Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Cold Weather Running Essentials (Southern Edition)

Cold weather (I mean really cold weather) and life down south don't really go hand in hand. Yes, we do have our cold (to us) days and our random and super rare snow days, but those are only a handful a winter. If there's one thing you CAN bet on with winter time in the south, it's this....


As runners, we have to learn how to deal with and adapt to all types of weather conditions - especially with traveling out of town or for a long run during one of those random really cold weather snaps. So, how does this Louisiana girl brave the cold? Here's my cold weather running essentials, southern edition!

#1 Appropriate attire


For me, this includes ear muffs, gloves, and layers!  Sometimes, it's even cold enough that I don't have to shed any of it, even during a half marathon!

This happened to be one of those super rare snow days I mentioned above - and it was my highest mileage weekend for Dopey Training! It actually snowed and the snow stuck for an additional day which I've never seen happen here!


#2 Throw away gear


This tip and tip number one go hand in hand! Raid your local stores at the end of winter for discount sweatshirts. I seriously have a bag stuffed with all different color sweatshirts from previous end of winter sales! They truly make a world of difference at the beginning of a race while standing around, waiting for the race to start. Once you warm up during the race, you can toss your sweatshirt to the side. Most race organizations pick these up to donate to those in need!

Speaking of adapting to crazy weather...how about the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend of 2010 where it sleeted mid half marathon and water stations were iced over for the full? Hello first half marathon! Thankfully, this newbie runner took the suggestion of a friend to snag a sweatshirt from Walmart literally hours before leaving for the trip! Also, I never shed any of my layers during this race and was super grateful for all of them!

#3 Treadmill


I've thought about selling it many times in the past, but it's a necessity for me. Although I'm not a fan of running on a treadmill, it definitely comes in handy sometimes, especially on super cold days!

#4 Hot Hands


Y'all, these things are life savers! You can find them in the sporting goods/hunting section of most stores and they work like a charm. They are single use packs and once exposed to air, they warm up really quickly. I use them even for races (like this past weekend in New Orleans) where it's just slightly chilly at the start and I toss them once I'm warm. If you haven't used them, seriously get some!


...and that's all I've got for now! Running in the winter months can be tricky to plan, especially because of the way the weather changes around here!

Switching topics - this weekend, y'all! We leave THIS WEEKEND for Disney World! I am so excited and cannot wait!

Stay tuned for a Princess Half Marathon costume reveal coming up tomorrow! I finally finished it last night and cannot wait to share it with all of you! Have a great Tuesday!

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Friday, February 15, 2019

2019 Rock N Roll New Orleans Recap

Happy Friday, y'all! This time next week, we will be hitting the road for our next Walt Disney World vacation and I'm so excited to share in the magic with my family once again!

Finishing up with my Rock n Roll New Orleans recaps is one from the race itself.


I ran this race with my friend Melissa and we had an absolute ball! The miles seriously flew by so quickly!

Our hotel was just a short walk to the start line and after hiding out with a few fellow runners behind a building (to avoid the wind and cold of course), we made our way to our corral.


We weren't in our corral long before we heard the start of the race and before we knew it, it was our turn to run!


One thing I LOVE about running the streets of New Orleans (especially during Mardi Gras) is seeing all of the decorated homes and beads in random places! If you look closely at the first tree in this picture, you'll see beads hanging from it!


Also, this second line band along the course - they are awesome! We actually passed them twice (once going out and once coming back in) and they were rocking it!

As per usual with Rock n Roll races, there are bands at just about every mile and the ones in New Orleans are always great!


Seriously, we were at the halfway mark in the blink of an eye. I couldn't believe how great I felt and how great this race was going for us!


I just loved the holiday decor and architecture of this home!


Y'all know me and "characters"...I couldn't pass up the opportunity to snag one with "Who Dat" Vader!


He was seriously great!!


Another absolute favorite of mine from this year's race was the Mardi Gras float. It brought back so many memories to the early years of the Rock n Roll (then Mardi Gras) New Orleans races and I'm so glad they had it here for the 10th anniversary!

The "see ya later" gator......get it?......gave me a giggle, too!


Towards the end of the race, we approached St. Louis Cathedral and Cafe du Monde. I absolutely love that these "landmarks" are close to the end of the race because once you pass them, you know you don't have much further to go!


I was worried about the Brooks guy after I saw him deflated on the San Antonio course, but it appeared that he made a full recovery and comeback!


Just like that, we were at mile 12 and almost finished with another Rock n Roll New Orleans!


Jason and Randy were waiting for us at the finish line, but they were closer up than than I thought so I almost missed them.


We crossed the finish line with giant smiles on our faces! My 9th Rock n Roll New Orleans race was complete!


This was seriously such a fun race!


After the race, runners were given a variety of recovery items such as chocolate milk (hello, runDisney...I'm looking at you) as well as Zapp's chips which made me incredibly happy. Zapp's are native to New Orleans, so I thought that touch was extra special!


We walked around for a few minutes after the race, then made our way over to the buses to take us back downtown towards our hotel.


After showering and packing up, we had brunch at the Ruby Slipper Cafe which was delicious as always!


I had the bananas foster french toast and it was simply heavenly!


After saying goodbye to our friends, we began our trip back home.


We had a fabulous weekend in New Orleans and loved exploring all this race weekend and the city had to offer! Next year, we have big plans for touring on Saturday and I cannot wait!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend! Happy running!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2019 Rock n Roll New Orleans Expo

Another Rock n Roll New Orleans has come and gone! 2019 marked the 10th year of this race and I've run it every single year except for 2016. I was registered for the half that year but was placed on "do not move too much" restriction from my OBGYN. I knew that even walking a half at 32 weeks pregnant simply for the fact of keeping a race streak up was probably not a good idea, so I bowed out. My OB was never so happy to sign papers for me! (She's hysterical!)

Since that was more information than you wanted to know right now, let's move on to the Expo itself!

We arrived early on Saturday morning, checked into our hotel, and valet parked our car. Since our room wasn't ready yet, we headed upstairs to meet our friends who were also doing the race that weekend.


The race expo was held at the Ernest N Morial Convention Center and our hotel was located a super short walk away. We were at the Hilton Riverside this year. I do think it's funny that I've run this race 9 times and have stayed at a different hotel every time! (I basically just look for whichever one has the best rates!)


We arrived not long after the Expo opened for the day and the crowds were super light!


In fact, we had zero wait for our bibs!

Since Rock n Roll has gone paperless now, there are lap tops set up when you first walk in where you can look up your bib number. You take your bib number to your prospective line, show the workers your ID, then you're on your way! It's super easy!


Of course we had to take a picture with the finish line!


We brouwde the official merchandise for a while and I did end up purchasing a quarter length sleeve purple shirt. The image on the front has a fleur de lis and is filled with symbols of New Orleans. It's so cute!


Another merchandise offering was shirts and jackets with participants names on the back. I didn't purchase this one, but my friend did!


The changing rooms were port-a-potties which always cracks me up!


Brooks had a big presence at the Expo (as always)!


They even had an adorable photo booth option complete with props. The end result was a super quick three image video that I shared to my instagram


After browsing for a while, we left the merchandise area and walked over to the Main Expo floor.


I was super thrown off at first because it looked way smaller than it has in the past. In reality, the expo floor was just laid out different.


And of course, my husband just HAD to make a sign for me. Thanks, Jason!


We loved seeing these guys, too!


Before it was all said and done, we might have even registered for 2020....because they were giving out free t-shirts. Like I need another t-shirt.


We had so much fun exploring the Expo floor and meandering around! If Rock n Roll New Orleans is ever on your list of races to run, do it! It's seriously one of the most fun races ever!

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Port Orleans French Quarter Resort Review

When you talk about favorite resorts at Disney, there's no denying that Port Orleans Riverside is one of my favorite moderates. I love the theming, the atmosphere, and the overall feel of the resort.

Last August though, my husband and I had the chance to stay on property for an evening before our Disney Cruise, and we decided to stray up the beaten path to Port Orleans French Quarter. Little did I know, this quaint little resort would quickly earn a place in my heart!


With its down home southern feel and New Orleans atmosphere, this resort is a must stay in my opinion!


A few fun facts about Port Orleans French Quarter:
  • Moderate category
  • New Orleans style theming
  • Walking distance to Port Orleans Riverside
  • Additional transportation option by way of boat to Disney Springs


Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted with that sweet, southern hospitality you come to expect in the south. Our room wasn't ready yet, but the resort was not full and the cast member was able to find a spot for us which was super nice of him!


Port Orleans French Quarter has a quick service location which serves a wide variety of food, along with a few southern favorites.


I also seriously loved the Float Works dining hall overhaul! Disney removed the giant Mardi Gras parade heads and replaced them with a sleeker, more modern design.


There's even a few "hidden" Disney touches - check out the cards below!


Remember when I mentioned traditional southern favorites?


Beignets, anyone? :)

I can honestly attest this "new recipe" (as of late summer 2018) is perfect and tastes just like Cafe du Monde. The old recipe? Well, let's just say I'm glad they overhauled that one! If you haven't tried the beignets here in a while, you definitely need to do so again!


Another touch to the southern way of living are the alligator statues located along the property. No, I don't have them in my actual backyard, but I don't have to travel far to find them!


The architectural design on this property is on point!


Our favorite part about this resort is the size. No matter which building you're staying in, you won't have a long walk to get to the dining hall which is super nice! This resort is also super quiet and we loved that!


The rooms were recently remodeled which meant no more carpet!


Our room contained a king bed, fridge, iron with table, hair dryer, and built-in soap dispensers on the wall. (Since that's super important to know!)


Mardi Gras beads were also waiting for us with the traditional hidden Mickey on the table of our room.


The bathroom was super spacious and had plenty of room to move around. The only difference with this room was the lack of separate potty/shower from the sink. If one person was in the restroom, you didn't have access to anything else. I'm not sure if this is how all of the rooms on property are, but that's how ours was for sure.


Although we didn't have time to explore the pool area, this slide looked like a lot of fun. The laundry facilities are also located alongside the pool.


Taking a boat to Disney Springs is also super convenient and very peaceful. You also have a chance spot the Treehouse Villas along the way.



The New Balance Running Trail is available at this resort as well. I've run this entire route and it's a good one!


This is subject to change, but several of the Disney resorts are offering fun runs on property on certain days of the week. Sadly, we were missing this one by one day. Whomp Whomp.


If you'd like to venture a walk over to Port Orleans Riverside, you can do that as well! It's not far and only requires crossing one waterway! :)

Also noteworthy - there is no workout facility on property which is why the running/walking paths definitely come in handy!


The street signs and cross ways were also designed perfectly, along with these guys (below) which you'll find all throughout the streets of downtown New Orleans.

 


As if we thought this resort coulnd't get any more perfect, it did. Once the sun sets at night, the streetlamps kick on and wow. It's breathtaking!


So, should you stay here? Yes, yes you should. Living in Louisiana, I've been to New Orleans more times than I can count and always shied away from staying at this resort. Now, I'm sad I didn't get a chance to experience it sooner, I'll definitely stay here again and hope you will consider it as well! 

Want to read up on other resort reviews here on the blog? Check them out below! The list is ever growing!
Thanks for stopping by! Have a magical day!

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