Completing the Star Wars Half Marathon – And Then Some

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Completed 19.3 miles for Rebel Challenge

Well – I did it.

I completed the runDisney Rebel Challenge at Disneyland in Anaheim, California over the weekend of January 12-15, 2017.

It was hard.

As I write this I have back pain from Lord-knows-whatever-happens to an aging body after completing a total distance of 19.3 miles over two days.

If it’s your first time to this website because you were searching for tips on running in Disneyland, here’s my best one: Make sure your phone is charged if you’re planning on using it to take video/photos/FB/Instagram while on your run.

The Rebel Challenge consisted of completing the 10K on Saturday and then the Half Marathon on Sunday.  There was a third medal for people (including me!) who finished the two races.  I trained for twelve-weeks for this weekend, including running 15-miles three weeks prior to this race weekend.  Fifteen miles was the longest run I have ever done.

For me, the runs this weekend was my victory lap.  I earned it as both a reward for training, and because of the money I put down just for the privilege of running through Disneyland.  I took as many pictures and videos as I could – before my phone died on the 10K. 10K BB-8 Medal

I learned many lessons after the 10K and only took photos for the half marathon.  Thankfully the phone made it all the way through the 13 miles.

My husband and I took the vacation by ourselves, and our three kiddos were well taken care of by family while we were gone.  We purchased the three days of photos that the Disney photographers took, and some of those photos are below, as well as this one here. Entrance to Disneyland Pro PhotoFor the most part, I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves.

Thanks for stopping by = D’

Saturday, 1-14-17, 10K (6.2 miles) Run

Flat D'Andra ready for the race. I tried on all my clothes and pinned my bib onto my shirt the night before the run.

Flat D’Andra ready for the race. I tried on all my clothes and pinned my bib onto my shirt the night before the run.

Star Wars + UA: Shop The Collection

I arrived at the runner's waiting area around 4 AM as it was suggested. It was too early, but I did get this amazing photo in one of their background set-ups for the runners.

I arrived at the runner’s waiting area around 4 AM as it was suggested. It was too early, but I did get this amazing photo in one of their background set-ups for the runners.

This is another one of the backdrops to take photos at while waiting for the race to start.

1.14.17 Despite being delayed by being caught by the wampa, I finished the #StarWars10K. 😉 #RunDisney #DsBucketList

A photo posted by D’Andra Buchanan (@deandrascrafts) on

I try to take a selfie at my starting lines. This is what the scene looked like. I was in a crowd of over 1400 people in my corral alone.

I try to take a selfie at my starting lines. This is what the scene looked like. I was in a crowd of over 1400 people in my corral alone.

Starting Line Tips:

  • Meet people around you.  It passes the time as you wait for your corral to line up to the front.  It seemed like there was about a 7 minute time frame between corrals.  I was in corral F for this run so even though corral A left at 530 AM, corral F left at 6 AM.  That was a lot of standing around.
  • Sit if you get the chance.
  • This one is probably obvious but – use the bathroom before you go to the corrals.
This was one of the first things you see as you run into Disneyland....

This was one of the first things you see as you run into Disneyland….

I think one of the coolest things we got to do as runners is see a small portion of the back of Disneyland.  There are cast members everywhere to guide your way, so I never felt like I would get lost.  That, and the fact that there were thousands of people around me running in the same direction.

As we entered Cars Land from the back, the Rebellion symbol was lit up on the façade.

As we entered Cars Land from the back, the Rebellion symbol was lit up on the façade.

Something I wasn't expecting was the amazing mile markers. Many people stopped to take a photo, and there were plenty of people around to take a photo if you were by yourself like I was.

Something I wasn’t expecting was the amazing mile markers for the 10K run. Many people stopped to take a photo, and there were plenty of people around to take a photo if you were by yourself like I was.

Here's my selfie at the Disneyland pier. I learned to raise my hand if I was going to slow down to walk or stop for any reason along the run.

Here’s my selfie at the Disneyland pier. I learned to raise my hand if I was going to slow down to walk or stop for any reason along the run.

 Up to 25% off Disney Parks Merchandise! 15% off $75+, 20% off $125+, 25% off $200+. CODE: PARKOFFERS. Valid 1/20/17-1/22/17. Some Restrictions Apply.

This was a cool X-wing symbol at a "photo stop" along the route.

This was a cool X-wing symbol at a “photo stop” along the route.

This is one of my favorite pics from the race. Fighting tie-fighters since 1977. #StarWars10K #runDisney #DsBucketList

A photo posted by D’Andra Buchanan (@deandrascrafts) on

You do have to wait in line to take photos at the photo stops, which slows your time of course. BUT - some of the photo stops are worth the few minutes.

You do have to wait in line to take photos at the photo stops, which slows your time of course. BUT – some of the photo stops are worth the few minutes. <Finn!>

This was the symbol showing up right before the BB-8 photo stop. The wait was over 45-minutes. It was at this point that I had to decide if I was going to finish the race and get my medal, or get a picture with BB-8. I chose the medal.

This was the symbol showing up right before the BB-8 photo stop. The wait was over 45-minutes. It was at this point that I had to decide if I was going to finish the race and get my medal, or get a picture with BB-8.
I chose the medal.

10 posing stormtroopers

11 Mile 4 Sign w-Poe

This photo was taken as we approached the backside of the Disney princess castle.

This photo was taken as we approached the backside of the Disney princess castle.

And that’s about where my phone died.  At 4.89 miles to be exact.  Oh well.  I have the memories of the run, and the super cool medal.

We purchased the photos of the three days my husband and I were at Disneyland and the runs.  Here are a couple of the pro-pictures taken by the Disney photographers –

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAACTION16_20170114_7923467419

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAFINISHLINE5_20170114_7923723464

My 10K finish photo.

Sunday, 1-15-17, Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Run

Flat D'Andra ready for the half marathon through Disneyland and the Anaheim area.

Flat D’Andra ready for the half marathon through Disneyland and the Anaheim area.

Second day Tip:

  • Sit as much as possible while waiting around for the race to start – There were bleachers in the waiting area for the runners.  There’s plenty to watch on stage including the appearance of Vader and his peeps.  The MC’s give you plenty of warning to go to the bathroom and start walking out to the corrals, where once again, there will be a “hurry up and wait” mentality.
Darth Vader came out with some storm trooper friends and pumped up the crowd as he was looking for the rebel spy. I guess someone forgot to tell him that this was the "Light Side" run.

Darth Vader came out with some storm trooper friends and pumped up the crowd as he was looking for the rebel spy. I guess someone forgot to tell him that this was the “Light Side” run.

I learned during the 10K race that standing around for an hour in the cool morning can make your feet numb.  I didn’t make that mistake for the half marathon.  I met a really cool lady named Stephanie who’s ran in several Disney half marathons and even completed the Kessel Run Challenge last year – Disney’s coast-to-coast half marathon completion medal.  So jealous.  She and I sat down together on the pavement while waiting for the corrals to “move along.”  It made the waiting so much more bearable.

This is my selfie at the start of the half. There were a total of 13,000 people running this race and I was in corral H. I started about 615 AM.

This is my selfie at the start of the half. There were a total of 13,000 people running this race and I was in corral H. I started about 615 AM.

 

Although the picture didn't come out that great, you can see that every mile there was a clock. Because I started about 40-minutes behind corral A, I always had to subtract 40-minutes from the times shown on the clocks.

Although the picture didn’t come out that great, you can see that every mile there was a clock. Because I started about 40-minutes behind corral A, I always had to subtract 40-minutes from the times shown on the clocks.

The Rebellion symbol was on the California Screamin' ride! How cool is that?

The Rebellion symbol was on the California Screamin’ ride! How cool is that?

Sunrise & the Millennium Falcon. This is also where I stopped to go to the bathroom. Another tip: Go to the bathroom in Disneyland if you even remotely feel like you need to go. Don't try to do it in the port-a-potties along the route.

Sunrise & the Millennium Falcon.
This is also where I stopped to go to the bathroom.
Another tip: Go to the bathroom in Disneyland if you even remotely feel like you need to go. Don’t try to do it in the port-a-potties along the route.

The Official LEGO Shop: The best selection of LEGO bricks in the world!

Posing for Mile 3.

Posing for Mile 3.

Jedi Training was in progress in this race with the cast members.

Jedi Training was in progress in this race with the cast members.

As soon as I passed the Jedi's, Darth Vader made his appearance. Yes I stopped to watch a bit!

As soon as I passed the Jedi’s, Darth Vader made his appearance. Yes I stopped to watch a bit!

One of my favorite photos from the run by the Disney photographers, I got really good at looking for the bright green tents the photographers were sitting under or near to smile for the cameras.

One of my favorite photos from the run by the Disney photographers, I got really good at looking for the bright green tents the photographers were sitting under or near to smile for the cameras.

This was one of the photo stops.  There was one with R2-D2, with a really long line, and I believe there was another that I just zoomed by.  I waited a little less than 10-minutes in line for this photo.

My selfie with Captain Phasma! She appeared in yesterday's race as well, but I was unable to get a good photo. This one came out great!

My selfie with Captain Phasma!
She appeared in yesterday’s race as well, but I was unable to get a good photo. This one came out much better!

After we left Disneyland, we ran around Garden Grove and the Anaheim area.  Someone asked me after I was all done what my favorite part of the race was, and I had to say that it was looking at all the people who came out to watch us run.

I’ve included my favorite selfies and photos of some of the characters who lined the course between miles 8 through 10.

"Prince" Leia - One of the runners in the race with me and he was in full princess Leia garb who was kind enough to take a selfie with me.

“Prince” Leia – One of the runners in the race with me and he was in full princess Leia garb who was kind enough to take a selfie with me.

Sometime after mile 8 there was someone dressed up as Lando Calrissian!

Sometime after mile 8 there was someone dressed up as Lando Calrissian!

22 Stole the Plans Sign

An Imperial Guard along the route took a selfie with me.

An Imperial Guard along the route took a selfie with me.

Another wonderful picture with a crew of rebels. For this Star Wars fanatic, this run was a dream come true. I'm not even kidding.

Another wonderful picture with a crew of rebels. (Photo-bombed by a Jawa!) For this Star Wars fanatic, this run was a dream come true.
I’m not even kidding.

After mile 9 - It's a push-my-body-mind-over-matter thing now.

After mile 9 – It’s a push-my-body-mind-over-matter thing now.

 Check out the latest accessories to enhance your Verizon Wireless phone today!

26 Half-Mile 11

I set my goal for this race to run it under 3 hours. Remember that I knew I had to subtract 40-minutes, so I knew I was close to my goal.

I set my goal for this race to run it under 3 hours.
Remember that I knew I had to subtract 40-minutes, so I knew I was close to my goal.

I was grateful that the photographer took such a great pic of me crossing the finish line. My husband was there to share the experience with me and I got to cross another item off my bucket list.

I was grateful that the photographer took such a great pic of me crossing the finish line. My husband was there to share the experience with me and I got to cross another item off my bucket list.

I was able to finish the run in 2 hours, 59 minutes and 33 seconds with a 13:42 min/mile pace.

For stopping to take as many photos as I did, I’ll take that time & pace any day!

I RAN THROUGH DISNEYLAND!  I RAN IN A STAR WARS HALF MARATHON!
There’s just not much else I can say.  It was amazing and I’m glad I did it.

Half Marathon Medal Rebel Challenge Medal

Thanks for sticking with this post and checking out my photos.  I love you just for coming and looking!

If you came here for some tips, I hope it helps your future running Disneyland if it’s your first time running there like it was for me.


Running in Disneyland – A New Bucket List Item

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Darth Vader Bucket from DisneylandIf you know me personally, and have known me long enough, you know that I am a Star Wars fanatic.

Meaning, more than just a fan and probably more obsessed with Star Wars than most people on the planet and certainly, probably more than you.

Before children, and before I used to have the daily “necessity” chores of cooking, cleaning, running, getting things prepared the night before, etc., I would come home from work (and even before that, college classes,) plug the VHS tape of Star Wars, (later of course the Star Wars Trilogy DVD’s) and watch it (or run it in the background) until I would go to sleep.

My loving husband has put up with this obsession for over 20-years, and has succumbed to the loving & supportive role of bringing balance to my insatiable appetite for the latest thing in Star Wars.  If it weren’t for him, I would be going to comic-cons fully dressed in a cosplay outfit of my own creation, and happily spending money on the latest Star Wars toy, comic book – whatever.

But alas, reality does set in, and although #coffeeismylovelanguage, my heart truly loves to hear “Let’s watch Star Wars mommy!”

When George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to the Disney machine, my heart broke.

I know, it sounds stupid.

It wasn’t shocking or anything, because Lucas had made it clear that he didn’t only want to be known for Star Wars, wanted to run his company, his way and was getting yelled at and ridiculed for the Episode 1-3 movies.  He also had stated that he didn’t want to make any more Star Wars movies, so I knew there was a possibility that the books were going to be the only way to find more about the Universe and it’s hero’s.

But, it was a bit scary because the mouse I had grown to despise from my youth (I have many issues) had now entered my life in a completely unfamiliar way.

I had to become a Disney fan in order to maintain my love of Star Wars as I did before.

I knew the new movies that were planned were going to be good.

But I also knew that Disney’s mission statement includes making money, and I have always had issues with that on a deep, emotional level, tied to my mother and being poor when I was young and all kinds of relatively insignificant things to the majority of the population, except to me.

But ~

I had to get over it.

Companies change and companies will do almost anything to make money.

I had to put all my personal issues aside, so that I could become a Star Wars Disney fan.

I’m looking forward to the new Star Wars land opening up.

LA Times put up a great article about the new Star Wars land in Disneyland.

Here’s an slightly interactive map of the new Star Wars land in Disneyland too.

I’m looking forward to the next movie – Rogue One and the next installment of the Star Wars series, Episode 8.  It will be dark, amazing, and I will buy movies, and merchandise, and I will run in the half marathon offered at Disneyland with the Star Wars theme.

Oh yes, I will run.  And I have paid for the privilege to run inside Disneyland in January 2017.  In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

The training plan offered by runDisney is 20-weeks long for an “experienced” runner (hah!) like myself.  But the real kick-in-the-pants part of their training plan, is that the longest run is 17-miles.

Seventeen miles.

SEVENTEEN MILES!

I know I can do it you guys.

And because I’m a glutton for punishment, I signed up for the 6.25 mile race on Saturday and the 13.1 mile race on Sunday.  It’s called the Rebel Challenge and you get an extra medal for running both races.

Yup.

Why in the Lord’s holy name,” you may be thinking….

I’m doing it for the medals. #medaljunkie

I’m going to try to do it for the satisfaction of getting it done. #Ds40Before40

I’m doing it because I believe I can. #DreamingofDisneyRuns

It’s Star Wars.  It’s running through Disneyland.  It sounds so cool.  And I added it to my bucket list to check off.

There, I said it and wrote it down.  It’s a goal now, with a date and a plan and everything.

I leave you with this – the heart pounding “Celebration” trailer for Rogue One – the new movie in the Star Wars Universe that is coming out in December 2016.  To say I am “looking forward to it” is a complete and total understatement.  I have no words to describe how this clip makes me feel, other than, I feel like I’m a kid again ready to watch the next Star Wars movie in a theater.

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#DreamingOfDisneyRuns

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RunDisney Virtual Shorts MedalsDuring the months of May and June, 2016, I intentionally ran three separate 3.15 mile runs for the Inaugural Disney Virtual Running Shorts Series.

What does that mean,” you ask?

Well, Disney has the ability to put on anything and everyone will flock to it because it’s Disney.

The RunDisney website wrote up a blog post here: Announcing the Run Disney Virtual Running Shorts Series, and I chose the package that included running at least three 5K (3.15 mile runs) during different date periods.

Personally, I’m a medal junkie, so I wanted a piece of the Disney action at a relatively expensive price – but – the medals did not disappoint as you can see in the photo.

I also purchased the tumbler, just for opportunity to say “I WAS THERE, DID IT, and I got the cup to prove it.”

This is the Inaugural Run Disney cup with the four medals for the Virtual Running Shorts Series Disney put on in summer of 2016.

This is the Inaugural Run Disney cup with the four medals for the Virtual Running Shorts Series Disney put on in summer of 2016.

 

I was able to run the distances during the time frames they gave and have my notes below.

My first 5k for the Run Disney Virtual Short Series was on May 25, 2016, where I got a breathtaking view of the sunrise and a good run in for the first of the three virtual races.

My first 5k for the Run Disney Virtual Short Series was on May 25, 2016, where I got a breathtaking view of the sunrise and a good run in for the first of the three virtual races.

The yellow shoe medal for the first run between May 15-June 1, 2016. #runDisneyShorts

The yellow shoe medal for the first run between May 15-June 1, 2016. #runDisneyShorts was the hashtag for the event.

My Red Shorts run for the RunDisney #RunVirtualDisney Shorts. It was a better time than the first one!

The second run was my Red Shorts run for the RunDisney virtual races.
It was a better time than the first one!

Magical New Arrivals at Disney Store! Shop Now!

This is the virtual race red-shorts run for Run Disney. I did this run on June 7, 2016. My word of the year is printed on it.

This is the virtual race red-shorts run for Run Disney. I did this run on June 7, 2016. My word of the year is printed on it.

This is the Red Shorts Medal from Run Disney. It's beautiful, just like the other three!

This is the Red Shorts Medal from Run Disney. It’s beautiful, just like the other three!  It was for a run between June 5 – June 18, 2016.

Of course, in all my over-achieving-ness, I ran a 4 mile distance for my last 5K, what was supposed to be a 3.12 mile run. Oh well. The best thing about this run was having negative splits!

Of course, in all my over-achieving-ness, I ran a 4 mile distance for my last 5K, what was supposed to be a 3.12 mile run. Oh well. The best thing about this run was having negative splits!

The White Glove medal from Run Disney was for running a 5K distance during June 19-June 30, 2016.

The White Glove medal from Run Disney was for running a 5K distance during June 19-June 30, 2016.

This is the finishers medal that was included for completing all three races. Summer time checklist for these medals complete!

This is the finishers medal that was included for completing all three races.
Summer time checklist for these medals complete!

Virtual races are a way I reward myself for running.  I know I’m supposed to look at the health benefits and all that good stuff, but the medals are the real prize in my eyes.

My husband has recognized this new obsession as a healthy one and we have a line item in our monthly budget for the medals now.  I love him.

What’s up with the <hashtag> #DreamingOfDisneyRuns now?

Well, that will be another blog post….

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Running Goals Update – August 2016

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Running Update - August 2016

Something I earned from using the Under Armour Map My Run App on my phone.

I really wanted to title this post: #Ds40By40 – August Update, to go along with last month’s post titled #Ds40By40 – My New 40th Birthday Goal.

But, I am so ready to turn forty now.

I just want to get it over with.

On my “40-days before I turn 40” date of July 16, 2016, I found my first silver hair.  SILVER!  It’s actually kind of beautiful, but it was a shock. My first silver hair

Both my parents didn’t get grey hairs until they turned fifty.

I am the queen of screaming “LIFE IS NEVER FAIR SO GET OVER IT” but that silver hair came as a complete shock to me.  I was with my two youngest children at the time and I picked through my hair thinking it was like a piece of string or something (because it was so shiny!) that was on my head that I couldn’t remove.  It probably took me a good minute to realize that it was really a silver hair.

My poor daughter got caught first to look at it and being only six, she really didn’t know what a grey/silver hair looked like.  <Big sigh.>  Just like out of a movie, I ran up to her and bowed low to ask “Sweetie, sweetie! Do you see the grey hair on my head?”

In her precious wisdom, and because I don’t think she really knew what I really meant to look for at the time (even though her father has A TON,) she said, “No mommy.”

Children are precious.

I told all my friends, who had very little sympathy for me as I expected, and I plan on owning my silver hair look – for now – as it comes out.  Both my parents own(ed) theirs and I remember my mom looked so beautiful when she passed away, grey hairs and all.

But I digress.

Back to my Running Goals Update…

This Under Armour shirt ran a bit big, but I love it nonetheless. I might wear it at one of my Disneyland Runs!

This Under Armour shirt ran a bit big, but I love it nonetheless. I might wear it at one of my Disneyland Runs!

As of July 31, 2016, I have run a total of 35-runs over 4-miles.  I ran one ten-mile run in July, and 10-separate runs at 4-miles or more.

My word is Intentional for the year.  I am making these days count including being intentional about my running distances.

I earned a $40 off coupon from Under Armour (photo shown above) just by using their Map My Run App.  Of course I used the coupon already, and bought some really sweet Star Wars shirts for me and the hubby.

Storm Trooper Medal from Full Medal RunsStorm Trooper Shirt from Under ArmourThe first one I chose was the storm trooper one, and I wore it when I ran the 10K to earn the Storm Trooper Medal from Full Medal Runs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That medal was to celebrate May 4th (you know, May the Fourth be with you) and I just had to have it because it was so cool – even though I’m a REBEL through and through.

I bought a shirt for myself and my husband that state “May the Force Be With You” from Under Armour as well. We both wear our shirts with pride and I might be wearing mine at the Star Wars Run in Disneyland in January.  I haven’t quite decided yet, but that will be another post!

Stay tuned for more “virtual race” posts about the various sites I’ve purchased medals to celebrate my love of running.  I’m a medal junkie now, so I am not in short supply to post about my medals and experiences.

I am giving a big nod to Full Medal Runs for their beautiful medals.  They have emails to let you know when the medal has shipped, and I have signed up for the “Are you Rouge” virtual 10K that takes place between August 1 – November 30, 2016.  I’ve already received the medal and plan to run the distance this week!

One last thing – On Sunday, July 31, 2016, I hit the 1000-mile walk/run milestone for the year!  It’s an exciting accomplishment considering I was shooting for 1016 miles for the entire year. Hit the 100 mile Mark at the end of July

Have a great week and I hope you can get some outdoor time this month!


#Ds40By40 – My New 40th Birthday Goal

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Selfies from my 4 mile (or more) runs...The big 4-0.

Some would say that this is the time individuals have a mid-life crisis.

Some would say that the time one turns “40” is now like turning “30” was 30-years ago.

For me, I recall my mom turning 40 years old (now 30-years ago) and how she was not looking forward to it.

My parents were still together, and still fought with one another religiously over everything when I turned 10.  There was no sign of diabetes, my mom struggled to keep her weight in check, (she was always a yo-yo dieter,) and she was in the midst of trying to raise two children on primarily one income.

Turning the age of 40 for my mom was a struggle.

Thank you Lord for where I’m at.

I don’t have to struggle the way my mom did and for that I am thankful.

For me lately, getting close to 40 has been looking at the future.  What do I want to do to have a more meaningful, fulfilling, Lord-centered life, that includes all the fun things that this life has to offer?

The answer to that question has lately been ‘Things I know I don’t want.’  That discussion will be in a future blog post.

But in the case of being able to answer what I don’t want, I have been able to make real goals of what I do want to do in the future.


Today is July 1, 2016.

I have intentionally been running four (4) or more miles since April 30th to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday.  As of today, I have ran 4 or more miles 25 times. So, between now and my birthday in late August, I will intentionally run 4 miles or more (at least) 15 more times.  I have over 40-days to do this and I’m going to try to finish that goal well before my birthday.

I’m finally putting this goal out there for everyone to see.  If I make it, I make it, and if I don’t, well, at least I get to say, I ran xx miles or xx times of 4 miles or over.  That’s what I’m going to focus on.  That’s how I do it folks.  I look towards completing the goals so that at the end, I’m able to say –

Look how far I’ve come….

Thanks for stopping by as always and have a great (American) 4th of July!

I use protein for my after-run shakes by GNC.

Most of my running outfits are from Kohl’s.

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Bucket List Check – Half Marathon Before 40

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DeAndrasCrafts finishes her halfUp until recently, I hadn’t had a bucket list.

Like, up to ~ last year ~ recently.

I knew I wanted to accomplish things, and many of those things had consisted of items most female Americans want like purchasing a house, marrying a great man, and having children.

But to say that I knew “what else” I wanted to do with my life ~ those moments of clarity didn’t come until my mother got really sick.  (Feel free to read the “Bucket List” post.  That’ll tell you more.)

But I digress.

I checked off one of my bucket list items recently and that was to run a half marathon before I turned 40-years old.

Done. DeAndrasCrafts Finished

Checked.

What’s next, right?


Well, let me tell you, if you haven’t read this blog before and you don’t know me personally, I’ve been training for running this race for 12-weeks. Feel free to read up on my running plan here: January Run Goal Update.

I’ve been waking up early to get run time in.  {See the hastag: #DsHalfMarathon on Instagram for my training progress in photos.}

I’ve been seemingly (at least it felt like I was) putting off everything else until I got this race done.  Blog posts, namely….

And now….

Now I’m writing a blog post to remind myself what I had to do to get this far.

I guess this blog post should be titled

Things people never tell you when you prepare to run a half marathon.

1. Be in the phase of learning again.

This is one of those things that is very telling of how you understand life.  It doesn’t matter how you learn, i.e. reading/writing (visual), audiotory, or tactile, “learning” the ins and outs about running is key to running and enjoying it.  Without learning about it, you may hit the wall hard, and not be able to recover from it.  Just remember this: If you don’t like something about it and don’t learn what to do to change it, there’s nothing that can help you.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

I spent the past 12-weeks teaching myself how to endure over 2-1/2 hours of running. Of how to eat.  Of how to step on my feet as I run.  I even had a time where I ran for the first time for 13.1 miles, just to get a feel for how it was going to be.

2.  Learn to wake up really early.

The moon is 'setting' on one of my early morning runs.

The moon is ‘setting’ on one of my early morning runs.

Whether you like it or not, running in the morning is way better than running at night.  Unless you don’t have a full-time job (I do) and can run during the day (I cannot) then running in the morning was so much easier than I anticipated.  I’ve done it both ways and learning to run in the morning is not only extremely efficient, but gets my day started, almost before I’ve truly woken up.

3.  Learn to go to the bathroom, really early.

This is something no-one may ever tell you.  It’s not “taboo” per-se, but nobody likes to talk about it either.  Being in the middle of a “long” run and having to go to the bathroom, like REALLY GO TO THE BATHROOM, is not only horrible, but could have been a deal breaker for me.  I mean like, I could have been traumatized by results of having to go number 2 if I didn’t learn how to do this.

4.  Your toes will look hideous.

Here are my bandaged up feet before the half marathon. Definitely something nobody told me about before I trained for a half.

Here are my bandaged up feet before the half marathon. Definitely something nobody told me about before I trained for a half.

Again, not something people normally share with you when you’re a runner.  I love me some pedicures, but after I began running, pedicures became a true necessity.  To pamper my feet and give myself some grace when it came to comfortable shoes was very new to me.  Flip flops now hurt to wear.  My callouses are starting to be noticeable.  I’ve given up “cute feet” for runners feet, and I’m okay with it.

5.  You may or may not lose weight.

I’m still working on this one.  Before I began training for the half marathon, I was running up to 6 miles and losing weight pretty steadily, about a 1/4-pound every week.  When I started doing my high mileage runs (7-miles or more at one time), I had to eat more (see the learning comment above) and I gained about three pounds back.  Mentally, this was difficult to take in at first.  I really wanted to see my high–mileage runs be a benefit to my weight loss, but that just wasn’t the case for me, and again, that’s okay.  I finished a half marathon and will be working on getting into a smaller size in the future.

6.  The mental game is real.

IMG_7184[1]Oh my goodness can I attest to this.

No one ever told me how hard it would be to convince my brain that I could push through the 9th-mile, let alone the 11th.  The best way to describe this (for me) was at the first half marathon race I ran, I hit the wall at mile nine.  You can see my splits and just know that my mind told my body I couldn’t do it anymore.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to stop running and just walk.  I did stop running and just walk several times in the last four miles.  But I still finished, and will be working on getting under two and half hours for the next one….

7.  Finishing a half marathon is much like having a baby.

In my humble opinion, of course, this is probably the best way to describe running a half marathon and here’s why: I’m not sure I want to do it again. 

I got my moment of glory after I finished the race.

I “gave birth” (if you will) to my goal and not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded by the challenge I was looking for and the pride that I wanted to feel after it was all done.

I’m not quite looking forward to the next one, yet.  (You probably understand this if you have at least one child.)  I’ve done it, and I’m not ready to commit to training for another half marathon.  I haven’t signed up for one, yet, and I haven’t really said that I want to do it again, yet.

I’ll be nursing my love of running for exercise for a while and maybe in the future consider “going for another one” – another half marathon, that is.

I’m sure I could add at least five more things to this list.  But, I’ll spare you the crazy and just let you know that I am so glad I did it!

I’m on day two of recovery and have a short run scheduled for myself tomorrow.  I need to learn to stretch better prior to and after a long run.

This "One Tough Mother" medal is also a wine cork! How cool is that! Click on the link to find out how you can get one!

This “One Tough Mother” medal is also a wine cork! How cool is that! Click on the link to find out how you can get one!

My next virtual race scheduled for late April is the One Tough Mother Run by Virtual Strides.  I’m dedicating this mother’s day themed virtual race to my mom.  I know she would be so proud of me!

I just signed up for another virtual 10K (6.25 miles) race today for the end of May.  Sheesh.  Who am I and what have I done with the old D’Andra?

Thanks for reading!
Virtual Strides


Virtual Race Running – My New Favorite Thing

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Virtual Race RunningIn 2015, I ran my first virtual race.

I joined last years virtual race to give myself motivation for running a bit faster and to have a purpose (other than the general exercise of course) to hit a five-kilometer (5K) or 3.11 mile distance.  I got my very first medal, and there was a small portion of my entry fee that went toward a charity called “Girls on the Run.” My first Medal 112115

That virtual race was through an organization called Run the Edge.

After that virtual race, I found out about online running communities, virtual challenges, virtual running partners – you name it; if you don’t want to get to know someone but want to have a committed running partner, he or she is out there for you!  You just have to find that special person….

Anyway, as I write this post, I am training to run my body for 13.1 miles, or what is better known as a half-marathon.  I have never run one before, and I’m doing it to cross it off my bucket list.

You can see my general training plan here: January 2016 Run Goal Update.

I’m getting all the wonderful health benefits that comes with a complete and total lifestyle change, and I hope to keep it up well into the years of when my growing children leave the house.

Virtual races have become an important part of my “not getting bored” with racing plan.

I have chosen a 12-week preparation plan, which includes running four times a week, for a minimum distance of 3 miles, and other mileage ranging from 5 miles, 6 miles to the eventual 11 miles.  I’ve enjoyed the plan immensely and it appears to be working, but the chance to earn a medal for all these times I’m running for “training purposes” has been an extra bonus that has motivated me in a way I can’t explain – it’s just that much more fun.

This past month, this was a popular topic in a Facebook running group I’m in, and I’m writing this post primarily for my future self, and anyone else that stumbles upon it looking up places and links for Virtual Races.

Here are the sites I have verified (as of the date of this blog post) that have virtual races one can sign up for, pay the entry fee and get options sent to he or she, such as shirts, medals, or miscellaneous race bling.

Run the Edge: This is the virtual site that started it all for me.  In November of 2015, I paid for my first medal for the “Hug a Runner” challenge and some of the fee went toward a program called Girls on the Run.  This year, I joined the 2016 miles in 2016 virtual race, as a husband and wife team with the love of my life.  I’m looking forward to doing their “Selfie Challenge” in the summer, as I’m one of those runners that loves to takes selfies on my runs.

Fit Fam: I signed up for the PI day 5K challenge.  Some of the fees benefit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education and I’m hoping to eat a slice of pie the same day I do this run.  On purpose, of course.

Make Yes Happen: Available Virtual Races include the Race to Oz, Escape the Shire-Journey through Middle Earth and Black Friday Half.

Running on the Wall: They have a Virtual Race part of their website, but they also sell a significant amount of runner swag and bling, and great gifts for runners.

Piece by Piece Virtual Run Medal

This is the medal for the Virtual Strides website “Piece by Piece” race, benefiting the Autism Speaks organization.

Virtual Strides: Like the “Make Yes Happen” website above, this site gives money to charity with the fees collected.  There is a “Piece by Piece” virtual run in early February with a chance to win a $50 gift card to the site, and the charity benefited is Autism Speaks.

US Road Running: This site has a “Boston Strong” medal that I’m interested in getting for a 5K, 10K or a half.

Gone for a Run: This is where I signed up for my “I Love 2 Run” virtual race in February.

Hogwarts Running Club: If you love the Harry Potter Series, like REALLY, REALLY LOVE the series, this is the club for you.  The virtual races and the medals are all associated with Harry Potter themes, and I may sign up for a race just to say I’ve done one.

Will Run for Bling: And Charity….  This site currently has a couple races that are available, and has past events that I hope they do again this year, especially the Galaxy Run and the Run Now, Wine Later Race.  Both of those are right up my alley!

Here’s a ton more that I verified the links for, but didn’t even scratch the surface on checking out the medals/bling/charities.  I guess that’ll be for a later date….

Love 2 Run Swag 2016My next virtual race is for Valentine’s Day, called the “I Love 2 Run” race, and it’s only 2.14 miles.  I plan on incorporating the distance into one of my scheduled runs for the week.

You don’t have to run with other people to get medals.  This was a great start for me.  I didn’t feel the pressure of running with other people in a race that I wasn’t sure if I was even going to finish.  With virtual races, I feel all the joy of finishing purpose-filled runs, with some of the fee going to various charities, and I have something to show for all the running time I’m investing in my life.

I hope this post encourages you to get started on any sort of exercising. Even walking counts for many of these challenges.  Just getting the time/mileage in is the important part.

Blessings to you this week!


January 2016 Run Goal Update

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January Goals-RunningRunning in January in Central California when you’re not used to cold can be challenging.

I can’t wear a complete head-covering over my nose because I usually run with my glasses and they fog up while I breathe.

But oh well.  I still make it work and I’m trying to train for my first half marathon that’s occurring in April.

I downloaded a twelve week running plan that I’m currently trying to stay on track with.  I got it off of Pinterest from a post from Livy Loves to Run. January Goals-Run Plan

I also printed out a few calendar pages to write my actual running miles onto.  It feels very satisfying to see my progress and my capabilities on a written sheet.

Many times after I run, I still can’t believe I ran that far.

Yes, I did it, and yes, I was there and my legs might be sore, but until I put the number on the paper, something inside my head finally convinces myself that I actually ran those miles.

The fourth week of the schedule started for me on January 30th, when I ran 9-miles.

So how did I do?

The overall goal was to run at least 12-miles each week.

January Running CalendarFrom my personal calendar, I wrote down the total miles run per day.  I ran at least four times a week and did some cross-training on at least one day a week.

My running totals:

  • Week of January 3: 11 miles
  • Week of January 10: 19.65 miles
  • Week of January 17: 20.75 miles
  • Week of January 24: 30.5 miles

My longest one day run this past month was 9 miles.

My personal total amount of miles run for the month was 85.1 miles.  That’s just running and keeping track of it as shown in the calendar above.

I’ve been walking with a co-worker on a regular basis during the week days at work and trying to take the stairs some.  I have seven flights to climb to the floor I work on so it’s quite a workout just to do it once.

January Goals-Run w-my loveAnd lastly, my husband and I passed the 100-mile run/walk marked on January 12th for our “team” that we are attempting to run/walk 2016 miles in 2016.

I ran and walked a total of 165 miles this month and passed my own 100-mile run/walk mark on January 20th.

It’s amazing what one can do when one is focused, intentional and trying!

My prayer for you is that you will be inspired.

Be reminded that you can do anything through the Lord.

Anything.

Have a great week and get out there!


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Fasting as a Church -Notes on My Experience

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This is the Last Meal I had before starting my fast for 24-hours.

This is the Last Meal I had before starting my fast for 24-hours.

“I used to fast with my mom.”

That’s what I quietly told my husband during church when the preacher talked about fasting the first time in January.

He nodded politely at me when I said it, as he does when he’s trying to concentrate on the sermon.

‘…But I really did fast with my mom.’  I thought. She’s the one who taught me how to do it, but I really didn’t focus on anything or concentrate on anything when we did it.  I just learned to pray, usually about something specific that we had a need for.

Just in case I haven’t made myself clear, when I state “fast” I mean that we skipped a meal, or two, or purposely not eat for a few days.

When I was younger and would fast, it would usually be for something I needed.  Or something that was concerning me.

◊ ◊ ◊ 

The preacher of our church asked us to fast for 24-hours as part of a “Spiritual Arsenal” series he was teaching on during the month of January.

A link to his blog post about the subject and his thoughts are here:

Jason Locke’s Blog: Spiritual Arsenal #4: Fasting

A link to his sermon about the subject is here:

College Church of Christ Sermon – Spiritual Arsenal, 4: Fasting

Essentially what we were to do was to fast for 24-hours, and during the sermon he asked us to fast on a normal work day, either Thursday, January 28th, or Friday, January 29th.  He asked that we consider it worship while we fast, and listen to what the Lord is telling us during that time.  We had a hashtag created for photos (#ccofcfasts) taken during the time and afterwards, and the preacher asked that we break the fast with fellow members (family and friends) and discuss questions about our experience.

Here were his questions:

(1) What was it like to go without food for 24 hours? Was it easy?
(2) Share about a moment when you were tempted to cheat-or cheated.
(3) When you felt hungry, did you pause to pray & listen to God? What was that like?
(4) What thoughts or feelings came to mind as you prayed & reflected?
(5) Do you feel encouraged?
(6) Is this something you’d do again?


My experience….

My husband and I decided on Thursday as our day of fast, and we started after dinner on Wednesday at 630 PM.  This meant that we weren’t going to eat anything until after 630 PM on Thursday.  I considered my running schedule while picking this day, as I wanted to eat the night before running, and eat after my run, and I run on Friday mornings.  See my half-marathon training plan if you want to know more about this.

A photo of the “last meal” (on Wednesday) is shown above, and I had picked pork chops, green beans and brown rice.  I also ensured to have a bit of almond butter as that is my current substitute for dessert.

That evening, although I wasn’t’ hungry, I was consciously aware that I wanted a snack, preferably peanut butter.  I intentionally did not get up to get it, but I found myself acknowledging my craving, yet not being hungry.

I was running late in the morning so skipping breakfast was really easy the next day!

But come 10 AM, break time at work and my time I usually have a snack, I heard my stomach audibly growl.  I took the time to fill my coffee cup, drink some water, write some notes down about this experience and pray.

My husband checked in on me, and here’s how our conversation went:

Conversation for break

The prayer I wrote down in my notes was “Lord, what is it that you want me to focus my prayer on?”

I kept busy during my hunger pangs.

At lunch, I sent my husband this text and as always, he has a quick wit and made me LOL!

Lunch Conversation with hubby

So during lunch, I typed up this blog post, while listening to Jason’s sermon about Fasting.

During the sermon he states the following things that hit me across the head like a brick thrown at me (and I am paraphrasing) –

God tends to show us a real need where we are needy.

The work of the Lord is the real need.

God can speak to us when we are needy.

Did you get hit across the head too?

Jason also goes into how sometimes we don’t like being quiet and needy (and not busy). Sometimes – we’re too scared to find out the problems we have inside.

My confession – I stayed busy.  I admit it.

I was scared what the Lord would tell me.

◊ ◊ ◊

I got through the rest of the day, asking the Lord what to pray for.

As my stomach systematically reminded me that I haven’t eaten since the night before, I closed my eyes and put my head on the back of my chair in my office to focus and pray.

My answers came in waves as I prayed, and I wrote them down in the order I got the thoughts about what and who to pray for.

Pray for Sebastian (my new supervisor);

Jim (his supervisor).

It’s not about me.

My friends.

Being thankful.

Giving Him glory.

After work, I left with a co-worker and we walked together to the parking structure I park in.  During that time, we somehow got into the conversation of how I was surprised how I liked my forced hour-long lunch.  My exercise now consisted of running in the morning even though I couldn’t go to a personal trainer anymore, and I enjoyed the time in the morning with my children that I didn’t have before because I left so early with my previous schedule.  I told him that other than the complaints everyone else has about the work environment, I really couldn’t complain about the change for me.

I said “Good bye”to my co-worker and walked to the car in the parking structure.

When I got settled into the seat of my car, ready to go …

It hit me.

That’s what The Lord was trying to tell me.

Pray for those supervisors and the work environment.

It’s not about me.

Be thankful He’s in charge.

Give Him the glory for knowing what’s best for me and my family.

Everything in the last hour and a half or so before I was ‘scheduled’ to start eating again was what I was I needed to hear/feel/pray for.  I felt the clarity of my situation and what He has done for me really set in.  What I told my co-worker was what I needed to hear.

The meal after the fastbreaking the fastMy husband cooked tri-tip beef cuts in the smoker and we ate a delicious meal after thanking the Lord for it.

As far as the questions, I think I answered some of them in this post.

Would I do this again?

Yes. But – My longer answer is this – I really like doing things like this with other believers.  That’s the part that made this special to me.  Other people I knew were praying during their hunger pangs and not eating at the same time I was.

I felt very encouraged by the preachers personal posts on Facebook, and several others who were going through the fast on the same day we were.

I was also encouraged the next day when we saw many of our personal friends at a house gathering to discuss what happened to us.  Hearing their stories made me feel like we are were all bonded through this and I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how that feels.

It’s just awesome.

I hope this post encourages you to try something new for the Lord, even if it’s not fasting.  Worship can come in many different shapes, sizes and forms, and this was definitely a time to get closer to Him and listen during those tiny times of peace and reflection.  I can’t believe when it “occurred” to me in such a small window of time and after I had to hear myself explain it to someone else.

But that’s just me.

I’d love to hear your story!


Breaking Down my New Year Goals-Physical

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2016 Started off Right!I have extremely ambitious goals for 2016.

You wouldn’t think I was ambitious as 2016 came into our home at 9 PM Pacific Time on December 31, 2015.

Our kids were in bed before 9:30, and I went to sleep before 10:30 PM.

This is what it’s like in my late thirties baby!

But….

The first thing I did on January 1, 2016 after I woke up and got ready was go for a run.

Overall Goal: Intentional Living

See the post about my goals here: Goals for 2016 – My Year of Twelves

This is the second post about how I intend on tackling my goals.  The first post was for my intellectual goals.

So my pattern for describing how I plan on tackling my goals for the year are the classic formula of who, what, when, where, how, and why, but not described in that order.

My What –

Out of the twelve goals I set for this year, my physical ones include:

  • Run 12 – miles a week until the half-marathon.  Then walk/run 12-miles a week thereafter.

  • Lose 12 pounds.

  • Drink 12 cups of water a day.

My How, Where and When –

  • Exercising two or three times a week at home using Amazon Prime videos or You Tube Videos.

  • Run at least three times a week around my home or on the trail nearby my home.

  • Losing weight while I run will be the bonus.

  • Set a reminder four times a day to remind me to drink my water.

Currently, I run and exercise in the evenings after my children go to sleep, when I wasn’t at the personal trainer.

Backstory – I had a personal trainer for the past two years, and it worked well because I was able to go right after work and come home early enough to feel like I got time to be with my children after 5 PM.

With my new position, I have to work 8 to 5.  (Recall ~or know ~ that this position was forced upon me.)

The plan now is to PERHAPS run in the morning (especially when it gets warmer) and exercise in the evening.

Other than continuing to eat low-carb as my “new normal” eating habits, I don’t plan on changing my diet.  I learned so much over the past year about eating healthy, that the only major change is that I will be running on a regular basis.

As far as the water is concerned, I only plan on setting my timer for the first two months of the year.  I’ve already put them into my IPhone, for 9 AM, 11 AM, 2 PM and 5 PM.  It’s for every day.

The last thing I want to tell you about is that I joined a virtual community called Run the Edge.  My husband and I are participating in a challenge called 2016 miles in 2016.  The idea is to run 2016 miles in 2016.  It sounds impossible, but you can have a team or in my case, my husband and I both joined.  The idea is to have a total of five miles a day.  They also are totally okay if you count those miles as walking miles.  I don’t plan on running everyday!

I’ll keep you posted on how we do throughout the year!

My Who & Why –

My husband wants to go with me on some of my runs.  He’s done this before and when my amazing mom-in-law is able to take care of the kids, it’s almost like a mini-date!  It’s been so fun.

Other than the sometimes-I-get-to-hang-out-with-my-husband, I have an additional reason of why taking care of myself is going to be a key component in 2016. In 2015, my mother passed away from diabetic complications, including heart disease. I know that her diseases were preventable, or at least, could have been better maintained.

My real reason “why” these goals are so important to me are because I can control what I eat, how and when I exercise and overall, know that I did my best to show my children that they were important enough to me to take care of myself.

These could potentially be some tough words for some people to read.

I get that.

I have no magic formula to convince you to make a few changes.  But I do want you to know that you are loved, and you do have control over some things, including how you take care of yourself.

Peace to you this week and stay tuned for how I’m going to tackle the next goal – Spiritual.

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