Monday, March 19, 2012

Where did all my miles go?

Well, after feeling pretty yucky all of last week (only one 2.6 mile run that I barely made it through) I was ready to get this week off to a good start!  It has turned to summer overnight here in North Carolina, with daylight until about 7:45pm and temperatures in the high 70s.  I am SO happy to be running in shorts and tank tops again, but suddenly I am a super slow poke!  I'm guessing my body is just going to need some practice to get adjusted to running in all of this humidity.  No fun, but I'll get over this hump!  Got to get ready for the Tar Heel 10 Miler on April 21! :)

Today I decided that I would run the following distances this week: 2 miles, 3 miles, 5 miles, and 10 miles.  Then I went out and ran 4 miles.  Not sure where that's going to fit in!  I'm worried that because it's been a month now since the half marathon, I might should scale back to 8 miles instead of 10 mile week and aim for 10 next week.  I would be ecstatic to get in 20 miles this week, though!  Maybe I'll switch my plan to 4 miles, 4 miles, 4 miles, 8 miles.  Hmmm, we'll see how I feel tomorrow!

But I think now I'll go do some abs...I feel like I need to work a little harder to earn a glass of wine tonight!  I averaged a 12:30 pace on the run tonight.  I wasn't too happy with it, but my legs were stiff so I was slowing down to keep the old cramps from flaring up.  I shouldn't criticize myself - I went out there and ran and even though it was slow, it felt great!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 5K

This morning I ran the St. Patrick's Day 5K here in Salisbury with my husband!  I'll be honest, at 7:30am when I was supposed to get up the bed felt super snuggly and warm and I did NOT want to go out in the cold and run!  But I finally dragged myself up around 8 and got ready to go.

The race was just about 5 minutes from our house so we didn't have a long trip.  I knew hubby would beat me at this race and I just reminded myself not to be concerned about time and to just have fun!  We did a short little warmup jog around the YMCA parking lot before starting and at 9am we were off!

It was a very small race so it wasn't too crowded.  I was definitely in the back of the pack of runners at the beginning.  But I kept reminding myself to run my own race (also I reminded myself that I just ran a half marathon, so I'm a badass) and I definitely did well.  My first mile was 11:41, followed by the second mile at 11:38, and the third mile at 10:25!!  I am pretty shocked at how well I've been doing on negative splits since the half, but I love it!  During the last half mile I picked off about 10 runners that had been in front of me the entire time.  That was a great feeling!  The last tenth of a mile was 00:54.

And...I was third place in my age group!!

I was so happy!  And there were more than 3 people in my age group, so I actually beat 3 or 4 girls!  The race was sponsored by the local fire department so there's a little fire truck on my trophy.  Hubby got third place in his age group too with a time in the 29:00-30:00 range!  He definitely beat 30 minutes and I'm so proud of him!  Doing these races together makes me so happy because I know we're building a healthy life and hopefully we'll always have a healthy family that exercised together!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Endorphins make you happy

I'm not sure if it's the endorphins or not, but I sure am feeling happy lately!  I know that exercise plays a large part of it.

Over the last year, I have distanced myself from people, shied away from social engagements, and pretty much tried to stay at home in sweatpants as much as possible.  That's all been because I've been embarrassed about the way I looked and none of my clothes fit.  Since I've been running and losing weight, all that has changed and I can't believe how amazing it feels.  I don't think I even realized how much I missed wearing cute clothes and spending time with people.

I went to visit my best friend last night for a long overdue girls night and she asked me how I'd been doing.  My response: "I feel like a new person."  Actually, I feel like a combination of brand new and the me I used to be before I gained all the weight - and this perfect blend of new/old Tina has me feeling ridiculously happy all the time!

When I was younger I remember having so much fun getting ready to go out - I'd blast music in my room and dance around while I put on makeup, styled my hair, and tried on different outfits.  The past year I've been throwing on my regular rotation of baggy clothing and putting zero effort into hair and makeup.  But now, I actually try on things the night before to decide what to wear to work...I look for cute outfits and cute accessories...I've figured out a way to style my hair in the morning without taking too much time...I enjoy going places and trying to look good again!

On top of all that happy, I had a great 5 mile run this afternoon!  I've been off work the last two days so I got to have a lovely run in the sunshine!  Back to the grind as usual tomorrow, though.

Hubby and I are doing a St. Patrick's Day 5K on Saturday here in Salisbury.  I seem to have unlocked the key to preventing my leg pain - very slow miles to start out.  It seems like I don't really warm up till mile 2, and not until mile 3 do I feel totally loose and ready to go.  I'm planning to do at least 1 mile, maybe 2, before the race on Saturday so I don't have a ridiculously slow time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mind over matter

Since the half marathon, I feel like I've overcome some huge mental hurdles in running.  I had the best run I've ever had, running 7 miles before I needed a walk break.  That was a huge deal for me!  Granted, I kept my pace very slow until mile 4 or 5, but it just felt great to know that I could run for that long.

During my first run after getting home I was still very sore and wanted to take things slow.  I staying between a 12 to 13:00 pace the entire time, not feeling guilty because I knew I was giving my muscles some recovery.  Running for 30 minutes or 3 miles straight has always been a challenge for me, and I now believe that it's a mostly mental challenge.  When I was out there, even if I felt like I was getting a little tired, I would think, "I ran 7 miles without stopping!  Why in the world would I stop now when I've only done 1 so far?"

My run yesterday was the same.  I went a little faster and actually ran over to my parents' for a short visit, so I ended up logging 3.5 miles instead of the 3 I had planned.  The weather here has been beautiful, although it turned a little cold today so I stayed inside.

I'm planning on a 10 mile run sometime next weekend...because I've already picked out my next half marathon and it's on April 14!  It's the Charlotte Racefest Half Marathon, so it's in my neck of the woods and I won't have to travel too far.  I'm sure it will be slightly more hilly and not nearly as entertaining as the Princess Half, but I'm still looking forward to it!

My husband is also getting geared up for his very first triathlon season.  Since he did the Princess Half with me he's been focused mostly on running the last few months, but now he's ready to get back in the pool and on his bike!  Seeing him go on bike rides has me thinking I might want to start biking too...hmmmm.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend - Part 3

Race recap!

We woke up at 3am on race day to get ready.  It was very early and we were pretty bleary eyed, but we got energized fast because we were excited!

The night before we picked up whole grain bagels and peanut butter from Panera Bread to have for breakfast.  We packed a little bag with these along with some bananas and water to eat once we got to the start line - we knew we'd have plenty of down time before we started.

There was a long line waiting for the buses at the hotel, but it only took about 10 minutes for us to get on the bus.  Once at Epcot there was a little party set up, complete with DJs and vendors, to entertain the Princesses until they were ready to race!  We had our breakfast and then made a quick bathroom stop, and then began the trek to the start corrals.  Lots of people complain that you have a roughly 20-minute walk to the start line for all Disney races.  I didn't think it was that bad and actually enjoyed the chance to warm up my cold muscles a little bit.  They also warn you about it in advance so you'll be prepared.

Pete was placed in Corral D and I was allowed to drop back from my corral to join him so we could start together.  We had about a 45 minute wait from the time we got to the corral before our start, so we sat on the ground and enjoyed listening to the music and to the race officials interview various Princesses.  We had worn some long sleeve shirts over our race clothes that we planned to discard (race volunteers pick these discarded clothes up and donate them to charities), so those kept us warm.  It was 50 degrees, so really not that cold, but we were glad to have them anyway.

At 5:45am, the wheelchair racer started.  Not long after, Corral A, Corral B, then Corral C...and all of a sudden, we were at the start line!

Fairy Godmother started us off with the words, "Shalamazoo, Menchickaboo, 3...2...1...GO!"  And we were off, with fireworks and everything!

Pete had told me ahead of time that he was sure I would speed off at the start and leave him alone, but I decided to stay right there with him to control my pace and hopefully avoid some leg pain.  It wasn't long before we saw the first sideline entertainment - a high school marching band!  It was really cool that those kids came out at that ridiculous hour of the morning to support all the racers.  We high-fived them as we ran past!

A little while later, we came across a pirate ship where Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbosa were posing for pictures!  They were also playing the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, which I find incredibly motivating, so I really enjoyed the stretch of road where we could hear the music!

I remember looking at Toby at various points and thinking, "Wow, I've ran half a mile and my legs don't hurt yet...Wow, we've run a mile and a half and haven't had to stop and walk... Oh my goodness, we made it to three miles and we still haven't walked!"  After the 3-mile mark, I stopped looking at Toby and being shocked that we hadn't walked yet.  We were running along a stretch of highway that led to the Magic Kingdom and on our way we saw all the villains posing for pictures - Malificent, the Queen of Hearts, Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters, Cruella DeVille, etc. - and also saw all the Disney princes!  They were fun to look at but we were focused on our run so we didn't stop for any pictures.  I did carry my camera with me for the entire race, but I didn't end up with many photos that weren't super blurry since I kept moving the whole time.  Any high quality photos in this post are professional event photos from Brightroom Photography!

It seemed like no time at all when we came upon the entrance to the Magic Kingdom!  I got really excited at that point!

Running through those gates was so much fun and at this point I forgot about distance completely.  I only checked Toby occasionally for pace and to see if we were at the castle yet, because I knew that would be between miles 5 and 6.  It was a long time after running through the gates when we actually came through a back entrance to the Magic Kingdom and suddenly we were on Main Street USA!  That was really exciting and I couldn't wipe the grin off my face!  I knew my mom was going to be here watching us so I ran close to the side near the spectators, and then we saw her!  She snapped a picture as we were running by and gave us high fives!

Then came the very best part - running through Cinderella's castle!  Mickey and Minnie were there waving and high-fiving the runners, and trumpeters on the balcony heralded our arrival!  It was definitely one of the most fun experiences I've ever had.

We ran through Tomorrowland and Frontierland, spotting Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story on the way. 

Far too soon we were out of Magic Kingdom, and this is when I started paying more attention to the distance.  I was still feeling good and told myself I wouldn't take a walk break until we at least passed 6.55 miles, the halfway point.  Around 7 miles I knew I was ready for a short break and I also wanted to eat the Gu I was carrying in my pocket.  Pete said he didn't want to walk so I told him to keep going.  I ate my Gu pretty quickly and could see Pete easily in front of me, so I decided to speed up a little to catch him!  This actually proved to be very easy because right at this point there were speakers playing Stronger by Kelly Clarkson, which has been my theme song of late, so it gave me the extra push I needed!

From that point on we were retracing our steps back to Epcot and saw lots of the same characters we had already seen, like Jack Sparrow and the princes.

At mile 7.5, Pete and I both said that we had reached our tired point.  We started taking walk breaks for a minute or so every time we passed a water station so we could drink our water and recover a little bit.  We kept trucking along, and it was around mile 10 that I really started to get tired.

I don't remember what characters we saw from that point on, but I do remember that we hit 10 miles in under 2 hours and I was incredibly excited about that!  I knew that my 2:30:00 goal was within reach, but I was feeling so tired I was wondering if I had enough left in me to speed through the last 30 minutes.  I decided not to worry about the total time, because the overall run had been so amazing and so good for me that I was proud no matter what my finish time.  Pete probably could have sped up and finished in 2:30:00, but he was a sweetheart and stayed with me so we could cross the finish line together.

At miles 10 or 11 there are some exit ramps you run up, which are pretty steep hills.  I wasn't too worried about them because I trained on a lot of hills in my neighborhood and the rest of the course was very flat, but after you've already run 11 miles, a big hill is the last thing you want to see!  We made it up the hill and back into Epcot, and I didn't pay attention to hardly any of the sights in Epcot as we made our way to the finish line.  I do remember passing Fairy Godmother, but I was entirely focused on getting to that finish line!

About a tenth of a mile out from the finish, I spotted my mom and she waved us on and snapped another photo!  That was energizing and gave me the last little boost I needed.

Pete and I crossed the finish line at 2:34:40, hand in hand!

We were exhilarated but exhausted!  We took time to pose for a few pictures, and then we loaded up on bananas, Powerade, and snack boxes and got in line to take the bus back to the hotel!  It was definitely time for a shower and a nap!

My finisher's medal is absolutely my new favorite piece of jewelry!  I wore it for the rest of the weekend!

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend - Part 2

Day 2 and 3 in Orlando

Friday morning my mom and I woke up refreshed and decided to hit the expo early.  I was so excited when I picked up my race bib and even more excited to see that I was in Corral C!  I was dreading being at the very back of the pack.

The expo was packed, but we picked a good time of day to go because we didn't have too much trouble getting around.

There was a really impressive display of running shoes on sale and I ended up getting 2 pairs of Wave Inspires.  I know I rhapsodized about my Wave Riders when I got them, but with my leg problems recently I'd been thinking about switching to the Inspires for the extra stability and the sale prices at the expo were just the little nudge I needed!  But I really wanted to get this shoe...

There was a lot of really neat stuff at the expo - Bondi Bands, Sweaty Bands, stickers, shirts, running skirts and dresses - but the only other thing I bought was this sticker.  I couldn't wait to get home and put it on my car!

After the expo we did a little more outlet shopping, and around 3pm decided we were ready for another try at Harry Potter World.  This was a much better time to go than first thing in the morning!  It was still crowded, but much less so.  The sign posted for waiting time for The Forbidden Journey said 45 minutes, but my mom had scoured the internet the night before for tips on cutting down your wait time and we were ready to try them out.  She read something about a "no bag line" for people who didn't need to store their bags that was much shorter, but I think the line was so short at this time of day that the no bag line wasn't really in operation.  We did, however, decide to jump in the singles line.  Instead of wandering through the greenhouse and several rooms in the castle, we went straight to the place where you board the ride and only had to wait about 10 minutes there!  It was so much fun, we rode it 3 times in a row!

We also tried the Strawberry Peanut Butter ice cream at the Three Broomsticks that day, and it was delicious!  I may or may not have had 2 servings of it! :)

To end the day, we rode the roller coaster Flight of the Hippogriff.  You got to see some really neat things that aren't visible from other parts of the park, like Buckbeak the hippogriff and Hagrid's hut.  The ride itself, however, is about 30 seconds long and kind of anti-climactic.  Still fun though!

We had another fun-filled day and were ready to crash at the end of it.  We wanted to get to sleep early because Mom was walking in the Tangled Royal Family 5K in the morning!

We were up at 5am to board the bus and head over to Epcot for the 5K.  We had about a 45 minute wait before Mom lined up at the start and then I sat at the finish line to wait for the finishers.  The overall winner was a man who finished around 17:30.  The crowd clapped politely and race officials held a ribbon for him to run through, but it was a subdued finish.  When the first female finished a couple minutes later, the crowd all got to their feet and cheered and clapped, and a new ribbon was put out for her to run through!  It really hit home to me at that moment how focused on women the Princess weekend is and it made me so happy and proud to be there.

Mom finished at a little over 50 minutes and said that she had a great time! I was really proud of her because she's not very fitness focused and she just had major knee surgery 7 months ago.  She said now she wants to do more races and maybe even walk in the Princess Half next year!  That made me really happy because I love knowing that I've inspired her to be more fit.

We went back to the room after the 5K to wait for Pete to arrive.  Once he got there, we took it very easy the rest of the day.  We swung by the expo again to pick up his bib and do a little more shopping, and ended the day with dinner at California Pizza Kitchen so that we could have some multigrain pasta to fuel up for the race in the morning!

Bedtime came very early for us, at 9pm.  We actually wanted to get to bed a little earlier but got caught in traffic on the way back to the hotel.  I was excited for the morning but had no trouble falling asleep!  I did, of course, make sure to lay out all my clothes with my race bib pinned on to make things easy when we woke up at 3am!

Only 6 more hours until the half marathon...