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My First Half Marathon - Disneyland - I Really Did It!! (Tons of Pics)

Friday, September 07, 2012

My first Half Marathon – and it was Disneyland! – where to start…

I guess, at the beginning…

I flew out to San Diego, CA on Tuesday night. My brother lives there and he ran the race with me. He has run several marathons. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning I ran 3 miles. I have found that helps me a lot – keeps my muscles flexible.

My view of surfers while I ran...

View I ran in LaJolla...

LaJolla sunset...

Anyway, we were supposed to drive to Anaheim on Saturday to pick up our bibs and go through the Health Expo. I read the agenda, and found that Jeff Galloway was going to speak on Saturday.

I had previously sent a text to my friends in Santa Clarita, CA and told them I was travelling to CA. They wanted to meet me at their condo in Long Beach Saturday. I started to get nervous that I wasn’t going to have enough time to get my race bib, so we booked a room at the Disneyland Californian for Friday night and went up early. This turned out to be a great idea – we were at the expo for four hours!

This is us the day before the race...

Here I am with Chip:

I bought several new running shirts, wine glasses, a backpack and met Jeff Galloway. He is very nice and talked to us for quite a while. We also got to see him speak and give tips on running...

I had brought “gu” with me; he highly suggested gummy bears. Solid sugar is absorbed faster and goes to the brain faster. He said to eat 40 cals every 2 miles. I ran out and bought them that afternoon!

Oh, yeah – when we checked in to the Disneyland Californian, they were extremely friendly. They asked if I had ever been to Disneyland before – when I replied “no” -- with a big grin, the check-in guy excused himself – was gone for about 10 minutes – came back and said he told the manager and gave us a premium upgrade for FREE!! My brother and I got to watch the Disneyland Fireworks from our huge room! We were overlooking the park and Downtown Disney! Too Cool!!

The next day – Saturday – we checked out and drove to Long Beach to see my friends. We hung out on their boat for the afternoon. It was great! ... Very relaxing the day before the big race. We drove back to Disney and checked in at the Disneyland Hotel. The hotel was right at the starting line. We went to the “Pasta in the Park Party” for runners in Disneyland.

We then went on several rides, including Space Mountain (took guts, but, I figured if I could run a half marathon, I could ride a roller coaster!), Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, and Buzz Light Year. I really wanted to go through the Haunted Mansion but it was closed.

Anyway, I stayed very busy all day and intentionally so I would sleep. We had a really yummy pasta dinner and didn’t go to sleep until 10 pm. My biggest worry was that we would oversleep and miss the race. So, we had three alarms set! We set all of our running gear out the night before, including costume, gummy bears and gu. We even pinned our bibs on our running shirts the night before!

I slept from 10:00 pm until 1:30 am. After that, I was really sort of sleeping on and off. At 4:30 am, my brother got up and took a shower. I piddled through my emails, Sparkmail, (I read all of your encouraging words), and Facebook (everyone was cheering me on there too!), and hopped in the shower when he was done. My brother ate a bagel and had coffee - I didn’t eat. I never eat before a morning run at home and wasn’t going to change it race day. At 5:00 am we headed out. How exciting it was from the time we got on the elevator! I knew there was no turning back. There were approximately 17,000 runners in this half marathon. It didn’t seem like there was that many people. Disney was organized and had everything down to a "T". We found our way to our corral – Letter B. I quite honestly could not believe I was that far up (it went A through G). But, there I was, ready to go. It was a little chilly. My brother thought ahead and we took two of his old running shirts with us. We wore them until the race was about to start. We left them on the side line.

Now, we were at Disney, so you know they pull out all the stops. It was still dark when we started. Right after the National Anthem played; red, white and blue fireworks blasted through the sky. Then they began letting each corral go, one by one. There was a HUGE screen overhead at the start line. We watched as runners ran through – then it was our turn.

I trained for this half marathon running the first mile at approximately 10 minutes, 30 seconds and then slowly widdling it down to a 9 minute, 40 second mile. My goal was to run it in 2 hours, ten minutes (or under). The first three miles were a little slower than what I trained for. (10.47) There were a lot of people in a thin area. I also saw several people taking off fast and zig-zagging to get around people. I had read enough articles and Jeff Galloway books to know not to do that. I was very conscious that I was in for the long haul and didn’t want to wear out quickly.

Pause: I ran with my music - I keep one earphone in - the other tucked in my shirt - to help keep me paced, but also to be able to hear cars, announcements, and keep me motivated. I want to take a moment to tell you guys that I thought of you as I ran. You helped to hold me accountable for my goal - I wanted to make you proud! I thought of you through my music - "Not backing down" (Tom Petty), "Firework" (Katie Perry - suggested by KarenNY). There was no way I was going to quit after all my blogging and you guys being so supportive!! I would not let you down!

So, we ran through California Adventure and it was quite a treat. Disney had the colored water fountains on and they were beautiful. There was so much to look at as we ran – it was easy to forget that we were running! We then ran through Disneyland. Several runners stopped to get pictures with Disney characters (and there were lines!) – I did not want to stop and kept running. We ran through the Disney Castle (I took this the night before) ...

We then ran through Honda City. There were high school bands, Spanish dancers and cheerleaders everywhere! I was very surprised. I did not realize that we were going to have entertainment in Anaheim, but here were all these kids, who got up at 5:30 in the morning just to cheer us on! It was totally awesome! My brother and I high-fived everyone down the line!

Next, we came around a bend and there was THREE MILES (yes, I looked this up afterwards), of classic cars. They were arranged diagonally on both sides of us. I have never seen so many classic cars. It was the easiest three miles I have ever run in my life. The owners were sitting by them. I thanked them as I ran by. (Later, I found out that Disney gave each of them two tickets to the theme park to sit there from 5:30 AM – 8:30 AM– how cool is that??)

We then ran through a tunnel and into the Anaheim Angel’s Stadium – a baseball stadium! We heard a huge roar of cheering. We came out of the tunnel and we were on the jumbotron! There were children and adults all around the stadium in the bleachers cheering us on! I yelled and high fived everyone as I ran around the stadium. My brother was cracking up…he said people were taking pictures of me like crazy. It was awesome!

We then had about 3 miles to go and it was time to kick it…and we did. Our pace was so good through the first 10 miles, that I had a lot of energy left. I widened my stride and took off. Around mile 12 I saw several runners on the sideline with injuries – one fell, others looked like they were stretching. I was more than ready to finish the race.

We were about one mile away and my brother yelled “Give it all you got!”. I yelled “I AM!” Several people laughed – I wasn’t kidding! After the race, I found out that I ran the last 5K in 27 minutes!

My brother and I high-fived at the finish line!

So…here we are at the end of the race (my brother ran in this wig the whole race!)

I completed my first half marathon in 2 hours, 10 minutes! WooHoo! Here is a picture of my bib and medal (the medal is HUGE)...

My brother told me that it was, by far, the funnest race he has ever run. He ran a lot slower than usual and said he was able to "see" all the excitement as he ran. I watched several videos that were taken and have seen several pictures of us and I can tell you - we were smiling and laughing in every picture.

It has been five days since the race and I am still, so excited, every time I think about it! I did it! Wow!

My training turned out to be totally perfect for my first half marathon. Yeah, I am eyeballing another half marathon in Baltimore in October – it is the most awesome feeling in the world to run one (runner’s high?) – I don’t want it to end!!

My brother and I afterwards at breakfast with Goofy:

So, how do I end this...If I can do this - YOU can do this. I started walking 1 1/2 years ago - AND I actually ran a half marathon last weekend! If you would have told me I would be able to do this now a year and a half ago I would have told you you were crazy!

It all started with walking ten minutes on the treadmill...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INFLATED 10/4/2012 8:45AM

    What an adventure! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CAROLCRC 9/10/2012 8:45AM

    Bravo! What a perfect first half marathon! You did awesome.

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WATCHMEGO! 9/10/2012 5:41AM

    WOW!! What a great adventure! It sounds like it was such a great time!

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JENN03275 9/9/2012 2:43PM

    Wow!! Absolutely awesome!!! So proud of you!!Thank you for sharing all the pictures!!!

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BOILHAM 9/9/2012 1:58PM

    Awesome! You had a great time, and met your goal. Can't beat that. Congratulations! Loved the pictures.

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MAGGIE805 9/9/2012 12:11PM

    Congratulations!!! What an awesome place to run your first half..."The Happiest Place on Earth". emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SPEEDYDOG 9/9/2012 12:00PM

    Thanks for the report and the great photos. Sounds like you had a great experience. Nice time for 13.1 miles!

Thanks, Bruce

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SWEDE_SU 9/9/2012 11:53AM

    wow! such fun to read your report - you are incredible!! thank you for providing the inspiration! i could feel your happiness and excitement all the way through!

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-AMANDA79- 9/9/2012 11:30AM

    Congrats!! What an inspiration!

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SABLENESS 9/8/2012 5:04PM

    Absolutely awesome blog! Love your pics! What a great experience. THANKS for sharing it with us! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REDRUNNERMOM713 9/8/2012 2:22PM

    Reading your blog makes me want to start training for a HM again! Disney sounds like the most amazing place to have your first HM. Thanks for sharing your jorney with us! emoticon

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KAREN_NY 9/8/2012 12:54PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
You ARE a firework, my friend. I'm smilin' the whole way through reading your blog!
emoticon You're adorable - you look so happy! (And your brother looks pretty good too, lol! ;))
emoticon Isn't LaJolla just gorgeous?!!
emoticon Meeting Jeff Galloway - way cool!
emoticon Disney - they do all the right stuff. At any age you can be a princess there. :)
emoticon Running an HM (at 2:10!!) with no food and so little sleep... you ARE made of superhero stuff, aren't you?! Smart not to change that up on race day though.
emoticon You've added such great pics that I can totally picture you and your brother high-fiving through Honda City, and your lighting up Anaheim stadium. LOVE IT!
emoticon Great bling, and even the BIB is gorgeous, lol!

Enjoy your post-event bliss-out! I hope it stays with you for a very, very long time. Cheers to you-- you did it, and did it well!!
So happy for you, and so glad you shared all the juicy details that make me eager to start running again - thank you!!


Comment edited on: 9/8/2012 12:56:18 PM

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/8/2012 11:58AM

    Great race report and great race!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NINAB4REAL 9/8/2012 11:04AM

    emoticon emoticon OMG I loved reading all about your adventure....fantastic adventure for sure.....A few weeks ago I could barely walk I can do more....I will keep pushing cause your marathon experience was very exciting! But one thing, did the gummie bears work ...? emoticon

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MARATHONDAD 9/8/2012 9:26AM

    great job and a good time for your 1st!!!!

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CHRISTINECAN 9/8/2012 9:04AM

    Fabulous report! I felt like I was with right there watching you.

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FITFOODIE806 9/8/2012 8:18AM

    Wow! What an awesome race blog. It almost makes me want to do Disney!! (it's too far from me:(. I can only imagine how cool it was to see the fireworks and all the cars. What a great experience for you. Congrats on an amazing HM. and welcome to the healthy addiction of racing!!!!

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STRIVER57 9/8/2012 8:16AM

    thank you for the inspiration and for having so much fun!

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/8/2012 7:00AM

    What a great experience! Some day... emoticon emoticon

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SUNNYLIFE72 9/8/2012 6:59AM

  Wow! Congratulations! This sounds amazing! Thank you for being so descriptive - I could really get an idea of how exciting it all must have been for you! What a wonderful feat for you and your brother to accomplish and experience together. Very inspiring!

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OPTIMIST1948 9/8/2012 6:46AM

    Everyone, quick! Push the like button!

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ARCHIMEDESII 9/8/2012 5:10AM

    How wonderful ! Congratulations on your first (of many) half marathons and marathons. Fantastic blog ! Thank you for sharing your experience.

emoticon emoticon emoticon



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KRISZTA11 9/8/2012 4:34AM

    emoticon to your first HM!
It is amazing how you got so far in just one and half year,
and how well you reserved power for the last 5K.
You are an inspiration!

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NUOVAELLE 9/8/2012 3:57AM

    This was such an inspiring blog for me! The way you described everything, the excitement that was overflowing were enough to make a Disney fan like me more than excited! Too bad I live too far away...
So, it all started with 10 minutes? You can't imagine how much hope there is in this for me. I'm on my 3rd week of a 5K training and I still can't believe that one day I'll be able to run for 5 Km non-stop!

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FITMAY 9/8/2012 2:18AM

    Totally emoticon

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BERGBA7 9/8/2012 2:08AM

    Congratulation! What a great, positive and inspiring did it! I have been dreaming of doing a fun half for a long time now, but always thought I could not run for such a long time. You convinced me! I am doing one next fall! The challenge is on. Right now I am training for an 11km - this is already half the distance. One year to double the distance is plenty of time. If you don't mind, I will come back for help and training ideas. Did you follow a plan? How many times a week did you run?
Have a great weekend!
emoticon emoticon

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    You are so stinkin' cute! I love how happy and bubbly you look in all the pictures. You even look good after running 13.1! I'm so glad that you had the opportunity to do this and that you did so well with your training that the race was actually fun. I'm proud of you and, as you know, totally inspired by you! For the sake of money and time, I told myself that a HM would have to wait until next year, but your excitement sure is making me question that decision!
I'm so, so happy for you!

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RIVADERCHI 9/7/2012 11:47PM

    Hi R.M.! (D!), WOO HOO! I "liked" this blog and so felt like I was there! Thanks for the pics! You can see that you two were "riding high!" Loved the "bling!" I am so happy that your dream came true thru planning and preparing. I am so proud of you and happy for your accomplishment! "When you wish upon a star...." emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRISSA1669 9/7/2012 11:01PM

    AWESOME!!!! Congratulations!! I could picture everything (I am from San Diego) What a wonderful accomplishment!!!!! You are inspiring me to push harder and go farther!!! Way to Go!!

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EAGLEMOMX3 9/7/2012 11:01PM

    Loved your blog and LOVE Southern California (this from a mid-westerner!) I have my first half-marathon on the calendar for June 1, 2013. I, like you, would never have believed I could ever run that far. I clearly remember the day when I went a whole mile on the treadmill!

Thanks for the great inspiration ~ I've added this race to my wish list!

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FLUTTERFLI 9/7/2012 10:58PM

WOW ! Great Pics. You are emoticon
emoticon emoticon

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8 Hours Until The Disneyland Marathon...

Sunday, September 02, 2012

This morning my brother and I went back to the health expo and listened to Jeff Galloway give pointers for race day. He said gummy bears or sugar cubes every two miles work best when running a long race. He said Gu, and others like it are more complex and take longer to break down. So, I went to the candy store and bought gummy bears!! He is a very nice man. I ended up having two conversations with him. He said he has heard lots of nice things about the Jeff Galloway SparkPeople group.

This afternoon we drove to Long Beach and had lunch with old friends of mine on their boat. It was very relaxing and we had a great time. It was a very pretty and calm area.

When we came back we went to Disneyland. We had "pasta in the park" with fellow runners and got our pictures taken with Goofy and Pluto. I will post pictures when I get back home and in front of a computer.

We rode on several rides. I did get enough guts to ride on Space Mountain at the end. I figured if I had enough guts to run a half marathon then I could ride a roller coaster. Tomorrow when I get nervous I will reverse this idea!

We have just finished laying out our running clothes, pinning our bibs to our shirts and setting our alarm clocks. It's 9:48, I wore myself out and am ready to get some zzzzzz's. We will be up at 4:30 and at the corral at 5 AM.

It will then be time to run!

Quote of the day:
(I saw this on the back of a running shirt today and it made me laugh):

"If you see me collapse, please hit 'Pause' on my Garmin."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAREN_NY 9/5/2012 2:16PM

    SO excellent!! When I saw that Jeff Galloway posted his finish of the same HM, I was so happy for you! Heck, what's not to be happy about? You're at the shore, you're at Disney, you're running fast, smackin' down rollercoasters... you have gummy bears... lol!

Gotta get one of those shirts -that's great! Can't wait to see those pictures, but relax and keep basking in that glow!

Comment edited on: 9/5/2012 2:17:11 PM

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RIVADERCHI 9/4/2012 1:21AM

    CONGRATS, ROXYZMOM! You rock! I just saw where you posted 2 hours and 10 minutes for your time! Woo Hoo! You must have been at the front of the pack!! Hope you had a blast and enjoyed yourself. We all were rooting for you here on SP! I knew you'd do great! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATCHMEGO! 9/3/2012 8:32AM

    Can't wait to hear how it went!

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    I'm reading this after your race so it's a bit late to wish you one final "good luck" but I love this blog. You made me laugh with your roller coaster, half marathon reversal. I love your tactics!
It's so cool that you got to talk to Jeff Galloway a couple of times. Another running friend tried Swedish Fish and I thought of doing the same, but it was too close to race day for me to try something different. They sure would be cheaper than Shot Bloks (I think).

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SCAREWALDORF 9/2/2012 5:38AM

    Good luck! Let us know how you did as soon as you can. xoxo

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LADYPIXEL 9/2/2012 2:26AM

    They were selling those 'hit pause on my Garmin' shirts at the health and fitness expo at the Disneyland hotel... I think the website was one more mile dot com (no link here for my sanity's sake).

I did the Cars Land 5k this morning -- but when I include that with the rest of the distance I did today between the parks and walking around Anaheim in general, I did about 14.5 miles total. Now, admittedly, you're doing 13.1 miles in a few hours, so you're going a bit longer than I am, but I have faith in you, you'll nail this!

... hey, there's a Jeff Galloway group here on Sparkpeople? WHERE?

My cousin's doing the 1/2. I'll be out along the course in the wee morning hours cheering him and his wife on. And if I knew who to look for, I'd cheer for you, too, so here's a virtual cheer. You can do this!

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SWEDE_SU 9/2/2012 1:02AM

    You are going to rock it! Have a great time!

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1 Day and 9 Hours Until The Disneyland Half Marathon...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Today we checked in to the Disney Grand Californian Hotel. We weren't going to drive to Anaheim until tomorrow, but we are meeting up with friends of mine in Long Beach for lunch and I was getting stressed thinking we may not get here in time to pick up our bibs, etc.

I am really happy we did! My brother didn't send in his previous race times so they had him in the very back - we got it straightened out so he can run with me. We also met and got a picture with Jeff Galloway! (I can't figure out how to add pictures on my blogs with this iPhone - I will post them when I get back).

The hotel gave us a premium upgrade room for free when they heard I have never been to Disneyland. We watched the fireworks from our room! And I was able to buy lots of running stuff at the expo!

I did get a nice 3 mile run in before we drove up.

Now I wait!

Quote of the day...

"There is nothing to be intimidated about - it's just another long run where a few more people show up and they happen to wear numbers."
Wesley Stafford              

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Your excitement is so contagious! I would've wanted to be there as early as possible, too. Now you can relax and not waste a bunch of nervous energy tomorrow!

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NANCYRUBIO 8/31/2012 11:33PM

    Good for you but I don't know where the can find room for a run in that area. emoticon

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2 Days and 2 Hours Until The Disney Half Marathon...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Today I ran 2.7 miles and participated in a yoga class. My brother and I are meeting friends in Long Beach Saturday and want to see the health expo at Disney so we are going to Disney one day early (tomorrow). We are very excited and will keep all of you posted!!!

How do I feel??? Like.. I can't believe I am actually doing this!! What was I thinking when I signed up?? But, wait! I can do this!!!!! I trained real hard! I am ready!

Quote of the day...

"Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you're young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don't let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself."
-John Bingham, running speaker and writer

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INFLATED 9/1/2012 3:07AM

    Run like the wind!

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    So close! Enjoy the adrenaline!

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RSTAR13 8/31/2012 8:22AM

    Good Luck!!! You can do it!!!!

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ROSET491 8/31/2012 7:28AM

    Best of Luck on your Half!! Can't wait to read all about it!

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3 Days, 11 Hours Until The Disneyland Half Marathon...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gosh, it's getting REALLY close now!

So, I made it to California! I am staying with my brother. Yesterday we went to a yoga class (for alignment) in the morning. The Instructor was really good. I got a nice stretch. We then went to Trader Joe's and bought a lot of healthy foods that I am used to eating at home...veggie sausage, cottage cheese, egg beaters, salad mix, Greek yogurt and fruit. We will be eating breakfast and lunch at his place and go out to eat for dinner most of the time I am here.

In the afternoon we ran 3.5 miles along the water in La Jolla. It turned out to be a very hot run. It is supposed to be cooler here - its going to be 90 degrees throughout the weekend! We ran it in a little over 28 minutes which was very fast for me. I have been averaging 9 min 30 secs on my runs at home. Anyway, it was nice to run along the water and it was very flat. My knee still has a huge scab on it from my fall last Sunday. It felt great running. There was a couple stances I couldn't do in yoga because I can't put weight on it right now. My elbow still has a huge scab too - doesn't bother me unless I wear long sleeves or bang it! I think it is going to be a while before they heel - battle wounds!

For today's quote of the day, I am going to use one of my SparkBuddies...

" I can't wait for the been there, done that, wearing the t-shirt moment" Inflated

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Hiya, Speedy! I really hope that the weather cools down at least a little before Sunday morning. I'm so excited for you!!

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INFLATED 8/30/2012 5:13PM

    I hope you will be able to sleep the night before the run, lol!

Comment edited on: 8/30/2012 5:15:26 PM

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NYKIMMIE 8/30/2012 10:46AM

    Have a great day! emoticon

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