June Run Streak

I’m attempting something new this month — a run streak! I’ve always been very protective of my rest days, so a streak has never really appealed to me. The challenge I’m participating in now requires that you walk, jog, or run one mile per day, every day in the month of June. This time, something clicked, and I decided to give it a shot.

I finished Day 6 today. I’ve mixed some easy runs with longer, tougher runs, letting the short days be my “rest” days. It’s working so far. Although, I have had to break out the Biofreeze and Pro Compression socks a time or two.

I’m still feeling motivated. Only 24 more days to go! Have you ever attempted a run streak? What is your record?

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Summer Race Schedule

After spending the winter training indoors (and not motivating myself to drive to the gym quite often enough, if I’m really honest), I am so thankful that warm weather seems to finally be here to stay. I’ve begun running a few times a week around my neighborhood to kick-start my spring/summer running season.

I don’t know about you, but it helps keep me moving when I have races scheduled. I’ve registered for some of the races on my list, and I intend to register for the rest when they start opening up in the coming months. This is definitely an optimistic goal. I have never run this many races in a three-month span. Distance isn’t a problem. I don’t intend to attempt anything longer than a 10K in the summer months, and I already run 5K pretty regularly. It’s just…I know it’s going to be hard to get up and go on this many early weekend mornings. But I know it will be good for me.

Also, nothing is planned as far as family travel for the summer yet, so one or two of these may drop off the schedule if they conflict with something later on. I just need to have a list going to keep myself on track!

My Summer 2018 Race Calendar

anytime in June – runDisney Virtual Running Shorts 5K

June 16 – Cornfield Cornfield 10K

June 23 – Dizzy GOAT (as many laps as I can run in 3 hours)

anytime in July – runDisney Virtual Running Shorts 5K

July 4 – Murray Freedom Festival 5K

July 7 – 5K Superhero Run for CASA

July 14 – The Color Run

anytime in August – runDisney Virtual Running Shorts 5K

August 25 – Nebraska State Fair 5K

How about you? Do you get out and run when the weather is nice? Have you started planning out your race schedule for the summer? For the year?

A new race on the calendar!

As many of you know, registration for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World opened up to the general public last week. I’ve wanted to repeat this race since I first participated in 2013, but I haven’t had the opportunity. All the stars have aligned, and I will be going back in 2017!

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What’s really fun is, once I put it out there on the Internet that I’m registered, I learned that a lot of people I know are running. AND I recruited a friend to come and make it her very first half marathon! AND she is inviting everyone she knows to come along, too. If I’m honest, so am I. “Come! Run with me!” “Come! Be my cheerleader!” I’m pretty excited. I just can’t seem to help myself.

Once the kids are back to school (in less than a month?!), I’ll have to get serious about running again. We haven’t broken up completely, but I haven’t trained for any kind of long distance since January. Of last year. I’ve lifted weights and done a lot of other things, but I haven’t run farther than three or four miles in quite some time. It will definitely be a challenge with the hills and altitude that I have to contend with now.

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I snapped this photo one morning while walking Hank. It’s a little tricky to tell, but our neighborhood is nestled right up next to the mountains. There’s a running/biking path…at the bottom of the hill. No matter what I do, the last mile back to my house? Straight up. I may need to leave the neighborhood to find a path that won’t try to kill me.

Regardless, this is happening. I’ll have another one of these beauties to add to my collection come February! Now, to figure out my costume….

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Race Day – Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2014

Saturday. Race day, for the kids and for me. 🙂 This was my first time bringing the whole family along to a runDisney event. The kids were very back and forth about whether they wanted to participate in the kids’ races. Initially, I only registered Aidan, because Neely didn’t want to run. About a month later, she changed her mind, so I registered her, too. After we got to Florida, nobody wanted to race. We left it until the very last minute to decide. Before bed on Friday night, I showed them their t-shirts, race bibs, runDisney mouse ears, and they decided they would go to the races. We gave them the option to back out at any time. I’m really glad they didn’t, though.

The kids’ races are a lot of fun. There was music and dancing to warm everyone up beforehand. They had different distances for each age group. Neely ran the 200-meter dash, and Aidan ran the 400-meter dash. There’s no real rhyme or reason to how they line up. A group of kids lines up across the track, and they let them go in waves. Of the groups that my kids were in, they each finished second. Pretty impressive for Aidan, considering most of those kids were a head taller than him.

When everyone was done racing and had their adorable Duffy bear medals in hand, we made our way over the EPCOT to meet the rest of the family. We probably would have been better served just hanging out at the pool. This was the last weekend of the Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT. It was a madhouse. We went on a couple of rides in Future World, and literally spent the afternoon just trying to find a spot to sit in the World Showcase. There were wall-to-wall people, and let’s just say I’m thankful that my kids didn’t question any of the adults who were being loud, silly, or wearing t-shirts that said things like “Drunk 1” and “Drunk 2.” Not a family-friendly day at EPCOT. We only stuck it out, because we had an early dinner reservation at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada.

The plan was for us to eat dinner at 4:30pm, and I would go back to the room and rest before race time. It took a lot longer than expected for us to be seated at Le Cellier. By the time we were, I was panicky. I’ve never run a night race. I knew I needed to be off my feet for a while. I knew the weather was probably going to be bad. I knew I shouldn’t actually eat most of the things on the menu. I settled for ordering soup and salad, and when I finished – adios. I went back to the room on my own to try and get some rest.

I didn’t. 6:00pm is not a quiet time at a Disney hotel. There are lots of kids moving up and down the hall, doors slamming, etc. I closed my eyes and laid on the bed for a while, but I never slept. Which made me even more panicky.

I finally gave it up and began getting dressed. Yes, there was a 98% chance of rain beginning at the exact time the race was supposed to start. Yes, I knew that a costume probably wouldn’t hold up, but I had nothing else to wear. So here it is, the costume –

Figuring out how to get white in my hair was a big pain in the butt. I tried white hairspray straight out of the Halloween section at Target, but it never made my hair white. No matter how much I used, it was gray. I considered chalk, but that would have been way too time-consuming. I finally found this tube of white hair gel online and decided it would have to do. I didn’t end up putting it on the entire half of my head, because the amount I had to glob on the turn it white? It took forever to dry. I streaked enough in my hair to make the rest of my costume make sense, then moved on. I was freaking out pretty badly by the time I was getting dressed, so at that point in the game, I really didn’t care how the costume turned out. That’s probably why I don’t have very good photos of it.

I got on the bus for the ESPN sports complex around 8:15pm. We made a few stops at other resorts and watched a good chunk of I, Robot, so it was closer to 9:00pm by the time I was headed to my corral, and the giant line for the bathroom, of course. At 9:30pm, the rain began. I wish I had brought along a poncho. I don’t think I’d have run in it, but it would have been nice to stay dry during that last 30 minutes hanging out in the corral, waiting for the race to start.

The race kicked off with fireworks at 10pm, and we were off! I knew very quickly that this was not going to be as much fun as I had hoped. I enjoy Disney races, because the spectators are awesome, my favorite characters are stationed along the course, the scenery is fun…but in the dark? In the rain? There weren’t many people out to cheer us on. There were only a few characters, most of them tucked away under awnings in Animal Kingdom…which we hit around mile four.

The next several miles were brutal. The Animal Kingdom parking lot is ginormous. You hit mile 4 in the back of the park and by mile 6, you’re almost out of the parking lot. Then, there was nothing to see but other miserable people and wet pavement until mile 9, when we reached the Hollywood Studios area.

Hollywood Studios and EPCOT are pretty close together, so the last portion of the race was more bearable. There were no characters in Hollywood Studios. It’s a good thing I’ll be seeing the Star Wars guys in January, else I might have been upset that they weren’t around. Darth Vader can’t handle some rain, y’all. Save that tip for a rainy day, Jedi. They had sort of a disco tunnel set up in Hollywood Studios, through part of the old Backlot Tour, and thankfully, I did get to do the one thing I signed up for this race to do…

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…run through The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. This was my first time ever seeing it. It is indescribable. I loved it! I tried to take a selfie, but I am a mascara-smeared mess. I’ll save you the agony of looking at the photo.

There is a little treachery between Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, when you run down the wooden boardwalk between the EPCOT resorts and the International Gateway entrance. It’s narrowish. It’s slippery. A lot of my concentration was focused on not getting hurt with barely over a mile to finish.

Once we were actually in EPCOT, I picked up the pace. It’s amazing what the prospect of a dry, warm bed will do for your motivation when you’ve been trudging along like a wet noodle for a couple of hours. My finish time for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon was 2:27:32. My best time is about six minutes faster, but I really wasn’t expecting to PR given the weather conditions and my state of mind anyway. On the upside, this wasn’t my slowest finish time, either.

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See? Hot mess.

I wish I could share a little insight into how the Finish Party was. It sounded like fun. They kept a lot of the attractions in EPCOT and the Food & Wine Festival booths open until 4am. We sat down to celebrate at the Rose & Crown Pub in the U.K. Pavilion, and shortly after received a phone call that sent us sprinting (hobbling quickly, in my case) back to the hotel at 1:30am. What I have insight into instead is how amazing Disney is when a child wanders out of a hotel room (adjoining my brother and sister-in-law – she was not left unattended) in the middle of the night.

All in all, it turned out to be a successful day. Although at this point, I don’t really have the desire to attempt this particular race again, but I’m glad it’s been crossed off my bucket list.

 

Bomber Run Recap

I ran a half marathon yesterday. I know. What?!

My friend and I signed up to run ONE WEEK AGO. Because we are crazy people. The longest training run I’ve accomplished to this point was 6.5 miles, so you know, why not double it?

I’ll be honest. It took me all week to get my brains in check. Mentally, I did a lot of freaking out. What if I hurt myself? What if I die? What if I have to crawl across the finish line? On Thursday, I finally got myself in check. I have run this distance before. Yes, it’s been a while, but I’ve been running and cross training pretty consistently for the last few months. I should be in fair shape to pull this off. Especially since I’m not trying to win, and I’m not ashamed to walk a little.

I got all my gear ready that night, so all I had to do on Friday morning was get dressed, feed the little ones, and pack them off to school. Well, mostly that was all. We had a little incident where my boy scraped up his face pretty badly in a skateboard accident on Thursday night. Yesterday morning when he got out of bed, his eye was swollen shut. I got a little panicky, knowing I’d need a little extra time to go talk to his teacher about why he can’t see out of one eye before school and getting myself to the starting line. Regardless, everyone made it where they needed to be on time. Sometimes, I like to worry myself for no good reason.

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Here we are – before, during, and after the half marathon that neither of us trained for. The Bomber Run was a fairly small event. We were told there would be 300 runners, but I don’t think that many actually showed up. I’m used to being a middle-of-the-pack runner, but when you’re running a race on a military base, the game changes. We were squarely in the back from pretty much the very beginning. We maintained a steady pace the entire time (no walking!), and by the end, we started to pass people who’d burned out early.

Our finish time? 2:21:21. Without training. Y’all, I am ecstatic. As far as chip-timed races go, this is a PR for me. I finished the Princess Half at 2:26, and that was my best time to date. I fully expected Courtney to be dragging me across the finish line at 2:45. But we did awesome! Especially considering it was our first time running together. I really felt like we were evenly matched in pace, and I’m extra glad there was no judgment coming when I needed to dance or sing along to the iPod to make it through the next mile…because she was doing it, too. 😉

Here’s the catch, though. I just ran a half marathon without training, and not only did I live to tell the tale, but I BEAT MY OWN BEST TIME! I’m traveling for my next half marathon in two months. “The Plan” had me up to 9.5 next week. I’m really tempted to ditch “the plan.” I just ran 13.1. Maybe I should just do a long 10-ish mile run every other week until the race and call it good. My goal, as usual, is to finish in the upright position and to have fun, because, hey, it’s Disney World!

What would you do? Stick with the plan? Wing it with mostly maintenance runs and a few long runs thrown in for good measure?

I fell off the wagon.

OK, so I didn’t completely fall off. I haven’t quit running altogether. But that training program I chose for November? It was pretty ambitious, especially for someone who practically took a running hiatus all winter. I am officially switching to the “finish in the upright position” plan. Time improvement. Ha! What was I thinking?

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I am not, however, ashamed of my mileage for July. Don’t make fun of me. Yes, I still use a paper calendar. I need visual reminders of what I’ve got going on, without having to get into my phone or computer. I started writing my mileage for the day in a bright yellow highlighter so I could see how well/horribly I’m doing. 42 miles, y’all. Not too shabby.

I haven’t done a long run over 6 miles yet. On the old plan, I should be running 9 for my long run this week. On the new plan, next week I should be at 6.5, so I’m right on track. I feel certain this will all be much easier to accomplish once the kids start school in a few weeks. I’ve just got to hang in there until then.

Wine & Dine Training – Week 2

I know this probably gets boring for many of you, me blabbering on about the week’s runs. Here’s the thing, though – it helps me stay on track. If I’m writing about it here at the end of each week, I feel held accountable. If I screw up or get lazy, you’re going to know about it. Let’s be honest, with 16 weeks to go, that’s going to happen at some point. I’m only human.

I started out on Monday running 4 miles on the treadmill. Something in my hip was twinging as I ran, but I pushed through it anyway.

I cross-trained in the yard with my neighbors on Tuesday morning and realized that pushing through the pain on Monday was probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I spent the rest of the day trying to stretch out my hip.

On Wednesday, I did more stretching and got on the treadmill with another 4-mile goal. After running/walking/limping through 2 miles, I quit. It was terrible. I just could not do it.

Thursday, I rested and stretched. I knew I had 6 miles penciled in on the calendar for Friday, and I really didn’t know whether I should attempt it or not. I mean, I’ve had hip pain before, but it was identifiable. My IT band gets sore when it’s time to replace my running shoes, and so far, that’s been the only time. This pain was weird, difficult to pin-point, and really hard to work out.

My internal debate went something like this…

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This brings us to today. My plan was to head to the gym, stretch, warm up on an elliptical machine, and then see how much running I could manage. I am happy to say that this plan worked! Nothing hurt, and I made it the full 6 miles. Hooray! I was really going to be bummed if I’d completely blown the plan by week two.

Now, to celebrate. 😉