Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dee runs Disney! (Part 1)

As many of you know, I took up running 2 years ago. 

I had reached my Weight Watchers weight goal a few months before and I was looking for a new way to challenge myself and aid in me maintaining my weight. When I first started out, my goal was simply to run the Marianne Volpe Pumpkin 5k & Fun Run - a local 5K that honors my late cousin Mary, the proceeds from which go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. In the beginning I used the C25K app on my phone, a program which uses a combination of walking and running to gradually build up to running a full 5k. I found that the app worked great for me and I completed the program on time with success in a full (albeit slow) 5k. I ran that entire summer, and I was totally ready for the 5k that October. When I crossed that finish line it was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and I was hooked!

I started looking for other small races to run locally, and I really enjoyed my training. 

Last January, after seeing a friend posting from Walt Disney World, where her husband had just run a half marathon, I decided that would be my next goal. "I can do that", I thought... "I never thought I could run one mile, but I had been running 3.1 for past year, so why not? Right?" Who wouldn't want to run through the most magical place on earth???

I spoke to Jay, and went to work on putting my plan in motion. Registration didn't open until April, so I had 3 months to secure some funds and try to find a babysitter for M. Thankfully, because I have the most amazing Dad ever, he agreed to pay my registration fee as my birthday gift for last year, and to watch M for half of our stay!!! Yippee!!! 

Now we just had to wait for the registration to open and hope I could get in. Good news! I did!!!

I was really daunted by the task of running 13.1 miles. How does one run 10 miles more than they're used to? I wasn't even sure where to start... I did some asking around, and decided I would try the Galloway method, which RunDisney shares on their website. It uses run/walk intervals to maintain stamina and put less wear and tear on your joints. According to their schedule, training should start in September, but I was so nervous that I started training in July. I ran 2 short runs during the week and every weekend I would run a mile longer than the weekend before. Every week I thought it would be so much harder than the week before, but it really wasn't. Some training days were better than others, but I was able to just push through. 

As the summer came to a close I began to panic about my placement for the WDW Half. I had heard if you don't submit a legit time, they place you in the last corral. Now, I'm not a fast runner, but I'm not that slow either. I had been averaging between 10 - 11 minutes on all my training runs, so I didn't want to be at the back of the pack. I had to decide if I wanted to run a longer race and use that time for corral placement, and it had to be in by 10/15/14. "What should I do?" I was definitely trained for it. My body was ready to go. So, I registered, extremely last minute, for the Run like a Diva Half Marathon at a local park for 10/5/14. 

It was unbelievable! Somehow I finished, in spite of my nerves, with a pretty awesome first time PR of 2:28:33. I was so proud of myself not only for finishing, but for getting in under 2.5 hours. I felt like since I had one under my belt, now I could really enjoy the WDW Half when the time came. I submitted my time to RunDisney and actually ended up with a fairly decent corral placement of I - pretty much halfway through the pack. 

I kept up my longer runs on the weekends all through the fall, and thankfully we had some really warm weekends in December where I was able to get some road time in. The problem came when I got sick in December with a virus that I just couldn't (and still can't) seem to shake. I went to the doctor right away because I knew we were getting close to crunch time. She told me it was an upper respiratory infection and gave me two rounds of a Z-pack. I ended up taking them both because, while I felt a little bit better, it was still not good. I was still having trouble breathing, terrible head aches and severe exhaustion. I was getting pretty nervous about all the not feeling well. It's pretty difficult to run when you can't breathe! 

Before we knew it, it was time to leave! I don't fly well to begin with, and I was nervous about leaving M. We knew the boys would be fine, but this was the first time we were leaving our girl for an extended period of time. 

Anxiously waiting to board...

...and trying not to freak out before we take off!!!

Thankfully the flight out was smooth, and we landed on time. By the time we got the Magical Express to the hotel & checked in it was almost 11 pm. We hit the sack right away because I couldn't wait to hit the Expo the next day and get started at Epcot!!! 

Waiting for the Magical Express!!!!

Magical Express ride :)

Port Orleans - French Quarter 

Tomorrow, we go to Epcot!!!!

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