Archive for January 2014

1 mile in 9:48 – first run since the Goofy Challenge – still have a flu – lungs were screaming at me

I have been out of commissioning for running since we got back from Disney World on Tuesday – my legs were fine but both my wife are fighting off a flu we picked up on our last day at Disney.  I have had fever, sneezing, GI issues, coughing and chest congestion – all combined into a not very pleasant experience and not conducive to running at all.

Most of my symptoms have now cleared but the chest congestion is still hanging on with some occasional nasty coughs.  But I needed to run and stretch my legs and test where I physically stood after the Goofy Challenge so I decided tonight no matter what I would do a mile just to break the ice and get moving and maybe blow some of the crap out of my lungs so I could do more over the weekend.

I did it, but frankly it was quite rough – the drive and the willpower were there as were the legs but the lungs were displeased to say the least. There were a couple minutes there I felt like I could really just unload and go for it but 30 seconds later I would be walking, hacking up a lung and trying to catch my breath.

So definitely not back to running condition yet after the flu but I will try again tomorrow.

Walt Disney World Marathon race report – Jan 12, 2014 – Goofy Challenge #4 done!

The day started…well I was going to type “bright and early” but to be honest “dark and very late at night” is probably more accurate…with a wakeup call from Olaf from Frozen again.  My wife and I got up, confirmed the weather and started getting ready.

A bit of a preamble – my wife hadn’t been sure she was going to do the full – when she signed us back in the fall she only wanted to do the half but there were only Goofy spots available.  So she signed us both up for the Goofy and she figured she would do the half and then maybe try to walk the full if she felt up to it.

After the half on Saturday, she was really feeling the heat and was very unsure if she would be able to try the full or not.  We both were feeling in pretty rough shape – my legs felt awful and were hurting worse than they have after any race in a really long time.  Because of the heat and how my wife was feeling (and the crowds) we didn’t run very much on the half and my legs were not feeling happy about having walked most of 13.1 miles.  Obviously running and walking use the leg muscles in very different ways and I was not trained to walk that far!  Run yes, walk no.

But as Saturday went on and my wife agonized over the decision it came down to this:  “Are you hurt or just sore?  And will you feel disappointed you didn’t try?”  We went to bed very early with the decision mostly made that she would run if she felt good in the morning.

So in the morning, we had over 7 hours of sleep and she felt good and we were off to the race!

We got on the bus and arrived at the staging area with no issues – nice and smooth.  We then did some wandering around and I reaffirmed my need to hit the beer tent when the race was done.

Shortly after we got there, my corral ( C ) was called, we said our good byes and good lucks and I headed off to highway to get in place.

While in the corral I received a nice encouraging tweet from @TwinsRun (the lovely @MalindaAnnHill was being a virtual cheer squad on twitter) – a very cool thing to see and helped get me excited for the run.  Thanks again!

Things moved quick to get corral C off and moving – it was very different to start the run in a group that spread out quickly and there was space to pass or be passed without any issues.

I was quickly able to work through my aches and pains from the day before and settled into a pace – I was surprised though that the comfortable pace was a bit slower than I would have thought being rested and relatively well fueled.  Most of my longer runs outside in the past few months have been in quite cold weather so I was also surprised at how quickly I was starting to go through the liquid fuel I had brought with me.

I generally bring a larger water bottle and 4 fuel bottles all filled with my fuel of choice and that is normally enough to get me through a full marathon but I could tell after the first hour that I was going to need to supplement with on course fuel to make it through.  So I started taking Powerade at each water stop. This turned out to have been a mistake but more on that later.

I knew by the time I was through the first hour I wasn’t going to break under 4 hours but as I was still feeling strong I knew I could still hit a new PR faster than 4:15:01.  Because of that I was passing character stops with 1-2 or even no people at them because I was still on a mission!

I have to say running down Main Street in the dark with the castle all lit up was very cool!  Normally I hit there after the sun as risen and the castle doesn’t quite glow as much – that was a good pick me up.

Coming into Cinderella’s Castle from the back side I was prepared for a bunch up through the tunnel but there was none – all the runners kept moving and the runners were spread out enough that they had marathon photographers right in the tunnel taking pictures as you run through!  That was awesome and I can’t wait to see those!

I took my first walk break outside Magic Kingdom and then motored on to the Richard Petty Driving Experience track – once again had fun on the steep slope dip entering the track.  I knew to expect the slope but I think I had a few first timers near me as there were several exclamations of surprise when we hit it.

Running on the race track was cool again but they had the cars more bunched up this time at the far end of the loop instead of spread out like they did last year.  I think I prefer how they had it last year – gave more things to see along the way and provided a longer distraction.  That being said last year the sun was up when I went through and it wasn’t this year so I wouldn’t have seen as much but it made it harder to admire each car so that was too bad.

Out of Richard Petty and on to Animal Kingdom – again passing character stops with no one getting pictures done – still on a mission – no stopping!

I could tell I was slowing down a touch here but not too bad – I was able to push things back up to where they needed to be and finished the half at just a minute or 2 above 2 hours.  A new PR was still on the table and mentally and physically I was still strong.

After about mile 14 though things started to feel off.  Now I bonked last year around mile 14 and I seem to have a bit of a curse at Disney World for this mile of the race but I kept pushing.

By mile 15 though I was looking for the porta-potties for an emergency stop.  I would have totally stopped for a picture with Ferb from Phineas and Ferb but at this point I was on different kind of mission.  Needless to say my pace dropped significantly here.

I found a porta-potty near the medical tent between mile 15 and 16 and lost a good 10 minutes there.  I somehow had completely forgotten that PowerAde completely messes with my system.  I went off my pre-planned fueling strategy and it cost me my PR (or at least close to a PR at that point).  After that I felt ok – mind was clear and legs were still strong but if I tried to get up much faster than 6 mph my stomach would start to rebel.

Going through ESPN it looked like I still had a chance at a 2nd best ever marathon time (anything better than 4:30) so I kept pushing while taking irregular walk breaks.  After about mile 21 though I knew I needed to incorporate regular walk breaks so I went 1 walk / 5 run and kept that up through to mile 24.  I did skip a walk break or 2 through Hollywood Studios – I have had a few Disney World Marathons where I couldn’t run by that point and now I make it a point to run the whole way through Hollywood Studios if I can.

Still feeling pretty good – after mile 24 I was in my happy place – I love the BoardWalk and the area around the Yacht and Beach club.  Pushed through that mile into Epcot thinking about being back in that area in 3 weeks with the kids.  Happy thoughts!

Run through Epcot was solid while sticking with a 1 min walk 4 min run cycle and I finished strong.  Just shy of 4:40 – over 45 minute improvement over last year’s Disney World Marathon and just a little bit quicker than my last marathon in June.

Overall I was able to push through some mistakes I made and put in a decent time.  Did not PR but it is the best I have ever done at Disney World – so overall I am happy but it shows I still need to do more work for my next marathon in either May or June.

After the finish I grabbed my medals and food packet and headed out into the reunion area.  I saw from the split emails that my wife had just finished the half way point about 8-10 minutes before I finished (the later coral start she had skews the numbers a bit).  Seeing her time though I could tell she was close to being swept – since my plan had been to head back out through Epcot and catch up with her to shadow her last couple miles I realized I had time to kill at that point.  I didn’t want to get out to the BoardWalk to find she had been swept either.

So I decided to have that beer I was craving and catch up on twitter.  Thanks to all including @ATurtlesPace, @TwinsRun and @azgoofydog who sent me congratulations for finishing the race.

I drank my beer and wandered around the reunion area to see if I could recognize anyone (unfortunately did not), I took a few happy, relieved pictures for folks and then decided that the PowerAde was working again and headed towards Epcot to use the bathrooms there.  I still hadn’t gotten anything to indicate where the wife was but just decided to bite the bullet and head in the direction to meet her anyway and use the bathrooms along the way.

I was sitting having some more of my runDisney snack pack when I got an email indicating that Heather had passed the 20 mile point and her pace had significantly improved – by something like 10% – pretty awesome!  Ran the math and realized that had around the right time to meet her on the BoardWalk so I began the journey that direction.

I got to the point where the bridge to Dolphin and Swan intersect with the path to Hollywood Studios and the BoardWalk and found a good place to sit and had a bit more snack.  Within 15 minutes Heather came marching up – we had a quick chat while she was walking so I could see how she was doing and she was more mentally there after 24 miles than she had been after 13.1 the day before.  Fantastic.

I started shadowing along beside the course to keep up with her, being careful to stay off the course (didn’t want to piss off any of the runners).  A few times I had to run to keep up when I ran into road blocks of people I had to get around but I actually felt pretty good and I think that actually helped my legs a lot.  I saw my wife just near the fountain before you go under Spaceship Earth and then I motored out to catch her just as she started the last straight away heading into the finish – I managed to get that on video!

I then had to wander back through security and try to find her in the reunion area  It took a while and she didn’t come out where I expected and she wasn’t waiting at the correct reunion flag and I started to get worried, couldn’t find her anywhere.  I went to try to call her but my phone was saying I had no service – had to reboot the phone and as I waited I spotted her – she had decided to go to the porta-potties and had sent me a text but because my phone had no service I didn’t get it.

In the end it looks like my wandering gave me an extra 4.5 miles on the day yesterday.

We got on the bus and went back to the hotel to rest – and I had another beer.  After a good long rest we went to Downtown Disney and managed to find seats at the bar at T-Rex and had a great supper and I had another beer.  We decided not to do any shopping and went back to the hotel and I think I was out cold by 9 pm.

Both of us feel great this morning!

Heather’s experience:

She felt good in the waiting areas and in the corrals and was ready to go once corral N was finally released.  She was feeling a bit rough for the first while and said she wouldn’t have been that upset if she had been pulled in the first couple hours but after she hit the half point she said no way and made sure she wasn’t going to get pulled.

At the half point she saw a lady with a stop watch timing the runners and the official time clock – Heather put 2 and 2 together and realized this was the cut off lady.  Heather asked and the lady said she was 90 seconds ahead of the cutoff clock.

Heather had made a washroom break in Magic Kingdom and there was no wait in the stalls – if she had had to wait she would likely have been pulled – the stars aligned there.

At the half way point she started pushing harder which was why I saw the major improvement in her pace speed between the half and 20 mile points.  Awesome push there.

She did take time to do some character stops and will have some great pictures – I guess back near the back of the pack not a lot of people were stopping as they didn’t want to get pulled.

Once she made it to Hollywood Studios she knew she had it in the bag and just kept going.  Lots of things had to go just right for her to finish and they did!  A bit of luck and a whole crap load of determination there!

She finished and says she will probably think about doing half marathons again but not so much the fulls.

But she finished upright – she is now a marathoner and a successful Goofy Challenger – how many people get to say that?

Awesome job babe!


Congrats to everyone that ran this weekend!  Great job!


Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Half Marathon report Jan 11th 2014 – Run #1 for Goofy Challenge #4

The day started off way too early at around 2:30 am when we got a wakeup call from Olaf from Frozen.  Despite probably only getting a couple hours sleep both my wife and I got up and had a quick bagel and peanut butter and headed out to the buses to take us from the Pop Century resort to Epcot and the starting line.

Somehow I had convinced myself to put on a bit of a costume – not much – a cape draped over my shoulder, a shield and a sword.  Kind of an odd set of things to do a half marathon in but being a father I have carried stranger things for a much longer time.

Don’t have a pic of the full outfit (hopefully get one in the race pics) but here is a partial:

Ted @ the Disney World Half Marathon staging area

Ted @ the Disney World Half Marathon staging area

We got to staging area without any hassle – there didn’t appear to be traffic issues and the bus transportation went clean and smooth.  They did have a new feature for the marathon with a bag check by security – I was worried that might be a bit of a hassle but Disney had several security stations and seemed to be ensuring that the checks went quickly.

The staging area was pretty standard and didn’t seem too different from previous years although I did notice a champagne and beer station that I had never seen before at the Walt Disney World Marathon – something to partake in tomorrow after the full is complete I think.

We did a bit of a wander around to look at costumes and to people watch a bit before heading through the bag check area and wandering to the corrals.

One thing I did notice different was how they released people out to the corrals after going through the bag check areas.  They seemed to open up the gates earlier in the morning to allow runners to get out to the corrals without quite as bad a backup as last year’s Donald half marathon. (link to last year’s race recap) and because of that the walk out to the highway and the corrals didn’t seem as crowded either.  This was a very welcome change from last year!

I was assigned to corral C and my wife to corral N – we had decided a while back that I would run the half portion with her (which would be the first time we have done that) and then we would go to our individual corrals for the full.  When she had gotten me the early anniversary gift of the Goofy Challenge registration she had decided she was going to the half marathon as well but the half was sold out at that point.  So Heather signed herself up for the Goofy as well at the same time figuring she would at least get to do the half and if all went well with training, etc she would do the full as well.  This would make the full her first full and her first Goofy Challenge.

That leads to the question as to why I am not running the full with her as well as encouragement along the journey.  Basically it comes down to initially she didn’t think she would try the full and I have been training to try to break my PR on a full that has stood since 2005 – with the work I have put in to run that race as best I can backing off to walking most of it would be pretty frustrating at this point.

So we came up with a compromise – I would go out with my corral and run my race – she would go out with her corral and do her race.  As soon as I was done I would get my medals, etc and head into Epcot and back out towards the Boardwalk area and wait for her to hit about mile 24.  At that point I would shadow her and give her encouragement until she took the cut off into Epcot and I would then enter through the World Gateway and try to catch up and encourage her at least a few points along her path towards the finish.  After she took the cut off toward the finish line I would go through the main Epcot gates and meet up with her in the family meet up area.  That is still the plan now that the half is done.

I thought the corral release timing was pretty good – we were in N and we were out and running about 45 minutes after the official start (I think) which was better than I expected.  Unfortunately with the heat and the crowding we didn’t go very fast and we ended doing a lot more walking than expected just so Heather could feel confident in finishing the race.  Our pace was not too bad all things considered but not particularly consistent – we started with a long walk and then started some run / walk cycles and then started taking longer walks but when we got to areas where there was a good cooling breeze we were able to run pretty decent and some of the last few miles seemed to be some of our best time wise.

We didn’t partake in any character stops but loved the scenery and running through Magic Kingdom up Main Street and through the castle were fantastic as was the distance running in Epcot.  Very nice course.  Even with the coral changes there were still some choke points that had me wishing I was up in corral C but I survived and felt pretty good the whole run.

Heather @ Magic Kingdom during Disney World half marathon

Heather @ Magic Kingdom during Disney World half marathon

Overall I enjoyed the race and my wife did extremely well all things considered with a solid finish of 3:08:25 for her and an additional second for me.  Considering that we walked almost all of it in the end this was a very good time that my wife was happy with.

I am definitely feeling the run a bit more in my legs and feet than I expected but I suspect that is due to walking most of the race – I used the muscles much differently than they are used to or were expecting.  Going to take it easy today to rest those legs (already cold soaked) and watch my diet and fluid intake to make sure there aren’t any surprises tomorrow.

Time to go rest and get a bite to eat though – so congrats to all the runners today and good luck to everyone running tomorrow.

We made it! Race packages are picked up for Goofy Challenge and money was spent at the expo!

My apologies if the following post isn’t very exiting – super tired right now after a very early start today – it may not come across below but I am extremely excited and happy to be here at Disney World and completely wired to have the races begin!

So with that said on with the day’s recap:

Early start this morning – quite possibly earlier than many doing the 5k family race this morning at Epcot.   We were at the airport in Winnipeg going through security at about 4am Central time.  I think in the end due to worrying about possible flight delays and cancellations I only got 2 hours of sleep.  This meant I spent most of the day with a headache which was lovely but I survived.

Our plane left Winnipeg about 20 minutes late due to it requiring de-icing.  We ended up with good seats though – exit row with 3 seats for the 2 of us which was pretty awesome.

Because we didn’t check any bags we were able to get through US security in Toronto much more easily than we have in the past.  In the end our plane in Toronto was about 30-40 minutes late taking off and we managed to get exit row again.  We had to juggle seats as the air crew sorted out where some kids were on the plane but that worked for us as well.  We still got the exit row seats but in the one single row where there are 2 seats instead of 3 – meaning my wife and I got to sit nicely together without us imposing on anyone else’s space or them on ours.  Was very nice.

Got off the plane about an hour late – disappointing but much better than what others went through in the past couple days and definitely better than I was expecting.

About 15 minute wait at Magical Express before heading to the Pop Century resort – check in was easy and they had our Magic Bands for us.  We then had a real quick bite to eat and then headed to the Expo to grab all of our stuff for the weekend.  I noticed some folks from the Pacebook Running Club in the cafeteria area which was cool.

From the crowds at the expo I am convinced that getting to the expo around 5 pm on the Thursday is the way to go if you want to avoid crowds!  Not very busy at all and grabbing our stuff was quick and easy.  I did have to go back and get a second clear bag for bag check as my first one started to rip along a seam.  I do have to say though that the runDisney merchandise available was a bit disappointing – just not to my personal tastes for colours and shirt styles, etc.

Lots of other shopping was done though – my wife got one of the Dooney & Burke purses and I ended up with a couple shirts from InkNBurn that look awesome.

Then had a quick snack and beer back at the Pop Century before heading back to our room to get some much needed rest!

4 miles in 33:23 – solid steady run – last miles before Goofy Challenge! Well besides running in the airport tommorrow…

Basically did the run today at a steady 7.2 mph – I would love for this to be my marathon pace for the Goofy Challenge in Disney World on Sunday but I suspect I will be slower than this though.  But felt great and it feels good to be done and ready to roll for the airport tomorrow morning.

There are still issues at the Toronto airport we have to go through on the way down to Orlando tomorrow.  They cancelled a few flights today along both legs of the journey we have to take (Winnipe to Toronto and Toronto to Orlando) so hopefully they have things sorted out soon and we don’t get burnt tomorrow.  There seems to be a few delays with the other flights along the same legs as well that appear to be getting longer as the day goes on so hopefully our early flights tomorrow aren’t as impacted by delays.  Really as long the first leg goes off nicely and we end up in Toronto on time then the second flight can be delayed and I will still be happy.  If we don’t get to the Expo tomorrow we can do it on Friday and that will be fine – but it would be nice to do our package pickup and Expo shopping tomorrow and then have Friday to do with as we will.

If all goes well our first flight takes off at 5:30 am and we will need to be at the airport before 4 am – early to bed tonight – good practice for the nights before the races!