Fitness Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!

I wanted to write a post about my fitness efforts as of late.

In September, I decided to try getting back to running a little bit using my Bioskin Q Brace and taping my knee with KT tape. It definitely helped, but there were still some aggravation in the knee. I started using C25K to try and ease back into it. After taking so long off.. my ankles and legs HATED me. My legs felt so heavy and fatigued very easy. But the more I followed the plan, the better it started to feel. I soon found though that downhill really hurts and knocks my knee out of alignment. But uphills feel wonderful. I feel strong again and have zero pain. (Except.. that hills are killer cardiovascular wise.. and I feel like I’m running in sand, but zero pain.. yay!) I made it through week 7 of the 8 week program, getting to about 3 miles without stopping. But, my knee was starting to hurt more and more, so I backed off and didn’t complete the last week. This was about 2 weeks ago. I think I’m going to give it another week and see what I can do from there. My husband wants me to run the YMCA Turkey Trot with him on Thanksgiving.. I think that should be fine, and if I have to walk, I’ll walk.

In the meantime, I had my revelation that I wanted to take the 21DF more seriously, as I started putting on more weight. I realized that my workouts lacked structure. I was doing weight training, but I would skip days here and there, and I was having a hard time being consistent. I was keeping up with my HIIT training, following a Bodyrock 30 day challenge, but felt like it wasn’t enough cardio. (Although, I have to say, my knee was not bothering me so much when I did these workouts.. which was a huge plus for me.) I was skipping out on weekend workouts, giving into my laziness. I realized that it wasn’t really my will not to work up to my potential, but rather, I needed a program, a schedule.

In 2011 I was supposed to be in my cousin’s wedding. I bought a bridesmaid dress based on what I tried on in the store, but when it came in, it didn’t fit. It was the right size and everything.. and I hadn’t really gained weight in the few weeks it took for it to come in.. but it absolutely didn’t fit. I realized I needed to MAKE it fit. Around the same time, I found Sparkpeople. This website REALLY took my interest- it was a huge health resource and weight loss community. I’ve never seen people who were nicer and more supportive to people on the internet. I found a group doing a program called Supreme 90 Day. It was a P90X type workout program, without the P90X price. People were liking the workouts much more (because they were shorter than P90X) and were finding great results from it. I decided that I wanted to do it, and purchased it at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $20.

I followed the program to a T.. except for the eating part, because it seemed too far fetched at the time.. the concept of “clean eating” was new to me, and I felt like I ate pretty healthy and tracked my calories, so I was good. My results… fairly good!

S90D progression, Summer 2011

S90D progression, Summer 2011 (Sorry a little grainy.. but you get the jist)

 

Me fitting in the bridesmaid dress

Me fitting in the bridesmaid dress

I think I lost 7 lbs total over the course of 90 days. But again, I hadn’t really been following any kind of meal plan other than tracking my calories. So, I decided to use this program to keep me in a fitness regimen, and adding the benefit of lifting with heavier weights than I have at home by doing the strength training workouts at the gym. So I watched the first few videos, wrote down the exercises, put them into spreadsheets that I print and take with me to do my workouts at the gym. I do the cardio based workouts at home because they do not require heavy weights.. and my husband has even been joining in!

The schedule looks like this:

S90D schedule

S90D schedule

I’m on Day 20 as of today. I’ll do it later after work. Next week will be a little tough- we are traveling to NY to visit friends and family, and I won’t be taking my weights with me. I’m planning on bringing some body weight workouts I can do while I’m there to keep my strength and metabolism up, and then pick up where I left off when I get back (probably around D24).

In addition to S90D, I’ve been trying to work in my morning HIIT workouts from Bodyrock to give my metabolism a quick boost. Unfortunately, life gets in the way, and sometimes sleep is more important than doubling up my workouts. But, all this effort seems to be working, as I’m down about 8 lbs from when I started round 4 of the 21DF and the S90D program. I won’t go into too much result detail, as I plan to write a post after I complete the first 30 days, but I’m feeling pretty good lately.. and think I’ve finally found my way to my goals.. as long as I stick to it!

Coping with the “I” word.

It’s been a little over a month since my last post.. and that was a post about Disney, which I did in January. So really, the first quarter of the year, I haven’t been around… boo. It’s not that I don’t have anything interesting to say or that I have done.. it’s just, well.. several things have kinda been in limbo.. and I’ve been waiting for a good time to talk about them. Hmm.. guess I’ve waited long enough.

Today’s topic: Injury.

Yeah.. the “I” word. It sucks. I feel like I’m always recovering from something. I don’t think I’ve run without worrying about an injury since 2012. The knee pain I fought during the Dopey Challenge has pretty much healed itself (as I figured it would based on previous experience,) but the other knee pain, the stabbing-me-in-the-kneecap pain I’m still dealing with. I didn’t run really for about a month after Dopey.. and then I tried a little here and there. But I kept feeling the stabbing pain. I also noticed it was getting worse as I continued to do cardio kickboxing and Bodypump classes. Mostly, I could feel it when I did high impact jumping, jogging in place, and lunges. So I decided to back off. I stopped going to my gym classes, and stuck to yoga, walking (which doesn’t hurt) and seated weight machines.

Another month goes by, and I have a 5K staring me in the face. I had signed up for the B3 challenge again this year after not being able to complete it last year due to injury. March 16 was the first of 3 races that make up the challenge. Wearing a knee brace I was able to get through the race finishing in just under 31 minutes. A time I was pretty pleased with considering the circumstances. I had pain in the beginning of the race, but after warming up, the pain faded and was more in the background. I have a feeling adrenaline fed into that a bit too.

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Dopey accompanied me on my 5K 😉

I attended an injury clinic at our local running store and got to meet a PT who seemed to know what was wrong with me. So I made an appointment and attended a formal session. I was told I have some muscle imbalances that can be corrected so that my knee can glide in the femoral groove better and the pain would subside. I did some exercises they gave me and came to a follow up with some positive results. (The pain hadn’t changed really, but he said he could feel a difference in my strength.) At that time he encouraged me to keep trying to run and work on my foot strike a bit (since I noticed that when I run more on my toes and lift my legs higher, it helps the pain go away.)  I ran a couple times outside for 2- 3 miles and it didn’t feel too bad. I also noticed that the pain lessened in frequency and intensity when I wore more cushioned shoes. BUT on the treadmill, it hurts pretty bad. And going down hill sucks (uphill feels wonderful!) So, I went to see an orthopaedist.

They took x-rays at the Dr’s office. I told him about what I was experiencing and he basically said the same thing the other two PT’s had told me.. my knee is not tracking smoothly into the groove, and the friction is causing irritation and pain. My x-rays for the most part looked ok, but there was some cartilage wear under my knee cap.. and the tiny beginnings of a spur forming. The formal diagnosis- petellofemoral stress syndrome.. aka Runner’s Knee. A very common running injury. So, he ordered me some PT, and said that I shouldn’t run until I’ve gone to at least 10-12 sessions. BLAH.

I signed up for an intro PT session and a follow up session starting next week with the sports medicine group my orthopaedist is part of. I feel bad because I like the PT I was working with a few times before, but my insurance doesn’t cover that practice.. and with all the PT I’m supposed to do, I want to make sure my insurance covers it.

I’m kinda bummed. I had to sit out last spring due to injury. I was hoping my injuries from Dopey would heal by the time the nice weather rolled around, but this one is lingering. I bought a new pair of cushioned shoes in my last ditch effort to try and run an upcoming 10K, which happens to be the second race in the B3 challenge. This past Saturday I set out, hoping to make it through 4-5 miles. I ran the first one pretty good with little pain, but once I stopped to walk a minute, the pain came back, and I could barely run in 2 minute spurts without feeling it. I made it through 3 miles, but it took me 41 minutes. And I’m not sure I could have gone through another 1-2 miles, let alone do another 3. So.. I’m officially accepting defeat. I’m not going to run the race. I’m going to listen to the Dr and do my PT and take however long it takes to heal so I can come back and run pain free and strong.

I grabbed one of my running books that had a chapter on injury. In the chapter, they describe how tough an injury can be for a runner, basically because the athlete’s brain is biochemically wired to need that stimulation and reward (endorphins.) I’m no stranger to injury, and I know how tough it can be to just want to feel the air in your lungs and the wind in your face. Through running and fitness, I have built an identity for myself. When I can not be that identity, I feel lost, frustrated, lazy, bloated, and depressed.  But the book had some tips on how to cope. Namely- treat your recovery like part of your training. Go to PT, work out a plan, stick to it. A runner’s mind is goal oriented. If they can’t run, they need a new goal to focus on. PT always trumps other workouts.. and focus on the end game of being strong and pain free.

SO PT is my plan and pain free is my goal. Wish me luck! I’ll try to come back here with more updates on that.. and I have some other non-running stuff to write about so I’ll get on that soon!

Know how you feel Zeus.

Know how you feel Zeus.

 

2015 Disney Marathon Weekend! Part 6- Last Day and Departure

If you’re just joining in my 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend series… check out my other posts on our arrival in Disney, and my 5K, 10K, half and full marathon experiences.

The day after the marathon, I was still hurting, but I definitely felt much better than the previous day. With 12+ hours of sleep under our belts, we got up and had a nice leisurely breakfast. It was nice out- not too cool, not too warm, and a little sunny. I had a few things I wanted to do on this Monday, but I wasn’t in any hurry. I really couldn’t be anyways.. as I was still walking pretty slow due to my knee.

The first thing we did was wander around our resort. There are lots of cool sculptures around and we wanted to get pictures with some.

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Ariel is my favorite

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Joining the party

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Posing with King Triton

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Mike is digging Sebastian

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Scariest Disney villain of all time

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Isn’t he handsome!?

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I think he likes this collection piece

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Treasure!

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Mike and the Snarfblack

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I found a Dinglehopper.

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Plotting with Scar

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I feel like I’m being followed…

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Hakuna Matata!

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Mufasa!

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Chillin’ with Rafiki

After we were finished our shenanagans, we headed out to Animal Kingdom. I was able to get fast passes for the Safari ride and “Its Tough To be a Bug.”

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“Dramatic” picture in AK.

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Tree of Life

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“Dramatic” picture of Everest

We had to wait a little while for our turn to ride the safari, so we wandered around a gift shop a while.

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Hanging around Africa

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Panama Jack

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I think this Safari hat suits me

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It’s a Pumba pilllow!

Finally it was time to get on the Safari. Always a good time.

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After the safari, we had some time to kill before seeing the bugs, so we popped over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

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On the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch

 

When we got over there, we saw that Chip and Dale were out with a very short line. I got in line, but they left for a break when I was the second person in line. We wandered in to the main building and saw that Rafiki was coming out.. since there were only 3 people there, I got in line and got to meet Rafiki! He was very excited about my Dopey medal, clapped and gave me a big hug!

 

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Hanging out with my pal Rafiki

We headed back and made it to see “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” We really didn’t need our fast passes, but they’re cool to have anyways. When we got out of the show, it had started to drizzle a bit. I decided to buy a poncho in the event that it started raining harder. I really didn’t need to see anything else in Animal Kingdom, so we got on a bus and headed over to Downtown Disney.

The ONE thing I wanted after the marathon, was Ghirardelli ice cream. It is the best treat at Disney World ever! I had wanted to get one at the cool down party on Sunday evening, but I ended up passing out dead asleep, and even if I hadn’t I don’t think I could have walked fer enough to get there. So, my plan was to get one for “lunch” and then spend the evening over at Hollywood Studios, the one park we hadn’t been to yet.

We made it to Downtown Disney fine and found it wasn’t too crowded in the shop. There was barely any tables open though, but magically I spotted some people leaving and I scooped one up. It had started to rain pretty good while we were in there, and not a lot of people could sit out on the terrace.. so we were pretty lucky as more people were ducking into the shop to escape the rain.

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SO worth a marathon to eat one of these!

We sat a while and ate our ice cream. Mike was a little worried about the rain, but I still wanted to go to the other park. I figured we could wait out the majority of the rain and then head over. We finished our ice creams and decided to move to make room for other customers looking for a seat. We walked outside as the rain picked up again. We found a seat close to the building under the terrace and put our feet up to avoid the flood. Then the skies OPENED.

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Watching the monsoon!

We sat there for more than an hour watching the driving rain, and wathing people rushing to shelter. I didn’t mind waiting and it was kind of relaxing to watch the rain. It had cooled off a lot, but I was comfortable in my sweatshirt and poncho. At one point it had let up a lot, so we decided to make our break for it (mind you, I still couldn’t go very fast due to my knee.) The wind had picked up pretty good, and it was a cold rain. By the time we got on a bus, we were both soaked (and I was shivering!) My knee had been aching.. not enough to deter me from wandering around slowly, but I just couldn’t picture myself walking all the way back to our room to change, then all the way back to the buses to go to the park. I conceded defeat and decided just to go back and stay in for the evening.

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Drenched and on the bus.

We took our time and packed up for our departure the next day. I felt bad that we should have spent more time at the parks (tickets are expensive!) but you just can’t battle the weather.

The next morning we had a fantastic breakfast then caught the Magical Express back to the airport. Always sad to go home, but I was ready to get life back to normal. Since I didn’t get a chance to take a picture at a park with all my medals, we took some pictures in front of the Disney store in the Airport.

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Proud Dopey finisher!

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Even got some of Mike in his 10K medal

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High five Mickey.. high five!

And thus ends my 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend saga. If you stuck with me through the whole thing.. thanks for reading! I hope my experiences gave good insight to the runDisney races and helped paint the picture of what it’s like to run at the “Happiest Place on Earth!”  Will I do the Dopey again.. NOPE- one and done. It’s just too expensive and too hard on my body physically. Will I do the Goofy Challenge.. I can’t say never, but it’s not on my radar anytime soon. Will I ever run another runDisney race.. I hope so! In my eyes, they still are the best races I’ve ever run. I hope to be able to experience other race weekends like Princess or the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. But for now, I’m taking a runDisney break. The takeaway- yes, it’s expensive. Yes, the challenges are strenuous both mentally and physically. But never put limits on yourself, whether it’s a 5K or an ultra marathon.. if you want it, take it! As Walt Disney once said….

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2015 Disney Marathon Weekend: Part 5- Marathon!

It’s taken a while, but I finally finished Part 5 of my Disney Marathon weekend series! Marathon day! (If you haven’t yet read my previous posts in this series check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4!)

Sunday was it! The culmination of all my training I’d done since July 2014! The last day! The day I would run my 2nd ever marathon and complete my first Goofy and Dopey challenges! All the running we had done in the three days before this didn’t even equal HALF of the total mileage for this challenge. This was THE big day, and once it was over.. I would be earning my last 3 medals! That is.. if I could finish.

It didn’t look good. My knee was hurt. My body was tired. My mind was not very positive. This was going to be a tough day.

Another 3 am wake up. Since I got back to the room late the previous night, we had got less than 4 hours of sleep. Keeping my eyes open was painful. I’m so glad I paid a crap ton of money to have this much FUN.

I was probably most excited for my marathon outfit. I had ordered a Dopey-green Raw Threads T-shirt that said “Love 48.6” on the front. On the back, I ironed on a decal I got from an Etsy shop that said “I’m with Dopey” and had a Mickey hand pointing to the side. Dawn was going to wear a matching one with the hand pointing the other way. I paired it with my purple sparkle skirt, and Dawn had on a green and purple tutu she had made. It was fabulous.

Marathon outfits!

Marathon outfits!

Traffic seemed a little heavier this day than the past 3 days. We ended up meeting Dawn and Tony 20 minutes later than we said we would… totally my fault.. I just couldn’t get myself together! We sat on the bus for a while trying to get to Epcot property. I was getting a little worried about making it on time, but we were ok. We even hung around a little while in the staging area before heading through the baggage claim tent to the runners only area. The weather was much warmer than it had been all week- in the 50’s. Pretty good running weather, but it was due to get much warmer, and there was even a chance for rain. I love how I had tank tops for my costumes for the three cold days, yet it was warm on the day I had a short sleeve shirt. Figures.

We made the hike to the starting corrals. a lot of people had already gone ahead, and the National Anthem was being sung before we even got to corral H. We still had plenty of time though, and were in our corrals by the time the first wave went off. As we got closer and closer to the starting line, I had a horrible sickening feeling in my stomach.. all I could think about was how much this was going to hurt.. and how I might not make it.

Marathon Starting line

Marathon Starting line

I didn’t take a lot of pictures for the first half of the course because it basically was the same as the day before. On mile 2 I could feel the pain creeping into my left knee. I would run an interval, then walk and it would feel better. But by the end of the next 90 second run interval, I would feel it again. The more this went on, the more intense the pain at the end of the run interval. I stopped at a med tent and put some Biofreeze on my knee. It helped at first, but the pain crept back in. I started to panic.

Dawn was the best.. she was telling me “you can do it.. come on.. we will get there.” But I was in a bad place. Physically I was hurting.. mentally I was giving up. On mile 3 I started crying. I couldn’t fathom running 23 more miles if my knee hurt this bad now. I told Dawn “I might have to drop out.. I don’t know what else to do. It hurts!” My girl turned to me and told me “NO! You are NOT dropping out! We have come this far.. you are going to FINISH. We are going to do this.. and I will be beside you! You think you are the only one out here hurting!? This is a MARATHON… you can’t do this without having pain sometime or another!” Then she brought up how she almost died at the Marine Corp Marathon, and it was true. I had no right to complain. All the Dopeys around me were probably in pain just like me (well maybe not JUST like me, but having a rough go at it all the same.) And then I got to thinking… what a blessing it was that the rest of me felt pretty good. My legs for being so tired, were holding up well over all. My feet had not started hurting. My right knee that had given me trouble in the 10K was feeling just fine. It was not cold.. or hot.. or raining..  and my husband was out there ready to cheer me on. I thought about all the sacrifices he’s made for me throughout training and for all the races I had already done. Somehow I snapped out of my miserable funk, and I decided I wasn’t going to quit.. I was going to DO this!

Since I was having considerable pain at the end of my 90 second running interval, I cut back to 30:30 intervals. It was miserably slow, but I found I could do that and it took the edge off. I got to hug my husband again at the Transportation Ticket Center. He asked how I was doing, and I told him I was hurting, but it was fine. I put on a smile so he wouldn’t worry.. and I didn’t even mention how a mile before I wanted to drop out.

We hit Magic Kingdom and I stopped in the same bathroom for a quick break. Something had come over me after Dawn gave me my verbal “slap”.. I was being really silly.. saying all kinds of nonsense things. I told Dawn about my “trick” that got me through my 23 miler on my peak training week, and we started playing a similar game. As we hit mile 6, I was feeling SO much more positive. I was still hurting, but it wasn’t getting worse. I was happy to hit 6 feeling “ok.” We started focusing on mile 12. I said, “If I can just get to mile 12 (that’s where my knee totally crapped out on me in 2013) I know I can walk the rest of the way and finish.” So we started chanting “Mile 12! Mile 12!” every time we started to get bored or needed to restore focus.

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Heading down Main Street in Magic Kingdom again!

Back behind the Polynesian We ran past our DJ friend again… this time “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors was blasting out… it was a great pick-me-up. Mike texted me and let me know he and Tony were going to be in the same spot as the day before to cheer us on. So happy to see my spectator again 🙂

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As we were trekking along, we came up on Bert and a few penguins from Mary Poppins. The line was super short, so we decided to jump in! Mary Poppins herself wasn’t there.. which is probably why the line was so short.

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Right after mile 8, we made the turn into the Speedway. This is probably one of my favorite parts! How many times in your life can you say you ran on a NASCAR speedway!? I didn’t remember how steep the tunnel getting in was though… a very sharp decline followed by a steep climb. The elevation change aggravated my knee pretty bad, so we walked. It was pretty slow anyways because it was fairly narrow and there were a lot of runners funneling through.

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Course Photographer caught this as we were coming out of the tunnel. Thumbs up.. still moving forward!

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Running around the track

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Sunrise peaking through the clouds

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Crossing the checkered flag!

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Race car.. Disney style!

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Love it!

On one side of the speedway, locals had their classic and modified cars on display and you could take pictures with them. For some reason.. it seemed like there were less cars out this year than in 2013. Also, I kept waiting to see Lightning McQueen or Mater.. but I didn’t see either. Bummer.

My Speedway pictures from 2013

My Speedway pictures from 2013

As we exited the speedway, we passed mile 9 and headed back on the highway. I stopped at another med tent to put more Biofreeze on and stretch a little bit. The we were on the road to Animal Kingdom! Amongst our silly chatting, our chanting of Mile 12, and taking in the sights along the highway.. I started to get hungry. I was SO happy when volunteers were giving out bananas around mile 11. I think “OOOHHH….BANANA!!!!” came out really loud. I couldn’t help it. When you run a marathon, you tend to eat all the food.

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Am I delusional.. or is that an alligator…?

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Coming up on mile 11… it was clouding up and getting pretty dark.

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Cool topiaries

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Getting closer to Animal Kingdom.. yep, that’s a pig with a race bib!

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I loved this owl… the girl in the pink ran up to take a picture and the owl turned it’s head all Linda Blair style and started staring at her! Funniest thing ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen.. we made it to mile 12!

Ladies and Gentlemen.. we made it to mile 12!

Mile 12 in 2013

Mile 12 in 2013

We hit mile 12 and me knee was still hanging in! Dawn said “Now we have to set a new goal.” I suggested mile17.. the beginning of ESPN center. We agreed and kept on going. Running through Animal Kingdom was a great distraction. PLUS at that time, the park was open.. so among the spectators were general park go-ers. You can never go wrong with more spectators!

20K!

20K!

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Running inside Animal Kingdom

I don’t do roller coasters, but I tried to convince Dawn to jump on Everest.. She wouldn’t go though.. saying “yup.. cause that’s all I need is to feel like I want to barf while I’m running a marathon.” Good point.

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Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom

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Passing Dino-Rama

After a little ways, we exited out behind the scenes. I was wondering if this was new, because I remembered running past the front entrance of the park. Never the less.. we hit half way!

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HALF WAY BABY!

We doubled back around and ended up running past the front entrance.. now THAT I remembered!

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So cool to have everyone hanging out and cheering for you!

I had noticed that I never saw the Tree of Life as were ran through the park.. but there was a lot of construction going on.. and walls up everywhere.. probably why I missed it. I made sure to stop at a med tent outside the park to attend to my knee. Stretching every so often helped a little. Moving along down the highway again, I saw some grave-digger guys from Haunted Mansion.. or maybe Tower of Terror… either way, the line wasn’t so bad so we decided to stop. It turned out to be the perfect personification of what we were feeling.. (or at least how I was feeling :-p)

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This marathon is KILLING me!

We continued on.. running through miles 15 and 16, getting ever closer to mile 17. We saw another DJ, some trampoline performers and Phineas and Ferb. As were getting closer, I was getting texts from Mike letting us know where he and Tony were in the ESPN complex.. and that they had sandwiches for us. It was right around then that it started to rain. A drizzle at first, but then it really started coming down! It was annoying because our legs had gotten to the point where it was hard to stabilize yourself in even of a slip. We saw a girl go down and was escorted to the medic tent sobbing. On the other hand, the rain reminded me how grateful I was that it was NOT sunny out. It was pretty humid and warm, and if the sun had come out, it would have been grueling. Finally, we make it to the entrance.

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Entering the Wide World of Sports complex

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Dawn high-fiving other runners on their way out

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Rain selfie!

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Chugging along in ESPN

My knee was hurting pretty bad again and I decided to stop to use the bathroom. I stretched while in line, but it really didn’t help. After a few more intervals, I knew I would have to walk for a while.

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Around the track

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Thought this was ironic… check the mile 18 sign up ahead..

We finally made it over to Mike and Tony.. and we were treated with cookies and sandwiches… I told him.. “all these runners may be passing us.. but I bet every single one is jealous of our sandwiches right now!” There should be a medal for world’s best spectators. REALLY. That should be a thing.

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World’s BEST spectator

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Chowing down

We left them and I still couldn’t run. We soon found ourselves at mile 19, and made our way into and around the stadium. IMG_4160

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I’m hurting.. but still moving!

After the stadium we meandered back towards the avenue we entered the complex on. We saw the guys a couple more times as the raced ahead of us (wasn’t hard because we were still walking.) but soon we were exiting and making our way back to mile 20! I was SO excited to see runners still coming in to ESPN; In 2013, by the time I came out, there was no one coming in! Seeing people still going in made me relax a little bit, and I knew I wasn’t too far behind that I might get swept.

I decided to keep walking and to try to run again at mile 20. Once we got there though, I couldn’t run more than 10 seconds before I had sharp shooting pain in and around my left knee. Dawn kept trying to encourage me.. but I physically couldn’t. I told her I’d walk to the med tent ahead, try more Biofreeze, and stretching, but I doubted anything else could be done. She told me she couldn’t walk for the next 6 miles (she had somewhere to be at 12:30) and I said I understood. After we left the med tent, and it was clear I couldn’t run anymore. We said our goodbyes after mile 21.

As far as I was concerned, I wasn’t really too upset by my need to walk. After all, I had thought about dropping out at mile 3. But I did feel bad for holding Dawn back.. and I felt really sad that I wouldn’t be able to finish with her.. especially after she had to accommodate my injury all those miles. But I smiled because I had made it to mile 21… and I was going to claw my way to the finish line, one way or another.

It felt strange to be alone after all that time. Our outfits had also gotten A LOT of attention with comments like “Cool! You’re even running on the right sides!” and “Those are awesome shirts! What a great idea!” We even had someone ask to stand between us while their friend took a picture from behind. But now that we had parted ways, I felt a little out of place. I decided to walk my way to Hollywood Studios and then see if I could run a little. I was keeping in communication with Mike about where I was, and he kept telling me to hurry up! My phone was on it’s last legs and I had to keep the texts to a minimum.. I still wanted to take pictures!

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35K!

As I approached Hollywood Studios.. I tried to run again. I made ran the 30 second interval, but I was really gritting my teeth at the end. As I started to walk, I had the shooting stabbing pain that was not going away.. “Yep.” I told myself. “That was stupid, and I’m NOT doing that again!” Then it started to rain again. Great.

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Raining coming into Hollywood Studios

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Passing the water tower and getting some encouragement

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Running through the tunnel on the Back Lot Tour ride.

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The Incredibles outside of the park had escaped to seek refuge from the rain… Mike and Sully were still hanging out under an awning though!

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Heading towards the park’s entrance

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Spectators outside the park

Near mile 24 I got a text from Mike that Dawn had finished! She made up a lot of ground the past few miles. I was two miles behind her.. but I heard mile 26 calling my name!

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Walking my way towards Epcot

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Swan and Dolphin..so NICE to see you!

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My favorite sign EVER.

As I walked my way along the lake, I was having large spurts of overwhelming emotion. I was trying my hardest to hold them back. I just couldn’t believe that I was doing it AGAIN. This was my second marathon. This was the Dopey challenge. and I was going to FINISH. I was also having a little bit of lightheadedness. I couldn’t figure out why- I had meticulously been making sure I was taking my fuel and drinking at every water stop. I was yelling at myself in my head that I had made it this far.. and I was NOT going to pass out NOW. I took a Power Aid cup at the next water stop and felt a little better after. I just had to stay focused and kept my eye on the prize.

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Yes.. that sign says 40K!

I fought hard to hold back my tears as I walked my way into the last park. I had just enough battery power left on my phone for my last few pictures.. and I texted Mike. EPCOT.

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Holy Crap. Mile 25.

The music they had blasting in Epcot was phenomenal. It was there to usher everyone in and tell them YOU. ARE. CHAMPIONS. There also were SO many spectators.. it felt like everyone there was these just for us runners. Even though I was so close to the finish, I needed to go to the bathroom. I had passed the opportunity about a half mile back because I wasn’t sure that I could get back up if I sat down! But as I walked my way through the World Showcase, I decided I did NOT want to crossing my legs trying to get my medals and hurry off to the bathroom. I wanted to enjoy and savor the moment. So I ducked into a restroom in Morocco. Definitely the right decision.

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Walking my way through my LAST mile

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Professional photographers caught me a few times in Epcot

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Still smiling!

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SO CLOSE!

FOCUS

FOCUS

As I passed the Ball, inching my way closer and eagerly looking for mile 26, I passed a man with a walker. A WALKER! AND I had to walk pretty hard to pass this guy! As much pain as I was in, I couldn’t believe there was someone who had walked the entire marathon with a walker. It was very humbling to witness. I HAD to get a picture of him. What an inspiration.

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His cape said “Rod’s Hero” Hero indeed.

Finally I was passing mile 26. I was having a harder time holding back my emotions. Mike texted me and said he was near the finish.. to look for him under a large tree.

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I rounded the corner and saw the tree. Under the tree, I saw Mike, Tony and Dawn! She had stayed to watch me finish! They started cheering wildly, and I yelled that I was going to run it in! I didn’t want to finish walking, I wanted to finish running! I had saved up the very last of the energy I had and as I made the last turn to the finish line, I took off.

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Running it to the finish line!

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Most beautiful sight in the world.

It hurt SO bad. It was all I could do to fight back tears of pain and emotion as I dug in and fought for the finish. This race was HARD earned. I was a two time marathoner, and I was a Dopey Challenge finisher. I was on top of the world.

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26.2 and 48.6 DONE!

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Fighting so hard to hold back my emotions

It was really hard to hold back the tears as I was given my marathon medal. I had my picture taken and headed through the challenge tent to be verified for my Dopey finish. I was handed my Goofy and Dopey medals and I couldn’t be prouder. I hobbled my way through the finisher chute, declining a picture with my new challenge medals. I just wanted to get some ice on my knee as fast as I could!

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Never given, ALWAYS earned.

I had a medic wrap a giant bag of ice to my knee with plastic wrap and hobbled over to our designated meet up spot. It still hurt to walk.. and the ice was very cold.. and melting all over the place. It felt strangely good though. I finally met Mike and the others and Dawn and I got pictures with our new prized possessions.

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Showing off Micky, Goofy, and Dopey!

I had finished the race in just over 7 hours- which means that I did NOT beat my previous marathon time of 6:56. While this was disappointing, sometimes, you have to shift your goals to the realities of what’s going on around you. In the end, all I wanted to do was finish, and somehow, I was able to scrape that together. I couldn’t have been prouder of myself.

My Garmin Marathon stats

My Garmin Marathon stats

As I hobbled over to a bus, I had NO idea how I was able to walk all those miles in the condition I was feeling. Twisting my knees in any way brought on terrifying weakness, like they could snap.. and I was very very slow trying to get around. We got back to the hotel and I was really glad I had not made plans for later in the day. It took about 30 minutes to walk back to the hotel room! I immediately took a shower and soaked in the bath. All I wanted to do was crawl into a ball and sleep. My mom ended up calling me while Mike was in the shower, and I had to tell her all about it. As soon as she was off the phone, I crashed. I had planned on napping for a few hours, then getting a late dinner in the cafeteria. It was hard to walk, but I wanted to move around a little to keep my muscles from getting too sore. I woke up and the clock read 10:56. I was dazed and confused, and even asked Mike why the clock was wrong. he said it wasn’t. I had slept for 7 hours!

It was then I realized that I had run a marathon on 3 hours of sleep. I didn’t have the strength to walk down to the cafeteria, so we scraped together the food we had in the room.. peanut butter, bananas, some nuts, remnants of my snack boxes given after the races. We had a makeshift dinner of snacks and watched about an hour of TV. I then brushed my teeth and went back to bed.

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Stay tuned for my last Disney Marathon Weekend post, coming soon!

2015 Disney Marathon Weekend! Part 3- 10k!

Friday was a big day! It was the day of the 10k, Mike’s FIRST 10k race!

We set our alarms for 2:30. Am. Yeah…. Ouch. The forecast was still cold, but marginally better than the previous day, with little wind. Swell. There were lots of comments on Facebook from people who were nervous about this race because they were scarred from the previous day. I have to say, I was with them on that. I decided on wearing my pants, but decided not to wear the jacket this time. My outfit for the race was a yellow tank top that said This Beauty Runs Like A Beast in red glitter, a yellow sparkle skirt, red sports bra and red sparkle headband. I added yellow arm sleeves to the mix for extra comfort. Mike wore his Baltimore 5K shirt with a long sleeve shirt underneath. I was going to make him a shirt that read BEAST on the front, but he was having none of that. (Too bad.. would have been cute!)

ready to race!

ready to race!

We headed out to catch the bus around 3:30 am and met up with Dawn and Tony. Dawn had a pretty awesome Snow White costume going on. We had no trouble hopping on a bus and heading to the start. Since there was very little wind, we ventured out closer to the DJ stand in the staging area. We took advantage of no line in front of a Goofy Challenge backdrop while we were waiting around.

being Goofy

being Goofy

Mike and I

Mike and I

Hanging out near the DJ stage

Hanging out near the DJ stage

After standing around a while, we were ushered into the corrals. Mike was placed in corral D, so Dawn and I had to drop back to his corral to run with him. (Dopeys had one bib for the 5/10K and a second bib for the half/full, so our corrals were still B for Friday as well.) The waiting seemed like forever. I tried to get Mike to block the breeze for me, but it really didn’t help. Eventually the corrals ahead of us had gone and it was finally our turn to line up.

Dawn the burrito

Dawn the burrito

10K start line

10K start line

The race started in the same place as the 5K, took off in the same direction, but turned the opposite way, leaving Epcot property all together. We got to run through the Epcot lot gates, which was cool, and encountered our first characters under an overpass running down the highway. Mike thought it was really cool.. and told me later it was the coolest part of the course (pun intended.)

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Anna and Elsa from Frozen.. they even had snow falling around us

We kept our intervals pretty good, still using 90:90. Like the 5K, we didn’t stop for characters because the lines were a little long. The highway stretch was a little dull, other than a few characters and the Frozen overpass. But soon enough we were looping our way back into Epcot and the World Showcase.

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Mile 3 – sign on the gate behind Epcot

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World Showcase, 10K style

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Running around the world!

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On mile 4 we saw Genie…

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And Mickey… as you can see, lots of people taking selfies to avoid the lines

The Second half of mile 4 brought us to the boardwalk- a place I had only been once before, during the 2013 marathon. It was really pretty all lit up.

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Running down Disney’s Boardwalk

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View across the lake

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Coming off the Boardwalk and heading towards the Yacht Club Resort

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Crossing the bridge towards Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

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Lighthouse at the Yacht Club near mile 5

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Mile 5- cause who doesn’t love a good pirate ship!?

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Race selfie!

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cheesin’

Eventually, we made our way back into Epcot. Mike was getting a little tired at this point. Dawn and I were trying to give him words of encouragement was we went along. I kept telling him that it was almost over and that he was going to rock it!

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There she is!

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getting ready to pass The Seas pavilion and the Nemo ride

At this point there were a ton of professional photographers snapping pictures everywhere… we got a couple of interesting ones…

Mike was in the zone.. and I was trying to keep him there!

Mike was in the zone.. and I was trying to keep him there!

then there's THIS gem

then there’s THIS gem

I wanted a picture at mile 6.. because it was a huge milestone for Mike to be almost done his longest race ever. It turned out to be one of my favorite pictures!

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hellz to the YES!

We rounded the corner and took her home! Mike was a little bit ahead of us at the finish.. he wanted to be done already!

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nothing like the finish line!

Dawn and I finishing behind Mike

Dawn and I finishing behind Mike

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SO upset with this one.. my camera just wasn’t fast enough!

Proud 10K finshers!

Proud 10K finshers!

chip time was 1:28:56

Garmin was a little off on the mileage, chip time was 1:28:56

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Isn’t she beautiful!?

Again, like the previous day, runDisney did not hand out heat sheets to fnishers. The snack boxes and the like, were the same. Didn’t complain though… the little tortilla chips and packet of cheese to dip them in were pretty darn tasty. The line for the bus wasn’t as long this time- I’m guessing because it wasn’t quite as bitterly cold as the previous day, and people were lingering about.

After showers, resting, and a nap, Mike and I headed out to Downtown Disney.

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We wandered around a bit, looking in some stores, and taking pictures of some scenery. I stopped in the Christmas store and bought this little guy:

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Dopey 2015!

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Proud 10K finisher in the candy store!

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Mr Potato Head!

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To infinity and beyond!

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Lego Dopey

LOOK what I found!

LOOK what I found!

YES! Pug stud earrings at a jewelery shop!

YES! Pug stud earrings at a jewelery shop! I would have totally ROCKED these!

We made our way to Splitsville Luxury Lanes on the west side. I had dinner reservations for us there later on in the evening and we wanted to do some bowling before dinner. We had to wait a little before bowling, so we enjoyed a drink at the bar first. It was fun, but for only an hour of play, it was pretty expensive.

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Splitsville at Downtown Disney

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Enjoying our drinks- cinnamon toast coladas!

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How’s THIS for an action shot!?

 After dinner we headed back to the hotel. We got back later than we wanted because we waited for a shuttle boat to take us back to the marketplace from the West side (buses no longer run over there, and I wanted to save my legs the walk.) We made time for another round of Epsom salt baths though, and then hit the sack. Saturday would be a loooonnnngg day and another early morning.

Next up: Part 4- Half Marathon!

And if you missed them:

Part 1- Arrival and Expo

Part 2- 5K

 

 

2015 Disney Marathon Weekend! Part 2- 5k!

Continuing on my 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend saga, I give you Part 2- 5K! (If you missed Part 1 click HERE)

Thursday morning I was up at 3 am. The 5K started an hour later than all the other races, but still, 3 am sucks. What made it easy though, was that I set all of my race things out ahead of time, so I didn’t need to go digging through my suitcase to find stuff.

There had been warnings out all over Facebook regarding the wind chill advisory for Thursday morning. I knew the temperatures were supposed to drop, but I figured.. “eh, how bad could it be?”

Bad. It was bad. When I woke up I felt a little chilled, and I noted that the temperatures were reading in the high 30’s, so I decided to do the smart thing and wear a jacket under my tank top. My outfit for the 5k was supposed to be a purple tank top I made that said “legs are required for racing” and my green tutu I wore for the Shamrock 5K last march. I accessorized with a pink sports bra and pink sparkle head band. Obviously, I was going for my favorite Disney princess, Ariel. In anticipation of the cooler weather forecast, I purchased a bunch of arm warmers in various colors (green for Ariel!) I could sport in case of an emergency. It was clear that that alone wouldn’t be enough. So, I threw on my thin Under Armour premium from the Sole of the City 10K that I decided to bring last minute. (SO glad I did that!).

After a quick breakfast of a bagel, I grabbed a heat sheet to wrap around me, snapped on my race bib, snatched up my small hand held water bottle, my phone and some hand warmers, and headed out to catch a bus to the start. As soon as I left the hotel room.. I realized I had not only made a smart decision to wear the jacket… I had made a necessary decision. It was cold. SO much colder than upper 30’s should have felt. The wind was raw and very gusty. I walked quickly to the main building and stood inside the doorway to wait for Dawn. When she showed up, she was also wrapped nice and tightly in a heat sheet. I started to complain about the cold when she informed me she was wearing a tank top. (YES… she wore a tank top and no other layer in upper 30’s, feels-like-upper-20’s, windy weather.) She was dressed up as Tinker Bell, complete with wings. The wings also prevented her from being able to pull the heat sheet over her head to try and get a bit warmer. Her costume looked great though.. too bad Florida decided to become Maryland for a day. (Don’t get me wrong… it was in the single digits at home! But this was pretty darn cold for central FL.)

We got right on a bus and were temporarily relieved of the bitterness. But, the reprieve went too soon, as it was not long before we had arrived at the Epcot bus drop off and herded to the start. Disney races are fun like that.. get up super early, catch a bus, stand in a staging area for 1-2 hours, walk (sometimes far!) to the start corrals, wait another 30- 60 minutes, walk to the start line, wait another 5 minutes.. add the bitter cold and yeah, not fun.

As we made our way to the staging area, we noticed some runners huddled inside an empty “Information” tent. We weren’t sure what they were congregating for until we rounded the corner and found an occupied “Information tent.” This tent was perpendicular to a chain link fence covered with some kind of construction wrap. A ton of runners were huddled here, so we made our way to the fence where we might be shielded by the wind a little. We could feel there was a slight heated breeze coming from the Information tent and realized they must have heaters. It was by no means warm, but it did block some of the negative effects of the wind. We huddled there a while until we were chased out by staff. After that, we joined the pack of runners a little further out in the corner, all standing close to one another trying to block the wind and cold. There was a variety of people.. some with skimpy costumes, some with warm coats; There WERE a few like Dawn, with exposed skin, but not many. I had elected (like a fool) to wear capri leggins and not my fleece insulated tights (stupid! stupid!).. and the lower part of my legs down through my feet stung so bad in the cold.

Tinker Dawn

Tinker Dawn

But I thought I WAS smiling!

But I thought I WAS smiling!

Finally, like the runner version of the March of the Penguins, we were herded to the start corrals. Dawn and I were both assigned to corral B, which was just fine for us, because it meant we could start all the sooner and be done with this nonsense. After about another 30 minute wait, we finally were herded to the start. As we were standing around at the start line, listening to the announcer try and psych us up for the race, one guy started singing “Let us goooo! Let us GOOOO!” Best Let It Go rendition EVER.

Waiting for the GO!

Waiting for the GO!

When we were finally off, neither one of us wanted to toss our heat sheets. So, for the very first time in my 4 years of running, I ran with my heat sheet. The first couple intervals took us around the Epcot parking lot and back in through the backside of Epcot’s World Showcase. Only, we were so cold, that I think we ran pretty much the first mile before actually doing intervals.

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2014 map, but essentially the same course

I had warmed up enough to toss my heat sheet right before we entered the World Showcase. Dawn ran with hers the whole time. We didn’t stop for characters 1- because it was too cold, and 2- because of the long lines. We kept telling ourselves that it was just a 5k.. and that it would be over soon and we could go back to our warm hotel rooms. In Epcot, there was music playing as we ran. We sang to some of the songs to keep our spirits up. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah came on.. and I hadn’t heard that song in ages! In fact, I don’t know if any kids now days would know it at all. I started singing “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah , Zip-A-Dee-Ay… My oh my what a wonderful day!” Dawn joined in with “plenty of sunshine headin’ my way!”… then everyone around us joined in to finish out the chorus; “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-Ay!” It was a great moment! (And now I have it stuck in all your heads too! :-p)

Running into Epcot's World Showcase

Running into Epcot’s World Showcase

running in Epcot

sun is starting to come up

sun is starting to come up

looking back towards France

mile 2!

pretty sunrise

pretty sunrise

There's the ball!

There’s the ball!

Almost done!

Almost done!

mine... mine...

mine… mine…

Finish line!

Finish line!

crossing the finish line

crossing the finish line

We finished in 37:38 (chip time) and made our way through the finishers chute. We got our medallions and finisher’s photos. RunDisney provided us water and power aide bottles, bananas and a box of snacks. You wouldn’t think we’d necessarily need snacks after only a 5K.. but I had my bagel breakfast at about 3:30 am, and it was now about 7 am, so I was pretty hungry. The snack boxes were great… much better than ones they have given out in the past. (NO shrink wrapped stale processed bagel!) One thing I was VERY disappointed with was that runDisney was not handing out heat sheets at the end of the race. It was bitter cold out, and now I was wet from sweating. It was miserable. I chalked it up to maybe runDisney didn’t give them out for the 5k.. being that this was my first time doing this particular race, I was disappointed, but accepted it.

5k DONE!

5k DONE!

5K

My Garmin stats

We wasted no time and made for the lines for the buses. We discovered our bus was (of course) the one with the longest line. And it was long. RunDisney was loading buses up two at a time, but we still had to wait for 4 buses before we finally got one. When I got back to the hotel, I still had a long walk back to the room.. and this time I had no heat sheet and was slightly damp. I also had tossed my hand warmers during the race, and for whatever insane reason (probably the same insane reason I was not wearing full pants) I didn’t bring my gloves. As I was walking into the wind, I was absolutely frozen. My hands hurt from being so cold and I noticed that they had started to turn purple. Not good. When I got in the room, I had Mike take a quick picture of me with my medal in my costume, and I jumped right in a hot shower to warm up.

3.1 down, 45.5 to go!

3.1 down, 45.5 to go!

Good old Pluto!

Good old Pluto!

Once I was warm and clean, I lounged around a bit telling Mike about the race. (There’s not much spectator action for the 5K, so he stayed in the room and slept in.) Around 9:30 we headed out to Epcot to meet my sister again. Trenton had school during the day, so it was just Diane, AJ, and Gemma hanging out for a bit. We had some pastries and coffee in Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie in the French pavilion, saw Figment at Journey Into Imagination, and rode Living with the Land and Spaceship Earth again. We also sampled soda at Coca Cola’s Club Cool and was pleasantly surprised that they had some new choices to sample.

Yup, still cold!

Yup, still cold!

Gemma, Daddy, and Uncle Mike on Living With The Land

Gemma, Daddy, and Uncle Mike on Living With The Land

Gemma was excited for Figment!

Gemma was excited for Figment!

Checking out the Coca-Cola merchandise

Checking out the Coca-Cola merchandise at Club Cool

Around 2, my sister and gang had to leave to get Trenton from school, so Mike and I decided to go back to the hotel and relax the rest of the day. I really felt like we should be going to another park because it was still early, but I knew we were making the right decision to go back and rest, as my legs and feet were pretty tired, and I was only 3.1 miles into my 48.6 mile challenge!

Waiting for the bus!

Waiting for the bus!

We ended the day with dinner at the hotel and Epsom salt baths for both of us. It is amazing how much you walk around when out and about, and how big a toll that puts on the body. My Fitbit had registered 26,076 steps for Thursday alone- which translates roughly to 11.77 miles. That included a 5K, but all that extra walking adds up! No wonder my feet were killing me and my legs were tired. I had also logged 24,259 steps (10.11 miles) on Tuesday, and 22,808 steps (9.54 miles) on Wednesday. This 10+ mile/day thing was hitting me pretty hard mentally, and I still had so much further to go in the challenge. Something to think about if you are reading this in anticipation of doing a future Dopey challenge.

We turned in early, around 8:30 because we were set to wake up at 2:30 on Friday to get ready for the 10K!

Check back to continue on to Part 3- 10K!

Dopey Training Week 27

Hi everyone! I’m back from Disney Marathon Weekend and what a trip it was!!! I can’t wait to tell you all about it! But first, I wanted to get this post out there. I’ve been writing weekly training posts since July 2014.. and I didn’t want to skip my very last training post! Sorry it’s so late… but I wanted to finish my streak!

Week 27 was my second and last week of taper/recovery. I really don’t see it as a taper exactly, as I ran a 6 mile long run in week 26, and a 7 mile long run this week. Also- I didn’t like how the Galloway training schedule only gave us 2 weeks for taper/recovery. I would have preferred 3 weeks and it may have helped me  on marathon day.. but we’ll talk about that later.

Monday the 29th was the first Monday back from vacation. I elected to work, but my husband took off. After work, my husband picked me up (because I still had no car) and brought me over to the shop when my car had been sitting for more than a week. The plan was for me to drive it 10 miles to the dealership, and my husband to follow me in case I had another breakdown. At first, the car drove ok, with minimal noise. I was feeling a little bit guilty at first, because maybe I didn’t *need* a new car after all. But, as we got further down the road, the clanking/vibrational noise was steadily getting louder, and the car shuddered a little while idling at traffic lights. Yup… making the right decision.

We made it to the dealership, and long (like, 5 hours long) story short, I dove away in my brand new Mazda CX-5!

was a couple of days before I could get a daylight picture... but here she is!

was a couple of days before I could get a daylight picture… but here she is!

Monday night, we were up pretty late arranging car stuff. I think I was worrying about only getting 4 hours of sleep, which made it hard to actually get any sleep. I think I might have gotten 2 hours. Needless to say, I was exhausted Tuesday, and a workout just did not happen.

I was going to run Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday to make up for my lack in activity in the beginning part of the week, but my husband wanted me to run on Thursday with him. So, I just took Tuesday as a loss, and carried on. Wednesday, of course, was New Year’s eve, and the gym was closed in the evening. I did get in a HIIT workout in after work though.

Thursday was my official start to vacation! I took off Friday as no one was going to be in the office anyways, and wouldn’t be returning to work until the 14th! I got a nice 3 mile run in with my husband.

Saturday was pouring rain all day, so I elected to used the day to take down Christmas decorations and begin packing for Disney. I worked on my costumes a bit too. My dad ended up visiting us for lunch, to see my new car, and to show off his super nice brand new Lexus SUV (which we had no idea he had bought the day before!)

Sunday, I got in my long run. I knew Dawn was working, so I ran by myself. It was a damp, cool, foggy day, and I just kept reminding myself that it would be warm and sunny in FL! I ran without my brace, but I felt pain creeping in my knee towards the end. I knew then that I would just have to run the half and full marathon in the brace- there would be no alternative at this point.

Foggy, soggy long run

Foggy, soggy long run

Total mileage in Week 27:  10.79 miles! (2 hrs, 15 minutes of running!)

Total Dopey training miles: 432.71

Week 26 Activity Report:

Week 27

Week 27