Sunday, March 28, 2010

Recovery: Week 3

This was the last week of recovery from the Princess Half. I did feel noticeably stronger all week, which was a very good thing. I was hoping the "jello leg" feeling wouldn't last forever! LOL

Monday - 40 minute run
Tuesday - 35 minute bike ride (cross training)
Wednesday - 40 minute run
Thursday - 75 minute ballet class
Friday - rest
Saturday - 5 mile run
Sunday - rest

I find myself in a strange situation now... I have two 10Ks and a few 5Ks scheduled over the next few months. But I don't have any particular training plan to follow. I really, really like the comfort of a schedule! So I'm going to try to come up with my own schedule for the spring. I really want to get out and do some bike riding outside of my neighborhood, which means I'll have to do it on a weekend. The owner of the bike store where I got my bike mentioned to me that they have ladies' only bike rides on Saturday mornings, and I would love to try that. But first I'd like to get a few rides under my belt that don't involve the 1.5 mile loop that is my neighborhood! LOL I am still very nervous on my bike, especially when I go faster, like on a downhill.

I would also like to get us back to the swimming pool. The kids and I usually swim all winter, but with training for the half-marathon, my only cross-training days were not days that were convenient for getting to the pool. So I'll add a swimming day back into our routine, and then during the summer we'll swim a lot. I wish there was a plan like Couch to 5K for swimming! I am not a good swimmer at all, but I hope the regular practice will help that.

So my week will include a couple of days of running, a couple of days of swimming, and a couple of days of biking - and until the middle of May, my ballet class! :) I'm not sure how long of each of those I will set out to do. I will have a longer bike ride and a longer run on the weekends, but during the week, I'm leaning towards 3 mile runs and 30 minutes or so on the bike. With the pool... no clue at all how to work that! I'll play it by ear!

Still can't believe I trained for, completed, and recovered from a half-marathon! WOW!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Recovery: Week 2

I had to change up this week's planned schedule just a little bit to accommodate a busy week. Here's what it ended up looking like:

Monday - 30 minute run
Tuesday - 30 minute bike ride (cross training)
Wednesday - 40 minute run
Thursday - 75 minute ballet class (cross training)
Friday - 4 mile endurance run
Saturday - rest
Sunday - rest

This weekend has been busy, and I knew I would not be able to fit in any running, so I went ahead and ran on Friday. It was so hard to try to run 18 hours after ballet class! My legs felt like jello! Thankfully, the weather was absolutely gorgeous to make up for it! :)

One more week of recovery to go!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recovery: Week 1

Sorry this is so delayed! I came home to one of the busiest periods in my family's year! :)

As part of the half-marathon training program I used, there was also a 3 week recovery plan for after the half, beginning the day after the half-marathon. Here is what that first week looked like for me:

Monday - rest
Tuesday - rest (there was 20 minutes of cross-training on the schedule, but I decided that all the walking around I did at Disney World on Sunday and Monday, plus walking through the Orlando and Atlanta airports counted as enough cross-training for me LOL)
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class (the schedule called for a 30 minute run)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 3 mile run (first run post-half marathon!!)
Sunday - rest

I can't even begin to describe how tired I was upon returning home. I don't know if it was the half-marathon exertion, the mental release, all the walking around I did going to the parks, or exactly what it was! But I honestly could not even think about putting my running shoes back on without feeling queasy. I was a little afraid that I would try to run on Saturday and end up just standing there, unable to run. Like I had used up all my running ability! LOL Thankfully, when I went out to the park on Saturday morning, I had no trouble at all! It was quite a relief!

Physically, that first week was also very difficult. I wasn't very sore, but I had a really hard time regulating my body temperature and managing my appetite. I was either really cold or sweating, and I was either starving or had no appetite at all. It was very strange.

Overall, I think the first week of recovery went very well. I had no idea what to expect from my body after that level of exertion! I think walking through the parks after the race was the best thing I could have done.

I'm halfway through Week 2 of recovery and will post that report on Sunday! :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Race Report: Princess Half Marathon

It's hard to even know where to begin!

We had to get on a bus by 4AM, and since I didn't want to be late, I wanted to get to the bus stop around 3:30. My plan was to wake up at 3, but I hadn't slept well the entire trip, and I was up long before then. I decided to get out of bed at 2:50 and start getting ready. The alarms went off at 3 AM and Jan got up, too. Once we were all dressed, we took some pictures, and put on our warm layers and headed out! It was really cold, but not as bad as I had feared. The line for the bus, however, was much longer than I had anticipated! I was nervous, but Disney kept the buses coming quickly!

The ride to Epcot was exciting, and the bus was nice and warm, which proved to be problem. Once we got off the bus, I was SO much colder than I had been before. We followed the crowds to the family reunion area and looked around for the folks from the Running of the Ears board, but it was dark and cold, and I couldn't find anyone. We decided to go ahead and check our bags and head to the runner's area.

Around 5 AM, after having stood outside in the cold for 45 minutes, we started the long walk to the corrals. I personally think they should have included that distance in our 13.1 mile total! LOL I'm not sure how far it was, but it took a good 15-20 minutes. We hit the porta-potties one last time, and made our way to Corral B. There was lots of entertainment going on around us... music being played and we were encouraged to dance along. There was the Electric Slide, Macarena, Cupid Shuffle, and a couple of other songs that I wasn't familiar with (but may have to download!).

I was really surprised with how quickly the time seemed to pass. Before long, the fairy godmother came out to get us started! The first Corral started at 6:00 and we were scheduled to start at 6:07. I wasn't as nervous as I was expecting to be. I usually get very, very nervous before the start of a race! But this time I was excited, but not terribly nervous. I'm not sure why! Maybe I was too cold to be nervous?!

Right on time, our Corral began the race (and we got fireworks at our start, too, just like corral A! If I had known that, I would have had my camera ready!). My body was so cold and tight - it was really hard to move. I had stretched in the corral, but I guess either I stretched too early, or the cold was just too much. It took me a good mile before I could move better. I had never raced in such a large group of people, but it wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. Maybe the wave start makes a big difference? There were only a couple of places where I felt a little bit crowded. I did lose Jan fairly early, and didn't see her again until after the race was over, so I was on my own.

I had planned to divide the race into 3 segments: 5 miles-5 miles-5K. That worked well for me. It made the long distance much more manageable. The first 5 mile segment was the trip to Magic Kingdom, and it literally flew by! I couldn't believe how fast it seemed to go. I had intended to go 11:30 pace, and overall I did, considering how slowly I started. The closer I got to MK the faster I was going. It also didn't help that it was flat in Florida and I'm used to training on hills.

I dumped my hoodie and mittens as I ran into MK, so that the pictures would look cuter! It was a little chilly still, but really not too bad. The run through MK was nothing short of magical! The crowd on Main Street USA was overwhelming, and running through the castle is something I will never ever forget (especially since I videoed it! LOL). As we were coming out of MK, I saw Peter Pan and Wendy and stopped for my first character picture. There had been a few other characters before that, but none that I was too interested in. I had stopped to take a couple of pictures before then, of the Speedway for Austin, and of the sign entering MK, but this was my first character stop! :)

Now I was in the second 5 mile segment, and heading back to Epcot. My feet had begun to hurt which was very unusual. They never hurt during my training. I wonder if it had anything to do with the amount of walking I had done on Thursday evening-Saturday evening going to all the parks and Downtown Disney. I also noticed that I was still off pace. I had planned an 11:00 pace for the second five miles, but too often I would look down at my watch and find myself going much faster. My calves were also starting to hurt, and I started noticing lots of people stopping to stretch. I took that as my cue to really guard my pace, because I knew I had the overpass and on-ramp still ahead of me. This was a really, really boring part of the race. We had been through MK, and there wasn't as much to look at on the way back, except for the golf course. There seemed to be fewer characters.

I did run into a lady with a R.O.T.E. shirt on, and said hi to her. She told me her name but I totally forgot it. I do remember that she told me she is the owner of R.O.T.E. and then she saw a character she needed a picture with and she was off! :) A little while later I came up on a lady who was wearing the same outfit as me, except she was braver and had not worn anything under her singlet!!

We got back to the place where the pirate ship was, but this time the pirates were in the road! I stopped to take my picture with my mateys. I am definitely much more of a pirate girl than a pricess girl, I'm afraid! :) I had just left the pirates when I noticed Captain Jack standing in the middle of the road, all by his onesey. I stopped to take a picture of him and he posed quite nicely for me. Late on when Jan passed him he had someone there taking pictures for you, so she got her picture WITH him. Totally unfair! LOL After I took his picture I said, "Jack! Where you been all my life?" He replied, not missing a beat, "Right 'ere, love!" I think my heart skipped a beat! Boy did that help me with the rest of the race! ;)

It was time for the last 5K... 3.1 miles to go, and the point where I had never run that far before in my life. It was also time for the dreaded on-ramps and overpass. Truly, the on-ramps were harder because of the banking. It felt strange and uncomfortable to run like that. The overpass was totally fine for me - it was about the same incline as the big hill in the back of my neighborhood and only slightly longer. I could see how it would pose a great challenge to those not used to training on hills, though, especially at that point in the race!

My plan for the last 5K was to let go and just run however fast I could! My calves weren't as tight by that point, and I just kept myself pushing forward. I stopped for one more character picture with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen (from The Princess and the Frog). After that, I didn't want to stop again for fear I wouldn't be able to start again! LOL But they were right before mile 12. Once I saw that mile 12 marker, I KNEW I'd be able to finish!

Heading back toward the finish line was absolutely amazing. I knew there were people around me and people in the stands cheering, but all I was really aware of was me at that point. I had done it! I had run a half-marathon, just like I set out to do! 16 months before that day, such a thought would never have crossed my mind! I raised my arms above my head in victory as I crossed the finish line, and then I started to cry. When the volunteer lady put the medal around my neck I started to cry again! I got out my phone and texted, "I did it!" to my family and friends. I knew that if I had tried to talk at that moment, it would have been a garbled mess. I just needed to be alone with my thoughts right then, to reflect on the moment and the accomplishment. Even now I find it hard to put into words how I felt crossing the finish line, and how I feel now a few days later. It's a very deep feeling, and very personal - nearly impossible to describe!

I'll just have to leave it at this: I'm a half-marathon finisher! :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I DID IT!!


Will put more details up later on, but just wanted to let everyone know that I did it! My chip time was 2:26:55. I simply cannot believe I finished in under 2 and a half hours!! That far surpassed my goals! :) It was incredible! (Though honestly right now it feels quite surreal, almost like it didn't actually happen. It's sort of weird and hard to describe! LOL)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Training: The Last Week!

I can't believe it's the last week of training! The half-marathon is less than 3 days away now! It's been a really long road to get to this point, not just with the training program, but with starting running back in 2008 with this half-marathon as my goal!

Here is this week's schedule:

Monday - 30 minute run (10:30 pace)
Tuesday - Walk Strong DVD (cross training)
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 30 minute run (12:12 pace), plus form drills
Friday - rest
Saturday - 20 minute easy jog
Sunday - HALF MARATHON!!

As you can see, my pacing continued to be off on Monday. But I was determined today to get it under control. I left the mp3 player at home, and set out in the cold and sun. I was rewarded for my efforts with an excellent run and beautiful (albeit chilly) weather. It was around 34 when I left, but the birds were out in full force! I think they must have Spring Fever like we all do down south! It was lovely to hear them singing, except for the one whose call sounded more like, "Move it move it move it"! He startled me! :)

I'm so glad I ran this morning, and even moreso that I left the tunes at home. I've been so incredibly nervous all week, but this morning's run really helped me!

Check back next week for race details and pictures! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Taper Madness: Charging

No, not credit cards.

All of the electronics I need to take with me on my trip are all plugged in and charging.

And this trip, I won't forget to take my cell phone charger with me! LOL

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Taper Madness: Training by the numbers

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! The minutes include Thursday's 30 minute run and Saturday's 20 minute run, with an estimation of my distance including in the miles total. I'm not including the 13.1 miles or the time spent running the half-marathon itself! :)

Total Cross-Training Minutes = 1088 (18:08)
Ballet minutes - 540
Biking minutes - 192
Wii Fit Yoga minutes - 206
Other cross training (DVDs) - 150

Total Running Minutes = 1964 (32:44)
*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 = 31

Miles run as part of the training program = 170
*Does not include distance walked in warm up/cool down or form drills

Monday, March 1, 2010

Taper Madness: Weather Forecasts and Sniffles

The forecast for the race on Sunday is driving me crazy! Right now, it's supposed to be 44 at the start of the race. Not bad for March, you think? But it's FLORIDA! ACK! And my outfit is a skirt and a singlet (in plain English - a tanktop). I had already planned to wear legwarmers and a hoodie for the 2 hour wait time between arrival time and the actual start of the race. But I'm not sure I can pull off a skirt and singlet in 44 degree weather, even with the sun coming up and running. I'm expecting to be done by 9AM! It won't warm up THAT much.

And I was planning to wear capri pants around the parks, but the highs are now projected to be in the low to mid 60s. That's jeans weather for me. Even the low 70s on Sunday and Monday... not that warm for cold-natured me! :)

To top it all off... my girls have colds. They haven't been sick all winter long. It has to happen this week?? I've upped my vitamins in a desperate attempt to avoid catching what they have!

My jogging journal has a space for weekly objectives. This week I wrote: "Avoid a mental breakdown."