If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It - My Way To My First 5K Race

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Hello, my name is Corinna, I am 41 years old and live in the UK. I did something crazy yesterday and signed up for the 5K at the Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend this September. I have not done any running since I left high school and even then I would have rather avoided it. So this is a big challenge for me and one that I am hugely excited about.

So how did I get from hating to run to being excited about the prospect of running a 5K? Well, one could say it all started with a Mouse. I have been a huge Disney fan for many years. My husband Graham has always been a runner. He often goes out for anything between a 5K and 10K run after work for a bit of light entertainment.

In 2009, our stars aligned and we just happened to have a trip to Walt Disney World planned that coincided with the last ever Race for the Taste 10K. Graham signed up for this and I came with him to see him off and then waited for him at the finishing line. Even though I was not running, I got intoxicated by the atmosphere. When the fireworks went off to signal the start of the race, I suddenly had the overwhelming wish to run in a Run Disney event myself in the future. This became even stronger when the finishers for the 3K race came over the finishing line and I realised that some of them were no fitter than I was. At that stage I really wished that I had entered.

A few years passed and even though we were at Walt Disney World and Disneyland either just before or just after a race weekend, our dates never lined up again. There was also the small issue that the 3K that day was the last Run Disney event over this distance. The prospect of a 5K was far too daunting.

Then about a year ago, I read that there would we a Run Disney event at Disneyland Paris. Disneyland Paris is essentially a hop, skip and jump for us. I also had not been there since April 2010 even though it is so close. So this made this all the more interesting. I mentioned this to Graham and strange enough, he was not interested at all. At this stage I was still thinking that he would run and I would go as a spectator again.

About a month before, I had got myself a Fitbit and this gave me the motivation to become more active. I did not struggle to do my 10000 steps a day and I did very quickly start to notice that I was becoming fitter. The real turning point came in late September, when I was at Disneyland. I had signed up for the power walk that they offer for DVC members once a week and that takes place at California Adventure before park opening. This is a 2 mile walk. When I signed up for this, I thought that this was no problem. After all, I do about twice that in a typical work day and up to 5 times this amount when I am in the parks. On the day, the fitness instructor who was hosting this had one look at me and asked if I was sure about this. I told her absolutely. I was not quite so sure about this anymore, but I am extremely stubborn and it did not sit too well with me that she though I could not do it. We went for a very brisk walk and not only did I finish, but for the most part I managed to keep up with the group with the exception of one uphill stretch where I fell behind a bit. However, I soon caught up again. After this, I knew that I can do anything I put my mind to. I can also tell you that I felt like I had grown a few inches when the fitness instructor told me how impressed she was with my performance.

After Disneyland, I headed over to Walt Disney World, were Graham joined me for the second half of my vacation. At one dinner, I brought up the Run Disney event again, but this time I told him that I really wanted to run the 5K. The fact that this was the inaugural event suddenly became very tempting. This time round he was a lot more enthusiastic about this idea. We agreed that if the prices were not too crazy and we can get in, we would do this together. He was a little disappointed that there was no 10K on offer, but settled for running the 5K with me.

When I got back from this trip, the first thing I booked was booking the leave for this just in case. I got the leave confirmed and then the waiting begun. The booking window for packages was supposed to open pretty much straight after we got back. This was then postponed by a month. I had a look at the cost for those even though we normally stay offsite when we go to Disneyland Paris, but the cost of them made my eyes water. Ironically, around this time, I ended up with a spontaneous trip to Disneyland Paris and ended up getting an annual pass. If I was not determined before to make this work, I was definitely now.

While I was not so patiently waiting for bookings for bib only entries to open, I found out that a friend of mine in Florida was planning to come over for this. Now I had somebody to share the excitement with. Even though Graham is hugely supportive of me entering, he does not really do excited.

Neither of us was impressed when a matter of days before the booking window for bib only entries was postponed by another month, too. Still, yesterday the day finally had arrived. I was a little bemused that considering the race is taking place in Paris, the booking window did not open until 5:00 PM Paris time. Still, I managed to arrange my lunch break at work that I could book it then. This exercised my patience quite significantly as first of all it took ages for the booking page to go life. I think it was 10 minutes later until it no longer stated to come back at 5:00. Once the link had gone life, it took forever for the pages to load. I had visions of the race being sold out before I could enter my details. During this process, I was messaging with my friend on the phone. She had the same issues. Fortunately shortly afterwards, I got our confirmation for two spaces for the 5K and my friend got hers a minute or so later. May the preparation begin.

Corinna
 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
A little while has passed since I booked my entry for the 5K and a few things have happened since then. Unfortunately there has been a lot going on in real life as well. Still, I am having a few minutes now and decided to come back with some updates.

First of all, the title is too long already for any additions. So I could not add that I welcome comments, but I most certainly do. I noticed there have been quite a few views already. Thanks for reading along. I did start this journals for a number of reasons. It will be nice to look back on this at some point in the future and relive the whole process. There is also the element of this holding me to account as and when my motivation is not as strong as it could be. I am sure there will be times where this will be the case. However, I also really would appreciate comments, hints and tips of either people who are in the same situation as me and also from experienced runners.

With the housekeeping out of the way, here is what has happened since. The first step was to find some suitable running shoes. I do have trainers/sneakers that I wear when I head for the parks, etc., but I would not dream to run in them. I have the added issue that I need wide fitting shoes as well as stability shoes. So my choices are somewhat limited. I knew from the start that I wanted New Balance running shoes as those are the brand that tend to fit me the best. I had picked out a style very quickly that seemed to tick all the boxes, but did not want to risk ordering them from their website. So I decided to visit a specialist running store in our town. They did not have the style I had chosen in the wide fit, but they were able to recommend alternatives. I also tried some other brands, but as expected, the New Balance shoes were by far the best fit and the most comfortable. I have ended up with the 860v6 in the D fit. They fit like a glove and it feels like I am walking on a cloud.



When I went into the store, I just wanted to see what was around and then had every intention of getting them on payday. However, things rather changed. I mentioned that I was planning to do a Couch to 5K program to the member of staff who is helping me. He then mentioned that they are running group Couch to 5K programs and indeed the next one is due to start this Monday. I decided to sign up for this. I am hoping that it will be helpful to do this with a group of likeminded people who are in the same or a similar position as I am. I have to admit the group aspect also scares me a little, but I think the benefits of doing it this way outweigh my doubts about this. The idea behind this is that you do run 1 for that week with the group on a Monday and then you repeat them on your own on Wednesdays and Fridays.

I had always thought that the race itself would be the first time I run the full distance. I also had planned to start the training somewhat later. However, this will work out perfectly. We are having a vacation planned at the end of April and I will finish the program a few days before that. Also, the way they run the program is that during the last session, the whole group runs a 5 K together. Once I have “graduated” and in my case once I am back from vacation, they do a 5 K training run every Tuesday. I will do this as often as I can shift permitting. They also do something like Park Run on a Saturday in our home town, which is a 5 K run in one of the local parks. So if I cannot go on a Tuesday, I will try for the Saturday. I have never worried about the distance, but I have had some concerns about the pace requirement. Still, with so much time to train and regular 5 K runs during the 4 months leading up to the race, this hopefully should not be an issue.

I will have two challenges on the way. First of all, I will be at Disneyland Paris next weekend. I will have to do the last training run of week 1 while I am there. It does appeal to me to actually do this at Disneyland Paris as this is why I am doing all this. I know that there are running trails at Walt Disney World and I am hoping that they will have something similar at Disneyland Paris. However, at the moment I am struggling to find out any information about this. I still have nearly a week to research this so I should be able to come up with something suitable.

The bigger challenge will be the may vacation. We will be gone for nearly a month and I have been warned that if you train, you build up stamina very quickly, but you also lose it again very quickly if you stop training. I have no wish to undo all the hard work. The second half of the trip will be no issue as we will be on a cruise and the ship has a running track and a gym with treadmills. I actually quite like the idea of running early in the morning before most people are up with just the ocean for company. However, the first part of the trip will be more of a challenge. We will take a train trip from our home town to Barcelona and will be in a different place pretty much every day. We will also have long days sightseeing. So fitting in runs will be challenging. I wonder if I can get away with not running during this time as we will get plenty of exercise otherwise. This is all so new and scary for me.

Not directly linked with running, but it is still linked to my first Run Disney event. I was in two minds about the other events that they offer during this weekend. So initially I just booked our bibs and decided to have a closer look at the other offerings when I had a bit more time. They are offering a party at Walt Disney Studios on the Friday night. During this party, there will be characters, food and the main attractions will be open. We have decided to do this and I booked this earlier today. The other option was the dinner show on the Saturday. This is not really our thing so we decided to pass on this.

Corinna
 


Dis_Yoda

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Joining in! Congrats on signing up for your first Run Disney event! It is a great way to get healthy with a goal in mind! Maybe you'll find yourself addicted to them and start doing some more races as well :) (We started with a 5K back in 2013 & now my husband and I do challenge weekends)

Disney is very welcoming to people of all shapes and sizes for their runs. They have some of the best pace requirements for newbies as well.

Glad you found shoes that fit like a glove! Getting fitted at a running store is totally the way to go, especially to ensure you get the right shoe for your foot! I use stability shoes as well but I have a pair of Asics and a pair of Brooks I alternate between, but the Brooks are being retired and I'm getting a new pair of either Asics or something else soon.

It does suck trying to keep up training while on vacation (take it as someone who has ran on a treadmill in the middle of the ocean or waking up at 5AM to get a 8 mile run in at VGF) but it is in your best interest to do it, even if its slow. Jeff Galloway mentions that getting the distance in is more important than speed.

Are you doing intervals for your runs?
 
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Joining in!
    Welcome.

    Maybe you'll find yourself addicted to them and start doing some more races as well :)
    I am hoping that this will happen. I really would love to do a race at the Tinkerbell weekend at Disneyland and the Princess weekend at Walt Disney World. I have friends in Orlando and California that have done Run Disney events so this is another incentive.

    and a pair of Brooks
    This was one of the other brands I tried on, but they seemed to pinch at the back of the foot.

    Disney is very welcoming to people of all shapes and sizes for their runs.
    That is good to know.

    It does suck trying to keep up training while on vacation (take it as someone who has ran on a treadmill in the middle of the ocean or waking up at 5AM to get a 8 mile run in at VGF) but it is in your best interest to do it, even if its slow.
    I will see how I can get this done. None of the hotels we have picked out will have a gym. That would make things relatively straightforward. I will have to check out the lay of the land when I get there as to potential running routes.

    Jeff Galloway mentions that getting the distance in is more important than speed.
    As I said, the distance does not scare me. I could probably could do the distance right now if speed was no issue. I am just a little worried about the pacing requirement.

    Are you doing intervals for your runs?
    I will definitely during the early stages of the training program, but I am hoping that by September I can run the whole distance. We will see how things will work out.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Yesterday, I did my first group session of couch to 5K and I was ready to give up on the idea that I will ever run a 5K there and then. However, having slept on this and analyzing what had actually happened made me feel a little more optimistic again. I arrived in plenty of time to sign in and a lot of the group had the same idea. After we had all signed in, signed a waiver and put our belongings in one of the changing rooms at the running store that hosts this, we had the obligatory group photo taken and then we headed out. Our first session was to take place at a local park that is about 10 minutes away from the store. So we took a brisk walk over there to warm up and then did a light jog for the last stretch. So far so good. We had been told that we would do intervals of running one minute and walking one minute for eight repetitions. I figured that I would be able to do this and actually had been quite looking forward to this. The reality was a different one.




    The group had been advertised as a beginners group. That is why I had decided to join as I had thought and hoped that everybody would be in the same boat. The reality was that at best 4 of us were actually beginners. The rest have already done multiple 5 and 10 Ks. It is ever so slightly demotivating if you are struggling to run the uphill stretch and people come flashing past you like a bat out of heck. One of them was quite open about the fact that he was doing this to improve his personal best. Although I have every respect for this, we were told that we should be sticking together as a group and there was no way I could keep up.


    The second issue was that we should have run 1 minute and walked 1 minute. That did not happen either. There is a circular path around the perimeter of the park, which is about a quarter of a mile. We were told to run one loop and then have one minute rest. I started to wonder if I should be able to run a quarter of a mile in one minute, but that would equate to a 4 minute mile and the pacing requirement for the 5 K is four times that. So that can’t be right. I also realized that I was supposed to run 2 miles on my first attempt to run after I left school. This seems to be a little much. So after I realized all of this, I felt decidedly less of a failure.


    Today was a rest day and tomorrow I will do day 2 of week 1 before work. I have downloaded the Coach to 5K app from the NHS website and I invested in a sports armband for my iPhone. I am all set. There is a nice park with paved and flat path near my apartment and this is where I will do my run. This is about a 5 minute brisk walk away from my front door so this is warm up and cool down taken care of, too. Tomorrow I should have a better idea how much I am going to struggle. I am planning to go back to the group next Monday providing that the training runs tomorrow and Friday go OK, but if it is more of the same, I may just decide to just do it on my own with the help of the app.


    On a positive note, we had the emails yesterday inviting us to complete our registration for the 5K. So this is another thing ticked off the list.

    Corinna
     

    Terapin

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 20, 2007
    Hello Corinna! Congratulations on setting your goal! We met on the 2010 WB Transatlantic cruise in one of your jewellery sessions. I'm also doing the Paris 5k (and the HM), so I will see you there!

    I've built up from just starting to run and starting from where you are so happy to help in any way if you would like. Just PM!
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Hello Corinna! Congratulations on setting your goal! We met on the 2010 WB Transatlantic cruise in one of your jewellery sessions. I'm also doing the Paris 5k (and the HM), so I will see you there!

    I've built up from just starting to run and starting from where you are so happy to help in any way if you would like. Just PM!
    Hi. I do remember you. Wow, that is amazing that you will do both races. I will have a look at your journal when I get caught up with everything that remained undone while I had fun at Disneyland Paris. Thanks for the kind offer. I am sure there will be a few PMs exchanged between now and September.

    Corinna
     
  • Terapin

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 20, 2007
    Hi. I do remember you. Wow, that is amazing that you will do both races. I will have a look at your journal when I get caught up with everything that remained undone while I had fun at Disneyland Paris. Thanks for the kind offer. I am sure there will be a few PMs exchanged between now and September.

    Corinna
    Lovely. I have been a Running Room instructor for both the Learn to Run and Half Marathon clinics - happy to help in any way, especially a 'friend'! Can't wait to see Disneyland Paris. I may have some questions for you about planning, if that's alright :-)
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I may have some questions for you about planning, if that's alright :-)
    Absolutely. After not having been there for the best part of 6 years, I rediscovered my love for Disneyland Paris in November. I was just there for three days this weekend and I am going back for a day in May as well.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I have neglected this journal a bit and indeed running itself. I have not had the best of years. I picked up what I thought was a knee injury in spring, but fortunately it turned out to be a very upset thigh muscle that was pulling on my knee. This has now been sorted. I also had really bad luck with having recurrent sinus and chest infections for the first 7 months of the year. Not being able to breathe and running are not really compatible. I have to admit there have been times when I wondered if this would actually happen.

    I got motivated again when I saw the medal. I love Ratatouille and Remy is one of my favourite characters. So I knew I had to get this:



    I did the full distance today to see what my baseline is. I mostly power-walked it and came in at 50 minutes. I was averaging just short of 9 minutes per kilometre for the first 4 kilometres and that included inclines, stairs and cobblestones. I lost some time on the last kilometre when I was on a narrow canal towpath and had to dodge bicycles and dogs. I am hoping to shave off 10 minutes between now and 24th September.

    Corinna
     



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