Friday, January 29, 2010

Hot Times, Running In the City

It's mighty cold.

Like, 22 degrees out cold. So what on earth is my entry title referring to? The Peachtree Road Race, held every July 4th in Atlanta, GA--the world's largest 10K,* and a race in which my sister and I will be participating.**

*Apparently, not so anymore; the Peachtree has been surpassed as the largest 10K by the Vancouver Sun Run. What can I say, it's a big year for Canadians.

**Participation does depend on whether or not we are able to register for one of the 55,000 spots available. I'm hoping we do!

Online registration takes place during the last week of March, so you can bet my sister and I will be signing up as soon as the web page loads :) She's run the Peachtree before, and while I (obviously) have not, I'm really looking forward to it! Plus, it'll be my goal to train so that I can run it the whole time.

While it's only a 10K (around 6 miles for those conversion-phobes), it's not a flat course and it is set in Atlanta in July, so the Peachtree will pose challenges that the Disney Marathon did not. I, for one, will be glad to not run in 20 degree weather--though I may regret saying that, knowing how hot it gets in the South during the summer months...

For now, I don't really have a set training plan; I'm really just getting used to working out again, and enjoying it! I think, once registration happens, I'll start following a more structured training module, incorporating a lot more outside workouts and incline training (apparently mile 5 is uphill, yikes!).

It'll feel awesome to have a big plan to follow :) I have found that, even though I'm all creative and free-spirity and awesome, I occasionally crave order. Weird.

In conclusion, I've decided (what with my fervor for the Olympics) that I will be ending my posts (at least until the Winter Games are over) with fun facts relating to Canada, the Olympics, and hockey.

Today's Fun Facts:

1) Vancouver was named for Captain Vancouver, which is just awesome. "Captain Vancouver." Heh.
2) No country in the Southern Hemisphere has ever hosted the Winter Olympics.
3) Hockey is the best sport in the world. FACT.

Captain Vancouver

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Olympic Fever!

In case you didn't know, I love the Olympics.

Like, a big, ol' heart filled with international cooperation and friendship kind of love.

The XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver will begin broadcasting February 12, 2010 on NBC, and I am so ridiculously excited! And there are so many reasons to get pumped about it, too.

The younger brother of the summer games, the winter games are often overlooked by many, which is sad, as they are awesome. Snowy and awesome! Snowboarding, ice dancing, speed skating--if you find yourself with a spare moment during the two weeks that span the Olympics, check them out.

I am really excited this year for women's figure skating: Yuna Kim, representing South Korea, is like no skater I have seen before. Even if you have no knowledge about figure skating, you can tell that she is extraordinary, both as an athlete and a performer. Watch her here: Yuna Kim "Gold". But don't think I'm forsaking anyone from Team USA: Rachael Flatt and (especially) Mirai Nagasu are going to give excellent performances, though I don't know if they can compare with Yuna.

Now, don't go thinking figure skating is the main thing for me. The other reason I get super stoked about the Winter Games? HOCKEY.

Yes, folks, I love hockey oh so much. And the fact that this year marks the 30th Anniversary of the 1980 Miracle On Ice just makes me even more thrilled to watch the Men's Ice Hockey medal rounds! Now, if anyone happened to have any free tickets to the Men's Gold Medal Round, I'd be happy to take them off your hands, thankyouverymuch.

Oh, well--I'll watch it from the comfort of the couch, and in the meantime, rewatch the movie Miracle and pretend I'm there :) If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It is one of my absolute favorites, a really beautiful story--and it'll speak to you, even if you don't like hockey (what a preposterous idea!).

As my sister typed to me earlier: do do do do do do do-do-do do do do do do do (BUMMM)!
It's the Olympic Theme by John Williams. Go ahead and hum it.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pump You Up!

Went to the gym for the first time since Disney.

It wasn't bad, or painful; in fact, I was really quite excited to be working out again!

But, now I need to figure out a goal to focus on that somehow requires working out. Like, I enjoy working out by itself, but I feel (at least for now) that it will be easier to keep it up if it's tied to something specific. Working out for a purpose (and not just lose weight/get healthy).

Hmm. I do have an audition coming up, but I won't speak on that quite yet.

It's time for turkey hot dogs, anyway.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's Next?

I'm really eager to start training again. For something. Anything!

While searching for inspiration, I have had recommended to me quite a few interesting challenges I should attempt: the Iditarod, the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, triathlons, etc.

While I do enjoy hot dogs, I fear the annual eating contest might set me back, as far as a weight loss goal goes :) That, my friends, is one of my upcoming goals--this will be elaborated in my next post.

There is a yoga studio not too far from where I live that has a 30-day Bikram Yoga challenge, which I'm very interested in trying (though perhaps I should do one day's worth to see if I like Bikram, first)!

Aside from weight-loss goals and yoga challenges, I really am very interested in new races I can attempt. I came across a great site the other day, Running In the USA, where you can search by state, month, type of race, etc. It's a wonderful resource if you're looking to find something nearby, or are planning a vacation and want a marathon in the middle of it. For the fun.

Seriously, though: my sister and I are definitely signing up for the Peachtree Road Race in July (the world's largest 10k road race), and I'm looking into the Inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon in October. I encourage you to check out Running In the USA, just to see what races are near you--you might be surprised at how many are going on!

Oh! And here's some exciting news: I am typing this entry on my new computer, whee! It's a happy little laptop I've decided to name "Thinky." Yes, folks, anthropomorphizing inanimate objects is fun. And see how many big words I just used? "Thinky" is making me smarter already.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2010

Well, my goodness!

A week has passed since the Disney Marathon and I am feeling good :) There is so much to say, so I will try to recount as much as possible without boring the poo out of you:

My sister and I got up at 3:00 AM and started getting ready for the race (dressing, stretching, applying copious amounts of Body Glide), each of us freaking out in our own way. I used the purple Sharpie provided by Disney in our marathon gift bags to do a little something I used to do in college: I wrote adjectives on my body. With the idea that there is a connection and strength between mind and body, the thought that what we say can affect how we feel, I occasionally write on myself to help that along (see What the Bleep Do We Know?! to understand more).

"Powerful" on each thigh. "Strong" (with a 3-circle Mickey) on my core.

The words are almost faded, but are a fun reminder of what I did a week ago.

Anyway, by 4:00 AM, we caught the Monorail to take us to the race starting site. Everyone on the train with us looked just as excited and cold--and when I say cold, I mean cold. Hoth cold.

It was 27 degrees and all the layers we were wearing did very little for warmth. It was actually quite funny, people in hardcore running gear wrapped in trash bags and Mylar, bathrobes and towels. A DJ blasted music that I bobbed along to in an attempt to stay warm.

And don't even get me started on how chilly the Porta-Potties were. It was no wonder that as soon as the race began, you could see runners peeling off to pee on the edge of the trees!

It was around this time, waiting in line to freeze our butts off, that my dear sister kindly and encouragingly told me, "This is the WORST idea ever."

Ahh, sweet sister! But it was all in good fun--especially since she recently told me she's considering doing another marathon, yay!

Anywho, as the race really got started, there were fireworks and music and Mickey and the gang to welcome us to the starting line! As our massive corral (the Tsunami, they called us) crossed the start, our D-Tags were activated. Attached to our shoelaces, the D-Tags are how the timing was recorded for each individual racer; it was also great to walk through the parks later and see people with their D-Tags still attached.

My sister and I started the race together, which was really important to me. Even though I knew we wouldn't be running the whole thing together, it was really good that we starting out by running across the starting line together :) This won't be the last race we do together, but more on that later.

It really was something to run in the cold, dark morning. Racewalkers, joggers, couples, groups. Everyone was excited--if not freezing! As I had mentioned earlier, there were a lot of layers that got thrown to the side as everyone started to get a little warmer; however, just as quickly as someone would ditch a sweatshirt, someone else would pick it up and put it on!

The mile markers were big lit signs with the elapsed time shown in front of them. People stopped to get their pictures in front of them; Disney provides you with a disposable camera, which is very nice of them considering how many photo opportunities there are along the way for great pictures! There are princesses and pirates and Pluto, too, all ready to take a picture with you as you run through the various parks.

Epcot, the first park you come across, was my favorite to run through, since it was still dark. Crowds of people who were brave enough to come out this early were cheering us on throughout the entire race, but it was really something to see them at the entrance to Epcot. Running past Spaceship Earth (aka the Big Golf Ball) with an inspiring orchestral score blasting out of the speakers was unbelievable.

The rest of the race is kind of blurry. It was freezing (the ground near the water/Powerade stations was icy), and running on the long stretches of highway was pretty tough. It was a huge help to have the ChEAR Team shouting encouraging words to us, and every time I got really tired, there was a marching band playing "Eye of the Tiger" or the Central Florida Accordion Club playing Polka music!

I really hit the wall around Mile 10; my hip, which had bothered me during the early weeks of training, did not do well in the cold weather. I kept myself going by setting mini goals: Just make the next big mile cut--and I did. Just make it to the Magic Kingdom--and I ran through Cinderella Castle. Just make it to my parents, who were waiting to see us run past at mile 12.5--and I saw them, and cried, and was ready to call it a day.

Even when I could barely shuffle along, there was such an overwhelming amount of support, from my family and total strangers and the wonderful people at Walt Disney World. I went as far as I could, and then (truly) happily limped back to the hotel room with my Mom and Dad.

A hot shower that drained the Atlantic Ocean and some cashews and water kept me going while the folks went to go see my sister cross the finish line. Not too long after they left the room, though, I heard a rustling outside the door: It was my sister, wrapped in warming Mylar and wearing a Mickey-shaped medal! Although my parents missed seeing her cross the finish line, I was really excited that I got to see her first :) Even though she was nasty gross with salt caked to her forehead, I was so proud of her and so glad that she finished her first marathon!

The rest of our stay down in Walt Disney World was wonderful, filled with good food, great rides, and a crap-ton of painkillers! Everywhere we went there were people wearing their medals, limping with pride. I really was so pleased and proud of myself for my accomplishment: even if I didn't finish the marathon, I ran a half marathon for my first race and trained my butt off!

As soon as I was back in the hotel room, all I could think of was how I couldn't wait for next year. And in the mean time, I'll be running some other races--my sister and I are already getting ready to sign up for the Peachtree Roadrace in July, and she's got a half marathon coming up in March!

These past four months have been so rewarding; even when I was achy and tired and ready to quit, I kept going (despite many whiny posts), and last week was incredible.

I intend to keep posting (much more frequently) in this blog, especially with all the upcoming races, and I am looking forward to attempting new challenges and pushing myself to meet new goals.

Thank you for sticking with me, and I hope you continue to do so as I find out what new adventures are in store for me! Maybe I've amused you, maybe I've bored you, maybe I've even inspired you to go try a challenge of your own, but I really do hope that regardless of what this blog may have done for you, you remember its title, and the reason behind it:

"If you can dream it, you can do it."

Thanks, everyone.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's the Final Countdown!

Do do doo doo, do do do do doo!

Bring it on!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

10 Hours and Counting,,,

Yup, folks, it's almost time for the Disney Marathon!

It's about 8:00 PM here in Orlando, and freezing cold to boot--tomorrow's race is going to start with temperatures in the 20's. Brrr!

My sister and I are about to go to sleep, since we'll be waking up at 3:00 AM so we can begin transportation before 4:00 AM. There's a whole lot of confusing bus transfers and extra walking before you get to the actual start of the race, but we'll be surrounded by 24,000 people all hanging around for the same reason as us :) If that's not a bonding experience, I don't know what is.

Due to the unusually cold weather, there will be a lot of extra layers worn, including trash bags at the very start! Yes, Hefty bags and the like serve as excellent windbreakers and are an easy extra layer to ditch when the marathon begins. There will, in fact, be many layers of clothing tossed to the side during the race; Disney collects these sweatshirts, track pants, and the like and donates them to charity (an excellent decision on their part).

I'll make another post (albeit a brief one) tomorrow morning before the race, and most certainly one after :) It's going to be insane, and I'm going to capture as much of it as possible on camera and (if I'm really crazy) with the occasional Tweet-like posting. We'll see how likely that is...

No matter how it ends tomorrow, I know it's going to start out beautifully and be extremely fun the whole way through, so keep the 24,000 of us, especially my sister and me in your thoughts!

As the Mouse said, "Ho, Boy!"

Game on.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm Still Here, But My Laptop is Not

This is the first time in over two weeks that I have turned on my computer--it is seriously broken, and trying desperately to fight off a virus!

I tried updating from my iPhone but, apparently, one of the few things it cannot do is update using blogspot. Boo.

Regardless, I am hoping my computer will stay on long enough so that I might post an entry, considering it's only FOUR DAYS UNTIL THE MARATHON.

Yeah, holy poop.

To sum up the past few weeks: my long runs haven't been great, my right hip is slightly wonky, and I'm terrified by the fact that I may be running in 40 degree weather. Not awesome.

In spite of all this, however, I am really excited for Sunday! I keep going over the course in my mind (it is, after all, one I know well), and watching fellow marathoners' videos of their past Disney run experiences, and while it is definitely scary, I am actually looking forward to it!

I'll admit: between Thanksgiving and now, my training has not been good. I have not been as motivated, nor have I been working as hard as I could have. I'm not denying the fact that I may have screwed myself over. However, I really am still of the mindset that I want to FINISH. I don't want some incredible time, I just want to finish the race.

But I do know that I may have cheated myself out of even that. Not trying to set myself up to fail, but I know that there is a chance I won't be able to finish. It is after all, a marathon, a huge undertaking. But, I won't punish myself if I can't make it. These past 4 months have been incredible, and I plan to continue with training and working out and even--yup--blogging after it's all over on Sunday.

If not this marathon, than you better believe I'll be hitting up another.

This goal was, all along, not about the end result, but about the process. I now enjoy working out and heading to the gym. I'm trying my best to eat healthier. I want to keep training so I can sign up for other races. Maybe one day, I'll be seeing how fast I can run a race.

I really am quite proud of what I've accomplished :) I can almost taste those turkey legs.