Doubly Dopey

Well, I did it.  AGAIN!  Survived 5 days of early wake-ups, 48.6 race miles and at least that in park miles.  And IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

First, apologies for it taking me a month to write my recap.  LOL  At first its a matter of getting past the zombie stage, then trying to gather those threads of thought and then simply finding time to write.

So here goes…

For those of you who have NO idea what i’m talking about… the Dopey Challenge in running 48.6 miles over four days at Walt Disney World.  Its attending an Expo on Wednesday, then a 5k Thursday, 10k Friday, 1/2 marathon Saturday & full marathon on Sunday.   Because there’s just sooo much to say, i’ll break it down by day.

Expo Day

Maybe it was the smaller number of runners, maybe it was the expo opening 2 hours earlier, but this was the smoothest expo day i’ve had at Disney.  I was able to get my bib with no line (tho I skipped the line for a photo op with the Dopey display they had up:

Then I hit the official merchandise and found everything I wanted, no problem before getting to browse the other race vendors.  Scored some free packs of Jelly Belly sports beans, bought some unicorn compression socks (YES!), a rose gold sparkle visor and then, a wine slushie and a blue beer for my brother.   The whole expos experience was just so…civilized.  And with a stop at ALL the medal-replica signs, we were done.

Then on to the hotel for unpacking, dinner and relaxing.  Because the races were about to start.

5k

Mike & Marty Wazowksi and a 2319 reporting for duty! This was fun. We had A corral, and ended up in about the 3rd wave.  But, the volunteers who were in charge of roping off the waves saw my adorable nephew and said “There you are, i’ve been looking for you.  Come here and hold this.” and handed him the tape.  We started, toes on the start line.  And it was SO cool.  I warned him, when the gun goes off, we’re gonna take off fast and then settle in.  And we did.

We oddly had a lot more room to run than we had before and were able to cruise along.  I high high-fived the guys on stilts as we passed and entered the world showcase.  Where we posed for ALL the photographers we noticed, smiled at other runners and just kept on cruising. Waved to volunteers, danced and sang along to the music. My nephew did an awesome job at keeping up with me.  We passed Spaceship Earth and headed out to the finish chute. Where my nephew, surprised me. He kicked, and kicked hard.  I laughed and took off after him.  I caught him, and we’re not sure who finished first, but we both finished grinning…with my brother right behind us.  That, was awesome!  Even more awesome?  My nephew got a new PR.  By between 3 & 4 minutes.  A 30:44.

Park: Animal Kingdom. Rope dropped flight of passage, rode all the rides, saw all the critters.  Including a private safari trek (OMG SO COOL!).

Dinner: Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge) – the bread service is to die for!

10k

For the 10k, we were in purple & green (Dopey colors) in shirts I custom made.  Our challenge shirts.  For this race my nephew & I started in A, while my brother started in B.  So we tried to be the last wave of A, and him the front of B.  Again, my handsome nephew made himself a friend in a volunteer and we started on the front line.  Where I interacted with (raised heck with. LOL) the DJ as we waited to start. SO much fun.

We took off a little slower this day, knowing my brother needed to catch us, which he did just at mile 2.  I’d seen him on the other side of one of the turns, so I knew he would. Which was good because apparently my poor nephew had left it all out there in the 5k and struggled.   But people are so great running Disney.  The other runners were all so encouraging of him, telling him he was doing great and trying to help him get out of his head.  No matter how much he struggled tho, he never gave up. And only took one walk break to regroup.   As we went through the world showcase (OMG this is so my favorite part of marathon weekend – the showcase light by torches) and then onto the boardwalk past the cheering crowd, I just smiled and soaked it all in.  I got a little ahead of the guys by the end and let my brother help my nephew.  In the end…my nephew got another 10k PR, a 1:12:16, beating his first one last year by just over 4 minutes.  So proud of this guy!

Park: Hollywood Studios/Epcot. Rope dropped slinky dog, rode all the rides, hugged a wookie.  Then at Epcot – Imagination, Soarin, Test Track, Spaceship Earth and a Gran Marnier slushie.  The basics.

Dinner: Fairytale Dining at Artist Point – Dinner with Dopey!  And snow, grumpy and the evil queen.  Totally worth it.

Half-Marathon

It was just my brother and I for this one. I dressed as Rose Gold Minnie.  And the ears stayed on the whole race.  LOL

We started in corral D and noticed it definitely had less people than prior years.  We had more room to run and HUGE props to Disney for having the first 3 miles much better lit than in prior years.  I carry a mini flashlight for safety (and dark POP’s) and was happy to not need it for the course this year.  We made it to the “under the sea” hill away from any Galloway Groups, then through the gates to main street with no issues.  I also thought Main Street was a lot less crowded.  Tho I spend most of that stretch just staring at the castle all shiny and beautiful.   I love this little section of course – Main Street, Tomorrowland, past Mine Train and then though the castle.  Out beyond the Country Bears, splash mountain and onto the backstage area where the villains always hide.  Even “cone alley” was better this year for pacing.

But once you leave that, its wide open and slightly boring.  LOL Miles 8-11 are a whole lotta highway.  And yikes those onramps.  But the minute you head back into Epcot’s backstage area you know its the home stretch.  The course was a little different this year, and as we came behind The Land (i still have Listen to the Land stuck in my head from hearing it there and again the next day at animal kingdom) I thought it was cool to see something different.

We headed out towards the front of the land and out towards, as the cast member said “The giant golf ball”  LOL  Past the Gospel Choir and toward the finish. I high-fived a pair of chipmunks and crossed the line. 🙂

Park: Magic Kingdom

Dinner: Maria & Enzos – loved it. Great sangria, great pasta

 

Marathon

It gets a little harder each day hearing that 3am alarm. But there’s something about knowing its the last day to hear it that helps you drag yourself out of bed and into a costume.  I think by Sunday i’m almost on remote…and on the monorail before my brain realized what I was doing.  LOL

Just like during the half, the roads were well lit and the crowd definitely thinner than prior years. We had room to run and when my brother had technical difficulties with his music we had no fear of being trampled trying to fix it.  It was right around here that I saw a man in a Run for Rett Syndrome t-shirt.  I smiled and told him that i’ve run for Rett too – three times and that my friend continues to do so.  He told me he pushes a girl in Alabama.  I told him he was awesome and wished him luck today.  🙂

We made it through the TTC, and on to the Magic Kingdom, cruising up main street.  I just can’t help but stare at the castle the whole time.  Its SO pretty and I treat each race as if “what if this the last time I get to run this” to make sure I soak it all in.

Past the characters – I always look to see who it is, and yet never stop.  I think i’m afraid to lose momentum by stopping so early and yet later in the race am usually too tired to want to stop – and out to the backstage Villains area.  Then on to cone alley.  Cone Alley is the worst spot of the course – its so narrow and crowded and often boring, but I still laugh thinking about the year the truck got stuck.

Once you’re out the road opens wide past Grand Floridian and Polynesian.  Where family  was sleeping – and even knowing full well they were definitely sleeping, I still looked as we went by….just in case. Then past the golf course the road turns to head to Animal Kingdom.  This road can get boring – but by now i’d found a pack of dwarves (only 4 – tho they had great excuses as to the missing ones) who were only too happy to have fun with this snow white.  In fact for the next few miles we played tag – passing each other – and always with a fun comment.  “That house better be clean when we get home” “Doc’s in the med tent, and we didn’t even bother asking Grumpy to run”  (Guys – if you read this – thanks for that. Ya gotta have fun during a marathon.)

My favorite character stop ever – was there outside Animal Kingdom.  I got to pet a goat. Yay!  And in animal kingdom I almost stopped for a character photo with Timon.  And just didn’t.  I did however carry a banana for almost a mile just to get a good banana phone picture (sorry – can’t talk, running a marathon)

The first half of the marathon my brother & I always do much better than the second half.  We usually run 99% of the first 14-15 miles and then ‘survive’ the second half.  It becomes a run walk strategy – first run as long as we can, then walk, then alternating 1/2 miles, or 1/4 miles or ‘run to the med tent/water table’ and then walk a bit.  Plus by now it was getting sunny and a little warmer.  Which, combined with fatigue, makes it a little tougher.   And the road from Animal Kingdom to the Wide World of Sports is a section we refer to as the “Highway to Hell” because there’s not much to see and you know that WWOS is just torture.

But in we headed and did our best.  And when we got to the track I asked my brother if he wanted to run.  He looked at me like I had three heads and replied No.  I grinned and said “Meet you at Goofy” and took off like a shot.  Full sprinted around the track and got in line for my first even character photo.  YAY!  Got the pic, turned around and there was my brother.  Perfect timing.  🙂

And I did it again – upon spying Joy & Sadness (OMG LOVE THEM) outside the baseball stadium I sent my brother ahead and said i’d catch up.  Short line, quick photo, and I sprinted into the stadium.  Around the warning track, past my brother (cuz if you can’t tease family, who can you tease) and to the mile 20 sign.

I LOVE that sign.  because it means you are almost done with WWOS and there’s just a 10k to go.  I feel like at that point if I have to walk the whole rest of it, so be it.  I will finish.  From there is just a short hop and a couple of med tents to Hollywood Studios.  Well and one hill.  And ugly hill with a green army man yelling at you.  As bad as that hill feels in that moment, I shimmy up that sucker.  And when we hit the next med tent and my brother stopped for biofreeze I spied a can of coke on the table. And asked if they had any.  I could have kissed the volunteer who handed me an ice cold can.  Because in that moment it was exactly what I needed.  Walking along, drinking coke and singing “Sweet Caroline” was an awesome moment.  I left my can just outside Hollywood and in we went.

I scored a cool Mickey Mouse sticker from a young spectator and tissues from a couple others.  Got compliments on my outfit and some pictures.  Hollywood goes SO fast and we were out before we knew it.  Along the water towards Epcot.  So close…and yet still so far. But this section along the water? Its Candy Row! Just lined with spectators who know that sugar and chocolate the last two miles of a marathon can make a difference.  I loved the woman yelling “who wants to take candy from a stranger” and did – thanks for the swedish fish!

We FINALLY made it into Epcot and saw the 25 mile sign. I looked at my brother and said, shall we run? He goes NOW? I said, yeah, why? And he goes “we’re in france”  Oops – slushee time! Expect….the sucker was still closed. 😦 So instead he said “why don’t you go fetch us sangrias”  hahaha  And I did.

I ran strong through the world showcase, waving to cast members and spectators, singing along to ‘how far i’ll go’ and on to Mexico.  OMG that was SO much fun.  I hopped in the short line for sangria where the cast member promised to get me through there quickly and when I got them, turned to see my brother standing at the fence.  Again, great timing and we didn’t lose the 10 minutes we did last year.

These sangrias are amazing… And I will happily walk that 1/2 mile stretch of the race drinking it.  Because by now, time doesn’t matter.  Having an awesome fun-filled experience with my littlest brother does. Its moments like that that keep me going back to the race.

We finished them right before we hit the finish chute and tossed them in a trash can.  Smiled and took off to the finish.  Past pluto and across the line.  I threw my arms up in victory and crossed SO happy. (hmmmm maybe that was the sangria talking. LOL)

We finished nearly 10 minutes faster than last year – and still got sangria as well as two photo stops.  I say we aced this year. 🙂  Let see how much more we can fit in next year!  (No, i’m still not riding everest mid-race.  But maybe this time I will stop for Timon.)

No matter what tho – we will be back next year.  Me and my perfectly Dopey brother.  Because….I mean LOOK at this medal!WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARAMEDALBACKDROP5_20190113_8306814426.jpg

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8 Weeks to Dopey? Here’s my 8 favorite Disney movies. But first, a race recap!

Omg it’s 8 weeks to Dopey? Man are the next 8 weeks gonna get tough!

Not only is it getting colder…but the runs are really gonna start getting longer. Well, after this week. And that’s okay, because this week was awesome!

After the “finish in the upright position” goal that was the B.A.A. half, I needed a do-over. A good solid half to finish the year. And Sunday was it…the Harborside Half.

It was up in Newburyport, MA. And it was COLD. Well, okay not arctic cold, but still, 30’s feels like 20’s cold. I dressed for warmth rather than for style.

When the race started I went out with the crowd and tried to find my rhythm. I decided to not look at my watch at all and to just see what it was at the end.

I had set 3 time goals. One I knew I could hit (2:15), one I’d like to hit (2:10), and the dream goal (2:07 – close to my May half). Little did I know I’d shatter all three.

The race was pretty and hilly. And had gorgeous homes and interesting historical markers scattered throughout. There was plenty to look at and enough challenges to keep it interesting.

I struggled a little at mile 9 and ended up chatting with a group of runners, which gave me the mental boost I needed. Until about 11.5 when my legs hurt and my brain was DONE and I just didn’t feel well.

I grabbed a water, walked for a second and made it to 12. Where I just had to walk for a few seconds. When a runner passed me she said “just 10 minutes” and I replied “yep, just trying not to hurl” (that Gu wasn’t sitting right). Then started running for a bit and granted myself another little walk break.

At this point, I took the first look at my watch. It read 12.5 miles. 1:57 and change. Holy smokes! I was stunned. Just stunned. And realized, my butt better get moving.

I picked up the speed, and was delighted to find a downhill as I neared the mile 13 marker (which I declared to the woman next to me was my “favorite sign ever”). So I just went for it.

(That’s me in the middle. With her eyes closed.  LOL) 🙂

Full on, full stride, everything left in me to cross that finish line. With a 2:03:40.

Even days later I sit here in disbelief. I haven’t run a half that fast since April 2017. I didn’t know I could. And actually, I’m glad I didn’t know. Because it let me run with no pressure. I hadn’t told many people (like maybe 3?) I was running it, I had no flat Kelly pics or pre race pics. If it had flopped, none would be the wiser. And yet…it turned out to be just another of the amazing race successes I’ve had this year.

And it came at a great time. Because that April 2017 race I’ve been using for a Dopey corral POT needed a replacement. And this new one, is only 16 second off it. 🙂 which now lets me go into 2019 no pressure.

Plus I have to give a quick shout out to my sole sister Cara. She also kicked asphalt out there and scored herself a shiny new PR! Cara, you rock!!

Anyways,,. I can’t do a blog during Dopey training without a Disney connection. And while I did have one of my Goofy race shirts as a base layer Sunday (best shirts ever), that doesn’t count. Lol

So in honor of it being only 8 weeks to go, here are my 8 favorite Disney movies. (I know, I know, there’s some good ones missing – but its hard to pick just 8)

8. Darby O’Gill and the Little People. It’s Ireland. It’s got leprechauns and a banshee and a great story. It’s the only classic live action one I really love.

7, Robin Hood – The animals are adorable, the music is fun and I just adore it.  Archery, romance, adventure. And I swear there’s a little bit of Robin in Flynn Ryder.  Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly what a day.

6. The Aristocats – Everybody wants to be a cat, because a cat’s the only cat, that knows where its at.  Its jazzy and fun and Marie is the cutest little thing (cuz i’m a lady, that’s why).

5. Brave – Guess there’s just something about a sassy, strong-willed curly haired girl.  LOL  Plus its medieval Scotland and magic and action.  I adore this movie.

4. Beauty & the Beast – Tale as old as time… and lets face it, i wanted the library more than the prince.  But this one always gives me the feels.  Another strong willed independent woman who knows what she wants… adventure in the great wide somewhere.

3. The Little Mermaid – Maybe its because Ariel and I were both teenagers at the same time.  Maybe its because she had an animal sidekick.  Maybe its the music, the giant fluffy dog, or just the fact that this kicked off a line of amazing Disney movies, but I love this one. I’ve run Disney as Ariel, I find myself spontaneously breaking into its songs (look at this stuff…isn’t it neat?).  This almost came in second….but there’s one princess i gotta put above her…

2. Snow White & the Seven Dwarves. My girl snow.  The OG princess.  This movie scared me as a kid – that witch is EVIL.  Even the old Snow White ride (and window displays on main street) terrified me as a kid.  Snow just had a pure heart, a love of animals and a bunch of people looking out for her.  She just wanted love and someone to save her. There’s some good songs, its classic animation and everyone has a different favorite dwarf.  While I was always a Happy girl..lately, Dopey is my guy.  🙂

1. The Lion King. The one I have seen more times that I can count. I own every version that’s been released. I’ve seen the live stage show. I have the Art of the Lion king book and multiple collectibles. And during my days as a Disney store cast member? The Simba puppet and I had an awesome time as greeters. 🙂 The music, the colors, the story, all great. I just can’t wait…to watch it again. 🙂

So…what’s your fave?

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. 😁

10k’s are hard…but worth it!

There is such a major difference between running and racing. Like, I run marathons…but I race 5k’s and 10k’s.

Honestly? It’s almost easier running marathons. lol I just start easy and try to stay there. 🙂

5k’s aren’t so bad. It’s just going as fast as you possibly can for 3.1 miles. But 10k’s? They require a little strategy. Because I can’t just go as fast as I possibly can for 6.2 miles. I run outta steam around mile 4.5 if I try that.

This weekend I ran my second 10k within a month – the Narragansett Summer Running Festival 10k.

It’s a great little race that’s part of a whole weekend – 5k & 10k Saturday, 13.1 on Sunday and beer, music & food after all of them. The shorter races are on a college campus – so no traffic and some pretty scenery.

When I ran the BAA 10k at the end of June I went in with no expectations. I wasn’t trying to get a PR and so it was a delightful surprise when I did. But that actually put the pressure on for this weekend. What could I accomplish if I tried?

The weather was gorgeous at 6am. But the race? It didn’t start until 8:30. And it got a little warmer and sunnier. But I was dressed for the heat…and prepared. <<
d as I waited to start and watched the 5k finishers come through looking hot and tired, I started to psych myself out.

I decided I would just seed myself with the 9 minute milers, go out fast with them and then just see what happens.

The 10k was a double loop of the 5k course. Which I actually liked, because it meant I could strategize in the second half – knowing where the water stop was, where the sprinklers were, and when I could push or hold back.

We took off, and I almost felt like an elite just sliding into a pack, staying with this group of women and letting them set the pace. It felt fast, but not "struggle fast" and when my watch beeped mile 1 I dared a glance. 9:10. Perfect!!

We cruised along and I let them go, dropping back a little because I know my habit of speeding up too much in my second mile would hurt me later and I wanted to try not to. Plus, it was nice having a little more room to run.

Mile 2 came as a 9:02. Okay, a little faster but not hideously so.

Mile 3 was the pretty mile, but also the hilly and narrower mile. I got boxed in a couple times, but chose to not try to get around. Instead I used it as a chance to cruise for a few seconds and catch my breath. Mile 3 was slower than the first 2, a 9:19. But still where I needed to be for a PR.

We hit the split for the second half and cruised down a great hill. Than back onto the gravel and grass section. Which I am apparently faster on. I think it's because I focus more on my feet and the ground. Because mile 4? Back to a 9:08.

Here, with 2 miles left I started "runner math". Trying to calculate the pace I needed to PR and if I could slow down. Because I was hitting a wall. I started being more aware of the tangents and trying to run efficiently.

As I neared the next water stop, I made a choice to risk the few seconds to take water. I was afraid if I didn't, I might pay for it the final mile. It's like, spend that time now, or spend it later. Plus I was SO hot! Tho I reminded myself, it was way hotter on July 3rd and I managed to survive that 5k. This, was nowhere hear as bad.

I made eye contact with a volunteer, grabbed the water and walking, went drink, some over the head, drink, more over the head, and back to running. 🙂

I think those seconds were well spent, as I still managed a 9:15 mile 5.

Mile 6 was a game of, you can go easy if you need to, but also, if you can push, you can get an even better PR. lol I came across the footbridge over the pond, angled across the winding path and passed a few people.

Then a few more as I got to the final hill, which really wasn't that long or that steep. But when you've been running hard for almost 6 miles, it amplified it.

I saw the mile 6 sign and started to both smile, and dry heave. Lol It happens in races when I really push. (I have pics from the Disney half this year that are hilariously hideous!) And I spent the next .1 yelling at myself to "slow the hell down". I got it under control, saw the turn to the finish and sped up.

I went into that finish chute in a full on sprint. Heard the announcer call out my name and saw the hubs standing next to the finish line grinning.

I crossed, with arms open wide, as if I was breaking the tape. Because I had, broken my record. To me that's winning. I beat myself. 😁 By a full 40 seconds. My new best 10k? A 57:42.

I think this one might stand for a bit. (Or at least longer than the 3 weeks the last one did. Lol)

BAA 10k – Unicorns and Legends

Sunday I ran the BAA 10k, the second leg of the Distance Medley. And it was…magical.

The weather was almost ideal. 60’s and overcast. More humid than I like, but well, we can’t have everything. 🙂

The hubs (acting as “coach” for the day) and I snagged a photo

We met up with my friend Cara pre-race and got our shirts, scoped out the distance medley participant “VIP tent” (thanks Infiniti for the portable charger with the unicorn on it!) and had fun checking out some of the costumes people chose to run in. (Lotta unicorns – lotta blue & yellow)

Then it was time to race.

Standing in the Corral I heard the announcer say it was a fast course and a good day for a PR, or a course PR. And I remember thinking “well, since it’s my first time on this course it’s definitely a course PR”.

This race is “Disney crowded” and I knew when I started that I’d spend some time jockeying for position and getting around people. My strava later labeled a chunk of the first mile on Comm Ave as “frogger”. Which cracked me up because it’s spot on.

I knew I wanted to hit a good pace early, one that I could fall into and stay at. I also knew that I was not going to look at my watch at all during the race, because I didn’t want to know. If I was slow, fine. If I was fast, sweet. And whatever it was and the end, was what it would be.

I don’t remember too much of what I saw on course, because there were a lot of construction areas and I was more concerned with watching the road in front of me.

But I do remember a few things:

  • The golden retrievers in the blue & yellow necklaces – awwww
  • Hearing the volunteer before mile 2 announce the lead male had come by the other way (well past mile 4 for him. Wow)
  • Seeing Cara on an out and back and waving.
  • Seeing the Boston Strong painted on the underside of the overpass and raising my arm to it. 💙💛
  • The car at mile 5 wth the 88.7 sticker. And thinking wow, that’s an odd distance to run. Oh wait…radio station. Lol
  • The cairn terrier shortly after. This was special. I was struggling at this point, and thinking about trying to slow down when I saw him. Head raised I sent a silent thank you to my angel Gus, and surged on.

I made it to mile 6 and started looking around more. The dogs, the people, the “go Kelly’s”. And I felt stronger. I made the turn to the finish and held my pace, just for a minute, before sprinting all out to cross.

Check out those “sprint arms” lol

I stopped my watch….saw the 58:22 and grinned. Mouthed “F-ck Yeah” and thought of how far I’ve come back this year.

I walked past Dave McGillivray and smiled. I got my medal, and then heard that Desi Linden was now high-fiving runners at the finish line.

And my first thought was “dammit, if I’d just been a minute slower”.

It wasn’t until later, when I got home and looked up my PR records, that I realized I’d not only gotten a course PR, but a real one.

I beat the 58:28 I set at my very first 10k in 2009. Finally, I can stop saying that my 1st remains my fastest. And also, it eased the sting of missing Desi. Cuz PR’s trump all. 😁

Plus I did still get to see her. After the race we were looking for a place for a good photo and wandered by the stage in time to hear Des and Meb speak. They are both so nice, and humble and amazing champions. And I was lucky enough to snag a photo of Des.

After the race we headed over to the Public Garden to meet other friends. And took some photos with the ducks.

I took a moment to pose my medal with one…the whole time thinking of my friend Lori. And the time we did the same with our blue & yellow Boston Strong scarves we were gifted in 2014. Some things just become forever a part of us. 💙💛🦄

And…I’ll leave you with this. There is nothing like a post race high, to lead you to climb aboard a duck. (If only there’d been a unicorn statue!)

Something’s gotta give

When life gets in the way, something has to give…

My marathon fell smack dab in the middle of my two busiest weeks of work in I don’t remember how long. Which means taper and racing and recovery all fell at oh, a really bad time.

Trying to fit life into your life isn’t always easy. And sometimes, something has to give. In my case…it was my blog.

For two weeks I’ve just been too exhausted to be creative. So my apologies to all of you.

I mean on one hand, it was nice that taper week coincided with 10 hour work days because I didn’t stress over not being able to get in runs. Lol But it also led to less relaxing than I wanted.

And last week, due to post-marathon brain and continued work crazies, I just didn’t have the brain power to write my race recap from Vermont City. I’ve tried to start it a few times…but it’s just not coming together.

This week, I’m finally getting my groove back and the creative juices are flowing once more.

I will try to get my recap done. But if I don’t – I’ll just say this…

The Vermont City marathon was freaking awesome. It was the most fun I’ve had in a non-Disney marathon. And I would run it again in a heartbeat. Amazing crowd support, gorgeous views and just a great upbeat vibe. I ran to all with a smile on my face and a spring in my step – even during the hard final miles.

I’m resetting now. Work is calming down. And I’m back relaxing, running, training and blogging.

Hope you’re all also finding how to fit life into your life. And that whatever has had to give, comes back to you as well.

Providence 13.1 – the recap

Gotta say…there is nothing like running a course you haven’t done in a few years to make you realize how far you’ve come as a runner.

The first time I tackled the Providence 1/2 marathon was May 2, 2010.   It was my very first half-marathon and i’d only been racing for two years.  I trained hard and felt prepared going in, but there are just enough challenging spots that I still remember exactly where I struggled (Pittman St).  I finished the race in 2:06:33 and felt like i’d won.

I’d go on to run it again in 2011 (even faster) and 2012 (with my aunt, as her first marathon) before taking a few years off the race.  When I came back to the course in 2015, it was for the marathon, and a PR! I ran the marathon again in 2016, and then took last year off of Providence.

This year, when I signed up for the half it was going to be as a time trial for the Vermont City Marathon.  But fate and a sort of injury had other ideas.  So when I toed the line Sunday, I had a main goal of just enjoying the race.   To not run easy, but not run hard. And to just see what I had.  I was FAIRLY sure I could hit sub 2:15 no problem, hoped I could go sub 2:10 and dream goal – to try to match 2010.

The weather was great – high 50’s, light breeze.  A little humid, but the rain held off, so no complaints.  And when I found a spot in the corral and chatted with some other runners (who I think i’ve now convinced to run Boston next year. LOL) I felt comfortable and worry-free.  The race would be what it was.  The time at the end didn’t really matter.  It would be neither my best, nor my worst so why care.

We took off and I noticed the 2:15 pacer in front of me (I don’t think he seeded himself quite right) and had to remind myself, its mile 1, don’t try to pass him, just don’t lose him.  And over the course of that mile I crept up to and past him.  Phew….

I fell into a comfortable stride.  I barked back at the little blonde terrier barking at the runners from a corner.  I high-fived a couple adorable kids.  And I listened to the conversations around me.  And I tried to not look at my watch.

When we finally made it to Blackstone Boulevard, and hit mile 4 I peeked at my watch and smiled.  It was sub-10 and it felt good. I admired the stunning homes along the route, I waved to spectators and after we turned the corner and past my favorite bakery I thought of my friends. I had joked with one that I hoped it wouldn’t be open when I went past. Knowing i’d stopped for a sangria during the Disney marathon she replied Don’t You Dare.  LOL No worries Amanda…I was in a groove.  And almost tripped over Mrs Potato Head’s eyes (a couple other runners had dressed in costume and one lost an accessory).

For the next couple miles I had some great conversations with other runners (about gatorade flavors and rear ends and how this one woman had just finished Boston a couple weeks ago and was totally taking it easy today (she and I passed each other a few times).  I ran FUN.  I reminded myself to not push my pace.

I legit said “Why are you running?  Because races are fun.  And if you aren’t having fun, you’re not doing it right”

I passed the spectator blaring the Rocky theme song, I smiled and waved at more children.  And at mile 9, looked at my watch again.  Still sub 10-pace.  Woohoo! That would be the last time I looked at my watch.

The next four miles I remembered as the toughest terrain wise.  A steep downhill, a long downhill and a couple of longer uphills.  The downhill scared me more.  My wonky hamstring had been doing okay this race (tho I noticed after my downhill miles were the slower ones) but going back down Gano Street had me nervous.

I wide-stepped the wicked steep downhill, cruised along the water and remembered that this stretch had been the ‘graveyard’ stretch for me my first year.  I was tired at mile 10 and just hanging in there.  This year, I was still running happy and free.

I hit the turn away from the water and began the long winding climb.  As I tucked in and shimmied up I passed a few people and smiled.  I think that was the point where I realized how much stronger i’d gotten over the years.  Hills don’t scare me.  I climb like a mountain goat and never get passed going up one.

So when I finally reached my arch-nemesis Pittman Street, I kinda smiled.  And not just because the November Project cheer station was such a great boost.  But because this year, no fear.  I chugged up the hill to the top steady and strong.

Left onto Gano, and down the hill…as I neared the mile 11 marker, I heard noise and looked over to realize the marathon winner was coming by. WOW.   The runners I was with started to attempt math to figure out pace.  We realized at that point, 24 miles in, he’d been running about 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Ummm….whoa.  That guy was on pace for a 2:30 marathon, with no one even close behind him.  SO impressive.

I ran through India Point Park and looked at the water, smiled and ran on to the mile 12 marker. And thought to myself, home stretch, we got this.

I didn’t try to go faster, well expect for when I saw that final photographer and went full stride for a good pic (LOL), I just ended up doing so.  I remembered how hard that final mile had felt in 2010.  And even in 2015 when I ran the marathon.  And thought about how easy it felt in comparison this year.  (It would turn out to be my fastest mile of the race – a 9:16.)

When I saw the mile 26 marker and knew there was only .2 left I just focused on finishing.  Turned the corner to the finish chute and scanned the crowd a bit (knowing the hubs was probably there somewhere) and then just stared at the finish line.

Opened my stride and went for it.  I flew across the finish with my arms raised.  Stopped my watch, but didn’t look, got my medal and a water and then walked a few feet.

Now…I looked down, read the 2:06:50 and started to shake. And started to cry.  I couldn’t believe it.  My training wasn’t what I wanted.  My hamstring wasn’t what I wanted. I haven’t run that fast that far in a freaking YEAR.  And yet somehow, the legs remembered.

I thought of my friend who I had just asked the day before if she wanted to pace me again next year for a new marathon PR.  And I mouthed “Eff Yeah!”

I headed for the hubs, feeling SO dang proud of myself.  But I was about to be even prouder of him.

For while I was off kicking asphalt, so was he.  My amazing husband, who has only been running for about 6 months and only run two 5k’s prior (both with me), took 3rd in his age group with an amazing 25:32 finish.  Wow babe.  You rock!

Once again…Providence proved it its my BFF course.  And apparently, the hubs’ also.