Tuesday, October 28, 2014

5 Things I'm Looking Forward To

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Well, we’re all packed up and ready to head out as soon as the kids get home from school today…whoot whoot!!!! Disney really is our happy place, and we are beyond excited to head out on family vacation and create some wonderful memories together.

There are a lot of thing that I love doing at Disney – so today I thought I would share with you 5 things that I am really looking forward to during our trip this week.



Staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa:

“Victorian elegance meets modern sophistication at this lavish bayside Resort hotel. Relax in the sumptuous lobby as the live orchestra plays ragtime, jazz and popular Disney tunes. Bask on the white-sand beach, indulge in a luxurious massage and watch the fireworks light up the sky over Cinderella Castle.” (Source Disney.com)

…and starting at $496/night…this will certainly be a once in a lifetime experience for us (we used points…so luckily we did not need to pay that hefty price tag)

…and I think I can handle this for the day tomorrow


2) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train


This is a new-to-us ride. It opened earlier this year (but after K and I were there in May…boo), so we are really excited to try out this new ride! We already have 2 fastpasses booked for it (means that we have a “reserved” time to go on the ride – that way we don’t need to wait hours in line to ride it)

“Whistle a cheery “Heigh-Ho” because the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is rolling into New Fantasyland!

Just like in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, make your merry way across the rolling stone bridges and through a forest where you’ll find the Dwarfs’ cottage and all the stars from the film: Sleepy, Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy, Dopey and, of course, Snow White herself.

Then, grab your lantern and your map, and hold on tight…it’s time to ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine” on the rockingest, rollingest, twistiest train ride ever!

Feel a rush of excitement, and enchantment too, as you take off on this first-of-its-kind ride system: swinging up and down large lifts, cruising across sharp banks and swaying around exhilarating hairpin turns.

So get ready to rock around like never before—there’s new kind of excitement rocking back and forth through New Fantasyland!”

3. 'Ohana


Food is something we definitely all look forward to on our trip. We love trying new places (which we do each time we go), but then we also have our “must” visit places on each trip…and this would be it for me!!! It is like a Brazilian steakhouse – with delicious sides, the BEST salad and pineapple bread…my mouth is watering just telling you about it…lol. It overlooks the castle at the Magic Kingdom – so when the fireworks are going on at the park – they actually pipe the music in through the speakers in the restaurant – making it a truly magical experience.

4. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


The party is always a MUST for us…and I can’t wait to share our family costumes with you this year…make sure you following me on IG – as I’ll be posting throughout our trip! Personally I can’t think of a better place to spend Halloween and go trick-or-treating



“Join Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy as they celebrate the power of believing. Your heart will soar as you hear a medley of famous Disney songs and the voices of Disney characters in the biggest fireworks extravaganza in Magic Kingdom park history. Brilliant colors wash over Cinderella Castle—magenta, azure, periwinkle, pink and even pearly white. Blazing rockets race into the night sky before exploding overhead, leaving trails of smoke that catch the glow. The entire park thunders in the wake of great wish-making, synchronized to an unforgettable musical score.”


Happy Tuesday folks!

What are you up to today?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lotsa' Weekend Running

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Hey guys, hope you had a great weekend…I spent mine doing what I love to do, running!

Saturday morning I laced up the shoes and hit the trails around town for my long run.  It was a cloudy, cool-ish morning, but there were plenty of runners out and about.   ran through the University, downtown and out to the park before making the turn back home.  I ended up finishing with some pretty decent hills and my legs were absolutely trashed by the end of the run.  I have been running A LOT lately (28 runs in the last 29 days) and I have been running pretty hard the past week as well, so there was plenty of accumulated fatigue in my legs for the long run.  This is the idea of doing hard runs in the days leading up to your long run so that you begin your long run already feeling a bit tired out, in an effort to simulate the later stages of the marathon itself.  Well, I didn't go out too hard and I was gassed about 5 miles into the run.  I ended up doing 16 miles, so I spent the last 11 miles pushing through on worn out legs…just like a marathon.  All in all, it was a good learning experience.  during the middle miles it always seems like my mind wants to mess with me…I get the ideas floating through my head about how tired and sore I am, how easy it would be to just cut a run short, etc…I'll tell ya, I really wanted to bail early, but I pushed on.  Even knowing that I was trying a slightly new route that ended with some pretty brutal climbs…the last couple miles had me climb over 100 feet…I decided to not cheat myself and just embrace the suck.  I got home and I was done…zombie mode the rest of the day.


The next day I had a 10K race scheduled, the Halloween Haunting.  I was solo for the race as Michelle and the kids went to church, so I didn't have any race paparazzi with me.  Of course being a Halloween race I had to break out my trusty Captain Thunderbolt costume…here's a glimpse of what I looked like, though this was from last year's race;

image (3)

It was cold, but not quite as bad as last year, so I wore my Mickey mouse ears instead of a winter hat, but you get the idea.

I was running the 10K and my legs were still a bit wiped from the day before, but I had been running well lately and was still hoping to go under 40 minutes.  We took off and I was off like a shot.  I clocked a really quick first kilometre at 3:37 but knew that was too fast, so I settled down and ran right around a 3:50 pace (6:10/mile).  I stayed right at that pace for the quite a while and ran with another guy most of the first loop (the course was 2 loops of the 5K course).  We were either right on each other's shoulder or just in front of/ behind the other.  Right as we came through the start/finish for the first loop I managed to pass him for the last time and from that point on I was running solo.  I set it on cruise and just maintained my pace, crossing the finish line with a time of 38:47, good for 8th overall and an age group win.  Most importantly, I was the first place costume Open-mouthed smile


After the race I stuck around to drink some coffee, eat some bananas and collect my prize (a nice new Mizuno running hat).  I also was able to meet one of the guys I follow on Strava…he happened to finish just ahead of me in 7th place.  I even walked away with a $20 credit at Runner's Choice as I won 3rd place in the costume contest!

Now I get to wind down the running a bit as we are packing up to leave for Disney in a few days…I can look back at a great month of training though and know I'm well on my way to a solid marathon in January.

Anyone else run a costume race this weekend?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Fav's

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Happy Friday friends!!! Here at the Cooke household we're all on the happy train (whoot whoot) as we are on countdown to our family vacation next week!!!...speaking of which let's dive right in to today's Friday Fav's




Earlier this year Pro Compression came out with a pair of women's crop workout pants...well they finally went on sale (originally $80...on sale for $50)...a sale is always great...but what makes it an even schweeter deal...I found a coupon code for another 40% the sale price!!! I love the colour and styling, and can't wait for these to arrive!!!



We had to replace the toilet in our en suite bathroom last weekend, so we decided to freshen things up, and do a little impromptu face lift...we picked up this new floor mat, and I'm really diggin the new look it gives the room



As ya'll know...I am not a pumpkin fan BUT I absolutely love anything "spicy" as J would call it, aka minty. I have been using this stuff non-stop, the scent is truly heavenly



Ya'll know I love a good sale...and while cruising online the other day I found these baby's on clearance at lululemon. I thought they'd be great for our trip next week...they are awesome...they're a great fit, and I like that they are longer then the run speed shorts, so that I can wear them for casual, and not just running.



We are officially down to T minus 5 days...and the 4 of us can't be more excited!!!! ...we even have a surprise for the kids (sshhhhh don't tell them), but yesterday Mike was able to change our flights, for on our way to Florida...originally we were not scheduled to arrive in Florida until just after 5pm...so we weren't going to have much time to enjoy the villa that we are booked into for the first night...but we were able to change our flights to the 1st flight out in the morning, which means that we now arrive to Florida just after 11am!!! Whoot whoot...the kids are going to go bananas...but we're not going to tell them until we are packing up and leaving Tuesday night now, instead of Wednesday morning!!!!!

...and that's been pretty much my week in a nutshell...happy weekend friends!!!!

What are your plans this weekend?

What's your favourite fall scent?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Birthday & Some Running

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Well as Michelle mentioned the other day, I had a birthday on Monday…36, an inconsequential number if I've ever seen one.  We didn't do much to celebrate…the kids sang me happy birthday and I opened a couple presents.  Kennedy had swimming that night so I stayed home with Jackson…it was a nice, quiet evening though.

My gifts were kinda fun…Michelle got me a Sony Walkman (yup, that Sony Walkman) mp3 player that is just built into some earphones.  They are waterproof and are meant for swimming…I can't wait to try them out!  Anything to make 2000m worth of lengths seem quicker is worth a shot.


The kids got me a big bag of vices…all my favourites were in there, from M&M's to Doritos to Starbucks Via (perfect for travel, like next week in Disney) to Beef Jerky and even a 4-pack of Guinness.  Everything a dad needs Winking smile


Running has been good again this week, and on the heels of my 10K PR I have put in back-to-back runs with sub-40 minute 10K's.  On Tuesday I ran a 3'57" pace and did 10K and on Wednesday I managed to hold a 3'58" pace over 13+ kilometres.  Unheard of paces for me in training, and over longer distances than I have ever run  at those speeds.

image (1)

I'm not really following a plan, I've just been running strong and running a lot.  I am finding that as I run hard, the paces become easier, and now what used to be my tempo paces are just regular training paces.  It has allowed me to find another gear and my speed is really improving.  With that, my endurance is building as well.  This weekend I am signed up to run the Halloween Haunting 10K on Sunday morning and it will be an interesting test as I am planning to get in my long run the day before.  Probably not "ideal" to run a race the day after a long run, but I am curious to see how the legs react under fatigued conditions…good gauge for marathon training.


Anyone else race right after their long run?  How did it go??

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

So last week I took the plunge and decided to order Fabletics. From what I could tell from looking at their products online - the styling (as far as the pants are concerned) were VERY similar to Lululemon. Now ya'll know I love my lulu...and even though it's pricy, I feel like the quality, styling, and cuts justify the price tag...with that being said...there hasn't really been anything in quite some time that I've "had to buy"...I haven't been lovn' the new colours and patterns...so at a fraction of the price, I thought I'd order something from Fabletics to see how they compared. If you join the VIP, you can choose 2+ piece outfits that start at just $49. After doing their little survey, they put together outfit looks for you that you can then shop...there were 2 that caught my eye, so I put them in my shopping cart and checked out. Within 2 business days my outfits had arrived. Here's what I decided on:


I've been wanting to get a plain black pair of crops from lulu for awhile now, and just hadn't got around to it....and I luv, luv, luv the back of the top I got. It's a thin fabric and perfect to throw on for to and from - definitely not a top I would workout in, but very stylish and super comfy. The crops are perfect! They have the slit pocket in the waistband...and speaking of waistband...if you own a pair of lulu bottoms...you know they mastered the perfect waistband to not give us girls a muffin top...and these crops did not disappoint. They fit perfect and I actually think the black fabric is thicker and better quality then lulu these days...so outfit 1...I am extremely happy with...and for both pieces for $49...how do you go wrong?!?


Outfit #2 was the reverse colours. I have quite a few lulu pants that are this style, so these ones were the ones that I was really able to compare apples to apples...quality and cut are exactly on par with the lulu ones!!! Needless to say I was super stoked, 'cause again this 2 piece outfit cost me $49 (compared to the $82 lulu price tag...JUST for the pants)

I am super impressed and look forward to seeing what outfits are "suggested" for me on November 1st (on the 1st of every month they send you outfit suggestions that you can purchase, pass or choose something different).


Wednesday - spin, aquafit
Thursday - 5km walk
Friday - spin
Saturday - rest
Sunday - aquafit, abs
Monday - spin, aquafit x 2, 5km walk
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - aquafit, abs

Happy hump day friends!

What's your fav brand of workout clothes?!?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014 Pinery Road Race 10K Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

For a few years now I have wanted to run the Pinery Road Race…it is part of one of the race series around the area (the Runpiker Series) and it takes place at the beautiful Pinery Provincial Park which is just a few miles down the road from the cottage.  I was hurt a couple years ago and unable to participate and last year it was the weekend right after I ran the Chicago Marathon, but everything fell into place this year to enable me to sign up.

The race was Sunday morning and it was cold and gray.  It had rained pretty steady overnight so it was just miserable all around.  It was only 4°C (39°F) when we left for the race and it never really warmed up.

image (3)

I was lucky that despite the frigid temperatures my cheering squad decided to tag along and lend their support.

image (2)
image (7)

We went to pick up my bib and then Jackson and I went for a little warm up jog.  I'm a terrible runner and never really do anything before a race, I'll usually just get to the start line and go, but it was so cold this morning that I had to get a little warm.  We did about a 500m jog, just enough to get a bit loose…Jackson had fun at least.  When we got back to Michele it was time for them to go find a viewing spot and therefore time for me to lose the sweatshirt and winter hat…I kept my gloves though!

image (5)

I got right up to the start line and the horn went off.  The pack set out at a really quick pace and I was sitting about 6th or 7th.  I wasn't concerned because I had my pace where I wanted it and I was pretty sure a bunch of the others would fall off.  Sure enough, by about the 2K mark I had moved into 3rd place.  I could see 2nd not too far ahead, but the leader was long gone (tall guy above in the white singlet, black arm sleeves and red short shorts…no surprise he was a thoroughbred).

I kept the gap from getting too big between me and second, and at one point I saw him sneak a peek back at me…I yelled at him to not worry about me, I was way back.  He acknowledged with a wave and kept going.  A couple minutes later a big deer went running through the bush right beside us, causing me to let out a "Whoa!"…that was a pretty cool sight in the middle of a race.  I saw the leader coming back the other way and knew we must be nearing the halfway point turnaround.


I hit the turnaround right on the heels of second place at 18:49…a good time for a 5K but still plenty of work to do.  I knew I would need to at least maintain this pace to get second.

It was less than 500m later and I decided to go for the pass…I got up to second and he tried to stay on my shoulder for a little bit, but he dropped after 100m or so.  The rest of the race was pretty much solo…I never saw anyone ahead of me other than the other 10K runners heading out to the turnaround, and there was no way I was going to look back and see how much of a lead I had.  I kept telling myself to push the pace and I think I even convinced myself that I could hear footsteps right behind me…like I said, I wasn't looking back!

After a tough solo run with nobody but myself to push me, one of the race officials said that this was the last curve.  I was now coming up on the last few 5K runners and started to weave my way through them towards the finish line.  I gave a real strong kick down the finish chute and heard Michelle and Jackson cheering me on…I crossed the line in second place with a new 10K PR of 37:44.


I managed to run the back half a few ticks faster than the out and ended up finishing 20 seconds ahead of third place (the winner was nearly 5 minutes ahead of me at 33:03!).  My only real goal for the race was to go under 40 minutes, so to go under 38 and finish second overall was a real thrill!

image (1)

We stuck around after the race to collect my prize…I got a crisp new $100 bill for my efforts!  That will pay for the new shoes I just ordered, good deal Smile

image (9)

We then packed up to head home…we stopped at the cottage to say hi to my dad and also bought some fresh apples and pears from the local farm, then grabbed some lunch and settled in for the drive.  A great day all around!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Happy Monday friends! It's a very crisp (and wet Storm cloud) morning here...although if I'm being completely honest...it doesn't really feel much like morning anymore to be since I've been up since 5am this morning..lol..so lets dive right in today to MIMM Open-mouthed smile



I ran!!!! After taking nearly 6 weeks off from running (due to the fact that I decided I needed to put my energy and focus into a few other things going on in life)...and it was actually pretty great! It was pain free. It was *stop* free (no run/walk intervals)....and I got to run with Mike...it certainly doesn't get much better than that!!!


Speaking of Mike and running...he raced a 10k yesterday...and walked away with some cold hard cash!!! So proud of him - and it was great that J and I were able to be there to cheer him on!


I reached my first milestone weight loss goal (yesterday - a day early woot woot!!!) that my AP had set for me. I've still got a ways to go, but I'm getting there one goal at a time!


Mike's sister happened to be back in town for a few days, so on Friday night - we got to meet up with her and the kids and Mike's mom for dinner together...and as J will tell you (on repeat) "I love my cousins"


Today is this guy's birthday!!!! We're having a pretty low key bday for him this year as K has her swim team tonight, do it'll just be a dinner with the 4 of us tonight (including a few treats!!!) Happy Birthday Michael...I Red heart you to infinity and beyond!

Thanks Katie for hosting today.

What was something marvelous for you this week?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Fav's

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

It's Friday, time to check out my favourite things from this week…

1) Disney World Marathon


Excited to have a goal race on my calendar again, and really interested to see how a 3 month training plan will go.  Truth be told, I've had the marathon bug biting at me for a little while now, so I've already been working on building my base…I'm already at the point where I can run a half marathon every weekend and not think anything of it, so I guess the base is well on it's way.  It will be different this year as I won't be running a Half the day before…let's see what sort of time I can put up when I'm actually racing a runDisney event.  Just try to stop me, Mickey.

2) Pinery Park Road Races


While the marathon is still a few months away, I do have a race on the schedule this weekend…Sunday I'll be running the Pinery Provincial Park 10K.  I haven't raced a 10K for quite a while and it is a punishing distance.  It requires the all-out effort of a 5K for twice the distance…truly a special kind of pain.  I'll be going at it hard and just hope I don't puke afterwards.  My goal going in will be to go under 40 minutes…doable, but tough.

3) New Shoes


I ordered my new Kinvara 5's from Running Warehouse yesterday and my feet can't wait.  My old Kinvara 4's are retired as of today…yesterday's run I was dealing with foot pain (just noticed impact more than I should) and checked out my soles afterwards…there is nothing left in the middle forefoot area.  I think I eked every last mile out of them!  Always nice to get a deal, and ordering through Running Warehouse saved me nearly $60 compared to what I would have paid locally from the big box sports store.

4) Run Streaks

photo 2

I've run every day so far in October and dropped my average pace to 4:11/km (6:42/mile).  I'll run again today at lunch and that will put me over 200K for the month before taking a rest day tomorrow.  The legs are feeling great and the running has become really fun again!

5) Coffee Dates

photo 1

Was lucky enough to get to spend some one-on-one time with this pretty girl earlier this week and we were able to enjoy a beautiful Fall evening on the patio at Starbucks.  This kid is growing up way too fast for her dad, but I love the young woman she is turning into.  Very proud of her.

What are your favourite things from this week?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How We Entertain Ourselves

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Well it's a pretty gloomy and super foggy day here in our neck of the woods...so I thought today we could all use a good laugh. The following video is how we entertained ourselves the other night at Thanksgiving...after J unsuccessful tried tying us adults up...we decided to do it to him...he's a clever little guy though...and wiggled his way out of at least his blindfold...trust me...it was a GREAT ab workout...lol...enjoy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Well, I Did It….

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

…I've signed up for another marathon.


Yup, I'm running the Disney Marathon (again) in January!  My running has been going really well lately and I have missed the longer distances.  I had dropped the hint to Michelle few weeks ago that I was thinking about signing up, and she didn't run away screaming, so I took that as permission to proceed Smile  Truth be told, she was just happy to have an excuse to go back to Disney for a few days!

We lucked out pretty well as we were able to book flights with points and get our room at Disney with our Disney Vacation Club points as well…we will fly in the day before the race and then have the next 3 days to just relax and enjoy some time together.

I was able to get out on our holiday Monday for my long run…25K, which is a little over 15 miles, making it my longest run since Around the Bay 30K way back in March.  It was a little warmer than it has been lately, but there was a light mist in the air (along with a really strong headwind)…I set on on the country roads that I ran all last summer when I was marathon training and despite some less than perfect weather (and muddy roads), I really enjoyed it.  I love running long and I had forgotten that…after the run my decision was made.  I signed up later that day.


I had mentioned the other day that it was time to replace my shoes, you know, since they had holes in them.  I have pretty much settled on the Saucony Kinvara 5's as I have been running in the 3's and 4's the last couple years and really like them.  Now only the most important decision remains…which colour to buy?  I'm digging these ones (I wear a LOT of blue…)


Have a great day folks!

Anyone else running Disney Marathon Weekend in January?