Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Race Recap - Wine & Dine Half!

Here I am, behind again, but stopping by to recap my very first half marathon!

Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon - November 9, 2013
I am so grateful that my wonderful friend, Barbara, agreed to run my first half marathon with me! Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a celebration of the end of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival. The race is run at night - it starts at 10pm. There is an after-party in Epcot that goes until 4:00am!

The race began at the Wide World of Sports, and we had to be there by 8pm. Around 7:00 we got on a bus from our hotel - no driving to the start line. There was a huge party going on! They had a DJ who was leading/teaching all sorts of dances from his spot on the stage. There was a huge screen and people with video cameras running around and filming people. There were tons of costumes - it was a sight to see! Barbara and I took our bags to the bag check area and then settled down on our garbage bags and old towels to have our pre-race snacks.
Bus selfie, complete with photobomb!
I thought all the people dancing and bouncing around were crazy, but eventually we decided to join them! We did the chicken dance, the Macarena, the YMCA, and several others. It was fun! I was a little worried about wearing myself out before my first big race, though.
One picture of the pre-party. It doesn't even begin to show how big the crowd was!
Finally, we lined up in our corrals. Barbara was in a faster corral than me, so she came back to my corral. Each corral has its own start! Ours started right at our scheduled time - 10:19pm. 
Fireworks at the start of the first corral
Almost time to start! I was so excited!
I was running pretty strong right from the beginning. I guess the dancing warmed me up some! We first ran out of the Wide World of Sports and onto Osceola Parkway. The route would take us through Animal Kingdom and back down Osceola Parkway. As we were between mile 1 & 2, we saw a guy running fast down the other side of Osceola! He was at mile 7 or 8! Everyone was cheering, and then we were watching for the first female. When she showed up, the whole place went nuts! Running is so cool - everyone supports each other, even in a race!

We eventually made it to Animal Kingdom and ran into some water on the road on our way back to Osceola. (broken sprinkler) We ran around in the grass to avoid wet feet. I was still feeling good and running about 5K pace, which is a no-no. I kept telling Barbara I was afraid I was going to poop out at the end, and she said I looked comfortable, I was upright with good posture, I was smiling and talking. I was fine. She was right. :)

We turned off of Osceola and onto an on-ramp. Lots of characters were along the way and they were fun to see! We went up a little hill and saw the green army man from Toy Story. He was telling us to conquer that hill! Around mile 8 there was a cliff shot stop. I have never tried any gels - I like chews. I had chews in my pocket so I passed on the gel. We spent a couple of miles running around, through, into, out of, back around, and back through Hollywood Studios. There was a cool tunnel that is normally for cast members only. They had hung disco balls and there were smoke machines - it was really fun to run through! After that, we were looking forward to the Osborne Spectacle of Lights. But first, I had to take a bathroom break.

Of course, I waited until we got into the park so I could use a "real" bathroom! No one likes port-o-potties! That was the first time I've ever had to pee during a run, and getting my pants back in place was like pulling up a too-tight, wet bathing suit! It took me a little while! And then we finally made it to the Christmas lights!
Huge perk of this race - running through the lights!
Now we were past mile 10, and I just never seemed to get my stride back. Barbara was super encouraging, reminding me that this was what I had trained for, to imagine Bruce's face cheering me on, to envision the finish line, and to use my upper body strength to propel forward when my legs felt weak. And BOY, did they feel week! 

Between miles 11-13, I needed to take a few extra walk breaks. The course got pretty crowded as we headed out of Hollywood and on to Epcot via the Boardwalk area. It was a beautiful area to run through, but the sidewalk was very narrow. I was DONE when we finally made it into Epcot. We actually ran in by France, then out again, and then finally back in by Figment. I knew the finish line was in the parking lot, so I was a bit dismayed when we entered the park next to Figment. I knew how far we were from the golf ball, and that it was even farther to the finish line!

I was hurting, I was tired, my stomach had started to feel upset around mile 12. Ugh! Why again had I decided to do this?! It seems I love running...except when I'm actually DOING it! The course through Epcot was roped off and there were what seemed like millions of people on both sides cheering us on. Amazingly, though, that did nothing for me. I just wanted to be DONE. It was after 1:00 in the morning, after all!

Finally, FINALLY, we rounded the corner and saw the finish line. I can't even describe the feeling I had as I crossed it. Months and months of training, sweat, clean eating, cross training, getting up in the middle of the had all come down to this! We crossed the line and got our medals and immediately saw some friends from our running group who were volunteering! Then we got ice packs on our hamstrings and grabbed some bananas and I just wanted a Coke. (Note: I stopped drinking soda in January, so it had been a REALLY long time since I'd had a Coke! But my stomach just felt like it wanted a Coke!) 
The medal  made it all worth it! My time was 2:52:41.
Long story short, we finally found Brian, got our Cokes, and headed into Epcot. After awhile of trying to find a place to change clothes, we sat down to wait. It felt SO GOOD to sit down! Barbara, knowing me like she does, helped me to avoid barfing people. Throwing up is not allowed around me. EVER. (This can be a challenge at races, I've found!)

Eventually we changed out of our wet clothes and got in the very short line to ride Soarin'. It was great. I still didn't feel like eating much, which was weird because I'm usually STARVING after a long run! Brian and Barbara were hungry, so we ventured into the countries and they enjoyed some food from the Food & Wine Festival. I trudged along behind them with my sore legs. :)

It was almost 4am when we headed back to the hotel. Brian had parked really close to the entrance at Epcot - he's such a wonderful husband! By the time we got into the room, I was famished and ate a bunch of homemade trail mix I had brought. Then I took a shower and before heading to bed (at 5am), I checked Facebook - my running friends were just getting up to run! LOL

All in all, it was a great race experience, even though it was a night race and I'm used to running first thing in the morning. I would do it again! At the after party, I asked Barbara if you always felt this bad after a half marathon. She said, "Yes, and you swear you'll never do it again, and then the next day you're looking up more races!" I laughed because I thought there was no way I would ever voluntarily do that again!

But the next morning, before I even got out of bed, I was looking up more races. And four weeks later, I ran my second half marathon! Recap to come. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Playing Catch-Up

Well, obviously, when I went back to work full time in early September, I had too much going on to keep up my workout routine AND my blog! :) However, I just want to have a quick recap of things that have happened since my last entry so that I can write about my big race that just happened last night/early this morning!

In early September, I did my first 12-mile run on the hills of Apopka. I am SO THANKFUL for my group who absolutely got me through that run! I did fine until that last hill, and I swear - Dennis and Amanda practically pulled me up it! They are awesome. :)

Rebecca & me, coming in for the finish!
I completed the Miracle Miles 15K in mid-September. It was my first 15K race and longest race to date. We had some seriously hot weather and intense sun that day, but despite that, I actually felt pretty good. I ran with my friend Rebecca the whole time and it was quite enjoyable!
Before the race

After, complete with medals! (I'm in the lower left corner.)
After that, I had two 14-mile runs in at the beginning and one at the end. For the second one, I'm so thankful for Rebecca who agreed to run with me on Friday instead of Saturday! (Brian & I were going away for the weekend for our anniversary, so I wanted to get the run in early!) It was actually a chilly run that morning, but we made it. At one point we could see our breath, which is quite unusual for Florida!
After my first 14
Rebecca and me after my second 14

In early October, I did the UCF 5+2 miler and got the "distance dare" medal. All of my running buddies who raced that day had just run 22-24 miles the day before - they are all training for full marathons. I was AMAZED at their abilities and heart! So...go Rebecca, Amanda, and Leah!

2 races - 7 miles - DONE!
We got our Distance Dare medals!
With all of these runs under my belt, I was feeling pretty confident about my half-marathon. However, after my second 14-miler, I did something to my back. I don't know what I did - I think it must have been a combination of shivering during that cold run and sleeping in a horribly uncomfortable bed at our hotel that weekend. Regardless, I woke up the next day with some pretty intense pain in my upper back.

Luckily, my massage therapist was able to come over soon thereafter and help me. I had some seriously tight muscles in my back, but she worked them as well as she could. Thank you, Cristy!! I didn't run for almost a week, but finally took a walk on Oct. 30 and then ran a little over 4 miles on the 31st...and that got me to 100.5 miles for the month. Did I mention that I challenged myself to walk and run 100 miles in the month of October? Well, I did...and I succeeded!

The Saturday following that, November 2, I ran 8 miles with some friends. I was planning to work out as usual and do an easy 3 miles on Tuesday or Wednesday of that week, but my back was hurting pretty badly and I didn't want to do anything to jeopardize my race. I worked out with Bruce on Monday and was ok, but I skipped my workout with him on Thursday in lieu of another massage with Cristy. It seemed to help, and I made the decision to just rest until my race on Saturday night.

I will stop there, but in a little while I will recap the race!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blogging in my head

It seems that a huge amount of time has passed, once again, since I have blogged! I often have blog posts bumping around in my head, but somehow they rarely make it to the computer.

ANYWAY. I continue to suffer from blisters from my new shoes. I have finally decided to take them back and exchange them for a new pair of my old model. (Mizuno Wave Inspires) I never got any blisters from those!

Last Saturday, August 17, was the Celebration of Running 5K and I met with some friends to do around 5 miles before the race. As soon as I ran about 3 steps, I realized it wasn't my day. I was sore, my feet hurt, it was horribly humid, and on and on. Sometimes it's just not a good running day! But I did my mileage and then did the 5K. I didn't have a very fast time during the race, but I wasn't going for time - I was just getting the mileage in. However, I did have fun hanging out with my friends and we did get really cute medals!

My amazing husband and biggest supporter came with me that day. Yep, he got up at 4:45 (which was really sleeping in for me on a Saturday) and napped in the car, and then met me at the finish line. After I drank a ton of water and we checked out the booths, I stretched and we headed to Aquatica. Once there, I took a few shots of my blisters because I knew you would like to see them. :) 
This is the biggest one I had gotten the week before. 
And this smaller but annoying one on my 4th toe.
And an out-of-focus picture of the huge callus I've developed. It was pretty
angry that day. And it had blisters forming around it.
These have required tape, blister band-aids, and moleskin over the past couple of weeks. They are better, but this past Saturday I added two more new ones and re-angered these. LOL! I really need for them to heal up. This coming Saturday I have a day off from running, so hopefully that will help.

Speaking of this past Saturday, I ran 10 miles for the first time. I was STRESSED about it! I stressed myself out by thinking and worrying about it all week, and then I didn't do a great job of fueling myself or hydrating the day before. All in all, it went pretty well. It was a tough run, but I stuck it out thanks to my wonderful running group! I was sore, tired, and hot, and I would have quit after 5 miles if it wasn't for them!

Afterward, I had a yummy breakfast with friends at First Watch. I had PANCAKES! Yummy! And bacon - REAL bacon, too...not turkey bacon! It was heavenly.

When I got home, I took an ice bath and I didn't play around. I sat in cool water and we dumped two 10 pound bags of ice into the tub with me. It was...intense. But I have to say, it was the best thing I've ever done after running. I sat in that ice bath for 20 minutes and then my legs felt amazing for the rest of the day! They weren't even sore...I couldn't believe it! 

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I've started going early to the workout so I can run 2 miles for a warmup. It's a good way to add some mileage to my week, but it means I'm now getting up at 3:10 on those days. So needless to say, I'm tired! I had a good run this morning, though, with only 88% humidity! It seemed so much cooler! I hope that's a preview of weather to come. I cannot wait until it's a little cooler!

That's about all I have for now. I'm still working with Bruce 2 days a week, and I'm still building muscle. But I still have a huge belly. I ordered the 24-day Challenge from Advocare, so when that comes in I'll be blogging about my experiences with that! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Running with Meteors

Lots of workouts have happened since I last blogged! I felt pretty good after my 8 mile run, although I was a little sore. That's to be expected. I welcome the soreness - it means I did something good for my body!

This past Saturday, I had a 6 mile run and I wore my new shoes. Around mile 3, I realized that something was rubbing against the inside of my left heel. Another mile or so and I could feel that it was the insole and I was getting a blister. When I got home and got my socks off, I did indeed have a pretty big blister that was full of fluid and also another smaller blister on the bottom of one of my toes.

Running is weird. I was a little proud of the blister. :)

Sunday morning I got a fire ant bite on my toe at church. On the other foot. So then both of my feet had "injuries." I'm so high maintenance!

So for my cross training on Monday, Bruce helped me cover the blister and the ant bite with KT tape. This tape is not really for covering wounds, but it worked great and came off easily. I had gotten lots of advice from other runners and from the internet. I thought about moleskin, but it's SO sticky that I was afraid when I pulled it off it would take the skin with it. Also, moleskin is no good for toes - it just rubs against the next toe and causes yet another blister! The KT tape worked like a charm.

(Incidentally, I realized yesterday that I was getting better at push-ups. Bruce even said that my push-ups were looking good! It feels really good to see some improvement!)

This morning's run was super cool! (um...not the temperature.) Since we run in the dark, we got to see several meteors! They were like falling stars and so amazing to see while running in circles around the track! Today's workout was 1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400 - with a 200 in between each for recovery. I had a great run and each lap was faster than my goal time. And the tape stayed on my war wounds! It was a great morning!

I am so thankful for my running group! They motivate me, push me, encourage me, and hold me accountable. Just knowing that someone will always be there to run with makes it a little easier to get up at 3:30. So thank you Sandy, Sue, Amanda, Amy, Sarah, Diana, Maria, and all the rest of you! :) You're rock stars!

Tomorrow I'm heading to the Track Shack for their sale, to see what to do about the insole in my blister-causing shoe, and to pick up my packet for the Celebration of Running 5K this Saturday. I know, a 5K in Florida in August. I'm crazy, but we already knew that, now, didn't we?

Monday, August 5, 2013

8 miles

Saturday I ran 8 miles for the first time ever! 8 MILES! To some, I'm sure it seems like nothing, but to was an accomplishment! My legs were a little sore after, but nothing major! Also, I had the busiest week ever, so I was impressed that I made it, considering that I didn't sleep much or eat very well all week. Yay!

Smiling after 8 miles!
I also got new shoes on Saturday! Yay! I was dying for a new pair, so I headed down to the Track Shack and got some. I loved 2 pairs, but could only afford one...for now! ;)

My new shoes: Asics Gel-Kayano 19 

I also loved the New Balance 1260
I wore them to the gym today and they felt great! I did weights and cross training today, and after eating a bunch of crap this weekend (and for most of the week), it was difficult! I really need to focus on fueling better. Anyway, plenty of hard work today with Bruce! He commented that I'm tolerating the workouts a lot better than I did at first, so I'm glad to know it! 

Tomorrow morning I have a track workout at 5am, then a tempo run on Thursday followed by more weights/cross training, and then only a 6 mile run on Saturday. This should be a great workout week!

I'm starting to feel the pressure of the school year starting. My classes don't start until September 9, but there are so many things I've wanted to get done around the house.  I have about a month to do it. I made a job jar for myself earlier in the summer, but I haven't done one thing from it. I hope I can get it all finished over the next several weeks!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to life

Well, once again, I'm behind on my blogging. I'm not going to go back through and recap all of my workouts since I last posted. But I've been diligently running on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings, and lifting weights twice a week.

I did do my first 6 mile run on July 13! Well, it was actually my first 6 mile run since May. And we went more like 6.5 miles, so it really was my longest run! Training in the heat and humidity of Florida is difficult, but I'm committed.

Last Thursday I hopped on a plane to visit my brother Brad, sister-in-law Kari, and 2 nephews (Braden & Keaton) in Ohio. I got in late Thursday night and on Friday we headed to Columbus to pick up our packets for the Color Run on Saturday! Yay! We got there bright and early on Saturday morning and met Kari's friend and her little boy. So it was me, Kari, Braden (8 years), Keaton (4 years), Sheri, and Sam (5 years) racing together. Braden named our team "The Bullets." Shirts designed by Braden & Kari.

It was a blast! Of course, it was different and interesting with 3 kids, but we had so much fun getting all messy and colorful! I carried Keaton in my arms for part of the time, carried Braden on my back, shielded little eyes from color, protected little bodies from pouring rain, and stuff like that.
Braden & me around mile 2
It poured on us for about the last half mile and set our color in really nicely. :) It was crazy! And then we got in the crowd and got even MORE color after we were finished racing! It was an awesome day.

The whole team!
I ran a couple more times while I was in Ohio. It was so nice to run without all the humidity! I got home yesterday and got right back to it today, with a 3:30 wake-up time and on the track by 4:45. We did 3 miles, and then I did 1 more mile on the track. During that last mile I was able to sustain a 10:00 pace - what?! Who am I?! LOL! I was quite surprised.

On to weights this afternoon with Bruce, and that sums it all up, I think!

Monday, July 8, 2013

A new hobby!


Thursday - July 4 - rest day!
Friday - rest day!
(I may have eaten like crap those two days...)

Saturday my group was off, so I ran at Crane's Roost with my friend Barbara. We did 4 miles - it was our last 4. It only goes up from here, folks! All of the rest of the Saturdays in July, we'll do 6, and then it starts going to 8 and above! It makes my stomach hurt to think about it, so I will try not to won't worry about that yet!

Sunday, Brian and I were talking before church about exercise and fitness and health and such. He wants to get in shape, but right now, he's on deadline at work. Brian works for EA Sports. If you're familiar with the life of a game programmer, then you'll understand what it means that he's in Alpha right now. Crazy hours, high stress, and the company brings in food - BAD food. He's surrounded by temptation and stuck in an office chair all day.

He also has a bad back, so he can't really run. We thought biking might be a good form of exercise for him, so we headed to our local bike store after church. The owner recommended a bike for Brian to try out. He rode it around the parking lot and liked it. Then we realized that they rented bikes by the hour, so we decided to go home and eat lunch and change clothes, then head back for a bike ride.


Biking is comfortable even in the heat because you get a great breeze! There's a nice little trail that goes right by the store, so we hopped on and rode for almost 4 miles, then turned around and rode back. It took us about 50 minutes. I honestly have not ridden a bike for more than about 5 minutes since childhood. I wasn't even sure if I would be able to go for very long - the last time I tried to ride around our neighborhood, my legs just couldn't do it! But that was years ago...and I had no problem this time! I had an absolute blast!

Brian's back and shoulders started to hurt partway through. But he was a trooper - he hung in there! Here's a very appropriate picture of how we both felt afterward! Haha!
Yes, we had Rita's Italian Ice afterward - it's right next door to the bike shop!
We're pretty sure his pain was a combination of his being a little out of shape and also his handlebars being too low. We'll adjust them and whip him into shape in no time! Of course, we bought the bikes! They're being looked over by the bike mechanic and we can pick them up on Tuesday. I can't wait!!

So - local friends - let me know if you ever want to go bike riding, k?

Something else for me to be obsessed with! Yay! ;)

I went to the gym today for my cross-training workout with Bruce. We did plenty of weights, some old and some new moves, and he made me do those blasted single leg squats! They are HORRIBLE! We haven't worked hard on legs in awhile, since I'm running without him now and since I've upped my mileage. But I guess he thought I needed it today! 

Afterward I went to lunch with Brian - a HEALTHY lunch at Subway - (did I mention I gained 2.4 lbs? Another gain! That's almost 5 lbs in 2 weeks!! I don't know what's going on!!) - and I realized I'm going to be doing like 7 days of exercise, or maybe more, with no rest days! Crazy. I don't know how I can be working this hard and gaining weight. But starting today I'm only allowing myself 1200 calories a day (and I will eat the calories I burned while exercising too) - so hopefully we'll see a difference next week.

Here's the plan:
Yesterday - 7.5 mile bike ride
Today - Weight training with Bruce
Tomorrow - Running on the track - speed workout
Wednesday - bike ride with Brian
Thursday - 4 mile pace run - hills
Friday - Weight training with Bruce
Saturday - 6 mile run with Marathonfest group
Sunday - ?? maybe another bike ride!

And there's more after that...but we'll just see how I feel after that many days with no rest! :D