Walt Disney World Half-Marathon Race Recap

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).

Disney Singlet pic

Cait, Megan and I before the race started (at about 4 a.m.)

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!

Final stats:

13.28 miles in 2:02:22

9:11 average pace

1585 calories

Did you run at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend? If so, how did it go?

Taper Week Ramblings: runDisney Half-Marathon in One Week

disney halfTo set a time goal or not to set a time goal, that is the question…

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?!

Week 7: Sub-50 10-K (and Half-Marathon) 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!

Running My Second Half-Marathon

run disneyI 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!

Week 6: Sub-50 10-K (and Half-Marathon) Training

try hard every day

(via Pinterest)

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

Friday- REST!

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!

Week 7: Half-marathon update

This was week was definitely a redeeming week after my rough long run last Saturday. Although I only ran three days this week (I really wish I could have run more) but according to my training that’s all I was supposed to do.

I started off the week on Monday with a tempo run at my local track. It was a risky move since the sun was boiling down on the track raising the temperatures above 90 degrees, but besides sweating my butt off it was a good run. I ran 400-meter intervals for 2.14 miles. my average pace was 9:21 per mile and my fastest pace was 6:57 per mile. Considering the heat I thought this was pretty good!

On Tuesday I woke up early to do some power yoga before getting ready for work. It was just one of the Lululemon YouTube videos but it was definitely good for some strengthening. I couldn’t run after work unfortunately because I had to cover a meeting that went until 10 p.m. But work has to come first.

Wednesday I braved a torrential downpour to meet my cousin, who is also running the half-marathon with me, at the gym. She had to do her tempo run for the week and I decided to do a quick 2-mile run. After my run we moved over to the conditioning area and did some weight-lifting, ab work and of course stretches.

On Thursday, my training program called for more yoga so I did another strengthening class. It was great and I can tell it’s been helping my breathing while I run. I gave myself a 100 percent rest day on Friday because my long run on Saturday was definitely going to be intense.

So here it was, my long run- 12 miles. I have to admit I was really excited because I knew my training thus far has prepared me for this run and I was ready. I had never run 12 miles before and the route was going to be hilly but I couldn’t wait to tackle it. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. to get ready before the run. I had a cup of coffee and a bunch of water and headed out. My cousin and I mapped out the run on Map My Run so we knew the route would work out to 12 miles.

The run was absolutely beautiful! I wish I had a camera to capture the breathtaking views we had along the ocean, through the harbor and by the lighthouse in York, Maine. It was awe-inspiring. These amazing views also helped me to keep going along the run, especially when my legs began to feel heavy around mile 8. I also may have experienced some dehydration especially at mile 7 when I really started to feel thirsty. My cousin never drinks water along runs but I really need it. We still had about a mile to go before we would reach a water fountain so I just pushed myself to that point.

Once we got water and I stretched out my legs a bit, I felt great and ready to go. We only lost a few minutes for our stop but this was good because the hardest part of the run was still ahead of us. During the last 4 miles, we had ascents of 165 feet and descents of 195 feet. This was hard on my quads and my knees but I made it through. However, my cousin got about 5 minutes ahead of me which started to get me down a bit but I reminded myself that this was for me and the only competition should be against myself.

After the hills the last two miles were an absolute breeze! I was definitely in the zone because I ran these last two miles faster than any of the other miles. In fact, when I got home I realized I ran a negative split! I was excited about this because I had never run a negative split and this is going to be really good for my half-marathon.

In the end I ran the 12 miles in 2:00 flat (minus a few minutes for water and stretching). This was very exciting because my goal is 2:30:00 for the full half-marathon so I think I’m in pretty good shape! I still have just over two months to go until the race but now I can focus on increasing mileage and speed. I learned a lot this week though. I need to fix my hydration situation and I need to focus on my own goals and not be intimidated by other faster runners around me. Remember, a training run is not a race! Happy running!

Lululemon yoga for runners

As I’ve been training for the half-marathon in September, I’ve been using the Lululemon SeaWheeze half-marathon training app on my iPhone. On the non-running days it suggests doing yoga to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your legs. Unfortunately, my gym doesn’t offer yoga or any group fit classes so on these yoga days I usually just ignored it and went running anyways.

That was until I discovered the Lululemon YouTube channel! What a treasure! They have a bunch of yoga videos geared specifically toward running the half-marathon, as well as other yoga videos. I had used some of the short post-run yoga, or what they like to call “Run into Yoga (RINY)”  in the app but I never explored outside of it.

When I found these videos last night I decided I would wake up early this morning to do a power yoga video because today was supposed to be a “rest” day. It was fantastic!  In the app, Lululemon describes power yoga as “a high-intensity, fast-paced style that emphasizes overall body strength and stamina.” They also say it’s a great way to build “balanced strength” which is especially good for runners. My legs have been super tight this week and I don’t know about you but those pesky hip-flexors are the hardest to stretch out but this power yoga video was great for that.

Posted below is the power flow yoga video I did this morning. I would also highly recommend visiting Lululemon’s YouTube channel, hit subscribe and give yoga a try.

Week 5: Half-marathon update

A very rain-soaked road race on the 4th of July!

This week was yet again another amazing week of training. I ran my first official road race and my longest run yet! I logged just about 19 miles this week- same total as last week, different way of adding it up.

Monday night I did a tempo run at the local track. Instead of doing my normal tempo run, I used “run interval” mode on the Run Keeper app on my iPhone. It had me run a total of 2 miles with 400-meter sprints mixed with slow running. It went really well and I ran my fastest pace at 7:32/mile.

I rested on Tuesday and did some yoga in the morning to stretch. On Wednesday, I ran my very first road race. I know this is kind of weird because I’ve been blogging about running since March but this was my very first race. It was so great (besides the fact that it was pouring)! I finished the 4-miler in 37:16 with an average pace of 9:20 which I was pretty pleased with, given the conditions.

I gave myself a total rest day on Thursday and then ran an early morning run on Friday. I wanted to test my speed especially after the race so I decided to do a 2.5-mile run around my neighborhood. I was SO excited when I came back and checked Run Keeper to see that I ran my first mile in 6:30. That was the fastest mile I have EVER run! I was so excited to see how much my work has really paid off! The one criticism I have of this run is I wish I could have done a negative split, that is running faster in the last half of the run than the first. I’m going to try to work on that in the next few weeks.

2.5 miles- average pace- 8:27, fastest pace- 6:30

Saturday was my long run day, a full 10 miles. This is the longest I have ever ran and I have to say it was my most fulfilling run yet! I ran a total of 10.26 miles in York, Maine with my cousin Paige who is also training for the half-marathon with me. Our route was pretty hilly but we were unafraid, I was even really, really excited!

Map of the 10.26 mile route.

The run was fantastic! We decided to go at an easy, what I like to call “conversational” pace. This means while running, you’re able to hold a conversation with someone without getting winded. We thought we were going pretty slow but turns out our average pace was 8:41/mile, a faster average pace than I had ever done. We finished the run in 1 hour, 29 minutes and 3 seconds. The craziest part was our fastest pace was 4:51/mile! What!?!? When I looked at the breakdown, mile by mile of our run, I couldn’t believe how well we did. We peaked at mile 8, when we ran it in 6:36 and ran our fastest pace of 4:51. In total, almost all of our miles were sub-9:00 besides the 6th mile where we had our steepest incline.

10.26 mile run: average pace- 8:41, fastest pace- 4:51.

After this week’s training I am a full believer in the biggest you can dream, you can make it happen. Four months ago I could barely run a mile without feeling like I was going to fall over and die. Now, I feel like I can go forever and I’m just getting faster. More than anything, it makes me so happy. I hope everyone else had a good week of training. Happy running!

Tweets for #13.1 miles

  1. THE COLOR RUN – Be a Color Runner
    Fri, May 11 2012 06:59:17
  2. FitHappyGirl
    “It always seems impossible until it’s done” #13.1 #running #reasonstorun
    Sun, Jul 01 2012 15:13:30
  3. authorjimlynch
    “Running isn’t about winning or losing, it’s neither about glory or achievement, it’s all about not quitting.” Ben Vachon #runchat
    Mon, Jun 25 2012 14:02:09
  4. BrentJBoersma
    just noticed i’m on pace for 1,000 miles running this year… but barely! 502.7 for 1st half of 2012. ;-) #runchat
    Mon, Jul 02 2012 12:59:01
  5. theloveofkale
    When you start to focus on something you perceive as a flaw, turn it into a positive. That is how others see you. #FitFluential #truth
    Mon, Jul 02 2012 05:20:11
  6. onerunatatime
    RT @GirlRucki: My life changed when I stopped thinking “I could never be that lucky” & started thinking “of course I can be that successful.” #FitFluential
    Mon, Jul 02 2012 13:31:41
  7. MilePosts
    Week 1 of marathon training. 16 solo miles meant 35 were #doublestroller or #triplestroller miles :) http://www.mile-posts.com/2012/07/02/week-1-marathon-training-i-need-your-help/ #findyourstrong
    Mon, Jul 02 2012 12:13:21
  8. ericasara
    Just hit 2 miles & it’s painfully hot. I deserve a quick sunset break, right? http://instagr.am/p/Mjs4WGIGww/
    Sun, Jul 01 2012 17:09:49
  9. RunningQuotes
    “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” via @AffirmationSpot #run
    Mon, Jul 02 2012 13:31:14
  10. RunningQuotes
    Not every race is perfect, not every run is perfect. Getting out there, is perfect
    Sun, Jul 01 2012 19:28:01
  11. chicrunner
    If I’m running four miles tomorrow morning, this should make eating macaroni and cheese for dinner as a “carbo load” okay tonight…
    Wed, Jun 27 2012 17:30:59
  12. Shape_Magazine
    RT @fithappygirl: this weekend I ran 9 miles without stopping as part of training for my first half-marathon #success
    Mon, Jul 02 2012 09:10:12
  13. authorjimlynch
    “Every day is a good day when you run.” -Kevin Nelson #runchat #running #marathoner #marathontraining #fitfluential
    Thu, Jun 28 2012 06:25:32

Week 4: Half-marathon update

This week was extremely successful in terms of my training. I was able to fit in four runs this week, which was really great and on my days off I did yoga. I have always been interested in using yoga with my run training but never really tried it. However, it is included practically every other day in the LuluLemon SeaWheeze Half-marathon training app that I’ve been using so I figured I’d give it a shot. Turns out yoga really does help! The stretches are designed for runners and get at those hard to reach muscles in your legs. Yoga also helps to stretch out the IT band and hamstrings. Not to mention it’s a great relaxer and helps runners focus on their breathing.

As far as my runs went this week, I was really impressed. I logged 19 miles in total, breaking down to a 4-miler on Tuesday, two 3-milers on Wednesday and Friday, and the grand finale, 9-miler on Saturday.

My Saturday run was the farthest I’ve ever ran and it felt absolutely fantastic. I ran 9 miles in 1:30:00, which I know is pretty slow but I wanted to take it easy. Intellectually, I knew I would be able to do it because the weekend before I ran 7 miles. However, the night before the run I had a nervous pit in my stomach. I had told family and friends that this run would be my first “long” run and it was kind of make or break. Most of them were supportive but others seemed to doubt me. Nine miles is a long way, I clocked it in my car the day before to get a sense of just how far it would be and realized, “Wow, this is not just a run, it’s freaking long!” But when I woke up on Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. my first thought surprised me. The first thing I thought was, “I get to run today.” I was excited! I wanted to prove the doubters wrong and prove myself wrong.

When I finished the 9 miles I felt great. I wasn’t winded, my legs felt good and I realized I just ran 9 freaking miles! I even finished the run with a huge smile on my face because I honestly couldn’t believe I did it. The best part about it was, there’s only 4.1 miles left to 13.1.

This week I’m planning on doing a tempo run on Monday and then I have a race on the 4th of July in Maine. It’s only 4 miles so it should feel pretty easy compared to 9! In other news, I just started to read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall and it’s pretty fascinating. Maybe I’ll write a review for a post once I finish?