Ballet Shoes & Mickey Ears

The happenings of this Disney-obsessed runner and dancer!


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A Christmas Story 5k Race

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this movie, you should check it out. It’s called A Christmas Story. It’s a holiday classic that a lot of people watch around the holidays. There is even a television station that plays this movie for 24 hours straight on Christmas Day. This movie happened to be filmed right here in good ol’ Cleveland, OH. I could go on and on about it, but their website does a better job at explaining it! And if you’ve never seen the movie, I highly recommend watching it! It’s pretty funny!

Now onto the race….

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the filming of A Christmas Story, so they decided to put on a race! How fun! You had the option of running either a 5k or a 10k. Since we knew it would be cold, husband and I decided to just run the 5k. Both races got you a medal, which is almost unheard of for these distances. The registration was a little costly compared to other 5k/10k races. We payed $55/ person because we registered late, but the cheapest they had it was on a Groupon deal for one day only for $25.

Included in the registration fee:
~ Long sleeve Christmas Story themed tshirt
~ Free admission to tour the Christmas Story House
~ Transportation from the House back to the start area after the race
~ Post race food and drinks
~ Finisher’s Medal

They ended up selling out for the race which is awesome! They even had a virtual race option, which I thought was really neat. I think there ended up being around 3000 people there on race day morning. I have to say I’m not sure if I really enjoyed the race. There were things I liked about it and things I didn’t. This race marked my 10th race of the year for me, and also my last for this year. Here’s a basic rundown of the pros and cons of this race, according to me of course ๐Ÿ™‚

Pros:
~ Easy parking
~ Was able to stay warm inside the building before the race
~ Packet pickup that morning was easy and simple
~ Easy course that went one way for the 5k, and out and back for the 10k
~ Awesome tshirt and medal
~ Free admission to the House

Cons:
~ Very crowded. Like, took 10 minutes to get to the start line after the race started, kind of crowded.
~ No instructions were given to people walking the course. This ended up being a huge pain in the butt for us runners.
~ No email was sent out regarding packet pickup info, etc. I had to look it up on their website.
~ The finish line was crazy backed up. I almost had to walk across the finish line there were so many people.
~ The line for the House tour was right next to the finish line, causing even more of a backup and confusion. The line was also really long. We waited about 30 minutes to get in.
~ The line for the busses back to the start area was ridiculously long. We stood outside in 20 degree weather for over 30 minutes.

I understand it was their first race, so I’m sure things will improve for next year. We were just really shocked by the poor planning. With that many people registered, they should have had more busses available. And there definitely needs to be instructions given for race day etiquette. People walking would just spread themselves out wherever they felt like it. Groups of people walked in horizontal lines totally blocking the road from runners being able to pass. People were even walking on the opposite side of the course where the 10k runners were trying to run on their way back. It was very annoying- and when you add in snow and ice on the roads, it was dangerous. They also said on their website that runners could enjoy some warm hot chocolate (Ovaltine) after the race, but I never saw any. We were just given packets of Ovaltine? Kinda lame. It was fun to see all the different Christmas Story themed costumes people were wearing. Some people were really creative!

Overall, I’m kind of torn about this race. I enjoyed the course, but would have liked it better had there not been so many walkers in the way. Having to wait outside in the cold that long for everything was a little much for me. I’ll probably give this race another try next year, and hopefully some things will have improved. It was fun, but cold, very cold. Brrrrrrrr. I ended up finishing in like 32:14. I’m not really disappointed seeing as there were a lot of obstacles and slow downs along the course. I’m definitely very happy with how my race season ended and I’m looking forward to next year! ๐Ÿ™‚

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A Tale of Two Ashleys

I had the opportunity to attend another Master Class put on by the great Ballet in Cleveland organization. This time they brought NYC Ballet’s Ashley Bouder and Phil Chan of Armitage Gone! Dance, also out of NYC. First off, I was really nervous. I tossed the idea of going back and forth in my head for over a week. I just got the feeling that this particular class might be too much for me. Legal Ballerina also was unsure at first of going. We ended up deciding to just go and try it. Jessica, who runs Ballet in Cleveland, said she had emailed Ashley Bouder about us and that she was looking forward to having us take her class. She was to teach 1.5 hours of ballet technique followed by a 1 hour variation class. She was going to be teaching Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux Variation!! En pointe!! I figured I had to give this a shot. It’s not every day I get the chance to learn a variation. If you want to learn more about who Ashley Bouder is you can look her up here.

Let me start with warm ups. LB and I found a place at a barre and started to stretch. There were a LOT of girls in this class. The class started on time and Ashley and Phil came out. Jessica briefly introduced them and then Ashley started class. We were at the last barre on the end. Ashley stood in the center of the room- a good 20 feet from us. She quickly started demonstrating a combination. I could not see anything she was doingย at all. I also could barely hear her. So before I knew it- the pianist started playing and all these girls started the combination. I had no idea what we were supposed to be doing. This remained the same throughout the entire barre session. I could not see her demonstrate a single combination. And I could barely hear what she was saying the entire time. This was very disappointing and upsetting. I understand I am not an “advanced ballet student” but I have never been so frustrated. Ashley flew so fast through each and every combination. I noticed most of the “advanced girls” around me struggled through every combo. For them, I think it was mostly lack of being able to see/hear Ashley. I understand that Ballet in Cleveland is a non-profit organization, and I appreciate Jessica letting me attend these classes, but there were just too many girls in this class. I think in all the combos we did at the barre, Ashley only came around twice. I got no critique-nothing- from her each time. She didn’t appear to critique too many girls. The one thing I loved about the previous classes there, were that the dancers teaching would walk around and critique you. And the combos they did were challenging, but not like this time. Her combos were so fast and difficult, I literally ended up just standing at the barre, barely moving anything. We finally moved to center where I thought things would get better. We were able to split up into smaller groups for the combos which was nice. Unfortunately, Ashley gave us fast, faster, and fastest combos. Once again, I just ended up standing in the back, not able to dance. The combos wereย way too fast for me. I couldn’t pick any of them up. I felt very inferior. Ashley kept yelling out that girls were doing something wrong, but no one seemed to be able to correct it. Once again, most of the girls were struggling to get through these combos. The only thing I ended up being able to do were the jumps we did from first, second, and then changements. I was so disappointed. I felt like I paid to just stand around.

Up next was the pointe variation. I was extremely nervous, especially after how the first part of class went. But, I put on my shoes and started to warm up. I wasn’t really familiar with this particular variation, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was fast- imagine that! It was so fast, I thought I was going to fall. Ashley broke it up into different pieces and we ran through it a few times. By the time my group was up- I was in the first group- I still did not have it. I kept working on it though as the other groups went. By the end of the fifth group, I had finally gotten that little piece of choreography down. It wasn’t pretty like some of the other girls. My arms were all over the place, but I had gotten the footwork down for the most part. I was so happy! Finally, I had done something. LB was struggling with choreography- heck everyone was- and she ended up just wanting to be done with class. She was just as frustrated as I was with this class experience. I knew from watching the other girls continuing on in the variation, that I would not have been able to keep up. Out of all the variations out there, I just have to wonder why did she pick such a fast paced one?

We briefly got to talk with Jessica before we left, and expressed some of our concerns with her. She could tell that we were frustrated. She felt bad that we did not have a good experience. Even she thought Ashley was moving a little quickly with the teaching. I’m really sad that this class didn’t go better for me. To be honest, I left with not a good image of Ashley in my mind. Don’t get me wrong- she is a phenomenal dancer. I love watching videos of her dancing. Her teaching though? I have to say that she wasn’t a very good teacher, in my opinion. I loved the way Allison DeBona and Daniel Ulbricht taught when they were here. I took something away from each of those classes. I took nothing away from this one. I felt like all she did was call out combos and then would yell out that girls were doing it incorrectly. I could be wrong, but I got the vibe that she was just getting irritated with them. She didn’t seem very nice. And I don’t like saying that about people. I really wanted to like her and this class, but I just didn’t.ย 

I’m not so sure about taking any more master classes in the future. I know Allison DeBona is coming back in February or March I think? I would take from her again, because I liked her style. But for any new ones, probably not. I know as an adult beginner I will never dance or look like these younger girls. That’s ok with me. I just don’t think I’m at the ability level for these classes. And that’s just ok. I know I have come a long way, and I may not be dancing with “perfect” technique, but I’m still dancing- and that’s what makes me happy. I feel so bad that this review wasn’t a good one. I’m sure there were girls there that would say the complete opposite of me. Every one has their own opinions. Some of the really good dancers got a lot of advice from Ashley when they were dancing. So, good for them. I wish there had been less girls in the class. I understand there will be a lot, but this just seemed like way too many. Hopefully when Allison comes back next year her class won’t be overfilled too.

Here’s to another week of dancing! ๐Ÿ™‚


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My First Half Marathon Race Recap!

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Wowza. Like for real guys. The Cleveland Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon has officially come and gone. And you know what? I totally rocked it!! Whew! I still can’t believe it is over. My first half marathon. Now, keep in mind…. My definition of rocking it does not mean I was breaking any records here. I not only finished the race, I finished under my goal time! Not knowing what to expect, I aimed for trying to complete it in under 2:45. Now for anyone that knows anything about half marathons, that is no where near considered a fast time. The woman that came in overall first had a time of 1:23. Crazy! I ended up coming in at 2:37. Not bad people!!! I was incredibly proud of myself. I actually felt pretty strong until around mile 9-10. This course had a lot of hills. I was not expecting this. Anyways here is my overall race recap!

The Race Expo:
It was nice! Compared to the Cleveland Marathon Expo, this one was fairly small. It was held downtown at our new Medical Convention Center place. There were various booths set up offering clothing, GU gels, sunglasses, Therabands, etc. Brooks was one of the main sponsors, so they had a large assortment of running gear on display for purchase. I decided to pass, seeing as their clothing was pretty expensive. I did however, come across a booth from one of our local running stores, and the had a pair of Brooks running shorts that I ended up buying. They were the exact color I needed for my race outfit, and they were 50% off! Can’t beat that. I also picked up my 13.1 magnet for my car. I really liked the Expo. I went around the last hour of it being open, and still found a wide selection of products available. Packet pickup was a breeze. Everything was very organized and well spaced out. I picked up my packet right away, and then changed my corral. This was also very simple to do. I then headed over and picked up my race shirt and swag bag. The shirt is awesome. It was made my Brooks and the design on it is cool! We even got a little backpack as our swag bag. Pretty neat! Overall a nice Expo! The only downside was that you had to pay for parking. It was only $5, but I would have preferred to not have had to pay.

The Race:
The weather forecast leading up to race morning was less than ideal. They were calling for isolated thunderstorms and rain. No bueno. I got up around 4:45am to find it unusually warm. It was still a little chilly, but not chilly enough for race day. Runners, you get this. My one friend was driving down with us and met us at my house. We left around 6:10am and got downtown around 6:30. We found quick parking, and cheap too, only $5. We drove through some light rain, but it wasn’t raining when we got there. We hung out in the car for a bit, gathered our things and headed up to the start area. Holy cannoli was I nervous. The start area was already bustling and full of runners and spectators getting ready for the race. We had some time to relax, use the bathrooms, and stretch before getting into our corral. We met up with my other friend, Legal Ballerina, right before we got into the corral. There were so many runners! This was by far the largest race I have participated in. I even made my own shirt for the race letting other runners know this was my first half marathon.

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You wouldn’t believe how many runners cheered me on during the race! Hearing people yell out your name and cheer you on is the best feeling. The running community really is amazing. Everyone is so supportive. I even got to chat with some other runners. Such a great experience! LB started the race off with me and stuck with my slow butt until around mile 4. Then she took off like the experienced runner she is! I’m glad she got to run with me for a little bit! I then ran into my other friend (no pun intended there lol) and ran with her for a few minutes. The weather was crazy. It was so muggy and hot. It was easily 70 degrees when we started and it was almost 80 when I finished. Yikes. Lots of sweat! I surprisingly did very well. I kept a pretty steady 10-11 minute pace through the first 8-9 miles. The last few miles kicked my butt. It was hot, muggy, and my left IT band was pretty sore. I kept chugging along though and walked for a few seconds when I needed to.

I couldn’t be happier with my results. I wasn’t fast, but I finished, and that’s the important part. I finished quicker than I thought I would, which was an added bonus! It was a tough course due to the hills and heat. The communities we ran through though were very supportive and cheered us on! This race series provided live bands at almost every mile marker on the course. Pretty cool! They also had local cheerleading squads on the course cheering us all on. Also very cool! All in all, I really enjoyed this race. I think the Rock n’ Roll company put on a great inaugural race!

Overall Pros and Cons:
Pros:
~ Easy race day parking
~ Plenty of bathrooms
~ Nice corral starts
~ Plenty of water/Gatorade stations
~ Great volunteers
~ Challenging course
~ Awesome Finisher’s Medal and tshirt
~ Nice assortment of post race snacks (water, chocolate milk, fuel bar, banana, ice cold towels)

Cons:
~ Challenging course
~ Expensive Race Entry Fees

I picked up this Finisher tech shirt after the race. My mom also bought me the glass pint and shot glass. Since we bought $50 worth of merchandise, I got a free Brooks tshirt! It was a nice shirt too! It’s the dark blue one on the left.

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I really had a great time at this race. I’m proud of my accomplishment and I look forward to planning my next half marathon! Here are the pictures of my race shirt, swag bag, finishers medal, and magnet:

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Post Race:
They had a post race concert for runners and their spectators. Gavin Degraw was the headliner. We didn’t stay, but we heard him playing as we were leaving, and it sounded good! They also had a few bands playing while all the runners were racing. My husband said they were pretty good! It was very easy to find your family and friends post race. They had large letters on the poles, so you could plan to meet up with your loved ones after the race. I’m so glad my husband and mom were there to support me!! They got to see me around mile 2 and they saw me run in across the finish line. My husband even got a bunch of pictures of me crossing the finish line! So awesome!! I’m so glad my first half marathon was such a positive, good, experience.

And here are my before and after pictures! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos with Legal Ballerina ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

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Running Woes

Ahhhhh…..running. Yes. It’s been a while since I’ve had a “running” post on here. Truth is, nothing really exciting has been going on with my training. I’ve had to really take things slow with my calf. I’ve done some 3 mile a day runs. About two 4 miles run so far. And I’m scheduled to run 5 miles tonight after work since I didn’t get it in this weekend. I’ve had my neighbor work on my calf a few more times since I originally saw him and things seem to be getting back on track. I’ve been stretching before and after I run and even on the days in between. I ran a 2 mile fun race with my husband in July. It was hot and sticky out, as it was an evening run. But we had fun! First time I drank a beer before actually running.

I have a 5k race in mid September that looks fun. We get a cupcake when we finish and 3 free beer tickets. Sounds good to me! Oooohhh we also get a tech shirt and a pint glass! It only cost $20 too! There was also a 5 miler race I was considering doing in September, but we’ll see! My half marathon is October 6. I’m terrified! I was not expecting to have calf problems for as long as I had it, and it’s really put me behind in my training. I’m running in the Rock n Roll Cleveland race and they finally announced who the headliner was for the after race concert. It’s freaking Gavin Degraw. Seriously? Like that’s really the only person they could find to perform?? Lame.

Other than that not too much has been going on! I’m still loving my Brooks Ghost 6 running shoes. They fit my feet perfectly. I’m still learning how to use my Garmin watch. It’s hard to break apart from using my phone app! All my running history is in that app. Oh well!

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Cleveland 5k

Well this past Saturday was the Cleveland 5k! I ran this race with my favorite best girl. She’s only 9 years old, but man is she an awesome runner! She came into town with her mom on Friday and we spent a brief time at the Health & Fitness Expo. We picked up our race packets, did a little shopping of course, and then headed out for some dinner. Saturday morning came quickly and it was off to downtown! My mom also came in to town for the race, and was going there with me. Sadly, husband had to work and was not able to make it. We met up with them fit inside the Brown’s stadium and anxiously awaited the start. Before we knew it, it was time to line up. I was really nervous as to how I would run since I had not been able to run much since I injured my calf. I felt so under prepared for this race. I didn’t know what to expect. But with my recital coming up in 2 weeks here, I knew I couldn’t risk getting injured even more. I started out just fine, even a little quicker than I probably should have. I did not know what my pace was until I hit the first mile. It was at 9:00. Holy crap. I started to panic in my head. I was going too hard. I wouldn’t have enough energy left to finish. I’m going to injure my calf again. But at the same time, I felt good. My body was telling me I was just fine. No cramping or pain. So I continued to run. I felt like I had slowed my pace down. I thought I was feeling a little fatigued. But when I hit mile 2 I heard my pace was still right around 9:00. All I could think was, “Holy crap. What is going on?!?” The last mile I felt right in my groove still. I knew the end was near. I could see the stadium coming up. This was it. I might be able to finish under 30:00. As I approached the stadium, I could hear the announcer on the loud speakers. I decided to pull my headphones out for the last bit of the race into the stadium (we finished on the field!!). They even had the Cleveland Indians drummer outside the stadium banging on the drum! It was such a sound of encouragement. Between him, hearing the announcer, and the stadium workers cheering and clapping us on, my adrenaline kicked in even more. I got this. I came around the bend, and headed up the ramp onto the field. Not knowing what the clock time was, I was heading strong towards that finish line. That’s when I looked up and realized I had accomplished my goal. I was going to finish in under 30:00. I felt like I was going to cry! I could not believe it. My finish time was 28:06. I totally kicked butt. I was so incredibly proud of myself. I immediately texted my husband to tell him my good news. I then texted my BFF, Legal Ballerina. My friend finished one minute ahead of me and was waiting for me at the finish line. We gave each other big hugs and got our picture taken together. Such an awesome memory.

So take that you stupid calf muscle. You thought you could bring me down, but you didn’t. I sure showed you!! I was so amazed by my performance and results. I cannot wait to train for my next race.

Here are my race results:

Female Age Division (25-29):
Placed 11/86

Overall Females:
Placed 59/688

Overall:
Placed 186/1,049

Finish Time: 28:06
Pace: 9:02

Here are a few pics from the race!!

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Meeting = Success!!

Jessica Wallis from Ballet in Cleveland!!

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Well today I had the privilege of meeting Jessica Wallis from Ballet in Cleveland. First off, can I just say what an amazing person she is!! She definitely loves ballet and her passion for it shows. I loved talking with her today. We met up for coffee and talked all things ballet! She taught me what her organization is all about and the opportunities it will bring for ballet to the city of Cleveland. She was also interested in me and my love of dance. We talked about how I started ballet as an adult, the experiences I have had in teachers and studios, and what I think about ballet. I told her about my amazing dance teacher and just how great her studio is. I described the love and passion our teacher possesses for ballet and how she believes in me. Jessica was thrilled to hear that not only was I dancing as an adult, but that I had found a teacher who has such a passion and love for ballet. I described how amazing the other girls in the studio are. How they support me in my adventure in learning ballet.

We talked about Allison DeBona, from the CW’s show, Breaking Pointe. She will be coming to Cleveland on behalf of Ballet in Cleveland to teach a masters class. I am thrilled!! I’m so excited to have the opportunity to partake in her class. I think it will be an amazing event. Jessica had nothing but nice things to say about Allison, and I cannot believe that I will have the chance to meet her in person! So amazing!! I will keep you posted on this event! Right now it’s slated for early March. I can’t wait!!

Jessica also gave me her input on pointe shoes, which I need!! She actually wore Gaynor Mindens when she used to dance and she highly recommends them! I told her I was going to get fitted next week, and she thought that was awesome. Who knows if they will work for me, but I’m hoping they will!!

I’m excited to see this organization in Cleveland and what it can do for the city. I’ve always wondered why we don’t have more ballets here, and Jessica and her team are working hard to bring more here! I’m really hoping she’s able to bring Ballets with a Twist from NYC to Cleveland next year! This show looks absolutely amazing and unique!! For a look at some pictures and more info you can visit Jessica’s blog or just visit Ballets with a Twists website. It’s incredible!!

Tomorrow is ballet and pointe classes! Hoping they go smoothly!! I already feel a ton better on my diet, so I’m hoping I perform better in class now that I’m adjusted to my diet. Now to spend the rest of my afternoon with the husband!! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is Allison DeBona from Breaking Pointe!!

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Ballet in Cleveland

After celebrating my birthday all day today, I finally have some time to blog! But first, here is all of the awesome gifts I got for my birthday! I’m so very lucky to have such great friends and family. I love them all!! And I loved my gifts!!

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Now, onto the exciting news I have!! Today I came across an organization called, Ballet in Cleveland ran by a woman named Jessica Wallis. She is a dancer/teacher who started up a non-profit organization to help bring professional classical ballet to Cleveland. I had to link you to their Facebook page, because as of right now their website has not launched. It’s set to launch Monday or Tuesday. You will be able to find it at www.balletincleveland.org. I decided to message her on Facebook today and expressed my interest to her in this organization. I told her that I was an adult who takes ballet and pointe, non-professionally, and that I absolutely loved the message she is trying to spread in my city. I told her I was also interested in getting involved with her organization. Well, wouldn’t ya know? She messaged me back. She wants to meet me! ME! I am thrilled!!! So this Wednesday I am meeting her for coffee!! I told her how my BFF, Legal Ballerina, also takes dance with me. I told her that our teacher was a professional ballerina too. And she would love to meet all of us! I also mentioned to her in the email that my BFF and I have tickets to the Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker show at the end of November. She expressed much interest in LB and I meeting up with her before or after the show at her organization’s meet up!! Their office will be located right next to the Palace Theater that will house the ballet. I AM SO EXCITED. Who knows what this will bring me?!?! What it will do for Cleveland?!?!? I wish Cleveland had a professional ballet company. It would be awesome if they did, but sadly they do not. I’m hoping to be able to get involved with this organization at whatever level I can!! I want to spread the joy of ballet to as many people as I can. This may be the way to do it!!
So, to many of you, this may not be as exciting as you thought my news would be. But for me, this is super big! Someone wants to meet me. I can’t wait to meet her! What yet another awesome “gift” for me today!!

Oh, and did I mention that Mary Helen Bowers tweeted me today?!??! Yup, that’s right! I tweeted her my picture of the ballet workout DVD I got, and she replied!! So awesome. First famous person to reply to me! Squuueeeee!!!!

Oh ya, I may have also got 4 more Disney puzzles. Oops. I can’t help it! They’re just so cute and fun!

I’m pretty sure I can mark my 26th birthday as a WIN. Thanks to everyone for all the sweet messages!

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for some new additions to my blog! I will be starting some fun, new things soon!

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