Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Lessons Learned

If you've read my blog this week, thank you for putting up with all the Disney Wine and Dine Half posts.  Now that I've had a few days to process this race experience, I want to list out some of what I've learned this training cycle.  The lessons go beyond just race weekend, but back to the start of training.  I think bullet points might work best for this.

  • Coming back from serious injury takes patience, something I don't have in reserves. Training comprised of a lot of 2 steps forward, 1 step back feelings. 
  • Yasso 800s WILL make you want to puke but they will also make you feel like a badass and make you faster.  I think I proved the faster part on my last long run. Doing 8 x 800s at a 4:30 pace made me a badass :)
  • You can run three days a week and run a successful half marathon, provided you also commit to cross-training on the off days.  Even though I didn't PR this weekend, I finished a half marathon 6 months after being benched with a stress reaction and put in a boot for 6 weeks, on a very tough course, and only 6 minutes off my half PR.  I think that's a testament to my training plan and the encouragement of everyone cheering me on.
  • You can be well trained but sometimes forces outside of your control will negatively impact race day.
    • the weather might be too hot/cold/rainy/windy/sunny/humid/etc/etc
    • the course might be very crowded and full of sharp twists and turns
    • you might be getting sick
    • your injury might start acting up again (ok, maybe that one was in my control)
  • Dressing in a costume, while incredibly fun and cute, can present problems if you end up not dressed appropriately for the race conditions.  I was definitely too warm Saturday night and overheating really killed my time.
  • Expecting to PR because you've had some great runs just makes you cocky.  Nothing is ever guaranteed.  Bad runs can happen any time, any place.
  • GI issues suck big green donkey d*cks.
  • Course conditions greatly impact how you'll run, especially if you aren't trained for those conditions.  In my case, I didn't do enough hill training and the camber of the on/off ramps and bridges really tore up my legs.
  • Fueling for a night time race (or any race outside of your "norm") is hard! I really didn't know what to eat and when.  I'm not sure if my food choices contributed to my GI issues or if it was just a random event.
  • Disney knows how to put on a quality race. I was impressed throughout the entire weekend at how smoothly everything went.
    • The expo was huge and well organized
    • The volunteers rock
    • I loved having the wide-open field to relax in before the race. Much better than the parking lot for Tinker Bell.
    • Bag check was effortless. I'll admit, I was nervous about leaving my bag at Wide World of Sports and expecting to see it again when I got finished at Epcot, but there it was, within minutes of me stopping at the table.
    • They did a decent job of assigning corrals by projected time.
    • There were plenty of water stops and it looked like enough fuel stops too.
    • You can't beat the scenery of running through Disney parks.
    • Disney medals are Da Bomb!!!! Seriously, my Disney medals are amazing - they don't skimp here.
  • There were a couple things about this race that didn't thrill me.
    • The course was too crowded, not just in the parks but at the beginning as well.  I should've expected this since it was the same out in Anaheim for Tinker Bell, but I think it still messed with my head a bit.
    • I think for the price we pay, a ticket to one of the parks or at least a discount for park tickets like Tinker Bell had, should be mandatory.
    • The afterparty wasn't long enough.  I know this seems crazy since it went until 4 am, but for slower runners, there really wasn't enough time to enjoy it.
    • Please, runDisney organizers, offer women's fit shirts for ALL your races.
  • Spending the day before a half marathon walking around theme parks (Tinker Bell) or Downtown Disney and the expo (Wine and Dine) might not be the best pre-race strategy.
  • Unless you were carried off the course on a stretcher, the race was not a disaster.
  • Even if you think you've failed on a run, you really haven't. Take whatever happened and learn from it. 

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