Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Walt Disney World Marathon Part 1: The Training

Yes, I'm just going to casually post this here even though it has been quite a while. Does this mean I'm going to start posting regularly? No promises.

However, because I love reading others' race recaps and Disney World vacation blogs, I'm writing about my experiences here. And if you're like me and obsessively comb the internet for these kinds of updates, this is especially for you!

So, I ran a marathon. *blush*

And that was the easy part! I had heard that running the actual marathon could be considered a "victory lap" after all the training, but I'll admit I had my doubts. I mean, victory lap? Seriously? Running 26.2 miles did not seem like it was going to feel that easy breezy.

Now of course I know where that perception comes from. Training for a marathon is really really tough. I ran most of my miles alone, with no cheering crowds or water stations. Runners have to be self-motivated. Here's the thing: running takes discipline. If you want to run a race and you want to meet a particular goal or goals, you have to be willing to stick it out even when no one but you knows (or cares!) if you are logging the miles or not.

You have to run in the rain or the heat or the cold.

You have to run when you're sad or tired or whiny or anxious.

You have to run because you made yourself a promise...a promise that you're not going to be one of those people who registers for a race and then blows off the training. You're going to stick it out.

And I did! I really did. I followed a Hal Higdon marathon training plan since I felt like I had good success with his half marathon plan. I ran nearly every single run on that schedule, missing only one or two due to sickness. I got up early or I ran after work. I piled on layers or I wore my cap to keep the rain out of my eyes. I pranced through newly-fallen snow like a focused, non-flying reindeer.

And I am immensely proud of myself for this. My confidence increased. I would run up a hill a little faster just to prove I could do it. Each time I completed a run that I started out dreading, it was like I was showing myself that yes, this was possible and yes, I was up to the challenge.

The first training run I completed that was longer than 13.1 miles (a half marathon) was a big step. Then I cleared 16 miles. Then 18. And finally, before the taper, 20. I was running four times a week, farther and farther. My friend, who has been by my side for nearly all my races was my accountability partner. We ran our long runs together every Saturday. We sent each other pictures on Snapchat to encourage each other. We reminded ourselves of the end goal:

The Walt Disney World Marathon.

Keep going! Read Part 2 here.


Becky @ Disney in your Day said...

Love this! You summed up pretty much everything about training. It's tough but it's also an amazing feeling to go farther than you have before.

Mom :) said...

So proud of you for your discipline and strength! What an amazing accomplishment!

Mark Allman said...

I remember when I first started running I always hated to start a run but loved finishing a run. I would say when I trained for the half and ran 300 miles I started to enjoy the runs themselves and I liked running in the rain and when it was cold... hot not so much. So the journey ended up being as good as the destination for the half. I am proud that you stuck to and worked the plan you had. It can be lonely but it is also a good time to do a lot of thinking.
I am looking forward to hearing about the race itself!
Way to go Laura!!

Laura said...

Thanks, everyone!