Goofy Challenge 2013

I am a Goofy Challenge finisher!


It was difficult and painful, but also so much fun.  I can’t believe what we accomplished.  I will be back with a recap of my latest races, including the Disney races and our Disney trip!


Race #12: Toughest 10k Kemah

To spice up our training plan this year, Maggie suggested we register for the Texas Bridge Series.  This is a series of three races that each feature one bridge in Texas.  The first two are 10ks and the final race is a half marathon.  You get a medal for completing each race and a bonus medal if you complete all three.  Motivated by the medals, we decided to register!

This first race was on September 15, 2012 in Kemah.  This 10k goes back and forth over the Kemah Bridge twice.  I was a little nervous about the bridge.  With a 4.3 and 5% grade, this bridge goes 83 feet above the water.  I was nervous about how my knees would do, and considering that we train on flat ground, how well I would be able to run up the hills.  But hopefully these hills will be good training for the Disney races that take you up over highways!

I absolutely loved this race.  It was definitely the most beautiful scenery I’ve had in a race.  You can’t see it in this picture, but there was water on both sides of the bridge.

We started at the Kemah Boardwalk.  We were picking up our packets in the morning and it was a very efficient process.  We took our goody bags back to the car and attached our chips and pinned on our numbers.  The weather was beautiful.  It was cool, but not so much that I was cold.

At the start line, a fellow runner mentioned that we would be going over the bridge a total of four times.  Oops, I must have missed that!  I thought we would go over and back just once, but it was twice.

Our initial plan was to stick with our 6/4 intervals, but we threw that out and just ran how we felt.  Realizing there would be plenty of uphills to walk, we ran the first mile straight in 10:25.

Miles 2-5 included the hills.  The first time up wasn’t too bad.  We ran a good chunk of it!  It was so exciting to reach the top, so we coasted down, running the entire down hill and back down under the bridge.  Each time we crossed the bridge, we ran at least parts of the uphills.  We would pick lamp posts as our goals to run to, and then walk to the next lamp post before running more.

I think this was one of my favorite races because we weren’t running for time, and we weren’t running by the watch.  We ran the entire race based just on how we felt and I was able to enjoy the scenery.  I also felt very tough, running up those hills and not wearing out.

Our final ascent up the bridge was a little more difficult.  As we were approaching the hill, I felt that my legs were sore.  They felt like they had been beat up a bit.  But it hurt in a good way; I felt more energy, realizing that I wasn’t worn out yet and could tell this was a really good work out for my legs.

Our final mile was the best.  We decided to run most of it, with hopefully just one walk break through a water station.  About a quarter mile from the finish line, I felt my knee tensing up.  It hit me very suddenly and I knew instantly it was my IT band.  I could have powered through the pain, but Maggie agreed to take a quick walk break with me.  It was worth it – after a minute or so of walking, when we started to run again, the pain was gone.

We powered through to the finish line, finishing our last mile (with the walk break) in 10:12.  Our splits:

  • Mile 1:  10:25
  • Mile 2:  11:36
  • Mile 3:  11:02
  • Mile 4:  11:16
  • Mile 5:  11:05
  • Mile 6:  10:12
  • Mile 6.0 – 6.37:  9:24 pace
  • Total:  1:09:03 (10:50 average pace)

Although this was the slowest 10k I’ve run, I felt awesome about it.  We didn’t want to push it too hard on this run because it was supposed to be a long training run.  I felt like we pushed it just enough to feel good about the race, but we clearly had some left to give at the end of the race.  And we listened to our bodies the entire time.

The post-race treats were awesome too.  Ice cream, popsicles, tacos (including egg and potato!), muscle milk, watermelon, orange slices, and bananas.  And don’t forget the glittery medal!  It was definitely a success, and I can’t wait for the next two bridge series races.

Goofy Training: The First 4 Weeks

Goofy Training crept up on me quickly!  We were originally going to start training on September 10, so this should have been Week 1.  But given the running shape I was in (or lack of running shape), I added an additional three weeks of training to get up to speed.  Goofy Training officially started on August 20.

This was the training plan.

I’ve come close to following it; so far I have only missed one (3 mile) run.  But I have not done so well on keeping up with the yoga.

Week One

We started out strong on August 20, completing 4.25 miles instead of the planned 3.  At this point we are run/walking all runs, not just the long runs.  It took 54 minutes to run/walk the first 4 miles.

We also went above our planned 4 miles on August 21, completing a slow 5 miles in just under an hour.  I wish I could say we planned it, but we achieved negative splits:

  • Mile 1:  13:35
  • Mile 2:  12:09
  • Mile 3:  11:59
  • Mile 4:  11:35
  • Mile 5:  10:07

Thursday was an easy 3 miles.  Our first “long” run on Saturday was another 5 miles.  The weather was hot that day, and after the first 3 miles, we decided to walk the rest.  That has been one of the biggest challenges in training in August.  The Texas weather has still been brutal.  For now, the focus is on getting the mileage in, no matter what it takes.

On Sunday I went for an easy 4 mile walk.  I thought this would be good for a rest day, but I think I need to do yoga or actually rest on rest days.

Week Two

On Monday we did our 3 miles.  I think we tried for walk 3 / run 7 intervals.  Our goal is to eventually run the whole three miles on easy runs, but we are building up slowly again.  We probably could run more, but given the weather, I’m cutting us some slack.

On Wednesday we ran/walked our 5 miles.

I missed our 3 miles this week.  I was planning to make up for it after work on Friday, but was so exhausted, I decided to skip it.  I definitely regretted it.  I could have made time for it, but I didn’t.

On Saturday we ran our second long run of 6 miles.  It was another slow run, but we kept up our run/walk intervals.  I know this is how we will get faster.  We finished in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Week Three

We did an easy 3 miles on Monday and Thursday.

On Tuesday, we ran another 6 miles.  I was reminded of one of the things I love best about running:  just how quickly you see results.  We cut off about 3.5 minutes from our first 6 mile run, just 3 days later!  That might not sound like much, but it was about 35 seconds faster per mile, and that felt good.

Saturday was a 7 mile long run.  For this run, we decided to try a new running spot in Houston and ran at the Rice University loop.  It is another loop about 3 miles, but there is much more shade from trees around almost the entire loop.  It was a nice change of scenery, but it lacked water fountains (we only saw one), and the path was more narrow than our normal running route.

We ran 4 minute walk / 6 minute run intervals and felt strong the entire time.  Mile four was our slowest.  After lapping the park once, we did not see any water fountains (I noticed we missed one the second time around).  We left the running path and went in search of a restaurant to fill up our water bottles.  We were hoping for a Subway or other fast food stop, but no such luck.  We ended up at a little French bakery with quiche that looked amazing.  It was tough to be tempted mid-run!  They were nice enough to let us fill up our water bottles, so I will have to go back some time for quiche.

We made another loop around the park.  Our last mile was our fastest at 10:23.  It helped to have the extra shade, but I’m not sure I would do another long run at this park.  I need to know there is plenty of water available for our long runs!  I think it’s mostly mental, but I feel stressed when I am worried about the next time I’ll be able to fill up my water.

On Sunday I went for another 4 mile walk.  I definitely need to start taking Sundays as rest days!

Week Four

It’s hard to believe that we were supposed to just now be starting our training.  I am so glad we added a few extra weeks.  This was a tougher week for me.

Monday was another easy 3 miles.  I started feeling pain in my knee about half way through the run, so we walked the rest.  I am over-sensitive to my IT band this year.  Last year I tried to run through pain, and I paid for it by injuring myself very early in training.

Tuesday also became a walk.  I was sick Tuesday morning; I get migraines, but I think I actually had a tension headache.  Either way, I was sick to my stomach and could not get rid of my headache by the time we were supposed to run.  We were supposed to run 6 miles, but decided to go for Thursday’s 4 miles instead.  My running partners were nice enough to walk the 4 miles with me.  I was just happy to have gotten the mileage in.
Thursday was rough.  We were supposed to run 6 miles to make up for Tuesday, but it was storming outside almost all day, and was clearly not going to let up for the evening.  Maggie ran this one on her own, and I decided to take on the treadmill.  When I started, I wasn’t convinced I would make the whole 6 miles on the treadmill, but decided that any mileage I could get in was better than nothing.

I really impressed myself by finishing the whole 6 miles!  It was not continuous.  I ran/walked 3 miles while watching an episode of Arrested Development on my iPhone.  I then took a break to watch Big Brother.  I couldn’t miss watching it live!  But each commercial, I went upstairs to the treadmill to run for 2-3 minutes.  I finished a whole mile during the commercials!  Silly, I know, but mentally it was a lot easier to face the last 2 miles after the show.  I put on another episode of Arrested Development and finished run/walking the 6 miles.  And then rewarded myself with a slice of Pat’s birthday cake.

Our long run this week was actually a 10k race!  It was supposed to be 8 miles, but I was so tired after the race, I decided to let it go.   I will save the race recap for another post 🙂

All in all, training has been successful so far.  It hasn’t been fast, but it’s difficult to focus on speed at this point, knowing that the goal is to just get through the 39.3 miles.

Orlando Day 8: Pre-Marathon

We decided to give our poor legs a break the Saturday before the marathon.  After a full seven days of touring the parks, I think we earned a break before race day.

We slept in, to prepare ourselves for the 3am wake-up call the next morning.  A friend who used to work with us had moved to Orlando, so we made plans with her to get brunch at the Grand Floridian.  She picked us up at our hotel, which was a nice treat after taking Disney transportation all week.

The Grand Floridian was beautiful.  I would love to stay there on another trip some day.

Brunch was delicious.  I’m pretty sure I had pancakes with banana, loading up on carbs and potassium before the big race.  The strawberry orange juice was a nice treat, too!

After brunch, our friend dropped us off at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where we needed to pick up our race packets.

The race expo was huge!  But Disney was well organized, and it didn’t take long for us to pick up our packets.

I was so excited walking through the expo.  I couldn’t believe we were going to run a full marathon the next day.  There were so many vendors at the expo.

In all the excitement, I actually made 2 purchases.  Which is unusual for me.  First, I bought a pouch to wear around my waist.  I didn’t want something bulky to hold water bottles, but I bought a pouch that would fit my cell phone, ID card/credit card, and a few packets of Gu.  I wasn’t planning to buy one, but Maggie was going to get one, and they were offering a better price for two.  I’m so glad we got them; I would have gone crazy trying to carry everything myself the whole 26.2 miles.

I also bought a Stick.  It is very similar to a foam roller, but it felt like it got into my muscles a little tougher.  And it felt really good to roll out my muscles at the expo.  My IT band was still acting up, and I knew I would want the stick after our run.  I still use my foam roller to, but the Stick travels much lighter.  I’m happy to now have both.

After the expo we took a bus back to our hotel.  We hung out for a little bit before dinner.  We were planning to head to Downtown Disney to eat dinner with a friend of mine from high school who had also moved to Orlando.  We met up with her at Portobello.

We ate an extremely early dinner at this Italian restaurant.  I think it was 4:00 or 4:30pm.  We dressed up a little bit for dinner.

I was incredibly nervous about the marathon by this point.  I was nervous about whether I would make it the whole way, or if I would have to walk the whole time.  I was also really excited.

We walked around Downtown Disney after dinner and got some hot chocolate.  It was a cold night, though, and we had an early morning ahead of us, so we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.

I think we were at least in bed by 8:00 or 9:00.  I don’t remember what time I finally fell asleep, but I slept surprisingly well, considering my nerves.

I had nothing to be nervous about.  The race was an amazing experience.  You can read about it here.  I can’t wait to go back next year for Goofy!

Orlando Day 7: Hollywood Studios

This was our final day touring the parks before we ran our marathon.  It was sad to be ending our days in the park, but excited that we still had the weekend at Walt Disney World.

We got to the park early, and got to be first in line for a picture with Donald and Daisy.

Next up, we booked it over to the Hollywood Tower of Terror.  We got a Fast Pass and jumped in line for a quick ride.  I was addicted at this point.

We watched the Beauty and the Beast show, which was basically the whole story, music and all, in 30 minutes.  And then we went to the Indiana Jones show.  We were in the very back row, but we still had a great view of the special effects.

We also went to the Lights, Motors, Actions show.  Lots of fire in all of these shows!  I was really impressed with the stunts in this one though.

We had to get Fast Passes to ride Toy Story Mania.  It was similar to the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom, but more fun, with different kinds of games in each room you passed by.

We ate dinner at the Hollywood Brown Derby.  The food was very good, but it was probably my least favorite dining experience at Disney.  The environment was supposed to be like the classic Brown Derby restaurant, but it wasn’t anything spectacular like other Disney theme restaurants.

After dinner, we had to go ride the Hollywood Tower of Terror a few more times 🙂  I love that ride!  When we go back next year, we will probably go to Hollywood Studios just to ride the elevator a few times in a row.

It was another early evening for us, with only 2 more days until the marathon!

Orlando Day 6: Hollywood Studios

I was a little bit nervous about Hollywood Studios because it came with a challenge.  I had been mentally preparing myself all week to take on the Hollywood Tower of Terror.

It’s a ride I skipped when I was younger because I was too scared, and I was determined to ride it at least once.  We picked up Fast Passes for the ride, but I wasn’t quite ready to go on it right away.

Instead, we went on the Rock n’ Roller Coaster.  It’s an indoor, looping roller coaster.  To be honest, it wasn’t quite as thrilling as I expected it to be.  It was still fun, but it’s not as scary going upside down when you don’t know which way is up!

Next, we went on the Studio Backlot Tour.  They take you through various stunts and a behind-the-scenes tour.  It was entertaining.

We also went on the Great Movie Ride.  I’m pretty sure I remembered this one from when I was little too.  You ride in cars with a tour guide and they interact with scenes from different movies.  Our first tour guide was a little annoying, so I wasn’t too sad when a gangster scared her off and took control of our car!

We finally rode Tower of Terror.  I was literally terrified to get on the ride.  I was especially alarmed when we got on the elevator and I realized the only restraint was a band that went across your lap.  There was nothing to come down over your head!  I read later that Disney does that on purpose – so you lift up in your seat a little when the elevator drops.  It adds to your terror.

The elevator attendants were probably some of the best cast members as far as staying in character.  It seemed like a fun job.  We got in our elevator, and we were off, winding through the hotel.  The next thing I knew, we were on our way up.  Then the doors opened in front of us, and we could see out across the park.  And then we dropped.  Over and over again.  I was terrified, but it was so much fun.

When we got off the ride, I was shaking.  And then I asked if we could ride it again!

One of our last rides for the day was the Star Wars ride.  It was a motion simulator ride, and it made me feel a little sick, but it was still pretty fun.

This was day six at Disney, and we knew we were planning to come back to Hollywood Studios the next day.  So we left a little early and headed to Downtown Disney to explore a bit and find some dinner.

While we were at the parks, Maggie and I found ourselves pulled into the pin trading.  We had to check out the pin station at Downtown Disney and see if the cast members there had any pins we wanted to trade for.

We also wandered around the Lego store.  I was amazed by all the Disney Lego creations in and around the store.

It was a nice, early night.  With only 3 days left until our first marathon, we needed to get some rest!

Orlando Day 5: Magic Kingdom

Of all the parks, I felt most like a kid again at Magic Kingdom.  Even as an adult, it was truly magical.  It was fun to ride the true Disney classics from my childhood (It’s a Small World, Peter Pan and the Mountain rides).

Our first mission was to find coffee.  Touring the Disney parks for 9 days straight was a lot of fun, but it was also exhausting.  We found some caffeine at the Cheshire Cat.

We rode Stitch’s Great Escape, a ride where you are locked in a chair in a room that goes dark and Stitch gets loose and bounces on your head and pokes you.  It was kind of creepy!

We also rode Buzz Lightyear’s ride, where we shot at targets to score points.  Pat and Maggie battled it out while I cheered them on and took pictures.

I was probably most excited to go on It’s a Small World.  I don’t know why, but I love that ride.  The last room, with characters from all over the world, has always been my favorite.

We also rode the classic Peter Pan ride.  I couldn’t believe how long the lines were for these rides, but I would have been very sad to miss them.

The Haunted Mansion was another favorite.  I remember being somewhat scared as a kid, which is so funny now.

The entertainment while you wait in line is almost as good as the ride itself.  Funny tombstones, a stone piano that actually played, a magical bookshelf that you could interact with, and more.

It is amazing to me that so many of the Disney rides have not changed in the past 17 years.  In comparison, many of the Universal rides seemed much more high-tech.  But they didn’t have the same Disney magic.

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride was another classic.  When I was younger, I refused to go on any ride that had a drop of any kind.  No roller coasters or log flumes for me.  The Pirates ride has a small drop.  My parents waited until I was on the ride to tell me about the drop.  Once I was in the boat, there was no escaping.  I was mad at them about that one!  And still haven’t forgotten it (obviously).  I guess the drop was smaller than I remembered 🙂

We used our Fast Passes for Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain, alternating throughout the day so we could ride both several times at the end of the day.  They were my favorite at Magic Kingdom.  We skipped Splash Mountain because of how cold it was.

On one of our rides on Big Thunder Mountain, we got stuck on the way up.  We had a great view of the park, though!

We took a break in our day to eat a character dinner at the Crystal Palace.  The buffet food was actually pretty good (I was expecting worse), but we were really there to see Winnie the Pooh characters.  Even as adults, I think character meals are so much fun.

After dinner we went to the Hall of Presidents.  We had just enough time to make it back to the castle for the fireworks.  I found myself wishing that every night could end with fireworks.

After the firework display, we rode Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain a few more times before going home.  It was such a magical day!