Why I Race

L here, hoping everyone’s summer is going well what with jobs, family, and all the stuff that can get in the way with training.

My summer is going well, I am mainly cross training with short runs on the weekends. On one such run I thought about why I run and participate in road races as a 40 year old, soon to be 41. I race to prove to myself I still can. I am ten years out from a life changing car accident which left me with chronic pain. I live with a constant ache at the base of my skull, it never goes completely away ever. My personality has changed in ways I can’t tell but my family and friends can. I sometimes have short to mid term memory problems. I have anxiety every time I ride as a passenger in a car and I try not to watch car accidents on the big screen.

All this is to say I run because I can and if I stop moving I am afraid I may never get started again. I meditate on all this as I ran 4 miles on a dirt trail cutting through the North Dakota prairie. I race so I have a goal to strive for, every race completed is a triumph over pain. That the pain may impact my life in many ways but it does not stop or define me.

I hope everyone has a meaningful reason to run even just to enjoy the beauty of nature. Here is the sunrise on my trail run at the end of August.

Why do I race? Because today, I can.

Why do I race? Because today, I can.

Third Time’s A Charm

We are in, and 2016 will be bigger and better.

First the bigger: There will be 4 of us this year. L, me (C), my sister-in-law (K), and L’s friend S. Also, instead of just two races, we are doing all three races. From 5K to the Half Marathon, we are in. That’s four times the fun and three times the costumes!

Hope you got into the races you wanted. For some inspiration and excitement, here are some pictures of the 2015 race that haven’t yet been included in previous posts.

The Army Man hollers at you just about at mile 10.

The Army Man hollers at you just about at mile 10.

The future Mrs. Gaston.

The future Mrs. Gaston.

The best ride at WDW - the train!

The best ride at WDW – the train!

The "Bachelorette" rejects showed up in Orlando

The “Bachelorette” rejects showed up in Orlando

Love the drummers!

Love the drummers!

Seeing the castle is always special.

Seeing the castle is always special.

Heroes. Front and back. You're welcome.

Heroes. Front and back.
You’re welcome.

Heroes Booty 2

Hero booty

Heroes 3

Heroes Booty

Hero booty in better light.

Heroes front

It's a jolly holiday.

It’s a jolly holiday.

Vanellope

Vanellope posed just for me!

Sword in the Stone

Despite his strength, Gaston couldn’t pull the word from the stone.

Run Like Gaston Proposed

I didn’t catch a single Belle during the race.

The most wonderful sight of the race - the gospel choir! You reach them and you are almost done.

The most wonderful sight of the race – the gospel choir! You reach them and you are almost done.

L’s 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap

After completing the 10k, getting back to All Star Sports for a shower and change of clothes. C and I hit the Magic Kingdom for one magical day of fun. We rode rides we missed the week before, managed to get into Be Our Guest for Lunch, rode

C, teaching the Impossibles her sweet moves.

C, teaching the Impossibles her sweet moves.

Most exciting ride at Magic Kingdom

Most exciting ride at Magic Kingdom

the People Mover 4 times, danced with Mr. and Mrs. Impossible and had a glorious time on the teacups.

We left the park about 5 to get back to the room about 6. Ate dinner (Whole Foods again – I think we bought out the buffet!) C needed some gloves for her Gaston costume – I started the first glove during the day at Magic Kingdom and finished the pair by 8pm Saturday night. Made sure the alarm was set for 3 am and 3:15, and promptly went to sleep for a few hours.

I don’t sleep well the night before these races as I am anxious about missing the buses. I actually woke up before the alarm, started the kettle for hot water and started getting ready so C and K could get ready when they woke up. We managed to get dressed in 20 minutes and out the door in time for the first buses leaving for Epcot. We again arrived early in time to get pics with Rapunzel! After visiting the numerous Portopotties, we headed for the corrals. C headed for her corral G, L for K and K for P. At 6 am I started my race – 30 minutes after the elite runners start. I did my run walk ratio for the first 5 miles before I got into a pack of runners where we just kept moving.

The first highlight was coming through the entrance for Disney the volunteers at the ticket booths for cars, were very cheerful and one was dancing up a storm to warn us about the speed bumps. I met up with a mother and daughter running for the Girls on the Run – the daughter in a wheelchair as she has Rett’s Syndrome and her mom had gotten permission to run with her. The young lady was so positive and happy running with her mom and receiving high 5s all the way along Main Street – the daughter raised her arm for people to touch, which I could see was a little difficult for her to keep up for all the 5s.

They waved right at me!

They waved right at me!

I continued on through the Magic Kingdom, looking for short lines – hint there was none by the time i came by. I did take pictures of Elsa, Ana and Kristof, Vanellope and the villains. After going

L with Anna and Elsa

L with Anna and Elsa

through the castle I put my iPod away and concentrated on finishing. The sun is high by 8:30 and I slowed down from my 13:30 minute mile to a 15 minute mile until I reached mile 11. I then slowed to an 18-20 mile walk and start wondering where the finish is. At this point the 10k and day at the park are really slowing me down – I set my mind to finishing, not stopping until I get my medal.

I managed to stay ahead of the buses finishing in 3:28; 8 minutes slower than my time last year. I got my medals, picture and finisher goodies. I get myself to the All Star bus, by 10 so I can shower and change before we need to leave the room by 11. C got to the room well ahead of me, had showered and started to load the car. I showered and changed, took my pain pills and rested while we waited for K. The Disney staff were wonderful about waiting for us to shower and change. Pro tip: if you must leave directly after a race, have everything ready to load the night before, only have your change of clothes and toiletries out. We also loaded anything non essential the night before. Once everyone had showered and changed, we headed off to the Fort Wilderness Lodge for a celebratory lunch at the Whispering Canyons Cafe for a much deserved lunch. 
 r and change for us to leave. Pro tip: if you must leave directly after a race, have everything ready to load the night before, only have your change of clothes and toiletries out. We also loaded anything non essential the night before. Once K was changed we headed off to the Fort Wilderness Lodge for a celebratory lunch at the Whispering Canyons Cafe.

Race Recap: 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Enchanted 10K

Leaving for race weekend

Leaving for race weekend

I know, this post is 2 months late. Like last year, personal sadness took over race weekend and immediately thereafter. I apologize for the delinquency in the posting schedule, but I am getting this up before registration for the 2016 Princess Half Marathon opens up, so at least there is that.

Enough with the explanations, on to the recap. L arrived about 10 days before race weekend to acclimate to the Florida weather from the North Dakota winter. Last year, race weekend was hot and very humid. This year, it was cold – but more on the weather later. L and I did our park weekend before the race (instead of after, like last year).

Thursday night before race weekend, L and I packed up, made sure our costumes were ready and we had the requisite 57 dispensers of half-used BodyGlide in our possession. This year, we had the best addition to our sisterdom: my sister-in-law, K. This would be K’s first half marathon. I warned K before we left that, “L and I tend to bicker. Don’t worry about it too much.” If only she knew how much we actually bicker.

Friday morning, we picked up K and drove to Orlando. L and I bickered the whole way. I prefer to describe it as “talking,” but I suppose to someone unaccustomed to how L and I communicate, it would sound like bickering. Nice to know our communication style is unchanged from what it was in middle school.

We arrived at the Expo and parked. We were later this year than the year before and the parking lot was already fairly full.

Getting ready to Expo

Getting ready to Expo

We picked up our race packets, took some pictures, looked at the vendors, got covered in glitter then left to check into the hotel. We stayed at All Star Sports this year. It was charming, I think I prefer it to Pop Century. There are not many pictures of the Expo available because I dropped my camera in a toilet. Just accept it as a fact that happened and we’ll move on from that.

After checking in, we went to the Disney Character Outlet and Whole Foods to get our fuel for the next few days. K told me she had never been to a Whole Foods before. I have been in this woman’s family for nearly 10 years and I never knew about this void in her life. I had to still the shock to my West-Coast sensibilities (how can you avoid a Whole Foods?) and vowed to rectify this rare deficiency in my sister-in-law’s otherwise perfect existence.

Back at the room, we ate our dinners from Whole Foods and laid out our race clothes for the next two days. L showed K her whole system for race-day preparation. L prepared her outfit and pinned her bib to her shirt. K decided she would join us for the 10K.

We are going to look so good!

We are going to look so good!

L was in charge of getting us where we needed to be when we needed to be there. She did

I hate it when L is right.

I hate it when L is right.

her job well. Like last year, I don’t know if she slept, but I know that at 3:15 I smelled coffee and oatmeal. And, just like last year, it pains me to admit it, but yes – the electric water kettle is a good idea if you are staying in a value resort. Disney does not put coffee makers in these rooms, so if your pre-race routine includes coffee and oatmeal, get a $20 kettle and make your life easier.

We trekked out to the buses and caught the first one to the race start. The 2014 race weekend was hot and humid. The 2015 race weekend was markedly different. Notably, it

K, C, and the smartest of us all: L

K, C, and the smartest of us all: L

was cold. Really, really cold. L had brought a garbage bag with holes cut for the arms and head. She walked around like a crinkly roly-poly and while I teased her (see, “bickering” above), I was secretly jealous. I wish I’d been smart enough to take her up on her offer of garbage bag warmth.

Han and Snow

Han and Snow

Because we were at the start so early, we got to enjoy the pre-race entertainment Disney

C and Tiana

C and Tiana

provided. There was a DJ who was adorable. He made jokes, got the crowd worked up and led us in dances. There were also princesses for pictures. One of the neat things about it being so cold was that we got to see the princesses in their cold-weather clothes. I’d never seen those outfits before, so it was kind of special. We got pictures with Snow White and Tiana. Pocohantas and Cinderella also made appearances.

This is Thriller!

This is Thriller!

Eventually, we had to stop dancing to “Thriller” and move onto our corrals. I met a young woman in my corral who had a great Vanellope costume. She had just started running and the 10K was her test-run of Disney races. Eventually, we moved up to the start and headed out.

FairiesL instructed me to take pictures on the 10K. I tried, I swear I did. I stood in line for a picture with the White Rabbit and Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, just for them to break. That’s okay, there were some fairies right up ahead. As I grew close, I saw that the line for them was ridiculously long. I chose to take a picture of them from a distance and continue on.

The 10K was fun. We ran through the backside of Epcot, which was really cool to see that 10K Stiltwalkers 2entrance. There were stilt-walkers for pictures at the entrance, they looked ready for Mardi Gras.

The course winds through Epcot and the World Showcase. The view of the sun rising with fake-Paris and faux-London both in the foreground is breathtaking.

L was right (ugh, that’s twice this weekend already!) about getting pictures with characters during the 10K Jiminy Cricket10K. My pace is faster than L’s and I am accustomed to the Florida weather (even the frigid Florida winter, like we experienced this day). I was able to get pictures with some fun characters.

10K Goofy

As the race progressed out of Epcot through the Boardwalk resort area, I got to see more of my fellow racers costumes. There was an adorable Tinkerbell and Wendy pair with costumes that looked like they came out of the Disney back-lot. A group running as characters from Aladdin were spritely and enthusiastic. Truly, the best part of the Disney races is seeing the costumes everyone comes up with. This year, my costume was better received than the very obscure costume choice L and I went with last year. This year, for the 10K, I was Han Solo. This was mistaken as a pirate, but I think a pirate is close to space cowboy, so I’ll take it.

K braved the frigid temperatures and waited for me to finish the race. We went back to the hotel and got changed to get ready for the day. K went resort hopping and L and I went to the Magic Kingdom. We couldn’t stay too late. We had a half marathon to run the next day.

Well, I went to bed. At about 6:30 the night before the half marathon, I asked L to make me gloves for my Gaston costume. And my older sister, who I had tormented for at least 48 hours on-end, stayed up and crocheted me Gaston gloves.

Next up: 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap.

A Long Delayed Race Recap: Princess Glass Slipper

At least somebody showed up on time.

At least somebody showed up on time.

Welp a month out from Princess I am finally writing my recap – recovering, trying not to get sick and having to earn money for next year’s Princess pushed the recap to the back burner. C and I decided to register for the Glass Slipper Challenge way back in July. Now a word of warning if you decide to do the Glass Slipper Challenge you really do need to train – keep conditioned, and even then adjust expectations from your training dreams. You are completing 19 plus miles (I am counting all the weaving you do while on a adventure)!
Thursday, We went straight to the expo to pickup our packets and load up on Princess merchandise! This year RunDisney took every Glass Slipper participants picture to verify that everyone completes their race. C and I had our pictures taken with our 13.1 tiaras! After getting our shirts and bibs – we split up to conquer the vendors! I got my Run Mickey Vinylmation, “I did it” Half and Glass Slipper shirts, magnets for fridge and work cart, a coffee mug and a long sleeve Half shirt all and got the “My wife is my favorite Disney Princess” in my brother in law’s size for C all in the Run Disney merchandise booths. You need to keep your eyes open and if you see something you like you need to pick it up then cause it probably won’t be around long if you think about it. I visited the spi-belt booth for more running belts, bondi band, sparkle athletics, got another pair of oofus sandals and a pair of new to me compression sleeves. We also visited an Orlando outlet mall that has a Disney outlet store and stocked up on gifts for people back in ND. We also visited Whole Foods for snacks and dinner. We stayed at All Sports this year – which had a fridge but no coffee maker! So electric kettle pays for itself again. We unpacked and organized for the 10k and half by making hangers of our race outfits with everything needed for our 3 am alarm.
Getting groovy before getting moovy

Getting groovy before getting moovy

10k – Since C and I had memories of an hour wait in the bus from last year and All Sports is farther away from Epcot than Pop we got on the earliest bus we could for the start line. We arrived in time to dance at the grandstand and get pictures taken with Princesses! before heading to the corrals. The 10k takes a runner through the working sides of Epcot and the Boardwalk resorts. I was planning on character pics but the lines were long by the time I got to them so I just took pics on the fly. I had also gotten the Marathon photo package so tried to make sure I looked decent for the on course photographers.

Had enough time to take a selfie in Epcot.

Had enough time to take a selfie in Epcot.

L and Snow White

L and Snow White

It was a chilly for Florida morning but a great morning for a run – I maintained my usual pace of 13:30 for the 10k finishing in 1:26 – after gathering my 10k medal checking to make sure nothing was needed for the GSC I got my finisher goodies and headed to the bus back to All Sports for a shower and a day with C at the Magic Kingdom.
Night before the half – C wants fingerless gloves for her Gaston costume – she mentioned this Thursday night so wasn’t a surprise I had started them and worked on them while waiting in line at various attractions at Magic Kingdom but I had not completed them as of 6 pm so I was up till 8:30 finishing the gloves. They do make the outfit and were much better for C than leather or other full gloves. (Next post will be more half and finish with pics.)L and Tiana

Just Keep Swimming!

Today is one day before we leave for Disney and our first Glass Slipper Challenge! Princesses from around the world are converging on the castle. C and I did a run/walk run this morning to test costumes and to wear out C’s dog Pippin. I managed a decent pace of 16:30 which means with my corral placements I should complete both races with some time to spare for photos on the way. My goal for my two races is to finish and no rides in Disney transports before I finish once I start. C’s sister in law K will be completing her first half at Princess! We are all super excited and nervous all at the same time.

Thursday (the day of this post) will be spent doing last minute laundry, layout of clothes to make sure we have everything and packing. This does include the electric kettle, as I will not be traipsing around the hotel looking for ways to boil water for oatmeal and coffee!

Friday the three of us invade Disney for the Expo! We plan on arriving around 11. Look for the fussing sisters wearing 13.1 tiaras. Please stop and say hi, we may have a gift for you.

A final word before the races from the blue fish Dory to keep in mind – Keep swimming, just keep swimming and you will make it through.