One Girl. Ten Years. Forty Races.

One Girl.  Ten Years. Forty Races.

2008 was my quintessential year of change.  I had just emerged from a not so healthy relationship and got into healthier things.  I went to spin classes until my butt got numb, moved a bit awkwardly in pilates and found a new fitness love…races.

I wish I could remember the individual that introduced me to races (whoever you are…thank you!), but I don't. Races were something I didn't expect to enjoy.  I'm not a fan of huge crowds (more on that later), yet seeing thousands of people of all ages and sizes show up to run put a smile on my face.

Don't let me fool you…I'm not a runner.  I'm more of a “ralker” (pronounced “rocker”).  “Ralking” is a mixture of running and walking.  As much as I would love to pound the pavement at warped speed, I am better-suited for a series of (partial) stops and starts.

Fast forward ten years and I have finished forty races!  My very first race in 2008 was the Run for the Trees. I knew I wanted to do the same run as a 10th-anniversary gift to myself…and my running shoes.  And guess what?  I signed up for it.  And I knew I wanted to write about it.  So here we are.

Now seems like the perfect opportunity to take you through some of my favorite races, race-related things and what's next for Work, Play, and Chardonnay…race edition.

Through the years (sing it, Kenny Rogers!) of racing

40 races
This is what 10 years and forty races worth of bibs and medals look like.  I really should get a display case.

 2009 Inaugural Disney Princess Half Marathon

This was my very first half marathon and one I will never forget.  I had NO idea how to train for the race (so I didn't) but was relatively fit at the time.  My friend, Katie Katie, did the race with me and she thankfully had experience with long runs.  I am pretty sure she physically pushed me around mile 11 to keep some kind of momentum going. I laughed/cried as I crossed that finish line.  It was emotional.  It was tiring.  It was rewarding (and the race medal is still one of my faves).

Princess Half Marathon Number 1
I stopped to take pictures with characters for the first five miles.  After that, all I wanted was the finish line, pancakes, and a nap.

2016 Not Inaugural Disney Princess Half Marathon

Nicole and I trained a bit for this race, but not a ton.  Jeff Galloway would probably shake his head at our “race” method (kind of Galloway/kind of not).  The best part of this day was celebrating the finish of this race with high tea at the Grand Floridian.  Mmm…tea sandwiches…

Princess Half Marathon Years Later
The Princess Half Marathon.  Again.  This time with my favorite (non-Disney) Princess.

2016 Diva Series St. Augustine 5K

Ohhh…the Diva 5K of 2016…it's one for the record books.  Nicole and I decided that we wanted to finish in last place.  And we did.  Nicole tells the tale quite well.  Check out the story here

Last Place Mile 2
We took our good ol' damn sweet time taking these photos.  Last place is HARD work.

2018 Run for the Trees

In celebration of organized run #1 in 2008, it seemed very fitting to sign-up for the 2018 Run for the Trees for my “anniversary”.  Lately, my athletic prowess has been limited to…well…nothing so I “strolled for the trees,” and it was quite lovely.  I think the trees were just glad I showed up.

I selfie'd for the blog.  You're welcome.  #IFilteredWithWildAbandonBecauseIWasntWearingMakeup

Here are a few of my race-related things…

Track Shack – This store is a staple for runners and walkers in the Orlando area.  They fit you for shoes (they're politely judging how you move) and have a wide array of clothing and accessories to make you sweat and grunt like a pro.  They offer running clinics and host a series of races throughout the year.  I would say half of the races that I have done are through Track Shack.

runDisney – I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with runDisney.  It's COOL to run through all of the parks.  The entertainment that is set-up along the course ranges from photo ops with characters, marching bands, and DJs.  What I dislike more than anything is the gargantuan amount of people that have ZERO race etiquette. The lack of common sense/courtesy brings my “She-Hulk” to the surface.  I need to think “More Belle.  Less Cruella.” during Disney races.

Run Eat Repeat – Monica Olivas is a blogger/podcaster that is a treasure trove for racing/training tips, eating/talking about all the foods (especially watermelon!) and is just darn fun to read.  She's raced around the world, and I envy her splits (the running kind).  I would love to go on a run with her but would be better off biking beside her (the woman is FAST).

So what's next?

Although I am 90% sure that half marathons are on my “never going to happen” list, I feel like training again.  Maybe for 10k?  I miss hearing the “thud-thud” of my feet on the ground and the beeps of my Garmin.  I also miss making up songs about what I want to have for breakfast when I am done.  I just need to figure out which race I want to train for…

Gotta start somewhere…

Do you run or run/walk?  Have you ever participated in a race?  What are your tips to JUST KEEP RUNNING?  Please tell me all of your secrets!  Or just say “hi.”

Work Hard.  Play Hard.  Drink Chard.