6 weeks to Dopey – let’s talk costumes!

Doing weekly countdowns keeps me so very aware of how many (or few?) days are left until Dopey. And we’re at 42. Eek!!!
It’s time to really get my costumes together. While I know what I’m planning – there’s still some organizing and cricuting still to do. 🙂 And I’m definitely doing some reminiscing about the ones I’ve worn over the years. Below…I’ll discuss my favorites!
But first…training update. While my mileage is definitely down from last year, having been through it once already totally helps my confidence.  I know I can finish.  And having the loooooong runs begin totally makes it feel like go time.
I did run my last race of the year on thanksgiving.  My third time at the Attleboro YMCA Gobble Wobble.  Some of you may remember the last two years of Turkey Vision Quest…well this year was NOT that.  LOL  I had no time or placement goal, I had no expectations and I had no idea what my legs had.  It was C O L D and I felt both totally silly and badass running a 5k in feels like -1.
When the race started I took off with the group, fell into pace, warmed up and just went for it.  That said – when I saw the clock at the end I had to grin.  Because it was over 2 minutes faster than I expected!  And within 40 seconds of the PR I set last year.  So while sure, part of me was disappointed I missed 3rd place in my age group by 30 seconds (drat!) I know there is NO WAY I could have shaved that off what I ran.  So i’m happily walking away from that with 4th AG.  And 99th overall, which is pretty cool.  😀
I followed that up two days later with a Saturday 16-miler.  I found that window of time that would be prime running – and it was Saturday afternoon.  A time I NEVER run.  But it was single digits again friday and rain expected Sunday – so when you find 45 degrees and sun you take it.
I told myself the run was a no-pressure, time on my feet kinda long run (just Dopey marathon practice) and yet, my legs had other ideas.  I should NOT have been running 9:40’s…for 10 whole miles.  I did finally get my legs to slow some after that…but still super awesome long run pace for me.  I ran by a lot of christmas decor and even a tree farm.  I saw two ponies and some chickens.  And I just enjoyed what might be the last chance to run in capris in 2018.  It was an awesome run and a confidence boost for sure.
Of course, since my mind loves to wander during runs….I was trying to remember what I still need to do (or buy) for my costumes.
Picking out four is both easy, and hard. There are SO many to choose from! And while I try to not repeat myself, I am bringing back characters this year – although with new costumes.
One is my girl Snow White. She wasn’t meant to be a costume last year. But it was SO cold for marathon weekend, that what I had originally planned just wasn’t gonna work and I had enough cold gear with me to “Disney bound” her. So this year, she’s gonna get the royal treatment. She’ll be my marathon outfit.
She’ll join that ‘hall of fame’ of the four other outfits i’ve worn running the Disney marathon.  And I think she’s a great choice for fifth.
I definitely have a favorite from each year – and its usually my m marathon one.  I think its because I save the good one for the big race (whether i’m running Goofy or Dopey). I also have a favorite picture that goes with each one.
So here they are…my favorites so far!
2014 –  Minnie Mouse / Goofy
It was my first year and I wasn’t as good at costumes yet.  I chose Minnie as my first (for the half) and Goofy for the marathon, as that was my challenge of choice that year.  I made custom shirts for my brother (who was running Dopey) and I that read – I’m Goofy but my brother’s Dopey…it runs in the family (and the reverse for him.) Those shirts got a lot of love…and will always have a special place in my heart.img_0382
2016 – Ariel / Tigger
My second Goofy, I branched out a little and joined team sparkle.  I kept Ariel simple so I could run well (purple shirt and visor, green sparkle skirt) and Tigger, my bouncy trouncy flouncy pouncy buddy, was FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN!img_1356
This is also the infamous “I kicked a squirrel” photo…(see my 2016 weekend recap blog.  LOL)
2017 Joy / Merida
This year my family ran the 5k together as the emotions from Inside Out.  I was Joy (obviously – lol) and it was fun to do a group costume. I had planned Mike Wazowski for the 1/2, which got cancelled and almost chose to run in that for the marathon…but I knew I had to stick with my original plan – Merida.  And i’m SO glad I did.  I had a blast posing for the photographers…and got what will always be one of my most epic race photos.img_2091
2018 Mike Wazowksi / Dopey colors / Snow bounding / Figment
My first Dopey…and boy was it cold!  I had planned to run the 5k as Mike with my hubs as Sully, but when its in the 30’s, you adapt.  I was fortunate enough to have a green fleece Mike colored, but still, my awesome shirt has yet to have its moment.  So him, we will bring back in January – hoping third time is the charm for this guy.
This was also another year of the costume shirt.  I designed Dopey challenge shirts and a challenge shirt for my nephew (who runs the 5k/10k) and we wore those (with a billion layers under them) for the 10k.  I ran the whole race also in a pair of sparkle purple and green minnie mouse ears.  So awesome!
For the half – I had a minnie mouse costume packed…but it wasn’t going to be nearly warm enough for a thank top, and i didn’t have any black long sleeves. So a quick plan B and Snow was ready to go.  Like I said, this was not one of my best costumes and the OG princess deserves a chance to shine.
Figment….this goes right up there with Merida as my favorite Disney costume ever.  My awesome sister in law gave me the idea (she’s a MAJOR Figment Fan) and I totally ran with it.  It was fun to craft and fun to run it – the crowds loved it.  And this picture…makes me smile.img_2933-1
So my fellow Dopeys, Goofys and other marathon weekend runners…what’s your favorite costume ever?
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Summer of the 10k

I don’t normally run 10k’s. I don’t even know why. But this year I’ve already run as many as the previous 8 years put together. lol

I should blame Disney…I had SO much fun running the 10k there in January that I got a new appreciation for them.

But really, I needed a change. I needed to regroup and refocus. I needed to not have to run 20 miles in the slime on a Sunday morning this summer.

So I went to the 10k. And it’s paid off in spades.

3 10k’s, 3 PR’s!!!

June was the BAA 10k. I wasn’t trying to PR, just to run my best. I finished in 58:22. Which broke a 9 year-old record by 6 seconds. 🙂

July was the Narragansett Summer 10k. That I one was trying. I was focused and I ran hard. I “owned” that course. Lol And I finished in 57:42. A new PR by 40 freaking seconds. And I figured that would stand for a while.

Then came August. And a little 10k in the mountains.

I joked a few weeks ago I was going to try to win my age group. But after “stalking” other registered runners to see their recorded finish times (athlinks rules!), and finding someone faster than me in there, I was like okay cool, pressure is off. I can just have fun.

And Saturday, driving up the course to the start, I saw the hills. And was like “oh hell no”. We are NOT racing this sucker. We are just gonna run it.

But we all know, when you pin on that race bib all bets are off. 😁 And apparently I keep forgetting I’m darn good at hills.

So we lined up to start. The director went over a few items and told us “it’s just straight out to the turn around, where the volunteer with the orange flag and cones are, and back. If you get lost, there’s nothing I can do for you” lol

We took off, I let the surge go by me, then passed a couple people up the first hill and fell into pace behind a man in a red shirt. I actually ended up following him for most of the first 3 miles.

At mile 1.55 (cuz I checked my watch so I’d remember), a handsome deer came out from the woods on the right side of the road and ran across m right in front of red shirt guy. Whoa!!! So cool. And a definite race first. Lol

The course rolled. We we either going up, or going down. We had an insanely long uphill and I was thinking “omg where is the top of this sucker??” And then a nice long downhill headed towards the turnaround. That we then had to come back up.

I think it was the hill around mile 4 that was the worst tho. It was just long enough and just steep enough that I spent the second half of it chanting “Don’t walk. Don’t walk” which, after cresting the top was quickly replaced by “Don’t throw up. Don’t throw up” as the heaving started.

I just tried to slow down, and let my heart rate recover. And when the watch beeped 4 I snuck a glance at my pace for the first time. Holy crow – a 9:17? No wonder I almost barfed. 😂

I told myself I’d hit the water stop and regroup, but by the time I came to it, I was feeling way better and opted to just keep going.

And I hit that nice long downhill that the super long uphill on the way out had become. And ooh that was steep. But great for recovery, and that let me finish strong. Plus I caught up to red shirt guy again!

The last mile was just little rolling hills and when the sweet older gentleman out on his driveway with his dog asked “how far do you have to go” I glanced and my watch and replied “just a half mile more” 🙂

And I got passed. By a woman who I had passed walking right after the turn around. And you know that sparked the fire…

Not that I thought I could catch her, but I wasn’t gonna let her get too far ahead.

As I approached the final turn, I saw the hubs standing there and waved and grinned.

And then I turned. And saw the clock. And saw the woman. And I kicked with absolutely everything I had. I flew past her and then stopped my watch, got my medal and a water.

Hearing the announcer go “and a PR for…(a name I didn’t catch)” I looked at the volunteer and said me too!! I just got a one minute PR! He congratulated me. I thanked him. And then I looked for my training partner/biggest fan.

Jumping up and down I was like “omg!!! I just got my third PR this summer. By a whole freaking minute. And a 2 minute course PR”

Cue happy dance of joy!!!!! Lol

As I waited for the results to see what that zippy little time got me, I ate about 4 wedges of watermelon (new fave post race food). And I found the woman I passed at the finish and thanked her. For pacing me at the end. And told her it helped me get my PR.

I saw the results get posted…and I walked over full of hope. I saw I was 22nd overall (woohoo!) and I started down the list looking for women in my age group.

I spotted her. The one I knew would beat me. And she did. By 3 minutes. Wow. I am so impressed!! But she was the only one who did. I got my very first 10k age group place. 2nd!

I was also the 6th female.

And as I write this I am still shaking my head. That 56:39 doesn’t look real. Nor does the 2nd AG/6th female/22nd finisher.

I am SO amazingly proud of myself.

And while I do have another 10k in September…I think I just wanna have fun at that one. I want this PR to stand a while.

Because I mean who gets this… On these! Me. That’s who. 😁

Sprinkler Season

Runners don’t just have four seasons…

Each “calendar season” can be split into even smaller ones.

Like fall has “leaf season” and “fleece season” and “Halloween decoration season”. And spring has “delayed Christmas decoration removal season” and “tulip season”. Sometimes they occur simultaneously.

Summer has one that I both love and hate – sprinkler season. And we are full on into it.

I’m at a point where I have about 4 loops that I alternate in the mornings. And I try to remember which days the sprinklers go off on each one. But I don’t always get it right.

Like last week I picked the wrong day to run my own street. It’s a perfect 1 mile loop, and sidewalks, so when all my neon shirts are dirty, or if I just don’t feel like dealing with cars, I run that.

But apparently Thursday is “every sprinkler on the loop goes off on a staggered schedule” day. And I was getting so annoyed that I had to keep going into the road around them. Remind me to not run that again this week. Lol

Then there was today. It was hot. And humid. And just SLIMY out. I was about halfway through mile three and cutting through a neighborhood when I saw a man adjusting his sprinklers. He aimed one at the sidewalk and I smiled. I ran through it, arms raised in victory with an oooh yeah! Which of course totally cracked him up. I turned and grinned a thanks.

The relief lasted all of 10 seconds. But it did help. 🙂 Because I was about 20 seconds faster the next mile.

I guess it’s all about the timing – and love them or hate them…we gotta deal with them. At least for now. But – school bus season will be back soon enough to replace it.

Be Present

Two simple little words that made a huge difference on Sunday.

Sunday was my last long run before the Vermont City marathon – a planned 22 miles. And I headed out early feeling calm and ready.

But, sometimes things don’t go quite as we plan and we end up needing a mantra to get us through. And sometimes that mantra finds us.

All was well until mile 10 when I stopped to pull my gel out of my pocket. And seeing a group of cyclists headed towards me ( knowing it could get dangerous if a car joined the mix on this narrow road), I opted to eat my gel there and wait for them to pass.

As soon as I started running again, everything felt tired and heavy. And the mind games started – you know…question everything.

I told myself it would get better. I told myself, just make it to 11 and see how you feel.

But I am an overthinker. In both life and running. I’m always planning ahead and then stressing over things that are like 2 months (or 5 miles) out.

I tried to calm myself with my usual “clear your head” “let it go” “just stop” kinda stuff. And I got to 11, then 13. And then, the my mind bounced around again.

I was thinking ahead to the next gel, and how far can I make it before I have to walk. And just generally worrying myself.

Then two words popped into my head. Be Present.

Just pay attention to where you are. Be in the mile you’re in. The rest will happen as it happens.

Stop and smell the lilacs. Bark back at the dogs. Watch the birds fly by.

Just be…

And I got to mile 16. And reminded myself again. And then to 18. At 18 I decided I was going to walk 1/4 mile so I could eat my chews. But after 1/10 of a mile I realized I didn’t need to walk and started running again.

To mile 19.25. Where again I was going to walk a 1/4 mile, but was fine with 1/10.

And I hit mile 20 feeling good. And ran all of mile 21, to actually a little past it. I took one last walk break of about .15. And then ran strong to finish at 22.02.

Looking at my watch I smiled. Because I realized that I if I can do this again in Burlington, I could walk the last four miles and still finish under 5 hours. Something even a month ago I wasn’t sure I could do.

I’m ready to taper. I’m feeling really good about the work I’ve put in. And I know, when I tow the start line in 11 days, I just need to remember to Be Present. 🙂

Everything but the kitchen sink

When you’ve been weirdly “injured” for a few weeks, and you realize it’s oh, around 90 days until your next marathon, you kinda start to freak out.

You check the race time limit to see if you have a chance even if your training is less than ideal.

You panic, you have a bit of a meltdown, and then you go zen. And you decide to throw everything but the kitchen sink at whatever the hell is wrong with your legs.

So over the past week I’ve done yoga, I’ve stretched, I’ve foam rolled, I’ve done hip exercises, I’ve foam rolled again. Yesterday I even got on the stationary bike.

And today…I actually had my best run in 3 weeks.

It wasn’t “normal” but it was progress. I called it at 3.5 because I knew they legs were starting to get wonky and I needed a happy run more than a longer one.

So it looks like all this rehab work is working. Yay!!!!

So I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing. Rolling and resting and running smart. That way when the bigger miles kick in I’m ready for them.

I’m realizing that my chances of a marathon PR are extremely unlikely now. But that’s okay. The goal for this one now is just to survive the training and get my legs back.

We can do this.

PS… I think it’s a hip/glute issue.

PPS…the race time limit is 6 hours. No problem. 🙂

I kissed a unicorn and I liked it

How to train for a hilly marathon…
1. Run Hills
2. Kiss Unicorns
3. Embrace the suck

With 26 days to go until the Adirondack marathon, i’ve reached my peak mileage and am trying to face the fact that I don’t think i’m going to do well at the race.

Maybe its the weather, maybe its the strength training affecting my runs, maybe its stress, maybe its just a major slump. But even Big Papi had one and came back better than ever, so if it is a slump, I just gotta hang in there and muscle through until it breaks wide open.

Saturday was the first of my two 20-milers. And I spent a couple of days debating which I needed more – hills or an easy route I could build some self confidence on by doing well. I consulted my sole-sister coach. And she reminded me that running is 90% mental and the rest is all in your head… and to do what my instincts told me.

They told me – chase the unicorn.

Buried in the middle of the hilly park that I had to avoid a couple of weeks ago because of a 5k, is a unicorn statue. And I hadn’t visited in a while, so I mapped out an out and back (with a couple of loops in the middle).

My Adirondack simulation route – elevation chart…

Saturday morning was delightfully chilly…so I put on my lucky shorts, my disney marathon tee, my favorite turquoise sparkle visor, packed my buddy pouch full of gels and took off.

I wanted to run easy…to not push and save energy for the later miles. I cruised along enjoying the cool air and crushing the hills. And after a fun short steep one on my first loop of the park discovered this view…

As often as i’ve driven through there, i’ve never noticed. We just see SO much more on foot. And I continued on. And when I hit the ‘zoo’ after a long downhill, I said hi to the goats.

Second loop I found the unicorn. And with a kiss for luck (and a couple selfies) headed down the hill. 
 And down to a lower section i’d never been too. Where I found some crazy wooden flowers (and a nice clean portapotty). Of course, I regretted that detour when I had to go back UP the hill i’d been down. But its all good.

And when my watched beeped mile 10 I decided to stop on the stone wall and relax a minute to have my gel and water before heading out of the park and back along the route. Which was now some long downhill with a few ups. And by mile 13 my calves were mooing. Uh-oh. I stopped to stretch and knew I needed to refill my water because it was getting sunnier and warmer.

Yet, when I stopped at the only store between myself and home to buy water, it kinda didn’t work. It’s a small cafe in a garden center. And there was a group of girls getting fancy coffee drinks and after 5 minutes I gave up and left.

And at mile 14 when I had my next gel I kind of had a meltdown. I was hot, I was thirsty, and had my iPod had wifi service where I was, I might have called for a ride home.

And I had an epiphany…my body was reacting almost exactly like it did when I ran Adirondack in 2015. The hills had my legs like burnt toast and knowing how far I had left my mind started to play tricks on me and the doubt crept in.

So I stopped for a moment. Took a breath and sucked it up. I started walking. And made a deal with myself – 1/4 mile run, 1/4 mile walk, repeat. And sure, each mile got a little slower but I was still moving.

At mile 18 I was home and ran in to get some water before finishing the last 2 miles. I was hot and nauseous and SO dehydrated. But I was not giving up. I dry heaved a bit and the hubs said to me “well, if you’re going to throw up, maybe you shouldn’t go back out. Then again, if you throw up outside, its all just nature” hahahaha thanks babe!

I went out. With the plan to just walk the two miles. Also knowing, no way was I just walking. So I threw in some short run sections, just because. And…I finished all 20. The overall pace was slower than i’d hoped. But, I survived. I managed my mind and my legs and I never truly gave up.

And what have I learned from all this? That my next 20 miler i need to:
– Wear compression sleeves or socks
– Plan better water stops
– Run more hills
– Let it go 

The Adirondack marathon will never be a PR course for me. I think I will always struggle. Its the nature of the route. And while sure, i’d like to think i’ve gotten wiser and stronger as a runner and that I should be able to run it better than in 2015, I also have run enough to know that you can’t predict what will happen in a race.

So, I need to view this less as a race and more as a 26.2 mile adventure. A loop around the lake with something shiny at the end. And I love shiny things. 😁

Nailed it!

It is extremely rare that I finish a 20 mile (okay 20.02 mile) run thinking – This is fun. I could totally keep going. 🙂 

It’s five weeks to Goofy, so yesterday was a “practice run”. A dress rehearsal so to speak. 

A chance to practice pacing and fueling. Because honestly? I’m not very good at either. 

I have a natural tendency toward negative splits. Which serves me well in shorter races and half-marathons. But gets me in the marathon every single time. 

I also am a “fuel conserver” who tries to run on the bare minimum. Taking in just enough to get through. And, I don’t hydrate enough. These are BAD habits. 

So I thought about things. And I remembered that the best I’ve ever run long was my ultra. I remember being 30 miles in thinking “how am I still running”. And the keys to that day were fuel and pacing. 

That day I started slow and stayed there. And I took in something every 3 miles. 

So I made a game plan. Instead of the usual fueling every 4.5 to 5 miles, I was going to gel every 4. And I was going to drink with every gel (yeah I know I’m supposed to anyways. But I almost never do because I never carry water.) I was also going to start early. And not wait until mile 6 or 8 to start fueling. 

Also, I was going to prevent myself from speeding up. Easier said than done, but I was up for the challenge. 

So I geared up, and layered up and headed out into the frosty morning. 

At mile 3 I noticed I was at a 10:30 pace. Perfect. I set the plan to not go faster than that. Slower would be fine. Heck, I would have been happy with 11min miles if it meant I’d finish strong.  But I knew that faster than that would cost me later. 

At mile 4 I took gel & water. And continued to cruise along the next few miles. Up and over the hills. Even the giant one at 6.5 didn’t bother me. 

Just slow and steady. 

And it stayed like that. I fueled at 8. And 12. And 16. I kept waiting for that “my stomach doesn’t want any more” feeling. And it never came. 

I kept waiting for that “I’m tired and this hurts and I want a walk break” feeling. And it never came. 

I hit mile 18 thinking wow. This is awesome. And 19 thinking “I so got this last mile”. And when I turned the corner to my street I yelled at myself to NOT kick. I was going to run this to the end as if I was going to keep going. 

And, instead of watching my garmin, running hard, waiting for that final beep, I cruised along, face up to the sun, wishing that beep wouldn’t come. 

Stats? 20.02 miles. 10:30 average pace.  A few miles were 10:20. And a few were 10:40. But most were right in that sweet spot. 

I never got the urge to walk. I never hit a wall. I totally nailed it. 🙂

Happy Monday my friends. And happy running!