Friday 28 September 2012

Running - A Progress Report

Well, you may have noticed it's nearly two weeks since my last running update...the reason being that there hasn't been a whole lot to update you with!

As I feared after the calm of the summer holidays life has now begun to get in the way of my regular running routine.  A combination of trips to the theatre, pre-school committee meetings, demands of children and the wonderful British weather have all contributed to a lack of running.

In the last 12 days I have managed only two runs, when I would ordinarily hope to have completed five or six.  So whilst I am disappointed not to have completed the number of runs I would have liked to, I am pleased to report that both these runs were for 25 minutes each, and in both runs I have improved on my previous runs in respect of speed and minutes per mile, so it's not all bad.

I shall endeavour to get out there when I can and keep aiming for 25 minutes as a minimum each time I run.  It will be interesting to see how I get on as the nights get darker and the weather gets bleaker - wish me luck!!

Thursday 20 September 2012

The Attraction & Dilemma of WDW, from a UK Perspective!

It's an annual dilemma for most, where shall we go for our vacation this year?  Friends will contemplate which country to visit, where they can afford to go, when and with whom!

Whereas for me it's easy, in fact it's a no brainer, I can answer without hesitation, or deviation, and say WDW every time.

I think my friends now accept this is always going to be my preference but I know for a while I was looked upon as a little strange.  After all, why did I want to visit the same place not just once or twice or even a third time but time and time again?

Now I have to admit that as the years have gone by my choice has include Disneyland Resort Paris and Disneyland and I am still trying to figure out how to get to Tokyo Disney and Disney Sea....but do you see a theme?

And in all fairness even the years when we ventured to other Disney resorts my heart was at WDW; comparing parks, attractions, rides, weather, food and queues.  However, living in the UK does have one big obstacle to visiting WDW as often as I would like.....the Atlantic Ocean!

Also over the years life kinda got in the way what with career changes, house moves and oh yes, the arrival of 2 children, all forced a vacation re-think and for a number of years we enjoyed the closeness of DLRP (that's Disneyland Resort Paris, for you Muggles!). 

Having the children in particular has had a big effect; vacations become a lot more expensive, not just the getting there but all the extras whilst on vacation, then there's when to go, as school has to be taken into consideration and couple all that with a 9 hour transatlantic flight and any sane person will tell you that your choice of vacation destination has to be well considered and well thought out.  So there was a period when we waited till our youngest was 3-and-a-half before we ventured to WDW, this meant a gap of 8 years between visits and a lot of visits to DLRP instead.

Now don't get me wrong DLRP is great but it's not quite WDW or Disneyland, and to be honest, as the years have gone by visiting DLRP for a 3 or 4 night stay has not been an option purely from a value for money point of view.  Visiting the US for a longer period (usually 2 weeks for us Brits) although expensive, is waaaay better value for money.  It may come as a shock but, for someone from the UK, visiting Paris is three times more expensive per night, than a visit to Florida!

In addition, the weather is far better, and Disney just feels better or 'right' in the US.  I'd always thought I could satisfy my Disney fix by taking a trip to DLRP in between visits to WDW but the expense eats too much into our savings for the 'main event'.  So despite my desire to visit WDW at least once every year I have to be happy with every 2 or 3 years - money, school and work allowing.

That said, it does make our trips to WDW far more special and memorable, and it does mean that there is more new stuff to see and experience every time.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Running....a progress report

So I thought I would update everyone with how the running's going.  Well, first week back at work after the summer holidays I managed my 3 runs and completed week 7 of the C25K program - so that was 3 runs of 25 minutes (non-stop).

Second week back at work and I knew I wouldn't be able to manage the necessary 3 runs.  One of my usual run evenings was spent at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham watching Cabaret, starring the very talented Will Young (a definite must see), so I decided that rather than try to complete week 8, and get frustrated because life was getting in the way, I would simply continue with 25 minute runs until such time as I can manage a full 3 runs in a week.

So I have managed to get out twice this past week and complete 25 minutes each time; now it's not the easiest thing in the world for me, nor the most pleasant, but the sense of achievement when finishing a run is fantastic.  My aim at the moment is to keep on with the 25 minute runs as a minimum and when I know I have a clear week I will move onto week 8 (this will be 3 runs of 28 minutes each).  I know increasing from 25 minutes to 28 doesn't sound like much but at the moment the thought of 3 more minutes feels like quite a big hurdle for me, so my aim is to keep the 25 minute runs going and as and when I feel them getting more comfortable to increase to 28.

As always I shall keep you posted with my progress!

Friday 14 September 2012

The Arachnophobe's Guide to WDW

So here in the UK it's early September and everything's starting to get a little Autumnal....misty mornings...slight chill in the air....leaves changing colours....all lovely....except for the influx of spiders!!!

Last year when we returned from our WDW trip we opened the front door and the house had been overtaken by spiders and their webs.  There is a lovely children's book called 'Aaaarrgghh Spider' and I think our house resembled the last picture in that is Simon's interpretation of the scene we were greeted with, courtesy of 365 Mickeys;
'Welcome Home'
Now I confess I don't like spiders much....if at all, if I'm honest.  I have got better over the years, I used to scream and cower at the smallest of things but I can now deal with the small and even the medium sized ones but the big ones with long!

The advantage to living where we do is that we are close to two major cities, good road links, easy reach of lots of interesting places all with the bonus of living in a rural village, the disadvantage is countryside equals large horrible spiders!  Simon is really good he will pick them up, or use a glass and piece of paper, and throw them outside.  I on the other hand will scream and run away.  I have been known, when on my own and no knight in shining armour to save me (Simon - that's you!!), to stop what I'm doing, leave the room in which said spider has been seen and then purposefully close the door behind me, because as everyone knows closing the door will stop the spider from following me - see what I'm like!!  A grown woman and still scared of spiders (but only the big, hairy, long legged, mean looking ones!).

So faced with a rather large spider this morning who was blocking my way to the shower I had to 'man-up' and drop a rather heavy book on his head.....I know that's perhaps not the politically correct thing to do but it was either me or him!!!  But this got me thinking are there any Disney experiences that I either avoid or participate in with a degree of cautiousness?  So here's my list of attractions that need a health warning for those of us who just don't do creepy crawlies:

  • Honey I Shrunk The Audience (Epcot) - my problem with this attraction is the '4-D' element, more specifically the mice related section, suffice to say I always sit with my feet well and truly off the floor.
  • It's Tough to be a Bug (Animal Kingdom) - I really like this attraction, despite my jumping out of my seat more than once, so my health warning would be 'bugs can get anywhere, so be prepared!'
  • Stitch's Great Escape (and it's predecessor - ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter) (Magic Kingdom) - Now my confession here is that I have never experienced either of these attractions, for me the thought of being 'held in place' and not knowing what is happening around me has never appealed.
  • The Great Movie Ride (well the Alien section anyway!) (Disney's Hollywood Studios) - OK so this one is a bit of a stretch, but I really don't like the Alien films, I appreciate that cinematically they are great films (Simon assures me so!), but that Alien is just a bit too close to 'insect likeness' for my tastes. Still doesn't stop The Great Movie Ride being one of my all time favourites at WDW - what a conundrum I am!

Sunday 9 September 2012

Mickey Art

I am very fortunate that I live with an artist, my husband Simon, which has meant over the years that my knowledge and appreciation of all things 'arty' has considerably improved.

No visit to WDW is complete without a visit to the 'The Art of Disney' at Downtown Disney Marketplace; a chance for Simon to become awestruck by all the fabulous art and me to wish I had the money to spend on figurines and other collectibles.

Simon can always be found 'doodling' and when work allows, loves nothing more than creating art of all kinds - have a look at his website for the range of work he produces  Back in November of 2010 Simon was spending a quiet Sunday afternoon 'doodling' away drawing Mickey as various Halloween monsters in different styles - they were amazing.  I happened to comment that he should do some Simon issued me a challenge 'if you can give me a theme I'll draw you a Mickey a day for a year' and so began '365 Mickeys'.

We had a whole year of 'so darling, what's todays Mickey then?' which to start off with was quite easy and straightforward; simply pick what had happened that day a birthday, karate lesson, broken boiler, girl's night out and off Simon would go and produce a piece of art.  But as the year went on it became apparent that the usual day-to-day stuff wouldn't be enough to keep us (sorry Simon!) going.  So the latter months took on themes - movie month, classic Disney character month, Halloween monster month as well as mini themes like 'superheroes' or limiting the colour palette.

Part way through the year I said 'you really ought to do something with these' - it seemed such a shame that the only people to see this growing collection of art were family and close friends, so Simon decided to dedicate part of his website to the project - 365 Mickeys - please take the time to have a look I promise it will be well worth your while.
Me and all 365 Mickeys!
365 Mickeys has brought a great amount of pleasure to both Simon and I, especially when seeing the response of someone looking through the art for the first time, and in turn has enabled Simon to use his powers for good!  In September of 2011 he was approached by the lovely team at WDW Radio Podcast to produce a piece of artwork based on the WDW Radio Dream Team Project logo that would then be auctioned off on 1st October 2011 as part of their marathon 40-hour live broadcast from WDW to celebrate its 40th anniversary.  All proceeds from the event, which totalled near $17,000, went to support the Make A Wish Foundation.
'Disney Dreams'
And so to September 2012 and Simon has been approached once again to help out the WDW Radio Dream Team Project to produce a piece of artwork to mark the 30th anniversary of EPCOT, once again the artwork will be auctioned off over the weekend of 28th - 30th September 2012 with all money raised going again to the Make A Wish Foundation.  What do you think?

'Mickey as Dreamfinder with Figment'
Pretty good eh?!!

Saturday 8 September 2012

Running Week 7 Update

Well this week saw the return to work and school....back to normality after six weeks of going with the flow.  Now as I said last week my aim had been to make a concerted effort to tackle the C25K program over the summer holidays; no excuses, nothing to get in the way of me getting out and getting fit, and after six weeks I had achieved exactly what I set out to achieve and completed the first six weeks of C25K...but can I keep it going?

Well I'm pleased to report that week one back at work has seen me stick to my routine and complete week 7 of C25K.  That's three runs of 25 minutes each....not easy by any stretch but I did it.  I have to admit that there were plenty of times I felt like stopping but I managed to persevere and push on through, it hasn't been easy but the sense of achievement is fantastic.

I know I am fitter than I was 7 weeks ago and although my knees feel sore I am glad that I have made the effort, but I also know that my next challenge is to keep it going.  I already know that over the next couple of weeks I have other things happening on my usual run nights so I am going to have to swap and change my routine to fit everything in.....what will happen? Can I stick to the program?

I'll let you know.....

Sunday 2 September 2012

Running Update

So yesterday saw me embark on my last run of week 6 of C25K - a 25 minute non-stop run!!

Well I'm pleased to report that I did it, yes I actually did it....I think I've even surprised myself.  The first two runs of the week had been the usual combination of running and walking culminating in a third run of 25 minutes.

Now thankfully the route that I've picked near where I live is fairly flat but when it came to run two this week I thought I'd mix it up a bit and deviate off my usual route....trouble was this meant a bit of an incline to start the run off with and boy did that make a difference.  Lesson learnt stick to the route that you know and can manage before trying to be clever, I still managed the run but did find it more difficult than I would have liked.

Also different this week was that due to a day out with the girls on Friday meant that I had 2 days rest between run two and three and I did wonder whether this would have any effect, but I'm glad to report that it didn't and I ache as much as I expected I would :).  Have to admit that my knees are feeling it the worst but I have been pleasantly surprised with how my recovery time has been steadily improving after each run.

Now back when I started this blog and wrote my page all about jogging I happened to mention that I had the six weeks summer break from school to have a really good go at this running week one of the summer break I started on week one of C25K and as I write now we are at the final weekend of the summer break and I have just completed week 6, I have achieved exactly what I set out to achieve and am really proud of myself, the next challenge is to keep it going - wish me luck!