A 10K Day and Lessons Learner

I mentioned, in a previous post, about needing to run an officially-timed 10K to get a qualifying time for February’s Disney Princess Half Marathon.  It’s not really a “qualifying time”, but a race pace so that I don’t end up in the last corral with the balloon ladies.  I was only two corrals ahead of the ladies last year, which basically meant an approximately eight minute lead – not nearly enough time. The solution was to run a 10K and submit a pace. Not just any time, mind you, but a pace that was faster than the Disney Princess Marathon 16 minute mile race pace.

After a restless sleep, I woke up to an outside temperature of 24 degrees and a 30 minute drive to the race. You know when something doesn’t feel right? I’ve stressed about this race ever since I signed up for it. I made the mistake of looking at the results from previous years, after I had signed up for the race and noticed the slowest time was about a 15 minute mile, give or take a few seconds. Sure, I’ve run faster than that – in a 5K.  What if I couldn’t finish? I’ve never run outside in below freezing weather. What if I came in LAST? Horrors!

Arriving at the staging area, I realized that this was definitely a mistake of huge proportions. First, absolutely everyone looked like a Runner, not just your average every day runner, but capitol “R” runner. Everywhere I turned, all I saw was youth. What was this grandma doing here? What had I done? All I knew is that I didn’t want to be the last one over the finish line.

I discovered a few things about myself today. First, I may not be super-fast, but put me in a fast race and I can hold my own – in other words I didn’t come in last.  In fact, I finished before they opened the roads back up 90 minutes after the start of the race. Second, it’s so easy to self-doubt. What was I doing here today with all of these Runners? Guess what, I’m a runner too. Perhaps not the capital R variety, but I’m further ahead than anyone still sitting on the couch talking about running. Finally, forget about everyone else on the road. I’m not out there trying to impress anyone other than myself. I’m doing this for me.

Did I train enough? I still have a ways to go, but the good thing that came out of today. I managed a time that should surely keep me out of that last corral.

One Mile is Better than None

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I was too lazy this weekend.  Actually, I don’t know if I would call it lazy.  My daughter was working so I was babysitting both Saturday and Sunday. I guess I wouldn’t call chasing a two-year old (he’ll be 3 in February) around the house for six hours each day necessarily being lazy, but when you look at the running I got in… I spent the day chasing this two-year who managed to sneak and eat (or crumble) almost an entire half a bag of chocolate chip cookies (I kept wondering why it seemed he never seemed to finish the ONE I did give him – I finally found the pack.)  He also managed to empty almost an entire container of perfume on his bedroom floor. (They are taller than you think). Note:  quick tip from a grandmother, all of the above does result in evening 2-year old tummy troubles. Don’t turn your back or take a restroom break for a minute!

All this to say, running wasn’t a priority this weekend. I would love to blame the entire loss on my grandson, but I can’t. I’m a big girl; I have to take some of the responsibility, too.  So I did manage to sneak out the house for a minute this morning for a really short run, before my daughter left for work.  After all, one mile really is better than none at all.

ps..in the time it took me to dash this off, he managed to find a stapler (he has a knack for finding stuff, I forgot I even HAD a stapler) and one of his plastic animal toys is now dangerously close to meeting an untimely stapling. Gotta run!

How Many Days to My Next Milestone

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I took a quick peek at the Disney Princess Half Marathon website today. I find that it’s always a great wake-up call. In fact, as I’m typing this, the countdown clock says 97 days, 2 hours, 28 minutes and 29 seconds until Disney Princess Weekend. I must admit this is the second time I peeked at the clock today.  Have you ever asked yourself why you put yourself through torture? Perhaps torture is a strong word, but do you ever ask yourself, “Why, why, why?”

Is it because I’m hoping that suddenly I’ll have retroactively trained hard for the past year? I know I didn’t. Heck, you probably even know I didn’t. You have but to look at my blog posts to see that missing gap of several months to know, I didn’t.

Is it because I’m hoping that suddenly, I will be able to finish a complete run with zero walking?  Heck, I’m a grandma who just started running a couple of years ago after a hiatus that lasted, oh, a few decades?  (That’s a sneaky way of not sharing my true age, just call me grandma).

I don’t know the reason, what I do know is that clock set off a spark in me tonight that motivated me to brave the cold and freezing rain to head to the gym (bet you thought I was going to say outside).  What I do know is that I have a few hours over 97 days to be ready. I don’t have to run the entire way, I just have to finish. I’m not worried about being elite or measuring myself against anyone, just myself. If ever there was a time, it’s now, just 97 days, plus a couple of hours before my next personal victory! The two miles tonight is just a step to help get me on my way.

Ice Cream can wait for a Run

soft-serveToday was one of those iffy kind of days. Of course I woke up with the intent to be super active. My plan was to go into work and spend a couple of hours catching up while the office was quiet. From my office I was going to go for a quick run, not far, but a much needed trek. After the run, I was going to buy a new crock pot and a few healthy eating choices for the week. Sounds like a plan, right?

You know how it is, the best laid plans… Work didn’t quite go as I expected. The Internet was acting funky and almost everything I needed to do required me to access work sites – server not available. After managing to get through about three hours, it was still super-cold and windy outside by the time I left. Who wants to run when the wind was making it difficult to barely catch a breath?

Instead of the run, I headed to the store, I didn’t buy the crock pot, but managed to get some veggies and some ice cream. Technically ice cream isn’t a healthy snack, but I was thinking of it as more of a mental one.

Driving home…ah…the guilt set in (or rather guilt in the form of the vanilla ice cream in my trunk). Why did I change my plans for today? Wasn’t I the one stressing last night about getting ready for a 10K? Heavy sigh… The good thing is that we can always change our minds when we make a decision against our better judgment.

I can happily report that I went to the track, ran 1.5 miles, most of it against the wind. I’m feeling much better about myself and my decisions now. The moral of the story? Ice cream can wait…but in case you’re wondering the cold temperatures were enough to keep the ice cream safe until I got home.

Do You Pay to Race

The proof of time is due by December 1, 2014 for the 2015 Disney Princess Half-Marathon. I must admit it did send me into a bit of panic as I realized that I had not actually ran a timed-10K as I planned and the deadline is a month away. I’ve done plenty of 5K’s, but no timed-10k. How is it possible I completed a half-marathon and numerous 5K’s,  without a 10K in the mix?  Now as the clock ticks nearer to the deadline, I find myself frantically searching for a timed-10K race that is within driving distance to where I live. In fact, I was actually so desperate, I was willing to drive three hours to get to New Jersey to take part in the Biggest Loser Race. This was until I logged in and saw the race was actually tomorrow. Needless to say, a search of Active and other race sites were not producing the most fruitful results for November events I was hoping for.

As usual, when I’m working on a particularly time-sensitive task, my mind wonders. I was out to dinner with a friend talking about running. She said, she doesn’t pay to race, period. She runs, but she doesn’t believe in spending money on something she could do for free. I must admit it caused me to pause for a moment and even now as I was desperately searching for a race to spend my money on so I can get in a better corral at a race I had already spent my money on, I had to ponder.

Why do I race? I’m not really sure. What I can say, however, is that I enjoy it. Sure, it’s nice when I complete my own personal 5K’s or further, but there is something about the validation of setting a goal to cross a finish line. Sure, there are so many other things I could spend money on, but I don’t think it’s a waste. To some, they may think of it as paying $25 – $60 on a t-shirt that I’ll hardly wear, but you know…we get one go around. Pick your poison, so to speak, mine is running in a race.

Don’t Stop

Every fiber of my being told me not to go this morning. The voices said:

“I Love Lucy is on.”Don't Stop

“I have laundry to do.”

“I have to get ready for brunch this afternoon.”

The list was actually pretty long, but I’m thinking you’ve got the gist of it.

As I was lacing up my sneakers I thought:

“You just ran over 3 miles yesterday.”

“I’m supposed to get a day of rest.”

“Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow…”

Suddenly I found myself at the track:

“How did I get here?”

“I’ll just go around once.”

From the track, I headed to the road where every sign was telling me to stop.

“You’re tired.”

“Go back, you can do more tomorrow.”

“You know you can’t do this today.”

“Wait, was that a twinge?”

 “Just quit!”

As I went up the road I saw, beautiful fall colors. Heard my favorite songs on my Ipod. Solved a problem or two.

Suddenly every time I saw a stop sign. I asked, “who me? No way! Not today.”

Spoiled for the Outdoors

One of the many joys of Spring and Fall is the weather. There is nothing more enjoyable than being outdoors when there is just the slightest bit of bite to the air. I love running in cool to slightly warm weather. The only problem is just as warm turns to unbearably hot, cool ultimately turns to frigid cold. Cold and rainy usually means indoors. Indoors, you guessed it, becomes treadmill.

I never thought I would say these words, but I absolutely love outdoors – whether it’s a run or a nice long walk, it clears my head and I don’t spend time clock watching. If you’re like me, I send most of the time on the treadmill turning my head to look at the clock. Has it really only been five minutes? I think I’ll just quit at 15. Many times I manage to talk myself into staying longer, but I find it impossible to do anything over a mile on the treadmill. Even when I’m in the gym alone (I use the employee gym) and it’s just me, my music and whatever I want to watch on the two T.V.’s, I still manage to get side-tracked by the clock.

I guess I’m spoiled for the outdoors. What 60 minutes have passed already? It’s a glorious day.Outside

Second Half Marathon – 136 Days and Counting

What a sluggish month (or three)! I meant to hop back on my training plan a month ago when I turned 5(something) years old. It’s amazing how quickly time goes by. I have not written, my running has been sporadic, none of which bodes well for the woman that nearly dropped out during her first half marathon last February due to excruciating leg cramps around mile 10.

As I lounged in bed around 6:30 a.m. this morning, I decided to take a look at the Disney clock. What? 136 days until the start of Disney Princess Weekend! I could just sit here and continue to talk about “tomorrow” or today I can start to get back on track (no pun intended).

While I know that I can count on my family and friends to motivate and help keep me on track, the ultimate motivation comes from me. I think it’s time to get that vision board going, after all I’ve only got 136 days to my next half marathon weekend (and counting).

Plus it gives me the opportunity to where some of those nifty cold weather running shirts I bought on clearance last year.

Running While Sick

Who catches a cold during the summer? Believe it or not, many people do. This year, I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to fall into that cold-catching category. After a week of dealing with a massive sore throat, congestion, a temperature and the chills, the last thing I wanted to do was to go run. After signing up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon a few days ago, however, I realized that my sneakers had not hit the pavement since. Not running was definitely not a good start to utilizing the 200+ days of training, of which I need every single day. The problem is, however, how does one, or should one run when they’re sick?

I must admit I wrestled with my body and emotions for a good two hours this morning. Should I go? Should I crawl back under the covers? If I did go, just what would I be able to do? Needless to say, I spent a good hour looking for the shorts that I already knew were hanging on the back of the door. Dressed…done… Track, treadmill or street? Did it really matter? Probably not, so I headed to the track. Despite feeling like my being there was the beginning of a very bad idea, I set my timer for 30 minutes instead of a particular distance. It wasn’t too bad and before I knew it, five whole minutes had passed. It wasn’t a full out, full on run, it was more like a ¼ speed, semi-pretend jog/stroll. I know that most people would have said that I might as well have stayed home, I was actually quite proud of the 30 minutes of movement I was able to accomplish.

Agreeing with the experts (otherwise known as what I learned):

Know your limits – It’s so tempting to want to get out there like it’s just a normal day, it’s not. Trying to do too much when you’re not up to par can lead to disastrous results. Concentrate on getting better; it will make the run just that much more enjoyable.

Stay hydrated – Dehydration when you’re sick is HUGE! It could be the difference between you missing a day or missing a month.

Take the day off – One day probably won’t make or break your training plan. If you just can’t take the day off, at least make it an easy day.

If you’re older, like me, remember we don’t quite bounce back the way we used to and that’s OK. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time. We may not get to the finish line first, but we get there!

Ready, Set, Run – Disney Princess Half Marathon

I remember five short months ago as I was nearing the ten mile marker in the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I remember the mixed emotions that kept running through my mind. They ranged from “what the heck am I doing?” to “I can’t believe my legs hurt this much” to “I’m GOING to finish” to “well I’ve finished a bucket list item…never again will I ever, ever do something this crazy.”

Fast forward to almost five months later; today I was one of thousands of frantic runners trying to desperately log into the overwhelmed Disney (via Active.com) website furiously trying to register for the 2015 races. Last year, I don’t remember when I registered, but I don’t recall joining the first day fray. I’m glad I did this year because by the time I got home from work, the Disney Princess Half Marathon, the Glass Slipper Challenge and the 10K were all sold out! Registration was tough. It did take almost 45 minutes for me to successfully get through every screen after being booted out numerous times. I’m sure for RunDisney, it has nowhere to go but uphill from here (we hope).

The bottom line is that $170 is paid for the Half Marathon and to add on the fun… I also signed up for the 5K. So today is the day, the clock has started…218 days from today I’ll be at the starting line again. This time, I know what to expect. I know hydration, hydration, hydration. I know to actually do some long runs this time. I know that I need to run a 10K to add a time so that I’m hopefully not in the last corral dancing with the balloon ladies. I know what I need to do and I have 218 days to do it. Ready, set….

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