A Whole New Run

4 Nov

What happens when you can’t sleep and just too excited about Disney and Wine & Dine in a few short days?!?!  You rewrite “A Whole New World” to sing while dressed in your Aladdin themed costume!  Nicole and Kim, get memorizing!  (And yes, Nicole could come up with a much better version).

I can show you the course
Shining, shimmering pavement
Tell me runner, now when did
You last do your loooong run?

I can pull you along
Take you incline by incline
Over, sideways and under
On a half marathon race 

A whole new run
A new fantastic way to race!
No one to tell us no or where to go
Except for the volunteers 

A whole new run
A dazzling pace I never knew
But when I’m running here, it’s crystal clear
That now I’m on a whole new run with you 

(Now I’m on a whole new run with you)
Unbelievable fun
Indescribable feelings
Sweating, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless photo stop 

A whole new run
(don’t you dare close your eyes)
A hundred thousand things to see
(like where to do the Nardi Challenge)

 I’m like a shooting star
Except not so fast
I can’t go back
To how I used to race 

A whole new run
The finish line gets closer

With new PRs in fun to get
Every moment gets better
I’ll chase them anywhere
Characters everywhere
Let me share this whole new run with you 

A whole new run
A whole new run
PRs in fun
PRs in fun
That’s how we’ll pace
In the happiest place
For you and me

Feel free to sing along if you spot us on course! :)

How to Survive the NYCM! …When You’re Not Running 26.2

29 Oct

The time is almost near.  You’ve worked hard, trained for months and now the big day is THIS Sunday.

SO DON’T BLOW IT BY MAKING ME KICK YOUR BUTT!

This is not where I give helpful tips how to survive the race because, well, having never survived 26.2 miles, I would have no idea what I was talking about.  This is where I help you survive NYC when you’re not running.  This is where I spare you of potentially shoved, pushed, yelled at by resident New Yorkers who get a bad rap for being rude when it reality, we’re not (unless you’re in the Port Authority.  There is no excuse for there.  The people are just evil through no ones’s fault).

Believe it or not, when you rely on public transportation, missing a train or a ferry or a bus can add a SIGNIFICANT period of time to your commute.  We don’t always rush, but if we are, it’s because we know that if we don’t our 1 hour commute will become 2 hours (seriously, I’ve missed a train and that throws everything off and my commute time doubles).

If you were to go to another county, would you expect them to adopt your traditions?  No, you do your best to accommodate theirs…well, think of visiting NY as visiting another country.

Don’t get me wrong, what I am about to advise you on, even some (many) resident New Yorkers need to listen to, but just because they do it, doesn’t make it right.

Treat the Sidewalks and Streets Like a Race Course

When you run in a race, there are certain courtesies you are expected to follow.  Why do you think that this would not apply to walking ANYWHERE.  Would you run 5 people across and block the entire race course so that no one could get by?  NO! So don’t do it on the sidewalks!  Yes, you are a big group, but our sidewalks are not.  Do not make it impossible for us to walk past you…

…which brings up the next point, walk on the right side!  That simple, just stay to the right.  That way you can have people walk in both directions without crashing into people! Its a crazy concept, I know.  BUT DO IT!  I don’t mean just do it if your walking slowly, I mean just do it! That simple.

And this kinda relates to another similarity to a race.  If you need to stop, which sometimes you do, unless you are passing out and cannot control it, you go off to the side and then stop.  SO WHY THEN DO YOU DECIDE IT IS OK TO JUST STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK AND STAND THERE FOR FOREVER WITH YOUR GROUP OF 10 PEOPLE AND MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO GO ANYWHERE!  If you need to stop to check your map, make a phone call, ask for directions, we understand, just step to the side, out of the way, and then stop.  I don’t think that’s asking a lot.

Subways

You’re visiting NY and you want to take the subway.  Great.  Follow this simple rule and I will not “accidentally” slam into you…

LET THE PEOPLE GET OFF THE TRAIN FIRST!  Do not start pushing your way in until everyone that needs to  get off the train has.  I promise, the train will not leave before you get on.  See, the conductor, he/she can see everyone waiting to get on the train, so he knows when he can go.  He/she CANNOT see everyone still in the cars who are trying to get off.  So, I repeat, LET THE PEOPLE OFF THE TRAIN FIRST!  If you see me standing there next to the door, waiting to get on, I am not doing it for my health, I am doing it to let the people off, so no, the answer is NOT walking around me, cut in front of me and push your way through the people still trying get off.  LET THE PEOPLE OFF THE TRAIN FIRST!  Have I mentioned letting the people off the train first?

Unless you are elderly, pregnant, or physically handicapped in some way, do NOT fight with me (or anyone) over that seat when you are getting off in 1-2 stops.  It’s 5 minutes.  You can stand for 5 minutes.  Suck it up.

Do not lean against the pole.  The poles are there for a reason.  There are there for people to hold on to so they don’t fall on their asses.  They are not meant to hold you and only you up.  Don’t be that guy (or girl).

Do not take up more than 1 seat.  Yes, it’s nice to have space.  If you want space, do not ride on a subway…especially between the hours of 7am-10am and 3pm-8pm.  You are not special, you do not get 2 seats.  By that same logic, if you see someone taking up 2 seats, PLEASE make them move their ass (or bag) over and let you sit down.  They are being an asshole.

Some subway stations are equipped with escalators.  Yes, escalators have room for 2 people across.  Do NOT stand 2 people across on an escalator.  If you are “riding” the escalator, stand (again) to the right.  Leaving the left side open for those who are walking up the escalator.  Got it?  Escalators – standing: right, walking: left.

Stairs, like sidewalks, have similar rules.  Stay to the right.  Do not block the entire staircase with your group.  Do not stop in the middle of the staircase.

I think that covers most of it, but anything I missed should be covered by Mr. Johnny T here:

GOOD LUCK RUNNERS!

Fran…She’s a B*tch!

27 Oct

Friday was my one year CrossFit anniversary.

With CrossFit,, the box will (should) make you take a foundations course where you learn the proper way to do the movements so that you don’t injury yourselves.  At the end of foundations, you “test out” to start going to the regular classes.

One year ago, I did “Fran” (a lot of the WODs are have girls names because, you know, we’re badasses).  Fran is prescribed to be 21 reps, 15 reps and 9 reps of thrusters at 65# (for women) and pull-ups.  When I did this WOD to test out my coach had me do less reps (15, 9, 6).  My weight was 35# for the thruster and for my pull-ups I was jumping up to the bar from a 12″ box (so really not pulling up at all).  My time was 6:42.

When I discovered on class on Friday that is was my anniversary, I decided I had to do Fran again.  A couple of people decided they would come in to open gym on Sunday and do Fran with me.

Last time I did Fran, it was modified in EVERY possible way.  This time I would do the full reps (21, 15, 9), the RX thruster weight (65#) and pull-ups with an assist/resistance band (no jumping).  Oh yeah, I also had the NYRR Marathon Kick-Off 5 Miler (recap coming) right before it.  So yeah, I did a 5 mile race (with hills of doom) hoped on a subway and went straight to my box to warm-up and do Fran…because I’m an idiot.

I had 2 people doing it with me and do other friends taking a break in their workouts to cheer me on.  My final time was 11:07.

Yes, I was technically “slower” but really, I wasn’t.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come.  I did 30 more reps and SIGNIFICANTLY heavier weights (including lifting my body weight) AFTER a 5 mile race (with my fastest times yet!).

My time wasn’t fast by any standards but I’ll take it!  I’m slow, but I”m getting faster and stronger.  This was only after 1 year.  I can’t want to see me after 2!

Oh, and yeah, everything might be hurting today…and I really need to work on pull-ups.

Neptune’s Challenge Part 2 – Atlantic City Half Marathon + 3 Miles

23 Oct

I left off having just done the 5K portion of the Neptune’s Challenge.  According to my training plan, I was actually supposed to do 7 miles that day, but since I ran the race faster than planned, I opted not to and to “save” it for my half marathon/16 miler the next day.  Although Between the trip back and forth to the the start/finish line and hotel and my adventure to the outlets (the Disney store was fortunately for my wallet, closed) I definitely easily got in another 4 miles on my legs, albeit not running.  The plan for Sunday was to do the half at a “training” pace so that I could continue and do another 3 miles for a total of 16.

Sunday morning was much cooler than Saturday.  My dad walked with me to the start line, and hung out with me until the race started.  He was going to walk the boardwalk while I ran and then we would meet up again when the race course came back to the boardwalk.

It was a little different this morning.  It was a LOT more crowded (with the AC marathon being a BQ qualifier and 18 miles of it flat and “easy” on the boardwalk, it was definitely popular) and again there were no corrals.  There were however pacers.  I saw pacers that were obviously for the marathon but not really any for the half marathon (both races start at the same place and like the day before would just have a different turn around).  Then I spotted a 2:45 guy.  This could still be a marathon pacer, until I saw the back of his sign which read 12:22…that was definitely not a minute mile pace for a 2:45 marathon.

After my DNF (can you tell I’m still obsessed with that?) I was not going to make the same mistakes and run too fast.  I decided that the 2:45 pacer would be the way to go.  Keep me nice and slow and steady and would keep me motivated to keep going.  Before I knew it, I was saying goodbye to my dad and we were off!

We started down the boardwalk and would turn off into the city about .1 mile in.  I started conversing with some other people in my pace group and they were awesome!  My pacer was as well, but we’ll get to that.

About a mile in, I notice that our pace is 11:28.  Again, that’s not fast but it’s a minute faster than the pace we’re supposed to try for.  Oh no.  Not again.  But then, we started walking.  Our pacer was going to use the Galloway method!  He was using 2:1 intervals.  We just ran the first mile so that we would be out of the crowd.  Honestly, the Galloway method would work perfectly for making sure I hit my 16 miles!

It turns out my pacer was not only doing NYCM, but he had done Goofy last year and his daughter had done Dopey!  I had a Disney pacer!  But wait!  My running buddy was a Disney person too!   We were discussing Disney races, this was going to be great! As we ran further into the city back towards the Borgata, the scenery left something to be desired.  There were a lot of highway ramp/hills and it seemed like our walking intervals never coordinated with going up these hills…also this would be when the wind would blow directly into our faces.  The first few miles unfortunately went on this way…RUN the big hill, wind in face, and cold.  But the conversation was good and honestly we were moving “too fast”.  Apparently the pacer will get in trouble if he finished too soon before his pace time so throughout the race he was constantly saying if we wanted to go on we could.

We kept trying to “slow” down, but it wasn’t really working.  Around mile 6 we picked up some more people for our group…more DISNEY people to be specific!  One girl had done the college work program in WDW and then stayed there another 6 months.  An older woman joined and she was a DVC member.

Also around mile 6 is when we got some nicer scenery.  We were a couple of blocks from the boarwalk and running through a nice neighborhood that is typical of what you think a neighborhood of beach houses would look like.  Also, by this point, with the exception of the ramp to get us back on to the boardwalk, the course was flat.

We get back onto the boardwalk around mile 8 which kinda made me sad since we’d only be running on if for 4 miles (yes, half marathon math is always 4+8 = 13 don’t ask me why).  But just like the day before, running on the boardwalk was nice.  Again, it wasn’t closed off so there was some tourist dodging but not too bad.  And we had to run around the finish line and cross people heading towards it, but again, not too bad.

We were still going “too fast” so the pacer offered to throw in a quick walk break and the water stop.  But despite this too fast pace I we were all feeling pretty good and didn’t need to slow down.

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*photo from of Ken Shelton Photography

Around mile 10 I saw my dad on the side holding the “Go Kellie” sign my mom had made.  Because of the openness of the course, my dad started running with us!  He ran with us until the next water stop and then would pick us up on the way back.

Mile 10 is typically where I have my “collapse.”  I only have 5K to go therefore I am done running.  But that didn’t happen this time.  Because I was with these people and I wasn’t going to the rest of this on my own, I kept going.  I definitely was starting to feel a lack of energy.  My legs weren’t tired. but I was.  Does that make sense?

Around mile 11 is when we saw the marathon finisher pass us.  It was very comforting to see him dripping in sweat!  (They often make it look so easy!)

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*photo from of Ken Shelton Photography

By mile 12 our group was splitting up.  A couple had sped up.  Some had fallen behind.  But this guy had gotten me through this race, I wasn’t doing this for time, so dammit, I wasn’t going to leave him!  The few of us that were left felt the same.

We were still coming in “too fast” but it was too late to do anything at that point.  With the finish line in site and my dad joining us again (still carrying the sign), we ran to the finish!

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Me pointing to the sign my dad was carrying.   *photo from of Ken Shelton Photography

But wait!  I’m not done!  I still had 3 more miles to go! I ate my banana and my half of the bagel, gave my Gatorade and my medals to my parents to hold.  They would walk back to the hotel while I would keep running.  I ran toward the opposite end of the boardwalk and changed my intervals to 4:1.  It was hard to get my legs to get moving again for those extra miles.  And my pace was SLOW, but 3 miles later, I had done it!  16 miles total and my longest run to date!

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I definitely enjoyed my experience with this race!  The weather was perfect.  I loved running on the boardwalk.  They give out full bottle of Gatorade after the race (in EVERY flavor) as well as a variety of foods.  Plus they had a little “finishers village” just after the finish line.  You got a beer voucher on your bib.  I, sadly, didn’t really do anything in the finishers village because I knew if I did I would never do those 3 extra miles.

While the price tag isn’t cheap, my challenge cost was still significantly less than the cost of 1 Disney half.  My only complaints are the shirt and medal designs.  I understand how much easier it is to be able to give everyone the medal once they crossed the finish line, but the same way they were able to look at our bibs and see those who participated in the challenge and those who didn’t, is the same way they can give a different medal to a marathon finisher and a half marathon finisher.  And, similar to the shirts, the only difference there was no difference in design, but the 5K/10K finisher was slightly smaller than the half/full marathoner.  It’s not a big deal, but I felt guilt wearing a medal that read marathon finisher on it (it also says half).

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Regardless I would definitely recommend this race weekend and if the timing (and free room) works out, count me in for next year!

Neptune’s Challenge Part 1 – 5K and Expo (Kinda) Recap

22 Oct

This past weekend I was in Atlantic City for the Neptune’s Challenge.  Originally I had signed up to do the Amerihealth New Jersey Atlantic City Half marathon as part of my 16 miler for Goofy training.  Then a couple of months ago, they announced they would be doing a challenge with the Shore Medical Center 5K or 10K the day before.  It allowed for any combination either the 5K or 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon or Full Marathon on Sunday.  2 days, 3 medals AND get in my back to back training runs?  SIGN ME UP! I convinced my dad to do a race with me on Saturday.  He opted for the 5K so that’s what we were doing.

On Friday I hopped onto a bus from Port Authority (that place is EVIL) and was on my way to AC.  My parents had already driven down.  I met my dad at the expo which was small but I honestly enjoyed it.  They had some race merchandise there but I ended up not purchasing any.  The swag bag was pretty decent.  The clear plastic bag they gave was actually a legit clear plastic back pack that could be reused.  The shirts though were identical designs with the only difference being that the 5K and 10K had short sleeves and the 1/2 and full marathon shirts were long sleeves.  Otherwise, there was no difference in the design and no way to distinguish which race you actually did (the medals were the same, but we’ll get to that later).

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At the expo, the have a few sponsored booths…one of which was Corona giving out free samples, yay!  Also they had a “booth” with 50% of sneakers!  Of all brands!  I was in need of some new ones, so I picked up 2 pairs of Brooks for the price of 1!  Whoohoo!  They also had a bin for 3 pairs of Swiftwick socks for $10 (1 pair is normally more that than) but unfortunately the only sizes they had were XS and XL.

I gotta say, I really love the convenience of being walking distance to the start line.  The start (and finish) was in front of Bally’s and we were staying at the Taj (because you don’t say no to a free room from your mom).  It’s about .5-.75 miles away.  So my dad and I started heading to the start.  I was worried about how my running would go given my recent DNF and leg issues.  My dad wanted to run/jog to the start to warm up.  While on the way he mentioned he wanted me to put “Let it Go” on his Disney playlist (my parents JUST watched Frozen…seriously).  Anyway, so it was then decided that we would run down the boardwalk blasting “Let it Go” because there really is no other way to warm up.

There were no corrals for this race.  No pacers.  The number of participants seemed “small.” but I liked that.  The 5K and 10K runners started at the same time in the same place and just had a different turn around point.  The race started promptly at 9am and we were off!

I was trying to pace my dad, make sure he started off slow enough so that he could pick it up as we went.  I know he was getting anxious watching people pass us but as long as we kept to the plan, we would be passing people.  My dad was doing great and I was feeling great!  My leg wasn’t hurting, and I was feeling strong so I kept pushing the pace.  At about the half way point I saw that we were going pretty fast for my dad.  I asked him if he was ok, he said yes, so we kept going and I kept pushing.

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*photo from of Ken Shelton Photography

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*photo from of Ken Shelton Photography

By mile 2 I had gotten him to a 10:56 pace (which I’m pretty sure might be the fastest my dad has run in his recent running career).  I was still feeling good an I continually kept checking on him to make sure he was ok.  He kept saying he was until he wasn’t.  He started to get a cramp in his side.  But my dad refuses to ever walk during a race, so I told him we would slow down.  Honestly, we probably could’ve/should’ve slowed down more but my legs weren’t letting me.  (Sorry dad!)

The finish line was in site and so I told my dad that once we hit the over pass we would pick up the pace and “sprint” to the finish.  My dad who insists he only has one speed and that he can’t go faster at the end of a race.  Well, I was about to prove him wrong.  We hit the over pass and picked it up for the end!  My dad had even said “no letting anyone pass us at this point!” I didn’t have the heart to explain to him why I couldn’t guarantee that, but I liked his spirit!  Before we knew it, we were crossing the finish line!

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*photo from of Ken Shelton Photography

My dad (and technically me since I’ve only done timed 5Ks with my dad) ended up with a 2:30 minute PR!  My dad, because he’s crazy, wasn’t happy with that because his last race was run in the heat and he had to take a walking break so of course this one was going to be faster.  But not 2:30 minutes faster!  Come on dad!  Over that short distance, that kind of a PR?  That’s almost a minute a mile faster than your last race? Although I’m not one to talk, I clearly get that from him.  It probably didn’t help that the female 10K winner was crossing seconds after us.

ANYWAY!  I like this race.  Running on the boardwalk was great, the race started promptly.  The boardwalk wasn’t closed off but dodging people (who weren’t participating) wasn’t really an issue.  The turn around for the 5K was clearly marked and the volunteers were great and supportive!  While I probably would not come down to AC to do just the 5K or the 10K I would definitely do either again if I’m down here for the half.

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My new sneakers helped carry me through part 1 of the challenge!

5K complete, next stop, the Atlantic City Half Marathon!

Huh?!?!

17 Oct

I officially deferred this race the other day, so it’s kind of a moot point…but the corral placement for the Avengers Super Hero Half Marathon gives me 2 reactions: Huh?  And uh oh, please let them have it right for Goofy!

I am not a fast runner, we’ve established this.  My PR half marathon time is 2:33:49 (previous was 2:34:24).  I submit my anticipated time as 2:30 because well, I always think I’ll train properly and get faster and somehow, in the midst of having fun in Disney, will hit that time (and it’s not THAT far off…ok, in running terms it is, but still).  Regardless, for the most part, Disney places me in a pretty appropriate corral.  And then we have the Avengers Half Marathon.  Now I have submitted the same proof of time for the W&D, the Avengers Half, Goofy and the GSC.  It worked for W&D, not so much for Avengers.  But we’ll get to that…

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Now, based on this, I should be in Corral E/F, but I’m not.  I was placed in Corral G.  Now a 1-2 corral difference is not a huge deal until you notice the jump in both bib numbers and time between F & G.  Corral F has a time of 2:35.  Corral G has a time of 3:15.  Are you kidding me?!?! How do you have a 40 minute difference between corrals?!?!  On what planet does that make sense?!?!  Now let’s talk people.  The logic might have been, well, there just weren’t enough runners to break down the corrals further after 2:35.  WRONG.  Corrals A-F are bib numbers 21-5200.  Corrals G & H are bib numbers 5201-12473.  Does that seem fair?  Does that seem accurate?  Does that seem like a fair distribution of runners?  I understand that this the inaugural race, but it is not RunDisney’s first race ever!  I’m just perplexed by this.  If you’re slower than 2:35 then you deserve to be jammed with 3x as many runners in your corral because you are too slow to deserve anything better!  Is that what you are trying to say RunDisney?

And then we go into the panic mode for Goofy.  Since Goofy is my first marathon, I want the best corral placement as possible so that I have as big of a cushion to survive the damn thing.  As I mentioned I used the same proof of time for these races.  I SHOULD have been placed in the 2:35 Corral (or the 2:30 if Disney if feeling generous like they did for W&D), but they didn’t.  They placed me in the 3:15 corral.  Don’t misunderstand me, there is NOTHING wrong with being placed in the 3:15 corral…unless you running your first marathon and really need/want that extra corral cushion those 40 minutes you busted your butt for gives you.  With not being able to make corral changes at the expo anymore, this has me in a panic that I could be placed in one of the last corrals for Goofy.  I honestly don’t think I can handle that pressure.

So, in conclusion: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING RUNDISNEY?!?!

Our Own Worst Enemies

14 Oct

As athletes, runners, active people, our stubbornness often works to our advantage.  It’s what pushes us to keep going, to finish what we started when we feel like we have nothing left.  It’s how we keep going.

But, at the same time, it’s also our own worst enemy.  Our stubbornness is what  won’t allow us to quit, even when we should.

At CrossFit yesterday, I witnessed my first injury.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully and completely understand that sometimes injuries occur for fluke reasons, for things that are outside of our control.  But then there are the injuries that happen because we are just too stubborn.  Yesterday’s injury was out of stubbornness.

This is not to say that I don’t feel horrible for this individual!  I do!  But at the same time, there were actions he should have taken that could’ve prevented the outcome.  Yesterday we were doing Squat Snatches (go ahead, get the laughing out of the way).  This is a movement where you essentially catch the barbell overhead with a wide grip, landing in a squat.  This individual was doing the movement wrong.  The coaches will review our technique and suggestion minor tweaks to our form, if needed.  The coach told this individual that he needed to basically change EVERYTHING he was doing.  When you redo everything, you start from the beginning.  This individual chose to start redoing his entire technique with his 1 rep max weight.  Apparently, he has a habit of doing this.  (Later the coach would yell – and I have NEVER seen this one yell – that he does this all the time, his movement will be corrected, completely changed, and instead of starting lighter like he should, he does it at a way too heavy weight).  He should have treated this as if he was learning the movement for the first time (because essentially, he was) and slowly work up in weight.  Instead, (admittedly, I’m assuming because this coaches have instructed him otherwise) because his stubbornness, he was attempting a weight that he had no business trying at that point.  The result was he caught the bar improperly, didn’t let go of the bar (which only made things worse) and the bar slammed onto his shoulder.  I could see his bone popping out, assuming it’s dislocated.  While I feel for the guy, I do, this could possibly have been prevented if he listened to the coach.  But he chose to do the weight he wanted.

I can’t say I blame him.  I am very stubborn.  But there is a very thin line between pushing us to do more when we should and shouldn’t.  I recently struggled with that line here during a failed half marathon attempt.  How often do we as runners force ourselves to keep going?  Try to ignore that pain in our leg, our stomach, where ever because we NEED to get this run in.  We NEED to do these miles.  We NEED to finish this race.

How often do we recognize that something is wrong, that our body is telling us we need to stop, and we completely ignore it?  How often do we shake something off, because we tell ourselves we can do it, it’s nothing, work through the pain?

Our stubbornness is our drive.  It’s what keeps us going sometimes.  But it is also sometimes our downfall.  I know I’m guilty of this and I know I need and am going to try and change this.  I feel like getting my first DNF, while still causing me great emotional pain, was a step in the right direction.

Not all injuries can be prevented, but we as runners/athletes/people need to do what we can to protect ourselves.  We need to learn that sometimes it is ok to say “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t.”   That which does not kill us makes us stronger.  Saying no now, can be the reason we get there later.

Are you your own worst enemy?  How do you know when you hit that line between push and stop?

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The excuse I used to go to Disney...and change my life!

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The excuse I used to go to Disney...and change my life!

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The excuse I used to go to Disney...and change my life!

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The excuse I used to go to Disney...and change my life!

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The excuse I used to go to Disney...and change my life!

The excuse I used to go to Disney...and change my life!

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Run, Karla, Run!

The excuse I used to go to Disney...and change my life!

The excuse I used to go to Disney...and change my life!

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