Ballet Shoes & Mickey Ears

The happenings of this Disney-obsessed runner and dancer!


8 Comments

2013 Running Recap

Wow. What a year this has been. I remember earlier this year I started running casually to help increase my stamina in dance. I would only run a few miles here and there, but never was really serious about it. I began running and was also learning choreography for my dance numbers too. Our show was in early June, so I just kept running. I ran my first ever race in March. It was about 20 degrees out and snowing. My mom was in town and my husband also came to watch to me run. I remember being soooo nervous as we waited inside where it was warm. The pictures my mom took even showed how nervous I was. It was only a 5k, but I was still nervous. Who would have ever thought that 8 months later I would have successfully completed 10 races- 3 of them half marathons!! Not this girl! I’m so incredibly proud of myself for my accomplishments this year. I found a joy in a sport I never thought I would. I loved pushing myself and seeing the results. I loved looking down at my Garmin and seeing my mileage increase every week. I will never forget what it felt like crossing that finish line at my first half marathon. It’s that feeling I crave now every time I sign up for another race.

I’ve also made some new twitter “friends” as a result of running. It’s so inspiring to see their accomplishments and their excitement for running. Social media has definitely changed the world. I hope to meet some more of my “friends” next year in other races. So a huge thank you to everyone I follow on twitter. You all inspire me to be a better me.

Here’s a quick little recap of my races this year- and don’t forget you can check out my race results tab above to see all the races I ran in and my times.

~ 10 races in 2013
~5 of them were 5ks
~ One 5 miler
~ One 2 miler
~ 3 half marathons

~ My best 5k time was 28:06 at the Cleveland Rite Aid 5k
~ My best half marathon time was 2:28:58 at the Towpath Half Marathon

I know my training for all these races was a little unconventional, but I still accomplished all my goals. Heck, I never even thought I would run a half marathon this year, but instead I ran and finished 3. Sure, I may not have been the fastest or placed in the top, but I still got out there and ran. I crossed every finish line. So I’m very proud of myself.

My goals for next year are simple:
~ improve my 5k time
~ improve my overall pace
~ run a 10k race
~ run a race in Disney (this is more like a dream lol)

I’m looking forward to 2014 and all it will bring with it. I look forward to continuing to challenge myself in running and also in dance. I’ve learned I’m more of a “loner” when it comes to running and that’s ok. I don’t do well running with people or in groups. I just like to put my music on and run. I like to get lost in the music or in my own thoughts. I do like running races with friends though. Even though we never actually run together, it’s nice to see a familiar face on the course and at the finish line.

I know most of you follow my blog for my dancing entries, but I want to thank you for supporting me in my running too! It means a lot to see your kind words and encouragement. So thank you all!!!

Happy New Year!!! 🙂


4 Comments

Towpath Half Marathon Race Recap

This race recap is a little late, but I still wanted to share it with you. This was my third half marathon I ran in one month’s time. It was originally supposed to be on October 13, but due to our Government Shutdown, it got rescheduled to November 3. This portion of the Towpath Trilogy took place in Cuyahoga National Park. Although I have run other portions of the Towpath, I had never ran this stretch. The start area for the Half Marathon and the 10k was at Brandywine Ski Resort while the Marathon started at Boston Mills Ski Resort, about 5 minutes away. The weather was a little chilly that morning- in the mid 30’s when I first got up around 5am and then closer to 40 degrees by start time at 8am. Being the “bad” runner, I did not run at all between this race and my previous half marathon on Oct. 13. I know, stupid. Really stupid. But between dancing and teaching due to my teacher’s injury, I was really busy. I know it’s not an excuse, but since I had so much pain in my foot at the last race, I figured a few weeks off wouldn’t hurt.

The start area was definitely low-key compared to my other races. There were plenty of bathrooms available, about 20, but there were still really long lines. Luckily, we got in line when it wasn’t too bad and only waited about 10-15 minutes. This was a much smaller race- I could tell by the crowd around the start area. It most likely had something to do with the race being rescheduled. My female age group only had 38 runners. Very small!

Before I knew it, the bell rang and it was time to take off. I placed myself in the middle-middle back and immediately fell right into my target pace. I held it for the first 3 miles, which is when we actually went from running on the road to turning on to the actual Towpath. This race was my first “out-and-back” half marathon. And I can now tell you that I do not like courses like this. Sure, the first 7-8 miles were ok. But then you had to go back where you had just spent the previous hour running. This is a huge mental block for me. I do better mentally when I just keep running, not really sure of what is next. I also started to have horrible left foot pain by mile 5. Unlike the last race, instead of the bottom of my foot, it was the top of my foot. The pain was so bad I almost started crying. I ended up having to stop and walk more than a few times because of it. I honestly did not know how I was going to make it to the finish line. When the pain was at its worst, around mile 9-10, I had just stopped at a water station when I started to run again. I looked up and saw my mom and my husband screaming and cheering for me! They had totally surprised me! Seeing them made me smile and my eyes tear up and I realized I had to do this. They were counting on me. So, I sucked it up and kept running. I stopped a few times to walk, but tried to keep it minimal. I had no intention of beating my previous time when I realized the pain was so bad. When I got to the last straight away before we turned down the little grass hill to the finish line, I took off sprinting as fast as I could. Even though I was in pain, my adrenaline took over and pushed through. Hearing the crowd cheering for you when they see you finishing strong is always so amazing. That’s something my friend Legal Ballerina had taught me- always finish strong. You got this far, now power through. And when I rounded that corner and saw the finish line- and the clock- I realized I had set yet another PR. I ended up taking about 1 minute off my previous time! All I could think of when I crossed that finish line was: Give me my medal- Ouch my foot really hurts- Holy crap I beat my time- I need a banana STAT- and where is my family?! Whew! I was so happy to be done. That was definitely my least favorite half marathon to date.

Oh- you’re probably wondering what happened to my foot. Ya. This is what happened- I freakin tied my shoe too tight. Yes, that’s right. I tied my stupid shoe too tight. I wasn’t used to running in the cold weather, so when I re-tied my shoes at the start line and double knotted them- I tied them way too tight. It ended up causing what is called “extensor tendinitis” which basically means my tendons on top of my foot were getting squished when my foot was trying to expand when my body started to warm up. *FACE PALM* Like, seriously- who the heck does this? Apparently a lot of people, because when I googled my symptoms a lot of other runners have had this problem. It took about a week for it to feel better. I’m still feeling a little discomfort when I try to dance, but nothing like what I felt in that race. I learned my lesson there!

Overall- the race went ok. The Towpath Half Marathon was itself a very well put together race. The course was flat- but slightly inclined the whole way back. The course aid stations were well staffed and the volunteers were very encouraging! They had some hilarious signs.

Overall Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  • Plenty of bathrooms at the start area
  • Water at the start area
  • Great volunteers
  • Plenty of Aid Stations
  • Nice, mostly flat course
  • Fun Finish Line area with activities for kids

Cons:

  • Slightly confusing map for specators
  • Out and back course (not my cup of tea)
  • Not too many places for spectators along course (due to where course is)

Enjoy some pictures!

20131111-211835.jpg

20131111-211845.jpg

20131111-211855.jpg

20131111-211914.jpg


2 Comments

Where Has the Time Gone??

Well hello there friends! I don’t know about you, but this month has flown by! It started with my first half marathon on Oct 6, followed by my second half on Oct 13, followed by a lot of ballet. First off- my ballet teacher broke her wrist. Like bad. I got a phone call on Friday night, Oct 4 from her husband telling me the bad news. He said I would have to teach class alone on Saturday morning, with my few high school girls there of course to help! I was so nervous! Thankfully, the girls who help are totally awesome, so the classes went well. Whew! My teacher ended up needing surgery, so I was asked to step in and teach some of her other classes while she was out. Talk about being scared! I did not want to let her down, so I did as best as I could. I ended up teaching the Beginning Ballet 1/2, Beginning Ballet 3/4, and Ballet 1. One of the high school girls helped me teach the. Beg Ballet 1/2, but I was on my own for the others! It was a great experience, even though I felt bad for my teacher being hurt. I enjoyed the challenge and ended up doing really well. It helped show me areas of teaching I need to work on, and it also showed me that the girls in the studio respect me. Even little girls I had never met before were kind and open to me teaching them. By the end of the 3 weeks, I definitely got to know some of them a little better. Which always makes me feel good. My teacher has been working her way back into the studio. She was there last week to get some office work done while I taught, and then was back to teaching our classes. It was like she didn’t skip a beat- she was right back in there calling out combinations and working us hard! It is so nice to have her back. And I’m so glad she’s starting to feel better.

In other news, I have my last half marathon of this year coming up this Sunday! I’m a little nervous- I actually haven’t ran since my last half marathon on Oct 13. With all the ballet stuff my schedule was a little off- but everything will be ok. I’ve still been active with dance, so my legs are still primed and ready to go! I’m really excited for it. I just hope the weather cooperates!!

We also went camping this weekend. It was our annual Gory at the Quarry event. It’s a Halloween themed camping event which is always fun. Brrrrrrr! It was a little chilly, but nothin worse than the previous years. We all had a good time and the music wasn’t too bad. In case you’re interested, we go to Nelson Ledges Quarry Park for camping throughout the year. They put on some awesome festivals and the quarry is always nice for swimming! Enjoy a few pictures! 🙂

20131028-192113.jpg

20131028-192108.jpg

20131028-192102.jpg


4 Comments

I’m Only Half Crazy!!

Remember that time I decided to run my second half marathon only one week after running my first?!?! Ya…..that happened. Lol. I ran my second half marathon this past Sunday, October 13. I ran it with the one girl I ran my first one with. I kicked some serious butt too!!! Here’s a quick little race recap of the Northern Ohio Half Marathon!

This was also an inaugural race. They actually had a full marathon and 5k as well as the half marathon I ran in. The race took place up in Fairport Harbor, right along the shore of Lake Erie. While the course didn’t have any lake views, the parking area did! It was so cool to see the lake when it was still dark out. Kinda creepy! My morning started off waiting in line to use the indoor bathrooms by the park. There was about 15-20 women waiting to use them, but we still preferred that over using the port-a-potties. Well, as my luck would have, as we were almost to the front of the line, a rather size-able spider went running past us into the bathroom!! Naturally, all us girls were freaking out!! No one wanted to step on it. Bad karma for your running shoes!! It stopped right in front of the sinks. My friend and I were up to use the stalls, so we ran into the farthest two stalls out of the three in there and hoped this little sucker would stay put. Wrong! That thing ran through all three stalls!!! And of course ended up stopping in mine right by the toilet. Totally freaked us all out! Everyone screamed and luckily we ran outta there as quick as we could!!

The starting area was easy to find. They had an announcer out counting down the minutes until start time. We only had about 15 minutes to wait until start time, so we hung out near it with my friend’s husband and talked. My husband couldn’t make it, so I was on my own! Before we knew it, it was time to start. This race started off going downhill! How nice! The overall course was too bad. They did not do corrals or separate race starts for the marathon and half marathon, we all started together at the same time. They had the start for the 5k 30 minutes after ours. We eventually branched off from the full marathon. We had several rolling hills, but nothing too bad. I am proud to say I didn’t walk up any of them! I also never stopped running, except for the water stops. This was a first for me! It was so hot the previous week at the race and the hills were insane on that course that I ended up walking a lot. So I was very proud of myself this week. My pace stayed pretty even. I usually start out trying to stay around a 10 minute pace for the first 3 miles. I then drop back to a steady 11-11:45 pace for the rest of the race. I know I’m no speed demon here, I’m still just running to finish at this point. I kept chugging along and before I knew it I was at mile 10. Only 3 more to go!! Those last few miles are always the hardest for me. This time I started having sharp pain in my left foot when I would strike the ground. It didn’t happen every step, but it kept happening more and more as I went on. By the last mile, I was having a lot of pain, and almost felt like my leg would give out when that sharp pain hit, but luckily it never did. Even in the pain, I just kept running. All I could think of was, “What is wrong with me?!? I’m crazy!!” Hah! I secretly had a goal of trying to finish better than the previous week, but didn’t say anything because I didn’t know what to expect. Towards the last 2-3 miles I realized I might make that happen! I finally turned the last corner and saw that beautiful finish line. I kept chugging along until about half way down. I took one last look at my watch and kicked it into overdrive. I took off running as fast as I could! I could hear and see spectators cheering for me as I ran. Such a great feeling!!! I not only beat my time of 2:37:12, I crushed it! I finished at 2:29:50!!!! Under 2.5 hours baby! I was so happy and so proud of myself. I couldn’t expect anything more.

I loved this race. The course was awesome. The spectators were so encouraging! I registered late, so I wasn’t able to get a finishers medal at the finish line, but will be able to pick one up within the next month. If you live in the northern Ohio area, I definitely recommend this race.

Overall Pros:
~ Awesome course
~ Nice assortment of post-race foods (bread, pizza, bananas, and cookies)
~ Very easy to register and navigate their website
~ Great volunteers and staff along the course
~ Beautiful finishers medal (I will post a pic when I get mine!)

Overall Cons:
~ Not enough port-a-potties along the course (I didn’t use them, but my friend needed to)
~ Didn’t really have any “swag bags” (Just my shirt and bib in the bag)
~ Would have liked a separate start from the marathoners

I only have one picture from the race that my friend’s husband took along the course. Bummer!

20131017-145646.jpg

And the craziest part? I’m signing up for a third half marathon that happens in just a few weeks! Yay! After completing my two half marathons it qualifies me to be a member of the Half Fanatics group online!! It costs $35 to join, and then $10 a year in dues, so I think I’ll hold off for now. It’s still cool to know that I qualify now, because I remember seeing this group online before I started racing and thinking that’s crazy! I could never run a half marathon let alone several in a close time frame!

Well, never say never my friends! Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. 🙂


3 Comments

My First Half Marathon Race Recap!

20131007-232420.jpg

Wowza. Like for real guys. The Cleveland Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon has officially come and gone. And you know what? I totally rocked it!! Whew! I still can’t believe it is over. My first half marathon. Now, keep in mind…. My definition of rocking it does not mean I was breaking any records here. I not only finished the race, I finished under my goal time! Not knowing what to expect, I aimed for trying to complete it in under 2:45. Now for anyone that knows anything about half marathons, that is no where near considered a fast time. The woman that came in overall first had a time of 1:23. Crazy! I ended up coming in at 2:37. Not bad people!!! I was incredibly proud of myself. I actually felt pretty strong until around mile 9-10. This course had a lot of hills. I was not expecting this. Anyways here is my overall race recap!

The Race Expo:
It was nice! Compared to the Cleveland Marathon Expo, this one was fairly small. It was held downtown at our new Medical Convention Center place. There were various booths set up offering clothing, GU gels, sunglasses, Therabands, etc. Brooks was one of the main sponsors, so they had a large assortment of running gear on display for purchase. I decided to pass, seeing as their clothing was pretty expensive. I did however, come across a booth from one of our local running stores, and the had a pair of Brooks running shorts that I ended up buying. They were the exact color I needed for my race outfit, and they were 50% off! Can’t beat that. I also picked up my 13.1 magnet for my car. I really liked the Expo. I went around the last hour of it being open, and still found a wide selection of products available. Packet pickup was a breeze. Everything was very organized and well spaced out. I picked up my packet right away, and then changed my corral. This was also very simple to do. I then headed over and picked up my race shirt and swag bag. The shirt is awesome. It was made my Brooks and the design on it is cool! We even got a little backpack as our swag bag. Pretty neat! Overall a nice Expo! The only downside was that you had to pay for parking. It was only $5, but I would have preferred to not have had to pay.

The Race:
The weather forecast leading up to race morning was less than ideal. They were calling for isolated thunderstorms and rain. No bueno. I got up around 4:45am to find it unusually warm. It was still a little chilly, but not chilly enough for race day. Runners, you get this. My one friend was driving down with us and met us at my house. We left around 6:10am and got downtown around 6:30. We found quick parking, and cheap too, only $5. We drove through some light rain, but it wasn’t raining when we got there. We hung out in the car for a bit, gathered our things and headed up to the start area. Holy cannoli was I nervous. The start area was already bustling and full of runners and spectators getting ready for the race. We had some time to relax, use the bathrooms, and stretch before getting into our corral. We met up with my other friend, Legal Ballerina, right before we got into the corral. There were so many runners! This was by far the largest race I have participated in. I even made my own shirt for the race letting other runners know this was my first half marathon.

20131007-225821.jpg
You wouldn’t believe how many runners cheered me on during the race! Hearing people yell out your name and cheer you on is the best feeling. The running community really is amazing. Everyone is so supportive. I even got to chat with some other runners. Such a great experience! LB started the race off with me and stuck with my slow butt until around mile 4. Then she took off like the experienced runner she is! I’m glad she got to run with me for a little bit! I then ran into my other friend (no pun intended there lol) and ran with her for a few minutes. The weather was crazy. It was so muggy and hot. It was easily 70 degrees when we started and it was almost 80 when I finished. Yikes. Lots of sweat! I surprisingly did very well. I kept a pretty steady 10-11 minute pace through the first 8-9 miles. The last few miles kicked my butt. It was hot, muggy, and my left IT band was pretty sore. I kept chugging along though and walked for a few seconds when I needed to.

I couldn’t be happier with my results. I wasn’t fast, but I finished, and that’s the important part. I finished quicker than I thought I would, which was an added bonus! It was a tough course due to the hills and heat. The communities we ran through though were very supportive and cheered us on! This race series provided live bands at almost every mile marker on the course. Pretty cool! They also had local cheerleading squads on the course cheering us all on. Also very cool! All in all, I really enjoyed this race. I think the Rock n’ Roll company put on a great inaugural race!

Overall Pros and Cons:
Pros:
~ Easy race day parking
~ Plenty of bathrooms
~ Nice corral starts
~ Plenty of water/Gatorade stations
~ Great volunteers
~ Challenging course
~ Awesome Finisher’s Medal and tshirt
~ Nice assortment of post race snacks (water, chocolate milk, fuel bar, banana, ice cold towels)

Cons:
~ Challenging course
~ Expensive Race Entry Fees

I picked up this Finisher tech shirt after the race. My mom also bought me the glass pint and shot glass. Since we bought $50 worth of merchandise, I got a free Brooks tshirt! It was a nice shirt too! It’s the dark blue one on the left.

20131007-231633.jpg

I really had a great time at this race. I’m proud of my accomplishment and I look forward to planning my next half marathon! Here are the pictures of my race shirt, swag bag, finishers medal, and magnet:

20131007-231937.jpg

20131007-231930.jpg

Post Race:
They had a post race concert for runners and their spectators. Gavin Degraw was the headliner. We didn’t stay, but we heard him playing as we were leaving, and it sounded good! They also had a few bands playing while all the runners were racing. My husband said they were pretty good! It was very easy to find your family and friends post race. They had large letters on the poles, so you could plan to meet up with your loved ones after the race. I’m so glad my husband and mom were there to support me!! They got to see me around mile 2 and they saw me run in across the finish line. My husband even got a bunch of pictures of me crossing the finish line! So awesome!! I’m so glad my first half marathon was such a positive, good, experience.

And here are my before and after pictures! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos with Legal Ballerina 😟

20131007-232048.jpg

20131007-232101.jpg

20131007-232107.jpg


3 Comments

It’s the Final Countdown!!!

That’s right. It’s the final countdown! To my very first half marathon! Only 6 more days now until I gear up and head downtown in the wee hours of the morning to start my race! I ran my last training run on Saturday. I difficult 10 miles to say the least. I chose to do my run in a local MetroPark while my husband and his friends hiked. There’s the first red flag. If people can hike the same trails I want to run, I’m in for some trouble. Hah! Actually, the trails weren’t that bad. My first mile was a flat loop. Not too bad. Then my second to third miles started to get some hilly action. Tolerable though. Then came miles three through five. Holy cannoli. Big hills. Like, I have to walk up them and still stop to catch my breath kind of hills. Here’s my view from the top trail of the gorge. Simply beautiful!

20130930-140714.jpg

The 1.5 mile loop up here was more difficult to run. There were huge boulders, rocks, tree roots, etc. everywhere! It reminded me of the trails I ran while down in Hocking Hills. To get my mileage in I had to repeat some of the trails on the opposite side of the hill. This meant lots of elevation changes. It was tough, but I didn’t stray too far from my normal pace. Once I got to my five mile marker, I descended back down the huge hill to the flatter trails. I did a couple out and backs and then did my last 3 miles on the flat loop trail.

20130930-141132.jpg

My time was only a few minutes off from my last 10 mile run. This time it was 2:05 while the first time was 1:57. My first one was much, much, flatter than this time.

So needless to say, I’m a little nervous for Sunday! I trained as best as I could for this race. I know I’m undertrained, but I know I can finish this race. I didn’t really end up missing any ballet classes either. Just swapped a few of them out for some other classes where the work wouldn’t be as hard on my calves. My plan is to take it easy this week in ballet. I have classes twice a week, so I will see. I think I’m going to go to class tomorrow night and just take it easy. Then just miss class on Thursday. Gotta have fresh legs for the race! I’ll try to take pictures, but I’m not sure if I’m going to have my phone with me or not. Hope everyone has been well! 🙂


3 Comments

Finally in Stride

Since I’ve been off of dance for a few weeks now (due to summer break), I’ve had more time to run. Last night I ran 6 miles, the longest yet I’ve ever run, and I survived! It was a little muggy out still when I ran, I guess that’s what happens when you run in a heavily wooded park after it was like 85 degrees all weekend. Legal Ballerina joined me for the run. She’s a seasoned runner, so running with a newbie like me isn’t always easy. I have been doing all of my training runs doing between 10:00-11:00 minute miles. I know it’s nothing great, but it’s what I can do! We ended up not even listening to our music, but talked the entire time we ran too, something else I’ve never done before. It definitely affected my breathing, but I was able to keep up running and talking for the most part. We took a couple breaks, but then kept chugging along. I couldn’t believe I hit that 6 mile mark! I’m so proud of myself for my accomplishments. I may not ever be the fastest runner out there, but I’m trying just as hard as every other runner out there!

Now that my long runs are getting over an hour long, I think I need to start carrying some water with me when I run. At least for now, when its still hot out. I think it would help. I don’t feel like I need any carbs while running yet, but then again my long runs aren’t really up there yet. I will probably get some different gels or energy bits and try them out. The last thing I would want to do is not try anything before race day and then need some carbs while running and get sick because I’m not used to that particular gel.

Other than that, running is going great! My calf has been doing awesome! I’m still in love with my Brooks shoes. If only finding pointe shoes were so easy…..
Back to ballet classes next week! Yay!! So excited to get back and work on more things!

Up this weekend: family trip to Hocking Hills! We will be staying in a cabin and doing all sorts of fun activities! Geocaching, zip lining, cooking out, hiking, some running for me, and relaxing in the hot tub! Definitely excited! Watch my Instagram for pics of my weekend fun 🙂