Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm in!!!!!

After being wait-listed in 2011 for the Disneyland Half Marathon, which was needed to complete the other coast of the Coast to Coast Challenge, I am registered for 2014!  Finally I will earn that Coast to Coast medal.  The Dumbo Double Dare and the 10K have already sold out, just ONE HOUR after registration opened.  I have never been to Disneyland, let alone California so I am really looking forward to it.  I am SO EXCITED!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014 Running Resolution.......

Today was my first day back to working out after the marathon.  I made a deal with my body last weekend that if it just let me finish, I would give it "almost" a week off.  We both kept our ends of the deal.  It was weird coming straight home after work rather than going to the gym and then home.  I also ate like crap all week, felt guilty about it, but continued anyway knowing that I was actually starting my Running Resolution a full week after completing the marathon.

My 2014 Running Resolution is: Train Consistently.  Obviously I would love a new P.R. for the half and full marathons, but I thought that Train Consistently summed everything up, and then I added several goals or milestones to get me there.  Today it began at 7 a.m. in Forest Park.  I joined the Big River Running free training group, along with over 400 other St. Louis area runners.  When I P.R.'d at the San Antonio Rock and Roll half marathon I had been training with a group through Pacers Running Store in DC, so I wanted to give group training another shot.  This was one of the steps I had under my 2014 Running Resolutions: Join a running group to meet other runners and to have a sense of accountability.  When I train by myself I run slower and sometimes get lazy.  I wanted to avoid that and Big River had a free training group, so I signed up!

Another goal or step in the process was getting in better shape.  Big River Running's local competitor Fleet Feet started a weight loss competition this year called Ton of Fun. The initial weigh in was yesterday which will be followed by weekly weigh ins through April 12.  This program cost $50 BUT if you lose 2% of your body weight, you will earn a $25 gift card to Fleet Feet.  If you lose 5%, you earn $50 so you break even.  There are also different levels according to weight lost such as 5k (lose three pounds or more), 10k (lose six pounds or more), etc. all the way up to ultramarathon (more than 26 pounds).  There are prizes for each level as well.  What a great deal!    

Another step was to make myself a "regular" at a class or two at the gym.  Right now I am thinking either boxing, kettlebell, yoga, or spin.  That will also start this week as I make my way back into the gym.  I plan to try the different classes and see which is the best fit.  I just enjoy that accountability of being a regular somewhere and feeling like I "have" to be there.

So 2014 is off and running.  I am hoping that the steps I laid out help me meet my overall Running Resolution of Training Consistently.  I hate that feeling of arriving at a race only to feel unprepared and wishing I would have done more.  I want to know what it feels like to be at the start thinking; "I am going to try to P.R. today" all while knowing that it is possible because I have trained hard for it!

~Off and running...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World

I finished!!!  I am still in shock that I actually completed all four races as part of the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World....while recovering from an upper respiratory infection and while on antibiotics.  Of the few people that actually knew I was running a race at Disney last weekend, even fewer knew that I was running another challenge.  On the way to the airport, my boyfriend even asked me if I was still going to run the marathon after being sick for nearly two weeks.  My co-workers asked the same question before I left.  Although I felt a bit insulted, I also knew that it would be a miracle for me to finish the marathon let alone all four races.

I took it easy for the 5k and 10k.  I literally walked pretty much the entire course for each race and jogged only at the end so that I could stretch afterwards.  The weather was mild for those races but of course a heat wave came through the day of the half marathon.  The high was in the mid/upper 80's which neared a record high for Orlando in January.  Just my luck!  I was not going for a P.R. at this point, I just wanted to finish so I let myself be happy about a 2:56 finish.  The rest of that day was spent resting and luckily it rained that night, which cooled the temperature significantly as well as lowered the humidity.  

The morning of the marathon is kind of a blur at this point.  I had everything laid out from the night before, still I managed to leave without sunscreen.  I started near the back of the 20,000 some runners but I figured that would help me take it slow in the beginning.  I felt REALLY good, really good in the beginning but told myself at mile eight I would start jog/walking so that I could finish strong.  So when I hit mile eight I walked for about a quarter-half mile and then I jogged until the next mile marker.  This actually made the remainder of the race fly by.  I somehow managed to hit the halfway point at Animal Kingdom about eight minutes quicker than I had finished the same distance the day before in the half marathon.  Bizarre, but I'll take it!  The halfway point was the first time I saw Mom and John on the course, that cheered me up and boosted my pace for a while.  

The jog/walking cycles continued all the way until mile 25.  Once I hit 25 I kept jogging as long as I could, knowing the finish line was near.  At this point, it actually felt better to continue jogging than to walk plus we were in Epcot and there were people all along the route (ego affects adrenaline).  As I rounded the corner and neared the finish I could see Mom and John again.  Whatever energy I had left I used to race to the finish line.  To me it felt like sprinting, but I am not sure what it looked like to spectators.

It seemed like an eternity between the finish line and the medals but I managed to pick up the remaining three medals: the Marathon, Goofy Challenge, and the Dopey Challenge.  I limped my way through the water/Powerade area and grabbed the snack box.  Since I knew I could not sit to stretch and get up easily, I just waited for my parents to find me so that I could use them as a support while I stretched.  The accomplishment still hadn't hit me at this point even though the stiffness and pain had.   

After an ice bath and a nap, we celebrated as we always do with Irish food at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney.  You could see the other marathoners not only by the slower speed they were walking and limping, but also because everyone was wearing their marathon shirts and medals.  It felt like we were at the Olympics.  Everyone was congratulating each other and it was an amazing feeling being surrounded by so many other runners and their support systems.  That is just one of the reasons why I love Disney races.  Granted they are expensive and can be so congested that you are forced to walk during the race, but the on course entertainment and support followed by the post-race support and recognition is just priceless.  After the race I had a relative who pointed out that I actually completed the marathon with a faster overall pace than I did the half marathon.  Normally this would be reversed but somehow I managed to shave 6 seconds off my overall pace Sunday when compared to Saturday.  It wasn't the P.R. that I had hoped for but it was still an amazing weekend!  

A HUGE thanks to Mom and John for letting me drag them along to so many races, getting up early and standing around for hours just to see me pass by and quickly wave. Love you guys!

The medals:

Mom and John with their medals:

The Magic:

Now that I am back to reality, I really miss hearing: "Have a magical day!"

Monday, January 6, 2014

Starting off the 2014 racing season ill

My 3rd marathon is this coming Sunday.  Today is Monday and I leave for Florida on Wednesday.  I have been sick for over a week now.  I started feeling weird in Zumba class on December 28th.  My plan was to run after Zumba class because it was gorgeous outside, which is rare for December in Missouri.  I decided to rest the remainder of the day so that I would be ready for my last long run before the marathon, which was supposed to happen on Sunday.  Sunday came and I felt worse so I told myself and my boyfriend (for accountability purposes) that I would do my last long run on New Year's Day instead.  Monday I called in to work.  Tuesday I went in to work only to be sent home because my boss could tell that I was still sick since I had no voice.  That night my boyfriend and I went to a minor league hockey game and dinner for New Year's Eve but when it came to the champagne, I couldn't drink it because it tasted weird.  New Year's Day was spent resting since I was determined to get back to work on Thursday.  I did not work out, let alone run.  

Thursday came and I still had no voice so I opted to work from home, which my co-workers prefer when anyone could be contagious.  Still no workout.  Friday again I worked from home because I still had no voice and I rested, which means no workout again.  I decided I had enough with the over-the-counter medications so I called my doctor and got on Amoxicillin for 10 days.  This means my last day on Amoxicillin will be the day of the marathon.  Luckily I am slowly starting to return to normal, but I am concerned because I have not run in a week and a half and have not exercised at all in over a week. I am not at 100% health-wise and the end of marathon training did not go anywhere near the original plan.  This will also be the first race that I have ever run "medicated."  I should also be honest and say that I am not only running a marathon, but I also signed up for three other races this week as part of a challenge.  So I am planning on telling myself that it is "ok" to walk-run the races in order to finish them and that my 2014 Disney times will serve as a goal time to beat when I attempt the challenge again in a few years.  At least they are having better weather in Florida right now (it is currently -7 degrees in St. Charles, MO).