race recap: walt disney world 1/2 marathon

I can’t believe my first half marathon is OVER! Training seemed to fly by and the past week has just flown. We woke up at 2am to drink coffee (lots and lots of coffee!), eat something (half a bagel with PB2) and get dressed and ready to catch our shuttle.

We got on the one from our hotel (a perk of staying at a Disney property!) at 3:50 and headed toward the parking lot of Epcot where the start/finish line was. It took about 30-40 minutes to drive the short distance. The roads were packed with half marathoners. We were urged to take Disney’s own transportation, but for people staying off-property or who live in the area there wasn’t a way to take it. When we finally got to the area, we got off the bus and walked close to 10 minutes to find the port-o-lets. Too much coffee! Each port-o-let had a huge line, so we got in one and made our way up. Mom came with us for this part. Originally we were thinking we would need sweaters in the morning from the chilly air, but not this morning!

When it was closer to 5, mom left and headed to the spectator spot at Cinderella’s Castle. She got a ChEAR squad package that let her have special access to front-row viewing. I think she’s glad she did that, and got a t-shirt and blanket to wear as well! There was a spot for bag drop-off. We didn’t need to do this since mom would be at the finish, so we passed on by and headed into the cluster of people ahead. There were more port-o-lets on this side with even longer lines, and somehow we funneled through them in the crowd to start getting into the corrals. This walk was super long! Along the way we got on an off ramp with more port-o-lets and decided to take the opportunity to go again before waiting to run.

We finally got to my corral (I was C, Kinley was B but decided to hang back to run together). At 5:30 the wheelchairs went and then were followed every 7 minutes or so by another wave. We took this time to take a few pictures, obviously :). They had large screens up so we could watch Donald and the gang count down for each corral. Each corral got a countdown, and each corral got a fireworks show. Of course the first fireworks were the best and biggest, and scaled back from there. In no time, it was corral C’s turn and we were off! We were stuck in a hoard of people, not able to keep anything better than a 12:30 average, below what we were wanting. Some were dodging left and right, weaving in between runners, but that was difficult then we were running together and didn’t want to sprint to pass by others. We thought it was going to thin out, but it never did…

The first part of the race went pretty well except for incredibly slow. Probably why it felt okay! It was all on roads/highways so there was no scenery until we reached mile 5 – 5 1/2 and got to Magic Kingdom. We had to go through a few tiny doorways to navigate around to actually get in the park, that caused even more traffic back-up. I loved running through Tomorrowland. It was still really dark out and it was nicely lit up with a ton of music blasting – just what I needed to give me motivation! (Side note: I decided to run without music for this race and I never missed having it! I still had my iPod on to track my time and splits but only looked a few times since it was clipped on my bra.)

Right before getting to the 6 mile mark, it was time to run through Cinderella’s castle! This was a really neat experience and definitely the highlight of the run. Right after we got through, we managed to spot mom yelling at us from her ChEAR squad station and decided to go over by her to get a picture of us. We were stopped for a couple of minutes and I also handed her my back bib because I had already sweated through it – whoops!

After the short diversion, we went on our way again through Frontierland and then out of the park. Again. The next 6 miles were on a highway and/or a backlot of Magic Kingdom. It was tough. After the 10k point I realized no race I had ever done is further than that, so I was headed somewhere I had never been. The miles between 8 and 11 are the dimmest for me, I think I was partly zoning out, largely freaking out, and tired from navigating through all the people. At one point along this stretch Kinley asked if we wanted a picture with Chip and Dale. Even though it would have been nice to stand and wait in line and rest a bit, the line was also 10+ people deep so it would have meant making it to the finish even later. I tried to not be concerned with time during my training runs, but I still had some expectations. Within the first mile of the race I dropped all expectations and just wanted to cross the finish and get my medal, but I thought stopping at Chip and Dale would have made the last stretch harder than it already was going to be.

Lovely Disney decided that at the 10 1/2 mile point they would send us up three hills, that would last for a good mile and a half to the finish. I remember Kinley and I were headed up the exit ramp and she looked over and said if we picked up our pace we could finish in 2 1/2 hours. That was tempting and even though I had nothing left in me, I prepared to run up the hills at a faster pace than the rest of the race. It was tough, and I was mentally and physically drained. I knew I could cross the finish, but I didn’t think I could make it in 2:30. I stopped and walked to catch by breath a few times, but I managed to keep my legs moving. The last half mile was in Epcot and I barely remember running this at all. I got really cold and shaky and felt lightheaded and the finish line was not getting any closer. There were so many twists and turns I kept thinking “at the next one, I’ll see the finish!”, but it never happened. There was no long straightway to the finish, only one filled with twists and turns. Right before the finish line came up, Kinley grabbed my arm and practically pulled me across the finish line. We somehow managed to get the exact same time. 2:30:54. With 6 seconds to spare in the 2:30’s.

Once through the finish line, I was real lightheaded and tried to keep my legs moving to go forward to get some nutrition and one of the blanket things to help me warm up and get rid of my chills. We stopped by the medical tent to see if they had Powerade, but they only had water and no salt packets or any electrolyte recovery anything. We kept on our way and I had to stop along the side for a bit, being yelled at to “keep moving” from one of the volunteers. Sorry guy, but if I move I might pass out so just give me a second. I got my race medal, and yelled at Kinley to get her own when she was about to walk away without one. Dork.

We then encountered multiple huge lines of people waiting for food. We passed these by, but I grabbed an orange while walking – sorry to bud in front of you person, but all I wanted was something fruity and to get out to sit down. We saw mom in the distance and were yelling at her, and she was looking in every direction that was not us, so we had to get out quickly so we wouldn’t lose her. We got there, and I promptly sat down and ate a couple slices of my orange. I was feeling weird, and not really like I wanted to be eating so I just sat there for a bit, looking at my medal :).

We took a few finisher pictures here too since we went around the Disney photographers to avoid yet another line. I still can’t believe I have finished a half marathon. It seems surreal and if I wasn’t in a huge amount of pain today I wouldn’t believe it :). Once we got back to the hotel, mom went and checked at our cafe to see what they could make gluten free. Turns out they could make special Mickey waffles with Bob’s Red Mill mix! They also used applesauce and apple juice (probably for kids with dairy allergies too). Disney is awesome with allergen-friendly cuisine and we will definitely have to go back for these waffles again!

With the race starting around 5:45 for us, finishing by 8:20 and getting back to the hotel by 9, we still had most of the day ahead of us!

disney 1/2 training: 10 miles

So it appears I took a little break from blogging this week. While many people were off and on an extended holiday, I was back at work on Tuesday and ended up having a very busy week. I was also coming down off a massive sugar high… getting a filling… and doing random time-sucking activities such as Pinterest and being around to let the furnace guy in to check out why our furnace was all of a sudden not quite working so great. I kept feeling a day behind at work, thinking it was the day prior each day so I was fairly unprepared for Friday to get here! I luckily (for relaxing purposes) have a three day weekend again, but then only two days of work and we’re off to FLORIDA for the Disney marathon! I really can’t believe it’s less than a week away…

This morning on my training plan was a 10 mile run. My first double digits! Sister decided to go 11 miles to finish out 2011, but I’ve decided I was definitely not ready for that. Plus, Sister also got a Garmin for Christmas and we ran together on Monday – my Nike+ on my iPod was around 10% off, meaning I was running 10% too little. I re-calibrated it so hopefully it’s a little closer to the actual distance and I really did go 10 miles today! Definitely feels like I did…

My weekly running this week was rough. I think a combination of my crappy sugar-filled diet over the weekend did not help matters, and I’ve been having this weird pulled muscle pain/knot under my right shoulder blade that will not go away. Needless to say, I did not have high expectations for this run. Running 10% more than I was used to on a 10 mile run that I’ve never run after two of the worst runs I have had all training long. Sounds like I’m ready for next week, huh?

Anyways, after not expecting much I didn’t end up doing too terrible. My shoulder was sore/tight through most of the run but it did seem marginally better post-run, so that’s a good sign that it’s not aggravated by it (I think it’s actually from a day-long coughing fit I had last week and has nothing to do with running). I decided to run out 3 1/2 miles and then come back and run another 3 mile loop. I would avoid some rolling hills this way and be fairly close to home at a few points if I needed to stop back for anything. I left at 9:15am and the weather was really sunny and in the 40’s – at least closer to Florida weather than it could have been! Overall my run went much better than Thursday’s 5 mile and finished with a 10:47 average – definitely not a speed demon, but as long as I can cross the start and finish line next week I’ll be happy!

I know I’ve already said it, but I can’t believe my first 1/2 marathon is a week away! Pretty sure I’m going to be a ball of nerves Friday night/Saturday morning, but being able to put on my finisher’s shirt and wear my Donald Duck medal will be worth it! One other thing… tomorrow is 2012?! Where did 2011 go? Yikes.

Happy New Years!

disney 1/2 training: 9 miles

I hope you guys don’t mind a brief break from the 12 days of cookies. We will resume tomorrow, but I wanted to keep up with my running recaps! Today on my half marathon training plan was a 10k – 6.2 miles. Well, I have been enjoying my long runs lately and my legs haven’t been real tired, so I thought that I would benefit more from another longer run to help with my confidence. I decided this on Tuesday, so I had plenty of time to chicken out if I wanted ;). Plus, if the weather turns to crap one of the next two weekends, I won’t be out a long run and thus feel incredibly unprepared for 13.1. The forecast was in the 20’s (definitely an improvement from 11° last week!), so it seemed like a good thing.

Well, I woke up this morning at 7am to our first accumulating snowfall of the season – seriously?! Luckily it was like a 1/4 of an inch (if that), so just enough to make it look like a coating of powder. It was in the 20’s, just like it was supposed to be and at least there wasn’t any hidden ice anywhere! In the morning I had my coffee (with my FAVORITE Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk – not sure what I’m going to do without it!), as well as two rice cakes with PB2. I sat around for a bit and then headed out at 8:39am (what would I do without Nike+? I had zero idea what time I left without looking). I tried to wear more clothing than last week’s freezing run, and ended up a little too over prepared with too many layers… oh well, maybe one day I’ll learn haha.

I felt slow the entire run and like I was working hard, and I didn’t have any sense of what pace I was running until the end. I think part of why it seemed like I was working so hard was that I was pretty sweaty and couldn’t easily shed any layers. My gloves were off, but it’s so annoying to carry them with you the entire way! I took a few shorter walking breaks throughout the run, but took a longer one at the 4 1/2 mile mark to take my Chocolate Clif Shot – I absolutely LOVE these things! I bought 7 of them at the store last night and they probably thought I was crazy.

After that point I felt loads more energized and the last half went much quicker, even though I was fairly consistent pace wise throughout. I really didn’t think I was going an average of 10:09 per mile… my iPod must need some calibration or the snow was helping me slide along or something. I think I also do better taking short walking breaks, because it makes me feel like I can go faster during the running portion since I know walking is there as an option whenever I end up needing it.

Once I got home, Sister was in a very pissy mood and I made her sign up for a full marathon. It’s amazing what I can talk people into. I should have been a lawyer. One of the best things about running 9 miles is the fact I burned roughly 1,059 calories. Definitely had some room for extra cookies today, but my appetite has been weird. I’ve felt really full all day and haven’t really had that much to eat compared to normal – not sure if it’s the running (abs hurting), or all the sugar from this week finally catching up to me! Oh well, my appetite will probably be back with a vengeance tomorrow and there will be no stopping me from devouring our new cookie creations :). Just have to be sure to snap some pictures first!

disney 1/2 training: 8 miles

It’s official. I have now run 8 miles. At one time. Last week did take me to somewhat of a new level at 7 miles, but I think I have (once) run that distance in the past. 8 miles? Never. So today was the day. And nothing like a 10′ day to get my butt in gear!

I recently found Runner’s World What to Wear for Runners guide to help with what you should wear depending on the temperature, wind and weather conditions. It was 10′, 7mph wind, sunny and I like to feel “in-between”. It said I should wear a winter hat, running tights, a long-sleeve shirt, a jacket, gloves and sunglasses. Well, I was already wearing earmuffs, running pants, a t-shirt, a pullover jacket and gloves, so I figured I would just stick with that. Turns out I should have switched my t-shirt for a long-sleeve shirt… guess I know better now! Could have gone for some warmer gloves as well!

So how’d it go? Besides absolutely FREEZING, it went well! I think the colder air made me zone out more and run faster to try to warm up… which never happened. I ran straight the first four miles, took a short walking break to eat a Clif Shot Energy Gel. I got a chocolate one this time and it was sooo good. Just like brownie batter! I took a few sips of water at this point too to wash down the gel and then started running again. I walked a couple more times just to stretch out my legs a little bit but kept it at a good pace the rest of the time. Even though I was still feeling good when my mileage was up, I was glad I could go into a heated house away from the wind! I also managed to somehow lose yet another headband on my run, although this time I didn’t notice it until I was home so it’s probably gone for good! Unless I stumble upon it next week haha. Good think I don’t get nice headbands, like those from Lululemon because then I would get real angry if I lost it on a random road;). Maybe the grip would help… hmm. Anywhere, here are my splits, averaging 10:12 a mile – even faster than last week!

When I got home my water had turned to ICE! I will definitely be getting a Nathan water bottle holder the next time I see one to help with my freezing hands and water bottles during my runs! Can’t believe there are only 4 weeks until Disney! Next week I have a 10k, 9 and 10 miles the weeks after and then 13.1! It’s coming so soon! And what’s the best way to spend the day after running 8 miles? Baking Christmas cookies, of course!

disney 1/2 training: 7 miles

My 7 mile run took me to the next level. I can’t even remember the last time I ran anything over a 10k so my comfort zone is definitely starting to stretch. There’s only 5 weeks(!) until the Disney World 1/2 Marathon in Orlando and I am so excited. Even though I know the next 5 weeks are definitely going to test my body + mind, I feel content and happy and so fortunate that since I got over the tendonitis in my food at the beginning of training I haven’t come up against any other injuries *knock on wood. Poor sister was having some IT band issues this week, but hopefully they have turned around since she completed her 7 mile run just fine this morning!

I woke up at 6 6:30 this morning to set out for my run at 7:30.  Getting the tree was on the schedule for this morning as well, so I had to make sure I was back and ready by the time we left for that.  Kinley chickened out of running outside and decided to head for the gym.  Since I decided to go against the monthly gym membership fee to save money, I had no choice so I sucked it up and prepared to head out. When I got up I had coffee and a rice cake with PB2 + preserves, per usual. I have found that eating more than an hour before running is too much time, I need something closer to the start but not too close that my stomach gets all wonky. I also had plenty of water to make sure I was hydrated.

Today was not only the first 7 mile run I have done in a very long time, but it is the first day that I tried fueling on a practice run.  Sure I’ve had applesauce and a couple of clif bloks during races, but not during weekend runs because the fuel I got from my pre-run food was sufficient. I (only) have 3 more long runs (8, 9, +10 miles) before the half marathon so I need to make sure I am using what will actually work for me and make sure I can take it while running (and keep it down…). I decided to use the Razz Clif Shot that I got in my Clif Bar Pace Team packet. The energy shots are Sister’s favorite item to use to fuel, and this way I will only have to use one at around miles 4, 8 and 12? I guess we will see, but these seem more convenient than the Bloks and Sisters says they last longer. The Razz flavor was okay – but I am really looking forward to the chocolate one I already have for my 8 mile run!

I set out at 7:30, just like I was planning. I was going to wear a rain jacket but decided to go without and just get drenched.  I don’t think a coat would have really helped much anyways… I had a Christmas mix on my iPod and just felt happy… I don’t really know why I was feeling this way but I couldn’t get over the fact I was running my furthest distance to date and feeling good while doing it! At mile 3.5 I took a walking break to figure out how to get my Clif Shot open with cold + wet fingers… teeth, that’s how. So I took that with some water and continued on my way. I got SOAKED. Literally from head to toe nothing was dry but that was okay – it wasn’t that cold so I at least wasn’t covered in ice ;).

Please forgive my lazy eye… never noticed that before – maybe it was flipping out from the cold/wet??

I ended up running all of it except for the first 200 meters, a minute or so at the halfway point and then 200 meters at the end. I really wasn’t expecting a decent time and was just aiming for under 11minutes miles and didn’t think I was going fast especially being weighted down with wet clothes, but I was pleasantly shocked when I finished and had run it averaging 10:19 minutes miles (fast for me, especially when it was 7 miles!)! I finished it in 1:12:13, and fairly even splits? Well, even enough for me!

That umbrella looks so innocent, nothing that would actually help in a torrential downpour.

disney 1/2 marathon training plan

Yesterday was the ‘official’ starting date of my Disney half marathon training plan, however today was the true test of whether or not this training plan was beginning this week.  Because of my pesky foot, I was unsure on whether I was going to be able to run or if I needed to wait a few more weeks and suffer through a steroid injection in my foot.  Well, the original plan for today was to run 3 miles, but I decreased that to 2 for a safer distance and starting point.

I actually did extra cross training yesterday.  I went to an hour power yoga session at my favorite studio, Strive, and Kinley and I went on a 5 mile walk.  The walk was more relaxing than anything else, especially in the gorgeous fall weather we have been experiencing the past couple of days (even though it has been SO windy).

I adapted my training plan from Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 training.  I made changes to the weeks that I am planning on running my 10ks (Haunted Hustle in Madison and Sugarmill Run in Hawaii), and also altered the days to best fit with when I wanted to run.  For cross training on Sunday and possibly Wednesdays, I will most likely be using the Insanity DVDs that Kinley bought last week (and should be coming shortly!) or a class at the gym I will probably be joining by the end of the month.  Mondays, possibly Wednesdays and Thursdays will be my week days runs, ranging between 2 and 5 miles.  I have no time goal for Disney since it’s my first race, so as long as I can run a majority of the distance I will be happy ;).  Tuesdays I will either go to Pilates or Yoga at my (future) gym, or yoga at Strive.  Fridays are listed as complete rest, but I will probably still walk with the pup around the block to losen up my legs.  Saturdays are the test – the long runs.  Starting at 4 miles and progressing up to 10 before the run.  As of December 4th, I will be in new territory as I have never ran over 7 miles at one time before.

I am really excited for my first half marathon training and hope my foot does not act up again.  But if it does, I will definitely not put up with it for weeks before going to see someone!  It’s hard to believe I signed up for this race in March – over 6 months ago, and now there are only 12 short weeks to go.  Ready or not, here I go!

And as of January 7th, 2012, I will have that lovely Donald Duck medal around my neck!