Running has changed my life and that feels like an understatement. So to celebrate my 25th birthday, my best friends and I took on a 10K road race in Old Wethersfield. We were partying late and slept at Ryans but recently, I have been crushing my PRs so I tried to not drink too much so I could focus on the race. And my focus payed off- my PR was crushed by approximately 5 minutes!
I went out way too fast because I started too far towards the front, my first mile was less than 10 minutes for the first time EVER. I knew I couldn't maintain that but I was just focused on enjoying the 10K because there aren't too many 10Ks and it is my favorite distance. I knew if I was happy and enjoyed myself that I could probably PR.
I will be forever grateful to my friends for celebrating my 25th year with me, the best gift I got this year was support and love from my friends and family. Cheers to an awesome 25th year!
Time: 1:09:27 (PR!) Pace: 11:11
"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." -Robin Williams
I am the type of person who will fight as hard as possible to make a dream, even if it seems impossible, happen. I took on the Glass Slipper Challenge, the 10K and half marathon, plus the 5K of Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Some people called it #DopeyLite but I call it a journey. The journey was a long one, the journey started with training. The training was challenging in Connecticut’s cold winter, but I knew exactly what I was getting into. The honest truth: I was scared. Then the planning started, Brianna, Chelsea, Daniella, and I planned on staying at the Art of Animation. When Leilannie signed up as a charity runner for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, we went through a few different options including squeezing into one small room but in the end, we decided to upgrade to a Finding Nemo family suite. Welcome to the suite life!
On Thursday morning, I woke up at 3:15 am to take a 6 am flight. Our flight landed at 9 am and we went straight to the suite. The suite was spacious and gorgeous but there were so many kids! Last year, All Star Sports was so quite and peaceful. It was full of runners with few children. After that, we went straight to the expo, the expo was at Wide World of Sports. The expo was spread out and also spacious, I was really happy to have no problem exchanging my shirts and pick up some goodies. I purchased a tank top and enjoyed checking out what is trendy in the running community. I was so happy to run into Danielle and Steve at the expo! We got celebratory beers at the expo and lunch then headed back to the suite. Thursday was the first day we swam in the pool, there was a fun vibe at the Finding Nemo pool but it was so crowded with too many kids. Thursday night, we struggled to get to bed early because Leilannie, Daniella, and I were all in the front room and talked late into the night.
Friday was the 5K and that came fast!! We all pushed back to Corral C so we could start together. Some people in our group were walking the entire 5K but I needed to see how I could do. I wasn’t in it to PR but I pushed myself to run or walk to get my legs comfortable and my body used to the Florida weather. I ended up staying with Leilannie and Daniella which was thrilling to me. Leilannie and Daniella are two very strong runners, both have ran marathons, so to be able to run together was amazing! They really motivated me, I love that they are running buddies and run together. I have looked for a running buddy who is at my pace for a while but I am realizing as I get stronger, I might be able to keep up with my runner friends more than just next to them on a treadmill. The 5K was untimed which almost made it more fun! After the 5K, we relaxed at the pool, went to an amazing meet up called #runnerslove, and then went back to the expo for day 2. The meet up was amazing, it was planned by 2 runners who met through social media and felt the #runerslove. Meg, one of the runners, is from CT so I knew I wanted to go to meet her. Kristy, is the other runner, and we actually ran into each other during the half marathon and ran together! I was so happy to get to enjoy the half way point of the half marathon with her! The meet up took place at the Polynesian Resort, at their bar, they sell a rum based cocktail out of a pineapple. I was so happy to check something off of my bucket list during this vacation! Side story: drinking out of a pineapple was only added to my bucket list after I fell asleep early on my spring break cruise in 2011 and missed the one pineapple drink party. So since then, I promised myself I would have one. After #runnerslove, we went right to the expo for the runDisney New Balance Shoe line, my time was at 5 pm and I got there at 5:30 pm. I got the last pair of 7.5 Cinderella shoes! We also got in line at the KT tape line to get my hamstrings taped (not for an injury, strictly preventative). We met some friends in that line as we waited. We planned on splitting up as a group on Friday, but I am glad we did not. It was such a memorable and happy day for me!
Saturday was the Inaugural Enchanted 10K. This was the day I started not feeling great. That was concerning to me, I had big goals for this weekend but I felt like the obstacles were too big. Mentally, I was not into the 10K. The course was gorgeous (we ran by a boardwalk that I had never seen) but I was not feeling good so I was not in it to run. I struggled with the heat more on Saturday than I did on Friday. On Saturday, we went back to the expo for the third time! Daniella’s knees make me nervous, when she told me she wanted to get them re-taped, I supported her and volunteered to go with her! I got my second KT tape application on my calves (same as the hamstring application, strictly for preventative measures). Right from the expo, we hopped on the bus to grab a Dole Whip at the Polynesian as our snack, Disney dining plan perks, then went right to Downtown Disney. I got my first pair of Minnie ears here! I went to Disneyland when I was a kid and don’t remember much, I know I have a pink pair of Mickey ears but as soon as I saw Leilannie’s Minnie ears, I knew I wanted them! I was so happy to get Minnie ears then go to the DPhiE Runners dinner at Paradiso 37. It was a Mexican restaurant and with my crazy stomach, I had no clue what to eat! I hate stressing about eating and stressing about eating before running. I try to stay as sane as possible because as I always say, if running isn’t fun, I am not going to do it. I chose the black bean burger, I ate one at a work lunch when we went out at a vegetarian restaurant, and really enjoyed it! It was a little spicy but still really enjoyable. I was losing my voice so I did more listening than talking. I talked to some major dignitaries of my sorority-- former international presidents, future international president, and other amazing, current volunteers. I am very grateful that I did not say I was too tired and that Daniella stayed with me. I know she was just exhausted as I was but she stayed, I think I thanked her 10x for being an amazing friend at dinner but I’ll thank her once more here. Thank you, Daniella!
Happy Sunday! I will make a bold statement about Sunday: You can have run for time AND have fun while running at Disney. I PRed my time by over 30 minutes and made my goal of a half marathon under 3 hours!! I didn’t know if it was possible but you CAN have it all. You can be sporty and girly, you can have fun and be fit, you just have to work hard and dedicate the time to having it all! The half flew by, I guess that’s what happens when it you are under 3 hours! The beginning of the half was special, I met up with the 2:45 pace group in Corral H. Michelle was the leader and she was amazing! I had a feeling it would be hard but it was much harder than I expected. She did the Galloway style at a 5:1, which means we had to run 5 minutes then walk 1 minute. Those single minutes flew by! Katie and I both started in Corral H and decided we would stay with Michelle. After 2 sets, 1.5 miles, Katie decided it was too much. I agreed with her but decided I wanted to stick in a little longer. By mile 2, I realized I needed a better balance of running for time and having fun. I wanted to run for time but was willing to still take time for pictures and enjoy it which the pace group wasn’t doing. I ran with a huge smile on my face as I realized I was 5 minutes ahead of a 3-hour half marathon. I turned on my phone at mile 10 to see if my twitter times were posting. They were not but seeing texts from Daniella and Ryan was exactly what I needed to push through the last 3.1 miles. I finished with a huge smile on my face and searching for Miss America, she was there for the Children’s Miracle Network. Although I did not see her, I was happy to have her there to support all runners. I went to meet Danielle, Steve, Leilannie, and Daniella. To our surprise, Steve had proposed to Danielle at Cinderella’s Castle! I cried, I was so overwhelmed and so happy. Danielle and I had met in communication classes at Southern and remained close friends. To spend this magical weekend with her was my honor. Steve and Danielle are the type of couple that are just so fun to be around. After we all finished, we all headed down to the champagne toast tent to toast to an amazing race and the happy couple! It was a perfect morning and there was still so much time left in the day. After the half, we went to Epcot after laying by the pool and swimming the sore muscles. We didn’t exactly drink around the world but we enjoyed a few celebratory drinks in France, England, and Germany and then dinner in Mexico. We split up at the end of the night and half of us went to Test Track and the other half went to the Epcot fireworks. I chose Test Track because it is one of my favorite rides in Epcot.
Monday was our final day in Disney World, we enjoyed that day of celebration at the Magic Kingdom. I absolutely love so many things about MK but I absolutely love their new Fantasyland. I had one goal on Monday, to eat the Grey Stuff at Be Our Guest, a new Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant.
“Try the grey stuff. It’s delicious, don’t believe me? Ask the dishes.”
The grey stuff is a frosting on a chocolate cupcake. I misunderstood and thought it was chocolate mouse but it was still amazing! I am so glad we had it. I found a new ride at MK that I love which is Pirates of the Caribbean. Although I have never seen the movie, I loved the ride! Although I don’t think we got on as many rides as we did last year, it was still an amazing day with lots of magical memories made!
For any new runDisney runners, here are my lessons learned from 2012:
1) Try to find a friend to run with you at your pace unless you plan on running alone
There were 6 in our group because I was constantly inviting people hoping that there would be 1 person at my pace. Elsbeth and I stayed together at the 5K and we enjoyed it so much more together!
2) Less time in Disney parks is not a bad thing
I wish we had more relaxing time at the pool, if you want to do all 4 parks, maybe do 2 days with hoppers and give each park a half day. The entertainment at the resort pool was great! Movies at night, music and theme games during the day.
3) You can never be up too early on race day
I thought 2:20 am was an insane time to wake up but it worked in our favor because people were running over to corrals as people were already starting the race. I would never want to do that.
4) Learn everything you can before you get on your airplane
Thankfully, Elsbeth is a cast member at Disney and has run at Disney more times than a few. But I felt very prepared because I joined Team #runDisney and read many members blogs. But at the same time, I had no clue what time the busses were and what time the 5K actually started. But it always comes together in the end…that is the magic of Disney!
5) Plan out your training before you sign up
My plan was to train outside for as long as possible for my running and work with a personal trainer. And of course, in CT we got the worst winter ever so I only ever got up to 8 miles outside. Hitting 9 and 10 then 11 and 12 then 13 miles felt unreal! I was so tired and I didn’t have to be if I trained all of the longer runs that Jeff Galloway suggests.
6) If you can afford it, run the 5K the day before!
If you are not from Florida, it is a good warm up run to get used to the weather with no pressure for time. And who doesn’t want more runDisney bling!? I would even suggest it if it is your first marathon or half as long as you usually do not get sore from 5K runs.
Those lessons are still applicable for what I learned this year. I just had one thing to add:
7) Be confident!
Chelsea and Daniella were quoting a woman on vine that said “I don’t care if you like me, I love me!” That quote spoke to me. During the 10K, I turned my music up to drown out the voice that said “you cannot do this.” I felt sick but I needed to prove to myself I could. I still felt sick during the half but I wanted to make my dreams come true. I chanted positive saying the entire race. I said over and over again “I can do this. I am strong. I am a beauty (sleeping beauty). There is beauty in strength.” Without my positivity, I don’t think I would have gotten under 3 hours. Strength, kindness, positivity, optimism, and friendship are the only ways I reached my goal and continue to dream bigger and achieve more.
If you have runDisney, what lessons have you learned? Or which one of my lessons speaks most to you?
Half Marathon: 2:54:41
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” –Harriet Tubman
I write this post with a Cheshire Cat grin across my face. I had my most amazing race experience to date! I knew what I was getting into because I ran the Harvest Hustle last year. This was my redemption from a not so perfect race at last years Harvest Hustle. I know the course and where the water stop was. I was ready! Although I took a gym class the day before (Edge Flex) and had 1 pumpkin beer at my family’s Fakesgiving, I was ready to push myself! I had a goal in mind, last year a 1:15 10K put me in Corral C at the Disney Princess Half, I don’t want to be in anything behind Corral C!
I was running this race with some of my favorite ‘princesses’-Daniella, Danielle, Leilannie, Brianna, and Chelsea! We also met up with Melissa who will also be running the Disney Princess Half.
Ironically, I made such a big deal that the Fairfield Half ran out of water and cups and the Harvest Hustle did too. But it was a shorter distance and cooler, so I am not upset with the race at all.
So to the race…I went out strong, I hit mile 1 at 11 minutes, which was fast for me. The first 5K loop was a fast blur, I knew I wanted to get to the second loop. I saw the clock and if I ended now, I would have had a 5K PR! The clock said 36:09! I was concerned I had gone too fast for my comfortable pace to hit a good 10K time. But I didn’t spend too much time worrying. I repeated positive sayings to myself the entire race. “I got this.” “I know what strong is because I have used up all of my weak.” “Corral C here I come.” Those were just a few. I was feeling so positive. In the middle of loop 1, I felt so good, I decided I was going to run out for the 3rd loop to run with Brianna. Her iPod died and it was her first 10K before the Disney Princess Half. I wanted to celebrate her success with her. So after crossing that finish line, I told the girls I was going to run another loop. I wish I had a picture of their faces because they thought I was nuts. Daniella said she could walk with me so we did. Brianna was doing great, we caught up to her before we hit the mile 1 sign! Her spirits were high. Daniella, Brianna, and I walked/ran intervals all the way to the finish line. Chelsea, Leilannie, and Danielle walked out and the 6 of us ran with Brianna to the finish line. It was in incredible moment.
All 6 of us celebrated the success with some fun pictures-handstands and jumping then we had a celebratory meal at the local diner! To say it was my favorite race, is the ultimate understatement. I am so proud of each of my friends. Some were battling injuries and some were struggling from transitioning from summer running to cool fall/winter running. Whatever you deal with and still run, I tip my hat to you. And raise my glass to you. You’re amazing, keep running!
Time: 1:15:10 Pace: 12:08
A big PR for me!! Hard work pays off!!
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." -Mahatma Gandhi