29 November, 2011

Updated Course Maps for January runDisney Races

Earlier this month, runDisney posted new race course maps for the January races but most people weren't too thrilled about them.  They were very basic and hard to read.  Plus, they didn't have any mile markers, etc.

Luckily, new course maps were posted!  It's still the basic maps from earlier, but this time they added mile markers, water stops, etc.  Makes them slightly easier to understand.  I still like the old maps that had a lot more detail but these are definitely better than earlier.

Also, both the half and full marathon courses have stayed exactly the same.  A friend on Running of the Ears sent an email asking about changes, and the response was that nothing has changed.  That's a great thing though because I actually really liked the full marathon course!

Here's the new links to the maps:

2012 WDW Marathon Course Map

2012 WDW Half Marathon Course Map

2012 WDW Marathon Relay Course Map

2012 Family Fiesta 5k

28 November, 2011

Regrouping and Refocusing

Helloooooo out there!  Haven't been around for a long while apparently.  I just realized my last blog post was over 20 days ago on the 7th, yikes!

Apologies are appropriate, but I will say that I needed the slight break.  After the Marine Corps Marathon, I was pretty burnt out with everything going on.  Work, school, life in general, running, and blogging were near impossible to juggle so unfortunately the blog was thrown on the back burner.

But now I sit here with about 5 weeks until the Goofy Challenge at Disney and the excitement has started to build again.  Before I could sit down and seriously think about running and cross training though, I needed to put a few things in order.

These past two weeks I tried to semi-organize my life.  The bedroom was cleaned, the drawers were rifled through, clothes donated, finances looked over and budgets created (seriously...you guys need to download the Mint app on your iPhones...I'm obsessed).  School work was organized and I now can see the finish line for the semester.  To-Do lists were created (and will hopefully be adhered to) and then I finally headed over to the gym to talk to my gym owner.   

I walked into the gym mid-last week and sat down and flat out said I'm burnt out and bored out of my mind with my workout/running routine and I needed a change.  I knew I didn't want to stop running (nor could I with Goofy so close) but I needed a complete kick start to get me back in the mood to do something active.  Until then I was seriously just going through the motions of attempting to work out and get my runs in but I wasn't enjoying them at all.  I'd get to the gym and would immediately want to leave.  I'd hop on the treadmill for a 4 mile run and a mile into it, I'd stop since I was so bored.

The owner of my gym is pretty fabulous (if you're reading this...Hi Bill!...apparently some gym members found my blog recently when researching Disney races hehehehe) and being an insane ultra marathoner himself, totally knows the feeling I was having.  My gym is unique in that the owner sits down with each member and after taking measurements and asking what goals we have, creates a specific and unique workout routine for each individual.  Each night he'll look over your workout card from that day where you wrote down how many reps and how you felt, and make suggestions about modifications, weight increases for exercises, etc based on your comments.  Every 8-12 weeks, he'll revamp the routine based on your new measurements and new goals, etc.  It's semi-personal training but he's not hovering over you every step of the way.  I love it.

To help get me back int he swing of things, I somehow got conned persuaded to join in on the 7 Mile "Black and Blue" Boot Camp the Friday after Thanksgiving (Black Friday...hence the name).  The boot camps are always a serious ass kicking but they're usually only 3 miles, if that.  I knew I needed to throw in a long run this weekend so I figured why not, right? :)  Fast forward to Friday and the boot camp did exactly what it said it was going to do...kick my ass and give me some bruises.  Each person had to wear a weighted backpack ranging from 5lbs to 20lbs depending on your gender, weight, pace, and strength.  I had a 6lb pack filled with water bottles.  Every half mile of the boot camp, we'd stop on a lawn, in a parking lot, in a park, or on a school track and do some sort of insane exercise.  Walking lunges, full situps, pull ups, running backwards on the track, etc.  You name it, we probably did it.

OK, maybe we weren't THAT hard core...

Luckily though, the boot camp was just what I needed.  I felt great after and it helped get me motivated to continue on with this workout thing finally!  I even went to the gym this morning to start the week off right!  Hopefully my new routine will be ready by tomorrow so I'll get to test it out after work.  Also on tap for this weekend is a 16 miler, and POSSIBLY my first back to back long run.  We'll see how I feel though. :) It blows my mind that we're only 5 weeks away from Goofy!!

So hopefully I'm back to blogging as well.  I have a few things to post about the Disney races that I should have up by this week.  Nothing earth shattering though so don't get too excited! :)

07 November, 2011

Always Earned Never Given...Marine Corps Marathon Recap!

I'm back!!  And I survived....barely!  :)  Ready for some picture overload??

I knew this would be a tough race...a much harder course than Disney, plus a lack of training.  Not a great combination in the long run!

After a carb load dinner with the gang the night before, I headed back to the room to get all my things in order.  Hit the pillow probably between 10 and 10:30pm.  Not too bad I guess.  The alarm was set for 5am but I woke up at 4:30am wide awake.  Quickly got dressed and then ended up sitting in the bathroom area while I ate breakfast and played a few games on my phone to pass the time away while the others slept.

Patrick and Daniel showed up around 6:30 to drop their bags off (my hotel was right by the finish line) and then we headed downstairs to meet some of the ROTE gang by 6:50am.  Plenty of time for an 8am start, right?? Yeah...we thought so too!

Lots of runners in the hotel lobby (pic thanks to @DanielWanderman)

The boys and I ready to run!
Walking to the starting area

Beautiful sunrise over the Washington Monument

Started walking towards the start line with a ton of other runners.  The walk didn't seem too long, but then we heard them announce that the parachuters had already jumped.  Wait..really?  What time was it?!  7:30...hmmm. Started picking up the pace a bit. 

Paused the walk during the prayer, 7 gun salute in memory of 9/11, the National Anthem, and the Osprey fly by (which was pretty damn cool).

Miles, the MCM Mascot! (pic thanks to @DanielWanderman)

Race time is coming up QUICK and we still hadn't dropped our bags off and all had to run to the portapotties one last time!  So yeah, no one had mentioned that bag drop off was SO far away from us!  We started hustling even more and finally saw where the drop off was and had to hurdle a few highway dividers to get there.  Before getting there though, the wheelchair start happened.  Crap!  Only 15 minutes until race time?!  Ran to our specific UPS trucks and handed over the bags.  At that point, I lost Daniel and Patrick but was still with Eric.  Eric and I waited a bit but then decided to leave them since time was running out and we weren't all running together anyways.

Rushed back up towards the corrals and veered off for a pit stop.  Luckily at the expo I decided to spend almost a million dollars so I got access to the Brooks VIP Portapotties.  Not gonna lie, they were pretty fabulous!  Heated, running water, etc.  And the volunteers outside were handing out mints and candy and were wearing tuxedo shirts.  It was cute!

Fancy potties!

Met back up with Eric and we finally made it over to the 4:30-5:00 corral.  Barriers wouldn't let us over but there were a ton of runners hanging outside the barriers waiting for the gun to go off so we joined them.  I hated feeling so rushed and didn't get enough time to properly stretch.
Loved all the official photogs around the race start!

Yes, I dig Marines :)

Finally the race started!  As the runners in the corral started moving, some of the barriers were moved and we all managed to squeeze in.

Inching towards the starting mats
OK, I hate to say it...but the race is honestly a pretty big blur.  I'll write down everything I remember but I know I'll be leaving out huge chunks! :( 

The first few miles through the Rosslyn area flew by.  Eric and I were NOT too thrilled about all the hills but we gutted them out and got through pretty quickly.  Our goal was to finish the race in 4:45, 13 minutes faster than my Disney time.  We were keeping up a great pace for the first 13 miles and even had a slight buffer for most of the time but more on that later. 

One of the first 'inclines'
Somewhere between miles 4-7 I get a tap on my shoulder and look over and it's Jennifer from Running Through the Castle!!  So glad she spotted me because I'm honestly oblivious every single time I run.  I never notice anyone.  She was running her first full with her BFF and they looked awesome.  After chatting for a bit, we lost each other before heading into the heart of Georgetown.

One of the worst hills on the course was right before Georgetown.  We saw people coming down the hill and the incline was pretty steep and all I could think about was how steep the hill was to actually get that high up the 'mountain'.  Luckily though, Eric and I joked around a bit and there were a few entertaining shirts and costumes along the way. 

Couldn't agree more!
More of this crazy hill!
After getting through the hill, Georgetown was great to run through. The crowd support was awesome and I attempted to take it all in. 
Pic thanks to @DanielWanderman
The next few miles all jumble together. I checked my phone and saw that my friends were waiting for us around Mile 10-ish.  We were still on pace for our goal, and we actually look happy in the photos!! :)  Saw my friends (thank God they were screaming my name b/c did I mention I'm oblivious?!) and it was an awesome boost to see them.  Put a smile on our faces and gave us a little more energy. 

Running past our cheering crew!

Around Mile 13 or 14 I felt another tap on my shoulder and turned and saw my friend Matt from home!  He was running his first marathon and had just gotten out of the Marine Corps.  He and his uncle decided to run the race together but Matt ran up ahead when his uncle started slowing down.  I seriously have NO idea how people recognize me while running!  We chatted for awhile and decided that Matt would join us in the rest of the run since running solo can get pretty boring!  

The three of us ran together for 4 more miles or so, then...I have no idea what happened!  I checked my phone again and read that my friends were by the Korea War Memorial, but didn't give a mile marker.  It was quite entertaining listening to the 3 of us trying to figure it out.  People should know that they can't give runners any hard questions or decisions during a race!  I remember telling them to be roughly around Mile 16 so I just hoped it was around there.  Luckily, I was right!

We stopped for a few seconds to say hi and to retrieve a banana that I requested.  After a few more waves and hugs, we were back on the road.  After the Mile 17 water stop though, we lost Eric in the mix.  I saw him ahead of us but I think he thought that we were ahead of him so he picked up the pace to look for us.  Was definitely bummed when I realized that Eric was gone for good though, we were great at motivating each other!

From here on out, the race just got HARD!  Not sure if it was because my cheerleader was gone, I was definitely under trained, or didn't have the right nutrition...but I felt myself going downhill. 

Around Mile 19, Matt's back started to really hurt, my butt and hamstrings started to scream, and we were just NOT thrilled.  We stopped for a good 3 minutes to stretch and I think it helped.  Not sure if the two of us complaining to each other helped or hurt the mental game going on in my head.  I tried to eat the Sport Beans that they handed out but they were like cement in my mouth.  I ate one and spit the rest out because I just couldn't swallow them.

We knew the bridge was at Mile 20 so we agreed to at least get to the bridge as fast as we could shuffle and then if all else fails, we could walk the last 6 miles (yes, that was my mentality then!).  The Bridge of Hell was NEVER ENDING!  I knew it was long, but like Melissa or Jennifer said, Mile 20 was at the start of the bridge, Mile 21 was ON the bridge!  We walked a fair amount of the bridge and then I remembered that the ROTE crew was waiting on the other side!

We shuffled down the bridge and I saw them all and it was SO good to see them!  Unfortunately I just wasn't in the mood for any of the snacks and goodies that they were offering so after a quick hello, we continued on our way.  In my head I only had SIX more miles and I could be done with this race.

Like Melissa said in her recap, everyone kept talking about how awesome it was to run through Crystal City.  Honestly? It did NOTHING for me.  I hate out and backs (like Melissa) so seeing the runners who had less to go than me was killing me.  Plus I thought the turn around was NEVER going to happen!  The only amazing and motivating thing was seeing these two guys taking turns carrying each other the whole entire 26.2.  Totally insane and inspiring!

I had asked my friends to try to meet me around Mile 23 but I checked my phone while still on the bridge at Mile 21 and they said they'd meet me at the finish area.  Not gonna lie, I was kinda crushed.  I had NOTHING to look forward to until the end so I lost all motivation.  :(  Knew the final few miles would be even harder. 

Around Mile 23, I also lost Matt.  I was mentally and physically done and I felt bad holding him back.  He started running again and I just told him to go without me.  Then the mental games really started!  I was SO excited to get to the Munchkin food station and then when I took a bite, it so wasn't what I expected!  I must have been getting dehydrated because I could barely chew the donut so tossed it.  SO SAD!  

I decided to walk for a bit, which ended up being about a mile.  I kept trying to motivate myself to run but nothing was working!  It also didn't help that almost EVERYONE around me was walking as well.  I texted my BFF asking if it was ok to cry and she said yes, as long as I kept on moving!  Haha!  Luckily I held back the tears.  Finally around Mile 25 I stopped to get a rock out of my shoe and 3 girls were sitting on the shoulder cheering.  We chatted for a few seconds and they could tell I needed some extra oomph so they asked for my name and then cheered for me for a LONG time as I ran away.  So THANK YOU ladies!!

Their encouraging words made me pick up the speed a little and I refused to walk the remaining 1.2 miles!  I also think Marines and other spectators could tell I was struggling because more and more were commenting on my shirt!  One female Marine said, "If you dig Marines, I promise you there's a few hundred at the finish line!  And they're single!"  I seriously think I snorted and couldn't stop laughing.  It was just what I needed. 

I had heard about the horrible hill to the finish line and I refused to walk up it.  I saw the finish line banner and was beyond relieved! I think the look on my face says it all, no? 

I see the finish!!!! (maybe...or this could have been Mile 23 hahaha)
So apparently it doesn't look too bad, but the hill sucked!
Andddd we're done!!!
Crossing that finish line was amazing! I didn't choke back tears like at Disney but I tried to sit and take it all in. I had finished the Marine Corps Marathon! It wasn't a pretty couple miles at the end but before even getting my medal, I knew I'd be back to run it again one year in the near future.

After getting a mylar blanket handed to me, I quickly got in line to get my medal.  I wanted to see what this baby looked like!  It was a huge secret leading up until the race and the MCM refused to give any hints.  Even at the expo, there were no pictures!

The Marines handing out medals shook each runners hand and said congratulations and thank you.  The lady in front of me started crying and asked for a hug from him, which made me get a little teary eyed as well.  When it was my turn, I had a huge smile on my face and made sure to thank the Marine for everything he's done.

Then I figured a picture with him wouldn't hurt, right? :) 

And no, I didn't ask if he's single!  But he's been the running joke with all my friends lately.  So if you're reading this, hottie Marine?  Thank you :)  And if you're single... my email is on this blog somewhere...ha!

There were photographers right after the medals to snap quick photos, and then ones in front of Iwo Jima to take the official finisher photos.  Obviously had to wait in line for that one!

I quickly texted my friends and they were all at Ruby Tuesday's getting food and drinks.  Was slightly jealous about that so said I'll try to make it to them quickly.  Slowly hobbled through the food lines to get my gatorade, water, and snack pack of goodies.  I really had wanted to find the massages but I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and realized that I passed it at some point.  The thought of turning back around made me realize that a free massage wasn't worth the pain!

Picked up my bag from the UPS trucks and quickly threw on a jacket and my Uggs.  My feet loved me for it!  Then I told Daniel and Patrick that I was heading to Ruby's to meet up with the gang so they eventually met up with us.  After a beer and some food, I felt a million times better! 

And how freakin AWESOME is this medal!??!?

Amazing Bling!  (pic thanks to @DanielWanderman)

Overall, it was an amazing race and I will definitely do it again!  However, I'll make sure to get the proper training in.  The course was a LOT harder than Disney, but I should have known that since Disney is ridiculously flat.  The crowd support and Marine support on the course blew me away.  I think the only other race that could top this, in terms of crowds, would be NYC.  Plus, I'll try to make sure that I have some support during the last few miles of the race.  Didn't think I would need it as bad as I did!

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement!! :) 

02 November, 2011

New 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend Course Maps & Race Program!

I was in the middle of writing my Marine Corps Marathon recap when I saw that runDisney posted the course maps for all of the January races, as well as the race program!!

Then I calculated... the race weekend is in NINE WEEKS!!! Yikes!

Looks like the course maps are VERY simplified compared to previous years.  Also looks like some things have changed but I'm not sure if that's just due to the simple maps.  Although definitely seems like the marathon is NOT running around World Showcase and past Yacht & Beach Club this year?  Meh.  Don't like that.  World Showcase was one of the best parts! 

Honestly?  NOT a fan of the new maps.  There's no mile markers, water stops, nada, nothing.  I'm hoping that runDisney releases maps with more detail soon.

Click the links below to bring you to runDisney's links!

2012 WDW Marathon Course Map

2012 WDW Half Marathon Course Map

2012 WDW Marathon Relay Course Map

2012 Family Fiesta 5k

2012 WDW Marathon Weekend Race Program

01 November, 2011

Marine Corps Marathon Expo & Weekend

Helllooooooo!!!  I'm back and I survived! :)  It wasn't the most amazing showing in terms of my finish time but I did finish and now have some amazing bling hanging on my wall. 

I haven't had a chance to upload my photos from the race yet so for now I'm going to talk about the rest of the weekend, including the expo and some of our sightseeing.  The race recap will hopefully go up tomorrow. It was a great weekend despite the crazy weather, and my friends and I had a fun time wandering DC.

My car of 4 started our trek down at around 9:30pm Thursday after I got out of class and did some last minute packing of things I realized I forgot.  Didn't get to our hotel until about 1:30am or 2am and immediately went to bed for our early wake up call.  6am came WAY too quickly but we were excited since we had a tour of the White House scheduled for 8:30am.

We got a little 'lost' on the way to the hotel at 1am...but saw this!
Met up with our other 2 friends that were also part of my cheering crew and we got in line to go through security.  We thought we were all free and clear until our one friend got stopped for having the wrong birthday on the information I sent.  Uhoh.  I SWEAR I sent in the correct birthday for her!  Luckily they ran her information one more time and they let her through the line after about 15 minutes.

No photos or bags were allowed during the tour so the only thing I had with me was my iPhone.  Only cell phones, wallets, and keys were allowed on the tour.  However, right before we stepped into the White House, a furry friend jumped out of the door so I quickly snapped a photo!  Who is that, you ask?  It's Bo, the Obama's dog! :)  He was walking without a leash with an 'assistant'.  Not sure of the person's official title, haha!  Don't think I was violating any secret service rules so I'll post the photo. :)  Pretty sure that's the closest I'll ever get to an Obama. 


The tour of the White House was pretty cool.  It was a self guided tour but there was Secret Service in each of the rooms that would answer any and every question you had.  We were really impressed with how much detail they actually knew about the rooms that they were in.  We were only allowed to see about 8-10 rooms, plus the stairs leading up to the family's private residence but it was definitely interesting.  If you're interested in taking a tour though, make sure you plan WAY ahead!  You have to email your Congressman 6 months prior to your trip to get approved.  Then you don't find out until 2 weeks before your trip.  So glad it worked out for us! 

After our tour was over, we all quickly headed over to Old Ebbit's Grill for breakfast.  I've been there before for lunch and knew it had a lot of history to it and my friends would enjoy it.  Our server was also running the marathon and the food was fabulous.  I couldn't resist getting a bloody mary...they have some of the best I've ever had!  Made sure to drink a ton of water though to keep me hydrated! 

After breakfast, the gang split up.  Christina and I headed over to the Expo while the rest either went sightseeing or went back to the hotel to nap.  The expo is usually when my nerves hit their all time high (other than race morning).  It just makes everything seem so real!

The first stop when we got to the Armory was the outside tent to pickup our bibs.  The place was buzzing with excitement and I quickly found my bib area and was glad to see there was no line!  The Marine quickly found my bib and handed me my information.

Bib PickUp!
Starting to FREAK OUT!
The 2011 MCM Guide
AHH!  It's REAL!!!

After picking up my bib and the MCM newspaper, we followed the crowds into the actual expo.  The expo was HUGE!!  Definitely bigger than any of the Disney ones, plus I felt that it was slightly more spread out.  First headed over to pick up the official race shirt, which was the traditional long sleeve mock turtlenecks.  Unfortunately I hate mock turtlenecks but this will definitely be kept in the collection and not donated.  The front left chest had the USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor logo, the one sleeve said 'Marines', and the back also had a huge Eagle Globe and Anchor logo.  Definitely some heavy duty shirts! 

After the shirt pickup, I went directly to the official Brooks merchandise and proceeded to spend a fortune.  I didn't intend to buy so much but I loved the womens jacket, and one of the guys shirts was nice, plus the MCM capri tights, and a pint glass.  Um yeah...I went a little overboard.  When the girl rang me up, she congratulated me on spending enough to get special private access to the Brooks VIP Portapottie... YAY!! :) Heated, running water, and candy... I wasn't complaining much.  My credit card, on the other hand though, is.  

We then started slowly wandering all of the vendors and trying to take it all in.  One of the first booths we stumbled upon was the Athens Marathon!  This race is definitely on my bucket list so I poked around and tried to ask some questions.  The one woman working the booth spoke little English, and my Greek marathon vocabulary is pretty non-existent so I waited until the other gentleman there finished up with another runner.  I talked to him a little bit about how to register and asked if I had to do an organized tour (I know Jeff Galloway runs a group tour to Athens every year).  He suggested I do the tour, but then after finding out that I have family there, he agreed that I should just register online when the time comes and plan all of my own transportation and stuff myself.  So yeah...not too much new information but it was cool. I will say I think the medal is kinda dinky for being the original marathon but...oh well. 

After that booth, we continued to just wander around.  I bought a shirt at the Raw Threads booth that said "Live Run Marathons".  I have another shirt from them from Disney and I LOVE it so every time I see them at an expo I definitely stop on by to see what new items they have.  Other than that, I bought a few more pairs of Balega socks, and we also stopped by the GE area to get our body composition calculated, as well as bone density.  Pretty interesting, although I'm not sure how accurate it is!  Also bought a cheap pair of throw away gloves since it was SO freakin cold! 

While wandering, we ran into the Marine Corps Band, and the marathon mascot, Miles!

Serenading an older woman with "Isn't She Lovely"
Miles and I
Sadly not this time... one day!

Everything at the expo was completely organized, but I guess that should be expected, considering this is a Marine production.  After getting our shopping fix in (over 2 hours later!), we headed back to the hotel to relax a bit.

The next day was pretty uneventful, and the weather was miserable!  Rain turned to snow and it was SO COLD!  We ended up going to the Air & Space Museum, lunch at Capital Grille, took a tour of the US Capitol, saw the Postal Museum, and then carb loaded at Famous Luigi's...which shouldn't be so famous. Meh.  Then I called it a night to get my stuff ready in preparation for race day!!

Race recap hopefully tomorrow! :)