Update!

Hi everyone! Did you miss me? I managed to get way behind on blog posts over the last few months, so I’ll start with a little update since my last post.

In January, we once again ran the Walt Disney World Marathon.
In February, we ran the UNCC 5k and I ran the Disney’s Princess Enchanted 10k.
In April, we ran the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge and 5k.
Posts about these races will be coming soon!

It’s been a busy year for races, and I took some much-needed time off from running to strengthen and heal before the fall running season starts.

On the schedule for the fall are:

The Disneyland Paris Half Marathon – this was a recent decision, based on Get Travel still having open registrations and my friend Jen and her husband still looking for a roommate. Throw in affordable airfare, an extra day in the City of Lights, and how could I say no? I couldn’t. I’ve been dreaming of returning to Europe and now I’m going!

Next up will be the Myrtle Beach Coastal 5k and Mini Marathon (half marathon distance, long story over the name). This one is exciting because J and I designed medals for their contest and we both won! J’s medal will be given out after the 5k and mine will be the finisher’s medal for the half!

In November, I’ll be traveling to Disney again for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend. I love this race weekend because it was my first half back in 2012, but I’ll only be running the 5k and 10k this year. The 10k is new, so I’m really excited for this one. After the 10k, I’ll drive to Savannah and meet J there to run the Rock ’n Roll Savannah 5k on Sunday together. It will be a busy weekend but a ton of fun because I’ll be spending it with friends and J.

The next weekend, the sibs and I head to Disneyland for the Superheroes Half Marathon weekend. We’ll be running the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge which consists of the Dr. Strange 10k (super-psyched for this movie, too) and the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon.

Marathon weekend in 2017 is going to feel a bit strange for me – J and the sibs signed up for the Goofy Challenge (1/2 marathon on Saturday, Full Marathon on Sunday), but I am only signed up the half marathon. It’s probably best for my health, and with aspirations to run Dopey again in 2018, I will give my body a break and take a year off from the full distance. On that Sunday, I will be the best cheerleader possible and look forward to supporting my family and friends running the full.

As much as I’ll miss the full next year, I came up with a consolation prize of sorts. I will be running the Star Wars Light Side Challenge in Disneyland the weekend after Disney World’s Marathon weekend. Kessel Run, here I come, as we plan to run the Dark Side Challenge again next year!

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Recap: Wine and Dine 2012

One week from night we will be running Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon! Which makes me think a race recap from the past is overdue. In November 2012, Amy and I ran the Wine and Dine half as our first half marathon. It was an interesting learning experience and one that Amy will definitely need to tell from her point of view, as well, as my memory of the night is a bit hazy in places.

Leading up to the race, I felt good about my training, better about my nutrition, and I’d even made us some basic, but cute, shirts to wear for the race. Now, if you belong to a running group, you may have heard that you shouldn’t try anything new on race day. But I had this new protein shot I wanted to try, and I figured that since it was just a little 4-5 oz drink, I should be okay. Right? Maybe not so much. I drank the drink and ate my honey stinger waffle about 30-45 minutes before the race started and I thought I was good to go. The race started at 10pm, our corral started about 10 minutes after.

The first 5 miles went pretty well, but then I started to feel sick. I ate another honey stinger waffle hoping that would help, and I felt a little better – we had this race and were maintaining a strong 14:45 minute per mile pace. Soon, we were out on Osceola Parkway, on our way toward Hollywood Studios. But the nausea was still there and around mile 6.5 it reared its ugly head in the worst possible way and I had to step off into the grass on the shoulder and throw up. I remember hearing Amy tell someone I was ok (maybe it was me?) – and for about 2 minutes afterward, I was ok! I said we could run again, I thought I felt better. That was until every muscle in my body cramped up simultaneously. We basically walked the rest of the race, with me having to stop every 1/10 -2/10 of a mile to stretch. We were warned that we were off pace in Hollywood Studios (I didn’t comprehend it at the time), and by the time we reached the path to the Boardwalk, I was having to stop more often. I have to say here, I appreciate the medics and volunteers on bikes circling me like sharks every time I stopped to stretch, because if I had needed them it was good to know they were there and attentive!

Amy patiently stayed with me for the entire race, even though I must have told her at least a dozen times to go on and finish – that I would be fine! We finished our first half in an abysmal 4:05:19. By the time we left medical, the finish line area was deserted. We made our way to the after party, had our free beer/wine (had to go to the cash bar, because: deserted finish line), and then called it a night.

For a while, I was disappointed in myself, because I held Amy back and I knew we could do better. But when it’s all said and done, we finished the race. We earned our medals. We were not swept. We would redeem ourselves next year. Perhaps most importantly, it was a great learning experience, as I WILL NEVER EVER TRY SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY!

Pre race selfie

 Post race flats (back of our shirts)

Race Report – Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon

It was truly a game time decision for me to run this race this morning. As the corrals started shifting forward, waiting for the starting gun, I asked J for the car key, because I was not sure I would make it a tenth of a mile out of the mall parking lot. I started off running, no interval timer, just going until I needed to walk. Amy and J started off walking and when they caught up to me, J pointed out another place I could turn around and come back if needed.

Once I started moving, and I didn’t feel sick, and my foot pain was not excruciating, I decided I would pace with Amy and J for a mile or two to get ahead of the time and then I could run my own pace after that. Soon after the first water stop, I decided to let them go on – I knew Amy wanted to try to set a Personal Record (PR) today and J was going to pace her. I went ahead and set my interval timer to :20/:50 and tried to find my own rhythm. I put in an earbud, found some tunes, and ran my race.

It was a great morning! I had a smile on my face for most of the miles and really just enjoyed running and the scenery around me. I may have even jumped for joy a bit when the ocean came into view around mile 7.5…ok, I did jump for joy when I saw the ocean. No one around me seemed to share my enthusiasm, but that was ok, I was having a great time! The entire race was a great experience with great support and lots of water stops, and I hope to do this one again next year.

Amy did get her PR by four minutes, and Mel and Jamie also PR’d! As to my goal to just go as far as I could, whether I finished or not – not only did I finish, but I also got a 16 minute PR! Made all the sweeter by having my friends and family waiting for me at the finish line (thank you!!)

Bad news/good news – my feet do hurt, but I’ve been icing them and they don’t seem to be any worse than after a short 2 mile run, and definitely not as bad as 2 months ago. I will see how recovery goes this week and I’ll have a better idea of what I’m in for with next month’s races.

    

 

Pre Race Report – Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon

Ok I know the first question is likely, what’s a Mini Marathon? In this case, it is a half marathon. It’s a fairly flat and the last few miles are very scenic – running right along the ocean and finishing on the boardwalk!

We’ve got quite the crew here for this race weekend! The best brother in the world picked me up this morning so that I could rest my foot today, and the best sister in be world will be taking me home tomorrow since J will only be in town long enough to sleep tonight and run tomorrow. Goose’s girlfriend Mel drove up from Florida to run her first half marathon. Sue and Kate also drove up from Florida to cheer with the best mom in the world, who comes out to cheer us kids on whenever she can! It was great to get everyone together for dinner along with one of my friends from high school, Jen, and her husband, Jamie – we still run in the same circles! We missed J and Amy at dinner, because they have to work late and won’t be here until midnight and 1:30am

So about the race – I walked this race last year as I was coming off of a hip injury. This year I’ve been dealing with PF as well as some other intermittent issues. I really do not know at this time of writing (8:45p on Saturday, race day eve) whether or not I will be starting this race tomorrow. I will listen to my body and see how I am feeling in the morning.

  

Another Diagnosis

Well if ever there was a time to get my butt in gear, it’s now. I just got my lab work back from my preventative physical last week, and (shocker!) I am pre-diabetic. Unfortunately, being off my foot and not working out at all for a month did not help matters, but this also did not happen overnight. I have been right on the cusp of normal for many years now and without proper change, it was just a matter of time before I found myself in this situation. I have no one to blame except myself. I know what my genetic predisposition is and I should have been working harder to overcome this possibility instead of waiting for this news.

As I just learned about this about 20 minutes ago, I do not have a plan yet, but I will be coming up with one soon. Off the top of my head, I will be going to the gym more often and my 10 minute daily walks will be extended to at least 20 minutes, if not longer. I have already been focusing on changing how I eat, and will continue down this path of eating real food, and do some more research into what I should be avoiding and what I should be embracing. I do not want my number to go up any higher than it already has and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to make sure it stays where it is, or goes lower, if possible.

Any suggestions or insights or helpful advice? Please share in the comments below – thanks!

Food and Wine Festival

We’re on a boat. We’re on our way to Epcot for the International Food and Wine Festival. Amy had a tiny melt down (edit: I exaggerate) earlier because she couldn’t find a Mickey Bar in Hollywood Studios without navigating through the ruckus. Impromptu park performances are not her thing, apparently. But soon it will be all better as we will be criss-crossing the world showcase in search of tasty favorites and new tantalizing treats that we’re excited to try!

I’m most looking forward to my personal favorites – the Hawaii Kalua Pork Slider and the Nudel Gratin in Germany. I am looking forward to trying the Dominican Republic’s Yuca Soufflé with Griddled Cheese. Amy wants to try this one too, as well as the New Mac and Cheese and some of the desserts. All of this of course, as long as she gets her Mickey Bar! J isn’t much for fancy food so I’m sure he’ll be seeking out a burger or a pretzel – yum! 

We’re meeting up with Matthew and Mel to say “hi” as they start their trek around the world showcase 🙂  

   Hawaii Pork Slider and Kona Porter

 Amy with her Mickey Bar

  Yuca Soufflé in the Dominican Republic  

 Chilaquiles de Pollo in Mexico

Injuries

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.

Our First Race – February 4, 2012

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.

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Why stop there?

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…

January 2012

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?