Time Out

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My Facebook feed is filled with lots of pictures of friends running. Some are doing local races and others are down for the big Princess Marathon weekend at Disney. Looking at all the fun everyone is having makes me envious and makes me want to lace up my running shoes and start training again.

But I am in time out. And it is a much-needed time out.

I learned this lesson in my early twenties after I had ankle surgery and got back out on the volleyball court a little too soon. Of course being in my twenties I was in the indestructible phase of my life so I could play through the pain (or at least I thought I could).

Time out to recover doesn’t mean a time out from an active life. It’s just a different kind of active and on a much different scale. Of course it is frustrating not being able to play but over the years I have learned to appreciate giving my body a break. I’m hoping giving myself a long break now will keep me from breaking myself when I get back out there.

Good luck to everyone running this weekend. Can’t wait to get back on the road with you.

It’s not you, it’s me.

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The Princess Marathon was not part of my running plan until my friend Trish asked if I wanted to run it. My initial thought was no. I had just done my first half marathon and I didn’t see the point of doing another, but a few days later I signed up. I enjoyed the inaugural Princess Marathon so much; I did it again the next year.

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Running 5 consecutive Princess Runs never occurred to me until Jim and I went out to Disneyland for the half marathon. It was the 5th year for the race. Something during that weekend clicked. I made it a goal to run the first 5 Princess Marathons.

The 2013 Princess half was the 5th year of the race and I reached my goal. I am one of 324 runners deemed a perfect princess for running all 5 races. I’m not sure what I expected this year, but the magic that kept bringing me back to this race seems to have run out.

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This year the emphasis seemed much more on stuff and excess than on fitness and running. The expo was cram packed with people who needed to buy everything they could get their hands on. I freely admit my husband and I bought our max allowable Dooney & Bourke purses with the plan of keeping one and selling the rest. (However that plan changed when we sold one to a friend who didn’t get a chance to shop at the expo and gave one as a birthday gift.) And I bought the Disney Princess sweaty bands because sweaty bands are part of my race traditions. But watching people stand in excessively long lines for New Balance shoes, running to be first to get a purse, and grabbing handfuls of official race merchandise left me with an odd feeling.

Social media was the other big difference. I got the impression posting pictures to instagram, sending tweets, and updating facebook status during the expo and the race was a priority for many runners. The goal was less about running and more about documenting every step along the course. One of the perks of doing a RunDisney race is the entertainment and characters. I stopped twice during the run to take a photo with a character because there was no line and Mehgan didn’t get any pictures during the run last year. I guess I think the run should be the main attraction, instead of the entertainment being the main attraction.

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While the race has grown and evolved into something very different than just a celebration of women, fitness, and running, I recognize I have changed too. I am not the same runner who started doing this race series in 2009. The moment I recognized it was when I was really excited to see mile 7. We were no longer in the Magic Kingdom and we were on the road. In the past I dreaded the back half of the course because we left all the fun, but this year I felt like the fun was just about to happen.

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I didn’t PR this year, but it was one of the best races I’ve run. We managed negative 5k splits. I also helped Mehgan get a new PR.

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In a way this feels like a break up. The Princess Marathon Weekend was one of my first running loves. We grew together, but after all these years we ended up growing apart. I guess I always hoped it would last forever, but the magic is gone. I guess I’ve grown into a different kind of runner and the Princess Marathon has grown into a different kind of race. I really hope we can stay friends. It’s not you, it’s me.

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Vacation Runs

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Vacation, it’s a time of rest, a time of relaxation. It is a time to break from the normal routine and diet. For many this break also includes a break from working out. While a break from exercise is good, you want to make sure that you are making a temporary break not a permanent one.

I recently got back from a week of vacation at Disney World and a few weeks later, a cross-country road trip from Rhode Island to Colorado and back. Jim and I did get a big break from our normal running and workout schedule. The break felt good on the body, but we both knew too much of a break would make it that much more difficult to get back into the routine at home. We are also in a training cycle for upcoming races, the Rock n Roll half in Providence and I am gearing up for the Marine Corps Marathon. This meant a complete break was not really an option.

Jim and I both knew our training would be hampered because of our travels. This helped us temper our expectations for getting a goal time for our upcoming races. Instead we are going to focus on the fun of running and enjoy the sights and sounds of Providence and DC.

Travel and vacation puts limits on your time. You want to be sure to enjoy time with family and friends, so the long run was not an option. We were also well aware that the altitude in Colorado would be a factor on our running ability. So instead of sticking to a hard and fast training schedule, we opted for maintenance.

Our goals were defined by time and not distance. We wanted to make sure we were getting out for 20-30 minutes so we would maintain our cardio. This would keep us in good enough shape so when we returned home, we could resume our training.

Aside from getting in a workout from time to time, we were combating vacation eating. Of course we indulged in eating and drinking. So instead of not eating things, we tried to use moderation. There were times we failed, but it’s okay. The other thing we both tried to do, we keep up with hydration and eating fruits and veggies as often as we could.

Our travels have left us a little less prepared for our upcoming runs that we would like, but I’m confident we’ll be ready to cross the finish line.

  

Post-Race Blues

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Post-Race Blues

For several months we have been planning, preparing, and training for the Princess Marathon. The day finally came, we all ran our race, our spectators cheered us on, our costume makes made us fun outfits. Now it is over. It feels a little like Christmas after you’ve opened all the presents and eaten all the food. I guess I would equate it to the “what now” feeling.

Don’t worry this is a normal feeling. Most people go through this after any big event.

 Things to be wary of while you are in the post-race mode.

 -If you continue to eat as many calories as you were during training and you aren’t training those calories find a home somewhere on your body.

 

-If you ran for the sole purpose of checking the box and saying I ran a half-marathon, congratulations goal complete. Please resume normal living. But if this is your passion. Take a break, let your muscles and joints recover. And get back on the road and start running again. Find a new race (doesn’t have to be a long one) and sign up.

 

-Find a home for your medal. If you don’t it will end up in a closet or drawer. You earned it so display it proudly.

 

-Especially if this is your first big race, you need to order at least one race photo. Even if you look awful, but it is a great way to preserve the memory of your accomplishment.

 

Remember this feeling won’t last forever. Soon enough you will be gearing up for another  race. And you’ll get to benefit from the endorphins one more time.