No One Knows How Far I’ll Go - Comments Welcome

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
A MASSIVE Training Update

Yeah, so keeping up with this training log kind of fell off my radar for a while. Sorry, readers! But I’m going to try to get caught up. To keep it from being a never-ending post, I’m going to break it up into a series of shorter posts.

August 24-September 11

At the end of August, my mom wound up with COVID. Despite us living in the same house, I was lucky to avoid catching it, but it did put a crimp in my training for a week or so. It was still too warm to comfortably run outside and I was trying to limit my exposure to other people, particularly indoors, just in case.

Complicating things was the fact that we were due to leave for a weeklong vacation to the Outer Banks (NC) less than ten days later. It all worked out and we had a great trip, but it was touch and go for a little while. I did one training run while in NC (on Monday) and holy hot humidity, Batman. That was rough. There was a great running path that was mostly shaded and I was still sweating like crazy. I just don’t do well in the heat.

While on vacation, I also did the Lighthouse OBX 5K on Wednesday morning. It might seem like a weird day and time to have a race, but as a vacation community where the houses tend to changeover on Saturday or Sunday, it makes sense. Thankfully, it was cloudy, which made running tolerable. The course was a simple out and back, starting at the Corolla lighthouse and running to the edge of the wild horse preserve before turning around. It was very much a training run for me so I basically set my intervals and pace and had a nice run. And got a pretty cool medal for it!

[Please no judgements on the photo. I'm still working on my selfie skills]

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Other than those two runs, I stuck to cross training, swimming in the pool daily and taking walks on the beach almost every day. The dogs, Jack particularly, loved these activities.

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sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Training Recap

September 12-24

The day after we got home from vacation, it was back to the serious training with my first back to back runs of this training plan - a 3 mile walk and then a 15 mile run/walk. My vacation and other work commitments caused me to shuffle these around and actually take an extra vacation day from work to get the 15 miles in, but I did it. The 15 miler wound up indoors on the track since it was raining - hard - that day. The run went well, but within two days, I developed left foot pain again. I think it was aggravated by running so many miles on a track with cambered corners.

Originally I had planned to run the Buffalo Bills 50-Yard Finish 5K, but due to the issues with my foot as well as work complications, I skipped this race. It did sound fun and the weather turned out to be absolutely beautiful, but it was the right decision. It’s definitely on my radar for next year!

After a few rest days, everything calmed back down, which was a good thing because I had another back to back long run scheduled - 5 mile walk and 17 mile run/walk. The 5 miles went well, but I had an absolute mental meltdown in advance of the 17 miles. Frankly, I was terrified at the thought of doing it. There was absolutely no logical reason to be - it was only 2 miles longer than what I had done just 2 weeks before - but I was. In retrospect, I think that it had a lot to do with the fact that it was the first run that moved well beyond what I’ve done in the past so I was very much moving into the unknown.

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[Sorry, I couldn't help using this image]

I decided to just start walking (my plan called for me to walk the first 4 miles and the last 4 miles) and see how I felt. And the answer turned out to be “fine.” The run went well. I tried some new hydration and nutrition. Tailwind and Honey Stinger waffles worked well and the Skratch bar was pretty awful. But I finished the run feeling strong and my feet recovered really, really quickly. This run wound up being a turning point for me - I felt the fear and did it anyway.

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sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Training Recap

September 25-October 8


After double-digit runs two out of the previous three weeks, the plan dialed back for the next two weeks. I can’t say that it wasn’t a little bit of a relief.

The first Saturday was my latest Magic Mile. I was a little worked up about this because my MM still isn’t fast enough to predict me finishing the marathon ahead of the balloon ladies and I really, really wanted a good time. Unfortunately, that led to me going out faster than I should have and, although my MM was faster, it wasn’t “enough.” This had me frustrated to say the least and my mental gremlins were having a field day for the rest of my run. FYI 3 miles is a long time to be beating yourself up!

Here I’m going to digress a little bit…

For many years now, I’ve been participating in a Mental Mastery on-line course and community (if anyone is interested, you can check out https://kathrinemcaleese.com/ for more information). It is geared towards dog agility competitors, but the principles lend themselves to every part of life. It is safe to say that without the work that I’ve done through MM, I wouldn’t have had the courage to become a runner. I would have said that it was impossible.

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Running has definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone. The downside is that it triggers my tendency to overthink things because one thing that you do have as a long distance runner is time to get in your own head. Add in the gremlins left over from my injury and last year’s Marathon Weekend and it can get ugly from time to time.

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This is what happened with my 17-miler and to a lesser extent after my Magic Mile. But one thing that I eventually realized is that I have constructed a strong set of guardrails to keep me on track and moving forward. I have a community (both in-person and online) that I can turn to when I need something. All I need to do is ask - and in the past asking has been really hard - so this is huge.

I keep coming back to the fact that things might be hard in the moment, but once I can take a step back and reassess, they usually aren’t as bad as they seem.

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Anyway, moving on…

The next week was my second attempt at a one-hour prediction run. This is I run for 30 minutes and then turn around and run back for 30 minutes - all without looking at my pace on my watch. If you do it right, you should arrive home at the end of the workout. The first time I did this back in August, it was a hot mess. This time went significantly better and I arrived home 13 seconds short of the 30 minutes. Pretty good considering I tend to start out slow.

Everything was getting back on track and then real life blew up...
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Training Recap

October 9-17


I knew that this week was going to be challenging since we were hosting a national conference at work. This had been on the calendar for a long time and unfortunately it was the same week as my first back-to-back-to-back run (3, 7, 20). And those runs couldn’t change due to other races on my calendar. I knew that it was going to be a problem, but I juggled the 20 miler to Monday, which made everything do-able - assuming that the weekend went as planned.

And it didn’t! Our director, who was organizing the whole darn event, wound up seriously ill and those of us that were left (all 4 staff members) were left to try to pick up the pieces. It was stressful to say the least. By the time I left work on Wednesday, I never needed a run so much. Let me just stop here and say how amazing it was to have that moment. It seems like you officially become a runner when the answer to a problem is “let me go for a run.”

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By Thursday, I knew that my 3 mile walk on Saturday was in jeopardy. Originally, I had been assured that I would get a few hours in the middle of the afternoon to get this in, but as plans started changing, I could see that window closing. So I got the okay to shift it to Friday when I was supposed to have the morning off. Yes, it split up the cumulative nature of the workouts, but there were still two more of these workouts on my calendar plus Wine and Dine. And then I got called into work on Friday morning too. By that point, we were working on Plans M, N, O & P so I just threw up my hands and rolled with it. I might not have gotten the walk in, but I did get a lot of time on my feet (standing) and practiced functioning with minimal sleep so I was going into the runs with tired feet and a tired brain.

The good news is that I got through the weekend, the work event was a success, and I didn’t kill anyone or quit my job. The 7 mile walk on Sunday was a success. It was a beautiful day and I really needed it after the week that I had.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t look nearly as nice for the 20 miler. It was predicting rain - a lot of it - and I wasn’t looking forward to doing 20 miles on the track. If my body didn’t like 15 miles, it wasn’t going to be any happier with 20. Chris recommended doing 1 mile on the treadmill for every 5 miles on the track, which seemed a reasonable compromise. After doing a mile warm-up on the treadmill and two miles on the track, I realized that the promised rain was nowhere in sight so I decided to move outside for as long as I could. My gym is located adjacent to a community college campus and there was a great ring around the outside that was around two miles. It was cloudy and windy with temps around 45-50 degrees and it felt FABULOUS running in shorts and a t-shirt.

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I managed to get 8.5 miles before it started to lightly rain - and then hail. That made things interesting, but thankfully I wasn’t too far from the gym at that point. I was able to get the rest of the run done on the track and I was able to finish strong. I used my 10 second run/30 second walk intervals for most of the run and was even able to modify them to 15/30 for the last 3 miles because I was ready to be done at that point - and because I could.

The end of the run, I was almost in tears because at that moment that I knew that I could have done the last 6.2 miles if I had had to. Up to this point, I had been working on faith that it was going to all come together. This was where I had documented proof that I could run a marathon. And I still had over two months to get stronger and faster!

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[Sign from Princess 2020 race that says "Remember When You Thought You Couldn't Do This"]
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Training Recap - October 18-22

Wednesday, 10/18 - Speed work - 6 x 200 m

After my last Magic Mile (and with the blessing of my physical therapist), we decided to add some speed work to my calendar. This workout went really, really well. I was thrilled considering that I had done twenty miles two days before. However, the next day I was starting to get some concerning pain in my hips, which was something completely new. It wasn’t all of the time and it went back and forth between a “feels it” which is okay to run through and a “hurts a little” which isn’t. I had a tempo run scheduled for Friday and I probably could have done it, but I had a race on Sunday and I decided not to take any chances.

Race Report - Niagara Falls 10K “Run to the Brink” - 10/23

I was very excited about this race. First of all, it was a 10K and that is my favorite distance. It is long enough for me to get into a groove, but doesn’t require the commitment that a half marathon does. Also, I did this race in 2019 and it is a fabulous course. It is a nice, flat, out and back course that runs right along the Canadian side of the Niagara River and with the leaves in full color, it is very scenic. The weather looked to be a little warm for me (I think it was supposed to be in the mid-60’s for the race), but very tolerable.

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This was also my first time to test out all of the work that I’ve been doing over the summer. CTP emphasizes running slow on long runs and running fast(er) on short runs with races being the only time that you put them together. I was curious to see what would happen when I did.

I left home relatively early on race day since the race started at 8:30 a.m. and I wanted to leave plenty of time for the border crossing. The last time I had been in Canada was for this race in 2019 and the crossing felt both familiar (when you grow up less than 30 minutes from the border, going to Canada is like visiting a next door neighbor) and weird at the same time. It wound up going very smoothly and I was on my way without a problem.

The one thing that I don’t like about this race is that clear communication is not its strong suit. I knew that the parking was about a 10-15 minute walk from the start line and that I could either take the shuttle or walk, but when I got there, there was NO information about where bib pickup was. I had left a little bit of extra time, but not enough for an extra trip to the parking lot if I guessed wrong. There were a lot of runners around (in addition to the 10K, there was a 5K, half marathon and full marathon taking place at the same time), but the ones with bibs had picked them up the day before. Whatever! I headed to the start line and hoped for the best.

I had planned to use the walk to the start line as a light warm-up. What I didn’t know was that the route was down a set of open metal stairs, across a narrow wood bridge and on a paving stone path - none of which seemed like good footing for running. So I got to the start line a little later than I wanted and without a proper warm-up. Thankfully the bib pickup was at the start line so at least that got sorted out easily. Before I knew it, they were calling the 10K and half marathon people to the start. I did as much stretching as I could, but it wasn’t my full routine which left me feeling mentally and physically unprepared at the start of the race.

The first mile was difficult. I had trouble settling into my intervals and I didn’t want to push too hard and cause my feet or calves to act up. Also, the course was super crowded with different paced runners as they started the 5K (which used the same first mile) only 5 minutes after the 10K and half marathon. Once the 5K runners turned off, it got a lot better.

Around mile 2, I decided to stop being so cautious and pick up the pace. I was a little surprised that my body responded instead of rebelling. This race in 2019 was my “I need to do something about this” wake-up call that led me to physical therapy the first time so that was in the back of my mind. But today the legs went “okay, let’s go.”

This is where the race started to get fun. As a back of the pack runner, I rarely get to pass people. Add on the fact that I seemed to be the only run/walk runner out there and I didn’t have many expectations. But I just kept plugging along - and passing people. I started looking ahead and wondering “can I catch that person?” and then did it. It was somewhere around the turnaround at the halfway point when I realized that I hadn’t been passed by anyone since around mile 2. That got me wondering what was possible so I picked up the pace a little bit more and looked further ahead to pick out a marker to try to catch. I was still running within my capabilities and felt very comfortable, but it just gave me a little more motivation.

There was just about a mile left when I got to someone who mistook my walk breaks for slowing down. As I caught up to her, we chatted for a minute and it seemed to verify that initial impression. Whatever! She pulled ahead while I walked. Then I caught up again on my next run. This went on for a couple of intervals. Finally I did a body check and realized that I had quite a bit left in the tank. If I kept at the current pace, I was going to finish easily. It was time to use the energy that I saved doing run/walk. It took very little to move ahead for good. Passing that runner had nothing to do with her - maybe I was reading too much into our short interaction - but for me, the fact that I felt soooo good at that point was a validation that run/walk works. I was very, very proud to be a Galloway runner at that moment. It also showed just how far I’d come since I started doing the Customized Training Program. I wound up running my last mile over a minute faster than either of my first two miles and my body felt fabulous afterward.

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In conclusion, I could not have been happier with the way this race went. I haven’t done a lot of races for a whole bunch of reasons. First off, I don’t like doing 5Ks and that’s what most local races seem to be. Either that or half/full marathons and I don’t want to put in the mileage to stay “race ready” for those distances. Second, while I’ve come to enjoy running, races are still outside my comfort zone (yep, I know this is a chicken and the egg scenario). Also, let’s face it, Disney eats up a lot of the race registration fee budget line. But this race did make me start to look at the local race calendar to see what else is out there. Unfortunately, the answer is “not much” as we head towards winter.

But thankfully, I did have another race on my calendar and it was kind of a big one - the Wine and Dine Two-Course Challenge.
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Training Recap - October 24-November 2

After the Niagara Falls 10K, I felt ready to take on the world! Unfortunately, that would have to wait because it was taper time for Wine and Dine.

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Also, while I felt good during the race and immediately afterward, by later that evening, my hips were pretty sore/painful again. Thankfully, I had a physical therapy check-in appointment the next day so I could get Steve and Jay’s opinion on it. It was a testament to our relationship when my update of “well, my feet feel great” was met with a knowing look that asked “so what is hurting now?” My session wound up being focused more on recovery than anything else. Steve stretched me out and then added heat, which helped a lot. By the time I left, the pain was almost 100% gone, but Steve still rearranged my schedule to give me a couple of days of cross-training before my next run.

Tuesday, 10/25 - Outdoor walk @ lunch
It was a gorgeous day outside so my boss and I went for a walk. I forgot to start my Garmin at the beginning, but I think that we went about 2 miles.

Wednesday, 10/26 - Indoor walk - 45 minutes
Nothing remarkable here. I did my PT exercises afterward.

Friday, 10/28 - Speed work - 4 x 400
By now, my hip felt significantly better. It was still a little sore while I was stretching, but once I got moving, it was a non-issue. I just hoped that it would remain that way.

This workout went very well. I was well below all of the paces that I was given - and I managed to tack an additional tempo mile onto the end of it.

Saturday, 10/29 - Aqua jogging - 45 minutes
If I recall correctly, Steve wanted this to be a non-weight bearing day, just in case Friday’s run irritated something. I can't remember what I was originally schedule to do.

Sunday, 10/30 - Mind of the Marathoner - 15 minute warm-up, 1 mile@16:30, 1 mile@15:30, 1 mile@14:30, 15 minute cooldown
This was my first time doing this workout and I really enjoyed it. It played to my strengths because it tends to take me a while to really warm-up. The last mile was a little tough, but I know that’s kind of the point.

Monday, 10/31 - Aqua jogging - 30 minutes

This was a “how bad do you want it?” workout. I had to work until 9 p.m. so I was going to have to get to the pool in the morning. Okay, I’m not a morning person, but I could make it work. Then it occurred to me in the middle of the night that I never actually checked the pool schedule. I wasn’t pleased, to say the least, to see that there was a 9 a.m. class so I would need to get my workout in before that started. I made it happen, but it took a lot.

Tuesday, 11/1 - Tempo Run - 30 minutes
Bad run, good race, right? I really wanted this run to go well and for some unknown reason, it just didn’t. It wasn’t my legs. Those felt relatively good. I just couldn’t get into it. I got a mile done and realized that nothing good was going to come from pushing it any further. Technically, I completed the workout (it was written to actually do 10-25 minutes at race pace), but it wasn’t how I wanted my last run before Wine and Dine to go.

Time to get on the plane for Orlando...
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Race Recap - Wine and Dine Weekend - Travel, Expo and Park Days (11/2-11/4)

I was sooooooo ready for this vacation to happen. Things have been really rough at work and I was counting down the weeks, days, and hours until we left. In addition, it had been over six months since my last Universal trip and I was eager to go back.

What I wasn’t prepared for - and what took me by surprise about a few days before we left - was the fact that OMG, I was going to be running a half marathon! That might sound a little dramatic, but that’s how I felt. Everything that I’d been doing - every run, every decision, every thought - has been 100% focused on Dopey in January so this race snuck up on me. I wasn’t worried about the 10K. I had just done one of those. But I was a little freaked out by the half marathon. I knew that I could handle the distance - I’ve done 3 longer runs recently - but I didn’t feel mentally ready for it.

In addition, the specter of Marathon Weekend was lurking in the background. The last time I ran at Disney was a painful experience to say the least. While I knew that I was miles away from where I was then (both figuratively and literally), the memory was still pretty powerful and was influencing my approach to the races.

But there were definitely a lot of things that were different for this trip, including leaving town. Usually we leave at the o’dark-thirty/first flight out of dodge, but for this race weekend, our flight wasn’t until 4:30 p.m. It made sense because it was the only nonstop flight, but it felt weird. Originally, I was going to work until around 2 p.m., but I actually had some extra vacation time that needed to be used up so I took the whole day off. Which turned out to be a good thing because, in spite of my best intentions, I still had a few errands and some packing that needed to be done.

Our travel went well - our flight got in on time, the car service we had booked picked us up, and we did a grocery store stop before heading to the hotel. Hotel check-in was easy and we got the exact room location that we wanted - upper floor, two doors down from the elevator to the lobby. Score! However, it was kind of weird to get unpacked, get something to eat, and then go to bed.

The upside of flying in the night before was that it did allow us to hit the ground running on Thursday morning. I got my place in the virtual queue for the Disney race merch (group #41) as we were boarding the bus to early entry at Islands of Adventure. I really wanted to get on Hagrids as my first ride of the vacation (I LOVE this ride!), but it was down when we got to the park. But I did get in 4-5 rides before heading out of the park to get an Uber to the Expo.

Although the Uber driver got slightly lost on the way to the Expo (I’m not 100% sure how, but we wound up in the Hollywood Studios parking lot), it all worked out. I had hoped to get my bib and race shirts before my VQ spot got called and I wound up having plenty of time. I was a little irritated by the pointless line to get into the bib pickup building (once I got in the building, I literally walked right up to the booth and had my bib within 2 minutes), but I’m going to blame this on the heat. I still had time to kill after getting my shirts so I decided to shop at the vendors then. I didn’t spend a lot of money - the good part about having MW coming up so soon was that it helped me wait on a couple of impulse purchases - but I did pick up a tank top and a set of bib boards. Then I headed over to Jeff Galloway’s booth to finally meet Coach Chris in person and he was great! He knew that I was nervous about this weekend and he gave me a short pep talk, which helped. While I was there, I also got to meet a few other people from CTP that I’ve only “met” on Facebook and Zoom and I wound up spending more time chatting than I expected.

Since my VQ number still hadn’t been called, I hopped in line to meet Jeff. Everyone says that he is the nicest man and he is. I think that I managed not to go too fan-girl, but I did my best to express my sincere thanks to him. I know that I would not be a runner without run-walk-run. I also told him that I would be seeing him at the end of the marathon in January.

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My VQ got called sometime while I was in line to talk to Jeff so at that point, I headed over to the merch area. I was surprised that there was another line before getting into the merch area, but what is Disney without a line? I was lucky to get in line directly behind someone from CTP and we wound up chatting for the ten minutes or so that it took us to get into the merch area.

Like the vendor area, there were some things that caught my eye, but I kept thinking “but maybe I’ll find something during Marathon Weekend that I’ll want more.” I was tempted by the jackets - I’ve never managed to find a Disney race jacket that I like and fits properly - but there was something not perfect about each one of them. I wound up just getting a challenge finisher shirt and the challenge magnet. I was surprised because I really expected to be more tempted.

Then it was back to the hotel for lunch and a nap before heading back to the parks for the evening. Universal doesn’t have any night shows right now (the Studios one was damaged in Hurricane Ian and the Hogwarts castle show was transitioning between Halloween and Christmas) so we weren’t tempted to close the parks down.

Friday was our only day dedicated solely to Universal and I tried to balance maximizing the day without doing too much. Before I knew it, it was time to get my race gear laid out for the morning and to head to bed. This got a little complicated when I realized that, despite the fact that they were nowhere near the trash can, housekeeping had thrown away the two empty bottles that I had specifically brought with me for the races - one small Coke for some pre-race caffeine and one 20 oz. bottle to mix my Tailwind packets in. I wound up going down to the food court to purchase replacements which irritated me because they weren’t exactly what I wanted. From now on, the bottles will go in the fridge - empty or not. The only good thing was that at least I wasn’t discovering this at 2:30 a.m.!

I was in bed by 9 p.m., figuring that even if I didn’t fall asleep right away, at least I was horizontal and stationary. I learned the benefit of those two things during Dopey in January. I knew that the alarm was going to go off VERY early.
 

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sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Race Recap - Wine and Dine Weekend 10K (11/5)

I felt like I got a decent amount of sleep, but I woke up just before 2 a.m. and could not go back to sleep. About 10 minutes later ( and 20 minutes before the alarm was due to go off), I finally decided to get up. I was pretty proud of the fact that I was able to get ready and leave without really waking up J.

When the course maps were released, I decided to rent a car for the two race mornings since they were both starting and ending at Epcot. The drive was quick and relatively painless although at one point I felt like I was driving in circles. But I got to the parking lot early and then took my time eating and getting situated before heading out.

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One of the other differences for this trip/race weekend was the fact that I was going solo for the first time. In the past, K always came with, even when she wasn’t running a race. Thankfully, I met up with some “Zoom” friends and had a great time hanging out with them up until the start.

The first two miles were rough because it was hot and HUMID. My intervals were happening and my legs went good, but I was uncomfortably sticky. I learned my lesson from the Marathon Weekend 10K, which had very similar weather, and had my hydration belt filled with two bottles of Tailwind, which was vital to keep me going.

Right around the mile 2 marker, there was finally a water stop where I got some water to dump over my arms. That felt very good and helped a lot! Around this time, the running also felt easier and the humidity became less of a factor.

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Chris’s instructions for this race were to run/walk the first part, get far enough ahead that the balloon ladies wouldn’t be an issue, and then walk it in, saving energy for the half. That was easier said than done. Around mile 4, I started the internal debate of when to start walking. I hated to do it because running felt good at that point, but I knew why it was a good idea. Finally, at mile 5, I shut it down.

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In the end, I felt good about my run. I wasn’t going nearly as fast as I had at the Niagara Falls 10K, which was a little frustrating, but it was also significantly warmer and more crowded. I wasn’t thrilled with the course - it was virtually the same as the 10K from Marathon Weekend - but it seemed to work well and there was enough space that I was able to keep to my intervals reasonably well.

After the race, it was back to the hotel for a quick soak in the tub with some epsom salts and then we were off for a couple hours in the parks. At least that was the plan. It turned out that the crowds had arrived overnight and there were long lines (or at least long for us) at most of the rides. We wound up getting some food (I almost waited too long for my post-race meal and was starting to get slightly nauseous) and then did a few low-key rides before heading out.

One of the things that I was most excited about for this weekend was the Rise & Run meet-up on Saturday afternoon. While I had “met” a lot of these people online, it was going to be great to meet in-person - and it was. We hung out for almost an hour and a half before I finally took pity on J who gamely came with and listened to a bunch of runners talk primarily about running.

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I had great aspirations of trying to get a spot in the virtual queue for Gideon’s (didn’t happen) and a walk-up for Homecomin’ (1.5 hour wait) for dinner. We wound up at Polite Pig instead and the mac and cheese there was almost as good as Homecomin’. Then back to the hotel to prep for the half.
 

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sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Race Recap - Wine and Dine Weekend Half-Marathon (11/6)

This race was, by far, the hardest race that I’ve ever done - and that includes January’s half marathon.

I woke up around the same time as the day before and the decision to just get up was easier. I was moving a little bit slower so the extra time worked well. Getting to Epcot was easier than I expected. I was a little worried about the road closures, but Google Maps actually had the closures listed and routed me easily around them.

I spent a lot less time in the pre-race area than the day before since I knew that I had the long walk out to the corrals ahead - and I wanted to get towards the front of the corral to give me as much of a cushion as I could get. It started raining while I was waiting to get started and I hoped that it might help break the humidity. No such luck! If anything, it got more humid - and now I was wet on top of it.

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From the start, I just could NOT find my groove and my running was uninspired at best. I tried to switch from my music to a podcast to see if that helped - and Amazon Music wouldn’t load. Then I couldn’t get my interval timer on my phone to load either. And it was raining on and off. Around Mile 2, I was ready to be done. I was uncomfortable and miserable and my tech issues were just making things worse. The concept of pulling myself off the course crossed my mind more than once or twice. But I couldn’t do it. I asked myself what good reason did I have to quit and I couldn’t find one. My body felt okay - or at least as okay as it could be at that point. It was my mind that was failing me. I gave myself permission to walk for a bit - both to give myself a break and to try to troubleshoot my phone issues. The phone still wasn’t working so I gave up and loaded my intervals on my watch, which unfortunately meant that I had to stop my previous run, but I honestly didn’t care at that moment. All I cared about was putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward!

Around a mile later, the timer on my phone started working again (I have no idea why), but I never could get Amazon Music to work. But now at least I could keep an eye on my pace. I thought that I had a decent lead on the balloon ladies, but I felt much better knowing how fast I was going. Given how warm it was, I was doing everything that I could to stay cool and hydrated. I was using my hydration belt bottles to drink from, getting them refilled as necessary at water stops, and then grabbing cups of water to dump over my body. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.

This race was my first time seeing Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land and I was really looking forward to it. I have to admit that I was a little underwhelmed. There was no atmosphere (and no photo stops) in Galaxy’s Edge. I did stop to take a photo with the Buzz Lightyear statue because there was a cast member there and the line was very short.

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After leaving Hollywood Studios is where the run got very, very, VERY boring. When the course map was released, I had already pegged the out and back on the highway as ugly and it was as bad as I thought it would be. It was also about this time that the sun really started coming out and I was afraid that the conditions were going to get even more uncomfortable. Thankfully, I continued to feel okay. This was also the first time that I saw the balloon ladies. I figured that I was about a mile ahead of them, but at that moment, it didn’t seem like a comfortable lead.

By the time I got to the “Hill of Death” (i.e. the cloverleaf up to the overpass at the turn to Epcot), I was almost exclusively walking as was pretty much everyone else around me. It was just a combination of “get it done” and survival at that point. I did intermittent intervals, but nothing systematic. The thought of stopping never came over me again, but if the balloon ladies had caught me, I wouldn’t have had anything left to give to stay ahead of them. Thankfully, it never came to that. I got a small boost when I saw Jeff Galloway just before we exited Epcot and I was able to resume my intervals, but my running at that point was pretty ugly.

The finish line was pretty emotional because I felt like I had been through a war at that point. I can’t say that I was happy or proud. I was just 100% spent.

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What happened next was the most memorable part of the weekend and something that I will always treasure. As I walked out of the runner’s area, standing there was Bob from Rise and Run. I can’t tell you how much I needed another runner at that point - someone who understood what I had just gone through (in fact, he had his own crazy story from that race) and could help me start to gain some perspective. At that point, I was running on pure emotion and was a hot mess, both literally and figuratively. Bob, with his calm and always positive demeanor, was the perfect person for that. I can’t thank him and the rest of “the gang” enough for being there for me.

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By the time I left, I was in a significantly better place emotionally and really ready to head back to my hotel. I was still soaked from dumping water over my shoulders and desperately wanted a hot bath, a substantial meal, and a few hours of sleep.

Post-race reflection:
The more time passes, the better perspective I can put on this race. Some things that I figured out:

  • The heat and humidity impacted me more than I initially thought. Chris did the math and figured that I was about a half an hour slower during the half marathon due to the heat.
  • It took a lot of strength to continue when I wanted to quit. I know that that lesson is going to come in handy at some point down the road.
  • In spite of the heat, my hydration and nutrition were on point.
  • When I’m struggling, I can change up my run/walk ratios to something that is easier.
  • The universe is going to send me the support that I need. I just need to be open and in a place to receive it.
  • My body is strong and capable of these distances. My post-race recovery was amazingly quick. I was able to stand around and walk without hesitation throughout the whole trip. And the Galloway method WORKS!!!
  • I still need to work on my mental game. When things started going south (I think the issue with my phone impacted me way more than I realized at the time), I got into my own head and almost sabotaged my entire race. I need to put more guardrails in place so that I don’t start to spiral when something goes wrong.
  • Things aren’t as bad as they might first seem. I need to remind myself to look for the positives.

After sleeping for about three solid hours, I felt up to going to the after-party. We had a good time - we did some rides, we saw Harmonious (I agree with the people who say it was missing something special), we ate - but we definitely weren’t efficient in our touring. We went to do Guardians around midnight and the cast member said that it was about an hour wait. At that point, my feet were starting to hurt when I stood still (I don’t know why - I had only walked over 26 miles at that point), but I was willing to wait if J was. She wasn’t. So we got an Uber back to the hotel and finally called it a night.

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And thus ended my first Wine and Dine race weekend. I’ve asked myself whether I would do it again and I’m really on the fence about it. There’s no question that the weather was terrible for running - at least for me. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the courses at all. I’ve run around Epcot a lot in other races and Hollywood Studios didn’t hold any magic for me. And I really felt the lack of any crowd support (outside of the cast members stationed in the backstage areas). Finally, while the first two days were great for touring the parks, it started getting busier (and less tolerable) as the trip went on. That being said, it was a good training bridge/tune-up race for Marathon Weekend. I learned a bunch of things that, if they had popped up during MW, could have been catastrophic. However, if I do W&D again, I will definitely be careful not to overlook it.
 

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Herding_Cats

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
I can DEFINITELY relate to having technology issues and needing some music to get out of my head during a run. After doing a couple of local races and my spotify/pandora not working AT ALL I resorted to downloading a few playlists to my phone and it hasn't been an issue since.
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
I can DEFINITELY relate to having technology issues and needing some music to get out of my head during a run. After doing a couple of local races and my spotify/pandora not working AT ALL I resorted to downloading a few playlists to my phone and it hasn't been an issue since.

Thankfully, my music downloaded on my phone and was working. But when my "monkey brain" (a Jeff Galloway phrase) starts to take over, I really need something that makes my brain think about something else, usually either a podcast or audiobook. For Marathon Weekend, I'm going to make sure to have something that fits this bill directly on my phone as well.
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Training Recap - 11/7-11/14

Monday & Tuesday, 11/7-8 - off
Wednesday, 11/9 - Drill run - 30 minutes
Thursday & Friday, 11/10-11 - off
Saturday, 11/12 - Easy run “3ish” miles
Sunday, 11/13 - Aqua jogging - 45 minutes
Monday, 11/14 - off


The week after Wine and Dine was a well-timed rest week. While my legs and feet recovered quickly, my overall energy level and my desire to run hard took a little while longer.

Monday and Tuesday were scheduled travel (my flight got in around dinner time on Monday) and rest days. I scaled back Wednesday’s run and decided not to do the optional 15 minutes at tempo pace. Thursday and Friday were designated as optional cross-training, but I needed the break more.

Saturday was a “3ish” mile fun run that my local Fleet Feet was holding to benefit a local animal rescue. It sounded like something fun/different to do - and it fit pretty nicely into my schedule which originally called for a 5 mile recovery run - so I went for it. Unfortunately, it was pretty poorly attended (there were only a couple other runners and then some walkers with adoptable dogs), but the change of scenery was nice.

By Sunday, I was ready to jump back into hard training and even added a mile on the track before heading to the pool to do the aqua jogging that was on my schedule.

Originally Monday was supposed to be a speed workout and Tuesday is my regularly scheduled rest day. Unfortunately real life got in the way. I started a new canine nosework with my older girl, Abbie, which meant that I couldn’t go to the gym on the way home from Jack’s class like I normally do. So Plan B was to leave work early to get it in - and then work scheduled a staff meeting at 4 p.m. At which point, I just gave up and shifted everything to Tuesday. This choice wound up being really helpful!
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
I'm trying to get caught up...slowly!

Training Recap - 11/15-11/23

Tuesday, 11/15 - Speed work - 4 x 800s
Wednesday, 11/16 - 10 miles
Thursday, 11/17 - 23 miles
Friday & Saturday, 11/18-11/19
Sunday, 11/20 - Aqua jogging - 45 minutes - Walk
Monday, 11/21 - off
Tuesday, 11/22 - Tempo run - 30 minutes
Wednesday, 11/23 - off


My Plan B was to do my speed work on Tuesday ahead of my 5-10-23 mile Dopey simulation on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. That sounded like a good idea until the weather people started talking about a “lake snow event” over the weekend. Now I live in Buffalo so I’m used to dealing with snow and if necessary I was willing to run indoors. Then they started to talk about 2-3 feet of snow and I started to get worried. My plan counted on me being able to get to the gym and that forecast was getting close to the “travel ban” territory, particularly if it came all at one time. I talked to Chris and he told me “do what you can and we’ll figure out what to do when/if something goes wrong.” But I was still worrying and anxiously watching the weather. I had missed the first run of my last simulation weekend and I really wanted the experience and confidence of getting this one in as written.

By Tuesday, the forecast was getting clearer and significantly more ominous. The snow was scheduled to start late on Thursday and they were now talking about 3-4 feet of snow.

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During my run on Tuesday, I had one of those light bulb moments. My Tuesday run was close to 5 miles long in total. If I juggled my work schedule, I could fit in the 10 and 23 miles on Wednesday and Thursday. It wouldn’t be pretty - and wouldn’t be as designed since the 5 miles was supposed to be a walk (i.e. definitely not speed work) - but I suspected that this was my best shot to actually get the runs done. On to Plan C!

Wednesday wound being “one of those days” at work. I had hoped to leave work around 2 p.m. and get the 10 mile walk done by dinner time. Then my morning meeting got moved to 2-3 p.m. Ugh! If I had known in advance, I would have done the walk in the morning and come in late. But now I was forced to start even later in the day and eat into my already limited recovery time. Oh, and the cherry on top was that the meeting got postponed a week at the last minute! The walk itself was long, but I got it done and felt good during and after.

My goal on Thursday was to spend as little time at work as possible. I had an appointment at 10 a.m. to pick some items up so I went in, compiled the paperwork that I needed for the pick up, got the items, brought them back and left. And thankfully for once this week, the plan worked. I parked at the gym and planned to run outside until a) I was finished with my 23 miles, b) it got dark, or c) it started to snow. I was thrilled to get a little over 14 miles in before it started to get dark. My pace was right where I wanted it to be and I felt physically good. Around mile 11, I started to get seriously bored (I was essentially running repeatedly around a 3-mile block) and wound up calling K and telling her “Talk to me. I’m bored.”

What it looked like outside during my run

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The last 8+ miles were harder indoors. I was incredibly grateful that I had moved these runs up and didn’t have to do the entire 23 miles on the track. The top of my right foot tightened up significantly when I moved indoors and getting started again was hard. Lesson for race day - don’t stop moving if I can help it. But I got it done! And just in time because as I left the gym, it was just starting to snow - hard. I didn’t care because my runs were D-O-N-E. One more long run weekend to go!

What it looked like when I left the gym...

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Afterwards, I felt really, really good. In fact on Friday, I texted Chris and asked what exercise would be good to do. We had “only” gotten about 9 inches of snow so far and the gym was open. I was basically told to chill, stay home, and recover, which was easier said than done. By Saturday morning, we got another 1.5 feet of snow so getting out was less of an option and I had another rest day - well, other than keeping part of the backyard shoveled for the dogs.

What it looked like outside my house on Saturday morning...

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Side note: While we got a total of around 2 feet of snow, areas about 20 minutes south of us wound up with over 6.5 feet of snow. Had the winds shifted just slightly, that could have easily been us. Which is why I was so anxious to get my runs in - if we had gotten a direct hit, it would have been at least Monday or Tuesday before anything was dug out enough to get to the gym.

By Sunday, I really needed to get out of the house! I went to the gym with the intention of doing some strength exercises and walking for a little bit before heading to the pool. But it was cold outside and I had absolutely no desire to get wet so I substituted a 45 minute walk.

I couldn’t get Monday’s run in again - I really need to figure out how to leave work early enough to get these runs in before dinner - so I shifted it to Tuesday, which worked only marginally better. But I got it done and I know that that is the important thing.

Monday was a pretty rough day for me for another reason. At my PT appointment last month, Jay told me that he was transferring to another location and that this would be his last day at the office. I was grateful that I had some notice, but to lose him six weeks before Dopey was disconcerting. While Steve was always the one with the plan (and as a runner, I value his advice above all), Jay was the person that I’ve always worked directly with. He was the one who got me through the day to day, week to week ups and downs. He had a quirky sense of humor that meshed well with mine and made all of the work tolerable, if not always enjoyable. It was hard to say goodbye to someone who has seen me through some of the darkest times of my running journey and who helped me come out the other side. I know that I will see Jay again as I promised to visit him after Dopey to show him my medals (he always appreciated seeing my race bling), but knowing that he won’t be there the next time I go in was rough to say the least. If nothing else, it is good motivation to keep doing all of the things that I need to stay healthy.
 

Naomeri

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 14, 2019
While I don’t mind a little snow as a way to get an alternative workout in, that’s a bit ridiculous!
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
While I don’t mind a little snow as a way to get an alternative workout in, that’s a bit ridiculous!

I'm very much a fair weather runner, but I don't think anyone was going to tackle running in this snow. My physical therapist lives out in some of the worst hit areas and posted some crazy videos. He was able to "run" about 10 feet before he was exhausted.
 

sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Race Report - 127th Annual YMCA Turkey Trot 8K

Promoted as the oldest consecutively run road race in the world, the Turkey Trot is a huge event in Buffalo, not only in size (this year there were over 12,000 runners), but in influence. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that almost every local runner has run the Turkey Trot at one time or another.

For me, the first year that I did the race, it was like announcing “I am officially a runner.” This was also the race that prepared me like no other for my first Disney race. It gave me actual experience running a race with lots and lots and LOTS of other runners.

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The only frustration that I’ve had with this race is that I’ve never been able to do it 100% healthy. My first year (2018) I was still struggling with calf pain when I ran. My second time (2019) I was limited to walking the whole thing by my physical therapist. In 2020, they did actually hold the race, but it was limited to 125 runners so obviously I did do that year. Then last year I was dealing with a flare up of my foot pain and was given a firm “no” when I mentioned the idea of running it to Jay. One of my goals for this year was to be able to run with race HEALTHY. And I did that!

The weather turned out to be great for running. It was chilly (around 36 at the start), but I’ve definitely seen worse. In 2018, it was 20 with a bitter wind chill and in 2019, it rained for part of the race. And this time of year, you can really see just about any type of weather. I started out in long sleeves with a short sleeve shirt underneath, but about halfway through, I took the top layer off. I can never seem to figure out how to dress for this race and always seem to end up removing layers as I go along.

This race is a point to point race so I had the choice of parking near the start and getting a bus back to my car afterward or parking near the finish and getting a bus to the start. Being as the finish is downtown and the start is right near a shopping plaza with a very large (and free) parking lot, I chose to park near the start. This would prove to be a source of frustration later.

I made two mistakes before the start of the race. The first was not leaving myself quite enough time to get (comfortably) to the start in time. It was chilly and I didn’t want to be standing around for a long time, but I wound up cutting it a little close for comfort. The second mistake is related to the first. I managed to do a decent warm-up of some light intervals, but didn’t have the time (or a good location) to do my calf stretches. I hoped that I wouldn’t need them since I had warmed up - I was very wrong.

It seemed to take forever just to get to the start. There were so many people that it took me almost ten minutes to get up to the start line - and I was definitely not the last person to start. Thankfully, the road was fairly wide and could handle the people without being too crowded, but it did make me appreciate Disney’s corral and mini-wave system.

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The first mile was challenging. It was difficult to manage the space around me to run my intervals and then try to not cut anyone off during my walks. I was also having trouble settling into a comfortable pace.

Around the end of that first mile, my lack of stretching came back to bite me as both of my calves started to cramp. It wasn’t bad, but it was enough to get my attention and I decided to walk until they relaxed. This race wasn’t important enough in the grand scheme of things to risk any setbacks.

Having to walk was a little disheartening. The experience was too much like my previous Turkey Trot races! I knew in my brain that this was different - it just wasn’t my day - but it was still rough for a little while. Also, in the back of my head, I had a tentative time goal that was messing with my head and I needed to let it go. Things got better when I realized that my goal all along for this race was to be able to run it healthy and I was doing that! A year ago, I couldn’t walk this race because I was in so much pain and this discomfort was absolutely nothing compared to that.

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Instead I tried to enjoy the atmosphere, including the unofficial donut drop from an overpass, a few water (and other adult beverage) stops, and a character stop with Santa. And the spectator support was amazing with A LOT of people lining the route. Because the Buffalo Bills were playing on Thanksgiving Day, it felt a lot like a pregame tailgate party.

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It took about two miles before I felt 100%. My calves had warmed up and I was able to restart my intervals. During the last mile, I decided to see what I could do. I was able to finish strong and that felt fabulous. Crossing the finish line was pretty emotional because it represented a big step forward in a very long, very hard journey.

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Having done this race in the past, I knew that getting the bus back to the start was going to take some time so I skipped the post-race party (which is always crowded and nothing special) and got right in line. And waited - and waited - and waited. Kind of like my experiences with Disney transportation. I had hoped that since they were using school buses (as opposed to the smaller buses that they had the last time I ran the race) that it would be better, but no such luck. In the end, it took me almost as long to get back to my car as it did to run the race.

Post-race Reflections:
  • I need to give myself extra time pre-race to make sure that I am warming up and stretching properly. This was the second non-Disney race in a row that was a lot harder than it needed to be at the start because I cut things too close.
  • It was appropriate that this race took place on Thanksgiving because I felt so much gratitude both for being able to run and for the people who helped me get to that point.
 

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sandam1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Training Recap - 11/25-12/5

Friday, 11/25 - Cross-Training - Rest

I changed this from a cross-training day to a full rest day as I needed another recovery day from the Turkey Trot

Saturday, 11/26 - Drill Run - 45 minutes


I’m not a huge fan of these drill days in general, but I will admit that this is a good workout for recovery after races. This particular workout felt great. I had a lot of pop in my legs and running was really easy. I added a tempo mile on to the end because everything felt so good.

Sunday, 11/27 - Aqua jogging - 45 minutes

Did it. Nothing remarkable.

Monday, 11/28 - Rest day

I was supposed to have speed work today, but this was the start of the worst two days of every year at my job and by mid-afternoon I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to do the workout justice. I got permission to rearrange the week, ultimately making this an off day and moving up the easier drill run that was originally scheduled for later in the week.

Tuesday, 11/29 - Drill Run - 30 minutes

I was tired from two very demanding days at work, short on time, and wasn’t totally feeling this workout so I stuck with the 30 minute version and didn’t add the optional tempo mile. That turned out to be a good decision because it allowed me to juggle (again) the rest of my week without too many issues.

Wednesday 11/30 - Track workout - 6 x 800’s

This run was an experiment. My previous speedwork paces had been too easy so Chris adjusted my paces. Looking at them, I was seriously questioning whether I could hit the new paces, but I was willing to give it a try. To do that, I was going to try a variety of new intervals. My theme was “well, let’s see what I can do.”

Most of the things that I tried didn’t work. Any walk interval less than 30 seconds was too short. My 20 second run felt really good, but 30 seconds was do-able. Any more than that wasn’t sustainable.

As I suspected, the paces were too aggressive. But instead of being frustrated by this, I just rolled with it and tried something else. If nothing else, I got a lot of good information from this run.

Thursday, 12/1 - Off


This was my birthday, a Rise and Run Zoom call evening, and there was a Buffalo Bills game. There was no way that a workout was happening.

Friday, 12/2 - 5 miles w/Magic Mile

Because of my race schedule, I hadn’t done a Magic Mile in two months so I was curious to see how this was going to go. That being said, I also knew that I needed a pretty significant decrease to get my predicted marathon time under that magic (no pun intended) 7 hours.

This was originally scheduled for Saturday, but I moved it up to Friday because this was going to be my best chance to run on the outdoor track. Of course, when I got to the track, there were 50 seventh graders using it for their Turkey Trot, which had been postponed due to the snow. I wound up getting another warm-up mile in while waiting for them to finish.

The mile was hard - they always are - but I dropped another 15 seconds off my time. It still isn’t below seven hours, but it’s pretty darn close. My perspective has changed 180 degrees from my last Magic Mile. At this point, I feel strong and well-prepared and I’m not going to let this freak me out.

Saturday and Sunday, 12/3-4 - Off

These weren’t planned days off, but the cross-training/aqua jogging just didn’t happen. With my full Dopey simulation coming up, I needed to buckle down and get some things done around the house.

Monday, 12/5 - Tempo Run - 45 minutes


Mondays just aren’t good days for me to run right now, but there was nowhere to move this run so I squeezed it in. It meant leaving work early and running (literally and figuratively) to get where I needed to be, but I did it. My tempo run itself was pretty rough. I don’t know what I did, but both of my calves started tightening up. I had to slow down/walk more than I wanted to, but in the end, my times were decent.

Tuesday, 12/6 - Rest day

I really like having Tuesdays as my rest day and it makes it worth the stress on Monday to have this day completely free.

Up next - 3-6-13-26 aka the full Dopey simulation which starts tomorrow. Here we go…
 









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