I Run, Therefore I Am A Runner

As I make my slow return to running, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term ‘runner’. You see, as I’ve been away from running since the start of April, and have to very carefully ease myself back in on my still-healing ankle, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a bad runner.

And then it hit me.

If I go out and run, that makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I go out every day, or once a week, or even less often than that, taking part in the activity of running makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 minute and then walk for 1 minute. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 mile or 10 miles. I have never been a fast runner, even at my peak, but d’you know what? A 15 minute mile is just as far as a 7 minute mile.

I’ve never taken running overly seriously. I’ve always written my own training plans, changed things up on the fly, and if I’m being perfectly honest, last year I didn’t really train for any of the half marathons that I ran. I guess I’ve always been lucky to be able to get away with it, but things are different now. I’m finding it hard being so set back from where I was before, and feeling the pressure of my upcoming marathon, but it is just that, a setback. Setbacks are made to be overcome.

But despite all this, I’m still a runner. I don’t have to run a 10K every day to call myself a runner, I don’t have to have a precise training and nutrition plan to call myself a runner, and I don’t have to be a fast runner to call myself a runner. Anyone who gets out and runs is a runner, and that’s what counts.

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Starting Over With Fitness

During my physio session on Monday, I finally started my ‘return to running’ programme, yay! This isn’t an instant all clear for me to hit the pavement again, but its the biggest step in the right direction I’ve made since breaking my ankle back in April.

I’m excited, and also super nervous. I have less than 6 months until my first marathon, and now instead of building up from already being able to comfortably complete a half marathon, I’m now almost back to square one in that I haven’t really don’t any running since before my accident. The exception to that is a 5K fun run I did back in June (which my physio do not know about), and that was a huge shock to my little legs, so the thought of doing that 8 and a bit times over continuously is somewhat terrifying.

On top of returning to running, my fitness game has been somewhat weak of late. I’ve been having to adapt so many of my favourite workouts to not put too much pressure on my ankle, and quite honestly its just not been the same. Throw in stress eating from moving house, and the fact that now I don’t even have a gym to go to, I’ve gained quite a bit of weight recently, so its not even just getting back to my routine, I also need to shift the extra weight and get my fitness levels back to where they were.

So its time to get my butt back into gear, and first on the agenda is just getting active again. I want to start off with low impact workouts, and avoid going straight back into the sort of weights I’m used to using in the gym, so I’m going to start off with some of my favourite home workouts from YouTube – Tone It Up, Blogilates etc – as well as using Pinterest for inspiration, just to get my body back moving. I’d also love to get some swimming and cycling in for low impact cardio. Matthew and I are planning on turning our garage into a gym eventually, but as its currently jammed full of boxes and rubbish, it’ll be a bit of time before we’re able to do that, but once they’ll be no excuses to not go to ‘the gym’ in the morning!

Once I’ve got the all clear from physio, I’ve got a marathon training plan all ready to be put into action, although I’ve had to tweak it somewhat to account for the fact that I’m not able to knock out a quick 5K or 10K without much thought as I could at the start of the year. My physiotherapist will be starting me off on the anti-gravity treadmill (not quite as cool as it sounds, but a really useful bit of equipment) so I’ll get a little bit of a head start before I actually hit the roads myself.

It feels like I need to make so much progress in the next 5 and a bit months, but I’m ready to get started and push myself!

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My RunDisney Medal Collection

So I know I have been totally AWOL for the last two weeks, but moving house is insane y’all! I honestly thought I’d only be away from blogging for a few days to maybe a week but I have had NO TIME lately with sorting the house out.

But I’m back! And as today is registration day for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my existing RunDisney medal collection! I managed to get registered on Tuesday in the DVC early registration window, which I’m so happy about, and I wish everyone registering today the best of luck!

Walt Disney World races

2016 – If you’ve been following me for that long, you’ll know that I started doing RunDisney events in 2016, and every single race has been an amazing experience for me. My dad and I started off in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend , taking part in the 5K and the half marathon, which was actually our first half marathon. Back then, 5K medals were 2016 rubber ones (you get a proper metal one now), so Pluto here was our first RunDisney medal. The half marathon was one of the hardest races I have ever done because a few days before I developed a chest infection and I honestly felt like I was going to die before we’d even hit mile 4, but we did it and it was so worth it.

2017 – Running solo for the first time, I started off the year with the Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February. By this point I had the bug for challenges, so I did the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K and half marathon). The races were all Beauty and the Beast themed that year, which I was so happy about as I had already planned to run as Chip before the medal designs had been released, although the challenge medal was still glass slipper themed.

Disneyland races

2016 – The week after doing the marathon weekend in 2016, we left Florida and flew across to California to take part in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, and this was where we completed our first race challenge, Rebel Challenge, which was completing the 10K on the Saturday and the half marathon the next morning on the Sunday. By this point my chest infection had cleared up, and I actually set my half marathon PB on this course.

2017 – In May I did the Pixie Dust Challenge at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. I saw a lot of hate on social media over these races but I had a total blast. The Disneyland 10K course is my all time favourite RunDisney course (RIP California races) and I think my favourite medal was from the 10K, although they are all so stinkin’ cute!

Coast to Coast

Both in 2016 and 2017 I earned a Coast to Coast medal for completing a half marathon* in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year, but in 2017 I got a bonus of the ‘pink’ Coast to Coast, which was for doing the Princess and Tinkerbell weekend in the same year. The medal was essentially the same as the normal Coast to Coast, just in a pinky colour palette instead! 2017 was also the 10 year anniversary of the Coast to Coast challenge, so the blue medal was extra special!

*to earn a Coast to Coast medal, a minimum distance of half marathon must be done in each park!

Disneyland Paris races

In 2016 I took part in both the inaugural 5K and half marathon in Disneyland Paris (there was no 10K in the first year), and then in 2017 I did the 10K and half marathon, earning the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Challenge medal! Both years I also got an additional challenge medal, the Castle to Chateau Challenge, for completing races in the US as well as Paris – the medal was the same for both years, just with a different ribbon.

Virtual Running Shorts

I only did the virtual shorts in 2016, which was the first year RunDisney did virtual races, mainly because its quite expensive to do considering you don’t get an actual event, but I loved the medals I got because they were huge!

This year has been totally RunDisney-less for me, which has been really sad, but I’m also quite happy as I’ve had so many injuries to deal with! I’m also still a little heartbroken that the California races have been cancelled until further notice, but I’m just praying they’ll return soon and I’m so excited to get back into training for the marathon next year!

Have you ever done a RunDisney event?

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5 Reasons I’m Excited to Start Marathon Training

A few weeks ago I announced that in January 2019 I will be running my first ever full marathon. This announcement should have been the start of my training, but the universe had other ideas for me and I was struck with a knee injury that’s had me out ever since.

Fortunately, I gave myself over a year to train, so this little set back doesn’t bother me too much, and instead of starting now I’m just gonna rest, recover and prepare myself for taking the bull by the horns come January, and I’m actually starting to look forward to it more than I am dreading it! Here’s a few of the reasons why:

Carb loading

For the most part, I will be concentrating on eating as well as I can come the new year, but while I’m a firm believer in eating what you want and not having to justify food choices to anyone, I’m pretty excited for big bowls of pasta with the excuse of needing to carb-load.

Getting to be ‘that’ person

Marathon runners are kinda like vegans, pilots and people who do Crossfit* in that they tell as many people as they possibly can that they’re training for a marathon as if you’re the first person in the world to ever do one. I don’t care, its a huge deal for me so you’re damn right I’m gonna spread it like Love Island gossip. (this is already the second post I’ve talked about running a marathon in the space of a month, so there’s the proof)

*Dear vegans, pilots and people who Crossfit, please know that I’m making a joke and I have the utmost respect for all of you!

Running regularly again

Sometimes I feel like the most pathetic excuse for a runner because in the past year I have been the furthest thing from consistent. Sure, I’ve completed 3 half marathons and 3 10K races, but I’ll be the first to admit that I did those with practically no training and only a few intermittent 5K ParkRuns and the odd short distance run, and part of the reason for this is because I knew I could get away with not training. Well that’s not gonna be the case for this.. I’m gonna spend the next few weeks putting together a proper training schedule (which I thoroughly enjoy making) and sticking to it like an octopus on your face.

All the fun runs

I currently have no actual races planned for 2018, so I’m on the hunt for as many shorter distance races and fun runs that I can do to keep myself motivated through the coming year. A few on my list are Race for Life, Run or Dye and the Great South Run, and if you’ve got any recommendations please drop me a comment!

The satisfaction of a good run

When Dad and I started training for our first ever half marathon, there was nothing like the feeling of completing the next milestone both figuratively and literally. Back then it was 8 miles, or 10 miles or 12 miles, but now I’m looking forward to the feeling of doing my first ever 15, 20 and 25 milers.

I’m sure there’ll be a million and one reasons that I start dreading training too, but for now I’m concentrating on the positives! Wish me luck!

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26.2

Guys, I’ve got an announcement to make.

Now I’m back from WDW (waa!), its time for me to get my butt back into running, not just because I’m back from holiday but because something big is coming.

I am going to run a marathon.

Yep, yikes. I have six half marathons under my belt now from the last two years, and I set myself the goal a few years back that I would like to run a marathon before I turn 25, which will be in October 2019, so although dates have not been set and registration isn’t open yet, I will be entering the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2019.

I’m terrified. This last year I have been very relaxed with my running, and hardly trained for any of the races I’ve done, but this is double the distance and therefore a million times harder, which is why I’m giving myself over a year to train.

The distance is one thing, I mean, I’m halfway there I guess, but its the mental aspect of the marathon that’s going to take real work. Its knowing that when my GPS clocks in at the 13.1 miles that I’m used to, I then have to do the whole thing all over again. Its pushing on for hours and knowing there are still a few more hours to go.

Then comes the potential for injury. In half marathon training I faced knee problems, shin splints, and even ran a race with a stress fracture, plus all the little aches and pains that come and go. I will have to be so careful in knowing my limits and knowing when I can and can’t push further.

Basically, I’m going to be about 13.1 miles outside my comfort zone. I’ve been winging it for the last two years and have been lucky to get away with it, but now I have to be serious, do my research and be ready to push myself. Of course I’ll be documenting the good the bad and the ugly, so everyone else can get some entertainment out of me torturing myself!

Can I do it?

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Goodbye RunDisney California

Yesterday it was announced that, for the foreseeable future, RunDisney will no longer be holding races in Disneyland, California, and the Avengers Half Marathon weekend next month will be the last races that grace the streets of Anaheim.

I’m slightly devastated, but not overall surprised, having noticed that no dates for next year’s races were being announced, and the only race that had been announced, the Star Wars weekend in January, had had its registration delayed.

There is, of course, a big difference in the scale of Disneyland races compared to Walt Disney World, which can only be expected given the park sizes and facilities available, but having participated in races both this year and last, it was very apparent this year that numbers of participants were dwindling. In fact, while I was there in May for the Tinkerbell weekend, they were still trying to sell bibs at the expo for the races in the following days!

Disney’s announcement stated that the reason for the cancellations was due to the construction work that is ongoing for the expansion, but personally I don’t think this is flimsy front for the fact that the races have been bleeding money. While the 5K and 10K courses are mainly within the confines of the park, the half marathon only does about 5 miles in the parks before the course leads out onto the streets of Anaheim, which means a lot of roads have to be closed, and unlike other Disney parks, the immediate area surrounding Disneyland is residential, so these road closures do affect a lot of people – there are rumours of quite a lot of complaints – and the permits cost Disney a lot of money, which with the dropping numbers of runners just can’t be afforded.

So yes, I thought this announcement was coming, but that doesn’t make it any better. Despite a lot of RunDisney veterans often slating the Disneyland races, personally they have been some of my favourites – the Disneyland 10K course is the best course out of all the RunDisney courses I’ve ever done. Disneyland is such a special place to me anyway, but racing through the parks is like nothing else. I completed my first weekend challenge (Rebel Challenge 2016) here, and ran my half marathon PB here.

The announcement also means there will be no more Coast to Coast challenge, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and leaves only Castle to Chateau as an option for those runners who will complete a half marathon in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris in the coming years.

All I can say is that I really hope that Disney will restart the races when the construction ends, and I can run through my happy place again soon.

RunDisney Paris 2017: Day 3 and Half Marathon

This morning Dad and I were up bright and early yet again, this time to run double the distance we did yesterday! The half marathon started at the same time as the 10K did the day before, but as Dad and I could join our actual corral B today, it meant we got across the start line quite a bit earlier than we did on the 10K.

The race itself was absolutely fab! The course was slightly different to last year, and we actually spent more time running in the parks which was great, and the characters that were out were so good! We skipped quite a few stops, but I did meet the Three Caballeros, Scrooge McDuck, Timon and Rafiki and Judy Hopps! Dad and I kept a good pace and we came in with a great time, collecting both our medals for the half marathon and also the Bibbidi Bobbidi Challenge, and I also got my second Castle to Chateau medal. While I had a few issues with some of the goings on from this weekend’s races, this race really turned around how I felt about things – I couldn’t fault it.

After the race we were on a bit of a tight time-frame, so we went straight back to the hotel to shower and change before packing up, checking out and rushing back into the parks, which was done at a bit of a waddle given the stiff leg situation. We were rushing as we had a lunch reservation at Captain Jack’s, which is the rebrand of the former Blue Lagoon Restaurant, set inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

I wasn’t sure how I felt when the rebrand was announced, as Blue Lagoon fit in nicely with the Blue Bayou restaurants of Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, both of which are also inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride of their respective parks, but as the Paris ride has just had its refurb, I thought it was nice that the restaurant was getting a spruce up too. The actual restaurant, however, was pretty much exactly the same as it was before, just with a few added pirate flags, and Jack doing the rounds while you eat.

The food, however, wasn’t as good as when I ate here before. My meal at Blue Lagoon on my 21st birthday was absolutely flawless, and not a single scrap was left, but I just didn’t feel quite as wowed by the dishes this time around. I loved my starter, but my main was just a little bit blah and I didn’t finish my dessert either, which was partially down to my lack of appetite post-half marathon, but also because I didn’t totally love the food.

After we’d eaten, it was unfortunately time for us to leave as we had to drive back to the airport for our flight home. I was sad to leave as this trip felt very rushed – races always seem to take so much time away from the weekends – and the weather was so lovely!

If you love reading my trip posts, fear not guys – my next trip is at the end of October!

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