Category Archives: Marathon Training

Nutrition….meh. Sport Nutrition…now you have my attention!

I’m not a nutritionist.  I don’t even play one on TV, but that would be pretty cool if I did. I’m not even sure what a nutritionist is or does when compared to a dietician. Wait….Google to the rescue!  [10-minutes pass] Ok, so now I know there are a lot of similarities, but that in some states a nutritionist doesn’t have to be licensed [scary] where a dietician does.

Ok, that’s as far as I want to go on that topic. So why am I writing a blog post about nutrition? If you follow me on Twitter, The Daily Mile or happen to be friends with me on Facebook then you see my status updates include what I did that day for my workouts 6 days a week. Yes, I train 6 days a week. I don’t just “workout”. I train with a purpose and most of the time I am on a specific training program to prepare me for an upcoming race/event. My next race is a full-marathon November 5th. You’ll note that I have a lot of goals and aspirations when it comes to my training including weight loss (57 lbs so far!), running a half-marathon (Done!), a Full-Marathon (Done!), The WDW Goofy Challenge (Jan. 2012), an Ultra Marathon (50K in 2012), The Boston Marathon (20??) and maybe someday do an event that involves something more than running like a duathlon or an Ironman.

Some of you may have these goals too.  First, that’s awesome!  Congrats on making some ambitious goals! Next, let’s chat briefly about nutrition for you and me as opposed to nutrition for the guy sitting in the next cubicle over.  Let’s refer to that guy as “Gen-Pop” for General Population. He may even workout several days a week, but he isn’t really trying to PR with a sub-2 at his next Half…runner lingo…

If you are on a specific training program, have plans to continue to train for future events/races, and want to keep pushing the envelope then you are not a member of the Gen-Pop when it comes to nutrition.  You are an athlete like me. Heck, I’m registered for 4 races in 2012 already and that just gets me to May 5th! We don’t get paid (do you? Hook me up!) to go for a run. We don’t have sponsors (most of us…I don’t). And, we are not an elite athlete. We might on our best day be considered sub-elite…again not referring to myself unless you add a couple more “subs” on there. Regardless, we are not Gen-Pop when it comes to our training and we shouldn’t fuel [eat] like the Gen-Pop.

What sparked this blog topic was a conversation with my Trainer this morning.  [This is where I would link to her new website if she had it up yet!] 😉  We were talking about protein shakes for training recovery and she mentioned that one certifying body for personal trainers doesn’t put much stock in them.  I made the comment back about that certifying body being focused on the Gen-Pop, not sub-elite athletes like her or I. To give you an idea, she’s gearing up for a half-ironman and spits out 7-minute miles like they are a breeze. It’s Friday and if you asked her if she wanted to run a half-marathon tomorrow she’d say yes, but might tack on a few more miles so she could consider it a “long run” for the week. Yeah, makes me sick too, but she does give me a lot of motivation to train harder! I just like to give her a hard time in my blogs because she subscribes to it.  Hi Tatum!  LOL.

We then briefly spoke about the book I had lent her, Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. It’s a book that really opened my eyes as to my nutrition as a sub-elite athlete. It’s about Sport Nutrition for endurance athletes and very well written for the non-nutritionist/non-dietician. It talks about the signals we send our bodies by how much we eat and the amount of exercise we do in training for events. In my case, I found that I was eating too little each day. Basically, I was cutting calories and sending the signal that my body should store fat “cause the lean times were comin” and at the same time sending a totally different signal by training for endurance events essentially telling my body to get leaner. One signal says to store fat and the other says to not store fat…guess which one won the coin toss?…stupid genetics. My weight didn’t budge for months. Sending mixed signals = not good.

Once I corrected my caloric intake based on that book’s suggestions I started to get leaner. A couple weeks ago I pulled out my size 33 waist jeans. My fiancee says I’m looking good.  My speed on the run is improving. And my trainer told me this morning that I was looking like an athlete!  Yeah, it’s been a good day so far! Finally, I’m eating MORE.
Gen-Pop trainers might say I’m eating too much…..but I’m not a Gen-Pop and my results speak volumes. Remember, I’ve lost 57 pounds and cut nearly and hour off my half-marathon time in the last 18 months. Not bad!

In thinking about the book if you are a sub-elite athlete or like me a “sub-sub-sub-elite athlete” then some things to consider nutritionally are:

  1. Total daily caloric intake when you have a training session (For me…Mon-Sat)
  2. Total daily caloric intake when you have a rest day (Sunday)
  3. Pre training/event nutrition
  4. Post training/event nutrition (Whey Protein perhaps)
  5. During training/event nutrition (Accelerade, Gatorade, etc)
It might seem complicated at first glance, but it really isn’t. The book lays it all out in a neat package starting with the basics. If you haven’t given much thought to sport nutrition as it applies to your training then pick up that book and have a look. It covers more endurance sports than just running. If you don’t want to buy that book at least start asking questions or using Google to find some information on how athletes fuel for their training laced lives and how it differs from the Gen-Pop diet.
Happy Training   …and Happy Fueling!
-Brian

Monumentally Goofy Training Program

Happy July 4th to my US readers/runners and happy Monday to all the rest! Wow, has it really been mid-June since my last blog?!?!  Yikes! See, that’s what happens when you have a full-time job. It gets in the way of all the important things in life.  ;-D

Over the last few weeks I have made myself NOT RUN! I know, crazy right? I took this time to do the following:

  1. Rest & Recover from the last 20 months of training
  2. Cross Train & lift weights a bit
  3. Get a business trip out of the way
So now that I am all rested I am ready to start my new training program for the remainder of the summer. And speaking of new training programs, a few weeks ago I posted the basic Goofy Training Program (From Memory). Jeff Galloway and runDisney have the complete plan up again now so everyone can choose whether or not they want to use Jeff’s run-walk-run method since he includes all the details on the runDisney website.  Many people have a lot of great things to say about his run/walk plan and many more have cut there half and full marathon times by implementing his training methodology. Last January I even did a little of the run-walk-run during my 1st marathon at Walt Disney World.
2011 WDW Radio Running Team before the Marathon

I ran most of the race and even did a few miles with my fellow teammates from the WDW Radio Running Team. However, since it was my first full-marathon I decided to enjoy it and walk a few steps to get needed rest so I’d have something left in the fuel tank for walking around the park on Monday!

Like I said in January if you want to run with a great group of people then look up Lou Mongello and the WDW Radio Running Team on Facebook. We raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation.  Our numbers have really grown since last January!  I believe we are up to 47 members on the team running a variety of races at Disney throughout the year. Running with this group makes a great event even more special since you help fulfill the wish of a terminally ill child. The team raised enough to do just that going into January and it was a fantastic feeling!

But I digress, so I had planned to tackle the Goofy next January, but as always nothing is simple. I went to a race expo in May before the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon and saw a flyer for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  Wanting to be prepared to “Go Goofy” I decided a pre-Goofy test was in order and signed up for the Indianapolis full-marathon which takes place November 5th, 2011. So now the dilemma. How to train for both the Monumental full-marathon AND the Goofy Challenge?  Thrown into the mix was the fact that I have implemented the FIRST Training Program (mentioned this in a previous post).  The answer is simple.  Use the blender method!  Throw it all together and hit puree! After a good blending what do you get? A Monumentally Goofy Training Program!

It’s not really all that bad, but I’m going to be working hard most days of the week. Glad I “rested” for 2 weeks!

Monday: Lift weights & Spin (Cross Training Workout #1 for FIRST)

Tuesday: FIRST Key Running Workout #1 (Intervals)

Wednesday: Lift Weights and Spin/Row (Cross Training Workout #2 for FIRST)

Thursday: FIRST Key Running Workout #2 (Tempo Run)

Friday: Lift Weights Only (Go Light)

Saturday: Long Run – The Goofy Training calls for some weekends of a long walk followed by a long run the next day

Sunday: Rest or Long Run on “Goofy” weekends

So that’s my training plan for the rest of the year. Seems pretty basic until you go back and look at what the FIRST Training plan entails (see previous posts). That regimen is rather intense! I’ll be on this plan for 8 weeks and then I’m taking a week off to go to Hawaii for vacation!  🙂 I’ll have a couple workouts there, but nothing serious since I’m on vacation! After Hawaii I’ll be back on my program for another 9 weeks until the Monumental Marathon on November 5th. After the Monumental it’ll be just 9 more weeks until The Goofy Challenge!

I’m so excited to get started!  Training begins tomorrow morning!

Happy Training!

-Brian

Carmel Marathon Weekend Recap

Saturday June 11th was the inaugural event for the Carmel Marathon. Having had my first full marathon in January and a half marathon in both April and May, I decided to run the half-marathon for fun. I ran the race as a “keep the momentum going” kind of event and to have something to train for in the mean time until I started my official program for my next full-marathon which is coming up in November.

Flat (kind of) and Fast! Welcome to Indiana!

The weekend of events was pretty awesome! Not only was the course relatively flat and fast, but the full-marathon was a Boston Qualifier (BQ) AND the RRCA Indiana State Marathon Championship.

Now I’m not ready for a BQ effort yet, but it’s pretty cool to come to a BQ race and see who shows up! The weekend of events also included the USATF 8K championship so this truly was a place for elites!

I however did not go for another PR. Instead I chose to run the first few miles with a buddy of mine who was doing his first full-marathon. Those were the easiest 3.5 miles of the day.  The rest of the time I just sat back in my ~10min pace and enjoyed the scenery. I even conversed a little with the group of runners I was pacing with and it always seemed like a group of 5-10 runners were near each other first one person leading then another. It was fun to motivate total strangers along the way and have them motivate me in return. I finished the race in 02:19:26. That’s 14 minutes slower than my best half-marathon time, but not too bad for taking it easy! It was a fun morning run!

I'm bib #1496! My friend is right behind me in green!

 

Since the half and full-marathon courses intersected at several points I did get a chance to see the leader of the full-marathon around mile marker #8 being lead by a police officer on a motorcycle and two volunteers on bikes.  That guy was booking it!! He finished his full-marathon before I finished my half. Can you say “running since birth”? One day I may get there…okay close to there…okay just closer anyway. 🙂

As I said before, the course was “relatively flat”. Indiana is known for being a flat state or at least the upper 2/3rds of it….down to where the glaciers stopped a few centuries ago.  Of course as has become the standard, I manage to find race courses in flat states that are anything but flat.  This course had plenty of gently rolling hills. Perhaps not as bad as Kansas (Yes…Kansas. See my previous posts), but still plenty of ups and downs as compared to the races I’ve ran at Disney, The Indy Mini-Marathon and other races in Indiana.

Up next is The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon November 5th. I start the FIRST Training Program Tuesday and will be putting in the miles according to that plan for the remainder of the year. The only adaptation will be the addition of the occasional weekend double long day (Sat & Sun) to prepare me for the Goofy Challenge in January. After January I have some decisions to make. Looks like an Ultra-Marathon is in my future for next year. I’m going to go for a 50K which is 31.0685 miles. Not too much further than a full-marathon, but farther than the walk back to your car!  🙂

The next decision is “What’s Next?”. That will be fun to figure out!

Happy Training!

-Brian

2012 Goofy Challenge Training Program

It has come to my attention from one of my readers (Thanks Jenn!!) that runDisney has yet to post Jeff Galloway’s updated training program for the 2012 Goofy Challenge. Being a training program connoisseur of sorts I downloaded it back when it was still posted in 2010. Thinking back I guess I already knew that runDisney had taken the old training program down since I had emailed them about the dates being “off”.  The dates were off since it hadn’t been updated since 2009 when it was originally published, but the basics were there. Now remember race fans, this program is designed to get you across both finish lines in the upright position not set land speed records at Disney World. It’s a fairly simple program that follows Jeff’s run/walk philosophy. Most weeks you only run 3 days and rest/recovery is a key component of the program.

Seeing how I don’t have express written consent by the Walt Disney Company or Jeff Galloway to republish the PDF I have (assuming I can find it…) I will talk in generalities and answer questions if you have any. Don’t worry though, there’s a table below with a week by week schedule.

You know you want it...or one very similar to it!

Keep in mind that my goal for the 2012 Goofy Challenge is to cross both finish lines on Saturday and Sunday in the upright position and live to tell the tale! I have a friend who’s running it with me and we are both determined to finish and earn a lot of bling…that’s it! OH! Before I forget…I’m also doing the 5K on Friday which will be a nice warm-up and an extra medal!  🙂

The program is around 30 weeks in length. I’m sure once runDisney updates it the numbers may not be exactly the same.  For my own use, I adapted the program a little to fit my own needs, but the basis of the plan is here. Also, I believe it is suggested that you have been running for 6 months prior to starting this Goofy Training Program. If not, take it easy and follow the plan as prescribed by runDisney.

As always, you should consult a licensed medical professional (aka: a doctor/physician) before beginning any exercise program. Especially, if like me you are a middle aged guy with a Peter Pan-esque view on life! Hopefully, I spelled out the fact that you are at risk in this 39.3 mile undertaking and that you’re making the decision on your own to do this training program or participate in it in any way either in full or in part…..heck people, GOOFY is the mascot!  There’s a little bit of crazy going on to try something like this and I’m doing the 5K too so that makes me just plain Dopey!

Okay, enough of the legal speak about it being YOUR decision and YOUR own liability should something bad happen to you. You have been warned!! On to the training program!

Like I said, this program is fairly simple. I’m not going to get into the whole run/walk method because that is Jeff Galloway’s thing. There is also a training tool Jeff suggests called a “Magic Mile” which he has you do every so often to see how you’re progressing. I’m a runner and plan to run 85-90% of both races not including the time it takes to stop for pictures. Oh yes, there will be lots of pictures! Again, see my blog post about the WDW full-marathon last January 2011.

So here it is…in general…the 30-ish week Goofy Challenge Training Program as best as I can remember it. By the way, if you actually followed this program then you would start in mid-June. The program takes you a couple weeks PAST the WDW full-marathon on Sunday January 8th, 2012 for recovery purposes.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are 30-45 minute run/walks according to the original program. Go to Jeff Galloway’s Website for details on the run/walk method. You’ll notice that you get six weeks of training before you have your first weekend of back-to-back workouts. I also took the liberty of switching the run days for Christmas and New Year’s Day to Saturday, but feel free to run when you want! Oh, and don’t forget to plan for holidays (in no particular order) like July 4th, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Labor Day, Father’s Day, President’s Day, Ramadan, Boxing Day, Administrative Assistant’s Day, Yom Kippur, My Birthday (Oct. 7th), etc.

Week

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 3 mile

2

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 4 mile

3

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 5 mile

4

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 3 mile

5

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 5 mile

6

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Walk 3 mile

Run 7 mile

7

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 6 mile

8

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 8 mile

9

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 6 mile

10

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

5 mile

Run 10 mile

11

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 11 mile

12

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 12 mile

13

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 8 mile

14

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Walk 5.5 mile

Run 14 mile

15

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 11 mile

16

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 15.5 mile

17

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 9 mile

18

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Walk 7 mile

Run 17 mile

19

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 12 mile

20

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 18 mile

21

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 10 mile

22

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Walk 9 mile

Run 20 mile

23

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 13 mile

24

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 21 mile

25

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 11 mile

26

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Walk 12 mile

Run 23 mile

27

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Rest

Run 7 mile

28

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Run 6 mile

Xmas

29

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

30-45 min

Rest

Run 7 mile

New Year’s Day

30

Rest

30 min

Rest

30 min

Rest

WDW Half

WDW Full

31

Rest

30 min

Rest

30 min

Rest

Rest

Run 7 mile

32

Rest

30 min

Rest

30 min

Rest

Rest

Run 6 mile

Of course, you may opt to throw in some cross training for some of those rest days. I would suggest taking a rest day before and after those weekends where you’re doing a long walk followed by a long run the next day. Your body (muscles, ligaments, joints, etc) need the rest even if you’re not tired.

You may also want to do specific types of runs for the “30-45 min” runs on Tuesday and Thursday. I do intervals and Tempo runs on those days…usually a little longer than 30-45 minutes. I also add in a little lifting on some days usually twice a week with my cross training.

HOWEVER, the above program should get you across the finish line both days with no adaptations or additions needed. I bet you’ll even be smiling at the end of day two! I know I will!  😀

All that stands between you and these three medals (besides common sense) is the proper training program!

Let me know if you have any questions and happy training!

-Brian

New Training Regimine

I get bored easily with training programs. It’s a curse. Perhaps I watched too many action flicks as a kid where the hero was shown doing all the cool “training to fight” scenes or maybe I just like variety on the run, but I change training plans after every major training initiative it seems. I’m always trying to find a better way! I was a devout Hal Higdon follower when I started this whole weight loss/running phenomena and then I converted to the wise musings of Saint Galloway toward the end of last year. I’ve even dabbled in the teachings of the Wizard Yasso. I guess I take the approach that if I can take a little bit from each program and add in some common sense then I’ll eventually come up with a kick-butt training program to last me for a while.

So here I go!  I’m in the process of reading the book Run Less Run Faster which covers the FIRST (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) Program. Oddly enough, I found that after reading a bit of the book that I had inadvertently adapted my current training program to be almost like the FIRST Program. I had everything except the intensity at which the program trains for its three weekly runs.

The program focuses on quality workouts rather than a quantity of runs 5-7 days a week as many runners (including me) have done for training in the past. So I thought I’d give it a try since the creators of the program have years of research supporting how well the training works along with a plethora or runners heaping accolades on how they’ve cut 20-30 minutes off their marathon times. Testimonials are great, but they don’t hold water for me unless I see hard data to back up the claims. The FIRST Program has both.

The program works around a “3plus2” philosophy. That’s three runs a week and two cross training workouts a week. For the three runs they have specific goals in mind and really ramp up the intensity. This week so far I’ve completed two of the cross training workouts (also intense) and  Key Training Run #1. I won’t go into too much detail as you should really go buy the book (see picture) if you’re interested. Plus, you’ll need the pacing charts in the book to really get anything out of the program’s weekly plan.

That being said, I’ve been training weekly 5-6 days a week to train for multiple half-marathons and other races over the past 18 months so I feel I’m pretty well “fit”. After three days on this program I’m happy to say that my butt is dragging! Due to the intensity of the runs and cross training I’ll say that I realize why there are only three quality runs a week. Before I was just putting in the mileage apparently. Now, I feel like I’m putting in quality miles and really need the rest/recovery before my next run!  It’s awesome!

Best of all is with three runs a week (plus the occasional Goofy Challenge weekend double workout!) I can look forward to less worry as my schedule gets hectic this coming fall when I’m still working full-time, finishing up wedding plans, traveling, taking 6 credits toward my PhD and still finding time to enjoy family and friends. Heck, I might even be able to sleep at some point!  🙂

And here’s a bonus for all of you who are chasing a BQ time. This program is designed to get you there regardless of age. The book has a couple chapters devoted to that end.

I’ll blog further updates on my FIRST experience as I train this year. If you want to follow my training more closely then feel free to join me on the Daily Mile.

Happy Training!

-Brian

I must be crazy errr…or Goofy in this case.

For all my running endeavors this past year I’ve been called crazy, insane, over zealous, “special” and been asked,”Whyyyy?” as people give me that side ways look that running this much just isn’t quite right. After all I’ve logged four 5Ks, four half-marathons, a 4.5 mile drumstick dash and one full-marathon (see my schedule) in my 2010 season as a newbie runner.  So what more is there?  Well come January 2012 I will be just plain Goofy….as in Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL!  Garsh!

What is this challenge you ask? Well it’s simple…

  • First, arrive in sunny (hopefully) Orlando, FL.
  • Second, travel to Disney World.
  • Third, run the Disney Half-Marathon on Saturday morning.
  • Next, wake up Sunday and double Saturday’s distance by running the Disney Full-Marathon.
  • Finally, go to EPCOT for Churros and Dos Equis (not required, but fun!)

The prize? Not one, not TWO, BUT THREE count ’em T-H-R-E-E, three medals….Mickey, Donald & finally Goofy. Holy Cow!!!  Or Holy Mouse, Duck and Dog in this case!! Now that is a lot of bling for two days of Disney fun!

So how does one train for something like this!?!? As luck would have it, Disney’s got you covered for this too! Former Olympian, world renown running coach and author, Jeff Galloway, has free training schedules (yep F-R-E-E, free) available for anyone on the runDisney.com website. There are separate training schedules for the half-marathon, full-marathon and Goofy Challenge…and a few other races at WDW as well!

The Goofy Challenge training schedule is a 28 week program and it is suggested that you’ve been running for six months prior to starting this program. I will finish my third half-marathon of 2011 on June 11th just a few weeks before I should start the 28 week program for the Goofy Challenge. I’m excited to start training for it! I used a Jeff Galloway program for the last half of my full-marathon training last year and had no trouble finishing my 1st full-marathon.

The major difference I see between a regular marathon training program and the Goofy Challenge training are back-to-back “long days” 6-8 weeks into the program. There are weekends where I will have a long run on Saturday followed by a long walk on Sunday. This prepares your body for two days of longer endurance bouts.

I like Jeff’s training program because unlike traditional running programs his training stresses the idea of recovery as a key component in training. Similar to a traditional program  Jeff’s program builds distance for 2-3 weeks and then there is an “easy” week to give your body time to adapt before building again. The difference for example is that Jeff’s recovery week includes just a 3 mile weekend run after a 15 miler the previous week where a more traditional program might just drop back to 10 miles for the “easy” week. Jeff’s program really allows for more rest and recovery. This program also allows for you to have a weekend where you aren’t running all morning on Saturday!  I might even be able to sleep in a little!

Like last year I will be running with the WDW Radio Running Team which raises money for the Make a Wish Foundation. We were able to raise enough money to grant a wish last year.  Hopefully, we will do the same this coming January!

So, will you join me for The Goofy Challenge? How about the Half-Marathon or just the Full-Marathon? I’d love some company!

Happy Training!

Brian

2011 Walt Disney World Marathon

If I were a book author then this would be the final chapter of the first book in a series. As most of you know, for the past year I have been training for my first marathon which I ran on Sunday, January 9th 2011 at Walt Disney World. In those 12 months I was focused on my singular goal of running 26.2 miles while at the same time becoming healthier. In the picture below you’ll see how I looked a year ago. I’m on the right. As you can see from my aerodynamic haircut I was born to run, but hadn’t realized it yet! 🙂

That’s me on the right weighing in at 232 pounds.

I must say that I didn’t like this picture at the time it was taken, but it now has a place of honor on my refrigerator door! It’s my reminder if I ever ask myself why I’m up at 4:00am to go to the gym during the week or why I’m about to spend the better part of my Saturday running 20 miles. Now, all of that is in the past. Across the last year I lost 50 pounds training for Disney.

All this preparation led me to Marathon Sunday! I had signed up to run with the WDW Radio Running Team which supports the Make a Wish Foundation. The team was fantastic and it was an honor and privilege to run with such an excellent group of people. I must say that if you ever run the Disney marathon or half-marathon then look these folks up and join the team! They do great things and I’m sure they will continue to do great things for Make a Wish. I’d like to send out a personal “Thank You!” to Deanna and Steve on the team as I ran several miles with them before stopping for a photo at the castle in the Magic Kingdom. It was so much fun to run with two other people and the miles just zipped by running with new friends! Of course, a strong support team is also needed so another big “Thank You!” goes out to Mary Jo “Mo Jo” Collins who made sure everyone on the team knew where they were going each day, gave wake up calls/texts, and even called runners during the race for an on the run pep talk if needed! I’m sure Mo Jo didn’t sleep for the entire weekend as she operated the WDW Radio Running Team’s Central Command for the entire weekend! Thank You to the rest of the Running Team as well.  It was fun meeting everyone at EPCOT after the race.

One final “Thank You!” goes to my girlfriend, Kate, as she put up with my training schedule the last half of the year including suffering my training diet and sleep schedule, accompanied me to the race, schlepped from the cozy Hilton Grand Vacation suite to the Disney Value Resort prior to race day and spent 5.5 hours standing in three places waiting to see me along the course during the marathon. Thank you baby! I love you so much!

Now, back to the marathon! The long awaited morning arrived and I had prepared the night before as I always do before a race by pinning my bib to my shirt ahead of time…of course I took a picture and it was the first of many.

My Marathon Bib & WDW Radio Running Team ShirtI didn’t think I’d get my lucky number when I registered for the marathon, but low and behold good ol’ 16,450 came rolling out! (sarcasm!) I had my WDW Radio Running Team shirt and I was ready to go! I went to sleep at 8:00pm Saturday night since I had to wake at 2:30am in order to be on the bus to the start line at EPCOT shortly after 3:00am. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of Fiber One Cereal (Carmel Clusters) and added a banana for good measure. I also drank a bit of Gatorade on my way to the bus.

WDW Radio Running Team before the Marathon!

When Kate and I arrived at the EPCOT parking lot we both grabbed a cup of coffee and met the rest of the WDW Radio Running Team for a picture.

Walking to the Start Line of the Disney Marathon
Walking to the Start Line of the Disney Marathon

Afterwards we all started our 20 minute walk from the parking lot to the Start Line! It was a chilly walk (low 40s and dropping) to the start and we arrived about 45 minutes before the race began. I was in Corral H so I was in the last wave of runners to start. The race started at 5:30am and I crossed the start line a little after 6:00am.

Marathon Start Fireworks
Marathon Start Fireworks (5:30am)

The fireworks went off for the first Corral and my group watched for the next 25 minutes as each group walked up to the start line for their own fireworks laden send off and a salute from Mickey & Minnie in full running gear! Disney definitely knows how to send you off in style! I was able to see the other seven fireworks displays before my own started me on my way!

The first few miles went by in a flash as we ran through EPCOT. The race’s ending takes runners through the World Showcase, but I wouldn’t see that area again for another 5 hours. Still I stopped to snap a couple pictures of Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth on the Run
1st stop, Epcot!

It was amazing running through all four of the parks! I’m a fan of Disney AND an ex-Cast Member too, but this was over the top even for me!

The Epcot Holiday Tree at the entrance to the World Showcase

I had to stop for a quick snap shot of the Holiday Tree. All the parks were still decorated for the December holiday season which was nice since I usually don’t get down to Disney this time of year.

The next thing I know I was leaving Epcot and passing the 4-mile marker where my girlfriend, Kate, was waiting for me with a small group of spectators. She had made friends with three other individuals and they stayed to cheer for each of their four runners before moving on to the next viewing spot on the course! It was great to see her and I felt energized as I took off for miles #5 & 6!

I was amazed at how quickly the miles started flying by at that point!

The clock time is for the beginning of the race, not my race time.
Three more miles down! 17.2 miles to go!

By now I was approaching the TTC. That’s the “Ticket and Transportation Center” for you non-Disney folk.  😉 I had run the Disney Halloween 5K back in October so I recognized this part of the course and knew that I was not far from the the Magic Kingdom (MK). I had finally found Steve and Deanna at this point so we were really putting away the mileage. I text Kate who was waiting in front of Cinderella’s Castle to see me to tell her that I’d be there soon!

Deanna had already passed the camera. This is Steve & I running thru MK!

At the castle I left Deanna and Steve. I wanted to get a picture in front of it and how often do you get the chance for a picture sans crowds at the Magic Kingdom?!?!? I ran over, gave Kate a kiss and was back on my way. Next stop, Frontierland!

Splash Mountain in Frontierland!

The castle was at about 10.5 miles and there were no more stops for me to see friends and family for the remainder of the race. The best part though is that I felt great! I took a little extra time for pictures getting out of MK and continued on my way.  I was impressed at the entertainment Disney put on whether it be live music, a DJ, characters or other ways to distract runners from the mileage ahead.

Crossing the Train Tracks at MK I ran into a Cast Member most people don’t get to photograph!
Entertainment came in many forms to keep runners’ minds off the mileage.

At last I was at the half-way point! I ran 4 half-marathon in 2010 so when I reached this point I was happy that I was feeling good and was in no pain.  I was dialed in and enjoying the run!

A little past this marker was the half-way point. I’m surprised I didn’t take a picture!

Again, the miles started to fly by after passing the half-way marker. Still, I took the time to stop for the occasional photo opp!

The Tree of Life!
Expedition Everest!

Running through The Animal Kingdom reminded me of the Inaugural Wine and Dine Half-Marathon I ran in October, 2010.  The route here was similar though it was day time for this race rather than night time like in October. Much better photos this time around!

20 Miles! The farthest I’d ever ran in training…oh boy….

During my training for the Disney Marathon I had ran 20 miles a couple times as the schedule had dictated. Now that I was at this point again I wondered what another 6.2 miles (the equivalent of a 10K!) was going to feel like.  I trudged on and continued drawing energy from incoming texts from friends and Kate as well as reading comments on Facebook from the photos I had posted while on the run. It was like I was running with a group of people the entire time and it felt great to have the support behind me!

I was slowing down, but feeling good at this point. Just 4.2 miles to go!

At 22 miles I was hurting a bit though I was still smiling! Kate had arrived at the Finish Line way ahead of time and was texting me.  With only 4.2 miles left I knew it was no problem to finish so I just kept at it and soon I was running through MGM Studios (oops, I mean Disney Hollywood Studios). 🙂

Running the course of the Backlot Tour was fun!

A portion of the race course for MGM was running through the Backlot Tour Attraction. This was awesome as we ran past the original Disney Airline Plane, a few Japanese Zeros from Pearl Harbor and through the Costuming building. I was happy we avoided Disaster Canyon though! If you’ve ridden this attraction then you know what I mean!  🙂

3.2 miles to go!
Just past Mile 23 were tables of chocolate bars being handed out by volunteers!

Mile 23 came and went, but Disney had one more surprise for runners heading into the last 3 miles.  After I passed the marker I came across tables full of mini-chocolate bars!  A great tasting energy source to help get me through to the end!

The last few miles were good as I pushed forward to the final park run-through in EPCOT!  The run from MGM to EPCOT was great as it followed the path along the waterway with great views of the hotels.

The Swan & Dolphin Hotel
So close! 1.2 miles to go! 

Once I reached mile marker 25 I felt great!  I was as little as 12-14 minutes from the finish line for the last 1.2 miles! The course took us around the World Showcase countries. I got to see Lou Mongello and the rest of the WDW Radio Running Team supporters as I ran into the UK Pavilion. It was great to see a group of familiar faces cheering for me before that last mile plus push to the finish!

Being such a Disney fan I have walked around the World Showcase dozens of time…so many times that I knew it wasn’t much further after leaving EPCOT and heading toward the EPCOT parking lot before I would see my final mile marker!

The final mile marker! 0.2 miles until the finish line!

Seeing the final mile marker was bitter sweet for me.  I was happy to accomplish my goal and see all the hard work from the last year pay off. However, there was that little part of me that was having so much fun that I didn’t want it to end. Of course, then I thought of Kate waiting for me at the finish line AND all the fun I was going to have in the parks that evening which spurred me on to the finish line!

Kate snapped this picture just before I crossed the finish line. She was just a few feet away!

At last I approached the finish line and saw Kate just a few feet away.  She was right there for a great photo finish!

My finishers medal!

Shortly after crossing the finish line a volunteer awarded me my finishers medal. It now rests in a place of honor with my other medals.  It is the largest one I have, my only full-marathon medal (so far) and I will always cherish it as my first 26.2 mile adventure!

Of course, a 26.2 mile race is cause for a celebration if there ever was one so Kate and went back to the hotel, cleaned up from the day, took a nap and headed back to EPCOT for fun, food, and refreshments. Our first stop was the Mexico Pavilion where I enjoyed a cerveza and churros!

Churros & Dos Equis!

After a couple weeks of rest from running (still working out though) I am getting ready to start training for my next race (a half-marathon) which will take place in Kansas in April. I get to run this one with a good friend of mine so I am excited to travel to see friends and run a race with them!

Tapering

Not training as intensely as I have for the past year is probably the most excruciating thing I have experienced to date. When you train regularly you have a lot of energy! Now it’s taper time as my 1st marathon at Walt Disney World is just a couple weeks away.  And yes, I’m full of energy!!!  It’s time to cut the training down a bit though. It’s all about resting more and waiting. The upside is that all those little aches & pains that come from running a lot of mileage are starting to go away with the increased cross training and lower weekly mileage.

I had a plan of dropping 10 extra pounds before the marathon. I’m half way there! At 185lbs I’m feeling good. Having maintained that weight thru Christmas dinner at mom & dad’s house as well as surviving all the treats my GF makes thru the holidays I am even more excited to still be on track!

This week I only have one 45 minute run though I’m hitting the elliptical three other days for a good calorie burn and non-impact cross training. I’ll do a 7 miler on Sunday at slightly slower than race pace.

The week before I head South to see Mickey, I will have a couple 30 minute easy runs and then it’s time to wait the last few days until January 9th and my first 26.2 mile magical adventure! In the mean time I’m prepping with a Gear Checklist!

The Gear List:

  • Running Shoes & Socks!
  • Waiver and Bib Document for the Disney Marathon
  • Cold Gear tights
  • Cold Gear shirt
  • Running Shorts
  • WDW Radio Running Team Shirt
  • Knee brace (better safe…)
  • Running belt for GU
  • Body Glide
  • NSAIDs (for a few hours after)
  • GU (Carrying 8 to cover 5 hours)
  • EAS protein (for immediately after the race)

Optional Gear to Prepare for potential Weather during the Race

  • Sun Screen
  • Flippers
  • Snow Shoes
  • Snorkel & Mask
  • Parka
  • Snake Bite Kit
  • Scarf
  • Boogie Board
  • Skis
  • Poncho
  • Ice Melt
  • Umbrella Hat
  • Life Preserver

Whatever you’re training for have fun and I’ll be writing about my 26.2 mile magical adventure soon enough!

Happy Training!

Goals and Getting Started!

Welcome and thanks for reading my blog!  In time I will discuss all sorts of things related to my fitness journey such as exercise, strength training, walking, running, diet and hopefully the motivation to keep at it!  Happy reading!

Where to start?  Perhaps a little about me.  I started my fitness journey back in December 2009.  Last December I wanted a change so I made a plan.  I decided the only way to keep training was to have a reason to do it.  At the time I was +/- 75 pounds over weight weighing in at close to 245 pounds.

That’s me on the right weighing in at 245 pounds.

So I signed up for a 5K in March and a half-marathon in May.  I put the cash down and actually registered.  I wanted to give myself a reason to really go for it and not slack off so I added a second half-marathon in May just two weeks after the 1st one.  Looking back maybe I was a little too ambitious.  But darn it, I wanted results!

I was afraid that I would train a bit, eat healthy for a few weeks, finish the second half-marathon and stop training like I had in the past so I started to look at running events later in the year.

This is the time I should let you know that I am a Disney fan.  I had heard of the “runDisney” series and started looking into the race Disney puts on in January that goes through all four Disney parks.  Considering I had a year to train I decided to register for the full-marathon and put down the cash.  I figured if I was going to run that far I might as well run the 26.2 most magical miles on Earth!

Still, I was worried.  There is a lot of time and great BBQ weather between May and January. What if I slacked off after the May events?  What if I lost focus later in the year?  Or worse, what if I saw all that time to spare and decided I could afford to be lazy again and started to regress?

So I decided to add one more event later in the year to get me through.  I looked for another half-marathon and found a small local event in early September.  This would keep me training through the summer and I’d be set to push through to January and my first ever full-marathon.  My running schedule was set or so I thought.

As luck would have it I received an email from runDisney.com advertising a half-marathon in October called the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon.  It was the inaugural race!  I couldn’t resist!  It was Disney after all and it was to be the kickoff event to Disney’s Food & Wine Festival!  So I registered and wondered if I could handle four half-marathons in one year!  At this point I had barely ran a single mile for my first half of the year!  My friends may have started to doubt my sanity.  🙂

Fast forward to present day.  I am happy to say that I completed all four half-marathons and even did three 5K runs in total including that first one in March.  I have lost 45 pounds and I am approaching my goal weight slowly but surely.  I’m in no hurry.  Progress comes slow at times or stops all together when I hit a plateau.

So what’s the point?  A blog post should have a point right?

Goals.  What’s yours?

My goal is to enjoy life as long as I can.  My goal is to earn a PR (Personal Record) during an event every once in a while.  My goal is to be fit so I can do more.  My goal is to combine my love of travel with my new running habit!

Your goal could be to look good for a friend’s wedding, it could be to lose 10 pounds for your 20 year high school reunion, it could be that your doctor told to get active “or else” or your goal could be to be around to see your children grow up.  These are all goals, but I encourage you to find a goal that is all yours and no one else’s.  Remember though that this is when it’s okay to be a little selfish and do it for you.

I run for me.