I’m impressive (seriously – I have evidence)

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation on personal wellness/work-life balance to some college students.  I co-presented and they did such a great job that I was more of a presenter garnish than anything else.  It was pretty nice (being a garnish), especially considering we gave the presentation 4 times.

I did submit a couple of pictures for the slide show and thought they would simply be in a rotation.  Turns out I was to speak about one of them – this one in particular:

this picture… again

So I did.  I told them what the Dopey Challenge was.  Get this… each group clapped for me.  How crazy is that?  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I WAS NOT expecting this!  They ooo-ed and awww-ed and started clapping!  I must say, it was a real moment for me.  Like most people, I tend to underestimate my accomplishments.

Part of this is because in blog-land, people run double digits on a regular basis.  Many of the blogs I read/follow people are training for a marathon, have run ultramarathons or are cruising in on lots ‘o miles all the time.  Don’t me wrong, I love reading about these experiences but because this has become so normalized in my brain, I downplay my own.

I love this

A week before the aforementioned presentation, a co-worker and I were talking about a work issue.  It’s a giant project in which zapped my energy and most likely killed off a few brain cells per cortisol.  Stress and anxiety, you da bomb.  But I stuck with it and was determined to see it through.  He challenged me a couple of times and while it frustrated me, I stood my ground and stuck up for myself.  Toward the end of the discussion, he started complimenting me.  He said, “you’ve stuck with this project – many people wouldn’t have.  You run marathons – there is something different inside you than others.”

I wasn’t sure what to say because I was truly touched.  I forget the grit and determination it takes to get through those damn 26.2 miles, or 13.1 or whatever number I am running during training (it feels like every mile actually).  Doubt has crept in since training is hitting a snag due to August being so work-heavy.  It was a good reminder to be proud of myself no matter what the clock says or my weekly mileage is at the current moment.

natalie dee… wonderful

 

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!

I’m a dope!

Wahooo!  I completed the Dopey Challenge!

we are all sore, tired, sweaty, smelly and HAPPY!
we are all sore, tired, sweaty, smelly and HAPPY!

I am extremely proud and exhausted.  I can’t believe I actually did the challenge – I feel like it’s something I talked about forever but ultimately, it would be out of my reach.  Proving to myself differently has been an incredible confidence boost – not just in running; in all areas of my life!

dopey medal
these banners were outside of the expo – I wanted that dopey one!

My alarm went off at 3 am Thursday morning.  I got a wake-up call and they play Disney music.  It’s kinda cute – or at least would be cuter at a more decent hour!  The 5k is a family oriented race so it starts at the reasonable hour of 6:30 am.  You have to be in your corrals really early for all of the races though so we left our rooms at 4:15 am.

dopey 5k running
view during the 5k (thankfully a friend took some of these fun shots!)

I brought a jar of peanut butter and some english muffins.  When I got to the hotel, I was very surprised to find they didn’t have a coffee shop.  They had a market place but it was hot coffee only.  The night before, I bought some chocolate milk and the hot coffee and did my best to create some caffeine magic.

dopey coffee
the first day, it was passable. by the fourth day this was delicious

I want to say, the person who sang the national anthem for the 5k did such an impressive job.  I was really moved – she just belted it out!  You could hear the pride in her voice.  In fact, I get chills remembering it!

The 5k was crowded for sure and a lot of fun.  We all ran together for this one and we took it easy.  Our finish times were around 45 mins.  We stopped for pics along the way and also added in a couple of walk breaks.  The walk breaks were mostly around bottle neck areas!  The run is through Epcot and it was a great time.

3 mile shot!
3 mile shot!

This was the inaugural 10k event – the Minnie Mouse 10k.  It was JAM-PACKED!  In fact, I heard some individuals who signed up for the Dopey just so they could run the 10k but maybe these were rumors.

dopey 10k
sort of in front of the start line!

Anyway, this was another laid back race.  I love the 10k distance and was excited.  Naturally, I dressed in Minnie attire – as did about a million other people and it was a fun atmosphere.  In fact, on our way to the bus in the morn, another hotel guest took our picture – it was cute.  This race started at 5:30 am and we left for the bus at 4 am.  My walk up call came at 2:50 am and there was a part of me that wanted to run super fast so I could come back home and sleep!

dopey group 10k
group shot! lots of minnies!

My 10k time was an hour and 27 mins.  Again, a relaxed pace with some walk breaks thrown in there.  I took some character pictures as well and soaked up all of the energy and sites from the park.  Last year, the marathon finished up in Epcot but I hated everything and didn’t notice.  This time, I looked around and didn’t wear headphones for the 5k or 10k.  I wanted to have FUN!  This may sound odd since it should be a given since I was in Disney and all but I had to focus on it in order to not think “I should be running faster”.  10k’s are my sweet spot, long enough for me to build up speed and finish strong but short enough to blow all of my energy so I wanted to go faster.  I’m so happy I didn’t because EVERYONE cheers for you – love it!

-4
I was so happy my bib made it through both races! two medals down, 4 to go!

For both races, the atmosphere was pretty relaxed and high with energy.  They had fireworks at both starts for each corral.  Disney does this right!  It  makes every corral feel special, no matter if they are 6 min pacers or 16 min.  Everyone is congratulatory and people wear their medals all over the parks and Downtown Disney.  I think this is odd but also fun.  It is such a CELEBRATION!  That’s another thing I love, how running is royalty for the weekend!

After the 10k we hit up Downtown Disney and then dinner.  The funny part was, we were starving around 4 pm!  I completely lost track of time and days considering the ridiculously early wake up calls!  The weather was good for the 5k and 10k and thankfully, it only sprinkled a bit during the 10k and the downpour didn’t start until later in the day.

dopey - all in legos. amazing
dopey – all in legos. amazing

I felt good after both races.  The arch in my right foot was kind of announcing itself which meant my ankle and knee also wanted some attention.  I stretched really well afterward, became besties with Tiger Balm and I took an ice bath after each race.  I also brought my Tiger Tail with me and an extra pair of compression socks.

dopey ice bath
ice baths… even after all of them this weekend, they didn’t get easier!

I know this might seem over the top for these distances but I wanted to give my legs as much of a shot as possible.  I’m glad I did it.  Maybe only the stretching was helpful but mentally, I felt I repaired as much as I could.

Oh!  I ordered pizza through room service on Wed night and didn’t realize 15′ diameter is HUGE!  It was a yummy pre-race meal (for a couple of days!).  However, I tried some chicken and fries the night before the 10k.  This is what we call a “mistake”!  All in all, I enjoyed both the 5k and 10k!

dopey pizza
the pizza box – dumb pic? probably but everything is just so darn cute!

#dopey challenge – half way through

I was going to recap both the 5k and the 10k but I am exhausted.  So, I’m going to chat about some of the highlights I’ve enjoyed so far on this trip.

First of all, I almost didn’t get here.  My car wouldn’t start the morning of my flight.  It was 5 am and I panicked!  I even hit my head on the steering wheel Back to the Future style but no such luck.  This trip was destined to happen though because a friend was able to jump the car at o’dark early and I was on my way.

this is how I felt getting to the airport!  So happy I made it!
this is how I felt getting to the airport! So happy I made it!

I’m staying in a Disney resort, Pop Culture.  I’m thrilled with my choice of staying on the property this weekend.  Going back and forth to races is a million times easier staying here and I love that I can get back from the finish line so quickly.  I highly recommend it.  I thought the prices would be out of my budget range but in reality, it was fairly close to the price I paid last year at a hotel further down.

I'm in the 70's building
I’m in the 70’s building

I got a Mickey Mouse head-shaped waffle!  I first saw this on some blog and I knew it was on my list of things to do.  I just think it is the cutest thing ever!  I headed out today and missed the breakfast cutoff by 45 minutes.  I was kind of crushed to be honest since there was no other day I could get one.  After presenting my case to the manager at the eatery, he said he would make me one.  YAY!  Truth be told, everyone has been so generous and kind here.  The customer service is incredible.

super delish and enjoyed outside under the sun!
super delish and enjoyed outside under the sun!

Hanging out with friends as well as having my own time.  I’ve blended this as much as possible.  I want to make sure to get some downtime  and enjoying some outings.  Each morning my friends and I walk down to the buses and keep one another company.  It is a great way to not focus on the upcoming miles rather be in the moment.  We meet up after the race – I really like doing this with other runner-friends.

this is how WDW is tracking runners participating in the dopey
this is how WDW is tracking runners participating in the dopey

Oh yeah, I’ve run two races already!  Whoopie!  I will do recaps when I get home and will combine the 5k and 10k races.  I’ve done a good job of keeping my pace nice and easy including walk breaks.  I also have pulled over for some character pics!  I’m not sure if I will do this for the 1/2 or the full.  Tomorrow it’s projected to be 84* and I want to be finished before it really starts to get warm.  Today I noticed the heat at approximately 10:45 am when I headed out for my waffle hunt.  So I want to be done with the race and drinking some iced coffee at 10 am.

you can't tell but my finger is a hook - oh yeah, my creativity is out of this world!
you can’t tell but my finger is a hook – oh yeah, my creativity is out of this world!

Enjoy your weekend eve!  Thanks for all of the support!

always an adventure

Snow day #2.  I checked the temps at 10 am and it was -10.  Hey, it went up 2 degrees!

I had to take off my gloves and that's when I felt the cold
I had to take off my gloves and that’s when I felt the cold

My mathematically inclined daddio did some math this morning and lo and behold it will feel 100 degrees hotter in FL than it does here in MI.  The actual temp will indeed be 92-95* higher.  Isn’t that weird?!  I can hardly wrap my mind around it.  He is actually concerned about me running these four races.  Epilepsy is temperamental and two of my triggers are dehydration and stress.  I do think the main one I need to be wary of is the dehydration so I’ve been guzzling water and will continue to do so this whole weekend.

fairly accurate description of what my transition will be like

I have one more treadmill run today and then I need to pack.  The Disney hotel I’m staying in has a w/d so I’m not overly concerned if I forget something.  The expo will have everything including the kitchen sink so I have options there too.  I need to make sure I put some spending limits on myself in regards to expo swag.  I can feel the urge to spend already and I’m not even down there yet!

I won’t be doing a ton of extra things while in FL.  Downtown Disney is *free* and there seems to be a lot to see/do down there.  I saw a running store online that offers free gate analysis so I’m going to check that out for sure.  Since I’m a runner who always jumps on the latest bandwagon concerning gear and shoes, I want to try on a pair of Hokas.  Yep, a year and half ago I ran my first marathon in some minimalist shoes – like I said, bandwagon jumping.  Actually, I’ve noticed for a while how my feet hurt after running long distances (they killed during that aforementioned marathon).  I’m guessing this is normal and happens to everyone.  Since I went to a more cushioned shoe, it has improved but not as much as I hoped.  I don’t plan on doing any ultramarathons so maybe these aren’t necessary?  I will ask all of these questions.

this is how I feel about new gear!

I might hit Epcot Thursday afternoon as I heard you can get cheaper tickets after a certain time.  My goal is to make smart decisions financially and physically.  Walking extra mileage in the parks is NOT going to help me any!  Not to mention, no one is going to want to hear me complain at the “happiest place on earth”.

Essentially, I am getting to the frenzied excited stage.  I still have to pack as I mentioned above.  And as I’ve screamed from the rooftops, I hate packing.  Somewhere in my brain, I made a smart decision and went out to start my car this eve before my 5 am departure time.  My car was dead.  Blast you polar vortex!  With the help of a friend we got it started and there was only a mild electrocution (my friend has very good reflexes – thankfully since there was a scary crackling noise!) and I am certain this piece of my car was only for looks anyway.

it doesn't look THAT important
it doesn’t look THAT important

Alright.  Time to stop procrastinating…

dopey strategery

SNOW DAY!  Yes, I am going to concentrate on this first.  I’m currently hanging out on my couch, watching “Deadly Women” (Investigative Discovery show) and drinking coffee.  I even have a foot warmer in the form of this chubby bunny.

cubby bunnyOne more picture – this is an insight into one of my quirks… I am continuously convinced I can balance anything on anything.  In answer to your question, yes, I do spill a lot.

this really is why I can't have nice things
this really is why I can’t have nice things

As I mentioned, my game plan for Dopey is in the works.  Now I shall share it with you!

1.  I’m not going to wear my garmin – for any of the races.  This was a huge decision for me.  I want and need to run these races by feel.  I don’t want to get caught up in numbers or disappointment with not running a certain pace.  My biggest concern with this is getting swept for not going fast enough to beat the finish line requirements.  But the pros outweigh the cons in this situation.  And I may need to carry my cell phone so I can still check the time.

2.  Walking off and on – when Disney first provided participants with Jeff Galloway’s training plan for Dopey it involved the walk/run method.  I didn’t want to use it because as I mentioned I had (farfetched) hopes of not having to walk at all.  Now, I realize running the first two races and walking segments of both the 1/2 and the full will make this much more enjoyable.  Especially since I’ve come to this decision/realization now.

hmmm… I wonder if Mr. T is available on saturday and sunday…

3.  Laid back pace – I trained at a slower pace.  At first I tried to add in some speed work but decided to focus on distance instead.  I know, I’m pretty smart, eh?

4.  PR dreams have been set aside – yes.  This was ludicrous!

ludicrous speed no

5.  Ice bath – I plan on taking an ice bath after each race.  There will be a delay between crossing the finish line and getting back to my hotel so hopefully it won’t be too late for an ice bath to help with recovery.  I think it will be better than nothing though.

6.  Compression/stretching – Part of my running costumes are compression socks and I will wear them after the race as well.  I’m lousy at stretching but I will make this a prime focus.

7.  HAVE FUN!  I mentioned this yesterday but it’s a major focus for me.  This will be what keeps me going during the third and fourth races of the weekend.  It’s going to get me out of bed at 2:15 am.  It’s going to inspire me to live in the moment rather than dreading the next and longer race.  I’m excited.

wwe wrestler edge totally gets it

I am concerned about the heat and humidity.  I got it in my mind that last year heat/humidity was an anomaly and that it wasn’t normally humid in Jan.  In Florida.  I’ve started hydrating and will certainly be drinking gallons of water the rest of the week/weekend.  Last year, I took a water pill (WHAAAT was I thinking?) the Friday before the race in order to feel less bloated.  A bit of heat stroke was inevitable.

haha, this is kinda gross – I’m not even sure I had this much water in me last year

I will be escaping sub-zero temps here in MI though soooo I think I will survive!

snow-pocalypse

According to reports the next few days are going to be north pole kinds of storms.  14′ of snow is supposed to fall and the temps are going to be crazy cold.  I have my fingers crossed for a snow day!

blizzard
oh weather, you can’t vex me! unless I can’t fly out on wednesday, then I’ll be crabby!

This whole weekend I’ve been lazy.  It’s been wonderful.  Coming back from vacation and jumping back into work always throws me out of whack.  It’s just re-establishing routine.  Thursday and Friday were two busy days as far was work was concerned.  I did most of the prep work for them before I left for break but since I haven’t learned how to control the actions of others (definitely working on it!) there were snafus.

my snuggle-bug
my snuggle-bug

So I’ve used this weekend to decompress.  Simon and I spent some quality time together.  I ran on Friday evening and some miles are on the docket for today as well.  It’s a good thing too, 4 days separate me from the start of the Dopey Challenge!  I still can’t believe it’s here.  Obviously, time passes but it took forever to get here and I’ve been waiting so long!

DopeyhouseofmouseHow did my training go?  I didn’t stick to the plan exactly.  In fact, I probably estimated a 67% success rate.  For me, this is huge.  Of course I still don’t feel fully prepared to DOMINATE the Dopey Challenge.  However, I do feel ready to COMPLETE it.  Back in the early days of training, I had visions of busting out a marathon PR, not stopping to walk until mile 17 of the marathon and essentially skipping across the finish line.  Don’t worry, I’ve since adjusted these expectations.

It happened slowly, adjusting my standards.  I accepted that walking will be part of my success, not a detriment to it.  Allowing my expectations of myself to be more manageable makes me feel more confident that I will, indeed finish it.  It’s so strange!  This “phenomenon” has happened to me before.  When I wanted to first lose weight, it didn’t actually happen until I stopped hating my body.  Learning to appreciate it, was the catalyst to eating better and moving around more.  I used to pray every night that I would wake up in the morning thin.  It was hard work and acceptance that ultimately helped me drop 85 lbs.  I know hard work and acceptance is the key to finishing the Dopey Challenge.

1d1e6693fd685f88224b956e95f2b64eMy mental game is a 1000% stronger than last year at this time!  It’s even stronger than it was for the Nike Women’s marathon.  Not to mention, I’m excited about having fun during this run.  I was so dreading it last year – I didn’t want to fail.  I finally got it through my thick skull that failure is not measured in finish times.  My only goal for the Dopey Challenge is to complete all four races.  During every training run I envision myself crossing the finish line.  I’ve seen it so many times I know I can make it happen.  While I’m nervous, I’m also excited!

I’ll talk more about my strategy for the race tomorrow.  I’ve got an idea in mind so writing it out will be helpful.

extra! extra! read all about it!

Today’s post is brought to you by the best cup of coffee I’ve made in weeks.  And my strange shirt with deer on it.  Oh and my tasty cookie with frosting that I had for breakfast.

I’ve had some interesting happenings this week and I figured saving them for one post was a good idea.  That way it seems like I am whining less… hopefully?  The other day Simon woke me up at 4:30 am.  This is not unusual, however, he comes up and walks by my face and IT SMELLED BAD!  Great.  TMI but Simon is a long-haired kitty and at times poop gets stuck to his bum.  I figured this was the issue and quickly got up and scrubbed his bum.

this is a fair assessment of both of our feelings… btw when I looked up “cleaning a cat’s butt” an article stated that a cat’s behind is his health barometer. weird.

Later, I came home and found poop on the floor.  I do feel sorry for the little guy though because about a 1/2 hour later he puked his guts out.  Kitty stomach flu.

(Strange pic ahead!!!)  Then my (male) co-workers and I were discussing birth and the placenta.  We had a disagreement so I looked up placenta online.  And I found this

yep, it’s a teddy bear made from the placenta. I am now torturing my co-workers with it because that’s the type of person I am

I showed my other male co-worker and he said at first he thought it was a pastry teddy bear that just needed some powdered sugar.  I took so much sick delight in telling him what it really was!

The other night I was attempting to balance my beautiful BLT (minus the L), with a can of pop while getting Simon’s toy for him.  In slow motion my BLT hit the carpet.  So sad!  And no, I don’t do the 10 second rule on carpet especially with a pet.  Plus there was the aforementioned poop issue!

this is exactly how I felt – james you get me

There was some stress at work this week hence the cookie for breakfast.  Wednesday, I got home and locked the door behind me.  It was hermit time.  Thursday when I got done at noon(!!), came home, took care of some things and left for a run.  10 big fatty miles!  It was a great run that boosted my Dopey training confidence.  It was also amazing weather 39* and dry.  To not run would be slapping mama nature across the face!

To be honest, I was tempted to hang on the couch again but then two things happened: a) my friend texted and helped kick my butt in gear and b) I realized I didn’t like the underwear I was wearing so I would get to change it after running and then showering.  I am absolutely serious.

It’s been a strange week.  Monday was the two year mark of my mom’s passing.  I wrote a post about it but not sure if I will ever hit publish.  It’s easier this year than the last and I have conflicted feelings about this.  I know healing is important and I am grateful for it but…

I’m looking forward to heading back to WA on Monday!  I’m going to stock up on my favorite blend of coffee, smother my family in x’s and o’s, run and relax.