Am I a Runner?

We have just returned to our home after spending the last 4 days at Disney World. Most people that know us will not be at all surprised by us spending 4 days at Disney World – however they most likely would not really believe we went there because it was Marathon Weekend. However I am not a runner – the runners are crazy people.

So – where to begin? Leslie became a member of a Facebook group of people that love Disney some time back. There are a lot of nice people in the group and Leslie has gotten to know a good number of them and we have met a good number of them in person, mostly at the parks, but some during ourtravels. After the Princess Half Marathon last February some of the people that ran it started talking about in the Facebook group and posting pictures. Well it turns out that there are character photos that you can get during the runs that you can’t normally get. This got Leslie and a few of the other group members interested in running the Princess half in February of 2013.

After Leslie signed up for the Princess and really started to understand how she would need to train for it, we continued to talk about it and at some point I agreed to support her by running it with her.  I guess I should be clear – I agreed to attempt to train and run it with her, although I really did not think that I would be successful.

I was never a ‘runner’, and assumed that I never would become one. We started training with the Galloway run, walk, run method and started to have some success. We signed up and a 5K (3.1 miles) Glow Run in Iowa. We did OK – but after I ran 3.1 miles, I had no idea how I could continue for another 10. The day after the run we went to an amusement park – and I wa sore and really knew there was no way I could run 13.1 miles. Given our work and the weather in Iowa we had limited success with our training program. We started back up the training. We started to have some longer runs (like 4 and 5 miles), and although I was able to complete the runs I started to have problems
with shin splints. Leslie read about calf compression sleeves and since they were helping her I got a pair also and they helped me.

Our next race was another 5K – but this time at Disney. It was the 5K that is part of the Tower of Terror 10 Miler Weekend. The 5K was listed as a ‘Trail’ run – but we had never done one so we did not know what to expect. I run a bit faster than Leslie so we started together and after a little I started to run ahead. It was not long at all until my shins were burning – even though I had my calf sleeves on I had the worse shin splints I
ever had. I started walking slowly and it was not long until Leslie caught up with me.  I do have to agree it was fun seeing the characters along the path and we both got a great picture with the grave diggers from the Haunted Mansion. We completed the 5K – and I really did not think that there was any way I could complete a half marathon.

After the 5K I got a chance to speak with Jeff Galloway and learned that a likely cause of my shin splints was over striding. Who knew – I just assumed that if one wanted to run faster the obvious way would be to increase the stride so you could cover more ground. So we continued with the training and I worked at a faster pace with a short stride.  It has worked – I have not had much problem with shin splints. The training continued and the length of the long runs increased.

We signed up for the Jingle Jungle 5K that was part of the Wine and Dine half marathon weekend in November. This was a run thru Animal Kingdom and we had lots of fun. I realized that when I completed the run I felt pretty good (even though I got up at some crazy time in the morning since we had to be at the start of the race by like 5:30am).

Fast forward to early January, the training schedule said it was time for another long run – this time 10 miles. I did not dread it – although I know it would be time consuming (I am not fast).  Right around 9 miles into the run I was feeling pretty good – but my right knew started to have a good bit of pain. I slowed down and did more walking but by the time I hit 9.5 miles I figured I should stop. It hurt really bad I was very afraid and upset that would not be able to run the Princess Half. That was a bit of a strange realization – I was no longer convinced I could not do and dreading it – but I was looking forward
to it.

Well some rest for a few days along with some ice, taping and ibuprofen and I figured I should try a short run to see what would happen, since we had signed up for the Family Fun Run 5K which is part of the Maratho Weekend activities. The short run of 2.25 miles went well – no pain. So on Friday I did the 5K and got my best times ever (including stopping at some of the character spots). When I hit the 3 mile marker I heard someone next to me say something along the lines of just 1 tenth of a mile left and that he thought he might make it.  I was thinking– Just 10 miles left – no problem.

Bill in Epcot

Family 5K - Bill in Epcot

Disney races are fun with the characters – but there is also the Expo before the race where you can buy all kinds of stuff for runners. This was the third Disney Expo we have been to and have spent some money at each one. One of the things they also have; are the medals they give out for the races – and the medals are pretty cool. There is a special medal for running either a marathon or haft marathon at Disney World and a half marathon at Disneyland in the same year – it is called the Coast to Coast medal and depicts the famous Partners statue of Walt and Mickey. Yeah I will need one of them some year. They also have a special medal for the Goofy Race and Half Challenge – it is for people that run a Half Marathon on Saturday and then get up on
Sunday and run a Full Marathon.

Well I am not sure what has happened to me – but perhaps I am becoming a runner even though I have not yet completed my first half marathon. I bought a runners watch that has a heart rate monitor and GPS in the watch. And perhaps I am just a bit Goofy because I bought a running shirt that says in training for the Goofy.  Today my training plan had me do a short run of 2.5 miles, which I did earlier today – I want to go back and do it again.

I guess I am becoming a runner – a few months ago I ‘knew’ I could never complete a half marathon in the time allowed, now I believe that with the right training I can run 39.3 miles in 2 days. That is just Goofy (or should I say Dopey).