Glass slipper…found

You know this Cinderella has been looking for her glass slipper for a while now. 

Well, after a lot of trial and error and blisters and frustration, she has finally found it. 
I suppose it’s inevitable that a Disney runner would end up in New Balance. 

I just wished I’d fallen in love with the Vazee Pace back when they still made Ariel themed ones. Lol 

Tho I do love this purple color with the green accents. In fact, these are pretty much the perfect color for my Dopey training and racing. 😁 Plus #purpleisalwaysfaster

I got them Saturday…and tested them on my treadmill for a 1/4 mile (because this way if I hated them they’d still be clean and unworn-ish).   Took em through their paces – walk to normal pace to sprint pace – and they did what I asked. 

But as someone who has worn Brooks for years, I still wasn’t sure I trusted them. 

Until I took them on the roads Sunday. 

Just 10 miles on the schedule. But it turned out to be my fastest 10 in ages. 

I mean negative splits and 9 minute miles? Whoa…where did that come from.

These babies were light and fast and comfy. Lots of room for my toes and snug around my ankle bone (so no random acts of stones – YAY!) but didn’t rub.

They felt…..magical.

I ran in them again yesterday morning, on the treadmill, to see if it was beginners luck, or if these really were the glass slippers i’ve been seeking.

Let’s just say…. even Mickey himself approves.

And, with the expo just 11 weeks from today, I am happy to say i’ve found my Dopey shoes. Just need to pick up a second pair for alternating. Wonder if they make red (you know… cuz its better when it matches your costume. LOL).

To everyone out there getting Dopey with me… hope your training is going well and that you’ve also found your glass slippers.

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Hamsters and Haunted Houses

Well, since its early in my Dopey training still, the miles are definitely the least interesting part of my week. LOL

I did get in 8 miles Saturday morning – in great fall like temps. And, saw a little bit of foliage. Which may be all we get this year. This weather is just not foliage-friendly. 😦

I mean yesterday, when I went out for a 4.5 miler, it was 70, 100% humidity and a dew point of 71. It was like running in the amazon jungle – or, you know, Disney in January. LOL

But I am SO ready for it to get cooler and stay there. Because November will bring two of my favorite races – Edaville Rail Run and Attleboro Gobble Wobble. And i’d rather not run them in tank tops.

So what have I been up to since i’m not running much? Hamsters and Haunted Houses.

Eddie Van Hamster is proving himself to be QUITE the little character.

We’ve been letting him explore nightly in his hamster ball. And he runs around his cage like such a crazy man I kind of want to see if there’s a Hamster Ninja Warrior competition – because he could totally win. 😀

Sure, he’s no Gus. But he’s small and cute and fuzzy and makes me smile.

The reason I did a rare Saturday run this weekend was so we could go do something on Sunday that we have always wanted to do. Tour a haunted castle.

We went to Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA.

Its the home of inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. and its absolutely amazing. It has so much detail that you could go through fifty times and still find something you’ve never noticed.

It also totally haunted. And no, I didn’t see a ghost while I was there – but you could just feel it. I mean, does this not LOOK haunted?

And this fireplace? The lighting? Totally creepy.

There was actually one spot where I looked around a corner, saw this door that scared the crud out of me and jumped.

Its not ALL dark and spooky – there’s a gorgeous room with an open ceiling and a pond that feels like something out of Epcot. 

But, still….overall? Definitely creepy cool.

And actually, come to think about it? A Haunted Mansion totally fits for Dopey training. 😀

86 Days to the first race…wonder what other Disney themed fun I can find this week.

Sole Sister Stroll – Ocean Road 10k

So week one of Dopey Challenge training ended with me channeling my inner Ariel.

At the Ocean Road 10k in lovely Narragansett, RI.

Since I was supposed to be coming off a marathon (the one I ended up two-parting) and my sole sister had been having training issues, we decided to just fun run it. No time goal, just fun and sparkles and 6.2 miles of scenery – oceans and mansions and seaside charm.

When we pulled up to the parking lot facing the beach at SIX AM (eek!) there was the most spectacular sunrise. And we knew it would be a good day.

We got our bibs, took the bus to the start at Point Judith lighthouse and tried to stay warm. Because it was suddenly fall (well played, October) and I was a little underdressed (shorts were not my best idea), so I ended up wearing my fleece zipup for most of the race.

We dressed in full-on sparkle…me in mermaid on mermaid skirt & visor and her in blue & blue. And we were a total hit with the runners and spectators. LOL #itsallaboutthesparkle Both wearing our buddy pouches to carry our gear and buddy clips to keep our bibs secure against the ocean breeze we were ready.

I met lots of people from the Facebook group (for disney runners of course) i’m in at both the start and finish, and I always make new friends at races so we had lots of fun chatting while we waited. And then, off we went.

Slow and steady, with a run/walk plan we made our way along the course. Stopping for photos and water stops and just having fun. Swapping stories and catching up on each other’s lives.

We saw a cow driving a van….

And some cool rock cairns on the beach…

And this fairy-tale castle gate that just begged for a photo. 

The miles flew by and before we knew it we could see the finish. We entered the chute and I noticed that the person before us had crossed and we had it wide open. My sole sister looked over at me and said “wanna race?” Heck yeah! With a wide grin we sprinted to the finish. I can only imagine the sheer joy coming through in those pictures. 🙂

After the race we sat on the beach for a bit, just taking it all in, taking pictures and chatting with other runners.  

Took the “finisher photo” 🙂 

And then… I saw this mangy blonde terrier walking up the beach. And thought of how my Gus hated the beach (mama this smells funny, can we go yet). I walked over to say hi to the puppy, who, delighted with me, started running around in figure 8’s coming back to ‘play pose’ in front of me. I laughed and asked his name. It was Goose. My heart clenched for a moment but instead I said “you are one silly Goose” and with one more pat walked away.

Its been two weeks today and I still so very much miss my baby boy, but I know encounters like this are his way of saying he’s with me. Watching over me and making sure i’m okay. Thanks bubba. Love you.

We took the obligatory ‘sole sister shoe’ photo

and found someone had spelled 10k in rocks, which was perfect for a medal pic.

This ‘its not a race, its an adventure’ was exactly what I needed. Good friends and the sea? They both heal.

Weather Jinx

As I sit here five days out from the Adirondack marathon with too much time on my hands and therefore lots of time to think, I realized something.

My marathon weather has well and truly sucked this year. 3 marathons – all different kinds of bad weather.

Does mother nature hate me?

Lets review…

January – Disney marathon
30 degrees at the start. In Florida. Ummm what??? Granted it did eventually (like like 3 hours in) warm up to 50. But still…was NOT prepared for that. See how cold I look?

May – Maine Coast marathon
Nor’easter. 43 at the start. Torrential downpours. And crazy winds. Gheesh…. nothing like looking like a drowned rat in all your photos. LOL

September – Adirondack marathon.
Fall. In the mountains. And look… actually don’t look because every time I DO look it goes up. And I just can’t deal.


But I have no choice. Other than to suck it up and get through it. At least it’s not going to be windy. 

My friend said I might need to adjust my goals. I said yeah, if it gets that bad i’m just gonna walk and sing Disney tunes.

Thank goodness there’s a lake to dive into at the end. Which is nice. 

So wish me luck folks….i’m gonna need it! 🙂

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. 

Race Recap – Blackstone Valley Half-Marathon

Sunday, under slightly cool temps and gorgeous clear blue skies…magic happened.  I ran a 2:00:12 half-marathon.  Unfortunately it was on a 13.47 mile course.  I’ll explain later…

After having the Walt Disney World half cancelled and opting out of the freezing cold Ocean’s Run half I was itching to get out there on a course and see what I could do.

What’s funny is that neither of those were races I was planning to actually ‘race’.  But rather just run for fun.   And i’m not entirely sure when I decided that I was going to full on race Blackstone.  But once I did I went into serious preparation mode.

The few days before were all about hydration and nutrition.  Outfit and playlist. Course review and mental preparation.  Coming up with anything I could to give me that extra boost out there.

I almost never run with music.  Except for #turkeyvisionquest I hadn’t run outside to music in a couple of years.  I’m more of a ‘sounds of nature’ runner.  But again, I knew how using music in November had led to a PR, so I was going to see if it made a difference here.  I created a PEP (performance enhancing playlist) of all my favorite metal and rock songs, and threw in a few new ones from favorite artists (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Airbourne) which turned out to be perfect.

Also… my bib # turned out to be 201. And I got this crazy idea, maybe I could run my number. (I sort of did…)

Sunday morning was literally race perfect.  It was about 46 at the start, blue sky, slight breeze.  The race started/finished right by Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI.   Tons of parking right by the start (in fact the hubs was able to sit in the back of our hatchback watching runners fly to the finish) and access to the visitor center and really nice bathrooms were a bonus.

After a beautiful and oddly moving national anthem (maybe it was the way the flag was waving in the wind with the sun shining on it got me…) we were off.  Kickoff playlist song?  Rock & Roll (Zeppelin).  🙂

The course headed south, looped around and headed back past the start.  And this is where it got interesting.   I was tucked in with a crowd and had Robert Plant in my ears and when the group turned, I went with them.  I think I knew in the back of my head it wasn’t right.  But I didn’t question it.  Because racing is pack mentality.  One goes – all go.

Until the race director chased us down to tell us we’d been sent the wrong way and turned us around  (Is this were we tell the course volunteer “you had ONE job”? LOL).  For me?  This ended up with an extra .37 miles that I spent the rest of the race trying to make up for. Turns out the lead runner?  He’d tacked on an extra 3/4 of a mile with the ‘detour’.   And the funniest piece of all this?  The song Plant was singing? Communication Breakdown.

But I was in a very good-natured group.  We joked about “well, I’ve always worried about getting lost on a course.  Now that it’s happened, I don’t have to worry about it”  And “There goes my age group win.”

The rest of the course?  Clearly marked and absolutely beautiful.  Just enough change in elevation to keep it interesting, but not overly challenging.  The only ‘beast’ came around mile 5.  One of those hills where you turn, see it, let out a quick curse word and shimmy to the top.  Only to turn and see it keeps going.  Ugh.   But that hill was followed by a long spectacular downhill with mountain views.   And was great for me for just coasting and resetting for the second half.  And also let me knock off two of my ‘standard race goals’ – high-fiving a kid and barking at a dog.

There isn’t a ton of crowd support out there – tho the water stops were filled with enthusiastic volunteers – but a few people stood on corners or in their yards.   And the sections on the bike path and some cyclists pulled over watching us.

I saw a couple of funny signs “if trump can run you can too”  And a set early on of “just 5 miles to go’ and “she can’t do math” with an arrow pointing to the first sign.  But my favorite sign?  The town sign of Central Falls aka Chocolateville.  Seriously – you can’t go wrong if you’re running through Chocolateville.  LOL

But like I mentioned earlier, I feel like I spent a lot of the race trying to make up for the detour.  I ran that course with determination and strategy.  I cut ALL the tangents and tried to limit any extra steps.   I also watched my pace.  And when I hit the 10k mark in 57 minutes flat (what?? How???) I mentally calculated that I could still pull off my hopes of a sub 2:05 clock time.

Because I was fairly sure that I couldn’t hold this pace forever.  I fully expected that i’d slow down. Because I hadn’t run this fast for this long in…oh I don’t even know.   But then I let it go…and I stopped looking at my watch.  And I let my music and my legs lead me.

And when my watch beeped 13 I looked down…and pushed just a little. And watched myself hit my fastest 13.1 time in nearly two years (since June 2015).  A 2:00:12.

And with my favorite speedwork song playing I gave it everything I had and ran on to that finish.  Saw the hubs right before it and gave him a smile,  a wave and a thumbs up.

And then crossed that line in 2:03:22.  Which still, is my fastest half in two years.  And a darn good Disney POT (LOL). (Side note – that last half mile was an 8:32 pace. Wow!)

Got my shiny medal (seriously – the back of this thing is mirror surface) and a water, and tried to not throw up. (Guess I really was racing all out.  lol  Its not the speed – its the sudden stop that does it.)

I’m feeling really proud of myself for doing so well.  And i’m also feeling this new confidence going into the Maine Coast Marathon.  This half was just what I needed.  

Am I disappointed about this being an ‘extended cut’?  Sure…but its okay.  There’s always another race.  And this was still a great one that I will definitely run again.  Only next time, pack be damned, I am NOT making that right turn.

 

 

Hello 2017…what’s next?

When you already get your first marathon of the year done one week in, its both comforting and confusing.

Because, where do you go from there?  Don’t most people start easy with oh, like a New Year’s 5k, set a big goal for Spring and then work up to it?

I mean, when you run a big race that early, then what.  Guess I need to set some goals for the year.

2016 was an AWESOME year.  I ran for the cycle (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2,  (bonus:ultra), I got a 5K PR (25:20) and a distance PR (44.1 miles). I ran less miles than the year before (1,505) and less races, but had at least as much fun.

So, here I sit with 11 1/2 months in front of me.  What can I accomplish?  What shenanigans should I get into?  Here’s a few things i’ve got in mind.

  • Knock another state off my marathon list
  • Register for Dopey 2018
  • Run a 50-miler
  • Run for the cycle again
  • Get a marathon PR
  • Run more with friends

I’ve already got 2 piece of the cycle complete (5k & marathon in Disney), tho it should have been three.  (Next year I’ll make sure Pudge got his peanut butter sandwich!) so I just need to find a half-marathon and a 10k.

I’m already thinking to do the Level Renner 10k again this summer.  That one was a lot of fun.   And I need to find a nice spring half-marathon that fits my training for my May marathon.  Hmmm…wonder if I can find one the weekend of my Birthday.  (you know you’re a runner when you’d rather run a half than party all night.  LOL)

The first on my list and the last on that list will hopefully be the same race.

Next up for me is the Maine Coast Marathon in May.It looks so fun and scenic and will give me my 5th marathon state.  While i’ve done 11 marathons (wow – how did THAT happen), I tend to run the same ones over and over.  Time to branch out.  🙂

I also am hoping to PR that race.  Its not going to be easy and I know it means that i’m going to spend the next few months doing a LOT of speedwork, and work in general, but its good to have goals.

Its also VERY weird for me to a) only have one registered race right now and b) nothing registered/planned in the next four months.    But, Dopey registration opens in February, so that will fix that.  And I will hopefully find the perfect fast and flat half for corral placement FOR Dopey (and get my Dopey brother to do the same).  See my brother will become Perfectly Dopey next year.  And i’d love for him to be able to start in his fastest corral ever this year.  But that’s on him….  I’ll just run the fastest half I can so i’m not holding us back.

As far as the 50-miler?  Its something i’d like to do, but doesn’t necessarily need to be this year.  Just a bucket list item.  Because my other thought for this year is a rematch with the Adirondack Marathon.  That course really got the best of me in 2015 and I want to try it again now that I really know how challenging the first half hills are and can train accordingly and manage my pace better.  I have unfinished business there.

The final one?  I want to run more with my sole sisters.  Whether its racing or training, i’m lucky to have two amazing mother-runners in my circle and I KNOW I need to log more miles and smiles with them this year.

Also – can I say how odd it is to write a non-Disney blog this week?  Oh well, that will resume in the fall i’m sure! #dopeyorbust

So…. how about all of you?  What’s your BIG Goal for the year?  Another state?  Another distance? Another PR?  I’d love to hear from my readers. Lets all have an amazing year!