Training Run # 1: 41:12, 3.01 miles, 13:42 min/mil, Galloway Method 1:1
Training Run # 2: 40:02, 2.98 miles, 13:25 min/mil, Galloway Method 1:1
Long Run: 38:26, 3.05 miles, 12:37 min/mil, Galloway Method 1:1
Week 7 was all about lacking motivation. I feel like I had to bully myself to go out on each run this past week. I felt sluggish and my legs felt like they were made of lead. I definitely didn’t feel remotely “speedy” (if that term could be applied to me in the first place!) even in my training runs. My long run (which I cut short by a mile due to my treacherous calves!) was much faster than my training runs. The weather has been kind of dark and rainy here lately which has been contributing to a yucky humid atmosphere, even during the wee hours of the morning. I’m glad I got out to run for each of my scheduled runs (I very much subscribe to the belief that the only workout I’ll regret is a missed workout). I’m a little disappointed that I had to cut my long run short, but I definitely would rather get a hard three miles in over risking an injury with an extra mile. Luckily this week was one with a shorter “long run” so I don’t feel like I missed one of my major long-distance training runs. Hopefully next week will be better. I’m chalking this week up to a combination of being unmotivated, bad weather and legs that need a little more stretching post run (I’m always saying I’m bad at that and yet I’m never fixing it… sigh).
Training Run # 1: 2.48 miles, 30:00 minutes, 1:1 Galloway Method
Training Run # 2: 3.10 miles, 40:02, 1:1 Galloway Method (with a little more walking thrown in — the second mile was pretty hilly!)
Long Run: 4.01 miles, 50:47, 1:1 Galloway Method
Another good week. I got both of my training runs in and completed my long run despite being soaked to the bone half way through. All three of my runs this week were early morning runs while it was still dark out (with the sun peeking out towards the end for the first training run and my long run). During my first training run both my Garmin and my Yurbuds died half way through the run. The Garmin died from a low battery (I had wanted to kill the battery to see how well the battery lasted. The battery lasted for approximately ten days without me turning it off, set at some seriously battery draining settings with about 2 hours, 46 minutes and 10 seconds of “run” time. Not bad!). The Yurbuds died from unknown causes which was pretty disappointing. Luckily, Yurbuds is a pretty fantastic company and I should have a replacement pair within the next two weeks. Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to use an older not-so-nice set of Bluetooth earphones I have!
Midway through the week I decided to “shake up” my training plan a little bit. I love Galloway, but his beginner training plan seemed a little too easy for me. I bumped up my training runs (previously 30 minutes two times a week) to 40 minutes two times a week. I also changed all of my “3 mile” long runs to 4 miles. At this point, I want a little bit of a tougher schedule to better condition my body! The first 40 minute training run on this schedule went well. I was definitely tired after the run but it did not seem like it was too much for me.
This morning I hit a little bit of a road bump… when I walked out of work, it was steadily drizzling. I’m not a huge fan of running in the rain. I was wearing my glasses this morning so I was definitely not wanting to set out for four miles. But it was only drizziling and I did not want to have to run tomorrow. So I put all of my stuff in my car and set off for my four miles. The first mile and a quarter were great. The drizzle was cooling and not too distracting. As I got to a mile and a half the rain started to pick up. Within another quarter of a mile, it had died down a little. By the time I got to mile 2, I was running along out campus “bike trail” in a steady deluge of cold water. I had to keep snatching my glasses off of my face so that I could see where I was putting my feet. I was definitely cool but I was definitely feeling uncomfortable with my shoes soaked through. I couldn’t even dry my glasses off because I was soaked all the way through! Once I was able to break away from the bike trail I ducked into an apartment complex to get away from the worst of the rain. I waited for it to die down a little bit and snapped this “drowned rat” selfie.
The rest of my run was fairly uneventful. Even though I was soaked through I completed my four miles. I even stopped at one of my favorite breakfast joints to meet a friend – looking like a soaked through drowned rat that had just run four miles. I have no shame.
***Side Note*** I am LOVING the Zombies, Run app! It is a really fun and interesting way to entertain myself during my runs. I especially love the zombie chases. ;D I am not a huge fan of “subscription based” apps but this is one that I just might have to make an exception for once I have run through all of the “free” missions!
On Monday, I decided to bend the rules a bit and skipped my rest day. I needed the run – I had a rough day and needed to clear my head. The run felt great. I probably could have actually gone much further than 2.25 miles, but I ended up cutting it short due to some stomach distress. As many runners know, you should be very careful about what you eat prior to a run. Well, I already knew that chili doesn’t sit well in my stomach during a run. So that was definitely my fault!
Wednesday’s run was HOT. I went for a run in the middle of the day and ended up cutting it short due to super sore calves. I pushed myself to two miles and cut it short. I read in the most recent Runner’s World that sometimes, quality is better than quantity. I shortened my run and got two miles in rather than risking injury by running another few minutes.
I worked twelve hours last night and then ran 2.5 miles on campus. My legs felt pretty good through most of the first mile but then both of my calves tightened up on me. For me, this is a for sure sign that I am simply not stretching enough after my runs. So that is definitely something I need to be a lot better at! Overall, this was a good (albeit a little stiff and painful) training week. I’m looking forward to a little bit of rest before the next week begins.
Back in April, I registered for the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon. This week was the first official week of the 28 week marathon training plan (from Jeff Galloway, of course!). My plan calls for three runs during the week – two 30 minute training runs and one long run (ranging from 3 miles to 26 miles). Some of the long runs have a “Magic Mile” thrown in to help predict what my race pace will be on race day. For the next six months I plan on writing a weekly blog post about how my training week went. This will be a great way to keep myself accountable while also providing a medium for me to keep track of my training and how I felt/what I did.
Week 1, Training Run #1: N/A
Week 1, Training Run #2: N/A
Week 1, Long Run (3 miles): 34th Annual Firecracker 5k, 38:20.0
I could definitely be off to a better start when it comes to training. Luckily, I have gotten back to running 3 times a week so my base is up to what is “normal” for me. Since this is the first week of training, I’m not too upset about the fact that I missed the first two training runs. My hubby and I planned a quick trip up to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so that kind of interfered with my running schedule a little bit (low motivation coupled with really bad weather while we were there – blah). This is definitely something that I need to be careful about, though. To me, the long runs are definitely the most important aspect of my training (to help build my endurance) but the two training runs are important in other ways, too (helping to maintain a base, helping to throw in some speed work and/or hill work). I definitely cannot fall into a habit of skipping on runs. I want to do well for this marathon and I definitely want to be able to finish!
I did much better for my long run (probably because my legs were fresh from not running for a week!). I registered for the 34th Annual Kiwanis Firecracker 5K the night before, worked twelve hours over night and braved the awful heat to get my long run (and my July race!) in. By the time the race started, I was already nice and dewy from sweat. The race was also a little bit hillier than last year’s course – especially at the beginning of mile 1 and 2! I did pretty good though. According to my Garmin, my splits were: 12:08, 12:28, 12:06 (my splits would have been more even but I stopped at the start of mile 2 so I could get some water from one of the coolers). I averaged about 12:10 and finished the race with an official time of 38:20.0. By the time the race was done, it was already 80 degrees and not quite 9 am!
The morning of the half dawned very, very early for both Wes and I. We went to Olive Garden the night before to “carb up” with lots of pasta and Italian dishes. We went to bed fairly early but woke up with only about 6 hours of sleep. Of course, I was way too excited to really feel too tired. I got dressed and we were ready to go out. It was a little nippy out but I knew it would warm up throughout the day (more on that later). My poor hubby accompanied me despite the fact that he was pretty bleary eyed from being tired! We boarded the bus at our hotel and were transported to the Epcot parking area. There were already a decent amount of people arriving but the crowds were still pretty thin so we had no issues getting a few pictures in.
MarathonFoto was already out enforce taking pictures of racers and their families. Of course, I was already planning on buying the full download, so Wes and I stopped to take a picture. He looks more than a little tired. I just look super excited!
They had plenty of entertainment in the area – including a DJ who was doing a pretty good job with his music and commentary. We drifted over to that area and took some more pictures in front of the Half Marathon back drop. We got into line to take pictures with Cinderella but while we were waiting she was replaced with Rapunzel and we decided to drift off towards the port-a-potty area (I wanted to make sure there was zero chance I would need to stop later on – of course, I failed in that endeavor!).
Wes and I talked for a little bit, killing time before I had to walk off toward Corral K. I went off to wait in one of the (long) port-a-potty lines again and when I came back, it was time for me to go. We snapped a quick selfie together and then I walked off. I wouldn’t see him again until after the half (but he would see me a couple of times!).
It felt like we walked a mile to get to our corrals (we probably walked close to it!) and it was VERY cold. My finger tips felt frozen and I was glad the temperature outside was much better for us than it had been for the 5K and 10K racers! They had people out on the course directing us where to go. There were A LOT of people around me (something that didn’t change during the whole race) and we split off a couple of times. They had giant traffic signs set up to direct us toward the appropriate corral locations – and to also give us a little bit of inspiration!
Finally, I arrived at the start line. Of course, there was entertainment here as well. From where I stood, I couldn’t really see the start line very well but they were showing the announcers up on big screens. They panned out onto the corrals every once and awhile and the time dwindled down to minutes left until the first corral raced off. The Fairy Godmother came out to say her famous magic words and then the first racers were off! They were pretty quick getting the rest of us out on the course – it seems like there was only a couple of minutes between each corral. Before I knew it, we were moving forward and waiting for them to say “Go!” to us. I readied my Garmin and waited to press “Go” on my iPhone fitness trackers (Runkeeper and Nike Plus). And then we were off!
I was too worried about losing my place at the start to run to the port-a-potties by the start line so of course about 3/4 of a mile in I had to stop at the first port-a-potty due to a bladder that was about to burst! That caused my first mile to be super slow and cost me time in the long run. But I felt much better after!
The weather was nice and cool – but I warmed up pretty quickly. People were tearing off sweatshirts and mylar blankets all around me. During the race, I ran over quite a few bits of trodden pieces of costume and clothing from where people had thrown them off later on as it warmed up as well!
Most of the race isn’t run through Magic Kingdom or Epcot – you’re actually running along World Dr/Floridian Way/Epcot Center Dr for the majority. You run through Magic Kingdom at about the half way point and through Epcot at the very last portion of the half. Here’s the Runkeeper map from my iPhone.
Disney has several points along the race that they have various types of characters/entertainment set up. The first one you come upon is a pirate ship with some pirates (possibly Jack Sparrow, but I didn’t stop long enough to verify that). You can also stop to get pictures with the “Heroes” (the male figures from some of your favorite Disney movies such as Hercules, Prince Eric, etc), the “Villains”, Princess Sophia, Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip, with the bearers of the Glass Slipper (something I would have stopped for if I was running the Glass Slipper Challenge), etc. I didn’t really want to stop to take pictures so I bypassed all of them. Pretty cool if you aren’t running to run, though!
After some time, I came upon the entrance to the parking for Magic Kingdom. I was so excited and stopped to snap a quick selfie!
After snapping this shot, it was back to hitting the pavement for me. As we ran up, you could hear announcements warning of the small speed bump near the parking booths. I guess they really don’t want runners to stumble at that point!
At this point, we were running around the Parking and Transportation Lot. The monorails were shooting over our heads – transporting our ChEAR Squad fans from Epcot to Magic Kingdom to see us run through Magic Kingdom. I stopped to take a quick picture because I thought it looked neat!
Entering Magic Kingdom proper was a tad bit emotional for me. This was the part I had truly been looking forward to experiencing. I had seen a lot of pictures of people running through the castle and I knew that was coming! I also knew I might possibly catch a glimpse of Wes (I didn’t, unfortunately). Running up to Main Street just made my heart feel so light and my feet kept moving. I knew I wasn’t quite at the half way point yet, but seeing all of the people lined up and down Main Street just made me grin. They were cheering for us! We could do this! My first sight of Cinderella’s castle was wonderful.
I couldn’t spot Wes, but he saw me. He was able to catch a pretty good picture of me running by (if it had been in focus, it would have been awesome!).
I stopped to take a selfie in front of the castle (didn’t quite turn out) and Wes snapped a photo of me!
I had not seen very many MarathonFoto photographers up to this point… but now they were out enforce taking pictures of runners as they crossed into the castle. I tried my best to strike poses and smile so that I wouldn’t look too awful in my photos – and kind of achieved that. Here is the best one of me entering the castle:
Back to running. The next few miles were my hardest. It got hot. It got hot fast. It was long and while it wasn’t quite boring it was certainly hard to focus on the fact that I was having fun. The sun was beating down onto the black pavement which made it feel even more hot. I was starting to sweat and my feet were beginning to hurt. I was very thankful for the aid stations and was alternating between water and Powerade (closer toward the end I was drinking both). There was a Clifbar aid station but since I had never used one of their gels before, I stuffed the fuel into my pack for later. I didn’t want any tummy upsets so close to the end.
For me, the absolute worst part of the race was mile 11-12. The weather was already warm, but I had persevered through that on the flat pavement of World Dr. But getting onto the overpass about killed me. It was steep and my legs were already tired. Looking back at my splits, you could see that this is where I struggled – climbing the overpass hills! The first one took you off of World Dr and onto Epcot Center Dr.
The second overpass took you off of Epcot Center Dr and into Epcot. The end was in sight! I got my second wind here and ran my last mile much faster than I did miles eleven and twelve. Running through Epcot was amazing – everyone was cheering and you just knew you were almost done.
My feet were flying and I was breathing hard. I was ready! I had already run “thirteen miles” (I had actually already hit a half marathon already according to my Garmin, Runkeeper and my Nike Plus) and I was ready to cross that finish line. Mentally, I was preparing myself. “Smile! Smile for the camera – try not to look like you just ran thirteen miles and are a hot, sweaty mess!” And then it was there – the most beautiful sight of the past few miles. The finish line!
I didn’t cry, but it was emotional. I did it. I really did it! All of those months really paid off and I giddily was telling myself, “Oh, what will you do with your time now?” (Train for the 2016 WDW Marathon, that is what)
The medal was gorgeous. The crowd was huge. The runner support was just… amazing. I never felt like I was alone and that alone can help bolster me when I am starting to lag. I felt like a million bucks despite the fact that I had just run 13.1 miles… in fact, I felt like a million bucks because I had run thirteen point one freaking miles! When I started to feel a little down about my “official” time, I reminded myself – you did it. This was your first. It doesn’t matter if you ran it in 3 hours or 2 hours. This was my first and after how I felt and how I still feel, it won’t be my last.
runDisney and the Children’s Miracle Network put on a spectacular event that I will not soon forget.
Wes and I arrived at the Walt Disney World Resort early Friday afternoon. Friday was spent visiting with friends while enroute to Disney and after we had checked in. We went to bed early-ish in the morning so that we could wake up early for the expo on Saturday.
We arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports early, anticipating a huge crowd. We didn’t need to worry about that – I guess the vast majority of people had beat us to the expo on Thursday and Friday prior to the 5K and 10K events. That did not quite concern me – I was quite alright with there being no crowds! We walked up and of course there were already picture opportunities.
I was very lucky to have my hubby with me to act as my own personal photographer. And trust me, I used and abused him being there to take as many photos as possible! We first came upon a backdrop to take a picture in front of the Princess Half logo.
The expo was split up into two parts. When you came upon where it split off, you went left to pick up your packet and drop off your waiver. Wes was also able to pick up his “ChEAR Squad” gear. They had a little bit of runDisney merchandise there with a few booths set up in the area.
Once inside, I picked up my pre-ordered sweatshirt (I actually ended up having to come back to get this – I didn’t quite pay attention and thought you could pick it up at the actual expo area) and my bib. There were quite a few backdrops to take pictures at, as well! We walked around, I stopped to talk to the MarathonFoto reps about some questions and concerns and then we continued to the actual expo.
A couple of points about MarathonFoto for anyone considering a runDisney event in the future. Each download of their pictures costs about $29 or so. Before the race, they’ll let you buy a $100 one-time-use gift certificate for $65 (saving $35) which I thought was a pretty good deal. Just be sure you look for their photographers on the course (mainly in Epcot and in Magic Kingdom) so you get your money’s worth. Also realize that they are bent on taking pictures of as many people as possible – so making you look your best is not their top agenda. That falls on you!
The large expo area is where you get to pick up your official race shirt and where you get to shop around. There are lots of booths – to include a booth for the New Balance runDisney shoe line. I would have loved to have bought a pair of shoes this year but decided to go for a few shirts instead (pictured later). Children’s Miracle Network (the presenting sponsor) also has a nice big set up in the middle. Family members/friends there to support you can also make signs to cheer you on during your race. The runDisney merchandise area is expansive and they have tables set up so you can try on shirts (awesome!).
Perhaps my absolute favorite part of the expo was meeting my running idol, Jeff Galloway. I always use the Galloway Method when I run and feel like I recover faster for it. Even today, only a few days after the half, my legs and feet feel great! I practically squealed when I saw him and snapped a few pictures with him. He was so sweet to me – and its awesome to know someone who is so inspiring to me is also an alumnus of Florida State University with me!
This post simply would not be complete without giving a shout out to an organization and to a person. First – the organization. Major props to the Children’s Miracle Network for putting on such an incredible event with runDisney. They do so many good things for sick children and I think their mission is so commendable. The best shout out is reserved for my darling husband. He always supports me through all of my running endeavors and I really feel like he helped me remain strong throughout my run, as well. I knew he was there cheering me on even though I could not see him! I love him dearly and I appreciate all that he does for me.
A few days ago a graphic came across my Facebook page about dedicating each mile in a marathon to someone (or something) that was meaningful to you during your training journey. I’m not running 26.2 miles (this time) but decided to do the same thing – because there are several meaningful moments I have come across (not just in my training, but also in my life as a runner).
So here they are. Thirteen reasons I am inspired to run (in no particular order):
1. For my parents. I am so grateful for them for showing me what can be achieved if one puts their mind to working hard. My parents have both worked hard for everything that they have – they are the epitome of success won from determination and hard work!
2. For my little brother. I strive to be a good role model for him. I want to show him that commitment can pay off big in the end. I also want to model a healthier lifestyle!
3. For those that can’t run. I’m lucky to have a body that is whole and healthy.
4. For the Sub 30 Running Group. I joined this group for the tips to improve my 5K time. But I found so much more than that – a family of runners as alike as we are different.
5. For Gabriel – the perfect running partner. I find more joy in running with him than I do with anyone else.
6. For my officers – who inspire me on a daily basis through their bravery and their service to others.
7. For the deputy chief of my department. He showed me that it was okay for me to reach out when I needed help. I learned from him that my depression was nothing to be ashamed of. He taught me that even the greatest people sometimes need a little help in the storm.
8. For my night shift supervisor. I am lucky to have a supervisor that supports and encourages me in my running endeavors. He also pushes me to strive to do more than I think I can!
9. For Ashley – who was taken too soon and who was one of my dearest friends in college. I run for her beautiful memory and for the memories of how she always believed in me.
10. For Mary. Mary, who will never run more than 5K with me, but who will always be on the sidelines cheering me on when we run different distances!
11. For Aysley. For the best friend that cheers me on and celebrates my accomplishments from Hawaii. For the best friend that introduced me to running when she was giving Couch to 5K a try. For the friend that inspires me with her strength, her love and her determination in all that she does.
12. For Wes. My best friend, my partner in crime and the love of my life. Wes may not quite understand my need to run – and he certainly doesn’t enjoy it like I do – but he certainly does everything he can to support me. On February 22, he will be getting up early to go with me to Walt Disney World. He won’t be running – he’ll be foregoing a nice long night of sleep to cheer me on as I run 13.1 miles.
13. For me. Every mile I run is for me. I run to clear my head. I run to escape my demons and to refresh my mind. I run because the feeling of running feels good on my legs. I run to be me. I run to be strong.