Tuesday’s on the Run: I am a Marathoner, but…

I am a marathoner, but…

I am not sure why I am struggling with accepting that I am a marathoner, probably because I feel like a fraud.  I have been trying to give myself time to process the experience of my first marathon and make sense of what happened during those 11 hours from the time I left my resort hotel until the time I returned. 

I envisioned the moment I crossed the finish line of the Walt Disney World Marathon at least 128 times in my head over the previous 10 months. I saw myself proclaiming, “Best Day Ever” as the medal was placed around my neck and whisking away on the monorail to my Happily Ever After. The classic Disney ending, but that is not what happened…

Instead, was the WORST DAY EVER and while the physical pain has faded, there is still no Happily Ever After.  I am trying to work through the depression, anger, and guilt to get back to some sense of normalcy in my running. There were so many things that went wrong…

  • The Weather (Upper 80s with 95% humidity).
  • A Delayed Start coupled with the release of corrals faster to make up for the time lost.
  • Going out too fast because I was going with the “flow” and worried about the heat.
  • Crowded race conditions.
  • Running most of the race alone and wallowing in my misery and self-defeating talk.

Almost all of these things where beyond my control, but still I cannot accept the title of a marathoner for 2 reasons…

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I wanted to QUIT and I can’t shake the disappointment that I have in myself. The race was BRUTAL and if you did not experience from middle to back of the pack, you have no idea what the sun can do to you both physically and mentally. I literally watched many people go down around me and passed others laying on the side of the road waiting for medical to get to them. The Walt Disney Marathon was the hardest thing I have ever ENDURED (this coming from a woman who had 2 ½ babies with no pain medication). I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard and nothing that I did during my training could have prepared me for race conditions that I experienced.  I can’t fault my training BECAUSE I DID TRAIN EVERY MILE at a pace that would have given me ample time to cross the finish line and did not rely on pixie dust. I went into the race well prepared, hydrated and confident.  

According to my tracking device, I ran well over 26.2 miles but… 

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I did not complete the entire course, officially I ran 24.54 miles, if the social media calculations are correct for the shortened course.  I know that this was completely the right decision by runDisney to put up the BLACK FLAG and I was thankful at the moment that it happened, so much so that I feel guilty for my feelings. However, the shortened course leaves unanswered questions as to whether I would have been able to complete the ENTIRE course that day.  I know my time with 6 miles to go and I know exactly how far in front of the “unofficial” pacers, the aka Balloon Ladies I was; but I continue to question myself over and over, would I have made it 4 more miles keeping in front of them to the point I knew I was safe on the course? I know the answer is YES, but I don’t know with 100% certainty that I would not have seen the inside of a parade bus because I can’t predict if I would have caved to that inner voice pleading with me to stop. 

Something mentally changed after I realized that I was being diverted, you might even say a little Disney Magic came into play that prevented me from stepping off the course and quitting..

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a well-timed sign along the course reminding me that I had too many people watching me and I did not want to be labeled a failure. 

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And then there was Rita, a friend from a Facebook group, who found me around mile 20 and suddenly I was not physically alone anymore. I had someone to cry and whine with. Together we…

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and by the time we made it into Epcot, I knew I was making my ONLY stop during the last 6 ½ hours (okay, actually I did stop for the bathroom, but I never allowed myself more than a run by character photo)…

I did not care if balloons passed me at this point.  I was DONE with hydration and wanted not to toast my victory but to raise my glass in defiance of yellow PowerAde, (which I will NEVER drink again). The drink did not make it to the finish line, but I did…

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The only thing I can do is accept what happened and move on.  I was able to dig a little deeper and not quit. I crossed the finish line on my own 2 feet, which was the goal that I had sat for myself last March when I accepted the challenge of 26.2 miles. I already was already a marathoner a few weeks prior when I went the distance but elected not to step on the timing mat for an official time, just so I could say my first marathon was the Walt Disney World 2020 Marathon. 

Crossing was not the real victory for me, it was the 413.65 miles I did before I crossed the starting line that morning.  I did EVERY run that I planned! 

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I am so proud of myself for putting in the training that got me to the finish line. It was in each of those 128 runs that I truly earned my medal & Mickey Ears and the title of a marathoner. 

So what is next in my world of running, other than NEVER drinking YELLOW POWERADE again?

I don’t know, as of right now I am one and done with the marathon distance.  I am hoping that the pain and misery of January 12th will be like the pain and misery I experienced 3 other days in my life (May 3, February 2 and August 3), forgotten replaced with knowing how blessed I truly am.  

I AM A MARATHONER!!!

Tuesday’s on the Run:  On a Runner’s High

Call it a mid-life crisis if you want, but the candles numbering 50 this year got me really thinking about my bucket list and the urge to cross items off.  I actually have a couple of bucket lists going and one of those lists is focused “solely” on running. Honesty, I had pretty much prepared to throw that list in the trash can after so many miserably failed runs post Achilles tear over the last 2 ½ years.  But, I still had a race that I signed up for and I can’t stand wasting entry fees, let alone not do something that I said I was going to do (yes, I have a HUGE stubborn streak).

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I went into the Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2019 in January totally prepared to be swept from the race and end this whole running thing that has consumed me for the last 6 years.  I was VERY undertrained, had no confidence in my ability and worried that with each step would come another injury. However, that EARLY Saturday morning in January, I could not help but feel the excitement that comes with runDisney event and realized how much I was going to miss this.

Those butterflies where certainly clamoring around in my chest as I crossed the starting line, but I knew that if this was going to be my last race I was going to throw caution to the wind and have the time of my life because I wanted to go out at least on some sort of a positive. And not only did I do that…

I crossed that finish line without even a glimpse of those dread balloons and bikes, feeling strong, injury/pain free and on the biggest runner’s high there ever was.  

It’s funny how a runner’s high makes you feel invincible.  I have carried that high with me for now for over 3 months.  Runner’s highs also make you do crazy things, no more being “half” crazy for this middle aged mama.  I decided I was going to embrace my crazy side by going FULL ON crazy in January 2020 and cross off the biggest item on my running bucket list, a full marathon.  And there is no other full marathon that I can think of that might actually be fun to complete…

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Let the training begin…

Tuesday’s on the Run: Stubborn Meets its Match

It’s Tuesday, time for Tuesday’s on the the Run!

544_LittleMissStubborn_originalStubborn…

A word that I use often to define myself. But it is not necessarily a bad one.  When I say I am going to do something I don’t back down until it is completed…

But when stubborn meets an uncooperative body it is not a good mix…

Hence why 18 months ago I ended up with a partially torn Achilles and then 18 months of trying to get back into the race…

I expected to have been further along in my training on the road to a full marathon in January.

I assumed that 6 months would be long enough to get back into 13.1 miles and that the next 6 months would be about building distance.

Was I wrong!  Admitting it is the first step, right?

I am not ready to build the distance that it will take to complete the full marathon.  I can’t even seem to complete a half marathon in a time that would keep me from latex nightmares. The last 2 half marathons I have completed are evidence to that reality.

imagesIt’s time for honesty to meet stubborn…

I am NOT physically capable of a FULL MARATHON in January. The heart is there, but the mind is also starting to tell me that I CAN’T DO IT.  Can’t is a word that I don’t normally use or allow anyone to use, but sometimes CAN’T needs to look in the mirror too.

Thank you runDisney for continuing to put off Walt Disney Marathon Weekend 2019 registration! Can you believe, I am saying that?  When has a runDisney participant been happy with yet another delay (err screw up) in something surrounding a run weekend? Honestly, runDisney saved my body from myself.

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So, Thursday, I clicked the HALF MARATHON button for Walt Disney Marathon Weekend 2019 registration (I clicked the full and for once in my life I reviewed my registration before submitting, mind still trying to win over the body in a subconscious way).

My focus for the next 6 months is to start back at 1/2 mile with running intervals (keeping my already 13.1-mile muscle memory by walking the additional mileage above the scheduled training run).  That is right, baby steps in building interval miles, nothing crazy and get to the point where I can interval for the entire half marathon. I also plan to start back into core training next week (modified for the hip) and do a lot more deep tissue massage work.

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More importantly, I am going to volunteer for the full marathon or just get out there and find a spot to cheer from.  I may not be able to run with those crazy people seeking to be part of the 0.5% of the US population that has completed a full marathon but at least I can encourage them on their way (and maybe join the next group in 2020) …

I have a feeling that Stubborn will defeat Reality…(and we need to draw out this midlife crisis a little longer).

Tuesday’s on the Run: A Marathon Runs Through It

It’s Tuesday (okay, I know in reality it is Wednesday and I am a day late), so it’s time to link for Tuesday’s on the Run

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This past weekend, I crossed another state off my quest to “someday” complete a half marathon in every state with the Missoula (Half) Marathon. Why the Missoula Marathon?

brad2Maybe I was hoping to find a young Brad Pitt (circa 1992) waiting for me at the end with nothing but his waders on, after all “A River Does Run Through It” or should a say a marathon runs through it…

Seriously, If you are going to finish an event in every state is seems pretty clear that you pick the best one the state has to offer, and in this case the United States has to offer…

The Missoula Marathon has twice been named as the Best Marathon in the US (2010 by Runner’s World Magazine and in 2017 by BibRAVE).  It has also been named the 2017 Top Marathon for runners like me, Back-of-the-Packers, as well as a Top 10 Bucket List Marathon.

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Now I know that I only completed the half (cause I am lazy that way), but for 10 miles of both events we shared the course…

The Missoula Marathon makes it look easy to be NUMBER 1…

The volunteers and Run Missoula Wild put on an event with EXCEPTIONAL RACE MANAGEMENT. From the moment I submitted my race registration in April, the Missoula Marathon provided weekly communication about the event via email newsletter.  Each week I looked forward to reading about Missoula as well as the race.  It was also nice to get a PRINTED race program at bib pick up, a keepsake. Bib pick up was easy and in a central location that also gave you insight into the finish set up, as well as a chip check for your bib (just in case you are one of those who are running for time).  Parking was easy, buses ran efficiently to the starting line.  The bag check as the best I have ever seen conducted, with a fleet of UPS trucks and men in brown and bags sorted according to bib number waiting on marked trucks as you made your way to the exit chute. The race start, with fireworks, went off smoothly and ON TIME. The finish was a well-oiled machine of stops (medal, bag, time tape, and food) before meeting back up with your own personal cheering squad.

It’s Montana! I knew going to be beautiful and being a fan of the movie (and book) “A River Runs Through it”, I already had my vision of the race course set in my head long before I completed the registration.  Missoula delivers on the promise of one of the most beautiful places to run (and I have completed mountain half marathons in both Colorado and New Mexico) with its 360-degree panoramic view of the mountains during sunrise, run along the river, charming homes on tree lined streets and the dramatic finish over the bridge and across the river into downtown Missoula.

But you want to know the real reason why Missoula is number 1…

The People of Missoula!  It felt like the entire town somehow came out on race weekend. From the countless volunteers who made sure not only did the race go off with out glitches but runners felt safe and welcomed, to the townsfolk who literally lined the sidewalks of the race course and offered their personalized spin on course entertainment…signs, cowbells, cowboys on horseback, a man playing a baby grand on his front lawn in tails, a string quartet, banjos, cowbells, unofficial course treats (including whiskey shots and popsicles) and just shouts of encouragement as you went past. There wasn’t any stretch of the race where there wasn’t someone cheering you on or a water sprinkler set up purposefully to keep you cooled off!

My experience with the Missoula Marathon demonstrated why in the movie that Brad Pitt’s character, Paul, would reply to his brother Norman “Oh, I’ll never leave Montana.” The Missoula Marathon makes you feel like you are part of the community, and who wants to leave a place where you are treated so well?

Oh yes and then there is the bling…

which is just about the size of the Big Montana Sky!

 

 

Tuesdays on the Run: Running Fuel Confessions

It’s Tuesday, so that means I am linking up with Patty, Erika & Marsha for Tuesday’s on the Run. This week’s topic is running fuel…

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Do Mickey Bars or Dole Whips count?  I am almost scared to admit it but I am not a big running fuel person.  NO LECTURES NEEDED, my body tells me all the time and I am working hard at listening.  

So let’s get down to what I know my body needs the night before a race.  Trust me that these are NOT good choices the night before a race…

In all honest, been there tried both and paid it right after my race the next day, thankfully not during the race (so sorry Chef de France bathroom).  I have since learned my lesson that water and a clean protein (grilled chicken or lean steak) accompanied by some fibrous veggies and a plain carb (usually rice) is the best bet for my body (although as you can tell I have a hard head).  

Just prior to the race as I stand around for 2 hours in my runDisney corral I like to carry along a packet of Justin’s peanut butter and a banana.  A race is about the only time I ever eat a banana and I think I do it then just because everyone else does it.  Occasionally, I will fix an instant oatmeal cup before heading out the door.

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During the race (and most training runs) it’s a couple of peppermints and a few sticks of gum.  I have tried the 3G’s (gummies, goos, gels) and find that they don’t do much for me…although the salted caramel cliff gel is AMAZING!

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Ultimately, they just end up making me more thirsty and the only time I hydrate is during water stations where I pick up a cup of water and a cup of Powerade.

Tip:   After way too many times of nearly soaking myself or choking to death, I have learned that if you squeeze the top rim of your cup and make it like a funnel you have a better chance of actually getting some liquid down your throat!  YOUR WELCOME!

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I have also tried the not so running type of fuel of skittles (thank you @tankgirl, you could have mentioned NOT to pop an entire handful in my mouth) and sour patch kids (which I quite like but they tend to get all sticky).  

On a long training run I am bad…I don’t fuel or hydrate properly the night before, prior to the long run or during the run. NO NAGGING…I know none of this is good for me or for my run and I am working to fix this issue.   It is just that I can’t stand to have anything in my hands, poor excuse since I normally am wearing a SparkleSkirt with those amazing pockets or my latest Kohls find…FILA running capris with even better pockets.  But really it comes down to my fear of carbs and sugar, which are both needed for a run but not so much my fluffy body.  

Now let’s talk about post fueling, that is MOST important, right?  Traditionally after a non- Disney race me and 5 Guys have a date.  

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And when I am at Disney, you can be certain the first things gone are those heavenly salty torialla chips and plastic cheese

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(which if you save for a treat to get you through till your next Disney race is about the nastiest stuff on earth, talk about runDisney magic).   

As I spend more time reading and researching how to train and finish a full marathon (without dying, that is the key), I know my fueling habits must change.  So I am looking forward to reading all linked up blogs to get ideas on how to deal with my challenging fueling choices…

And for the sake of all honestly, I will be scoping out all those great Disney food blogs for my post full marathon fueling.  Be honest you too runDisney so you can eat & drink Disney just like me.

 

Want to runDisney so you can eat Disney?  I can help you with both adventures. Contact me today for race bibs & runDisney packages (I can offer you presale bibs as well as insurance in case something happens and you can’t run). Then I will be your personal cheerleader and travel planner to make sure you have a magical runDisney runcation!

Tuesdays on the Run: My 2018 Races

It’s Tuesday, so that means I am linking up with Patty, Erika & Marsha for Tuesday’s on the Run. This week’s topic…

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Favorite Hometown Race.  This topic is certainly a hard one for me, because I prefer not to run in my hometown thanks to some very negative experiences with local runners who put on an elite mentality when it comes to runners like me.  In fact, my very first race had a lasting impression…

It was my first 5K ever and I was trying to get an idea where I was starting at.  There was no time requirements and put on by the local running club.  I finished to my calculation in about 51 minutes, now this is my calculation for a simple reason.  As I was finishing they were putting up the timing equipment.  I was a little shocked, okay more embarrassed because the response to my crossing where the mat should of been was “We did not want to wait for you.”  Seriously? Way to make someone want to join your club, let alone ever want to run again.

I am a back of the pack runner and I will always be.  I use the Galloway method of run-walk-run and I am proud that I can get out there and not only feel, but be successful.  I don’t take my running to seriously, unless I am training for a race, when it is important for me to be prepared.

So instead of looking at Favorite Hometown Races, I am going to give you a rundown of the races I am looking at running this year…

  • Blue Bell Fun Run (10K)-I ran this race, or the 5K at least a few years ago and loved it for 2 reasons:  running through the Texas Hill Country in the Spring (bluebonnet beauty) and there is all you can eat Blue Bell Ice Cream Treats at the end. 
  • Slacker Half Marathon-This race caught my attention…Highest DOWNHILL half marathon in the country and who can no run a race with Slacker in the name.  Plus it gives me an excuse to go home to Colorado and run a beautiful course.
  • Missoula Half Marathon-Being a huge fan of the movie River Runs Through It, I have been wanting to go to Missoula for sometime. This is also one of the highest rated half marathon/marathon events in the country in terms of runner support.  I had wanted it to be my first full marathon, but that is not going to happen this year.
  • Texas Wine Series:  Llano Estacado-This is another repeat event for me.  I also ran it several years ago and set my personal best, almost breaking under a 3 hour half marathon.  A great flat course (praying it will not be windy) and there is A LOT of wine and after party when you finish.
  • Texas Quad:  Tortoise Half & Texas Double (November) & Whine Not Another Half (December)-I am looking at these events as one that I can use to get the distance in leading up to my full in January 2018.  Running the Distance seems to be a running club after my own heart as they highly encourage first timers with no cutoff times.  I plan on signing up for the half and then continue on the course until  have finished enough for my marathon training at that time.

My goal for 2018 is simply to work on dropping some pounds and training properly for the entire year for my first full marathon in 2019!

What races are you looking at for 2018?  Drop me a line in the comments, as I am always looking for races with a great atmosphere & pack of the pack friendly.  

And if a Disney race is in your future, I can help you with that…plus provide you with insurance should something happen during your training and you can’t run (something runDisney can’t do for you).  

Tuesdays on the Run: Running Guilty Pleasures

It’s Tuesday, so that means I am linking up with Patty, Erika & Marsha for Tuesday’s on the Run.

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This week’s topic…

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I admit it, I love running because of all it allows me to indulge in some of my guilty pleasures…

I run because I really like dessert…

running affords me (or at least I think it does, the scale not so much) a few extra calories, right?

I run because I love runcations…

I have run in some pretty cool places (literally cool) and what a great excuse to get out of town for a weekend (okay, what a great excuse to use on Mr. Grumpy to go on yet another girl’s trip to Walt Disney World).

I run because I get to pick the music (and turn it up real loud)…

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With 2 teenage boys in the car, mom’s music isn’t so much respected or appreciated…most of the time I don’t even get control of the dial.  I love that I can blast a little Charley Pride, Air Supply or Ozzy while I run.  (Yes, my musical taste is very diverse). And I have to say, the 2 teenage boys did a great job with my Christmas present this year!  

But you want to know the biggest guilty pleasure I have when it comes to running?  My biggest guilty pleasure is running.  

If you would have said that 5 years ago (hey, I just celebrated my run-anniversary on January 1st)  when I started on this running journey, I would have laughed at you because then running was just a way to get to my guilty pleasure of a vacation to Walt Disney World with the girl’s.  My mindset has shifted, with the help of a boot for 6 months and everything that came after it was gone.  When I didn’t have running, I realized how much I missed running and how much I needed it (and my family too, for their own personal safety).  Running is MY ME TIME, something precious that most of us can relate too.  It is during my runs that I have an outlet to release all the things in my daily life that are weighing on me.  I have the time to reflect and pray, often finding clarity and strength to deal with things when the run is over.  Sometimes a good run is the release that I need to “Let it Go…” (yes, I it’s on my run playlist and is on my most played list, too).  

So not only does running afford me some of my favorite things in life, it also is one of my favorite things (remind me that after my next bad run).  

What does running bring to your life, guilty pleasure or not? Drop me a line in the comments!  And if a Disney vacation is a guilty pleasure that you would like to indulge in, I can help you with that…contact me for your free, no obligation quote today!