Star Wars Dark Side Registration

WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARAFINISHLINE3_7661062415-cropToday was the early registration for the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend.  As a Walt Disney World passholder I was able to register for the 10k at noon.  I ran the half this year, but since I wasn’t too happy with the course I decided to just do the 10k next year.  It turns out that the 10k and half courses are changing for next year!  The exact courses won’t be released until closer to the race, but according to the runDisney website both races will start on Floridian Way and end in Epcot.  This is very exciting for me because I love ending the races in Epcot.  Ending in the Wide World of Sports complex didn’t feel as magical as it would have if the finish line was right after passing Spaceship Earth and running through a park.  Floridian Way is a new starting area which is right near the Transportation and Ticket Center.  I am hoping that we can just take the monorail to the starting line and avoid the buses all together.

I am happy to say that my parents will be joining me this time at their first 10k!  They usually do the 5ks with me, but the 5ks are getting less and less practical.  The price has gone from $65 when I started running them to $80!  $80 for a 5k?!  That’s a little insane.  I suspect that the price increase is related to the fact that they are giving out medals now instead of the rubber medallions as before.  The 5ks also give out cotton unisex t-shirts instead of tech training shirts like the higher distance races, but my main reason for not doing the 5ks anymore is that they are not timed.  The reason I justify paying the high Disney prices is for the best possible scenario for me to set a PR.  If it is not timed, then it is just not worth it.  I told my parents these points and they agreed.  My Dad said that he is really going to train for this 10k.  They were both nervous about double the distance then they are used to, but I know that they will do great!

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OUC Half Training – W2D9 – Distance 6 miles

Speed days are days that I continue to dread.  I don’t have confidence that I can actually do what the plan calls for and I am afraid of failing at it.  This is the reason most of my speed sessions are done in the afternoon; those thoughts make me not want to get out of bed to run.  Eventually I did get out of bed and I headed to the gym later in the afternoon.  Like usual there was no one in there so I was able to get my favorite treadmill.

The Nike plan said to do one mile at an easy pace, then a three mile fartlek where four minutes were at a faster pace and then one minute was at a slower, steady pace.  After that I was to do a 2 mile light cool-down for a total of six miles.  Now here is what I actually did.  I increased the speed of the treadmill until it reached ten minutes per mile pace.  This treadmill is really old, so it takes a little bit of time to increase even though I kept the up button pressed down.  After three laps I decreased the speed a bit and then gradually brought it back up to ten by the end of the fourth lap.  What was interesting was that it said I competed the first mile in 10:15, which shouldn’t have been the case because I had decreased my speed the last lap and I didn’t start running at a ten minute pace right away.  So the treadmill is inaccurate and all of my paces were probably off, so I don’t know how fast I was actually traveling.

For the three mile Fartlek I did what the plan said.  My fast pace was around 7:30-8:00 according to the treadmill and my slower pace was between 9:30-10:00.  I took note of the times and subtracted the first mile and it showed that I had an average pace of 8:06 during those three miles.  I am very happy with that average because that is faster than my race pace. After those miles I did 2.2 cool down miles ( I wanted an even 10k), but I may have done them faster than I should have.  After the hard part of the workout I just wanted to leave the gym and go take a shower, so I ran at a faster pace to get done sooner. The total 6.2 miles took 55:18.  After the workout I felt great and my legs felt fatigued making me think I got a great workout in. I am ready for some easy miles tomorrow!

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After a great hard workout!

Training – 6.2 Miles

Today was the absolute worst run of my life.  Usually it’s my lungs that stop me from running faster or longer, but today it was my legs.  I guess I didn’t realize how fatigued they were from yesterday’s long run.  They felt really heavy the whole way and they were telling my brain to just give up.  Giving up is not something that I do.  I just kept thinking of one of my favorite quotes, “Shut up legs. Do what I tell you to do.”  I was able to complete the run, but it was not easy.  I must have stopped about 10 times and I only ran six miles!  I usually don’t stop during my runs unless I am at a traffic light or I need water, but today I had to stop several times just to rest.  I just stood on the sidewalk catching my breath until my mind would allow me to start running again.  It was a very difficult mental battle and I am glad that I was able to get through it.

One good thing that happened on the run was that I got to see the park horses up close.  Inside the park along my running trail is a farm which houses a stable for all of these horses.  As someone who loves horses, it is a great sight to see during my run! During one of my breaks I stopped beside the horses and took a couple pictures.  I hope that I am able to have a better run tomorrow and then I will get a much needed off day!wpid-20150910_094617-1.jpg

Training – 6.2 miles

wpid-20150825_075604.jpgAll weekend through today we have had beautiful running weather here in Boston.  It was supposed to rain, but it only drizzled a bit Sunday afternoon.  This morning it was in the upper 60s overcast and lots of fog.  There was so much fog that the Prudential Tower no longer looked like a skyscraper.  I planned on running my loop backwards and then running to the bridge and then back again.  Why backwards?  Well, it’s not good to run the same route over and over again; that is what leads to injury.  The repetitive motion on the same slanted roads day in and day out causes these injuries.  So I ran the loop backwards and when I was across the river I just had to stop and take a picture of the massive fog covering Boston.

The run went pretty well, though there were times when I struggled and I thought of a trick I used to do when I was younger.  When I was in Elementary school I hated running.  We had to run a timed mile and I was always one of the last to finish.  There were cones set up in a field around the basketball court to mark the distance of a running track.  To my small eyes it looked huge and unbearable and we had to complete it four times!  As I ran around the cones I looked down at the ground.  My mind kind of zoned out while looking at the blur that was the grass beneath my feet and when I looked up I couldn’t believe how far I had traveled.  I had figured out an easy way to distract myself to make running easier.  I know it’s not proper running technique to stare at the ground, but every now and then when I am having trouble I either look at the ground before me or think of something to distract my mind to help me get over the hurdle.  I truly believe that a lot of running is mental and it is important to come up with distractions to help you through it.  I was able to get through it this morning and finished my run in 55:31.  If you ever have mental battles while running one thing you should never do is give up!

Star Wars Half Marathon Comes to Florida

11952960_1242846415741318_7004089264699802889_oToday Disney announced a brand new race weekend coming to Florida:  The Star Wars Half Marathon – the Dark Side.  It is going to take place from April 14th through the 17th and consist of a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and kids races with a challenge called the Dark Side Challenge for completing the half and the 10k. There will also be a special coast to coast medal for completing this half and the one in Disneyland now called The Star Wars Half Marathon – the Light Side, in the same calendar year.  Runners completing this challenge dubbed the Kessel Run Challenge, will receive a medal inspired by the Millennium Falcon.

I had been waiting for Disney to announce a new race since there is no longer the Expedition Everest Challenge and The Tower of Terror Ten Miler is on hiatus.  Disney needed another race weekend to compete with all the news ones across the country in Anaheim.  It makes sense that they would choose Star Wars since there are new movies coming out and they reveled plans to create a Star Wars Expansion at Hollywood Studios.  I don’t know when that will be finished but this new half marathon race course goes through Hollywood studios in addition to EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and finishes at the Wide World of Sports.

I am debating running this race.  I would love to run it to get the inaugural medal and maybe even run it every year and become a legacy runner.  I have always wished that I had found running sooner and started running these Disney races years ago.  I have read about how registration didn’t used to be so crazy and there were less people running them when they started.  Also as big of a Disney World fan that I am why didn’t I know about these races sooner??  It would be nice to have run a race from the beginning so receiving an inaugural medal for one would mean something to me.

The thing that is deterring me from counting down to registration day is the price.  One race weekend a year is a lot of money, but two??  Including the Orlando Half that would be three half marathons a year and I haven’t even ran one yet!  I know I will like running a half, it’s just a feeling I have, but it’s hard to pay for three events that I haven’t done one yet.   I will probably end up running it anyway.  Thinking about running through Disney does that to me.  For anyone else that wants to run in this new race registration opens on September 22nd at noon.  Passholder registration is usually two weeks before the general public making it on September 8th, but I haven’t heard that for sure.  To all my readers planning of registering, good luck and maybe I will see you there!

Disney Princess Proof of Time

wpid-246636_185548338_xlarge-1-1.jpgToday is the day!  The proof of time link is active for the Princess Half Marathon!  I had been waiting for this for a long time.  It is my first Disney half!  I chose to use my Enchanted 10k time from last February as proof.  I didn’t feel like I could beat that time before the deadline, especially in the Florida heat.  I got lucky it was so cold during that race.

I navigated to the runDisney website when I got to work and found the link under the Proof of Time tab.  I entered my name and date of birth, hit submit, and then…there is no name with that date of birth!  What!?  This can’t be!  I had heard last year that some runners had a wrong birth date associated with their name, so I looked up my Active registration and saw that it was correct!  I tried the proof of time link again, and again hoping for a different result, but it didn’t happen.  I looked at some of my runDisney Facebook groups and saw that a couple people were having the same issue and one of them called and was told it was a glitch and to try again later today or tomorrow, so I waited…

I tried it about an hour later and it worked!!!!  It showed my projected finish time for the half, which I was very pleased with.  I’m hoping to be in one of the beginning corrals because I plan on racing and trying for a great time.  I know most people stop to take pictures with the characters, but I’m happier just running through the parks.  I find more accomplishment in getting a great time and running through Disney helps me do that.  I grew up in these parks and being there makes me feel at home, especially after having to travel all over the country for work.  Walt Disney is the reason that I chose the job that I did; he has been a huge influence in my life.  I can not wait until I run down main street and through Cinderella’s Castle for the first time!  I know I will be crying the whole time.

Training – 6.64 Miles with the Nike + Run Club!

wpid-20150815_091843-1.jpgThis morning I woke up in Florida…well not really, but by the fourth mile of my run it sure felt like it.  In spite of the heat I had an amazing actual first run with the Nike Run Club (last week I just jumped in there and ran with them for a while).  I arrived at the Nike store around 7:45 am.  The run started at 8:04 so I had a chance to stand around and talk to the others there.  This girl came over to a bunch of us with the word coach on her shirt.  She was extremely nice, introduced herself and then started asking us questions.  I found out that I wasn’t the only one just visiting Boston.

Before we got started we took a group photo and then did a bunch of dynamic warm up exercises.  I never warm up before I run; maybe I should start.  Then one of the pacers told us what we would be doing.  The plan was to run a loop around the river three times with the loop being four miles long so some people would run four miles, some eight , and then some would run 12.  I chose to run eight when I signed up.

We left the store and immediately started running.  We ran to the river where I do all my training runs; it really is beautiful.  As we went across the overpass I heard some of the runners complaining about the humidity.  I just laughed in my head and thought:  Florida.  I felt pretty good at the start!  I was even able to keep pace as I talked to another runner who happened to be from the United Kingdom.  I was worried that talking while running would be too hard but at this point it wasn’t.  The pacer at the front had said she was going to go 8 minutes per mile, but the front ended up going about 8:30.  I tried my best to stay with them.  About a mile in I looked back behind me and couldn’t see any of the Nike pacers or people I recognized from the warm up in the store.  I knew if I didn’t keep up with the front then I would probably get lost because they go into parts of Cambridge that I am not familiar with.  My first mile ended up being 8:47 which was really good because we had to slow down for traffic before we got to the river.

The second mile was a little slower than the first at 9:03.  I still felt good, but there were some bridges that we had to cross in Cambridge; bridges aren’t my friends.  The lead pacer came over to me to see how I was doing, then the coach caught up and I talked to her for a bit.  Everyone was so nice and supportive!  The running community is really great and I am so glad that I have running in my life.

During the third mile I was in familiar territory again; it was the path along the river and then over the Harvard Bridge back towards Boston that I usually run.  I felt great and started to pick it up a bit because I knew the water stop wasn’t much further and I had to keep the runners in the front in my sight so I knew where to go when I exited the bridge. I ran it in 8:38.

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The fourth mile started in the middle of the bridge and I saw that the lead runners were turning left instead of right like they did last week.  I followed them and ran as hard as I could.  It was really hot out and I couldn’t wait to get a drink and take a breather.  At about 3 and a half miles I saw a table set up with the a cooler on it and a Nike + Run Club sign in front of it.  I ran toward it, high-fived a pacer, and then grabbed a red Gatorade.  The Gatorade was delicious, but I only had about two sips when the lead pacer said “Everyone doing eight follow me!  Let’s go!”  That was our break?  Oh well, I don’t usually stop mid run anyway.

So we were off again on the same path.  Since the first loop wasn’t four miles I knew I wouldn’t have eight after this loop.  I thought maybe we would run back to the Nike store to make up the eight.  The rest of the fourth mile went pretty well as I struggled to keep up with the lead pack again.  It ended up being 8:31, I had paused the app when I stopped for the Gatorade.

There were maybe six or seven people in the lead including the pacer.  I was just a little bit behind them for a while.  I noticed that the photographer was on the side of the path taking their pictures and mine when I came around.  Then he would ride his bike past us to a spot further up on our course and take our pictures again as we went by.  I didn’t see him during the first loop and figured that he stayed back taking pictures of the back of the group.  I really wanted my picture taken with the lead group so I lessened the distance between us until I was in the group.  The United Kingdom guy said hi to me as I caught up and I said hi back, but nothing more because of how difficult it was to talk at this point.  At the end of the 5th mile I struggled because we went up a hill which I believe was Longfellow bridge.  Looking back at my splits now I don’t know why this happened, but the lead group grew further and further away from me even though I was maintaining a consistent speed. At the time I thought I had slowed down, but I guess they just wanted to go faster.  The fifth mile ended up being 8:30: my fastest yet!

During mile six , I knew I was almost finished with the second loop because of how short the first one was.  I didn’t care; I just wanted to finish.  It was incredibly hot out and I regretted laughing about the humidity earlier.  My pace showed how much I struggled because the sixth mile took me 9:15 which I think is still pretty great!  I got back to the refreshment table at 6.64 miles and noticed that there were only pacers standing around.  Where did all the runners go?    The coach finished right behind me and the pacers informed her that the others kept going to make up the 8 miles.  I thought about going after them but was still trying to catch my breath and didn’t think I could catch up.  Another runner came up and decided to run a bit more to get to 7 miles.  I thought about doing that too but I was really tired and proud of how I ran so I ended my run on the app.  I decided that I would run eight next week.

When some other runners got back we walked to the Nike store and talked as we went.  It was nice to chat with other runners.  I don’t know any runners in Orlando, but I think I will look up local running clubs when I get back.  At the store I grabbed another Gatorade.  They were the small ones and I was really thirsty.  They also had some gels and protein bars that I tried.  After everyone sat on the floor and rested a bit we began to stretch.  Our coach went through a series of sitting and standing stretches, some of which I had never done before.  I usually do the same exact stretches after every run, but I think I will try to mix it up and add some of these in next time.  When we were finished I ran home to shower, so I could get to my hair appointment!

I am really proud of how I did today on my first group run.  The Nike app shows you your entire pace throughout the run and apparently at one point I was running a 7:06 pace!  I don’t think I have ever run that fast outside during a training run.  My race instincts must have kicked in today.  My total time was 58:34 for 6.64 miles making my average pace 8:49.  I had a lot of fun and can’t wait to sign up for next week!