Saturday, January 30, 2010


I ran outside this morning, 6.65 miles, according to the Garmin. The sidewalks and roads were not in the greatest shape, but I didn’t care, I was outside for the first time here in Minnesota since December 19 and only the fourth time since then (the WDW Marathon and two recovery runs at the condo). It was sunny, cold (about 1 degree above when I started), not windy, and simply glorious!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Report, pt. 2 (and long!)

When we last left our hero, he was trying to get to the race finish area in hopes of seeing his wife cross the finish line of her first half-marathon. What I didn’t count on was the traffic around the World, especially around Epcot. Having not really been affected by traffic issues on previous marathon weekends, I had no idea how bad it would be to get to the finish area. After boarding the bus at AKL, my son and I spent about 35 minutes in traffic. The bus driver did a great job trying to get everyone to the finish, but it was a mess. In addition, the heater didn’t work, so the bus was getting colder the longer we were on the road.

Finally, we made it to the finish area. I had texted Laura, telling her we were on the way, but that we might not make it in time to see her finish. She texted back that she was on the course, so I felt we had a chance. When we got to the finish area, I put our son in the stroller and sprinted to the stands. Although we weren’t able to sit, I could see the finish line. I hadn’t gotten a text from Laura saying she had finished, so I figured I still had a chance to see her cross the finish line. After waiting about 15 minutes, I saw her cross the finish line and screamed her name several times. I was holding our son, who had, up to this point, never had an occasion to hear Daddy yell that loud. I scared him so bad, he started crying. I was crying too, because Laura had finished! I put my son back into the stroller and sprinted over to the chute, hoping to see Laura get her medal. I texted to tell her where we were. She had already gone through the chute and gotten her picture taken, but I saw her by the food tent. We had a barrier and fence in the way, so all we could do is reach for each other and cry. I told her to take her time and we’d she her in the Race Retreat tent. My son and I went over there and waited. When Laura came into the tent, we hugged and cried some more. Our son was relatively impressed with Mommy’s run, but wanted to keep watching Wall-E on the TV in the Kiddie Korner of the tent. Laura got some food and we talked for a bit. Our son did get to watch more of the movie and then we went back to AKL.

After resting a bit, we headed to the Magic Kingdom for the Team AllEars and
WDW Today podcast meets in the afternoon. It was cold, but really great to meet everyone on the team that could make it to the meet. I was especially excited to finally meet Deb Wills, because I’ve followed for years. I joined Team AllEars to help raise money for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk as a way to support a great cause and, in some way, repay Deb for all the years I’ve used and enjoyed her site. I also enjoyed the WDW Today meet and was able to chat with both Matt Hochberg and Mike Scopa again, which is always fun.

After the meets, Laura, our son, and I spend a little more time at Magic Kingdom before Daddy headed out to go to Pop Century for the “night” (really about 7 hours). I got to the resort fine, got my pre-race dinner, and headed to the room. Not sure of the weather in the morning (only knew that it would NOT be wet), I ended up pinning my bib number on my running pants, figuring that I could run the marathon with them on, if needed. I decided what layers to wear and lay down for my night-before-marathon-fitful-sleep-of-inconsequential-utility (NBMFSIU-feel free to use that next year).

I woke up at 2:10 am, got ready, and headed to the bus. We arrive without issue, amazingly, and I found myself in the race area by 3:30. It was cold. Really cold (for Florida). I looked at envy toward the Race Retreat, vowing never again would I wait to sign up for the sweet, sweet warm which awaited those lucky bums that thought ahead! I had heard that a few Team AllEars runner and a few
Running to Disney listeners would be meeting before the race, but I wasn’t able to find anyone. My apologies to everyone who I missed meeting. Next year, definitely!

I headed through bag check fairly early, walked to the corrals while indulging in my usual habit of listening to other runner talk about the race, the weather, etc. I found my corral and waited for the race start, chatting briefly with a few people and wondering if I’d over-dressed, if I’d warm up early and shed clothes too soon, if I’d do okay. The usual thoughts I have. The race started and I settled into my usual too-quick pace. I’ve got to learn to slow down at the start of races. I also began to warm up, thus precipitating the beginning of the problems with this year’s race.

Before I go on, I should note that being from Minnesota should have given me the experience to know how to dress and gear up for this race. I apparently checked my brain at the airport and never claimed it, though. I had two short-sleeve tech shirts, two long-sleeve tech shirts, and a running jacket on. That’s five layers. On the coldest runs I’ve done at home, I’ve had four layers at most. Having five layers on was not a good idea. Especially since I decided not to bring the belt and pouch I use for gels. I put all of my gels in my jacket pockets, as well as my iPhone and wallet. In other words, I had my stuff in the very piece of apparel that I should have shed (tying it around my waist) and I couldn’t easily transfer everything to my running pants without them falling down. I also had a stocking cap, my running gloves, and a pair of knit gloves I bought at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday.

Really horrendously overdressed, I keep plodding along, doing fairly well through the first 14 miles, when I started walking more than running. Now, if I had really thought this through, I would have shed the jacket and figured out how to carry the gels, phone, and wallet around Animal Kingdom. I didn’t think it through and carried all of that stuff in the jacket the entire race. Arrgghhh!! In addition, this jacket soaks up sweat and keeps it off your body, which is nice, but it gets the sleeves and back heavy with sweat. And it was black and the sun came out (beautiful sunrise!). I got as far as mile 20 and said to myself “Well, you’ll finish okay, but your time will stink.” As I kept at it, around mile 21 I came across Air Force cadet Malcolm Strong, who was running the marathon in full combat fatigues, including boots, and a 30-pound rucksack. He was bent over and I asked if he was okay. He said yes, so I kept going. I thought about it a bit and then turned around and went back to him. I told him that since he would be serving me and my country, the least I could do was finish the race with him. We walked and talked for about a mile when he said he needed to stretch and that I could go on. Sensing he didn’t necessarily want to keep me from going on ahead, I wished him luck and went ahead into Hollywood Studios. I checked and he did finish, about 20 minutes behind me. Awesome run by a great kid!

I got through the Studios and once I hit the walkway to Epcot, I texted Laura, telling her where I was. She and our son were at the finish area, so I knew they wouldn’t have the rush I did the day before. I walked most of the way to Boardwalk, got through the last water stop, and ran/walked around Yacht Club and Beach Club to the backstage area by United Kingdom. I ran through World Showcase from the UK to France, then walked until I got to Japan. I called Laura and told her it would be a while, but I’d finish. After I got off the phone, I decided to try to run the rest of the way, which I did. I saw some Team AllEars members by Spaceship Earth, headed to the backstage area leading to the finish, and heard my favorite part of the marathon, the gospel choir. I clapped and cheered as I ran past, saw the finish line and knew I’d made it. Slower, colder, more sore, and more worn out than I planned, I ran across the finish line and breathed a sigh of relief. I got my medal, clutching it and sobbing, as I do every year. I got a space blanket, but it blew away and I didn’t realize it until later. I got my picture, called my Mom and Laura, got some food, retrieved my bag and found Laura. I cried when I saw her and then found out that she and our son had seen me finish, something he’s never done before. We headed to the bus and got back to AKL fairly easily. I rested, taking a hot bath to warm up, and relaxed for a while before we headed to Epcot for the evening. All in all, a hectic, cold, ultimately satisfying day.

I learned a few things at this race. First, cold in Florida, while not like the cold here in Minnesota, is a special kind of cold that I’d rather not experience again and certainly not during a race. It was a weird bone-chilling cold that really wore you out, probably because you had to be outside to do anything or get anywhere. In Minnesota, we’d have bundled up and hurried to wherever we’re going or bundled up and done something to keep the circulation going. Wandering at WDW, which is our MO, is not as fun in the cold. Still, the cold contributed to the almost-holiday feel the decorations provided in the parks.

Second, I’ve got to learn to pace myself much better. I went out way too fast and never recovered. I burned energy early I needed later in the race. Definitely something I’ll work on this year.

Third, dress correctly for the climate, weather, and location. If I’d brought my belt, rather than leave it in the room, I could have shed the jacket and I may have not been as affected by wearing five layers, all getting soaked with sweat. I should point out my legs and feet were fine the whole race. Go figure.

And with that I end this report. Thanks for reading this far. I’ll be posting about my training for the Minneapolis Marathon on June 6, as well as the training for the Goofy in 2011, so come along for the ride (or run, as the case may be!).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Race report part 2 is coming

I hope to have Part 2 of WDW Marathon Weekend race report done today or tomorrow. Stay tuned!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Report, pt 1

Apologies for the lateness of the report, but I spent last week between WDW and Fort Meyers, FL with no access to a laptop. You may have noticed a few recent posts from my iPhone using the Blogger app, but I didn’t think I could do a race report that way. Having said that, I’m not sure how long this report will be, since there have been a ton of really good reports posted since the races.

I just re-read the race report I did for the 2009 marathon weekend, when I did the Goofy. I saw that I thought I would only do the half-marathon in 2010. I know that I changed my mind at some point last year, but I found it amusing that I only wanted to do the half last year, but this year I already knew I would be doing the Goofy Challenge in 2011 (actually, the Dopey). Regardless, the race report begins:

We went down Thursday, knowing that the weather would be cold (for Florida). As you probably read, heard, or saw, it was indeed cold the entire time we were at WDW. This is the first time I’ve been to the World and not worn shorts at all! I’ve also never worn knit gloves or a stocking cap at the parks until this trip, either. Oddly though, with the holiday decorations still up in the parks, the weather actually made it seem like Christmas was yet to come. It was a great atmosphere, except when I was running in it!

The expo on Thursday was the first indication that the weather would be different this year. It was chilly and buying a sweatshirt was a good idea not just to celebrate the weekend, but to stay warm! I also bought a jacket with the 2010 logo on it and wore that every day we were at WDW. While at the expo, I got the chance to meet Stan Harris, a fellow listener of the Running to Disney podcast. We chatted for about 30 minutes. He was running the half-marathon and I was lucky enough to run into him later on Saturday to congratulate him for finishing a wet, cold race.

Friday was spent trying to stay warm at the Magic Kingdom while trying to reassure my wife, Laura, that her first half-marathon race the next day would be just fine, although chilly. For the last three years, when I’ve run the marathon, I’ve been kicked out of my room and had to stay by myself on Saturday night. Well, this year, my wife kicked herself out the room and stayed by herself at Pop Century on Friday night. I had the same room Saturday night, so my tradition continues. Friday night, my 4 year old son and I rode Pooh and Pirates of the Caribbean (several times) and then headed by to our DVC studio room at the Animal Kingdom Jambo House. A nice room, to be sure, but AKL is a long bus ride from the Magic Kingdom. My son did well on the ride back, but we did not get to bed as early as I’d have liked.

Saturday morning dawned cold, wet, and not pleasant. Laura had purchased the Race Retreat and I got the ChEar Squad Platinum level for myself and my son, which meant we could use the Race Retreat tent. I had planned to be at the finish area early enough to let my son play a bit before heading to the stands to watch Laura finish, but would I make it? Find out on the next report!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'll be late with report

WDW race report will be delayed a day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Almost home

We return to Minnesota tomorrow and I'll have my WDW Marathon report out by Monday. I actually have Monday off for MLK Day, so I'll have time to write it up and post it.

I did register for the 2011 Goofy Challenge and the Disney Family Fun 5K, so I'm doing the Dopey. There will be a few of us who follow Gordon at the Running to Disney podcast doing the Dopey (with Gordon).

I'll post again soon!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On our way!

We're leaving tomorrow for WDW Marathon Weekend! I'm very excited to be running the marathon for the fourth year in a row and excited that my wife is running her first half marathon. For all of you running a race, I hope to see you down there (odd to say for Florida, but bundle up!). For those of you not able to join us this year, I appreciate the kind thoughts and encouraging words. I'll have a race report posted as soon as I can afterwards, as well as a trip report.

Run and have fun!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 1, 2010

Almost time!

In less than a week, we’ll be at WDW getting ready to run. I hope everyone running the half, full or Goofy has had a good training cycle for their respective races and that the holidays have treated them well. I have found that the lure of holiday treats has been a bit too much, but I don’t think I’ve gone overboard. I should be fine once the race starts.

If you haven’t been checking the weather forecasts for Marathon Weekend, it might be a good idea. Race weekend looks to be cooler than the past couple of years, which isn’t a bad thing. I encourage everyone to dress appropriately for the pre-race, race, and post-race. No point trying to be tough and be cold before the race, only to find out you could have kept that sweatshirt, jacket or those sweatpants on right up to race time. It’s a long few hours before the race starts, so make sure you’re as comfortable as possible!

If anyone wants to meet up before the marathon, I’m on Twitter (abramdf) and I’d be happy to meet up with you. I know that the Team AllEars marathon runners are meeting before the race Sunday morning, so I’ll probably be by “U” in the race start area. I hope to see you there!