Friday, February 8, 2013

A Half Marathon?!

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate running. I just don't run. I never have. I have activity triggered asthma, so running is a challenge for me. Even though I know if I kept at it, it would get easier and my body would adjust, I never got to the point where I liked running or even wanted to run. So I didn't do it.

That's not the case anymore.

Over the last few years, I have started the c25K (couch to 5k) plan several times. I didn't make it too far into the plan though - maybe week 4 or 5. I always had an excuse, whether it was my schedule or the weather. So why on Earth would I choose a half marathon?

Around Christmas 2011, my friend Katie told me about the Disney Princess Half Marathon. How amazing would that be?! We both love Disney, so it made sense. We talked about running the Princess Half in 2013. I haven't been to Disney World since I was 15 years old, and I was anxiously waiting for the day that I would get to go back.

I remember thinking at that time that there was no way I would be able to run a half marathon. Katie, who was also not much of a runner before (but also doesn't have the asthma issues that I have), said she just kept running. Every week, practicing. At that time, she could run for over half an hour straight, but it hadn't always been that way. It gets easier the more you run, she told me.

And so the little seed was planted.

Over the next couple weeks, I kept thinking about our conversation. A half marathon. That's 13.1 miles. I had never gone farther than 2 or 3 miles and even then, it was a struggle with a lot of walk breaks. Something changed in me at that point though. I suddenly pictured myself crossing the finish line after a half marathon. I saw it happening. I felt the emotions and saw the tears of joy on my face. And it was at that moment that I knew I could do it, if I tried.

I decided to set myself a New Years Resolution for 2012. I was going to train for a half marathon and if I was ready, my reward was going to be a trip to Disney World. I would run the Princess Half in 2013.

Now I never set resolutions at New Years. Sure, I talk about them, but honestly, how many people stick to their goals longer than a month or so? Something was different about this goal though. This time, I had the will to make it a reality.

In January 2012, I began the c25k program again. I made it to about week 4 and life got in the way, so I stopped. I ran on and off for the next several months. June arrived and I realized that if I wanted this half marathon to happen, I better get started again - and this time I needed to stick to it. I think it helped me that I had gained a bit of weight over the past year, so there was even more motivation to get healthy and stay healthy.

Running got a bit easier each time I went out. I was feeling better. I started to actually like running. I liked how it made me feel and how happy I was with myself that I was going to do this. The Princess Half 2013 registration would open in early July and I wanted to be confident I could do it.

At the end of June, in a freak lawn mowing accident (thanks, honey), I sprained my right ankle. Badly. I was on crutches for almost two weeks. I started physiotherapy because I knew I needed help to get my ankle back into shape again. (I should add at this point - I sprained this same ankle very badly in high school as well, so I knew it was going to be a tough road to recovery to strengthen it up again.)

The day the Princess Half 2013 registration opened was the day of my first PT appointment. I asked my PT if I would be able to run a half and she laughed at me. I kept thinking "NO! I have to do this! I have to be ready!" Then I realized she thought I meant a half marathon in the next month. She laughed again and told me that 7 months was plenty of time and I would be fine. I remember feeling so relieved even though I knew I would have to work hard to get back on my foot and back into training.

I went home that night and signed my husband and myself up for a Princess Half team. I was going back to Disney World! Suddenly, the half marathon was real. I paid my registration fees. I was actually going to do this!

I worked with my PT into the beginning of September and then I was on my own. I was running a bit again, starting off using 1 min run intervals with a bunch of walking in between. My ankle got stronger. At the end of September, I did the 5k Run for the Cure, finishing in about 40 minutes. I felt good!

Sometime during my PT, I discovered the Jeff Galloway training plans for the runDisney races. His method uses run/walk/run intervals and makes it possible for pretty much anyone to train and run for a half or even a full marathon. I knew this was the method I needed to use. Clearly the c25k method wasn't cutting it for me (given how many times I gave up on it!). In October, I began to train using The Galloway beginner plan for the Princess Half. It was happening and in 4 months, I was going to run a half marathon!

Photo: Courtesy of RunDisney

Next up: Training - easy in theory, not so easy when you were running outside and then Canadian winter strikes three weeks into your training plan.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why an iron ring?

I must warn you. This is my first attempt at blogging. So here goes nothing :)

Hello! I'm Megan. I wanted to start off by talking a little bit about me and why I decided "Once Upon An Iron Ring" was an appropriate title for my blog. I actually made this blog a couple of years ago, before I got married. My (now) husband and I both met at University, graduating from the same engineering program. In Canada, there is a ritual you can do at the end of your program called "The Calling of an Engineer" (more details here if you are curious). At the end of the Iron Ring ceremony, you receive an iron ring that is worn on the pinkie finger of your working hand. Both my husband and I wear these rings, so I thought it was a fitting fairy tale title to go with "Once Upon An Iron Ring". Yes, it's cheesy. But then, so am I. As I made this blog, I thought I wanted to talk about all the wedding things and decisions about flowers and colors and vendors. Well, as you can see, that didn't exactly happen.

So here we are, almost three years later and I have now decided to try again. Why? Because I feel like this is the start of something big in my life. You see, in just over two weeks, I will run my first half marathon. Not just any half marathon though - the 5th Anniversary of the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Now to some people that's not such a feat, but it is for me. It's been quite the journey to get to this point and I want to share that with you, but not just yet. First, you need to know a little but more about me.

Here are 10 things you should know about me:

1. I love books. I love reading. I have a Kindle that lives in my purse, so I always have a book handy if I need one!

2. I love Disney. I have been a fan of Disney all my life. At this time of this post, I have been to Disneyland 4 times and Disney World 3 times (my 4th will be in a few weeks!). My favorite Disney character is Maleficent (she is so BA).

3. I am a dancer. I also teach dance with a community program. I've taken everything from tap, jazz, hip hop and ballet to ballroom, belly dance and pole dancing. I am certainly not the greatest dancer in the world (I couldn't compete on So You Think You Can Dance, for example), but I do ok.

4. I have been a city girl all my life. My husband and I moved to an acreage last year, and I have to say, I love it. I love the peace and the space and the quiet. I'm also still close to the city, just in case!

5. Since graduating high school, my weight has been a bit of an issue for me - not to say that I was obese, but I was certainly overweight and not in the shape that I wanted to be in anymore. I am now happy to say that I am down 18 lbs since October 2012 (I've got less than 5 lbs to go!). I am below my wedding weight (from July 2011) and couldn't be happier. I will not go back!

6. I love wine. It's my go to drink on a good or bad day. I used to only drink sweet white/blush wine, but now I will drink just about any wine. I'm not too picky :)

7. My favorite color is purple. It was one of my wedding colors and also happens to be one of Maleficent's primary colors. I don't think that's a coincidence.

8. I am so close to finishing my Masters of Engineering. I am one paper away and I need to finish it before I leave for Disney.

9. I am a Gleek. I have traveled twice (to Los Angeles and Anaheim) for weekend trips to see Glee in Concert. Both trips included VIP ticket packages and, of course, a day at Disneyland!

10. I was the girl with asthma who hated running all my life. I can now proudly say that I am a runner. Some days are easier than others, but overall, I feel great when I run. (Disclaimer: I say run, but I actually use Jeff Galloway's run/walk method. It is the reason I can do this.)

Next up: A Half Marathon?! I thought it was crazy too, but in just over two weeks, I will have finished 13.1 miles!