Let the Running Begin | Half Marathon Training

Back in September I entered a facebook contest to win a free race on Pace Per Mile's page.  All you had to do was leave a comment on which race you'd like to win and one random person would be chosen.  The only stipulation was that it had to be a race in 2014 or 2015 that was not sold out or was not a lottery.  On a whim, because whoever really wins these things right, I wrote I'd love to win an entry for Walt Disney World's Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November 2015.  Jason and I had been talking about taking the kids to WDW in Florida in either 2015 or 2016, so Florida was on the brain.  

Later that week, I got a message from Pace Per Mile, saying I'd won!  WooHoo!!  Once the initial excitement wore off, it was time to start planning our trip to Florida.  This free race did not come with plane tickets for a family of 4 to fly cross country!  Nor did it come with hotel stay, car rental, or park admission.  We did have over a year to plan for it and well, now we are getting close - it's just 4 months away!  

We're all super excited to be going to Florida.  Not only will I be running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, we also signed up the kids to run the 1 mile kid's race earlier that day.  Plus, Jason purchased a ticket to join me for the Finish Line Party!  We're really looking forward to some yummy food from Epcot's Food & Wine festival and some of the attractions will also be open for the after party.  I just hope I have the energy for it all.  I'm pretty sure I'll have the appetite for the food & wine, though ;) 

Before I run the Wine & Dine Half in Walt Disney World, I'll be running the Disneyland Half Marathon in September!  While reading about RunDisney, I came across an article that talked about all the fun challenges they offered during their race weekends.  The Coast to Coast challenge quickly caught my attention.  Basically, you get the Coast to Coast medal when you run 2 Disney half marathons, one in Disneyland and one in Walt Disney World, in one calendar year.  I knew that it was now or never, so I quickly figured out a way to get an entry for the Disneyland Half thanks to a friend!  

Now guess what?  In May, I ended up winning another half marathon registration via Enjoying the Course's blog giveaway. So now I'll be running the  Laughlin/Bullhead Half Marathon here in Nevada this December.  Talk about a winning streak!  

So, like the title of this post says, "Let the running begin!" I'll be starting my half marathon training this week using one of the trusty Hal Higdon Training Programs.  I've only used the Novice I and II programs, but I'm tempted to try out the Intermediate Training Program this time around. I 'll be running 3 half marathons in 4 months, with a Tough Mudder in between in October, so I'll really be focusing on running!  Who knows, maybe all this running will make me want to finally sign up for a marathon, maybe....

What races do you have planned for the fall? Have you ever ran a Disney race?  I'd love some tips if you have them! 

Wild Land Fire Awareness Trail Half Marathon | Red Rock Canyon

I ran the Wild Land Fire Awareness Trail 5K last year and although it was not a great race for me, I kinda left wanting to do the half marathon.  So, when registration opened up for this year's race, I signed up right away!  I have done 5K, 10K, and 12K trail races before but this would be my first trail half marathon.  I was both nervous and scared.  My training was pretty sporadic and I didn't really stick to my running schedule like I should have.  Also, I really wanted to do more specific hill training, but yea, that didn't happen either.  I did get some good runs in and had quite a few long trail runs beforehand, so I knew I would finish, just wasn't too sure of my time.  I ended up giving myself the goal of 3 hours.  

Of course, I hardly slept the night before the race.  This happens to me all the time and I wish I had better sleeping techniques I could use.  Any suggestions?  Fortunately, I didn't feel terribly tired in the morning and we were able to get everyone ready and gather our stuff (that we'd set up the day before) and head out the door with little drama.

Just like last year, everything seemed to go smoothly at the start line.  I chatted with a few running friends, took photos with my family, and then it was time to go!  The first half of the course was pretty brutal.  The inclines were no joke and there were some pretty technical parts with huge rocks we had to get up.  I walked up most of the inclines and was wishing I hadn't skipped that hill training!  About halfway through the race, my family found me right before an aid station.  It was so nice to see the kiddos running towards me and having Jason help me refill my hydration pack with ice and water.  It definitely gave me a nice boost, plus I knew I was getting close to some downhill trails after seeing them :) The rest of the race went well.  I picked up speed on the downhill and walked a bit more of the uphill.  I started to feel my calf cramping and I was happy I had put some mustard packets in my pack.  I took them and it helped to not get a full-on cramp.  I'm not sure why I started cramping, but I'm thinking it was a few factors.  Primarily all the uphill climbing, but I also didn't wear my compression socks and I always wear them for long runs, especially half marathons.  Plus, it was really hot out there that morning!

Again, it was so awesome seeing my kiddos cheering me on as I approached the finish line.  My son came up and ran alongside me for a bit, which really helped me push the pain aside and finish strong!  I didn't meet my goal of 3 hours, but I was still happy with my time of 3 hours 12 minutes.  Just gives me something to aim towards for the next one ;) 

This was my last race until the fall.  I'm kinda sad not to have something coming up soon, but I'll use these summer months to continue training and focusing on my goals.  How about you?  Any races scheduled for the summer? What's your next event?  


Spartan Race | #WhyIRace

Spartan Race started a new campaign recently asking folks to share their story.  Everyone has a story as to why they race.  Below is my reason.  I race for many reasons.  I race to keep myself motivated in my fitness journey.  I race to be a good role model for my kiddos.  I race to push myself beyond my comfort zone.  I race for those who can't.  I race to prove that I can.  I race because it's fun.  But, mostly to be stronger than I was before.  

I've never been athletic.  Running was not something I did for fun.  Running wasn't something I did.  Period.  Finding this new passion in running and obstacle course racing has been an amazing addition to my life!  It's woken up a spark in me to be stronger, healthier, and better than I was before.  

What's your story?  Why do you race?  Share your story HERE