Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not There Yet

I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be able to train like I'm really supposed to for this marathon.  I took the last few days off in order to prepare for a 23 mile run today and only got to 14 miles.  My knee just locked up and started grinding and it really made me start second guessing everything.

My biggest worry right now is that my knee will act up during the run which will cause me to walk a long way or even force me out of the race.  I'm hoping with the bio freeze spots and a few more weeks like this one, I'll be able to get my knee ready for the race.  If it gets bad enough that I can't finish, well then... they'll pull me kicking and screaming.

So far, this training has definitely been some of the hardest training I've ever done.  I don't think any of the test sets, training camps, or anything my coaches put me through with swimming adds up to the training this marathon is taking (don't tell my coaches of course...).  Currently I have no idea how people run marathons after swimming and biking... Ironmen (and women) is definitely the right name for those individuals and as always, they have my utmost respect.

Where my training will go after this... I don't know.  I think I might do my own thing for the next few weeks, rest before the race, and give the Disney World Marathon my all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Heart of An Athlete

Right before the Wine and Dine half marathon, when I was supposed to be "resting" I discovered some news that at the time I thought was Earth shattering, but has luckily been handled.  I found out that I had been wait listed for vacation time on the Sunday of the marathon.  They adjusted the rest of the week, but not the ONE day I needed.  My parents said I was over reacting, but at the time, all I saw was all my hard work going down the drain...

I knew my friends, family, and coworkers all knew how much this run meant to me.  Of course it's the 20th anniversary so that was a big deal, but it was also my very first full marathon.  That's something I never thought I would even consider doing and here I am actually getting excited about it!  So of course it was a huge disappointment that I wouldn't be able run.  I have literally put blood, sweat, and tears into my training and I could see it just evaporating into thin air. As weird as it was, it was like getting a broken heart and instead of it being over some boy (because men know better), it was over the race.  That's the heart of the athlete... Some call it dedication, others call it obsession, I call it love.
Now that I've calmed down and talked to my managers, I've been assured that one way or another, I will be getting that Sunday off.  Whether I trade the shift or get an authorized day off, I will be running in 2 months from today.  To say my stress level has fallen in the last few days is an understatement.

And yes, the marathon is in 2 months... 61 days... that's it!  I have 2 long runs left, a 23 miler and a 26 miler, but considering I've gotten my 20 miles in, I've relaxed in that sense too.  I do want to get at least 1 to 3 more 20+ miles in before the race, but we'll see how that goes.  I did read that since I did get to 20 miles I should be fine as long as I can keep my base up.

I really can't believe I ran 20 miles last week, but I did it and I'm extremely proud of myself.  It's interesting seeing just what I'm capable of, especially the things that I didn't think I would ever be able to do... like a marathon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hello Brick Wall- Wine and Dine Review

I want to start of by saying, yes running 7 miles before the half marathon probably wasn't one of my best ideas... actually it's probably somewhere around one of my worst ideas.

I had a lot of time to wait between when I parked my car and when the race started.  It was almost 3 hours in total, but luckily I had met up with some friends so we sat around and talked and stretched together.  I'm not going to lie, I was slightly jealous of the person who was able to fall asleep a few feet away from us...

The start was pretty typical of runDisney starts.  There was the nice archway you ran under and plenty of fireworks.  Actually, they had more fireworks than normal.  I was in Corral C and we had fireworks going off next to us for the first corral!  They also had high fireworks as well as the low ones around the start.  It was a pretty cool start from the fireworks perspective.

I was impressed that there was a character just after the first mile of the race.  When I got there, it was Goofy, but he soon left and was replaced by Chip and Dale.  Totally didn't mind, especially since I saw Goofy on my way back.

The run through Animal Kingdom (miles 3.5-6ish) was really cool.  They had a lot of animal based characters (Rafiki and Turk, Pluto, Fantasia Ostrich and Hippo...), but the coolest thing for me was seeing the Tree of Life lit up at night.  Tried to get a picture in front of it, but it didn't work out too well.

Between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, I really started getting tired and sore.  My calves started burning and my energy levels just plummeted.  I should have had gu or something like that, but alas, I didn't.  I've learned my lesson, trust me.

The course around and through Hollywood Studios was interesting conceptually.  Realistically, it was a little boring.  I knew what was coming up again (The Osbourne Lights) and that's what kept me going. You actually ran around the outside of the park on the main road leading to Magic Kingdom with cars speeding by.  I saw a few runners get close to the car lane and got a bit nervouse, but luckily nothing happened (at least when I was there).  You ran a lot backstage, but they did have Wreck-It-Ralph there to get pictures with!  It's nice they brought out a new character!

The Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is always on of my favorite holiday traditions.  I actually went on Thursday with my roommate to see them get turned on on the first night.  My suggestion, if you can get there at dusk and see them get turned on... that's where the magic is.  The lights and the magic and memories connected with them helped push me through the rest of the studios.

To get from the studios to Epcot, you actually ran past the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club resorts, which, funny enough, is actually my vacation run.  If it weren't for all the people crowding the sidewalk around me, I probably could have run it with my eyes closed.

The run in Epcot was pretty much a straight shot right to the finish.  You came into the park near Journey into Your Imagination and then headed straight out where they have most of the finishes.  I wish they had brought Figment out, but it was late and that area was crowded so I guess I understand...

It was great have the mass of spectators in the park though.  The cheering and peer pressure (don't want to stop that close to the finish in front of everyone) helped me get to the end.  Just after the 13 mile marker there was a laser show kind of making a roof for you to run through right before your turn into the finish line.  It was really cool...

Chef Mickey and Minnie were at the finish cheering us on and giving high fives.  I always wish I could take a picture with them, but I'm not selfish enough to steal them even for a second from the other runners who are finishing as well.  Plus they were at the pre-race area and I just passed it up because it looked like a hour or more wait.

Overall, the run went well.  The wall I hit at mile 6 and then again at mile 8 (which lasted me the rest of the run) was a pain, physically and emotionally.  I tried to alternate between walking and running, but it really was a compromise between my calves and legs hurting or feeling like I was going to throw up... I deal with physical pain better than getting sick so that also helped me run for a while.  That was my athlete's determination really coming into play... there was NO way I was going to pull out of the race and that's the mentality I kept.

What did I learn?  Not to run 7 miles before a half, although I do have that marathon coming up which will be 2 halves pushed together.  Also, bring food!  Whether its a banana, cliff bar, gu, or whatever... this was the first time I really realized how important that extra nutrition and electrolytes really are.

Now it's 2 months and 2 days till the full... what have I gotten myself into????

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Day Has Come

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon has finally arrived... or well will arrive at 10:00 tonight.  I personally star the race sometime around 10:10 as I'm in Corral C (as usual).

I was able to get to the expo yesterday between work and the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  They went back to the packet pick up in one building and the expo in the normal Jostens building.  It did help cut down on the clutter and mob that's typically at the packet pick up and expo.  They also create two official race merchandise areas so I was actually able to go in and get a shirt as well as one of the other pins.

At the expo itself, I was given my goodie bag which had my shirt in it and some of the other info pages.  I really do appreciate that runDisney has gone to a virtual goody bag and aren't giving you a ton of ads that you're just going to throw away.  So I guess in the past, they've given the party goers tickets for one or two food/drink samples, but this year they've given us a $10 gift card instead.  Whether or not we use it at the party... that's up to us.

As usual, the expo took quite a bit of my money, but they were really good buys.  1 "want" item and 2 "need" items.  I already have a "I Thought They Said Rum" shirt from One More Mile, but it was short sleeved and I wanted to wear it tonight... So I got the long sleeved version (The "want" item).  I also go a bright yellow reflective shirt and vest for running at night (The"need" items).  I've been running a lot at twilight times and I've run at night in the past.  I knew I needed some reflective gear, but had yet to find any... until yesterday of course.

I also got some of those energy gel blocks for training and a commemorative poster from the company that does the medal frames.  I've realized I'm probably going to stock up on all these posters if they keep doing it!

I was good and passed up a $46 dollar shirt that was awesome, but not $46 of awesomeness.  It was one of the glow in the dark villain shirts and the one I needed was the Captain Hook (one of my all time favorites... especially now that they've, um, modernized him in Once Upon A Time.

Now that race day has come, I'm ready... or at least I hope I am.  I got up and ran 7 miles this morning and it felt really, really good.  I'm not too sore and I feel like I can get this 13.1 miles in.  So that way I get my medal, pictures, and party and get my training caught up for the marathon since this week was supposed to be 20 miles.

Less than 8 hours now... check back tomorrow for updates.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eat To Run? Run To Eat? Less Than A Week!

The runDisney facebook page posed this question today for its followers:

 "Would You Rather: Share a three course meal at the Food & Wine Festival or share this 13.1 mile course at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon this weekend? Or both?"

Personally, it depends on the restaurant.  Three courses from Victoria and Alberts, Flying Fish, Citrico's, or any of my other favorite restaurants... definitely the 3 courses (usually more in all honesty). However, 3 courses from some of the others, I might just take the run.  Still, I live by the whole "Eat to Run, Run to Eat".  Eating keeps me fueled for running, and running keeps me from showing all those meals I have enjoyed, especially when my parents have been visiting.

Now the post did have a great addition, the course for this week's race.  It looks like a lot of fun with about 7 miles inside the parks.  I'm interested to see what they'll do on some of the long roadways/boring parts.  Hopefully it'll be a little bit more interesting than Tower of Terror's time on those roads.  We'll see in just a few short days.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Slowly Catching Up

Considering all the candy I ate last night (thanks to the lack of trick-or-treaters), I really needed to stick to my plan and complete my long run this morning.  Now, I've been fighting my legs and all the different problems they seem to have for a while now, but I think we've finally come to an agreement (or at least a compromise).

Earlier this week I was able to get in a nice 5 mile run... it was one of my best feeling runs in a while.  It gave me hope in all honesty.

So this morning I was able to build on that 5 mile run and get in 9 miles.  I was debating 10 miles, but my legs were already burning, it was cold out, and I didn't want to push myself too far and create anymore issues.  Anyway, next week I have the Wine and Dine Half Marathon so that's when the real pushing will happen.  Next week I'm supposed to run 20 miles, probably won't happen but I've been playing with the idea to run 7 miles the morning of the half and then the half that evening which technically equals 20... right?

The great thing was that I only had 3 miles that were at a 10+ min pace, most were around 9:50 or below which got me really excited.  So maybe while my endurance was having issues, my strength and speed were actually improving, I just didn't see it.  I'm still nervous considering the marathon is just about 2 months away, but I know I'll finish it one way or another. Maybe I'll finish hard, maybe I'll crawl across the finish line, or maybe I'll stop in EPCOT on my last mile and cross the finish line with a few drinks... who knows, either way I'm finishing.