I DID IT!

I did it. I ran a half marathon. Barely. But I did it. WE did it. LMM and I did it together. I couldn’t have done it without her. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and there were so many things that I could have done to improve, but those will be the lessons learned.

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Race Lessons Learned

It was a giant pain in the butt to take my phone out of my arm band each time I wanted to take a photo so I really need to have a different plan for the half marathon. I would have taken so many more photos through the race if it was more convenient.

Dry mouth is serious business when you are running. My mouth was SO dry within the first mile of the 5k and I was dying for something to drink. I will always have hard candy to suck on during my races from now on to help with this problem. I also love the sport beans, but I brought jolly ranchers with me during my last run and it worked perfectly!

Have extra safety pins when you are traveling for a race in case you lose the ones that came with your race bib!

Set out your race gear the night before (ALL OF IT!) so you are not frantically looking for things at 4am (or earlier).

Banana settles well with Cruella (click here for more on Cruella) before a race.

Always have a throw-away jacket or sweatshirt before a race (even if you live in Florida)!

Do not solely rely on Pandora for your music – it may not catch the signal and then you are out of luck. Always have backup music.

What are your lessons learned with running?

My Disney Family Fun Run – 5K Experience

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I ran my first Disney race (The Disney Family Fun Run 5k) two weeks ago during Disney’s Marathon Weekend.

IMG_90401THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE (EXPO)
On Wednesday night Lucky Charm and I headed to the Expo where we had to pick up our packets for our races, and check out some of the gear they had for sale. We drove straight to the Expo where we were parked way out in the back fields of Disney’s Wide World of Sports. I put her in the stroller and we walked (ok, I admit I was a little excited so we may have speed-walked) up to the front gates where they had some fun banners for people to take photographs with for their corresponding race. Lucky Charm didn’t want to take my photo, so I just took a photo of the banner.

Packet pickup was pretty easy, we had our signed waivers ready and went to the counter with the appropriate corresponding number (which was printed on the waiver) and had to sign that we picked up our materials. I had previously purchased (during race registration) the commemorative Kids Race Mickey ears for Lucky Charm, as well as the commemorative pin for the 5k, so we were handed those with our race IMG_90521materials including our race bibs, and gear bag. Lucky Charm’s bag had the marathon guide, her ears, pin, t-shirt, and race bib. My bag had the race guide and bib, and we were given a paper to take to pick up the t-shirt at another location.

As we approached the Josten’s Center (where the majority of expo activities were held) we were told that strollers were not allowed in the building, so we parked the stroller and headed in. Lucky Charm has some anxiety around large groups of people and since we arrived at the Expo around 5:30PM the traffic inside the building was growing by the minute. This triggered her into a lovely little spiral of anxiousness which resulted in her throwing herself on the floor in the middle of the Expo screaming. I just stood there dumbfounded knowing that there were 50 people staring at her, IMG_90471and I at that very moment. I asked her if she was done, and if she needed a hug, and she continued to throw a fit. After three rounds of this vicious cycle, I ended up carrying her through the Expo and leaving. My only purchase was three lovely bondibands. I was disappointed in the availability of 5k merchandise – but can understand that it is the smaller of their events and they were focused on the bigger achievements that weekend.

After we left the Expo, we headed to our hotel which was in Lake Buena Vista (just off Disney property). I got my race gear set out for the next morning and we got ready for bed. The alarm was set for 3:45AM. Mr. Lucky had to work until 10pm so drove to the hotel when he got out of work. I ended up falling asleep with Lucky Charm before he arrived so I got up and went down to let him into the hotel and climbed right back into bed.

 

RACE DAY!
The morning of the race I was so pumped. I had Pandora playing my favorite workout station as I got ready and that just psyched me up even more. We got Lucky Charm dressed while she was half asleep, and loaded up the backpack and mini cooler for our adventure. IMG_90801

We left the hotel around 4:30am since we were told we had to be in our corrals by 5:30am. I wasn’t sure what to expect traffic wise knowing that marathon weekend traffic results in road closures. We got there very quickly, and we got parked close to the first set of tents. We sat in the car for a few minutes and I ate a banana for breakfast. All of us really enjoyed watching the costumes people had on as they walked by our car. As we walked towards the IMG_90831tents we were directed to an area where bags needed to be inspected and then through to the main area where there was a stage set up with a DJ and a concession tent with coffee, hot chocolate and breakfast. The DJs were very good at getting the audience engaged and warmed up with music and communicating the happenings of the day. At 5:00 we were let through to the corrals to take our places. There were lit balloons that indicated the corral assignment (A through E). I was assigned to corral D and I was very thankful I was not in the very last corral. It had started to sprinkle and it was not even 50 degrees outside, so I was very chilly, and regretting my decision not to bring a sweatshirt with me. I knew that we could have a sweatshirt and throw it before the race, but I don’t own any that I can lose like that, so I wasn’t prepared. I noticed that many people were running in groups with their friends/family, and there were very few of us running alone. I was excited to run alone and do this just for myself, by myself. Although, I am really looking forward to lining up with LMM for the Princess Half Marathon, and couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome that experience is going to be.

START OF THE RACE
As 6am approached, they let corral A line up near the start line, and shot off fireworks as the race began. Slowly each of the corrals ahead were led to the start line and finally it was time for corral D. I was really chilled by this time, but I was pumped to start my run after waiting patiently for over an hour. When the fireworks went off we headed out and I watched for my family on the sidelines and waved to them as I jogged by. Neither of them saw me, but Mr. Lucky was recording so I was sure he would see it afterwards. It was a little crowded in the beginning but most everyone was pumped up and ready to get on their way. First, we navigated through the parking lots of Epcot, cheered on by cast members along the way. This part of the race was somewhat boring, but it was interesting to run through the back side of Epcot where the general public is not typically allowed. As we entered the world showcase, it was still dark and the ball was lit up so beautifully. IMG_90901Running through the showcase was really beautiful, and I saw one character (Dopey) who had a VERY long line of people waiting for photos (more about the Dopey Challenge later!). Each mile marker was beautifully displayed and there were lines of people posing for photos at each one. I stopped briefly at the first water stop to get a drink, and quickly got back on course and on my way. Even though I knew I was making decent time, I refused to stop for more than a second to snap a photo. I didn’t even see any of the characters that others saw during the race because I was in such a zone! I still can’t believe that I missed them, I seriously only thought that there was just the one character on the course! I was starting to get hot and tired when I was approaching the ball, but I knew that was the final stretch, and it motivated me. I stopped for a quick selfie, and then headed to the finish line. IMG_90941It was so amazing to cross that finish line and the feeling of accomplishment is amazing. The cheering crowds are definitely a bonus.

AFTER THE RACE
I scanned the crowds for my family and when I found them I stopped for a photo and told them where to meet me. I got my medal, and stopped for a final photo.photo 2 I was very grateful to the woman behind me for taking my photo for me since the photographer was not allowed to, and I didn’t have anyone with me. After the photo station, there were tables set up with post race refreshments. I grabbed a snack box, a banana, a water and a powerade. I met the Lucky’s and we walked back to the car. We didn’t hang around to see Pluto or his friends after the race or enjoy the entertainment because it had started to sprinkle and I was freezing and hungry. When we got back to the hotel, we celebrated Mr. Lucky’s birthday with some cake for breakfast, and then all curled up together for a nice little nap!

Stay tuned for more about our post race celebration and Lucky Charm’s first runDisney Kid’s Race!

Motivation

Motivation is tricky for me lately. Mentally, I am motivated to accomplish so much. Physically, I am exhausted. Emotionally, I am exhausted. I have huge hopes for the day, and then the exhaustion sets in and nothing outside of the normal daily requirements gets done.

I have not run in over a week. I need to get back out and run tomorrow. I NEED to do this. I am NOT prepared for the half marathon and it scares the pants off me. Obviously not badly enough or I would have crawled out of bed and run this morning. Enough beating myself up, but I need to get my act together. I should really be at a 9 mile distance by now. I haven’t gone over 4.

The holidays have been hard for me. I have been grazing and not putting protein first. After having bariatric surgery it is very important that protein is the main focus of EVERY meal. Over the last couple of weeks I have fallen back into old habits and eating out of convenience, emotion, and preference. See, when given the choice I will almost ALWAYS choose a carbohydrate option over a protein. That is the way it has always been. I do not want this surgery to beat me, I need to continue on the path of good health so I must choose protein first. No more excuses.

Mr. Lucky bought me a Fitbit Flex for christmas so we are getting to know each other. Previously, I had a Jawbone UP which I lost (I suspect in the midst of wrestling lucky charm after an epic tantrum in the mall food court). I am making a huge effort to log my food in my fitness pal, and get my minimum intake of 64 ounces of water (I haven’t even been coming close to this!).

Now, I must get motivated to tear down all of the Christmas decorations, donate old toys to charity, and get myself on the road early EVERY morning to run!

Catching Up

There are so many things I want to touch on in this entry because so much has been going on, but I will do a quick recap before I discuss with you something that has been bothering me lately.

1. Lymphoma business is over for now – I will go back to get all of my levels/scans re-checked in 6 months to ensure that things are stable. As of now, my spleen is back to normal size and the enlarged lymph nodes in my abdomen are no longer there.

2. I hosted my first charity event with LMM this past weekend and it was such an amazing feeling. We hosted a grandstand for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. We pulled off this amazing event in just three weeks, and while the turn out was not what we expected, it was successful no less. The children and families that attended had a GREAT time, and we learned A LOT about planning charity events for the public.

3. My weight dropped a few more pounds here and there, but has been holding pretty steady for a while. I am hoping to kick up the protein and water intake and really get the scale moving here soon. I am still shrinking in inches because my size is really at a 16/18 with most 18’s too large. I am in an XL shirt – once in a while a Large will work if it is unisex sizing.

4. I ran my first 5k! LMM and I ran a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot and had an amazing time. We woke up to a freezing 36 degrees that morning and had prepared to be cold, but never envisioned it to be THAT cold. We had a great run, and ran mostly intervals because LMM hadn’t trained much so this pace/style was best for her. The cold weather really hurt my lungs. I felt like I had a 100 pound brick on my chest for a couple hours after the race. I have been training in 70-80 degree weather in Florida – not 36 degree weather!

 

So Very Lucky!

I really do live a lucky life. Despite all of the hurdles we have encountered – and our plan not working out the way we envisioned it, I can see how it was all part of His divine plan for us.

November is National Adoption Month. Sunday, November 3, was Orphan Sunday. We went to a church that was ahving an adoption focused service on Sunday morning, and we were so touched by the heart of this congregation for orphans and widows. I hope that the words spoke to all of the hearts in that church and that more people open their hearts to adoption and foster care. The one thing that I liked was that the pastor offered other avenues for people to contribute to the worlds responsibility for orphans by acknowledging that not everyone may be in the position to adopt or foster, but you can easily volunteer your time or resources to support others doing so.

As Lucky Charm was snuggled into my chest before bedtime on Sunday, I looked at her and my heart filled with gratitude for the chance to be her mama. I am SO very lucky to be her mama.

I am contemplating starting my own non-profit in the next year or so. I am still trying to nail down exactly what I want to focus on, but something with giving back to disadvantaged children/families.

I am also up to running 3.64 miles at my highest distance this morning. My pace was approx. 15 minutes per mile. I definitely have some distance and pace work to do, but my mileage is increasing, my muscle tone is defining, and I feel strong.