Lake Hodges 50k – 2017

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This past July I decided I was going to run my first ultra marathon. This decision came to
me in my journey to eventually qualify for Boston. I’ve noticed when I run longer distances not only do I become stronger but mentally my mileage becomes less. I’ve learned it allows me to run faster and longer. Adding miles to my runs, especially trail

drop bags!

drop bags!

runs gives me the strength I need to become faster. I could just get into interval training on a high school track but I find trails a little more exciting and my style!

I decided to run Lake Hodges 50k because the course looked challenging, the race director was organized, and the October date was appealing for nice weather…. It also gave me 12 weeks to train. Training was smooth, fueling for longer distances is fun for me. I like the science behind it and how nutrition plays a role in the way I preform. Since 31 miles isn’t a whole lot more than a marathon. I altered some of

first mile in and looking perfectly spooky for a Halloween race!

first mile in and looking perfectly spooky for a Halloween race!

my gels and actually added food (yes, food) to my training. It’s so hard for me to eat anything while running. The night before a run I can’t eat past midnight, I can stomach one Health Warrior Bar or gel and that’s it! It really sucks but that’s my body. So taking on an Ultra was exciting, it let me challenge myself and play nutritionist at the same time ;p

On October 28th, I woke up around 3:45 to make a 7 am start time. The race was held at Lake Hodges hence Lake Hodges 50k which is in Escondido. About 45-55

The long stretch before hills, this is where the sun started to poke out!

The long stretch before hills, this is where the sun started to poke out!

miles from my home. Since I had schedule two races this weekend, the 28th and 29th I wasn’t able to make packet pick up in between work and managing a LA packet pick up. So I got to the race by 6 to pick up my bib and shirt. The packet pick up line while long was fast, as it was organized well. I was able to pick my bib up, check in, and collect my crazy thoughts, lol. I originally put together two drop bags that I 86’d that morning and

decided to go “All IN” on the aid stations and my Orange Mud HydraQuiver Pack.

Before the race, I did some final stretching and prayed. I prayed for strength, I prayed for the other runners, I prayed for whatever God had planned for us; we would accept and try to understand his plan, whether we DNF or finished. Before I knew it I was toeing’ the start line and off into low

Photo by Scott Crellin

Photo by Scott Crellin

laying fog amongst the brush. The first 5k was easy and relaxing, from tips of previous ultra runners, I knew to start slow. I got into “my” comfortable pace. My pace was strong and my mind was open. I kept telling myself that finishing was more important than time, with the exception of course cut off times ;p My

Past the hills and getting closer to finishing, 24.5 miles and 6.5 to go!

Past the hills and getting closer to finishing, 24.5 miles and 6.5 to go!

goal for my first 50k was a sub 6:30, I wasn’t sure 5k or even 10k into the race if I’d hit my goal.

I continued to run and at 4.6 I came across my first aid station, it was after a hilly .5 of up and down. I stopped and refilled my bottles. I kept my nuun Performance in the pockets of my HydraQuiver. That helped me maintain my electrolytes and carb balance. My goal was to
intake between 100-250 calories per hour, as well as stay hydrated and energized.

Back at Lake Hodges and close to finishing!

Back at Lake Hodges and close to finishing!

Once I trailed off the aid station, I told myself to make those stations “markers” and utilize them as much as possible. The aid stations for this Ultra were

awesome and included anything you could think of. They really spoiled my first Ultra experience. The next aid station was 8.5 and the course during the

photo by Scott Crellin

photo by Scott Crellin

last 4 miles was back tracking the hilly .5 to an overpass that lead to open area and yay, hills! Between 8.5 and the aid station at mile 13. I started talking to a woman who was an ER nurse. This part of the course had long stretches of miles and farmland. She told me she ran this race before and remembers this part being boring as she ran it alone. Running through it, I felt free. I enjoyed the stretches and was happy for no incline, yet. Mile 13 we hit another aid station, I took my time

Back at Lake Hodges and with about a mile to go!! Smiles for days!

Back at Lake Hodges and with about a mile to go!! Smiles for days!

and my new running friend did too. We were there about 30 seconds, a refill and few pretzel sticks did the trick. This section is where the hills kicked in and I slowed down a bit. Only 13 miles in and I didn’t want to exert myself just yet. I still felt strong and I had my new running friend by my side. We were each other’s cheerleaders and it helped. The next aid station approached at mile 18, at this point I just refueled my OM bottles and snacked on some almonds I had packed myself. I took a Honey Stinger gel, and started back on my way. The way back to the next aid station just backtracked from mile 13 to 18.75, then 18.75 became 24.5. Getting through 18.75 and 24.5 was the toughest. My legs were on fire, hills for days and I also let my running buddy go so she could crush a PR! During this time I chatted with many runners, we both kept each other’s spirits up and managed to get through to the next station. 24.5 aid station until 28.9 I was running solo, trying to feel comfortable and stay headstrong. The ground at that point was flat but sandy. I started chatting with a young man who runs marathons every week. Some twice in a weekend. He was truly inspiring, I let him go at mile 30…so he could crush his PR. Between the last mile, I came across men and women who we

I finished!! Officially an Ultra Marathoner!

I finished!! Officially an Ultra Marathoner!

cheered each other on; keep it going; stay strong; see you at the finish! Coming along the lake once again, that familiar single track path that you started with was rewarding and so exciting. I saw the finish line in the distance and started my sprint. You can’t help but speed up and finish strong! Crossing the finish line was amazing, my sister surprised me with my boys and flowers. People were cheering and ALL the food was ready to eat!

I had finished my first 50k in 06:42:42, 12 mins longer than hoped but I finished and couldn’t be upset over a time. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or laugh. The experience was amazing!!! I knew I had picked the perfect race for my first. I recommend Lake Hodges 50k to anyone whether you are running your first or 10th ultra marathon. The race actually has different distances, so you can start at a mile kids run, 15k, and then work your way into the 50k! This race spoiled me during my first ultra marathon experience. I’m now planning my next challenge, a 50 miler and hopes of the change to run MiWok 100k next May. I know this challenging and rewarding experience will lead me to Boston in the years to come. For now, I’ll enjoy new friends, miles on trails, and adventures with my boys!

Running while Breastfeeding

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Pumping at 3 AM before heading to the start corrals!

My second son was born during a year I had signed up for a lot of races. Giving up running when he was born wasn’t going to be an option unless my doctor told me otherwise. So, I had to revise my training schedule around feedings and nap times. I knew I wanted to breastfeed him, just as I did my first son for a year at the minimum. When I was cleared to run at my 6 week postpartum appointment, the planning begun. My shorter runs included me feeding baby before I would head out the door. This was easy, it was going to be my longer runs I would struggle with. What helped me the most was obtaining a breast pump through my insurance. Being able to feed my son before a long run, then pump 6-8 more ounces after relieved tension and weight.

I ran my first marathon when my son was 4 1/2 months old. I had to average out being away for 5 hours, when I normally would feed every four. My plan involved me feeding and pumping before I headed to the start line, which stretched my time out to 7 hours without feeding. My son would have milk to drink but this didn’t help me from leaking or feeling super uncomfortable. So by planning to have Mav meet up with me around mile 15-16 I was able to pump enough to get me to the finish and back to the hotel. Strategic planning, feeding schedules, and a pump helped me run while breastfeeding. Pumping after feedings and while my son would sleep through the night, allowed me to create a stock pile of milk. So even on some longer uncomfortable runs I was able to feel as ease knowing my son wasn’t going hungry.

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Breastfeeding at the finish line of RNR Las Vegas!

The Breastfeeding Shop is a perfect go to solution to obtain your breast pump. They work exclusively with your insurance company so you don’t have to pay for your pump out of pocket. If you plan on running while breastfeeding and don’t want to have to worry about being uncomfortable or baby going hungry while you are out; you are going to need a breast pump! Please check out the breastfeeding shop and fill out their form to get your pump today!

Run Revel – Mount Charleston 2017

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On April 29th, 2017 I ran my first downhill marathon. Just an hour out from the glowing Las Vegas Strip you will find cottages and two lane roads up Kyle Canyon, this is Mount Charleston. Most runners gravitate towards downhill marathons with bright eyes and their heart set on a BQ time. While downhill racing tends to give a runner a new PR, it’s not as easy on your body as you would think. When I registered for Mount Charleston, I wanted a vacation along with the experience of a downhill race. I knew I wasn’t ready for a BQ but a PR would be in my future. Run Revel is known for their downhill beautiful courses and quality race experience. They host a few races a year with half and full marathon distances. When you Run Revel, you know you are joining a strong group of runners that train hard and finish strong.

runrevel_03When I told Mav I registered for Mount Charleston, he jumped online and said, “you know this is going to be a Vegas vacation.” While there are hotels near the race finish line, you bus up to the start line from a parking lot in Summerlin. Since we drove to Las Vegas and had a car, staying on the strip was ideal for us. We drove up the day before the race, checked in and headed out to packet pick up. Once I had my bib, I was getting excited. Training for a downhill race included a lot of uphill runs, along with stretches, fuel prep, and IT roll outs. One thing that always makes me nervous while running is my knees, I can train, prepare, and supplement. However, I never know if they are going to act up. I knew if they were going to give me trouble, a downhill race would be when be when pain may show up. Instead of being scared, I prayed and figured if Mount Charleston was going to be my race then everything would go as planned. Las Vegas holds a lot of my favorite restaurants, so Mav and I had an early dinner and for the first time ever, I was able to get to bed by 8 PM with a 3 AM alarm.runrevel_04

Before I knew it 3 AM rolled around and I jumped out of bed, from that moment I started pre race hydration with nuun performance. I can’t eat before a race so nuun performance has been a game charger for me. It’s the right amount of carb and electrolytes to keep me hydrated and strong throughout my long runs. Mav drove me to the parking lot in Summerlin, I sat in the car for awhile until I braved the chilly windy weather and jumped in the bus line, which was headed to the marathon start line. While in line, everyone was ecstatic and excited. Talking about the previous years race, where they flew in from, and that BQ they were chasing. One women shared her story of chasing a BQ for 15 years, I admired her journey and wished her luck. I thought to myself, “this race is serious, it’s a make it or break it for a lot of runners.” Driving up, we passed the half marathon start line…a part of me thought, “can I change my mind now.”  Soon, we were at the start line which was a cute little cabin restaurant and lodge. While the race temperature at finish was a perfect 72 degrees. The start line reminded me of my fun chilly race in Florida this past January. You forget how chilly and windy it is the higher up the mountain you go. Knowing I would be running and warmed up soon, I just couldn’t wait until that blow horn went off.

runrevel_01Starting down the hill, it was really windy. I once again had a flashback to my first marathon and tried to keep a positive focus. The first couple of miles were steep and allowed me to gain momentum, this is were I kept a steady 8-8:30 min/miles. Hydration stations and port a potties were located just about every mile down the course. I kept to my plan of at least getting an ounce or two of water each stop, along with my honey stinger gels each hour of running. nuun performance keeps me hydrated for a good portion of the run, while the gels give me the amino acids my body needs. This course had so much to see and kept me mentally free. my focus on the scenery and the sounds of the outdoors kept me on pace. When I would set my eyes on the distance I could see the north side of the strip. Coming up on the half marathon start line, I was feeling good. This is where it started to warm up and I knew I was halfway to finish. Arriving at mile 18-20 during a marathon is tough, I always feel like I’m almost finished but the miles start to get longer and I need to stay head strong. This is also were the Mount Charleston course tends to flatten out. I started to feel my quads on fire. I knew if I wanted to PR, It was going to have to be on me and my training. With 5k to go, it really hit me. I wanted to walk but my legs weren’t ready to give up. I kept my focus on the signs of the spectators cheering the runners on. Since most of the course is closed off, it does give spectators a tough time to cheer on loved ones, unless they drive up or live along the course. I’m always for spectators towards the end of 26.2 miles!! Since my head was telling my body to slow down but the crowd was telling me to “finish strong.” Before I knew it I could see the finish line, approaching it took forever even though it was a quick minute. lol. I could see Mav to my right at the finish, this gave me the strength to push harder. Shortly after I finished I checked my time, which was better than the time I saw while crossing the finish line!! I finished in 4:09:45 for a 9:31/mile, a new PR for me!

Looking back at this marathon, I found myself in most of the miles. Run Revel exceeded my expectations, from a organized quality course to the quality of challenging runners. Once you run a downhill marathon, it’s tough to meet your running goals with any other course. This was my third marathon, and I plan to make a Run Revel event my fourth. If you are pursuing your dream of running Boston, I would advise to sign up for a downhill marathon. Run Revel shaved 17 mins off my previous marathon time!

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It’s Giveaway Time!

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TinkerBell Half Marathon Weekend is in just a few short days. This half holds a special place in my heart as it is my first! In honor of my first half, I am giving away a Momentum Jewelry Wrap to two lucky winners! In order to win, please click on the link below and make sure you follow my Instagram!

PrayRunLiveLove

LA Marathon 2017

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The LA marathon has to be one of my new favorite races. The course is amazing and the energy was vibrant. When I first signed up for LA, my goal was to run it vengeance. While it was fun and exciting, my last marathon kicked my butt. The weather sucked, I took advantage of many photo ops, and I was learning how to fuel properly. There was a lot of trial and error. This made me really want to PR in LA. Days after the WDW marathon, I signed up for LA, revised my training schedule, and experimented with different foods. I dressed light for the run and for the first time in awhile decided to take my phone to document the race. The plan for hydration was to drink only water and nuun hydration tabs the week before the race. During the race I would stop at each water station and at least drink about 4 ounces. My meal plan for marathon week included prepping with a mix of protein and carbs. I wouldn’t be eating this marathon, instead I would use 4 gels with higher amino acid intake, sodium, and 35 mg caffeine in which I would spread out each hour with goal finish time of 04:30:00.

Yep, so many selfie opportunities on the course ;p

Yep, so many selfie opportunities on the course ;p

So on March 19th at 6:55 AM I was ready. While the LA marathon has 20,000 runners, I found a spot in between the 9-10 minute mile marker which made me feel as if it only had 100. Starting out of Dodger Stadium I found a steady pace that allowed me to make it to the 5k marker at around a 9:10 minute mile. I was feeling good and my legs were ready for the long haul. This race has so many sights to see that you really can live in the mile. I was able to focus on where I was at and how I felt about it. Doing this is therapeutic for me, especially since I rarely run with headphones during races.

Before I knew it, I was approaching Hollywood Blvd and there was lots to see and take in. I ran into a few friends during these miles and I also felt good enough to FaceTime the husband and boys during mile 9-10. The halfway marker was West Hollywood and the energy was high. During my last marathon this is when I took some time to eat and relax, this time around I started on my 3rd gel and stayed on my hydration plan. I did stop for a quick pic as it was a accomplishment to be making the course at my goal time. I found myself pacing the 4:15 team for a little bit, I enjoyed listening to the pace leaders plan and how they were adjusting their miles. It wasn’t what I had planned for the race, as I wasn’t even thinking of the miles ahead of me. So, this lasted a little past mile 18, which found me in Century City. I’m still in disbelief how this course is structured, so many awesome sights to see, and a lot of downhill opportunities. I really didn’t have time to pay attention to anything else. For the second half, I did tone down my pace the last 8 miles. I kept telling myself to stay comfortable. “Find a comfortable pace, is this comfortable?” When I reaffirmed my pace, I knew I could make my goal time. At mile 20, I FaceTime the husband again. He was already making his way with the boys to Santa Monica so it gave me a little boost of energy.

Showing my youngest my medal!

Showing my youngest my medal!

The last 10k of the race is really where you have to stay strong and stick to your motto. This is always where I’m usually running with the same group of people and we tend to keep each other motivated until the finish line.  Running the neighborhoods of Brentwood was neat, so many homeowners were outside and cheering on everyone. I found the breeze of the ocean start to blow on my face and through my hair. My motto was “you are amazing and you’ve got this!” I kept repeating this to myself and if you know me, I said it a few times out loud ;p As I came up on Ocean Blvd, You can’t help but speed up when seeing the crowd. Since I was documenting my run on social media, I clicked on a few unread messages. I glanced over a few of encouraging messages and found myself pushing harder. Santa Monica Blvd arrived and mile 26 came with it, the finish line was in sight!! Crossing the finish line I noticed the gun time of 4:31 and thought, I did it!! I got around my goal time, soon realizing my chip time was 04:26:27. Shortly after crossing and receiving my medal, a young women came up to in tears. She said, “Thank you for finishing!” I was sort of confused then she explained she had been pacing behind me most of the race but the last 5k she kept her focus on me and it helped to finish her first marathon! I teared up and just said, “Congratulations!! It’s only uphill from here.” I gave her the biggest hug. That moment is truly why I love the running community; helping others reach their goals and when they do, we celebrate! It’s really what running is all about. Even though, I compete with myself, my goal is to always grow stronger, wiser, and better. The running community helps me by

Baby Baby enjoying all the post-race snacks!

Baby Baby enjoying all the post-race snacks!

keeping me accountable and giving me the push I need!

The LA Marathon let me set a new PR, by an hour nonetheless! It’s funny to think 26.2 miles use to scare me, now it’s one of my favorites distances. My current race schedule has a lot of half marathons approaching in April. I’m looking at changing my current OC Marathon entry into the full. After running my first full I thought it may be my last but as I feel more comfortable in the miles, my next goal is to be a Boston Qualifier. This means I would have to set my PR by 50 minutes less than what it is now. I know with determination and the current training schedule this is possible. I had a few goals set for this year and as I continue to crush them, I find myself not only marking them off but also replacing them. For 2017, I would like to run each distance up to 26.2 the fastest I can.  Once I can get a solid grasp of what I’m capable of, I can start to set new goals for 2018…..possibly Boston?? =) We’ll just have to see!


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Inaugural Pasadena Half

 

The Bling

The Bling

The Inaugural Pasadena Half Marathon was a last minute decision that allowed me to PR but also run while splashing in puddles. January was a wild month for races and me. I never caught a break in weather. However, this race was one I could sort of prepare for as the weather was going to be rain or rain. I wanted a challenging course and another race before I had to focus on some personal issues in February. So I looked at races right after running the Star Wars 10k and saw the Inaugural Pasadena Half Marathon was just a week away. Conqur Endurance Group was organizing the race, they also do the LA Marathon. I thought this was perfect. I would get my miles in as well as get a little taste of what I have to experience come March. I registered and prayed for a misty rainy Sunday runday ;p

The morning of the race, I left at about 4:45 am to get to Pasadena around 6. The start line was just outside the infamous Rose Bowl Stadium and finished on the field. The storm already started to roll in; it wasn’t too bad though just a light mist. After talking to friends and doing research, I realized there was nothing I could wear and do that was going to make me stay dry. I already knew going in I was going to have to “Embrace” the rain. However, that didn’t stop me from buying a 99-cent store poncho to toss after mile;p Soon enough 7 came and went, the race ended up starting around 7:30 to allow more time for those who still hadn’t made it in to park. The start line was very narrow, but once you found your pace a quarter mile out the parking lot, the road became a little wider and lead you into the cutest little neighbor. This neighborhood was also on hill after holy hill! I looked at the course, even studied it the week prior to the half and when they say “challenging but rewarding,” they definitely mean it. The plus to all the hill madness was the residents that made their way out to cheer us on, robe and coffee in hand. If anything, that kept a smile on my face and determination in my gut.

I originally had hoped to have a larger PR with this race as I started pacing with LA Road Runners. I did really well for the first 5 miles and then once again I started to experience the same pain that magically arrive while I was running WDW. This time I was prepared and had brought my Zamst knee band. I pulled aside from the pace group and stretched. I put on the brace and started to find my own pace. I knew I wasn’t going to finish under 2 hours at this point and in a sense I could enjoy the run a little more. By mile 7, I was completely soaked but the weather was amazing. It wasn’t too hot and the rain was misty. I found myself running through Downtown Pasadena, the course took you by the Norton Simon Museum, California Institute of Technology, and the Convention Center. One of the most breathtaking views was running over the Colorado Street Bridge. If I could have gotten one picture, that’s definitely one I would have wanted!

I realized the prop was a "finish line" after .... lol, at least it was still a cool picture ;p

I realized the prop was a “finish line” after …. lol, at least it was still a cool picture ;p

The last 3 miles of the half marathon rounded the Brookside Golf & County Club, then into the Rose Bowl Stadium. This little area is where I found my cheer group. As I mentioned before, I’m a motivational self-talker while I run…. especially when I’m close to finishing. Luckily the amazing running community encourages this self-talk and I’m able to get others to join in. Of course, Pasadena couldn’t let me go without one last hill (it was a small one.) Then you run up away from the county club and begin rounding the Rose Bowl. I got a last minute push and was able to run on to the field with a strong finish! I finished with a new PR by 47 seconds…. wet, sore, and happy!

While growing up, I had only been to Pasadena a handful of times. So running this race allowed me to explore Pasadena in a non-touristy type of way. As a runner, the best way to see a new area is to lace up your shoes and go for a run. I’m not sure if I’ll be back for this race. However, it was the first so I am considered a legacy runner so that’s kind of an incentive. While it was “challenging yet very rewarding,” it gave me a new appreciation for hills. Running for a short time with a pace team, taught me new tricks on how to slow my pace on hills and how to pick back up on the downhill. Overall, the Pasadena was a learning experience; it made me a stronger runner physically and mentally.

ranking and splits

ranking and splits

WDW Marathon 2017

 

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The 2017 WDW Marathon made me a Marathoner. It was the race I signed up for while I was 5 months pregnant and wanted that challenge after my second son was born. I look back now and shouldn’t have let the hormones run the show, but if I didn’t I wouldn’t have made the jump so soon. With only 16 weeks post baby and 10 weeks to train, I knew I had a lot on my plate.

Leading up until marathon week, I begun to prepare myself for 26.2 miles. I gathered as much information as possible; tips and wise words. My training was intense for a short amount of time. Also, between natural body changes and life, there were plenty of days I had to force myself just to get back out. I knew giving myself the short amount of time between having a baby and the

Under the castle hangs!! Feeling good at mile 5!

Under the castle hangs!! Feeling good at mile 5!

marathon may have been a stretch but I was going to stick to it. I meal prepped and stuck to a strict diet just the week of to ensure I had the proper nutrition and energy to keep me strong all the miles. I started to monitor which energy gels and hydration drinks worked best and for what amount time. One thing I would just have to accept is my milk production, since I was breastfeeding and that my boobs were going to throw me off during the end of my run. I didn’t even want to get the idea that I could stop and pump during the marathon. I’ll tell you now, I did pump after the run and filled 4 bottles for a total of 18 ounces! lol. Preparing myself for the marathon helped a lot. With proper nutrition I didn’t have any cramping or stomach pains during my run. Also, training prepared me to pace myself, slower then I was use to but at a pace that kept me comfortable. As long as I was under 12 minutes a mile, I was happy. My overall goal for the marathon was to “FINISH,” by finish I meant completing all 26.2 miles! (Disney will sweep runners if they fall behind and won’t be able to finish at 16min/mile pace.)

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I had to stop for Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz!

The morning of the marathon it was 30 degrees, along with wind chill which brought temperatures down to 18 degrees. Nonetheless it was freezing!! The only change I could make in my attire was adding a top layer, with the hopes that my legs would warm up. Just three days prior to the marathon the temps were looking to be a solid typical florida 77 degrees. I couldn’t have prepared myself if I wanted to, unless I put a treadmill in a freezer while training. It’s really what it felt like.

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Literally running through the pain! This was taken while at Hollywood Studios!

Once the gun went off for my corral it was game time. I tossed my throwaways and started down the road. I was freezing but my mind wasn’t focused on being cold, it was focused on watching my pace. I really didn’t want to leap out and tire out too quickly. The first 10 miles flew by, I had ran out of Epcot and through the Magic Kingdom. The one thing about the WDW Marathon is WDW is huge and you cover a lot of highways and parking lots. Once you get in the Parks it feels good to be able focus your eyes on something. This allowed me to use my highway miles as a way to pick up pace and the Parks as a place to slow down a little bit. By the halfway point, I was feeling good. It was smack in the middle of Animal Kingdom and I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I was still cold but it didn’t really bother me. I watched as some runners stopped at a bar and had a drink at the halfway mark, good for them I thought. There’s no way I could ever do that, lol. Heading out of Animal Kingdom and my way to the ESPN Park there was a lot of nothing, my mind started to race and I kept checking my watch. I was calculating numbers when I didn’t have to and was reminding myself, my goal for this race was not to come in first or last but, just to finish!! The idea of “just” finishing was hard to accept but with so many unexpected changes the weekend brought, it was all I could grasp. Although an ideal time for me to finish was 05:00:00 hours.

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My oldest son was signed up to participate in the Saturday Kid’s Races, which were cancelled due to weather. However, we had fun later in the week and did our own 100m dash!

Miles came easier and my legs only felt stronger through the ESPN Park. Up until mile 20 I was soaring. In between mile 20 and 21 my left knee started to hurt. Through training I never experienced anything like this with my knees especially my left. So I was really caught off guard. As the pain escalated, I only begun to grow more frustrated. I wrestled with the idea I was undertrained, didn’t stretch enough, or maybe should have taken a pain killer, even though I’m too chicken to even take an Advil. The runner in me couldn’t imagine walking the remaining 4 miles, that would be the longest 4 miles ever!!! So I had to think fast, while I DO NOT recommend training your mind to think this way in case you may have a serious injury. I DO recommend learning how to use mottos and positive self talk in order to push your runs. I started to tell myself the “pain” was me growing stronger. I stopped at a medical tent at mile 22 and took a moment to stretch, and started to push myself up the road. I was just starting uphill on an offramp that would take me over and into Hollywood Studios. Uphill was grueling and as I came down the ramp, I straighten my left leg to keep it from bending, I built momentium and powered into Hollywood Studios. The Parks had just opened at this point and crowds started to form around the blocked off areas for runners. This was an adrenaline boost for me, it let me really meditate on my surroundings and off of my pain. I left out the park and started around the Swan Resort, another fun sight to keep me focused.  I had two miles to go at this point and I wasn’t planning on slowing down, a quick mile later I was already at Downtown Disney. That last mile the crowds grew bigger and louder, with that much excitement all you want to do is finish strong! Before I knew it I was rounding the corner to a finish line! At that moment nothing hurt, I was overwhelmed with emotion, and was tearing up. As I crossed the finish line, as cliche as it sounds…a part of me changed. I know many runners say this but it does. You feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders you never knew was there. I had started a mission months before the race, I had weak moments, I had strong moments, I stayed focused, and it was finally finished.

Post Race Photo!

Post Race Photo! “I DID IT!!”

Shortly after the finish line, I was reunited with Mav. My Mother-in-Law had flown down from DC for the weekend and watched the boys. It was still too cold for them to join me at the Friends and Family Area. It wasn’t too long before the warmth of the race wore off and we ventured back to our Hotel. My official finish time was 05:34:33.  A half hour later then I had anticipated but I had a time that represented, “I finished.” I was cloud 9 for about a day after obtaining the Marathoner title before I knew I wanted to do another one, lol. It’s funny how that happens. I registered for the LA Marathon in March and I’m now training to not just, “finish” but to run at solid pace that is similar to what I have ran my half-marathons. I’m happy I made WDW my first marathon, I learned a lot from the course. I had fun, stopped at photo ops, and took advantage of every water station. The runners were great as well and enjoyed meeting so many different people. I hope to eventually return to the WDW Marathon in the future but for now I’m glad I was at least able to check it off my bucket list.

My WDW Marathon Splits - overall: 05:34:33 for 12:46mi/pace (I managed to stay within my goal pace for a majority of race, slowing down at mile 22) 

My WDW Marathon Splits – overall: 05:34:33 for 12:46mi/pace (I managed to stay within my goal pace for a majority of race, slowing down at mile 22)

 

Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas – Strip at Night 2016

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas: Strip at Night

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas: Strip at Night

Over this past weekend I ran what is known as “The Super Bowl” of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series: RNR Las Vegas aka Strip at Night.

Strip at Night is now one of my favorite runs. It’s crazy, fun, and flat! lol. When I first signed up for the run all I wanted was to PR. I knew I was going to be 12 weeks out from having Little Little and with that, I would have limited time to train. I figured the time I was up against was from the Tinkerbell Half-Marathon, which I ran 6 months pregnant. Without carrying the extra weight, I knew I had this.

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packet pick up! woohoo

Vegas is Vegas, I never thought I would find myself running along the Strip. Even when I lived in Vegas I opted for treadmills versus the Strip. However, there was something about this race that made me all about it. The fact that it was at night and they actually close down the Strip is amazing! Also, Vegas holds a lot of memories for me, good and bad. I had this mindset that running miles through some wild moments in my life would be refreshing.

There’s 4 distances you can choose from for RNR Las Vegas: 5k, 10k, half-marathon, and marathon. You also have the option of doing the “Remix Challenge” which include the 5k on Saturday and the half or full marathon Sunday. I was signed up for the half-marathon. Since I was planning to PR, I didn’t do the challenge. I’m sure in the future I’ll be up for challenges but, I really want to do my best at races. My races hold me accountable and they aren’t cheap, hahaha. I’ll sign up for challenges when I know I’m strong enough to take them on and achieve my best time in each distance. I only had 6 weeks to train but training was going well. I was feeling stronger each run and really gaining spend. Two weeks prior to RNR I ran my fastest 10k and was working on a sub  2 hour half-marathon. Anyways, that was at least my goal.

I arrived in Vegas on Friday. My Sister, Little Little, and I drove up in the morning and got into town just in time to pick up Mav from the airport. Mav had work obligations that didn’t allow him to drive with us. Everything all worked out though. We checked into our hotel and I even packed my foam roller to stretch those IT bands! On Saturday we ventured over to the Health & Fitness Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center to pick up my race packet. I’m a sucker for these things, as most runners. There was more opportunities to buy “everything,” which you really want to do. You get to meet up with other runners and take promo pics with sponsors. All and all, it’s super fun and addicting. That night I really wanted to avoid overworking myself, at the same time it was hard to adjust my head to I wasn’t running a race in the morning but later Sunday evening. In Vegas, I always at least walk over 20k steps so I kept that down and also watched how long I wore my heels out for dinner. Before I knew it, it was race day and I really tried hard to balance breakfast/lunch since I was running at 4:30 PM. This year they decided to have waves of runners along with the normal corrals. There was 3 waves: 4:30-5:00-5:30, depending on the color bib & number you had determined your start. I was in the first wave, this was based off my estimated finished time. I ended up eating a small meal around noon of chicken & pasta. Which was perfect because that 4 hour timeframe was just enough to digest my food and keep me energized.

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compliments of Richard aka @BlingWhore

I headed over to the race a little early to join a #werunsocial meet-up. I’m so glad I did, I ended up meeting a great group of runners that run a lot of the races I do or will do. I always find myself running solo and while I don’t mind it because I feel it’s when I find myself. It’s also nice to recognize an amazing running community and hang out with others who share the same love I do for the sport. We all hung out right up until it was time to head over to the corrals, a lot of the runners were in the same wave as me so we went out together. When I first started out, I started out with the crew up until the “Welcome to Las Vegas Sign.” The crew had ran the Avenger’s half that morning so RNR was a fun run for them. This was a going to be a PR race for me so I split off and started my way down the strip. The first 3 miles flew by in breeze, I was really surprised how I was maintaining a good pace. If I still wanted my sub -2 I was going to have work for it in negative splits. My mindset at mile 5 was strong and I really thought I could still do it until mile 8 where the course turns off the Strip and into some weird areas. These areas are well lit by the race organization and they also have more bands playing then they do along the strip but for some reason I fought with myself on the pace I wanted to keep. I slowed down a little and told myself I would pick back up once I hit Fremont Street, which leads back down the Strip. I was able to pick up my pace a little bit. Once again, I found my high and kept a strong 8-9 minute pace until Stratosphere, which was 2.1 miles from the finish. This is where I really wanted to quit, I looked at my time and knew I wasn’t going to hit my training goal of a sub -2. I still was going to PR but it wasn’t the time I had planned. This really took a toll on my focus and I slowed down even more. I couldn’t believe I was telling myself to just give up, not literally but I wasn’t being positive. Finally, I got the motivation to finish, thank goodness! I paced back up to 9:20 and quickly started approaching the Mirage, where the finish line was. I finally reached the finish line and set a new PR at 2:07:04!
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the bling 😍

Shortly after finishing I met up with Mav, Little Little, and my sister. Little Little wanted to nurse right away, which worked for

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nbd, just feeding my small child on Las Vegas Blvd 😂

me because I needed the relief, lol. As I sat on the curb of the intersection of Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd with a boob out surrounded by lights. I took a deep breathe and teared up a bit, so many emotions filled my mind. The Strip had seen the worst and best of me. I never thought in years I’d be sitting there after completing a half-marathon feeding my 3 month old son, it was surreal. Life is strange but it’s moments like these I live for.

So would I run Strip at Night again? YES, YES, YES!! My sister already made me promise we are all running together next year, including Mav and her BF. Hopefully in a year I’ll be good for the “Remix Challenge.” I guess if I made the 5k a fun run, it would make sense. I guess we’ll have to see. I’m about 7 weeks out now from my first Marathon in Orlando. I’m excited and so nervous. I really want me to think of 26.2 miles the way I do of 13.1. I know I’ll get there, hopefully sooner than later. Right now, my training puts me at a few miles each day and really no rest days. I need to continue to build strength and gain speed. All I can say is thank goodness I made my first marathon a Disney run, lol. At least I have the excuse to stop and take pics through the 4 parks without feeling guilty for losing some time. Right now, I’ll continue to celebrate my new PR for my half-marathon and keep that my focus through training.RNR_05

Surf City 10 – 2016

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New PR by 4 minutes! I’ll take it =)

The Surf City 10 was my first race since giving birth to Little Little. I was 8 weeks postpartum and cleared two weeks prior to the race to run, so I wasn’t sure how I would place. Throughout my pregnancy I continued to run, but as I approached month 8 and 9 I became discouraged with my time and pelvic pain. I wasn’t going into the race unprepared but not with as many miles as I would have planned. I opted to run the 10k as I knew I was strong enough to make the 6 miles down PCH. I really wanted this run to measure my strength and to challenge me mentally as I’m currently training for my first marathon in January.

Baby Baby had to join in on the fun!

Baby Baby had to join in on the fun!

My previous 10k time to beat was 57:37, which I ran back in March at 15 weeks pregnant. I knew this was definitely something I could do, especially with a mostly flat course and the sound of waves crashing in the background. The morning of the run I was excited and ready to go. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep but I had a lot of energy. I received an adrenaline rush shortly after walking over to the start line. The first 3 miles of the race were smooth, I was well hydrated and had a positive mindset. Mile 3-4 was the turn around which had a slight incline. It didn’t keep me from maintaining a 9 minute pace. Shortly into mile 4 I picked up momentum which gave me a push into a 8 minute pace. As I entered the last mile I kept my focus on all the positive things in my life over the past year and how good it felt to run free again. I finished the 10k at 53:26 which averaged to a 8:36 mile pace.

Surf City 10 is an awesome race and the views are breathtaking. The race is designed for runners of all distances which allows them to train for the Surf City Marathon in February. This year’s Surf City 10 will be special for me as it marks my new 10k PR. The race was great for me to test where I’m at in my running. As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy registering for races to hold me accountable. I only hope to gain speed and strength over the years. My next race is less than two weeks away in Las Vegas. My time to beat is 02:13:06! It’s my second half-marathon and this time I won’t be 6 months pregnant, lol. Training has been going well and I’m looking forward to a new PR!

Post race family hangs <3

Post race family hangs <3

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016

The bling ;p

The bling ;p

Where do I begin? The whole race weekend was everything I expected and more! The fun part with the Tinker Bell Half  Marathon is that they’ve had it fall on Mother’s Day Weekend the last couple of years and with the 2017 dates already up, it looks like Disney will continue the trend. It makes the race weekend so much more special! As I mentioned in earlier posts, I received the half marathon registration as a Christmas Gift! So it was one of the last races open for the weekend. The other races include a 5k, 10k, the Pixie Dust Challenge (10k & half) as well the kids races. Since I really wanted to experience the whole weekend, I volunteered the first two days. Which I’m really glad I did! I love being able to give back to my community when I have the time, being a Mommy it’s not always that easy and with this race I was able to help MOMS Orange County. By volunteering it allowed me to appreciate everyone’s handwork and what goes into a race. The first day I worked with participate package pick-up and on the second day I helped with the Neverland 5k “finish line” handing out medals. Both days were crazy hours (it’s a Disney run ;p) and I met some awesome people from all over the nation!

Friday evening into Saturday, I took a break and stretched a whole lot. I had my form roller going on rotation. I wanted to make sure my IT bands were stretched and ready for 13.1 miles! I had my last runs prior to the race on Tuesday and Wednesday, which were both under 10 miles. So I was confident in my training schedule, the only thing I wasn’t sure about is my pelvis and loosening ligaments. At 24 weeks pregnant, I’ve had my ups and downs with pressure and slight discomfort but nothing that kept me from running. It just doesn’t allow me to keep a consistent pace. It’s funny because all the runs I had up until this race really prepped me for the miles mentally, the idea of running 13.1 miles didn’t scare me at all. I was really excited to brave the Parks and cool streets of Anaheim. The non-pregnant inner Heidi just wanted a decent time. I knew I wasn’t running for time anymore but for the commitment and promise I made to myself when I asked for the runDisney gift in December.

Crossing the finish line =)

Crossing the finish line =)

Sunday was race day and I had my alarm set for 3 AM. I’m not too far from the Parks so, I wanted to leave by 4 AM as the race had a 5:30 AM start time. The one thing I knew I wasn’t going to do is start at that time as corral placement put me back about 20 minutes later. In order to get a better corral placement, I would have had to submit a time from a 10k or more run before Feb 5th which I didn’t have at the time =( Believe me though, I did try after the deadline and had those times all printed out to see what information could do but oh wells, it all worked out because I really didn’t know if I could keep the paces I had during my previous runs in March. Another plus is Disney Runs aren’t meant to be a PR race. No matter what corral you start in, there are so many narrow areas especially when entering the Parks where there’s really nothing you can do but power walk. Also, there is fun photo stations for runners to stop at and take pictures with characters. It’s really meant to be a fun run half marathon, if that makes sense..lol. Mav and Baby Baby carpooled with me to the run as they were my ChEAR SQUAD! It was awesome because Mav found some cool spots to watch me run also if you purchase a ChEAR SQUAD package, they have areas for your squad to go in and around the Parks to cheer on their runner. Since I had a tracker, Mav had mile to mile updates on my whereabouts….he loved this! Once the race started, I was feeling good… the course was smooth and the first 5k set you running on the overpass and through the parks. As I mentioned this is where things slowed down and made me a bit uncomfortable with my pace. I wanted to maintain around a 10 minute mile so I kept myself around 9:15-9:45 to make room for those “power walk” areas. Out of the parks, you were on the streets of Anaheim. Hitting mile 6, mentally I was feeling great. I was hydrated and my focus was set but this is when the pelvic pressure started to chime in. It wasn’t terrible but enough to make me rethink my pace calculation. I tried a few different things to see if I could slow down however, I would have had to either keep my pace or walk the rest of the course. There was no way I was going to walk 7 miles so I just stayed positive and kept an eye for pressure to pain. By the time I made it to Historic Anaheim and passing the Rinks, I loved the energy of different charities and fans that came out to cheer, it  got me excited and allowed me to stay focused on how important this race has been for me the last 6 months. Mile 9 – 12 was a blur, I had that runner’s high and the miles came easy as I was getting close to finishing. The last mile I was able to pick up my pace and buddied up with some runners near by who we kept reminding each other, “we got this.” (sometimes I run and speak out loud, hahaha.) Before I knew it, I was rounding the mile 13 mark at Downtown Disney and crossing the finish line! I know I sound so cliche but, it’s really the best feeling in the world! I ended up finishing at 2:13:04 and kept my promise of maintaining a 10 minute pace…which I can’t complain because that isn’t terrible for my first half marathon let alone being 24 weeks pregnant! The medal was the icing on the cake but really this run meant so much to me and reuniting with Mav and Baby Baby in the Friends & Family area made my morning.

Not too shabby for my first half marathon & 24 weeks pregnant

Not too shabby for my first half marathon & 24 weeks pregnant

After the run as any Disnerd would want to do, I spent some time in the Parks with my boys. Overall, my Mother’s Day was made by 10 AM, lol. Even though we still had a day planned ahead of us. I really enjoyed this run and plan to run it again next year. Mav mentioned he would love to do the 5k as a family and come up with  costumes, which really surprised me. Since it’s not a timed run…I was like, “Hey, let’s do it! We’ll just need a sitter for Little Little and to sign up a lot earlier ;p” I’m all for making a new Mother’s Day tradition that involves a weekend versus a day ;p Signing up for this run motivated me to work on training towards running a marathon and now with completion of my first half marathon I feel comfortable with my decision to run my first Marathon in January of 2017 and plan to run another in May. While the idea of 13.1 miles doesn’t scare me at all, the idea of 26.2 does…I have a lot of training to do after Little Little. One run at time but I’m really looking forward to 2017!