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.



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 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 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 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.)


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.

mile 3 candid

Mile 3 – sign on the gate behind Epcot


World Showcase, 10K style


Running around the world!


On mile 4 we saw Genie…


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.


Running down Disney’s Boardwalk


View across the lake


Coming off the Boardwalk and heading towards the Yacht Club Resort


Crossing the bridge towards Disney’s Yacht Club Resort


Lighthouse at the Yacht Club near mile 5


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


Race selfie!



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!


There she is!


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!


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!


nothing like the finish line!

Dawn and I finishing behind Mike

Dawn and I finishing behind Mike


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


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.


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:


Dopey 2015!


Proud 10K finisher in the candy store!


Mr Potato Head!


To infinity and beyond!


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.


Splitsville at Downtown Disney


Enjoying our drinks- cinnamon toast coladas!


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.


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 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



Dopey Training Week 26- Christmas in NY!

Happy New Year everyone! I’m starting mine off right with a 45 minute run.. my second to last Dopey training run! How crazy is that!? But, that’s for my week 27 post.. I’m here to go over week 26!

Week 26!

Week 26!

My husband and I arrived in Farmingdale NY for Christmas vacation on Monday. We made great time for the 200 mile trip. Since I ran so much in the previous 4 days for my second Dopey trial, I of course took the day off to rest. We did our annual tradition of hitting up Starbucks for lunch and coffee, then went to visit one of my husband’s friends. It was a really nice visit. We got to see the house they purchased earlier in the year and got to meat their 4 month old daughter, Quinn. (SUCH a cutie!) Later. we enjoyed a nice dinner with my father-in-law and his girlfriend.

Tuesday my husband and father-in-law did a brake job and oil change on my husband’s car. While they were working I went out for a run. Surprisingly, after all the running I did the previous week, I felt pretty good and wanted to try and get out. At the end of my 23 miler Sunday, my left knee was hurting and I walked the last 5 miles. At this point, my knee felt pretty good, so I decided to venture out without my knee brace. It felt pretty good for a while, but then after 2 miles, the pain was creeping in. By mile 3, I was walking. It wasn’t that bad as I wasn’t too far from the house and knew I could just finish out whatever time it took me to walk.. although I knew I needed to use my brace from now on. I felt pretty positive about it though.. I was very pleased with how much it had healed in only 2 days.. kept me optimistic that I’ll be ok during Dopey.

Tuesday night we visited my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. Nothing super eventful, but it was nice to spend some time with them. My husband’s grandmother had suffered a pretty bad stroke close to Thanksgiving and spent a long stint in a rehab facility. she’s doing much better right now and has been staying with my mother-in-law. It was scary, but she seems to have most of her functionality back. She is a little out of it, I must say, due to the meds she’s on.. but it was great to see her up and about, and for the most part, with it 😉

Wednesday, I rested. We spent the day and evening at my father-in-law’s house. My husbands other grandmother and his aunt came to stay a few days and we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas eve dinner with the family. After dinner we talked a while and visited with my brother and sister-in-law. They had to leave early to go to another dinner, but we got to watch them open their gifts. Later we had dessert and played cards before retiring to bed late.

Wednesday was Christmas! My husband and I got up, had a quick [cookie] breakfast, then headed out for a run. It was a pretty morning, overcast at first, but the sun came out for a bit. It also was pretty warm, and I only ended up wearing one layer to run in. We ran around the neighborhood for a while, getting in a good 45 minutes. I wore my knee brace this time and I hated it. It made my leg heavy and wore it out fast. BUT I had zero knee pain the entire run.. so I’ll go with it!

After our Christmas morning run!

After our Christmas morning run!

When we got back, we showered and gathered with the family to open gifts. My Father-in-law gave me a wonderful Ravens zip up hoodie! We also got a carbon monoxide detector (we already have one, so this one is extra protection!) a figurine from Willow Tree, some spending money, and my husband got a ridiculous heavy duty HEAVY shop vice.. which we nick-named “the anvil”.

My new hoodie goes with my hat ;)

My new hoodie goes with my hat 😉

Me, my husband and brother-in-law

Me, my husband and brother-in-law

My husband and me with his father grandmother and aunt.

My husband and me with his father grandmother and aunt.

After gifts we got ready to head to my husband’s aunt’s house for Christmas with his mother’s side of the family. This year, the family decided to use a website called Elfster to do a Secret Santa gift exchange. It’s a really cool website- it allows you to invite participants and set up a wish list. Then the website will randomly assign you a person and you get them something anonymously from their list. Worked perfectly, and it was fun to see who had who and who got what. My husband’s Aunt had me… and I got a Fitbit One! It’s really cool! I’ve even taken it for runs and it’s pretty accurate. It also has a sleep monitoring function to let you know how much and how well you sleep at night. Very cool little tool. I’m even able to link it to my Sparkpeople account so the steps and other data gets imported.

My husband got new Bluetooth enabled earphones, a medal rack to display his medals from the Baltimore 5K and Disney 10K (when he gets it) and a new long sleeved tech shirt. I had my sister-in-law, and she only had one thing on her list- an Amazon TV box.. so that’s what she got! My husband got his mother. She requested a gift card to Kiehls, a beach house, and a million dollars. at first we rolled our eyes because she wasn’t taking the wishlist seriously.. but then we came up with a clever gift to give. We ordered a sand-dollar ornament with the picture of a beach house painted on it, as well as a blank check ornament, which we wrote out to her and put 1,000,000 as the amount. She loved them!

beach house ornamint

beach house ornament

check ornamint

check ornament

After the gifts, we had dinner.. which was impressive because we were sitting around eating appetizers before the gift exchange. We had so many yummy things.. meatballs, eggplant rollatini, baked ziti, chicken Marsala, salad, and garlic bread. I’m not sure why the absence of veggies, but it’s Christmas, and tis the season to indulge right? Everything was fantastic and I was so full by the end. I did manage to squeeze in a mini cannoli and a little homemade red velvet cake for dessert. Definitely over did it, but it’s only once a year.

setting up for dinner!

setting up for dinner!

Friday we relaxed and took it easy. Eager to test out my Fitbit (and wear down a little post Christmas eating guilt) we took a walk down into town to a great little Thai place for lunch. I wore both my Garmin and my Fitbit. For the walk down, my Garmin logged 1.74 miles. I checked the steps and mileage on the Fitbit and it came out to around 1.6 miles. Cool! For the walk back, I logged 1.75 miles on the Garmin, and the Fitbit logged around 1.7 miles. Great! We spent the afternoon and evening watching a couple movies.

Fitbit steps

Fitbit steps (after our run on Saturday)

Fitbit miles

Fitbit miles (after our run on Saturday)

Saturday my husband and I did our long run. This was my husband’s peak week, and longest run to date. I was scheduled for 6 miles- he was scheduled for 6.5. We settled in the middle and did 6.37. We started out in the neighborhood, but made our way to a local bike/running trail. It took us a little over a mile to get there, then we followed the trail for about 2 miles. It wasn’t as nice as the NCR trail, but it followed a stream and gave us a little taste of nature out in the crazy crowded suburbs. My husband was NOT excited about this run.. and kept telling me he didn’t think he could make it. But we just kept trodding along… and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. Bright and sunny.. and in the 50’s! Amazing for late December on Long Island! I did wear my brace and it felt a little less cumbersome this time around. Near the end I was feeling a little pain, but not the same pain I had been feeling previously, so I wasn’t too concerned. My husband said he struggled during the last mile, but he pushed through. Couldn’t be more proud!

Post 6.3 mile run!

Post 6.37 mile run!

Week 26 long run

Week 26 long run

We showered and did some laundry. Then we packed up a bit and re-organized our stuff. We spent the next couple of hours relaxing on the sofa and taking naps. One of my husband’s friends were having a Christmas cocktail party in the evening, so we got ready and headed over. It was so nice to see friends and catch up. I talked a lot about Dopey and running.. a few friends were very interested in attempting to get back into running and/or training for longer distances. We cut out around midnight, as we were heading back to MD early in the morning.

So, not too much exercise last week, but we had a pretty great trip! ONE more training week, then we get to head to sunny Florida!

Total mileage in Week 26: 13.46 miles! (3 hrs,  6 minutes of running!)

Total Dopey training miles: 421.92

Week 26 Activity Report:

Week 26

Week 26: Total workout time: 4 hrs 9 minutes. Cross training workout time: 1 hr 3 minutes.