The Rosy Wanderer

Wandering with a Purpose

Category: Health and Fitness

Training for NYC Half Marathon 2019

Hard to believe I have just over a month until I run the 2019 NYC Half Marathon. I’m super excited for this race. We start in Brooklyn at Prospect Park, run up the FDR on the East Side, cut over to 7th Ave on 42nd Street, run through Times Square into Central Park. What an awesome place to run!

I’m writing this post because I want to take this race seriously. I want to PR this race. Right now, my PR is from the Charlotte Half Marathon in November 2017. I finished in 2:28:47 which is about an 11:22/mi pace. I told myself, if I can train for this (not that I achieve this), I will sign up to do the Dopey Challenge at Disney in January 2020. This would be the ultimate example that I am turning my fitness level around. I finished the marathon, so what are 3 more races?!

, so what is 3 more races?!

Since I have done 6 half marathons without significant improvements, I believe I need to do the below to improve my time:

  • Strength Training
  • Improve Diet
  • Stretching

Of course, I still need to run! I’m going to do some running (a short run and a long run each week), but I think I need to make improvements in other areas to see improvements in my pace. I just finished my second day of Burn Boot Camp which is circuit training with strength and cardio; this is just what I need. I am committing to attend this several times/week for a month to see how this improves my fitness level. Wish me luck!

Disney Marathon Weekend – 2018

2018 WDW Marathon MapDisney’s WDW 2018 Marathon Weekend was January 4 – 7, 2018. My friends and I went down to run the 25th anniversary of the marathon: 26.2 miles around all four WDW parks. You started outside of Epcot and ran to the Magic Kingdom, to Animal Kingdom, to ESPN Sports (the hardest part!), briefly through Hollywood Studios, then your final mile was around the world in Epcot.

Crossing the finish line was hands down one of my biggest accomplishments. If you know me, you know how unbelievable it is that I ran a marathon. In college, I never ran more than 3 miles, and I only did that once because I thought it was a 2 mile turkey trot. I usually ran two. Even though I enjoyed running 2 miles, I couldn’t understand why you would run more. I didn’t know what to think about for that long (I now listen to books or podcasts) nor was I physically fit enough complete the challenge – let alone the challenge there is to commit to training. Long-distance runners were crazy to me.

A few years after college, a few of my friends started running halfs, then my friend Dan ran a marathon. He is still crazy to all of us, but it is because him and my other friends’ accomplishments and their simple encouragement that I tried my first half marathon in 2015. Because of peer pressure, I agreed to do this marathon in August 2017.

photoshoot with Mickey Mouse

Pre-Race Prep

WDW Pre Race Prep        Nervous couldn’t begin how to describe my feelings on January 6, the day before the race. I couldn’t believe what I had gotten myself into. My training didn’t go as expected; the longest run I did was 18 miles. My training plan was to 22, but cold weather got in the way (I’m a complete wuss). We had a fun day around Magic Kingdom, but then it was time to have a good dinner (spaghetti) and go to bed early. A 2:30 am wake up call isn’t natural for anyone!

bundled up for the start of the raceWe bundled up since Orlando decided the best way to run this race would be in below freezing temperatures. You need to layer with lots of old clothes so you can throw them off. Disney will donate these clothes to people who are less fortunate. We checked in our bags with everything we needed after the race: flip flops, a shirt (my new long-sleeve race shirt!), sunglasses, my portable power pack, and chapstick. Dan, the expect, gave these suggestions, and they were invaluable.

I then made my way to my corral. (If you have raced in a half marathon before, you have to submit your time to place you in a corral.) There I waited; I waited for all of the faster groups to start their race. As if I wasn’t already nervous, the wait continued to add to it, but it also added a LOT of excitement! They played Disney songs from each year of the 25 years. I got to listen to most of the 90s which were the movies from my childhood. Then finally, the fireworks went off for my group…

My 26.2 Miles

Miles 0 – 10

running through Magic KingdomIt was dark and crazy early, but over 12,000 people were there for the race. Then there were family and friends cheering us on. I was on a cloud. I couldn’t believe I had just started out on my first marathon, and 26.2 miles later, I would be back there. The first 9 miles were some of the best miles I have ever run. I’m not a good runner, but I do it, and I’m completely okay with that. My first 9 miles were very decent. I tried to stop at a character, but the line was too long and didn’t want to destroy my good time or risk getting picked up by the balloon ladies if I was too slow. I made the decision to keep going.

Running in the Magic Kingdom was awesome! There were so many people and you could look at all of the rides. You run through Tomorrowland (there are real bathrooms there) then Fantasy and Frontier lands. You then get to go through the castle and out of the park. It was simply fantastic. This is one of the reasons I’m going to do the half in 2019 – MK and Epcot were the best parts of the race. You leave out the side on a road towards the Grand Floridian. It was between here and Animal Kingdom that it hit me – I still had 16 miles left!

Miles 10 – 16

With 2/3 of the race looming in front of me, I knew I needed to conserve my energy. When I train, I run/walk and my goal is always to run at the end. Therefore, I tried implemented my run/walk pattern of run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay on it. It got too exciting, I wanted to run through Animal Kingdom, a water station was coming up, etc. I couldn’t stay on pattern, so I just ran and walked as I could. I did that until the long stretch of highway before ESPN Sports. My friend warned me that this would mentally be the hardest part of the race. Boy, was he right.

Mile 16 – 25

Thank goodness he gave me that warning. He even suggested during training that I visualize how it would feel at each part of the race. He told me to think about how I would feel physically, what I would see around me, and how to push myself to keep going. I found this exercise challenging, but I did try it once. When I got to this part of the race, the visualization did help. Once I got to this highway, the sun was out, and I was tired. I thought there was no way I could make it another 10 miles, so for my own survival, I decided it was time to walk. I was so impressed how people were still running at that point! They had trained and they were killing it. Luckily, Disney entertains you. We saw many characters, ran around the baseball stadium, and read jokes on signs.

Then it was off to Hollywood Studios. To get there, you run on the highway and up an exit ramp. Those are steep! I was still walking at this point, and running up would not be an option. They had a solider from Toy Story stationed on the ramp and that was one of the best characters. He was yelling at people to pick it up, not to slack off and keep running. He would run up with people as encouragement. After I passed him, I heard him say, “get down and give me 10!” After a brief pause, I heard a huge applause and cheers! A good sport got down and started doing push up. Everyone around was encouraging him. This is a great example of how encouraging this crowd is and why Disney is many people’s first marathon.

Hollywood Studios is neat but was very short. The park was open, so it is fun to have onlookers. I tried to run a little bit, but I was too tired. We got outside to the boardwalk where I knew there were only 3 miles to go. Just a 5K, but it was the longest 5K I have done. Then my Apple Watch ran out of battery.

Miles 25 – 26.2

You enter Epcot around Great Britain and mile 25. It was the last push; now was the time. I wanted to run the last mile. To my encouragement, they had Disney music playing over the park’s speakers. It was so motivational to me. I turned off my podcasts and took in the moment. I hadn’t stopped to visit a character all day because I was scared of getting too far behind, and I also was afraid that I would get my legs started again! As I ran through France, I saw Belle and Sleeping Beauty taking pictures with guests (not for the race). I carried my camera the whole race, and went to take a picture. Their handler asked if I wanted a picture. I hesitated knowing I didn’t want to wait. She noticed this and said I could cut in front of everyone! I got a picture with characters. That put me over the moon!

my character picture with Belle and Aurora

As I started running again, Hercules “I can go the distance” started playing. Can you think of a more perfect song to play at the end? I was pumped! Then, the camera in front of the Epcot ball was open, so I got my picture there, too.

Marathon and Epcot Ball

marathon finish lineThat was it, less than half a mile left. I had this! I ran out of the park and started to hear the gospel choir. My friend also told me they would be at the end, and it was so motivating. Then, I could see it. The finish line was right there! People were tired and slowing down, but I had to make it. Chip and Dale were there. I could do this! It wasn’t my fastest run, but I ran over the finish line. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had completed a full marathon. I had prayed to God and asked my late puppy Amie to watch over me. I knew that they had. Somehow, I pulled through and did it.

Recovery

When you finish a race, they always have lots of water and sports drinks to help you recover. Disney also had photo booths so you could take pictures with your new medal.  They even gave us mouse ears as a present for the 25th anniversary! I got my bag and found my friend. Flip flops and a clean shirt were amazing! I can’t drink beer after a race, so I stuck with my water. There is no way for me to capture my pride and excitement having completed this race. Something I thought was impossible became possible. Like so many things in life, you just have to do it.

We met up with our other friends as everyone completed the race. Then it was time for a well-earned shower and nap. After we recovered slightly, we went walking around the world at Epcot. On marathon Sunday, everyone comes out to show off their medals. We wore our marathon medals proudly, but it’s a funny experience. I told people I “just” did the marathon as I admired their Dopey medals (earned by completing the 5K, 10K, half, and full). Then we had dinner and watched fireworks.

marathon accomplished

I’m not saying completing a marathon is for everyone, but if I did it, anyone can do it. Talking about wandering…

Chicago Half Marathon Complete – 2018

It wasn’t pretty, but it’s done. Half marathon #5 is in the books. I raced in the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon on July 22, 2018. As mentioned, I didn’t not prepare for this race. On top of this lack of preparation, it decided to rain. One of my major concerns signing up for this race was the weather. You never know with Chicago. It’s July – theoretically a summer month – but in Chicago it may not be hot. On the other hand, it could be hot and humid like in Charlotte. But Chicago did not disappoint, it was cold and rainy…all race long. And since I’m a fickle runner, this was my first time running in the rain.

Even though it wasn’t adequate conditions, my time was only about 5 minutes slower than my PR. I couldn’t believe that (I finished around 2:34). This race did, however, provide many valuable lessons that a more experienced runner probably already knows. (And I know I need to train)

Lessons Learned
  1. Wear a ball cap. It would have helped keep the rain out of my eyes and my hair in place.
  2. Even with good socks, you’re prone to blisters. My feet were basically wading in a puddle. The shoes were soaked! It was miserable. Walking around Chicago afterwards didn’t help. I don’t know the way around this, but I am very thankful for my Feetures socks because it would have been a lot worse. If you run and haven’t tried these socks, do it. Somehow there is such thing as a better sock, and it’s worth the money!
  3. Chaffing is worse when clothes are wet. If I had known about this, I would have worn either a long sleeve shirt or a tank top. My sleeves and my phone holder rubbed against my arms a lot, and it stung for days! I think the only way around this would be to get rid of sleeves.
  4. Wear short pants or shorts. This one I should have saw coming. I packed yoga pants (what I was originally going to wear) and then pants for the plane. The night before, I decided it was going to be colder outside, so I should wear my pants. These pants are longer and don’t tighten on the ankle, thus, they hit the ground and soaked up water from all the puddles. This added weight to my pants (in addition to the water in my shoes). I greatly regretted not wearing my yoga pants, even if it was going to be colder.

But that’s why we wander. We learn from our experience and then (hopefully) use them to make us better in the future.

Unprepared for the Chicago Half

On Sunday, I am attempting my fifth half marathon. Out of all of the races I have done, I went into this one with the best of intentions and trained the worst. For some reason I was just sluggish, but at the end of the day, I did go out and run occasionally, just not often enough. At least it got me moving.

I did my first half marathon in Savannah in 2015, and I can’t believe I’m still going. I’m glad I had friends who encouraged me to pick up this sport. I’m not a good runner, and that is okay with me. I like getting outside and pushing myself. Training runs can be challenging and a bit boring, but race day brings an enormous amount of energy. That’s what I hope is going to pull me through on Sunday. Chicago is a great city, and the race finishes up Lake Shore Drive. I’m sure I’ll have to stop and take pictures!

The training plan I tried to use for this race was a modified version Hal Higdon Novice 1. I liked this one because it was condensed (only up to 10 miles), but I didn’t get to all of my long runs, which is why I feel unprepared. I usually slack on my weekday runs, but this time I didn’t do all of my long runs.  Long runs are what they say is the key to long-distance training, which makes sense. At the end of the day, I’ll at least walk and finish the race. I think I may be lucky to have the temperature be in the high 60s/low 70s…in July!  More to come on Sunday!

Ready? Set? Disney Marathon!

It takes me a lot of time to make a decision. This particular decision has been in the works for 2 days short of 8 months. I’ve gone back and forth on it, but this weekend, I committed and it is done. I am going to train for and run the Walt Disney World Full Marathon in January 2018. I had resisted because I didn’t think I would be in good enough shape for a full, but I gave into peer pressure.

Seven Reasons for Running Disney 2018
  1. Of any marathon, this is one of two I would consider (the other is NYC). I’m not a good runner and don’t particularly enjoy it, but I love pushing myself to accomplish something. Disney provides entertainment and the opportunity to take pictures with characters.
  2. A unique way to see the parks! I mean, after I complete this I can say I ran through all four parks. My seven-year-old self cannot understand how this can be possible – Disney World is a huge space.
  3. It’s the 25th Anniversary.
  4. Time to check off another bucket list item. It hasn’t been on there for long, but now that I enjoy doing halfs, the next step is to go for a marathon. I am going to train for it and push myself to improve my overall health. You can’t slack on training for a marathon.
  5. “Experiencing” Run Disney last year provided an energy and excitement that convinced me that last year and this year won’t be my only Run Disney experiences.
  6. It’s a fun race, and it isn’t just for serious runners. Last year, it looked like some people hadn’t ever run a half and were doing a full. I know I’ll be able to finish it (even if I have to walk), but I still won’t finish. To run New York – you have to be a good runner. There is pressure. Disney – it’s just magical.
  7. A large group of friends who are doing it. Peer pressure.

Well here’s to my next 6 months of training! It’s not going to be easy, but I’m motivated and ready to run for the Mouse! Who knows, maybe Tinkerbelle will give me a little pixie dust…talk about a happy wandering!

Top 6 US Travel Runs

Running is a great way to see a city. Traveling also makes running more fun because you get to see new things. Below are my top favorite travel runs here in the States:

1. Central Park, New York, NY

I ran a little bit before moving to NYC, but I didn’t get into running until I lived here and ran in Central Park. I would argue this is one of the best running locations in the world. Everyone from beginners to world-class runners run here. You have a variety of terrains, scenery, and can run any distance. I love running Central Park and cannot wait for my next opportunity to do it again!

Central Park LakeRunning Views in Central Park

2. National Mall, Washington, DC 

Running on the Mall never gets old. In the morning it is quiet; vendors are setting up their goods or carts. By the end of the run, tourists from across the country and around the world are coming out to see our National Capitol. I find this the most motivational city – there is something about the energy of where our government (tries) to do work and the history that has happened here.

Washington Monument DC travel run Arlington over the bridge

3. Lady Bird Park, Colorado River, Austin, TX

I ran here with my brother. The path was full and the other runners and walkers provided great motivation. We were able to run 7 miles and could have gone further. Afterward, we rented paddleboards and hung out on the river – made for a great Saturday!

4. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

You have a chance to run through one of the birthplaces of our country and be surrounded by where some of our country’s best minds were educated. The Charles River provides views of Boston and crew teams. Lots to see and to watch.

5. The Battery, Charleston, SC

Southern Charm, large trees, views of Fort Sumter – Charleston is my favorite city for a reason and a great one for running! Not only are the views fantastic, but after a good run, you can eat all of the delicious food in the city without feeling guilty.

6. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL (haven’t actually run this one, but I REALLY want to)

Having lived in the Chicago suburbs, there is something special about Chicago and the beauty of Lakeshore Dr. I love going down here to see the skyline and the blue of Lake Michigan. Now that I’m into running, running here and through Grant and Millennium Parks will be a MUST.

Rosy Wanderings! (and happy running!)

2016 Charlotte Marathon

I wouldn’t consider myself a runner, but I do love how it feels after I run. I used to think running a half marathon would be impossible for me, but today I proved myself wrong – I finished running the 2016 Charlotte Half Marathon!

In 2010, I had my first chance to see a half/full marathon. It was my last day in Las Vegas, and my friend and I were drinking on a patio outside of Paris watching the runners. By the time we were on our way out that evening, the marathon was still finishing. My second time watching one was the NYC marathon in 2013 – talk about good runners. Something I liked about watching these events was anyone (who trained) could do it. It’s not like watching a basketball game; we can’t all play basketball. I am lucky to have a lot of friends who run, and their advice and experience persuaded me to try it out. I had gotten out of shape and was looking for something to motivate me – that’s when I signed up for my first half.

The first chance…

img_0181Savannah was my pick because it was flat. I was nervous to run it, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t have added obstacles to block me from finishing. When training for this race, I made sure to do all of my long runs, but I didn’t always do my short runs. Long story short, I did a long run in NYC one weekend (one of my dreams was a long run in Central Park) where I pushed myself harder than expected AND then continued to walk around. Turns out, I developed a stress fracture in my foot. I wasn’t supposed to run the half, but I decided to walk it because my brother was running. It was a great experience.

…and the next!

But Charlotte 2016 was my chance. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick to my training plan. I ran short runs, but I just couldn’t get motivated for the long runs. As is the motivation for all procrastinators, the deadline started approaching, and I had to get serious!! Two weeks ago, I did a 10-mile long run and then again last week. I did well to mile 8, then it got tough.

half marathon bibThere were no words to describe my nervousness for the actual race. An additional 3 miles is a lot, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I woke up this morning at 5 am to each breakfast and have a little coffee. Before I run, I have a waffle with peanut butter and cinnamon. I usually put a banana on it, but I forgot to buy some. I walked my dogs and hung out before driving Uptown. Charlotte isn’t as big of a race as Savannah is, but it sure is cool being in your home city. Soon enough, the race started. It’s hard at the beginning –

Soon enough, the race started. It’s hard at the beginning – everyone is excited and full of energy. Since I’m not a strong runner, I have to watch myself because I can’t go too fast. It’s literally a marathon, not a sprint! It’s tough to have people pass you, but I just zone into my podcasts and worry about myself. I did a great job running to mile 8, that’s when things got tough. I had to run/walk the remainder of the race. My legs were like Jello!

As I went up Mint St. and could see the Panther’s stadium, I got excited. I had a pick up in my run. Then – there it was! The finish line! “Keep going, keep going,” I told myself. As I did, I started to increase my stride and sprint! Then VICTORY! I was over the finish line. 13.1 miles were conquered, and I could say I ran a half marathon. My goal was to finish in less than 2:45 – I finished in 2:35. A MAJOR accomplishment for me.

half marathon finisher medal

2016 Charlotte Half Marathon Finisher Medal

Takeaways

half marathon victoryI do enjoy these races. Disney is my next event, which will be fun because I am doing it with a group of friends. And it really isn’t impossible. If you want to run a half, you can! If I can do it, I truly believe anyone can; you just have to want to do it. Halfs are nice because you have to commit to training, but you don’t have to modify all of the details in your life.

I have a lot of respect for full marathoners, but I don’t have a desire to run one. If my finish line was the halfway point, I don’t know if I would have made it. A marathon is also different because you have to watch your diet and long runs are more than a half marathon. It’s a great goal, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll do. More halfs, on the other hand, yes, I will definitely do this!

Schatzi Resting

Such a cute face to look at when recovering

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