Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stress, Art, and Nudity

We're about halfway into the second training week and I'm pooped.

Not from the actual work out itself, mind you; the time flew by today, courtesy of the TNT reruns of "Las Vegas," a show I know nothing about but now feel very invested in.

Urgh, I hate ending on a preposition.

More to the point, this week has had its own mental battles unrelated to the marathon, which made it harder to concentrate on the task at hand. It's times like these that I really need to take a few moments to just chill out and find my balance.

I find that art therapy--whether crayons and coloring books or acrylics and canvas--is totally helpful in placing me in a zen frame of mind. Just being able to focus on the pictures appearing in front of me by the work of my own hands calms me down. Arts and crafts are a relaxing and productive way to make you feel like you've accomplished something, while keeping you from freaking out all over the place.

Oh! But, on a positive non sequitur: having the goal of the marathon has led to me wanting to set other goals (some semi-related). One of the most recent ideas--once I'm all buff runner shaped--is to apply for Time Out's Naked New Yorkers issue. You write about why you would do the nude photo shoot and how you would artistically direct it; it's really about confidence and creativity, two things I'm all for!

Urgh, preposition!

Anyway, I strongly urge that you check out this year's winners. That guy in the gnome hat? He's a good friend of mine from college. Now if that doesn't inspire you to be more creative in life, I don't know what will! Hat's off to you, Dan.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a very special post on a very special day--see if you can figure out why!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Whee, Progress!

Today marks the end of the first week of training, bringing my sister and me ever closer to the big finish in January!

I must admit, when I got started today, all I could think was how I haven't really been able to run for more than a few minutes at a time (not to mention, my right hip-leg joint has been bothering me). But, I decided to try a new method: I would power walk for a few minutes (no slower than a 15 minute mile) and then run for one or two at a 12 minute mile pace.

This helped me so much! Using this method, I'll be able to work up to power walking for a couple minutes and running for at least five, and then switch to running entirely. See, just when I'm feeling down, I realize that not all hope is lost.

Also exciting news: I bought a scale and have finally started tracking my weight. I must be nuts to put it out here in the open, but it doesn't sound embarrassing when I think about the fact that I'll be making such progress.

Now, I've never been obese, but I've never been the healthiest weight I should (except for that time in 8th grade when I had the stomach flu and mouth/sinus surgery within weeks of each other--I looked awesome).

When I first moved up here, I was around 180 lbs, the heaviest I've ever been. This was a result of senior year stress, auditions, and discovering McDonald's chicken sandwiches. Mmm.

When I went home for a few doctor's appointments at the end of August, I was down to 167.

Today I weighed 160 lbs.

Seriously, I could not be happier to type that number; even knowing that total strangers and good friends will be completely aware of how much I weigh doesn't bother me. I have come a long way and am so excited to think of where I'll be in January:

Healthier, a runner, the right weight, and (oh yeah) in Disney World.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Power of Speech

For those of you unfamiliar with What the Bleep Do We Know?! or Masaru Emoto's studies on the messages of water, these next few sentences will sound like crazy talk--but give it a chance!

Masaru Emoto has published a number of books that discuss the power of human thought on physical matter, specifically on water and water crystals. His work is somewhat controverisal, but astounding: water that had angry thoughts directed towards it had its crystals develop into ugly, blob-like shapes, whereas water with kind and loving thoughts directed towards it produced brilliant and bright crystals.

The proof of the study is in Emoto's photographs, which are really beautiful and definitely mind-boggling; they are visual proof of the power of human thought.

Which brings me to my point, a point made in What the Bleep: if thoughts can transform water crystals, and the human body is around 70% water, then our thoughts can transform our bodies.

In other words, the power of positive thinking is actually really important--and sometimes all you need to push through that last mile. I even believe in writing key words on myself to give me that extra boost.

Strong. Fast. Ready.

It's really something to watch simple words turn into actual results.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just For Emphasis

See the previous post.

A Day of Rest

That's what Fridays are for (in the training plan): resting.

I figured that I could sleep in today, relax my muscles, take it easy--you know the drill.
However, I found that instead of making me feel rested, not going to the gym made me restless.

Is it possible? Am I actually craving working out? Have I started to enjoy it?

Go ahead and play the "Twilight Zone" theme, folks, because it's true: I kind of sort of maybe am liking this whole marathon training thing. Whatever.

But, in all seriousness, this is a great thing to know for those of you who are not keen on gymming it: after a week of sweating your butt off, exercising begins to become fun. The endorphins are awesome and you really do feel the extra energy all throughout the day! It's beginning to look like I might keep up this whole running thing, even after the marathon is done.

But not before I eat, like, 12 turkey legs in Epcot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quickie 3

Just a few words to explain my progress thus far:

My side butt muscles hurt.

I had no idea that they could.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It Begins!

Long time no post! (At least by my standards.)

But, yes, it's true: the 16 week training plan has officially begun, as of yesterday! Every time I think about that/say it, I realize how much shorter 16 weeks sounds as opposed to "4 months" or "in January." However, feeling as though the time will pass more quickly is actually exciting--though I am not even close to being ready, I really can't wait to do this.

So, yesterday (as every Monday will be) was a cross-training day, this one being on a 0-30 minute track. I only learned a couple days ago from my sister that Mondays are optional rest days (hence, the zero), but I think I will only use that option as a last resort--I'm going to need as much training as I can get!

For my first cross-training day, I opted to do 30 minutes of my Bollywood Dance Workout DVD. It's really good for increasing flexibility and strength, not to mention working your core.

Speaking of working your core, boy, did I work that today. Today was an easy 3-4 mile day. I decided to power walk at a 15 minute mile pace (thus completing 3 miles in 45 minutes), because I have never walked/ran for that long a period of time. My legs didn't get worn out and my lungs were able to handle it just fine: it was my core that got tired and had occasional cramping.

This is where the cross training becomes extremely important. You could have ridiculously strong legs and still not be able to handle a marathon unless your upper body and your core were strong, too. Running with proper form means all your body needs to work together to its best ability, especially if you're going to keep it in constant motion for 4-5 hours. Eeep.

Back to me, though: today was really important for my mental marathon. I stayed at the same pace for 45 minutes, and didn't let myself slow down or take a break during my 3 miles. Soon, I'll be able to cover 4 and a half miles in that same time--and that doesn't seem so daunting a task anymore.

It might just be the endorphins coursing through my system, but I'm pretty sure this whole thing is going to turn out awesome.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Feeling Good

There really is something amazing about the way you feel after working out.

The endorphins kick in, and, instead of feeling tired after the gym, I feel energized and excited! I am really happy that I've gotten to the point where working out is enjoyable--it still takes a while for me to force myself to pull on my shoes and go, but by the time I leave my apartment, I am eager as can be.

After going to the gym, I also feel more motivated to do other things: I want to eat healthier, I want to take care of errands. This is probably why I prefer going to the gym first thing in the morning; that way, my whole day starts off right and I am energized to boot.

Even if I don't accomplish anything else major during the day, I feel as though I have done something really good for myself, and that goes a long way!

And so, on that note, I go forth to be productive and buy a book (the new Dan Brown one--whee!) and walk about Manhattan with this lovely burst of energy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quickie 2

Short update before work:

1) My mom sent me these ballet-flat style Crocs, which I have been wearing to work. My feet have never felt better.

2) I am now realizing I will need to buy more ankle socks (I have 3 pairs).

3) With the weather turning chillier, I am actually getting very excited about running through snow!

There's a joke in there about "Cool Runnings," but I just can't find it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fancy Machines with Buttons

If you're not a big fan of going to the gym or just haven't been in awhile, your reconnecting with them can be a little intimidating.

I mean, time travelers could mistake it for an ancient torture dungeon, what with the pulleys and weights and executioner-type trainers walking around.

And the machines by themselves? Treadmill, elliptical, gazelle--buttons and foot things that I just attempt to figure out on my own; but, I finally figured out the one button I've really been looking for! The button on the treadmill that tells you how many minutes per mile you are moving, ie. the PACING button!

I now know that (for my gym's treadmills) level 4.0 means a 15 minute mile (Disney requires that you be able to finish the marathon at no slower than a 16 minute mile pace). If the slowest I ever power walk is at a 4.0, I'll build up the muscle memory to where that is a comfortable and memorized pace--but it will also keep me in the marathon, should I need to walk portions of it.

This button-knowledge will also allow me to run and create muscle memory for a specific pace, say a 9:30 or 10 minute mile. My sister says it will probably be easier for me to train since I am starting from scratch; my body doesn't know what pace is comfortable yet.

I am hoping (as the official training start date grows nearer) that all this knowledge and pacing will help me as much as possible, because at this point, I still need it! Nevertheless, I will continue making my daily trek to my modern day torture dungeon and pressing all the buttons I can find.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fighting the Mental Battle

Lucky me, I had a day off of work today!

Now, while I still have yet to go to the gym today, I have options: I can go to the gym later, take a walk around the neighborhood, do pilates in the apartment, etc. I can even use my Bollywood Dance Workout DVD. Yes, you read that correctly.

I could also stretch like crazy, finish cleaning my room, and do a little mental-marathon training; in fact, that's most likely what I'll do!

The thing that's really keeping me going (from the mental perspective) is reminding myself of why the Disney Marathon conversation even came up in the first place. I wanted to go to Walt Disney World. Again.

I spent a good portion of last spring and summer auditioning down in Orlando; I drove a few times, flew most, and got very used to Florida sunshine. I have a ridiculous amount of knowledge regarding the parks and love reading Birnbaum's Guides to WDW for kicks. I watch Disney Vacation Guide DVD's with the same reverence as if they were Oscar-winning films.

All of that? My motivation.

I mean, yes, I want to lose weight and get in better shape and accomplish this amazing goal of finishing a marathon.

But, I really, really want to go to Disney World again.

So I'm going to keep watching my Vacation DVD's and reading my Birnbaum's and researching online about which restaurants have the best desserts (all of them). And each time I get up to go to the gym or to run outside, I'm going to picture the castle and the mouse and the magic.

Mickey-vation. Mouse-spiration. Whatever the name, it's working.

Monday, September 14, 2009


A short post, as I have to go to work early (blech).

1) Walked/power walked outside today, following a 3.35 mile course; now that I know what it looks/feels like, it'll probably be easier to run/jog.

2) My lower back is doing better, thanks to my trusty friend, Advil.

3) While veggie breakfast sausages are quite tasty, veggie bacon is not. Eww.

Score one for the carnivores.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Minor Setback

Ouch, gentle readers. Ouch.

That was my first thought upon waking this morning, waking up so that I could power walk 3 miles outside, following a course set up by my sister on Map My Run.

I have yet to leave my apartment.

You see, in addition to working out, I have actually been working. I work in a bake shop and--while that might sound like a whimsical, fun job--I am literally on my feet for 8+ hours. I am lifting trays and dragging garbage and bending to reach cupcakes on the bottom shelf and it is exhausting.

Not to mention, I will often work 7-9 days in a row without a day off. Not fun.

So, when I woke up this morning, my not-yet-a-runner body (specifically the lower back) made me cry. I am downing Advil as I write and trying to stretch out my back before I go to work, so as not to damage it any further.

This was, however, only a minor setback: tomorrow I will be power walking those 3 miles with a renewed fervor--and hopefully a renewed lower back.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mmm, Wheat Germ!

Yeah, right. Like I'll ever say that.

But, this does bring me to an important subject: Nutrition! Yes, believe it or not, how you eat does affect your training--and it is important to understand why certain food groups are going to become more necessary during my training process.

Now, for those of you who aren't as familiar with my fabulous self, know this: I love food. I love cooking and baking and trying new recipes and restaurants. I enjoy a gourmet meal just as much as I do a microwaveable corn dog (somewhere, my vegan sister just began weeping).

However, with all the working out and running I'm doing, my body is going to require certain foods that don't necessarily rhyme with schmambuger. In order to make myself as prepared as possible, I looked up the Runner's Diet on They recommend a 50-25-25 plan, where half of your day's calories come from carbohydrates, one quarter from proteins, and one quarter from fats.

Good carbs include whole wheat breads and pastas, fruits, and low-starch vegetables; good proteins include egg whites/substitutes, low-fat milk, and low-fat hot dogs (yes!); good fats include olives, peanut butter, and avocados. For the full listing, check out the link!

It's actually not as difficult to adjust to as you would think. For breakfast this morning (when I got back from the gym), I had a bowl of instant oatmeal (carbs) with Egg Beaters (protein) that I had cooked in some olive oil (fat). A lot of it is coming down to planning, making sure I have enough fruits and vegetables to grab for a snack or having frozen veggie sausages that I can nuke in a couple of minutes.

This isn't to say that, come Thanksgiving, I'll be ditching the pie--it'll just be a matter of remembering moderation. My pre-Thanksgiving run with my sister (we'll be at her place) will make the meal all the more satisfying, knowing that we earned it!

And as soon as we've finished the marathon? Hide your corn dogs, Disney. I'm coming for them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Proper Attire

I forgot to mention, that, in addition to officially registering yesterday, I also got some fancy new running attire! Ooh, ahh!

On the recommendation of my sister (who used to live in the city), I headed to Paragon Sports, hoping to find magic shoes that run for you--these, apparently, do not exist.

Instead (feeling wholly out of my element), I found a helpful gentleman to whom I declared, "I'm not a runner. I'm running a marathon. And I have flat feet." Within a few minutes, he had brought me 3 boxes. The New Balances were too spacious. The Brooks squinched my toes. But, the Asics were just right. Aren't they pretty?

I also picked up running essentials: shorts, sports bra, spandex monstrosities.

It's almost like how you buy baby clothes that the kid will grow into; except, I'm buying clothes that will become less scary-looking on me the more I train.

Regardless of spandex issues, I am very pleased with my new shoes--they are comfortable and support my arch-less feet, and even though they're not magic, I think they'll work out wonderfully.

The Last Time I Ran...

...Was my junior year of high school, required for P.E. class.


I mean, I've done dance classes and I really do enjoy using the elliptical, but I am not a runner. For one thing, my feet are completely flat and I'm knock-kneed. So, when I tell you that I ran/jogged for 5 minutes at the gym today, it's a big deal.

My gym (Planet Fitness) is about a 10 minute walk from my apartment--I make it using a brisk walking pace that serves as my warm-up. Today I hit the elliptical, power walked on the treadmill, jogged/ran, and walked to cool down, all for a total of a mile and a half; by September 21st, I need to be able to run an easy 3 miles.

And the amazing thing? This minor goal seems possible.

Which then makes me begin to think that perhaps, really, my big goal is possible, too.

They say that one of the toughest parts of a marathon is getting past the mental battle. I think that I may have begun to take that one on: I'm seriously beginning to believe that I can and will do this.

Not to mention, when I'm running in January, it won't just be along some road. I will be with my sister, running through Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, Disney/MGM Studios, and the Animal Kingdom. We will run through Cinderella's Castle.

I think I've got more than enough fight in me for the mental marathon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's Official

My sister and I are now paid and registered marathoners--no turning back now!

I must come to accept the fact that this is the real deal. We are registered to run 26.2 miles and become Mickey Mouse-approved athletes. I even purchased the commemorative pin--I want as much proof as possible that I actually did this crazy, crazy thing.

"How crazy?" you ask. Well, gentle readers--all three of you--let me enlighten you on the history of the marathon.

Back in the day, there was a Grecian man named Pheidippides. Dippi was a messenger who was sent from the town of Marathon to the city of Athens to report that the Greeks had defeated the Persians. He ran all the way to the assembly (quite a distance--perhaps 26.2 miles?) and declared, "We have won!"

Pheidippides then promptly keeled over and died.

...And I am voluntarily choosing to do this it-actually-killed-the-Greek-messenger-thing.

Isn't history fun?

A Disclaimer or Two

So, I realized that--with the creation of this blog--certain disclaimers should be stated.

Not that this blog may ever be read by anyone more than my immediate family, but I figure that I should clarify a few things. No one likes being sued.

I am in no way sponsored/connected/related to The Walt Disney Company. Yes, I have auditioned for them. No, I have never worked for them. This is an entirely unofficial and solely personal blog; an outlet for my creative self and a means of keeping track of my training progress.

Any stores, websites, or persons mentioned in this blog are mentioned merely because I like being specific, and not because I have been paid or am paying to do so.

Perhaps this entire post is unnecessary, but better safe than sorry, right?

Running shoes cost enough as it is, without worrying about lawyers' fees.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Little More Explanation

It is not something I ever had a craving to do, running a marathon.

My sister is the runner--for fun, for health. She ran in the first New York Half Marathon, and is really good at it (when she has the time). When it comes to working out, it's usually like pulling teeth for me, until I get to the gym. Then I like it. But even so, I am not a runner.

I'm a let's-try-the-elliptical-for-a-bit-before-I-poop-out-and-go-home-er.
It's a rare breed.

Anyway, today I was browsing and planning fake-cations (as one is wont to do when bored on her day off) and chatting with my sister. The subject of the Marathon came up, and (for some unknown reason) I thought it would be fun if my sister and I could run it at some point. She figured out the logistics of whether or not a person could train up for a marathon in four (four!) months. Apparently, "at some point" translates into "as soon as humanly possible."

This was all just talk and fun until we realized how very serious we were about doing this. So now, we will be training in two different cities for four months to run 26.2 miles.

And this all starts tomorrow.

Which is why I got fast food delivered tonight--my goodbye milkshake was delicious.

I wonder if it's bad to order a second.

Once Upon A Time...

...There was a girl who loved Disney.

The Man, the Movies, the Mouse that started it all. To this young woman, Walt Disney World was truly the Happiest Place on Earth, a place where dreams really did come true.

One day, she had a wacky idea: she and her sister would run the Disney Marathon.

A novel concept, save for a few factors: the Marathon was in 4 months, her sister was an excellent runner, and she was not.

Thus began a quest to get in shape, build endurance, and ultimately, run with the Mouse.

Decision Made: 09/09/09
Marathon Date: 01/10/10

Let's do it.