I’m the first to acknowledge that my winter training left much to be desired. I managed to schedule some runs, non-competitive runs for fun that were roughly spaced in such a way that I didn’t get too lazy. But they weren’t easy runs (and some of them should have been). I put off getting back to my training because once I started a regular routine again, I’d have to admit to myself that I was out of shape. By avoiding working out, I could pretend a little and convince myself that I could pick up right where I left off without any loss of strength or endurance. HA! The tricks ours minds play…
But three big things have conspired to force the training issue. I say “conspired” like I was tricked into something; these three things were entirely by choice on my part, and taken together (or, heck, individually) they mean I have to get back on the trail and into the gym. This past Saturday, I finally laced up for a run that didn’t involve a bib or t-shirt or medal at the end and headed out on to my favorite running route to get back in the game. I’ve also returned to our neighborhood gym, where my sometimes-trainer laughed that I’d been in hibernation. No more! It’s time to get serious again and get back in shape.
So what were the three big things that motivated me to get moving again? I’m glad you asked!
1. I’m a winner.
Earlier this year, Champion Sports Bras was running a contest in conjunction with the launch of their new sports bra, the Marathon. I entered on a whim, because the prize was a trip for two to the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. I was planning to go anyway, so… why not let someone else pick up the tab? I entered, then promptly forgot about it.
Then, at the beginning of March, I got an email from a marketing consultant for Hanes (yes, that Hanes – they’re Champion’s parent company), letting me know I HAD WON THE GRAND PRIZE. Naturally, I did not believe the email. No one actually wins these sorts of things, right? I googled the consultant, as well as the Hanes employee copied on the email, and everything I found led me to believe the email was legit. And I didn’t have to provide a social security number or transfer funds from a bank account in South Africa; all I had to do was reply and accept the prize. As soon as I did, things happened very quickly. I was sent a stack of papers that had to be signed and notarized, I was shipped a complete outfit from Champion for me to wear while I train, and the process of booking all our travel arrangements began.
Tara and I (Jason is staying home since he leaves for a work conference the next day and wouldn’t have wanted to run the race anyway) are flying to Florida and back, staying in a moderate resort (no Pop or All-Stars for us!), spending almost four full days in the parks, and running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, all on Champion’s dime (save the taxes we’ll have to pay on our winnings). At first it didn’t seem real, but after we were sent a link to register for the race and there was no amount due at the end – I was a believer. Now I need to find a way to have someone else pay my way every time I run a Disney race.
2. I’m crazy.
Because a half marathon just isn’t enough of a challenge anymore (ha!), I decided to up the ante. This year is the 5th year of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series in Denver, and instead of running the half marathon again, I signed up for the full. TWENTY-SIX POINT TWO MILES, friends. If I run all the way through the finish chute and totally ignore the short tangents, I can even brag and say I (un-officially) ran an ultra-marathon! Of course, on race day, I’ll be too dead to brag.
3. No, seriously. I’m crazy.
Upping my game isn’t the only reason I registered for the full marathon. In the spirit of running for someone else instead of for myself, I decided going forward I would run as many Disney races as I could with a charity partner. Technically, I guess that means someone else is paying my way. But I have to work for it, and at least the money is going to a cause I support and believe in. Noah’s Light is an organization that fund the research toward a cure for children’s brain cancer. I’ve had running friends participate as part of Team Noah and talk about what an amazing experience it was, and I figured doing one of my favorite things – running through the Disney parks – would only be made sweeter by running to support such an incredible organization. So I signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. Sort of.
Because I’m a glutton for punishment, thanks in large part to runDisney’s incredible race medals, I signed up for the Goofy Challenge. “Goofy” because doing something like running a half marathon one day and a full marathon the next is completely, well… goofy. 2015 marks the tenth anniversary of the challenge, which means there’s a special new medal design. It has a spinner, y’all!
And to prove just how crazy I am – I tried to sign up to run the Dopey Challenge (a 5k, 10k, half and full on consecutive days) but it was sold out. Noah’s Light has put me on a waitlist in case a spot opens up, so there’s a chance it could still happen. For right now, I’m only running the two longest distances. Ha! ONLY. There are people doing the Dopey Challenge who have never run a half or full before. I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll because I did not want to be one of those people. And I’m firmly resolved to NOT do what I did last winter and stop running altogether. Having a horrible race experience like I did at the Princess Half is something I don’t want to repeat, even if it means spending three hours on a treadmill in the middle of December.
If you’d like to donate to Noah’s Light and my Goofy Challenge cause, I have my own fundraising page set up. In the months ahead, I’m hoping to come up with more creative ways to fundraise than just asking everyone I know for cash. That said – won’t you consider donating? I’m planning to make my own bib with the name of every donor on it (or a shirt, if the list gets out of control), so it’s like you’ll be running with me!
And with all that out of the way – back to training! I’ve got less than six months to prepare my body for the thorough beating of running 26.2.