2016 Disney Marathon Recap

Warning: this post is probably filled with more details than you want. I have a lot to say about (spoiler alert) FINISHING MY FIRST MARATHON! Yep, I finished. But I’ll start from the beginning.

We got down to Disney on Friday around noonish and headed straight over to Epcot to spend the day. We rode a few of the good rides and then walked around all the countries. We stopped for dinner in Canada and then decided to call it a night. Everyone was pretty tired from the drive.

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Saturday my dad and the hubs played golf while the madre and I went to the RunDisney Expo to pick up my race number and grab all my race goodies.

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Then we met up with the boys and went to dinner at Rainforest Cafe. I carbed up with my favorite pre-race meal, pasta and red sauce.

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The hubs enjoyed a nice Carona-Rita in my honor.

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Fun fact: I love Disney. Naturally, I wanted to do all of my favorite things while I was there. There was a lot of walking the two days before the race which made my feet pretty sore. I soaked them in epsom salt on Friday night and foam rolled a lot and wore my compression socks. But I think all the walking had an effect on how I felt on race day. Everyone did their best to make sure I was sitting as much as possible. Side note – how cute are my parents?!

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I went to bed nice and early on Saturday. I had to be on the resort bus by 4:00 am to make it to the race on time. I woke up around 3:15 am, had half a bagel (that I bought the night before at the hotel) and drank a glass of water. I brought the other half of the bagel and my  Honey Stinger waffle with me. I knew I would need to eat again before I started running.

I got to the race right at 4:00 am and found a place to sit down and people watch. There were plenty of amazing costumes and lots to take in so I was pretty entertained. I decided to start walking over to the start line at 4:30 – it was a 1/2 mile walk. I found my corral (L) and took a seat. The race got started right at 5:30 am and I started getting butterflies. To calm my nerves I put on some Lady Antebellum on my iPhone and just focused on the songs and tried to settle down. As we got closer to the start line I switched over to my race playlist and started getting excited. At 6:14 am, the gun sounded and my corral was off!

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The fireworks at the start of each group were fun. Disney does a great job of making each race a big deal for all the runners. So, we were off…and walking.

I was able to see the total number of race participants yesterday – just shy of 20,000. I was in corral “L” out of “P.” That means there were 11 other groups that started in front of me, and I was in one of the last corrals. I was not able to submit a proof of time for this race because I hadn’t run a half marathon within the date range that was required.

Here’s the deal – the great thing about Disney races is that they are pure entertainment – a big event full of lots of fun for Disney lovers. That means it attracts a lot of people who are there for the spectacle, to stop for pictures with each character, at each mile marker, in front of each park. Runners, walkers, run/walk-ers, everyone wants to participate. Being in the back, I’d say 90% of my corral was either planning on walking the whole race or were doing some kind of run/walk interval. That was probably true for 50% of the groups that started in front of me. Some parts of the course were so narrow and/or so packed full of people that I was walking. My mom snapped this picture of me when I passed them at mile 7.7 (pink hat, blue shoes).

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We were packed in one lane on the road. And this was almost 8 miles in. You guys – I literally couldn’t move. There was no weaving in-and-out of people to get to an opening. There were people everywhere. And many of them were walking or keeping a slower pace than I wanted to maintain. At certain parts of the race it was so crowded that we were all just walking – I walked through Cinderella’s castle because so many people stopped to take pictures and no one could get around them.

Meanwhile – my parents and the hubs went to breakfast with the characters after they saw me at mile 8. They were killing time before meeting me at the finish. Rude.

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By this point, I knew that there wasn’t enough time left in the race for me to pick up my pace enough to make my goal time – I would had to have held 9:15-ish minute miles to make up for the time I’d lost. I was averaging anywhere from 10:30 miles to 12:00 miles through mile 10. That wasn’t going to happen. At mile 10 it opened up a little bit but there were still certain points that were too crowded to hold pace. It was frustrating and discouraging. But there was nothing I could do. I just couldn’t.

I decided to just accept it and didn’t look at my watch anymore after mile 10. So I got to pay more attention to the course which was fun. Animal Kingdom had snakes, sheep, a donkey, a pig, and a hawk welcoming us into the park which was really neat. The castle at the Magic Kingdom was still covered in Christmas lights. The disco tunnel through Hollywood Studios was awesome. And finishing running through the countries in Epcot was probably my favorite part. All in all, it was an enjoyable race.

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So yea, I finished the darn thing. My official time was 4:54:51. Out of 19,838 total finishers, I finished 4,945th. I finished 1,787th out of 10,315 women. My average mile was around 11:22. I’ll take it. I felt strong in my training, my body felt good throughout the race and I was able to run the entire time without having to stop and rest – except at water stations. My takeaways are 1) don’t do a Disney race if you’re looking to reach a certain goal time and aren’t able to show any proof of time, 2) Disney really knows how to put on a running event, and 3) I have the most amazing and supportive friends and family on the planet.

After the race, I took a nap. Then we all headed to the Boardwalk to ESPN Zone for my favorite things – beer, burgers, and football. Perfect ending.

I plan on taking this week off entirely. My body is pretty darn sore and I just want to let it rest before I start working out again. I need to reset my brain and it will be nice to sleep in and not have to think about training or the gym or anything. The reality is…I’ll probably be itching to get in the gym by Thursday or Friday. Maybe not, maybe so. But I need a break. I’m so so so happy that I was able to make this thing happen, 26 miles in my 26th year. I’ve worked so long for this and I did it. I freaking did it. Hallelujah.

gogals

 

 

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My Plan, Some Music, and Thank You

26.2 miles is A LONG WAY. Granted, I am running this race at Disney and, for those of you who have never done a Disney race before, they literally entertain you the entire way. There are characters, dancers, statues, funny signs, and then add on to that miles and miles of running through the parks. It really is the happiest race you can run.

Still, have I mentioned 26.2 miles is A LONG WAY? One of the most important things I’ve learned during training is that what I’m listening to during my runs can literally make or break a run for me. For those of you who can run without music or who don’t find motivation/distraction in what you’re listening to you…bless your soul.

Not me. So I knew I would need a game plan for what I was going to listen to through the race. Someone was definitely looking out for me when they decided to start Season 2 of the Serial podcast right before my race. I’ve got episode 3 to listen to which is approximately 55 minutes. I’ve also got 1 hr and 15 minutes of Mindy Kaling’s second book, Why Not Me, left to listen to. My plan is to start with the book and finish that out during the first 7ish miles. Hopefully that will help me start out nice and easy. Then I’ll switch to some music until probably mile 15, hit up the Serial podcast through mile 20 – 21, and then finish with music.

What’s my music plan? Oh – glad you asked. I’ve got a good mix – some rock, some hip hop, some country, even some Disney songs. But I wanted to point out a few songs on my playlist that have a special meaning to me.

Rachel Platten – Stand By You

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Isn’t she precious? That’s my mom. Basically I heard this song on the radio and thought, “Oh that’s a sweet song, I’ll run to that!” The instant it came on during my run I started thinking about my mom. She’s basically the greatest mom ever. I know that this song was written by her to be sung to me because this is how she feels about me. I have always known that my mom would do absolutely anything and everything for me and she would always be right by my side as my biggest cheerleader no matter what I was doing. And if I ever struggled she would give me all of her strength to keep pushing through and overcome anything. She’s the most selfless person you’ll ever meet. This song is kind of like having my mom running right next to me and filling me with her strength. I’ll probably cry when it comes on, and probably when I pass her cheering me on during my race. I love you mom. You’re my pride and joy, xoxo.

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Eminem – Lose Yourself

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The hubs LOVES Eminem. He’s from Detroit so it’s kind of required that you like him. This song is from the movie 8 Mile and always makes me think of the hubs. He’s been so encouraging through this whole process, always there with kind words and a hug when I had a bad run. He’s told all his coworkers and his family how hard I’ve been working and they’ve all been so encouraging. And he’s put up with my crazy obsession with sticking to my running plan and arranging our weekend around that. He’s been a trooper and my daily encourager. Again, I’ll probably cry when I run past him. Love you babe!

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Iggy Azalea – Impossible Is Nothing

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Blondie posted about this song a few months ago and how it helped push her through a run one day. I listened to it and loved it too. Now it makes me think of her. She bought me the shirt I’m wearing on race day to help keep me motivated – she’s basically the best. Even though she can’t be there with me on race day I know she’ll be cheering for me (from the comfort of her warm bed) and I’ll be able to soak up all her support when this song comes on. Thanks for being so encouraging friend. Love you!

From Mulan – I’ll Make A Man Out Of You

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This song…it cracks me up. Mostly because my Roomie for Life loves it so much. I just picture her singing it to me at our apartment when we lived together and I die laughing. She gave me a pretty legit list of other rap/hip hop songs to add to my play list, too. But this is my song for her. And even though it’s not this trip, one day I will get her butt down to Disney with me and it’s going to be epic. Love you roomie!

Braiden Sunshine – Amazing Grace

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The hubs and I were big fans of The Voice last season and one of my favorite performances was by this adorable 15-year-old named Braiden. He did a version of Amazing Grace that brought me to tears. This is a special song to me. It’s my song for my great grandmother who died 17 years ago.  The hubs’ grandmother passed away at the end of last year and they played this song during her memorial. Naturally, it became my song for her too. This song gives me a lot of strength when I’m running just knowing these people who loved me so much are looking down on me and cheering me on. You can get his song on iTunes, but I couldn’t get it on my Spotify playlist. So here’s a link to when he performed the song on The Voice. Trust me, watch it.

Thank you to any and everyone who has supported me throughout my training. I’ve felt so much love from so many wonderful people, I just want to give you all a big hug! Thank you times a million!

Here’s a sample of a few songs from my full playlist:

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And, finally, my race day outfit.

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And, for after the race – this amazing tank courtesy of my mom.

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Well, we are on our way down to Disney as we speak! Thanks for all the love and support you guys have shown me! I’ll be back on Tuesday with an update!

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New Year, Better Me

Everyone has heard that saying, “New Year, New Me” right? The beginning of the year is full of all kinds of resolutions on how to make you “new” and improved.

Not this girl. This year I’m going with, “New Year, Better Me.” First things first – you all saw my new toothbrush, right? A better year starts with better teeth! Although, fun fact, I’ve never had a cavity. Just trying to keep it that way.

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After my race is over I plan on taking the running down a notch and trying out some lower impact exercises. A new Pure Barre studio opened up by my house and I just bought a two-week pass. I think it’s important to vary your exercises so that you don’t get burned out and un-motivated. Running will always be there for me and my goal is to always keep in half-marathon shape (long runs between 8-11 miles). But I also want to work on toning this year and getting my “best” body.  I’m sure there will be a number of new gyms/studios, classes, or training workouts I’ll be trying and sharing! And races, I’ll still find some races to sign up for too of course.

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I found this nifty list on, duh, Pinterest. I’m a super clean freak – I clean all the time. It’s a stress reliever. But I’m always looking for new schedules or routines to try out. I think a lot of the things this blogger lists are pretty easy and make sense to help ease into each week. Things I plan on implementing to my Sunday routines:

  • Wash and change the sheets
  • Wipe down bathrooms
  • Pick out work and gym clothes for each day
  • Vacuum (I added that on my own)

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After my race I want to reset my body. I’ve been putting in excess fuel so my body has enough energy to sustain my runs throughout the week which usually meant a lot of carbs and not as many vegetables or proteins. I’ve heard the Whole30 diet is a great way to reset and get your body on the right track focusing on natural foods and eliminating things like grains and sugar. I ordered my book on Amazon (only $18) and I’m excited to give it a try! Stay tuned for my thoughts…

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I’m not going to lie – I stole this from one of my favorite celebrities, Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill was my ish back in the day). I think it’s perfect. I know there are plenty of ways to make me the “best” me this year. But the most exciting part is that this year I’m going to actively search for those opportunities with wide eyes and open arms! Bring it on 2016!

 

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Anyone ever tried a Pure Barre class? What are some of your favorite ways to exercise besides running?

Have you tried (or know anyone who has) the Whole30 diet? 

Holiday Recap and It’s Getting Close!

Welcome to 2016! I hope you guys had an awesome end to 2015! I definitely did, but unfortunately I was REALLY busy having fun and didn’t manage to take a lot of pictures or post anything. My sincerest apologies.

I’ll do a quick recap in the form of tweets, because no one has time to read more than 140 characters these days…

We took Christmas Eve very seriously…

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My first Christmas away from home was made much easier thanks to amazing family who made us feel right at home.

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One of my favorite gifts from the parentals. My mom gets me. Proudly displayed in my kitchen.

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Flying at night is really pretty.

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This was the only picture I could come up with on New Year’s Eve. It’s fireworks, in case you’re confused.

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New Year’s Resolution (which I don’t really believe in, just go with it) started with healthy teeth. Try not to be jealous of my cool factor.

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Hanging out at the bowling alley with friends amps up my cool factor, right? Good, because we do a lot of that.

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Right before we left for MI our garage door opener blew up. The hubs spent all day installing a new one. I’m a proud wife. Also, this addition makes me excited.

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Most importantly, I decided to ditch the Asics and rekindled my relationship with Nike. Enter – Cinderella shoes.

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Week 17 Marathon Training Recap:

Monday – 8 miles ( tried to make up for my lack of long run in MI)

Tuesday & Wednesday – Off

Thursday – 3 miles easy

Friday – 5 miles

Saturday – Off

Sunday – 6 miles easy

Total: 22 miles

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Only 4 days until we head down to Disney for race weekend and 6 days till race day! This week will be filled with carbs, foam rolling, early bedtimes, stretching, and hydrating. Start sending good vibes my way! My mom found this Google Maps video of the race course. It’s pretty cool to see the parks I get to run through, I’m getting excited!

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Did you have a good Christmas and New Years? 

Any tips on what to do the week of a marathon?