Sunday, January 30, 2011

blessing in disguise?

So what does one do when they can't run? Beside complain about not running, think about running, and avoid the new Runner's World? Well, they (I) sign up for races. Is this wrong? One race right after another. Besides signing up for the Cleveland marathon I am now officially signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Yes, I know I swore I would never run this horrendous, overcrowded race again BUT my friend and her fabulous sister are running and I can never, EVER pass up a race with friends who don't normally run. Next on the sign up sheet... either the Cincinnati Pig 1/2 marathon or relay. This all depends on my friend who may switch teams and I would either take her relay spot and run the same relay leg as her on different teams (I would run with her husband, sister and her sister's boyfriend) or just run a very hilly but fun half marathon 2 weeks before the Cleveland full! Hey the swag is fantastic and I haven't visited my friends since they moved to Cincy so it is about time I made the 4 hour drive. Then come Feb 1st the Chicago marathon registration opens. Do I sign up? I'm thinking it might be YES!

Honestly as stressed out as I am about this foot/ankle ridiculous, random injury I have it has been the best thing for me. I was burned out before the injury. I was not enjoying running; it felt like a chore. I didn't want to do anything my schedule called for and couldn't find joy or motivation in anything. Now I appreciate running. I look forward to the day I can run to McCormick Place (my 10 mile turnaround point of my 20 mile run). I can't say I won't take the ability to run for granted again but I will embrace it with everything I have once I return. I miss weekend long runs. These last few weekends I've spent wandering around the house trying to figure out what to do. I can not wait for this Thursday in which I meet with the podiatrist again. Happy, positive thoughts I will be out of the horrendous black boot and on my way to lacing up 2 shoes. Though before that I have another work trip on the schedule. So I hope 1) the blizzard they are calling for does not actually hit and 2) my flight makes it back in town so I can make my appointment and 3) Dr. Jacobson clears me for running once again. After fitting me for orthotics of course :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

stress and no running

What day is it? Which way is up? Work has been absolutely non-stop since returning from Disney and it feels like my head is about to explode. Some days I'm so overwhelmed I have no idea where to even start. It ends up taking a good portion of my morning/night writing out my "to do" list. (Yes, I still write my lists out by hand. There is something satisfying about physically checking off my hand drawn box next to the item.) I've been on the road for work and when I'm done on site I have several more hours of work in the hotel room. I'm tired even though I have made sure to get at least 7-8 hours each night. I haven't had much time to myself the little time I do have is spent getting life stuff done around the house or sitting in a catatonic state. :)

Normally when life gets like this I have running/working out/sweat session to fall back on. Even getting away for 20 minutes helps me feel more centered and ready to attach the list when I return. Unfortunately I'm still in the boot. The only workout I can do is lift some weights as I have no access to a pool. Weights don't really cut the stress factor. I've found myself turning to not the healthiest stress releaser - why yes, I'll take another glass of wine - for example. I'm not a complete lush though. I do try to other things like a hot bath or a good book.

Now here I go stating the obvious. Being hurt sucks. Not being able to run when it's 50 degrees outside where I was traveling to and seeing runners everywhere really sucks.

So what do you do when the stress peaks and you can't run?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

injured and out

During the marathon portion of the Goofy Challenge 2 weeks ago I felt a slight pain in my left foot. I didn't think much of it because I could still run and figured it was my shoes or the fact the longest I had run in a weekend. Post race I was struggling to walk but still didn't think too much of it. By the time I showered and got ready to go back to Epcot to eat I couldn't walk. I hate to take any kind of medication but I popped some ibuprofen later in the day to take the edge off. I still had 3 more days of walking around Disney! Each day it felt progressively better after icing at night and compression socks/ibuprofen during the day. I returned home Thursday and made an appointment for the podiatrist just to make sure it was nothing more serious than an overuse injury.

Yeah, I've been in this for the last week and was told today I have 2 more weeks...
Sexy I know. So is the all the hobbling I have to do because I don't have any shoes that are just the right height. My podiatrist doesn't think it's a stress fracture but he can't be 100% sure from my x-rays. To be on the safe side and since I do still have some residual pain I'm in the hot black boot for a bit longer.

I am going stir crazy! I need to sweat and not because I ate too many delicious chocolate/butterscotch/peanut rice krispy treats. I may have to take this sucker off next week and see how the bike/elliptical feel...

This really puts a damper on my next marathon plans. Cleveland. May 15th. Mr. H and I are running again together and the goal was to break 4 hours. I signed up while waiting for my flight to Orlando 2 weeks ago. My new goal may just be just get to the start line :(

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Goofy Challenge Race Reports (finally!)

Work has been ridiculously stressful since returning from vacation. I do not recommend taking a vacation almost immediately upon returning to work after the holidays. NUTS! Enough of that let's get to the good stuff... GOOFY challenge!!! It's finally the weekend and I have time to bore entertain you with my experience and pictures. If you are facebook friends with me you've already seen the pictures.

Settle in this takes awhile. Or just skim and look at the pictures ;)

My husband and I arrived in Orlando with no travel issues on Friday afternoon. I had signed us up for the Disney Magical Express bus to take us to our hotel. There wasn't anything too magical or express like about the bus. Much like anything in Disney it took FOREVER. We finally arrived at the hotel to find that about half the team in training teams were in our lobby! Excitement was in the air but I was stressing out about making it to the expo and finding dinner. Luckily, we made it to the expo and picking up my bibs was relatively painless. Heading to pick up my shirts/remainder of the packet was a mess. After buying much needed Gu chomps and shot bloks we were on our way to dinner at the hotel.
DAY 1: 13.1 miles
The Saturday morning wake-up call came early but I woke up before the 3 am alarm and was out the door and on the bus by 3:30 am. As the busy pulled into the Epcot parking lot I remember thinking to myself I have never seen so many people awake at that time for a non-drinking event! Everyone spilled out and made their way to bag check. I popped a squat and ate my breakfast before heading to holding area #1. Around 4:30 race officials released all 27,000 of the half marathoners to make the 1/2 mile walk to the starting corrals. We all needed to be lined up and ready to go by 5 am for a 5:35 am wave start. Temps were in the 50's but with no sun felt very cold. Nothing like last year I know where temps were in the 20's and it was sleeting! It was the theme of the weekend :) The cool thing happening this year for the half was we would be starting at the same time as about 500 servicemen stationed in Iraq. A husband stationed overseas and his wife usually run this half together but since he wasn't home they set up a dual race so they could still run together!!! Plus the wonderful thing was she and her daughter could see/talk to him via the satellite feed. So awesome.

Around 5:40 a.m. my corral made it to the start line to see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald see us off and a firework display with every wave!

We started out along the dark service roads towards the Magic Kingdom. I had my camera in hand and took it easy. No need to rush out with 39.3 miles looming over my head. The weather was perfect for running even if I struggled to see where I was actually running in parts. The course was crowded and once we got into the parks there was a lot of trying not to trip over people. I ran with my camera in hand and enjoyed myself. The service roads were dull but it was incredible hitting the Magic Kingdom before the sun came up!
Magic Kingdom Christmas tree early in the morning. It made me smile as I ran into the park.

yep, this is my new profile pic
before going through the castle
I love cinderelli!!!
on the way out of the kingdom and onto Epcot via some more service road in which we ran by the parade floats
these guys were awesome. I also may have a little thing for this jack sparrow - swoon

By mile 7 we were out of the Magic Kingdom and on our way to Epcot. I was taking it easy having fun and taking in the morning. By this point the sun had come up and I was blinded. I forgot my much needed visor in my luggage. Oh well. Along the golf course I ran into Mickey and Minnie, passed them, realized who they were, and turned around to stand in the long line. After 3 trips to DW I finally got my picture with the bosses!
By the time mile 10 rolled around I honestly was ready to be done. I wasn't tired but just a little bored. This was my longest running 1/2 marathon by myself. I picked up the pace ever so slightly and started trying to make my way around the masses.

almost there!

While I didn't talk to anyone during the race I stopped and took pictures with the different characters, took my time at the mile 5 pit stop, and walked if I wanted/needed to. I actually didn't walk too and would instead slow my pace. Much most of my time was eaten up by standing in line waiting for a picture. Starting and stopping is no joke; that ate up my quads the most.

Overall I finished 2:31 and some change. That works out to 11:25 pace. A personal worst BUT one of my most fun races by myself!
back at the hotel showing off round 1 of bling to the husband. he slept, I ran.

Post race my husband and I got breakfast then headed to the Magic Kingdom. Not the best idea to walk around most of the day post half marathon but we had limited days to work with and I didn't feel much like sitting in the hotel when it was so beautiful outside! I got off my feet when I could, drank a ton of water, and re-fueled pretty well.

DAY 2: 26.2 miles
Sunday morning 3 am was a lot less easy than Saturday. I woke up in a daze of wondering where I was and what in the h*ll I was doing. I was not feeling very confident about my abilities but I had paid my money, told people I was running, so I got dressed and was on my way a lot less chipper than the day before. The start was the same as the day before but on Sunday I made a friend on the 1/2 mile walk to the corral and another one in the corral. The morning was much colder and I didn't have any throwaway clothes other than my space blanket from the day before. Honestly, I was kind of miserable those first 2 1/2 hours before the start and really questioning my ability to run a full marathon.

The start went down the same way as the day before only I was 2 corrals further back. As we took off everyone started flying by me. It made me slightly anxious through the first mile but I settled in and found a happy relaxed pace in between 10:30 - 11:30 minute miles. My plan once again was to take it easy, have fun, and finish strong with a smile on my face!

It took me about 3 miles until I finally warmed up. While I was freezing I stopped to say high to Tink and her friend...
then it was time for Epcot in the early morning.

I thought mile 10 was a good place to take a picture. On our way to the Magic Kingdom and feeling good.
Magic Kingdom in the morning. I didn't take a ton of pictures through here since it was much the same as the day before only light outside.

on the fly down main street

it's hard to see but there were trumpeters welcoming the runners

After the Magic Kingdom we headed through some more service roads to the Animal Kingdom. I stopped by the same golf course as the day before to hang with Goofy and Donald.
Around this point (mile 14 - 15) I started to find some new energy even though I was STARVING. I decided I would pick it up a bit on the back roads to get to the next park sooner. While Disney had something (music, characters, a band, etc) every mile these parts weren't too exciting. The parks are where everyone found their energy. I entertained myself by taking portraits and passing the walkers...

Mile 16 tends to be my mental block of all training runs and marathons. Have to take a picture! This is right before heading into the Animal Kingdom. And it smelled like a zoo.

they are standing kind of far away from me. I think Chip and Dale could smell me and not in a good way. At this point the bride and groom passed me and I had to hear bad marathon of life jokes from all the dj's the remainder of the run. Yes, these 2 got married Saturday night and ran and marathon Sunday very early. Props to them! I wish I had gotten a picture but I forgot to snap one when I was behind them and she was showing off her ring.

Animal Kingdom fun!

a nice spectator with her son offered to take my picture. he liked my ears - too cute! Right after this a very nice spectator had some very yummy pretzels. I was hungry!

look! I'm on the big screen at mile 21.6

almost to 22 and feeling the pain. here I'm thinking I can do anything for 4 miles! At this point I definitely allowed myself to start walking more

squirrel! love the UP dog!

Finally, around mile 22-23 we were in Hollywood Studios. My favorite park! Though I was seriously hurting. My left foot was off since mile 15 and my quads were on fire. My mantra was "Fast or slow it all hurts the same... get it done!" Again the park and the crowds gave me the lift I so needed.

the girl in the middle was hamming it up for me

down the main street in Hollywood Studios less than 3 miles left
After Hollywood Studios we headed through the Disney Boardwalk (by several hotels and over a wood bridge). A very pretty part of the course before finally heading back to Epcot. I walked more than I should have here but who the heck cares!

just before 25 and trying to figure out how much longer because I have absolutely no kick
mile 25 in France

In Epcot before mile 26 my husband found me and took a series of pictures. I was so happy to see him! It gave me the boost I needed because I wasn't sure if I would see him at all.
After passing Jacob I put away the camera and headphones to take in the last three-quarters of a mile of Goofy! I couldn't believe I was going to do it! The path narrowed but there was no jockeying for position on my end. I stayed the course. I tried to pick it up but all I had energy for was to put my arms in the air and allow my eyes to swell up as I neared the finish line. Well that, and to high five Mickey and Minnie ;)

The hubs who is a master at finding me in a race crowd found me as I headed toward the meet up tents and grabbed a final picture...

Finally, the bling that has since been added to my display. Love the bling!
Another overall personal worst but who the heck cares. For the record 4:51 and change. My last half marathon was my fastest out of both days. Which is exactly what I wanted to do! Yea a race plan worked. But seriously - what a freaking experience!!! I went into the race with a cold and not the best training because of a multitude of excuses. I came out 39.3 miles later with a pride I haven't felt since crossing the finish line of my first marathon.

After walking around Epcot after the race and seeing everyone with their medals and shirts at the park I felt like I joined a new club. There were head nods, there were congratulations, there were smiles all around. It. was. awesome.

Overall race thoughts:
Disney knows how to put on a race. Everything was incredibly organized to the minute detail and the volunteers were unlike anywhere. My only complaint - the lack of food at the end of both races. They totally want you to spend your money at the resort. Though because I was expecting more at the end it really hurt me come day 2 and I had some problems. But had I known that going in I would have been better prepared. While there are a lot of first timers there are also a lot of seasoned runners and those running with friends. Everyone there is for a fun time and it's not so serious (at least where I was in the crowd). It was an incredibly fun weekend away feeling like a kid again in some nice weather away from the snow. I recommend it to anyone and will be back in the future for sure!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

race teaser

I survived a weekend of 39.3 miles!!! and 5 days of walking around Disney World parks. It was an incredible experience and now I need to find the time to write it all down. Until I can give you the play by play I'll leave you with this...

oh yeah, I rocked those sparkly Minnie ears the entire 26.2!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

too excited to sleep

In T -12 hours I will be on my way to Midway airport for DISNEY! I haven't packed a thing, I'm in the middle of laundry as I type, I can't shake this freaking cold, and I realized I really need new running shoes. Not the best way to be leaving but I don't care I'm too excited! A weekend of 39.3 miles may not be pretty but it is going to be an experience of a lifetime!!!

Half Marathon Bib #: 26856
Marathon Bib #: 8500

Post marathon I plan to eat and drink my way around the world in Epcot. It is going to be epic!

Wish me some more luck because I need all I can get!

See you on the other side :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goofy Challenge this Weekend!

Why is it that time off from work seems to go by so fast? Maybe it is because it doesn't feel like I had much time away since so much of our time was spent running around for the holidays and sick! Yes, I'm still battling this never-ending cold. With only 3 days until I leave for Disney and 4 days until round 1 of the Goofy Challenge I'm hoping for a cold killing miracle. Though I am a lot better than this time last week when I couldn't even walk down the hallway without being exhausted for the next couple of hours. Before New Year's Eve I tried to run 3 miles and it felt okay during the run, a little out of it for taking so much time off, but then I was literally knocked out for 2+ days after the run. Yesterday I was able to run a very easy 4 miles outside and not be out of it for too long afterwards.

I've always said this challenge was to raise money for cancer research and have fun. I'm hoping this cold goes away enough so I'm not miserable or so tired I can't finish what I started out to do! I'll be getting as much sleep as I can the remainder of the week and continuing to eat healthy. I'm traveling for work later today and I'm crossing my fingers and toes the cold doesn't worsen because of the travel and stress of the job!