Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Importance of Emotion in Running

Gordon at Running to Disney has posted a wonderful observation about the emotional side of running. I encourage everyone who reads my blog to take a moment, read Gordon’s thoughts, and then think about how emotions affect you during a run. If you aren’t a runner, but know one (or several), please read this to begin to understand what we go through and how you can better understand the emotions we experience during training or a race. If you don’t run or know any runners, Gordon’s thoughts should still resonate with you for any activity that you do passionately.

It is the kind of thought process like Gordon’s that make me proud to be a runner connected to a community that understands, on one or several levels, what it is like to train hard for a race and the emotional impact the training, preparation, and the running of the race has on each runner. It is different for everyone, as Gordon notes, and should be addressed as a unique response for each runner that can not be pigeonholed into neat categories. Nor should it. How I deal with a good or bad training run is going to be completely different not only from any other runner, but also from day to day, depending on my emotional state at the beginning of the run, during it, and at the finish.

I have had many training runs start out great and go downhill due to any number of things that still ended up being good runs because I pushed through the emotions that were threatening to make the training ineffective.

I have forced myself out the door, not wanting to run (certainly not outside), being in a terrible mood and during the run found joy or bliss at the fact that I was outside, getting exercise, training for a race.

Our emotional states are much more important than many people, including runners, believe. Telling ourselves that our minds have to convince our bodies that we can finish, find the strength to complete that last sprint, get up the hill, make it to the finish line, whatever the case might be is important, but the emotional toll that effort takes is rarely discussed, rarely considered.

How each of us faces the emotions that surface from our running helps shape how we train and how we run. It’s okay to take about it and we need to have that discussion more. You can bond through the miles on the road, but you can also bond through the feelings you have while on that road. Personally, I’m open to that talk anytime with anyone willing to listen and share. Are you?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!! I hope you all have a great holiday and enjoy the long weekend! I'm hoping to be able to run outside Saturday, but we'll see if the snowstorm here in Minnesota is too much for holiday snow removal. If the roads or sidewalks aren't clear, I'll try Sunday. I'll get my 12 miles in one way or another.

Only two more weeks before we head down to WDW!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WDW Marathon Weekend interview pt 2on Running to Disney podcast Episode 42

Gordon at Running to Disney has posted part 2 of our interview about the WDW Marathon Weekend. It’s episode 42 and available at iTunes. Please let me know if you have any questions about the race weekend or anything else related to the race and I’ll be happy to help!

Monday, December 21, 2009

WDW Marathon Weekend possible meet-up

I think the second part of the interview with Gordon at Running to Disney may mention the possibility of having a Running To Disney listener meet-up. I’d like to see if any listeners are interested in meeting before the marathon on Sunday morning at some incredibly early time in the morning. If anyone’s interested, let me know and we’ll see what we can arrange.

WDW Marathon Weekend interview on Running to Disney podcast

My good friend Gordon at Running to Disney interviewed me last Friday about the WDW Marathon Weekend experience. The episode is out now and I’d recommend listening. If you are a first-time participant, we tried to give you a sense of what to expect as you prepare for the trip and the race. Apparently, we talked so long that Gordon had to split the interview into two parts. Please let me know if you have any questions about the race weekend or anything else related to the race and I’ll be happy to help!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chatting with Disneyrunner

I had the opportunity to chat with Gordon this afternoon about the 2010 WDW Marathon weekend. He's hoping to post the episode soon. I'll post when it's ready.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Training Update – Early December

I see I have more followers - Thanks and Welcome!

Regular posting is apparently not my strong suit! I’m trying to find the time to write good posts, but sometimes a quick update will have to suffice. Since my last post, I’ve been continuing to train, although the time change at the beginning of November put the kibosh on my after work training runs, as it’s dark by the time I leave work. No worries, though, the elliptical downstairs has been a faithful training companion of mine for the last four years. I still get outside for the long runs I do on Saturdays, though. I have been fortunate that our Minnesota weather has been pretty good so far.

Yesterday I did my first 20 miler (the second is in 2 weeks) and it was the first day outside that it was flat out cold. When I started at about 5:45 am, it was 17 degrees with a wind chill of 11 degrees. At least there was no snow on the ground worth mentioning. It was a tough run, though, because I had layers on (as I should) that got soaked with sweat and froze, so I was carrying extra weight over the course of the run. I walked a lot more than usual, in part due to the cold, in part due to the fact that I went out a lot faster than I should have for a long run in that weather. I still finished in 4:11, but my pace was horrible compared to the last few months. I’ve learned to start out slower and be more careful with my pace for the run in 2 weeks, so we’ll see how that goes.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trip Report and Training Update

We went to WDW Oct. 11-17 and had a great time. I was able to do three 3-mile training runs with my good friend Gordon from Running to Disney. Both of our families were staying at Pop Century, so it was a cinch to get together and go for some quick runs. Of course, I needed to get up at 5:30 three mornings on my vacation, but well worth it. Good company and good conversation on a run make up for the early mornings. We were down during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, too, which is always a good time. I had heard a couple of reports on various podcasts about the food kiosks, so I knew what I wanted to try, both because I'd heard they had good food and because I'd heard the food was less than optimal (non pun intended, sometimes I'm a glutton for punishment!). The rice pancake at China was indeed not that great. The beef spareribs in mashed potatoes at France were awesome! We learned a few lessons on this trip, too.

First lesson, the days of not planning what we'll do on a given day are pretty much over. We found out we need to have at least a general idea of which parks we're going to and when we need to try to take a break. Our son is starting to want to ride certain rides at the parks and we have to make sure we're getting those parks in at least once during the trip. Also, the pool is popular with him, but we have to make sure we allow enough time before bedtime for him to be able to play long enough.

Second lesson, character meals are starting to be a favorite for our son (and his parents)! We did Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary for breakfast and it was a lot of fun. The characters interact very well (as expected) and the food is pretty darn good, too. We will probably make sure we do at least one character meal each trip now.

Third lesson, sometime our son needs to just play - anywhere that is practical. He likes to have time to play either with us or by himself, but with us in close proximity. I think we'll be okay in January, because for the last three years, we've let our son play while we went to packet pick-up at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. There's plenty of space to run around and he should be fine. We'll still make time each day, but that play time at the expo and packet pick-up is really great.

Training update: I've been able to run outside more than once each week so far, much better than last year, when I was only doing the long run outside by now. I've felt faster and I've lost 10.5 pounds since late July. I'm also amazed how much of a difference not being stressed out by a job I didn't like or trying to find a job has made. I haven't even stressed about the weather on the long runs, which i've done the last three years. Of course, it's really helped that, so far, I've had great to decent weather for the long runs. I'm hoping to lose more weight and get a little faster so that come January, I'll feel really good about my preparation.

More to come as I try to get more regular with my posts.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quick note before our trip

Ran 12 miles this morning, which isn’t bad anymore, but we had a light dusting of snow last night. It was a bit chilly this morning, the wind was just strong enough to provide somewhat of a wind chill. After four years of training for the WDW Marathon in the fall and winter, the weather was not a problem, especially since I saw the sun rise, which made the run that much nicer. I’ve been more free-form with my routes, too. The Garmin keeps me updated on my miles, so I don’t worry too much about where I’m going. I know the area I run in well enough to be able to change the route on the fly, which is definitely a nice change of scenery.

While I was running this morning, I listened my good friend Gordon Harvey’s
Running to Disney podcast. He has a new episode that he uploaded yesterday before hitting the road to go to WDW for the week. He had a great interview with Lou Mongello of WDWRadio fame and Gordon also kindly mentioned this blog (which is giving me the impetus I needed to post much more often now!). Gordon’s a great guy and I’m excited to have the opportunity to meet up with his family and him next week while my family is at WDW. In fact, Gordon and I are staying at Pop Century and are planning to go for a run around the resort one morning (early, I suspect, so we can get to the parks!). I hope to have a trip report when we get back and until then, thanks to everyone who reads this blog and, if this is your first time reading it, welcome!

Monday, October 5, 2009

October is a good month

Marathon training continues. I’ve been able to get outside more the last few weeks, which is always good. I’ve also started eating better again and I’ve lost 7 pounds since early August. Not great, but a steady loss is best for me so I don’t feel deprived and end up snacking or slipping backwards into bad eating habits. I have found I have gained speed (not much, but still an improvement) and I seem to be enjoying my training again. For a while it was not fun to run, but a duty, a chore to check off the to-do list. Now I get excited about running outside, even in the drizzle like last Saturday morning.

Next week we’ll be in WDW and I plan on running at least twice, if not three times, while we are down there. We’re staying at Pop Century and I’ve run there several times before. If you run around the outside of the resort, which is a loop of Memory Lane (the back walkway by Hourglass Lake), the outside of the parking lots and part of Century Drive, and then along the bus stop side of Classic Hall, it’s about 3.5 miles. I’ll do that loop twice two days we’re there and possibly once one other day. I’ll walk around the parks enough to be able to indulge a bit at the Food and Wine Festival booths at Epcot, so I’m not too worried about that. We’ll have a great time as usual.

Monday, August 31, 2009

And now, it’s September?!?!

Boy, I’m glad I’m not getting paid to do this! I’d never make any money if I was supposed to be timely. For those that read this blog, thank you. I hope to be more consistent in posting now that my training for the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon will officially begin on Monday (Labor Day). I spent much of August in recovery from the Urban Wildland Half-Marathon (see last post) and maintenance running to keep some semblance of a base. I intend to post on my training here as I prepare for the marathon in January, but with a bit of a difference. I’m planning on posting pictures (finally!) of the running routes I have. I think it is very interesting to see where people run because it helps me visualize what other people face during their training. I figure that if people are willing to read this blog, I could at least break up the text with photos now and then.

I am having a bit of a mental crisis, though, concerning my participation with
Team AllEars. I am really excited about the team and the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than my running at WDW, especially when the group is raising money for such an important cause in fighting breast cancer. I am committed to raising the money that team members are asked to raise, although in all honesty, asking for donations is outside my comfort zone. That is one reason why I asked to be a part of the team . My whole life as been spent in or around my comfort zone, something I freely admit. Last year’s months of unemployment certainly took me out of that zone and I learned much about myself that made me proud and, at times, made me sad. Finding a new job in a role I never imagined, in an industry I never thought I’d work, and without help from a network of contacts showed me that I can step up to challenges that really test my belief in myself.

How does that thought translate to Team AllEars and raising money? Asking folks to help me has never been a strong suit of mine (ask my wife, who’s been with me for 22 years). I have a plan to raise money, which I think will work, but the back-up plan is to move outside the comfort zone. The help I am now asking for is advice. What has worked for you to overcome doing something outside your comfort zone or new to you? I’m very interested in hearing any ideas anyone has and I appreciate the time you take to read my blog and follow my progress as I work toward another marathon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wow, August already?

So much for timely blogging! Although, to be fair, not much has happened since the last post in late June. I ran the Urban Wildland Half-Marathon in Richfield this past Saturday. My training was a bit unusual for me in that most of the days I ran, I did it on the elliptical. I have yet to figure out how to get a run done at work, either before or after work. This means that I get up early-ish during the week and go downstairs to the elliptical and do my miles or splits. On the weekends, I get my long runs done outside, but it is not the same as last year when I was outside almost every day I trained (of course I was unemployed most of last year). I’d really like to get a routine figured out to run outside more during the week, especially since I’ll be starting my training for the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon on Labor Day.

To go back to the Urban Wildland Half-Marathon, the race itself was fine. I finished in 2:30, which is about what I expected. I felt good for almost the whole race, although I did walk a good chunk of the last couple of miles. The course is fairly flat and goes through
Wood Lake Nature Center, as well as several parks in Richfield. There were about 1100 runners who finished the race, so a small-ish race, but the widely-scattered spectators kept us pumped up and excited. The water stops usually feature area schoolkids as volunteers, which is always fun. I like seeing the kids get into shouting “Water! Water!” and “Good job!” I always thank each one I take water from and hope that they feel like they helped me finish.

After the race, I realized that in the roughly 12 month period from the 2009 to 2010 WDW Marathon Weekends, I will have run 2 marathons, 3 half-marathons, a 10k and a 5k, in addition to training. Sometimes the elliptical doesn’t look too bad!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

October can’t arrive soon enough!

So, we have our reservations for October and for January, too. I’m excited to go, although I’m a bit sad that we going down the day of the Race for the Taste 10K. It will be nice to be at WDW without trying to get a race packet, arrange to get to the race, or do anything racing-related. Plus, the Food and Wine Festival will be underway at Epcot. I’ve been at WDW during Food and Wine several times and I love it. It is a great opportunity to experience food you may not have a chance to try at any other time.

We may also go to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party while we’re down there. Our son will be 4 by the time we go. He went to MNSSHP when he was 2 and seemed to enjoy it, but he was very young. I’d like to see if he would go again, as we’ve always had a good time when we gone in the past. Just can’t wait!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Team AllEars on Running to Disney podcast

My good friend Gordon at Running to Disney interviewed Michelle Scribner-McLean and Mike Scopa, the co-captains of Team AllEars on episode 23 of the Running to Disney Podcast. He mentions me a few times, which is really nice and very generous of him, as other listeners of his great podcast are also team members (and I can’t wait to meet them!). The team is really supportive and a great group to be associated with as I get ready for the 2010 Marathon. As a reminder, I (and the rest of the team) are raising money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Please support us as we help this cause at a great event. I’m honored to be a part of the team and to have friends like Gordon help out by publicizing our efforts.

My family and I will be back down at WDW in October. Usually, I would try to finagle an entry into the Race for the Taste 10K, but I decided that a trip to WDW without a race would not be a bad thing (this time!). We’ll just miss the race, but that’s okay, since we’ll be back down in January. We’re really looking forward to this trip, which will be my son’s 7th time. He turns 4 in September, so he is a seasoned veteran already! Also, Food & Wine will be going on while we’re there, which is always a good thing!

My wife and I will both be training while we’re down there in October, which is fine. I’ve been in WDW while training for races before and it is a good chance to get used to the weather you may face on race day. Currently, we’re staying at Pop Century, but we may be moving to a DVC resort (not sure which one yet) instead. So, depending on where we stay, I may get to run a familiar route or create a new one. It’s all good if you’re running at Disney!

Monday, May 25, 2009

If you would consider helping out, I’d appreciate it

A quick note here – I have joined the Team AllEars running team for the 2010 WDW Marathon weekend. Part of our goal is to help raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Please consider helping out this fantastic cause and supporting Team AllEars as we train for our half-marathons, full-marathons, and Goofy Challenges. I’ll have more information on the team as I continue to train. Thanks!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Running is. . .

. . .going okay, although I’d like to get outside more than once a week. I’m trying figure out how to be able to run at work, at the end of the day more than likely. I really need to lose some weight and I’m not sure why I’m having so much trouble getting back into the right mindset to eat better.

WDW in October – no Race for the Taste, but I think we can go to MNSSHP (I should probably mention it to my wife!).

Got the second issue of twenty-three, the Disney D23 quarterly magazine. It is good so far, but I still need a really good reason to join D23. Haven’t gotten it yet.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Training again

So, since I registered for the 2010 WDW Marathon, I’ve gotten more serious about my training. I’m running a 10K next Saturday, a half-marathon May 31, and another one August 1. After a bit of a break, I’ll start training for the marathon. Since I got my Garmin, I’ve enjoyed getting outside (well, that and spring finally arriving). This morning I ran 9 miles and felt really good. I finished only 8 minutes slower than the 8 miles I ran last week. I think that given the two half-marathons I’ll run this year, I may be able to get a little quicker. I’d like to finish the marathon in under five hours, so I’ll have to do some quality training. If the winter is not bad during training, then I should be in good shape for the race.

We’re thinking about going down to WDW in October. Normally, I’d angle for the weekend of the Race for the Taste, but I’m not going to worry about it this year. It would be a shorter trip, since we’d like to take a longer trip in January. I really enjoy going down to WDW in October and maybe we’ll try to go to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party again. Our son would be older and may enjoy it more than the last time, when he was barely 2 years old. He’d be 4 this trip and since he’s been to WDW 6 times since he was 6 months old, I really enjoys it. He talks about Disney a lot and he plays with his Cars cars quite a bit. The Disney Channel is on pretty much every day, much of the day (not that Daddy minds too much). We’ll see if we can get down there, and what we’ll do when we go.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why, yes, it has been a while

Couple of things. . .I’d like to post more, but it’s been difficult. Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things better now that I’ve settled into the new job. This post will have a couple of items and then hopefully back to more regularly scheduled programming.

I did register for the 2010 WDW Marathon. My wife is doing the Half Marathon (her first). We’ll both be getting the Race Retreat, I think. I might be persuaded not to if I know of enough people doing the marathon to keep me company before the race. Or if people I know who are running the marathon also get the Race Retreat. It is definitely worth it, but I would rather have someone to talk with before the race. This year, when I did the Goofy Challenge and bought the Race Retreat for both days, I knew people running the Half that I chatted with a bit. I didn’t know anyone running the full marathon that also bought the retreat, though, so I chatted with Gordon from
Running to Disney for a while before retreating (no pun intended) to the Race Retreat tent. I was able to chat with someone in there, but having people I know with me would be much more fun. We’ll see as we get closer to the race who’s running and who might want to get the retreat package. It is well-worth it.

I’m still doing the Goofy in 2011, but I am apparently addicted to the WDW Marathon and will run it if I am going to be anywhere near WDW during Marathon Weekend. Maybe I’ll do the Dopey in 2011 and add the 5k race, too.

On a non-running related Disney item, although a bit late to the table with this observation – I believe that Disney’s announcement of D23 is much ado about very little. I see it this way: Join or don’t. If you join, good for you. If you don’t good for you, too. I’m not sure what the big deal is that has gotten so many people in an uproar over D23, pro or con. I get being passionate about Disney and what it means to you personally, but does the rest of the world really need to know what you think about the club? Opinions are great, I believe in being able to express yourself, whether you’re for or against the concept Disney has created. But between the podcasts, blog posts, and forum posts about D23, you’d think Disney fans were debating the dissolution of the company and the closing of the parks. Seriously, if you want to join, more power to you. If you don’t want to join, great. But let it go, people. It’s a club, not a mandatory requirement in order to be a Disney fan. (Full disclosure-I haven’t joined yet, but only because I don’t feel the need to drop everything and rush online to do so. I’ll get to it eventually)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wild Chicken Little Meets the Robinsons

I haven’t disappeared, just have been really busy at work (even after a month, it’s still cool to say that!). I’m going to try to get back into a rhythm of posting in the next couple of weeks. Since I’m probably not doing the WDW marathon next year (although my wife did register for the half-marathon), I don’t think I’ll be posting training updates. If I decide to do the marathon, then I will. Otherwise, I’ll try to post Disney-related content as I think of it. Like this:

My son has discovered the unsung Walt Disney Animation Studios films The Wild, Chicken Little, and Meet the Robinsons. He’s watched them a lot lately. Wall-E, too. Cars and Toy Story (1 & 2), have taken a back seat to the new movies. We did have a Monsters, Inc. phase, which he has not outgrown, but his portfolio is slowly growing, so we have a large rotation right now. I’m going to get him into the classic animated movies, but I haven’t figured out a good starting point. I’m open to ideas.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Back to the grindstone!

The new job is great and I feel really good to be back at work. The nice thing about this job is that I’ll have the time, while I’m working, to listen to my podcasts on pretty much my regular schedule. Since I listen to several Disney podcasts each week, I won’t fall behind, like I feared.

On the Disney running front-My wife is planning on doing the Half-Marathon next year (I’ll get her to register in the next day or so). I’m wavering about doing either the Circle of Life 5K or the marathon (no Goofy in 2010). I may also try to not run and enjoy being a spectator and supporter, but I’m not sure I can do that. I am doing the Goofy in 2011 for sure. Our son will be old enough to get what Daddy’s doing and I’m hoping that my wife will want to do the half again so we can running together.

We got the 20th Anniversary edition of Oliver and Company and then found out we already had it, so we’re going to return it. The movie didn’t do enough for me to want two copies. It’s getting hard to remember what we have and what we don’t have without carrying a list every time we go to Best Buy!

Training is in recovery mode, so I’m doing low miles, but I’ve had to switch to running on the elliptical at home in the evening when I get home from work (I love that!). Eventually, I’ll get back outside and I’m already planning on a few 5Ks this spring. I’ll run a half-marathon in August and sprinkle in a few races here and there, too. If I run the marathon at Disney next January, I’ll start training for that in September again.

Good times!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New job tomorrow!

I start my new job tomorrow! I’m very excited, even to be back in commuter traffic again. I really believe that this will be a great thing for me and that I will really enjoy my new job.

On a Disney-related note, I’m thinking about doing the marathon or half-marathon next year. More importantly, I’m working on getting my wife to do the half next year, too.

I’ll see how that plan goes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Goofy Challenge race report

Apologies for the length, but since last weekend, I was busier that I thought I’d be. The race report got pushed back until now, late Sunday night, a week later. I’ve read a few race reports, especially my new good friend Gordon Harvey’s Run to Disney marathon race reports and Lori Burke’s We Wants the Readhead half-marathon report. Both of these reports capture the excitement of first-timers to the WDW Marathon Weekend as runners. If you read these reports, I can tell you that even though this was my first time doing the Goofy Challenge and my third time (in a row) running during the marathon, the excitement level does not fade.

My wife, 3-year-old son, and I got to Orlando on Thursday, checked into Saratoga Springs (our room was even ready), and headed over to the expo. I must say that this year, the expo and packet pick-up was much easier and seemed to be a much better experience than the last two years. Disney split the packet pick-up and expo into two different buildings, which reduced the crowds, although they were still large. The race shirt and goody bag area exit opened up right at the merchandise area - good call! It was a beautiful day, too, so my son ran around outside for a while before we headed back to the resort (then he feel asleep!).

Friday was a restful day, although it was a bit hectic at first. We needed to get Annual Passes, which we usually do at Epcot. So we headed out in the morning to catch the bus to Epcot. Instead, my son decided he wanted to go to Magic Kingdom. We took that bus. During the ride, my mom called (she had come down for the races, but was staying at another hotel at Downtown Disney) to see where we would be so that she and my aunt (who lives in Florida) would know which park to come to. I told her that we had planned to go the Epcot, but were now on our way to MK and to call us before getting on their bus. This turned out to be a good thing, because as soon as we got our APs, my son decided that he really did want to go to Epcot. So we took the ferry to TTC and rode the monorail to Epcot. I called my mom and told her that we were headed over to Epcot. They met us for a relaxing day. I was able to get to sleep fairly easily and fairly early, even though we were in a Studio. I got the bed and my wife and son got the sofa bed.

Saturday morning, I woke up at about 2:15, got ready, and headed to the bus. Our driver got mixed up about the drop-off area at Epcot and had to go back out and come in again. The walk from the bus to the starting area took about 10-15 minutes. I had purchased the Race Retreat for both races, so I made my way to the Race Retreat tent and relaxed for a while. I had to go back out to the starting area to pick up a hat from the folks and went back into the tent to wait until the inevitable trek out to the corrals. Since this was my first Half-Marathon at WDW, I wasn’t entirely sure how the waves worked, but since I was in the third, and last, wave, I didn’t worry too much. We got up to the starting line about 20 minutes after the race started and headed out towards the Magic Kingdom.

I think it is interesting just how different the half- and full-marathon courses are (aside from the distances, of course!), especially since they both start at Epcot, go to the Magic Kingdom, and finish at Epcot. I must say, though, that I really enjoyed the Half-Marathon quite a bit. Others have covered the half pretty thoroughly, especially Lori at We Wants the Redhead, so I won’t recap it too much. The run was fine, I felt good, and I was very pleased with my finish time of 2:41.

Saturday afternoon, we went to the Magic Kingdom, where I attended the
WDW Radio Show Meet-of-the-Month, which just happened to coincide with the marathon weekend (not really, as the host, Lou Mongello, planned to be at WDW for the weekend). I finally met Gordon from the Running to Disney podcast. It was great meeting him after listening to his podcast and emailing and twittering in the weeks leading up to the race. I also met another half-marathon participant, Lisa from Those Darn Cats and her friend Trace from Disney Dudes as we waited in line to talk with Lou. An impromptu interview ensued and Gordon and I found myself a part of Those Darn Cats episode #35. It was a bit surreal, but very exciting.

Eventually, I found myself saying good-bye to my wife and son and heading back to Saratoga Springs to get my bag and get over to Pop Century. Unless you have rented a car or don’t mind paying for a cab ride, there is no easy way to get from one resort to another (that I know about, at least). So, I figured that since I did not want to walk over to Downtown Disney from where my room was at Saratoga Springs to catch the bus to Pop Century, where my room would be for the night, the boat over to DTD would work fine. It did, but took longer than I thought. Then the bus to Pop Century took a while to get to the Marketplace stop and, it being Saturday night, the ride over to Pop was a bit slow. I finally got to my room, dropped off my bag, and headed to the food court for a quick dinner before turning in for the very early wake up call.

Setting three alarms and leaving a wake-up call may have been overkill, but I got up, got ready, and got downstairs to wait for the 3:00 bus (the first one to the race start) with Gordon. We rode to the race start, where I went into the Race Retreat for the second day. This was, by far, the best investment I’ve made for anything related to running. Knowing that I would have access to port-a-potties that only a handful of other guys would have, a private bag check, and free food both before and after the race, made it easy to see why people spend the extra money. I passed the time talking with a first-time marathoner, hopefully helping to ease nerves, especially during the long trek to the corrals. I waited for the race start, no sure if I would be able to find Gordon, who was in the corral ahead of me. Ultimately, I did not find Gordon, but apparently passed him at some point. No matter, I really enjoyed meeting him and talking with him after the race to see how he felt about completing his first marathon. I remember the feeling and I think it is great that I was able to hear how much it meant to someone else to be able to say that they are a marathoner.

When the race started, I felt pretty good, although for the first 5-6 miles, I kept thinking to myself “Are you insane? You just ran a half yesterday!” After a little while, I settled into a pace that I felt I could maintain. I walked through every water stop, chatted with other runners, had my gels every 4 miles, and checked my pace at every mile marker. Something strange was happening.

I had planned to finish the marathon around 5:45, so I had picked up a pace band at the expo to help me keep track. I found that I was ahead of the pace and gaining time each mile. I didn’t feel nearly as bad as I did last year, when I pretty much walked most of the last 5 miles. In fact, I think I ran at least 23-24 miles, walking only at the water stops and a few times after the 15 mile marker for brief periods of time. This was weird. It looked to me like I would finish around 5:30 or so. That was fine with me, but I wasn’t sure if I would suddenly hit the wall and completely blow up. My mom and aunt saw me in Epcot at the Rose and Crown and I told them to get to the finish area. I was pretty well wiped out emotionally by this time, but they really boosted me and gave me the extra oomph I needed. Short version, I did not hit the wall and I ended up finishing in 5:25, which was the longest of my three times, but the other two weren’t on the second day of the Goofy Challenge. I was tired, I was sore, I was sure that this was the dumbest thing I had ever done in my life, but I had done it. I had completed the Goofy Challenge and finished faster that I thought I would. Once I found my wife, I was able to calm down somewhat and I gradually settled into the post-race soreness that always hits me.

Would I do the Goofy Challenge again? Definitely, but not next year. If I do any race next year, it would be the Half-Marathon. Training in the winter is not fun and training for the half would be easier. I think I’ll tackle the Goofy in 2011-maybe even adding the Circle of Life 5k to do the unofficial “Dopey.” I may change my mind, though, you never know!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Offered and accepted a job!

I was offered a position this afternoon, which I accepted. I am very excited and will post more later. I am incredibly happy and relieved!

Goofy Challenge completed!

Longer report coming very soon, but wanted to let everyone know I completed the Goofy Challenge and much quicker than I thought I would do it. I was sore Sunday and Monday, but felt pretty good Tuesday and yesterday (which is when we came home to below zero weather!).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Goofy Challenge training, part 14

The last long run was Saturday. An 8 mile run that went well, despite the wind chill. I chose a route that did not have much snow or ice on the road and that was on roads that are not very busy Saturday mornings. I actually ran on dry pavement for a good chunk of the run. I also did not wear my water belt, which I normally do for any run 8 miles and over. I’m not going to wear it for either race because of the water stations along the routes. I also went iPod-less because I’m not going to wear it during either race.

I’m spending the next few days getting ready for the trip, doing some work, and trying to relax. I’ve found myself starting to think about what I’m attempting and, while I know I’ll finish without getting swept, I still have butterflies about the whole thing. While I’m down at WDW, I’ll have the laptop, so I’ll try to post about the races soon afterwards. Otherwise, I’ll post a report when I get back. Good luck to all the runners!