Monday, January 18, 2010

2009 Running Recap

My new running year is a bit off the calendar….kind of like corporate fiscal years. My annual running ends after the Disney Marathon which is held the 2nd weekend of January. Now that Disney is behind me, I can look back on how things went in 2009.

2009 Running Goals:

Like last year, I looked back and could not find my running goals for 2009. I did find that things got insanely busy early last year and my running fell off for the first 4 months or so of the year. In general, my goal was to be out there running – focus on a single marathon (Disney) and do what I could in my other races. Later in the year, I decided I wanted to break 30 min in a timed 5K race, PR for a half marathon, and PR for the marathon at Disney. Maybe my goals are too easy since I accomplished all of them!

2009 Running Achievements:

I ran a total of 953 miles in 2009. I missed my goal to break 1000 miles but I was happy with the volume of running I maintained beginning in August.
My average weekly miles = 18.3 with my highest week = 45
My average monthly miles = 79 with my highest month = 154 (Nov)
My average long run pace in the fall was about 11:15 min/mile (last 20 miler before Disney was 11:06 pace)

I ran 10 races in 2009:
Races 1 and 2: 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend running Goofy. The Goofy Race and a Half Challenge included running the half marathon on Sat (2:39) and the full marathon on Sun (5:41). I ran these races with my husband where our goal was to finish strong. The very next day we signed up for 2010 Goofy and the 5K (Dopey).

Race 3: Winter Park Road Race (10K) – My training for this race did not go as planned so I had no illusions of running a PR. I still ran a respectable 1:05:10.

Race 4: Corporate 5K – This is not a timed race, but I recall running this one in around 31 or 32 minutes. It is difficult to run a fast time in a field of over 6000 runners! This one is more for the fun of bringing my work associates together for a evening.

Race 5: Jim Payne Blue Ribbon Run for the Kids (5K) – This was a very special race because I was part of the planning committee for this event which benefits a charity I work with. This was conceived over 2 years previous and finally came to fruition. We couldn’t have asked for better participation for an inaugural race with over 900 runners registered. I ran it with my daughter and together we finished just under 40 minutes.

Race 6: Autumn Rock n Run 5K – This race was held on my birthday and I was determined to bust 30 minutes in a timed 5K race. My good running friend Maddy came to watch me run my 5K PR!

Race 7: Miracle Mile 15K – I didn’t run a PR on this race but I ran a strong, consistent race (1:42). It was a bit warm that day (as it typically is in late Sept) but I felt good about my race results.

Race 8: UCF 5 Miler & 2 Mile Race (Distance Dare) – The local race sponsor Track Shack recently added the “Distance Dare” to certain races they sponsor with multiple distances. Runners have the option to run multiple races on the same day. I normally run the UCF 5 Miler but added the 2 Mile race as well and ran them both. Just days before the race I caught a nasty chest cold but by race time I was good for a nice and easy run. I finished the 5 miler in 56:58 and the 2 mile race in 22:05.

Race 9: Race for the Cure 5K (Bandit) – Initially I was planning on running this race as a registered attendee. After sponsoring Maddy who was running this race in memory of her mom I decided to show up on race day and see if I could “participate.” Maddy and I were going to do a 16 mile long run together which incorporated the 5K race. I thought I could register that morning but was unable to, so I ran it “bandit” with Maddy. Maddy and I went on to finish a total of 12 miles together, running a few miles before the race, running the race, then running after the race.

Race 10: OUC Half Marathon – My training during the fall had gone extremely well and my paces were faster than ever. I had a couple of choices for this race – take it easy and include the 18 mile long run the week before, or go for a PR by running 12 instead of 18 the week before. Shirley let me know that I could ease off, run the PR, then jump back in to prep for Disney. She pointed out that the momentum from a PR at OUC would be a great accomplishment to build on going into Disney. With that I ran a PR (by more than 2 min) by finishing in 2:18:21.

2009 started out slowly but was a great running year. And from my previous blog entries, 2010 started out with a bang. My 2010 running goals are already captured and I will post in my next blog entry!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 WDW Marathon Weekend - Part 4: The Marathon

As I was sharing with someone about my run of the Disney World Marathon today, I told her that I hadn't had much sleep in the few days leading up to the race, I was a bit worn from running in the cold on Sat and I had a headache when I got up to get ready for the race. But some days you feel crappy when you go out to run and then end up having a great run - sometimes you feel great but the run doesn't go so well. All you can do is get out there and let the run be what it will be. This run, my friends, was something else!!!

Like Sat morning, the early morning started out cold - even colder than the previous day, although without the rain and sleet. I could go with the cold with out the rain! We still had the issue of the wind, which made for a bit of a wind chill, but Sat taught me more about how to dress for the race. I was actually a bit warm at times running on Sat, so for Sun I wore the same get up except I left off the tights and just wore the capris. I knew I would warm up once I got going.

My husband wisely decided to pass on attempting the marathon. Since he really hadn't trained, he was already feeling the affects after finishing the 5K and half marathon (no small feat to begin with) and thought that even walking the marathon would lead to a miserable recovery week. So I set off on my own to drive to the race. I did snag his wrist band to the runner's retreat which I offered up to Maddy. I got to the Epcot parking area about the same time as the previous day - 3:30 am and headed inside for breakfast and race prep. Maddy joined me a little after 4 am.

Maddy and I were, once again, bundled up to stay warm in the corral. This time, in addition to my running gear, I wore an old pair of sweats (shirt and pants) over my running clothes, sported my fashionable garbage bag and brought along my mylar blanket from Sat. I was just fine except for my toes, which I couldn't feel after awhile. When we got ready to start, I shed it all except the stuff I was going to wear for the entire race.

With a great training season, I knew I had a shot at a PR. However, I had not trained in the cold so I had no idea if it would have a positive or negative affect on my pace. This is part of what I love about long distance don't really know until you are in it!!

With that, just before the gun Maddy and I hugged and wished each other luck and I was off on my own. I had an interesting plan. Negative splits don't seem to work well for me. I was worried that I would start easy and slow later - losing my overall desired pace. So I did what you probably shouldn't - I started off at a more ambitious pace of 11:00 min/mi (but one I had been training with well) and tried to hold it as long as I could. A contributer to the pace was taking less walking breaks. I had trained to take a 1 min walking break each mile. For the race I was going to walk 1 min at the water stops. I also wanted to build in a little extra time in case I needed a pit stop on the way.

I felt strong early on in the race, and although I did feel the urge to make a pit stop, that urge eventually went away which worked out well for my time! I definitely could feel the effects of the run from the previous day - I could feel the tiredness in my legs. I worried a bit about how long I would last - but I kept pushing on. My choice of clothes worked out well and by mile 1 I was warm and running easy. I couldn't feel my toes, however, until around mile 3 or 4! It was definitely nice not having sleet stinging my face.

We reached the Magic Kingdom shortly after mile 10. I enjoyed my usual run down Main Street USA with the crowd on the left side and Disney cast members cheering on the right. The trumpeters were there at the castle to herald us in and soon we were out the other side headed toward Frontierland. Mile 11 comes right as we left the Magic Kingdom.

The temperature seemed to get colder again after MK but I felt okay (I did lose the feeling in my toes again). About the halfway point, I began to feel a bit sore in the legs. I was wishing I felt a bit fresher at that part of the race but I was keeping a good pace. I was running at just over 11 min/mi and hit the halfway point at 2:25 - almost 10 minutes faster than the half marathon course PR I had set the day before. An interesting phenomena as a result of the cold was the ice. With temps in the mid 20s, the water stops became hazardous areas. Water spilled on the ground turned to ice and volunteers were having to spread sand around. We had Powerade slushies and ice water at the stops with the ice that formed in the cups!

Although I could feel the tiredness of the miles, the miles went by fairly well. At about mile 18, I started to feel my calves tighten and the tendon in my right foot began to pull. I had cramped up under my ribs and in my feet after finishing the half on Sat and I was concerned about cramping late in the marathon. As I felt the twinges, I kept pointing my toes and hoping that I could make it to the end without cramping up. And when it got a little tough, I thought about the wristbands I wear. I wear a Pray for Elijah band - Elijah Talley is a spunky young man who is battling neuroblastoma. His fight has been particularly tough over the past few months but he is hanging in there. If he can fight such a tough disease, I can run another mile! I also wear a Livestrong band to remind me of my Aunt who is battling lung cancer. I also think a lot about my mom who has emphysema and heart disease. She is out of breath just walking across the room. If she can hang in there for that, I can run another mile! I wish I could run their illnesses away...

As I got to mile 20, 21, I realized that I was well on pace for a sub-5 hour race. That thought also kept me moving. I entered Epcot just ahead of mile 25, and I started to cry....I was nearly done! And though I had a couple of minutes to spare for a 5 hour race, I didn't dare walk any more. I would never be able to live with myself if I missed beating 5 hours by 2 sec!!!

I check my time as I ran by the choir at mile was going to be sub 5 hours. Around the corner and there was the FINISH line!!! Mickey and Minnie were there to greet the runners. As I crossed the finish line, I let out a loud yell!!!! After crossing, exhausted from the last mile or so, someone called my name and came up behind me just after the finish line - it was Betsy Hughes, co-owner of Track Shack and one of the race directors for the Disney Marathon. She saw me finish and wanted to greet me! She was the first to congratulate me on the race!

As I walked to gather my Mickey medal and mylar blanket, I began to cry again. I don't know about you guys, but the emotions for the entire race, for the entire training season, just seem to hit me at the finish line. I headed to the Goofy tent and got my Goofy medal before making my way to the runner's retreat where I checked my official time: 4:57:14 (later updated to 4:57:12). I had to post to Facebook my triumph with a short entry: "4:57:14 baby!!! Done!"

By the time I had changed and gotten a bite, Maddy was already finished - running in 5:25. Amazing job after she admitted to me she hadn't trained so well for the race. Yes, we will be back next year. I am not planning on Goofy - probably "just" the marathon. I have to run in will be my 5th Disney Marathon! And I don't want to miss all my Goofy friends who will be running it next year.

2010 WDW Marathon Weekend: Part 3 - The Half Marathon

Saturday's half marathon had the most amazing weather I have ever run in. Here we were in Florida and the forecast called for temps around 30 deg with chance of SNOW, sleet and rain. Add to that a wind of 10-15 mph and you have one cold, wet party.

That morning my husband and I thanked our lucky stars we bought the Runner's Retreat package. Since we wanted to get to Epcot early to get good parking, it was nice to know we had a warm, dry place to hang out until it was time to go to the corral. We arrived at the Epcot parking area at 3:30 am. As I stepped out of our parked car, I could swear I pulled a shoulder muscle shivering!

We made our way to the race retreat where we had a bagel with peanut butter and some hot tea and hot cocoa. After making our final preparations, we checked our bag at the bag check in the race retreat tent, used the porta lets for the retreat, and headed out into the cold.

My race garb for the half included a long sleeve tech shirt, my MCM running jacket / shell, tights and running capris. I also had gloves and a knit cap. For the corral I sported my fashionable garbage bag. Jim and I met Maddy near the baggage check and headed over to the corrals together. Since Jim had not trained for the past couple of months, his plan was to walk the race. Maddy and I decided to run the half together - taking it nice and easy to save ourselves for the marathon the next day.

It was a wet run through the parks. Early on I did not notice snow flurries, but I did feel the sting of sleet on my face and occasionally in my eye. I was very glad that I didn't follow my typical routine to wear contacts for the race. My eyes would have been totally exposed to the sleet. When it wasn't sleeting, it was raining - pretty much the entire race.

Maddy and I ran the entire half marathon together, chatting the entire way. It was really cool because it felt like the race just flew by. We ran, we took walking breaks, and just enjoyed the time.

We cross the finish line together at 2:35:02. Incredibly for me that was a course PR!

After the run, Maddy got her knees iced as a precaution and then we headed over to the bag check area for her to get her bags. There was quite a line and the process probably took over 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the heat that our body generated on the run had disappeared and even the mylar blankets could not keep us warm. I waited politely with Maddy until she got under the tent area, then headed back to the runner's retreat for a warm dry place, dry clothes, and a hot meal! They offered scrambled eggs, potatoes, fruit and warm drinks! It was to die for!

By the time I had changed clothes and checked on Jim's time, he had already finished in 3:15! I called him and found I was sitting 2 tables away from him in the retreat tent. We finished eating and headed home. 2 days down and one left to go!

2010 WDW Marathon Weekend: Part 2 - The 5K

Although I am trying to tell the Disney Marathon weekend story in order...I can't wait to get to the marathon....but first we tell the tale of the UP and Away 5K.

Temps for the 5K start were not too bad (relatively speaking and looking back). It was around 40 deg F at the start. I dressed rather warmly, donning my new Goofy 2010 hoody. It turned out to be a good rehearsal for the next two days - overdressing for a 5K is not too bad a thing!

My husband and I decided to run this one easy and walk quite a bit since we had many more miles to cover over the next couple of days. This race started in the Epcot parking lot and spent the first mile or so winding around out there before entering the world showcase near Mexico. Then we got to go on a delightful run clockwise around the world showcase, finishing near Spaceship earth and through the standard finish area for the Disney races.

Our time for the 5K: 38:58. Nice and easy like we planned!

After the race, we grabbed our snack bag and headed home - there was much more to come on this race filled weekend!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 WDW Marathon Weekend - Part 1: The Expo

A marathon weekend always begins with the expo. Expo strategy for Disney - go Thursday and go early.....after that you get to fight lots of crowds!

We got to the expo around 5 pm on Thursday and it was already pretty crowded. Still, the lines were not long to pick up our 5K and Goofy packages. We also needed to check in for our Race Retreat - something I really cherished over the weekend!

We didn't spend a lot of time walking around the expo. We did get to meet a couple of running buddies. Maddy was there as well as Rachel. Maddy had her daughter with her who really hit it off with my two girls. In 30 sec they were goofing around and having a great time. After the weekend was over, Maddy and I decided we would try to train with the girls and do a 5K together with them sometime this spring!

The take from the expo was pretty good.

These are the commemorative pins from the three races plus the Goofy pin.

The package for the 5K was pretty nice as well. You got the really cool goody bag and a personalized bib!

Running Goofy lands you 3 shirts - one for the half, one for the full, and a Goofy shirt - all long sleeve tech. For the price of the race, it better be a nice shirt! :-)

The numbers for the Goofy challengers were in the shape of the number 5 since this was the 5th running of Goofy. Very cool looking numbers. Also here are the race retreat bands - the key to warmth and food before and after the races!

We didn't tarry, but headed home for a warm meal and preparations to get up at 4 am for the 7 am Up and Away 5K.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - Overview

What a weekend! I can hardly believe the results and the ADVENTURE! So many things - this will be a multipart blog post. I will start with the overall results, then take you back in time over how things went.

What made this weekend unique?

1 - 42.4 miles - the Disney "Dopey". A new goal to get ALL the weekend bling.
2 - The coldest weather that central Florida has experienced in over 30 years which included record low temps and sleet!
3 - An incredible training period leading up to the race.....everything seemed in place for a marathon PR, in spite of running the half marathon the day before.

It was sure to be a real adventure, and it was a mystery right up to the very end. I had NO idea how I would run in such weather - because not only had I not trained in the cold, I have NEVER run in such weather conditions. As I shared with Maddy the morning of the marathon, running is like the saying from Forrest Gump - its like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. You may feel crappy and have your best run ever - or feel great and have one of your worst runs. Which is really cool, because basically you just show up and go and let the chips fall where they may.

By the numbers:

Disney's UP and Away 5K - 38:58 (untimed...this is Garmin time)
2010 Disney World Half Marathon - 2:35:02, a course PR
2010 Disney Marathon - 4:57:14, course and overall PR. I broke 5 hours!!! : -)

More to come in posts this week :-)