Thursday, January 31, 2008

Too cute to ignore

I had to sign up for this race because the picture was so cute. He better be on the t-shirt.

I don't need a bike lock...but now I want one

I have a bike that doesn't need a lock because if it's not in my house, I'm sitting on it.

But this is so awesome I want to buy it even though I have no use for it.

You can buy one at wishingfish

Monday, January 28, 2008

Goofy Challenge – Day Two. The Marathon.

MikeSullyMe Marathon day dawned even more humid than the half-marathon and this time there was no relief. The sun even came out to make things hotter and more uncomfortable, but luckily that didn’t happen until mile 20 or even later.

Waking up early for this race (3AM) is the worst part of the whole thing. I have a really hard time eating that early in the morning and it was all I could do to choke down some oatmeal before heading out to the race. It was a mistake that could have proved disastrous if not for Brian. I was carrying my fuel belt, loaded with Gatorade Endurance and 4 gels. I typically carry more gel for a full marathon but this time I knew Disney was going to give us two on the course and they usually supply other food too. Since I was carrying the camera again AND a pouch holding the Donald medal (had to have it for post-race photos) I decided not to carry extra gels to save some space and weight in the belt. This was a poor decision and next time I’d force them into the belt or leave the Donald at home (but if you can, carry the Donald.)

My game plan today was the same as for the half. Take it easy, stop for photos, walk on the uphills and during the water stop. Brian & I were together in the starting area and he came to my rescue when I started to get REALLY hungry with about an hour to go before the race. This was bad. I knew I was too hungry for a gel to solve the problem and that eating more gels would cause trouble in the race. Luckily, he was carrying a spare Powerbar so I was able to eat ¾ of a chocolate power bar pre-race. This saved my whole day. Even with it, my nutrition plan was out of whack, but things turned out fine. It added a level of stress to the day that would have been a real problem if I had been trying to run for time. We had a plan to try to stay together because taking photos together would be fun, but we agreed that it was more important to run our own races. As a result – I lost Brian about a half a minute after the starting gun sounded and I didn’t see him again for miles. Amazingly, I stopped at a porta-potty, posed for a few pictures, and then suddenly, there he was! I’d guess it was mile 5 or so? I know we were together at mile 7 because we filmed a short video with the camera at that point. Anyway, the day was hot and humid and I was glad to see Brian. I was able to do a slow run with him at his awesome fast-walking pace and we covered the next few miles without incident.

The Magic Kingdom was really fun we stopped a bunch of times, had official photos taken at the Castle, we met the Toy Story crew and generally just really had fun in there. It was like a training walk with lots of other people around. Leaving the MK things got a little less fun for awhile and I started to fret about my nutrition because I started to think we were missing out on food where it had been in the past. I know for sure that at one of the gel stops before the Animal Kingdom they had nothing for us when it was clear that they’d been providing supplies for those ahead of us.

We stuck together through most of this stretch, posing for more pictures, sharing Gatorade, and stopping to stretch for quite a long time. I still felt good physically although my mind was getting a little weary. I remembered reading on a message board in the week leading to the marathon that the mind gives up before the body does – and this was certainly true for me at this point. When I got my legs to move, I could run with ease, but getting them to run after a walking break was a real challenge. As we approached the Animal Kingdom, Brian was tired of posing and he stayed in his fast-groove while I stopped a lot to take shots with Donald and Daisy, Minnie and a few others. I ran really well inside the Animal Kingdom and along the paths outside too. I fell into place with a TNT coach pacing a runner and stuck with them for awhile. I’m sad I didn’t hang with them for longer. Unfortunately, some of my prior posing had me approaching the Mickey Mouse photo shoot just seconds after he retired to his trailer for some rest. He’s the only big character I didn’t get this weekend. Bummer!

The stretch between Animal Kingdom and the Studios was a bleak as I remembered. It’s long, it’s boring and the sun had come out. Highlights: bananas (thank god! I needed food) and Captain Hook (at the top of a hill, of course). I also met a funny lady with an exhausted Goofy sign that I posed with. I didn’t really feel terrible here – I’ve certainly felt worse in races even of shorter duration – but I was tired and anxious to finish this thing up. One other small highlight: high school marching band playing Rocky theme as I was forcing myself to run on a sunny stretch. I would have certainly been walking without those tunes.

Entering the Studios was fun as I got to meet Mr. Incredible and my total fave: Frozone! If only he could have frozen the air a little to make the final stretch more pleasant. A funny volunteer reminded us all that our friends who were not racing were “big losers” and that we were “awesome”. Yes, we are awesome! I got a fabulous photo of me, Minnie and Goofy just before leaving the Studios. That was particularly fun since I got to but in front of about 30 regular people and go to the front of the line. Anything for a Goofy photo today!
The miles between the Studios and Epcot are mostly just a blur. Pushing, walking, trying to force myself to run. Legs are really tired by now and the tide has turned. At this point, my mind is willing but my body is weak. Running through World Showcase I’m listening (and singing) Remember the name: “10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain, 100% reason to remember the name.” Yeah, it was like 99% pain at this point.

Around China I finally spotted the Top Secret Medal. It’s awesome. Really awesome.


Around Mexico I see Brian’s head up in the distance. I can probably catch him but it’ll be hard. I’m tired but I want to catch him. Try to run harder. Want to throw up. Walk. Run hard. Walk. Getting closer. Finally near the fountain and Mouse Works, I catch up to him. I can barely say anything to him to let him know I’m there. I must look better than I feel since he says he’s at maximum speed and he tells me to run ahead of him. As if!

We’re together until the finish. How fun! He got to high-five Stitch. I just ran along side of him. Yay! We’re done!

39.3 is a long way. But the medals are totally worth it.

I got the worst cold/flu whatever a few days after the race. I'm still trying to shake it off 12 days later. But the medals are still worth it!

Goofy Challenge – Day One. The Half Marathon.

The Goofy challenge was a really interesting experience for me because it’s been a long time since I’ve headed into a race when I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure how to structure my race plan, I wasn’t sure what kind of time I could run, and I wasn’t really sure how prepared I was for what lay ahead of me. I felt really goodheading into the weekend, and I was solidly prepared to run either of the races, but I wasn’t sure how I’d do running both of them.

The weather was not unexpected for Florida, warm and humid, but I was anticipating a cooler weekend for the races. Saturday was extremely humid at the start – close to 100% -- but luckily that seemed to break about halfway into the race and conditions improved considerably.

Humidity and I are not friends. I really, really suffer when I try to run in humid weather. So oddly, the conditions on Saturday really turned out to be ideal for me. The humidity forced me into the “lazy but fun” race plan that I adopted for the weekend. I wore my fully loaded fuel belt, so hydration was not an issue, and the belt allowed me to carry an extra amphipod case to hold my digital camera. I decided to embrace the whole Disney scene and take photos with every character along the way and pictures of anything else that struck my fancy along the course. This day was to be about taking in the scene and having a good time while saving up my legs for Sunday. To this end, I decided not to even try to run on the uphill, to walk through water stops even when not drinking, and to generally take it easy.

Amazingly, even while following this plan, stopping mid-race at a porta-potty (I never do this!) and posing for tons of pictures even when there were big lines (I’m talking to you, Captain Jack Sparrow) I still managed to run a 2:29 – and 2:30 was my game plan for the day. At the end of the half, I felt like I hadn’t done a thing except for the tiny hot spot I had on the ball of my right foot. I think this was because I was wearing almost new sneakers (they only had about 15 miles on them prior to the race) and they were not laced tightly enough at the start. I had to stop around mile 11 to tighten them because I was starting to be aware of the hot spot and I wasn’t willing to risk any problems with the marathon on Sunday. As it turns out, nothing came of the hot spot. Whew!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Goofy Challenge 2008

Here's the proof! I finished the races! It was hot and humid and SLOW but a whole lot of fun.

My legs felt great, although the vehicle would not reach top speed during the last few miles of the marathon. No long term repercussions from the event.

I have a great flickr slideshow with all the pictures from both races here:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy New Year! Let's go to Disney!

OK, so I wasn't really back when I posted that the last time. But now I have a couple of races on the horizon, so this time, I'm really back.

New Year's Day dawned slightly rainy so I was a big wimp and skipped the group run at the park but made up for it later in the day by logging a solid 7 miles on the trail with Brian. It really feels great to run on January 1st. I think all of you should try it next year!

I hit the gym on Thursday and was super lucky to score a treadmill at 5:03. All the new years resolution people were there in force. Hopefully they will all have given up by post-marathon when I'm going back to the gym.

Saturday I ran with the group in the first official winter run. It was colder than expected, but I was able to log a nice 8 mile run and I feel GREAT heading into Goofy weekend.

We leave for FLorida on Thursday afternoon for 8 days at Disney World. We're staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which seems awesome, and I just can not wait to get there.

The weather for race weekend is looking a bit warm for my liking but at least we won't be freezing to death pre-race. I'm packing some Endurance and my fuel belt and I think that will be good for me. I don't know for sure what I'm going to do as far as goals but my decisions could have an effect on carrying the belt and camera or not.

I guess for once it's true that my primary goal is just having a good time. I want to collect the Goofy medal and the TOP SECRET medal more than just about anything and I want to be able to finish the marathon without feeling terrible the way I did in the middle of NYC. I'm not sure what the proper strategy for that is. I think I am in a really good place leading into the race though, where heading into NYC I was full of trepidation since I knew my training was sub-par.

Who knows -- maybe I'll get really lucky and I'll really crank out that sub 5 hour race!