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.


Ariel is my favorite


Joining the party


Posing with King Triton


Mike is digging Sebastian


Scariest Disney villain of all time


Isn’t he handsome!?


I think he likes this collection piece




Mike and the Snarfblack


I found a Dinglehopper.


Plotting with Scar


I feel like I’m being followed…


Hakuna Matata!




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.”



“Dramatic” picture in AK.



Tree of Life


“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.


Hanging around Africa


Panama Jack


I think this Safari hat suits me


It’s a Pumba pilllow!

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







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


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!



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.


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.


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.


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.



Proud Dopey finisher!


Even got some of Mike in his 10K medal


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….



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.


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 🙂


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.


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.


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


Running around the track


Sunrise peaking through the clouds


Crossing the checkered flag!


Race car.. Disney style!


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.


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


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


Cool topiaries


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


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!




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.


Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom


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!



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


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)


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.


Entering the Wide World of Sports complex


Dawn high-fiving other runners on their way out


Rain selfie!


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.


Around the track


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.


World’s BEST spectator


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


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!



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.


Raining coming into Hollywood Studios


Passing the water tower and getting some encouragement


Running through the tunnel on the Back Lot Tour ride.


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!


Heading towards the park’s entrance


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!


Walking my way towards Epcot


Swan and Dolphin..so NICE to see you!


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.


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.


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.


Walking my way through my LAST mile


Professional photographers caught me a few times in Epcot


Still smiling!





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.


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.



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.


Running it to the finish line!


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.


26.2 and 48.6 DONE!


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!


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.


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.




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

2015 Disney Marathon Weekend: Part 4- Half Marathon!

I’m back to continue my 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend series with part 4- half marathon day!

This half was kinda special to me. In 2012 I launched my crazy running obsession by completing my 1st ever half- the 15th running of the Disney World Half Marathon. It was the biggest physical challenge I had ever done in my whole life. It gave me the courage and confidence to reach for even bigger challenges.. and I never would have even dreamed of doing the things I’m doing now before my first big milestone. That medal means the world to me.

The race that started it all!

The race that started it all!

This year, I returned to Disney to take on the Dopey challenge… and as part of that, I would be completing my 10th half marathon. I am so glad I was able to come back to the place that started it all and continue the magic with another great milestone 🙂

Anyways.. another 3 am wake up. This time however, it was not quite as cold. The temps were in the 40’s.. which was still cold.. but balmy compared to the previous 2 days. I decided to wear my black jacket under my costume again, as we were going to be out on the course longer than the previous races. Dawn and I were going as Marlin and Dorey for this race. I made a shirt that said “Just keep running, just keep running” on the front, and the back said “Sydney Epcot or bust!” I thought it was great… but for some reason, not a lot of people got it. I had several people come up to me on the course and ask if I was from Sydney. “Um.. no.. Finding Nemo..? Oh never mind.”

Ready for 13.1!

Ready for 13.1!

Tony and Mike were spectating for us, so they joined Dawn and I on the bus and in the parking lot before the start.

Marlin and Dorey

Marlin and Dorey

The starting line for the half and the full was different than the one for the 5K and 10K. The walk to the corrals was much longer- almost a mile! Once we were in our corrals, we waited for the start. We were in corral H, which if my memory serves me right- is the same corral we were in the first time we ran this half marathon! Soon they were playing the National Anthem, and letting the Elites and wheel chair divisions go. One by one corrals were released and we crept closer to the starting line.

Starting line!

Starting line!


A few fireworks and we were off!

About a half mile down the road, I turned to Dawn and said… “would you hate me if I told you I have to use the bathroom already” Then she told me “no, cause I have to too!” We skipped the first couple of porta-pots due to the lines, but I couldn’t hold it anymore by mile 2, so we stopped near the Pirates of the Caribbean ship. I was pretty self conscious about how wide my homemade tutu made me feel.. but I decided to take it off when visiting the bathroom.. less to get in the way and less chance of a *ahem* wardrobe malfunction.

Pirates of the Caribbean on mile 2

Pirates of the Caribbean on mile 2

After the potty break, we soon found ourselves entering Magic Kingdom property! I was excited because this meant we would soon see Mike and Tony, who were waiting for us at the Transportation Ticket Center.

On our way to Magic Kingdom!

On our way to Magic Kingdom!

On mile 3 we saw Wreck-it Ralph and the crew from Nightmare Before Christmas. We kept a look-out for Mike and Tony and finally found them right before mile 4!

Wreck-it Ralph!

Wreck-it Ralph!

Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before Christmas

my spectator!

my spectator!

taking the above picture!

taking the above picture!

saying hi to Tony's camera

Saying hi to Tony’s camera

Moving right along… we ran under the tunnel making our way through mile 4.. I always love the DJ standing above us, with his giant hands and empowering music. So much fun. We came up on Space Mountain right by mile 5. Right after that we made a sharp turn and ran ourselves right onto Main Street!

This DJ is always fun

This DJ is always fun

mile 5 up ahead!

Mile 5 up ahead!


Entering Magic Kingdom!


running down Main Street.. Castle up ahead!


Lots of runners pulled to the side for pictures


Quick selfie

Continuing on, we ran through Tomorrowland. There was a huge line for Buzz Lightyear.. and for every character really. I started to realize that we really wouldn’t be stopping for characters this year as we had hoped. It was around this time that I announced to Dawn that I had to go to the bathroom AGAIN. (I don’t know what was wrong with me.. I never have to go this much.)


Entering Tomorrowland

After my bathroom break (of which I had to double back because I left my phone in the stall! Seriously… what was wrong with me!?) we ran our way to the back of Cinderella’s castle. On the balcony was Anna and Elsa from Frozen greeting everyone as they ran through!


Anna and Elsa on the balcony


Running through the castle!

On our way out, someone jumped in front of me and stopped right in front of the photographer, so I didn’t get a picture coming out.. but we decided to stop and get a picture in front of the castle (something we’ve never done before!) There were a lot of photographers here, so the line moved rather quickly.


Waiting in line in front of the castle.. so pretty in the morning light

Happiest half on Earth!

Happiest half on Earth!

We pressed on and hit mile 6 near Frontier Land. We wound our way through the rest of the park and exited out behind the scenes. As we were leaving the park and making our way back to the highway, there was a DJ playing Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” He was keeping us going and being pretty funny- telling us “You’re half way there runners! And if you’re running tomorrow…. you won’t even be close!”


Mile 6!


Shakin’ it off!

We ran by the golf course and Polynesian resort. I got a text from Mike saying he and Tony were waiting by an unmarked cop car. We chugged along until finally we saw them! There is nothing better than seeing your people cheer you on as you’re getting tired.

Speaking of getting tired.. I didn’t mention in my last post that during the 10K, I had started getting some sharp stabbing knee pain on my right knee. It felt like it was just under the knee cap. It wasn’t every step, but every couple of steps, and it came and went, and came again. Worried about this, I decided for the half, to wear my knee brace on my right knee. Prior to the half, I had not felt any hint of the knee pain I had been experiencing towards the end of my training on my left knee. This pain in my right was a whole other type of pain… one that I could tell could be debilitating if it decided to become a real injury. The type of pain I had in my left knee was more of a softer pain, one that came on gradually and became more intense over time. Ironically.. the pain I had been experiencing in my left knee was the same pain I had in my right in 2013 that caused me to walk half of the marathon.

During the half, I felt no notion of the stabbing pain on my right knee. I did wear my brace, with the idea that if the left knee started hurting, I’d switch the brace over. Around mile 7, I could feel the pain creeping into my left knee. By mile 9, I had to switch the brace.

We continued our 90:90 intervals, but I was definitely feeling run down and was hurting more and more. The brace helped, but only to a point. I think the damage was already done. I was stopping to stretch more, and definitely running slower. Mile 10 was very welcome.. especially considering who was on the sign!


Yay fishies!

On mile 11, we met two girls who were also running as Marlin and Dorey.. it was pretty cool as they said they had not seen any others all race.. and neither had we! As we entered into Epcot.. I was hurting pretty bad. I didn’t have to stop running, but I could tell my gait had changed and I was gritting my teeth at the end of every run interval. I was excited to be back in the park though, still smiling for the cameras!


Not sure why Dawn is flying.. or why I’m doing that.. but I look pretty happy…


This is a photo runDisney posted on their Facebook page.. way cool!


Rounded the corner and HOME STRETCH!


Bringing it home!

Apparently Mike and Tony were standing by the finish line. Mike said Dawn saw them, but I was in the zone. I SO wanted to be done.. I was hurting pretty bad. Dawn grabbed my hand and we charged for the finish line… another race and my 10th half marathon in the books!


Nothing like that finish line!


3 of 4 Dopey races and 22.4 miles DONE!


Running sisters for life ❤


So proud of my bling!

This half ended up being my worst half time ever.. over 3 hours! Strangely, I was ok with this.. because I still had a full marathon ahead of me.. and I had NO idea how that was going to happen.

Race 3 and 13.1 DONE!

Race 3 and 13.1 DONE!

Garmin half marathon stats

Garmin half marathon stats

Once again, heat sheets were not being handed out after the race. It was annoying, but at least I had given Mike my coat to hold while we were running, so I had something to throw on. It wasn’t terribly chilly, but being sweaty, it was enough to make me feel cold. We ended up finishing before 9, which was perfect because I really wanted to watch Trenton run in the kid’s races that morning. We wasted no time and hopped on a bus back to the hotel. There was no direct transport to the ESPN complex, so we had to go back to the hotel to catch another bus back out. Since we had plenty of time (The kids races started at 11) I decided to have a quick shower before we headed over.

Even though I was worn out and didn’t like the idea of walking to/from our room.. the shower was the right decision. I didn’t have time to soak in my Epsom salts, but I felt 10 times better after getting a little fresher. Not going to lie though, my knees- both of them, were shot. The left one hurt, and the right one was very weak and tired. Navigating stairs was a bit of an issue.. and I could not go fast. Again- I had no idea how I was supposed to run a full marathon the next day.

Now I have 3!

Now I have 3!

We boarded a bus bound for the ESPN complex.. and then sat at a traffic light for 4 cycles. ESPN was literally across the highway from where our resort was… and it took us almost half an hour to get there. In true runDisney fashion, the bus let us off at the furthest possible place it could. It was 11 at this point, and I was really worried that I would miss Trenton. I still had to gimp walk about a mile to where the races were being held and I couldn’t go very fast. We made it with about 10 minutes to spare, although I almost died going down the stairs. (OK exaggeration.. but it hurt.)

We waited while they sent the kids off in waves. Trenton was running the 200 yard dash. He was pretty hesitant before hand and kept saying he was going to walk. We decided to split up so that he could have  cheering spectators all around the track. I took Gemma to the far side, Mike was in the middle, my sister stood at the start and raced around as he ran, and AJ was at the finish line. I almost didn’t see him coming, and I might have missed him if I hadn’t seen Diane running near me. I looked up and saw him trotting along.. with a kind of worried yet determined look on his face. We cheered him on, but I’m not sure he heard us.. at least he never responded.. I guess he was really concentrating!

My sister sent this awesome pic of Trenton before his race!

My sister took this awesome pic of Trenton before his race!


The proud finisher


Couldn’t wait to text me something… sigh.

Well, he finished in second to last place in his wave.. but he didn’t walk at all! We were so proud of him and wanted to take pictures.. but all he seemed to be interested in was getting Mom’s iPhone so he could “text Aunt Stephanie something.” Sigh.. that kid is a class-A tech geek at age 5.

We meandered our way out of ESPN and made plans to meet them over at our hotel for lunch. My sister had made us a wonderful lunch of egg salad, avocado hummus, and snacks. It was really great and she’s a pretty good cook! When we first planned out our trip- we were going to hang out by the pool and spend some time with the kids. Unfortunately Mother Nature decided to make it the coldest week of the year in FL, so we couldn’t use the pool. After a bunch of post lunch silliness, Gemma was getting cranky. My sister asked if we would take Trenton while they drove around with Gemma so she could nap a while. No problem-o!

Attack of the kids!

Attack of the kids!

What I really could have used was a nap myself, but I was happy to spend some time with my favorite boy. I really wanted to take an Epsom salt bath to try and relax my sore and tired legs, so that’s the first thing I ended up doing to get it out of the way. Mike hung out with Trenton and I took my timer and soaked for 20 minutes. It felt so good and was so needed. When I got out I snuggled into bed between Mike and Trenton. Mike started dozing off as Trenton played with Diane’s phone and was trying to get me to text him. Over and over and over. Eventually I had to tell him that I needed to charge my phone and he couldn’t text me anymore. I got out my iPad and he was tickled that I had a folder on there labeled “Trenton”. I told him it was because he put a ton of apps on there last time I came to visit, and I put them in his own folder- he said he didn’t remember doing it! Eventually he got bored and decided to take a look at all our running gadgets. I was explaining what each one did when he came across Mike’s Bluetooth earphones. He had to ask Funny Mike what they were and how they worked.. and was genuinely attentive and amused. He had us set them up on Diane’s phone and danced all around the room to the music in his head. He thought they were the coolest thing since sliced bread. It was so funny.

It was around this time Diane and AJ arrived back with Gemma. Gemma was so excited to be in the room because she is a huge Little Mermaid fan! She kept telling me that “Aweal is coming!” “We gotta find Aweal!” We sat and watched the beginning of Frozen and then she wanted to watch her “egg videos” which apparently were weird Youtube videos of a woman opening chocolate eggs to reveal toys inside them. (Diane said she found them once and now watches them all the time. Weird little kid.) Later, she found my tutu I had worn in the race earlier and exclaimed “Hey! Check THIS out!” Yes, this kid is 2.

Gemma in my tutu

Gemma in my tutu

Me and Gem hanging out watching "egg videos"

Me and Gem hanging out watching “egg videos”

We all had dinner reservations at The Wave restaurant in the Contemporary Resort. After taking some time to get ready, we finally headed out. Trenton wanted to ride the bus and the monorail, so he hung out with Funny Mike and myself. Diane, AJ and Gemma drove in their car. We waited a long time for a bus.. over 20 minutes! We saw buses for every other park EXCEPT for Magic Kingdom. In fact, we had seen multiple buses for all the other parks. By the time we finally got on a bus (and waited another 10 minutes for it to load up some disabled guests, we finally got on. They crammed us in, but we managed to find a seat for Trenton. I was a little mad I had to stand because Magic Kingdom was the furthest park away, and my poor legs were still very tired. But I didn’t complain.

We got to Magic Kingdom and walked over to take the monorail to the Contemporary. This was also very crowded. We were getting texts and phone calls from Diane and Dawn wondering where we were. We let them know we were on the way as we had to wait for 2 monorails before we were able to get on one. When we finally got to the restaurant.. we saw that everyone was still hanging out waiting to be seated. So much for making a reservation. (We did however, get to catch the end of the Ravens game on a tv by the bar… and were devastated that the had lost and were now out of the playoffs for the Superbowl. Darn!) It was after 7:30 by the time we were finally seated.

The restaurant was pretty nice. It had somewhat of an upscale vibe, even though Disney only rates it as two dollar signs ($$) for dinner. There were a limited amount of entrees to choose from, but it hit pretty much all the basic groups (chicken, pork, beef, pasta, fish, and vegetarian.) I had the pork tenderloin and Mike had ravioli. While we were waiting for our food, we shared some house bread.. and Gemma decided to eat a lemon slice. Seriously. I think there’s something wrong with her :-p

Gemma eating her lemon

Gemma eating her lemon

My pork tenderloin

My pork tenderloin

Mike's Ravioli

Mike’s Ravioli

When dinner was over, Dawn Tony Mike and I jumped on the monorail.. except we got on the wrong one and ended up in Epcot instead of Magic Kingdom. We had to walk a little ways from the monorail station to get to a bus stop. All that walking! I was SO tired, I could have collapsed and fell asleep right there. I was also still sore, and was REALLY dreading the next day. It was kind of funny that earlier in the week, I had expressed the thought to Mike that I was scarred from the last time I ran in Disney.. and all those feelings I had back in 2013 about running the marathon and how worried I was at the time came back to me even though this time was going to be different. Well maybe it was a gut feeling or a bad omen or something. Because here I was two years later in the same exact position-. dreading having to run all those miles with a hurt knee. I was feeling rather sick over the thought of running.. it was really bringing me down. All my hard work, all my precautions of taking it slow, running intervals, and paying attention to my body did nothing, and I was still showing up to the starting line injured. And this year I wasn’t starting in Corral C.. I was starting back in H.. meaning I had less of a buffer if I could run anymore to finish in the required time. On top of all that weight on my shoulders.. I was exhausted and it was really late.

We got back to the room sometime after 10. I wanted to take another Epsom salt bath, but I really needed to get in bed and sleep. I decided to ice my knee for about 10 minutes and try to sleep it off.. after all, I had to be up in 3.5 hours to run a marathon.

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.


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!


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 Weeks 4 & 5

Before I get into my summary of weeks 4 & 5, I am excited to announce that we were able to book our resort for Disney Marathon Weekend last week! I had been waiting and waiting to be able to book. Disney hadn’t been letting their bookings go beyond December 2014 on their website. I saw another friend post that she reserved her room last week and discovered that I was able to too.

When we first looked into it my husband and I had zeroed in on a value level resort. In previous years, we had stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort. This is a moderate level resort, however half our room was paid by Team in Training. Since we are staying a full week, we determined that it was too expensive to stay at a moderate resort. I had stayed at an All Star resort before (Disney has three All Star resorts, Sports, Music, and Movies, which are value classification) and I had no complaints. There are two other value resorts on Disney property; Pop Century, and Art of Animation. I had heard reviews that art of Animation was a great resort.. and it’s Disney’s newest, only being open for 2 years. These two are a little pricier than the All Star resorts, but only by $20-$30/ night. I was keen on staying at All Star Music, but my husband ultimately preferred Art of Animation. He is only running 1 of the four races and doesn’t plan on spectating all of them. So this means a lot of downtime for him.. and he wanted pools. AoA has three pools to choose from, vs. only 2 at Music. So we ended up booking AoA! Yay!


Anyways, on to my training recaps. Last week was a crazy busy week at work, so I’m going to update weeks 4 and 5 together.

Training schedule is filling up!

Training schedule is filling up!


Week 4:

On Tues July 22, I completed my 45 minutes on the treadmill, running 4:1 intervals. There was nothing special about that run. On Thursday, I stepped it up a little and decided to build in some speed. I have a podcast from Motiontrax that takes you through a speedwork program and it’s my go-to for a nice hard treadmill workout. I hadn’t done this workout since before I was injured, so I took it easy on the speed. (no crazy 8+ mph sprints that I used to do!) The first time out, I wanted something hard, but not too hard. The program is as follows:

4 minutes walking warmup (3.5 mpH)

2 min jog (I did 5.5 mph for this, typically I would have done 6.3 or 6.5)
2 min run (I did 6.5 mph, typically I would have done 6.8- 7 mph)

1 min walk (3.5)
2 min Jog (5.5)
3 min run (6.5)

1 min walk
2 min Jog
4 min run

1 min walk
2 min jog
5 min run

1 min walk (although I tend to take 2-3 minutes here.. I did only do 1 min this time)

1 min jog (usually I do 6 mph, but I only did 5 this time)
1 min sprint (I did 7.5 here.. typically I do 8+ mph)

Repeat 5 times for a total of 6 intervals

walk 2 min cool down

The intervals may not look like much.. but this is a killer workout. It usually gives me over 4 miles on the treadmill, and I walk out the rest of the 45 minutes.

Sunday 7/27 I finally got to meet back up with Dawn and run with her! She and Randi were running 14 miles that day (they are training for Marine Corp Marathon in October.) Since I only needed 5.5 miles, I met them at the local trail as they were finishing up their 10 mile loop. We then headed back out on the street to do an extra 4.5 miles. I had never run that short of a distance on our street course, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that one of the TNT ladies we see frequently will turn on a road to give her 5 miles, so we headed in that direction. In the end, it only gave us 4.6 miles, so I told the girls that I was going to head down the trail to get in my extra mile. Dawn offered to come with me, but Randi was done for the day. She headed out to IHOP to reserve us a table for breakfast (I’ve so missed post long run breakfasts with my girls!) After a quick mile, we headed out to IHOP. I had a delicious veggie omelet and the girls both got pancakes. Love that post running food!

Total miles run in Week 4:  13.75

Week 5:

Tuesday July 29, running didn’t happen. I made a date with my nephew to Facetime with him. We talked until around 7 (which is what time my yoga class starts, so I was already missing that.) I considered running outside. It was cool enough, but overcast, gray and depressing looking. Plus, I was comfy on the sofa with my husband and the urge to be lazy got to me. I did do a Bodyrock workout that morning, so I decided to take it easy. Wednesday was an absolutely gorgeous day. Bright and sunny, and low humidity. My husband was out golfing after he got off work. I decided that it would be a crime to miss such a beautiful day at the end of July to run outside- so that’s what I did. I ran intervals in/around my neighborhood and got in a strong 4.35 mi run. Thursday I hit the gym, making it to yoga, then hitting the treadmill. This week, I decided to do hill intervals. Again, I have a Motiontrax podcast workout that I use:

4 min walking warm up (3.5 mph)

5 min run, moderate intensity, 0 incline (I ran at 6.0)

Back to walking, 1 min @ 0 incline

Set treadmill to 1 incline and jog. Increase incline every 2 minutes until you reach 5 incline. (I jogged at 6 for incline1 & 2, 5.5 for incline 3 & 4, then 5 for incline 5)

Recovery walk for 1 minute @ 3.5 mph.

Now, the workout continues on in the same format for 2 more cycles. According to the podcast, the incline remains at 5 for the walk rest interval, and you continue increasing the incline and jogging each interval. However, I haven’t done this in a while, so I elected to do 3 repeats of the 1st interval. At the first walk/rest interval, I lowered the incline back to zero and started over when the work interval came back. If you were to continue to follow the workout strictly, you would end up at an incline of 15. While I’ve gotten there before.. I need to build back up to that. I left this workout feeling worked, but strong.

Sunday, I met up with the girls again for my long run. They were running 15 miles, but I only needed 3. I elected to do the same 4.6 mile loop, without the extra mile. This time I was the one who headed out to IHOP to reserve the table while the girls finished their last half mile. Everything always tastes better after a run 🙂

Total miles run in Week 4: 12.88.

Total Dopey Challenge Miles so far: 52.54

On to week 6!

Medals For Non-Finishers?

RunDisney revealed the three medals for their Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend this morning. This race is on my bucket list- it’s held in November during Disney Wine and Dine Festival in Epcot. I’ve been to the Wine and Dine Festival once while visiting my sister. Disney has a ton of mini stands featuring small bites of food (and drinks!) from several countries and regions around the world. The stands are special in that, they are not available year round, and in addition to the featured countries  in the World Showcase, the stands represent many other countries not usually available. The Wine and Dine half is run at night, and ends with a late night celebration around the world in Epcot. Along with the half, RunDisney also offers a 5K and kids races that weekend.

2014 Wine and Dine Half weekend medals

2014 Wine and Dine Half weekend medals

While I was admiring the medals posted on Facebook, I was skimming through the comments and noticed a slight debate going on regarding Disney giving medals to non-finishers of their races. One person stated that she was angry RunDisney did this. Another person stated that her sister did not finish a half at Disney, and they wouldn’t giver her a medal. Said she was really angry because the sister became injured on the course and couldn’t finish, but had spent the money and logged the miles and that’s really what it was all about. There were several other comments back and forth around this subject. But it got me thinking… should races offer medals to those that DNF?

I’m kind of torn on this subject. On one hand- I’ve been injured before, and forced myself through a couple races because I had put in so much work to get there, not running the race was not an option. Had I not finished one of those races.. I would have wanted my reward anyways. Most recently, I was fantasizing of offering my race entry to a friend for one of my challenge races that I couldn’t run because of my foot. I thought oh, she can run for me, then she can pick up my premium for the challenge (not the race, I would have let her keep that premium/medal, but the challenge premium for completing all three races in the challenge.) but then I thought to myself- no, I wouldn’t have earned it. And as much as I wanted the premium (I DID finish 2 out of 3 races for the challenge!) I knew it was impossible.

I understand what it’s like to work so hard for something, then have an injury take you out. It sucks. But I still can’t bring myself to ask for the reward. Yes I logged all my miles, yes, I paid to enter the race. But I didn’t finish… and what’s the point of showing off a medal (or premium) for something that I didn’t accomplish.. it doesn’t feel right. I would feel like a fraud.

HOWEVER.. I’ve also seen people run in honor of other people- I did that with TNT. I know someone who had a friend who was supposed to run a race, but was diagnosed with cancer and couldn’t. Her running partners were able to run the race and secure her an honorary medal. This action is an exception to the rule that I can get behind. Would I expect my friends to secure me a medal because I hurt my foot and couldn’t run. NO. But an unsolicited token of kindness and compassion in exceptional circumstances is so endearing.. and I think races should condone this kind of act.

What do you think? Should races strictly give out medals/premiums to finishers? Or should everyone who makes it to the start get one? Should there be reasonable exceptions? Has anyone witnessed Disney giving out medals to non-finishers? Or has anyone seen anyone been denied a medal? I’m just curious to the opinion climate amongst the running community.



I’m Back! Dopey Training Weeks 1 & 2

After 10 weeks of no running, and 8 weeks of no high impact exercise, I can FINALLY say that I’m back to it! I’ve been testing the waters for the past 2 weeks and have had no pain in my left foot. This couldn’t have come at a better time. because Dopey Challenge training started July 1st.

Week one was a huge question. My foot had started feeling better, but I wanted to give a solid week of rest before I started testing it. I didn’t even weight lift that week. I scaled everything back and tried not to be on my foot too much. I did get a couple of swimming workouts in. It was so hard not to test the foot further- it was feeling good and I was pain free all week. On Sunday 7/6, I decided to test a “long run.”

I intended to walk my 3 mi scheduled long run, but after 4 minutes of walking, I decided to test jog a little. I set my watch for 30 run intervals and 1 minute walk intervals and was on my way. Man did it feel good. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze, I felt on top of the world. I kept it slow and tried to focus on how my body was feeling. There was zero pain, tenderness or even a hint of discomfort coming from my foot. My hips on the other hand.. didn’t take too kindly to waking up after the 10 week nap. Hills took a bit out of me, and I was glad I was only running 30 second spurts. After about 2.5 miles though, I started to notice a light pain in my big toe on my right foot. Nothing I was too concerned about at the time.. there was bound to be some aches and pains starting up again. but after I finished, I assessed the nagging pain. My left foot (the one that was injured) was absolutely fine. No residual achiness, not painful when applying pressure; I iced it anyways just in case. The right foot however was sore around the big toe. Great. I iced that too, but it still felt a little painful over the next couple of days.

Luckily for me.. the pain subsided by the following Tuesday. Tuesday I was scheduled to run 45 minutes. I went to yoga class at the gym before hand..  no pain anywhere. then I hopped on the treadmill. I did a 5 minute warm up and then set my watch to 1:1 intervals. I found I was keeping up well  with the 1:1’s and decided to up the intervals to 2:1. I was still being conservative because this was the second attempt to run post injury. I finished the 45 minutes with the 2:1 intervals and felt really good about it. I had some slight twinges here and there and was concentrating on my feet to analyze how they were feeling throughout the run. in the end, I had no lingering pain in either foot- a successful mid week training run.

Thursday was my second training run of the week. Again, I was scheduled for 45 minutes. I decided to stick to the 2:1 intervals. I was able to maintain the whole 45 minutes on the intervals.. though I was feeling some achenes in my hip flexors by the end. But no foot pain! I was thrilled at this point because it meant that I could attempt a long run over the weekend- I was scheduled for 4 miles. I contacted my running friends Randi and Dawn to let them know the good news!

I decided to run on Sunday in attempts to meet up with my friends. Dawn had to work, but Randi was free on Sunday. In the end though we decided not to meet up. Randi needed 8 miles while I needed only 4. Since she lives 45 minutes away, she decided not to come down. It was the right decision I think, although I’m anxious to see my friends again!

In the summer time, we usually meet up at 7 am because it’s light enough to be out earlier, and usually a little cooler. I was kinda glad I wasn’t meeting Randi and slept in a little bit. I decided to just run the 4 mi course near my neighborhood instead of going up to the trail. Although the tree cover would have been nice, It was more convenient to start and end at my house. I didn’t get out until 9:30 though. The sun was up, the humidity was high, and the air was thick. But there was an occasional breeze that felt wonderful, and sometimes the sun went behind the clouds. I set my watch to run 4:1 intervals this time, and walked the first 5 minutes to warm up. Once I was off and running I felt both elation and panic. Elation being that I was running. I felt normal and like myself again. It felt so good to be one of the people running down the road instead of the person in the car driving by, watching everyone else. Panic set in when I hit the first couple of hills and found it harder and harder to breathe.  Humidity is killer in the summer time.. and I was meeting it head on.

My running weather according to Garmin

My running weather according to Garmin

A couple of times, I considered switching back to 2:1 intervals, but I stuck to my guns and plodded on. I really focused on the walk breaks, to try and slow my heart rate and re-hydrate. The last couple of intervals were tough though, especially hitting the hills. I made it though, in 47 minutes and an average pace of 11:38. Best of all.. still no pain!

This is what it looks like when you finish a 4 mile hilly run in July.. my best attempt at smiling- think my face is as pink as my shirt!

This is what it looks like when you finish a 4 mile hilly run in July.. my best attempt at smiling- think my face is as pink as my shirt!


Weeks 1 & 2 done!

Weekly mileage: 3.07 (week 1) and 11.07 (week 2)

Total Dopey Mileage: 14.14