When I tell people I’m training for a half marathon, I feel like an imposter. I’m a little kid playing dress up, only instead of the doctor’s jacket or the fairy wings, I’m wearing running shoes. Remember that story about the girl that just couldn’t run across the field during soccer? The one that hated running? I usually still feel like that girl. I’m not a “runner.” I rarely have that moment of wanting to go for a run for “me time” or to clear my head, it’s not my “thing.”

“But, um, you know you’re training for a half marathon right?”
“Yes.”
“And it’s not your first one?”
“Nope.”
“I don’t get it.”

Me neither. Haha. Some more background…

When I was young, it turned out running wasn’t just hard because I didn’t run. It was actually hard. It could have been the exercise-induced asthma that my pediatrician diagnosed me with (personally I think that was a misdiagnosis after years of my inhaler providing little to no relief or assistance). It’s entirely possible that the fields of grass we played and ran on in PE were Kentucky bluegrass and I’ve just learned this year that I’m allergic. Most likely, it was the tachycardia that was disregarded by my doctors as “white coat syndrome” until after college.

I signed up for Team In Training not long after my tachycardia diagnosis. I had started taking medication to help my heart rate stay in the normal range and I was determined to train and finish. I had (have) years to make up for cardio-wise (still). But, I learned during TNT and that Olympic Distance Triathlon, that I actually COULD run. I could run and STILL breathe. It was the very first time in my life and it felt remarkable. It’s amazing how much more oxygen you can get in your system when your heart isn’t resting where most people are working. (Aside: Just recently, I was officially taken off medication. I can’t say why for sure, but I think a big part of it is hydration and the rest came from putting in the work when my heart had the help.)

“I might get it less now.”

So here’s the thing… Running is hard for me. Physically. Mentally. It can feel lonely and exhausting. I think back to all of those moments growing up where I just couldn’t do it.

I saw this shirt the other day and it feels totally accurate. Will Ariel be my Princess-inspiration for February?

I saw this shirt the other day and it feels totally accurate. Will Ariel be my Princess-inspiration for February?

But, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge. I am definitely stubborn and will push myself to finish whatever I start. If name meanings actually guide us, then that strength, that strong will and resolve, it has forged that drive to persist inside me. It’s because it’s hard for me that I run.

This quote speaks so much to me... for me.

This quote speaks so much to me… for me.

When I finished my first half marathon, with a time that would probably be considered mediocre at best by most runners, I didn’t care about the time. I was thrilled I finished. 13.1 miles! ME!! The girl that couldn’t run! When you spend your whole life believing that you’re not capable of doing something… with or without any official reason… it makes the “victory” that much sweeter.

This is my constant reminder. The turtle won the race once.

This is my constant reminder. The turtle won the race once.

And so, I continue to challenge myself to run. I pretty much have to be signed up for a race to motivate myself, but I still make that choice to sign up so that I will challenge myself to run. And now I’ll challenge myself to improve my time. I recently timed my one mile on the track for the first time since 2008 during TNT to see where I was and how to set my pace for training. It might not look like anything special, but this is probably the fastest mile I’ve ever ran. There’s a slim chance I ran one faster (by seconds only) in middle school, but I don’t think so.

9:42:49

The goals continue from here. What can training do?

And so now I have new goals for a training pace, new goals for my half in February, new goals and more goals for time going forward. I still feel like an imposter when I say I’m training for a half marathon. But truthfully…

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THIS QUOTE. Right in the feels. And like I tell my Sh’Bammers, if you dance, you’re a dancer. Do you draw? You’re an artist. (Do yourself a favor and read The Dot.)

Confession from this Non-Runner? I actually AM a runner.

I just have to believe it. For myself, but also for the kids at the hospitals I’m running FOR. If I’m running to support THEIR happily ever afters, whether they want to be runners or firefighters or ballerinas or dragon slayers, I better have the same conviction in my dream as they do in theirs.

Dream and believe in your own happily ever after… in the things you’re doing and can do. And then, will you join me in supporting the happily ever afters of the children in CMNH?  

A better question, WHY NOT the Princess Half Marathon? :)

Real talk though…

I’ve wanted to do a Coast to Coast (C2C for those in the runDisney know… never C2C for my coworkers because there will be no Cactus or work on this trip) since I finished the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2011. DL Half was my very first Disney race, my very first half marathon, my very first race that was just running and also longer than a 10K. The group of us finished and all wanted immediately to do another race and thought about C2C one day! I thought, “I’ve always said that I wanted to go to Walt Disney World one day, what better way that to combine it with a race?!” My mother is probably shaking her head laughing, because vacations and exercise just don’t go together for her and also I was the daughter that wouldn’t even run across the soccer field during games at 7 years old. Full disclosure, every Disney theme park in the world is on my life bucket list, so you better believe I was excited when I saw that Paris added a race this year. Maybe by the time I get to all of them, they’ll all have races. I’ll start saving my pennies.

Truth be told, I thought the Wine & Dine would be the race that got me my C2C. I mean, first, WINE is right there in the name. Second, a night race?! How cool!? I’m not a morning person and am definitely a night owl. I can totally get behind a 10pm race start. Florida in the fall seemed like a good plan, ya know?

But then, the stars started to align and honestly, Princess was just perfect timing.

My family was planning a trip and it was going to be in February. They were going to be at WDW on my BIRTHDAY and I would have totally regretted not being at WDW on my birthday and being in my office instead. That’s some serious devastation. I remembered there was a race in February and realized it totally lined up with the trip my family was planning. The race was sold out and it didn’t even matter because I was looking for the stars and the stars were in line. I needed the motivation, the thrill, the spontaneity… and I needed the GOOD that comes from fundraising.

And so, while I won’t don a pair of glass slippers, I will don running shoes and sweat my way through my first peak at WDW. I’m even toying with the idea of upping the glass slipper ante through CMNH. Do you have a vote of confidence for $19.30? Because 19.3 might just be the magic number.

Last week after I signed up for my half marathon, one of the first things I did was read was reflect on my past races. I read my race reports from my last two Disney Half Marathons and one of the big things that stood out was the lessons learned (especially when some of those lessons learned were learned more than once).

So, after my first official training run this weekend (and first in quite some time), I have some new and renewed lessons learned. I did four miles at the beach, alternating sprints and speed walking, and it felt okay. I definitely have work to do.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach

Lesson #1: A run is the beach is always better. The view is perfect and the air is fresh. Sometimes, but not always, it’s much cooler. It’s nice and flat along the boardwalk, but there’s an option to add in resistance in the sand. This is definitely my happy place when I run. It can’t be every run, but it’s definitely my favorite. :)

New shoes!

New shoes!

Lesson #2: Shoes matter. My gym shoes are great. I love, love, love my Cardio Ultras for Sh’Bam and BodyCombat, but they are definitely not designed for distance running. It wasn’t a painful four miles by any means, but I knew I needed to get my booty to Roadrunner to double check my stride hadn’t changed and get new shoes and insoles. I know the difference that they make and while it’s certainly an investment, it’s a worthy and important investment. I would much rather pay for new shoes and custom insoles at the start of training than pay for doctors’ visits or deal with pain later on. Plus, they’re so cute! This is my first pair of Mizunos and I’m excited to run in them.

ZipPod!

A pocket for my shoe?!

Impulse purchase!! I always tie my key fob to my shoe and it’s such a pain. I hope this will be as awesome as I expect it to be.

Final lesson???

SUNBURN!

SUNBURN!

Lesson #3: WEAR. SUNSCREEN. WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY TIME. I thought about sunscreen, I did. But then, I thought well, I’m going to go early and my run will be over before peak sun hours. I didn’t get out to the beach and find parking as early and quickly as I hoped. I still finished my run before peak hours, but then I met some friends for brunch and stayed out in the sun longer than anticipated. Sports bra tan lines are the worst and sunburns are no fun. This one doesn’t hurt so bad, but I definitely (re)learned that lesson.

I have an 8 mile race this coming Saturday that I’ve mostly just used my regular gym time as training for (see training lessons learned in past races, haha, oops). I’ll run a couple times to break in my new shoes this week before they get their big debut in the Balboa Park 8-miler. Then, it’ll be regular mileage building towards February. I’m not sure if/when I’ll adopt an official “training plan,” but for now I just plan to rebuild my base.

Fundraising Update: 21%!! I’m so thrilled and thankful for the support I’ve received so far. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I think there’s a lot of potential on the recurring donations and I hope some people will take advantage of that option. :)

You know the saying… it’s a marathon, not a sprint? In life, we can’t just jump out the gate most of the time. We have to start small and stay consistent.

What’s that other cliche? A little goes a LONG way…

Or how about everything in moderation?

How many times a week do you buy lunch? Grab a coffee or chai tea latte? Pick up an energy drink at the gym? Maybe you love your monthly manicure or that happy hour beer with your friends? It’s not that much when you’re used to spending it or when it’s just a few dollars at the time, right?

What if I told you that you could donate the SAME way?

The cost of your Venti Shaken Iced Tea (Black, No Sweetener, thanks :)) – $2.35
One iced tea a month to help CMNH for the rest of the year? $14.10
One a month until Race Weekend? $18.80

Your 6in Subway sandwich (with a drink and chips, duh) – $6ish
One lunch a week to help CMNH for the rest of the year? $36
Take me all the way to race weekend? $48

Margarita at Happy Hour (PLUS tip) – $5
Two happy hours a month for the rest of the year? $60
I can’t give up two this month, but two a month and a Dry January resolution? $85

I know we all have expenses, so I ask that you consider a very small donation, what might you not miss? And then click the monthly donation option. Carry that small amount forward through December or all the way to February. It’s a (half) marathon, not a sprint. 

And every step, every single step (and dollar), gets us closer to the finish line.

I’d like consider it “planned” that my last two posts were about Disney half marathons, but really, it’s just a lack of blogging motivation. New motivation has surfaced though!

Friends, family, internet strangers that I hope become friends, I’m starting to fundraise for the Children’s Miracle Networks Hospitals as I train for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. I promise to resurrect this blog with stories of training (I guess that means I have to train) and stories about this organization I’ve chosen to support. Check back soon! And consider a donation today! :) THANK YOU!

Click here to donate!

Click here to donate!

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…

IMG_3046

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.

IMG_3071

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

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