Thursday, January 16, 2014

Half Crazy

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the runner get around, the runner get around, runner get around. What a fun way to start the morning, with one of my favorite Disney characters, Mary Poppins (who just did a Bert impression when they read that?) Another dark and early morning for T and me. Thankfully we both had the race retreat so we could have a good breakfast before hitting the pavement for 13.1 miles through Epcot and Magic Kingdom. This was the day we would really get to test our strength, not only physically, but mentally as well. Our plan was to walk most of the race and save our energy for Sunday. (This ended up to be a non issue as we got stuck with a lot of walkers.) 

We started in the L corral and it took us 45 minutes before we got to see those fireworks go up in the air and us to cross the start line. We started with a run over the finish line, then it was heading towards the Magic Kingdom. 

As we officially entered the Magic Kingdom the sun was beginning to come up. It was a gorgeous sunrise, horrible humidity. About mile 2 we saw the beginning of those in corral A coming in to mile 11. We kept pushing on, or walking as the paths were beginning to bottle neck as we actually made our way into the park. Around a hairpin turn and through a gate and we were spit out onto Main Street inside the park. There were so many people there, the energy was amazing. Both of us had to pee and we knew an actual bathroom would soon be in our future and we found one in TomorrowLand. Just a little of the course, but we were in and out and actually got to use real soap and water. We hopped back on the course and soon it was time to run, oh man....walk through Cinderella's castle. This had to be the sad part of the run. There is something about running through that is so much more exciting than walking through, at least to a runner. But there were so many people we couldn't even stop to take pictures. So on to Frontierland we went, then out the gates. We still hadn't seen the balloon ladies, so we were feeling good. But I think both of us really wanted to run. But with the heat and the prospect of the next day we decided still it wouldn't be a good idea. Well, until we came into Epcot. I couldn't take it anymore! I needed to let my legs fly (or in my case, sputter) and run. We ran in Epcot and finally crossed the finish line in just over four hours. By far my slowest half marathon ever, but over an hour but one of the most difficult. As we crossed the finish line we had a cheering squad of one there cheering us on with signs. M held a sign for each one of us that he spent hours making by hand.

M then got an idea. There is a story in our family of him jumping into a race barefoot, shirtless and probably not quite sober and crossing the finish line of a half marathon before his girlfriend did and getting a medal. It just so happened to be a Disney race. Well here is how that idea turned out:

So after some refueling, T headed off with her family and M and I took naps. Then got some Mexican food. And to relax a little some massages, I went with a foot massage and it was the best idea ever! My feet felt like pillows. The Seahawks were playing so we spent the rest of the night chilling in the room watching the game. With the win, I couldn't have imagined a more perfect day. Then we both passed out.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 2

Early mornings and me, we don't get along. Add in a three hour time difference and well I am not a happy camper. But, I was at the Happiest Place on Earth, so I decided that I should not be too upset. Getting up at 3:30 am was not ideal, but I had to so that I could make it to the Inaugural Minnie Mouse 10k. There is something about running an inaugural race, being in the first group of people to run a race is somewhat exciting.

Sporting a Minnie inspired running outfit, we started the 10k in the dark (again) on a little different course since we were adding another 3.1 miles. We started through Epcot again, and then took a little side tour to the Boardwalk. The ground was a little slick from the rain storm that came through the night before. As the sun came up the park looked beautiful. After the Boardwalk we came back into Epcot. I was really wishing that the stand that had the Cro-nut was open, because it was THAT good. Of all the races, the 10k seemed to go the quickest. I don't particularly like the 10k distance.

So when we finally saw the finish line we were pretty excited. When we finished this race we were now halfway through the race days. Of course we were no where near the halfway point of the mileage (that wouldn't happen until 2 miles into the marathon. We crossed the finish line with smile on our faces, and earned our second medal of the challenge, the Inaugural Minnie medal!

After a nap, the excitement began! My youngest brother, Matt was coming to see me from Fort Lauderdale.                This was the first time I have had time with just the two of us in a really long time. Our first stop was to pick up my packet for the Piggy Challenge, eating bacon on the marathon course at mile 24. We originally thought it was going to be on the course so we picked real bacon, but later we found out that we picked up our bacon at pick up, so I got some gummy bacon. More on that later. Matt and I then headed over Downtown Disney. We ordered a drink, and the woman couldn't get them to ring up, so it came as a surprise when our drinks were free! I needed to find a special present for CB. The lucky girl got two new Disney charms, a Frozen pin for her lanyard and a Merida doll. 

While walking in a store, Matt saw a "fill the bag for $6.95" and sure enough, in Matt fashion, he "filled" the bag. He found the sweetest grandma type woman to check out in, and put his magnets on the counter and said "I filled the bag" and she laughed. But she let it go anyway. This is what his idea of "fill the bag is."

Then it was time for dinner. The benefit of being off Disney property is that there is a lot more variety in food and it costs less! So we both had a great dinner at Bahama Breeze. I needed to carbo load, the half marathon was the next day. But no bed before a little dessert.
Note: black dye in frosting will turn poop into a grass green color. 

Officially I Am Dopey!

What an experience. Disney has never disappointed, and this was no exception. Every time I do a Disney race I come back with what I would do differently the next time. I think this time it is to never do this challenge again. Been there, done that, got the medals and have no desire to do again! It isn't that it was horrible, and I value the experience but the downfalls are more than I really care to enjoy. It was a tough challenge....physically, mentally and at time emotionally. I would also not take a red eye, but take a day off before and after the race. I am EXHAUSTED.

Last Tuesday night I boarded a flight to go from Portland to Seattle, then Seattle to Dallas/Ft. Worth, then Dallas/ Ft. Worth to Orlando. The worst flights....EVER. I basically got NO sleep, no room in my seat and at one point opened my eyes to have a man's butt in my face. From the airport I jumped in the rental car and hit the Expo. I never truly get to enjoy the Expo because there is usually a little redhead that has no desire to be there. This time I had all the time in the world. So I picked up my packet and realized, this is real. And as I was signing away, the woman next to me had a look of panic on her face. The volunteers asked what was wrong, her reply "I apologize for my non-Disney language, but this shit just got real." Yes it did, oh yes it did. Then I picked up a few additional pins for my lanyard. In addition to the race pins, I got the pin version of the medals. Of course at a Disney race, the "I Did It" t-shirts go fast, so I had to find one. I finally found where they were selling them, and low and behold there were only like 15 left in my size....and the Expo had been open for only 2 hours! So although I feel it to be a seriously bad omen, I bought mine. I really hate doing that. My pet peeve is those that wear the "I Did It" shirt during the race. To me it seems a little preemptive! Then to the hotel to check in, and maybe a nap. But I had scheduled a massage (it was my birthday). So I found the spa and enjoyed 2 hours of bliss (and pain). My running buddy was getting in just about the time I finished, so I met her back at the Expo. A quick run through and then we found some dinner. I didn't want to stay up too late, as we had an early 5k in the morning. But of course when I got back to my hotel I couldn't sleep. So I turned on the Weather Channel and found a cool show about the human body and high temperatures. What was cool was that they featured Scott Jurek, and amazing ultra runner, and apparently immune to heat!

Thursday morning came too quick, I met Tryna and we listened to music to warm up. We saw a lot of great costumes and some crazy ones. Soon it was time to take off. The 5k is generally pretty laid back, with a lot of families. It goes through Epcot and there are characters all along the way. It took us about 48 minutes to finish the 3.1 miles, but we took our time and took some pictures. After the race, Tryna went back to her family and I hit the race retreat. Time for some food! And in the tent I found Coach Joe. (He coached TNT for me when I did the Portland Half and he is also the Captain of Team Will Power for Hood to Coast). We chatted and shared stories. I got my picture taken with the Monsters University characters. I wonder if they wear nose plugs when doing these events. I spent most of the day catching up on sleep. I thought it would be just a few hours, turned into 8. Then it was time to go to the Pasta in the Park at Epcot. Got my picture taken with Mickey and Minnie, Dopey and Goofy and Donald. The food was pretty good too. Then I thought maybe since I was in Epcot I could sneak on a ride. But nothing sounded fun, so I found the Cro-nut instead. What is this you ask? A party in your mouth! A croissant that is fried and sprinkled like a donut. It was AMAZING!!! So I went back to the hotel and prepared for the 10k the next morning and went back to sleep.

 Should I be worried? A random wheelchair
Coach Joe and inspiration!

5k....Dopey Day 1, COMPLETE!

Mile 3

Mary Poppins
Mile 2

We found Dopey....and a random runner!

No good at the long arm selfie :)

My running buddy Tryna and Me at the start!

To be continued....

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A week from now I am probably going to be hating myself, wondering why did I put my body through the physical torture of running long distances. At the same time I am pretty sure I am going to be thinking to myself, "yeah...I am kind of a bad a$$." After H2C, I would look at Mt. Hood and think, "I rock, I ran down that MOUNTAIN!" and then reach down and rub out my calf. 

It makes me think back to why I started running. To be honest, I hated running. And there are days I still hate running. When I was a teenager and those hormones got all whacked I would take my Walkman (it was really hard to manage) and take off running. Then, like Forrest Gump I would just stop on the bike path after about a mile and turn around. It was enough to calm me down. But to actually be honest I really had no desire to put on tennis shoes and "go for a run." In college, a few people from my dorm would go for a run in the middle of the night down Willamette Blvd. I was always one of the last people in, but it was a group and exercise. The treadmill was something I hated. I could handle the eliptical, but nothing felt "right." After I graduated I would take the puppy for a "run" after getting off the night shift so he would get tired and sleep all day. Then I broke my leg, and it seemed as though all athletic ability I had went out the window. Then I gained weight, lost it and then had a baby. The weight never seemed to have come off easily after that. It was tough. One day I looked at my husband and asked him to help me run. 

It was tough, I hated it. I panted, I hurt and most importantly I couldn't seem to find clothes to workout in that felt right. We live on a hill, and it started with just half mile treks. Telephone poles became my new "just get to that point" and you can walk. So E would look at me and encourage me. He never gave up on me and pushed me to push myself. Then I did my first 5k, and I felt good about myself and what I had finally accomplished. Then my first 10k. Soon miles began to pile on, and some weight came off. Then E gave me the encouragement to sign up for a half marathon. Soon he was deployed, and I decided to also sign up with Team in Training to run my first marathon. I was now surpassing E on what we could run. 

Team in Training helped me push myself even further. When I ran my first half marathon, I had only run 7 miles prior to that. (I never was good at properly training). My goal was to run the first 7 miles, then I could walk the rest. But when I got to that point, it became a "next mile post" and then it came to well there is only 3 miles left I can do that. When it came to the full marathon it was Coach Karl that pushed me out of the nest at mile 25.5 telling me I had to do the rest on my own. And then I laid everything I had left on the pavement.

Now about 4 years after starting running, I am rethinking what I want from running. I am not great about training, I don't carve out time for training and I always feel really busy. But I want that to change. I want it to become more of a priority. I want the therapy it provides, the moments of serene bliss and satisfaction of knowing that I didn't give up. I want to show my daughter what being healthy is. I want her to see that "thunder thighs" aren't a bad thing, that they mean power and strength. That the large feet we have can take us further than we could ever imagine. I love being able to share something with her, and I love seeing her face light up when she completes a race. It doesn't matter whether it is a 1 miler or a 5k, it is the accomplishment that makes it worth it. 

So my personal goals for this year is to improve on my training. I have the NYC Marathon to prepare for, and I am using it to make myself better both with nutrition and fitness. When I finish that race I want to be able to say I did everything I could. Now I just need to figure out how to do it. But for now, just getting through the next week is my current goal. I guess I should start packing. :)

Seriously...I Have Been Slacking!

Wow, only a little over two years since I last wrote anything about my running. You would think I had given it up. fact it has gotten a little more intense. Ehhh, that might be a word that is a little strong. So two years ago I was pretty sure I would NEVER do another marathon again (yet I continued to enter into the NYC Marathon lottery, that is crazy). So I guess I should fast forward. I would have to say that in 2012 I was a little on the lame side of running. I did the EPIC Relay (my first relay ever) and a few other races, but nothing too exciting. So on to 2013.

The year started of with the Resolution Run at the beginning of January. Not a bad 10k, but in Battle Ground and a little on the dull side for me. Mainly because it was on paths I usually ran. A few weeks later I flew down to Disneyland for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. The start and the finish we awesome. I could have lived without the Downtown Anaheim part. But the course was different than the Disneyland Half Marathon, so that was nice. Plus the medal was AWESOME! In February it was down to Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon. We made it a family trip, and ran the Family 5K the day before. So I came home rocking 3 pretty cool medals. Plus, my brother and his wife met up with us and so did a good friend of mine. By the time March rolled around I was beginning to think, "hey maybe I will do 13 half marathons in 2013" that kind of flew out the window. I did the 15k for the Shamrock Run. I have never done it before, and there was a cool beer bottle medal involved. E and I both decided to do it together, and were a little disappointed that because there were so many people, they ran out of water at Mile 9. The view on Terwilliger was gorgeous though. But then when we finished there were not enough medals, and we had to have ours sent to us. Which kinda bummed us out because half the fun is wearing it on race day. I didn't have any races lined up in April or May. Well that was ok, in May a friend couldn't run the Hippie Chick Half and so I ran as her. Well I was just coming out of a crappy time, and wasn't feeling the running vibe and this run sucked it. I ended walking most of it, and really bumming myself out. But I planned on redeeming myself in June, with EPIC 2.0. I was running the same legs, and knew what difficulty I was up against. I was team captain this year and somehow thought I needed to torture myself....AGAIN. Leg 1 was great, hot...but great. Leg 2 in the middle of the night was good. I ran hard, and was running in complete darkness (which I HATE!) But Leg 3, it wasn't pretty. Thankfully my second van came along and pulled every ounce of energy I had to finish. And man when I was finished I felt good. But my body didn't. Turned out after some coincidental blood work a few days later my potassium was pretty low. Which now seems to be a trend. I also started with Team in Training again training for the Nike Women's Marathon. Yep...another marathon. So apparently the marathon bug wasn't completely gone. Oh, and I failed to mention I had signed up in March to do the Dopey Challenge in Disney World in early 2014. What is that you ask? A 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon. In four consecutive days. So really I am crazy. So let's see. After EPIC was Hood to Coast on Team Will Power. Which was AWESOME! I claimed the Number 1 runner, which gave me 5 miles of running down Mt. Hood. Wait, running isn't the right word....more like screaming. I seriously had never run that fast in my life. Close to a 9 min/mile. Which in my book is unheard of. E was also running H2C, but he took the more conservative leg. I took a few months off from races, and then ran Nike Women's. AMAZING. The race was amazing. I had learned that I do really well with the Galloway method. I was really afraid of not being able to finish. My training was not as good as it should have been, and my last 20 miler turned into only a 16 miler because my hip was acting up. Well, not only did I finish, but I PR'd by 17 mins! It wasn't a super fast time, and I want to bring my PR down even lower....but I did it. Then a few weeks later I did possibly the most difficult race EVER. It was basically 6 miles, straight up a mountain and then 4 miles down. My friend and I did it together and when at mile 7 a woman on a bicycle almost got a rock thrown at her after saying "you're almost there." A few other 5ks, and I rounded out 2013 with a few more medals and bibs hanging on the wall.

Now, in three and a half days I begin the Dopey Challenge. Not too worried about the first three, but the marathon has me a little nervous. Mainly due to weather conditions and afraid of my potassium taking another plunge. But keeping hydrated with the right fluid should help. Oh, and I am finally going to run in the NYC Marathon this year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

Chocolate, Firemen and massages. That was what I was thinking about, not the fact that to get those I needed to run 13.1 miles. Sure, not such a big task....IF I didn't just run a half marathon the previous weekend. Here is the recap.....

-Seeing CB, E and my great parents chilling in the Farmer's Market just after the start of the race. I love them!
-Good-bye First Run t-shirt, you gave me some good warmth but it was time to part. Hopefully you will keep someone who needs it, warm.
-Saying "hi" to a co-worker and a high school friend
-Looking down at Garmi and seeing that I was about 5 minutes ahead of my "virtual partner" at mile 3
-Getting to run a block with my munchkin soon after that

-A beautiful out and back through Marine Park, then fearing someone was going to get run over by a very slow moving black SUV...maybe it was the Secret Service
-Again running with CB and her "taking" the goblins beginning to irritate my hamstring by sprinkling me with "fairy dust"
-kissing my husband and getting hugs from my parents

-Mile 9.....Welcome to Hell, I am still headed for a PR and about 2 minutes ahead of my "VP"
-Watching my "VP" begin to get ahead of me, and knowing my PR was not going to happen.
-Enjoying the beauty of Fort Vancouver Barracks
-Chocolate Outrage GU is actually really good, the only thing missing was a bowl of ice cream and sprinkles
-The Fred Meyer hill.....not sure I am going to make it
-Mile 11, I want to quit. My husband sending me some texts of encouragement. My calf feels like it is a rock, and hurts with every strike of the pavement
-12 miles in, I don't even want to finish. I needed something to keep me going. Names of those I run for start spilling out of my mouth....repetitively. I am sure that Clark County Sheriff Officer thought I was going crazy, but they pulled me through!
-12.5 miles, my little munchkin joins me and I start crying. She sprinkles me with more "fairy dust" to chase those leg goblins away.
-The looks of pity from volunteers as I part run/part hobble the last block of the race
-Seeing my mom, forcing a smile as I cross the finish line.
(No this isn't lady to collapse at finish line and have the firemen rush to her!) 
-Hearing my name called, getting my necklace from the fireman and seeing E as I burst into tears of pain. Another fireman asked if I was ok.....apparently when I am in pain, not even a fireman can make me feel better, only my husband and my baby girl
-Letting E help me stretch my calf and hamstring (through the pain)
-Deciding I didn't want massage or chocolate because I was hurting so bad.

Don't get me wrong, I hurt, I was in pain, I doubted myself the last 3 miles but I am glad I stuck with it. My finisher's necklace is beautiful, and the pride of finishing despite the challenges made the run worth it. I showed my daughter that pain is only temporary, but knowing you can do something some doubt you can do is forever. And darn those pesky goblins :)