Well, it’s that time of the summer when I start trying to increase mileage to begin to prep for fall half and full marathons. Luckily, my PT has allowed me to start increasing mileage again, at least for this week. I’ve been restricted to roughly 15 miles a week for about a month, so getting to run more than three mile runs is pretty exciting to me.
My goal half marathon is the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Disney in November. I know, a lot of people think it’s silly to try and PR at a Disney race, but I’ve decided that is the race I want to go for. I am shooting for a pretty big time goal- I’d love to go sub 1:40. That would be just over a three minute PR, which doesn’t sound that major, but for some reason saying 1:39 makes me really nervous. My current PR happened on a really hot morning, so I’m hopeful that I can shave four or so minutes off my time with some solid training. Goal pace is 7:33.
My full marathon for the fall is still up in the air, but I am leaning towards the Philadelphia full marathon the weekend before Thanksgiving. I’ve read good things about it, it times well because Wine and Dine could lead into a hard two week taper as I don’t like long drawn out tapers, and I like that time of year because I love racing marathons in cooler weather. Give me 30’s or 40’s for a marathon any day. So I’m not making it official yet, but that is the one I am eyeing. I am undecided on my goal time for this race. Based on my goal half time, I should be shooting for a 3:28, however that would be a 32 minute PR, and I am not sure how I feel about shooting for that.
Week 1 Training
Monday: 1 mile. This was the day after running the Boilermaker 15k in Utica, where I somehow PR’d off of very little mileage. This hills took their toll, however, so I needed a short day to recover and maintain my run streak.
Tuesday: 4 miles.
Still rough, and my knee is still sore, with pain traveling down the fibula side of my shin. So I stuck to the treadmill and got through the miles, throwing in some spurts at 7:30 pace to break it up a bit.
Wednesday: 5 miles.
Stuck to the treadmill again. Knee/shin was still sore, though not as bad as it was on Monday.
Thursday: 3 miles.
However, I asked if I could run a couple of track races that day, expecting a big no from my PT as I haven’t been allowed to run any interval or track workouts in a long time. He surprised me with saying yes, so that was a change in the plan.
Friday: 1 miles.
I had PT nice and early and did my mile to maintIn my run streak there, followed by a trip to Starbucks and a relaxing float in the pool. I’m enjoying my quiet Friday mornings at PT and will be sad when I have to return to hectic night ones.
Saturday: 9 miles
I decided to do a group run that did the course for a 15k in August. It was an urban trail run group and I had been wanting to get out and join them for the last few runs and finally could attend. Only problem? It didn’t start until 11 am, and the temps were already into the 80’s and the humidity was pretty high. I rode the struggle bus for much of the run and was truly grateful to be running with a group to keep me going. It was definitely a huge help!
Surprise! 3 extra miles
So my running club did a group run/walk/bike to different restaurants in the area. I missed the first stop, but was able to meet up for the second place and on. It was a lot of fun, but that was three more miles added on for the day, and my legs, and my right knee especially, were feeling it.
Sunday: 7 miles: actual 5
I decided I was going to skip another group run and put some miles on my treadmill to give my legs a rest from Saturday’s adventures. Plus it was super sticky out there again, so I decided my body would be better off inside so that the run wouldn’t be as strenuous as yesterday’s. It ended up being rough even on the treadmill, with knee pain becoming pretty prominent in miles three and four so I decided to call the run at five in order to save my knee a bit. It just wasn’t worth pushing onward this early in a training cycle in order to log some easy miles. This is an unusual decision for me as I often push myself to finish all miles listen in a plan, but I am trying to learn to listen to my body and give it the rest it needs.
This year was my seventh time running the Buffalo Half Marathon. It was my first half ever back in 2012, when I really didn’t know what I was doing and just decided to sign up for a half marathon at the beginning of my running journey. I ran/walked my way to a 2:13 and got hooked on running half marathons, running a 1:58 in September and a 1:57 in November of 2012. I ran a 1:45 at Buffalo in May 2013, and sort of flattened out from there. I was able to chisel my PR down to a 1:44:27 in October of 2014, but after that I couldn’t seem to break 1:45 again. I did a lot of half marathons since then, but they never seemed to go right.
A lot was mental. I started doubting myself, pulling back when it seemed hard. If conditions weren’t perfect, like the weather wasn’t the best or if my training was subpar, I would stand at the start line overanalyzing the details. This of course led to disappointing results and leaving the race bewildered. I started running half marathons for fun, enjoying the sights and the experience, which isn’t a bad thing, but made my times slower than they normally were. Then, when I registered for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Disney for this November, I realized I had relaxed so much that I didn’t have a decent proof of time to submit for corral placement. Things had to change.
Progress Since January
After the high of the marathon, my PT pulled back my mileage for the rest of January and I was doing a max of three miles a day for a few weeks. However, he didn’t mind if I pushed the speed on these runs. So between PT, joining the RunSmart Online community and getting even more strength and functional training, and running shorter, faster runs, I started to see my 5k times drop.
I entered a 5k in February. It was my first one since August, where I had had an abysmal performance and stopped racing them. I was ecstatic with achieving a 23:20, over two minutes off of my time from August. A few weeks later I got a 23:40 at a windy race, coming in as second overall female.
In April I stood at the start line of a chilly 5k and a friend looked at me and told me he thought I could win this thing. I laughed and told him no. I had never won a race before! I had no confidence in myself when the gun went off, but he was right (thanks, Paul, for having confidence in me when I did not). I ran a 22:40, not far off from my 5k PR from 2015, good enough to take first overall female. It was really exciting and I was overwhelmed. I had always wanted to experience winning a race, and I was blown away that I finally had. The next day I was at another 5k starting line, this time running a 22:53 and taking second overall. I was pretty excited to run two sub 23:00 5k’s back to back and started to feel my confidence grow.
Two weeks later I won another overall female award at a hilly 5k with a 22:22, a new PR, finally breaking my PR from 2015. I was a little nervous that I had run so fast because I had a half marathon the next day that was also hilly, the Flower City Half Marathon in Rochester, NY. I wasn’t planning on racing it, but I was hoping for around a 1:50. Luckily the weather was perfect and I felt pretty good, running a 1:44:49. I ran by feel that race, only occasionally looking at my watch. I was shocked as I neared the end and began to realize how fast I was going.
I ran the Seneca 7 relay race around Seneca Lake the next weekend, which left my knee angry, but I continued on with my planned races. I had my goal 10k that next weekend, wanting to take down my 46:55 PR from 2015. Again, perfect weather conditions helped me along the way to a 45:52, good enough for third overall female. I did a 5k the next day that my husband wanted to do and was shocked to get my first sub 22 5k, earning a 21:58 and taking second overall female at that race. The following Friday I entered a 5k that I REALLY wanted to win because the award was a gold plated laurel wreath brought here from Greece, which was really enticing because I married into a Greek family. I ran that race hard, and was blown away when I crossed the finish line in 21:17 and was told I was first overall. I couldn’t believe I had done it! I ran another 5k the next morning, getting a 21:52 and another first. I was feeling overwhelmed by how well I was running, by how my running had changed from the year before.
The next weekend, the weekend before the Buffalo Half, I ran the Kelly Tough 12k, a hilly race in Orchard Park, NY that supported the Hunter’s Hope foundation. It was exciting to see Jim Kelly speak to the runners, inspiring to see a man who was fighting so much adversity come out and continue to persevere and even start the race and walk it. I ran too hard in the first two miles, underestimating the hills, and struggled through the rest of the race. It was the first rough race I had had this year. I finished in 56:21, 11th overall, 3rd female, but didn’t feel great about my performance and hoped I would turn it around for Buffalo.
The Goal: Buffalo Half Marathon
Like many runners, I anxiously watched the weather forecast for race weekend. At first it was calling for rain and potential thunderstorms, though that forecast diminished and was replaced by heat and humidity. This left my anxiety elevated as we hadn’t had that kind of weather going into that race. We had been cool for most of the spring, so this was going to be a shock for local runners.
The hubbie and I decided to splurge and stay in a hotel close to the start line to help alleviate some of the morning stress. We left the hotel a little after 6 am and were lined up ready to go for the race start at 6:30 am. I lined up around the 1:40 pacer and took off at the start, pacing around a 7:27 and 7:12 (downhill during that mile) for the first two. I stayed around a 7:30 pace for the next two miles, but noticed that I was already starting to struggle and that I should back off a bit. I started inserting 20-30 second walk breaks during water stations, and a few when I was feeling particularly rough. Knowing I have another half marathon in a week, I didn’t want to do anything too stupid during the race.
I was mentally beating myself up a bit. I couldn’t believe that this was how my race was going. I had a ton of support along the sidelines and during the race. That’s what is amazing about the WNY running community, they are incredibly supportive of everyone. I had friends cheering me on from the sidelines and a few runners cheer me on and check in with me during the race, which definitely provided me with a bit of a boost, but I was still extremely disappointed with myself. When I hit mile 8, which is a major water stop that I knew a bunch of people were volunteering at, I started doing mental math and trying to decide what time I would be happy with. I thought a PR was out the window at this point, and I definitely wasn’t hitting my low 1:40 like I was hoping for, so I started bartering with myself.
I oddly started feeling a bit better at this point and threw down a 7:36 and a 7:45 mile after some 8:10-8:20 miles. I noticed that I had a shot to still PR if I could finish relatively strong. I made the final turn and saw the finish line, which in reality was really still about a half mile away, but that propelled me forward. I ran the last part at around a 6:48 pace, pushing to the finish line and being relieved that I finished in 1:43:07. That wasn’t near what I had been shooting for, but it was still a PR of 1:20 and salvaged a bit of the race for me. Later I looked at my data from my Garmin and noticed that my heart rate was high for most of the race, which is why I felt so physically off during the race.
Using the tracking app, I was able to cheer my husband into the finish and locate a friend on the course to support and run in. Then we all stood at the finish line, cheering in friends as they crossed, again showing how supportive the running community is here. We hung at the after party for a bit, touching base with friends, celebrating victories and lamenting set backs. I think that’s one of the best parts of running, is all of the amazing people I have met while pursuing my goals. We all push ourselves to the limit and struggle together, therefore we can relate and understand each other. We build friendships and comradery based upon this little past time of ours, which only helps make each of us stronger.
As I mentioned in my expo post, I miss when the Wine and Dine half was at night. It used to be so fun to start at ESPN, hit up a bit of Animal Kingdom, and then arrive at Hollywood Studios and run through the Osborne Light Show. There was something so magical about turning the corner and just being completely immersed in Christmas lights and cheer. It was a great way to start the last third of the race.
Then the race got moved to the morning, and with all of the construction in Hollywood Studios, the course has changed drastically, with the start moving to Magic Kingdom. I wish there was a way you could actually run IN Magic Kingdom for a bit. It’s like they taunt you a bit, brining you so close to the park, but then have you running away from it towards Animal Kingdom.
This race always has characters out dressed in restaurant or chef gear, and it’s fun to get prerace pictures with them. We were able to get Donald, Minnie, and Mickey before we decided to jump in the bathroom line. This seemed to be a bit of a mess. there was a cue for the portapotties that wrapped back and forth and ended in the middle of the line of portapotties, rather than the lines that people usually form. This wasn’t working well because there were often bathrooms left empty because you couldn’t tell from the middle if they were open or not. It moved slowly and I don’t think this was the best thing. Usually you can jump in line and get through relatively quickly prior to the race, but this time I was not overly impressed. The castmembers were telling us there were available bathrooms once you went into the corral areas, but after being in line so long we didn’t want to get out of line in case it was just as chaotic in the other area, which still ended up being congested when we got in line there later. I’m a nervous runner and usually have to use the bathroom A LOT before a race, so these long lines stressed me out.
I raced into corral A after they had already left the corral and walked to the start line. I lined up at the back of the corral, which I’m not really used to, and tried to tell myself it would be ok, that I wasn’t going for a PR and it was okay if I got caught in some congestion. Luckily, as the front corrals have become smaller in recent races, I really didn’t have a problem with too slow of a start or getting trapped like I used to. I watched the usual announcers discuss the race, invite Minnie and Mickey up, and then send us on our way. The fireworks at the start were awesome and we began our 13 mile trek around Disney.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like Disney did a better job of placing characters and entertainment on the course. I never felt overly bored, which I have on some of their more recent courses as they have had to divert around various construction projects. They had some bigger names out, like Tink starting the list of characters, though her line was already long when I passed by in the middle of the A corral, and I chose not to stop.
You didn’t get to Animal Kingdom until around mile four, and you only got to be in the park for about one mile, but it was cool to run through Pandora. It looked pretty neat in the dark. I was excited to see Rafiki in the park, and I stopped for a quick picture because there was no line! I was a little disappointed at the lack of picture opportunities during this segment of the race, but it was still fun. The course was pretty curvy at this point, and I noticed my pace dropped a lot while in the park, and this is also where my knee became a bit more noticeable, so I had to pick it up once we got back onto access roads and then the main roads.
Mile 5 looped around the from of Animal Kingdom and the parking lot, then 6 took us back to the highway. Miles 7, 8, and 9 all were pretty much on the main roads. There were some characters and entertainment, like the Green Army Man who yells at you as you get closer to Hollywood Studios on one of the few hills. I love when you see the Green Army Man because it signals that you are closer to Hollywood, and I like the course after you hit Hollywood Studios.
We spent a little time in the park, where they had some of their Christmas stuff up. It wasn’t nearly as cool as before when it was the Osborne Lights, but it was exciting after being out on the roads for awhile. As we went into the park, I noticed a “set” off to the side and a camera person, but no character. I was a little disappointed, and as I started to pass it I suddenly saw Oswald coming out. I cheered and turned around and quickly got a pick before continuing on. Shortly after the Oswald stop I saw the Genie coming back out and counted myself lucky as I stopped to snag a picture with him, too. You looped out of the park, as usual, and started down the walkway towards Boardwalk. The walkway had these big green fences up, which disappointed me because I’ve always liked the view through that area, as it follows the waterway. Luckily they eventually stopped, so you could see the scenery and get a breeze again. There were a fair amount of spectators out as you neared the Boardwalk and circled around through the Beach and Yacht Club areas, which made it more fun. One of the negatives about Disney races is the lack of crowd support because you spend so much time out on the roads, so that is probably one of the reasons I love the stretch from mile ten to the end, since it tends to have more spectators and things going on.
Once you neared the back entrance to Epcot, we looped around through the back area, and then came out and followed the marathon route around the countries. Remy and his brother were out from Ratatouille, so I made a quick stop to snag a picture there, and then just enjoyed the trek through the countries and around the lake. It’s always so pretty and there were cast members out cheering us on. After the countries you loop up near the ball and head out a back way, towards the parking areas. I was a little sad that the choir that usually sings around mile 13 weren’t there. I always enjoyed them and they’ve become almost an expectation for me. There was another group there that was good, I was just surprised.
The finish line area is always exciting. I love that the announcers call out your names as you approach. Confetti covered the ground when the first finisher crossed, which I was pretty psyched to hear was a girl! I didn’t see any characters at the finish line, which I thought was weird because usually someone is there and you can snag a high five as you cross the finish line. Instead I just celebrated as I crossed the finish line, though my race photos show some pretty creepy faces, which I’m going to not include in this post.
One of my complaints about RunDisney races is how far you walk immediately after the finish and how much stuff they give you, with no bag. I walked pretty slowly through the chute because I knew my husband wasn’t too far behind me as I was tracking him through the runner tracking system on my phone. I stopped and got some ice for my knee, which they strapped on quickly and sent me on my way. As you continue to wind through the chute, you got a cooling towel, water, PowerAde, a banana, the coveted RunDisney food box, and THEN they stop you for pictures, so you have to put everything down if you want a finisher picture. I feel like that should be sooner in the line up so that you don’t have to juggle everything, or they should have a bag they give you so you can actually carry everything without a struggle.
They make you keep moving through the chute, so I had to wait for my husband outside the finisher picture area. They let us both go back in so that we could get pictures together. Then we grabbed my bag from the bag check, which is quick and easy, and we went back to the merchandise tent to see what was left. There was tons of stuff, but nothing new, so we went and got a picture with Chip and Dale and then caught the shuttle to go back to our resort since we had a breakfast reservation at Cape May at the Beach Club and needed to get moving.
I did my first Wine and Dine half in 2012 and have gone back every year since. That year I had just gotten into running and was intrigued by the Disney races. My in-laws had never been to Disney, so my husband and I decided to bring them down with us. We stayed at All Star Music in a cute suite, and I got to see RunDisney in all its flash and glory, which obviously got me hooked.
This was back when you could register for RunDisney races a few weeks in advance, rather than getting on the computer right when the regi
stration opened, praying that you’d get in. I think my husband and I both registered for the 5k about a week before the race, which would be my husband’s first ever race and start his slow pull into running. A lot of changes have happened since that year. Overall, RunDisney became really popular, making registration stressful and forcing people to register nearly a year in advance. This definitely could be a turn off to people, and it seems that race demand is in decline. RunDisney has already moved next year’s marathon registration back to April, versus the February it was this past year. That’s helpful, particularly if you don’t allow for transfers, deferrals, or refunds, and makes it nicer if you want to try to make a more “last-minute” trip to do a race.
The Wine and Dine Weekend has also changed, now offering a challenge for completing the 10k and half. When I started running it in 2012, it was the 5k on Saturday morning with the half marathon that night, finishing with a party at Epcot, where runners could stay until three or four AM. There was something really neat about starting a race at 10 pm and running through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, the Boardwalk, and Epcot at night, but that has changed. Now the race weekend extends over three days, with the 5k on Friday, 10k Saturday, and the half Sunday afternoon, with the party that night, which can be difficult to take off of work for another day if you are an out-of-towner. This change, to me, has decreased the uniqueness of the Wine and Dine, and I think the fact that registration was still available going into race weekend shows that I am not the only person who feels that way. However, I digress.
I brought up change because the expo underwent many changes for this race weekend, which were obvious from the start. My husband went down early this year, and he texted me from the expo, telling me how different it was. I didn’t really know what he meant until I got there. First of all, the buses drop you off in a different spot, likely due to construction, but it seemed substantially closer than the old locations. You used to walk a fair amount just to get into the ESPN complex. Now it wasn’t so bad. The first stop to get your bib was in the same building, but here’s where the changes started. When you walked in, going one way would take you to bib pick up, the other way would take you to a merchandise location. There was always an area to get the coveted RunDisney race merchandise near bib pick up, but now it was in a different room. As we walked to the race merchandise, my husband warned me how different it would be. I couldn’t even fathom it when we walked in.
You used to be crammed into little areas with people pushing each other just to get to items. I’ve seen people yelling, throwing things, and breaking things in order to get stuff. Usually this behavior was more around Princess weekend, but I’ve seen aggressive shoppers during other weekends as well. It was always drama filled.
This year the merchandise was basically in its own level of the arena, in a sprawling area where people could easily navigate and pick out the items they wanted. There was a section of generic RunDisney stuff, an area for men and women apparel for each race, and miscellaneous drinkware, with the preorder stuff along the back wall. I couldn’t believe it! It used to be very stressful to get your merchandise, and this was so peaceful and laid back. I was able to look at everything and really see it, instead of being jostled over items that were the most wanted. People were milling around rather than rushing to get things. I don’t know if the fact that RunDisney didn’t release any race merchandise previews helped, but it was a totally different atmosphere. My husband had been there right when it opened Thursday, and we were both there right when it opened Friday. There was no overcrowding or issues at all. I also feel like they are doing a better job with ordering enough stuff. There were a few things that sold out, but some of the more popular items were still available at the end of the weekend, such as jackets, Tervis mugs, and other race shirts. I know this is a smaller race, but I was still so surprised by the positive changes.
After the merchandise and bib pick up, we still had to go to the other building to get the shirts. They still have it at the back of the arena, forcing you to walk through the vendors to get there. It’s good marketing, but still is a bit of a pain to have to go over there. There wasn’t any race merchandise in this building like there normally is, so everything was much more spread out in there and made it easier to walk around and browse the various stalls. We quickly picked up my shirt and shopped, before stopping for a drink to get the RunDisney cups that you can get when you purchase a beverage. This time they were clear with glitter, and we’ve gotten a number of different colors over the years. We were able to enjoy our drinks outside, people watching and musing over how much easier this expo had been than previous years.
So, while I discussed some changes that may not have been for the best at the beginning of my post, I do have to say that the changes made to the expo this time around are very positive. Kudos to RunDisney for addressing a problem that has been building up for awhile now. I hope that they use this system for marathon weekend. I’ll report back for that one and let you know how that expo goes in two months!
The fall foliage is turning, however the humidity was still in full effect on Sunday. The hubs and I did 5 miles, working on achieving negative splits.
Monday and Tuesday consisted of easy treadmill runs because my treadmill is finally fixed! It’s been over a month since I really have been able to use it.
Wednesday I was able to convince my PT to let me run a mile as my warm up instead of the elliptical, citing that I will run one after for my run streak, so could I just do it now? He agreed as long as there was no pain and I got my 1.1 in to maintain my streak.
Thursday and Friday were easy runs on the treadmill.
Saturday was a quarter marathon race. I was super nervous for this run as I haven’t run short in a race since August. I’ve also been super mental lately, doubting myself, and I feel this race was a breakthrough as I was able to push myself to a first place in my age group at the end, giving one final hard effort during the last mile.
Sunday was another easy treadmill run, hitting four miles.
Total mileage for 8 days: 30.9
Reflection on the week: My legs are feeling pretty good after Chicago. My knee is acting up a little bit after the race on Saturday, but overall it’s feeling pretty good. Just need to stick with PT and make sure I’m diligently strengthening and stretching.
My biggest achievement was the race. I really did a nice job mentally, reigning in an over enthusiastic pace, controlling it, and pushing it at the end instead of holding back like I often do. Looking forward to next week’s training, as miles increase and I start incorporating some speed work.
When I found out that I got into the Chicago Marathon last December, I was so excited.My mind instantly began racing (no pun intended), imagining the excitement of such a big race and the huge marathon PR I could get on such a big stage.It was going to be epic.
However, life doesn’t always seem to go as planned.I ended up getting a new job at a new school over the summer, while taking three online graduate classes during July and August.My summer consisted of being stressed over interviews, writing grad papers for 4-5 hours pretty much daily, and really just trying to get my life together, which is not an easy task for an OCD planner like myself.
Let’s just say my running took a hit over the summer.I was running, but other life demands took their toll on me.I also started noticing some knee pain in August.Never debilitating, but just enough to cut back on some runs and to be a nuisance.Then mid-August hit and I started my new teaching job, and with it, a whole new world of stress.It’s good stress, because I really do love my new school and students, but stress nonetheless.So while I tried to fit in runs during the beginning of the year teacher exhaustion period, I wasn’t always successful in doing so.
Then, of course, I got sick mid-September.It wasn’t like the flu or anything. I was never completely knocked down, though I did spend one Saturday sleeping for about twelve hours.As I got bronchitis right before my last marathon, I became very paranoid.I cut back on my running, missing my last long run before my taper and really not running much in the two weeks leading into Chicago.
Thus, I knew I was definitely undertrained as I lined up race day.I stood in the F corral, eyeing the 3:55 pacers, my adjusted goal time that I had set over the summer when I knew that I couldn’t meet my original enourmous dream time.I texted my husband, talking about running with them, but kind of knowing that it was not going to happen.I wasn’t ready.I knew it.Plus, it was already 56 degrees, with temperatures predicted to approach 80.I am NOT a warm weather runner, so that was weighing on my mind a bit.
The first few miles flew and I wasn’t far off of my goal pace.However, I could already feel my legs at the 5k mark.I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hold my low 9:00paces.I texted my husband around the 8k mark, telling him I wasn’t going to be able to maintain, and he encouraged me to slow a bit.This is where my knee started to complain, and I added walk breaks through water stations.By mile 8 I was hurting and my mind was overwhelmed by the amount of remaining miles.
I hadn’t realized how bad a hit my endurance had taken when I was sick and not really running, but I was feeling it heavily early on in the race.My knee was angry about the pounding, likely having enjoyed its rest period while I was sick, and it expressed itself early on with pain.Then the pain travelled up to my hips, and my shins began cramping.My legs weren’t ready.
It was mentally hard to run this race.There were times I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish.I’ve never felt that much pain so early in a marathon, and I was worried that it was going to get to the point that I would need to stop, that my body was going to give out on me.It was that unknowing, and constant reminder with discomfort and pain shooting through my legs and hips on each step, that made my race an inner turmoil for me.I wasn’t sure how far I was going to make it, and that was killing me.
One great thing about the Chicago Marathon is the crowd support, and I truly believe that is a major reason I was able to finish.As I passed the halfway mark and the temperatures began to climb, I noticed a lot more people start walking.This race was impacting a lot of people, not just me, and that was a little reassuring.I guess misery loves company, right?But it was also during this time that I began to rely on the crowd cheering to help me through.I purposely wore one of my Sparkle Athletic skirts, a super shiny one, to draw attention, and I achieved my goal.Lots of people called to me that they liked my outfit, and that helped me continue on.
People lined the streets throughout the race, which was quite amazing to see.Not only did they cheer, but the supplied things like candy, drinks, food, and even tissues!All of these things were greatly appreciated.My favorite was the people who gave out freezie pops.I can’t even tell you how amazing that was.It was sunny at this point and super hot.I had salt caked to my face from the sweat (ew, right?).Then all of a sudden someone handed me a red freezie, and my life got a million times better.I don’t know if these spectators realize how great their actions were, their cheering or their supplies, but I know that they definitely helped me finish a difficult race and I am forever thankful.
I almost cried when I crossed the finish line.I had really wondered if I would make it at times, and it was a relief when I hit mile 26 and I was able to pick up the pace on the turn and finish somewhat strong.It was easily one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I plan on not making the same mistakes twice.I learned a lot from this race.I am running the Disney marathon in January, which I am now looking at as almost a redemption race, and I plan on throwing everything I can at this race.
I have gotten a coach for this race.I’m looking forward to getting a training plan that runs much higher mileage, because I realized that my best marathon was off of a training cycle that had a number of 55-60 mile weeks, while this time I was around 40.I also am hoping the guidance and accountability of a coach will help keep me consistent, finding time to make these runs work as I settle into my third month at my school and I feel that I have finally fallen into more of a routine there.
I have also started physical therapy.I had my first appointment, and started a rehab program to help with my knee pain.I’m obviously facing some muscle weaknesses and imbalance because I think my soreness from my first PT appointment might have been worse than my post marathon soreness.I need to make cross training and strength a bigger part of my training plan.I also need to stretch more as I was told my legs were pretty tight.
Hopefully with these steps, I can redeem myself in Disney.I am still dreaming of a marathon PR, which would be right around four hours.I’d be thrilled to break four.I think if everything comes together, and if my PT goes well, I might be able to do it.It’s a huge jump, but I’m going to throw everything I have at this goal.I’m not going to make the same mistakes as I did with Chicago.This is going to become a priority now that my life seems to be calming down and I’m ready to take it on.