2015 Highlight: The Half Marathon

The Race

On Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 I ran my first half-marathon.

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Look at this champion runner! (Dressed as Ariel aka the best Disney princess.)

It wasn’t, overall, the most spectacular race that a person ever ran. In fact, on February 23rd I probably would not have called this a highlight of my life at all.

It began well. The first half of the race was the greatest 7 miles of my life. I was running, I was flying, Disney magic was in full effect. I don’t know what the best part was—rounding the corner into Magic Kingdom to find upwards of 30 taiko drummers (my faves), or running up Main Street surrounded by cheering crowds, or running through Cinderella’s castle. Pure magic.

It was the final 6 miles that did me in. I hit a wall around Frontierland, and I ran-walked (mostly walked) the second half of the course back to EPCOT. No lie, I spent that entire 6 miles debating whether I was A) never going to run another half marathon ever again or B) so mad at my performance that I would obviously be running another half marathon so I could do better. It was a terrible 6 miles, mentally and physically.

But I finished. I finished a half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles that nobody will ever be able to take away.

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They gave me a medal and everything. I wore it on the plane home because I am a giant dork.

After the Race

It makes me sad to admit this, but I basically stopped running after the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

It was a massive achievement, but it hurt, and I let my recovery time extend, and extend, and extend. I have gone for a few short runs over the course of the year, but not more than 1.5 miles. It’s really depressing, actually.

The past few weeks I’ve started running more regularly again, and it looks like I’m going to close out 2015 by starting back down the running road. I am out of shape but happy to be running. And I finally have an answer to the dilemma that took up the second half of the race: I am a stubborn person (everyone who knows me is currently going really? YOU?) and I will run another half marathon. I will run stronger, better, and faster than I did this February. I don’t know when—not soon, for sure—but I will do it.

That medal is getting lonely.

race report: Superhero 5K

The Superhero 5K in Cambridge, MA, will always hold a dear spot in my heart—last year’s was the first road race I ever ran in my life, after a knee surgery and physical therapy and many months of training. After a great experience last year, I was obviously going to run it again.

This year I dressed as Guy Gardner, the douchiest of the Green Lantern Corps:

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And I beat last year’s time by 10 whole seconds! Go me!

The other runners were awesome as usual, going all out on their costumes (looking at you, Doc Ock). I’m a little disappointed in the race organizers, though. I never got my race pint glass (for being an early registrant), and as far as I could tell they weren’t giving out participant medals at all even though they were listed when I registered. I did get my t-shirt, and I’m honestly only in it for the running, but it was a little disappointing to not receive all the bling I’d been promised.

MATERIAL THINGS ASIDE, it was a great race. I love all the strange looks we always get going through Central Square. (Although it seemed like traffic had no warning and people in cars had to stay put for 30-40 minutes while we ran through. Sorry guys.) See you all next year!

Disney Princess Half Marathon, take 2

I was supposed to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February 2013. Instead, I dislocated my kneecap multiple times and had knee surgery in December of 2012, aka no half marathons for me in Feb ’13. We did go to Disney World, since we’d paid for everything already, but I didn’t run. So as soon I got through PT last year and was able to run again, I set my sights on 2015. (2014 would have been pushing it for both my training and my budget.)

The race sold out the day it went on sale last week. I was working at a conference in Florida with approximately a 20-minute window around noon when I would be able to register. I was ready. So was everyone else. The site was broken from about noon til 1. I was not hopeful. However, thanks to some very accommodating coworkers, I was able to persevere and finally register around 1pm. I’m in!

So—Disney Princess Half Marathon 2015, here I come!! Now I just need to figure out a costume. I have a bunch of ideas, but I’m leaning towards… well, I’ll just point out the newest member of the Disney princess lineup and leave you to draw your own conclusions:

I've always known Leia was secretly a Disney princess. I mean, she talks to animals and ends up with a Prince Charming/Scruffy-Looking Nerfherder. Duh.
I’ve always known Leia was secretly a Disney princess. I mean, she talks to animals and ends up with a Prince Charming/Scruffy-Looking Nerfherder. Duh.

half marathons: 2, Grace: 0

‘Sup.

A fact I have come to acknowledge about myself: when I am preparing for something and it becomes apparent that I will not succeed to my full expectations, I stop preparing. For instance, if I were, say, training for a half marathon and it becomes apparent about 4 weeks out that I am just not going to be able to physically run my ass that many miles (13.2), I will probably stop training. A normal person would probably keep training and do the best they could even if they knew they would fall short of their goal. Not me. I just stop.

It’s a character flaw, I know that. Recognizing the flaw is the first step in overcoming it, right?

Anyway, I didn’t run the Runners World Half Marathon at the beginning of June. Now you know why.

I haven’t run since then. I don’t know why. Maybe tomorrow.

So that’s two half marathons that I have signed up for and not run. (In my defense, I couldn’t run the Disney Princess Half because I dislocated my knee.) Third time’s the charm, right?

race report: Cohasset Road Race by the Sea!

Yesterday I drove down to Cohasset, MA to run the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea, a pretty 10K (6.2 miles) along the coastline of Massachusetts. It was a glorious, perfect blue day.

And…. well.

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This is the excited face of someone who doesn’t know the hell she is about to endure. Also, 50% of my running pictures look like this. I need a new pose.

This was my first-ever 10K race and I will just say I did horribly. I went out too fast, I wasn’t expecting the hills (maybe I’ll look at the course map next time?), and at about mile 3 I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it. I did finish, which was my main goal, but I had to take a short walking break in the middle (secondary goal was to run the entire thing, boo), and I barely finished ahead of the race’s oldest runner, an 80-year-old man. I mean he’s obviously a badass because he’s 80 and running 6.2 miles (what have you done lately?), but it still didn’t make me feel great since I consider myself a relatively-fit 28-year-old. In my defense (sort of), I woke up this morning too sick to go to work, so that might have had something to do with yesterday’s performance, but I am still not happy with the result.

The other 50% of my running photos look like this. Fierce pre-race Grace.
The other 50% of my running photos look like this. Fierce pre-race Grace.

The race itself was great though, I would totally run it again. The route was beautiful quaint New England and the race was very well-organized; bib and race shirt pickup was as efficient as a local election, but with much better organization than any election I’ve ever participated in. Everyone was friendly and smiling, and the team managed over 1000 runners easily. And having had some horrible experiences with the Color Run, I was even happy at how smoothly the parking experience went. (It’s the little things, guys, that really aren’t that little.)

So next year I will hopefully be in even better shape and prepared for the hills and not fighting off a pre-sickness and we’ll have a similarly perfect blue day to run the 39th Cohasset Road Race by the Sea!

The finish line, calm and waiting.
The finish line, calm and waiting.