I’ve enjoyed a full week of Florida fun – sunshine, running and food…as well as a visit to the playground of a certain mouse! Here’s the lowdown:
Monday – rest
Tuesday – 30 minute run
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – run
Friday – Epcot!
Saturday – parkrun
Monday is usually a fairly easy day for me when it comes to my training, and after running both Saturday and Sunday, I decided a day off was needed. So while Steve went out for a morning run, I stayed in and did a little yoga before getting settled on my sun lounger for the day. For those keeping track of my holiday eating, lunch was pizza and dinner was my mum’s delicious curry.
On Tuesday it was time to head out for a run again. We were leaving fairly sharp as mum and dad had appointments to get to, so Steve and I headed out just before sunrise when it was still really hazy looking.
And we saw the sun coming up at the end of the road.
My legs were a little sluggish, but I felt much better afterwards and ready for the day.
While mum and dad were busy, Steve and I took the chance to do a little shopping at the outlet mall…once we’d had a frozen mocha from Panera Bread!
Lunch this time was in the outlet mall food court and we opted for a combo – mine is orange chicken and chicken with broccoli. We followed that with an iced tea by the fountain before shopping some more.
After all that (and another frozen mocha later in the afternoon) we weren’t wanting a huge dinner and since my parents were out, we just had a simple dinner of soup whilst enjoying the sunset.
I opted for another rest day on Wednesday and spent the day reading in the sunshine – more or less my perfect day! Mum made her version of chicken à la king (chicken in white sauce) for lunch.
In the evening I did a little more yoga and then it was time for more of mum’s yummy cooking. This time, pasta and meatballs followed by ice cream with a Cadbury Flake. Oh, and another amazing sunset. Perfect.
Thursday began with another run, this time 4.5 miles. Thanks to an unusually dry week for Florida at this time of year, the humidity was much higher and we could feel it in the air even early on. It definitely makes for more challenging running conditions, but my hope is that when I get home running will feel much easier and my pace will have benefitted.
We then had a chilled morning and light lunch of soup before getting ready and heading out for our favourite treat of the trip – afternoon tea at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort. Honestly, if you want one non-park tip for a Disney vacation then this is it. There are a variety of options (including one for children) to suit every budget and absolutely everything is delicious. Well worth it (but make sure you’re hungry when you get there!).
The Disney theme carried on into Friday as we enjoyed a theme park day. As usual, dad presented us with a Disney gift card by way of birthday present (basically he gives all of us our birthday present in July, even though both my sister and I have August birthdays and Steve’s isn’t until December!). We always use our cards to buy a one day Disney pass and this year we chose to have a day at Epcot.
Since it was technically my birthday present, I wore one of those “I’m celebrating” badges (buttons) and pretty much treated the day as my birthday! We set off sharp with my sister so had breakfast when we arrived – coffee and the biggest doughnut I’ve ever seen!
We then enjoyed an awesome day of rides, character greetings, shopping and touring World Showcase.
Mid-afternoon we actually nipped out of the park to head over to the nearby Boardwalk as we had heard about these incredible cupcakes which had both a unicorn horn and Mickey ears that were being sold exclusively at the Boardwalk Bakery and we HAD to have one. I was still wearing my “I’m celebrating” badge and this led to me receiving a Magical Moment when the bakery staff gave me my cupcake for free as a birthday present. I love things like that in Disney and the cupcake itself was AMAZING!
Another highlight was the dinner reservation Steve made for the Akershus restaurant in the Norway pavilion. I had been here before for breakfast with my sister years before, but not for dinner and I was looking forward to it.
It’s a character dining experience with the Disney princesses. You’re greeted by Belle (my favourite) upon arrival then Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel and Snow White visit your table at some point during your meal.
The meal itself was fantastic and actually quite a healthy option for theme park food. You begin with the Taste of Norway buffet which has salad, cheeses, cured meats and fish to create your own plate.
You then choose a main course. We couldn’t decide so opted for the Viking Mixed Grill which had tasting portions of 3 of the dishes. My favourite was the salmon and if we were to return to the Akershus I would definitely order the salmon for my main course. So good!
Dessert is a sharing platter brought by your server. We don’t normally “share” in this way, but we were pretty stuffed so relieved not to have a massive portion each (besides, our server had threatened to bring another if we actually finished it lol!). On the plate was rice cream (a little like rice pudding but a creamier consistency and actually pretty good. Apparently it’s traditionally made at Christmas from leftovers), apple cake with coconut cream and salted caramel sauce, and a chocolate mousse. They were all incredible but it was definitely an effort to finish it off and we left a little of the apple cake as a sacrifice to ensure we managed the chocolate mousse!
After dinner we met up with my parents who had a dinner reservation in the France pavilion and we watched the fireworks together before heading home.
As a result, we weren’t at our freshest on Saturday morning but we were still up and away to head over to Clermont for parkrun. Because of another event in the park, this time we were on their alternative course which is on the mostly shaded trail within the preserve rather than on the paved path along the waterfront. I was looking forward to a different run but knew I wouldn’t be terribly speedy – I was tired, it was VERY humid even early on and the course was harder thanks to the different terrain and having a few more twists and turns.
I ran comfortably hard and finished in 26:42. Quite happy with that since I had no expectations at all for this one.
When we were at Disney Springs last weekend I bought a pair of Goodr sunglasses as I had heard loads of good things about them from US-based runners and I tried them out at parkrun (our runs during the week had been early enough that sunglasses weren’t required). I have to say, I loved them! Really comfortable, even when wearing my Aftershokz earphones, and they didn’t bounce or move around. Add to that the cool colours, mirrored lenses and $25 price tag and I think I’m a convert. Perhaps another pair next year…
Once home and showered, we treated my parents to breakfast at Denny’s where I chose the French Toast Slam.
The remainder of the day was pretty chilled after a busy couple of days. I finished my book and got another one underway, then in the evening there was a really amazing sunset with some stunning colours to watch while we ate our dinner (“Christmas” ham with wedges and veg) followed by key lime pie.
On Sunday I was up and ready for a 10k run with Steve, but after about a mile I aborted the run and ran home. I was feeling pretty sluggish which I would normally push through, but I also started to feel a bit “off” with cramps so decided it just wasn’t worth the misery. Of course as soon as I stopped running I felt much better, but I’m glad I listened to my body as it was clearly telling me not to run this time (I was still gutted to miss the run though).
Fortunately, we did have plans to go to a different outlet mall so that took my mind off it. Despite battling some huge tour groups and having to stand in the most enormous queues to pay for anything, I did manage to find a few bargains so was happy with that. Lunch was a similar combo to on Tuesday but no photo this time as we were squeezed into a table and it was just too much effort. Sorry!
And the week was rounded off with the last home-cooked dinner of the trip – mum’s sweet chilli chicken with rice.
Sadly only a few days left of this trip now, but we’ve packed in all the things we wanted to do and have one or two things to look forward to once we’re home.
Are you still dealing with hot weather training where you are?
How would you like to celebrate your birthday?