Post Disney-Feels and It’s Go Time!

How has it already been three weeks since I completed the Goofy Challenge? (Part 1, Half, Full) Aside from some lingering hamstring tightness from the second day of my trip, I feel great. I spent three weeks recovering, running as I pleased, and deciding what I want to do next.

As I shared my recaps, I am still so proud of myself and over the moon about how I did during the Disney Marathon. I feel like I’m stronger than I could ever believe, and I truly can do hard things.

As I expected, I also went through the post-marathon blues. I almost signed up for a March full, thought about training for a “speedy” 10K, almost spent all my pennies to go down for Star Wars weekend, so on and so on. I really did struggle with what to do next.

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Y’all, running after a marathon is HARD.

Last Friday, it finally hit me. I want to run faster. My biggest running dream (besides running the Athens Marathon) is to run Boston. Obviously, I have a really far way to go before that happens. The first step is to get faster, and truly work to do it. So I’m dedicating my spring to a half marathon PR.

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This is scary, really scary. My half marathon PR was so unexpected and random, and I’m still not sure if it was a fluke or not. I’m not so sure it’s attainable. But I’m putting it here to keep me accountable. I’m going to attempt   to break my 2:09:05!

I have some specific steps to do this:

  • Follow a half-marathon training plan (with speed-work!): I’m following Lindsey Hein’s plan that’s up on Zappos. It’s been so long since I’ve done “just” a half-marathon plan! Between now and march, I’ll be doing longer long runs than is called for, as I have Rock N Roll DC in early March.
  • Actually cross train and do strength work: Yeah, thats always a goal. I’m going to be buying a spin bike soon, so it’ll happen.
  • Do more running and less intervals!: Galloway intervals work for me, but they’re also a way of keeping it safe. I’ll be using them for easy and recovery runs, but I plan to run more during long runs and speed days.
  • Clean up the diet: I’ve been working so hard on this since the marathon. I’m addicted to my new ninja blender, and I’ve been making healthy swaps. I’ve even started to like kombucha (WHAT?!)

My goal race is the Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon on May 6th! If it’s not my day, I have a back-up planned for two weeks later. Right now, I’m having a hard time being really excited for the race. I’m doing as much reading about it as I can now to find a connection to the race and my training (which is key for me!)

2018 Goofy Challenge Part 2 – Walt Disney World Marathon Race Recap

On Saturday January 6th, I ran my first marathon of 2018 and my 3rd marathon overall! This was the second part of the Goofy Challenge (13.1 + 26.2) and I was so excited to see what I could do over 26.2 miles after having a pretty strong training cycle. I was slightly nervous because my legs definitely weren’t feeling “fresh,” and I had been sick just the week before.

Saturday, Post 13.1: After the half marathon on Saturday, I took a short nap before my mom and I headed over to Disney Springs. We had a delicious lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, which is a regular spot for us during our visits. I had great parmesean chicken + pasta to keep my levels up for the next day. After a couple of hours of shopping around, I was starting to feel tired and very nervous for the day ahead. At this point I had put over 20 miles on my legs that day. We headed back to the hotel for a similar routine as the night before. Dinner in the food court (chicken, rice, and brussels sprouts), a warm bath, feet on the wall, and putting out my gear had me ready for bed!

Sunday, pre-race: Because I spent so much time just standing around on Saturday, I didn’t get up quite as early. Thankfully I slept much better and I slept until around 2:45. Unlike my first two marathons, I felt very calm as I got myself ready and out the door. After grabbing some cereal at the food court (it was perfect the morning before) I was onto the bus and on my way to Epcot once more. This morning was warmer than the previous but because I was dressed in less clothing for the race it felt much colder. I sat in the starter’s village for probably a good 45 minutes before making “the trek.” I stayed pretty warm in my sweatpants, fleece blanket and mylar blanket but I was wishing I had my bathrobe from Saturday!

Getting to the corrals felt much longer this day. I happily chatted up some other  marathon runners to help feel less alone in the sea of people! I started to share my 5:00 goal out loud, and that started to scare me. I ended up sitting in front of the porta-johns for a while so I didn’t have to get in and out of my corral. TMI but I couldn’t just do the deed, ugh! Thankfully I packed an immodium (#runnersprobs). I entered my corral (D) just before 5:00 and was still towards the front. Unlike Saturday, I didn’t stand to see the pre-race show. I sat to save my legs and try to stretch a bit. At 5:30 the race started, I began to de-layer and of course, had to go to the bathroom. Yesterday there were no lines at the porta johns at .8 miles. I was sure I could make it that far!

They released more “mini-waves” in the corrals during the marathon, 25 starts for 25 years. I actually loved that they played music from each year. For the 3rd corral they played Mmmbop! Around 5:20, my corral was off!

Miles 1-5: Let’s just say it now – every single porta john area had lines bigger than the corrals. WTF People?! But honestly, that sucked. I was still working for that 5:00 time, so I told myself to hold it until I could get to one without lines). Nevertheless, these miles were the exact same as they were the day before. I was calmed when my mom said that she made it to the Magic Kingdom and set into a good rhythm. I was running 60:30 intervals at a very even, easy pace. My watch was almost right on with the mile markers. (12:01, 11:43, :47, :48, :42)

Miles 6-10: Once again, the Mile 5 marker was right at the Magic Kingdom entrance! I slowed to call my mom to make sure that I saw her, and I was so happy when I did! I also turned off my interval timer to enjoy the Magic Kingdom. After stopping to see my mom, my #1 goal was to find a bathroom! The first two in the park had bad lines, but thank heavens, I finally found some with no line. Sweet relief! I felt so much better after. I made my way through the castle again and found my mom once more! I was on cloud 9. After mile 6 we were out of the park and back onto the roads to head toward Animal Kingdom. It seemed much more crowded than the day before and I had a hard time finding a spot to run/walk. Eventually, the 5:00 pace group (which started about 3-4 minutes behind me) caught me and I made it my goal to stay with/ahead of them as we headed to Animal Kingdom. (12:29 (stop for my mom and bathroom!), 12:28, 11:30, 10:55, 11:08)

Mom was much more successful than during the half!
Attempted the jump shot…

Miles 10-15: The first half of this segment had us heading past the water treatment plant (so smelly!), through boring “cone alley” and towards Animal Kingdom. These few miles were pretty boring – there were a few things on the side of the road, but not really any characters. Around mile 12 I was starting to get some chaffing under my arm, so I stopped to get some vaseline from an aid stop – what a godsend! I was stoked to see the animals when going into the park. I really wanted there to be a warthog! I was disappointed when I only saw two mules. Maybe the good stuff was on the other side of the road?

Anyways, around mile 13 we finally entered the Animal Kingdom park – my favorite! I regret not stopping for a picture with Timon and Rafikki, but was making good time and wanted to keep trucking. At this point I had my watch taped, so I didn’t know how far ahead of the mile markers I was. When I arrived at the 13.1 marker I took off the tape to see I was already .5 miles ahead of the mile marker, crap. I can make up some time, but that’s a lot of time to make up! At that point I decided to keep running 60:30 intervals at the same comfortably-hard pace, but understood that even with that, a sub-5:00 wasn’t happening. Since I was running so fast (for me) I decided not to up my intervals to 90:30. Anyways, after about a mile that brought us through backstage AK and the parking lot, we were back on the highway for the trek to ESPN Wide World of Sports (WWOS). I was thankful to stop at another aid station for them to have sunscreen. Not only sunscreen, but the kind I normally use! (I’m allergic to many. As a redhead, this sucks). (11:08, 10:50, :41, 11:03, :11)

Miles 16-20: I was dreading this part of the race, due to race recaps I’d read. It was 2.5 boring miles on the highway, then another 2.5ish weaving through the (WWOS). I was doing really well until about mile 18. I had just stopped for a quick picture with Pluto (my first of the day), but when we hit mile 18, I started to feel a little off and depleted. Since my 5:00 goal was out the window, I decided to just have fun. Between miles 18-20 I stopped for pictures with Minnie, Goofy and Mickey/Donald. I also had a banana – I’ve never done this in a race but it was seriously a lifesaver and I felt so great after! I will definitely take advantage of them in future races. I was thrilled running through the baseball stadium and through the mile 20 marker. “Just” a 10K (or 7 miles) to go! Physically and mentally I was feeling great! (10:59, 11:00, :19, 13:52 (Minnie), 15:14 (Goofy))

Miles 21-26.2 (or 27): Coming out of ESPN WWOS felt so good! The course widened and we could see runners behind us and cheer them on. I was completely giddy when I saw Jeff Galloway ahead of me just before the 21 mile marker. I knew he started with the A corral and must of fallen back (his wife and I went back and forth during my WWOS stops). **Back story: I obviously run using Galloway intervals. I passed him at mile 8 of MCM 2016, and then he passed me at 24 when I was struggling hard. It felt like redemption to pass him.**  I shared my gratitude for his training methods, and sped by. Anyways, then I just felt super strong heading up “the hill” and towards Hollywood Studios. I started chitchatting with some other runners which was great and helped pass the time.

Around mile 23 (I think?) we headed passed a candy stop (skittles, YESSS), I stopped for a picture with Oswald as we were heading in for our short jaunt in Hollywood Studios. Honestly it was so short that I hardly remember it aside from the fact that I took more candy (nerds) from strangers and it was incredible.  After Hollywood Studios, we headed towards the Boardwalk. The course got so narrow here and it was really hard to keep going at a decent clip. When we got onto the Boardwalk proper, it did open up and on my god it was beautiful!! I was completely taken away by the beauty, as well as the crowd support. When my watch dinged for 25 miles (well, like 24.4) I knew we were almost to EPCOT! It took so much not to cry. I was almost there and feeling FANTASTIC!

EPCOTTTT!!!!

And then we crossed “international gateway” and were in Epcot, running around the world!! We made it! There were so many people everywhere and seriously I’m surprised I didn’t ugly cry. I totally cried a little but thankfully I was wearing my sunglasses :P. I turned off my interval timer to just enjoy the experience. The mile 25 marker was special for the anniversary, and it really hit me then that I had met this goal that I set when I was in high school. One bummer was that I really wanted to get a wine slushie (France), beer (Germany), and/or a margarita (Mexico), and I had reached the World Showcase before it officially opened at 11:00, so most of the stations were closed! I also was bummed that many of the princesses weren’t out yet. I did get pictures with Snow White and Mulan just as they were coming out though! Then it was the rest of the jaunt through future world, under the ball, past the gospel choir, and to the finish!!! (15:15 (Mickey/Donald), 11:26, :40, 12:58 (Oswald), :17, :14, 10:53)

I DID IT! My official time was 5:21:36. Even with all of my stops and running .8 miles over, it was still 12 minutes faster than my first marathon! I was so proud. I ran this the day after a half marathon, with tired legs and having been sick the week before. I felt freaking fantastic. Sure, I was a little stiff, but nothing on me hurt or felt injured. Unlike my first two marathons, I didn’t feel like I was going to puke after. It was a success.

Just for kicks and grins, I looked at Strava to see what my time was without stops. With stop time taken out, I ran 5:04 for 27 miles. This equates to a 11:18 pace, which if I ran only 26.2 would have been around a 4:58. While my 5:21 was my time, I was really happy to see that my average running pace was a sub-5:00 pace while running 60:30 intervals the entire time. I can run a marathon. I can do it. And now I have the confidence to know that I have a sub-5:00 in me.

Post-race celebration: My mom and I got on the bus quickly, showered, and were off to the Magic Kingdom ASAP! I had been dreaming of post-race nachos from Pecos Bill’s Tell Tale Inn Cafe since I registered, and boy, was I ready! I seriously went savage on them. My mom and I really enjoyed our half-day at Magic Kingdom. By 8:00 I had walked/ran a total of 38 miles for the day and I was DEAD. When we got back to the hotel I finally had one last Mickey ice cream sandwich, my post-race beer (there’s no alcohol at MK), packed, and collapsed in bed.

My last celebration was breakfast at Chef Mickey’s the morning after the Marathon. This was a complete surprise for my mom to end our trip and it was definitely one of the highlights!

This was a long post, so if you made it this far – thank you! I plan to share one more post on my big takeaways from the trip, highlights, and what’s next. I can’t believe the experience is over but I’m so thankful that I took the risk and signed up for the Goofy Challenge!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My mom also got me a rose – how sweet!

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

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

 

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2018 Part 1

Hello from somewhere above the southeast. Yes, I’m totally starting this from the plane on Monday evening because I simply have so many feelings to share from this amazing weekend. Yes, I just said amazing. That may be a spoiler but if you saw my instagram you already know that the WDW Marathon Weekend was full of smiles. My heart is so full and I’ve never smiled so much while running.

I met all of my goals for the half marathon and while I didn’t clock that sub-5 for my full, I am probably happier than I would have been if I did. More will be coming up about the races soon but first I would like to share some thoughts on the RunDisney experience. Not everyone had/will have the same experience as me, and I’m sure other race weekends are different but this is how it was through my eyes.

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As you would know/expect, running at Disney is freaking expensive. But in all honesty I found that it was worth every single penny. The races themselves were impeccably organized. Transportation to/from the events from my resort (Art of Animation – on property) was as smooth as butter. I was back to my hotel within a half an hour of finishing, which was huge for recovery between the half and full. The aid stations (medical and water) were plentiful and well stocked with products and amazing volunteers. The course entertainment when not in the parks was fantastic and made the miles fly by. While I know many Dopeys had a bad expo experience, I went on the second day and it was very smooth. And obviously, the swag is top notch.

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The actual of running this race was just as positive as the energy that I found at the Marine Corps Marathon. I was afraid this was going to be my view coming out of this weekend, but I’m not sure anything can beat the races themselves. Even if I wasn’t at Disney World, this would have still been a top EXPERIENCE. However, I as at Walt Disney World. Nothing beats running down Main Street USA and through Cinderella’s castle. I didn’t dress in costume but I love seeing everyone who did. Seeing the Mission Space ball and knowing that you’re almost there is just incredible. This was the best running experience ever. I will do other marathons, but nothing will compare (until I run NYC, London, or Boston (someday) ). The energy, camaraderie, spectators and volunteers were simply incredible.

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Yes, I’m on THE BIGGEST runners high right now. I’m expecting quite the post marathon/vacation blues to hit within the  next few days. It’s taking all I have not to scrap all other race plans for the spring and sign up for a marathon. After the races are over I’m still spending #allthemoney on merch (which I did not think I’d do). 

 

It’s Time to Go The Distance – Goofy Challenge Pre-Cap

“I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong” – Michael Bolton, from Hercules

It’s time, it’s time, it’s time! Well, almost. I don’t leave until Thursday but my bags are packed and ready to go! Having registered for the races and booking my hotel 10 months ago, I honestly felt like this week may never come. I’m having some mixed feelings going into the races, but it would take a lot to wipe the smile off my face until I get on the “not-so-Magical-Express” back to the airport on Monday.

Of course, I’ve been training pretty hard for these races. It wasn’t quite the buildup I hoped, but I feel prepared to run a marathon. While I’ve been running great long run paces, I still don’t feel as “in shape” as I did for my first two marathons. While I did run 17, 18, 19, 20 miles on double weekends, I didn’t run those numbers as often as I normally would. And even though mileage wise it’s not that much less, I do like running two 10’s and two 20’s before race day from the confidence standpoint.

Mostly to keep myself accountable with race plans, here’s how I plan to run out the big kahuna double race weekend.

Saturday – half marathon: SLOW SLOW SLOW. I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t set a new PR WORST in the half marathon. I mean, like, 12:30-13:00  miles. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll do 30:30 or 60:30 intervals. I have never run at 30:30, but I feel that’s my best bet to conserve energy. It may depend on how cold it is – if I’m too cold doing 30:30 I’ll definitely do 60:30. I also plan to stop for all the character stops that I so desire and just have fun.

Sunday – marathon: This is where things get wonky. Seriously, it’s stupid to think that I can run a PR the day after running a half marathon. But how my training went, I feel that I am so capable of potentially succeeding if I have a perfect day and maybe a little pixie dust as well. So while a PR isn’t my utmost goal, it is on my mind. The first thing I’m going to do is tape my watch. Because the #1 goal is to have fun, I really don’t want to be stressing. There are mile markers where I can generally see where my time is, and my tracking splits will get sent to my phone.

Just a little throwback to ’97. I was always a Goofy fan.

My run plan is to run 60:30 through the half and then up to 90:30, which is similar to how I ran the NJ Marathon (I think I did 10/16.2). I’ve run consistent long runs at 11:30 and below paces easily while running 60:30, so I don’t think it will affect my speed negatively.  I do not plan to stop for character photos in the first half of the race. When I get to mile 13, I’ll re-evaluate. Am I on pace to potentially PR? How am I feeling? If I’m on pace and feeling good, I’m giving myself permission to go for it, and I’ll re-evaluate at mile 20 and keep going. Maybe I’ll stop for desirable photos with short lines, maybe I won’t. If not, I’ll just to to finish and have fun and stop at whatever photo stops I want. First and foremost, my #1 goal is to have fun. I’ll probably cry going down Main Street USA and I’m totally okay with that. If I were to set time goals, my heart is set on that 4:59:59 mark.

Another thing I’m really excited for is to make videos! While I was burnt out in November, watching videos that runners filmed during the WDW Half and Full really helped to keep me looking forward to this weekend. I first watched these videos while (unhappily) on the treadmill, and I cried three times in the gym. Seriously. I’m excited to pay it forward a little and make my own! Filming video, let alone talking on camera and editing is completely unknown territory for me. I’m excited to see how the videos will turn out. Hopefully they will help someone out like the videos kept me going. I still have been watching at least one of these videos a night before bed. I’m also excited to make a video of memories for my Mom, family movie style. To do this I considered borrowing a friend’s GoPro but ended up buying a small point+shoot camera with good image stabilization. AND IT’S PURPLE!

For those who’ve come across my small little blog while I’ve been training for this race, let me know if you’ll be there! I hope you all have a wonderful race (races?) in the most magical place on earth. While my blog isn’t much, it keeps me motivated and helps me reflect. I truly believe reflecting is a huge component in success. And to my few regular readers, you can (almost) finally stop hearing about Disney for a while! I’m so ready for this daunting task to be over, but I know when I cross that finish line on Sunday, I’ll also be a little sad (*crying as I write this at work*). I’ve been dreaming running the WDW Marathon for 10 years, and it’s finally happening. I hope it’s everything that I have dreamt of!

Goofy Challenge Training – Taper Time

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

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

Week 16:

Tuesday: 5 miles easy

Friday: Napped through my run time – oops!

Saturday: 3 miles moderate effort on the treadmill

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

Weekly total: 20 miles

Week 17:

Tuesday: 4 miles easy

Wednesday-Thursday: Sick. Ultimate taper!

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

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

Weekly miles: 12.5.

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

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

 

2017 Goal Recap and 2018 Goals

I seriously love this time of year because I have so much to write about! I’m not one who has super unique post ideas or makes workouts. However, I have become quite good at reflecting and it has made a huge difference in my running.

This time last year, I set out with five goals for the year. In June, I looked back at those goals and updated them. Here’s what came about six months ago:

  • Run 1,000 miles –> Run 100 miles/month and 1,200 miles for the year.
  •  PR in one distance –> Run at least 1 more PR this year.
  • Run 1 more sub-2:15 half marathons
  • Run a running club race.
  • Foam roll/injury prevention 2-3 times a week.

Now that December is almost over, here’s how I ended up:

  • I have hit 1,200 miles for the year! I didn’t hit 100 miles in July, but did in every other month. I hit 1,000 miles during a race, as well as 1,200 miles – how crazy is that! Goal met!
  • Run at least 1 more PR this year – I ran a course/12 mile PR at the Charles Street 12 Miler. While it’s not a traditional race distance, I’ll take it. Goal met!
  • Run 1 more sub-2:15 half marathon: I ran a 2:12 in April. Since June, I have only ran two half marathons, which were two of my slowest (I wasn’t in shape for a PR in either circumstance). However, I did run a 2:03 at the Charles Street 12 Miler in August with a big negative split. My last 4 miles were in the mid 9’s. Seeing as I finished with plenty of steam and if the race were longer I likely would have finished around 2:12-2:13, I’m giving myself this one. Goal met! 
  • Run a running club race: I ran the Too Hot To Trot 10K in August. It was very low-key, and it was also more than .2 short. I ran it in just under 59 minutes, so if it was full-length, it would have been a minute or two short of a PR. I would love to join the Baltimore Road Runner’s Club again in 2018. However, most of their races are on Sundays and I work on Sunday so it just doesn’t work for me at this time. However, goal met!
  • Foam roll/injury prevention 2-3 times a week: Uh, lol. That was funny. I definitely did not stick with this. I’m good if I touch my rollers twice a week, which I’m paying for with continued quad tightness. I do need to try harder. I still firmly believe in my warm epsom salt baths, and try to take one every week or two.

In terms of running goals, I really couldn’t have had a much better year. I met many goals, ran injury free, and have had a pretty good training cycle for the Goofy Challenge. I did hit a 2-3 week road block in November but I ended up in a better place after it.

So, what’s next?

  • Run a Sub-5:00 marathon – With 2017’s 5:03, I am so, so close! I’m doubtful this will happen at Disney, although I’m confident that I could do it if I didn’t have a half marathon to run the day before. At this point I don’t think I’ll be running a spring full, making this a fall goal.
  • Try new things – 2018 is going to bring many new things for me on the running front. I’m excited to do more trail races and new distances. My cousin and I are planning on getting a Trail Ragnar (VT) team together, and with BibRave I’m hoping that we can get a team together for Ragnar PA. I also intend to put my name into the lottery for the Mount Washington Road Race. I also hope to do some different (and smaller) races locally.
  • Stay healthy again! This will especially be important in January as I recover from the Goofy Challenge. Continuing to use run:walk intervals and running at an “easy” pace will continue to be mainstays, as well as trying to implement more strength training again (without going too hard like I did this year)
  • Further work on increasing run:walk intervals – Once I started Goofy training, I began using 90:30 run:walk intervals regularly, and used 120:30 intervals for speed work and tempo days. I also like to use 120:30 for races. I dropped back down to 60:30 as my main interval in November to lower the pressure on myself. I am excited to increase my ratios once again.
  • A PR in the 5K, 10K or Half – I don’t love setting time goals, but I think it is important to go for at least one next year. I would be thrilled with a sub-60 10K (I am at 1:00:27 right now) and a sub 2:08 half (I’m at 2:09:05 right now).

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

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

Let’s look back at how week 15 was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facing My Holiday Hurdles: A Day in the Life

*Disclaimer: I was originally provided with a pair of Aftershockz Trekz Titanium as part of my work as a BibRave Pro. However, all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!*

I love when people post “A Day in the Life” posts, and I have even shared a couple myself! I think it’s great to look into others’ lives and see how their days go. Especially people who are super social media and blog savvy – seriously. Do you gals work?!

As we all know, this time of year is especially crazy. Not only are we in the depths of the holidays, but I’m also in my peak week of training for the Goofy Challenge. I’m trying to get all my reports at work done before Christmas and subsequent vacation. I set yesterday (Thursday) as a great day of my life to share – busy, but typical. Who knew that things would change a little!?

Wednesday, 10:30 – settle into bed, charge my Aftershockz, and watch my nightly Disney marathon/half marathon video. They’re keeping me going these days!

Thursday, 6:00 – I finally get up and out of bed (planned wake-up: 5:30). I hop in the shower and make the most of my morning. These days, instead of running, it’s grocery shopping and chores. This morning I have laundry to fold (it had been sitting for three days) and tried to meal plan for the days ahead. I was hoping to find a dessert to bring to Jake’s family’s Hanukkah dinner this weekend, but failed.

7:30 – I look out the window – we got snow last night? A whole dusting? I find out that my morning pre-schools are on a 2-hour delay. This saves me a commute to east Baltimore and gives me more time at home!

8:15 – Clean off my car and head to the clinic (it’s a private practice, speech, occupational and physical therapy clinic for kids). This morning I’m listening to Christmas music. Many days, it’s podcasts. I’m at the office by 8:45 to make coffee and clean my office a bit.

9:00 – Start to work. I had 5 kids scheduled for the morning between 2 schools and the clinic, but with the delays and cancellations I’m down to only one – so crazy! I have lots of time to get paperwork done. I didn’t get anything submitted, but I’m very close on three out of my 8 reports due. I make some more pictures for a visual schedule for my one kiddo, and he screams my ear off for 30 minutes. While I’m doing paperwork, I’m listening to Star Wars music with my Aftershockz! I love these headphones because the signal reaches when I’m walking around the office, and I can still hear what’s going on while I listen to my music!

12:30 – The start of my afternoon break. I work split shifts, which makes for a really long day. I try to make the most of my 2:15 in between my shifts. I used to go to the gym most days, but I’ve started to run from the office more often. I’m changed and out the door just after 12:40. I use my run to get a dose of Harry Potter on audiobook.

1:40 – I’m back to the office after my run. I’m seriously light-headed because I had hardly ate that morning, oops. I have a salad in the fridge but need more so I run out for lunch and bring it back to the office. I try to keep my door closed so I’m not bothered during my break, and it actually works today! I listen a a little more Christmas music before I need to get back to work.

2:45 – My second shift starts. I typically have 6 kids on Thursday afternoon. I have one cancellation, but also have one random kid that was dumped onto my schedule. We play some verb games, read some books (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell this week), work on some sounds, and play with Play Doh and Mr. Potato Head. The toys have purposes, I swear. In the middle of all this, my friend bails on our plan for the evening, which adds some stress to my day.

6:45 – Since my last client cancelled, I leave work early! I’m off to the movies to see the new Star Wars!! Thankfully, my roommate came and met me, which lessened the blow of another friend bailing. I planned to eat an overpriced dinner there, but their menu was broken and they refused to tell me prices. So I ended up with a dinner of popcorn and an icee. Not ideal.

10:45: The movie’s over (it was fantastic) and I’m home within 10 minutes! I should have had some real food, but I was beat. I opened my mail to find my secret santa gift from the Oiselle Volee DC/MD/VA gift swap. It really brightened my day! I still feel like I have so much to do. My room’s an absolute disaster and I can’t decide if I’m going to do a race on Saturday as part of my 20 miler.

11:15: Realize that I can’t get everything done in one day. During the Holidays, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I listen to some  music (more Star Wars, duh) while I get ready for bed and crash, hard. I set alarms for 6:00 on Friday (my day off!) but deep down, I know I won’t be up until 7 or 8.

The holidays are great. You get to spend time with family in friends, hopefully get a little break from work, get to shop and give to others, and eat delicious foods. They’re stressful as well. Make sure to take care of yourself. Eat well (which has been my struggle this week), get enough sleep, and understand that you just can’t do everything in one day! Today I still have to run 10(ish?) miles, get car insurance/registration straightened out (I need to register my car in Maryland by the end of 2017), make Christmas gifts, prep for 20 miles tomorrow, and do more laundry. But I also want to work on my Christmas puzzle, go to Old Navy, start getting stuff together for Disney, write some more posts, bake some treats and make a nice dinner. Will it all happen? Probably not. What I do know, is that my aftershockz will make it all a little more festive and manageable!

What are some of your holiday hurdles?

What are some of your favorite holiday albums/songs? For me it’s Hanson – Finally it’s Christmas (song and album), Straight No Chaser, and the Barenaked Ladies Christmas album!

Running in 2017: A Look Back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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*don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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October + November = 3 5Ks with friends!

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

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

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

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