One week remains

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My first 5k, November 2013

My first 5k, November 2013

Flashback to November, 2013. I ran my first ever race, a 5k charity event held at Give Kids the World here in Kissimmee, FL. My intention was to do whatever it took to cross the finish line before my 17-year-old daughter. At age 44 I wasn’t completely sure that this was possible, but I wasn’t going to give up. History shows that I crossed the finish line almost 18 minutes ahead of my daughter, and she was so exhausted from that 3.1 miles that she has said that she will never run another race.

My daughter finishing her first 5k

My daughter finishing her first 5k

Since that day just over a year ago I have set goals to run further, faster, stronger, and more often. I was not a runner before the 5k of November 2013, as in I hadn’t run one mile since 1987. Since that race I have run over 1,200 miles and competed in race distances of 5k, 10k, 15k, 10 miles, and four half marathons. I have gotten up early before work to run, and even earlier on the weekends to run. I have also set 19 PRs in 25 races. I have also found a couple hundred supporters through social media. The running community is amazing in the way that people will go out of their way to help out a fellow runner, even if they’ve never met.

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So what has this all led to? Where am I going with this? In just seven days I will be in a starting corral contemplating the 26.2 miles that lie ahead of me. My first marathon is almost here. There is much excitement in my mind every time I think about how quickly that day is approaching. I signed up for this race a full six months ahead of time to allow for plenty of training time. About a month ago I still questioned whether or not I was ready for this. I asked my friend Krissy for some input since she has been running marathons for a few years now. She said that I had nothing to worry about. I responded with, “But you’re a marathon runner. I’m not. Yet. Didn’t see butterflies coming 45 days out”.

“You will soon be one,” she said, “and your life will be forever changed”.

I told her that I’m “looking forward to it and petrified at the same time”.

“Then you are ready”.

This is what I’m talking about with the running community. Krissy is just one person that has made the effort to see what I have done and know where I need support. I believe her. I also believe the others who have sent me similar words of encouragement. I believe that I am ready. I also believe that my experience one week from now at the Space Coast Marathon will be one that I will long remember. I’ll also be the owner of one of the coolest finisher medals that you’ll ever see.

Shuttle medal

Space Shuttle Challenger Medal

In one week I shall be a marathoner. Forever.

Liebster Award

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I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Kate in New Mexico. The Liebster Award is a chain letter prestigious award where I get to answer a bunch of personal questions. Then I get to torture nominate more bloggers to help widen their audience. (thanks to copy and paste for helping keep some of Kate’s wise-ass corrections changes in this post).

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1. What is your current health related goal?

I am slowly improving my eating habits and aim to eat healthy for an entire 24-hour period. Someday.

2. What is your biggest irrational fear?

Either being cold or being alone, they are just about even. At least I’m in a warm climate now.

3. Do you enjoy wrapping presents?

I do enjoy wrapping presents. With an extremely short list of people to buy presents for and very little cash to do so, I don’t get to practice much, but I do enjoy it.

4. What’s your favorite cross training activity?

Toss up here. I like using my elliptical and spin bike on “inside” days and really like my new bike when I cross-train outside.

5. If I came to visit you, what would we do?

Since I live just outside Orlando I’m going to guess that your activity of choice would be to go to a theme park. That is, unless your name is Kate and you live in New Mexico. In that case we’d be headed to Daytona International Speedway.

6. You have 2 weeks off of work and 2 round trip plane tickets to ANYWHERE. Where would you go and who would you take?

I think I would turn in my plane tickets for a 14-day cruise. I’ve never taken a cruise so I would need an attractive cruise veteran to show me a vacation I’ll never forget. By veteran I mean young and female.

7.  What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you during a run or race?

So far I’ve had it pretty easy. The worst I’ve had is a bloody nipple that was pointed out to me by Steph after my first half. I had no idea  that it had happened and didn’t even realize that this was possible while running. Now I know.

8. Tell me the 3 best days of your life. Or at least the first 3 that pop into your mind.

  • The day my daughter was born (1996)
  • The day I finished grad school with a 4.0 (2011)
  • The day I spent at Homestead-Miami Speedway as NASCAR’s VIP for the final race of the season (2012).

9. Okay, you HAVE to eat a fast food meal. What restaurant would you choose and what would you order?

This is the main obstacle to the goal stated in my first answer. I eat several fast food meals per week (I can make a large pizza last for 3-4 meals, with chicken and spinach so it’s healthy). I have been craving a Jackburger from Jumpin Jacks in Scotia, NY for a few years now. They are that good, just not real convenient.

10. Have you ever met a celebrity?

How much time do you have? I used to work for Mr. Food (Ooh it’s so good). I also spent about 7 years working in radio. My first assignment there was to pick up Debbie Gibson and her mom at the airport. I’ve met Bon Jovi, Bobby Brown, freestylers Laissez Faire, played softball with Richard Marx, basketball with Michael Bolton, and spoken to several NASCAR drivers, owners, and reporters. I’m also friends with Mrs. International 2011, Janet Bolin.

Bon Jovi backstage with winners and DJs

Bon Jovi backstage with contest winners and DJs

Laissez Faire

Backstage with Laissez Faire 1992 Was I glowing?

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My daughter with NASCAR driver Joey Logano

11. Share a picture of yourself in non workout clothes!

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12. If you could choose to have a ‘do-over’ and switch careers, what would you choose and why?

My original plan in the mid-80s was computer programming. I wasn’t convinced that there was enough of a future in computers so I chose a different path. A few years later Al Gore gives us the internet.

13. If you won the Olympic Gold Medal – how do you think you would react?

Seriously? Do they even let people my age in to watch the Olympics?

14. What do you want for Christmas?

I want two things: First, I want my daughter back. The self-destructive creature that has taken control of her is not something that I am ok with. Second, I want someone to share Christmas with that I am not related to.

And for my final trick I will be nominating two other bloggers to carry on the tradition of the Liebster Award. These are a couple of bloggers that I follow, so you know they’re good!

Denny and his blog Diz Runs

Krissy and her blog Shiawase Life

Go ahead and answer the questions that I did, with the option of changing one question to something you’d rather answer. Enjoy the experience and I am looking forward to learning your deep, dark secrets!

Bill

Race Recap: Peace Love Cure 5k

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My final 5k of 2014 and 24th race of the year is in the books! The Peace Love Cure 5k was run to raise money for and awareness about diabetes. My mom struggled with this disease for close to 30 years so it’s a cause that is easy for me to get behind. This was also the fourth and final race in the Grand Prix racing series that started in August. The series included the Stone Island 10k, Wildcat 5k, Lighthouse Loop half marathon, and this race.

Medal for running all Grand Prix events

Medal for running all Grand Prix events

At the start of the race it was about 50 degrees outside, which for most of you is weather to dream about at 7am in November. Many of the runners for this race were in long sleeves and hats. This IS Florida and 50 is cool for us! I decided to run my first race in a long-sleeved shirt (Wine and Dine shirt). I knew what pace I wanted to run for this race but honestly did not believe for a second that I could do it. My first 5k ever was in November last year and I gave it everything I had to cross the line sub-30 (29:50). Going into the Peace Love cure 5k a year later I was looking at a 22:45 or better in order to PR. Not only is that a huge drop for my first year, it means running speeds that (in my mind) only the fast people run. I don’t consider myself to be in that group.

Mile 1 of Peace Love Cure 5k

Mile 1 of Peace Love Cure 5k

Anyway, 22:45 works out to about 7:20 per mile so my plan was to shoot for 7:30, 7:20, 7:10 and then sprint for home. We pass mile marker 1 and I’m at 6:50, not 7:30. Will I ever get the start of a race right? At this point I knew that if I didn’t slow down I’d be walking before I finished. The second mile was almost right on pace at 7:16 but I was still feeling it from going out too fast. Now I just have to hold on as best I can. Mile 3 is done in 7:07, again just about where I wanted it to be. My legs were screaming at me by this point, especially my left Achilles. I held it together and crossed the line at 22:12 for a 34 second PR.

Fitting medal for Peace Love Cure 5k

Fitting medal for Peace Love Cure 5k

Out of the four races in the Grand Prix racing series, this was my fourth PR. This was also the second race of the series where I managed to place in my age group, finishing third out of 14.

Third place!

Third place!

As a little incentive for people to join the Grand Prix racing series, the awards presentation for each race also included giveaways that were only for those who joined. Each week I watched people win gift certificates to restaurants, running equipment, and other cool prizes. This time I got my turn to win something. I’m just not sure if I’ll get a chance to use it. I won me some…..

I won running socks

I won running socks

socks! Honestly I’m not all that familiar with what makes a good running sock so I don’t know if this is a good thing. Any sock experts in the house?

Overall this was a very organized race as are all Final Mile racing events. I have enjoyed every one of their events that I have been a part of and look forward to running some of them again. As for the Grand Prix racing series standings, they were broken up into ten-year age groups instead of five years. There were a total of 18 guys in the 40-49 group and I finished 6th in points. Not bad. If there has been a 45-49 age group, I would have finished second out of 8. Of course, only first place gets a trophy, but it was fun to be a part of it.

Next up: Space Coast Marathon. My first full. Am I ready?

Race Recap: Wine and Dine Half

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After Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k I was headed back home for some food, a shower, and a nap. In less than 12 hours I had to be back at Disney for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. It was my second night race, my fourth half marathon, and my third time this year running two races in the same day. I was hoping to make my second night race a bit more successful than my first, the Tower of Terror Ten Miler from just 5 weeks ago. Two hours before the race started I could see that my chances of a strong race were fading quickly.

Start line for Wine and Dine Half

Start line for Wine and Dine Half

The first issue was the weather. I am positive that the forecast the day before called for a clear night, low around 60. What they meant to say was 60 degrees and a steady light rain, starting a half hour before race time. I brought a windbreaker but ended up checking it because the rain hadn’t started by the time we had to head to the corrals. I also ended up checking my hydration belt. Bad move? Not really. The bad move was leaving the bottles for it in my car at EPCOT, while the start line was at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. What good was the belt going to do me with no bottles? Check it.

Running past Spaceship Earth

Running past Spaceship Earth

The next issue to surface was the forever struggle with eating correctly for a night race. Start time was at 10pm and I last ate at about 5:30. I brought a Clif Bar to eat somewhere between 7-8pm but my stomach wasn’t having it. By ten o’clock my stomach was both hungry and making crazy noises. Two more issues that were gear-related popped up right at the start of the race. First, my GPS wouldn’t connect until about a third of a mile into the race so there went accurate information to help me pace. Then I realized that the shoes that I wore for the race were a bad choice for wet roads. I was wearing my new On Cloudsurfers which don’t have as much contact area as most shoes, not to mention extra spacing between your foot and the road.

Cloudsurfer by On

Cloudsurfer by On

So the race is underway and I’m in the rain with no belt, the wrong shoes, faulty GPS, and a grumbly stomach to run my second race of the day. Awesome, let’s go get a PR! Nice idea, but I could tell after just a couple miles that keeping a PR-level pace wasn’t going to happen. My legs weren’t ready to be all-stars. I decided to do the best I could and enjoy the race.

WND bib and medal

We left WWOS and headed for Animal Kingdom. The Tree of Life and “Mount Everest” look really cool at night when the park is empty. Soon we were on our way to Hollywood Studios, basically heading through the park in reverse from TOT10 a month ago. And the Osbourne Family lights…. WOW!

Osbourne Family of Dancing Lights

Osbourne Family of Dancing Lights

Once we left Hollywood Studios, we ran past the hotels in the Boardwalk area and into EPCOT for the last mile-plus. Why is it that they always put the longest miles last?

A big sigh of relief!

A big sigh of relief!

Heading for the finish line I was feeling two things that I rarely feel in any race: Bothered by my failure to execute (both running and preparation) and glad it was over. I look forward to every race, especially @RunDisney races, but this just wasn’t my night. It happens to everyone, I understand. I train hard and I look forward to getting good results. A PR may be a lot to ask for the second race of the day, but missing it by almost a minute per mile seems huge to me. I did enjoy the race, the scenery, the characters, and the challenge. Now I just need to focus on the good parts of the race and learn from the rest.

13 miles in the rain, still smiling

13 miles in the rain, still smiling

Have no fear, RunDisney, I will be back. And soon. In January I will be completing my 10th 5k, 8th 10k, 8th half, and 2nd full on consecutive days. #DopeyChallenge I am coming for you!

Race recap: Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k

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After much anticipation, my third RunDisney weekend finally rolled around on November 7-8. The Wine and Dine weekend started with packet pickup and the expo on Friday at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. I picked up the new Wine and Dine tank top and a WND shot glass to add to my collection.

WND shot glass and shirt

WND shot glass and shirt

Saturday morning I was up early and on my way to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, arriving just after 5am. It was cool for central Florida with temps in the mid-50s. The first thing I noticed when I got to the starting area was a few dozen people lined up. Unlike most lines at Disney, they were not waiting for a ride or the bathroom. People were getting their pictures taken with Mickey, Minnie, and a few other Disney characters. Sorry to say, I had to pass on this. Maybe if I had a girlfriend or even had my daughter with me, but character pics by myself just isn’t something that I do. Once people started filing into the start corrals they turned on the “snow” which had most everyone excited. Of course, I live in central Florida to avoid the snow. I found @krissymmurphy in my start corral and we chatted for a bit. She introduced me to Flat Sarah as well. Long story.

With Krissy and Flat Sarah

With Krissy and Flat Sarah

We were in the A corral so we were off right at 7am. At the start of the race I still wasn’t sure what my plan was: go for a PR or take it easy since I still had a half marathon to run later in the day. I settled on running somewhere in between so I could run a decent time but not drain myself before the feature race. The first mile was around the Animal Kingdom parking lot but the second mile got us into the park, around the Tree of Life, through Africa, Asia and Dino Land.

Leaving Asia, heading for Dino Land

Leaving Asia, heading for Dino Land

After that we ran an out and back on an access road and back to the start/finish line. The 5k did not include an official time for anyone, though my running app clocked me at about 23:45.

Post Jingle Jungle 5k with medallion

Post Jingle Jungle 5k with medallion

Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k was a fun race to run, but not one where you’re going to actually race. There were young kids in all of the starting corrals, even up toward the front of the corrals. I nearly turned a handful of them into speedbumps when they stopped suddenly about 30 feet into the run. All in all it was a good time and I’m so glad that I finally got to meet Krissy as she is someone that I learn a lot about running from.