Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tower of Terror Ten Miler 2012....CONQUERED!! part 2

Beautiful day at
Magic Kingdom
So where were we? Ah, yes, race day! Of course that morning we went to Magic Kingdom! I had a plan. I would hydrate like crazy and sit whenever possible in the lines. Thank goodness the park was fairly empty. Would have been a fantastic day to play until I dropped but I had a race to do. I did however proudly wear my ToT race shirt. To me it said "Yeah, that's right! I am a runner." It also showed how dumb I was to forget... NEVER wear black in the Florida sun. 
If this hat were not so heavy
I would have added it
to my costume!

Because my costume for the race was the Cheshire cat I had to keep an eye out for anything CheshireInstead of buying the Tower of Terror pin I decided to buy the Cheshire cat pin for my medal. I thought it was the best way to commemorate what I had worn this day.I was VERY tempted to buy this hat for the race. It was heavy! So back onto the shelf it went. Sadness. 

After we had played (until I knew it would catch up to me if we didn't stop) we rode the bus back to the hotel. There I took a pre-race nap because I had gotten a heat migraine. shirt + Florida sun = heat migraine. Hesitantly I downed some Excedrin Migraine pills and hit the sack. Two hours! It felt sooooo good. Headache was gone and I was ready for eating dinner. A tiny bit of salmon (it was not good), mashed potatoes, and corn. Ummm...I didn't know what else to eat. I couldn't think straight and these choices seemed the lightest. I had five hours until I would be running so I felt like I would be okay.

Check out the line for the
port-o-potties. Glad my issues
happened at the hotel.
The family left me at the hotel to go play some more in the parks. I laid out everything I was taking with me to the race. Looked good. Turned on the t.v.. Looked at the clock for the time. Half an hour until I needed to shower. Watched t.v.. Looked at the clock. Watched t.v.. Looked at the clock. Okay, I can't do this anymore. Shower time. Showered, dressed, and then had tummy issues. I fully believe it was nerves. Remember, this was my first long race and I was terrified I would get swept. I had trained for this and didn't want to fail. I finally calmed myself down and watched "Lady and the Tramp" until it was time to leave. Even after all of these years I still hate those stupid cats. Looking at the clock I saw it was time to catch the bus.

Description for those hesitant to watch the video : This first video gives you an idea of what happens before the race, joining your corral, and the wait to get to the start line when you are in the back of the pack. It can be a long boring wait if you are not running with a buddy. I made an attempt to talk to people but mostly listened to other runners deal with pre-race jitters. They are really funny.
I was in the very last corral and didn't need to worry about a warm up walk.

That white light glow is
the start line for the race!
 They had us lining up by 9:45 p.m.. From our position we could see the fireworks for EPCOT. We couldn't hear any of the announcements until they moved us up a bit more. By then the only thing we could hear was the anthem. One thing I have to say about the people surrounding me. I was so impressed with the respect they showed for our nation. As soon as we realized it was being sung all chatter ceased. 

It was then that the race began. First corral A. Walk, walk, walk, walk. Then corral B. Walk, walk, walk, hey! We could see the start! Next corral c! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! FINALLY, it was time. The three almost four months of training were about to pay off! Fartleks, heat exhaustion, early mornings with crazy people in the parks...all of it! I could do this! And I did!


 It took forever but the race began. I started my Garmin and Gymboss. My music helped me keep a good pace and the distraction of all the costumes got me through the first 1 mile shin cramps. Suddenly my mp3 player died. OH NO! Now I was definitely going to have to rely on Disney music (not very often), scenery (not much of it...night race), and other people's conversations (plenty of that), lol! Thank you loud talkers. You helped me more than you realize.

Around 2.5 miles.
I love how all the safety
reflections on shoes and shirts
 look like stars.
 It was amazing how many people were ahead of me. We actually looked like a trail of highly disorganized ants. Without the music I needed the many volunteers cheering me on. I made it a point to wipe off my sweaty hand and high five these people whenever I passed. At around the 2.5 mile mark you could hear "Caution runners! Speed bumps ahead." Over and over and over until we passed the entrance to Animal Kingdom and swung back around to pass through it again.

At around the four mile mark I began to relay with the two ugly step sisters. I would pass them, then they would pass me and so on. I wish I had taken a picture of them. They actually motivated me to stay strong and not give into the tiredness. Mile 5 found us running into the woods that lead to the track at ESPN's Wide World of Sports. It was dark, the trail was rocky, and people just plain ole stopped running. I gave up trying to run and just walked with the rest of the crowd. This is where I lost my focus. When we hit sidewalk and then the track I just wasn't keeping pace anymore. I began to take double walk breaks. I had to snap out of it! My step sisters were gone and I was on my own. So I again looked to the volunteers for my salvation. I began to run again. Not as fast but I ran.

Back where it started!
Mile six we were in Champion Stadium. I read some of the best signs. My favorite for that spot was "Go random runner!". It was also a nice distraction to see myself up on the video board. I didn't look like I was dead yet. AWESOME! I can't even recall where I was at for mile seven. I know I was looking over my shoulder to see if there were any sweepers. At this point I realized that I didn't need to worry anymore. I was still passing people and I wasn't exhausted yet. The sweepers were not coming for me. HUZZAH! Now I was passing mile 8 and some dalmatian puppy runners. Then it was up/down an off ramp and into Hollywood Studios. I must admit that as a teenager I hated WHAM!. But as I entered the park and they were playing "Wake Me Up" (I think that was it) the beat got to me and I sung as I now paced myself to the music.

Soon I found myself approaching mile NINE and entering the "Lights, Motors, Action" theater. I stopped to take a picture of myself on the video display. These girls kept watching me try to take a picture and wouldn't get out of the way. No matter...because I was going to finish and nothing got on my nerves now! And so I ran. I walked then ran past the spaceship from "Flight of the Navigator" and the spaceship from "Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy". I walked into downtown New York. Passed a lady with a sign that read "I don't know you but I am proud of you." Thank you!

Approaching the hat!
"The End Is Near"
We ran past all of the yummy eating places and onward towards the sorcerer's hat. By now I had begun to look for my family among the onlookers. I kept worrying that they may not have made it back to the park to see me finish. Does it seem silly that I wanted them there to share this accomplishment with me? I don't think so. At this point I was beginning to feel the heat and the miles. All along the path there were volunteers continuing to cheer us on. This ("The End Is Near") was another favorite sign of mine although it felt untrue at the time.

Where is this?
It showed us the fabrication shops.
 Finally I was at the point of walking...very fast walking. I kept thinking about a nice cold drink and wondering if my family would have one waiting for me? Did they know where I was at? Were they here? Ooo! Toy Story! I have to ride that later. Where are on earth are they having us run now? Rainbow alley? 

And then I rounded a corner. I could see the finish line and I could hear the announcer saying "30 seconds until the 3 hour mark." I wanted to be under that 3 hour mark! I dug into my untapped well and sprinted for the finish line! It probably looked more like a quick jog to those watching but for me it was a sprint. I DID IT! I scanned the sideline for my family and there they were. I admit I teared up but it was a great moment for me. Ten miles and I got to share it with my family. The medal girl tried to hand me my medal but I bent down so she could place it on me like an Olympic medal. That is what it felt like to I had won. And I had.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler:

CRISTINA CANO at Finish in 2:40:56.

Time of Arrival: 12:59:23.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tower of Terror Ten Miler...CONQUERED! Part 1

Disney rocks! They left Mickey
towels on my bed.
 September 28, 2012 my family and I arrived at Disney's All Star Movie Resort. At check-in they asked if I was there for the race. I grinned like the Cheshire Cat and responded "YES"! She then welcomed us and handed me the Race Guide. It was real! This was happening! I was so excited and I hadn't even been to packet pick-up yet.
I really liked our room but I was anxious to get to the expo. 

The guardian dalmatians
warned of coming rain.
Despite the incoming rain warning from the 50 foot dalmatians (and the bus driver) we hopped on the bus. Man was it poring! There were tidal waves created as we drove to ESPN Wide World of Sports . People were being swept from the sidewalks into the newly created lakes! Okay, I am exaggerating a bit....take a look for yourselves.

The bus drop off was a pool by this time.
The bus attendants were soaked! Poor people.
We will be back!

Needless to say we did not get off of the bus and instead headed back to the hotel. The All Star Movies Resort had a pretty decent food court. Knowing that tomorrow was the race I decided to carb load a bit. What is the best way to do that on the cheap yet with Disney flair? Get the pepperoni pizza of course!
Not a bad deal. $15 for a large.
Yummers! They had Barq's Rootbeer as well so of course I had rootbeer with my pizza. After dinner the old folks were really tired from the trip up. They headed for the room and we tried once again for the expo. 

Sunshine and a
happy attendant!
Success! There was sun and the bus was actually full of people this time. One of the experiences I like about a Disney race is the people. Everyone is so happy to be there and will willingly be silly. We followed the signs for packet pick-up and found ourselves facing a bell hop from the Tower of Terror. I wish I had taken a picture of her. We asked her how to get to the ground floor and she replied in a creepy voice "You can either use the stairs" (points to stairs) "or" (Insert creepy smile) "take the elevator. " We chose the stairs.

So much to see! But first I had to pick up my free ToT 10 Miler Stitch poster. Then I got my bag, walked across the chip activator for the bib, broadcast to the world my name and age, and walked over to the orientation meeting. I am glad I attended that meeting. In it they told us about the various terrains we would encounter. That helped because I wasn't surprised like some when during the race we had to walk down a rocky dirt road. Next, I checked out the bling for this race and for the Half Marathon in January. They were so shiney and pretty!

Jeff Galloway -
Hydrate so you don't vomit.
We then attended the Jeff Galloway presentation "Strong To The Finish". He spoke about race day nutrition, hydration, and rest. In addition he advised us on the run/walk methods and various paces to use. What did I get out of it? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and eat small light portions all day on race day."Eating a big meal the night before (or the day of) a long run can be a real problem. You will have a lot of food in your gut, and you will be bouncing up and down for an extended period. Get the picture?" - Jeff Galloway. He also discussed pacing yourself so that you could finish strong and with a smile. I soaked it all in. I sure didn't want to vomit.

Now it was time to shop! I found some fantastic earbuds for my mp3. They are called Snuggbuds and they are the first ear buds that have not hurt my ears. My ears are little and so I needed some that were small. You can replace the soft plastic cushion with different sizes. Also, the cord is fabric which I really liked. The sound was incredible...noise in my bag they went. Of course I bought a new running shirt as well. We walked around, got some free moon pies, and caught the bus back to the hotel. 

It was then that I pinned my bib onto my cheshire race shirt making it official in my mind. I was about to run my longest race yet...ten miles! Time for bed.

Check out Part 2 RACE DAY!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Confidence begins with your first long run...sort of.

Do you see this beautiful, goofy girl? That is my 14 year old niece. On Saturday we ran her first long run in her training schedule for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon which will be this coming January. Do you see that smile? That was right before we began. Now look at that smile again. It was there when the three mile run was finished.

The last time she ran that far was in the Expedition Everest Challenge 5K back in May. So you can easily imagine the struggle this run was for her. She was a complete and total trooper. I did the majority of the whining. My calves were still screaming from the dehydrated run last Monday followed by Insanity the next day. NEVER DO THAT! You will want to die. I continued to train the rest of the week but I was still paying for it on my run with her. You may be asking yourself at this point why I am somewhat rambling.

Proud of my niece syndrome? Maybe. Couldn't think of anything else to blog about? Not really. I am writing about her because every time I run with her I am amazed at the strength of character she has yet to realize she possesses. Of course I do my best to booster what I can. However, I think it is the confidence she gains when she runs farther than she thought she could. Or when she willingly gets on a treadmill to do her 30 minute training runs even though she hates treadmills with a passion. I believe this is something we all possess and forget about at times.

All runners out there sometimes question their own abilities. Or how far they can push themselves. Or even their own worth in the eyes of their fellow runners. How many of us have felt defeated when someone passes us that we thought would never be able to do so? And why do we even think those thoughts? In the end aren't we really just competing against ourselves?

Yes, some of us run a race to win. Some of us run to get a personal record. Some of us run for a cause. Some of us run for the shiny bling that will be placed around our neck when we cross the finish line. Some of us --like me-- run in a race to see not only what we are made of but just to enjoy being with other insane people who love the carnival of it all. I love my fellow nutty runners who dress up. I love the volunteers who cheer me on or the other runners who pass me while saying "Keep going!". I absolutely love the Disney characters waving and dancing as I pass by. I admit I love the bling as well. But I also love watching as someone --like my niece-- gains and strengthens her or his own self worth by doing what once was the "impossible".

I want to remember to be like my niece. I want to remember to always start and end each run with a smile. Because after all, didn't I just do something I thought I would never be able to do unless I was being chased by an ax murderer? I actually ran for the joy of accomplishing the "impossible". I ran because I wanted to find out what I was made of and accidentally found the fun in running. I am now a runner (albeit a very slow one) but a runner nonetheless. If you are reading this and shaking your head in agreement then you are too. So, let's remember to enjoy it and be like my niece...always try to finish with a smile. And maybe remember to yell "Keep going!" so others will finish with a smile too.

Happy running!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Signed Up For WHAT?

Thank goodness today was a relatively short run. The storm Ivan is giving us some much needed rain. However, I absolutely hate running on a treadmill! I have been putting it off all day long. But, as soon as I post this I will get my lazy rainy day keister onto it. Meanwhile, I thought I would show you guys how I have motivated myself to get out there (or on there) for the past couple of months. Maybe even help those of you who are still wondering to yourselves how you ever thought you could ever sign up for that race and complete that "insurmountable" number of miles. Yep, this is dedicated to you and me.

As I have shared before I am one of those people who apparently loves to scare myself into a challenge. Shortly after I signed up for the Tower of Terror Ten Miler I kind of sat there and stared at the course map.
This is the map of terror.
No really. I sat there and stared at the above course map. I looked at it and thought, "Holy crap. That is a long way. WHAT WAS I THINKING?" I was literally starting to psyche myself out thinking I had bitten off more than I could chew. I was new at running! Still am but I was very new. The most I had ever done was a 5k. I, puny mortal and out of shape girlie, was going to triple the amount of miles and finish without getting swept? Idiot! I felt like I was kidding myself.

And then I thought of all those cheesy but true motivational quotes I liked.
"You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith." ~Mary Manin Morrissey
“You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”- Ralph Marston
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson
 Doug Larson was right! And so were the others! I needed to look at this a different way. A different way...hmmmm. *snap fingers* That's it! If I broke it down by the training runs and posted my progress on the "map of terror" it wouldn't be overwhelming. I could see how far I had already run on the actual a virtual way. Yes, I could do this. So I looked at my training plan. First run would be a 3 miler. No problem. I just ran that in May. But then after running that (marking the time on the map) and then several other runs I noticed I was in trouble. Click here for that story. But I noticed my trouble because of my map marking. This required more stuff to add in on my map. 

No longer the "map of terror".
 Marking my goals on the map has completely changed the way I train. How so? Three ways.

#1. I am not so intimidated by the sound of the length of the long runs when I say them out loud. Seriously, people will ask me at work how long my run was last Saturday and I will casually say 9 miles. They gasp and say "You are crazy!" I will giggle and think to myself "I thought so once too." But what I say in reply to them is "Oh you should have seen the things I saw on that run! THAT was crazy!" I can say that because I can SEE how far I have already come.

#2. I am now conscientiously working on improving my time and form. I do however think it had taken getting over the intimidation of how far the runs sounded to even acknowledge that portion of my training.

#3. I now do consider myself a runner. An out of shape runner who is not only working on getting fit but also trying to enjoy her runs a little more each time. And I am no longer afraid to ask questions in my online running groups. I am a runner dang it and I need to know how to love my sport more and more each run and that means info and not ignorance. Never be afraid to ask what you may think is a dumb question. Believe me, someone else wants to know the answer too.

My friends (and those who can relate to my story) never let fear block your way to your goals. Find a way to break it down. Try this map idea. Enjoy your long runs more. Find the crazy happening around you when you run so you have something to laugh about or tell about when you get home. Do not be afraid to ask questions of people who have been running all of their lives. Many of them love to share the love they have of running with people like you and me just starting out. Fresh ears for old stories, ha-ha! And who doesn't like sharing what they love to do?

Meanwhile, a question to all of my new seasoned runner friends out there. "What did/do you do to get yourself away from psyching yourself out of a race when you sign up for a new more challenging race?"

Keep it up and maybe I will see you at a race or two! Ah I have to go get on the treadmill. Happy running! Look for the crazy!
- Cristina

P.S. Thank you to Carlos and Stephanie for the replies to last weeks posts. They were extremely helpful. Something is wrong with Blogger and I couldn't reply. Thanks again!!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Calling All Runners! A question or two for you...

Hey there everyone! I know, another vlog. This one is slightly different. A couple of things happened on the 9 mile training run. So I have a couple of questions you experienced runners may be able to answer. And if you don't have time to watch the vlog then here are the questions...

#1. How do you deal with the heat when the sun finally rises?
#2. When you experience muscle pain (limping type) in the middle of a race do you stop and stretch or do you just carry on?

I would love to hear back from you all. So please, take a moment and post a comment in the comment section below. And if you have the time take a gander at the video above. Thanks and happy running!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Well that hurt....

I think we all have a moment when we feel like we are doing great and then BAM! A truck comes along and slams you into a wall. My truck came this week. It looks like I have a strained rotator cuff. My doctor says he believes it is more than likely a strain and not a tear but we'll know if it begins to heal within two weeks.

So, I asked him if I could run. He gave me a "????" look and then said he supposed so as long as it didn't hurt. I am not quite sure if the "????" look was because I don't look like a runner or because he had to think about it, ha-ha! Then I asked for a second opinion from my online running buddies. They gave me the same advise. I thought about it and decided to give myself a few days to heal. I also weaned myself off of the pain medication. 

Last night I was feeling okay. This morning my shoulder was a little painful. I re-checked my schedule and read that I needed to do 3 miles. "Okay, I will walk it. I can't stop now. Only 7 weeks until showtime!" I thought to myself. Then I decided to get my dad and my niece to go with me. They were so happy to go when I asked.

We did the absolute slowest walking in the history of training that there ever was. BUT, it was also one of the best walks there ever was. Why? Because I was still out there. I was still trying my best. AND I had the support of my family who really want to see me accomplish my goals. We got in 1.9 something miles before the rain came. I also had to ice my shoulder when we got home and take my anti-inflammatory and pain medication. But I had the best time just being with them and chatting. It was worth every twinge.

Moral of the story this week? Never underestimate the supportive power of a slow walk with people you love. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A vlog! A vlog!

My first vlog. This is for everyone who is considering taking up jogging but think they can't. You can do this!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Turtle Gains Some Speed!

Last week he could have out run me!
As I have been training I have become a little nervous. I really have been feeling slow in my runs. Sometimes I imagine the little kids being pushed in running carts watching me with curious expressions on their faces as they are pushed past me. I can almost hear them say to their parent..."Mommy, why is that lady running in slow motion?" To which their mother kindly replies..."Oh sweetie, she's just a new runner that has deluded herself into thinking she can run a ten mile race and not get swept." "Silly lady!" the child will reply and then they'll share in a wonderful bonding moment through laughter.

So, I sat down with myself and did some math. I added in the amount of time it would take me to snap some photos as I run.  Also, how much I would like to walk. Lastly, how much I can run. I came up with the following... 

photos + walking + running / current pace = you haven't got a snow ball's chance to not get swept

Yup. I was in trouble. So, I came up with a running goal of a 13 to 14 minute mile. My current running pace was anywhere from 15:45 to 16:30. I told you I was slow! I called up my friend who is a mom of four who knows how to push people to do their best. 
*Helpful Hint*...if ever you need help being lovingly pushed to do better call up a mother of many who is a runner.
She was a godsend! She met me early in the morning when the crickets were still serenading us and the streets were still empty. We started the run and she gave me some great like a deer. You know, push off of your toes. I imagined me frolicking in a woodland meadow which gave me the giggles. But I did as I was told and my stride was better. But boy did I find out what muscles I need to target this week for strength! In the end I was still able to carry on a conversation (at times) without having long pauses between my sentences AND my time improved! I ended up with a 14:27 per mile pace...woohoo! Yeay for me!

This week my goal is to keep that pace during my Tuesday training session and my Saturday 8 mile long run. Thursday my goal is to do some hill work. 
*Miracle #2007*...there is a hill in a South Florida park that isn't an overpass! Or a dump.
Meanwhile, I will keep up the cross training. I have a little group at work that is beginning to exercise with me after work. I sure am glad to have friends help me out with training and friends/family with encouragement to do this. From "turtle speed" to "time to take pictures of the turtle and not get swept speed"... here I come! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Photos to document the journey

Hello gang!

It has been a while and life got really busy. A better blog entry is soon to come. But in the meantime I wanted to share something kind of fun! Well, fun for me. So I have decided to practice carrying a camera. I figured I would definitely like to take pictures along the course during my upcoming races. Plus, I can shoot some video at the same time. The following are some of the photos I have shot so far on my training runs. 

June 30, 2012...3 mile run 

June 30, 2012...sunrise

I shall name him Stretchy and he shall be my Stretchy.

Saturday July 7, 2012...6.11 mile run

The lake I run around. I love the yellow tones of a sunrise.

Same place I shot the very first sunrise shot. Notice the sun is lower this time because
the runner was smarter and started her run earlier.

Beautiful isn't he? He wished me luck as he saw me gasping for breath.

Saturday July 21, 2012...7.11 mile run

You would almost think I was in the country side and not a park in Florida.

Same place as sunrise #1. This guy was dressed as if he
had been running and just decided to go fishing right after.

I hope you are all chasing your challenges and making them your achievements. Talk to you soon!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

First "Long Run" Of Me Tower Of Terror Training

Lesson Learned!
Guess what happens when you haven't been running consistently for the past three weeks? Yup. All sorts of new lessons in running.

 The day was beautiful. A little cloudy and it didn't feel like it was too hot. I had a good breakfast, sucked down a bunch of water, and with a happy grin on my face changed into my running clothes. Strapping on my new Garmin Forerunner 110 I was eager to hit my favorite unmarked mileage trail. I also grabbed my interval trainer (which was set at my three weeks ago pace) and for the first time my tunes. Usually I run with my training buddy but she wasn't feeling up to par so I wanted a little musical motivation. No worries, good training for my solo run anyway. Off to the park!

Before leaving the car to hit the trail I drank a bit more water. Was it getting hotter? It was only 10 a.m.. After a warm-up period I hit the timer/gps mileage tracker on my watch and was off! Very pretty day at the park. Lots of little ducklings, families, and pit bulls. My tunes were a good cadence setter for me but what was up with this pace? Holy cow! It wasn't this hard three weeks ago! So I turned off the interval trainer. Lesson one...never slack on training and then expect to pick up where you left off.

Summer in South Florida can be brutal. The humidity alone can lay you out even on a cloudy day. And this day was no exception. It quickly began to become a sauna. Why didn't I bring my water with me? By mile one I was thirsty and hot. I got a little relief when it began to sprinkle. I also began to run/walk/walk/run. All I began to think about was Jeff Galloway's advise not to push too hard that you'll injure yourself. That and my water in the car and the pit bull that looked at me like I was a chew toy when I passed it. Lesson two...always bring water with you and remember that rain can be the runner's manna from Heaven. Also, the early in the morning run or evening/night run won't kill you as quickly as a mid-morning run.

By now I was at a walk/walk/sad attempt at running/walk pace. Ooo! Cute guy alert! Hard to flirt when you are red as a beet and almost panting. Water....water...water...water...pavilion with water!!! I knew where there was a water fountain! I veered off of the jogging path and started walking along the road within the park to the pavilion. If a car hit me now I might actually have enjoyed the brief ride on the hood. I would have been that much closer to the water fountain! But I found it without getting hit and none too soon. Sweet sweet germ-y water fountain! I sipped some, splashed some on my face, and grinned at a guy that must have thought I was nuts. I then looked down at my watch. 2.98 miles in 48 minutes. Woohoo! Just a little more and I will have hit three miles! Wooohoo! crud!!! I forgot to turn around at 1.5 miles! Lesson matter how tired or hot you are always remember you have to run back the same amount of miles as you ran away from your car.

It was only about two miles back to my car...maybe less as I tried to cut through fields. All in all it was a good run with some very good lessons learned. The next "long run" will be four miles. I will be sure to start off earlier in the morning, bring water, and turn around at the two mile mark so it doesn't turn into a six mile run. And perhaps a squeaky toy I can throw if a pit bull decides to play. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hi! I'm Cristina and I used to hate running. Now I actually have begun to enjoy it. See that mustache wearing cutie next to me? That's my niece and it is because of her that I have found the joy in running again. That and a good sports bra. My journey into running really began about 5 years ago. 

I weighed about 40 lbs more back then and wanted to do something about the 91lbs of extra weight I was carrying. So I signed up for the Muddy Buddy with a friend. It was a fun race. In training for it I had lost about 13lbs. However, I did not find the joy in running. I found the joy in challenging myself and the camaraderie of my fellow runners but not in the running itself. Maybe I just wasn't ready.

Three years later I entered the Expedition Everest Challenge. Again, I loved the camaraderie  and the challenge but it just wasn't enough to get me into running. Flash forward three years, 60 lbs weight-loss, 20 lbs weight gain, the big four oh birthday, and six months of personal trial after trial. Something had to give and I didn't want it to be a backward slide into Potato Couchland. With an overly burdened mind and a yummy brownie in my hand I turned to my niece and asked her if she would like to run with me in the 5th annual Expedition Everest Challenge. To my surprise she said she would love to! Really? Wow, okay then. My fellow couch potato was ready to build some much needed self esteem. We would do this together.

I had a fantastic time training for the race with her. Suddenly I began to really enjoy the running and not just the companionship. I loved the way I felt after a run and I actually looked forward to the next run. With this new enjoyment came the insane act of signing up for The Tower of Terror Ten Miler. Ten miles....ten miles...what was I thinking? I asked a friend to sign up with me but the race filled up before she could register. Could I do this on my own? I have started to believe I can.

Flash forward again a few months to the Expedition race. It was a blast! Never had I had so much fun in a race. My niece was a trooper. We encouraged each other the entire time and laughed along the way. As we left the park - proudly wearing our medals - she turned to me and asked if we were doing it again next year. Of course! Then we hugged and she talked about how she couldn't feel her legs. She also talked about how she wished both of her parents could have been there to see her start the race and then see her and greet her as she walked triumphantly to the car with her medal around her neck. On the way to the hotel she thanked everyone in the van for coming out to see her and expressed to them how much it truly meant to her and how much she loved them*.

And now she is going to help me train for the TOT in September. Plus, we have decided to enter the Donald Half Marathon 2013 together. This 14 year old helped pay for her entrance fee. I think the self confidence has finally begun. Now you my friends can follow our journey as we train together for my solo TOT and our joint Half Marathon. I plan to lose the rest of this weight and become one hot potato! But I know I'll gain more than just health...I'll gain more self confidence for me and watch a wonderful young woman become a confident young woman.

Let's run!

* This experience taught me that throughout our lives what we most crave is the support from our parents and family. We never stop saying "Mom...Dad...look at me! Look at what I can do!" We all just want to make our families proud. I know it meant the world to me that my own parents came along to watch their daughter start a race even though they couldn't see me finish it. And that is why this blog is titled Look At Me Guys!