The Blue Eyed Warrior

The Adventures of the Norse Goddess of War

Archive for January, 2011

WDW Marathon: Goofy Challenge, Part 2, January 9, 2011

Before the race I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Maddy, Jennifer, Jeff, Matt, John and Marathon Chris and her daughter.  Again, like yesterday, John and I hung out in the family meeting area as long as possible before making our way out to the corrals, while the others rushed out to the corrals early.  I prefer to stay in the family area as long as possible before heading out to the corrals.  It’s warmer there and I don’t really see the point of waiting around so long in the corral where it is colder and difficult to get to the porta-potty if necessary.  Besides, when you wait as long as possible in the family meeting area before the race start before going out to the corrals, the banks of porta-potties are virtually abandoned and you can easily hit the porta-potty one more time before getting to your corral.  I prefer that to standing nervously in a long line to wait for the potty.

For this race I was wearing my Zensah compression tights, pink Skirtsports gym girl ultra skirt, Skirtskrts long sleeve top.

The full marathon was fun. I took a couple of photos along the way, one in front of the castle …

… and one with Captain Jack….

I always have to stop and take a photo with Captain Jack, even though the line is always so long and it causes me to lose time!  I love Captain Jack!

I finished in 6:15 which is about how I thought I would finish given that I was so woefully undertrained.  My legs were very tired from mile 18 to the end and my right knee had started hurting at mile 6 of the marathon and continued to hurt for the rest of the race.  I took Tylenol at mile 9.  Toward the end of the race, both my left and right knees were hurting, but I plowed through as carefully as possible.

All I wanted to do was finish uninjured and I did that.  Only my calves and hamstrings were a little sore in the days following the races.  The races were so much fun!!!  I’m really glad I did it.  I still can’t believe I accomplished this!

I had a lot of fun during both races. I wouldn’t mind doing this again if I was well trained.  I don’t care about my time this time around; I’m just happy to have finished without an injury.  So far since Goofy, my training has gone really well (with Speedy Sasquatch’s coaching and guidance).  I feel my legs are recovering nicely.

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WDW Half Marathon: Goofy Challenge, Part 1, January 8, 2011

As I said in my last blog post, I had injured my left knee in the NCR Trail Marathon in November, so I was going into Goofy with a 6 week taper and no real running to speak of.  Only a couple of 3 or 4 milers.  I was woefully undertrained. So my plan was to take the Goofy Challenge slow and easy. My only goal in the WDW Goofy Challenge was simply to finish uninjured so I could re-start my training the right way.
Before the half marathon, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Jennifer, Maddy, Marathon Chris and a couple of other runners on twitter.  John was also to meet us. His bus was an hour or so late, as it was stuck in bad traffic getting to the start area.  Although everyone else took off early to go to the corrals, Steve and I stuck around and waited for John, which allowed us to hang around longer in the family meeting area and chat with Maddy.  Maddy had made a sign and was planning on cheering runners in the half marathon since she was not running it.  She was only running the full this year.  John showed up, running towards us in his fabulous outfit: blue long-haired wig, pink tutu, tiara and magic wand.   He looked too cool!!


John, Steve and I walked to the corrals and parted ways with John while he went over to corral A and we went to corral G.

I ran the half with Steve at his pace, which was extremely relaxed and leisurely for me.

We narrowly missed getting picked up by the sweeper bus at mile 8.  That would have ruined the whole Goofy challenge for me.  Steve was running/walking at a slow pace because HE was woefully undertrained too and we stopped for A LOT of photos with characters in the first half of the race. Apparently that caused us to fall pretty far behind.  But I kept looking at my watch and I kept an eye on the time.  I figured we would finish around 3:30.  The race had a 4 hour time limit, so I never thought we would be in danger of getting picked up by the sweeper bus.

At one point, these two women ran past us while we were taking a walking break and they were each carrying a Disney princess balloon.  When they passed us, one of the balloons hit me in the head and I remember thinking to myself, “WTF lady!!! What’s with the balloon???”

The balloon ladies never got too far ahead of us and I still didn’t realize that they were the pacers for the sweeper bus — meaning that if you were in front of them by the time you get to mile 8 you can finish the race, but if you were behind them, you would get pulled out of the race and picked up by the sweeper bus.  As we were approaching mile 8 we heard a Team in Training coach shouting something out to that effect.  Then we saw some race volunteers on bikes with orange flags say we had 20-30 seconds to get past the ballon ladies and cross mile 8.  Steve and I heard that, looked at each other and said “Oh shit”.  Immediately, we hauled ass and sprinted past the balloon ladies and crossed the line at mile 8.  We just barely made it.

After that close call, we picked up our pace a lot and finished in 3:28. The race was a lot of fun, and since I took it so slow, my legs did not feel taxed at all.  Still I stayed off my feet for the rest of the day, iced both knees and wore my Saucony recovery pants in preparation for the marathon the next day.

Northern Central Trail Marathon, November 27, 2010

All I can say about this race is (1) the volunteers were absolute angels and were the nicest, most caring volunteers I’ve come across in a race; and (2) I’ve never wanted to DNF so badly in a race in my life.

The conditions were rough: 40 degrees and a cold, hard 18 mph wind.

I really don’t train on trails … At all.  I am prone to falling.  Hell, I’ve fallen on asphalt.  I don’t need roots and rocks and trees getting in my way when I run. Because I WILL fall.

I ran the race with my friend, James, and we really had a great time of it during the first 10 miles of the race.  The first 10 miles felt great.

In fact we were having such a good time running, chatting, joking and laughing that another runner on the course asked if we were a “couple”.  I laughed and replied, “No, we’re just good friends.”  Then she informed us that there was a couple running the race who were going to kiss at every mile, and when she saw us, she thought we might be that couple.  James laughed and said, “I don’t think her husband or my fiancee would appreciate that very much!”  Hahaha!

So why did I think running a trail marathon was a good idea??? Honestly, it didn’t look like it would be that hard.  The trail is not a technical trail.  It was formerly railroad tracks that were abandoned and converted to a trail. The trail is mostly flat (for a trail) and it is fairly well manicured in most places.  So natch, I thought the soft surface of the trail would be a great surface to run on and it would allow my legs to recover more quickly in preparation for the Goofy Challenge.  Plus, I thought it was a good marathon to run to bridge the training gap between the Marine Corps Marathon on October 31, 2010 and the Goofy Challenge on January 8 and 9, 2011.

Yeah, not so much.  For some reason, the soft surface of the trail just sapped the strength out of my legs very early in the race. By mile 11, I felt like I was at mile 20.  My legs were EXHAUSTED.  My calves were SHOT.  Completely SHOT.  I was really surprised that my legs were so tired this early in the marathon.  I said to James, “I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish.  This is not right.”  We decided to slow down the pace a little and add more walk breaks. By the midpoint of the race, my left knee started hurting me.  At mile 16 I had a massive asthma attack.  I could not breathe at all.  I could not get any air into my lungs.  James did not know what to do. The look on his face told me that he was afraid I was going to die out there on that trail in the middle of nowhere (and he would have to find a way to dispose of my body!)  Haha!

I got through the massive asthma attack and I told James that I really wanted to DNF at mile 18.  I did not believe that there was any way I could finish the race.  And let’s face it — it was just a training run for me for Goofy.  But James would not leave me alone in the woods in the middle of nowhere.  And he wouldn’t let me quit. He really wanted to finish.  He was struggling as much as I was and from mile 17 to the end, we could only walk.  We could not run any more.  James said he had finished other marathons feeling worse than this, so he really wanted to finish.

We walked it in from mile 17.  It was long and hard and arduous.  There were times in the woods on the trail that we heard gunfire from hunters, despite that there were “no hunting” signs posted everywhere.  Many of the times that we would hear a gunshot, James would joke, “Damn! He missed us!” Or “Damn, he misfired!”  Haha!

We finally finished the race barely under the wire! We came in at 5:56, just minutes before the 6 hour deadline.

That race hurt.  BAD.  Finishing that race was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

In the days following the race, when the normal post-marathon aches and pains subsided, I was left with a staggering sharp pain in my left knee when going up and downstairs.  The pain was severe.  I was sure that I tore something in my knee.  I figured it was a torn meniscus for sure.  I saw my doctor.  He manipulated my left leg in various directions asking if this or that hurt, and it didn’t.  He said, “Are you sure this doesn’t hurt? If you had a tear, THIS would hurt.”  After further examining my left knee, he concluded that he believed it was only inflammation behind the knee that was causing some patellar grinding.  He prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and after a few weeks, my knee felt great!  Just in time to taper for Goofy!  As a result I had about a 6 week taper going into the Goofy Challenge, leaving me woefully undertrained for that race.