lift weights. I have to admit, the thought of doing "pump and run" did cross my mind… until I remembered how weak and feeble I am. I know I have the (upper) body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach and quads of a king, and of a king of England too…..

I read a bit about the course, but to be honest the big draws for me here are, well, a Flying Pig race medal, a new state (this will be #24!), and did I mention a Flying Pig medal???

Oh, you may be asking yourself, why a flying pig? (Other than that it's adorable???)

According to the Flying Pig website,
In the 1800s, when riverboats plied the Ohio River, Cincinnati was a center of Western commerce. Since agriculture was a prime source of revenue in this area, boats filled with livestock and produce would dock in Cincinnati to sell their wares. Hogs were a major source of income for farmers here, as well, so pigs that were brought in by boat, or herded into town from area farms, were marched through the streets of Cincinnati to the processing plants. So many, in fact, that Cincinnati came to be known as "Porkopolis." 
Fast forward to 1988, when Cincinnati celebrated its Bicentennial. To mark the occasion, the city decided to renovate its riverfront area to include a "Bicentennial Commons" park. Noted designer Andrew Leicester, was commissioned to design the commons, which was to reflect the city's past. When he submitted his plans, one signature feature caught everyone's attention: The entrance to Bicentennial Commons would be four smokestacks, for the city's riverboat heritage, with four flying pigs on top, reflecting, according to Leicester, the spirits of the pigs who gave their lives so that the city could grow. 
After much outcry in City Council, who donned pig noses to debate whether the swine symbols would make the city the laughing stock of the country, the project was approved and the pigs became the signature sculpture of the new Cincinnati Riverfront. 

I've still got a lot of logistics to work out, but I love that sort of thing. One very nice thing -- I had sorta worried about the race fees, though I knew that I could give myself more leeway because these races are in new states, they're both "big deal" events, and I've wanted to run them a long time. But even with the online registration fees, each race came to right around $85. Which, okay, isn't cheap -- but it's on par with a lot of much smaller, less interesting local events… and less than half the price of a runDisney event. Okay, sure, I won't get to see Cinderella on the route, but I will pick up TWO NEW STATES!!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Slime Run -- let's get slimed!

 2013 was the year of the "weird little run". I did a "color run" (the Color in Motion 5K), a "mud run" (Muddy Buddy), two "zombie runs" (the "Zombie Run" as a human, "Run for Your Lives" as a zombie, where I rather spectacularly broke my finger), and even a "bubble run" (The Bubble Run). I was not planning on doing any more of this type of run. But. well, y'see, there was a Groupon… so… Wil and I bought 'em and finally got round to signing up yesterday.

The premise? It's like a mud run, I suppose -- except with luminous green slime and no mud. Well, I say luminous green… but the map has a few different colors indicating the "slime zones"…

Does that mean the slime will be different colors??? The mind boggles…

With our registration (a relative bargain at $25, thanks to the Groupon), we get a Slime Run headband (which I will rock on race day, and never again afterward…), a plastic Slime Run mug (clearly Goodwill-bound…), a "barrel of slime run slime", and, when we finish, a medal. Not sure I need / deserve a medal after a 5K, but I do love me some bling…

Not sure if I've actually managed to make this sound appealing… but Team Wil-Sun will be getting our goo on in Seattle (well, okay, Carnation…) on April 4!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Royalty - the Triple Crown heavy medal

Got a package in the mail the other day from the Conpetitor Group -- my "Triple Crown" heavy medal, for running three Rock 'n' Roll half marathons last year (Portland, Seattle, and St. Louis). Usually they come faster, only 4-6 weeks after the race, but they did send an email saying it would be delayed. Who cares?!?! It's big, shiny, bonus bling!!!

Extra nice? I earned the Triple Crown back in 2011 too (New Orleans, Seattle, Denver), but the medal is different now:

2011 on the left, 2013 on the right. I do love me some purple glitter...

So far I think I will probably only score two Rock 'n' Roll races this year, but, hey, I still love the Rock Encore medal!