2016 year end review – kinda rough but getting better!

Time again for a year end recap – and this one is a bit of an odd one to write up. On one hand my total mileage is not really awful and I did manage to get in my longest race event ever, but on the other hand my weight is up, my motivation was down, I had some injuries to deal with, and I had my first ever DNF.

There were definitely challenges this year but also some moments of light – I don’t want to focus on the negative, so I will mention some of the challenges but will try to concentrate more on the positive aspects of the year.

Total miles 1206.5 – down from 1400 in 2015 and 1971 in 2014. Definitely down – my Achilles tendon issue near the end of the year did not help here and without that I suspect I would have beaten my 2015 mileage. An injury is never fun but I did more mileage in the last half of the year than the first half despite the injury, that shows an increase in drive and strength.

2016 started pretty well with the 129 day 485 mile run streak but after the streak was broken the motivation tanked. That being said the streak didn’t work the way I would have liked either – I needed to adapt the streak to training for the specific races I had coming up and I failed to do so.

I then messed up on the Spruce Woods 50k by not hydrating during the race and then the Fargo Marathon by not eating properly the night before. But for both of these races I saw glimmers of strength still inside – if I hadn’t mentally screwed up on the 50k, I could have finished quite well. And for Fargo, I ran well early on in the race and despite g.i. issues and some major heat it still wasn’t my worst race. They both represent some screw ups on my part but I enjoyed them enough to want to do them both again – so that says something.

I had some recovery in the fall but then I had issues with my Achilles tendon that spanked me fairly well and through the last few months of the year. I am still struggling with the tendon now and it will probably define the start of 2017 too.

My longest run of the year (and ever), the 24 hour Lemming Loop, got me 53.3 miles – I believe I could have gotten farther but my ankles rebelled and I couldn’t run nearly as much as I would like on the race. I probably walked about half of the distance due to ankle issues. So while it was my longest event ever it was also disappointing. But man did I ever enjoy the event…starting to think I like messing up on races…

Then, 2 weeks after the 24 hour Lemming Loop, I ran my fastest half marathon in a year and a half at the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services Half Marathon. My Achilles was really not pleased after that but it shows some solid recovery capability.

One common thing I found through the year was that I was struggling to feel strong in my legs when I ran. I finally figured out what the issue was and I understand that the issue led directly to the Achilles problems I have been trying to recover from. What was the issue? I have been running in the wrong shoes.

I won’t get too deep into the issue but to keep it simple, I switched from a high heel to toe ratio shoe to a lower one. A lower heel to toe ratio puts extra pressure on the Achilles tendon (it gets stretched a bit more each step) and since I have used a high ratio shoe for years, my tendons weren’t prepared for the extra extension and rebelled. Note to self – changing running form overnight = bad.

But I have now figured that out, gotten shoes that work with my running form and I have seen improvement over the past few months. The tendon is still healing but I am seeing some strength return. I have a lot of rebuilding to do but I am ending the year with hope that I will recover and come back stronger in 2017.

Next week is the 2017 Goofy Challenge and I won’t be running it for speed or to challenge myself – I will be doing it for fun and as a reminder to enjoy the running. And then, I get down to work to seriously rebuild over 2017. I will do another post on what I hope to do over the upcoming year – as a spoiler though, I want to do Dopey Challenge in 2018 for the anniversary year and I will be building to be stronger than I was when I did it in 2015.

So maybe that leads me to my take away for 2016 – I made mistakes, I had motivation issues, I had injuries, and things did not go to plan in any way, shape or form…but I am still running. Even injured, I am still at a spot where others might spend years getting to, and I have to be thankful for what I can do and proud of what I have accomplished.

I will be stronger in 2017.

Happy New Year everyone and keep running!

Updated Goofy Challenge Packing List – Carry on only

A few years back, I put up a packing list for the Goofy Challenge and then added another packing list specifically for the Dopey Challenge. But, both of those assumed I would be checking a bag with the airline to fly down, which is what I would normally do. However, this year I am hoping to get away with just carry on bags.

 

Why?

 

For this trip, I am flying from Winnipeg to Toronto and then from Toronto down to Florida with a couple hour layover between flights. This means I will need to do US Customs in Toronto. That’s not a big deal but it means I have to collect my checked bags at a special luggage conveyor in the Toronto airport before I go to the US entry area. I have never had a lost bag here or missed a flight but it is a frustrating thing, standing there wait for your bags as you watch the US entry area get fuller and more backed up and your flight time gets closer and closer. Frankly it is a frustration I would rather avoid this trip and it should be doable if I plan well.

 

To achieve it, I have to be more focused on what I really need to bring and what I can do without. I may also have to commit to doing laundry on the Sunday after the marathon but I will have a better idea on that as I start to pack and see what will actually fit in my bags.

 

On the bag side, I will be using a luggage piece that fits the airline’s size restriction for carry on. The trick is determining what the additional “personal item” will be and how much I can fit in it. Usually I bring a padded camera backpack into the cabin area and I might do that this time but it would be nice if I could get away with a simple messenger bag instead. Again, I won’t be able to fully decide that until I get actually packing.

 

As I split the stuff up between bags I will need to keep in mind that I might get stuck having to gate check a bag, meaning there will be stuff I want to make absolutely sure is in the “personal item” bag, just in case of issues with the gate checked bag. This means electronics and at least one running gear set in the “personal item” bag.

 

I will also try to save some space in the bags by wearing layers of clothes onto the plane. Frankly I would probably have to do this anyway. It will most likely be parka weather in Winnipeg as I head to the airport and I will not want to bring the parka with me to Orlando. So that means I will layer on clothes so I don’t become an icicle getting to the plane but I will be able to get comfortable once I am in warmer air again.

 

Wear:

 

  • Standard jeans, socks, etc (for staying warm – not much I can do here for efficiency)
  • Long sleeve running tech shirt – could be used to run if required (some efficiency here)
  • Sweater / light jacket – layering in action – but can also be used to run if the race mornings are cool
  • Nike Elements running jacket – this thing can keep me warm in damned cold weather but is still light enough to use if it is only cool out – again can be used for running or just wearing if it is cool as I am wandering a park or something
  • Shoes – I will wear my planned running pair on the plane – going to make sure I have that pair of shoes with me
  • Running gloves
  • Running hat
  • Garmin running watch (Garmin Vivoactive)
  • Cell phone in armor case and holster and a set of headphones

 

 

“Personal Item” – backpack or messenger bag

 

  • Passport
  • Race waiver!
  • Travel documents including Disney receipts for tickets to pick up, etc
  • Chargers and charger cables galore – watch, phone, laptop, etc
  • Portable battery bank (fits in my running belt and in my pockets, keep the phone charged)
  • Laptop (Surface 3 tablet actually with keyboard and hard case to keep it protected) and connectors to read camera memory card, etc
  • Headphones – I will probably have a pair in a pocket of the jacket I am wearing but I will bring a spare pair
  • Sunglasses – I would just wear them but my first flight leaves at 5 am – the sun will still be asleep
  • 1 set running clothes – shirt, shorts, underwear and socks
  • Running belt and bib belt
  • DSLR camera + one lens – I would normally take 2 lenses and a point and shoot camera but will cut that back this trip to save space
  • Kindle – I could read on my phone or Surface while flying but I prefer the feel of the Kindle and it is an easy carry so I will bring it.
  • Minor toiletries – won’t bring much since you can bring much liquid through security but I won’t need much while I am down there and things like shampoo, etc will be supplied by the hotel anyway.
  • Disney Pieces of Magic – mementos that I carry on every run to remind me of my family and have them with me on the run.
  • Electrolyte drink tablets
  • Bottle opener – for beer.
  • Magic band – being Canadian, Disney won’t have mailed out my new band for this stay but I will bring an older one to have options (plus it makes getting on Magical Express a bit quicker)
  • Nipple protectors – because otherwise, ouch. 

 

 

Luggage

  • Normal clothes – jeans, shirts, socks, etc – number of full sets will depend on room – if I can avoid having to do laundry that would be good but lounging in the pool while doing laundry after the marathon is done doesn’t seem that bad a thing either…
  • Additional running gear full set – possibly 2 to give options with a warmer weather set and colder weather set. Disney World Marathon weekend weather can be odd – I have had blistering heat warnings…and snow (curse you 2010!).
  • Running shoes – 1 pair – back up pair / walking around pair to use instead of the race pair I will be wearing on the plane
  • Space – going to have souvenirs and race items to bring home and will need that room. I expect I will check the bag on the way home so having the luggage fit the carry on size requirements but still be expandable would be good.
  • Ziplock bags – good to have to carry stuff on the race that want to protect
  • Water bottles for the electrolyte drink tabs
  • Running backpack – I carry way too much stuff on marathons but I also can’t handle PowerAde so I need to bring my own liquid fuel for the race – I find the 2 liters in the backpack gets me through a full marathon.
  • Couple of big garbage bags – easily disposable rain barrier if needed
  • Knee and ankle braces – have had issues in the past and they are easy to pack as a just in case
  • Swimsuit
  • Wipes – easy pack for GI issues on the race and a nice quick clean up after the race
  • Grooming / blister kit – bandages, nail clippers, etc – I will have to double check here exactly what I can bring in carry on bags – this may have to be modified.

 

Let me know if I missed anything!

Watch Instagram @biggoofyrunner over the next few weeks!

Hi folks – as the post title says, please check out my Instagram account @biggoofyrunner over the next few weeks.

In honor of heading into the final push towards Goofy Challenge 2017, and to do a bit of a celebration of 4 years of this blog, I will be posting a picture a day from along the route of the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon. I ran Dopey that year and had a blast hitting every picture stop I could.

Most of the pictures will be from the on course photographers taken at the various character stops but a few are taken by myself (those will be the blurry ones).

So have a look and feel some nostalgia if you have done a Disney race before or if you haven’t done one before you can see some of the things to expect.

If you want to see most of the pictures ahead of time – most of them will be coming from the post: 

Final Race – Dopey Challenge 2015 – Disney World Marathon race report and pictures!

Hope you enjoy!

Goofy Challenge training / health update – 11 treadmill miles this morning

I just wanted to get up a quick update this morning for how my training is going for the Goofy Challenge in January. Just under 5 weeks to go – I guess 5 weeks this morning until the Donald Duck half marathon!

My ankle has been improving slowly and steadily and I have been able to get some ok miles in both outside and on the treadmill. I have been careful to not push it too hard and to slowly build up. I figure I still have time to make sure I do at least one or two 20 mile runs before taper time. In fact I was hoping to do one tomorrow, but now I’m not sure.

The ankle is still doing well after 11 miles this morning and a decent speed run on Tuesday night, however I have been fighting something with my lungs I have been getting winded even doing a few stairs since Wednesday. I ended up taking Wednesday afternoon off work as well as Thursday and Friday to try to rest and get over whatever I have.

Potentially it is pneumonia as both kids were diagnosed this week (yay!) but if it is, I don’t think I have gotten it nearly as bad as they did. Both are doing well now besides the occasional wicked coughing fit – antibiotics are a wonderful thing.

So I have missed about 15 training miles this week and I absolutely had to try to run this morning even if my lungs rebelled. However running outside in the cold didn’t seem wise, so I decided on the treadmill. Also, that way if I had to call the run I wouldn’t be miles from the house.

The first 3-4 miles involved a lot of coughing but as long as I kept things very slow I was able to keep moving. In the end the 11 miles took me almost 2 hours but I survived and managed to get it done.

After the run I did some vacuuming to make sure the living room is ready for the Christmas tree and then started bringing stuff up from the basement to start the decorating later. After the third time coming up the stairs from the basement my lungs definitely decided they had had enough. So that probably ends any strenuous activity for the day.

The trick will be if I can try to go longer tomorrow. I will see how I feel tomorrow morning but hopefully I continue to recover and I can go a touch quicker and get a 20 miler in. At this point 3.5 to 4 hours would be acceptable – I just need to start getting the distance in!

Anyway – I will keep twittering and start posting more frequently as we get closer to the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.

Good luck to everyone training for any of the races! Getting close to the final push!

Update for the past week of Goofy Challenge training and ankle/Achilles issues

Just figured I would do a quick update post for my Goofy Challenge training and how my ankle / Achilles issues are impacting the running.

I managed a decent 5 miles Tuesday night on the treadmill at near the 7.5 mph mark – and my ankle felt good during the run, potentially due to running with my ankle brace on.

Wednesday I only pulled through 7 of my 8 planned miles on the treadmill. I didn’t run with the ankle brace and definitely felt issues with the tendon so I cut out a bit early to reduce any damage that I might be doing.

Thursday was a planned day off and then I ended up not running my planned 5 miles on Friday night due to ankle pain. Instead I did a bunch more icing and stretching.

Saturday morning I did 1.5 miles with the dogs (with no speed work) and 4.5 around the neighborhood after. That gave me 6 out of a planned 9ish miles for the day. I could definitely feel ankle issues during that run and also knee issues on the same leg. I think I was starting to compensate for the ankle and my knee was not happy with the change in stride.

Also on Saturday, our daughter and I took the dogs to the park to give them a good walk. Unfortunately one of them slipped his collar and went after some geese. Luckily he did come back fairly quickly when called because I don’t think I could have chased him down. The pups are just too damned smart for their own good – lesson learned…they don’t go to the park without their running harnesses on!

After that excitement we did a bunch of work around the house and yard taking advantage of the unusually warm November weather. This meant I spent another 3-4 hours standing / walking and I could definitely feel it by the end of the day.

…and that then cost me my planned 17 miles today – instead this morning I rested and stretched the ankle and did some walking around the yard. In the early afternoon we took the dogs to the park again (this time the whole family and with the harnesses!). We gave the dogs a pretty good walk and a bit of running but I felt the running parts pretty strongly in the ankle despite the brace I was wearing.

We also then did some shopping with more walking around (with me still wearing my brace) and as I am typing this I am feeling that I have worked that ankle probably more than it wants to be. So my run for the day may be completely nixed unfortunately.

After supper I will see how things feel but I hope I can do an hour or so on the treadmill tonight to try to salvage some miles but not over doing it has got to be my focus.

So all in all, I am still in the same spot as last week – I need to get more long mileage runs in to be ready for the Goofy Challenge in 9 weeks but if I do myself a solid injury by pushing too hard it won’t be a good thing either.

That means I need to push to the edge of what the ankle can take but really listen to it to make sure I don’t go over that edge and set myself further back. That should be an interesting challenge.

If it was still summer I would try to maintain conditioning using the backyard pool to deep water run but that isn’t an option right now so I will just have to see what other options I can come up with. Maybe grab a couple month membership at a local gym and use the stationary bikes? I don’t know yet but I still have hope that I won’t have to do that. I did get in more miles and more activity this week than last and in all honesty the ankle feels better than last week as well. So I am getting better but I really need to be careful!

Either way I will keep everyone posted!