Quality Over Quantity

I’m so excited to be finishing off the first week of 2013 on a positive note. I’m finally feeling healthy again, I’m soaking up tons of vitamin D while I’m with my family, and I’m keeping up with my resolutions!

I finished the first week of the hundred push ups challenge successfully. 152 push ups done so far! Hurrah. However, I’m thinking of bumping back to column two to improve upon my form.

I’m all about quality over quantity! If I’ve got a choice between a large amount of milk chocolate or a small amount of dark chocolate, I’d much rather enjoy the bitter, rich taste of dark chocolate. I think that with push ups, If I’m more focused on great form, they’ll be more effective.

Pushing through push ups simply because of pride doesn’t make sense. I’m doing this for me — so there’s no shame in stepping back and assessing what’s right for me at the moment. If it means scaling back my push ups so I can focus on form, I’m completely okay with that.

Here’s to quality experiences for the rest of 2013!

Disney Princess Half-Marathon: Part III

Right as I was about to run through Cinderella’s Castle, I saw Minnie in true princess fashion!  So, so excited.  The attendant warned that the line was closing in two minutes, but I made it!  Hurrah!

While I was on line, I saw the two unofficial balloon pacers walk by (they were walking a 16-minute-per-mile pace, the minimum needed to stay in the race, not get picked up & driven to the finish line).  I had always trained at about a 12:15 mile on my long runs, so I wasn’t worried–but I didn’t take into account walk breaks because I was sick, photo stops with characters, and a bathroom break.  Still, I wasn’t giving up a photo with Minnie!

Or The Princess and the Frog characters:

I LOVED their costumes and they were so friendly!  Definitely one of the highlights of the race.  At this point, the bikers informed me I was two minutes behind pace and I needed to catch up.  I asked if I stayed ahead of the bikers–would I be okay then?  They said no, I had to be in front of the balloon pacers–the ones that had passed me while I was on line for Minnie!  Aaaagh.  I sped off through Frontierland and rocketed forward.  I skipped the HUGE line for Sleeping Beauty as soon as I got out of the MK because I did NOT want to get driven to the finish line!  I must have been running an 8:00/mile pace; I was so terrified I would be picked up during the race.  I knew it was not an empty threat and I had been in a completely empty Adventureland (minus two women, but I’ll get to them later).  Luckily, I caught up to the balloon pacers and walked slightly ahead of them for a while.

At mile 7, Kelly Clarkson’s What Doesn’t Kill You was blasting on the speakers.  We were running on a VERY narrow strip of road backstage, and the walking and the song provided a much-needed boost.  I decided to pick up the pace to give myself a little wiggle room.  One man cheering on racers said, “Run faster! There’s free beer at the finish line!”  When no one picked up the pace, he started singing, “Iiiiit’s a small world after all, iiit’s a small world aaaaafter all…” over and over.  He was hilarious (and I obligingly picked up the pace).  As cute as that ride is, that song never gets stuck out of my head!
Stitch just went on a break when I passed by, but Lilo was still there!  Lilo & Stitch is definitely one of my favorite Disney movies, so I was psyched.  I was also feeling good, well ahead of the pacers, and running strong.

I saw my parents again at mile 8!  They made it!  Based on my 5k and 10k automated text updates, they weren’t expecting me for another twenty minutes at least.  I gave them a quick hug, explained I need to be speedy because of the balloon pacers, and took off.

I saw Goofy and golf gear and I had to stop…I mean, why not?! (Well, because I was terribly aware that the pacers were very close behind.)

Now, I had to wait in line for Goofy.  No problem.  But it was behind the same two women whom I had been behind since Adventureland–and they brought their autograph books with them.  Both of them.  It was incredibly, incredibly frustrating that I had to wait for the two of them for three photos while the characters signed.  With the pacers so close, this really shouldn’t be allowed.  Luckily, the character attendant for Goofy refused and I took off soon after.  I was determined to get ahead of them before the next photo.

Which I did!  Hi, Pocahontas.  I was a little nervous here because I could SEE the pacers from here! AAAH!  We were circling past the MK again and back down the other side of the highway, the opposite side from where we came.

In reality, when ants aren’t purple and cute, I hate ants.  But here I stopped for A Bug’s Life photo.

It was past mile 10 (I passed it around A Bug’s Life!), my first time in double-digits as a runner.  This Toy Story soldier was telling me to keep on keepin’ on!

More and more people were walking as we neared mile 11, but I kept on running!  As we ran over an overpass, they had cars clearing the highway of runners.

Up next: Mile 11 and the Magical Finish!  Disney Princess Half-Marathon: Part IV

Adventuring in Progress….

What can I say? I sincerely apologize for the gigantic hiatus. College got the best of me, and these past four months have been unlike anything I’ve ever known.

What I did this half of 2011:

-Ran a 10k! (recap coming!) The Rock ‘n’ Roll 10k in Prospect Park was one of the most unprepared-for events I’ve ever participated in. I’d only run two 5ks before this, so I was a wreck, but it was an amazing race and I finished with a smile on my face!

-Got a 4.0 average! I was taking two major classes, but only twelve credits. Still…it’s a proud moment.

-Which means I made the Dean’s List!

-Had an amazing social life and managed to meet some incredible people (including my boyfriend, but more on that later).

-Fell in love with yoga Oooh, yoga. I love it. I’ve started practicing some yoga stretches after runs and I’ve noticed it makes such a difference in my running. And stretching and warm-ups and cool-downs are now my buds. 2012 will not be the year of injuries!

-Mourned the loss of my kitchen

I have microwaveable soup more often than I would like, but the weekend breakfasts are very good. Still, I miss my gigantic fridge of fruit and veggies at home!

-Played in the snow…on Halloween
Snowball fight with my friends? Check!

-Went to my first concert! (Laura Stevenson & The Cans) They were amazing live, even though I didn’t get home till 2:30 am! It was worth it.

Here’s to an adventure-filled (AND blog-filled) 2012!

Hang on tight for the ride!

(Ziplining in Costa Rica, Jan. 2012)

Dare I Say It?

For the past two weeks, I haven’t dared utter a word of what I have been doing.

Running!

What has been taboo since March 23rd for me (after an ill-timed torn tendon), is now slowly creeping back into a habit. I have been taking the process extremely slow. I injured myself by doing too much too soon, and I’m determined not to do so again.

I’ve been jog/walking, actually, and even though I’m of the “if you put on running shoes and slog through any kind of weather, no matter what the speed, you’re a runner” camp, I felt as if I were deceiving myself.

Today I ran for six minutes and walked for one minute. Just for a mile. Granted, it was a slow mile, but I had no pain at all afterward. My watch even said I was on track for an 11:17 mile. I am going to focus on the fact that I RAN A MILE WITH NO PAIN and ignore that it was only a little over twelve minutes, actually, because I took two walk breaks.

I’m okay with walk breaks. (Repeat to self ten zillion times until I actually believe it.)

I know eventually I’m going to tear through the Walt Disney World Princess Half-Marathon, and I’m going to be in tip-top shape because I’m being careful.

I hope.

Ahhh, caution.

A good adventurer should not throw caution out the window. Maybe you should just tuck it in a back pocket–the kind with a zipper, you know, the one where it won’t fly away.

After over two months of molding my body to my couch (seriously), I’ve had a lot of time to ruminate about my running philosophy. After all, my life philosophy is to BE ADVENTUROUS.

How this translates into my running/fitness life:

Try new ways of cross-training. Rock climbing! Swimming! Biking! Even spin. Uh-oh. (My second-ever spin class post is coming this week! I blocked the memory of the first one out of my mind. From the horror.) Triathlon sounds like a fantastic idea to me–I can count cross-training as my real training! I love multi-tasking.

Be practical. I love the idea of barefoot running. Born to Run romanticizes it, but I have no doubts that humanity thrived barefoot for ages and the technique has its benefits. However, I don’t think it’s easy in the Northeast to run with my toes peeking out in the dead of winter. Minimalist running is a good compromise–I run in New Balance WT101 shoes. My knee problems have disappeared in them, and they’re both lightweight and durable. The majority of my running is asphalt, not trail, but whatever works! They’ve molded well to my feet and they’re comfy. I don’t need bells and whistles on my shoes as long as I can do what I have to–run, and run well. I shaved a minute from my mile time with my first timed run in these shoes, and I definitely think it was because lighter shoes made me increase my step cadence.

According to Galloway, “When you practice running with a lighter, quicker turnover, you become a faster, more efficient runner. An increased cadence also decreases your risk of injury, because your feet spend less time pounding the pavement.”

Sounds good to me!

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I tooted this one around before, but now I truly try to follow it. I never skip a warm-up or cool down. There is a difference between “sore” and “hurt” and I learned it the hard way.

Happy adventuring! I’m back on track for my goals, and that’s a successful day in my mind, no matter how slow.