Just over a month ago I ran a marathon. Yesterday my watch told me 36 hours of recovery for a 4 mile treadmill run. Seriously?
It’s so hard to get back into it! It’s so hard to recover, and know when you need to recover more, and know when you are recovered. It will never stop being amazing to me how fast you lose it. I couldn’t put down 10 miles right now, let alone 26.2.
I think part of it is the time of year. Who wants to run on the treadmill exclusively? NOT ME! I love you Midge Maisel, but you’re not QUITE enough to sustain me. I KNOW treadmills are good for maintaining, but it’s not the same. I ALSO know that you’re not supposed to compare yourself to anyone else, or to yourself at different times of fitness, but it’s so weird and hard and surreal when your point of greater fitness was A MONTH AGO.
I won’t discount mental recovery, in addition to physical recovery. We went to dinner at MattHowk’s dad and stepmothers house last night, and I realized that I’m just not ready to train for another full marathon. They acknowledged the challenges I face, which was validating. It’s so much work to coordinate a different place for Wicket to go each week, get myself AND my kid ready to go someplace to run/hang out, plan routes at new places, run long miles, then pick him up and keep him moving through his day while trying to recover and accomplish everything that needs to happen to keep a household running smoothly. I think the fact that that feels like a big challenge to me right now should be honored, and I shouldn’t train for another marathon until it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Summer training allows for much less room for error, I can’t wait until 10am to start running, and it’s not always easy to get a 4 year old up and and ready to roll super early in the morning.
I’m also really enjoying my other hobbies. I actually have a few of them, believe it or not. I recently started a sourdough starter and am looking forward to more bread baking (whole other post on that bad boy to come) and have started beading again. I used to do it a lot, but then Wicket was born and I had no time, then a tornado of a toddler running around. Literally. Now that he is bigger and more self sufficient it’s been really fun getting back into it. It’s nice to be able to get things done in the morning, then spend my afternoon beading, reading (I just started Dune!), and blogging before getting dinner ready.
I start training for the Great Sacandaga half next Monday, and I think I am ready for it. After training for a full, training for a half feels so doable. Easy even! Approachable and friendly! I’m mentally ready to have a purpose to each run again, and I am physically ready to pick up a new Hal Higdon intermediate plan I think. Other than my stupid lingering loser toenail from the Disney full, I’ll spare you all that visual. It SHOULD be good timing for weather too, as my mileage starts to become unbearable for the treadmill the weather should be ok for me to get out with the stroller and my little guy.
I should probably register for that thing now. I have a backup though, in case I don’t get into it since they cap at 500 runners. Same weekend even! I am amazing!!!!! Imagine me singing that with jazz hands and doing a high kick at the same time. Probably most people are super fortunate not to know me in real life….
Also, pulling a Karen (coworker who I LOVELOVELOVE who reads this and is a major source of support and inspiration to me, and I cry and cry daily over having had to move my office away from her) totally worked. I told that bitch plantar fasciitis to get it’s shit together because I had no time for it, and it complied. It works for her every time something tries to keep her from running. Let’s hope that situation persists for me.
As much as I love meal planning and cooking and the whole deal, sometimes I just don’t want to. It actually is a lot of work, and I spend a lot of my lunches at work researching meals or techniques or meal planning or making my grocery lists. It DEFINITELY keeps my family and household running smoothly, but still. Sometimes I don’t want to.
Last week I didn’t want to. I told MattHowk and he took over one night of planning and preparing for me, which is always a treat! I had no idea what we were doing, so that was fun too!
HE DELIVERED! Look at that gorgeous cheese and charcuterie board! He even researched the best meats and cheeses and fruits to go together. This was SO DELICIOUS! We had so much food we had it again the next night!
I had never really had prosciutto on it’s own, and I may be in love. It was so delicate and lovely, literally paired with everything on the board. All those fruits! Wicket stole ALL OF THE FRUIT before we could get much, but I have never had blueberries and raspberries on a charcuterie board before and I was MISSING OUT.
These crackers murdered me. ROSEMARY CRACKERS!!! They’re all I can think about. All I want to eat for the entire rest of my life is these rosemary crackers with brie. That could literally be it for me. We also had regular club crackers, and melba snacks. So crispy and delicious!
MattHowk also researched beverages to pair with our lovely board of happiness! He got me the Gnarly Head Pinot Noir, which was soooooo friendly and mild and went amazingly with the brie. He got an Irish Whiskey for himself, which was super interesting. It was light and had a bit of a sweet finish, and almost took on the flavor of whatever you had just eaten, in the best possible subtle way.
I NEVER think of just having snacks for dinner, but CLEARLY we need to do this more often. It was a major hit with ALL of us, and was so easy to prepare and clean up, perfect for a Friday after a long week.
Marriage win for MattHowk! Especially since the beautiful board was a wedding gift from close friends, and was made by their brother in law!
On Sunday I went to a self defense workshop at the dojo one of my very favorite friends, Alicia, is affiliated with, Glens Falls Karate Academy. She’s working really hard to try to branch out into the lady community and afford women empowerment opportunities, and I think that is so so important. I was still REALLY scared though, because new things.
Even though I was super scared about doing a new thing, I tried to keep in mind that we don’t grow unless we do things that scare us. AND I have been in more than my share of scary situations, both personally in real life and in running, and definitely need to learn this stuff. It’s not like I’m going to stop running, and it seems as though the menfolk of the lower Adirondack region aren’t going to stop being creepy sketchballs, so off I went.
Matt’s mom came over to babysit, and I made my way downtown. I managed to park on the street right in front of the dojo which is sort of magical, and was the first to arrive. The people running it were super friendly and met me at the door, then the other 6 participants arrived. 6 ladies, one man. My friend Alicia warmed us up, we introduced ourselves and said why we were there, then we paired off to start working.
I was originally paired up with another friend of Alicia’s, then somehow ended up paired with the man participant. He was perfectly lovely and kind, but I am sort of embarrassed about how uncomfortable I felt. It never occurred to me that I would feel that way! He also does karate and is new to their dojo, and was doing a lot of “instructing” me after the instructor did. I was feeling pretty “mansplained” at and I started to have a legit panic attack and had to excuse myself to the corner to get myself under control. I am so mortified that I cried, and I was even more mortified that OF COURSE everyone noticed and the instructors and Sensei were more solicitous of me afterwards. Don’t look at meeeeeeeeeee.
I seriously considered walking out, but I didn’t. I got my shit together and went back to my partner. We learned what to do if you are being grabbed from behind and from the side, what to do if you are grabbed from the front and pulled in towards an attacker, then worked on what to do if you are pinned to the ground or up against a wall. I really liked that it was all really about how to get away, not as much about “fighting back”. They talked a lot about how we just aren’t going to be as strong as our attacker most times, so the thing to do is use their strength and center of gravity against them to get away.
Our instructor Tony did a great job of showing what the natural reaction is to each of these scenarios, and why that natural reaction doesn’t work usually. There was another member of their dojo working as the attacker to show what to do and how to do it, then they and their Sensei each helped each pair as we worked. They did a great job explaining the sensitive places to hit on an attacker to get away, such as the throat and eyes and nose (not NECESSARILY the groin like everyone thinks, unless you’re super committed and have a really clear shot), and how to best move your body to retain your own control and center of gravity while throwing the attackers off.
Alicia’s other friend and I took turns working with Alicia for the work on the floor and up against the wall. Alicia is very tall (much taller than the man I was working with, and myself) and she wasn’t afraid to use force with me, so I felt like I REALLY got to practice and learn when I was working with her.
It was only an hour and a half session, but I really feel like I learned a lot. The instructors and sensei were all SO kind and attentive, and truly wanted us to learn and do well and feel empowered. Alicia wants to offer these each season and I will probably keep going back, to try to keep it all fresh. I keep trying to remember and think about what we learned so I don’t lose it, and I want MattHowk to practice with me. I did show him some of the moves using Wicket as the attacker (he was far too entertained and snuggly as an attacker), but I want him to work with me and not be afraid to use strength.
I had a hard time at first (unexpectedly and mortifyingly so) but I am so glad I stuck with it. Alicia is a really excellent teacher and I really love what she is adding to a traditionally male sport, within and for our community in Glens Falls. She and I did discuss afterwards her idea to maybe have it be all women next time, and I do agree with that. While the gentleman was very nice, it was a different dynamic and he doesn’t get the things that women go through being put into these situations.
Now I just need to make Alicia ALSO become a distance runner, so she can protect me while we run. And she’s hilarious, so that would be a real bonus.
This week I moved into a new office at work. Back into the building we used to be in, that we were moved out of so they could do renovations. It’s sooooo nice and I love it and am so happy with it! Tuesday, after two days of moving, I noticed as I was putting Wicket to bed that my right heel felt tired and achy. Weird.
Wednesday I went to get up to run and it was painful just to move it. WTF!? NOOO!!!! As I laid in bed not running, since I thought that would be a poor idea, I consulted dear Dr Google to see what was going on. Dr Google thinks Plantar Fasciitis. ANNOYING! But, it makes sense I guess.
Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the fascia on the bottom of your foot, which is a thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes (Mayo clinic definition). It’s most uncomfortable in the morning then gets more bearable as the day goes on. It’s common in people with very high or low arches (I have super high arches and very small feet), people ages 40-50 (I’m sneaking up on 40), and people who engage in activities that put a lot of stress and pounding on the heels and feet (hello distance running). There are other common causes as well, but they don’t apply to me. The recommended treatments are stretching and icing, allowing the area to rest, and in extreme cases wearing a foot brace at night that keeps your toes from pointing and allowing the achilles to relax too much.
I’m actually super grateful for my peroneal tendonitis right now, because it makes this plantar fasciitis seems sooooo much more manageable to me than it would have felt a year ago. I ALSO have a bunch of tools available to me as a result of the tendonitis that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I calmly went into action, without a single tear.
I put the arches I got for the tendonitis in my Rothys to wear to work (how many times can I say how TOTALLY worth the money Rothys are? My inserts fit in them without looking weird at all), which interestingly are actually specifically for plantar fasciitis. I initially chose them on the recommendation of my Physical Therapist because of their very firm arch support. I also put on my Zensah ankle brace. The two of those things helped to both support my right arch and also provided shock absorption for my right heel. I also have a golf ball that I keep in my desk at work for just this purpose, so I rolled out my arch and heel for a while with that. I was amazed at how NOT normal and super tight my arch actually did feel when I did that. I also loaded up on ibuprofen and skipped a few runs. I will probably tape my foot moving forward for runs the next few weeks.
I have a few suspicions about why this happened, and I think I caught it soon enough that it won’t drag out for a long time. Lately, I have been wearing my old Nine West flats again. I commented to MattHowk the other day that they were SO MUCH less comfortable than my Rothys, but I think they are actually just inferior in quality and my feet aren’t used to that anymore. Those, and going barefoot at work while decorating my new office likely contributed to the strain on my arch.
I also suspect I may have started back with my normal running routine either too soon or with too much mileage. I know that I don’t recover quickly, but I thought giving myself two weeks off of running would be enough. When I started back, I went right back to three days during the work week but at only three miles a day. Then Saturday I ran 6 miles. I wonder if this was just all too much too soon! Especially since it’s on my janky treadmill. I did also notice that my shoes are a few miles from 350, which is definitely my threshhold for needing new ones.
After being super attentive to it this week, it’s already feeling much better. Still annoying, but MUCH more bearable. I did run three miles Saturday and felt really reasonably good during and after. Seriously though, why can’t things ever just be easy? WHY DO I STILL HAVE SO MUCH LEARNING TO DO!? Why do I not recover as quickly as my brain thinks I ought to!?
Once again, I am choosing to be grateful for a learning opportunity. I have two weeks before I start training for the Great Sacandaga half marathon. This both happened in enough time to catch it and recover, and in a good timeframe to remind me that I do need to be mindful about continuing to take care of myself even when I am not training for a marathon.
I am sure MattHowk was very grateful that he was spared all kinds of tears and WHY ME!?!?!?! This time around. He’s probably also pretty grateful that he bought me a shock absorbing mat for the kitchen so I still have no excuses not to stand there cooking.
I ate at Disney. I gained 5 pounds. I don’t regret it. I ate all.the.things.
On our honeymoon, MattHowk and I got beer and a brat at the Germany pavilion in the World Showcase, and from there our love of grazing and eating as we go at Disney was born. Wicket was more than happy to jump on board with us this year. We started off with the familiar old standbys, like grabbing a Mickey ice cream in Magic Kingdom, then a pretzel and beer in Epcot later that day. We also got popcorn at Hollywood Studios and got Wicket the AT-AT walker popcorn holder. We were EXTREMELY popular for that one.
Going into it, my mother knew that all I wanted after the marathon was to eat my way around the World Showcase. We didn’t hit every pavilion, but we put a good hurting on it. We started with nachos and guacamole and margaritas in Mexico, which was my primary priority. MattHowk grabbed beer and a brat in Germany, then my mom and I had some wine and an eclair in France. She left then, so we walked her part of the way out, then grabbed more beer and some poutine in Canada, and beer and fish and chips in England. We didn’t think they were as greasy as the person who took the picture above apparently did.
There were some notable favorites from our grazing as we went this trip. My absolute favorite was the brisket melt sandwich at Woody’s Lunchbox in Hollywood Studios. SO delicious, and so gigantic. MattHowk and I split it at about 10:30 and weren’t hungry still at lunch time. We got an adult lemonade to go with it which was glorious. I also really liked the macaroni and cheese with pulled pork from the Flame Tree Barbecue in Animal Kingdom and the poutine from Disney Springs. I’m going to try to recreate the macaroni and cheese with pulled pork this weekend at home I think, since I thought I might be able to improve it a little.
The most lasting food impression we had seems silly, but it was the Shrimp Tempura Udon from Katsura Grill at the Japan pavilion. I had it before the marathon, then our last night we hopped on the monorail and had it for dinner. It keeps sticking with me! I want it so bad! I can’t stop thinking about it! I did look up how to make it all myself, but I don’t live in an area with a plethora of ethnic food options so it may take me some time to collect what I need and figure out how to do it. In the meantime, I am counting down until we can go to the Japanese restaurant in Glens Falls. You know I already looked up their menu and I know they have it. Wicket also LOVED it.
I do have one inflammatory statement to make regarding something very popular that we tried, and feel no need to ever try again. The turkey leg. That damn turkey leg. I am VERY much a carnivore, but that was too much even for me. It tasted kind of good, but it was just way too big and messy and too much of a commitment. MattHowk is glad he got it, but he also agrees that he’s not sure it’s an experience his needs to revisit next time.
The World Showcase is my favorite. Probably one of my favorite places in the world, actually. Sorry if that’s dumb to you, and that we can’t be friends anymore. I am so glad we got so much time to walk around and eat and enjoy it this time. I want to go baaacccckkkkkkk.
I experienced a horrifying shock last night. I thought I had another tube of Cherry Limeade Nuun energy, but I was tragically wrong. Where did it all go!? I haven’t even been running for the last few weeks! Did I misplace it!? I guess it’s time to put in my first Ambassador order.
As I leaned against my kitchen counter and drank a glass of wine, thinking about where I could have put it, I realized it really is gone. I used it. Because I don’t just use Nuun for running before a race. I guess I didn’t fully realize that until that moment!
I usually drink one of two cups of tea each morning. At Disney I didn’t want to put a cup of hot water through the Keurig in our room because it always ends up tasting like coffee, so I had one or two Nuuns each morning. ESPECIALLY the morning after Wicket had croup and I was up with him all night. I literally fueled each day with Nuun.
When I run in the morning, I often don’t feel that I have enough time to make a cup of tea to have with my breakfast before I go to work. So I pop a Nuun into a glass of water to let it do it’s thing while I am showering, then down it while I am quickly making and eating my breakfast. Caffeine accomplished.
Last Tuesday I got a call at 3am from MattHowk saying his stupid purple PT cruiser had died on him AS HE WAS DRIVING IT to come home from work. Dead dead. So it was time for a new car, BUT we had to get him and the car seat a half hour home before we could even begin to think about anything. I was up super early for the day, early even by my standards, and still had to go to work. In a snow storm. And deal with the stress of locating and purchasing a new car THAT DAY. I had to fly to work super early both to combat the snow AND to try to get something done before I needed to leave to buy a car, so once again Nuun it was. I had no time!
This morning after my strength workout I found myself sad and craving my Cherry Limeade since I couldn’t have it. I need to get more! Maybe I should branch out?
This post is in no way sanctioned or recognized by Nuun. It doesn’t know what it does for me. It doesn’t know how it calls to my soul…
The first time we went to Disney, for our honeymoon, we stayed at an All Star resort. We were on a budget and spent every single minute out of the room so it was fine for us. On that trip we decided that the Contemporary Resort was our dream resort. We went twice more before this trip, staying at Caribbean beach Resort then Port Orleans Riverside, always pricing out the Contemporary to see if we could afford it. Spoiler alert, we couldn’t.
For this trip, since it was MattHowk’s birthday, I wanted to do something special for him. I was a little stressed because the timing of the 2019 rates coming out meant that we needed to book pretty much immediately once they did, so I couldn’t leisurely price out my ideas and get used to what I wanted to do. SO the minute the rates came out, I asked our travel agent to price out Caribbean Beach Resort, the Contemporary, and a split stay between the two. Since it was such a long trip I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford the Contemporary for the whole thing, but I really wanted to try at least a few days.
Our amazing travel agent Heather, with Travel With The Magic, got back to me so fast with a week at Caribbean Beach, then the remaining three days at the Contemporary staying in the Garden Wing. However, in the time it took for me to drive home from work, the Garden Wing was all booked. SOOOOOO I was left with the last three nights being in the Main Tower at the Contemporary. Pricey, but amazing and I wanted to make it work for my guy’s birthday.
Our first week was so great. The Caribbean Beach Resort is newly renovated and they did such a great job. The weather was GORGEOUS when we first got there. Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we grabbed a drink from the bar by the pool and sat down while Wicket ran around the sitting area by the water. At about 2:30 I went to the front desk to ask if a room could be ready and we got put in a room in Aruba. A bit of a walk from the main building, but perfect for needing to run and a decent walk to a bus stop. We had a room with the pull down sleeper under the TV which was perfect for Wicket, and he loved it. I also really like that they replaced the curtain between the bathroom area and the room with a sliding barn door on a track. It felt a little more solid for those who don’t allow quite as much….access…as our family does.
Even with my mom staying with us in the room we felt like we had plenty of space. Storage is really important to me, and even with our food and clothes and my running crap we didn’t use all the drawers and storage spaces provided. Because we were there for so long I did laundry before we moved (10 days of clothes is an awful lot to bring), and it was a totally easy and painless process. No one else was there, possibly because it was 6am, but regardless it was crazy easy.
I had a lot of anxiety about the split stay aspect of our trip. I am a control freak and get stressed about the unknown. I had read that people said split stays were incredibly easy, and they could not have been more right. I called Bell Services that morning and scheduled a time for someone to come get our stuff, they labeled everything and took it, including our refrigerated stuff which they put into a stronger bag and stored refrigerated while our room wasn’t ready yet. We went to the Magic Kingdom for the day, then close to 3 we walked over to the Contemporary to check in.
Holy. Crap. That place is nice. Like, swanky nice. And everyone is sooooooo on their customer service game. We hung out on the 4th floor for a bit while we waited for it to be check in time. That’s where the bar is, and Chef Mickey’s, and they have a few stores and a market. When it was time we checked in, then went over to Bell Services to see when they expected our bags. We had been told after 5, which was fine. What was MORE fine was the fact that our bags were already there and ready. AMAZING! So we went up to our room, then our bags were delivered a few minutes later.
We had a Lake View room on the 8th floor. We had no words. This room was incredible. It had a balcony overlooking Bay Lake and the pools. It had an entry area with two closets and a drink station with the fridge, and an actual separate bathroom. If I thought the storage was good at the other room, it was INCREDIBLE here. The little sofa transformed to the perfect bed for Wicket, and everything was super clean lined and mid-century modern. Lots of upgraded finishes, and tons of space. SO MUCH SPACE. 5000% our style.
The first night we stayed there we did the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. It was super cold so Wicket was tucked in with a few fleece blankets in his stroller. When they were done there was the usual crush of humanity headed to the busses and the monorail, but we just used the walkway and walked 5 minutes to our hotel. We got on the elevator, then straight to our room. Wicket didn’t have to get out of the stroller one single time. From our balcony we could see the EPCOT ball and the Tower of Terror, so another night Wicket and I laid on the bed and watched the fireworks from EPCOT.
You can also catch the monorail right from inside the Contemporary. You can go through security either right before you get on the monorail in the hotel, or on the walkway before you get to the Magic Kingdom. This was so convenient! It saved so much time getting into the parks!!! It was also so nice to have a quick service food option just down the elevator. MattHowk operates on a different schedule from Wicket and I, so it was nice for him to be able to just take a quick hop on the elevator to grab something to eat while we slept instead of walking a half mile to the main building.
The Caribbean Beach resort was sooooo nice, and much more budget friendly, but the Contemporary felt like a vacation. Watching the sun come up in the morning, relaxing on the balcony, the quick access to the parks we spend the most time at, I just can’t. I don’t care what it costs, I will save the money to stay at the Contemporary every time we go from now on. Though MattHowk reminds me there is a Star Wars hotel coming in…
I didn’t run the week after the marathon at Disney, and felt really decent walking around! Not too sore after the second day at all! Then I didn’t run the week we got back home either. Both because we were transitioning to being back home (which was harder than anticipated, due in part to a storm that dumped 2 FEET of snow on us two days after we got back), and because I have started back too soon in the past and didn’t want to do that again.
My first day back was this past Monday, on the treadmill, watching the Marvelous Mrs Maisel. That Midge Maisel can really get you through some stuff. I was so tired and grumpy and down about getting up to run, especially since I don’t have anything on my race calendar yet. Running without something to train for can be hard! It’s SO EASY to just stay in bed, but I’m awake anyway so I might as well run.
After I ran a nice, slow, normal 3 mile run, I remembered. I’m a better person when I run! I felt so great! I was so much kinder and more productive for the entire day! YAY RUNNING! SO HAPPPYYYY!
From here I will “reverse taper”. I’m slowly building my speed and distance back up, and I am going back to my twice weekly strength sessions. I wish I could run outside, but this is DEFINITELY not possible, even with spikes. WAY too much snow and sub zero temperaturing. This morning was haarrrddddd but it really felt good. Back to base building while I plan out what is next!
Tentatively, I am thinking of the following for my 2019 race calendar:
-5/19 Sacandaga Lake half marathon
-6/9 Crowley Brothers half marathon (Rutland VT)
-7/21 (?) Race for the Cure 10k (Manchester VT)
-8/3 Beach to Beacon 10k (Maine) This one is a HARD maybe, not sure if we are the budget are up for another runcation
-8/25 Dorset Hollow 10k (Dorest VT)
-9/22 Schroon Lake half/full
What do we think? Should I add or omit any? This seems like a nice, moderate, spaced out race schedule. I guess the REAL question is, do I run another full this year? Do I have it in me!? My cousin is running it, so that would be fun. BUT DO I HAVE IT IN ME!?
Can my husband stand to continue living with me if I run another marathon this year? Will my ankle break off? Will my child find himself a new mom? Will he set the running stroller on fire due to having to be in it too much? SO MANY QUESTIONS!? I guess I need to do some soul searching. That full is SO PRETTY though.
I already talked about about the befores and afters, this is primarily about the race itself. This is loooooooong and doesn’t have a lot of pictures. Sorrrryyyyyyyy. My phone was in my Koala Clip on my back, and I run with a handheld, so no picture taking midrace for me. I also never want to run the risk of dropping and stomping on my phone, which is absolutely something I would do.
In the days leading up to us leaving for Disney, the weather forecast was calling for cold and rainy for the marathon, then moved to 50’s and sunny. THAT was the one I was hoping for. That’s not what we got. Saturday, when we were at Animal Kingdom, I got an email that a weather alert had been called for the marathon for high humidity and temperatures. GREAT. I had hoped to run in a tank and capris, thank goodness I threw a couple of pairs of shorts in my bag.
I got up at 2:30am again, got on the bus, waited for Alex at the same place we waited for the family two days before, we hit the porta potties, then we started the walk to the corrals. The walk to the 10k corrals was long, the walk to the marathon corrals was VERY long. I was thinking we were being conservative starting to head over there at 5am, turns out we were in the corral for just a couple of minutes before the National Anthem and corrals started moving! It was MUCH nicer being in an earlier corral than a later one like for the 10k.
Fireworks! We were off! It was still really dark, but everything was well lit and marked and there were tons of volunteers anywhere there might be an issue. There was a high school band not far from the start, which was super fun. We were running on the road that leads to the Magic Kingdom, and it was neat to see the monorails running next to us and run under the toll booth. Before I knew it we were passing the Contemporary and entering the Magic Kingdom at about mile 5.
Running through the Magic Kingdom is SO special. It’s really the biggest thing that keeps me wanting to do these races. Everything was still lit up for Christmas, both Main St AND the castle. Alex looked at me as we were running down the lit up Main St towards the castle, with all the crowds cheering next to us, and told me how cool he thought it was. I did NOT cry seeing the castle lit up as the ice castle for Christmas, but it was a near thing.
We hung a right before the castle, ran through Tomorrowland, which was also really cool, then back around towards the castle from behind. I lovelovelove running underneath the castle and out the front. It’s one of my favorite things ever. I ALMOST delayed fueling at that point to better enjoy it, but I didn’t want to risk forgetting so I ran under the castle with stinger chews in my hand. Whatevs. Then we ran down towards Frontierland and out a backstage entrance to exit the park.
The next stretch was miles 6ish to 8ish and was on road but not boring, since we ran by the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian and Shades of Green. We were supposed to see Matt’s Dad and stepmother and sister and grandparents at this point, since they were staying at Shades of Green, but we missed them somehow. There were other crowds though and lots of signs which was nice and made the time pass, and the golf course was pretty with all the mist coming off of it. That was also ominous though, since it showed how humid it already was and the sun wasn’t even up yet. We were just barely starting to see the sky lightening, and commented to each other about how lucky we were to start early enough to see the castle lit up while it was still dark.
The next stretch, which was until about mile 13ish, was primarily road and kind of boring. We were still clicking along though and feeling good. Slightly slower than I wanted to be going, but super reasonable considering the humidity and our concern with not doing too much too son since we didn’t know how bad it was going to get. We went by the sanitation center, always popular, then made our way towards the weird out and back portion at about mile 11. They had DJ’s periodically along the road which was really nice, but it was outrageous seeing all the people who had already hit the switchback and were running towards us. This is such a big race.
We chatted with another runner for a bit who was running as a 50th birthday present to himself, then lost him at the switchback. At this point the sun had really come up, it was getting much warmer and we were starting to get hit with sun glare. Alex and I commented to each other about how grateful we were that we dealt with the annoyance of carrying our sunglasses up to this point (another runner heard and jokingly told us not to brag as he ran by, no sunglasses for him). I did have to wipe them off a lot before I could use them though, because of the humidity.
We entered Animal Kingdom through a backstage area, there were a bunch of animals like a goat and a sheep before we entered, then we ran down by Asia and around the back of the park towards Mount Everest. I know lots of people talk about riding that ride during the race, but we were there too early. I think it was about 8am at this point and the park opened at 9. We ran by, then out through a backstage area by that little dinosaur midway thing. We ran through another backstage area around the back of the park, then out onto another stretch of road.
This stretch was a little less awesome than the previous stretch of road because it was starting to get a lot more warm. At this point we had started stopping to have water poured into our water bottles at every single aid station. I have never consumed as much water during a race as I did during this one. We were hanging in there, now hitting right at 10 minute miles so I was happy. We ran through some overpasses and intersections and made the right towards Wide World of Sports.
There was another DJ as we came to the entrance to Wide World of Sports which was nice. I remembered reading about people talking about how much they hated the WWoS section of the race, but I figured it couldn’t be worse than roads. It’s not, but it’s also definitely NOT like running through the parks. You enter at about mile 17, and exit at about mile 21. SO that’s A LOT of mileage to make up. It was so weird, it felt really random and definitely left you wondering when it would end. I’m sure there was no better way to do it, it just felt so strange. So much of it was super narrow, so it was hard to move if you got stuck behind someone. It definitely isn’t as bad as people make it out to be, but I was for sure THRILLED to run around the baseball diamond and be done in there.
Back out to the highway past the DJ again, on our way to Hollywood Studios. I was LIVING for Hollywood Studios because I knew that was where I was going to see my mom and MattHowk and Wicket. Once again it was CRAZY seeing how many people were behind us making their way into WWoS. I was grateful to be so far beyond that point. I was starting to get tired now, but not debilitatingly so. I was actually surprised at how good I still felt.
The highways were hot. Really hot. There was no shade at all. I was drinking SO MUCH WATER and not getting a stitch in my side at all, which is not normal for me. We were still hitting 10 minute miles, but at this point I noticed that we were starting to leap frog with the Galloway 4:30 pace group. Poop. It was at this point I knew for sure I was not going to PR this race, but since I was still feeling so good it wasn’t super upsetting to me, I just wanted to finish feeling as strong as possible.
We ran through another intersection and some more overpasses. The “hills” in this race were negligible, but at this point they were starting to feel much harder. Alex was starting to ask if we could slow the pace a bit, but I kept telling him he didn’t need to, and that he was going to be mad at himself if he came all this way to slow down so close to the end. He agreed but didn’t look thrilled with me. Who can blame him!? MattHowk was texting me in tiny bursts so that I could read them on my watch, and I was starting to get worried that they might not make it to Hollywood Studios in time to see us.
The final overpass before getting into Hollywood studios SUCKED. It was brutal. This might actually have been my least favorite part of the race. It felt like a huge hill even though I know I regularly run worse, but it was just so hot at this point and my body was starting to protest. I felt pretty psyched that it took this long for me to be ready to be done though, since we only had about a 5k left. An Army Guy from Toy Story was at the top of the hill making people do pushups, I did NOT make eye contact because that shit just wasn’t going to happen. We made our way down the “hill” and hung a right toward Hollywood Studios.
We entered in up another little hill through a backstage area that leads to where they show Fantasmic, then down that little hill and out in front of where the Tower of Terror is. I was getting really excited and had gotten a bit of a second win from my most recent chews, so I busted up ahead a bit. I typically really like running up hill. I noticed Alex wasn’t with me anymore and doubled back to pick him back up. I told him to pick it up and he told me he couldn’t. We made our way down towards the main entrance then out a side backstage area. We snaked around the front a bit, then made our way towards the parking lot and the walkway to the Boardwalk. As I came around the corner I saw MattHowk! YAY!!!! He told me later that they had JUST gotten there. He took a few pictures of Alex and I, I threw him a thumbs up, and off I went to finish it. I had to get it done. Sorry Alex 🙁
I love the walkway. It always feels peaceful and calm, and at this point there was a ton of space. I can see how it can get very narrow for runners, but things had really thinned out. There were lots of people out cheering us on, I made sure not to trip on boards, then we entered the World Showcase at the International Gateway.
I was ready to be done. I felt really strong and solid and was putting down 9:30s, and I never hit that wall where you feel desperate to be done, but I wanted to be done. This was the point when I started talking myself into finishing. That being said, I felt like the fact that I didn’t start talking myself into finishing until 1.5 miles from the end was REALLY good. Usually it’s so much sooner! I told myself over and over that I can do hard things because I am a warrior, and I just kept going. It was hot and I was thirsty, and now there were lots of guests in the parks. The volunteers did such a great job keeping them off the course and to the side.
I finished the World Showcase and made the right toward “the big ball”. Wicket loves that thing. I made my way towards the backstage exit to the parking lot, knowing that it was a bit farther than you would think it would be. There was a security guard at this point telling people to pick it up, and I commented to a girl next to me that he was about to get himself shanked. She agreed.
We made the corner past the gospel singers and kept going a bit further, then there it was. The finish. I did it. I put on as much as I could and crossed the finish line. I made sure to stop my watch, which I often forget to do, made sure I smiled as I crossed, then made my way toward my water and medal.
HOLY CRAP walking was so hard! My feet hurt so much, I did NOT realize the full extent until I was done running and wasn’t going to have to start again. It’s so weird though, my feet are really all that bothered me, then and after! I got 3 waters, popped a Nuun in one, got my snacks, then waited for Alex. He was a bit behind me, then off we hobbled to our buses.
I loved this race. I honestly did. It was everything I have been hoping for in the 6 years or so that I have been wanting and planning to run it. The weather wasn’t what I had hoped for, but it also wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and was in previous years. Training for this race was hard, even if I hadn’t been injured. Training through the holidays and as we got into winter was much harder than the traditional season. I said from the beginning that this race was going to need to be really special to make me want to do it again. Welp, it did. Disney knows how to do it. The race support and entertainment and running through the parks is all unparalleled. I never could have believed that I wouldn’t be talking myself into finishing that race until mile 25.
4:31, in 80 degree heat and humidity, less than 4 months after starting running again after an injury.
MattHowk said the other day that I HAVE to do Dopey, which is the 5k, 10k, half, and full all in consecutive days (Notice how he said I have to, not him or even WE) So I guess I’m not done with Marathon Weekend. I guess I’ll be back. And I’m not mad about that. I’m even kind of excited about it.
For MattHowk’s birthday dinner we went to Disney’s San Angel Inn Restaurante in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. Earlier in the week we had ridden the Three Caballeros ride with Wicket which is in the same place, and MattHowk got all excited about eating there again. LITTLE DID HE KNOW!!!!!Even up to the ride to Epcot he was still trying to figure out when we could eat there on our trip.
MONTHS ago when our 180 dining reservation window opened I spent a ton of time researching restaurants to take him to for dinner, knowing that Wicket would be with grandparents and that we would be on our own for a change. I gave him a few menus to look at without knowing what restaurants they were for , since I wanted it to be a surprise, and got an idea of the type of food that was sounding interesting to him, and how fancy an experience he was looking for.
Mexican food ALWAYS sounds good to us, and he wanted something nice but not crazy fancy, so San Angel Inn it was! I remembered how nice it always looked, it just seems like the kind of place I would want to eat every meal with my husband every day of my life.
We headed to the restaurant just before our reservation (it’s easy to forget how long it takes to hop between parks on the busses) and were almost immediately seated. We had a nice table in the middle of the terrace area, seating was a little tight but manageable. It would have been nice to be right next to the water from the boat ride going by, but where we were was still good because you could see the “Mayan temple” without being allll the way to the front of the restaurant right on top of where people are shopping and walking through outside the seating area.
We started with margaritas which were AMAZING, MattHowk got the Wild Thing and I got the Blood Orange. I didn’t love the flavored salt on the rim of mine, so I just avoided it. MatHowks’s was INCREDIBLE! I wish I had gotten that one!!! It was so good and just a little sweet, so perfect. We then got the guacamole as an appetizer. SO MUCH GUACAMOLE! It was a HUGE portion. I really liked it because it was super simple and I think sometimes people go way overboard on the add ins and seasonings,but MattHowk felt it was really good but a tad bland for his taste. I also loved the toasted pumpkin seeds.
For our entrees, MattHowk got the pork tacos (Tacos al Pastor) and I got the beef tacos (Tacos de Costilla de Carne). They were both VERY large portions, and came with soft corn tortillas on the side. Maybe I am wimpy about filling my tacos, but I felt like there weren’t enough tortillas for the amount of filling, so we both ended up eating what we could in tacos then just eating the rest as it was. MattHowk was happy with his, especially the flavored guacamole that came with his meal. I LOVED mine, braised short ribs call to my soul, they were so tender and delicious, and I also liked my pomegranate guacamole that came with it.
We ate ALL of our massive dinners (and I’m actually not great at remembering to take pictures of everything, also they looked a mess even though they tasted great) so we didn’t get dessert, but some people around us did and they looked amazing. We chatted with our excellent server for a bit, then we were off to pick our kid up from his time with his grandparents.
We loved this place and would absolutely eat there again. I saw a few reviews of people saying that they were Hispanic and the food at Mexico in EPCOT is terrible, but I’m not that picky and I really liked it. We LOVED the atmosphere. It just FELT so nice, it really felt like we were dining on a veranda at twilight. Those drinks too man, so good. I wish I could go back right now.
Can you imagine if I really just did? Just left snowy NY and just WENT and ate all the delicious foods at Disney. That sounds like the dream.