Monday, January 16, 2012

Post Race Blues

It  has been an interesting week since I got back from Florida.  My left calf muscle often gets all tight after a long run and this half marathon was no exception, so I have been trying to give it some extra time to heal before I start back into training. This means less exercise, and I will that you that Jennica + less exercise = not my happiest self.

These blues may also have something to do with the fact that I got home at 12:30am Sunday and was in class at 7:00am Monday morning to start my last semester of grad school. There was no time to recoup! (Thank goodness for Civil Rights Day today!) It really was rough starting back full force into my last semester EVER of school without even a moment to breathe. That led to a whirlwind week of  catching up on classes, less than optimal eating, last minute class schedule changes, and trying to figure out how to function at 6:00am on a daily basis when I may have spent my entire Christmas break sleeping in :) (You see, the end of school is exciting, but also slightly immensely overwhelming, as I am trying to figure out what I want to do with my life).

Anyway, I did go to spin class 4 times (and I LOVE IT) and had a good swim on Saturday, but I am really looking forward to getting out and hitting the pavement again and settling back into a good training schedule. My next half is in April and I am pretty stoked!

Until then, I will settle into this heavenly box of Godiva truffles. My dad's boyfriend sent me this glorious treat as a post-race glycogen replacement. I thought it was so thoughtful! I have the greatest fans ever. For now, I can rest assured knowing that I am well taken care of.

Have you ever faced post-race blues?

What do you do to beat them?

Or are you just one of those amazing people who can embrace the break and then come back with a vengeance?

Im still trying to work that one out...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Jennica! You just finished your first half marathon! What are you going to do now?! 

I am going to Disney World!

I did it folks! I ran my first half marathon last Saturday! I got up at 2:00am to get ready for the day. As I was spraying half a can of hairspray on my hair to make sure my pixie hair stayed in place, I couldn't believe that the day had finally come. I was here to run 13.1 and today was the day! And it would be in Florida! At Disney World! In a Tinkerbell costume! I stopped and thought about who I was - and how very different this person is from who I was just a couple of years ago.  I don't know if I really understand who this new girl is, but I will tell you that I like her!

I was up so early because I had to the drive to Epcot and pick up Ashley and her mom on the way there.  I was worried about traffic and Disney did a great job of freaking us out about long delays.  The timing ended up being perfect. We did run into some delays, but it wasn't too bad. Seriously, we got to the race just as they were shutting the early morning party down and moving everyone over to the corrals, and there was nothing to worry about. 

We were in the last corral, as I never submitted an official placement time. There were 27,000 runners in the half marathon. The energy and excitement was incredible! Because we were in the back, that meant we got to hear the race start 8 times! More cheering! More fireworks! More excitement! It took almost 45 minutes after the official race start for us to cross the finish line. About 2 miles into the race we saw people from the first wave who were on their way back. Wow. Props to them! About 2 miles in we also had our first character photo stop! 

I will tell you what, Disney knows what they are doing. There were bands, and characters, and cheering people along the entire course.  At one point they even had a screen playing classic Disney cartoons.  Seriously?! It was great. If you want to get the most out of the experience you really cannot worry about your time. That was nice. I ran with Ashley for the first half of the race and she has two herniated disks in her back so we took it nice and slow. It was so great to have someone to chat with, joke with, cheer with, and take advantage of photo ops with. There is just no way to feel guilty about resting when you are in line to get a picture with a character in the Magic Kingdom in freaking Disney World! 

Ashley and I stayed together through the Magic Kingdom and then we split off. I had trained for a faster pace and I really wanted to see if I could finish fast and strong. I kept a fairly steady pace for the last 6 or 7 miles of the race and felt really good about my time overall. The last 2 miles took me past Jim and Val! They are the couple that I stayed with for the week and I will tell you that I LOVE them. They are such dear friends and were so awesome to get up early and to come cheer for me!  The very end of the race took us through Epcot and on to the finish line! Before the finish line there was an AWESOME gospel choir that sang us to the finish.  I ran hard and finished strong! I felt so great! 

It is funny because I was tired and sore and happy to stop, but I never felt like I wasn't going to finish. EPIC. WIN. After the race we spent the rest of the day in the parks.  I think that over the course of the day I probably covered 19 or 20 miles on foot. Whoa. 

Overall, the entire day, early morning, race, and Disney World, were absolutely perfect and magical. I could not have asked for more.  In fact, I am thinking about signing up for the Disneyland half in September...

Who's with me!? 

Friday, January 6, 2012


Tomorrow is the day. My first half marathon.

Is it possible to feel excited and scared and calm and nervous and at peace and TOTALLY READY TO RUN all at the same time?


See you at the finish line!

Potter Magic and Expo Magic!

Florida has been wonderful this week!  I spent Wednesday at Universal and we went to the Expo to get our race bibs yesterday.  Universal was  a lot of fun. I will tell you up front that it is no Disneyland, but it was still pretty cool.  Harry Potter World was gorgeous! It was designed to be pretty to look at, and boy was it ever, but it wasn't very functional at all. All of the stores are too small and the crowds were very poorly managed.  I guess that everything was designed by the actual set designer from the films.  Because of that you actually felt like you were in Hogsmead.  But I don't think a small wizarding town was ever meant to have thousands of people coursing through it.  For this, they may have wanted to think about expanding some things. That set designer should have had a theme park engineering friend assigned to them.  Dear Universal, This is something you may want to think about in the future.  

All that aside, it was seriously magical. Check out the castle! I was seriously tempted to try some spells while I was there, but you aren't supposed to do magic when you are in Hogsmead. Good thing they said that, or I would have been seriously disappointed if I had attempted to "acccio" some butterbeer and nothing happened. 

I don't know that I would ever go back, but it was totally worth it for this one time. And speaking of butter beer, that WAS totally worth it. It was delicious. I want some more right now. "Accio butterbeer!" 

I am not going to tell you whether that worked or not....

Thursday morning I met up with my friend Ashley to go to the Disney Health and Fitness Expo. She lived in my neighborhood last year and we found out through facebook that we were both going to be running the WDW Half Marathon. It was so great to have someone to hang out with at the Expo.

The energy at the expo was incredible. It was so cool to be around so many people who are all gearing up to do something great. There were so many different kinds of people there. There were old people, and young people, super athletic looking people, and not so athletic looking people. There were a lot of people from all around the world who had come to run.  It was another reminder that you really can do anything that you set your mind too. There is so little out there that can actually stop you. You just put one foot in front of the other. That is what I plan on doing on Saturday.

Like I said, the energy at the expo was amazing! I felt like a smarty pants because I had seen and heard about a lot of the things they had at the expo on other people's blogs.  It was fun to be able to check the stuff out in person. I did spend a lot of money, but I still came out of there without too much stuff. I got an ifitness belt so I can carry my phone and camera for the race tomorrow and I got a tshirt to run in. The shirt I brought was long sleeved and I am a little worried about it getting to warm. However, it looks like the weather is going to stay pretty mild, so I think I would have been ok.  But the shirt does match my outfit so I think I will still go with that.  I also got a half marathon magnet for my car. This was the thing I wanted most. I can't wait to be able to see it every time I get in my car and know that I accomplished this crazy thing!

We got to meet Jeff Galloway! He talked about running injury free and gave some good insight on pacing yourself and how to stay strong all the way through your race. After he spoke, he came over the RunDisney booth and we got to chat with him. He was really nice and super encouraging. We had a great time talking with him.

Cigna is one of the major sponsors of the race. They had a booth where they were doing green screen photos. You could get a picture where it looked like you were in front of some snowy mountains (looked just like home), on the moon, or in front of the finish line! Since there is no way that we are going to look this put together at the finish line (and because we are here for the race and not for the moon) we got our picture taken in at the finish line. Now it will be really easy to visualize crossing the finish line when things get difficult :)

Almost there!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When you wish upon a star...

I am in Florida! I am staying with some great friends who moved out here this year and I so happy to see them when they picked me up at the airport! They are also big Disney fans (who moved to Orlando, and have WDW Annual Passes - that should tell you something), so we decided to head right over to the WDW Resort for dinner. We had dinner at the Grand Floridian.  I got Lobster Mac and Cheese.  Gotta start carb loading now right?  I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but I love mac and cheese.  LOVE mac and cheese. Ask anyone who knows me, it is the truth. Did I mention that I love mac and cheese?  I digress. Anyway, after a delightful dinner we boarded the monorail for a full circle tour of the Disney World Resort. The best part was when we passed EPCOT and got to see all of the tents and bleachers that are being set up for the race! T-minus 4 days people! I cannot believe that I am here!

You know, crazy exciting things keep happening in my life and I never seem to get used to them, I think that is good because my life kinda plays out like some kind of fairytale and it never ceases to be magical. I was just some poor, unathletic, single-parented, 4th of 6 children, did I mention poor kid who now travels across the country to run a race in Disney World. I have traveled the world, stood on the Great Wall of China, had dinner at the Eiffel Tower, zip lined in the Alaskan rain forest, am embarking on my last semester of grad school, and am going to run 13. freaking 1 miles on Saturday. Dreams really do come true.

Wow, I think that experiences like this are defining moments that cause you take stock of your life and realize just how much you have been given and how blessed you truly are. And I am. I am totally, entirely, and truly blessed.

What are some of your dreams that have come true?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wow. 2012. This is going to be a big year for me.  My first half marathon (THIS WEEK!), I will finish graduate school with my MPA, and yes, this year, I will hit the big 3-0.  It is going to be a year full of adventure and I am both excited and scared to see how it all plays out.  Luckily enough for me...this year will start with one incredibly awesome adventure.  I leave TOMORROW for Florida! The Disney World Half Marathon is on SATURDAY! It is almost here. I can't believe that I have come this far. I have probably said this before, but I remember last year at this time when I started considering a half marathon and I thought I was probably crazy, there was just no way that I could ever do something like this.  Now I know that I can do this, that I am crazy, and I can't wait for Saturday. 

I am busy packing today and I would like you all to know that I am packing shorts. That is right! Shorts! In January! This is music to a chilly-Utah-girl's ears. The weather in Florida couldn't be more perfect this week. Thank you weather gods! 

I would also like to mention that Wednesday and Thursday are the first days of classes and I will be at Harry Potter World and Disney World on those days. Not a bad way to start the new year!

In other awesome news, I ran my last long run on Saturday.  It was 10 miles and my legs were killing me when I got back. (Note to self - intense lower body workouts are not the best idea 2 days before a long run). Anyway, I came in from my run and there was a huge box waiting for me! It was from Runner's World. I won a prize in their Gear of the Year Giveaway!  It is a NordicTrack 3 in 1 foam roller.  

You will have to excuse my post 10-miler grossness, but  I was very happy!
The foam roller is awesome. It has 2 rollers and a stick. I actually already have a foam roller and a stick, and I love them.  It is like having your own personal masseuse whenever you need one. And believe me, I need one all the time! I don't know what I would do without them.  I really like this one though because it is compact and super easy to take along with you where ever you may go. It was the perfect thing to come home to! Happy New Year to me!

Put some good things out in the universe for me for Saturday! I can't wait to tell you all about the race! 

Have you run a half marathon? If so, what was your first?  Were you scared?