The Romagnolo Family

The Romagnolo Family

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Road to My First Half Marathon: The Day Has Arrived

I can't believe it!  After essentially 9 months of training, the day for my first Half Marathon arrived this past weekend!  I had been training hard, so I had to trust my training.  I was super excited!  Not even my body reacting weird to the flu shot last week was going to hold me back!

I chose the Plano Balloon Festival Races as my first Half Marathon.  The PBF Races also offered a 5k and 1k on Saturday in addition to the Half Marathon on Sunday.  Since I will be running the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon at the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November, I decided to run the 5k and half this past weekend to get my body ready for the Disney races.

Since I live super close to where they hold the Balloon Festival, I walked to the start on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  On Saturday, I was meeting my friend Joe, whom I had suckered into running with me.  Joe and I had run the Color Run together last March and that was the most fun that I'd had running a race.  There were A LOT of people there to run the 5k on Saturday morning.  They didn't have any start corrals.  They just asked that if you planned on walking or taking your time to please start at the back.  Yeah, that didn't really happen.  This made for a slower first mile.  Joe and I still had a good time.  We crossed the finish a few minutes apart from each other.  I have to add that the only reason why I finished ahead of Joe was because he slowed down to let a little boy that was struggling with finishing the 5k "beat" him.  Joe is some good people right there.
The medal was super cool!  Corner Bakery was there to serve us a very yummy breakfast too.

Overall, it was a fun 5k.  After we had finished walking around a little bit, we walked over to meet my girls who had shown up with my super awesome babysitter.  My girls were going to be running the 1k.

They both did great.  Lyla ran it but Mia chose to walk it.  I told her that she could do whatever she felt comfortable doing.  I don't want her to grow up hating it.  I would love for this to be something that we can all enjoy in some way.  One of my sweet friend's daughter went back to meet up with Mia after she had already crossed the finish line.  My friend's daughter walked the rest of the way with Mia.  My girls were both very excited about their medallions that they got in the end.

After we enjoyed a little bit of the atmosphere at the festival, we headed home so that mommy could rest up for Sunday morning.  It was definitely a fun event.  Sunday seemed to come so fast.  I had been waiting for this day FOREVER (or at least it felt like it)!

It was a very quiet morning walking to the race.  This time they had people line up in pacer groups (how long you thought that it might take you to run the race).  I was in line right around the 2 hour 35 minute pacer groups.  The race started and I was off!

The first mile I got to meet and run with a fellow runner that I had met through the "inter-web".  That was really cool.  I am so glad that I chose this race as my first half.  It was a great (and a little tough) course.

I had been training for this part of the race for months.  I was prepared for it!  I wasn't prepared for all of the hills in the neighborhoods that we ran through though.  The amount of volunteers and people that were out on the course cheering for us was amazing.  There were plenty of water stops and potties (if needed) throughout the course.

There was never a doubt of which direction to go.  I loved it!  It was fun seeing one of my students volunteering along the course with her mom too.

The whole time that I was running, I just kept thinking about how much I was enjoying this race.  At one point I saw the 2:40 Pacers and then I lost sight of them.  For awhile I didn't see any Pacers.  I thought for sure that I had fallen back to the 3 hour pace.  All of a sudden as I'm approaching mile 5, I heard someone yell behind me, "mile 5!"  I turned to look and it was the 2:40 Pacers.  I had gotten ahead of them!  Woo-hoo!  I kept ahead or with them all the way until the last mile.  

As you can see from the picture above, the weather was still great at mile 10.  It was great until about a half mile later where the heavens opened up and it poured rain.  Around mile 12, there was lightening and thunder. Somewhere around mile 12 I also fell behind the 2:40 pacers.  I tried so hard.  In the end, I ended up having a time of 2:42:13.  That wasn't bad for my first half marathon!  As I was crossing the finish line, I heard them announce that they were cancelling the race and that shuttles were going to pick up the runners.  I felt so bad for those runners.  I know how hard I had worked to prep for this race.  I would've been so bummed if I had not been able to race the full course.  Now I know how my friends felt last year when they ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Disney.  The race course had been changed from 13.1 miles to about 7 miles due to weather.

I didn't get to participate in the post race festivities, but I got to see the cutest cheerleaders ever right before I crossed the finish line!

I was glad that I got to run this race and glad that I got to finish it!  I was especially glad that I had gone out after school on Friday to buy a visor.  Not only did it keep the sweat out of my eyes, but it kept the rain off of my face.

Since I couldn't enjoy the breakfast from Central Market, I settled for Trader Joes, Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls!  Yum!

I have had such a great support system the past 9 months.  As my training runs got longer, I had friends that let my daughters spend the night with them so that I could get up as the sun was rising and beat the Texas summer heat.  I had friends show up in the rain to cheer me on at the finish line.  I had a ton of friends from my running groups on Facebook cheering me on from afar.  I had friends that took the girls and I out for a celebratory dinner last night to celebrate my first half marathon!

This has been such a great journey!  I have two more half marathons to go in 2016.  38 days until my first runDisney experience.  I cannot wait to share that one with some very sweet and dear friends.  "While the Road to My First Half Marathon" might be ending, my journey is definitely not!  In fact, it's just getting started!

It is definitely time for a medal hangar!

Be sure to check out my YouTube page for my race recap vlogs!  Until next time...stay strong my friends!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tour des Fleurs 10k Race Recap

Today was my 3rd 10k since I started running this past January.  I was really looking forward to today's race.  My last race was at the end of May.  Sometime during this past week I found out that there were some hills on this race course, one of them being a BIG hill.  I was a little disappointed.  I had a really good run on Tuesday and I was hoping to PR this race today.

One of my favorite part of races has been meeting up with my running friends before and after.  The running community is a great community.  They are very encouraging.

Two of my Disney Runner friends, Kelly & Allison

I started out super strong, maybe even too strong.  The Tour des Fleurs is a pretty race course around White Rock Lake near the Dallas Arboretum.  The weather wasn't too bad at the start, although it was humid.  By the end of the race it was a "feels like 96 degrees" temperature.  I thought that I was killing it during the race.  My race apps kept telling me that my pace was anywhere between 10:05-10:25 per mile.  I also think that weaving in and out of people threw off my apps.  By the end of the race, my apps told me that I had run 7 miles.

The hills were in the middle of the course.  They were KILLERS!!  The last mile was super hard too.  It was so hot and I ended up walking more of it then I normally do.  Right now, I'm really struggling with being mad at myself for my time.  It was not one of my better runs.  I'm frustrated because I have been training so hard.  I know that we all don't always have great runs.  This is my first race where my time didn't improve.  It's making me a little nervous for my half next week.  I was hoping to have a good run today so that I could use that time to submit to Disney for the Princess Half Marathon in February.  If I was able to do that, I could just focus on enjoying my first half.  Now it looks like I am going to have to focus on enjoying and getting a good race time.

I also think that I should have stuck to eating my Honey Stinger Waffle for breakfast instead of Sprouted Toast with Peanut Butter and drinking a little coffee and more water.  I drank a whole cup of coffee and not any water before the race.  Even though I ate at 5:30 am and didn't run until 7:40, I had stitches in my sides the entire race.  That might have affected my race time too.  At the very end of the race I also had to sit because I was feeling a little light headed.  I definitely didn't have enough water.

Overall, it was a good race.  It was just one of my tougher runs.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?  My brother even said that hills make you strong.  He's right.  I believe that this race also prepped me for my 5k and Half Marathon next week.  The bling at the end of the race was pretty cool too!!  After the race, Allison and I took a tour around to the different booths.  Free food?  Yes please!

1 race down and 8 more to go this fall.  I hope that you'll follow along on my journey.  I also experimented with my first vlog from the Tour des Fleur.  I know, I are thinking, "Ann you're going to start vlogging now?"  Yes, yes I am.  It's from watching other runners vlogs that I feel like I am more prepared for Disney races and races in general.  If I can encourage or help others, then I will jump on the vlog bandwagon.  See you after the next race!


Early morning walk through the Arboretum

Beautiful Morning

The race has begun.

Post race photo.

I loved hanging out with my sweet friend Allison before and after the race.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Journey Through Grief and Busy

The past few weeks have been crazy busy and sad for us.  School has been consuming a lot of our time.  I have been trying to figure out how to adjust my lesson prep, being a good mommy and continuing with my training schedule.  As of today, I am 9 days away from my first Half Marathon.  I'm excited about about my 10k tomorrow (Tour des Fleurs).  It will be my first race since May and my first attempt at vlogging!  I am hoping to PR (have a personal record) on this race.  Be on the watch for more about this race!

Labor Day weekend was a very hard weekend for the Romagnolo Family.  We had to put our sweet kitty, Gershwin (aka Bubba), down.  He was 19 years old and not doing well at all.  The girls and I loved this kitty so much.  He was the best!  Before the girls came along (and even after), he would be the one that could calm me down and help me relax at the end of a long day.  I could feel myself relax just by him sitting on my lap while watching tv at the end of the day.  It took awhile for Gershwin (can you tell I'm a music teacher?) to accept that the girls weren't going anywhere.  Once he accepted it, he began to embrace them.  Before he started getting sick, he would come in their room every night during story and prayer time.  He would make his rounds to each of the girl's beds and maybe even stay with one of them while they fell asleep.

I knew that this day was coming.  I began talking to the girls about it over the summer.  On the Monday before Labor Day, I sat the girls down to explain to them that I would be taking Gershwin to the doctor on Friday and what that actually meant.  I wanted them to have time to process and to be able to say their goodbyes.  There were many, many tears.  I took Gershwin after school on Friday. A very sweet friend of mine picked the girls up from school and took them out for ice cream (we love you Robyn!).  Y'all...I just balled when I entered the Animal Shelter.  The poor worker had to hand me a box of tissues.  When I picked up the girls from my friends, Mia saw Gershwin's carrier.  She cried the car ride to the store.  When we got home, she lied down on the floor to my room to tell our other kitty, Sydney Bristow (name the TV show that she is named from), what had happened to Gershwin.  Her tears started again and she and I cuddled on the couch.  Mommy then made a yummy dinner and put on Gilligan's Island (their new favorite show).  They laughed and laughed.  The next morning they came in for a morning cuddle.  Mia and I were feeling a little weepy and really missing Gershwin.  She asked for me to get out his cat carrier.  Something told me that I had to let her grieve in her own way.  She took his carrier and curled up in a blanket on her trampoline and just cried.  It was a really hard weekend.  I didn't think that I would feel such a big hole in my heart.  

We are still working through the grieving process.  It's interesting to see how the girls have been dealing with our loss differently.  I'm glad that Mia had a meeting with her therapist the week after we put Gershwin down.  It gave her another opportunity to work through her grief.  I told the girls that they will have to ask Santa for a kitty for Christmas.  They need one that is just theirs.  I have Sydney (she is scared of the girls).  Mia said that she'd add that to her list.  I'm curious to see what her list is.  Mama is on a tight budget because I am working on a surprise for them for Christmas.  

For now, we are just taking one day at a time and trying not to let the busy-ness of life wear us out.  We are very excited that we are now under 50 days until we go back to Disney.  I think that we are very ready for some Disney magic in our lives right about now!  Stay tuned for more updates on our busy, but FUN fall!!!

Gershwin on our move from Florida to Texas, July 2007