Tag Archives: running

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.

 

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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?

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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.

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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. 😉

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Five-Mile Friday

Y’all, I am shocked. I ran five miles this morning before most of my family even thought about getting out of bed.

Some of you are probably thinking that’s not really a big deal. Five miles isn’t all that far to the super-dedicated.

Here’s the thing, though….I haven’t been super-dedicated in a while. Through the winter, I was only getting in one run a week…on a good week. Some weeks, there was no running. I did a lot of thinking about it and wishing it were warmer outside so that I might feel like venturing out of the house and heading in the general direction of the gym, but not a lot of actual running went on.

Spring finally took hold in May. Yes, May. North Dakota is a crazy, crazy place. Since we only get a few months of warm weather, we cram all of our outdoor activity in these precious months.

In the last few weeks, I’ve gradually been building my mileage again. My longest run until this morning was 3 miles. I’ve been running pretty fast (for me), so when I set out this morning, my goal was to slow down and find my long distance pace again. I didn’t set a distance goal. I just wanted to see if I could run for an hour. At 55 minutes, I’d run 5 miles. I was right by my street, so that was close enough to an hour to make me happy. 🙂

Also, today was bulk trash day for part of our neighborhood. In the event that I ever lose all my belongings, I’m pretty sure I could furnish a house for free from the things I find on the curb. Today, I saw 2 clothes dryers, a table, two mattress sets, two bookcases, three TV’s, a TV stand, a basketball goal, and 2 mini van seats. I could use those as a couch in a pinch. 😉 These are the strange things that I come up with while I’m running.

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Run – It’s time to buckle down.

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I have really let myself go this winter. Neely no longer likes to play in the family room at the gym while I’m on a treadmill, and it has been hard to get over there most mornings. I try to use videos and do workout routines at home, but it’s really hard to be consistent. I can usually come up with something I’d rather do. Either that, or I get sidetracked doing something else and run out of time before I need to move on with my day. I have been exercising maybe twice a week – usually one run and one at-home workout.

I’ve really got to buckle down and get back to work. I did a pretty tough at-home workout on Monday, and yesterday, I wore myself out on the treadmill. I’m taking a day off today, but I plan to be back at it tomorrow. I have to get my cardio back to a good place, so I can start training for that half marathon I signed up for in November. November seems like it’s really far away right now, but I don’t want to let it creep up on me.

I’m writing about this here to hold myself accountable. I haven’t talked about running much lately, because honestly, I haven’t done much of it. I am really, really, really hoping that the weather begins to cooperate with me soon. It’ll be easier just to get outside and run than it is to drive to the gym, run, drive home, shower, etc. I’d really like to invest in a treadmill before winter hits next year. We’ll see how that goes.

For now, I’m taking baby steps. I’ve already run more this week than I did last week. I’d like to get two more runs in this week. Next week, I’ll probably stick to the same schedule, then start increasing the distance again the week after that.

What do you do when you’ve let your good habits fall by the wayside? How do you get back in the habit?

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Magical Monday – runDisney

I thought that, since there is a runDisney event coming up this weekend, this would be a great week to talk about Disney’s race weekends.

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This year, Disney is hosting a grand total of seven running event weekends at its parks – the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend, Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, the Expedition Everest Challenge, Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend, and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. All of these events have sold out, with the exception of Tower of Terror and Wine & Dine. At time of posting, Tower of Terror is 50% full, and registration for Wine & Dine has not yet opened.

In the last several years, Disney races have really increased in popularity. I registered for the 2013 Princess Half Marathon in October 2012, and registration had been open for a couple months. I recall the race being about 70% full when I finally committed. For 2014, this race sold out in a matter of hours. When registration for the Disneyland Half Marathon in late August opened a few weeks ago, it sold out in less than 12 hours.

Within the last year, runDisney has added a 10K to almost all of their event weekends, combining them with the 5K and half marathons already in place to form some sort of challenge. For the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, it’s the Dopey Challenge – that’s a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon run in four consecutive days for a total of 48.6 miles. Last year, the worst you could do was be “Goofy” and run the half and the full marathons back to back for a total of 39.3 miles.  The Princess Race weekend has now added the Glass Slipper Challenge, where you run a 10K and the half marathon within two days. The Disneyland Half Marathon weekend added a 10K last year, adding the Dumbo Double Dare if you finish both races. The addition of the 10K races and challenges seems to have amped up the race weekends’ popularity by leaps and bounds.

If you want to runDisney, you have to plan ahead. Way ahead. If you visit the runDisney website, each race has an e-mail signup where you enter your e-mail address and receive a reminder in your inbox with the date and time registration will open for that particular race. You need to be at the computer the moment registration opens if you want to guarantee a spot.

runDisney Charity Groups

However, if you forgot or didn’t get to the computer fast enough on registration day, there is still another way to participate in runDisney events. If you click into the event you’re interested in and choose the “Registration” tab, there is a subcategory that says “Charity Groups.” Here, you will see a list of charitable organizations that have reserved bibs for the race. Each has its own set of requirements for how you can run as part of their team. Usually, it’s a dollar amount that you commit to raise in funds for that charity in exchange for a spot in the race. The upside is that you are guaranteed a bib even if the race sells out. Most of these teams will also have special room discounts for the event weekend as well. Some will even pay for your room if you raise enough money for their cause.

I love runDisney events. As compared with other races, they are much more light-hearted. There will be some serious competitors, but most of the runners you’ll see on the course are mostly there to have a good time. I love the excuse to wear a fun Disney costume, and running through Cinderella’s castle cannot be beat. There are characters stationed along the route, so if you’re not aiming for a certain finish time, you can stop and take pictures. There is music and laughter. The spectators are having as much fun as the racers. It’s just wonderful.

I also love there are so many events to choose from – kids’ races, 5K’s, 10K’s, half marathons, marathons…there is really something for every kind of runner (or walker! as long as you stay ahead of the balloon ladies) out there.

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If you have cheerleaders traveling to the race with you, I highly recommend the ChEAR squad packages. I brought a friend with me to the race last year, and I bought her the Gold ChEAR squad package. She got a t-shirt, blanket, Mickey clappers, reserved seating, private restroom access, and drinks. I figured it was the least I could do, since she was venturing out at 3:30am with me. 🙂

My biggest tips for future Disney runners?

1. Train, but don’t take yourself too seriously. It is Disney.

2. Wear a costume. (Definitely makes it hard to take yourself too seriously.)

3. Stay on property. Traffic on race days is super crazy. It is so nice to get on the bus from your resort and not have road rage by the time you arrive at the start line.

Need a room for your upcoming event? You know who to talk to. 🙂 audra@atimetotreasuretravel.com

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Winter Motivation (or lack thereof)

Does anyone else have trouble motivating themselves to get to the gym in the winter months? This year, it has been a major problem for me. I can always think of something I’d rather do – drink a second cup of coffee, catch up with everyone I’ve ever met on Facebook, reply to e-mail from two months ago, wash my hair…you get the basic idea.

This time last year, I was a month away from a half marathon. Scheduling a race in the middle of winter was probably the best idea I ever accidentally had. I can’t race without training. Not being able to finish scares me. So I kept that race in sight, bundled myself up, and trekked to the gym at least three times a week, and I ran…and ran and ran and ran.

I have absolutely nothing to train for right now. I hunted for something, anything I could sign up for. There are no races in this part of the country, to speak of, until April or May. Even then, the good ones require travel that I can’t commit to at this point. It’s frustrating.

I do other exercises at home, so don’t be worrying that I’ve turned into a complete bum. I’m certain my cardio is not what it used to be, though. I really wish I had my own treadmill. Then I could watch TV all morning AND get a good run in. Santa? Are you listening? Treadmill next year. For serious. Especially if I’m living in North Dakota indefinitely.

What do you do to motivate yourself when it’s cold and depressing outside?

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Run – Maintaining or Losing Fitness

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I haven’t done a lot of talking about running around here since the race in February, but don’t worry. It is happening. It’s just been hard. I’ve done some unexpected traveling, had sick kids, and had company, to name a few things the last couple of months have thrown at me. I have fit in the odd run at the gym when I can, and when I can’t, I’ve been using exercise routines from my Can You 24 DVD.

I also have a hard time staying motivated when I don’t have a race on the calendar or a specific goal in mind. I so desperately wish I hadn’t taken the good weather and races that were available practically year round for granted while I lived in Louisiana. Here in small town North Dakota, races are few and far between. Most of the year, it’s just too cold and treacherous outdoors.

I’ve been worried about losing running fitness. I’ve read some statistics that scare me. According to Jeff Galloway, you lose 10% of your running fitness in just 7 days. It only takes 35 days to lose 100%. What?! Of course, this is if you are doing absolutely nothing. No alternative form of exercise. Nada. I was hopeful that I hadn’t lost everything I’d trained so hard to achieve.

Last Friday, I tackled my longest run since February. All this stuff I’ve been reading had me scared, so I was shooting for just 7 miles. I was able to start out running on the track at our gym, but just after I finished my sixth mile, the track was closed for testing. I moved to the treadmill. I ended up running four more miles on the treadmill for a grand total of 10. What was in my head? Part of it was that I didn’t want to look like – to the handful of people in the cardio room – I could only hack 10 minutes on the treadmill. Part of it was that both kids were at school, and I had time, for once. I was feeling good and still had half a package of sport beans and plenty of water with me, so I decided to go for it.

I’m so glad that I did. I was incredibly relieved that I had not completely bungled my ability to run distance in 6 weeks’ time. The really, super crazy thing? I wasn’t sore afterward. Not a bit. That in itself is a miracle. With that run as reassurance, I think I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing – running when I can, cross-training in the interim, and throw an odd long run in when I have the time. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep running long distances without burning myself out.

I have a bit more traveling coming up in a couple of months, and I’ve already started finding and registering for races to run while I’m on the road. I am most excited about a 10-mile race in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. It’s part of the RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival. My brother and sister-in-law are going to run with me. I haven’t talked to my sister-in-law about how she plans to train, but my brother is doing something that’s either totally awesome or completely nuts. He won’t actually be running much, but he’s going to amp up his other workouts. You can check out the ideas behind his approach here. I can’t wait to see/hear how it works for him. Maybe I can talk him into a guest post. Has anyone else tried this?

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