Today I have a special treat for you…
Steph from Steph’s Miles is taking over my blog! She is ready to share a little about herself and how she got into running. I hope you all enjoy her and much as I do. Take it away Steph!
Hey There! My name is Stephanie and I blog over at Steph’s Miles, where I document my slow and steady track to success. I feel like even though certain goals of mine take me a little bit longer to reach than it would for others, I am always satisfied reaching the finish line and with my journey along the way.
I’m glad to write for Mile Twenty Eight and share my story with you. A topic was a difficult decision for me, but then BOOM! — It became clear to share my running story with you.
First, I’ll give you a little more of a background about myself. During my college years at the University of Florida, I felt like the freshman 15 was creeping on me after meals of Chipotle burritos and nights drinking beer. I sought out professional help from a personal trainer the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. During my last sessions, I reluctantly jumped on a treadmill in the studio, inspired by the trainer’s family race photos of him and his wife running the Disney marathon. This treadmill only reached a maximum pace of 4.5 (I’m still not sure to this day why it only reached this speed) and I increased my time on the treadmill day by day.
I started to gain confidence with my progress. Back at school I frequented the treadmills at my apartment gym and the school gym, raking in about three or four running sessions a week. My secret running spot was running between three and a half to four miles a day. I remember the first time I completed five miles in a row non-stop on the treadmill – I was wearing shorts and I acquired major chafing! Ow!
This trend of running on the treadmill continued throughout college. When I graduated and returned to South Florida, I wanted to create a personal goal to motivate me while I was working eight hours a day. Enter my first half marathon. I picked the Disney Princess half marathon as my first race because 1.) I love Disney AND Disney Princesses, 2.) It wasn’t too far from home, but still a destination race and 3.) They accept runners of all kinds, so it was least intimidating of not meeting time requirements.
I trained by following Jeff Galloway’s beginner race plan, found on the Run Disney website. I first started running outdoors in my neighborhood and then training at a local park. One disadvantage of the park was the track was made from little pebbles which would get stuck in the grooves on the bottom of my shoe. I would come home and track the little pebbles all throughout my car and house. I would step on them blindly in the middle of the night and curse myself for tracking these into the house! That was a pain.
While prepping for the race, I felt like a dedicated runner when I used Gu Chomps and started wearing optimized running clothes. (Hello Lululemon, goodbye paycheck.) I read all the tips to prep for a race and ensured I was properly fueled and hydrated the days approaching the race.
Even though I had been prepping, I had never completed a full 13 miles yet and was getting nervous. On race day, my mom came as my cheerleader and I showed up in my corral alone and sporting me, myself and my ipod, with a few butterflies in my stomach.
When my corral (C) was ready to go, I was at the front of the line, which was to my advantage, so I wasn’t bogged down by the crowd. Fireworks went off as we took off and I felt like I was taking part in some Disney magic.
It was around 5:30 a.m. when the race began and it was pitch dark. I tried not to be distracted by on-lookers or fellow runners, but just to continue on my race.
Around mile five we made it through Magic Kingdom and circled around Cinderella’s castle. I remember the sun was starting to rise and I couldn’t believe I had made it so far. This was when Brightroom had a photo op for me in front of the castle, and I attempted to stage a ‘jump for joy’ pic. (I didn’t buy it so I don’t have it to share.)
I continued on through the race, not stopping once. It was unbelievable that I could keep going, albeit I was pretty slow. I remember around mile 10 I was shuffling my feet as I ran, but I told myself to just keep going.
The finish line rounded around the corner in Epcot and I remember pushing myself to finish. As I crossed the finish line, it was hard to stop but felt amazing. I waited around for my mom at our meeting spot, not really sure what to do next. I DID IT! I COMPLETED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON!
I finally caught sight of my mom and we both bursted into tears. “Mommy, I did it,” I choked out the words to her – I felt so strong and powerful! And I had one of the best cheerleaders there with me for support. I felt proud to participate with such a group of powerful women.
That was definitely an amazing day. It was hard to take that medal off!
Since then, I have participated in other small 5Ks and also convinced my boyfriend to run with me at the Inaugural Tower of Terror 10-Miler at Disney Hollywood Studios. My favorite memory was riding Aerosmith’s Rock’n’Roller Coaster after the race!
My next half marathon is in less in a month, at the Miami Beach Rock’n’ Roll Half Marathon. I signed up for this race before I even completed the Disney Princess, knowing this was something I wanted to keep doing. And it’s been a great ride ever since.
- What’s your favorite race/fitness memory?
- Any questions or comments for Steph?
Thanks for sharing Steph! What a great story!
Make sure to visit Steph over at her BLOG
Visit her on TWITTER