Friday, April 28, 2017

Star Wars 1/2 Marathon-Dark Side Challenge

I know it's been about a week, but I'm finally taking the time to think about the race and review it.  Simply put, the race was better than I expected and I did better than I was expecting.  I did better than expected even while I was running.

The race was not easy by any account.  I was still a bit tight from the 10k, although stretching did definitely help.  I kept a pretty decent pace and was able to run/walk a really nice pace for longer than expected.  The morning started off nice, the overall temperature was cool, but the humidity did start pretty early.  I think this was the first race that I wished I ran with a sweat towel because I was sweating pretty decently and my shirt was just as wet.  I've learned that when it comes to running pictures, it's all about wearing a shirt that hides the sweat.  My roommate commented that I always wear the same shirts at these races, and it's because I take good pictures in them!

Around mile 7 I was used to the humidity and the pace, but that's also where I started hitting my walls.  My knee decided to give up first, but with the help of Biofreeze and a little walking and stretching, it survived until the end.  It actually started to feel decent enough around mile 8.5.  My legs started to get a bit tight, but they never froze up like they have in the past, which was impressive.

Considering I haven't run more than 4 miles since the start of the year, I was really happy with all that I was able to accomplish.  I knew it was going to hurt and be a struggle, but I really surpassed that.  In all honesty, my only goal was to get to the finish line and I did that with a time that wasn't far from some of my best.  It made me excited to see what I can do healthy and even halfway trained.

Overall, I really liked the course and it seemed like the photo stops were going over well.  All the stops had long lines and it made me happy that while I like Star Wars, I didn't need pictures with anyone.  In Hollywood Studios they had multiple stops with storm troopers, which helped shorten those lines.  The 501st legion was also there cheering on and taking pictures of the runners.  I really liked the course because while there wasn't a lot of park running at the beginning, we got to take up the whole road and really spread out.  I think that helped later on and also helped me get into my pace.

I would definitely run the race again, but because I'm a fan of some of the other themes, it may not be my first choice.

After the race we went to Epcot to celebrate and enjoy all Epcot has to offer.  We got fish and chips from England for lunch and it was some of the best fish and chips I've ever had.  Walking was definitely a good idea to help everything keep moving and relax, but the heat eventually killed us and we returned home for naps and movie night.  It was definitely a great day and everything was worth celebrating.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Star Wars Dark Side 10k

This race showed up quicker than I was really expecting, or hoping it would.  After all the difficulties in training and changes in my everyday life, I knew I wasn't ready for this race.  I had barely gotten over 3.1 miles in any of my runs and it was just on frustration after another.  Regardless, the expos are always fun and help get you excited, and I was running with friends who were either in a similar position as me or were being super encouraging.

The expo was really non-eventful.  We got in, picked up our bibs and race shirts, and then went to explore the expos.  There were some fun things as always, but nothing I was dying to have.  I guess not being the biggest Star Wars fan (I like it, but don't need stuff from it) finally helped me out.  I think this was the first time I actually left the expo without buying anything.  My wallet and bank account were thankful for that.  It was still fun in the expo and was exciting to see how they changed everything to the star wars theme.  A nice addition- Senses Spa was there and offering manicures and massages.  I did try on the race shirts, which I typically don't like, and they actually fit nicely.

I spent yesterday relaxing before the race, visited the pool, finished my homework, and then made dinner and watched TV.  I felt good, slightly restless, but I want to feel that way cause usually it means I'm ready to run.  I was right...

The race was early as usual, but totally worth the people watching.  The people did not disappoint!  So many awesome outfits, a couple crazy ones (one guy ran in just a speedo and shoes).  My friends and I spent the morning relaxing, talking, and just people watching.  They were playing clips from the movies, trailers, and even had the trailer for The Last Jedi.  Eventually we made it to our corals, and eventually the time came to run...

Starting at the Magic Kingdom parking lot definitely helped with spacing.  We spent about 3 miles on the open road, there was plenty of room to spread out and get around people.  I could hold a decently steady pace and had plenty of room to stop and walk if need be.  The first long stretch was kind of boring compared to other runs, but it was a good time to just run.  That's more than you usually get at these races.

Running through the parks was fun as always.  Since we had spread out on World Drive for the first half, the crowding in the park, and more importantly the Boardwalk/Beach Club areas.  I remember that being the worst/hardest part of the marathon all those years ago.  Rumor has it, that was the worst crowd spot during last years race as well.  Flipping the course so the constructed areas were at the end, once we had all spread out.

The character lines were massively long, but I wasn't shocked at all.  Again, another good reason I'm not a big enough fan that I needed all the pictures.  I actually think my picture days on the runs are coming to an end...

I do have to say, apparently the Swan and Dolphin had some sort of 5K (At least I think it's those hotels) and they ran it on top of our race.  So there was a section of dodging random, non-runDisney runners, and it appeared they were getting lost and going out race.  Hopefully Disney will be explaining to those hotels all the problems... I get it's great to take advantage of an opportunity such piggy backing on another race, but then make sure you're not screwing the main race up.

Everything was pretty normal at the end.  Met up with my friends, took pictures together, ate some of our snacks, and then decided to go home.  I got my little nap and stretching is next on the agenda.  Tomorrow is double today... it's going to be interesting, that's for sure!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Best Laid Plans...

You know how that lovely saying goes... Ya, I was feeling good, excited for the races coming up and then life struck with a super nasty cold.  I don't think I have been this sick in a long, long time.  I had so much pressure in my head and I could tell when storms were coming because it got that much worse.  My nose was running like a faucet, I had a cough, and my energy was gone.  It was such a turn around from where I had been feelings just a few days before.

So I took the time to rest and recover (partially because I had no choice).  I got as much sleep as I could, worked probably too much, and took all the medicine I could.  Eventually I started feeling better.  A few days ago I got back out on the street and I could still feel the cold gripping my chest and lungs and the fatigue plaguing my legs.  My run ended up being mostly walking, but the fresh air was beneficial.

After another run I managed to make my way into the gym and found that spinning actually felt really good, especially considering the two runs before it felt so rough.  Since I had been on a streak with Nike+ I decided to get back out on the road tonight and I finally felt decent.  My legs were really pushing, even when I thought I needed to rest, and I got through more of a 5k without feeling too bad.  It's amazing how finally kicking the cold can help so much.

So it's less than 2 weeks now until the Star Wars 1/2 marathon weekend.  I have a few more spinning classes that I can get to, a few circuit workouts on the calendar, and of course a few more runs.  Not sure I'll get any super long runs in, but we'll see.  I do have to say I've been excited that a 5k really has become my minimum.  There would have been a time I thought 2 miles would be my minimum, but I think I might be able to make it 4 soon... who knows, maybe even 5 and then 6 closer to Dopey. 5k for sure is the minimum no matter what now a days.