‘‘Twas the night before Dopey

”Twas the night before Dopey, and all through the parks, not a creature was stirring, not even Mickey Mouse.

The runners were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of medals, danced in their heads.

Okay, yeah, I know – no sleep at Disney!! Lol

But omg guys – we did it! We survived training and taper and now it’s Go Time!!!!

I’m so excited to go “home” today and hit the expo and meet a bajillion new friends and have a truly epic weekend full of fun and frivolity and All the Miles. Yay!!!!!

Hope everyone’s final week of running went well, and that you’ve all reviewed the event guide and know where you gotta be when. I have been studying it like it’s the Patriots playbook. 😁😂

I also have a printed map of the expo vendors, with my must haves circled. (Seriously sparkle athletic – did you actually really put out a rose gold visor? Way to guarantee I stop by!!!)

I feel…oddly calm about running this weekend. Maybe my training was spot on after all. Maybe because I’ve been through this once already I know that the marathon will hurt, but that I will finish. Or maybe it’s because I know that I don’t give up, I don’t give in, I just finish what I start.

And tomorrow – starts 48.6 miles in 4 days.

To all of you running this weekend, no matter the distance, may it be an epic voyage. And may you get all the merchandise, photo ops and gram marnier slushees your little heart desires.

See ya real soon!!

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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?

Dopey Challenge 2019…the return

Well, it’s official! I’m getting Dopey again. 😁

This past week registration FINALLY opened for Disney Marathon Weekend in January. Yay! So while I’ve known I was going to be Dopey again, it’s never official until you get that confirmation email.

I mean, hotel has been booked, dinner reservations were made a week before and both costumes and travel have been in the planning stages. But now, we’re good to go.

The big question is…when does training begin?

I mean I’m always “training”. But when do we hit the line of “in training”? Is it now? Is it September?

I suppose it depends on the training plan I end up following. Last year, I had a late September marathon, so it started the day after. But this year, nothing big on the horizon for fall – just a half or two. So…I think I’ll go with September 5th.

This summer is all about speed and short races…because it’s just too darn hot and humid for distance. Plus I’m too busy having fun. Lol

But September says fall, and cooler temps and time to buckle down and get serious. So…as soon as I’m back from my Labor Day weekend getaway, we’ll say goodbye to summer and hello to Dopey!

And no worries – I’ll blog my journey once again. 🙂❤🏃🏻‍♀️

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. 🙂

Love the run you’re in

Sometimes, the run you get is exactly the run you need.

Even if you maybe kinda had the mother of all meltdowns before heading out the door.  LOL  Does anyone else do that?  Get SO worked up before going for a long run?  I mean, its not like my self-worth is based on how fast or how far I go on a Sunday.  And yet, sometimes it feels like it is. So I get buried under this imaginary pressure.

Especially as its now 25 days to Vermont City.  And this training cycle has been less than ideal.  Stuff going on every other weekend, challenging weather and well, this darn hamstring thing that just will not go away.   Although in retrospect, its continually improving.  It just doesn’t always seem like it.

So yeah, facing the idea of 20 miles in the rain Sunday morning in addition to all that other stuff….I kinda freaked.  (Sorry babe!) And then went all suck it up buttercup and went.  And was greatly rewarded.

The goal was to start slow, and stay slow and see just how much of it I could do.  The 18 miles two weeks before, was a lot less running than i’d have liked.  So I had to tell myself, it doesn’t matter how slow this run is…if it helps you run them all.

I didn’t look at my watch…I felt it beep the miles, but I refused to be ruled by a number.  I saw a hawk sitting by a pond.  I saw a gorgeous fox run across the road.  I got a text of encouragement from the hubs (Thanks babe!).  I spent a lot of time telling myself to Get Out Of My Head and just run.  It got damp and it rained and my fingers became useless.  I found an aquatic creature out ‘swimming’ too.

I remembered Shalane saying at some point during the marathon it felt like she wasn’t even wearing shorts, and I knew EXACTLY what she meant.  LOL

When I hit mile 14 somehow miraculously still running, I aimed for 15.  When I hit 15 I tried for 16…  At 17, and still running (albeit likely slower) it started to become a mission.  And at mile 18, still running, I started to smile.  Cuz now it was game on and there was NO way I wasn’t finishing these miles running.

When my watched beeped the magical sound of mile 20 complete….I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.  Instead I texted my running friend (who was out running her long run in a matching outfit (twinsies, yay!)) and said “I ran the whole f@$%ng 20”.  I then slowly and gingerly ambled into the house (I finished .05 from my door – convenient!) and said “Guess what I just did!”

At that moment, it was the Best Run Ever.

I was tired.  I was sore.  And I was so incredibly happy.  Its not where I used to be…but it doesn’t matter. Because it was exactly what I needed that day.

A side note… today is also 5 years from the day I broke my hip in a running “accident”. Two weeks after my 3rd marathon (Boston 2013).  Spending four months on crutches and rebuilding almost from scratch for my 4th (Disney – January 2014) was a challenge.  Yet now here I am training for my 14th.  Its all about perspective.  Belief you can overcome anything…and that you can’t keep a good runner down.

Keeps Getting Better

I am oh…. thisclose to being back to normal.  I can almost taste it.

I was running SO much better this week that I felt almost silly for spending close to 8 weeks wondering if this is my new normal.  If i’d ever be my self again.  The non-injury is finally down to one little tiny spot that still makes my knee twinge if I overstride, but we can deal.  We have KT tape.  And its magical…

Of course this progress comes just in time…as we’re a mere THREE DAYS to the season opener of Spring Racing. Yay!

First…how did the weekend go?  Well, the hubs and I drove over to another part of town on Saturday for a 3-ish miler…and its going to definitely be one of our favorite run loops. Swans, waterfalls and just enough rolling hills to keep it interesting – and by mile 3 we had a great pace going (his fastest mile to date). IMG_7544.jpg

Sunday was my long run.  This marathon training cycle has been weird for me.  We’ve had just enough weekend plans that i’m only getting in a long run every other weekend.  But i’m trying to find that life-run balance and not freak out over missed 12-milers. Sometimes family and friends are more important.  I just plan around to get in the ‘big runs’.   So Sunday was a 16 miler – and I really wanted to run as much of it as possible, since 2 weeks ago i’d only run 10 of my 14.

I made it a full 13.1 before my legs were all WHAT?  And not only that – but I did it without needing to stretch every couple miles.  YAY. (I know – I feel silly being excited, but still.  I AM!)  But this was more my legs having lost some endurance than that anything was bothering me.

I ran / walked the final 2.9 for an even sweet 16.  And then did the runner math…which leads me to believe that if I had to run Vermont City next weekend, I could pull off a 5:30 finish.  And hopefully with another 53 days to go, I can pull off a sub-5.  A far cry from a PR…but I’m really earning this one, whatever it turns out to be. The ones you have to fight harder for, usually mean more.

Anyhoo…. like I said, its almost Racing Season and i’m so happy.  I haven’t done a race since the Dopey Challenge and what a long three months it been.  I’m so ready to put on a bib and get back out there.

I’ve got four races on the schedule between now and June 1st and i’m looking forward to all of them:

  • Newport Night Run – April 7th
  • BAA 5k (part 1 of the distance medley) – April 14th
  • Providence half-marathon – May 6th
  • Vermont City marathon – May 27th

I’ve got different goals for each but fully expect to have a blast at them all.  First up:NNR

The hubs is joining me for the Newport Night Run this weekend and i’m SO excited to race with him again.  Even tho i’m making him race in the dark for the second time this year (lol) he’s a good sport about it.  Newport encourages neon and reflective – and we fully intend to look like the 80’s threw up.  😀

If you’re running it too – come say hi, i’ll be the one in ALL the neon and a pink sparkle skirt.

Moments of Brilliance

That’s how I described my long run this weekend to a friend who asked.

It wasn’t great.  It still isn’t ME.  But it had moments of brilliance.  And that’s progress.

At this point, i’m just happy for progress.  I’ve been stretching like its my job, only running 3 days a week, doing strength work in the affected areas and still hoping that “faith trust and pixie dust” can add an extra edge.

Because, while as we face our FOURTH freaking nor’easter of the month, I know that racing season is rapidly approaching and i’m still kinda freaking out about the Vermont City marathon.  After this weekend’s run tho, i’m feeling a lot better about it.

Because see….something finally went right.  Around mile 4.

The first 3 miles were the usual – my hamstring feels wonky when I land, my hips aren’t doing what they should – but I knew i just had to work through it.

Just after I hit mile 4, everything opened up and I was running like normal.  I don’t know how and I didn’t even notice until I started down a hill and was like WHOA, nothing’s shaking.  I’m not questioning every foot placement. I’m running without thinking about running.

SWEET!

I ended up running to mile 10 – which actually is 2 miles further than the last long run – before the first walk break.  I did have to stop and stretch every couple of miles, because things started to tighten back up.  But that’s better than walking.

I did a total of 14.5 miles.  At 13.17 I stopped my watch because 1), it was 3/17 and its ‘cute’ and 2) because I didn’t want longer walk breaks to screw up my recorded overall mileage pace.  LOL

I still have a long ways to go in the next 70ish days, and I know that Vermont is going to be a slow marathon, but according to runner math, if all I can run is what I did this weekend and then walk the final 12, I can still finish under the time limit.

When I was running I had a mantra going – Every Step is Progress.  I kept repeating it to keep my spirits up.  Because its hard when you can’t run like yourself.  When your slower pace feels as hard as your faster one used to.  But attitude plays a HUGE part in running.

And while i’m calling this a non-injury (and as god is my witness I will never do standing dead lifts again) it’s still a road to recovery.  I’m still coming back from something (albeit something stupid) and I have to be proud of the fight.