A bit late… and clearly my blogging skills are lacking. So before I actually finish forgetting everything from the race that happened a month ago…

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Highlights:

  • FINISHING!! Finishing, finishing, finishing!
  • Finishing when it was 77 degrees before the start and 100% humidity.
  • Finishing when it was probably almost 90 and about equal humidity at the finish
  • Finishing when my training was lacking (again)
  • Finishing when I had severe stomach problems at the start
  • See a theme?????
  • Seeing TNT signs and runners (ALWAYS)
  • Being with my best friends
  • Discovering Trader Sam’s – Seriously. SERIOUSLY.
  • Short lines at Disneyland all day
  • World of Color and Radiator Springs
  • Baby cow!!!
  • People up early to cheer on the runners – spectators make such a huge difference!
  • Sponge ice “shower” at mile 6 – loved that spectator!!!
  • Fireworks to start the day!
  • Disneyland. Disney. Enough said.
  • Certain songs coming on my playlist at just the right moment – I still remember hearing I Surrender right at the start and Clarity as I entered Angel Stadium.
  • Having only one “I want to skip this song” moment in my playlist
  • Running into old friends on the course
  • The finish line!

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Best Signs:

  • $175 for a half marathon – $37.50 to go!
  • Run! Miley’s twerking!
  • Chuck Norris doesn’t believe in running, but he does believe in you.
  • I believe in you too Complete Stranger!
  • Don’t Stop Believin!
  • You still look prettier than a Disney princess!
  • Hurry Mommy! I want to go on Pirates.
  • Run ALL the miles!
  • DLF (Dead Last FInish) > DNF (Did Not Finish) > DNS (Did Not Start) – This was on a shirt.

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Lessons Learned & Low Points:

  • Train more. Just… train. I didn’t learn this last time.
  • There is a lot to be said for Group X, teaching, and strength training – I may not have run as much as I should have, but it could have been worse.
  • THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY – OMG
  • Stomach issues, serious awful stomach issues
  • Finishing slower than last year and officially slower than both years (without the stomach issue bathroom stop, I think I beat the first year)
  • Phone dying at Mile 11 – no music in an already tough time! NOOOO.
  • SORE muscles from lack of training – they’d still be sore, but they wouldn’t be THIS sore. Stuck with Disney Day Of and it was the right choice (albeit painful)
  • Don’t over hydrate (over compensated from last year’s dehydration).
  • Did better with pre-race fueling, but I think it may have been a contribution to the stomach issues
  • Book the hotel ASAP – Discovery Inn, wow. On the plus, super close and the right price. NO coffee though.
  • Eat sooner – it helped so much and we were all more energetic.
  • Gym clothes to Disneyland – best ever. Next year, denim shorts are OUT (chafing! owwww!).
  • Santa Ana River trail… still.
  • More expensive again this year – really Disney?! And you’re still not throwing in a park ticket?!
  • The same medal. AGAIN.

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All and all? Success. I’m three for three with half marathons. I nearly cried – that finish line was a hard fight. But I did it!

So, who’s ready for round four? Double Dare for 19.3??? We just might.

A quick bullet point post so that I don’t forget the little things about the race and the weekend… I should have done this after last year’s first half marathon (but since it was the FIRST, it’s definitely more clear in my mind).

Mile 1

Highlights:

  • Finishing without as much training!
  • Finishing in spite of a sprain less than four days beforehand! (I seriously did not know HOW I was going to do it when I couldn’t bear weight on Thursday.)
  • Finishing 8 minutes faster than last year!
  • Seeing TNT signs and runners
  • Being with my best friends
  • Short lines at Disneyland afterwards
  • World of Color and Radiator Springs – the parts through the park were SO much better this year!
  • Friends on the course cheering us on!
  • People in general up early to cheer on the runners.
  • Fireworks to start the day!
  • Moving up a corral this year.
  • Disneyland. Disney. Enough said.
  • Certain songs coming on my playlist at just the right moment – We’re Dancing right around mile 12, One Step at a Time after Angel Stadium, the finale from Fantasmic in the last mile, and some BodyFlow at just the right moment to distract myself from running with choreography. :)
  • The finish line!

Best Signs:

  • McKayla is NOT impressed.
  • Don’t trip. Don’t vomit. Don’t die.
  • Go Stranger Go!
  • Worst Parade EVER
  • You look like a hot mess

Lessons Learned & Low Points:

  • Train more. Just… train. (The sprained foot was not a direct result of a lack of training this year. It was a misstep on my run.)
  • There is  A LOT to be said for RICE.
  • There is a lot to be said for Group X, teaching, and strength training – I may not have run as much as I should have, but I was still in great shape.
  • SORE muscles from lack of training – they’d still be sore, but they wouldn’t be THIS sore.
  • Hydrate more (aka don’t forget your water bottle on the run EVER again).
  • Rehydrate FASTER. (Run stomach/stomach cramps/headaches are the worst)
  • More vaseline/body glide – chafing SUCKS… Better than last year, but still room for improvement.
  • Carb loading is good, but not too far out of the realm of your NORMAL diet.
  • The Ramada might be out in the future… not a great experience this time. Also, we’ll book the hotel MORE in advance next year.
  • Mimi’s Cafe is DEFINITELY out.
  • The patio is the best place to sit at Rainforest – no wait!
  • Maybe do Disneyland on MONDAY next time.
  • Losing a camera sucks (not mine, but a friend’s – with ALL our pre & post-race pictures :( people should turn in lost items.)
  • The horses. Always the horses. Smelly. No offense horses.
  • Santa Ana River trail… dull.
  • More expensive this year – really Disney?! And you’re still not throwing in a park ticket?!
  • Nike+ getting the distance (and as a result pace) wrong AGAIN this year.

All and all? Success. I’m two for two with half marathons. It was a (mostly) magical, wonderful time. (Now if only I could speed up the sore muscle process…) I think round three might be in order.

Disneyland Half 2012

I actually left most of this as a comment on this Enjoy Your Healthy Life post and decided that I should share it here on my own blog too (with a couple additions :))… many of you will already know most of this story, but it’s still an important part of why I am where I am right now.

My journey with fitness has definitely had ups and a lot of downs. I grew up dancing (tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop) and also did cheerleading for a number of years. I loved it and never thought of it as “exercise” (that was what we did in PE class and I *hated* it).

Then in college I took a couple dance classes for half credits before falling away from fitness almost all together. I walked a lot of hills AND STAIRS (my fellow Toreros will attest to that one!) on my college campus, but I almost never worked out.

Then, about a year after college, I decided to do an Olympic distance triathlon with Team in Training. I chronicled the journey here on the blog (you can read recaps in the TNT category and/or May through September 2008 archives) and it was definitely a pivotal moment. I’d always like to swim and ride bikes, but I’d always hated running… and this was all three! And far! And I’m fairly certain my parents thought I was crazy because I was the unathletic kid that hated PE growing up… heaven knows my grandparents did. :) I did it though. I finished and I was SO proud of myself. It was incredible. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my team though.

Without a race to train for though, I lost a lot of motivation and mostly kept fit with the occasional run on my own or doing ballet in my living room. I liked both, but I was lonely and not nearly as motivated without people… so I joined a gym and started going to ALL of the classes that looked interesting to me on a weekly basis – yoga, zumba, aqua zumba, turbo kick boxing, and bodypump.

I went to most of the classes with my best friend, it was something we did together and we’ve both made a ton of friends through Group X. He became a BP instructor and started teaching and I still took classes. When our gym expanded their LesMills offerings, I fell in love with BodyFlow. It combined the group dynamic I loved, with awesome music and choreography, and the format just felt like “me.” I got certified in April and I just started teaching my own class (I’d been team teaching previously) this month. I was nervous/excited when I got up at 5:15am this morning to do a final prep for class and class went SO well today! I can’t wait to teach again.

It’s a journey that’s SO far from over… both in teaching and in general fitness. And those are a journey towards discovering the truest me there is.

Releve en pointe

An old picture, a current sentiment… sometimes you just have to return to the barre to find your balance.

“Please teach me gently…”

How to be as calm as the harbor waters…

Whale Watching (13)

To be the light that guides…

Whale Watching (21)

To have and reflect strength…

USS Stennis

To not shy away…

Whale Watching (33)

To navigate safely…

Whale Watching (27)

To savor the view…

Whale Watching (31)

To know where to find shelter…

Whale Watching (2)

“…how to breathe.”

I love eyes. I always have. It’s a weird proclamation, I’ll grant you, but I do. I know people that are terrified of eyes, so I figured if they can scare you, then it’s equally allowed to have them delight you. Maybe part of it is that I see my own eyes as my best feature. I love them. It’s not JUST that though…

The thing with eyes… they really are windows. When you know a person well, words don’t matter. “I’m great.” “I’m fine.” “Things are just really busy right now.” “I just got a new job.” These are just words. You can put in subtext reading them, but without knowing the person… or SEEING the person… you lose the real context.

Is that an “I’m great!” because he or she is really great? Or is that an “I’m great!” because he or she doesn’t really want to talk about what’s going on and they don’t expect you to want to hear the answer. In text, it’s hard to say. In the eyes, and especially in the eyes of someone you know, it’s not hard at all.

That “I’m fine” could be that the person doing well, but there isn’t anything terribly exciting to share and things continue to move along. That “I’m fine” could be the end of an argument saying “I’m don’t want to talk about it anymore.” That “I’m fine” could be a fearful proclamation an I don’t want to start crying so let’s change the subject proclamation, so “how are you?”

One of my favorite things about photographing small children… their eyes show you how they SEE the world as well. A flicker of excitement at seeing an animal or a moment of devastation and tears when someone takes two steps away… flickers often take place within seconds and don’t shy away from those nearby OR the camera.

It’s been said that eyes are the windows to the soul. It’s also been said that a photograph will capture your soul… so a picture like this? Maybe it’s a little bit of both?

Striking Eyes

For more from this session, check out Tea For Two.

This road is anything but simple
Twisted like a riddle
I’ve seen high, and I’ve seen low

So loud, the voices over my doubts
Are telling me to give up
To pack up, and leave town

But even so I had to believe, oh
Impossible means nothing to me

So can you lift me up
And turn the ashes into flames
Cause I have overcome
More than words will ever say

Solitary Bloom By Breanne Leach Photography

Throughout this post, I’ll feature different parts of “Lift Me Up” by Kate Voegele. I love the lyrics and the song itself is beautiful. It also feels like the perfect companion to this post. Let me start at the beginning…

Two months ago, my best friend put a bug in my ear. Not a real bug like the kind that were likely in the vicinity of these flowers, but a metaphorical bug. An “I-think-you-can/should-do-this” bug. I laughed it off. Me? Do THAT?! No way. Not possible.

But then, the idea was planted. I’d been lifted up. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I researched and it turned out it wasn’t something I could mull over for a month or four. It was either something I had to do RIGHT NOW or wait at least a year. I decided to take a chance on myself and on what my heart was wishing for so much more desperately that I realized.

I signed up to go through training to become a LesMills BodyFlow instructor!

Yellow Sunshine by Breanne Leach Photography

And I’ve been given hope
That there’s a light on up the hall
And that a day will come when the fight is won
And I think that day has just begun, ooh

Somewhere, everybody starts there
You’re counting on a small prayer
Lost in a nightmare

But I’m here, and suddenly it’s so clear
The struggle through the long years
It’s hard for me to outrun my fears

But everything that’s worth having
Comes with trials worth withstanding

The Core by Breanne Leach Photography

Another reason this song is the perfect post companion? I first heard it during a BodyFlow class. I fell in love with it immediately… kind of like Flow itself.

I went through my initial training a little over a month ago and passed. Since then, I’ve spent even more time listening to the songs over and over (and over and over and over and over and over) again. I’ve been memorizing choreography. Studying. Scripting. Team teaching. Shadowing. I’m starting somewhere and sometimes counting on a prayer. My next step: a video assessment to finalize my certification. I know this trial, too, is worth withstanding.

I just keep reminding myself that the first time I taught the relaxation and meditation, I felt more ME than I have in ages. After each class, I have a sense of peace that I don’t get anywhere else. I’ve gained so much on my journey so far… and to paraphrase Kate, I know that it has just begun.

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