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I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Half Marathon Training Week 1

Training for my fall race schedule has officially begun, and week 1 is in the history books.  If you will recall, I was a bit concerned since I had gotten a little off track.  However, so far, so good!

Just to recap, here is what I’m doing for this race season.  I’m currently doing the MRTC Women Run/Walk Memphis training program. 

MRTC Women's Run/Walk Memphis

MRTC Women’s Run/Walk Memphis

This is really just a training program that includes 8 weekly group run sessions capped off by a “graduation” 5k.  I am using this as one of my weekly training runs, and hopefully, because it’s with a group, I’ll be pushing myself a little more.  I’m also currently doing the MRTC Road Race series. 

MRTC Road Race Series

MRTC Road Race Series

This is a 10 race series that runs from July to November and consists of 2 5ks, 2 5 milers, 2 10 ks, 2 10 milers, and 2 half marathons.  To be considered a series finisher, you must complete either 6 of the races or 1 race in each distance.  My plans at the moment are to complete the first 6 (and still be a series finisher).  The 10 milers and the half marathons do not line up with the rest of my training schedule, so unless I miss a week somewhere else and need to make something up, I don’t plan to do the last 4.  I am registered for the Greenline Half Marathon, the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, and the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon.

Greenline Half Marathon

Greenline Half Marathon

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend

Seems like a lot, right?  Not really.  See, when I wrote my training plan for the fall, I realized most of this is in line with my schedule.  The women’s program takes care of roughly a third of my training until September.  The Road Race Series is actually designed to be in line with training for St. Jude so that takes care of some of my weekend runs.  There was really only one decision to make.  I could have used Wine and Dine as a training run for St. Jude and there would have been absolutely nothing extra added to my training plan for that or I could have signed up for the Greenline Half and used that as a training run for Wine and Dine.  The downside to that was that would mean I would likely have to scratch the longer races in the Road Race Series, and St. Jude would be extra, creating the need for a month of maintenance.  Clearly this is what I went with, and here’s why.  Wine and Dine is the only destination race in the schedule.  It is also the most expensive, and has the most stringent pace requirement.  Why would I want to spend at least $1000 and travel all that way for a training run?  I wouldn’t.  So that automatically meant I would need to skip the longer races in the Road Race Series.  On the weekend of the Greenline Half, which is held at Shelby Farms, I was scheduled to do 12.5 miles anyway (which I would also do at Shelby Farms) so why not add another 0.6 miles and get official credit for the run?  This option also will qualify me for something called Half Fanatics, which is running 3 half marathons in a 3 month period.

So week 1 started with the first group run with the women’s program.  It was so hot!  It started at 6:30 in the evening and the heat index was still 99 degrees!  My pace was a good 2 minutes slower than my normal training pace.  I got through it, and that’s all that matters.  I was able to work in my other week day run, according to plan.  Then I also had race 1 of the Road Race Series.  This was a great run!  I even got a PR by 6 seconds.  My pace was actually around 3 minutes faster for the race than it was for the super hot group run.  That’s more like it!

Now on to week 2!  I hope to get more cross training in for week 2 than I did for week 1.  Other than that, I’m happy with my progress and where I am compared to a year ago.

What do you have on your fall race schedule?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

Please remember to register for my virtual race, the Magic Carpet Run 2013 to benefit St. Jude.  For more info or to register, click here.

I am running as a charity athlete for St. Jude.  To make a donation, click here.

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Magic Carpet Run 2013 5k/10k–A Virtual Run

As you may know by now, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is my favorite charity.  I ran in the 2012 Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon and raised over $600 for the kids of St. Jude. 

The start of the 2012 Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon

The start of the 2012 Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon

This year, my goal is even loftier!  Not only am I raising funds as a charity athlete for the 2013 Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon, but I’m also running as a charity athlete for the 2014 Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge.  This means that I will be raising almost $4000 for the kids of St. Jude. 

It costs over $1.8 million a day for St. Jude to operate.  Why so much?  St. Jude never bills patients or their families for anything!  No patient is ever turned away due to their inability to pay.  St. Jude covers the cost of anything insurance does not cover.  Not only that, but they also provide assistance to patients and their families for housing, groceries, transportation, entertainment, and the list goes on and on.  Whatever the need, St. Jude fills it.  In addition, it is the leading children’s research hospital in the nation, which means they are also finding cures.  It truly is an amazing organization.

As some of you know, I ran as Jasmine in the 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon, and she is my favorite princess.  I thought it would be fun to have an Aladdin-inspired virtual run.  It’s not a race because there will be no winners based on times.  Everyone is a winner and gets a unique, custom medal for this specific event. 

Magic Carpet Run Medal

Magic Carpet Run Medal

The kids of St. Jude are winners because your participation will go a long way towards helping the mission of finding cures and saving children.  So, welcome to the Magic Carpet Run.  You can choose your distance, 5k or 10k, and since the medal is the same for both distances, you don’t even have to decide until you are doing your run.  If at least 100 participants register, everyone will also receive a bonus koozie commemorating the event. 

Everyone will receive this commemorative koozie if we reach 100 participants.

Everyone will receive this commemorative koozie if we reach 100 participants.

The cost for the run is $20 per participant, and that includes shipping!  This event will close out on August 15, and all medals will be mailed in mid-September. 

Register for the run using PayPal by clicking on the Buy Now button below.  100% of the proceeds from this event will go to St. Jude.  If you don’t want to run and you still want to help the kids of St. Jude, you can make your 100% tax deductible donation here on my personal fund-raising page.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Have you ever participated in a virtual run before?

Please follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

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Getting Back on Track

In a few weeks, I’ll be officially beginning my training for my fall race schedule. I have a pretty ambitious season planned, with 3 half marathons by the end of the year, a fall road race series consisting of 10 separate races of various distances from a 5k to a half marathon (in addition to the other 3), and a 10-week women’s program. I’m having just a little trouble getting back into the swing of things, though.

I’m still doing some exercising and running each week, though not as consistently as in the past. I still feel very close to my peak fitness level. I didn’t gain any weight in the off-season. I didn’t even gain any weight on my cruise. Yet, still, I’m having a very hard time getting back into my normal fitness and diet routine. I wanted to be back into my good habits before my official training begins, but with only 2 more weeks to go, it’s looking like that’s not going to happen. Last year at this time, I had no trouble hopping out of bed at 4:30 am to run. This year, I’m reminded of just how much I love sleep, and my bed just wants me to stay in it.

I am feeling very frustrated with myself, and that’s just not acceptable. I need some additional accountability. So, for the next week, I’m afraid you all are going to have to put up with posts about my workouts and food intake. For 1 week, I will be blogging daily about exactly what I ate, when I ate it, and what physical activity I did. It takes 30 days to make or break a habit so after a week, I hope to be well on my way to being back on track. I’m also hoping to get some positive feedback from you, my readers, that I can use as motivation. Please follow along and feel free to add any input or training suggestions. Last year was about just doing it and finishing. I want this year to be about being the very best I can be.

What do you do to get yourself out of a slump?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

I’m raising money as a Hero charity athlete for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. If you would like to make a donation, please visit my personal fund-raising page here. Any amount helps!

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Disney Cruise Line Dream Cruise 2013–Castaway Cay 5k and a PR, Well Maybe Sort Of

If you’ve been reading along, you know that strangely enough the thing about this cruise I was looking forward to the most was the Castaway Cay 5k.  On Tuesday of the cruise, the day had finally come.

Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island that most of their cruises sail to.  It is gorgeous!  The water is so blue, and the sand is pristine!  There is plenty to do on the island.  There is snorkeling, a sting ray interactive area, water toys, character experiences, parasailing, a glass bottom boat tour, and even a water slide.  There is yoga on the adult beach (Serenity Bay), and massage cabanas for those who want to indulge on the beach.  Then there is my most anticipated activity, the 5k.

Our personal Navigator for the day (a printout that tells you everything that is going on) said we should meet in Evolution at 8:15 am.  Running also were my dad, my brother-in-law, and 2 of my nieces.  So at 8:15 we signed in, were given our bibs, and Briana (a member of the activities crew) went over the course map with us. 

We all met in Evolution to get signed in for the 5K.

We all met in Evolution to get signed in for the 5K.

Ok, this is not a great picture but they had the course map on the big screen.

We all got bibs, and they say runDisney!

We all got bibs, and they say runDisney!

My dad was wearing his t-shirt from the Mickey’s Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run from last year, which got Briana’s attention.  She ran the 10 miler last year.  When dad told her I ran the 10 miler also as well as Princess this year, she came looking for me.  She is planning on running Princess in 2014 as part of the brand new Glass Slipper Challenge.  From that point on, she kept calling dad and me her runDisney family.  I thought that was really fun.

So about 8:45, we made our way as a group to the gangplank to exit the ship.  We walked all the way to the second family beach.  It felt like a long walk, but that is pretty typical of runDisney races.  At one point during the walk to the start, my brother-in-law said, “Is this 5k almost over?”  I thought it was a good warm-up, though.  I like to walk for a bit before I start running.

We got to the start and I had the bright idea to go ahead and buy our 5k shirts.  The gift shop is right next to the start.  I’ve read that many people have their family members buy them while they are running, and if you wait until you finish they may be out of your size.  Since none of our family members who weren’t running were planning on getting off the ship before we would be done, that wasn’t an option for us.  So I grabbed the shirts and went to pay, thinking I’d be in and out in 2 minutes.  The Cast Member was super friendly and talkative, wanting to know EVERYTHING about our trip so far.  I told her we were about to start running and I needed to get to the start.  Then she proceeds to tell me ALL the reasons she can’t run.  Yeah, yeah, let’s pick this up!  I was about to be left behind.  She was SUPER careful to make sure they were folded perfectly in the bag, too!  Well, needless to say, the other runners took off while I was walking out of the store.  They have a box by the start for everyone to put their belongings, and I still had to do that, too.  So, not only was I the last one to start, there wasn’t anyone in sight when I started.  I wish I had checked the clock at the start to see just how far behind I was, but I didn’t.  I’m going to estimate 90 seconds.

It wasn’t too long, though, before I was passing people, mainly the walkers.  Then I had my dad in sight, who was mostly walking.  I wanted to catch up to him, but every time I was almost to him, he would take off running, putting more distance between us.  He can actually walk faster than I can walk/run so with him adding some running in, it was almost impossible.  Then came the first water stop.  Dad was stopped at it, and he spotted me.  I stopped to refill my water bottle, and I was sure he would wait on me.  But noooooooo!  Dad, you’re KILLING me!  I’m 38 years old.  I’ve been running for a year and a half.  I’ve completed 2 half marathons and a 10 miler in the last year.  I have on expertly fitted running shoes and tech running clothes.  And I’m being smoked by a 69-year-old man who doesn’t run or walk regularly, wearing 10-year-old Reeboks, khaki shorts and a cotton t-shirt.  That was a lesson in humility.

The course takes you down the air strip,  has you make a loop through the 5000 foot long bike trail, finish off the air strip to Serenity Bay, circle back and make another trip through the bike loop, then head home.  It’s pretty clear to go counter-clockwise through the bike loop the first time, but for the second loop, some were going clockwise and some counter-clockwise.  I was in the clockwise group and met my brother-in-law and one of my nieces heading the other direction.  He indicated that he thought I was going the wrong way.  I told him I didn’t think it mattered and continued on.  At this point I vaguely remembered Briana mentioning that if you do something wrong, it could add a half mile to your trip.  I couldn’t remember what that was, and I started questioning myself.  The bike loop is marked in feet by thousands in both directions, and I had just passed the 2000 feet mark.  I decided to try to estimate another 500 feet and turn around and head back the other direction (remember the bike loop is 5000 feet, so by my estimation I would be at the 2500 feet mark and doubling back would equal 5000 feet).  I have no idea how close I was, but I don’t think I could have been that far off. 

I headed to the finish and the clock said I had a PR by about a minute and 20 seconds.  Since it’s not a certified course, I got stared late, and I got turned around, I have no idea how accurate this was.  We all collected our medals, and I got a pic of Briana. 

Briana gave us our medals!

Briana gave us our medals!

We retrieved our belongings and headed to find a spot on the beach for the day.

Me after the race, with my medal and the ship

Me after the race, with my medal and the ship

Dad and I after the race

It was really a lot of fun!  I kept hearing about how hot this run can get, and it would have been much harder had the sun been out.  It was overcast all day, though, with a good breeze blowing.  It was very enjoyable.  Plus, with this run, I can now call myself an international runner.  The experience exceeded my expectations, and if I ever get the opportunity to go on another Disney cruise that stops at Castaway Cay, I will do it again for sure!

Have you ever done a 5k on vacation?  Where was it?

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Fed Ex St. Jude Classic Fairway 5k and a PR

This morning I ran my first timed 5k in 6 months.  I don’t love the 5k distance.  I much prefer longer distances.  For me, running doesn’t usually become fun until around mile 5.  Until then I’m still trying to find my groove.  That’s why I haven’t done one in a while.  However, I read something not long ago that said if you want to run a fast half in the fall, you need to be running fast 5ks now.  So, hello, 5k!  I’m back with the inaugural Fed Ex St. Jude Classic Fairway 5k.

Banner welcoming us to the event

Banner welcoming us to the event

Starting Line

Starting Line

The Fed Ex St. Jude Classic is a pro golf tournament that is part of the PGA tour.  It’s held in June so I couldn’t make sense of why this race was 2 months before the tournament.  Well, for one, part of the race was on the golf course.  I’m sure they wouldn’t want 800 runners trampling through the course just days before the biggest golf tournament in Memphis.  Also, from what I could tell, they were using the 5k to promote the golf tournament.  We each got a ticket to the tournament in our race packets, and even the medal ribbon had the words, “Come Play” printed on it.  I thought it was clever of them to use a 5k to promote a larger event.

This was a very fun race!  I might even go so far as to say it’s my favorite local 5k.  The course was absolutely gorgeous!  The golf course itself is beautiful, and much of the race was through the residential area around the golf course.  Those houses are HUGE!  Running through a neighborhood full of multi-million dollar homes is how I’d like to start all my Saturdays.  It was a fairly flat course, but there were just enough hills and dips to keep it interesting.  I definitely felt like I had a workout, but didn’t feel like I was about to die.

The post race party was awesome, too!  Of course they had beer and pizza.

Beer!  Courtesy of Budweiser

Beer! Courtesy of Budweiser

Pizza from Dominos

Pizza from Dominos

Practically every race in Memphis does.  However, they also had McAlister’s iced tea, Smoothie King smoothies, Blue Bell ice cream sandwiches and popsicles, all kinds of fruit, and get this–Bloody Marys!

McAlisters tea

McAlisters tea

Smoothies from Smoothie King

Smoothies from Smoothie King

Blue Bell ice cream treats

Blue Bell ice cream treats

Bananas, orange slices, and apples

Bananas, orange slices, and apples

Bloody Marys--my favorite post race offering ever!

Bloody Marys–my favorite post race offering ever!

They were THE BEST post race beverages EVER!  They also had people handing out these fun foam visors and beads with a Fed Ex St. Jude Classic medallion on them.

Swag!

Swag!

The awards were really cute, too.  Instead of the traditional trophy, plaque, or medal, they awarded these “Hush” signs.

"Hush" sign awards--so cute!

“Hush” sign awards–so cute!

If you’ve ever been to a golf tournament, you will recognize them as signs the crew holds to quiet the crowd as a golfer is about to make a shot.  I thought that was really creative.

The finisher medal was really cool, too.

Finisher Medal

Finisher Medal

Most 5ks don’t give finisher’s medals, and when they do, they are nowhere near as nice as this one was.  I was very impressed with the bling.  The best part of the day, though, was that I got a PR.  It’s always a good day when a PR is involved.  This is a race I will definitely repeat in the future.  I have a feeling it will be much bigger next year.

Having a great time at the Inaugural Fed Ex St. Jude Classic Fairway 5k

Having a great time at the Inaugural Fed Ex St. Jude Classic Fairway 5k

What’s your favorite 5k?

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Things I Like Thursday–The runDisney Food Box

At the end of pretty much any race or other running event, most runners look forward to a snack of some sort. For me this has been anything from a tiny shot glass serving of soup (I’m not kidding) to a full on barbecue meal. I’ve had some great food after races, and I’ve had some major disappointments. At runDisney events, food boxes are always given out along with a banana, bottled water, and bottled Powerade. I always look forward to getting my food box. Sometimes I don’t want a thing to eat for hours after a run and sometimes I’m completely ravenous. I never know which it’s going to be until I’m finished, and runDisney food boxes always hit the spot. I can save it for later or I can crack it open and nosh on something immediately.

My first and second runDisney food box experiences were after the 2012 Happy Haunted 5k and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler held later that same day. The boxes were identical and nothing went to waste. Here is what they looked like.

runDisney Food Box

runDisney Food Box

This is exactly what the food box looked like when it was opened.

This is exactly what the food box looked like when it was opened.

They contained the following:

  • Snap energy candies
  • Almond Rocca (my favorite!)
  • Clif Builders protein bar
  • Sweet Perry Trek Trio snack mix
  • Multi-grain gluten-free crackers
  • Hickory Farms white cheese spread
  • Moist Towelette (Don’t you just love saying “moist towelette”?)
Contents of the food box from the 2012 Happy Haunts 5k and Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Contents of the food box from the 2012 Happy Haunts 5k and Tower of Terror 10 Miler

I enjoyed all of it, though I didn’t eat it all in one sitting. This is exactly the type of food I snack on so it was right up my alley!

After the 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon, I got another box. It looked identical to the others so this time I’ll show you the back of it, which had upcoming race information printed on it.

This is the back of the food box.

This is the back of the food box.

This is the 2012 Princess Half Marathon food box when opened.

This is the 2012 Princess Half Marathon food box when opened.

The contents were similar to my previous boxes and contained the following:

  • Organic dark chocolate
  • Luna protein bar, chocolate
  • Multi-grain gluten-free crackers
  • Wild Garden humus spread
  • Sweet Perry Power Play seed mix
  • Sweet Perry Baja Blend snack mix
  • Moist Towelette
Contents of 2012 Princess Half Marathon food box

Contents of 2012 Princess Half Marathon food box

I loved that the box seemed to be chocolate focused, totally princess-like! However, I didn’t eat any of it right after the race. It did make for several tasty snacks later on, though. I also think it would be a great snack for the airplane ride home after the race. Wish I’d thought of that earlier!

What do you think of the runDisney food boxes? What is your favorite after-race snack or meal?

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