When A Race is Not Just a Race

I did it. I got my Remix Challenge medal.

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This medal was a year in the making. This weekend of running meant a lot more to me than just a few miles.


Last year, I was scheduled to complete this challenge. I finished the 5K and was all set to do the 10K the following day. I was using the Run Rock ‘n Roll Chicago race weekend as an early version of the Princess Challenge weekend (you can read about that experience here). 5k and 10k in one weekend to prep for 10k and half-marathon in one weekend. Good plan, right?

Well….

As with many things, last year’s Remix Challenge weekend did not go as I had planned. I had an accident – I’m still not entirely sure what happened or how it happened – as I got out of the car. Ryan and the girls were dropping me off and I was going to walk to my starting coral.

Somehow I lost my footing. My head met the curb of the road, specifically, my left eyebrow. My sunglasses fractured, right into the bridge of my nose. There was blood. A lot of blood. This was when I learned that runners really are some of the best people that you will ever meet. So many runners, who were on their way to their own starting coral, stopped, helped me up, stayed with me. One guy gave me his towel (yea, he never got that back because it was covered in my blood…..). Ryan was able to park on the street and wait with me as we waited for the ambulance.

So, what should’ve been me completing a 10K and getting my 10K medal and my Remix Challenge medal, ended with me getting nine stitches – 6 on my eyebrow and 3 on my nose. I still have scarring on my face and on my knee from the road rash when I fell. The injuries thankfully did not include any broken bones, but it would be several weeks before I could restart my training.

What led to the fall? Was I dizzy? Was there some sort of other issue? I had been very tired from the training. Was I too tired to even stand properly? Honestly, I probably won’t know exactly what led to the fall. It happened so quickly that I never really was able to figure out how my run ended before it could even begin. But, I knew that this wouldn’t be able to stop me.

I made a mental plan to return in 2018 and conquer this weekend and the Remix Challenge.


This weekend’s runs were not easy or fun. It was a rainy, windy weekend. Each morning’s run was met with downpours. Not fun.

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But, at least it wasn’t super hot, right?

And, I finished Saturday’s 5k feeling optimistic about Sunday.

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Sunday’s run was not just a run. It was something that I’ve wanted to complete for a year now. My name on my bib? Revenge.

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It was a hard run (I’ve realized recently just how much my slacking on my training has impacted my running goals….definitely will be remedying that beginning this week). But it was a powerful run. The rain was pouring. The wind off of the lake was cold. And when it wasn’t raining, the humidity felt like it was 90%. And none of that was going to stop me.

I did it!

And then…..was told that they had run out of 10k medals.  After messaging Run Rock n Roll, I found out that someone had moved the boxes of medals to a dry spot in a downpour but didn’t tell anyone who was in charge of giving out medals.  Run Rock n Roll is mailing me a 10k medal but it might not arrive for several weeks…..

Thankfully, I did get my Remix Challenge medal (I was told later that day that they had run out of the challenge medals!) because if I had gone this whole year waiting for this run and then would go home medal-less, well, I would not have been happy.

 

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I’m glad that I did it. I’m glad that I got two out of my three medals and that the third will be in the mail. I’m glad that I completed this weekend without any injuries. I’m glad that my girls were able to see me accomplish something that was a challenge for me. And I’m glad that I was able to get my revenge on this race. 🙂

Happy Running!

 

 

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Changing Up the Routine

It’s snowing. It’s actually snowing again. I, along with many in the Midwest, am just so done with winter. Come on spring! Let’s get going!

However, in the meantime, it’s time to get back into the workout routine. I took some time off after the the RunDisney Princess Half-Marathon weekend………

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19.3 miles in two days…..well, that’s the most that I have ever done in that amount of time. So, taking a rest was definitely ok with me.

My left foot was very sore in the days/weeks following the race weekend, so I’ve been taking it easy to let the (self-diagnosed) plantar fasciitis heal properly. No running. Lots of stretching. And lots of massaging with golf balls – rolling my foot over a golf ball really worked well to give a deep massage on the arch and heel of the foot!  – I am not a doctor and in most situations have no idea what I’m doing…..so please do not take that as medical advice. It’s just something that worked for me.

Since I am not currently training for something in particular, I am going to be changing up my workouts a bit more. Yes, I’ll hit the treadmill during the week and run outside on the weekends (as long as it’s not snowing……..) but I’m also planning on adding in some classes. I’ve never actually taken a workout class. So, it’s a bit nerve wracking to even think about. But, Yorktown Mall in Lombard (hey suburbanites!) has a really great deal right now where you can try out two classes at each of their fitness studios for free! You can find info about the program here.

So, who wants to look ridiculous with me in a class? Come join me!

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.

………………..

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!

 

 

 

 

Running Fuel

I learned that my beloved Fleet Feet no longer carries the energy jelly beans that I used during my first and only half-marathon. (Apparently, they haven’t carried it for awhile….) Now that I am getting closer to the date for my next *gulp* half-marathon, I need to find another product. So, a quick trip to Fleet Feet and I have four items to test out. Well, specifically two items, two flavors of each.

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I will be testing out each one before my long runs leading up to race day until I find the one that works best for me…..

But, I want to know….if you are use one of these products (or if you swear by another product) which one do you use? Does one work really well for you?  Let me know!

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?