WDW Marathon Weekend 2016 - Half Marathon

WDW Marathon Weekend 2016 - Half Marathon

Let's go on a 13.1 mile magical journey and finish the 3rd race in the Dopey Challenge. I took lots of character pictures and just had a blast and ran easy. WDW Half Marathon 2016 here we come!

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WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - Marathon and Dopey Finish

Day 4, here we go!

Woke up feeling tired but had taken it super easy the day before so my legs felt tired but not worn out and I was ready to run this marathon. I had already decided that if my body felt good in the first 5 miles then I would take it up a notch and really try to race this bad boy. It had been awhile since I had set a course PR here and I wanted to see what I could do.

This was my 5th time running this marathon and my experience and increased endurance showed this time around. But I’ll get to all that.

Woke up, threw on my clothes and was on a bus just after 4am. Met up with my Australian friends and we made our way to the corrals. It was chilly but a good running temp (~50) and I was excited to run. We got into corral E and chatted and stretched until it was time to go. Carissa and Rudy were great announcers as always as we impatiently waited for our turn. We were in corral E again and they efficiently moved through the corrals and we were sent off about 10 minutes after the official clock time.

The beginning of the course is the same as the half marathon and the characters in this part were identical to the day before. I decided I was feeling good so I said goodbye to my friends around mile 2 and kept going. Made it up to the castle and it was just as beautiful, really it never gets old.

We then wound around seeing similar characters out as the half and then were back out on the roads. We made our loop around the race track (which is super cool) and then started the journey to Animal Kingdom. It was around here that my legs started feeling sore but not sore enough to slow me down, so I grabbed some Tylenol to help my . We looped through that park and then started the slightly longer journey to Wild World of Sports (WWoS) where it is endless looping. They fit about 2.5 miles into WWoS and you just… keep… running around. It’s a bit nutty. During this part I got some pics with characters I'd never gotten before.

We finally broke free of WWoS and made our way to Hollywood Studios and the final stretch of the race. I LOVE the final miles of the WDW Marathon. I would go as far as to say it’s the BEST last 5k of any marathon I’ve ever run. You run through the studios, then the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht area, and then through Epcot. People are cheering the whole way and there are so many distractions and it’s just great and gives you a nice burst of adrenaline to kick it up for the last stretch.

My legs were tired but not completely gone so I just kept pushing, I was on pace to come well under 4 hours and I was thrilled about that. I was about to SMASH my previous course PR of 4:11. The final mile turned into my victory lap. Picked up some magic from the Fairy Godmother just before mile marker 25, waved to the crowed, waved to the pricesses, grabbed a hug from Duffy, and then set off on the last .25 mile or so to the finish!

We wove through the final turns and there it was, the finish line. I was ecstatic. I ran across with a goofy looking grin with an official time of 3:48:22.  I had not only set a new PR but done so by 23 minutes and beaten my previous Dopey marathon time by a little over a half hour. Crazy!

I had a blast at the marathon this year. Not only did a set a course PR but stopped for pictures and really just had a blast out there. I really fell in love with the WDW Marathon course all over again and also felt invigorated by completing the Dopey Challenge on such a strong note. I really proved to myself how far I’ve come this year and a little bling never hurt either.

The Dopey Challenge is a uniquely challenging experience and, I think I’m hooked. Last year’s Dopey Challenge left me drained but this year I faced the challenge as a stronger more confident runner and LOVED it. I cannot wait to push myself further next year and do it again!

Cheers until next time runners!

WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - 10k

This was my first “real” day of running. Once again my dad and I arrived pretty early, we hopped on a bus just after 4am and it was cold but not as cold as the previous morning so people were a bit more lively in the pre-race area. My dad made a beeline for coffee as I went off to meet up with my friends for the race.  I was running with my Australian friends, starting in corral A, so I wouldn’t have to wait around as long letting my legs get tired and cold as I did the day before. It also meant that were were dressed up as Anna, Elsa, and Olaf which was super fun and people seemed to really appreciate our outfits.

With the countdown from Rudy and some festive fireworks, we were off! We took the run at an easy pace and stopped for some fun characters. At the first stop a runDisney photographer came up and asked us to stay with the White Rabbit for a picture that would end up on Facebook, but then it never ended up there. Bummer.

We ran, chatted, got some pictures and had a really great time. We didn’t run into too many crowded areas (again we were in the first corral so our experience is different than others) and we finished in 1:09. The course is okay. Not great but just okay and it's very similar to the 5k course. The first 3 miles are pretty much all outside the park on the roads around Epcot.

Characters on the course included:

  • Anna and Elsa - standing on an overpass
  • White rabbit - Just before the bend on the highway outside Epcot
  • Lilo and stitch - Just after the White Rabbit
  • Mushu - China
  • Genie - Moracco
  • Mickey - Boardwalk EPSN Club
  • Tweedles - International Gateway
  • Chip and dale - Epcot West breezeway
  • Large puppets - backstage before exiting Epcot to the finish line.

We got our medals and then went to walk through the Dopey tent but nothing happened there. We just walked through. We weren’t really sure what was going on or how they were verifying the races. We grabbed our snacks and then headed back to our respective resorts to shower and nap.

Columbus Marathon - Link Up!

So I've been doing my Columbus Marathon research and one of the biggest things is that traffic is going to be a nightmare morning of, so allow myself some extra time. Along with that tip I've been reading up and learning a lot for race day.

Here are some articles I've found informative/interesting regarding the race:


Facts and Figures:

2013 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon Breaks Records
COLUMBUS MARATHON BLOG (Official)


Race Recaps from 2013:

The Nationwide Columbus Marathon (in Review)
2013 Columbus Marathon Recap
I am a marathoner! - 2013 Columbus Marathon recap
Race Recap: Columbus Marathon (Half Review)
Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon 2013 - Video recap!
Race Recap: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Half Marathon (Half Review)



I know I'm pumped (and informed) after reading these!

runDisney News/Rumors and Disneyland Half Link Up!

Hello all!

First some news and rumors from the runDisney sphere.

No Yeti to be found?

On the back page of runDisney's latest brochure, one race was decidely missed from the WDW race schedule, the Expedition Everest Challenge. This adventure/obstacle/clue filled race has long been rumored to be "retired" but it might have happened while no one was looking. Does this mean a new race is coming to WDW? Maybe the fan voted for/created rumor of the Star Wars race part 2 to complete a coast to coast challenge? Only time will tell.

Goofy Medal and Shirt revealed!

This morning runDisney released the medal and the shirt for the 10th anniversary of the Goofy Challenge. Okay, so we've seen the medal before but the shirt, that's new!

There are still spots available to take on this 2 day challenge, you can find all the details here:

http://www.rundisney.com/disneyworld-marathon/#goofys-race-and-a-half-challenge

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Link Up!

Thought I'd pull together some helpful race recaps from last year to help you all prep/get excited/feel the magic! Only 1 more week until it all officially starts!

I had a slightly different perspective on this race since I ran the half to set a new PR (which I did!) so for those saying you can't/shouldn't PR at a Disney race, I do not agree with this camp of thought. Having fun while running is very personal and for me setting a new PR is fun and makes any race worth the money! Follow your heart!

SF Marathon Race Recap

Hello runner friends!

Time to recap and review another race! This year I completed the San Francisco Marathon and finished up the 52 Club challenge which is a 3 year 3 race series where you run the 1st and 2nd Half Marathons in the 2 years leading up to running the full marathon. I ran the 2nd Half in 2012, the 1st half in 2013 completing the Half It All challenge and then followed it up with the full in 2014 and joined the 52 club! I also set a 17 second marathon PR which left me chomping at the bit for my BQ race so I signed up for the Columbus Marathon in my hometown of Columbus, OH!

Full list of challenges are on the website here: http://www.thesfmarathon.com/community/challenges/

So let's get to the race!

Race Expo

So I was late, like REALLY late, to the expo. Like 5 minutes left in the expo on Saturday late. It was down at Fort Mason this year instead of at a warehouse space near the Caltrain station like in years past which made transportation more of an issue. Driving across SF during a Saturday can be a nightmare.

I dashed in, grabbed my race bib, grabbed my tech tee, got my ID checked for my beer garden wrist band and then checked in at the 52 club table to grab my sweatshirt all in ~5 minutes. I was impressed with myself. I walked through the rest of the expo and it was the usual vendors and looked like a good spread of products. Nothing stood out as particularly good or bad, the layout of the expo was a bit weird since there was really an easy path to the packet pick up, you just had to wind through the vendors to get there.

After the expo I headed over to meet up with Patrick (@WhatThe5k) for dinner and then to crash with him at a hotel near the start line. After a hike to get GU since my order of Reload Gel never made it to me :( we called it a night!

Flat Katherine is ready!

Race Day

I was placed in wave 3 and my start time was 5:42 and with a 20 minute hike and needing about a half hour to get myself together at the hotel meant a 4am wake up call. Still not as bad a WDW runDisney race!

We got ready, packed our bags and started the ~1 mile walk to the start line. It was a nice stroll through the city and then we finally arrived dropped off our bags and then I hopped in the porto-potty line. For some reason at this race, I ALWAYS have a problem with these lines moving slow. I don't have this problem at other races. I'm probably just bad luck. So if you see me at an SF race next summer, don't get in that porto-potty line, it's going to be bad news.

I ended up missing my corral so went with wave 4, which was fine since I meandered my way to the front. With the race announcers ready, the runners in wave 4 ready and we were off!

The first miles are flat going up the Embarcadero and then through Fisherman's Wharf which always smells like delicious treats and makes my stomach pang with hunger and my head ask "why not stop for breakfast instead of running 26 miles?" Then you get to the Fort Mason hill which is steep and I just had to keep my pace and breathing in check.

We ran along the water and then up the hill to get to Golden Gate bridge. Last year we had beautiful, clear morning views but this year no luck. The fog was still settled on SF so it was a normal, foggy SF morning. Cool but not as spectacular as the year before.

We then ran over the Golden Gate bridge which is cool but since we get funneled into one lane on the bridge, it's also very crowded. I always have mixed feelings about this part of the course. We then entered back into the city and came to the "bunny hills", on the map them seem like no big deal, but at mile 9-11 they just hurt. We then enter Golden Gate Park and split from the 1st half marathon runners.

So I'm really bad at looking at maps before hand, but man, I didn't know we were going to loop for so long in Golden Gate Park. Around mile 15, we were still in gentle hills and my legs were starting to really hurt so I grabbed some tylenol at the next med stop. I should've grabbed tylenol earlier but wasn't thinking.

After looping through Golden Gate Park, we then ran down Haight for awhile and then made some turns south before turning onto familiar territory near my office. We almost ran right past my office. Miles 18 on were also very sunny! The sun was out and since we were running on the streets, there were no trees to hide beneath for shade and they probably could've used one more water stop in the later miles. As we were heading into the south east corner of the city, we reached a hill at mile 22 where my legs just gave up. I was able to push through but seriously that hill took any extra energy my legs had at that point. We then got to east side of SF and started running along the water again. Around Giants stadium and back up the Embarcadero to the finish!

Official Finish Time: 3:44:39

A new PR by 17 seconds which I'll totally take on this tough course. Wow my legs were screaming at me at the end. The finish chute was nice, nothing great but got some water and chilled out for a bit while waiting for friends before heading into the beer garden.

Overall, the SF marathon is a great city race and a great challenge for anyone looking for a tough road race. With hundreds of a feet of climbing, it's a great test of your hill training. The course really tours the city well too!

Will I do it again? After running basically the same course 3 years running, I might take a break next year and continue my 50 state marathon challenge elsewhere. Or I might do the Tough Enough challenge, time will tell :)

Pros:

  • Great course
  • Great challenge
  • Good swag and a variety of race types
  • Easy to get to race start
  • Easy to get into if you are looking for a big city race

Cons:

  • Hills!
  • Water stops less frequent than I'd really want
  • Food at the end was lack luster (dry muffin anyone?)