Wandering with a Purpose

Tag: marathon

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 6

Between the humidity and lack of planning, this was a tough week! Sounds like the same update from last week, but week 6 was even more challenging! Thankfully, it was a down week for mileage. The humidity will be here for another two months and mileage will continue to increase, so I need to just stick to it and be patient.

One of the Instagram accounts I follow (@Run4PRs) always has really good tips and is giving a lot of hot weather tips lately.

Monday

This morning I was excited to go on a two-mile walk, but at the end of my walk, I realized I was going to stay in Greensboro tonight and wouldn’t be able to run on Tuesday! Today I should have run 3 miles! I also couldn’t go to Pure Barre since I would be driving. I didn’t eat well and just felt off all day. Sigh, I had a big work meeting on Tuesday morning, and that took most of my focus. This is why you are supposed to schedule a weekly planning session on Sunday!

Tuesday

Today was supposed to be 3 miles, but I didn’t plan. It was too hot for me to run in the evening, so I didn’t get a workout in today. Worst of all, I didn’t bring my charger Monday night to charge my Apple watch, so I didn’t get any part of any ring closed! I also got a visitor, Stubby, the Corgi that I dogsit sometimes on the Rover app. Since he is young, Stubby has a lot of energy and requires a lot of attention.

Today the Chicago Marathon team sent out our corral placement numbers! I was placed in the second to last corral group (M) which is part of Wave 3. It required some research to understand this, but it is because of my estimated finish time of 5:00. I hope I can do it in that time, if not less. Ideally, I would finish with a sub 5:00 time, but I also get nervous that I won’t finish at all! If I run an 11:00/mile pace, that is about a 4:50 finish time. It’s starting to get real!

Wednesday

A neighbor joined me for the 5 miles on my schedule today which made for a nice and faster run. I felt pretty good; I think I walked only 2 times. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick to running a heart rate plan like I was supposed to do. My average HR was 161 BPM with an average pace of 11:42/mile. Maybe I can consider this a tempo run? It was incredibly humid again, and I just felt gross. It was a good run overall; it’s just a miserable time of year. It’s funny how different it is to run with someone vs. running alone. There is a different mindset, and since I respond more to external pressure, it does help keep me going.

In the evening I ended up going to Pure Barre and was the only student because of a big rainstorm. It was a good class – I always leave there feeling stronger, so even though the dogs weren’t happy, I’m glad I went.

Thursday

As if this week couldn’t be more off, this morning’s run was awful. Since Stubby has so much energy, I tried to see if he could run with me but that was a fail. Since the humidity was uncomfortable again, we walked for almost two miles because I took him home then went out for a 1.5 mile run. I was so uncomfortable. It’s wasn’t a fun run at all. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough walking to wear out the pup!

Friday

My normal 6 am Pure Barre class felt great this morning. Stubby and I went on a short walk, but I get nervous about him with the humidity. Needless to say, he got his crazy laps in around the coffee table.

Saturday

This is my usual cross-training day, so I walked Stubby for 1.5 miles because I didn’t want to overwhelm him with the humidity, even though we woke up around 4:30 am. After that, I did my 3 mile run to make up for missing Tuesday. Still got all of my miles in! The rest of the day, I was especially lazy and just spent time with the dogs since they felt neglected during the week.

Sunday

Today was my last single-digit long run. Only 7 miles, but going off the theme of week 6, it wasn’t comfortable. I didn’t feel strong because of the humidity. I kept telling myself, the important thing is to get the miles in. Since I knew this would be a tough run from the beginning, I decided to start with a 3 minute run / 1 minute walk pattern. This saved me and made it more manageable. I couldn’t fathom going out and running 7 miles. This may be the pattern I pick for the marathon, so I need to figure out what the right run/walk should be. I kept my average heart rate to 148 BPM and performed at a 12:20/mile average pace.

An account I follow on Instagram (I forget which one!) posted about running in the heat/humidity and said 3 steps: run slower, hydrate, and swear. I thought it was really funny but totally true for this week. Not that this will change for week 7, but I should be better planned.

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 5

Where did 5 weeks go? This was a good week overall, but my schedule got off. Thins were too busy to do a good blog post, but I hope to record better next week.

Monday

Yeah, so I didn’t get to Pure Barre or do yoga. I got a walk in, but that’s about it.

Tuesday

I got my 3 miles in and had a good HR run! Average pace of 11:32/mile and my average HR was 141 – that is called progress.

Wednesday

I’m not sure if this run or my long run was a bigger accomplishment for me. 5 miles done on a weekday! I did it! I was worried about timing, so I didn’t focus on heart rate (average was 159 BPM). Overall, pace was 12:09/mile, so not too bad. Starting this week, I will increase mileage on Wednesday. I will do another 5 next week before doing the next two weeks at 6 miles.

Thursday

This day was a big regret. We were supposed to have the tropical storm hit and the radar looked A LOT rainy…except it wasn’t. Chicken Kristin decided to avoid the rain, but it avoided her. I went to Pure Barre in the evening, so I at least did something, but I really regret this since I had been doing such a good job with my routine.

Friday

To make up for missing my 3 miles yesterday, I planned to run to Pure Barre on Friday morning then run home. It was a slower start with slower dogs, so I almost didn’t run to class. In the end, I did and was so glad! I didn’t have time before work to finish a full 3 miles, but I got in 2 miles. At least I would just finish my weekly mileage down 1 miles.

Saturday

This was my first double-digit run in a very long time. A year at least? I was really nervous to start the day. I decided to move my long run to Saturday because a teammate’s wedding celebration was on Saturday night and there was a potential for rain on Sunday. Trying to learn from my fueling lesson last week, I had a Honey Stinger waffle that I picked up at the running store. This has have been mentioned in other blogs, so I thought I would try it out. It was delicious and ended up being a good fuel for me. I didn’t eat anything else.

My run started out really well. I felt really strong and ran the first 2.5 miles. I noticed my HR was getting high, so I opted to walk for a bit and started a 3/1 run/walk pattern around mile 3.5. I did a great job until mile 7 and the sun started to really come out. I slowed down a lot around mile 8, but I finished! My average pace was 12:31/mile and 151 HR. I got in my miles, and that is what is important!

Sunday

Unfortunately, I was a lazy, lazy bum today. I didn’t close a single ring! Nothing else to record here, unfortunately.

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 1

Marathon training is finally here! What a long time coming. At this time last year, I was preparing but was fearing the worse. I don’t remember what day it was canceled, but it was about a year ago. Now, it’s a different story. GAME ON!

My training program is an 18-week program from Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Program. This is what many people told me they used for their first marathon. I used the Disney training programs for my other two. This one is simple and focuses on building up mileage. Through my research, I know I should add in speed, tempo, and hill workouts, but I’m not quite sure where to put that. For the first two weeks, I am still going to focus on heart rate runs as I did at the end of pre-training.

Monday

I was mentally pumped up for my first day of training – yoga – but less pumped up for yoga. Long story short, I didn’t do it. Not a great start to the training season, but I think I need to have a better plan than just saying “do yoga.” I know it’s good for me, and I feel better after I do it, but gosh I hate doing it. So slow – just proof I need to focus better!

Tuesday

Today was a much better day. I woke up at 5 am for my morning routine before leaving at 6 am to go on my standard 3-mile run. I’m still focused on heart-rate training. It was a beautiful morning. Ran at 11:51 pace with an average 158 heart rate. Not great, but I was feeling good.

Wednesday

Same routine, same route. I keep aiming to keep my heart rate around 144, so I did better at 153 bpm with a 12:09 pace. The humidity was getting worse today, but alas, it is June in North Carolina! I was tired but feeling really good.

Thursday

My third run of the week – same routine, same route. I like this route a lot. There are a few small hills, but it is a flat route which is hard to find in my area. At some point during training, I think I will turn my 3-mile Thursday run into a hill workout. I did much better with my heart rate – 147 bpm! My pace was an even 12:00. When I look over my stats in Strava, I think I’m getting better. Apple Watch tracks your VO2 Max, but I think it’s supposed to be a high number. My number went down from a year ago, and since pre- pre-training in November, it continues to go down. A little confused about that, but I think I’m getting better. It was really humid today, but I felt good.

It is hard to keep going slowly to worry about heart rate. I keep reminding myself that training is not a race. This is the time to be disciplined and to practice the discipline needed to make myself a better runner.

Friday

Pure Barre day and I loved it! It’s such a good workout, and I always feel good after I leave. I have little strength, so I’m horrible at planks, but that’s why I go. I need to build up my core strength. A plus today is that I saw on my Apple watch that there are a lot more workout types than just what is on the main screen. I usually log my barre workouts as “Other” but saw today there is one for barre!

Saturday

Cross Training Saturday! I was pleased to see from my Apple Watch discovery yesterday that there is also a workout called “Paddle” which I gladly used today on my paddle boarding adventure. I LOVE to paddle board. For some reason I love it despite the fact that I am terrified of the lake and don’t swim in it. Perhaps it is my motivation to stay on the board. I went out for a 30-minute paddle. It was earlier in the morning, so the only boats out were fishermen. It gave me a good time to think. I always find mornings on the lake a good time to reflect and thank God for the life he has given me.

After coming in and having a banana and peanut butter (why does this always hit the spot?), I geared up for my 30-minute swim. After doing this two weeks ago, I knew I needed to prioritize this in my training.

Sunday

I went to bed early on Saturday, but I didn’t sleep well since the puppies decided to take up the whole bed. I woke at 5 am to make sure I ate (my banana last week wasn’t enough for me to cover 6 miles). I had a PB&J sandwich and water. I left shortly after 6 am. I wanted to get out before the heat was too bad, and while humidity was high, it wasn’t as bad as it has been. I focused again on keeping my heart rate around 144. I was able to run about a mile before having to walk to get it down. This route is very hilly, so my heart rate jumps a lot going up the hills.

Around mile 2.5 I wondered why this was hard. I felt like I wasn’t getting any better in running. I’ve been reading blogs of people who run in the 8 or 9 minute pace range – some in the 7! I was struggling to keep my heart rate down in the 12 minute range. Everything felt like a struggle, but at the same time, I was feeling good. Around mile 4, my thoughts changed. I felt like I was feeling strong and could keep going. Even at 6 miles in, I could have kept going. Maybe I am making progress. I finished the run with an average of 12:09/mile pace and average heart rate of 148. I’ll take it!

2021 Chicago Marathon: Pre-Training Update 7

Pre-training is DONE! I’m so proud of myself for sticking with my plan, and I am geared up to start training for the 2021 Chicago Marathon! I’m filled with a mixture of emotions: excitement, anxiety, hesitancy, pride. It’s a lot to sort through, but I’m definitely proud of myself for “fulfilling my intention.”

New Weekly Updates

As I mentioned, as part of my training, I have been reading a lot of blogs and following Instagram accounts for other runners. One that I’ve been devouring is The Runner Beans, a blogger named Charlie based in the UK. I’ve enjoyed reading about her running journey and her tips as someone who is somewhat a new runner and trying to get better. Before many of her races, she posts training updates each week, and I really enjoy reading about the types of workouts she does. I am going to do this to keep myself accountable for marathon training since I am doing it on my own. It will also be a fun way to document my journey to the start line.

Monday

This was supposed to be a strength day, but I just took a walk. I really struggle with strength training because I don’t enjoy it. Everything I read shows how important it is, so I need to prioritize it. I signed up for Apple Fitness+ which is pretty good. The sessions are easy to use and filters allow you to find different lengths or types. I just need to get my lazy self up to do it!

Tuesday

Three-mile run. I’m still doing heart rate training trying to run as close to a 144 heart rate as I can. In theory, this will help me run faster by improving my aerobic fitness ability. Tuesday was a particularly hard day – my heart rate monitor on my Apple Watch wasn’t working. My average heart rate was 173 and an 11:44/mi pace.

Wednesday

Another 3-mile run. I did a better job keeping my heart rate lower (154 bpm) and a 12:26/mi pace. This was global running day, and I enjoyed seeing all of the posts on Instagram from runners about the day.

Thursday

I did a 5K in celebration of Global Running Day (not sure why) but also to earn the NYRR Global Running 1M Strava trophy. Only had to do a 1M, but oh well. I also earned the June 5K. Heart rate was 152 ppm and a 12:02/mi.

Pure Barre
Friday

Friday’s are scheduled to be a strength day. I signed up for Class Pass and decided to go to the Pure Barre by my house. I stopped my membership there over the winter because I couldn’t handle working out in a mask and was tied of online class. Wow, I missed it. Class was back to normal and kicked my butt! This is the type of strength training I need. I love this class and plan to do this every Friday going forward.

Cyclebar Welcome
Loved this welcome on my locker!
Saturday

Saturday is cross-training day. With my Class Pass, I decided to try out Cyclebar. It’s a spinning class similar to Fly Wheel, but the team was so friendly and helpful. I had an awesome class and plan to integrate this into my training, too. What a great, low-impact workout. I would love to ride a real bike some time, but maybe this can help me get into shape for going on a bike trip somewhere.

Sunday
Finished my final 6-miler of pre-training!

My final 6-miler! I went out around 6 am with a focus to cover the mileage and keep my heart rate around 144. While I am able to run more consistently, I get in a groove then see my heart rate go to 167 or so. Then I walk to bring it back down, which takes a lot of discipline. This morning was very humid which affects me poorly. We’re getting to that point of the year in NC that I need to remember to just focus on the miles. The run is done, and I feel great! Average HR 147!

A look back…

Pre- pre-training started on November 23, 2020. I followed Hal Higdon’s very beginner plan for this. My goal for this period was to have the habit of running 3 days/week and build up my ability to run. I didn’t want distance to scare me, so it was mostly 1.5-2 mile runs. I wish I would have known about low heart rate training then. It kept me throughout the winter – in the cold and dark – plus it helped me regain the confidence I had been missing in running. I wanted to lose weight, too, but that didn’t happen.

pre pre training for chicago marathon

I started pre-training on March 15, 2021. This was the Hal Higdon longer Novice program. My goal for this was to take me to running consistently 4 days a week. I learned during my first half marathon the importance of these short runs in avoiding an injury. This process was great because the mileage wasn’t daunting, so I still focused on the habit of getting out there. I completed almost all of my runs, so I would consider it a huge win!

The most important thing is that I feel great! Running is fun again, and I get such a high when I’m finished. Stay tuned! Big things to come next week!

Chicago Marathon: Training Update 4

Pre- pre-training is over after my 3.5 mile run tomorrow, and I move into pre-training next week. Thinking of things in phases like this is helpful, as it gives me more beginnings and ends.

my pre- pre-training plan
Accomplishments
  • Ran 3 days/week even when it was cold and/or dark
  • Gaining confidence in running
  • Improving my speed on a 1.5-mile run
  • Incorporating strength training into my routine (thanks, Apple Fitness+!)
  • Completed and PRed Swamp Rabbit 5K
Goals for Pre-Training

Pre-training takes me from getting in the habit of running 3 days/week to 4 days/week, which is my goal for marathon training. I am following Hal Higdon’s Novice Base Training Program for 12 weeks. My goals during this phase are:

  • Create the habit of running 4 days
  • Continue growing my confidence
  • Incorporate weekly yoga into my routine
  • Continue during strength / HIIT workouts to build muscle
  • Submit to Noom program’s advice to lose weight

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Voltaire

I’m trying not to take off more than I can chew because building my confidence is really important. I don’t see myself as a runner, and sometimes a run can seem overwhelming or daunting. I don’t want to get nervous and miss one. Consistently running 1.5 miles has been a positive influence for me. I know that is a distance I can handle without a problem. As I continue my training program, if I feel I don’t have the time or the energy, I need to get out and do at least the 1.5-mile loop. A little bit is better than nothing. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of good!”

Can’t wait to give you my next update in a few weeks!

Chicago Marathon: Training Update 3

I’m in for the 2021 Chicago Marathon using my 2020 deferral. I feel like this is a second chance to do things right…so following one of my 2021 goals, I am going to keep promises I set for myself. This is going to happen. I am going to stand at the start line feeling prepared and excited. I’m going to make it to the finish line and finish my first “real” marathon without character stops.

The Phases

Since I am not a strong runner, I structured my training in three parts:

  1. Pre- pre-training
  2. Pre-Training
  3. Marathon Training

I’m currently on week 8 of phase 1, which started back in November when I created this plan. My training schedule for this plan is to run 1.5 miles on Tuesday and Thursdays, walk 30-ish minutes on Saturday, and finally run 3 or 3.5 miles on Sunday. The goal for this phase is to get out and run even when it’s dark and cold (it’s through the whole winter), build up a small base to increase my confidence, and lose weight. I’m a fickle runner and running in the cold is usually enough to make me not run. I’ve seen myself do this on my short runs when training for the 2018 Disney Marathon and 2020 Dopey. I don’t need to go far – I just need to do it,

For pre-training, I am following Hal Higdon’s supreme novice training program. This phase kicks off in mid-March. The weather will be better and it will start to get lighter then, so I shouldn’t have those for an excuse. I’m also hoping my losing some weight and building the small base of confidence, running will be easier. The goals for this phase are to continue losing weight, maintain consistency, and increase my mileage.

Marathon Training begins in June using Hal Higdon’s novice 1 program. At that point, I should have a solid weekly base of 9-12 miles. I will start to incorporate speed and hill workouts (which were very beneficial when I did those training for Chicago last year) and increasing mileage for my long runs. My goal for this phase is to think like a runner – monitor pace, have varying degrees of difficulty/excursion, and stick to my plan.

Throughout all of the plans, I am incorporating strength training and yoga/self care, which I never actually implemented in past training seasons. I don’t want to get hurt, and I want to improve my fitness. I want to be a runner. People often stress their importance, but then we forget to do them. For strength training, I am trying out Pure Barre and Apple Fitness. My Apple strength workout yesterday was really good! I really feel it in my legs. I’ve had more of a challenge sticking with yoga because I can’t focus or slow down my mind, so I need to make this a priority.

Looking Ahead

I foresee several obstacles ahead. I’m lucky that this is not the first time I have trained for a marathon, so I know my shortfalls.

  • I can get overwhelmed with the time it takes to run in the morning. I need to be honest with my schedule and not dilly dally in the morning.
  • If I work on Saturday, I either won’t do my long run or not prepare correctly. This training, I will not join the running club and commit to doing long runs on Sundays.
  • For long runs, I don’t plan my route. I’m already preparing the route for my 18 and 20 mile run so I don’t get overwhelmed on those days.
  • I get nervous, so I am (hopefully) going to try to add races to my training schedule. So far I have the Swamp Rabbit 5K and the Around the Crown 10K. A few others are still being planned as virtual, but hopefully they will be in-person so I can sign up.

So that’s my plan for 2021. I need to stay accountable, but I am really excited about this. I will decide my race goals once I hit phase 3. There is a different approach when this is a second chance. I appreciate what I have more than I did before.

Are you participating in the 2021 Chicago Marathon?

Chicago Marathon: Training Update 1

October 11, 2020, is the Chicago Marathon! I am really looking forward to this run and hope it won’t be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. I am training like there is no chance of cancellation, even though I know that is still a possibility.

In June, I started training using the RunDisney marathon training plan. This is the plan is simple and steady. Just three days per week using short runs on Tuesday and Thursday with a long run on the weekend with increasing mileage. It is a longer plan than some because every other week you do a 4 mile “long” run, which helps me with my schedule and other commitments. Marathon training requires serious time commitments when you get to 10 miles and more! I used this when I did the 2018 WDW Marathon.

If there are too many days required, I get overwhelmed and can’t commit to training. If I cannot commit to 3 days, then I should not run the race. That being said, my goal is not to qualify for Boston or have an outrageously good time!

GOALS – Making IT PUBLIC

My goal for the race (saying this publicly!) is to finish in less than 5:30. This works out to be about a 12:30 pace for the entirety of the race. I feel like this is an achievable goal. I finished my first marathon in 5:52 at Disney. This means there were character distractions and more. I also stopped at the restroom more times than was necessary because I was nervous. The second marathon at Disney was awful! 80 degrees and 90% humidity are not what you want to do a marathon. It was so horrible. I finished that one in 6:46, so at least I know I can finish about that time with walking and character stops.

So far, my runs have varied. There have been ones where I felt strong and confident and others that have been dreadful. Humidity levels make a big difference for me. I just need to focus on getting the time on my feet those days. I feel like this is not normal for others, but I need to accept that it is for me. Maybe others feel this way, too, but it amazes me when I see runners running during lunch on a Southern, summer day.

If I did a really good job training, I would add in strength exercises and yoga. I definitely need motivation and guidance on this. In the end, I can’t wait! Only 117 days left!

Trip Synopsis: 2020 Dopey Challenge

Dopey 2020 Medal

Dopey 2020 is the ultimate challenge of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This year, it was on January 9 – 12, and it was fantastic! I’m writing this a month and a half later, so I’ve had a chance to reflect and reminisce over the weekend. I’m going to share other details later, but I wanted to give the highlights of the weekend because it was just SO. MUCH. FUN!! Spoiler alert – I would do it again!

Wednesday, January 8

My friend Ursula and I traveled to Orlando on Wednesday, January 8. This year, we stayed at Pop Century again because of the location, price, and the new Skyliner. We had to go to the expo, which in the past has been so much fun. We learned that Wednesday expo is not the same as Friday or Saturday – it was awful. The expo was overwhelming and entirely too crowded. I bought a Dopey finisher shirt as a gift for Ursula to have if she did a good job (she did the same for me because – come on! You can’t actually buy it unless you finish!) We had a low-key day and hung around the hotel and Disney Springs – we had a long few days ahead!

Thursday, January 9

WDW 5K course

The first race morning (start time 5:30 am, wake up: 3:30 am) is a 5K around Epcot. The course is fantastic because you run around Epcot the whole time. This is the only race they don’t time; you just have to complete it. It was surprising how many families were there with their children. That must have been fun for them. They had 3 or 4 character stops and one of them was the Beast. I should have stopped, but I get so nervous by the long lines. If I was faster, then I would do it. Goals for the future!

finishing 5K
Dopey 5K

I finished and got my first medal – Pluto! We were 3.1 miles down out of 48.6. I made a decision that I was going to get a picture with Dopey and my medal after each day, and I’m so happy that I did!

After the race, we went back to the hotel and showered. We spent the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom. Our stops:

  • Festival of the Lion King (awesome!)
  • Finding Nemo the Musical
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • (Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a pass to the Avatar journey, which I think is the coolest ride ever!)
  • The safari
  • Pictures with a whole lot of characters!
Chip and Dale

Friday, January 10

WDW 10K

Day 2 and we were ready for the 10K. It was another early morning, but we met up with more college friends. Like the 5K, the corrals starts were towards the front, and we wore the 5K bibs. The course was very similar to the 5K but added in more highway running. While on the highway, the two Frozen princesses were on the overpass looking down where it was snowing! On the course, they even had Abu, the Monkey from Aladdin. It was really neat.

When we finished, we got an Oswald medal, which I promptly took to Dopey for another victory shot.

10K finish Dopey

After showering, I headed to Hollywood Studios. I got to meet even more characters and saw:

  • Beauty and the Beast show
  • The Little Mermaid show
  • Played Toy Story Mania!
  • Toured the Disney Museum (saw in Oswald poster)
  • Went to Star Wars World
Monsters Inc
Buzz Lightyear

This won’t be a popular statement, and I have no credibility because I am not a Star Wars fan, but I hated that place. It was overwhelming and awful. We made a reservation for “lunch” months before at the “Cantina” but apparently, it’s just a bar. I was hungry! I won’t plan to go back there…

We spent the rest of the night at the hotel where our group hung out at the pool and a simple dinner at the hotel…we needed an early night.

Saturday, January 11

WDW Half Marathon 2020

Another 5:30 am race start, which means that we had to wake up at 3:00 am. Luckily, the early mornings hadn’t bothered me yet. I think I was just too excited about the races.

Cars

The half marathon was a long one. My friends all did a great job! I didn’t because I walked; I was having back problems, so I didn’t want to hurt myself before marathon day. That being said, it was my worse time ever. On the bright side, I stopped for a picture with Lilo and Lightning McQueen & Mater. There were so many characters, but the half course is my least favorite. Epcot and MK were a blast to run through, but there is just so much highway. There’s no way to change that, but it was just blah.

Half Marathon Castle
Lilo

At the end, we were awarded the Donald Duck medal! It is one of the best looking medals I have. We didn’t get to show it off in the parks since we needed to rest our feet. Instead, we walked around the boardwalk and hung out at the pool for the rest of the day. Two days down and 46% of the miles through; we needed a good night’s sleep.

Half Finish
Half Group
Sunday, January 12
WDW Marathon Course

Marathon day was finally upon us! Disney moved the start time up to 5 am, but it was ridiculous because they didn’t end up starting until 5:30 am because of traffic. I think I woke around 2:30 am. That morning was the hardest to get going because I was tired and also nervous for the marathon.

Stitch

This was a new marathon course from when I did the marathon in 2018. I liked the course a lot this year because we started running through Epcot which got us to MK around mile 10 instead of mile 6. It was nice to finish MK and be to the halfway point. The hardest part was after MK (around mile 13 to AK around mile 17). It was so long, just highway, and there was very little entertainment along the way. I thought they would have more characters there or the signs with jokes like they had in ESPN. But at least ESPN was GONE!

Sebastian

It was incredibly hot that day – around 85 degrees with 90% humidity. It was awful, and I was going slowly. I walked the beginning and ran through the parks. RunDisney decided to cut out Blizzard Beach at a certain point to reduce the course by 2 miles for people at the end. I was really lucky and got in before they cut it off, so I got to complete all 26.2 miles. Right before there was mile 19. I was done with the race and just wanted to finish. At that point, I blasted my workout mix and had a dance party until the finish line.

Marathon Finish

Because of the redirection, I actually caught up with Ursula, so I got to see her around mile 21 or so. I stuck with her and her new friends for a while, but then I just needed to finish. Dan Mott and his girlfriend met me at mile 25.7 with a margarita, so I had to go fast! I got it, and it was worth it!

Then I waited for Ursula to catch up so we could cross the finish line with each other. We did it and were relieved. 48.6% were complete, and we proved it by getting three new medals – marathon, Goofy Challenge, and the Dopey Challenge!

Marathon Finish with Dopey
The Celebration
Picture with Mini

Our tradition is to celebrate a race at Epcot where everyone wears their medals and drinks around the world. We had dinner at the Bier Garten in Epcot since it was a good location for a group. We also got to walk around and do some rides and see characters. It was a nice night, but I was exhausted!

Monday, January 13

Cinderella
Ariel

Most of our friends had left by this point, but today was our day to hang out in the Magic Kingdom and meet lots of characters. We started the day with breakfast at Be Our Guest with Belle and Beast. The food isn’t great, but it’s such a cool setting. Then I can’t even start on all of the characters we saw! We got a ton of pictures with my Dopey medal and rode some of the rides.

Aladdin and Jasmine
Gaston
Brave
Rapunzel

We ended the journey with the “Happily Ever After” fireworks show, and it just makes me so happy! This journey was definitely a “Dopey” fairy tale come true!

Race Recap: 2018 Disney Marathon

2018 WDW Marathon Map

The 2018 Disney Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World was January 4 – 7, 2018. My friends and I went down to run the 25th anniversary of the marathon: 26.2 miles around all four WDW parks. You started outside of Epcot and ran to the Magic Kingdom, to Animal Kingdom, to ESPN Sports (the hardest part!), briefly through Hollywood Studios, then your final mile was around the world in Epcot.

Crossing the finish line was hands down one of my biggest accomplishments. If you know me, you know how unbelievable it is that I ran a marathon. In college, I never ran more than 3 miles, and I only did that once because I thought it was a 2 mile turkey trot. I usually ran two. Even though I enjoyed running 2 miles, I couldn’t understand why you would run more. I didn’t know what to think about for that long (I now listen to books or podcasts) nor was I physically fit enough complete the challenge – let alone the challenge there is to commit to training. Long-distance runners were crazy to me.

A few years after college, a few of my friends started running halfs, then my friend Dan ran a marathon. He is still crazy to all of us, but it is because him and my other friends’ accomplishments and their simple encouragement that I tried my first half marathon in 2015. Because of peer pressure, I agreed to do this marathon in August 2017.

photoshoot with Mickey Mouse
Pre-Race Prep
Run Flat 2018 WDW Marathon

       Nervous couldn’t begin how to describe my feelings on January 6, the day before the race. I couldn’t believe what I had gotten myself into. My training didn’t go as expected; the longest run I did was 18 miles. My training plan was to 22, but cold weather got in the way (I’m a complete wuss). We had a fun day around Magic Kingdom, but then it was time to have a good dinner (spaghetti) and go to bed early. A 2:30 am wake up call isn’t natural for anyone!

bundled up for the start of the race

We bundled up since Orlando decided the best way to run this race would be in below freezing temperatures. You need to layer with lots of old clothes so you can throw them off. Disney will donate these clothes to people who are less fortunate. We checked in our bags with everything we needed after the race: flip flops, a shirt (my new long-sleeve race shirt!), sunglasses, my portable power pack, and chapstick. Dan, the expect, gave these suggestions, and they were invaluable.

I then made my way to my corral. (If you have raced in a half marathon before, you have to submit your time to place you in a corral.) There I waited; I waited for all of the faster groups to start their race. As if I wasn’t already nervous, the wait continued to add to it, but it also added a LOT of excitement! They played Disney songs from each year of the 25 years. I got to listen to most of the 90s which were the movies from my childhood. Then finally, the fireworks went off for my group…

My 26.2 Miles

Miles 0 – 10
running through Magic Kingdom

It was dark and crazy early, but over 12,000 people were there for the race. Then there were family and friends cheering us on. I was on a cloud. I couldn’t believe I had just started out on my first marathon, and 26.2 miles later, I would be back there. The first 9 miles were some of the best miles I have ever run. I’m not a good runner, but I do it, and I’m completely okay with that. My first 9 miles were very decent. I tried to stop at a character, but the line was too long and didn’t want to destroy my good time or risk getting picked up by the balloon ladies if I was too slow. I made the decision to keep going.

Running in the Magic Kingdom was awesome! There were so many people and you could look at all of the rides. You run through Tomorrowland (there are real bathrooms there) then Fantasy and Frontier lands. You then get to go through the castle and out of the park. It was simply fantastic. This is one of the reasons I’m going to do the half in 2019 – MK and Epcot were the best parts of the race. You leave out the side on a road towards the Grand Floridian. It was between here and Animal Kingdom that it hit me – I still had 16 miles left!

Miles 10 – 16

With 2/3 of the race looming in front of me, I knew I needed to conserve my energy. When I train, I run/walk and my goal is always to run at the end. Therefore, I tried implemented my run/walk pattern of run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay on it. It got too exciting, I wanted to run through Animal Kingdom, a water station was coming up, etc. I couldn’t stay on pattern, so I just ran and walked as I could. I did that until the long stretch of highway before ESPN Sports. My friend warned me that this would mentally be the hardest part of the race. Boy, was he right.

Mile 16 – 25

Thank goodness he gave me that warning. He even suggested during training that I visualize how it would feel at each part of the race. He told me to think about how I would feel physically, what I would see around me, and how to push myself to keep going. I found this exercise challenging, but I did try it once. When I got to this part of the race, the visualization did help. Once I got to this highway, the sun was out, and I was tired. I thought there was no way I could make it another 10 miles, so for my own survival, I decided it was time to walk. I was so impressed how people were still running at that point! They had trained and they were killing it. Luckily, Disney entertains you. We saw many characters, ran around the baseball stadium, and read jokes on signs.

Then it was off to Hollywood Studios. To get there, you run on the highway and up an exit ramp. Those are steep! I was still walking at this point, and running up would not be an option. They had a solider from Toy Story stationed on the ramp and that was one of the best characters. He was yelling at people to pick it up, not to slack off and keep running. He would run up with people as encouragement. After I passed him, I heard him say, “get down and give me 10!” After a brief pause, I heard a huge applause and cheers! A good sport got down and started doing push up. Everyone around was encouraging him. This is a great example of how encouraging this crowd is and why Disney is many people’s first marathon.

Hollywood Studios is neat but was very short. The park was open, so it is fun to have onlookers. I tried to run a little bit, but I was too tired. We got outside to the boardwalk where I knew there were only 3 miles to go. Just a 5K, but it was the longest 5K I have done. Then my Apple Watch ran out of battery.

Miles 25 – 26.2

You enter Epcot around Great Britain and mile 25. It was the last push; now was the time. I wanted to run the last mile. To my encouragement, they had Disney music playing over the park’s speakers. It was so motivational to me. I turned off my podcasts and took in the moment. I hadn’t stopped to visit a character all day because I was scared of getting too far behind, and I also was afraid that I would get my legs started again! As I ran through France, I saw Belle and Sleeping Beauty taking pictures with guests (not for the race). I carried my camera the whole race, and went to take a picture. Their handler asked if I wanted a picture. I hesitated knowing I didn’t want to wait. She noticed this and said I could cut in front of everyone! I got a picture with characters. That put me over the moon!

my character picture with Belle and Aurora

As I started running again, Hercules “I can go the distance” started playing. Can you think of a more perfect song to play at the end? I was pumped! Then, the camera in front of the Epcot ball was open, so I got my picture there, too.

Marathon and Epcot Ball
marathon finish line

That was it, less than half a mile left. I had this! I ran out of the park and started to hear the gospel choir. My friend also told me they would be at the end, and it was so motivating. Then, I could see it. The finish line was right there! People were tired and slowing down, but I had to make it. Chip and Dale were there. I could do this! It wasn’t my fastest run, but I ran over the finish line. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had completed a full marathon. I had prayed to God and asked my late puppy Amie to watch over me – and they did! Somehow, I pulled through and did it.

Recovery

When you finish a race, they always have lots of water and sports drinks to help you recover. Disney also had photo booths so you could take pictures with your new medal.  They even gave us mouse ears as a present for the 25th anniversary! I got my bag and found my friend. Flip flops and a clean shirt were amazing! I can’t drink beer after a race, so I stuck with my water. There is no way for me to capture my pride and excitement having completed this race. Something I thought was impossible became possible. Like so many things in life, you just have to do it.

We met up with our other friends as everyone completed the race. Then it was time for a well-earned shower and nap. After we recovered slightly, we went walking around the world at Epcot. On marathon Sunday, everyone comes out to show off their medals. We wore our marathon medals proudly, but it’s a funny experience. I told people I “just” did the marathon as I admired their Dopey medals (earned by completing the 5K, 10K, half, and full). Then we had dinner and watched fireworks.

marathon accomplished
I’m not saying completing a marathon is for everyone, but if I did it, anyone can do it. Talking about wandering…

Ready? Set? Disney Marathon!

It takes me a lot of time to make a decision. This particular decision has been in the works for 2 days short of 8 months. I’ve gone back and forth on it, but this weekend, I committed and it is done. I am going to train for and run the Walt Disney World Full Marathon in January 2018. I had resisted because I didn’t think I would be in good enough shape for a full, but I gave into peer pressure.

Seven Reasons for Running Disney 2018
  1. Of any marathon, this is one of two I would consider (the other is NYC). I’m not a good runner and don’t particularly enjoy it, but I love pushing myself to accomplish something. Disney provides entertainment and the opportunity to take pictures with characters.
  2. A unique way to see the parks! I mean, after I complete this I can say I ran through all four parks. My seven-year-old self cannot understand how this can be possible – Disney World is a huge space.
  3. It’s the 25th Anniversary.
  4. Time to check off another bucket list item. It hasn’t been on there for long, but now that I enjoy doing halfs, the next step is to go for a marathon. I am going to train for it and push myself to improve my overall health. You can’t slack on training for a marathon.
  5. “Experiencing” Run Disney last year provided an energy and excitement that convinced me that last year and this year won’t be my only Run Disney experiences.
  6. It’s a fun race, and it isn’t just for serious runners. Last year, it looked like some people hadn’t ever run a half and were doing a full. I know I’ll be able to finish it (even if I have to walk), but I still won’t finish. To run New York – you have to be a good runner. There is pressure. Disney – it’s just magical.
  7. A large group of friends who are doing it. Peer pressure.

Well here’s to my next 6 months of training! It’s not going to be easy, but I’m motivated and ready to run for the Mouse! Who knows, maybe Tinkerbelle will give me a little pixie dust…talk about a happy wandering!

Read my Race Recap here.

© 2021 The Rosy Wanderer

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑