This morning I ran the Orange County Fair 5K and it was a lot of fun. This is in contrast to my experience at the same race last year. In early August 2014 I was nearing the end of my training program for my first half marathon so I had already completed several long runs (mostly successful – the less than stellar ones were still in my future). So when the OC Fair 5K rolled around I figured I would breeze through 3.1 miles with absolutely no trouble at all. It wasn’t even going to be a challenge! I couldn’t have been more wrong. (This should explain why I didn’t really write anything about it on my webpage at the time. Dwelling on failed runs is not helpful!) The summer had been relatively hot up to that point so I was thrilled on race day to see that the sky was overcast. This didn’t mean it was as cool as I would have liked, but the temperature was fairly reasonable and at least the sun wouldn’t be beating down on me the whole time. I was really confident when I started the race. 5K was nothing! But about halfway through I felt awful. When I walked through the water stop to get a drink I was sweating like a pig and I had a hard time catching my breath thanks to the high humidity (yes, it does happen in LA sometimes). I was not expecting to do so poorly running such a short distance. And I couldn’t quite get back into a good rhythm after the water stop. During the second half of the race I walked more than I ran. It was so discouraging. It was the first time I regretted running a race. Luckily I was able to put the bad experience behind me and happily participate in many other races.
I went into the OC Fair 5K this year with much more realistic expectations. 1) I made my #1 priority for the race to enjoy myself. Running through the Orange County Fairgrounds is pretty cool and I wanted to appreciate it this time around. Also, I got to hang out with a co-worker of mine and her awesome kids before the race so that by itself made the whole thing worthwhile. 2) I knew the weather was going to stink so I lowered my time/pace goals accordingly. I still had to take more walk breaks than I wanted to in the second half of the race (humidity is killer!), but that didn’t dishearten me as much as it did last year. Funny enough, today’s weather was almost exactly the same as last year’s. 3) I did not allow any poor performance to ruin my opinion of myself as a runner. While I wasn’t exactly proud of my performance today, I knew it wasn’t representative of my overall progress in my running career. The 2015 OC Fair 5K was just another step of my journey. And it’s a journey that doesn’t have a definite end! That’s what makes me smile every time I cross a finish line. Well, that and the cameras. Speaking of which, hopefully I’ll have some good photos to share soon!
I was so excited for the Pixie Dust Challenge at Disneyland last month, but I was nervous too. When I registered for it back in August I couldn’t believe I was going to run 19.3 miles in one weekend. I wondered if it was ridiculous to even consider for a fairly novice runner like me. After successfully completing three half marathons in the fall (slow as molasses, but I crossed the finish line under my own power all three times) I felt much more confident, but then I got hurt in January and that feeling of disbelief returned. I did almost no running in February while my knee was healing, and then I had to practically start my training from scratch in March. How in the world was I supposed to finish both a 10K and a half marathon without a decent regimen? The longest run I completed prior to the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend was 8 miles. It wasn’t ideal, but it was enough to make me reasonably sure that I’d be able to survive the 19.3 miles to come. I gave myself permission to run slowly and take as many walking breaks as I needed to avoid burning out in either of the races.
The Tinkerbell 10K on May 9th was lovely. The weather was cool, the sky was overcast (as I wrote about a few weeks ago), and I felt great. The course for this race was almost entirely on Disney property so it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it more than any other Disneyland event I’ve participated in. After I crossed the finish line and got my 10K medal I walked back to my hotel for a much-needed shower. I was a little rushed because I had a brunch reservation at the Carnation Café inside Disneyland for later that morning. Fortunately I was able to get ready and walk back to the park in time. (There was a lot of walking over the weekend, in addition to all the running. My poor legs!) I had a delicious meal of eggs, sausage, potatoes, toast, and fruit to refuel after running 6.2 miles. It probably wasn’t necessary after that short of a distance, but I justified it as preparation for the half marathon the next day. I walked around Disneyland and California Adventure for a while after I finished breakfast and then went back to my hotel to rest. Not only were the races going on that weekend, but the “Tomorrowland” movie premiere was being held at the Downtown Disney AMC theater on Saturday night. Due to the crowds I couldn’t get a dinner reservation anywhere I wanted to eat so I just got some takeout lasagna (carb loading at its best!) from a restaurant at Downtown Disney and took it back to my hotel. I wanted to go to sleep early that night, but I had to wait until after the Disneyland fireworks to even have a chance. Luckily I slept well after they were over.
I woke up on May 10th and was disappointed to discover that the sky was clear. A sunny day is not good for running a half marathon. I crossed the start line of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at 6 AM, which is right around the time the sun came up. The race course didn’t leave Disney property until almost the 6 mile mark so the first half was really enjoyable. But around mile 8 I started to get tired. Since it was my first healthy half marathon in months I allowed myself to take extended walk breaks as needed. That kept me from getting frustrated with my slow pace and I didn’t get completely exhausted. At one point I saw the 3-hour pace group ahead of me and I was determined to finish the race before they did. And I succeeded! My final time was 2:51, which is far from my slowest half marathon. I was happy! The best part was getting my medals, though. Not only did I get the Tinkerbell Half Marathon medal, but I also got the Pixie Dust Challenge medal, and my Disney Coast to Coast medal for completing a half marathon at both Disneyland and Disney World in 2015. (All three are in the above photo.) It felt so great! Granted walking back to my hotel with all of the medals clinking around my neck was a little annoying, but I was too proud to care. I had conquered my first Disney race challenge!
Boeing on the Move 2015 has started! When I woke up on June 1st I had to remember to clip on my pedometer to make sure I was getting credit for the maximum number of steps. Not only does this eight-week challenge provide motivation for me to exercise more (plus keep up with my chores and spend less time on the couch less), but earning an Amazon gift card is a pretty good bonus. As long as I maintain an average of 13,000 steps/day I’ll get a $100 gift card. And since my normal running/walking schedule makes this a breeze, it’s basically free money. I’ll take it! We’re two weeks into Boeing on the Move and I’m averaging about 21,000 steps per day so far. On the days I don’t go running I take a long walk around Seal Beach in the evenings to make sure my step count average is maintained. Also, it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful June weather. While I was out waking tonight I found myself daydreaming about fall, but then I realized I should be savoring the beautifully cool evening that I was experiencing at that very moment! This weather makes exercising outdoors a pleasure. I know the heat of summer is right around the corner so I want to spend as much time outside as I can before those days arrive.
On a related note, on the second day of Boeing on the Move I registered for yet another Disney race. Last year when I wrote about the beginning of Boeing on the Move 2014 I mentioned signing up for the Star Wars 5K and 10K at Disneyland in January 2015. This year I made an even bigger commitment by registering for the Star Wars Rebel Challenge – a combination of the 10K and half marathon – in January 2016. The reason I’m able to do these races is because I decided not to train for the 2016 Walt Disney World marathon, which is also in January (as detailed in my New Year’s Resolution #1). There’s always a silver living, right? (Don’t worry, I’m still planning to run a marathon eventually. Hopefully the Disney World marathon in 2017.) Not only am I excited for the Rebel Challenge itself, but in general I’m looking forward to participating in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend when I’m not injured. Last year I was still hurt after the Disney World half marathon so I didn’t really get to enjoy the Star Wars races because I was in pain. I have every expectation that next time will be different, especially since I’ve figured out what the root cause of my knee pain is. No guarantees, of course, but I’m going to do everything in my power to stay healthy for all of the awesome fall and winter races!
I’m kicking off this year’s sunscreen experiments with a positive review! About a week ago I was perusing the sunscreen aisle at Target, as I usually do when it looks like summer is imminent, and I saw something new. It was called Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 (the untinted version). I was initially drawn to it because it was a mineral rather than a chemical sunscreen, which I generally prefer. Luckily a lot more companies are coming out with “natural” options that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which makes my fair skin and me very happy. Unfortunately most of these mineral sunscreens have turned out to be thick and gooey, make my skin feel sticky, and leave a ghostly white cast on even my pale skin. But I keep trying them, looking for a diamond in the rough! One of the reasons I picked up the Bare Republic sunscreen is because it’s made by Coola. Back in 2013 I tried Coola Sport Mineral Citrus Mimosa Sunscreen (SPF 35) with mixed results, but it did have one thing going for it – no yucky sunscreen smell! That benefit was enough for me to take home a tube of the Bare Republic sunscreen (which seems to be Coola’s less expensive drugstore line) and give it a try. I first used it on my face and neck when I went to Disneyland yesterday. And it was great! Initially I was skeptical because the sunscreen is more liquid than cream, which I wasn’t expecting, and my skin didn’t absorb it quickly. But after about a half hour my face was powdery soft with a surprisingly flattering matte finish. No greasy or shiny skin? I was sold! And the best part was that I spent about three hours at Disneyland with no hint of a tan. Very promising. Then this morning I gave the sunscreen a bit tougher challenge – the LA Galaxy 5K. June Gloom abandoned us today so it was hot and sunny at 9 AM when the race started. I wasn’t sure if the Bare Republic was going to do well in this particular environment, I slathered it on my face, arms, and legs this time to put it to the test. And it worked great! There wasn’t much shade on the course so I sweated profusely during the race, and the sunscreen didn’t get sticky or run in my eyes. It was a brilliant success! I will definitely be taking the Bare Republic sunscreen with me to Hawaii in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait!