Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is it "Marathon" or is it "Disney World Marathon"?

Not long after I ran the Princess Half Marathon last year, I got to thinking about running a full marathon. I got a little distracted by the Coast-to-Coast medal pursuit, however, so "Marathon" took a seat in the dark recesses of my mind. Then, shortly after the Coast-to-Coast was in my greedy little hands, the "Half Fanatics" thing happened... and "Marathon" sat back there patiently waiting its turn.

Now that I have a few months before I have to start training for the triathlon in June, my mind has become fixated on "Marathon". I've reduced my 2011 running schedule so I can put aside money for the Disney World Marathon in 2012. I lurked on the ROTE boards for the WDW2011 Marathon Weekend and was envious of the wonderful plans everyone was making. When the weekend arrived, I cheered my fellow ROTErs on via computer messages! And I knew I needed to be there in 2012.

But, then came the nasty day when I had to work on our 2011 budget. Like most folks out there, our budget has been hit hard by rising gas prices, rising energy prices, rising food prices, rising everything prices. My running money comes from my gas budget... whatever money I don't spend on gas that particular week can go to pay for race entry fees, gear, etc. That's how I paid for the Princess 2010 trip.

But gas was over $1 a gallon cheaper then. And now I wonder if I will be able to afford to make the trip. I can drive down to Florida rather than fly, to save money. I could stay off property, to save money. I could not go to to parks (GASP!) to save money. I could bring my own food for meals, to save money. Would that be enough?

Then a few days ago I posted a link on my FB page to the top 10 Marathons for Beginners, asking everyone to guess the other marathon that's on my list (besides Disney). It's the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. I learned about it from ROTE (of course!) and watched the very end of the race last year when an 80 year old man was fighting his way to the finish line. It drew me in and I decided I needed to do that race one day. Well, my aunt who lives in the DC area guessed that race and offered free room, board, and ground transportation if I wanted to run the race this year (or any year).

WOW! I could meet my goal of running a full marathon before I'm "The Age Which Shall Not Be Named"! And I could do it for a fraction of the cost of the Disney World Marathon.

But it's not Disney. It's not running through Animal Kingdom - my favorite of all 4 Disney parks. It's not "Running Through the Castle"! ;)

What to do? Will I be forever disappointed that I didn't get to run my first marathon at Disney World? Is it a "Marathon" that I want to do before I'm "TAWSNBN" or is it the "Disney Marathon" that my heart is set upon?

I have a little less than a month to decide. MCM registration begins on 2/23, and it sells out fairly quickly from what I understand.

What would you do, my running friends? And my non-running friends! LOL

Friday, January 21, 2011

The January BLAHS

This week has just been awful for running. I did my 'long run' on Sunday instead of Saturday last week because I took my son to the Nascar Hall of Fame on Saturday. That was a really long drive (4 hours each way, including stopping for food) plus the time spent at the Hall of Fame. Then Saturday night my littlest was up all night with an ear infection. It was a pretty day at the park for a run on Sunday, though. The trail was still a little covered with ice/snow so we had to be careful. I was planning to just do 5 but caught my BFF at the end of her last long run before her Half Fanatic qualifier, so I just finished up with her. I think it ended up being a little more than 5.5 miles.

Monday I ran my regular 4, and it was miserable. Pure and simple. Ick. Tuesday was a dreadful day and I felt really poorly, so I didn't end up doing anything at all. Thus ending my participation in the 100 day challenge. Oh well. I think I do enough exercise on a regular basis to make up for it! LOL

Wednesday I ran my regular 4 miles again and it was dreadful yet again. How discouraging.

Yesterday (Thursday) I felt much better physically, so I got up and did Level 1 of Jillian's 30 Day Shred. Then last night was ballet class, where we learned how to do pirouettes - or rather, "Let's see Jen try to spin around on one leg and NOT fall over". It was interesting to say the least.

When I got home last night my right knee was really aching, and it's still doing it today. I'm hoping that it's just a little over-exertion. That knee is always the one that cues me in on when I'm doing too much or going too fast. I'm planning to hit the pool today, so hoping that the water will stretch it out and help it feel better. I've got 7-8 miles planned for tomorrow and a bike ride on Sunday afternoon.

But the Princess Half is 5 weeks from Sunday, so I won't push it! Of course, I don't feel like I've been pushing it, but my knee is telling me otherwise. :( I still can't believe I'm going to be "Running Through the Castle" again!!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let me RUN!!

We got a snow and ice storm this past Monday in metro Atlanta. Being that this is Georgia, 6 inches of snow coated with a 1/4 inch layer of ice means everything shuts down. Completely! In fact, the public schools have already canceled for tomorrow - they have been closed for the entire week!!

It's pretty, though, isn't it? The above picture is the view from our front porch to the entrance of our neighborhood right before sunrise. It really is beautiful!

Except when your county doesn't own snow plows. And the forecast calls for highs of 30 and lows of 16. And there is no sun shining. Basically it means that all that stuff... that beautiful snow that took on a layer of ice about 90 minutes after I took that picture... it sticks around! And you stay put in your house!

But we were fine. We had food - made that emergency rush to the grocery on Sunday evening to get milk, bread, eggs, and TP like a good Southern mama!! And we had power so we had heat - though I also bought some firewood because we did an ice storm a decade ago where we lost power and had no fireplace in our apartment and turned into icicles for a day.

What I did not have was a treadmill. After my trip to the grocery, I came home and changed into running clothes and met my BFF at the park. Despite the fact that we had done 10 miles the day before, we both wanted to get in another run before the storm came! :) So Monday I was OK. I did some yoga on the Wii Fit Plus to stretch out my sore muscles while keeping up with the 100 day challenge put forth by The Penguin.

Tuesday I decided to break out the 30-day Shred DVD that my BFF had given me. I did Level 1, and I don't care for Jillian Michaels any more than I did before. My BFF might dump me if she knew, but I think Jillian looks and sounds like a man. I don't want to have her body. And she drives me insane telling me to work harder when she barely does 2 of each exercise before she gets up to show her "best girls" doing the workouts. Whatever. The workout does make me sweat, and I have nothing else to do that would even come close.

Wednesday I was really starting to long for the road. The sun came out and I hoped that it would melt the snow and ice on our road which was about 50% clear, but unfortunately, the temperatures just didn't get warm enough. I again turned to Jillian and her Shred. I did Level 2 this time for the first time just to have something new. I was apprehensive because I remember this level kicking my BFFs butt when she started it. It was hard, and I stuck to the beginner modifications, and I did get my butt kicked. Jillian also told me not to "phone it in" which just might make me throw one of my hand weights at the TV. But, alas, we don't have enough money to replace my husband's TV so I had to grumble at her through my teeth.

Now we're on today (Thursday) and the sun was shining and the forecast called for a balmy 33 degrees. I eagerly watched the ice melt and hoped that I would be able to make it through my neighborhood. My husband had gone to work today and said the roads were "OK", but he wasn't sure. I didn't want to take a chance of injuring myself and screwing up my trip to the Princess Half next month, but I was desperate. The idea of meeting Jillian a third day in a row made me want to scream. And besides, I was still sore! But Wii Fit Yoga just didn't call to me, either. I knew Friday would be warmer, but I want to hit the pool tomorrow! Running today and Saturday would be ideal, and would allow for swimming on Friday and biking perhaps on Sunday. I just NEEDED to run today.

Around 2:30 I went outside and walked to the end of the road and decided that it was clear enough to venture out! HOORAY!! I finished up lessons with Austin and hit the roads. It was a rough run, and I'll blame Jillian for that. My legs felt like mush and it was really hard to move them. I struggled to break 10 minute miles and I think it was the 4th mile (out of 4!!) before I finally hit 9:46. Oh well, at least I was running! The neighborhood looked really good. The grass was still mostly covered in ice, but the roads were clear. There was one cul de sac that was impassable so I skipped it, and there were 2 areas of shade where there was slush and/or ice so I just avoided it. All in all, it was great to be back outside and on the road! :)

And now I should be able to swim tomorrow, assuming the pools will be open again! :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Looking back... and looking forward!

2010 was a huge year for me with regards to my running. I ran my first half-marathon!! And then I went on to run three more - and within 82 days of each other, to qualify me for Half Fanatics status! At the beginning of the year I had only ever run about 6.6 miles for my longest run... now that distance feels relatively 'short'! :)

I'll never forget the day I ran 10 miles for the first time - and how scared I was, and how proud I was when I did it!

I'll never, EVER forget my first half-marathon! I actually cried when I crossed the finish line.

I still can't believe that I went all the way to California and earned the Coast-to-Coast medal!! Sometimes that doesn't even seem real!

I'm excited to tackle some new challenges in 2011! The biggest one is, of course, the triathlon in June. I'm nervous, but I recognize it as the same sort of nervous I get before a big event - I'm sure Ill be able to complete it. It may not be pretty, and it definitely won't be fast, but I know I can do it! Training for that will begin in April.

I'm also doing the Warrior Dash this year, in May. That's going to be a lot of fun. My goal for that one is to avoid getting the sort of injury that Heather at RunFasterMommy got! LOL I don't want to have to miss the triathlon. But I do hope I end up with a really cool picture like she did of me jumping over the fire! ;)

Finally, I hope to begin full marathon training at the end of August. My goal is the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon in January (the 2011 version is taking place this weekend and I'm so envious of all my ROTE friends who are participating!). I'm nervous about being able to afford to make the trip, however. I use whatever gas money is left over from the amount I have budgeted for myself each week to pay for races, but unfortunately, gas prices have risen steadily recently. At least I have a full 12 months to save up for this trip. I really don't have a desire to run a full marathon anywhere but WDW, but I would also really love to have one under my belt before I hit that most horrible of birthday milestones in April of 2012.

We'll have to see how it all plays out... maybe that's incentive to keep reading my blog, right? Will she? Or won't she? LOL

Happy New Year!! Run hard!!