Friday, January 22, 2016

New York City Marathon

I entered the lottery for the NYC Marathon yesterday... highly likely that I won't get selected. But I paid $11 to find out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2016

I have to admit that when I signed up for the Dopey Challenge, I believed that Josh and I could take turns running the events. When I found out that they take your photo and make sure that you're the one completing all of the races... well, I got scared. Plus, training during Thanksgiving and Christmas just sounded shitty. And in the cold??? I just didn't think it was possible about two months ago. So I got serious about my training and stuck to my schedule. There were a couple bumps in training, but I wanted to have somewhat of a social life.

So let's start with the expo... 
I woke up at six am the morning of to sign up for the special New Balance Disney shoe virtual queue. I managed to get a spot, so I was thrilled about that. They released a beautiful Ariel themed shoe that I just had to have. Packet pick-up wasn't an issue. I got some commemorative items. When I got to actually look at the shoe, I decided that I needed the Minnie themed shoe. They were both so cute.

This whole week felt like Groundhog Day. Wake up at three am, quick breakfast, drive to Epcot parking lot, get a photo, go to the bathroom, get in the corral, run, get finish photo, go back to hotel, go to sleep. Repeat. Since this was my first Disney race, I learned a little bit more each day. Like... how to get the best parking spot, where the shortest lines were for the toilet, etc.

Pluto 5k
The 3:30 am wake up wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I thought of this race as practice to get ready for the next three days. We left a bit early because I was reading about the traffic getting there. It wasn't an issue at all.

I was a bit confused by the layouts of the corral, but in the end it was really efficient. I met this nice man from St. Louis in my corral and we chatted for a while. That helped relieve the nerves. I wasn't nervous about the 5k, rather what was coming the next three days.

I loved this race!!! It was so much fun running around Epcot. There were several photo opportunities with characters, but the lines were super long. I was unsure if we had to keep a 16 minute pace throughout all of the races to earn the Dopey, so I got a bit scared. I ended with a time of 43:32, which is my personal worst. I went into this race just to have a good time and that's just what I did. I look so happy in all of my race photos!! I just wish that my husband did this race with me. It would have been so much more fun running it with someone else.

5k finish.
After the race, we went back to the hotel and took a power nap. Then we went to Magic Kingdom where I walked a ton. Smart :).

Minnie Mouse 10k
When we pulled into the Epcot parking lot, it was misting. I wasn't too concerned since it was only a 10k. The set up was basically the same as the previous day, so there were no surprises. Before getting into the corral, I gave Josh my poncho since he'd be waiting for me. While in the corral, the rain got heavier. Thankfully, it wasn't cold outside so it was no big deal.

This was another awesome and fun race. The first three miles are rather boring since we were outside of the park, but it was great for me mentally to prepare for the half marathon and the marathon. I was afraid of those boring stretches, but it wasn't all that bad.

The route went around Epcot like the 5k, but we also went to the boardwalk area. This was my first time here, so that was rather exciting (and wet).

I enjoyed myself while running around Epcot. I wanted to take it all in and not get too tired for the following two races. This is another race where I would have loved to have a run buddy. This is a fun race and not so much a speedy race. I finished with another personal worst, a time of 1:07:07. After the race, I went back to the hotel to sleep. The 3 am wake up was pretty tough.

10k finish.
Donald Duck Half Marathon
I wasn't too nervous for this race since I've done plenty of half marathons, but I knew that this race was super important and that I needed to play it smart if I wanted to finish the marathon the following day. I told myself to run 10ish miles and walk the rest. This is also the first race where we'd leave Epcot and run to Magic Kingdom. I was looking forward to running through that park.

What I didn't plan for was the one mile walk to the race start. This threw me off big time and I was a bit late getting into the corral. Also, since I was back in corral I, we didn't start until 30 minutes after the official start. The start was so exciting. Fireworks for each corral start? Awesome. I also loved that Donald Duck counted down each start. It was so cute.

I got a bit irritated at the start because I felt like I couldn't run! There were so many people walking in groups and I couldn't get around them. The race felt congested like this until we entered Magic Kingdom.

As we turned the corner on Main Street, it was such an amazing feeling. Cinderella's Castle was in the distance and people were cheering for all of the runners. This is something I will never forget.

As we exited Magic Kingdom, I started to get a bit hungry and that scared me for the marathon. I've been working on fueling and was surprised I was pretty hungry. I had a protein bar at mile eight and that helped out a lot. My knees were starting to hurt, so that scared me as well. Then my groin started to hurt and I started having nightmares about the injury I got training for my first marathon. I had all of these negative thoughts in my head, but I tried to keep positive and I literally told myself that I ran the Go! Marathon with the same injury, so I could do the marathon tomorrow as well. The mental game is pretty entertaining.

Near the finish.
I finished with another personal worst (2:36:16). Not that I'm upset about that, I planned to keep the pace slower so I could save some energy for the marathon. I stopped by the medical tent after the race to ice my knees and my groin. I probably wouldn't have done that if I didn't have a marathon the next day, but thought I should be more proactive. After the half marathon, this is how I recovered:

After icing my knees and hip/groin, we went out for Japanese hibachi and I ate a ton. It was pretty amazing. I wasn't feeling too nervous about the marathon...yet.

Micky Mouse Marathon
I set my alarm for a 2:30 am wake up. The wake ups were getting pretty easy by now. I ate my normal cereal before leaving and packed some bananas and a protein bar to eat in the corral. I got to my corral a bit earlier than the day before to avoid rushing and overcrowding. I started to get extremely nervous about the distance and started to cry. I had such a hard time controlling my emotions. I told myself that the first two to three miles were going to be hard since I'd be running on tired legs, but to hang with it. It was another exciting race start and Mickey Mouse led the countdowns. I was a bit afraid that the first six miles would be as congested as the prior day, but told myself to not let that bother me and enjoy the slower pace.

The race started at 5:30 am, but my corral didn't start until 6:00 am. There weren't as many walkers, so congestion wasn't an issue. The starting pace was slow and that was good for me. I didn't notice any pain in my knees or groin and I thought that was strange. I also didn't have heavy legs at the start like I thought I would. So strange! But the humidity.......... ugh. We started with 100% humidity. By the first mile, I was soaking wet. Luckily (or not), I train in the summer humidity in Missouri so it wasn't a big issue at all for me. I just made sure to keep the slower pace and to stop at each water stop. It was basically the same route to Magic Kingdom as the day before. I didn't spend as much time in Magic Kingdom and instead I was concentrating on the run. Could I have had more fun? Probably. But I also wanted to get my Dopey medal!!!

Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom was the WORST. We were running through their sewage treatment area and it was really hard mentally. I started having negative thoughts. I ate a protein bar and that helped a lot. As we entered Animal Kingdom, they had all these animals lined up. I loved that and got my photo with several animals. I wanted to stop to ride Everest Expedition, but I was 30 minutes too early. We hit the half way mark after we left Animal Kingdom and had to mentally build myself up. I actually told myself that I ran a half marathon yesterday and I can do it again. Hahaha, so crazy.

Animal Kingdom.
I thought I was about to hit the wall around mile 16 because the sun came out and I was feeling a bit hot. The route outside of the parks is pretty boring, so I think I was just losing motivation. We then made our way to Wide World of Sports. A lot of people hate this part, but I really enjoyed it. I knew we'd be there for four miles. Also, Josh was there so that made it better. I loved running around the ball field. I was also feeling pretty good and I was so shocked!! Where was this energy coming from???

After Wide World of Sports, we had two miles until we got to Disney's Hollywood Studios. This was my first time in this park and there were so many people there. I loved all of the people cheering. It was thrilling. We hit the boardwalk at Epcot and then I knew I was on the home stretch. I WAS STILL RUNNING. How was this happening??? I started to get so emotional. I just couldn't believe that I was actually doing it and I would soon have my Dopey medal.

I thought about enjoying my time around Epcot, but knew I could beat my Chicago Marathon time. I was so close to a marathon PR, but I missed it by three minutes. I ended up finishing in 5:04:40. I beat my Chicago time (by seven minutes) and I stopped a lot to take photos at character stops. I got the marathon, goofy, and dopey medals. I was elated.

Officially Dopey!!
Would I do the Dopey Challenge again? I'm not sure. I mean, I LOVED every minute of it, but four days of running is so tiring. I would absolutely love to do a Disney race again and I'm hoping to do the Disneyland Half Marathon to receive the Coast to Coast medal. I loved how each race was different and super fun. I loved all of the costumes and race entertainment. I really don't have any negatives. Run Disney put on an awesome event. 

I want to give a special thanks to my husband for being there for every race. Three am wake ups are hard, and then waiting around for me probably wasn't the most fun, but him being there made the mental part a lot easier.

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