2018 Goofy Challenge Part 1 – Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race Recap

On Saturday January 6th, I ran my first half marathon of 2018 and my 18th half marathon overall! This was the first part of the Goofy Challenge (13.1 + 26.2) and I was so excited to finally run at Walt Disney World.

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Just a little shakeout at my hotel. Yes – I wore my new hoodie because it was only 30 degrees!

Friday, pre-race: I woke up early and got in a shake-out run around Hourglass Lake (Art of Animation/Pop Century property) before heading to Animal Kingdom for the day. Unlike at Epcot on Thursday, I ate enough (not necessarily healthily, though) and didn’t have too much to drink (although I did have quite the cocktail in Pandora). My mom and I headed back to the hotel to have a pasta dinner around 5:00 and settled in for the night. I had done almost 11.5 miles of walking and running during the day and the back of my right knee was realllly stiff. I took a warm bath,  put my legs up on the wall, and foam rolled as I got ready for bed. I was finally in bed to sleep around 9:00.

I ended up leaving the water bottle and trading out the pants for capris.

Saturday, pre-race: Disney World races are known for their early mornings, and mine arrived earlier than planned. Jeez, I forgot how badly my mom SNORES! I was woken up around 1:15 and wasn’t able to fall back asleep. Also, I was starving! I gave up falling back to sleep around 2:15 and got dressed in my running clothes and throwaways. I hit up the resort cafe for some cereal and was on the bus just after 3:00.

I arrived at the pre-race village around 3:30, which was obviously plenty early for the 5:30 am start time (we were told to be in our corrals by 5, I think). I was super happy to get my picture with Goofy before heading to the corrals. I checked my bag then started “the walk.” Seriously, it was a walk. Before I started the race I had already logged 2 miles of walking! It was really cold waiting in the corrals (low 30’s), but I was warm enough with a pair of sweatpants, a bathrobe and blanket. Around 5:00 the pre-race entertainment started and before I knew it Donald was starting the race! I was in Corral D and started about 15 minutes after the first gun went off.

Miles 1-5 started on a highway and brought runners to the Magic Kingdom, first passing through the Ticketing and Transportation center and past the Contemporary Resort. After stopping for a porta-john during the first mile, I settled into a very easy pace while running :45/:30 intervals. There were times where the course was wide and spread out and others where it was pretty cramped and hard to keep up with intervals. I ended up being on the grass alongside the road a lot in order to stay out of others’ ways. I ran pretty steady 12:30ish miles from miles 2-5.

Mile 5 happened right at the main entrance to the Magic Kingdom and brought us down main street past the castle!  At this point I dropped the intervals for a while to just enjoy running through the Magic Kingdom. I also stopped 3 times to try to find my mom (finds out she was back at the Ticketing and Transportation Center – ugh). After Main Street USA, I started stopping for characters: first the White Rabbit and Queen of Hearts, then Sebastian the crab. Then it was time to run through the castle!! You couldn’t have paid me $1,000,000 to stop smiling. We hit Mile 6 running towards Splash Mountain and left the park shortly after.

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Miles 6-10 had us exiting the Magic Kingdom, past the Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts and around the back side of the Ticket and Transportation Center. I stopped for a pit stop and a couple of character stops, penguins from Mary Poppins and the Genie from Aladin, but otherwise these miles weren’t all that special. They were pretty cramped as we were down to 1-2 lanes on the highway. There was also entertainment about every .5 miles, whether it be a DJ, marching band, or a mile marker with music. These really helped the miles fly by. Despite the landscape not being all that exciting, I was still having lots of fun. Around 15K we passed this awesome Mickey hot air balloon (we also saw him at 5K) and we headed back towards the Epcot area. My pace during these miles varied due to stopping for pictures but I started to run a little faster when I was running (mile 6: 23:30 LOL (2 character stops and the castle), mile 9: 12:01).

Miles 10-13 brought us back towards Epcot, into and out of Epcot’s Future World and of course, to the finish line! Around mile 11 (I think) there was a short hill with entertainment by a green army man from Toy Story, which was super fun. At this point I realized that I wasn’t sweating, but instead of that being due to dehydration/hyperhydration it was because I really wasn’t working that hard! My paces dipped into the low 11’s (like 11:40ish), which would have been nervous about if my heart rate wasn’t so low (yay!). I found myself feeling a little “let this be over!” around mile 12 as we were coming into Epcot and sped up a bit. I was happy to run mile 12 in 11:00 and run the final .48 mile nubbin at a 9:40 pace. Not only did I finally break a little sweat but I also FINALLY saw my mom and crossed a RunDisney finish line!!

I was so happy at the end of this race. I met my goal of running a 3:00 half marathon (official time was 3:03 and my actual moving time was about 2:40), I ran super easy (147 average heart rate), and had so much fun! I ended up relying on water stops (which I never do in a race) and was plenty hydrated. The back of my right knee was still pretty tight, but it did not bother me while running as I kept good form. Before getting back on the bus I ate my potato chips and beef jerky that I’d put in my gEAR check bag. When I got back to the hotel I get a Mickey ice cream sandwich for breakfast 😛

My mom also got me a rose – how sweet!

After a shower and a short nap, I was up and ready for an afternoon at Disney Springs! I had an amazing time with my mom but the more we walked, the more it hit me that I had a marathon to run the next day.  Was I really in good enough shape to do this? Would I succeed? More to come with my marathon post…

Lunch at Rainforest Cafe – we seem to always go there when we visit Disney! (“No I’m not tired at all, but I AM f***ing starving)

 

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). 

 

Goofy Challenge Training – Taper Time

IT’S RACE WEEK!!!!! EEEEK! I have been waiting for this since last year when the WDW Half was cancelled. AGAIN: RACE WEEK IS HERE!

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Sorry I missed last week’s recap – I didn’t bring my laptop home to NH for Christmas. When I returned, I was sick and my laptop charger was at work along with my iPad. Not much was missed though – my taper weeks were lower in miles than even I like to run in taper, but it is what it is. So instead of bringing you through each day of each week, here is what I did do:

Week 16:

Tuesday: 5 miles easy

Friday: Napped through my run time – oops!

Saturday: 3 miles moderate effort on the treadmill

Sunday: 5 miles + 7 miles on the treadmill. There was seriously so much snow when I went home!

Weekly total: 20 miles

Week 17:

Tuesday: 4 miles easy

Wednesday-Thursday: Sick. Ultimate taper!

Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill with some mini speed-work thrown in to keep my legs moving. It felt great and quad felt the best it has in ages.

Saturday: 4.5 miles. Plan was for 9 outside to make it to 1,250 for the year. With just getting over being sick, I chose the warm (more like sauna-esque) gym at my complex. I was dripping by the end of the first mile! I did 3 easy then tried to bring it up to marathon effort and my body was just not.having.it. Then I slowed and it was still not.having.it. So I took it as a bad run and just went home.

Weekly miles: 12.5.

Now the training is almost 100% complete! I was bummed about Saturday’s run, but it is what it is. The hay is in the barn anyways, as they say. My body is feeling good going into the marathon. While I’m still a little stuffy after being sick, the extra rest of being at home and literally being in bed all day was great (although inconvenient). I’m packed and ready for my trip, and I am seriously so excited! I’ll posting more about that sometime this week though.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and has a wonderful, prosperous new year!

 

Goofy Challenge Training Week 15: 12/11-12/17/2017

I’m coming to you all straight from taper town today. With the completion of my 20 miler this weekend, I officially made it through the bulk of training for the Goofy Challenge! I’m ready to enjoy the next few weeks of less running, more sleep, and eating well. That won’t be hard with the holidays! I indulged in cookies yesterday. I don’t deny myself sweets, I’m just not a huge fan of them (give me doritos or cheese and crackers any day). However, I ate 8 cookies last night and I’m totally okay with it.

Let’s look back at how week 15 was.

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Monday: Rest. I was planning to run, but my quad was bothering me so I played it cool.

Tuesday: 5 miles during my afternoon break. I used 90:30 intervals for the first time since my period of “burn out” and ran pretty fast for me (10:47 average pace) and felt good!

Wednesday: Rest – I was planning to go to NP, but it was a windchill of 9 degrees when I woke up. NoThankYou.

Thursday: 5 miles during my break again. I made a conscious effort to run easy. I didn’t fuel well in the morning, and I felt really bad when I finished.

Friday: 8.13 miles. My plan was for 10, but it started snowing as soon as I got to the trail. By the time I was done, I was running on two inches of snow. I didn’t have my trail shoes, so I was slipping everywhere and kept having to de-clog my treads. Man, I forgot how much harder it was to run on snow. I was beat.

Saturday: 20.01 miles at 11:17 avg pace! GUYS, I RAN  20 MILES AT FASTER THAN GOAL MARATHON PACE!! That wasn’t even a goal or on my mind. I just wanted to finish. This long run was weird, though. I ran 6.2 miles to a race, ran a 4.9 mile race, then ran just over 8.8 to finish it out. Running to the race was almost all uphill, and the conditions were pretty icy. The race was full of hills. I ran some miles fast (like a 9:40ish first mile) and some slower (11:30). I kinda did my intervals, but ran the downhills straight. I didn’t want to screw myself up for the rest of run, but wanted to push a little. Then I ran 8.8 miles back down towards Jake’s house and finished around the harbor. I was tired when I finished, but could have kept going. My body felt great, aside from my tight quad.

When I got to Jake’s I saw his roommate outside, and he said “I’d invite you skiing, but you look thrashed.” Yes, Andrew. I felt pretty thrashed, but also pretty stoked that I was officially in taper town.

Sunday: REST. My legs were a little sore in the morning, but felt better as the day goes on. As I write this (about 7 pm) I feel fine. I’ve been ravenous all day, but I normally am after that long of a run!

Weekly total: 38.x miles. Not the 40 I had planned, but with plenty of miles atop snow and ice, I’m cool with it!

How was your week of running? Have you had any snowy runs yet?

Running in 2017: A Look Back

With December almost halfway over, it’s time to reflect on the year that has been 2017. I can’t put into words how good 2017 was to me in many ways. In terms of running, it was my best year yet. I’ll be sad to see it go, but 2018 also has a lot in store for me!

Throughout the year, I stayed healthy and injury-free for the first time. GUYS. I RAN A YEAR INJURY FREE!!!!!!!! Sure, I took extra days off here and there for aches and pains, but I was never hurt. I ran more miles than I ever have. I started to cross train regularly (then stopped, oops). I also experienced my first period of “burnout”, but I made it through.

January – March: In late 2016, I signed up for my second marathon. I started training the week before the new year began. Aside from a cancelled half marathon I ran relatively consistently. The worst part of these months was stepping away from November Project due to work-related stress. I remember one, 18-mile run that went very poorly but besides that, running was great. I ended up running 93.8 miles in January, 98.4 miles in February and 125.1 miles in March.

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With two of my fave pals (who run) at the trail half!

Races: Little Patuxtent River Run Trail Half (2:32), Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon  (2:19:35), Shamrock 5K (27:01 – PR), Baltimore Road Runners Club St. Patrick’s Day 5K (27:51)

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April-June: April brought peak week for the New Jersey Marathon, the taper, and of course, the race! I was so proud of myself for setting a huge PR. It took longer than I had hoped to recover from the marathon and I kept a pretty low running profile in the following two months. I ran my personal worst half marathon at Zooma Annapolis on a very challenging course. I also started to ride my bike more in preparation for my first Duathlon! I ran 134.1 miles in April, 46.4 miles in May and 74.8 miles in June.

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Sole of the City 10K (easy run before a 20 miler)

Races: Oldfields Half Marathon (2:12:43), Sole of the City 10K (1:12:22), Columbia 5K (aka Hangover 5K – 33:19), New Jersey Marathon (5:03:42 – PR), Stoneleigh Stampede 5K (28:52),  Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon (2:33:27), Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K (38:56)

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*don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry*

July-September: Once July hit, I really started to get back into the swing of things. My mind started to get back into training. I worked really hard to set a PR at the Charles Street 12 miler and went straight into training for the Goofy Challenge. I also completed my first multi-sport race and won an age-group award for the first time. Things got a little funky when I started my new job, but I was able to keep going strong. Summer seriously felt like it would never end, but it made me a stronger runner! I also ran my first RAGNAR! I ran 81.9 miles in July, 125.4 miles in August and 106.8 miles in September.

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Post Ragnar DC leg-3. I ran so hard my bib belt broke!

Races: Towson 4 on the 4th (39:44), Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon (2:29:08), Maryland Sprint Duathlon (1:43:04), Too Hot To Trot 10K (58:55 – short), Charles Street 12 Miler (2:03:33PR).

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October-December: These were, without a doubt, my hardest months of the year. In September and October I went full force training for Goofy. I was running doubles and putting in a lot of strength- and cross-training time at the gym. That, combined with work and putting tons of pressure on myself in my relationship, led to getting really burnt out. I thought about giving up on Goofy and just not running any more after. I stopped cross/strength work and really minimized my training – I began to do just enough to make it to the finish line but took all pressures off of myself. It took 3-4 weeks, but I finally found my way through it. During these months I’ve experienced some quad pain, but it’s nothing that made me take more than one extra rest day a week. I ran 121.6 miles in October, 116.8 in November and I have run 54.8 miles in December as of December 13 (I have 35 more on the plan for this week – HAH!).

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Favorite race photo ever – my nephew’s first finish line!

Races: 4 Miles for Eli 4 miler (38:XX – short, but with a stroller!), Baltimore Running Festival 5K (38:06) and Half Marathon (2:31:12), Towson Homecoming 5K (37:17 – short), Towson Turkey Trot 5K (31:50).

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October + November = 3 5Ks with friends!

In 2017 I ran 1 marathon, 6 half marathons, 1 10K and numerous other races. I set PRs in the marathon, 5K, and 12 mile. I will also hit my big goal of 1200 miles for the year in mid-December! It’s hard to pick out a favorite moment from the year, but if I had to choose it would be the entire New Jersey Marathon. I trained well, trusted my race plan, and ran my race. Or maybe hitting the 1,000 mile mark for the with friends by my side – it was amazing to share it with others, even if they were just a small part of it.

I also loved being a Bib Rave Pro in 2017! I ran three great races with them and tried numerous great products. I’m really looking forward to another year as a Pro!

As you know if you’re a regular reader, my 2018 is going to start off with a huge bang with my 18th half and 3rd full. I’ll be back soon with racing plans for 2018 as they are largely set in stone already. Crazy – right?!

What were some of your running highlights this year? What was your favorite race?

Goofy Challenge Training: 10/2 – 10/8/2017

And just like that another week is gone. 13 weeks to go until the Goofy Challenge! I can’t say much more before mentioning how inspired I was while strolling through Instagram this weekend. This weekend was huge in the running world – there were big marathons in Chicago, St. George, Portland, and countless other races. Seeing an American once again win Chicago (was it clean? I sure hope so…) and Jordan Hasay have a huge showing was incredible, but so was every other performance out there. I’m so inspired and have some extra motivation for my training and the race I have in a few weeks!

BUT I’m not inspired enough to get to bed so I can rock my run in the morning…I still need to look at how many miles I need to run! I love spending my Sunday nights reflecting on my week of running.

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Monday: Travel & Rest. Foam rolling was so needed after the weekend’s running and traveling!

Tuesday: 4 miles at Planet Fitness; I was way too tired to get up on Tuesday morning. I ran nice and easy with a hill with increasing steepness added in during each mile.

Wednesday: 6 miles. I didn’t necessarily to run near tempo/race pace due to a lot of hard efforts lately, but I purposefully skipped November Project so I could get some quality miles in. A faster run sort of happened anyway. I ran 90:30 intervals, had an average pace of 10:49 and my heart rate was low for that speed. I spent some time at the gym in the evening – a quick cardio warm-up and full body weights.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 15 miles for my longest run since the NJ Marathon! I ran the entire Baltimore Half Marathon course. It helped with confidence going into the race, as the course is rough. It goes up and up and seemingly doesn’t go down at all until mile 10. The elevation gain isn’t horrible, but the hills are long and gradual, and simply just drain your legs! Either way – I was happy I did it but I will not do it alone, again. Some of those areas should only be seen while running with thousands of other people.

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Saturday: 5 miles easy for my first successful double training weekend. Yup, I haven’t followed any weekend schedule to a T yet. OOPS. I got hit with a mighty cold on Friday night, but still had a great recovery run.

Weekly miles: 30 – first 30 mile week of this training cycle!

I’m glad this week was good, and also that it’s over! After some crazy weeks, I’m happy to be back on a routine again, especially with my running. This week is a “down” week, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ll be making sure my mileage is close to 30 again – I just feel so good when I’m around that number. Just 13 weeks to go!

How was your week? Were you inspired by anything/anyone this weekend?

This week I’m linking up with Tricia at misssippipiddlin  and Holly from HoHoRuns for the weekly  Wrap Up. Check out their page to see other bloggers’ weekly wrap ups!

Goofy Challenge Training Week 3: 9/19 – 9/24/2017

Another week of training has come and gone. If you follow me on the insta you may have seen that I unexpectedly ran the DC Ragnar Relay this weekend. It was quite the experience and I’ll have a recap for it soon. That made last week a little wonky, and the next two weeks are going to bring weird training schedules. Thankfully, I’m feeling good after the relay and ready to take on these next challenging weeks.

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Monday: 3 miles on the treadmill, easy effort. These miles felt good and were relaxing during my lunch break! Followed this with about 45 minutes of strength training.

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Tuesday: 5 mile pace run. This went so much better than my first one! I ran with 90:30 intervals due to mega humidity, and I was happy to finish with a 10:35 average pace.

Wednesday: 3 miles easy, downtown. After pushing myself pretty hard on Tuesday, I figured it was smart to go easy rather than go all-out at November Project. Little did I know, it was a very good idea indeed!

Thursday: Rest day! I had the intention to do cross training, BUT on Wednesday night I got involved with a Ragnar team. I spent the morning getting ready, then left for packet pick-up early as to beat traffic.

Friday: 8.8 miles for my first Ragnar DC leg. This was on the stunning C&O canal trail in western MD. It was generally flat and shaded, but it was HOT.

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Saturday: 6.0 miles for leg 2 and 1.8 miles for leg 3! I’ll share more in my recap, but I finished feeling strong and wanting more!

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Sunday: Rest day-ish. There was no running or working-out, but I did stand/dance at a concert for about 7 hours. My legs and back were hurting by the time I got home!

Weekly total: 27.6 miles. I ended up about 2 miles short for the weekend when compared to my training plan. I’m not mad about it though – I got in hard, quality miles and had the experience of a lifetime!

I hope you all had a great week of running. Did anyone have a race?