Miscellaneous Links: Princess Half, etc.

I will admit something… I’ve been a little obsessed with race recaps.  I spent a lot of last week reading recaps of the Disney Princess Half-Marathon weekend. It has only made me want to do the half next year even more.  Here are those and some other things I’ve been reading.

Race recaps for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon weekend:

@ Running Tall
@ Go the Xtra Mile
@ Meals and Miles
@ Losing Weight in the City
Things You May Not Know About Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend :: lots of interesting tidbits!

As Jeff Galloway is the coach for runDisney, I decided to start poking around on his site.  He believes in run-walk-run, which is what I do on every run.  I think it’s a really good way to go, especially for beginners. Speaking of walking, I found this blog post that I thought was good for all to read: A Dirty Little Secret about Running.  While I already knew what the blog said, it still made me feel better about my chosen method of running.

Miscellaneous other things:
Planks: Beginning to Intermediate :: as part of physical therapy, I have had to do planks.  I have also been doing plank stability ball walk-outs, which are hard but fun.
Your Essential Guide to Yoga :: I’ve had a couple of people talk to me about yoga since I started, so here is a little something for those people.

@FitFluential on Twitter :: I’ve found a lot (if not all) of these links via FitFluential.  It’s been an awesome resource since I found it.

 

With that, I am off for today’s run.  Hoping for 5 strong miles.

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Mission Accomplished: 5k!

running apps

That lovely badge can now proudly be displayed as my own!  That’s right.  As of Saturday, I officially completed my very first 5k race.  My goal for so many months has finally been realized. 5k doesn’t seem like a lot.  It’s a mere 3.1 miles after all.  For someone who barely ran five seconds before this past fall, I’d say that’s something.

As I mentioned previously, the Royal Family 5k was my chosen first race.  It’s part of the Disney Princess Half-Marathon weekend which was filled with 20,000 women. Or princesses, I guess?  I figured that it was a good way to see my parents (who happen to live close to Orlando) and who wouldn’t want their first race to be at Disney?  Lucky for me, my boyfriend R, decided to come along for fun and running.

We arrived the day before the weekend’s expo and packet pick up started on Friday. The expo was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  I was nervous and the only thing about the expo that made me any less nervous was my sudden search for compression socks.  I was having problems with one of my ankles and thought those might help.  I didn’t really want to be in the middle of the race and start having problems.  I ended up with some Sigvaris athletic recovery socks, which I’ll talk about at some other time, but which seem to be very helpful!

After getting our packets and expo-ing, R and I did some Disney-related activity.  We ended up at Epcot, walking around what would end up being part of our race route.  This was also R’s first race and so it was nice for both of us to see what we were getting into.  Not that there was much chance of backing out.  We headed to bed early that night in order to be ready for our very early morning.  My mom was nice enough to be our race transportation and she was going to arrive bright and early at 5:30am.

pre-race

So nervous!

There’s me.  We arrived at Epcot before our 6:15am race-call time.  The race wasn’t supposed to start until 7am, so we had plenty of time to drink water, check out the other racers wearing costumes (lots of tutus and tiaras!), and listen to the DJ they had going.  Jeff Galloway was there and spoke a little.  Before we knew it, though, it was time to get into the corrals. There were several corrals based on pace and I was aiming for the last one before the walker/stroller/wheelchair corral, but because the “chute” itself was not wide enough and the 5000 or so people that were there were having a hard time getting into it, we ended up amongst the strollers.  When the fireworks(!!) went off signaling the race start, it was a very slow procession toward the starting line.

starting line

Start!

Once we made it to the starting line and were off, we had to maneuver behind the people walking and all those strollers.  This wasn’t altogether bad since I like to start out my runs with a nice walk to warm up, but it eventually became a problem. For some reason, I hadn’t really thought about my plan of action for getting around people.  I had concentrated so much on being physically prepared for the race that I didn’t think too much about the technicalities. As I started to actually run, I found myself outside of the path a lot of the time, trying to avoid the people walking.  The race was a bit of an obstacle course all the way through.  So many people, so many different speeds.  Sometimes it worked out in my favor and I would get behind a slower group that gave me an excuse to walk a little bit.

There were lots of awesome things about the course…

Characters

There were different Disney characters waiting at different points.

I realized pretty quickly a few of my fears were unnecessary.  For one, I was not going to be finishing last.  Secondly, despite posting a pacing requirement, it definitely was not enforced at any time that I could see (I know this is not true for the 1/2 marathon the next day since they had closed roads, etc for that).  In fact, there were people lined up wherever there were characters. Mickey and Minnie were there, Belle and the Beast, Pocahontas, some others I can’t recall.  There were also lots and lots of Disney staff cheering the runners on!  Everywhere you looked, there was another one saying “Yeah! You’re doing great!” or ringing a cowbell or clapping, high-fiving, or waving as we ran by. While I don’t carry water with me on my runs, the two water stops along the route were nice.

Eye on the prize: finish was past the globe.

So close!

Time went by so quickly.  Before I knew it, I was running under that giant “golf ball” and headed toward the finish.  I have to admit that all throughout the race I was getting pretty emotional on and off.  Here I was! I was really doing it! After all that anticipation and training, I was reaching my goal!  I held it together most of the way through, but then I saw my mom waiting near the finish line and almost lost it.  I was so grateful that she was there.  I powered through and crossed my first ever finish line at about 43:50 with a 14:03 pace.  The fact that I did it under 45 minutes was more than I could have hoped for, but had secretly wished was possible.

Finishing is winning.

I didn’t finish fast.  But I finished.  And set a personal record (that I get to beat next time).  Talk about a runner’s high!

R wasn’t too far behind me in finishing his own first 5k.  It was awesome to get to do the race together, even if we weren’t side by side the whole time. We got our medals, got our picture taken, and grabbed our recovery goodies before meeting up with my mom again.  After hugging her, I promptly started to cry. Just a little. 3.1 miles isn’t a very long, but the road to get there was. 30 years long, technically.  I’m so glad that R was there to race with me and my mom was there for support.

I couldn’t have asked for a better first 5k experience.  The race itself was easy going and full of fun.  The course was great. For those interested, here’s the map…

The red is me. The green is what Runkeeper thought was the route.

Also, here is a video I found of the 5k.  The “virtual host” shows you a bit of the race route, etc.

I am already finding other races that I want to be a part of and gearing up for a longer distance next time.  Hopefully, I will find myself a little faster and with another PR.  Can’t stop with those goals!

Running! Update!

My last few posts have been lacking a certain… something… Like running!  Lots of excitement there!

My birthday was the 19th and, as promised, I registered for my first 5k.  Lucky for me, the boyfriend agreed to run with me!  So Royal Family 5k, here we come!  I am really just beyond excited.  Now, if I could just get that pesky sister to come, too…

In light of being officially registered for the race, I got back onto the Couch-to-5k train.  I am almost done with week 5 and I am only doing it when I am running indoors on a treadmill.  I am still having some serious trouble pacing myself outdoors.  I have also been having some trouble with my asthma as well with the air getting colder.  I am going to see if breathing through something like a neck gaiter will help me since the air will be warmer that way.  I’m also going to start just using my rescue inhaler before a work-out, as is often directed for people with exercise-induced asthma. I use my maintenance inhaler every morning, but maybe that’s not enough as it gets colder.

Last week, I had the pleasure of running with different people, something I haven’t done before.  On Tuesday, I went out to a park with my friend.  He helped me on my running form and breathing techniques.  It was really eye-opening just to run with someone else who was paying attention. I felt bad as I am still slow and still walk often during runs, so he wasn’t getting much of a work out, but I benefited a lot from it.  After that, on Thanksgiving day, my stepbrother, his girlfriend, and I went out for a quick go around my sister’s neighborhood.  My stepbrother had us doing fun things like sprints and skips, etc.

I am trying to work on things two-fold.  I want increased distance and increased steady running time.  They will both come together, but I know I have done more distance when breaking up my run with walks. One way or another, I just have to keep progressing so that 5k is in the bag by February.  Even if I don’t get as far as I want, I still have to say that I am learning nothing feels better than getting out there and running.  I don’t always feel like it, but once I get going, I always feel better after.

The Long Road to 5k: The First Race Decision

I want this little badge of honor to be mine.

It’s why I’m doing Couch-to-5k to begin with, right?  A 5k is the goal.  When I first started, I think just finishing the program was my goal.  I had been dealing with my back injury for so long and was so discouraged about my lifting progress, I needed something new.  So far, running (or the equivalent to it that I am currently doing) has opened up a lot of new fascinating things, whole worlds that I never thought I’d have any interest in.  I still have a very long way to go with C25k and a whole lot more to learn, but I’m on the right track.  Now my eyes are on the next prize: my first race.

I stumbled upon the Royal Family 5k via Runner’s World (my new small obsession).  Running through Epcot? You can really do that? Sign me up! I couldn’t think of a better first race. Epcot is one of my favorite Disney parks, plus I could go and see my parents in Florida.  It’s a win-win.  My mom gets to watch me race and my reward will be her famous chicken casserole. It all makes sense.

So I decided that this should be my first race about a week ago.  Since then, I keep staring at the race page, daring myself to go ahead and register. My mom expressed some concerns about having surgery in October and racing February.  The doctor said I could get back to working out 2 weeks from surgery if everything went well. I expect that there will be some catch-up on my training, but I’m sure that if you asked me to do a 5k today I could finish.  I can walk at least as fast as the 16min/mile requirement (It must be a real race! It has a real requirement!), so even if I’m slow or have to walk part of it, I can do this.  But I don’t want to walk it.

I want to run it.