Friday, January 15, 2016

Disney Half Marathon

Jon and I boarded the plane bright and early Friday morning, and with a three hour delay in Atlanta, we were racing to get to packet-pickup before it closed!  Luckily Jon had decided to get a rental car, so we didn't have to wait for the shuttle.  My teammate, Lucy, was on our flight so we offered her a ride and booked it over to ESPN Wide World of Sports.  When all was said and done, we made it with 25 min to spare.
Once I'd collected all that I needed to (and a few extras that I didn't need to spend money on), we checked into the Yacht Club, did a little exploring and went to dinner.  Then it was pretty much straight to bed for me.  3:15am is an awful time for an alarm clock to go off!  That was the single hardest part of this race, pulling myself out of bed in the middle of the night.
The look on my face says it all -- 13.1 miles untrained?! Yikes!!
I wasn't prepared for all the walking that was to be done before the race even started!  Quarter mile to the shuttles at the resort, half mile from the shuttle drop-off to the runner area, another quarter or so mile to find the Team Z hang-out, and then another half mile from there to the corral - geez!  It was all done pretty mindlessly though, and I chatted with teammates as we waited for the start time to approach.  The one thing I wish I'd done different was to have something to eat in the morning, but we didn't have anything in the room, and there wasn't anything that I could find at the race site.  I'm usually better prepared, but with all the racing around at the last minute, I forgot all about breakfast.
Pre-race Team Z team shot
Finally in the starting corral, we listed to some announcements, including one from Donald Duck, and soon the race was starting!  So many people!  We were in corral "I" out of "J" though I was surprised that it only took about 20 min for my group to reach the starting line.
Patty, Anne, Kate, Alison and I in the starting corral
Starting from the parking lot at Epcot, we ran to Magic Kingdom.  It was still dark and very foggy as we entered the Magic Kingdom parking lot, and then it was still THREE MORE MILES until I reached the entrance to the park!  Geez!  It was here that I recognized Laura from her blog that I've been following, and so I caught up with her, introduced myself, ran and chatted with her for awhile.  I felt good running, but finally decided to stop and walk or else I wasn't sure how my body was going to last.  I'd been drinking powerade at all the aid stations to try to get some calories, but I was getting hungry and knew my lack of nutrition was going to catch up to me.
Once inside the park, I reached the halfway point.  I passed all the character photo opportunities because the lines were so long, but stopped to take a few pictures at the mile marker signs.  I also texted Jon that I was halfway in case he wanted to come to the finish line and/or make sure he was awake and ready for brunch because I was getting hungry!  Only one of the aid stations had gels, so I grabbed one and forced down as much as I could, but it was disgusting.  Just had to get through a few more miles and I could go to breakfast.
Laura had done this race before and gave me some advice to wait until I got to the back side of the castle to take a picture, so that's what I did.  Then, the course took us through the tunnel of the castle and everyone came to a complete halt.  Annoying, even for me who was walking most of this part of the race, it slowed me way down, trying to get around all the people.  Not sure why so many folks thought this was the best place for a photo op?!
Out of the park and heading back to Epcot and I was pretty much ready for this race to be over.  The misty morning had made my socks damp and my feet were starting to hurt.  I should also mention that my knee was hurting and my hip had some pain, but really I was kind of asking for that with my complete lack of training!

Ohmigosh, when was this race going to end?!  It was becoming torture!  Once we got into Epcot, we knew we were close to the finish.  The fog was kind of letting up and there were a couple characters that didn't have long lines, but I was too ready to be done to consider stopping now.  Out of the park, mile 13 and then a sprint to the finish line.  Phew!  I made it!  It was basically torture walking through the crowds to the shuttle buses, and then from the drop-off back into the hotel and up to the room.
Jon didn't make it to the finish line, but he was awake and showered when I got back which meant that all I had to do was get clean and it was time to eat!  This was to be the warmest day for our entire stay at Disney, so we enjoyed shorts and t-shirts while we could.  I'm surprised that I was able to manage walking around all the parks for 4 days after that!  I wore my Garmin and calculated that we covered over 18 miles!
I think everybody needs a selfie with a goat!
We did a little of everything - Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, met up with Natalie for dinner, did some shopping at Disney Springs, and ate ALL THE FOOD!! 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

back in the swing of things

Uhh, remember when I said I didn't want to become a couch potatoFail!  In the past few months, I have done nothing... and I mean N-O-T-H-I-N-G.  Well, OK, there were a few short hikes with Sweeney, and a nice walk with the girls in Great Falls, but to say I am ill-prepared for the half marathon I'm scheduled to do this Saturday would be a severe understatement!
Andrea, Paula and me on our Great Falls walk, all bundled up!
What I did do over the past few months was manage to watch the entire series of Revenge on Netflix...  Now that was valuable use of my time! (note the sarcasm)
But, new year, new goals, new attitude (not that my attitude was bad, I was just being lazy).  I got in 2 run/walk sessions (emphasis on the "walk" part -- 3 min walk plus 1 min run intervals).  My back hurt, my calves hurt, but I loved being back out there.  I even saw a beaver in the lake next to my house (didn't have my camera on me though - d'oh!).
Then, I picked the coldest morning we've had so far to resume my morning swim routine.  Oh did that hurt!  I got through the warmup and drill sets before I started dragging.  I hopped out early and was sore all day!  But so very glad that I'm back at it.  I've forgotten how good it feels to be active!
Swim #2 workout -- felt much better than day #1!
Oh, and I finally got the Garmin 920xt I'd had my eye on for awhile!  I'd wanted to buy it pre-Ironman, but couldn't find decent justification, and instead bought the Garmin 220 for cheaper (I was worried about the battery dying during Ironman given how many hours I'd be out there).  My old 910 died right after Ironman (it worked during the race so I was able to track nutrition and distance, but died before I could upload any data).  Then, Paula sent me a message alerting me to a sale at REI so I rushed right over.  I still love the 220 and use it for all my runs (it's purple!), but the 920 will be my new swim and bike watch.
Anyway, here I am on the eve of flying down to Florida to do a half marathon.  I'm not worried about the distance - I'm sure I can pull it off, muscle memory and all (hopefully that's an actual thing that exists!).  There will be lots of people walking and taking pictures with all of the Disney characters, so I probably won't even be last.  I'm more worried about how sore I'll be walking around all the Disney parks after the race.  Jon has a spreadsheet of fun for us! Here goes nothing...