Last Saturday I ran the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon and shocked myself with a huge PR! I went into this race thinking I’d just run it and take it easy- I’d be happy with whatever finish time I got. But at a certain point in the race, I knew I was on track to set a big PR so I decided (literally mid-race) to start racing.
I was put in corral B and lined up with Megan and Cait, two of my speedy Runner’s World co-workers, and we all had on our matching Runner’s World singlets. They were doing the Goofy Challenge (running the half and the full the next day) so they said they were going to take it easy during the half, which meant they would run at my pace (#slowpokediaries).
We were right next to the 2:00 pacer but soon realized he was actually going much faster than he was supposed to. Some of our other coworkers, Robert, Jeff, Mark and Chris, who were a little farther back in the corral, caught up to us and promptly zoomed by because they were taking it easy too- which meant 7:38 pace for them.
I forget exactly when Megan and Cait got away from me but it was somewhere around 5 miles. I was fine with this though because I really didn’t want to push it too hard or hold them back. However, it was also around this point when I realized I was pretty far ahead of the 2:00 pacer. This is when I decided to kick it up.
Looking back this was probably the worst time to kick it up because we were about the enter the Magic Kingdom where the course would narrow down from a four-lane highway to a three-abreast road, but we all make mistakes- especially in races. I did a lot of weaving and dodging going through the park but I have to admit it was pretty cool to run through it and see all of the characters.
Running through the Magic Kingdom got me really pumped and my pace reflected that- I was running 8:50’s which is a bit quick for a half for me. But once we left the park we were back to the highway and back to boredom and I also saw the 2:00 pacer get ahead of me.
I honestly really hated the highway portions of the half, which unfortunately was the majority of the course I think. The highways were pretty bare except for the water stops and some marching bands along the way. Also, the on-ramps killed me because the contour of the ramp was really hard on my hips.
I tried not to look at my watch during the race because I wanted to run at a pace that felt comfortable, not at a pace that would predict an ideal finish time but around mile 11, just before a huge on-ramp, I checked and saw that I was doing much better than I anticipated. However, at this point the sun was starting to come over the trees and it was getting HOT.
This last on-ramp killed me. After running on a flat course for the majority of a race and then hitting a quarter mile on-ramp with a tough contour, I was exhausted. I just wanted to be done. But I knew I was so close, I could hear the announcer yelling out finisher’s names so I decided to push.
The course had us run around the big space ball at Epcot and come in for the home stretch. I glanced at my watch to see the distance and it read 13.08 but the finish line seemed so far away. Nevertheless, I pushed through the pain in my legs and my possibly dehydrated self and crossed the finish line in 2:02:22- a HUGE 17-minute PR! I really thought I was going to go sub-2 (and my Garmin said I ran 13.28 miles so I probably did go sub-2 for 13.1) but I was so ecstatic!
As soon as I crossed I was delirious and tired and just wanted water. I got my medal and made it back to the race retreat somehow where I was greeted by all of my coworkers with congratulations.
I learned a lot from this race that I didn’t expect going into it.
- This was not a goal race for me by any means but I knew I’d do better than my first half but I honestly didn’t expect to PR by that much.
- I knew the course was going to be pretty flat, which to me meant it would be fast, but it ended up being really hard on my legs. I couldn’t believe how tired they were after the finish.
- I was nervous because I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before (race started at 5:30 a.m. and I had to be on the bus to the race retreat at 3 a.m.- i.e. 2:30 a.m. wake up) but I don’t think it effected my running too much.
- I wish I hadn’t been on my feet the Thursday and Friday before the race but I was working so there wasn’t much I could do about that.
- I thought the heat was going to be hard but really it was the humidity that killed it. I have been used to running in the northeast so suddenly running in completely different weather conditions was a shock.
- I ran in new running apparel, which is usually a bad idea, but I had to wear my awesome Runner’s World singlet and now, I will forever think of it as lucky.
I know this is a super long recap (and I usually hate race recaps like this) but I think this race deserved it. The Disney Half-Marathon was a great race and although it would have been amazing to run sub-2, I am really, really happy with the outcome!
13.28 miles in 2:02:22
9:11 average pace
Did you run at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend? If so, how did it go?
When I ran my first half-marathon I didn’t set a time goal except to finish the race. I spent the week before the race going through taper madness and running through every possible race-day scenario I could think of.
“I can totally run sub-2 hours,” I assured myself. “What if I can’t get to the water stations?” I thought. “Should I bring one Gu packet or two?” I wondered. “Where should I line up at the start?”
All of these questions were racing through my mind as my mileage decreased and my free time to think increased. They were also questions and assumptions based on my “perfect” training when everything was in my control. Then, I looked at the weather- a September nor’easter was expected to hit the coast of New Hampshire at the exact same time as the race start- great.
That’s the thing about running and racing. You can train and prepare for 12 weeks, like I did for the Hampton Rockfest Half-Marathon, controlling your nutrition, mileage, pace, sleep and wardrobe and then the one thing that’s out of your control- the weather- can come in and mess it all up. From then on out I learned the only thing you can do is trust in your training and hope for the best.
I ran a 2:18:17 half-marathon that day, 18 minutes slower than what I had expected. Now, I’m about to run the runDisney Half-Marathon next weekend and I’m feeling extremely confident. One co-worker thinks I’ll be able to go sub-2 but I’m trying not to get my hopes up. This is going to be my second half-marathon and I didn’t even follow a training plan. I’ve really only been training for this race for about a month and a half just by upping my long-run mileage on the weekends but I’m very confident in how I’ve been doing.
My weekly mileage is the highest it’s ever been- logging 25-30 miles a week- and my paces are better than ever. While I don’t want to set any specific time goal for Disney, I have a number in mind and I’m pretty sure I can hit it, pending any extreme weather and the fact that the start time is 5:30 a.m. I’m really starting to look forward to the half and the entire runDisney Marathon Weekend with the Runner’s World Challenge. If I race well, great and if not, there’s always going to be another one. Next up on my taper madness ramblings… what to pack?!
- I wrote a post yesterday asking you to help a former colleague of mine and incredible journalist, James Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria while on assignment and has been missing for six months. Please take a few minutes to add your name to the list and join the appeal for his release.
- A great list courtesy of Laura Schwecherl about why you should drink more water now! – 12 Unexpected Reasons to Drink More Water This New Year via Greatist
- If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get faster (me, me!) then you should definitely read these tips from Teri at A Foodie Stays Fit – 7 Ways I Significantly Increased My Running Speed via A Foodie Stays Fit.
- I have always been a big proponent of the “everything in moderation” motto, especially when it comes to nutrition. I don’t believe in restriction because I think that’s a one-way ticket to binging later on. To that effect, read this – Resolved: Eat the Damn Cookie via Remy’s World (Runner’s World)
- As for my favorite run this week, it would have to be my 12-miler on Monday. The run felt amazing and as effortless as a 12-mile training run can feel. I’m so ready for the runDisney Half-Marathon next weekend!
- This is how I’m going to make 2013 count. How will you #makeitcount?
I really don’t know why I keep calling this my sub-50 10-K training wrap up because I’ve strayed so far from my original training program in order to gear up for this last-minute half-marathon but oh well! Here are last week’s training runs and workout:
Monday- I did a yoga workout for about 30 minutes to cross-train. I didn’t have much time because it was Christmas Eve and my family and I planned to spend the day in Boston before I had to go back to Pennsylvania. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a workout for family time but I was totally fine with that because I knew I wouldn’t get to see them for awhile.
Tuesday- Christmas! No workout for me today because I spent the morning with my family, squeezing every last minute out of my visit home for the holidays. I then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening driving back to Pennsylvania for work the next day.
Wednesday- 4.25 mile run during lunch at 9:10/mile average pace
Thursday- 5 miles at 9:48/mile pace- just wanted to get in some really easy paced mileage
Friday- 4.2 miles- I decided to do speed work on Friday on the treadmill because it was FREEZING outside! I did a five minute warm up and then 200m at easy pace followed by 4x400m at race pace (8:06/mile) with 200m at easy pace in between. I finished the run with about a mile cool down at easy pace.
Saturday- ran 4.2 miles in the snow! I ran 9:17/mile pace and it was such a relaxing run because the snow was just starting to fall but hadn’t stuck to the ground yet.
Sunday- I was supposed to do my long run on Sunday but when I woke up to 30mph winds with gusts of 50mph and below freezing temps, I figured I could push it off to Monday since I didn’t have work.
Monday- 12 miles at 9:20/mile pace – I was completely shocked at how well this run went! I felt really strong and comfortable the entire time. I didn’t have to stop or walk at all and I finished feeling like I could keep running. This run was an amazing indicator of how the half-marathon will go (knock on wood!) and I can’t wait to see the results of this training!
Training went really well this week! I’m feeling really strong (knock on wood) and I keep on surprising myself with how awesome my paces are. I haven’t seen a pace in the upper 9′s or 10′s in weeks and what’s even better is I’m feeling more comfortable at paces in the upper 8′s (which means I can really go even faster!). Here’s a rundown of my runs this week:
Monday- I had to cover a story after work so instead of going to bootcamp I did 35 minutes of Detox Flow Yoga from Lululemon’s YouTube channel. I also did some planks and ab exercises after because I’ve been slacking in that department.
Tuesday- 5.2 miles, 46 minutes, 8:50/mile pace
Wednesday- 5.5 miles, 44 minutes, 8:00/mile pace (I ran with some of my faster co-workers and this was definitely a workout but it was great!)
Thursday- 2.94 miles, 24:58 minutes, 8:27/mile pace
Friday- Rest day and travel back to Massachusetts for Christmas!
Saturday- 4.5 miles, 40 minutes, 8:50/mile pace
Sunday- 10 miles! 1 hour 33 minutes, 9:18/mile pace
My long run this week (10 miles) was my longest run since my half-marathon in September and I felt extremely good! It was a really cold and very windy run but I still had a pretty good pace with the entire 10. I didn’t stop to walk at all and ran up the hills without any problems. I’m feeling good about the half coming up in January! Happy running!
I feel like I’ve been training since the day I started running, which was not too long ago. I took my first running steps last February when I decided to start a Couch-to-5K program. Now, I’m getting ready to run my second half-marathon, less than a year later.
I say I feel like I’ve been training since I started running because I really have. I began the Couch-to-5K program with the intention of training for my first 5-K. Before I even toed the starting line of my goal race, I was registered for a four miler on the Fourth of July. Then, about a week after finishing that race I registered for my first half-marathon in September.
It wasn’t until after my half, when I decided I needed to cool off a bit, that I felt lost. I did some 5-Ks but I craved the longer distances. In November, as winter started to set in, I decided I’d come up with a new goal of training for a sub-50 minute 10-K. Up until that point, all of my running goals had been based on distance so I figured, in an effort to get faster and bring purpose back to my runs, I’d set a new goal.
My sub-50 10-K training was going really well and before I knew it my average paces were dropping from the familiar and comfortable 9:50/10:00 per mile to 8-minute miles. I was getting faster and I liked it but then I was presented with the opportunity to run the Disney Half-Marathon.
It didn’t take much coaxing from my co-workers to get me to register with the Runner’s World Challenge but I was still a little hesitant because I would only have six weeks to train and my longest run since my half-marathon in September barely broke 7 miles.
But I registered anyways and started to increase my long run mileage on the weekends and my midweek mileage runs went from 3 miles to 5 miles. Last weekend, I did a 9-mile long run and surprised myself with paces around 8:40/8:50 per mile! I couldn’t believe it because when I was training for my first half-marathon all of my times were in the 10-minute mile range.
I’m not trying to say I’m some gifted runner, because I’m not, I’m a very average runner and I still have a lot to learn. But it’s amazing what a new goal, in my case the sub-50 10-K, can do to you. I’m so looking forward to the Disney Half-Marathon and can’t wait to meet the rest of the Challengers to hear their stories!
I have been really slacking on writing my weekly running round-ups lately. There are a few reasons for this: 1. I’m extremely busy with work; 2. This is a really busy time of the year in general; and, 3. I’m not sure how helpful they are to you guys, my readers.
The reason I started my blog was to document my experience with a Couch-to-5-K program last February/March. I wanted to use my blog mostly as a training log. As I finished the program and came up with new running goals I thought I’d continue doing round-ups of my training runs throughout the week. It also helps me to stay consistent with my writing but when I’m super busy with work, I kind of forget to do them.
But, after asking some fellow blogger friends, many of them said, write what you want to write, your blog is for you, and if it’s helpful to you then do it! So I’m going to continue doing it but I’m going to go about it a little differently. Instead of breaking down my workouts and runs each day I’m just going to do bullet points with distance, time and pace. If you’d like a more comprehensive description of follow me on Daily Mile where I usually go a little more in-depth with my run breakdowns.
Phew, glad I got that out of the way. And now, here are last week’s workouts:
Monday- 45 minutes of Men’s Health Delta Fit bootcamp at the Rodale gym. Involved lifting, squats and plyometrics.
Tuesday- Easy mileage day, 5 miles, 47:50, average pace of 9:33
Wednesday- Intervals with coach, 5 miles total, 37:00, average pace 7:24 (woah!)
- 2 mile warm-up
- 200m, 400m, 600m, 200m, 200m, 400m, 600m
- ½ mile cool down
Thursday- 3 miles (semi-faster), 25:58, average pace of 8:39
Saturday- Long run, 9 miles, 1:24, average pace of 9:20
Sunday- was supposed to do a shakeout and it didn’t happen, oh well
Overall it was a really solid week of training. I hope everyone else had a great week!
I can’t believe more than a week has passed since I ran my very first half marathon. I feel like I’ve needed the time though to fully digest the entire experience. While to some of my more experienced runner friends, running a half marathon may not seem like a big deal but it was a huge milestone for me.
I started running only eight months ago, in March, the goal of running a 5K. When I started running I didn’t expect to fall in love with it like I have but I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I was actually getting good at it. So, in June, after only having been a runner for four months, I decided to register for the 2012 Hampton Rockfest Half Marathon.
Many of my friends and family tried to discourage me from registering because they thought I didn’t have enough experience as a runner yet. My dad, a 16-time marathon veteran (3:09 PR), said I needed more experience racing and building up mileage. But, I ignored their opinions and decided I had the capability and drive to build up my mileage to be able to run the 13.1 miles and cross the finish line on Sept. 30.
After months of training, some injuries, and some amazing runs, I crossed the finish line without stopping once. The race was amazing and the course was a breeze. Although the weather was awful, it was the most amazing experience.
When I hit the 11-mile mark I even started to get emotional and thought I was going to start crying. I couldn’t believe how far I had come as a runner in just eight months. In eight months I went from being able to run 0 miles to running more than 13 miles. Not only did I develop into a “runner,” I’ve noticed other changes in myself over the past eight months. My body has changed quite a bit, my muscles are much for toned and I have a much higher level of endurance but I’ve also changed emotionally. I’ve learned to use running as an outlet for when I’m angry, stressed or happy and excited. While I may not have started running for the best reason, it has literally transformed me into a different person and I love it.
As I started to speed up during the last 2 miles of the half marathon, all of these thoughts were whirling around in my head and just then, I saw my parents with all of the spectators and nearly lost it. I feel so lucky to have had such an amazing support system throughout this journey and although they had their reservations in the beginning, they never doubted me. The same goes to my friends who have also supported me through all of this and showed up at the finish line to congratulate me.
As I said in my last post about the half, my first thought upon crossing the finish line was I can’t wait to do it again and I’ve been looking for some more to register for in the near future. I think once I get a few more halfs under my belt, a full marathon is not too far off :)
What was your biggest race accomplishment? How did it feel when you crossed that finish line? Please share your stories in the comments section below!
After months of training, the race day finally came last Sunday and I ran my very first half marathon. I feel like I have so, so much to share about the experience of running this half that it frankly will not fit into one post. Therefore, I’m going to break it up into two- a race recap (this one!) and then a lessons learned reflection.
For those of you who have been following my running escapades over the last eight-ish months, you know where I started- a couch to 5k program last March. Before starting this program, I could barely run a mile and the only running I ever did was for sports in high school. But for some reason, I decided I needed to start, so I started slowly. Before I knew it I was running more than 3.1 miles and my cousin, Paige, convinced me in June to register for a half marathon with her- the Hampton Rockfest Half Marathon. At this point, the most I had ever run was just under 6 miles, but we were both convinced we’d have plenty of time to train in the four months before the half.
Turns out we had plenty of time and before we knew it we were running even more than 13.1 miles on our weekend long runs! All of our hard work and dedicated training finally came to fruition this past Sunday when we crossed the finish line on Hampton Beach.
We planned out our weekend accordingly. Because we would have to travel to New Hampshire for the race, I stayed over Paige’s apartment on the North Shore (of Massachusetts) with our friend Lindsey, who was also running with us. This would be the first half for Paige and myself but Lindsey had run a few before. Once we were all settled in at Paige’s we decided to head up to NH to pick up our bib numbers so we wouldn’t have to deal with picking them up before the race. Turns out, that was a great decision and the packet pickup was also super easy.
We came home after and made a delish baked ziti, drank one glass of red wine each to calm the nerves and watched a few episodes of some trashy reality television before heading to bed at 10:30 p.m. Of course, I had a hard time falling asleep because I was thinking about what was about to go down the next day but eventually I fell asleep and woke up to my alarm blaring at 5 a.m. After making our breakfast and fueling up on coffee, we headed out of the house by 6 a.m. to get to the race with enough time to spare.
We arrived at the race around 7:15 and spent most of the time before the race waiting in line for the port-a-potty. When we were all set and warmed up, we headed to the start line. I couldn’t believe how many runners there were (more than 5,000!) and the start line was a little claustrophobic because of it, but the mass of bodies helped to keep us warm.
That was the other problem. I think we may have had the WORST weather ever with temperatures in the low 50s and a steady, cold rain falling the entire time. Needless to say, after I crossed the finish line and stopped moving I was a frozen popsicle.
The race itself was pretty amazing and the course was pretty easy. It started off with a roughly 1-mile loop around the corner which crossed back over the start line. This was great because we were able to run through the crowd of spectators for a second time. The course then traveled down the beach road for about 2 miles before it cut off into the neighborhoods of Hampton, NH. This was kind of weird because we were literally running through residential neighborhoods and for awhile there were hardly any spectators which was not fun. However, because there were so many runners, the morale along the course was really high and we were even able to talk to a bunch of other runners along the route.
We had decided at mile 7 we would pick up our first cups of water and take our gels. This proved to be a little more difficult than we had anticipated because the water station was so crowded and some runners kept stopping before we could get to the water. Water in hand, we took off, ripping our gels open and refueling. After taking the gels I definitely had some fresh energy and felt great. However, some point right after mile 7 I got lost in the pack and Paige and Lindsey went on ahead. This was ok for me though because I knew they were going to speed off eventually (they are a lot faster than me) but I felt good at my pace and wanted to maintain it.
The last few miles went pretty smoothly. The course was extremely flat except for a moderately steep hill around mile 9, but once I got to the top of the hill I had a breathtaking view of the ocean and could almost make out the finish line down on the beach. I felt really good at this point but had to take it easy going down the hill because the pavement had gotten SO slippery because of the rain.
As I crossed into mile 11 I heard someone screaming my name and saw my parents jumping up and down on the side of the road. I knew they were going to be there but I wasn’t sure where they would be along the route because it wasn’t super well-routed for spectators. It was incredible to see them though and it gave me the extra encouragement I needed to blast to the finish line. With two miles left, my legs were started to feel crampy and heavy, mostly because of the cold. My hands were also freezing so I kept having to shake them to try to keep them warm. But overall, the last two miles were fantastic. With about a half mile left, the spectator crowd got thicker and I saw my parents again screaming my name. As I pushed hard to get across the finish line and pass a few more people I started to get emotional because I honestly could not believe I had done it! I crossed the finish line at 2:18:09 (not my best but the weather definitely took a toll) and someone placed a medal around my neck and I was ecstatic!
After finding my parents, I was walking around to find water and I heard two people call out my name and all of a sudden I was embraced by my two best friends Sydney and Angela! They had come all the way up to NH from Boston to see me cross the finish line. I’m getting emotional now as I write this because I was just so happy that they had come out to see me. They’ve been with me this whole time and have even wondered if I was going a little overboard with running but have been supportive no matter what. It meant so much to me that they were there.
Unfortunately because it was so cold and Paige, Lindsey and I were soaking wet, we didn’t want to stay around too much for the race after-party so we decided to all go out to lunch somewhere warm. I’ll talk more about the lessons learned in another post but overall the half was an amazing experience and the first thought I had after crossing the finish line: I can’t wait to do it again!