Monday, January 30, 2012

Pirates arghhh

 Who hear likes pirates? I sure do, the great thing about the history of pirates is that a lot of it is real. Pirates did rule the seas around the Carolina's down to the Caribbean over to Africa and even traveled to India. They were a very varied group of men and women. One of the interesting things i learned is that the Pirate ship was pretty democratic, every crew member had a say unlike the ships of the various empires those ships were pretty draconian in leadership structure.

  So what comes with pirates?Pirate treasure of course and treasure maps, X marks the spot and all of that great lore. Of course buried treasure is basically movie magic but who cares its all about the sense of adventure, swashbuckling,  big wooden ships with sails catching the wind as our heroic pirates rob and murder some merchant vessel and take whatever they were hauling. I'm sure the silk merchants from India did something terrible to deserve having their ship burned and the crew killed of forced to join the Pirates crew.

 What's this all about well it has a lot to do with my idea i talked about on Facebook recently.

Stay tuned because things could get interesting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lets wrap this up.

 As I begin the second half of the marathon or as I was counting it the final 1/3 of my journey I started to encounter these blob like creatures that were starting to overtake the course. These blobs were groups of runners who were taking very long walk breaks or were just resigned to doing a very fast walk. Whatever they were doing is fine by me I would never judge anyone whose out there moving but there is an etiquette during a race to keep it down to two abreast.

 I continued stopping for pictures with the characters but the lines have really begun to stretch out from 30 seconds to a few minutes so I decided that after the Pirates of the Caribbean picture I wouldn't stop again. The stretch between the magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom is in my opinion the dullest stretch of the race which only makes entering into Animal Kingdom that much more enjoyable.

 As I was entering AK a female runner came up to me and asked what my shirt was about. The shirts logo is Run For Our Sons. The fundraising arm for PPMD which raises money for research to find a cure to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. So I explained the charity and we began talking about running. It turns out she is originally from South Africa but currently lives in San Francisco. This was her first Goofy as well and she is a fellow long distance trail runner. We ate up a couple of miles running and talking and then she stopped to take some pictures so we said goodbye and I continued on.

 Here is where it got pretty interesting. Last year as I was leaving the Animal Kingdom I was stating to feel worn out. My energy stores were just about done and I was fatiguing. You exit the Animal Kingdom through a side gate and are led around the perimeter to where you actually go past the main entrance and then back out onto the highway.

 Mile 18, this is where I fell to pieces last year. I had nothing left, I had 8 miles to go and I could barely put one foot in front of the other. This year though was completely different. I headed down the highway a bit apprehensive expecting to crash again but it never happened. I felt fine, in fact I felt just as good at mile 18 as I did at mile 1. I knew that as we ran there would be an annoying section coming up. Before we could enter Hollywood Studios we had to head down another stretch of highway for a half a mile loop around and then head right back up it. I hate these sections in any race. I especially hate this one because of how terrible I felt last year. I did pull over this year only because my right foot, the one I strained in December felt like I had tied the laces in my shoe way to tight when in reality the laces were nice and loose. So I adjusted the shoe and moved on.

Mile 20, into Hollywood Studios and to get there we have to run up the last "hill" the final on ramp of this adventure. Here is where I knew that I had become a changed runner. Instead of glomming onto one of the many walking packs I began jogging at a nice clip around them like I was moving around a bunch of roadblocks. Up the hill without a second thought and into Hollywood Studios. Right before you enter the park you pass yet another food/water station. This one had a gummy bear like thing that was gross and little chocolate bars that I personally couldn't eat. The combination of running and a mini chocolate bar didn't sit well with me.

 Were in the park proper now and when I hit the park last year I was in agony. I couldn't function correctly, i was highly agitated and if any spectator cheered my name I snarled in disgust. This year I was practically begging people to cheer me. I kept running right next to the roped off audience high fiving the crowd. The nice part about leaving Hollywood Studios besides only having 4 miles left is that you head to the boardwalk. The highway system is done. The boardwalk leading to the Yacht Club is terrific. You run along a body of water which is a nice treat and through the Yacht Club area which I would love to stay in and asyou are doing this you can see that Epcot is literally right in front of you. This means mile 25 is right around the corner.

 Mile 25, Epcot, the end is nigh. You enter Epcot and if you went straight you would be a 1/4 mile to the finish line but we make a hard right and begin to loop through the nations of Epcot. Passing the 25 mile marker is one of the greatest feelings you can have. Running that last mile was such a great feeling but man it felt like 3 miles.. I wanted this race over so even though I started to feel tired around mile 22 I turned it up and decided to zig zag past all of the walking pods. Even last year in absolute exhaustion I mustered up enough energy to run the last mile. Looking at that giant orb in the front of Epcot and knowing that as it gets closer I get closer to being done. Here comes the ball, there it goes, we make a right turn away from the orb and into the waiting arms of the local choir. 26 miles down, 2 tenths to go!!! Once you pass the choir you get make a final turn and you run straight into the grandstands where thousands of people are waiting to cheer you on. It's such a great feeling, one that everyone should experience if possible.

 Here comes the finish line a final high five to Mickey and Minnie and i'm done. Race over, 39.66 by my watch. As soon as I was done I walked over to get my Mickey medal walk a little further and there it is My Goofy Medal, sure there were thousands of Goofy medals but one of them was mine. It was made specifically for me. I took a few pictures, grabbed some complimentary food and found my family. I greeted them with a huge smile and immediately started talking about how much fun that was. The furthest thing from last year when I ran over the finish line and right into the medical tent. Then I hobbled to my family and felt like I had been dragged through the 26.2.

 Yet again this weekend exceeded expectations. The race was filled with water, food, and aid stations. It started on time and ran really smoothly. Bravo Run Disney. I will see you again.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Part 4, the big day.

 The 3:00am wakeup call on saturday was no big deal, the same cannot be said for sunday. That was a brutal. When I looked in the mirror my eyes were so bloodshot you could hardly see any white through the
overlapping freeway system of blood vessels.The one thing I didn't have to worry about was my body. I woke up and physically felt fantastic. My quads were a the tiniest bit sore but overall I felt great.

 Anyway, Because I just did this routine 24 hrs. ago I was able to prepare without really thinking about it at all autopilot all the way. Loaded with gear, full of instant oatmeal and Source of Life shake I head to the monorail once again. The buzz is still there, the monorail is still full of other runners waiting to get taken to Epcot so we can once again walk a mile to start running 26.2.

 I'm not sure who the dj's were they had doing the commentary at the race start but the have that morning banter down pat. They were overly happy for no reason like most morning show dj's but they weren't horrible.

 Fireworks, wave goes, fireworks wave goes etc. until wave D my wave is up and were off. I took it SLOW I mean the first couple of miles I felt like I was crawling but I knew this was the smart play. 26.2 is a long way to go especially since i just did 13.1 the day before.

 Heading down the highway I start thinking about my plan, Relax, take your time, stop often for pictures with characters. The exact opposite of what one would normally do during a race. I was running the Goofy for enjoyment and to also prove to myself that the breakdown that happened last year wasn't going to happen again this year. That with proper training I can run a marathon without hitting the wall so hard that my legs have a hard time moving fwd. and my entire emotional state goes haywire.

 Hey theres Professor Von Drake and old school character i'm going to stop for a picture. In my enthusiasm I rested my arm on top of the characters head and as soon as the picture was snapped whoever was in that costume shook my arm off and glared at me through those big plastic eyes. Sorry professor!

 Heading Epcot is awesome, its still dark so Epcot is all lit up and the music is playing its fantastic. Every time you enter a park its a fantastic feeling, your off the highway and surrounded by cheering spectators and cast members and best of all your off the highway and surrounded by wonderful Disney distraction.

 Alas the times int he parks are short we are quickly back on to the highway this time we are looping around and headed toward the Magic Kingdom but first there is the teaser that is the TTC. The TTC is the transportation and ticket hub. It looks like its the beginning of a park but no it's just a hub, sure there are tons of cheering spectators there but its a quick respite.

 Tons of runners in costumes Tinkerbell and Peter pan and pretty popular which I guess makes sense. Since I was documenting the event I passed a lot of time people watching. So many people of different shapes and sizes running the marathon or goofy for the first time. Lots of different charities are represented at WDW runs my favorite sign is GO BILE! I don't know what the research is for all I know is that whenever I saw the GO BILE sign I started cracking up.

 We leave the TTC and head on the highway toward the Contemporary, I told Danielle that i would get to the Contemporary around 8:00/8:10 but I actually got there at 7:50. I crossed a median and actually stopped to text her that i was early.....I didn't get to see her because although i will slow down to send a quick text i will not hang out and wait for an indeterminate amount of time that's to far.

 Ah the Magic Kingdom, what a terrific place to run through. We followed the same route as the half but that didn't take away from the excitement and the energy from the crowd is even bigger on marathon day. Unlike yesterday I did stop for cast pictures in the MK, Princess Tiana, and the croc. from The Princess and the Frog., Alice and the Mad Hatter I stopped to get a nice shot of the castle before we ran through it. The walkway through the castle covered in an amazing glass mosaic, beautiful. During the half the Pirates of the Caribbean ship was positioned as you leave the MK this time is was Mary Poppins, I passed. Once you leave the MK you're almost half way or in my case two thirds of the way done.

My next post will talk about the second part of the marathon. Until then....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Part 3 of my Disney adventure

 As I stated in my last post we were herded out of the Magic Kingdom and back onto the long and lonely highway system of WDW. This is where I began to notice that the route was really narrow some one mentioned that it felt like we were running a half marathon single file. My other main observation about the half is that unless you were in the first two corals and were looking to PR you were going to have a hard time. this race was crowded.

 Alright, i'm cruising along and a little before mile 10 another Run For Our Sons member catches me and we begin to chat for a while. Talking the miles away is a terrific thing when you get to do it. At the 11 mile marker she was puling over to stretch out a bit since she is recovering from 18 months of surgeries and rehab. Also Bob Wisner from S.I.A.C. passed me as we approached mile 11. It was great seeing him as his own journey is pretty incredible. The elevation for both races is as close to nil as you can get. The inclines that are there are basically on ramps for the highways. these are annoying as hell because they are curved and banked and with the masses of people surrounding you it was hard to find a comfortable lane.

 Hello Epcot, this half is basically over. We have a mile to go and you get to run in the park to do it, A quick loop around the Christmas tree past the big ball a final pick me up from the choir an then you run into the cheering masses of the crowd as you have less than a 1/4 of a mile to go. There it is theres the finish but hold on big man no big sprint, this is only the end of the first third of your ride so cruise on in, get that duck medal and head home. That's what I did and the next post will finally be about marathon sunday.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Goofy part two......and away we go

 So, at 3:30am on thur jan. 5th we all get up to get ready for our 4:30 van pickup to take us to Newark airport. The van shows up right on time, we begin to load up and I go back in the house for one last looksie. By the time I come back out were all packed up ready to go. I hop in and were off to Newark. Smooth sailing doesn't cover how well this is going we get to the airport minutes after 5:00am our flight isn't until 6:50 so were doing amazing. Van unloads, driver gets tipped me begin to check in and my computer bag is missing............PANIC, HORROR, unbelievable. I did the same thing last year. I left all of my electronics on the couch and had them sent fedex over night. This year I didn't know if someone stole my laptop, if its still in the van, was left on the sidewalk, or the best scenario is it still inside. I frantically texted Mike my brother in law and begged him to go over and see where it is. Thankfully he took pity on me and drove over while it was still dark to find my laptop in its black case on my sidewalk begging to be stolen. Major crisis averted by the kindness of Mike Bonanno.

 In one text I went from panic to elation. The laptop stayed at home which was fine by me, now we can sit back wait to be called to our flight and head to WDW. Boom, insanity number 2, the second half of our party is stuck at baggage and will not make our flight! There was still 40 minutes until take off yet they were told they will be placed on a later flight. Only 35 minutes behind us so no biggie.

 Were on the plane, we take off, we land, it was that simple. On to the resort, its nice. Off to the expo, I like expo's, lots of fun stuff to look at and buy. You get your bib, race shirt(s) swag etc... I bought a 39.3 window cling, an $8.00 item thats all I wanted besides I can't squeeze another t-shirt in my drawer so I was able to pass on the very nice but pricey running gear.

 Let's get to it shall we, race day #1.
Friday night we all go to the pasta party held by Run For Our Sons the charity that I raised money for and ran in honor of. I got Danielle a surprise birthday cake so after dinner we went back to the hotel had some cake and I retired to prepare for the half. I laid out all of my gear, food, water, camera you name it I was ready.

 3:00am and my wake up call does the job. I spring up relatively easily start my breakfast and begin getting dressed. By 3:35 i'm out the door headed to the monorail. There is a noticeable buzz as I walk to the main building where the monorail passes through. You would think that at 3:45 in the morning it would be me and the night time sky all alone, nope there were tons of runners getting ready. eating, pacing, relaxing. It depended on who they were and how many big races they have done before. I was getting excited but overall still very relaxed. I hopped on the fairly full monorail and away we went to race #1.

 You get dropped off where the races end and you get to walk a mile to where they begin. As we began our journey I struck up a conversation with a fellow runner. It turns out he is also from Staten Island and a fellow S.I.A.C. member I know his first name is Rob but I cannot remember his last name, hopefully I will see him at one of the meetings.

 I slid into my corral and waited. Its a little after 5:00 and the race starts at 5:30 but i'm in the 4th corral so I had to wait an additional 15 minutes before we were set free. FINALLY were off, its dark, but not really that cold and a half mile in I was warm enough. I gotta say that the half was a very relaxed event. They sent us out on the highway and we were on our way to the Magic Kingdom. The park wasn't around the corner it was about 5 miles away but along the way Disney lines the road with local high school bands, performers, and Disney characters that you can stop and get a picture with. I didn't stop at all during the half I just kept to my relaxed pace and kept chugging along. I stop a lot during the full as you will later read.

 We passed the Contemporary resort where the rest of my party was all tucked in their beds as I cruised on by. On to the Magic kingdom, they circle us around to a side entrance and guide us right on to Main Street U.S.A. where the crowd was aligned with spectators and cast members. To say this is a thrill is an understatement. It's amazing, the energy you get from the crowd is so overwhelming. We head through World of Tomorrow and are running right through the back of castle. I felt like a fancy little princess as I passed through Cinderella's castle into another swarm of adoring spectators. From here the road goes through Frontier town and out the back gate as we head on back to Epcot.

and with that part 3 will finish up the half and lead us to the full.

part 1 of my WDW Goofy weekend

 Now that i have a few moments I can begin talking about my recent journey. Where did this begin? I started thinking about doing the Goofy last march so i guess I will start there.

 After I completed my first marathon I figured that was fun now I will move on to other things, but then a strange thing happened my  family all kept talking about how much fun they had and how they wanted to do it again. This time though they will know how to plan maneuvering around WDW better. So here i am fresh off my first marathon, bummed by my performance and there all talking about going back again next year. Once I realized that I was going back I decided that I might as well go all the way and sign up for the Goofy.

 I officially signed up through the Run For Our Sons charity and I was off. I decided right away to dedicate  2011 to completing the Goofy, you see the 2011 WDW marathon was my first marathon and before that the Staten Island Half of 2010 was my first half race until then every race I did was under 10 miles and when I hit mile 18 at WDW I crashed hard, really hard. I was gallowaying it and i thought i was doing great but lack of training and preparation, not eating correctly the morning of the race etc etc led to a horribly painful finish and i was not interested in doing that again.

 Instead of 12 weeks of trail and error training I had 10 months to get ready. I kept myself in god running form all spring having fun at local races and once June hit I began in earnest on my Goofy training. Weekends began my back to back training, whatever i did on sat i would double on sunday. i started pretty simply 5k/10k slowly increasing my runs every other weekend and using the middle of the week for tempo, intervals etc...

 The most important thing I did was joining group runs. The Greenbelt started having friday night trail runs and once fall arrived they swithed to sat. and or sun. morning. This led me to officially joining the Staten Island Athletic Club a local running club filled with amazing runners with way more experience than I and they welcomed me with open arms.

 November was by biggest month as far as mileage wise. Every week was at least 50 miles of running with just about every weekend averaging 30 miles on just those two days. I knew once December rolled in with the holidays and all the other distractions i was going to have a hard time getting the runs in besides it was taper time!!!

 December 10th the day I almost  threw it all away. Dec. 10th was the inaugural Staten Island Trail Festival. A 5k, 10k, 25k, and 50k were available to run that day. I signed up for the 25k. I was ready for this race, I train on the trails for the majority of my training so i knew this course inside out. We start off at 8:00am and on this beautiful day I feel fantastic that is until at the 1/4 mile mark I step into a hole and twist my right ankle. This is not a great start but it wasn't that bad so I pressed on and by mile 4 I felt pretty good by mile 9 I had no pain what so ever. The problem occurred at the 11 mile mark when i stepped in a second hole with the same foot and this time i really wrenched it. I knew I only had a few miles to go so I obviously continued only this time each mile was increasingly more painful and I crossed the finish line looking for a huge bucket of ice to shove my foot in.

 A little rest and the ankle survives! I continue my Goofy training with a new found wariness but ever present resolve.

 Wed. jan 4th the night before we leave for WDW. Everything is packed I'm feeling loose, relaxed, ready. I planned all year for this weekend and I am completely ready to get started.

part 2 soon, shaky start to the trip but it all works out.......or does does

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Goofy weekend recap and moving fwd.

 This is a going to be a short post. I am going to be doing a couple of large posts related to this past WDW weekend. In short it was a blast, you know things are fantastic when you finish 39.3 in two days and immediately say how much fun that was.

 I just finished a huge event and instead of looking back at what I should have done it has propelled me to look fwd, to what I want to do next. That's a great way to know you succeeded.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Goofy's race and a half challenge's training run

 It's so close I am consumed by headed to WDW. My bags are already packed and if I could leave right now I would.

 I spent from June of 2011 to jan. 1st 2012 training for the Goofy. All I am doing this week is relaxing, stretching, and rolling. When i get down there on thursday i'm going to hit a few miles out just to loosen up my legs.

 When I get back I am going to be pushing my wellness programs throughout the 5 boroughs. It is going to be a hell of a year.