Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Disney's Tinker Bell Half Marathon

On January 17th, Patty and I landed at LAX for Tinker Bell Weekend.  We joined the swarms of runners for a fantastic weekend in Disneyland enjoying the expo and the race.

Friday morning we lined up outside of the Disneyland Hotel for packet pick-up and the Health and Fitness Expo.  The line moved quickly and soon we had our bibs, finals race instructions, and commemorative pins in our hands and we were heading upstairs into the expo hall and our wallets were getting nervous.  We walked the entire hall and made sure that we checked out every booth.  Team Sparkle, Sweaty Bands, and the Official Merchandise booths were our must stops.  BeeCause Charms was a new discovery and we picked up adorable shiny charms to put on the laces of our running shoes. On Saturday morning we went back to the expo when it opened in the morning to go to the KT Tape booth and get taped up for the next morning.

With Kelly from Team Sparkle!

Sunday morning, the alarms on our cell phones started blaring at us at the extremely early hour of 2:45 am.  By 3:05 we were out of our beds, getting on our Lilo and Stitch costumes and lacing up our sneakers.  By 3:45 we were out of the room and meeting up with Dad and Amy who were there to cheer us on as we tackled the race.  The four of us headed over to the festivities near the Disneyland Hotel and after a few pictures, Patty and I headed to Corral C.  The nerves started hitting us as we were standing in the corral waiting for the 5:00 hour to arrive.  We could hardly believe that it was really here and we were really about to run (well, mostly walk) a half marathon! 

Lilo and Stich at the stage before the start of the race.

At about 5:12 am it was time for Corral C to get running!  The first mile ran down the streets around the perimeter of Disneyland before we headed into California Adventure after Mile 1.  Running through the parks was one of the coolest parts of running this race.  The lights were up and there were cast members cheering for us along the whole route.  We ran with our cameras and took a few character pictures as well as stopping to take a picture of every mile marker.  Somehow we missed Mile 3's marker, but it was probably because we were caught up in the excitement of running through the park. 

Photo Stop #1 with the Monsters, Inc. characters!

The 5K mat was in the entrance to California Adventure and we made our way across the way to run into the Disneyland park.  Disneyland was so much fun to run through and going through the castle put huge smiles on our faces.  Once we made our way through the park, it was through Downtown Disney we went.  At this point I heard someone shouting my name, and there were Dad and Amy cheering us on.  At about Mile 6 were headed out onto the streets of Anaheim and the sun was rising.  While running down the streets wasn't quite as cool as running through the parks, it was still a good course.  

Once we reached Mile 9, that's when things started getting tough.  We had stopped trying to run at all about two miles before and we were getting exhausted.  I kept saying out loud "only 4.1 miles to go!" while on the inside I was saying "we're never going to make it."  We pushed through and began counting down the miles left.  At Mile 10 there was only a 5K left to complete and we started dreaming of that finish line.  Soon we were at Mile 11, then Mile 12.  At about 12.5 we turned a corner and could see the finish line ahead of us.  Unfortunately we weren't quite there yet, but we knew that we were almost there and I got choked up from the emotions of knowing I was actually going to make it.  We had to do a little out and back through the parking lot before we came upon the Mile 13 marker.  At this point, we looked at each other, then looked ahead, then started running.  As we approached the finish we joined hands and crossed the mat.  

Crossing that finish line hand in hand with one of my best friends and then having that medal placed around my neck is one of the absolute greatest moments of my life.  

All smiles after we completed the race

Our official finish time was 3:25:55 and even though it wasn't as good of a time as we had been hoping for, it was a miracle that we finished.  We were hurting, we didn't know if we would finish, but we did.  The pride and excitement of making it outweighed any pain that we experienced.  

Our countdown has already started now for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando at Walt Disney World where we will complete the Coast to Coast Challenge.  

she's back

So, what has happened in my life over the last eight months since I posted?  Well, a lot.

In my last post, I was talking about getting ready for the five miler at Boston's Run to Remember.  I managed to complete that great race in 57:57 and claimed my second race medal.  After that I went on to complete the B.A.A. 10K in June where I picked up race medal number three along with some family and friends.

In July I took on two really fun 5K races.  The first was the Finish at the 50 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.  I got to run around the stadium where the Patriots play and the best part was getting to run through the giant inflatable helmet onto the field and then crossing the 50 yard line finish line.  After that, team Dark Blue Divas ran The Color Run.  Three friends and I joined forces to run 3.1 miles getting covered in color dust while laughing and smiling the whole way to the finish line party.

My biggest challenge was the Rock n Roll Providence Half Marathon Relay in August.  It was a fantastic weekend that included a great expo at the Rhode Island Convention Center on Saturday before the race on Sunday morning.  Caitlin dropped me off at the relay point at Mile 5 before making her way back to the starting line in front of the Providence Place Mall.  When Caitlin reached the relay point, she handed me over the drum stick baton and it was my turn to run my furthest distance yet, 8.1 miles.  The weather was perfect for a run through the city and I triumphantly ran up the hill in front of the mall to reach the finish line and clutch my shiny new medal with a huge smile on my face.

In October I ran the 5K at the ING Hartford Marathon where I got to attend another great race expo the night before I set my 5K PR.  As of this race, my fastest 5K time is 33:36.

On Thanksgiving morning, my little brother and I ran the Framingham Turkey Classic 5K with our proud mom waiving her sign and cheering us on.  This was my last race before I took on the big one... my first half marathon at Disneyland, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

last run before five

Tonight I went out to tackle my last training run before Boston's Run to Remember 5 miler on Sunday.  It felt great and it was an awesome run.  I completed 2.31 miles in 27:38 with an average pace on 11:56.  I was even taking it a little easy!  If I was able to manage keeping it under 12:00 per mile while taking it easy, I may very well succeed in coming in around 55:00 on Sunday!

The weather today was gorgeous and perfect for an outdoor run.  I went out at 6:00 or so and the temperature was just over 70.  When I went to run on Sunday it was the first time I had gone out to run in the heat (I only started running last October, so warm weather running is something completely new to me) and it was rough and I didn't last long out there at all.  I managed to run about .6 miles before I stopped to take a walk break, but I felt that I could have run for longer.  However, I definitely didn't want to overdo it with the race only three days away.  I also decided to skip the park and do the neighborhood tonight so that I could get a little bit of inclines in instead of just the perfectly flat track.  I also got a honk from one of my best friends as she drove by me!

I am completely psyched to run on Sunday and go to the expo on Saturday.  It'll be really exciting to take on the new distance and then to get another medal to add to my Disney one.  A friend is also running the half marathon taking place so I get to cheer her on at the finish line.

Tomorrow will most certainly be a rest day for me, and Saturday I'll be doing a lot of walking around the city, but nothing too strenuous.  Sunday morning is going to be bright and early with a 5:00 wake up call, then getting ready in my cute new race outfit (which I tested out last weekend, so I know it'll work!) before heading into the city.  The race course looks great, starting at the seaport, then running up around the Boston Common before heading back for the finish line.

I'm also going to make sure that I remember to put on sunscreen before I leave the house that morning!  On Sunday it didn't even occur to me to put some on before I went out to run and I ended up with some tomato-y looking shoulders and a very pink forehead.

Look for my race recap on Sunday afternoon!  I'll even try to take some pictures to add in to spice it up a little.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

one week to five miles

Wow, so it's been over two weeks now since I've posted.  Things have been very busy around here and I haven't really been that great about getting out and running.  I haven't been just sitting around these past two weeks though, I have managed to get out about four times to run, plus I have done all my weekly Zumba classes.  Today I mostly just walked, but did three miles in 45:00 as my last long run/walk before the Boston's Run to Remember five miler next Sunday.

These past two weeks have been really rainy around here and I'm not one to go out to run through the rain and I'm also not a big fan of running on the treadmill.  However, I don't like relying on the weather to determine whether I work out or not, so I think I'm going to have to learn to embrace the treadmill.  This week's weather forecast looks to be rainy all week and gorgeous on the weekend again, so the weekly runs may have to be on the treadmill.

This week my plan includes today's long run and then two more short (two miles or less) runs during the week.  There will be no Saturday morning Zumba for me this weekend, but I will be doing a little bit of strolling around Boston before and after the Boston's Run to Remember expo.  Then Sunday I will tackle my next distance challenge when I take on the five miler.  I'm really excited and I'm hoping to finish in under an hour, but my real goal is going to be 55:00.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

going farther

This morning I dragged two of my friends to the park to run with me.  My goal was to complete at least five miles in preparation for Boston's Run to Remember on Sunday, May 27th.  Well, I succeeded today! I completed 5.22 miles in 1:10:01.  My average pace was 13:25 minutes per mile, with three of my miles being under my goal 12:00 per mile for the race.  I mostly walked miles 3 and 4, but it was good because it allowed me to complete the last mile strong.  I hit the five mile mark at 1:07:24, so I have three weeks to get to that distance in under an hour.  However, the adrenaline and excitement of a race somehow manages to make my legs fly a little faster than I thought they could, so I'm thinking that it will be no problem.

I'm proud of my friends too for staying out there with me for over an hour and completing a little over four miles themselves.  They hate me (but really it's love) because I have pulled them into the running madness!  The three of us are a team for The Color Run in Amesbury, MA on July 28th, which we are all really looking forward to and can't wait to participate in.

When I was out running today, all I could think about was the Tinker Bell Half.  I'm looking past the five mile and the 10K and looking towards the big one, which is a little daunting.  At the two mile mark I was thinking, okay, only three more miles to go.  Then I thought to myself that at Tink, I'll be saying only 11.1 miles to go.  Gulp.  That's going to be a long distance to tackle, but I'm confident that eight months from now it won't seem so bad and it will be possible.  I can't wait to cross that finish line and have that awesome medal put around my neck.  Guaranteed I will burst into tears at that moment and it will be one of the best moments of my life. :-)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

clear it out

My plan for today was to either go for a run or do a pilates DVD after work.  Well, it's one of those days where I just really don't feel like doing anything but sitting around in my comfy sweats and watching TV. However, so I wouldn't feel totally guilty, like I probably would have had I just come home and plopped on the couch, I took on a project.

Once I got home I put on the comfy pants and giant sweatshirt, turned on "Army Wives" (thank you Netflix and my handy Roku for making me addicted to this show), and opened my closet doors.  This afternoon's project was one of the best parts about losing weight.  I started getting rid of all of the clothes that are now too big for me!  My closet looks pretty empty and there are now four huge shopping bags full of clothes to be donated sitting on my floor.  It feels great to get rid of some of these clothes that last summer were too tight on me!  Also, there's now plenty of room in my closet for new skinny clothes!

Getting rid of clothes and making room for the smaller ones is one of the awesome rewards that comes with all of the hard work it takes to lose weight.  It's a tough road, but seeing all these bags of clothes on the floor filled with things I used to wear daily but are now falling off of me is an amazing feeling.  It's a great accomplishment.

Today was my weigh-day and I was a little disappointed to see that I was only down .2 pounds for the week, but any loss is good and it's certainly better than gaining!  Instead of letting this discourage me, I use it as motivation to just make the next week better.

This weekend is going to be another tough weekend that's going to require lots of willpower to get through without gaining.  Tomorrow night is dinner and movies with the girls, Saturday is my friend's wedding, and Sunday I'll be in a town that has some amazing restaurants.  So Saturday morning I'll be going for a nice long run to prepare.  Come hell or high water, I WILL run five or more miles come Saturday morning.  I've got three and a half weeks to get ready for Run to Remember!

Monday, April 30, 2012

run it faster

Tonight I went out for an easier run because my legs were a little tired from Saturday's run and then last night's two hour Zumbathon.  I ended up doing 2.24 miles in 28:00.  I managed to run my first mile in 10:29 and I ran every step of it!  This is the fastest mile I have completed outside of a race.  It's amazing how the pressure and excitement of a race can make me move faster than I thought I could. 

For the first time I was able to run around the track two and a quarter times before I stopped to take my first walk break.  The local park is my new favorite place to run because I can run until I can't run any more and I don't have to worry about trying to get back home.  It's also helping me to see just how far I have come in my training when I make it further and further around the track before I have to walk.  

Last night's zumbathon also showed me how far I have come in my fitness journey.  The first zumba class that I took last summer wiped me out so much I felt like I couldn't move for a couple of days.  I was able to keep my hips shaking for two straight hours last night and felt like I could probably keep going!  It's an amazing feeling to see the process that I have made so far and I can't wait to see where else my journey towards fitness takes me!