My name is Adam Bedford, I’m a tv editor, and I just ran my first ever 10k.
I have never been a runner. Anytime the idea came up, the famous quote “Run…for fun?! What the hell kinda fun is that?” from Back to the Future III would always be enough to snap me back to reality. That is, until last year.
WHERE MY JOURNEY BEGAN
I joined FIP’s initial test challenge group in March of 2014 as a way to keep me on the path to wellness. I had been missing the accountability factor in my own fitness & wellness efforts and this was my chance to fix that. I read early on during this challenge group about setting a goal outside your comfort zone and working towards it. I’ve walked a lot in my life, but I’ve never run, so when I discovered that there was a running event at Disneyland themed around Star Wars in January 2015, it seemed like fate.
RunDisney usually has 5k, 10k, and half-marathon events during their weekends. I’ve done 5k walking events before and there was no way I was doing a half marathon. There was only one option left: I signed up for the Star Wars 10k race.
The first thing I did was download some help. Having already been a part of the initial FIP Challenge group, I was already tracking metrics with my Fitbit, Polar Heart Rate Monitor, and the Digifit app, but the one thing I didn’t have was something that could help me train to run longer distances. I tried them all, but the one I ended up using (and would recommend) is Couch to 5K by Active. Couch to 5K has a 9-week training plan to get to you to 5K (and then an upgrade app to go from 5-10k). Its best feature is a simple yet engaging interface that clearly tells you when it’s time to get moving.
I’d been battling foot injuries over the last few months ever since I sprained my ankle running from zombies at Comic-Con (yes, you heard me), but I trained as best as I could with lighter exercises to keep moving forward knowing that the big day would soon arrive.
THE BIG DAY
DID I MENTION THAT THIS RACE STARTED AT 5:30AM?
There was no way I would be driving down from Los Angeles at 4am, so I crashed in a cheap motel overnight after a light dinner. Between the Mexican soap opera marathon blaring in the next room and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon playing on the other side, it was amazing that I got any sleep at all. Thank god for my headphones (themed for the occasion as well).
Driving into the Disneyland car park at 3:30 am felt quite eerie and empty. Once parked, I headed over the marshaling area with my race partner and Going Postal Show co-host Monica Daniel where we waited for what seemed like an eternity in the 38º weather. In an effort to keep us entertained, the race organizers attempted a mini Star Wars rave party featuring the worst DJ ever (if Darth Vader was there he would have force-choked this guy). On the upside, the storm troopers were the life of the party and posed for pictures and selfies with racers who were wearing cool and very unusual costumes (it baffled me how the hell they were going to run 10k in them though). Costumes ranged from the Death Star, Chewbacca, lots of troopers and even a Star Destroyer. My favorite though was “Elsa Fett” (The Frozen Bounty Hunter).
5:30 AM was almost here and it was time to head over to the starting corrals over on Disneyland Drive. Because we aren’t Olympic runners, we chose a later corral which meant more waiting….
The race finally started at 5:30. However, by the time we got to the starting gate it was 6:00.
My plan to ensure finishing the race was to incorporate run/walk intervals like I had done in my training. I used an app called Timerlist to create my intervals: 3 minutes running, 2 minutes walking. In the end, the app kept crashing so I deleted it. The simplest method I found was just to use my music as the guide (i.e. run for one song, walk for one song).
The course started on Disneyland Drive near Downtown Disney and up to Ball Road, then over the 5 to Harbor Blvd and back into the park via the employee tunnels. Once in Disneyland the course ran down Main St, up & around Frontierland and into Tomorrowland before heading across the way into & around California Adventure. I barely remember running through the parks. What I remembered the most was seeing all of the backstage area and how well it’s hidden from inside the park.
Miles 1, 2 & 3 were all smooth sailing. The Akasha Naturals Vital Fuel that I had mixed in with my water bottles were all doing their job. I was feeling great and full of energy. Mile 4 is when the muscle pain started to creep into my quads. I could feel it but was able to push on.
At mile 5 I started feeling a sharp jarring pain around my right knee which slowed me down. I wanted to run but couldn’t for more than a few seconds. Stopping was NOT an option, so I walked for a little longer. The pain was still there, but the walk breaks helped. I then walked all the way to the final mile marker. I wanted to finish but didn’t want to limp over the line, so I started jogging. The pain was there and this time my foot had joined in the fray. I jogged around the final turn and did everything to keep the pain at bay.
When I made that final turn and saw the finish line, It was like a switch had flipped inside my head, my legs started picking up speed, and the next thing I know, I’m sprinting to the finish line.
I crossed the finish line and breathed a sigh of relief. I did it!
My official time was 1:27:59. I didn’t break any records, but this was a personal best nonetheless. Watching the attendant place my shiny finisher’s medal around my neck felt amazing. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever come to feeling like an Olympian (unless there was an Olympic sport for editing or “Doctor Who” trivia). The next 2 days were followed by a nice fun case of D.O.M.S and acute case of “TooSoreToMove-itis.”
Will I do this again? Absolutely. The next Disneyland 10k is in September and I’ll be ready. My goal is to hit 1:15 or faster. Registration opens Feb 10. If anyone is interested in joining a Fitness in Post team, Let me know!