Friday, December 20, 2013

Disney Training Update

Burr!  Can we start with that?  Geez has it been a cold start to winter or what!  If you are not from Michigan and have not experienced a "Michigan Winter" then let me tell you, it's insane!

I currently am training for "The Dopey" at Walt Disney World this January.  It's 4 "fun filled days" of running, running, and more running.  Thursday I'll complete a 5k, Friday a 10k, Saturday a half marathon, and Sunday I will complete the insanity with a full marathon!  

Well the last year or so I have been training very consistently and if you know anything about running you'll know that consistency is the key to a successful runner.  Coming out of college as a cross country and track athlete at Ferris State University, I was very competitive, every race I did either ended with a win or personal record or I would be pretty upset.  

After years of competing and running myself into the ground I slowly began missing runs.  Without my coach and teammates there to push me it was very difficult to stay motivated.  2 years went by and they felt like 2 minutes.  Suddenly I was slow, I was 10 pounds heavier and I wasn't very happy with myself.

I decided to jump in a 5k and was disgusted with myself when I cross the finish line with a time of 22:25.  Now a lot of you may read this and think, "Stupid bitch that's freaking fast!"  But keep in mind, "fast" is very relative to the person who is running.  For one person "fast" is 24 minutes in a 5k, for another it may be 15.  For me "fast" was 18:49, which was my PR when I left college.

That 5k had ate me alive, chewed me up and spit me out.  For one thing I felt like I had ran a marathon and not just a mere 3.1 mile race.  That day I decided I am going to run every day of 2013.  

I didn't do it.

Not because I gave up or because I wasn't trying but because that is a lofty goal!  It's basically asking for an injury.  I did however manage to keep an average of 30 miles a week (some weeks much more and some weeks a tad less) for the entire year thus far (only a few weeks left!)

I started with a race the first week of 2013, The Walt Disney World Half Marathon.  It was god awful!  It was hot outside and I felt like I couldn't breathe.  The last 2 miles were miserable and I forced myself to keep pushing and finish the damn race even though I just wanted to roll over dead!


The positive side to things?  I had earned 2000 dollars for the AT-Children's project and I finished.  I ran 1:51 that day averaging 8:28 a mile. 

I got back and immediately started training for The Gazelle Girl Half Marathon.  Where I decided that I was going to break 8 a mile no matter what I had to do.

I ran all winter and by March I was in considerably better shape.  I finished the Gazelle Girl with a HUGE personal record of, 1:41!  That's 7:42 a mile.  

 I'm Wonder Woman in the picture above!

Immediately after finishing my former team mate, and friend Tina (Who also blogs check it out HERE) asked if I wanted to travel to Chicago to run the Chicago Women's Half Marathon.  I DID so I signed up and kept my training going. 

Little did I know this would be the hardest run I had ever ran in my entire life.  It was HOT, 90 degrees to be exact at 6 in the morning!  The humidity was no joke and the run was miserable.  In the end I finished in the exact time I ran Gazelle Girl in and I realized, being that miserable I had ran the same time!  My consistincy was starting to pay off!


That brings me to the fall.  The rest of the summer I trained and ended up running the Air Force Marathon.  This race was AMAZING.  It was the first race that I truly felt inspired to run FASTER.  I felt like my training and everything I was working toward was finally truly paying off.  I finished the 26.2 mile trek in 3:34 minutes just qualifying me for the Boston Marathon by 1 minute!


A few weeks later my lovely town of Grand Rapids held its annual Grand Rapids Marathon and Half Marathon.  I last minute signed up for the half and decided in a snap decision that I was going to race this as hard as I could and see what I could do!

I finished the race in 1:32 minutes!  That's a 7:00 minute mile average  I even had 5 of the miles UNDER 7 minutes!  It felt incredible flying through the finish line, and I can say I finally felt, "fast."  I placed 13th that day out of every female in the race.

Now I know not everyone races for time, or for placement, but I do, and that was, and is important to me as a runner so you can imagine the feeling of finally truly feeling like I was BACK.


I decided that day that all my running was working but I had to add speed work into the mix.  I began doing speed work outs every week.  Tuesdays I would go over to East Grand Rapids track and put together a work out.

I decided since it had been a year since I truly began training again I would make the goal of finishing a 5k in under 20 minutes before my wedding.  Remember a year ago when all this started I was at a 22 minute 5k!  I found a 5k near my house and signed up.  It was the Comstock Park Panther Classic held on November 9th.  Only 2 weeks before my wedding!

I was so nervous the day of the race because I felt "off" all morning.  I had those nagging nasty little thoughts popping into my head telling me, "this is too hard."  "You can't do this."  Before I knew it though the gun had gone off and I was racing!

I pushed and pushed through out the race and I didn't even really know if I was on target to run the time I wanted or not.  It wasn't until I crossed the finish line in 19:58 that I realized that I had done it!


That brings me to the now.  The "training update" well its snowy, it's cold and its all in all just awful here.  I have been running but with my wedding and everything else my speed work is starting to peter off and I have been making myself nervous that I am going to lose everything that 2013 has given me.

I have 1 month til it's race time and my goal is to run the 5k, 10k and full marathon at a normal relaxed running pace, but I would like to complete the half marathon with a personal record (PR) and break 1:30 minutes.

Any advice for this race?  How do you get through the winter blues?  If I don't have a treadmill or gym membership how can I break this pain in the ass of running through ice and snow?

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