Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Hallo-weenie!

My sweet Stitch in her costume watching for trick-or-treaters!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm On My Way

I have always liked this song, but over the past few months it has come to mean more to me. It is on my running playlist. (Yeah, it's not all that upbeat, but many songs on my list aren't. Sometimes great lyrics are enough to motivate me.) I love how this song talks about waking up one morning and deciding to face your fears...having been through a lot, yet having so much more to learn...having dreams that nothing can keep you from achieving.

Kellie Pickler

I've felt the power of forgiveness
I know that life can let you down
I'm not blind
No, I don't need a witness
To tell me there's angels all around

My eyes have seen more than they want to
My heart has scars that run so deep
There's tears that I've had to let go
And there's dreams I told myself I'd keep

Now I don't give up easy
I've got many miles to go
But I can't wait to get to
What I see down this road
And all my life I've learned to
Just take it day by day
I'm not there yet
But I know I'm on my way

I've looked out the window
When there's no hope in sight
But I swear I heard a whisper
Said it would be worth the fight

So I woke up one morning
And I put my fears aside
Now look how far I've come
From the back of an endless line

I still got lessons to be learned
There's a choice at every turn
Someone out there cleared a path
And there's no turning back

And all my life I've learned to
Just take it day by day
I'm not there yet
But I know I'm on my way

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Impossible

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

-Walt Disney
Since I lasted updated, I have run my first 10K (Celebrate Freedom September 3rd) and my first half marathon (Disney Wine & Dine October 1st). This was an impossible feat for me up until a few months ago. I had every intention of updating as I ventured through my training, but I just don’t spend much time on the computer (other than at work) these days. (So, maybe instead of making excuses not to work out now I make excuses not to get on the computer?) I really should have found some time to write because I’ve had so many people ask me about my training plan. I’ve heard that the training seems too intense and intimidating. (It was to me too!) I wish I had a better way to help people understand just how impossible I thought it was for me to be a runner, nonetheless a marathon runner. I loved the idea of running, but I hated actually trying.

"All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them."
- Walt Disney
I'm definitely not saying it’s easy. What is easy: finding excuses not to run. I think the hardest part of any training plan is simply starting. For me, I had excuses and negative thoughts of “I can’t do this.” and “This is so hard!” holding me back. (I still regret not buying the Nike “I Make Time Not Excuses” t-shirt!) Every training plan is not going to work for everyone. I did some reading to help me figure out how to go about it since I was doing it all on my own. ( is wonderful!) My advice: don’t let one training plan or a few difficult runs in the beginning discourage you from your goal. I’ve had friends and co-workers tell me that I have inspired them to start or get back into running, others to start losing weight. I am honored to have been an inspiration to anyone. I’ve come a long way, but I’ve got a long way to go. At least I'm on my way!

Flash back to the night of October 1st. Picture it: (Please tell me you know what 1980’s TV show this is from.) I’m sitting in a huge grassy field lined with Port-O-Pottys waiting to line up for the race. There are 15,000ish athletes anxiously awaiting 10pm to arrive. (Most of those are standing in line for a potty.) There’s a stage, big screen, and a team of people attempting to help the time pass for the runners with some music and dancing. Jeff Galloway (He’s run something like 125 marathons, and he is Disney’s official training consultant.) gets on stage and asks, “Where are all my first timers? I know you have a time in your head. Throw it out right now!” (Ha, guess I’m not the only one.) At that very moment, I decided I need to cut myself a little slack. Hey, at least I was actually there and not still sitting around at home!

When I started out to run not very long ago, it was my goal to finish a half marathon. Along the way, I proved to myself in training that I could not only finish, but I could finish in less time than was required for Disney half marathons. I am pretty competitive, so of course I had a particular time in my head that I’d like to do, but I also had a goal that I wanted to finish under. While most training plans inform you that your race pace will be faster than your training pace, this doesn’t seem to hold true for me. Thus far I have learned that training isn’t exactly a realistic prediction of your race time. In training, you aren’t usually trying to run with thousands of other people who aren’t all keeping the same pace as you. Dodging people and sometimes strollers (luckily they don’t allow these in half marathons) takes some time and strategy. Other things that I didn’t really allow extra time on race day were the two bathroom stops, the crowd slowdowns at the water, food, and character stops, and my knee decided to act up on me. (During my training, I ended up with a couple blisters, bruised toes, soreness, but nothing serious. Leave it to my knee to freak out on me during crunch time. Go figure, but what can ya do? Keep moving until you get to the ice packs, Biofreeze, and your mommy at the finish line, that’s what!) Injuries can always happen unexpectedly, and from what I saw along the way and at the finish line, my knee was nothing! I saw people sitting, laying on the side of the road, throwing up, and there are people who didn’t finish. Of the people who did finish, just about every single one turned into the medic station at the finish. When I registered, I optimistically said that I could finish the half in 3:00:00. (Yes, at the time I was afraid I couldn’t make the pacing requirement!) I finished at 2:57:13, and for my very first half, I’m pretty happy!

With Mom on her birthday
Of course I can’t account for the every minute of the whole evening since my half marathon experience was from 7pm – 4am. Here are some of my highlights:

Favorite moment(s): I just can’t pick one. 1.) Animal Kingdom at night is pretty awesome, especially since the park closes at 5pm on a daily basis and not many people get to see it at night. 2.) Running through Hollywood Studios with the Osbourne Lights lit up and Christmas music playing brought back fun memories of December 2010 with my girls. 3.) Just running through the parks and having people cheer for your achievement. 4.) Having my finisher’s medal placed around my neck at the finish line is pretty indescribable. 5.) Reuniting with my mommy and wishing her a happy birthday. (Her birthday is October 2nd, so I actually finished the half on her birthday!)

Least favorite moment: Using the Port-o-Potty in the dark mid-race. Ew. Just Ew. Oh, also standing in line for 40 minutes to use the thing before the race started. Crazy!

Funniest moment: Overhearing a woman say to her husband, “It’s like it’s all up hill!” They’re definitely not from Georgia. (The Wine and Dine Half Marathon takes you from ESPN Wide World of Sports, to Animal Kingdom, to Hollywoods Studios, and to the finish at EPCOT. Really, after training in north Georgia, the slight inclines were nothing!) Also, the Army man from Toy Story was on the route yelling out orders as runners passed by. “You volunteered for this, Soldier! Move it!”

So, I ran a half marathon. (Maybe if I keep repeating this to myself I’ll believe it?) It was an amazingly fun and challenging night. The big question I’m getting now is, will I run another one? My answer? Absofreakinglutley! Yes, I crossed a half marathon off my bucket list, but I’ve still got that time in my head. There's always room for improvement!  
Back home with Dad

I think Stitch might have missed me.