Saturday, February 28, 2015

Race Report - Disney Princess Half Marathon

Another February has come and (almost) gone. There was a time when February was just another winter month - cold, dreary, sometimes snowy, always just kind of there; the second month of the year where nothing much happened. But in the past few years, that's changed; it's become a month to look forward to, with some pretty awesome events. In addition to my husband's birthday (which I've been celebrating with him for 12 years now), February also holds the Disney Princess Half Marathon, which, back in 2013, was supposedly going to be a once in a lifetime experience. It's turned into a yearly event for my friends and me - this year was our 3rd and if the conversations we had after are any indication, it's not going to be our last.

So how did it go?

Disney Princess Half Marathon - Sunday, February 22, 2015
There's one problem with a race like a half marathon in February - winter weather can make it really hard to train. Between cold temperatures, rain, snow, etc. it can be really hard to make it out on the training runs. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, a treadmill could solve those issues; but I'm not a big fan of feeling like a hamster in a wheel, expending great amounts of effort and literally getting nowhere.) Weather issues and a general lack of motivation once again led to arriving at race day slightly unprepared. But, as I told myself, if I could finish the Biggest Loser Half, with the monster cemetery hill in the middle, I could handle the Princess. It wouldn't be pretty and it definitely wouldn't be a PR for the distance, but I could do it. It's Disney; there's extra magic there.

Until getting on the bus on race morning, I think Becca and I (Jen ran the 10k the day before) were planning on starting in our own corrals and running our own races. But as we sat on the bus, with the moment of going our separate ways getting closer and closer, I didn't want to do it alone. This year, I didn't really care about or need to get character pictures or to finish in a fast time; I needed my friend by my side. So we stayed together.

reflections of Space Mountain
I won't go into details of each mile - suffice it to say, some were good, some not so good, some horrible. And we got through them all, step by step, one foot in front of the other; pulling each other through the hard parts; celebrating the good parts; stopping briefly for a picture or two with the wonderful, inspiring scenery.

A few years ago, I "wasn't meant to be a runner". Then one day, totally out of the blue, I had a Forrest Gump moment and just felt like running. 

Then I got the wild idea that I wanted to do a half marathon. 

In November 2011, I ran my first. 

In February 2015, in Disney World, with one of my bestest friends by my side, I ran my 10th.
Race Stats:
Finish Time: 3:33:24 (garmin); 3:33:18 (official)
Place: Overall - 16,594 of 20,182

(remember back at the start of this post when I said this race wouldn't be a PR for the distance? Well, it wasn't. But it was a PR for the race. Yep, best Disney Princess finish time yet. Woo hoo!!)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Race Report - Winter Series 2015

Oh my poor neglected blog - usually I do my race reports close to the day of the race, but I've been a bit of slacker on the writing front lately. But enough of that, let's get to the races.

Winter Series 5k - December 7, 2014
This was the race where everything went wrong - I forgot my earbuds; I forgot my Garmin. I thought I was doomed from the start. But I improvised.

I decided I would play my music anyway and share it with the other runners; as a friend said, if they didn't like it, they could just run faster (for the record, it wasn't very loud and I doubt too many others heard it). And without my Garmin, I had no way to keep track of run/walk intervals. So with my Christmas music playing from my phone's speaker, I decided I would run when I could and walk when I had to.

I ended up running more than I thought I would. Yes, I was slow and miles (minutes?) away from breaking my 5k PR, which I set at this race way back in 2011, but it went better than I expected.

And someday, someday, I'll set a new PR. Don't know when that will be, but probably won't be until I actually start seriously trying to train to do it instead of whatever it is I'm doing these days. ;-)

Race Stats:
Finish time: 32:44 (Nike+); 32:56 (official)
Pace: 10:32mpm (Nike+);
Place: 256 of 342

Winter Series 8k - January 4, 2015
Slightly rainy weather + no training = another race where I should have been doomed from the start (although I did have the gadgets with this time). I managed to run my run intervals at a decent speed and my walk intervals were slow enough to recover, but fast enough to not slow me down too much overall. I kept a pretty consistent pace and was happy to cross the finish line in under an hour, which was something I didn't think I'd be able to do.

Race Stats:
Finish time: 59:32 (Garmin); 59:37 (official)
Pace: 11:49 (Garmin)
Place: 266 of 317

Winter Series 10k - February 1, 2015
Weekends in February mean one of the days needs to be a long run day to get ready for the Princess Half. Therefore (when you've worked for lawyers, legal-speak sneaks into normal writing every now and then), I needed to get in a double digit run on one of the 2 days of this weekend. It didn't happen on Saturday, so I planned to break it up with a few miles in the morning and then the race on Sunday afternoon. That didn't happen either.

So I got to the race early and squeezed in 3.25 miles before it started. Thankfully, it was one of those "the longer I go, the better I feel" days, so the 6.2 miles of the race went really well. I came really close to negative splits on every mile, which is awesome and something I haven't done for a while. Not gonna lie, it was hard, and I pushed myself harder than I have in a long time to do it (which caused some concern for my mother (ever the mom and ever the nurse) when she decided she needed to check  my pulse after I finished; I felt fine but, well, she's my  mom (and a nurse) so... ;-) ) Anyway, I managed my 2nd fastest 10k time.

Race Stats:
Finish Time: 1:12:29 (Garmin); 1:12:41 (official)
Pace: 11:38mpm (Garmin)
Place: 231 of 281

Series as a whole
As you can see, the theme of this year's Winter Series was apparently "Races I signed up for but  neglected to train seriously for." The 10k was a little better training-wise, because being in February, it falls into the "OMG, the Princess Half is coming up fast!" training panic time frame that hits about mid-January and makes me start taking my running a little more seriously. (Still not seriously enough, but that's another story.)

Apparently I have enough of a fitness-base to pull off these races by the skin of my teeth, but I know that if I'd just work a little bit harder, they could go so much better. Maybe 2015 will be the year that I re-find my motivation and drive to do better. Hopefully.

Series Stats:
Finish Time: 2:45:14
Place: 177 of 221

I do it all for the hoodie...