Wandering with a Purpose

Category: Health and Fitness (Page 2 of 3)

Chicago Marathon: Training Update 4

Pre- pre-training is over after my 3.5 mile run tomorrow, and I move into pre-training next week. Thinking of things in phases like this is helpful, as it gives me more beginnings and ends.

my pre- pre-training plan
Accomplishments
  • Ran 3 days/week even when it was cold and/or dark
  • Gaining confidence in running
  • Improving my speed on a 1.5-mile run
  • Incorporating strength training into my routine (thanks, Apple Fitness+!)
  • Completed and PRed Swamp Rabbit 5K
Goals for Pre-Training

Pre-training takes me from getting in the habit of running 3 days/week to 4 days/week, which is my goal for marathon training. I am following Hal Higdon’s Novice Base Training Program for 12 weeks. My goals during this phase are:

  • Create the habit of running 4 days
  • Continue growing my confidence
  • Incorporate weekly yoga into my routine
  • Continue during strength / HIIT workouts to build muscle
  • Submit to Noom program’s advice to lose weight

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Voltaire

I’m trying not to take off more than I can chew because building my confidence is really important. I don’t see myself as a runner, and sometimes a run can seem overwhelming or daunting. I don’t want to get nervous and miss one. Consistently running 1.5 miles has been a positive influence for me. I know that is a distance I can handle without a problem. As I continue my training program, if I feel I don’t have the time or the energy, I need to get out and do at least the 1.5-mile loop. A little bit is better than nothing. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of good!”

Can’t wait to give you my next update in a few weeks!

Race Recap: 2021 Swamp Rabbit 5K

logo for Swamp Rabbit Half Marathon and 5K

The Swamp Rabbit 5K and Half Marathon is an annual race in Greenville, SC, on the – wait for it – Swamp Rabbit trail. The trail is essentially a greenway that runs throughout Greenville and various points outside of the city. I think it’s over 26 miles in total, so you can cover some good mileage! This race is unique because it is one direction. You take a bus to the start line and run almost entirely downhill, thus giving it the tagline “The fastest race in the Southeast.” When I signed up for it, I pictured running down a mountain and what a challenge that could be.

Registration

Greenville has been on my travel list for a long time. I have been stir crazy from the lockdown situation and was longing for both a trip and a race. I started researching options and somehow stumbled upon this race. It was in person and in a city that I’ve wanted to go to. It’s weird that I live just over the SC border and the difference in activities from North to South Carolina. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do an in-person race, so I signed up immediately. Since I wasn’t in half-marathon shape, I opted for the 5K knowing this would be a great way to cap off my pre- pre-training for the Chicago Marathon.

Sign-up was pretty easy. You just had to make sure to get a shuttle ticket to either the start or the finish. I opted to get the shuttle from downtown to the startling so I could wander around at the end. I booked an Airbnb near downtown and put the trip on my calendar. It motivated me and gave me something to look forward to doing.

Arrival and Logistics

Once I got into town, I went to pick up my bib. I was disappointed that people didn’t seem very friendly. It may be because of COVID and people don’t chat anymore, but I literally gave them my name, got my bib and shirt, and then left. I was hoping to talk to someone about the shuttle and how it worked, but it just seemed cold. They did have the medals laying out and wow! I couldn’t wait to get this one. Even though it was a 5K, the medal looked awesome – stay tuned for a picture at the end!

It took me reading the website several times to feel comfortable about where I needed to go. The Peace Center downtown at 6:15 am for a 7:30 am start. The half arrival time was 5:45 am since they had further to drive. I was nervous about parking, but there was a lot of free street parking at that time. I think the parking limit started around 9 or 10 am, and the race would be done long before then.

Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery

The Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery, a restaurant on the trail (I told you it was long!), was the starting point of the 5K. I bet it is a very cool place to hang out. They had these funny bike stations for repairs, so it must be a common stop and cycling must be very popular.

There was lots of time to explore since we had to wait for so long. We wore masks at the start but took them off when we started running.

The Race
Start Line

After playing the national anthem, they kicked off the start. There wasn’t an actual “on your mark…” because of COVID. Everyone started at their own time and kept their space to social distance. Your time would start on your chip. My goal for the race was to run the whole time and speed up at the end. I’m sure the half marathon runs on the trail most of the time, but the 5K didn’t. In the beginning, we ran through a neighborhood to get us back onto the trail. Then we were off the trail again on the 2nd mile because of construction. While we were on the trail, it was very nice. Unlike at Disney, I didn’t take any pictures because I was running. It was very easy to socially distance. And while you can see on the elevation graph, it was mostly downhill, it was not going down a hill or a mountain like I pictured.

5K Course Map - Swamp Rabbit 5K
Elevation Map - Swamp Rabbit 5K

Once we got to the end (about 2.5 miles), we saw the downtown area and the finish. It was an awesome setup, and I couldn’t wait to check it out! At the end, you go up a short hill and then it was a sprint to the end. And sprint I did! I finished the race with a PR of 33:18, which works out to a 10:42 mile.

cool medal

Once I crossed the finish line, I got one of my favorite medals – look at the sliding rabbit!

I was admiring my new bling when I heard someone yelling my name loudly. Since I didn’t know anyone in town and my friends were still sleeping (or so I thought!), I thought it would be for another Kristin. Eventually, I looked up and saw that I had a fan club! They made signs and had a balloon. I couldn’t believe they took the time to do that for me – the surprise completely made my day! I felt very cool and special to have such amazing friends to greet me. They were cheering for me at the end, but I was too focused sprinting to hear them.

fan club
Takeaway

This was just the kind of race I needed – something simple yet in a very cool town. This made for a great weekend, and overall I think the Swamp Rabbit team did a great job! I would recommend this race to someone in the future. I would like to do the half marathon at some point in the future. I’ll definitely be back!

Chicago Marathon: Training Update 3

I’m in for the 2021 Chicago Marathon using my 2020 deferral. I feel like this is a second chance to do things right…so following one of my 2021 goals, I am going to keep promises I set for myself. This is going to happen. I am going to stand at the start line feeling prepared and excited. I’m going to make it to the finish line and finish my first “real” marathon without character stops.

The Phases

Since I am not a strong runner, I structured my training in three parts:

  1. Pre- pre-training
  2. Pre-Training
  3. Marathon Training

I’m currently on week 8 of phase 1, which started back in November when I created this plan. My training schedule for this plan is to run 1.5 miles on Tuesday and Thursdays, walk 30-ish minutes on Saturday, and finally run 3 or 3.5 miles on Sunday. The goal for this phase is to get out and run even when it’s dark and cold (it’s through the whole winter), build up a small base to increase my confidence, and lose weight. I’m a fickle runner and running in the cold is usually enough to make me not run. I’ve seen myself do this on my short runs when training for the 2018 Disney Marathon and 2020 Dopey. I don’t need to go far – I just need to do it,

For pre-training, I am following Hal Higdon’s supreme novice training program. This phase kicks off in mid-March. The weather will be better and it will start to get lighter then, so I shouldn’t have those for an excuse. I’m also hoping my losing some weight and building the small base of confidence, running will be easier. The goals for this phase are to continue losing weight, maintain consistency, and increase my mileage.

Marathon Training begins in June using Hal Higdon’s novice 1 program. At that point, I should have a solid weekly base of 9-12 miles. I will start to incorporate speed and hill workouts (which were very beneficial when I did those training for Chicago last year) and increasing mileage for my long runs. My goal for this phase is to think like a runner – monitor pace, have varying degrees of difficulty/excursion, and stick to my plan.

Throughout all of the plans, I am incorporating strength training and yoga/self care, which I never actually implemented in past training seasons. I don’t want to get hurt, and I want to improve my fitness. I want to be a runner. People often stress their importance, but then we forget to do them. For strength training, I am trying out Pure Barre and Apple Fitness. My Apple strength workout yesterday was really good! I really feel it in my legs. I’ve had more of a challenge sticking with yoga because I can’t focus or slow down my mind, so I need to make this a priority.

Looking Ahead

I foresee several obstacles ahead. I’m lucky that this is not the first time I have trained for a marathon, so I know my shortfalls.

  • I can get overwhelmed with the time it takes to run in the morning. I need to be honest with my schedule and not dilly dally in the morning.
  • If I work on Saturday, I either won’t do my long run or not prepare correctly. This training, I will not join the running club and commit to doing long runs on Sundays.
  • For long runs, I don’t plan my route. I’m already preparing the route for my 18 and 20 mile run so I don’t get overwhelmed on those days.
  • I get nervous, so I am (hopefully) going to try to add races to my training schedule. So far I have the Swamp Rabbit 5K and the Around the Crown 10K. A few others are still being planned as virtual, but hopefully they will be in-person so I can sign up.

So that’s my plan for 2021. I need to stay accountable, but I am really excited about this. I will decide my race goals once I hit phase 3. There is a different approach when this is a second chance. I appreciate what I have more than I did before.

Are you participating in the 2021 Chicago Marathon?

Chicago Marathon: Training Update 2

I’m not sure if I should call this month’s training update a training update, but my goal is to keep pushing myself. Unfortunately, the 2020 Chicago Marathon was canceled on July 15. Luckily, we have the option to defer our registration to another year in 2021, 2022, or 2023. I really want to do it next year, but I have a feeling only 1/3 of the registrants will get to do it each year. So, my training updates will continue in the future.

Changing Goals

I’m bummed about the decision for many reasons, but mostly because I lost motivation. I was doing a good job running and was motivated. Now I’m not. I wasn’t going to write this update, but I need to do something to keep my going. I think that’s how most goals are – we need something to continue to work towards. To get there, we need to take little steps to lead us in the right direction. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what those little steps will be for me.

  • Make good food choices
  • Continue to run at least 3 days a week – build up a really solid 6-mile base
  • Do strength training – Pure Barre is opening near my house, and this is a type of strength training that I enjoy
Cancellation logistics

I had to cancel my plane tickets and hotel. American Airlines gave me a credit for my ticket, which I know I will use in the future. Marriott almost didn’t refund me my $780 for the hotel room! Hotels are incredibly expensive that weekend, and I got a reduced rate if I did a non-refundable option. I was going to do the marathon, so I thought it was a safe bet…in February! When I called customer service to cancel, they told me they changed their adapted cancellation policy to end on July 5 – just 10 days before they canceled the marathon. I escalated to the manager who told me the same thing! Luckily, the hotel helped, and I wasn’t charged a fee. It was a very stressful situation.

Chicago Skyline on a Blue Sky Day
Until Then…

Even though I’m not actively training for the 2020 Chicago Marathon, I am training for it in the future. If I do a good job with these four items, my general health will improve which will make it easier to run a marathon in 2021, 2022, or 2023. So here goes nothing! My next update will be Training Update 3 – and I can’t wait!

Chicago Marathon: Training Update 1

October 11, 2020, is the Chicago Marathon! I am really looking forward to this run and hope it won’t be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. I am training like there is no chance of cancellation, even though I know that is still a possibility.

In June, I started training using the RunDisney marathon training plan. This is the plan is simple and steady. Just three days per week using short runs on Tuesday and Thursday with a long run on the weekend with increasing mileage. It is a longer plan than some because every other week you do a 4 mile “long” run, which helps me with my schedule and other commitments. Marathon training requires serious time commitments when you get to 10 miles and more! I used this when I did the 2018 WDW Marathon.

If there are too many days required, I get overwhelmed and can’t commit to training. If I cannot commit to 3 days, then I should not run the race. That being said, my goal is not to qualify for Boston or have an outrageously good time!

GOALS – Making IT PUBLIC

My goal for the race (saying this publicly!) is to finish in less than 5:30. This works out to be about a 12:30 pace for the entirety of the race. I feel like this is an achievable goal. I finished my first marathon in 5:52 at Disney. This means there were character distractions and more. I also stopped at the restroom more times than was necessary because I was nervous. The second marathon at Disney was awful! 80 degrees and 90% humidity are not what you want to do a marathon. It was so horrible. I finished that one in 6:46, so at least I know I can finish about that time with walking and character stops.

So far, my runs have varied. There have been ones where I felt strong and confident and others that have been dreadful. Humidity levels make a big difference for me. I just need to focus on getting the time on my feet those days. I feel like this is not normal for others, but I need to accept that it is for me. Maybe others feel this way, too, but it amazes me when I see runners running during lunch on a Southern, summer day.

If I did a really good job training, I would add in strength exercises and yoga. I definitely need motivation and guidance on this. In the end, I can’t wait! Only 117 days left!

Trip Synopsis: 2020 Dopey Challenge

Dopey 2020 Medal

Dopey 2020 is the ultimate challenge of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This year, it was on January 9 – 12, and it was fantastic! I’m writing this a month and a half later, so I’ve had a chance to reflect and reminisce over the weekend. I’m going to share other details later, but I wanted to give the highlights of the weekend because it was just SO. MUCH. FUN!! Spoiler alert – I would do it again!

Wednesday, January 8

My friend Ursula and I traveled to Orlando on Wednesday, January 8. This year, we stayed at Pop Century again because of the location, price, and the new Skyliner. We had to go to the expo, which in the past has been so much fun. We learned that Wednesday expo is not the same as Friday or Saturday – it was awful. The expo was overwhelming and entirely too crowded. I bought a Dopey finisher shirt as a gift for Ursula to have if she did a good job (she did the same for me because – come on! You can’t actually buy it unless you finish!) We had a low-key day and hung around the hotel and Disney Springs – we had a long few days ahead!

Thursday, January 9

WDW 5K course

The first race morning (start time 5:30 am, wake up: 3:30 am) is a 5K around Epcot. The course is fantastic because you run around Epcot the whole time. This is the only race they don’t time; you just have to complete it. It was surprising how many families were there with their children. That must have been fun for them. They had 3 or 4 character stops and one of them was the Beast. I should have stopped, but I get so nervous by the long lines. If I was faster, then I would do it. Goals for the future!

finishing 5K
Dopey 5K

I finished and got my first medal – Pluto! We were 3.1 miles down out of 48.6. I made a decision that I was going to get a picture with Dopey and my medal after each day, and I’m so happy that I did!

After the race, we went back to the hotel and showered. We spent the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom. Our stops:

  • Festival of the Lion King (awesome!)
  • Finding Nemo the Musical
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • (Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a pass to the Avatar journey, which I think is the coolest ride ever!)
  • The safari
  • Pictures with a whole lot of characters!
Chip and Dale

Friday, January 10

WDW 10K

Day 2 and we were ready for the 10K. It was another early morning, but we met up with more college friends. Like the 5K, the corrals starts were towards the front, and we wore the 5K bibs. The course was very similar to the 5K but added in more highway running. While on the highway, the two Frozen princesses were on the overpass looking down where it was snowing! On the course, they even had Abu, the Monkey from Aladdin. It was really neat.

When we finished, we got an Oswald medal, which I promptly took to Dopey for another victory shot.

10K finish Dopey

After showering, I headed to Hollywood Studios. I got to meet even more characters and saw:

  • Beauty and the Beast show
  • The Little Mermaid show
  • Played Toy Story Mania!
  • Toured the Disney Museum (saw in Oswald poster)
  • Went to Star Wars World
Monsters Inc
Buzz Lightyear

This won’t be a popular statement, and I have no credibility because I am not a Star Wars fan, but I hated that place. It was overwhelming and awful. We made a reservation for “lunch” months before at the “Cantina” but apparently, it’s just a bar. I was hungry! I won’t plan to go back there…

We spent the rest of the night at the hotel where our group hung out at the pool and a simple dinner at the hotel…we needed an early night.

Saturday, January 11

WDW Half Marathon 2020

Another 5:30 am race start, which means that we had to wake up at 3:00 am. Luckily, the early mornings hadn’t bothered me yet. I think I was just too excited about the races.

Cars

The half marathon was a long one. My friends all did a great job! I didn’t because I walked; I was having back problems, so I didn’t want to hurt myself before marathon day. That being said, it was my worse time ever. On the bright side, I stopped for a picture with Lilo and Lightning McQueen & Mater. There were so many characters, but the half course is my least favorite. Epcot and MK were a blast to run through, but there is just so much highway. There’s no way to change that, but it was just blah.

Half Marathon Castle
Lilo

At the end, we were awarded the Donald Duck medal! It is one of the best looking medals I have. We didn’t get to show it off in the parks since we needed to rest our feet. Instead, we walked around the boardwalk and hung out at the pool for the rest of the day. Two days down and 46% of the miles through; we needed a good night’s sleep.

Half Finish
Half Group
Sunday, January 12
WDW Marathon Course

Marathon day was finally upon us! Disney moved the start time up to 5 am, but it was ridiculous because they didn’t end up starting until 5:30 am because of traffic. I think I woke around 2:30 am. That morning was the hardest to get going because I was tired and also nervous for the marathon.

Stitch

This was a new marathon course from when I did the marathon in 2018. I liked the course a lot this year because we started running through Epcot which got us to MK around mile 10 instead of mile 6. It was nice to finish MK and be to the halfway point. The hardest part was after MK (around mile 13 to AK around mile 17). It was so long, just highway, and there was very little entertainment along the way. I thought they would have more characters there or the signs with jokes like they had in ESPN. But at least ESPN was GONE!

Sebastian

It was incredibly hot that day – around 85 degrees with 90% humidity. It was awful, and I was going slowly. I walked the beginning and ran through the parks. RunDisney decided to cut out Blizzard Beach at a certain point to reduce the course by 2 miles for people at the end. I was really lucky and got in before they cut it off, so I got to complete all 26.2 miles. Right before there was mile 19. I was done with the race and just wanted to finish. At that point, I blasted my workout mix and had a dance party until the finish line.

Marathon Finish

Because of the redirection, I actually caught up with Ursula, so I got to see her around mile 21 or so. I stuck with her and her new friends for a while, but then I just needed to finish. Dan Mott and his girlfriend met me at mile 25.7 with a margarita, so I had to go fast! I got it, and it was worth it!

Then I waited for Ursula to catch up so we could cross the finish line with each other. We did it and were relieved. 48.6% were complete, and we proved it by getting three new medals – marathon, Goofy Challenge, and the Dopey Challenge!

Marathon Finish with Dopey
The Celebration
Picture with Mini

Our tradition is to celebrate a race at Epcot where everyone wears their medals and drinks around the world. We had dinner at the Bier Garten in Epcot since it was a good location for a group. We also got to walk around and do some rides and see characters. It was a nice night, but I was exhausted!

Monday, January 13

Cinderella
Ariel

Most of our friends had left by this point, but today was our day to hang out in the Magic Kingdom and meet lots of characters. We started the day with breakfast at Be Our Guest with Belle and Beast. The food isn’t great, but it’s such a cool setting. Then I can’t even start on all of the characters we saw! We got a ton of pictures with my Dopey medal and rode some of the rides.

Aladdin and Jasmine
Gaston
Brave
Rapunzel

We ended the journey with the “Happily Ever After” fireworks show, and it just makes me so happy! This journey was definitely a “Dopey” fairy tale come true!

Race Recap: 2019 NYC Half

Getting Into Running

My running career has been fickle. I was very committed to running two miles almost daily in college. That’s when I was in my best shape, but I fell out of running after college. I was set to get back into it by using the Couch to 5K app in early 2013. A few of my friends were running half or full marathons. Even though I thought they were crazy, but mostly I was impressed. It was great for them to do it, but I didn’t think there was a way that I could do this myself; 13.1 miles is a lot!

The Motivation

In early 2013, I moved to NYC and was exposed to a lot of people running. Many of the girls I worked with did half marathons and cared about their health. Going to Central Park (my favorite place) you can’t help but notice all of the people running. It was a completely different world and very motivating. Since I was trying to get back into running, I started to do a 3 mile loop from my house to the park then around the reservoir before returning home. When you find a route like that, it is comforting to do the same thing every time you go out there.

Then, I got the courage to sign up for an interesting looking 5K – Runyon 5K at Yankee’s Stadium in August 2013. This would be my first 5K and my first race; I was so nervous about it. The night before I went out with friends and didn’t even have a glass of wine! I woke early the next morning and took the subway solo to the Bronx. Before we started, a volunteer or event coordinator gave us the highlights of what to expect – we would be going around the field twice (so cool!), get video taped on the scoreboard, then would make our way up and down multiple flights of stairs and ramps. This would not be a race to PR.

The Race

Five and a half years later, I am very proud to say that I have finished 6 half marathons, a full, and a handful of smaller races. It all came full circle on March 17, 2019, when I completed the NYRR United NYC Half Marathon. NYRR is a premier running organization based in NYC and hosts many races in the city throughout the year. All of the runners who impressed me at work and in the park were part of this group, and I wanted to be part of it one day.

2019 NYC Course Map

It was a tough one because the stairs kick your butt, but ultimately, I was successful! I couldn’t believe I had the courage and stamina to complete my first 5K. I had completed a race in NYC.

In fall 2018, there was a post for the NYC Half on Instagram. I thought it was weird because it is a hard race to get into via the lottery, so why would NYRR advertise for it? On a whim, I asked my friend Ursula if she wanted to try for the lottery with me, and she said yes. Because of the limited number of spaces, I didn’t have much hope of being selected, but we both were!

The event was everything I could have hoped. I didn’t train as well as I wanted, but I had my second fastest time. The city was absolutely beautiful, and even though I was tired at mile 10, the energy of 42nd Street and Broadway energized each step. Finally, when I got into Central Park, I was back to where I use to go on runs five years before. I was running with the motivational runners who inspired me way back then.

The Accomplishment

The city closes Times Square for NYE and for this race – so cool!

When I finally crossed the finish line about 2.5 hours later, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was a beautiful morning because the sun was out (it was cold). I crossed the finish line like I had done 6 times before, but this one was different. This one showed how much I had grown and showed me how much I could accomplish in five years. I now did something those motivational people did. As I continued walking, a volunteer greeted me with my medal. Heck yes! Accomplishment!

Finisher!!

Then I went to find Ursula so we could talk and get ready for our next challenge…



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!

Race Recap: 2019 Disney Half Marathon

Disney always does it right – and always leaves you wanting more. 2019 Disney Marathon Weekend was no exception. This is was my sixth half marathon and first time running it at Disney because of the rainout in 2017. As a whole, this was a great experience – the community, the characters, the accomplishment. I fell in love when I did the full marathon last year.

Race Review

To be very frank and honest, I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the course. In total, it’s a lot of highway running. I guess I knew this, but I didn’t realize it until I got there. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again; it’s just that the highlights through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot were short. Running through Epcot was very, very limited. I think this was because of construction, and hopefully, will be changed in 2020.

2019 Disney Half Marathon Course Map

Tips

Even though this race was one of my slower times, I had a lot of fun. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t run for time; I run to get the miles. There are character stops at least at every mile. I still haven’t stopped to wait in line because I’m scared I won’t be able to run afterwards. PRO TIP: make sure to have your camera out in the Magic Kingdom because there are characters every few yards!

Even though my posed picture in front of the castle didn't show up, I got this action shot!

Another tip is to make sure to run a race beforehand so you can submit your “proof of time.” My friend didn’t have a recent race time, so she was placed in heat H, which was the last one. I wanted to run with her, so I had to start late because Disney is very strict about letting you move up. Our start was more than an hour after the official start! You start a long time before that IF you have a race time. It doesn’t even have to be a good time. For the half marathon, you have to have a finish time for a 10K or longer and a half marathon time for the marathon.

I got to pose while running in front of Spaceship Earth!

As always, we finished the day at Epcot. We had dinner with Disney Princesses and then watched Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. It is a nice routine that I’m glad I got roped into with my friend. It’s a pretty show, and you can walk around Epcot with an adult beverage, so it is very relaxed. Many race finishers come out to show off their medals at Epcot after the race. Since we did the half, Dopeys and marathon runners were in

Our Itinerary

Piglet
We had dinner with Pooh and friends at the Magic Kingdom. Piglet and I are BFFs.
  • Friday
    • Flew to Orlando and to the Magic Express (for free!) to our hotel
    • Went to lunch at Disney Springs before making our way to the race Expo at Wide World of Sports
    • Met our friend at the Expo and walked around to look at everything Friday
    • Had an early dinner at the hotel cafeteria. This has turned into an annual routine before race day since they serve spaghetti, and it’s less expensive than other things on the property.
    • Early bedtime because 2:30 am comes quickly!
  • Saturday
    • Wake up early for race day! Take the shuttle to the starting line.
    • The half marathon starts at 5:30. We didn’t start until well after 6:30 and finished before 9:30 am.
    • We hung out around the finish line for a while before heading back to take showers.
    • The next stop was Animal Kingdom to go on rides before heading to Epcot for dinner.
    • We had dinner in Norway with Disney Princesses Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella. They never break character – even for a group of 30-somethings with no children!
    • Watched Illuminations for the last time since it would retire the decade running show in a few weeks.
  • Sunday
    • After getting ready, we headed to Hollywood Studios to cheer the marathon runners! It was insanely hot that day, so they needed motivation. We watched some shows and rode a few rides.
    • We then walked to Epcot to continue watching the marathoners. They were looking so good! We then took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom where we talked to a Dopey who said it was a great experience, and he was still glad he did it.
    • We visited MK for a while, had a quick dinner, and then got ice cream before watching the “Happily Ever After” show.
  • Monday
    • One of my friends left very early in the morning. My other friend and I took a walk around the hotel property to see everything.
    • Then we went window shopping at Disney Springs before lunch.
    • Finally, we left to board the Magic Express to take us back to the airport.

Race Recap: 2018 Chicago Half Marathon

Lay flat the night before

It wasn’t pretty, but it’s done. Half marathon #5 is in the books. I raced in the Chicago Rock ‘n 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.)

2018 RNR Chicago Half Course Map

Lessons Learned

me and my medal
  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 afterward 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.

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