Sunday, March 24, 2013

Race "Report' - Joker Run

Today was a first in my racing "career". 

A couple of weeks ago, riding on the racing high that resulted from the Princess Half Marathon, I registered myself for a bunch of races - the Cleveland Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in October, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in May, and the Joker Run (4 mile) in March.

March 24, to be exact.  Today.  Right now, as I type this; well, 10 minutes from now.  But instead of standing nervously at the start line waiting for the crack of the gun, I'm sitting at my dining room table.  Yes, today I have my very first DNS (did not start).  I'm sitting this one out because I'm not prepared. That's my excuse anyway.  That and the weather.   The thought of running a race I'm not prepared for, in the cold rain, just was not appealing in the least.  If it weren't raining, would I be there?  Good question.

Whatever the answer would be, I can tell you one thing.  On the running front March has been a gigantic, huge, complete and utter fail.  Due various excuses, some legitimate, most not so legitimate, I have run a whopping 3.5 miles.  So sad.  So ridiculous.  So unnecessary. So downright lazy (at least for the days I skipped due to those not so legitimate excuses).

But the time for beating myself up about it is over.  It's time to get back at it.  It's time to renew my commitment to fitness and to running.

I've already made a start - I started the Insanity program.  And insanely, I'm actually liking it. (I have discovered that exercise videos and DVDs tend to bore me and get on my nerves. But not this one. At least not yet.) 

I'm almost done with Week 1 and though the workouts are hard, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when they're done (a feeling that was lacking with other video workouts).  In just a few days, I can already see a difference in my flexibility when doing the stretches.  My muscles are sore and feeling stronger.  

I'm hoping that Insanity will increase my overall strength and endurance and make me a stronger runner.  I'm going to have to modify the 60 days it's supposed to take to finish the program, because if the last few days of just Insanity are any indication, I'm not going to be able to do it and run on the same day.  So I'll be alternating days, running one, Insanity the next.

I have big goals for this year (some time soon, I'll tell you what they are) and if I'm going to accomplish them, I need to work.  And work hard.  No more excuses.  Just commitment.  Commitment to a better, stronger me.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Race Report - Disney Princess Half Marathon

I don't usually like to focus on what a race or run was not, but in this instance, for this race, I think it's important.  This could have been a different race.  I could have started in an earlier corral; I could have finished with a faster time.  BUT - that was not what this race was about.  This race was not about me.  It was not about running by myself.  It was not about fast times. It was not about rushing to the finish.  It was not about the quest for a new PR. 

Well, you ask, if it wasn't about those things, what was I running the race for?

For moments like this:

And this:
And this:

Moments that I would have missed if I'd run alone. Moments that I wouldn't trade for all the PR's and fast times in the world. This race was about good times; it was about friends; it was about support and encouragement; it was about fun; it was about finishing with a triumphant smile.
It started as a dream - I don't remember how I heard about the race but when I did, I thought it would be fun to try to do it someday.  In November 2011, at one of our regular girls' weekends, I made a "wouldn't it be cool if we could all go to Disney and you all could cheer me on as I run the Princess race."  As I know I've mentioned before, that statement planted a seed and grew in a way I never imagined it would - it went from friends cheering me on to friends running with me. We set a goal to do the Princess in 2013.  And before we knew it, race day was upon us.
Jen = Jessie
Becca = Jasmine
Me = Tinker Bell
The day started not-so-bright and early, with a bus to catch at the lovely hour of 3:00am.  Although it seemed ridiculously early, it was the perfect time  - we got on the bus and got to the start area with none of the issues I've heard rumors that later buses experienced.  (Big thank you to Shannon Roberts for the tip!). 
Before we knew it, it was time to head for the corrals.

hanging out before heading to our corrals

Sign on the way to corrals
corral E was the place to be

At a little after 6am, Fairy Godmother said the magic words, the fireworks went up, and we were off!  The first few miles felt easy and seemed to fly by.  We were just about at the 3 mile mark when we saw the race leaders flying by on the other side of the course. They were almost done, we had basically just started.  Jen put it all into perspective though - they may have been fast, but they were running the same race we were. It's the same start line, the same finish line, the same race.
And then we entered the Magic Kingdom.  And saw the castle.  That beautiful, wonderful, awesome castle.  I don't know how many miles we could see it, but the excitement of approaching it and running around and through it was enough to make us forget that we were running in a race, forget that our legs were getting sore and tired. We were in Disney! That's all that mattered.

There were photo ops with characters all along the course, but in the interest of time and attempting to avoid the possibility of getting swept, we didn't stop for many.  I did a few "run-by" photos tho.
Evil Queens and StepSisters

Buzz and some lovely ladies I don't know
Aladdin, dude from Mulan, Flynn Rider
Mrs. Incredible
There was one, however, that we had to stop for.  In FrontierLand, we found Jessie.  Since Jen was dressed like her, we had to stop for the pic.  Jessie was so excited when she saw Jen, she started jumping up and down.  Definitely a cool moment.
The miles from Magic Kingdom back to Epcot were a bit harder - we were tired, we hurt, it was humid.  It was a struggle, and at least for me, it became a fight for every step.  But we did it.  Soon we saw the "golf ball" as Becca's 2 year old son calls it, and we knew the finish couldn't be too far away. 
Crowds of spectators with "go random stranger" signs motivated us just enough to know we would finish.  A "great job girls!" from a sorority sister's mom handing out powerade at mile 12 was encouraging.

And then, there it was.  Mile 13 and the finish line.  We did it!  Half Marathon #1 for Becca and Jen,  #4 for me, was done.  We started, we finished!  We are Princesses! 
We are Half Marathoner Princesses!

And now for the nitty gritty - not so magical or fun details:
Physically, this race was hard for me.  I don't know if it was the lack of training (weather and other factors kept me from doing enough long runs for this one), the temperature and humidity (what training I did do was in wintry, cold conditions), the roads seemed oddly angled, the crowds (constant weaving in and out of runners and walkers), or a combination of all those (ding ding - we have a winner!!), but it was painful.  My hips and knees started hurting early.  My feet joined the soreness party somewhere around mile 9. Not sure if it was the length of time on the course that was causing my issues or if it was just a bad day physically.  I don't know if I had tried to go faster and run/walk it at my normal half marathon pace if I would have felt better, or if that would have been worse.  But a few extra sore muscles were more than worth it to be there with Becca and Jen as they ran in and finished their first half.

To run in Disney World with 2 of my best friends was an incredibly awesome experience.  Thank you to Becca and Jen for coming on this journey with me.  Can't wait to do it again!