Posts Tagged With: racing

Summer Running

Happy first day of summer, everyone!

Speaking of which, I have a confession to make. I kind of, sort of, don’t really like running in the summer.

There. I said it.

Last year, I began my Princess Half training towards the end of the summer, so while I had my fair share of long, sweaty runs, I was really ramping up my training in the fall. This year, since the Dumbo Double Dare is in California…in August…I figure I’d better get used to the hot weather!

Still, I’m having the hardest time “pushing it” on my training runs when I feel so drained. I’m doing everything I can to stay hydrated and fuel properly, and yet I pretty much dissolve into a sweaty, cranky mess by, say, mile 2. My energy just isn’t there.

Do I enjoy the abundant sunshine and longer days (i.e. more available hours to squeeze in my run)? YES! But why can’t I seem to make my body cooperate in the higher temperatures? I’ve never seriously trained for anything in the summer before, so maybe I just need to give myself more time to adjust (please, please tell me that’s the case)!

How fake does this smile look? SUPER HOT DAY!

How fake does this smile look? SUPER HOT DAY!

When I go out for a run these days, I find myself phoning it in a little bit. I’m taking more walk breaks than usual, and I’m resting on my “comfortable” pace. I know, I know, it’s probably OK to scale back your speed a little bit when the temperature soars, but I can’t help but admit that I’m just not enjoying my runs as much as I do in, say, the spring and fall. Or, heck, even the winter — I kind of enjoyed layering up and navigating the mounds of snow and patches of ice everywhere. It kept things exciting, if nothing else!

I have a few races coming up — the annual Firecracker 4-miler on July 4, which is kind of a meaningful race for me (if you care to find out why, here’s last year’s post!), as well as the Downtown Westfield 5k and Pizza Extravaganza towards the end of next month. Which, let’s face it, I run for the FOOD. Post-race pizza party? Like I’m really going to miss out on that.

I’m definitely trying to keep my eye on the prize — DUMBO! — but I’m hesitant to register for other races this summer because, to be honest, I don’t really want to. I just don’t enjoy racing in 75+ degree temperatures. Does that make me a “bad” runner? Am I just being a whiny baby right now?

In other news…I officially lost my first full toenail (second toe, right foot)! I will spare you the visual, as much as I’m tempted to take a picture of it! No more cute pedicure for me, I guess.

But…is it wrong that I’m kind of feeling proud right now?

Is anyone else struggling with running in the heat/humidity? Who has warm-weather running tips for me?!

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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!

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

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