Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Breathing While Running: What Worked For Me

Breathing has always been the most problematic part of running to me.  For my entire first year of running, I could not run more that two minutes straight without a walk break.  I did my first half marathon like this.  As much as I believe in the Jeff Galloway run/walk method, I wanted to improve.  To me, that meant running more, walking less.  At first, I blamed a lot this on the extra weight I still needed to lose.  While I have lost some weight in the past year, my running remained unchanged.  I would see women that had more weight than me to lose, but could still run their hearts out.  Could there be something else going on with me?

I am lucky to have the best Team in Training running coaches out there.  I am closest with Coach Barb, so I talked to her about my concerns.  She happens to also be a retired Physician's Assistant.  We ran together a lot this Spring at Team runs.  She told me to see my doctor about asthma.  My doctor gave me an albuterol inhaler to use before I run.  I was so happy!  I thought this would be the thing that would really improve my running!

After about two months of using the inhaler, my running was not improving--at all.  Coach told me to go to back to the doctor, so I did.  This time the doctor gave me something different.  I got on a combination asthma/allergy pill as well as an inhaled steroid.  My doctor told me not to expect results immediately -it could take up to a month to really feel the results.

I went about my normal running routine.  After about two weeks, I decided I was going to run as far as I could until I felt out of breath and see how far I got.  I got 1.2 miles!  For me, that is amazing!  It was hard for me to run more than a quarter mile without a walk break before.  After almost three months on my new drug combination,  I can run several miles without stopping.  It feels so good!  I feel like I am actually improving after a year of stagnation.  I had never thought of myself as having asthma.  I have always had bad seasonal allergies, but never considered something else was going on.  It feels so good to have this figured out.

The funny thing about all of this is that my overall running speed has not gotten any better.  I fell a lot better when I run, but I still average a 12 minute mile.  Whether I run the entire thing or run/walk, I still average the same speed.  I guess Jeff Galloway really does know what he is doing....

A dream is a wish...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Update

The big reveal has been made!  Here is the new 5th Anniversary 2013 runDisney Princess Half Marathon medal!

Honestly, this medal is not what I expected.  I was expecting something completely different--maybe a glass slipper or a castle.  I was really not expecting an updated version of the old medal.  Considering how different and updated the Mickey Marathon medal is from the old Mickey medal, I was expecting something totally fresh and different for the Princess 5th anniversary.   It's not at all that I don't like the medal because I do.  I like it a lot, its just not that different from the one I earned eight months ago.  I really like that the tiara is an offsetting color than the rest of the medal, and I LOVE the five pink stones.

A new course map was released too.  It does not look that different.  The course is basically the same, but I am hoping we will get to spend a lot of time in the brand new Fantasyland!  All of the pictures of the new Fantasyland look amazing!  I can not wait to see it myself!  To check out the course, click here.

What do you think about he new medal?

A dream is a wish...


Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Different Half Marathon Experience For Me

Today was the Hershey Half Marathon.  Instead of getting up bright and early to run, I woke up bright and early to cheer on my TEAM!  This season, my teammates and I could choose between doing the Nike Women's Marathon, the Hershey Half Marathon and the Marine Corp Marathon.  I did the Nike Women's Half Marathon last weekend.  This weekend was the Hershey Half Marathon.  Most of my teammates who were not running formed cheer squads to wait along the course and cheer on our teammates.

We all meet out side of the Hershey Park Chocolate World 6:45 am.  Everyone brought  fun outfits, brightly colored wigs, megaphones, pom poms, signs, bam bams, and whistles--all to cheer on our team!  I wore my TEAM jersey and my green SparkleSkirt.  We broke off into our cheer groups and got to our positions just as the roads were being closed.

My group was at the bottom of a loop that on one side was at mile 7.2 and the other side at 9.2.  Being past mile 7, we did not see a runner until about 40 minutes into the race.  The first few runners that ran past seemed almost annoyed at us cheering for them.  I guess they were concentrating on running hard and winning.  It was about an hour into the race before we saw any of our teammates.  We cheered for every runner on the course, but our teammates got extra cheers!  The coaches were along the course for our teammates, just as they were last weekend for the Nike runners.

After the last teammate ran past us, we packed up and headed to the finish.  We got there in time to see the last few teammates cross the finish line.  We congratulated all of the finisher and a few of us got to talking about our events for next year.  Lots of fun things to come!  The team will meet for "fun runs" a few times over the winter, but not every Saturday like we have since January. Coach Barb said it best by saying she will miss her new family over winter break.  I will miss them too!

A dream is a wish...


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nike Women's Half Marathon 2012

The Nike Women's Marathon / Half Marathon is one of the hardest races in the country to gain entry into.  So many people want to be part of the event, Nike has to set up a lottery system for entry.  Only about 1 in 5 who seek entry actually get into the event--unless you are part of Team in Training!  If you commit to raise money to fight cancer, you are guaranteed entry into this most sought after event.  That is how I got in!  In total, there was over 9,000 Team in Training participants in the race, raising over $14 million dollars to fight cancer.  We made up over 1/3 of all participants.  Nothing like a sea of purple running to fight cancer!

I met my team bright and early in the hotel lobby.  Since our hotel was right at the race start, we got to sleep in a little bit because we could walk to the start.  It was so nice to have my local "Yorkies" coaches there with us. As we were lining up for a Team picture, Coach Barb had each one of us say just one name.  She told us to say the name of one single person we were running for that morning.  It was so moving to hear the emotion in the teammates voices as we all said our one name.  I could barely get out Katilyn's name without a tear.  It was a great way remind us of the real reason we were running that morning.

The team broke up and headed to our assigned corrals in smaller groups.  I was with a group of amazing ladies.  We had a great time waiting for the race to start.  It took us over 28 minutes to cross the start line.  Thank goodness this was a chip timed event!  The first two miles were on the city streets of San Francisco, heading toward the Embarkadero.  The view of the San Francisco Bay was amazing, although it became very evident that the word of the day was quickly become fog.  It was so foggy that morning, that we could only see about a quarter mile out.  As we ran through the Presidio, all of the runner were eagerly awaiting a glimpse of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.  Unforgettably, this was a marvel we would not be blessed to see that day.

The course was tough, but simply amazing.  That word does not do it justice, but is a true description.  The first really tough hill was around mile 5.5.  This is where the best bridge view should have been, but due to the fog the bridge was not visible   If you read my post yesterday about the Inspiration Dinner, you will remember Annalyn.  I just so happen to run into her and we chatted for the half mile up the hill.  It was so great to get to know her better.  After the top of this crazy hill, was about a mile of winding down hill, along the San Francisco Bay.  At the bottom of the hill, we ran through a very cute San Francisco neighborhood that contained what I was told was Robin William's house.  We made a sharp turn around mile 8 and there is was--the tallest, steepest hill yet.

Once we got to the top of this hill, we turned a corner and there it was--the most beautiful and breath taking second of the race.  I got my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.  It looked like it came out of a book.  It was pure nature.  The waves were crashing against the cliffs.  The seagulls were flying around.  Pure magic!  At this second, I also ran into some teammates taking pictures.  When I got to the bottom of the hill, I could see race village--but I was only on mile 10.  After I left my friends, I ran my a LLS staff cheer station and saw my Central PA staff person, Stephanie.  Around mile 11, we turned into Golden Gate Park to run our last two miles.

In Golden Gate Park, my friend Coach Barb helping out TNT participants.  She ran about a half mile with me.  We chatted about the amazing course like it was a training run.  It was so nice to have her on the course waiting for me.  It really energized to run my last mile and a half.  By this time, I could see runners who already had finished the race carrying their finisher bags, wearing their finisher shirts and holding little blue boxes.  It was tough to not look at the shirt of the bag, but I was determined I was not going to look at necks!  I did not want to see at Tiffany necklace until I was looking at the one I had earned myself.

The finial mile went pretty fast. By this time in the course, spectators had lined up and were cheering the runners on.  As I got closer and could see the finish line, I ran faster!  I once again could see the Pacific Ocean.  The crowd really had me going.  My mind was on getting my blue box from a hot firemen in a tux.  I crossed the finish line strong and chose the guy I wanted to give me my box.  What do you think, lol?

After I got my box, I got my finisher bag, and then my finisher shirt.  I continued on through the finisher chute to get some waters and a banana.  I stopped by and washed my face at the Neutorgena face wash station, picked up my bag from bag drop, then went to the Team in Training tent.  This is where I found a minute to stop and check out my medal--my Tiffany necklace!  I love it.  It't even better than I hope.

After a stop for a sandwich and some food in the Team tent, I meet my team on the beach.  Some of them took an "ice bath" in the ocean, but I chose not too.  After that, we walked through the finisher merchandise tent and then rode the bus back to the hotel.

Best medal ever!
The Nike Women's Marathon was an amazing event!  It was the most breathtaking course I have ever run.  There was not one boring second of this race.  There was always something beautiful to look at. The course was for sure my favorite I have ever done (but don't tell my runDisney friends I said that.)  The support on the course was also spectacular.  I had 9,000 teammates/ new family members cheering me on on the course.  There was hundreds of TNT coaches on the course.  I could not go half a mile without seeing one of their green shirts cheer on all of the runners.  The NWM in San Francisco is going to be a yearly event for me.  I can't wait to do it again next year!

The firemen!
A dream is a wish...


Friday, October 19, 2012

Team in Training Inspiration Dinner

Our coaches!
It is a Team In Training tradition to have an inspirational dinner the night before the big event.  This is a time to celebrate and think about the reason we are together.  We think about those we have lost, and we celebrate those we have saved from all of the funds we worked hard to raise.  This is always a emotional event.

My team met together in the hotel lobby and we walked together to the Moscone center, the site of the inspiration dinner.  In true TNT fashion, event participants enter the venue in a "red carpet" welcome.  All of our staff people, coaches, family and fans line the walk way to cheer, scream, howl, blow whistles and bang tambourines in what we call the "heros parade".  This moment always overwhelms me.  I am uncomfortable being called a "hero", although to the people we help, I guess we may be.

The place mats at the tables.
The meal was typical--pasta, meatballs, salad and rolls.  What as special were the speakers.  Again, in true TNT fashion, we got a visit from the "penguin", AKA John Bingham.  John is know as the most famous runner who never won a race.  He told us lots of funny stories about running--most of which we all could relate too.  He told his famous "bite me zone" story that most runners experience some time during their race.  This is a TNT classic.  Our coaches always warn us about the bite me zone.  If you are having a really tough time and want everyone to leave you alone, all you have to say is "bite me zone".  Coaches and Teammates know that this means to leave me alone!

We also had the pleasure to listen to a very special girl name Annalyn.   A few years ago, she was a graduate student and began to not feel well.  She went to the doctor.  In less than 12 hours, she was told she had Leukemia and began chemo.  After some set backs, she is now is remission.  Annalyn told us that she is in remission because of advancement made by the LLS.  She told us that 20 years ago, she would be dead.  She then thanked us for all we have done.  Annalyn and her family formed a huge fundraising team and were going to participate in the event with us.  Hearing Annalyn really touched me. She showed me that I really was making a difference.  That all the fundraising I had worked so hard on really served a purpose.

The president of the LLS in Canada also talked to us.  She told us about some really important research programs the LLS is funding.  There is a drug that is so promising,  a big name drug manufacturer is going to spend a billion dollars to fast track it's FDA approval.  Wow!  A few million raised by US turns into a BILLION dollar drug that could lead to a CURE.  Simply amazing!

A dream is a wish...


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nike Women's Marathon Expotique

This past weekend, I had the privileged of participating in the Nike Women's Half Marathon with my Team in Training team.  From talking to teammates who had done the event in the past, and from reading the NWM Facebook page, I knew the "Expotique" as they call it would be different from any other race expo I had ever been to, but this time I was pleasantly surprised.

When I first arrived at the expo, I went right up to the packet pickup table and got my packet. The first thing I noticed there was no shirt in my packet.  This is because at the NWM, only finishers get a shirt.  I love this idea!  Also inside my packet was a very cool neon yellow reusable Nike draw string back pack, some snack samples, a Neutorgena sunscreen, some tissues, a coconut water and some flyers.  Not bad!

After I got my packet, I entered the Expotique.  It did not look like a normal race expo.  The Expotique was in a huge, white tent is Union Square of San Francisco.  The booths were circled around the perimeter of the tent.  There were very little for sale at this expo.  Most of what was going on was free!  Nuun and Yurbuds were selling their stuff, but if you wanted NWM themed merchandise, you have to go to Niketown across the street.  It was so much fun shopping and having fun without the pressure to buy.  Safeway was giving out super cute NWM logo plastic one cup size containers that participants could fill with their favorite trail mixes.

My hair do! 
Since this was a women focused event, they had lots of pampering available.  Saturday morning. I had an open two hour window in my schedule.  I met a friend for breakfast, but then my team was meeting two hours later to walk over to our inspiration lunch.  I decided to spend some time at the expo getting some pampering.  First, I want to the Neutorgena lounge.   They were doing free make overs!  I waited for about 45 minutes, but it was so worth it.  My consultant was so helpful and I love the job she did on my face.  After the makeover, I had my picture taken and got lots of little goodies to take home.  I got a little black draw string baggie of lip gloss, moisturizer, and sunblock, plus a full size sunblock and wash wash.  How cool is that!

After getting my makeup did
After getting my makeup done, I stopped by the Paul Mitchell both.  They had cosmetology students giving out free hair styling.  I got a really pretty braid done in my hair.  It was like a halo, circling around my head.  My hope was that it would stay in for the race.  I had never done anything like this before--gotten a makeover.  I really enjoyed it!  Thanks so much to the organizers of NWM and the respective brands for doing this for participants.

Thanks Neutrogena! 
This was by far the best, most fun race expo I had ever been to.  It was all about having fun and letting go.  It was about relaxing and celebrating.  I can't wait to experience the NWM race expo in DC.  I hope it can live up to the expo in SF!

A dream is a wish...


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heading to San Francisco

It's finally time!  I completed my fundraising, I completed my training, I'm all packed.  San Francisco here I come!

Check out my Facebook page!  I will be updating about the race and posting pictures.  

A dream is a wish...


Sunday, October 7, 2012

York College Fall Fest 5k

Yesterday morning I did the 5k at York College of Pennsylvania.  I graduated from YCP in 2007 with a BS in accounting.  This event was a special on to me because of how far I was come since the last time I was on campus.  Back when I was a student, walking from west campus to main campus was the only daily exercise I ever got.  The thought of running--for fun--was laughable to the person I was back then.  Since then, I have adopted a healthier life style, lost over 50 pounds, and become a runner.  Now a 5k is an easy run and for fun, I run half marathons.

When the alumni association announced the race, I knew I had to do it. My sister and her boy friend, Dean, did the race with me.  My dad and my daughter came alone to cheer us on.  Since this was a inaugural event, there was only about 250 runners.  The event was very well organized. The school mascot, the Spartan, was walking around for fun and photo ops.  My daughter was not a fan!  She was scared so we did not get any pictures with the Spartan.

The race started and ended at the brand new athlete center's track.  After one lap, we run out and back on a trail around campus.  One more lap around the track, and the race was over.  All runners got a t-shirt, a back pack, and a medal!  Yes, a medal for a 5k.  This medal will always be special to me. After the race, the alumni associate through a small breakfast.  There was orange juice, granola bars, fruit and pastries.  My family and I hung out and watched the awards ceremony.  Overall, it was a great race.  I can't wait to do it again next year!

A dream is a wish...


Friday, October 5, 2012

Trying New Things

I have been reading a lot lately about how important cross training is.  Over the summer, I sort of fell off the wagon when it came to cross training.  Since my daughter started school and I had some free time a few morning a week, I decided I was going back to spin class!

For the past few years, I have taken the Monday/Wednesday spin call with Mary.  Mary is so fun and energetic.  She plays the newest, up to the second music.  We were spinning to "Call me Maybe" in March--way before the spoofing thing got big.  I would love to get back into the Monday/Wednesday spin classes, but my daughter goes to school on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Mary does not have a Tuesday morning class.  What to do?

I looked at the class schedule at my gym.  Another instructor, Lori, teaches a Tuesday morning spin class.  Since I have the time, i figured I would give it a try.  The class with Lori is less attended than Mary's class.  The classes are different, but so far I am liking the difference.  Lori does not play the same kind of music at Mary, but still like it.  In Lori's class, we listen to more laid back music, but it is still fun and entertaining.  My favorite so far has been the Grease soundtrack.

In Lori's class, we do something called Tabata. It is a type of high intensity interval training.  This stuff is intense!  Lori told us we burn 50 calories in a 4 minute cycle and that our metabolism stays higher for the rest of the day.  I'll take it!  The workout is tough, but it feels great.  For me, I am hoping Tabata and its anaerobic workout training will help my running.  I don't think I have been doing it long enough to see progress yet, but I hope it trains my lungs to work hard and longer. I am enjoying my two different spin classes.  The two different instructors and their different styles keeps me from getting bored.

What have you done lately to switch up your workout?  

A dream is a wish...


Monday, October 1, 2012

Official Training Begins

Ok Princesses--It's time!  Our official training plan begins tomorrow!

I am a big believer in the Jeff Galloway run/walk/run plan.  If it were not for this plan, I could never have completed a half marathon.  When I started running a year and a half ago, I could not run more than one minute straight.  While I can run longer than that now, there is no way I could ever run an entire half marathon.  Honestly, I am not sure I would want to.  What I love most about the run/walk/run is that I don't get tired or get that taxed lung feeling.  I can run/walk/run for the entire half marathon and feel great at the finish.  I have seen people who run the entire half that are tired and sore after.  After a half marathon, I feel great!  I can walk around the Disney parks and celebrate another accomplishment.

What intervals should you do?  My answer would be the one that feels best to you.  For a very long time, I did a one minute walk then a one minute run.  This is what I did for the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Lately, I have been trying longer runs with a one minute walk.  I am doing this in hopes of getting a faster half marathon time.  I will report, mostly it is not working.  While I try running two, three, or four minutes with a one minute walk, my time is not that much better.  I am guessing it is because my three minute run is slower than my one minute run to breath easier and get less tired, and my one minute walk is slower because I am recovering from a longer run.  My average is a 12-13 minute per mile time no matter what interval ratio I use.

Jeff Galloway teaches that it is best to use shorter intervals.  I had the privileged to meet him at this past Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I was asking him about getting faster.  He suggested that I use a 15 second walk with a 45 second run method.  He told me this is what he and his wife often run.  I tried it a few times and it felt strange to me--to much stopping and starting.  But I really do see the genius in it.  Such frequent breaks keeps your body and lungs from getting fatigued.

Here is a link to the Galloway training plans on the runDisney site. This year, I am going to follow the time improvement plan.  Last year I followed the beginner plan and was very happy with it.  I will spend these next five months experimenting with run/walk ratios and find what works best for me.  Good luck with your training.  See you at the finish line!

Do you plan to follow the Jeff Galloway run/walk/run plan for you next half marathon?

A dream is a wish...