Race Recap: Vermont City Marathon 2018

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon 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!

Just over a week ago I took on my fourth marathon, the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon. It took me a little while to get my thoughts together enough to put together a decent recap!

I’d been dreaming of doing this race for years – I almost signed up in high school but I got hurt running my first half marathon. Thank goodness I waited! I was going into this race with a big goal: a time beginning with a 4. This would be my 4th marathon, my 4th race in Burlington (I previously set an old half PR on a section of this course), 4 years after I started running again after 4 years off. It wasn’t just all the number 4’s lining up – I had trained hard and well. My training showed that I was very capable of a 4:59:59, if not closer to a 4:50. So what happened?

Friday – Travel Day 1: Being from Maryland, my trip to Vermont took a little while. I multitasked and also went home to visit family. I flew to Manchester, NH on Friday morning and went to my hometown in northern NH for the night.

Saturday – Travel + Expo Day: After a short (and soaking wet) shakeout run, I headed to Burlington with my mom and nephew, CJ, whom my mom was babysitting for the weekend. It’s just under a 3 hour ride, and was mostly relaxing. We got to the Expo at the Doubletree Hilton just before 2. The expo was small, but mighty. I can’t say I checked out everything, but I was still pleased. Bib and shirt pick-up was quick and easy, then came the fun – meeting Meb!! I waited in line for almost an hour (CJ slept the whole time!) but it was so worth it. I got my bib signed for good luck and he gave me some confidence in my experience. I finished off the expo by checking out the Untapped energy booth and visiting my old bosses at the Fleet Feet Sports Burlington/Plattsburgh booth.

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After the expo we checked into our hotel – we stayed at Trader Duke’s in South Burlington. It was nothing fancy, but it was clean and had race day shuttles. We went to Olive Garden for a post-race dinner, as I knew that their pasta and meat sauce would agree with my stomach. CJ’s cuteness helped distract me from what I had to do the next day! After my pre-marathon routine, I was asleep just after 10!

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Yes – I had newspapers in my shoes because I got caught in a downpour during my shakeout!

Sunday – pre-run: I woke up just before 5 and successfully got ready without waking anyone up. I forced down a leftover breadstick (I never got a bagel the day before) to make sure I wouldn’t be too hungry, forced down some water and was out the door to make the 5:30 shuttle. The shuttle was quick and easy – I was to the start in Battery Park just before 6. It was a breezy and cool morning, but it was definitely humid. The humidity made me nervous so I drank another 8ish ounces of water along with my Generation UCan and a banana. In-between porta-john stops (there were so many – thank you RunVermont!) I met up with the other BibRave Pro’s Jessica and Vanessa and also met some wonderful other runners. The vibe was so electric and it definitely helped keep my confidence high! Before I knew it, it was time to go!

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Miles 1-5 brought us up through some neighborhoods, down Church Street (a Burlington staple) and out on the Beltline. Our first pass down Church Street was one of my favorite moments of the day. There were so many people who were out having brunch and cheering everyone on. Going out onto the Beltline, I was aware that I was already running at/above my “perfect day” goal pace. I tried to slow down, but I had a hard time doing so. The Beltline was very slanted which made me nervous. However, you can only adjust for that so much during a race so I just kept moving. Around mile 3.5ish I got a high five from the one and only MEB while he passed me the other way. DAY. MADE. I also got so see my cousin Dani killing it while running the first half of the 2-person relay! Splits: 11:24, 10:52, 10:45, 10:52, 10:47

Miles 6-10 had us coming back on the Beltline, down Church Street for the second time, and down towards South Burlington. I made a quick porta-john stop (lost about 1 minute?) and kept on trucking. Mile 8-9 was a moderate uphill, but it didn’t bother me too much. Church Street was great the second time but not quite as energetic. I was familiar with miles 9-15 of the race, so I was feeling cool, calm, and collected. Around mile 10 Dani’s husband passed me going the other way, but he was going way too fast for me to get a word out! I refilled my water bottle for the first time somewhere in here – but I can’t remember when (this will be important later). Splits: 11:25, 10:50, 11:43, 11:22, 10:32

Miles 11-15 finally brought us to the halfway point! We climbed the hill I dreaded during my two Burlington half marathons just before the halfway point and it didn’t seem like such a big deal anymore! I crossed halfway at 2:25:26 – right on pace for a 4:50! I was feeling really good at this point and was running really steady (the splits don’t totally show it due to my intervals). Splits: 10:56, 11:10, 10:55, 11:09, 11:30

Miles 16-20 – I knew right after mile 15 was the “Assault on Battery.” I always avoided this hill when I used to run in town, and when we drove it the night before I almost freaked. Man – this hill is HUGE. I was thrilled to see my mom and nephew at the bottom, screamed a few expletives, and climbed. When I made it to the top I filled my bottle again, and kept going on just like before! But, I didn’t feel so good for very long…Around mile 18 I started to get a headache and my right hip started to tighten up. I had slightly altered from my typical fueling strategy so I played around with things – took a freezer pop or two, drank some extra water, ate some chews. But nothing helped. By mile 20, I started to feel super nauseaus. In all honesty I think I would have felt better if I puked, but I was too afraid to be seen and get pulled from the course. I felt so bad that I didn’t think I’d finish going at the same speed, so I shortened my intervals and kept moving, albeit, very slowly. Splits: 12:14 (hill + water stop), 11:22, 11:21, 12:21, 12:16

Part of the “Assault on Battery,” but it doesn’t do it justice!

Miles 21-26.2 were terrible, just so terrible. Once I slowed down, my feet cramped up, as well as my left hip. I was barely keeping at a shuffle. There’s not really much else to say. I stopped drinking so much water which helped my stomach, but I couldn’t get myself moving any faster. Every time I started running again after a walk segment, I would grown in pain from my right hip. It literally felt like I had an impinged nerve and if I could have moved it, it would have been better. I also had terrible arch pain, which I’ve never felt in a marathon! It was really hard watching everyone I’d passed pass me. It was even harder when I saw 4:48 pass. Then 4:50. Then 4:55 and lastly 4:59:59 pass on my watch and I was just past mile 25. That sucked. But it wasn’t stopping me. I originally wanted to finish the race with the word “victor” flashing above my head, but instead if was “fighter.” I spent much of the last mile running/walking backwards and slogging with my head down.

Coming into the finisher’s chute – looking pretty rough.

But goodness gracious. Coming through that finish line – seeing my mom and (sleeping) nephew and THEN the crowd. The crowd was 5-6 deep on both sides and was just screaming. With my name being on my bib, I heard so many random people screaming my name. I very well could have been choking up from disappointment. However, I got choked up because of how loud these people were screaming for me (and other finishers), no matter how slow I was or how beat up I looked. I’ve experienced some really amazing moments, but that race finish is among the top 3. (Splits: 12:40, 14:22, 14:07, 13:46, 14:01, 13:34, 5:01 for .41 nubbin).

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When you try to smile for the free race photos…

Final time: 5:13:15. Not my sub-5. Not even a PR. 10 minutes above my PR.

I went to Burlington to get that sub-5. Naturally, I thought I would be crushed with how I did. While I’m not pleased with my performance, I’m not totally crushed. I ran an awesome first half, first 18-20 miles really. I made the mistake of drinking too much water, which was, I think, the main reason why I felt the way I did the last 10K. I also don’t think the slant of the road on the Beltway did any favor for my hips. But, it is what it is.

 

Each marathon is a unique experience. While May 27, 2018 was not my day, it will come. It could have come on this course – aside from the major hill at mile 15, the course was nice and flat-rolling in terrain. The crowd support was incredible, the volunteers were amazing, and the race organization and communication was impeccable. There were many unique, Vermont-like touches to the race like the Untapped maple syrup as fuel and Ben & Jerry’s at the finish line.

Post race was a nightmare (and not due to RunVermont). My mom freaking forgot where she parked her car and I ended up walking 2 miles with her to find it because I was familiar with the area and she was clueless. We ended up cancelling dinner with my cousins because I felt so crappy and we didn’t get to somewhere for lunch until 2:00. Ugh. (BTW, the car was parked only 5 BLOCKS away. Near a major landmark. Oh Momma – you’re lucky I love you). I was really hurting that night (obviously), the next day wasn’t horrible, and my Tuesday I was feeling about 85%.

The verdict: The Vermont City Marathon was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone! I think I even enjoyed it more than Marine Corps Marathon, and that is an amazing race too! Check out more of my thoughts on the race itself on my Bibrave review.

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Vermont City Marathon Training: Weeks 10-12

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon 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!

Hello from RACE WEEK! AHH! The first time I wrote that this morning, in a message to my cousin, I about freaked. I am running a marathon. This weekend. Goodness gracious.

These last 3 weeks of training have had some serious ups and downs. Taper has not gone great for me, in fact, it’s been my worst marathon taper so far. I’m trying not to let it get me down and to control the controllable. Thankfully there have been some high points lately to focus on!

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Week 10 – peak week (4/30-5/6): 4 miles hills @ 9:29 avg, 5.65 miles at November Project @ 9:45 avg, 7.17 mi progression run at 11:02 avg (12:13 –> 10:01), 3.1 miles @ 8:13 avg + 1 mi WU, 20 miles @ 11:13 avg. Also: 2 Peloton rides.

DID YOU CATCH THAT BOLD TYPE? I ran a 25:27 5K at the Frederick Running Festival – a 1:33 PR! The next day I ran 7 easy before running a 2:22 half for my 20 miler. Best. Peak. Week. Ever.

Week 10 miles: 41.23 mi run, 21.52 mi spin

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I kicked it in at a 6:30 pace. Pure joy. That’s an attempt at a smile, I swear.

Week 11 – first taper week (5/7-5/13): Over the last two years of marathon training, I’ve learned that when work is stressful my running takes a hit. That was the story of this week. I was disappointed I didn’t get in my last big weekday run (8 miles with 6 at MGP) but work stress won.

The (fitness) work: 4 miles @ 10:27/mi avg, 12 mile easy long run @ 12:10 avg, 3.1 miles @ 8:15 avg. 2 Peloton rides.

Yep – I ran another 5K and almost PR’d. I ran a 27:29, and I’m convinced I would have broke the PR if it weren’t for someone cutting me off when I started my kick.

Week 11 miles: 19.01 mi run, 25ish mi spin.

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My friends both PR’d and I just missed another PR! Then we wined. It was wonderful.

Week 12 – second taper week (5/14-5/20): This week was rough, again. I’d been feeling some discomfort in my achilles over the past few weeks, but it was nothing terrible, just a nagging pain. Well, this week, it ramped up pretty bad. Was it actually bad or was it just the “taper crazies”? We may never know. But a few rest days had me feeling better!

The work: 5 miles @ 11:36 avg, 3.1 miles easy @ 12:23 avg, 8 mile long run @ 11:26 avg (4 MGP miles @ 10:52, 10:58, 10:36, 10:47). 2 peloton rides. LOTS of rolling and stretching.

Week 12 miles: 16.1 mi run, 21.4 mi spin.

And NOW it’s race week. I have 3 easy runs left – 2 on Coach Lisa’s schedule and I’ll do 1 on Saturday because I always struggle the first run after flying and I need to get that done before the race – before heading to Vermont! I’ve been weather stalking like crazy, hoping for a decent racing day. Whatever the day may be, I know I’m prepared and a few good runs in heat lately have me confident that a warm day won’t completely ruin my chances at a big PR.

What are your racing tips for a rainy day? A hot day? A rainy, hot day? Because those are the three possibilities right now…

 

Athlinks – a favorite way to track races

Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks 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!

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I have been an avid Athlinks user since I started participating in races in 2014. I won’t lie, when I meet new people who run I totally look up their results (e.g. recent Bumble match – lol!). When I learned that BibRave was partnering with Athlinks this year and learned about the improvements that Athlinks recently made, I was stoked.

What is AthlinksAthlinks is a race “library” of sorts, where you san search your name, or a race, and find your results. You can claim your results as your own, so they will be on your profile.

Once on your profile, not only can you see your race results, but at the top of your page your PR’s will be listed, as well as the number of races you’ve claimed and the amount of miles run in those races and your Athlinks percentile ranking. While not all of my results are on Athlinks, I love knowing that I’ve run at least 464 miles in races!

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Okay, so you probably knew all of this, so what’s NEW and IMPROVED on Athlinks?

Friends: You can now add friends on Athlinks! This is a great way to keep track with your running buddies locally or from your broader social life (Bib Rave Pro’s, ambassador squads, Oiselle Volee, etc.).

Rivals: These may be friends, or other runners that participate in the same races as you. Who tends to win? I wish I could tell you, but I have no rivals yet!

Race Results: I started noticing this last year or so – Athlinks has great data regarding your placement at races in which they partner with. For example, last year’s New Jersey Marathon. When I view this race on Athlinks not only can I see my race splits, but my rankings per split. LOVE IT!

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Upcoming Races and Goals: More and more races are being added to Athlinks and it is easier than ever to line up your race schedule in advance. This lets you see who else is racing and what goal other people are shooting for. As you can see, I’ve added my goals for the Frederick Half Marathon and the Vermont City Marathon.

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You can find Athlinks at www.Athlinks.com or via an iOS or Android app. Will you be my friend and/or rival? Add me here.

Are you an Athlinks user? What is your favorite part of the website?

Vermont City Marathon Training Update #1 – Weeks 1-4

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon 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!

It’s already been a month since I signed up for the Vermont City Marathon (VCM) and it’s just two months away! This weekend I ran my longest long run so far, 16 miles. Before we get there, let’s get into how I’m training for the VCM and what some early goals are!

How I’m training: I had spent the last two months really setting my sights on lots of fun spring races and a half-PR. When I added this marathon to my schedule, I was flustered as to how I was going to fit everything in! I quickly reached out to Lisa at Mile by Mile to coach me on my way to my first sub-5:00 marathon. Working with Lisa has been great so far! I’m running 4 days per week and integrating more strength and mobility than ever before (which wasn’t much). I’m still using my run-walk intervals, using mostly 90(run):30(walk) aside from recovery days and/or fartlek days. I plan to focus on 90:30 and 120:30 intervals for long runs to get that run time up for marathoning!

For the first time ever, I’m also super in to cross-training. Yes, me! That’s because back in February I got a PELOTONThis spin bike is changing the game for me. I absolutely love getting on the bike, whether it’s for a 20-, 30-, or 40- minute class. I feel so fit and faster paces are feeling easier and easier. I try to get on my bike at least 3 times a week for a variety of different classes. I also love the stretching and strength classes that they offer!

Goals: When I started working with Lisa, my goal was a sub-5:00, meaning that I’d be happy with 4:59:59. After my performance/experience in Disney, I know I am very capable of meeting that goal. Then the Rock ‘n Roll DC half marathon happened (recap coming, I swear). I finished with an average pace that was just over 10:00/mi. It was the first time that I mentally fought the entire race and it really boosted my confidence. That, combined with great long runs, has led Coach Lisa and I to aim higher, towards the 4:48-4:50 range (4:48 = 11:00/mi)!

Here’s how it’s going so far!

Week (before the official training plan started): 21.5 miles running, 5 peloton classes, 8 mile hilly long run at 11:36 avg. pace.

Fartlek run during week 1 of training!

Week 2: 21 miles running, 2 peloton classes, 13.3 mile long run (RNR DC) at 10:06 avg. pace.

Mile 11.5ish of RNR DC! Thanks Holly (The Thrifty Runner) for the picture!

Week 3: 25 miles running, 3 peloton classes, 15 mile long run (almost a perfect progression) at 11:41 avg. pace.

Week 4: 27 miles running, 3 peloton classes, 16 mile hilly long run at 11:04 avg. pace.

YASS treat yo-self (marathon nutrition starts this week??)

And with that, I’m one run (and one peloton class) into week 5 and exactly 2 months out from my 4th marathon! I have high hopes for the next two months of running and racing (or not racing at races?) and hope that this training cycle as a whole will put me in an amazing place for what I have coming up in the fall!

What are some of your spring races and goals? Are you a spinning fan?

 

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!

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2018 Part 1

Hello from somewhere above the southeast. Yes, I’m totally starting this from the plane on Monday evening because I simply have so many feelings to share from this amazing weekend. Yes, I just said amazing. That may be a spoiler but if you saw my instagram you already know that the WDW Marathon Weekend was full of smiles. My heart is so full and I’ve never smiled so much while running.

I met all of my goals for the half marathon and while I didn’t clock that sub-5 for my full, I am probably happier than I would have been if I did. More will be coming up about the races soon but first I would like to share some thoughts on the RunDisney experience. Not everyone had/will have the same experience as me, and I’m sure other race weekends are different but this is how it was through my eyes.

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As you would know/expect, running at Disney is freaking expensive. But in all honesty I found that it was worth every single penny. The races themselves were impeccably organized. Transportation to/from the events from my resort (Art of Animation – on property) was as smooth as butter. I was back to my hotel within a half an hour of finishing, which was huge for recovery between the half and full. The aid stations (medical and water) were plentiful and well stocked with products and amazing volunteers. The course entertainment when not in the parks was fantastic and made the miles fly by. While I know many Dopeys had a bad expo experience, I went on the second day and it was very smooth. And obviously, the swag is top notch.

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The actual of running this race was just as positive as the energy that I found at the Marine Corps Marathon. I was afraid this was going to be my view coming out of this weekend, but I’m not sure anything can beat the races themselves. Even if I wasn’t at Disney World, this would have still been a top EXPERIENCE. However, I as at Walt Disney World. Nothing beats running down Main Street USA and through Cinderella’s castle. I didn’t dress in costume but I love seeing everyone who did. Seeing the Mission Space ball and knowing that you’re almost there is just incredible. This was the best running experience ever. I will do other marathons, but nothing will compare (until I run NYC, London, or Boston (someday) ). The energy, camaraderie, spectators and volunteers were simply incredible.

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Yes, I’m on THE BIGGEST runners high right now. I’m expecting quite the post marathon/vacation blues to hit within the  next few days. It’s taking all I have not to scrap all other race plans for the spring and sign up for a marathon. After the races are over I’m still spending #allthemoney on merch (which I did not think I’d do). 

 

2017 Goal Recap and 2018 Goals

I seriously love this time of year because I have so much to write about! I’m not one who has super unique post ideas or makes workouts. However, I have become quite good at reflecting and it has made a huge difference in my running.

This time last year, I set out with five goals for the year. In June, I looked back at those goals and updated them. Here’s what came about six months ago:

  • Run 1,000 miles –> Run 100 miles/month and 1,200 miles for the year.
  •  PR in one distance –> Run at least 1 more PR this year.
  • Run 1 more sub-2:15 half marathons
  • Run a running club race.
  • Foam roll/injury prevention 2-3 times a week.

Now that December is almost over, here’s how I ended up:

  • I have hit 1,200 miles for the year! I didn’t hit 100 miles in July, but did in every other month. I hit 1,000 miles during a race, as well as 1,200 miles – how crazy is that! Goal met!
  • Run at least 1 more PR this year – I ran a course/12 mile PR at the Charles Street 12 Miler. While it’s not a traditional race distance, I’ll take it. Goal met!
  • Run 1 more sub-2:15 half marathon: I ran a 2:12 in April. Since June, I have only ran two half marathons, which were two of my slowest (I wasn’t in shape for a PR in either circumstance). However, I did run a 2:03 at the Charles Street 12 Miler in August with a big negative split. My last 4 miles were in the mid 9’s. Seeing as I finished with plenty of steam and if the race were longer I likely would have finished around 2:12-2:13, I’m giving myself this one. Goal met! 
  • Run a running club race: I ran the Too Hot To Trot 10K in August. It was very low-key, and it was also more than .2 short. I ran it in just under 59 minutes, so if it was full-length, it would have been a minute or two short of a PR. I would love to join the Baltimore Road Runner’s Club again in 2018. However, most of their races are on Sundays and I work on Sunday so it just doesn’t work for me at this time. However, goal met!
  • Foam roll/injury prevention 2-3 times a week: Uh, lol. That was funny. I definitely did not stick with this. I’m good if I touch my rollers twice a week, which I’m paying for with continued quad tightness. I do need to try harder. I still firmly believe in my warm epsom salt baths, and try to take one every week or two.

In terms of running goals, I really couldn’t have had a much better year. I met many goals, ran injury free, and have had a pretty good training cycle for the Goofy Challenge. I did hit a 2-3 week road block in November but I ended up in a better place after it.

So, what’s next?

  • Run a Sub-5:00 marathon – With 2017’s 5:03, I am so, so close! I’m doubtful this will happen at Disney, although I’m confident that I could do it if I didn’t have a half marathon to run the day before. At this point I don’t think I’ll be running a spring full, making this a fall goal.
  • Try new things – 2018 is going to bring many new things for me on the running front. I’m excited to do more trail races and new distances. My cousin and I are planning on getting a Trail Ragnar (VT) team together, and with BibRave I’m hoping that we can get a team together for Ragnar PA. I also intend to put my name into the lottery for the Mount Washington Road Race. I also hope to do some different (and smaller) races locally.
  • Stay healthy again! This will especially be important in January as I recover from the Goofy Challenge. Continuing to use run:walk intervals and running at an “easy” pace will continue to be mainstays, as well as trying to implement more strength training again (without going too hard like I did this year)
  • Further work on increasing run:walk intervals – Once I started Goofy training, I began using 90:30 run:walk intervals regularly, and used 120:30 intervals for speed work and tempo days. I also like to use 120:30 for races. I dropped back down to 60:30 as my main interval in November to lower the pressure on myself. I am excited to increase my ratios once again.
  • A PR in the 5K, 10K or Half – I don’t love setting time goals, but I think it is important to go for at least one next year. I would be thrilled with a sub-60 10K (I am at 1:00:27 right now) and a sub 2:08 half (I’m at 2:09:05 right now).