April 30, 2013

The Race I Became a *Real* Runner Part I

Yes, I know if you run you are a real runner. I do not deny this, in fact I tell people this all the time. This is simply my own experience and a change in the way I perceived myself.
 
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The Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011 was my first half marathon and first race ever.  I pre-trained and trained for it for a little over a year. I took it very slow and just focused on getting the mileage in. I was simply trying to see if I could in fact do it. I had a secret goal of finishing in under 3 and I came in at 2:57 using Jeff Galloway’s run/walk/run method.

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I finished my first Half Marathon! !
Me, Alicia, Patty and Allison all first time half finishers!!

With my first half marathon behind me I felt confident in the distance and tried to focus and getting faster. My second Half was the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January 2012. My sister and I ran it together and even though we struggled with our training toward the end we PRd at 2:36. This is actually my current PR so it should be when I became a real runner, but for some reason it wasn’t. I was still just playing around and trying to be a runner. My training between Tinker Bell and Princess was lacking to say the least. I got through the PHM just fine, but honestly the course has never been that good to me. I was just there to get my Coast to Coast medal and meet up with some awesome April 05 moms again!

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My sister and me after Tinker Bell
Kim, Alicia, Patty and me after PHM

I had high hopes for this year’s Tinker Bell, but given some big changes in my life my training did not go as planned, and a blown PR put me in a bad mood. My next race brought me back where it all started, the PHM. The run itself did not go great (race recap coming soon), but being able to say I completed 5 half marathons caused something inside of me to click and just like that I saw myself as a *real* runner. I mean a fake runner would never do 5 half marathons, right? 


What was your “clicking” moment? When did you first see yourself as a runner? 

Exciting News x2!!

First I want to apologize for disappearing, but I have a good reason. We closed escrow on our new house on April 12 !! This is great news but I have been unpacking all our stuff and have been without internet so I have been completely out of touch. To make a long story short officer P got a promotion to move from Texas to California, where we are originally from. We flew out in November and found a house but after several delays the house fell out of escrow the end of January. We then had to scramble to find another house, and opted for a new construction inventory home that was in the process of being built. We left Texas the end of December so we have been living in hotels and then the kids and I stayed at my mom’s for a total of almost 4 months! We are still settling in, but it is so nice to have our stuff and our own space again!

The second bit of exciting news I have is that I am now the chapter leader for the Fresno chapter of Moms Run This Town (MRTT)!! Which is a FREE group for moms all around the country to motivate and support both runners and walkers alike! I am really hoping this will allow me to connect with other running moms in the area and I am very excited to help my chapter grow!

I first learned about MRTT from the wonderful Patty last summer. We did a virtual relay with a few other April 05 moms that MRTT put on last July and we all got this really cool medal! 

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MRTT is planning another virtual run this summer called Running Mad Summer Virtual Run, with this totally awesome medal inspired by Alice in Wonderland! I will definitely be participating again this year and you can too by signing up here!

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April 10, 2013

Did Somebody Say Club 33 ? ?

So I wasn’t going to add this since it is suppose to be more of a running blog and less of a Disney blog, but it is Club 33 and is certainly blog worthy, so why not?
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This was just another reason why it is so awesome to have wonderful friends like Patty, who happens to have just as wonderful friends of her own. It started with a text message telling me she had HUGE news and I needed to check my Facebook inbox ASAP. I was at work so I quickly downloaded the FB app for my phone so I could see what the fuss was about. Well, apparently Miss Patty got an invitation to go to Club 33 for brunch after the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, and since we were roomies for the weekend guess who got to tag along?? Why me of course! 

It was actually quite amazing how it all went down. Patty is a frequent poster on the DisBoards, and got a PM from Sarah, who also posts on Dis, saying she had gotten a PM from yet another Dis member offering to be her benefactor! As none of us had ever met in person, well except for Patty and I, we often wondered and even joked about the possibility of it all being some kind of prank. At last the time finally came for us to find out if was in fact really real or not. Sarah rang the “super secret” doorbell and they came out and asked for her reservation information. It was the moment of truth and SUCCESS we were in!
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We sat in the lobby for a few moments taking it all in while they prepared our table. We took a few pictures in front of the elevator and then it was time to head upstairs. They asked us if we wanted to take the stairs or the “lift”. Of course we opted for the lift so we all piled in and up we went!
The dining room was very lovely and the environment was a great relief from the hustle and bustle of the very crowded park just below us. After we were seated we hit the appetizer buffet, had a couple of drinks, met a few characters, and made a group trip to the bathroom as we waited for our food to be prepared. You can read Patty’s Club 33 bathroom report here. I promise it is worth checking out!
We apparently were the first ones to come in wearing Tinker Bell medals since one of the CMs came over to see them and said she had been waiting all day to get a look at them.  Here is Kirsten (another new Dis friend I met over the weekend) and I with Mickey, and Pluto sneaking up behind me.
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If you ever get a chance to eat here I can not recommend the truffle macaroni and cheese enough. I honestly could have easily just eaten that and been completely happy. There was also a dessert bar where I sampled a little of everything . . . what? I ran a half marathon I totally earned the calories. Winking smile Here is a little food porn for your viewing pleasure. Truffle Mac and Cheese, which I believe was Patty’s since I ate all of mine as soon as it was in front of me, and my Club 33 ├ęclair. On the bottom left corner is one of the best s’mores I’ve ever had, can you say brownie inside??
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After we had completed our meals we weren’t ready to leave just yet so we headed out on the balcony to watch Tiana sing and take some more pictures.
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Unfortunately, around this time I had to make an exit since I had kind of left my mom alone in the park so that I could enjoy this wonderful meal and I was starting to feel a little guilty about it. Sarah, Patty and Kirsten stayed behind and got a tour. I was a little bummed I missed it, but was very grateful to have the wonderful, once in a lifetime, experience I did get. Thank you so much for including me in your celebration ladies!!

April 4, 2013

It’s the Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2013!!

Last year when the Tinker Bell half marathon was announced and the medal revealed my sister declared that we MUST run it. Being the Tinker Bell lover that I am I couldn’t argue with that so we ran it together and PRd, then I decided that since I did the inaugural race I might as well be “perfect”. For those of you who don’t know runDisney offers extra little perks at the anniversary races (5, 10, 15, etc..) if you have ran all of them, so why the heck not?

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When I signed up for Tink this year I was excited. I knew the course and I liked it so you can imagine my disappointment when I heard the news that they changed it. I liked having Disneyland at the beginning and California Adventure toward the end of the race; it broke the parks up and gave me something to look forward to so I was pretty annoyed that they decided to do the parks back to back and then we were just let loose on the streets of Anaheim for the rest of the race. I quickly got over the annoyance once the vision of running through Carsland all lit up in the dark started to occupy my thoughts. Okay runDisney, I will forgive you this once.

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Let’s fast forward to race morning, shall we? Shenanigans (Aka. Patty) and I were roomies for the weekend, which ended up being kind of funny since she is Ms. 5 am Texas time wake up while I was the newly relocated back to California, but very well adjusted, night owl. She set her alarm for 2:30 and I set mine for 3. I’m pretty sure neither of them actually went off since we woke up on our own. Just as I woke up I heard Patty heading out the door. She had a few prerace photo ops to do, while I am more of the roll out of the bed and head to the start line kind of gal.

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We were staying at the Paradise Pier, which in my opinion is the best place to stay for this race, so I walked over to the window to see how the corrals were looking, at this time they were still pretty empty. I went ahead and got dressed and tried to eat something. Again I am NOT a morning person at all so this was quite a challenge. I ended up only eating a banana and an orange juice while I was waiting in corral B. I knew this would be an issue later in the race, but it was all I could manage to do.  While waiting around in the corral I met back up with Patty and before too long it was time to get the party started. Corral A took off, we moved forward and before I knew it we were off on our way too. There is something about the start of the race, when you leave the loud hustle and bustle of the announcers and music at the start line and are on your way with only the sound of shushing skirts and tutus around you that makes you think “I’m really doing this”. It was at this time that Patty wished me luck, I told her I would see her at the finish line and off I went. 

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I had a goal in mind. I was hoping for a 2:30, but knew early on that wasn’t going to happen so I did what all runners do and set up a plan B goal, simply PR. The first couple of miles went by pretty fast and it seemed like we were entering California Adventure very quickly. They had the fountains from World of Color going and they were quite beautiful. There were lots of people taking pictures in front of it. I thought about it for half a second, but I didn’t have time for that I had a PR to go for! Lucky for me my friend Sarah is willing to let me borrow her picture to share with you.

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Most of California Adventure was pretty dark, I did not like this at all. On top of that there were puddles and lots of wet spots that you could not really see in the dark so I slowed down quite a bit through here. That part of the race seemed to flash by and before I knew it we were already heading out of California Adventure and across the way to Disneyland. This was also the 5K mark. I had set myself up for runner tracking so I could get real time texts to keep track of how I was doing. Well unfortunately my 5k text was incorrect, but luckily for me the same thing happened last year at Princess so it didn’t phase me as much this time. I sent Patty a text to let her know that the tracking was giving “clock time” for the 5k again, so she would have a heads up when she got there.

We then headed into Disneyland! It was nice to see some spectators on Main Street this year since last year it was not allowed, but it was still nothing like heading onto Main Street at the Princess Half Marathon were the street is lined with spectators. I honestly don’t remember the exact route we took but I do remember that It’s a Small World looked fabulous all lit up for the holidays still. We then went back stage and came back out on the side of it through Toon Town. We ran around the park a bit more and were heading out behind Splash Mountain. It was at this time that I asked the CM if the bathrooms under the Hungry Bear Restaurant were opened, when she confirmed it to be true I darted off course to use the restroom. I didn’t actually have to go yet but I try to use “real” restrooms whenever possible and since I knew the rest of the race was out on the streets this was my last chance. I quickly rejoined the race and on we headed to Downtown Disney!
My mom had sent me a text early in the race and told me that she was in front of the La Brea Bakery, but when I got there I could not find her. Sad smile At the end of Downtown Disney, in front of the Disneyland Hotel, was my all time favorite spectators, The Red Hat Ladies!! They were in the same place last year and I had heard they were going to be there again so I was really looking forward to them and they did not disappoint!! Their energy is AMAZING!! But sadly after leaving them we also left Disney property so it got very quiet and lonely very quickly. It was round this time I got a text from my mom asking me where I was and I replied 10k mark! She told me I was doing good and at this same time I got my next runner tracking text and I was looking good. They gave me an estimated finish of 2:34 and that would do just fine. The next section of the race was pretty uneventful and I started getting a bit bored.

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I am somewhat of a social runner so without someone to chat with I start to get restless and antsy. I thought this might be a good time to start posting on Facebook and to text my sister back in Texas. Yeah, I really did. My 15k text came in and I was still looking good, estimated finish of 2:35 so I slowed a bit but as long as it was under 2:36 I was good. Up next was the mile 10 marker. I sent out a Facebook post saying I only had a 5k left and I was feeling pretty good at this point. Then I saw that mile 11 marker. I looked at my watch and it said I was at 2:10, I sent my sister a text telling her that and she replied back with some encouraging words. I was feeling okay with it. It was slower then the 2:06 we did in our training run, but still allowed me adequate time to sneak by with a PR and then I hit “the wall”. I’m not sure what happen but I lost a lot of time between mile 11 and mile 12, and when I saw the mile 12 marker was up a “hill” we had already ran up earlier in the race some very non-Disney thoughts crossed my mind. I tried my hardest to run up the hill but only made it halfway and started walking. This was the dreaded sign, don’t let it fool you, it’s not as innocent as it looks . . . trust me.

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I told myself I would make up time by running the whole last mile straight, but that didn’t really work out very well for me. It seemed like it took forever but I finally saw the mile 13 sign and I knew I had blown my PR. At the mile 13 sign you make 90-ish degree turn and it is a straight shot to the finish line. I took off as fast as I could at this point and came across the finish line with a time of 2:38. I couldn’t decide if I should celebrate or not. I didn’t get the PR, but I was done and that was something to celebrate, right?

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I got my medal, made sure to grab a mylar  blanket, in case I needed it at Princess, and my refreshments and headed over to take my finisher’s picture. I was about 3 or 4 people back when the photographers declared they were not taking any more pictures for the next 30 minutes and they would not let us take our own using the background either. So not only did I not get my PR I was also NOT going to get a finisher picture. This added insult to injury for me. I headed out of the “safe zone” and was heading back to my hotel when I called my mom and started bawling. I have never cried at a race before, and this was my 4th half marathon, but I was just so disappointed. I felt like I had it right there in my grasp and just watched it slip away. Truth be told it was my second fastest time, but I wasn’t trying to hear that at the time. I finally found my mom and headed back to the room, still crying. I took a warm shower and tried to put things back  into perspective. I got out feeling a little better and was now ready to head down to the PCH Grill for breakfast. Breakfast with the characters makes everything better you know?  

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