So that happened…

As many of you probably saw on Instagram, I completed the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon on Sunday morning. That was my 3rd half (last year’s W&D doesn’t count because it was a shortened course), and without doubt, the least trained I’ve ever been to run a race in my entire life. Seriously. I looked at my stats on Smashrun, and prior to Sunday, I hadn’t run AT ALL in 41 days. And prior to that, I hadn’t run more than four miles in one go since August. So yeah.

For the record, I DO NOT recommend that you try to run a half marathon without training. My legs were so sore on Sunday night that I was honestly scared I had seriously injured myself. My legs and back are still stiff and sore. I have blisters like you wouldn’t believe on my feet. And I’m still tired. Oh god, am I tired. I’m sure that’s also partly due to lack of sleep, but holy hell, I feel like I got hit by a truck.

I am definitely relieved that the race is over and done with. Obviously, I haven’t really been feeling running lately. The move to Underhill means that my usual routes are no longer available to me, dance classes have kept me busy two nights a week, and I’ve been feeling a lingering burnout after the shitstorm that was this spring. Now that I don’t have any more races looming, I can just get back to running as an enjoyable outlet that I do a few times a week for as long or as short as I want. No plan. No schedule. No pressure.

I definitely feel like I’m through with distance running for a while. I just hate being beholden to a training plan when my life is already so busy. I love running, but I can’t plan my life around it right now. I like having time and energy for other things. I’ll still be here, and I’m sure I’ll still talk about running and racing and whatever else I’m up to, but I think running and racing will be a much smaller piece of this blog moving forward.

Have you ever run a race that you weren’t trained for? How did it go?

Countdown to Disney!

One week from today, I will be flying to Orlando for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend, and I couldn’t possibly be more excited about it.

Work has been very busy and stressful this fall, and things have been very busy and chaotic personally as well, so I’m really looking forward to five whole days off of work, eating and drinking my face off at the Food and Wine festival, riding tons of rides, and soaking up some sun and warmth to fortify me through the cold, dark winter months ahead.

In anticipation of this most exciting trip, I will leave you with a few photos from last year’s trip, because it seems like all I want to do today is look at Disney pictures and dream about Mickey-shaped treats.

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RIP Main Street Electrical Parade 😥

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RIP Osborne Lights 😥

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Race Recap: Disney’s Wine and Dine Half (Quarter?) Marathon 2015

Warning: This is a long one. If you’re more interested in just the nitty gritty race details, check out my review on BibRave.com. Don’t forget to review all your races on BibRave to help your fellow runners!

What/Where: Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando, FL

When: Saturday, November 7 at 10:00 pm

Conditions: Very hot and humid

Pre-Race:
I was staying at a host resort, so transportation was super easy. Kim and I hopped on a bus right about 7 pm, and we were at WWoS shortly after that. I checked my gEAR bag and we were joined by Kellie and Nicole. While we were waiting for the start, I finally got to meet fellow BibRave Pros Heather and Danielle, which was so much fun! I hope we get a chance to hang out more in the future.

Me, Heather, Danielle

Me, Heather, Danielle (photo courtesy of Danielle!)

Now here is where things went a little sideways. A little after 9 pm, a high wind kicked up, and it started to spit rain. Shortly after that, the announcer came over the speakers and said that due to “extreme weather conditions in the area” all 14,000 runners and spectators were being evacuated into either Champion Stadium or the HP Field House. Huh? Watching the sea of runners move from the staging area up into the WWoS complex was so surreal. The worst part about the situation is that there simply weren’t enough bathrooms to accommodate everyone. Every line for a ladies room we passed as ridiculously long, so we kept walking toward the end of a concourse, to find that two lovely ladies had commandeered a men’s room. Seriously, these ladies guarded the door and kindly but firmly informed every male who came over that this was now a ladies room. Thank you, mystery ladies!

Disney-fied urinals

Disney-fied urinals

We waited. And waited. And waited. They were playing music in the stadium and trying to keep everyone happy, but it was tough to stay excited, not knowing if or when we’d get to run. My one gripe at this point is that they kept making announcements, but didn’t turn the music off while doing so, so it was difficult to hear and understand what was going on.

Trying to stay positive while we wait

Trying to stay positive while we wait

Eventually, we were given the news that the course would be “slightly altered,” and that we should head back to the staging area. Of course, they weren’t telling us what the alterations would be, and how long the race would actually be. By the time everyone got back to the staging area and then over to the corrals, it was already 11 pm. Finally, someone in our group was able to get online and determine that the entire Animal Kingdom portion of the race was eliminated, and the course would now be just short of 7 miles. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. My first runDisney race, and my only half marathon this year, would be shortened by almost half. AND I hadn’t visited Animal Kingdom because I thought I’d get to see it as part of the race, so it was like a triple whammy of bad news.

As we waited in our corral to start, I did my best to stay psyched up. I would still get to run with Team Can-Am. I would still get to run through the Osbourne Lights. And I’d still get to go to the after-party. And I’ve gotta say, when our corral’s fireworks went off and we started running, I perked up right away.

Photo Nov 07, 11 14 15 PM

Because Kellie’s hip and ankle were really bothering her, we decided to do 4:1 run/walk intervals, and walk all the water stops. It was really hot and humid, so I was happy to be doing intervals. I’m not super familiar with the race course, so I basically just broke it up in my mind by character stops. Our first character stop was the bears from the Country Bear Jamboree.

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Photo courtesy of Kellie

Next up were the green army men from Toy Story. For those of you who don’t know, Danielle started an unofficial challenge that we now refer to as the Nardi Challenge. When you see the army men, it’s time to stop, drop, and push-up!

Photo courtesy of Kellie

Photo courtesy of Kellie

And of course we had to stop for Lilo and Stitch:

Photo courtesy of Kellie

Photo courtesy of Kellie

My favorite part of this course, though, was running through the Osbourne Lights in Hollywood studios. I’d heard about how awesome it was, but I was not fully prepared for how overwhelmed I would be by the magicalness of it.

I'm so overwhelmed!

I’m so overwhelmed! Photo courtesy of Nicole

Photo courtesy of Kellie

Photo courtesy of Kellie

Photo courtesy of Kellie

Photo courtesy of Kellie

From here, we ran on a really narrow path along the boardwalk from Hollywood studios into Epcot. It was super crowded and hard for our group to stay together, especially trying to do run/walk intervals, but we made it work. As we came into Epcot, Kim’s husband Ed was waiting to cheer for us, and had a Bailey’s cocktail for Kim, which she carried for the remainder of the race. It was at this point that I had my only truly negative experience: some lady apparently didn’t like the fact that I was walking, even though I had carefully signaled that I was going to stop running, and moved to the side of the course. This women physically put her hand on my waist and pushed me out of her way. I just shouted, “EXCUSE YOU!” Because what else could I do? But seriously, I would NEVER do that to someone during a race, especially not a race that was already not really a race anymore, and in Disney? Come on, lady! Get over yourself.

And then we finished. Yay! Getting into the post-race party was a bit of a cluster. The finisher’s chute is long and crowded. You get a medal, a Powerade, and a food box. There are photo ops, but the lines are stupid long, so we just went to bag check. Shout out to the bag check folks, here: I walked into the tent, and before I could even look down at my bib number to see where to go, they already had my bag ready for me. Thanks!

From there, figuring out where to go was a bit tough. It was super crowded, and the congestion was massive. They split you into men or women to go to the changing tents, which are stupid busy. And then the line that they forced us into was actually going the wrong way, so it took a really long time to get where we were going, and then the post-race beer was Mich Ultra, which is just… gross. I know it’s a free beer and it could have been worse (I guess? Is there a worse beer than Mich Ultra?), but still. And then we FINALLY made it through that line, and we STILL had to wait to get into the post-race party. PRO TIP: if you can take everything out of your gEAR check bag and either wear it or carry it, you don’t have to wait through bag inspection. Second PRO TIP: don’t wait for the line in the changing tents. Find a bathroom in Epcot and change there.

We made a beeline straight for Soarin, and changed in the bathrooms there, then went Soarin’ over California before heading off for Food and Wine. Epcot was busy, but not awfully so. We never had to wait more than a few minutes for the food we wanted, and we actually closed out the party, staying in the park until they shut it down at 4 am, which is WAAAAAY past my bedtime. I never expected to stay out that late, but I’m glad I did.

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So yeah, maybe this wasn’t the race experience I was expecting, but I still had a ridiculous amount of fun. I know some people were super angry or disappointed about the shortened course, but I just tried to remind myself that the race could have been canceled entirely. That happens sometimes. For me, it’s just an excuse to go back next year so I can run the whole thing 🙂

Have you ever had a race course shortened like this? Or canceled entirely? How did you feel?

IT’S ALMOST DISNEY TIME!

In just a few short hours, I will be winging my way to Orlando, FL for my first-ever runDisney race. I will get to meet my Team Can-Am ladies, see the sights, ride the rides, and be away from work for four glorious days.

I won’t have a computer, so I likely won’t be posting on the ol’ blog at all, but you can follow my adventures on Instagram and Twitter. Catch you on the flip side!

Friday Free-For-All – 10/30/15

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The outpouring of support after my marathon announcement on Tuesday has been incredible. So many people have reached out to say good luck, congratulations, offer help, and say that they’ll be there to cheer me on. A friend of mine (multiple marathoner) who moved to Oregon recently sent an email offering tips, tricks, and even to help me with a training plan, and a friend from college who has run VCM actually popped by the blog to offer some advice. If I wasn’t excited already, I’m even more excited now that I know what an amazing support system I have in place. I can’t wait to start officially training in January!

I leave for Disney in less than a week! To say I’m excited would be the biggest understatement of all time. I haven’t been to Disney since I was three years old, so there’s the excitement of going to the Happiest Place on Earth, riding the rides, seeing the sites, and eating the food. But I also get to run a half marathon through the parks, and it culminates in a finisher’s party that’s part of the Food and Wine festival. And best of all, I FINALLY get to meet most of Team Can-Am in person. I’ll be running with Kim, Kellie, and Nicole, and we’ll be carrying a flat Lisa along for 13.1 miles of fun.

I still don’t have a Halloween costume. I was going to buy one of those Star Wars onesies, but when it came right down to it, I couldn’t justify the $25 for glorified PJs. I’ve had a few ideas since then, but nothing that wouldn’t involve spending money that I’d rather save for Disney. I may just have to bust out my tried and true Dorothy costume that I’ve worn umpteen times. We’ll see I guess. Speaking of Halloween…

I have not one, but TWO Halloween parties to attend tomorrow. Some theatre friends are hosting their annual Halloween shindig, and then another friend of ours is hosting one later in the evening as well. I feel like I’m back in college. PARTY TIME. EXCELLENT! Of course knowing me, I’ll still be home and in bed by midnight. I try to hang, but I’m just not that cool anymore.

Are you dressing up for Halloween? Any parties or fun plans?

Another Fall Half?

Waay back in May, I wrote a post about Planning Ahead, toward the fall, and my training and race schedule. At the time, I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. Of course, as you’d expect, I have not exactly been following that plan to a T. I haven’t been to the gym for Body Pump or CXWORX once since May. I joined a running club, which changed my running days around, and I started doing run/walk intervals with my friend Emily once a week to coach her towards her first 5k. Best laid plans, right?

So now that things have changed so significantly, I’m not as freaked out about the idea of changing things up even more, namely by throwing in another fall half marathon. Most of you know that I’ll be meeting up with Team Can-Am at the runDisney Wine & Dine half marathon in November, which I’m disgustingly excited about. In my Planning Ahead post, I wrote about my conflicted feelings on training; specifically, that it might be a “waste” of training since I’m planning to run W&D solely for fun and character photo ops, not for time. So I’m thinking about running another fall half marathon, with the goal of doing my absolute best, whether that’s a new PR or not.

I know it’s silly to worry about “wasting” training. After all, I like running, and it’s good for me, so no runs are really wasted. But I feel like if I commit to a training plan, and work really hard, why then wouldn’t I find a race where I can focus that training towards a concrete goal? I suppose the alternative is that I could just half-ass my training for W&D, and then I wouldn’t feel obligated to run for time at all, but that’s no fun.

There’s also the part where races cost money, and I’m not sure another big race is in my budget this year. I’ve already spent a considerable amount on race entries, hotels, and flights this year, so can I justify another $50-$100, just to satisfy my need to do credit to my training? I’m not sure. There are a few that are happening relatively nearby, but would still require some logistical work. And then, there’s the RaceVermont Fall Half, which was my PR half marathon last year. The problem is, it’s the weekend before W&D. I suppose it’s not completely insane to consider running to half marathons in 7 days, especially if one will be rife with character stops and walking breaks, and the upside is that I would become an official Half Fanatic. Despite my concerns about exhaustion and potential injury, it seems to be the best option; I get a discount through my LCRC membership, and it’s a 10 minute drive from my apartment.

What do you think, should I run two half marathons on back-to-back weekends? Would you ever do that/have you done that?

Friday Free-For-All – 02/20/15

Friday

It’s official–I’m going to Disney World! Those of you who follow me on Instagram or Twitter already saw this, but I was one of the lucky people able to get into the runDisney Wine & Dine half marathon before it sold out. I’m SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED! This will be my first runDisney race, my first destination race/racecation, and I will finally get to meet the ladies of Team Can-Am (minus Lisa, sadface). I feel very fortunate that my bonus this year will pay for the trip in its entirety, so I don’t have to stress about money and can just enjoy myself. I can’t wait!

I still haven’t decided whether or not I’m racing tomorrow. In case you missed yesterday’s post, I’ve got a chest cold. Lots of nasty stuff is stuck in my lungs, my throat hurts, and my sinuses are all plugged up. None of these conditions are great for running a race. I’m feeling a bit better today, but still not sure I’m well enough to run 6.2 miles in the snow/rain. Rehearsal tonight will probably be a good indicator, since we’re doing a ton of jump rope and dance stuff. If I can’t breathe inside in a nice, warm dance studio, it will probably be even worse in the damp and cold.

Star Wars marathon continues tomorrow. Back on Valentine’s Day, Ben and I started a Star Wars marathon with our friends David and Alex, but we only got through two movies. So after the race (if it happens), I’ll snag a hot shower and change of clothes, and then we’ll spend the remainder of the day eating, drinking, and Star Wars-ing. This will be a great consolation prize if I end up not being able to run.

Who else is running Wine and Dine? I’m so excited to possibly meet all of you!