why you should solve a murder mystery with your co-workers

One of my duties at work is overseeing a training, development and recognition committee.  Amongst other duties, we are in charge of putting on our dept end of the semester gatherings.  Monday was our spring end of the semester shindig.

My committee did a great job of trying a few new things this year and for this most recent gathering, we decided to play a murder mystery game.  I LOVED the idea of this – completely different from anything we have ever done.  I was also fairly nervous that people wouldn’t participate.  My first inclination was “forced fun” and make everyone play.

However, my committee-mates overruled me (it was like some kind of royal uprising, I swear!) and we sent out invites to see who wanted to participate.  There were going to be approximately 30 people there and we needed at least 10 individuals, 15 if you wanted all of the characters represented.  Guess how many RSVP-ed?  15!  Success!  My worries that people would be “too cool for school” were completely unfounded and I dare say those who didn’t directly participate wished they had.  If more than 15 wanted to participate, I was ready to either a) split some characters, b) double some characters and/or c) give some characters a twin <— my favorite idea.

Anyway, if you haven’t hosted or been to one of these events, they are a blast.  Your guests certainly can make or break it, in that if they are lackluster when playing their character than it won’t be as much fun.  That being said, chances are the people who play their characters up will outweigh those other stinkers.  We chose the 1985 High School Reunion themed murder mystery and it was spot on for our group.  I did most of the legwork for this and if you are the organizer than make sure to allot some time to prep!  There is some pre-planning along with set-up that while certainly not difficult, is a bit time consuming.  When you order the packet, everything is there for you and realistically, you should just need to print and put together but it takes a small chunk of time.  Also, read all of this well ahead of your event – this was a blunder on my part.

My co-workers hammed this up and got into their characters!  It was so fun to watch!  Even individuals who I thought might be more reserved – nope!  They got into it!  I helped to facilitate a bit but mostly was on the logistical side as I also had someone be the moderator-type person.  Everyone had fun and the timing of the game worked well with our having lunch, too.  When I assigned characters, some I matched with their personalities and others I gave them exact opposites.  I high-fived my self for this idea.  I had a couple of people who dressed up and others who said they would’ve of but didn’t get their emails with their characters in time.  Note to self – assign characters earlier – again, I underestimated how much time the details would take.  No matter, there was hordes of dramatics!

I loved all of the over the top acting!

If you have a group of co-workers and are looking to do something different at your next office celebration, I can’t recommend this enough.  I think the packet is $15, however, we used one a co-workers purchased, so I’m not quite sure.  Or if you are planning your next family reunion, cook-out, birthday party – whatever, it’s a really good time and HIGHLY entertaining!  You can get as intricate as you want with the decorating, theme-favors or whatever.  We were fairly low-maintenance with it and it still worked.  Nothing beats watching your friends/family/co-workers/whatever essentially acting out “CLUE” right in front of you!

sunburst 1/2 (kicked my booty, btw)

The Sunburst 1/2 was… difficult.

I could probably end the recap there but I wouldn’t be a very good blogger if I did so I shall spin my tale for y’all.

We had a bright and early wake up call at 4:15 am.  I was thrilled to be slumber party-ing it up with Meagan and her fam.  I adore her sweat pea of a little one and her hubby is entertaining.  Top off the good company with a yumo pizza dinner, some fro-yo and Meagan’s very cute puppy, I was set.  Oh, the puppy?  Her name is Sadie and she has the iconic patch over one eye.  She is cuddly and jumped up and was my spooning buddy in the middle of the night.  I’m not kidding, her head was resting next to mine on my pillow.  My heart melted a bit.

It took about an hour to get to the start and thankfully we found a spot in the (free) parking garage.  The race started RIGHT on time.  Starting out the weather was perfect and Meagan commented, “you know it could be a rough one when at 7:30 am it’s the perfect temperature.”  Foreshadowing at it’s finest.

I really wish I could tell you how despite odds being against us – neither one of us was exactly trained for 13.1, the weather was promising to be quite warm and some hesitant mental games, that we blew through the course.  Nope.  I was confident up until the 5th mile.  I pre-juiced with some Vega Sport pre-energizer at the start, which was why I made it that far!

I started losing it at what I thought was mile 6.  I told Meagan, “I don’t think I am going to make it.”  Meagan: “We are almost at mile 8, you WILL make it.”  I was grateful to hear we were almost to 8 but I was still doubting my mad running skillz.  Meagan said right as I was losing hope, she was feeling confident – this was perfect.  Meagan emotionally carried me for the rest of the race.

just another perk of running!

It was warm.  I’ve never done this race before and it was rerouted from previous years since we couldn’t end in the Notre Dame stadium.  The nice part was there was a lot of shade and the course was really pretty.  There were some rolling hills with a few steeper ones that we walked.  We did start to do some walk/running bouts.  Meagan would call out our stops and starts – essentially I didn’t have to think, just run.

The water stops were about every mile and half or so, with awesome volunteers, water and gatorade.  There was also GU at one of them – strawberry/banana (umm… no) and I grabbed it at mile 5.  Salted caramel came to the rescue at mile 10.  Mile 11 or so, I started feeling heat-strokey.  I started getting chills and wasn’t feeling well.  I let Meagan know.  This kept up for about a mile.  During this time, some of the neighborhoods had sprinklers out and I took full advantage.  This definitely helped but I knew I needed the med-tent when we crossed the finish line.

I'm smiling so hard because we are done
I’m smiling so hard because we are done

Yep, we made it.  Son of a triscuit, it was hard.  I wanted to quit oh so badly and was proud that I didn’t.  Meagan’s recap is here and while she says that she was hurting, she certainly didn’t let on, which is probably why we finished!  Right after the volunteers passed out the medals, there were folks passing out cold, wet towels – I started feeling better almost immediately.  We got our knees wrapped in ice, hit the after-race snacks, FRUIT CUPS!  This is the first time I’ve ever had this and there wasn’t even honey-dew filler!  I grabbed a popsicle (yeah!), guzzled a chocolate milk, and picked up a bagel and banana for the road.

it's blurry because my hands were shaking a bit!
it’s blurry because my hands were shaking a bit! still so pretty

I told you it was going to be a tale… A couple of things I took away from this race: 1) the gut check 2) running with someone is so much fun!  The last time I ran with anyone was a year ago – with Meagan in fact!  Yet another reason I decided run camp was a good idea.  Oh yeah, and 3) the nutty things I will do for a t-shirt and a medal.

***No picture of said medal and t-shirt because I was too tired lazy to get up off of the couch and take one… maybe another day.***

fun finds & penguins

Here are a few of my fun finds.  This is the third time I’ve typed this sentence as my stupid thumb brace has somehow magically hit all of the buttons in tandem to erase what I’ve typed.  Maybe it was the blogging gods giving me a hint…

Anyway, here we go:

First and foremost this most fabulous gif ever:

I know, I can’t help it, I’m in love with these penguins and their sort of sack race fun!

Yep, rewatch it as many times as you need/want to.  I’m in total and absolute love!

2.  At the expo this weekend I found this sweatshirt:

yay! run MI friends!

A “Run MI” hoodie!  I love me a good hoodie, or long sleeve t so this was perfect.  Not to mention it was only $25 AND it’s a decent color that won’t show too much cat hair.  Oh and Michigander pride!

3.  Honey Maid Grahamfuls.  These probably aren’t the most nutritious snack out there but it reminds of when we used to put frosting on graham crackers as a kid.  I got the peanut butter/chocolate flavor but there are a bunch to pick from.  They are tasty.

4.  Adding mini chocolate chips to my Chobani snack size yogurt.  Mini chocolate chips are too fun so I’m compelled.

again, any reason to have dean on my blog

5.  Have you seen these Procompression socks?  Oh goodness, I LOVE polka dots!  I’m getting the sleeves.  They are the sock of the month so they are cheap (use coupon code BRD).

procompression sock of the month

6.  Did you know ants hate cinnamon?  I didn’t either and I’m hoping it’s true.  There must be an ant nest outside of my apt because I’ve been seeing a few of these bad boys.  They aren’t giant carpenter ants (vomit) but they aren’t the itty-bitty ones either.  I think they are the middle children of the ant family.  I’ve lined my window sills with cinnamon as it isn’t dangerous for Simon.  Fingers crossed this works and doesn’t attract other critters, which I didn’t even consider until office mate suggested chipmunks might like it.  Just something else for me to worry about when lying in bed at night.

7.  New sunglasses.  I ALMOST bought the white polka dot ones (see the above proclamation of love) however, they were just a bit TOO big.  Settled on another gem that are still bigger but don’t completely eat my face up.

I sent this pic to my sister and friend for opinions
I sent this pic to my sister and friend for opinions

8.  Yuengling – as I may have mentioned, I’m not a huge beer fan but more and more it’s growing on me.  Sometimes I find it odd that the running culture does include quite a bit of beer consumption… just a thought… I had one of these puppies the other night before the race and it was very drinkable.  I will definitely purchase in the future.

9.  Head scarves!  I’m wearing one in the above sunglasses pics and I adore them.  Headbands give me headaches and these are perfect.  I haven’t gone to bohemian in the styling quite yet but the option is there.  Target, friends – they are a bit shorter than the neck scarves although you can still wear them in this fashion as well.

10.  Some good songs.  Office mate is my personal DJ and he has great taste in music.  Many of my new favorite songs on my running mix I hear first at work.  Unfortunately, they are on my ipod which is currently somewhere so I can’t give you any names.  More to come…

11.  I guess I didn’t really find this per say, it’s more like I put it into action.  I’m trying to make working out more of a habit as opposed to something I do my best to wiggle out of on a daily basis.  I don’t want to THINK it’s optional.  I took mini post-its, numbered them 1-21 and get to remove one each day I do a work out.  I’ve also established how many days I can actually miss during this period before I have to start completely over again.  Like a reverse advent calendar, I’m loving ripping one of those suckers off the wall.  I missed 3 days in a row this week though so it’s time to start over.  I was going to give myself one more day to hop back on the train but time to be more honest with myself.

is it just me?  or does this 21 look a little smug?
is it just me? or does this 21 look a little smug?

Here I go again…  That’ll do for now me thinks.

there’s a marathon afoot

There is a marathon happening outside my front door this morning.

I am wildly jealous of the runners!

Meanwhile, I am working.  Not my first choice.  Today is the Kalamazoo full, Borgess 1/2 and this year there are both  10k and 5k options as well.  It’s fantastic!  I really wanted to at least do the 10k or 1/2 but work commitments trumped.

Did I mention I was at work?

Alright, I need to breathe out the bitterness… Also happening this weekend is the Flying Pig Marathon.  I can’t even tell you how desperate I am to run this.  I collected pigs as a kid and these medals have flying pigs right on them!  I love the fun atmosphere and following them on facebook makes me want to run it even more (seriously, check out their website).  There is also a new run they created, the Queen Bee 1/2, which is in the fall.  Again, adorable and fun.

Now that I’ve lamented about the races I’m not running, I should probably make sure I’m ready for the ones I AM running.  Yesterday I set out for some miles and accomplished 5.  It’s funny because I kept wanting to stop.  “I’m tired.”  “My legs can’t go any further.”  “Why did I sign up for this again?!”

During this detrimental inner monologue I told myself that my brain was tired, not my legs.  Guess what?  This was true.  I could and did keep running.  I also asked myself, “do you want this race?”  I decided I did indeed want to run and finish my upcoming 25k; that I did indeed, want to keep running.  While I didn’t suddenly get a surge of power, I pep talked my brain and legs into running further.  Also, I came up with my mantra for the race:  “I’ll cross this *%$#$ finish line”.  Sorry for the profanity but I am going to need the aggression to boot scoot my booty along next weekend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my mental game sucks.  So, I reinstated my visualizing yesterday.  I can’t begin to express how helpful this technique is and sometimes I completely forget about it.  I imagine what it’s like to cross the finish line and the euphoria that always follows.  I also picture what the middle of the race will be like – when I want to curl up on the roadside and rock in the fetal position until someone takes pity on me quit.  While prepping myself to feel awful may not be a typical motivational practice, I need to arm myself with the weapons to defeat the negativity.  The only way I know how to do this presently is to figure out ways to encourage my feets to keep doing their thing, no matter what the rest of me is screaming.

I kind of want to make this a shirt…

I’ve got 10 miles on the docket today.  I bandaged up my feet yesterday in hopes that it would stop my Hokas from blistering my feet.  No such luck.  I was kind of surprised actually – I done bandaged them good.  What this does mean though is that I am going to need to wear my NEW shoes for the 25k.  Yet another reason my blog is called “Recipe for Disaster”… I’m going to take the newbies out tonight and the rest of the week to make sure my feet don’t catch on fire but I certainly have my concerns.  I was going to type, “it is what it is” but this doesn’t sufficiently convey my apprehension!

this does a better job…

It’s a BEAUTIFUL Sunday here.  I hope you all are having a wonderful day.  Good luck to everyone running and racing today!

uncle sam hearts tax day!

True to form, I did my taxes Monday…  I’ve nailed the art of procrastination of so many levels.

If yesterday is still sheds a shadow over your Wednesday or you just need a pick me up on a Wednesday, here is  some humor.  These are a few funnies that has made me laugh recently and wanted to share them.  Hope they do the same for you!  P.S. Uncles Sam says “thanks for filing!”  (Hmm… is it egotistical to speak for uncle sam?!)

pop up book of phobias
the horrors…
man, I love these!
man, I love these!
jurassic park
simon and I love Jurassic Park and this is very clever!
umm... this may have happened this weekend x2
umm… this may have happened this weekend x2
I tried explaining this to my co-worker and why I thought it was so funny.  lost in translation - I sounded like a crazy person
I tried explaining this to my co-worker and why I thought it was so funny. lost in translation – I sounded like a crazy person

bird and math

cracks me up!
cracks me up!

And what would this list be without a cat meme?!

haha, poor cat!
haha, poor cat!

Enjoy your Wednesday!

 

9:30 pm is a great bedtime

I am a night owl.  I have been my whole life.  Mornings are the pits.  Nevertheless, since starting school way back in the day, I’ve had to adhere to the standards of society and start the day before 10 am.  Ideally, I would sleep until 9:15 am and then hang out for a bit in my sweats with coffee.  Maybe in my next life?

Work has been exhausting this week!  Monday was hectic and I started training a new supervisee.  Tuesday I hosted a candidate, which meant being “on” all day/evening.  At one point, I thought to myself, “what am I even talking about?!”  I still have no idea – poor candidate.  Then yesterday, I was helping with an event involving over a 100 people all day, who had a ton of questions.  Oh and work into the evening as well.  Since getting older, I’ve gone from pure extrovert to borderline introvert.  That being said, it was tough having to be “on” for all of this time.

shoot… my hair isn’t long enough…

Hence my 9:30 pm bedtime on Tuesday.  Why haven’t I ever done this before?  I recognize there are benefits to going to bed early and even attempted to stick with a 11 pm bedtime in the recent months.  But it hasn’t exactly stuck.  I didn’t realize that even earlier could be better!  Who knows if I will keep this up but it’s worth a shot.

Unfortunately, due to my hectic schedule, I haven’ t run at all this week.  I’m hoping by the time I hit “publish” a run will have occurred – so can we all cross our fingers?  There hasn’t even been an opprotunity to run at lunch since a traditional lunch break either wasn’t available or I was entertaining guests.  This isn’t a normal week so I should stop whining… but I’m cold… and tired… and whiney…

OH!  Some healthy stuff!  I made my first smoothie this past weekend!  I love the idea of making a smoothie every morning for breakfast but so far this hasn’t happened in my lifetime.  Sunday I rounded up all of the ingredients and made a smoothie with strawberries, some oats, yogurt, almond milk, a banana and honey.  It was tasty!  Next time, I will blend the oats even more to make it less chunky but it was a yummy first attempt.

first smoothieI also found this blender cup, Fitlosophy Blender Bottle, (I got the 16 oz) at Target the other day.  I remembered on a whim I wanted to look for one and sure enough I found one on clearance.  It has one of those round whisk balls in it and today I gave it a shot with the Click powder.  Wowzers!  It worked so much better than I could ever have imagined!  It mixes it so well!  No slimy chunks at the bottom or that come up through the straw!  I also like that it’s now a one cup deal – any time I  can do less dishes is a happy time for me.  Over the last few days, I’ve found I only use a scoop and half of the powder and then a splash of chocolate/caramel creamer.  This was a good choice.

Despite the 7 inches of snow that fell in about 4 hours yesterday morning, I’m staying positive!  The weekend will be here soon, I will get a chance to run and on my walk to work yesterday morning I saw this!  A frozen little “heart”!  It brightened my morning.

frozen heart

cut my own hair? sure!

On Sunday, I wanted a haircut RIGHT NOW.  I was done.  It’s been about 4 months since my last cut, which is a lot considering I have shorter hair.  Typically, my style needs to kept up approximately every 6 weeks or so to keep its shape.  But I didn’t get around to it.

Then I wanted to be able to put my hair back for Dopey so I wanted to wait.  Suddenly, I couldn’t handle it any longer and I decided I was going to cut my hair myself.

enter ominous music

So yesterday, after working for a little while I went to Sally’s Beauty supply and bought a pair of hair scissors ($15.00), the clips to hold up my hair ($3.00), a handheld mirror ($5.00), a spray bottle ($2.50) and a comb ($1.00).  I told the women working the register what my plan was and they asked me if I had ever done it before.  I told them, “nope”.  That was the end of the conversation.  Oh, I could have purchased some scissors for $10.00 but I got the jazzy ones for $5.00 more.

haha, I was a bit apprehensive!
haha, I was a bit apprehensive!

I looked up tips and tricks online and found some good advice and not so good advice.  First of all, there were very few posts about how to cut/shape your shorter hair.  It was either long hair or pixie cuts.  This worried me slightly.  I found a youtube video that was okay and it was a woman cutting her long hair short.  But that was it.  Some of the solid tips were to cut it when it was wet (still doesn’t make sense to me), don’t cut a lot off at once, go slowly and practice.  Practice?  Basically, make sure you’ve cut your bangs or something a few times so you are comfortable.

yep, I’m beyond creative using an edward scissorhands gif!

Then I just went for it.  I got scissor happy at one point but after deeply cutting my finger, I slowed down.  One tip was to sketch out what you wanted your cut to look like.  I should have done this since I forgot I wanted to have some layers!  This meant I needed to cut the layers a bit shorter despite the fact I cut the bottom to the length I wanted.  So, my layers are a bit shorter than I first intentioned.

here is the before
here is the before

I sort of had an idea in my head about the final look but it wasn’t very concrete.  What did I want?  I wanted a cut where I could blow dry it and not have to use a curling iron to enhance the curls.  Or put some hair junk in it and go.  Seriously, this was my main motivation.  Lately, my hair was looking straggly and I wanted that gone too.

Here is what I came out with!  I’m proud of myself!

ta-da!  the after
ta-da! the after

Actually, I am really proud of myself!  I love the Bourne movies and in the first and third one the women have to change their appearance and just start hacking at their hair.  It always turns out really cute.  I felt I could do this too.  Yep, in my brain I know a stylist went back over it and made it look better but not my heart!

If you are thinking about cutting your own hair here are my tips:

1.  If you are nervous about doing stuff to your hair and/or are very particular don’t do it.

2.  I promise, your hair will not look like you just stepped out of a salon.  Thinking I could pull of something exactly or even similar too a salon visit would have set me up for disappointment.

3.  I knew I could get it fixed if need be.

4.  I’m pleased with my scissors – splurge on these if you go the diy route.

5.  Be careful!  The cut on my finger HURT.  I had to put the band-aid on tight to help the bleeding slow.  These little suckers are sharp.

6.  Take it slowly.  It was suggested to have a friend there too but I think this would be boring for a friend and again, I was impatient.

7.  Remember hair will grow back.  I’ve dyed my hair black, orange (strawberry blonde gone wrong) and blue – not all at once!  I’ve had some really bad haircuts and I permed my own hair once.  Since I’ve given my hair a workout I wasn’t too worried about messing up.

I have no idea if I could do it again.  I’ll try and it will probably end up with a bit different of a style!  While I didn’t set out to do this strictly for the money-saving piece, I’m taking the win.  I like the idea of going to my stylist once or twice a year and then keeping up the style on my own.  Yay!  My handiwork is pretty nifty.

Have or do you cut your own hair?

What other kinds of beauty routines to you do on your own?

I had a dope time, yo

While I guarantee I will be referring to my weekend again in future posts I think this will be the last in the Dopey series (1, 2, 3, 4).  I’m sure you want to thank me for moving onto a different subject matter.

run!
run!

I’m really happy I took on this challenge.  It was a huge confidence boost and brought back many of those “I love running” feelings that can sometimes get lost in a majorly long training cycle.  Yes, I started rebuilding my foundation back in May or June and then started training around July.  Those are some long months!

all the medals!
all the medals!

Here are some of the highlights:

1.  Met Amanda from Too Tall Fritz!  Well, ambushed her actually but those are just semantics

a celebrity siting!
a celebrity siting!

2.  Went over to Animal Kingdom lodge where I had my tasty mouse head waffle and checked out the animals.  It’s great – you can see some of the animals you would see on the safari tour without having to go to the Animal Kingdom park.

giraffes are the best
giraffes are the best

3.  Discovered the Mickey head ice cream sandwich.  Also very good and cute to boot.

this was very good regardless of the shape!
this was tasty regardless of the shape!

4.  Disney kind of slacked on the Dopey merchandise and early expo attendees wiped them out of the stock they did have (I mean in about 4 hours).  They had tech shirts left but I wasn’t interested since I already had one.  I finally found a light sweatshirt from Raw Threads, which I love.  Also in Downtown Disney Hanes has a design your own shirt so I created a long sleeve Dopey one.  It was super speedy and they have a ton of different characters.  Disney did come through afterward though and I found a (cotton) shirt online and yes, I already ordered it.

the sweatshirt is from raw threads
the sweatshirt is from raw threads
this is the shirt I made!
this is the shirt I made!

5.  I took advantage of the fun atmosphere.  Disney races are geared toward all-level athletes and it is a good time with no pressure – well, aside from the pressure you place on yourself!

my namesake restaurant in downtown disney!
my namesake restaurant in downtown disney!

6.  The race snacks weren’t anything extravagant but they did have these rice chips and little things of cheese.  This became the absolute yummiest thing in the entire world.

dopey snacks7.  Running in costume is so fun!  People are so freakin’ creative and I loved seeing what everyone came up with.  Mine was fairly simple but thanks to Sparkle Athletic, Running Skirts, Pro Compression, Aspaeris and some RockTape, I was running in style.

cleaning my costume in my room - much better than being all smelly
cleaning my costume in my room – much better than being all smelly

8.  It was warm.

beautiful view and no snow!
beautiful view and no snow!

9.  I’m obsessed with all things Dopey.  Luckily, I didn’t let this overtake my pocket-book but it was close!

dopey is just so cute!
dopey is just so cute!

10.  Iced mochas are tough to come by outside of the parks.  There aren’t coffee shops in the resorts, which really surprised me.  So future race attendees not visiting parks, you can score a good (naturally expensive) espresso drink right outside of the ticket areas of Epcot.  You do have to go through bag check but then it’s fairly close.  For me, it was totally worth the cash!

my view from the coffee hut
my view from the coffee hut

11.  I’m not quite sure on how much money I spent but doing a Disney race certainly isn’t the cheapest option when it comes to racing.  As I was walking to Epcot after the marathon, a security guard asked me if I would be returning next year.  I told him, to ask me after my body had recovered!  Honestly, I won’t be back next year.  There are a lot of other races I want to do and Disney kind of saps my race budget.  Nevertheless, I am so happy I could take advantage of this opportunity and was actually able to save for it!

I so wanted to keep this space blanket... but I didn't
I so wanted to keep this space blanket… but I didn’t

10.  Simon has decided I can’t go anywhere for a good long while.

dopey simonI am so grateful for this experience!  I’m grateful for all of the support, encouragement and confidence from all of you and my other friends and family.  There were times when those “you got this” were what kept me going!  Thank you!

now 26.2? what a dopey idea

Did you know there is a handle in the porta potty hooked to the door to hold onto while doing your business??  I had no idea!  I was quiet Sunday morning thinking about what was ahead of me.   As we gathered at the porta potties for our last race, we were all talking about nerves.  Almost falling in the porta potty (again) made me even more nervous and I told my friends this.  They asked me why I hadn’t held onto the handle?  This was race-changing folks!

only 26.2 miles to go!
only 26.2 miles to go!

At the start line, I was freezing cold.  It was a chilly morning and I was happy as a clam.  We all knew it was going to be much cooler than the day before and I was thrilled.  I sat and chatted with a woman who was doing the Goofy and we talked running for about a half hour.

oooo - pretty! now RUN!
oooo – pretty! now RUN!

An even bigger set of fireworks exploded and the first group was off!  At this point, I realized I had to go the bathroom again.  I had time to run to the porta potty but I thought maybe I was just nervous and I wouldn’t need to pee anymore once I started running.  Plus I hate porta potties so I didn’t want to use it if I didn’t really have to.  Unfortunately, I overestimated my bladder and I had to stop even before I hit mile 1!  Great job, Aim! But the handle sure was helpful!

dopey marathon signI used the same strategy as the last three races and made sure to walk once a mile.  I used the water stops a lot and also walked any hills despite them not being very steep.  My legs were sore and at the start of the race I seriously questioned whether or not I could pull this off.  Five miles in, I knew I would finish.

it really helps with moral to have a giant mouse cheer for you
it really helps with moral to have a giant mouse cheer for you

The day before, I found some flat ground in the grass along side the road and since it was a similar course for the full I did the same thing.  It allowed me to get in a zone in many areas of the race and I could just run.  It was hugely helpful – physically and mentally.  My pace was pretty even and I felt more and more confident.  All of a sudden I completely believed I was a STRONG runner.

Mile 14 changed my race and my running future.  When I saw the mile marker I said to myself, “I only have 12 miles left!!”.  Last year?  “Oh my gosh, I still have 12 miles left”.  The difference between the words “only” and “still” is the best example I have of my strong mental attitude.  My  quads were tight and hurting.  My feet were sore, my left calf was irritated and I was more and more excited about this race and distant running as a whole!  It’s completely twisted.

race/game/life changer!
race/game/life changer!

I took some fun pics – Rafiki is my little zen master and last year when I saw this army guy I wanted to punch him in the face.  It was nice not to hate him this year!

rafiki and I sharing a zen moment
rafiki and I sharing a zen moment
he was pretty funny!
he was pretty funny!

The woman who brought the cups of Pepsi was back (tasted fabulous!) and another woman brought pretzels.  I love taking treats from strangers during a race!  I took another picture of the castle so I could completely take in the moment.  My new motto became, “it’s going to hurt anyway, so I might as well go for it”.  I would select something in the distance and run to the point and then walk a certain amount.  I stuck to these mini goals like glue.

once again, chills as I ran through
once again, chills as I ran through

My average pace was approximately 14 mins for the first half and a little over 14 mins for the second half.  I really owe all of my solid pacing to the treadmill, which I no longer hate with a passion.  I hit the medical tents for BioFreeze 3 or 4 times, was able to get 1 Tylenol (they were really strict about this), went through every water stop, and took advantage of the two banana stations.  They also had a cold wet wash cloth station and incredible volunteers.  I finished in 6 hours and 2 mins!  I crossed the finish line and started crying.  I truly had a good time the entire race.  I felt tough and ran through the muscle fatigue and the hurt.  I was/am so stinkin’ proud of myself!

wahooo!
wahooo!

I collected all of my medals, took a massively cheesy finisher picture and headed to the ice tent.  They wrapped my quads and I waddled out to our meeting area.  I was waiting for friends and then kind of forgot I had the ice on my legs for about 45 mins maybe?  It wasn’t until my friend asked me why my knee was turning blue that I took the ice off and noticed my numb legs.  I gave myself a minor case of frostbite!  It’s no joke!  I got a ripe ol’ sunburn and frostbite in the same day.  By the way, my legs are still kind of numb so take it from me and be careful when icing.

this wasn't my smartest move
this wasn’t my smartest move

Oh and right when I got to the meeting area I had to ask a stranger to help me sit down!  My legs were incapable of doing it on their own.  Once we had all of our team in, we took pics and I headed off for coffee.  Seriously, knowing an ice cold mocha awaited me was a huge motivator.  I did forgo activities in the evening as I was beat.  Just getting off of the bed to pack was an effort!

oooo - shiny!
lots of shiny!

I really am looking forward to my next marathon.  When I was running, I kept thinking about how lucky I was/am to participate in such a cool event.  I thought about how just 8 months ago I was so depressed getting out of bed was my accomplishment.  I remembered how I had to rebuild mileage and the love and support I’ve gotten from so many people.  Endorphins + feelings of gratefulness is some powerful stuff people!  Thank you all!

dopey 1/2…this was the real challenge

Saturday morning I woke up yet again at 2-something am.  I was tired, grumpy and nervous.  Since I was feeling blue, my mental game was off as well.  Knowing this, I had some concern about the upcoming Donald Duck 1/2 marathon.

c'mon donald - I need your rebel spirit for this run!
c’mon donald – I need your rebel spirit for this run!

The start line was a different experience than the last two races.  There was still a ton of energy but there was a higher level of seriousness than the other two.  I was back in corral “L” and they went to “P”.  I should have left about a 1/2 hour earlier as I had to stand in line for the buses and then book it to the start line.  Part of this was just a perceived sense of urgency since once I got there this is what I found:

dopey sitting 1/2
everyone was sitting around and I joined in – it was a good idea

All of the races had staggered starts and it was going to be about a half hour before we started (not to mention there was still about a half hour before the start on top of this) so I rested up a bit as well.  As we got closer to the race start, I realized I was starving.  Then it started to rain a bit and it was definitely warmer than the other two days.  See what I mean about being grumpy?

the 1/2 is the first time running through the magic kingdom!
the 1/2 is the first time running through the magic kingdom!

With a bigger set of fireworks (than the other races) we were off!  In some of the literature, it suggested walking almost the whole 1/2 in order to be ready for the full the next day.  I respect this suggestion but I didn’t want to be out there for that long.  I hadn’t been running long before the humidity became more and more pronounced.  I stopped for a pic of the pirate ship

dopet pirate ship
blurry pic but I love my pirate stuff

and of course THE CASTLE!  The 1/2 and the full are the only races where you run through Cinderella’s castle and it is fantastic.  Cheesy?  Maybe but both days I got goose bumps as I ran through main street with the castle in the distance and then actually running through it.  It IS magical!  As are the crowds who line main street and cheer and high-five you as you run through.  I soaked all of this up and it totally dissolved my crabbiness.

I kind of felt like a celebrity!
I kind of felt like a celebrity!

Disney is more than prepared for the heat though and the water stops were aplenty.  In both the 1/2 and the full there was a water stop at almost every mile and a bunch of medical tents.  In preparation for this challenge, I figured the full would be my soul-sapping race.  I didn’t give enough credit/respect to the previous two races and by mile 6, I wanted to be finished.  I was surprised by how my legs were fatigued more than I would have imagined.  My plan was to walk once every mile and I stuck with this plan but man, I was getting tired!

I’m sure a major part of this fatigue was the humidity and heat.  Wow!  Thankfully, it wasn’t overly sunny and there was a breeze that would hit every once in a while – yay!  But I was dripping sweat.  I mean, sweat was dripping from my elbows!  Part of my Dopey costume consisted of arm sleeves.  I pushed these down and tried to use them to wipe my face but the sparkle wasn’t very absorbent!

isn't funny how a shiny medal makes you forget the pain?
isn’t funny how a shiny medal makes you forget the pain?

I started running a bit faster – I ran negatives splits even.  I knew this wasn’t a wise idea, I knew I had 26.2 miles to run the next day and none of this could make me run smarter.  I will say, I drank a water bottle full of nuun and I took water at every station and powerade when I ran out of nuun.  I brought my Honey Stinger gummies with me and ate those as well.  I hit a GU stop and because I was feeling hungry and tired I took a mocha GU.  This did NOT settle well!  At this point, I thought I might throw up, was crazy hot and just ran faster to get to the finish line.

The cool part?  I got to give Minnie a high-five at the finish line!  Oh yes, I was beyond geeked about this and might even buy this picture.  I pushed my epilepsy a bit too much at the end and had to rest after the race.  The funny thing?  I was so bloated when I got back that my stomach was pushing against my tshirt for a little while!  I drank more and more water and thankfully the bloat went away.

dopey 1/2 finish
I was so happy to be done! I didn’t care that I would hurt the next day, I wanted to give it a really solid effort!

While passing mile markers, I used the clock to estimate my pace.  I was doing 13 something per mile.  My goal became a three hour finish time.  Due to my desire to be done and the possibility of regurgitating a GU, I finished in 2:50.  I knew I would probably regret this on Sunday but I had an iced mocha to drink, a nap to take and some food to eat!

this coffee was tough to find but made me feel right as rain!
this coffee was tough to find but made me feel right as rain!