Tinker Bell race weekend recap – word edition

Tink-Logo19.3 in the bag!

Right up front I want to say the following and then I’ll never say them again:

I did not break any land speed records during these races.

I am crazy proud of how well I ran back to back runs (not just a run – a half marathon!) being on the undertrained side

I’ve have this bipolar feeling between wanting to be crazy proud and also acknowledging that I kept up a pretty steady 12:30-ish pace (which is slow by most standards).   So, I’m just going to get them out of the way and now tell you a little about the events.

I arrived in California with my mom in tow Friday morning around 11am.  We got our rental car and headed straight to the expo where I warned her that would probably be our only event of the day, anticipating lots of crowds and lines.

no linesThere were none.

No lines.  I was very surprised and delighted at this.  We quickly picked up both race bibs and mom’s chEAR squad gear (gEAR?) and went upstairs to get race shirts, swag bag and visit the booths at the expo.

We stopped at the Dannon booth and got some free yogurt, I bought some sport sunglasses, we listened to a speaker, browsed the Disney merchandise (where I bought nothing – I had two race t’s – how much stuff saying Tink Half did I need?  I don’t make the same promises for the Princess half… Did you know the name Sarah means Princess?), and all the apparel booths.  Having mom along for this was funny, we’re not sporty people and a run expo was a first for her.  She could not believe the variety of sparkle skirts available for purchase.  I don’t think she was prepared at all for how many people would be dressed up in some form or fashion the next two mornings.

sparkleSince I’ve been stalking blogs and Disney race recaps for two years, I knew what to expect.

We left the expo and found the condo I rented for our stay (I really wanted a kitchen), dropped our stuff and then headed to a grocery so I could buy the few things I needed for the next few days: bananas, coffee, and a bottle of champagne.  I had packed pita bread and almond butter.   Being on East Coast time was a blessing.  I was asleep by 7:30pm and wide awake at 3:30am the next morning when I had to start getting ready.

I had decided that my 10K outfits would be simple and I would dress up more for the halves at Tink and Princess.  I wore a Lulu running skirt and a t-shirt I bought at Hot Topic that said “Keep Calm and Kiss The Girl” (Little Mermaid) on it.  I broke the cardinal rule of racing – I had never worn either of those things before race morning!  Can you believe it?!  I could have ended up in chafe city, but all was fine.  I ate my toasted pita bread with almond butter and banana and half a cup of coffee and was ready to go around 4:15 for the 6am race.

I bought mom the Platinum Spectator package as a Christmas present which meant she got VIP parking – which to me was worth every penny.  She also got a t-shirt, noise-maker, blanket (a nice one!), access to Main Street for the half, and special grandstand seating at the finish line.  We parked and walked for two minutes to get to the pre-race party zone.  We took a few pictures, figured out where to meet afterwards and then I made my way to the corral as soon as they said to.  I was one of the first people in the corral which meant I was way at the front of it and loved that.  I did not love standing around for an hour, but, them’s the breaks.  I was in Corral C for the 10K and fine with that.  I crossed the start line about 12 minutes after the first racers and never felt the course was crowded, never felt a bottle neck and loved every second of that race!  The first four miles took us through Disneyland and California Adventure.  I have never been to these parks so I spent the time looking around and taking in the magic (yes, cheesey, but still magical) of being in the parks before dawn and waving to happy groups of cast members (seriously, third shift custodial staff was more exciting to run by than any character).  I found myself feeling a good running momentum so didn’t stop for a character picture until I saw one with only 5 people in line (most had 15 – 20 and I wasn’t willing to wait for that).

wpid-20140118_065907.jpgYes, the Cars were the one character stop I made.  I stopped and took a few selfies of me in front of the beautiful fountains at California Adventure and the itty-bitty castle at Disneyland, but never pulled over to the side for long.  I ran through the parks without my earphones and just really enjoyed the run.  We left the parks for the final 2.2 miles and I put my earphones in then to pump me up for the finish.  I was surprised at how strong I still felt (pixie dust in play, for sure).  My best 10K time ever is 1h 7 m. I did this one in (out of 8,328 runners):

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 7.16.27 PMI was surprised to see my 5K time was that slow, I thought it would be closer to 36 minutes, but, whatever.  I ran every step of that race and ended feeling like I could do some more…which is good, because there was a half marathon the next morning!

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I found mom and we spent the rest of the day at Newport and Huntington Beaches.  The weather was perfect in LA and we relaxed, ate a super delicious (and carb-y!) brunch and then went back to nap at the condo.  We went to McCormick and Schmidt’s for an early dinner (salmon and pasta) and I was back in bed by 7:30pm again.

The Tink Half starts at 5am, an hour earlier than the day before, but since we knew where we were going, how close we could park and how long it took to get to Corrals, we got there about the same time as we had the morning before.  I had the same breakfast (plus I grabbed a Nutri Grain bar to eat while in the Corral) and once we arrived, we did the same quick spin around the pre-race party and then I was off to my Corral (C again – which was excellent!) and was back at the front of it.  Tink came on a giant screen and sent each wave of runners on their way.  Our route was reversed this time, doing California Adventure park first, and then running down Main Street and through the castle at Disneyland.  I saw my mom at the start and then knew I’d see her again around mile 3.3 on Main Street.  Once again, I ran with no headphones and enjoyed the path through the dark parks.  The miles seemed to be flying and before I knew it I was entering Disneyland.  Mom and I had agreed she would be on the right side of the street, but I quickly realized no spectators were on the right side.  There wasn’t a big crowd on Main Street and I had a hunch my mom would be as far down the street as she could be.  I was right!  I saw her towards the end of the row of spectators and she had a camera and a giant Mickey glove on waving at me.  She caught a few pictures and then I ran on, grabbing a selfie of me in front of the lit of castle, of course!  Mom told me later that while I thought the parking was worth every penny of the Platinum Spectator package, she said being one of so few people on Main Street before dawn was worth every penny.  Ahh, a cheesy magical mother and daughter team are we!

Again, I stopped for no character photos.  There weren’t any that really interested me.  And, as non-athlete as I am, I really didn’t want to kill the momentum of my strong running.  I might have stopped with Cinderella, and imagine I will at the Princess Half (especially since my costume is Cinderella!!).  The characters along the course weren’t appealing enough to make me stop.  Who am I?

About 5 we entered Downtown Disney were a lot of spectators with great signs were standing.  My favorite: I trained for 6 months to hold this sign!  Loved it.  Also, I bet a quarter mile of Red Hat ladies lined the course just outside of Downtown Disney.  They were AMAZING!  They were playing music and cheering and dancing and high fiving everyone.  They made me smile and laugh as I ran through mile 6.  

Then it was out on the streets of Anaheim.  I put my headphones in at this point and moved to an interval run/walk method.  Every time a new song comes on I walk until the chorus and then run the rest of the song.  It works for me.  I can’t always look at a watch when I run, it makes me crazy.  I kept that up the rest of the miles.  What’s fun about running a town you never have before is that you get really caught up in looking around and forget you’re running for a while.  Old town Anaheim was super cute, lots of bands, cheerleading squads and neighbors were out supporting the runners.  Several local running stores had tents set up giving out orange slices and “candy to strangers” (licorice).  Miles 6-9 were a blur.  I remember mile 9 and thinking 4 miles seemed like quite a bit to still go, but got over that pretty quickly.  

I will hand it to Disney – there was a water/Power Ade stop at least every 1.5 miles – which was awesome.  I never wished there was more, in fact they usually appeared way before I was expecting or needing one.  Thanks, runDisney!

We headed back into the back of the park at mile 12 for the last 1.1 mile and I was so happy that it was nearly over and happy that I felt strong and would finish well.  My Rock n Roll half time from 2012 was 2:40 on the nose and part of me wanted to beat that, but part of me knew I would be happy with 2:45 as well…which is exactly what I got.  (out of 11,498)

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 8.54.46 PMWith the course distractions and the slightly under trained and the selfie photo stops – I’ll take 5 minutes slower than my “in shape” half marathon.  

wpid-20140119_082925.jpgI felt fine after the half.  I was sore, but nothing I wasn’t expecting after back to back races.  Mom and I went to Hollywood and saw some tourist stuff and then back home around 5 where we stayed the rest of the night.  Monday was a little harder to get moving.  We went to play in the parks that day and I was hurting.  I had a couple of blisters on my feet and my quads were just sore, but we powered through the parks from 7:40am until about 2:30pm when it was getting really crowded.  We hit all the rides but one I really wanted to go on.  Overall, I’m just a Disney World in Florida kind of girl.  I’m glad I did this race first.  It was an excellent experience, I got the medals I have been coveting and I have a renewed confidence that I can pull this whole thing off again next month!  

 

 

Tinker Bell 10k and half marathon photo recap

Hi friends!

I’ll be back with a more complete update, if for no other reason than to decompress and document the weekend and the accomplishments for myself.  Here are some photos of the two days of racing fun.  Minnie Mouse ears are the Half Marathon day and the teal shirt was 10K day.

I met my running pace goal for each one, and that’s remarkable to me since the two days were back to back.

My first runDisney events were exactly what I was hoping for and I’m even more excited for the Walt Disney World Princess runs next month!

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3 races, 5 medals. I like these odds.

An announcement from runDisney has put to rest any questions I may have had about my early 2014 running goals.

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This means – I can run the 10K on Saturday and the Princess Half marathon on Sunday.  I can get a medal for each of them AND the INAUGURAL medal for completing both of those events.  It’s called the Glass Slipper challenge, so you know that medal is going to be shaped like a shoe!!

THEN…

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That’s right!  The coast to coast medal is special this year for runners who complete the Tinkerbell half AND the Princess half.

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So, of course, the thing I did this morning is make hotel reservations for both of these events.  Actual race registration doesn’t open until the summer, but I am so doing this.  Three great races, five amazing Disney medals and all the fun that comes from races in my favorite place ever.

This is happening, friends.  Countdown on…

The Half

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I don’t know why it’s taken me a week to write about the half marathon.  It feels a little like a dream.  I’m glad there are pictures because I’m not sure I would have believed that I did it without them.  I told myself I couldn’t write about anything else until I wrote about this race.  And tonight I am eager to write about so many other things: grad school weekend – October edition, running in the dark, Parks & Rec (!!!!) and the fact that Halloween will soon be behind us and I can officially focus on the “holiday” season – my favorite time of the year.

I read several runner blogs – women who are athletic and write about their lives and do detailed course and race recaps.  I think I thought it had to be like that.  I don’t have technical ways to describe what I did.  I don’t have any running advice for anyone.  So I’m not going to worry about what I think it should be and I’m just going to talk about what I did.

I finished the Rock and Roll St. Louis half marathon.  One year ago – almost to the day of the race this year – I spectated the run.  I wrote this post, that at the time was kind of a joke, called When I Run the Marathon.  I didn’t really know I would run that race one year later.  I was inspired by the runners last year, but I didn’t know I would be inspired to really do it.  I think it took more than inspiration.  It was the right blend of opportunity, suggestion, making peace with the past, honoring those close to me that are no longer here and that I needed to do something hard.  It truly took a village for me to run this – I have Team in Training to thank, all the wonderful people that donated to the cause, the friends that listened to every run recap, the friends that ran with me during training and everyone that cheered me on that day.  I didn’t do this alone – nor could I ever have.  I ran with memories of those no longer here, inspired by those who thought enough of my goal to help me get there and the positive thoughts of so many.

I finished it within my goal times.  Our TNT coaches told us to set three goals and I’m grateful for that advice.  I went for realistic.  My overall goal was just finish in an upright position.  With the IT band stuff I had been dealing with, I wanted to just be able to run this race.  Goal #2 was my safety time (like a safety school – the one you’re pretty sure you can beat) of 2:45.  Dream goal was 2:30.

I finished in 2:40.

The weather was perfect.  Starting the race staring at the Arch, the landmark of my city, was really special.  I wasn’t nervous.  I didn’t have a lot of anxiety.  I met the whole TNT group the night before for dinner.  Pasta was had.  We all stayed in a hotel that night and my roommate was TNT staff and she decided not to stay the night there at the last minute so I had this really lovely room all to myself.  I’m so glad I did.  I relaxed.  I texted some friends about the next day.  I laid out every piece of clothing and all the accessories for the next day.  Whatever was going to happen was going to happen.  The work had been done.  No use worrying about it.  I still didn’t get a great night’s sleep.  It took much longer than I thought to get to sleep and I was up before the alarm.  I met the TNT group in the hotel lobby at 5:30am and we walked to the race start 8 blocks away.  And I still wasn’t nervous.  In fact, I was starting to get excited.

The woman in the middle will always be part of my story. She is a very consistent runner with a 11:30 min/mile pace and I stayed with her every step until mile 4. Without her I would have gone out way too fast and been done for.

I loved the first 4 miles.  Running through downtown St. Louis and then up towards the Fox Theatre.  I had a fantastic pacer so I didn’t even feel that I was working that hard.  I was shocked at how fast the first two miles went by.  I was expecting to see my mom and grandparents around mile 3.5 and looking for them took most of mile 3.  They ended up being at this amazing spot at about mile 3.8.  I jogged off the course for a moment to hug them all.  I wish I had a picture of Grandpa.  He’s such a weeper.  He’s crying.  My mom’s crying.  My grandma is rolling her eyes at the crying twins.  I wave at them and jump back on the course.  Diane, my pacing friend, told me she could see how moved Grandpa was.  She said it was clear he was touched by the whole thing.  I’m so happy they made it there and had such a great viewing location.  My mom had been super freaked about figuring out how to get to the course and how she’d ever spot me, etc.  No worries.

We turned on to Grand Avenue right at the Fox Theatre.  This was one of my most favorite moments.

While I don’t think this is a great picture of me – it was such a special spot for me to run.

First, I love the Fox Theatre.  Second, it’s on my street – kind of.  I live just off Grand Avenue about 2 miles away.  This is when I started to feel this warm and special feeling about how proud and happy I was to run my town.  I left my headphones out and music off until mile 5.  I read somewhere that you’ll need a boost halfway through a long run and your music will provide that.  Also, this is the Rock and Roll, so there were bands at least at every mile.

Running down Grand! The St. Louis University banner is in the background and I feel like home in this stretch.

Around mile 7 – my friend Angela jumped out and snapped a picture. Loved the course support!

I neared Mile 8 with determination and excitement.  I knew my personal cheer squad would be around mile 8.5 and I had to look strong for them.  I saw Claire and Emilie first, Claire with my favorite sign (“Smile if you’re not wearing underwear!” – which I wasn’t – so I smiled!) and Emilie with a sign that said something like “Run Sarah Run” and “We’re proud of you”, I think.  My mom had found her way there as well.  Emilie told me later she was still bawling.  Em could hardly understand her when she called earlier to say she saw me earlier in the race.  I was expecting to see my Running Buddy and his brother there as well – they said they would be farther down that stretch to help get me up the hill.  This was the stretch I was most concerned about – the sustained incline.  Just a bit farther, I saw them both with signs for “Team Commando!” (not wearing underwear on race day was really becoming my rally cry).  Alan snapped a few photos and I made Running Buddy jump on the course for the next .4 of a mile to get me up the hill.  He obliged.

One of Alan’s photos of me as I saw the Team Commando signs! Running Buddy commented that in all the photos of me that day I have a big smile on my face. Might as well have a good time out there!

 And one of the biggest surprises of that stretch was that as soon as Running Buddy turned off, Mr. Hampton jumped in!  He ran the next mile with me.  I feel a little bad – this is about where I started to fade fast.  Mr. H got me to the Mile 10 marker and then Mile 10 happened.  Mile 10 is what I refer to as my vacation.  I slowed way down.  I took a bathroom break.  I grabbed water and Gatorade at the water station.  I told myself at Mile 11 I had to get back in it, but I gave myself a full mile to get my head together.

Mile 11 came at Lafayette Square – a beautiful St. Louis neighborhood.  Also, this is where I realized that there’s only 2 miles left.  Soooo close…

Mile 11!

I was tired.  I dug deep.  I had one last fantastic surprise and that was Mom and Em made it to Mile 12!  I have no idea how they got around some of the road closures to make it there, but they did and it was so great!  I’m really happy my sister saw me do this.  I am happy I gave her something to be proud of me for.  I’ve not always been a great role model for big sister and I am just so touched and pleased that she was all over the course and that she stuck around to have breakfast with me afterwards.

And then it was over.

And now there’s just the time I ran the half marathon.

Running Buddy, Em and Claire met me for breakfast at City Diner afterwards.  It was exactly the day I was hoping I would have.  I seriously could not have asked for a different experience.  I don’t wish I ran different.  I don’t wish I finished those 10 minutes faster.  I ran my own race and I can barely even believe it.

The half aftermath: So, it’s been a week.  And I’ve been congratulated.  Even today at work during the All HR meeting my boss snuck a slide in with one of the pictures above congratulating me in front of everyone.  And it’s nice to hear.  But I didn’t do this to say that I did it.  I did this for such deeply personal reasons that it seems odd to talk about how I did.  One of my co-workers commented that she hasn’t even heard how I did yet.  I’m so proud of me, don’t get me wrong.  But I guess I never thought about other people being proud of me.  I was at school this weekend and one of my most favorite new friends, Kristy, told me she was inspired – she was downloading the Couch to 5K app and was going to get started.  I got this text from another classmate late last night telling me he was telling his wife about what I did and how amazing and they should get back into running.  I’m happy anyone would make a positive choice about setting a goal, getting more exercise, etc…I just never saw me as a person motivating that kind of change.  I read this blog post almost a year ago entitled – “Running a marathon does not make you Mother Theresa”.  I highly recommend you read it.  It’s really funny.  But those sentiments have been with me since.  I didn’t cure cancer (although my generous supporters helped me raise over $1500 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!!  Yeah!!!!!).  I ran a race.  I guess I just want to keep things in perspective.  Again, I’m so proud of me.  I look at the medal and I grin and I think about how I can probably do anything.  It was a moment in time.  I am not expressing what I want to very well here. Last December I hung this sign on my bathroom mirror that said, “FINISH”.  Adam was always accusing me of starting things and not finishing them.  I’ve looked at that sign for almost a year.  I’m going to take it down tomorrow.  Because I am finished with this chapter.  

To sum up: I am proud of myself.  I am so grateful for the love and support.  I won’t forget crossing that finish line for some time.  I believe in myself a heck of a lot more now than I did a week ago.  I feel calmer and more confident.  And I did it for my reasons.  I can probably do anything.

Thanks for bearing with all the running and racing tales the past 10 months.

“Mrs. Landingham!  What’s next?”

 

 

 

Re-commit

There is a scary email in my inbox right now.  It is my re-commitment paperwork for Team in Training.  Halfway through the training program they give you the opportunity to get out.  The money you raised stays with the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but you’re freed from the rest of your fundraising and running obligations.  I’ve raised just about half of what I need and I always knew August would be my most creative fundraising month.  I’m going to need to focus on getting to $1500 this month for sure with no school work and a regular work schedule for a glorious 5 weeks!

It’s the running.  Always the running.  As much as I want some friends to run with, the ones that show up the most are my friends doubt and sabotage.  Booooo I say to doubt and sabotage!

There are four things I really wanted to do tonight, knowing perhaps I’d get to two of them.  They clearly have different priority levels, some were “want” errands and some were “need” errands.

I WANTED to grocery shop and get a mani/pedi (This girls feet look rough after all the beach/flip flop walking.  I thought sand would help exfoliate and make them pretty!  False.)

I NEEDED to run and buckle down on some homework.  (I spent the last week on the beach in the Outer Banks, NC and man, they really want people to unwind and be on vacation there.  Wifi was super hard to come by.  Nice for vacation, bad for grad students with two weeks left in the semester and three projects due by then!)

Sigh.  I came home.  I changed my clothes.  I grabbed the ipod.  And I ran.  4.23 miles in 50 minutes.  There were a few walking breaks and I’m not ashamed of them.  As one running buddy says to me about the walking breaks, “Just don’t make a meal out of them.”  I didn’t.  It’s true that Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger” will get me moving every time.

Me – post run – sitting on my bedroom floor writing this post. With Oliver close by – as always.

Sigh.  I’m now going to buckle down with some homework.  I’ll forage in my pantry for something that will make dinner.  I’ll reward myself by painting my own darn toes after I get out of the shower.

It’s time to sign the re-commitment papers.

::If you’re inspired by my running madness, or, just want to help support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, hop on over here and donate!::

I found my legs when Keith came back…

I know.  That title made no sense to you.  It makes sense to me.

When I started running I was using a Couch to 5K app that talked to me over my music.  There was a masculine voice that told me when to start running and when to start walking and when I was half way done and when it was time to cool down.  I named him Keith.  Keith whispered sweet “You are halfway done” messages into my ear.

As I got into a three mile run stride, there was less need for Keith.  I was running the 5K.  I missed Keith.  I had two weeks of rough runs.  I did 4 miles almost a month ago, my 5 mile was okay, and then there was a stressful school week where many, many assignments were converging in a yellow wood, and I, I took the path that led to a master’s degree.  And that has made all the difference in my running.  But, as soon as my last grad school weekend (which was amazing and included friends throughout Ohio, boats, drum circles, clarity and crazy professors) I took a new approach.  I fired up my Bridge to 10K app.  Yes, I got back in touch with Keith.  Keith and I had a freakin’ fantastic run.  And the runs have been good since.  I’m still a little concerned I’m not getting as many runs in as I would like, or as would make me best prepared for 1/2 marathon which is soo quickly approaching.  But, I feel better with Keith by my side a little longer.

The heat is making running this week an indoor event.  It is oppressive!  I had this beautiful 5.5 day weekend and there is so much going on here in The Lou, but it’s too hot to do any of it comfortably.  Especially since I’m a sweater.  Not a knitted article of clothing one dons when chilly, I’m a sweaty gal.  It’s disgusting.  It’s who I am.  I need to move to a lower humidity and cooler climate.  Canada is probably the answer, as it is to so many of my life problems.

My friend Alex was in from Boston last week for a benefit concert and a baby shower.  His wife wasn’t able to travel in because she’s close to the due date, so Alex was a trooper and braved a baby shower and the oohing and ahhing over tiny baby clothes all on his own.

Dad to be and me

I stage managed said benefit concert.  It was the 20th anniversary of a community theatre scholarship program that Alex was a winner of, along with many other people I went to high school or worked in community theatre with.

Ten years ago my dad died on a Tuesday morning in June.  That summer I was the assistant director and stage manager for 1776, with Alex in the director’s chair.  Our cast was an amazing group of mostly old men, because that’s who our founding fathers were.  And I’ll never forget calling Alex to tell him what happened and telling him that I would still be at rehearsal that night.  There was nothing left to do at home and I’d need to get out of my house.  The cast, crew and orchestra took amazing care of me that summer.  Several of them were at the benefit concert as well, including my most favorite high school teacher.  I was so proud to have been asked back.  I am happy to repay them for a kindness they may not realize they bestowed on me.

In other news, school is cool.  I am so happy with the program and the people.  That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with some of it, and it doesn’t mean I understand the assignments or professors all the time, or am eager to jump into a project with each member of the cohort – but it means I know I’m learning.  And I’m being seen as successful by professors and colleagues.  I’m so happy I did this -

Someone asked me recently what the next big thing would be.  I tried to create a “vision board” of goals on Pinterest.  I came up short.  I have no idea what the next big thing is.  I have no idea what to conquer next.  I don’t think it’s a house because that implies I’m in the place I want to stay – and I don’t know that I’ll stay in The Lou once I’m done with school.  I’d like to open myself up to the world.  At least the United States.  I’m sure I could focus more energy on the health aspect of the running.  Running is all fine and good, but I need to up the cross training and overall fitness quotient in addition to cleaner eating.   Is it relationship related?  Gentleman Friend and I need to make some decisions about what happens next and I can’t definitively say what I want those decisions to be.  I think about what I want on the Christmas card this year…I like my streak of “year in review” type cards…what goes there?  I’m hoping a photo of me finishing the half marathon where I don’t look like I want to collapse makes it.  Maybe a photo of my upcoming trips to Outer Banks or the December trip to Universal Studios (Harry Potter!!)?

 

Two glasses of wine and two of cherry brandy are leading me to wrap this up.  Talk to you soon.

S

The New Year is here

I don’t have any resolutions to share.

I am proud of myself for not waiting for this new year to put into place the things I wanted to happen.  I applied and was accepted to grad school when I had no idea how I was going to pay for it.  But thousands of people figure out how to pay for it, right?  I knew I would too.  I didn’t wait for this year to start to begin my longest half marathon training process ever, I ran my first 5K a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t sit around and collect unemployment and wait for a job to fall in my lap.  I took on my random part time jobs where I met new people, learned new things and got out of the house, even though the combined total from those two part time jobs was never more than an unemployment check was.  My friend Claire likes to point out that I was essentially volunteering during this time because I still got partial unemployment during that time.

I have a “word” for 2012.  It’s FOCUS.  I have three big undertakings in 2012, things I began in 2011 and are only going to get more intense:

  1. Disney Princess half marathon training for Feb ’13  (I know – longest training process ever.  I know.)
  2. New job.  As a corporate trainer that has just moved to an entirely new industry (casinos to groceries) I know there is much to learn on top of a very rigorous training schedule.
  3. Grad school.  So much reading!  I’ve always been smart, but I’ve never been an exceptional student.  Creating good study habits is going to be a challenge.

Making time for all of these things in addition to life getting in the way is going to be my challenge.  Therefore, I choose to FOCUS this year.  So, instead of creating a list of lofty goals and books to read and instruments to tackle – I’ll FOCUS on these and see what else happens.

This new year snuck in.  I’ve been sicker this week than I can remember being in a long time.  I’m fortunate to never have sinus or allergy issues.  I’m experiencing my first sinus infection and it is wiping me out.  From a couple of days before New Years Eve until last night I was pretty much bed bound.  I had a few friends over for New Years Eve, but even they were out by 10pm.  I was even driven to purchase and experiment with a Neti Pot for the first time.  I have a few friends who swear by them and I will admit I felt relief after using it.  Also glad I live alone while using it.  Least sexy thing ever, I imagine.

Happy New Year to all of you.  I’m excited to enter this year with intent and purpose.  And a place to share it all.

Under 35

Not only is it my general age category, I wanted it to be the goal for my 5K race this morning.  My training has been stunted in the past ten days with the weekend in Toledo/Cleveland, the seasonal & part time jobs needing more time and general holiday merriment.  I was still committed to the 5K race this morning.  I had two goals:

1. finish under 35 minutes

2. it would be cooler if I finished at 33:38

Why that time?  I follow a blog called Meals & Miles and Meghann says that her first 5K was finished in that time.  I think her running history is a lot like mine (not a runner at all when she started) and I needed a goal, so there it was.

I finished in 34:30.

Sigh.  So close.  You know what the total bummer is?  Shoestrings.  At two different points in the race each shoe came untied.  I learned the value of double knotting.  I’m not saying that took a full minute, but I could have ben closer.  The race took place in the park a block from me, I intend to practice the route I ran today more regularly.  I may ween off treadmills and do outside running more.  I also think elevation played a factor in my performance today.  If I do run on a treadmill I’ll need to include some interval hills.

I was frustrated by my overall performance.  It didn’t feel quite as good as I wanted.  I do want to focus on the good stuff: I woke up, I made it out, and I finished.  I have my baseline.  I have a lot of work to do.

I am happy to say the cold didn’t bother me.  Dri-tech running clothes really do work!  Also, my awesome rhinestone headband arrived in time.  When I started running with the Disney Princess Half in mind I kept envisioning pieces of my fun running outfit for that event.  I was so lucky to find the dream piece in an etsy shop!

I have some really terrible photos, but I like you, so I’ll share.

Please forgive my morning face

Yes, that’s a mirror self portrait, which I’m generally not a huge fan of.  Oh well, at 6:45, I was not setting up self timers and such.  Also, you can see my “finish!” sign.  Those are sticky letters I found at the dollar store and sometimes I like to leave myself motivational messages.

Close up of the headband

The headband kind of played today.  This run was part of a winter series, and there were lots of holiday accessories on people.  I fit right in.  My plan is to wear this headband at every race I take part in leading up to the Princess Half.

So, there’s my recap.  The first of many, I sincerely hope.

Did I tell you about the time…

…that I ran 20 consecutive minutes??  Oh, I didn’t?  Allow me.

I’ve been hesitant to post a lot about my running progress and goals here.  You know I have some issues ‘fessing up to things I may not finish.  I have started the Couch to 5K program no less than 5 times.  I always get scared at the end of Week 5.  That’s when you go from running two 8 minute stretches in a half an hour to one 20 minute stretch.  That has freaked me out every time.

With the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon as my goal, with the knowledge that I can probably run 20 straight minutes, and with the moral support from two of my Zumba acquaintances and an ex-husband (he’s become an odd running supporter.  I think it stems from watching the marathons together.  Or him knowing what kind of support I need from the old married days.  Whatever it is, he’s done a nice job of saying, “Of course you can do this and I’ll be on the treadmill next to you if you need me.”  Which I appreciate, but have never taken him up on.  If I do this, I have to conquer the mental game and achieve it for myself with only myself.  Anyway…) I totally ran 20 minutes this past Saturday.  Plus 10 seconds.  Just to say I really nailed it.  I gave myself the following pep talk, “Sarah – I would say good luck, but you don’t need luck.  You just need to keep moving.”  Genius, right?  But it worked.  Just keep moving.

People say running gets addicting.  That I’ll be hooked.  That it’s a way to clear my head, be alone with my thoughts, use it as time to day dream, etc.

That’s starting to happen.  I like it.  I’m actually in the middle of two Couch programs.  I am now on Week 6 of C25K, which I do on a treadmill at the Y so I can get pacing down.  I decided to download the C210K program and start working with that one outdoors.  I went back to Week 1 and am doing shorter, easier intervals without the distractions and timers and tvs and people all around.  I think it’s a good system.

I think I can get 13 miles down by the time I turn 33.  What do you think?  I have until September 30.  13 by 33.  I’m only adding about a mile a month, as I’ve got two miles down right now.  I think this might be the most well thought out plan I’ve had in a really long time.

Who knew wanting a running skirt would be such motivation?  (I’m totally scoping them out on Athleta.com and Nike.com.  This one has the cutest pleats!!  But this one is such a great color!)

Also, I’ve checked with my friend from grade school who makes super adorable tutu dresses and costumes for kids to see if she could whip something up for me when I run this bad boy of a half marathon.  She’s in.

Something like this - only shorter??

I love that it has those simple bustle designs on the side.  My biggest challenge will be deciding what princess to represent while running.  Belle is my favorite, but yellow is not my color.  Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) is my 2nd favorite and I look okay in pink.  Since I plan to wear a matching running tank/shirt with running capris/skirt with this over it, I need it to be something I look good in.  Because when you look good, you feel good.  I look good in purple, but that would be Ariel and I’d need a green mermaid tail-ish skirt.  Ice Blue/Cinderella may be my best bet.  Plus, I just LOVE those side bustles!

Okay – enough talking about my remarkable 20 minutes of consecutive running.  For today.  I think I’m going to stretch my new runner’s legs at a 5K in a few weeks.  Stay tuned…