A rant on race shirts

Why is it so hard for race organizers to provide a decent-sized shirt for petite women? Out of my entire collection of race shirts (about 15), there are only two that I would actually wear in public. One is from last year’s A Race For Maggie’s Place which ended up being well worth the $30 race day registration fee for the tech shirt and the great goody bag. Although it wasn’t a women-only race, I attribute the great shirt to the fact that the race is held to benefit women.

Lost Dutchman 10k 2008The shirt in action during the Lost Dutchman 10k.

Then, there’s the awesome women’s tech shirt from Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. It’s my favorite race shirt because it’s Disney, it’s pink, and it just fits perfectly. Although the race was open to men, it was definitely a female-centric event and I don’t even think there was a male/unisex shirt option available.

Disneyland 5k 2009I wore my “princess” shirt and a tiara for the Disneyland Family Fun Run 5k.

Of course, not all women’s races get it right. At the Trek Women’s Duathlon, the smallest shirt size was a medium!

For some reason I don’t mind it so much when I get cotton shirts that are too big. At least I can still get some use by wearing them around the house. But there just isn’t anything to do with tech shirts. It also seems like some race organizers use tech shirts as a reason to justify high registration fees. If I’m not going to be able to wear the shirt anyway, I’d rather get a $5-10 discount and no shirt. Like at the Rock ‘n’ Roll races, I already know the “free” shirt won’t fit. They must be getting some kind of huge bulk discount because every race has the same “unisex” Sugoi tech shirts and they’re always blue. With as many participants as they get, you’d think they could provide women’s sizes and different colors for each race.

But the real reason for this post is because of the last two Disney race shirts that I’ve gotten. Here’s a look at the shirt from the Expedition Everest Challenge.

Expedition Everest Challenge 2009 race shirt

At this angle it looks okay. But the proportions are actually all off. The body’s not too bad, although perhaps just a little short. It’s the sleeves that are crazy. The Disneyland Half Marathon shirt has the same cut. Here’s what it looks like on.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2009 race shirt

See what I mean about the sleeves? Who would actually look good in this shirt? I don’t know whether the blame lies with Disney or Champion, but both companies have enough expertise with apparel that this shouldn’t happen. It’s worse than if the shirt was just too big overall.

So anyway, that’s my rant for the day. Do you have a favorite race shirt? What are some races that offer shirts in both men’s and women’s sizes?


Stupid bugs

Mmmm, I’m snacking on a yummy piece of gingerbread Mickey while I write this post. I love bringing home snacks from Disney to make the magic last longer.

Gingerbread Mickeys from Disneyland

I took an ice bath last night and my legs feel much better today. I even made it out for a short run tonight after work.

Wednesday, September 9 – 2 mile run, 20 minutes stationary bike, about 30 minutes strength training (Adidas)

This is the biggest of the blisters that appeared on my legs last week. I was going to see a doctor yesterday, but then it accidentally popped on its own. The rest of the blisters dried up and seem to healing. I still don’t know what happened. I was reading on WebMD and learned there are actually lots of things that can cause blisters… sun, spider bites, allergic reactions…

My icky blister

Unfortunately now I’ve got a new round of what I think are bug bites on my legs. I told Troy that tomorrow he’s got to spray around the house because I’m tired of being itchy all the time. Hopefully none of these turn into blisters, but if they do I’ll definitely go to the doctor’s this time.

I’m back

Just a quick post to say I made it back safely from my long weekend at Disneyland. There will definitely be photos coming soon. I think both my races were personal worsts, but that’s okay because more importantly I had FUN! Out of all the half marathons I’ve done so far, I think this was my favorite. I enjoyed the bands and cheer squads more than at any of the Rock ‘n’ Roll races. And nothing beats having people actually cheer you on by name (because it’s printed on the race bib).

Despite my slow times, my legs are still pretty sore today. I don’t think it’s from the races so much as all the walking around the parks afterward. I really, really need to get a good pair of walking shoes. I’m hoping to be back up and running by this Thursday for another 5k at Road Runner Sports. Maybe I’ll be able to find some shoes there.

I finished writing up part 2 of my RnR Chicago race report in the car on the way to Anaheim, so I’ll probably be posting that tonight. On the way home I was too tired to do anything but nap.

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Just one more sleep

Tomorrow morning, Troy and I are hitting the road for a six-hour drive to Disneyland! It’ll be the third time we’ve made the drive from Phoenix to Anaheim this summer. Maybe we can make it without any wrong turns this time! Most of the drive is pretty boring, but I enjoy this stretch of windmills in California. There are so many it just seems to go on and on and on for over a mile.

California windmills

I can’t wait to see our friends again…

Me and Troy with Minnie, Goofy, and Mickey

Maybe this time we’ll even run into Eeyore. (These character photos are from Walt Disney World. I couldn’t find Eeyore last time we were at Disneyland.)

Me with Eeyore


My workout on Tuesday night didn’t go so well.

September 1 – about two mile run (Asics)
I went out earlier than usual while it was still pretty hot and sunny. It was really tough to summon up the energy to keep going. After struggling through two miles I decided to call it quits since Troy and his parents were waiting for me anyway to go out to dinner. I didn’t take my Garmin so I have no idea what pace I was going at, but I’m sure it was slooow.

Thankfully things went much better tonight.

September 3 – 4.43 mile run (Saucony)
Just when I healed from my injury from two Sundays ago, now I’m hit with another affliction. At least it doesn’t really keep me from running. I have no idea why, but these blister-like bumps showed up on my legs today. Yesterday I thought they were just itchy, red bug bites. But now the skin’s puffed up and seems to have fluid trapped underneath, just like a blister. It’s pretty disgusting looking, although I won’t let it stop me from wearing dresses and shorts over the weekend. I have no idea what it is because I couldn’t find anything online. So then I spoke to a nurse over the phone. She said it didn’t sound critical enough to go to an urgent care center immediately, but recommended I make an appointment with my doctor for next week in case it doesn’t go away on its own in the next few days.

Anyway, one of the bumps is right on my left ankle bone and it hurt when I put my socks on because of the pressure of the material rubbing on it. It also hurt during my warm-up walk. I tried I was a little wary of running tonight because I was worried that the bump would throw off my form and cause some other kind of injury. But thank goodness it actually hurt less to run than walk.

I ended up having a really good run. Everything just seemed to come together. I waited until it was dark so it wasn’t quite as hot outside. And I guess I did a good job stretching because my calves didn’t feel tight like they often do. At first I thought I’d just do my best to get through one mile. Then I figured I’d do 3.1 miles – a 5k. Then I felt so go that I decided to try for 4.4 miles which is 1/3 of a half marathon. My overall pace was a decent 11:03.

Now I’m feeling much better going into the 5k and half marathon this weekend. I’m still just planning to take it easy and have fun and make plenty of stops for photos. But now I think I can shoot for closer to a 2:30 finish instead of 3:00 finish.

So that’s it for now. I gotta go finish my packing so we can leave bright and early in the morning. Disneyland, here I come!

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Trip and race planning

First, here’s a quick update on my training.

Monday, August 31– 2.5 mile run (Asics)
After sitting out for a week, I was able to run again yesterday. I didn’t want to suffer in the heat so I used the treadmill at the gym instead. It’s tough making the transition back from outdoor running to the treadmill. I used to be able to hit 6-6.5 mph on the treadmill with no problem about 18 months ago. But yesterday it felt difficult at just 5 mph (12 min/mile pace). I think the hardest part is getting used to the repetitive motion of sticking to a constant speed.

I’ve been keeping busy lately getting ready for my three(!) upcoming trips. I’m kind of fanatical about research and planning which takes a lot of time, but also results in some decent savings.

For Disneyland, we’re staying at the Howard Johnson Anaheim which gets rave reviews in the online Disney community. Originally I booked us for three nights at $84/night in a standard room using a 15% discount code I got from mousesavers.com. But on Saturday I noticed that on the last night of our stay, the hotel has standard rooms available at the entertainment card rate of $59/night. A short call to the hotel got my rate adjusted for a savings of $25!

I don’t know if I mentioned that I’m 100% confirmed for the Expedition Everest Challenge at Walt Disney World. Well, I am! What sealed the deal for me was getting a free race entry ($105 value) from Disney. I had emailed them asking if they’d be willing to comp last year’s female winner (me!), and they said yes!

My final savings that I’m excited about is from Southwest Airlines. I found a Ding! fare going to Orlando for $99, but the flight back was $169. I booked it anyway since I’m returning on a Sunday and it seems like most of the sale fares aren’t valid on Sundays. Well yesterday I checked southwest.com and saw that my return flight had gone down to $129. This is the first time I’ve tried to get a travel credit from Southwest, and it was really easy to do through the website. I was then able to use my $40 credit for my plane ticket for San Jose.

I think last time I posted about this, I was still debating whether to add a fifth Rock ‘n’ Roll race for the year and which one. In the end, the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon won out over San Antonio, even though RnR San Jose is the weekend after the Expedition Everest Challenge. For San Jose, the start, finish, and Expo are all within blocks of each other which makes things very convenient. Also, the proximity of San Jose to Phoenix means that I can fly out on Saturday morning instead of Friday night and save money by staying just one night at the hotel.

So I’ve already got my flight and hotel set for San Jose despite not even registering yet. But that should all be taken care of this weekend. I’ve been waiting to sign up in person at the Disneyland Expo in hopes of getting another free t-shirt. Actually, I’ll probably be registering for two races. (There goes all the money I’ve saved, haha.)

The story is… I sort of regretted not doing a Disney race as my first half marathon. I thought I’d make up for it by doing my first full marathon at Disney. For the past few months, I’ve been planning to do the marathon at WDW in January but I never fully committed yet. The nice thing about Disney races is that they post how full the race is on the website. Right now the marathon is at 77% capacity and the 5k is at 95%. While there’s still time to decide on the marathon, if I’m there I want to do the 5k too.

I was almost ready to register, then I got to thinking. That would be my third trip to WDW in a year. Or my fourth trip to WDW in 16 months. Or my sixth trip to a Disney park in 16 months. I love Disney, but do I really need to go that often? It would be one thing if I could afford to stay at the deluxe resorts and eat at the signature restaurants to add some variety. But trying to do Disney on a budget is getting just a bit repetitive. I also don’t know if Troy would be able to take time off work to come with me in January.

It took me a few days to come to terms with this, but I’ll put it out there now so there’s no changing my mind after this. Instead of Disney, I’m going to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon right here at home. I’m sad that Disney won’t be my first, but ultimately this is the better decision. I won’t have to take time off work to travel, I’ll be saving probably around $1,500, and Troy will definitely be there to support me. And hey, there’s always the Goofy Challenge to look forward to.

Just so this post isn’t totally boring, here are a couple photos from last year’s trip to Walt Disney World for the Expedition Everest Challenge. I love how the photographer captured the mountain in the background and there’s definitely no question this was a nighttime event.

Expedition Everest Challenge 2008

This was taken by one of the Disney PhotoPass photographers at the entrance to Animal Kingdom. He had us do a bunch of different poses. Then something happened with his camera so we did them all again. We were annoyed at the time, but they ended up being some of my favorite photos of the trip.

Troy and Lisa at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney and local races

Hi Mica and RunningLaur, my faithful readers. It’s a slow day at work so I thought I’d respond to your comments on my previous post.

Disney races are fantastic, especially if you’re willing to just relax and soak up the atmosphere instead of worrying about time. At the Princess 1/2 Marathon in March I had so much fun stopping to take my photo with the characters along the course. It made the 13.1 miles go by pretty quickly. (One of these days I’ll get around to writing up a belated race report about that trip.) I started running so that I could use races as an excuse to visit the parks, but now it’s sort of become more about the races. That’s because I’ve become addicted to collecting medals and Disney has some of the best “bling”. Check out these awesome Disney medals.

The only local race I’ve decided on for sure is the ARR I-Did-A-Green-Run… can’t beat free! I’ll also be doing some of the runs at Road Runner Sports, but in my mind they don’t really count as races. Unfortunately a bunch of the races I’m interested in are on weekends when I’ll be away, like the ARR Jerome Hill ClimbMoon Valley Grasshopper Bridge 5k, and Runner’s Den/Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon. Then there’s the weekend of November 14-15 where I’ve got to choose between one of three races: ARR Just Another Mad Dog 25k, Run From The Sun Half Marathon, or Aflac Iron Girl Tempe 10 Mile. I guess it depends where I am in my training that weekend. Local races are nice because of the cheaper race fees, but since there’s less planning involved I tend to wait until the last minute before committing.

My non-running week and future races

Mock Runner's World Cover from RnR Chicago Expo

What do I do when I’m not training? No, unfortunately I’m not interviewing for a feature article in Runner’s World. But I thought it would be fun to share this mock magazine cover from the RnR Chicago Expo. I have another one from after the race too, that I’ll post another time.

Anyway, why does it always seem to hurt more the day after a race? On Sunday I felt fine despite (or because of?) spending three hours on a plane home from Chicago. But on Monday I definitely felt like I had run 13.1 miles. I was happy that I was going to take a break from training for a few days.

Monday night, Troy and I went to Red Robin to spend a couple of the bird bucks I’d gotten at the Run For The Cheetah. I had a yummy BBQ chicken burger and French fries.

Tuesday night, we went to the Asian grocery store so I could pick up some Chinese produce. I love how cheap it is to buy vegetables. Instead of training, I’ve been spending my evenings cooking instead.

Wednesday night, my car Stewart was not happy and decided to leave me stranded at the bank so I got stuck waiting TWO HOURS for the tow truck to arrive. At least Troy was able to diagnose and fix the problem for me so I didn’t have to take Stewart into a shop. Stewart’s started had to be replaced.

Thursday night was relatively normal. I spent a bunch of time planning our upcoming trip out to Disneyland (woo hoo!) and got most of the details sorted out. Since I’m going to be up early anyway for the races, my goal is to be at park opening on both Saturday and Sunday so we can get on the popular rides that we missed during our last trip in June. I’m also excited to try the famous Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou for lunch after the half marathon. For the race, I’m definitely going just to have a fun time and I plan to take lots of photos with the characters.

Speaking of races, I’ve been thinking about what to add to the schedule between Disneyland and Las Vegas. For awhile, I’ve been debating whether to do another Rock ‘n’ Roll event this year, just so I can get my Rock Star heavy medal. I’m so close, and I don’t know when I’ll ever do this many Rock ‘n’ Roll events again in the same year. After comparing San Jose and San Antonio, I’m probably going to go ahead and sign up for San Jose.  Ultimately what it came down to is that the location of the start, finish, and expo are more convenient in San Jose, and it seems like the airfare and hotel will be cheaper.

There’s been a rumor going around that Disney will be canceling two of their fall races. At the RnR Chicago Expo, I talked to a Disney rep who confirmed that 2009 is the last year for the Race for the Taste 10k and the Tower of Terror 13k. The two races will be replaced with a half marathon. I guess I know what I’ll be doing next October, but in the mean time it makes me sad that I won’t get an opportunity to do those two races. I tossed around the idea of trying to squeeze them this year, but I can’t really justify making two weekend trips out to Orlando just two weeks apart.

I may still try to do the Expedition Everest Challenge, depending on whether I can find a cheap Ding! fare on Southwest. After all, I’ve got to go defend my title, right? Actually that’s what Troy keeps saying. On the other hand, I sort of think that it’s better to go out on top and enjoy my rare victory without spoiling it with a so so showing this year. The main reason I want to go is to make this the one Disney race that I’ll have done every year from the beginning.

So while I’ve enjoyed being lazy this week, I know it’s time to get out and start running again. I think I may do a slow 2-3 mile run tonight to get my legs moving again, then a longer run later this weekend. It’s supposed to be a great weekend with slightly cooler temperatures. If I can drag myself out of bed early enough, it’ll only be about 85-90° during my run.