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A Whirlwind Week

20 Mar

Last week, my sister came to town for her spring break with a friend.

Since none of my family lives in Florida, it’s always great when someone gets to visit, especially my sister!

She and her friend split their stay and stayed at my condo a few nights, her friend’s family and at a Disney resort for a night. While I did still end up working during most of their visit, I did have a couple days off too!

We spent a lot of time visiting both the Walt Disney World Theme parks as well as Universal, all of which is always a good time for me!

Jurrasic Park River Adventure- Too cold for me to ride!

3D Fun!

3-D Fun!

Theme Park Explosions at Fear Factor Live

Theme Park Explosions at Fear Factor Live

Matchbox Twenty Concert as part of Universal's Mardi Gras celebration!

Matchbox Twenty Concert as part of Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration!

Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom!

Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom!

Needless to say, I didn’t end up exercising or running much while they were here! I did manager to sneak in a 2.5 mile run on Saturday, but that’s if for formal exercise. A day at the parks can be a workout in and of itself though!

They left on Sunday, but I feel like it’s taken a couple days for me to get back into the swing of things. I haven’t run this week at all. I really should have made an effort yesterday, but catching up on household chores and grad school work ended up taking precedent.

Hopefully,by the time you read this on Wednesday, I’ll have squeezed in a workout! I’ve got plans to go wedding dress shopping with a friend this evening, so the morning will be my only chance! I’m not usually an AM workout gal, as the snooze button typically wins, but I’m going to try my best!

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Long Overdue, Part 2: Dick Batchelor Run for the Children 5K

8 Mar

Continuing on in my reviews of races that have passed during my absence,  next up is the Dick Batchelor Run for the Children 5K which I completed at the Universal Orlando Resort this past January! 

This was my 2nd year participating in this 5K. The course is one of my favorites, as it takes place at Universal Orlando! One of my friends was due to run to me, but unfortunately she had other plans come up last minute and she wasn’t able to run. This happens to be the same friend that couldn’t run the OUC Half with me, so we haven’t been having much luck when it comes to running together lately! 

Knowing what a great course this was, I was still 100% committed to participating! One of the best thing about this run is how well organized the whole event is. It was organized by Track Shack who are pros at all things running! I picked up my packet for the run at their store on Thursday, so I was all ready to go on Saturday. 

Getting to Universal was also very simple. One of the biggest benefits of this race is that Universal Orlando has a huge parking lot, that was free for runenrs to use. Parking in unfamiliar locations is usually an obstacle for me, so my familiarity with the location and the plentiful parking was a huge plus. 

This morning was a little bit colder for Florida, probably in the 40s or 50s, and I think it definitely affected the crowds. Compared to 2012, it seemed like there were less runners to me. As a result, I ended up a little closer to the front of the pack at the start line. 

I didn’t want to be too far up, as I know it makes it difficult for faster runners to bob and weave around me but starting a little closer to the start than usual was a benfit to me as I think it pushed me to run a little faster. This was the first 5K where I didn’t give in to walk breaks here and there.

The course itself starts out in a parking area that is used for shuttle busses to Universal later in the day. The course then starts running through a bit of the parking lot, some backstage areas and makes its way out into CityWalk, Universal’s entertainment complex full of restaurants, shops and clubs. 

From City Walk, we entered Islands of Adventure, the newer of Universal’s two theme parks. In Islands of Adventure we made our way through the Port of Entry, Marvel SuperHero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurrasic Park, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Seuss Landing, all the islands within the theme park. Islands of Adventure’s theming is top notch making the run through the park scenic and enjoyable- it’s not every day you get to run by Hogwarts! 

After Islands of Adventure, we headed backstage and into Universal Studios, the second theme park and made a loop through that park which includes a studio lot, the streets of New York, a pass through the now under construction Amity Island (rumored to be converting to more Harry Potter expansion) and through an old school Hollywood area. 

From there, it was just a short distance back out of the theme park and back onto CityWalk to cross the finish line! I had an absolutely great time at this run! Even though I have annual passes to both theme parks, having the opportunity to run through them is still such a treat. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures on this run but I did catch this awesome view below while hanging out after the race on CityWalk! This view alone made my early morning wakeup call worth it!

A post race CityWalk

A post race CityWalk