Friday, September 27, 2013

How my decision to run Marine Corps Marathon came to be...

    We are now one month from the Marine Corps Marathon. I wasn't planning on running the Marine Corps Marathon this year. It wasn't even assigned a date yet on my Bucket List of Races. But I am officially registered and running it with some of my favorite and best runner friends!
     So here's how the decision came to be: A rumor came out about runDisney making the undergraound "Dopey" race a reality. In the world of runDisney, you can earn an extra medal, a "Goofy" medal, by running the half marathon and then the full marathon the next day. You were considered "Dopey" by the fans of runDisney if you ran ALL of the races on Marathon Weekend which meant a 5k on Friday, the half  on Saturday, and then the full on Sunday. Well, runDisney decided to make Dopey a real thing but also added a fourth race to the mix, a 10k. So now in order to get an official Dopey medal you had to run all four races that weekend. The bling count would be a total of six - one "medal" for each race and then the Goofy and Dopey medals.
     My heart broke a little with these rumors and then the confirmation and pricing of the new runDisney Marathon Weekend. You could also say I woke up from the runDisney stupor I have been in for the last year or so. I had several issues with this official announcement. And yes, I am ready to let the world know how I feel and risk losing followers, readers, friends. I'm about honesty, so here goes. It bothered me that this lovely little "underground" movement was becoming official. But not only official, it was getting one-upped and being labeled with a very large price tag! Friends broke it down to "it's only $10 a mile" but that's not how I look at races. To run Disney is truly an experience. An experience I have enjoyed many times with many people over the last year and a half.
My 1st runDisney - Wine & Dine 2011

Expedition Everest 2012
Tower of Terror 10 Miler 2012
Wine & Dine 2012
WDW Marathon 2012
Princess 2013
     I do NOT consider runDisney events to be races. I do not go there to race. I go to play and have fun and take lots of pictures and make TONS of memories. I truly do not understand the thinking of people who would pay the amount of money these races cost and then just go run as fast as they can and don't stop to enjoy the "event." For that is what runDisney is to me, an event. I suppose if you have a lot of money to just spend on whatever you want, then it doesn't matter. But that is not me. I have to choose wisely every day how and what I spend my money on. Yay for being a teacher! When I choose a race to BQ on or run for a PR, it will NOT be any race where there are distractions (ie. characters) or even great scenes I just want to capture with my camera. It also won't be a race I've only run once. I learned that lesson at Sarasota this year! I'm also learning that I really love the experience of running, either alone or with friends and especially in new places!
     So, I fell out of love with runDisney and back into just like. I'm just not a runDisney girl. I'm a runner girl. More specifically a traveling runner girl. I want to see the world through my shoes! And not just Disney's World! So I made some tough decisions about my race calendar and then filled it with other dream races and dream activities! My plan was to get my Coast to Coast medal next year with runDisney. (When you run a race at Disney World and then at DisneyLand in the same calendar year, you get an absolutely beautiful medal for your efforts!) I was going to run the Donald Half at Marathon Weekend and then The Tinkerbell Half the following weekend in January 2014. That has all changed now! Now I may do my Coast to Coast in 2016, the 5th anniversary of Tinkerbell Half. Hopefully the medal will be spectacular!
     I also plan on doing the Goofy in 2015 for it's tenth anniversary. This leads me to my last bothersome point of the new runDisney announcement. Goofy scares me. Friends have continued to try to get me to do it and I just refuse! I know what my body is capable of right now and I know that this would be a big undertaking - even if I play through both races! I was scared to run back to back halves. I've trained and have now accomplished that feat. I was scared to run more than one marathon a year - I am now signed up for two within four months of each other. I will train and train hard so that my body is prepared. I think that serious training is essential if you plan to do something like a Goofy or a Dopey. Yet some people will not train as they should and will hurt, may not finish or suffer through it all. I won't ever do that to my body. I do NOT enjoy pain and suffering - not even to earn a medal. Never say never, but right now I'm saying I will never do the Dopey.
     I realize that some people budget only for runDisney events/races and that is all they do all year. But I truly love races and the atmopshere of a race weekend wherever it may be. I did not become a runner because of Disney. I want to run Boston, New York, Chicago, San Fransisco, Paris, Milan, London! I want to see places and run the towns and be with the people and eat their food! THIS is who I am. So I'm running my nation's capitol on October 27th in one of the most fabulous marathons on the planet! I'm running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Turtle vs Hare: Joy vs Defeat

     I've come to a realization lately that maybe I'll just always be a turtle. I always tell people who claim they are slower than me that speed is relative. I can hear them laughing now at the first line of this post. I have myself laughed at friends who complain that their 8:46 pace on their 6 mile run was sluggish - Haha! Really?!? I wish I could hold that pace for more than 1/2 a mile!
     Over the last nine months or so of racing & running I have found that the times I enjoyed the most were when I just ran - not for time, but just to feel the run as my idol, Kara Goucher, would say. When I ran the Sarasota Half this past March, my goal was to PR. It was a new-to-me race, in a city that I had been to many times but had never run through before. I should have enjoyed the moment. I should have taken in the sights and enjoyed running with my friends, so many of which were there. But instead, I tried to beat my 2:09 half time and ended up not enjoying the race and finishing in 2:12 - getting passed at the end by a friend! Ouch! That race has haunted me all year! So when I ran the Peachtree Road Race in July, I ran just to run it. It was a HUGE bucket list race for me, so just being there was amazing. I took in the sights, the crowds & the holy water sprinklings, felt great during & after the race & did not PR. But I had a GREAT RACE!

     When I think about what is best for me, I look back at my past and learn from those times. Experiences like Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World where we barely finished in under SEVEN HOURS! But we had the time of our lives!
Marathon Weekend 2013
     Or Princess Half Marathon where I ran and played all by myself and finished in a tad over THREE hours!
Princess Half 2013
     But then there was that Gate River Run in March where the third time was the charm and I PRed using consistent Galloway run/walk/run intervals AFTER working the expo all the previous day...
Gate River Run 2013
     I really wanted to PR the Boston 10k this year! I did everything right and skipped late night concerts AND drinking - but my "time" was the worst yet! But running with my friends Linzie & Adam made the time much more special. NOTE: I will NOT be skipping Buffett the night before in 2014! I had a much better "time" in 2012 after attending! ;-)
Boston's B.A.A. 10k
     Running with friends, running in new places, running to just experience the act of running - That is why I run. I really don't do it for the medals or the t-shirts. They are a nice side item and I used to be all about that. But running to me is so much more now. I really love running. If you don't love it, I'm not really sure what the point is! I even look forward to and love my speed work sessions I now attend every week! It's the atmosphere, the others who are like me, the challenge of what lies ahead and the beauty of the world that make me want to run it!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Uncertain Summer

     As the new season nears, I am thankful for the change, the newness, the hope of things to come. I have been absent too long from my writing. Absent too long from my sharing of stories of races, meals & friends. I look forward to reconnecting to my blogging world in the weeks to come. I feel so much has happened since May! Some good, some not so good and some really tough challenges have been a part of my new story.
     A few weeks before my summer break began, life entered a very uncertain phase. My job position was cut & I was suddenly a free agent grasping at ideas of where to go next. My grandmother was admitted to the hospital and she remained there for a full month, undergoing many tests and procedures. My family's life - my mom, dad & me - was suddenly very interupted! Traveling South, my family and I spent much of the next two months taking shifts to care for my grandmother and her home. After a month in the hospital, we had to get her back on her feet and moving around again. She is 89. Things were not easy for any of us but when it comes to family, you do what you need to to care for them! As I spent time in South Florida, I used whatever free time I could to send out resumes and schedule interviews. Whenever I could be home I would pop in for an interview here & there. I was offered jobs and then would lose them to budget cuts. It was a very unsettling time but also a time that presented many learning opportunities. 
     By August, I had a new job and grandma was doing well enough to be on her own for a bit. Change is never easy but I welcome it and try to adapt. The dream is still not a reality, but I am reaching toward it every day. In moments of sadness or frustration I took the advice of my friend Lee who suggested I find something to focus on that is happy. Fortunately for me, I was still able to take the two racecations I had planned for my summer - my annual pilgrimage to Boston for the BAA 10k and my bucket list race trip to Atlanta for the Peachtree Road Race! Race, food & travel recaps will be coming in the following weeks! Also during this time, I was blessed by my best friend in a way I could have never imagined. She called me from Germany to tell me that she was paying for my ticket to Paris so we can celebrate our 40th birthdays just like we had planned. All I have to do is by my ticket home... which I have not done yet! (Enter sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun here...)
     Fall will soon be here! It is my favorite time of year and I intend to get fully lost in it! Football, food, and fall smells! I love it all! My marathon training is really ramping up as I head toward Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. My Social Media Butterfly duties for 26.2 with Donna go into full speed ahead the first weekend of October! Oh, and among all of the craziness this summer, I also started formal speed work sessions! (Even though I still think speed kills, I would like to get a little faster! #competitive)
     Then there's the best news of all to end this post on and begin my new story with: Athleta! Jacksonville is the lucky recipient of a brand new Athleta store and I am blessed to be one of the chosen few to be working there! To say that I am excited about this opportunity is a major understatement! I love my team, my management and I am over-the-moon excited to get into the new store to get it ready for all of our new customers, many of which will be my friends! I see this as one more door to opportunities leading to the achievement of my dreams and goals!

     So, from an uncertain Summer to an exciting Fall I go!