Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage
Through the porthole on the Fantasy with the Disney Magic in the background

Friday, April 12, 2013

Three weeks and counting...

... until the Flying Pig Marathon, where I will be making my first attempt at qualifying for Boston.

Last weekend, I ran the GO! St. Louis half marathon as a training run - it fell on my 12 mile week, so what was another mile, right?  And it's always nice to have a supported run that ends with free beer and a finisher's medal.  The run went exactly as I wanted it to.  My goal was to finish between 1:45 (3:30 marathon pace) and 1:50 (3:40 marathon pace) - my time... 1:46:47, which would be good for a sub-3:35.  And with the effort I was using, I felt like I could have held that pace for much longer.  I definitely wasn't going at full effort. 

Being that The Pig is known for the monster hill (gaining ~350 feet over the course of 3 miles), Go! St. Louis actually gave me confidence that I can conquer it with no trouble.  I managed to get up Holy Hill last weekend holding steady at my average pace.  Holy Hill is a roughly 2 mile very hilly section of St. Louis, heading west on Olive - my splits were 8:08 and 8:09, and done without significant increased effort.  SUCCESS!!!

Tomorrow is my 20 mile training run.  For the last week, we have had temps with lows in the 50s & 60s and highs in the mid to upper 70s - a gorgeous spring.  Wednesday night, nasty storms rolled through and brought winter back - tonight's low is a whopping 35-degrees. BRRRRR!!  I thought we were done running in the frigid weather.  Guess not.  I'm meeting my training partner at 6:30am to get our run done before she has to head to work for the day.  After that, I get to tackle putting garden beds in at our new house.

So the cooler is packed with a Premier Protein recovery drink & a Bud Select for after, as well as a bottle filled with strawberry lemonade Nuun and another filled with water.  Breakfast (a Clif Mojo bar) is laid out for our ride to where we are starting.  Snacks are packed for my mid-run stops back at the car - pretzels & peanut butter.  My training partner is bringing bananas.  I think the plan is to do a 10-mile route to start, then meet up with the Belleville Running Club for our normal Saturday 5-mile loop, and then complete the run with a second 5 mile loop on our own.

Next weekend, I will tackle 12 miles as I start my taper.  The weekend after, my long run is down to what feels like a measly 8 miles (5 mile run with BRC followed by the local Law Day 5k).

The nerves are definitely starting to kick in - I'm scared to death and extremely excited all at the same time. 

If you'd asked me a year ago, I would have told you that qualifying for Boston was nothing more than a star in the night sky - something to look at in awe but never get to touch.  I never would have thought I'd be even looking at this opportunity. 

But my training runs thus far say I can do it.  Our slowest long run pace has been at an 8:12/mile average.  I need an 8:24 average to qualify.

My goals for The Pig remain the same - to stick with that 3:40 pacer as long as I can.  And if I'm still holding on with 5k to go, I'll let loose with everything I have left in the tank.

If it happens, I'll be living on Cloud Nine, and there will be no getting me down.  If I don't, then The Pig was a training run for my back-up... the Minneapolis Marathon, where I will get to attempt qualifying with my training partner by my side.

So tomorrow, despite dreading the idea of getting up at 5am, to be out the door by 6am, to go run 20 miles in 35-degree weather - I will be out there, all layered up, getting ready to give The Pig my best effort.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm baaa-aaack...

It's been a while since I've written anything.  In fact, since I've logged any kind of real words about my own personal training and goals, I think it has been 2-3 months!

I thought taking a break between the super-intense Rock N Roll St. Louis/Tulsa Route 66 marathon training and the runDisney Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge would give me the rejuvenation I needed.  Not so much.  The nasty cold spell we hit through January, February & most of March, including nearly a foot of snow the day before my birthday - NOT what I requested of Mother Nature - didn't exactly encourage me to get myself out the door.  Add to that the return of a nagging injury, and I'm feeling a bit undertrained at the moment.

The injury - posterior tibial tenosynovitis and plantar fascitis.  
I went to see my sports doc the middle of February with my typical mid-winter medial ankle pain, indicative of the posterior tibial tendon when it gets irritated.  He started me on physical therapy including ASTYM treatment and lots of at-home exercises.  After five weeks, it really wasn't improving so I went in for an MRI which showed the tenosynovitis (fluid around the posterior tibial tendon) and a rather inflamed plantar fascia (which has apparently caused quite the heel spur to form - looks like I have CLAW coming out of the bottom of my left foot!!).  Doc started me on a 15-day course of prednisone to try to get the inflammation down - I'm 10 days in and it seems to be working.  I'm finally back to running without significant pain.  After discussing things with my doc and physical therapist, I think part of the problem of this being a recurring injury each year is that I usually hit max mileage on my shoes around the time of the runDisney Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge.  I typically will wear a pair of shoes up to 375-400 miles.  I think in the future, I'll have to start retiring them closer to the 300-325 mark to see if that helps stave off the irritation.

Back to training...
Throughout most of the winter months, I still managed to get some long runs in despite the weather and ankle problems.  Most of these were shorter than they should have been considering my plans for the spring and early summer, but on a positive note, they were all "on pace" (or better) for my goals.

In January, I realized that I can now qualify for Boston with the 35-year-olds, since I will be turning 35 three short weeks prior to the 2014 Boston Marathon.  On May 5, in Cincinnati at the Flying Pig Marathon, I'll be making my first real attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  (I say real since I had very lofty ambitions at the 2012 Tulsa Route 66 marathon with BQ-ing being my "super-excited, can't come down off the rafters goal" - my ultimate goal at Tulsa was my first sub-4 marathon.  That story can be found here.)  My goal is to hang with the 3:40 pacers at The Pig as long as I can.  I don't have high hopes for my performance at this particular race since my long runs have been far shorter than what my training calls for, but I'm going to go as long as I can and see what happens.  I finally managed to get through a 15-mile training run this past Saturday.  The good news is that it was well under my goal pace.  I need an 8:24 average to qualify and I finished my 15 with an 8:12 average.

Four weeks after The Pig, I'll be making my second run at qualifying for Boston... this time with friends from the Belleville Running Club at the Minneapolis Marathon on June 2.  I think at this one, we'll be going for the best time we can get, rather than just trying to pace it out at the bare minimum.  Scary and exciting all at the same time!!

So this weekend I'll be running the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon on Sunday as a training run.  The following weekend, I believe I'll be meeting my training partners for our first 20 miler, which will make the perfect long run prior to The Pig (though I typically would want two 20-milers instead of one, but at this point, one is better than none at all).  After that, it's taper time!

Your input is requested...
Here's my current plan for the next two months of long runs.  What I need suggestions on is the week of 5/11.  I'm torn between a shorter recovery run and another longer run.  In a way, it depends on how Flying Pig goes.  If I manage to hang on with the 3:40 pacer and qualify, I'll have a 12+ minute PR and will probably need recovery.  If I bag it as a training run, I'm leaning towards throwing in another long run in the 16/18/20 mile range.  Your thoughts an opinions on this are appreciated!!

3/30 (complete) - 15 miles, 8:12 pace
4/7 - 13 miles (Go! St. Louis half - will try to get 3-5 miles in before as a warm up)
4/13 - 20 miles
4/20 - 12 miles
4/27 - 8 miles
5/5 - Flying Pig Marathon - goal is to stay with the 3:40 pacer as long as possible
5/11 - ?????
5/18 - 13 miles (Geist Half Marathon)
5/25 - 8 miles
6/2 - Minneapolis Marathon

I'm really hoping that I can pull this off as I'd love to be able to run the 2014 Boston Marathon with my "running husband", who qualified during the marathon portion of the runDisney Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hey Princesses! It's Waiver Time!

Waivers for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon are up!

Don't forget - The Fit for a Princess Expo and packet pick up are at CORONADO SPRINGS, not at the typical location of Wide World of Sports.
9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 22, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 23, 2013

Other info:
Half Marathon Course Map - Epcot
5k Course Map - Epcot

Official race program and final race instructions are up on the runDisney website too!

Corral assignments:

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 WDW Marathon Weekend Galloway Meet Up & Races

So this post is long over due, but this is the first chance I've gotten to sit down and write.

Our trip started with me realizing I'd forgotten my computer on the couch about 5 hours in to our 15 hour drive from St. Louis to Disney.  Oops!  Thankfully, that was pretty much the worst that happened throughout the trip - got it out of the way early.

Hubby and I enjoyed nine glorious days in Walt Disney World for the 2013 runDisney 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  We lucked out on the weather.  I know, I know.  Most people would say that we had horrible running weather.  Well, yeah, when you look at it that way, the weather wasn't ideal.  But for the two of us, it's more about the experience as a whole, not just the races.  Most highs were around 80 and the lows in the upper 50s.  Yeah, not great for running, but it was phenomenal park weather.

We arrived on the Thursday prior to the races, getting into Disney around 6am.  Imagine our surprise when we got to Saratoga Springs to check in and were told that our Treehouse was AVAILABLE!  We were beyond thrilled to get to take showers before heading to the expo after being in the car for 15 hours.  So shower we did, grabbed some breakfast, and then off to the expo we went.

The WDW Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo
The expo was the typical Disney expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.  Packet pick-up and merchandise were in the HP Field House, while shirts, merchandise and vendors were in the Jostens Center.  It was a madhouse.  We opted out of the merchandise for the first time ever, only purchasing one runDisney BondiBand (the black one with green writing).  For every other Disney race we have purchased the pins, but this year just didn't feel like spending the money on something that has a destination of a large bag that hardly ever gets looked at.  Maybe we will find them in the outlet stores in the future and buy them there.  (On the trip to the outlets this time, we saw lots of 2012 Princess Half Marathon pins, both medal replica & the pre-order, and tons of 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon necklaces at both locations.)

The 2013 WDW Marathon Meet Up
Friday morning started early with the WDW Marathon Meet Up.  The event announcement can be found on the Disney Parks Blog.  The event took place at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and started off with a bang.  We had a few photo ops with an empty Hollywood Blvd and the illuminated Sorcerer's Hat, which we all found particularly appealing - until the first round of guests showed up...

Mickey, Donald and Goofy all came out for pre-event photos with everyone! 

After the morning photo session, we were greeted by Bob Hitchcock and other Disney staff, introduced to our special guests (Jeff Galloway, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Desi Davila, Adriano Bastos, Frank Shorter, Dick Beardsley, etc.) and we separated into groups for the run portion of the event.  Bob Hitchcock & Adriano Bastos (10-time winner of the WDW Marathon) led the "run" group to what was supposed to be about a 9-9:30 minute/mile pace, but what ended up being closer to an 8-8:30 pace.  Jeff Galloway led the run:walk group.  The route took us down Hollywood Blvd, to Sunset Blvd down near the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rockin' Rollercoaster, where we turned around and went back towards Hollywood Blvd and continued up towards the Hat where Minnie was waiting to cheer us on.  From there we went down Commissary Lane and through the Streets of America before heading back towards the Hat and into Animation Studios.  Here, Buzz and Woody were waiting for us for a group photo op.  We put the run on hold for a few group photos before continuing towards the Backlot. 

After another loop through Streets of America, we eventually ended up finishing the run in the stadium for Lights, Motors, Action! where the remainder of the event would take place.  Breakfast from the WWoS food truck was waiting for us there, along with coffee, water and juice.  Everyone then settled in to the bleachers for the presentation portion of the event.  Here we heard from some of the runDisney staff, met singer, dancer and actor, and now runner, Joey Fatone, heard about the designing of the awesome runDisney New Balance shoe from the NB staff,

had a Q&A session with the Perfect 20 runDisney’s official training consultant & Olympian Jeff Galloway, New York and Boston Marathon champion Bill Rogers, Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit-Samuelson, athlete/television host  Dick Beardsley, Runner’s World columnist Bart Yasso and Olympian Desi Davila,

Jeff Galloway, Bill Rogers, Joan Benoit Samuelson
Dick Beardsley, Bart Yasso, Desi Davila

Adriano Bastos
heard about the importance of cross training from NFL star Eddie Mason, met 10-time WDW Marathon champion Adriano Bastos,
Eddie Mason
and got a surprise appearance from Drew Carey! 
Drew Carey & Mickey Mouse

After all the formal stuff was done, it was picture time again - all the above were joined by Mickey, Minne, Pluto, Goofy and Donald for additional photo ops.  And we even got to see Donald and Goofy doing the Cupid Shuffle!

Of course, the real end was the goody bag we got - this time it included a one-day Magic Your Way park ticket, an iFitness fuel belt, some H20 products and a Clif MoJo bar.

The 2013 Marathon Weekend Half Marathon 
Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge - Day 1

Believe it or not, Saturday during the half marathon was my first day in the parks, despite arriving in Disney on Thursday morning.  This is far from normal for us.  It wasn't necessarily planned that way, but that's how it worked out.

I ran the half marathon with my friend Bob, otherwise known as my "running husband."  (His wife Kelly is otherwise known as my hubby's "shopping wife" for the damage they did shopping together for the Magic Kingdom's 40th anniversary merchandise a few years ago.)  Bob and I have done many a mile together at Disney - having run together for a good portion of the races over the last few years.  Today, my job was to keep him under control at about a 9 minute pace, as he was going to attempt to qualify for Boston the next day during the marathon.

It was definitely a bit tough to breathe out there and I struggled with that slower pace more than I anticipated because of it, but we got it done and in good time, finishing in about 1:54.

After the race, we hung out at the finish to check in with all our friends, then went back to get cleaned up.  My post-half/pre-marathon/mid-Goofy recovery included a G-Series Protein Recovery Shake (chocolate), a quick ice bath, and wearing my CW-X 3/4 length Stabilyx tights around for the rest of the afternoon/evening.

The 2013 Marathon Weekend 20th Anniversary Marathon
Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge - Day2
I had originally thought I'd try to Boston Qualify during the WDW Marathon, but as the weather forecast got warmer, my expectations for my finishing time changed.  Originally I thought I'd try for the 3:35 I needed for Boston.  (Or at least I thought I needed a 3:35, turns out, since I would be 35 when I'd run Boston, my time is actually 3:40.)  As the weather warmed, I decided to go for 3:50.  And then the forecast got a little warmer, so I thought I'd just try to break 4 hours.  After seeing how the humidity affected my breathing during the half, I decided I was just going to run and have fun.  I fell back to my "relaxed" marathon plan of a 4:1 run:walk method which has served me well in the past.

Overall, I had a great race.  I really enjoyed the new course design with the addition of the Richard Petty Speedway and a tour of Wide World of Sports added to the usual course through the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studies and, of course, though Epcot.  The Speedway was lined with classic cars, including Herbie, which were joined by Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater.  At Wide World of Sports, we got to do a lap on the track at the Track & Field complex as well as a lap around the warning track where the Atlanta Braves do their spring training.  They also had a really awesome Mickey hot air balloon blown up within the complex.

Mile 19 at WWoS - saw my friends Grace & Mark here!
The Mile 20 Spectacular was as you left Wide World of Sports and headed towards Hollywood Studios.  It was pretty cool.  Mile 20 of the WDW Marathon in the past has been a very boring stretch of road.  There has been nothing but pavement between miles 18 when you leave Animal Kingdom and 23 where you enter Hollywood Studios in the past.  This year, they had lots of music, a stage which hosted Mickey/Donald/Goofy or Mickey/Minnie/Pluto (depending on when you ran by, for me it was the latter), and various other parade characters lining the street, as you ran under a huge banner with a picture of the finisher's medal you would receive upon crossing the finish line a mere 10k later.  I know many said they weren't impressed with this, but in all reality, it was a lot more than I would have ever expected and I thoroughly enjoyed it, after all, it was a great bonus on an otherwise very tough (mentally) section of course.

I ended up finishing the marathon in 4:18 and felt great despite the 70+ degree temps.  It was far from a PR, but I didn't set out with that goal in mind, so I wasn't at all disappointed in my performance.

As for my "running husband" that was attempting to BQ - well, HE DID IT!!  Bob's going to Boston!  Now, I just need to get my butt in gear and train to qualify to go as well.  I'm looking at trying at the 2013 Flying Pig Marathon with the 2013 Minneapolis Marathon as my back up race, four weeks later.  It looks like Minneapolis might be the easier place to do this, despite being in June, as I'll have two friends from the Belleville Running Club attempting the same goal.

Breaking the Rules of Racing
I have to admit I broke the rules of racing during this weekend.  I tried something new on race day.  In fact, I tried an entirely new kind of fuel.  I'd heard friends on the Running of the Ears forum talk about a product called Generation U Can, which is apparently the fuel that Olympian Meb Keflezighi uses.  It is a super starch that can fuel a runner for 2-4 hours of intense activity.  You mix it with water and drink it about 30-45 minutes prior to activity.  I tried the pomblue flavor, and it was pretty good for a fuel drink.  It was a bit chalky, but not nearly so much as I expected.  I didn't have any issues getting it down.

Overall, I was very happy with this test.  I had some oatmeal before leaving the resort around 2:30am on race morning.  I drank the UCan mixture starting about 30 minutes prior to the half marathon start, finishing it about 10 minutes prior to the start.  The fuel definitely worked.  Although I did carry a few gels "just in case" - I never needed them.  I never once felt like I was lacking on energy or needed something more to power through.  The only things I consumed on the course was a sip of water and a sip of Powerade at each aid station.

After success with the half, I tested the product again for the full.  I, once again, had a bowl of oatmeal before leaving the resort around 2:30.  This time, I started drinking my UCan about 45 minutes prior to the start, finishing it about 15 minutes before the gun.  It really seemed to do me well.  I had a banana when they were offered at 11.5, and followed that up with a Hershey's kiss which someone had as we left Animal Kingdom somewhere around the halfway point.  At about 18, bananas were offered again, so I ate half of one.  I finally broke down and took a gel between 20 and 21 just to make sure I had enough energy to finish, though I'm not entirely sure I actually needed it.  Of course, I had to take the chocolate (Hershey's Dark was my choice) as we entered Hollywood Studios just before mile 23.

I was very happy with the Generation U Can product and look forward to using it on future distance runs and races.  It definitely beats having to carry gels.

The Remainder of the Disney Trip
The rest of our trip was great.  On Monday, we celebrated our way around Epcot's World Showcase with our Running of the Ears friends, eating and drinking our way through the countries.

After that things were pretty relaxed.  We met up with the Owner's Locker crowd Tuesday evening and had a blast talking to everyone while watching Illuminations.

Wednesday, we moved from the Treehouses to a studio at Saratoga Springs for the remainder of our trip.  Our favorite thing about staying there is the ability to walk to Downtown Disney for lunch or dinner at Earl of Sandwich.  (Our other favorite place to dine at Downtown Disney is The Hole in the Wall Bar between Raglan Road and Cookes of Dublin.)  We also went to check out the new Disney Vacation Club Welcome Home Wednesday event at the Atlantic Dance Hall on the Disney's Boardwalk.

Other than that, those last remaining days were just typical park days.  Friday morning, we got up and packed the car for the drive home, stopping first at Earl of Sandwich for lunch and then at Epcot to get treats for the family from the Werther's caramel store in Germany.  Friday afternoon/evening we drove from Disney up to Chattanooga where we had booked a hotel for the night.  Stopped at a Georgia winery just across the FL/GA border.  (We were sorely disappointed with their wines - everything smelled great, but they had no flavor at all.)  Saturday, we made the drive from Chattanooga back home - again stopping for a winery, this time in southern Illinois, called the Purple Toad Winery.  These wines were AWESOME!

All in all - it was a great trip.  I can't wait to get back to Disney again.  Our next schedule trip is for a pre and post-cruising on the Disney Cruise Line Fantasy in September, but we may head back down in late spring for a bonus vacation.  The next Disney race we will be down for will be the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November, as I'm currently a legacy runner in that one (the ONLY runDisney race I have legacy status at, having run all 3 thus far).  Thankfully, we'll get a taste of Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival at both the cruise trip and the W&D half trip, since that is our favorite of the Epcot festivals.

See you all next time!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What to pack...

Never traveled to a destination race before?

Or maybe you have, but just throw things in the last minute when you pack, inevitably forgetting an item or two?

Over the past few years, I've perfected my packing list.  I started it the first year I attempted the runDisney Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge during WDW Marathon Weekend in 2008 to make sure I didn't forget anything.  It took a few years, but I think I've finally got everything I could possibly ever want for any trip (and some extras).

I use this now when packing for every destination race hubby & I do.  Heck, we've even used it for non-race traveling!  It's your one stop checklist for all those things you'll need for a weekend (or even a week) away.

This link is to a Google doc with all my Marathon Travel Checklist

I hope this helps alleviate some of the packing stress we all go through when getting ready for a trip!