Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Recap: 110 miles!

I suppose it's time for a January recap, considering that tomorrow is February. (already? are you KIDDING me? Time certainly flies...) First though, a little discussion of today's run. :)

Today, Katherine and I went for a run. Sort of. She had some pain from a run she had yesterday and didn't really disclose how much pain she was really in. (actually, I think she was injured during the Disney half marathon at the beginning of the month and it hasn't 100% healed yet.) About a half mile into it, I really started to notice that her stride was a little limpy and, for someone who is generally much faster than I am, she stopped to stretch and had trouble catching back up to me. I felt really bad for her. :( This time, we ran at her pace instead of mine, because generally she runs way slower than her pace in order to run with me. At mile 2(ish), we stopped for some more stretching, and talked about whether or not we should finish all 6 miles that we had planned on doing. We decided to trudge along with the intention of turning around if it came to that. We went a little bit slower than  we generally do when we run together, and incorporated more walking, but hey, what can you do? Anything for a friend. She's spent too many days running at my pace.

We were going to try to get 4 miles in, but continued past it, walking more than usual. Toward the end, I started to feel a little tight in my hip. Ugh. Frustrating. We were quite a pair.

Anyways, we ended up getting back to the apartment at about 6.40 miles, according to the Garmin, and I decided I'd keep going for a little while. I was shooting for 7, but still felt like I had it in me to continue after that. I ended up finishing with 8.15 miles today, which was pretty incredible. It was slow but fun.

So that brings my total to:
So far: 110.06 miles/31 days
To go: 889.94 miles/335 days

Are you KIDDING ME? One Hundred TEN miles in a month. Holy cow, I am well on my way to 1000 miles this year. Yes! So excited.

January races:

  • Disney Family Fiesta 5k
    • so fun! and slow! stopped for lots of photos. didn't care about time
  • Walt Disney World Half Marathon
    • super fun, raced with my mom, sister, and best friend. can't get better than that.
  • Walt Disney World Marathon
    • exhausting and tough, but well worth it. marathons are more mental than physical
  • Dick Batchelor Run for the Children 5k
    • fun race, PR by maybe 2 seconds, but no official time

Here's to an awesome February!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

major distance accomplishment.

So. January has been quite a whirlwind already. By already, I mean that there are two days left of the month and it has been a ton of craziness multiplied by more insanity. Wow. I jumped into 2012 headfirst, certainly. (well, considering it's supposed to be the last year that the world is still rounding the sun... haha.)

Anyways, major announcement coming! Stay tuned throughout this post. It could be lengthy and boring, but it will be worth it. (I hope.)

When I started running in 2009, I was fighting an uphill battle. I was obese, I had intense stress due to school, 3 jobs, and I had epilepsy that was yet to be diagnosed. Things were pretty overwhelming. Running was just part of my routine exercise that I was attempting to lose my weight. Somehow, it became the major focus of my exercise, while everything else sort of fell toward the wayside. However, I was slower than molasses and had several other focuses than my running. Eventually, my epilepsy was diagnosed, I couldn't drive for three months, and life became a little more of a handful than I anticipated.

I ran my first and second half marathons in 2009. I learned a lot about myself. I lost a lot of weight and gained a little bit of confidence. I attempted my first 1000 mile year starting in November 2009, but that didn't quite pan out. I never quite got all of my miles in that I needed to get in. That isn't to say that I tried though, because I sure as hell did. I just never really was able to get myself out there as much as I should have. Too many excuses.

In the first week of 2011, I ran my first full marathon and my first Goofy Challenge. That was crazy. I rededicated myself to running 1000 miles in a year. Then I fell and sprained my ankle in February, two weeks before a half marathon. Naturally, I did the race that I had signed up for. Then, I went on crutches and became way too frustrated with all of my running. 2011's mileage was out of the bag by the end of the second month. I was pissed, frustrated, disappointed. I participated in a few more races, but I really didn't have my heart in it. (I did set a new PR in November. That was awesome.)

So, 2012 is a new year. I am beyond dedicated to my 1000 miles this year. I have so many running goals that I want to accomplish. I have so much I want to do with my life.. beyond just running. Running is just a piece of who I am... it's something that I want to be good at. It's something that I know that I can work toward and work on in order to become accomplished. That's the goal.

Anyways, so my announcement.

January 2012 has become my first month to officially accomplish 100 miles. ONE HUNDRED MILES. In a MONTH. That's ridiculous. I feel like this was something that I have been working toward for a long time. I'm glad that I have gotten to this point. I have many more months ahead. I'm currently frustrated as hell with my pacing, but at least I can work toward the endurance that I want. It's a start.

Goal: 101.91 miles/29 days
To go: 898.09 miles/337 days

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dick Batchelor's Race for the Children 5k: the Recap

Today was 5k day! Naturally, I didn't sleep last night. Maybe I should start taking sleeping pills on the night before a race. That seems like it would be the only logical way to beat the pre-race nerves. I think that no matter what the race distance is, I have a tough time getting mentally prepared for it. I think about previous race PR's and how fast I want to run. I really give my mind a rough time.

So my goal was to PR. The last 5k that I ran (besides Disney, in which I stopped for a ton of pictures) was a year and a half ago. It was about a week before I moved from Indiana and it was along the parade route of my favorite hometown summer parade. It was so fun! So my goal was to beat that time... and to get 12 minute miles, flat.

However, I had a few problems that could get in the way:

  • I got no sleep the night before (so frustrating)
  • Like a moron, I ran 10 miles yesterday. When I run long distance, I still clench up my back a lot. Thus, my back was KILLING me all night.
  • I am still slow. Like I was a year and a half ago... even though I have lost 10 pounds since then. Just saying. 
  • It was a "fun run", so no official timing. I'd have to go entirely by my GPS.. so I'd have to start it just on time and stop it just on time.

So commence the run.

Mile 1
Mile 1 was good. I was ahead of my 12 minute mile pace and it was super fun to run though the Universal Parks. Living in Orlando for a year, I still have never been to Universal. That is partially because I go to school full time and work for the mouse. It's also partially because I'm lazy. haha. So mile 1 went well. I was under a twelve minute pace when I got to the mile marker. Most of the mile was through CityWalk and just entering the actual park.

Mile 2
I was still going strong at the beginning of mile 2. I wanted to run the whole thing, but my back was telling me no! ha. So I ended up walking a little bit during mile 2. We got to run through Hogsmeade, which was the best part, by far. I'm sooo looking forward to going to Universal just to see the Harry Potter area. Someday, hopefully soon(ish). That was so exciting. I ended up slowing down my pace too much during mile 2 and ended up with a 12:22 pace when I got to the mile marker. 

Mile 3 
During mile 3, it was all about trying to get my PR. I pushed it. I did walk a little bit and stopped at a water station. I don't know why I stopped, because I was close enough to the finish to just push it through. That probably cost me about 30-40 seconds. I was super excited when we were almost there and I felt like I might be able to make it and PR, even though I had walked and stopped for water. The finish was spectacular, but aren't they all?

I ended up with 38:37 (according to the GPS), which I knew was close to my previous personal record.
When we got back to the car, naturally, I looked up my PR on my phone and found that... it was 38:37. Initially, I was pissed. Then I decided to give myself the benefit of the doubt, because I waited at least two seconds before I turned off my GPS. haha. I am way too uptight.

Anyways. Good race. 

The first picture is an image of my finishing the Three Rivers Runners on parade in July 2010. That was my first 5k and a really fun race. 

The bottom picture is me after finishing the race today. Good times.

Lots of things in my life have changed in the past year and a half Running will pretty much always be there for me though.

So far: 95.11 miles/28 days
To go: 904.89 miles/338 days

Friday, January 27, 2012

trying to keep my spirit high.

Today was going to be a long run: 8-9 miles. I ended up feeling good enough to run 10 miles, which was fantastic. I brought two waters bottles (I really need a running backpack. There's nothing more awkward than carrying two waters while running!), three energy gels (I only used one), and I used my brand new compression socks. They are hot pink and I love them. I was going to take a picture of them when I got home, but alas, I am sick and a running outfit photo will have to wait.

Like I said, I'm sick. Really. The last thing that I need right now is a germ attack. I am all sorts of congested and my nose is runny and sneezy. I'm a little miserable.

I have a 5k tomorrow morning. I'm excited! I'm hoping to finish in a new record time (which won't be hard, considering I haven't run many 5ks), AND I'm hoping I won't be sick anymore. Fingers crossed.

Here's a telling quote that I feel like I can relate to quite a bit:

"The human body can do so much. Then the heart and the spirit must take over." -Sohn Kee-chung

So far: 91.99 miles/27 days
To go: 908.01 miles/339 days

Thursday, January 26, 2012

from "beginner" to "intermediate" in running

Today was another tough run. I'm a little bit tired of having tough runs all of the time, actually. It's been like a week of rough runs. I need to get myself out of this funk.

I have had good moments during tough runs, though. I worked a lot on my form today, so that was good news. I'm trying really hard to be able to get my stride correct... or at least better than I have been. I know I talked about it before, but I definitely take really short steps when I am trying to run, so that makes everything a little bit more challenging. I think that if I get a good stride down, I should be able to get an awesome pace, too. Running definitely isn't the easiest sport to excel at.

Anyways, that old pain in my hip starting coming back when I got to mile 3 or so. And it was hot. Almost unbearably so. The second half of my run today was mostly either slow or walking. Frustrating. I really need to figure something out to do on long runs during hot weather, especially because summer is going to be here before I know it. I'm still definitely leaning toward getting myself a running backpack. I think that it would really help me when I'm out there running.

I feel like I am transitioning from a "novice" or a beginning runner into an "intermediate" type of runner. It's something that I have been working myself into for a while. I have spent a lot of time trying to learn about running and turn myself into a "runner". I definitely feel like I have started a sort of transition. I still have a lot to learn about running, but I feel like I do have some knowledge about it now. I feel like I am to the point in which I am continuously trying to improve my running and I do think I have enough knowledge to have some idea of how to improve.

I also feel like I can discuss running with other runners. I almost feel like there is a bond between runners, no matter how fast or slow we run, there is something about it. For a long time, I felt like an outsider, and that is something that is starting to change. I mean, yes, I still am very slow and I still have a lot to work on in order to get to where I want to get with my running, but I feel like I am getting there. There's something about meeting other people that run and talking to them that makes everything feel so much better.

Tomorrow is long run day. I'm nervous, since so many of my recent runs have been so tough. I am hoping for an awesome run and an improvement on the past few weeks. Here's to hoping, I guess.

So far: 81.97 miles/26 days
To go: 918.03 miles/340 days

Saturday, January 21, 2012

first long run since my marathon

Today was my first long run since the marathon. I guess I classify "long" as more than 6 miles or so. Today, I planned to run 7-8 miles or so. The part that I didn't anticipate was the struggle of it all. I was ready for a decently paced long(ish) run that wouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

I brought a bunch of stuff with  me in preparation for today. I had two Gu gels, a bottle of water (small enough to fit in my hand), and my running belt that I use during races. It was a handful. I wish it was easy to run with a small backpack, because I'd be able to carry everything that I needed. I know that such bags to exist and maybe I should invest in one if I want to spend more time running this year (as is the goal). I plan to take many more long runs, so maybe a small bag would be something to invest in, I don't know. Maybe I could get more running pants that have pockets or something, I'm not sure. I think I'd rather carry a bag than have extra pockets in my pants.

Anyways, now that I'm off of that tangent, back to my run for today. I planned on going on a long run, and got all my stuff together and ran out the door. I ran a lap around my apartment complex once before I went down the trail that I usually do. That initial lap wasn't too bad, but it did end up being tough after a few miles. Today, the trail was much busier than it generally is during the week. I haven't had the opportunity to go for a lengthy run on a Saturday in a long time, thanks to my job. It was really nice to see all of the families walking and biking on the trail.

Every time I make eye contact with a fellow runner, I generally feel a connection with them. I feel like there's an unspoken bond between runners. (or maybe sometimes a spoken bond... but only when there is closeness. ha.) It's nice to see other runners out there with the same drive that is within myself. It's nice to know that, in such an individual sport, I'm not really alone.

I was actually passed several times by this guy who looked about my age, but way more fit than me. Sometimes, I get really jealous and frustrated by people who are more in shape than I am. I understand that I have come a long way in my running, but that doesn't make it any easier to be so slow. I have this drive inside me to always want to better myself, to always want improvement. I definitely have improved since I first started caring about myself, my fitness, but there is still a long way to go. I definitely get really impatient from time to time when I'm out there and I'm not at the pace that I'd like to be at. Frustrating.

Anyways, by the time I got to mile 4, I was doing pretty well on pace, but was really struggling to get through it. (I almost thought about sitting down and waiting for Katherine to get off of work so she could pick me up. But that would have been more than an hour, so I didn't...) Instead, I used one of my Gu gels at around that time to try to push through and then ended up running out of water at mile 5. I was just continuously getting frustrated. However, a little after 5, I started to feel a lot better and more energized. Maybe I should have used my Gu earlier. I actually should buy more of them, I think.. I'm almost out. My last two(ish) miles were definitely the best ones. I should have gone further, because at the end I was doing well. Oh well. Next time.

When I got back to my apartment complex, I still felt pretty good and was at about 6.91 miles, so I figured I'd do an extra lap around my apartment complex in order to push myself a little over 7 miles. I ended up running 7.28 miles at a little over a 15 minute pace. I really wish that my pacing was faster by a lot, but it is what it is. I need to put more effort out there than I have and I really need to work on speed.. a lot.

Any effort is better than no effort. Someday, I'll run a great 7.28 and it won't be too bad at all. That's the goal.

So far: 75.89 miles / 21 days
To go: 921.11 / 345 days

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pushing forward

I went on a short two and a half mile run today. I planned on running about three miles and then I overslept and had to cut it even shorter.

I guess it was okay, because of the pain that I had yesterday, I definitely needed to take it easy today. My run was pretty slow. (My Garmin says 14:34 pace.) It wasn't too bad, actually. I didn't have much pain, except for a healing blister on the bottom of my left foot from the marathon two weeks ago.

I'm glad that I went though, because a lot of times that I plan to run and then something happens that gets in the way, like oversleeping, I end up giving up and not going out at all. I'm full of excuses. It is tough, though, to work past those fitness excuses and actually be a person who works hard at what I want to do and who I want to be. I have so many goals for myself that I have to keep pushing forward. That's the only choice.

In running, it's one step in front of the other. Always.

Tomorrow is a long run day. I'm nervous. We'll see how it goes.

So far: 68.61 miles/20 days
To go: 931.9/346 days

Thursday, January 19, 2012

the hard times remind me to recognize the easier moments in life

I'm really having a hard time getting myself up and out there running this week. I think it might be because I don't have any runs lined up anytime soon. I'm thinking about running a 5k in a week with Katherine, just to get myself back into it. (first, I have to convince Kath to do it, though.) OR, there is a race this Saturday, a 5.2k (random), but I don't have anybody to run it with. So that's a decision I need to make soon. I just really like races, I guess. It helps me to have goals to keep going.

So anyways, today I got myself out and went on a run. Yay for me. It was a plan to run for 6 miles and the goal was to try to pace it out pretty well. I noticed in some of the video and pictures from Disney Marathon  Weekend that I take really short strides and that I don't really lift my feet when I run. I feel like if I put some effort into my stride, I might be able to easily speed my pace up a lot. So I worked on that and was doing pretty well for the first 3 miles or so.. then the pain started to set in.

So, I ran about three and a half miles and then walked a little less than three miles.

I'm just frustrated that I've set this major goals for myself and I really want to get myself in the best shape of my life this year and it's so difficult when I have major pain in my body. I understand that I'm [still] overweight and that I have to give myself time to allow my body to adjust to what I want to do. I just feel like this is something I've been working on for two and a half years... and in that time I've run 8 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and 2 5ks. Why should it still be so rough?

I know that it's just one step in front of the other, but in some ways it feels like so much more than that. It feels like my journey should be moving faster than it has and it is frustrating. I don't know anymore... I want to be a runner.

I just still feel like I'm that obese girl who drinks a case of Mountain Dew every week. I know I've come a long way since then, but it really just feels like

I guess I'm just struggling today.
Tomorrow may be better. I hope.

I know that today's run was rough, BUT I kept moving. I know that I have come a long way in my journey. I know that it is the little moments in life that get me through. It's just hard to look at things through that perspective sometimes.

So far: 66.1 miles/19 days
To go: 933.9 miles/347 days

Monday, January 16, 2012

Disney Marathon Weekend Part Three: Marathon Sunday

The theme from last weekend was "is this real life?". It was a question that we were all left to ponder several times with the 3 am alarms combined with the lengthy running. The major day that I was terrified of was the full marathon. I was afraid I wouldn't finish and I was fearful that everything would just prove to be too much for me. But it definitely was real life.

Anyways, we all got up to the wonderful morning alarm clock. I was extremely anxious. I feel like I have enough confidence with half marathon distance that I know I can complete it, but full marathons still scare me. As of last weekend, I'd only done one before and I didn't know how to mentally prepare myself. I don't really understand why, but quitting definitely went through my mind. Somehow, I trudged myself to the bus stop with a thousand thoughts running through my mind every minute. I got on the bus and managed to sit down, still worried about every little thing that could possibly happen to me along the long route. Since I did the Walt Disney World Marathon last year, I knew the route pretty well and felt like I could figure out where I'd  be struggling the most alone the way. That was probably not the best thing to spend my morning doing.

So my mom and I went to our starting corrals, but not without much drama. Naturally, we had a port-a-potty malfunction. Well, at least my mom did. She made a new friend that morning. hahaha. That poor lady..

Anyways, so we made the lengthy trek to the starting corrals, pretending that we weren't really about to run a marathon. You'd think that I'd have the entire running thing mentally figured out the third day in a row, but not so much. Anyhow, so we got there, huddled up and had a spontaneous dance party while all of the other slow runners in our corral looked at us grumpily. They started the race and it started to feel more real. Since we started in the back half of the pack, in one of the slower corrals, we got to wait a little while before our start. That was a little bit intimidating. It was okay, though.

When we crossed the start line, I knew that I had no option but to try to put space between me and the people at the end. I wanted to prove that I was worthy of running a marathon and definitely that I was worthy of running one faster than the people who were already behind me. I wanted to also be faster than the people ahead of me. I had way too much paranoia about being picked up by the sweeper bus. So I ran. My mom ran with me too. At some point my mom wasn't running with my anymore,  but I'm not sure when I lost her. I ran the several miles to EPCOT, where I had to choose between taking a left path or a right path around Spaceship Earth. I went right. Someone ran with me for a little bit, telling me that he was "Perfectly Goofy", meaning that he had completed every Goofy Challenge thus far. Impressive.

I left EPCOT and knew that I was on my way to the Magic Kingdom. First, I knew that, right before mile 5, I'd find Katherine and Kailey waiting there with signs to greet my mom and me. I was excited. There's something about people cheering at races that pushes people along. There's something even MORE about friends and family cheering people along during races that means that much more. As I was running up toward them, I was super excited, just knowing that I had supporters that were there for me. It's really an awesome thing. I'm really thankful for all supporters who get up and go out there and cheer for people at any race. It's truly a wonderful thing.

I watched the sun come up while I was running toward the Magic Kingdom. That was awesome. There's something about being up before the sun and knowing that you're doing something awesome with your life when you see the sun rising off in the distance.

I was still feeling pretty good up until mile 8, when my intestines started aching again. (I really need to be more cautious about what I eat before a race...) I had to stop at the bathroom at mile 8 and a half or so. That's when I really started struggling. Kath and Kailey were at mile 9 waiting for my mom and me, but I was definitely wanting to quit at that point. I felt miserable and I still had 17 miles left. I stopped and said hello to Katherine and Kailey and kept going. The next several miles were up to the Magic Kingdom and through the park. I knew that was manageable. Actually, when I got to the Magic Kingdom, I started to feel a lot better. It was almost as though a weight had been lifted.

I was feeling pretty good, I ran down Main Street, through Tomorrowland, stopped for a picture in Fantasyland with the Mad Hatter and made my way through the castle. Running through Cinderella's Castle is one of the most anticipated parts of the races. For me, the most exciting part is turning the corner down Main Street, seeing all of the cheering people with signs, cheering everyone along. It's exciting and wonderful.

After the castle, we headed through Liberty Square and Frontierland. I saw some coworkers getting everything opened up for the day and waved as I ran through. I felt so much better after I had finished running through the Magic Kingdom. There's really nothing like it. I was rejuvenated and refreshed... and felt like I was ready to run a number of more miles. I didn't really feel like I had just run more than ten miles at that point. Awesome. I had also been checking my Garmin obsessively and was way ahead of pacing requirements at that point. I was extremely excited about that.. and a little bit relieved at the same time. I knew in my heart that I'd finish the race and that I'd receive the medals that I had wanted so badly and for so long. I was not naive enough to think that it was going to be an easy or a simple journey, but I was beginning to feel more confident in myself, finally.

I thought that the section after the Magic Kingdom was going to be really tough, as the road really tightens up and it can get tough to run around people who are slow than you. I spent some time running in the dirt and the grass, which was somewhat unfortunate, but it was reality. Otherwise, I was still feeling pretty good. I saw Katherine and Kailey again at mile 13, almost to the halfway point. It was the last point where they would get to see me for a while, so I stopped, gave some hugs and went on my way. My mom still hadn't caught up with me and I was a little bit concerned about her, as it was her first full marathon and I remembered very well how I had felt during my first full. I knew I had to just believe that she would finish and that she had it in her heart to get it done

I was having fun. I made it to mile 13.1 and smiled as I crossed the little timing thing. I was halfway there and I felt awesome. My body felt okay and the Disney entertainment was phenomenal along the way.I was ahead of my pace by a lot and everything felt fantastic. I kept trucking along, knowing that I was probably going to hit a wall soon. That was an advantage of knowing the race course. I knew what the roughest miles would probably be. I ran as much as I could up until my legs needed to stop and take a break. Unfortunately, that meant that I walked for several miles and obliterated my chance at meeting any of my goals for finish times. My goal kind of morphed into just a goal to finish. I do wish that I would have pushed myself a little harder in those miles between Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, but those miles were tough. I had the strength to keep moving forward, but not the strength to continue running every step of the way. I'd like to think that next year I will be more fit, and I will be. I'm working on it every day.

At mile 16 or 17, we entered Animal Kingdom. That was really awesome, because I finally had a little bit more energy in my system. We ran along the park, which is the park that I'm personally least familiar with. I work at the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom just hasn't been a park that I have visited often, ever since it opened. It was neat to run though the park, see characters, guests, and cast members who went out of their way to cheer and wave to us as we passed. I guess it is kind of a continual theme that the crowds really get me through races. I had a lot of fun running through the park again and realized that I had less than ten miles left and that I still has two parks and the Boardwalk to run through. I felt like the rest of the race would be a breeze.

After Animal Kingdom, we headed down the road toward Hollywood Studios. I felt really confident in my ability to finish the race. I was still a little bit ahead of pace, but was still walking the majority of the time. Looking back, I'm somewhat frustrated in myself for not running more and pacing things out better. I wonder if I hadn't pushed it as hard in the first half, maybe I'd have been able to better run the second half. I don't know... There is a part of the route when you run down a half mile down the road and then a half mile (or so) back. You see all of the people faster than you on the way there and all of the people slower than you are on the way back. My mom and I passed each other on the way back, so she was about a mile behind me at mile 20/21. That was a little bit of a relief, because I hadn't seen her in a while and honestly didn't know where she was.

Hollywood Studios was super fun. I had been looking forward to that part of the race for several miles, because it was one of my favorite parts that I ran through last year. We ran backstage a little bit and got candy and fruit snacks at one of the water stops. I couldn't eat the chocolate, so I had to throw them out. (Sorrrrry Disney on a waste of your money...). I ate the fruit snacks, though. Fruit snacks combined with energy gel and water definitely got me through the final few miles. Hollywood Studios was awesome. I tried to congratulate everybody I saw who had a half marathon medal on from the day before, but it was getting a little bit difficult to speak out loud. I wish that we could have fun more miles through the park, because it is such an awesome park, but I guess that there's only so much that they can do when the park is still open. I have to keep that in mind, I guess.

I was most excited to see the Incredibles when I first got into the park, because last year when I got to that point, they weren't out anymore. I had just been a little bit too slow. This year, I made it and got a picture with  both Mr. AND Mrs. Incredible and Frozone. As I was running down the street toward them, Mrs. Incredible was waving and clapping at everybody who was passing. It was a touching moment for me and meant a lot. I stopped and got a picture with them and really felt like I was on my way to finishing my second marathon, that I was past all of the most difficult portions of the race and was almost done. I was so excited. Thrilled, actually.

After I left Hollywood Studios, it was a few more miles and then the finish line. I ran down the Boardwalk, which felt a million miles long. (I think it was actually just two or so.) Then I entered EPCOT again. That meant I was almost done. I tried to speed it up, but my legs were shot. I kept thinking of my favorite childhood story, "The Little Engine that Could". I don't look like a runner. Some days, I don't feel like a runner. I feel like I'm fooling a lot of people. I am SLOW. I still have a lot of work to do in order to get to where I want to be in my fitness lifestyle. I've made a lot of changes and I have come a long way, but I have to still tell myself that "I think I can" from time to time in order to really get it done. Somehow, I did it. I kept moving forward and before I knew it, I was turning the corner toward the finish line. I had done it. I finished my second Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. I amazed myself at my tenacity. Maybe I am one of those people who can do anything. Maybe it isn't quite all out of my reach after all.

Everyone, their medals, and Goofy. We're all going Coast to Coast this year!

Mileage update- 
So Far: 59.93 miles/16 days
To go: 940.07 miles/350 days
(long run tomorrow!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Disney Marathon Weekend Day Two: Half Marathon

I had a request to put up part two of my three part series, so I'm back. haha. :)

Day Two was nicknamed: "Am I seriously up this early in the damn morning to run a half marathon?"

The half marathon day was VERY exciting, as all four of us were participating: my mom, my sister, my best friend, and myself. It was to e my sister's first half marathon at fourteen, which was something to look forward to. She seemed pretty anxious about it, but didn't really feel too forthcoming about her feelings. She is fourteen after all.

I do have to say that three in the morning is overwhelmingly early to get ready to go run a half marathon. Gracious. I've run eight half marathons now, and Disney definitely does it early. It's pretty clear why, but still, it was tough getting up. Anyways, we all got ready and I called my grandma to say good morning/good night. She's the only person I know who can be counted on to be awake at that time regularly. We had breakfast (peanut butter sandwiches! yum!). Then we went off to the bus stop. Again, like Friday, it was cold in the morning. Fortunately, the bus was sitting there when we got there and we got right on. Last year, I remember taking a nap on the bus ride to EPCOT,  but this year I was anticipating the race and I wasn't quite AS tired. I was mostly excited.

We got to EPCOT and all got off of the bus and walked part of the way to the corrals, then had a spontaneous dance party! And by "we all", I mean that the spontaneous dance party included everyone but my sister, who was pretending that she wasn't ecstatic to be racing soon! One awesome thing about runDisney is the incredible entertainment. From the minute you get off of the bus until after the last person crosses the finish line, each race is like a gigantic party. The DJ was playing lots of fun music that we could dance to, which was super fun. Then we started the long walk to our corrals.

I was a little bit disappointed in my starting corral this year. Last year Goofy Challengers got two separate bibs, so I was in a much faster corral for the half marathon and a slower for the full. This year, it was one bib and I was in one of the slower corrals. I didn't like starting after most of the other people and I felt like I was playing catch up for a lot of the race. It was a little bit distracting. I really need to work on my time, I guess, so that I can get into a corral that I'd rather be in and feel more comfortable in my run. I didn't like constantly going in the grass around people who were walking. Not that I'm super fast, but I'm just saying.....

So, the first corral started at 5:30 or so, if I remember correctly. The goal for this race was to take it fairly easy, to have fun, but to pace myself decently. I ended up running with Katherine and she slowed down her pace to run with me. We ran the first three and a half(ish) miles before we slowed down to a walk for a little bit. I normally do a run/walk combination and she generally prefers to just flat out run straight through. I was feeling pretty awesome for the majority of the beginning and then it started getting a little rough at mile four and a half or five. I was having some major intestine issues, so I had to take a bathroom break, and then there was a giant hill in front of the Contemporary, right before the Magic Kingdom. My mom ended up passing us when I was in the port-a-potty, but we caught up backstage Magic Kingdom, right before we went down Main Street. That was kind of fun, because we got to take a picture together in front of the castle. I was super worried about being behind on my pace and getting picked up by the sweepers, so I didn't stop for many pictures before that point.

(The main reason I was so worried about the sweeper was that last year at Disney's Princess Half Marathon, I had a freshly sprained ankle and was EXTREMELY close to getting picked up by the bus. There were probably less than 100 people behind me at the end. I think I was traumatized.)

The Magic Kingdom really made me feel a lot more positive and helped me gain more energy to get through the rest of the race. There's something magical about running through the parks. A lot of people talk about how exciting it is to run through the castle. That's not even it for me. It's most of the crowds and the excitement of running down Main Street and through the parade route that gets me. It's fun to hear the cheering and everyone so excited for you. I also really enjoy stopping for character pictures and seeing all of the entertainment.

When we left Magic Kingdom, we had to run in the grass for a while to get around some of the ridiculous crowding on the path. That's one problem with races that have such a high volume of participants, especially people who haven't raced before. They don't seem to understand to walk on one side and let other people run on the other side of the road. Frustrating.

At mile 8, we noticed that Mickey and Goofy were meeting with runners for pictures. I didn't want to stop because the line was really long, BUT my baby sister was in line! She started in a corral ahead of us, so we hadn't seen her in a few hours. Of course, we got in line with her and waited to meet Mickey and Goofy. Then my mom joined us! It was awesome to get a picture of all four of us with the characters and super neat that we all got there at about the same time.

After the photo, we all split up. I was still nervous about being picked up, even though I knew were were way ahead of pace, so Kath and I still ran more, while my mom and Kailey decided to walk a lot of the rest of the race. After that was mostly highway miles, which was a mixture of boooring and kind of fun at the same time. I ended up having some more intestinal issues which made it sort of painful to run, but I really didn't want to stop at the bathroom again. It's not that fun to stop during a race. I decided to try to keep going and finish it out. That's what we did. We walk/jogged the rest of the race and ended up mostly walking the last couple of miles, which was okay.

Towards the end, we went up an exit ramp and ended up on an overpass looking over runners who were still going. It was incredible to see all of those thousands of people behind who were still going. We also saw my little sister still trucking along down there. I almost cried. That's one thing about endurance events. They are so emotional and such a mental game. There have been many near-tears moments in my two year and three month long career in road races. There still will be more, I'm almost certain of it. There was also a lady in front of us with a shirt that said "I'm 80. I'm hot. I'm ahead of you." What an awesome woman. (I actually think that I met her later in the day, but she wasn't still wearing that shirt and I didn't ask. lol)

Hands down, the most inspiring thing I saw on Saturday was a group of about 10 people who were all walking together. One man in the group had a prosthetic leg. We passed them at mile 10 or 11, if I remember correctly, and I noticed that it seemed like he was really having a hard time keeping it going. Later, after we had finished and were waiting in line for some character meet and greets, we noticed that Mickey and Donald were still waiting on the last finisher at the finish line. They had a giant television display of the finish line near the character meet and greets so we continued to watch, waiting for the last place person to come across. That group of people, still all together, came walking toward the finish line, all following behind the young man with the prosthetic leg. It was inspiring to watch him finish the race, the confetti everywhere. What a great thing to see. Last place finishers deserve as much attention as first place finishers. These people show dedication and mental strength that is impossible to describe.

The finish took us through EPCOT again, a loop around Spaceship Earth, a quick run through backstage EPCOT and into the parking lot. Finishing Disney races are amazing. The fanfare is incredible. Characters greet runners at the finish line. The announcers are so awesome. (although finishing 2011's Fort4Fitness was pretty awesome too, finishing at the Tincaps baseball field and hearing them personally welcome "Alicia visiting from Orlando".)

Overall, the race was super fun. I'm so glad that I got to participate. Maybe next time I won't be so freaking anxious about finishing the race.


Just came back from a supposed-to-be 5k length run in order to try to recover my legs a little. After looking everywhere for my pants with pockets, waiting foreeeever for my Garmin to load, I got a 1.18 mile run in before I got thunderstormed on. Ugh. Irritated.

If I would have known that it was going to be such a short run, I would have worked on speed and ran quickly! Oh well, too late to complain.

So far: 50.21 miles/11 days
To Go: 949.79 miles/355 days

Disney Marathon Weekend Day One: Family Fiesta 5k

Last weekend was Disney Marathon Weekend! If you can imagine every emotion on earth, that's how I felt going into it. I felt undertrained, unfit, nervous, terrified, excited, anxious, happy, and so on. It was crazy. Last year, I ran Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge- a half marathon Saturday and a full on Sunday. Last year, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was my first full marathon. This year, I threw in an extra 5k, making it 42 miles in three days. This time, I knew what I was getting myself into and it made me more anxious.

I'm going to blog separately about each race in order to make it more concise and easy to read. Anyways, this is day one: Family Fiesta 5k.

By "Day One", I mean beyond too early in the morning. I got up at 4:30ish to get ready and head out to the bus stop. The best part about Disney races is the fact that, if you stay on property, the continuous Disney transportation will get you to the races on time (assuming you get to the bus stop on time. ha.).

Needless to say, it was cold. Actually, it has been warmer than usual this winter. Well, it has only been my second winter in Florida, but last year it was colder, from what I remember. It is definitely much warmer than my 23 winters that I spent in Indiana. haha. However, it cooled off over the weekend for sure. It was slightly miserable each morning, but warmed up throughout the day. Friday, I forced Katherine to go with me to spectate, because that's the kind of best friend I am (mean and demanding. haha).

I wasn't too worried about the 5k. The game plan was to have a good time and stop and take lots of pictures. The game plan was to run the whole thing, except when stopping for pictures. I tend to do more of a run/walk combination, but 2012 is all about getting faster, adding speed and endurance to my running.

We got off of the bus at EPCOT and walked over to the start, where Katherine and I stood and talked a little. Actually, I had a spontaneous dance party while Kath laughed and sort of participated. Not long after we got there, my mom and sister showed up! I was super excited, because I wasn't sure if they would make it. They flew in pretty late the night before. So that was exciting.

There were about 8,000 runners who did the 5k with me, so that was a little overwhelming. I've done big races and very small races, but outside of Disney, the amount of runners in a race is miniscule in comparison. I mean, the first half marathon that I did had about 5,000 participants, so a 5k with 8,000 felt insane to me. It was super fun though.

The race went through EPCOT. There were a lot of characters out cheering along the way, taking pictures and waving to runners as they (we) went by. It was super fun. I stopped for the majority of the pictures. I would have stopped for more, but I accidentally put my sister's contacts in when I got up instead of my own and, thus, could not see. Believe me when I say that distance running without vision is terrible.

I have no idea what my finishing time was, but I do know that I had an awesome time and that it was a great way to start off my weekend of running.

And afterward I had to get a picture with Donald in the park:

Anyhow, that's part one of my three part blog on the Disney Marathon Weekend.

Update on my 2012 running goal:

So far: 49.03 miles/11 days
To go: 950.97 miles/355 days

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Trying to get back into it. 1000 miles in 2012.

So. Happy 2012!

I rang in the new year at work with lots of coworkers and Disney guests. Yes. I'm still a cast member. Yes I'm still busier than is good for me. That's okay, though, because I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. So yes. I was at work.

Each new year is a chance to make new changes. Normally, I am not one to make a lot of changes or impactful decisions in a new year, because I feel like any day of the year is possible for changes. This year, though, is a little bit different. I have a few changes and goals in place:

  • I'm going to make another attempt in running at least 1000 miles a year. (at LEAST.) There's an extra day in 2012, so it'll be great.
  • I'm going to clean up my diet. I need to stop eating like crap and only focusing on my fitness. Health is 70% kitchen-made. That's something I'm going to focus on.
  • I'm going to get as fit as I can and get my endurance, strength, and speed to point. No more screwing around. The goal is to Boston Qualify in 2013. (Did I really just write that down and, this, make it real life?)
  • I want to participate in a sprint triathlon this year, which means I need a new bike. This might  prove to be more difficult than I think.
  • Get my Master's.
  • Coast to Coast Challenge!

That's good enough.
During 2011, I became a lot more fit than I ever have been. My running was definitely not on par the entire year, but I did get a personal trainer, run four half marathons and one full marathon, and started to change my diet. I moved to a new apartment that is close to a running trail and a nice park.

I also sprained my ankle (in February), spent some time on crutches, and spent a lot of lazy time on the couch. haha.

More recently, I got a spin bike for Christmas (Thanks Kath!), bought myself some weights and created a small home gym. In the last few weeks, while the campus gym has been closed, I've been working really hard on my fitness at home. It has been crazy but fun. I've forced my best friend to participate and pushed her to her limits. It's more fun to work out in groups.

Anyways... Goofy's Challenge in like two days! Crazy! Am I ready? More than I was last year... and last year it was the most incredible thing I had ever done. I'm pumped.. and nervous and terrified.

SO. Today I went for a short run. First run of the year... I wanted to make sure my feet remembered how to do it and I also wanted to sort of break in my new shoes. It was rough, but I feel like every last run before a race is difficult. That makes me feel a little bit better. So yeah. It was a chilly day for Florida, though nowhere near the cold that Indiana held for me back in the day. I bundled up (in a jacket and long sleeved shirt, capris, and a running cap) and almost sweated to death by the time I finished the first mile. (sweated isn't a word is it?) So that wasn't totally worth it. I guess I didn't have to wear so many layers after all.

The running was rough but it went okay. Considering. Oh well, there's definitely room for improvement.

Done: 5.84 miles/4 days
To go: 994.16 miles/362 days