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Old 10-25-2012, 12:42 PM   #1
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Your "undertraining" stories of triumph or defeat

So my healing process is coming along very slowly and I figure that I will be doing Goofy (notice, I didn't actually say "running" Goofy) on a month or so of training. Oddly, I am not freaked out--maybe it's the influence of the book on Buddhism I just read.

Would love to hear people's stories of doing a race being "undertrained". It can be good or bad, happy or sad (whoa, Al Green just flashed there!) Maybe I can take away a pearl of wisdom or two--or maybe not.

So do tell......anyone care to share?

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Old 10-25-2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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The Bad:

San Diego RnR 2003: just PRd and Boston qualified. Undertrained for the followup race and went out too fast with a friend. Bonked the whole second half.

Boston 2009: a bit undertrained. Went out at full speed to see what I could do. Hit the hills of Newton and they killed me. Overall not too bad though. Only 5 min behind goal time.

The Good:

2009 Arizona RnR: not really undertrained, but had to take a whole week off for a bad flu two weeks before the race. Crushed my PR and felt great the whole race.

2010 Disneyland Half: came down with a back injury 1.5 months before the race. Nothing would help it. Decided to drop my pace way down and run it in costume. One of the most fun races ever.

Bottom line: if you are undertrained, then adjust your expectations and have fun with it. Don't expect great speed, but make it fun.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:38 PM   #3
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I wrote about this a bit on my blog, including my Disneyland Half Marathon race report.

I agree with adjusting your expectations and making it fun for yourself instead of worrying about time and PRs.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:11 PM   #4
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This is my triumph and defeat and I will never go into a race undertrained ever again! I just copied and pasted the explanation I gave in another thread. So much easier!

I was nearly swept this year during the Goofy and was definitely undertrained, but not purposely like so many on the FB pages that boast about the Goofy being their first Marathon. I signed up for the Dopey and the beginning of December got into a car accident on the way to the gym for my 18 mile run. Between all of that stress, I didn't train or eat properly and stayed nice and dehydrated it seemed. I was far from in good shape and decided to drop out, but was talked into doing it anyway by a "coach" that felt that because I had done quite a few races, etc. that I could easily bounce back from a Half Marathon distance to pushing myself to do a 5K, 1/2 and Full in three consecutive days. I knew it was crazy but because they were the coach and I wasn't, I believed that it may have been possible.

The 5K was a piece of cake. They are always easy at Disney. No pressure, just fun. The Half was okay, but I didn't feel great afterwards and my IT band started to hurt a bit. But, I took it easy and pushed through. The Marathon was an entirely different story. From the get go, I was in pain. That first medical stop with the gallons of Bio-Freeze were very popular with those of us with a Goofy bib. But, it didn't help at all. I got to Mile 3 and knew that it was going to be a very long day. I can tell you that I looked at every single one of those tents and wanted to give up, but I don't give up easily...so I pushed along. It wasn't until mile 20 that I was warned, and frankly I was begging them to sweep me, but they told me I was a few minutes ahead of pace and to keep going.

When we finally got into Epcot they greeted us there and said that we were still ahead of pace. I recognized the last part from the year before and felt like I could make it. But, I was a hurting unit. I could feel a blister developing on the bottom of the front of my foot and just ignored it. But, as I was walking into the final stretch by the choir, it popped. I can honestly say that trumped the IT band pain. I could hear them saying that they were a few minutes from turning off the clock and just pushed myself to find every little ounce of energy I had left to get across that finish line. I got all three medals and did not get swept. My times were far from commendable and what I did was honestly stupid.

The point is that only you know your limits and when I hear people whining about getting swept suddenly, it makes me furious. I felt like the biggest cheerleaders on that horrible day were the sweepers. They warned us a lot, and not just at the checkpoints. They would not let me give up and kept giving me good news with being ahead of pace, and I could hear them encouraging those that were behind pace at some points.

I am doing the Goofy (haven't decided if I want to do the Dopey again - getting up early three days in a row is brutal) next year only to live that experience the way I would have wanted to this year.

I should have bowed out of the Dopey this year, instead of pushed myself like I did. Somehow, I wasn't out of commission for long, and managed to do the Tinkerbell without even thinking about Marathon weekend and that entire experience. Once I start something, I have to finish it, and that is the only thing that got me across that finish line. There are times when races are enjoyable when you set your expectations a bit lower. There is nothing wrong with just finishing.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:53 PM   #5
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I wrote this several years ago, back after doing the Dopey in 2008. And yeah, I was undertrained.

42.4 is the new 26.2
So, on the second weekend of January, I went out and did a little running. On Friday, I ran a 5k, followed by a little 13.1 mile jog on Saturday, and then a longish run of 26.2 miles on Sunday. If you only run the latter two, Disney calls it the "Goofy Challenge". When you add that additional 5k, you are running what is unofficially known as the Dopey.

And boy, it fits.

Let me start by saying that all the experts pretty much agree that you have to respect the distance of the marathon. 26 miles, 385 yards or 42 kilometers; either way, you can't bluff your way through it. Sure, they say, you can get through a 5k or 10k okay, and you might even manage to get through a half on pure talent, but to run a marathon requires training and lots of long runs.

They lie.

At the tail end of October, I ran a 50k ultra, just to get some use out of all the training I put in for my aborted Chicago effort. From that point on, I did almost no long runs. I think I logged a 16 miler in early December, and maybe a couple of 12 mile runs, but basically, everything was done in less than 90 minutes, with most being in the 5-6 mile range. Keep that in mind, as you read the race summaries.

Friday, the 5k.
This was the day that I got to sleep in, as the race didn't start until the late hour of 7 am. So I got to sleep until 5 am or so, hopped on a bus, and basically loitered in the Animal Kingdom parking lot until it was almost race time.

I had been to the expo the day before, so I was wearing my bright orange wristband, the one that declared my lapse in sanity and declared proudly that I would be doing the Goofy Challenge. There were other lunatics wandering around Friday morning, and we all agreed that today was simply a warm-up day, not a day to try for a new PR or anything.

Well, I was going to PR anyway. See, I have never actually run a 5k. (Well, until Friday, anyway.) My high school XC races were 2.5-3 miles, and as an adult, everything has been 10k or longer. Thus, technically, no matter how slowly I ran the race, I would have a new PR. I did run a little faster than I had intended, perhaps at a moderate training pace.

The real high point of the race came at the start. See, it's not a chipped race, nor does Disney keep track of the results. You were also expected to line up at an area indicated by your expected pace (ie, sub 7:00 miles, 7:01-9:00 minute miles, etc). A lot of kids, however, lined up toward the front of the pack. And, predictably, most of them faded hard and fast; barring a couple notable exceptions (wearing track or XC jerseys), all the kids faded during the first .75 miles or so, which is basically a circuit around the parking lot. Apparently, if I had stuck around after finishing, I could have watched a bunch of kids cross the finish line and promptly toss their cookies. I admire the spirit that compels someone to push on regardless, but for a non-chipped, unofficial race, I can't see the point.

5k time: 22:46

Half-marathon, Saturday
Ah, the joys of waking up at 3:10 am. There aren't any. But you have to wake up by about then to get on the bus that will get you to the starting line at 5:30 or so, in order to be ready for the 6 am start. Predictably, our bus got lost, and we circled Epcot (and the Sports Complex, Animal Kingdom, Tampa, and possibly Atlanta, GA, for all I know) before finally getting to our destination.

I had brought clothes purchased for the specific purpose of wearing them until the race started, and then tossing them. It's one thing to run in a tech T and shorts, but sitting around in 40 degree weather is something else. Fortunately, it was an oppressively balmy 64 degrees (and high humidity) at the start, so I didn't have to wear them.

In my area of the start corral, we had a small contingent of orange-banded Goofys. We just gravitated toward each other, a bunch of runners, all in the front corral (A), who, under other circumstances, would be trying for a sub-1:40, sub-1:30, or even a sub-2:00. But today, to a one, we all declared that we were taking it easy.

And easy I did. I fell in with a couple of other Goofy runners, who were going about the same pace I was. I had originally planned for a 1:55-2:00 half - faster than my last race on the same course, but 15-20 minutes slower than my current (and fairly recent) PR. Instead, I found myself moving along at a 1:50 pace, which, while faster than planned, didn't feel difficult.

I hung with them until mile 10 or 11, when I grabbed a drink at a water stop and promptly choked on it. I lost some time coughing and gasping for air, and decided that it wasn't worth the effort to catch up to them.

I did spend a short period toward the end running with a guy who reminded me of my first race. He was running along, gasping "The pain. It's too much. If I fell over here, I'd die. I wouldn't be able to get back up." Apparently, he is a 5k runner, and this was his first half-marathon. It probably didn't help his confidence that Goofy runners were passing him, talking casually at a 1:45-1:55 pace.

I finished with a nice sprint, partly because it is tradition, and partly because a fellow runner on Friday had told me that he figured I wouldn't be able to do a final sprint on either the half or the full.

Half marathon time - 1:51:52

3 am doesn't get any better on the second day. This time, however, my wife and SIL joined me, as they were running as well. The three of us got ready, and got on a bus that actually knew where we were going. I left them, and started looking for a friend of mine from my Saturday running group. I had been leaving messages on where to find me, and hoped that we could find each other before heading to the corrals. No such luck, and I eventually headed over to the corrals without him.

As luck would have it, however, he found me a couple of miles into the race. I had told him that I would be wearing my Camelbak - I wasn't going to be without a personal water supply, given a 64 degree, 100% humidity start. He found me because a bright yellow Camelbak is a lot easier to pick out of a crowd than "I'll be in a white jersey and black cap."

By mile 3, I was drenched in sweat, and the two of us were going with our agreed-upon goal: finishing, probably about a 4:30 pace. I wasn't going to push it, and we both wanted to spend time with our respective families in the parks later that day.

Now, let me say that, in light of the heat and humidity, I think Disney did a fine job of providing for us. I probably could have left the Camelbak in the room, but didn't want to chance a heat-related DNF. I saw plenty of water and PowerAde, and they had plenty of sponges out at mile 15 or so. (I grabbed one - new race plan for warm weather is going to call for a sponge inside my hat. Very refreshing.)

And it's fun running through the parks. It's fun to interact with the various CMs, the characters, and the crowd. The route has so many choke points and enough runners that you probably won't PR, unless you are near the front, or are trying to beat a previous 6 hour time, so you might as well just treat it as a 26-mile training run, with the added bonus of crowd support, water, and a medal at the end.

I did declare mandatory walk breaks about the end of the Animal Kingdom, however (mile 16?). At that point, I noticed that I wasn't sweating as much as I had been at the start. This could have meant one of two things:

1) I wasn't working as hard, and didn't need to sweat as much to stay cool; or
2) I was dehydrated, and it could get dangerous, fast.

So, I decided that we should slow down a bit, and take walk breaks every 10 minutes or so. It turns out that I was fine - it was about that point when the humidity had begun to drop, and a breeze was cooling me off. Still, I didn't want to chance it, and kept a careful eye on fluids and my heart rate.

We stuck together until almost the end, alternatively encouraging each other. When we hit the choir at the end, I told him that I was going to empty the tank, and started that final kick toward the end. As I dodged and weaved my way through other runners toward the finish line, I heard the announcer ask if there were any Goofy runners in the pack. As I shouted "Heck yeah!", he noticed me, and commented on sprint towards the finish. I crossed, and promptly slowed, causing a volunteer to ask if I was okay. I told him yeah, just tired, and slowly started moving, so that my buddy, who was a minute or so behind me, could catch up.

Full time - 4:38: 40 (a new PW, almost by an hour. Who cares though.)
Goofy time:: 6:30:22 - I missed my target by less than a minute. Good enough.
Dopey time: 6:53:08

Considering I did very little training for this, and spent my non-running time chasing my kids around the parks, I'm happy with it. I'd be signed up for the 2009, but I've been told that until the kids are older, I have to put plans to do this again on hold. I'll just content myself with marathons and ultras for the next few years, then.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for your stories everyone. Pretty much confirming my ideas about how to approach Goofy. While I know that nothing can replace physical training, I also know that the mental aspects are what can really make or break you.

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Old 10-26-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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I herniated a disc in my lower back in May. I was up to 3 mile runs in June when the flare became so acute that I couldn't walk, sit, or do anything but lie in bed to escape the pain. I had physical therapy 3x per week for over a month before finally consenting to a steroid injection in August. So, when I was finally able to begin jogging again I had one month to train for the TOT 10-miler and hadn't run at all (or done much of anything) in over 6 weeks. I thought about skipping the race but my DH really wanted me to give it a shot and the wonderful people on these boards gave me the confidence to try and the reassurance that I wouldn't be the only walker. I did some slow, short runs to get ready and did one 6-mile jog the week before the race. My goal was to run a mile/walk a mile through the course and just finish. Well, I jogged the first 6 miles and then jogged/walked the last 4 miles and finished at a 12-minute mile pace. The other runners were so friendly and it was so fun to be out doing a Disney race (even though I guess it wasn't the best of Disney runs in terms of entertainment) that I had more energy than I ever imagined. I'm really excited to do another Disney run, eventually. My DH and I are hoping to do a Disney 1/2, but won't be able to until 2014 so I am currently working on an 8-week speed program to get down to 10-minute miles (yes, I am a slow runner) and just enjoying being pain-free for the first time in months. Honestly, I think a Disney run is so high-energy thanks to the enthusiastic participants, volunteers, and on-course entertainment that it really boosts your ability to tackle distances beyond your training

Best of luck to you!
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:28 PM   #8
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June 29, 2012 - had surgery and wasn't cleared to do ANY activity that got my heart rate up until Aug 28. Nothing, nada. I couldn't even do yoga because I wasn't allowed to bend, squat, or put any stress on my neck/shoulders.

Walked (and jogged a little) the DL 1/2 on Sept 2 to complete my coast-to-coast. It can be done
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:40 PM   #9
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Thanks again for the stories. I ran 1 mile today--my first since my August 20 diagnosis of a stress fracture in my foot. So I have 2 months to work on building whatever I can for endurance without injuring myself in some new and fabulous way.

The contused ribs (from the bike accident) do have the benefit of keeping me from trying to run too much too soon, though.

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Old 10-29-2012, 12:53 PM   #10
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Yesterday, I ran a half marathon with very little training, only other real long run was the the poor performance I put up at ToT 10 mile. That performance was poor due to the humidity, my costume and humidity. This race, weather was nice, 70 but windy, 20 mph head winds for the last 3+ miles. I ran in a decent 1:54, this with little to no real training and some tough wind conditions. The wind were maybe 5 mph, my time probably would have dropped 2 minutes or so.

This being said, I have always been able to run long distances with little to no training, so it isn't a huge problem with me. I did Goofy last year with my back to back runs topping out at 5/12 with a time around 6:10 combined in the races. Even today, a day after my run, I'm ready to go out for another run of a half, so it can be done, and has been done by people before.
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:14 PM   #11
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January was my first full marathon. In late September, 2011 my son was hospitalized for 2 weeks. I tried to salvage my training but pulled a muscle in my back and then later a strained calf muscle. My distance training was two 14 mile runs (one was actually a 14 mile walk because of my back injury), one 18 mile run, and one 20 mile run. Not horrific but made worse by the fact that I was using a Galloway program so only doing two 30 min runs during the week.
I finished the marathon. It wasn't super pretty but more due to over heating and over hydrating than the under training. For sure my mental toughness overcame my physical barriers.
I know you are a much more experienced runner than I am so I'm sure you'll be able to get yourself ready for Goofy!

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Old 10-30-2012, 06:25 AM   #12
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Well when I started "running" in 2005 I was diligent to get miles in and feel confortable with a solid run walk to bring me in sub 3 hour on a 1/2 Marathon. Well I have not done so well in the training department the last few years.
06 Mini Indy 3:24
10 Mini Indy 3:14
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12 Tink 3:35 (stoped a few times for pictures)

Most of these races I have run a good ways with DM and finished with her except in 2 instences Indy 06 & 11. Thou I do not recoment not training it can be done but I can realy feel it the following day or two. I hope to train a little better so I can improve my time a little but manly to have a better post race outcome. Also since all these results I have gone on BP meds and that has caused some diffrent feelings while I Run/Walk. Some day I plan to do Goffy and complete it, most RunDisney events I focus more of the completion than the time. I try to enjoy the run.
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Danhockey04 View Post
Yesterday, I ran a half marathon with very little training, only other real long run was the the poor performance I put up at ToT 10 mile. That performance was poor due to the humidity, my costume and humidity. This race, weather was nice, 70 but windy, 20 mph head winds for the last 3+ miles. I ran in a decent 1:54, this with little to no real training and some tough wind conditions. The wind were maybe 5 mph, my time probably would have dropped 2 minutes or so.

This being said, I have always been able to run long distances with little to no training, so it isn't a huge problem with me. I did Goofy last year with my back to back runs topping out at 5/12 with a time around 6:10 combined in the races. Even today, a day after my run, I'm ready to go out for another run of a half, so it can be done, and has been done by people before.
I wouldn't consider that very little training. If you had just done the 10 miler, even if it didn't go so well, you were still in the three to four week tapering period. I find your story a big exception rather than the rule. But, it also sounds like you are a very experienced runner that hasn't been sidelined by a serious injury.
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:33 PM   #14

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I have done about a dozen half marathons and I don't think I've been totally prepared for any of them. And I kick myself when I get to the start of each race for not being better prepared. Between work and life getting in the way, I never seem to make time to get properly trained. However, I am aware of it and go into the races just wanting to finish. I usally do run/walk intervals for the first 6 miles and then strictly walk after that for the last 7.

I completed the very first Goofy Challenge. That weekend was my first ever half marathon distance and first full marathon. I finished, but ended up in the ER the next morning with what turned out to be severe shin splints. Spent 3 days on crutches. I've attempted 3 other fulls, as part of the Goofy, but have not finished them. On one occasion I got to mile 21 and stopped at a med tent to get them to pop 2 blisters on the bottom of both heels. Because I was barely in front of the sweeper, it didn't happen and I got swept. The other 2 times I was recovering from injuries (torn achilles one year and strained quad another) and just could not maintain pace. Got swept at 16 and 18.

Decided I would not attempt another Goofy until I could properly train for it. Missed the registration cut-off for the 2013 race, so I'm hoping to get prepared and complete Goofy in 2014. Doing the Dopey would be fun, but I don't want to get up early 3 days in a row.
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:49 PM   #15
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The following is a post I made in my running journal on Jan 8, 2009 and it's about going into the Goofy undertrained. I did finish both races and most likely passes a kidney stone after the full (during the Giant game)

"It is the night before we leave for the Goofy vacation. My last long run was on 12-3-09. It was 18 miles and a week before that I did 17. Since then I have had two 7 mile runs and a few scattered 4's and 5's. I will attribute it to sickness, my son's sickness and snow days.

Overall, I think that I have enough heart, and fitness to finish but the big question from my perspective is my desire. Some of my runs ended simply because I just didn't want to go on. I am already thinking that it would be easy to jump off the course at mile 18, catch a bus to the resort and get ready for the Giant (football playoff) game. I am really interested in seeing what my report will say in a few days. Hopefully it has some picture of me with a goofy medal around my neck but quite honestly, I don't really care which is the scary thing."

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