Jun 20, 2018

Walt Disney World FULL Marathon Recap

This post is ridiculously long overdue, but here it is. I am a marathoner.

I left for Orlando on January 5th. I got up there and met Kris at the expo. She had already been, since her Dad was running the 5k on Thursday, but we met up and walked around. The nerves were a bit higher than usual, it felt like that first half marathon.

Most of the vendors were the usuals, so just a stroll around after I got my bib and my shirt, and then I went to the official merch. My amazing bestie had already snagged what I wanted, the "I Did It!"shirt, and a 26.2 magnet. Now I just had to earn them.

I was staying at Pop Century, and was in one of the newly renovated rooms, which was nice. I had company on the trip, since Andy came with me, which was totally a great distraction from only thinking about the race. After the expo Andy and I went to Downtown Disney and has some dinner at Homecoming. OMG that was good.

Also, this was a cold weekend. I had been hoping for a cool race weekend, and looks like the gods listened to me. Friday for the 10k was the coldest morning, and looked like Sunday's marathon would be the warmest, at about 44ish. Not ideal, but I know it would warm up as the day went on.

On Saturday, Andy, Kris, and I we went to the Animal Kingdom to shake out the nerves and ride Pandora, cause we had fast passes. It was so fun. Then a stop at Hollywood Studios for boozy hot chocolate, and meeting Kylo Ren. We met up with Kris's family and our good friend Allyson for some Mexican food for dinner. Cause nothing is better than tacos. Then it was back to the hotel for flat pics and sleep before a ridiculously early wakeup call.

3am came entirely too quickly, but we got dressed and bundled up and got on the bus. As usual, I made our costumes, but made them super running friendly. I decided to go with "It's a Small World," since this was my first favorite Disney ride. Kris picked the Haunted Mansion. I'm always totally more impressed with her costumes than with mine. I think we fully captured the Mansion's cast member costumes. I'll have a separate costume post coming up soon.

Smartly, Kris picked up $2 blankets at Walmart as our throwaway stuff. These became capes around us, and really kept us warm at 3am with the windchill making it 38!

We went to our corrals (corral E) and they started going off soon enough. With the mini-waves it went off pretty fast. The nerves were in full force, and truth be told, I barely remember starting the race. But we were off.

The first few miles were just highway, as we got closer to the Magic Kingdom. At about mile 5, we were about to turn in the front gates. We decided since cameras would surely be in the park, it was time to ditch our lovely blanket capes. Brrr.

And then, boom, we were on Main Street, U.S.A. This is where it hit me. I'm running the marathon. I'm running through the Magic Kingdom (which isn't something you do often at a WDW runDisney race), "A Whole New World" is playing and I legit started tearing up. So glad Photopadd got pics of me running down Main Street.

We ran through Tomorrowland, and then around Fantasyland to run through the castle. And this time we actually rant through it. Also got a pic in front of the castle!

After we ran through Frontierland, we hit the road again and had 7 miles of characters and headed towards the Animal Kingdom. We didn't stop for any characters, since we were concerned for time. But there were plenty around and DJs for entertainment too. I felt good for these miles, since it was still well within normal half marathon range. I guess it was better to get the boring nothing happening miles done with before the second half.

And of course, since it was cold and we hadn't gone before I needed to go. So, we waited in port-a-potty lines and finally went. It was about 25ish minutes taken up on that adventure, but I was good to go after that.

At about the halfway point, we hit Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, we didn't go through Pandora,  but got some pics by the Tree of Life.

We passed through Dinoland too and then it was out of the park. the park was just opening up, so there were people walking in as we were running out. Through the parking lot, we grabbed candy from strangers and then started 5 very long highway miles. At about mile 16.5 is when my IT band decided to start hurting. Pissed me off cause it was fine for longer than this on my longer training runs, but it was too late to stop now. I took it a little easier trying to see if running or walking felt better. It was a toss up.

Thankfully, there was tons of course support. Candy from strangers, pretzels, cheering and some great signs. Plus runDisney had some entertainment out here too.

At mile 18, we got into the Wide World of Sports. this was an almost 3 mile trek through the Wide World. We ended on the baseball field, which was pretty cool, but the rest was pretty meh. In the parking lot on the way out, there were tons of people set up cheering, giving out pretzels and candy, and even shots of booze. Gotta love the running community! It was really great to see all of those people there, I didn't know any of them, but by mile 20, yup you needed that extra boost of energy from anyone.

A few more miles, next to a lot of construction going on, and we basically went in and out of Hollywood Studios. Don't blame them since the park is under major construction. The park was fully open, so they had us in a big area, and the park goers roped off in a smaller lane. And seriously, the best part of the race, the cast members had boxes of tissues on the main street as we left the park. With it being so cold, being able to blow my nose was awesome.

Then the long and narrow trek around the Boardwalk to Epcot. We entered the Epcot at the International Gateway. And saw the best sign ever, a Hamil-sign! This totally gave me a boost and I had to text Jenn to show her. At this point, I knew my battery was gonna make it and started getting messages from Jenn and Andy. It was great to get these to keep going and knowing my cheer squad was keeping up with me.

Then we turned to the steep hill towards France. This was the longest distance I've ever run in a race through Epcot. We ran all of the World Showcase except England and Canada. The park was open, but the park people, were roped off to a narrow area. This meant we had plenty of room to run.

The 25th mile marker was the special 25th anniversary photo op. Line was too long, so I just took a pic as I ran by.

We ran through all the countries, and at Germany was Snow White, no line, so Kris stopped and got a pic with her.

Then we ran through Mexico, and I saw a few people holding margaritas for people. But I couldn't stop now. We ran up the main strip of Epcot and down towards Spaceship Earth.


And boom, the 26th mile marker. It was Incredible (see what I did there?). That finish was so close.

Then we were out in the parking lot. The parking lot to finish line was a little longer than usual, seemed like it took so long.

But I crossed that finish line, hands in the air, my bestie next to me, and looked up to see Andy waiting in the stands for me. It was the best finish.

I couldn't believe I had done it. It was all over, I was a MARATHONER!!

I went and got some ice on my knee at medical, and went to the family reunion area to get hugs, congrats and even some champagne, courtesy of Kris's dad.

After we got cleaned up and got back to the hotel, we ended up canceling our lunch reservations. There would just be no time. So I ice bathed, and then Andy and I headed back to Epcot. We walked around, and miraculously, I felt pretty good.

We got some pics. And I forgot to mention, since it was the 25th anniversary of the full marathon, we all got 25th anniversary Mickey ears!

 And as we were walking to the World Showcase to find food, found that the 25th Anniversary mile marker was still up. Then it was off to get some food at spice road table and walk around the rest of Epcot. I was shocked at how good I felt. I blame it on my ice bath and the walking around.

I ended the night with a margarita, cause when you just ran 26.2 miles, you can do whatever the hell you want.

The next day, I headed to the parks to get a pic with Mickey and the castle too.

It was such an insane weeekend, but I did it. Some days I still can't believe I did all of that training and then made it 26.2 miles. But I did!

Jun 19, 2018

Final weeks of marathon training

Here are the runs from my final weeks of marathon training. Another crazy long run and some short runs in between.

Saturday, December 2nd - 6.1 miles
A 6 miler as a long run was a nice change after 20 miles the week before.

Thursday, December 7th - 2.5 miles
Got in a weekday run.

Sunday, December 10th - 7.06 miles
An afternoon run?  It actually cooled off in Miami, so I got in my run at 1:15pm. Can't beat that.

Saturday, December 16th - 22.01 miles
And here it was, the last big run. This was it before the full, after this was taper time. I got out on the road at about 4am, and Andy followed me on a bike.

It was hard. Hard to get moving, hard to get into a groove, but eventually I did. Stopped half way for a pit stop.

The temp outside was good, thankfully, but I was tired of being on my feet. Everything hurt, but mostly my feet. And I was just overall tired. I was walking the last few miles with some IT band pain. I should have gotten in 23-24, but I wanted to be done already.

I got home and Mom made breakfast, which I was so looking forward to, and then I got into my ice bath.

Thursday, December 21st - 2.51 miles
The weather was nice, so I got in a quick run before work!

Sunday, December 31st - 2.62 miles
Tried out the new shoes I got for Christmas. Still too new to use for the full, but did 2.62, the week before attempting 26.2.

Nov 30, 2017

6 weeks to go (marathon training, the 20 miler)

This is it, the week of Thanksgiving and a 20 miler too. Add in a family wedding to make it all more complicated.

Monday, November 20th - Piyo Sweat
Got in about 20 minutes of this, then had to deal with some stuff at home. But hey, it was something

Tuesday, November 21st - REST

Wednesday, November 22nd - Orangetheory class: Power
Got up early and went to class. I hadn't been in a week, and I was so happy to lift weights again.

Thursday, November 23rd - Turkey Trot 10k
Turkey Trot this year was a HOT one. It was kinda miserable. The water stops also weren't ready as people walked by them. I did have a group of friends that went with me this year, but I was the only one doing the 10k. I was slower than I wanted, but I did it. And today was the start of the Fellow Flowers holiday challenge. 30 minutes of movement every day from Thanksgiving to New Year's.

Friday, November 24th - Piyo Lower
Needed a little stretch for my legs.

Saturday, November 25th - Piyo Upper
Almost didn't get anything in, but it was only Day 3 of the #moveyourass Fellow Flowers holiday challenge, so I had to get something in.

Sunday, November 26th - 20 miles
And here it was. The run I had been dreading since I signed up for the full. The 20 miler. Now to make things all the more complicated, this was on Thanksgiving weekend, and I had a family wedding to attend.

Since I had the wedding brunch at 9am, I did some very bad math, and figured I needed to start my run by 3am. Which meant I attempted to get into bed early on Saturday night. I did the best I could, and fell asleep about 10-10:30. The 2:30 alarm woke me up, but I went back to sleep. When the 3am alarm went off, I really didn't want to, but got up, got dressed, grabbed water and fuel and headed out.

I wore all my brights, and got out there to pound the pavement. It was a little chillier than usual, so I wore my arm sleeves, but they only lasted about a mile before they were too much. I carried electolytes again, but the bottle was leaking, so I turned back and left it at home. I had my handheld bottle with water in it, and since it was a little bigger, it worked for the whole run.

I did my first 5 miles and contemplated calling it quits at 10 miles. I was just tired and really didn't want to be out there. By the time I got to 10 miles, I felt pretty good. But I didn't want to admit that I was still doing ok. I didn't want to jinx myself.

I started the second half of my run still feeling pretty good. I got to the half marathon point, and was happy to still be keeping up with my run/walk intervals. I was heading back towards my house in my last turn around. But at about mile 16.5, my left IT band started hurting. I usually only tape my right, but looks like I'll be taping both now. It slowed me down a bit, and I mostly walked. I was able to still get in some run intervals, which I was happy about. Mostly because I wanted it all to be done already.

I had to do a few extra loops around my house to get in the final 2 miles, but I did it. I got in 20 miles. My IT bands hurt and so did my feet. I got into an ice bath when I got back inside. It sucks, but I'm convinced in its powers of recovery. And after the ice bath and shower, we rushed off to another wedding party. I also got a celebratory burger later that night too. Cause damn, I deserved it.

My phone also survived the 20 miler. I had about 75% left when I was done running. I didn't take any pics, cause I wanted to save my battery. Looks like I can take a few.

There is one more long run left in a few weeks before the race. Then this is done. I'll be sticking to halfs, cause this training is just a bit much.

Nov 20, 2017

7 weeks to go?! When did that happen (marathon training)

This week was a little off due to a business trip. But I still tried to get something in.

Monday, November 13th - Run
I got in my Sunday run today. Got out a little late, but did 2.51 miles in about 30 minutes. Wanted to get in more, but I had to finish packing for my trip.

Tuesday, November 14th - Rest
It was travel day. Also had some events later that night.

Wednesday, November 15th - Walk
Attempted to go to the gym, but all of the treadmills were taken. So a walk along the hotel by the beach was perfect.

Thursday, November 16th - Walk
Walk along the beach today too.

Friday, November 17th - Yoga on the beach
A little beach yoga today. Can't beat those views.

Saturday, November 18th - 7 mile run
I got in my long run on Saturday instead of Sunday. Knocked out my 7 miles.

Sunday, November 19th - Rest

Next weekend is insane with Thanksgiving and a 20 miler, along with a family wedding. But I'll get it done. I have to, can't turn back now.

Nov 15, 2017

7 tips for a solo run

Running alone is not scary or crazy to do. As long as you keep a few things in mind, you can totally get out there and run solo.

I've been training alone for years. Thankfully, I've only had a couple of issues, and none of them severe. But here are a few tips to stay safe while getting in your run. Cause, it shouldn't scare you to get out there.

1. Run in a familiar area.
It's best to know where you are and all the little quirks of the area. I feel more confident knowing where I'm going and not having to wonder where the next turn will be. This doesn't mean you can't mix it up a bit, but I prefer to get out there knowing beforehand where I am and will be. Running in a completely new area is best saved for when you have a buddy with you.

2. Tell your person where you will be.
I'm not saying post it on FB, but I always let mom know where I'll be running, especially on super long runs. She's been able to bring me water when needed, and if I need help, she'll be able to come get me. So tell your parents, your spouse, your bestie that lives down the block. Let someone know where you'll be. And approximately when to expect you back.

3. Be aware of your surroundings.
Don't just be in la la land while you're out there. Notice what is going on. The cars around you, the other pedestrians, bicyclists, even debris on the road. This will keep you safe, and also keep you from tripping on something and messing up your knee.

4. Bring your phone.
I won't ever leave home without it. Plus it's my GPS, interval timer, and music. And if you run into any issues, you can call someone or even 911 if needed. Just make sure you have a full charge when you get out there for your run.

5. Wear all the brights.
I always say I look like I'm crazy on my runs. I wear all of the brights, sequins and reflectors. Anything that makes me visible. Remember, make yourself easy to see, cause cars aren't usually looking for people on their feet out there. I leave my black shirts at home on my runs. Those are only for the gym, OTF, or a race.

6. Ignore the honks/comments/leering looks.
You may want to go over and tell the creepy old guy looking you up and down that he is nasty and you could be his granddaughter (which I have done), but it's usually not worth it. Catcallers, creepers, and people honking at you won't care, and are looking for you to get pissed and get a response. Just ignore it, or my preferred action give the finger as you keep running by.

7. Trust your gut. 
Sometimes your intuition is telling you something. Listen to your instincts.

Hope these tips will help you get out there for a solo run one of these days. Sometimes just being there with your thoughts is good for your soul as well as your body.