Free… Yes, F-R-E-E… Marathon

What does the word MARATHON mean to you? Yes, the obvious answer is 26.2 miles of running, walking or crawling, depending on who you are! To me, it’s one of those love-to-hate things like child birth, deep tissue massage or dieting. You know, the intense pain before the immense pay-off! I mean, think about it… when you decide to sign up for that race, you agree to:

  1. commit MONTHS of your life to training
  2. forfeit a couple toe nails for the cause
  3. run through at least a couple pair of rather expensive shoes
  4. live with the aches and pains in the hams, hips, quads and knees
  5. forfeit your normal social life for one centered around the long weekend runs

AND, for all this wonderful (code word for torturous) fun, you would normally, pay (happily, I might add) a couple hundred dollars just to register!!!! Well, I found a F-R-E-E marathon!!! It’s called The Really Big Free Marathon, and it’s in VEGAS on November 3rd!!! WOOHOO!! Here’s the rub… registration opens on March 24th at 12:01AM PST. Yes, that’s Pacific Standard Time, which is 3:00AM for those of us on the East Coast! UUGGGHH!! Eeeh, what’s a little lost sleep in the grand scheme? RIGHT?!?

The Princesses succeed!!!

WE DID IT!!!!! Wooooohooooo!!!! Yes, we actually woke up at 3:00AM!!!! Amazing, right?!? Oh, yeah… and we finished the Princess Half Marathon. YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

It was quite the weekend! 17,000 princesses, a couple princes and a couple of Survivor celebrities, gathered in the wee hours of the morning in the parking lot at EPCOT to set out on a 13.1 mile adventure around Disney property! Don’t ask me where we ran…I don’t remember, other than through the castle at Magic Kingdom, oh and up that MAJOR HILL in front of the Contemporary Hotel. The rest…as they say… is a blur!!! Probably, because we took my Mother-in-law’s advice and  “made a game of it”. We ran/walked the entire race on a 3 min/2 min ratio. It was a great way to pass the time, but it didn’t stop the “WALL” from hitting us square in the face at miles 10, 11 and 12!!! (Yes, three walls…well, there were three of us!) But we persevered and pushed on, with the help of the cheers from the crowds that lined the road!! Ummm, did I mention that we had no peeps rooting us on? No? Well, evidently, our adventure wasn’t enough inspiration to get our peeps out of bed!!! Don’t worry, we’ll be milking that one for a very long time!!! Anyway…we eventually crossed the finish line TOGETHER!!! We got our medals, food and drink, pictures and poof…we turned back into pumpkins…or are we the rats? IDK, but you get the idea! The magic ended immediately after we exited the finishers’ area.

Imagine 17,000 princesses, sweaty and smelly, limping back to their vehicles all trying to exit the parking lot at the same time!!! Yeah, you get the picture! GRIDLOCK!!! We sat for a good 20 minutes before we even moved an inch!! UUGGHHH!!! Eventually… maybe 30-40 minutes later… the magic happened and we started moving! Note to self: run faster so you get out before the crowd!!!!

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To Run… Or Not To Run… This Is The Question!

Run 5K or drinks with my girls?

The last time I ran was probably in the Trailblazer 5K on March 20th. And before that… hmmmm… I can’t remember! I’ve been trying to be good! I took my running gear on my spring break trip to Washington DC…but didn’t run! I took my stuff to my 10th annual girls’ weekend…but didn’t run! I’ll pack my stuff for my upcoming trip to Charlotte… but I probably won’t run there either! What is my problem??? Hmmm, maybe that I’ve been in vaca mode for a few months?!?!

But I woke up determined yesterday… well maybe not so determined as much as guilt-laden. You see I was going about my morning routine, when a friend called and asked if his son could come over and wait with us until the bus came. After I said yes, I realized that I should probably get out of my jammies. And since my hubby was so good about getting up with my son at 5:30AM and driving him to school and waking my daughter while letting me sleep, I didn’t want to disturb his nap. The quickest and quietest outfit I could grab was my running clothes that were still neatly packed in my suitcase!

Here I was all dressed and ready to run, but I had no plans to actually go for a run. Then, I started thinking of how good it would feel to be out in the fresh air, jamming to my Race Day play list and sweating out the toxic weekend… and I started feeling guilty. So I got my shoes, hat and sunglasses and headed out! And it was AWESOME!!! A little hot & humid towards the 4th mile, but it was really nice early on! I felt great all day long, too! Great enough to make a pact with myself to run at least 3 days a week! But will I keep it up?

I think that since I don’t have any upcoming races on the calendar, I’m being lazy! So I need to book some races! Stay tuned…

Yawn!!!

YawnHello! I’ve been a little lazy with the posts lately, and for that I am sorry! But, I’m just so tired all the time, now that school started! Why you ask? Well, my son, the 15 year old, has to catch his ride to school at 6:15AM…which means he needs to wake up at 5:45AM in order to get a shower, throw on his clothes and run out the door with his breakfast hanging out of his mouth. Much to my chagrin, he is incapable of waking himself up. So this means that good old mom has to get him up…at 5:45AM…UGHGHGHGHGH!

Now, I know a lot of you are probably saying “get him an alarm clock”. OK…I’ve tried this and he sleeps right through that annoying bzzzzzzzzzzz…..bzzzzzzzzzzzz….bzzzzzzzzz sound. So, I figured he needed something a little more powerful and I got him the alarm that vibrates and rolls around while a voice screams insults at him. Oh and the insults get progressively louder. NOPE…slept right through it too!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?

I gave up and resigned myself to the task. Now I wake up at 5:30AM, quickly make my coffee and head upstairs to wake the my sleeping 15 year old baby. I know, I know… “Never wake a sleeping baby”…but I think we need to add to this saying…especially if they’re 15 years old! All you mother’s of teenagers know what I’m talking about! Waking a sleeping teenager is not pretty!!! And yet this is how I choose to spend my pre-dawn hours! 🙂

So, after my son get’s off to school, I have a few minutes to check my emails and tend to my crops on Farmville (Facebook app), a game or two of Farkle and then I’m off to get my daughter up. Are you wondering when I’m getting my runs in? Well, I have to wait until my daughter leaves for the bus at 8:30AM.  It’s not too hot when I leave, but if I have to run anything more than 6 miles it gets a little stifling towards the end. Nothing I can’t deal with, but not pleasurable! Thankfully, my long runs are on Sundays.

I will try to post more frequently…I promise!!! I am hoping that I will eventually get use to the new schedule….but for now all I can say is …YAWN!!!!:O

I TRI-ED!!

Yep...that's me!

Yep...that's me! The one with the cap and goggles!

It’s official…I’m a TRIATHLETE! I am no longer a “newbie” or “tri virgin”! I know, I can’t believe it either! I completed my first triathlon Sunday, Mother’s Day and my 44th birthday,  with 1688 or so other women! Way to go ladies!!!! It’s true…She swims…She bikes…She runs…She Rox!!!! Wooohoooo!

I experienced every emotion during this 3 leg race. From terror as I entered Bay Lake (yeah, swimming’s not really my thing!) … to exuberance as  I sprinted to the finish line with the crowd cheering me on! (Thank you to said crowd for powering me through!) My results were better than I expected, but then again, I really didn’t expect to make it out of the lake! My personal goal was to finish in under 2 hours and I did that! In fact, I finished in 1:48:59!  Not bad, for a first timer! 600th out of 1688 women! Yes I’m bragging just a little! Can you blame me? I’m still wearing my medal proudly!!

Here’s a brief run down of the race…after a night of pasta loading, an annual jammie (as in PJ’s) trip on the monorail, and a brief stint of homelessness due to being locked out of our cabin, we finally went to bed at 11:00P.M., only to wake up before the alarm at 4:30AM. Yeah, sleep was not a big priority for me. We had coffee and tried to eat, but evidently food wasn’t high on my priority list either! We suited up, piled on the golf carts and headed to the transition area. Nerves were jumping off all over the place! I set up my little transition area (complete with a birthday balloon that sings) and then wandered over to the lake to see exactly what a ½ mile swim looks like. By this time I think I was in shock, so I couldn’t tell you if I thought it was farther than I expected or not. I was comforted by the number of lifeguards and swim angels (people treading water with swim noodles for those of us who need a little help) strategically placed every 50-100 feet on both sides of the course. Surely, they would fish me out (no pun intended) when I start flailing about!

My loving family found me on the beach by the lake, and I nervously chatted with them while awaiting the start of the 1st wave.  You see there were 22 waves, each 3 minutes apart and each with a different color swim cap. I was in wave 6, yellow caps (not a good color for me), scheduled to start at 7:15A.M, just after the survivor wave, pink caps, my friend Suzi’s wave.  As I hugged my husband, mother and children and accepted their good luck wishes, I felt the nervous tension bubbling up and tears popped into my eyes. Who knew that I would get so emotional? Why? I am a strong woman about to spend the next 2 hours proving exactly how strong I am. Starting this adventure with tears is not what I expected!

So they call our wave into the staging area as the pink capped survivors walk into water. This wave gets an amazing cheer from the crowd! They are all women who have had or currently have cancer. When you think of what they’ve been through, you can’t help but get a little choked up! They are my heroes!  And here come the tears again! What is going on?

Swim?...check!!

Swim?...check!

So, here I am, standing in the sand, tears running down my face, watching my heroes paddling their way through the course, when I hear the announcer call the yellow wave into the water. Hey, that’s me! Before I knew it, I was in the water, and then I was swimming.  Again, I think I was in shock, so I can’t really tell you what my emotions were, but I was crawling along. It was crowded and people were everywhere, with arms and legs splashing about! I think I went into a slight trance, because the next thing I knew I was watching the ladies beside me stand up and walk out of the water. And sure enough when I reached my foot for the bottom it was there! I had done it! And I didn’t even need to noodle swim! WOOOHOOO! My swim split was 22:52…not bad for a scrappy swimmer.

With the hard part done, I was on my way to the biking portion.  But first I had to run (barefooted, mind you) through sand, across pavement, grass and even mulch to the transition area which was quite a ways away. The women in front of me decided that running was over rated, so we walked. When I finally got to my transition area, I quickly pulled on my socks and shoes, clicked my helmet into place and pulled my bike from the rack.

I think now is a good time to tell you about the bikes that the women use in this race. Most experienced triathletes have invested hundreds and some even thousands of dollars on the latest, greatest and lightest bikes, with teeny weeny tires, that threatened to break the speed of light, and clip in pedals, which seems like being hand…well…foot-cuffed to your bike. Even some newbies rented these super light, super fast bikes. But for some of us, we just used what we had and for me that was a clunky, heavy mountain bike with thick tires and a hint of rust. Oh, and did I mention that the brakes rub? Yeah, that means I have to push harder to travel the same distance.  But it’s a bike… and it’s my bike!

Bike? Check!

Bike? Check!

So, we had to walk the bike out of the transition area and down the bike path until we reached the pink “mount line”. But, most women stopped as soon as they saw the line, and tried to hop on their bike, only to be reprimanded and told to mount after the pink line. So it was a bit of a traffic jam, but cleared quickly. We rode out the bike path and onto the service roads throughout Disney. Now, living in Florida, there are a couple things that are certain…it’s usually hot… sunny with a chance of rain… and flat…as in no hills. So, how then, did the organizers of the bike portion of this race find not just one, but multiple hills to torture us with? Don’t they know that there are no hills for us to train on around here? And the hills weren’t placed at the beginning of the ride…no…it was towards the middle and end, when our legs were already rubber. As if that weren’t bad enough, the course required us to make U-turns, really tight U-turns, which are tough when you’re on a bike and surrounded by bikes…not to mention doing this while being foot-cuffed to your bike! But after about 49 minutes, I was done with the second leg of this adventure!

After returning to the transition area, I racked my bike, took off my helmet and quickly covered my matted hair with a hat (bad hair day doesn’t even begin to cover it), downed some Gatorade and headed out… music free…for my favorite event…the run. OK, so let me fill you in on my running experience. I love to run! I love to run to my music! I run to the beat of the music that is playing in my ear. But, I was told that if I was caught with an ipod, I would be disqualified, and all my hard work would be for nothing! So, I made the decision to run naked, yeah, that’s what I feel like when I run without music. But, I set off strong, using my breathing as my beat. I passed up the first water table and just kept my pace and breathing steady. I felt good and strong as I ran down the bike path. After what seemed like 3 miles, I heard a volunteer tell a runner that was already on there way back from the out and back course that they were halfway there. WHAT?!?! I was still on my way out and I felt like I should be done! Where’s my music?!?!?! I need some Green Day and Bon Jovi!!

Run? Check!

Run? Check!

As I came around the first of two U-turns, I saw a woman with an Ipod! Wait…what…she has music? How could this be? I had to hold myself back from tackling her and taking her Ipod! Son of a …..arggghhhhhh! So, I swallowed my anger and frustration and picked up the pace. I needed to get this over with! Then, I saw Suzi up ahead, walking, due to a knee injury, and I picked up my pace to catch her! As I caught up to her, we turned onto the final ¼ mile! Only a couple more minutes and we would be finished with this whole #$%^^$ adventure!  We could hear the crowd in the distance and the cheers were getting closer with every step! Suzi was running through the pain…you go girl! Before I knew it, I was in the shoot with hundreds of people lining either side, cheering loudly! The adrenalin kicked in and I took off at a sprint to the finish line! I don’t know if it was the desire to finish the race or the desire to get away from all the eyes starring at me, but I turned it on and I was DONE!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!

After taking a moment to turn in my timing chip, collect a flower and a medal, I hugged my mentor-friend-survivor, Suzi, and the tears were rolling again! The emotions were unexpected and uncontrollable! I found my family and hugged all of them tightly, relieved to see them again and not from a stretcher! We made our way over to the food pavilion and waited an hour or so until the transition area opened for us to claim our bikes. The adrenalin fizzled and the lack of sleep started to make itself known! I was tired, not physically, like I thought, but emotionally.  Warning…this race really zaps the emotions!

In retrospect, my 1st triathlon was rewarding, exhilarating, surprising, frustrating, phenomenal and inspirational!  It was so much more than I expected, and by far the best birthday gift I could have given myself! I am proud of myself, but most of all I am relieved! Relieved not only that I finished, but that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself in the process!

Next challenge…hmmmm…I think maybe the Disney Marathon in January!  What do you think? Care to join me? Come on…you’ll only regret it for a little while!

Thursday!

_dsc5198So I haven’t written in a while! Not because I didn’t want to! I have been trying to work a little, you know…bring home some bacon… earn my keep… rake in some dough. That paired with my training schedule leaves me no time for blogging. Not to mention, keeping up with Facebook, Twitter and just regular emails…I have NO TIME!!! But today my bike ride got delayed slightly, so I thought I would try to shoot out a quick Thursday morning howdy-ho! Sup? NM, U?

So today is a tri day! I already went for my morning 5k run, my bike ride is within the hour, and I’m swimming tonight! I do love the days that I can actually do all three events at their full length! I feel that if I can do all three spaced out throughout the day, I should definitely be able to do them back to back the day of! Well, that’s what I’m hoping anyway!

Fast Forward…doooododoooo dodooodooddooooo

OK, so I just got back from my bike ride and I went a tad over the 12 miles, that I have to ride in the Danskin Tri. I actually did 20 miles!! Huh, go figure! Now if I just need to keep a float for 1/2 mile swim tonight! I am sooooo hungry! I am finding out that the diet of an athlete is totally different than the diet of a non athlete. I am hungry all the time!!! And not just hungry…STARVING…FAMISHED!!!! I started looking at what I eat in a day and what I should eat in a day. Yeah, I don’t eat enough! Nice problem to have, right? Not really! Let me explain!

I am a vegetarian. More specifically, I like to call myself a pescetarian, since I eat fish. But, I also eat dairy and eggs, so I have many ways to get my protein. I’m also now trying to eat more fresh foods and pulling away from the processed and manufactured foods. If it has an ingredient that I can’t say, I won’t eat it. I just feel better when I keep to the real food! The problem is trying to come up with an on the road, mid-workout snack that is packed with carbs and proteins. My standby is a baggie filled with almonds and craisins, but that gets a little old after a while! I would love a power bar, but again, there’s a lot of junk in those bars and they actually tend to be as bad for you as a candy bar. I tried making a power bar, but the ones I made are gooey and just don’t travel well! So a lot of times I go off for a long run or bike ride without a snack. That’s not healthy, and it makes it really difficult to get the calories I need for the day!

So according to my computations, with all the exercise I did today, I should take in 2500 calories to sustain me. And this will allow me to lose 1 pound this week. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t eat 2500 calories everyday, unless I am working out like I did today! My base calorie intake should be around 1400. Then, when I add exercise, I can add calories. It makes you aware of how your body works and what it needs in terms of fuel. I didn’t reach my 2500 calories today! I am soooo tired I can’t stay awake! I have to go to bed….RIGHT NOW!!!!

GOODNIGHT!!!

Goodnight!

So I woke up this morning feeling GREAT!! Full of energy and ready to conquer the world. That was 7 hours ago and now I am exhausted and it’s only lunchtime! Now, I know that I have kicked up the rdsc_4213unning thing a tad, but it isn’t like I am running a marathon every day! So why am I so tired!!!

Could it be because I’m not sleeping enough? YES!!! In fact, I am going to blame “lack of sleep” for many of my vices. I’m cranky…lack of sleep! Junk food binge…lack of sleep! Dirty house…lack of sleep! Cranky husband…hmmm…yep…that’s my lack of sleep, too!

I was watching The Today Show the other day and they did a story on a sleep diet. These woman were put on a diet of 7½ hours of sleep every night. Can you imagine being forced to sleep more? Ahhhhh, heaven! These women lost an average of a pound a week and reported that they had more energy and stamina!! Really? Just from sleeping more?

I started thinking about my sleep schedule and how it has changed this year. I used to wake up at 7:00AM on my own, no alarm needed and go non-stop until 11:30PM. Now I am serenaded out of bed at 5:30AM! That’s an hour and a half early. So am I going to bed an hour and half earlier?…NO!! So 1½ hours lost X 5 days (weekdays only), that’s 7½ hours of sleep a week that I’m not getting. That can’t be good! The recommended amount of sleep is 7½ – 8 hours of sleep a night in order to feel energized and lose weight!!! Really… lose weight! Can you believe that losing weight and feeling great could be as easy as going to sleep? I’m going to give it a try…so, GOODNIGHT!!!