Run in the New Year

Happy New Year!  2016 was definitely not the best year for me, but I am looking forward to 2017 and very hopeful for what it brings.  I’m hoping I find a permanent job that I love and get my lifelong dream of working on a Star Wars film, hopefully Episode VIII since that will be the last one that actress Carrie Fisher will have been a part of.

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2016 was a great year for my personal running goals!  I set a PR in the 5k, 10k, 15k (my only one ever, instant PR!), and half marathon.  I hope to continue that trend in the New Year, but my recent sickness has been getting in the way of my training the past week.  I’m hoping to get one more longish run in today before the Disney Wold Half.

790832_1002_0014January is going to be very tough and hopefully rewarding.  I have a race every weekend of the month.  The week after the Disney World Half I am flying to California to visit Chris, who is there on a job, and to run the Star Wars Half Marathon: The Light Side at Disneyland.  It will be my first run on the other coast.  I plan on reprising my Princess Leia running costume from last Princess and run in honor of the great Carrie Fisher.  I am also excited to earn my first and probably only coast to coast medal!  This is the 10th anniversary of the challenge so with that a spacial new designed medal is given out.  My main reason for wanting the medal is because it has “Partners” on it which means a great deal to me.

The Saturday after Light Side I am running my first race in Tampa with my parents.  We will be participating in the Run for the Fund 5k.  The race  course runs through the Busch Gardens theme park and benefits The Seaworld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. I love running 5ks because they support all kinds of different causes and this is a great one!  We are also told that we will be running by the animals in the park!  lady_track_shack2017

The last weekend of January is the Lady Track Shack 5k.  I ran it last year with my Mum and we will both be running it this year.  It is such a great race for another great cause, women’s health and fitness.  Only women are allowed to run which makes it very different then any other event I partake in.  The race is so much fun and last year the weather was perfect and the new course was amazing!  I’m expecting another great event this year.  It is the 40th anniversary, so there is a special medal.  I can’t wait!

The Star Wars Dark Side 10k will be my last race of the season and I’m hoping to set a PR in that as well.  I can’t wait because it will be my parents’ first 10k!  I know they are going to do great!  The course is different than last year so I am interested to see that when it comes out.  There were a lot of complaints last year because of the point to point course causing a lot of bus related issues.  I had no issues, but I can understand the reason for the change.

The rest of my running year will be spent training for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon.  It will be my first.  I am really nervous about it, but I already found a plan and added it to my Garmin calendar.  I’m hoping for a time under four hours, but I know that just crossing the finish line is going to be rewarding.  I plan on documenting my marathon journey here.  It will be very tough, but so rewarding in the end.  Here’s to a great 2017!

2016 Lady Track Shack 5k: RACE REPORT

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Saturday morning I ran the Lady Track Shack 5k with my mother.   Lady Track Shack is a women’s only race that has been happening every year since 1978.  It is held to celebrate women’s health and fitness.  The race started at 7:30 am so I got up at about 5:30.  It was already 45 degrees out and didn’t get much warmer by race time.  I dressed as warm as I could with arm warmers and compression socks (I don’t like racing with my jacket on) and headed to meet my parents at the hotel that they stayed in to be closer to the race.

I started to get a little worried on the way there because our exit off of I-4 was backed up onto the interstate.  We ended up arriving later than we planned because of that.  We eventually made it to a parking garage and then walked to Loch Haven Park where the race was located.

20160130_071831_cropI just had enough time to stand in the porta potty line and then head to the start of the race.  Track Shack races aren’t that huge, well compared to Disney races they aren’t.  There were 2655 finishers, so no need for separate corrals.  Everyone lines up in the same area behind the pace marker that matches their pace.  I went straight to the eight minute mile sign and my mom went to stand behind the ten plus.  There was a ton of empty space around me so before the race started they had everyone move closer to the start line.  After Jon and Betsy Hughes spoke, the Nation Anthem was sung and performed in sign language.  After it was finished I started getting really nervous. Carissa Bealert started the countdown and then we were off.

At first it was a little crowded; I had to weave a bit to get to the pace that I wanted.  It wasn’t long before I got to a good pace that I wanted to maintain.  I planned on going by feel and not watching my Garmin often.  I was extremely surprised when I made it to the first mile maker and it said 7:39!  Before that my fastest mile on Nike plus was 7:44 which was done during a training run last summer.  I just kept thinking that I had to maintain that pace and only two miles left!

I didn’t realize that the course was actually in downtown Orlando.  On the map it looked a little north of the downtown area, so I didn’t anticipate all of the brick roads.  At one point on the course there was an older gentleman standing on the side, pointing at the road and saying, “watch out, hole there,” repeatedly.  I hope no one tripped on the bricks because it can be a bit tricky.  There were also a lot more hills than I would have thought.  I am proud to say that my hill training paid off!  I got a bit nervous when I saw the inclines, but as I ran up them it didn’t feel so bad!

Mile two I slowed down a bit.   I looked at my watch every so often for my distance, but I tried not to look at my pace.  When I did glance at my pace it was in the 7 minute range every time!  A little over half way through mile two there was a water stop.  I don’t stop for water unless it is a half marathon, so I ran right through.  A little ways after that there was a dj playing music and encouraging the runners.  I kept thinking, “over halfway there!”  Every so often there were groups of people cheering.  It was really nice that people came out to support the runners.  My second mile was my slowest at about 7:55.

I got really excited when I entered my third mile.  It was the first time that I thought I was really going to finish with a great time!  My goal had been to finish in under 25 minutes.  During last year’s Enchanted 10k at Disney my 5k split was 25:02.  I figured that if I can run a 5k that fast during a 10k, then I should be able to run a 5k by itself that fast. My only timed 5k race was 27:39 and that was my first 5k ever.  I feel that I have come a long was since then. When I entered the third mile we passed the other runners going the opposite way.  I looked for my mom, but could not find her in the crowd.  For some reason in my state of exhaustion I thought that this meant that the race was almost over even though I had a mile left to go.  On the plus side I motivated myself to run a little bit faster.  I completed the third mile in about 7:41 according to my Garmin.

The end of the course was really nice.  It went over a bridge and then wound under some trees back into the park.  As I turned a corner and saw the finish line, I heard Carissa announce my name (and she actually pronounced it correctly!).  I have to say that I teared up at that moment seconds before I crossed the finish line.  I had squinted to look at the clock and I couldn’t believe that I had finished as fast as I did.

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20160130_075523(0)I accepted my medal and then went to the refreshments table.  They had all kinds of stuff including, water, Gatorade, strawberries, and bananas. I took one of each and then Chris and my Dad came over and we walked to the sponsor tents.  We had a little bit of time until my Mom finished so I was able to get bagel bites from Einstein Bros. Bagels, a Krispy Kreme doughnut, and a protein drink.  I had a couple finisher photos taken and then we headed back to the finish line to see my Mom.  After about five minutes she came running by.  We were able to get photos of her as I cheered her on.

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We waited around the finishing area for the results to be posted.  I didn’t expect an age group award, but I didn’t want to leave without finding out for sure in case I did receive one.  There was a little bit of an issue with the results, but they finally printed them out and I saw that I was ninth in my age group.  No award, so we left.

I ended up finishing with an official time of 23:59!  I am extremely proud of that and can’t believe that I ran so fast.  That is a 7:43 overall pace!  I was the 51st finisher out of 2655.  My Mom finished in 43:14 and I am extremely proud of her.  I really loved this event and the course was amazing!  We couldn’t have asked for better weather even though it was a bit cold.  We hope to run Lady Track Shack again next year and hopefully my sister will be able to join us.

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Race Recovery and Taking it Easy

After my race a couple weeks ago I took a couple of much needed days off.  It was nice to have some rest time, but I was really wanting to get back out there and train hard so I can get a PR in February.  My hips were still a bit sore so I decided to do some short runs that were no longer than five miles.  The first two days I ran 3.27 miles with a rest day in-between and felt great!  On the third run day, however, I believe that I pushed myself too far.  I was running at a pretty fast pace and at about mile two I experienced major pain in my right hip, so I cut my five mile run short and headed home, very slowly.

I decided to take some more rest days and finally go get my x-rays taken.  After three days of rest and some mild cross training, I couldn’t help but run until I found out the results of the x-rays. It wasn’t the smartest idea, but yesterday I ran a very slow 5k.  It was probably the slowest pace that I have every trained at. I knew that at the first feeling of pain that was anything more than soreness or mild discomfort, I would stop running and walk the rest of the way home.   I actually didn’t feel that bad.  I don’t know if it would have hurt more if I ran faster, but it only seems to hurt a lot if I twist my body or go up stairs.  I have to make sure that my hips are centered and turned forwards to lessen the pain.

Today I ran the furthest that I have run since the half marathon: five miles.  I started off slow, but increased the speed as much as I felt my body would allow.  The main reason I sped up was because I wanted to get out of the heat as soon as possible!  Is this really December?  My phone said it was 73 degrees out, but it felt almost unbearable because of the humidity!  On the plus side I got to wear my new dark side training shirt for the Star Wars Half Marathon in April.  Unfortunately all I could think about was how I would have to run that half in heat like this.  Whoever thought of having a half marathon in Florida in late April really doesn’t know anything about Florida weather.   I hope I am able to survive it, though I am not counting on a PR.

This evening I received word about my x-rays and apparently everything looks fine!  I will go in on Tuesday to discuss what to do next because my hips are still in pain.  Hopefully they will figure it out.  I did sign up for another race; the Lady Track Shack 5k at the end of January.  I will be running with my Mum, but not with her.  She said that I can go ahead, but she will be running in the race too!  I’m hoping to set a PR since the only 5k I have done was my first race ever at 27:25.  I also am going to be following a modified Nike training plan leading up to Princess weekend.  Since I am three weeks behind now and I haven’t been running much, I am going to slowly increase my mileage while doing their format with long runs, speed workouts, and recovery runs.  I also want to add in more cross-training and hill workouts!  We’ll see how it goes!

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Lion helping me work out