Princess Race Weekend – My Experience

A week ago, we ventured down to Florida so that I could do one of my bucket list races. I did the Fairy Tale Challenge (previously known as the Glass Slipper Challenge). That means a 10k on Saturday and a half-marathon on Sunday. 19.3 miles in two days! To say that I was nervous beforehand would be an understatement.

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It’s dark in the picture because each morning’s races start at 5:30am. The transportation to the start area is really great if you are staying on site. It’s easy, but it’s early. You have to be on the bus by 3:30am (for the 10k) or 3:00am (for the half), sleep deprivation is an added obstacle to overcome for these races.

The 10K was a lot of fun. I took my time and didn’t push myself too much so that I wouldn’t start the next day being exhausted. I had some soreness in my left foot after the run but other than that, I felt good. (I have now self-diagnosed my left foot pain as plantar fasciitis.)

The 10K takes you around all of Epcot. You run outside of the park for the very beginning, but this part goes by quickly. Then, you get to see some of the actual park.

There are lots of characters on the path.

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But you have to wait in line to see them….and some lines are very very very long. (So, if you want to stop, know that it will change your finish time.)

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This is the line to see Pinocchio….that’s a long long long line.

After the 10K, we went to the kids races. Unfortunately, it was really hot. The kids races started at 10:30 with the 100m, then the 200m an hour later. I’m glad that neither of our girls were going to do the 1mile because that started at 1:00pm. The kids races were actually a bit unorganized. Big girl and I could barely hear anything while waiting for the 200m. When you have a big group of hot and sweaty kids with their hot and sweaty parents (who probably already ran that morning), people start to get grumpy really really quickly. Thankfully, there was a lot of water…and applesauce for the kiddos. GoGo Squeez was one of the big sponsors for the kids races so there was applesauce everywhere. My girls had more applesauce pouches during this weekend, then they probably have during the whole year. lol

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Sunday was the half-marathon. This one goes through Magic Kingdom which is really magical and then ends at Epcot. I, honestly, started to feel a little emotional when we ran through the castle!

However, a lot of this is actually just on highways and roads outside of the parks. Soooooooo much of this is not in a park – and it gets a bit boring. There aren’t as many characters to see on the course when you are outside of the parks. Seeing the characters every mile definitely helped the 10K to fly by…..so the half got a bit boring…..and hot……it got really hot on those roads. The heat is definitely not something that my Illinois winter training could have prepared me for.

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Now that I’ve had a week to think about everything, I have started to come up with a plan for myself. I think that I would, in fact, want to do the Fairy Tale Challenge in the future. However, I need to get my pace time way down so that I can start in a different coral. There were 25,000 runners during the half-marathon. 25,000! For a back-of-the-pack runner like me, that meant that I didn’t cross the start line until an hour after the race had started. It also meant that I had an hour longer in the hot Florida sun. (The “real feel” temp on my phone said 89 when I crossed the finish line.)

It was a great weekend and I’m glad that I was able to do it. I’m still tired (still trying to get caught up with the lack of sleep). And, my foot is still hurting. (Trying to stay off of it for awhile and doing lots of stretching. 19.3 miles is a lot for two feet.) But, I’m so happy that I was able to experience this and, most importantly, I’m glad that I was able to share this weekend with my family! Having them with me made it even more magical – Ryan, my girls, and my parents!!

Now, on to the next race!! My goal is to get my 5k run time way down, then do the same for my 10k time. Then, it’ll be time to start training for my next half!

 

 

 

 

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Running. Running. Running.

How do you stay focused on your training? I really need to know. I’m definitely struggling. It’s so stupid cold outside so I can’t (really don’t want to) get my miles done outside. And, although we have a treadmill, anything longer than 1 1/2 hours on the treadmill is just so boring.

I might need to find a new show to watch while on the treadmill. That might help.

If you are on the treadmilll….and you know that you need to do a long run…..how do you stay focused? Music? Shows? What shows do you like to watch while running?

The RunDisney Princess Weekend will be here soon.  And I have a lot to accomplish before then. A lot.

Revenge of the 10K

So, this weekend was supposed to be my mini-version of my upcoming Princess Challenge weekend in February. I ran a 5k on Saturday and then Sunday was supposed to be my 10k so I would complete the Remix Challenge. Well, that didn’t happen because I had an incident beforehand in which I fell on my way to the race on Sunday….and hit my head on the curb…..and spent the morning in the ER getting x-rays (nothing broken) and stitches (9 stitches total). This was not at all what I had trained for. I’m disappointed for sure. And now I have to buy yet another pair of the same pair of Ann Taylor Loft sunglasses (this will be my third pair) because they completely shattered when I fell. … I love those sunglasses.

-As a side note, my experience really showed why the running community is so amazing. There were lots of runners all walking to their corrals (or the porta-potties) and so many stopped to see if I was ok, help me up, give me a towel, etc. And, a Streets & Sanitation employee stopped, called the ambulance, and waited until the ambulance pulled up before he left. Way to go, Chicago!

Sure, I didn’t get my Remix Challenge medal on Sunday. (But I’m already planning a victorious return next summer. Remix Challenge – I’m coming for you!…..again……) And, I didn’t get my 10k done for this summer running season. But…….the thing about races is that once you start, once you’re hooked, you can’t quit. So, now I’m registering for 10k in September (Run Mag Mile) and I’m planning on doing a 15k at the end of October (Hot Chocolate).

That 10k medal will be mine. It just won’t perfectly match my 5k.

But it’ll still look good around my neck.

Three Big Events – In One Week

In one week’s time, I had three big events happen. I graduated with my Master’s, I registered for the Princess Challenge, and I got my ears re-pierced. Now, these may seem to be very different levels of events. But, really, they are all actually connected.

  1. I graduated with my Master’s degree. This was a lot of work. I was 8 months pregnant with baby girl (she just turned 3) when I started on this journey and then I took last school off from grad school so being able to finally be done was a huge accomplishment. It was not easy. Not at all. But, that’s what made it feel so worthwhile. I did it. !!!!!!
  2. I registered for the Princess Challenge. Yep. February 2018 I’ll be doing a 10k on a Saturday and then a half-marathon the following day. Is this insane? Well, I did the 10k during the Princess Run weekend at Disney World in February 2017 and I did my first half-marathon this past September. It’ll take a lot of training but I know it’s possible. I’m registered for my first challenge weekend during the Rock ‘n Roll half-marathon weekend in Chicago. (I’ll be doing a 5k and then 10k.) It’s doable. It’s definitely doable. And, I’m looking forward to seeing what my body can accomplish with training.
  3. I got my ears re-pierced. In the past several years, I have rarely worn earrings. In December, when trying to put in earrings, I realized that my piercings had closed up. I had stopped wearing earrings on a daily basis as I had developed a probable nickel allergy and had small children at home who loved to yank earrings out. Now that my girls are much less likely to want to pull on earrings (5 and 3 now), I realized how much I missed having the option to wear earrings. After the piercings were done (standard ear lobe and double ear lobe on each ear), I said to my piercer “I feel like myself again.” And it was true. I hadn’t really realized just how much I had missed wearing earrings until they were back. I was back to myself again. Even if it was just my ear piercings.

And, that’s part of the goal. Grad school. Running. Pierced ears. They may not seem connected and they might not all seem like a big deal….but each one of them, in different ways, help me to the goal of being the me that I want to be. Finishing grad school? Huge goal. Training for a Run Disney challenge weekend? Another goal. Buying new “grown up” earrings that aren’t necessarily cheap and probably filled with nickel? New goal.

What are your goals for the rest of 2017? Are you already planning goals for 2018?

Keep Going…Just Keep Going

I have noticed in just a short amount of time that my runs are getting easier again. But, I know that there will be things that will make it harder to keep up with my training. Grad school has started up again and that sucks up a lot of time. (But graduation comes in May!!!!!!) And the weather is still, well, winter. And, it’s not out of ordinary to walk in and find several piles of cat barf on the treadmill. (Thanks, Buddy….) But, I am determined to keep this going.

It’s time to start registering for spring/summer races.

What races are your favorites?

Kick Starting 2017

A few months ago, my treadmill died…..and then grad school happened……and then the weather turned colder. All of these added up to me completely stopping my training. *sigh* So, after some important conversations and a visit to a local gym, we made the decision to buy a second (and much higher quality) treadmill. Important reason #1: this one is covered by a warranty for several years so if the motor dies on it, it can be fixed. Important reason #2: although a gym membership is enticing, any gym that we go to would be required to have child care on site because I would have to bring the girls. Important reason #3: the convenience factor of having a treadmill in our house so I don’t have to go outside (in weather) is pretty high.

So, here’s my new friend. I’m looking forward to working with her so that I can keep up with my training. Goal? I want to be able to register for any 5K or 10K that I want to without having to worry about whether or not I’ll be ready. And…..I am planning on doing the Glass Slipper Challenge in 2018. Run Disney, here I come!

Plus, it gives me a chance to catch up on my Netflix.....

Plus, it gives me a chance to catch up on my Netflix…..

Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk

My training has been a bit nuts this summer. We’ve been on two separate week long vacations and those threw my training off. (Although I did go to the gym one morning while we were at Disney.) Luckily, I was able to get most of my training done before the summer really got going so I’m kind of repeating a lot of what I’ve already done so that I’m ready for my first half-marathon….in just a little over a week! AAAAAHHHHH!!!!

I know that I can do it. Well, at least, I know that I can finish it. I don’t know what my time is going to look like. But it feels kinda crazy to think that just  a year ago I was getting ready to do my first 5K. And now, here I am….at a point that I never would’ve imagined….where I’ve completed several 5Ks, one 4 miler, two 10Ks,  and now…..now something with the word “marathon” attached to it.

Realistically, I’m as ready as I’m going to be….last Saturday I did 10 1/2 miles – my longest to date- and tomorrow I have one more long run …..but, please, do me a favor….think warm fuzzy thoughts on September 4th….. 🙂