runDisney – The Road to The Dark Side

When last I mentioned my future runDisney plans, I was whining about my treadmill and hoping to register for the 2017 Star Wars Dark Side Challenge.  Good news on both fronts!  I’ve made peace with my treadmill, have registered Joseph and I for the Challenge, and we’ve got just four months left before the big event.

runDisney – The Road to The Dark Side

Both of my children have started running and have frequently given their time generously to keep me company on my weekend long runs.  Megan’s had some knee trouble lately, but back in the early fall, she let me run with her for her very first 5K.  I was extremely proud and know that she’s got lots more races ahead of her!  She’s run 9-10+ miles with me a couple times, so I’m hoping a Disney half-marathon is in her future.  Princess 2018 maybe?  That would be perfect!

Back to the Dark Side.  When registration opened in August, I registered Joseph and I for the two races that make up the Challenge – The Star Wars 10k on April 22nd and The Star Wars Half Marathon on April 23rd.  Next we needed to find a race close to home to use for proof of time.  While proof of time is not mandatory, sending in official race results to runDisney from a 10k or half marathon helps determine a runner’s starting corral.  No proof of time = start at the very back of the pack.  I found a 10k, the Black Bear Grin and Bear It, and we ran as fast as we could on a chilly November morning.  Proof of time?  Check!

Fearing we’d lose momentum after the 10k and with the winter ahead, I found a half marathon in Lafayette, Louisiana and asked Joseph if he wanted to run it with me.  He didn’t even hesitate – we were a go!  So last weekend, during an extreme cold snap, we bundled up for the race!  Raymond and Joseph’s girlfriend, Lyndsey, found a spot along the race course where they’d see us three times without ever having to move.  Post-race, we spent the weekend enjoying Cajun Country and all the great food to be found there!  My friend, Karen, from Just Me and My Running Shoes (great blog for Disney fans & running moms!) also ran the half and I had a wonderful time catching up with her!  She’s the sweetest!

Photo courtesy of Karen Seal

Now I’m back to worrying about losing steam.  I’ve got my eye on another half marathon in February in Minden, Louisiana for St. Jude’s.  I hear it’s a hilly, but beautiful course.  I’m not concerned about how fast we’ll run during the Dark Side Challenge, I’m more about making sure we’re comfortable during the races so we can enjoy all the Disney details and soak up the atmosphere.  Keeping up a good training program will help maintain fitness and increase the chances of having smooth, easy races.  That’s my theory anyway.

How about you?  Are you eyeing a runDisney event in the future?  Got any training tips for us?

Glass Slipper Challenge Prep

Running-Race-BibsThe Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend kicks off in just 75 days.  This fall, my son, Joseph, has been my faithful training buddy – I’m seriously indebted to him!  Long run after long run, Joe’s been there for me all the way.  Every time I asked him to train for and run a race with me, he said yes.  We ran 5K’s a 10K and a half marathon – his first, on November 15th.  All to help me get ready for a special weekend in February – one that he will not be attending.  That alone has made me feel especially loved!  I’ve invited him to join me in 2017 and, of course, he said yes.

Today for the Friday Five, I thought I’d list my five favorite training necessities for…

Glass Slipper Challenge Prep

The Glass Slipper Challenge invites runners to complete both the Enchanted 10K and the Princess Half Marathon.  It comes with an extra medal – and a great sense of accomplishment.  You can read about my 2015 experience here (10K) and here (Half Marathon).

Here are my five most important training necessities:Running-Through-History

A Strong Support System – Joseph keeps me company and encourages me on long runs while Raymond gets us to our favorite route.  Every weekend, at least once (sometimes twice), we drive 45 minutes to the Vicksburg National Military Park to run while Raymond rides his bicycle.  We have no hills where we live (unless you count overpasses), but the park is extremely runner and cyclist-friendly while offering a variety of options for racking up hilly mileage.Running-Nike-Fans

The Right Shoes – I’m a Nike fan.  Over the years I’ve tried some other brands to consistently disappointing results.  I’ve had my gait analyzed to determine the best brand for me and…Nike!  I buy a whole size up and add my favorite Lynco orthotics.  No matter what brand of shoe you like the best, it’s super important that you have good footwear for training and racing.  Be sure to buy a new pair every 300-500 miles.  I keep a training log that helps me keep track of mileage – otherwise, I’d keep the same pair of shoes forever.Running-Age-Group-Award-Winners

Excellent Socks – The older I get, the more this matters.  I have more trouble with my feet than I do with any other running ailment.  I’m picky about my socks!  Hands down (LOL), my feet are much happier when I’m wearing my Balega Socks – I swear by these babies for all long runs and races.  I found them five years ago (Raymond bought me my first pair) and have been a huge fan ever since.Running-Age-Group-Awards-5K

A Training Plan – There are excellent plans for every race distance available free on the internet – find and follow one that’s right for you based on your level of running experience.  Having the proper base mileage is as important as building your weekly mileage gradually to avoid injury.  Pick a plan and stick with it!Running-Dirty-South-Half-Marathon

Happy Listening – There’s no way I could log all the necessary training miles without my favorite tunes and podcasts.  I typically start with a podcast episode or two then switch to music for the last third of my long runs.  I’m not sure how or why that works best for me, but it’s now part of my routine and I have to do it that way.  Sometimes Joseph and I ditch our ear buds and just listen to my iPhone out loud together.  which reminds me – get a good armband phone holder.

Your turn!  I’d love to hear about your must-have training items.  Also, if you’ve got any costume suggestions for me (I’m not into sparkly tutus or princess-y themes), I’d appreciate the help!