Can’t Fight This Feeling

I wasn’t able to watch the Boston Marathon at work due to restrictions on streaming media on our computers, but I did follow the live chat on Runner’s World’s website as well as all the tweets that were posted minute-by-minute. Seriously. I basically got zero work done Monday morning. It was really exciting to “see” all the elite Americans do as well as they did, and I loved tracking runners I knew IRL as well as from the twitterverse.

Now, I’m not so delusional as to think I’ll run Boston – ever. I know I’m slow and often unmotivated and tend to get lazy. Got it. But I still like to follow the sport of running and occasionally get out there to run myself (albeit slowly). It’s just that I sometimes get self conscious about it all – like I’m hesitant to geek out about running with other people because I don’t even remotely resemble a Runner. I oftentimes keep running plans to myself, not wanting other people to know in case I do horribly. Even if I do get out there for events, I feel out of place at expos and starting lines. It’s all very awkward.

However, since I’m trying to make positive steps to change my fitness, I’ll let you guys in on what I’m currently working with. I researched a few ideas and settled upon Hal Higdon’s collection of training plans. I’m currently following the “Spring Training” (Novice) schedule through the end of June. Then I start up with a novice half marathon training plan for a mid-September half marathon I happened to sign up for (and which I’m unbelievably excited about). I want to train properly as well as really build up a good baseline of fitness, trying to work back to where I was ten (gasp) years ago. The schedule has attainable goals, nothing so lofty where I’ll just fall short and give up partway through.

And, most importantly, the training plan doesn’t scare me. I can do this.

- K

 


Back in the Saddle

This spring, I’ve been trying to get into better shape, more so since my epic failure at February’s Princess Half Marathon. Well, I say trying. I basically sleepwalked (sleptwalked?) through March, so that was a complete wash. And thus far, April’s been full of ups and downs. Earlier this month, I ran/walked the Go! St Louis 5k with some girls from work, and that was a pretty good time. Decent crowd, good weather, scenic run, no pressure. This kind of run that really reminded me how much I used to like running, before gps and twitter and blogs and all that. Back when I was a little ROTC student in college and I used to run every day like it ain’t no thang. So I decided to try and keep up the running after that 5k, with a few workout videos thrown in the mix for balance. Well, then shenanigans.

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I spent the latter half of last week and the first part of this week basically not doing a damn thing. I mean, I consulted Dr. Google, who said yeah, you need to rest, but don’t spend all damn day lying down, because that won’t do you much good either. Fortunately, whatever I did (or didn’t) do worked, and I was back to normal by Wednesday. (And totally taking a sabbatical from all things Jillian Michaels, because I do not want a repeat of all that.) Which was really great news since I was dying to try out my new shoes.

I had experienced some weird problems in recent months (both outdoor and treadmill running) where my heels felt like they were sinking too low and I would over compensate by running up on the front half of my feet (which sounds totally weird but would feel loads better). Of course, this would leave me with some seriously sore calves/achilles afterwards. I had ran in lightweight Asics for decades (obviously not the same pair), but felt like I need to shake things up … and I kept going back to these shoes another blogger kept bragging on. (Emily is highly entertaining in both running and beer, and while I will never be half the runner she is, I find her blog to be extremely entertaining.) I first heard about Hoka One One from her, and did some research – what intrigued me most was this whole “rocker” function, how the shape of the shoe encourages your foot to run the right way. So I ordered a pair of Kailua Tarmacs from an online store with a generous return policy for running shoes. You know, just in case. But totally unnecessary, it turns out, because these shoes completely rock. I don’t have calf or shin or hip pains, which would usually be an issue. And, it may or may not be in my head, but my old-person shuffle gait is gone in these shoes and I’m able to turn over my feet like an actual runner.

Sure, I’m still super slow, but that’ll ease with more running. Which I’m really excited to do.

Have a great weekend!

- K


Things and Other Things

So. There went March.

(awkward silence)

Yeah, there were a few times last month that I fully intended to blog about something - anything – but I just never really got there. Looking back, I honestly feel like I was just sleepwalking through March. Just going through the motions. That God this winter is finally finally over, right? I mean, it’s safe to call it now, yes? In any case, I would normally take the time right now to tell you ALL THE THINGS I’ve been up to since last we chatted, but save for a long weekend in Virginia, I haven’t been up to much at all. Even that weekend back East was a downer, seeing as I originally intended to run a half but deferred due to my complete lack of fitness and motivation.

On the bright side, I guess that’s one race entry for 2015 I don’t have to think about. Ha.

But seriously, folks. I feel like I’m just now coming up for air. I don’t get the winter sadz or anything, but what with the nonstop chill and snow and blah … well, I for one am just glad for above freezing temps and being able to see the (brown, dead) grass on the ground. It’s also motivating me to get my act together on a few levels and wake the eff up already. So you should (hopefully) be seeing me more around these parts. I’ll do my best not to disappoint.

- K


Epcot Highlights

On this wintry weather-filled morning, I’m finding a little comfort thinking back to last weekend’s shenanigans at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend. I already wrote about the race here – now here’s the rest of it:

Of course, it would’t be a true Princess Half weekend if RB and I didn’t do what we do best: drink around the world at Epcot. Ultimately, we decided to do ourselves a favor and break up the task between Sunday (post-race, of course) and Monday, since we were both flying out on Tuesday. So here goes:

Sunday’s countries/drinks:
China – Tsingtao (beer) along with potstickers and egg rolls. (We figured we need to eat after all that “running”.)
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Germany – (forgotten brand) Oktoberfest beer and pretzel.
Italy – Limoncello (THIS was perfection in that hot sun.)
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America – Sam Adams Seasonal Brew – just happened to be the Cold Snap

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Yes, Epcot does have a ‘Murica section. And if you’ve seen some of my latest twitter rants, this is the doomed selfie to which I was referring.

Japan – (unknown brand) Sake. Not a great choice; we’ll probably switch to a beer here next year.

At this point, we had hoped to circle back to Mexico, but it was just as crowded as it was when we first attempted it earlier. Plus it was close enough to our dinner reservations that we decided to just head on over to Canada. Where we proceeded to wait a half-hour past our reservations time despite being early because … well, who knows. RB and I were sure that someone else must have taken our reservation (I mean, all they had to do was respond yes to the waiter asking them if they were “Karen, party of two”).

Canada – Wine (yes, Canadian wine) along with dinner at Le Cellier.

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Wine, plus the farmhouse poutine, which was amazing.

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Venison rack with spaetzle and baby sprouts. My stomach was super happy with this.

Despite the snafu, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. So much, in fact, we were perfectly willing to head back to our room at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort (wholly recommend, btw) and just crash. I mean, we had been up since 3am.

Monday’s countries/drinks:
*Bonus* Kouzzina by Cat Cora (Mediterranean) – Sangria with breakfast. This place is a fantastic Mediterranean restaurant on Disney’s Boardwalk. We tried it out last year, and it’s definitely become routine for us to eat here.
*Bonus* Ragland Road (Ireland) – Flight of beers (Guinness, Harp, and two others I forget). RB and I came to this bar at Downtown Disney in the hopes of getting a Kilkenney, but alas, there was none.
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Morocco – Efes beer, plus hummus and calamari with aioli and harissa dips. This was at Spice Road Table, a new tapas-style restaurant. We’re already dying to go back, it is NOT to be missed.
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Norway – Aquavit, just to get Norway out of the way. RB claims it tasted as if “Jäger and bad vodka had a child”. I can’t argue with that. And this is the LAST year we’re doing aquavit. No more.
Mexico – Frozen margaritas from a small stand. Mexico was ALWAYS crowded the two days we toured Epcot, so we just grabbed our ‘Ritas and settled on the nearby steps to drink away the aquavit taste.

At this point, we decided to take a break and check out Spaceship Earth (otherwise known as “the Epcot golf ball”) and the aquarium.  No huge surprises, just good fun before heading to our dinner reservations in England. Thankfully, the waiter left us to our devices once we told him we were going to be drinking there awhile, maybe having dinner.

England – Black and Tans at the Rose and Crown (we also ended up having fish/chips plus splitting a scottish egg, which I loved).

And then, of course, we always finish with …

France – Lemon Citron slush. (N.B. – EVERYONE will try to tell you to get the Orange Champagne slush in France. This is false. The Yellow slush is far superior.)
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And of course, we thusly became Those People we hate at amusement parks. You know, the drunk, laugh ones. But you know. At this point, it’s tradition.

- K


Princess Half Recap (Otherwise Known as ‘My Self-Destruction at Mile 7.5′)

Okay, I had a plan this year for the Princess Half. Well, sort of. I mean, I started training, and then it snowed, and snowed some more, and kept snowing … and … yeah. Well, I did some runs inside on my trusty treadmill, Bob, but I really could have put more effort into it. In any case, here’s how it all went down.

First, I made a costume plan, because: priorities. I figured Vanellope von Schweetz (from Wreck-It Ralph) would be a pretty simple setup. I quickly opted not to go with a hoodie, though – yeah, it’s February, but February in Florida is still pretty toasty – and picked up a Nike dry-fit shirt in mint green, followed by a black running skirt from SkirtSports, and black running shoes. The leggings/socks were the most difficult – I though I’d have an easier time finding striped socks, but there were plenty of false starts. I ended up picking  some mint green leg compression sleeves and doing some artwork on it.

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Getting’ crafty with it.

I had some colorful barrettes for my hair and tied my ponytail with hot pink shoelaces (which totally stayed glued in place). End result? I guess pretty okay, if ultimately understated compared to other costumes.

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Please don’t judge my fat rolls.

Some pre-race items first. The expo was (thankfully) held at ESPN Wide World of Sports this year (as opposed to last year’s expo at another resort hotel, which was a nightmare). Packet pickup went smoothly, and my Running Buddy and I headed to Downtown Disney for pre-race dinner, per tradition. It seemed much more crowded than last year, and we had the worst time trying to get seated for dinner – amazing how many restaurants would claim to be reservation-only when there were at least a dozen open tables (I’m looking at you, Portobello). We ended up at Bongo’s Cuban Cafe, which was fantastic. One note, however: unbeknownst to us beforehand, Downtown Disney is undergoing some major additions and construction work is set for the next few years. I guess it’ll be nice when it’s done, but in the meantime, I think we’ll keep our distance.

As for the run? Well, it’s pretty telling I’d rather talk about pretty much everything else than the race itself. Race day was a hot and muggy morning (as opposed to a dark and stormy night).  RB was in corral J (she should have been placed higher) and I was in K, so we chatted though the mesh dividing the corrals while hanging out before the start. I knew my lack of training would bite me, so I devised a plan in conjunction with my iPod’s running mix: I’d run one song (or two) and walk a song. This worked out pretty well for me for awhile. I felt great, not too winded, and it helped change things up enough for me that I couldn’t get too bored. I even managed to be in the right area after running through the castle at Magic Kingdom that I ended up with a few non-sucky photos.

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Photographed whilst running!

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Again, please don’t judge my fat rolls. Or the fact that this is obviously a proof I refuse to buy.

Then for some reason, things started to fall apart between miles 7 and 8. My “running” spurts were more like a stiff shuffle. My hips started to protest. My hamstrings tightened. And just like that, my legs quit. Well, figuratively speaking, I mean, I was still moving and all, but running was just not. going. to happen. The hill/onramp at 10.5 sucked as always – heck, I’ve always found the stretch from Mile 10 to 11 to be the absolute WORST. But I did feel marginally better once I got on that overpass and saw all the walkers behind me (sorry I’m not sorry). One good surprise was the music/video feed at Mile 11.5 – mores for the lack of an announcer yelling at full blast. (Last year, there was this chick from The Biggest Loser at this point, and she was just getting her “Woo Girl” on in the microphone. Awful.) From Mile 12 onward it was the usual back-and-forth through Epcot and the Hallelujah chorus (always my favorite) before the finish line. I thought they moved folks quickly and I was fortunate enough to stumble right over to my resort bus as they were loading it, so I didn’t have to wait around very long (which was really great because my feet were screaming and I had a nasty blister on my forefoot).

As for my time? All-time worst, thankyouverymuch. I’ll not mention it here. But hells yes, I’ll do this again. Disney has great support and puts on an amazing show year after year. It’s also a great winter getaway. RB and I – as well as some family members – are already planning out how we’re going to work all this out next year.

First and foremost, focusing on costumes. Of course.

- K


Winter Break and Running Like a Princess

I’m so, so psyched to be heading down to Florida this weekend. This will be my third year in a row of participating in the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World, and I can’t wait. Last year was a huge lesson to me on the importance of race preparation. While I can’t say I’ve properly prepared this time around (of course, right?), I’ve done more than I did last year. So at least it won’t suck quite so much this time around? One can hope. Plus, I’ve actually got a costume prepped this year, so I won’t feel quite so underdressed amongst the thousands of other crazy girls like myself.

Hope you all are following me on twitter for the play-by-play!

- K


A Long Way to Go

Yesterday’s 6K run reminded me why I like running. I’m not one to normally get out there and run by myself, but I like the camaraderie of a race. It keeps me moving and shames me into not giving up. I looked up my timing results online, since I had decided not to wear my Garmin, and was satisfied with how I ran. Yes, I’m still a slow turtle, but with only a solid month behind me of trying to get back into shape, I can’t complain. I also saw my race picture, which pleasantly surprised me. I actually spotted the photographer and managed to smile and wave. It’s probably my best race picture. I don’t look as cold or miserable as I felt … in fact, I look like I’m having a great time. In my face and posture, that is. But my body shape? Well … it’s a good wake up call. I’m feeling better, yes, and working on running and fitness. But I don’t look that healthy. It’s a reminder that I didn’t put on this weight overnight and it’s not going to come off overnight. Yes, I’ve got a long way to go. It seems daunting. It’ll take months, I know. But I’ll continue to show up every day and do my best.

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- K


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