Fab 5 weeks to Dopey! Here’s some must pack items and a TVQ Vol 2 update

Another week bites the dust…and we are now just five fabulous little weeks to Dopey!  Yay!!

I know its still a little bit early for packing – but I totally started my packing list already.  There so much to remember to bring that if I don’t write it down while i’m thinking of it, i’ll forget. Especially the little random items that aren’t on everyone’s list. 

But before we get to that…gotta talk turkey!   As in Turkey Vision Quest Vol. 2.

I hadn’t brought it up in my blog because I wasn’t sure I could pull it off, or if it was even a goal this year, but now that I have…gotta brag!

Thanksgiving morning was my new favorite tradition – the Attleboro Gobble Wobble 5k.  What I nicknamed Turkey Vision Quest last year, as I had a goal to finally get a new PR and / or place in my age group.  How that went, was the PR, but 6th place. And I was kind of disappointed.  So I went into this year with a ‘well, i’ll just do my best out there’ attitude.

Things I did differently this year? The hubs, my sole sister Karen and I hung out in the car until right before the start to stay warm and my ‘warmup’ consisted of a quick 20-foot sprint down and back.  Just to make sure nothing bounced, moved or rubbed.   I did however, line up in front with the fast folk.  Because taking off like a shot with them definitely helps get me to a faster pace early and then I just kind of hang on for as long as I can.

My watch was buried under a sleeve and I didn’t want to see it anyway.  So I had no idea my pace.    There was some ice on the course from the rain the day before (did I mention it was COLD?), but otherwise its a nice flat fast route with a few speedbumps so its easy to go fast.

The course is looped out and back so you can see runners going the other way,  and at mile 2ish I heard Karen yell my name.  I yelled back and grinned.   Shortly after someone else called my name – thanks and my apologies for not looking over, but I was in the zone. Then just before mile 3, when the exact same song in the exact same place as last year came on my playlist – I knew I had to be close to last year.  And figured I could definitely snag top 10 AG, maybe top 5.  But I had no idea how many women my age had been in front of me.

We turned the corner at the 3-mile mark and I kicked.  And kicked again.  And gave it every last bit I had out there.  And after I crossed, I finally looked at my watch.

A PR!  25:08.  Unfortunately the race is gun time (not net), so my official was a 2:11. (What’s 3 seconds right? Lol) When I walked over to the results tent, I didn’t get my hopes up…and when the page flipped and there I was, I almost shrieked with delight.  2nd AG!  22nd female and 77th overall.  Out of nearly 600 people.  WOW.  Just WOW.    

Must be the shoes. 

Because #purpleisalwaysfaster. And, this year, Turkey Vision Quest is complete.  A PR and an AG win.   I suppose next year the quest is to be sub-25.  #alwaysroomforimprovement

But that wasn’t my only Dopey training run of the weekend.  I got in a slower 10k run on Friday and a half-marathon distance run on Sunday.  So a sort of Dopey simulation.

And speaking of Dopey… I said I’d give you some ideas on what to pack.  Pack Everything!!

Be the Macgyver of Disney races.  Have such an assortment of random items in your travel bag it looks like you’re about to go on Let’s Make a Deal (instead of about to run Disney.)

Here’s a list of some items I bring that people don’t always think of.  Things that to me, are packing essentials.

  • Ziploc bags
    • Why?  I like to eat my pre-race meal/snack (muffin, bagel, dry cereal) in the start corral. A baggie is a great way to do it.  And toss a napkin in there too.
  • Mini Flashlight
    • Why?  Do you know how dark a portapotty is at 4am?  DARK.  And I kind of like to know what i’m getting into.  Sure, most phones have flashlights built in, but i’m kind of old fashioned about some things.  (and I worry about dropping my phone somewhere it can’t be retrieved)
  • Garbage bag
    • Why?  To sit on in the start corral or even wear to keep warm.
  • Cheap poncho
    • Why?  A) in case it rains and B), you can always use it to sit on in the corral if you don’t bring a garbage bag.   True story – I had one I carried to close to a dozen races before it finally rained at my May marathon and I ran 26.2 miles in it.
  • Sharpie
    • Why? Because they don’t sell them on property anywhere.  And its handy for marking stuff.  Or having someone sign your medal.
  • Disposable coffee cup
    • Why?  Personally I cannot run without coffee.  So i make a cup to go in the room and bring it to the start.  I don’t like to check a bag at the start, so these are great for tossing.  You could always instead bring a travel mug and check it in your race bag.
  • Old pair of socks or cheap pair of gloves
    • Why?  Hand / arm warmers.  If you aren’t using arm sleeves as part of your costume and just want something to keep your hands/arms warm before the race (or during those first couple miles), these work great.  I have a collection of the hub’s old tube socks for just this use.
  • Handwarmers
    • Why?  In case its cold.  Because yes, its Florida, but its still January and sometimes its just cold.  I have circulation issues and my fingers go numb if i’m cold.  And trying to open a gel packet when you can’t feel your fingers is a challenge.
  • Moist Towelettes
    • Why? Because portapotties don’t always have hand gel. And sometimes, your gel gets your fingers sticky.  Or you get biofreeze on your hands with no way to remove the remnants. These little packets fit neatly into whatever is hauling your gear so its easy to carry.
  • Masking tape or duck tape
    • Why?  Why not!  It can work for fashion emergencies (OMG my costume eyes fell off) or to put on something you need to label so your nephew doesn’t claim it as his (hands off the oreos buster.  LOL). You know what they say – theres’s nothing duck tape can’t do.

    Yes, I’m skipping over the essentials like gel, and your costumes and your buddy pouch (or whatever carry pack you use).  And safety pins are a plenty at the expo.  This is just a list of stuff i’ve learned over the years that I’m glad I have. 

    Anyone have anything fun i’ve missed? What’s your can’t live without that people tell you is a “genius idea”?

    And happy training fellow Dopeys. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Cinderella seeks glass slipper

    My glass slipper shattered…

    Well, it shattered my 5k PR in November. Lol But now….it has reached its maximum miles. And is about to go into retirement. 

    It’s my fourth pair of this particular shoe. The Brooks Launch 2. My favorite pair of running shoes EVER. And…it no longer exists. 

    Believe me, I’ve looked. Everywhere. It’s just a couple years old and I can’t find it in my size on discount sites or running sites or the back dusty corner of a running store. 

    So here I am…a running Cinderella seeking that new perfect fit. 

    I have the Launch 4, the newest iteration. I even ran the Maine Coast marathon in them. But I don’t get that same sense of magical happiness that the 2’s gave me.  

    They are stiffer. And I think are aggravating my Achilles. Which is kind of a problem. 

    I recently bought a pair of the new Ghost 10 to try. And they are squishy marshmallows of goodness. But they are a little heavier than the Launch. So while I know they are going to be awesome for marathoning…I still need speed shoes. 

    There are SO many new ones on the Brooks website that I don’t even know what to try. So I actually sent them an email to see what they might suggest.  Do I pureflow? Am I a Revel? Or is this a job for the Neuro…  help!!! 

    I’ll keep you all posted – because I am fairly sure I’m not the only one mourning the 2’s. 

    I did give them one last hurrah. I took them to Potsdam NY this weekend to run the 5k at my husband’s college reunion. And they went out on top. 

    We ran a 26:14…good enough for 7th overall and 2nd female. ๐Ÿ™‚ woohoo!

    Now…they become my weekend errand pair.  Because even old glass slippers deserve respect. And I just can’t quit them…

    Road to Victory – Village Fair 5k race recap

    โ€œThe best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.” – Pre

    Saturday, was a good day to die. 

    I’m not sure why I felt so insistent on running the Village Fair 5k in Walpole, MA on Saturday. I don’t run 5ks. I’m a marathoner who takes 3 miles to hit my stride. 

    Maybe it’s because I just wanted to spend a morning in the company of other runners. Maybe it’s because there’s a definite charm to a small race. Or maybe it’s because I thought maybe I had a chance to finally place in my age group. 

    But whatever it was, come Saturday morning I found myself on the lawn of a church in the middle of Walpole, grabbing my bib and ready to race. 

    About to start my warmup I heard the DJ play “Try Everything” from Zootopia and as I sprinted across the parking lot I was singing along… I won’t give up, no I won’t give in, til I reach the end, then I’ll start again. And I smiled. 

    This race, was mine to lose. And I was going to give it absolutely everything I had. ๐Ÿ˜€

    So I hung by the start, watching the kid milers finish, and other runners stretch as I just shimmied to the music. That’s my favorite kind of warmup. 

    And when all 80ish of us walked up to the start and no one seemed to want the front line, I took it.  Because when a race is gun-timed (not chip), every second counts. 

    Then…as the air horn blew, I reached up to turn on my music (kickstart my heart to start…) and took off.  

    And I mean TOOK OFF. Full out sprint that I knew I couldn’t maintain. But that I knew would level off to something I almost could. 

    Because a 5k is no time for holding back. There’s no later miles to save it for. It’s truly a race. An all out, full on, sprint of a race. 

    I ran hard, I let those faster than me pass, and I ran my own race.  

    Of course, being passed by a guy pushing a stroller kinda hurt. And I turned and said to him “now THIS is kind of embarrassing” to which he laughed and replied “don’t worry, you’ll get me on the uphills”

    And when my watch beeped mile 1, I dared a glance. And saw an 8:08 staring back at me. Hell yeah!!

    I was also starting to breathe a little heavier than I should have been. (Where did this heat and sun come from?)  So while I told myself “it’s just 3 miles, it’s okay” I also saw the small hill leading into a small neighborhood loop and reigned myself in a little. 

    As I saw the woman I had considered my competition stop and drink water and seem to struggle a bit I knew it was the right choice.  

    I also told myself that when I came back out of the loop I’d do the same. 

    And yet, when my watch beeped mile 2 a little before that water stop and it read 8:52, I knew I couldn’t chance it. Time for water could cut me out of a place-finish. 

    So I pushed on, cruised the downhill and knew it was just a mile. I could do anything for a mile. 

    Even climb Mount Everest. Because when we made a right turn, and I saw the hill, I was thinking “what is this? The Himalayas”? 

    I knew it wasn’t a very long hill, but it was a very steep hill, that seemed to get progressively steeper towards the top.   But the woman standing there spectating, who yelled “Come on. Almost there. You got this!” Was just what I needed. Because I don’t like to walk hills. Especially in a 5k. And she was right, I did have this. 

    Fortunately, after the top was downhill. A LOT of downhill.  Like almost all the way to the finish. 

    Which was good, because I had maybe pushed a little too hard on that hill and spent the next two minutes dry heaving. Filled with both horror and amusement and the thought of hurling during a race. (After, sure. During, not so much.). But I got past it. 

    And as the downhill continued and my legs took over, my brain went to the Steve Prefontaine quote I posted above. I was going to wring every last drop of everything out of me and leave on on that road. 

    Somehow I surged. I could hear someone behind me, tho no idea how close. I just knew I was NOT going to be passed. And as people cheered and I was waved to the finish chute I gave it every last bit. And grinned when I saw the clock. 

    It read 25:54. 

    My second fastest 5k. 

    One I hadn’t really trained for. One I ran 4 weeks after my second fastest marathon. And one that I still totally kicked asphalt at. 

    As I walked over to where my hubs and my puppy sat. I gleefully told him my finish time. And that I KNEW I had to have placed. 

    Because no one had passed me after about a half mile. And there was no way there were more than 2 women my age in that group. 

    So we hung. And we waited. And I discovered my dog likes watermelon. And I chatted Disney with a couple other runners. And then…the results were posted. 

    I walked over, waited for the crowd to part, took a deep breath, and found my name. And saw the #2 in front of it. And actually started jumping up and down. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

    I ran back to the hubs and said “I got 2nd!!!!!!!” Finally…finally… for the first time ever, I placed my age group.  I mentioned it to another runner who high-fived me. Joy truly is contagious. 

    And when they gave out the awards, and I shook the race director’s hand and accepted my medal, I was prouder of myself than perhaps ever. 

    Because sure, finishing a marathon is totally badass, but finally placing in your age group after almost 10 years of running? Ranks higher. 

    Like me…this medal may be little, but it is fierce. 

    And I will treasure it always. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿฅˆ

    Let’s Get Goofy – Top 9 Things I love about Running Disney

    With just 9 weeks to go until Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, I can’t help but get excited.

    Yep, 9 weeks from today i’ll fly down to the most wonderful place on earth and meet my family so that my brother can run his fourth straight (perfectly) Dopey.  And i’ll tackle not only my third (and second in a row) Goofy, but this year i’m adding the 5k too.

    Hmmm…so i’m somewhere between Goofy & Dopey.  What exactly does that make me? I gotta think on that.  ๐Ÿ™‚ Some level of crazy for sure!

    Training is officially underway now.  I have my characters selected and my costumes almost together.  I have my packing list started.  We have all our dining reservations made (can’t wait for that Hoop De Doo gluten free cornbread!) and in a few days, will book the ever important fast passes (to Frozen, or not to Frozen..that is the question).

    There are SO many things I love about running Disney…and in honor of this 9 week mark, i’ve decided to share my top 9 with you.  So here goes.

    9. The other runners.  What an amazing group of like-minded people.  You will make new friends every mile.

    8. The course.  Running through the parks, with no other guests but the runners. It has a magic all its own.

    7. The costumes. Where else is it perfectly acceptable to run dressed as your favorite characters?  And some people are SO creative.  Ever year I continue to be amazed.  And try to up my game.

    6. The cast members.  The golfers with the crocodile (OMG so scary!). The movie director in Hollywood Studios (love hearing that same bad joke every time).  There is entertainment EVERYWHERE you look.

    5. The chocolate and gummies at mile 23-ish.  You’re coming through the back of Hollywood Studios and you’re tired.  And that little piece of chocolate is the MOST delicious thing you have ever eaten.  EVER.

    4. The Gospel Choir.  You’re almost there…its been an emotional morning and then..you hear the singing. And as you go past in your quest to finish, you can’t help but do so with a smile and a spring in your step.

    3. Kicking a squirrel during the marathon last year.  In Epcot.  Near Mexico.  He (she?) crossed against traffic.  LOL (see my race recap blog for details…)

    2. High-fiving Minnie Mouse at the finish line.  Totally made my day.

    1. Turning the corner onto main street, seeing the castle all lit up in its holiday finest, like a beacon of hope and happiness, while hundreds of screaming fans cheer you on.  Its Disney Magic.

    And the Bonus? Getting to run with my brother. He’s my favorite Disney character.

    Okay…are we there yet?  Because i’m not sure I can wait 9 more weeks… except yeah, there’s that little matter of training to attend to.

    Because miles of 39.3 or 48.6 or whatever combo you do is no joke….but it is however Goofy, Dopey and just plain fun.


    Turkey Vision Quest

    It’s one month to Thanksgiving, and i’m on a mission.   A quest if you will… one that my sole sister has nicknamed #turkeyvisionquest.

    In 30 days, i’m running in my town’s Turkey Trot. ๐Ÿฆƒ๐Ÿฆƒ๐Ÿฆƒ

    And I don’t just want to run well…and I don’t just want to PR…I want to WIN. And by winning, I mean place in my age group.

    I have an official 5K PR of 26:15.  And I set it in 2009. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    What can I say – I wasn’t an ultra runner back then.  Over the years I willingly sacrificed speed for distance.  And I don’t regret it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But now, as i’m in my distance off-season (for the next couple weeks) its time to fly. 

    In the past two weeks i’ve been hitting the treadmill and running intervals and tempos and anything I can to help get faster.  And i’m getting there.  But I still have a LOT of work to do. ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

    I have shaved a minute off my 5k in those two weeks… but am still a ways from my goal…

    Turkey Vision Quest is for a 25:00 5k. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

    And even if i don’t get to show up back home in front of the inlaws with a shiny trophy… ๐Ÿ†just hitting that time, i’ll feel like I won.๐Ÿ…

    Wish me luck friends!

    Because just like Matthew Modine… I will succeed. 

    Running for the cycle

    As baseball has its cycle, so does running. 

    Ours, is the 5k, 10k, 13.1 and 26.2. Plus for the adventurers, the 50k, 50 mile, etc. aka the ultra. 

    And I realized this week, that I’m a 5k short of hitting the cycle for 2016. 

    And well, since my “Dopey” brother did it, and all of it in four days (lol), I figured I should complete it too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But what to run? 

    Because I’m not really a 5k girl anymore…which is why nearly 10 months into the year I haven’t run one yet. I just haven’t speed trained, because I’d rather go far, than fast. 

    And yet…I had an a-ha moment.  I am going to run a turkey trot. 

    It’s been years since I did one. And I’m going to be home for thanksgiving. And our town has a cute fast and flat one. And, based on last year’s results, if I train right, I might have a chance to place.  And, one of my sole sisters is running it. So it will be fun. (Turkey sparkly skirts anyone?)

    Yeah, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Because I have a half in mid-October and am also focused on my Goofy distance training. 

    But I love goals. And a 25 minute 5k will be a fun one. Because while it’s been a while… muscles remember and I just have to spark that memory. 

    And if I miss the goal, it’s not the end of the world, I’ll still have the joy of a fun little holiday tradition I haven’t been part of for ages. A chance to cheer on my sole sister as she finished. And mimosas post race for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

    So let the speedwork begin. Tempo, yassos and fartleks, oh my!!