Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Main Event

Running a half marathon was far more exhilarating and enjoyable than I ever would have imagined. There were 14,000 people registered for the race and just participating in something with that many people was quite the experience.

All of the information that we received at the Expo said that we should plan to arrive at the race at 4:30 am and be in our starting corral no later than 5:15 am. So we were on the shuttle by 4 am which means we woke up around 3:30 am. This may seem crazy early but I wasn't able to sleep anyway. I rarely have trouble sleeping but that night I did. As I was lying sleepless, I thought to myself that I should have stayed for the 10:30 pm World of Color show because I wasn't getting any sleep anyway. Oh well, on to the race.

When we originally signed up for the race Crystal & I weren't sure how long it would take us to finish so we just said that we'd finish in 3 hours. This landed us in Corral E (out of G). In order to get to Corral E we had to walk at about 1/3 of a mile beyond the starting line. At 6 am there was a singing of the National Anthem and Mickey kicked off the race but we couldn't see much of that from our location. Around 6:20 we began walking and crossed the starting line at 6:30 (officially 30 minutes after the start). Luckily, we had sensors on our shoes so our time didn't start until we crossed.
Waiting for the Race to Begin

The first 3.5 miles were around the perimeter of Disneyland and through the parks. There were so many people and the walkways get narrow through the park so we were continuously maneuvering through the crowd. There were several characters out in the parks to cheer us on. I learned that I could be a much bigger Disney "nerd" as there were many people stopping to get pictures and autographs with the characters. I was focused on running and didn't stop to see any of the characters but enjoyed running through the parks. It reminded me of my trips to Disney as a youth when my sister and I ran through the parks from major attraction to major attraction (this was before Fastpass).
Running down Main Street

The race course opened up once we got outside of the parks so we picked up our pace a little. The big take away from the middle section of the race was that there are some pretty dull and rundown areas right around Disneyland. A local told us that this wasn't representative of Anaheim but really the only place that they could shut down roads without horrible implications to traffic. The excitement picked up and there were large crowds to cheer us on as on as we ran through Angel stadium. Our race bibs included our first name (Disney has always been about first names) so it allowed the spectators to cheer for us by name which was inspiring. The home stretch running back to Disneyland was exciting because we knew that we were running farther than we ever had before. But the last mile or two seemed long and I think it was because the crowd kept saying we were almost there but until I saw the finish line I didn't want to hear that I was almost there.
Finish Line

I am still amazed that I ran 13.1 miles and am so glad to have shared the experience with Crystal! Crystal did awesome especially considering that she really only had 6 weeks to train after she got over her virus. She has said that she wouldn't recommend the 6 week program but was quite proud of the accomplishment. We finished in just under 2.5 hours which was in the top half.
Results - Provided in an email from Disney

A couple of random takeaways from my first half marathon:
  • I was surprised at the number of people walking even during the first couple of miles. I guess I always just assumed that people ran the entire distance.
  • I am proud to say that we ran the whole distance and never really felt winded. Training in the altitude is for real!
  • I wasn't able to visualize how crowded 14,000 people would be so I was surprised at how difficult it was to maneuver throughout the whole race. And it didn't seem that walkers followed any sort of unwritten etiquette like moving to the right. Some people even STOPPED right in the middle of the course at the castle to see the characters.
  • With all of the excitement, I didn't listen to my IPod at all.
  • Crystal was amazed that I was able to eat my Mickey shaped rice krispie treat after the race without puking but I can't think of a better way to refuel after a long run.
  • In honor of my accomplishment I wore the finisher medal for the rest of the day except for a few minutes for Elias to try it on. I'm sure I looked a little silly at the Rockies game but I was proud of myself.
  • As the day wore on the soreness set in for both Crystal and I. It wasn't really muscle soreness but more like joint pain. A different kind of soreness than I have ever experienced. We learned that we probably would have been better off staying at Disney and walking around instead of getting in the car and driving to San Diego. Or a massage would have been wonderful. Guess we can call this a rookie mistake.
  • This definitely will not be my last Disney race. Anyone up for the 2012 Princess Half or Disneyland Half? Aaron thinks 2011 should be a Disney free year for the Bells. I don't think any year should be Disney free but life is full of compromises.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pre Race

It has now been a full week since I ran the Disneyland half marathon and if I don't get these blog posts up now I fear that I never will. The purpose of this post is to document the two days of excitement leading up to the main event of the Disneyland Half Marathon.

Flight/Arrival in California

We departed Denver early Friday morning. The flight with an almost 2 year old "lap child" (as his ticket said) went remarkably well. He was entertained by Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and drinking apple juice.

We arrived at the Orange County airport and everything seemed to be going well until I turned on my cell phone. It is a Nokia Nuron. Also known as a cheap version of a touch screen based smart phone. I turned on the phone only to realize that the touch screen would not work at all which makes it very difficult to do anything including take pictures, send text messages, or even make calls. So we spent a good portion of the day on Friday figuring out how we could get me a useable phone for the rest of the trip. I was disappointed because I planned to use the phone to take pictures during the race as it is much smaller than a camera. So without my trusty phone I took fewer pictures and posted fewer Facebook updates than I was anticipating.

Luckily, the rental car had GPS so we were still able to find an In-n-Out for lunch on Friday without my phone. No trip to California is complete without a stop at In-n-Out.

Health & Fitness Expo

After getting settled at the hotel and Elias down for an afternoon nap, Crystal & I headed to the Health & Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel. This is where we received our bibs, shoe tracker, shirt, and goody bags. We spent some time looking around at the expo but were hoping for more freebies. And a note for anyone considering a Disney race in the future the shirts run very large. And we were not able to exchange them for a smaller size. Luckily, I don't mind my workout attire a little baggy.

Goofy's Kitchen

We took a break from the race activities and had dinner at Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel. I was surprised at how easy it was to get reservations considering the hotel was swamped with people for the expo. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip and we learned that Elias LOVES the characters! He was not shy at all about approaching the characters and giving them hugs. The food was pretty good and it was a very fun end to our travel day.

Elias thrilled to see Goofy!

The Beach

We planned Saturday morning as our beach time. Turned out not to be a very good day at the beach. It was chilly & cloudy despite there being plenty of sun when we departed Anaheim. So Elias did not get a chance to swim in the ocean but did have fun playing at a playground.

Pasta in the Park Party

I am going to preface this section by saying that I have participated in several of Disney's offerings with a fee beyond theme park admission including backstage tours and preferred seating for shows. I have never been disappointed or regretted paying the somewhat exorbitant fee so I didn't hesitate to buy tickets for the Pasta in the Park Party. Here is the description of the event that was sent to race participants:

This will be your official pre-race party to get you geared up for 13.1 miles of pure celebration! Eat and spend time with your favorite Disney Characters inside Disney's California Adventure Park the night before the big race. Reserved World of Color Preferred Viewing included with ticket!

It sounded like a fun way to spend the night before the race. However, the event was not at all what I was expecting. We showed up about 15 minutes after the event started because we were enjoying our time at California Adventure and I was expecting a casual come and go buffet with characters roaming. The event was more like a formal awards banquet with a long line to see 1 Disney character (either Mickey or Minnie). We struggled to find somewhere where all four of us could sit together. We ended up at a table with staff from Disney running and Jeff Galloway. I didn't really know what to say to them and was more concerned about my two year old not eating and throwing food in a formal setting. Not exactly what I had in mind and definitely not worth the money. The food was pretty good but we could have had just as good of pasta somewhere outside of the park much cheaper.

At least we got a pre-race picture with jogging Mickey (the line was too long to see Minnie too)

In addition, the World of Color preferred viewing was for the 10:15 PM show. Not exactly ideal when you have to be on the shuttle for the race at 4 AM. So we obviously didn't stay for the show. Very disappointing considering the World of Color viewing was one of the primary reasons that I purchased the tickets to the dinner.

I think Disney should do a better job of advertising this as a pre-race banquet for the staff and sponsors and not a fun event for race participants. As a side note I did eventually get the courage to ask Jeff Galloway for advice for first time half marathoners. His advice was to add in some walk breaks around mile 5. Since our only goal for the race was to run the whole thing without walking we decided not to take his advice. I guess I know going forward that for future Disney races I don't need to attend the pre-race banquet or party or whatever they call it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Short Update

So I had the best intentions of updating my blog while in Anaheim. But it turns out that a trip to Disneyland with a 2 year old saves very little time for blogging. After running the half marathon, I too participated in afternoon naps on the rest of the trip which is when I was planning to blog.

Short description....the race was AWESOME! Crystal and I ran the whole race together and I am proud to have accomplished it and shared the experience with her. More detailed updates will follow later this week.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Week To Go

I can't believe that in less than a week I will have completed a half marathon. For the most part I'm feeling ready and have enjoyed the summer of training. Last week I completed a 100 minute run (about 11 miles) and felt good. This was the longest run on my schedule and I have been "tapering" from there with only a few short runs planned for this week. Another positive note is that Crystal bounced back from her virus and completed a 9 mile run so she is ready to go as well!

It's good that I don't have to devote as much time to running this week since I've got so much to do with the stages of planning for our Disney vacation. We are diligently making packing lists to ensure that we have everything we need for a toddler and me to run a race. And of course I am putting together the daily itineraries.

Here is Elias in training for the airplane ride....yes, he is watching Mickey

A couple of trip highlights that we're most looking forward to in addition to the race:
  • A character meal at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel
  • Pre-race dinner at Disney's California Adventure with reserved seating for the new World of Color show
  • Trip to San Diego to see the Rockies take on the Padres
Elias has become quite the Rockies fan, so it was a no brainer that we should go see them play in San Diego

I'm still surprised that the girl who threw the shot-put in high school so she could be on the track team with her friends without running is going to run a half marathon. But hey, I've always known that I would do almost anything for a trip to Disney!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Skirts, Sunglasses, Sprints, and Stomach Bugs

Skirts: Crystal & I decided that new outfits for the race were a must. So we hit up Nordstrom together on Saturday. We opted not to get matching outfits but both went with Nike skirts. Crystal's is teal and mine is navy. We're pretty confident that new outfits will make us run faster.

Sunglasses: The shopping marathon continued while we set out on the quest to find me a better pair of sunglasses. I went to the doctor about my migraines and she just reiterated the need for a good pair of polarized sunglasses. The good news is that she said it is very unlikely that exercise is a trigger. So Crystal & I were on a mission to find me the best pair of sunglasses. After visiting three different stores we decided that I needed a pair of Oakley's with Black Iridium polarized lenses. These lenses apparently block out 91% of light. It took us a while to find this lens in a style that I liked but Crystal was up to the challenge and kept encouraging me to find the perfect pair. And we couldn't resist finishing up the shopping trip by buying Elias a new pair of sunglasses as well.

Crystal & I shopping for Oakley sunglasses

Elias and I wearing our new shades

Bummed about missing my long run this weekend (see next section) I was ready to work hard at boot-camp on Monday morning and make up for it. I guess lucky for me the instructor had a doozy of a workout in store for us. Our strength training workouts were followed by 400 meter (1/4 mile) sprints. I never would have thought that 1/4 mile was a sprinting distance but I actually enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself to run as fast as I could for that distance. I can't say that I enjoyed it while I was doing it and didn't necessarily look forward to the repeats but I was proud of myself to finish with a time of 1 min 43 sec. The sprints made me feel stronger and confident that my training has been paying off!

Stomach Bugs:
So my I can take on the world attitude that I acquired from the Monday morning sprints lasted until about 1 pm yesterday when I started to get an intense stomach ache. I couldn't figure out what was wrong and all I could think was that those sprints took a larger toll on me than I thought. Realized a couple of hours later that it had nothing to do with my morning workout and I had caught a stomach bug. Elias was up sick all night on Saturday. We incorrectly assumed that it was something he ate because he never developed a fever and acted like his normal self on Sunday. Guess I got it a little worse than he did because I was wiped out for a full 24 hours.

I'm looking forward to putting this bug behind us and picking up my training with an 11 mile run this weekend. This will be my last long run before the race as the week before the race includes a combination of short runs and rest days.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I finished reading Run Like A Mother today. I've never been so proud to call myself a mom and a runner! A couple of the highlights that I learned from reading the book:

  • I will definitely be wearing a running skirt for the race. Apparently, race pictures turn out much better with skirts than shorts because shorts tend to bunch up. I can't decide if I should just use one of the skirts I have or take my first half marathon as an opportunity to buy a brand new running outfit.
  • The Nike+ sensor may overestimate distance and therefore pace. I still think it is a great tool and has helped me keep track of progress. I'll figure out on race day how far it is off.
  • Moms are tuned in to providing practical advice on all subjects. A few of my favorites were what to wear, what to eat (before, during & after), bathroom tips for race day (a subject only moms would think of), and who to run with. Of course the book also provided tons of great training tips.
  • I'm not the only one who thinks the first mile or two are the hardest part of a typical run.
  • There are two types of husbands; those that run with you and those that don't. Proud to say that I have type 2. I don't think it would work for us to have a semi-competitive athletic shared hobby. But there is no way I would be able to undertake such an endeavor without all of the support I've received from Aaron!
And a quote that will stick with me: "Sooner or later, every daughter becomes her mother."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Today is an exciting day that signals how close the race is getting. I received an email that the Official Disneyland Half Marathon Program is now available online. It is likely that I will have all 20 pages of this material memorized before we get to Anaheim as planning all of the details is half the fun of a Disney trip. In addition, I downloaded an electronic copy of the waiver that I can read & sign in advance so I have more time to enjoy Disneyland.

The waiver included my bib number: 8191. I like numbers as they make things official like when I got into college or recently became a PE. So now that I have a number it is official that I'm going to run a half marathon! And am one step closer to receiving the coveted finisher's medal.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Change of Scenery

I've been doing most of my runs around the neighborhood which fortunately has an abundance of trails, sidewalks, and parks so I'm able to get creative with routes and haven't found them to be too repetitive. But I decided this morning would be a fun day for a "field trip". So I came up with a plan to run to City Park and meet my family for breakfast at Le Peep's Parkside Cafe.

I enjoyed my run through the Park Hill neighborhood but came to appreciate the complete sidewalk network and curb ramps in Stapleton. It took me about 40 minutes to get to City Park and then I ran around the park for another 15 minutes before I met up with Aaron & Elias at the playground. City Park is probably my favorite place to run in Denver as I like the views of Downtown over the lake and enjoy seeing the progress of the construction for the zoo expansion.

After enjoying the park we headed over to Le Peep where Elias was very excited to see that Grandma & Grandpa were meeting us for breakfast. It was looking like today was going to be a perfect day with a great run, yummy breakfast, and a fun family outing at the zoo. But alas, as we were paying for breakfast I started to get another migraine. Given that this is the third one I've gotten in 3 weeks it seems that summer migraine season is in full swing.

My migraines remind me that there are many things in life that are beyond my control. But I sure wish I could figure out exactly what causes them and what I can do short of never going outside to prevent them in the summer. They have also provided some insight into why I think I enjoy the running so provides a feeling of control and accomplishment. I like studying my training schedule and looking back at how much I've accomplished and crossing the days off in anticipation of the race.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reasons I've Come to Love Running

Besides the obvious that I get to go to Disneyland in about a month, there are other reasons that I have really come to appreciate running and training for a half marathon.
  1. It gives me something to talk about. Being a somewhat shy person I am not the best at making conversation but two times in the past week my running came in handy as a topic of conversation. First, I got my haircut and I'm never the best at holding a conversation with the stylist but I actually had a better answer than "oh not much" or "working" to the question "what have you been up to lately?" Second, I attended a networking function and it was useful small talk.
  2. It gives me more confidence and other things don't seem as challenging. Today, I was a co-presenter at a conference. I don't have much experience with public speaking besides in grad school but I said to myself "if you can run for over an hour surely you can talk about a project that you're very familiar with for 20 minutes". And the presentation went well with less worrying that I ever would have thought possible.
  3. I don't feel as guilty when I eat ice cream (light of course) several times a week during the summer.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Busy Week

Despite the lack of blog postings this has been a great week for my training! So I'll give a quick overview of the highlights.

  • Last Thursday I ran with one of my friends from bootcamp. Only fellow moms don't think twice about meeting for a run at 5:45 am. We ran 5 miles at a quick pace and it was great to have someone else to run with! Thanks Caren!
  • Saturday was definitely not a highlight of the week but affected my training schedule so worth mentioning. I had a great workout at bootcamp but around 9:30 am I realized that I was getting a migraine. So I spent all day Saturday sleeping :( A double bummer because I missed a weekend day with my family and running shoe shopping with Crystal. But it was a good reminder that since the sun is a trigger for my migraines I need to wear both a hat and sunglasses on bright mornings.
  • Ran 8 miles on Tuesday morning at a pace of 8'40" per mile. Last week's speed work paid off!
  • Returned back to RoadRunner sports after work on Tuesday to get my second pair of shoes. A second pair was recommended about a month before my race so I could get them broken in. I intended to get a second pair just like the first ones but Nike is constantly updating their shoes and has a new version of the shoe I bought. It seems that the only difference is the color. I was thrilled to see that the new version is BLUE!
  • I also bought a running visor to add to my hat collection. Just another reminder that being a mom makes me more like my own mom. Bonnie, your stylish visors inspired me :)
  • Elias woke up even earlier than usual on Wednesday so he got to ride along. I ran 4.5 miles but the stroller made it feel like at least 6. I'm hoping that training with the stroller and at altitude will pay off big time during the race.
  • Had another great 5 mile run with Caren this morning! Last week she recommended that I get the book Run Like a Mother. So I promptly ordered it from Amazon and can't hardly put it down since it arrived. Never thought I would be so excited about a running book but it has a lot of great advice and is very inspirational. Highly recommend this book to any moms that run or are considering running!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This week is the half way point of my 13 week training schedule which also means the summer is somehow half over already. This week's runs focus on speed instead of adding distance. So my run for today was 4.5 miles at a fast pace. I've been averaging about 9 minutes per mile so my goal was to do this run with an average pace of 8.5 minutes per mile. I succeed and ran 4.5 miles in 38 minutes (8'26" per mile)! I never thought that I would consider 4.5 miles to be a "short run" and that I would be able to run that far at that pace. Still surprised at how much I am enjoying the running.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another Milestone

I have reached another milestone towards becoming a real runner. I ventured into the world of protein/energy bars. My runs have been getting longer so I have less time to get ready for work in the morning. As such I've determined that breakfast should be quick, nutritious, portable, and cheaper than stopping at Starbucks. I decided that a protein bar would fit all of these criteria so I picked up a Luna Bar while at Target . It took me a couple of weeks before I would try it but decided yesterday morning after my 7 mile run was as good a time as any.

So on my way to work I enjoyed my breakfast of Chocolate Milk and a Peanut Butter Cookie flavored Luna Bar. Side note, my Runner's World training journal suggested trying Chocolate Milk as a substitute for Gatorade after running so I didn't hesitate to follow up on that tip. While the Luna Bar didn't taste like any peanut butter cookie I've ever had, it wasn't terrible. Seems like a good solution to my breakfast conundrum as it keep me satisfied until lunch. I'm planning to try other flavors and perhaps the Chai Tea flavor will help me kick my morning Starbucks habit all together.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Watching the MLB All-Star game from Anaheim is getting me excited for my run around the city. So I'll take this opportunity to describe the highlights of the race route.

The race starts bright and early (I believe that we are to report around 4:30 or 5 am - luckily this is 5:30 or 6 Denver time) near the Disneyland Hotel. Then we head around the outside of the Disney parks and enter California Adventure around mile 2 where we'll run through the newly renovated Paradise Pier. One of the reasons I may prefer Disneyland to Walt Disney World is that it is very small in comparison so you can walk between parks, hotels, and Downtown Disney. However, this means that only a small fraction of the half marathon occurs on Disney property. So we will be through the castle at Disneyland before mile 3.

The next 5 or so miles take us along numerous streets in Anaheim. The next highlight of the race comes around mile 9 when we get to run past the big A and through Angel Stadium. We even get to run across home plate and I hear they show all of the participants on the jumbo-tron. This is pretty exciting to me since I'm a baseball fan and even better an Angels fan. I believe my Angels loyalty had something to do with Disney owning the team and the movie Angels in the Outfield. I digress.

The final 3 miles are running back from Angel Stadium through the huge parking lot and tunnel under I-5 to the Disneyland Hotel. I'm curious to see which will be faster my run back to Disneyland or the bus ride that we took on OCTA route 50 on our last trip.

Other highlights of the route are that they advertise it as being one of the flattest half marathon routes so it will be great for shattering personal records. Pretty sure this doesn't apply when it's your first half marathon but I am happy to hear that there aren't many hills.

I can't decide if I'm more excited to run through the castle or across home plate at Angel Stadium. I'm leaning towards Angel Stadium because that will mean that I've completed 9 miles.

Monday, July 12, 2010


So it turns out that luckily my achilles seems fine and I was able to keep up with my training through the weekend...boot camp Saturday & Monday morning and a 5 mile run with the stroller on Sunday. I think my the root of the achilles pain was wearing heels to work and not even the running so that will teach me to try to be fashionable.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good News/Bad News

Being an optimist I'll start with the good news....Crystal is recovering quickly and has assured me that I should not count her out and she will be in Anaheim ready to run on September 5!!!! We were even able to go for a short run today. She just said that our pace may be a little slower due to the lost training time. Not a problem as my goal for the Half Marathon is to finish and have fun along the way. I now won't feel so bad when I stop for a photo op with Mickey.

The bad news is that my achilles started hurting today. My other achilles was sore a couple of months ago when we started longer runs but before we started our official training schedule. I had to rest for about two weeks without running before it felt better so I'm crossing my fingers that this one won't set me back.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kansas City

I had another "Wow, I might really be a real runner" moment while I was packing for our trip to Kansas City for the 4th of July and packed not only the obligatory set of workout clothes that always stay in my suitcase but a second running outfit along with all of my running gear. It occurred to me that I was actually going to run while out of town. I stuck to my plan and ran both mornings that we were in KC.

I really enjoyed my runs and believe that they helped make this one of my favorite trips to KC. The runs allowed me to experience Overland Park in a new way. As a traffic engineer I have always admired how efficient the Kansas City (Kansas) arterial street network is but it wasn't until this trip that I realized that KC generally designed "complete streets" before this became the trendy thing to do. All of the streets that I ran on from major arterials to collectors to neighborhood streets had nice, well maintained sidewalks that were connected to the Overland Park multi-use trail.

So it seems that Overland Park is a great place for running except for one small problem, the extreme humidity (at least to a Denverite). It reminded me of the couple of days that I tried to take up running in Atlanta. Needless to say, that never really caught on. I was curious to see how I would feel running at a lower elevation. Any benefit that I got from the elevation was negated by the humidity! My pace was pretty consistent with what I've been running here but I think I sweat twice as much.

Overall, it was a fun trip and a lot of fun to see Elias spend time with his aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Only downside was that the fireworks were rained out. All in all it was worth the 10 hours in the car each way. Plus, the long drive to Kansas made me think that if we can spend that long in the car I should be able to run 13 miles.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Possible Change of Plans

I tend to be a pretty grounded person and not get too excited about things in advance. I understand that it is fun to talk about things and make plans for someday even though it may never happen. Like all those trips Dale and I planned to Australia when I was a kid (Dad, I'm still in if you are).

I have only gotten better at tempering my expectations since becoming a mom as the first lesson of parenting is 'Plans Will Change'. Whether it be from that nap happening two hours too early and ruining all plans for the day or your kid getting sick and changing plans for a month or even the year (Kristin, I know y'all will have fun at WDW on your own and our little guys will still be Disney buddies, just not this year).

Given all of that I am still very disappointed to have to be writing this post. Clearly I got my expectations up and was very excited about Crystal and I running the Disneyland Half Marathon together. Unfortunately, I learned this weekend that Crystal came down with a bad virus and the doc says she probably won't be back to normal (and in turn able to run) for 6 weeks. This is right in the thick of our training schedule so it is looking like I'll be running this half marathon on my own.

I called Disney to see what our options were, and a very helpful cast member told me that the registration is non-refundable and non-transferable, no exceptions and the race is at capacity. She tried to cheer me up by saying that I won't be running on my own I'll be running with 1,000 people. She also advised that I should befriend the runners in costumes as they have the most fun. Now I'm a bit of a Disney nut but I'm still not sure I understand running while dressed like Snow White. I know it is still going to be a very memorable family vacation and a trip to Disneyland that we will never forget. However, I was so looking forward to sharing the memories with Crystal.

On a completely unrelated note.....I will be sticking to the GU chews as I could not stomach the texture of the GU gel. Also, I need to work on expanding my IPod running playlist since I'll be doing all of the running on my own. Any suggestions for great running songs?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Of Rain and GU

In my last post I wondered when I would feel like a real runner and I think I may have achieved that today.

First, Crystal talked to a co-worker who runs marathons and determined that we needed GU. Apparently this is some sort of energy gel that runners use to hydrate. We've been dragging on our last couple of runs together and have had trouble getting past the 35 minute mark. We think that this has been due to the HOT weather. It was quite a bit cooler when we started our run today but decided not to take any chances and gave the GU a shot as well. Crystal went to REI and stocked up on a large assortment of GU including a multitude of flavors in both gel and Chomps. We decided to try the Chomps as they resembled fruit snacks which I was more comfortable with than drinking gel. So we had a couple before starting the run and a couple halfway through. I think it seemed to help as we didn't get too tired and made it 45 minutes!

About 10 of these 45 minutes we were running through the rain and not just a little sprinkle. It was raining so much that our shoes got soggy but we decided the rain wouldn't prevent us from reaching our goal. Luckily, Elias was well covered with the Bob and slept through the rain. As I was running through the rain I thought "Wow, maybe I am a real runner!"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Random Bloggings

One of the many reasons that I never took to running before was because I didn't think I could go for long runs without thinking about how tiring running is. I was always puzzled by what people think about when they are running. Surprisingly I have found that running actually clears my mind and I don't really think about too much. And I rarely find myself thinking 'Wow, I'm tired of running'. I either enjoy the conversation with Crystal or try to focus on my music.

So in an effort to answer my question about what people think about when they are running I've decided to blog about a few of the things that ran through my head on my run this morning:

  • Why do there seem to be more women out jogging, walking dogs, etc at 6:30 am than men?
  • Am I the only person who has Disney theme park music on their running IPod playlist?
  • I know Elias won't remember the trip to Disneyland or me running the 1/2 marathon but I hope that he will be excited to hear about how he (with a little help from Mickey) encouraged his mom.
  • At what point will I feel like I'm a part of the "runner's club" and not think wow that person is very motivated every time I see someone out running?
  • I'm sure glad we bought the Bob jogging stroller.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So today I had an interesting and somewhat profound thought (that may be a bit of an overstatement). I realized that I never could have imagined how being a mom would change my life. Now there are all of the typical things like a new ability to multitask even more than before and the ability to function on much less sleep. Although I still haven't gotten used to that one as I need a lot of sleep. And of course one can't explain a parent's love and overarching desire to do what is best for your child until you become a parent. Wow, this blog post has gotten much deeper than I had planned.

Back to the point I was trying to make that motherhood changed me in ways I never expected. I never thought that I would enjoy running or eating tuna casserole for dinner. Ah, how my life has changed :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fun Stuff

  • Elias joined Crystal and I on our after work run this evening. And after the run Elias added 'Crystal' to his ever growing vocabulary. Very exciting!
  • Elias also enjoyed pointing out the Mickey on my shirt while we were stretching. That's right I purchased Crystal & I special 'In Training for the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon' running shirts. This is just the beginning of the wonderful Disney merchandise that I will acquire to commemorate this event. I consider the exclusive Disneyland 1/2 Marathon memorabilia, especially the coveted finisher's medal & race day pin, one of the most important reasons to participate in a Disney run.
  • The other day someone asked me how I knew about the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. I wasn't quite sure how to respond as I thought this was just common knowledge like knowing that Friday follows Thursday.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Yesterday marked a "milestone" of sorts for Crystal and I. We had lunch with a friend and then decided to get our Starbucks and go shopping. We were shopping for maybe an hour, felt uninspired, and looked at each other and said "should we just go running?" I guess this means that running really has become our favorite hobby! Don't get me wrong the day was a success as we each purchased a pair (or two) of shoes. But it was impressive that we cut the shopping short to go for our run.

We even took Elias with us in the Bob so it was a bit harder of a workout. Although our pace wasn't too much slower with the stroller.
"Running not Shopping"

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Today I learned that since I started running on a consistent basis a little over a month ago, I have run the combined distance of a full marathon. I learned this from the Nike+ website which I use to keep track of my runs. When it became apparent that Crystal and I were really going to run a half marathon, Aaron surprised me and bought me the Nike+IPod sensor so I could keep track of my training.

An added bonus of selecting the Nikes is that the sensor fits inside the shoe, beneath the insole. (Before I got my Nikes I had to attach the sensor to the laces with a velcro case)

To use the Nike+ sensor I just select 'Begin Workout' on my IPod and select the music that I want to run to or no music if I'm running with Crystal. It is amazing that the time seems to go much faster when we are talking than when I'm running alone listening to music, but I have come to enjoy both. Then at the end of the workout I get a summary of the run similar to this one.

And then when I sync my IPod the workouts get sent to the NikeRunning website where I can view my run history, set goals, and even look for running routes. Plus I get the added bonus of achieving new "levels" like today I was promoted to the orange level based on my mileage (50 km) and every time I achieve a personal best distance I get an "inspirational message" from the likes of Lance Armstrong. Isn't Nike great ;)

Friday, May 7, 2010


The most common piece of advice that I received when I started telling people that I was crazy enough to run a half marathon was to get fitted for and buy a nice pair of running shoes. The idea of getting fitted for shoes had never occurred to me as I've never really had trouble with my feet. But I figured I should take the advice of expert runners so today I went and got my first official pair of running shoes and insoles.

Wanting to support local businesses I just planned to go to Runner's Roost but the power of anonymous reviews on the internet encouraged me to not bother with Runner's Roost and go straight to RoadRunner Sports. They apparently have a much better return policy if the shoes don't fit right even after running outside and are very helpful even to new this sounded like the right place to go. The whole experience was kind of fun and didn't take too long.

First I stood on some sort of sensor pad and learned that I have high arches so insoles were strongly recommended. Next I ran on the treadmill barefoot so they could see if I had any foot pronation??? Turns out my foot doesn't turn much but it was pretty neat to watch the video of my feet running on the treadmill. Then I had insoles sculpted to my feet, tried on three different pairs with the insoles, decided on the Nikes, and ran on the treadmill again just to confirm that they felt okay.

It is kind of hard to see with the reflection, but here is the screen capture of me running on the treadmill barefoot.

I believe this is the first pair of shoes that I have bought without making the selection based on appearance. Although I do like the look. Hopefully, I will not have to take advantage of the 60 day return policy and these Nikes will last me many miles!

As an added bonus the RoadRunner sports was on the way home from my little monkey's daycare so he was able to come help me make a final selection. He enjoyed running around the store and "beeping" along with the treadmills. Plus, the sales person told me that it was awesome that I was going to be running at Disneyland and she hopes to run the Walt Disney World marathon. All in all the RoadRunner Sports seemed to be a good choice.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stroller Strides

If it weren't for Stroller Strides I never would have considered running a half marathon. I started going to Stroller Strides a little over a year ago when my little guy was 4 months old. I knew I needed to do something to get back in shape and lose some of the baby weight. However, Stroller Strides has become much more than just a place for a workout. Stroller Strides is a great network of moms and a source of motivation. Erin, the instructor, also has running groups and boot camps for moms who are training for races. I started going to the 6 am Monday morning boot camps when I went back to work full time since I couldn't attend as many Stroller Strides classes during the week. These ladies inspired me and the idea of running a half marathon seemed possible. Thanks Erin!

Stroller Strides was featured in the Denver Post today. Check out the article and video to learn more about 'Losing the baby fat - with the baby and other moms'. I was lucky enough to attend class the day that they were filming so I can be seen working out in the video.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This is my first attempt into the world of blogging. I've set up this blog as a place to record the journey of training for and running my first half marathon. I never thought I would use the words 'run a half marathon' in a sentence about me and I'm sure there are several people out there who are surprised that I would have the desire to run 13.1 miles. So this first post will explain how I decided to take on such an endeavor with my dear friend Crystal.

Here is the summary version....last summer Crystal and I were shopping (previously, our favorite shared hobby) and one of us mentioned that they needed to start running. The other replied that they were thinking about starting running too. We then decided to try running together. Neither of us had really run with someone else before and my idea of running was taking one of my dogs for a 20 min jog at the most. Once we started running we decided we needed a goal and we signed up for the 'Race for the Cure' 5K. We enjoyed the race and decided this wouldn't be our last one!

Crystal and I after the Race for the Cure (October 2009)

While we were in the middle of training I saw an ad for the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon and jokingly told Crystal that we should do that. I have been trying to get Crystal to take a trip to Disney with me since high school and have had no luck. I told her this would be an opportunity to keep training together and go to Disney with my family. She said that it sounded like a good idea but we opted out of the Princess Half Marathon because it took place in March and we weren't sure about training through the winter here in Denver. So I did some investigating of the Disney running options and we selected the Disneyland Half Marathon on September 5! We'll be training through the summer and will get to take the shorter trip to California (a much more manageable flight with a 2 year old). We've set up a training schedule so I'm sure we'll be ready for the run but I'm not sure that Crystal can be prepared for a trip to Disneyland with me!