Because I Can

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One of the emails I got in preparation for the Disney Princess Marathon asked a question, why do I run? Without much thought, I clicked the link and started writing an answer. After a few minutes it occurred to me, I really don’t know why I run.

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I hear and read a lot of inspirational stories of why people run. Some run to honor a friend or loved one. Some run as part of a weight loss journey. Some run to accomplishing a goal. Some run because they overcame adversity.

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My story isn’t that compelling or inspiring. I wasn’t motivated to run to change my life. I don’t run to lose weight. There was no major life changing reason I started running. I guess the reason I started running is because I wanted to do something just for me, so without much thought I signed up for a half marathon.

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After 5 years of distance running, I’ve still haven’t come up with an answer to why I run. What is it about running that motivates me to lace up my shoes, hit the pavement, and put one foot in front of the other?

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The best answer I can come up with is I run because I can. I do it because my body allows me to run.

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One of my guilty pleasures is watching the Biggest Loser. When I watch the show I see people who are prisoners in their own bodies. Doing something like running is nearly impossible for the contestants because of the weight. My body is fully functioning; I have no excuses for not running, so I run.

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Though I haven’t worked closely with organizations like Homes for Our Troops, Wounded Warriors, Achilles International, and Navy Safe Harbor Foundation, I have worked to raise money and awareness for them. Being in the military it is nice to see organizations that help our wounded warriors when they return home or when they suffer illness or job related injury. Many of our wounded warriors come home and maintain active lifestyles, but because of injury or illness, some of these men and women cannot run. I do not have any wounds, injuries, or illnesses that stop me from running, so I run.

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Running is a gift. It is something that my body is built to do. I can either take advantage and run until my legs tell me they can’t take another step or I can pass on the opportunity, sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else do something I am capable of doing.

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This is the long answer to a short question. Why do I run? It’s not complicated or glamorous, I run because I can.

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(And I run because I love to be around my friends who run. Thanks to all who have joined me in this journey.)

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Mehgan’s First Half Marathon

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I asked Mehgan to tell us about her experience of training for and running her first half marathon. She and I ran together almost from start to finish and I don’t think she ever stopped smiling. I hope this not only gives you some good advice but helps inspire you to get out there and run or do whatever makes you happy.

Thanks Mehgan.

 

 

Mehgan Video Link

(Here is the link in case the video doesn’t work.)

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.

The Power of Two

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There has been a question plaguing me, how fast can I really run a half marathon?

I look at the numbers in the running calculator based on my 5k time. And I see the projected pace for my run. I have never done what I think I am capable of doing on a run. I have yet to really challenge myself to see how fast I can go.

The night before the princess run I had some turmoil. Should I run in B corral or fall back to run with the other coast(ie)s running? It was a question that kept me up for quite some time. After some restless moments a feeling of peace came upon me. I know what the right thing to do was.

We all agreed to fall back to E corral to start with Faye. I ran the first mile with her and then caught up to Mehgan and Kelly. Eventually we lost Kelly in the crowd and she finished in a very respectable 2:20. Her negative split for the last 10k was remarkable.

I felt my kick around mile 8. I could have flown. But instead of taking off I stayed with Mehgan. We had made it that far and I wasn’t ready to abandon her. I know what it’s like to run your first big run alone. I know how hard that it. And I know that I would have given so much to have someone more experienced running along side me not only telling me that I could do it, but I could run better than I was running.

I’m sure there will come a time when I can find out how fast I can be. But that time isn’t right now.

Princess Marathon number 4, done

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I am happy to say all of the coast(ie) runners who started the Princess Marathon finished. Even our spectators made it from start line, Magic Kingdom, and to the finish line again. I hear that is better than some of the people on the course. The runners saw some people being tended to by medical people at various spots along the course. But our support crew were joined by some runners on the monorail. I guess there were complaints about having to wait too long in the corral before the start. I have been on some bad runs before and it has never occurred to me to quit.

All in all it was an amazing weekend. We got to play in the Disney parks, ride lots of rides, eat lots of good food, and run a great race with nearly perfect weather.

My goal is to run the first five Princess Marathons. 1-4 done. Number 5 to go. I think we need to go much bigger next year. Jim and I are already trying to come up with a costume.

Disney can’t wait to see you and the rest of the Princesses in 2013!

Freeze

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The last two weeks have been rather difficult for me. I have had to make myself not go running. After being used to moving stopping is difficult. I would imagine it is nearly as difficult as asking a kid to freeze when they play freeze tag. Kids don’t like to sit still. They need to wiggle.

Each morning I wake up thinking I should go for a run. The fact that it’s written on my calendar reinforces this feeling. But then I stand up and my foot aches. So I resign myself to saying one more day of rest.

This close to a big run it’s really not worth it. I expect my cardio may not be where I want it to be. And on race day my legs might feel a little rusty from all the time off. But my foot will thank me.

Disney Princess Half Marathon, here we come!