Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Running In Review

In just a few hours it will be 2017, a new year and one more year closer to the Dopey Challenge.  The last year was my return to running events.  I was getting healthier and getting more medals again.  I signed up for a challenge as my first race back, and signed up for two more races at the beginning of this new year.

Overall, 2016 has been an interesting year when it comes to running.  I have been able to get back into it, my knees and body have held up, and I was able to complete a challenge again.  The beginning of the year I was able to train like I wanted, but when summer hit I definitely hit some road blocks.  I forgot how hard it is to train in humidity.  Luckily I found my way back into the gym where I continued to train on ellipticals and treadmills.

I had a few instances of illness that held me back as well, but overall I was able to fight through and make it to my goal of running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Remy's 10k.  I ran them even faster than I thought I would as well, beating my own expectations.

I was also able to inspire my roommate to start running and sign up for her own race.  In just a week she will be completing her first half marathon during the Walt Disney World marathon weekend.  I'm excited to share this with her and hopefully she will sign up for more races with me.  I had another friend decide to start training for a half marathon, but she was inspired by her boyfriend.  Luckily, that means we're getting the opportunity to run together in 2018... but that's for next year and the year after.

I'm excited for what 2017 has to offer.  So far, 1 more half marathon, 2 more challenges, and probably a handful of 5ks... before I know it 2018 will be here and so will the Dopey Challenge!

Christmas Week Workouts Part 2

The holidays are coming to an end tomorrow and training has been pretty good.  I didn't get a ton of runs in, but I found other ways to workout.  I really enjoy pairing holidays with workouts.  Maybe it came from my years on a club swim team where we had special workouts for the holidays (like 100x 100s on New Years Day).  I was able to get a run in on Christmas Eve that felt ok, not the best, but ok.  I missed Christmas Day because I had work, and my parents were leaving so we did a very early Christmas celebration and breakfast before returning to our normal lives.

The last week has passed in what seems like a blur.  I found a new workout program, SWORKIT, which I am really enjoying and I was able to drop all of my Christmas vacation weight even while we had a ton of junk food in the office.  The week has felt good, I've felt good.

This morning I hit the streets again and I was able to get 4 miles in.  I wanted to go longer, but it was pretty cold for Florida (it was our one day of winter), and I didn't use my inhaler so my lungs weren't the happiest.  Still I was really encouraged with how good I was feeling!  Especially since I have the Walt Disney World Half Marathon next Saturday... 1 week away.  I haven't had any decent long runs in since the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, but if I'm still feeling as good as I am now then I'll be fine.  The end might be rough, but I'll get there!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Week Workouts Part 1

Christmas is close, which means I am with my family staying at Disney... which means I get to workout at the Disney as well.  This whole week I don't have much planned in the morning except for some fastpasses in the parks, but those are all later than I would plan to run or workout anyway.

Recently I have been feeling a little tight and creaky so I decided to do some yoga the first morning.  I had a beautiful view to admire as I stretched out.  I don't think I have mentioned it before, but I found a new yoga website called Do Yoga With Me.  It's fantastic! You can pay for some of the features or if you want to donate and otherwise the videos are all free to stream.  I have really enjoyed following some of the different videos in the last few months since discovering the site.  So yes I did one of their videos while watching everyone wake up and start moving around the Boardwalk on a pretty foggy morning.

This morning I did my absolute favorite workout while staying at the Boardwalk... I ran.  I wasn't sure if I was going to have the time because we had to pack to move rooms, but I still managed to find the time to get out there and run.  It was foggy and cool and perfect.  I got a lovely 3.1 mile run in that took me to Hollywood Studios, the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, Yacht and Beach Club hotels, EPCOT, and of course the Boardwalk Hotel.

Recently I haven't been feeling good when running, but today I felt great.  Whether it was a bit of that Disney Magic sinking in or just me feeling a lot better, I don't know nor do I care.  I ran at my normal faster pace (I'm still impressed with how my pace has dropped this year) and I ran farther without walking for longer.  It helps that a good morning helps influence a good morning and good day.

To top it off, race waivers for marathon weekend came out today... which also means that bib and coral numbers are out.  I will be in Corral M of P... 14 corrals in total (counting the elite corrals as well).  There will definitely be a lot of people out there!  I'm still excited for the race, especially since I have a lot of friends running it!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Reindeer Run 2016

One of my favorite races... a race that I was not able to do for one reason or another last year.  The Reindeer Run is a quick 5k at SeaWorld Orlando.  The morning was cold and crisp, but ended up being perfect for the run.

Of course a cold front had to come in right before the race so it was pretty cold in the morning.  I love getting to races early, especially these 5ks where you have to pick up your packet and what not.  It was far too cold to linger around outside so I sheltered in my car for a bit.  Eventually I got ready for the run and made it outside to watch the sunrise come over the park.

The race was set up well, with markers for different running paces set up so people could judge where they should start.  There was a second wave of walkers/strollers that would start after the runners and a few strollers tried to make their way to the front of the start... they were promptly told about the second start.  I don't understand people sometimes, why do they have to start in the front just to be in the way of people who are faster?  When the race actually started, it actually seemed like everyone had gotten into the right spot.  There is of course the initial moving around and finding your spot, but we spread out and everyone found their spots pretty quickly.  There was the occasional person you passed and the occasional traffic points, but overall there was plenty of room to actually run.  It was quite refreshing.

I didn't know what to expect since only a week ago I was in bed too sick to do anything.  I ran on the elliptical and on the street, but I knew I wasn't 100%.  Yesterday I ended up doing a weight workout and that didn't go over too well either, but more so because I hadn't worked out like that in a little while.  So I went into this run knowing I wasn't going to run my best, but I was going to finish.

I was definitely sore, but I could run through that.  It was more of my stomach and just my overall feeling that felt terrible.  One thing would act up and then another one.  Still, I walked when I needed to.  I still pushed myself when I could and I came in sub- 30 minutes!  Which was a first... Regardless of how I am feeling from whatever hit me last week, I have definitely gotten stronger and my times are definitely getting faster.

I did forget one thing about this race... No medal.  It was a bit disappointing, I had gotten used to getting some bling.  However, at the end they have a few local businesses (and the local hospital) have booths and I was able to get a swag bag that way.  Everything from a lion stress doll to a new bag... Oh, and of course a race shirt... one that I will actually wear!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Being Busy and Running

I am still around, I promise.  Life has just gotten pretty busy with work, vacations, the holidays, etc... I'm sure you all understand.  I also spend most of the year at work and take most of my vacations around now so I'm in and out of the house and town.  Luckily, I have been running whenever I can.

I recently went back home to California, which meant I went from 80 degrees to 40-50 degrees, which is not fun for someone who likes it around 70 degrees.  And I know some of you get snow and think 40s are great, but I have avoided snow for a reason... Still, I managed one, cold outside run while I was home.  It gave me an excuse to wear long running gear!  I have to say, I love my Nike running pants.  They're soft, warm, and super comfortable to run and walk in.  The only problem is I forgot them back home and have to wait a few weeks for my parents to come out here before I get them back... Luckily, it's warm enough to still be running in capris in Florida.

I also manager to get sick... the worst I've been sick in a few years.  I was forced to be in bed for over 12 hours, only managing to get up for a trip to the restroom.  Luckily whatever it was (which is still debatable) only lasted less than 24 hours and I was back to working out two days later. That's the good thing about when I get really bed-ridden sick... I'm miserable and feel like I'm going to die, but for me it is typically quick.

I've been back in Florida for a few days now and I've been able to get back on the elliptical as well as get outside and run.  The 60-70 degree mornings have been perfect, although they are expecting a cold front for the end of this week... right in time for my Christmas themed Reindeer Run 5k this Saturday!

The Reindeer Run is one of my favorite short little races and I haven't been able to do it for the last few years.  But luckily this year I have the day off and I signed up for it as soon as I could.  So far none of my usual 5k companions are going to be able to make it, but that's fine, I love this race regardless. More updates about the run to come!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

After almost two years of not running in an runDisney race... I finally did another half marathon and while it hurt (a lot), it was a lot of fun!  I'm glad to be back running again.  I remember all the fun I used to have running at these events, but memories are nothing like living it again.

I got there early to take pictures with a friend.  Since I had taken most of my pictures before the 10k, I just sort of kept her company in the lines.  I did have to take a picture with Goofy and Donald again because they were dressed as chefs this time!

Otherwise I spent the pre-race time relaxing, stretching, and using the restroom thanks to a nervous bladder.  Eventually I made my way to my corral and because I was spending time with friends I was stuck in the back.  That was fine, though, I've started in the back before so I'm not new to the whole weaving around walkers game.

The nice part was that the first road ended up being pretty wide.  We had a few lanes so everyone spread out and I was able to set a decent pace.  My legs quickly reminded me that we had run 6.2 miles the day before and I was definitely feeling it early.  I'd get a few good patches though and felt decent at times.  I walked up the hills... I mean overpasses, and through the water stops, but for most of the race I ended up running more than I expected.  I really got into a groove and all that trust in myself I had worked on through my training came into play and my legs really did do a great job.  When I did walk, I kept up a sub-15 minutes pace, so even that training paid off!

I hit a wall somewhere between mile 9 and 10 which made miles 10 and 11 really long... especially the two on-ramps that we had to climb.  I got my las bit of energy back for mile 12 and felt good except for my knee trying to lock towards 12.5.

I didn't stop for as many pictures either.  I have pictures with most of the characters who were out and the length of the lines made me think twice about stopping.  I really don't regret it either, which is surprising considering I used to love taking pictures with all of the characters.

When I got to the finish line I was surprised to hear that I had just run my fastest half marathon according to my Nike+ app.  Later on I would discover I ran my 2nd fastest half marathon according to my official time, and that fastest time was set in 2010, when I was still training with my collegiate triathlon team!  That definitely made the finish sweeter.

I got my first medal and a Dr. Cool towel at the end of the race and walked what seemed like another mile to the challenge tent.  I was curious how they were going to decide how you actually deserved a medal.  Essentially you walked up to a table where someone was waiting for you with a laptop.  They typed in your number and approved that you deserved the challenge medal or not.  There were no extra bracelets or anything like that, just a quick check on the computer.  At least when I finished it worked out really well.

Later that night I met friends at EPCOT for the post race party.  At 7:30 there were long lines to get your bracelet for the party and they really weren't kicking non-party people out till later that night.  Considering I had to work today, I got a few things to eat and then went home.  Today I talked to some friends who stayed and said there were long lines for most things, and even part of the party where everything, including food booths, were closed!  I don't think I missed much by leaving before illuminations...

Today- 1 day later- I'm sore and the morning was a bit rough.  However, after walking around at work and later on at home, I'm starting to feel good.  My quads are a little tight, but overall pretty good.  Probably better than I should be feeling considering how bad my training was before the race.  I am excited to run the half marathon, and only the half marathon, during marathon weekend.  I'm curious to see how good I can do without being sore and continuing to improve my training again!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Wine and Dine Weekend- Remy's 10k

The weekend has finally arrived, and first off, I survived all 19.3 miles!  I'm feeling all 19.3 miles, but I survived.

It all started with the 10k Saturday morning, which actually ended up being a lot of fun and went a lot better than I was expecting.  I arrived early, and by early I mean before the race area was even open.  Considering I was driving myself, I just didn't want any unexpected delays, like road closures and things.  Since I was there so early I decided to go ahead and take some pictures before the race.  There were quite a few characters out, Mickey and Minnie, Remy and Emile, Goofy and Donald, and Lumiere.  I went shortest line to longest and was able to get everyone except Lumiere, but that was fine since I saw him at the expo.  The pictures actually came out really well!


I was in my coral staging area nice and early, which means I was practically right up against the gate. Of course, that was an hour early.  This is that magic time where you become friends with everyone around you.  I had a good time waiting, well other than the fact my body decided it needed to go to the bathroom right when the race was starting.  I was going to have to wait... They walked each corral from the staging area to the start and the front people got to hold the race tape, which was fun.  I was right behind them, and honestly I really liked my placing.

There wasn't a lot of fanfare when it came to the start.  I mean the race announcers were doing a great job, the music was going, and the atmosphere was there, but there weren't as many fire works and craziness as expected.  I assumed those were being saved for the half (and I was not disappointed!).  Luckily I was able to get around the few walkers (seriously, why do they go to the very front?) and I actually had a ton of space for the first mile or so.

The character lines were long compared to my memory of previous years and I chose to run past most.  Partially in favor of a restroom and partially because I just really wasn't interested in waiting for the character pictures.  The first few miles were all on the major roads around EPCOT so there wasn't too much entertainment, but one new thing were the massive TVs that Disney brought out and were showing clips from old Disney cartoons and current movies.  It was like watching TV on the elliptical, except I was actually moving the the screen wasn't.

Once I got into EPCOT, I was actually surprised how pretty it looked.  I'm no rookie to the parks and have seen EPCOT in all different weather and at all different times, but this was just something new for me and I just really don't know why.  There were characters in a few of the countries... ok I finally stopped for a bit for a picture with vacation Genie, but he was totally worth it!

Running around Boardwalk was a lot of fun because that is my typical vacation run.  It brought back memories of all of my family vacations, I even found the room we normally stay in!  It had rained the night before so it was a little slippery, but I think everyone was prepared for that.

We finally hit EPCOT one last time, ran past the center, by Spaceship Earth, and to the finish line, where I had excellent spacing for some great finish line pictures.

On my Nike+ app, which paused when I stopped, clocked me at 1:01.39.  Disney had me at 1:15.14.  Ya, that bathroom stop and Genie took a bit longer than expected... as well as the few other little stops.  Still, I did better than I was expecting, I felt strong, I felt good... Now I just had to prep for the half...


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wine and Dine Expo

The race is finally here... my first race in a few years.  Whether or not I think I'm ready, I am going to have to be.  Today was the first day of the expo and I was able to make it over in the early afternoon.  I was expecting it to be insane at packet pick up and the expo.  The expo was busy, but I had definitely missed those early bird crowds and everything else was pretty calm.

I quickly found my packet, got all my race shirts, and was even able to grab a picture with Lumiere and my friend before heading over to the expo.  I did have to make a quick stop at the pre-purchase room to pick up some pins.  They also had a runDisney merchandise booth so of course I had to check that area out.

Earlier runDisney had posted pictures of some of the merchandise and I had already fallen in love with one of the tank tops... the one that wasn't at the booth.  I found two other tank tops and a jacket so I wasn't completely broken hearted.  Once my loot was gathered and payed for (the painful part), we headed over to the expo.

There were a lot of great booths, but more importantly there was a bigger runDisney booth that still had a few of the shirts I had really wanted.  That was quickly added to my collection.  Of course my friend and I walked around for a bit, only really stopping at raw threads to check out their shirts.  My friend had to buy their Beer Run shirt for the race and I added a Brave tank top to my collection.

Overall, I spent more money than I wanted, but not as much as I normally do.  I'm going back tomorrow with another friend just to look around.  I figured it would be a good excuse to get my legs loose and moving for the day.  One day of rest (I think... I have nervous energy that wants another small run...), then the 10k, then the half, then party!


Monday, October 31, 2016

Colds Have The Best Timing

My first runDisney race in a few years is less than a week away and of course I'm fighting a cold.  That is how life works, isn't it?

Luckily I know it is just my sinuses so I don't need to be on hard meds this week.  However, my lungs hurt, my body is tired, but my legs are feeling strong.  It's ironic, my legs feel like they are ready for the races, but the rest of my just wants to curl back up in bed.  This happens almost twice a year, whenever the weather tries to change.  When ever the wind blows, the humidity drops, and Florida's attempt at fall arrives, my sinuses and allergies go nuts.  It's just been a while since I've had to contend with that and a race at the same time. 

I know I won't quit the race though.  The last few days of run/walking have been an overall slower pace, but still significantly under the 16 min pace.  I just have to listen to my body and know when I should be walking and when I should be running.  I have only ever had to drop out of a race, and I never want to experience that again.  I am still regretting dropping out of the race almost 10 years later and I do not need another non-finished race to be added to that list.  I'll get through these races... possibly painfully, but I will get through them!

They have started to put the medic tent and water stop signs up around Disney World which means this happening... and soon!  5 days and I'll be running... 7 days and I will be sore and feeling it, but done with hopefully 3 new medals to add to my collection!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Post-Hurricane Training

Hurricane Matthew was a little less impressive than expected for some of us in Central Florida.  By the afternoon, my roommate and I were definitely a bit stir crazy and ended up doing separate strength workouts.  Mine felt pretty good and I was feeling it in my shoulders and legs a little bit the next day.

Yesterday, the first day after the hurricane, you couldn't even tell a storm had gone through.  Around town there were some branches down, but nothing big.  It was like a regular storm had come through and that was it.  Life was back to normal almost instantly.  It was so completely back to normal that I ended up going into work, but I was able to work with a super nice family and it was a great, sunny day.

Today I was able to get out and let my legs really start working.  I was a bit sore and my feet weren't happy since I walked so much yesterday in some flats that aren't very supportive.  It's amazing how much every day shoes can affect your running.  I thought I would struggle to get 3 miles in, but instead I was able to push it and reach 4 miles, with a little bit of walking for a nice cool down at the end.

My strength is definitely coming back and I was able to hold a faster pace for longer when it came to the running intervals.  Walking was interesting as it was originally a struggle to get to the right pace, but by the end my walking was doing great while my running was getting tired.  I always have to remind myself to just get into the mind set of letting my body do this.  It knows what its doing and I'm just there for the journey.

Lumiere's Challenge is just less than a month away.  Still nervous, still unsure of how I am going to finish, but I am...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Training Through A Hurricane

I have managed to live in Florida for 5 years without any serious hurricanes.  Sure there have been some tropical storms, but nothing too major.  Finally, I have had to deal with my first major hurricane.  Hurricane Matthew decided to take a trip up the Florida coast yesterday and today.  I'm lucky enough to live in central Florida so I am dealing with winds and rain, still nothing like those living on the coast.

Growing up in California we had to deal with wild fires and earthquakes, sudden things that you can't always prepare for.  The thing about hurricanes is that you can prepare.  So of course we got food, batteries, water, etc... Yesterday we knew we had all day to prepare so I woke up, saw some clouds but also sun so I decided it was time for a run.  I figured that was on my hurricane prep list... get one last run in.  

I got a rough 3 miles in.  Running has just not been my thing lately, but I will push through it to hopefully have a decent race in about a month.  Luckily it's not a true race... it's a get to the finish line event.  The weather was nice.  It would be hot, then some wind would come through, it would be dry and then some sprinkles.  No hard rain, no nasty gusts.

Now I do love running in the rain, but between the rains and this lovely curfew that has been placed in our county, I will be staying put inside.  At some point I will be getting a strength workout in, but for now I'm watching the rain and wind from the comfort of the couch.

I think the hardest part of this hurricane has been not eating and drinking through the entire thing.  I've been doing so well this last week on my diet and yesterday was definitely not a good day for that... it was a good day for my taste buds though. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

An Unexpected Training Goal Completed

Originally I was hoping to get a long run in this weekend that would be about 5-6 miles.  However, this week got hot again and even the mornings were pretty humid.  If I didn't wake up before the sun, then the run was probably not happening, at least outside.  And of course my body decided it liked sleeping in until after the sun was up.

I spent most of my workouts in the gym, but I was definitely feeling stronger.  I was able to go farther on the elliptical and I felt really good on the treadmill.  My knee had a few issues towards the end of the workouts, but overall I felt really good.  That helped my running self-esteem for sure.

Now three days of running on machines is good, but not really that surprising for me.  The unexpected training goal was that I ran today as well, making me run 4 times in 5 days.  I did take a break one day for sleep and yoga.  I was pretty sore from pushing it on the machines (I make sure the settings aren't easy and there's still a challenge) and decided a day of stretching would be beneficial.  It paid off and this morning I felt fantastic.

The weather was gorgeous, humidity was low, and I felt great.  My legs didn't fatigue until towards the end of my 3.5 mile run and I knew I could have pushed it farther if I had been given enough time.  Unfortunately work cut into that.  I have felt good all day as well, no soreness from the run.  Maybe my endurance and strength are coming back?  I'll only know in the coming weeks.

I'm just excited I was able to get so much cardio in so close to each other.  My legs will hate me now, but they will thank me later.  We will see what next week has to bring... and the week after that... and eventually the challenge.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Getting A Little More Into It

We have had some decent mornings in central Florida, and I was hoping today's would be the same.  It was... sort of.  It was starting to get hot around around 7:00 when I left for my run, but it still wasn't too bad and there was a slight breeze.  I'm just hoping we don't completely fall back into a typical Florida summer weather pattern... I'm so sick of hot mornings.

Last week when I tried to run, 2 miles was a struggle.  I'm happy to report that I was able to hit 4 miles today.  The last mile was also a struggle, but it was double the distance of last week.  No, I will not be double my distance again next week, just adding one or two more miles.  I still have a month and a half to go to try and regain some of my endurance.

I have to say though, I'm so happy about my walking pace.  This year I really focused on keeping my walk below, or right around a 16 minute pace.  That is one thing I have constantly been successful with all summer.  I know that even if I can't finish Lumiere's Challenge by running, I should be far enough ahead, and my walk should be quick enough that I will finish regardless.

I'm still a bit nervous about the race.  I keep thinking it's next week, but I still have more time to get ready.  Of course we also have the Food and Wine festival starting, a family trip during the festival (which means lots of eating), and hopefully nicer weather will get here.  

I just need to keep reminding myself to stay positive, drink more water, eat a bit better, and trust myself.  I will get through this, I will finish my return to runDisney races, and eventually I will conquer all of my running goals!  One step at a time, one mile at a time!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I'm Still Alive!

I'm still round, I promise!

About two weeks ago I finally got the chance to go on vacation to Houston and took the entire week off to relax and spend time with a friend and their family.  It was filled with food, baseball, and some sight seeing.  I'm slightly regretting taking that time completely off of training, but the vacation was needed on so many levels.

Between a modified work schedule and school endeavors, I've been able to get back into some sort of workout routine since getting back.  I've only ran about 2 miles in the last week, but I have some decent elliptical runs planned for the weekend.  I am getting nervous about my endurance right now because Lumiere's Challenge is in about a month and a half.  It is getting close and I am no where near where I need to be.  I'l be able to finish, I'm not worried about that.  I'm more concerned with how much it is going to hurt to get to that goal.

This is one of those times I am so happy I chose to start training my walking time to be closer to that 16 minute pace runDisney requires.  That may end up being my saving grace for the weekend...

A month and a half left... time to really get going...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Staying Positive

This morning was nice, warmer than I expected, but nice.  I set out on a run that I hoped would be about 4 or 5 miles.  I really needed to start getting my outdoor runs back up to a decent mile.  I got out on the first mile... felt fine.  Then about 1.6 miles in, I started falling apart.

For the first time in a long time I found myself suffering from a side cramp.  It didn't last long, but was replaced the fatigue feelings and an uneasy stomach.  The funny part was the fatigue wasn't in my legs, it was in the rest of my body.  So overall, I just didn't feel good.  My legs felt fine and like the could run, but with the rest of my body effectively trying to shut down, I knew my goal of at least 4 miles wasn't happening.  I still need to go to work today so I couldn't completely kill myself.

I'm 2.5 months out from running Lumiere's challenge.  While I feel ok about the 10k, I'm nervous about the half marathon, especially since it's right after the 10k.  I have a recovery plan and know how I plan to run the 10k to be ready for the half, but my mileage and endurance has just never gotten up to where I wanted it to be for the race.  The mornings are starting to get nicer so I'm hoping that I will be able to build up my longer runs again, even though it feels like I'm doing so from scratch.

It's in these times that I have to think about why I'm doing all this.  There are a few main reasons... the money I've invested into running the races, the time I've invested in training runs, and the support I've gained from friends and families.  They all know and somewhat expect me to be able to run these races and here I am questioning myself.  I have to know what they know.  I can do this, I will do this. I will run Lumiere's Challenge and while it is going to hurt, I will finish.  It won't be my best time, but I have never expected it to be.  This is my return to runDisney running... this is just the beginning for another chapter of running.

Currently I'm watching the Olympic marathon and I'm finding myself excited about my race because of this one.  I never expect to be an olympic runner, but I can be my own personal running hero because I have beaten the odds in the past and I plan to do so again, and again, and again.

In the coming weeks, as I prepare for Lumiere's Challenge, I'm going to look at what really motivates me.  I'll write posts on the random to the understandable but each thing gets me moving for one reason or another.  And hopefully, writing about my motivations will help me find my feet and find my endurance again!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Running To The Dark Side

After some debate with coworkers we finally settled on another race to all run together.  Originally it was supposed to be the Glass Slipper Challenge during Princess Weekend, but then one of the guys wanted to run the challenge with us, but didn't want to do a princess themed race (can't really blame him).  So we changed our focus.  Three of us have now signed up for the Dark Side Challenge during Walt Disney World's Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.

I'm excited since this will be the first time running during the Star Wars weekend.  I was lucky enough to work last year's race, but now to get to run it and add it to my growing list of races run... I'm excited!  Not sure if we'll do costumes... that might include more convincing, but you never know.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

runDisney Virtual Run Medals

After a bit of waiting, I finally have my virtual run prizes!  Since I did the full series of 5k runs through the event I received not 3, but 4 medals.  One medal for each run and a series medal to top it off.  Then as an extra bonus, a tumbler!

I knew I was getting all five items when I signed up, but what I wasn't expecting was the size or the quality.  I was expecting possibly smaller medals and probably made out of rubber like the normal 5k medals at the real runDisney events.  I was wrong.

First, the medals were metal, which shocked me.  However, with the announcement of metal medals at other runDisney 5ks, I really shouldn't have been too surprised.  Second, the medals were huge!  I was not expecting them to be so big.  They rivaled the sizes of some of my other race medals (pictured below).

Overall, I'm very pleased with the medals and the event overall.  Would I have liked to have my medals sooner?  Of course, but they did say 30 days after the event ended and it was right around that 30 day mark so I'm definitely not complaining.  If anything, considering the quality and size of the medals, I am completely happy that I signed up for these runDisney virtual 5ks and will probably be signing up for more in the future!

Friday, July 29, 2016

FitBit Blaze

I have been the very happy owner of a FitBit for the last year and a half or so.  I've had the Charge the whole time and loved it.  I'm completely conscious of how many steps I am or am not taking each day and even challenge myself to see how soon I can hit certain amounts.  There are a few days at work I can hit 10,000 steps before lunch which I get really excited for!

However, my last Charge had some band issues and what I thought was a little tear that could last till the new year I discovered to be a big tear and what looked like band disintegrating on the inside.  Luckily I had a warranty through Best Buy (always buy the warranties...) so I decided to take it in and upgrade to FitBit's smart watch, the Blaze.

After one day... I'm even more in love.  I have a different clock face on mine (there's 4 you can choose from) and I have a black band because work is a bit picky on that.  It also gets call notifications and full text notifications.  Pretty much I can see who is calling, I think I can trigger my phone to answer the call from my watch, and I can read text messages (still have to reply on my phone).  In other words, I've been having a ton of fun with it.  The heart rate is cool, not sure how accurate it is, but as long as it is in the general range I'm happy.

I wore mine at the gym today for an elliptical workout and the heart rate was only a few beats off what the machine was claiming my heart rate was.  It also seemed to be more accurate in understanding my workout than my old Charge was.  It logged mileage, heart rate, calories burned, and steps.  Before I would have to alter a few things, but this time I just finished my workout and kept going!  I went in and started the workout, telling my Blaze I was on the elliptical, but there is also a smart workout feature that is supposed to tell when you're working out so I'm going to try that out tomorrow on my run.

There is also a feature called "FitStar" that is supposed to give you a workout if you need one.  Things like crunches, pushups, and other body weight exercises.  So essentially I will always have a workout with me regardless of where I am.  I guess this means I have no more excuses...  I'll report back on FitStar after I've been able to test it in the next week or two.

I also need to start saving up for the different bands you can get for the FitBit.  There are a few I already have my eye on, and while they aren't expensive (like $15-20), I think I've spent enough this weekend...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Medal Envy

I have medal envy... and the race hasn't even happened yet!  Regardless, I won't be running it and won't be earning this lovely medal that runDisney just released a picture of.

Yes, that's the castle to Chateau medal for those running a race in the US and the inaugural race in Paris.  I'm jealous...  I knew that race was a little out of the price range for me as right now my money is going to my new car, school, and an Alaska vacation in 2018, but that doesn't stop me from wanting the medal.

Maybe some year I'll be able to find a reason to go there for the run, or use the run as an excuse to go to Paris.  I mean, I took 3 years of French in high school and have been trying to relearn it... I should have a reason to right?  For now I'll just watch online at those lucky enough to go.  My mind will stay focused on Lumiere's challenge and all the other races I have coming up!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Water: Plain vs Enhanced

It's hot right now... really really hot.  Living in Florida is great in the so called winter because it's usually a comfortable 75 degrees or so.  However, in the summer it feels like the surface of the sun.  Working outside only makes me realize that every single day.  And running... ya running is done either really early in the morning or inside now.

Recently I was reintroduced to a hydration problem.  It's not hydrating itself as I drink plenty of water, usually 64-72 oz a day.  However, a lot of it is plain water.  I'm not sweating plain water though.  I'm sweating out salt and electrolytes as well as water.  So while I was rehydrating the water aspect, I was still getting depleted in electrolytes.

Thus last week I had what I thought was an exhaustion headache, which then led to some annoying cramping.  I was still able to function, but I was always uncomfortable.  I talked to my dad, who was a cyclist for a long time, and he mentioned he suffered the same issues when he didn't replenish his electrolytes.

I didn't want to admit that after my long athletic history that I didn't know how to properly fuel my body.  Still, I went to the store and bought various enhanced waters and electrolyte water enhancers (I bought Mio specifically...).  I started using these additions at work and guess what... no more issues!  I've felt good, definitely hydrated, and I might even get one or two more cups more of water since I've inadvertently added flavor as well.

 I don't add the Mio electrolytes to every refill of my water, but I try to get one or two a day.  I have a Propel or VitaminWater at lunch and so far it's been good.  It has also helped lessen my coke cravings since I have something tasty to drink (speaking of, that addiction has lessened quite a bit and I'm done to two or three cokes a month!).

So it goes to show, there's always something to learn and something to adjust.  My Mio drops are always in my pocket in case I need a little extra boost in the middle of the day and I have other enhanced waters ready to go after runs or at lunch.  It'll be hard to continue in winter when I don't drink as much, but hopefully the taste and the addiction to feeling good will keep me drinking plenty of water.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

New Work Schedule, New Training Schedule

My work schedule varies by the day, with late starts on my Mondays (which in the real world is a Sunday), and my early days are my Fridays (also known as Thursday).  Well with an additional product my late days are getting later, but that has been a blessing in disguise.  I have more time to work on homework and I have more of a chance to workout without worrying about when I have to leave for work.

Before I had to worry about how far I was and what time it was and that's a level of stress I just don't want on my run.  So luckily now I can get away from that and just have my morning to myself and run or workout.  This morning it was a run on a treadmill.  The speed was great, the distance was great, everything was just great!

I did go farther than the picture... I just chose to take the picture at the 5k part... 3.5 miles today, we'll see where I get tomorrow!

Also, remember that time I signed up for the runDisney virtual run series?  Ya, I totally forgot about that until last week.  I have been running 5ks the whole time, but forgot to hashtag or log them as the virtual series run.  I did go into today's run with the mindset that it was for the series so that helped me get through the treadmill workout.  So I guess today was my White Gloves 5k race!

I guess I would want runDisney to send out reminders for the different starts, especially for those signed up for all three.  I think they would probably get better tags online of people completing the runs... Otherwise, I'm excited to get my medals.  Since I signed up for all three races I have to wait for the end of the series (June 30th) before all of my medals will be sent.  Still, can't wait... More medals, more bling!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Lucky 7

For the last few weeks I have been plagued by my inability to complete my 7 mile run.  I've hit 6 a few times, run multiple days in a row, but 7 miles has always had something come up that prevents me from finishing.  A hard night the night before, what seemed to be shin splint, life in general... all prevented me from getting to that 7 mile mark.

Yesterday I woke up not feeling well at all.  I stayed in bed for a few minutes to see if my stomach would calm down, but it just didn't want to.  I decided to just go out regardless and I wouldn't care about the 7 miles and just get out for a run.  A run is a run still, regardless of the distance.

I started my run before the sun even started breaking the horizon, even though I realized that was the most humid part of the morning.  However, when that dropped it felt great.  You want to know what else felt great?  Me!  My stomach wasn't the happiest, but didn't get in the way of my running all that much.  You know what that means?  I ran 7 miles!

It's amazing how even when you don't feel well you can do more than you think.  I definitely needed more water, was a bit shaky, but I did 7 miles and that put me on a high.  Plus I got to watch a beautiful sunrise and even saw a few armadillos.

After a relaxing ice bath at home and then relaxing I felt great.  I was able to walk later that night with my roommate and today I have no feelings of soreness in my legs.  That means I did a circuit workout with some pretty decent weights and it all felt great.

Now on to miles 8 and 9 I guess...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Running At My Happy Place

It just happens that my happy place tends to also be considered one of the happiest places on Earth.  My family and I spent a few days last week at the Boardwalk resort so I have been waiting anxiously for the chance to get out and run at one of my favorite places.

I love the scenery, the peacefulness, and just the whole environment that is the Epcot Resorts, especially in the morning.  Mainly to avoid the heat, but there were some epic sunrises while I was there and they tended to happen right when I was running.

The other great part of the weekend was that I was able to get out 3 out of the 4 days we were there.  I was planning on doing all 4, but we were out pretty late that last night and I could not get out of bed for the last run.  I'll make up for it in the weeks to come.  Still, the 3 runs felt decent.  My shins and knees weren't the happiest towards the end, but I was also lacking on stretching.  I also splurged on some new shoes that I was breaking in.

I also used the first run as my virtual runDisney 5k.  That run felt the best and I actually rivaled my time from the Busch Gardens 5k that I did last November.  Now I just have to wait patiently for my medal! Of course I had to take a character picture since it was a Disney race...

My running is getting stronger and faster... I just need it to get longer and with summer setting in I think that's going to be getting harder and harder.  Hopefully I have a few more weeks before I'm really sent hiding from the humidity at the gym...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sprinklers... A Runner's Best Friend

They're always somewhere on the run, waiting for you, and when you find each other it's the best 3 seconds of your run... until you find the next one.  

There was a time when I didn't like running through sprinklers but now I look back at those times and I roll my eyes.  The avoidance was for stupid reasons too, like not getting my shoes wet.  Ya, I definitely don't care about that anymore.

On these hot summer days, I look forward to running next to some sprinklers.  It really is one of the best parts of long, hot runs.  The relief doesn't last long, but luckily I have always liked running in the morning which means there are a lot more sprinklers going.

I do wish I could just sit in some of the sprinklers and cool down in the middle of my run, but I don't really trust myself to get back up and keep going.  I guess a jump in the pool will work at the end of my run...

Here's to sprinklers!  The best little break from the heat a runner can get!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mid Way Through May

The month is already half over, which means it's a few weeks closer to all of my races.  I've had a few  rough weeks with training, not in the sense of getting out to run, but in the sense of I've had a lot going on in my regular life.  Between lots of overtime at work (which I have to take whenever I can because it's not usually offered so freely), working some special, but late night events, and trying to still be social, finding the energy to run has been tough.  The building heat isn't helping either...

I've still gotten out there and run though.  I just finished 3 days in a row this weekend and I'm hoping to do a 7 miler this weekend.  Overall I've been feeling pretty good on my runs, I just need to keep at the schedule.

The best new is that I get to run at one of my favorite places next week, Disney's Boardwalk Resort.  I love running between Epcot and Hollywood studios and it just holds quite  a few training memories over the years because regardless of what we're doing I always find time to get in at least one run.  That's also where I'm going to run my official runDisney virtual run.  I figured it was only appropriate...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Listen To Your Body

There is no one who knows your body, like you do.  When you tune into it, you can learn a lot more than any machine or doctor who just has you to listen to.
Over the years I have fought various injuries and pains in my training.  From tendonitis in my shoulders to a weird genetic thing that bothers my knees.  My physical therapists and chiropractors have been great in giving me the resources to help my problems, but it has always been me to know when there is an issued potentially when I can prevent major issues from coming up.  Part of listening to your body, is also knowing what to do when it's talking to you.

This morning I originally thought I had eaten too much at a party and wasn't going to run all that far, but then I started and this magical thing happened... I forgot all about my limits and knew that if I really wanted to, I could do a long run.  It was a beautiful day, the temperature and humidity had dropped, so why not?  Then my body reminded me why it might not be the smartest idea to just go...

At first it was my knee, which I had been able to run through in the past, but then that pain spread to my calves and felt like a shin splint threatening to develop.  So I had an inner battle all through mile 3, but decided to call it a day a little after mile 4 and calm my knees and legs down.  I figured I would relax, stretch, and let my legs recover and next week hit it hard again.

Gardening was a bit rough, but that was like doing a super long squat workout, but now my legs are feeling pretty well.  A little tight when I stretch, but not as bad as I feel like they could have been if I had pushed it more.  We'll really see if I made the right decision in the week to come...

Do I actually know if this feeling was going to develop into something worse?  Of course not, but it was a slightly painful feeling and I trust my body to give me these warning signs for a reason.  If it wasn't for learning to listen to my body I feel as though I could be a lot worse off than I am today... probably with knee surgery and what not having happened at far too young an age.

Trust yourself, only you know what's best for you

Thursday, April 28, 2016

runDisney Virtual Run

runDisney has made yet another announcement for a new race, but it's a race that's doable for pretty much everyone.  It's a virtual race, well actually the Virtual Running Shorts that includes three 5ks and of course a challenge to do all 3.  The series include the Yellow Shoes, Red Pants, and White Glove 5ks and the Running Shorts, which includes all 3 races.

Some may say that this race is just a ploy to get more money out of the runners, like myself, who are hopelessly addicted to the already expensive runDisney races.  I'm not fighting that opinion, but I'm also loving the idea of earning medals while training for these other races.  The prices aren't too crazy and just about where I'd pay for local 5ks and the one other virtual race I do.

When it comes to the virtual races, you really are just paying for a medal and it's up to your morals as to whether or not you actually run the distance required for the event.  There usually isn't a proof of time required and if you wanted to you could sit on your couch and collect the medal without doing anything.  Luckily, I don't have that issue and I'd be hitting the road one way or another so I might as well get a little reward here and there for the training and put some money towards a good cause.

I've been discussing the race with a few running groups and some of the runners are signing up and looking to give their medals to their kids.  They are using it as a reason to get their kids out there and be active, and better yet do it together as a family.  I think that has been one of the best reasons for someone signing up so far!

The first race (yellow shoes) isn't supposed to happen until May 15th so I have a little bit of time until then.  I'll actually be on Disney property during the time frame for that race so I figured I should run that 5k around my resort.  Stay tuned for that update!