Monday, January 21, 2019

2019 Disney World Marathon

I am so much happier writing this recap this year than I was last year!  Last year, I attempted the Disney World marathon as my first marathon and was swept at mile 20.  But this year, I was able to finish.  I was slow and it took a long time, but I crossed that finish line with a smile on my face :)   Again, it was a great race.  Well organized and a lot of fun on the course.  I was solo this time instead of with a friend but sill enjoyed myself a ton.  Get ready because this is a long post!

The weather this year was the opposite of last year.  2018 was cold and this year, all the talk was about the heat and humidity.  The high for marathon day was supposed to be around 80 and the low around 60.  That made waiting around before the race (2 hours) easier but I knew that would make the race tough.  My plan was to be conservative and just do what I had to do to keep moving.  I took a mylar blanket for a bit of warmth pre-race, but didn't need any other throw away clothes.

The morning logistics are one of the downsides of this race.  There are so many people that things start super early.  Though it seems like there were less people this year than previous years.  I woke up at 2am to get ready and eat breakfast in my room, then got on a bus at 3 AM and made it to the starting area around 3:30 am.  I went straight to wait by the corrals and entered as soon as we were allowed so I could get toward the front of my corral.  The race was again using mini waves within each corral and I wanted to be in the first wave of our corral.  So I think I was in my corral around 4:30, the race started at 5:30, and I actually started around 6:00 or so.  I checked my fitbit and I had walked around 2 miles before the race even started!  

Fireworks at the start of every wave

A note on my Garmin data, I had to restart it at mile 15 in order to change up my intervals   You'll hear more about that but any Garmin data is mile 1-15 and then mile 15 to the end.

Miles 1-15 were 2 minutes per mile faster than the last 12 miles.  And it was 72 degrees by mile 16

Miles 1 - 5: 14:30, 14:29, 16:33, 15:15, 14:51

The first mile was pretty crowded but it spread out a bit once we were on the highway and headed to the Magic Kingdom.  (Course Map) There were a couple character stops in these first set of miles as we ran from the Epcot parking lot to the Magic Kingdom.  I didn't stop for any actual character stops as I knew I couldn't afford to waste time in lines so I just appreciated them as I ran past :)  You'll notice that mile 3 is slower.  That's because I tripped and fell flat on my face at that point.  Thankfully, I wasn't really hurt.  My hand was cut up so I did make a stop at medical and they cleaned up my hand and bandaged it up for me.  I'm grateful that I didn't have any problems from the fall during the rest of the race.

Miles 6 - 12:  17:00, 14:45, 14:28, 15:08, 16:42, 15:08, 15:46

And then we were heading into the Magic Kingdom, which was amazing!  I thought this area would be really crowded but it wasn't too bad.  And it wasn't even that crowded when I went through the castle, I had to slow down a bit but didn't have to stop running.  I did have to make a bathroom stop here, which you can see in the mile 6 split of 17:00.  Each bathroom stop was round 2 minutes this year instead of 4 minutes last year, I guess because there were fewer people in the race this year?  Unfortunately, I still had a nervous bladder this year.  I had to make 4 bathroom stops during the race.  I never really had to go once I was in there though so I guess it was just nerves.  But I didn't want to risk not stopping either.  I wasn't surprised I had to go so early in the race because we had to wait so long in the corral and I think this stop was probably the only one where I truly needed to stop.

The Magic Kingdom was running up Main Street, then making a right into Tomorrow Land, then running through Fantasy Land, out through the castle, and a right to go through Frontier Land and out of the park through a back stage area.  Mike had the chear squad and I was able to see him right after I exited the castle, which gave me a nice little boost.

After that was "cone alley." I had heard that this area was crowded and it was but it still wasn't too bad.  But somehow those seemed like my fastest splits of the race.  Mile 10 I saw post a potties without much of a line and had to stop again.  After that it was back on the highway to Animal Kingdom and then an out and back on a random road for miles 11 and 12.  I actually liked this out and back section because it was cool to see the other runners and they had a fun  DJ in this section.  Even the waste processing plant didn't smell as bad a I remember it smelling last year  Disney had also put up little signs on this stretch that interesting facts about conservation efforts at Disney parks.  I'm the type of nerd that enjoys that.

One of the weird photo ops on the highway

Miles 13 - 15:  15:46, 15:53, 16:52

A bit past mile 12 we entered the Animal Kingdom.  The park was open by the time we got there but it wasn't too bad because most people went to the Pandora section and we did not run in that area.  I loved that right before entering Animal Kingdom, they had cast members with real animals that you could pet and take photos with.

Photo from last year as I didn't take a photo this year, just enjoyed the animals as I ran past

We ran through Animal Kingdom, I saw several people peel off to ride Everest but I knew I didn't have time for roller coasters during the race.  This was also around the point when the sun was getting stronger and it was getting really hot.  You can see from the splits that I was slowing down at this point.

You can see the sun had really started shining here

I was having a hard time dealing with the heat.  There was a "parade bus" right outside of Animal Kingdom and I almost thought of stopping and getting on the bus.  But I gave myself a little pep talk and told myself I wouldn't be giving up.  There were too many people I would disappoint if I just gave up and pulled myself out of the race just because I didn't want to deal with the heat.  I reminded myself that I could slow down, I just needed to keep moving forward and I had a bit of a cushion before the sweepers.  But I did stop my Garmin and re-start it with 30 second intervals for running/walking.  I'm glad I did because that helped me keep moving forward even with the heat.  I also started stopping at every water stop (I had my own water bottle so was able to skip most water stops) and getting a cup of water to pour over my head.  That really seemed to help too.  You can see my splits are all over the place going forward but I'm pretty sure I was able to speed up after each water stop since I was cooler.

Miles 16 - 21:  16:43, 18:37, 17:06, 19:25, 18:02, 18:36 

Miles 15 to 18 was more time running on the highway.  There were a lot of great spectators on this stretch though and that really helped.  There was a woman handing out orange slices and grapes, someone handing out pretzels, someone even offering sunscreen (which I really needed at that point), and a lot of fun signs.

Mile 17 was another port a potty stop and mile 19 was a bathroom stop in the ESPN area. A bit past mile 18 is around when we entered the ESPN area.  A lot of people hate this section because we're winding around in there for around 2 miles but I enjoyed the varied terrain.  We ran around a baseball diamond and a couple tracks, which was interesting.  There was a marching band in that area too which livened things up.  

But it was hot and it was definitely getting to me.  They gave us a wet sponge at one point and it felt amazing.  I tucked the sponge into my bra strap so that I could wet it again at the water stops.  I took out my phone a bit past mile 20 and texted Mike since he was planning to be in Hollywood Studios for more cheering.  I asking him to have a cup of ice he could give me.

Miles 21 to 26.9:  16:45, 17:11, 18:40, 16:54, 16:12, 15:27

Miles 21 to past 23 was more time on the highway as we ran toward Hollywood Studios.  This section seemed really tough and I really felt the camber of the roads.  Thankfully it didn't both my knee or hip too much and everything felt ok once I was back on flat ground.  We entered Hollywood Studios a bit past mile 23 and that helped too as there were spectators and cast members cheering.  

I also saw Mike and it was a welcome sight.  He had that cup of ice, I put half in my water bottle and I put the other half down my sports bra.  You can see that the last three miles, after the ice, were definitely a little faster.

We exited Hollywood Studios a bit past mile 24 and then we ran toward the Boardwalk.  This was another fun section since there were a lot of cheering spectators.  The Boardwalk is also where the balloon ladies (Disney's sweepers) passed me by.  But thankfully, they'll let you finish as long as you get to the Boardwalk before you're passed and as long as you keep moving forward with purpose at this point.  There were several people who were put on golf carts and didn't get to finish at this point, but I think they were actually hurt or had heat stroke.

We entered Epcot around Mile 25 and it was beautiful.  They had amazing music playing and everything felt good at this point.  I'm pretty sure that's because we were so close to the end and knew we would be able to finish.  And at the mile 26 mark they had a gospel choir, and it was magical!

I also happened to run into someone from a Facebook group I'm in and we chatted a bit toward the finish.  We were even able to cross the finish line together!

My official time was 7:23:15 (average 16:52 per mile).  I really feel like I could have finished within the 7 hour (16 minute pace) requirement if it hadn't been for the 2 minute medical stop, the 4 bathroom stops, and the heat.  But I'm glad I went conservatively the last half because my goal really was just to finish.  I didn't want to risk pushing and then being pulled for heat stroke, as I heard later that several people were treated for it.  If I saw my heart rate was in zone 5 even at the end of a walk break, I just took an extra walk break.  I still feel like that was the right decision.

Directly after the race, I told Mike that I was never going to do this again.  A guy across from us overheard, leaned over, and said "she's lying."  Well, as you can see, now I keep having thoughts about what I could have done if conditions had been different.  But I'm not making any decisions at the moment.  I'm just going to enjoy this finish for what it is, my first completed marathon!

Medal photo

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Five - 2018 Goals Update

I'm back from Florida!  We had a great trip and got home around midnight on Wednesday night.  For those of you not following me on Instagram, I was able to finish the Disney World marathon while I was down there.  It was an amazing trip and a great race, and I hope to have my recap up next week.  In the meantime, I realized that it's already mid January and I haven't looked at my 2018 goals yet.  So here's a recap of how my goals for last year went.  I'm joining in with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday link up.

1. Sub 3 hour half marathon - This did not come anywhere close to happening.  My Spring half marathon ended up being a DNS due to tendinitis.  I was hoping to do the Nationwide Columbus half marathon in the Fall since its flat but my travel schedule didn't work out and I did the Baltimore Running Festival instead.  The hills killed me on that one.  I also did Race 13.1 Baltimore, which was nice and flat, but I was deliberately keeping it at an easy pace for most of that one and finished in 3:11: 15.

Baltimore Running Festival

2. Get back to body pump - This went really well!  I was able to keep up with going to Body Pump at least once a week for the most part and made it twice a week some times. 

3.  700 miles - I didn't quite make this one but I'm happy with where I ended up for the year given that there were 5 weeks I was in an ankle brace and couldn't run at all.  I ended up with 691 miles for the year.

4.  Read more non-fiction (6 books) -  Another one that I got close on.  I finished 5 non-fiction books in 2018.  I read a Mindy Kaling biography, a book about cat evolution, and a book about the future of humanity in the first half of the year.  In the second half of the year I read Trevor Noah's Born a Crime and Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I didn't quite get in 6 as I kept getting distracted by fiction from the library.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0 1) by [Strayed, Cheryl]

5.  Cook more at home -  I was better about this for most of the year.  Getting the Hungry Harvest box was really helping for most of the year.  Though as marathon training ramped up, we went back to cooking tried and true simple recipes at home.  The Instant Pot also helped with quick and easy weeknight recipes we could make at home.

So that's how last year went.  I'm pretty happy with how most of the goals went, given that there was a point in Spring where I couldn't run at all.  I'm not sure what my plans for this year will be yet.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Trader Joe's Plant Based food

I hope everyone is having a good week so far!  It's a good Wednesday here plus we're getting free lunch at work.  Nothing like free food to brighten up a day :)  And we're going to Seasons 52, which is known for having a healthy menu with lots of vegetarian and vegan options.  I've been trying to transition to eating more vegan instead of vegetarian (mostly because of my cholesterol) and I've had mixed success on it.  But it's definitely easier with places like this that have so many options.

The other thing that makes it easier is grocery stores that have lots of quick vegan options.  I prefer to cook myself but don't always have the time to do so and it's nice to have quick and easy options at home so I'm not tempted to just get take out.  We splurged on a Trader Joe's trip a couple weeks ago and found some great vegan meals.

Here's a couple of things that I tried.

Cauliflower Gnocchi - Vegan and gluten free!  I had been hearing a lot of hype about this and I was a little worried it wouldn't live up to the reports I'd read.  But it was so good!  Mike and I both really liked it.  We served it with a simple tomato sauce, garlic bread, and a salad on the side.  The trick is not to follow the cooking directions on the bag though.  Apparently if you cook with water, they get too mushy.  I just sauteed them in a pan with olive oil.

Vegan Tikka Masala- I'm pretty picky about my Indian food.  Nothing lives up to my mom's cooking of course but this frozen meal from Trader Joe's was pretty good!  It was easy to heat in the microwave and tasted delicious.  I liked that it had seitan so there was a good amount of protein.

Jackfruit Curry with Jasmine Rice - I was really excited to try this since jackfruit isn't something that you see out there that much.  And it didn't disappoint!  It was another hit.

Vegan pad thai - I did try a vegan pad thai that I sadly was not a fan off.  It was somehow both too sweet and too spicy at the same time.  It just had a weird flavor to me so I can cross that one off the list.

We also tried their Everything But the Bagel seasoning and it is amazing!  It's a blend of seasonings that you would find on an everything bagel - sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, salt and onion.  I tried it on a bagel, of course, but I've also tried it on avocado toast, pizza, and in ramen.  It is really versatile and does a lot to perk up the flavors of whatever you put it in.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Weekly Review

I hope everyone had a great first week of January!  It was a pretty calm week for us and went well overall.  Here are the details.

Monday - I had the day off work, which was pretty nice.  I got in a run  and some yoga for runners.  We had a pretty quiet New Year's Eve and stayed in and watched Netflix.  We watched Dumplin and Sorry to Bother You.  We really enjoyed both movies but they were very different from each other.

Tuesday - New Year's Day started out with meeting a friend for a 4 mile run.  It ended up being a progression run and it was also in the 50s by 8am, which is sort of crazy for January!  We also had brunch at a local restaurant that does pajama brunch on New Year's Day.

Wednesday - Body Pump

Thursday - Rest Day.  We also went to an evening meeting at our local library where we were able to here from our State Delegates and Senator about their priorities for the upcoming year.

Friday - 3 miles in the afternoon

Saturday - 4 miles in the morning.  We also had a bunch of people over to our house to just hang out and watch movies.  It was a nice, relaxed way to catch up with people.

Sunday - I met up with a couple friends to run 6 miles, plus we had a chance to catch up over coffee afterward.

So that was my week!  This week is a full week at work, which is going to take some getting used to after the last couple weeks.  At least we have some fun work events this week to help make the transition a bit easier :)

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas gifts

Now that the holidays are over and it's back to the routine, I thought I'd do a quick review of some Christmas gifts I got.

I got a Brooks running vest from my parents and it's amazing!  We've been having warmer than usual weather here and it's perfect for those days that are a little cold but not cold enough to need a full running jacket.  I can't believe it's taken me so long to try a vest.  And of course, the added pockets are helpful :)

I also got this wonderful foot massager from my father-in-law.  It also includes pressure cuffs that can be plugged into the machine so you can get a calf massage at the same time.  I've always been skeptical of things like this but I've used it multiple times in the past couple weeks and I love it.  My feet always feel better afterward and the calf massage is amazing.  I seem to have a tendency for tight calves and this has really been helping.  The massage can be pretty intense so I've just been using the lightest setting for my feet.

Of course, I also got some gift cards which are always appreciated and Mike got me tickets to the Penguin Experience at the Maryland Zoo.  And this was more of winning something than a gift, but I got a free entry to the Rock and Roll DC Half marathon through work!  I wasn't really planning on this one again but given that it's free, I'm in!

After RnR DC in 2016

So those were some of the things I got for Christmas.  Any favorites for you guys?

Monday, December 31, 2018

Weekly Review

Happy New Year's to everyone!  It's New Year's Eve and time to say good bye to 2018 and wave hello to 2019.  Here's to 2019 being a great year.  But in the meantime, here's a summary of last week.

Monday - Yoga for runners

Tuesday - 4 tempo miles

Wednesday - Body pump and a warm up on the elliptical

Thursday - Rest Day

Friday - 4 easy paced miles

Saturday - 5.8 miles

Sunday - 7.8 miles

Sunday we also went out with a friend to catch up and watch the Aquaman movie.  It was silly and big and dumb but still fun.  Which I guess is pretty much what we expected out of it.  And that was pretty much it for the week.

I've got today and tomorrow off so that also helps make it a little easier to get my work outs in again this week. Here's the plan for this week.
Monday - Yoga + 3 easy milesTuesday - 4 tempo milesWednesday - Body PumpThursday - 3 easy milesFriday - Rest DaySaturday - 4 miles Sunday - 6 miles

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.


Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday five - random things

I hope everyone is doing well and had a good week!  We've got another rainy Friday here but I'm hoping it will clear up in time for a run in the afternoon.  When it's again supposed to be in the 60s!  I'm not going to complain about warm weather though :)  In the meantime, I realized it's been a while since I've linked up with the Friday link up from Fairytales and Fitness and I figured I have to join up with the last one of the year! So here are some random things that have been on my mind.

Library books - I finally fixed the issue with my library card earlier this year and I'm able to borrow ebooks and audio books from the library again.  I've definitely been enjoying that. I got super excited last week because I thought library books came with the function that you could read them or listen to them as audio books.  But nope, that only works if you get both the ebook and audio book. And they may not both be available at the same time.  But still, it's a nice option for when it works out.  Last week, I was really into a book, but had to go for a run.  Then I realized I could listed to the audio book when I ran and that made it much better!

Blogger card exchange - I participated in Fairytales and Fitness' blogger holiday card exchange and got my card last week.  It was so cool, and I love that it included a shoe charm.  I've already put it on my running shoes!  Thanks to Meg Go Run for the really cool card :)

Cat tree - My cousin got us a cat tree for the cats and they've been loving exploring it!

So that's it for me this Friday :)  I hope that everyone has a great Friday and a great weekend!