Posts Categorized: healthy living

Dopey Challenge 2015 Recap

Dopey Challenge 2015

48.6 miles in four days: there’s a reason they call it the Dopey Challenge. I don’t know what came over us when we thought registering for the challenge was not only a good idea but a fun one a year ago! But after running the marathon down in Disney with my dad and his best friend last year, we decided to give Dopey a shot this year and I’m so glad we did!

Dopey Challenge 2015

First of all, for those of you that don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, the Dopey Challenge consists of a 5k on Thursday, a 10k on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.

Dopey Challenge 2015

Running 48.6 miles through Disney World over the course of four days required commitment, discipline and time — three things I didn’t always have over the past eight months. But with the right training plan and teammates, it was not only a doable challenge but one that was incredibly fun and even more rewarding.

Dopey Challenge 2015

This year, the weather wasn’t necessarily on our side, waking up at 4:00 a.m. for a 5k is hard enough, nevermind getting to the starting line and realizing it’s 40 degrees with a windchill in the teens and 20 mph winds. Not to mention that you’re not even starting for another hour and a half, which only makes it that much harder. It did progressively warm up for each race but was never particularly great weather for the weekend. It certainly didn’t feel like Florida until the afternoon of the marathon when the heat and humidity finally kicked in!

Dopey Challenge 2015

So here we are, about 600 training miles and one completed Dopey Challenge later, and when asked if I would do it again the answer is absolutely yes!

Dopey Challenge 2015

This year my mom and sister joined us providing us with the best cheer squad around. It was a lot of fun to have them there; it was also one of the first family vacations we’ve taken in a few years. It was great!

The first three races were great, easy even, our training plan had us running a half almost every week and at this point we can run a 5k or 10k in our sleep. The beast of the Dopey Challenge is getting through the marathon after having already run 3 races in the days before. I opted to take it easy for the half marathon, in hopes that the marathon would be a little bit easier.

The first three races went well. They were fairly easy — our training plan had us running a half almost every week and at this point we can all run a 5k or 10k in our sleep.

The hardest part of the entire Dopey Challenge was getting up so early four days in a row, we had to be at the start line by 4:30 every morning which required a 3:30 wake up call. .

The beast of the Dopey Challenge is getting through the marathon after having already run three races in the days leading up to it. I opted to take it easy for the half marathon, in hopes that the marathon would be a little bit easier.

Dopey Challenge 2015

Unfortunately, my knee had other ideas and the full marathon was far more challenging than I hoped it was going to be. After six long months of really hard training, the picture above pretty much sums up how I was feeling about my nagging pain. I decided to spend a little bit of time pacing with one of the more inspiring runners who is something of a runDisney legend.

Dopey Challenge 2015

This weekend, Sid ran his 178th half marathon and 198th full marathon, he runs carrying that flag in honor of all the active duty military members and all of our fallen members of the military. Last year I figured out that running a marathon is about 70% a mental game, and when you’re struggling sometimes you just have to get out of your own head. Running with Sid was how I got out of my own way this weekend — he helped give me the inspiration I needed to get through the race and across the finish line.

Dopey Challenge 2015

The great thing about runDisney races is how fun they always end up being. Where else can you stop on the side of a course to take pictures with Disney characters along the way or cross the finish line and get a picture with none other than Dopey himself (word to the wise: he’s an elusive little guy — if you are doing the Dopey Challenge, find him early and just accept the fact that you’ll have to stand in line for a while). The key to finishing a challenge like this one is to have fun with it.

Dopey Challenge 2015

And if that doesn’t work, just keep reminding yourself of all the bling you’ll get at the end of it. Six gorgeous medals in total! I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with them all but they’re pretty awesome!

Dopey Challenge 2015

The hardest part of the entire Dopey Challenge was getting up so early four days in a row, we had to be at the start line by 4:30 every morning which required a 3:30 wake up call.

Dopey Challenge 2015

By the last day I could barely keep my eyes open before the race started, and by the time we got to dinner to celebrate I think I was a little bit of a zombie!

Dopey Challenge 2015

My exhaustion was nothing a great glass of bubbly and some amazing deserts couldn’t fix though.

Dopey Challenge 2015

Citricos at the Grand Floridian is the best place to have a celebratory meal! Look at those desserts: creme brûlée, lemon scented cheesecake and a warm chocolate banana torte. Definitely an over-indulgence that felt well-deserved after the weekend we had!

Dopey Challenge 2015

I think next year I’ll just have someone drive me around in this gorgeous car instead of running…

Dopey Challenge 2015

Overall, it was an absolutely amazing experience. I pushed myself harder than I ever thought I could, I think the immense struggle made it even more rewarding.

Dopey Challenge 2015

My main tips for this challenge is to run it with other people. Having my dad and John on my team was beyond amazing, we shared in each others successes and struggles all throughout training and on race days were able to celebrate with each other! The next big one is to get rest and resist the urge to spend all day in the parks. Those early morning wake up calls come quick and 48.6 is a lot of miles without adding another 20 walking miles on your feet! My final tip, and I know I already mentioned it, but don’t forget to have fun. You’re running through the happiest place on earth after all!

What do you think? Would you do the Dopey Challenge?

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

If you’re a runner and you’ve ever run a race of any length you know that 25% of the race is an athletic challenge and the other 75% of the race is all a mind game. Your mood and attitude can and most likely will determine the outcome of your run. Unfortunately for me I was not in the right mindset going into the Wine & Dine Half down in Disney this month.

I woke up and saw the forecast the morning of the race and despite my best efforts all day not to let it get me down I think I was just bummed about the conditions. I’ve been so lucky to have such perfect conditions when racing down there, but I guess something had to give eventually. Then I really lost any positivity after a mishap at one of the aid station that left me with a bit of a gash on my leg from a pair of medical scissors and an encounter with a less than concerned first aid attendant. But even with that I was ready, it’s hard not to be, you’re standing around for 2 and a half hours listening to a great DJ, everyone around you is super stoked and you’re at Disney, so how bad can it really be? Plus it hadn’t started raining yet so I figured maybe it was going to hold off.

Off to the corrals, as if on cue, corral A goes and the rain comes. A heavy, cold, relentless rain. No worries, I had my poncho on, I was going to stay relatively dry, and it’s Florida right? It won’t rain for more than a half hour, 40 minutes at most, right? Wrong. I’m pretty sure it rained colder and longer than it ever has in the history of non-hurricane Florida.

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

It was mildly comforting that it wasn’t just me who was truly suffering, everyone around me was miserable, it got so bad that around mile 5 I made the group I was around and had been chatting with come up with 5 positives to try and take our minds off it. It took us almost 5 miles to come up with 5… even the elite runners didn’t look like they were having a great time, although I could barely see them they were running so fast, as we ran past each other, me at mile 2ish, them at mile 8. One girl collapsed about 10 feet before the 13 mile marker, I heard her start to hyperventilate and her boyfriend and I both turned around just in time to grab either side of her and help lower her to the ground. I wanted to stay and help her but if I had stopped for more than a few seconds I don’t think I would have started again, she had her boyfriend, I hope she finished. My heart just about broke for her, it was a long hard race and to make it that far, I would have crawled if I had to.

I love Disney races, and I really love half marathons, so I was a little upset that the overall experience was so horrible, but, here are my positives, I finished one of the hardest races I’ve run even though it would have been so much easier (and trust me I was tempted) to just stop and get onto one of those cozy busses that would whisk me back to the finish line (and my free wine), I ran/walked a total of 14.3 miles and I felt great the next day, even against all the odds and in the worst conditions tonights races actually made me more excited for Dopey than I already was, and I got a a free glass of wine at the finish line and a seriously kick butt medal.

So while the race was truly horrible, it was good in a way too, if that makes any sense. The weekend was great too so much fun, but I’ve already kept you for far too long so I will let you all get back to your days and I’ll share some more about the rest of the weekend tomorrow!

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nike women's half marathon dc

this past sunday was the nike womens half marathon in dc. last year i ran this race as my first half marathon, since i have done a full marathon and an 11 miler and then sunday i ran in the second annual nwhmdc! it’s such an amazing race, “15,000 women and a few good men” as the announcer kept saying at the start line, were running and the energy was awesome! the weather was also perfect, not too hot but sunny so you didn’t freeze if you were wearing shorts and a tank top. plus you can’t really beat running around the nations capital, there are so many amazing sights that there is rarely a day that is too ugly for a run.

i had a decent race, a bit slower than i wanted because my ankle was still bothering me from when i twisted it during the marine corps 17.75k. but i had fun and finished in the upright position and didn’t want to die for the last three miles (which tends to happen to me)! it also was the perfect way for me to get excited for my summer training which will be starting next week!

my tips for running a half marathon (or longer):

1. pick a race that is going to be fun and have good on course entertainment, especially if you’re anything like me and running for more than 20 minutes seems completely unbearable because of the boredom factor

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2. get fitted for a proper pair of shoes- i can’t stress this enough, go to a running store and have your gait analyzed and get a recommendation for a good shoe. this can make or break a race

3. train in those shoes, don’t buy new shoes to race in after one month prior to the race, you need at least one month of training in them to break them in

4. train and run with a buddy system. having someone there to push you when you think you can’t do it anymore is so great, plus it also helps with the boredom factor i mentioned in tip #1!

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5don’t worry about time, unless you’re trying to qualify for boston or another race don’t focus so much on your time, instead focus on having fun and enjoying the race as much as possible! this way you’ll probably finish faster than anticipated anyways because you won’t be stressing about it!

6. hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! before, during, and after the race hydration should be your most important focus, stop at every water station even if you’re not thirsty

7. carb load the day before but not that night, last year i was so  with having a big pasta dinner the night before the race but then the morning of the race i was still feeling the aftermath of eating so much pasta, this year i carb loaded 2 days before and for lunch before the race but for dinner the night before had a light dinner of salmon, rice and veggies! i felt so much better on sunday morning!

8. trust your training and run your own race. there are always going to be people who are faster than you and who are slower than you, stop worrying about everyone else and run your own race. the fact that you are running a half marathon is amazing, trust your training to get you across the finish line and be proud of yourself for finishing no matter the time.

9. have fun. try and enjoy every mile, you’ve trained long and hard for this, now enjoy it.