Monday, December 29, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 13

Maybe because this is the 13th installment of my training saga, but the weekend’s long run did not go according to plan. First of all, we had a thaw on Friday. While the respite from the frigid temps was nice, a warm up to the mid-30s meant melting snow and subsequent refreezing overnight. When I went out on Saturday morning, I didn’t even make it a quarter mile before heading back in. The sidewalks were iced over and I wasn’t running, I was gingerly walking. I figured I’d try again Sunday.

The sidewalks and roads were better Sunday, but it was much colder. Since it was only a 12 mile run, I figured I could do the run without problem. The running conditions were fine, but my left Achilles tendon and ankle starting to throb about 9 miles into the run, so I cut it short and did 10.5 miles total. I don’t want to get injured this close to the race, so I’m also taking today off to rest my leg. I bought an ankle brace, too, which I think will help. The big problem is that my shoes are wearing fast and now it is too close to the race to break in a new pair. Luckily, I have a couple of pairs from last year that don’t have many miles on them that I can wear for the races.

We’re getting closer to the race and as I start my taper, I’m thinking of race strategy a bit. I’m not wearing my iPod this year for either race. I’d like to experience the race more fully this year, especially since I will actually know people running the races-whether or not I run with them, I’ll still know that there are people that I have a potential to chat with, if they are so inclined.

I’m not wearing my water belt, either. The past two years when I’ve had the belt, I have not used it as much as I thought I would because there are plenty of water stops. I figure that I’ll keep doing what I did the last two races and stop at every water stop, even if I only drink some of the water and pour the rest over my head. I’ll still bring my
GU Energy gels and have those every four or five miles (unless I’m really going slow, then I’ll have them every 45-50 minutes). I think it will make my prep and my running easier to not worry about those things.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 12

The weather didn’t hold. We had a nice winter storm come through yesterday, which started as I was about a 1½ into my 20 mile run. Now, I’m a Minnesotan born and bred, so I figured it would be okay. In short, I finished the run, but it was like running 20 miles through the sand with winter running gear on. Oh, and the temperature was dropping as the wind picked up. The arms of my winter running pullover froze from the wrist to the elbow, my running gloves were frozen, as was my hat and the mesh of my running shoes. I had frozen snow on my heels from the tops of my shoes to the bottom of my running tights.

All in all, not the greatest conditions to run in, but oddly, I didn’t think of stopping and finishing the run inside. I certainly didn’t think of quitting and heading home. I just kept thinking that all I needed to do was finish the next part of the run, and then the next, and so on-soon I’d be done. I’ve run in colder conditions, snowier conditions, but the combination yesterday was definitely some of the worst weather I’ve run in. To top it off, normally when the weather is this bad, people stay home, but with yesterday being the last Saturday before Christmas, the roads were pretty busy. This meant watching cars much more closely as I can to intersections, but I didn’t really have any trouble with cars coming close to me or having trouble seeing me (I’m pretty big, so kind of hard to miss when there’s a snowy backdrop). I wasn’t even all that worn out. I was sore, and still am today, but I wasn’t exhausted. I may run the Goofy slower than I ran the marathon the last two years, but I’ll be able to do both fairly easily. I think it’s sheer stubbornness that’s getting me through the training now.

Happy holidays everyone!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 11

I had a fairly easy 12 mile run last Saturday, a nice route I hadn’t run in about two months. The weather was surprisingly warm, about 30 degrees, with not much wind and no precipitation. At least, not when I was running. By the afternoon, the wind had picked up and the temperature began dropping, fast. By evening, when my family and I went to a Christmas gathering, it was in the single digits and heading further south. We had a front blow through, literally, that was a precursor to the generally dismal weather we’ve had all week. Today it’s sunny, but it is not going to stay that way for long. We’re supposed to get snow tonight and tomorrow, which should be done by this Saturday-the day I run my last 20 miler. Oh joy! I planned a different route so that I wouldn’t be doing laps like two weeks ago and as long as the weather holds, I should be fine.

This was the last intense week for my training, as I start to taper next week. I’m excited to do the races, but there is a small part of me that just wants to get it over with so I can relax a bit with my family. I’m still looking for a job and although I do have a project I’m doing for an old employer and an interview tomorrow for a good position with a great company, I’m getting more and more nervous, given the state of the economy that I may not find anything anytime soon. It does make it a little tough at times to justify doing the marathon, but so far, my wife and my mother have both said that since we had already budgeted for the trip that we should go. So, I’m going, obviously, but still, I really wish I had to take time off work to be able to take the trip. Oh well, maybe something will happen with the interview tomorrow and I’ll be able to look forward to starting a new job when we get back home!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 10

Yesterday, I planned on running 20 miles (my square 4 mile route in 5 laps), even with the cold and wind. I’ve done it the past two years to train for the WDW Marathon and only once have I come in early (last year during an ice storm) and finished on the elliptical inside. Now, I’ve done it twice. It was not the cold and wind, but the snow, drifts, and lack of snow removal early on Saturday morning. We didn’t have a foot of snow or anything like that, but we had enough snow starting Friday night that by the time I went out at 7:00 am, the snow was about 3-5 inches, unless I ran into a drift-then the snow was part way up my calf. Naturally, the sidewalk that drifts the worst is next to the busiest road I run on during any of my training routes. The snow drifts here because this stretch of road has agricultural test fields for the University of Minnesota alongside it, so for half a mile, I have the same conditions as running in the country. It’s always a windy place and generally not my favorite part of my routes.

During my first lap I ran through a few drifts, before I jumped to the side of the road to run. The traffic wasn’t bad yet, so I was fine, but I knew I’d have four more laps of drifting snow during this mile stretch. As I made the next turn on my square, the sidewalk was in decent condition, so I was okay, but then I made the last turn to go back towards home and I was faced with crappy sidewalks again. I made it through the first lap about 4 minutes slower than I planned, but felt that I knew what the conditions would be for the other four laps, so I would be fine.

The second lap, which I did in reverse, broke down almost immediately. Now the snow plows were out in full force. This is great for drivers, but the snow’s got to go somewhere, right? Where does it go? On the sidewalk, of course, so now I have about 6 inches of snow to trot through. Unless the wind gets it and starts drifting, which my busy section of road did. The second lap I ran in the road, but had to be very conscious of where the cars were and hope that they saw this large, bundled person lumbering down the road towards them. During this lap, I starting thinking about finishing inside. I don’t like to split the workout like that, but sometimes you have to doing this kind of thing. I got through the second lap and started the third, again reversing myself so I was headed in the same direction as the first lap. The busy road drifts were worse, bad enough that I was not on the side of the road any longer, but at the edge of the right lane. Luckily, traffic was not bad for the time I was on the road, but I decided that I would finish this lap and head inside.

I probably should have figured out which of my routes I could graft onto this run to be able to go farther before coming inside, but I couldn’t remember distances for the routes I could have done, so I decided to try to stick it out. I got done with the third lap and came in to finish inside. This was not the way I thought my 20-miler would go, but I have another one in two weeks, so we’ll see how that goes. The joys of running in Minnesota in the winter!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 9

This past Saturday, there was no snow, but I had an interesting run anyway. My 12 mile run was cut short by about a mile and a half due to tummy troubles. There is nothing like getting a gurgly tummy at the point farthest from home. I tried to tough it out, but had to think quickly to re-route myself home. It was also cold, so that did not help, but I made it home and everything turned out fine.

This Saturday is my first 20-miler this training cycle and I think that I will do my 4 mile route in a 5 lap loop, rather than do my 20 mile route. The weather is supposed to be cold with some snow, which doesn’t bother me, but the events of last Saturday have given me pause about being too far from home. Additionally, my wife will be at her sister’s house to bake cookies while I’m running, so calling for a ride is out. I’d rather be around a loop I know well and I know has a couple of restrooms on it I can use. Let the run begin!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 8

Saturday, we had snow. Not a lot, but enough to cover the roads and sidewalks during my 18-mile run. It certainly wasn’t bad footing or anything like that, but I flashed back to last year, when it was snowing or below zero the last six weeks of training. This weekend should be better and I’m only running 12 miles, so there you go.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 7

I live in an area of the Twin Cities which has a deceptively large number of hills. After all these years, I did not realize how many hills are in my surrounding neighborhood until last Saturday’s run. I ran 17 miles, no big deal for me after three years of marathon training, but it was a new route in an area I had thought was relatively flat. Imagine my surprise when I turn a corner about 6 miles in and I’m faced with one of the steepest hills I’ve ever run up and as I slow to a walk, I realize that I will have several more hills like this. This was the first run this year that I actually considered cutting short and finishing on the elliptical at home. I didn’t quit, though. I kept at it, kept running, and finally finished. I was done a little quicker than I thought I would be, but still I was slower than I’d have liked to have run.

I planned this week’s 18 miler to avoid too many hills. Most of the route I’ve run before, but I added several miles of new roads. I’ve eyed these roads for a couple of years and since we shouldn’t have any snow this weekend, I thought I’d give it a try. We’ll see how it goes!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 6

Tis the season (no, not Christmas, although it is my favorite holiday, so in a way, I do mean Christmas) to have that morning gut-check and make the hard decision: run outside in the dark and cold or run downstairs on the elliptical? Except for the long run on Saturdays, which I’ll do in rain, snow, sleet, etc. much like the USPS, I’ve gone outside for my training run two or three times in the last several weeks. I have noticed that my long runs are better, seem easier, and seem to be not as stressful as last year, when I got outside as much as possible.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 5

Training is going well, but you’d think that having my days open again (still waiting for a new project to ramp up) would get me out the house and running outside. I do my long runs on Saturdays outside, but I’ve run on the elliptical downstairs for all of my other training for the last few weeks. Last week, the weather was not very cooperative, so I didn’t mind too much. This week is cold (it IS late October in Minnesota after all), but sunny. I didn’t run on Monday, so I ran yesterday-downstairs. I ran this morning, but again, downstairs. At least the weather is supposed to be decent enough the rest of the week, so I intend to get outside to run tomorrow and Friday. I will run outside Saturday (only really bad weather deters me from running outside on the weekends.

I think the issue is partly not knowing my job status, partly not sleeping great due to waking up at 6:30 am and having the sunrise an hour away (my son insists it’s not morning when I try to get him up!), and partly not feeling the most positive in general. I know the job situation will be fine, eventually, but I truly hope that I will have to arrange for time off to go down for the marathon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Goofy Challenge training, part 4

So, today is the last day of my contract project position. It’s worked out well and it was great to get a paycheck again! I also have the project with my former employer lined up and should be starting that soon, hopefully sometime next week. I’m not sure how long it will take, but I’ll take anything right now, especially with this employer.

I find it interesting that I was not blogging during my time on the contract position, but I was actually busy with home-related things when I’d get done with work (I should point out that the office where I worked is three miles from my house). This included my training for the Goofy Challenge in January. I had to start running in the late afternoons and it was a bit of an adjustment, but I got used to it. I will enjoy going back to running in the mornings on Monday and I hope to be able to keep doing that during this next project. If not, late afternoons aren’t so bad.

I’ve been following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I training program since the beginning of September and my fears of too may miles have been unfounded so far. I’ve only missed a couple of days, including this past Wednesday, when I found out I did not get a job that I really wanted. Other than those few days, I’ve been running quite a bit. I’m getting a little faster, which I attribute to the base training I did this summer and to realizing the extra miles are not a bad thing. I ran 12 miles last Saturday at an 11:14 pace. I think I can trim that down a bit and have a decent shot at 11:00 for the marathon. I’m still not sure how I’ll run the half-marathon, but I know that I’ll probably try to stick to that pace or a little slower. I really want to make sure I’m not going to burn out during the marathon.

As far as food and eating goes, well, I’m doing better, but I need to be much more rigid about the portions and more realistic about the choices. I’d really like to be at 200 lbs, if not 195-199, and I know I’m running out of time to get there. Training for the Disney marathon is always problematic in terms of food because you’re training during the holiday season, which for eating and food choices, really starts in October when the Halloween candy and caramel apples and the pumpkin spice lattes at
Starbucks!start appearing. Fortunately, my contract position was at an office that had vending machines, so I brought my lunch every day but one, when I tried a vending machine lunch that wasn’t too bad.

Also, when I did the last two marathons (and this next one), my wife has insisted on me having my own room Saturday night before the race. Even though we’ll be at Saratoga Springs for the trip, I booked a room at
Pop Century for Saturday night. The CRO person I spoke with when making the reservation thought it was funny when I said that my wife and three-year-old son were kicking me out of the room Saturday night because they didn’t want to get up at 2:30 am!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to blog more to track the training, but we’ll have to see, I guess.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Goofy Challenge training update, part 3

Started the actual training program last week. I’ve decided to follow Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I Marathon Training program to see if I get in better shape for the Goofy Challenge. I’ve tweaked the schedule to accommodate the days I typically run. Counting the Goofy Challenge runs, I’ll do over 600 miles for this training, which is more in an 18-week period than I usually run in 7-8 months. I feel that I can do this, though, because I’ve been getting bored, basically, with the training program I’ve used for the past two marathons. It will mean a lot of running in November and December, but hopefully, the winter weather will be closer to 2006, not last year. Two years ago, I ran in the snow twice, I think. Last year, I ran in the last five weeks of the training, including a couple of snow-ice storm type days that drove me inside after several miles.

I’m also trying to be much, much, MUCH better about food and eating. I gained a bit a weight, 5-7 lbs, over the summer as I continued my job search (still looking, but I did get a
short-term contract job), so that should help with the predilection to graze a bit in the afternoons. If I could just lay off the Starbucks!

We also booked our
DVC rooms for January and we’ll be staying at Saratoga Springs Resort for the first time. That should be interesting. We did cut one day off the trip, though, in hopes that I’ll have to take time off from work, just like my wife will have to do.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Goofy Challenge training update

Base training is going pretty well, although there are days that I have trouble getting motivated to go out and run. A big part of the reason that I sometimes struggle with the drive to get outside is that I’ve been looking for a new job. I left my old position 9 weeks ago and I’ve had to spend a lot of time looking for a new job. Sometimes, I’m worn out mentally and I don’t feel like running. Other times, I get out, do my run, and have a productive day. The base training ends in two weeks and I’ll take the last week of August off to rest and recover from any nagging aches and pains, then September 1 (Labor Day), I’ll start my Goofy Challenge training program. I’m actually excited about getting to the training and I really hope that I’ll be able to go down to WDW for the Marathon Weekend. I pray that I have to take time off from work to go, even if I have to come back on the Tuesday after the race. That could be physically taxing, but I’d rather be sore sitting on a plane going home knowing I have to go to work the next day than going home to keep looking for a job.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Saw Wall-E!

My wife and I recently saw it finally. We, like the vast majority of people who have blogged or posted about the movie loved it. Not much more I could add to the overall discussion. I thought the Earth scenes were fantastically rendered and incredibly detailed. The scenes on the Axiom were also great. Another home-run for Pixar, but not a surprise. I know some people keep waiting for them to stumble, but I can't see it happening anytime soon.

Something different-Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

So, in the course of my job search and general Internet surfing over the last few weeks, I’d seen several blog posts about Joss Whedon’s sci-fi supervillain musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Act I was released yesterday, Act II will be released Thursday 7/17, and Act III will be released Saturday 7/19. The episodes are also available on iTunes. It’s hard to describe, but it is great! Please check it out.

Yesterday, the website’s servers crashed, so it may be tough to get directly to Act II tomorrow, but keep trying. This is definitely worth the effort of continually checking to see if you get through.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Still haven’t seen Wall-E!

I still haven’t seen Wall-E yet. My wife and I hope to see it tomorrow, but we need to arrange for someone to watch our son so we can go. I think it will work out to go tomorrow and I’m excited. I’ve heard a lot about it and it sounds like it’s really good.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Goofy Challenge training update

So I made it through the first week of training and felt good. I spent the weekend at my wife’s family cabin in Northern Minnesota and ran three of the four days we were there. My brother-in-law joined me for two of the training runs. He runs faster than I do (not so much that I burn out or anything like that), so I get a good workout when we run together.

This was the first time that I ran four days in a row and I thought I would be either really tired or really sore. I’m neither, interestingly enough. I actually felt pretty good, so maybe this base training idea is a good thing for me to do. Because I’m running both the half-marathon and the full marathon, I don’t expect to set a PR for either race, but I would like to try to finish in around the same times that I have finished previous races. That would mean doing the half in around 2:15 and the full in around 5:15. What I’d really like to do is finish the half right around 2:00, preferably a little quicker, and finish the full just under 5 hours. Yes, I’d be tired Sunday and Monday, but I’d probably recover quicker (barring injury, of course) by doing this base training program. We’ll see how this progresses.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm going to run the Goofy Challenge

Also, I’m running the 2009 Goofy Challenge. At my other blog, Fumbling through my Forties I talk about my first week of training.

I know there are many, many runners who love Disney, blogging, and running the WDW marathon. I’m one of them and I hope to keep updating my training progress either here or at Fumbling through my Forties.

Still upset about Adventurer’s Club closing, too.

Podcast thoughts interrupted

So I had great hopes three months ago to do a series of posts that reviewed and discussed my favorite Disney podcasts. But a lot changed since I first started writing my first post. Instead, while I continue to work on the podcast extravaganza, I will try to post more often about other Disney stuff.

When I started writing this post late this afternoon, I did not know if I would get a chance to finish it today. Now, I’m glad I’ve got the chance, because I have just read in the
The Disney Blog that Pleasure Island is getting completely revamped, including the closing of all of the clubs. This makes very little sense to me on many levels, but some sense on some levels. I’ll definitely miss Comedy Warehouse and the great improve comedians, but I’ll especially miss the Adventurer’s Club, one of the best things about Walt Disney World. The themeing and acting of the cast was simply wonderful and the cast clearly enjoyed being a part of the barely-controlled chaos that made up a night at the AC. Since my son was born almost three years ago, we’ve been to WDW six times but have not been able to get over to PI. Now, I don’t know that I want too much any longer. I’ll wait to see what opens in place of the clubs. Apparently, we’ll get more restaurants and shops. Are more dining places needed at WDW? Probably, but will people go to the former PI area just to eat if there’s no entertainment? Does WDW really need more shops? I personally don’t think so, but I’m not trying to wrest every last dollar out of visitors (not that I have a problem with that, as I leave plenty of money with Disney every time I visit).

As always, time will tell, but hopefully, it will tell a story of new and exciting fun entertainment and dining (and shopping, I guess).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Podcast thoughts, intro

One thing that has exploded over the last 2 years or so is the preponderance of Disney-related podcasts. According to the Disney Podcast Directory website, as of June 1, 2008 there are about 125 podcasts that discuss, in one way or another, Disney. Now, I'm a lover of all things Disney, but my real passion is for Walt Disney World. As such, I listen to several podcasts that would be very familar to other WDW fans. I thought I would give one fan's opinions on the podcasts I listen to, what I like and what I don't, what I think makes the podcasts successful and what I think could be better. The first thing I'll do, though, is explain why I listen to these podcasts every week and why I feel they help with my desire to know as much as I can about what's going on at Walt Disney World. Podcasts are a great way to connect with others who have a similar passion for whatever interests, hobbies, or views a person has. At least I think so.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Questions raised by repeated viewings

So, my 2 1/2 year old son has taken to saying "Watch Cars!" "Watch Lilo!" "Watch Nemo!" "Watch Woody (or Buzz)!" Now, he can actually speak in sentences, but he's already using shorthand to tell us which DVD he wants to see. To be completely accurate, he also says "Watch Thomas!" and "Watch Sam!" (Fireman Sam, which can be seen on PBS Sprout-not a plug, just letting you know). But, the boy knows what he wants when he wants it. When this phenomenon first started around October, we must have seen Cars every night for three weeks straight. We gradually introduced Finding Nemo and Toy Story as alternatives and after having us read a storybook version of Lilo and Stitch, we have now started a streak that may rival Lightning McQueen and the Radiator Springs folks. What is so interesting about all of this is not that Daddy doesn't seem to mind having the movies on constantly (neither, really, does Mommy), but Daddy actually watches the movies and gets distracted by them enough that he sometimes doesn't notice that the Boy has lost interest in the adventures of Stitch, Woody and Buzz, Nemo, or Lightning and Mater and moved on to play with the plethora of toys he has.

I still notice things in Cars that I haven't seen before and I've probably seen the movie (all the way through) 30-40 times. I remember sometime in late November or early December first noticing how Lightning chuckles as he passes Chick in the first race and thinking, "Wow, I never noticed that before! What else am I missing?"

I also notice the things that really do make you think. Such as why are there farms in the world of Cars? Who planted the flowers in the flowerpots that Red waters at the beginning of the Radiator Springs scenes? What's the deal with the white race car that The King passes in the first race (the car with no sponsor decals)? And the one that really puzzles me: What's the deal with the car that makes it through the Chick-caused crash in the first race? Why can you see the car drive through the wrecks, but later see it spinning out?

I don't actually expect answers to any of the questions (except maybe the farm one), but repeated viewings of these movies create a lot of discussion fodder. At least I think so.

Friday, March 14, 2008

My first blog post and I suppose I should explain what I'm going to try to do here. The name of this blog is The Mouse and More. Now, for anyone who may find this blog by searching for Disney-related content, you would be right that this is a likely place to find such content. However, there are tons of blogs that will do a much better job of feeding a person's Disney need than I will do. I chose the title "The Mouse and More" because I have many interests that I may discuss in any given post, at any given time.

Why, then, should you continue to read this post, much less any others that appear here? Well, that's for you to decide (the beauty of the Internet-something else is always a click away). Personally, I like randomly reading blogs on all different topics. I'll post when I can and what I post may be my thoughts on Disney or on any number of other topics. Chances are, though, that any given post will more Disney-related than anything else.

I hope you enjoy!