How far I’ll go…

See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me. 

It always has….but it wasn’t until this week when I finally watched Moana, that the lyrics sunk in. 

I mean, you’d think a fiery Aries would be all desert and sun. But this one? Loves the water. Well, looking at it anyway. Sitting on the sand, staring at the line on the horizon. Wondering what lies beyond. And who might be doing the same from a shore on the other side. 

And of course now that I’ve seen Moana and fallen in love with the animation and the music and this wild-haired, strong-willed, “not a princess”, I think I’ve found my Disney marathon costume. 

Because, we’re in the time between dining reservations and fast pass reservations, where we Disney runners run all the miles and plan all the costumes. 

I had 3 of the 4 I’ll need picked out (subject to change of course), but couldn’t finalize the 4th. The marathon costume. 

Last year I was my other favorite curly-haired, strong princess. Merida. And she will always be one of my favorite running costumes. 

I had already picked Ariel for my half outfit. Because she and I were teenagers at the same time. And I totally identified with her longing for something more and her love of the sea.  🐠 And while I have run as her before, 

I have a better skirt now (lol) and need to be her again. 

For my “marathon princess” I was leaning toward Snow White, because well, I’m running Dopey, I am currently brunette and I love animals. 🐇 But I wasn’t sold on it. 

And now I know why. Because Moana was waiting for me to discover her.

She’s just badass. And, as a friend pointed out, Moana and Ariel are “sisters of the sea”. 🌊

So, it’s perfect. 😁

Because how far I’ll go…will be 48.6 miles. 

The cold never bothered me anyway…tales from the Disney Marathon

Cold? No problem. Rain? No Problem. Lightning? No thank you!

This year’s Disney marathon weekend was definitely one for the books. There were highs and lows and a new challenge formed. But thousands of people proved this weekend that you can’t keep a good runner down. And the power of positivity will always win. 😀

My plan this year was to up the stakes and go ‘almost Dopey’, running the 5k, the half-marathon and the marathon.  My brother that I always run Disney with was running his fourth Dopey. Mother nature had other ideas. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I flew in on Wednesday and after lunch at Disney Springs (D-Luxe burger has the BEST FRIES EVER), we hit the expo.  Or at least most of it.  Because for some reason, the line to get into the main building where all the exhibitors was was long than the ones for Seven Dwarves Mine Train and Frozen combined.  Eek!

Fortunately everything I needed (bibs, shirts, Dooney purse, sparkle visor) was in the other buildings.  Yay!

After the expo we settled into the hotel and headed over to the Wilderness Resort for some frontier style family fun – the Hoop De Doo Revue.  Its become kind of a family tradition to eat here marathon weekend.  The show is corny and hilarious.  And the food is amazing.  Even for celiacs… the chef made me salmon and veggies and for dessert, brownies covered in strawberries & whipped cream.  Oh yeah, and the sangria is good too.  Plus! I got to play the washboard!

Thursday morning was the 5k, which i ran with my brother, sis-in-law and nephews.  It was the younger one’s first 5k and the older one’s second and they both did SO good.  We had a blast running through epcot in the dark, lit by torches and crossed the finish line all holding hands.    There is always moments as a runner that warm your heart and stay with you.  Crossing that finish line hand in hand with family will always be one of them.

Friday was my morning to sleep in with the boys while my brother & sis-in-law tackled the 10k. We did spend the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom where I got to meet Merida (love her!) and tell her I was running dressed as her Sunday. 😀

Saturday should have been the half-marathon.  However, as often happens in Florida, fireworks of another kind were on the schedule.  I have to give props to Disney for how they handled it.  As this was the 20th anniversary of the half-marathon, it was a big race for them and they had a lot of special things planned.  When the first threat of storms came along they monitored the weather and updated us regularly through social media.  And when they realized that the danger wasn’t going away, they made the difficult decision to cancel the race.

Then they made sure that all runners were aware via email, social media, the event guide, messages to all hotel room phones, and anything else they could think of.

They also gave options to those registered for just the half, including the choice to run the full marathon Sunday as space permitted.  1,500 people took that opportunity.  And from what i’ve heard, a good portion of them finished.  Other choices were transfers to other races, a refund, or park tickets.  Plus every runner still got their medal.

And this is where those amazing half-marathon runners made lemonade out of lemons.  They decided to run anyways.

After the storms rolled through (and boy did they – crazy forks of lightning striking about when I would have been at mile 9 – EEK) those runners all got together and did their own half.  Running through hotels and the parks to earn their half medal, or in the case of challengers, their Goofy & Dopey medals.  Cast member set up water and aid stations as best they could.  Other vacationers donated snacks.  Everyone really came together.

And this is why I love running Disney – its truly an amazing group of people.

Did i run 13.1 Saturday?  No.  I had already walked about 20 in the parks the past two days and my brother & I decided that we’d rather save our legs and have a really great marathon. And I think we made the right choice. Also, we got to go into Epcot early which let us meet Joy & Sadness. And I got to tell Joy I had run dressed as her the day before. 😀

And here’s where mother nature threw us another curve ball.   After those storms came through, the temperatures dropped.  Like to Boston temps…  we were going to go to see Wishes Saturday night.  But as we sat at dinner shivering we decided having an early night in a warm room was a way better choice.

And Sunday morning, at the race start…was a wind chill of 30 degrees. Say what?

Those who know me know I like running in the cold.  However I usually have more clothes with me than a skirt, tank top, sparkle arm sleeves and a thin toss hoodie (when I left home they said high 40’s for the start.  oops).  Needless to say we caught the latest bus possible to the start to minimize waiting time.  But even still… it was COLD and windy. 

Our first mile was the thawing out our hands and legs mile.  I ran with my hood up and my hands tucked in my sleeve as best I could.  It was crowded and slow going, but eventually room opened up and we warmed up and it got better.

We trudged along chatting and laughing and soon were at mile 5 – the Magic Kingdom.  Main Street gives the Wellesley girls of the Boston marathon a run for their money.  Its lined with adoring and loudly cheering fans, plus the castle is right there, all covered in lights, a beacon showing you the way home.  Its….magical.

And when we came up on the castle from behind to run through, there stood Elsa on the balcony.  Poor Elsa probably caught a lot of grief…I simply yelled out “The cold never bothered me anyway”.  Before getting through the castle and mugging the photographer for an “I’m freezing” pic.  LOL

The course has long stretches between parks, but there are character stops everywhere and fans along most of the route.  So there’s always something to see.  There are also things i’ve now seen in each of my three Disney marathons.  Because it isn’t mile 7 unless i’ve heard “Don’t Stop Believing”

Around mile 8 my brother tossed his hoodie (he’d had both a hoodie & sweats for the start) in a pile with some others, but i kept mine.  Mine had been given to me by a friend when she & I walked a half-marathon together the year I broke my hip.  And I wanted to leave it somewhere that meant something.

Mile 12 is the entrance to Animal Kingdom.  Every year volunteers stand out there with animals from the conservation station wearing race bibs.  Its one of my favorite things on course.  So I had to stop…and pet a sheep.  🙂

We made it through Animal Kingdom, crossed the half-marathon point and cruised along. My brother was doing great – and I could tell that he was going to have his best race ever.  And around mile 14 coming through the parking lot of Animal Kingdom, just past the marching band (love that!) I saw the spot to leave my hoodie.  We were in the unicorn lot.  And there, at the base of the next unicorn, I carefully placed the ‘tribute to the unicorn gods’ with a smile and a “Thanks Amy”.

The next ‘destination’ was the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex…aka the labyrinth of doom.  Seriously – I don’t know if its the way it winds or simply because its at those critical miles of a marathon, but everyone I know considers it sheer torture.  I took a picture of my brother on the “highway to hell”  LOL

By now we were taking a couple minute walk break at every mile sign, which gave us a chance to hit the water stop and take in fuel as needed.  A great strategy, which always helped break up the miles.

We ran around the track and we ran the warning track of the baseball field and then on the way back out we stopped to fish stones from the warning track out of our shoes (and I almost couldn’t tie my shoes – my fingers were so numb.), we were offered beer and assorted candy and I found a pats fan in a jersey in full game-day attire (love that guy – Go Pats!).

By mile 22 my brother was at the “get all the biofreeze” stage of the race.  So we hit the water stops and the med tents and while our paces then slowed, our spirits didn’t.  My brother looked better than i’ve ever seen him at this point.

And a shoutout to a guy I chatted with for a bit that mile.  A runner and race director from Utah named John who was running 411 (412th?) marathon – and like 280 something consecutive month.  Such a nice guy and really amazing.  He’d been wearing a marathon maniacs shirt and I came up behind him with a “you maniac” which got us talking.  Thanks for the chat!

As we made the turn to head towards Hollywood Studios, I had one of those awesome karma moments… they played Don’t Stop Believing followed immediately by Sweet Caroline. I sang along (well, sorta) to both and thought of my Sole Sister Karen – who loves both.  That was your mile woman!

Coming through Hollywood Studios is always fun – they hand out chocolate as you enter!  And I mugged for the camera (really – I had all race) on the turn, then grabbed smarties from a spectator.  There is a picture I won’t share of me with half a roll in my mouth.  Its funny!

And coming out to head to the boardwalk was a sea of fans and high-fives.  I had to high-five someone dressed as Judy Hopps!  Great costume.

Along the boardwalk are just tons of people cheering and handing out sugar. I snagged more smarties and a nestle bar. Which I declared “omg this is better than a medal.” Then “no, not really” which totally cracked up the couple standing there. 

And we made it to Epcot. We decided to walk to mile 25 and then run it the rest of the way in. And we did…waving at fans, smiling and watching all the while for squirrels. I didn’t want a repeat of last year. Lol

And I suddenly had a genius idea for a photo. I don’t know if it was the warrior music playing or not, but I channeled my inner Merida and pulled out an imaginary bow & arrow. And was rewarded with what is now my new fave race photo. 

Just before mile 26, my brother looked over and said “see you at the finish”. With a grin I took off. 

Just before the finish chute I spotted a man struggling. Badly. And I noticed he was wearing plaid pants that matched my ribbon. So I put my hand on his shoulder, said “come on clansman, let’s finish this” and kept going.  (He came up to me after to thank me. Said he really needed it at that moment. Awww. I’m just always happy to help another runner. We’re all in this together). 

And I sprinted full on to the finish line. Veering over to the side to high-five Pluto. 

And crossed the finish with arms held high. Gosh I love this race!!

It should be noted that this was a marathon PR for my brother, by 7 minutes. So proud of him. He really trained hard this year. And even tho we didn’t get to run the half, he still 100% deserves that Dopey medal. 

It should also be noted that I ran the entire marathon with my hair down. That’s a PR too! Lol

Speaking of Dopey…I think it’s time. I’ve been Goofy long enough, and it’s time to fully embrace the crazy. Let 2018 be the year I get Dopey. Who’s with me? 😁

 Thanks Disney for an awesome weekend. See ya real soon!

 

 

 

Time to get goofy…it’s Disney Day!!

Finally yay – it’s Disney day!!!!!

And I can’t get there quickly enough. Yes, I’m writing this from the airport with a caramel coffee in hand and my mouse ears in the polka dot bag beside me. 

Training is over. Taper is over. It’s go time. In less than 24 hours from now I’ll be running my first Disney 5k. 

This last week of taper was less than stellar. I had a nasty head cold and chose rest over running a couple times.

And then Sunday on what was going to be my last long run, I headed out only to find the roads covered in a sheen of black ice. And after a half-mile of questioning my sanity, I obeyed the first rule of taper “Do No Harm” and turned back. 

Monday I decided that a 10k was a perfect choice. Because that actually will give me a Dopey for the week (48.6!!). #runnerlogic 

That, went swimmingly. 😀

And so, it’s time to go! Let’s get this party started!!

Today’s shenanigans will be the Expo and the Hoop De Doo Revue. One I will drink too much sangria. The other I will spend too much money. Try to guess which is which. Lol

No, I have to restrain myself this year. I have a small suitcase. 😉 Just a pint glass, a magnet, a couple shirts and a new Dooney bag. Maybe a headband. Or some socks. Oh who am I kidding…I can’t resist an expo. 

Then, it’s both work and play! Run. Park. Repeat!!

Thanks to all who’ve been following my training adventures. Good luck to those who are also running this weekend. 

And if you see me – say hi – I’ll be hard to miss. 😀

And tune in next week for my race recap(s)!

One week to go! Time for faith, trust & pixie dust. 

Omg, omg, omg, it’s one week to Disney World!!!!!

Is everybody ready? I am!!

So I did my dress rehearsal last week and it went really really well.  It consisted of 3.1 miles on Monday, followed by 10 (well really 11.5 by the time I ran/walked back to the car) on Wednesday and 20 on Thursday. 

I ran my “half training” with my sole sister up around my favorite lake (the place I ran my first 50k) and it flew by. Not only was my pace great, but we had some fun goofy photo shenanigans. 🙂

My 20 miler was a little tougher, which was completely expected. But I just stayed calm, ran easy and then when mile 16 hit, practiced the run / walking I know I’ll be doing at WDW. And still, not a bad long run pace. 

So, taper is upon us. A runner’s frenemy… sure, who doesn’t want to sleep in on a Sunday morning. But this is also where you Question Everything. 

And by question everything I mean it… did I run enough miles, did I run hard enough, should I get in one more long run, am I really going to be comfortable in that skirt for 26 miles, will 3 gels be enough or should I pack 4? Why in the world did I think this was a good idea?!!?

But, those of us who have done this before…we all know we’re fine. And those that haven’t? Don’t worry…It’s all faith, trust and pixie dust from here on out. 

So what’s left?  Well, we have bibs and corrals and runner tracking signup; course maps and expo vendor lists (buy everything!) and the 10 day weather forecast.  I think we’re just waiting hopefully for a merchandise preview (bring out the Dooney!!)

At this point the weather looks awesome. Which makes packing easier. Oh yeah, better start packing. So what are my essentials?

  • Race outfits – this year is Minnie Mouse, Merida and Mike Wazowski
  • Sneakers – Brooks launch and Asics Gel Pursue
  • Hammer gel – Montana huckleberry. I only use them for the marathon, so they should all fit in my allotted carry on liquids bag. 😉
  • Running Buddy – this year I’m bringing my bib clips, my buddy 7 pouch and my red buddy clutch.  (Race buddy & parks buddy)  

I seriously would not run Disney without them. How about you? What can you not Disney without? 

And wow, just think, next week I’ll be posting my blog from the airport as I get ready to head to the most awesome place ever. 🙂  to my fellow Disney runners – see ya in a week!

Two weeks to go…Dress rehearsal time & taper tips

Two weeks to go! Woohoo!!

First things first…did everyone get their waiver & corral info?? 

I know about 50% of the runners are happy, 20% are upset and 30% don’t care. 😀

For me, getting my corral just means a sense of relief that they were able to properly verify my proof of time and I’m not starting too far back. Lol

I got G by the way…G for Goofy! 

And speaking of Goofy, this week, the last few days before I start my taper, are my dress rehearsal. 

Since I’m doing Goofy + 5k, I’m doing a sort of simulation. (Tho a true simulation would involve tons of walking all day after the runs and maybe consuming a little too much wine after my “half” run. Hmmm…should I?)

So Monday I ran a nice little 5k, Tuesday was “active rest” and today I’m going to log 10 miles with my sole sister (sole sister solstice run – a sort of tradition)  then Thursday will be 20 miles. Followed by a couple days off. 

I’m feeling good and ready for my runs this week – isn’t carb loading wonderful? And hoping that when they are done, I’ll be feeling good and ready to take on the “more than Goofy challenge.”

So let’s see…we have our waivers, we have our corral assignments, we have our weekend guide. All we need is to see what the new merchandise looks like! I’m particularly curious about the design for the Dooney & Bourke bags. Hoping it’s as pretty as last year. 

Since we are two weeks out and most everyone is tapering now, here’s some helpful tips for a successful taper. 

  • Don’t take it out on your friends & family. It’s taper, you will be an antsy cranky mess. Just warn your loved ones…because it is the holidays!
  • Speaking of the holidays…enjoy them! Be glad you don’t have to log 20 miles on Christmas or New Years Day. Not only will your family be grateful, but you will love sleeping in and relaxing. 
  • Quality vs Quantity. You will be running less miles, but don’t phone them in. Keep them good solid quality runs to ease the “omg am I truly Goofy (Dopey)? What am I getting myself into?” freakouts. 
  • Get a massage. Not only will it help reset your legs, but it will help control the taper crazies. If only for an hour.
  • Use your free time wisely. You are headed to Disney World after all. There’s lots to do, like finish your costume, make a packing list and study the event guide. Now is the time (now is the best time…) to get that done. 

Hope everyone has a successful final long run, and a good transition to taper. Let’s get Goofy! 

Lucky 21…days to marathon weekend!

So it’s three weeks to the Walt Disney World marathon weekend.

And all anyone can say is Dude, where’s my waiver! 

Yes, we usually have them by now…but then again the races are usually sold out long before now.   Plus they only recently opened up the half-marathon spots. And, the charities had until the 13th to fill their spots (or so I’ve heard). So, this year took longer. 

But, it’s 21 days to go. And that’s lucky right? So please, with all that is magic and wonder, may we have them today?!!?

It’s just that getting your waiver and bib number and corral assignment gives you a chance to coordinate with friends and family. And know if you really can make that 9:30 fast pass for Soarin after the half-marathon. Lol

Anyhoo…how’s everyone’s training going?

I did the first of my 20 milers on Sunday. And let me tell ya, it was a challenge!

I’d been sick for a few days and missed a couple short runs, plus it was… NINE degrees here Sunday morning.  Yep… 9. 

But we are runners. We are strong. We are fierce. We are Goofy! (Or maybe Dopey). And we run what we have to. 

So I layered up (thank goodness for polartech fleece), filled my pocket with tissues and cough drops and got it done. 

And had my own little trip through Animal Kingdom. We have a park in town with a zoo. And as I looped through it, the white lion was talkative. Got to hear him roar a few times – so cool! That alone made it worthwhile. 🙂

Isn’t he handsome?

Felt like a total warrior princess when I finished. 😀 And really hoping my next 20 will be warmer!

So now on to this week’s race tips. Three week mark, three suggestions for a lucky race. 

  • Pack your sneakers in your carry on. I usually carry on my race outfits too. Just…in case. They can lose my bathing suit, but not my sparkle skirts! 
  • Have a lucky charm to carry on course. Could be a lucky penny or a note from your hunny. Something that will lift your spirits when it gets tough out there. 
  • When you stand at the start line,  visualize the finish line. Picture yourself smiling as you cross. And you undoubtedly will! 

Hope you all have a great week of training, and wishing us all corral luck!

Four Weeks…Four Parks…Four Tips

OMG…are there really only four weeks left to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend?


This is that point where we all get both excited and terrified.  Because finishing 13.1, or 26.2, or 39.3 or 48.6 or any other combination of craziness is not easy.  🙂

This is also the week we play “where are the waivers”. Because everyone wants to know their corral assignment and if they are starting with friends or not. 

It’s also when we start to wonder what the new Dooney bags will look like and when we will see them. 

This is the home stretch in training.  If you are a three-week taperer, than you’ve only got two long runs left (not to scare you or anything…).

Me? I prefer a two week taper.  I train alternating LONG long runs with shorter ones, so the two week taper feels more natural to my routine.  And it means i’ll be running the first of my 20’s on Sunday.  It also means the week before Christmas will be my second one – and my Goofy ‘dress rehearsal’.

So far training has been going swimmingly.  And this past weekend’s 12 miler was fun and easy.  Everyone in my town has been putting up their holiday decorations so there’s some great scenery.  Tho folks, a little PSA…time to toss those pumpkins!

In honor of the four week mark, and since there are conveniently four parks, I thought i’d bring you four tips for Marathon Weekend – one for each park.

Magic Kingdom – While some walking is good to keep your legs loose post race, definitely take advantage of the Railroad.  Its a great way to get from one side of the kingdom to the other to save a little wear and tear on the feet.  Plus its fun to wave to folks as you pull away from the station. 🚂

Animal Kingdom – If you go see Its Tough to be a Bug, don’t sit all the way back in your seat.  Trust me…  this advice came from a 7 year-old and kids know their stuff. 🐞

Hollywood Studios – If you plan to ride the Rock & Roller Coaster (and you should, because its totally awesome) get a fast pass.  The line can get quite long – and its a lot of time on your legs that might need to rest.  On my last visit my brother & nephew went on star tours, shopped and got a snack in the time it took the rest of us to get through the line and ride. 

Epcot – Try the Beverly.  Its in Club Cool… and that’s all i’m going to say about it.  

Hope everyone has a great week. And may the corrals be ever in your favor. 😁