Posts Tagged With: 10k

Running Makes You Stronger. Period.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! The weather kind of sucked here in NJ (except for Monday), but I did get to spend some time in Atlantic City and catch a Third Eye Blind concert…I’ve been obsessed with them since middle school, and pretty much stalk them every time they come around!

It probably sounds kind of strange, but despite the fact that I’m a blogger and basically broadcast my life all over the Internet on a weekly basis, in “real life,” I’m actually a pretty private person. I tend to keep to myself, and have a hard time sharing my feelings with others…and that includes my family and closest friends. But I am a writer…so stick me in front of a computer, and it all just comes pouring out.

Still, writing this particular post is going to be a little difficult for me, and yet, I feel as though I can’t continue posting with my own special brand of candor and honesty here without at least mentioning that I’m going through a really tough time right now.

I promise, this will not be a “woe is me” kind of post. Instead, it’s something I need to share because it’s a major life change…and my personal weight loss and running journey factor directly into how I’m dealing with it all.

2001

2001

My boyfriend and I have broken up. Out of respect for his privacy, I won’t go into all the sordid details, but suffice it to say that the outcome of our almost 12-year relationship (we were high school sweethearts) has been looking pretty grim for quite some time. We’ve been struggling with various issues for years, and this was honestly the only course of action that was left, unfortunately…I think ending things might even do us both a lot of good.

Since we lived together, it’s hard to say we’re “broken up” when I can sit in my apartment and still see a lot of his clothing and movies and books still lying around, or his posters hanging on the wall or countless framed photos capturing all of our happiest moments, from high school proms to college graduations to vacations and trips (including, of course, our various jaunts to Disney World).

2007

2007

It’s also hard for me because I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the loss of a person who has been in my life for over a decade. He has been there for me through it all…he was my shoulder to cry on when I lost my beloved grandparents, my support system when I began losing weight (for the final time) on Weight Watchers, my cheerleader when I saw my very first published byline in a magazine and crossed the finish line of my first race, the best friend I could always turn to for a laugh or to vent or to hang out and do absolutely nothing.

Needless to say, I am heartbroken. Anger, disappointment, shock, hurt, devastation, disbelief, sadness, rage…you name it, I feel it. I don’t want to be melodramatic, but obviously, this is the man I pictured myself marrying and building a home with and having kids with and growing old together. I desperately wanted all of those things…and I’d thought he was “the one” since I was 16 years old. But right now, let’s just say I have amassed ample evidence to suggest that he simply does not feel the same way about me. And maybe he never truly did. I don’t really know.

2013

2013

There’s nothing I can do about any of this except to learn how to cope. For the first time in my life, I have to learn how to be on my own. And I can’t help but think that there was a time in my life when all of this would have utterly crushed me. I used to hate the sight of my morbidly obese body, and had managed to convince myself that I was worthless. That I had nothing to offer the world. That I was destined to be miserable forever.

There was a time in my life when something would upset me — the bullies at school, a fight with a friend, a bad grade, you name it — and my first (and only) response would be to grab a handful of Oreos or dive headfirst into a bag of Doritos. Eating was how I coped with life’s disappointments, and it was the only thing that could soothe me.

Today, however, I know that no matter what happens — even something as devastating as the end of a relationship in which I’ve invested nearly half of my life —  I will survive. I know that I will be okay. And I’m convinced that running has a lot to do with that.

Losing 90 pounds (and, more importantly, keeping it off) has empowered me to believe that you can change your life, and that your health and happiness are worth fighting for.

My love of Thai Kickboxing and Taekwondo have taught me that, at heart, I amthaifront truly a fighter, and that I am disciplined and motivated enough to achieve anything I want in life.

But when it comes to running…that’s what forced me to realize that I am so much stronger than I ever thought possible.

Any runner knows that our sport can be just as much mental as it is physical, and training my body and my mind to endure 5Ks, then 10Ks, then half marathons — when I used to be someone who would avoid stairs at all costs, and found all of my personal pleasure from raiding the refrigerator — has proven in no uncertain terms that I am STRONG. I transformed myself from an overweight high schooler who physically couldn’t complete the mile in gym class to an adult who runs 13.1 miles like it’s no big thing. I slowly but surely changed absolutely everything about my life, and taught myself how to live as a healthy, active person.

And that’s how I know I can handle anything life throws my way. When life knocks me down, I know I have the courage and tenacity inside of me to get right back up again. I am not a quitter, and I don’t let anyone else dictate my sense of self-worth.

I do believe running has changed the person I am, both inside and out. After the years of torment I endured as an obese child and teenager to the countless failed dieting attempts to hitting rock bottom as a 265-pound 22-year-old, I feel as DSCF3043though running has given me and my entire journey a purpose.

I believe I was meant to discover running as my way of finally making peace with my body, and as a way to love and celebrate the person I am. I feel so incredibly grateful to have found something that fulfills me and gives me a sense of well-being — no matter what happens in my life, I know that I can always reach for my running shoes.

So, in conclusion…I’m going through a tough time right now. And it has hurt me. But I will not let this crush me.

After all…I’m in training. Three months until the Dumbo Double Dare!

Has running ever helped you through a tough time?

In what ways has it changed your life?

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

My Incredibly DOPEY Decision

So yesterday I did something crazy. Like, real crazy. WAY crazier than my decision to register for the Dumbo Double Dare, which I thought was just pure MADNESS at the time (and now just doesn’t seem so scary after all).

disneyprincesshalfmarathon1Yesterday, I got completely swept up in the excitement of Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend. If you follow runDisney fanatics on Twitter or Facebook — especially as many as I do — you just can’t help it. I had been casually entertaining the idea of attempting a full marathon ever since I crossed the finish line of the Princess Half in February and proved to myself that I could make it through 13.1 miles without dropping dead.

Running a marathon, a FULL marathon, has always been one of those pie-in-the-sky, maybe someday, “you never know” type dreams for me. Let’s face it, in the grand scheme of things, I’m still a running newbie, and I figured that someday, SOMEDAY, I’d probably go ahead attempt a full marathon.

But there was one thing I did know for sure. I knew that if I WAS going to take on 26.2 miles, it was going to be at Walt Disney World. It just had to be. So I figured maybe I’d consider registering for the 2015 marathon…or 2016. Or, hell, 2017 — what was the rush?

Truth be told, when I read accounts of runners training for their first marathons on their blogs, I’d physically cringe. 20 mile training runs? Who has the time? Or the energy?

When I read countless recaps of this year’s “Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge” — running the half marathon followed by the full marathon in the same weekend — I shook my head. What the hell were these people thinking? Were they TRYING to get themselves injured? Or killed?

But yet I couldn’t help but admit to myself that I was so incredibly, amazingly in awe of these runners. I wanted to do it, too. I wanted to be a marathoner.

I knew there would be one minor road block standing in my way. I was absolutely, unequivocally terrified of the idea of running 26.2 miles. Who did I think I was even CONSIDERING the idea? A year ago I was struggling to finish 5ks, and I really only have a handful of distance races (10 miles+) under my belt…and now I’m sitting here fantasizing about running a marathon?

When I was in Disney World in February for the Princess Half Marathon, cast members were constantly asking me if they’d “see me next January” for the marathon. I would then proceed to laugh hysterically. “I’m not quite there yet,” I told them. In fact, I believe one of my first tweets upon hearing the news of the Dopey Challenge was something along the lines of, “good luck to everyone doing the Dopey Challenge, it ain’t gonna be me!”

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it. Even just a little bit.

Yesterday, my mindset shifted. Big time. I wrestled with a giant knot in my stomach all morning, watching the clock for the 12pm registration time for the Walt Disney World Marathon. Should I register for 2014? Is it too soon for me? Will I be able to do it? Am I ready? Will I EVER be ready?

The answer? Who knows. Is there EVER a good time to train for a marathon? Will I EVER be “ready?”

There will always be work and family and responsibilities, and I couldn’t help but think that if I WAS going to do this, now is probably as good a time as any. I have a fairly steady client base of both editors and piano students, so while I will never get rich doing what I do, I manage to live quite frugally (I still drive the beat-up old car I bought in college; it has 170,000 miles on it for crying out loud) and also have some money saved up from spending the majority of my 20’s working and living at home with my parents. I don’t have children or pets or a mortgage, and I make my own work hours.

Are YOU Dopey? Photo credit: www.talkdisney.com

Are YOU Dopey? Photo credit: http://www.talkdisney.com

Most importantly? I’m 27 years old, and in the best shape of my life…no physical ailments or health issues of any kind (knock on wood), other than the occasional minor running-related injury, of course.

So yesterday I had to ask myself the question: Why not ME? Why not NOW?

I’m sure you can probably guess what comes next.

I whipped out my Disney Visa (my poor, sad, TIRED Disney Visa), and registered for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon.

But, wait, there’s MORE.

In this moment of insanity, I couldn’t help but be seduced by the Dopey Challenge. In its inaugural year, it’s a challenge to run not only the marathon, but also the weekend’s 5K, brand-new 10K, AND half marathon.

That’s a total of 48.6 miles. In 4 days. The thought still sends chills down my spine. And not the good kind!

Was it it a good idea for my health? My sanity? Maybe, maybe not. But…runners who complete all four races receive not only a medal for each race, but also the coveted Goofy Challenge medal AND the brand spankin’ new Dopey Challenge medal. SIX MEDALS. Can we say BLING?!

So I thought for a moment. If I was going to put my body through months and months of marathon training…why not go ahead and celebrate my hard work with the ULTIMATE weekend of running?

Why not aim high? Why not take this chance? Why not believe in myself for once?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am nothing if not ambitious (and, also, just a little bit off my rocker). So…

DOPEY CHALLENGE HERE I COME!

I think what really sealed the decision for me is that I have truly gone through my whole life putting things off and doubting my ability to do what I wanted. “Someday” I’d “try” to be a freelance writer. “Someday” I’d “try” to lose weight. Of course, there was even a time when I told myself that “someday” I’d “try” to run a 5K…how long ago that seems!

I am TIRED of doubting myself. I am TIRED of putting things off. I want to be the kind of person who has the confidence and the courage to set a goal and then make it happen. I don’t want to “try”…I just want to DO. And I’d say this is a step in the right direction!

Okay, so who else is doing “Dopey?” Is it anyone else’s first marathon?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Taking it Easy After an Injury

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend, if you celebrate!DSCF3166

I spent the better part of my weekend in Atlantic City with my sister on an impromptu girls’ weekend, eating and drinking WAY too much…which I then continued when I made about six million not-so-healthy choices on Easter. Needless to say…I’m not exactly feeling like myself today.

However, that could have a lot to do with the fact that I have been battling my latest injury since the middle of last week. And I have to say…I’m getting a little frustrated. And nervous.

I have a ton of lofty goals lined up for the spring, including a few half marathons and some local 5ks and 10ks as I gear up for the Dumbo Double Dare this summer, and I don’t take too kindly to any hindrance in my training plan.

I had been noticing a little bit of discomfort in my foot during my Taekwondo class earlier last week, especially in my big toe joint, but I chose to ignore it. Then I hobbled home in mile 3 after a planned 6-miler on Thursday, tore off my sneaker, and discovered that IDSCF3198 couldn’t bend my big toe upward without pain.

Of course, I Googled this phenomenon — the worst thing you can do when faced with any sort of health dilemma, IMHO — and I scared myself shitless thinking that I’d need special orthotics and 4-6 weeks of rest at best, and surgery and no more running forever at worst.

I can’t even explain the kind of panic that ensues when you read on-line accounts of runners who started with just a dull ache in their knee or foot or shin and then it escalates into a serious injury that has them hanging up their running sneakers for good. I don’t think I have to even say that I would be utterly and completely devastated if I ever lost the ability to run…I can’t even think about it.

So, long story short…no more Googling for me.

Instead, I decided to fight the urge to “power through it,” which is pretty much my motto for every curveball life throws my way, and follow the advice I have heard time and time again when it comes to running-related aches and pains and injuries. I did NOT pack my running sneakers for my weekend down the shore, or head out for a MUCH NEEDED pre-dinner run on Easter. When I wasn’t hobbling around doing everything in my power not to bend my big toe for fear of straining the joint, or laying around icing it for hours on end, I’ve been obsessing over my compulsive need to GO FOR A RUN RIGHT NOW and scolding myself for being “lazy.”

Fortunately, it’s feeling a little bit better today, and I took that (of course) to mean that I should try running. But first, I decided to finally give in and try KT Tape, since I’ve read about it on a million different blogs and have sort of been wanting to test it out anyway (not that I would ever wish for an injury to use it on, but you know what I mean).

2013-04-01 13.59.07I taped up my foot (although I later realized I didn’t exactly use the tape optimally after checking out how-tos on their website) and went out for an easy 3-miler today, and can tell you that KT Tape truly is MAGIC tape…it stabilized the joint that has been bothering me, and I didn’t feel any discomfort in my big toe or foot at all for the entire run.

I know I’m going to have to take it easy for a bit longer — and I will absolutely see a doctor if my foot doesn’t feel completely back to normal in the next day or two — but it felt great to get out there and run today…especially since temperatures are near 60 today, and it feels like spring may finally be here!

Do you have a hard time forcing yourself to rest due to an injury?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Putting Myself ‘Out There’

For more than three years now, I have been keeping a secret.

I have a blog.

While those of you who follow me on Twitter — my main forum for publicizing the goings-on here at “The Final Forty” — may be scratching your heads right now, allow me to explain.

beach2007

2007, size 20W

I started blogging in January of 2010 after my weight loss progress on Weight Watchers halted to a standstill. I had shed 80 pounds in 2008, followed by a SLOOOW 10 pounds in 2009, and then after that…nothing. Nada. Zilch. I did absolutely everything I could think to do to kickstart my weight loss again, and yet that scale just would not budge.

Meanwhile, throughout the process of losing so much weight in such a short period of time, I was forced to face an endless string of emotional issues. As I watched my body shrink from a size 20/22W to a size 8/10M, all of the issues that had led me to become so overweight in the first place came rushing to the surface. I had been drowning my emotions in food for so long that once that crutch was no longer there, I didn’t know how to deal with it all. Desperate to keep the weight off, I went in search of anything I could do to make sure my various issues didn’t become so overwhelming that I ended up returning to my old ways…as I had done so many times in the past.

And that is why I started blogging. It was for no reason than to serve as a place for me to sort through all of the issues that go along with making such a drastic lifestyle change so quickly. I told a select handful of people about my blog, assuming that nobody would ever care to venture into the inner-workings of my mind, and that was that. I posted a new blog every week or two…or month or two…and it continued to serve as a personal diary of sorts.

The reason I write this post today is because I am tired of hiding. I have spent the majority of my life hiding behind my weight and using it as an excuse not to do what I really want to do.

I was bullied day in and day out for years for being “the fat girl,” and it’s hard for me to admit it, but I am so not over the pain and humiliation that comes from being singled out and having what I believed was my worst flaw pointed out to me over and over again in the cruelest ways imaginable. I am not over it. I probably never will be.

DSCF9982_2

2012, size 10M

I always wondered if some of my former classmates would ever stumble upon my blog, and that thought used to terrify me…but it is within the last few months that I’ve realized that, in many ways, I owe a part of my success to them. I use the pain of what they put me through to fuel me today…and while I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, facing that kind of adversity from such a young age has forced me to work so much harder and made me so much stronger than I ever thought I could be.

This whole quest to lose “the final forty” has been frustrating, to say the least, but it has also been the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of my life…and I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything. Whether the scale reflects it or not, my body continues to change, and five years later, I can say that my mind is FINALLY starting to catch up with the person I am on the outside.

I owe a lot of that to the incredible support and encouragement that I started to find as soon as I began opening myself up to others, whether it was on Twitter or Facebook or through the countless amazing blogs I read written by people who continue to inspire me to chase my goals every single day, whether it’s pitching my dream magazine or registering for my next half marathon.

princesshalf4My blog is starting to grow now — in fact, I’ll be sharing a new brand ambassadorship here very soon! — and while it will always be a little strange posting personal thoughts and feelings to be read by people I know in “real life,” I’m not afraid anymore. Believe it or not, until today, I never even advertised my own blog on my personal Facebook page…I was judged for so long that it was hard not to obsess over what people would think about my musings on such personal topics as loose skin, or my most embarrassing “before” photos.

But you know what…this is me today, and as hard as it is for me to admit it sometimes, I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of how far I’ve come, I’m proud of who I am, and after 20+ years of hating my body, I’ve finally reached a place where I can accept myself just the way I am…and I don’t care who knows it. I mean, if I can post pictures of myself in a bathing suit for all the world to see, then I shouldn’t be afraid of anything, right?

People sometimes tell me that I am an inspiration to them (in fact, this awesome runner I’ve been following actually wrote a blog post inspired by something I talked about here, and that is just so unbelievably flattering to me…thank you!), and while it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the notion of inspiring someone else, I do believe I have something to offer the world…and I plan to do just that.

princesshalfI don’t think I would be where I am today in my running journey if it wasn’t for the community of runners who are always willing to share advice and words of encouragement and, yes, even to talk me off the ledge, so to speak, when I was convinced that I’d never be able to finish a 5k…or a 10k…or a half marathon.

I want to fully engage in that community, and I want to fully commit to my running goals — and it all starts with not being afraid to put myself out there.

Discovering my passion for running (and martial arts!) has helped me to conquer so many of my demons, and maybe I’m as addicted to running as I once was addicted to food — jury’s still out on how healthy THAT is! — but I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t finally discover something that has helped give meaning to my transformation and my future as a healthy, active person.

So…if you’re reading this, and would be so kind as to connect with me, here’s where to find me. No more hiding!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenniferlnelson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFinalForty

E-mail: thefinalforty at gmail dot com

Professional website: www.jenniferlnelson.com

Do you ever have a hard time posting about personal topics when people you know in “real life” are reading?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Race Recap: Miles for Music 20K

DSCF3029Yesterday I took on my first 20K, and I did it for time — unlike my first half marathon in Disney World last month. It was a race organized by a local music teacher and runner that benefits music education in schools, and I thought that was a great reason to get out of bed at 6:45 on a Sunday morning — even after losing an hour of sleep to Daylight Saving Time! — and see how I would fare in a 12.4 mile race. I’m a piano teacher, and plus, I’ll take any excuse to race in a themed outfit/costume — even if I am the only one! — so I was looking forward to participating in Miles for Music.

After some issues getting out the door on time (because, you know, that’s new!) and then having parking difficulties — my tardiness meant that all the lots near the park where the race was being held were full, so I had to park at the nearby university and jump on a bus to the registration area — I made it to the start line with just minutes to spare. Note to self: Do NOT cut it that close to the start of a race EVER AGAIN; I was nervous enough without having to worry about missing the entire damn race!

As you may have read in my last post, I had signed up for the Miles for Music 20K with the strict intention of putting my half marathon training to the test: I didn’t get a chance to run “for real” in Disney World, so now I wanted to see exactly what I could do. I was placed in the first corral at the Disney Princess Half Marathon, which was designated for runnDSCF3041ers who had submitted a proof of time that indicated finishing the half marathon in 2:15 or less.

Based upon my most recent 10K, I had submitted an anticipated finish time of 2:05, but photo ops and character visits — not to mention unseasonably warm temperatures — had caused me to cross the finish line in 3:30! I was determined to use this race as an opportunity to prove to myself that I could have done so much better.

However, since this was my first time running anything longer than a 10K for time, I was pretty much terrified of what it would feel like to run more than 12 miles without stopping — my long runs always include brief walk breaks and pit stops, but I try my best not to walk during races. I know there’s no shame in it; it’s just a mental thing.

When the race began, I put my race day plan into action: in my sleeplessness the night before (will I EVER reach a point where I can actually sleep the night before a race?) I had decided to try my best to maintain a steady pace that would help me reach my goal of completing the 20K in under two hours. I figured a sub-2 hour 20K finish would be more than enough evidence to prove to myself that I had belonged amongst those Corral A runners in Disney World! My normal pace is pretty much a solid 9-minute/mile now, but I know I tend to slow down quite a bit in the latter half of my long runs, so I also wanted to see if I could practice maintaining a steadier pace.

DSCF3043The course all took place in one park: we completed 2.5 loops. It was a really nice park and all, and while it’s not necessarily a bad thing to know exactly what to expect in the second half of a longer race (read: I knew after the first loop that there would be NO HILLS to climb!), there are definitely some cons when it comes to a race that takes place all in one location. For starters, you get lapped by all the faster runners — yes, there were some crazy fast people headed for the finish line when I was just starting mile 7! — and secondly, the scenery can get kind of boring. Not to mention, once you know just how long it takes to run that first lap of the park, you might not be so thrilled about having to do it all over again. At least I wasn’t!

Anyway, the first three miles flew by, and I was maintaining a solid 9:05-9:10 pace. According to the 5K clock, I beat my 5K PR (27:59) by a few seconds, so I was feeling pretty good.

As I pounded my ways through miles 4, 5, and 6, I consciously fought to keep my pace to about 9:15-9:20. It was in these miles that for some reason, my right foot decided to go numb. Yes, that’s right…suddenly, I was getting these sharp pains in my foot, but there was no way that I was going to allow myself to slow down or walk when it was this early in the race. My left foot is a little sore after a long run from time to time, but I never had any issues with my right foot…and now I was dealing with this tingly pain that was making me EXTREMELY uncomfortable as I finished the first 10K. Admittedly, the time on the 10K clock did help brighten my spirits a little bit — I had beaten my last previous 10K PR by almost 40 seconds!

DSCF3047(Side note: My feet felt completely fine after the race, and my sneakers are only about two months old…any guesses on what could have happened here? And how to avoid this happening EVER AGAIN?)

Here’s where things got tough — in addition to the physical discomfort I was already experiencing, I knew the second half of the race — uncharted territory for me — would prove to be a serious mental challenge. I felt my energy levels starting to take a nosedive, so I reached into my Spibelt to cram a few Clif Shot Bloks into my mouth right before the first post-10K water stop.

I was planning to allow myself to walk through the water stops after the first 10K, but a quick glance at my Garmin and some simple calculations told me that I really didn’t have all that much extra time to play with if I wanted to finish this thing in less than two hours. So I changed my “walk through water stops” plan to a “stop briefly to gulp water/Gatorade if needed, but then start moving again IMMEDIATELY” plan.

I’ve already started to block out my memories of miles 7, 8, and 9. I had come so far already, but I found myself agonizing over just how much further I still had to go. My foot was really bothering me, and although the temperatures were great for racing (40s), the sun was shining and I was starting to feel pretty hot in my long-sleeved shirt. My legs had already been a little sore froDSCF3052m Friday night’s Taekwondo class, and now I could really feel my muscles tightening up. I tried my best to ignore the pain and instead focus on enjoying my race day playlist and keeping my pace steady — I had slowed down to about a 9:40 pace by the time I was approaching the 15K mark.

And then, finally, it was time for the last 5K. Every time I’ve done a longer race, I always take the time to reflect on how much I look forward to that last 5K — it’s a distance that seems so easy to me now, and yet it was less than a year ago that I ditched a local 5K I had signed up for because I was convinced I wasn’t trained properly and wouldn’t be able to finish it.

Still, the last 5K was brutal. I was tired, I was hot, and I was ready to stop on the side of the road, yank my sneakers off, and throw them in the garbage. My right foot was KILLING me, and I was so ready to be done with the race.

In fact, I believe it was in mile 11 that I started to seriously ask myself if running half marathons was something I REALLY wanted to do.

DSCF3053I kept pushing myself to go as fast as I could, especially since my pace was now averaging about 9:50-9:55 and I knew I needed to keep the remaining miles under 10 minutes in order to meet my 2-hour goal.

I wondered why I had willingly decided to put my body through this kind of discomfort, and started to doubt my ability to ever run anything longer than a half marathon…or if I even actually WANTED to run another half marathon.

The Disney Princess Half Marathon had so much excitement and fun along the course that I just sort of forgot about the distance…but this race showed me just how long 12+ miles can be.

But then I finally — FINALLY — saw the group of volunteers directing us to the finish line, and suddenly and amazingly and magically, all of the pain disappeared. I saw that the clock read 1:58, and I knew I was about to achieve my goal of a sub-2 hour finish time…and prove to myself that I most certainly could have finished my first half marathon in under 2:05. And as soon as it was over, I could not WAIT to do it again. Please, SOMEBODY help me make some sense of that! What kind of sick and twisted addiction is this?

I crossed the finish line, refueled with a soft pretzel, hot chocolate, and some Gatorade — LOVE — and took some photos with my race day swag: a baseball cap and winter gloves — which I also loved. Overall, it was definitely a well-organized event.

DSCF3080In closing, I assure you that I will not giving up on running any races longer than a 10K. After you stop running and the pain and soreness subsides,  it becomes abundantly clear why I cannot and will not give up on running future 20ks or half marathons — or maybe an even longer race someday, if you catch my drift.

Yes, running can be hard in the moment, whether you’re hobbling through a long run or forcing yourself to ignore your legs or your feet or your knees when they’re screaming at you to just stop running in the middle of a race. But I don’t think it’s any secret that the hardest things in life are, more often than not, also the most rewarding…and to me, running makes me feel as though I can do anything. My foot pain went away, and my sore, achy legs will eventually feel normal again, and then all I’m left with is this incredible sense of pride and accomplishment…and like anything in life, achieving your goal suddenly makes all of the obstacles and the hardships and the adversity you face along the way so very, very worth it.

Okay, so who has long race tips for me? Please tell me it gets easier!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

I DID IT! My First Half Marathon: Disney Princess!

I’m back from my first half marathon and RunDisney event — the Disney Princess Half Marathon — and I’ll be posting a whole lot of recaps and photos over the next few days…but first and foremost, I would like to announce that I DID finish, and I DID have the time of my life! I cannot WAIT for my next RunDisney race: the Dumbo Double Dare in Disneyland!

Image

One of many, many castle photo ops!

Before I start posting lots and lots of recaps, reviews (Race Retreat, ChEAR Squad, etc.) and photos from my trip, I wanted to take a moment to share a few post-race thoughts. My finish time was an entire hour — yes, a whole freakin’ HOUR! — later than what I had planned (2:30), but I’m going to go ahead and chalk that up to the fact that I stopped for almost EVERY photo opportunity along the course, a few pit stops, and, of course, the ridiculous humidity that I was SO not prepared to run in.

As a Northern princess, I had spent the last few months tackling my final long runs in the bone-chilling 30 degree weather…and the temperatures on race day soared to almost 80 degrees, with 90 percent humidity! I tried my best to maintain my usual 9-10/minute mile pace in between character stops, but ultimately couldn’t muster anything faster than 11-12/minute miles, especially in the second part of the race when I was really feeling the effects of the 2:30am wake-up call and was literally dripping with sweat (gross!).

Image

Yes, I was one of those runners taking pictures of all the mile markers!

Probably to the dismay of my devoted “ChEAR Squad” — my mom, sister, and BF — I would also be lying if I didn’t admit that I was sort of taking my sweet old time along the course. I am an absolute Disney freak, and I definitely got a little carried away with the excitement of combining my absolute two favorite things — running and Disney — on the day of the race. I was lucky enough to move up to Corral A based upon my most recent 10K time — because, yes, I am usually just a tad faster than my 3:30 half marathon finish might suggest! — and since I had that extra time cushion (there was a 16-minute/mile maximum pace starting with the last wave of runners), I decided to take full advantage of all the fun and excitement along the course.

DSCF2792

Yet another photo op!

I saw lots of other women arguing with their running buddies about stopping for a particular character or photo opportunity, and I didn’t want to do that to myself — I wanted to take tons of pictures and have fun and enjoy this moment that I had worked so hard for, and if that meant a less-than-desirable finish time, so what? I’ll just run another half marathon that doesn’t include all of the hooplah on the sidelines and focus on my time for that race.

The course was also pretty crowded (more on that later), so my time also included lots of weaving around slower runners and walkers, because my only other race day plan was that when I wasn’t stopping for photo ops or potty breaks that I would just keep running…and that’s exactly what did!

For me, this race wasn’t about setting a PR (although, as a first time half marathoner, I suppose it was an automatic PR), it was about having a blast in my favorite place in the world…and, most importantly, proving to myself that I can do this. I had spent the last six months training and planning and thinking about this race, and all while wrestling with self-doubt that I’d ever be able to cross that finish line. I am not some natural-born athlete; I may be physically fit now, but I am, at my core, a woman who battles a lifelong weight problem every single day, and all of the residual issues that go along with that — and I probably always will be.

Image

By far the LONGEST character line of the race!

And that’s why, my Disney obsession aside, I would recommend the Disney Princess Half Marathon to any first-time half marathon runner — or anyone looking to infuse a little bit of fun into their racing schedule. I was surrounded by nothing but supportive women in all shapes, sizes, ages, and ability levels, and it wasn’t some pressure-packed race experience amongst elite runners…even in Corral A. By the time I was standing at the start line and waiting for the Fairy Godmother to send us off, I had all the confidence I needed to know that I would be able to call myself a half marathoner in just a few short hours.

Image

Nothing better than celebrating a successful race at the Magic Kingdom!

It was a race that was all about having some silly, girly fun, with runners wearing elaborate princess costumes and tiaras and being sprinkled with pixie dust upon crossing the finish line. I honestly didn’t even have time to play the self-deprecating “you’re never going to finish” game along the course because I was so preoccupied with my next big moment — running through Cinderella’s castle, seeing the Epcot ball in the distance — or wondering which character I might get to visit with next.

Overall, I had an AMAZING first half marathon experience, and I can’t wait to share the finer details here with all of you! Stay tuned! 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Why I Love Running

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d proclaim the reasons I’ve fallen head over heels for running.

(I better love it, seeing as how ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, I will be headed down to Walt Disney World to take on my very first half marathon!)

1.) The way I feel when I’m done. Sure, sure, the running part is great and all, but whether I’ve gone out for a 2-mile run or a 12-mile run, there are no words to express the way I feel when it’s over. Call it runner’s high, call it endorphins, call it whatever you want, but I am addicted! I never feel more confident than when I can spend some time in my running duds and come home all sweaty and tired and sore and…proud.

2013-02-06 13.59.372.) The new relationship with food. It’s no secret that I used to have a serious weight problem; I spent most of my life struggling with obesity, and trying every trick in the book to gain control over my unhealthy eating habits, from fad diets to good old-fashioned starvation. Now that I’m a runner, I am forced to see food for what it truly is: fuel. Gone are the days when I obsess over every carbohydrate or scour the supermarket for the latest and greatest in fat-free snacks; I understand now that my body needs carbs and fats and all of these other nutrients — in moderation — to perform at its best.

3.) The sense of accomplishment. There is little in life that makes me as proud as the moment when I cross the finish line of a race, or when I head out for a 10- or 12-mile run and actually finish. It doesn’t matter whether I PRed or struggled through every mile — I get to constantly experience the joy that comes from setting a goal and seeing it through every time I sign up for a race or take on a new distance. There’s nothing like proving to myself over and over again that I CAN do this.

4.) The community. It has been so rewarding to communicate with, and learn from, fellow runners, who are always so willing to share their tips and encouragement. Coming in from a bad run to see that I have a new supportive comment on my blog or an encouraging tweet from another runner helps more than I could have ever imagined. It’s so much fun getting to share my new obsession!

5.) The stress relief. I’m definitely not known to be a relaxed, carefree person — I’m pretty much the exact definition of someone with a Type A personality, and have always tended to be just a tad high-strung. But not when I’m running. Lacing up my sneakers and going out for a run is a time for me to unwind, decompress, and maybe even work through the problems of the day in a calm, rational way as I’m traversing my usual running routes. Don’t get me wrong, running can certainly be physically exhausting, but it really can help soothe the mind. Even my mind.

6.) The body acceptance. Thanks to my lifelong weight struggles, I’ve always been pretty hard on myself about my body (read: I’ve loathed it with a passion). Even after my weight loss, I focused on imperfections like residual stretch marks or loose skin instead of seeing what was right there in front of me: a strong, healthy body. Running makes you appreciate everything your body is capable of achieving, and it has helped me develop an acceptance for what I have — and for that, I am eternally grateful. I’m not saying I have the perfect body, or that I ever will, but I’ve finally been able to break the cycle of striving to be “skinny” — instead, I focus on being the strongest, fittest (and, yes, even fastest!) runner I can be.

7.) The empowerment. I don’t think I need to say that running is HARD. WORK. But proving to myself that, yes, I could run a 10K, or yes, I could make it to double-digits in my long runs, makes me feel as though I could accomplish ANYTHING. Because running can be so physically grueling, and because it is a physical activity that was never, ever possible for me — someone who has always been obese — conquering my fear of taking on new distances and proving to myself every single day exactly what I am capable of achieving when I set my mind to it is incredibly, unbelievably empowering. I was the girl who couldn’t run the mile in gym class in high school, who was pointed at and laughed at for huffing and puffing my way around the outdoor track four times and still finishing last. And today…I am training for a half marathon.

8.) The travel. Of course, I had to mention this one! I can see now that running just pairs so nicely with my desire to travel and go places and experience new things. I am beyond thrilled to be able to combine my love of running with my love of, oh, I don’t know, say Disney World, and am excited to participate in races and meet other runners from other other parts of the country (and, no, I don’t just mean my upcoming trip to Disneyland for the Dumbo Double Dare).  My running journey has been nothing but exciting and fulfilling, and I look forward to where it might take me next!

Your turn. What do YOU love about running?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

13.1 Lessons I’ve Learned While Training for My First 13.1

Yesterday, I braved the snow and ice (thanks a lot, Nemo!) and went out for my last long run before the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I planned to take on 12 miles — my longest run to date. Though the packed down snow and icy patches along my usual route slowed me down a bit, I am happy to announce that I finished all 12 miles…and, most importantly, that I felt pretty damn good!

A segment of yesterday's running route!

A segment of yesterday’s running route!

I know that many half marathon training plans only go up to 10 miles, but I wanted to see if I could push myself just a bit further. I needed to prove to myself that I CAN take on this distance…and I’m figuring the adrenaline and the excitement of seeing that finish line will carry me through the final 1.1 miles on race day!

As I was making my way through yesterday’s wintry wonderland, I did a lot of thinking. Knowing that it was my last long run after months and months of training (I’ve been working on building up my base since LAST AUGUST!), I couldn’t help but feel a little bit nostalgic about my running journey thus far. I have a feeling that there will be many more half marathons in my future, but because this is my first — and, let’s face it, because it’s taking place at Walt Disney World — I know it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Last summer, my idea of “running” was heading out for slow 2-3 mile jog a few times a week at the park near my apartment. It was just something I did to exercise when I had the time. At that point, I had also completed a few 5Ks and 4-milers “just for fun.” Yet despite my inexperience, for some reason, I felt compelled to go ahead and sign up for a half marathon.

The thought of running a half marathon — especially a RunDisney event — had crossed my mind several times in the past, but it was never something I thought I could actually accomplish. Those events, after all, were for “real” runners.

12m_1

Longest run ever: 12 miles!

I had no idea then just how much clicking that “register” button was going to change my life, and as I tackled yesterday’s scheduled 12 miles, I found myself thinking about all of the things I’ve learned along my journey to my first half marathon. And, what a coincidence, there are 13.1 of ’em!

1.) Running is hard. I figured I’d start with the obvious. Six months ago, I saw running as little more than a cardio activity…you know, something you did to burn some calories and maybe even drop a few pounds. I had no idea how much jargon there was to learn (fartleks, anyone?) or the experimentation necessary to find the right sneakers or pre-race fuel or what it would take to complete a structured training plan of runs over the course of a few months. The act of running is pretty straightforward, I suppose — one foot in front of the other — but there is NOTHING easy about it.

2.) Runners are among the most supportive people — ever! As I’ve become more active on social media sites like Twitter, and even running-specific sites like Daily Mile, I have found nothing but support from fellow runners. Whether I’m chatting with people at races or sharing tips on-line, there’s definitely a “we’re all in this together” kind of mentality that comes from the shared experience of running. I’m so grateful for all the runners who have offered guidance, support, and that much-needed bit of encouragement along the way!

12m_3

Feeling good!

3.) Running is as much mental as it is physical. When I started getting serious about improving, I found that runners and running magazines and running websites and running books and all of the various sources of information I started studying seemed to allude to this fact. To be honest, I never believed it…until now. I’ve experienced firsthand what it’s like to have your body quit on you, whether it’s during a 10-mile training run or a local 5K. Even when my legs feel like lead and I want nothing more than to take a nap on the side of the road, somehow, your mind takes over…and you just get through it. It’s that same mental toughness that has gotten me out the door to squeeze in an early morning run, run a race on a 85-degree day, or perhaps even tackle a 12-miler in the aftermath of a blizzard!

4.) Running is completely, utterly addicting. I used to see runners on the side of the road at 6am on a frigid winter morning or a blistering hot summer afternoon and wonder what the hell they were thinking. Now I know. The runner’s high is oh-so-very real, and I need it. All the time. If I’m sick or injured or am unable to run for any length of time — even just a few days — I can’t even describe the torture! I feel as though my life revolves around running now…when I’m not actually pounding the pavement, I’m registering for my next race or researching new workouts or reading magazines like Runner’s World. I know running can be tough on the body, but as someone who used to be addicted to food, I’d say this is a much healthier alternative!

5.) There are countless ways to get injured.  I’m not stupid or anything…I knew running wasn’t exactly akin to yoga or taking a spin on a stationary bike, but I had no idea just how hard day after day of running 4 or 6 or 8 or 10+ miles was going to be on my body. I’ve become accustomed to being sore pretty much all the time, and I’m lucky in that I’ve suffered only minor injuries throughout my half marathon training. But the fear of knowing that I can injure myself enough to take me out of the game, so to speak, at any given moment is pretty damn terrifying. It’s just so easy to suffer a stress fracture or develop tendinitis or pull a hamstring, and that sort of leads me to my next lesson learned…

6.) You learn to appreciate your body and everything it can do. It’s no secret that I’ve always pretty much hated my body. A lifetime of being 30 or 50 or 100 pounds overweight at any given time and being called oh-so-flattering nicknames like “thunder thighs” throughout your elementary, middle, and high school years can do that to you. I may be a comfortable size 8/10 now, but my body is far from perfect — the years of yo-yo dieting have certainly taken their toll. But since I’ve started running, I can honestly say that I have completely stopped obsessing over my body’s imperfections. When you start proving to yourself on a daily basis just how strong you are, or how fast you can be, suddenly a little loose skin just doesn’t seem so important anymore. My legs are definitely larger than the average person’s, but you know what? Those legs have carried me through 10K races and 10-mile runs. I am truly ashamed of myself for poisoning my body with food and inactivity for so many years, and taking my health for granted…now that I’m a runner, I do everything in my power to take care of what I have and I fully appreciate just how far these “thunder thighs” have taken me.

7.) The right fuel makes all the difference. As a formerly obese person, my life pretty much used to revolve around eating…and even after my weight loss, I continued to battle with my unhealthy relationship with food. But then you start training for an endurance event like a half marathon, and suddenly, every morsel that passes my lips is evaluated for the way in which it will affect my running. I know exactly which healthy foods will help power me through my next run, and I’ve had to impose all sorts of rules on myself when it comes to racing or preparing for longer runs. Not to mention I had no idea just how difficult it was going to be to find the long run fuel that worked for my apparently sensitive stomach, and would help keep me going for miles and miles (the winner: Clif Shot Bloks!) Running has finally helped me learn to look at food for what it really is — fuel — and for that reason alone, I will continue to lace up my sneakers.

8.) You need more than sneakers. Don’t get me wrong, finding the right pair of footwear is CRITICAL, but I used to think that running was among the more inexpensive activities to get hooked on — especially if you compare it to something like my martial arts classes (not cheap!). If only I had known then the endless amounts of gear that would become essential to my running life, from fuel belts to GPS watches to BondiBands! And then, of course, there’s the wardrobe — my running attire now far outnumbers my “regular” clothing, and I have a full array of sweat-wicking clothing and accessories for every single weather contingency…and, I’ll admit it, in every color and pattern. Nothing wrong with looking cute while you run!

9.) Bad runs happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it. When I was getting started, I’d constantly battle the urge to throw in the towel after struggling to complete what was supposed to be an “easy” 3-mile training run. I still marvel at the fact that there are days when I take on 7 miles with seemingly little effort, and others when 4 miles feels more like 400 miles. There are so many factors that will affect your performance, from the weather to your level of hydration to what you ate for dinner the night before to what color nail polish you’re wearing (okay, I’m exaggerating), but the bottom line is that no matter how well-trained you are, sometimes you’re just going to have a bad run. And there’s no use in beating yourself up over it.

10.) Runners come in all shapes and sizes. I used to be completely convinced that I could never be a “runner” because I don’t have the typical “runner’s body.” I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I told myself I was too “fat” to run. But when I started participating in races, I looked around and saw people of all shapes and sizes lining up at the starting line…and now I kind of like to think of myself as proof that you definitely do not have to be “skinny” to run! I’ve learned that with proper training, anyone can learn how to improve, regardless of your size…if I can do it, anyone can!

11.) Discipline is EVERYTHING. When it comes to running, I’ve found that there is nothing more important than discipline. Runners succeed because they force themselves out of bed to squeeze in a 4am training run before work, or consistently choose the right foods and get ample sleep because they know it boosts their performance. Once I started disciplining myself to follow a consistent training plan and educate myself on proper nutrition to fuel my new activity, everything changed…suddenly, I could run faster, and felt so much better while doing so. You cannot train for a half marathon or a marathon or a triathlon or any kind of endurance event without having discipline, period.

12.) You can only compete against yourself. I know there are elite athletes, but of course, most of us will never be one of those runners. I spent so much time being intimidated by other runners and the fear of being “too slow” to participate in a race with those who can run a 6 or 7 minute-per-mile pace that it took me this long to figure out that running is a sport where you really only have to worry about yourself. Every race is an opportunity to set your own PR or put your own training to the test or challenge yourself in a new way, and you don’t have to be concerned with what everyone else is doing. You worry about running your own race, and that’s it.

And finally, lesson number 13.1 (sorry, just trying to be cute) I’ve learned while training for my first half marathon:

impossible13.1.) There is nothing — NOTHING — like crossing a finish line. It doesn’t matter how many 5Ks I have under my belt, or the fact that the 10K distance no longer terrifies me…crossing the finish line of a race is an indescribable feeling. When I’ve found myself struggling during a training run, all I have to do is imagine the moment when I cross the finish line of my first half marathon to keep me going. Running is fun and all, but for me, every time I finish a race — regardless of the distance involved — it is proof positive that I am doing something that I never thought I could do. It is the ultimate metaphor for setting a goal and the pride that comes to seeing it through to the very end.

For me, running is kind of like achieving the impossible every single day. And maybe that’s why running my first half marathon at Walt Disney World is just so meaningful to me.

What were some of the things you learned while training for your first half (or full!) marathon?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Race Recap: NYCRUNS Riverside Park Hot Chocolate 10K

I’m down to the final three weeks of training before the Disney Princess Half Marathon, and I convinced myself that it would be a great idea to run one last 10K. I basically had four good reasons:hotchocolate10k

1.) I haven’t run a 10K since last November, nor competed in a race in 2013 yet…and it just seemed like something I should do before taking on 13.1 miles later this month.

2.) I wasn’t particularly thrilled with either of my previous 10K times (59:18 and 59:15) because both races were run in unseasonably high temperatures — almost 80 degrees in NOVEMBER! — and on ridiculously hilly courses. I was pretty sure I could do better (spoiler alert: I DID!).

3.) I forgot to submit a time for corral placement for the half marathon, so I thought I’d give myself one more chance to ensure an earlier placement when I bring proof of time to the expo.

hotchocolate10k_24.) And the most important reason of all: I, ladies and gentlemen, am starting to PANIC about this half marathon. Like, really panic. So I thought it would be good to get all of the “race day” practice I can get…even if a 10K is still, technically, less than half of a half.

Of course, I scoured all of my favorite running websites for local 10Ks taking place in New Jersey in the final weeks before I head to Disney World, and found absolutely nothing except a handful of 5Ks. So I decided to consider running my first out-of-state race (granted, it’s only a 40-minute train ride, but still!) and ended up in New York City on this past BRUTALLY COLD Saturday morning for the NYCRUNS Riverside Park Hot Chocolate 10K. Seriously, it was frigid, and I was convinced that I’d have to be taken to the nearest hospital to be treated for hypothermia before I even crossed the starting line. (A special thanks to my boyfriend for jumping on a 6am train and freezing to death on a park bench just to see me cross the finish line…and take lots of pretty pictures!)

hotchocolate10k_5But then the race began and I found myself warming up, as always — and maintaining a respectable 9ish/mile pace. Most surprisingly, despite the fact that the park — which offered some FABULOUS views of the Hudson and my great state of New Jersey — contained lots of lovely hills to climb, and I was struggling with a droopy waist on my running tights and various cold-weather running issues (can someone please tell me: IS there a socially acceptable way to wipe the snot from your nose?), I couldn’t help but admit to myself that I felt pretty damn fantastic.

And I continued to feel fantastic for the entire duration of the race. I could have done without some of the hills, but overall, I was maintaining my target race pace, enjoying the views, and best of all, actually having fun. The hot chocolate awaiting the runners at the finish line was a much appreciated bonus, too!

I love running, but since I’ve been in half marathon training mode for months and months there are definitely days when it feels more like a chore…and those off days when I find myself winded halfway through an “easy” three-miler can make me question why I even bother.

But Saturday was not one of those days. As I flew through the final miles of the race, still feeling strong and without any need to stop (well, taking a moment to blow my nose might have been nice), I found myself thinking that I might just be able to do this. You know, run a half marathon.

Ihotchocolate10k_4 thought about the idea of running two 10Ks back-to-back, and for the first time didn’t shudder in fear. Don’t get me wrong — running a 10K is hard work, and I am definitely tired and sore (and hungry!) afterwards…but it’s now something that’s completely within my realm of possibility. I’m not afraid anymore.

Oh, and the icing on top of it all? I CRUSHED my previous 10K time from November (59:15) by three full minutes! My official chip time from this weekend’s race was 56:17, for a pace of 9:05/mile.

Regardless of what corral I end up in for the half marathon, I’m so proud to be able to submit my shiny new 10K PR. There’s nothing like seeing the fruits of your labor…and I never knew how exciting a measly three minutes could be!

hotchocolate10K_7Even though I haven’t been perfectly following my Cool Running half marathon training plan — I definitely don’t do speedwork consistently enough, and I always have to rearrange the mileage a bit based on my martial arts classes — I think it might just be working. Not only because I no longer have to stop to “tie my shoes” (read: catch my breath and combat the urge to drop dead on the side of the course) during races, but more importantly, because I’m no longer intimidated by other runners.

Granted, I’m typically the only one racing in a Sparkle Skirt — just because it’s fun! — and I know I won’t be taking first place anytime ever, but I’m finally starting to feel like I BELONG at that start line. I deserve to be there just as much as anyone else — including those people who finish a 10K in the amount of time it takes me to run a 5K! — because I am a “real” runner now.

And in just 20 days, I will be a half marathoner!

When did you start officially thinking of yourself as a a “real” runner?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Taking a Leap of Faith

This week, I did something absolutely insane. I still can’t believe I did this.

On Tuesday morning, I started hearing rumblings of something called “Dumbo Double Dare” on Twitter and the DIS Boards threads I’ve been frequenting ever since I registered for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Not gonna lie — I had no clue what it was.

Dumbo-Double-Dare-FB-Cover

So, of course, I Googled it…and found out it was related to the Disneyland Half Marathon coming up in August. I’d been entertaining the idea of registering for the half marathon for weeks, mainly because it would give me the opportunity to earn the coveted Coast to Coast medal awarded to runners who complete a race at both the Walt Disney World resort and the Disneyland resort in the same calendar year. And, plus…I’ve never been to Disneyland, and I figure it’s about time I change that!

However, I sort of planned to wait until after I ran the Princess Half next month to make any crazy decisions (read: I wanted to see if I would survive one half marathon before committing myself to another one).

As it turns out, this year, Run Disney decided to add a 10K option to the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend…and they were offering a special “Dumbo Double Dare” medal to finishers of both the 10K on Saturday followed by the half marathon on Sunday.

coasttocoastmedalAll of the runners I follow on Twitter were posting all morning about how quickly the Disneyland events were going to sell out…and what a hot ticket the Dumbo Double Dare was going to be — it was only open to 5,000 runners. Apparently, the majority of the spots had been filled with early registration during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend earlier this month.

Suddenly, I had minutes to decide whether I would be taking a leap of faith and registering for a second half marathon before I had even finished my first.

AND…I couldn’t help but ignore the fact that I suddenly and desperately wanted to challenge myself to the Dumbo Double Dare. I’ve raced in a handful of 10Ks and I regularly complete 6-mile training runs, so I figured I should probably be able to handle following up a 6.1 mile race with a half marathon, right?

disneylandhalfWho the hell knows? All I know is that at 12pm on the dot — the moment those registration spots opened to the general public — I sat there staring at the Active.com registration page, arguing with myself about whether or not I could do this. Aside from the fact that I had promised myself I’d pay down my Disney Visa before next month’s trip (YEAH, RIGHT), I am still wrestling with self-doubt on a daily basis that I’ll be able to finish one half marathon…let alone a 10K AND a half marathon over the course of just 48 hours.

I still sometimes have a hard time calling myself a “runner,” and yet there I was contemplating flying across the country to take on a total of 19.3 miles IN ONE WEEKEND.

I saw the minutes ticking by and was compulsively scrolling through Twitter updates about how the challenge was almost full, and decided it was time to stop doubting myself. I wanted to do this, and there was absolutely no reason that I shouldn’t.

Soooo…I DID IT!

I got in just minutes before the Dumbo Double Dare was officially declared sold out. The 10K sold out in a matter of hours, and the option to register for just the half marathon was gone by the next day.mk

It looks like I’m going to Disneyland! And, yes, that’s enormously exciting for a Disney freak like myself. Not to mention, it’s pretty awesome to think that I am among a very limited amount of runners who will be taking on this challenge.

However, the most exciting part of all is that if registering for this insane weekend of running doesn’t prove that I’m finally starting to believe in myself, then I don’t know what will.

And that might be even more thrilling than the FOUR (!) medals I’m going to receive that weekend.

Anyone else as insane as I am? Who else is doing Dumbo?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.