all the pretty races

For the last few years, I’ve packed my schedule with races.  Whether it was spring (one or two in the winter) or fall, I attempted to fill it with as many as I could afford.  All with the thought/plan to “REALLY train this time around” and make those PR’s happen.

this is how I feel about a PR…

This wasn’t the case.  And with each race there were a few more aches and pains because all too many times I didn’t quite prepare as much as I should have.

I decided to be slightly more realistic this year.  I did sign up for a mid-winter race and realized this was dumb and didn’t end up doing it.  Aside from that delusional moment, I did fairly well.  I signed up for the 5k/10k back to back in June with a 1/2 marathon the following weekend.

I trashed my knee (my poor patella) with some serious slanted sidewalk during that 5k/10k.  This race is HARD.  There is a reason the quote is “The Thrill, The Will, The Hill”.  The hill is a freakin’ beast.  I climbed it once during the 10k, a 2nd time to get to the 5k start and then a 3rd time because I decided parking near the start was a better idea than near the finish line.  Must learn for next time!

this race kicks my trash - every time.
this race kicks my trash – every time.

The 1/2 was a great time as I was able to escape “up North” –  Michandger speak anytime you head to the Northern part of Michigan.  It was in stunningly beautiful Charlevoix (go there – it’s listed as one of the most beautiful places to visit).  The race is really fun, has some sweet swag, an awesome medal and the course is nice.  I was worried about my knee but it wasn’t terribly bothersome.  Because of my lack of training, my goal was to hit under the 3 hr mark.  I did just this – yay!  Not to mention, I got to go with a great friend for a mini-break.

the front has the MI symbol on it and then on the back in the lower corner is Charlevoix piece. I did it.
the front has the MI symbol on it and then on the back in the lower corner is Charlevoix piece. I did it.
this medal is awesome! the bridge pieces go up and down!
this medal is awesome! the bridge pieces go up and down!

After this, it was onto France and then immediately back to work.  This is also when I dabbled/half decided to sign up for the marathon.  At this point, I had plans to sign up for two 1/2 marathons to help with marathon training along with my favorite 5k/10k Peacock Strut combo.

Despite signing up for the Peacock Strut and picking up my shirt, I woke up the next day with no desire to run.  I skipped it.  I still don’t regret it.  I also didn’t end up signing up for the 1/2 marathons and instead went to NY to visit my brother where I ran the Bronx 5k – a much better and more fun decision!

me and my little bro running the Bronx 5k!
me and my little bro running the Bronx 5k!

Suddenly October rolled around (I have no concept of time right now) and I ran three races – whoa!  The first was an impromptu 5 miler in Indiana with one of my great gal pals.  It was a very small, local race, which I always enjoy.  My knee was painful and stiff.  I couldn’t run the whole time (I added in some walk breaks).  It definitely made me nervous as the marathon was looming.  M and I stuck together and without her I would’ve walked a lot more.  Once again, I need to up my mental game.

Next up, the Detroit Marathon – have I mentioned this?!

Lastly, the weekend following the marathon was the Campus Classic here on campus.  I wasn’t sure I was going to do it, since you know, I could barely walk.  The Campus Classic is the first race I ever did.  I’ve told the story a couple of times here and I’ve never missed a race since.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to run it, which was a bummer but against my better judgement, I walked it.  The first mile was in the 17 min mile range.  I was being careful of my knee.  After I heard the time, I decided to screw my knee and the aftermath, I wanted to be done – faster.  I started focusing on catching people.  The second mile was in the 16 min pace and the last was a 15 min pace.  I was quite pleased with the negative splits, although the not so nice voice in my head provided some disparaging remarks regarding my overall time.  My friend used her real life voice to knock some sense into me.  Another race in the books!

probably my final campus classic -
probably my final campus classic

I don’t see the local Turkey Trot in my future.  I’m not sure if I’ve missed one since I started running though… if it does happen it will be another walking race.  I need to keep reminding myself that recovery is front and center.  Remind me of this if I start any crazy talk pretty please!

One last thing!  My medal for the 2,015 miles in 2015 came in the mail the other day – a lovely piece of hardware!

2,015 in 2015
the lighting sucks in my apt – there are some cute mountains in there, too!

dumb and dumber

Note:  I wrote this three months ago but it’s the start of some of what I failed to post

You know, it’s a good thing my blog is small-time or else I would be sued for all of the song lyrics and movie references I use for my titles.  Oh well… this title completely fits my running life at the moment.

This past weekend (June 20th) I ran the Kalamazoo Klassic.  It was the 37th anniversary of this race and the motto is, “the thrill, the will, the hill”.  And they are not lying about the hill, but more on this momentarily.  Last week I signed up for it since I have a 1/2 this coming weekend, I wanted to make sure I could at least run some mileage over 6.  Yep, I am well trained for this bad boy.  Anyway, I signed up for the 10k followed by the 5k.

this is really good representation of my training

The starting line is about a 5 minute drive from my apt.  I got up there about 6:50 am for the 7:30 am start and parked.  As I was driving up there my stomach made some unfortunate gurgling sounds.  I searched my car for some antacids but alas, none were found.  I hightailed it back to my apt, dosed up on meds and then zoomed back to the race.  I didn’t need to fret so much as I had plenty of time to hang out at the start and watch a small gathering of people come together.  It didn’t take me long to calculate my last place finish.  Not to mention they had pace cards set up and they only went up to 9 min miles – gah?!

Thankfully, the running crowd grew and the 11 and 12 min group leaders came into view.  The race started right on time and the weather was pretty cool with nice and thick humidity!  The race is two loops of the course with the second round hitting the FREAKIN’ GIANT AND LONG hill.  Crepes.  Even my friend who has trained much more than I did was blown away by it.  I remembered it from the last time but not quite the pain!  Anyway, even walking up the hill had me winded.  The rest of the course is pretty hilly as well so it’s not an easy 10k.  They were stocked on water stops though, which is always nice and the volunteers were great.  I came into the finish line, tired, my quad displeased with me and not too much time before the next race.  And the announcer pronounced my last name correctly!  Bonus!

The 5k started a little further down the ruthless hill so these runners/walkers got a little taste of it as well.  Since my buns had already been kicked by said hill, I walked a bit at the start before I started running.  I was tired.  I ran (with some walk breaks) the 5k and tried to stay in the moment rather than thinking of the rolling hills in front of me and my impending doom 1/2 marathon.  My pace finally picked back up the last mile and about 1/2 way through it my knee started hurting good and plenty.  I had to walk a bit to calm it down and still, my knee was cursing me.

I have two thoughts on this: 1) I haven’t trained enough for this distance so of course my body is going to riot.  2) One aspect of this course I really don’t like is it runs along some really slanted road.  My right leg HATES these slanted roads with a passion and as much as I tried to find some even ground, I could tell this was playing a factor.  3) My right quad is not strong enough to support my knee.  I don’t know why my left quad is stronger but my right one always hurts more after these races.  You better believe I iced when I got home.  The whole rest of the day my knee was whining and yesterday it was sort of “eh”.

this is what my mind tells my body during running and races

My stomach made it through the races.  Between the 10k and 5k, I grabbed a small banana but wasn’t able to finish it.  I went straight for some coffee after finishing the 5k (I parked at the top of the giant hill – close to the starting line because I’m sick in the head so I walked up the hill for the THIRD time).  There isn’t much to eat at finishing lines for me, since it’s a gluten-fest.  I got a chocolate milk but that was it.  I got home, showered and then started making breakfast.  This is important because by this time, I was starving and at the same time feeling nauseated/light-headed.  I made a baked potato with an egg and sausage crumbles.  I wasn’t able to finish as my stomach was so angry.  In fact, I felt horrible the whole rest of the day.  Considering this is my longest run since this past October, it was the first time testing my stomach and the results were less than desired.

Anyway, the dumb part was signing up for these back to back races.  It’s a crazy cheap deal – $35 for both and I wanted to make sure I could run some sort of distance.  But an injured knee is not what I want going into this weekend.  The dumber part is not freakin’ training enough for these races.  Seriously, what is my problem?!  I found running to be really discouraging these last couple of months so I would skip planned long runs and walk more during my running.  I was fairly apathetic.  I also haven’t added any strength training – for the love of Pete, Amy, do some damn squats!

me refusing to listen to my body

I’ll make it through the 1/2.  I’m going to work on slowing my pace from the start – I didn’t monitor it this weekend and I felt it.  And accepting my inevitable struggle and enjoy the scenery and swag (seriously, it’s some good stuff).  I’m going to cradle my knee in Rocktape and keep my fingers crossed.

borgess 10k recap – back in the racing saddle!

I’m so pleased to be writing this race recap!  It has been positively AGES since I last wrote one – November, in fact, and it does my heart good to be typing this.

yay! a finish line! that I crossed!
yay! a finish line! that I crossed!

The Borgess 10k is part of marathon weekend here in Kalamazoo.  Once upon a time, only the 1/2 and a 5k were offered.  The Borgess 1/2 was around for a long time and it was my first ever 1/2 marathon.  I trained like a boss for it.  Look at all of the happiness.

I do love a good running skirt
I do love a good running skirt

This was/is my 1/2 PR – 2:04 and some change.

I’ve signed up for the 1/2 twice since my inaugural running of this event and both times I didn’t run it.  I wasn’t trained enough or whatnot.  We now have the Kalamazoo Marathon and last year they introduced the 10k.  I picked the 10k and I went into race day knowing my legs weren’t ready but I was determined.

mapThe week prior to the event is the end of the semester so it’s always chaotic.  I woke up Sunday morning feeling like I was getting a cold but figured it was just some allergies.  Momentarily, I wondered if I should not run… really, I was just scared.  I got up at 6 am and was out the door at 6:35 am – only 5 minutes later than what I wanted.  Major score for me!

Now, the race didn’t start until 8:15 am but I was paranoid about finding parking.  It’s safe to say, parking worries me as much as actually running races worries me.  I hunkered down in the car once I arrived (prime parking space btw), adjusted my play list, talked to myself and just generally got mentally prepared.

The 1/2 and 5k are very established.  The marathon and 10k are continuing to grow so there was a fun crowd gathering.  All of the events started EXACTLY on time.  Well done, Kalamazoo!  The marathon and 1/2 marathon started at the same time and took a right out of the starting gate.  The 10k started 15 mins later and we went left, with the 5k starting 20 (or so) mins after this.  The 10k and 5k only partially shared the course but we were mostly ahead of them so we weren’t stampeded by speedy 5k-ers.  There was also a walking/family event which was part of the staggered start and were split from the runners during shared course time.  I explain all of this because it was very well-organized.  I was never mowed down by a 5k-er, nor did I slow up a 1/2 marathon person.  You should definitely consider this race someday.

runners as far as the eye can see
runners as far as the eye can see

I started out and quickly realized a couple of things A) I haven’t run 6 miles since October.  B) This is/was a damn hilly course.  C) I wanted to walk – pretty early on!  But I kept telling myself I could wait to get to the water stop.  And I knew there was a steep hill at the end so if I needed to walk at all during this I had to save it for that biggie hill.  I pepped-talked myself a lot and remembered things friends said to me, one of my favorites being, “the faster you run the faster you’re done”.

a billboard facing the last stretch of the course
a billboard facing the last stretch of the course

I did have to walk a bit on that last hill – it was at the end of the course, which is just stinkin’ mean!  I FINISHED!  Yay!  It was my slowest 10k to date but I’m crazy proud of myself.  There has been a lot of sickness and injury for almost a year now and I didn’t give up even though I really wanted to.  I celebrated with a brewski which is specially brewed for this weekend, “The Big Finish”.  At 9:45 am.

of course I kept the cup
of course I kept the cup

It got fairly warm while I was out there (nothing unmanageable since I knew I would be finished soon) but the water stop seemed very far away.  I should’ve brought my own beverage.  Also, when we walked through the finish line there were some after-race fuel tables but it was confusing.  There were minimal options (especially for a gluten-free-er) and I thought there would be more outside of the finish area.  There wasn’t, unless you wanted to pay for lunch.  I grabbed a mini-orange slice, a bottle of water and then a chocolate milk.  These are my only two gripes about this race.  By the time I lingered a bit, got coffee, showered and dressed I was so beyond starving.  I need to work on my after-run fueling strategy.

Now I need to sign up for a million more races!

tuesday tidbits (a day late)

Here are a bunch of random tidbits:

1.  My co-worker bought these for me as he knows my love/obsession for Sharpies.  My heart not only skipped TWO beats but then it began to sing.

my love for sharpies knows no boundaries
my love for sharpies knows no boundaries

2.  I adore the fact that my name has a letter from the first part of the alphabet, the middle and then the end.  I am also crazy about the letter “A” and have many of them in my apt.  One is even part of my tattoo.  Yesterday I took this photo:

random “A” found in nature!

3.  Monday I walked to work, walked back for lunch, walked back to work, then to a meeting and then back and then home.  All of this?  Almost 4 miles!  Walking back and forth to work is definitely going to be my new thing as it’s an easy way to get some steps in during the day.  Seriously, I didn’t realize how sedentary I was until I got this activity tracker – it’s kind of scary.  Another bonus, it takes about 8 mins to get to my office from my apt and this is fairly close to what it takes to get in the car, drive to work, park and walk into the office.  And a reduced carbon footprint, yo.

Yesterday I clocked in another 4 miles during the work day with this walking business.  The only downside is I’ve given myself a small case of shin splints because of improper footwear.  I’m trying to remedy this.  Still, another 4 miles!

4.  I had a doc appt yesterday morning at 7:45 am.  I don’t know how you early morning people do it – whether it’s working out or for work.  I struggled since I had to wake up at 6:10 am.  Eww.

5.  I finished LOST on Monday.  I was/still am very attached to these characters.  I’m struggling to let go.

6.  I went to Costco yesterday and was enticed into purchasing 2 lbs of beautiful strawberries.  The problem?  I’m a party of ONE!  What was I thinking?!  I gave away a decent handful today so here’s hoping I can eat the rest of them fast enough.

7.  Someone put a can of Easy Cheese (or a version of it) in the hazardous waste bin in one of my buildings.  I couldn’t stop laughing at the brilliance and accuracy of this!


8.  Donuts.  I love a good donut.  There have been donuts in our office twice this week.  TWICE.  The smell is intoxicating!  It’s not the actual donut that I’m against, it’s the damn gluten.  I know I could have one and it wouldn’t be the end of the world but I see it as a waste of my gluten eating.  For instance in a week, I’m going to have my very favorite pizza ever.  I’m saving my gluten consumption for this.  Not to mention, I don’t want it to become a habit of “oh, it’s just this one thing” and then it turns into more and more.  So, a no to the donut.

9.  This poor model had her leg photo shopped out – seriously fashion peoples, stop with the photo shop/air brushing already!  And for the record – she did have a second leg in her other photos.

cropped legI kept the title “Tuesday tidbits” despite it now being Wednesday because I liked it.  Tonight there are some running miles on the agenda.  I’m revving my motivation now!  10k this weekend!

Do you love your name?

Do office supplies leave you as giddy as they do me?

I want to run fast again

***I’m typing this while on my migraine meds… you’ve been warned…

Once upon a time, I ran my fastest 10k in 52 mins.  At the time, I didn’t realize these were some quick miles for my short little legs.  I also hit 2:04 in my first 1/2 marathon.  Again, I didn’t recognize this was a decent time.

Right now, I’m lucky to hit somewhere in the 11 min mile range.  This doesn’t account for my walk breaks, which then throws me into the 12 min pace.  I would NEVER discourage anyone else for these times – I would say WAY TO GO!  And I am working on the self-talk to be encouraging, so instead of “why can’t I run faster??” I keep reminding myself, “hey!  you’re out there!”.  But still… I want to be faster.

This requires some effort on my part.  You know, like some speedwork?  Maybe something to increase my endurance?  Frankly, just putting in the miles.  It’s how I did it the first time and it’s how I will do it again.  But I’m impatient and I want those paces back NOW!

truth sister

Speaking of hitting goals, I fell short of my 37.5 miles by 8.  Improvement from the week before, so I will take it.  Yesterday I could have hit a few more – in fact, I was dressed and OUTSIDE.  I walked 1/2 a mile and knew I was done.  All day yesterday I was feeling nauseated and I thought fresh air and movement could help.  It didn’t.  I had a work event later and the moment I sat down for it, the pain hit right above my right eye.  Migraine-ville.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my special meds into me until 2 hours later so I missed heading it off before it got worse.  I don’t know about other migraine-suffers, but for me, it’s hurts when I shut my eyes.  This morning I woke up and thought I was in the clear but not so much.  I took some regular headache meds, but by noon, it was time for another dose of my special meds with a naproxen booster (recommended by the doc).  Currently, I’m a bit woozy (meds) but at least my eye balls aren’t falling out, I’m not throwing up and the top of my head isn’t caving in.

Okay, done whining.  Yes, I get sick a lot.  I really believe stress is a major factor in all of this.  Thankfully, this is the first migraine I’ve had in months.  I attribute this to giving up the gluten.  My sister has had similar benefits.  I also know the more running I do, the more my health will continue to improve.

Back to running – my runs included a 4.5 miler, a 4 miler and a 6 mile walk.  The other miles were walking as well.  Looking at this, I can see why I’m not getting faster and am lacking endurance!  It’s always weird to type it out and realize where there is room for improvement.  No running today… I’ve still got my eye on that 37.5 mile weekly goal though.  I refuse to give up since I know it will feel oh so fabulous when I hit it!

Are you good at positive self-talk?

Do you get migraines?  Any magical remedies?

trying not to suck at running

I was planning to run yesterday evening.  Unfortunately, work took a different turn and running was no longer in the cards.  3 miles were still logged but I needed/wanted a few more.  Now I have to get 23 miles in the next three days in order to hit my 37.5 mile weekly goal.

if only my apt was bigger!

I realize that 37.5 miles seems a bit arbitrary but I have a few reasons to strive for this.

1.  I want to hit 150 miles for the month.

2.  I have a 10k coming up the first weekend of May and I would like to NOT suck.  This is the same race event where I ran my first 1/2 marathon.  They added the 10k in the last couple of years but work has kept me from being able to participate.

3.  I decided to sign up for this really stupid thing.  Wait, it’s not stupid – in fact it’s awesome.  However, I’m not sure if it was smart for ME to sign up.  I signed up for the Run/Walk 2,015 in 2015.

I know.

So, I’m behind.  I mean, this isn’t unusual for any area of my life, much less the running deal.  A few snags include, starting late (they accepted registrations through all of Jan so I only hit 19 miles for the month) and then my silly back injury that kept me sidelined for about 3 or 4 weeks.  Oh yes, there is my natural laziness to factor into the equation.  There are some people who have already reached 900 miles!  What?!  Crazypants!  When you signed up you had the option of ordering the medal to go along with it and I did.  Soooo, I will feel like quite the lame ass if I don’t make it.

It averages out to 5 miles everyday.  My goal of 37.5 miles per week for April won’t be all running miles – it includes some walking ones as well.  I’m counting all of my intentional miles.  Over the last few months, I kept concentrating on moving around as much as possible.  I know this helped.  During my bratty back days, I still tried to score at least a mile a day.  Not much but it was what I could muster.  I’m not going to give up though.  I know there is more running in my future and more miles to add to that total.  Yes, I’m currently an underdog but if anything, I’ve got the “comeback kid” title locked down.

To sum it up, I have to do 7.8 miles today, tomorrow and Sunday to hit my goal.  This feels like a hefty sum so maybe I’ll take it day by day.  Who am I kidding?  I can’t take anything day by day!  Today is a lovely day outside so I’m going after work.  I also walked to and from work today although this didn’t net as many steps as I would’ve thought.  Damn!

Do you have a certain number of miles you want to reach in 2015?

running & sickness aren’t besties

Here is a recap of an actual race I ran this past Saturday!

The Peacock Strut is one of my all-time favorite races.  It was the first 10k I ever did, is a local race, is cheap and is only about 20-25 minutes from my apartment so even when I have to work, I can still race (as was the situation this weekend).  The thing is, I was waffling about running it this year.  I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to make the whole distance given my sketchy training lately.  Not to mention, I’ve been feeling crummy off and on as of late, more than likely anxiety induced and Friday wasn’t great within the health realm.

I know, gross but seriously people, my tummy is pissy pants

I told office mate I was going to run it.  He is a good person for me to tell my plans to because he checks up – as I’ve asked him to.  Because I felt crummy, I didn’t go sign up/pick up my packet the night before.  This certainly wasn’t a good way to boost my wavering commitment to running.  Nevertheless, I managed to drag my sorry bum out of bed in the morning and right out into the rain.  Strike two.  I’ve never run in the rain and it being chilly AND rainy wasn’t on my agenda for the morning.

Was there a strike three?  Nah, not really.  I sat in the car as I had some extra time before the race and pep talked myself into walking to the start line.  In the rain.  The weather channel said there was a 20% chance of rain (LIES!) but that it would be over in 25 mins.  I kept telling myself I could withstand anything for 25 mins!

okay, so I was in a really bad mood at this point

The race went well!  I really like the course and my form was on point.  I had to stop to fix my shoe early on – do any of you have one foot that needs/likes the laces tighter but the other foot doesn’t?  I find this odd.  I didn’t wear any sort of timing device nor did I have my headphones.  It was nice.  I was worried I would need to stop and walk as I wasn’t trying to be conservative with my pace.  Then I decided to just go for it and started a mantra of, “run this mile” since worrying about the future ones wasn’t doing any good.  Wouldn’t you know it?  No walking and kept to what I felt to be a fairly consistent pace!

It wasn’t my fastest 10k ever – in fact, maybe it was my slowest?  I’m good with this.  I came home after some sweaty errands (sorry for my stinky-self fellow shoppers!) and ran three more miles for a total of 9 miles for the day.  And get this, 4 miles on Sunday!  Maybe my first back to back weekend runs ever!

Oh the sicky-ness I mentioned above?  Hung around a bit and then came back with a vengeance on Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday.  Fever on Sunday and Monday and you know, some vomiting to round out the fun.  Never a dull moment with this health of mine!

I’m a dope!

Wahooo!  I completed the Dopey Challenge!

we are all sore, tired, sweaty, smelly and HAPPY!
we are all sore, tired, sweaty, smelly and HAPPY!

I am extremely proud and exhausted.  I can’t believe I actually did the challenge – I feel like it’s something I talked about forever but ultimately, it would be out of my reach.  Proving to myself differently has been an incredible confidence boost – not just in running; in all areas of my life!

dopey medal
these banners were outside of the expo – I wanted that dopey one!

My alarm went off at 3 am Thursday morning.  I got a wake-up call and they play Disney music.  It’s kinda cute – or at least would be cuter at a more decent hour!  The 5k is a family oriented race so it starts at the reasonable hour of 6:30 am.  You have to be in your corrals really early for all of the races though so we left our rooms at 4:15 am.

dopey 5k running
view during the 5k (thankfully a friend took some of these fun shots!)

I brought a jar of peanut butter and some english muffins.  When I got to the hotel, I was very surprised to find they didn’t have a coffee shop.  They had a market place but it was hot coffee only.  The night before, I bought some chocolate milk and the hot coffee and did my best to create some caffeine magic.

dopey coffee
the first day, it was passable. by the fourth day this was delicious

I want to say, the person who sang the national anthem for the 5k did such an impressive job.  I was really moved – she just belted it out!  You could hear the pride in her voice.  In fact, I get chills remembering it!

The 5k was crowded for sure and a lot of fun.  We all ran together for this one and we took it easy.  Our finish times were around 45 mins.  We stopped for pics along the way and also added in a couple of walk breaks.  The walk breaks were mostly around bottle neck areas!  The run is through Epcot and it was a great time.

3 mile shot!
3 mile shot!

This was the inaugural 10k event – the Minnie Mouse 10k.  It was JAM-PACKED!  In fact, I heard some individuals who signed up for the Dopey just so they could run the 10k but maybe these were rumors.

dopey 10k
sort of in front of the start line!

Anyway, this was another laid back race.  I love the 10k distance and was excited.  Naturally, I dressed in Minnie attire – as did about a million other people and it was a fun atmosphere.  In fact, on our way to the bus in the morn, another hotel guest took our picture – it was cute.  This race started at 5:30 am and we left for the bus at 4 am.  My walk up call came at 2:50 am and there was a part of me that wanted to run super fast so I could come back home and sleep!

dopey group 10k
group shot! lots of minnies!

My 10k time was an hour and 27 mins.  Again, a relaxed pace with some walk breaks thrown in there.  I took some character pictures as well and soaked up all of the energy and sites from the park.  Last year, the marathon finished up in Epcot but I hated everything and didn’t notice.  This time, I looked around and didn’t wear headphones for the 5k or 10k.  I wanted to have FUN!  This may sound odd since it should be a given since I was in Disney and all but I had to focus on it in order to not think “I should be running faster”.  10k’s are my sweet spot, long enough for me to build up speed and finish strong but short enough to blow all of my energy so I wanted to go faster.  I’m so happy I didn’t because EVERYONE cheers for you – love it!

I was so happy my bib made it through both races! two medals down, 4 to go!

For both races, the atmosphere was pretty relaxed and high with energy.  They had fireworks at both starts for each corral.  Disney does this right!  It  makes every corral feel special, no matter if they are 6 min pacers or 16 min.  Everyone is congratulatory and people wear their medals all over the parks and Downtown Disney.  I think this is odd but also fun.  It is such a CELEBRATION!  That’s another thing I love, how running is royalty for the weekend!

After the 10k we hit up Downtown Disney and then dinner.  The funny part was, we were starving around 4 pm!  I completely lost track of time and days considering the ridiculously early wake up calls!  The weather was good for the 5k and 10k and thankfully, it only sprinkled a bit during the 10k and the downpour didn’t start until later in the day.

dopey - all in legos. amazing
dopey – all in legos. amazing

I felt good after both races.  The arch in my right foot was kind of announcing itself which meant my ankle and knee also wanted some attention.  I stretched really well afterward, became besties with Tiger Balm and I took an ice bath after each race.  I also brought my Tiger Tail with me and an extra pair of compression socks.

dopey ice bath
ice baths… even after all of them this weekend, they didn’t get easier!

I know this might seem over the top for these distances but I wanted to give my legs as much of a shot as possible.  I’m glad I did it.  Maybe only the stretching was helpful but mentally, I felt I repaired as much as I could.

Oh!  I ordered pizza through room service on Wed night and didn’t realize 15′ diameter is HUGE!  It was a yummy pre-race meal (for a couple of days!).  However, I tried some chicken and fries the night before the 10k.  This is what we call a “mistake”!  All in all, I enjoyed both the 5k and 10k!

dopey pizza
the pizza box – dumb pic? probably but everything is just so darn cute!

#dopey challenge – half way through

I was going to recap both the 5k and the 10k but I am exhausted.  So, I’m going to chat about some of the highlights I’ve enjoyed so far on this trip.

First of all, I almost didn’t get here.  My car wouldn’t start the morning of my flight.  It was 5 am and I panicked!  I even hit my head on the steering wheel Back to the Future style but no such luck.  This trip was destined to happen though because a friend was able to jump the car at o’dark early and I was on my way.

this is how I felt getting to the airport!  So happy I made it!
this is how I felt getting to the airport! So happy I made it!

I’m staying in a Disney resort, Pop Culture.  I’m thrilled with my choice of staying on the property this weekend.  Going back and forth to races is a million times easier staying here and I love that I can get back from the finish line so quickly.  I highly recommend it.  I thought the prices would be out of my budget range but in reality, it was fairly close to the price I paid last year at a hotel further down.

I'm in the 70's building
I’m in the 70’s building

I got a Mickey Mouse head-shaped waffle!  I first saw this on some blog and I knew it was on my list of things to do.  I just think it is the cutest thing ever!  I headed out today and missed the breakfast cutoff by 45 minutes.  I was kind of crushed to be honest since there was no other day I could get one.  After presenting my case to the manager at the eatery, he said he would make me one.  YAY!  Truth be told, everyone has been so generous and kind here.  The customer service is incredible.

super delish and enjoyed outside under the sun!
super delish and enjoyed outside under the sun!

Hanging out with friends as well as having my own time.  I’ve blended this as much as possible.  I want to make sure to get some downtime  and enjoying some outings.  Each morning my friends and I walk down to the buses and keep one another company.  It is a great way to not focus on the upcoming miles rather be in the moment.  We meet up after the race – I really like doing this with other runner-friends.

this is how WDW is tracking runners participating in the dopey
this is how WDW is tracking runners participating in the dopey

Oh yeah, I’ve run two races already!  Whoopie!  I will do recaps when I get home and will combine the 5k and 10k races.  I’ve done a good job of keeping my pace nice and easy including walk breaks.  I also have pulled over for some character pics!  I’m not sure if I will do this for the 1/2 or the full.  Tomorrow it’s projected to be 84* and I want to be finished before it really starts to get warm.  Today I noticed the heat at approximately 10:45 am when I headed out for my waffle hunt.  So I want to be done with the race and drinking some iced coffee at 10 am.

you can't tell but my finger is a hook - oh yeah, my creativity is out of this world!
you can’t tell but my finger is a hook – oh yeah, my creativity is out of this world!

Enjoy your weekend eve!  Thanks for all of the support!

my race doubleheader

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 6:26 am and for a moment I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.  Truth be told, I even considered it.  Had this been even a few months ago, I probably would have done it (and did).  But I was running with my friend so I figured ditching her would be kind of rude.  I also had set everything I was going to wear out the night before like a good runner should.  In the morning I decided I didn’t want to wear any of it and completely overhauled my whole outfit.  I’m my own kind of “good runner”!

As I mentioned the other day, the Peacock Strut is my favorite 10k.  When I signed up, I saw it was the same price to sign up for both the 10k and the 5k.  I knew I was going to need to get more miles in anyway so I decided to go for it.

this was my friend's first 10k!
this was my friend’s first 10k!

It didn’t dawn on me until a few days later that I was going to RACE two events.  I knew taking it easy would be difficult for me because the competitive spirit is so addicting!  Saturday, it was a very cool morning, in the low 50’s, which is great.  You have to walk up this long-ish hill to get to the start of the race and I was chilly.  But these are great conditions to be sweating my bum off so I sucked it up and waited for the air horn.  Right before the start, my iPod battery died so I was hoping this wasn’t a terrible omen for the race ahead!

The 10k went well!  I got stuck behind this group of women around the 3.5 mile and this part of the course is the out and back and I didn’t want to step into the other “lane of traffic”.  I was also concerned that if I did pass them, I wouldn’t be able to keep the pace.  This was dumb and I think ended up biting me in the hiney.  Finally, I did get past them and I picked it up.  I knew I was going to still have to run the 5k but I wanted to run the mile I was in NOW.

I finished the 10k in 1:08 and a few seconds.  I think this is the slowest 10k I have ever done so I was kind of bummed.  I also didn’t think I had much hope for a successful 5k.  I shoved some Honey Stinger chews in my mouth and hiked back UP that stinkin’ hill!  The start was a bit closer but not by a whole lot.  I actually had never had Honey Stinger chews but they were awesome!  So YUMMY!

I’ve never had good luck with 5k’s.  My PR is 28 mins, which isn’t very fast considering how much I used to run; especially considering my 10k PR is 52 mins.  I’ve also never warmed up before running a 5k and I am beginning to think this might help!  Instead of the 10k being a hinderance, it definitely helped being warm and ready to run.  My 5k time was 33 mins.  My last 5k time was 33 mins and I certainly hadn’t run 6 miles prior!  I was very pleased with this outcome.

stronger than you thinkThe finish line ends on a hill.  It’s short but a bit steep and at the end of the 5k I felt like I was climbing Mt Everest!  Haha, I’m sure I looked like an idiot as I was almost falling over!  OH!  And as I was nearing the finish line for the 10k, I almost fell into the pond  when I turned the corner.  Yep, I’m a disaster.

All in all, this was a very good plan!  I decided to include the portion I walked to get up the hill for the start of the 5k and this rounded out a happy 10 miles.  It was certainly the boost I needed for this upcoming half on the 28th.  I also realized sometimes I am ridiculous.  Why wouldn’t have I been able to accomplish this?  I’ve achieved many things as a runner.  I’ve run two marathons.  I’ve run a handful of halfs, a 25k, 10ks and 5ks.  An overnight relay and a regular relay!  Oh and a mudrun, which I don’t think I will ever do again!  The other night I was whining about a bad run and how I “pretend to run” to a friend.  His response, “whatever, you ARE a runner”.  This stuck with me and helped fuel me through today when I wanted to walk!  All the times as of late when I felt I couldn’t keep going were my mind playing tricks on me.  Clearly, I can run nine miles without walking.

I feel like I have these running epiphanies every few months!  Since my mental game has been lacking (especially as of late) this was the perfect time for this epiphany.  So there you go, your body is always more capable than you realize.  Trust me – I’ve tested this!