Only Different In Your Mind: 2019 Giant Race San Francisco Recap!

Sleepless Knight

Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
Joined
May 15, 2008
It was 12 parsecs! 14?!? Well, yes 14 parsecs for me. I'm slow and have learned to live with that.

In case the title of this training journal and avatar haven't already told you, I am a huge Star Wars fan. Sleeping Beauty is my other favorite movie of all time. I often tell people only half kiddingly to be careful what you expose your little children to. Little did my parents realize that when they took their toddler son to see Star Wars when I was 2 and Disneyland in the same year that I would eventually grow up to one day run around Disneyland dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

And for that matter, if you haven't signed up for a runDisney event be aware that just one race may turn out to be many, many more. During my first Disneyland 1/2 Marathon in 2011, I was reasonably sure it would be my last even if I managed to finish it. But it wasn't.

So in way of a brief introduction, I am an accountant, like my father before me. I have been a Disneyland annual pass holder since 2006 and make 2-3 visits to Disneyland a year with the occasional visit to Walt Disney World every few years. My little sister likes to say that I'm freakishly tall, so I have decided to call this Chewbacca sized in Disney parlance. I still remember the complete shock on that fateful October day when I learned that Mickey and Yoda were now brothers since Disney bought Lucasfilm and was making more Star Wars movies.

Since taking up running in 2011, I have completed the 2011 Disneyland 1/2 Marathon, the 2012 Disneyland 1/2 Marathon, the 2012 Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon for my first Coast to Coast Challenge, the 2015 Inaugural Star Wars Rebel Challenge, the 2016 Star Wars Rebel Challenge at Disneyland, and am now singed up for the 2017 Star Wars Rebel Challenge at Disneyland with my eyes on also completing the Kessel Run in 2017.

Throughout this training journal, I'll write about my successes, frustrations, triumphs, and failures in training along with references to prior races. I'll also share my thought process on what constitutes a successful race for me. Feel free to share any thoughts or questions you may have for "once you start down the runDisney path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will."
 
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Sleepless Knight

Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
Joined
May 15, 2008
A long time ago in a Disney park far, far away. . . . Or how I wound up becoming a runner.

I remember reading way back in 2006 about the inaugural Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. I thought it would be very cool to run through Disneyland and earn a medal. But inasmuch as this also involved running, I accepted that it would never happen for me. And I was okay with that. Or so I thought.

Fast forward a couple of years later. Leading up to the 50th anniversary of Sleeping Beauty, Disney decided to screen their animated classic at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for a few weeks. Since opening night was just before Labor Day weekend, I decided to throw in another visit to Disneyland. I had no idea that was 1/2 Marathon weekend. For obvious reasons, I noticed a lot of runners wearing their medals. But that was about the extent of it since earning a medal meant that I had to run. Having decided that Labor Day weekend was actually a very fun time to visit Disneyland, I decided to make a return trip down there in 2009. And this time, I actually decided to talk to some runners as I saw them walking into the parks.

This nice couple proceeded to tell me how much fun the event was. And how it was truly open to even the slowest. They explained that a 16 minute per mile could be walked the entire time. It would just require training. Now trouble found me. The wheels in my head had been turning and I decided that 2010 would be the year I ran the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. Well at least for a few months. Upon learning that my little sister was pregnant and my nephew's baby blessing would likely be the same weekend as the race, I didn't even worry about signing up. It would have to be 2011.

At the start of 2011 I casually mentioned to my youngest sister that I was thinking about running the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. She had run cross country in high school and told me that she secretly wanted to run a 1/2 marathon. After she constantly reminded me every few days for a couple of weeks, I finally had to confront myself. Do I really want to do this? Next thing I knew, we were registering together. I had now committed to it. No turning back now.

I went to the book store to look at books about running. But neck deep in the throes of tax season meant that I wasn't ready to decide which plan to follow yet. Shortly after tax season ended, I discovered that runDisney had free training plans on their website. To my padawan mind, these plans possessed the virtue of being free and being developed by a former Olympian. I went for the Galloway plan and jumped into training. This is where the fun begins.

Where to train? Honestly, I had planned on running around the high school track every day. In hindsight, a pretty stupid plan to be honest. I knew that 4 laps around the track would equal one mile. So I could guarantee that I would get the miles in. Between being a night owl so morning runs were out and sunburning very easily, I settled on training at the gym. They had a treadmill and if something bad were to happen, I would likely get help quickly. Not that I was worried about that, but it helped put my mother, who over worries at ease. However, being a complete novice to running, I had a myriad of questions. Such as, will running on a treadmill sufficiently train me to run a 1/2 marathon? But honestly, I was afraid of the answer. Therefore, I didn't ask anybody. Like many decisions during my first summer of training, that would prove to be a bad one. Nevertheless I started to train. Sort of. Kind of.

In terms of exercise, I find it way too easy to find almost any excuse not to do it. I'm too tired. My head hurts. It was a long day at work. I'd rather watch TV tonight. I bought a new movie that I want to watch tonight. I have to go grocery shopping. I'm going on vacation next week. I just got back from vacation. All followed by the rationalization of I'll do it tomorrow. So I put in one or two runs a week. And that was it. After about six weeks, I realized that I was quickly running out of time. I had skipped so many weekend runs that I no longer had time to do the long run every 2 weeks. In fact I had just enough time to put in all the long runs if I now committed to a long run every Saturday. At least I did that. But my during the week training was still hit and miss. Once again I made another stupid decision. I took a jogging course in college from the head coach of the cross country team, who at the time was in the midst of a 3 year period where the worst finish at the NCAA championship meet was second. I remember the coach saying that the team trained 6 days a week. So I decided that I too could train six days a week.

Problem is, I didn't train correctly. By this point, I had worked myself up into a fear that the only way I could complete the race was to condense my month or so of missed training sessions into 3 weeks. And now almost completely afraid that I wasn't fast enough, I started to increase my speed before I was actually ready to. One day about 5 minutes into my 30 minute run, my calves started to scream. They just hurt. I tried slowing down, but the pain didn't subside at all. I cut short my training session and conceded defeat. A few days later the pain was completely gone, but to my way of thinking the damage was done. I realized that I couldn't make up for lost time. I decided to stick with 2 runs during the week and the long run on the weekend. I only hoped that this would be sufficient less than a month before the race.

Coming up next: Today is a good day to die. Or run a 1/2 marathon (see, I like other things besides Disney and Star Wars).
 
  • Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Thanks. I should mention that comments are more than welcome in this thread. I found that I learned a lot more about running after reading the thoughts and comments of other more experienced runners. So feel free to chime in.

    Before I get to reporting about my first race, I want to briefly touch on my progress, such as it is. Mostly, I do this to remind myself of where I'm at compared to where I should be at. As I mentioned earlier, I find all sorts of stupid excuses not to train. And I'm tired of them. I still make them, so I hope that reporting what I did vs what I'd like to do gets me heading in the right direction. Or spurs others to motivate me when I don't follow up. So here goes.

    Week of June 13-June 18:

    Goal: Begin training for the Rebel Challenge come January with an eye on finishing the Kessel Run come next April. Start slow as not not do too much too soon and thus come up with more excuses to not train. End goal: Start with the Galloway plan and get in 2 training sessions of at least 30 minutes at minimum race pace and a long run of 2 miles. Also hope to start some sort of exercise on my non-training days.

    End result: I started, but then I fell off. Last Monday I got in 45 minutes of training at minimum pace. Tired, but felt good. However, I probably didn't rehydrate properly, which contributed to another problem, which got exacerbated from a recent illness and it wound up throwing the whole week off. I did get in another 45 minute run at minimum pace on Thursday, but that was it for the week. My threats to run 2 miles on Saturday were just that. At least I started, but really I should have been better. Maybe I should buy that Nike shirt that reads "Destroy Excuses" and hang it in my car or at home.

    Week of June 20-June 25:

    Goal: Continue training for the Rebel Challenge with 2 training sessions of at least 30 minutes at minimum race pace and run 2 miles on Saturday. I may push myself on Saturday to train for a 15 minute mile (my normal pace). I'd like to exercise 5-6 days this week. I always take Sunday off, so this is ambitious, but no more excuses. Since I train on the treadmill, I like to put in some weightlifting before my training runs. I know it's not supposed to make me faster or anything like that, but I feel better and recover more quickly. Or maybe it's just psychological.

    The key here is to make sure that my non running days do not negatively impact my running days. The nature of what kind of exercise I do on non running days is very much flexible so as to not negatively impact my running days. This week I'm going to experiment with core and upper body work on non running days with leg work on running days, so my legs rest on the non running days. Cardio work on non running days will either be 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, the stationary bike, or slow walking. I want to see what works best.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Episode I: 2011 Disneyland 1/2 Marathon or how my pre race fears became a self fulfilling prophecy.

    It is a time of great anxiety mixed with trepidation and a little bit of fear. The months of training and many Saturdays consumed with training have led to this moment. Race weekend is finally here. I head down to southern California the Thursday before race weekend. I spend Friday morning in Hollywood seeing Beauty and the Beast in 3-D at Disney's El Capitan Theatre and Friday afternoon is spent lightly touring Disneyland. I'm an annual pass holder, so I don't feel a need to see everything, but there's a lot lot of nervous energy to burn.

    Saturday morning arrives. I get up relatively early so I can take advantage of the light crowds at Disneyland. I'm going to Long Beach in the early afternoon to pick up my sister at the airport before we go to the Expo for packet pickup. We've joked over the past few months that we're going to die during the race. Hence, the line from Star Trek The Next Generation's Lt. Worf "Today is a good day to die" spoken before he heads into battle. It's on this morning that I discover mistake number one. I didn't think about running the 5K. Since Star Tours relaunched just a couple months earlier, the 5K this year is themed to Star Tours. T shirts with Starspeeders on them. The 5K medal has the Starspeeder and even says Star Tours. Jedi Mickey was on the course. And to think I missed all this Star Wars goodness. Suddenly it hits me. I should have run the 5K this year and the 1/2 next year. What a novel concept. But it's too late for that.

    While in line for Peter Pan's Flight that morning I see a couple wearing Walt Disney World Marathon shirts. I ask them if they're running and they tell me that they are. When they find out it's my first race, they offer me encouragement and tell me I'm going to be just fine. I thank them, but inside I tell myself that they're just being very polite and I'm going to fail miserably. The lady even warns me that these are very addictive events and tells me about her treadmill desk at the university she teaches at. Inside, I still think I'm going to fail.

    After lunch, I pick up my little sister at the airport and we head to the Expo. Now, this whole enterprise is becoming very, very real. And not for the first time do I question my sanity. What was I thinking? We pick up our bibs and check out the Expo store. I like the I Did It shirt, but at this point, I have yet to actually do it. I'm not sure I even can, so I'm not buying a shirt that says I Did It when there's a distinct possibility I'm going to fail. My sister and I listen to Jeff Galloway's presentation at the Expo. As I begin to finally understand the methodology behind his training plan and hear another runner ask about dealing with the wall after only 8 miles, I feel slighlty better. After all, I went 14 miles on the treadmill just 2 weeks ago. Maybe, just maybe I'll finish. We stand in line to meet Jeff after his presentation so my sister can get his autograph to give to her coworker who loves Jeff Galloway. He also offers encouragement and says we'll do just fine. My fear of failure has been replaced by something else. I conclude that tomorrow morning one of two things is going to happen. I'm either going to finish the race or fail spectacularly.

    Race morning is now upon us. Don't ask me why I get up at some insanely early hours for races. I still don't know. Tech clothes ready. Bib pinned on, bathroom stops done. Breakfast of applesauce on the advice of Mike Scopa downed. The trial is upon me. After catching a bus to the main entrance of Disneyland, we begin the walk to the corrals. Along the way I hear the happy shouts and singing of insane people. It's way too early to be this happy and excited about running of all things. What in the world has gotten into these people? The pre race area is there. We just kill time, but we're here like they told us to. Then we join the mass cattle call to the corrals. Eventually, after what seems like an eternity we make it to the very last corral. Warmup music plays. I substitute the far superior Weird Al song Party In The CIA instead of the actual one they're playing. This makes me smile and my sister wonders why I'm singing Party In The CIA. But she should already know that I'm nuts. She is my sister and blames me for at least some of her obsessions in life. Such as ewoks. Or the university she chose to attend because I went there.

    As the corrals go off, it hits me. Begun the race has. After what seems like forever, the moment has finally arrived. My sister and I have an unspoken understanding. We're not running this together. Run your pace. I won't be the cause of her failure. She won't be the cause of mine. And the race starts. She takes off and so do I. And for a few brief happy minutes, I realize it. I'm actually running in the 1/2 Marathon. This is really happening. I'm going to do this. I will not fail. This is amazing. This is glorious. And not even 1/2 a mile into the race I make another discovery. This is unbelievably painful. I've had shin splints exactly once in my life. And the pain I feel in my shins now is the same thing. It's excruciating. There is no way I can run 2 more minutes in this kind of pain, let alone roughly 13.1 miles. All my months of training have culminated in this glorious, painful moment of realizing that I'm about to fail miserably and spectacularly.
     

    DopeyBadger

    Imagathoner
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2015
    Following along. I really enjoy your writing style as it feels as if I'm right there with you experiencing your thoughts. Looking forward to the rest of the story as well as your upcoming training.
     

    TCB in FLA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 3, 2006
    You mentioned Mike Scopa, so I think we listen to the same podcast. Did you listen to the one recently about strength training for runners? The guest advised cardio before weight lifting -- just a thought to make the most out of your training runs.
     
  • Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Following along. I really enjoy your writing style as it feels as if I'm right there with you experiencing your thoughts. Looking forward to the rest of the story as well as your upcoming training.
    Thanks. I've been going through your training as well. I have so much respect and awe for the people who are fast and have legitimate speed goals. Maybe someday I'll run a sub 3 hour 1/2.

    You mentioned Mike Scopa, so I think we listen to the same podcast. Did you listen to the one recently about strength training for runners? The guest advised cardio before weight lifting -- just a thought to make the most out of your training runs.
    Probably. I've listened to Scopa for years on WDW Today and started listening to Mickey Miles during training for the 2015 Star Wars 1/2. I'm very behind in my listening right now, so haven't heard that episode yet, but without even listening I can see where cardio might be better before lifting. I always did it last because I read a book years ago that recommended cardio after weight training.

    As if registering for the Star Wars 1/2 the Light Side wasn't real enough, I booked my hotel for the Light Side race weekend today and got quotes for a package tied to the Dark Side 1/2 race weekend. A bit of sticker shock on seeing the prices, but it's still early.
     

    DopeyBadger

    Imagathoner
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2015
    Thanks. I've been going through your training as well. I have so much respect and awe for the people who are fast and have legitimate speed goals. Maybe someday I'll run a sub 3 hour 1/2.
    Thanks! It's funny to see myself as being referred to as fast because I remember when I first started out I was far from fast. I wasn't quite at the same place you are, but have definitely made great strides from where I was to now. However, I contest that those who run the 3 hour half marathon are way more impressive to me than those who do it in 1.5 or 2 hours. It's because you're running at the same relative effort level as me, but you're doing it for twice as long as me. That's impressive to me because I subscribe to the training load mindset. Rather than mileage, I view training/racing by looking at (relative fitness intensity) X (time). Much respect and keep up the great work!
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    I appreciate the compliments. I know some runners complain about running snobs, but I haven't seen much of that in the runDisney community. Fortunately, I've found here that the fast runners are more than happy to encourage those of us in the back of the pack to keep pressing forward. Which as it turns out is a great segue into the rest of my 2011 race report.

    As I began to realize just how much pain I was in, I understood one thing. I would not be running this race. And yes, the distinct thought of quitting entered my mind. It's still early in the morning. I'm still very tired. And obviously there is no way I'm even capable of running anymore today. At times like this, there are two options. You can go for the Homer Simpson method of "you tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is never try." And what's wrong in this case with throwing in the towel? I wasn't sure if I could do this anyways. Now I know that I can't. So what's the big deal if I quit? All I really wanted was the medal. In some ways I viewed it as a unique Disney souvenir. Now, to be completely honest with you, if I had known that they might give me a medal anyways for showing up, I'm afraid I would have taken that in a heartbeat, collected the medal and gone back to my room to sleep for a bit before meeting up with my little sister.

    So, do I follow the advice of Homer Simpson or do I look to my cinematic hero, who once said "Do or do not. There is no try"? What of the months I've put into training? What about the Saturdays I've spent training instead of doing just about anything else that would be more fun and not involve me being sore for the rest of the weekend? And what about those medal pics? For many of those long runs, when it began to be difficult, I managed to push myself by thinking of that medal. It is, perhaps, a silly motivation to run. I have learned since that there are far better reasons to run than earning a medal. But on this day, I just wanted that medal. And so I made my choice. I would slow down and walk this race. I. Will. Not. Quit. I will stay on this course until I either finish the race or they sweep me off the course because I'm too slow. I will meet my race destiny on my terms. I've trained at a 15 minute per mile pace. Maybe, just maybe it will be enough. But if it isn't then at least I know that I didn't quit.

    So I slow down to a walk. At the first mile, they told us that we were 1 1/2 minutes ahead of pace. I wonder if I can sustain this pace. But at least the pain has subsided substantially. We go through California Adventure. I still remember seeing the elecTRONica performers throwing their discs down Hollywoodland. The entertainment along the course was nice. I didn't dare stop for anything before starting. I feel even more strongly that way now. If last place means I get the medal, that's good enough. As we go through Downtown Disney, I see an elderly lady seated in a wheelchair with a sign that says "Hello Total Stranger. I'm Proud Of You Too." It is difficult to express how moving I found that sign. Sometimes I wonder why that lady was at the race that day. Was she watching a family member? Did she used to run before time took that away from her and now gives back? Whatever her reasons, I remember that sign every time I run a race. But especially when going through Downtown Disney.

    Now we're in Disneyland. This is really neat. I love seeing the parade floats stopped in the middle of Main Street where you stand right next to them and get a photo taken. Now, I can't actually do this because the priority is finishing. I would hate to ruin my goal because I stopped for some photos, even if they were really cool ones. I like seeing the train behind Small World and hearing the conductor pull the whistle. This is really cool stuff. Being backstage is neat too. Now, I'm seeing the paint shop and different ride vehicles. I even see my little sister briefly, but as she's much faster than me, she's gone in a hurry. And soon we're out of Disneyland and mile marker 4 is coming up. Huzzah, I've made it 4 miles. And nobody is trying to sweep me yet. But the next challenge is coming. A freeway overpass. Who puts a freeway overpass in the middle of a 1/2 marathon. That's a really tiny hill for crying out loud. I'm not ready for this. Not for the first time do I realize that running a 1/2 marathon is hard. But as thoughts of quitting creep into my mind again, I have another thought. "You've done harder things than this. You served a 2 year mission for your church in Russia." I entertain myself by thinking of long forgotten memories of a children's song from my youth of children singing as they walked and walked and walked and walked. And then another thought enters into my mind. Some of my ancestors were Mormon pioneers that crossed the plains as Brigham Young led them from Illinois to Utah. They did this every single day for months on end. So I have no right to complain. They endured much harsher conditions and suffered so much more than the near microscopic amount of pain I feel right now compared to what they went through. I've heard stories about the physical hardships they endured. The least I can do is experience a tiny bit of that myself. I certainly have even more love and respect for them now than I did before.

    With many miles still ahead of me, I continue. I find that I really appreciate the different cultural groups along the course. The dancers with their brightly colored costumes showing off their heritage and culture to keep the minds of thousands of runners off of whatever pains they felt for a few moments. The Polynesian dancers doing the same. The marching bands and cheerleaders going crazy for a bunch of people they'll probably never meet, but giving us a boost just the same. Still no word on where I am in relation to the pace. But I can tell from each passing mile marker that I'm maintaining a roughly 15 minute per mile pace. The numbers on each passing mile marker get bigger even if they somehow seem further apart. And suddenly we come up on Angels Stadium. I'm really excited now. Someone told me that if you reached the stadium, you would finish. Maybe I'll pull this off yet.

    As a little boy, I dreamed of being a major league baseball player. In fact for a while, my favorite team was the Angels because their star first baseman Wally Joyner was one of my sports heroes and attended BYU, the same school I dreamed of going to. Upon entering the stadium, I was overcome with a rush of adrenaline. The stands were filled with boy scouts and girl scouts cheering loudly. As I ran down the first base side, a few of them reached out for high fives and, upon seeing my shirt, said "go BYU!" This really got the adrenaline going. For a few brief moments, I actually felt like an elite athlete being cheered on by others. Little did I know that a childhood dream was now being fulfilled, albeit in a different way. I'm glad to say that while my plans of slowly savoring Angels Stadium were quickly thrown aside because of the adrenaline rush, I did take care to not push too hard. As we neared home plate, the public address announcer was calling out runners names and hometowns. While I did not hear my name, this was still a thrill. And before I knew it, Angels Stadium was in my rearview mirror.

    Now, I believe that this is really happening. I really am going to finish the race. Soon I'm on Disney Way and the home stretch. As I pass the Disneyland Hotel, I hear some people cheering really loudly, but specifically for me. What is going on here? Aside from my little sister, I don't know anyone else down here. Nevertheless, I turn around and give a wave, thanking them. I will learn later that night that these people cheering for me were the parents and family of my little brother's good friend, so even though I don't know them well, they recognized me and cheered heartily. I appreciate it. Soon I near the finish line, and who should I see but the couple I'd talked with in line for Peter Pan's Flight the day before. I say hello to them and they tell me that it's only a matter of time before I'm signed up for another race. I'm not sure if I believe them on that front yet, but I know this now. They're not just being polite. I might actually be able to crawl from this point on and finish. I have no idea where I am in relation to pace. I've never heard that number since mile 1. As I come to the finish line, I raise my hands in triumph. I. Did. It. I pick up my medal, grab my post race refreshments, and eventually find my little sister. She finished a while ago. Later that night I would find out that I my finish time was 3:05. But most importantly I finished. In a strange way, the race met both my expectations. While my efforts to run ended in spectacular failure, I did finish.



    And of course, the medal photo that I'd been thinking of during all those long training runs.



    So what did I learn from my first race?

    1. Trust your training. Run your race. In the lead up to the race, I got too caught up in my own adrenaline and fears and proceeded to run at a pace I was not capable of. Healthy competition can spur us on to better results. But in some ways, the only competition is against myself. I read an article recently where U.S. Olympic marathon qualifier Jared Ward was talking to high school runners about running. He said that as much as he would love to medal at the Olympic games, if he runs the best race of his life, he'll be happy with that regardless of how many runners finish ahead of him.

    2. Do not quit. Especially when it gets really difficult. It would have been easy to drop out when my shins started hurting me. And that would have been a terrible decision. As I look back at the great memories from that race and all the things I've learned since that day, I nearly lost all of it because I wanted to quit. I know that if I had thrown in the towel on race day because I really hurt, I never would have signed up for another runDisney event again. And I would not have learned what I'm capable of as a runner. Now, I'm not saying to run when injured. In my case, the pain was my body telling me to change the plan and do this without getting injured. But just because something is hard, and running certainly is at times, doesn't mean it isn't worth doing.

    3. Have fun. When you've put in the the hard work leading up to this moment, savor it. Be confident. Enjoy it. Ironically enough, my fastest finish time ever is still that 2011 Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. But it also remains the only race where I didn't stop for at least 2 pictures. My subsequent races have all been a lot more fun than that first. But none of that ever would have happened if I hadn't learned that I can run fast enough to make some short photo stops. And if you'll never be fast enough to stop for race photos, that's okay too. I believe the real measure of this experience is going through it, making the commitment to exercise, train, and do something even a little scary only to learn what you're capable of. I'll probably never be an elite runner. But I've learned that I'm a better person because of lessons learned from running.
     

    DopeyBadger

    Imagathoner
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2015
    I appreciate the compliments. I know some runners complain about running snobs, but I haven't seen much of that in the runDisney community. Fortunately, I've found here that the fast runners are more than happy to encourage those of us in the back of the pack to keep pressing forward. Which as it turns out is a great segue into the rest of my 2011 race report.

    So what did I learn from my first race?

    1. Trust your training. Run your race. If he runs the best race of his life, he'll be happy with that regardless of how many runners finish ahead of him.

    2. Do not quit.

    3. Have fun.
    Agreed. This running community on this message board is very strong in being welcoming to all paced runners. From the fastest to the slowest, we all have lots to learn from each other and great advice to help each other get better. Nothing is gained from a community standpoint by putting down anyone that is doing their best to improve their life.

    I feel as if you learned 3 very important lessons from your first race. It took me quite a bit longer to reach these same conclusions so it's commendable that you could grasp these concepts so quickly.

    As always another great recap!
     
  • Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Funny you should say I learned those lessons so quickly. As I think about it, it's not that I learned them quickly, but that I learned them from that first race. In many ways, that first race was my least fun race. But it's also the one that taught me the most.

    I have learned so much from the running community on this board. In many ways, this community helped me crystalize the concept of trusting my own training. In the early going of every single race since then, I have to remind myself to slow down and not start out too fast, too soon. Sometimes the crowded field helps even if it drives me crazy.

    It's too easy to look at faster runners and think I will only be successful if I can match what they do. But if we define our success in this by how fast we aren't, we lose sight of what we've become and what we've accomplished.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    So I received an email from a travel agent telling me that Avengers 1/2 marathon bib only registration is on sale. I seriously considered signing up for a few minutes. I've heard that running in Disneyland with all the Christmas decorations up is truly magical. I'd believe that. Running through the Osborne Family Lights during the 2012 Wine & Dine 1/2 was one of the best parts of that race. And Disneyland at Christmas is beautiful. I've been every year since 2005. But sometimes you have to decide between multiple good things, which brings me to the better of my two choices and why I ultimately passed on Avengers.

    I just put down a deposit for room only reservation at the Dark Side 1/2. I may yet switch down to a less expensive room, but right now the animation geek side of me wants Art of Animation so that's where I'm at. It's only just beginning to sink in that I'm seriously planning for Disney World again next year. The months of thinking and preliminary questions are becoming reality now. But at the same time, it's not official until I'm signed up for the Dark Side 1/2. That will seal it.

    So maybe someday I'll run Avengers, but this is not the year. I will never run Avengers instead of Star Wars. And if I ever run Avengers, I will run as Batman. Not out of spite or anything like that, but mostly because Batman is my favorite superhero character. Besides that, I was highly amused by the guys running this year's Star Wars 1/2 Marathon in Starfleet uniforms.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Long last time for an update. Between a nasty virus that took a few weeks to completely go through my system and a much needed vacation, training has been up and down. The good news is it's trending upwards now and I've increased my speed. I'm close to my minimum accepted race pace and I'm thinking I'll experiment with training at faster than my minimum accepted race pace. In years past, trying to increase my speed has always resulted in bad things happening. I've more or less accepted that my speed has certain limits, but I'm willing to see if I can increase it. If not, I'll drop back to my accepted pace. It's all about perspective. I now know what it's like to finish a race "below" a certain time, but I also don't really care what my time is so long as it's a finish the race time.

    The really exciting race news is that I'm now officially registered for the 2017 Dark Side Challenge and the Kessel Run. Given the work pressures I face in April, I considered running the 1/2 only since the Kessel Run is the real reason for running this race (I wish it was in May instead), but after thinking about it, I decided that flying in on Thursday is better and gives me 2 full days to acclimate to the time change and deal with the aftermath of April work deadlines and I'll use the 10K as a nice preparation run for the 1/2. But yes, the allure of 2 more Star Wars medals played a part in this.

    So as training gets headed in the right direction, it's also time to start seriously thinking about dining reservations at Disney World.
     

    roxymama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2015
    Stopping by to read your journal today while I eat lunch.

    I'm glad you didn't quit on your first half either. I'm still talking myself up to try a half next year so I understand the "fear." But kudos to you for crossing that finish! Looking forward to more updates.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Thanks for stopping by.

    As far as talking yourself into a 1/2, you're far ahead of me when I signed up. You've already run events. That's more than I ever did when I signed up for my race and because my fear of failure was so great, I didn't even consider signing up for a test run. I didn't want to know that I had wasted all that money and training time on something that I had already failed at. I viewed it as a zero sum game. Success or failure. In a weird way, I think I fulfilled both of those expectations.

    I say look at the race that appeals the most to you, be it theme, location, meaning, time of year, medal, et all, register for it, jump right in, and don't look back. I dragged my feet when my little sister kept bugging me that we were going to sign up. Eventually, I knew I either had to commit or never do it. Looking back, it almost scares me how close I came to not actually signing up.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Training update from last week. Goal was the get in all 3 training sessions, which was a success. I also got another day in of cross training, so that was good.

    In light of other events such as helping my little sister move and a retirement party for my high school football coach, I have to adjust this week some since Saturday is not happening. Goal is to get both maintenance runs in with a 4 mile run on Friday.

    I have been training at just under 15:30 per mile for a couple of weeks now, so that's good. It's soon time to move up to minimum race pace training of 15 minutes per mile. This year I'm going to experiment with training faster than official race pace. Given that past attempts to train at faster than race pace always met with disaster, I'm not sure how this will go. Since my ultimate goal is to finish, I won't be devastated if that doesn't work. But since I'd like to have more time to play during the race, I'll never know if it's possible to train faster unless I give it a go.
     

    Ormonster

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 14, 2013
    Hi, I'm enjoying your training journal. I just signed up myself for the Star Wars rebel Challange and the Dark Side half.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Thanks for following and your kind words. I may not be very fast, but I have finished both Rebel Challenge events, so feel free to ask any questions. I'll get to those races eventually, but for the moment prior race report updates are slow since I'm busy with many other things in life. Maybe I'll have an update this weekend. I think writing something will do me some good.
     

    roxymama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2015
    I am not very versed in the Star Wars fandom other than I enjoy the few that I have watched (I know...I know...I keep planning on watching them all.)
    But since you are trying hard to get to below pace requirements...here are some inspirational running images for you.


    Run like there's expolsiony things happening...cause you just have to be fast enough not to get all exploded.



    Run like the AT&T robots are trying to steal your souvenear light saber! (this is an actual picture from the movie right?)



    Run like you're with this guy


    And just be thankful you don't have to ride the bus home after a race with this guy...
    upload_2016-8-19_10-26-10.jpeg

    Ok, I'm done now :)
     


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