Thanksgiving Manchester Road Race

This year I decided to change up my traditional Thanksgiving morning race and sign up for the Manchester Road Race. I sent Kimberly Torres a text to see if she was running it and when she said yes, I signed up right away! Danielle Nardi also decided to sign up that same night so we are having a runDisney reunion outside of Disney. I am really looking forward to it! What I am loving most is the fact that with almost any race, I can put a message out on facebook and can find friends from runDisney to join for these races. What an awesome community the running and runDisney community is. Everyone is so friendly and always enjoys trying to hook up for races. My friend from work Michael Bower will also be there. I was hoping to hook up with Diana who I will be hooking up with for the Walt Disney World with Mandy Remmo also. With 15,000 people it was very hard to find anyone. I did see Michael. He was in the seeded runner section so I was able to find him easier.


I got up at 6 am to get dressed, eat some oatmeal and tea and headed over to Beth’s house to pick up Danielle. Then we drove up to Kensington to pick up Kim. Off to Manchester and we arrived at 8:00 and got a great parking space. We waited in the gym so we could stay warm as long as possible. Kim took advantage of the free massage they had.


The race takes place in Manchester, CT at 10:00 am. It is a 4.748 mile run with 15,000 runners! It began in 1927 with just 12 runners. Today with so many runners and the events at the Boston marathon, there was a lot more security. There were armed personnel on the roof of one of the buildings on Main Street.


Kim, Danielle and I are on a mission to run it and get it done so we can all carry on with our Thanksgiving festivities. So I was hoping to have a decent finish time. We finished in 55 minutes. The crowd never really broke loose so we had a slower pace the entire race.

This was a fun race and I am pretty sure I will do this one again. I hope we can get another group put together again next year.


My Disney Wedding

chapelformalpixMy Wife Mother Runner blog is primarily a diary about my running, but it is also about my love for Disney.  And one of the major events in my life took place at Disney.  My husband and I got married in Disney World on May 16, 2002.  We had our wedding ceremony at the chapel and the reception was at the Terrace des Fleurs in France with Fireworks after dinner.  It was amazing to say the least!

It all began like this….  My husband and I had been going to Disney at least twice a year since August of 1998.  In May of 2001 we went and made an appointment to meet with the wedding coordinators to gather information about a Disney wedding.  While meeting with our coordinator, Michelle, we discussed what we would like to do for a wedding, where it will be, possible dates and most of the major details in regard to locations and holding spaces.  Now at that time we weren’t even engaged!

When we came home my husband secretly contact Michelle and solidified everything to make it official.  He also purchased a diamond and was getting everything in place for my ring.  Now mind you, it was only June.  He kept this all a secret until he proposed to me…. Christmas Eve of 2001!  He had to keep it all a secret for over 7 months!  Now as a girl, I had been hoping he’d ask me every trip we took, every special occasion, but nothing happened.  We had been friends for many many years, but our families never really knew if we were an “item”.  On Christmas Eve we always have our families over.  Most years his brother couldn’t come because he was with the other side of his family, well this year he was dropping by, so it raised some suspicions.  All during the day I was anxious, I was hoping that I would get a ring for Christmas.

The Proposal

The proposal went like this… my niece was around 10 at the time and played the violin, so she did a little song for us.  Well Kevin said it felt like the song would never end!  Then Kevin told everyone he had a special gift he wanted me to open. I was getting excited.  He brought out a large box (I knew it was probably a decoy).  I opened the box to find another box, and another – you know how that goes.  Well I got to the last box and was excited because it was a small box.  Well I open that up and find this!


Yup a pin!  So my aunt yells out, “All that for a pin?!”  Then Kevin looks over at me and reaches in to his pocket and said, “why were you expecting this?”  I instantly cried and everyone yelled!   Then he announced that he had another gift for me and returned with a blue envelope.  I opened it and in it were the plans for a Disney wedding.  He told all of us that we are getting married May 16, 2002 and that the date was set and location booked!  You should have heard all the buzz going on in the house.  Everyone talking about going on diets, booking flights, hotels, etc.  He had it all figured out.  We had a group rate for select hotels and discounts on park passes.  We were also all going to go to Cirque du Soleil to see the show one night.  Over the months from Christmas to May Kevin and I ordered invitations and planned the wedding with our Disney Wedding Planner via a few phone calls to go over details and selections we wanted for the ceremony, flowers, music, food, cake, etc.

Now again in the un-traditional sense, I had already purchased a wedding dress in August of that summer.  I had wanted to go dress shopping once with my mother and Kevin saw something nice in a Bride magazine I had so I asked the shop if they had it and they did.  We went and tried it on an I fell in love with it instantly and ordered it!

The Rehearsal

We flew down to Florida with my parents and Kevin’s parents on Tuesday, May 14.  We had a limo to drive us from the airport to the Grand Floridian.  We had lunch and then we met with our wedding coordinator to go over the final details.  The rest of our families were flying in on Wednesday. So Tuesday night we had dinner with our parents at Wolfgang Puck’s in downtown.

The next day our families arrived and we had a day by the pool.  The men had their final tuxedo fittings and that night was our rehearsal at the Floridian and the rehearsal dinner which was at 1900 Park Fare.  After that we hung out by the hot tub and pool.

The Wedding Day

The day of the ceremony we all met for breakfast and hung out by the pool.  Everyone was so relaxed and had a great time. It’s so hard to believe that it was wedding day and we are all hanging out as a family before the wedding!

After lunch the girls and I had to go to the conference center at the Floridian to have our hair and make up done.  That’s when my nerves were really starting to kick in!  We spent a few hours there getting all made up and then we got dressed and my brother-in-law met me to take some pre-ceremony pictures (he is a photographer but couldn’t shoot our wedding for obvious reasons).  It helped to have him there to settle me down a little.


After our pictures, he had to go meet up with Kevin and his family to do their family photos in the Grand Floridian.  Then it was my turn to do family photos with the girls at the Grand Floridian.  I was so excited to finally be a “Disney bride” and to be standing on the Grand Floridian staircase having my picture taken in my wedding gown!  However, I have to say I had butterflies something fierce!  I think in some pictures you can see it in my eyes!  I don’t know why I was so nervous, this was my dream come true!


It was time to hop in the limo with my family and head over to the chapel.  My sister, dad, Martha and I got over to the chapel and then we waited in the bridal area.  Then it was time to line up to walk in.  When I was standing there with my dad at the doors I could see Kevin through the cracks in the doors and that’s when I really relaxed and got very excited.


The ceremony was beautiful.  Reverend Day performed the ceremony and the view of the castle from the alter was spectacular!  After the ceremony we walked across the bridge to our receiving line and saw our guests off onto their bus to head over to Epcot.  We hung around at the chapel for pictures and then Kevin and I went off in a limo to meet up with everyone at the Terrace des Fleurs in France in Epcot.  On the way there our limo driver got lost!  We drove into the backstage area of France in Epcot where my train was pinned up to my dress and then we walked in with our wedding planner through the crowds who were starting to line up for the parade and the fireworks.  We felt like celebrities being escorted privately through a back entrance to our private reception area.  It was incredible!


The Reception

weddingcakeBecause it was so warm out, we had to cut our cake right away so that it wouldn’t start to melt outside.  That was the best bite of cake we EVER had!  It was so delicious!  After that we said hello to our guests, then sat at our sweetheart table and had toasts and then began our dinner.  The meal was fantastic and then we had our cake for dessert and fireworks at 9:00.  I had tears in my eyes when the fireworks were going off because this was yet another part of my dream coming true!  It was awesome.  Words can’t describe how happy I was.


After the fireworks show Epcot was emptying out and we had the entire park to ourselves!  But we had to stay in our area where we had dancing and drinks until midnight. It was so much fun and everyone danced to just about every song the DJ played!

When the night was over we all climbed into a tour bus and drove over to the Floridian where we took candid pictures with friends staying there and then went to our room where Kevin had a dozen roses waiting for me.  It was a magical night and one that I will never forget.


The rest of the weekend

The next day we met everyone after breakfast to spend the day at the Magic Kingdom.  That night we were going to have dinner at Wolfgang Pucks and then went to Cirque du Soleil.  It was such a blast!  On Saturday we went to the Animal Kingdom and did the safari ride, the rapid ride and the Dinosaur ride.  Then we all hung out at the pool for the night.  Sunday we had breakfast at the Floridian Cafe and then everyone had to pack up to leave.  It was a drizzly morning and Kevin and I went to each room to visit everyone.  Then we all waited in the lobby for the shuttle to pick everyone up.  When they all said their goodbyes and drove away I cried like a baby.  Both of us were very sad to see everyone leaving.  We had SUCH a GREAT time that we felt like all the fun was leaving us!  On our way back to the pool area there was a guy playing a guitar to the reggae song “everything is going to be all right”.  Kevin and I had reservations for Narcoossee’s that night.  So we chilled out for the afternoon then got ready for our dinner.  We were scheduled to fly home on Thursday but changed our flights to come home sooner so we could help prepare for our reception back in CT the following weekend.

Disney did a spectacular job planning  out wedding the way we wanted it and we felt like stars. We really enjoyed having our families there to make a vacation out of the event.  We spent a lot of time with them before, during and after our ceremony which made it so much more special.  Having a wedding planner for our wedding made the event so much easier to manage.  Michelle took care of everything for us!  There was no stress involved in this event AT ALL!  I highly recommend having a Disney wedding.  They do different prices for different events and you can select any venue, accessories (Cinderella’s coach with horses), music options, floral arrangements, invitations and more.  Visit for more information.

Recovery Plans

I saw my chiropractor recently.  That is one of the things that I do as a recovery item after a long run.  I don’t go the same day, but within a few days of my long run.  Doing long runs does add some additional compression to the spine so it is a good idea to get adjusted.  It also makes your back stronger, ironically.  While holding yourself upright for x number of miles your core is engaged and your back muscles are engaged which in turn makes you stronger.  He told me he noticed some strength in my back.

Another recovery tool that I love after my runs is to have a glass of skim milk with Ovaltine!  That’s my treat, but it is also recommended to drink after a long run because of the carb to protein ratio.

Lately I have been adding more anti inflammatory foods to my diet to help speed up the process.  Foods like watermelon, red peppers, fish oil and green tea.

Listen to episode #108 from the Mickey Miles Podcast and you’ll learn from the runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus what foods she recommends before a run, during a run and after a run.  This was a very helpful episode because she used plain and simple foods like Greek Yogurt, an english muffin with peanut butter.

Here are other foods Tara recommends prior to, during and after your runs and races.

Prior to your Race or Long Run

Carb loading – full marathon
A few days prior to your event, be sure to do some carb loading. Be aware, you will gain weight during that time and you will feel bloated. But that is ok because your body is doing what it should and it is topping out with your glycogen stores. It is also water weight. Rice, tortillas, potatoes, multigrains and any source of carbs is good.

Race Day or Long Run Day

Breakfast 1.5 hours prior to the event you can have your cereal and milk, banana, bagel and PB, egg and toast or oatmeal. Then 30 minutes up to race start it is good to eat a banana, plain bagel, sport drink or granola bar.


Post race meal within 30 minutes of your event the following food choices that are primarily carbs are best:

    chocolate milk
    banana and water
    fresh fruit plus protein powder
    granola plus water plus yogurt

Within 2 hours have protein plus carbs with a more complete meal to help your muscles recover.

What is your recovery plan?

This is why I run!

1112130911As a follow up to my earlier post Why do you run, today is a perfect example of why I run. Monday night I saw that there was a chance for snow showers in the forecast so instead of running Monday night I decided to save my run for Tuesday morning.  I love running in snow showers.  Well, I didn’t quite make it in time to run while the snow was falling around me, I still got out there when it was cold and quiet.

deerIt was a beautiful run.  Snow coating the leaves, wild geese feasting on the crumbs left in the fields and 4 deer crossed the road in front of me!  (hard to see in the picture, but one looked back at me from the field).

I love getting outside when it is cold out and especially when snow is falling.  It’s so quiet and peaceful.  I also had to get in a recovery run after my 20 mile run on Friday and I felt great.  I didn’t have any soreness hanging around from my long run.  During the weekend I was eating red peppers and home made vegetable soup and drank coconut water to help with the recovery effort and inflammation.

Why do you run? Why do you run Disney?

When I was out on a run recently I was thinking about everyone else’s pod casts and blogs and thought to myself, I wonder why everyone else runs. I know that I run because I enjoy the time outside, I have made a lot of new friends at the Disney races, and I feel better knowing that I am doing something that is good for my body.

When people learn that I run one of the first things they say is “I will never run”, or “my knees hurt when I run”. They also say that they are too heavy to run. It’s all just an excuse. I tell them to never say never. Anyone can run. You don’t have to run the whole way. I don’t. I use the Jeff Galloway method of run/walk/run. This has allowed me to run complete a marathon, which I thought would NEVER happen. I always WANTED to run a marathon, but I never really thought it would happen. Now I am training for my second one within a year of my first and I have a list of marathons that I would like to do such as the Marine Corp Marathon, NYC, Chicago and Nike Women’s Half in Washington D.C. to name a few. This coming from a 41 year old wife and mother of 2 children, who only started to run races in 2010!

Why do I run?  I started many years ago on my treadmill in my basement after I was told that I had an autoimmune disease but they doctor’s couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. You can read more about that in my About me page.  But I was determined to go against what my mind was telling me and being sick.  I didn’t want to think that something was wrong and have to deal with taking steroids and immunosuppressants.  So running for me was a coping mechanism.  But I didn’t consider myself a runner back in 2002.  I really started running in 2010 when I started my journey outdoors and invested in real running gear and registered for races.

runDisney-LogoWhy do you run Disney?

I first heard of runDisney from Danielle Nardi I work with her cousin and she told me Danielle started a blog about running. So of course, I had to check it out because I was a sponge trying to learn as much as I could about running at the time. I never knew that there was so much you could learn about running. I thought you just put on some shorts, sneakers and sunglasses and run. Well, you could do that; but eventually you will chafe, get shin splints and burn out. There’s a whole community and industry related to running. My wallet can attest to that!

Danielle talked about the Wine and Dine half marathon in her blog and it sparked an interest in me.  She also talked about her first marathon and that’s when I was roped in.  It planted the seed for me and during the spring of 2012 I decided to train for a half marathon in CT.  During that training I thought that I may be able to do a full one day. I went with my husband and kids to our Disney trip in May and that’s when I decided to go for it.  I signed up for the full marathon in June along with Sarah McGovern Luka  from Running at Disney.  My training was hard but successful and I had an awesome experience for a first marathon!  I met Mandy Remo and her husband Ken and we have become friends and they welcomed me into their family on my trip to Disney Land this past September.  I remember distinctly on marathon morning that Mandy told me once I do one Disney race I will want to do more!  Boy was she right!

So why do I run Disney?  Why not run Disney?!  Their races are great!  They are so much fun, the entertainment along the course is awesome!  The medals are beautiful!  The costumes are so fun!  The water stops are plentiful, the expo is loaded with great merchandise and guest speakers, and the friendships I have made along the way are incredible!  I have been chatting with Laurel Moffitt who is all the way in Japan, I met Mandy and Kenn Remo from Michigan, Sarah Luka from West Haven, CT, Danielle Nardi and Jennifer Lazzaro from NY and Linda Bachand who is working towards her marathon maniac status!  Oh and Ann Cook and Mickey Wellmon!  I can’t wait to make more friends in my next upcoming races!

DSCN0039 totfinish

What RunDisney race will you be running in 2014?  I am registered for the 10K and full in January, and the Princess half in February so far.  Hope to see you there!

20 mile marathon training run for WDW marathon 2014

I must admit, I was not interested in doing this run. In fact, around mile 3 I sort of wanted to bag the idea. But thankfully I had my ipod loaded up with Mickey Miles Podcasts and they were keeping me interested in continuing my run. I also finally started to come around at mile 5. I created a new route with some familiar roads as well, but it was nice to know that there were some areas where I haven’t run before, or even driven, so then I had new scenery to look forward to.

I started to get into a groove around mile 8.  I made sure that I started to give myself some Gu early on so I wouldn’t fall behind in my needs for fuel.  I had taken 2 Gus by mile 10.  I also took caffeine Gus with me for this run and I think they were successful for me.  I had a little mishap around mile 10. I stepped off a sidewalk to get to the road and stepped into leaves, but they were hiding a hole in the ground and I actually fell.  I was ok, I didn’t twist anything and get hurt, and thankfully no cars had seen me.  But I was a little irritated by that.

My strongest point was miles 10-15.  The weather was very nice and I was familiar with some of the areas that I was running because I had done them last year.  I also enjoyed running on sidewalks because they sort of break up the road for me a little bit.  It is also not on the road with cars so I feel a little bit safer.

By mile 17 I was starting to feel a little bit of a cramp in one of my calves, but it wasn’t anything major.  I started to run towards my work and took a few longer walk breaks.  Onto Salem road I was doing ok and then again, I took a little longer walk break just to freshen up my legs for the last 2 miles home.  By mile 18 I was feeling strong again but I knew I had a large hill to go up on my way home.  I walked up most of it like I do every time I end my route on that hill.  But I kept up my pace and when I reached the top and saw I only had a mile left, I was feeling very strong.  I actually started to run a little faster and had some left in my tank.

I am very happy with this run.  I finished it 10 minutes faster than last year and my recovery time was great.  Two days out and I don’t feel at all like I ran 20 miles just 48 hours ago.  I am mapping out my routes for my last 23 and 26 mile runs to see if I can change up the scenery again.  I feel that it is really helpful to have new roads to run on.  The anticipation of what I have to see and not knowing how much further ahead I have to go is very helpful in the mental training.

I am also getting very excited for marathon weekend now.  Earlier in the fall I was feeling nervous because I knew the hard training I had laying ahead of me.  But in actuality, the journey is just as much fun as the destination and I am learning to love the journey and embrace the positive things that happen along the way.