Back in the saddle?

Somehow, I ran nearly 18 miles last week.  I’m not sure how that happened.

Oh wait, I know how it happened.  I actually followed my training plan!  I lifted weights twice too.  Amazing!

I really need to get myself in gear and stick to my training plan.  I’m trying to get up half an hour earlier to either lift, run 3 miles, or… do something else.  Let me explain.

Monday – Weights

Tuesday – Run (short)

Wednesday – Weights

Thursday – Run (mid-length, speedwork)

Friday – Run (short)

Saturday – Bike (or maybe rest, since I’m not training for any bike races right now)

Sunday – Run (long)

So I have to figure out how to allocate these workouts.  The short runs and the weights can be done in the morning before work.  The speedwork cannot.  So on Thursday, I can either sleep in or I can do something else in the morning.  I’m thinking maybe ab work.  And the best thing is that it leaves most of my evenings free so I can take the bike out if I want.

I’ve managed to put on about 25 lbs in the past 5 years, which is frustrating.  I’ve been trying to lose for about a year, with zero results.  So I’m just trying to change it up, make slight changes to my fitness plan and slight changes to my eating plan and see where that gets me.

Olympics! Olympics!

The Olympics are here!  While the opening ceremonies are today, technically, the Olympics have already started, with records already being set.  And I’m so excited.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to be camped out in front of the tv watching the coverage for the next few weeks.  Really, I should find out if I can watch it streaming.  That way I can at least carry my computer around the house and watch while I get housework done.

What am I looking forward to?  A wide variety of events.  Though I’ll be honest, no matter what is on, I’ll get sucked in.  But here’s a small sampling.

Marathon – I love watching both the men’s and women’s marathons.  It amazes me how fast they run.  I couldn’t keep up with any of them for a quarter of a mile and they keep that pace for 26.2 miles.  Incredible.

Mariel Zagunis – A fellow ND grad, she’s going to be Team USA’s flag bearer in the Opening Ceremonies.  She’s also the only woman to win gold in Women’s Sabre, having won in 2004 (the year it was added to the Olympics) and 2008.

Sarah Robles – Sarah is a weightlifter who started getting attention after it hit the press that she’s the highest-ranked weightlifter in the country, yet barely makes ends meet while she’s training.  She had no sponsors (but people have since stepped up), possibly because weight lifting isn’t popular in the US, possibly because she doesn’t have the stereotypical female athlete body type (shouldn’t we change that stereotype?).  Either way, I’m cheering for her like mad.

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte – So many people are rooting for Phelps to continue his gold medal streak, but I think my heart’s with Lochte.  He’s been chasing Phelps, and I think it’s time he finally gets the top spot on the podium.

And of course, the opening and closing ceremonies.  Always a great spectacle.  I wonder if it’s true that Mary Poppins and Voldemort are going to battle.  We know who will win that one.  Spit spot!

Tips for Newbie Racers

When I first started racing, my biggest worry was being a newbie.  I didn’t want to bother the other runners.  I didn’t want to break those rules that all the other runners know.  I just wanted to be able to go out and run my best race and not be the reason that someone else didn’t run their best race.

So I read a lot of books on the subject.  That’s what we geeks do.  I have many, many books on running.  I like books.  Of course, you can also get your info from blogs.  Running blogs weren’t quite as prolific when I started running (which is probably a good thing, or I would have spent all my time reading and no time running).

Here are my big tips for people getting ready for their first races.  Some of these things are obvious.  Some might not be.

Rule #1 – Nothing new on race day.

Now this is actually a rule I have broken before, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a first time race or a race where you’re really hoping to PR.  What does “nothing new” mean?  Just that.  No clothes you haven’t run in before.  No new shoes.  Don’t eat anything different, either on race day or the night before.  The last thing you want is an upset tummy or to suddenly find that your new shirt chafes horribly.  Personally, I take this so far as to carry my own fuel (Gu is my personal choice) on half marathon courses and not take the gels offered. (Actually, I tend to take the gel offered and pocket it to try out on a training run.  I like free things.)  Some runners hate carrying anything while running and would direct you away from this tip.  I just find it best to go with what I know.

I even carry my own water on race courses.  Now, I don’t carry enough to fuel me through an entire half marathon.  I have a little waist pack that holds two bottles (either 8oz or 10oz, depending on which bottles I choose) and I wear that through the race.  I like being able to drink whenever I want.  I still take water at water stops and fill up my bottles, especially on a hot day.  But this is just me – it’s definitely not for everyone.

Rule #2 – Line up where you belong.

In big races, when you sign up, you’re asked to provide an estimated finishing time.  This is used to figure out which starting corral you belong in.  The goal is to have the faster runners start first so that they’re not tripping over the slower runners (like me).  Don’t worry – if the race is chip timed, like most races are, then even though you don’t start until a few minutes (or more!) after the gun goes off, your official time doesn’t start til you cross that start line.

Other races don’t have assigned corrals.  Sometimes there are signs indicating where you should line up.  Other times, it’s a free for all.  Just be smart about it.  If you’re a slower runner, stay to the back.  You can always pass people.

And it’s not just that you will get in someone else’s way.  If you start out with a group of runners significantly faster than you, you risk starting out too fast and burning out before the end of the race.  Which leads us to…

Rule #3 – Don’t start out too fast

I joke that my personal race motto is “Start out slow, then ease up.”  But in general, you should try to start out slow.  In reality, you probably won’t be that slow, but it will feel slow because of all of the race adrenaline pumping through your body.  One term that you will hear in the running world is “negative splits.”  What that generally means is that you want to run the second half of the race faster than the first.  It’s not easy to do as a new runner, but it’s just something to keep in mind.

And worst case scenario, you end up walking a bit at the end, so what?  Finish as strong as you can, celebrate the finish and use it as a learning experience.

Rule #4 – Stay Aware of the Runners Around You

I am a Galloway convert.  I run/walk – I never run straight through a race.  Lately I’ve been using a 1:1 pattern – run 1 minute, walk 1 minute.  I’m very careful to stay out of the other runners’ way.  For me, that means staying to the right side of the road and throwing my arm up in the air and shouting “Walking!” when I’m ready to take a walk break.  And of course, making sure I’m not right in front of someone when I walk.  As the race thins out, this becomes less of an issue – otherwise I can see it getting annoying.

Rule #5 – Have fun!

Running is something that we do for fun.  Sometimes we have to be reminded of this when we don’t want to go on a training run or when the alarm goes off at 2am for a race.  But it is fun.  Just remember to smile for the cameras and be proud of your accomplishment.  You did something that so many people never even attempt.   Way to go, you!

I’m sure as soon as I hit “Publish” more ideas will come to mind.  What are your best tips for newbies?

Search Terms

I like looking at the phrases people use to find my site.  Don’t worry, I can’t figure out how you personally got here.  Just how various people found the site. Here’s a sampling.

how can i cheat a marathon just to get a medal – What?  No!  You can’t.  Well, you shouldn’t.  But I know people do.  Seriously though, if you just want the medal, buy it on eBay after the race.  I’m pretty sure you’ll find just about every medal up there at some point.

if you don’t finish a disney marathon do you still get your medal?  – *sigh*  Yes, you do.  And no, I don’t like this trend in running.  They are finisher’s medals, not participant medals.  And yes, I know things happen.  But I don’t think that you should wear a finisher’s medal if you didn’t finish.  (If you fell and broke your femur and got ambulanced off the course with a bone protruding… okay, you can wear the medal even though you didn’t finish.  But that’s the only exception.)  That said, it’s a personal choice.  I think you’re lying to yourself if you are proud to wear a medal you didn’t earn though.

disney princess half marathon necklace – This is my top search for the last quarter.  And here’s what last year’s Tink and Princess necklaces look like

chalean extreme and running – I do ChaLEAN Extreme.  It’s a great weight lifting workout.  I admit, I only do the weight part and not the cardio part, since the cardio comes from my running and my biking (when I do it).   But it’s a great workout.  I did it this morning and I can feel the soreness setting in.  Love it.

pirate running outfit – I got nothing.  But now I want one.  Wait!  There is a pirate running skirt at SparkleSkirts!

running throw up – Don’t.  Just don’t.




More from runDisney

Very cool!  I love Alison Sweeney!

Biggest Loser Host Alison Sweeney Enters 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

 TV star is first celebrity to be a part of milestone weekend that features new commemorative medal, new course twists, new post-race party and enhanced entertainment; additional celebrities expected to enter in the coming weeks

 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – (July 16, 2012) – The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney headlines a list of celebrities who will be a part of the 20th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna.

Sweeney, an aspiring author (she has two books coming out in the next couple of years) and well-known for her role on Days of Our Lives in addition to The Biggest Loser, is entered in the Disney half marathon during the Disney Marathon Weekend, Jan. 10-13, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.

Sweeney is an avid runner who has competed in various marathons and half marathons around the country, however the Disney half marathon will be her first runDisney event. Sweeney is expected to attend the race along with her husband and two children.

“With all of the cool new elements that will be part of this special 20th anniversary Disney marathon weekend, this seemed like the race to run in 2013,’’ said Sweeney. “We’re going to make it a family trip so my husband and kids can share in this fun experience.’’

Sweeney is expected to be among several celebrities and international running stars who participate in the historic Disney Marathon Weekend that will offer several new features:


  • Enhanced entertainment at Mile 20 to celebrate the 20th anniversary
  • A specially-designed 20th anniversary Mickey Mouse medal
  • New course routes through the Walt Disney World Speedway and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • A new post-race party at Downtown Disney

The Disney Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna will again feature Kids’ Races throughout the weekend, including the Mickey Mile, as well as a Family Fun Run 5K on Friday, the Half Marathon on Saturday and the Marathon on Sunday.  There is also Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge which involves running the half marathon and the full marathon – a total of 39.3 miles.  The Health and Fitness Expo runs throughout the weekend at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and features the latest in running technology and fashion, as well as renowned running experts such as Jeff Galloway, the official training consultant for runDisney.

Runners can register for the race and get more information at