Warrior Dash Race Report 6/1/2013

My first obstacle race, in the books. Before I go on about the race, a few things first.

The Warrior Dash partners with St. Jude’s to raise money for them. When you register for the race, they ask if you’d like to become a St. Jude’s Warrior, and raise money on your own for them. Being the big sappy lover of children that I am, of course I agreed. I can barely get through a St. Jude’s commercial on tv and we are monthly donors because of my inability(and my husband’s) to turn that charity down. I set my goal to $300 and am proud to say, thanks to so many generous people, that I was able to exceed that amount. I raised enough for access to the St. Jude’s VIP tent, and you’ll find out later how this really helped me out.

Now, onto the race. I wasn’t too terribly nervous until the day of the race. I can run, I do some strength training, but was starting to get a bit scared at not making it over some of the bigger climbing obstacles. Luckily I really wouldn’t have enough time to worry about things, and it turns out the climbing obstacles would be the least of my problems.

I registered for the race with my Marti Estes 5k partner Jessica, and a friend of hers, Kathryn. The first wave of the race started at 9 am but by the time we signed up, the only times that had left were from 1:30 pm until 6:00 pm. We signed up for the 1:30 wave. Waves left in two groups, every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes. Picking 1:30 pm was not a very well thought out plan, living in the south, in what might as well be summer.

I met up with Jess and Kat to ride with them to the race site. All of the emails we got said to arrive 1 hour before your wave time. Packet pick-up was on site, which I absolutely hate. This process only confirmed why I hate it so much. We arrived an hour early, like we were supposed to. We paid our $10 to park in a large field, and I got out, ready to race. Turns out I was just ready to wait.

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We should have arrived a few hours early. I went to the St. Jude’s tent to check in and get my VIP wristband while the other girls stood in line to pick up our bibs and packets. I stepped in for a minute to check it out, found they had sunscreen(which I’d forgotten to put on) and sprayed myself down. Grabbed a cold drink and I met back up with them after getting my wristband, and they were still very far back in the obscenely long line. We stood, and inched forward. The sun blazed overhead and the closer we got to the front, the more packed in an unorganized people became. Packing people close together, just before 1 pm, in the summer, is not fun. What the folks at Warrior Dash failed to tell the people standing in line for 45 minutes was that pick-up was arranged by males and females and alphabetically by last name. Nobody knew this until you got much closer to the front, leading to a cramped and furious shuffle when this information was discovered. Finally, after about an hour in line, we had our packets and bibs. We checked all of our things in the St. Jude’s tent, so we had no idea what time it actually was, and we wandered to the starting line, thinking our time had to be soon.

Soon was actually now, last call. As we got closer, we heard them announce that it was the last call for the 1:30 wave. Not wanting to wait around for the 2:00 wave, we dashed closer. Last call actually meant “If you are going, start running.” Jess figured this out first, and started running. Kathryn and I went after her, barely making it across the starting line before the closed it off.

I was expecting a bit different, but the first part of the race is all running. For over the first mile, there was not one single obstacle. We were running around fields and on trails, there was absolutely no shade, with the temperature close to 90 degrees. It was rough. I had hydrated very well in preparation, taken my EnergyBits, and while I was hot, I was feeling good. Kathryn, after drinking her pot of coffee  and not eating that morning, dashed well ahead of us, I’m not sure how. Jess started to fade fast, and I tried to encourage her, but I didn’t want to push her too hard in the heat. I was not wearing my Garmin and had no clue how fast we were going or how far we had gone. It was awful. I am not a “by feel” runner by any means. We came to the first obstacle, which was crawling under barbed wire. Not too difficult and I was pumped from managing to crawl on the ground.

We kept running, and came to other obstacles, climbing structures, including a very tall wall that you climb using a rope. I was intimidated by this one but found it pretty east to climb up. Still feeling pretty good and after close to 2 miles, we ended up in the woods. We’d done some walking by then. We did more walking in the woods. Twisted tree roots and rocks popped up all over the place. Thank goodness for hyper-mobility in my joints because I imagine I’d be typing with a broken ankle without that blessing. We went through a few obstacles in the woods, including a tight rope walk over a ravine, which I thought for sure would mean a fall to my death. A fall of a whole 5 feet. I made it across with no problem. Shortly before hitting mile 3, we came out of the woods and to the 3rd to the last obstacle, a set of rope “tubes” that were very deceiving. I figured they’d be a breeze to get through but I quickly got tangled and ended up with a few rope burns. Next up was jumping over fire. Two rows of it, it smelled and it burned my eyes but I made easy work of it. I got through it and knew the last obstacle, the mud pit right before the finish line, waited for me.

ClickHandler.ashx For the record, this is not my photo or from today’s race, just an example.

The mud pit was what I worried about the least. Oh, it would be so fun to crawl through the mud and get all dirty I thought. But I completely ignored the fact that I hate getting dirty. I don’t like walking barefoot outside and I don’t like digging in my own garden and getting dirt on my hands. Mud covering my whole body should have thrown up a red flag but for some reason it didn’t. I got closer to the mud with excitement, and I got right up to it. That excitement faded. This wasn’t the watery mud you see in the picture above, that is 6 inches deep. This was thick sludge that was a few feet deep. With great hesitation, I got in. You have to climb under barbed wire, and the mud was so thick and so deep, it became increasingly hard to move. I got past the last row of barbed wire and I couldn’t move. The more I tried, the more I bent and the more stuck I became. I had two guys come by and they asked if I was stuck. I was, and so was the girl next to me. One of them worked on me. He dug deep, trying to dislodge the leg that was stuck. My foot was pointed down and he couldn’t get to it. He crawled in front of me and told me to grab on to him and he would try to pull. I still wasn’t budging. I started to panic a bit. I don’t like tight spaces and while it was just my legs that were stuck, it was an awful feeling. After several minutes of no movement, we had to wave to the men on the side to help me. I wasn’t going anywhere. First they helped the other girl who was stuck, luckily she was closer to the side and was easier to get out. Then they threw the rope to me. At first just one of the two men pulled, but he couldn’t get me, so it took both grown men pulling the rope to finally get me to the edge to where I could climb out on my own. I was worn out. All of the running didn’t do me in, fighting to mud pit was what did it. I had mud in my eye, and couldn’t wipe it out because my hands were covered in mud. Everything from my chin down was covered in mud.

I tried to wipe off the several pounds of mud before trudging my way, like some kind of swamp monster, across the finish line. At this point, any hope of finishing with a remotely decent time was long gone. I grabbed my medal and water and met up with the other girls who were finished and waiting for me.

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They decided to wait to get hosed off while I made my way to the St. Jude’s tent, as my VIP access came with hot showers. I waited for another 45 minutes for the volunteer to hose me off(you had to be somewhat free of mud to get in to the showers). I gave that man quite the show. I had mud in places mud should never be. At that point, I wasn’t ashamed of him using the hose to spray down my sports bra and in other areas. The young men behind me commented that they needed to volunteer next year to get a job like that. Yay me I guess. I got into the shower and attempted to quickly rinse mud out of my nether regions, I was able to change clothes and shoes. Sadly, my running shoes were so caked in mud, they were deemed a lost cause and I threw them to the muddy donate pile.

It took me awhile to find the other girls, but I was quite glad to get going once I did.

Some wrap up thoughts on today’s race. I’m glad I got the experience, but I’m not 100% sure I would do something like this again. I am almost certain I will not do another Warrior Dash again. They were extremely unorganized. Pre-race packet pick-up would have saved them, and us, a lot of time and trouble. They didn’t let people in line know what they were standing in line for, and a few signs and some caution tape could have really gone a long way. The course was ok, but the mud obstacle was awful. I imagined crawling through a bit of watery mud, not fighting my way through feet of thick mud. I’m not sure if they meant for it to be like that but I’m thinking no, based on other pictures I’ve seen online from other locations. I’ve talked to people who have done other obstacle/mud races, and the girls I ran with today did a different race like this, and they all agree that this was pretty bad.

I’m just glad that it’s over, I’m sitting here nice and clean, and I have a new appreciation for a hot shower.

Look To My Coming On the First Light of the Eleventh Day

At dawn, look to the east. No folks, Gandalf isn’t coming, he comes on the 5th day. I’m talking about the 11th day, of June to be more specific, and closer to noon, not so early in the morning.

So what is coming? I’m sure many of you know, but registration is coming, registration for the 2014 Princess Half Marathon weekend. This year is bigger and better. This year they have added the Enchanted 10k, and combining the two for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Here’s the exact description from the runDisney website http://www.rundisney.com/princess-half-marathon/ :

Saturday, February 22 – Sunday, February 23, 2014

Start/Finish: Epcot

 

If you think that a half marathon is just a walk in the park, put your endurance to the test and compete in the all-new Glass Slipper Challenge! A 19.3-mile adventure held over two days, participants will run the Disney Enchanted 10K on Saturday, followed by the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. If you finish both races within the pacing requirements, you will be awarded the all-new Glass Slipper Challenge medal in addition to your Half Marathon and 10K finisher medals.

You must register for the Glass Slipper Challenge to receive the Glass Slipper Challenge medal upon completion of both races within the pacing requirements.

Glass Slipper Challenge will feature

  • Two courses through the Walt Disney World Resort totaling 19.3 miles
  • Disney Characters and Entertainment on-course
  • Family Reunion Area with live entertainment and characters
  • Event Weekend Transportation for all Walt Disney World Resort Guests

Race participants in the Glass Slipper Challenge will receive:

  • Champion Short-Sleeved Tech Shirts for the Half Marathon, 10K and Glass Slipper Challenge in Women’s or Men’s Cut*
  • Special Glass Slipper Challenge Finisher Medal, along with Disney Princess Half Marathon and Disney Princess Enchanted 10K Finisher Medals for completing the Half Marathon and 10K*
  • Official Race Program Guide*
  • iGiftBag
  • Personalized bib (Must register by December 1, 2013 for name to appear on bib)*
  • On-course and post-race refreshments
  • ChronoTrack B-tag timed races, with live runner tracking signup for friends and family for both events
  • Personalized results website

To receive the Glass Slipper Challenge Finisher Medal, you must register for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Registering for the 10K and Half Marathon individually will not make you eligible to receive the Glass Slipper Challenge Finisher Medal.

I decided many weeks ago, when the Glass Slipper Challenge was announced, that I would be accepting this challenge, and I’m quite excited. But after the announcement, details were lacking, mainly details about the cost. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap. No race Disney puts on is cheap, but Disney puts on a great show when it comes to their races. In the grand scheme of things, they actually aren’t terribly expensive. These days there are all kinds of fun runs out there. Races like the Color Run, a mere 5k, can cost $50 or more for registration. Break it down by price per mile and Disney looks very comparable. Plus, it’s DISNEY!!

We finally got the details today. For split second, my Disney Visa flinched, but then it held strong, ready to take on this feat.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

  • $160 by August 20, 2013
  • $175 between August 21 and November 19, 2013
  • $190 on or after November 20, 2013

 

Disney Enchanted 10K

  • $95 by August 20, 2013
  • $110 between August 21 and November 19, 2013
  • $125 on or after November 20, 2013

Glass Slipper Challenge

  • $270 by August 20, 2013
  • $290 between August 21 and November 19, 2013
  • $310 on or after November 20, 2013

 

Cinderella Royal Family 5K

  • $60 per participant

 

runDisneyKids Races

  • $15 per Kids Dash participant
  • $30 per One Mile Run participant

Pasta in the Park Party Tickets

  • $52 for Adults (ages 10 and up)
  • $28 for Children (ages 3 – 9)
  • Children Under 3 are free

 

ChEAR Squad

  • Bronze – No Charge
  • Silver – $39 per package
  • Gold – $65 per package
  • Platinum – $115 per package

 

Race Retreat

  • $120 per participant

 

Prices have gone up. The cost for the half marathon itself has gone up $20 from last year. Kids races have gone up $5 and the Race Retreat has gone up $20-30 depending on where you look(I have seen some places saying it will be $130, not $120). The economy, inflation, blah blah blah, shut up and take my money.

I’m very much looking forward to these races. I know many people complained this year about the large crowds during PHM. I know of a few people who were turned off by the conditions and have opted out of next year’s festivities. But not me. PHM will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was my first half marathon, it was my first Disney race, and I pulled a lot out to finish as decently as I did. Not to mention, I got the thumbs up from my amazing husband to do the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland in January, so I’ll need the PHM to earn my special pink Coast 2 Coast medal. Plus, this year I’ll be teaming up with my mentor Patty, she is the Amy Farrah Fowler to my Sheldon Cooper, so look out for Team Shamy!!

Next year will also be a bit different as this will be a family trip, not a solo princess trip like it was this year. I’m very excited to say that nearly all of the members of my family will be participating in race weekend. Aside from my mother and my youngest child, everyone else will be running in one race or another. My two older children are very excited for the kids races, and I am almost positive I have my husband talked into doing the Enchanted 10k with me. This makes me so happy. Running has really transformed my life, it has become a part of me, and I’m thrilled to share that with my family, and for them to get active.

So June 11 and open registration can’t get here fast enough. This challenge and the new 10k are going to go fast. The newly added 10ks at the DL half and WDW Marathon weekend went super fast, this one should be no different. I’m ready to try on the glass slipper and I will prove that I’m the real princess!

 

The All Clear

I’m a little late with this announcement, but I’ve been officially given the all clear from my physical therapist, and have been discharged from therapy. I should be jumping, or running for joy, but I’m having a hard time being 100% optimistic.

I haven’t run with pain in weeks. My last race, the 5k I did with my son on April 20 went well and I have been pain free since then, but I haven’t done more than 2-3 miles at a time since then. I have had some time to reflect on my injury and how I got there, and thought I’d share, because looking back, I can see a lot of problems and where things went wrong.

1. A wonky training schedule: Too much, too fast- I found myself injured just a few weeks before the Princess Half, and was forced to run through that race in pain. I told myself I had properly trained for the race, and to some extent, I did. But that’s not completely the truth. I did train for the distance, and I had no problem completing the full 13+ miles. But I climbed, to fast. I had a hard time fining motivation through the end of last year. I would run 1-2 times a week, my training schedule wasn’t a schedule at all, just when I could convince myself to go for a run. Up until the end of December, I hadn’t done more than 6.5 miles, and that I’d only done once. The beginning of January rolled around and I knew I needed to get my behind in gear. I finally started sticking to the 2 45 minute runs during the week and started the long runs on the weekends. By the middle of January, 6 weeks before the race, I was at 6-7 miles for a long run. I climbed by a full mile, sometimes a bit more, each week. In 4 weeks I went from 6 miles to over 10 miles, and this is when the pain kicked in. As I often do, I left things to the last minute. While I did get the miles in under my belt, I went way too fast climbing to get there.

2. Lack of strength training- Up until I started physical therapy, I had absolutely no idea how big of a part balance and strength in so many parts of my body meant to healthy running. I thought it was all endurance, and that running built up the muscles in my legs. Not so. My first visit to my therapist revealed extremely weak muscles in most major areas of my body. My core(abs and back muscles) we weak, my hips were all out of whack(which is extremely common in women, especially those who have had children), my hips and glutes were weak, and my leg muscles were weak. What the what? I was in great shape. I could run a half marathon! That wasn’t the case. There are so many factors of muscles that control your legs and hips while running, and if those areas are weak and not balanced, injuries can easily occur. In my case, they did. Even after 2 months in physical therapy and introducing new methods of strength training, weakness is still an issue, although I have seen quite a bit of improvement.

3. Stretching- Who needs it? This girl didn’t. I could get out there, run, and not have any issues. I didn’t need stretching. So I didn’t do any stretching. Big mistake. Stretching really helps keep my body balanced, and while I’m a get out there and do kind of girl, who doesn’t want to slow down for things like stretching, I now know it’s something that has to be done.

This experience has really taught me a lot about my body and the mechanics of running. It’s really not as simple as lace up your shoes and get moving. Now my goal is to get completely on track, because I’ve got a busy schedule ahead this fall and winter. I have back to back half marathons planned, 2 within 13 days in October and November. I’ve gotten the green light from the wonderful Mister to earn one half of my Coast 2 Coast medal with the Tinkerbell half marathon in Disneyland in January. I’ll be accepting the Glass Slipper Challenge, a 10k and the Princess Half Marathon in 2 days, in February. If I want to finish those races pain free, I will have to keep up with strength training, stretching, and a proper training schedule. Thank goodness Disney is helpful and puts out Jeff Galloway training plans for each of their races!

Bash Color Dash 5k- May 5, 2013

Picture May in North Carolina. What do you see? The sun shining, birds chirping, nice warm weather? Wipe that picture out of your head. I live in the south and we haven’t seen 70 degree weather in weeks. We’ve also had a decent amount of rain. Spring has been pretty miserable and the time of year I’m usually starting to turn on my air conditioning, my heat is still busy pumping instead.

As this past Sunday’s race approached, so did the threat of rain. A lot of rain. Cold rain. This was just a little local fun run, so normally I would have just skipped it. But this time, I couldn’t, this race was special. It was my 8 year old son’s first race. He has been begging to race with me and we promised he could do one of the kids’ races at Disney when we went as a family for PHM next year. He wanted to do the Color Run with me last fall but I didn’t think he was ready for a 5k. So this seemed like a good time, a smaller race and just perfect for him. We started his weekend off right with packet pickup on Saturday.

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This was a little rite of passage for him. I made him tell them his name and collect his bib and shirt. He was quite excited.

Sunday morning brought doom and gloom. And cold. The race wasn’t until 4 pm and up until Saturday, they said it would just be windy and cold, with rain starting late afternoon. I had hopes that it would hold off until after the race but no such luck. It started raining by 11 am, and it didn’t stop. A few hours before race time the situation looked a bit like this…

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I can deal with the cold. I can deal with the rain. But the two of them together? No thank you. I seriously thought about just staying home, but I knew that would break my son’s heart. So we decided to suck it up and deal with it. We dressed in layers. LAYERS!! In North Carolina, in May, we dressed in layers. Stick that in your global warming pipe and smoke it. I told my son that the fast we went during the race, the sooner we would finish.

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We headed out to our race destination, with the rain picking up as we drove. The race started at a local high school, and we were at least able to take shelter in the school, the warm, dry school, before the race. We stretched and I dreaded the actual race. This was a color race of sorts, where they squirted paint on you as you ran. This sounds fun, but not in the rain.

As starting time approached, we were forced outside to the starting line. The race was supposed to go at 4 but they didn’t start on time. I’ll admit, this race seemed very unorganized, and for a control freak like me, I didn’t like it. We stood there in the rain, cold and wind, waiting for them to give some kind of instruction. Finally we were able to start.

My son wanted to take off like a little speed demon. But I made him stay with me. He had never run this long before and I didn’t want him to burn out. I set my Garmin watch to 2:2 intervals, thinking he would want to take it easy. Let me tell you a little bit about my son. He is not the world’s strongest athlete by any means. He really isn’t all that athletic at all. He prefers to play a video game or bury his head in a Harry Potter book. He isn’t lazy by any means, but when it comes to work of any kind, he is an instant gratification kind of kid, and if something takes a long time or a lot of work to achieve, he loses interest fast. He is just like his mother. So I really expected to be walking most of this race, with a lot of complaining from him. But I grossly underestimated him. He kept pace with me and he kept running. He would dart ahead at each color station. Ah, the color stations. Unlike the Color Run, this color isn’t in powder form, it’s in liquid form. The volunteers, bless their hearts standing out in the cold rain like that, had large trash buckets full of the color and large water squirters to shoot the runners/walkers as they passed by. I will admit, this made it that much more miserable. We were already getting rather wet from the rain, and the cold colored liquid they squirted on us as we passed made things that much worse, that much colder and that much more wet.

Cold or not, my son loved it. We made it through the first mile in under 11 minutes. After around 1.75 miles, he started to fade a bit. I expected this, but much earlier. He asked to walk, and was ready to go again after less than a minute. We passed a couple who overheard me talking to him about it being his first race. They were thrilled for him and they kept pace with us for the rest of the race(I actually think they liked my constant updates about time, pace and mileage that I was giving my son from my Garmin). We came closer to the finish line. I talked to my son about finishing strong when he asked to walk. We were soaked, we each wore two pairs of socks and 2-3 shirts, all that were wet all the way through. The male half of the couple we kept pace with during the race came up from behind us in the last stretch. He tapped my son’s shoulder and told him to come on, speeding up. I yelled for him to go, to keep going. He dug deep and he sped up with the young man. They crossed the finish line together at 34:01, and I crossed 3 seconds later. Not the world’s fastest 5k but I was thrilled.

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Normally, this would have gone down in the books as my worst race ever. I have never raced in conditions like this before, I purposely avoided this kind of weather. Being cold and wet was miserable, and the race itself was poorly organized. But I consider this one of my best races ever, for many reasons.

First, it was my first race with my son. This was very special to me, because it was something we could share together. I want my kids to grow up to be active, and I’m thrilled to have shared an activity I love with my child. I hope it inspires him to keep going and to keep running. It was also great to have the “us” time. Having 3 kids, it’s hard to have individual time with him. Having 2 younger, much more demanding little girls, my son often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to one on one attention. He is a very good kid, does well in school, behaves as well as an 8 year old boy can, so often I don’t hover above him like I have to with my girls. He is not as demanding of my attention, so sadly he doesn’t get as much. That’s why I refused to give up on this race, because it was for us, and I wasn’t going to bail on the opportunity unless I really had to.

Second, this race made my mama pride meter shoot through the roof. I was hoping for a 40-45 minute finish with minimal complaining. I got so much more than that. He never once complained about being cold or wet. He never once complained about being tired. He communicated with me about what he needed to do, when he could run and when he needed to walk. He dug deep at the end and finished strong. I couldn’t have been prouder of my boy during his first race.

Lastly, I’m very excited that he got a warm welcome to my runner family. Runners, whether they know you or not, are one big happy family. We wave and high five when we pass each other. We encourage each other, we give advice. I love my running friends and family. Having that random stranger there for my son was awesome. The man who encouraged him during the race and took him and pushed him in the end recognized our family’s bond and brought my son into our fold. I’m glad that my son got to see how kind and encouraging our community is.

Baby Steps

I have a race report, an awesome race report, for you all, but I’m drowning in work right now so I’ll get to that later in the day.

Right now, I’m going to be cautiously optimistic(knocking on wood), and say that I *think* I might possibly be on the road to recovery from ITBS. Maybe. Hopefully. I don’t want to jinx anything.

I’ve been through 7 weeks of PT now. The world’s most painful massages, controlled electrocution on my leg, my foam roller is my best friend and so many other tips and tricks I’ve read about online. Up until a couple of weeks ago, it all seemed fruitless. At my last PT appointment, 4 days after my last 5k(which I did with a low level of pain, but pain either way), my therapist said it was time to stop. No more running. I knew it was coming, but my I was still bummed. Running has become a part of my life. But this time I listed and I took the week after that off. I continued to foam roll and see my chiropractor twice a week. After last Wednesday’s visit, he told me to try running. I was conflicted, but decided to try. I hopped on the treadmill Wednesday night. I started slowly. I walked for a warm-up, got off and stretched everything. I got back on, and decided to try for 4:1 intervals, 4 minutes of walking, 1 minute of running. I got through the first minute, no pain. Then the second and still no pain. I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill with several running intervals. I had no pain at all. Score!! But I know I have to ease into this. In an endurance sense, could I go out and run for 5 miles? Sure. Would I end up putting too much stress on my leg? Probably. This is something I’m going to have to ease back in to. But after a 5k I did yesterday, I’m more hopeful, at least right now. But you will just have to stay tuned for that race report. *Cliff hanger!!!*

Is It June Yet??

HUGE news from runDisney for us princesses today.

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It’s been rumored for several weeks, at least in my online running communities, that Disney would be adding something to Princess Half Marathon weekend next year. Last year they added a 10k to the Disneyland half marathon, creating the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge(which is totally on my list next year). After that, they announced a 10k added to the WDW Marathon weekend, creating the Dopey Challenge(a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon and a full marathon in 4 days, too much playing). With PHM weekend being so huge, it only seemed logical that they would capitalize on that popularity and add a 10k to the mix, and Disney did not disappoint. Today it was announced, the new Glass Slipper Challenge, a 10k and the half marathon. I’m beyond thrilled. I’ve been wanting that extra challenge and this is perfect. The best part? Extra bling. Do the 10k, earn your medal, do the half, earn your medal, do both, earn both AND a 3rd medal for completing the Glass Slipper Challenge. This is how I feel right now…

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Seriously guys, June 11 registration can’t come fast enough. Hopefully, since we have a Disney Visa, they will give us a little early registration like they did with the Dopey challenge and WDW Marathon weekend.

But wait, it gets better. Well better for some people, it just creates an intense longing for me. If you run one half marathon at Disney World and one half marathon at Disneyland, you earn a third medal(do you sense my affection for more medals?), the Coast 2 Coast challenge medal. It’s pretty sweet, my BRF Patty earned one this year and I got to fondle, er see it. Next year we will see a slight change in the C2C medal, for some people.

C2C

It’s pink. PINK!! For those who accept the C2C challenge and choose the PHM and the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, you earn the special pink C2C medal. This excites me. This also bums me out. We travel for Christmas, we’ll be traveling for Christmas, then traveling for PHM in February, so me traveling from NC to CA in January just can’t happen. Not to mention I had to go and have a bunch of kids in the month of January and apparently my husband frowns on the idea of me skipping out on my child’s birthday party to go to Disneyland. Kill joy.

Disney certainly dropped some big news today. Maybe it is the extra shot of espresso I had in my latte, but I’m bouncing off the walls excited for this.

Marti Estes 5k Race Report 4/20/13- #Run3rd For Boston

I’ll admit it. I’ve become a bit of a running snob, more specifically a distance snob. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said or thought to myself that it’s “only a 5k”. It brings me back to last summer, when I was thrilled to do a 5k. I remember getting excited watching my times drop, from 40 minutes to 33 minutes. I wondered if I could get myself under 30 minutes. I did this last year, in November, when I finished a 5k in 29:54. Even though I’ve become something of a distance snob, it has been a desire of mine to defeat my 5k PR. I wanted to get in under 29 minutes.

This was still a goal of mine about a month ago, after I completed an 8k in 51 minutes and some change. But my ITBS was still a thorn in my side, and I was doubting being able to run this race at all. To add to it, last week I realized this morning was going to be quite busy. My 4 year old had a soccer game, her last soccer game of this year. My husband was going to take her because I was registered for this race. He would bring our 8 year old son with him, but I didn’t want him to have to take our 2 year old along, as she very much loves to chase her sister and the soccer ball. For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I got a BOB stroller. I’ve been drooling over one for months and finally was able to score a very good deal on one locally, so we picked it up. I wanted to be able to walk or run during the week with our youngest. Since I’ve gotten it, I’ve taken her for a walk a few times, but have never run with it. With my knee still sitting nowhere close to 100%, I volunteered to take the baby(yes, she’s 2, but she’s the youngest, she’s my baby) with me to the race. I figured she would help slow me down so I wouldn’t push my knee too much.

To be honest, I really liked the idea of the extra challenge. I psyched myself up for it all week. I had somebody offer to watch the baby instead of me having to take her, but I declined because I actually wanted to bring her with me. It just happened to rain all day Friday and by Saturday morning, my 4 year old’s soccer game was canceled. I had every chance to leave the baby home with my husband, but again, I declined and decided to bring her with me.

I headed downtown. The race was local to me, in fact it started in the parking lot of where my middle daughter attends preschool. I met up with an “old” friend. By old friend I mean someone I met when we first moved to North Carolina 4 years ago. We both have 4 year old daughters, born 8 days apart. I haven’t seen her in a few years but she recently started running and we’ve signed up for a few races together.

ME5K2 Jessica and me getting ready for the start. It was only in the 40s, so cold for us southern gals!

I had made the decision to try running. I have kind of gotten to the point in my injury that I am just dealing with it. I’ve been told numerous times to stop running, and I have quite a bit, it’s not working, nor is the PT, the massages, the muscle stim and adjustments by my chiropractor. Completely cutting out all activity for weeks upon weeks to see if it gets better is not something I can bring myself to do, not to mention I’ve heard from quite a few people that even that didn’t work. I figured, with the stroller, I couldn’t go too fast, so as long as my pain level remained low to moderate, I would run. I was hoping to finish in under 40 minutes. We were ready to go.

ME5K

I can’t say this race is super organized. There was no official timing and everybody was just kind of milling around at the start. But it’s a popular race in my town, and I joined a pretty large group registered through the fitness center where I do Zumba. My favorite instructors were there, including the lovely Molly, who I like to try and keep up with. She’s a wonderful woman who really connects with the people who take her classes, she’s so encouraging and motivating. I chased her during my 8k and blew my goal time out of the water.

So we are there, at the start, waiting. Well actually to the side of the start, on the sidewalk. I wanted to hop in with the runners and not go to the back of the crowd. This is a big community race so there are lots of people who don’t run and are just walking it for a good cause and for fun. I didn’t want to spend my time attempting to run and dodge a sea of walkers, especially on a rather narrow road way and because they typically don’t understand race etiquette of slower to the right, pass to the left(pet peeve of mine).

The horn goes off and we jump in and start running. So far, so good. The BOB Revolution is a dreamy stroller, it moves with little effort. At least that’s what I thought until we hit the first uphill climb. I’m not going to lie, it was rough. It was a pretty long hill and halfway up, Jessica said we could stop to walk if I needed to. My arms were starting to ache a bit. I told her yes, but we never actually stopped running. I hadn’t looked at my Garmin watch, but I figured we were somewhere around the 11-12 minute mile pace. I was ok with that. I was hoping for somewhere around that with me pushing the stroller. When we hit the first mile, I was pleasantly surprised to see we were under 10:30 for that mile. We kept going. I was even more thrilled to see our second mile at the same pace. I am notorious for slowing with each mile that passes. I normally do under 10 minute miles for the first 2 or so miles, slow to over 10 for miles 3-4 and then drop over 11 minutes a mile after that. Even in past 5ks I have slowed as time and distance go on.

Around mile 2 I got to the point I always get to during a race. The reminder of how much I hate running. I’ll admit it, I have a love/hate relationship with running. I hate it while I’m doing it, but love it any other time. I don’t hate it enough to stop though. I couldn’t wait for the race to be over. We were closing in on mile 3 and although I was wishing for the end, I was still moving well. I was pleased to see that mile 3 was actually a bit faster than mile 2. I was staying steady, at a decent pace(for me), even with the stroller.

We crossed the finish line, and my Garmin read 31:55. I was so happy. I wanted to be under 40 minutes, but was hoping to be anywhere as low at 35 minutes. My personal best is 29:54, and that’s without pushing a stroller and the 25 pound 2 year old it holds. Jessica crossed the finish line with me, she stayed with me the entire time. She is in a different age group than me, and she actually came in 3rd in her age group.

My knee held up the entire time. Yes, it did hurt a bit, but it wasn’t slowing me down. Neither was the stroller. I have had pain through the day, but I’m just to the point where it is what it is. It’s not horrible pain, and I’ve made stretching and my foam roller my friends through the day. I know my physical therapist will only shake her head at me when I see her this week, as this past Wednesday she told me no running this week. Oops.

I’m very happy with my splits. As I mentioned above, staying at a steady pace is something I have always struggled with, whether I’m running a 5k or a half marathon.

Splits

Another thing that helped me along the way today was who my run was dedicated to. My #Run3rd dedications were for the people killed in Monday’s terrorist attacks in Boston. Each mile was dedicated to each person who died. I brought them with me, and I ran for them. I think I ran pretty darn well for them.

Running For Boston

Yesterday, much of the running community around the country got together, wearing race t-shirts and running in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. Many people in my running groups online took part on their own, my local Moms Run This Town group met up to run. Due to timing issues and my knee injury, I had to miss out on that meet up. But I wasn’t going to let the day go to waste and at nearly 9 pm, I hopped on the treadmill.

I’ll mention that when I use my treadmill, I usually watch some kind of tv show online, on my laptop. It helps to pass the time. But last night, I couldn’t get the shows to work correctly, so I was stuck. I was already going to be walking the majority of the distance so I didn’t hurt myself. I tried to surf the net, but it’s hard to do while walking quickly. I put on music, which helped a bit. I ran here and there for short distances but didn’t want to push things, so I kept walking. I got bored and instead of the 4.09 miles I set out to do(4:09 was the time on the race clock when the bombs went off), I decided to stop at 3 miles. I kept looking around online and came across an article about the little boy, Martin, who was killed in the explosions. There was his picture, his smiling face. Between Two Lungs by Florence and the Machine came on my shuffle. There is a line in the song that says “And my running feet could fly, each breath screaming, we are all too young to die.”. With this song on, and this sweet little boy’s face smiling at me from my laptop screen, there was no way I could stop at just 3 miles. I wasn’t in any pain, I certainly wasn’t out of breath, just bored of the treadmill. Thinking of him, and the other people who would never have the options of giving in and going with “just 3 miles”, I kept going. I felt good, I felt stronger, and I cried. I finished my 4.09 miles, it took me an hour, most certainly not fast by any means, but I finished.

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Through the day, and for my run, I also wore one of my race shirts to support the people and the runners of Boston. I chose to wear my 2013 PHM shirt.

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Many others around the running world did the same as I did. Here are just a few examples of runners all over the country, coming together to support Boston.

CrystalCrystal

Elizabeth Elizabeth

Jacquelyn Jacquelyn

Julie The fabulous Julie, you can find her running blog here: http://www.runwalkrepeat.blogspot.com/

Laura Laura

Melanie Melanie

Patty My BRF and jedi master, Patty (you can find her running blog here: http://margaritasmilesandmouse.blogspot.com/ )

Sarah The lovely Sarah. Hung with her at PHM, sweetest person on Earth!

Shara Shara

Stephanie Stephanie

This is just a very small group of pictures. In my online running groups, the response and support was absolutely overwhelming. It makes me so proud to be a member of this community, this group of people called runners. We will not stop moving, we will not slow down, we will keep going forward. Oh, and this…

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Our Biggest Supporters-Our Families

As information on one of the victims of yesterday’s horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon is released, it’s caused me to think of how much goes in to running.

We all know the key parts to running. Good shoes, clothes, proper nutrition, lots of water, training, there are a lot of different pieces to the running puzzle. But there is one key piece that often goes overlooked, and that is the support system.

Personally, without the support of my husband, my children and other family members and friends, I would never have made it to where I am today. I might not have even made it off the couch in the first place. It’s not as simple as lacing up my running shoes and heading out for a run. I have a house to manage, a husband and children. During my half marathon training, my husband was there to support me. He helped get the kids ready for bed so I could be starting my evening runs at a decent time. Some evenings he got the kids ready for, and into bed, by himself, giving baths, helping with homework, brushing teeth and reading books to all three kids, to make sure I could get to my cross training classes or out for a run. When my long Sunday runs started, he got up in the morning before me, started the griddle, and cooked my favorite pre-run food, bacon. As I got ready, he got the kids up, changed diapers, cooked, cleaned up dishes. My kids missed Sunday breakfasts with me, they missed bed time with me. All of these sacrifices made by my family to put my training first. They supported me through races. My husband nodded and smiled through clenched teeth when I came home with yet another pair of running shoes, or when I new piece of running clothing showed up in the mail. He simply said “Yes, dear.” when I talked of race fees. He knew how important this was to me, and he backed me up 110%.

We tend to forget the supporters in the background. Yes, it’s an amazing feat for someone to train so hard for, and complete races, especially races like half and full marathons. It’s a huge accomplishment for the runners, but most of us have others to thank for carrying us through.

This brings me to the sad part. A picture of a little boy has been circulating the internet today.

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This is Martin Richard. He is an 8 year old little boy. I have my own 8 year old little boy, and in many ways, he reminds me of him. Martin, his sister and his mother supported his father through his running. His father was entered into the Boston Marathon, and was running yesterday. As his supporters, Martin and his family were spectators yesterday, waiting to support their father and husband as he ran such an important race. In a cowardly act of terror, Martin made the ultimate sacrifice while supporting his father. He gave his life. Most certainly not willingly, but while cheering his father on, he was taken too soon. His mother and sister sustained injuries. He did nothing wrong, and was simply there to support the runners and his father, to push them across the finish line. His father will forever live with the pain and the questions. I imagine he will pour over his race, wondering if he had just run a bit faster, or not stopped for water, if he would have made it sooner, saving his family. The parents of lost children are not only left with the pain of their loss, but the mountain of “What If’s”, and those what if’s are almost worse than the pain itself. They eat at you.

This terrible loss, it only makes me more aware of how huge our supporters are, how vital they are to our success. It makes me appreciate my family more. It makes me appreciate my friends more. It makes me appreciate my running groups more. It makes me appreciate the volunteers of races more. I just hate that it’s taken the loss of an innocent child to make me realize how important they all are to me.

My Heart Is Heavy

First, stop reading this. Ok, not quite yet. But stop for a minute. Stay quiet. Think about those affected by the unspeakable act of violence in Boston today. Just observe a moment in their honor.

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Ok. I know everyone is talking about this. I won’t be any different. I am a huge mix of emotions right now. I was not directly affected, and only know a couple of people through running networks(not personally) that were affected and injured. So I can’t begin to actually imagine the pain that those directly involved are feeling. I won’t act like I do. But I am a runner. Today is not about slow or fast, distance runners or 5k runners, those who work for years to achieve the big dance at the Boston Marathon or those of us(like me) who will never stand a chance. We are family. I feel like I’m waiting for word on someone, I feel like someone hurt my friends. I’m lost, I’m hurt, and I’m angry.

I know what it’s like to lose a loved one, I’ve lost a child. After all that I went through over my first 21 or so years, I consider myself pretty tough emotional. It takes a lot to shake me, let alone make me cry. I don’t think I’ve cried since the Newtown shooting in December. That broke my heart. I cried on and off for three days. But I’ve stayed solid since then. Until today.

The Boston Marathon is the mecca of races. People train for years in hopes and dreams of this race. Runners have to qualify for entrance. Runners and spectators come from around the world. Somebody took advantage of that, and this breaks my heart. Information is scattered right now, and we don’t have any real answers, except for the fact that people are dead, maimed and injured, children included. Many of the runners had the race of their dreams cut short, unable to cross the finish line. So many affected, and our nation in shock.

In memory of those who lost their lives today(early reports say an 8 year old child was killed, the age of my oldest child), tomorrow I will be wearing my PHM race shirt. I will hop on my treadmill, and I will pound out the miles, whether walking or trying to run, because there is now a group of people who are unable to run. I hope you will join me.