Leading up to our first Disney race, I spent a lot of time injured during our training My calves were always tight, my inner thigh was always strained, I needed to lose about 100 pounds (still do – but this isn’t about weight loss; if that happens it’s a bonus). Our longest run prior to the Tower of Terror 10 miler was about a month before the race at 8 miles.
And here I am today – once again injured. We are 34 days out from out next scheduled half marathon, and I haven’t been able to run (let alone walk without pain) since August 22nd. It’s a miserable feeling. Especially missing the group runs with my family – sure, I get to make sure there’s a patio table waiting for everyone at Starbucks when they’re done, but I’d rather be running!
The race we have next month is one that J and I signed up for last November. We did this one in 2014, too. I had to walk it due to a hip injury. I was really excited to do this one running this year! It’s a super flat course with some nice views at the end, but now it looks like I may not even be able to walk it this time around. It’s disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world. I am still hopeful that I will fully heal in time to participate this year!
Meanwhile, I’m excited about early Annual Passholder registration for runDisney’s new Star Wars race weekend at Disney World, which opens (and probably closes shortly afterwards) tomorrow at noon. I know I’m currently injured, and I have a half dozen other races between now and then, but I have so much fun at Disney races that I can’t deny the irresistible force.
About three weeks, and 8 training runs later, I ran my first 5k. It was the UNCC Gold Rush 5k at J’s alma mater. We signed up at the last-minute and figured we wold just see how it went. My mom came out to cheer us on at the start and the finish. It was cold and damp and rainy. I told J he did not need to run with me, he could go at his own pace, and I would see him at the finish.
I zipped up my jacket to ward off the elements, and soon was moving along with the rest of the back of the pack. Run 15 seconds, walk 45 seconds, run 15 seconds, walk 45 seconds. Keep moving forward. All sorts of thoughts start running through my head – my training routes did not have hills like this – how did I forget there were so many steep hills on this campus? Why am I wearing this jacket? How can I be this hot and cold at the same time? How am I NOT done yet?
As I was nearing the track and field complex, where the finish line was hiding, I saw J running back toward me to run in with me. Well that was too much for my super-sensitive, somewhat-over-emotional self to process while running, and I started to get choked up and have trouble breathing. It probably did not help that I was still wearing my jacket and felt like all of Charlotte’s humidity was suffocating my body underneath a layer of some polyester nylon blend with zero breathability. I waved him off when we entered the stadium, tried to pull myself together, and finished my first race. It felt pretty damn good.
After I caught my breath and cooled off, we went to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast and race-recapping. My Nike+ app did not record my race, but my official finish time was 48:02 with an average pace of 15:28 per mile. When I got home, I showered and climbed back into bed for the rest of the afternoon.
I knew from everything I read over the last several weeks that I needed special shoes for running. I had never heard of such a thing, but who am I turn to turn down an opportunity for shopping and new shoes? Therefore, I went to a local running store, as recommended by everyone on the internet, to buy special running shoes. I told the rep about my goals, and we got started. He watched my gait while I “ran” and determined I was a slight pronator in need of a shoe with moderate support to counteract my pronation. We tried several shoes, but the ones that felt the best were the Adidas Supernova Sequence 4s. Of course needing a women’s size 11 shoe for running meant there were not any pretty girly colors to choose from, but they were comfortable and that is what matters.
I got the shoes, time to start training.
I used a Jeff Galloway training plan that I found on runDisney.com and started following a beginners training plan. The plan called for two weekly 30 minutes runs, and then a longer run on the weekend, gradually increasing mileage until a couple of weeks before race day. I could do this. My first training run was on 1/12/12. I did short run/walk/run intervals, and finished 2.03 miles, with an average pace of 17:34 per mile. The pace was definitely not great, but not bad for my first time out there. One thing I knew well from all of my research on Disney races, is that runDisney requires a 16:00 minute per mile pace to stay on course as a runner and avoid the sweeper bus. I had some work to do.
We committed to running the Tower of Terror 10 miler by the middle of January. Yet, all the time I spent on rundisney.com put other ideas into my head, beyond running only the 10 miler. I decided I was also going to start training for my first half marathon – the Wine and Dine half marathon held the second weekend in November. While the Tower of Terror 10 miler had a Villains themed after party (and I do love my villains), the Wine and Dine half marathon after party took place around the World Showcase at Epcot, with the Food and Wine Festival booths open until 4:00am! How could I resist an after party at one of my favorite events? I couldn’t. But why stop there? I mean, the marathon stories inspired me so much, why not keep going, and train for my first full marathon? If I’m going to run 26.2 miles, I want to have as much fun as possible doing so, and to me, Disney = Fun!
J was in for the 10 miler, he thought it sounded fun, and he started looking for local races for us to run. Being in retail, Wine and Dine was out (no time off in November) for J, and wisely, he had no desire to run a full, so I would be on my own for those two races. However, Amy came through, and decided to do all three races with me. We knew we would train together and run the races together – we would have a fantastic time!
It would be a blast…
In December 2011, I was surfing the Internet when I stumbled across a fascinating article. It was about a race that was going to happen at Walt Disney World the following September. It caught my attention because it was the same weekend as the start of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival – one of my favorite Disney events. The announcement was for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler, and I was intrigued, but I was not a runner.
Excitement and trepidation ensued. Here was a race focused around one of my all time favorite attractions, but I was not a runner. Here was an opportunity (read: excuse) for another Disney trip, but I was not a runner. I mentioned the race to my husband, J. He wondered why in the world we would want to run 10 miles when we had never run any race, ever. I mentioned the race to Amy, and I think she thought I had finally gone insane. Now, I do not think the thought of running ten miles appealed to either one of them, but I know Amy, and I know that given enough time to marinate on something, she usually comes around to the idea.
In the beginning of January 2012, the idea of doing this race was taking hold, and I could not shake it. I had to run this race. Marathon weekend rolled around, and all of the inspiring stories captivated me. Maybe this was something I could do. I devoured the runDisney website as if it were my last meal, and soon decided I would be running this race.
But why stop there?
Welcome to our blog. A couple of years ago, my sister (Amy) and I (Anna) toyed around with the idea of starting a blog to talk about some of our favorite things – running at Disney and eating at Disney and of our other adventures at Disney and beyond. Better late than never, right? 😉
I have not always been a runner. When I was in the ninth grade I was on the track and field team as a shot-putter and discus thrower, not as a runner. I worked out, weight trained, but I did not run unless I had to run. I always dreaded the mandatory mile in gym class. Before I started tenth grade, we moved to Florida. It was still summer vacation so I started running around the lake in my neighborhood – a habit that continued even after school started – to occupy my mind and stave off boredom. I was not fast, by any means, but I would plod along, listening to Metallica’s Black album on my cassette Walkman. Side A. Side B. Side A. Side B. Repeat. I did not realize it at the time, but I was running about 3 miles a day on most days. I guess at that point, I was a runner.
Sadly, however, my time in Florida ended with the move of my family to Tennessee around Thanksgiving of the same year. I managed to stay until the end of the semester, at Christmas break, before leaving my friends to join my family. We moved a lot when I was growing up, but this was by the far the most difficult move, and the hardest group of friends to leave behind. I spent the first few months in my new home moping around – sad, angry, miserable. Just as quick as I picked it up, I dropped running.
Until January 2012.