Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

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Goofy Part II

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday morning arrived quickly. We did our best to fuel and prepare for our race.  I took an immodium to prevent a reoccurrence of yesterdays “issues.”  Hope took Tylenol in the morning. She was sore from yesterday and though she remained positive, I knew she had concerns. I added some Tylenol to my bag of enduralytes just in case Hope would need some on the course. My goal was to stay at her pace, and run happy no matter how long it would take us. 

Parking was much easier than the day before.  Weather was a perfect 55 degrees. We unsuccessfully looked for some of my friends then headed to our corral.  We stayed towards the back of the corral knowing it wasn't a racing day, and for a rare moment in Hope’s mind, it was about just completion.  With Tylenol already on board, we hoped it would take the edge off. 

When it was our time, we set off slow, but steady.  We had some of the same scenery, however when you have twice as much distance yesterday’s halfway becomes just another mile. This year, we stopped for a couple fun pictures where there weren't lines, but were good for a laugh or memory. 

Hope had waves of pain and calm throughout the race.  Times she could push the pain back and times that it broke through for only a moment.  Halfway through she took more Tylenol and made the decision that she would need to walk the water stops in order for her to finish the race.  For most races and runs, I would hyper focus on pace and time, yet this year was about time spent with my best friend. My watch was running, but I only looked at the half way mark to see where we were.

We hit the half way point at 2:09 not a bad clip on a painful broken leg.  I felt good, but worried about how much pain she would tolerate to finish the race.  I had no doubt in my mind she could finish.

Hope is not your normal endurance athlete.  She has done 30 hour adventure races and scaled Mt Rainier before her 20th birthday.  She’d been to Iraq and back, giving another meaning to relentless. This was about proving to herself, as well as others, that she could do this. I wasn't one to stand in her way.

Running at a slower pace than usual, I found it difficult at times to maintain without wanting to speed up.  My ADD nature makes me a very erratic pacer.  Anything from a song, a cheer, or a funny sign made me happy and I’d speed up.  Hope gently reminded me to slow back down quite a few times by saying, “I would like to finish this race.” If I ever want to be a successful coach, I will have to work on that A LOT.

A marathon regardless of pace is a painful event. Emotions and thoughts become raw and many times the catharsis that happens is hard to explain to someone who has not run one (or longer). Your legs ache, you get tired, and the demons play games in your head. I did my best to push that away and focus on my friend and what was around me. It worked. My demons sit inside miles 17-20. For Hope, mile 18, where her IT gave out several years ago.  These miles are especially tough at Disney because they are at wide world of sports and one of the least “entertaining” areas of the course.  We started looking for Hope’s family around mile 18. and found them around 19 or so. Seeing them made the world of difference. We paused briefly for pictures. Having a familiar face at just the right time is a HUGE mental boost during a challenging event.

Mile 20 came and we found a steady rhythm. The hills and more challenging areas are towards the end of the course when you are most fatigued and the cheers really matter.  Mile by mile the pain was increasing as the Tylenol wore off.  Finishing was now the focus.  I could not take the pain away, but just offer silent support to make it through the last big section. 

The boardwalk section before Epcot is both beautiful and challenging. It is quiet, serene and less “pomp and circumstance” winding you along a curving path by water and then along a boardwalk.

When we turned into Epcot, quiet changed to a scene out of an epic running movie.  Amazing inspirational music blared throughout the park as we traversed the last 1.2 miles to the finish with park patrons and staff cheering you on.  You could feel the energy pick up and the crowds become more alive as you got closer to the end.  Rounding mile 26, you are greeted by the Disney Gospel Choir followed by the right turn into the finishing chute. It is overwhelming as you are met with an absolute uproar of cheers. We caught a glimpse of Hope’s family cheering and we stepped it out just slightly to cross the finish line with arms raised in triumph; another Disney marathon completed. 

I walked away happy. I was not spent or exhausted, but content that I ran the race I intended.  The lesson learned this year was that I had found my love for running again. It was just what I needed to get me back to where I wanted to be.  I found my “why” again; for the challenge, for the energy, for me.  2015 is off to a great start. 

Now time to get back to work.
Love, Cindy!

Goofy Race and a Half Challenge: Part I

Thursday, January 22, 2015

For the past 5 years, January has meant one thing to me, and no, it isn't New Year’s Resolutions.  January means Disney Marathon Weekend! 

Every January, for 22 years and counting, Disney puts on a huge event for runners and fans of the Big Mouse. Each year it has gotten bigger and more popular than the year before with most races selling out six months before the event.  Geared towards runners and their families, the celebration offers both fun runs and certified races over the course of four days, culminating in the Mickey Marathon. Ten years ago they added the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge and last year they added the Minnie 10K and the Dopey Challenge, which I was fortunate enough to run its inaugural challenge last year.  You can read about it HERE.

This year, I ran the Goofy Challenge with my best friend, Hope.  We have run this marathon every year for five years straight. Each year, the goal has been to PR but this year was different. Circumstances had altered our plans. 

Five months ago, Hope had a freak accident during a cross fit workout.  She had been rope climbing, misjudged how high up she was, and jumped down from five feet, landing on part of the rope causing a crush fracture of her right tibia.  This is a very painful fracture because it doesn’t heal like a normal hairline or clean break would.  As a result, she rehabbed her ankle, lifted weights to strengthen, and due to the pain of impact did little running. 

Not wanting to waste the race ticket, she chose to run and just see what she could do.

Disney really knows how to put on a race.  The Expo is always huge, but somehow seemed to have more booths this year. Personally Raw Threads was my favorite, containing great Disney themed gear. We ended up getting our Goofy tanks for the race from them.

New to packet pick up this year was the added “mug shot” taken directly after receiving our bibs.  This was done for both the Goofy and Dopey challenge participants to prevent “shared effort” for the challenge.

Apparently, Florida got the memo I was coming down, since the cold front came with me and stayed while I was there.  Good and bad for me.  Good for running, but bad for wanting to get some Vitamin D and sun therapy while I was there. 

The half and the full marathon both had a 5:30am start, meaning arriving to the race area one hour before.  Once you get through security, there is a huge area for the families and loved ones of runners to head too as the runners make their way to bag check and the approximately one mile shuffle to corrals.  There are 17 corrals separating over twenty thousand runners by pace. 

Of the two days, the morning of the half was the colder and since we were less worried about time, we weren't complaining much. You could definitely see the difference between the northern and southern runners in their tolerance to 40 degree weather. Despite arriving later than planned due to new traffic patterns, we made it in plenty of time to the start and headed on our way. 

Prior to this race, Hope hadn't run more than a 5K at one time, so it was a good gauge for how tomorrow would go.  We set out at a decent pace, a balance between racing and holding back.  Her leg was painful but manageable and figured out things like sharper turns and the banks in the road aggravated it more.  We put those thoughts in our memory banks as we would need them tomorrow. 

A little more than half way through, I was having some – well – “issues” and was mentally deciding the better of two options: the spot a pots on the course or wait till after the race.  Since the half was less about time and more about getting a feel for how tomorrow would play out, we took a pit stop between miles 9 and 10.  Time for Hope to stretch her foot and time for me to get rid of some “unwanted baggage.” We picked the pace back up. Minus my pit stop, we had navigated all the water stops successfully without stopping to walk.

We finished in 2:00:33 - faster than the year before but with less effort. 

Hope was in considerable pain. Our post-race goal was to get back, get breakfast and get her off her feet. 

Once rested, stretched, and foam rolled, we took it as easy as possible. We met out cheering crew, Danielle and Shannon, (who drove out to cheer us on in the morning) and had dinner.  After tons of talking, we parted ways for us all to get ready to do our part in the morning. Flat Cindy and Hope laid out, hydrated and fed, we did our best to rest, knowing 2:30 would get here quickly.

We had no idea how tomorrow would hold.

Love, Cindy

Confessions of a Novice Runner #6: Coming Back from an Injury and the Voices In My Head

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It’s funny, prior to running I have sprained ankles, pulled muscles, and broke toes and it was not a big deal. Now that I run, it is a big deal. Especially when you pull muscles that you don’t notice until they cause a chain reaction affecting other things in your body. Next thing you know, you have a sports massage therapist, a Physical Therapist that specializes in dry needling (yes…it really is as bad as it sounds) and a slew of PT exercises to do on a regular basis. 

And let's not forget how awesome we feel after not running for a while - NOT!

To add insult to injury – pun intended – you also have every person you know commenting on how their friends, neighbors, cousins, uncles, Boston Running friend had the exact same issue and “this” is what it is and they were sidelined FOR LIKE EVER. Ok…maybe it wasn't that bad but it certainly seemed like it.  

Of course, once you do get back to running you are stuck listening to the voices in your head that create an entirely ridiculous inner dialog. Last weekend’s run went something like this:
It hurts.
No, it doesn’t. It’s in your head.
No, it most definitely hurts.
It does not hurt. You are imagining it and with a wind chill of negative one, how would you know if it did hurt.
I am most positive that it hurts and I should stop.
Seriously, get out of your head. Nothing hurts but your butt is frozen.
Wait! Something does hurt but maybe it normally hurts.
Yes. This is normal running pain.
No wait! It’s been so long since I’ve ran that I don’t remember what that feels like.
OMG!! I’m doing permanent damage and will never run again.
I think my face is frozen.

So amuse me and tell me that I’m not the only one that goes through this coming off of an injury?

It's In the Bag

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, when I started running it was with the intention of only running a 5k and checking it off my bucket list. However, it is amazing how dynamic that bucket list can be with a 5k turning into a 10k and then into a ten miler and then to a half and a full and, most recently, turning into a 50k.

With that ever so dynamic runner's bucket list comes a shopping/wish list of wants and needs. Anyone that has ran for any length of time can attest to the fact that the running gear can kind of TAKE OVER your home. Along with the takeover, comes the increased chance for some important item to get left behind the day of a long run. I've run out the door with my fuel belt but no fuel or water pods. I've also ran out the door without my rosary - yes, I run with a rosary tucked away...you know, because the only way that God is going to hear my prayer of "OH MY GOD...PLEASE JUST GET ME THROUGHT THIS RUN" is if I have that. And don't get me started on my list of stuff I must have post run.

As the runs got longer and the amount of stuff I needed/wanted to have increased, I started throwing everything into a bag to grab and go. That bag has taken on a life of its own but has eliminated my need for a pre-run scavenger hunt around the house. It houses all of the essentials, the non-essentials, the just in cases, and the in case of emergencies.

Here's a quick glimpse of what's in what is now referred to as my "Running Bag:"

  • A first aid / foot care kit
  • Allergy meds including my epipen
  • Body Glide 
  • Sun Screen - because, when you go from original to extra crispy in 10 minutes or less you always carry it with you.
  • Baby wipes and deodorant - I volunteer and sometimes run before the race I'm volunteering at. Baby wipes allow for a quick wipe down before volunteering so I'm not stewing in my own funk the entire time.
  • KT Tape and accessories
  • Gear cleaner
  • Endurolytes
  • Toilet paper - again - the bag is stocked for trail runs and road running
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Spi Belts
  • Fuel Belt with water pods
  • Bug spray

Everything packs up nice and neat inside one of my old gym bags and Ribeye, our little Bison Mascot, hangs out on the outside of it for moral support. 

Now I'm only left with figuring out what to wear fore each run but once I'm dressed, I can grab water and my bag and roll out the door.

Do any of you have a running bag? 

I’M MAD _____ (ADJ) FOR #NOEXCUSES 2015!

Monday, January 12, 2015

To kick off the #SweatPink #NoExcuses Challenge today, the we are doing mad lib posts!

  1. Copy the questions below
  2. Fill in the blanks with your own answers
  3. Get 3 of your friends to do the same! #NoExcuses!
Tweet: I'm making 2015 the year of #NoExcuses. Join me & @GBConquer for Monday MadLibs. http://ctt.ec/QtM8T+

Hey 2015, it’s me, Theresa! (nickname, spirit animal, real name, blog name)

This year I would like to conquer some fears, complete the Blue Ridge Mountain Marathon, and run a 50k trail race.
It would also be super duper awesome if I also advanced my yoga practice this year. It’s not a resolution, though, just a reminder to myself to try and have the best year yet because I deserve it.

The thing I am looking forward to most this year is running Blue Ridge with my Partner in Crime.

I’ll use the one thing that truly gets me out of bed in the morning which is a banana protein shake and PlowOn Gum to help me get up, get my butt moving and get after my #NoExcuses 2015.
Speaking of excuses (ahem), my very favorite excuse is "I'm too weak" and I have used it to get out of doing pull-ups and upper body work on more than a million (number) occasions.

I vow to move my body and be more healthy this year even if it means I have to do all the upper body exercises I hate and possibly burpees (dont' hold me to that last part.) Even if my alarm clock gets eaten by the dog cat in the middle of the night, I'll still get my assets moving. I will stop blaming the gremlins for eating the rest of the plantain chips when everyone knows it was really me.

My work schedule [job, hair, car, husband, kids] are not the reason I make excuses. I will show my work schedule [same as before] who's boss this year and get my run [type of sweaty activity] on.

I know that running and weight lifting [type of workout] is better than ice cream. [noun] I will reward myself by getting pedicures (my apologies to the poor woman that has to do them.

No Excuses 2015 has just begun and already I am imagining myself a winner. I can’t wait to rock a 1208 Ladies Jazzy Open Back Tank (article of clothing) from Augusta Active. I can’t wait till my sweaty friends are jealous of how fresh, clean and funk free (adj) I am between workouts with help from ShowerPill body wipes. I can see myself rocking Utthita Trikonasana[yoga pose / workout move] in new capri-me 3/4 leggings [article of clothing from Actio926] from Actio926 and looking fit and fly while doing it. And of course, I’ll be taking my workouts to the next level and improving my core [noun] with my new ActivMotion Bar to help me train for my next Half Marathon [distance] race with Sasquatch Racing.

Oh, and let’s not forget how amazing my favorite hooded pull-over [article of clothing] will smell in my / during my vinyasa yoga class [favorite type of workout] after washing with some WIN Detergent. And lastly, I’ll keep rocking my 2015 with clean eats and nutrition from Beaming with Health!

Now Tag, Tweet, shout-out, call, text, fax or email 3 friends to take this survey and share how they will have a #NoExcuses 2015. Remind your friends to simply fill in the underlined parts! 

Love, Theresa

Cindy's Lessons from Mickey

Saturday, January 10, 2015

When this goes out, I will be in the “Happiest Place on Earth” in the land of the giant mouse, Disney World. I will be embarking on my fifth Disney Marathon as part of the 10th Anniversary Goofy - Race and a Half Challenge January 10-11, 2015. The course has changed once in that time, but the hype and fanfare that accompanies this race does not disappoint. It is on many runner’s race bucket list for a reason.  It wasn’t mine on mine but it was my first marathon when I lived in Tampa and running around Disney has taught me many things over my five year marathon career.

Disney Marathon 2011

My very first marathon occurred after months of prodding and encouragement from my Best Friend to have me run a marathon with her. I signed up on a runner’s high the day after a successful half marathon in November, leaving me with roughly six weeks to train for a marathon. I do not recommend that to anyone but it’s what I did. I taught fitness and just ran a half, so was “half” trained and absolutely petrified.  Yet when I crossed that finish line in 4:58, my entire life’s perspective changed.  


Disney Marathon 2012-The Goofy
With more time and a plan to train, we set out for crazy town and decided that two races is better than one and signed up for Goofy Race and a Half Challenge.  We cross trained and had a longer running plan. We had a bold goal: Sub 4 marathon for me AFTER a half marathon.  I seriously was questioning my Best Friend,  Hope’s, sanity.  We had our share of encouragement and also those that said I was “not a good enough runner” to drop that amount of time off of my marathon.  The words I will never forget occurred around mile 17 when we caught up to the 4 hour pacer team.  What the nay Sayers didn’t understand was the one thing that can make the difference; you run with your HEART.

I completed my Goofy Challenge with a 3:57 marathon, a 1 hour PR.  

Lesson Two: Ability takes you but so far. It is your WILL and HEART that will see you the rest of the way through.

Disney Marathon 2013 20th Anniversary Marathon

For lots of reasons, logistical and personal, I will say that this year’s training sucked.  Since my BFF was training for other events, I did only minimal training with her and was left to do many solo runs. I spent a lot of time in a very bad headspace and only eked out two 16 mile runs before the race.  Being a very hot marathon (heat advisory) only added to the misery of that day.  On one positive note, I got to interact with a few runners that had done all 20 Mickey marathons and received tons of advice from the veteran runners.  This was also the first marathon race I ran solo (my training partner paced another friend) and prayed for death many times while fighting back the demons telling me to quit.  I did prevail and ran it in 4:28.

Lesson Three: Running is mental and can make or break your training and your race.

Disney Marathon 2014: The Dopey Challenge

I moved away from Tampa the summer before this race as a part of the transitory life of a military family.  Once again, my best friend and I went to crazy town and signed up for the Inaugural Dopey Challenge:  four races in four days (5k, 10K, ½ Marathon, Marathon) for a total of 48.6 miles for charity as part of Team Autism Speaks.  Our initial goal was to run the first three as a training run and race the marathon, a very bold move indeed.

We added a fall marathon to our training schedule and trained together but separated by 1000+ miles.  I joined the Annapolis Striders group to help with running and created friendships that are priceless. Their support was overwhelming and donated nearly half of my needed funds to run these races. 
Training was difficult and heartbreaking initially but I learned a lot about myself over 6 months. I learned to train and put the miles on my feet on my own as well as improved my nutrition.  I gained the confidence that I never knew I had.  

When the time came, we ran those races, and nearly pulled out an epic Boston Qualifying PR time of 3:45:59 missing the cut off by less than a minute.  

Lesson Four:  Don’t be afraid to dream BIG and reach for what may seem impossible.  You just may surprise yourself.

So as I am fighting back from injury and a challenging fall race season, I am unsure what lesson Mickey and his marathon will teach me this year.  With each new experience, one gains wisdom and perspective.  I will be sure to share my new lesson in my Goofy race recap very shortly.  Until then, I hope for swift feet, a clear mind, and a strong heart.