Archive for March, 2013

Let me start by admitting that weeks 2 and 3 of Boot Camp were hardly as stellar as the first week. I missed a few work-outs, including one short run, but still managed to exercise about 5 days each week. I also have a fitbit and even on my non-exercise days I’ve managed to achieve my step goal for each day (10,000 steps). I managed 2 good weekend runs. Last weekend I ran 6.2 miles (or a 10k) on a training run. Surprisingly my finish time was faster than the one 10k race I’ve done! Either the cross-training is helping or I have left-over endurance from the Goofy. This weekend I ran 14 miles at 12:30 min/mile pace and could have kept going a few more miles. So even without being “perfect”, I still feel that I’m achieving. I’m drinking more water, eating more mindfully, and I haven’t had any dessert (not even one little jelly bean today!) since Boot Camp started. Tomorrow is weigh-in but I’ve maintain the 1.6 lb weight loss from the first week.
As an adjunct to Boot Camp, I decided to purchase the workbook written by one of the Coaches. It’s call Live Fit and Be Well. The author is Erik Hajer. He recommends doing no more than one of the assignments per day. The idea is to really think about the mental part of fitness. What are our goals and why? And one of the things that I’ve already realized is how different my thoughts are now compared to 3 years ago when I started running.
I thought it would be fun to write my thoughts about the 1st assignment here, instead of just writing in the workbook. I’m already seeing that my goals are likely to morph over time and I like the idea of keeping the book blank so I can change my answers as I progress on this life-long journey of fitness and wellness.

The first part of the assignment is to write down your goals as intention statements:
1. I intend to run at least 3 days a week and strength train at least 2 days a week.
2. I intend to become a faster runner.
3. I intend to eat healthy foods and avoid eating foods that are unhealthy.

The next step is to think about the immediate and the long term benefits of these goals.

1. Immediate benefit of exercising 5 days per week: Endorphins feel good. I’m proud of myself when I exercise
Long-term benefit of exercising 5 days per week: I will run faster with fewer injuries. I will look and feel fit and strong.
2. Immediate benefit of running faster: Having a training goal helps to keep me motivated and interested.
Long-term benefit of running faster: Better finish times will give me a sense of achievement. The faster I run, the easier it will be to train for long distances because the long runs won’t take so long!!!
3. Immediate benefit of eating healthy: Feeling proud of myself for avoiding unhealthy foods. No sugar highs and lows.
Long-term benefit of eating healthy: Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping my body healthy so I can live well.

I have some other goals such as consistently drinking water. I have good days and bad days with my water drinking and I definitely feel better when I’m having a good water day. I also feel that I generally need to make myself more of a priority. I need to take the time needed to maintain my physically and mental health. As a working mom (or maybe just as a mom in general) I am frequently my own last priority. In some ways it’s impossible to completely change that without neglecting my family. On the other hand I don’t need to apologize or feel guilty because I want to exercise for 30-60 minutes 5 days per week. I can continue to try to schedule my work-outs in a way that is minimally disruptive to my family but I need my time.
I’m looking forward to exploring more of the mental component of achieving wellness. I like that the book talks about how it’s possible to be very fit without being well. Wellness includes something existential – a sense of being at peace with oneself – which is an essential component of living a happy life.
A few weeks ago my husband and I attended a parenting seminar at our children’s tae kwon do center. The Grandmaster explained that there are 5 components to living a full life:

1. Eat well.
2. Sleep well.
3. Exercise your mind and body every day.
4. Do good deeds.
5. Gratitude.

I think it’s no mistake that I’m getting the same message from Boot Camp and from this workbook about how to discover the Good Life. It’s no longer a question of “When can I do this?” but a question of “How can I not?”

Those within the runDisney community have no doubt already heard the news. In January, 2014 runDisney will be offering a new race and a new challenge. Joining the Family Fun 5k, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon will now be a 10k race. And in addition to the Goofy Challenge – Half Marathon on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday – there will be a new Dopey Challenge which is 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday, and Full Marathon on Sunday. The 10k medal will be a Minnie Mouse medal. The Half and Full will remain Donald and Mickey respectively. Those who complete the Dopey Challenge will receive 6 medals for completing 4 races: 5k medal (which changes to match the theme of that year’s race but is often the Fab 5), Minnie Medal, Donald Medal, Mickey Medal, Goofy Medal, and Dopey Medal. The link to official runDisney announcement is here:

As someone who went from Couch to Half Marathon to Full Marathon to Goofy Race and a Half Challenge over a 3 year period, I am not know for avoiding running challenges. And so I have already been asked, repeatedly, if I plan to take on the Dopey Challenge in 2014. At this point my answer is…..I’m not sure but probably not. Which isn’t to say I’m not tempted. Two inaugural medals and a chance to run 4 races in 4 days. That’s 6 medals and 5 tech shirts + 1 t-shirt. I’m not running the Tower of Terror race this year due to other travel plans this fall (both work and personal). This may be the rare opportunity to start a running streak (not the naked kind) and be perfectly Dopey.
So why not?
As someone who started running later in life (at age 38), I find that body doesn’t like running 2 days in a row. I learned this the hard way training for the Goofy Challenge. Every weekend with back to back long runs resulted in minor aches and pains or even more major injuries. How would I possibly train to run 4 races in 4 days without suffering injuries? The counter-argument to that is the fact that I would have almost 9 months to slowly get my weekly mileage up to a higher amount and the recent addition of strength training should help protect against injury. If finding the time to train for the Goofy was difficult, imagine the time needed to train for this!
The second problem is the timing. And this is a problem for several reasons. This past January I spent the weekend after Marathon Weekend teaching a review course in Phoenix. It was an honor to be invited to teach and a good career opportunity. Assuming I’m invited back (which is likely), I would be away from work and family 2 weekends in a row. In fact I had been floating around the idea of skipping Marathon Weekend 2014. My most recent idea had been to “just” run the Full Marathon on Sunday so I could fly down late Friday, pick up my race packet on Saturday, run on Sunday, and fly home either late Sunday night or early Monday morning. I wouldn’t really miss any work that way and could fly out to the review course on Thursday in time for the orientation dinner on Thursday night. In order to do the Dopey Challenge, I would have to fly out either Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning to attend packet pick-up on Wednesday. I would miss work on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then again the following Thursday and Friday. Not to mention all the time away from my precious children. (There’s no way I would bring my children with me to Disney if I ran the Dopey Challenge. I would probably be in bed by 7pm every night and spend my afternoons lazing around the pools. Not to mention that it’s their first week back to school after the Christmas Break.)
So what’s a Dopey wanna-be runner to do? I’m still not sure but I know that I only have a few weeks to decide. There is no doubt that the 10k will sell out quickly and I imagine the Dopey Challenge will, too. At this point I’m thinking about doing the 10k with my husband on Friday. I think he’s agreed to this plan. Or he will before registration opens. And then I’ll run the Full Marathon on Sunday. It’s still a 32.4 mile weekend but with a day off between races to rest. I’d still be getting the inaugural Minnie Medal for the 10k. I’d still miss work Thursday and Friday two weeks in a row or I could have Tom fly down early and pick up my race packet on Thursday and fly down after work Thursday night…. Or something.
I still need to let these ideas marinate over the next few weeks before registration opens. I must realistically assess what my body is capable and how much time I can reasonably spend away from home during the month of January. And then I’ll let everyone know my plans!

Liebster Award

Today I was fortunate enough to have Everyday Girl nominate me for a Liebster Award. Although I’m so un-hip as to have been completely unaware of any blogging awards before today, apparently this is an award for new/small-time bloggers (like me) to help get more readers. Her blog is here:
I don’t really know what this all means but maybe it’ll get more people to read my blog and – more importantly to me – help people to start making healthier lifestyle choices. I know I’m supposed to nominate 10 additional blogs but I’ll hold off on that for now while I think about other blogs that are relevant. (I’ve had one of THOSE weeks and my brain is pretty dead).

As part of the Liebster I’m supposed to answer the following questions:

1) What is your favorite book or movie? I’m an avid reader so it’s hard to pick one book. Probably Lord of the Rings because I’m a nerd. Favorite movie is probably Singin’ in the Rain because I’m a sap.
2) Do your friends and family know you blog or are you anonymous? Before my mom died, she was one of my most involved readers of my blog. I link it to my Facebook page so I’m not anonymous but I also doubt that many of the people I work with know about my blog.
3) Where would you like to be in 5 years time? Right where I am. Seriously. I’d like a promotion at work to Associate Professor but I’d stay at my current job. I love my house but hope to start renovations in 5 years. I’m pretty happy with my life. I’d like to run a bit faster…
4) What is your favorite blog? I don’t have a favorite blog. Really. I don’t have enough time to keep up as much as I’d like. Probably I read the blog the most.
5) Name one thing you have always been good at? Remembering details. I’ve always had a scary good memory.
6) What do you do to relieve stress? Run, run, and run.
7) What is your favorite color? Depends on my mood. Blue or pink.
8) Do you have a bucket list? Yes and no. I believe in living like there’s no tomorrow and planning for the future. All at the same time. I have my vacation wish list and a list of races I’d like to do. Eventually. NYC Marathon, the new Dopey race at Disney, Disneyland Half (or Tinkerbell), Wine & Dine, etc.
9) If you could describe one word to describe yourself, what would it be? Stubborn. That’s both my best and worst quality.
10) Do you have a favorite quote, what is it? I have several but the one I use the most is the Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
I honestly believe that we would all be happy if we took this advice every day. I can change I fast I run. It takes courage and dedication and sweat but I can do it. I can’t change the fact that I’m 5’2″ tall. I can lose weight and body fat to get closer to my ideal body composition but I’m never going to be a stick figure.

Let me start by sharing a little secret about myself. When I sign up for something and pay my money, I am making an agreement with myself to follow that program. One example would be e-coaching with Jeff Galloway. I had been running 2/1 intervals and he had cut back to run 15 sec/walk 45 sec when I started the program. I wasn’t thrilled with that change but I did it. And during my 6 months e-coaching stint I earned new PRs in both the half and the full marathon as well as finishing the Goofy strong despite a hot weekend. My Princess Half finish was my 2nd fastest finish time and I had enough energy to push a stroller around Disney World for 8 additional miles after the finish (if only it had been possible to shower first!!!).
So when I signed up for Boot Camp 13, I similarly made an agreement to follow the program. And at the end of the first week of the 8 week program I think it’s a good time to make an assessment. For my interval training I did my regular runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday using my 30/30 intervals that have become so comfortable for me. I’ll post another time about whether or not I should be working to increase my run intervals but for now I love the 30/30. Tuesday was a fitness test – push-ups, sit-ups, planks, and jumping jacks – to assess where I am. We did some additional strength training after the test. Thursday I did another strength work-out which was mostly upper body with some cardio mixed in. Although it was a fun work-out, I think I preferred Tuesday’s strength training. I think I prefer the more traditional (hard core?) strength work-out. There are 3 different coaches who do these work-outs so I will continue to experiment to see which videos I like best. Friday I walked 25 minutes on the treadmill. I usually take a rest day before a long run but, in the spirit of Boot Camp, I thought a slow walk was a reasonable choice. I haven’t decided what I’ll do today. Maybe another strength training or else I’ll just fit in some walking.
In addition to the work-outs, I’ve done a better job of drinking water and tracking my calories. I use as my calorie counter. We are not allowed to eat dessert doing Boot Camp and I’ve done well with that. I also have consumed very little alcohol over the past week more due to circumstances than to active decision-making. I’m not a huge drinker by any stretch of the imagination but I do have an occasional beer or glass of wine with dinner, especially on the weekends. This weekend we had not one but two potluck dinners at the synagogue which precluded alcohol consumption. I’ve done a good job of bringing healthy snacks to work and eating every 2-3 hours. I’ve also done a good job of eating breakfast before going to work rather than eating at work. (We’re supposed to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up to jump start metabolism.)
I’ve joined the online Yammer community that was set up for Boot Camp and seem to have found some people like me doing the program. They have a fitbit group that I’ve joined so I can participate in some friendly competition. I’ve done all the Daily Missions, even when I wasn’t sure they really applied to me. And I’m trying to be an active participant in the program.
So what have I found?
1. Weight Loss: My weight on the first day of Boot Camp was at the higher end of my normal weight range which is going to make my results look better. Nonetheless one of my goals in joining Boot Camp was/is to lose those final 10 lbs to get back into my ideal weight range. This morning (after I ate breakfast) I was down almost 3 lbs. Most of that is fake weight loss as I’m pretty much back down to where I was before the Princess Half Marathon but it’s still great! And I love that I’m seeing these results.
2. Speed/Strength: Another reason for joining Boot Camp was to get more strength training/cross training done to try to become a stronger and faster runner. Although it’s only been a week, I think I could feel a difference during Saturday’s 14 mile run. My core felt stronger and my legs were less sore. I was able to run negative splits during the run. My target pace was 13 min/mile (or about 2 min/mile slower than the 11 min/mile goal I have for a half marathon – even if it’s not my next half marathon). I ran 12:47 min/mile and felt good at the end. My legs are barely sore at all today and I definitely could have gone farther and faster if I had wanted (only farther if I hadn’t been bored to death on the treadmill for 3 hours).
3. Overall well-being: This is where I’ve seen the least benefit. I don’t feel tons more energy or extra happiness or anything. Maybe it’s years worth of sleep deprivation combined with daylight savings time but I was pretty exhausted all week. I’m hoping that will improve with time. This wasn’t really a goal of mine in joining the program anyway but is something they promote.

Overall I think joining Boot Camp has been an excellent decision for me. I truly believe I will see benefits in weight loss and improvements in my running. I guess I’m ready for Week 2!

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past year about how to improve as a runner. 6 months of e-coaching with Jeff Galloway taught me the importance of consistency. If you don’t do your assigned runs, you aren’t going to get faster. But, as I struggled with some injuries while training for the Goofy and I’ve noticed that my rate limiting step is not my cardiovascular fitness but my leg strength, I have come to accept the reality that I need to get stronger.
I have definitely perfected the art of the “legitimate” excuse. After all many people who look at my life think that I must already be Super Woman. I have 3 young child (although they are rapidly aging!) and a super demanding career. And I’ve added running to the mix (which, in my opinion, has been the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself). My life is a constant juggling act. So when the opportunity to join Boot Camp #13 via the No Excuses Workout System, I really had to think about the time commitment before signing up.
What is Boot Camp and what is the No Excuses Workout System? So this really cool guy named Jonathan Roche developed a system to help people improve their health and fitness. His system really focuses on the positive. Even if you only work out 10 minutes a day, it’s better than doing nothing. He encourages 3 interval sessions a week and 3 no excuses workouts (which is – essentially – strength training). The reason they are called no excuses workouts is that you can spend as little as 10 minutes or as long as an hour doing these sessions. His argument is that if you have time to spend on Facebook or watching tv, you have time for the no excuses workouts (which can easily be done WHILE watching tv). The Boot Camp has a lot more hand-holding and guidance than the regular system and includes written assignments to think about the barriers and negative voices that prevent us from succeeding. It helps to focus positive energy on small changes to work towards a healthier lifestyle.
Some of the written assignments so far have focused on why I want to do Boot Camp. The answer for me is two-fold: 1. I need to lose the last 10-15 lbs to be at my ideal weight and I’m struggling with the weight loss. 2. I want to get stronger so I can run faster and more injury free. I think my biggest barriers are TIME – or, more importantly, my perception of having no time – and just needing the direction and guidance to get me there. Today’s assignment was to write about the negative voices I hear and to replace the negatives with some positives. I wrote a lot about how I feel discouraged that I’m not a faster runner when I should be proud of how far I’ve come in 3 years. I also wrote about the inner struggle I have over whether I should want to be faster or if it’s all just vanity and I should just enjoy running races. I think the whole runDisney mentality that a Disney race is for fun and not speed messes with me a little bit. That’s just not who I am and I still love runDisney but I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who wants to do my best when I’m there. (And, due to scheduling conflicts, I don’t honestly know when my next runDisney event will be anyway which makes me a little sad!) Is there something wrong with being competitive with yourself? Does that in some way make me a bad person? Should I just be satisfied with where am I and who I am?
In addition to the written assignments, I’ve done complete body measurements. Biceps, chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, etc. Plus weekly weigh-ins (I weighed more than usual on Monday morning so it’ll look like I lost more weight!). Today as part of our strength training routine, we did a fitness test. How many push-ups and crunches? How many jumping jacks in 30 seconds? How long can you hold a plank? And then we did more strength training after the fitness test. We repeat measurements and fitness test throughout the 8 week boot camp. We are also supposed to drink tons of water and eat healthy snacks throughout the day. I have already been trying to do this but it’s helpful to have the reminders.
I did email Jonathan about replacing his intervals with my run/walk intervals as I’m actively training for a race in a month. Much to my surprise he called me on my cell phone right away. He was thrilled that I use run/walk intervals to begin with and we talked about how the boot camp can help me. He’s running his 16th Boston Marathon this spring so I feel confident that he can help my running. He has his own training plans for races but I think I’ll stick with my Galloway training for the running and Jonathan’s stuff for the strength training.
There is a private Yammer account for Boot Camp participants. I’m having trouble connecting to people at this point because I haven’t really found my group yet. I know there are other people who are doing Boot Camp who already have a fitness background and aren’t starting from the beginning. At the same time a lot of the stuff is meant to help people at ALL fitness levels (beginners on up) feel good about themselves.
Although today is only day 2 of an 8 week Boot Camp, I can already say that I’m glad that I signed up. I hope I continue to be able to keep up with all the assignments for the next 8 weeks. It’ll be really interesting to see if my half marathon in April is affected by my new Boot Camp training.

Running the Princess Half Marathon was a bit of a surreal experience for me. I was coming off of running the Goofy which left me with lots of endurance but also some nagging injuries. My training was short on speed work but I managed a 12 mile run at a decent pace. I felt pretty good going into the Princess and thought I might have a chance to PR. But I also knew that spending several days touring Disney World with 3 kids – not to mention the 4:20am wake up the day before for the 5k – would likely take a toll. And in the days leading up to the race it became clear that the cold front that had plagued Florida at the beginning of the week had turned into a heat wave by the time of our arrival. I thoroughly enjoyed vacationing with my family in 80+ degree weather in mid-January but I did a poor job of hydrating and a terrible job of resting my legs. By race morning I had come to the realization that while a PR was possible, it wasn’t probable.
Race Morning came early. By the time my kids were asleep and my race gear was ready, it was after 9pm. And I woke up before my alarm (which was set for 2:30am). I was more nervous about the logistics of getting to the race than the actual race. A week before the race I had arranged for a car service to take me to the start. Since we were not staying on Disney property, I didn’t want to strand my husband and kids with no car. The day before the race I called the company to confirm and they started giving me a song and dance routine about road closure. Since they were planning to charge me an arm and a leg to get me to the start, I guess I should be grateful that they bailed on me! After much research we realized that my family could take a hotel shuttle to Epcot in the morning for $7 per person. I was likely to finish before they arrived which would give me time to re-hydrate, change clothes, and prepare myself for a day of park touring. After running 13.1. I don’t often drive around Orlando (we either use Disney transportation or my husband does most of the driving) although I had been the designated driver two nights in a row leading up to race day. I left the hotel before 3am and was parked at Epcot by 3:10am. What really annoyed me is that there was a clearly labelled spot for “runner drop-off.” The car service could have easily brought me to the race. Good money saved! I debated checking a bag or just leaving my stuff in the car and wisely chose the latter (Not that I’ve ever had trouble with bag check but I was parked super close to the race area – which did not make my husband happy when we had to walk from the front gate of Epcot back to the car after dinner that night. It was a LONG walk with 3 tired children!!!).
I know you aren’t supposed to do anything new on race day but I actually drank a 20 oz bottle of Gatorade in the car while driving to Epcot. I felt that I was poorly hydrated and race day weather reports were worrisome. I met up with some friends while waiting for the corrals to open and took advantage of the port-a-potties before long lines formed. The minute they started calling for runners to head to the corrals, I wished my friends luck and headed off. Many of my friends were starting in Corral C and I heavily debated starting with them. I ultimately decided to run my own race and went to Corral B. It was over an hour wait from the time I got there until the start of the race. As the race start was approaching, I realized that I needed to use the potty again. I followed several other women who hopped the fence and headed to the woods. When I returned to the Corral, I realized that my clothes were now covered in teeny, tiny little burrs. Some nice woman helped me find the burrs and remove them (I found several on my shoe laces last week!). She also offered to take a picture of me:

I was starting in the front half of Corral B and it wasn’t too much longer before we were off!
I had planned a run 40 sec/walk 20 sec strategy as it had worked well in my October race where I PR’ed. Unfortunately my body just didn’t agree with that. My right shin that had been injured at the end of the Goofy was bothering me. Not terrible pain but discomfort. It was fairly warm and very humid. My first 2-3 miles were just bleh. I wasn’t in a groove at all. I tried to take a picture of the mile markers but I missed Mile 1 because I hit the on/off button instead of taking the picture. Oops!

I had heard that the Princess was the same course as the January Half but with more entertainment. I guess there were additional character stops but I didn’t think it was that much different. Some things – like the pirate ship – were almost exactly the same. After mile 2 I decided to change my run/walk interval to a run 30 sec/walk 30 sec ratio. This is actually Jeff Galloway’s preferred ratio and the one I use most often in training.

I know I take this picture each and every race!

As I crossed the 5k mat, I waited for the text message from Disney’s runner tracking to let me know my split. I didn’t watch my Garmin super carefully to know my time as I crossed the mat. The text never came. This was worrying me a little bit but I decided to let it go. (My official 5k split is now 35:57.) After the first 5k I started to feel much better. My shin pain went away and never came back. I think the 30/30 ratio was perfect for the day.
We entered the Ticket and Transportation Center and, while there were lots of spectators, I didn’t see anyone I knew.

We then followed the narrow road to the Contemporary before making the turn to head to the back stage area leading to Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom is always the highlight of the race. It is magical each and every time. The crowds and the castle. And just running down Main Street U.S.A which is still one of my favorite places on Earth.

As we headed toward Tomorrowland I saw a dear friend and he got a very sweaty hug. It’s so motivating to see people you know!!! (Thank you Sam!) I really tried to let me sense soak in all of the sights in Magic Kingdom. I didn’t take many pictures because I just wanted to enjoy the moment. Starting in an earlier corral had one unexpected advantage – much less crowding as I went through the Castle which meant I actually got to RUN through the Castle instead of walking and trying not to crash into people!

And then we exited the Magic Kingdom to start the journey back to Epcot.
When my 10k split arrived I knew there was a problem:

The text message said my 10k split was 1:21:52 with an average pace of 13:10. I had maybe run one mile above 12 min/mile and most were well under 12 min/mile. I tried not to get distracted by this and just kept going. (My official 10k split is now 1:12:50 or about 11:45 min/mile).
And so I entered “cone alley” – so named because they divide a 2-way street in half with cones. Runners are on one side of the cones and traffic on the other. It’s narrow and crowded and not particularly interesting. It’s especially challenging for run/walkers like me because we change pace so frequently.

I thought a lot of the characters here were identical to January and I didn’t really take any pictures at all.

Although I didn’t know my official time, I knew by my Garmin that I’d have to speed things up if I wanted to PR. I also realized that during my run segments I was definitely feeling the weather and I didn’t want to push too fast yet. Especially since I wasn’t sure what would happen if the sun came out (one saving grace is that it was overcast all day).

(I think the 15k marker was backwards in January, too!) My texted 15k split was 1:58:13 or 12:41 min/mile. I was NOT happy but also knew that I couldn’t fix it until after I finished (official 15k split: 1:49:11 or 11:44 min/mile).
I figured I’d try to speed up after the 10 mile mark but also realized that I wasn’t going to be able to go fast enough to PR.

We then took the cloverleaf up to the overpass and were greeted by my favorite Green Army Men. I got a high five and a salute!

The view from the overpass is impressive. Miles of runners down below!

I was a little sad to realize that I would fall short of my goal but I kept pushing pretty hard to finish strong. I knew I had run negative splits again and I felt good about my performance.

And, really, how could anyone feel disappointed when this is the view you have?

I enjoyed our jaunt through Epcot and still felt pretty good. And I love that Disney has this right before mile marker 13

The Gospel Choir gets me each and every time!

I ran across the finish line and gave Goofy another high five (we share a special bond since my January race!). I was texted my finish time: 2:41:12 although my Garmin was closer to 2:33. I was pretty upset that my finish time was wrong. I collect my medal and grabbed my water, powerade, and snack box (I even thought to get 3 packages of fruit snacks for my 3 kids). I tried to talk to a runDisney person about getting my finish time fixed but nobody could help me. Even though 2:33 isn’t a PR for me, it made me sad that I ran a much better race than my “public” finish time would suggest (not that 2:41 is a bad time at all – it would still be a total respectable time for me – but I worked hard for my finish time and I wanted the correct one!). I also realized that my finish time reflected clock time (the time from when the first runner crossed the starting line) instead of chip time (the time from when I crossed the starting line). I was so distracted by the finish time issue that I forgot to get a picture taken until I was at my car.

By this point my family had arrived at Epcot so I managed some gymnastic feat to change clothes in the car without flashing the world. I was caked in salt and looked rather special but soon was ready to hop on the monorail to Magic Kingdom.

I emailed runDisney about my finish time issue. They got back to me much faster than I expected. Less than a week after the race a runDisney rep let me know that they were able to find me through pictures and videos and they would be able to update my finish time. Another week later and I had a new official finish time – 2:32:10. This is a little faster than my Garmin time but I didn’t stop my Garmin right away after crossing the line (I forgot to stop the time) so it is probably correct. It’s less than 3 minutes slower than my PR. More importantly I’m super proud of my performance and love my newest medal! I was very impressed with runDisney for how they handled the error.
According to my race certificate, I finished 5165 out of 22,734 runners. And in my age division I was 594/2706. I’m getting there one step at a time.
Overall I had a good race and an even better trip to Disney World. My family and I had a magical time at the parks and participating in the 5k. I really hope we can do this one again!

Trying to run faster…

I’ve been running for about 3 years now and I would say that I’ve been a runner for just over 2 years (that’s when I ran my first race and finally felt committed to running). While I’ve seen some improvements in my running pace, I feel that I’m capable of being a faster runner than I currently am. My first few half marathons were around the 2:45 mark (give or take) and my two most recent (minus the first 1/3 of the Goofy) were in the 2:30-2:35 range. So that’s an improvement of 1 min/mile over 13.1 miles but I still feel that I’m not where I want to be.
In an ideal world I’d like to some day run a sub-2 hour half marathon. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this might not be physically possible for me and I certainly don’t expect to achieve that goal anytime soon. I know improvement is often slow and may be small which doesn’t make it insignificant. My next big time barrier is to run a half marathon at 11 min/mile pace which puts me around 2:24 as a finish time. I’m not sure I’ll accomplish that goal at my next race – the More Magazine Women’s Half Marathon in mid-April – but I’m going to try to get strong and run as well as I can. The More offers a few challenges for a PR efforts: 1. The Hills. 2. The Hills. 3. The Hills. And, like any race, there is the challenge of the weather. Last year was quite warm while the year before was chilly (and I missed the year before that when it was miserable and rainy). Obviously cooler temperatures (within reason) tend to predict faster finish times.
I’ve spent some time thinking about a training plan for this race. So far this year I’ve raced 55.5 miles (if you include “strolling” the Royal Family 5k, although I was pushing a stroller!). That’s quite a lot for this not-so-young body. My right shin has been on/off since mile 26 of the Goofy. My left foot is bothering me a bit (not where my alleged stress fracture was). And my left hip is a little sore. None of these injuries are serious but I want them a bit better before I start pushing for a fast training plan.
Obviously any training plan for this particular race MUST include hill training. So I’m hoping my minor injuries are good enough for some hill repeats on Thursdays. Although I’m planning to run easy this week after my body was unhappy with 5 miles at 11:40 pace on Sunday, Tuesdays will be speed work. And the time improvement plan has some 800m repeats on non-long run weekends. My work is cut out for me! (Of course this weekend my 800m repeats will likely be on a treadmill due to childcare considerations).
Perhaps as important as my training plan is my diet/weight loss plan. I believe that the 4 lbs I’ve lost in the last several months have helped my speed and I’d love to (slowly) lose about 10 lbs more. My body fat percentage is better than it was but still WAY above my ideal. I’m using a calorie counter again and making some serious efforts at eating better and drinking enough water. There is no doubt that being lighter will reduce my risk of injury. That makes it possible to train harder even if you don’t believe that being leaner can make you faster by itself.
And then there’s the new element I’m adding. As of this morning I’ve signed myself up for the No Excuses Workouts Boot Camp program. It’s an 8 week program starting next week that should help me do a better job of cross-training. I’m really hoping to be as strong as possible for my next race. By having a stronger body I should be able to protect myself from injury while running faster. I hope the program works for me and I see great results by race day!
Overall I’m hoping that adding new elements to my training will help keep me motivated while getting me to the finish line faster and healthier!

(PS Still waiting for my final results from the Princess and then I promise a race report!)