Orlando: January 12, 2013

Our day started around 3:30am with the Disney World Half Marathon.

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After the race, Maggie and I wanted to head back to the hotel.  We completely missed the resort buses near the finish line, and walked over to Epcot to take the monorail back.  We walked to where we thought the monorail entrance was, only to find it was the exit.  After walking back around, we realized that we actually needed to go through the Epcot bag check in order to get on the monorail.  There was no line when we had first passed by, but in that 5-10 minutes a very long line had formed.

We were hungry by the time we got back to the Contemporary and stopped at the Contempo Cafe for Mickey Waffles.  It was a tasty post-race treat!

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Pat met us at the cafe, and then headed to Hollywood Studios while Maggie and I showered and took an hour-long nap.  We eventually pulled ourselves together and headed out to meet Pat at the park.  My feet were aching but I did not want to miss out on the Tower of Terror.

We only had a few hours at Hollywood Studios due to early dinner reservations back at the California Grill, on the top floor of our hotel.

We picked up a Fast Pass for Tower of Terror and jumped in the Single Rider line for the Rock n’ Roller coaster.  I sat in the very back and the ride was more intense than I had remembered.

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By the time we got out, we were had just 5 minutes to wait until we could ride Tower of Terror!  This was the ride I missed the most over the past year.

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We got some water and Pat and I split a banana.  We missed The Little Mermaid show last year, so it was on our short to-do list.  We hadn’t missed much.  My guess is that this show was introduced in the 1990s and had not been updated since then.  It was a good show, but was definitely outdated compared to newer shows like the Lion King and Nemo the Musical at Animal Kingdom.

After the show we realized we either had time for the Muppet Show or one more ride on Tower of Terror.  Since we had already ridden ToT once, we walked quickly to the Muppet Show.  It turned out we were just in time for the next show, with no wait!

We got out of the Muppet Show and decided we had just enough time to use our last Fast Pass on Tower of Terror.  We were cutting it close on time, but it was worth it for one more ride.

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I led a quick walk out to our bus, and it was a good thing I did – I ran a bit to make sure the bus would wait for us.

I was especially excited for our pre-race dinner because we were going to be meeting up with a friend of mine from high school and her boyfriend!

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I loved the views from the California Grill.  We had a great view of Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian.

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I had put a flag on our reservation ahead of time that I would be eating vegan.  When I first asked our server what I could eat, he told me I could order anything on the menu and they would make a vegan version of it.  I also told him that I wasn’t allergic to dairy, that I just do not eat animal products – I didn’t want the kitchen to worry about being extra careful due to a potential allergy.

I ordered the only vegetarian item on the menu – the pumpkin-fig ravioli.  The server came back and said that they could not make that vegan and asked me to please choose something else.  All of the other dishes were meat-based.  I asked him what he suggested I order, and he began to suggest various types of meat.  Apparently he did not understand what vegan means!  I explained that I did not eat meat either, and he said he would be right back.

When the server came back he said, “Don’t worry, the chef will make you a surprise!”  I did worry a bit.  I thought, please don’t make it mushroom base.  This is what I got:

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Not all mushrooms!  The flatbread pizza was very good.  So was the rice, which I think was butternut squash.  I ate a bit around the mushrooms.  The salad looked dry (no dressing), so I skipped that.  I like a good salad, but I need dressing.  It was expensive for what it was, but still a good meal.

After dinner we headed out to a balcony to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks at 8pm.  They even played the Wishes music at the hotel.  I’ve said it before, but I seriously wish every day could end with fireworks.

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Back in our room, I iced my feet in our tub.  It was painfully cold, but my feet did feel some pain relief after soaking them.  I was nervous about the marathon the next day, mostly because my feet were already in so much pain.  I was wondering what I was thinking to have signed up for the Goofy Challenge.  I went to bed a little bit later than I had planned, but was probably asleep a little after 9:30pm.  I was not looking forward to another 3:30am alarm!

Orlando: January 11, 2013

We traveled to Disney World after work the evening of January 10th.  Our flight was delayed about 15 minutes, and we got into Orlando very late.  The Disney Magical Express was convenient.  I knew I was in good, organized hands as soon as I saw the Disney desk.  I didn’t have the paper tickets we needed, but they were able to print us a new set.

The lines were divided based on the resort you were going to.  We didn’t have to wait very long to board the bus to the Contemporary, but we did have to wait a long time until the bus took off.  They were playing old school Disney cartoons, so at least we had some entertainment while we waited.

On the drive there, they played a video about Walt Disney World, which made me giddy with excitement to be going back to the parks.  We stopped at the Wilderness Lodge and then we were the next stop.  Apparently I missed the online check-in, but our check-in process was quick and painless.  My only disappointment was that I did not realize we were staying in an extra “wing” of the Contemporary – not the part of the building that the monorail goes through.  We got settled in and went right to bed!

The next morning Maggie and I headed straight to the expo, while Pat went to Animal Kingdom, where we would meet him after the expo.

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We got there just after the expo opened.  It felt like there were crowds of people already, but we were able to get right in.  It sounds like there were long lines to wait in later in the day.  Since we were picking up Goofy Challenge packets, we got to go to a different room than everyone else, and there was no one in line for our race numbers.  It was quick!

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We then headed next door to pick up our shirts and check out the expo.

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We didn’t spend as much time at the expo this year.  I couldn’t find my running belt at home when I was packing, so I knew I wanted to buy a Spi Belt.  I picked out a red and white belt to have a touch of Minnie.  Maggie was looking for the free yogurt, but they had run out and didn’t get anymore before we left.  We walked by a few other samples and then made our way out, picking up a couple of pretzels to snack on for breakfast.  Carb-loading?  They were delicious.

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We took a few pictures, I signed up for race tracking, and we were off to Animal Kingdom!  There was no bus directly to the park, so we took a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge, and then took a second bus to Animal Kingdom the park.

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I was so happy the Christmas tree was still up!  I love Animal Kingdom.  Beautiful scenery and playful animals everywhere.

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We headed straight to Expedition Everest to get a Fast Pass and meet up with Pat.  We were hoping to get a quick ride in, but the roller coaster actually shut down while Pat was on it.  He got stuck for awhile, and when he was finally getting let off of it, they closed the ride down.  So, we went straight to lunch.  It was already after 11am!

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We ate at Yak and Yeti last year and loved it, so we went back.  I ordered the same thing as last year – sweet n’ sour tofu.  Maggie and Pat had the lettuce cups.  Disney does tofu well.  Our server acted like she was impressed that we were running the Goofy Challenge, but let it slip that she had run Boston.  I was probably more in awe of that!

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Luckily Expedition Everest was open after we ate!  Yay!  We walked right on with our Fast Passes.

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As a side note, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of this ride without beautiful clouds behind it.  Also, look closely at the cloud just to the right of the mountain.  Does it look slightly like Mickey ears?  I am now convinced the Disney creates its own clouds.  After facing the Yeti we headed to the Pangani Trail.  This was something we had missed out on last year.

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We saw more Disney magic.  It seems like so many animals are awake and playing at any given time.

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Except Pumba – he was sleeping.

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It was a fun trail!  I can’t believe we missed this last time.

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The best part was the gorillas.  There was a mom, a dad and a 3-year old that acted like a toddler.  The baby gorilla ran up to the dad and he ran away!

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The 3-year-old gorilla was so adorable.  He was doing somersaults and climbing trees.  At one point he climbed a tree and you could see the branch he was on slowly bending backward until he fell all the way back to the ground.

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After walking the trail, we met up with two of our cousins to watch Nemo the Musical.  It was fun to see them at Disney too!

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After the show we went for another quick ride on Mount Everest via the Single Rider line.  The Single Rider line is an amazing thing.  I can’t believe how few people use it.  Pat and I even got to ride together because we got paired with two other people who were on their own but waited in the normal line!

We wanted to ride the Kilimanjaro Safari before leaving.  It was close to 5pm and the sun seemed to already be setting.  I was worried in the beginning that a lot of animals had already left for the day, but we still got to see quite a few.

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It was a fun day!  There was a lot of walking, though.  After our day at the park, we met up with our cousins again for dinner at Boma.  I was so excited to try this restaurant.  We ate at Jiko last year and loved it, but were curious about the buffet across the hall.

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I was so impressed with the buffet.  I am trying to make the transition to vegan, and had called ahead to share my dietary restrictions.  When I checked in, they told me that the chef would come out and walk me around the buffet.  And he did!  The chef was awesome.  He told me what I could eat on the buffet, and told me what else he could make a vegan version of for me.  I put together a plate of what I could already eat while waiting for the rest.  I had a half marathon to run the next day, so I was loading up!

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My favorite thing on this plate was the watermelon rind salad.  I’ve never had anything like it before.  It had an interesting sweet taste.  I also had some avocado and citrus salad and greens with a mango vinaigrette.  My special salad plate was quickly brought out.

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My favorite was the eggplant salad in the right-hand corner.  There was more watermelon rinds, spinach with quinoa and tomato and artichoke salad.  I loved everything, but the eggplant was the only item where I finished the plate clean.  Eating vegan would be so easy with a personal chef every night!  He also brought out two types of hummus and a special chip.  I almost finished both bowls of hummus.

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I apparently forgot to take a picture of my main course.  It was so delicious, I dug right in!  It was rice, a tomato curry type dish, and tofu.  Just perfect.  I was so stuffed at this point, though, and ended up packing up most of the tofu.  But I am never too full for a little dessert.

The rest of my group got to choose from lots of little cakes on the buffet, so I asked if there were any options I could eat.  They treated me very well:

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Sorbet and fresh berries!  We were a very full and happy group.

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It was awesome catching up with our cousins over a meal with plenty of carbs and protein for the next day.  They were also very nice to give us a ride back to our hotel in their rental car, which meant we got to go to bed even earlier.  Thank you, Kim and Jason!

Race #17: Walt Disney World Marathon

I spent the Saturday night before the marathon wondering what I had gotten myself into.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep and the bottom of my feet were hurting pretty badly.  An ice bath offered temporary relief, but they were still very sore.

We woke up around 3:30am, planning to catch the monorail a little after 4:00am since we had been there so early the morning before.  I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a banana for breakfast, and tried to go easier on the water.

We made it to the start line much quicker marathon morning.  We also ran into one character along the way, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.  She was a riot, chatting with people as they walked by and pretending to sprinkle everyone with fairy dust.  I needed it!

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I had to make another stop at the port-o-potties before the race.  I hate port-o-potties, but I knew it would be awhile before we’d make it to the Magic Kingdom for a real bathroom.  We made our way to Corral G again.  This time we sat down, waiting for our corral to finally move.  We wanted to stay off our feet as long as possible.

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It was around 6:15 before we started again.  We noticed that the entertainers were using some of the same material they had the day before :)  When we were walking to Corral G, we heard one of the entertainers getting into it with a runner.  He didn’t recognize her costume.  I thought she was an Angry Bird.  Apparently she was Perry the Platypus.  Who?  She seemed upset that he didn’t know who she was and said something like, “You work for Disney.”  He responded that he actually does not work for Disney, was just there for the race :)  Poor guy.

Soon we were off!  The race still felt congested, but not as bad as the half marathon had.  We started with 6/4 intervals this time, hoping it would leave us more time for pictures.  We wanted to stop for as many characters as we could, but did not want to feel rushed in making up time to keep a 16 minute pace.

For the most part, we were going to skip the characters we had gotten pictures with the day before, but our Nightmare Before Christmas picture from the half was very blurry, so we decided to stop again.  I ended up buying a picture package, so it wasn’t necessary, but fun to have even more pictures.

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The sun was coming up when we stopped.

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We had another bathroom break early on.  Although I had gone around 5am when we were getting to our corral, I had to go again by the time we started the race at 6:15am.  I was going to try to wait until we made it to Magic Kingdom, but gave up before then when we saw short lines and a lot of port-o-potties.

  • Mile 1:  13:35
  • Mile 2:  12:09
  • Mile 3:  14:39
  • Mile 4:  15:35
  • Mile 5:  11:45

The sixth mile took us down Main Street in Magic Kingdom again.  So much fun.  We went through Fantasyland before the castle and stopped for a picture with Alice and the Mad Hatter.

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I was wearing my No Meat Athlete shirt, which has a carrot on the front and says “Runs on Plants” in the back.  I got a lot of love for my shirt during the race, with several other runners telling me they run on plants too.  One guy told me he loved my shirt, even though he eats meat (and hoped I didn’t hate him for it).

When Alice saw my shirt, she said, “Oh look!  She likes carrots.”  The Mad Hatter said, “She must be a rabbit… the white rabbit!  That’s why everyone is chasing her!”

We also stopped for a couple of princess photos we had missed the day before.  I loved the background of the New Fantasyland for these.

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Next up was the castle!  The line for pictures with a royal Minnie and Mickey were very long, so we decided to pass that one up, and ran through the castle.

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The picture with the castle in the background is one of my favorite professional photos from the race.

We were sad that Jessie from Toy Story was not in Frontierland when we went through.  I wonder if she was just on a break.  We made another bathroom stop while we had access to real bathrooms.

We did stop for a picture with Cinderella and the Prince just outside of the Magic Kingdom.  It was a very long line, but it was another one we had missed in our previous Disney races.

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This was probably our longest wait for a picture during the race, but I think it was worth it.

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There was a bit of a boring stretch between the Magic Kingdom and the Speedway.  The only character we stopped for on this stretch was Mary Poppins.

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There was a steep dip down and up to get into the Speedway, but it was fun to have a change of scenery.  There were plenty of spectators here, and a number of cars, including some famous characters.

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The speedway took us through mile nine, and it was around this time that Maggie developed a pain in her foot.  I asked her if she wanted to stop at the medical station as we were leaving the Speedway, but she said it was fine when she walked, so we kept going.  And then both wished we had stopped.  The bottom of my feet were already in a lot of pain, and I had heard there was Tylenol at the medical stations.  We decided to stop at the next station we saw.

  • Mile 6:  20:52
  • Mile 7:  15:34
  • Mile 8:  12:51
  • Mile 9:  12:26

The next three miles or so were a boring stretch.  They did a good job with entertainment and characters along this stretch.  This is also where you smell the stinky waste/compost area.  It was good motivation to run a little extra!

At the scene with all the villains they were playing Bad to the Bone!

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  • Mile 10:  15:41
  • Mile 11:  13:24
  • Mile 12:  13:06

It was somewhere along this stretch that we found another medical station.  Unfortunately, they were out of Tylenol, but Maggie put some Biofreeze on her feet and said it helped.  I wished I had done the same!

I love that they have animals outside of Animal Kingdom.  We missed the donkey this year!

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We stopped for a few characters in Animal Kingdom, but we did not ride Mount Everest like we had planned.  I still think it would be fun some day, but I was worried if I sat down, I would have a difficult time getting up again.

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The stretch between Animal Kingdom and the ESPN Wide World of Sports was another long one.  I’m sure there was entertainment, but we did not stop for anymore character pictures.

We did find another medical station that had Tylenol, and I tried Biofreeze on my feet.  It stung a little bit, but the pain/numbness from the burning feeling was welcome relief from the pain I had been feeling.  If I didn’t have to take my socks and shoes off, I would have re-applied it at every medical station after that.

  • Mile 13:  17:29
  • Mile 14:  13:02
  • Mile 15:  13:46
  • Mile 16:  12:13
  • Mile 17:  17:06
  • Mile 18:  12:59
  • Mile 19:  18:36

There was another bathroom stop around mile 19, thanks to another real bathroom in the WWOS.  Aside from the bottom of my feet, I thought I was feeling a lot better at this point than I did last year.  My legs were not super sore, and I was tired but still had some energy in me.  One of the things I did differently this year was take both water and Powerade at every drink station.  I think it helped.

Running through the WWOS was nice for a change of scenery, but not too exciting.  They did have some good music going.  During the 20th mile we ran through a baseball park.  It was cool, but I was hoping that was not the big “surprise” at mile 20.

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The big surprise was a few large Disney puppets and a stage with Donald, Mickey and Goofy.  It was fun, but with all the suspense of a big surprise, I was expecting something more.  We were doing well on time, so we stopped for a few pictures.

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My Garmin was about a full mile behind at this point, so where it says Mile 21 was actually Mile 20 on the course.  I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point after mile 20, we switched to 5/5 intervals.  We kept up pretty strong as we came up on Hollywood Studios.

  • Mile 20:  12:59
  • Mile 21:   19:33
  • Mile 22:  12:39
  • Mile 23:  13:10

Hollywood Studios was fun, but too fast.  I enjoyed the energy that the crowds gave me, but was starting to feel the distance.

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I still looked pretty happy, though!  It’s impossible not to feel happy running through the parks.

It was after we left Hollywood Studios that I hit my wall.  I’m convinced it was more mental than physical, but I had a feeling that I just couldn’t keep going.  I felt a wave of dizziness when we stopped for a walk break outside of Hollywood Studios, and it scared me a little.  I wanted to walk more.  I told Maggie I thought I needed to walk more, but she wanted to keep pushing on.  I didn’t want to run the last three miles on my own, so I agreed to keep pushing.  Not long after that, we switched to 2.5/2.5 intervals and walked any hills.  I think that helped me, mentally, and the dizziness eventually passed.

I almost cried during this mile.  My feet hurt, I was mentally done, but I didn’t want to stop and give up.  The crowds were great and supportive along here, which helped me not to quit and just walk.

  • Mile 24:  13:19
  • Mile 25:  13:01
  • Mile 26:  12:28

What my Garmin said was Mile 27 was actually Mile 26 through Epcot.  It was a complete blur.  I don’t remember seeing any characters, but I think I heard there were one or two.  We stopped in Morocco for one last bathroom break before the finish line.  I could have waited, but we had a hard time finding bathrooms after the half, and we didn’t want to wait that long.  Besides, we weren’t running for time, so it was better to make sure we finished the final mile in comfort.

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I’m impressed that I still look pretty happy.  I do not remember giving thumbs up or smiling, but I look so much better in this picture than I did in my Epcot pictures last year. The crowds and volunteers were seriously awesome.  At one point while we were running in Epcot, a spectator gave me a high-five and said we looked great.  Other people commented that they liked our energy.  At this point, there were not many other people running at all.  I think I remember bubbles being blown in Epcot, but I could be imagining that.

We kept up our intervals, and before I knew it, we were leaving Epcot, passing the choir and the finish line was in sight!  It was such an overwhelming moment.  Just before the finish line, I saw Mickey and Minnie were giving high-fives so I ducked over to the left to get my high-fives.

  • Mile 27:  13:39
  • Mile 27.0 – 27.29: 10:01 pace
  • Total:  6:30:38 (14:19 pace)

We were now two-time marathoners and Goofy Challenge finishers!

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It was one of the best feelings ever.  Maggie and I hugged and celebrated.  I could not believe that in two short years we went from running a 5k to our first marathon and now the Goofy Challenge.  I was, and am, so proud of both of us.

We got our Mickey medals and headed to the ice station before picking up our Goofy medals.

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I had ice taped to both of my knees.  Maggie had two bags too, but hadn’t taped hers.  Apparently they ran out of ice right after us, so Maggie gave one of her bags to another guy who needed ice.  I could not believe they ran out!  There were so many people still behind us.

We went to pick up our Goofy medals.  There were volunteers who were telling people they could not pass until they saw water bottles open and everyone drinking.  It’s so smart to have that reminder.  We went straight to the Goofy tent and got our medals!

Pat met us at the family tents.  It’s amazing how quickly you forget the pain and the tough parts, all I could think about was how much fun the race was, and the fact that we finished!

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We were feeling tough :)

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This time we found our way to the resort buses, which felt much closer than the monorail.  We also saw the bathrooms we had missed the day before!  A quick shower, another hour-long nap, and we were back out to Epcot for a celebration dinner at Via Napoli in Italy.

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The Goofy Challenge was an amazing experience.  I don’t know if I would do it again, but it was definitely worth the long training runs, the early morning start times and any pain I felt along the way.  We wanted a relaxed, fun run, and that is exactly what we had.

Race #16: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

The half marathon was the first part of the Goofy Challenge.  It was a weird feeling to go into this race knowing that it would be just one-third the total distance for the weekend.  Running the half marathon first also put the distance in a different perspective.  It almost felt like no big deal when I knew I would be running a full marathon the very next day.  When did that happen?

We spent the day before the half at Animal Kingdom.  I wore my running shoes because I knew it would be a lot of walking, but we may have over-done it just a bit.  By the end of the day my feet were hurting from so much walking, and that made me a little nervous for the races.

We had an early dinner at Boma the night before the race, an African buffet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  I loaded up on delicious hummus, tofu and rice.  Then it was early to bed!

We decided to stay at the Contemporary Resort this trip, which would put us on the monorail and give us easy access to Epcot both race mornings.  We got up around 3:15am, to head to the monorail at 3:45 am.  I ate my breakfast of a peanut and butter jelly sandwich and drank a bottle of water on our way to the race start.  The monorail definitely made the trip to Epcot much easier.

We stopped for a real bathroom at the monorail station in Epcot before heading to the start line.  We thought this would let us avoid the port-o-potties this year.  The walk to the start line took longer than it did for the marathon last year.  We were walking at a snail’s pace.  By the time we made it to the corrals, I was in need of another bathroom stop.

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We were in Corral G this year, thanks to our estimated marathon finish of 5:30.  I had printed proof of faster half marathon results in case we wanted to change corrals at the expo, but we decided with our run/walking and stopping for pictures, it might be okay that we were so far back.

Even though we left on the monorail at 4:00am, it was after 5:00am by the time we made it to Corral G.  They were already singing the national anthem!  There were fireworks around 5:30am.  They weren’t just at the start line – there was a great display right behind us too!

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It took a long time for us to eventually make our way to the start line.  I loved the energy from the crowd, and could not wait to get started.

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Around 6:15am, we were on our way!  The beginning of the race was so congested, I think it was even worse than last year.  Our plan was to run 5/5 intervals, to make sure that we didn’t push ourselves too hard before the marathon.  Although part of the time we were “running” I could have power walked just as fast.

  • Mile 1:  13:01
  • Mile 2:  12:19

It was the beginning of the third mile that we saw the first characters.  It was the same pirate ship from last year.  Once again, I couldn’t believe how much Jack Sparrow looked like Johnny Depp.

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The character lines were much longer this year, and seemed to be moving much more slowly.  There was no sense of urgency from many of the runners taking pictures!

  • Mile 3:  18:30
  • Mile 4:  22:48

We stopped for two characters in the fourth mile.  We waited 3-4 minutes for Chip n’ Dale and about 5-6 minutes for the Nightmare Before Christmas scene.

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We started to worry a little bit after these early stops.  We wanted to take our time and stop for characters, but we were already behind the 16 minute pace requirement.  I knew we wouldn’t actually get swept because there were so many people behind us, but we wanted to honestly meet the time requirement to feel that we earned our Goofy medals.  So we started to run a little bit more and sped up the pace.

  • Mile 5:  11:25

The sixth mile took us through the Magic Kingdom.  Running down Main Street will always be my favorite part of these runs.  There are so many people cheering in the crowds and the energy is so high.

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I could not believe how many people chose to walk through that leg of the race!  We did our best to keep running and weaving through the crowds.  When we came up on the Cinderella castle, we decided to stop for a picture with a royal Daisy and Donald, and lost another 5-6 minutes.

  • Mile 6:  20:45

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Once we made it past the castle, we knew we had some serious time to make up.  We ran the next couple of miles with very few walk breaks and skipped over a few characters to save time.  The one I wish we had gotten was Jessie from Toy Story.  We thought we could get a picture with her during the marathon the next day, but she was not out when we passed by.

  • Mile 7:  10:46
  • Mile 8:  11:08

When we saw that we were quickly making up time, we lightened up a bit and paused for a few quick pictures over the next couple of miles.

  • Mile 9:  12:21
  • Mile 10:  12:26
  • Mile 11:  12:24

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I don’t remember what mile it was, but the Toy Story soldiers were out again this year, encouraging runners to keep running up a hill.

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We knew we were fine on time, but there weren’t many character during the final miles, so we kept up with our run/walking through the end.

  • Mile 12:  11:51
  • Mile 13:  12:10
  • Mile 13.0 – 13.57:  10:00 pace
  • Total:  3:07:38 (13:50 pace)

Epcot was a blur to me for both races.  I must have been so focused on just finishing.  It looks like I was still running happy though!

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I knew from last year, once we turned the corner to leave Epcot, we were so close to the finish line.  We didn’t sprint, but kept a steady pace for the last half mile.  One-third of the Goofy Challenge was complete!

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We picked up our medals and immediately got some ice before picking up our snack box.  We didn’t realize there were buses right there to take us back to our hotel, so we hobbled back to Epcot for the monorail.

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Overall, I was happy with this race.  We had run a little more and a little faster than we planned, but it turned out we were fine.  Our split at the 10k mark was a 16:33 minute pace; by 15k we had it down to 15:08 and by the end, our official pace was 14:18.

We showered, napped for an hour, and then headed back out to the parks, to Hollywood Studios.  Wearing our medals, of course.  Maybe it wasn’t the best idea for recovery before the next day, but we were there to have fun too!

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Race #15: La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon

On December 2, 2012, Maggie and I completed the last race in the Texas Bridge Series, the La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon.

I almost did not do this race.  I was sick the week leading up to this race, and was not sure what was wrong with me.  My doctor’s best guess was that it was a virus, and it would just take time to pass.  The days leading up to this race, I was extremely tired.  I was sleeping 10-12 hours a night, and still taking a nap or two during the day for an additional 2-4 hours.  I can’t remember the last time that I slept that much.

My doctor did not want me to do this race.  I asked if I could walk it, and she strongly recommended against that.  But, I am stubborn, and knew there was no way I would miss this race.  I was determined to at least walk it, and earn that additional medal for finishing all three Texas Bridge Series races.  And I am lucky enough to have such a nice running buddy that she agreed to walk this race with me.

I tried running a little bit here and there in the beginning, but it was bad.  I found myself getting out of breath so quickly.  Something was off.  But I just kept pushing through it.  There was a lot of walking, but we were still having a good time.

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We made it up the first side of the bridge, and on the way down, I had this sinking feeling.  The sun was off to our right, and I began to have sun spots on the right side of my vision.  I get migraines with aura, which means I see lights like sun spots before a migraine.  I told myself it was just the sun and tried to ignore it.  This was about halfway through mile 6.  When the spots had not gone away 15-20 minutes later, as we were approaching mile 8, I knew it was a migraine.

One of my worst racing fears has been that I would get a migraine in the middle of a race.  I did not have my migraine meds on me, did not have any ibuprofen, and was now about 8 miles away from my car where these items were.

After the turn-around at mile 8, I stopped at the water station and asked if anyone had any pain medication.  They said they were not supposed to give any to me.  I tried to explain my desperate situation, that I had a migraine and it would be very bad if I did not get medication right away.  I will be forever thankful to the person who told me they had some ibuprofen, and agreed to give me what I needed (while telling me that if anyone asked, they did not give me any).  Thank you so much, random stranger.

The headache began to slowly set in, and Maggie stuck with me, knowing this meant I would have to walk the rest of the way.  We chatted and I tried to distract myself from the headache and nausea.  This was a mild migraine compared to others I’ve had, and I was lucky that I got some ibuprofen in me when I did.

We ran just a little bit toward the very end of the race.  It was not our usual sprint, but I was so happy to just be done.  Although this will hopefully be my slowest half marathon ever, I felt just as much of a sense of accomplishment as I have for finishing any other race.  I was so happy to be done!

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Our splits:

  • Mile 1:  13:00
  • Mile 2:  14:17
  • Mile 3:  16:35
  • Mile 4:  13:04
  • Mile 5:  14:39
  • Mile 6:  15:19
  • Mile 7:  12:49
  • Mile 8:  15:31
  • Mile 9:  15:47
  • Mile 10:  16:19
  • Mile 11:  15:43
  • Mile 12:  15:44
  • Mile 13:  13:09
  • Mile 13.0 – 13.11:  9:08 pace
  • Total:  3:13:01 (14:43 pace)

This is the closest my Garmin has ever been to the actual distance of a race – could it be the lack of weaving between people??

I was feeling a little better by the time we made it back to Houston, and was up for a quick breakfast at Denny’s before getting more sleep.

La Porte Half Marathon 12.2.2012

The medals were huge and both glittery!  I would definitely consider doing the Texas Bridge Series again next year.  These races were well organized, and they had great food options at the after parties.  I also appreciated that they had packet pick-up available race mornings.  These were such fun races!

Race #14: Houston Half Marathon

On October 28, 2012, we ran the Houston Half Marathon.  We only registered for this race a week or two beforehand.  We realized we had a 14 mile training run planned for this weekend, so why not run the half marathon to make the training run much more fun?  We could have done our own run, but there would have been no cheering crowds, no water stations and definitely no medal.  The half marathon sounded like the perfect way to get this run in.

It was supposed to be a training run along one of our common running routes.  We were going to take this run easy and stick to our 6/4 intervals.  We stuck to the intervals, but I was feeling so good in this race.  We really pushed our pace during the 6 minute runs.

We seemed to speed up through our first five miles:

  • Mile 1:  11:15
  • Mile 2:  10:45
  • Mile 3:  10:30
  • Mile 4:  10:35
  • Mile 5:  10:26

I knew we were pushing our pace, but it felt okay at the time.  We slowed back down a bit miles 6 through 9:

  • Mile 6:  10:29
  • Mile 7:  10:33
  • Mile 8:  10:48
  • Mile 9:  11:09

The last few miles got a little tougher.  We stopped for a bathroom during Mile 11, but kept running strong.  I really didn’t start to feel tired until the very last mile.  But we kept pushing with our intervals and finished in a better time than we had anticipated, or planned for:

  • Mile 10:  10:19
  • Mile 11:  12:37
  • Mile 12:  10:16
  • Mile 13:  11:17
  • Mile 13.0 – 13.31:  8:24 pace
  • Total:  2:23:39 (10:47 pace)

We were tired after this one!  There were some good options for food and beer, but lines were very long and it was cold.  We picked up a few goodies and headed directly to the parking garage.  Of course, we couldn’t leave until we creepily hunted down someone in their car who could take our race picture :)

Post Run

 

Race #13: Toughest 10k Galveston

The Toughest 10k Galveston was the second race in the Texas Bridge Series.  The series is comprised of three races (two 10ks and one half marathon).  All three races take you over a different Texas Bridge, and if you complete all three races, you get a bonus medal.  This race took us over and back on the Galveston Causeway on October 20, 2012.

This bridge was 72 feet high and had a 3.5% grade.  It was not quite as bad as the Kemah, except that the bridge felt much longer.  We were feeling pretty good for this race and cut about 5.5 minutes off of our time from the Toughest 10k Kemah the month before!

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It’s been awhile now (this is what I get for not recapping immediately!), but I think we mostly ran up the bridge our first time over, and did just a little bit of walking on our way back.  We would pick lamp posts and run to one or two up, then decide to walk until the next lamp post, and repeat.

These were our splits:

  • Mile 1:  10:07
  • Mile 2:  10:17
  • Mile 3:  9:43
  • Mile 4:  9:48
  • Mile 5:  10:29
  • Mile 6:  10:12
  • Mile 6.0 – 6.35:  8:29 pace
  • Total:  1:03:34 (10:01 pace)

This was a fun race!

Toughest 10k Galveston Oct 20, 2012

After the race we walked around Galveston.  We were supposed to do an 8 mile training run this day, so we walked a little over a mile after the race and decided that was close enough.  We found some breakfast and caffeine at MOD Coffeehouse heading back to Houston.