Sunday, July 14, 2013

Run Kimmy, Run. Destination, Disney!

If you follow my blog, you probably know my desire to run a 5K before I was 40 somehow grew from a personal challenge and bucket list item for a girl who not only used to hate running, but whose body railed against her running efforts at every turn, to the girl who is not only planning to run her first half-marathon, but is actually enjoying running!

WTF has happened to me?! 

It hasn't been easy.  I've been intermittently active throughout my life having done gymnastics at a young age, then roller skating for years, more than my share of aerobics, dancercize variations and working out at the gym and at home, rowing crew my freshman year in college (holy crap, that's harder than it looks!), skiing, a year of yoga (which I miss terribly) and then back to gym again.  My fitness endeavors never lasted very long.  It seemed once beyond college they were interrupted by work, kids, and other more practical pursuits. Time became fleeting and precious and there was simply not enough of it to go around.  Like many moms, I sacrificed my 'me' time for my family, my job and to allow my kids to pursue their dreams.  

Then my body and my mind went to hell.  That served no one! 

I'm a physical therapist.  I get fitness.  I teach it every day.  I understand the physiology of exercise.  My job used to be my workout when I worked full time in a clinical position in a nursing home or rehab unit.  I walked miles of hallways and flights of stairs. I got my strength training helping others get theirs.  A change of job that required me to spend more time sitting and more hours working, the stresses of every day life and finding little to no time for me at all, let alone to exercise, began to take it's toll.  

I was out of shape.  I was cranky.  I was eating crap.  I wasn't sleeping well.  I felt disconnected.  I wanted to go back to the gym or back to yoga, but there was no time, no ability to do it with any consistency.  My husband and I have taken up ballroom dancing, for 2 years now, which we love and is great exercise by the way.  You try a back to back Lindy Hop and Viennese Waltz and tell me you don't feel like you were back in step-aerobics!  The problem is we barely make it once a week to dance.  We'd go far more often (and really get our money's worth) if we could, but we can't.  It's an expensive form of exercise at that rate.  

Then I was facing 40.  I decided I wanted to run a 5K.  It was for a good cause and one I supported.  I trained for 6 months starting with the couch to 5K program.  I did it!  It damn near killed me, or at least it felt like it would, but I did it.  I could hardly believe it when I crossed that finish line at 38 minutes!  I finished upright, alive and in less time than I thought I would.  

Then, I found myself registering for another race.  I figured if I didn't have a goal, I'd never keep running.  

Fast forward 3 years.  I've run on and off.  Mostly off in the winter.  Then, this January, I saw a photo of the start of the Disney Half-Marathon.  I was shocked to hear the words, "I want to do that!" come out of my mouth!  Lucky for me, my sister and a friend are also crazy and agreed to do it with me.  We are registered for the January 2014 Disney Half-Marathon!  

Thus, the training has begun in earnest now.  Set backs due to the heat and humidity and vacation are actually frustrating me!  My buried alive competitive streak is surfacing.  Not to 'beat' anyone else, but to prove to myself I can run a consistent 10 min mile.  It's no easy goal, let me tell you.  I've recently changed to the Galloway method of run: walk: run.  I'm experimenting with ratios.  I get up early to run before work, before the kids get up, before I lose interest or get preoccupied.  Of course as my runs get longer and the daylight gets shorter, this may be more challenging.

I just returned from Disney for a vacation with my family.  It totally got me inspired and psyched up for the race.  I was thinking about actually running through the parks in the dark, and then, in the early light of day. Running across the start line, through Cinderella's castle, along the roads, into EPCOT and then across the finish line.  Receiving my Donald Duck 1/2 Marathon medal.  Cheering on my sister, who is running for the first time in her life.  Cheering on total strangers for dancing with their fitness demons.  Hearing that gospel choir propel us to the finish line.  The 20,000 people running with me, having fun, achieving their own personal goals.  Hearing the ChEAR squad cheer for us all, but especially having my parents and aunt there at O'dark thirty in the morning to support us.  Sharing the moment with people I love and care about and all those that I don't even know, but in spirit, we are all there for a similar reason, and that's powerful.

The start.  Can you imagine the excitement?!  Even for 5:30 am in January!

This says it all.  Although barely 3 miles in, this is the inspiration for so many Disney lovers who run. 
I have registered for a 10K in August.  I have a month to my first opportunity at a qualifying time for the Disney Half.  You don't have to qualify to run, but you can get a higher corral placement if you qualify.  

As my training is in full swing, I'll try to post updates on how it's going.  Wish me luck! 

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