Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Jelly Bean Virtual Race!

Tomorrow starts the Jelly Bean Virtual Race put on by Run With Jess. This was the first virtual race I ever did and I have been hooked ever since.

This year Jess has gone bigger and better! You can run a 5k, 10k, half marathon or bike a 21K during the week of April 1-8 (or do them all). It all starts tomorrow. It's FUN and FREE to enter, plus there are PRIZES awarded at random (no need to be the fastest)!

To sign-up click HERE and enter your info at the bottom of the page. It's that easy, but hurry it starts tomorrow!

Friday, March 30, 2012

ITB Woes

If you run at all then you have had or know someone who has had trouble with their IT Bands. If you have no idea what an IT Band is then check this out HERE. If the link bores you or (you don't want to click it and get side-tracked from this riveting post) just know that the ITB (that's what us cool sports medicine professionals call it for short) is an impliable band of fascial tissue that runs from it's muscular junction at the hip to the outside of the knee. People who suffer from Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome have a sharp, stabbing pain at the lateral knee, mostly with running, although you can have symptoms with walking or stair climbing.

Why am I bringing this up and going all super nerd on you? Because for some unknown reason my ITB has decided to turn on me and has declared war. It is mad at me and lets me know every time I run more than 2.5 miles. It started last weekend when I tried to go for a nice easy run. I think it's pissed because after my half (not even two weeks ago and that I had NO injuries with) I didn't really do anything for 5 or 6 days. Maybe it feels neglected, but I was busy. I had a to-do list a mile long, and I wasn't motivated to get on the bike and recover properly and now I am paying for it.

Yesterday, I went for a 5 mile run, I got 2.5 miles out and it decided to act up on me again. I had to run/hobble/walk 2.5 miles back to my clinic. Fun. Not only did it take for ever,  I looked like a giant dork hobbling along the road.
I felt like this was being stabbed into my knee with every step!

So I thought I would take this opportunity for a little PSA about what ITB Friction Syndrome is and how to treat it successfully.

I know NERD ALERT...but I feel it is my duty to inform you!

ITB Friction syndrome has traditionally been thought of the result of :

  • An inflammation of the Iliotibial Band
  • A result of a tight ITB, so stretching to elongate the ITB is called for.
  • Friction when the ITB rubs forward and backward over the lateral epicondyle of the femur.

All good thoughts and many rehab professionals have used this for years to build treatment plans. But what we now think is that the inflammation and pain isn’t coming from the ITB it’s coming from the inflammation that occurs in a “highly innervated pad of adipose (fatty) tissue that rests under the ITB“. When the hips and core are weak it allows for the knees to drop in towards the midline of the body putting tension on the ITB and “anatomical studies have shown that in fact the ITB doesn’t move backward and forward appreciably across over the lateral epicondyle (of the femur) but under higher tension tends to pull outward from the leg at the lateral epicondyle. However, it is attached by ligaments to the femur itself in the region of the lateral epicondyle, so as tension is released, it is drawn back in toward the bone, so as you run, that highly innervated adipose pad experiences repeated compression and decompression that may be the cause of it becoming inflamed."

To correct this,  hip and core strength must be addressed to stop the unnecessary and repetitive compression/decompression.

So back to what I plan to do about it. The same thing I do for my patients (and I am actually going to listen to myself for once).

  1. First modify my activity....which means pain free running if I can run at all :(
  2. I would take and NSAID if I could, but I am allergic and my face swells...good times!
  3. Lots of core strengthening, which will focus on the hip extensors and hip external rotators.
  4. Stretching...ok, if you read the article you know I am contradicting current research, but I still think that tight hip muscles will attribute to biomechanical problems. So foam roller, ITB and piriformis stretching will be part of the plan (it can't hurt and can help with acute symptoms).
  5. I am also doing Graston. This is a form of soft tissue mobilization I am trained in. Again, kind of goes against what Mr. Myth Buster Article Writer wrote, but I have used it on many an ITB patients, including myself in the past, and the results don't lie. It works when added to a comprehensive plan.
  6. And of course ICE.
  7. If that doesn't work I am off to see the Orthopedic and am hoping for a nice does of steroid injected into that fat pad.

That's the plan and it's already been put in motion. I am going to give it two weeks before I give in and see call the doctor. Wish me luck. But now I am off to ice (again today) and I hope to go for a birthday run tomorrow. I will be 37 and hope to run at 3.7 miles to celebrate! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Game Plan

I need a game plan. I was so focused on training for my half marathons that I really didn't look any further ahead except to list the races I am doing this year. I am lost without a plan. I become unmotivated and undisciplined. I have spent the last 5-6 month with a goal in mind and plan to get me there. Now, with no real plan to follow I am just taking it a day at a time. Which has been great (I needed the rest), but  I don't want to much time to pass without getting a plan together or I will lose my focus.

So what's next?

I have several obsticale/military style events on the calendar for late summer/early fall including Military Challenge, ASYMCA Mud Run, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash. If I train for specifically for the TM, hopefully,  the other events will seem like a cake walk.

I do however, think that The ASYMCA Mud Run is one of the hardest events I have ever done. It is only an 8k but on soft sand up and down the same sand berms our Navy elite train on. It's pretty hard core and this year I am going for a sub 50 minute time. 50 minutes for and 8k you say? I did it two years ago and came in, I think 5th in my age group with 54 minutes, this year I want top 3 and if I may be so bold....I want 1st.  There I said it.  (Maybe by the time it rolls around you all will have forgotten, especially if I fail! But if I make it, I will be sure to remind you ;) hahaha!!)

But how to survive TM and break through that barrier in the Mud Run? I need to sit down, drag out a calendar, and mark my upcoming races, set some (realistic) goals and get my training plan together. It needs to include running (of course) but also strength training and flexibility need to be taken into account. Both of which were neglected once my mileage increased while training for my halfs.

I also have some 5k's sprinkled here and there but nothing longer than an 8k until TM. If you have any suggestions on how to incorporate all this into my tight schedule let me know!! Especially if you have done The TM!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Betty Crocker

I have been off work since Wednesday and have done a TON of stuff around the house and had fun playing stay-at-home mom. The fun stuff included making crafts with my kids, baking, not getting up before dawn to work. I could get used to this. But like all good things this must come to an end. Work for me tomorrow and that means prepping my lunches, dinners, laundry done, and getting my calendar straight for a smooth week ahead.
Over the last couple of days, I have baked mini single-serve oatmeal's, single serve omelets, and apple muffins, all of which are in the freezer now. (Thank you Pinterest.) I also planned and shopped for my dinners and I almost have a game plan for my workouts this week. You can call me Betty or Martha, whichever.

Dinners for the week include a
Chicken with Leeks, Sun-dried Tomatoes in White Wine Sauce from (I have already made her Chipotle’s Skinny Lime Rice and Bolognese Sauce, both were amazing!); pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw and mac n' cheese; taco's with yellow rice; and spaghetti and meatballs.

I got caught up on all the blogs I follow too. This not working and taking a break from running leaves a girl with a lot of time on her hands. I even did a 10 hour course on Muscle Energry Techniques. Fun stuff, not boring at all ;) Seriously, I think it can be a real benefit to people with myofascial pain. Anway, I digress....

Hope you all had a productive weekend. This week will bring the end of March and I will turn a year older. I am going to try and enjoy every last minute of being a th------- year old! ;)

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I finally got out for a run today. What a dumb idea. According to the the pollen count in this area is moderate!?!?! According to the yellow color my car turned it is extremely high. Either way, my allergies are off the charts. Last year I developed seasonal allergies. WTH! I have never had seasonal allergies but for some reason my body decided to revolt and viola, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sore throat, itchy ears (yes my inner ears itch). Good times.

I set out to do 5 miles and ended up doing just under 2.5. In addition to my itchiness and congestion, my left ITband is tight and kept giving me a sharp stabbing pain in my knee. I tried to ignore it stretch it and keep going but at the point in my route to either go right and continue on for 5 miles or cut it short, I cut it short. When I got home I felt like I was going to itch my eyes out! I couldn't breath and my nose was a faucet all at the same time. What was I thinking! I used my Netti Pot, took a shower, rinsed my eyes, and used anti-itch drops.  Zytrec isn't touching this.  I should have just wiped the pollen off my car and used it as eye shadow, it would have been just as smart.

Last year I was miserable for weeks. Someone suggested I try eating local honey over the course of the year and it would desensitize me. My son also gets terrible seasonal allergies so we both ate honey all fall and winter long. It is working for him, not so much for me.

I also took my new MOTACTV GPS Fitness Tracker along for my run. So far so good. It is a pretty neat little gadget with lots of functions other GPS watches don't have. It's an MP3 player and I synced my smart phone to it so I can take important calls while I run. Wait, that's why I go run, to get away from it all. (Maybe I will leave that function off.) Anyway, I am going to take it on a couple more runs before I write my review. (Plus I am technologically impaired so I need time to get a handle on it.)

Do you get seasonal allergies?

Have  you ever heard of using local honey to desensitize yourself?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shamrock Half Marathon Recap

OK. OK. If you have been following my blog at all, you may have seen me mention that my goal for the Shamrock half was sub 1:50. I did not meet that goal. I was close and finished at 1:51:38. You would think being so close I would be upset, analyzing every mile, my training, my fueling, but I'm not. I am actually estatic with my 1:51. When I started training last year for the RnR VB, my goal was a sub 2 hour and I thought that would be a stretch. So, to do what I did, I am fist pumping like I was at the Jersey Shore.

Randi is my running partner. She is amazing. She has gotten me through some long runs that I did not have my whole heart into. We are pretty well matched but she has more mental toughness (and fitness) than me when it comes to pushing through those miles. Thanks Randi for helping me achieve this! You are the best!!

Randi and me pre-race.

Randi PR'd by about a minute and finished only 11 seconds off our goal. Great Job Randi!!

I felt great going into this race. I rested and fueled well the week leading up to it. I just had a good feeling that things were going to work out. I know I said my goal was a sub 1:50 but I would have been happy with anything under 1:53/4. It was just going to depend on all the other variables, weather, crowds, etc... I had done all I could do at this point and I was going to leave nothing on the table. 

With that said and with my track record of injury and illness (remember my Disney half marathon) I was more paranoid than a meth addict. I asked anyone that coughed to wear a mask; I wouldn’t drink the water from the water stops at the 8k (I didn’t want to risk a stomach bug); and every little ache and pain I had I was sure it was going to require an MRI and months of rehab. But ha! Bad luck, you didn’t get me this time!

Here is the breakdown:

 Miles 1-7: We  stayed between 7:50 to 8:20 mile. Every time we got to a mile marker we checked out Garmins for feedback and my handy dandy pace band to see how we were doing. By mile 7 we were about 30-40 seconds ahead.

my home-made pace band

We kept asking each other if we were ok and tried to slow up a bit here and there but I think we just both felt so "on" that we went with it.

Miles 8-9: We started to slow down a bit and by mile 9 we were closer to our goal pace. I still felt good and thought I could keep it close to our goal pace. I had a GU at mile 8 and just kept plugging along.

Miles 6-9.5 are on Ft. Story. You could hear the waves crashing on the beach as you ran by the two beautiful lighthouses. There was also group of Marines cheering us on (I felt like I should stop and give them a group hug for serving). Randi started to pull ahead or I started to fall behind, either way, I kept her in my sights, but as the miles past she got further and further ahead of me.

Coming out of Ft.Story there was a water stop with music and a the volunteers were so full of energy I could tell I was fatiguing but they really gave me some energy. I also saw my old co-worker, Thomas and that also gave me some strength to keep going. (Poor guy had to listen to me whine and complain about my injuries, my training, and my running stories 40 hours a week for almost 3 years). He is a good guy and humored me. It was nice to see him out there, it gave me motivation to keep going.

Miles 10-12: Unfortunately my excitement from the crowd and seeing my friend did not last long. The crowd grew sparse and there wasn't any music (I really hope my husband gets me those Yurbuds for my bday..hint hint). My legs grew heavy and although, I felt like I was giving it all I had, my pace slowed and Randi disappeared. I knew this was pushing my goal further and further away, but I just kept telling myself that it was ok and no matter what, I was going to PR and I should be proud of my accomplishment.

Mile 12: I gave it all I had. I tried to pick up my pace and when I hit the boardwalk for the last half mile I dug deep and pushed as hard as I could. When I crossed the finish line  I knew I had left it all on the course. I rarely feel like I am going to puke when I race, but I did that day. That for sure is a sign you are working hard!

I am super happy and proud of my time (and that I wasn't sick or injured). I wanted to thank my husband for supporting me through this. It takes a ton of time to train for a half and after working a 40 hour week, taking care of two little kids it can be draining. He never gave me too hard a time about spending many a weekend morning out running. He knows how important running is to me and was a big part of me achieving this PR. Love you honey!

Ok, enough mushy stuff. (He will probably be embarrassed and ask me to delete that last part).

Now onto why didn't I get the sub 1:50? I don’t' know. It could be a combination of things. My sickness at the Disney Princess. My "over-it" feeling about training that I had been dealing with since before the Princess. I really didn't push myself the last month of my training. I was tapering for Disney, then I was sick, then I was tapering again for the Shamrock. I kind of lost that loving feeling with running in there too. I needed a mental break and may have taken it a little too light the last coupe of weeks. We may has started out too fast as well. Or, it could have been a combination of those things. Either way, it's over and I am happy with my time.

Now what to do with myself? I have my list of races and 'to do' items for around the house. Now that I won't be leaving for 2 to 3 hours every Saturday or Sunday morning I should be able to get that done and spend some quality time with my boys!

If you are wondering how I fit my training into my day and was able to get such a huge PR....check out
Run Less, Run Faster (but only if you are not in my age group and if you are, won't be running any local races against me!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shamrock Expo and 8k Recap

Sorry this has taken so long to post (I know you all have been dying to read about my super awesome weekend) but the name of the blog should be an indicator that I have a busy life and getting post up in a timely manner isn't always feasible. Please excuse my tardiness!

What can I say? Shamrock weekend did not disappoint! I got to see family, old friends, compete in two races, see my kids run, and PR in the half marathon by almost 26 minutes!

The Expo

This glorious weekend started when I headed over to the Shamrock Sportsfest Expo, held at the lovely Virginia Beach Convention center....

Here I got to pick up my two packets. Yes, you read that right...two. I competed in the Dolphin Challenge. Which consists of completing both the 8k and the half marathon. What did I get for being part of the challenge you ask? A special award? A plaque? Nope, nothing! Except a race packet for each race. For the 8k it was a long sleeve t-shirt and the half is a short sleeve tech shirt. I thought I should get a special crown or shirt to let everyone know that I am a Dolphin, damn it. But nothing. How would all those people during the 8k know I was walking to conserve my energy for Sunday? And, how would the people at the half know I was tired from my 8k? It needed to be out there, so I told everyone I came in contact with.

The conversation went like this:

ME: "I am doing the dolphin challenge."

OTHER PERSON: Oh, what's that?

ME: I'm doing the 8k and the Half."

OP: Wow, you are awesome!

ME: now feeling like a complete poser and fraud: "Well, I am walking the 8k with my mom and sister."

OP: Oh.

Anyway, I got my packets and we headed to the vendor area. This is always a good time. Where else do you get hang with Ronald McDonald and spin plates???

I also got my Team Touch Chik kit and got to meet Shannon, one of the founders of Tough Chik Performance Clothing. You should check them out. I got my race day shirt from her at the expo and wore it for the half. It was great, super comfortable and stylish. I even made the Tough Chik blog. You can check it out HERE.
Shannon is on the left, looking cute. I however look constipated.

From there I dragged my sister around a little more. She loved it! You can see it all over her face!

Good thing I did too because, as I was dragging her around we were walking she spotted a little boy, probably 4 or 5, who was totally lost and looked like he was going to lose it. Poor kid. But it was LoLo to the rescue, she found a police officer and little boy was reunited with his mother. You go LoLo!

The 8K

The 8k was a blast! As I mentioned in a previous post, this was my Mom's first race ever. She is a walker and to show our support my sister and I joined her for those 4.97 miles on the boardwalk.

We met up with some other Moms RUN This Town members pre-race.

That is our gang sign!
So proud of our girls! Great job ladies!

We had a really good time. We took lots of pictures and power walked our way to a 1:20 finish.

I swear it didn't take us 43 minutes to walk 2 miles!

Gotta love high end oceanfront stores

Post race with medals, so proud!

My Biggest Fans!

Now don't fight over me. There is plenty of love to go around, but,  Jim and Aimee came all the way from PA to run with me.  I even let them get a picture with yours truly ;) I am totally kidding (just in case you needed me to clarify). Hi Jim! Hi Aimee!  They are old friends who used to live here and visit periodically. So happy that both of them are into running. Even happier that they read my blog and like it! Great job on your races!

The Kids Races

This is the second kid race I have blogged about, but it is the first kids race both my boys have ever done. It is tradition. It must be run. My boys must get their t-shirts, bibs, and medals. If you think I am pushing fitness on my kids at an early age, you would be right! Nothing wrong with instilling values of health and wellness. Except, I had to bribe my older son to run. He was over it. I had to let him play Angry Birds while we waited in the corral.
My father-in-law paced for my little one in the two year old corral. I didn't get to see his race so I took this recap from his FB page (sorry if it is copyright infringement Gene. Please don't sue me)

Gene: Another race weekend in Virginia. Sat. ran as a pacer for grandson Patrick age 2. A hard 26.2 yards. He did very well.

Friend: Way to get your grandson started early! :)

Gene: He is actually a veteran, did same race last year as a 1 year old. A couple of weeks ago he did 100 yard race at Disney with his mom. In 2 year old terms that qualifies as an ultra.

I thought that was funny! Gene is a two time Boston finisher. Running is in my boys blood!

The boys with their proud grandpa.

Overall a great two days! We all had a blast. After the races we headed home to celebrate my little mans 5th birthday and prepare for the what I have been training for for what seems like years....The Half Marathon!

Too be continue.....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Shamrock Weekend!!

It's here! Shamrock Weekend!! You can read all about my excitement and love for this weekend HERE.

I am off to the expo in a few and I can't wait. I am doing the Dolphin Challenge this weekend and will be doing the 8k tomorrow and half marathon on Sunday, so I get extra shwag today at packet pickup! This is my first double race weekend. It should be great! I am hoping to get that sub 1:50 half and I my completing the 8k shouldn't do impact my time too much, I am walking the 8k with my Mom and sister.

I will be meeting Shannon Carson from Touch Chik and some other Toughies today, as well as, getting my Touch Chik team kit. So.excited!!!

I am also meeting up with local and out of town Mom RUNS This Town members, very excited about this!! My chapter alone has 18 people running the various races.

Here is a sneak peek at my outfit selection. I am still hoping to find a green tech shirt today for Sunday's half and I might have to ditch the socks (it is going to be a warm one!)

For the 8k

For the half


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap: Part II

Here is the the 2nd or 3rd  installment (if you count the kids race recap) of my Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Recap. You can read Part I HERE (day 1) and all about the Kids Race Recap HERE (day 2).

Before I jump into race day, I would like to give you a little background info on the day leading up to the race....if you could care less, that's cool, just jump halfway down the post to Race Day.

One thing I didn't mention in either report but eluded to in Part I, is that I wasn't feeling very well. I wasn't feeling horrible, but I wasn't feeling right either. We arrived in Orlando on Friday and since we were travelling we missed lunch and didn't eat until 3ish. Way late for me, so I thought my feeling of weakness, exhaustion, and slightly hot body temp was due to, more than anything, lack of food. I went to bed that night with a tight feeling in my throat and denial in my thoughts. When I woke on Saturday morning my throat was so sore I could barely swallow and the feeling of weakness and slight fever were still there. Now this was my families first real vacation and my kids first time at Disney so, I did like any good mother, and sucked it up. And like any runner who has ever been injured and unable to run, I was in denial. I just kept telling myself I needed a good meal and lots of fluids. After all, we had races to get to and Magic Kingdom to explore!

As you read in the Kids Race Recap we had a great time. After the boys and our friends daughter collected their medals we headed over to Magic Kingdom. We were going to get lunch, go on some rides, and watch a parade.  And we did just that. As time wore on, and the parade started, I was feeling worse and worse. No longer was I just feeling a little weak and slightly warm, I was feverish and feeling very run down. All I wanted was my bed and the cold side of my pillow.  I somehow made it through the parade. The way the sun was beating down on me made me feel like an ant under a magnifying glass. Just when I thought I was going to have to walk around Disney with a  fever my husband decided he wanted to go back to the resort. He was over being bumped into and nudged by the crowds and I wasn't going to argue.

We got back to the resort around 4.  I dropped a NUUN tab into that water bottle I had gotten the day before and drank all my sore throat would let me and got into bed. Over the next several hours I drifted in an out of sleep, shivering and sweating at the same time. Every time I woke, I lye there in disbelief that this was actually happening.

Let me share with you some thoughts that were going through my head:

Am I going to be able to run tomorrow?
I can't believe I'mnot going to be able to run!
All that money I invested in this is wasted!
I hope my family doesn't get sick!
All the training down the drain!
After texting my father-in-law, a two time Boston Finisher, and asking him what I already knew, I came to terms with what I must do. If I was feverish at race time then there was not going to be any running. If I was just weak and still had the sore throat I was going to at least try and walk it.

I woke up around 9pm in a pool of my own sweat. It was gross, but my fever had broke!! My bed was like a kitchen sponge and since we were on vacation I had no other place to sleep but back in my own sweat! I drank some more and tried to eat some soup my husband had gotten me but that didn't happen. I decided that I would get my stuff together and set my alarm. If I woke and still felt ok, I was getting on that bus.

Race Day

I set my alarm for 2:50 a.m. (Yes you read that right, the race starts at 5:45. Everyone must be in their corral by 5:00. The buses from the resorts to Epcot started running at 3:00). When the alarm went off, I was up and ready to go. I left Meagan a text the day before that I wasn't sure where I stood and if I wasn't outside our rooms just to go and good luck. But I was ready, and I was going, so I waited outside our rooms, texted her, checked the bus stop and no Meagan. I didn’t know what to do. There were several buses and I wasn't sure if she left on one yet. I didn't want to chance missing the bus and getting to the race late, so I hopped aboard and headed to Epcot. I did call and text her and her husband to let them know I was on my way. Shortly after my bus pulled out, I got a frantic call from Meagan, she overslept and was on her way. (Yikes, oversleeping is my second worst nightmare, I was living my first!)

Meagan and I decided back in January that we were going to invest in the Race Retreat.  Sure it was $99 additional dollars but we decided we were going on vacation and the extra money would be worth it.  As part of the retreat you get a heated tent, with tables, chairs, TV's, live race results, massages, food, private port-a-potties, and they guarantee you will run a faster time. Ok, maybe I made that last part up. But you never know what the weather will be like and I hate being cold and worse I hate being cold and wet. I wasn't taking any chances!

my facebook RMM friends
Before Meagan got there, I briefly got to meet-up with some women I have only had the pleasure of meeting on FB-RMM. It was nice to meet them in person and I wish I could have chatted longer, but I was still ill and needed to try and eat. I meet Meagan back at the race retreat and tried to eat some food. We got ready and headed to the corrals. I think the only negative to buying the race retreat, and this could have just been becuase I was out of it, was I didn't really know what was going on outside the tent. I didn't hear any announcements to get a move on to the corral. Plus we missed all the music and crowds excitement. I think I would have like to see that if I was feeling better.
Megan and I pre-race in the Race Retreat
I knew that there was a 20 minute walk to the corral, and that they wanted you in your corral by 5 am. Any other day I would have obeyed and headed over there with plenty of time to spare, but not only did I want to get my moneys’ worth of the race retreat,  I wanted to be warm for as long as possible. This however almost blew up in my face. I was assigned to corral A. I arrived in my corral with about 3 minutes to spare! What I failed to take into account, was not the walk to the staging area, but the 20,000 other runners that were also heading that way! Dumb oversight on my part. At times I was walking slower than I could crawl. We were walking shuffling for so long I had to pee. We came across a port-a-potty station and after waiting for a few minutes in line we said forget it and hit the bushes! (Yes, we are THOSE people!) Thank goodness I am that person or I would have missed my start for sure!
Once I was in my corral I had a chance to take in the crowd, it was huge! I was naive for thinking I would actually bump into other runners I know. I was looking for Moms RUN This Town members, who were suppose to be dressed in MRTT colors. What was I thinking! It was dark and there were thousands of people entered into this race! I started to feel small and nervous.
Race Time!!
The race started with a countdown by our fairy godmother. She said some mumbo jumbo while waving her magic wand, setting off fireworks to signal the start of the race!
Do you see me?

I was off without any real problems. I held an 8:30 pace for a while.  I could say that I didn’t care about my time and that being sick let me relax and just take in the sights but, I am pretty competitive and I would be lying. I have to admit that a little part of me was still holding on hope for a  sub 2 hour time. L
The race course starts at Epcot and you run along the highway to Magic Kingdom.  Along the way they have characters stops and different displays. There was a big pirate ship with Jack Sparrow and his crew, a real hot air balloon, but no crowd. Which I didn’t think about since it was so dark and I wouldn’t expect at 5:45 in the morning. This goes on for about 5 miles. Then you get to the Magic Kingdom. As you come up on the MK the spectators start to show themselves and by the time you get to the MK there is a nice size crowd cheering you on. It was really inspiring and kept me moving. From what I remember, you don’t run through the park entrance, but a side street. This takes you up Main St USA and through Tomorrowland, around to Fantasyland and through the back entrance of the castle. This is where I saw Mickey and Minnie. They were so cute, all dressed up for us! This is also when I decided I was being stupid. My pace had slowed to around a 10 minute mile. I wasn’t going to set any records today. As I ran through the castle I made the decision to stop at every character stop and get a picture. I left my camera at the bag drop so I just had the photographer take my picture. (Which, I can now purchase for the cost of my entire trip to Disney. So you will not be seeing any of those pictures in here, lol!) I am so glad I did that though. It gave me a chance to check in with myself and see how I was really feeling. First stop was a picture in front of the castle. I also got a picture with Jack Sparrow, Jesse, Belle, Fairy Godmothers, and some others that I can’t remember. Sure this added a ton of time onto my race, but at this point that wasn’t what it was about anymore.

Meagan took this on her way up Main St.
Once you leave the castle you are back on the highway. The crowd thins and then disappears and you are left to run the second leg of the race feeling pretty isolated. I wished for darkness again. If you have ever been to Disney World you know there is not much to look at on the highways there, some trees and retention ponds. The lack of scenery was actually a motivator for me to keep running or start running again after a little walk break. It was quit boring to be honest with you. (Disney lovers please don't hate me for saying this!) The last mile or so you come back to Epcot and do a small section of the front of the park and then head back to the parking lot where we started to run through the finish line.
This is obviously not me.  But with the purchase of the Race Retreat you do get confetti dumped on you as you cross the finish line! JK.
The other runners were great. Lots of great costumes you could tell people put some time into. I will say that I have never been in a race that people were on the phone while running. At first I was like, what are you doing? But with the size crowd it was actually a good way to keep tabs on where you and your race buddies were. Smart actually, especially if you were going for the atmosphere and not a PR.

Post Race
Meagan and I met up at the race retreat. She was battling her own injuries and did pretty well considering. We ate as much as we could (had to get our money’s worth, hahaha), got some pictures, and headed back to the resort. We were both in that post race fog, like “Wow, I just did that. Months of training have come to an end.” Both relieved and maybe slightly saddened that it was over.  

Will I do anther Disney race? Maybe. Am I jumping up and down about how great it was and can’t wait for next year? No. It was very well organized, the people were amazing both runners and workers alike. There were lots of little touches that you expect from Disney.  The expo was great, the kids races were too. Are these lackluster feelings due to my freak sudden illness and sub par performance, maybe? Probably.  If feasible, I would like to see more of the course actually in the park and less on the highway. I know logistically this might not be feasible, but that is what I would like to see.  I guess I won't know unless I do another. J

Check out some additional pictures. I might not be allowed to run another race as I have no idea who these people are. I also didn't know who one of the Princesses were when I went to get my picture with them in MK. Oops. I was kind of a tomboy growing.
Post Race in the Race Retreat. I have no idea who these people are suppose to be.
I do know this is Belle.
What the He** am I doing?
I had to ask the photographer who this was!
I guess princesses  run in heels?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap: Part I

The Disney Princess Half Marathon has been on my bucket list since before I had my second son, who is now 2+ years old. I saw the ad in Runners World and thought, "Wow, I am going to do this race and drag bring my whole family to Disney, making it a great family vacation." I only wanted to wait until my oldest was able appreciate a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, Disney World, and my youngest was a little more self-sufficient.  Fast forward 2 years and here we are.  Not only did we go to Disney, our good friends and neighbors, The Parkers went too.  I easily talked Meagan into running the race with me. She started running last year and I am happy to say has been hooked on running ever since. Plus it was a huge bonus that I got to run this with my friend!

This is my first race reports since starting my blog and I was hoping to tell you about how the stars aligned and all my training paid off and that I crushed my goal of sub 1:50 half but, unfortunately, that is not the case. Before I let my story of illness and despair unfold, let me share with you all the little things that make running a big race so much fun...

The Expo

Disney rolls out the red carpet to really make you feel like your vacation dollars are well spent. For real, there was a red carpet.  

Meagan and I stopped for a quick picture before heading into the expo.

We both had to pick up multiple packages including, our kids race bibs and t-shirts, our bibs, our race shirts, and wrist bands for entry into the race retreat. I have been to several big expo’s and this one was probably the biggest or at least the most spread out. The packet pick-up was a little confusing or maybe we were little high on pixie dust but we almost didn’t get our wrist bands for the race retreat! Oops.

Next up...the vendor area. There were a lot of familiar brands there and two new ones that I had the pleasure of trying. The first was Yurbuds.  I have heard great things about them and was psyched I was able to try them out.  Long story short, they.are.amazing! I have little ears and I can never get ear buds to stay in place, but these did, even when the Yurbud rep gave them a tug.  I want a pair. (Hopefully my husband sees this in time for my bday!)

The other vendor was Bee Cause Charms. These are the cutest little shoe charms! You should totally check them out. They have everything from pink ribbons to this leprechaun...

I got this one...

and when my kids grow up to be ridiculous teenagers I am going to sneak this one onto their sneakers just to mess with them...

We also saw some shirts with some cute sayings on them but that I am too up tight reserved and classy  to actually wear.


Oh, and if you haven't tried NUUN yet, you are missing out. I love this stuff. It tastes great and it has really made a difference as part of my fueling plan. I have a bit of a sensitive stomach and if I am not properly hydrated when I go out for a long run, I end up with stomach cramps all day. It's miserable. Thankfully,  I grabbed a tube of it and got a cute water bottle with my purchase. (This will be clear in Part II)

After checking out numerous vendors we headed back to the resort a little lighter in our pockets and covered in glitter. (For some reason people intentionally covered themselves in it. I bumped into one person and I had to explain to my husband that I really was at the expo and not at the club. Since when are princesses covered in body glitter? I googled pictures of body glitter and I can't even put them on here, lets just say there was a pole in most of the thumbnails!!)

 Anyway, we were glad we had our packets and picked up some cool trinkets and we were both looking forward to the kids races the next day. You can read all about the kids races here.