Friday, January 20, 2017

Walt Disney World's Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Part 3

If you missed part 1 here, and then onto part 2 here.

Part 3 and I promise the last one.

The lovely thunderstorms that canceled the half Saturday morning brought a nasty cold front through central Florida on Saturday afternoon. The forecasted temperature for start time Sunday morning was 36 with wind chill in the 20s. I grew up in Missouri, but I lost all that toughness when I moved to the South. E and I decided to find a Wal Mart Saturday morning to stock up on hand warmers, gloves, hats, and ponchos. We woke up at 3:15 Sunday morning, grabbed our stuff, and dashed to the car to head to the race. I am so glad we drove to the race instead of staying on property and taking the shuttle buses. We sat in the warm car as long as possible. Plus we parked right next to the staging area. It was sweet. Finally around 4 we made our way out of the car. The race didn't start until 5:30, and our corral wasn't scheduled to start until close to 6, but I had to pee. We still had to make our way through security, meet with a few people, and then hit the bathrooms before the long walk to the corrals. Disney advises to give 20 minutes to walk to the corrals from the staging area. I don't think it took that long, but it is still a pretty long walk. After we met with some friends, and hit the bathrooms, we took our place in the corral. It was on the long walk that E realized he lost his watch. He had it in his hydration vest, but it was gone when he went to put it on. Luckily, he didn't plan on using intervals so he decided to run by feel. He likes doing math while running so calculation his pace every mile helped him pass the time.

We were in corral H so we had a bit of a wait before our start, and I was so happy when we finally started running. It meant that I could try to warm up a bit. I had decided to use :90/:30 intervals for the race. Disney races are very popular with run/walkers so it can get crowded in spots when a group of friends or a pace group is near you. I ran in the grass a lot the first few miles. With such short intervals, I was afraid to venture to the middle too much so I stuck to the edges so I could move over during the walk break. So many people would just stop in the middle for their walk break, and it would cause such a bottleneck. I was feeling pretty good that day even with the frigid temperatures. I have always had an issue with fuel and nutrition for a marathon. I decided to suck it up and wear my hydration vest filled with Tailwind. I had tried it on short runs and knew it didn't bother me, but I had never tried it on long runs. I hate wearing my vest because it rubs my neck, but I was tired of vomiting during marathons. Let me tell you, the Tailwind was amazing. I would sip it whenever I was thirsty, and trying to make sure to take a big gulp every mile marker. I didn't use any gels or chews. I ate 2 bananas that were given on the course, and would take some water the second half of the race to balance out the Tailwind. I never felt sick. I was thrilled. I found myself running the miles a bit faster than I planned. At about the halfway point I decided to go for it. I was going to attempt my ultimate goal for a marathon which I had never achieved. Running through the parks is so exhilarating that I never felt tired during those parts.

How can you be unhappy when running down Main Street?

He had no line so I jumped right in

I crapped out a bit around mile 18, but I realized if I hustled I could still make my goal. I kicked it into gear, then had a mental breakdown at mile 20, kicked it up again, and then lost it at 22. By mile 22 I was spent. I switched my intervals to :60/:30 and that helped. I was able to get some energy again as I went through Hollywood Studios, but I wasn't moving as fast as before. I lost a minute per mile for the last 4 miles. Plus I had a 5 minute bathroom break at the halfway point in Animal Kingdom. (Thanks to Mother Nature for giving me that lovely time of the month issue the day before a race.) I was still really tired those last miles, but I kept going. I didn't stop running during my run intervals. I was shuffling at times, but I was still moving.

Nothing like giving Mickey a high 5 at the finish line
Despite my best effort I didn't make my goal time. I missed it by 7 minutes. If you take out my bathroom break it was only 2 minutes. I hate that I have to count that time, but it is what it is. This was a PR for me. It was my third marathon in eleven months. From my first to this one, I took 35 minutes off my time. I took 12 minutes off from my MCM time. I was pretty proud of myself. It is easy to run and have fun at Disney. The crowd support is great. The signs were funny, and people were giving away food along the course. I really had a great time. I have said this would be my last marathon, and it will be for now. With everything that is going on this year, training for one would be difficult. I have told myself to take a year off from that distance and consider it again for 2018. I really want to get my half time to under 2 hours which will be my goal for 2017-2018. Oh yeah, and run healthy again. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Walt Disney World's Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Part 2

If you missed part 1, you can find it here.

I left off on Friday night. E and I were preparing for the half the next day when we started noticing rumors floating around social media that RunDisney was going to cancel the race. There was a chance of storms Saturday morning, but the chance had gone from 100% to 50%. Sure enough RunDisney started releasing information about the weather, and they would have an update at 7pm. E and I kept refreshing everything as we watched pictures roll in from the resorts showing signs stating the race was canceled. Finally around 7:15, the announcement was made. Race is canceled. Social media exploded. Everyone starts asking questions and freaking out. People were crying. I was pretty disappointed when I heard the news, and honestly, a bit pissed. The weather didn't look that bad, but I guess they had enough reason to think it would be. As the night went on, I started hearing stories about how people were going to run their 13.1 miles anyway. They would head out on Saturday and run around their resort to complete the miles. I was going to join until my head hit my pillow and I decided that sleep and rest would be better for my angry legs. A nasty storm did move through during the night when the first of the volunteers were scheduled to be out. I was out at 7am, and there was lightning. They did make the right call. Lightning in Florida is horrible, and I can understand  they did not want to endanger volunteers, employees, and runners. As for the ones that ran their own race Saturday, it was awesome. I saw so many pictures of hundreds of people doing laps around hotels to finish their miles. Spectators lined up to cheer. Employees set up water stations and snacks for the runners. There were even toilet paper finish lines. It restored my faith in people and reminded me that runners are awesome.

Now all of this caused an issue of people claiming that it wasn't the race so the miles didn't count, and so on. I am in the camp of it was great that people went out there, they did not complete the course so the challenges weren't true. It became quite the debate all weekend. Despite the lack of race, E and I still made the day fun. We fixed our half marathon shirts to reflect the true mileage for the day.

 We also made sure to find Donald while at Epcot so we could take a sad picture with him. He was pretty sad, too, that his race was canceled.

Ignore my face. Apparently I can't make a sad face.

We finally called it a day in the late afternoon. E and I knew that we would be running the next day, and it would be the big one. We made our way back to the condo to prepare for the marathon. It was going to be a cold one. To be continued...

***Sidenote: I have never experienced a cancellation of race. It is pretty disappointing to train for so long only to be told you won't be running. I will give RunDisney some credit. They provided runners 3 great options as an apology for the cancellation. Legally they didn't have to give us anything. I was impressed with how generous they were.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Walt Disney World's Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Part 1

I am breaking this into a few parts since it was a crazy weekend.

Many months ago I registered for Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. For those not familiar with RunDisney, it is a challenge where you run the half marathon on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday. 39.3 miles over 2 days. It used to be the only challenge for the weekend until they introduced the Dopey Challenge a few years ago that includes running the 5K, 10K, half and marathon over 4 days. 48.6 miles for those dopey people. I didn't think it would be that bad until I started my back to back long runs in November. It took a bigger toll on my body than I realized. My legs were already sore after coming off MCM training. Then I throw in back to back long runs, and my legs were pissed. I have been suffering from shin splints since July, and then I developed some odd foot pain that I can't diagnose. I was completing my runs, but much slower than I anticipated. I knew I would finish the challenge, but it was probably going to be my slowest half marathon and marathon to date. After I finished MCM I said that Goofy would be my last marathon so I was going into it looking to have fun. My plan was to use run/walk intervals to save my legs for the marathon. During the half I was going to use a :60/:60 ratio and take all the pictures I could. For the marathon I planned to use 2/:30 because I didn't want to be out there forever. I had my plan in place, and now it was time to use it.

We went down Thursday afternoon so we could hit the expo and pick up all our stuff. The girls were running the kids' races Friday and we didn't want to be rushed in the morning. My brother and niece were flying in from Kansas City to vacation with us and watch the girls while we ran. Their flight was supposed to arrive at 11pm, but thanks to delays did not arrive until 3am. It was a short night of sleep for them. Thankfully they were troopers the next day, and we didn't have to get up too early Friday morning. Our plan was to hit the kids' races and then head to Hollywood Studios for a bit. E and I wanted to get to bed early Friday night since we would be waking up at 3am Saturday morning for the race. Plus everyone was tired from the delayed flight fiasco. The girls had awesome races. Meeghan ran the 200 meter race, and Hannah ran the 1 mile.

 Yes, they had matching outfits except for the skirts. I wish I looked as good as them when I run.

After our afternoon at Hollywood Studios, we went back to the condo to enjoy some pizza and prepare to run 13.1 miles the next morning. As we would find out just an hour after eating dinner, our plans would change dramatically.

To be continued...