Up until this past year, I hadn’t traveled for more than half an hour to run a race. It wasn’t even on my radar up until about 2 years ago. I was always able to find distances I wanted to run year round, so I never worried about planning to travel out of town with the soul purpose of doing a run.

That changed. Somehow the Disney Star Wars runs popped up on my radar and that quickly became a bucket list item. In June of 2016 I signed up, found a friend to drag with me, and headed off to Disneyland to run the Light Side’s Rebel Challenge. I quickly decided to do the Dark Side’s Challenge (I’m a sucker for the Millennium Falcon, okay). This race I did not manage to find a friend to go with me; I opted to go anyway. Might not have been the best idea as my anxiety kicked up prior to leaving.

How did I deal with that?

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Race 12: Greenway 10k

So, April 9th, week after my last race which just so happened to be a half marathon, what am I doing? Oh yes, running again. How long? Just a 10k… 6.2 miles should be a breeze after 13.1 miles and an irritated knee. Not to mention I didn’t run at all between Sunday to Sunday because I was resting my knee. Nothing could go right, right?

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Race 11: Run for Home

One of the best ways to get me to run a race out of town is to have a decent price entry fee. And by decent I mean under $25, I am still trying to pay off student debt after all… This race was an unbelievable bargain! It was the race’s 10th anniversary, so I managed to catch the entry fee for the half marathon for a mere $10 back in October. What could be better? Lots of things self, lots of things…

I may have gotten a bit turned around on my drive to the race. Just a bit. In my defense, it was early on in the morning when I drove out and I normally don’t head that direction on the freeway for so long. Kind of forgot one of the routes turns into the one I needed to get off at…

Anyway, I managed to make it to the race with about a half an hour of time to pick up my packet, get my race bib on, put the darned swag in my car, and get to the start line. That all worked out pretty well. The race itself is another story…

I was doing great right up until mile 11. It was at that mile marker that my dang knee froze up. And not my self appointed “bad” knee either, oh no… The knee I considered good revolted on me and decided it was stopping right there, right then. I was not amused. I also had no option of dropping out of the race, so I persisted.

Luckily for me my knee was just fine and dandy if I walked. Sure it was a bit grumpy, but I had TWO miles left of this fricking race, I was finishing, against my better judgement. I managed, but lord almighty was I glad to cross the finish line. I apparently just missed grabbing a post race banana (thanks knee…).

Did inquire about where the aide station was after I was hobbling back to where they had refreshments. Only, there was no aide station. I was a bit irked at that since it would seem like that would be a must… That’s likely just the health and safety aspect of my work popping out. Good race overall, not sure I would run it again because of the drive there. Bit too far out of my normal range.

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Race 10: Chili Bowl Classic

One of my favorite foods during the winter months is chili. It’s quick, it’s easy to make, and it’s a great source of protein and vegetables (important for the time crunched vegetarian).  It’s also a great motivator for a race. Bribe me with food and 9 times out of 10 I am there!

The race was late February which meant some cloudy and cool weather, but nothing I wasn’t used to running in already. There wasn’t a great downpour of snow either which I was grateful for. Overall the weather conditions made for a great race!

Started off with a solid 10 minute mile, continuing strong. Just after mile two I rounded a corner into a head wind, up a hill, right as a cramp decided to hit my side. Worst combination of things during a race!! Well almost the worst combination of things… Needless to say I took a few minutes to walk, at least until my cramp had lessened slightly. The walking did not set me back nearly as much as I had imagined and I crossed the finish line in a solid 34 minutes. Not too shabby for me!

Now, if you’re thinking that I immediately found water, cooled down, and enjoyed some chili, you would be wrong. As I crossed that finish line the smell of something cooking in oil or grease hit me HARD. I have never wanted to vomit after a race quite as much as I did in that moment and I’ve run some doozies in the heat. The smell of cooking food did a fantastic job of wafting around; I was just fine with my water and a banana. Skipped the chili for good measure, just in case that was the scent offender.

Race 9: Dirty Love 10k

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New shoes can only mean one thing for me… Another race! These shoes are trail shoes and I purchased them for a very good reason… Race 9 just so happened to be a trail race.

I hadn’t done trail running in a while and my road shoes are getting rather worn, so in February I decided I needed to grab another pair of shoes (and start hitting the trails more). Thus these were purchased. I also happened to have a race in mind. There is a local running group that hosts a series of trail races throughout the year at local metroparks. I do enjoy getting to visit the parks I haven’t been to in forever and the race swag was a mug… Running a 10k trail race was a no brainer!

The weather this particular February weekend was unusually warm. And by unusually warm, I mean it was in the 50s. I live in northeast Ohio, there should have at least been a dusting of snow on the ground! The weather made this run a lot easier. I’d never done a tied trail race before so I was a bit nervous about how I would fare.

Finished in an hour and a half, about where I was thinking I would. This included running up one hell of a hill, daring through bushes, running at the top of a cliff, splashing through puddles, and chatting with people as the race got bottle necked early on. As you can see below, I had quite a good time (and yes, I STILL have runners tan…).

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Races 7 and 8: Light Side Rebel Challenge

These races were quite the event to tackle. There’s a good reason for me pairing them together too. I ran them in the same weekend. Race 7 was a 10k and race 8 was a half marathon. Sound crazy? Yes, yes it does. But there was a very specific reason for me doing them back to back.

I ran the Star Wars Light Side’s Rebel Challenge! The half had been on my bucket list for the past year (was too late to register in 2016, it had sold out by the time I figured out there WAS a Star Wars run at Disney). I hopped at the opportunity to sign up for it. So six months in advance I forked over quite a bit of money, convinced myself that not only could I do the half but throwing in a 10k the day before was a GREAT idea.

The 10k was a solid run. The 3A wake up and corrals were a bit of a shock, but jet lag really helped with the former. Who needs sleep after you flew across the country?! I even dressed up as a pink BB8, because why not? I think I’ll make some edits to the skirt for next year but overall I am happy with the outcome. And yes, I did sew the skirt and tights. That was fun. I also did a simple version of Han Solo for the half.

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The course it’s self was contained to Disneyland and it was wonderful. I’d never been out there so I got to take in my first gazes of the park as I was running around it. You know, trying not to die at the same time… Made for a memorable experience. The people running by in costume made it even better. Who else can claim their first time in Disneyland was surrounded by people in cosplay?

I was rather pleased to get to the finish line, but then again who isn’t? I had a marvelous friend who came with me to run the half and was able to get a few post race pics. Thanks L!

The marathon was a bit more of a challenge. I spent almost ALL of December sick with some sort of lingering cold. All four fricking weeks. I did make a few attempts to get out and run but they just made me feel so much worse. Talk about feeling like death…

Now why would that be relevant? Because the half sucked. It was the hardest race I have ran, including my hazy memories of my first races in high school (was so not ready for those…). I ran a good clip up until about mile 7 and then I had to start taking walking breaks. I’m the type of person that, I may be slow, but I’m still going to run if I can (kudos to those who do the Gallaway plan, the run/walking split looks impressive and a number of people passed me that way). It’s part of my lovely, stubborn personality. Made it through to the finish line in 3 hours though. Much better than I had expected.

The lesson has been learned that training is a MUST and I’m not going to wing another half marathon. My knees suffered quite a bit even with wearing a knee brace the day after the race. I’ll be much more careful the next time…

The medals for this were awesome though! I snagged three.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor BB8 was the 10k’s medal.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses and hat The half was Leia and Han, while the challenge had a lovely silhouette of C3PO.