Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 By the Numbers

Running Miles - 731.7
Biking Miles - 360.8
Swimming Miles - 7.5

Monday, December 20, 2010

A whole week off!

Last week I did something I haven't done in more than two years: I took an entire week off from running! I wasn't sick, and it wasn't that I got too busy. I made the conscious decision to take some time off. My mom was taking me and my girls to Disney World for the week, and I decided that I would focus on the holiday fun instead of scrambling to fit in a workout.

Now, it was much easier to do this being busy at Disney... all that walking and fun in the parks and stuff means that running didn't really enter my mind. Well, not until Thursday afternoon. It had been bitterly cold Sunday - Wednesday, and then Thursday hit and it was gorgeous. We had to come back to the room in the afternoon to let the girls rest up before Mickey's Christmas Party, and I kept thinking how much I would love to go running in that beautiful weather! LOL But other than that, I didn't miss it.

Having said that, I was very, very ready to run when we got back Saturday night. I was anxiously anticipating the sunny afternoon on Sunday when I could get out for a 5 miler at the park. I was a little bit afraid I would have forgotten how to run! It wasn't as bad as that, but it was pretty hard. I wasn't pleased with how I felt during the entire 5 miles, but when I checked Garmin when I got home, I saw that I averaged 10:08 miles. That's a little faster than I usually do, and especially for not having run in 7 days. So I guess that's why it was so hard. But it was nice to be on the trails again!

I wonder if I could do a week off while I am at home. Being at Disney I was busy and walking a lot. Wonder if I could do it when I'm not busy like that? LOL Not sure I could!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Jingle Jog for Autism

Today was the Jingle Jog for Autism 5K. This was the very first race I ever ran way back in 2008! Last year I hadn't really been able to test myself because I was running with my older daughter. So this year I was really looking forward to it.

My BFF and I decided it would be fun to dress up for this one like we did for Lanier Under the Lights! :) I put the fur on my Sparkle Skirt this time, and wore my green vest! It was so much fun!
Here are me and my BFF/running partner! She dressed up as an elf! :) I personally think we should have won a prize for our costumes! LOL
The race itself was very nice. Since we had 10 miles on the schedule today, my BFF and I met at the park early this morning to get in 7 miles. Then we went home and got ready for the race! LOL I had intended to just leisurely jog my way through the 5K, but I actually ended up racing it. Well, "racing" for me... probably a leisurely jog for most folks! LOL My unofficial time was 29:10 - I missed a PR by only 36 seconds which is amazing considering I had already run 7 miles this day. My BFF won 2nd place in our age group and her unofficial time was 25:03. I am really hoping that when the official results are posted, she will have a sub-25:00 5K under her belt. Regardless, she has a new PR which is cool!
The only thing to disappoint me this year is the race shirt. It is usually a very nice, thick, long-sleeve shirt. This years is a thin, flimsy short-sleeve shirt which is sized way too big. I will get over it, though. And it won't stop me from running in next year's race! :)

This is my last race for 2010!! This has been quite a year!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Insert Interesting Title Here

Wow, now how will I know what to title my posts??? LOL I guess I could count this as recovery? It's actually kind of funny... I went for my long run on Saturday, and my legs were really heavy. And I couldn't figure out why. Then it dawned on me that I ran a half only 9 days earlier. So, yeah, 7 miles might be kind of tough. The recovery had been so much easier than with the Princess or Zooma that I sort of forgot. But my legs didn't.

The plan now is maintenance. After the holidays, I will run two weekday runs of 4 miles each. On Saturday I will rotate 5 miles, 8 miles, 10 miles. I would really like to maintain the endurance that I've built up over the last year, so that I could throw in a half marathon here and there if I wanted to. I really do enjoy that distance. 10Ks are probably my favorite. Unfortunately, 5Ks hardly seem worth the time and effort anymore! LOL I usually have to drive longer than I'd be running.

The other days will be cross-training and rest days. I'm going to continue to bike and swim as often as I can. They are both hard to get in during the colder weather, especially the biking. It's just SO much colder on a bike than running. And the pool is indoors, but it's still too chilly in the building for my tastes. I know that once I get in the pool and get moving I'm fine. It's just getting into the pool that's hard!

Last week I added Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred to my cross-training, in place of a bike ride. It was a lot of fun. My BFF has done Jillian since she started her fitness revolution, and she loves her. She is a little annoying to me - Jillian, not my BFF! LOL But it's a rare DVD workout that can get me sweating, and this one did, so I think I'll stick with it, at least until it's biking weather again! :)

One last fun thing! Look what I came home with from our church's ornament swap!! Now I have my very own penguin on the tree!! When the girls saw it, they both said, "Waddle on!!!" LOL

Friday, November 26, 2010

Race Report: Atlanta Half

As you may remember, I had been sick with a cold and hadn't run since Monday. Not only had I not run, I had barely walked... and I certainly hadn't slept. I was feeling so badly and I was an absolute nervous wreck about finishing this race. It wasn't an option for me not to try to do it, though. My BFF had not only paid my race fee, she also paid an additional amount of money for us to ride the Turkey Shuttle from our local running store. And it was really the only attempt I would have for Half Fanatic. I had already determined in the last few weeks that I simply could not do this many halfs again so close to each other.

I didn't sleep very well Wednesday night which isn't all that unusual for the night before a race. My alarm was set for 5, and when I woke at 4, I decided it wasn't worth it to try to go back to sleep. Around 4:45 I got up to check the weather and saw that it was in the low 50s as expected, but 100% humidity. Such bizarre weather for late November. I got dressed and waited for my BFF to pick me up. It's so weird because I usually pick HER up since she lives near the interstate, but my house is on the way to the running store.

We got to the store at 5:40 and there was nobody there except the bus and its driver. And did I mention it was drizzling?? I had checked the weather and there was no mention of rain, nor was there anything on the radar!! UGH!! Anyway, soon the store guy had arrived and other runners started arriving, too. We were instructed to be there at 5:45 for a 6:00 departure, and we left right at 6. The traffic was heavier than I expected for Thanksgiving morning, and it was an absolute standstill when we got near Turner Field (where the Atlanta Braves play, and the start/finish line). Our clever bus driver went down past the stadium and came back, dropping us off right across from the start!! Well worth the price of the shuttle... plus we got a cute short sleeve tech tee!!

We hit the porta potties, stretched, porta potties again, and then the corrals. Soon it was time to start! I can't believe how fast it went! It was foggy so the pictures weren't all that good, but that was OK. I was so nervous, I couldn't even stand it. I guess it's a good thing time went by so quickly. It didn't give me a chance to worry.

Shortly after crossing the start line, I knew this was going to be an interesting experience for me. My congestion was only in my head/nose, but my heart rate was zooming up VERY quickly. Not sure if it was related to my cold, or to being in bed for most of the week, or what... but it was uncomfortable. My BFF tried a couple of times to come back to run with me, but we had already discussed that she needs to feel free to run ahead of me at any time. And towards the end of the 2nd mile, I knew that physically I needed to slow WAY down if I had any chance of making it to the finish line. I lost sight of her shortly after that! We had decided upon a meeting place at the end of the race, and I mentally wished her the best of luck!! :)

I slowed my pace down significantly and felt much better. My heart rate slowed back down and I was able to breathe a bit better. I started to look around and enjoy the scenery of downtown Atlanta. It was when I hit the end of the 4th mile that I had a really cool epiphany: I really didn't care about my time!! I was just enjoying being out running! I love races, I love the energy at a race, and I love running... no matter how fast or slow I am. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!! It was a great feeling! I'm glad it happened then, because I would need that feeling later! LOL

After the nice, flat middle section of the course, it seemed like we made a ton of turns in an apparent attempt to go UP every. single. hill. in downtown Atlanta. I handled them all pretty well until the last couple of miles when there were some really steep ones right after the other. My heart rate was feeling too high, and it made me nervous. I decided to walk those hills to give my body a chance to rest. Once I felt my heart race going down, I started running again.

At long last, I approached the finish line! I was thrilled beyond belief that I had made it! I was going to be a Half Fanatic! I had DONE IT!!! And I looked down at my and was shocked to see that I was coming in a few seconds earlier than at Disneyland!! How bizarre considering I was sick and this course was all hilly compared to flat California?!? Plus I had walked a couple of times! I was pretty darn proud of myself!

I got my absolutely beautiful medal, a neat mylar blanket, and went to find my BFF. Imagine my surprise when she found me at the finish line! She had finished 11 full minutes before me, and 5 minutes before her previous PR at her first half a few weeks ago at Zooma! Yeah, when I tell you she is FAST, I mean it!! She is now 2/3 of the way towards her own Half Fanatic, which she'll finish at the end of January.

We got some water and snacks and headed for the tent of the running store where we were supposed to find the bus. The tent was right at the finish line area right past the snacks ... very convenient! We got our bags and hit the porta potties to change clothes. We got back and did some stretching (and I talked up ROTE to a fellow rider who had her stuff in a Princess Half bag), and then it was time to get on the bus to ride back! The traffic getting out of the regular lots was atrocious, but our bus driver was clever again!! We got out fairly quickly and were back at the store in no time! It was fantastic, and well-worth the money! :)

Overall, this was a fantastic race. So far, physically I feel quite well - and my cold seems to be resolving itself. I was afraid running the distance would set me back, but I have felt pretty well today. And it was much better on me mentally than the Zooma or Disneyland races were. I hope that this marks the demise of my brain playing games with me while I run! I am honestly looking forward to some down time from "training". Not that I'll stop running, obviously, but I have been "half marathon training" for 8 out of 11 months this year, and I'm pretty wiped out mentally. I'm going to enjoy the plateau for the next few months before it's time to start training for the triathlon! :)

Edited to add: How funny! Apparently I must really mean it about "not caring how fast I am" thing... I totally forgot to include my finish time!! Well, here it is - 2:22:57. I actually had to look it up because I had forgotten! Wow! Freaky!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Atlanta Half Marathon: I DID IT!!!

I still can't believe it, but I actually did it! I finished the Atlanta Half this morning, even with my stuffy nose and everything! :) I'll do a complete race report later today or tomorrow, but I at least wanted to post my good news!


And now I'm off to apply for Half Fanatic! :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sick

As luck would have it, on Monday I came down with the cold that my daughters both have. I'm feeling pretty icky and I'm really nervous about tomorrow's half marathon. I've never run sick before, and I've taken off the last two days to rest up. My goal is just to make it across the finish line so I can become a Half Fanatic.

Prayers are appreciated that I will feel so much better tomorrow morning!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Atlanta Half Marathon: Training

Monday - 4 mile run
Tuesday - 1/2 mile swim
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 4 mile run
Friday - rest
Saturday - 8.6 mile run
Sunday - rest

Yeah, I didn't do very much last week... but my body was just rebelling like crazy. At least it's not the pain like it was the week immediately following Zooma. It's more of a persistent achiness. I know that my shoes are shot, which is probably contributing to at least some of it anyway. I have been using the same shoes since May 31st, and I've never gone that long before. But I didn't want to start in on a new pair right before a half.

The half is on Thursday and I'm really anxious for it to be here and done. My daughters have been sick the last few days and I can tell I'm fighting something off myself.

I really hope Half Fanatic is worth all this!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Atlanta Half Marathon: Training

Monday - 3 mile run
Tuesday - swim lesson
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - 4 mile run/60 minute ballet class
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 5K race
Sunday - Rest

Yeah, lots of rest last week following the Zooma Half! I woke up every single day with something different hurting me. It was such an unpleasant experience. I think it wasn't until Saturday when I actually woke up and nothing hurt. My left foot is still rather sore, even today, but it doesn't bother me when I run, so I'm not exactly sure what that's all about. I wonder if my shoes are dead, since I've been running in them since May 31st, including training for and running two halfs in that time. I will be changing shoes after the Atlanta Half, so just another 10 days or so.

I had another swim lesson with my coach. He said my stroke looks great, which was a relief! I've been so worried that I've been practicing it wrong. So now my goal is just to get comfortable with the stroke and not use up so much energy. He had me working on relaxing when I swim, which is such a challenge for me because I get very nervous that I'm going to drown! LOL But I did several laps at the end of my workout where I just focused on relaxing and it went pretty well! He likened it to the relaxed pace of running a long distance, where you have to just take your time so you have energy for the long haul!

Only 9 days until the half...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lanier Under the Lights 5K: Race Report

When I heard about a race that was to take place in the evening, running through the Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands Resort, it definitely piqued my interest. When I learned it was sponsored by my church, and benefits Toys for Tots - well, that was a no brainer! :) And since it was only a week after my last half, I decided that this would be a nice recovery run, so my BFF and I decided to go for it! We even got all dressed up fancy for the occasion - thanks to Stephanie from the ROTE boards for the idea to tack the white fur to my red skirt to make it look very festive!
It was so beautiful running at sunset... I do wish the race had started about 15 minutes later, though. It would have been nice to see the lights in the dark the entire way! The course was challenging (read: hilly) but I was prepared for that as this was part of the course that I ran in the spring for the Fallen Heroes of GA 10K.
Look at this beautiful view of sunset over the lake!! It was breathtaking!!
This light tunnel was my very favorite, aside from the bridge!
After we got done, being that it was supper time, we decided to hit Chick Fil A for some yummy chicken and a peppermint chocolate chip milkshake!
Overall this race was excellent! The scenery was fantastic - but I would have liked to have started just 15 minutes later so it would have been easier to see the lights the entire time. However, then I would have missed the sunset over the lake. The only problem was the finish line. This was not a chip-timed race, and there was a back-up at the finish line while they tried to get our bib numbers in order. However, nobody was staying in the proper order and it was chaos. I wasn't running this race for a "time" so it didn't bother me, but I know lots of people were not happy at all. Also, it took around 5 minutes to get through the finish line and I was cold and getting stiff quickly. Then we had to walk back to the staging area to get post-race snacks, which were plentiful to be sure, but just not easily accessible. I think the finish line problem could be solved by having d-chip or bib chip timing next time.

Two funny things occurred to me while I was in the shower after this race. The first one is that two years ago I never would have dreamed that one day I would consider a 5K race to be a "relaxing little thing". And the second one was that even with all the stopping to take pictures, and the not running very fast because we were just enjoying things, I still beat my first ever 5K time by nearly 2 minutes! :)

Regardless of the finish line issues, I'll definitely be at this race next year!! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Zooma Finish Line Photos

The Zooma folks get a bonus smiley face for providing free finish line photos for download! I think that's very kind of them - and almost makes up for the post-race party that wasn't.

I'll warn you... you won't see any perky "Hi, look how cute I am" waves like from the Princess... nor will you see any arms raised in celebration like from the Disneyland Half. What you'll see is "I can't believe they put the finish line on the top of a hill!"...

or quite possibly..."I can't run another step!"

But it's still cool to have... and I'll be able to look back on this race with fond memories - one day. I'm pretty sure. Maybe.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Atlanta Half Marathon: How am I supposed to train for this??

Well, in my attempt to become a "Half Fanatic", I will be running another half marathon in 16 days... Thanksgiving Day to be precise.

Unfortunately, there are no "19 days between two half marathons" training plans so I'm going to have to wing this one! :) My goal is basically this: recover and don't get injured.

I usually run 2 short runs per week and one longer one, and I will keep that up. I did 3 miles yesterday, and I will shoot for 4 miles tomorrow. This Saturday I have a 5K fundraiser for my church, but that's in the evening, so if I'm feeling well, I'll run 5 miles in the morning as well. Next week, I plan to do 4 miles each for my short runs, and then next Saturday, I'll shoot for 5-6 miles. I've been thinking I might go as far as 8 miles, but it will all depend on how I'm feeling. Then I'll run on the Tuesday before the race, just a 3 miler to keep my legs stretched out.

After Thanksgiving, I will find myself without any major even to train for! I have been in "Half Marathon Training" mode since May 31st! That's a really long time! I don't have to start training for the triathlon until March or April... so that gives me 3-4 good months to just kick back and relax in maintenance mode!! I'm even considering taking a whole week off from running in December when the girls and I go to Disney World! Can you believe it? I haven't taken a whole week off from running since I started running 2 years ago!

It's so exciting to think I'll be a Half Fanatic in just a couple of weeks - I just have to keep my focus and allow myself plenty of time to recover from last weekend!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon: Race Report

A day of rest before a race report is a good thing, I think. If I had reported on this race yesterday, I'm not sure I would have had many good things to say! LOL

I didn't sleep well the night before. Apparently my body thinks that if I'm going to run a half-marathon, I need to be up at 3:30 like I am for Disney. I tossed and turned, tried praying, tried counting sheep, trying singing soothing praise songs... nothing worked. At 5:15 I just gave up and went to check the weather on the desktop computer in the living room. It was a couple of degrees warmer than projected, but still just bitterly cold. I had packed everything up the night before, so I got dressed and then started the car so it would be warm before the drive. Left a little before 6:00 to pick up my BFF.

We arrived by 6:30 (for a 7:30 start) which was according to the instructions on the website. We hit the porta potties immediately, then went back to sit in the warm car and eat breakfast. Around 7:00, we got out of the car to head for the starting area to use the bathroom again and to stretch. When we got to the start line, we noticed that the expo had moved to a small area that resembled a greenhouse. We decided to go inside and see if there were restrooms - there were!! We got in the restroom line and stretched while we waited! :)

It was 7:25 so we headed outdoors. It was still just so cold. We had each dressed in layers, but I know I was still really, really cold. The great music helped to pump everyone up and my BFF commented that she wished she could buy the race mix! Around 7:28, an announcement was made that the race wouldn't be starting until 7:45 to allow for everyone to get in and get parked. This REALLY, REALLY made me angry. The website specifically said that we were to plan to arrive at 6:30. I followed the instructions. I shouldn't have to wait around in the freezing cold for 15 minutes for folks who didn't plan well. There was no traffic congestion on the interstate, no accidents to block the way. GRRRRR

Anyway, the start went well and we headed out and over the interstate. My assignment was to pace my BFF through her first half-marathon, but she is an incredibly fast runner. I told her a couple of times that we needed to slow down, but it became quite obvious that her "slow down" was still much faster than my "fast"! Unfortunately for me, I used up a ton of energy at the beginning, which ended up coming back to haunt me at the end.

The first massive hill came right after the mile 3 marker, and it went on for about a little more than half a mile, according to the elevation chart on my Garmin. It was very, very rough. The middle part of the race was through two small towns and it was a rolling course, not much different than I'm used to running in our weekly training runs. That was a fun part to run!

But the end of the race was a series of hills, two of which were a mile long each. That was absolutely exhausting. And by the last hill, my left hip was giving out. I had had trouble with it during training for the princess, and also way back when I was trying to build up from the 5K to 10K. I had been pushing hard for the entire race, and I had just pushed beyond my ability.

I don't remember much about the last 3 miles... except that we just kept going up hill. The very last hill went up, turned a little corner and then went up quite steeply. When I reached that steep part, my left hip just gave out. I had to walk for a few minutes, catch my breath, try to walk out the sore hip. I felt dreadful having to walk in the last mile, and it was very discouraging. I'd never had to walk in my other half-marathons. :( I fought back tears when I noticed my BFF dropping back to walk with me. I didn't want her to see me so upset.

Before I reached the top of the hill, I decided that I wasn't going to allow the course to get me. So I started to run again, even if I had to go slowly. The rest of the course was downhill, until the finish line. Who puts the finish line on the top of a hill??? It was horrible! There would be no smiling and waving finish line picture this time! LOL


When all was said and done, I did get a PR... in fact, I beat my Disneyland time by 6:59 which seems absolutely impossible considering all the hills! My official time was 2:16:24. I truly can't believe it! I know that a fast runner might be inside me somewhere, but I just don't have the desire to push her to come out like I did yesterday. It was really unpleasant. I know some folks might love that feeling, but I'm not one of those people! I know that I'm getting faster, slowly, and I'm completely content with that. I like finishing feeling strong... not like I'm going to collapse and die.

Fortunately, my hip feels much better today. The only thing that still feels sore are my quads, but I would expect that the day after a half. I'm anxious to get out there tomorrow and have a nice relaxing run! :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Zooma Pictures

Race report to come!! But probably not today! :)

Before the race, standing in the bathroom line - these bathrooms were INDOORS!!

The start line... what a beautiful sunrise!!
FINISHED!! This was a nasty course. Hills... two of which lasted an entire mile each!

Race shirt and Finisher's Necklace.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's the day before Zooma and...

I haven't taken a plane and I haven't spent all day long walking around a Disney park! LOL

This will be my first local half-marathon! It's so strange that it just sort of popped up in the middle of my regular life. And tomorrow after I'm finished, I won't go back to a hotel, shower, and head to a Disney park. Nope, this time I'll come home, shower, and probably go to the grocery store! ;) Or maybe not! I do know my hubby is planning to brave the cold and grill me a steak! THAT is better than any food I could hope to find at Disney or anywhere else, for that matter!

The weather is still looking really cold, but not as bad as previously anticipated: 33 at the start, 39 by the time we finish. It's completely thrown all of my "what to wear" plans out of whack completely. I'm going to have to wear my Tough Girl Skirt Sports skirt with the built-in pants, and I've never tested it out on a long run before. :( Let's just hope it's as comfortable as it was during the ONE 5 mile run I did get in it.

Tonight is the Expo and race number pick up! I'm getting pretty excited!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This can't be happening...

Issued by The National Weather Service
Atlanta, GA
3:16 am EDT, Thu., Nov. 4, 2010

... FREEZE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE FRIDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING...


Just a tidbit of trivia for those who are interested:

The city's average date for the first 32-degree reading of the season is Nov. 13. The first freeze has come as early as Oct. 11. in 1906, and as late as Dec. 18, in 1998.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The nightmares of a half-marathon runner

I can't be the only one who has the jitters in the week prior to a race, right?

I've been so nervous about this one, too. I know it's because it's "different" - running 13.1 miles in north Georgia instead of California or Florida is bound to be. We have hills here. And wonky weather - which is going especially wonky just in time for the race. It's been in the 70s for highs and 50s for lows. The morning of the race is predicted to be right at or below freezing!! I sure have some mojo when it comes to messing with weather patterns since I started running. Perhaps they should call it "El Niffercoo"! ;)

Anyway, I always seems to have a nightmare a few days before a half. And it's always the same: I can't find the finish line. Last night's dream was even worse because not only could I not find the finish line, I couldn't find the goody bags and tee shirts either! LOL

Running is such a mental exercise for me. I'm hoping that this race will be better since I'm going to be running with my BFF and we'll have each other to talk to. There's not nearly so much time for my mind to play games with me if it's busy talking about movies, and music, and all the other stuff we talk about when we're on a long run together. And that's how I'm going to try to approach it this weekend - just a nice long run with my BFF.

I have to admit I'll be glad to get my first Georgia half out of the way! I'm sure my nerves will be much better for the next one! :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 6

Monday - 40 minute run
Tuesday - 30 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 30 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class
Friday - rest
Saturday - 6.5 mile run
Sunday - rest

Had a great week of training/tapering! It was a funny week because it seemed to drag on - I actually had to look in my training calendar to remember what I did, because it felt like there was no way that the 10K was only last week.

Added up my mileage for the month and was excited to see that I had run more miles this month than ever before - 73.3 miles! Only one month came close and that was July. July did kick butt with the biking though, doubling this month, because I biked twice a week back then. Maybe I'll start adding a weekend bike ride in the afternoons, since biking in the neighborhood is driving me insane.

Just one more week until the half. I am still really nervous about running a half in this area - hills! ACK! Well, I'll do the very best I can - one foot in front of the other! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Won! I Won!!

Several weeks ago, I entered a contest on my favorite running blog: Run Faster Mommy! The contest was for a "bibfolio" from Gone For a Run. You may be wondering... what is a bibfolio?? Well, it's a handy-dandy place to store all of your race number bibs! Isn't that clever?

So I entered the contest and waited patiently. One morning, while I was out running, this wonderful thought came into my head. If I actually won the contest, I could give the bibfolio to my BFF and running partner! After all, she had paid for my entry into the Thanksgiving Day half-marathon after I had to bail out on her due to my son's medical bills from his ankle surgery (sliding into 3rd base, in case I hadn't mentioned it before - yes, he was safe @@). I knew there was no way I could repay her anytime soon, and I thought this would be a great way to say "thank you"!

So I came in from my run, checked the blog, and low and behold - I had won!!! Amazing!! I had never won anything on a blog before, so I wasn't sure exactly how it worked, but the entire process was very smooth. Here are some pictures of the bibfolio, with a special thank you to my BFF for taking the pictures since I was so excited about it arriving that I forgot to take pics before I gave it to her! (Do you know how hard it is to keep a secret from your BFF???)

Here is the front cover - the quality of the picture is very good. I was really expecting something much different, much less quality. This is really durable, and the picture isn't just printed out and put into a sleeve, it's actually part of the cover art.

Here is the inside, so you can see your bibs. This is her bib from her first race ever on Memorial Day 2009. Next week, she's running her first half-marathon! :)
Here is a side view so you can see how durable it is. I guess I was expecting it to be made of chipboard or something, but this is much sturdier. The quality is very good. I love how she attached her jingle bell from last year's Jingle Jog! :)
And here is the back of the bibfolio.

So overall it's a very well-made item, and quite a clever concept! Thanks so much to Heather at Run Faster, Mommy! and to the folks at Gone for a Run for making this surprise possible! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 5

Monday - 50 minute run
Tuesday - 30 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 40 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 90 minute ballet class
Friday - 1/2 mile swim
Saturday - 10K race
Sunday - rest

This was the first week of the taper and it was a good time to start tapering... it seemed like everything else in my world was going crazy, so it was nice to have a little extra time to recoup!

Today was my long run, and I had the privilege of accompanying another friend of mine during her first race experience. She chose the Fast Pace Race 10K (which was my first 10K last year) except this was her first race ever, and she just started running 3 months ago! She was nervous, as you can imagine. I found one of the most intimidating parts of racing was just the whole logistics of what you're supposed to do... where do you pick up your number, where do you wear it, where is the start line, and on and on. I don't like my running friends, especially the ones that I really jump-started into running, to have to do that alone. And this is a great course, plus I was excited to see how it compared to last year's run when it seemed SO long and lonely!

Everything went really well, I thought. She walked just a bare minimum, which is especially impressive considering her training went awry and her longest run was 4 miles. And she finished in under 70 minutes, when the limit was 75! She accomplished her goal of getting an official time to be used for corral placement (hopefully) in the 2011 Disney Princess Half! It was fantastic to be able to encourage her and keep her moving forward to the goal that I knew she could accomplish! Her brother came out for the race, too - all the way from VA - and together we flanked her and kept her going. At least we did until she saw the finish line... when she sprinted! LOL She's gonna be one fast runner when her endurance catches up to her competitiveness! ;)

Swimming went well this week... practiced my new stroke and some of the other tips my coach gave me. Biking was more of a challenge. I'm really getting bored just riding around this little stretch of my neighborhood. It's hard to even get motivated to get out there. I think I'm going to have to try to add some weekend biking after all the half-marathons are over, weather permitting. I really love my bike, but it's so hard to just ride in the same little circles - especially when they are mostly the same circles I run in during the week, too. Hopefully there will be some pretty December weather which will allow me some afternoon bike time at the park or something.

Just 2 more weeks until the Zooma half!! I'm getting excited!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's my birthday! :)

Two years ago today, I took my first real step on this journey to becoming an adult-onset athlete. I still don't completely believe that the term "athlete" is appropriate for me, but I'm not sure what else to call it! I run 3 days a week, bike one day, swim one day, and do a ballet class one day. I guess I just think of "athletes" being folks like my son and husband who play baseball, tennis, etc.

Regardless, two years ago I set out on this wonderful adventure that has changed my life! I could never have imagined that two years later I would have run two half-marathons (including one clear on the west coast!), and be in preparation for 2 more within the next 5 weeks!!

And to think it all started with Couch to 5K! And a decent pair of shoes! ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 4

Monday - 60 minute run
Tuesday - 40 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 90 minute ballet class
Friday - swimming (lesson)
Saturday - 10.4 mile run
Sunday - rest

Well, the last week of the Zooma training is complete! And let me tell you, it is only that fact that got me out of bed at 5:45 AM on this cold, dark morning to meet my BFF at the park for my long run! I felt dreadful - all of you ladies will surely understand why - and I just wanted to stay in bed. But knowing that the taper would begin as soon as I finished was a great incentive! I wore the outfit I intend to wear on race day, and it looked and felt good.

Today's run FELT awesome, once I got into it. It's a funny thing that I should feel so much better after I ran 10 miles than before it. I felt really strong through the whole thing. And I felt really fast, too. Of course, when I got home, Garmin let me know exactly how incorrect my perception of my speed was! :) This was actually about a minute and a half slower than my 10 mile run before the Disneyland Half. However, I don't think I've felt better. I remarked to my BFF about 90 minutes in that I felt like I could keep going forever. I was just cruising along - well, if you can call my pace "cruising"! LOL I even ended up continuing on for .4 of a mile since my BFF was doing 12 miles today and I had around a mile to get back to the head of the trail. I ran on with her until there was half a mile left for my cool down! :)

Yesterday I got a swimming lesson from Bill, a older gentleman at our church who used to do triathlons and marathons. He's been offering for quite awhile, and I just haven't been able to find the right time to do it. But yesterday it all worked out! He had me start off with a 50 yard (1 lap) swim to assess my stroke. When I got back he remarked that I wasn't as bad off as he was afraid I was going to be! LOL I guess that's a compliment! The main thing I have to work on is my arm stroke. Bill showed me the correct stroke, and let me borrow some hand paddles for when I practice. The paddles will help me feel the resistance more easily, so I know I'm doing the stroke the correct way. It was really hard though. It reminded me a lot of when I first started ballet. There are SO many things to remember, and it's hard to remember all of them at the same time. I would be concentrating on making my arms go in the right places, and then I'd forget to breathe correctly! I'm sure I looked pretty dreadful! Also, it took a TON of energy. I would do one lap and be completely out of breath - when I'd been able to easily do 4 laps. For now, Bill said just to do 50 yards at a time while I'm using my energy to work on my stroke. Once it becomes second nature, then I can build up my endurance again. There are also a few other things I need to work on later, but for now, the stroke is the most important! I'm excited!!

So now the taper begins... the next 5 and a half weeks are going to be very busy, and very exciting! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's official! :)

"Congratulations! You have successfully registered for the 2010 Atlanta Half Marathon which will take place on Thursday, November 25 at 7:30 a.m."

In last week's training post, I commented that I hadn't yet decided if I was going to run the Atlanta Half on Thanksgiving day to earn my Half Fanatic status. It dawned on me after I posted that I hadn't really mentioned it on my blog before. "Half Fanatic" is a website/club for people who run lots of half marathons. There are qualifying criteria, and the lowest one is to run two half marathons in a 16 day time period, or 3 in a 90 day time period. Well, in looking at my schedule of Disneyland and Zooma, I realized that I only needed to do another by the first weekend in December to become a Half Fanatic! (And yes, the Half Fanatics are something I learned about on the ROTE boards - it's a dangerous place!).

Anyway, I'd been saving up the money for the registration while trying to determine if it was possible for this old, injury-prone body to run two half marathons 19 days apart. But then it seemed the decision was made for me on Sunday when I checked our health care plan's information online and saw the first of the bills from Austin's ankle surgery starting to come in... and seeing how much we would owe. And in December, I have to pay for dance recital costumes for Riley (not going to do the recital myself - that would be an additional costume expense, and I spoke to my ballet teacher about it last night and she said that one of the other ladies in our class came to her separately and said she wasn't comfortable about the recital, so that solves that!). Anyway, I informed my BFF - who I was, of course, going to drag along for the occasion. I felt so bad since it was my idea. :(

The next day she asked to stop by the house on her way to do errands. She had with her a paper she wanted me to sign... the registration for the race. I told her that she couldn't do that, it was too much money, etc. but she simply refused to hear it. In fact, she told me if I didn't sign my name, she would forge my name and then I would cause her to be a felon!! ACK! She plays dirty! :)

So, it's now official... I have the best BFF in the world! And no, you can't have her!! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Balance

A new (I assume, since I don't get many comments here lol ) reader, Annalise, left this comment on my Once Upon a Time post yesterday:

"I am also a homeschool mom of a son on the spectrum. Running is a great outlet for me but I struggle with feelings of guilt and balancing my responsibilities with my own needs! Would love to hear more about that."

I took some time during this morning's run to think about that and formulate a response. Being a mom is hard work. Being a stay-at-home mom is very hard work. Being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom is very, very hard work. Being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to a child with special needs is extremely hard work. This really isn't coming out the way I want it to. I don't want to start a mommy wars, really I don't. And I don't mean to suggest that certain circumstances are harder than another. I've been around the block long enough to recognize that all of us are struggling with something in our lives. Nothing in life is easy.

But for me, being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to two children with autism (and their typically developing sister) is extremely hard work. It is draining and exhausting, both physically and emotionally. I am sure others are out there who have more on their plate and handle it with much more grace and class and ease than I do! And I think that's fantastic! But for me, it's truly a challenge.

When we started our therapy program for autism - called Relationship Development Intervention, or RDI for short - one of the first tasks we were given by our consultant was to make a chart with the responsibilities we have and block off the time that each of those take. Then we had to block off time for the daily RDI work with each child. And finally, we had to block out some segment of time for rest and rejuvenation. Yes, the parents need time, both independently and together, away from the responsibilities of the children. This was a hard concept for me and my husband as we had never had a babysitter at that point (and our oldest was 10 years old). My mom had watched the kids for us twice in that time. She lives out of state and works full-time.

So basically how I deal with the guilt of tending to my own needs is knowing that I need to take care of myself to take care of my kids. I need to recharge, and I found running does that for me.

As far as how to balance the many responsibilities, I do my running in the morning before the kids wake up. My kids are older, though, which makes it possible to leave them home alone. Back when I started running, and my son's seizures weren't under control so I couldn't leave him alone, I would run as soon as my husband got home from work. I have a very understanding husband, who has always supported me to get the time away I needed. I wasn't a morning person when I started doing this, but I have since become one out of necessity! :)

So this is how it works for me! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 3

Monday - 60 minute run
Tuesday - 40 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class
Friday - 1/2 mile swim
Saturday - 6 mile run
Sunday - rest

It's the second to last week of build-up before the half marathon. Training went very well this week. It was the first time since I tweaked my leg in August that I've run without any sort of twinge to remind that I had hurt it. That's a huge relief. I've been focusing on my form quite a bit during the past few weeks and I think that helps. Too often, I tend to push forward from my shins/lower leg, which is really not good for me. I've been focusing more on using my upper leg and keeping my lower leg neutral. Also, I've been focusing on my footstrike and making sure my stride is not overly stretched out.

I'm trying not to be nervous about this half marathon. I know I've done two before so it shouldn't be a problem, right? Well, those were in Florida and California, where the biggest hills were the overpasses for the highways! LOL This one is in north Georgia - land of "rolling hills" which come close to resembling mountains! ;) It's intimidating. I am looking forward to seeing how I am able to perform in a race where I haven't spent the days prior to the race walking around Disney! :)

We had an abbreviated ballet class on Thursday because we spent part of class looking at and being measured for costumes for the recital in the spring. Yeah, freaky, huh? Last year I joined the class because it said, "Recital Participation Optional" and she has kept that policy this year. But Miss Dorinda (how can I call her anything but that when she taught my daughter for the last 4 years!?!) is really encouraging us to participate this year. There are 3 in my class, and we were talking about it and looking at costumes. We found one that I think we all agree upon, and it's a lovely shade of blue which is my favorite color. And it looks like we would dance to "Old Rugged Cross" which is a beautiful hymn. It sounded so good and so do-able when we were at the dance studio... then I got home and thought, "You've gotta be kidding me!?!" LOL The recital will be the week after the Warrior Dash, too... so I'd have to be really careful not to hurt myself there!

I still haven't decided if I'm going to go for Half Fanatic status and run the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day. I need to save up the money for the entry fee, which is a good way to give me time to decide how badly I want to be a Half Fanatic! ;)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 2

Monday - 50 minute run
Tuesday - 42 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 90 minute ballet class
Friday - rest
Saturday - 8 mile run
Sunday - rest

This was a crazy week to get my training in. Last Saturday, my teenage son hurt himself while sliding into 3rd base in a steal attempt. On Monday, I took him to the pediatrician to have him checked out and they referred us to the orthopedist. On Tuesday we went to the orthopedist to be told that his tibia was fractured at the ankle and he would require surgery to insert a screw into his ankle. That surgery would take place on Thursday morning! To say I felt overwhelmed would be an understatement. I was able to get nearly all my training in, except for Friday when I couldn't go swim my laps since my son couldn't be left alone. It was Ok, as I was way too tired to swim anyway! LOL

Saturday I had the opportunity to volunteer at a race for the first time! This race was the Georgia Race for Autism, which is near and dear to my heart as my son (the above mentioned base-stealer) and my younger daughter both have autism. My older daughter and I got up at 5:15 AM to serve the runners at this race. We manned the post-race refreshment table, in addition to assisting with walk-up registration. My daughter cheered on the racers as they crossed the finish line! It was absolutely fantastic! We had such fun!

We left the race at 9:30, and I went home to change clothes and do my own 8 mile run! I hadn't considered that all I had eaten was 3 Krispy Kreme donuts at 6:30 AM and that I had been on my legs nonstop for 3 and a half hours! The first mile of my run was really, really hard! My leg muscles had already been used, and I'm not used to standing for such a long period of time! I was afraid I might have to cut my miles short, but thankfully I was able to get all my miles in! And, to my shock, I actually ran it faster than I have before (only by a minute or so, so don't get too excited! LOL).

When I got home, I was able to use my new compression socks that I had ordered from RunningSkirts.com. They seem to work really well! :) I wanted to get them as I am preparing for (potentially) multiple half marathons in a month, and ultimately a full marathon. My right leg has a harder time with circulation, brought on during my last pregnancy. It isn't painful, but after a long run, my leg looks really awful. I'm hoping that using compression socks will help!

2 more weeks of increased mileage ... the weather is turning beautiful, so I'm going to have to remind myself to take it easy! LOL Also, I need to be thinking about what I'm going to wear during the race, and to try my new capris out! :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 1

I decided to call this week the first week of "Training" because it was the first week that I really felt like I was training instead of recovering! :) I'm still quite slow, but that's OK!

Monday - 50 minute run
Tuesday - 40 minute bike ride
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 50 minute run/90 minute ballet class
Friday - 1/2 mile swim
Saturday - 6.6 mile run
Sunday - rest

You may notice that I resumed ballet class! I was really glad that I got to return to class, but it was hard to jump into it again on tired legs! And my ballet class was harder! I asked my teacher about it and she commented that I'm not a first year student anymore! LOL I may have to move my run to Wednesday like I did with the Princess. My legs were screaming at me on Friday night after doing a run, ballet, and swim in the span of 28 hours!

Running while flashing was very effective... there is no way that anyone will miss seeing me with that bright light! :) It's not enough to make me feel comfortable going to a dark park alone, but in my neighborhood where my main concern is getting hit by a car - this works perfectly!

I have 3 more weeks of building back up before it's time to taper again! LOL

Friday, September 24, 2010

What have I done???

Today, I registered for my first two events in 2011.

First up, in May, the Warrior Dash!

Then, in June, it's official - I signed up for My First Triathlon!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flashing my neighborhood (and other running stuff)


Yesterday I went to Fleet Feet to spend my Frequent Buyer voucher. I realized at the DL Half that I was low on Body Glide, but was hoping that the cooler weather would come so I could wear capris and short/long sleeves and I could postpone buying some more until next year. But nope. The weather didn't cooperate with me. It's still in the mid-upper 60s in the morning when I run, and that is skirt/singlet weather for me.

Another issue has come up, though, and that is one of the sunrise. I like to run early in the morning, before the kids wake up. I can get the running done, get back and stretch and do my arms and abs, and shower... all before they are awake. But as the days get shorter, my time to run is less and less. The last 2-3 times, my youngest was awake before I even left. So I decided to get a light, like I had seen some ladies running with at the park. I was pleasantly surprised that Fleet Feet carried an inexpensive one! I knew it would be a good one when I turned it on inside the store and it nearly blinded me! ;)

I used it for the first time this morning, and let me tell you... there is no chance of anyone not seeing me! LOL In fact, I live close to a small airport and I'm a bit concerned the planes will mistake me for the landing strip! ;) But the important part is that I can get my running in when I need to, and I will be safe at the same time.

The last item I bought is some sunscreen for my lips. I've been using a chapstick from Burt's Bees that is all natural, but it has no SPF in it. And considering that my grandmother has had a couple of bouts with melanoma, I don't want to take any chances! :) Lips are able to sunburn like the rest of your body!

So that was my voucher shopping spree! I also checked out their compression socks since I want some of those for recovery, but they were really expensive. I want to look into some that I read about on the ROTE boards, before I decide if I will just spend the $35 on some cute ones from Running Skirts.com that have hearts on them! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Post Disneyland Recovery?

This is my 2nd post for today - so scroll down if you missed the race pictures from Disneyland! :)

It's been a little over 2 weeks since the Disneyland Half Marathon and you may be wondering where my "recovery" week posts are. Well, there aren't any!

Why??

Because I am jumping into another half marathon, so I have to train all over again! LOL This half marathon will be a local one, and it has me quite nervous. It's one thing to run 13.1 miles on the flat streets of Florida or California. It's a completely different thing to run 13.1 miles on the "rolling hills" of north Georgia! But I'm doing it because it's my BFF's first half-marathon!!

I only have 3 more weeks (in addition to this one) before it's time to taper already. And there won't be any traveling for this half, so I'm anxious to see how that plays into my performance. (Hmmm, how will I run when I haven't spent the day or two before walking through Disney or airports??? LOL)

As far as recovery is concerned, though... I seem to have bounced back from this half-marathon much better than I did from the Princess. I'm not sure if that's mental thing, or if I'm truly in better condition than I was 6 months ago. I do know that I have mostly looked forward to running (especially when we were at the beach last week), and that is something that was lacking after the Princess!

Disneyland Half Marathon 2010 pictures

Here are a few of the photographs taken by the professional photographers as I was running the race! I was disappointed that I didn't get a picture in front of the castle like I did at the Princess. But I was expecting there to be a stop at the front after we ran through, and there wasn't.

Here I am getting ready to run through Angels Stadium! I was SO excited about this! :)
Almost to the finish line...I like this look on my face! I wish I knew what I was thinking! LOL
The exact moment crossing the finish line!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

My excuse for not blogging!



Just got home from a glorious week at the beach! Will update soon! :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Race Report: Disneyland Half Marathon

I knew ahead of time that the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend was going to be a whirlwind, but I didn't even fathom how much of one it would be! :)

My mom and I arrived at our hotel around midnight Pacific time on Friday night/Saturday morning, which was 3 AM Saturday according to our body clocks! I laid out all of my race gear to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. We settled down to sleep by 12:30, but both of us were up by 5 AM thanks to the aforementioned body clocks! :) We talked for a bit, then decided to get up and head over to Disneyland. We had to meet Terri from the ROTE boards at 9 AM, because she had graciously offered to get a Coast to Coast shirt for me at the Expo when she was there on Friday. I'm very glad she did, too, because when we got there at opening on Saturday they were already sold out!! I picked up my shirt from her, and headed to the Expo to get my race bib for the Half Marathon and wristband for the Coast to Coast Challenge. The rest of Saturday was spent at Disneyland and California Adventure. It was unbelievably hot, and I was thankful I had packed a couple of running skirts at the last minute, as I ended up wearing those at the park on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

A very cool thing happened at California Adventure. I had the numbers of 3 ladies from the ROTE boards that I was supposed to contact about meeting up at the tent before the race. I hadn't heard from any of them, and I was uneasy about calling folks that I didn't really know well. I decided to send text messages. Then I decided to ride Tower of Terror one time before we went back to the hotel room to get ready for dinner. Since Mom doesn't ride, I got in line by myself. When I got to the front of the line, the cast member took me past 2 other cars and put me on one car that had one space left. As soon as I got in line I noticed a lady wearing a ROTE shirt. I had been trying to get over my shyness by introducing myself to anyone I saw who was wearing ROTE gear, so I tapped her on the arm and said hi. She said hi back and said her name was Julie. I couldn't believe it! This was one of the ladies I had just texted an hour or so before! :) We talked for just a minute (as much as you can going into and out of Tower of Terror) and decided upon when and where to meet in the morning. It was such a relief to know the face of a person I was meeting at 4:30 in the morning! LOL I still can't believe I managed to run into her on the ride!

Saturday dinner was with my dear friend, Sadie! She and I have known each other online for a decade, and have talked on the phone and texted and IMed for all these years! It was a pure joy to get to finally meet her in person! It didn't feel like a first meeting though, because we've really known each other for so long. I could have sat and talked to her all night long, but I did have this pesky race to run in the morning. And my body clock was telling me it was long since time to go to sleep!

We got back to the room and I showered and made a final run-through of everything I needed for the morning. Texts were sent back and forth finalizing meeting times and places, and then I settled in to bed. I actually slept much better than I had before the Princess, despite being woken up at 9:30 by the fireworks at Disneyland! I got up at 3:30 to start getting ready! Since I had a group of folks to walk to the start with, mom was going to shower and go over to the Esplanade to watch me pass by before heading over to the finish. She got up in time to take pictures and see me off!

When I got to the meeting place at 4:30 AM, there were already a good number of ROTErs there and I nearly turned around and went the other way! I have such a hard time with large groups of people! But instead I just stood on the edge of the group and took everything in! I couldn't believe how much energy everyone had so early in the morning! I think it was Joey who smiled and waved at me, and I'm sure a few other folks talked to me, but I was really overwhelmed and nervous, so it's hard to remember exactly what happened. Julie arrived, and I felt less uneasy, just seeing a familiar face. I wish that I had been able to do some of the other pre-race stuff with the ROTErs so I wouldn't have felt so nervous at the beginning. We all walked over to the start and I chatted with Julie on the way over. She is very nice, and we talked about our families and stuff. I wasn't feeling nervous about the race. Yet. LOL We got over to the start area and dropped off bags and hit the porta potties and hung out with the ROTErs, and then it was time to walk to the corrals. It wasn't as far as it was at the Princess, but it was SO crowded! We took some pictures in Corral D, and then the National Anthem was played. That's when the nerves kicked in for me, big time. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Looking back, I think I would have preferred to be nervous all night and all morning than for it to hit me that hard.

We waited for our corral's turn - with no fireworks for ANY of the corrals (BOOOO!) - and before long, we were passing Mickey and Minnie! Julie, Rachel, and Chris were doing intervals so I said goodbye to them and headed out. We ran down a street and then turned into the parks. It really all fell apart right there. I was really disappointed at the lack of characters (compared to the Princess), and when there were characters - like Mary Poppins - the lines were really, really long. I wasn't too terribly obsessed with my time, but I was worried about my legs bothering me and didn't know if I would need to allow extra time for walking later. So I didn't end up stopping. I did get to see Mom on the Esplanade, which was very cool! I was afraid I would miss her, but the crowds were light there. But I did miss the photo op in front of the castle because I assumed it would be like it was for the Princess and there would be someone at the base of the castle when you came out. But as near as I could tell, you were supposed to stop as you went around the castle the first time. Then, to make matters worse, I didn't even get a picture of the castle at all (except for the one I took coming up Main Street) because I was trying to figure out what I had done to the video setting on Mom's camera I was using. I figured out later that I had accidentally turned the dial, thus making the video in black and white. So I was all messed up through Disneyland, which wasn't even a very long time. By 3.5 miles, we were already off Disney property and onto the streets of Anaheim.

And this is where it got ugly. My brain kicked into high gear. Since I started running, I've always had to battle the little voice in my head telling me I can't do this. But it was screaming at me during the Disneyland Half. And running through the streets of Anaheim was boring. Horribly boring. There were bands and cheerleaders, but quite honestly, the last thing I want to hear is a bunch of teenage girls screaming at me when I'm running. Thankfully, I had tossed my mp3 player into my skirt pocket at the last minute. As soon as I realized I had 6 miles until we were going to reach Angels Stadium, I put in the ear buds and cranked some Blue October. It helped, without a doubt, but I battled the voice in my head the entire 6 miles. It was really horrible. It makes me want to cry just remembering it.

On a good note, my legs did not bother me - at least there was no pain as there had been during some of my later training runs. There was the usual twinges and stuff that come along with running such a long distance, but nothing bad. Around mile 12 I sent up a prayer of thanks for that!! :)

Angels Stadium was the high point for me! I had fixed the camera problem and was able to shoot some video while running, interspersed with some pictures of me in the stadium! :) As we left the stadium, I felt much better mentally. I did turn my mp3 player back on just in case (I had put it away during the run through the stadium so I could fully enjoy it!). I'm glad I did, because at the part where you run through the tunnel under the interstate, there were probably three sets of cheerleaders - screaming in the tunnel. Do you know what happens when cheerleaders scream in a tunnel??? ACK!!! Echoing cheerleaders! It was horrible! Who thought that was a good idea during mile 12?? One thing did happen towards the end that I thought was pretty cool, and maybe significant, was that at the Mile 11 marker I thought, "I'm going to do this!" At the Princess, it had been Mile 12 before I had that feeling!

I put away my mp3 player at the Mile 12 marker, since that was when we made the entrance back onto Disney property. I was looking forward to the finish, but with a mile to go, I decided to distract myself by looking for a rock to take home to Reece. When I asked the kids what they wanted me to bring them home, she said "A rock"! Can you believe I never found one?? @@ But it kept me busy until the final stretch anyway. (And I found one later at the hotel. LOL)

I was looking hard for Mom. I knew she would be disappointed if she didn't get pictures of me at the end of the race. We had agreed I'd be on the right hand side so I was running on that side and looking and looking in the crowds... and then all of a sudden, there were no more people on the right side. They all had to be on the left! ACK! So I started looking for her on the left, and I found her, right behind an ASI photographer! I made my way over to the other side as quickly as I could and waved and smiled as best as I could... then headed for the finish! I was relieved to get there, but I don't think the picture will turn out good as someone bumped into me at the end trying to get past me.

I didn't cry this time, like I did at the end of the Princess. I picked up my DL Half medal, and then went over to get my Coast to Coast Medal. When they put the Coast to Coast medal on me, I looked down at it and said to myself (or maybe out loud), "This is what I came here for!" As a side note, the medal is much, much prettier than it looked online!! :) Physically, I was OK, but mentally I was completely wiped out. Just utterly wiped out. In a funny twist, I actually finished 3 and a half minutes faster than at the Princess - 2:23:25, officially. I would have liked to have finished under 2:15, but I'm also satisfied with the time I ran.

I made my way through the refreshments, picked up some water and a banana, then went to get my bag and find mom at the H tent. There were no ROTErs there, but we hung around and waited while I called home, stretched, and put my crocs sandals on. I would have waited longer, but we only had one day left for the parks and quite a bit to accomplish. I also really needed a shower to clear my head!!

I don't think I will be doing this particular race again! LOL I have my Coast to Coast medal now, which is all that matters! The trip itself was fantastic, and I had a wonderful time alone with my mom. And I'm so glad that I got to experience Disneyland and California Adventure! But think I'd rather spend my energies at Disney World! I AM also pretty hooked on meeting up with the ROTErs again! I think I will feel more comfortable seeing everyone again, and maybe I could get to more of the rallies to spend time getting to know folks. I really wish I could manage to do the WDW full Marathon in 2011, but financially that just won't be possible. I will have to stick with aiming for it in 2012, like I have planned!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Coast to Coast Challenge!

Disneyland Half Marathon Training - By the Numbers

I did this sort of post right before the Princess Half Marathon (you can see that post here) and I thought it would be fun to do it again!

Since I'm a numbers person, I thought I would tally up all the time/distance I have clocked during this 14 week training program! Because I don't time myself during swimming, I'm using an estimation based on how long I'm usually in the water. I'm not including the 13.1 miles or the time spent running the half-marathon itself! :)

Total Cross-Training Minutes = 928 (15:28:00)
Ballet minutes - 90
Biking minutes - 598
Swimming minutes (estimated) - 240

Total Running Minutes = 2159 (35:59:00)
*Does not include time spent in warm up/cool down walking or form drills, or driving
to and from the park for the long runs

Miles on the bike = 123

Miles in the pool =
3

Miles run as part of the training program = 204.70
*Does not include distance walked in warm up/cool down or form drills

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting closer!

I haven't had much time to update this week, and I was actually not wanting to talk much about the race anyway. A couple of weeks ago, my leg started hurting - the right leg (my "trouble" leg) down on the side of my shin. It really peaked after Monday's run this week. I've been so worried that I would not be able to finish the race. I've been really scared. Since Monday, I've been icing my leg 3 times a day, and taking ibuprofen right before bed. It didn't hurt on Tuesday during my bike ride, but it did bother me throughout the rest of the day. However, yesterday was better, and it was a rest day which was sure to help. Today would be the real test as I would have to run on it again. I planned to go back to my old mantra of "low and slow" and see how everything felt. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no pain or even discomfort at all. Of course, I averaged 11:33 miles, so I was slower than a turtle - but that's OK! The only thing that matters is crossing the finish line on Sunday and getting my Coast to Coast medal!

I started packing last night, which is very late for me. I wasn't able to pack too much because I still need things for today and tomorrow. But that's OK, too. I packed what I could, and the rest can wait. We're not leaving until late tomorrow night anyway so I have plenty of time!

I can't believe the race is only 3 days away! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Training: Week 13

Just a week to go!! I'm getting really excited!

Monday - 40 minute run
Tuesday - 32 minute bike ride
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 40 minute run, plus form drills
Friday - 1/2 mile swim
Saturday - 5 mile run
Sunday - rest

It was a good week of training! It's funny when I start tapering because after running 60 minutes at a time, 40 minutes feels so short. It's almost like I don't even get warmed up before time is up! This last week the runs are only 30 minutes long, except for the last one which is only 20 minutes! I won't know what to do with all my time in the mornings! :)

I made the decision on what to wear during the race: the sparkle skirt with the black singlet! Who would have thought that would be the EASY "what to wear" decision?!? I know I'll wear track pants on the plane, because they are the most comfortable. But I'm finding myself wavering on what to wear in the parks on Saturday and Sunday! Some of the ladies on the ROTE board mentioned wearing running skirts in the parks because they are comfortable and wicking. But as of now the forecast for Saturday and Sunday shows highs of 79/78 and lows of 60 and 59!! That's 15-20 degrees cooler than I'm used to, and I'm a cold-natured person! I'm thinking I need to stick with track pants for Saturday and Sunday as well, with Disney tees, and a long-sleeve shirt and/or hoodie for Sunday night. But I'm afraid I'll be too warm. I just don't know what the southern California weather will feel like! Such a strange feeling this is. I don't usually worry so much about what I'm wearing. But I guess you have to find something to obsess over during Taper Madness, huh?!

I'm going to start packing on Wednesday, so I can have a better idea of the forecast. It seems very, very late for me - I like to pack about a week in advance to be able to mull it over and make sure I'm not forgetting anything! LOL

Final Race Instructions were posted yesterday - that also makes it feel so real! I need to print off all my paperwork and pull it together. It's really hard to focus on much of anything right now, besides the race (you know, like homeschooling my children LOL). I'm hoping that by starting to do some of these tasks, it'll settle my brain a bit. I've been waking up around 2 AM each night with my mind racing!

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Minnie-like??

I think I'm going to have to go with the black singlet with the skirt!! Doesn't it look totally Minnie?? Oh, and please ignore what I look like... I had just gotten home from my run and Riley woke up so I shoved the camera in her sleepy hands! LOL

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Training: Week 12

This was one of those weeks where I had to listen to my body and practice flexibility in my training program! Saturday evening and into Sunday morning last week I started feeling like I was coming down with something. By Tuesday morning, it had knocked me out completely! Here's what training looked like as I attempted to recover:

Monday - rest (sick)
Tuesday - rest (sick)
Wednesday - rest (scheduled, but still sick)
Thursday - 50 minute run
Friday - 30 minute bike ride
Saturday - 8 mile run (plus about another half mile running to get out of the pouring rain)
Sunday - rest

It was horrible being sick so close to the race. All in all I took 4 days off. I don't think I've taken 4 days off in a row since I began running!! I was really afraid that my training would suffer, and it did, but only slightly. My breathing capacity has been reduced because of the congestion, so it felt much harder to run - even though I was running the same pace as before. I probably should have focused more on running a slower pace, but I've been REALLY struggling with my pacing this time around.

I can't believe the race is only 2 weeks away! I can't believe I haven't started packing already! LOL Everything has been so busy around my house, I just haven't had time to start yet. I think next weekend, once the weather forecast for southern California is posted, I'll get out my suitcase (Disney, of course) and start packing! :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time to Sparkle

I forgot to mention that my Sparkle Skirt finally arrived!! It's a great fit, the shorts do not ride up at all, and it's very swishy!

Reece took a picture of me in it, and wanted me to do "fancy hands"! LOL



I'm not sure if I'm going to do the white singlet or my new black one. The black would go better with my headband, so I'm leaning towards that. But white might make it easier for my mom to see me for photographs.

I got to wear it today for my 8 mile run, but it was pouring rain, so it wasn't an ideal test. The shorts did stay down, which is a first for any running skirt I've worn. Monday is supposed to be nice weather so I'll wear it again in the neighborhood and see how it does! I'm not foreseeing any problems!

One minor issue was with the color... I didn't wash it first, and in the rain yesterday, the color bled onto my socks, shoes, and the part of my white singlet. I have my singlet and socks soaking in the washer in Oxyclean right now. If the red doesn't come out of the singlet, I guess I'll have to wear the black one during the race. We'll just have to see! (Edited to add: the dye came out of the singlet, but not the socks! But after wearing the black singlet today, I think I actually prefer it!!)



One step closer!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Training - Week 11

Here it is!! The pinnacle week for my half-marathon training!!!

Monday - 60 minute run
Tuesday - 30 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 1/4 mile swim (split the cross-training into two days so I could get some swimming in)
Thursday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Friday - 1/2 mile swim
Saturday - 10 MILE RUN!!
Sunday - rest

I went into the week marveling at how easy training had been this time around. How I hadn't really felt bad like I did last time. Well, by the end of the week, I was feeling like an idiot for boasting about that! LOL Training hit me hard, both mentally and physically. We also started back to school this week, which surely didn't help. And I had several projects around the house that needed to be finished. It was overwhelming!

And it seemed like everything was going bad... I hurt my leg on Monday during a project, and then the weather forecast was calling for thunderstorms, and I found out on Thursday that my new skirt would not be here in time to test it on 10 miles. It seemed like everything was going wrong.

But this morning when I woke up for my 10 mile run, the forecast had changed and the storms were going to hold off. My leg was feeling much better, and I was assured by my fellow "MouSKIRTeers" that an 8 mile run next week would be sufficient to test my new skirt! I got my 10 miles in, and while it wasn't easy, I did it!

So now the tapering begins! Let's hope Taper Madness doesn't set in too badly! LOL

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Training: Week 10

Into the double digits of the training plan!!

Monday - 60 minute run
Tuesday - 40 minute bike ride
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Friday - 1/2 mile swim
Saturday - 6. 6 mile run
Sunday - rest

This week's training went very well! I had to make an important decision this week with regards to my training, and I think I made the right one. You see, I've been trying to knock out 5 pounds that just won't seem to go away. I know my body is capable of losing them, because I was down there back in the winter. But over the last 6 months or so, those 5 pounds have attached themselves to me, and they won't budge. I've been really watching what I eat, and of course I know I'm getting enough exercise, but the scale mocks me. So I was trying to limit what I eat even more... and I think it was having a negative impact on my ability to train. I remembered what I read in Marathoning for Mortals about training time not being a good time to try to lose weight, so I decided to listen to my body. If I felt hungry, I'd drink a glass of water, and if I was still hungry after 30 minutes, I would eat something. I don't know if it's mental or not, but my training went much, much better this week. I guess I'll have to work on those pounds after my half marathons are over.

Overall, training is going very well this time around - better than last time, I think. During my training for the Princess Half, my muscles would shake all night and I wasn't sleeping well. And while I was running, I was worried and focused on, "Can I do this? Will I get swept?" This time I know I can do it, and I think my fitness level is higher than it was then, and I enjoy my runs a lot more (at least as much as I can during this nasty hot and humid weather! LOL). I'm finding myself much more excited than nervous, and that makes it a LOT more fun!!

On a very exciting note, yesterday I downloaded my waiver for the DL Half and discovered my bib number: #5881!! It's not an even number which is a little disconcerting, but if you add up the digits, you get 22, and that IS an even number. Also, this will be my 2nd half and my 2nd Disney race, so there you get the 2-2. I think that will work just fine!

The race is 4 weeks from tomorrow!!! :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Training: Week 9

End of July already! Now I can say I'm running in Disneyland "next month"! 5 weeks from today! WOOHOO!

Monday - 50 minute run
Tuesday - swam 16 laps (1/2 mile)
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Friday - swam 16 laps (1/2 mile)
Saturday - 8 mile run
Sunday - rest

I swam twice this week since I knew I likely won't get to swim this coming week because of jury duty. Tuesday the swimming went really, really well - but then on Friday it was dreadful. @@

Running was dreadful this week. It doesn't matter how early I get up, it's just too darn hot and humid to enjoy it.

I'm starting to really feel my training now. I have to wear supportive shoes all the time now, or my feet start to ache. I remember this happening last time, too, but it was easier to wear shoes because it was cold out! :) During the summer I want to go barefoot all the time or wear my little crocs. And I can - if I want my feet to pay the price. Ugh.

Here are July's totals :
Running - 72.34 miles
Cycling - 51.13 miles
Swimming - 2 miles

One would think I'd be able to eat whatever I want, huh? Sorry... I'm craving pretzel M&Ms! LOL

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Your attention please

We interrupt this usually rather quiet blog for a midweek post:

Someone please remind me to never again train for a half marathon in the summer. Unless I move to Alaska. Or Maine.

Never. Ever. Ever. Ever.


That is all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Training: Week 8

How amazing that the race is 6 weeks from today! I can't believe how fast it's going!

Monday - 50 minute run/swam 8 laps (1/4 mile)
Tuesday - 40 minute bike ride
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 50 minute run plus form drills
Friday - 30 minute bike ride/swam 16 laps (1/2 mile)
Saturday - 4.4 mile run
Sunday - rest

I was pleased to get swimming in this week! A friend of mine has taken up Couch to 5K and she's also started swimming, so twice this week we met to let our kids play and swim while we got our lap swimming in! She is a super fast swimmer, so as soon as her endurance builds, she will be dominating the swimming. I think I've convinced her to do the My First Triathlon with me next spring!! I think it would be so much fun to have a big group of ladies doing it together! :)

Friday's 16 laps was the most I have ever done before. I was excited that I was actually able to do it! I did 4 sets of 3 laps, then the last set I did 4 laps! I remember just a few months ago when 2 laps made me feel like I was going to drown! I think next time I will try to do 4 sets of 4 laps. I have only been doing 8 laps which is the distance I will need for the triathlon, but I think I will keep working on 16 laps. It sure can't hurt to be able to complete twice the distance, especially since the swimming will be at the lake instead of a pool.

Running this week went well, despite the heat and humidity. We've been having heat advisories all week - heat index in the 105-110 range. On Friday when we left the pool, my car said it was 105 outside. That's just miserable! I go running at dawn and it's already dreadfully hot and humid. I'll really be glad when it's fall.

So this was the last week of dropping back in distance before taper madness! It's 3 weeks of hard work from here! I know I can do it, but I admit to being nervous about doing it in this weather! The key will be to stay hydrated! :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Training: Week 7

I'm now officially halfway through training! It's so exciting!!

Monday - run 50 minutes
Tuesday - bike 40 minutes
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - run 45 minutes, plus form drills
Friday - bike 34 minutes
Saturday - 7 mile run
Sunday - rest

This week was a good one for training, though I didn't get to go to the pool to do any laps. We were really busy with appointments and activities, and didn't get to the pool even once. :( I'm hoping to get to the pool this coming Friday since my "long run" on Saturday will only be 4 miles!

I got my outfit/costume all ready for the race! I'm going to be wearing a white singlet, a red athletic skirt from RunningSkirts.com, a black bondi band, and a Minnie Mouse headband. It's going to be very, very cute! There is a chance that the ROTE runners will be able to order a red sequined skirt from SparkleSkirts.com, but it will all depend on how fast they can get them in. It would have to be to me within 2 weeks so I could at least do my 8 miler and 10 miler in it to make sure there are no issues. We'll just have to see. Sparkles would be way too cute, but plain red will be fine as well! :)

On to the last half of training!!