OH HEY. If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you know that my running has been up and down — but mostly down — for the last 3 or so years. Spring and summer 2014 was really great for my running, but by the end of October 2014 I was dealing with a pretty bad case of ITBS that then lead from one thing to another since then. The amount of time I’ve spent running “healthy” versus the time I’ve spent either not running or starting the recovery process is wild. Spoiler alert: the running time has been pretty dang low. So it’s no surprise that whenever I meet-up with or see running friends, they cautiously ask, “so… how’s running going?” For the last 6-ish months or so my answer has been “good enough,” and that’s the truth.
This past summer was pretty decent. I managed to run A LOT of races, which is something I haven’t done in quite some time. Sure, I didn’t put in race effort for the majority of them, but I got to the start line… which is more than I can say for the previous years. In 2015 I made it to 3 start lines… 3! In 2016 I had a little more luck and doubled my numbers, but still struggled a lot. We still have 3 more months in 2017 and I’ve already crossed 16 finish lines!! I’d say that more than makes up for the previous years. In fact, it’s already the most races I’ve run in a calendar year since I started running in 2009. HASHTAG BLESSED.
You’re probably thinking, “So glad to hear you’re back to running for more than a few months at a time, Danielle! But what are you doing differently?!” Well, despite having the most races completed on my calendar this year, I’ve taken a new approach of not signing up for races far in advance. Or putting anything big or goal oriented on the calendar. Yes, 2017 is the first year I haven’t registered for a marathon since 2011 (and I’ve only run 4 with 2 in 2012, so you do the math). Not having big races (or any races) on my calendar takes off so.much.pressure. So when I feel a weird little niggle somewhere (like in random spots on my feet, which I had here and there all summer, but have just been angry tendons because summer footwear is terrible), it’s not a big deal. Obviously I don’t want to be injured (I’ve had enough!) but when I notice things that feel ‘weird’ I don’t immediately panic because I have a race X number of weeks or months away. I can take a day or two and reassess without it being a blow to my training. And we can all use a little LESS stress in our lives, am I right?!
So I’ve been running around 15-20 miles per week, averaging about 3 days of running with 3 days of cross-training (yoga, strength, cycling). I’ve run races ranging from a 5k to a half marathon, and I even got within striking range of my 5k PR earlier this month. All of the races I completed this year have me IN for the NYC Half in March as well as the NYC Marathon in November 2018, so those are the next “big” races I have… but there’s no pressure because I can cancel either up until the night before! And now I’m at a point where I’ve been healthy-ish long enough that I’m starting to think maybe I can do some real training. But without actually signing up for anything, “just in case.”
Ultimately, I’d like to run a 5k PR. And a 10k PR. And get close to my half marathon PR from 2014 (I think a half marathon PR will still take some time, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself). I think the 5k is realistic, as is the 10k because I really haven’t run that many. I took this last week completely off from running as a reset of sorts. Even though I haven’t been running a ton, I ran races 3 weekends in a row in September, and every weekend in June. So while I still worked out this past week, it wasn’t running. My plan for the rest of the year is to build myself to a point where I could PR in the 5k and/or 10k by the end of the year, and then continue building off of that to run a solid half marathon in the spring. Of course, this all depends on if my body cooperates or not. But I’m really hoping it does this time. Only time will tell.
By this point, I’ve written a few “let’s run together!” posts. Last year thanks to my silly stress reaction they were both busts and I didn’t run (but I did cheer, and get called a bitch for cowbelling at 9am, LOLZ)… but this year is different! I posted about and actually ran the Newport 10k, and it’s almost time for the Newport Half… and I want you to come run with me!
The Newport Half runs basically along a similar route that I run almost every time I lace up my sneakers and head out the door in Jersey City. It’s flat, fast, and timed perfectly; mid-September, which allows you to get in a decent half marathon and see where all those humid slogfest miles have gotten you, right before your fall marathon! Here are some of the details:
What: Newport Half Marathon
When: September 17, 2016 at 8:30am
Where: Newport Town Square – 100 Town Square Pl Jersey City, NJ 07310
Background: Jersey City’s popular half marathon championship marks its 23rd year! Recreational and elite runners from around the country can compete for $3,000 in prize money on a USA Track & Field-certified course that interweaves with the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway from Newport to Liberty State Park.
Beneficiary: Proceeds are being donated to the Jersey City Medical Center, the area’s newest regional teaching hospital, proving the highest level of care for women, infants, and trauma and heart patients.
Registration Price: $50
Seriously, come run with me! Or if you’re in the area, come out and cheer! It was absolutely beautiful last year and I had a fun time cheering. I’m planning to go out for a beer (and food) afterwards… so the more the merrier! And even if you can’t make it this year, keep it in mind for next year.
I always think about things I want to blog, but I never take the time to sit down and actually write something up. I’ve also found that any time I’m coming back from a running injury or down time (which has been pretty frequent over the last 3.5 years) when I come here to blog and talk about how I’m finally back, things will be different this time, yadda yadda yadda… I jinx myself and wind up hurt again. So call me crazy, but I’ve been afraid to come here and talk about my running for fear of winding up hurt again! But I’m sure the words on this blog do not correlate to my running injuries, so might as well rip off that proverbial band-aid. And what better way to do it than with a giveaway?! But first, let’s recap running lately. With Medterra CBD you can easily alleviate those injury pains.
After my weird femoral stress reaction in March 2016, I took some time off and tried to slowly get back into running. It seemed like I was a little overzealous coming back (not doing anything super long, but maybe running too fast), and so I wound up taking off about another 2 months in the late summer/early fall to try finally get rid of any issues hanging around. I started running again consistently in October to prepare myself for the Disney Half in January. I just wanted to be able to finish the 13.1 miles in one piece, so my mileage wasn’t anything crazy; I was running 3-4x a week with two to three of those runs being 3 to 4 miles, and then one longer run. Everything seemed fine. I went to Disney World… and then the race was cancelled due to bad weather (but I ran around the resort anyway!). When I got back home, I tried to increase my speed and mileage thinking that I was finally far enough away from my initial injury that I could just jump back into things… wrong. I started to feel some weird pains and discomfort in my hip and thigh again in late February, and shut things down. I was SO frustrated because we were now coming up on a year of this femoral drama, with it still nagging me. And I’d been going to PT almost every week for a year! I took off another month and then decided to get back into things VERY slowly. I didn’t have any big races on my calendar, so I was happy with being able to get back into things without stressing over future races. Since starting to run again in mid-March, I’ve just been slowly building my weekly mileage. I’ve done a handful of races, but they’ve all been at a moderate effort; I don’t see myself completing a race at race effort for another few months. In fact, last week was the first week I broke 20 miles per week!
My goal for the summer is to just continue building a solid base for myself. I’ve completed a bunch of New York Road Runner’s races and am signed up for a few more, because no matter how much I try to ignore the facts, the hills of Central Park are helpful for building strength. I love running in Jersey City, but it’s just so flat! No race I’ve completed (with the exception of the Brooklyn Half) or have on my schedule for the foreseeable future is over 10k. It only took 3.5 years, but I’m finally figuring out the combination of things that seem to consistently lead towards my demise. My biggest issue, I think, is that each year I’ve had a big race looming on my schedule in the future, and I’ve tried to scramble to start training for it to get in the appropriate mileage. This has obviously not worked, so I’m excited to not have anything on my schedule over 10k, and nothing past July (as of right now). If the summer goes well, I may consider a late fall half marathon, but I’m not signing up until the last moment if I decide to do it! I’ve also realized that there is a precise way for me to do strength work in conjunction with my running. As much as I’d like to be the person that does multiple workouts a day, that just isn’t for me. Sure, my body can handle it if I’m not running, but once I throw running into the mix, all bets are off. And at the end of the day I want to run… so why jeopardize it?! That isn’t to say I’m not doing anything else, I am… strength training is important! But I’m being more deliberate in what I do and when, and I’m hoping that will make a big difference. So fingers crossed that my relaxed (but smarter) approach to running this summer works out! And now onto the giveaway!
I’m sure most of you have heard of NATHAN Sports. Since I’ve used a few of their products before (their power wash, some reflective gear), I was excited when they reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in partnering with them for Global Running Day. Now I know Global Running Day happened last week, BUT I wanted to make sure I had enough time to test out everything before offering it up as a giveaway… I wouldn’t want to do a giveaway for stuff I didn’t like myself! With summer running in full-swing here in the Northeast, all of these products are great additions. You can enter to win a package with the following goodies:
uCool Ultra Cooling Towel – This is a copper infused towel that can cool surface temperature by up to 30 degrees! I can see this coming in mighty handy this summer.
Hipster – I’ve been thinking about getting a belt like this for awhile, and I was sold on this one as soon as I read about it. It’s the #1 product across all categories of running essentials. It can hold your keys, gels, ID, cash, lip balm, tissues, hair tie, and even sunglasses! I used mine during the Mini10k this past Saturday and it was so great. Being able to have everything right there on me without needing to check a bag or worry about it fitting in my shorts pocket is a great option.
SpeedShot Plus Insulated – An insulated handheld that keeps 12 ounces of fluids, and has a pocket for running essentials. This will be great to have available to me when it starts to get really hot… I’m looking at you, July!
Power Wash – I’ve used this wash before, and highly recommend it. It’s eco-friendly, pH neutral and fragrance free, and has a new detergent formulation to combat smelly workout gear. Considering I could smell myself on the train on the way home after the race Saturday, I need to use this more often!
So, how do you enter? Simple! Follow the instructions on Rafflecopter below! This giveaway ends Monday, 6/19 at 1pm EST.
Despite living in Jersey City for about a year and a half, I’m yet to run a race in the city. Sure, I’ve logged hundreds of miles in this great city of mine, but never in the form of a race. That isn’t because there aren’t many local races. There are actually a lot! There’s one in particular that I’ve known about for a while and has a pretty great reputation – the Newport 10,000 (aka Newport 10k). This race attracts a lot of runners from all over the state (and NYC), and is fast. So when I saw it would work with my schedule this year, I immediately signed up. Then, as luck would have it, I was contacted and asked if I was interested in being a VIP Blogger for the race. Of course I said yes!
There are a few reasons why I’m so excited for the race this year:
It starts so close to home! That means I don’t need to take the PATH and subway and worry about travel plans just to get there like I do for most other races.
It runs through my neighborhood. It runs down the street on the opposite side of a small park from my apartment. You can see my apartment as you run by!
It’s flat and has minimal turns, which means it’s fast.
The views! Yes, I live here and run in the park and along the water multiple times a week, but the views of the city skyline never get old.
I know a bunch of people that have run it in the past and sing its praises, which is good enough for me!
So, if you’re looking for a fast spring 10k, come run in Newport with me in May! (Hey look, that rhymed and I didn’t even do it on purpose). Need more details? Here you go!
What: Newport 10K
When: Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Newport Town Square, 100 Town Square Pl, Jersey City, NJ 07310
Background: Known as the fastest course in the tri-state area, the Newport 10,000 is a 10K road race along the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City’s community of Newport. Recreational and elite runners will have the opportunity to compete at the highest level for their share of $15,400 in prize money. The USA Track & Field-certified course is comprised of flat and local roads that interweave along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway and provide spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Racers have access to four water stops during the race, as well as clocks at each mile. The race will be followed by Newport’s annual Post-Race Party, which is going to feature a live DJ, refreshments and prize drawings. Win NY Mets tickets, NY Red Bulls Tickets, a 1-hour massage or several restaurant gift certificates!
Beneficiary: Proceeds will be donated to the Barnibas Health, Jersey City Medical Center, the area’s newest regional referral teaching hospital, providing the highest level of care for women and infants, and trauma and heart patients.
Sponsors: Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP (title sponsor), Cosi, Courtyard Marriott Jersey City, New Jersey Beer Co., Yelp, Verizon
Seriously, come run with me! Or if you’re in the area, come out and cheer! It was absolutely beautiful last year and I had a fun time cheering. I’m planning to go out for a beer (and food) afterwards… so the more the merrier! And even if you can’t make it this year, keep it in mind for next year.
Yes, you read that title correctly. After not pinning on a bib for over 7 months (the beer mile doesn’t count) I got to race not once, but twice two weekends ago! If you’re wondering why it’s been so long since I last raced, you can catch up on my string of injuries here and here. To say 2015 was a lackluster running year would be quite the understatement. But there’s no point in dwelling on the past, and I’m oh so very excited to finally write about running again.
I’ve been running somewhat consistently since early November and things have been going really well. I’ve kept my weekly mileage relatively low (I’m talking 20 mpw) and I’ve kept up with my strength training love, Refine Method. I haven’t done any speed work or tempo miles (yet), but I’m finally starting to feel like my old runner self, and it’s great! That being said, I went down to good ‘ole Orlando for the Walt Disney World 10k and Half Marathon two weeks ago with the confidence I’d be able to finish the races, but there wouldn’t be any PRs. It’s worth noting that this is the FIRST Disney race weekend I attended without an injury! And I’ve attended SIX runDisney race weekends prior to this one starting in 2011!
I’ll start with the 10k, since that was the race that happened first. And it started like any other runDisney race – early! The race started at 5:30am, so this meant a 3:30am wake-up call, and 4am bus ride. Since we were staying at the Beach Club resort, we had a short(er) bus ride over to the starting area in the Epcot parking lot. We arrived at the start with plenty of time to check a bag (it was drizzling on and off so we wanted to make sure we each had a dry top to put on after the race), visit the always lovely port-o-potties, and get lined up in the A corral. Going into the race, my intention was to push the pace a little, but not truly race it. So when I lined up in the corral I didn’t think much of being pretty far back. After the usual runDisney fanfare of fireworks, we were off!
The first mile or so of the race was pretty crowded. Like I said, I started relatively far back in that first corral, so I spent a lot of time trying to find open road. Thankfully after that first mile it thinned out quite a bit, and the rest of the race was much more comfortable. My first mile was around a 7:50, which was good enough for me. The next three miles, however, we were all on empty service roads, and I dropped the pace to 7:15. I didn’t feel like I was killing myself, and each time I looked down at my watch I was floored by the pace… I really didn’t think I had that speed in me after all that time off. Remembering that I still had a half marathon to run the next day and that I really wasn’t in shape, I pulled back just a bit. The rain also started to pick up as we entered the parks, so things got slippery. I ran the last two miles between 7:20 and 7:30, and crossed the finish line (soaked) in 45:51. Turns out, that’s a slight PR! I’ve only run three other 10k’s before, and the last one being in 2013, so the PR was due for an upgrade. While I know I can go much faster when I’m in shape, I’m happy that the pace of this 10k was the same pace as my current half marathon PR from 2014. It was a huge confidence booster after such a rough 2015!
With a little déjà vu on Saturday, I found myself back at the start for the half marathon. My plan for this race was different – I just wanted to finish! My longest run in months up to that point had been 10 miles, and after Friday’s performance I knew an “accidental PR” wasn’t in the cards for me again… which was fine! I started a few corrals back with my pal Ellen who was doing the Dopey Challenge, and we spent the first 7 or so miles together, chatting and enjoying the characters on the course and running in the dark… we even stopped for a picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle! Since Ellen was doing the Dopey Challenge, we kept our pace around 9:30’s, which was fine by me. Somewhere between mile 6 and 7, though, we got separated. Since it was still dark and the roadway was relatively narrow, I knew I should just soldier on rather than try to find her. This is where I decided to also pick up my pace. I figured I only had 5ish miles left and kept it relatively conservative for the first half, so why not. I should also mention it was SO incredibly humid that I was just as wet by this point as I had been the day before from the rain.
By mile 10 I realized that if I kept my pace, I would likely be able to squeeze in just under 2 hours. This became my new goal. I kept trucking, had a nice little conversation with a random guy who asked me how I was doing as I ran past him, and after what felt like an eternity (remember, I hadn’t run more than 10 miles in over 8 months at this point) we were in Epcot making our final loops and turns to the finish. I crossed the line in 1:59:38, achieving my mid-race goal of sub-2 hours. I was thrilled to have my race weekend over, and I was ready to cheer for the marathon the next day!
This race weekend was just what I needed to remind myself that even though 2015 was a sucky year for my running, not all was lost. I just need to continue to be smart as I add on mileage, and focus more on the training than the racing. Naturally with this positive turn of events in my running comes the frigid temperatures of winter in the northeast that we’ve been missing… but good thing I have lots of layers! So here’s to putting in the work this winter in hopes of finally getting myself back to racing shape for the summer and fall!
When I first started running I insisted on only running races that were within a 30 minute radius from where I lived. The thought of having to pack extra stuff, sleep in an unfamiliar bed, and travel to and from a race location just didn’t appeal to me. But as I got more into running and became a part of the running community, I realized that traveling for races is just part of the territory. Considering I did it for years while I swam, I don’t know why this concept seemed so unappealing to me. Plus, if I can add in a few days for “vacation,” I’ll gladly do it! Hence the name “racecation” (which I stole from Krissy). While I’m no expert, I’ve certainly traveled to my fair share of races since I’ve started running, and thought it would be helpful to share my racecation essentials!
Obviously the most important thing to include when packing is your race day outfit and sneakers. I quadruple check when I’m packing just to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. All I need is to show up to a race without all of my outfit or my sneakers and break the cardinal rule of “nothing new on race day.” And of course if you’re partial to music while running or a watch, those are just as important as what you plan on wearing. I suppose the rest is negligible as long as you have what you plan on racing in, but it’s nice to take into consideration what you’d be comfortable in before and after the race… especially if your vacation involves a lot of walking (hello Disney!).
For any race I attend, whether it’s 15 minutes away or 15 hours away, I always bring my spike bag with the same stuff in it. I don’t always head right home after races that are nearby, so it’s important that I have things with me to make myself somewhat presentable in public (I use the term loosely). For me, that means some type of body wipe, body spray, face wipes, and deodorant. I also bring a full change of clothes. Depending on the weather and where I’m going, I may do a full or partial change, usually in the backseat of my car. What can I say, I’m a serious (salty) sweater, that has no problem changing in public.
Once I’m actually home or back at the hotel and showered, I dress based on my plans for the day. But, if I ran a half marathon or longer, I usually throw on a pair of compression socks or sleeves for good measure as well. Sneakers are usually the way to go for me right after a race, but sometimes my feet are okay with a pair of Toms or flip flops. I also bought a pair of Aspaeris compression shorts back when I was training for Chicago, and let me tell you, those things are magical. I tend to have tight hips after races, so these keep me nice and snug, and because they are SO tight, you can wear them under pretty much anything. Secret compression at it’s finest!
Now aside from looking presentable and not being smelly, I’m also particular when it comes to my pre and post race nutrition (surprise?). For every single race I’ve traveled to (which are all half marathons or marathons), I bring my own peanut butter and bread. This may sound ridiculous because they’re pretty basic staples, but I don’t like the idea of risking not having it come race morning. I’ve found that the single serve packs of peanut butter work best, either with regular sandwich bread or a bagel. I also bring a ton of Picky Bars with me for before and after the race because I know they don’t upset my stomach at all, and they’re delicious. And now that I’m a new Nuun hydration convert, a tube of that comes along with me, too.
I’m one of those people that packs days in advance, so I’ve been packed for the Nike Women’s Half since Wednesday. I know, it’s weird… but it goes along with my heavy planning nature. I get so excited I just can’t help myself!
I remember when I was younger all of my friends played soccer. It started out as “in-town soccer,” and for those who were serious, they eventually moved up to “traveling soccer.” Where I lived, you played soccer in the fall, lacrosse or softball/baseball in the spring, and you swam on the swim team at the local town pool in the summer. Obviously I wanted to be like everyone else, and told my parents that I too wanted to play soccer. They were all ready to sign me up and I was ready as well – until they told me how it worked; practice was on Saturdays, and games were on Sundays. The mere thought of a game and having to compete against people scared me to death – I immediately changed my mind and decided to stick with ballet and tap dancing.
Fast forward a few years, and I was taking swimming lessons. Eventually I had made my way through the ranks (our YMCA had cute group names like porpoise, flying fish, dolphin, etc.), and one of the swim instructors had a heart-to-heart with me; it was either time to join the swim team, or to move on. I really enjoyed swim lessons, and finally through a lot of convincing, I signed up for the swim team when I was in 6th grade. Little did I know, that first day on the Westfield YMCA swim team would determine the next 10 years of my life, becoming increasingly competitive as the years passed.
Why the cute little anecdote? Well, I thought it would be a good precursor to explaining how I approach running. I have an odd relationship with competition; I thrive in it and feed off of it, but at the same time, it scares me to death. I often put so much pressure on myself (as we all do) to succeed in anything and everything that I do, and it’s sometimes overwhelming. I think part of the reason why I struggle through marathon training is twofold; I don’t have nearly enough confidence to think I can do it (well), and at the same time, figure that if my training is lackluster, any time will be an accomplishment. I suppose you could say it’s a little self-sabotage. I work myself up over PR’s and placement, that I forget why I even started running and what it means just to cross the finish line.
After Chicago, though, I realized this is no way to continue my running career. Only running a few races a year because I’m constantly striving for a perfect race is absurd. I should be finding as many races as I can and running them all (as my wallet allows)! So, on my quest to do just that, this past Saturday I ran a 5k for fun – that’s right, there were clocks but no official results or scoring. There were clocks at every mile as well as the finish of the certified course, but as the event’s website says, there was no official scoring or results, “in an event to keep it friendly.”
Since I hadn’t run a 5k in over a year, I knew it would be almost impossible for me not to PR, and because it was such a small race, I had little pressure. I toed the line, and as the bullhorn went off, I booked it. Within the first quarter of a mile or so I looked at my watch and realized I was running around a 6:20 pace. I laughed and tried to reign it in the best I could, knowing I’d wind up crawling across the finish if I kept it up. Since I’m never at the front of a race (though I’m usually not TOO far behind), I forgot that there were likely people around me that could run this in about 18 minutes. Once the reality of what I was capable of set in, I was already losing steam. I crossed the first mile just under 7, and the next 2.1 were a struggle, running around a 7:30, and then a 7:20 the last 1.1. I was able to PR in 22:55 (7:23 average) and cross as the third female overall.
The race was perfect – I had little pressure on myself, and while I started out too fast, I’m happy with the run overall. And, who doesn’t like a post-run beer?! I’ve got my eyes on some more 5k’s between now and Disney… I just have to make sure my wallet will allow it!
Do you ever race for fun? Do you prefer high or low pressure races?
For as long as I can remember, running always intrigued me. Somehow, though, I wound up a swimmer throughout high school and college. Being a part of a sport that allowed me to work individually while also contributing to a team was just what I needed as someone who is internally extremely competitive. While I could have continued swimming in a Master’s program, and haven’t yet ruled that out, I decided to take up running after college. I’ve been running now for about a year and a half, and just completed my second half marathon.
The idea of running a half and/or full marathon seemed to be more of a dream than a reality. When I started running, my focus was just to run a 5k. My first race wound up being a 4 miler, and even though I struggled, I was hooked. Running is a funny sport, at least for me, in that I feel like I always need to be one-uping myself. This means increasing the milage I race. I ran my first half marathon in April, and it was awesome. I had stumbled upon the Disney Marathon before I had even started running, and it was always a goal of mine in the back of my mind.
When my fiancé and I planned a trip to Disney with a group of friends for the very same weekend of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, I just knew we had to sign up. It wasn’t really possible for us to run a full marathon yet, so we opted for the half. Training started out well, and as we all know, I had some serious injuries that put me on the back burner. First it was my ankles and Achilles, and then it moved on to my shins. Come race day, though, those pains were gone. Instead, I was left with serious pain on the top of my left foot, and in my left knee. These pains I think were just due to overcompensation for all of the other injuries my left leg was sustaining. I’m still having some trouble walking pain-free because of my foot, but hopefully the next three weeks off will help!
The half marathon race was on Saturday, so we headed down on Wednesday to enjoy a few days in the park beforehand. In retrospect, if I ran the race again, I’d prefer to head down later, and only spend one day in the parks, as I think all the walking contributed to the pain I felt during the race. However, being that I had so many injuries during the race cycle, I planned to just run this race to finish. Of course my competitive side tried it’s hardest to keep me going as fast as I could, but the second half of the race was just a little too painful, and my logical and rational side took over (good thing).
The race started early – at 5:30a. My fiancé was in corral A, while I was in corral B. The race had 27,000 registrants, with just over 23,000 that actually crossed the finish line. We had a wakeup call of 2:45a, and we were out the door by about 3:15a to catch the bus to the start line from our resort. Once we got there, we wandered around a bit, had a few Gu Chomps and a last few swigs of water, while also taking a bathroom break. From there, we shed our clothes, checked our bag, and headed to a big group of people, waiting to be allowed to make their way to the start.
Once we got to the corrals, fiancé and I said our goodbyes, and I anxiously stood in corral B. Before the race, they announced that a group over in Iraq would also be joining us, as one of the soldiers who ran the race last year was deployed, but his wife was there in Orlando to run with us. Of course, pulling on my heart strings, I had to wipe the tears away as they were able to get a satellite connection and they gave their pre-race good lucks. After that, there was a brief hello from Al Roker (who I saw when I passed by!) and other members of the Today show, that were also running. My fiancé’s corral started just after the wheelchair start with fireworks and all. About 10 minutes later, it was my turn!
I started slow, realizing the potential for pain was high, and I wanted to try and hold it off for as long as possible. Because of my lackluster training and the fact that my feet were sore just from galavanting through the parks, I kept a steady pace just under 9 minute mile almost the whole way. By about mile 6, though, the pain started. First it was my foot, then it was my knee. I managed to keep shuffling along, with the pace of each mile going up and down, sometimes still under 9 sometimes well over. Even though I was in pain, the miles still flew by. The second half of the race had some serious hills. The worst was somewhere between mile 10 and 12, where it was not only up hill, but also on an on/off ramp loop. With knee and foot pain, not being on a level surface was torture. As I saw people running by with knee straps, I was envious, thinking how nice it would feel to have some serious pressure on my left knee. Aerobically I was doing just fine, and could have pushed myself a bit more, but knew that wasn’t possible with the pain. So, I tried my best to distract myself with the surroundings, reading the different signs, checking out the spectators, and just overall enjoying the experience.
Despite the pain, once we got back to Epcot, I knew it was go time. We took a loop past Spaceship Earth and to the Christmas Tree (they left the decorations up), and back out to the parking lot where I asked my tired and sore legs to push it one last time. Somehow, despite my lack of training and injuries, I managed to finish in 2:03:45, a mere minute and a half slower than my first half last April. I couldn’t be happier! I can only imagine what my race would have been like if those pains weren’t there, and even more so if I had been able to train properly. I’m really looking forward to April’s race, as I will hopefully have a successful training cycle. I’m definitely hoping to break 2 hours, maybe even 1:55!
After I crossed the finish line I got my Donald Duck medal, grabbed some water, was handed a mylar blanket, and tried to hobble around to keep my legs from tightening up. I called my fiancé, who had finished in a blazing 1:33:05! We reconnected and had our picture snapped before catching a bus back to Port Orleans, where our friends were anxiously awaiting our return. We didn’t skip a beat, hopped in the shower, guzzled some more water, and headed to Epcot for the day. After a full day in the park, we had a celebratory dinner at San Angel Inn in Mexico – yum!
On Sunday, we had the opportunity to cheer on some of the full marathoners as we headed to Animal Kingdom to start our day. We first passed them while on the bus, and I tried my best to send mental cheers. From there, I was happy to see them both in and outside the park, so we all stopped to cheer them on, and my fiancé took some pictures. The craziest part, was that there were people running the full marathon that were shouting out congratulations to us for finishing the half (we were wearing our medals)! I love how friendly and congratulatory/cheerful runners are. I really couldn’t believe there were people only at about mile 18 of their full marathon saying “congrats!” and “great job!” to us – they were the ones deserving the cheering! For the rest of the trip, we were constantly passing people with their full marathon Mickey medals, and others with their Goofy challenge medals (meaning they ran both the half AND full). It was then that both my fiancé and I realized we can, and will, run a full marathon. The hardest part will be finding a race to run. Since we’re getting married in September, it might be hard to train for something only a few weeks after the wedding and honeymoon. But, we’ll see! If anyone has any recommendations for decent marathons for first timers in the general Northeast (I’d say maybe no more than a 3 hour drive from Central NJ), I’d love to hear it!
So for now, I’m going to let my little legs (that are growing, thanks to the milage!) rest for a few weeks, and then get back at it – slow and steady of course. But I can now say I finally ran Disney. Maybe in a year or two I’ll run the full marathon… maybe even go Goofy!
I’ve mentioned here and there on this blog that I run. However, I ususally stick to food when it comes to my posts. I know that there are a ton of fellow foodie runners or runner foodies (whichever you prefer) also in the blogging world. I’m still working on the best way to meld the two together.
A little over three weeks ago I injured myself running in my new Vibram Five Fingers. I thought I was easing in to them – two miles one day, four the next, and five later in the week. However, by mile 4ish on that five miler, my ankles started to hurt like never before. Being stubborn, I powered through the last mile, only stopping because I physically couldn’t run anymore. I walked myself back to the car, and felt okay. As soon as I got home and stepped out of the car, though, I could barely walk. I spent the rest of the evening and the next day at work hobbling around in pain. Not to mention my little ankles had swollen to be a giant lump of cankle (not the most attractive). The pain would come and go in intensity over the next two weeks, so I didn’t do any physical activity and wore sneakers every day.
It was during this period that I had a revalation. I am a runner. The overwhelming feelings I had when the end of the day hit and I realized I wouldn’t be heading out for a post-work run was torture. Just ask my fiancé; I’ve now broken down over it about three times. It’s amazing what running can do for you (physically and mentally). Sure, when I’m in the middle of my run, do I love it? Not usually. But the second it’s over, do I think about how I can’t wait till my next one? Always. I’m competitive by nature, and as someone that has always participated in individual sports (hello, swimming!) I found myself gravitating towards running.
Since my little ankle mishap, I’ve gotten back to running – kind of. Two weeks ago I started with a slow one mile run to not push it. The next day, I bumped it up to two successfully. Two days later, I decided to tackle three miles, and kept a much quicker pace. While I usually try to ignore nagging pains and “suck it up,” I’ve done my best over the past few weeks to be as conscious of what my body is telling me as I possibly can. So, the second the discomfort grows, I stop. I attempted a treadmill run after my 3 mile success, but it was a giant failure. I had tears welling up in my eyes at the gym, and the thought of someone seeing me in the corner crying over not being able to run made me immediately suck it up and walk as fast as I could. All I want to do is run – is that so much to ask?
I decided to give it another try this past weekend, and finished 3 miles in an 8:45/mile pace. The pain was definitely less than before, but I could feel it a little the next day. On top of that, I headed to cheer on my fiancé at a local 5k. It was definitely hard to be on the sidelines and not in the race. However, I was happy to see him cross the finish, since he always finishes before me. Plus, it was a great race to see him finish as he came in 11th overall and PR’ed by over 2 minutes to finish in 20:29!
I was planning to run a 5k next Saturday (10/9), but I think I’m going to pull out of it. Even if I’m completely healed by then, I know my lack of training will make a PR nearly impossible, and I’ll only frustrate myself more. So, I’ll still get my t-shirt and then cheer for my fiancé again as he runs through the park we visit nearly every day after work. Hopefully by November, though, I can run in the few “Turkey Trot” races that are around, and pump up my milage for our Disney Half Marathon. For my last halfie (and the first one I ever did), I only trained for a little over two months. So, as long as I’m back to myself by the middle of this month, I think I’ll be okay.
Until this injury, I never really thought of myself as a runner. Nor did I realize how big a part of my life it has become. I make my schedule around running; doing homework, what I’ll have time to cook for dinner, when I’ll make plans to go out, etc. Does this make me a little insane? Probably. But you can’t tell me that anyone who willingly runs for hours at a time isn’t just a little off their rocker. I’m proud to be a part of that group, and hopefully one day that half insanity will go full Mary.
I realize in the grand scheme of things it isn’t so bad. However, in my little world, not being able to run is all I can think about. But have no fear – I’ll slowly but surely get back to it!
In the meantime, on my road to recovery, I’ll whip up some deliciousness to keep your palates entertained. And as always, any suggestions on how to help my ankles along in the healing process would be greatly appreciated!