Chicago Marathon Bound!

You know you’re in for all the fun in the world when one of your dearest college friends and running pals emails you the following:

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And you had been dreaming of one of the three anyways! We threw our names in the virtual lottery hat at the eleventh hour, and then (rather impatiently) waited. Monday arrived and we stalked and stalked emails. Once Stephanie (who’s participating in Marathonpalooza™) tipped me off that she got in, N and I both checked the Athlete Center. Sure enough, we both had that coveted status:

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I shook from excitement at work the rest of the day. It’s still sinking in that I’ll be running in one of the World Marathon Majors races with a close friend, no less. I’m planning on using Hansons’ Marathon Method for training for marathon #2 (and documenting the journey here), and that will kick in after the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Festival. In the meantime, more running and pancakes in celebration!

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Are you running Chicago this fall? Any big races on your radar?

Throwback Thursday: Disney Princess Half 2013

With Disney Princess Half weekend quickly approaching, I wanted to share my experience pacing 3 good friends during last year’s half, however belated I am :)

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brooke, me and morgan!

I’ve been pals with Morgan for 9 years now…we lived together our freshman year of college and stayed close throughout four years, despite joining different sororities and not having any classes together. I’ve loved her quick wit and sense of humor, and we enjoyed the occasional workout together. Got to meet her sister Brooke on visits to campus and a previous visit to Disney, so when Princess registration came up in July 2012, we all decided to sign up together!

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brooke’s first visit with beers!

We got to enjoy a couple days in the parks, playing and eating like champs. And I introduced them to the fine art of race-cationing.

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Rule #1: stretch where you have room. even if it is in line for the monorail.

Kate arrived on Saturday, and we had survived the crazy Coronado Springs expo, cooed over the adorable shirts, and went to grab an early dinner before bed.

Before we knew it, it was 3 am. We got our peanut butter toast, some swallows of coffee at my apartment, and it was time to get out the door! Unfortunately for us, I’d chosen to drive us via Buena Vista Drive, which was a lesson in patience as four lanes slowly merged to one. Once we finally got to World Drive, it was a breeze! We dropped off our bags at gear check and shuffled the mile walk to the corrals.

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Me and Morgan!
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Skirts and tatted calves :)

We were back a little ways but settled in and ready to rock it out. The new princesses took in all the start line festivities and it was fun to share in the party atmosphere and help calm their nerves.

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And then it was our turn! And we were off! We had discussed run/walk scenarios for a 13:00 min pace, and we settled into that after getting out of the crowds at the start.

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Walking on world drive (accidental Anastasia and Drizella)
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All the fun!

It was very interesting to experience the race from the “no proof of time” corral, and I just settled back to chat with K, M, and B…help them get psyched up for Magic Kingdom and take what pictures I could for them as unofficial race paparazzi

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morgan has the princess pose down

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We made it to Magic Kingdom and strolled down Main Street due to the amount of people, but it was still very special. Wound the usual course through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, with me pointing out the characters and saying that we prob shouldn’t stop because each character line was 30 deep :| we DID, however, stop for a nice castle photo

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Except that our spectator photographer failed to get the castle in the photo (cue the sad trumpet)

And then we were passing the halfway point with Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You” blaring…a hilarious participant choice in my book. Brooke started feeling a little ill so I offered to stay with her and have Kate and Morgan keep going and we’d meet at the next aid stop. We met, and Brooke soldiered in for another mile till we got to 10, and she decided she wanted to run her own race. We agreed and told her we’d hang as close to the finish as possible once we were done. Morgan and Kate had been training together and they fell into their natural pace and I pep talked them through the last three overpasses. They were ready to take it on. We soared down the last downhill and around that world showcase promenade to be greeted by the gospel choir. It then hit M and K that they were do close to the end and we ran as fast as we could muster to the finish!

It was such a fun experience for me to share, and this run was the most time I’ve ever spent on my feet on a run to that point. 3 hours and change. Waited for B who came in not far behind and had found her inner strength to bring it home, and it was time for a celebratory shower and margarita!!

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K,M, and B in front of Spaceship Earth

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And we got to see a screening of Oz this same day! What a fun celebration!

The ladies are coming back down for more this year: M and I are taking on the Glass Slipper Challenge, while B will be earning her pink Coast 2 Coast! Greatly looking forward to it.

Do you have any tips for a first time Princess runner? Have you ever paced someone during a race?

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Courage: running Glass Slipper Challenge with #TeamLemon

Since last summer, I’ve been focusing on taking time to learn more about setting goals and understanding more of what kind of life I’d like and the woman I’d like to be. In 2014, I’ve been working on setting some crazy goals and decluttering my life and understanding where I’d like to be in a year. As I’ve been working through all of these and taking time to reflect on my life, one theme keeps coming up in each of these “exercises”.

I want to live courageously.

Courage, gutsy, generous living is so magnetic and admirable. Courage was the main reason I was drawn to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. After receiving a terrible diagnosis and undergoing so much tiring treatment, this little girl’s heart was so big that her reaction to all this was to find a way to cure childhood cancers, if not for her, then for others. And she did what she could think of as a young girl: she sold lemonade. This kind of courage and generosity is worth emulating and spreading, and I was so excited that there was a spot for me on Team Lemon to run the Glass Slipper Challenge. I’m excited to run for Alex and her family and all the other kids who have been affected and still live courageously and generously, despite the very scary prognoses.

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Would you consider joining me in my journey? Every little bit counts. Whether $5 instead of your daily latte, or $19.30 for each mile I’ll be running in this challenge. I’m at 10% of my fundraising goal and would appreciate any aid you can give in this journey to live and run courageously. This will be my first time actually running one of the runDisney challenges, but running for a cause is pumping me up and I can’t wait to share this journey with you.

Flutter to the Finish: #Tink10k recap

my marathon recap is coming, promise! Still trying to fully articulate the experience. In the meantime…

Nothing like kicking off 2014 with some racing firsts! I’ve certainly run many training 10ks but never an official race, so I was very excited when the Tinker Bell 10k was announced and signed up as soon as I could. There are a lot of interesting opinions on the 10k and I couldn’t wait to form some for myself.

My best work friend also came out from Florida to run her first race (runDisney or otherwise) longer than a 5k. We snapped a photo before heading to the start line. The great thing about the California races is how EASY it is to get to the start line; I probably could have slept an extra 20 minutes since the distance from our room at the Grand Californian to corral A was definitely shorter than the walk from the “runners’ village” at WDW. Anyways, reveled in the convenience and tried to stay warm under the Mylar. I decided I wanted to keep up with the family friend I was running with and we kind of made a race plan. Before we knew it, we were off!

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Not even halfway thru the first mile, we turn in backstage to start weaving our way through Disneyland. Had to stop for a photo with it’s a small world holiday all lit up and a restroom break for me (still haven’t mastered hydrating in California). Wove through Toontown and back to backstage with some horses from Big Thunder Ranch and Soundsational Parade floats. Next thing, we have a water stop and are rounding the corner to enter Critter Country. I’m just generally enjoying Disneyland before dawn and trying to tell my race pal about the parts of the park we haven’t seen, when we arrive at Haunted Mansion where none other than the Attic Bride and Tight Rope Walker were out for photos. I screamed and pulled over so fast, my friend didn’t know what happened. She was also new to runDisney, and I had to introduce her to stopping for fun photos. Haunted Mansion was definitely my favorite photo op.

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We continued along, still enjoying the views, found our best pals Mary Poppins and Bert by the carousel and flew around Fantasyland and Tomorrowland to wind back out on Main Street USA. Unfortunately, I’d been running with my shoulders tense, and around that time, I really felt the pain I had worked away with the chiropractor from my accident. Grabbed some bio freeze by Great moments with Mr Lincoln, and continued out to the Esplanade and into DCA. Enjoyed more DCA but took less photos this time around, until we got to my absolute favorite part: the world of color fountains. Literally worth every penny of a Disneyland race for me. Got to the halfway mark at Paradise Pier and kept rolling on thru Cars Land and a bug’s land. Turned the corner for one last stretch and this time it was the family pal who wanted photos with the Monsters U cheerleaders and Sulley. We went out for the last two miles on the streets and I told her to go ahead since I needed walk breaks.

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I hadn’t turned on intervals or music on Runkeeper, so I did fartlek-style intervals by distance and tried to enjoy and not think about the shoulder pain. To help with this, I stopped for photos of a few of my favorite course signs. I saw Mindy doing her awesome pacer thing around mile 5, and it was really fun and inspiring to see her get out to run fast with these two girls. Before I knew it, we were on Katella, running past the Sparkle Athletic cheer squad and there was the mile 6 marker. My first thought was ITS ALREADY OVER? and I picked it up to sprint on in to the finish line. This one was easier to see and felt like I understood the 200m dash that was happening. Heard Carissa call my name, gave Mickey a high five, and crossed the finish.

1:06 was my official time, and considering my first marathon finish 6 days earlier and the return of the shoulder pain, I am quite proud of this debut effort.

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I grabbed some ice from the medical tent and picked up my shiny fairies medal. Walked back to the room to drop off all the finish line accoutrements, throw on a sweatshirt and ran back to the finish to watch R bring it home with her husband and in-laws. We spotted her and cheered at the 100m mark, then heard her name called at the finish and cheered as we made our way over to the reunion area.

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Snapped a quick photo and then it was time for the kids races! We took some photos before and after a successful 400m dash for the little ladies with us. All in all, a wonderful morning of running.

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cleaning up nice for a new finish line photo

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What’s your favorite character stop on a runDisney course?

WDW Marathon, by the numbers

In case you weren’t on any social media platform with me today, you probably know I finished the Walt Disney World Marathon this morning. And I cannot coherently describe right now what a wonderful race it was for me or my exceeding joy at this moment. Good luck wiping this smile off my face.

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Before I took a nap this afternoon, I jotted down some race stats that better illustrate what happened today while I’m waiting for a little more coherence:

Pre race…
Breakfast: bagel, chex mix, and tall Americano
Ritual: sit in back of corral, anxiously check social media, distract myself with Monday kaling’s masterpiece, chat with running pals im surprised to find.
Opinions on festivities: best yet. Hard to top Dave macgillivray speaking and Jeff galloway talking running etiquette.

Race by the numbers:
Character stops: 3
Roller coasters: 1
Animals petted: 2 ( sheep and pig!)
Photos of mile markers: all 26!
Bananas consumed on course: 3
Shot blocks: 15
GI Issues: 0! ( think this had to do with real food and very limited powerade)
Times I cried: 6
Times I cried tears of joy between miles 23-finish: 4
Blisters forming and popping: 2
Friends hugged at water stops: 3
Podcasts listened to: 4
Song that was a sign : many the miles at mile 25.5 (on random, where I always put it if I make a playlist for pace)
Battery charge on my phone when I crossed the finish: 1%
Things I wanted to eat after an hour: ALL OF THEM
Times I consciously felt my running happy: TOO MANY.
Times I saw Mickey Mouse: 3
Times I judged Flynn Rider: 1

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Thank you SO MUCH for the overwhelming support and virtual cheering. I can’t wait to share even more details of this race with you! Couldn’t be prouder and I know I have it all I had.

It will be worth it

Last night, while running on one of my favorite paths, which just so happens to be the home stretch of the WDW Marathon, a poem of mantras came to me in the way that thoughts do when you set them free on a run.

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It will be worth it.
It will be worth the late nights and early mornings when I was dead tired.
It will be worth minor wind burn when I don’t dress appropriately.
It will be worth each number in the training log.
It will be worth every new “this is my furthest distance yet”
It will be worth late night dreams of glorious finish line scenes and nightmares of not waking up for the start.
It will be worth the tough choices to rewrite your genetics and learn from history’s lessons.
It will be worth every plate of pasta.
It will be worth the teasing and general misunderstandings of friends and family.
It will be worth silencing self-doubt.
It will be worth the respect that 26.2 miles deserves.
It will be worth it.

#WDWMarathon Prep

I would be lying to you right now if I said I wasn’t scared of what is about to happen on Sunday. I honestly expect none of it to be pretty and to shed a few tears, but I’ve created a conservative game plan with a little optimistic kick at the end if there is energy and spunk to spare.

Fuel? CHECK.

Outfit? Still weather stalking…TBD…but knowing how tough a time I have choosing even shorts for runs, this could get interesting.

Tunes? half check? I’ve downloaded some podcasts: a few of How Stuff Works and No Meat Athlete to distract me…and will probably download the first Harry Potter in French for some real distraction (is that REALLY what male French Hermione would say?)

Self-permission to zone and reflect? 100% check. I am looking forward to this being my own race and just enjoying it as best I can.  Hoping to run into some of my pals out there and see everyone supporting and representing, but honestly? A little introspection could do a world of good for me.

Confidence? still working on it. I have not gotten the consistent training I wanted, and I am looking forward to the goal marathon that I put in the work. That will not be this race, and it scares me, but I think it’s a healthy respect, and if nothing else, will build confidence in my abilities.

I am strong and free.

In the meantime, I greatly look forward to giving back and volunteering at the other races and learning about the race management side.  And seeing and encouraging old and new pals out there on the courses.

Will you be running this weekend at the WDW Marathon weekend? Any tips for a first time marathoner a week out?

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