Do I Know Storm?

We did two half marathons one weekend after another. Man, it didn’t seem like that bad of an idea back in October when we signed up for the Heartland 39.3 Series. Of course in 2016 we did the Goofy and then we did the training for Superhero weekend in Disneyland. So we were still in better shape in 2017. This year we haven’t done any Disney races or any “official” training programs. We can definitely tell the difference.

I mean I still do a base level type thing that Galloway does for the Disney races. I run from forty to forty-five minutes two days a week and then one long run on the weekend. Although my weekend long runs haven’t been that long. That is probably my problem.

I was really, really dreading running another half marathon. It wasn’t the miles it was the . . . weather! It looked cold and rainy for Saturday which to me was worse than snow. I can handle rain as long as it is warm. I’m not big fan of the cold even if it is dry. I prayed about the weekend. I even asked for assistance from any mutant friends I may or may not know on Facebook. I just wanted the rain to stay away long enough to do the race.

My kids made out again at the expo for Garmin Half Marathon. They loved the Oz cutouts. We got some pictures with them. The kids also decorated some trucker hats from State Farm. While we were there I just kept looking outside at how beautiful it was wishing it could be that way race day.

 

My in-laws stayed that night again. We had pizza for dinner and I thought maybe it wasn’t a good idea. We were hungry and tired, and it was quick, easy and tasty. Hubby had to work a little late. He was so tired when he got home. It seemed to be the theme for the evening. Everybody was so tired. We just ate the pizza and called it good.

This race is even earlier than Rock The Parkway. They moved the route back to the Garmin headquarters. I believe it was the same route I did in 2014. It was cloudy but not as cold as we thought it would be that morning. I was so thankful for that.

I thought that finishing under three hours would be a miracle. The fact that I did worse than Rock The Parkway was still jarring though, but I’m jumping ahead. There were a lot of cute costumes. They were all Oz themed of course. I didn’t see any dragons or anything like that this year. It stayed cloudy, but it did not rain! There were some big drops that sprinkled on us around mile six, but it never let loose. Some people untied rain jackets from around their waist to put on or put up hoods and such, but it never really did anything.

I can’t think of anything exciting during the race. I thought I might have a good run during the first half of it. Hubby wasn’t doing well. Then I kept feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, but only when I ran (Yup, I went there). When I walked I felt fine. I’ve never used the porta potty while running. So I just sucked it up and ran on anyway. I think if I had stopped and tried to use the bathroom, I might have felt better and had a better run. Hubby ended up staying ahead of me the whole time.

Near Arrowhead Park I saw some marks on the street that hashers make, but I did not see any hashers. I saw a true trail arrow, a beer near or BN, and On On. I thought there might be a beer check there, but I was bummed when I didn’t see any hashers. For a second I thought the hashers were doing and aid station like Little Rock and some other hashers do during marathons.

My time ended up being 2:42 and Hubby was 2:39. It was still cold. We grabbed a blanket that was prepackaged in a tiny Ziploc, but we didn’t put it around our shoulders. We grabbed a Chuy margarita. It was good. They had a band under the parking garage. We parked in the garage as well. So after drinking our drink we headed toward the car. We got some water and chocolate milk too. We changed our clothes and moved the car closer to the after party.

Before we went to the car we saw some people with yummy smelling burgers all wrapped up in foil. I really wanted one. I tried to get Hubby to get one before going to the car, but he really wanted to change clothes. Then when we got back he wanted, “something to drink while standing in line.” By the time we got in line to get the burger they had the meat patty but no buns or anything else. Now I know people who eat burgers with no bun and I just find that really, really weird. I can’t stand ground beef by itself no matter how well seasoned it is. I must have bun, cheese, pickles, mustard, mayo, tomato, and lettuce. I mean just about everything but ketchup. I know they don’t always offer that so I usually settle for cheese and at least one condiment like mustard. So when I heard there were no buns I gave my husband “the stare.” You know the one that says, “I knew we should have come here earlier.”

He tried to fix it by asking them for a hot dog bun, but they were frozen. They had them grilling on the grill to get them thawed. We started to walk away, but then they handed me one thawed. I broke my patty in two and tried to eat it on a hot dog bun with mustard and no cheese. It was not satisfying at all. My husband was shocked that they would run out of stuff like that so soon. He was concerned about the slower people who ran the full marathon. He was right. It takes me about six hours to do a full marathon. If I had chosen to run this one there would be nothing left for me when I got to the finish. Actually that is what happened on my first full marathon. They basically had everything packed up and ready to leave.

When I got home I had to joke around on Facebook. I mean I asked any mutant friends to keep the rain away until the race was finished and there was no rain. I had to joke around that maybe I did know a mutant that could control the weather like Storm. I had some friends think it was silly. Oh well, I thought it was funny.

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April Be Cray Cray

So I don’t read a lot of running blogs. Honestly, I don’t read a lot of blogs at all anymore. I used to have quite a few that I read when the kids were little. Now I mostly read children’s books to the kids (which I LOVE to do by the way). Anyway when I have read some running blogs I get a little bored when they go on and on about the weather. So I will try to do just one short paragraph and leave it at that.

April be cray cray. I mean it has snowed two weekends in a row with a high of 83 degrees in the middle of the two. I mean I think I would have been less bummed the morning we did Rock The Parkway if it had been cold and crappy all week. I would have thought, “Huh, okay. It just is what it is and it’s been that way all week.” But Nooooooo! It was beautiful and up to 83 degrees two days in a row before the race day. Seriously, Mother Nature? Oh and since we signed up for the Heartland Challenge, we have the Garmin Half next weekend. I looked ahead at the weather forecast and it is going to be a smidge warmer with rain instead of snow. UGH!

So let me rewind a bit to one of the pretty days. I picked up our race packets with the kids. They always make out with candy or some other trinkets at one of the other expo stands. Little Man didn’t want to go in with me at first, but he was skipping and happy when we left. Both kids got a little plant, some suckers, and a light up wrist band. I picked both our Rock The Parkway packets and our Heartland shirts.

My in-laws stayed the night like they normally do. About this time last year my in-laws were upset with our cat for making noise all night while they tried to sleep. Little did they know it was a momma fox outside. She had pups under our deck. Well at least one fox is back this year. It didn’t make much noise because we turned the light on and peeked our heads out the window. It saw us and ran away. It was a beautiful fox. I mean it was big and picturesque. It didn’t look like the mom or dad from last year. Maybe it was one the pups all grown. Long story short, we know what the fox says.

Hubby was stressed about taxes and I was worried he was going to stay up all night, but thankfully he went to bed even if it was past midnight. We got up and got out without too much trouble or fighting. He was slightly worried that we were under dressed. That is unusual for Hubby. Usually I over dress so he follows suit. It was so miserably cold (oops, sorry, keeping the weather contained to one paragraph maybe be harder than I thought).

We lined up and of course the body heat kept us warm. Our training has been crap so I thought we would be lucky to finish at all much less in the 2:30 group, but that is who we lined up with at the beginning. One of the 2:30 pacers was my favorite, Cristal. We were a little ahead of her. I thought I would stick with her and enjoy her stories during the run. No such luck. She passed me at mile three and I never saw her again.

I was a bit dizzy two times at mile two and a little after mile three. I felt a little better after about two Dixie cups of Gatorade. I took my gloves off and pushed up my sleeves and thought things might be alright. Then I got passed by a guy not only dressed as a cowboy but wearing cowboy BOOTS! How on Earth does he run and not get blisters? I should have asked. He had a flask in his back pocket while carrying a huge flask in his hands. He also had on a cowboy hat. I wanted to take a picture, but I don’t think I could get to my phone. I did tell him he reminded me of a hasher friend of mine. He likes to dress in cowboy attire, but he also likes to show off his legs by wearing Daisy Dukes. This guy actually did not know what Daisy Dukes were.

Hubby was waiting at the beer stop. He was wondering how he was faster than me since I run more than him. The only thing I can think of is the fact that the cold we all got seemed to hang on to be a lot longer than the rest of the family. I think mine turned into a sinus infection eventually. All my training runs were crap. I would have a big wad of tissues on my treadmill to throw away later. He’s been cycling so it isn’t like he doesn’t do anything.

I didn’t see hubby again until about mile eight when I started to hit my first big wall. The longest training run I’ve done since Eureka Springs (St. Patrick’s Day) and my cold is eight miles. So I was feeling it here. Then it started to mist. It was getting really cold. I noticed my arms were really red where my shirt sleeves were pushed up to my elbows. I pushed them back down and realized I couldn’t feel them. I was worried. I could feel my fingers, but my arms were numb. I put my gloves back on my hands just in case. Then Hubby passed me again after he was done at the porta potty.

I picked things back up again at mile nine. I think this is where it sleeted on us a bit. I was worried it was going to do that on us the rest of the way, but it cleared up before mile eleven where I hit another wall. That was also about where I lost the icicle that was on my hat. I hoped that it would be there until the end so I could take a picture, but it broke off at some point. There was a lot of walking from mile eleven on to the finish.

I don’t normally get the mylar blankets, but I sure did grab one this year. I was so sore. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to get my foot up on the bucket for them to cut the timing chip off my shoe. I decided this was the second worst race I’ve done behind Pike’s Peak Half. Of course Pike’s Peak Half is a great story.

I called Hubby and he finished first this year. My time was 2:38 and his was 2:36. It is hard to believe I’ve finished the race in 2:20 in the past. I think it might have been the year I had just done the Goofy Challenge. So I guess that makes sense since I trained for a half and a full marathon back to back just a few months before Rock The Parkway.

Hubby was waiting at the beer truck. All the good beer was gone. They had some horrible fruit beer. Hubby and I are not against fruit beer if it is good and this was not. We got chocolate milk and a few small pieces of soft pretzel. I just wanted to get the heck out of there. We did our usual picture in front of their backdrop though and headed home.

We asked my in-laws to take the kids to their Taekwondo lesson while we ran. They were still in their uniforms and playing when we got home. Hubby took a shower first because he doesn’t like it that hot and doesn’t take a long shower. I knew I would probably use all the hot water. It was the only way I could feel somewhat like normal again.

Sorry I didn’t contain the weather to my one paragraph, but it was just MISERABLE! I’m so crossing my fingers for better conditions next weekend. I’m going to take it easy this week. I’m still going to do my regular runs, but I don’t think I’m going to push it. Now to be fair, this is a great race. My experience has more to do with the weather and my training than anything that the race officials or anybody else could control. We will probably do this one again. We usually do.

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A Super Duper Half

I was the first one awake again, but this time Hubby got ready at about the same time I did. I don’t recall him doing his breathing treatment, but I do remember he didn’t feel as sick as the previous day. My brother woke up before we left and told us a bit about his night out with some of his friends. Two friends he didn’t realize were acquainted with each other ended up showing up together at one of the places they visited that night. My brother seemed to have had a good time catching up to his old friends. I believe he was ready for the morning with the Littles.

We headed out of the hotel and crossed the street when I realized Hubby had his hat but no sunglasses. I had mine that morning because I knew the half marathon would take longer than the 10K we did the previous day, and I would need them toward the end when the sun was up in full force. Hubby decided not to go back and get his sunglasses. He was afraid they would slide off his hat for the first part of the race when he didn’t need them.

I joined Hubby in corral D. If you read the previous post I did on the 10K you’ll know that my husband is usually in a corral ahead of me, but our last qualifying half marathon I was ahead of him for a change. So when I entered our proof of time, that put me in a corral ahead of him.

Again I noticed the awesome costumes while we were waiting for the start of the race. I was Spider Woman and Hubby was Captain America. We were surrounded by superheroes. Makes sense since we were doing the Avenger’s Half Marathon. We actually had a few villains as well. I saw at least one Harley Quinn. I loved seeing a few Agent Carters. I thought that was pretty great. The announcer at the start said she saw a Stan Lee. That reminded me of the guy from the 10K. Toward the end of the race I even saw She-Ra. I didn’t get many pictures this day especially since I got some of the characters the day of the 10K

Hubby seemed okay at the beginning. The half marathon started out in the parks right off the bat. We entered the Radiator Springs area at Disney California Adventure which I knew would be beautiful. We didn’t stop as much for pictures this day. We got most of our pictures from the awesome Disney PhotoPass. I still can’t say enough good things about being able to buy all my pictures for the park visits and the races from one company. Hubby and I didn’t stick together long. The last time I saw him until the end was right before the castle. We didn’t get a clear picture the day before so we asked a worker to take our picture that day.

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Our other Radiator Springs picture.

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Hubby with ball cap but no shades.

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Our one picture in front of the castle.

I didn’t put my sunglasses on until we were well out of the parks. When we went over one bridge the sun was blaring and I thought that Hubby was not going to have a good time with that. A ball cap can only do so much especially if the sun is just starting to come up for the day.

I saw people running under the bridge and I thought that I would be down there soon, but boy was I wrong. We didn’t go back under the bridge until after we made our rounds in the Angel’s stadium. It reminded me a bit of our Royals 5K running around the parking lot and then into the stadium itself.

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Entering Angel’s Stadium

I saw some people dressed as superheroes as we were going into the parking lot of the stadium but they were on the other side of the divider for the road. I knew we would be going right by them on the way out the stadium. I figured I could have my fun then. We ran on the outside part of the parking lot first. There were people lined up a good ways away from our race markers. I was surprised to see a ton of people dressed in 20’s garb. I’m not sure why there were dressed up like that but it was awesome. I saw one lady do a big curve to go out and high five the people dressed in the 20’s costumes. I kind of wanted to do that, but I got lazy and decided they were too far away from me.

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People dancing in 20’s costumes

It was about this time I believe I started to dedicate miles. I dedicated one to my husband for being out there with me in the first place. The next mile would be my brother’s mile for his help with everything during the weekend. I knew if I had a chance to goof off I would do it for his mile.

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Hubby in the Angel’s Stadium

Now I mentioned how irritated we were when one guy messed up our picture in front of the castle on the 10K. Well I saw a line of people inside the field of the stadium. They were offering high fives and if you read any of my other posts you know if given the chance, and if I’m not being lazy, I’m a high five slut. I gave them all a big high five. Then all of a sudden I saw a dude with a Captain America shield. I was going to fist bump it until I realized he was posing and not offering high fives. He had asked one of the high five people to take his picture in the stadium. He was a runner! I may or may not have messed up his picture. I don’t know. I hope I didn’t. Funny thing is that later when I saw all my photos I saw a girl behind me in the stadium that was showing off her “guns” and boy did she have some nice guns. All I did to act goofy for my brother’s mile was raise my arms. Her face and all was visible so I don’t think I messed up the photo too bad. I hope she got a good shot. Basically my lesson learned here is to just run and smile. I do better photos that way. Some people like the lady with the “guns” can pull off those fun pictures, but not me. I do better with a simple smile.

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Yes, the lady behind me has it going on and I just messed up her picture being “goofy.” Sorry!

The superheroes outside the stadium were awesome. They were not Disney employees but civilians that decided to dress up and meet to cheer us on outside the stadium. I high fived a few including Spider Man of course. I gave The Thing a fist bump. He had these enormous fake Thing hands. These people were great. They really helped pump me up for the rest of the race!

The next mile was for my daughter. I was about to make it under the bridge and I saw a sign that there was a brewery nearby. I hoped it wasn’t too far off the route. I thought it would be cool if they were giving free samples, but there was nothing. I doubt they were even open at that hour in the morning.

The next mile was for my boy. I was getting closer to the parks by that time. Toward the end I dedicated the last mile to my husband again because I was worried about him. The last tiny bit of the race I dedicated to myself because I knew I would finish.

I made it to the end, got my medal, and went to the challenge tent. They looked up my number and sent me on through to the next person to get my Gauntlet Challenge Medal. Then right after that was a group cutting off the wrist bands for the Coast to Coast Medal. I had three heavy medals on me and walked toward the picture area. There was a nice guy there directing people for the different challenges to the appropriate picture background. I asked if I could wait for Hubby there. The gentleman was more than happy to let me hang there. I called Hubby because I knew he had his headset on him. He only had one more mile to go. I told the gentleman it would be about twelve minutes or so. At one point when the foot traffic got slow he asked what challenges we did.  I told him we did the Goofy Challenge and mentioned that I was worried about my husband because he basically still had pneumonia. I stayed and listened to the gentleman say the same thing over and over again to the runners to direct them to the right place.

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We got a Coast to Coast photo but we forgot to get a Gauntlet Challenge one.

I finally saw Hubby come through as my watch buzzed to let me know my brother sent a text congratulating us. We got our Coast to Coast pictures but we forgot to get our Gauntlet Challenge one. Once we were through with the Challenge photos we went to the main stage area to get our Avenger’s Half Marathon photo. We also went to shop for some shirts in the merchandise tent. They didn’t have the Coast to Coast shirts there but we did buy some other shirts. We sat down and ate some of the goodies we got and figured we would walk around the Disney park instead of going through Downtown Disney to get to our hotel.

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Here is our half marathon photo. The sun was out full force by now.

If you read my post about the Doctor Strange 10K then you know we had a really hard time getting through all the foot traffic through Downtown Disney to our hotel. It was super frustrating. The trip around the park added about 1.4 miles to our half marathon. It was slow going. Hubby didn’t train much and he was sore. Our medals clanged on our chests as we walked along the sidewalks. We got a good look at some construction going on at Disneyland. It felt nice and warm outside. This was going to be a rest day for us when we got back to the room. I kind of thought the kids would like the water park at the hotel after we showered and rested a bit.

When we got back to the room we showed off our medals to my brother. He had tracked us again with the runDisney emails. That is how he was able to text us when we were done. We traded off stories and showered. The rest of our vacation was just that now: a vacation.

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One Magical Year Ago

I know I’ve been slowly making posts about our California trip we made a few months ago. I decided to pause and post this when I heard that the Disney Half Marathon was cancelled this past weekend. That and all the Facebook pictures I’ve seen from On This Day, it really got me thinking about our trip to Florida last year for the same event.

I already have posts on that trip here, here, here and here. So I just want to say what wonderful memories those days hold even the ones where the stroller was stolen. The pictures make me smile. I sometimes think, “Wow! I did that! I ran the Goofy Challenege!”

With all that said, I just can’t imagine the disappointment some people felt over this past weekend with the canceled event. I saw copies of some of the emails sent and Disney gave some options. I’m not sure which option I would have chosen if I had been in these people’s shoes. Getting your money back is always nice, but after the expectations and training, even that can still be disappointing. Deferring to another year or getting an option for another race is always nice, but the flights, hotels and everything else is not cheap. Some people save up just enough money for that one trip.

I was looking back on 2016 and thought how lucky we were to go on two Disney trips, but they were almost a year apart. That was nice because it gave us enough time to save for both of them. We want to do both Star Wars marathons in 2018, but they are closer together. It is going to be harder to save for them.

I think another option was to still get the medal and try to run the full marathon. Now for those doing the Goofy or Dopey Challenge that might have been okay because they trained for that and more. I can’t imagine people that went just for the half marathon just to have it canceled. Even the ones doing the challenges were probably disappointed. To do all the hard work and not really “make” it. It probably would not have felt right to me. I guess I would have picked to defer to another year if we could afford it.

I understand why they canceled the event. It was for everybody’s safety. I actually ran an event where it was canceled right before I finished it. There was no refund, no medal, no nothing. I posted something about it here. A friend of mine posted something on Facebook recently reminding everybody what they signed up for in the first place. To paraphrase my friend, he said that people are totally fine with checking accept on the registration form for the terms in the event of a cancelation. Then they become big cry babies when it actually happens. Well I wasn’t too happy when my event was canceled way back when. I even had to go back and read the terms of cancelation again to realize I was getting nothing. I actually ran over thirteen miles that day because it was up a mountain trail and there was no other way than walking or running back down it.

Now I sound like one of those people that talk about walking in the snow uphill both ways back in their day. Anyway, I didn’t read or see anything that would make me want to imply anybody was a cry baby. As a matter of fact someone posted in one of my Facebook groups that the people that did opt to do the full marathon were quite happy. I still felt really bad for those that missed their race. I hope it worked out for everybody.

 

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The Grump Needs To Run More

I used to read stories about how much people hated the taper before a big race. I didn’t really notice it for the Goofy Challenge because we were at Disney and Universal having fun. We did a lot of walking at the parks, and we still did at least one training run while we were in Florida. It was several loops around the time share, but we made the mileage. I have noticed a change since the race though. We still have Rock the Parkway half marathon coming up but it isn’t a full marathon (thank goodness). It isn’t a huge challenge like the Goofy. I wondered if I was actually missing the super long training runs on the weekends or worse yet the super long back to back training runs!

I’ve been a little moody and the only way to help has been to run. My twins are threenagers which can drive anybody crazy. I just hate it when I yell or get mad at them. They can be very challenging at times, but I know they could be worse. I love it when we cuddle and laugh. I feel like we do that best when mommy has run some stress off that day. I mean really, who LIKES conflict and who doesn’t love a good cuddle? I even read a saying the other day, “I run the crazy away.” I think that is so me.

When I think about my Goofy training schedule I do have to give a shout out to Jeff Galloway’s training program on the runDisney website. I LOVED it! The first marathon I trained for was not fun. The training was so monotonous. I just about burned out before I even got to the race. I was running five times a week with a cross training day (which I normally skipped) and one rest day. The long runs gradually got longer every single weekend. I don’t remember who created the program, but I got it from one my running clubs at the time.

Galloway’s program kept things fresh and I don’t ever really recall dreading a weekend run like I did with the other program. In the beginning, Galloway’s program only has you running three times a week. You have forty-five minute runs every Tuesday and Thursday and then a long run on Saturday. The long run did gradually get longer. Then as we got closer to the race it changed from one Saturday long run to back to back long runs on Saturday and Sunday. Then the next two weeks you only had one moderate run on Saturday all while keeping your forty-five minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday. You had two weeks of moderate runs on Saturdays in between the really hard back to back long runs. It was great! It kept you from getting burned out while still keeping your endurance.

I haven’t been training all that much for Rock the Parkway. I’ve gotten a few six mile runs on Saturdays, but I should probably bump it up a bit before we do the race. If not for the race then at least for my sanity.

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And The Goofy

I have to start by saying this was an amazing experience. It was also an exhausting one on so many levels. I mentioned how I hated getting up early in the morning in previous posts. OMG! This was just beyond crazy. We got up around 2:30 AM each morning so we could wait for the bus at 3:30 AM, get through security, drop off our bags and walk to the corral by 5:30 AM. Of course since I was in corral I we didn’t get to actually start running until about 6 AM. I thought more about the Dopey and why I would or would not want to do it. I know now that I would NOT want to do it. It isn’t the miles that bother me, it is getting up that freakin’ early in the morning four flippin’ days in a row! Two days in a row was bad enough for me. I just can’t imagine four days in a row that early in the morning.

Now I mentioned security and walking to the corrals. The two different days were just that. . . different. The first day we walked out front of our resort and BOOM! There was a bus right there. We did not have to wait. We just walked on and off we went to the race. Now it was full enough that we couldn’t sit together, but no biggie. I don’t think we had any really meaningful conversation with either of the people sitting with us. The traffic was fine. We had a short walk to the security line. The first day all we brought were some trash bags to keep a little warm. It was in the lower sixties most of the time we were there. Since it was still dark, I thought it would be kind of cool. It wasn’t too bad, but we did use the trash bags. Anyway, Hubby had on a belt to carry is water and for a short time there we thought we were just going to walk right on in without delay. Then they said if you had on any kind of sport belt you had to go through the bag check security line. I went with him so we didn’t get split up and have a hard time finding each other later. The line wasn’t too bad. As a matter of fact it was probably faster than the bag check lines at the theme parks.

We got into the parking lot the first morning and saw all the tents for checking your drop bags. We tried to find our Facebook group for the group photo, but I couldn’t remember the meet-up time. Come to find out we were actually early. We heard the announcer mention that the walk to the corrals was actually about a half a mile. So he said we needed to get started. I don’t think it was even 4 AM yet when we headed to the corrals. The exit to walk to the corrals was real confusing. It was in a corner surrounded by porta potties. I was kind of confused as to if I was walking with the people to the start or to the porta-pottie. The walk didn’t seem that bad after the porta-pottie. At one point they wanted A through H go one way and I through P to go the other way. Hubby was in corral H, but he decided to stay with me. You can go with someone in a slower corral. He went with me and it seemed like we walked a ways toward the opposite direction of where the corral was located. We kind of think they should have cut it off at J maybe. We got there early enough that we were at the front of our corral. We waited an hour until the first set of runners went and then of course another half hour until they let our corral go.

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My blurry picture of stilt walkers on the way to the corral

The second day for the full marathon was kind of the same motions only really different in terms of waiting and the number of people. We woke up a little later but not much. We were only fifteen minutes late compared to the previous day to get to the front of the resort, but still there was a big line and a lot more buses. I have to give it to Disney. We didn’t have to wait too long, but the line we were in did wrap around the building. I have to say that when we drove off I wondered why there was such a traffic jam for all the other lanes to the right of us. Then our bus driver got to the end of the intersection and took a right turn past the off ramp. It was kind of like we cut in line. The off ramp was going the same direction and that was the road we were supposed to take. There were even other busses on the ramp. I’m torn between thinking our driver is a genius because we got there pretty quick or a jerk because we cut the line in front of all those other people. We got to the parking lot and the walk to the security line was a bit more crowded but it didn’t seem to take us any longer than last time. We went through the bag inspection line again, but this time we decided to bring a drop bag with us since we knew we had to go through the line anyway. It was a little chilly after the half marathon and a dry long sleeve shirt would have been nice. So we learned our lesson.

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Our corral the first morning

We didn’t wait long to walk to our corral, somehow though instead of being fifteen minutes late we were half an hour later than the previous day. We dropped off our bags and walked to the corral. This time we went the other direction even though we were corral I. It did seem a little quicker. We were toward the back of our corral this time. We didn’t really need the trash bags for warmth this time. The humidity was crazy. We did use them to sit on since the pavement was wet.

I was pumped and excited for the half marathon the first day. My energy dwindled a little waiting for the start since we were there so early. I kept up my energy a bit better the second day even though I was tired from all the happened the previous day. Hubby was just tired and grumpy the first day, but I think he was better the second day. The first day I felt like we had it. I just knew we could do it. The second day was even more of a reality for me. It had me quite emotional at times imagining myself crossing the finish line and getting my medals. We brought our Donald medals the second day, but we left them in our drop bag. We thought we would get a picture with all of them at the end. We did but the “official” photo was before you got your drop bag. We got the photo with all the medals in another post earlier with our phone.

When we started off for the half marathon, it was hard to believe that we would hit five miles before ever getting into the Magic Kingdom. I also wondered what roads we would run to get there since they make everybody use the monorail or a boat to get there. We had not used the bus from our resort to get there yet, but I figured that there were roads for deliveries and employees at least. Of course there were roads to the park and they were lined with people cheering.

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We had puppet type characters like Sebastian at the beginning of the half marathon. We also had marching bands playing music for us. Some of the band was off on the side offering high fives to the runners. I have to admit that I’m a bit of a high five “slut.” I just can’t miss an opportunity to give a high five. Ask my sister-in-law and brother-in-law about that. It’s a little inside joke (Happy New Year!).

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Hubby with Sebastian – I didn’t stop the first morning

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Mike in the same spot the next morning. I stopped this time.

I had seen websites and posts about stopping and getting pictures with the characters. I was so nervous during both races I didn’t really stop to do that except a handful of times. A lot of time we would do a selfie with the character and other people behind us and just take off again. The mile marker signs were cute too. I stopped and took a few pictures of those. I think my phone started to get some condensation on it because it wasn’t just the pictures that were blurry, my side was blurry as well. I finally wiped the phone down on whatever small dry surface I had. It was hard to find a dry surface on me for the full marathon. The humidity was so bad that I think I was sweating  before we reached the first mile marker.

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Condensation on my phone

 

I was impressed with the fact that the characters were either different or at least placed in different spots between the half marathon and the full marathon. Of course the mile markers were the same up to mile thirteen. I mean I didn’t see them spending extra money to make something so small like that different. So the different characters made it nice and “new” the second day.

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Before our trip Hubby decided to get us some Garmins. They did not come in in time so he contacted a buddy that works at Garmin and got some loaners. I thought I put alarms on our Garmins to notify us to do a walk break, but I didn’t do it right. So we kind of winged it the first race. I was curious at first when I saw people raise their hands during the race. Then I quickly realized they were alerting people around them that they were about to slow down and walk. Genius! Why don’t runners do that at ALL races? It’s so simple. I mean usually you try to keep to the right, but with that many people sometimes it is hard to get over in time for the need to do a walk break. So raising your arm to alert people is nice. There was one guy during the full marathon that had a shirt on that said, “Walk to the right.” You could tell it was hand written with a marker. Like I said for the half marathon we winged it, but I noticed quite a few people doing the run/walk approach. For the full marathon I got our alerts on our Garmins working. We tried to do a six minute run and one minute walk. I put ours to vibrate because I thought all the loud alarms were a little annoying. Boy was I right. Every few seconds it seemed someone’s alarm was going off during the marathon to alert them to walk. There was a lot of high pitched beeping going on during the race.

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I wanted to do a three hour half marathon, but I guess not really knowing when to walk, we did it just a little faster than I expected. Hubby wanted to kind of stay together. I would accidentally pass him at a water stop even though I got something as well. You see I walk a bit faster than him. The funny thing was that when he passed me running I would spot him and even think I was making eye contact, but for some reason he would miss me. I would have to say something or touch him to get his attention. We actually ended up finishing at the same time. A couple in front of us crossed holding hands. Hubby nodded at them and jokingly asked if I wanted to do that. I smiled at him and jokingly said only if he wanted to. We didn’t, but I think he was a lot more hyped up about the whole thing after we finished the half marathon.

We got our medals for the half and took pictures separate and together. We also got a nice little box with snacks in it. There was no chocolate milk though. We were looking for it, but they had Poweraid and water. We took both of those. I knew I needed to stretch so we “camped” kind of near the snack tent with some other people. I stretched while Hubby ate. Then one of the employees shooed us away along with a few other runners.

The other thing I was impressed with during the full marathon was how many aid stations they had. The same ones from the half marathon were there up to at least before mile nine. I love how they had GU or bananas at a lot of the aid stations, but those were not until after you were passed Animal Kingdom and at the thirteen mile marker.  During the half they had GU earlier at mile nine, I think, and there were no bananas during the half. That is probably because they felt you only need the one GU station for the half and you have so much further to go for the full marathon.

The half I did it all like I’ve done several other half marathons. I just ran. I think it was around mile eleven or twelve during the full marathon that I remembered that some people dedicated miles to family or loved ones. I decided to start and see how I did. It was actually kind of fun and kept me moving along. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it is like saying mile twelve is to my husband for doing the run with me even though he didn’t have to. Mile thirteen is to my daughter for being a smart, beautiful light in my life. Mile fourteen is to my son for being my smart and funny little man. I’m not going to go into to all of them, but that is how it goes. It was really motivating at times. For instance I dedicated a mile to a friend of mine, Elaine, for being an inspiration to my running and just the way I look at life in general. If I started to slow down too much I would tell myself that I couldn’t wuss out on Elaine’s mile. It really kept me going.

Now the half in case you haven’t been or looked it up, starts at Epcot going up and around Magic Kingdom and back to Epcot. You do not go around the World Showcase in Epcot during the half, but you do go in a little ways and around Spaceship Earth. The full marathon takes you through all four parks and ESPN Wide World of Sports. Animal Kingdom was the second park after the Magic Kingdom for the full marathon. I was a little excited about making it to Animal Kingdom. I knew it was half way over and getting off the road and into another park was nice. Hubby and I stuck together a little better during the first part of the full marathon because of the run/walk breaks. I followed the breaks but he didn’t really follow them like I did. When he started to walk he wouldn’t run again until I caught up with him. So basically I would run up, touch his shoulder, and he would start up running again. It kind of made me think of a wind-up toy. It was as if I just wound up a key on him and pushed a button.

We were wearing some Kansas City shirts from other races we did. We bumped into some Kansas City people during the full marathon. They recognized the races on our shirts. They were with Team in Training. They chatted with us a bit here and there. It was funny losing and then bumping into the same people during the run/walk breaks. I ended up losing Hubby at Animal Kingdom.

First Hubby’s music stopped. I did not have music because I thought we would have enough entertainment on the run. I mean the costumes alone were awesome. We didn’t do costumes. I just didn’t have time or the motivation. Anyway I passed him, but I soon stopped because I wanted a picture in front of the Tree of Life. While I was waiting for him to get a picture that was focused, I could feel my thighs screaming. We had heard some people say that when you go through Animal Kingdom that you have an opportunity to ride the Everest ride. I felt like if I stopped or sat down for too long I wouldn’t be able to finish in time. So I told Hubby ahead of time that I was going to skip it. When I passed the ride and saw that it was only a five minute wait, I almost did it, but I just knew I wouldn’t finish. Finishing was the thing I wanted to do most. So I only have the tiniest bit of regret not doing it. I also knew Hubby was NOT going to pass. Sure enough I got a phone call. He told me he was in line and would catch up to me. He said he would call after he got off the ride and see where I was.

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In front of Tree of Life where I knew I couldn’t ride Everest

I had hit one or two walk breaks when I thought he should be calling me. So I called him. I was worried the ride broke down or his legs cramped up or something else bad. He was fine. He was about a half mile behind me. He ended up a half mile behind me for a while. After Animal Kingdom we started down one road and right next to it was all these people running on the other road going the other way. At first I thought that we were just making a quick loop and coming back, but boy was I wrong. We went into ESPN Wide World of Sports instead. We did a loop around a race track and then another loop around a soccer field. We were running here there and everywhere. It felt like we were in there forever. By the time we came out and started to run the other direction I couldn’t help think how far those other people on the other side had to go.

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Hubby in the front on Everest Ride. Boy, it looks like fun!

I passed a guy with one of those airup boots. I figure he must of gotten it at one of the medical tents. There just didn’t seem anyway that he was ahead of me that whole time with that thing on his leg. We finally entered Hollywood Studios. It was so uplifting to see the people and characters. It was kind of cool seeing parts of the parks you normally wouldn’t see. Although it was a little scary going through this dark tunnel that had lights and music. It felt like what I thought a rave might be like if I ever went to one. I was a little afraid I was going to trip in the dark and fall. When we got out and eventually went down the main street I saw this cute little girl dressed as Cinderella. She had her hand up to give a high five. You know I did.

We were already at mile twenty something at that point. I say that because I was ready to stop running and have the race be done. Hubby was about mile behind me, I think. We talked on the phone and he said he stopped to use the bathroom. I guess I didn’t realize how close Epcot was to Hollywood Studios or that Disney Springs was in between the two. We have never been to Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney. I guess I can say we still haven’t really. We didn’t get a chance to explore it other than the race. It was nice though. I saw a lady filling up little dixie cups with beer. She hollered as I ran by, “Free beer!” I stopped and slammed one. I thought about asking her if she was a hasher, but I thought I might get “hung up by the lip,” and I just wanted to finish. I just wanted to stop running.

Now for the half marathon my Garmin said we did 13.32 instead of 13.1 miles. The half marathon I started my Garmin only a little early. Remember we were at the front of our corral for that run. So I know the mileage was off only by a little though. So I didn’t start my Garmin until AFTER I crossed the starting line for the full marathon. I noticed along the way that the mileage was only about a quarter mile off here and there. I think it was mile sixteen though that was actually spot on with my Garmin. After that is got back to being off a quarter of a mile or worse. By the time we got to Epcot I was getting a little disheartened because I knew we were way over a true marathon. Now I missed riding Everest but was kind of tempted to stop and get a beer or margarita because unlike the half, we got to do the World Showcase in Epcot during the full marathon. Like I keep saying, at that point I just wanted to finish. When I finally finished my Garmin said we did 26.67 miles.

I had envisioned crossing the finish line for the full marathon several times during the race. Each time was a little different, but one thing they all had in common was me crying. I would actually tear up a bit thinking about the finish. It was something I had been training and looking forward to for so long. When I did in fact finally finish, I was just so happy, but at the same time I was worried about my Hubby. I saw the guy with the boot again, but I passed him and at least finished before he did. I stalled a bit at the end to see if Hubby could catch up to me. I know I wasn’t supposed to, but I did also need to stretch a little. A nice volunteer told me I looked pretty good for finishing a marathon. She made me feel real good since I had not just finished a marathon but I finished a Goofy Challenge! Another volunteer finally asked me and another gentleman to leave. The guy decided to argue with them while I just walked down a bit more. I got to the point where they take your picture and they had special sections for Dopey or Goofy Challengers. A nice volunteer there told me I could wait for my Hubby just off to the side. I think he was only about fifteen or twenty minutes behind me, but it seem to feel like forever. I think if we had indeed finished together I would have cried.

Now I know I said I would never do another marathon again and I still stand by that. I mean after the half marathon point, I just want it to be done. That is why I have no problems with half marathons. I just think marathons really suck. Now with that being said, the Disney marathon was leaps and bounds better than my first marathon at Maryville. Of course I realize I am comparing apples to oranges. Comparing a small town marathon to a big one with lots more money to have nice aid stations and everything makes a HUGE difference. The thing is that I do have a nagging voice in the back of my head that wonders how fast I could do a marathon that was somewhere in the middle between Disney and Maryville. Maryville was my first, it was hot, windy and miserable and it took me six hours. Disney was wonderful but I had a lot of picture stops AND I ran a half marathon the day before it. I still finished it in six hours. So I think I could do a lot better. Then I come to my senses and remember that I do not want to do another marathon again EVER.

When we were at the expo we saw some things we just weren’t ready to commit to yet. One of the things was a commemorative frame. They said they would have a booth at the end of the race as well. When we were done Hubby said it was too big of an accomplishment not to get one. That also made me feel good. It was like all the training and trying to motivate him to get excited finally paid off. He said at one point that everything changed when he decided that all he wanted to do was finish instead of making some great time. I was trying to tell him that all along, but I guess he had to discover it for himself. Anyway, I can’t wait until they mail us the frame. We got the pictures ready to put in it.

Speaking of pictures, I wished we only had to deal with just one photo company. Instead we had to purchase a Memory Maker with Disney for our theme park photos and then we had to deal with MarathonFoto for the race pictures. I had trouble with both companies. MarathonFoto was the worst. At least with Disney’s Memory Maker I was able to get my issue resolved with one call to customer service. I think with MarathonFoto I did one or two emails and three phone calls. It was crazy. I’m sure there is some business reason why Disney hires MarathonFoto, but it would just be so much more convenient if it was included in your Memory Maker.

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Some MarahonFoto pictures I finllay purchased

 

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It has been an interesting journey to get here. I hope I can keep my running up like I have the last two years. I think I can if I don’t lose sight of what makes me happy. Running makes me happy if I do it right. By that I mean if we sign up for fun races or running groups. I also like some of my runs where the kids get to enjoy nature. Right now we are doing the Sweet 16 Series again, Rock the Parkway, and we are considering the Avengers Half Marathon in Disneyland. We just might get a Coast to Coast medal!

 

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Yes! We Did It!

Hi, my name is Mary and I did the Goofy Challenge, ya’ll! We have been back a little over a week and it feels so surreal. I was trying to think of how long I’ve wanted to do this. I think heard about the challenge around ten years ago. I think it was about the time we tried to do Pike’s Peak. I just can’t believe the time has come and gone. I just can’t believe we were there for almost two weeks!

There is just so much to tell. I don’t think I will put it all in one post. I think I’ll split it up a bit. I want to tell you some about our trip and then some more detail about the race. I just couldn’t wait any longer to say that we made it. Well I posted the above picture to Facebook while we were still in the parking lot at the “after” party of the race so my family and friends would know we did it.

I’ll go ahead and give you some highlights. My foot didn’t kill me. It hurt a bit while exploring the theme parks the days beforehand. I wore my new shoes with all the good cushion for the theme parks and the half marathon. I wore a second pair for the marathon. My foot actually didn’t bother me much during the run. As a matter of fact, I felt my legs more during the marathon than my feet. My husband did okay. I think he had a little more fun when he changed his mindset from setting some PR to just finishing. My official time was Disney Half Marathon 2:49:09 and Disney Full Marathon 6:03:38.

When it was all said it done I couldn’t help wonder what was next. Then I remembered that we signed up for Rock The Parkway Half Marathon again. I’m so glad we did that. It will help keeps us on track. I think in one of my posts I mentioned that I haven’t found my groove. I think I am on the path to finding it again. It isn’t just running because I have been doing that a while. It is running races and being in the running culture. If you told me when I was a teenager that I was going to be a runner and love the running culture, I would have laughed so hard I would have probably peed my pants.

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