Tag Archives: marathon

Back on My Feet Marathon Relay

I had the opportunity to join a relay team for the Back on My Feet organization last year and returned again for the relay this year, once again joining team “Run. Restore. Repeat.”

Team “Run. Restore. Repeat.” completed its second Marathon Relay on September 24 with three return members and three new runners. We are excited about the great strides Back on My Feet is making in combating homelessness, and invite you to join us in supporting this terrific organization. If you would, please help out our team by supporting the Back on My Feet organization at this link. Together we can make a difference!!

Always Training,

Taper Time for Disney!

A Final Long Run

I have one more long run tomorrow and it will be time to taper for the Walt Disney World Marathon! Tomorrow is my 20 miler. I’ve done 15, 17, and 18 mile runs over the last few weeks building up to this final run for my usual “cross the finish line” training plan. I plan for it to take a full 4 hours. Unfortunately I caught a rhino virus over Christmas that decided to finally show up last night so Sunday’s 20 mile run should be interesting. As usual my long run will be slow or what runners call an LSD, a long slow distance run. If it were anything but the common cold I might have to skip the 20 miler and start tapering now, but we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. It may be that I do a 4 hour walk on Sunday which would be closer to a 12-13 miler, but regardless I am in it for a 4-hour time period.

I want to make sure that I am ready to stay on my feet and in motion for Sunday January 13th. I’ll be running the Disney Marathon with a friend who is going for her first Goofy challenge. It will also be her first marathon so having a couple people along for moral support will be a big help! You may even know her from the blog she writes! My friend is the force behind the We Wants the Redhead blog! Check it out!

We both run on the WDW Radio Running Team to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation through the Dream Team Project. We run to grant a child’s wish to go to Walt Disney World, a worthy cause if ever there was one! If you have an extra $5 dollars I would greatly appreciate the donation. I will be happy to dedicate a mile or two to you!

The Taper

Tapering is always interesting as you reduce your level of training significantly to allow your body rest, recovery, and repair for the big day. Next week assuming my cold is gone I will still do a tempo run and a day of interval training, but I won’t go for the top end speed as I usually would for those types of training. I’ll also decrease the amount of strength training I do to just one or two days as that kind of training can make you a bit tight and tapering is also about getting loose for the big day.

Two things I will increase are my time on the elliptical and sleep!  I’ll do the elliptical to maintain my calorie burn for the week. The holidays have not been kind to the number on my scale so over the next two weeks I am focused on a structured nutrition program and getting a good calorie burn each day.

The week leading up to the marathon will be light and primarily just easy sessions on the elliptical along with a couple short runs of less than 5-miles at an effortless pace and no weight lifting. Rest rest rest is on the training agenda!

I’m really looking forward to running my 3rd Disney Marathon. This will be my 6th full marathon overall and my 8th runDisney race! I hope to see some of you at Walt Disney World in a couple weeks!

Happy Training!


You can also follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23

Mugged at Dew Point

If you’ve continued your usual run schedule the past couple weeks then you know that the heat and humidity have been brutal just about everywhere in the the good ol’ US of A. To try and beat the heat I’ve woken at 3:20am the past three weeks for all of my mid-week runs to try and get my miles at the coolest time of day. Still, at 4am when I start my run the heat and humidity has been just slightly better and it seems that all I’m doing is removing the sun from the equation. While this is a huge help my experience this morning was that of 84 degrees and 85% humidity which is brutal and performance stopping to say the least.

To battle the heat, hydration and recovery are key points to remember. Perhaps a good place to start is to figure out your sweat rate and to figure out how much water you should drink per day so you know the numbers. I am big on knowing your numbers and as I’ve said before, numbers don’t lie. The numbers cut through the emotion, the mental, the physical and the crap! Being armed with your numbers is a great first step toward maximizing your potential.

First up is you daily water intake. Check out the Human Water Requirement Calculator to see how much H2O you should take in per day. My number surprised me. Just be honest with yourself when using the calculator so you’re as accurate as possible. Also, I don’t count sugary drinks or even diet soda toward my intake number. That’s a personal choice and a good way to make myself decide/opt for water instead of a soda or juice. Knowing how much you should drink daily will ensure that you are hydrated throughout the day and ready for your next training session!

Next up is your sweat rate. This will tell you how much you should drink during exercise to stay hydrated. According to Active.com, “An average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 liters (roughly 27.4 to 47.3 oz.) per hour during exercise.” The best way to calculate your sweat rate is to weigh yourself sans clothing right before you workout then go workout for an hour without taking in any fluids and ideally without using the restroom during this time. After an hour of exercise weigh yourself again without clothes. The change in weight is the amount of fluids you lost due to exercise. If you are down two pounds then you lost 32oz

Be specific for the type of exercise you do when calculating sweat rate. If you a want a sweat rate for running then you should run for an hour. You SHOULD NOT lift weights for an hour and then expect that sweat rate to be the same for when you go for a run. You’ll sweat more on a run than you will lifting weights in the air conditioned gym.

Speaking of AC, please pay attention to your environment when calculating sweat rate! If you decide to calculate your sweat rate on the treadmill in your air conditioned gym with the two TM fans blowing on you then know that you will sweat more outside on a hot day. Basically, just pay attention to the temperature, humidity and dew point in relationship to human comfort.

Finally, if you are becoming more active and losing weight like me then be sure to recalculate your sweat rate on a regular basis as your body will become more efficient at regulating heat and your performance will increase too so you’ll want to make sure you are drinking enough, but also not over-hydrating…not a big issue in the recent 100+ temps, but still something to consider so you aren’t trying to run with a lot of extra fluid sloshing around in your stomach. Stay hydrated and stay safe on those hot runs!

Happy Training!


Carmel Marathon Recap

Happy Belated Earth Day!  Odd way to start a running blog post I know, but the Saturday of the Carmel Marathon was Earth Day after all.  I realized this when I saw my finishers medal on Saturday, but I digress.

To say this was a standard marathon run would be far from reality. First, I decided to do this marathon at about 7:00pm the Thursday before the race. Second, not only was this race impromptu I hadn’t really been training for it.  I had done several longer runs with a good friend of mine who had the sense to actually train for this 26.2 mile adventure, but otherwise I had been focused on trying for a PR on May 5th at the Indianapolis Mini Marathon.  As fate would have it I tweaked my knee a couple weeks ago doing some core work which made speed a problem for me.  It turned out to be more of a bother than a true injury.

…don’t worry, I had my knee checked by an NP and my chiropractor independently.  Both came to the same conclusion independently that I had just tweaked it a little and that there was no ligament or meniscus damage. They both told me to take it easy for a week by cutting my mileage volume and to return to full activity as I saw fit. As I returned to full activity I realized that speed was an issue, but distance wasn’t so I decided “what the hey!” and registered for the marathon. I had done all the long runs with my friend so I felt the distance was in reach. One caveat is that my PR goal for the Mini Marathon is on hold for now.

So back to the marathon recap!

The Weather:

I ran the Carmel half marathon last year for the inaugural event when it was scheduled in June. That race was super hot and my performance suffered as I came in 20-30 minutes behind what I expected from my 02:05:00+ performance at the Indy Mini Marathon in May.

This year was chillier with temperatures in the low to mid 40s for most of the race and a 14mph wind that chilled you when running into it. The weather was predicted to break and get a little sunnier with temperatures in the low 50s.  This never happened so the entire race was in the 40s and overcast.

I'm cold. Do I look cold? Because I am...

The Run:

I started out with my friend and quickly had to slow as my left shin was super tight. I told my friend to go it alone and I dropped back. Somewhere around mile 5 a lady approached and remarked that I was not Lou Mongello.  Lou is the founder of the WDW Radio Running Team and the online podcast phenomena by the same name (sans running).  I was wearing my WDW Radio Running Team shirt for the race. It’s pretty cool when someone so far from Disney recognizes the shirt and the efforts of the team toward the Dream Team Project and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Eventually I saw and started running with the 5-hour pace group. The group was small and the pacer, Marie, was very talkative!  She had 100s of stories it seemed and had herself run a couple hundred marathons.  She didn’t count ultra marathons in that number though because she liked to know the straight count on those as well.  She’s training to run the Comrades Ultra Marathon and Badwater. Besides being a marathon maniac, she was also  a little insane…I liked her immediately!  🙂

A little over halfway to the finish!

I stayed with this group until mile 15, but then dropped back with another runner.  We made a valiant effort to keep the 5-hour pacer in sight, but it wasn’t to be.  Still, I knew there was a 5:30:00 pacer somewhere behind us so I didn’t worry.  My new running partner and I took on a run/walk regimen for the remainder of the race and kept on motivating each other.  Thanks Lisa!

The Finish:

It wasn’t long and the miles ahead became less than the miles behind us. Soon after we were running through the Carmel Art & Design district headed for the finish line. On the final stretch I kicked it into gear for a sprint to the finish.

I'm the blue dot about in the center.

I finished up by doing a few high (or medium rather) fives as I went into the finisher’s chute. All my friends had waited for me to finish. Luckily I didn’t make them wait too long….well, except Dave.  He finished in a little over 4 hours!  He’s a machine!

A few low to medium fives as I run into the finisher's chute.

All in all it was a good day. I PR’d by 09:41, met a lot of cool people, and added another marathon to the list.  There’s only one other marathon road race in the local Indy area that I haven’t run, the Indianapolis Marathon, but I’ll have to wait until next year to run that one as I already am running a trail marathon on that same day this year near West Lafayette, IN.

Happy Training!




No I’m not actually changing my twitter handle to add the word “ultra” and no this is not a post about Dean Karnazes’ book with a similar title…good book though! This is about my next adventure later this year. That’s right, I am registered for my first 50-mile ultra marathon! My ultra of choice is the OPSF 50/50 Ultra Marathon.

Wait…what’s an “Ultra-Marathon”?

Good Question!  Let’s define an ultra marathon for you. An ultra marathon is any distance foot race/event that is longer than the traditional 26.2 miles of a standard marathon.

What about the Goofy Challenge?  That was more than 26.2 miles!

So is the Goofy Challenge an Ultra?  A purist would likely say “no” since the 39.3 miles of the Goofy is ran across 2 days with a big break in the middle where as an ultra marathon is a continuous event until the mileage is finished (assuming a course time limit). Having just completed a Goofy Challenge…plus an extra 5K for 42.4 miles in three days, Dopey I know…I can assure you that the experience will be helpful! The shortest ultra I know of is the 50-K which equates to 31.07 miles. I had the option to do this shorter distance instead of the 50-miler, but to be honest there is no doubt in my mind that I can finish a 50K especially after having completed 42.4 across three days. At the end of the Goofy Challenge I was more than prepared to go another 5-miles. The 50-miler is a much greater challenge for me. Also, having read up on the topic of ultra marathons I’ve learned that the people who run these events don’t consider it a “real ultra” until you hit the 50-mile mark. Anything less is considered a long marathon or “just a training run”. As they say, “When in Rome!”

Why in the name of all that’s holy…?!?!?

Why an ultra? Well, that’s a good question! An ultra marathon is like a mountain to some runners. You run it because it’s there. For others it’s just the challenge of the distance. It’s a little bit of both for me plus training for an ultra marathon is much different than training for even a regular 26.2 for both the program and the philosophy. Also, this is a trail run so the environment of the course is much different than a standard road race. So I have a 2-in-1 challenge ahead of me!


To prepare for this event I am increasing my training mileage quite a bit. Right now my weekly mileage not including cross-training is close to ~25 miles per week.  Once I start the ultra training I’ll boost that number to over 30 miles per week almost immediately…emphasis on “almost” and then increase it from there.  It’s advised that you only increase total mileage by 10% from week to week so luckily I have a couple weeks to build up so there isn’t such a huge jump at the start of the program.  Another nicety is that the weekly mileage increase primarily comes in the mid-week runs at the start along with the addition of a short Sunday run after a long Saturday run.  The first 8-weeks has a small 5-miler on Sunday after the long run on Saturday. I was amazed at how closely the training plan resembles the Goofy Challenge Training just higher mileage.

Besides the races I mentioned in my last post I also added a couple 15K trail runs and a full marathon trail run so I can get more trail experience. As soon as I finish the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 5th I will be all about the trail running for the remainder of the year.  I’m looking forward to buying a headlamp! 🙂

Happy Training!


You can follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23

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!


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!


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!


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!


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!