2018 Goofy Challenge Part 2 – Walt Disney World Marathon Race Recap

On Saturday January 6th, I ran my first marathon of 2018 and my 3rd marathon overall! This was the second part of the Goofy Challenge (13.1 + 26.2) and I was so excited to see what I could do over 26.2 miles after having a pretty strong training cycle. I was slightly nervous because my legs definitely weren’t feeling “fresh,” and I had been sick just the week before.

Saturday, Post 13.1: After the half marathon on Saturday, I took a short nap before my mom and I headed over to Disney Springs. We had a delicious lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, which is a regular spot for us during our visits. I had great parmesean chicken + pasta to keep my levels up for the next day. After a couple of hours of shopping around, I was starting to feel tired and very nervous for the day ahead. At this point I had put over 20 miles on my legs that day. We headed back to the hotel for a similar routine as the night before. Dinner in the food court (chicken, rice, and brussels sprouts), a warm bath, feet on the wall, and putting out my gear had me ready for bed!

Sunday, pre-race: Because I spent so much time just standing around on Saturday, I didn’t get up quite as early. Thankfully I slept much better and I slept until around 2:45. Unlike my first two marathons, I felt very calm as I got myself ready and out the door. After grabbing some cereal at the food court (it was perfect the morning before) I was onto the bus and on my way to Epcot once more. This morning was warmer than the previous but because I was dressed in less clothing for the race it felt much colder. I sat in the starter’s village for probably a good 45 minutes before making “the trek.” I stayed pretty warm in my sweatpants, fleece blanket and mylar blanket but I was wishing I had my bathrobe from Saturday!

Getting to the corrals felt much longer this day. I happily chatted up some other  marathon runners to help feel less alone in the sea of people! I started to share my 5:00 goal out loud, and that started to scare me. I ended up sitting in front of the porta-johns for a while so I didn’t have to get in and out of my corral. TMI but I couldn’t just do the deed, ugh! Thankfully I packed an immodium (#runnersprobs). I entered my corral (D) just before 5:00 and was still towards the front. Unlike Saturday, I didn’t stand to see the pre-race show. I sat to save my legs and try to stretch a bit. At 5:30 the race started, I began to de-layer and of course, had to go to the bathroom. Yesterday there were no lines at the porta johns at .8 miles. I was sure I could make it that far!

They released more “mini-waves” in the corrals during the marathon, 25 starts for 25 years. I actually loved that they played music from each year. For the 3rd corral they played Mmmbop! Around 5:20, my corral was off!

Miles 1-5: Let’s just say it now – every single porta john area had lines bigger than the corrals. WTF People?! But honestly, that sucked. I was still working for that 5:00 time, so I told myself to hold it until I could get to one without lines). Nevertheless, these miles were the exact same as they were the day before. I was calmed when my mom said that she made it to the Magic Kingdom and set into a good rhythm. I was running 60:30 intervals at a very even, easy pace. My watch was almost right on with the mile markers. (12:01, 11:43, :47, :48, :42)

Miles 6-10: Once again, the Mile 5 marker was right at the Magic Kingdom entrance! I slowed to call my mom to make sure that I saw her, and I was so happy when I did! I also turned off my interval timer to enjoy the Magic Kingdom. After stopping to see my mom, my #1 goal was to find a bathroom! The first two in the park had bad lines, but thank heavens, I finally found some with no line. Sweet relief! I felt so much better after. I made my way through the castle again and found my mom once more! I was on cloud 9. After mile 6 we were out of the park and back onto the roads to head toward Animal Kingdom. It seemed much more crowded than the day before and I had a hard time finding a spot to run/walk. Eventually, the 5:00 pace group (which started about 3-4 minutes behind me) caught me and I made it my goal to stay with/ahead of them as we headed to Animal Kingdom. (12:29 (stop for my mom and bathroom!), 12:28, 11:30, 10:55, 11:08)

Mom was much more successful than during the half!
Attempted the jump shot…

Miles 10-15: The first half of this segment had us heading past the water treatment plant (so smelly!), through boring “cone alley” and towards Animal Kingdom. These few miles were pretty boring – there were a few things on the side of the road, but not really any characters. Around mile 12 I was starting to get some chaffing under my arm, so I stopped to get some vaseline from an aid stop – what a godsend! I was stoked to see the animals when going into the park. I really wanted there to be a warthog! I was disappointed when I only saw two mules. Maybe the good stuff was on the other side of the road?

Anyways, around mile 13 we finally entered the Animal Kingdom park – my favorite! I regret not stopping for a picture with Timon and Rafikki, but was making good time and wanted to keep trucking. At this point I had my watch taped, so I didn’t know how far ahead of the mile markers I was. When I arrived at the 13.1 marker I took off the tape to see I was already .5 miles ahead of the mile marker, crap. I can make up some time, but that’s a lot of time to make up! At that point I decided to keep running 60:30 intervals at the same comfortably-hard pace, but understood that even with that, a sub-5:00 wasn’t happening. Since I was running so fast (for me) I decided not to up my intervals to 90:30. Anyways, after about a mile that brought us through backstage AK and the parking lot, we were back on the highway for the trek to ESPN Wide World of Sports (WWOS). I was thankful to stop at another aid station for them to have sunscreen. Not only sunscreen, but the kind I normally use! (I’m allergic to many. As a redhead, this sucks). (11:08, 10:50, :41, 11:03, :11)

Miles 16-20: I was dreading this part of the race, due to race recaps I’d read. It was 2.5 boring miles on the highway, then another 2.5ish weaving through the (WWOS). I was doing really well until about mile 18. I had just stopped for a quick picture with Pluto (my first of the day), but when we hit mile 18, I started to feel a little off and depleted. Since my 5:00 goal was out the window, I decided to just have fun. Between miles 18-20 I stopped for pictures with Minnie, Goofy and Mickey/Donald. I also had a banana – I’ve never done this in a race but it was seriously a lifesaver and I felt so great after! I will definitely take advantage of them in future races. I was thrilled running through the baseball stadium and through the mile 20 marker. “Just” a 10K (or 7 miles) to go! Physically and mentally I was feeling great! (10:59, 11:00, :19, 13:52 (Minnie), 15:14 (Goofy))

Miles 21-26.2 (or 27): Coming out of ESPN WWOS felt so good! The course widened and we could see runners behind us and cheer them on. I was completely giddy when I saw Jeff Galloway ahead of me just before the 21 mile marker. I knew he started with the A corral and must of fallen back (his wife and I went back and forth during my WWOS stops). **Back story: I obviously run using Galloway intervals. I passed him at mile 8 of MCM 2016, and then he passed me at 24 when I was struggling hard. It felt like redemption to pass him.**  I shared my gratitude for his training methods, and sped by. Anyways, then I just felt super strong heading up “the hill” and towards Hollywood Studios. I started chitchatting with some other runners which was great and helped pass the time.

Around mile 23 (I think?) we headed passed a candy stop (skittles, YESSS), I stopped for a picture with Oswald as we were heading in for our short jaunt in Hollywood Studios. Honestly it was so short that I hardly remember it aside from the fact that I took more candy (nerds) from strangers and it was incredible.  After Hollywood Studios, we headed towards the Boardwalk. The course got so narrow here and it was really hard to keep going at a decent clip. When we got onto the Boardwalk proper, it did open up and on my god it was beautiful!! I was completely taken away by the beauty, as well as the crowd support. When my watch dinged for 25 miles (well, like 24.4) I knew we were almost to EPCOT! It took so much not to cry. I was almost there and feeling FANTASTIC!

EPCOTTTT!!!!

And then we crossed “international gateway” and were in Epcot, running around the world!! We made it! There were so many people everywhere and seriously I’m surprised I didn’t ugly cry. I totally cried a little but thankfully I was wearing my sunglasses :P. I turned off my interval timer to just enjoy the experience. The mile 25 marker was special for the anniversary, and it really hit me then that I had met this goal that I set when I was in high school. One bummer was that I really wanted to get a wine slushie (France), beer (Germany), and/or a margarita (Mexico), and I had reached the World Showcase before it officially opened at 11:00, so most of the stations were closed! I also was bummed that many of the princesses weren’t out yet. I did get pictures with Snow White and Mulan just as they were coming out though! Then it was the rest of the jaunt through future world, under the ball, past the gospel choir, and to the finish!!! (15:15 (Mickey/Donald), 11:26, :40, 12:58 (Oswald), :17, :14, 10:53)

I DID IT! My official time was 5:21:36. Even with all of my stops and running .8 miles over, it was still 12 minutes faster than my first marathon! I was so proud. I ran this the day after a half marathon, with tired legs and having been sick the week before. I felt freaking fantastic. Sure, I was a little stiff, but nothing on me hurt or felt injured. Unlike my first two marathons, I didn’t feel like I was going to puke after. It was a success.

Just for kicks and grins, I looked at Strava to see what my time was without stops. With stop time taken out, I ran 5:04 for 27 miles. This equates to a 11:18 pace, which if I ran only 26.2 would have been around a 4:58. While my 5:21 was my time, I was really happy to see that my average running pace was a sub-5:00 pace while running 60:30 intervals the entire time. I can run a marathon. I can do it. And now I have the confidence to know that I have a sub-5:00 in me.

Post-race celebration: My mom and I got on the bus quickly, showered, and were off to the Magic Kingdom ASAP! I had been dreaming of post-race nachos from Pecos Bill’s Tell Tale Inn Cafe since I registered, and boy, was I ready! I seriously went savage on them. My mom and I really enjoyed our half-day at Magic Kingdom. By 8:00 I had walked/ran a total of 38 miles for the day and I was DEAD. When we got back to the hotel I finally had one last Mickey ice cream sandwich, my post-race beer (there’s no alcohol at MK), packed, and collapsed in bed.

My last celebration was breakfast at Chef Mickey’s the morning after the Marathon. This was a complete surprise for my mom to end our trip and it was definitely one of the highlights!

This was a long post, so if you made it this far – thank you! I plan to share one more post on my big takeaways from the trip, highlights, and what’s next. I can’t believe the experience is over but I’m so thankful that I took the risk and signed up for the Goofy Challenge!

Advertisements

Facing My Holiday Hurdles: A Day in the Life

*Disclaimer: I was originally provided with a pair of Aftershockz Trekz Titanium as part of my work as a BibRave Pro. However, all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!*

I love when people post “A Day in the Life” posts, and I have even shared a couple myself! I think it’s great to look into others’ lives and see how their days go. Especially people who are super social media and blog savvy – seriously. Do you gals work?!

As we all know, this time of year is especially crazy. Not only are we in the depths of the holidays, but I’m also in my peak week of training for the Goofy Challenge. I’m trying to get all my reports at work done before Christmas and subsequent vacation. I set yesterday (Thursday) as a great day of my life to share – busy, but typical. Who knew that things would change a little!?

Wednesday, 10:30 – settle into bed, charge my Aftershockz, and watch my nightly Disney marathon/half marathon video. They’re keeping me going these days!

Thursday, 6:00 – I finally get up and out of bed (planned wake-up: 5:30). I hop in the shower and make the most of my morning. These days, instead of running, it’s grocery shopping and chores. This morning I have laundry to fold (it had been sitting for three days) and tried to meal plan for the days ahead. I was hoping to find a dessert to bring to Jake’s family’s Hanukkah dinner this weekend, but failed.

7:30 – I look out the window – we got snow last night? A whole dusting? I find out that my morning pre-schools are on a 2-hour delay. This saves me a commute to east Baltimore and gives me more time at home!

8:15 – Clean off my car and head to the clinic (it’s a private practice, speech, occupational and physical therapy clinic for kids). This morning I’m listening to Christmas music. Many days, it’s podcasts. I’m at the office by 8:45 to make coffee and clean my office a bit.

9:00 – Start to work. I had 5 kids scheduled for the morning between 2 schools and the clinic, but with the delays and cancellations I’m down to only one – so crazy! I have lots of time to get paperwork done. I didn’t get anything submitted, but I’m very close on three out of my 8 reports due. I make some more pictures for a visual schedule for my one kiddo, and he screams my ear off for 30 minutes. While I’m doing paperwork, I’m listening to Star Wars music with my Aftershockz! I love these headphones because the signal reaches when I’m walking around the office, and I can still hear what’s going on while I listen to my music!

12:30 – The start of my afternoon break. I work split shifts, which makes for a really long day. I try to make the most of my 2:15 in between my shifts. I used to go to the gym most days, but I’ve started to run from the office more often. I’m changed and out the door just after 12:40. I use my run to get a dose of Harry Potter on audiobook.

1:40 – I’m back to the office after my run. I’m seriously light-headed because I had hardly ate that morning, oops. I have a salad in the fridge but need more so I run out for lunch and bring it back to the office. I try to keep my door closed so I’m not bothered during my break, and it actually works today! I listen a a little more Christmas music before I need to get back to work.

2:45 – My second shift starts. I typically have 6 kids on Thursday afternoon. I have one cancellation, but also have one random kid that was dumped onto my schedule. We play some verb games, read some books (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell this week), work on some sounds, and play with Play Doh and Mr. Potato Head. The toys have purposes, I swear. In the middle of all this, my friend bails on our plan for the evening, which adds some stress to my day.

6:45 – Since my last client cancelled, I leave work early! I’m off to the movies to see the new Star Wars!! Thankfully, my roommate came and met me, which lessened the blow of another friend bailing. I planned to eat an overpriced dinner there, but their menu was broken and they refused to tell me prices. So I ended up with a dinner of popcorn and an icee. Not ideal.

10:45: The movie’s over (it was fantastic) and I’m home within 10 minutes! I should have had some real food, but I was beat. I opened my mail to find my secret santa gift from the Oiselle Volee DC/MD/VA gift swap. It really brightened my day! I still feel like I have so much to do. My room’s an absolute disaster and I can’t decide if I’m going to do a race on Saturday as part of my 20 miler.

11:15: Realize that I can’t get everything done in one day. During the Holidays, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I listen to some  music (more Star Wars, duh) while I get ready for bed and crash, hard. I set alarms for 6:00 on Friday (my day off!) but deep down, I know I won’t be up until 7 or 8.

The holidays are great. You get to spend time with family in friends, hopefully get a little break from work, get to shop and give to others, and eat delicious foods. They’re stressful as well. Make sure to take care of yourself. Eat well (which has been my struggle this week), get enough sleep, and understand that you just can’t do everything in one day! Today I still have to run 10(ish?) miles, get car insurance/registration straightened out (I need to register my car in Maryland by the end of 2017), make Christmas gifts, prep for 20 miles tomorrow, and do more laundry. But I also want to work on my Christmas puzzle, go to Old Navy, start getting stuff together for Disney, write some more posts, bake some treats and make a nice dinner. Will it all happen? Probably not. What I do know, is that my aftershockz will make it all a little more festive and manageable!

What are some of your holiday hurdles?

What are some of your favorite holiday albums/songs? For me it’s Hanson – Finally it’s Christmas (song and album), Straight No Chaser, and the Barenaked Ladies Christmas album!

Getting Lit — No, Not Like That!

Disclaimer: I received Knuckle Lights Colors to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Earlier this fall, I found myself with a pickle. It was obviously getting lighter later and darker earlier. With my crazy work hours, the rotation of the sun was not working in my favor. I disliked my headlamp, then it broke while I was trying to replace the batteries. I bought a new headlamp, but it wasn’t running-specific and I really didn’t like how it lit my path. About half of my morning route around my house isn’t well let, so I was in a tough spot.

Then I got the awesome opportunity to check out Knuckle Lights Colors! Seriously, this opportunity came at just the right time (Well, I needed lights. The burn out – not so much). These two lights would be handheld instead of having an uncomfortable headband and would have 120 total lumens. This was a little less than my two headlamps.

IMG_2773

I love lists, so here are some of the top reasons why I love my Knuckle Lights!

  • Hey – they light my path! Actually, I love how they light my path. They light up about 15 feet in front of me. I’m able to see the imperfections in the sidewalks (which are everywhere when I run in Baltimore) as well as other animals and people around me. On my first run with my lights I saw 3 deer, 1 fox and 6 bunnies!

IMG_2847

  • These are Knuckle Lights. Plural. I really like having two so I can move one if I want to see something to the side of me.
  • These puppies are light! They are small enough to fit my hands without making them feel weighed down.
IMG_2848
Start in the dark, end in the light.
  • The batteries (1 AA for each light) are easy to replace. Seeing how I broke a headlamp trying to change batteries, I’m super happy with this.

+1 Bonus: These make me feel very safe when I run in downtown Baltimore. It’s not the safest city and I panic easy. Running in these makes me feel like I almost have brass knuckles and could punch someone with them if I have to 😛

IMG_2892

Think you don’t need any running lights? Think again. Not only do lights help you see people/obstructions, but they help others see YOU. There’s a guy I see running on my route in the morning who never has any lights or reflection. He always scares the crap out of me and I’ve yelled at him multiple times to “light up.”  If lights make you and others around you feel better, use them!

I’m kicking myself for not getting Knuckle Lights earlier, but I’m sure glad I have them now. I will never go back to using a headlamp (aside from at a Ragnar). At $39.99 the Knuckle Lights Colors are about the same price as a decent running headlamp. If you’re in the market, I definitely recommend that you try them out! Knuckle Lights also have a set with rechargeable batteries. Use the code BIBRAVEPRO to save $15 off your order!

I’m headed to the Philly Hot Chocolate 5K/15K!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate Philadephia as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I’ve finally come to accept that I am probably done with racing for 2017. As much as I want to race, nothing really fits into my training schedule for the Goofy Challenge at this time. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t look forward to 2018! I already have four races planned, with one of them being a race I’ve wanted to check out for a while now!

On April 7th, 2018, I’ll be heading to Philadelphia for the Hot Chocolate 15K! Here are just a few reasons why I’m so excited:

1. 15K (or 9.3 miles) is a new race distance for me. A new distance = automatic PR! There is also a 5K 🙂

2. A Philadelphia race didn’t happen for me this year (Rock N Roll Philly).  The race start/finish is near the famed Art Museum with the Rocky Steps, and the course runs along a riverbank, which is flat! I’m happy to finally be getting there to run.

philadelphia-skyline-background-image2-1800vp
Art museum on the left, you will run a majority of the race on the right side of the river!

3. Have you heard about the awesome swag?! Hot Chocolate races are known for their incredible premiums and medals. The shirts for this year’s races are so pretty. I’ve been needing a purple shirt for my collection! I also like that the medals come with a city-specific key chain!

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 9.30.37 AM
photo: hotchocolate15k.com

4. Finish line sweets! Most of you know I’m all about the post-race beer, but  hot chocolate, and warm chocolate with goodies to dip in it? Sign me up! (I might have to run with a mini of Bailey’s for that hot cocoa 😉 ) There are also sweets on the course!

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 9.33.59 AM
photo: hotchocolate15k.com

5. I’ll be there as a Bib Rave Pro! I’m super excited to be back as a Pro in 2018. I ran three great races with them in 2017 and cant wait for more wonderful experiences and products to try! Don’t miss out: Bib Rave Pro applications for 2018 are open now, until 11/15! Don’t be afraid to apply to be a part of an amazing team. Feel free to tell them that I sent you!

brpAd2.png

Do you want to run with me in Philly? Hot Chocolate races consistently sell-out, so sign up now. When you do, use the code BRHCPHILLY18 for a free hat!

Be Open with Aftershokz + Running Playlists

Disclaimer: I received Aftershokz headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

During my last few races, I found myself wanting some music, but not wanting to deal with the headphones. I had never gotten on the bluetooth headphone train, but I was getting so frustrated with my headphone cords, or with the ear buds getting sweaty and falling out! I was so excited when BibRave presented me with the opportunity to try out some sick new headphones – the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium. What made me really excited was what makes these headphones different than other wireless headphones – they transmit sound through bone conduction!

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 8.14.58 PM.png

Now, what is bone conduction, you say? Well, it’s great that you asked (and that the audiology classes from college are coming in handy)…

We have three little bones in each ear (the smallest in our bodies) that together are colled the ossicular chain that transmit mechanical energy that through a process is “heard” by our brain. Normally, sound waves vibrate our ear drums, therefore vibrating the ossicular chain. What you may not know is that  these bones can also be set into motion by transmitting vibrations from your zygomatic (cheek) bone. Using this process for people with “normal” hearing lets you receive two inputs of sound at once!

All nerdiness aside, the #1 reason I love these headphones is because they allow my ear canals to be open. I used to avoid wearing headphones when running in my neighborhood or in Downtown Baltimore because I felt unsafe when I couldn’t hear my surroundings. Now, with my Aftershokz, I can! They are great for work when I want to zone out, but still want to make sure I can hear if someone is calling for me, or has a question I can answer.

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 8.14.09 PM.png

In terms of sound quality, the Trekz Titanium are amazing! I think the sound quality is great, and if anything, it is improved because any ear wax build up (gross) or issues with the ear drum won’t affect the sound of whatever you’re listening to. The range is great, as I can be downstairs cleaning and my phone can be upstairs – with no connectivity or sound issues!

But, do they stay on? Fo sho! I’ve run 10-12 miles in them multiple times and haven’t had to adjust them at all. Even with my nuclear sweat, they stay in place and don’t bother me. There are also buttons on the side where you can change the volume so you don’t have to get out your phone.

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 8.16.04 PM.png

There are very few negatives I could ever say about these. One is just simply that I have to wear my hair braided when I use them, or else I have a rat’s nest at the end at the run. I also wish I had gotten the smaller size – they stay on but the back does bounce a bit on me. The other downside is the price $130 is steep, for me. BUT now that I’ve tried them, they are worth every penny and I hope they last a long time!

Now, since I’ve been using headphones more often, what have I been listening to? During the first (easier paced) half of my long run, I listen to audiobooks. Other than that, I have a Spotify playlist that I’ve been changing for months. Here are a few of my favorites right now!

AftershockzPlaylist.png

Also on my playlist are Disney songs! Seeing as how I used this training cycle to build a strong base for half marathon + marathon training for the Goofy Challenge in January. I can’t not share my favorite Disney running songs!

Disney playlist.png

So, if you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones, I highly recommend a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium ($129.99). They come in two sizes and four colors. If the price point is a little steep, they also have other models, that I bet are wonderful as well! If/when you order, use the code FREECASE for a free carrying case.

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 8.16.39 PM.png

What are some of your favorite running tunes right now? 

Do you use wired/wireless headphones when you run?