Monday, November 3, 2014

2014 Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap

I got a $49 fare for a direct flight from Rochester to Baltimore, so I flew in Saturday morning, landing around 7:30am. I picked up the rental car and drove an uneventful 35 miles to Washington DC. I pulled right up to the hotel in Crystal City, and was surprised to find at that early hour that my room was ready. I unloaded my bags, and met my running friend Stephanie and her race roommate Michelle at the Metro Station to head to the Expo. 

The Metro stop for the Expo location, the Armory, was right outside the building. The line to get in was almost all the way to the Metro stop. It took about 30 minutes to snake our way around the block, up the steps and through security. While waiting in line, I told Stephanie that I might be done with the marathon distance. The time commitment for training is so much greater than for half marathons, it makes me wonder if my time might be better spent pursuing other hobbies and interests.

I hadn’t read the race literature, but they weren’t allowing any food or drink into the building. I saw a bin of confiscated protein bars and fun size candy. I managed to hold onto the two Picky Bars I had brought with me.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

2014 Tower of Terror 10 Miler - Expo, Race Recap and Villains Hollywood Bash Review

I had been looking forward to the 2014 Tower of Terror Ten Miler for quite some time. It was my first runDisney race since the Dopey Challenge back in January and runDisney events are so much fun! The on-course entertainment is tough to beat, but for me, meeting up with old friends and making new ones in the most Magical Place on Earth is what brings me back.

Unlike my previous runDisney experiences, I was just driving in for the event, running the race, attending the after-party, catching a quick night of sleep before heading to the airport to fly home. I'm lucky to travel to Central Florida for work about once a month so I was able to piggy back this event to a business trip.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2014 Rochester Marathon - Race Recap

The first event in my Race-A-Rama was the 2014 Rochester Marathon. I ran the Half Marathon in 2013. Back then it was organized by the Arthritis Foundation and there were several snafus including running out of shirts and medals. Over the winter, Fleet Feet Rochester and Yellow Jacket Racing announced they were buying the event. I was excited to hear that because their races are always top-notch, from their shirts and medals to marketing to pre-race communications to race day logistics and volunteer support.

After a two-week taper my legs were feeling fresh and I was eager to run. A day or two before a long race, I like to map out my strategy in Excel. I create a little cheat sheet which I print and laminate and carry in my pocket. It helps me remember what pace I should be running as well as the location of water, food and bathroom stops.
Everybody does this, right?

I've been training with :30/:30 run/walk intervals but I wanted to increase those to :60/:30 for the race. My "A" Goal was to finish under five hours, and with keeping to the paces you see above, I would have about 10-15 minutes to spare.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Seven Days Until the Start of Race-A-Rama

I'm a week out from the Rochester Marathon. It's the first race in my 113 day Race-A-Rama (hat tip to my friend Stephanie's WAY more ambitious MarathonPalooza), during which I'll run three marathons, two half marathons, a 10 miler, a 10k and two 5ks. It's been a busy summer, and I've ramped up my mileage enough to support this marathon and next month's Marine Corps Marathon.

Although I'm good to go for the 26.2 miles of the marathons, the biggest challenge I'll face will come in November and December as I work in the back-to-back-to-back-to-back training runs for the 2015 Dopey Challenge. Just like last year, over a four-day period I'll be running a 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon -- 48.6 miles in all -- through the Walt Disney World theme parks.

I won't be taking any classes for my Part Time MBA program this fall so that will free up time, but the difference between an easy training cycle and a challenging training cycle is what kind of weather is in store. If it's like last year's Polar Vortex, getting the miles in will be a struggle. But if we have more mild conditions through November and December, it will be a much more pleasant experience.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top 5 (+1): Things I Learned Running in the Rain

I’ve been running for about 18 months, but I had been able to avoid running in the rain… until last weekend. With a 15 mile training run on the schedule and ten weeks until the Rochester Marathon, postponing for a week was not an option. So I stalked the Weather Channel radar until the thunderstorms had cleared and set out.

Here are the Top 5 (+1) things I learned:

5. Don't venture too far away.

Thunderstorms had just rolled through, and there was a chance for more, so I stuck close to home.
Running 15 miles on the high school track about a half-mile from my house wasn't the most scenic long run I've had, but it afforded me the opportunity to bail if severe weather rolled in.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon - Dopey Challenge Race Four

I woke up before my alarm for the fourth straight day, but unlike the other mornings, my headache was gone. I had a feeling that things were going to go my way today. I got showered and dressed and headed to Epcot for the final time. I stayed in the car as long as possible to spend as little time on my feet before the race as I could. As I was getting ready to head to the starting area, the perfect song came on.

Whenever my rental car has XM it's All E Street Radio All The Time
The early morning temperature was cool, and despite forecasts earlier in the week for a high temperature around 80, the actual high was now only expected to reach the lower 70s with lower humidity than the half-marathon. Things were really lining up well!

I met up with a few members of Team Studios Central and some Mickey Miles Podcast listeners I met at the meet up earlier. We made our way to the corrals, with them making plans to run together from a forward corral, and I promised to try to catch up from Corral I.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon - Dopey Challenge Race Three

Again I woke up before my alarm, and was out the door at 3am. The logistics for the Half and Full marathon were very different from the 5k and 10k. For one thing, instead of 10,000 runners, there were closer to 25,000 in each race. It was a lengthy walk between the bag check area and the starting corrals. Everything just seemed “bigger.”

Like all four races, the starting line was in the Epcot parking lot. We would run up World Drive, through Magic Kingdom, then back down to Epcot. Quite a few highway miles, but with the joy and excitement of Cinderella's Castle and a fair amount of entertainment along way it would be a ton of fun.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2014 Walt Disney World 10k Race Recap - Dopey Challenge Race Two

The 10k start was at 5:30am, so I set my alarm clock earlier than the day before, but still woke up well before it went off. I checked Twitter to see if anyone was already up and posting (they were) and got up and showered. I still had a dull headache but it was much improved over the morning before. 

I arrived at Epcot about 3:15am and hung out in the car for about half an hour before making my way over to the Bag Check area where I would be meeting up at 4am with some fellow Team Studios Central members. On the way I saw the legion of volunteers breaking up and heading to their posts.

Thank you, volunteers!
Unlike the morning before, we were immediately directed toward the corral area, so I headed over there and passed by racks and racks of the inaugural 10K medals.

My precioussssss...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo and 5k Race Recap - Dopey Challenge Race One

No stopping.
I woke up early on Wednesday morning, checked out of my one-night hotel and headed over to Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, slowing down (but not stopping) for the ubiquitous photo of driving under the Walt Disney World sign.

I had been to the complex before, for the Wine & Dine expo, but was told to expect a much busier race expo. Boy, were they right. Even arriving about half an hour before the expo opened, the place was hopping.

All of the Dopey Challenge runners had to pick up their bibs on Wednesday, and there were 7,000 of us. Plus all of the people (runners and non-runners) who wanted to get in line early for the first opportunity to buy the 2014 New Balance runDisney shoes were starting to line up.

I stopped on the walk from the parking lot to the Field House and bib pickup to get a picture with this banner of the Dopey Challenge medal. In just a few days, if everything went according to plan, it would be mine!

After picking up my two race bibs and five of my race shirts (all but the 5k) I took a quick peek at the expo floor from above before making my way across the field house to pick up my 5k shirt, and then get in line to buy the New Balance shoes.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Look who I found at mile 25 of the marathon.
I wanted to express my gratitude to everyone who helped provide me with encouragement in running the Dopey Challenge and who helped provide financial support to Give Kids The World. Collectively we've raised close to $1,000 - almost double my initial goal, and I was able to complete the 48.6 miles in the upright position, with a smile on my face, and wanting to do it again!

I was graciously invited to a pre-race dinner and tour of Give Kids The World. After receiving a huge grant from a major hotel chain, they are in the process of completely renovating the 140 guest villas where the families of kids with life-threatening illness stay.

Look at all the bling!
I was so moved by talking with some of the alumni Wish families who had stayed there in the past. I was frequently brought to tears as I heard what an important impact spending a week at Give Kids The World Village had on their families. It gave them a week free from hospital staff and reminders of illness. It provided the magical experience of  having a wish come true.

On Friday, January 24th, the Extreme Village Makeover will be featured on Good Morning America. I hope you'll tune in or DVR it and see for yourself the huge improvements going on there.

Actual size.
After spending time at GKTW I knew that I had a massive reservoir of inspiration to draw from to help me cross the finish line Sunday. There was no way I wasn't finishing the marathon strong! I had an incredible experience personally and together we made a meaningful impact on these kids' lives.

As I already stated, your support and encouragement is overwhelming. Thank you so much!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Appeal

In less than a week, I’ll be running the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World in Orlando. It consists of running four races in four days: a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon. That’s 48.6 miles, including my first marathon.  Dopey is probably an understatement.

I spent all of 2013 training for this unique event, logging nearly 800 miles in the process. In fulfilling one of my dreams, I’m also hoping to help make the dreams of some special kids come true.

I’m raising money for Give Kids The World, a 70-acre, nonprofit "storybook" resort in Orlando, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations. It was founded about 30 years ago by an Auschwitz survivor who wanted to build a place for Make-A-Wish kids and their families to stay. This short video demonstrates the impact Give Kids The World is making.

I hope you’ll consider sponsoring me for this very worthwhile cause. It costs ahout $5,000 per week to host a family at Give Kids The World. My goal is to raise $500 by the time I cross the finish line on Sunday, January 12th. You might consider the following levels, but I’m so very grateful for a donation of any amount to help these kids and their families: 
  •  A dollar per mile = $50
  •  $0.50 per mile = $25
  •  A quarter per mile = $12
  •  A dime per mile = $5
Click here to give through a simple and secure website. If you prefer to make a contribution using cash or check (made payable to “Give Kids The World”), please contact me directly. Every dollar you donate goes directly to this organization. Not even a penny is used to offset any of my expenses or race entry fees – I am paying all of them myself.

Whether or not you choose to contribute, you can follow my progress next week – I’ll be posting live in-race updates on Twitter (@DopeyForTheKids).